Hidden 7 yrs ago Post by Pachamac
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“…all I’m saying is, don’t you think it’d be so much easier if these monsters just, I don’t know, blew up in a puff of smoke and turned into some gald and items?”

“Yes, indeed that would. But it’d also be insane, Estelle.”

“It’d make doing this job sooooo much easier!”






Opening Theme: Now~ Paramore

A
[Pachamac] [Bunanigans] [Taerinn] [Rexcalibur] [Fox of Spades] [Crescendo] [Orpheus] [AkiBlue] [Ryver et Rhine] [Caelestis]
Production


Estelle Fenix and Marcus Wiseman are two rookie Guilders based in Clockwork Town. Their job brings them into meeting various characters and embarking on adventures that will take them across the kingdom and to explore the world. There will be laughter, tears, life, death, romance, heartache, adversity, tribulations, conspiracies and a whole load of monster ass-kicking.

This is
The Legend of Heroes.

The Road So Far
Hidden 7 yrs ago Post by Pachamac
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Now






Clockwork Town Guild

Two rookie Guilders, Estelle Fenix (Rank H Swordswoman) and Marcus Wiseman (Rank H Wind Mage) return to their lodgings in the Clockwork Town Guild, turning in their latest mission to subdue a rampaging Boarig. Inside, Estelle automatically dives for the Mission Board, hoping to take on a fresh new mission that's a little bit more dangerous and exciting then the usual rescuing of cats that seems to plague the town. The missions are slim pickings - the majority of missions already taken or far too high a danger rank for them to accept. And they're not the only ones.

However there are two missions available, under the leadership of veteran Guilder Largo [The Lion] Mann (Rank A Warrior) who's willing to allow the rookie Guilders to join him on his mission - to clear a bandit infestation squatting in a castle ruins nestled atop a hill next to the snowy mining town of Tabul. At the same time, the town is plagued by wild Firons attacking them from the other side, making camp across a frozen lake. Numerous Guilders answer the call. Of them they include:

Moira Dennis (Rank H Berserker)
- A veteran Guilder of many years whose bad manners and angry temperment has made her never advance beyond H rank.

Syed Dyjani (Rank H Electricity Mage)
- A reluctant new Guilder, magically bound to stay within a certain distance of Moira, much to his chagrin.

Selan Leclair (Rank G Dancer/Songstress)
- A beautifully exotic woman with a cool and calm personality, and bewitching abilities that turn the attention of all men to her.

Trixie May (Rank H Prankster)
- The youngest Guilder ever at 16, Trixie is a hyper and energetic prankster who batters adversaries with twin uzis and grenades.

Amy (Rank H Cleric)
- Trixie's companion, Amy is a beautiful blonde cleric with an angry grudge towards all men, to the extent that requests for healing are often ignored.

"Thunderhawk" (Rank C Ranger)
- An alcoholic womaniser, Thunderhawk thinks of nothing but himself and the booze he nurses in his glass, despite needing to provide a better example.

Nikki "Nikkolaira" Wyatt (Rank G Rogue)
- A playful, flirtatious and life happy nekomimi with a penchant for breaking into and stealing belongings.

Colchester "Cole" Grale (Rank F Earth Warrior)
- An eco warrior attuned to nature, the big, stocky man is deathly serious and determined towards right and wrong, even when it rubs off negatively to others.

Tobias "Tobi" Zenmyr (Rank G Marauder)
- A happy, carefree jokester with a penchant for riding on top of trains instead of inside.

Together the Pride is formed, and after passing on the details of the mission to his hopeful team, Largo instructs the Guilders to meet at the train station early the next morning, and for his team to get plenty of rest.

The Fateful Morning

Estelle wakes up late the next morning, dashing madly to the train station, where everyone else, bar Largo, has already arrived. Largo finally arrives, laughing at everyone else - this was his first test to see who would and could take the initiative to check the train times. The train arrives, and the Pride quickly board. Two hours remain before the Guilders reach Tabul. During that time, the Guilders laugh, frolic, talk and throw up. But the time for jolly frivolities is about to quickly run out.






Disaster strikes

Once the Pride reaches Tabul, they realise that the situation is far worse then they could possibly imagine. During the night, the town was besieged by the arrival of a new figure, Gaoh Capuello, the father of the two bandit sibling ringleaders, Sylvester “Don” Capuello and Josette Capuello. Somehow Gaoh managed to break free from prison, track his roaming children down and rejoin them. And alongside that, Gaoh managed to steal experimental military grade weapons with him: A magitech cannon and rifle. Gaoh tests the might of his newfound power on the town itself, levelling a small section.

What was originally a D ranked mission at most escalates to A rank. With Gaoh and the bandits on one side, the Firon pack on the other, and all communication lines between Tabul and other villagers severed, the situation has grown far worse then any might believe possible. Largo originally instructs his charges to return to Clockwork Town at once, but led by Estelle’s outburst, the rookie Guilders refuse to back down with the Tabul townsfolk in danger. And as dangerous as the situation is for the rookies, the numbers are so far against Largo, he could use the assistance. He reluctantly agrees, hoping to make use of the early time and Selan’s abilities to hopefully deal with the bandits whilst they remain asleep. The Pride embarks to the castle ruins where the bandits have made camp.

