This will be a two-parter as there is a hell of a lot to get down, and I can feel my concentration waning :D Enjoy!
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14:31 – 14:50 – Tension charges the humid air, and thunder rumbles in the distance, adding to the ominous atmosphere. Looking around the massive arena, the group notice that almost all the combatants are humans, though a multitude of nationalities and races of humanity are present; hulking fur-clad warriors from Cryaria, black skinned fearsome pirates from Dohr'Khusta, ruddy skinned, black-haired fighting men from Upper Malgoroth, and many, many more. Dundorin also form a respectable number of the combatants, each group muttering darkly to their allies, each one exuding a cocky, confident air of arrogant assurance. Some wear beautifully crafted armours of heavy plate, engraved with ancestral runes and fearsome decorations, their thick bears knotted into their clans particular Gnorr, whilst others wear kilts, or thick armours made from furs. A couple wear very little other than spiral tattoos of blue and green, and great clusters of brutal piercings, their eyes glinting with an edge of barely harnessed madness.
Other combatants include several massive Talakasians. Standing almost quarter as high again as the tallest humans, they wait in the lightning washed humidity peacefully, their massive paws wrapped around the shafts of huge hammer, sizzling axes and cruel, rune covered greatswords almost 8' long and 2' wide. Other equally exotic individuals are scattered amongst the waiting hoard; genasai with hair of mist or flames or writhing weed like fronds, a Dwaer'Syth, shrouded in thick layers of soft, black silk, its sensitive eyes protected by heavy goggles of smoked quartz, and even several Gorgoth from the civilized clan-holds of Tog'Orthii and Nug'Yotha.
Then there are the warfoged. Machines given leave after the aelwyn wars, these things are openly hungry for combat, their body plates bearing past war wounds, as well as various decorations rendered in barbed steel, glinting adamantium or rune-hammered metals of more exotic, alchemical origins.
A low murmur of conversation drifts below the rumbling of the thunder, and the air suddenly seems to tense with energy. A crackling voice, a construct of magic, suddenly fills the air like tearing metal.
“Combatants, stand ready”.
All suddenly go silent. Faces drain of colour and hands tighten around weapons and implements or ball up into solid fists.
“3, 2, 1”
All hunker down, ready...
The entire arena explodes into a maelstrom of combat. Within a heartbeat the very fabric of the air is shrieking with magical and psionic power as the combatants draw on their power. Warrios surge towards their foes, and the deafening scream and crash of weapons against armour becomes one long, keening wail, a counterpoint to the brutal grunting and roaring of the combatants themselves.
It is terrifying, but to the group, who have faced so much, it is a comfortable place – their place of work.
The group's first combatants are a small gaggle of street thugs. Tattooed with crude gang symbols, they are gangers from The Roughs; three humans and a cackling ghaerduun with surprisingly clear eyes and focus. Almost certainly in the arena by sheer luck, they are clearly outclassed, and are terrified, though they give a good accounting of themselves before they are cut down.
Pulling back together as much as the press of combat allows them, the group barely have time to gather their thoughts or to steel themselves before they are attacked by a group of mercenaries. They are a varied bunch; a hulking taurgaryn clad in thick scale armour and bearing a table-top like shield, a battle-scarred war axe gripped in it's meaty paw, a pair of grizzled swordsmen with the accents and complexions of central Lower Malgorothians, an Upper Malgorothian who wields a fine looking firearm with obvious familiarity and skill, and to guard him, a hulking mastiff – a rare breed indeed - a Trull Killer or Middle Moors Hound – a powerful, smart and hardy breed used to hunt gigorim, nargor and other deadly monsters.
This group move with cohesion and skill – at least until the taurgaryn charges the assassin and smashes him to the floor, only to be sent to the ground a moment later as the warlord charges him, and blasts him with his dundorin hammer.
The battle breaks into two separate groups, each one using the press of other combatants to grant cover. In one area, the gunman and his menacing hound fight a skirmish with the barbarian and swordmage, whilst the rest of the party trade blows with the taurgaryn and swordsmen. Despite the mercenaries obvious experience, this battle is also over quite quickly; the weapons of the warriors backed up by the blazing incandescent missiles of the sorceress, and the shimmering, biting logic probes of the priest.
The taurgaryn is first to fall, and the swordsmen and hound fall shortly after. The gunner, running and shooting desperately manages to score a few grazing hits before he gets surrounded by the party and taken out of the fight.
Once again the group move to reform as best they can. The air is thick with smoke and screaming now, and blue lances of teleportation magics lift the combatants from the fray as they are taken down by their opponents.
A scream fills the air; a shrieking, maniacal sound that brings the group round sharp. The crowds seem to part before the source of the sound – a bizarre man dressed in ridiculous robes of gaudy orange, scarlet, gold and white, covered in ostentatious lightning bolt and fireball symbols. He is tall, human and has powdered white skin and bright red lipstick on. His hair has been crafted in long pyramidal spikes, each one dyed a different vivid colour; orange, red, white, yellow. Either side of this madman drift two elemental beings; one a crude manifestation of elemental fire, the other, a ghostly outline of barely sentient air currents.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA BITCHES, PREPARE TO FACE THE WRATH OF IGNIUS 'BLAZE MASTER' VOLT! NYAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!”
His voice is thin and nasal, and immediately makes everyone in the group want to smash its insane bearer to the floor. Emmiven makes a sour comment about the mage, but Jaeger reminds everyone not to get sloppy, pointing out how pristine he is despite the combats brutality and length.
