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Morgana Faith

There wasn’t much that Morgana could do to contribute to the current situation. Combat was not her forte after all; oh, she could likely cast all of the spells that one would typically need for combat, even the most mediocre of hedge witches could sling a fireball after all, but doing so quickly, efficiently and accurately in the middle of a fight was not something she had ever been trained for or ever considered learning. Nor could she really do much to support Madeleine as she fought; healing was beyond her and while she could certainly craft a defence against practically anything this compound held, her own personal wards would protect her against anything that wasn’t truly dangerous after all, such a thing was neither fast nor reactive. It took both time and information, neither of which was given to her ahead of time.

She couldn’t even hide herself as Madeleine requested. There wasn’t much reason to make yourself invisible while you were working in the lab, unless you were trying to dodge a very determined auditor who wanted to ask about your excessive budgetary spending last term, and as such she didn’t have the current preparations to do so.

Something she might need to amend for the future.

So, her contribution here could only be provided both before and after the current conflict. Before by providing expertise and council, as she already had, and after by dissecting whatever was left on the compound when Madeleine and the defenders were done with it. Between those two points, all she could do was keep herself out of the way, peeking out from behind a tree just long enough to see what was going on before ducking away.

Madeleine was struck by a curse, but was protected by her own shield even as she eliminated the caster almost immediately. More curses followed, to similar ineffectiveness. Even operating by herself the demon seemed to have no issues handling the situation, seemingly unbothered even as more and more curses were thrown her way. She even had time to comment on how the use of curses was proof of her families involvement, with as much concern as if she was commenting on a bad spot of weather.

“Possible, but unlikely. Witches hardly have the monopoly on curses; they exist in almost every culture to some extent, and these aren’t distinctive enough to derive an origin. Like I said, witches curses are often reactive, not actively cast, and the meanest ones will rip right through that shield of yours if you aren’t careful. Remember my warnings.”

The arm, to Sasha’s wide-eyed surprise, shattered from the shot. The limb separated from its body, breaking apart at the elbow more than a person’s arm would when subjected to a mundane bullet; whatever effect it was her revolver had on the shadows, thinking of her strange power in terms of normal firearms was probably a mistake. The Rue fell back in silent agony and dissipated, Yiya dropping to the floor in a tangle heap now that the thing holding it up was gone. The old woman fell into a seat, unmoving and with her limbs bent into uncomfortable and worrying shapes.

She was hurt.

Sasha hurried to her side, revolver lowered but still clutched in a white-knuckle grip as her other hand hovered a few inches over Yiya’s body; wanting to help, to make sure she was okay, but having no idea how to do so. For a moment, she was worried that the old woman was dead, that her hesitation in not shooting the large, terrifying Rue immediately had meant she was too late, but then she saw the slow rise and fall of her chest; the signs of life, weak as they were.

Movement in the corner of her eye dragged her attention away from the woman and back down the train car. Someone else was here, a newcomer who she hadn’t seen on the platform, and behind her rose the same golden-tinged shadow; wounded, missing an arm, but still enough to make her breathe catch at the sight of it. The revolver rose, pointed now at the shadow’s face, but she couldn’t fire, not with the newcomer standing where she was, in the line of fire. If it attacked, she would fire immediately and risk the miss, but not yet.

But the Rue didn’t attack; it just stood there silently in the eerie way that Rue always did, movements that should have produced some kind of sound producing none at all. A facet of their limited existence in this world, or just of Sasha’s limited ability to perceive them. The newcomer spoke but the words were confusing at first, they made no sense on their own. “Who are you… it is… speaking to you?”
Rozaliya “Rose” Tarasova

Something was wrong.

You would think, given the situation, that Rose would have been relieved to see one of the Warped begin to slink away from the fight; limping away on three legs while the more intact one blocked her path. She wasn’t though, because Warped were not in the habit of retreating no matter how badly injured they were; the things, wherever they came from, didn’t often show a sense of self-preservation, so for one to do so now, for one to act differently than she was used to seeing?