Reaching the hill’s peak, Largo separates the group into two teams, better to scout the ruins quickly, floor by floor. In one team there is Largo, Cole, Estelle, Marcus, Trixie and Amy. The other, led by Thunderhawk, includes Selan, Moira, Syed, Nikki and Tobi. Largo’s team enters through the front, Thunderhawk’s team the rear.



Things go bad

It isn’t long before the Pride are discovered and battles erupt between them and the bandit posse. After interrogating one of the bandits, Largo departs his team to immediately hunt down the main threat – Gaoh, at the peak of the castle. Estelle quickly grows frustrated with Cole’s sub commanding, and desires putting a more direct end to the danger by racing to the top and finding the bandit leaders, and so she quickly entices Trixie – Marcus has no choice but to follow. Thunderhawk’s team finds the mission quickly turn south – their team is overwhelmed and Selan assaulted and kidnapped. They race to rescue her.

As smaller battles and explosions ring out through the ruins, Estelle, Marcus and Trixie discover Josette’s room, and an equally pissed off Josette with it. After Josette becomes enamoured with Marcus, a furious catfight breaks out between her and Estelle. Meanwhile, Selan is introduced to Don in a way nobody could have predicted. Trapped and locked in a hidden room, Selan has to rely on her talents to beguile and subdue the dangerous man on her own. And while all this occurs, Largo encounters Gaoh at the top of the ruins, and the two battle. After a brief skirmish, Largo appears to be defeated, with Gaoh striding out confidently.

Things go worse

With Gaoh let loose, the whole Pride and castle begins to feel his wrath. He stalks after and attempts to hunt down and kill the Pride, not caring who gets in his way. Don, after bonding with Selan and witnessing the Pride’s bravery in standing up against the father who inspired so much fear and sadness inside him, tries to stand up to him, but is quickly defeated. The Ruins is subjected to much stress and damage, and begins to crumble. Determined, Estelle fights against Gaoh and is separated from Marcus, but it proves futile. She’s momentarily saved by the others, but then they’re all left subjected to Gaoh’s wickedness. As things reach their most desperate point, Gaoh becomes inches away from killing them all – and it’s only a last second save by Largo that the Pride survive.

Rules of Nature


As Largo and Gaoh’s battle is violently felt throughout the entire castle, the rest of the Pride flee. Marcus, alongside Don and Josette, flee through the ruins using another way. As the ruins collapse into rubble and debris, Largo defeats Gaoh, and the day is momentarily won.

Rest

The Pride are earned a brief respite, and they enjoy it to the fullest with an impromptu snowball fight. The team begin to bond more, enthusiastic with relief at having survived such an incredibly dangerous adventure.

But the joy is short lived, when the other trouble plaguing Tabul – the raging pack of Firons, attacks the Tabul mines, and the lives of the villagers who attempt to go after them are put into danger. The Pride race into the Tabul mines, slaying the Firons who come in their way.



Baptism of Fire

They reach the centre of the mines, and a frenetic battle royale erupts between the Pride, the Firons, and a terrifically powerful Mother Firon. The Pride barely have enough stamina left, but manage to fend off most of the Firons and protect the villagers. But then the impossible happens. In a bid to save Estelle from an attack from the Mother Firon, Largo is stabbed straight through the chest. At the same time, the supports holding the interior of the mine structure is destroyed, and once again things start to fall apart. Suddenly the ceiling collapses.

Honor


Before the Pride’s rookies are killed, Largo saves them one final time, by holding the ceiling up with his last ebbing strength. As the Pride all turn to flee, Largo bids them farewell, and entrusts Estelle with a secret letter intended to be delivered to the Clockwork Guild leaders Rize and Kara, asking her to give it to the secretary Marise. Estelle is pulled away by Marcus, crying and screaming all the time as the Lion roars one last time.

The battle of Tabul has ended.

And from a vantage point overlooking the entire town, two mysterious hooded figures watch in content with the knowledge that their plans have succeeded.
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The Lion’s Funeral

Mourning

Days pass since the events of Tabul, and the funeral for the Lion begins. Guilders from across the Kingdom of Artar all convene on Clockwork Town, wishing to extend their final respects to the man who helped and inspired them all. A giant funeral service is given, with thousands of Guilders in attendance. The Guilders are consumed with grief at the events that have transpired, and each demonstrate it in various ways – whether secluding themselves or lashing out in anger.

Of all of the Guilders, only Estelle abstains from being a part of the funeral – blaming herself for the death of the man who helped her so much through her childhood.

The Clockwork Town Guild secretary Marise leads the service, delivering an inspiring eulogy to all those in attendance. Selan sings a final song in Largo’s memory, a beautiful melody that remains on the ears of all.

