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The (M)onster of Solith

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Offline EvilCopepod

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"Yes, they were. Why does this surprise you?" He didn't get an answer, as more humans came to interrupt them. All appearances of civility vanished from Rikerg, his pupils dilating as he began to snarl, his back arching upward as he put his palms on the ground, his legs sliding back as he got in a position to lunge. The soldiers didn't hesitate to fire arrows at him, but at their current range, they only managed to stick into the leather armor he wore, any that hit the rest of him bounced off. Even as mages charged up their spells, he didn't falter, but Vol's words made him pause, the violent expression being replaced by a bewildered one as he looked down at the human.

He didn't halt because he was doing as Vol asked, but because the request was idiotic in more than one way. The first was that he thought Rikerg would heed his ridiculous plea, and the second was that these humans would want to hurt the mage as well because he had freed him.

"Volanare Amossa, make the beast stand down so that you may both be brought in!" The commander of the group barked, clearly thinking that Rikerg had listened to his order not to kill them as the creature wasn't posed to attack. This made him unprepared for when he rushed forward, barreling through the soldiers to the mages that were in the back.

He knew that with mages, it was important to aim for their heads, as even a dying one could fire off a potent spell, so he swung his claws at them. The first, and most fortunate, had her head cut clean off, the second had only half of his neck severed, falling to the ground as he choked on his blood before he could die from the loss of it. The final managed to dodge the swing, burning a hole into Rikerg's armor before he grabbed the man and bit off his head, flinging the body at the soldiers which had begun to attack the back of him.

His claws tore through their heavy armor like they were made of tin rather than steel. Blood flowing through the torn metal like it was fabric pressed tight against their body, so severe and deep were the cuts that the armor quickly filled with their blood. Sometimes organs would get hooked onto the end of his claws, intestines being shredded as they were pulled out through the gashed armor. Unlike the mages, he didn't need to make sure they were dead, and left them on the ground, some attempting to tear off the armor to staunch the blood flow, others only able to scream and thrash. He tore off limbs as well, which seemed to incapacitate them just as easily. The few that hadn't been attacked yet were retreating, but Rikerg cut off their escape, batting them back amongst the bodies and the dying.


Offline yautjan

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"No!" Volanare yelled at Rikerg's charge, but it was far too late to stop the slaughter. His magic was near useless with his emotions in such turmoil, and if he attacked the monster, he feared he too would be killed. The only reason he was still alive, he realized, was probably because of his fuck-up with the commander. This monster somehow knew that Volanare was responsible. Just how intelligent was he, really?

He scrambled to his feet, grabbing the dragonhide and throwing it over his shoulder for the time being. Even with his emotions a mess, he had to do something to try and stop the monster. Fire seemed to have done some damage, and he tried to focus his energy onto his right hand, where the flame-enhancing charm encircled his wrist. It was difficult with the screams and moans of the dying in his ears, but he had to. He had to do something.

The spell was nearly ready when someone sprang on him from behind, and Volanare was dragged to the ground and one of the most dreadful artifacts was tightened around his neck--a suppressor. Unlike silencing, the suppressors were a severing of a mage's connection with the aether while simultaneously broadcasting their location and danger to other mages. It was painful and suffocating, and the golden choker was locked behind his neck as he struggled against the soldier who had captured him.

The soldier grabbed his hair and shoved his face into the earth, and snarled, "You did this!"

The soldiers who were still fighting Rikerg were beginning to retreat, and someone shouted, "Clear a path into the fields!" Hopefully, they figured, the monster would take the escape route and leave them be after this devastating blow to the vanguard.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Despite the violent ways he had attacked the humans, it wasn't personal for him. They needed to be shown that they were no match for him and that he would show them no mercy, but it wasn't because he was upset with them for anything more than the fact they were human. He didn't even bother to chase after the ones that had escaped him again, deciding to take the path they had cleared. When he turned to grab his chest and his human to bring along, he saw that he had been dragged away and was currently eating dirt. The soldier saw the monster look his way, so quickly started to drag Vol by the choker. Even if they couldn't bring back the monster, they had the one to blame for it, and with the suppressor on whatever control he'd gotten over the beast would be gone, so the soldier planned on getting out of his line of sight, dragging the mage behind a tree.

