Hidden 1 mo ago Post by The Grey Dust
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Enso

Completed where I begin,
Infinity means nothing,
Repeating my mantra,
Cycles of revolution,
Leave no change on me,
Endless for all eternity.

What does it mean in the end? How each day dawns the breaking sun, bright and brilliant in the morn only to be snuffed out by the shadows of night? How most beautiful of all the world's flowers bloom and blossom for a springtime romp, only to wilt and wither away. And so too would mortals live and rot, each a single drop of rain swallowed by the endless tides. It seems meaningless does it not? The futility of it all, from which a sense of worth is equated to the empty void. But perhaps, just perhaps, in the infinitesimal chance that there exists a reason for it all, then may yet still be a motivation. A drive which makes the circular path spiral to some end, closer and closer as we rise and ascend. For was it not fitting that even a single tear shed from the heavens shall raise the storming seas. And perhaps, it is this wanton desperation for validation, this strive to find a meaning, that fulfills its own eternal quest. A search for meaning, for purpose, for function. Unless of course, this existence was all just a cruel mockery of life, a penny opera played at for sheer entertainment and amusement for a twisted audience unknown.

And as one entered the stage, another had left. It appeared the Umbramancer had melded effortlessly to this band of misfits. To an extent a least, having seemingly won the approval of the female aasimar, and at least the satisfaction of the beholder. The dark drow was more than welcome to inflict more exquisite agonies upon him, but this hazing ritual it seemed was not for everyone. Or was it? From the ranting spew sourced from the betentacled holder, Koan was more than cordial with all newcomers. Of which suggested to the shadowed one that this group was either much larger than they appeared, or far less successful. Something of a suicide squad perhaps given the commentary and numbers present. Yet before another comment could be made in stride (or in the case of the many-eyed-monster in float?), the cat-lizard objected even more of her protests. Something about the current females in the group out-playing her usual hand, so to speak, to which the draconian feline scampered off in a huff. Fair enough, if she was needed, she could be tracked, twas after all his particular job should Jill require a cat of some slug-like skill. 'Sauron' gave his parting acknowledgement, a nod with those ever-burning eyes keen on searing the tabaxi into memory. Then the gaze returned once more to Her, the aasimar who began it all, marking her words with a charmed smile as the devil's wit replied in kind: "It is a blessing then, should one find joy in one's own pain."

It was not too far a swim, to find a rather peculiar tiger. One suggested by the merwoman who seemed to be the guide for the group. Now a tiger on land made for a very fine rug, but underwater? Though almost as expected with a group of this oddity, the group had wove their way to see a polymorphed tiger. One that turned into a siren of blue scales and equally hued hair. And this one appeared to have somehow known the dunderhead, or whatever his name was, the harsh sounds coming from the beholder's mouth hole was rather unpleasant to a civil ear. Though by Koan's intervention, the dark elf had interceded in the inquisition, sparing the Fallen to answer with another clever retort. A clever tongue to twist the words and mind, drowning logic in lies and burying truth in charm. Yet for all the suspicion the beholder had cast upon 'Sauron' it appeared the man, or rather beast, was more than willing to accept a tiger turned into a fishgirl. Tentacles wrapt themselves around flesh and fin, scales and tail, in some lariat of gross mismatch. Although it seemed to the warlock at least, she may have some worth to the beholder.

Ah Koan, would she do the same rite to this newcomer? Another mix of... Species? A druid who so aptly clung on to an abomination? It was almost disgusting to watch the paternalistic affection afforded by Dyn. Yet in away it was amusing to 'Sauron' to watch the ever-vigilant being drop his guard for a familiar face, no matter now small the guard was. Certainly it would appear the tigergirl had his trust, some tidbit to exploit in due time. As the burning gaze scanned over their newest edition to the party. That said, what was their particular purpose of venturing forth into the chasm of the Verdant Stream? There would be an answer in the silence, and patience. As those eyes wandered to meet Jill's while Koan spared a moment to greet the druidess.

Strings drawn tight,
The ends reunited,
A completed close,
The Circle.
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Hidden 1 mo ago Post by JBRam2002
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This was... unexpected. Jill watched with some surprise as Dyn actually embraced the new merfolk. She had never really pried into his history before, and simply assumed that the beholder had spent little time among humanoids before she had met him, but that evidently was not true. And he called her "child," a name never attributed to herself. Jill chuckled quietly to herself at the reunion, as well as Koan's muted greeting. And yet, she could feel the dark stare of the other aasimar on herself instead of the new pair. His unwarranted attention made her uncomfortable, yet somehow excited.

"Jill Orion," the captain said simply as an introduction. "As long as I have known Dyn, I have not known him to make friends easily. So I do not say it lightly when I say any friend of Dyn's is a friend of mine. We seek the Verdant Stream to right some wrongs. If you would join us, I am sure we would all be quite grateful."

Cynthia motioned towards Dyn. "Your old friend has a map that should help us on our journey. I know I could probably get them there myself, but you're one of the best trackers I know. Shall we be off then?"

As we finally left Coral City, we soon slipped into a jetstream that carried us with great haste towards our destination. A lesser tracker may have missed it, but both Cynthia and Dyn's 'child' were quick to lead us there. We passed by several potential hazards along the way: a school of sharks that seemed to ignore us, an underwater swirling vortex, and several other elemental creatures that seemed to ignore us. In just a few hours, we had come within striking distance of the Verdant stream.

"Well, that went better than expected," Cynthia proclaimed, pointing to a wavy tendril of green in the distance, surrounded by a floating mass of some unknown material that appeared to be rock. "That's the stream. Are you ready?"

