Wordage: 5,020 (+6 points)Experience: 10/40 EXP || 6/10 EXPTherion, Level: 7 - Total EXP: 151/70Location: The Under ➡ Prison of HopeLevel Up…Boss SoulArtorias’ unyielding nature and fierce tenacity make the Wolf Knight a tough target to defeat, after all he and his ilk (that being the Knight's of Gwyn) were demigods. Artorias’ health is greatly increased, while his charging attacks and heavy swings cannot be interrupted or flinched by damage from physical attacks.
Through the cacophony of whispery voices, through the flitting wings of the moths lazily drifting to-and-fro were the deafening clash of a fight echoed from below. Artorias’ breathed a sigh, relinquishing his own tight grip from the pommel of his greatsword slightly when it seemed the dust had settled.
The uppermost layer of the mysterious prison almost seemed as silent and lifeless as a tomb, so quiet that the sudden clamp of a cell's slat being drawn shut drew Artorias’ attention. It appeared that this layer of the prison had only but the odd dogged lifeless occupant within the cells, he wondered if one held something different if fancy struck a prisoner to peer from his or her cell.
That prisoner in question could hear the thump-thump..thump-thump
within his breast, ‘They definitely aren't guards…
’ the scholar breathed in and out trying to calm himself he lifted the slat cautiously something however blocked his view and a voice came muffled from the other side but he couldn't make out the words.
Grumbling the scholar sat up, pulling at the bindings out of frustration ‘This damned thing…
’ Osvald’s breath came like mist from the device on his face as he sighed slumping against the wall of his cell. Silence fell upon him like a blanket, moments passed and the scholar resigned himself bowing his head with disappointment.
Light suddenly poured from the doorway, and the shrill sound of the metallic hinges scraping against itself filled Osvald's ears ‘What…
’ he took a finger and wiped the dust from his spectacles, squinting at the figure standing in the door.
A towering goliath of a man in plate mail, he looked like a knight of some kind yet his armor looked in a state of disrepair covered in knicks and dents here and there. His sword looked as though it had seen better days, worn with the signs of age and many a fierce battle.
Startled, the other man stepped backwards to the wall though regained his composure, he was a bespectacled man with long disheveled hair, and a wiry beard. Artorias held up his hands to show he meant no harm, the Seekers had yet to tell the knight of the look of those possessed by Galeem’s influence so the red behind the man's eyes was missed.
Osvald's eyes scrutinized the knight, but without being able to see the man's face he could only grunt ‘An accomplice…I could gain this man's trust and then maybe he will be my way out of…Wherever this is…
’ then he could find the man responsible for everything, then he could have his revenge.
Artorias understood as much that the man in clothes rags could do naught but speak wordlessly with gestures, hesitation became reluctant acceptance of his outstretched hand as he helped him up.
Osvald watched as his rescuer retrieved something from his person and spoke into it though not before turning it around in his hands like he was unfamiliar with the thing “Hmph..Confounded contraption, is this orb of witchcraft working?
” Artorias huffed “If anyone can hear my voice I hath found a prisoner..He hath a cruel looking apparatus upon his face.
Osvald gruffly tapped his neck motioning for the knight to look closer at his binding, obliging Artorias bent over taking a glance at the bindings where he spotted a hole of some sort “Hm, locked it would seem…I could try to pull it off.
” to which upon feeling the strength of the knight's grip Osvald vigorously shook his head “No? Oh well.
” Artorias shrugged.
After a few moments the pink pearl in the knight's hand came to life, though he had trouble hearing the reply until he brought the device up to his ear.More locks, huh? Probably needs a special key. Like everything else in this place."
It was Therion, the male thief's voice. He sounded exasperated."If you think he's got something important to say, I can give unlocking it a try anyway. What level?"
so he wasn't alone, interesting. Osvald wasn't sure what to make of this “The uppermost level.
” The knight replied after a moment.
Therion was closer by than either of them expected, having made his way back up to the first level to try his hand at opening the safe the Koopas brought back after descending initially. The first layer ended up being pretty harmless, so it didn't take him very long to find Artorias. Once he spotted the knight Therion made a beeline toward him, giving the man a nod in lieu of a real greeting.
The man with Artorias he'd seen well before he approached. The guy was tall, not as much as the knight beside him but a few heads over Therion. He had to look up at the both of them, but that gave him a good view of the contraption attached to the shaggy stranger's face."Wow,"
Therion said, less impressed and more incredulous that they'd muzzle someone like this while leaving their hands free. There was also a large manacle around the man's neck that looked similar in construction to the fool's bangle around Therion's own wrist. The thief narrowed his eyes at it, a flash of indignation crossing his one visible eye. Then it passed, and he gestured for the man to bend and show him the locking mechanism while he fished his lockpicks from his shawl.
