Winter Night (thetwo)


Tassadar

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Nov 10, 2008
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52, PP = 72, EP = 78, Status = Fine

NPCs
Jenn: Fine
Daniella Boulay: Fine
Ryon Toma: Fine
Alex Kovisto: Fine
Professor Laura Steiner: Fine

Arclan Clay

Jiub the Slaver: Fine
Karena Arselone: Fine
Ayeila: Fine
Caragor: Fine
Grumush: Fine
Gronkor: Fine
Dalmen: Fine
Scortha: Fine
Nilsin the Red: Fine
Trogo son of Trondor: Fine
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: Fine
Ylsig: Fine

With goodbye and goodnights bidden, Ashley would part from the orcess who had cornered her in the dark to trade tales and marched back to the tent she shared with the female members of the contingent from the Academy. They kept a little farther out, their sleeping arrangements protected by alarm spells from outside intrusion as they were. Professor Steiner had her own tent from which a soft light illuminated the outlines of the people present; the woman wasn't alone. It looked as if someone was sitting across from her, though she didn't know who, and they weren't speaking audibly as far as Ashley could hear as she passed it.

The tent occupied by the boys was dark, as was the one relegated to the girls. Ashley and Jenn had been allowed to sleep nearby simply because there was no better option, despite being active lovers, but they weren't the only ones who shared the tent. Daniella was also already in bed, but didn't seem to be asleep. The redhead was lying on her back with her arms behind her head on the right side of the tent, her eyes open. She rolled onto her side, facing the wall, when Ashley climbed into the tent, but still didn't close her eyes. Jenn, in contrast, had already been lying on her side, eyes closed and body shifting rhythmically in the tiny motions of sleep. Ashley was free to bed down in the center of the tent, the free space left, or try to join Jenn on her bedroll on the left.

(If Ashley doesn't do anything else for the night.)

Ashley would awaken in the dark, stirring with the other female members of their expedition, to the sound of someone slapping the side of their tent. Arclan pulled open the flap a moment later, smirking at them as if he hadn't forced them to awaken in the wee hours of the morning, and said; "Wakey wakey ladies... We're going to have a LONG day ahead of us." Then he left, leaving Ashley to start getting ready to travel again... Or to try and go back to sleep, as Daniella seemed intent on trying to do after unleashing a groan of tired frustration.
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley passed the professor and whoever she was talking with. Well, that was hardly suspicious, and it would be rude to intrude. The wind mage continued to her tent, peeking inside. She had entertained thoughts of joining Jenn under her blankets. But Daniella was already there, and clearly still awake. She remembered seeing a redhead peeking the last time she'd had alone time with Jenn. But risk was one thing, and deliberately putting on a show was another. So instead she just walked by her lover, brushing a hand against Jenn's sleeping cheek, before picking the closest bed and getting along with the business of going to sleep.

The next morning came too early, as most seemed to lately. But having had a night to sleep on the story the orc woman had told her, Ashley felt a lot better about the whole situation. And it was another crisp winter day. The others seemed a little less chipper than she felt. Except Daniella, who seemed to be trying to go back to sleep. Well. She'd probably stayed up late trying to catch Ashley sneaking over to Jenn's bed. Can't be having with that. And with Arclan already turned and left...

Ashley casually stirred the air inside the tent. Not enough to bring a hammer of air that would knock the wind out of a troll, or knock the tent down. But enough to lift the redhead's blanket off her bed, and maybe even pull it out of her hands.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
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Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52, PP = 72, EP = 78, Status = Fine

NPCs
Jenn: Fine
Daniella Boulay: Fine
Ryon Toma: Fine
Alex Kovisto: Fine
Professor Laura Steiner: Fine

Arclan Clay

Jiub the Slaver: Fine
Karena Arselone: Fine
Ayeila: Fine
Caragor: Fine
Grumush: Fine
Gronkor: Fine
Dalmen: Fine
Scortha: Fine
Nilsin the Red: Fine
Trogo son of Trondor: Fine
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: Fine
Ylsig: Fine

With a single gust Ashley flitted air under the blanket protecting Daniella from the cold. They all had their respective enchantments and magical items to protect them from the frigid temperatures of course, but a sudden gust of cold air felt unpleasant in the morning no matter how much magic one had, and unfortunately for Daniella the gust had nowhere to go but up. It carried the blanket up and away before she could grab at it, leaving it landing in a clump, and as it did it allowed Ashley and Jenn to notice a few things.

Firstly, it seemed that Daniella slept completely naked. The blanket leaving her left the redhead's body totally bare. Secondly, Daniella had perhaps the most fantastic tits - indeed the most fantastic body - that Ashley had ever seen. Jenn's breasts were bigger, but Daniella's were of a form and size so perfect that one couldn't help but stare; round and perky and capped in pink tips that hardened to eye catching points. Her hips and shoulders formed a flawless hourglass figure together, her legs were long with just the right balance of muscle and flat in play for aesthetic appeal, and she had a rounded, heart-shaped ass that bubbled just enough. Her skin was flawless, creamy and pale with color in just the right places but without a single blemish anywhere as far as Ashley could see, and she could see quite a bit.

Daniella, of course, took some offense to being suddenly rendered nude... But not for several long seconds in which Ashley and Jenn were free to ogle. She let out a whine and curled up, but after a moment her eyes shot open and she let out a strangled sound of annoyance and distress as she scrambled to cover her nudity. She didn't do a very good job, and after another moment she simply started crawling around on hands and knees to pick up her clothing. Stretching and crawling in that position didn't exactly do anything to make her less attractive, but after a few minutes she started dressing and eventually clambered out of the tent with a bright blush on her face but without a word said to either of them.

Jenn watched her go, but when the tent flap fell closed again she looked at Ashley and tossed aside her own blanket. Daniella, apparently, hadn't been the only one sleeping in the nude. She clambered onto Ashley and embraced her, raising a leg over the wind mage's hip, planting a hand on the back of Ashley's neck, pressing her mouth hungrily to the wind mage's and starting to slowly writhe her hips back and forth. Her tongue spent a minute or so exploring Ashley's mouth, and when she broke the kiss she was panting softly. "I was waiting for you.... Last night," she whispered softly, lightly rubbing her nose against Ashley's as her deep blue eyes looked into Ashley's stormy gray ones.

"I was keeping myself ready... Playing with myself. I had to be more discrete when Daniella came to bed. I had it out already... It was so hard... I couldn't stop thinking about what you'd do if you came in. It was like a dream. I could almost pretend how it felt... When you used your mouth on it... It must have been half an hour I was on edge. I think she knew what I was doing though, so I stopped. I must have fallen asleep before you got in." She smirked, apparently unperturbed about her extended self inflicted orgasm denial. "I had some dreams though.... Some like what I was imagining... And some others. Like what it'd be like to give you one... And to ride you... Do you... Wanna do something? Before we get up?"
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley covered her mouth to stop from openly laughing as she realized that Daniella had been sleeping naked. Then blinked, taking in the redhead's flawless body. She just stared for a few seconds, until the other girl seemed to finally realize what had just happened, and tried to cover herself. After that the wind mage darted a look to make sure the tent flaps were still down, and turned to Jenn, who still wasn't disguising taking a good look. Ashley tried to be more circumspect. At least until Daniella got on her hands and knees, pink pussy fully exposed and pointing at Ashley as the girl apparently tried to hide her breasts by going on hands and knees.

But soon enough she managed to get enough clothes on to scramble out of the tent, red-faced but otherwise unharmed. And certainly awake.

Ashley was just about to pull her own blanket off, when Jenn did. This time there was no attempt to hide her gaze, running happily up and down her lover's nude body. She had known Jenn slept naked back in the University. Ashley mostly had as well, once they started sharing a bed instead of just a room. It was just... convenient. But out in the wilderness? In a tent with other people? It was a surprise. And she couldn't help but imagine what would have happened if she'd followed Jenn back to the tent instead of exchanging stories first. She'd have found the tent empty except her lover. Slipped into Jenn's bed, and discovered her without even panties on. They'd have kissed, and then...

Ashley blinked, realizing that while she had been staring, Jenn had gotten up slipped in under Ashley's blanket. Face to face. A hand on the back of her neck. The wind mage's mouth responded automatically, and when the kiss ended what felt like an eternity later, both of them were breathing heavily. She stared into Jenn's eyes, noses touching, and felt herself getting hot. She darted a glance at the tent flaps. Still closed. "I... if I'd known you were waiting for me, like this..." she shifted slightly pressing her panties against Jenn's bare thigh.

