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Complete The Restless

Discussion in 'The Elysium Fields' started by Veloce Visrin, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

    Posts:
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    Female
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    Human (Demon-bound)
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    December 23rd, Year 7
    @Piccolo
    [Asphodel Woods]

    The season had turned the woods bitterly cold. Veloce could hardly feel her face for how numb it was, and the sun kept glinting off patches of snow here and there, throwing shards of light into her eyes. It was curious how the ground still managed to shine so clean and white even with pieces of wreckage strewn all around: two trucks smashed sideways into crumpled heaps, a third overturned completely with one of its tires missing, and the last truck blasted right in two, its counterparts resting with yards between them.

    The caravan was halfway through its trip to Morhall when it had met with something violently unfriendly. Under the new dusting of snow from last night, Veloce could see the unintended paths those trucks had taken—long, deep ruts were carved along the ground, their passage marked by broken foliage and pieces of torn metal. She maneuvered around them carefully and rejoined Matthias by the upside-down truck.

    Her fellow mage of the Guild glanced up at her approach, a frown set deep in his face. He tilted his chin at her. "So what's the verdict?"

    "It could have been magic. But it might not have been, either. I can't get a clear enough reading to say either way." Veloce's attention shifted to the pale, translucent figure hunched beside the overturned cabin. "Any luck on your end?"

    Matthias's response was an even deeper frown. He turned to the figure and lifted his staff, a violet glow flaring briefly in the crystal set at its tip. When he spoke, his voice echoed with an otherworldly quality, like the words were coming from every direction all at once.

    "I say again, spirit, we're only trying to help. Can you tell us what happened to you and your companions? What attacked you?"

    The ghost jerked into motion, staring up at Veloce and Matthias with wide eyes. He glanced from side to side, seeing something that inspired terror in him. He made as if to scramble into a retreat, but from the unnatural angle of his leg, something invisible and heavy seemed to have him pinned down. A bright, silver liquid trickled around the hand he kept pressed against his side, pooling in the snow beneath him. His lips moved desperately but there was no sound.

    Matthias grunted and lowered his staff. Its glow faded, and when he spoke, his voice was back to normal.

    "There's your answer. I've got no answers, and I'm starting to think I never will, not from them. It's bad enough the poor bastards are dead, but now something's keeping their spirits anchored to the physical world. All they can do is relive the moment they died." He sighed and rubbed at his beard. "I'll see I can't at least help with that; get their spirits to pass on. Why don't you take another look around and see if there's anything you missed?"

    The implication that Veloce had been sloppy the first time was not one she appreciated. She opened her mouth to object... but, seeing the shadows that had settled in Matthias's eyes, relinquished the point and turned away. She moved for the far side of the wreckage, looking past the glowing spirits that lingered around them, wondering if their killer would return.
     
  2. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    The air was so cold that Piccolo could see his breath. Not wearing any sleeves, he was an uncanny sight given the current temperature, but he could hardly feel it. He'd been through worse than this.

    A thin layer of ice covered a small lake at his feet, so smooth he could see his distorted reflection, so shallow that grasses poked through it. His eyes narrowed and he stretched his arm at it, blasting apart the ice with ki. In the still forest, the sound was like a crack of thunder, scattering the already sparse wildlife. He crouched down and cupped his hands together under the water. Faint specks of blood trickled off one of his hands to fade into the lake -- red blood.

    It was their fault for crashing into him, he thought as he took a sip. The blood was from one driver's head and the windshield. He didn't have to deal with the rest, but he was in a bad mood to start with and the crash made it worse.

    This whole place made him irritable. There was something about it that just wasn't right. People he couldn't sense, no sign of any landmarks he knew, familiar wildlife nowhere to be found, and most unsettling of all, no Kami. He didn't need it spelled out for him that it was a different world, and it wasn't hard to guess why he was here either. It was a way to get rid of him without killing him. Clever.

    There were others in the forest with him. Piccolo known that much for a while, but wasn't worried about it. He'd been listening to their conversation and wondered if the noise he made would draw them closer or scare them away. He knelt quietly at the water's edge and finished his drink.
     