Before anyone could respond, a creature emerged from the floating mass, floating lazily towards them. It did not appear to have noticed them yet, but it was likely just a matter of time. As the creature approached, its form became evident. It was a wolf that shared a similar coloration as the Theullai, except this one had three heads.

"Cerberus," Cynthia whispered. "The Marid's Guardian, or so we call him. We will have to pass him to enter. How do we do this?"
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Hekazu
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Jill did not quite seem to be picking up just how big of a deal it was for the great Dyn'yer'zhead to call anyone a child of their own. It had not come instantly, that was for sure, for the battle of two minds between him and the actual child the merfolk woman had been back then had lasted but two whole years, at the end of which he had given up for mere convenience's sake. It was easier to spit those syllables out than repeat a whole lot of others, but it still did not mean he liked it. Best for everyone around (except maybe the Beholder himself) was when Adrevz would speak up and explain this matter to the lot. If Dyn had had to do it, the tirade would likely have went on for way longer.

But soon after they finally made their way away, the Beholder still holding firmly onto the map, allowing the two merfolk ladies to look at it when they needed to, but he did not let it slip away from him, nor did he look kindly to other's attempts at manipulating it. With the two in scouting position, they would reach the Verdant stream surprisingly easily. The infinite sea was kind to them on this day. But as soon as they reached the stream, their troubles began.

Dyn registered the form of the creature Cynthia pointed out and grimaced. It was another one of those ice wolves. Of course. Had they just dealt with the one they had faced on the seas instead of taking its mark for themselves and setting out on some errand with no promise for a reward they could have made do with just one of them. Now they had a second one before them, and that one had a multitude of heads to boot. Less of those drakes, but the main problem was in the wolf thing being very much present and not too likely to be sympathetic to their cause. That meant they simply needed to convince it to let the group pass though.

Dyn grumbled, his dissatisfaction with the situation showing, though nobody with the possible exception of Sauron should be surprised at said mood, nor the expression of it anyway. He waved Adrevz over, sharing his insights with Jill and her, as well as anyone else who might be willing to listen. "With the earlier of their kind having been left behind without a fight and us possibly wanting to talk with the Marid... we do not want to charge this one either. Talking with it is an option, though if it is even remotely like the other we'll end up getting roped to another episode of nonsense. Considering an alternate point of view, three heads, three noses. May be hard to go around. Start with talking", he gurgled, his preference now made clear. He detached from the conversation to see if anyone would be starting a solo act before swimming slightly closer to the creature in the event of no surprises in the once more smaller crew.


@JBRam2002@Zverda
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Gordian Nought
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Their three hour tour rapidly came to a halt as the three headed Theullai, surfaced, indolently from a detached bulk circumferentially housing the Verdant Stream. The mystical marriage of the emerald rivulet joined to a couple ring subtly suggested a nuptial and mutual protection. This twelfth labor of love, now, was defended by a seemingly noncommittal guard dog. A theogony, reconciling such a relation to their previous visitor on the high seas, begged a Euripidean solution. This was their underworld but where was an axiomatic Theseus? Or a famed Pirithous? To fulfill a punishment pledged against an unmet Marid, wishing against its station, burying its interventions from the public with the ostensible help of a thrice pronged semblance of a foreshadowed Bledig.

The proposterous princess of pranks peered past the peculiar portal, curiously attempting to ascertain the wolf’s veracious demeanor in addition to its delightful moniker.

Whether this Cerberus be friend or foe?

The fashion of its timing was impeccable, likely condemning their expedition’s future before the current circuitously would wash the party farther from the destination of its desire. Complete independence from impending jeopardy grew unviable from the impractical joker’s point of view, though the monstrosity was, for the time being, on the polar position's tide, with the avocado vine between them.

It would be impossible. Unless.

A whisper retorted back at Cynthia’s query. “Mercy on us, it’s high time in our day to cast off all aquatic cares and get down to business.” The silver half-elf sleeved both arms into her ropy lattice and instructed all to join. “Hold onto the net, be sneaky and cuddle close.” Quickly, a magical obscurity overtook the mesh and emanated darkness as the excursion’s outward shell was engulfed by the webbed shadows. Her over imaginative pea-sized brain believed that an impenetrable void approaching their overt target would be innocuously and completely inconspicuous.

Besides she appeared to possess a scheme or at least a back-up plan.

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"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."


Adrevz looked at Jill for a moment, her head tilted to the side for a brief moment as she assessed the female Aasimar. "Far and I are not exactly friends," she said, her tone rather flat as if she felt like the woman should know what she meant, "He raised me since I was a child, he is my father and after some years he finally agreed to call me Child. As I am sure Cynthia told you, I am Adrevz, I am a True Form Druid who specializes in healing and summoning. I may have sacrificed an array of forms in favor of my Tiger, but do not worry, it has allowed me to become far more focused than most Druids who have a tendency to spread out and lack the ability to stay in their forms longer."

With that said she looked at the other Aasimar, her studying of him far longer and far more scrutinizing than it had been with the Captain. There was something about him that she did not exactly trust and it had far less to do with what he was and more to do with the feeling she got from him. However, if he was with Dyn then she would have to trust him for now, even if that trust was about the size of a grain of sand. When Koan began speaking with her, she focused her violet eyes on the Jester and listened, the other woman's jealousy clear to the Siren which only proved to amuse her.

"Well met," she replied, offering her a very small nod before the group set on their way. For most of it she remained silent, leading the group with Cynthia along the path that would lead them to where they needed to go with minimal issue. When they finally managed to make it out of the stream, she found the sight of Cerberus rather amusing as she simply did not fear the creature. "I could just try to turn it into a fish or something... would make it less likely to hurt us, I could also try talking to it as well, maybe it can be reasoned with to allow us to pass unless he is supposed to keep us from getting to where we want to go. Fair warning, I'm not great at talking to things."

Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Lauder
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It seemed that her new found group of friends was not so eager for an old lady to properly get herself equipped, though in truth she was waiting to get a drink from the bartender which she didn’t get to have anyways for they were waiting for the morning resupply. Not only was she denied her booze, but she immediately lost where her compatriots went, luckily she didn’t have to keep acting happy. In fact, a face akin to that a grumpy old woman would grow on her face, it would have been a strange sight.

”Stupid, bloody pirates… no respect for the elderly… need to eat more greens,” the mystic mumbled, swimming after the direction her friends had gone. Following their tracks were the easy part, they were a noisy bunch after all, what was preventing her from immediately being with them again were the town guard who thought it would be real great to pull her aside and racially profile her, accusing her of stealing. It was not until her inner old lady, who began to swing around some random stick and yell very loudly, did they release her.

The hunt was on yet again, and it was over, yet again. She could see the party dead ahead, and some stupid wolf thing, and a black cloud thing. Askia shrugged and put on her plastered smile once before swimming after her party members, that was before an idea came popping into her head as she stopped moving and sunk lazily to the ground, a devilish smile coming to the old hero’s face.

Dyn would hear a certain annoying voice in his mind, a kobold’s voice, ”Testing, testing. One, two, three. Boy it’s been awhile since I last spoke to someone through mind. Anyways, dear tentacle monster, I can see that you are dealing with some three-headed wolf thing, and I have an idea that may work or it may get everyone killed. How about, you get a surprise attack on the beast, I come in and make a heroic speech to dazzle it, then we both murder deathify it? Give me a tentacle in the air if you approve!”

She was sure that this wouldn’t get approved by the beholder, but it was an idea and it seemed like everyone was hiding from it. The mystic waited for a few moments before realizing that she wasn’t being blocked, not many people had the capabilities to do that so she had forgotten the feeling for a moment. ”Damnit Dyn! Don’t block me out you many-eyed monster!” Askia yelled out before making a squeak once she realized she had just yelled out at the group while a late wolf thing was there, slamming herself into the ground and doing her best not to float up.


Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by JBRam2002
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The Cerberus turned its head at the shout, lifting itself over the green current that spewed from the mass, and gave a great howl as it spotted the mass, the beholder, and the kobold that shouted out. I had been willing to give the drow's plan a shot, but... well, circumstances dictated otherwise.

"Koan, I think your plan stopped working," Jill called out, drawing her pistol and slipping outside the aura of darkness. As she did so, the sound of two howls replied to the Cerberus as the trio of tri-headed wolves darted forward. "Oh. There's three of them."

>Roll for Initiative!
Initiative Order

24 - Askia
16 - Hunter Shark
15 - Jill
13 - Noriam
13 - Cerberus A, B, & C
12 - Cynthia
10 - Dyn
9 - Adrevz
7 - Koan
4 - Benjamin (Water Elemental)
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It seems that the cover had been blown, the magnificent mystic meticulously began to plan her move, taking no time in waiting for her allies to dictate her moves for her. She would be the star of this show, even if it greatly wounded her, though death was a very strong deterrent. Regardless, as she swam towards the others, she couldn’t quite make it time before her mind culminated yet another brilliant plan. Askia stopped just behind the group, cracking her neck.

”Benjamin! Get out here you lazy fuck!,” the mystic roared as far ahead of the group, water stirred to form an elemental. The elemental, gave an intimidating pose before a telepathic voice told it, ”Wrong way, Benjamin.” It made an indication of confusion before turning to face the three dogs. It looked back and forth between its Kobold master and the dogs before making a gesture that would indicate ‘Seriously?!,’ before it huffed and turned back to the three dogs, simply awaiting to be torn apart.

”That’s the spirit Benjamin!,” Askia applauded with a few claps of her hands.


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Jill sighed as Askia's antics brought more trouble to the table than anticipated. The bard deftly loaded a quartet of shells into the magically water-repellant pistol and darted forward and to the side, lining up a shot that didn't have an elemental in the way. She sent a bullet careening towards the nearest Cerberus to get its attention, knowing that even though the attack wouldn't deal much damage, it should at least direct its attacks away from her friends. Unless it decided to target the Elemental, which was also fine with her. The fact that she could move so freely surprised her, and she wondered what was new that allowed her to swim as fast as she did.

She turned back towards her friends, trying to see who would benefit best from an uplifting phrase. Regrettably, she knew only one person that she could see, as Koan remained in her shroud of darkness. She called out to the Beholder: "I heard that a Cerberus guards secrets. Take them down, and their secrets are ours to explore!"


@The Grey Dust is up!
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by The Grey Dust
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Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,
With his three gullets like a dog is barking
Over the people that are there submerged.

