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A war was raging, blood soaked the ground as the cursed insects swarmed forth from the earth. this was a momentary respite, if that. A lone figure looked over the battlefield, and back toward the encampment where the nobles rested and the wounded were ferried.
There were not even enough crows here left to scavenge the dead, though the corvids and Strix had swarmed the fields earlier. A lone bird loosed it's eerie, croaking whale-song into the darkening skies. He was awaiting a more chilling sound, the buzz of a new wave of foes from the depths, their wings churning the feted air. He recalled now, the priests words, and laughed. If any hell awaited them, surely this alone was it? No, these poor empty shells around him had served their time in hades, only light awaited for nothing could be so terrible as this.
Would religion exist for the generation who saw such horrors? He shook his head as the Strix called again, and tensed, was the battle over, or had it only just begun? A;ready his armor was painted dripping shades of red and copper by the blood of his allies, and black tarry grime from the f'karr mingled sickeningly with it. He panted for breath, immune to the scents any longer. He'd been here too long...
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kel moved to the helm and took control of the ship, though she watched the soldier-turned-pirate carefully. He didn't seem like much at first, and she could tell he was adjusting. He must have only been turned within the last few weeks, maybe a few months. Still a newborn. The Captain wondered who his master was. Surely, not the boy. Inwardly, she smiled. He had been willing to be put into servitude on a pirate ship to save his brother. Unless she was mistaken about their relationship, that meant something, in her book. Blood was thicker than water, after all.

As Samael worked, he overheard several comments about the Captain. "She was too soft," one said, and several around him nodded. "She needs to be harsher to survive out here. Anyone could destroy this ship." A second added and a few pirates gave a growl. "The Cap'n needs tae jist kell em off," a third muttered, with a glare in Samael's direction. "Ah don't care who they say they are."

It wasn't until several hours later that they slowed their speed and lowered the sails a bit for the coming dusk. Everyone sort of settled down, though they grew more animated when someone brought out mead and tossed it around. There had been several barrels full on the merchant ship pirates wasted no time at all to put that back. Kel took a single mug, but simply watched. Guardian and his assistant was even on top deck, though Mat quickly found out he couldn't hold his liqour and was trying to dance to someone's harmonica. The pirates were laughing uproariously at the boy's antics. A few of the nearest tripped him. Mat sprawled with a thud, but giggled and tried to get up. He failed, which set the crew off even further. "The Queen Shani has hersel' a regular court fool!" one of the deckhands shouted, which set everyone off again. The mood was bright, however, as everyone knew Kel did not allow fighting on the ship.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote tried, for his part to ignore the growing hostility he sensed around him. He knew all too well the danger signs, but hoped that the mood would blow over if he kept his head down. He had caught the strands of conversation, but only let it fuel him to work harder still. He kept his mouth shut, but his eyes were constantly flicking between the little knot of sailors as they went about their duties. He didn't fancy getting stabbed in the back a second time.
When evening came it seemed to lighten everyone's mood, and he dared hope the storm had passed. He was still nursing his first mug though most others had ripped through them like water, downing dozens by now. Shaking his head at Matheus' predicament he moved forward, scooping the boy up by the back of his shirt and setting him back onto his feet. Only to have to steady him as he swayed dangerously, "Mat, I think that's more than enough for you." He chuckled, shaking his head as, even with his help the boy nearly sprawled again. "I won't be envying that hangover in the morning, I can promise you that." He observed, easily guessing it would be his first. As with everything else it seemed his sibling was an overachiever in this as well, only this overindulgence would come to bite him with first light.
"Come on then, lets get you somewhere to sleep this off, brother skunk." He offered, scooping the boy up and onto his back like a toddler playing piggy-back. One hand remained to support him, and the other still held his half-drained mug loosely. 
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The next morning was cloudy and looked about to drop buckets of rain on them. Kel ordered the sails at half-mast so they'd not be snap in the sudden wind and torn apart. As the day wore on, they sailed fairly silently, not meeting another ship. Kel was concentrating on a starmap, occasionally using a compass. Briaros kept an eye on Samael, occasionally offering advice where the crew simply taunted him when he did something wrong. The mutterings continued, however.

It all came to a head when the clouds began to clear up. The captain moved to the center of the ship to talk to one of the crew and a black crane deckhand walked past. All of a sudden, he whipped out his dagger and stabbed Kel in the back. With a shriek, she went down, and about half the crew suddenly jumped the other half. Briaros was knocked over by another feline and Ast was pinned to the mast by a giant scorpion's tail.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote snarled, eyes flashing red, and shifted, suddenly free of his coat. The scorpion went flying and he was between Kel and the crane, two blades in his hands. Stolen from the scorpion, "You picked a bad mark, mate, I don't take kindly to backstabbers." He recognized the crane as one of the instigators, and crouched slightly, "Let's see how fool she was then, trusting me, hmm? You'll have to take me down before you touch her." He snarled, the longer he stalled the more time Kel had to regain her feet and heal.
He waited for the crane to make a move, eyes alert for any other foes. The scorpion may well come back for another round, he had no idea if he'd thrown him hard enough to keep him down, nor if he'd managed to stay on the ship. He'd just been trying to get between the injured Captain who he owed his brothers life to, and her assailant.
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Briaros gave a roar and every werekin on the ship shifted. Animals tore into one another and several died immediately. Still others were thrown overboard. Chaos ensued as the crew was split down the middle from the mutiny. The crane grinned and swiped at Ast. "You're a fool to think you can best me, vampire. At least the Captain could possibly have done so." He dodged around Ast and jumped into the air to slash with the long, wicked claws. "You're slow, vampire," the scorpion taunted from behind, stabbing at him with the poisonous tail.

