Angkar: Wet season. Precipitation is common during the late afternoon and evening hours. Vegetation grows significantly during the summer, but flooding is a danger due to the monsoons that ravage the country. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.

Ashoka: Desert: Extremely hot and dry. Violent, heavy downpours following long dryspells. Jungle: Hot and humid with frequent, violent rainstorms.

Morrim: Relatively hot and dry, but with a chance of thunderstorms from time to time. The heat may cause forest fires.

Soto: Hot and humid, tree cover is dense while ground growth is restricted. Thunderstorms see the most amount of rainfall during the season, and it can be very windy. On occasion, there are flash floods that can destroy homes and farms built on flood plains.


March 30th, 2018 As you might have noticed, Elenlond has changed hands and is now under new management! If you have any questions, please direct them to DaringRaven! As for the rest of the announcements, including a season change, you can find them over here at the following link!

January 16, 2018 As you might have noticed, Elenlond has a new skin, all thanks to Mel! Don't forget to check out the new OTMs as well!

December 2, 2017 Winter has settled on Elenlond, bringing sleep for some and new life for others.

September 26, 2017 With the belated arrival of autumn come some interesting developments: new OTMs, a Town Crier and the release of the Elly Awards winners!

July 14, 2017 After a bit of forum clean-up, Elly Awards season has arrived! Head on over to make your nominations!

May 31, 2017 Summer has arrived and so has activity check! That's not all though – we also have some new OTMs for you and some staff changes!


Elenlond is an original free-form medieval fantasy RPG set on the continent of Soare and the Scattered Isles, which are located to the south in the Sea of Diverging Waters. The four chief nations of the western side of the world—Ashoka in northern Soare, Soto in western Soare, Morrim in eastern Soare, and Angkar, the largest of the Scattered Isles—continue to experience growth and prosperity since the fall of the Mianorite gods, although power struggles within the countries—or outside of them—continue to ensue.


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    Angkar: To honour the reinvigoration of the ancient city of Mondrágon, the majestic Queen Eulalia has permitted the opening of a Coliseum where people from around the world and all walks of life can test their combat skills against one another. Many have already done battle in search of honour, glory, prizes and money.

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    Rigor Mortis; Closed; Qayin; Kupselion(?)
    Topic Started: Apr 16 2017, 04:56 PM (321 Views)
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    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    Post Forest-Plot

    ((TW: Vulgarity, torture, abuse, extremely disturbing visual imagery))

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I hear you just showed up in Morrim recently, and I heard you like to fuck things up for shitty people.

    You don't know me, and I don't know you. We may never meet -- though to be frank, I don't think I'd mind meeting someone like you. Your brutal reputation precedes you but I love that garbage. I've been known to snap a few necks myself -- but there's one I'd really like to see snapped, or maybe slashed wide open. It's your call, as this is my challenge to you, and you obviously can choose not to accept it. However, if what I hear about you is true, I think you will.

    You see, my family has always kept slaves. Not me, fuck no: I like my freedom, and so I respect the freedom of others. My mother, a cold-eyed bitch I'm happy you'll never know, kept them and was awful to them. She's dead now, but the rest of my family hasn't stopped, and there are some who are just as messed up as she was. I have an entire list of them, and one day I hope to decorate my den with their skulls, but right now there's that specific one.

    Her name is Katharine, and she calls herself a "Puppeteer". She collars her own husband and male children, and her sister Elena, my aunt, lives with her. Elena works with sarcomancy -- flesh constructs and the like -- but she collaborates with Katharine on an almost regular basis. If she happens to be around and you can wipe her out too, please feel free, but I have a special beef with Katharine as she's collared me as well. For your part, you'll be interested to learn that she's a big buyer in the slave markets, but that her slaves seem to go missing on an oddly regular basis, and no one ever finds any bodies or signs of burial on her property. Where
    do they all go..?

    I'll leave the methodology up to you -- my main concern is that the cunt gets her shit handed to her -- but from what I've heard and read I think I can expect a spectacular, colorful result. Nothing would make me happier.

    I've made it easy for you by enclosing the address. I've only been to her property once, but I always remember a hellhole. Good luck.

    A Friend

    PS: Try not to look her in the eyes.


    With the address given, finding the place was easy -- finding her quarry was not.

    The manor was an endless, complex expanse of hallways, rooms, antechambers and alcoves, made more confusing by its four floors and extra wing on the west side. This family, whoever they were, clearly did not spare expenses, with their high ceilings and rich ebony woodwork, impeccable hardwood floors, sparkling glass windows and stained-glass art. Statues peppered the landings of curved staircases, all carved from dark marble, their faces twisted in grotesque pictures of agony or rage: one even featured a demon ripping the pillar and stones from a man crushed beneath its hooved feet. The carpets were lush and the wallpaper smooth, unwrinkled, unstained.

    She had found old narrow passages between the walls and floors and moved silently on Death's Hand's soft-soled fabric shoes, following the members of the household as they came and went about their business. The passages were clearly not made to be used, even by the creepy people who lived here -- there was little risk of being discovered, and so far, no one had caught on.

    Originally she had planned to simply hone in on this Katharine the person in the letter had mentioned -- a strange thing that had cropped up at random, from a frightened-looking courier who had approached her while she was at her work -- but quickly the idea vanished beneath the shadow of the missing slaves, and her primary goal turned from murder to rescue.

    Two days ago she had snuck into the manor, hanging beneath a trade-carriage where she would not be seen and climbing in through the open window of an empty room. It was by pure luck that she had found a loose panel in the back of a closet where she had been hiding herself, and managed to squeeze her narrow body through. There weren't many entry points and the space was so small at some points that she could not get through, but it led to several rooms and allowed her to listen and peer through small cracks and crevices at the floor above, and the floor below. From the state of the rest of the place she was surprised that there were any flaws in the structure whatsoever: everything had been so precisely cut, laid together, and arranged; and everything was so, immaculately clean.

    On the second day she found out why.


    The voice had gotten her attention: Shell stopped her tiptoeing and peered through a gap in the knotwork of the boards, which opened up onto a smaller bedroom -- one of the guest rooms, she had gathered, which had just been vacated.

    The voice had come from a tall, bony woman with broad shoulders and a long neck, her dark hair swept up in a graceful mess, exposing pale flesh beneath. The woman was clad from chin to toes in unfathomable black, even covering her hands. She stood with her back to Shell, and seemed to be calling a young chambermaid. Ashokan, She noted, her face twisting, She must have been given a new name. Moira certainly didn't sound Ashokan. The girl, appearing nervous but with good composure, dipped her knees and kept her gaze lowered.