-Inferno, Canto VI, Lines 13-15


The Great Worm, or worms, in the distance howling. With a sigh the umbral one shook his head, one part disappointed in being dragged into a fight from the shadows, and one part disappointed that he would not be able to allow the darkness the drow mistress had conjured up to envelop his flesh. Oh for a tainted soul seeking cleansing, the warlock did love his shadows, feeling their cold warm his skin, the unradiance filling his spirits. Black as jet ink, ebongloam like the void, swallowing and expanding the edge of darkness unto the brink. Enwrapt by the tendrils, obsidian lace like a mantle over his mantled body, and with the sensuous touch of pitch a net held in hand. Just as Koan had instructed, though interwoven in such grasp a serpentine form snaking around his armored arm. Were they to capture this guardian? Hound or not, elemental or not, 'Sauron' had his preferences for his own canine companion. Even as he watched through the growing darkness with those devilish eyes ever-burning orange, he knew what must be done. Yes, A test, a trial, a labor, one of dozens to be done to be redeemed in the eyes of the accursed Gods. And so be it, to step out of the shadows, soon enough,

But one was not enough was it? One for all they had was easy, but three? Oh three would be a challenge. With teeth and claws, waiting to gnash and splay, to cut and cut deep. To gorge, and tear, to rip asunder and taint the dark waters with scarlet blood. To feel those fangs burrow into the flesh: such pain, and those claws slashing across the skin: such agony. Those thoughts made a creeping smile appear across the Fallen's lips, an eye cast at Koan, those pale lashes blinking in a forgiveness for her plan and preparation to be unraveled by some offending dolt. One of their numbers had summoned an aqueous ally, but it was she that awoke the tranquility of the watchmen. Whatever plans they had, be it capture, diplomacy, or polymorphic ways, dissolved away with the attention of the beasts. Thus the hunt began, the prey to be hunted the hunters, and the hunters where the prey. It has been only a week or so since he had the pleasure of killing a quarry, most preferred their bounties alive for whatever purposes they had to bring justice to those who evaded capture. Thus alas, so many were no good to him dead, but sometimes there would be an understanding of sorts and the death deemed was... Acceptable.

"I'll be sure to leave one alive for you to play with..." The warlock's wicked smile beneath that eternal hood shot at Koan just as Jill did the same to the approaching trio. They had summoned darkness, and what appeared to be a water elemental to their side, but now it was for 'Sauron' to do his part, taking his strides out into the underlight moving towards the female Aasimar who fired the first shot. And as the shadowed one left, the shadows pulled with him, linger wisps and tendrils longing to claim their servitor, or was it he that led them into the sea's light? Pulled out of the bitter darkness, the shape of a whip, cast of shadows themselves as they magically coalesced into being within his right hand. His shadow lash, manifested the dark tendril ever billowy but crisp with his full swim that glided effortlessly as afforded by the wing-like nature of his enchanted cloak. The whip a weapon to tame the foul beasts, to teach them the beauty in pain, the bounty of agony. It was time for battle and these whelps would find an eager, if not suicidal, playmate in 'Sauron'

"Shadow Hex." The invocation of the shadows as an infernal glare seared itself into the triple pairs of the beast marked for death by Jill. There before the menagerie did the Fallen stand in wispy armor dark, lash of shadows in hand like a dark lord of domination. Spell-storing ring glinting in hand a signet proper inscribed and prepared with magical shields at ready. Let them come at him, unlike those who preferred to savour their spells, the warlock had no intention of doing so, should all three beast come to engage him then all the better. They shall feel the feel the power of the dark side. Even now as the shadows bore witness to the mark of Cain upon the poor unfortunate beast's central head, one that would condemn it more than Jill's bullet may have so too did 'Sauron' think of the heavens. Was she watching? Did she care about him?

"Heel, Whelp." The whip cracked. Swung around to gain momentum as the hexblade raised his arm, circling back as they approached the shadow sentinel boldly striding into abyssal depths. There was no fear of pain upon death, no worry of being torn limb from limb. No the pain would be to die for, the greatest to feel in a lifetime as three mouths shredded your mangled still-living body between the three dogs. But for now, let them bark before the sting of the lash. The first of many marks cutting across as fading shadows danced across the target inflicting the pain its wielder so loved. And more was the back-swing flung away in sweet sadism as the weapon of darkness struck again, crossing the original slash with an X. There a true mark of a cursed creature, marked for death by the warlock's curse laid upon it as twinges of agony would seep into the foul wound. Unto the brink of death and back then, this bold move shall put him within the reaches of the beasts.

"Bite me!"

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The tri-headed dogs advanced upon the group, snarling and snapping. Each head reached out, chomping at the nearest enemies. Those happened to be Noriam and the Water Elemental. The first Cerberus's three attacks all missed Noriam, as the heads got in the way of each other. The Water Elemental (aka Benjamin) however faired slightly less well, taking five separate bites from the two canines that bit at it, taking a total of 61 damaged (halved to 30 from resistances).

Cynthia grinned, drawing her longsword and speaking a word in Aquan. The blade began to hum and spark with electric energy as she dashed forward to the Cerberus. "Let's get em!" she called, slashing Cerberus A and sending a shock of electricity through its form, dealing 27 damage (the second attack missed D: ). The Cerberus growled at the newcomer, seeming completely focused on her for a moment (next attack on Cerberus A has advantage).
Hidden 1 mo ago 1 mo ago Post by Hekazu
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Dyn felt an attempt at his mind and the Ring of Mind Shielding he proudly displayed in one of his tentacles flared to life. The gems melded in the shape of the lowly human brain pulsed with blue light as the barrier around his mind completed before the telepathic assailant had spoken a word. He was not expecting a message and he certainly was not open to just anyone calling him. This reflexive reaction would prove to cause great trouble to the group as the frustrated sender would commit a serious blunder, crying out to him in frustration. It was Askia, he realised, the voice of the kobold whose behaviour stuck out from the usual now even more. She really ought to learn how to behave...

Dyn was not the only one who caught up to this nonsense, since not long after a trio... no, a sextet... oblivion gather it all, that was a nonet of howls that erupted forth from not one but three of the three headed creatures. Their immediate aggression hinted they might not be willing to talk, though had that not been the case with the earlier wolf creature just as well? Nonetheless, their bestial choir was met with the Beholder tapping into his well of magic, summoning once more the energies that fed into what was commonly known as Bladesong. It was time to fight.

