@SavOrhchid There was a small hiccup with a post being put in the characters tab, so that number is off. But I'm not sure if the RP is currently accepting. Worth a shot to wait and hear from the GM. ^.^
"Come, apostate, Silverwick is close. Seems some of our kin are already there, I can feel their presence..." the orb said as it floated ahead of Gwynne, the light from it pulsing excitedly.
Gwynne staggered along behind the orb, clutching her bleeding shoulder. "Would you hold a damn moment? I need to tend to this wound..."
"There is no time. The longer we stretch this reunion out, the harder things become. What's a few lost drops of blood within a lake of red?"
Gwynne stumbled to one knee and sucked in a breath. She clenched her teeth and stretched out an arm, willing the orb back to her side despite Topesh's wishes. She growled, "I may be your chosen, but your vessel is under my command! I am not your slave, and when I say we stop, we stop."
"Weakling. Your new comrades can see to your inju-"
"My new comrades are manipulators and sadists! The only one I trust can trust is myself." Gwynne growled again, pulling aetheric energy from the orb. Gwynne could hear the almost pained sounds the soul within let out from that extraction. The orb glowed dimmer than it did just a moment ago.
Topesh went silent for a few long moments while Gwynne reached into a pouch and pulled out a needle and suture. Her hand was shaking. The sound of a twig snapping nearby drew Gwynne's attention. She shot her red gaze to the sound, and saw the silhouette of a deer in the darkness. It turned its head toward her, the two eyes of the animal shined in the darkness, reflecting the light given off by the orb. Gwynne simply went back to taking care of her injury. Finally, Topesh spoke, "That sorcerer seemed to know you."
Gwynne let out a little whimper as she pushed the needle through her skin. Doing this without any numbing agent really stung. "Everybody knows me... Or did you forget that my face is plastered all over the Vahkranite Imperium?"
"No, I did not forget. But there was a look of recognition in his eyes when your veil was pulled from your face." Topesh sounded thoughtful while he delved through Gwynne's memories. She could feel the chill running down her spine, knowing there was nothing she could do to shut out the soul's probing.
"I don't know him..." she said coldly. Gwynne winced when she pushed that needle and suture through her injured shoulder again.
"But he knew you, intimately t'would seem. His hesitation is what saved your life. Had one of his followers gotten to you first, I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to reach you in time." The orb floated in circles around Gwynne's head, "And losing you would bode very poorly for the world."
Gwynne put the needle between her teeth and sucked in another sharp breath as she started to pull the suture, sealing the wound. She didn't respond to Topesh, so the orb kept on speaking, "This is why you don't toss me away when you're sick of hearing my voice. The further I stray from you, the lest potent the orb is, and the slower it moves."
"Thanks for the lesson. Consider it learned..." Gwynne said sourly.
There was another snapping twig in the woods, but Gwynne knew it was just the deer moving along. She didn't bother responding to it. Then she felt it, a bending in the surrounding aetherwinds. Something was gathering her. She quickly turned, willing the orb to place itself between her and whatever was causing the shift. The orb moved in place just in time for a fireball to slam into it and disperse in every direction.
Gwynne looked past the force orb, spotting a woman in red robes with raven black hair. Fire was dancing over her fingers, "Our paths cross once again, apostate! You may have slipped through our grasp once, but not again!"
She threw another orb of fire at Gwynne. Gwynne rolled to the side, dodging the flame just barely. Her silken cloak caught flame at the tips. Gwynne grit her teeth and pulled the surrounding aetherwinds into crackling electricity which danced down her arms and into her hands. She reached her arm out, sending a bolt which snapped in the other woman's direction. The battle mage flicked her arm to the side, deflecting the bolt into a nearby tree. Gwynne took cover behind a tree, "Her magic is so powerful... How can this be?"
Topesh spoke directly into Gwynne's mind instead of through the orb, "I wasn't called the Wellspring for nothing, Gwynne. My body once radiated aetheric energy, and my inhabiting this orb has done the same thing. So long as a sorcerer is nearby, much like yourself, they can draw from a nearly limitless pool of power. The orb is, after all, a shard of the Nexus. That is likely how these magi have been tracking you as well."
Another fireball struck at the tree Gwynne was taking cover behind. "You waited eleven years to tell me this?!
