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Poppy Bill

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Location : Colbert, Washington

PostSubject: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:04 am

Bill had always loved hide-and-seek as a child. He could always pick the best hiding spots. Bill found some of his friends and they decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. The one child that was "it" closed his eyes and began counting. Bill and the others began to laugh as they searched for hiding spots.

"Ten, nine..."

Bill rushed around the monastary where he lived and ran straight to the barn. Bill never remembered ever seeing a barn behind his home, but he didn't question his good fortune.

"Eight, seven..."

Bill ran straight for a haystack and dove inside, grinning at his own plan. They'll never find me here, Bill thought.

"Six, five..."

As Bill got situated into his spot, something caught his eye. Bill thought he could see a finger poking around the side of the haystack!

"Four, three..."

He climbed out of his spot, thinking that a farmer had fallen asleep. As he turned the corner, Bill cried out in shock. There, lying before him, were two dessicated corpses.

"Two, one..."

The corpses' eyes shot open and they stood up, bearing their horrible teeth and sharp claws. Bill tried to cry out, tried to scream, but he found he could not. His voice would make no noise.

"Zero."

"Ready or not," the zombies moaned in unison "Here we come!" Bill fell back on the wall, still trying to scream. The zombies ambled closer, opened their mouths, and fell upon the frightened child. It was only then that Bill screamed.
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:05 am

Bill awoke in a cold sweat. He sat on the edge of his bed, and put his face in his hands. "Another dream." He muttered to himself. Not a dream, he decided, but a nightmare. He had always had nightmares like this, but now they were becoming more frequent, more realistic. He looked to his nightstand, and stared at the ring that was placed there. "You did this," Bill spat at the ring. "You think you'll control me that easily? Huh?!" The ring didn't move, didn't make a sound. Bill continued to stare at the cursed artifact. He wanted desperately to be rid of it, wanted to give it to the first beggar or peasant that he saw. He laid back in bed and stared at the ceiling. I can't do that... Bill thought to himself. I swore I would never let the ring fall into the wrong hands...even if it kills me.

Bill closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. The ring, however, was very much awake. It decided that it would impart another nightmare to Bill, this one involving a giant scorpion and the slaughter of everyone the fool knew and cared about. The ring knew that Bill wouldn't have his will broken that easily. They had been locked in a battle of wills for the past ten years, after all! But the ring sensed something within the human...and that was fatigue. Bill was finally tiring. It wouldn't be long before his will would snap in half and the ring would finally have a new host. The ring felt a great deal of satisfaction as it watched Bill roll around in his sleep, tormented with nightmares. It had waited ten years to be free of this fool. The ring wouldn't have to wait much longer.
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:05 am

Bill awoke the next morning. Actually, "awoke" is perhaps too strong a word. Bill didn't sleep much that night, thanks to all the frightful images that the ring imparted to him. He sat up, and looked to his nightstand. The ring was still there, undisturbed. Bill picked it up and began to observe it. As soon as he touched it, he could feel the ring's evil, insidious suggestions hovering just on the outside of his thoughts. Despite its evil sentience, the ring appeared to be of excellent craftsmanship. It was red with a gold trim, bearing a teardrop-over-a-trident symbol, among several other runes. Bill had been told by scholars and priests that the symbol stood for Talona, the goddess of Poison and Chaos. He thought it likely that a disciple of Talona crafted the ring and prayed to the evil goddess to bestow her blessings upon it.

Bill sighed and put up his mental defenses, then slipped the ring onto his finger. Immediatley, He felt a myraid of suggestions and images of power and glory assail his mental wall. Bill felt his mental barrier waver for a moment, but was able to solidify it once more. Suddenly, the images and suggestions stopped. Bill grinned and chuckled to himself. "Looks like I win again." Bill smirked at the Ring of Poison. However, that victory would be short-lived, both of them knew. Bill was tiring, he knew it and so did the ring. His mental defenses were not as strong as they were ten years ago, when he first obtained the ring. It was only a matter of time before the ring would win out against Bill fully and completely. As Bill began to get dressed and put his armor on, he kept saying to himself, "You are strong, you will outlast this artifact of evil." Can you? the Ring of Poison asked telepathically. Bill had to hope, had to believe he could.
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:05 am

After getting dressed and suited up in his brown and white battlearmor, Bill left his room. Although he had bested the Ring of Poison this day, he could still feel its horrible presence in the back of his mind. He walked down to the foyer and was greeted by the innkeeper, Yulgar. "Hello, Bill!" Yulgar said, his smile dissappating as he noticed Bill's haggard features. "Rough night?" the innkeeper asked. Bill looked at him and forced a weak smile. "Rough night?" Bill echoed, "Nah, I'm good. In fact, I've never felt better!" Yulgar doubted the sincerety of that claim, but he decided not to voice it. Bill ordered his breakfast, paid for his room, and sat down at a table to eat. As he began to eat his dish, a group of knights threw open the doors to the tavern. One of the knights, dressed in full battle plate armor, with dragon scale gauntlets and razor dragon bones on the shoulders, (Bill assumed this was the leader) strode up to Yulgar.

"Greetings." The head knight said.
"Well met, mighty knight." Yulgar replied. "What would you and your companions like?"
"We are in need of some information." The head knight answered. "We come from the Twilight Realm, we-"
"Ah yes, you must want some information on what had happened when Galanoth slew the dragon of time." Yulgar interrupted.
"Yes, that is correct."

Bill wasn't sure what the knight was talking about, but the mention of the Twilight Realm caused the Ring of Poison to start glowing. Bill looked down to his hand and saw the pulsing ring. Thinking that the cursed artifact was about to do something dangerous, he sprang from his seat, quickly flipping Yulgar's tip onto the table, and rushed past the knights outside the tavern. The Ring of Poison could hardly comprehend what it had just heard. The Twilight Realm was real! Few knew exactly where it was, and fewer still were allowed inside. It needed to get there, it decided. Yes, it would trick Bill, and get him to the Twilight Realm. The ring had plans for this land, and only in the Twilight would its goal be accomplished.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:06 am

Bill rushed out into the open, and continued running, thinking that the Ring was about to explode, or unleash unholy magic. STOP! The Ring commanded. Bill stopped immediately (Causing him to faceplant on the ground). Bill looked around, then tried to stand up.

His legs would not respond.

Bill tried again, and again, his legs would not even twitch at his mind's call. Suddenly, Bill felt very vunerable. "What?..." Bill asked, his face contorting to one of confusion. Relax, my puppet. the Ring cooed. The paralysis is only temporary. Bill could feel the ring's elation at stopping him. Indeed, Bill realized that he was getting weaker. "I'm not your puppet." Bill snarled defiantly. "I never was and-" Never will be? The Ring interrupted, reading his thoughts. You humans are pathetic. You think yourselves immortal? Humans are weak! You put up a good fight these ten long years, Bill, but like every other lesser creature out there, you are unable to stop true power! You can only delay the inevitable! The Ring sent a wave of pain coursing through Bill's body. Bill screamed and yelled out. The pain! It was agony! The pain ended suddenly, and Bill was struggling to catch his breath. "You'll...You'll have to do...better than...that!" Bill yelled inbetween gasps.

I admire your bravado, The Ring replied, amused, But this ends here. No longer will I be a voice in the back of your mind. I am the MASTER and you are the SERVANT! The Ring felt true joy as it sent another wave of pain (This one much more intense than the last) through Bill's old body. Bill cried out, began to scream and roll on the ground. He felt as though someone had lit his entrails on fire! "Enough!" Bill cried out, "Enough! I...cannot take anymore!!!" If the Ring was satisfied before, it felt ecstatic when it heard those words. I cannot take anymore! Bill had cried, had BEGGED for the Ring's mercy. The Ring had broken Bill's will. Suddenly, Bill's lips moved on their own. "Excellent." Bill's mouth said. "I should simply kill you and find a new fool. But you will be a most useful puppet, now won't you?" the creature asked. Bill couldn't respond, he only could see blackness. "This land will belong to me, to Talona," The creature mused. "Its time these fools learned who Talona really is! I am Talona! I am Chaos! I...AM...POISON!"
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:06 am

Several days had passed since the Poison took control of Bill. Indeed, Bill's body would prove a useful puppet for the Agent of Talona. After dominating Bill's will, the Poison had traveled back to BattleOn, back to Yulgar's inn. The fiend strode into Yulgar's inn and walked right up to the counter. "Hello again, Bill!" the innkeeper greeted warmly. "I thought you had left..." Yulgar's sentence trailed off. He stared at "Bill" for a few moments. He couldn't place it, but something was definetly different about his friend. Something was out of place. "Good day, Hu-erm, Yulgar." the Agent said, quickly correcting itself. Yulgar didn't respond. "I seek some information." the Agent of Talona continued, undaunted. "Do you remember those knights that came through here the other day?" At that, Yulgar smiled. Nothing was different about his friend. He was just going off on another adventure. "Of course I do!" Yulgar replied. "How could I forget? I have never had beings from the Twilight Realm visit my inn before."

The mention of the Twilight Realm made the Agent twitch with anticipation. "And, did they say where they went?" the Agent asked, barely able to contain its excitement. Yulgar began to study his friend once more. "Is everything all right with you, Bill?" Yulgar asked. "You seem...different somehow." The Agent cursed itself. It was being careless. It needed to act more like Bill. "I know a few of those knights," The Agent lied, hoping that Yulgar would believe it. "I was only curious at seeing my friends again." Yulgar was still hesitant, but he decided that no harm would come to those knights. They were trained and armed for combat, after all! "Last I heard..." Yulgar began, "Those knights were heading off to Sepulchure's fortress in Shadowfall. Its dangerous there, and I wouldn't recommend going." Yulgar finished. The false Bill thanked Yulgar and walked out of the tavern. "Foul-smelling ape." The Agent muttered to itself as soon as Yulgar was out of earshot. Despite not garnering any useful information, the Agent was not dissappointed. He knew where the group of knights had gone. All the Agent needed to do now was follow the bread crumbs. The Agent stopped, and felt a tug on its will. The Agent concentrated, throwing all of its mental strength at the source of the tug. "Nice try, Bill," The Agent said aloud. "But you'll need to do better than that."
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:07 am

The Agent let loose a primal scream. It had come so far, only to be turned away.