It was worrying.

She couldn’t let it get away. Honestly, she had no idea what would happen if it did, but it wanted to get away which meant Rose wanted it not to get away; in situations where she didn’t know what was going on, simply denying the Warped their objective was good enough. Usually that objective was killing her, which she was happy to prevent, but the idea was still sound.

Before she could stop the more wounded of the two from leaving however, Rose needed to deal with the one that was standing in her way. Any move she made to get past it was blocked as it moved it body to intercept, the thing far faster and more agile even with its size; she wouldn’t be able to kill its partner before without it stopping her. Any time she took her eyes off of it to look at the other one it began to edge forward, threatening an attack if she focused her attention anywhere but at it. Her only apparent choice was to tackle it head on, kill it quickly, and then go after the other; that would have been difficult and risky enough as it was, but she had the distinct feeling that as soon as she committed to fighting the weasel in front of her fully, the wounded one would break out into a sprint and be gone before she could disengage or win. So, she needed to kill the Warped blocking her path quick enough that the wounded one didn’t have time to open up an insurmountable head start, without being reckless or giving the Warped an opportunity to kill her.

Great. No problem.

Gritting her teeth, Rose burst into action. She leapt forward suddenly; not towards the Warped, but towards what was left of the building they had just been fighting on, jumping up to the edge of the half-collapsed roof and leaning her body far enough forward that her next leap, which would take her past the Warped blocking her path and after the wounded one, was highly telegraphed. She leapt forward again, pushing off of the raised ledge at the edge of the roof as she shot herself forward at the same moment that the Warped timed its own leap to intercept her in mid-air; their two leaps sending them both on paths that would end with Rose skewered on a pair of lethal sickle-like blades that she would be unable to avoid.

Except when the Warped’s path intercepted her own, Rose wasn’t there. She was still at the edge of the roof, her forward trajectory being harshly halted by the fact that the red blades on her tail had been secured anchored into the side of the building. The masonry cracked and the blades tore a foot and a half long path through the concrete and it felt like her tailbone was being ripped right out of her back, but Rose had successfully feinted the Warped into leaping to catch someone who wasn’t there.

Pulling her tail out of the wall, Rose rushed forward for real this time; jumping forward with her arm blades extended as she lunged for the weasel-like Warped while it was still in mid-air and wondering why its prey wasn’t impaled. The blades of one of her arms plunged into the side of its chest, sinking all the way up to her fingertips as it pierced through ribs and lungs and heart; assuming it had any of those things, she’d never done an autopsy of them. The blades of her other arm found its neck, cutting through arteries and windpipe and spine.

It fell limp and Rose pulled her arms free before its weight could drag her down.

Her fireball struck true, but how much of an effect it really had on the little ball of slime it was hard to tell. The thing didn’t exactly resemble any creature Akeno had ever seen in real life and though in theory any living thing should be perturbed from being set on fire and having its body start to smoke, she didn’t know if it was the case here.

Was it fire proof? Did this thing even feel pain?

Were the bits of rock that just snapped off of its head as Grunthor smashed it over the… everything with a club, actually parts of its body, or actual rocks that it had covered itself with as a form of artificial shell?

Whatever the case, Akeno was pretty sure they were winning the fight against the slime before the cave behind them exploded and rendered the whole issue moot. The slime startled at the noise and began to roll away, but Akeno hardly paid it any attention as she instead turned and ran towards the mouth of the cave.

Up ahead she saw Esfir running towards the cave at well, reappearing from wherever she had disappeared to and reaching the entrance before she did and plunging into the darkness. Akeno decided not to follow, instead stopping at the mouth and stopping to listen for any noises. She didn’t know what had caused the explosion, whether or not the two inside at the time were still alive, if a cave-in had or was about to happen, or if the explosion had woken up whatever was inside that was supposedly so dangerous.

A lot of unknowns basically, and she wasn’t heroic enough to rush in to that even if the other Orcs were hurt.