    Don't look into her eyes.

    "Yes, Mistress?"

    "This is your first job, yes?"

    "Yes, Mistress." She kept her hands clasped in front of her.

    "You've done well. This room is very clean, for how quickly it was done."

    Moira curtsied. "Thank you, ma'am."

    The dark woman -- was it Katharine..? -- paced around, swiping her gloved finger across shelves and examining them for dust. She moved with a weird, alien grace, her heels making a dull click on the shining hardwood floor, pausing near to where Shell stood. "But... you missed something."

    Her foot came out, striking the chamberpot and sending its contents flying across the floor. Moira gave a horrified squeak and scuttled out of the way. The dark woman stood where she was, hands clasped mildly behind her back as if waiting.

    "That... was going to be the next thing I cleaned..." The poor maid said truthfully, eyes brimming with tears, staring at the rank mess at her feet.

    "It still is the next thing you'll clean." The woman replied calmly. Shell burned with anger, and the woman turned on her heel and made for the door, pausing once more at the threshold. Her head turned back to view the new maid already on her hands and knees with a rag and her bucket, mopping up the slop on the floor. A cruel smile played about the woman's lips and Shell could see her eyes, a pale violet that made her almost dizzy to see.

    This has to be her.

    "'Slop'." Katharine said, nodding in satisfaction. "That will be your new name -- it suits you much better than 'Moira'. Make sure you tell the others. They'll want to know who they're working with."

    The door swung shut behind her, closing in the sound of the girl's soft sobbing. Shell's fists clenched in a rage, blood seeping under her fingernails, nostrils flaring. her heart out.... rip it out and feed it to her...

    She would think of many more creative things along the way.


    She followed the horrible woman to the best of her ability, managing to sneak along until halfway down yet another small hallway, where her own tiny corridor ended. Cursing internally, Shell doubled back all the way to the last point of exit and squeezed out, pulling her mask down over her face.

    By sticking to the shadows and being patient, she made it back to where she had last seen the lady Katharine, creeping down the carpeted hall, searching the walls ahead for doors and finding only one at the very end. With a final glance over her shoulder, she hurried the last few strides and crouched beside it, listening.

    A minute passed; no sounds.


    As quick as a shadow she slipped inside, shutting the door as silently as she had opened it.

    With her back pressed to the wall she viewed the whole room: a windowless study, lit by a single lamp on a mahogany desk and lined with shelf after shelf of books and sheafs of paper. There was no one inside, and so Shell felt safe enough to move around the edge of the room, examining various items and ledgers to try and find any mention of the apparent slave turnover. She frowned. Nothing but weird occult materials, many written in strange languages, and ponderous historical tomes. Her hands traced the edges of the shelves, prepared to leave, when a dark shape between two bookcases caught her eye.

    Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be on the wall -- with a preparatory cringe, Shell stuck her arm between the cases and fumbled for it.

    Her fingers hit a switch.

    There was a thunk, and the case on her left lurched as it came unstuck from the wall behind it. Of course. The old bookshelf trick. The woman grabbed the side of the case with both hands, lifting and pulling it open on concealed hinges. Behind it was yet another narrow alcove, with a staircase that descended to the right.

    Anxiety knotted in her gut, and her eyes focused too sharply, tunneling in on the dark stairwell. She had come down stairs like these before. More than once.

    Her palms began to sting where her nails had bit into them, and she remembered why she was here. Resolved, Shell stepped into the alcove and pulled the bookcase shut.

    It went down for what felt like a very long time, and it was darker than a devil's asshole. Her hands traced along the walls on either side of her and they felt too close, too warm and alive; she began counting the steps to stay focused -- but soon a smell reached her, as familiar as the bookshelf and the alcove and the stairs, and her heart began to sink.

    They're down here. They have to be down here.

    Finally the walls gave way to empty space. Here, she could hear sounds -- ragged breathing, weak rattling, a single, short groan -- her hands fumbled on the wall behind her, eventually hitting another switch. Gaslights illuminated the room, and all feeling fled Shell's body. She stood rigidly still, seized by panicked horror.

    There were easily over a dozen of them. Some were chained to walls, others strapped to tables, and a couple were stuffed into tiny animal cages, their twitching arms and legs broken and reset at odd angles. Many were dead, and some seemed as though they could still be alive. Sheltering Heaven. Sheltering Heaven, how could..? Some of the ones on the tables were missing limbs or had great precise cuts that had been sewn back up -- one woman was missing both her arms and legs. Shell covered her mouth in a sudden wave of nausea: one man, chained to the wall, was missing both arms but had his ribcage broken and spread open in the back, his lungs removed and hung up behind him in some gruesome imitation of wings; another had a hole in his skull, a stick protruding from his mangled brain; yet another had been almost completely flayed.

    Even in all her years she had never seen anything quite like it. Slowly, her horror was replaced with outrage, and she turned full of hateful intent to destroy this Katharine utterly -- but halted when she saw the woman herself, standing as if she had been watching her the whole time.

    No -- this isn't her... Shell hopped away from the woman, adopting a stance instinctively. This one was slightly shorter and wore her hair far shorter, though she had the same eyes. This must be the other one.

    "A celebrity, in my own house?" Elena sang, her voice annoyingly pleasant and musical. Her smile was too warm, too genuine. "My sweet things, Death's Hand herself has come to pay us a visit! Do you suppose she'll say anything?"

    "These..." Shell did speak, keeping her voice higher than was natural, but trailed off.

    "They're mine!" The woman chirped. "Now, I know you're glowering at me from under that thing, but you musn't get hot under the collar. These people were slaves, and now they are helping further important studies in the nature of Flesh. There is pain, but after the pain, there is always bliss, and their memories live on in my Work."

    Elena clasped her hands together and sighed as though she were simply a teen girl dreaming of her knight in shining armor. Shell backed up instinctively. Insane. These people are insane.

    "But, I don't expect someone like you to understand. You only see what you want to see -- you see my sister and I and all those other people you unfairly slaughtered as blights upon the world, and you're all wrapped up in the illusion that you can make those blights go away. Slavery will not vanish just because you killed its marketeers." She smiled. "Oh yes, I know a great deal about you, Death's Hand. I've been following your progress. I like the results of your work, but I do not like your cause." With her hands clasped behind her back exactly as Katharine had done, she walked the perimeter of the room. Shell kept her hands up and circled, keeping the woman in her line of sight.