Shadowfall was gone.

With Shadowfall gone, the Agent had no idea where the knights would be, and its only clue to the Twilight would be snatched away from it. In its rage, it did not notice a figure slip out of the shadows of a nearby tree. "You must be one of Sepulchure's men?" The figure asked. The Agent spun around, still seething with rage, and eyed this newest target. The figure was a young woman, likely not much older than twenty-one. While most of her face was hidden under her dark cowl, her eyes, which were a brilliant green, shone brightly in the moonlight. The woman chuckled to herself, obviously not registering this man as a threat. "Well, you're too late to join the invading party." She continued. "Sepulchure has already launched his assault." "WHERE ARE THEY?!" The Agent roared at the woman. The woman backed up a step, suddenly feeling very small and vunerable. "If you attack me," the woman called out, trying to sound confident, but failing miserably. "Sepulchure and Casca'de will have your head!"

The Agent didn't hear her. It drew Bill's sword, a finely crafted Vampiric Blade, and stalked towards the woman. The woman cried out and backed up to the base of a tree. "Stay back!" she cried out, terrified. The Agent didn't hear her. It hated humans with a passion, and wanted to vent its rage on this pathetic whelp. She cried out again, but undaunted, the Agent closed in. It rushed forward, sword leading, and drove Bill's blade deep into the woman's abdomen. Her eyes widened in shock and despair. She looked at the Agent, tears in her eyes. But the Agent was an unmerciful thing. It drew the blade back and stabbed forward once more, than again, and again, and again. It continued for many minutes, the Agent letting its rage and frustration play out. When it had calmed, the Agent withdrew its blade. The woman's body fell forward, horribly mutilated. Her eyes remained open, though, the sparkle of life that had previously been there had been replaced by the dullness of death.

The Agent smirked at its handiwork, and took extra satisfaction from the sudden sorrow it felt in the back of its mind. "What's wrong, Bill?" the Agent asked, its voice dripping with sarcasm. "Do you not enjoy my artwork?" Suddenly, the sorrow in the back of its mind turned into red rage. The Agent could feel Bill's will smashing against its own mental defenses. "No!" the Agent snarled through gritted teeth. "I'm finally free! You won't imprison me aga-" Suddenly, the Agent fell over backwards, unconcious. Bill opened his eyes, his own eyes, for the first time in days. He had won against the ring. He sat up and looked at the corpse of the young cleric. "She didn't deserve this fate." Bill said solemnly. He looked at the body one last time, gave a silent prayer to whatever gods were listening, then took off into the night, having an idea where Sepulchure may have gone.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:07 am

Bill had run for days, stopping only when he had fatigued. His legs burned, but he pressed on. He had run from Skullholme, through the Chiral Valley (If he had stayed a few days, he may have been able to intercept Escherion!), and through Greenguard Forest. Now, the most imposing challenge of all lay before him.

The black forests of Darkovia.

Bill did not want to enter there. Few adventurers had ever laid their eyes on the Darkovian heartlands, and fewer still had lived to tell the tale! Bill considered his options. He could walk around the forest, and traverse the Neverglades...but that would lengthen Bill's journey by at least three days. Also, Bill wanted to try and find Sepulchure while the trail was still warm. He didn't know why, but finding Sepulchure was important to the Ring of Poison. If I cut through Darkovia, Bill thought. I could reach Swordhaven by the day's end! Bill decided that he would cut through Darkovia, but he wanted a plan. "Let's see..." Bill thought aloud. "If my guess is correct, I'll enter Darkovia through the Lycan territory." Bill shuddered. The thought didn't please him. "And if-erm, ONCE I make it through there," Bill thought. "I'll have to cross through Vampire territory." Bill shuddered once more. "Am I trying to get myself killed?" Bill asked himself. I hope so. The Ring thought, annoyed. Bill ignored the evil artifact and took a deep breath. He steadied himself, and walked into Darkovia.
* * *
As Bill walked cautiously into Darkovia, a lone figure stood from afar, watching him. "Why are you here?" the figure asked in a whisper. "Don't you know its dangerous?" The figure heard a noise from behind. It spun around, sword leading, and cut the approaching vampire's face. The vampire hissed, and drew its own blade. The figure smirked. The vampire rushed forward, and sent its sword into an overhead chop. The figure sidestepped the strike, and thrust its sword into the vampire's heart. The vampire jerked spasmatically several times, caught in the throes of death. The figure turned back to regard Bill, who had tripped over a bush and was spitting a stream of curses at the plant. "Don't worry, my friend." the figure whispered. "You can rest easy. Selena Nightingale is watching over you."
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Poppy Bill

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:07 am

Bill's heart pounded in his chest. He jumped at every little noise he heard. "Why didn't I just walk around?" Bill muttered to himself. He looked forward, and saw only more forest. Bill groaned aloud, then realizing where he was, quickly silenced himself. How far had Bill traveled through Darkovia? Had he crossed the Lycan/Vampire border yet? Although Bill was in a bit of a predicament, he couldn't deny that he was rather lucky. He had walked for several hours, but had not encountered the famed denizens of the forests. Of course, all good things must come to an end, though. A few minutes later, Bill ducked into a bush just underneath a tree and peeked out. At least sixty yards away from him, was a vampire scout. Bill held his breath. He had heard that every vampire had a unique ability they gained once they were bitten. The vampire stopped suddenly, and looked about. Bill tensed, and placed his hand to his sheathed sword. The vampire looked around once more, then sped off with inhuman speed.

Bill had barely registered the movement. So, Bill thought. Your gift is speed. Bill unsheathed his blade and spun around 180 degrees. His sword cut only empty air. He spun around again, cutting air once more. Bill chuckled. The vampire was gone, and how foolish Bill must've looked, swinging his sword around like a madman. His laughter quickly subsided when a large amount of saliva dripped down and fell on Bill's shoulder. Bill slowly looked up to see a pair of gleaming yellow eyes staring back at him. Bill tried to ready his blade, but the werewolf was far faster than any human could be. The lycan sprang atop Bill, snarling and attempting to claw at him. Bill threw his hands up, and caught the werewolf's arms by the wrists. The werewolf tried to force its claws at Bill's face, but Bill's strength was able to hold the claws at bay. The lycan thrust its maw forward, its teeth clamping dangerously close to Bill's face. Bill tried to steady his thoughts, but the lycan was making thinking difficult. The werewolf's claws were inching closer to Bill's face. Bill planted his feet squarely on the attacking werewolf's chest. The beast, consumed by its blood hunger, didn't seem to notice. Bill pushed his legs upward and heaved with all his strength.

The lycan felt itself being lifted off the ground and being thrown a short distance away. Bill's maneuver allowed him to get back on his feet, but he hadn't done any real damage to the creature. The lycan snarled at Bill. Bill imagined that the werewolf had just dared him to try and attack. The lycan sprang at the human once more, thinking it had just won easy prey. Bill was not caught off guard by this pounce. He dove to the side, just narrowly dodging the lycan's rush. Had the attack been successful, the werewolf would have likely killed Bill. Unfortunately, the creature's momentum and weight betrayed it this day, because when Bill had evaded the attack, the werewolf could not stop itself from plowing headfirst into the base of a large oak tree. The werewolf thudded into the tree, then lay very still, quite unconcious. Bill stood up and considered finishing the werewolf off. He decided against that course, believing that if one of the werewolf king's scouts didn't report back, the king would send a dozen more to investigate. Bill hurried off into the forest. "Yup," Bill thought aloud. "I'm definetly trying to get myself killed."

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:08 am

Bill stopped a short while later, completely out of breath. He was fairly certain that he outdistanced the werewolf but just to be sure, Bill peeked around ...
And saw nothing. Bill breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, Bill still didn't know where exactly he was in this dreaded forest. He walked another mile before he heard what sounded like whistling. Bill strained his ears...yes! Yes, Bill had heard whistling! Bill's face brightened immediatly. He followed the sound of the whistling tune. As Bill drew closer, he recognized the tune and smirked: It was Voltaire's Beast of Pirate's Bay, a song that was becoming increasingly popular in BattleOn. Bill stepped through a few trees and entered a small meadow. The meadow was incredibly dreary (It was in Darkovia, after all), and was devoid of anything, save one giant tree. Bill had never seen a tree so huge! Not only that, but Bill also saw that someone had carved out the inside of the tree, and had turned it into a home! As Bill approached the strange house, he almost immediatly took notice of a crudely made sign that appeared to have both vampire and werewolf writing all over it. The sign said "Beware!" all over it. Bill's head drooped. "Great. I think I find an ally, and it turns out to be the thing that the night creatures fear the most!" Bill complained.

Still, Bill pressed onward to the odd house. He could hear the whistling clearly now. As soon as he stepped into the house, he could tell that the tree had been carved out magically. Inside, the house had a warm fireplace, along with some nice furniture. However, although Bill could hear the whistling tune, he saw nobody there. He looked around, and smiled as he noticed a teleporter pad. He stepped onto the pad, and felt the tell-tale tingling of teleportation. There was a flash, and suddenly Bill found himself standing in the tree house's second floor. He was in a kitchen area. Bill looked up and saw the person who had been whistling. She was standing over a table, busily preparing a meal for herself, her back towards Bill. Bill wasn't sure what to do. Was she friendly or hostile? "Your dinner is already done," the woman said, not even looking behind her. "I was able to finish it just before your arrival. You must be hungry." Bill's eyes widened in surprise. He looked at a small wooden table to his side. Indeed, a plate had already been set! It looked delicious. Bill thought it looked like some type of roast or steak.