The wind mage licked her lips as Jenn described what it was like. Oh goddess, she'd had her magical cock out. She felt herself respond, felt a wet spot start to form on the panties. Her eyes went to the tent flaps again, even more briefly. Nobody was in here. They might get a few minutes alone. Which happened so rarely lately. Really a pity Jenn probably wouldn't want... to... Ashley blinked. Jenn hadn't slipped naked under her covers because she wanted to cuddle. And as she continued to listen, the damp spot grew quickly. "I feel so sorry for you. Having to imagine my lips wrapped around your rock hard cock. Tongue running up and down the shaft, looking up at you while I took you inside my mouth. Feeling your seed drip down my throat, and then finally releasing, filling my mouth with your hot cum. Watching me swallow it. A dribble running down my chin. Then kissing you so you taste it too, all that before the main event even starts..." while she talked, Ashley wormed one leg between Jenn's, rubbing her thigh up against her lover's crotch, slowly, rhythmically. She could feel herself practically dripping in her panties. "To imagine all that, and then have to go to bed cold and unsatisfied... so cruel of me. How ever could I make it up to you~?"

Ashley fluttered her eyes, and made an 'O' with her lips, while one hand grabbed Jenn's butt, and her thigh continued rubbing between the other girl's legs.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52, PP = 72, EP = 78, Status = Fine

NPCs
Jenn: Fine
Daniella Boulay: Fine
Ryon Toma: Fine
Alex Kovisto: Fine
Professor Laura Steiner: Fine

Arclan Clay

Jiub the Slaver: Fine
Karena Arselone: Fine
Ayeila: Fine
Caragor: Fine
Grumush: Fine
Gronkor: Fine
Dalmen: Fine
Scortha: Fine
Nilsin the Red: Fine
Trogo son of Trondor: Fine
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: Fine
Ylsig: Fine

Ashley's efforts to further entice Jenn certainly wouldn't prove ineffective. Her eyes alternated between tightly closed and half open, and little moans and gasps burst from her mouth irregularly as she entwined herself with Ashley. The wind mage could feel her longtime lover's arousal on her leg as she raised it into her bare crotch, and after that final tease with the shape of her mouth Jenn seemed able to take no more. She leaned down to give Ashley another passionate, elongated kiss on the mouth, and after parting breathlessly she rolled back over. Her hand crept towards her own crotch, the ring sitting on her finger...

And then someone slapped the side of their tent repeatedly, and the by now familiar voice of Jiub called through the sheer fabric; "Sound carries this early, an' we've gotta get moving. Either get dressed and pack up, or get out here an' give us a show to go with the distracting noises!" A few brief, muted grunts of laughter came from the orcish side of the camp, who were undoubtedly also rousing themselves for the daily march, but after recovering from the start Jenn looked sheepishly over at Ashley.

"We... Should get dressed," she declared solemnly, her once eager voice now despondent, though the extra color hadn't left her cheeks and her words still held a breathless quality to them.
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley licked her lips, watching Jenn's attention fall to the ring. Pushing her hips against Jenn's, so that she would feel the moment her tool formed. Maybe she wouldn't bother with her mouth. Her hand reached down to her own hips, started wriggling her panties down. She could find a better place to put it than her *mouth*. They were in a hurry after all.

Then, suddenly, the orc's voice, just feet away. Ashley froze. Blushed. Glanced at Jenn, who seemed to be having a similar reaction. But when Jenn suggested getting dressed, the wind mage couldn't summon any enthusiasm for it. Instead, she let go of her panties, and moved one hand deliberately between Jenn's legs, finding her clit and rubbing at it with familiar fingers. She spoke much more quietly, but just as sensuously as before. "So I get to tease you in person instead of just in your dreams... walk away after this-" She slid her index finger easily into her lover's slit. Once. Twice. Three times "Scot free? Or maybe... maybe I'm just giving you a liiitttle more time to think about what kind of punishment such a naughty tease deserves~"

With that, Ashley pulled away, bringing her hand up to her mouth and licking her already-wet index finger once before - eyes still fixed on Jenn's - sticking the whole thing between her lips and slowly drawing it out.

Only then did she finally, reluctantly, get out of bed and start getting dressed, making sure to bend over so that Jenn wouldn't be able to help but see the big wet spot on her panties before she changed into clean clothes. Then - still a little flushed - she would move outside. And immediately start thinking about how to get away from the group, with Jenn.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52, PP = 72, EP = 78, Status = Fine

NPCs
Jenn: Fine
Daniella Boulay: Fine
Ryon Toma: Fine
Alex Kovisto: Fine
Professor Laura Steiner: Fine

Arclan Clay

Jiub the Slaver: Fine
Karena Arselone: Fine
Ayeila: Fine
Caragor: Fine
Grumush: Fine
Gronkor: Fine
Dalmen: Fine
Scortha: Fine
Nilsin the Red: Fine
Trogo son of Trondor: Fine
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: Fine
Ylsig: Fine

Jenn squirmed under Ashley, grinding her moist quim against the wind mage's knee and watching the display that Ashley put on for her benefit. Even after the interruption from Jiub, she let out a muffled moan and bit her lip as Ashley gently fingered her, and she watched Ashley cleanse the intruding digit with a look of pure, unadulterated lust.

"Ugh! So mean.... I'll get you back for this!"

Her threat delivered, Jenn would give Ashley and the spot on her undergarments one last predatory look before making to get dressed herself, and she climbed out of the tent shortly after Ashley. The rest of the camp was already awake, for the most part, but most of the Academy contingent didn't look particularly happy about it. Alex was rubbing his eyes, Steiner was looking from person to person with puffy eyelids as if daring them to speak to her so she could bite their head off, and Daniella looked like she was asleep on her feet. There was neither warming fire nor coffee to be had, and given the incredibly frigid temperatures that were tactile even through the protection offered by her enchanted gear it was likely that those without such protections were practically freezing.

The orcs, however, hardly seemed bothered by the cold or the earliness of their rising. A few moved with a bit of a shuffling gate, stretched, rubbed their eyes, grumbled, or generally behaved like they might be feeling it, but not a one of them was nearly as exhausted looking as any of the magi nor seemed any more uncomfortable than the magically protected sorcerers. Ryon seemed made of similar stock, as after a bit of stretching he simply started dismantling the tents with crisp efficiency. Arclan, in the meantime, moved about as if it was midday in summer after a late morning and a pleasantly hearty breakfast.

There was nearly a foot of fresh snow on the ground, but the skies had cleared by the time camp had been broken and they were making ready to set out. They could still see the twilight blanket of stars overhead, and Jenn had started pointing out certain constellations and muttering them under her breath, though she was shaken from such revelry when Dornhal came towards the two of them. "We enter dangerous lands this morn," the orc said, his deep steady voice possessing a calming quality to it even when warped and muffled through his leonine helm. "We will not move so clustered from now on. We travel in smaller groups, spread apart, so we cannot be so easily surrounded. If one group is isolated, others can come to their aid. We stay in sight of one another, at all times, and we do not stop until evening. You two are to travel between Karena and I. Be on your guard."

Jenn frowned at him, her nose twitching, and said; "Really? Wouldn't we be safer if we all traveled together?" The orc, in turn, shook his head and simply said; "Not from an avalanche. Nor what might cause it. Be on your guard, and do as we say. I have traveled these lands before. With luck we will meet no opposition, and all precautions will be unnecessary." With that he turned and marched off, heading towards Karena who was waiting with her gauntleted hand resting on the pommel of her sword, and a distant look as she huddled in her fur cloak. "I don't like this..." Jenn muttered, glancing at Ashley, but after a moment would move to follow unless Ashley attempted to argue for a different plan.

Assuming she didn't convince the group of a differing plan, they would set off a short while later and the wind mage would find her squad to be roughly in the center of their group, which had formed an hourglass of sorts. They were just behind the lead group, which was comprised of Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor. Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo were behind them, and the rest of their party followed along in the back. Jenn was to Ashley's left, and past her several paces and slightly ahead was Dornhal, while Karena kept a similar distance to their right. They began their march with the stars overhead, but dawn's first light soon began to appear over the horizon, starting as a shimmering glow and a lightening of the sky that hid them from starlight and growing until the first red and orange rays graced their skin with comforting warmth.

The lands they traveled now were desolate, at least in terms of the presence of any sort of civilization. There were tales of settlements up here, of places where mines had been struck or logging camps, but few to none came to or from here even before the Invasion and ensuing outbreak of war. The frozen earth clung to its riches here, and the trees were mostly sparse pines. The only tracks they crossed were their own, and the occasional sighting of prints of some creature moving across their path. They were kept by the forward group among the wider paths as they ascended, the sun rising into a clear sky only to be hidden by the peaks that they approached. The mountains here were smaller and fewer than those to the South that separated Crolia from the rest of Heloras, but even more treacherous in some ways for their isolation. The peak that they approached now was the start of a small cluster, a series of jutting stone spires reaching into the sky like the jagged fingers of a skeletal hand, though luckily they would mostly be skirting around them rather than attempting a direct crossing. As Dornhal briefly explained, it would take them at least three days at a good pace to get across the treacherous section of mountains and into the tundra beyond.