As she listened, though, she began to hear voices. Or a voice at least, which meant someone other than Esfir was alive in there; which was a relief. Either way, their plan to lure whatever was living inside the cave outside and ambush in the open was probably shot to hell, since the explosion had probably scared anything with half a brain into going the opposite direction.

Which implied neither she nor Esfir had half a brain…

Well, this was a pretty dumb idea.

Cupping her hands around her mouth, Akeno called out into the cave and tried to project her voice inside without having to go any further than she already had. “You should get out. Anything inside already knows you’re there now; it’s too dangerous.”

@Unkown58@Lucius Cypher@ERode@Kazemitsu@Crusader Lord
In RATTLECHOMP 28 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
Blows dust off of keyboard.
In RATTLECHOMP 28 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
Sasha had frozen, the first time she came face to face with a predator.

It was a wolf. A large thing, with mottled black and white fur and yellow eyes, its coat thick to deal with the bracing winter air that caused her breath to steam in front of her face and her cheeks to turn red. It had seen her before she had seen it; she knew because when she finally caught sight of it in the corner of her vision and turned her head it was already looking at her. Their eyes met and Sasha’s only response was to freeze. She knew what she needed to do, her father had taught her before ever agreeing to take her into the forest with him, but in that moment the knowledge escaped her; chased around the inside of her head by every other thought that was suddenly racing around frantically.

The only thought that came to her with clarity was that this was a predator and she was prey. She knew that she could not move, not until it did, by which point it would be far too late to save herself. In hindsight, she could now recognise that the wolf was unlikely to try and attack her in that situation and in every encounter since then she had been able to handle herself much more competently. But at the time, the spell was only broken between the two of them when her father had fired his rifle into the air to startle them both out of their staring contest; the wolf dashed away into the trees and Sasha had all but leapt out of her skin.

Afterwards, Sasha had asked her father why he had fired into the air instead of shooting the wolf. It was dangerous; both to them and to the other hunters, so why not kill it?

“Wolves aren’t monsters.” He had told her. “There’s no such thing as monsters in the forest; just animals and hunters. A wolf is both of those things, but they’re nothing to be afraid of if you keep your wits about you.”

Sasha had never frozen again after that. Not even when she found out her father was wrong; there were monsters in the forest and they had likely taken him from her. Even when she encountered a Rue for the first time, something like an animal and maybe like a hunter but being neither of those things at all, she had been able to deal with it calmly. Even on the one occasion she had fired her father’s revolver she was calm; her actions driven by a strange kind of instinct that what she was doing would work.

There was nothing for a hunter to be afraid of if they kept their wits about them.

Sasha’s wits were very much not about her right now.

The shadow that walked into the carriage now, ducking its head to fit under the door lintel, was larger than any she had ever seen; but of more importance than that, it emanated a sense of threat greater than anything she had felt before that sent her thoughts scattering to the wind.

Sasha had likened Rue to animals many times in the past; the skittish ones like deer, the curious ones like rabbits and the ones that stalked and hunted like wolves. This was like none of those; it was greater than all of those. Not just bigger, not just… she didn’t have a description for it, it was just more and a part of her, the part that was a hunter who walked the forests and knew how to navigate its dangers was instinctively afraid of it.

It reached forward suddenly, not even needing to take another step for its long arm to be able to reach and grab Yiya’s head in one oversized claw. The sight of it snapped Sasha out of her daze like a gunshot and she raised her father’s revolver in shaking, trembling hands and pointed it at the Rue. Her finger hesitated on the trigger, a sinking feeling in her stomach telling her that her weapon wouldn’t stop this thing. Wouldn’t kill it. Instead she turned away from its torso and pointed the gun at its elbow instead, aiming at the inside bend of its outstretched limb and firing a shot into it.
Rozaliya “Rose” Tarasova

The Warped dove at her again, jumping to land flat against the wall of a ruined building before launching itself towards her in an attack that was highly telegraphed. Rose was planning to intercept, legs tensing as she prepared to meet it halfway and gore it with her own claws before it could do the same as her.