The woman turned around, smiling. Bill's jaw dropped. She was beautiful! She was about a foot shorter than Bill. She was slender, and had sparkling brown eyes. Her hair was sandy brown, and shoulder length. "Is dinner not to your liking?" she asked, her smile fading. "Uh...dinner's good. " Bill stammered. "Oh, good!" she said. "I was afraid you wouldn't like it." Bill shook himself out of his stupor. "Um, I don't beli-" "Selena." the woman interrupted. "Selena Nightingale. That was what you were going to ask, right?" she asked. Bill stood there, dumbfounded. "Uh...yeah." Bill replied somewhat sheepishly. "Well, you must be hungry!" she exclaimed. "Please, sit, and dig in!" Bill sat down, perplexed and intrigued by this strange (and potentially dangerous) woman.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:08 am

Bill took a bite of the meal that Selena had somehow prepared for him. "Delicious!" Bill exclaimed. "What exactly is this?" Selena smiled. "Oh, its nothing special. Just some charbroiled vampire." Bill stopped chewing and looked down to his plate. Selena burst out laughing. "I'm joking!" she explained. Bill looked at his host and began to laugh as well. "No..." Selena continued. "Its roasted wereboar." Bill stopped laughing and looked back at his plate. He shrugged, and decided that he could live with it. "So tell me, brave warrior," Selena asked. "What brings you to Darkovia?" Bill finished the piece of meat he was eating at looked up at his host. "Well..." Bill began. "Its a long story..." "Nonetheless," Selena replied, never taking her gaze off Bill. "I would hear it." So Bill began explaining how he came to Darkovia. He told of the inn and the knights, and of his quest to find Sepulchure. He purposely left out any parts with the Ring of Poison in it, especially the slaughter of the young cleric in Skullholme.

Once Bill had finished his tale, Selena sat back in her chair and began to digest all that she had heard. "Wow..." she said. "You adventurers sure lead exciting lives...". They were silent for a few moments, until Bill gathered the courage to ask Selena a question that had been nagging at him ever since they had met. "May I ask you a question?" Bill asked. Selena looked up from her thoughts. "Sure." she replied, somewhat distracted. "Why are you here?" Bill asked, sincerely wanting to know. Selena smirked. "Because secretly, I'm a werepyre, here to dine on your flesh!" she replied jokingly. Bill chuckled, but didn't back down. "Seriously," Bill pressed. "Why are you living in Darkovia?" Selena's smirk disappeared almost immediatly. "Does it matter?" she countered rather sharply. Bill knew that she was dodging the question. "I suppose it doesn't..." Bill said, easing off the subject. "Still, I find it odd that a spellcaster of your caliber and beauty would be living in isolation in the dangerous forests of Darkovia." Selena blushed at the comment, but was silent. "I would think that a spellcaster like you would've joined the Mage's Guild-" Bill stopped. He looked at Selena and took note of a sad look that came into her eyes.

"I-I'm sorry." Bill apologized, not wanting to offend the woman. "I was merely curious." Selena looked at Bill, a weak smile on her face. "No, no...I understand," She said. "Curiosity isn't a crime. But if you wouldn't mind, I would rather not talk about my past." Bill nodded. She's hiding something. The Ring imparted to Bill. Bill shook the thoughts away, but the Ring pressed even harder. Don't try to deny it. You and I both know this. That woman is certainly more dangerous than she appears to be! Bill couldn't help agreeing with the evil artifact. Selena Nightingale was definetly hiding something. She has the right to keep her past a secret. Bill countered. After all, I have an annoying little secret as well. If the Ring had lips, it would have smiled at the insult. Its your grave, human. the Ring said suddenly. When she attacks you to use your body in some dark ritual, don't expect me to help. Bill continued to stare at the woman. Perhaps the Ring was right. Perhaps Bill should be wary of the enigmatic Selena Nightingale.

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:09 am

Selena eyed Bill for a few moments. He seemed...concerned, lost in his thoughts. Of course, she couldn't have known that the warrior was conversing with an abominable artifact. She simply continued to examine him. Are you going to wait until she attacks you before you realize the truth? the evil artifact asked, becoming increasingly anxious and irritated at Bill's hesitance. Bill said nothing. What? the Ring chided. You think that she's simply too "pure" to do anything to you? Bah! What you fail to realize is that she lured you here! At that notion, Bill looked to his host. She sat at the opposite end of table, her eyes scanning Bill. The Ring hid its glee from Bill's mind. It had successfully laid the seeds of doubt. Think about it! The Ring exclaimed in Bill's conciousness. Didn't you ever wonder why you didn't run into any werewolves or vampires on your way here? Or why the natives seem to fear her? Or why in the Nine Hells a woman of her potential would be living in Darkovia in isolation? Bill stared at Selena. Bill had thought those questions, but had dismissed them.

Not only that... The Ring continued, ready to play its ace in the hole. Why is she so reluctant to speak of her past? Maybe she's ashamed of some of it, but ALL OF IT? "Is something wrong, Bill?" Selena asked, concerned. "You look a little anxious." Bill looked at her. He felt himself agreeing with the Ring! "Everything's fine!" Bill lied, straining a smile. The Ring would have laughed aloud if it had a mouth...which it soon would. Bill had let his guard down, believing in the Ring's false concerns. Bill felt an unnatural prescence in his mind. Realizing what was happening, he tried to re-establish his mental barriers, but the ring was far faster. Bill suddenly saw nothing and felt nothing. His eyes closed. The Agent opened them. "Now that you mention it," The Agent said, standing up from its seat. "Something is terribly wrong." The woman eyed the man for a moment. She had sensed the change that had come over Bill, and put a cautious hand to her sword. "Oh really?" she asked, slowly standing up. "And what would that be?" The Agent stared at her, an evil smile spreading on its face. "My sweet girl..." The Agent said in a mocking tone. "You're still breathing."

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:09 am

The Agent leapt onto the table, drawing out Bill's fine vampire blade, Mandurugo. Selena threw her chair back and drew her own sword. The Agent cackled and rushed forward, swinging its sword in a horizontal strike. Selena brought up her sword. She felt the two blades connect, then she felt a painful numbness in her arms. She realized then that she would never beat this thing before her, not at sword-to-sword combat. The Agent was far too strong for Selena to properly guard against. Selena hopped backwards, narrowly dodging another swing. The Agent cackled again. "You would fight ME?!" The Agent asked incredulously. "My power is something a mortal such as yourself could never understand!" The Agent laughed hysterically as the woman attempted to ready her sword once more. "I'll wash these walls with your blood!" The Agent sent its blade into an overhead chop. Selena brought up her own blade. The two connected again, the impact of the Agent's blade numbing Selena's arms. She felt herself drop her sword. She fell backwards, desperately attempting to get out of the Agent's range.

The Agent followed the woman, amused and thinking that this would be an easy kill. Selena felt magical energy welling up within her. She began to chant, and could feel the magic being unleashed. The Agent stopped its pursuit of the woman, now intrigued by what was happening. The sorceress could feel the bones in her hands and arms crack and begin to reshape themselves. She continued chanting, still attempting to put distance between herself and the demon before her. Once the spell was complete, Selena turned to regard her foe. Her arms had been transfigured into those of a shadow dragon. The Agent's eyes widened in shock. "A Shadowmancer?" it asked, perplexed. It began to laugh then. "I've not seen one of your ilk for the better part of four-hundred years. Many believe your kind to be extinct." Selena didn't respond. She brought up her claws, ready to fight. The Agent came at her at that point. But Selena was ready this time. She slashed out with her claws, squarley striking the Agent's chest. The Agent stumbled backwards, not hurt badly, thanks to Bill's strong chainmail. Selena struck again, this time rending the chainmail on the Agent's chest open. The Agent stumbled again. It glanced down, feeling warm blood running down its body. Selena threw a punch at the Agent, but the Agent jumped backwards. It had been nearly four centuries, but the Agent did not forget how to fight a Shadowmancer. It never forgot its own tricks.

The Agent threw Mandurugo on the floor. It lowered its shoulder and charged at the Shadowmancer. The Agent slammed into Selena, blasting the air from her lungs. The Agent smashed Selena into the far wall. Selena felt a sharp crack and a wave of pain as two of her ribs broke. The Agent's face contorted with glee. It curled up its hand into a fist and slammed against the sorceress' face. It brought its fist back and punched out once more. Selena felt hot blood flow from her now broken nose. She forced herself to ignore the pain, and began calling upon her magical energies. The Agent brought its fist back a third time. Selena placed her claw on the Agent's chest and cried out "Fete!". Immediately, the Agent's chest ignited with flames. It fell back, surprised and caught of guard. The Agent uttered a magical word and immediately the fires ceased. But the flames were merely a distraction. Selena unleashed her true attack then, casting a bolt of black lightning the Agent's way. The bolt slammed into the Agent, searing its flesh and sending it flying. It slammed against the opposite wall, and lay very still. Selena slumped against the wall, exhausted and bloodied. She put her face in her hands (which had returned to normal) and began to wonder what in the Nine Hells had just happened.

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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:09 am

Bill's eyes slowly fluttered open. His vision swimmed. "Oh, good. You're up. I was afraid you would die before answering my questions." an angry voice said. Bill looked around for the source of the voice. At the opposite wall, Selena Nightingale stood, arms crossed and scowling. Bill tried to sit up (he couldn't remember how he had fallen on the ground) then doubled over in pain. He looked down at his chest. His fine chainmail had been rent open. Dried blood clung to his skin and ruined armor. His skin also looked as though it had been seared, but by what, he could not remember. "Questions?" Bill asked groggily. "Questions about what?" If Selena had looked mad before, she looked nightmarish when Bill asked that. "Do you not recall what happened an hour ago?!" She shouted at him. Bill regarded her curiously. Her nose looked bent slightly, as though it had been broken. Blood caked her face. If he had seen her chest, he would have seen the very large bruises that the Agent had left when it slammed into her.