I Do


Meanwhile, Estelle releases her frustration and anger in her working out. As she does, she comes to a stark realisation about what she wants to do next. She reaches out to find Marise, and asks her that she informs all of the Guilders whom were a part of the mission in Tabul to meet her in the Guild’s basement. They all turn up.

"We are the Pride"

In the Guild’s basement, Estelle makes a startling proclamation – she intends to take the letter Largo entrusted her to deliver to Marise to dliver it to its true intended recipients – the Clockwork Town Guild leaders Rize and Kara, whom have been missing an incommunicado for the last six months, with Marise’s permission. She asks each of the Guilders whom she bonded with whether or not they would be willing to follow her, and aid her in her mission. All of them - with the exception of Tobi, who still suffers from injuries in the mission and wishes to help rebuild Tabul, and Cole, who holds himself at a distance from the group and needs to return to his hometown – all join. They take the name of “The Pride” in Largo’s memory.

Marise has a surprise for the group – two new members joining the team. One of them is a diminutive sprite of herself conjured by Marise’s natural cloning abilities, to serve as liaison and guide: Lil’Mari (Rank C Secretary Sprite). The other is even more of a shock… bursting into the basement with a song and dance routine and dramatic flair, before revealing himself to be the Pride’s own former enemy, ex-bandit leader turned Guilder rookie: Sylvester ‘Don’ Capuello (Rank H Bro)!

Smooth Criminal


The Pride are given the next day to gather supplies and prepare for their journey in searching for their missing Guild Leaders. Amongst the preparations include Moira, Syed and Estelle’s shopping of explicit underwear, Marcus’ ominous encounter with two strange individuals, and Don’s mass theft of a clothing store, believing a ‘Guild tab’ would neatly pay for everything.

Vow

On the day of their departure, Estelle visits Largo’s grave. She makes a vow to him and to herself to succeed, no matter what, leaving behind a picture she drew years ago, before racing off with her friends on their next adventure.

Father and…







Travellers


The Pride’s first destination in their quest to find the missing Clockwork Town Guild Leaders, Rize and Kara, was the market town of Fenaru. They travelled the road whilst performing an escort duty for the father-daughter merchant team, Otis and Maybelle. With the sun shining down on them and a pleasant breeze greeting them, the day was considered, for all, to be a good one.

But of course, all good things can’t last forever.

Bloom

Budding Flower

Halfway through their trip to Fenaru, the Pride were suddenly ambushed by a Guilder popping out of a roadside bush, holding the team up and placing Don under arrest for his misguided robbery of the Clockwork Town clothing shop. Amidst confusion and talks breaking out between the Guilder and Estelle, they were all suddenly ambushed, by a roaming band of underground monsters called Varren, who delighted in stealing the belongings of passing travellers.

The battle was hard fought but quickly won, with the Pride’s combined efforts quickly sending the Varren packing. But as they fled, they also stole Don’s Herculean backpack carrying the clothing store’s stolen goods… thus disappearing the evidence. The Pride and the Guilder were left not knowing what to do, until the summoning of Marise’s sprite form helped to smooth things over. The Guilder, Lisette, and her baby capybara companion Kapi, had actually been set up Marise with the intention of having the archer hopefully join Estelle’s team, and this entire situation had been a test. Marise also took responsibility for Don’s robbery, paying back the clothing store in full, leaving Don massively in debt to the secretary… with his other companions now becoming more wary of him.



The Market Town: Fenaru

Lisette joined the Pride’s remaining trek to Fenaru, where the group started to bond. Upon arriving in Fenaru, they briefly split up to peruse the many stalls and their wares. Along the way, Estelle, Trixie and Lisette met a businessman named Del who sold the trio ‘Artar’s most rare and popular of cuddly toys!’ Toys which quickly died after he had already fled after payment. Eventually the team regrouped at Fenaru’s Guild, where they met the town’s secretary: Gray Aramati, and learned of a dilemma afflicting the town – a serious of break ins and robberies, with the stolen items revealed to be, of all things, cats. The Pride were left to ponder this strange mystery, as the town’s only Guilder, assigned to the mission, returned to the Guild.

Fat Lip

Hoverboarding Punk

Trent Walker was no stranger to some of the Pride, having already some affection for Selan (enough to call her Grandma) and polarising animosity for Estelle. After meeting the Pride, and arranging the details for how they would go about their mission; breaking into smaller teams and canvassing the town at night, the Pride briefly split apart for lunch. Whilst most of the group went to a new, opening chicken diner’s called Grungy’s, Moira, Syed and Thunderhawk explored the town on their own, and became embroiled in trouble when they were taken inside as hostage by a kindly old lady and made to have dinner with them. An action that enraged Trent, who considered the woman akin to his real grandmother, and blamed the trio for taking advantage of her and her unassuming nature. The trio were reprimanded, with Thunderhawk being deranked to serve as a lesson and reminder.