    "I could get a great deal of respect and recognition by capturing or killing you, you know." Elena paused and turned in an about-face. "But all those things come from the common populace, and their approval is superficial and useless. And you -- you are just a child. You have no idea the things we can do. As such... you are no threat to us. So I will give you leave to go."

    "I'm not leaving until you're both dead."

    Elena's hands fluttered to her bosom and she smiled as though touched. "Oh, wonderful -- simply lovely. That's very sweet of you! My children need a playmate..." One hand drifted to yet another chain on the wall, pulling it. There was a sliding sound just behind Shell and she jumped, whirling around to face it.

    Elena thrust her free hand forward, unleashing a concentrated blast of violet flame that slammed into the small of the untruder's back, shoving her forward into the opening, where she dropped. Her hand released the pullchain, and the wall slid closed.

    "...and no one ever comes into the sewers anymore. They always chase everyone off, the little rugrats..."


    She fell for what felt like ages, bracing herself for a hard impact -- but landed on something soft.

    The smell! Suddenly her senses were flooded by the rank stench of old waste and death. She gagged audibly. Gods, but the smell! Awkwardly, she tried to stand, but found uneven purchase and stumbled, falling onto her back side.

    Her hand landed on what felt like a face.

    Behind the mask her eyes widened. Shaking and blind in the darkness, she groped around her legs... and felt others. Then, an arm. Wet rot slicked her fingers and palms while her eyes adjusted, aided by a light source she could not yet see. A shaking hand came up and pushed her mask up off of her face to get a better look.


    With a scream, Shell stumbled and clambored her way off the pile, slipping over algae, old blood, and watered filth before she found purchase on solid ground. Even in the darkness it was easy to see the outline of the thing: there must have been a hundred or more corpses, all disposed of in one common place. Overwhelmed by disgust, the woman turned around and felt her way along the tunnels, if only to get away from the smell of rotting flesh. If her heart lived, it would have been pounding with unexpected fear. Her mind kept tearing her attention back to the room she had just left behind, unable to forget what she had seen.

    She had no idea how far beneath the city she was, where the tunnels led, how many there were, or where the exits would be. Panic twisted her insides. I have to get out of here... I have to get out of here.

    Somewhere up ahead, something splashed. She froze.

    I have to get out of here.
    Member Avatar
    Desert Wraith

    Qayin skittered along the walls of the sewer like an insect, arms crossing over one another in movements that would have bordered on the mesmerizing, if anyone were there to see it. The sewers of Kinaldi were a place entirely different than that of the underbelly of Orl’Kabbar, or even Reine. Spirits of both the oppressed and their oppressors screamed for deliverance; that was not what drew the mage to the place, however. Rumors had been spreading amongst the underworld Qayin had delved fully into, tales of a vile enchantress whose work with the living and the dead was something to be marveled at.

    Besschentyil, an entire family with dark powers and even darker aspirations. He had wished to glean what he could from their studies into the undead, and destroy them. It was one thing for a necromancer to become widely distrusted: it was another entirely for an entire family to be feared to the point that none dared speak out against them. In truth, he hadn’t discovered the group through word of mouth, but in fearful whisperings of the mind from many of those he had come in contact with in Morrim. It was exciting to Qayin, exhilarating to find people whose abilities could perhaps rival his. Even better, they found themselves in opposition of the other’s goals. He wondered if they had heard of him, and resolved to learn as much as he could from their own mouths, rather than tomes and scrolls which carried the histories of their sordid deeds.

    “I wonder which of you will put up the greatest fight before I tear you apart.” He noted the contempt in his own voice, considering where it came from before discarding the thought. Qayin had noticed something darker about his presence, a deep shadow lurking at the edge of his own light, but the source of this distortion was unknown to him. The linguistic image connected with his reality, as the lightgeist that had attached itself to him cast its own shadows on the corners and labyrinthian corridors of the place. It was then that he heard it.

    A scream echoed through the stoneways. It was close, though still several twists and turns out of sight. Letting his consciousness wander, he felt someone. They were afraid, and… Qayin blinked, drawing himself back from his travels.

    Juran? It was a soft whisper, mostly to himself and not a call out to her. What was she doing here? He rechecked the mental map he’d taken from another, and realized where he had ended up. They were near the house of the Besschentyil family, his final destination. Was she intending to follow through what he himself was intending to do? Questions raced through his head, and his heart pounded as he filled with a sort of energy. It was for entirely different reasons than the nervous pulsing that seemed to echo through Shell’s being. A smile crossed his lips, and Qayin quickened his pace. It was but a few moments before he reached her.

    “Juran!” He noted the horrified look on her face and quickly dropped to the ground, dusting himself off and approaching her on foot.

    “I apologize, I forgot that meeting me in such a place as this would give even the bravest a fright!” He noted her clothes, coated as they were in death. With a simple flick of his wrist —mostly for her benefit, as his abilities hardly needed anything more than focus on his part— he cleaned her up, letting the paste slide to the floor. The place was thick with the scent of death and decay, and a quick look around revealed the reason to him. Pointing at the pile of bodies, he detached the spare limbs and laughed.

    “Of course, this would be the backdrop for our reunion. It is more than good to see you.” She still seemed a bit stunned, but Qayin outstretched his arms to perhaps initiate a hug. The humor of displaying such affection in front of a backdrop such as this did not escape him, but he saved that thought for himself, instead opting to reconnect with someone he had spent many moments over the past months thinking of. Attempting to help her relax, he fumbled over a joke of sorts. It didn’t connect, but the two seemed to pay it no heed.

    “Why must we always meet like this. Insects to a corpse, that’s what we are.”
    Member Avatar
    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    What is that..?! What is that?! As the thing on the wall approached her, she backed up instinctively, though she was cornered against a mountain of stinking corpses. Her hand drifted to the unfamiliar knife tucked into her sash -- a thing she had merely picked up so no one would recognize her real weapons -- though she was too well-panicked by this point to do much good with it.

    Shell had seen so many things, so many things -- she had lived a long time, and had met some of the most twisted people life had to offer, but none of it had done anything to toughen her up psychologically, and the creature before her mingled in her mind's eye with the people from Elena's torture room and made her realize, yet again, that she was simply a few convenient abilities away from becoming one of them.

    No one wanted to ruin a useful tool.

    It noticed her -- then it sped up, and she backpedaled away from it, tripping over a rotting arm and stumbling before catching herself against the slippery wall again. She wanted to tell it to get away from her, but her throat had clenched and her voice would not obey.