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  3. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

    Posts:
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    Female
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    Sorceress
    Race:
    Human (Demon-bound)
    Age:
    17 (+1)
    Alignment:
    True Neutral
    A tremendous crack shattered the quiet, so abrupt and loud that for an instant, Veloce was certain the sound had physically punched through her chest. She jumped; her feet actually left the ground for a split second. Behind her, Matthias uttered a curse, and when she turned to exchange startled glances with him, she sighted a flock of crows fleeing above the canopy in the distance.

    Matthias leaned on his staff, scowling at the sky. "You think that's answers?"

    Veloce answered him with a roll of her eyes. She marched back past him towards the source of the disturbance, one hand finding comfort around the heavy, solid hilt of her sword.

    Her pulse still hadn't quite calmed down by the time a stranger's figure materialized between the trees. Even from here, looking at his back where he was knelt at the shore, Veloce knew immediately that he wasn't human. The way his soul echoed wasn't at all like the crisp, clear tones of humans; it sounded closer to the melody of a demon spirit's, like the aura her necklace emitted, but less airy. Heavier somehow, as if the sound was sinking into the ground.

    Matthias had been moving to push past her, but the way she tensed must've tipped him off, because his steps crunched to a sudden stop in the snow. He lifted his eyebrows at her. Veloce shook her head and motioned for him to stay back. Let me handle this.

    He shifted behind a thin, pale birch, and Veloce stepped into the open.

    Just looking at the stranger made her feel a little colder. He wasn't dressed for the chill, but didn't seem bothered by it in the least. Veloce also didn't see any signs of traveling equipment or camping gear. Did he live around here?

    "Hey," she said, her tone carefully neutral. "Are you a local? A caravan coming through this forest ran afoul of something dangerous, and I'm trying to find out what happened."

    Veloce hadn't let go of her sword yet.
     
  4. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo's ears perked up at the woman's voice, but he didn't turn to look at her. Instead, he stood up slowly, still facing the water. She was just far enough away that he couldn't see her reflection in it, but he knew exactly where she was anyway. He could hear her and, more importantly, he could feel her. There was something dark inside of her. Something familiar, but also not quite. Not that he cared much.

    He turned his head over his shoulder to look at the woman, only looking a crack. "I think you'll be able to guess what happened," he said with a sneer. The last syllable shifted pitch as he seemingly vanished, reappearing behind her companion. Footprints in the snow, unmistakably the shape of his shoes, and clouds of snowdust following his path were the only indication that he hadn't teleported. Piccolo grabbed him by the back of the neck and dug his nails into the man's skin just enough to make him jerk in pain.

    "I'm only going to ask once, and remember that I can ask anyone else if you refuse to tell me." He dug his nails in a bit further to make his point. "Where am I and what is this place? Not the forest -- this world."
     
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  5. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

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    Veloce scarely had time to process the sinister undertone in his reply when he... just wasn't there anymore.

    Where her eyes had missed it, her senses screamed the warning instead, of his presence suddenly blinking away from her front to reappear at her rear. There was only one reason she could think of for the abrupt, unannounced movement.

    Metal hissed against scabbard as Veloce spun, her grip tightening on her hilt as she prepared to counter the ambush. It wasn't her he'd moved behind though, but Matthias. She froze, her sword jerking to a stop only partly drawn. What he said next pushed a chill into her veins that had nothing to do with the winter weather.

    He didn't know where he was. Didn't understand what had happened, probably. But he was willing to hurt—to kill—to get answers. Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time Veloce had found herself given the task of explaining to a decidedly hostile stranger the ins and outs of this strange world. Last spring, there had been that giant rat with an army of smaller rats, chewing up the farmlands as he waged a war he thought was still going on. And then the Tal'darim in autumn, sneering and uncaring that Veloce had caught him minutes fresh from murdering an innocent near the outskirts of Horizon.

    The same thing could happen again. A glimpse of Matthias, bleeding and still on the ground, flashed against her mind. Perhaps her fellow mage had similar thoughts, because he made a quiet choked noise in the green man's grip, his eyebrows rising so high they almost flew off his face. 'Holy shit, just answer him,' came the panicked expression.

    Veloce glowered, but released her weapon. "This world is called Pandora. It's some sort of box-shaped dimension ruled by a power that can pull people out of their own worlds. You saw the black vines, right? I don't know if they're a god's doing or wild magic or what, but that same power prevents us from leaving Pandora, too."

    Us. A deliberate and subtle point she wanted to make. We're not your enemy.
     