"You never asked!
Gwynne could hear the battle mage conjuring more flame from the orb's radiating power. She realized now, that whoever had control of the orb, had absolute power over magic. Why hadn't she been tracked this way before? How come no other sorcerer had caught onto this in the past? Was it because of the recent leyline connections? Gwynne didn't have time to answer her own questions, she had to defeat this battle mage and get to safety. Gwynne waved her hand as another fireball struck at the tree. The force orb swung around quickly and headed toward the battle mage. In unison with the orb, Gwynne stepped out in the opposite direction and shot another bolt of lightning.
The battle mage deflected the lightning like before, but she wasn't expecting the orb to come barreling at her at the same time. It slammed into the battle mage's shoulder and sets her flying into another tree. She clutched her shoulder and looked back at Gwynne. This time, a fireball came flying her way. She was unaware that the orb itself formed the core of the fireball. The battle mage outstretched her arm to block the ball of flame, only to let out a shriek in pain as the orb slammed heavily into her hand. The shockwave from the impact shattered her arm and made the mage spin to the ground. The battle mage pointed to the sky with her good arm, and fired a magic missile of gleaming blue energy into it. It whistled as it shot high, loud enough to be heard over a large distance.
"A signal. Listen close, apostate. You're injured, and if you get cornered by the group of them, it'll be all over! Kill the woman so she can't tell her tale." Topesh said angrily.
Gwynne kept her distance, a fireball swirling in the palm of her hand. She eyes the injured battle mage, "I'm not going to kill her." Gwynne said out loud.
The battle mage looked at Gwynne, fearfully this time. She was in no fighting condition after sustaining such a grievous wound. "You'll be brought to justice, witch! If not by me, then by master Treyathal!"
"Treyathal?" Gwynne raised a brow.
"You're wasting time, apostate! Kill her now!"
"Shion!? Shion where are you?" a man said in the distance.
"At this distance they can feel the orb, apostate. It wont be long now before they find us."
Gwynne looked back to the battle mage and said to her calmly, "You're never going to walk again... I'm sorry."
The battle mage let out a growl, just in time for Gwynne to flick her wrist, and send the orb crashing down on her knees at high speeds. The sound of bones being crushed made Gwynne wince. The screams of the woman resonating through the woods. If her fellow sorcerers didn't know where they were before, they certainly did now. "Gwynne! Run!"
Gwynne pulled her hood back over her head and turned her back on the battle mage. She beat her way through branches and bushels. An errant branch whipped her cheek, drawing a red cut along it. The orb shined bright again, leading the way for Gwynne to follow. It was leading her to Silverwick, to allies and relative safety. She leaped over a felled log, then slid under a low handing branch. Behind her, she could hear Shion yelling to her nearby comrades, "West! She went west!"
"They're gaining on us, Topesh! We're not going to outrun them!" she said between heavy breaths.
"We'll make it. But I want you to trust me, even if you don't like what we're about to do!" Gwynne didn't like the sound of that. Topesh continued, "In twenty paces, jump."
It was dark out, and Gwynne was relying on the light given off by the force orb to see where she was running. Twenty paces... fifteen... ten... Before she knew it, the ground simply disappeared into a black void, as did the orb. Gwynne didn't have the time to stop now, and jumped on the twentieth pace, leaping over a wide and deep ravine. Gwynne gasped when her thoughts caught up to her, she was free falling.
"There she is! What is she thinking?!" a voice said behind her. The mages had caught up.
Suddenly, the orb shot up from below Gwynne, impacting into her foot, and repulsing her back up. The sudden change in direction took the air from Gwynne's lungs. Her leg hurt like hell from absorbing all that shock. She came up over the opposite ridge, and hit the ground. Gwynne rolled, scraping herself on rocks and roots. It wasn't a graceful landing, but she survived. She groaned and clambered to her feet, favoring one leg over the other. Her breath was heavy as she looked across the ravine to two other sorcerers staring at her. One was wearing the same red robes as the woman, while the other was in azure blue robes with white trim. Her eyes lingered on the sorcerer in blue.
"The nearest bridge across this ravine is a three day run from here, and they can't draw from the orb's power at this distance. We're safe." Topesh said.
The mage in blue shouted out across the ravine, "Run away, Gwynne! Run as you always have! It matters not! You will answer for your crimes in due time!"