The many eyed would be captain called upon the magical powers of his cloak and swam forth in a straight line, breaking through the green stream like it was nothing and arriving next to the nearest Cerberus, having lined them all in his sights. Jill might have rang thunder with her gun, but the Beholder would show actual might. He opened his mouth not too dissimilarly to a dragon's breath as his gemmed eyepatch shone alongside his main eye and lightning gathered in his mouth. He bit down in a sadistic grin, the Lightning Bolt ringing through each and every opponent while he braced 'Tradewind' and himself for the incoming assault.


@Zverda - Next! @JBRam2002 - DM
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"The most magnificent creature in the entire world, the tiger is."
~ Jack Hanna


With the shout from Askia ringing out, Adrevz decided almost immediately that she cared not for the creature that was trying to get her Father's attention, complaining about his want to keep people out of his mind as if the Kobold had a right to his mind. "She has a mouth that is far too loud than it should be," she growled as her violet eyes narrowed and she threw a rather dirty look at her.

With the words shouted at Dyn, two more Cerberus's seemed to appear on the each side of the first, destroying any chance they really had at getting past the creatures. While the other's prepared themselves for battle, Adrevz hunched over, her fin turning into powerful Tiger legs, the form rippling from her hind legs up to her head until she was nothing but blue and black fur with piercing violet eyes. Just as Dyn's magic flew by her, she moved with surprising speed towards the canines, stopping just behind the water elemental whose name was apparently Benjamin.

Seeing as she was not as close as she would like to be, she let out a low growl of annoyance and decided to add to the things that would distract the creatures they faced until she could get close enough to fight them. Within moments a large Hunter Shark seemed to materialize out of no where, the creature appearing only about 10 feet to the right and 5 feet ahead of Adrevz who seemed rather pleased. Sure the creature would be weaker than the beasts they faced now, but it was better to have fodder and things that could hit than nothing at all. Luckily enough, the creature was fast, which meant it would be able to attack shortly after it had been summoned. While she had originally wanted far more sharks to work with, for now she wanted to go with something that could actually hit versus something that would be annoying, even with their amazing teamwork when flanking enemies.

With that done, she simply seemed to tread water, her blue fur waving softly in the current as her cloak did the same. As strange as it was, both her amulet and cloak seemed to stay on her body without restricting her ability to do anything. One allowed her to breath while the other kept her a bit more protected than her natural armor did. "Cynthia, do we need to fight these things or do you think you can talk them down?" she asked the other woman, the sound of common tongue seeming rather strange from the tiger's mouth.

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"I'll be sure to leave one alive for you to play with..."

The young Adonis, beloved by the playful silvery Venus, rushed in to taste his premature fate. To her, he had already evolved into the promised, star-crossed lover forged from this havenless sky. A frantic Romeo to her masochistic Juliet tendencies. However, the boars were thrice upon thrice, young virile canines salivating with famished dread and boiling hunger, for the destined couple. She grew dizzy, swirling and staring, as the cool currents carried the guarded verdant semblance, underwater, a secret frenzied and heated up by the assembled bodies within the vicinity.

Koan dashed, with net in tow, seeping with its own vines and curls of darkness, an unspoken poem twisting upon itself in its own coiled obscurity. Swimming to greet him on the proverbial dais, she placed her sphere of murkiness by his side, engulfing the Hexblade in its reaped benefits. The joker stood, mouth agape before the three-headed crown of a dog, now etched with a crucifix of Andrew between one its brows. This further raptured nightfall, emitting from the maw of the clown, would grant a rival to the relics of accuracy, preventing the Cerberus from easily targeting either of the armed and armored duo. The margin of decadent civility, illustrated by Noriam, triumphed the fool’s sensibilities. The gavel upon her desires were no longer pummeled into submission or judgement, but released from contempt, a knotty prison of societal violations. Her awkwardness was never easily forgiven by others, except for the crew of the S.S. Lady Slipper, and now the aspiring, new additions of Adrevz, a pupil of the curious Beholder, and this Sauron.

“Bite me.” Delicious...

Hearing those words, the jester relinquished softly her twined lattice, flooding with the curse of a muddy cloud, to float evanescently ever near her cherished pet, the whip-thrashing warlock. Her hips gyrated and hoped the pale devil would profit of its subsidy of coveted shadows. Once the thrusting came to a sensual dénouement, the grey buffoon quickly hurled a pair of blasts, as she twirled, both eldritch in nature at their trifurcated adversary, striking with the first, but its recoil forcing the second to glint past, while screeching a repetitive hymn.

“Tame ’em! Tame ‘em! Tame ‘em!”

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Benjamin let out an enraged sound as the beast in front of him dared to bite into his water form, yet it mattered not, so long as he continued to serve his master’s will. The elemental swung his arm into the right head of the dog and a thunderous crack ripples through the water (24 damage) and before the beast could get its bearings, Benjamin uppercutted the center one (9 damage, 33 Total).

All the while Askia quickened her pace to get to the fight so she could do something of use rather than sit back and tune her instrument. The mighty hero swam unnaturally fast through the water, keeping her legs and arms tucked in as her tail propelled her forward towards the combat, towards Benjamin. The crack from the elemental’s slam did much to please her, ”Good boy Benjamin! Snap their necks!”