    The sound of her name, her real name, killed most of the fear right then and there. A moment later, she recognized the voice, and her heart soared so suddenly she nearly lost her balance again.

    "Qayin..! Thank goodness!" For a moment she was simply in shock. Though it was dark, her eyes were adjusting, and she noticed the motion of his hand just before feeling suddenly lighter. She looked down (for all the good it did) and plucked at her now-dry shirt. There was a splash as Qayin's extra limbs dropped and she looked up again just as his arms opened up.

    The moment she realized he was waiting for a hug, all regular restraint vanished and she collided into him, wrapping her arms around his middle and clinging to him like a lifeline. She buried her face in his shirt and shut out the sewers, shut out the funk of decay, the image of Elena's face, changing into Cheng Wei's and back again -- the smell of old paper, old books, clung to him, anchoring her. She sobbed once, gently.

    The shaking and the terror subsided the moment she felt him return the embrace, but for a time she simply stayed there, not wanting to leave the warm security of his arms. Once again, you show up right when I need you most...

    “Why must we always meet like this. Insects to a corpse, that’s what we are.”

    It didn't click right away, but then the image of them always meeting specifically around a pile of rotting bodies took some of the edge off, and she laughed.

    "Oh, sweet Qayin -- we are the corpses." Her smile was sad, but the sadness was quickly replaced by bitterness. "They are the insects."

    Yes -- she had to tell Qayin about them. He would know what to do. She leaned back from him just enough that she could speak to him properly, but seemed to not want to let go of him, keeping her small fistfuls of grey cloak. "These people... these people are crazy!" Some of the fear came back, mingling with disgusted outrage. "These people -- they're a whole family, and there's so many of them -- I haven't seen anything like them since..... since...."

    She seemed unable to speak it. Drawing in a deep, but cloying breath, Shell made herself start over from the beginning.

    "I-I took this job, to kill a woman named Katharine. Katharine Besschentyil. She's... she's horrible, Qayin," For a moment she seethed, remembering poor Moira and the dark woman's unspeakable eyes. Her jaw clenched, and she squeezed her eyes shut, unable to contain her loathing. "Fucking BITCH..!"

    She screamed this last, her voice echoing down the tunnels in one final release of frightened fury. A moment's pause, and she continued, more calmly this time.

    "...I was going to kill her sister too, but first I had to find the slaves that were missing... I managed to find them, but the sister opened up some trap door and I fell down to here.....the house is somewhere way above us, but... that room...

    "I-I don't know if I can go back there... but I can't just leave them..." Her voice crumbled and she hung her head shamefully. "...please help me..."
    Edited by Shell, Aug 27 2017, 01:37 PM.
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    Desert Wraith

    "I-I don't know if I can go back there... but I can't just leave them… please help me..."

    Juran’s hands tightened around him as her emotions and disgust about the situation continued to hit her. Her final plea for help caused something inside of him to click, and he tightened his own grip around her, talking as soothingly as he could to her. She had evidently seen much, and Qayin knew that there were some things even she was unprepared to deal with.

    “I will help you, no matter what it takes. We’ll give them their justice, just like we have in the past.” He leaned his head onto hers, bringing her closer for a moment. The cold of her skin felt somehow warm against his. Releasing her and taking a step back, Qayin nodded as he surveyed the situation. At the very worst, the Besschentyil woman’s cruel techniques had only served to give him the necessary materials to strike back. Eyes falling back to his trusted companion, he smiled. It was the same grin that he had shared so often with her, and he hoped it would be reassuring to her in some way.

    “Good. Let’s head back up then.” Jumping to the top of the pile, he beckoned Shell to join him. She was still shaken by the horrible fall and landing, but his confidence seemed to put her at ease. As he concentrated, the pile of corpses beneath them shifted and moaned, new life breathed into them as he created a new being from the sum of their parts.

    The bodies towards the bottom of the heap crawled outwards, still anchored to the pile as they clambered upwards. Dozens of limbs and fingers grasped the stone walls. Some slid over the walls as their frail parts missed the crevices they could grasp, but enough of the bodies gained traction for a incredible momentum to be built.

    “You may want to brace yourself.” Some of the bodies shifted into a form similar to a hand, somewhat guarding them from the brunt of the coming impact. Through the trapdoor she had fallen through, Qayin noticed the woman who had likely tossed Juran downwards in the first place, mouth agape and eyes bulging from their sockets.

    Shifting his energy, he called forth his lightgeist in a new form of sun-like armor and called out to the one watching them as the beast rumbled its way up. Its rumbling seemed to shake the very floorboards she stood on, causing her to adjust her balance in an attempt to avoid the fate she had sent so many into.

    “Looks like you’ll be facing two Hands of Death, Katharine.” That was the name Shell had uttered, and he recalled it in an attempt to draw her attention.

    “Call me Death’s Mind, if you’d like. Name’s Qayin, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
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    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    For a few moments it was as though she had been shielded from the horrors of the world outside as Qayin's form wrapped around her, enveloping her in a more soothing darkness and a deeper warmth. It was both their worlds -- but he seemed better equipped to handle it emotionally, or perhaps he was just very good at hiding his inner disturbances. Either way, his confidence and composure dispelled much of her uncertainty, anchoring her and keeping her from flying off into her own fears and doubts. "Thank you," She whispered, overwhelmed by relief and gratitude. Even after they separated she still felt comforted, and returned his grin with a smile of her own.

    Still rather disgusted by the heap of wetly decomposing bodies, but trusting Qayin's judgement, she crested the mound again. When it began to move, she stumbled and worked to maintain balance. From where she stood, she couldn't fully appreciate the shape that the dozens of corpses were forming, but even watching them curl protectively above them through the darkness made her stomach lurch.

    How does he even come up with these ideas..? It was both impressive and amusing, and just a little disturbing.

    “You may want to brace yourself.”

    "Duly noted." She set her feet, and kept one hand near Qayin in case she needed to grab ono him for balance. It was his corpse-elevator, after all.

    He lit up with a strange conjured armor, and up they went.


    At the top of the shaft, Elena heard the shift in the physical, and felt the shift of the planar as Qayin's magic took full effect. Frowning, she opened the door once more, never suspecting anything would go awry with the action.

    But all at once she was confronted with the sight of the girl -- now maskless -- and now accompanied by a stranger whom Elena had never seen before. Her eyes fluttered wide and she took a step back.

    WHAT--- who..?! Who is this arrogant little.....