The morning portion of their first day's journey would, at least, be fairly uneventful. The snow thickened in places until it became a tiresome trudge, but thinned in others such that they were walking on icy slate. They traveled through ravines, across boulders, and along cliffsides, surrounded by snow and sparse plantlife but with only the occasional glimpse of wildlife or the signs thereof. The morning grew warmer, but around midday a chill wind began to rise from the North, forcing them to walk against it as it stung their eyes and flung powdery snow in their faces. Even so, the few hours would give Ashley a chance to probe either of her two immediate traveling companions from the orcish group with questions, if she so chose, or to make small talk with Jenn, though the water mage would grow increasingly irate over the course of the day. Her constitution for long bouts of travel hadn't improved all that much, it seemed.
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

The wind mage blushed slightly at the 'threat', knowing full well what sort of form that was likely to take. And that she would certainly enjoy the hell out of it. Hopefully without any prying eyes, this time. But there was no more time for flirting with Jenn as they got ready. Ashley thumbed the ring the fairies had given her, grateful that between it and her heavy clothes the cold wouldn't bother her likely until well after it started bothering the orcs, if then. But she was careful not to flaunt it excessively, and the lack of a warm breakfast or really even enough time to sleep made blending in with the grumpy mages easy, until it was finally time to start.

Ashley considered the orc's travel plan. She wondered if perhaps he were overstating the threat. Or if perhaps he underestimated the power of the group from the Academy. She was fairly confident that even working alone she would be able to protect the whole group from an avalanche, diverting the moving snow like wind around her. And that Jenn, with her affinity towards water, would be able to do the same. And while perhaps the other elements wouldn't stop an avalanche quite so easily, someone as experienced as the professor - or even most senior students - would probably be able to save at least themselves with a dome of force or something similar, and break out with fire or practically anything else.

Still. That assumed they saw it coming, and that specifically an avalanche was their only worry. If they were caught by surprise, or hit by something less easy to counter, being spread out was better. And her thoughts about ways to survive an avalanche by magic would still apply, perhaps even improved if each person only had to worry about themselves and one other. And the orcs were obviously more familiar with the area and climate than the mages were.

But the final, deciding factor was the groups. She and Jenn would be paired up. And in the case that nobody did attack - quite likely, in Ashley's opinion, given the size and power of their group - that would make it much, much easier for them to find some time alone.

Ashley put her arm around Jenn, pulling the water mage in close to whisper to her. "We can defend ourselves. And they know the area better than us. And it makes it more likely that you get your chance to get back at me~" Without any real objections, they joined the march in place they'd been shown.

Unfortunately, while the spaced-out pairs meant that the couple had plenty of time to talk, while Jenn still felt up to it, it also meant that they were never actually out of sight. At least not until it would be time to stop. But Ashley told herself that when they did stop, being 'paired up' in an official sense would give them more excuse to do something together, out of sight. She considered teasing Jenn more in the meantime, but as Jenn quickly grew more irritable she decided to save it for when they stopped.

Eventually the weather worsened. And Ashley decided to take the opportunity to try her hand at the unfamiliar weather, on a small scale. Just around herself and Jenn she reached out to the bitter wind, and set a trickle of power into trying to make it part around them, to leave the pair in a pocket of nearly-still air. If could find a way to divert the wind without burning her own magical reserves, preferably without much concentration, it could certainly prove useful later, especially if anything went wrong and the group found themselves separated.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52, PP = 72, EP = 77/78, Status = Fine

NPCs
Jenn: Fine, spent 14 EP
Daniella Boulay: Fine, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: Fine
Alex Kovisto: Fine
Professor Laura Steiner: Fine, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay

Jiub the Slaver: Fine
Karena Arselone: Fine
Ayeila: Fine
Caragor: Fine
Grumush: Fine
Gronkor: Fine
Dalmen: Fine
Scortha: Fine
Nilsin the Red: Fine
Trogo son of Trondor: Fine
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: Fine
Ylsig: Fine

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, Karena and Jenn's (possibly) two ice elementals

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

Rolls
Ashley can use Buffeting Winds to limit how annoying the wind is, but it costs EP.

Jenn merely stared flatly at Ashley when the wind mage roped her close and delivered her suggestive whisper, giving a roll of her eyes and then making to join the marching order. Her lover's mood didn't improve much over the course of their march, the somewhat doughier mage's body still not acclimated to the long days of constant movement. Her magical gear might help her resist the cold, but it didn't make the uphill climbs any easier, it didn't make trudging through snow any easier, and it didn't make the regular occurrence of creeping along treacherous paths along icy cliffs any less dangerous. The air was too cold for fire magic to do anything but displace the ice without immense expenditures of energy, and water magic couldn't reshape ice.

Ashley's own attempt at making things more comfortable for them when the biting wind came up wouldn't prove much better, unfortunately. She could suppress them for a while with a bit of concentration, but that much air couldn't be redirected without a constant expenditure of energy. It wouldn't cost anything more from her to spread the effect beyond herself and Jenn, and could even have covered the whole group if they were traveling in a clump, but after a few moments she simply released the effect. Jenn grumbled inaudibly, but swallowed whatever she'd been saying when a sudden gust caused her foot, planted on a sheet of ice, to slip out from under her. She recovered quickly enough, especially when Karena grabbed her under the elbow, but still only seemed to look more miserable.

The orcs hadn't been kidding when they said they wouldn't be stopping until nightfall. Not once were they permitted to move in any direction other than forward; not to rest, not to eat, not even to relieve themselves, and the grueling pace at which they had the mages marching was wearying even to the more physically fit among them. Jenn's stumbles were repeated more than once, and not just by her. As they crossed another narrow ravine that forced them into single file, there was a commotion behind them and Ashley turned just in time to see Daniella tumbling off the side of the cliff. She shrieked, eyes wide and flailing as she began to plummet towards the jagged chunks of stone and ice below, but was caught at the last possible moment by the orc, Trogo. The lean, redheaded warrior dragged the similarly headed evoker back up to their ranks one handed, and though she seemed fairly shaken and rubbed her shoulder they wait long enough for anyone to check her injuries. After a while she simply conjured a fire elemental to walk with them, bathing her group in its warmth, and resummoned it as needed when the frigid air wore at the elemental's fiery body.

The next to risk imminent death was Alex, the stocky young man collapsing on a sheet of ice at the top of a hill that sent him rolling down a slope that ended at a sheer drop that had to be at least two hundred feet down to the next snow bank. This time it was Arclan who intervened, simply appearing next to him in mid flying tumble and catching him, though a sloped wall of ice appeared behind him a moment later, the source of which could easily be traced back to Steiner. Arclan simply carried Alex back up the slope, walking up the icy incline like it was a flat paved street in midsummer, and they were once again back on their way.

Next it was Jenn, again, but her mishap was luckily less perilous as she simply flopped over in the snow at one point, cursing. A sharp rock had been concealed by the snow drifts, and she had tripped and gashed her ankle on it. She healed the injury with an effort of magic, and then glancing back at Daniella she waved her hands around her. The ice and snow immediately began to collect at her call, forming underneath her into a mount that raised her up until an icy horse had formed beneath her. She grinned at Ashley as she directed the ice elemental forward, no longer needing to move under her own power, and said; "Want one for yourself? They'll definitely last all day out here!"

Should Ashley answer affirmatively, she would find her own mount appearing underneath her. It was cold, especially between the legs, but a blanket of snow at least kept it from being so firm that it would be entirely uncomfortable. Dornhall opted not to comment on the blatant display of magic as he walked on, keeping pace with the elemental without much apparent trouble, but Karena scowled openly at them as she kept along without any apparent issue, and given that she wore an open helm her expression was obvious. Jenn noticed it after too long, and apparently thought it wise to ask why; "What? Is something wrong? Did you see something up ahead?"

The human knight glanced at Jenn, frowning, and then shook her head and replied; "No... It's just... I don't believe that what you are doing is a wise decision." Jenn quirked an eyebrow and asked, "why not?" Karena pursed her lips, and after a moment she said; "Things like that... It's why you are losing." Jenn stared blankly at her for a moment, apparently not sure how to take that, and eventually managed to incredulously say; "What?"

Karena simply shook her head and looked away in response, apparently unwilling to argue the matter further, but as Jenn opened her mouth to speak further Dornhall spoke up; "It is because it makes you weak." Jenn swiveled her head towards the heavily armored orc, but he needed no prompting to explain further; "You rely on these magics to solve your problems, uncaring of the consequences.... You let them be your arms, your legs, sometimes your eyes. We face the same difficulties you do, some of us in heavy armor and none of us with the protection of your spells or your trinkets. You may think that your sorcery lets you accomplish what it would take a hundred warriors to do... And maybe you are right. But to do what some might think impossible requires a will harder than steel, and none of you have such a will... Well, most of you do not." It was impossible to really tell, but Ashley felt like his gaze lingered on her for a moment.