Then she heard the second howl and instead leapt up, over the weasel-like Warpeds lunge and hopefully avoiding any surprise attacks from the other.

The second attack never came, at least not before she touched down again, meaning she had lost a golden opportunity to end this fight early. As soon as her feet hit the ground she was moving, leaping towards the roof of the house the weasel had just used as a spring board and looking around to try and spot where the second one was hiding, but didn’t manage to find it in the two seconds she had to look before the first lunged for her again.

Rose threw herself to the side, rolling across the roof of the building as an oversized claw shredded the place she had just been standing. Finding her feet she began to look again, using whatever scant time she had before she had to move again to find where the hidden threat would come from. Still she saw nothing, but didn’t for a second think that she may have misheard or that the second Warped had left to go hunt someone else; it was always best to assume the worst. Sure enough, a skittering sound beneath her gave her just enough warning to dive out of the way as the second weasel smashed its way through the timbers and tiles under her feet.

Jaws snapped shut on empty air, the pilot already clear of the danger for the time being, but Rose was still close enough to lash out with her own claws. The vibrant red blades dug deep into the flesh of the Warped’s snout, tearing through its cheek and ripping out a whole section of fangs as it cut straight through the roof of its mouth and out. It howled, though whether it was in pain or fury or just because it was what something was supposed to do when it was hurt she didn’t know; Rose had never figured out if the Warped could even feel anything to begin with. Whatever the case, Rose was forced to retreat again as it began to thrash about, widening the hole it had made and causing the sections of roof around it to collapse.

Out of the corner of her eye Rose spotted just in time the first weasel closing in on her, the Warped choosing that exact moment to re-enter the fight now that she was distracted with her footing crumbing out from under her. It dove again, a short hop compared to the previous attempts, and tried to take her head from her shoulders. The pilot simply ducked, she didn’t have the room for anything fancier, and swung her own claws overarm to try and catch anything as it passed overhead.

She felt her claws catch on something, briefly, before their immaculate sharpness won out and they sliced through whatever it was easily. Another howl sounded out behind her and beneath it she heard a solid thud as something heavy landed next to her. Rose ran away again, jumping clear of the rapidly deteriorating building and back down to street level, but not before she caught glimpse of the bloody, severed paw of the weasel; blade and all.

Well, it was something.

Attacking when she couldn’t guarantee a kill had been sloppy, but at least she had restricted her opponent’s offensive options somewhat and hopefully made it less mobile at the same time. Still, the Warped was hardly any less dangerous just because it was wounded.
Thomas Thorne

He wasn’t sure what he had expected the Champion to be like. With everything else running through his head, to be honest, he hadn’t given much thought to anything else, but if had to pick something he probably would have expected the Champion to be more… enthusiastic about this at least? Right now the older trainer was talking to them like a reluctant caretaker, someone who had been stuck looking after a bunch of kids when they’d rather be doing something else and, come to think of it, maybe that’s exactly what he was. He certainly didn’t sound like he wanted to be here and the way he was talking down to them really didn’t seem like something someone who was doing this willingly would do.

Instead he sounded blunt, impatient and dismissive. Perhaps that was Tom’s own biases at work, maybe he just wanted to see the Champion in the worst light possible, but when one of the other lottery winners got in his face about something Isaac had said it made it clear he wasn’t the only one a little put off by his attitude.

There was nothing worth catching on the route between here and Cherry Grove, huh? Objectively, that was probably true; there were stronger Pokémon to be caught in the more dangerous parts of the region, like the mountains, deep in cave or out in the middle of the ocean. But it wasn’t like they would be able to make it that far with just a single Pokémon right? Every trainer had to start somewhere and didn’t get the luxury of starting out with a strong and rare Pokémon to make the early part of their journey a breeze like some did. Some of them had to work for every bit of progress and needed to catch a team of these ‘worthless’ Pokémon to do it.

He’d caught both of his Pokémon on this route.