    “Looks like you’ll be facing two Hands of Death, Katharine.”

    She frowned deeply and the girl beside him cast a sidelong glance at him. Now both challenged openly and insulted, Elena practically stomped her displeasure like an angry deity.

    "Pleased to meet you. My name is Elena!"

    With a final angry burst of energy she slammed the corpse-hand and its two passengers back down, slamming the door shut behind them and huffing for a few moments before straightening herself out, rearranging her hair.

    "Stupid kids."


    The structure was shoved back down the pipe, so to speak, and they landed hard again at the bottom of the sewers with a mighty splash. For a moment it was simply quiet, then Shell spoke, sounding oddly, calmly candid.

    "Huh. You never told me you were a knight in shining armor too."
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    Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris/Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde

    In the open world, the Xeïtrian mind is dazzled and amazed, but the Xeïtrian heart longs for the confined tunnels and caves of home, as they provide a sensical place for the spirit to inhabit, where possibilities are limited and danger can only come in through certain passages. After so many years spent above the ground, both Nashikh and Kupselion agreed that the rooms that people constructed were hardly a good substitute: they were too logical, too blatantly created for some purpose, too rigid. At home, the nonsense of tunnels, the faults that were necessary even to artificially constructed rooms, the natural development of underground holes, imitated the nature of the wandering mind, which veers this way and that, which reaches dead ends and comes upon useless spaces.

    There was one balm to the "anything is possible" world that was the aboveground, one that they had begun to explore together after Kupselion had heard of it from a fellow courtier: the sewers of Kinaldi.

    Smell, of course, was a problem, but one that was easily resolved: by studying anatomy Kupselion had learned how to temporarily sever his olfactory nerve with magic, and had shown Nashikh how to do the same. So they wandered, whenever the urge took them, ducking down into the access shaft in the palace courtyard whenever no one was around. This put them in a rather large tunnel, with a wide walkway on the side, but they tended to follow whatever side tunnel first struck their fancy.

    Today, however, they had gone a long ways up the main tunnel, walking along mostly in silence. "Is that a 'trunk'* I am hearing floating over there?" asked Nashikh in the language of the Xeïtros, which hissed and popped like a fire.

    Kupselion clicked out a few echoes and heard the a bulky shape drifting lazily upon the muck that flowed down the centre of the tunnel. "I believe so," he said.

    Nashikh loped over to the edge of the walkway on all fours (as she had refused to alter herself to become upright like Kupselion, and also refused to grow some eyes so she could see) and leaned forward, sending out echoes to comprehend the object. "I wonder what's in it."

    "Probably very little, if it is floating." Kupselion came to stand beside her nonetheless, clicking and humming continuously to grasp his surroundings. It was soothing to be in this near-to-total darkness, where nothing touched his eyes – sometimes he forgot how much of a strain daylight was on him.

    Nashikh tentatively rose on her back legs, stretching out her torso like a questing rat just to see how far she could go. "Don't fall!" cautioned Kupselion, but Nashikh quickly drew herself back.

    "Teusha,** she said.

    They went on, making small remarks on interesting-looking side tunnels but generally largely occupied by their own thoughts, which were so gently guided by the space they occupied.

    Eventually, Nashikh broke the silence to say, "So, why is it that you are leaving the palace so often. Sometimes you are gone for days. It is not for business. I know that because you would tell me. Where is it that you go?"

    "Do you truly want to know?"

    "Yes. I do not care about what anyone else here does. You are the only one like me. I do care."

    Sometimes he looked upon her and thought her unlike him. She had grown her body in the manner traditional to Xeïtros. Even in the past few years she had accentuated the ridges that ran towards the back of her skull and had created a lace-like structure for the protrusions of her hips. She was odd to look at for one so accustomed to the fleshy randomness of above-worlders. The practice of making oneself beautiful to the ears was one that had become foreign to him – though he had to admit that the skin grown over the holes in her wing-like hip bones had the most beautiful percussive effect when observed through echolocation, like a dozen little vibrating drum-skins. In short, they were only like one another – Kupselion had been taken away and did not have the roots to tradition that she had. But, then again, she did not have the roots in this world that he had.

    "I am going to Ashoka. Neriasis – the Moghul – often desires my company and so takes me there. Do not tell anyone, it is a secret."

    "Who would I tell? And why are you so desperate to keep it a secret?"

    "I am a part of the Morrimian court and I am partaking in undisclosed relations with the leader of Ashoka himself. Besides, it is not generally...accepted."
    Kupselion's heart froze for a moment as he realised what he had said. He had meant to keep the true nature of their association under wraps, not knowing what Nashikh would think, but it had slipped out nonetheless.

    "Ah. So you are lovers."


    "And he is of the same kind of you."

    "Yes. Is that a problem?"

    "No. It sometimes happened amongst us, but it fell before the importance of procreation. Besides, this is not my world. Who am I to say?"

    "So you mean to say that it is my world?"

    "More so than mine."

    Kupselion wondered about her sometimes, but it was a thought often too melancholy to bear. She spent her time alone, secluded from the world, in a basement room under the palace. One servant was tasked with bringing her food (often blood from slaughtered animals) but they had no communication with each other. The society she had once lived in had degraded to the point that she would not be accepted, perhaps had been utterly destroyed, and they knew of no others that would take her. She was more alone than he could imagine, and even he did not give her the time she was due. How must it be? He could not imagine.

    Soon after, they came across a side passage that had a particularly ornate carving forming its archway. They stood by and analysed it for a time, caught up in a sonorous flurry of leaves, and then noticed the snarling face that adorned the keystone.

    "Who has time for this?" asked Kupselion.

    "Someone who wants to please people like us," said Nashikh, "Do you want to go down it?"

    "Do you?"


    Soon after setting down it they heard a scream. It was distant and echoing enough that it could have been anything, coming from anywhere, but it startled them both. Kupselion was about to ask Nashikh if they should turn back but she smiled and said, "It sounds like something interesting is happening up ahead. Life remains boring if you never go towards the screaming."

    They hurried along, and, when they were closer they heard varied shouting. It wound up being closer than they thought – it turned out that the sounds had been constricted by a sharp corner. They rounded this and sensed two people there and –

    Actually, there were many more people, but they were all dead, scattered about like so many autumn leaves.

    Kupselion was glad he could not smell at the moment.

    "What is?" asked Nashikh in Morrimian.

    "We seem to have interrupted something," said Kupselion. His body had gone suddenly rigid and magic was already filling his veins. Had these two somehow killed all these people? "What is going on here?" he asked, loudly.