Jenn opened her mouth, perhaps to argue further, but Dornhall cut her off by saying; "Now is not the time to argue philosophy.... Karena might not have seen it, but we are being watched. Followed." Karena glanced at him cautiously, and then past him as they started to ascend towards another treacherous cliff face that the first group was already halfway up; Are you sure?" Dornhall's head swung around, glancing off to the side, and he replied in a distant voice further muffled by his helmet; "One does not hunt a mountain troll without knowing they are there. Two hours or so, at least four. They are well hidden, I haven't yet caught more than a glimpse, else I'd have spoken up earlier or tried to intercept... But they come too regularly for them to be an illusion in the snow."

The path they were taking was a particularly narrow rising ridge, an icy path along a cliff face on the right with an ever increasing gap below them. "We have crossed such hazards under their observation before... I do not know yet if their intentions are malicious, but we had best be on our guard anyway," Dornhall intoned solemnly as their portion of the group began to ascend further. There was no visible path around the icy cliffside, not without turning back entirely, and the forward contingent of their party was already halfway up.

If Dornhall's supposed pursuers were real, Ashley could find no trace of them, and judging by the manner in which she looked around the icy drifts as they climbed Jenn couldn't see anything either. The path they traveled was treacherous, but the elementals seemed to traverse it with no difficulty whatsoever. An icy wind blew across them, whipping and causing the party ahead to falter. Alex was about to slip again before one of the orcs grabbed him, and a particularly harsh burst of icy wind reduced Daniella's elemental to a cinder before it simply winked out, its magic spent. Out to the West, there seemed to be naught but more hills and snowdrifts, without even the sparse trees they'd seen all too often on earlier portions of their journey.

Or at least, it seemed to be so, for just as Ashley's portion of the group reached where the icy path level out there was a sudden surge in the wind again, one that sent a blinding layer of snow whipping up over them from down below. Jenn and the two warriors on either side of them ages raised their arms, but even if Ashley did the same to keep the snow out of her eyes it wouldn't stop her from hearing the thunderous crack that occurred above them... Nor from seeing something odd just before it did, streaks of what looked like lightning reaching out from the snow drifts and striking the cliffsides above them. Whatever she might think of that, however, Ashley felt the ground quake beneath them even through their icy elementals, and an unintelligible warning shout sounded before the cliffside up above them suddenly collapsed. She had thought herself and Jenn able to stop an avalanche before... And now, she had her chance to try it as ton after ton of ice, snow and stone came tumbling down towards them with mere heartbeats worth of time for them to react.
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley walked on at a steady pace, frowning as she realized she wouldn't likely be able to still the wind indefinitely. Even when the winds briefly worsened, and people started occasionally slipping, the wind mage held off. If the orcs' fears about attack were realized, she would want to have as much magic available to herself as possible.

Almost of more worry was Jenn. Her lover's mood steadily worsened, and she clearly still wasn't used to the sort of extended physical effort this all day march required. Ashley rushed to her side when Jenn finally fell, but by the time she arrived the water mage had already cured her minor injury. And, a moment later, jumped back as ice rose below her. She stood for a second, blinking at the horse-shaped ice elemental. Never one of her best fields of study, but... a remarkably good idea, under the circumstances. She grinned, and when Jenn offered to summon another, easily accepted.

She expected the horse to appear beside her, and to mount it like normal. And instead cried out in shock as it appeared directly under her, lifting her into the air, barely holding on. But she should have known, and rolled her eyes at Jenn as she settled onto the mount. The major problem would be the cold. But between the gear they were already wearing and the ring gifted to her by the fey, that was negligible.

Their companions seemed less than thrilled, though. At first Ashley wondered if perhaps they felt left out. But a question from Jenn made the real reason obvious. For both Karena and Dornhall.

The wind mage shook her head slightly, but kept silent through Dornhall's rant. Exactly the sort of ignorant nonsense she expected from the orcs. The way he had hovered on Ashley when vacillating on the strength of mages said he should know it, too, but he just skipped right over that little point and moved on.

The reality was obvious, to Ashley. Magic did not make someone weak. Magic magnified strength. It was a lack of challenge that made someone weak. Using magic just meant you needed better challenges. Ashley had had more than her fair share, and it showed. Many of the other mages had not. But if the orcs thought that they could just walk over the Academy because of magic, they had a big surprise coming. They had started off strong, but as soon as the Academy had joined the fight the orc advanced had slowed. Then halted. The mages hadn't run over the magic-avoiding orcs from the start, perhaps partly because they had relied on their magic in the past, and didn't have the strength of will to do the impossible. But every loss despite magic would correct that imbalance. The mages would go stronger every day, exploring thresholds of power most people couldn't even dream of, while the orcs were already at the limits of physical strength. The idea that relying on magic would doom them was laughably backwards. They might start further from their peak, but that peak was a mountain beside the molehill the orcs tied themselves to.

But that wasn't a worthwhile argument. They were allies, here and now, and Dornhall would learn the truth eventually, if the war continued. Instead, her mind turned back to Jenn. The water mage's mood had been bad and getting worse before, but on their new horses it seemed likely to improve. The only real problem would be the cold. A cold pussy wouldn't get Ashley the punishment she deserved. But there were ways to warm it up, and the wind mage decided that this would be a good time to start flirting. Maybe tell Jenn she was wearing the present her lover had gotten her the last day of exams.

Unfortunately, the conversation brought her back to reality. Danger. Something following them. And an even more dangerous crossing ahead of them. Putting thoughts of Jenn's private parts aside, Ashley guided her elemental horse onto the path just behind the other, keeping a wary eye out for any sign of the trolls the other two had mentioned.

She didn't see any. What she did see was bolts of lightning, unnaturally synchronized, slamming into the mountain above them. For a moment she was confused. It likely wouldn't have been a fatal strike, but as an attack it seemed to have missed by rather a lot, and the surprise might have been enough to knock someone unfortunate from the cliff.

Then she felt the rumble, even through her horse. Looked up. Saw the snow coming down.

There wasn't time to plan, to plot, to think her way out of it like a chess game. It was power or death. And physical strength wouldn't be enough. Her gun would be useless. Magic was the name of the game. And immediately she drew it in, raising her hands and feeling power rushing from all around her and within her, through her core, down her arms, to her fingertips.

Wind howled away from her, upward. Wind wouldn't stop an avalanche. But she didn't have to. The downward descent was an inevitability of gravity that even she couldn't stop, not in the second she had. Instead, she sent a hammer of wind rushing up the cliff, then curled it off into the void. The first bits of snow hit her wind, and slid along it, flying out dozens of feet from the cliff even as they continued moving down at nearly the same speed.

But there was no way to know if it was enough. As the main body of snow hit the wind, her hope was that it would push it just a few inches, but with enough momentum that the snow would continue to plummet down... a few feet *beyond* the edge of the path, leaving them under a 'wave' of falling snow. As the wind curled, she looped it back into itself, feeding it as much as she could, like a tornado on its side, above her, Jenn, and as much of the rest of the party as she could without diminishing its power. But it might not be enough. There might be too much rock, too heavy to push aside. She might not push it far enough, fast enough, or long enough.

But she wasn't alone. "Jenn! Make a ramp!" Ashley kept it brief, and punctuated the shout with a gesture, indicating the steep ramp from the edge of the path as far up as she could. Just like with the wind, it wouldn't need to hold up to the impossible weight of the entire avalanche, just deflect anything that got through Ashley's barrier a bit to the side.

And in the event none of this worked... there were other options. The best one was the craziest. Grab Jenn and jump off the cliff. Their matching earrings had enchantments that would slow their fall, and Ashley could cast another spell as they fell, letting them fly out of the immediate danger of the falling snow.

So. Ashley isn't messing around, and will immediately throw a level 5 spell in her chosen element at the problem. I'm basing it off Tornado, with somewhat unusual aiming. And in the event everything goes sour, Ashley would plan to try to leap out of the path of the avalanche with Jenn, trusting Wind (below) to save them from immediate falling death and Wind Walk (level 5 air spell) to immediately follow to let them deliberately evade danger instead of just falling slower.

Wind - An earring showing a cloud and three wavy lines; the stylized symbol of wind in pearl-white. Worn against Ashley's left earlobe, on a silver fitting. Enchanted to draw on its wearer's energy to cast Gliding Winds should it freefall 10 feet. Ashley enchanted this herself, as well as the twin Jenn wears.
 

Tassadar

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Nov 10, 2008
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 26/52, PP = 72, EP = 69/78, Status = Not Fine, Weakened, Badly Injured

NPCs
Jenn: ???, spent 14 EP
Karena Arselone: ???
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: ???

