Maganic Wars

Let's not make a big deal out of this...
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Author:  ddranimestyle [ Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:42 am ]
Post subject:  Let's not make a big deal out of this...

A quiet, dark morning found an elf sleeping in her preferred habitat - a lush forest with large trees and great canopies offering hiding spots and safe coverage. She awoke on the ground beside a great, tall tree of brown and green bark, its circumference spanning even wider than her childhood home. Her senses came to her as she realized it was still early into the morning. A dark blue fog covered her vision, obscuring even the tops of the tall trees that would soon block the late sunlight. She felt unusually awake and aware, knowing that she had not slept that long or that well that night, yet still feeling completely replenished as if she had slept for years.

Satisfied no longer with her thoughts and the feeling of tall, unkempt grass upon her back, she rose, gathering the plethora of equipment that laid by her side. From the other side of the great tree and from far outside her view, a familiar green glow emerged from the fog. A forest sprite noticed the clanking metal signaling her friend's awakening. Able to absorb the energies of the area, the sprite had no need of rest, and kept watchful eye of the rather uneventful night. It approached to tide the elfen girl good mornings, and what a good morning it was. “Let's not make a big deal out of this..!” spoke Tyzrk, who rarely felt so rejuvenated upon waking up.

Fully equipped and without much else to do, the elf was excited to carry on her travels. But the low visibility deterred her from moving from their landmarked spot, the morning precariously hiding trees about a hundred meters away. While it was not a danger to cross through the forest in these circumstances, neither bird nor bug dared chirp into the morning. It was unnatural, and warranted caution for the duo. The two reluctantly agreed to wait until the fog had lifted.

Author:  leboyX [ Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

Muffled sounds bubbled through Jaedin's addled brain in small spurts. Light and darkness flitted over his eyes, disorienting him, and inducing vertigo so acute he thought his limbs might be torn from his body. Eternity stretched before him in this bleak, endless void. He recognized nothing as he fell through the darkness, cold and alone; his only truly reliable sense was the passage of time. Jaedin knew not for how long he had been like this - not precisely, anyway. But he knew his perception of time wasn't through the warped lens of a dream; whatever this was, it was real.

Slowly - so slow he wondered if years had gone by in the process - Jaedin felt solid ground. His head was still reeling, and the world around him was spinning lights and green blurs, but he had found solid ground. Standing, however, would not come for a few moments. Hesitantly, he ran his hands along the ground, feeling wet earth and gnarled roots. Soft soil yielded to his clawing; it felt cool; it felt alive


Strength slowly returned to his legs; he crawled over gnarled roots and foliage until he found a proper tree trunk and, using it for a crutch, rose to his feet. With a headache still splitting his head in two, Jaedin hobbled towards...well, anything. There was no telling where he was, or how long he'd been gone; his memories remained obscured by the pain in his head.

While he had the awareness to know time had passed, Jaedin had no way of knowing how that passage had changed him. What he had been through - and the breaking of his bond with Stag and Death - had begun to take its toll. Jaedin appeared far more weathered than his ever-youthful self of old; his jet black hair, while still jaw-length and jagged, had developed deep streaks of grey to the roots. His face looked tired and old; the lines of age and time had dug deep creases into his face. All that remained of his former self were his piercing jade eyes; a bright beacon to a distance past. He stood tall, and the strength in his limbs felt only slightly diminished from their long journey through the void.

His eyes began to adjust to the area; Jaedin walked through a deep forest, thick with early morning fog. Lush, golden light beamed through the canopy above, illuminating shafts of spore-filled air in its brilliance. And there, just at the edge of his blurry vision, something new began to grow more clear - an orb or light strode through the fog, growing larger and brighter by the minute.

Sensory overload took its toll, and he stumbled to the side to lean against a nearby tree. Wearily, and with what strength his lungs could muster, he gasped:


He coughed weakly. His throat felt like an arid desert! After all, he couldn't remember drinking anything since...well, he couldn't remember.

"Who...who goes there? Where am I? What is this place?"

Author:  ddranimestyle [ Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

Tyzrk sat and watched as the fog above her started to reveal the tops of the trees, alleviating the feeling of endless enclosure by way of the clouds. The fog was still thick, restricting their vision and discouraging their movement. The elf took time to reflect on all she had done, and with all of the people she used to know. There were many times in this silent accompaniment where she had felt the weight of her loneliness, yielding her affections solely to her traveling partner. Not that there were many people in this world worth keeping close, but it was an innate feeling all the same.