Rikerg snarled as he stormed up to the tree, the possessive fury in him not dissimilair to what he had felt for the commander, and he planned to make the soldier suffer as the mage had. As he came around the tree, the soldier only had the chance to swear before Rikerg grabbed him, rather gently compared to the rest of the humans as his claws didn't pierce him at all. With one hand wrapped around his upper torso, and the other around the base of his legs, Rikerg began to pull. He did it slowly, allowing the man to feel as ligaments, muscles, and bones were stretched, then torn, then broken, the popping sounds were loud enough to be heard over his screams. His flesh finally gave way as he was torn in half, blood spurting all over Rikerg, the tree, and Vol. He bit into the exposed organs, tearing them out and swallowing them with a grunt before tossing the halves of the man. He then picked up the still living human carefully, it was clear that he was in pain, but Rikerg couldn't try and figure out what exactly what was wrong until they were clear of this area.

He hadn't thought about the potential dangers that the human would face, if that soldier had wanted to kill him he'd be dead before Rikerg noticed. All the living soldiers were gone now, spurred on by the sounds of their tormented ally. Rikerg picked up the chest with his free hand and took off running down through the fields, planning to put distance between them and the army before checking what they had put on Vol. It was unlikely they would send more troops, they'd already lost so many and they had a battle with the enemy very soon.


Offline yautjan

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The suppressor was designed to be too tight on the wearer's neck, even with Volanare's skinny throat it pressed hard into his skin--not helped by his being dragged back by it, his struggles pitiful and useless as he choked on its grip. For a moment, it seemed the soldier had successfully escaped the monster, but a heartbeat later that proved to not be the case after all. And at first, it seemed that the monster would spare the soldier. That also proved to not be true.

Volanare could only watch and yell in horror as his fellow soldier was torn apart. It was an image and sound that would haunt him until the day he died. His hands were at his throat, trying to pull the suppressor off when it happened, and he was frozen once it did, covered in hot blood, nearly helpless and on the verge of tears and unrelenting screaming.

When the monster grabbed him next, he just sobbed, terrified beyond sanity, but the creature did nothing to him--it only picked up its chest and ran for it. Where it was going, he had no idea, and he did not care to know. All he knew was that he'd just watched dozens of his people get slaughtered and it was all his own fucking fault.

He clutched at the monster for no better option to not fall down, despite the fact he was afraid it would eat him next, death was almost preferable than the memories of what had happened in the Solith vanguard this day. He clung, and he sobbed, because he knew nothing else he could do than weep for them.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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As far as he could recall, Rikerg had never cried for anything, even after months of hopeless attempts to escape the mage commander he had only grown angrier. He thought he knew what crying was for, as he'd seen humans do it many times when they were hurt, afraid, or upset over being unable to control their fates. He did not know, or even think, that Vol might be crying for anyone but himself, the amount he carried on, however, was quite unnatural.

Rikerg only stopped when he found what he was looking for, a body of water, and found it in a river that ran through a forested area. He dropped the chest, then placed Vol down slowly and gently, as if he were as fragile as his current emotional state.

"Does it hurt that badly?" he asked, running a claw along the collar, trying to feel for a latch or a hinge. He had decided that it was the collar that brought him to tears, and some magical or unseen mechanical property to it was causing him pain.


Offline yautjan

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Volanare didn't even realize they had stopped at first, too distracted by his misery and trauma. When the monster put him down however, he realized he had no idea where they had gone. The forest and river was unfamiliar--it must've been somewhere in the no man's land that was the border between Andariel and Solith. In fact, he would not have been surprised to learn if the river WAS the border, considering its location and his suspicions. He had never left Solith though and this border was nothing but a war zone and had been his entire life, so he could not tell for certain.