Osvald snorted, the boys incredulous tone duly noted by the scholar but flew right over the head of the tall knight “Indeed quite the puzzling device I'd say.
” Artorias remarked with a good-natured chuckle. The scholar obliged Therion, moving aside his mess of hair to reveal the locking mechanism of the muzzle.
The keyhole was odd, like it required not just one key to open. Therion said nothing as he examined the muzzle's locks. He expected something weird, given that no lock in this entire prison had been normal so far. But this one wasn't rusted, and it didn't feel enchanted. The way it looked... like he'd have to open a few at once. It would definitely be a challenge, but it was doable. In fact Therion was determined to do it, unwilling to let the prison best him when it came to opening locks. He was the best in the business and he'd be damned if he walked out of here without opening something he wasn't supposed to.
He got to work, pushing the pins gently through the muzzle's mechanism. Several tense, awkward minutes went by as Therion steadily worked on the lock. The man would probably have a crick in his neck from holding his position, but the thief didn't really care so long as the big guy didn't move and ruin his progress.And there... we... go!
Therion thought, satisfaction flooding through him when he heard the locks click open. He backed away, a sharp grin on his face. "All set."
The scholar massaged the kink in his neck with one rough hand “Hmph…Thank you,
” Osvald mumbled sounding mildly apprehensive, his bright blue eyes glanced between Therion and the knight before speaking again “You don't appear to be prisoners…Who are you people?
”"We're just visiting,"
Therion said, a non-answer. Then he turned to Artorias. "No one's found the big boss of the place yet, so I'm getting a move on if there's nothing else."
This left the knight to explain what little he knew of the Seekers “You might call us travelers of sorts and as for you…
” Artorias’ voice took a more stern tone when he spoke to Therion “Thou should lead us to the others instead of simply leave.
” At that the thief scoffed loudly.
“Hm…I'm sure you have your reasons for traveling in this place.
” cutting in to sever the tension Osvald interjected, straightening his coat “It makes sense we work together, it's only logical after all. And my magic is sure to be of some use, we can settle the rest later.
Osvald demonstrated with an open hand, a small flame that he manifested in his palm “I'm a scholar of magic,
” he put it simply closing his hand around the flame “Or I was before…Well it's not important.
” Osvald said with a shrug, shoving his hands into the pockets of his overcoat.A scholar, huh?
Therion wouldn't have expected that from the man's physique, but now the muzzle made sense. If he was anything like the scholar Therion knew, it would behoove any captor to make sure the man couldn't cast any spells... and prevent sudden lectures. Though in that regard, this scholar didn't seem to feel the need to jump into long winded explanations, which Therion appreciated."If you feel like tagging along, who am I to say no?"
The thief said, not really caring one way or another. Allies came and went at this point, and what was one more clown for the circus anyway? The guy's fire spells were probably more reliable than Therion's too, should they need it.
On Artorias' request Therion brought them back the way he'd come, though begrudgingly. By the time they made it back to where he'd left the Koopas, the family had already gone to explore again. The place the Seekers had come into the prison from, the broken wall leading to the hollow shaft, was nearby. Osvald could escape from here if he was willing to descend through where the drop pod had come up, but he stoically kept with the two Seekers as they descended deeper into Mercy Dreams.
They crossed swiftly to the second level, which had been explored already by other people, though not as thoroughly as the group might have thought. Guards still remained, but since the trio was heading for the stairwell down they avoided most of them who were patrolling other areas. The few they did run into were taken care of by the Wolf Knight.
It turned out that their newest recruit was a man of few words. So was Artorias, and Therion wasn’t the most talkative person either. It made their going silent and awkward, especially with the groans and whispers from various inmates as background noise. Normally this wouldn’t bother Therion, and maybe it was the combination of this place and some personality change, but at the moment it sort of did. He glanced at the man with the chain around his neck."So what should we call you?”
the thief said, breaking the tense silence.
“Osvald. What should I call either of you?
” the scholar replied without looking at Therion.
As a man of few words himself the knight had little to add but to mumble “Artorias, the Aby…Just Artorias.
” eyebrow raised Osvald grunted, the knight he surmised had a title but one he was reluctant to share though he didn't care to press the issue.”Therion.”
All the names were silently acknowledged, and none of the three continued after that. The terse trek went on until the metal stairway was in sight.
The third floor had been opened up already, the level flushed with sounds of battle below them at another end of the area. "That’d be us,”
Therion mentioned, sure that it was other Seekers making a racket. Good news for them, seeing as they could use a distraction to easily check out the rest of the prison.