Gwynne turned her back on the sorcerers and limped into the woods. She walked in silence, feeling that familiar shiver of Topesh's probing. "Treyathal... Now I understand."
Armand returned to the site of the duel. Shion was sitting back against a tree, her right arm and legs ruined. She was quiet despite the damage that had been done to her. He smiled to her, impressed by her grit. Most people would be screaming in agony from those sorts of injuries. Armand knelt next to Shion and placed a hand on her shoulder, "You did well."
"She got away, master... She defeated me." Shion said through grit teeth. It was clear she was trying to hold back tears.
Armand squeezed Shion's shoulder and shook his head, "Gwynne has always been skilled at whatever she sets her mind at. You're lucky she didn't deliver a killing blow."
Shion shook her head, "The apostate could have! But instead she cursed me with this pain..."
Armand looked at her destroyed legs, "You still can live a life, and you'll never have to experience the horrors of battle ever again, Shion. What Gwynne did was a mercy, you just need time to understand that. She may have fallen to evil, but she is still very much the same girl."
Shion started crying now, but she never vocalized it. Tears simply streamed down her dirty cheeks. "Y- you sound like you knew her..."
Armand looked over to the grizzled old mage, who nodded quietly to him before walking off to start setting up camp. Armand looked back to Shion and nodded, "I did. She and I were close friends when we were young. She always sought to understand things, and devoted herself completely to learning things that made her curious. She started changing when she found that orb... I'd catch her practicing with it deep in the woods at night."
Shion listened, "And you didn't stop her?"
"How could I? Back then I afraid of everything, and Gwynne was practically a prodigy in the martial arts. I saw the obsession over the orb in her eyes, and knew that confronting her about it would mean me getting hurt. In my cowardice, I kept a secret, and when that guilt finally boiled over, I spoke to the town mayor. But I took too long... At that point, Gwynne was already past the precipice of that orb's corrupting force." His voice was low, pained even. But he continued, "The mayor sent a messenger to the Citadel in Dawnguard. That very same day, a sorcerer arrived to take Gwynne away. He was my father..."
Shion listened to the story. Armand's intent was to distract her to take the pain away. It seemed to be working. "The rest is in the official report, isn't it? Gwynne killed your father during her escape..."
Armand nodded, "I became a court sorcerer not long after that. After my apprenticeship at the Spyre, Ustizor summoned me and brought me under his tutelage. He was interested in my tale. I knew it was because of the orb. Whatever that thing corrupting Gwynne is, Ustizor has a vested interest. My being here tonight, Shion, and arriving at the Spyre, isn't a coincidence."
Shion nodded in understanding. "Capturing Gwynne is as much a personal interest to you, as it is the Grand Master's..."
Armand nodded, "Aye..."
The grizzled mage stepped behind Armand again, "Armandus. The camp is made, but..."
"But what, Gallin?" Armand said quietly, looking over his shoulder to him.
"We stand at a crossroads. We're five days from the Spyre, and if your suspicion that the apostate is headed for Silverwick is true, then we're five days from there as well. The nearest bridge is three day's travel from here. If we intend to pursue the apostate, we wont have enough food to get back to another settlement. But if we return to the Spyre, then we'll be letting her escape."
Armand took a deep breath and looked back to Shion. "We can't continue the chase with Shion in this state. We'll return to the Spyre. I feel as though we'll be crossing paths with Gwynne again in the near future. If we're lucky, a murder of crows will tell us where to find her again."
Another two days had passed before Gwynne finally reached Silverwick. Her tumble of a landing at the ravine had opened her sutures, and her shoulder injury was once again bleeding. Though the two days had done well enough to heal the wound slightly, it was still a ways from being forgotten. She limped still, the shock from the orb had shaken and bruised the bones in her leg. It was night by the time Gwynne had found where the other chosen were camped at. It wasn't just Topesh who could feel them now, even she could sense their presence. "Despite the way I speak to you, Gwynne," Topesh started, choosing to whisper in her head rather than speak through the orb. "I was right to pick you as my chosen. You have an indomitable will."
Gwynne didn't respond. She simply limped into the firelight of the chosen's camp, clutching her shoulder. Her red eyes looked to everybody else there. "Gwynne Lancet..." she introduced.