When the monster ran his claw along the suppressor, held in place with a key lock, Volanare jerked away, moving away from him and scrambling to his feet. "Don't touch me!" he hissed, face red and tear-streaked. "You killed them! You killed all of them!"

As much as he wanted to summon lightning and destroy the monster, he was helpless with the suppressor on. All the same, he drew one of his daggers, threatening a hopeless fight with the much stronger creature. "You murderer!"
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg was startled by the sudden outburst, he had been touching the human for a while now, and he didn't get why now it suddenly wasn't okay for him to do it. His confusion only increased when he said he had killed all of those humans as if it were an accusation.

"Not all of them." He corrected, "And if I had stayed with them, I would have killed much more during the battle this day." The humans had a clear divide between them, that had been pressed upon Rikerg to make certain he didn't attack the 'wrong' side. But on his own, he saw no logical reason between there being a right and wrong human to kill, as the soldiers on both sides seemed more or less the same to him. It didn't seem like murder to him either, given the low value he put on human lives, but given his frantic and irrational behavior, the mage still considered it a crime.

"I prefer to be a murderer over a weapon. I have a choice now in who I slay." He didn't make any attempt to thank the man for this, as he didn't need to be thanked for what Rikerg considered to be the right thing to do. "You are more likely to hurt yourself than me with that."


Offline yautjan

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Volanare spluttered, frustrated and grieving and furious at this monster who was apparently far more intelligent than he had ever let on--and apparently devoid of morality. "Why did all those innocent people have to die? The Solithian soldiers weren't the ones keeping you hostage! Why didn't you just kill the commander and run away like a normal... like a... Aargh!"

It was clear that in his rage he attempted to summon a spell, something ferocious and powerful to attack the monster with, but he was knocked back on his ass when it backfired on him, solely in pain from the suppressor's work as not a spark of magic was produced.

He grabbed at the suppressor with fury, but his attempts to yank it off only caused him more pain than he had suffered before, and he let go with a growl of frustration. "Look what you've done!" he cried furiously. "You've branded me a traitor!"
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Offline EvilCopepod

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"They were trying to stop me." Rikerg said, "They did nothing for me either. There were some soldiers that had done me ill, but I wasn't going to search the camp for all of them. I had to find you."

In his time on the battlefield at the commander's side, he had seen many spells and knew when a mage was preparing to use certain ones (something he wished he had known before he was captured). So he tensed up when Vol prepared to use one, he still didn't want to kill the human, but if he needed to restrain him to prevent further attacks, he would. But the spell backfired in an odd way, as there was no magic at all, not even the scent of a spell.

"That keeps you from using magic." He said as he realized it. He wasn't moved by the further accusations, "If I could turn humans traitors I would have done it long before you arrived. And I did not place that collar on you." Rikerg thought he was blameless concerning Vol's circumstances, in fact, he thought he had aided the mage by not killing or abandoning him.


Offline yautjan

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"The only reason they placed it on me," Volanare snarled, realizing the truth as he spoke, "Is because you broke free. They are blaming me for you escaping!"

He got back up again, grabbing his dagger where he had dropped it and sheathing it on his belt again. Apparently the monster had no intentions of attacking him, and Volanare realized reluctantly that he'd lose terribly if he did try to pick a fight. "Just fucking go away," he finally decided on. "Go be--go be a bloodthirsty beast somewhere else!"

What he would do next however remained up in the air. Did he try and reach Andariel? Did he try and sneak back home? His mother might be able to remove a suppressor, but she was deep in Solith and the suppressors were the brands of criminal mages--getting back home without being caught would be nightmarish. Andariel would show him no kindness either unless he betrayed Solith--and he had no intentions of doing that whatsoever.

"Just go," he repeated, his voice cracking with his emotions.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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"It is because of you." Rikerg said, wishing that he had been able to break free on his own, but wasn't too upset given how nice the human who had saved him looked.

When Vol told him to go, he stared at him hard, wondering just what made him think that he was going to do anything he told him to. Rikerg had no intention of leaving the human, and not just for the sake of keeping him alive. It wasn't until he told him to leave a third time that he actually answered.