Daniella Boulay: ???, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: ???
Alex Kovisto: ???
Professor Laura Steiner: ???, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay: ???

Jiub the Slaver: ???
Ayeila: ???
Caragor: ???
Grumush: ???
Gronkor: ???
Dalmen: ???
Scortha: ???
Nilsin the Red: ???
Trogo son of Trondor: ???
Ylsig: ???

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, Karena and Jenn's (possibly) two ice elementals

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

Rolls
Casting: Success.
Resistance: Failure.

Jenn's Casting: I thought she succeeded... But she actually failed after I bothered checking the numbers.

So, uhhh.... Yeah.
Damage: 101, Ashley and co have a super bad day.

There were countless stories about the amazing things that sorcery was capable of. The magics relying not solely upon one's own strength but upon the manipulation of the nearly limitless energies available both above and below the surface of Donevrion. Ashley herself had even accomplished heroic feats with her control of the wind, bringing up a hurricane to ward off the aliens and facing demon and invader lord alike with only the gun at her side and her magic to call upon. Even beyond her own experiences, the Academy and popular legend were both full of tales of those with the skill using magic to accomplish seemingly impossible things.

Those able to control the wind could, as Ashley had done numerous times, use little more than air to turn the path of an incoming projectile. Stopping arrows and bolts and javelins was one of the very first tricks that a wind mage learned. Turning aside faster projectiles like bullets had become an essential trait all too quickly as more powerful ranged weaponry became commonplace. There were even tales of accomplished sorcerers using the air to turn aside ballista bolts and catapult fire, and it was upon an amplified form of the defensive air control techniques that Ashley enacted to try and turn aside the avalanche before it could descend upon them.

Unfortunately, it seemed that several hundred tons of snow, ice, and rock was beyond her abilities.

Jenn reacted almost as quickly as Ashley, calling upon the heights of her own magics even as Ashley created a sideways whirlwind meant to push the oncoming avalanche aside before it could pound the four of them into paste. The initial flurries of oncoming snow shifted aside, creating a wave of snow flowing over them, but when the first large chunks of ice came they blew through the wall of wind like it wasn't even there. The ground rumbled beneath them like the narrow pathway on which they walked was about to shake apart, and when the first chunk of ice the size of an ogre slammed into it the section of pathway just ahead of them collapsed entirely, leaving their path ahead blocked.

Ashley felt Jenn's spell forming, felt her trying to create a slanted plane of ice that would guide the larger projectiles over them. The water in the air began to solidify, the natural affinity for frost present in the energies in the air aiding the formation of the ice wall, but before she could complete the magic a boulder fell straight toward her. Ashley's spell tried and failed to divert the massive stone, changing its path by less than a foot before it was practically on her lover's head. She was spared watching Jenn being crushed into paste only because Dornhall grabbed her off of her summoned elemental at the last second and dragged her out of the way. The ice elemental itself was shattered, but that only meant that its essence returned to whence it came. The disruption was more than enough to destroy Jenn's concentration, however, and before she could try to cast the spell a second time the avalanche was upon them.

Jumping off the cliff at that point wouldn't have taken them near enough from the path of the rubble to protect them, but as Dornhall released Jenn Ashley grabbed her - tumbling off of her ice elemental in the process - and dragged her off the side. She saw the armored orc draw his spear and jab it into the wall just as they fell, felt the heat of an explosion of flame that they couldn't see, saw the shelf on which she had left Dornhall and Karena begin to slide downwards with the avalanche just as their rings were starting to kick on... And then Ashley was smashed down by ton after ton of snow and ice. She was separated from Jenn as they were pulled apart by a massive chunk of ice that struck their intertwined arms, agony shooting up Ashley's should in the process, but she had no more than a couple of seconds before the chunks of ice and stone - some of them fairly sharp - that were raining down upon them reached a volume at which one of them struck her on the head and she was knocked senseless.

She felt herself falling, felt herself hit the ground only for it to collapse out from under her, felt herself sliding downwards as the rain of projectiles stopped... Felt herself hitting walls repeatedly, producing fresh bursts of pain that were white hot agony every time her injured arm was among the portions of her being used to interrupt her momentum. After a few moments she felt only open air under her, but it gave way before even her enchanted protection against falling to her death could take effect to another painful thump that left her tumbling, and what little sense she had left gave way to rapidly oncoming unconsciousness...

Ashley awoke in pitch black darkness to a storm of pains shooting into her from various places. She felt lightheaded, felt sticky dampness that gave wave to something frozen against in various places... And felt that her right arm wasn't in an entirely natural position. The moment she tried to move it a sickening level of pain rushed through her, and even wiggling her fingers was pure pain. Trying to lift it left the lower portion of her forearm flopping at an odd angle, and fresh torment proving that she hadn't yet experienced the furthest limits of pain just yet. She was alone, or at least seemed to be, but there was an echoing quality to the silence that suggested that she was underground somewhere, somehow. She couldn't see anything, however, and while the pain was fairly significant after the battering she had suffered she could still move... To an extent. There was no telling what had happened to any of the others, either those directly beside her when the avalanche had hit or the rest of their party, but she certainly wasn't going to discover it lying on the floor of whatever cave system she'd ended up in.
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

For a moment it seemed like it would work. Snow, shattered trees, and even rocks flew away, leaving a protected space below. And if that was all that was coming, it probably would have worked. But a huge chunk of ice fell straight through the barrier, too heavy to shove easily out of the way. Ashley leapt back as it slammed into the pathway, breaking a huge chunk of it off the side of the cliff.

More came. Rocks big enough to be called boulders. She knew from the start that the wind wasn't going to be enough on its own. That's where Jenn came in. She would make a solid barrier. It couldn't hold up to the massive weight of snow coming down, but if Ashley could divert most of the debris, the shield of ice could stop what was left.

But the as the magic formed in the air above them, a stone fell. Ashley saw it coming, but if she stopped her spell above, they would all be crushed. So she could only watch, helpless, as it fell towards Jenn.

An armored arm pulled her off her elemental at the last second. The elemental shattered and puffed back into loose snow, but it was too late now to try the spell a second time. More rocks were coming, more huge shards of ice.

There seemed to be two ways out. The amulet around her neck could teleport her out into the open air, free of the avalanche. If she could speak the command word clearly enough to be heard. If she cupped her hand around it... there wasn't time. Which left the worst plan she'd ever come up with. She grabbed Jenn, and Jumped. The snow would hit them. But they'd be falling as well, softening the blow. And if they managed to reach the other side of the flow, they could float safely down until a better plan presented itself.

The first part worked perfectly. They fell off the cliff, and were hit by tons of snow. The second part...

Ashley awoke in darkness. And pain. She blinked. And could almost make out... shapes. The pain was worst in her right arm. She didn't even remember exactly when it had been hurt. She wiggled her fingers. And suppressed a scream. It was broken. Badly. She tried to move her other hand, and her feet. It hurt, but nothing like the pain in her right arm.

This was not going to be fun. She was adept in all the elements taught at the academy, and knew plenty of healing magic for the cuts-and-bruises type of injury. She knew she could heal a broken bone.

But only after it had been set.

Trying to heal it now... would work. And she wouldn't be able to use that arm until it was broken *again*, and then set, and then healed properly. She needed that arm. Everything seemed quiet now, but her friends and companions were out there somewhere. Jenn was out there. How to set her arm. She could set someone *else's* arm - before joining the war effort, all the mages had to be able to manage that kind of routine non-magical care - but with only her left arm actually usable...

The answer, of course, was magic. Force magic wasn't her gift, but she'd mastered the basic spell she'd need even before reaching the Academy. Just a little telekenesis. But there was a problem. She wiggled her fingers again, and this time did scream. She'd nearly passed out. Without even lifting her arm, much what setting it. More magic. It would hurt. But there were spells that could buffer the pain, keep her conscious and sane.

She focused on one. The professor who taught it to her had said it could be cast in the moment before someone's head was severed, and keep them alive long enough to reattach it. Assuming a trained Healer was on hand, and whoever chopped the thing off cooperated. She didn't know if that was true. But before she could think better of it, she cast it on herself. And then immediately reached into her magic again, pulling her arm up with an invisible hand and *yanking* it back into the proper shape.

She screamed. Tears and sweat rolled down her cheeks despite the cold. And before the effects could wear off, reached up with her left hand and touched her arm above the break. Forced a jolt of healing power into her own body, as strong as she could manage.

After, she lay panting and whimpering in the snow for a moment. But only a moment. There was no way to know how long she'd been out. An hour or a minute or a day. But her friends were in danger, or at the very least thought she was. And certainly there was danger. But if this was going to turn out well, she would have to be part of it.