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"We provoke a shark every time we enter the water where sharks happen to be, for we forget: The ocean is not our territory - it's theirs."
~ Peter Benchley


It was clear that, even for a mindless beast, the shark was rather disoriented within its new surroundings, it's jaws working as its dead eyes stared out into the infinite water that surrounded them. Moving forward, the Hunter Shark swam directly at the central Cerberus and attempted to attack, it's teeth sinking into the creature and pulling a small chunk out as the shark shook itself in an attempt to loosen the meat within it's jaws. While it did not look like the attack hurt the huge creature, it was clear that at least some injury had been sustained as the Shark began to lazily circle the dog, a bit of flesh stuck within its teeth as it glided lazily through the water.



@JBram2002 - Jill is up
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As the group began to take down the sharks, Jill lazily floated forward. With a flick of her wrist, a glowing crystal was produced, sending shimmering colors to dazzle two of the mutts, although one of them seemed unaffected. Jill chuckled quietly, then pocketed the crystal as the glow began to surround her. If any had doubts about her inherent beauty, they were immediately dispelled now, and she became the very picture of majesty. "Keep that one from harm!" she called out, pointing towards the affected Cerberus.

Current Battle Map!

@The Grey Dust is up next!
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A bite of the serpent's appeal,
Pain which physicians never heal,
Produced with evil seeds in wait,
Lost is innocence: gone is faith,
Eyes hungered for the tainted meal.

It had all gone so swimmingly, each player doing their task. Allies were summoned, conjured as they appeared to take into the fray. The water elemental although taking tooth and nail, seemed to avenge itself by pummeling its foe in the style of pugilists. Slamming itself into the chosen dog all the while a shark seemed to have joined in on the fray with pointed teeth. All of them took their marks, taking after how the warlock took after Jill's bullet and began to punish the hound. The beholder seemed to forgo his sword for a novel cast of lightning, the electricity jolting all at once across the line of three enemies. Each dog suffering after the other in exquisite pain that made the masochist scrape his tongue inside his mouth with a hint of jealousy. To feel the lash across ones flesh was a searing agony, but to experience the shock coursing through every neuron? Indeed the fallen had a burning desire to be the one receiving such a storm by Cynthia and Dyn. For this worthless mongrel failed thrice to obey and bite, for all the teeth that gnashed and growled, no such head could lead the attack without the inner quarrel. Thus with a heavy heart the Warlock was struck with impunity, unbearably unscathed for all his masochist drive.

Yet along came a dark angel, a cursed blessing that stirred the oceans into frenzy. A mistress clad in darkness and nothing more, a seducer in the shadows bearing fishnet stockings improper naked and yet clothed. Indeed like Venus, from the castrated impotence of a titan, born from the sea. Oh how the waters parted in her wake in her rapidly rabid advance, washed in foam and darkness as pure as tarnished silver. From those pale lips the kraken's ink, the essence of nyx that flowed so thickly from her harlequin smile, sweet pitiless salivation. In the darkness the duo dabbled, two wretched beauties as twisted as they were flawed. Enveloped in their danse macabre, a tango of death and domination. Whip and net intertwined as dark tendencies wove the odd couple together much to the impairment of the dog's vision to see the grey and pallor sight. His rhythm returning the whipping lash around his own body as the weapon snaked around his chest and waist as if directed by the will of the umbramancer. For all the disappointment in the hound's failure to strike back, Koan's presence beside him was more than welcome with the tides of darkness the perverted goddess brang. her hips gyrating in open carnality as she recited her orders like a vedeic mantra.

"My lady of agony... Shall we play with our misbehaved mutt?" Nothing would be as sweet as a private show in the dark. The others had avoided the summoned void, keeping to the underlight that was filtering through the sunless, airless sky of sea. But Koan understood him, and he yearned to understand her, a puzzling paradox of madness that tugged at his dark self. The nature of the clown was not that of a fool, not by those eyes, not by the way her dervish twirled in time to deliver the eldritch blasts those puppies so deserved. Dark magics filled the waters, what pact did she make with her soul? What taint did manifest in her mystery? Who was the master of this mistress? One above her that sent him to her in conniving and conceiving an wicked intimacy between them? A child of anemones beneath the blood-fed waves, offspring of dark and darker still.

And yet alas, it would seem the heavens would intervene from this trysted lariat. Beatrice, sweet Beatrice, from the celestial planes on high, breaking the moment with spellbinding beauty that outshone the darkest purgatory. The colours of the pattern, woven with the brother of death's curly locks, scintillating so from the crystal until alas their dog toy could growl no longer at the barking mad darkness. And behold, the tri-headed hellhound before the dangerous duo was lulled into a trance. Slowed from wrath and ruin into a sluggish apathy, much to the disappoint of 'Sauron' who frowned at the conflicting nuances in both women's demands. One goaded, urged, demanded of his lash to strangulate and harm until no more struggle would come from the whelping, but the other who had so wrapped the worthless mongrel around her fingers like the twirls of her own hair so desired that no such harm should come to her pet. Her pet? No, it was their pet, for only pain, only delicious pain could be fed to such a ravenous beast, a glutton for punishment. So why should the pain stop? There would be no pleasing Beatrice in the bounty of purgatory, but the golden apple of Dis was placed upon the Warlock's hand, just as much as the wispy shadow whip. From Adonis to Paris, fairest of all for the fairest. To Koan alone he whispered low in tutting: "How disappointing. She has taken away our toy..."