    *Here, Nashikh is using the Morrimian word for "trunk" because the Xeïtros usually don't have such containers.
    **"Oh well."
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    Desert Wraith

    Recovering from his mild embarrassment at the events that just transpired, Qayin picked himself up from the place he had fallen down into.

    "Huh. You never told me you were a knight in shining armor too." Shell seemed calm, though the necromancer had the suspicion she was being sarcastic, though that thought died rather quickly as he proceeded to dust himself off.

    “That’s something I never told myself either. So, do we just head back up and try again? She have any other powers I don’t know about? Gods, I think I’m getting a headache.”

    "What is going on here?" Quickly, his head turned to take notice of the two beings who had arrived. They almost looked as though they lived down here in the underbelly of the city, but something about at least the one who spoke told him that was not the case. Realizing the situation that he and Shell had found themselves in, the necromancer stepped forward and adopted a friendly stance.

    “We’re hunting someone, a particularly nasty individual. The bodies aren’t our work… this time, at least. Well, the spider creature made of them was my work, but that’s neither here nor there.” He was unusually flustered, likely the product of failing so dramatically in front of a dear friend.

    “What of yourselves? It’s strange coincidence, running into others down here. It was odd enough when I encountered her, let alone this.” Pushing out a mental wave, he didn’t encounter anything that felt like malice. Nodding, he ducked an informal bow.

    “I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m Qayin, traveling… well, scholar, I suppose. As for the lady, I’ll let her tell what she wishes to tell. What about you, what are your names?” Somewhat instinctively he put himself in front of Shell, if only a little. It was all for show at this point, and he was attempting to convince them with his body language in the event that words were not enough.
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    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    "I don't know," She answered truthfully, having already moved past the confusion regarding the names -- apparently every member of this family was a stone-cold bitch and looked basically the same anyway. "The letter said she was into flesh constructs, sarcomancy, that sort of thing...." Her stomach roiled as she remembered the condition the bodies in the room above them were in, how some had... things missing. "Katharine is into mind-control, and apparently they work together. I--"

    There was another voice, and she turned to face its source. She wasn't worried about them seeing the mask, sitting askew atop her head -- that ship had sailed when she blew her own cover in Orl'kabbar -- but she took it off regardless: it was awkward, and it was just plain creepy to boot.

    But it was dark, and she couldn't see quite clearly; steadying herself, she held a hand out slightly in front of her, palm turned towards the ceiling, and a small, but bright ball of fire sprang up in the cup of her curled fingers, illuminating a small area. It was enough to see them by, a little -- though as soon as they were visible she pulled the light back a little bit, not because she was frightened -- but so as not to intimidate them.

    I would never think of them to come into sewers...

    Then, the guilt hit her.

    It had been once, and long ago, and it hadn't entirely been of her own will, but she had been sent to scour a cave system with a control collar around her neck and another in her hand. One would do, but if she was presented with the opportunity to get two then she had been ordered to take it.

    She barely remembered -- there had been drugs in the collar, and she had been far from herself. Some of the guilt abated.

    "Yes -- the bodies are the work of the person we're looking for, actually. They... were her slaves." She warned them fairly. Seeing Qayin's bow, she matched it. "My name is Shell. I'm... just a martial artist."

    Qayin asked for their names, and she was happy to let him take the social lead, and tried to appear as non-threatening and open as possible, curious. She was certainly in control of all her faculties this time, but there was still a faint niggling of guilt at the bottom of her heart. I'm sorry.
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    Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris/Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde

    “We’re hunting someone, a particularly nasty individual."

    "They... were her slaves."

    A slow smile curled his lips, skull-like in the stark shadows cast by Shell's conjured light. How long had it been since he had enjoyed such a hunt? And if it was happening anyways, why not help, why not benefit from it?

    "What are they saying?" asked Nashikh impatiently.

    "That this is the work of someone else, someone who they are trying to hunt."

    "Oh. That is interesting."

    After this conference in words as spiked as thistles, then soft and silky as thistledown, Kupselion turned to them and said, "I am Kupselion – though I'd appreciate it if you don't bandy about that name after what's going to happen tonight." He grinned and, due to the blackness of his teeth, his smile seemed toothless and ghost-like in the dark.

    Nashikh, who understood the social cues of introduction and knew enough Morrimian to know what she had been asked earlier, reared up from her ape-like position to stand on her legs and said, in a rattling accent, "I am Nashikh." Due her paleness and near-nakedness (she only wore a sort of loincloth, leaving her shrivelled breasts bare), as well as the abnormality of her self-altered form, she seemed like a sort of apparition, her long arms momentarily stretched wide, her wide mouth stretching to form above-worlder words. Her eyes, recessed, small and mostly useless, blinked once and then she settled back down onto all fours, wearing a smile much like Kupselion's.

    Evidently their sense of justice was much the same.

    "We were merely exploring the catacombs out of idleness," said Kupselion, "It is something Nashikh and I do, since Kinaldi is void of any of the caverns that are more natural to our people."

    He smiled for a moment, deciding what to say next, and then let the words drop as delectably as if he were handing Qayin and Shell sweet little figs. "Now, tell me: what shall we do about these horrendous people? How can we help you?"
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    Desert Wraith

    "I am Kupselion – though I'd appreciate it if you don't bandy about that name after what's going to happen tonight." Qayin found this amusing for some reason, chuckling in response. The pale figure’s companion introduced herself as Nashikh, and the mage nodded in recognition of her.

    Nashikh and Kupselion. In the dark they were frightening, but the manner in which Kupselion carried himself communicated a certain level of class and experience behind him. The name seemed familiar, but now was not the time for such trivialities. Kupselion spoke, using a tone that struck the necromancer as somewhat self indulgent.though also magnanimous in spirit.

    "Now, tell me: what shall we do about these horrendous people? How can we help you?" At the very least relieved that the newcomers were no longer even considering violence, Qayin recovered his composure and adopted a more confident stance.

    Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? It seems we have a problem.” Pointing up at where they had mere minutes ago been rejected from, he continued.

    “This is not a viable entrance. I see significant issue with attempting to enter the front door, and so far I have know knowledge of the layout.” Turning to Juran, he smiled in a manner intended to ease her nerves. What she had seen was traumatizing given her history. He was loathed to have her relive it, but knew what she had seen was their best chance.

    “Could you recall any other way in? Don’t think about the rest for now, just the layout.” Qayin put a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. It had been scarce months into their relationship now, one filled with much happiness, and also much distance as well. They had been apart for even more time recently, though that did little to weaken their bond: something as small as space could hardly tear them away in spirit.