The wind mage pulled herself to her feet. Conjured a mage light. And then cast the spell that would point her towards Jenn. The companion she cared most about, and the one that had been closest when she'd blacked out.

As we discussed, there are going to be 3 spells involved in the healing process:

Firstly, the level 3 Body spell Stabilize (or something similar) to stop her from going unconscious for the next spell. [4 EP]
Secondly, the level 1 Force spell Manipulate (or similar). Up to 50 pounds of telekinesis on her own arm, to set it. [0 EP]
Finally, she'll use the level 3 Body spell Healing Touch on herself. Ideally this will fix her broken arm and restore her HP pretty well. [4 EP]

If that all works and she isn't interrupted, she's going cast the level 1 Light spell Light. [0 EP]
And then cast the level 3 Arcane spell Find on Jenn, and start moving in that direction. [4 EP]
 

Tassadar

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Nov 10, 2008
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52/52, PP = 72, EP = 57/78, Status = Okay, Weakened, Light, Find on Jenn

NPCs
Jenn: ???, spent 14 EP
Karena Arselone: ???
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: ???

Daniella Boulay: ???, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: ???
Alex Kovisto: ???
Professor Laura Steiner: ???, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay: ???

Jiub the Slaver: ???
Ayeila: ???
Caragor: ???
Grumush: ???
Gronkor: ???
Dalmen: ???
Scortha: ???
Nilsin the Red: ???
Trogo son of Trondor: ???
Ylsig: ???

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, and Karena

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

Rolls
Spellcasting time!

Casting check for Stabilize: Success.
Manipulate: Success.
Healing Touch: Success.
Heal: 7 + 12 = 19, 19 x 3 = 57, back to full HP

Ashley's Perception: 39 vs ???

Ashley's pained screams as she sought to set her broken arm echoed through the dark expanse around her, bouncing off of unseen walls to reach the ears of who knew what that might live down here. The concentration shattering agony didn't make casting what she needed in order to get back on her feet an easy task, but she had been taught to maintain her concentration under duress before. Never would the Academy deliberately inflict actual injury on its students, but attacks upon her spirit and mind and other forms of distraction were common enough additions to the more advanced lessons that the harm to her body wasn't so different. The first bit of magic was a more advanced form of healing magic than most who didn't go into the healer's college than most sorcerers could manage, but Ashley had gotten farther in terms of magical expertise than most. The manipulative magic surged softly through her body, numbing the pain slightly and ensuring that she wouldn't go into shock.

That sensation was her last bit of comfort, however, and so her next bit of magic provided her with enough telekinetic force to put her bones back into their proper place... If she could do it properly. The first time she felt bone grinding against bone and her ability to think left her promptly in a surge of agony, but when she could think again she realized promptly that she hadn't quite managed to set her arm properly. The second effort produced just as much pain, but this time Ashley had set the bones into the proper position and a quick burst of intense healing magic set the bones healing. The pain receded to a dull throbbing pain, but her right arm was set again even if the bones would be a bit brittle for a while.

Distant echoes of her screams still filtered back to her as she lay panting upon the floor of wherever she'd landed, but the experienced adventurer wasn't so easily crippled by pain. She still felt weak and exhausted, but her body would recover in time, and she had to get moving if she wanted to find Jenn and the rest of her party.

The light she summoned flared brightly as she called it to life, a brilliant hovering orb that she could direct as she wished, and it revealed walls around her that were only partially opaque. The light refracted through the walls, going from white to a soft blue, and a single touch would reveal that the walls were made of solid ice. The floor was similarly icy, producing treacherous ground as the wind mage climbed to her feet, but as she looked around she could at least see a few dark patches signalling harder, less slippery materials. The enchantment that helped her contain her body heat ensured that she wasn't feeling its full effects, but even through that helpful bit of magic Ashley could feel that it was incredibly cold down here, and given what had happened it was impossible to tell how far down she was... Or how far she was from a way back to the surface.

Regardless of the answer to either of those questions, however, the mage would seek to find Jenn first, as she was most likely somewhere down here. The cavern in which she had awakened was fairly large, perhaps eight feet high and over two dozen wide, with walls that rounded inwards and a few columns of ice in the center of it. There was a tunnel up on the ceiling that was blocked by rock and packed ice, likely from which she had fallen, and another on the opposite end of the chamber that proceeded down, deeper into the icy mountain into which she had fallen. Casting her spell to locate Jenn revealed that the water mage was somewhere below her and to the well right of that tunnel, not far in terms of pure physical distance but far when the spell she'd enacted determined the route she would have to take to reach her. She would be in the winding tunnels for some time to reach Jenn, and given the nature of the magic she was using... It wasn't even a certainty that the water mage was still alive. The spell would continue to guide her towards her lover's location regardless of her state and movements, however, and at least might make her aware if Jenn was moving... Which, as it turned out, she was within moments of Ashley casting the spell. Not fast, and further away, but she was moving... Though whether or not it was under her own power was impossible to tell.

With no reason to continue lying around and many to get out of these caves as quickly as was possible, Ashley started her journey by going through the initial passage that was the only direction she could go. Her feet slipped on the icy floor as she walked, and once she reached the entrance to the narrow passageway she saw that the narrowing ice tunnel sloped downwards. Climbing down was a treacherous dance between haste and care, but she made it without falling and came upon a series of channels in the ice going in multiple directions. There was a path to her left, leading up, but that was away from Jenn and her spell pointed away from it. There were two paths forward, one that sloped sharply downwards into a slide of sorts on the left and another that went straight and widened on the right, but those two were also not where her spell was directing her. That left the path leading left and slightly doubling back, a narrow channel that was lined with jagged shards of ice, but as she turned toward it Ashley saw something.

A shimmer, a slight... Offness in the blue that her light reflected, a distortion in the air. It appeared about thirty feet away down the right, flat passageway, but when she looked back at it was gone. There was no sign that anything had been amiss, no sound to alert her that anything had been there or was still there... Had she imagined it?
 

thetwo

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May 25, 2009
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley panted through her teeth as the healing magic started fading from her body. It seemed to have worked, though she'd want to get the arm looked at by someone better versed in medicine than herself as soon as possible. That wasn't terribly surprising. She'd never had to heal *herself* from that kind of injury, but the war had provided the Academy ample practical applications for a type of magic that was generally difficult to 'practice'.

What she hadn't expected was how hard it had been. The buffering spell had kept her conscious, but hadn't done much to dull the pain. It had been a long time since she failed to cast a spell like that. If she'd failed the second time... the wind mage felt certain that each attempt would be more difficult, until she couldn't even make herself try anymore. But even aside from that, something had felt off. Not right with the magic, even beyond the pain nearly making her fizzle the spell.

With the extraordinary pain just an unpleasantly vivid memory, Ashley pulled herself to her feet. There wasn't time to waste feeling sorry for herself. She checked the rest of her body, but the healing magic hadn't been targeted specifically at the arm, and any minor injuries to the rest of her body had healed during the spell. And better yet, all her equipment was in place. Her hand raised, and a ball of light formed above it. A ball of pure, white light. She stared at it for several seconds before realizing that she was ruining her night vision. The ball darted to over her shoulder, casting a shadow in front of her but letting her eyes adjust a little so that if the light went out it wouldn't be quite as much shock.

The ball had been a pure white. Calling light was a simple spell, but like all the ones she had picked up before coming to the Academy, her light had been... stormy. More like a cloud lit from within by lightning than the pure ball she had seen a moment before. Unless she specifically concentrated on making it pure, there should have been the blue-tinted flashes of lightning, and a slightly fuzzy cloud-like aura. Not the cold, perfectly steady ball. And for that matter, with all the pain she had been in before... that was the kind of condition where her natural magic would leak out. But there had been no mist, no stormclouds, no thunder in her screams of pain.

The wind mage concentrated. And realized that she was underground. Or... not quite underground. Under *something*. Like being underwater. Under ice. Jenn would be at home here, but this place hadn't felt a storm in a thousand years. The air was cold and still, and she hated it. Her wind magic wasn't from this sort of place, and she'd have to work to bring it here. She'd spent the last few years focusing on broadening her knowledge of other elements. That would pay off in a place like this.

But it didn't make finding Jenn less of a priority. If anything, it would make it more urgent. She cast a simple spell to find her lover, and started following it, trying not to worry. But quickly realized Jenn was moving. And... and in the same way that this was not a place of Air, it was a place of water. Or ice, which was the same thing basically. That helped ease the quiet fear inside her. Jenn's magic would be stronger here in the same way her own was weaker. If she could make it, so too could Jenn.

Eventually she found herself at a crossroads of sorts. It would have been tricky to navigate this place without magic, but with magic it wasn't too hard. She turned to face the correct passage. And saw something on her right. But when she turned, there was nothing there. Still. Something wasn't right. She wasn't alone. A chill ran down her spine. Not likely to be a friend. But she also couldn't go blasting indiscriminately. She'd already used more magic than she would have preferred, going into what might be a fight. She had to balance that against the threat.