The shiny pieces of steel on her back were how she interacted with most people. And interact she did, in absence of any feeling of malice, desire, or regret. She learned to have fun with it as a means of keeping sanity, but with so many fights for survival, she never had any bigger plans for her future save for seeing the next sunrise. Any dreams she had for her life were not actually hers', but were those of a child so vividly remembered, yet no longer recognizable to her. It seemed like any true meanings or philosophical understandings of life were fading off into the fog, and as her mind was brought back to reality, her eyes found at least one thing that persisted in the distance.

It was a figure of a person, surely making the tread over to the mountainous tree. Xhercfa's glowy, spritely appearance has done much throughout the years to give them the disadvantage. They were used to it at this point - the sprite did not even bother to move - but were still on guard as they were every time they met someone in such isolation. Tyzrk figured he was much further away than he really seemed, as the time it took for him to approach was much longer than anticipated. He seemed to slump over just as the color of his skin began to be visible. He asked for answers, and as she looked upon the form of this man, she wanted the same. She took a breath, and spoke out into the fog.

"We're in one of the many forests of the elven region. Caravans and tourists take the main road about ten miles down from here," though in which direction she could not tell. Although the fog covered most of the man's midsection, what he was wearing suspiciously like armor of some kind. Her trained eyes could spot markings signaling that it was not in fact regular clothing, mostly because it resembled her own.

"...Thieves, raiders, and lost children traverse this place." The details of his garments she couldn't make out, but the man clearly knew more than he was leading on to believe. She wasn't going to get suckered into a trap so obvious, if it were one. Before she even knew it, she was instinctively standing in straight posture. Her stance was slightly diagonal to the man, with her left foot leading in front so that she could hide her right hand resting on the cool metal of her weapons strapped to her back. She could have kept a neutral stance, feigning weakness and not giving away her intentions should he be able to see her hand reaching back, but the situation demanded immediate access to her weaponry should there be more where this seemingly sickly man seemingly appeared from.

"So, which one are you?"

Author:  leboyX [ Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

Elves?! So...I'm not dead.

Last Jaedin had checked, elves and forests weren't mainstays of the after life. And, besides that, he didn't exactly remember dying. At least, not in the traditional sense. His heart was still beating, so he carried life; the forest air felt cool, which meant his body still radiated heat; air filled his lungs. If this was death, it certainly wasn't what he'd expected.

"...Thieves, raiders, and lost children traverse this place."

Tyzrk's cautious jab at his intentions roused Jaedin from his musings. Jaedin didn't recognize Tyzrk; she seemed testy, as if itching for a fight. He patted himself down without thinking, instinctively evaluating his options. But, there weren't many options to be had. His armor, a lifelong companion, did not adorn his body. He wore simple, canvas pants; a grey, hooded cloak hung loosely over his shoulders; weathered, functional boots helped keep him on hit feet on the soft soil; and a simple, black tank top clung to his torso. But as his hands traveled over his body, one obvious, terrifying fact became obvious.

He was unarmed.

Of course he didn't have his sword. As much those memories pained him, he'd had what felt like eons for that fact to sink in. But the other tools of his trade - hookshot, shurikens, assorted deadly knick-knacks - were missing. He felt the sour twinge of irony run through him; for a man whose reputation included a veritable kitchen sink of weapons, to die here would surely please some mischievous god somewhere. He had only his fists and his wits, and one of those was still on the fritz; pain continued to pound on his head like an incessant, angry neighbor.

"I'm no thief. No raider. And certainly not a child!"

With renewed vigor, Jaedin pushed against the tree to stand without assistance. The morning fog seemed on its way down for the afternoon; the imperceptible increase in the air's temperature would keep it at bay until the chill of the evening brought on its return. With obvious effort, Jaedin took several labored steps towards his new acquaintance. He stopped short of a threatening approach, giving this woman - her anatomy became clear to him - a safe berth.

"I'm no tourist. I'm not traversing anything. I have no business in this accursed place."

He took a moment to catch his breath. With renewed vigor came an elevated heart rate, something Jaedin hadn't experienced for a long time. If even this level of effort was taking a toll, what chance would he have in open confrontation? A diplomat he certainly was not.

Let's not make a big deal out of this...

"But you haven't answered my other pressing question. Who. Are. You?"

Author:  ddranimestyle [ Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

"I'm the same as you: a nobody." Certainly not a helpful or welcoming response, but she did not yet know who she could be dealing with.