Rooftop pursuit

As dusk fell, tensions were high. The Pride surveyed Fenaru from all directions, each team having a firework to launch as a signal if they discovered the would be thieves. Don, Moira and Syed’s team were the first to notice a prowling figure on the rural streets, and took off after them. However, at the same time, Marcus and Nikki were ambushed by another mysterious pair, who took to kidnapping the nekomimi in her cat form. Two simultaneous fireworks were launched, and the Pride’s efforts divided. What was happening?

Estelle rejoined Moira, Syed and Don in chasing after the strange, portly man who’s fleeing took them through alleyway after alleyway and eventually into the sewers.

Nikki, whom transformed back into her normal form, was confronted with shock at the identity of the two cat-thieves who kidnapped her, who were actually revealed to two of her closest childhood friends:- the nekomimis Java and Lyja! The pair having taken it upon themselves to help liberate their feline friends after decades of mistreatment and abuse under human hands:- the neko race were often treated as slaves or hunting game by wicked individuals. As hard as it was, Nikki had to fight against her friends. Whilst she could sympathise with their hardships, it didn’t excuse their actions. What followed suit was another chase across the Fenaru rooftops once Lisette, Amy, Trent, Selan, Trixie and Thunderhawk arrived. Java and Lyja, sensing the tables turned and the two unmatched, decided simply to flee, racing for their hideout… also hidden under the sewers.

Across the town, in two separate places, the Pride would discover each other drawing closer, and closer to one another…

Don eventually got separated from his friends, and ended up obliviously finding the man they were chasing, who was the same con-man Estelle, Lisette and Trixie met earlier in the day: Del Dennis, one of Moira’s many brothers. Don took the man to be a friend and not the person he was chasing… until he was suddenly knocked out cold by Java and Lyja’s arrival in their underground hideout, filled to the brim with the town’s stolen cats. Del, caught between the two cat thieves and the Guilders behind, was suddenly knocked out by Java.

The two cat thieves had no time to flee, however, with the Pride right behind them, having boxed the two in. With no other option, they took to hiding in plain sight – transforming into their cat forms and mingling with the rest of the now liberated kitty brigade. A somewhat anti-climatic end to the mission, but one that was peacefully resolved.

New Adventures

The next morning saw the cats returned to their owners, and Java and Lyja taking the opportunity to flee. Nikki, who could have identified them before, watched them depart, a listless feeling consuming her. She parted ways with the Pride to hook up with Trent, who vowed to catch the two cat thieves no matter what. Nikki had other ideas, hoping instead to find and talk to them and resolve things peacefully. The Pride meanwhile, welcomed their newest member once Estelle formally asked Lisette and Kapi to join them on their crusade, and the Pride welcomed a new friend.

Gray found the details of Rize and Kara’s destination following Fenaru, and with that the team disembarked onto the road again, this time heading to the lively town of Museo.
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Archaeological Town: Museo

A week after the events of Fenaru, the Pride had found themselves in their next destination, the archaeological city of Museo. There, the Pride had embarked on a number of smaller missions as they passed the time in waiting for Museo’s secretary, Anastasia, to uncover the next destination Rize and Kara had left to. During one of the Pride’s days of relaxation, Moira and Syed was exploring the magnificent Museo museum when they met a friendly, beautiful man with a strange ability to manifest anything he could draw with his slate and chalk; Dylan Sanders. The man helped the duo in recovering a missing cat, and followed them back to the local Guild, where upon being enamoured with the wonders and carefree delights of the Guilders inside, decided he would apply to become one himself.

At the same time, Estelle and Marcus discovered a new mission posted on the Guild’s mission board. A mission that automatically instilled within the girl wonder and excitement for the adventure, and riches, promised. To accompany the Museo Museum’s archaeological team and explore newly discovered ruins in the outskirts of Museo! The Pride, with some reservation and reluctance, agreed to take part, curious of what exactly the mission might entail.

Mind over Matter

The very next morning, as they left for the museum, Anastasia requested Estelle and Marcus to take heed of Dylan, and have him accompany them as a primer to the duties a Guilder might have. It didn’t take much for Estelle to be enamoured by the artist after he willed a beautiful tiara into life for her.

The meeting at the museum introduced the Pride to three archaeologists - Harrison Jones, the man in charge, and his two charges Angelina Jones and Nolan Drake. The mission involved the Pride to essentially serve as carriers of their equipment to the site and from there to help serve as bodyguards against the many possible dangers inside.



The Ancient Ruins

Dangers they quickly encountered once they finally arrived and dropped in front of the Ruins’ entrance. Splitting into three teams, it wasn’t long before they were confronted by all manners of dangers, including rolling boulders hoping to crush, flying arrow mechanisms and the release of millions of spiders. As their exploration increased, the three teams of Pride eventually reformed into two as they simultaneously battled against two, very deadly traps.