“Ah a welcome change, time to see what that magic of yours can do.
Osvald gave the knight a brief sideways glance “That will remain to be seen.
” offering the other man nothing more than a shrug in response to the question.
A thought occurred to Therion."You found this guy in one of the cells, right?"
he asked Artorias. "Earlier I was thinking letting some of the prisoners out might distract the guards, give us some cover. The only things I saw in them were these… monster things, though."
The thief looked at the cells around them, some the same featureless metal boxes that had held Osvald. "If there’s actually regular people in them, that might still work."
Deep in thought the scholar considered the idea, scratching his wry beard “Hmph, clever.
” he said sounding mildly impressed by Therion's line of thinking, Osvald uncrossed his arms and shrugged.
He hadn’t been able to get the locks open though, but now he had a key. If they found another friendly inside a cell, he’d have to tell the others to start opening doors. A prison riot sounded like the kind of thing the Seekers would get up to.
Therion produced the bronze key and twirled it around his finger. "Want to give it a try?"
The knight grunted he had no qualms with the plan, and Osvald nodded “By all means.
Without further ado Therion popped the key into the matching lock of one of the cells near them. It took a bit of grinding to get it to fit properly but it did, and he turned the mechanism unlocking the cell door. In the process the key crumbled. Therion clicked his tongue, glaring at the remains of the key in his hand when the door suddenly slammed open. He jumped backward as a ghostly blue and green glow spilled out of the tiny room.
Inside was not a friendly human as they'd hoped. He was not one of the twisted mutants that occupied a majority of the cells, but something both much greater and more pitiful. In the dim light some of his features were hard to see, but he appeared skinny to the point of emaciation, or worse. There was fabric wrapped right around his arms, legs, mouth and neck, but otherwise he was unclothed - and lacking in visible sexual organs. The wraith
opened his eyes, a pale light glowing in his sockets that mixed with the dull red of Galeem’s influence, making it all the brighter.
"Awake...? No..." The stranger started to say. He looked down at his claws, as though some memory was trying to come back to him. Maybe it was too much all at once, but his mind was fractured. He looked up again, his voice straining and filled with agitation. "The descent had destroyed me... and yet I lived, and now I...!"
He broke, lunging at the person directly in front of the open cell, Therion.
“And now you face a challenge greater than your own destruction.
” the knight grunted throwing himself between the thief and wraith, winding back his empty hand and landing a bone-crunching gut punch that sent the pitiful man crashing against the wall of his cell.
” those two words spat out with such disdain, something about them suggested a slight hatred for the thing, Artorias saw the darkness in the man. Meanwhile behind the two men, Osvald stood with a blank expression as he watched. His magic would be better for a far greater number but knowing as these men expected a show of prowess he readied a flame in the palm of his hand.
The wraith stood, nearly undamaged. The madness induced by his "awakening" mixed with the compulsion to battle due to Galeem's light. He stalked back out of the cell and attacked, raking his claws against Artorias.Well that backfired big time,
Therion thought. So there was absolutely no telling who was behind a cell door, and it seemed just as likely to get a decent person as it was to get a psychotic monster.
With a flicker Therion's dual daggers appeared in his hands. The wraith's chest was the largest target of his body, so Therion aimed there, darting out from behind Artorias. He was quick, but to the wraith's eyes a human's speed was oh so slow. The wraith caught the blade of Therion's first dagger between his claws, and he avoided the second one because the thief immediately backed off. Therion had seen the claws of the wraith's other hand headed for his throat, and he wouldn't have been able to avoid it if he kept his own attack going. The weapon that had been captured, the stinging dagger, the wraith casually flung down the hall.
"It's not real," the wraith croaked, his mind captured within some kind of dream or already shattered. "Time ceased to exist."
He sprung forward. With inhuman strength he stuck his claws straight into Artorias' armor and shoved ahead until the two of them hit the railing. The metal creaked, starting to splinter from the stone that held it, dangerously close to dropping the knight over the edge. If the wraith's claws had damaged the knight he showed little to no sign of being worse for wear, gritting his teeth the Wolf Knight growled pushing his attacker off just in the knick of time as the railing gave snapping beneath their combined weight.
Artorias leapt on his attacker though when he pushed the wraith off not hesitating to follow up with a overhand slash with Finstertöter before pivoting to face opposite to the now precarious ledge. His target slipped to the side, avoiding the mighty blade and poised to strike again with its claws.
” with the wraith recovering from the knights attack Osvald took the opportunity to ignite their attacker with a gout of flame dealing to him a bit of damage. It dealt less damage as it would against more enemies yet it wasn't anything to scoff at.