Bill continued to look at her. "No..." Bill answered. Selena began chanting angrily. Bill dropped back to the floor. Pure pain coursed through his body. "STOP!" Bill cried out. "What happened?!" Selena stopped chanting. "Who and what are you?" she demanded. Bill looked at her, confusion clearly written on his face. "Are you mad?!" he yelled at her. "Who and what are you?" She demanded again. Bill tried to recall the recent events. He only remembered bits and pieces of what transpired. Bill's eyes widened in horror. "The Ring..." Bill muttered to himself. Selena began chanting again. "No!" Bill exclaimed. "Let me explain myself!" Selena stopped chanting. She looked at him with the utmost rage. "Are you an assassin? One of Jorxlol's group, perhaps? What exactly have I done to earn the anger of the Drow?" she asked, never taking her gaze off Bill. Bill seemed confused by that remark. "A Drow?" Bill asked her. "You think I'm a Dark Elf?" Selena rolled her eyes. "Don't play dumb. It only irritates me." Bill looked at her with sincere confusion. "I'm not a Drow! I'm Human!" The Shadowmancer laughed at that remark. "Why do you deny the obvious?" Selena asked. "I can see it in your eyes." Now it was Bill's turn to get irritated.

"For the last time, I am not a Drow!" Bill yelled. "And you can't tell heritage from the eyes." "Oh, you can if its Dark Elven heritage!" The Shadowmancer countered. "Your purple eyes tell much, 'Bill'...if that really is your name." Bill thought about that for a moment. "Purple eyes?" he asked. Selena was scowling again. "Yeah." She said, an irritated edge forming in her voice. "Drow are the only race in Lore who possess purple eye color. Its a rare trait among them, but its a trait that is ONLY among them." Bill felt as though he had just been punched in the gut. He was Dark Elven? But how? He looked Human. It made no sense to the warrior. "Now," Selena continued. "Who and what are you?!" she demanded for a third time. Bill sighed. "Ok Selena, you deserve the truth. So here it is." Bill recounted his story to her, but this time, he started farther back.

Bill never knew his parents. His mother had died giving birth to him, and Bill was given up to a monastery by his father at a young age. Bill's surrogate father was a nature priest (A Druid) by the name of Theo. Bill led an ordinary life, until he turned eighteen. The year he found the Ring of Poison. Bill told Selena that someone had donated the artifact to the monastery where Bill lived. One day, a travelling wizard had visited the monastery. He wanted to see the Ring, so, Bill took him to it. After ten minutes, the wizard burst from the Ring room, casting terrible and destructive spells at everything. Theo and several other priests gathered to defeat the wizard. Bill was told to lead the younger priests and monks to the cellar, where they would be safe. When Bill returned, the wizard was dead, and only two of the eight priests were still standing. Theo was not among them. Bill grieved over his father's death for days. He took the Ring of Poison from the wizard's body, and could feel the evil permeate him. It was then that he realized that the wizard had been controlled! Bill took the Ring and set out on a journey to destroy it, and to avenge his father. Bill had been on this journey for twelve years, and had found no method of destroying the Ring.

When Bill finished his tale, Selena's features had softened. "I don't know why," She said. "But I believe you. Listen...I'm sorry for practically torturing you earlier. I just..." Selena dropped her head into her hands, ashamed. Bill grinned. "Don't worry." He told her. "If I were in your position, I would have done the same." Bill's face grew serious. "You think I'm Drow?" he asked her. Selena looked at him. "Yes." She answered. "Well, at least part Drow. I think you may actually be a Half-Drow." Bill's eyes widened in surprise. "That would mean...one of my parents was a Drow." Selena nodded. "We'll discuss that later." Selena said, a smile suddenly spreading on her face. "I think I have a solution." Bill looked at her quizzically. "A solution? To what?" Selena grinned. "I think I know how to destroy that ring of yours."
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:10 am

The first two feelings that coursed through the Ring at that moment were shock and panic. She lies! The Ring screamed in Bill's mind. It's a trap to- Bill pushed the thoughts from his mind, too focused on what Selena had just told him. "You...you know how to..." Bill could hardly contain his excitement. Bill jumped up, and punched his fist in the air triumphantly. He fell back in pain suddenly. He looked down his chest to see that he had reopened his chest wound. Blood began to flow once more. "I'm so sorry!" Selena cried out as she noticed blood pouring from the warrior's wound. She climbed hastily to her feet, and began to search around her destroyed home for something to bandage Bill's chest. Bill caught her by the foot and motioned her to sit down next to him. "Why are you sorry?" Bill asked. "I'm the one who agitated it." "But I'm the one who caused it!" Selena countered. Bill chuckled. "No matter. Please, just calm yourself." Bill placed his hand on his chest and began to mumble something. A faint light began to eminate from Bill's hand and wound. When the light faded, Bill removed his hand to show Selena. The wound looked smaller. But it wasn't gone, and it was still very painful.

Selena furrowed her brow. "You're a Paladin?" She asked, intrigued. Bill laughed. "Hardly!" Selena looked to Bill's smiling face, then to the now-smaller wound. "But...you healed yourself?" Bill nodded. "Theo, my father, taught me some healing spells when I was younger." Bill explained. "I don't remember many of them, but I certainly remember the one that heals light wounds." Selena nodded, understanding. "I see," she thought. "You're father was a Druid, after all, and a priest of nature would know such spells." The two sat in the destroyed house for a few moments longer. "We should get going." Selena remarked after several minutes had passed. Bill looked at her incredulously. "We?" he echoed. Selena nodded. "Selena..." Bill started to say, but Selena beat Bill to the punch. "Your road is far too dangerous, full of blood, blah blah blah, you care about me, so you want me to stay here so I won't get hurt, blah blah blah. Does that sum up what you were about to say?" Bill was stunned. "Um...yes...it does." Selena grinned. "Well, you can forget that!" She exclaimed. "We're in this together now, and before you ask why..." she paused to look at her home. "That Ring destroyed my house! It attacked me, broke my nose and a few ribs! Besides," Selena said, moving closer to Bill. "I haven't left Darkovia in three...maybe four...years!" Bill grinned, but his face grew serious again. "Our road will have us see death and bloodshed before we see its end." Bill told her. Selena smiled. Bill had said "our road".

Bill cast a minor healing spell on Selena's broken nose and several healing spells on her broken ribs. Selena gathered what supplies and materials she could salvage from her house. Bill scooped up his trusty sword, Mandurugo, and slid it back in its sheath. Once the two had everything that they could salvage, they set out, their spirits bright and airy. The Ring, however, was not amused. It would certainly be destroyed while it rested in the hands of these two. It had to get to the Twilight Realm, it knew, where its full power could be realized. The Ring knew better than to panic. Panicking would only attract Bill's attention. Instead, the Ring imagined that Bill and it were playing a game. Bill had just made an extraordinary move. But the Ring was an expert in games like this. Bill's turn was over now, and it was time for the Ring to play more seriously. Bill wanted a battle? The Ring would give him a war.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:10 am

Azk always felt strangely calm whenever he was within the Twilight Realm. He sat underneath a tree and examined the sky. The sky was perpetually a deep shade of orange and pink. Azk imagined that the sky was an artist's canvas, he imagined that whatever god or goddess had created this realm had painted the sky and the clouds with an artist's brush. He laid back, resting his hands behind his head, and closed his eyes, basking in the warm glow of the sun. His relaxation was cut short when a small man, dressed in the garb of a warrior, rushed up to Azk, bearing a small note. "Most honorable Shade Lord," the man said, dipping into a small bow. "I humbly pres-" Azk waved his hand at the man. "No need for formalities, good sir." Azk replied, feeling refreshed after his short rest. The man nodded, then continued. "Most hon-erm, Azk. I've been sent at the request of the Twilight Emperor. He desires an audience you." Azk grinned. "Very well." he said. "I'll go see him...right after my nap." The man didn't move. "The Emperor said it was of the utmost importance." Azk groaned. He had just gotten comfortable. Azk stretched, then stood up. He was a muscular, broad shouldered man. He wore black leather armor, and a black cloak that draped across his shoulders. He had a full head of shaggy brown hair. He had shining blue eyes, and would have been considered handsome by many, except for one feature: a scar slashed across his face. But perhaps the most imposing thing about this man was the amazing array of weapons that covered his body.

Azk carried two daggers, one concealed in each boot. A large amount of throwing knives adorned his chest, his left shoulder, and his left boot. A quarrel of crossbow bolts were strapped onto his back, and a small, handheld crossbow was belted on his hip. His gauntlets each had a small, extendable blade hidden in them. Finally, belted to his thighs were his trusted swords. The messenger instinctively backed up a step at the sight of the assassin. Azk chuckled to himself as he drew his black hood over his face. "Thank you for relaying the Emperor's message to me." Azk said to the obviously unnerved warrior. The man simply nodded, too shocked to properly respond. As Azk began to make his way to the Twilight Keep, he continued to observe the sky. He loved to stare at the orange sky and the black clouds that dotted that sky. He wound up tripping once, but his reflexes were so finely honed that when he tripped, he fell into a forward roll and simply came back onto his feet. He walked for several minutes more before he saw the towering spires of the Twilight Castle. He walked into the main hall, greeting the guards stationed there.

"Ah! You've finally arrived!" the guard captain exclaimed has he noticed Azk walk through the entrance. The captain strode up to the assassin, patting his sheathed weapon as if it were some type of pet. "Emperor Steel has been expecting you." Azk laughed. Of course the Emperor had been expecting him! "Please follow me." The guard captain spun around, and began to march off. Azk jogged behind the captain, surprised that a soldier could walk so fast despite the heavy armor that they wore. The two entered the throne room. The room had a velvet carpet that lead from the throne to the door. Braziers of multicolored flames were placed along the sides of the chamber. Because of this, the light would often change from orange to red, to blue, to purple, and so on. The guard captain saluted. "My lord, I present to you Azk the assassin, also known as the Shade Lord." The Emperor nodded. "Thank you." he said to the captain. "You may leave us now, soldier." The captain saluted once more, spun around, and marched out the door. Azk looked to his emperor. "Steel," Azk began, a smile on his face. "We haven't spoken personally in several days!" Steel grinned. The emperor was known fully as Emperor Steel Fire. He was adorned in a magnificent gold with black trim battle armor. He also wore a black and gold crown, symbolizing his rule over the Twilight.