Midbosses

A giant skeleton formed from the animated bone remains of a number of deceased beings battled against Moira, Syed, Dylan, Trixie, Harrison and Angelina, whilst the spider legion menace formed one, giant venom spewing arachnid against Estelle, Marcus, Amy, Lisette, Don, Selan and Nolan. Through teamwork, and the use of the ruins’ only trick puzzles, they were able to defeat both of the vicious creatures and find a way back to each other. Reforming into new teams, they continued their exploration of the Ancient Ruins, and confronted yet more deadly traps, including one involving the stepping upon of tiles that activated a myriad of traps, and light reflecting mirror traps that summoned yet more boulders.

Vacant Interference

The last puzzle

Eventually, the Pride and archaeologists were able to pass through the ruins, emerging out the other side and discovering themselves inside a cave split in two by a fast river. And on the other side of that river was another ruin, bordered by strange, giant statues. Estelle’s group, first to arrive, used the artefact they had discovered in the ruins with the hope of unlocking the door. But it wasn’t enough, they needed the other tableau Marcus’ team had acquired, but whom hadn’t arrived yet. It was enough to activate the Ruins’ final trap, however, and bring to life the four giant statue warriors that each wielded a different weapon – sword, axe, spear or bow, against the Pride.

Uniting as one, the Pride fought back against their terrible foes, and managed to subdue each of them. However, with the bridge crossing the river ruined, only Estelle, Moira, Syed, Selan, Dylan and Harrison entered the final ruins. And what they found there was something none of them could expect.



The interior shaped like that of a sphere, layered with wiring and metal surfaces. They witnessed a strange and ominous image appear in front of them, of a person wearing peculiar clothes none could recognise, speaking in a language no one could understand. Amidst the static, the image of an unrecognisable city and its people burning to death surrounded them. The image of a world dying. The last line the hologram spoke before blinking into nothing was:

Katastrophe




At that time, the ruins started to collapse. The Pride were returned to where they were, and all of them turned as one to flee. All bar Estelle, who was transfixed on a strange, black magisphere lying in the centre of the room. Pulled back to her senses, Estelle finally grabbed the magisphere, before turning with her friends and jumping into the river as the cave collapsed above them.

They all reappeared, falling out of a waterfall, into a small lake back outside. As exhausted and weary as they were, all of the Pride laughed together, for they had survived the trials, and it seemed as though the archaeologists were pleased with the mission’s result. A job well done, celebrated later on with a date between Moira and Harrison, whom a spark had grown between the two.



As the day came to a close, and the team’s findings in the Ruins were placed in display at the museum, Estelle invited Dylan to join the Pride, with the Matter Artist happily accepting. From Anastasia they learned the group’s next destination: Tagress.
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A chance encounter

En route to Tagress, the on foot travelling Pride are interrupted in their journey when they stumble on a couple of Guilders in the midst of an attack by a flock of lightning conjuring avian enemies called Electures. Rushing to their aid, the Pride and the two newcomers are able to safely dispatch and send the monsters running, afterwards catching their breath to properly greet their rescuees.

They introduce themselves as Elaine Wyatt, a chakram wielding Tracker, and Lucien Maddox, a rookie Guilder with the ability to summon beasts to life and fight inside their minds. Elaine explains how she recruited her adorable son Lucy (read: kidnap) to help her on a mission of paramount importance, and she also asks the Pride for their aid in assisting her. As they grow to learn, Elaine’s husband had departed a few days prior to investigate the rumours of a curse surrounding the Woods of Weir, that would transform any human in the surrounding area into trees themselves, as well as send the beasts within the curses’ perimeter mad. There were also rumours of a strange cloaked man, unaffected by the curse, departing into the woods. Deciding as a group to break away from their main mission to assist Elaine and Lucien, the Pride change tracks and head to the town of Lafeal, a small settlement on the outskirts of the Woods of Weir believed to be affected.

As they journey closer, the Pride chance upon an encounter with a couple of old friends: The Donahue Merchants, who were travelling on route to Lafeal, escorted by an unfamiliar rookie Guilder by the name of Julius Tarrant, a glaive wielding skirmisher with difficulty in understanding and expressing emotion. Elaine wasted no time in adopting Julius into her family either, dubbing him Julie, and so the group overlooked the town of Lafeal from a nearby hill, wondering how best to tackle the situation. From what they could see there was no sign of movement or life in the town, but they needed to get closer in order to investigate Lafeal and the woods. Fortunately, Otis Donahue revealed he carried with him a number of amulets that were said to ward off transformative curses. Braving the talismans, a small section of the Pride entered Lafeal, testing their effectiveness… and luckily enough, they remained human. Regrouping together, the Pride began to explore Lafeal.



A town transformed

It was as the rumours reported:- there was no sign of any remaining human life within Lafeal. Instead, the town had been overtaken by plantlife and vegetation. Perplexing trees stood formed within buildings and streets, positioned in odd and curious poses that led little to the imagination of their true origins. They were the townspeople. Elaine, using her keen tracking skills and senses, was able to find one particular tree within Lafeal that she was certain was her husband. Things were growing grave.