  6. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    "'A god', eh?" he said, his eyes shifting toward the woman. That didn't surprise him a bit. The part about other people being stuck here for similar reasons did, though. That might explain the feeling he was getting from her. Being here might be her punishment too.

    Not that he was going to let it stop him. It was just a change of scenery and a minor setback.

    "Well, I guess that answers my question. Too bad I wasn't actually going to let him live," Piccolo said with a sneer. He tightened his grip on the man's neck, piercing an artery and crushing bones in his neck. Piccolo carelessly tossed him to the side and saw red staining the pure snow out of the corner of his eye.
     
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  7. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

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    This is not happening.

    But it was. That was Matthias flying sideways with his eyes rolled back, arms and legs flopping limply before he landed in the snow with an awful crunch. From the shape of his neck, Veloce already knew he had been dealt a fatal blow. It was too late to help him. Too late—as if Veloce had dallied somehow, as if there had ever been a chance for her to save his life. No, all it had taken was the space of a single spoken sentence and the closing of a freakishly strong hand. What could she have done?

    Reason and logic had no say in this moment, however. If they did, Veloce might have allowed herself the thought that retreating had just as much, if not more, merit than lunging forth to avenge her fallen colleague. Instead, there was only the sudden emotion that swelled in her like a storm, shock and guilt and rage all warring for dominance as her vision tilted a hot, burning red.

    Veloce screamed, a raw and wordless noise, her right hand going again for her sword. Her left hand flung up and out, magic glowing off the backs of her fingers like a heat haze. She curled it into a fist. At the green man's feet, golden arcs of light crackled a brief warning, then exploded from the snow in a cluster of large spikes, seeking to spear him through like an insect pinned to a cork board.
     
  8. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo had been staring at the glow by his feet, blinking in a mix of confusion and curiosity, when he felt the snow vibrate. His face twisted into shock when he pushed off the ground, only to be caught by a glowing spike. It shredded his pant leg with ease and left a gash on the flesh underneath it.

    He stayed in the air, almost stationary, staring at the wall of spikes below him. It looked like ki, glowed like ki, but he couldn't sense it. Like it just wasn't there. What was it?

    A moment ago, he assumed the woman wasn't a threat, that her sword was practically for show, and that she wouldn't be able to hurt him. He remembered the last time he got just a little too cocky, though. And the time before that and the time before that. And that made him just anxious enough that he remembered that he should keep his guard up. If what she was saying was true -- and it probably was -- she might be from another world, and that would explain why she was... unfamiliar.

    His teeth clenched, fangs clearly visible, and he gripped his right arm with the left to keep its aim steady.

    "Bakurikimaha!"

    Energy collected around his open palm and it shot downward, aiming for the spikes, both to test the waters and because the blast wouldn't be limited to a precise target.
     
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  9. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

    Posts:
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    Veloce was already backstepping in haste. She didn't know what he'd shouted, but she recognized the gesture he performed, for it was one she sometimes did herself when harnessing particularly destructive magics.

    Sure enough, a beat later the air ruptured with a terrific explosion, swallowing her vision in a rising wall of white and nearly throwing her across the lake. Veloce dug her heels in as she landed, stopping herself short just at the edge of the bank. The powder settled, showing her spikes obliterated, and a crater blown into the ground where they used to be, the brown earth visible beneath the snow like an open sore.

    Such raw power... Just how strong was he? That blast, and the effortless levitation—neither seemed to have sourced by magic, so she could only assume they were inherent to whatever race or being he was. At least she knew he could bleed. That was a small comfort.

    In the back of her mind, Veloce wondered if Matthias's body had survived the impact.

    She didn't bother to look. Instead, Veloce brought her empty hand up to join the other around her sword hilt. Magic hummed across the blade, strands of black and turquoise light twining together, growing and thickening in size and shape. She took a single step forward and swung down over her shoulder with a chopping motion. The magic flew off the steel in one solid piece, a flat crescent blade as tall as Veloce, crackling dangerously as it split a path for the green man.
     
  10. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo still didn't know what those spikes were made of or how the woman made them, but it didn't matter. The important part was that he knew it was solid -- it could be touched and it could be destroyed.

    That was all he needed to know. He slid sideways midair so that the crescent was aimed at his shoulder, just in case this didn't work. When it was within arm's reach, he clapped his hands on its flat sides, stopping it cold. With a soft grunt, he spun the crescent around, taking care to keep his arms extended so the edges wouldn't touch him, and launched it at his grounded target.
     