"Then to the shadows with you Curs! Shadow Banish." A whip untwisted with a flick, circling like a shark as it swung around like a lasso from the darkness. The master's symbol of dominion over the lesser beasts, the primal reaction to abhor the sting of the cruel lash. A crack resounded, and then another, twice fold was the whip cast and recast away at the uncharmed hounds remaining in the fray. And from their own shadows did rise the greater beasts, morphed into forms befitting their owner's nature. The jaws engulfed them, sealing shut as the twin heads of Orthrus emerged to snatch away the other dogs and leave the last one hypnotized before the warlocks. Jill had so taken away their fun together by demanding this dog untouched, but now he had forced the issue as the others disappeared from sight for the moment. They would return for as long as his concentration held, entrapping them in the realm of shadows in the belly of their fabled cousin. The hexblade had no intention of sharing their toy, what greed marked this target theirs and theirs alone was wiped as radiant Jill took control of the situation with a spell rather than by instilling a fear and natural submission to the plaything.

"Now we have no choice do we?" A smile of lunacy beamed at Koan in pride.
A compromise between both ladies, the one in control would be kept from the harm of the other dogs sensing their brother's stupor.
But now it was fair game for the rest of them to ravage until the seas ran with blood to bring forth the Furies.


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@JBRam2002 - With one enemy left and incapacitated, an unspoken agreement passed over the group. As the others all ganged up to attack the remaining enemy, Jill's form shifted to one of terrifying beauty. "On your knees, mutt! Grovel for me!" she called out before casting another spell. What the Cerberus thought it saw was a mystery to all but Jill, but whatever it was terrified it as it howled in agony. [Casting Command as a Bonus Action (save failed automatically) to force the enemy to go prone on its next turn, then casting Phantasmal Force (failed save), dealing 2 psychic damage]

@The Grey Dust - Once more to feel string of the lash. The crack of the whip upon the untouched heads of the beast. Twicefold, once upon each brow. There the bitter sting of pain would singe. Bear its cross upon which it would kneel. The burden too much for it to bear as the whimpering pup howled high in pain. Oh how such sweet music, necter of the gods, ambrosia of the sadist to hear the broken mind sing in highest gloria. For now this mutt had all the rapt attention of such rapturous domination. First was the Warlock himself, who twisted the shadows to flay you apart. Then was paradox Koan with darkness ever pouring with the blinding light that branded the cur's mangy hide. And third was her, Jill, who taunted her mesmerized hound so, barking like a true master for her slave to grovel like the great worm it was. Such envy, to feel all three upon his own body, self-flagellating, to be taken beneath the boots of either. Ah what fantasies a dark heart may have yet.

But oh was the light so radiant. The glow instilling that faithful flame. The light which the darkness swallowed whole, lit once more again. How can it be? That she summons the light? And how can it be that she commands the body so? Two women fair mysteries to be unraveled, perhaps over a meal once they have settled what affairs in order may be. And Yet there were several women here, and between he and the beholder, it appeared they were short of a man. Was this then his harem? His army of dangerous girls, he the captain swinging his blade with his tigeress child? And there was the last one the old lizard that she was. He knew little of her for one who just entered in, sure at the inn before but somehow quiet until this battle. Dangerous women all, and a tentacled monster. What sort of crew was this? One that would be the end of these mutts no less. As with his gaze torn between Koan and Jill, the shadowed one's burning eyes fell once more upon the enchanted dog. Oh to utter allegience to one was perhaps to deny the other. And beneath the waves, here how should the fallen aasimar choose between his Ondine or her curse?

Crack. Revel in the pain.
Crack. Delight in your suffering.

Then again, maybe it would be an experience for one of them to take his breath away.
As those eyes settled away with the punished guardian and a pale finger traced the smile the jester bore.
"Your light surprises me, what other surprises do you hide?"


@JBRam2002 - With a slash of lightning, Cynthia's Levinsword crashed down across the Cerberus twice, carving an X across its back as the wounds were immediately seared. [Cynthia attacks twice for 18+17=35 damage]

@Hekazu - The Great Dyn'yer'zhead had to admit he was somewhat miffed by the fact his prey was stolen from in front of him. Yet it only meant he had to swim a bit further to reach the only dog remaining, so for all he knew it would only serve to simplify the dilemma they might have had with this fight otherwise, especially with Jill having worked her magic on the last target. He swam forth, remaining on the Western side of the stream as he sought a position where he and his daughter would have the last remaining guardian between them. Which would be surprisingly easy with her massive transformed state. He prepared the Tradewind for a few decisive cuts as the magic of the Bladesong still fuelled his actions. [Attacks twice, scoring a critical on one, for a total of 21 damage].

@Zverda - ”Blood in the water I sing,
And one who shed it:
Deadliest hunger I sing, and one who fed it-”



While everyone else prepared to attack at once, Adrevz commanded the shark to do the same, which prompted it to keep up its circling motion it had taken up before. It was clear the hunter was ready to strike, the blood within the water calling to it to feed. However, as lacking in intellectual thought as the shark was, even the most basic of hunters understood that patience was key.

As everyone else began their attack, the Hunter received a command from it’s temporary master to attack the lone Cerberus with everyone else. With the blood of the creature in the water the Shark seemed closer to a frenzied state than before, it’s teeth sinking into the creature just like before, though it was clear it got a better grasp this time. As more attacks hit, the shark's teeth sank deep into the creature, blood rushing into its mouth as it removed yet another chunk out of the huge beast. The hunger it felt was nowhere near sated, it wanted more, it needed more, after all a shark this large needed quite a bit of meat to keep it saited.

@Zverda - “The impact of an attacking tiger can be compared to that of a piano falling on you from a second story window. But unlike the piano, the tiger is designed to do this, and the impact is only the beginning.”
~ John Vaillant, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival



Annoyance flicked across the tiger’s face, violet eyes flicking over to the male Aasimar for a brief moment, his presence made her skin crawl. While he was mildly fascinating, his interest in the other woman was mildly bothersome to her, a woman who became as jealous as she so quickly seemed to be asking for trouble. Shaking her head, she was careful as she initially moved closer to the Cerberus that was left, moving so she was flanking on the side outside of the shadows that they had created, her ears twitching. The pair bothered her greatly, mostly disgusted her actually, and she did not know them all that well. When she managed to settle into an advantageous position she waited for the others, claws extending past paws as she let out a low growl getting ready to pounce on her unsuspecting victim.