And the threat was not that great. At least not yet. It might have been nothing, though her instincts protested. So rather than hesitate or look around frantically, the wind mage moved confidently forward, down the passage she had chosen, until she reached a part that was narrow enough. Then she stopped, and quickly pulled from the intense ambient water magic, conjuring a wall that would slow or even stop anything following her through the narrow tunnel. And even if something got through, the noise it would make would be audible for some distance.

Her mind a little more at ease, Ashley continued on along the magical path towards Jenn.

Water level 2 - Wall of Water. Creates a small barrier of water that blocks a creature from passage. Ashley intends to maintain it for a while, at least until she's far enough that she can't hear it, possibly further. Due to the local magical conditions, this should cost 0 EP.
 
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Tassadar

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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52/52, PP = 72, EP = 55/78, Status = Okay, Weakened, Light, Find on Jenn, Wall of Water

NPCs
Jenn: ???, spent 14 EP
Karena Arselone: ???
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: ???

Daniella Boulay: ???, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: ???
Alex Kovisto: ???
Professor Laura Steiner: ???, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay: ???

Jiub the Slaver: ???
Ayeila: ???
Caragor: ???
Grumush: ???
Gronkor: ???
Dalmen: ???
Scortha: ???
Nilsin the Red: ???
Trogo son of Trondor: ???
Ylsig: ???

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, and Karena

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

Rolls
Casting: Success.

A curtain of roiling water rushed up before Ashley's eyes, blocking off a narrow point in the passage behind her some ten feet beyond the entrance. It would be ice cold, but the magically induced movement would keep it from freezing so long as she maintained it, and even if it froze over the wall of ice would likely accomplish what she wanted anyway. Regardless, her security at least partially assured, the wind mage would be free to continue without further concern, as nothing had made any immediate effort to stop her.

Heading deeper into the cave system, Ashley found herself reaching another intersection, this time coming into it from one of the arms of the V shape making a Y, heading deeper down into the dark, icy caverns. Water trickled along the floor down the path that she was led down, taking her down a fairly treacherous path that she had to either slide down, or take very very carefully lest she slip and fall... At least unless she wished to come up with another magical solution.

(There may be an interruption here depending on your decision on how to proceed.)

At the bottom of that slope, some hundred feet long, was another intersection, this one a pair of intersecting lines that crossed at a sharp angle, forming a pair of narrow Vs that also proceeded up and down. To the left, and up she went this time, and for a time she traveled through labyrinthine passageways that regularly branched, narrowed, widened, or formed slippery slopes with water rushing down them. Here path wound steadily, sometimes up and sometimes down, and with too many turns for her to keep a good sense of what direction she was actually going at the guidance of the magic leading her to Jenn. Sound began to filter to her at last, breaking the eerie silence that had traveled with her save for her own footfalls since her awakening. They echoed down the halls and chambers, too distorted for her to recognize what they might be or discern their source, but as she traveled towards where Jenn supposedly was they did become louder and more distinct.

She began to discern the sounds from another as she carefully ascended another icy path with water trickling down around her. There were voices, snippets of loud conversation that might have been shouted, along with the sound of metal contacting something nearly as hard. Sometimes a shriek or scream. Rock - or perhaps ice - grinding against another hard something. What was happening was impossible to tell from just the noises, but she did feel the distant thrum of bursts of magic, at least some of which was familiar.

A few moments later, Ashley came upon an intersection, and there her guidance spell suddenly went haywire. There were three paths, one the way she had come, one going almost directly forward, and another going sharply to the left and down; the magic couldn't seem to pick between which one. That meant that there were physical hazards along each that she would have to deal with, ones that the magic couldn't find an easy path across. Ahead, she could see that the chamber opened up, just at the most distant edge of her conjured light. To the right she saw the passageway level out and turn slightly to the left, curving along a section of wall that went from ice to deep black rock, but where it went was impossible to say without exploring it.
 

thetwo

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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley stared for a moment at her handywork. That had gone almost better than expected. A pleasant change. Nothing would be following her through the narrow passage without her knowing about it. And if it also gave away her own movements... well, the ball of light and the echoing nature of the caverns did that well enough anyway. Leaving her makeshift alarm behind, the wind mage continued on to the next intersection.

Which, unfortunately, was where another path joined her own. Someone - or something - that knew these caves well could likely avoid her enchanted water and simply come through this passage. But worrying about that wouldn't solve anything. She could repeat her trick at the next narrow area, and keep alert in the meantime.

More worrying was the slope. The wind mage very nearly simply leapt down it, trusting her wind magic to break her fall, before the oppressively still air of the cavern reminded her that the wind was not on her side here. Not to the usual degree. She was perfectly confident that she could still cast the simple featherfall cantrip, but it was entirely possible that her earring wouldn't do it automatically, and it would cost a portion of her magical reserves.

Water was the way, here. And there was a little running down the slope. Jenn would know what to do, but most of Ashley's experience with water was as rain, which would only make this situation worse. She could freeze the water - which would make things worse. Or make more of it. Which would make things worse. Or maybe clean the stones she trod on, on the way down? But that would leave them wet, and given how cold it was probably frozen also. Worse.

Best, perhaps, just to take it slowly and carefully. Not ideal, but... if she went around blasting everything with magic, she'd run out. That was why she carried a gun now. But a gun didn't solve everything magic could. So slow and steady it was.

(Assuming there is no interruption)

At the bottom, Ashley picked up the pace, not taking the time to wash off the inevitable mud. It had taken more time than she would have liked, and now she would try to make some of that up. Unfortunately, the path didn't stay open and clear for long. It wound, and she had to slow down again to avoid walking headlong into a pit or a trap.

It seemed to go on forever. Then she started hearing sounds. In the direction, according to her magic, of Jenn. It became more clear as she went. Voices. Human voices. Shouting. Fighting. And magic. She was getting close. And was badly needed, if they were still fighting after all this time.

Ashley's skin started to itch. It was time. Almost time. She still had to hold back. To break through some final barrier between her and Jenn. Then she could really let it go. Before even then, though, one last choice. The tunnel was probably smarter. Against an unknown number of foes, it would be easier for one woman to hold, knowing there were only two ways to come at her. And any obstacle would have a maximum size, one she was fairly confident she could brute-force her way through.

But the air was so still. Claustrophobically so. And worse, she knew that it would limit her strength in a fight. She had other disciplines she could rely on, now, but air was still first and best. Except today. And that decided it, really. It might not actually help ease her magic, but the open space called to her, and - loosening her gun in its holster - she answered.

Going straight ahead.
 

Tassadar

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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52/52, PP = 72, EP = 55/78, Status = Okay, Weakened, Light, Find on Jenn, Wall of Water

NPCs
Jenn: ???, spent 14 EP
Karena Arselone: ???
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: ???

Daniella Boulay: ???, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: ???
Alex Kovisto: ???
Professor Laura Steiner: ???, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay: ???

Jiub the Slaver: ???
Ayeila: ???
Caragor: ???
Grumush: ???
Gronkor: ???
Dalmen: ???
Scortha: ???
Nilsin the Red: ???
Trogo son of Trondor: ???
Ylsig: ???

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, and Karena

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

The passageway opened in front of Ashley as she strode forward into the wider chamber, her conjured light revealing a wider chamber formed entirely out of ice. The ceiling was covered in points of ice, stalactites formed from the water flowing through tiny cracks in the ceiling. The air flowed a bit more freely here, but not enough for the wind mage's intrinsic familiarity with the element to achieve much more than a shadow of comfort. Water dripped down constantly all around the round chamber, and the obstacle that the spell couldn't get around lying in her path became clear.

There was an immense chasm in the floor, so far down that her light just sort of ended after a while. The sides were perfectly smooth, and the crackling along the edges on either side suggested that the ice might crumble if stressed too much. It was at least ten feet across, a far jump under the best of conditions, but the other side was a bit lower than the one that she was on at least. The gap ran from the one side of the chamber to the other, with no obvious visible path across it.

That left Ashley with a choice on how to proceed. She could go back and follow one of the other paths, but as distant and warped as they were she could tell that the shouts were growing more urgent. Pain rang through some of the voices, and the rushing sensation of flowing energy caused by spellcasting became feebler and less frequent. Whoever was casting, they were either injured or running out of power to call upon. A magical solution to the gap might save her some time, as there was no guarantee that the other paths would be any easier, but would cost more of her own magical resources in turn.

In the meantime, behind her, she heard the echoes of a series of splashes, and felt the wall of water she'd left behind trying to keep something from passing...
 

thetwo

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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

There was no time to lose. Jenn was in danger, and who knew who else. And the magic she had showing her the way would have picked a path if one was significantly easier than the other. A gap like this was nothing. She could fly if she had to. But given that the fight, if there was one, would be in a cave, and the general difficulty with air magic down here... it would be a waste of her valuable magical reserves. A better solution had to be thought of, quickly.