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  11. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

    Posts:
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    Female
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    Human (Demon-bound)
    Age:
    17 (+1)
    Alignment:
    True Neutral
    Veloce stared. Her face probably echoed what Matthias's had been just before the stranger crushed his neck: mouth slightly open, eyes wide with disbelief, and cheeks paling somewhat. It wasn't her own attack making a speedy return that surprised her; it was that the man had first been audacious enough to grab her magic, and then strong enough to literally throw it back. She had never been countered like this before.

    The crescent slammed into the bank on top of Veloce's position, releasing a burst of dark, crackling energy that threw up another flurry of snow and sent a fan of spiderweb cracks across the surface of the lake behind. The noise faded quickly, as did the clouds, but if the stranger was still looking to see the result of his attack, he would not find Veloce there.

    She'd teleported behind and slightly above him, her second sword now also drawn, both blades turned in a reverse grip. Gravity took hold of her, and Veloce stabbed downward at his back as she dropped.
     
  12. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo could feel the woman behind him. There wasn't even enough time to exclaim something in disbelief. He acted before he could think -- no, before he could think of thinking. Still suspended, he whipped completely around to face her, saw the blades he couldn't possibly have sensed, and responded about as well as he could.

    He stuck out his left arm, expecting to be able to catch the tip of one sword with his palm, but grimaced in pain when it pierced his skin. His expression contorted more when the other blade sunk into his shoulder, the woman attached to it nearly sliding into him as the weapons forced their way through him. He let out something between a hiss and a staggered growl and forced his hand through the blade until it was almost completely outstretched, almost to the point where he could grab the hilt if he reached for it. His bleeding palm glowed a pale yellow before energy erupted from it in a conical burst, strong enough to force the weapon back and keep going.
     
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  13. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

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    Not the clean, fatal blow she'd hoped for, but good enough. The pained noise he made fed encouragement into her mind, spurring her on to finish the job, claim vengeance for Matthias.

    Hanging in midair, Veloce's only real anchor was the stranger himself by way of the steel stuck into him. She bent her elbows, heaving herself upward as she prepared to toss her leg up in a kick at his injured limb. Then a tawny light bled into the purple staining his palm, and she realized her mistake.

    Veloce had almost no leverage to dodge, but tried anyway, letting go of the sword impaled in his hand as she tried to swing sideways. The ensuing blast was wider than she'd expected, though. It caught her in the side with the force of a stampede.

    "Augh!"

    Her vision flared white, pain the only thing she knew for a few moments. Then she realized from the cold air rushing past her face that she was flying, and about to hit the ground. Veloce flung her arms inward, summoning wind magics to cushion her fall, but the motion shot a heavy drumbeat of pain through her left arm, and she flinched, the spell coalescing only partially effective. Veloce's landing blinded her a second time from sheer impact, leaving her collapsed against a mound of snow at the end of a new furrow.

    Dazed and arm throbbing, Veloce struggled to place the stranger back in her sights. A shard of metal glinted at the corner of her eye—one of her swords, stuck in the snow. She didn't know if the other was still in him. She hoped it was.
     
    #13 Veloce Visrin, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  14. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo's breaths were staggered, uncomfortable-sounding, and still visible like a fine mist. Blood dripped from the open wound in his palm. He flexed the hand just to be sure it was actually functioning, and his fingers still had a decent range of motion, despite the pain. Good enough. Piccolo grabbed the other sword -- still impaled in his shoulder -- with the bleeding hand and pulled it out with as swift and clean a motion as possible, given the circumstances. He tossed it aside and it landed in the snow, not too from the woman, but not within an arm's reach either.

    She was still alive. He could feel her energy and hear her heartbeat. Judging by her movements being just a little more than a twitch, he was also pretty sure she wouldn't get up too quickly.

    Not wanting to waste his moment of free time, he used his semi-functional hand to grab the arm with the injured shoulder and pulled. Hard. It actually hurt worse than the prior impalement and the noises he made sounded even more uncomfortable as he tore off his own limb, shredding it from the one side to the hole to the other side. It was unceremoniously discarded -- simply dropped to the ground.