"Azk...I wish that we had met today under better circumstances." Steel said, his grin dissappating. Azk's smile also disappeared. "My spies and scouts have reported that a terrible threat looms over Lore and the Twilight Realm itself." Azk misunderstood. "Who would oppose us?" Azk asked. "Xan, the Pyromancer? Safiria, Queen of all Vampires? Frostscythe, the demented Dragonmaster?" Steel raised his hand to stop Azk. "It's not a who," Steel explained. "but a what." Azk's face twisted in confusion. "Azk, have you ever heard of the goddess, Talona?" Steel asked the assassin. Azk shook his head. "Talona," Steel began. "Is the goddess of Chaos and Poison. She is wicked and cruel, and has no love for humans, except for those that follow her doctrine." Azk still didn't understand. "Her followers are often recognized by the symbol of their deity, a teardrop-over-a-trident symbol." Steel continued. "One night, a thousand years ago, a priest of Talona forged a powerful artifact. The artifact was a red and golden ring, and was said to have been blessed by Talona herself. The priest thought to use the ring to expand his own power, but Talona had given the ring an extra gift: sentience." Azk still seemed a little confused. "You mean to tell me," Azk asked. "That Lore and the Twilight are in danger...from a RING? Steel, I know we've been friends for a while, but do you realize how rediculous you sound right now?"

Steel's expression did not change. "Although it sounds silly, its the truth." Steel stated, his voice taking on an edge of finality. "You are one of my most capable men, Azk, which is why I'm giving you this assignment." Azk cocked an eyebrow. "What assignment?" He asked quizzically. "Azk," Steel began. "We've been searching for this artifact for twelve years. We believe we know where it is now, and I want YOU to retrieve it." Azk smirked. "Fine, I'll do it." he said. "But I need info. A good assassin doesn't rush in." Steel grinned. "Of course." Steel agreed. "The ring is in possession of a man known as William, who is simply called Bill. His last name is unknown. He is currently travelling with a woman known as Selena Nightingale." Azk grinned. He gave a curt bow, then turned and began to walk away. "Azk," Steel called as he was walking away. "Should these two become...uncooperative, don't hesistate to kill. We need that artifact." Azk bowed once more, then turned and walked out of the magnificent throne room.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:10 am

Azk stared at the sky as he walked. He loved the Twilight's perpetual orange and pink sky, but he also enjoyed looking at the bright blue and the white fluffy clouds that dotted Lore's sky. He had left the Twilight Realm, and was making his way to Swordhaven. He was still about ten miles from the city. As Azk continued on his way, he noticed a small and aging building. As the assassin came closer, he noticed a signpost hanging over the door. It read: The Drunken Dragon Inn & Tavern. Azk smiled. He remembered coming into this very tavern as a child. He walked inside, deciding to rest for a few hours before continuing on his way. As soon as Azk walked through the door, the Innkeeper looked up. "You Azk?" the Innkeeper asked gruffly. Azk paused for a moment, then slowly shut the door behind him, never taking his gaze off of the man. "What's it to you?" Azk replied. The Innkeeper chuckled. "It's absolutely nuthin' to me." He said. "I have a patron who's been asking 'Where's Azk?' for the past two hours. If you wouldn't mind, could you oblige him?"

Azk nodded, and made his way to the back of the tavern. He chuckled as he heard someone say "Where in the world is Azk? He should've been here by now..." As Azk rounded a corner he saw the man who had been asking about him. The man was about six inches shorter than Azk. He wore a white robe and hood, and had a staff sitting on the table next to him. The man was rather skinny, and had a mop of messy brown hair. The man looked up. "Well, its about time you showed up!" the small man exclaimed. Azk smirked. "Xavier," the assassin mumbled. "Nice to see you too." Azk made his way over to the skinny man. "You have some nerve, making me wait two hours for you." Xavier fumed. Azk's face scrunched up in confusion. "How did you even know I was going to come here?" he asked. Xavier waved away the question. "Nevermind that." Xavier said. "I have been asked by Steel Fire to find you." Azk cocked an eyebrow. "Why?" Azk asked. Xavier grinned. "He wants me to accompany you." Azk sat straight up. The two stared at each other for several minutes. Finally, Azk chuckled. "Heh, um, no." Azk finally said.

Xavier furrowed his brow. "You don't have a choice." the wiry man said. "I recieved this command from Steel himself! To disobey would be insubordination!" Azk continued to laugh. "No." He said again. "I won't work with someone so inexperienced." Xavier looked as though he would burst. "Me? Inexperienced?!" he fumed. "Do you know what I've accomplished, assassin? I am the youngest mage to have ever surpassed the Mage's Guild! I am the second most powerful spellcaster in the Twilight Realm, just under Rayzer herself! I-" Azk put up his hand to silence the angered mage. "I meant that I won't work with anyone other than an assassin or thief. You may be a powerful mage, but I intended to steal the ring, not take it from its bearer's charred corpse." Xavier grinned. "You're not experienced enough to handle such an evil artifact." Azk looked as though he had been slapped. "In fact, Azk, that is precisely why Steel sent me to find you. He thinks that you may fall under the artifact's influence." Azk looked as though he had been slapped, then punched. "Steel doesn't have faith in my abilities?" the assassin asked. "He does." Xavier said, grinning. "I'm only here as an...insurance policy. I'll help you get the ring, then I'll carry it. I'm certain it won't influence me. Besides, Azk, if this 'Bill' should prove difficult, I can lend support." Azk scowled. "I still think you'll just get in my way." Azk replied.

"Look," Xavier began. "I'm really only here to carry the artifact. Once you retrieve it, simply give it to me. We'll take it to Steel together. Sound good?" Azk thought for a moment. Perhaps he wasn't taking the threat that this ring posed seriously enough. "Alright," Azk agreed. "We'll work together." Xavier smiled. "Excellent!" He said. Azk waved the barkeep over and ordered some firewine. He sat back in his chair, and began to mentally formulate strategies for the upcoming battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:11 am

No matter how far the two ran, it seemed that the denizens of Darkovia were not about to let Bill and Selena leave so easily. "There's the treeline!" Bill shouted to Selena. Selena spun around, casting black lightning at the nearest pursuing vampire. She quickly turned and sprinted to keep up with Bill. The pair broke through Darkovia's borders and into sweet, sweet sunlight. Bill and Selena turned back to regard Darkovia. Black shapes lingered just on the edge of the forest. Bill and Selena could hear the sounds of Lycans growling and Vampires hissing. One vampire, determined to not let them escape, jumped through Darkovia's treeline. But the vampire had lived in the perpetual night of Darkovia for several centuries, and had forgotten that, unlike Darkovia, the sun rose on the great plains. The vampire shrieked as its flesh began to sizzle and burn. It quickly retreated back into the foreboding darkness of its home. Bill and Selena looked at each other. Then they broke out laughing. They had actually made it through the black forests of Darkovia.

The Ring cursed its luck. The creatures it had called out to had failed to stop Bill, and not even the Ring's promises of power and glory would bring the evil residents of the dark forest out into the open. Still, the Ring wasn't overly disappointed. The game was not over yet. After they rested for several minutes, tending to wounds that they recieved during their amazing escape, Bill and Selena began travelling down the road. "I find it rather odd that the werewolves and vampires were chasing after us." Selena remarked. Bill cocked an eyebrow. "You are?" he asked. "We were in Darkovia after all, the home of the werewolves and the vampires." Selena shook her head. "I know that." She said. "I meant that I find it odd that they were chasing after us...together." Bill thought back. Indeed, the two native races had been working together to try and corner Selena and Bill. "That makes no sense..." Bill thought aloud. "Vampires and lycans hate each other." Selena nodded. "That's exactly my point." she said. "Seems rather..." She trailed off, suddenly having an epiphany. "The Ring." Selena stated. Bill looked confused. "The Ring must be calling out to other creatures." Selena extrapolated. "Creatures who desire glory, or power, or bloodshed."

Bill furrowed his brow. "Of course it is..." He mumbled. Such was the Ring's way. Selena looked at Bill for a few moments. He seemed upset about something. Bill looked at her. "I'm worried that you'll get in harm's way if you travel with me." Bill said, as if he had read her thoughts. Selena grinned. "Oh, come off it!" She laughed. "This trip would be boring if we didn't run into a few small challenges." Bill eyed her incredulously. "Since when is running away from at least twenty vampires and werewolves a SMALL challenge?" he laughed. The two continued to walk down the trail, enjoying light conversation and the warm spring day. "Where did you say we were going again?" Selena asked after they had been walking for twenty minutes. "Swordhaven." Came Bill's curt reply. "Why?" Selena had to ask. "Well," Bill said. "The Ring seemed anxious to locate Sepulchure. I have a feeling that Sepulchure came to Swordhaven very recently." Selena slipped into her own thoughts. She didn't think that the Ring would try to control the Doom Knight. No, she had a feeling the Ring was searching for something else altogether.

The two walked in partial silence for several hours, only having to fight off a few frogzards once. Bill sat down on a tree stump, and began to rub his feet. "What's the matter?" Selena asked. Bill looked up at her. "My feet are killing me." he said. Selena sat down next to him. "Mine too." She said, taking off her shoes and rubbing her own feet. Bill looked down the road. There was a small, aging building sitting on the side of the road. Bill stood up, and help Selena back on her feet. As they approached the building, they noticed a signpost hanging over the door. "The Drunken Dragon Inn and Tavern," Selena read. She giggled, thinking the name very funny. "Finally!" Bill exclaimed. "A place where we can just put our feet up and relax."
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:11 am

Bill and Selena stepped into the tavern. The Innkeeper looked up. "What happened to you two? Fall down a well or something?" he asked. Bill and Selena looked at each other. What a sight they looked! Selena's shoes and Bill's boots were slathered with mud. Bill's chainmail was covered in dried blood, and was rent open. Selena's hair was matted to her face. "As a matter-of-fact," Bill joked. "We did." The Innkeeper shook his head and looked away. Bill and Selena made their way to the back of the tavern, found a table, and sat down. "What happened to you two?" a voice from the table next to Bill and Selena asked. They both turned to see who had asked the question. There, a small man in a white robe and hood sat. Bill and Selena looked to each other. "We were robbed." Selena lied. Bill looked at her curiously. "Oh..." the hooded man said. "A sad tale, friends. My heart goes out to you." The small man waved the barmaid over. "Bring some firewine over for these two." He said to the barmaid. "On me."