Below, Mat's head snapped up at the sound of fighting, but a surprisingly strong hand grabbed a hold of his collar. "You're staying down here, boy," Guardian demanded. Mat struggled. "I can fight too, ye bloody snake." The albino only shook his head. "And who do you think is going to patch everyone up when they're done, hmmm?" Mat went limp, worried beyond words for his brother. He knew the man could fight, but he was still new to being a vampire. Mat hadn't missed the fact that every member of the pirate crew was a werekin.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote managed to duck both, letting them slam into one another. "'s that so? Good thing this ain't my first dance then, eh?" He tried to sound confident, in truth he was cursing inwardly. He couldn't move or he risked the Captain getting hit again, and he was indeed slower than both of his foes. At least... he was as a man.
In an instant he was a wolf again, crouched over the fallen Ashta' growling at the two, at lest he stood a chance in this form. "All respect, Captain, but... any chance you're feeling up to joining me?" He nudged the woman warily, he knew she wasn't dead, as opposed to what the two thought. White fangs flashed briefly, and snapped down onto the scorpion's tail even as it grazed his shoulder, but he'd managed to keep it from hitting the woman, instead driving it into the deck where it stuck fast. He focused back on the crane despite the pain, no time to hurt now. He could afford that luxury later. When there wasn't a rabid stork diving for his throat.
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The scorpion immediately shifted the tail away, freeing it, then shifted into a giant scorpion and snapped his giant pincers at Ast's legs. The crane dived over his compatriot, doing an expert flip and landing back on his feet. He stabbed at Ast and tried to dodge around him to get at the captain.

Kel rolled suddenly and kicked out at the crane's legs, but he managed to dodge at the last second with a harsh croak. "So, you survived," he hissed.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote grinned slightly, "What? You think I'm jabbering for my health here?" He asked, snarling as the pincers got a bit too close for his comfort. He snapped at one, and pressed close to the elder vampiress, guarding her flank as best he could.
"Good to see you're alright, ma'am... Not entirely used to this... vampire bit." He admitted, lowering his head to glare at the two with red eyes. "I just know I'm faster as the wolf than a man presently... seems to be of use?"
He snarled again, letting his fur bristle out to easily double his size as he licked at the exposed fangs. Longer than those of any natural animal. Every fiber of his being screaming he meant to kill the next person who drifted closer, and his aura added to this, shadows actualy seeming to cling to his fur slightly. He was well aware Kel was the stronger of them, but she was still injured, then again, he mused as his shoulder pulsed with pain, so was he. He pushed it aside stubbornly though, "Awaiting your orders, Captain." He growled, shifting his weight off his injured leg and back slightly, ready to lunge or dodge, and trusting the woman to lead him through this with his life.
The crane was obviously the more skilled of the two, but he wasn't certain how to deal with the scorpion or its venom; at that size the chitin was like armor plate. The thought made him stiffen, then he grinned. Plate he knew how to get through, it would just take a bit of cunning and some speed... Automatically his eyes flicked over the creature's form, searching for the spots where the body segmented, that was where he needed to hit. Just like the f'kar had.  
"I think I can at least stall the insect... perhaps more... If you wish." He added, trying not to think about how much it would hurt if he were to... miss. She might well catch that, and unfortunately, there was little chance he was not going to face the creature's wrath should he try such a stunt. He would be in full range of claws and tail alike, but his ears flicked back all the same, eyes hardening for the task ahead. He did not fail to accomplish his orders, his ears picked up the snarls of the werekin, and he recalled Matheus was below. He couldn't afford to fail here any more than he could on the battlefield. No matter the price. He was still fighting for those 'behind' him, those who would fall if he faltered. The rumble in his chest intensified as he tensed, and it was clear only the fact the vampiress had yet to give the word was the only thing holding him back. Like a Mollosser on a lead.
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Continued from HERE, for those following the story.
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Morgana


She ghosted along the edge of the battlefield, inhaling the sweet scent mingled with the sharp tang of F'kar. The pale elf refrained from wrinkling her nose at the tar scent and watched. She had watched too many good soldiers go down to these monsters and her own heart nearly stirred in hatred. Oh what it would have been like to feel! Morgana softly avoided the dirt soaked ground, much of her energy spent in floating above the wreckage of elven and beetle bodies. So much blood wasted...