A split second later, and Seren scores the first blow of this battle. With an angry word she hurls a spitting fractal bolt of wildly clashing energy towards the flamboyant magician, scoring a sound hit. The bolt splashes over him in a withering mantle of lightning, and though some of it is absorbed by abjurations woven into his robes, the mage is burned by it.
“AHA! LITTLE MINX!” he shrieks, “LIKE TO PLAY ROUGH EH? WELL, LET'S GET YOU HOT SHALL WE?”
The Fire Elemental surges with a roar towards Seren, skirting the edge of the groups strung out formation, moving between the sorceress and the swordmage. However, before it can strike, Ignius, with an effortless shrug and a mumbled incantation, hits the entire party with a devastating burst of conjured fire.
“FIREBALL BITCHES! KAPOW!”
It's a powerful casting, and many members of the party are seriously wounded, their flesh burning, their hair gone, their entire beings consumed with the white-hot agony of the torching spell. Ingnius laughs out loud, and makes an obscene gesture at the group, allowing a shimmering halo of lambent power to flicker over his head as if to highlight his arrogance.
However, a moment later, the smile is almost cut from his face, as Shnecke, eyes boggling, charges him and drives his dundorin axe, the blade moaning with his rage, through the mages shimmering magical shields, and scores a telling blow on him. Emmiven is there a moment later, as is Varracuda, the former crunching his hammer into Ignius, sending him sprawling to the ground, the latter missing the air elemental with a blossoming burst of green fire.
Drawng on his mental strength to block out the pain of the fireball, Grigori draws a ritual blade and whilst chanting and focusing on the energies within him, the arena and his allies, he draws a stinging line in his flesh, pouring the gathered energies of his casting through the blade, into his blood, and then out towards Seren. A misty light blazes from his newest wound, and leaps like a spectral spear towards the sorceress, mending the wounds she bears.
And not a moment too soon, for Jaeger suddenly appears and sends his tenebrous blade out towards the fire elemental, scoring a blow which results in a painful burst of flame erupting from the thing, catching both himself and Seren. The spell caster rattles off a quick spell, but aims too high, and the assassin is burned against as he strikes the thing with another blow, sending it skittering away from the sorceress.
Across the way, the air elemental sends a shockwave towards the snarling barbarian with no effect. However, a moment later, and Ignius has crawled away from the warlord and barbarian, and managed to gather his wits enough to work another dread spell. He grins, though his pain and anger is clear, and with a masterful command of his powers, summons a fantastical display of delicate, shimmering, impossibly complex, rainbow coloured runes, which drift before Emmiven, Varracuda and Shnecke like an impossible piece of fey jewellery. Enraptured by the display, the Ulnyrr and genasai do not notice that their noses have started to bleed, and they move with a dazed, dreamy look on their faces.
Feeling the magic prickling his skin, the warlord manages to look away from the display before it can extend its psychic hex into his mind, and he storms towards the mage, smashing him again. In response – whilst Grigori works to mend his parties wounds with almost godlike skill, and the assassin and sorceress deal with the elemental – Ingnius takes a chance and casts his most lethal spell at the warlord, taking a solid blow for his efforts. Despite this, he completes his casting and with a triumphant cry of “YOU'S GOING TO PIECES MAN!” he fires a pencil thin beam of impossibly brilliant green light at the warlord, the entropic spell immediately setting about consuming both warrior and equipment in a spreading wave of sparkling green destruction – a Disintegrate spell!!
Poor Shnecke takes a dazing blow from the air elemental, before returning the attack, his enchanted axe severing many of the spells holding the aeolian creature in this world. He is then outlined in an aura of silvery magic, which crawls over him healing wounds, snapping bones back into place, and restoring lost fluids – courtesy of Grigori who stands, unseen, beyond another group of combatants; eyes closed, mouth moving in prayer as he continues to send his lifeforce out to heal his allies. With little discernible movement, the priest also sends a lance of glassy fire towards the fire elemental, and it is reduced to little more than an agitated heat haze dancing in the air, trailing sparks and sooty smoke.
Suddenly the air is split by keening energy as bolts of chaotic power surge from the sorceress, fuelled by her anger at being wounded so grievously. She and Jaeger are now almost completely healed, thanks to the lambent tendrils of healing power curling lazily from the priest like the tentacles of some alien sea creature, and her bolts are directly on target. With a hissing wail of collapsing air and unravelling binding spells, both elementals are blown back to their own dimensions by her attacks.
Back on his feet, Ignius is sent sprawling by a hefty blow from the barbarian's axe. All cockiness has evaporated now, and the mage literally snarls at the pain and shock. He is sprayed a moment later by a fetid fluid, as Varracuda launches one of the shrunken heads he got from the Death Loved cultists towards him, and he screams as it rots his flesh away. (Simultaneously, the priest feels the vial grow suddenly cold in his pocket, and through his meditative trance, notices a stain of mould spreading across the cloth of the pocket where the vial is kept).
Emmiven, still being corroded by the mages disintegrate spell, moves to get into a position where he can once more charge the mage, but is almost dropped as Ignius sends a volley of arcane bolts into his exposed guts. However, he channels his pain and fury into a blow that breaks bones and knocks the caster onto his arse.
Shifting like a shadow, the assassin suddenly seems to appear by the downed mages side. His face an unreadable mask, he spends moment observing the squirming mage, before coldly plunging his shadowed blade into his spine, tearing through his nerves and ending his time in the arena.
By this time, the number of combatants in the blood stained and fragment strewn arena has greatly diminished, and the group try to regroup. However, suddenly a familiar group emerge, battered, bloodied but clearly determined to fight on, from the general fray – the adventurers from the Capture the Flag event!
“Gerrem!” bellows Shnecke, and suddenly, the group are in the thick of it again...