"No." He said, then as if that were the last word on the subject, he went on to another one. "I haven't had a proper bath in months, and unless you want that blood to stain you should get it into cold water soon." He'd been washed off many times in the camp, given his messy way of fighting, but he didn't consider being hosed off with water spells while he was fully dressed to be a decent wash.


Offline yautjan

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Volanare stared at the beast, furious and upset. Why the hell wouldn't the monster just leave and have his freedom?! Why did he insist on staying here and harrassing the suppressed mage?

"Fuck off," he hissed. "I am leaving."

The mage turned at that point and started into the forest, deciding he would find somewhere else to wash up. The blood covering his body made his skin crawl and his stomach nauseous. But as long as he didn't have a monster hanging over him things could possibly recover. Maybe. He had to hope.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg didn't try and stop him from leaving, he wanted to get cleaned up, not chase the human around some more. It didn't matter how far he would get, Rikerg would just track him down once he was ready.

He took off all the armor and tossed it away, not intending to dress in the color of his captors again, and used a large stone to scrub off the more persistent filth that clung to him. After shaking off as much water as he could, he broke into the chest he had brought along, taking out his items that the army had confiscated. Even though he was still damp, he put on his clothing, a black tunic with a long sleeved brown undershirt and black breeches. Despite their large size, they looked perfectly normal, as if he'd bought them from a shop rather than patching together a bunch of smaller fabrics as one would assume were his clothing options.

Vol was easy to track, he hadn't even left the river's side, which allowed Rikerg to instead go deeper into the trees as he moved along the river's path until he spotted Vol through the trees. Instead of making his presence known, he only moved forward enough to get a better view, crouching down to stare at him through the trees.


Offline yautjan

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Once Vol was sure the monster wasn't going to follow, he took off in a sprint, going for as long as he could before he was out of breath and gasping for air past the blood that coated his skin. The stench was getting to him, and he tore off to the river as soon as he spotted it again between the trees. With the privacy of the woods and no more monsters around to watch, he stripped down, throwing his clothes and the dragonhide into a small cove of the river that had pooled into standstill. Letting them soak, he climbed into the frozen winter river. He still had his bag of supplies with him, including his washcloth, and he scrubbed the blood off his body furiously.

As he worked he fought back another wave of grief and horror, biting back sobs and focusing instead on how cold the river was. Soon he was too frozen to continue, but he washed out his hair and let the blood flow away from him downstream before climbing out as his teeth chattered.

He grabbed his wet clothes from the eddy and hung them up to dry on a tree branch, pulling his only other set of clothes out of his bag and pulling them on--they were not nearly warm enough for the snowy March, but he had no other option besides the wet ones. Especially since he couldn't use magic to dry them faster, he just had make do with what he had.

Dressed and somewhat dried off, he sat in the grass beneath the tree where the snow had retreated some and curled up, hugging his knees and burying his face in his arms. He could only pray that if he returned to Solith, he could explain himself and what had happened with the mage commander and the monster.
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Offline EvilCopepod

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Rikerg had made it just in time to watch Vol as he finished washing himself off, and even with the hunched and cold way he moved about, he could tell that the robe wasn't very flattering for his figure. If it weren't so cold out, he might have considered getting rid of the garment for him, either by shredding it or just letting it float downstream. The cold rarely bothered him, his body temperature high enough to keep him from freezing even during the middle of winter, but he knew it wasn't the same for humans. They always dressed so thickly, wearing the pelts of other creatures and staying close to fires to keep away the biting cold. Even though it wasn't nearly as cold now, he knew that the water had been cold, what he wore was too thin to help with that, and instead of trying to make a fire he just curled up on the ground. It didn't look like there was anything more interesting to watch in secrecy, so Rikerg moved out from where he was hiding, the snow crunching underfoot as he approached the man.

"You look cold." he commented, keeping out the comment that he also looked miserable. He thought that perhaps if he didn't mention it, Vol would get over what was making him so upset sooner.