Once the barmaid left, and the hooded man had gone back to his own drink, Bill drew close to Selena. "Why did you lie?" He whispered to her. "I'm not entirely sure." She whispered back. "There's something...dangerous about him." Bill balked at that notion. "He bought us drinks." Bill countered. "One act of charity tells us nothing about him." Selena retorted. At that moment, A tall, muscular man walked into the tavern. He wore black armor and a black cloak, and had a large scar across his face. He strode up to the small man's table and sat down. "How'd you sleep?" They heard the small man ask. "Fine." The taller man replied. Bill took a quick glance at the opposite table, then looked back at Selena. Selena smirked. "See?" she whispered. "We don't know who these people are or what their purpose is."
* * *
Azk sat down at the Xavier's table. "How'd you sleep?" Xavier asked nonchalantly. "Fine." Azk replied. Azk looked over at the table next to them. There sat a man and a woman, both covered in mud and blood. "Who are they?" Azk asked. Xavier looked up, and followed Azk's gaze at the opposite table. "Them?" Xavier asked. "Some young couple that got robbed. I felt bad for them, so I bought them some firewine." Azk continued to scan the other table. "There's something not right about them..." Azk thought aloud. Xavier looked up from his drink, and looked over at the table. "You're right." Xavier said. "Maybe its the fact that they're covered in mud and blood." Xavier thought, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Azk regarded his companion. "I'm being serious." Azk said. Xavier rolled his eyes. "Look, can we concentrate at the task at hand? We don't have time to mess with those two."
* * *
Bill and Selena looked over at the other table. The two men were no longer looking at them, and were instead in deep conversation. Bill and Selena breathed a sigh of relief. The barmaid walked over at that moment, bearing two glasses of firewine. "Here you two go." The barmaid said, her disposition cheery. "Courtesy of that man right there." Bill reached into his pocket and produced a gold coin. "Here you are, miss." Bill said, placing the girl's tip in her hand. The girl smiled, then she looked down at Bill's hand. "That's a fascinating ring you have there." the barmaid said, examining the ring. "What strange symbols..."
* * *
Both Azk and Xavier sat straight up when they heard the barmaid mention a ring. They looked at each other in disbelief, then they got up out of their seats and walked over to the other table. "Excuse us," Xavier began. "But we are merchants making our way to Swordhaven. We couldn't help but overhear that you two are in the possession of a strange ring." Bill and Selena looked at each other. They knew it was an obvious lie to get them to show the ring. "May we see it?" Azk asked. Bill gulped. He took off the ring and showed the two imposing figures. Xavier's eyes widened in shock. Azk nudged him hard. "Hmm...while it is interesting, I don't think it will fit into our collection." Azk lied. "Anyhow, we have stayed here long enough. Come, Xavier, let's get back on the road." Xavier nodded and followed Azk back to their inn room. The blood from Bill's and Selena's faces drained. "We have to go." Bill told the barmaid as he sprang from his seat. Selena followed Bill as he rushed out the entrance. "Who were they?" Bill asked as soon as they were outside the tavern. "How should I know?" Selena replied.

Azk was hastily strapping his weapons on. "Hurry, Azk, they're getting away!" Xavier exclaimed. Azk looked up at the mage. "You don't need weapons, right?" Azk asked, his voice revealing his anxiousness. Xavier understood. "I'll distract them." Xavier grabbed his trusty staff and hurried out of the inn. Azk finished putting his gear on, and took a quick look out his window. Xavier had confronted Bill and Selena, who had drawn their swords. Azk pulled his hood over his face, and grabbed a throwing knife. Steel had said to kill if they became uncooperative. Azk thought they seemed pretty uncooperative right now.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:12 am

As Bill and Selena quickly made their way down the road, they heard a voice from behind. "HOLD!" The voice shouted. Bill and Selena stopped in their tracks. They slowly turned around to regard the man behind them. The white robed man, Xavier, stood behind them, his staff leveled their way. "Ah," Selena said. "You're a mage." Xavier ignored her. "We know about the ring." Xavier stated. "We know what it's capable of. Hand it over, and we won't have to spill unnecessary blood." Bill glared at the mage. "If you know what its capable of," Bill said. "Then you know why I can't hand it over." Xavier furrowed his brow. "Last chance!" the mage growled. "Hand it over, otherwise you'll be reduced to nothing more than ash!" Selena took a cautious step forward. "Look," She said, her voice shaking a little bit. "Let's all just calm down. I'm sure we can work something-" "Shut up!" Xavier snarled at her. "This does not concern you, girl." "Calm yourself, my friend." A voice said behind Xavier. He spun around. There stood Azk, fully geared for battle. Selena swooned at the sight of all the weapons strapped to Azk's body.

Xavier grinned. "Of course, Azk." Xavier said, his tone far more controlled now. Azk nodded, then stepped inbetween Xavier, Bill, and Selena. "I'm sure my friend here already told you," Azk began. "We want the ring, not your blood. Our patron desires the artifact. Hand it over, and we'll let you go on your way." "Never!" Bill growled. Azk and Xavier chuckled. "I'll give you one more chance." Azk said, his voice deathly calm. "Hand over the ring." Selena stepped next to Bill. "No." She said, gaining strength from Bill's courage. Azk looked confused. "Xavier..." Azk asked the mage. "Yes?" "Is it possible for the ring to control two people at once?" Xavier shrugged, not knowing the answer. "If they're both being controlled..." Azk said, subtly readying his throwing knife. "...Then there is no negotiating with them."

Xavier laughed. He was itching to test his might against a powerful entity like the Ring of Poison. "The girl is mine." Azk said. "Then the ring bearer belongs to me." Xavier said. With lightning-like reflexes, Azk expertly threw his knife at Selena. Selena brought her hands up and uttered an arcane word. The knife stopped inches from Selena's face, then fell to the ground as if it had hit an invisible wall. Azk threw two more knives, both of which were halted like the first knife. Azk chuckled. He knew tricks that no one else did. This time, Azk whipped five knives at Selena. He threw the first two directly at Selena. He threw the third and fourth knives diagonally left and right of himself. He flung the last knife high in the air. The first two knives simply halted in the air and fell to the ground. The other knives did something very unexpected. The third and fourth knives bounced off the ground, still retaining their momentum. They flew into the air and smacked into the nearby trees, ricocheting off the tree's surface and flying towards Selena's back. Selena spun around. She noticed the knives racing towards her, and instinctively fell to the ground. The knives flew harmlessly high above her head. She rolled over, and shrieked as Azk's fifth knife plummeted out of the sky right above her heart. She rolled at the last second, miraculously unscathed. She sprang to her feet and turned towards Azk, shocked to see him quickly advancing towards her, swords drawn. He swung his left blade and stabbed forward with his right. Selena hopped backwards, dodging the left swing at the cost of her balance. She felt Azk's right sword bite into her side. She fell backwards and examined her wound. It wasn't serious, only a nick. Azk observed the tip of his right sword. He grinned at Selena. "First blood is mine." He said mockingly. Selena called upon her magical power. Her bones in her arms began to reshape themselves, turning her arms into shadow dragon claws. "Last blood counts for more." Selena snarled.
* * *
Bill drew Mandurugo and began to circle Xavier. Bill had little experience in battling mages, and thought it best to keep his distance. Xavier yawned. "Well, this is boring." Xavier remarked. "How do you expect to attack me from all the way over there?" Bill smirked. "You're right." He said to the mage. "My mistake." Bill rushed towards Xavier, Mandurugo leading. Xavier muttered something and poked his finger at Bill. Bill stopped suddenly. He felt as though he had been pushed. He shrugged, and took up the charge once more. Xavier laughed, then jabbed his finger towards Bill once again. Bill felt himself being pushed back. He looked at Xavier, confused. This time, Xavier thrust his hand at Bill. Bill felt like he was being thrown. He flew backwards, falling to the ground and doing a backwards somersault before coming to a rest on the ground. Bill's face had confusion plainly written on it. "Don't you just love telekinesis spells?" Xavier asked. "I know I do." Xavier raised his hand. Bill felt himself being lifted into the air. The mage swung his hand to the left. Bill's body followed Xavier's hand, until Bill crashed into an old tree. Xavier swung his hand to the right. Bill followed again until he smashed into another tree. Xavier cackled with delight. He centered his hand. Bill felt weak. Xavier lifted his hand high this time. Bill began to rise into the air. Realizing what the mage was going to do, Bill began to struggle against the invisible force that held him. "Struggling is useless!" Xavier roared at him. He was just about to swing his hand down, when out of the corner of his eye, Xavier noticed a rather large fireball arcing towards him.
* * *
Selena swung with her claws at the assassin, but to no avail. The agile assassin simply ducked and weaved away from her swings. Azk suddenly swiped his sword out, the tip slicing a small cut on Selena's thigh. She jumped back, shocked that the assassin had landed another blow. Selena quickly checked her latest wound. Like all the other blows, it was only a nick, and not too serious. Selena, of course, knew what Azk was doing. Individually, the wounds were no problem. Altogether, they would prove fatal. Azk, seeing her hesitation, rushed forward. Selena was ready this time. She ducked under Azk's high swings, curled her claw up into a fist, then countered with a massive uppercut. She felt her knuckle connect squarely with Azk's jaw, and even felt the assassin rise off the ground several inches. He fell to the ground, somewhat stunned. Selena thought to finish him off there, but she suddenly heard Xavier shout, "Struggling is useless!" She turned, and saw Bill's predicament. She aimed her finger at the mage and yelled, "Fete!". She turned back to the assassin, only to see that Azk was already on his feet again. "I have to admit," he said. "You're turning into quite the challenge."
* * *
Xavier turned his attention on the fireball. "Aqueos!" he shouted. A jet of water shot from his upraised hand. It connected with Selena's fireball, turning it into a large steam cloud. Xavier turned to regard Bill. The warrior was charging full speed at him. Xavier cursed his foolishness. He had dropped his concentration on Bill. Bill lowered his left shoulder and slammed into the mage, blasting the air from his lungs. Bill carried the stunned mage on his shoulder until they crashed into the base of a large tree. Bill punched out, his fist smashing into Xavier's face. Xavier threw his head forward with all his might. His head connected to Bill's nose. Xavier felt a jet of hot blood splash onto his face. Bill's nose was bleeding. Bill stumbled backwards, stunned and off-guard. Xavier grabbed his staff like a club and swung at Bill. Bill felt the club smash into his back. He fell to the ground, and groaned.
* * *
Selena and Azk were locked in an epic struggle. Blood dripped from Selena's many small wounds, and Azk's head throbbed with pain after Selena had puched him. "This ends now!" Selena cried. Her hands reshaped back to normal. She thrust her hand out, casting a bolt of black lightning Azk's way. What happened next no one could have expected. Azk leapt into the air, twisting his body in such a way that the bolt missed him by mere inches. While in the air, Azk drew one of his throwing knives. As he landed, he spun around, throwing the knife with deadly accuracy. Selena screamed and fell to the ground. The knife had pierced her right palm and was jutting out the back of her hand. Blood poured from her newest (and largest) wound. Selena tried to ignore the pain, but it was far too great. She brought up her left hand, thinking to cast at least one more spell at the assassin. "Mas Illu!" Xavier screamed. An explosion of light shot out of his hand, blinding Selena. Selena screamed in pain again. She closed her eyes, which had already begun to water.