    A throbbing open wound left, Piccolo's face scrunched as he concentrated on it, ki collecting around it, but not to fire another burst of energy. With a pained shout, a new arm sprung from the injury, covered in a thin layer of clear mucus. The newly-grown arm had a numb tingle to it, like a foot that had fallen asleep, before blood started to naturally flow through it. He was breathing heavily now and wasn't keen on doing to the same thing to his other, still-injured hand, even though he knew he'd have to do it later.

    Piccolo descended to the ground, which had been turned into a partly muddy mix between brown and white. He felt fairly confident now -- not confident enough to drop his guard, but confident that he had a good understanding of the woman's tricks. He clutched his shoulder and wiped some of the mucus off, but left a splatter of blood behind in the process.

    "That wasn't bad," he said. "But there's no shame in... losing to Piccolo Daimaō-sama." He had to stop mid-sentence to collect his breath -- regrowing an arm wasn't an easy feat. "Are others exiled to Pandora usually as strong as you? Or are most of them more like that idiot I killed?"
     
    #14 Piccolo, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2018
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  15. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

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    Three more seconds, Veloce promised herself, and she would get up.

    Her back felt like one giant bruise. The lines of the forest pulsed in her sight with every beat of her heart, and her left arm was worryingly reluctant to obey when she tried to close it into a fist. It might not matter if she had her second sword back. The rest of her body seemed in good enough condition to continue the fight. This would have to do.

    Groaning, Veloce peeled herself free from the pile of snow, stumbling to her knees as she caught her breath. Movement pulled her attention up in time to watch something log-shaped and wet hit the ground with a faint crunch—was that his arm? Yes, it was, and a replacement sprouted from the socket with the ease of hydra regrowing a lost head. Veloce remained kneeling with a stunned look, a fresh wave of dread turning her blood cold. Vengeance might not be as simple as cutting into him until he stopped moving.

    But she had to try. Veloce pushed herself to her feet as he came down, eyeing him warily. She shuffled sideways for the closer of her two swords, not bothering to disguise that she favored her right side more than her left. It hurt too much, a waste of energy to try to hide.

    Oh, Matthias. His casual disregard for the life he'd ended pierced her like an arrow. The pain of loss was too raw to ignore, the stranger's—Piccolo's—strength too considerable to brush his words aside. The remark rattled her in the precise way she knew she shouldn't let it, and a noise of anger burst from her lips before she could stop herself.

    "He had a name. Matthias. Learn it at least, if you're so keen on giving me yours." She shook her head slowly, keeping her eyes fixed on him, gaze smoldering. "The caravan back there... What was the point? Did they insult you? Refuse to answer your questions? What did you hope to gain from taking their lives?"
     
  16. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    "Tsk! You say that like you think I should care," Piccolo said. "It doesn't matter to me what his name is, or the people in the trucks'." He returned her intense stare, but made sure to remember her sword in his peripherals.

    "Is that why you're out here? Because I killed them? What, are you some kind of police officer or something?" He snorted dismissively. "If it means that much, I may as well tell you. They ran into me and that pissed me off a little, so I killed them. It's not that complicated. I might have killed someone sooner if I knew some suicidal woman would track me down and give me a workout like this, though."

    It had been over a year since he'd last had a real fight, and he was a bit surprised he was being kept on his toes so much. At this point, though, he was fairly certain that he understood her capabilities. Even if she could hurt him, if an attack like that stunned her, he couldn't have much to worry about...

    His eyes quickly shifted to the sword closest to her. "By the way, I don't think you need that." His regrown arm turned so that it was slightly extended, palm facing up, and used one finger to gesture a tug to the sword. Still submerged in snow, it repositioned itself so that the hilt faced Piccolo. He pulled it out of its "pedestal" from afar and caught it with a smirk.
     
    #16 Piccolo, Jan 14, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2018
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  17. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

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    If she was being honest with herself, Veloce didn't know why she'd bothered to ask. Had she really expected his reply to be anything different than what the signs already showed? The scorn for the worth of his victims' lives, the dismissal of her indignation towards his actions, and an apparent concern only for how strong an opponent she made... They all pointed to someone who did not measure himself by the same morals as normal, sensible people. No value could come from trying to reason with him or understand him.

    And the dead back there in that torn clearing. Their souls were still bound to the earth, unable to find solace in true death, barred from returning to the world someday as new life. Such a fate was crueler than simply killing them. It wasn't punishment dispensed as answer to some transgression, from one cognizant being to another. It was a child crushing insects underfoot simply because he could.