The fog began to clear, giving vision of the beautiful trees afar. To her surprise, what she thought had been tight padding and armor turned out to be nothing more than a casual traveling outfit misrepresenting the wearer's actual width. One doubt began another, with Tyzrk asking herself if she was only seeing what she wanted to see; if he really was a threat to begin with. The agitation she caused to stir in the man was amusing, though. His posture made him out to be more of a drunkard than a weakling - faking or not. Perhaps he drank the poisonous sap of the prickly tree? It's prickly for a reason.

The man approached closer. An all-too familiar sense of unease pulsed in her chest. There was no way of knowing what he was capable of, or who could be with him. There was also no way of knowing if she was simply pissing off someone who wasn't even worth her time. But at the very least, she knew she had the upper hand in bantering, and figured to push her lead while she could.

"Unless you are not," Tyzrk said, annoyingly reflecting questions in case he felt more like talking about himself. "What titles have you? You sure went through a lot of trouble to end up here. It'd be a shame if you were not able to complete your quest."

Whereas he looked fluid and pained in his movements, Tyzrk stood clenching-ly still. Her body made no movements as she tried to gauge the reaction of each of her words. She was worried that she may have been mistaken again, only looking to self-confirm that the man had dubious intent. It certainly seemed less likely with each ungraceful step the man took.

Her mind was suddenly conscious of how tense she was. She took a quick breath, and dropped her shoulders. "Trust me, I'm more worldly than an elf in a forest may seem - I might have even heard of your hailing town."

With this blatant probing and provoking, he was going to make some sort of mistake somewhere. She could just feel it.

Author:  leboyX [ Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

"Titles? Of what use are titles?! Do you have a title? Hm?"

"I may as well be a nobody," he muttered to himself. "For all that it matters now..."

Tyzrk wore her disquietude on her sleeve. She held herself stiff as a board, as if she feared Jaedin might pounce on her any second. (Truth be told, in ages gone by, he might've. But now, given the wear on his body and the pain in his mind, such aggression seemed unwarranted. Besides, he was unarmed. And she hadn't yet intimated any violent intent). With a deep breath and long sigh, Jaedin stood upright and spread his arms wide with open hands; it would be obvious he carried no weapons. Hopefully it would show he meant her no harm.

"I am unarmed," he said, in what he hoped was a reassuring voice, "And I have gone to no lengths to be here. My trouble was indeed great, but that is none of your concern. I'm not here for some quest. I don't even know why I'm here in the first place. I You haven't interrupted me on some fantastical adventure. There is no quest. No princess. No beast to slay. This is real life."

He chuckled to himself, which brought on a small coughing fit. He could really use a drink.

"You want a title? How about 'murderer' or 'bastard', maybe? 'Heathen', perhaps? 'Immortal' is a no longer part of who I am anymore. So, if this is some joke of yours - to corner me here, as I am, just to strike me down - you can drop the act."

Weariness dripped from his words. Not just fatigue from years of falling through darkness or not eating; this weariness went to his very core. Life - or, more accurately, Death - had finally worn Jaedin down, both physically and mentally. Valiant and vigorous as he had fought, Jaedin's campaign had been an uphill battle in the rain. Alone. Backwards. Against the very forces of nature. In his hubris, Jaedin had thought himself better than Death. That he could somehow beat Him. Cheat their deal. But with Stag out of the picture - the thorn in Jaedin's side that would never truly be gone - Death had come to collect. And he had. And as sure as he knew sun rose in the east, Jaedin knew Death would come again.

Shaking his head for a moment to bring himself out of his moment of reflection, Jaedin's expression became grim. His weariness gave birth to a slow-burning anger; a drive to never go down without a fight. Even without his pact, Jaedin was a force with which to be reckoned. He had clawed his way to life before, and he would not let go of his latest chance at rebirth now.

"But rest assured," he said, letting his words trail for a few moments. Tyzrk was not the only audience whom his words might reach. "I will not go quietly into this night."

Author:  ddranimestyle [ Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

It appears her words had some form of effect on him. His reaction was a bit startling to say the least. If titles revered no respect to this man, then there was little need to share with him her name. The discontent set between the two was obvious, and it was probably honestly her fault. She still had no reason to trust him for his very presence. He showed himself in an open stance, his clothes not sufficient for hiding any weaponry save for possibly a fruit knife. It was a futile effort to ease the tensions of the elf though; she has seen men without blades casting fire and lightning, or overpowering her with animal shapeshifters, pieces of paper, and even bare fists alone. But she took his gesture as a sign of good faith. At least, she was about to.