Much like her shark, when the others attacked she finally pounced, claws digging into fur and flesh as she snapped at the creature with her teeth in a threatening manner. With her size equal to that of the creature they faced she had an easier time with a more even attack, her claws spanning a larger area. While she did not tear any chunks out of the beast's flesh like her shark had, she had done plenty of damage with those she was meant to work with, the feeling satisfying. Once the damage was dealt, she leapt back so she was out of the way of any spells that had been cast as she did not want to get caught in the aftermath of what they could cast. She only trusted two of them not to hit her, the others she simply would wait until they gave her a reason to trust her rather than want to rip their throats out with her teeth. [Doggo must make Str Save DC 13, which he fails because he is dead.]

@Gordian Nought - "How disappointing. She has taken away our toy..." The pause between his breathless gasps were priceless. "Then to the shadows with you Curs!”

Banish!

The prophecy of Noriam marked the toyed beasts to a hidden Patmos, one head shy of fulfilling a book of mystagogical revelation, bursting of signs and wonders. Of churches, trumpets and bowls, dedication to eschatologically manifested the doom of the age. Such divined forecasts were excommunicated predictions, to undying clerics of an uncaptured epoch. Yet, these dogs would return, in time as do all things. This talented Sauron would be his Adam, an icon of once tasting an unknown Eden of pleasure, but purposely evicted to pangs of tribulation and the sweet agony of realty’s sting. An Oedipusian self-exile manifested a trail of tears, by killing the father of fortune, to marry the mother of martyrdom. She could see, through the magical darkness, the absence of distress in the eyes of the tempting devil. He teased her sensibilities of a myriad of other archetypes.

An Ivanhoe perhaps disinherited by a Cedric. Or a Jenik expelled by a jealous stepmother. Maybe a king’s Tristam, dismissed for a decade to sail a swan as the last pilgrimage to the last gard. Yet, what was her placed in all of this? To he, who enjoyed pain and chaos? Was the jester more of a Hagar, the matriarch of a first born Ishmael? Or a Sarah, laughing at the promises to come? The joker schemed in the impenetrable void, communed with the webbed Warlock. Her pledged pillars of sacred flame would stall for the resurgence of these Cerberi, to return and burn in radiant embers.

Koan suddenly realized her place at that imprecise moment. The clown would be the Ganymede to this dark Jupiter, a cup-bearer to his archived memoires, rife with jovial pages of sinister laughter and nefarious. The grey geisha fathomed that a faithful Rosalind would complement, quite nicely an Orlando, willed a thousand crowns from the dying progenitor of the most high. The smirk creased her face, inevident due to the inky shroud she encapsulated herself within.

A cocoon of dusky conspiracy shared with a fool’s lover.

[Koan will cast Sacred Flame. DEX save against DC of 16. 2d8 +4 (Undying Warlock benefit) for the missed DC. He fails because he is dead.]

@Lauder - “Y’know this would be a good time for a song,” came the voice of the Kobold, so tempted to begin playing a song. Yet, she restrained herself and groaned as she figured she could help the group of feeble minds. Her hands began grow restless though, unable to truly fight off the temptation of music. ”I guess I’ll just put the nail in the coffin,” Askia sighed as she allowed her mind to take control of the situation. [Askia will use Psychic Hammer on Doggo C if it tries to attack. It must make a DEX save against a DC of 16 or take 2d6 damage. It fails because he is dead.]

It turns out, when you gang up on an enemy, he can be defeated quite easily.
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"How disappointing it broke already." The umbramancer's voice twinged with a combination of loss and invigoration. The battle surely aroused him, the shadows around him bolstering his strength as the essence of his hex-marked foe was breathed in like liquid ecstasy. There the defeated beast fell victim to the shadows, the fading curse upon its central head sapping what dying life it before growing cold. This mongrel was easy, being the enmity of the hexblade. Yet the other two would be more of a challenge for his skills. Thus with his eyes glancing about the victorious lot, he knew they could make short work of these mutts for the excess of pure obliteration had rendered the dogs undone. Tiger rending flesh, light like searing fire. Everything all in excess for the sheer part of flogging a dead horse, and as much as he loved flogging there was no fun when there was no response.

The shadows at his arm shifted once more, the tendril of darkness swirling around as it snaked around the caster's arm. Pulled by his will at last, the lash became a blade. The simplicity of it all, an edge with which to cut, a handle of which to grasp. A dark saber, the weapon of a hexblade. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Still kept in the darkest darkness, twas perhaps impossible for others still to see save for the divine Koan. The mistress by his side, with eyes as manic as his was grim. A playdate to be made, for even if she bore the light and dark, so too did he. Or at least he once did, perhaps as dim as it may be now. Would they court? Or would Jill be the one to save him from his own inner black? Or was it that she was sent to bring him to her, this Koan? Grand schemes of heaven cast away the Fallen aasimar grabbed his eager sword, feeling the shadows shifting with anticipatory power. The whispering wisps urging, begging you to kill.

A whistle.
Mocking lips made clear across the sea.
A beckon for the dogs to return to their newfound master.
Rising from the shadows the hounds were regurgitated back.
To see the remains of its brethren dead and lying.
Submit or suffer the same fate.

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