Regrouping again, the Pride and their new allies decided the best way to investigate and resolve this danger was to face the curse at its source:- to journey into the Woods of Weir, as well as find the cloaked stranger. Don and Selan remained behind, to help guard the Donahues and with the songstress feeling unwell, wracked by a cold. However… no sooner had the Pride vanished into the fogging Woods, then did a horrifying turn betake Don, Selan and the Donahues. Each ad every single one of them began to turn and transform, and within moments they too had joined the rest of the townspeople in becoming trees.



Entering the Woods of Weir

Meanwhile, the Pride descended further into the Woods. As the Woods grew darker and more ominous, the fog obscuring their sight and direction, sending Elaine’s senses reeling, they found a wounded wolf whom Dylan rushed to aid. But upon drawing close to the wolf, they were ambushed by the rest of the Dire Wolf pack, beasts whom were all mutated and who drew their deadly fangs against the Guilders. They fought as one, begrudgingly needing to kill each and every one. The struggle was hardest yet for Lisette and Dylan, the former one in love with all of life and nature. A moment’s hesitation from her led to Marcus being savagely attacked by one of the animals before being saved, his arm shredded and bleeding. Dylan learnt a first chilling lesson in what being a Guilder meant when he took his first monster’s life. With the Dire Wolves all killed, Dylan chose to rescue the Dire Wolf Pup, refusing to leave it behind, despite the warnings of his colleagues.

And then, a nightmare happened.

A rush of hurricane force yielded the immediate presence of a giant, hulking beast:- A mutated, monstrous Bearon, who appeared in the centre of them all. It was plain to all the danger he represented, that to fight would mean certain death. The Bearon drew to attack, and the Pride could do nothing but flee, becoming separated as they fled, scattered throughout the twisting and ever changing Woods, lost to one another.



Seperated

Elaine, Lucien, Dylan and Julius appeared in an sun shining, open grove. When they backtracked to find their friends, they were attacked by the trees themselves, mutated into dangerous Treants. Moira, Syed, Amy and Trixie were attacked by an unrelenting swarm of mutated squirrels. Estelle and Marcus, winded by the Bearon and injured by the Dire Wolves, followed the trail of an ethereal, emerald glowing deer, that seemed to be calling them and leading them through the woods. And Lisette… Lisette and Kapi were left all alone in an unceasing downpour. And before them… before them was the hooded stranger.

At first, she thought he might bring her harm, but to her surprise he represented kindness. His words were wrapped in cryptic ambiguity as he explained the curse of the Woods, and how the trees and animals called out to him, screaming in pain and agony. As he led Lisette to follow him, winding their way through the maze of trees to their friends, he started to explain the concept of ‘communion’. Of being able to listen, feel, and communicate with nature itself. With great surprise and difficulty, Lisette started to feel a glimpse of it.

The truth behind the Curse comes to light

With the aid of the ever just out of their reach deer, and the hooded man, the Pride managed to reform once again, overcoming the obstacles in their way. Tackling the hooded man, Estelle and the Pride discovered that it was actually their former ally Cole Grale, the Earth Warrior they fought with in Tabul. Cole explained that the curse originated in the very centre of the words, from the demi-god tree Damu that gave life and beauty to all of the woods. Once upon a time it had been poisoned, and throughout the decades that poison had taken root and infected all of the beasts and life in Weir, transforming them into mindless, violent monsters, and was even now spreading. But at the same time, Damu, using the last vestiges of its waning strength, drew what power it could to protect life outside of the Woods, and the only way it could do that was to protect them in the shell of trees. In order to save Lafeal and their friends, they would have to reach Damu.

Last Ride of the Day

But then, once more, as they neared close, the Bearon attacked them again. This time, they had no choice but to fight. The Bearon, the origin of the curse that infected Damu, was an evil that had to be destroyed. But it was more then they could possibly handle. The Bearon had been mutated into a whole new being. Incredibly powerful, and fast, able to transform into a hurricane wind and rejuvenate its wounds, let alone be resistant to feeling any pain… no matter what the Pride threw at it, it resisted.

The only hope they had left was a last, desperate gamble from Cole. He channelled a curse that laid deep inside his own body, a monster that had been sealed inside his body in his youth. His body transformed, as the beast within emerged. A Golem made from dirt and stone, that charged at the Bearon… and violently ripped it to shreds. The Bearon had been destroyed, but now… now the Golem turned to the Pride. And things grew only worse.



Wonderfields

In a desperate plea, Lisette found herself trying to save Cole through reason. Using what he had taught her, about communing with nature and communicating, feeling the life around her, she was able to break into the spirit within the Golem that was Cole. And soothing the rage inside him, she was able to, along with Cole’s own spirit, to suppress the monstrous Golem back, deep inside of himself… and transform back to normal. The beast had been quelled.