She saw a lone figure standing not too far from the camp. What was his purpose? A long guardian watching over nobles who could have cared less whether one man lived or died. She hated war, really. It was pointless, futile and so much precious things were wasted. Her head snapped around at a clicking behind her, but the beetles didn't seem to notice the ghost in their midst. Perhaps they really were blind and tracked by scent. Vampires were a non-entity to them. She gave a brief fanged smile until she saw them heading towards the lone figure. The smile turned into a silent snarl.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote spun toward the clicking, of course the beetles would uses such tacts as that, cowardice and backstabbing beasts.
Then he froze stairing in some shock at the woman floating over the battlefield. A mage? but why did the f'karr ignore her? he jolted as the first one lunged, a snarl forming on his face as he cut it in half. He could puzzle over all that later, for now he needed to..... survive.
The pain hit like a drak's charge. As I glanced down a long thin javelin met my eyes, dripping with my blood. Clean through my chest, barely avoiding the heart, my lung on that side collapsed and I spewed blood with my curses.
"d-damnable.... cowards."
Pathetic last words, but the divine truth none the less. Backstabbing, cowardly, insects.
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DragonPud Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Morgana


She floated after them and gave a hiss as they attacked him. Morgana raised a hand and picked off a few with a choice lightning bolt from her palm, but, like insects, another simply took its place. At least she took down the brutes. It was more difficult to heal broken bones. She whirled hearing the puncture and the swift intake of elven breath. With a feral snarl she slammed her magic into the nearest, crumpling it and those around it instantly. The earth opened up beneath the rest. With clicking cries they were swallowed into the earth from whence they came. Once the battlefield was silent, she floated down, touching the earth so recently disturbed and knelt by the iron knight's side. "Pity," she murmured softly, placing a shaking hand over the wound, around the javelin. "Such a pity."

She'd over extended herself again. Shaking her head, she grasped the javelin and snapped it in half easily.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Darkness began to cloud his vision as he sank to his knees in the bloodied soil, f'karr all around him. The strength to care, mush less to fight the insects was rapidly draining to the soil however. snaking down his armor in crimson rivulets directed by the curves and joints of metal meant to save and defend that very life-blood.
Then he jolted to life once more, a weakened snarl escaping as the wood snapping shot a spark of white fire through his veins. There was a tingle in the air that he couldn't place and he was so... so very tired. Then memory slithered through the deepening darkness clouding his mind, The f'karr!
He tried to fight against the hands on him, the weight, He would not let them take him easily. He could not place why it was so hard to move however, why he felt so... horrendously tired. He had to survive, to live. He refused to die here in this hellish realm where nobles treated all those willing to fight like pawns for the slaughter in some grand game.

WC: 184
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Morgana pushed a bit of her energy stores into the failing body, her eyes shuttering a bit, and looked down at him. With a nod, she stood, grasping his body in her arms.

"Do you want to live, elf?" she asked, placing a hand over the wound that now flowed freely. She inhaled sharply and repeated herself. Faintly, he gave a nod. Normally, she'd have had no problem carrying a mortal, but the loss of energy simply getting to him had taken its toll. Picking him up, she looked around and nodded to herself.

With a crack, they disappeared. Morgana reappeared in a large stone foyer, complete with brilliant red and brown carpet and towering pillars. Servants rushed to her to take her burden, but she shooed them away for the moment. Holding him in her arms, she slowly lowered back to the ground. Taking in his scent, fresh from the battlefield, she leaned over and whispered, "I give you a second chance, Lochesh." She bit her lip until her own blood mingled with his and gave him a kiss. The vampire inhaled, taking the remaining dregs of his mortal breath until he stilled completely.

Only then, did she allow the servants to take his body. Instructing them to care for him in his own rooms. "Notify me when he wakes," she ordered. The servants nodded and bowed, carrying her new son to his rooms.

A young man rushed up and held out his hands. "Mother! You must rest! What ever did you do to take that much energy? I can see you are nearly drained." She waved away his questions with a small smile, but leaned on his support. "You will soon have a brother, Matheus." He frowned and looked after the direction the servants had gone, then sighed.

"I thought you didn't enjoy doing so," he asked, helping her to her own rooms. Morgana nodded tiredly. "I do not, but it was necessary."

WC: 325
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Astarote woke, groggy and confused, in a room he'd never seen before. his head was swimming, and his every mucle ached, but he was somehow still alive.
Had it not been for the pains he'd have thought the whole battle a nightghast of some form, a prelude to the battles he knew were coming, and those already fought. Instead he was quite certain the javelin peeking through his chest had been all too real...
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:icondragonpud:
DragonPud Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A servant was in the room, prodding at the fire to spark it to light and turned slightly at the moan. Her eyes widened slightly and she dropped the poker and took off, out the door, leaving it slightly open. Astarote could see the dark brown and brilliant red of the carpeting and the grim gray of the castle walls. A draft drifted in through the door, widening it slightly and causing the dying fire to brighten briefly.

A shadow ghosted close to the door, but didn't enter immediately.
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:icontehutiy:
Tehutiy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
He barely registered the servant at this point, struggling into a sitting position and staring down at his chest. No spear, obviously, and no armour; that was strange.
bleary eyes surveyed the room, proving to him this was certainly not a healer's tent. So where was he? Suddenly his attention was drawn to the doorway, the sensation of being watched, and he saw the shadow...
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