The magic seemed more effective. The wraith recoiled from the flames, not like an animal but like a remembered weakness. Osvald could intuit that it was not just fire, but also water that affected the monster. Natural elements.
It turned on the scholar then, throwing a deadly claw forward in an attempt to impale him.
Osvald thankfully was saved from the oncoming slash by the knight who leapt on the wraith pinning him down with a hand to the throat sliding across the floor. He'd have to thank the hulking man later for saving him the ill fortune of being ripped to shreds by those vicious looking claws.
Artorias’s grip was tight yet he couldn't pin down his opponent without leaving his chest exposed to his claws.
So he rolled off the wraith coming to a halt and readied to slash him with his blade. ‘Impressive, his hand and arm must be skilled to wield such a blade in one.
’ the scholar thought to himself preparing to cast Fireball again “It seems our ‘friend’ is weak to the flames.
Even so, it wasn't easy to get a clear shot off. The wraith took a heavy slash from Artorias' blade, but in return landed a few slashes himself on the knight. The two of them were going blow for blow, demonstrating their heightened strength. It would be dangerous to cast a wide range spell when they were fighting so close and the chance of hitting an ally was high.
While Artorias tangled with the man turned monster (twice over), Therion held back to rely on his ranged attacks. His regular throwing daggers had practically no effect, but the crystal darts and magic knives were a little better at dealing damage. Eventually he could create an opening for Osvald. Unfortunately there didn't seem to be any obvious weak points besides the humanoid head and chest - the wraith had no stomach or kidney to puncture, and since the thing had yet to bleed Therion wondered if it even had a heart. There was clearly a brain though, it wasn't as mindless as its confused rambling made it seem.
Dodging out of the way of another slash, the freed prisoner jumped and kicked out at Artorias with both feet. It shoved him out of melee range. The wraith disengaged with him then, spinning around to knock Therion's latest projectiles out of the air. He lifted his arm and took aim at the thief, retaliating with his Force Bolts. The telekinetic blasts formed from thin air, catching Therion completely off guard as they whizzed toward him leaving a trail of distorted light. Two bolts struck the thief, and though they didn't do much damage they pushed him farther away and left him stunned for a second.
It was fortunate that the wraith chose not to capitalize on that, given there were still two enemies nearby and some approaching to boot. Three flagellant guards rounded the corner drawn by the noise. The wraith fired its force bolts at them too, blasting one right off the edge of the floor. To round things off it took aim at Osvald as well, firing the telekinetic blasts off.
The scholar grunted taking a blast that pushed him, sliding he struggled to right himself grunting “Mmph-Not as stupid as he looks.
” no matter, more enemies joined the fray. Well the more the merrier, the scholar shrugged righting himself
“Let’s see how well they cook.
” the remaining flagellant guards and Raziel took a much stronger hit against the scholars spell, the more potent the more enemies there were to target. Meanwhile the knight held a hand pressed tight against his side where he was slashed while taking a chug of Estus to heal most of the damage the wraith had dished out.
The flagellants fried, but the wraith was miraculously still standing. It was hurt for sure, but unable to do anything but continue to fight.
"You'll see, the true enemy...!" He rasped, ranting, and rushed at the Seekers with his claws. His swings were brutal, quick, and calculating.
As soon as Therion recovered he started to play defense, using his agility to avoid psychic blasts and the rush of claws. His evasive maneuvers took him closer to the other two Seekers with him. What the hell is this thing?
He thought, narrowly avoiding another slash. He hadn't missed the way it reacted to Osvald's fire, but instead of attempting to use his Wildfire and risk it backfiring, Therion tapped the scholar on the back, using this Share Energy to donate his own mana to Osvald's own.
Feeling the surge of energy the scholar flexed his fingers “Interesting…
” to share one's power in such a way intrigued him, then he unleashed it into another burst of flame, while the knight rushed the wraith with his blade ready to strike the final blow if Osvald's spell didn't finish Raziel.
The wraith leapt up then, high and away from its enemies, singed by fire but having avoided a lethal blow. The flaps behind it that at first Therion had assumed to be part of his scarf but now realized were folds of skin unfurled and allowed it to briefly catch air and push it up to the level above them. He perched on the railing opposite to where the trio was, eyes glowing in the dark. Then it pulled down its scarf, showing off the top of its mouth lined with sharp teeth. The wraith inhaled.