And behind her, something chose that moment to try forcing its way through her wall of water.

Probably nothing. Nothing dangerous to a mage with her wits about her, at least. Certainly not given how long it had been since she put that wall up, the distances the thing would have to cover. And for that matter... the party had been split up on that path. She and Jenn might not be the only ones split up down here. Her wall could be stopping her allies as easily as the unseen enemies. Either way, it wasn't going to reach her before she reached Jenn, not now, and it was a distraction in the meantime. She dropped the spell, allowing the wall of water to return to its natural state. Though given the affinity of this place for water magic, she wasn't sure that would mean it came down immediately...

More important things. Without flight, the first thing that came to mind was just something to help her run faster. But on the ice, that could just mean falling faster. The wind mage was confident that if she fell in the pit she could make her way back out, but it would waste time and a *lot* of magic. A blast of wind to her back could be done from a standing start, making it more reliable, but wind was difficult. Water... Ashley could imagine putting a vertical version of the wall of water she had just dismissed across the chasm, and freezing it. Precarious, though, and it might take several attempts to get one that was walkable. Time and magic, if it worked at all.

Back again. Maybe she could throw herself across with something other than wind. She could lift things with force. Just lift herself across. That was an option. Fast and certain, but expensive. Something to remember.

What else? Go around. The chasm was deep, but the chamber wasn't *that* big. Chipping a 'path' into the side might be possible. Earth wasn't her best element, and the walls weren't exactly ideal, but she might be able to crack it in a way that let her walk across. Iffy. And not cheaper than her first plan, if it even worked on the first try.

Or... no. She was overthinking this. Before Ashley could come up with another insane plan, she stepped forward, touched the stone set into her necklace, and said - quietly but clearly - "Egress, Egress", activating the power enchanted into the disc to move her 30 feet forward. That would be plenty to cross the gap, and the fact that the other side was slightly lower made it easier, though she would drop a short distance at the end.

A wizard is always prepared! In this case, more than 4 and a half years ago I bought an amulet with the "instant transmission" power. As I understand it, this should drain 2 EP from the amulet's internal well of 20,
which can be recharged later.
 

Tassadar

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Nov 10, 2008
16,038
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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Ashley: HP = 52/52, PP = 72, EP = 55/78, Status = Okay, Weakened, Light, Find on Jenn, Ring at 18/20 EP

NPCs
Jenn: ???, spent 64 EP, Injured, Weakened
Karena Arselone: Injured, Weakened
Dornhall the Troll Slayer: ???

Daniella Boulay: ???, spent 18 EP
Ryon Toma: ???
Alex Kovisto: ???
Professor Laura Steiner: ???, spent 4 EP

Arclan Clay: ???

Jiub the Slaver: ???
Ayeila: ???
Caragor: ???
Grumush: ???
Gronkor: ???
Dalmen: ???
Scortha: ???
Nilsin the Red: ???
Trogo son of Trondor: ???
Ylsig: ???

Group 1
Steiner, Ryon, Jiub, Grumush, Arclan, and Gronkor

Group 2
Ashley, Jenn, Dornhall, and Karena

Group 3
Daniella, Dalmen, Ylsig and Trogo

Rolls
Navigation: 1 success
Stealth: 3 successes vs 5, Ashley is not sufficiently sneaky to get the drop on what she finds...

The moments spent with the barrier left behind her dissipated as she puzzled out how to cross the gap allowed Ashley to listen a bit more intently to the sounds coming from somewhere up ahead.... And things didn't sound good. Pained grunts, barked orders, the occasional shriek of pain... None of it seemed like it was something that she'd want to leave Jenn in for too long.

The quick blink of power from her ring left her across the gap easily enough, and then she was free to continue on through the ice caves in search of her lost companions and the conflict they seemed to have been embroiled in. The mazelike honeycomb of frigid corridors, carved by the trails of icy water from annual melts in seemingly random patterns, would have been completely impossible to navigate without detailed knowledge of them or magic. Luckily, Ashley had the latter to call upon, and though her guiding spell lagged several more times as the twisted passageways confused it the wind mage managed to listen and discern well enough which path would be quickest.

Four more turns down indistinguishable corridors later, and Ashley found herself sliding down a slope into a larger chamber with a low ceiling, one in which columns that tapered outward at the top and bottom ran with spirals. The light cast by her glowing orb joined that of another one, a blue one, and the two together would have created a beautiful sight as they played across the spires dotting the room were it not for what else Ashley saw when she peered around the room. To a sharp right was a collapsed tunnel, a recent creation though one without any obvious origins. There was an alcove on the left hand wall, perhaps fifty feet away with several of the columns dotting the path between it and the slide she'd come down, and there stood Jenn, backed into the corner.

The water mage was badly injured, one arm hanging limp and the other covered in blood. Despite the chill atmosphere of the ice tunnels and the empowerment that might normally aid her casting, she was visibly sweating and breathing heavily while Ashley felt her attempting to call up magic... Only for it to crumble in her grasp. Between her and the rest of the chamber stood Karena, the heavily armored woman blocking the alcove while facing outwards. She too was injured, not only with one knee bent at an odd angle but numerous tears in armor that exposed bloody wounds, and one of her eyes was swollen closed. The knight wasn't breathing as heavily as Jenn was, but her expression was more grim than pained.

The source of their stress was less obviously visible, but Ashley picked it out through the forest of ice columns. There were demons down here. Goblins stalked between the pillars, wielding nets and hooked weapons and clubs. Large ant-like creatures propped up on spindly limbs held about twenty feet from the besieged pair, tentacles covered in various weapons waiting to lash out at them even though several were already severed near the end. Blackish ichor dripped upon the icy floor from the severed appendages, and stained Karena's otherwise shining blade. On the other end of the chamber, in the corner farther from Ashley, another tunnel opened, and there Ashley could see that the darkness was not entirely natural; swirling shadow laid there, and from it a voice called out; "Ahhhh, finally! The main attraction has arrived!"

The voice in the dark was soft and feminine, with an unidentifiable accent to it that felt oddly familiar. More notably it spoke in Badarian, not Crolian. "Ashley!" Jenn's voice followed, her gaze drawn to the wind mage's arrival and resplendent with relieved hope. Karena didn't react in any overt manner, keeping her concentration upon the demons that were creeping forward, but she did straighten and tighten her grip on her sword.
 

thetwo

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Re: Winter Night (thetwo)

Across the chasm, the caves branched out into a maze of passages. Of course, mazes generally weren't terribly hard. Tedious, but not hard. Unless you had a map, in which case they were neither. The wind mage didn't have that, but the guiding magic was at least as good for her present purposes. Getting out might be more complicated, but finding Jenn was as easy as following a well worn path.

Of course, the one thing the spell didn't actually provide was any indication of how far was left to go. The first indication that she was close came when she stepped out into a large chamber, and realized it was lit by a light other than her own. Which in a way was good, because it gave the only illumination of the goblins that stalked the room. And worse. Some sort of demon Ashley hadn't personally faced before, all long limbs and tentacles. And, on the opposite side of the chamber, a magical darkness, shadows reaching out unnaturally into the light.

But most importantly, Jenn. The water mage wasn't in good shape, and the feeling of relief as she saw her lover up and still fighting was tempered as she saw the arm hanging limp, felt her spell fizzle. There was another of their party there as well, in even worse shape. But as long as they breathed, it wasn't over. Fixing her own broken arm hadn't been easy. Fixing someone else, at least enough to get them to a proper healer, was certainly within her abilities.

That would have to wait, though. Because while the ball of light - undoubtedly Jenn's - lit the scene below, her own light lit the Wind mage herself, and the area around her. A voice called out from the magical darkness, and half the cavern turned to face her. Including Jenn. And the voice seemed to know her. Or had been waiting for her. The voice was unfamiliar, feminine. Badarian... or something close to it. And hidden. Likely a demon of some kind. Which was dangerous, given how widely their power varied. But it also presented an option.

The wind mage raised her voice, and stood as tall as she could. It hurt a little to respond to the voice in the darkness before Jenn, but the saving had to come first. "One chance. Back down or die. You know who I am. I've only grown stronger since Artmirst."

It probably wouldn't work, of course, but it was worth a try. But she couldn't count on it, and it was past time to worry about wasting magic. So at the same time, she drew in power, warping it around herself so that time seemed to slow for everyone else.

Arcane level 5 - Haste (Utility) [The caster can take two standard actions per round instead of one. These actions take no penalties from each other, but this spell does not grant additional grapple actions, only an additional standard action if they manage to escape from the grapple. Costs 2 EP upkeep.]
 

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