Schism

But the darkness was not yet over. Reaching Damu, the Pride learned that there was only one way to save the people of Lafeal, and that was to kill the ailing Demi-God. But it came with it dire repercussions. To choose to do that would not only lead to the death of Damu, but that of the entire woods itself, and all of the life within that had been corrupted by the curse. It led to a furious schism debate amongst the Pride, splitting between what was right and what was necessary. Many reasoned that Damu and the Woods were beyond saving. That to take its life would not only save the people of Lafeal, but grant mercy to the Woods. But Estelle refused. She refused to cower and quit like this. To take such an ‘easy out’ was unacceptable. She would find a way to save Damu and the Woods of Weir no matter what!

But before the debate could prosper, Elaine took it upon herself to end it and assume responsibility, as the highest ranking Guilder and leader of the mission. She killed the weakened Damu in one strike, and brought about an end to the curse and saving the people of Lafeal.

With the Rain

But, as the Woods and the life within, including the Dire Wolf Pup that Dylan had saved, disintegrated into red dust and vanished on the parting breeze, everyone there knew that something had changed. Something between them had been lost. And it would never return again.

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Port Town: Tagress

The Pride returned to Lafeal from the decimated Woods of Weir to find their efforts had been successful. The curse had been broken, and all of the townspeople had been transformed back to normal, including Don, Selan, the Donahues and Elaine’s husband Malik. The day had been won, but it would leave a gaping wound in the Pride that would be difficult to heal.

They continued on to Tagress in silence, and upon arriving in the bustling port town, went their separate ways to handle and come to grips what had happened. Lucien, Moira and Syed had retired to a bar, planning to drink their frustration away, whilst the others gloomily settled in at the bar. Don, oblivious to what had really happened, went to explore Tagress along with Kapi. They stumbled upon a burgeoning gang fight between two of Tagress’ local gangs, and he meant to put a peaceful stop to it. Moira, Syed and Lucien, who followed another gang to the dock warehouses where the fight would take place, found Don’s efforts to be quickly turned down and the man knocked unconscious. The scene could have turned much, much more worse then it had, if the trio weren’t rescued, and the gangs sent packing, by one of Moira’s oldest friends:- The A Rank Tagress Guild Leader himself, Tiberius Rex. He helped escort them to the Guild, promising to catch up with Moira later.

The next day, the Pride had managed to sleep, but the feelings of guilt and turmoil resided. Don, not wishing to see his friends be so gloomy and sad, ended up kidnapping Lucien and Dylan to take them on a bro day out. Trixie meanwhile, was exploring Tagress along with Julius, whom had promised the prankster to go shopping with her sometime. Selan and Amy remained at the Guild to talk, whilst Lisette, Syed and Moira shared a morning breakfast at a tasty café. It wasn’t long before they were interrupted by Don and his shenanigans, who forced them all to come shopping with him for some new, stylish clothes. The results were… unexpected, to say the least.

Silent goodbye

As the Pride eased their way into recovery, and weaving their lives back into normalcy, sadder developments were occurring elsewhere between Estelle and Marcus. Estelle, wracked in grief and self hatred for being a terrible leader. For someone unreliable and unable to accomplish anything, admitted to Marcus how hard the burden was, and how much easier it would be for them to go about their mission alone. She wanted to leave the Pride, and carry on with Marcus, alone. And she wanted to do so without telling anyone about it either.

Marcus however, despite wishing to agree with Estelle and her wishes no matter what, saw this as the onset of a catastrophic mistake born from grief. One that Estelle would later grow to hate herself for. After talking to Tiberius and explaining the situation, earning some advice from the Guild Leader in return, Marcus went to each member of the Pride separately, and explained the situation to them, and of how he and Estelle would depart for Vandrell in the coming days. Whether or not they wished to continue with them, would have to be a decision they would each decide.

Three days later, Estelle and Marcus departed on a train for Vandrell.

We Are Broken







Vandrell

All of the members of the Pride discover themselves inbound to Vandrell on the same train. The sight of everyone so far reuniting, with the exception of Amy and Trixie, helps to uplift their spirits, although they still hold worry and doubt over Estelle’s impending reaction. But like any and every other challenge they’d faced before, they resolve to face it head on.

Eventually, the train arrives at their destination: Tagress, and together they begin to explore the town in search of their companions. Things quickly grow worrying however, once they notice how empty and abandoned the streets are. There’s no Guild or Inn to relax in, and the nearest Tavern they enter only yields an unresponsive and dismissive set of patrons. The atmosphere is distorted and worrying. Something is amiss.



But a peculiar stranger offers his assistance in leading the Pride to their missing friend’s whereabouts- he had seen them travel to the nearby Manor located on yonder hill. With no other leads, the Pride follow suit, and are glad they did when it starts to rain. Arriving at the Manor, they are greeted by the butler Jack, who diligently serves the noble Hawthorne Family. For the Hawthorne Family, they consider the Pride, plus the missing Amy, Trixie, Estelle and Marcus, as guests of their own, and invite them to dinner, rest and entertainment. The Pride gratefully accept.