    Being with Juran now, he wished that he could do more for her, but found himself simply waiting her response. He would be there if she needed him to pull her out of her own thoughts. Glancing back at Kupselion, he nodded.

    “This is perhaps a foolish question considering your offer of help, but you can fight, correct? What sort of magic or martial skill do you practice?”
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    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    She found them beautiful beyond the senses, and in the faint orange light of the flame they looked like living spectres, their faces settling into smiles that Shell knew very well. The corners of her own mouth twitched.

    It shouldn't be surprising, really. But it was still interesting, the feeling of comraderie that had already blossomed within the confines of this rotten circle of Hell.

    Nothing bonded people more than an agreement on whom to hate.

    She turned her gaze to Qayin as he spoke, and when he posed a question to her she looked down at the glittering, algae- and filth-slicked tunnel floor, brow furrowing slightly. His hand settled on her shoulder, warm and grounding.

    “Could you recall any other way in? Don’t think about the rest for now, just the layout.”

    Thank you, She sighed inwardly with some relief -- somehow, not thinking about the Bad Things didn't seem like an option when she was alone, but in present company she redirected her focus, chewing her lower lip in thought.

    "Well," She said, lifting her head, "I got in through the cellar -- surprisingly, the bitch doesn't keep anything more diabolical than vintage wine in there, but there was a cleft in the wall behind some of the shelves..."

    She told them the story, or at least the relevant version: how she had slipped inbetween the cracks and moved within the walls, most of which were hollow, though some places were impassable. There were other entry and exit points in the labyrinthine structure throughout the building, though few of them were private, and even fewer were accessible from the outside.

    "But they know I got in somehow, now. Elena ended up finding me when I found the... room," Her mind skirted anxiously around the image, "And she threw me down that shaft. If they find out how I got in or how I was getting around, they'll certainly be sealing it off."


    The estate was a mess with Katharine's fury. Slaves hurried about their duties, hands shaking, desperately avoiding her eyes and staying as out of her way as much as they could. It wasn't that Katharine's anger was explosive -- it was that it was unpredictable, calculated, her outbursts always pre-meditated.

    After demanding that the house be searched and the watchmen flayed, she retired to her chambers where she demanded Moira brush her hair.

    Having her hair brushed was always soothing. Usually Elena did it, and she had a special touch, but Moira's hands were very careful -- even as she was fearful, and her ears still burned from the earlier humiliation.

    She hit a snag.

    "I-I'm sorry, ma'am..!" She breathed immediately, pausing mid-brush.

    "Take care, Slop." Katharine warned. "Well? Why are you stopping?"

    Moira swallowed and continued, trying to be more careful. Several moments went by, and she hit another snag.

    It hadn't hurt in the least. "Slop, do you brush your own hair?"

    "Y.... yes, ma'am..."

    "Then why are you so terrible at it?"

    "I'm sorry, ma'am...." She squeaked, her voice small and retiring, "I... it was the pins that were in it, they..."

    There was a horrible pause.


    "...they tangled the strands...."

    Katharine stood and turned to face her, and she ducked her head immediately. The dark woman patted the chair gently. "Slop, sit down."

    Trembling visibly, Moira sat down, hands worrying in her lap, listening as Katharine rummaged around behind her. Then, there was a silence, and then she felt the woman's hands at her scalp, mussing around, sticking things into her hair, weaving it in and out and around until it was a bushy mess.

    "Now, hold still, Slop," Katharine purred too pleasantly -- a moment later, Moira flinched as she felt something on top of the mess that had been made, her lower lip and chin struggling against terrified, embarrassed tears. "There! Stand up and take a look."

    Moira did as she was bade, and whimpered and sniffled when she saw the rat's nest her own hair had been made into, the whole mess poured over and into with already-solidifying wax.

    "Now you're going to go and practice on yourself until you figure out how to do it properly. Oh -- but I still expect you to go about your regular duties." The woman snorted and clasped her hands behind her back. "You really do look like Slop now. Go on, get out. And if I hear you've asked for help, we'll do this whole thing over again. No cheating, Slop."

    Moira hurried out, crying visibly and audibly with embarrassment, and would bear the stares of her co-workers and the tittering of the ladies of the house all that day. Katharine sat back down and began to brush out her own hair, humming a waltz she was rather fond of...


    There was a series of splashes off in the distance, though the tunnel's echoes made it difficult for Shell to tell where it was coming from or if it was just her imagination. She swung the flame-light around and tried to peer into the darkness, seeing, of course, nothing.

    She remembered Elena's words: my children need a playmate...

    "We.... may not be alone down here..."

    There was a moan off in the distance, though the echo of the tunnels amplified the sound and scattered it -- in a moment it rose to a scream that wasn't quite human, but certainly not an animal.

    "Elena said something about her.... children, needing a playmate..." She lowered her voice unconsciously. "Let's move... between the sounds and the smells I'm going to lose it down here..." She looked to Nashikh and Kupselion imploringly. "I don't suppose either of you know how to get out of here..?"
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    Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris/Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde

    Kupselion and Nashikh both grinned at Qayin's question. "I used to do this sort of thing, if you catch my drift. Retribution – you know what I mean." He looked to his companion. "As for Nashikh – she was a fighter for her own tribe before she was ever made to fight for the Dulassiin. We both know what we're doing."

    Kupselion thought on the issue of entry for a moment, then said, "I can teleport us in, provided she has no barriers against it. It might take a trip or two, dep–"

    He was interrupted by the sound of slow, sloshing footsteps, followed by a terrible, wavering scream. Nashikh let out a series of clicking sounds which were too high to be heard by anybody but Kupselion. He closed his eyes and listened to the sounds echo back; in his mind he collected an understanding of the passage which stretched ahead, and bent, and beyond that bend there was something, perhaps, that moved.

    He opened his eyes again to see Shell looking to him for help. "I don't suppose either of you know how to get out of here..?"

    "We explore these catacombs often, but Nashikh remembers better than I–"

    Already she was gesturing back the way she and Kupselion had come, having caught the gist of the situation. "This way," she croaked and, though it sounded to Qayin and Shell like "Aash-ha, aash-ha," it was quite clear what she meant. She hopped ahead on all fours, Kupselion following close behind at a quick clip.