Motes of light flew up and into its maw. Unbelievably, so did fully formed spirits. Besides the two flagellants there were dead guards nearby that had been reduced to ashes already, whose spirits had been left there by the less loot happy Seekers. The prismatic orbs were sucked up and into the wraith's mouth, visibly restoring some of its health."You're kidding me,"
It replaced the scarf and after one ominous moment the wraith rushed right back into battle, pouncing down at the Seekers.
Raziel's strength, ferocity reminded Artorias of the mortals of Oolacile. The wraith was a twisted monster, something devoid of it's humanity.
The Wolf Knight snarled as he was raked by Raziel's claws, tumbling to the ground Artorias wrestled with the wraith a struggle that left him with several nasty scratches. But the bloodied knight overpowered Raziel, holding him with one arm around his neck as he pinned the wraith down on it's back. A tense pause passed, as Raziel struggled against his opponents weight. The knight hesitated, thrown off by his attacker with a grunt and against a wall.
Artorias only nearly evaded another ferocious slash from Raziel, the knight huffed and puffed but still he stood. However taking a deep breath he concentrated, controlling himself like he had when he had the wraith at his whim.
He could have snapped his neck, yet he simply couldn't. His sense of duty prevented him from such a brutal tactic, though even the animal deep in him goaded his hand.
Raziel lunged forward ready to claw him but was met by the knight's fist swatting the wraith back with such a forceful strike that the wall Raziel landed against cracked. Artorias stood over the other man-no the pitiful monster at his feet, and without a word raised his sword over his head like a headman's hatchet. Osvald stood impressed with the unnatural display of strength and endurance the knight seemed to possess, though his expression was blank. He had no more mana to burn through to subsequently incinerate the wraith.
Even under the knight's assault, Raziel struggled to hold onto his unlife. "You don't know anything," he said, though none took his words seriously. The wraith rolled out of the way of Artorias' finishing blow, meeting the man again in a flurry of steel and bone. This time it was easy to see that the knight had the upperhand in the prolonged exchange.
Therion joined in then with Artorias, hoping to put the wraith down as soon as possible. The two of them didn't let up, piling on as much damage as possible while the monster did its best to fend them off. Eventually the onslaught of three against one was too much, and without any other nearby spirits to heal itself with the wraith's body shut down. After a last eerily human-like cry it started to fade away, partly crumbling to ash and partly evaporating into the ether.
After making sure that it was dead, Therion didn't say anything. He collected the spirit, noting that it was the same as any other spirit they'd encountered so far. Needless to say he wouldn't be opening any more doors willy nilly.
” the scholar remarked breaking the quiet that followed their little bout, unlike himself it seemed both men had their share of injuries the worst of which the knight took. Though as strong and seemingly indomitable he was Artorias slumped against the cold floor, breathing raggedly though nowhere near death's doorstep he downed what was left of the Estus in his flask. Slowly he stood, his vitality slowly returning to him.
Though injured in the battle, Therion's wounds were far from debilitating thanks to the knight acting as a living shield for him and Osvald. They could get a move on now. And without the adrenaline pumping, two of them could hear that there was chatter through the pearls in their ears. Ganondorf and Jesse's arrival, later followed by Sectonia's request for assistance, and also..."...found someone that I know..."
Artorias and Osvald kept going while Therion stopped, completely dumbstruck by Primrose's message. That wasn't possible, was it? One of the few other people he called friends right here in the prison just after he and Primrose had talked about them? Not to mention that Ms. Fortune's friend was allegedly here as well; the likelihood of that had to be close to zero. It had to be a trap, some kind of... illusion taken shape from their subconscious. He wasn't going to fall for it.
...but he wanted to find out what was going on all the same. Therion suddenly raced ahead of his two companions, forgoing the stairwell and vaulting over the side without a word spoken to them. He kept his grip on the railing, using the momentum of his swing to propel himself down onto the floor of the next level rather than fall all the way down, tumbling when he hit the stone to prevent any real damage to himself. He all but ignored Sectonia's ask for help and the ongoing fight against the mindflayers, making a beeline for the stairs to the fourth level.
“He seemed in a hurry.
” after Therion left, Osvald spoke up watching as the thief disappeared from view after vaulting over a railing, Artorias said nothing but the words he heard in his ear from the pearl gave him an idea as to why Therion had ran off.
“Whatever it was it hath little to concern with us.
” the knight wasn't in the mood to impress upon it, he knew little to nothing about either Therion nor Primrose to tell. So with a mighty huff he slugged his sword on one mighty shoulder and motioned for the scholar to follow.
‘Agreed, I'd rather be off…
’ the scholar stood a moment before leisurely keeping stride behind his escort, something else crept up in Osvald's mind another important thing, a man he had plans to find. The man who took everything from him, as he walked Osvald's knuckles grew white as one name popped into his head.