Maybe that was why he was still stuck here.

Tom slammed the heel of his palm against the wood of the bench he was sitting on, pushing himself up to his feet. “Just let us catch whatever ‘worthless’ Pokémon we want Champ. You don’t need to hold our hands about everything.”

By the time Akeno had finished her stretches something was happening but not, as it happened, the thing she was expecting. The two Orcs who had gone inside the cave still hadn’t returned and instead, their ambush was interrupted by a couple of things occurring one after another.

On the ledges above them an abnormally large rat made its way across the rocks. Or at least is was until one of those rocks suddenly began to move, lunging at the passing rodent and snapping at it with pincers and revealing itself to be some kind of insect in disguise. It didn’t look like either creature was particularly interested in them, but there was a chance their fight would bring them in their direction so it was a good idea to keep an eye on them, even if they weren’t planning on getting involved. The Orc with the club was probably right that they couldn’t do anything to the rock-thing, assuming its shell was real stone, but they could maybe try to flip it over or something to disable it.

Before Akeno could ponder that much further however something else appeared, and this time it seemed very interested in them. A ball of slime with glowing eyes and rock-like protrusions was rolling down the hill towards them and, either intentionally or accidentally, was on a collision course with their group. The club-wielding Orc stepped forward and took a big swing at the thing, sending it back the way it came but apparently not killing it or scaring it off. The slime slithered towards them with an angry expression and, after absorbing a few small stones into its body, fired one at the Orc who had hit it.

Akeno left Grunthor to deal with that himself, instead choosing to use its inattentiveness of her to dash around to the side and draw closer to it while it was occupied. The stone within its body had begun to glow before it was fired, which Akeno took to mean it had used some kind of skill rather than just spitting the rock out; hopefully that meant it couldn’t do that forever, or not that quickly. If nothing else, the glow might give her some warning of an incoming attack.

Running until she was maybe ten feet to the slime’s left, Akeno came to a stop and drew her arm back. Given how it had bounced back from being hit by a club like that, she assumed it wouldn’t be too affected by her punches and kicks. Instead, Akeno decided to try out her new skill, conjuring a ball of fire in the palm of her hand and throwing it overarm at the slime’s side.

@Zeroth@Kazemitsu@Lucius Cypher
Rozaliya “Rose” Tarasova

It paid to pay attention to your instincts when dealing with the Warped. If you thought you saw something out of the corner or your eye or that you heard something? You did. Either go see what it was, or regroup somewhere defensible. If you thought you were being watched? You were. Find out by what and where from. If you have a bad feeling? Well, she always had a bad feeling so maybe that wasn’t the best example.

The point was, as soon as Rose had even an inkling that something bigger than an Oni was stalking the battlefield, she abandoned the fight against the chaff and put all of her focus on anticipating where the attack would come from.

She didn’t have to wait long. The Warped that burst out of the rubble before Rose had eve begun to look for it, the weasel-like creature moving swiftly across walls and along rooftops to close the distance to her in a way that made it difficult for her to track or prepare to defend. Soon it was close enough to pounce and it wasted no time in doing just that, leaping from a rooftop and lunging at her with arm blades not too dissimilar from her own.

Rose grimaced, but from a distance it could have been mistaken for a smirk as the pilot dashed forward so that the Warped would pass over her head rather than crash straight into her. Now that it was fully committed to its dive there was nothing it could do about her sudden change of location other than try to swipe at her as it passed above. She barely managed to bat one claw aside with her own and ducked under another, before taking a slash of her own at the inside of its hind leg and leaving a long but shallow cut there.

It landed past her, forepaws touching the ground first and swinging its whole body around so that when the back legs touched down it was already facing her ready for another charge. Rose had already turned around too, staring the creature down with her body leaning forward and arms poised for another attack, looking just as ready to lunge as the Warped was; there would be no retreating from this battle anyway, no backing down. It was too fast and too deadly to try running away from and too large to try defending against. She needed to kill it, before it killed her; simple as.
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