    Veloce dropped her gaze to the ground, drawing in a long breath through clenched teeth as she willed herself to calm down. Piccolo was goading her, and if she didn't get her emotions under control, she would end up biting the bait, play right into his hands. That had happened once before in Arenscura's forest, with Blackbird. It would not happen again.

    There came a scrape of metal from her side, and Veloce's expression was now calm, though still weary, as her sword flew obediently into Piccolo's grasp. Maybe it was for the best. Without the use of her dominant arm, her efforts were better served wielding magic than steel.

    "No, I don't." Veloce nodded at the stolen sword, turning her body so that her injured left side was behind her. "So if you'd like to even the odds, then by all means, help yourself."

    She brought her right hand up in front of her face. Veloce inhaled quietly and snapped her fingers. The sound birthed a blossom of fire above her palm, bits of flame dribbling onto her hand and sleeve, seemingly harmless as drops of water, but where they fell to the ground they melted the snow in tiny patches.

    An instant later, Veloce's lungs were full, and she let out her breath in one forceful exhalation. The fire erupted in a hot stream, blanketing the area in an orange light painful to look at, the golden tongues crackling hungrily as they shot for Piccolo.
     
  18. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Piccolo's eyes grew wide and he dropped the sword almost instantaneously. Once again, her attack reminded him of ki, but it clearly wasn't. Did she just... make fire?

    He expected her to throw it at him, and wished she had. That would have been easier to deal with. His hesitation meant there wasn't enough time to get out of the way, so he grabbed his cape with his injured hand and pulled it over as much of his body and face as possible. Flames licked both the cape and the exposed parts of his hand and arm, igniting the cloth and charring his skin. Like he'd been doing this whole fight, he clenched his teeth and stuck through it. It wasn't that it didn't hurt, but that he couldn't afford to think about the pain.

    Even when the fire subsided, his cape was still burning. The shoulderpads had burned away just enough to reveal metal under the cloth, and the flames were getting just a little too close to Piccolo's face for comfort. He smiled devilishly at his opponent and tugged at the cape's collar, whipping it over his head and throwing it away with one swift motion. When it hit the snow, it sunk deep into it with an audible thud on impact. Steam rose from the cape-shaped crater. He did the same for his turban, revealing a pair of antennae under them, and cracked his neck.
     
    #18 Piccolo, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
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  19. Veloce Visrin

    Veloce Visrin Carciphona

    Posts:
    402
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Sorceress
    Race:
    Human (Demon-bound)
    Age:
    17 (+1)
    Alignment:
    True Neutral
    Veloce gave him a thin smile in return, a poor attempt to mask her incredulity. Torn limbs discarded and regrown, and now even fire's oppressive bite shrugged off like extra weight, like his cape and turban (she wondered at the significance of the thump under her feet when they'd landed). Just what did it take to stop him?

    Her attack hadn't been completely ineffective, though. He was still bleeding, and bits of him were looking blackened after the last of her flames had faded away. A reminder to draw heart from: he was not invincible.

    Gravel crunched under her shoes as Veloce shifted a step back, the heat having melted the snow around her to reveal the earth beneath. She jerked her arm back sharply as if beckoning to an unruly dog. Water freed by her fire rose with the motion, slithering out of the patches and puddles to gather in a swirling pool above Piccolo. The mass hung suspended for an instant, then plunged downward.

    Magic sparked around Veloce's fingers, and she closed it into a fist. The winter air echoed with a sound like the chime of ringing crystal. The water snap-froze as it fell, expanding quickly into a pillar of jagged ice.
     
  20. Piccolo

    Piccolo Guest

    Well, it looked like she still had some surprises. Beams of force, fire, water -- now ice. But judging by the look on her face, that sheepish expression of trying and failing to feign confidence, the element of surprise was about all she had, and Piccolo still had more tricks.

    Piccolo reached up, his "good" arm literally shooting forward and stretching about twice its usual length. He grabbed the column of ice by a large icicle near the center, digging his nails into it to make sure he wouldn't lose his grip. He yanked the whole pillar down, dislodging water that hadn't yet frozen near the top, and positioned his falling arm behind him. Using the pillar's weight as leverage, his arm circled almost halfway around his body before he threw it at the woman. The arm retracted to its usual shape upon releasing it.