Bill tried to sit up, but his head throbbed. He looked over at Azk. Lying on the ground, wracked with pain, was Selena Nightingale. "NO!" Bill screamed in protest. He forced himself onto his knees. Azk looked up and grinned at the warrior. He drew a dagger from his boot, grabbed Selena by the back of her hair, and held the blade to her throat. "None of this had to happen!" Azk shouted at Bill. "If you had surrendered the ring, she would be fine! But now, she'll likely bleed to death!" Tears began to form in Bill's eyes. He had caused this. "She can still be saved!" Azk continued. "Hand over the ring, and I'll release her. Refuse..." He trailed off. Bill didn't need to know what happened if he refused. "Ten seconds!" Azk shouted. "Don't!..." Selena groaned. "Nine!" Bill froze. What should he do? "Eight!" "Ok!" Bill shouted. He removed the ring from his hand and threw it at Xavier. "Take it! Just spare her! Please!" Xavier picked up the ring, then grabbed his staff. He walked over to Bill, brandishing the weapon menacingly. Bill looked confused. "We had a deal..." Bill said to the mage. Xavier snorted. "A deal for her life. Not for yours." The last thing Bill remembered was Xavier's staff smashing against the side of his head.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:12 am

Bill stood in a dark room. The only light in the room was shining down on the only other person in the room. Bill cautiously walked up to the lone figure. As Bill drew nearer, he recognized the person. "Selena!" he cried out, overjoyed. He ran up to her, spun her around, and wrapped her in a hug. "You're alright!" Bill said. "I was so worried." Selena was motionless. Bill backed up a step. "Selena?" he asked. His eyes widened in horror as he regarded her. Her skin was deathly pale, blood was dripping from her many grievous wounds, Azk's throwing knife was still lodged in her hand. Her dress was dyed red from all of her blood loss. "Why didn't you save me?" she asked, her eyes lacking any hint of life. Bill was horrified. "Are you dead?" he asked her. "Why didn't you save me?" Selena repeated. Bill fell down on his knees. "I tried!" Bill explained to the thing before him. "I thought if I gave those two the ring, they would let you go!" Selena suddenly fell on the ground, lifeless. "Selena!" Bill cried out. He rushed over to her, and cradled her in his arms. "Why didn't you save me?" She asked again.

"Why have you failed me, son?" A voice from behind asked. Bill set Selena's body on the floor, then turned to regard the voice. Theo, Bill's surrogate father, stepped out from the shadows. "Father?" Bill asked, his eyes brimming with tears. Theo was emotionless. "You swore on my grave that you would destroy the Ring of Poison. And now you've lost it. Why have you failed me?" Bill sobbed. "What was I supposed to do?!" Bill shouted at his father. "Let Selena die?!" Theo didn't speak. He pointed to the body of Selena Nightingale. "You've lost her and the Ring." Theo continued. "You've failed us both." Suddenly, a blood-chilling cackle split the air. "You've lost, Bill..." a voice echoed from the shadows. Bill spun around, terrified. "Failed..." the voice continued. Bill's fear turned into rage. "Show yourself!" he roared. A black, shadowy figure stepped into the light. The very air around it turned cold. "What are you?" The warrior asked, his fear mounting once more. The shadow-creature smiled. "Don't you remember me?" It asked mockingly. "We've only been together for twelve years." Bill fell back, shocked and horrified. "You're the Agent of Talona." Bill whispered. The creature cackled once more. "Thanks to you, I'm free from your clutches!" The Agent said wildly. "Thanks to you, I roam these lands once more!" The Agent was laughing hysterically now. "Thanks to you, all of Lore will burn!"

Bill's eyes shot open. He tried to sit up, but wound up doubling over in pain. The moon was fast rising in the sky. Bill had been unconcious for several hours. Dried blood caked Bill's face and head. He looked all around him. "Selena!" he called out. He looked where he had last seen her. She was nowhere to be seen. "Selena!" he called once more. When the realization that she was gone dawned upon Bill, he broke into tears. He had failed Selena. He had failed his father, Theo. But perhaps worst of all, he had failed Lore.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:13 am

Bill's sleep that night was fitful and full of nightmares. He awoke the next morning, tired and depressed. He slowly stood up on his feet. And for the first time in twelve years, Bill had absolutely no idea what to do. He considered looking for Selena, but he shook the notion away. If he didn't find her, or worse, found her body...Bill shook the unpleasant thoughts away. He thought about pursuing the Ring of Poison, but dropped that idea as well. Even if he knew where the Ring was, he wouldn't stand a chance against the skilled assassin and powerful mage. So, Bill wandered through the forest, having no idea what to do or where to go. He wandered for many minutes until he heard strange noises. Bill stopped and strained his ears. It sounded like...steel on steel. Bill lost his breath. "Selena." he whispered. Bill rushed towards the source of the noise, his heart racing. The noises were coming from within a small dell. Bill stopped and looked into the dell. There, a lone figure stood against three armored figures. Bill felt his disappointment clearly. Selena was not here.

"Surrender your weapon!" one of the armored figures shouted. Bill regarded the soldiers curiously. They weren't Alteon's knights, but they didn't look like Sepulchure's soldiers, either. They wore red platemail armor. Their helmets were fashioned to look like skulls. Emblazoned on their armor was a black skull with a sword jutting through it. The lone figured chuckled. "You're in no position to be making demands." the lone warrior remarked. Bill's jaw dropped as he observed the rest of the dell. Four armored figures lay dead, blood pooling beneath them. Whoever this lone fighter was, Bill could see he was not to be trifled with. "Even if we die," the armored man said. "More will come. We will not stop until we get what we want." The lone figure shook his head. "Are you three really willing to die just to get at my weapon?" he asked. In response, one armored figure rushed forward, sword leading. The lone fighter spun around the charging knight, then slashed out with his magnificent weapon. Bill's jaw dropped even further when he saw the lone fighter's weapon slash through the knight's armor like paper. The knight fell to the ground, his spine severed in two. The other knight charged, screaming, and brought his weapon high over his head. The lone fighter proved the faster, stabbing his weapon out in front of him. The knight wound up impaling himself on the fighter's amazing katana.

During the fight, however, the fighter hadn't noticed the third knight slip into the shadows. After the fighter removed the knight's impaled body from his katana, he heard a voice shout "Hold!". The figure spun around, giving Bill a good look at his face. The fighter appeared no older than eighteen years old. His skin was very pale, and his eyes were an icy blue. His hair and bangs appeared azure in color, though he had a prominent turqoise streak through his hair. "You thought I'd let you get away?" Bill heard the third armored figure ask. The fighter regarded the third knight, who was now aiming a heavy crossbow his way. "You cheated." the fighter said. The armored knight snorted. "What's that old saying? 'All's fair in love and war'?" "It goes something like that." Bill shouted. The fighter looked up, surprised. The armored figure spun around, just in time to see Mandurugo flying through the air towards him. Mandurugo pierced the armored figure's helmet, embedding itself into the crossbowman's head. The armored figure went through a series of twitches and convulsions before falling down dead.

Bill slid down into the dell to retrieve his sword. He yanked Mandurugo from the dead man's head. Mandurugo glowed as it began to absorb the blood on it. The fighter kept his weapon ready. "Did you come to help me, or to try and steal the Torrential Katana?" the fighter asked. Bill sheathed his vampiric blade. "I heard the sounds of battle." Bill explained, keeping his hands where the fighter could see them. "I thought you might have been my friend, but alas, you aren't." The fighter smirked. "You're looking for someone?" He asked Bill. Bill nodded. "Small world." The fighter mumbled under his breath. "Where are my manners?" the fighter asked himself. He extended his hand towards Bill. "My name is Arata." Bill grasped Arata's hand and gave it a firm shake. "My name's Bill." He said. Bill glanced at Arata's magnificent weapon. The blade appeared to be made of crystal or diamond. Within the blade, bright blue water swirled, giving the weapon a bluish glow and a cold feel. Arata followed Bill's gaze. "The Torrential Katana." Arata said proudly. "Legend says that Arcterra himself crafted this fine weapon." Bill truly admired the weapon. It was as beautiful as it was deadly. Arata glanced at the dead bodies. "We should move away from here." Arata said, quickly searching the bodies for anything of use. "They said that more would come, and I certainly don't doubt that they will." Arata rushed up the side of the dell, motioning to Bill to follow him.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:14 am

Azk and Xavier sat around their campfire. The moon was fast on the rise, and they decided to rest, since they had walked all day. Xavier looked up from the fire. "How's the prisoner?" he asked. Azk turned to look behind him. The prisoner was asleep. Azk looked back into the fire. "She's fine." he said. The two sat in silence for several minutes. "Why are we dragging her along?" Xavier asked after several minutes of silence passed. "Because," Azk explained. "Steel will want to talk to her." Xavier snorted at that. "Talk to her about what?" he asked, growing slightly irritated. "What value is she to us or Steel, huh? You know what I think, Azk? I think you're dragging her along with us because you somehow feel guilty that we took the Ring of Poison from her and her friend!" Azk hid his face under his cowl. It was a little true. "We promised that we would heal her up." Azk tried to explain, but Xavier laughed at that. "No," he corrected. "We promised that we'd let her go once we got the Ring. We have the Ring now, Azk, and we really don't need her, now do we?"