The Hawthorne Family

The Hawthorne Family is composed of the head: the joyfully loud Lucius, his wife, the beautifully serene Drusilla, their children Damian- a bookworm and Alice, a child who loves her games and quickly makes friends with Trixie. Lucius’ cousin Megaera, a woman with a keen sense for refinement and is dismissive of anything less, attempts to teach Don in the art of regal manners. The maids Valentine, a violin virtuoso who greets several of the Pride whilst attending their laundry, and Circe, who serves as the Family cook and whom prepares their upcoming dinner, are also present. And rounding out the Family is Oren, an old man with a limp and gruff attitude who spends most of his time within the basement.

The evening starts fresh and joyful, with the Pride being given new clothes to wear as their soaked wet ones are taken to dry, and they begin to explore the Manor and interact with the Family. Trixie and Alice’s games end up involving many members of the Pride, whilst Lucius leads several to look over Megaera’s art gallery and the Manor’s stunning Ballroom, which they have the chance for a quick dance. Damian greets several more of the Pride in their expansive Library, until his mother Drusilla also appears to offer some assistance. As the Pride look over the Manor with wonder, they also endeavour to search for Estelle and Marcus, however time quickly runs out. Trixie and Don discover them, but the time for dinner had arrived.

Setting down at the table, the Pride enjoy a wonderful three course meal prepared by Circe to the background music of Valentine and Jack. Estelle and Don arrive late, to awkward tensions amongst their friends, which only heighten until Lucius snaps at his guests for their ill considered, rudeness towards their surroundings and his family. After this, however, the mood cools considerably, and once dinner has been completed, he leads his guests to the Ballroom for further revelry and delight. Everything is turning out splendid, even Estelle is starting to lighten up and have fun. But all of that comes to a crashing halt when one by one, the Pride collapse unconscious.

The Ascension

They had been tricked by the Family, their food drugged during dinner. As they later discover upon awakening and through the help of another trapped prisoner, Billy, the Family are not the quaint, courteous nobles they present themselves as. Instead, they are a band of psychotic villains, aiming to bring about the resurrection of a fell, dreaded demon known as Abraxis through a ritual known as the Ascension.



With no way of knowing how much time is remaining, all the Pride do know is that they have their backs against the wall, with no help incoming. In a situation more dangerous then ever, the only option they have is to fight, and to win… or else the whole world could be doomed. They had to find the eight artefacts needed to prevent the Ascension’s completion. They had to stop the Family.

With Trixie’s help in freeing them, the Pride quickly escape and are reunited with their weapons and gear. Splitting up, the Pride search the Manor as quickly as they could for the Artefacts they need, as well as the members of the Family in order to put an end to their nefarious schemes. All around the Manor, the Pride become more and more split up, and embroiled in their most dangerous battles yet. Dylan and Lucien fight Damian and Alice in the Library. Lisette and Amy encounter Jack and Valentine in the Ballroom. Moira and Syed struggle against Frank, the demonic man machine juggernaut jailer, in the Courtyard. Celeste fights to rescue Julius from Megaera’s clutches in her Gallery. Selan finds Don in the second floor Guest Room corridor, trapped and bewitched by Drusilla’s charms. And Marcus and Trixie intrude upon Oren and Circe in the midst of performing an operation in the alchemist’s Basement/Laboratory. And so it begins.

We’re in this Together


Through much trial, hardship and adversary, the Pride fight, and eventually, they succeed. Against all odds, the Pride manage to overcome their opponents, and claim 6 of the 8 keys they so far needed. But there is little time for rest or respite, as the ground beneath them surges and breaks. In the underground basement, a terrifying transformation occurs for both Marcus and Oren, as the latter injects himself with sinister concoction after another, transforming him into a giant, mutated monsters that rips itself free and onto solid ground. Marcus and Trixie, along with Trent and Nikki, former companions whom were similarly captured and drugged before their arrival, retreat into the courtyard, where they are joined by the rest of their companions in one united front against the horror that is the monstrous Oren. Together, they wage a deadly battle against an impossibly powerful being, who can withstand numerous amounts of pain, and who, even after being injured by the Pride, brought to his knees and blinded, is able to recover himself against.



Things grow desperate and bleak.

On the Manor’s fourth floor, in the Master bedroom, Estelle encounters the Family’s leader, the dreaded Lucifer. After revealing how much time is left before the Ascension begins, Estelle wastes no time in attacking Lucifer, preferring not to listen to the maniac’s monologuing madness. Through fiery determination, Estelle breaks through his attacks and brings him down. But the victory is short-lived, the undead Lucifer, transforming into his true form, stabs Estelle in the back, leaving her to lie broken and dying behind.

As the battle rages outside, Oren, in all his madness, suddenly stops. A new presence appears above him and the Pride, silhouetted against the full moon. A vile and unspeakable, evil being.

And now…
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