Tyzrk turned her body to fully face him as he did to her. As she observed his spoken and physical language, she felt like she couldn't get a read on him. So far, this man was a complete contradiction - guarded, but brash; strange, yet familiar; unarmed, but threatening. It was as if he was not supposed to be here for one reason or another. Her guise of a rowdy taunter fell as the man gained his wits, giving some rather illuminating, if not disturbing responses.

"And I have gone to no lengths to be here...

"I don't even know why I'm here in the first place..."

Well, she could believe this much of the truth from him, at least. In fact, it was probably the first thing she could believe all day. A shroud covered him, not of the fading morning mist, but a dark, murky air of mystery. Tyzrk found it worthwhile to stick around and try to find out what it was. But in the meantime, she did not return his gesture. His last statement in particular showed his sharpened claws to say the very least, definitely putting her on edge and causing her to carefully consider where her feet and words would be placed next.

"Only spirits truly run adrift," spoke the elf - a suddenly cautious voice riding along the traveler's rather dramatic tone. A spirit, hmm..? It would certainly explain the unnatural atmosphere and circumstances that found her today. The green forest sprite perked at the thought of a lost soul standing before them. If it really was an apparition, what chance did they have of actually fighting it? Tyzrk did her best to mask any reaction to the shock of chilling energy shivering down her back. She found comfort only in the weight of her weapons, and her companion beside her. Her arms were still by her side, muscles never clenching but not quite at ease. With a quick and instinctive motion reaching behind her, she could be ready to fire at a moment's notice.

With eyes fixed on the man, Tyzrk's demeanor changed completely to that of stern, emotionless vigilance. "Tell me, what is it that you seek? If not in this forest, then where?!"

Author:  leboyX [ Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...


If the insane could never admit their insanity, it stood to reason that the dead wouldn't if they were, in fact, dead. And, were that the case, could Jaedin trust himself or his senses? He felt alive; Was he actually alive? What evidence was there to prove he truly existed right now? At best, he had been..."asleep" for years. And then he suddenly returned. Had he simply been dead this whole time, slowly traversing the rivers of Death until he ended up here? Was this...the afterlife?

No. Jaedin wasn't dead. At least, he chose not to believe he was. Belief wouldn't change facts, but they made this situation matter. If he was dead, he could just walk away without fear; what more could Tyzrk do to him? But if he wasn't dead, then this situation merited concern. Besides, the pain in his head and his racing heart provided strong pathos to argue that, whatever this was, it wasn't Death.

"Don't play games with me! I am no spirit, and you should know that. Ghosts don't just amble around forests with headaches."

For the first time in his life, Jaedin didn't want to murder someone on sight. Maybe his lacking armament was to blame. Maybe his headache. Maybe the now-broken pact with Death that would probably lay on him like a curse for the rest of his existence. Who knew? But Tyzrk obviously felt differently. She wouldn't ease up; Jaedin could see it in her demeanor. She played it off well - he wanted to believe she was at ease. Her casual stance spoke one thing, but the cold tone of her voice betrayed her true intent. If Jaedin so much as broke a twig underfoot, she would surely impale him on one of these trees.

There was still their dialog to continue, though. Questions and answers traded back and forth. Tit for tat, and all that. Honesty seemed the best option; Jaedin didn't think he could lie convincingly in this feeble state.

"I seek peace and rest. I have traveled, fought, and killed for all my days. Unless you know where I can find a man named Stag - and I sincerely doubt you can - there's nothing you can do to help me. Is this just what you do? Sit around this forest, waiting to interrogate passers-by? Why is this such a big deal to you?"

Author:  ddranimestyle [ Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

The man in front of her was obviously annoyed, but at least it seemed he was definitely alone. He asked what her big deal was, even though it was him who approached her in the first place. She wouldn't tell him, of course, but over the years she had developed quite an acute case of necrophobia. Having been spooked one too many times by skeletal warriors wielding steel and fire, she never really had much luck against them. It was true that this man's inner flesh and bones were not visible, his figure wasn't transparent with the trees behind him, and he was rooted quite firmly into the ground. If he in actuality were a spirit, though, how would she know? The closest thing she came to a spirit was Xhercfa whom she thought at first was a forest spirit, but turned out to just be a stupid sprite instead. She remained unconvinced.