Selena groaned in her sleep. Azk turned around to check on her. She was still asleep, but her brow was furrowed, and her right hand clenched and then unclenched. Once Azk was sure that she was still sleeping, he turned back to regard Xavier. "What exactly were we supposed to do?" Azk asked, also growing irritated. "Let her bleed out?" "That was the idea..." Xavier mumbled. Azk glared at his partner. "You know, Xavier, we're supposed to be the good guys, right?" Xavier rolled his eyes. "I'm sorry, Azk." he said sarcastically. "I didn't realize that that meant we had to rescue every person who tries to kill us!" Azk stood up. "I am the Shade Lord of the Twilight Realm, Xavier. I outrank you, and you will do as I say, when I say it. Understood?" Xavier stood up, glaring at Azk. "You know what the title of Shade Lord means in Lore?" Xavier asked, anger permeating his every word. "Absolutely nothing! You may have authority in the Twilight Realm, assassin," Xavier emphasized that last word. "But out here, you are nothing but a hired killer!"

Azk felt as though Xavier had punched him across the face. "She stays." Azk said quietly. Xavier threw his hands up in defeat. "Fine!" he snarled. "I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps you've fallen under the Ring's influence." Azk didn't respond. Xavier stormed over to his bedroll and lay down. "If she stays, then she's your responsibility!" he shouted at Azk. Azk sighed and sat down. He didn't reply to Xavier's accusations because they were true. After the battle against Selena and Bill, Azk felt a strange sense of guilt wash over him. He was going to leave Selena, like Xavier had wanted to do, but he changed his mind. He placed a thick stick in Selena's mouth as a makeshift bit, counted to three, then yanked out his throwing knife from her hand. Selena had bitten down hard on the stick, screaming and crying. After the knife had been removed, Azk tore a piece of his cloak off and wrapped it around Selena's hand as a bandage. Xavier had protested this course of action, believing Selena would try to kill them. Azk didn't think so.

Azk stared into the fire, thinking about his first assassination contract. He was told that the man he was to kill was a murderer, and an ally to Sepulchure. Azk was foolish to not research his target more. He rushed into his victim's house, killing him in front of his wife and child. Azk later learned (to his own horror) that the man had fallen on hard times and wound up borrowing money from the Thieves' Guild. He had been unable to pay the guild back in the time they gave him, and had put a bounty on his head as a result. Azk shook the awful memory from his mind. He felt that way now, about Selena, and about her friend, Bill. He told himself that it was nescessary. The Ring was in good, capable hands now.

"What if it was already in good hands?" Azk asked himself. He looked up into the sky, at the moon and the stars. "Did we do the right thing?" Azk asked. He stared up for several minutes, but the moon and the stars remained silent.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:15 am

After escaping from the dell, Arata and Bill fled into the woods. After they had run for a good half-mile, Arata slowed down to a walk. "We should be far enough away now." Arata said, hardly having broke a sweat. Bill leaned against a fallen tree to catch his breath. "How can you be so sure?" he asked. Arata chuckled. "I was a hunter before I became a Twilight Knight. I have a knack for sensing this kind of thing." Bill's jaw dropped. He had heard of the legendary Twilight Knights, most of Lore had. However, most of Lore passed the Twilight Knights off as a myth. Arata regarded Bill curiously. "What?" he asked. Bill shook away his awe. "I always assumed that the Twilight Knights weren't-" "Real?" Arata finished for him. Bill nodded. "We're as real as any other group out there."

Arata and Bill walked through the forest silently. "Where exactly were you going anyway?" Arata asked. Bill shrugged. "I was heading to Swordhaven, but now..." Bill sighed. "There's no point." Arata cocked his head to the side, curious. "I was travelling to Swordhaven, trying to fulfill a promise I made to my father years ago." Bill explained. "I was waylaid by two skilled adventurers. My dear friend is gone, possibly dead." Bill was silent for several moments. "Like I said," Bill said to Arata, straining a smile. "No point." Arata mumbled something to himself. "I'm sorry to hear that...I know what its like to lose someone close to you." Arata told his story then, telling Bill how he grew up in the frozen lands of Arcterra. He led a peaceful and happy life with his parents, and his brother Alastor. All of that changed the day Arata was to participate in the Rite of Passage. He had to navigate a frozen temple, and make his way to the Sword Chamber. Within the Sword Chamber, was the Torrential Katana. It was stuck in a block of ice. It was tradition among the young men to try and pull the legendary blade from its resting place, but none had ever succeeded...until Arata. Arata had pulled the blade from its icy prison, and was immediately "touched" by the amazing sword. It gave him his striking icy eyes and prominant turquoise streak in his hair. Just as Arata and Alastor were to leave the temple, a massive storm struck, sweeping the brothers away into the wilderness.

"When I awoke, I was living with an elderly couple." Arata continued. "I left their care soon after to search for my brother, Alastor. I've had no luck in finding him, though while I haven't found him, I did find the Twilight Knights." Arata's face suddenly lit up. "That's it!" Arata exclaimed. Bill jumped at Arata's sudden outburst. "What's it?" Bill asked. Arata was bubbling with excitement. "I know someone who can help you find your friend!" Bill regarded Arata curiously. "Why do you want to help me, Arata? I haven't done anything to earn your trust." Arata shook his head. "You saved my life, for one thing." Arata said, grinning. "And whoever you're looking for obviously means a lot to you. So, I'll help you." Bill grinned, truely thankful for Arata's offer. "Come with me to the Twilight Realm!" Arata said. "Emperor Steel will know where your friend is." Arata chuckled. "Maybe he'll even know about the guys that attacked you!" Arata didn't know how true that last statement was.
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PostSubject: Re: Poison   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:15 am

"Hold up." Azk said, lifting his hand to stop Xavier and Selena. As Azk bent down into the dirt, Xavier spun around, his staff leveled at Selena. "Any sudden moves, girl, and I'll turn your bones into ash." Selena crossed her arms over her chest and scowled. "No need for threats," Selena said, glaring at Xavier. "If I truly wanted to escape, I would have done so already." Xavier cocked an eyebrow, not convinced in the least. "Oh really?" he asked. "What's stopping you?" Selena laughed. "Where would I go?" she asked. "Even if I escaped, you two would just hunt me down again. Besides..." Selena shuffled her feet. "It's not like I would be accepted anywhere." she mumbled.

Xavier was going to have Selena elaborate, but was stopped when he heard Azk mutter "By the gods...". Xavier regarded Azk curiously. "What?" Azk stood up, bearing some kind of amulet. Xavier's eyes widened in shock. "He was here?" Xavier asked in disbelief. "I thought he was dead!" Azk shrugged. "He might be..." the assassin remarked. Selena looked at the odd amulet. It looked like a black gem that was being supported on the back of a golden dragon (At least, Selena thought it was golden...it was terribly tarnished). "Who?" Selena asked. Xavier spun around. "Its none of your concern!" he growled. Azk placed a hand on his partner's shoulder to calm him. "This," Azk explained, holding the amulet up. "Is a Dragon Amulet. It is an item that helps a Dragonlord bond to their dragon. It's not supposed to be black..." Azk remarked, studying the gem. "Its supposed to be red." Azk sighed. "This belonged to a friend of ours." Selena was intrigued now. "Who?" she asked again. "His name was Draconor." Xavier said. Selena regarded Xavier curiously. Was Xavier friends with this Draconor? "What happened?" Selena had to ask. Azk shrugged. "He disappeared months ago, after his dragon died. He was never quite the same after Drainon fell."

"I'm sorry." Selena said. Azk tucked the amulet into the folds of his cloak. "It's fine." Azk said, waving away her apology. "Come, we're almost to the Twilight Gate, and I'd like to go through tonight." "Yeah, then we'll see how useful she proves to Steel..." Azk heard Xavier mutter. It had been several days since the battle against Bill, and Azk, Xavier, and Selena had made excellent progress. They were already back in Greenguard Forest, making their way to the Twilight Gate...whatever that was. "There it is!" Azk pointed. Selena regarded the Twilight Gate curiously. It was a black and white arch, set right in the middle of the forest. Runes and symbols were etched into the gate, giving it a supernatural feel. "Its an arch..." Selena said after a few moments. Xavier rolled his eyes. "Didn't she say she was a sorceress? Can't she feel the energy that thing gives off?" Azk chuckled. "No, she can't and I doubt you can either. Twilight magic is very subtle." Azk looked into the sky at the setting sun. "Shouldn't be too long now..." Almost on cue, the Twilight Gate roared to life. Selena jumped back a step, surprised. "I see now..." Selena said, walking closer to the gate. "Its an interplanar gateway, keyed to go to a specific plane of existance." Selena stared into the gate. On the other side, a landscape that looked similar to Lore's awaited.

Xavier walked up behind Selena, brought his foot up, planted it on her rump, and shoved her through the gate. Selena yelped as she fell into the portal. Azk glared at his partner, who was laughing hysterically. "What?" Xavier asked, still chuckling. "Not funny." Azk simply said. Xavier waved his hand at Azk. "Oh, grow a sense of humor!" he said to the assassin. Neither of them noticed the Ring begin to glow. It had done it. The Twilight Realm was directly before it. Once they were through the gate, nothing would be able to stop the Ring.
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