    As they went, she told Kupselion where they were headed. He relayed this information to their new companions. "We came off the main tunnel to explore this side passage. Nashikh says she noticed a grate leading to the surface just before we turned off the main tunnel – we can probably go up there, though she doesn't know where it leads. Could be into someone's cellar or out into the street. Either way, we can work our way out of this." After a moment, he added, "I would teleport us out of this, but the ceilings are rather high. I'm not sure if I could get us out and still be able to use the power later. Still, in the case of emergency – if I tell you to grab onto me, you ought to do so immediately."
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    Desert Wraith

    As quickly as they had all encountered one another, they had taken off down passages, guided by the two newcomers. Qayin kept Juran close to him, though he refrained from hand holding or anything that could get them tangled up as they hurried along. They were unsure of what else was in the tunnels with them, but he was sure it was nothing pleasant. The undead he could handle well enough now, but the living fiends that slithered and scattered along the walls and side passages left him feeling vulnerable. He had realized more and more recently what a disadvantage he was in at close range. In the cramped, dark places such as these, he was out of his element.

    "We came off the main tunnel to explore this side passage. Nashikh says she noticed a grate leading to the surface just before we turned off the main tunnel – we can probably go up there, though she doesn't know where it leads. Could be into someone's cellar or out into the street. Either way, we can work our way out of this…. I would teleport us out of this, but the ceilings are rather high. I'm not sure if I could get us out and still be able to use the power later. Still, in the case of emergency – if I tell you to grab onto me, you ought to do so immediately." Qayin nodded as they traveled along, internalizing every word that was needed to finish this part of their task.

    “Sounds like an excellent escape route. Worry not, we will follow your commands in this: from the sound of things, you have more experience with this sort of thing.” The necromancer reached forward and gently rubbed Juran’s shoulder to both comfort and grab her attention. Leaning closer as they continued moving, he whispered softly to her.

    “You’re more than capable of the fight, but I want to give you the chance to leave when we get above ground. I have no doubts that the three of us here-” His attention was caught by a sloshing in a grate between them and the Xeitros, followed by a clicking as though of communication between organisms. Before any of them had time to properly react to the realizations that dawned on them, something burst out of the grate. Then another form lurched out of a grate just up ahead. It was not long until they found themselves boxed in by a half dozen figures, themselves now mere feet from the main tunnel.

    “We don’t need to discover what they’re capable of, we just need to kill them.”
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    From Theon Greyjoy to Reek in under 3 seconds

    She followed them without question, her confidence bolstered by Qayin's presence and the coincidental vigilante nature of Nashikh and Kupselion, though it took every ounce of her willpower not to hang onto her close friend's sleeve or cloak. All her strength, all her speed and skill, and she still cowered like a frightened child at loud noises and strange scenarios.


    "Nashikh says she noticed a grate leading to the surface just before we turned off the main tunnel – we can probably go up there, though she doesn't know where it leads. Could be into someone's cellar or out into the street."

    "Anyplace is better than this one," She ventured honestly before nodding in assent to Qayin's comment, even though nobody could see it. Maybe they could hear the shuffling of her collar as it shifted around her neck with the motion. They continued moving, and she soon felt the reassuring heaviness of Qayin's hand on her shoulder.

    She listened as he whispered to her -- her response would have been an immediate, though polite no: she couldn't leave them to this task that she herself had been given, and she certainly wouldn't leave them alone with those awful women. Strangely, her confidence grew with this offer, and she felt stronger simply knowing that they (specifically, he) would be around. She would have said this, but he was interrupted.

    The grate between them and their new comrades burst outwards and a hulking, unnatural-looking figure emerged: it looked just human enough to be unsettling, but it had no head, merely a vertical opening where its neck would be, a veritable mouth and dangling, awkward arms on either side of it. It was top-heavy and unsteady on its feet, but the picture was anything but amusing. Another grate further ahead burst open and another uncannily humanoid, deformed creature emerged, this one with a patchwork of skin stretched over its face, obscuring its features and eyes -- this one, however, had three pairs of arms sewn into its sides. Those were followed by others, equally bizarre but with varying features that Shell didn't care to examine in further detail, having already been sickened by the appearance of the first.

    “We don’t need to discover what they’re capable of, we just need to kill them.”

    Another ball of flame lit up in her free palm. "You don't have to tell this kid twice."

    With all the force her powerful arms could muster, she flung one of the fireballs at the nearest monstrosity and it exploded on its shoulder. It lurched backwards from the impact and the smell of charred flesh reached them even from their distance, traveling quickly in the closed space -- it didn't seem to slow it down, however, and Shell lobbed several more at it in quick succession, knocking it off its clumsy feet. It flailed around in the shallow water, but didn't seem to quite grasp how to stand back up.

    It was quickly replaced, however, by one of its own comrades, and soon the sparse light from her hand-flames wasn't enough to see how the Xeitros were doing. A chaotic tangle of misarranged limbs and a cacophany of alien groans, grunts and shrieks were all that greeted the two on the opposite side of the scuffle. Shell worried, but she couldn't afford to be distracted, already lobbing more fireballs at the creatures that replaced their still-thrashing comrade.

    "We may need to run!" She shouted over the noise and struggle, already forced backwards a few paces by the advance. There had been many twisted bodies in Katharine's laboratory, and even more beneath the shaft she had been thrown down: who knew how many more of these monstrosities lurked in these tunnels..?
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    Desert Wraith

    The manic advance of these creatures was more than even his necromancy could manage. For each one he stopped in its tracks and rended with his spellweaving, another leapt forward to continue the assault.

    "We may need to run!" Wordlessly, he nodded as Juran shouted this to him. He had no idea where their friends had gone, but through the darkness and writhing masses they were no longer visible. Almost instinctively, he and Shell pushed with all their might and somehow cleared a path. It was a mad scramble away from their bestial hunters, but a few corners turned and some iron bars slipped through was all it took to lose them. They may have been overwhelming, but they were far from intelligent.

    “What crude constructs”, said Qayin as he gasped. The irritation was evident in his tone, as much as could be communicated between heavy breathing. What this Elena had done was a disgrace to necromancy, at least to his eyes. After he recovered, he stood up from his doubled over position and slid his hand across his forehead, wiping the sweat away.

    “Are you alright? Likely doing better than I am, I imagine?” It was said with a forced optimistic tone, hiding the nervousness he felt. It had suddenly occurred to him what a coincidence it was to find Juran again.

    “I am happy to have a friend here, at the very least.” He smiled. The distant shrieking undercut the happiness he felt in that moment.

    “Any ideas on how we get out of here in one piece? This place is far more dangerous than I thought.”
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