It did not matter either way, though. Even if it was likely the guy was just lost and confused, she did not change her pose. He did inch forward a bit by way of words, giving some insight that he indeed has a goal to find, albeit lacking a proper route. She couldn't help but sympathize.

"I ask, because-" upon speaking, Tyzrk noticed her chest had been completely tensed, and that she hadn't taken a full breath in quite a while. She took a strained breath of air, calming her head while she chose her words. "...I too am a wanderer. My hopes, dreams, and friends all died as one many years ago. I fight and live, just to be." She took a second to look past the man and exhaled a breath of brief nostalgia, a painful smile appearing for a moment to remind herself of all that she had longed for, and lost. "These forests I don't even call home, just a place to continue striding through. I'm a lost child. Which I suppose really does make us one and the same." Her half-hearted attempt at trash-talk was probably ineffective when contrasted with her suddenly candid expressions.

"As for your friend - I have never heard of him." Certainly not a good look for "worldly elf" here. But seeing as he had already made himself open to the idea of engagement - plus his horribly ominous choice of words throughout their entire discussion - she decided to respond in kind. She raised her chin as she found her footing again as a complete heel. "Why, might I ask? Does he have a cure for your spell of undeath?" Not wanting to go out without a fight is a brave choice, but after revealing he had not even a large twig on him, she had to coyly call his jest. "Because if rest is what you seek, then look no further!"

Author:  leboyX [ Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

"This is Darkness Incarnate, girl. Everyone fights for the time they have here. You're no different. I understand your loss, but don't expect my sympathy."

"And for the last time," he added, exasperation tinting his words, "I'm not a damn ghost! Stupid girl."

He sighed. After countless years, the same jilted and persecuted Jaedin still lived and breathed. But time gave Jaedin perspective; was this who he wanted to be? Always suspecting, threatening, questioning? Hating? Stag was gone. He had to be. Death, in all his cunning and scheming, would never renege on a deal. Stag was the deal, and the deal was gone. What more had Jaedin to fear? Maybe he could stop running for his life.


But this girl seemed intent on keeping Jaedin where he was. Veiled threats and vigilantly-controlled posture made a conversation that was seen, not heard. Tyzrk didn't act naturally. But Jaedin didn't know why. If she was sent here to kill him, she would've done it by now. But what were the odds of randomly appearing in a giant forest next the the only other person for miles? Coincidence seemed unlikely. Yet Jaedin was at a loss for how to extricate himself. Tyzrk was too threatening to be left alone, but Jaedin was too unarmed to openly engage in combat. At the very thought, his head pulsed with fresh pain; could he even engage in combat? If he wanted out, and it came to a fight, he couldn't be the one to start it. Tactically, it just would't play out. Which left him with another option.


"Is it a fight you seek? And so you've come all the way out here, in the middle of nowhere, to fight an unarmed man?". He spread his arms to illustrate his vulnerability. "Oh dear girl! You fight with such honor!"

Even as the words left his mouth, Jaedin knew he might be pressing too hard. Goading her might force her hand, inviting a fight he might not win. Jaedin breathed deep of the forest air, trying to clear his mind and prepare his body. His efforts yielded positive, though minimal results. Like a slumbering winter giant, the strength in his limbs began to wake. The warmth of life began to return to his muscles. He felt the thrill that a rush of adrenaline brings just before a big game. Or a big fight. Or a struggle for one's life.

He focused his mind on the aches in his body; he tried to push past it. Somewhere deep, buried by time and obscured by pain, a faint spark of recognition began to flicker to life. Telekinesis, Jaedin's only foray into spellcraft, would require more effort to awaken. No smoldering embers remained from which he could rekindle his expertise. He would have to start small - simple. And even then, the risks were great; he had no guarantee he could muster anything meaningful, nor that he could keep a hold of consciousness while doing it. He looked around Tyzrk, as if admiring the scenery, and focused on a single leaf on a single branch. Beads of sweat began to form on his brow as he focused on the trivial task of snapping the leaf from its branch. To a child with natural talent, it wasn't even worth noting. But to Jaedin, it was like moving a mountain.

Perhaps it was just his imagination, but did that leaf quiver?

A strange sensation registered on his face, and Jaedin instinctively touched a hand to his upper lip; it came away slick and red. A small rivulet of blood flowed from one nostril, and his headache throbbed in response. His brain was literally hemorrhaging from the strain. But he had to try. What choice did he have? If it came to kill-or-be-killed, he would always choose the former over the latter.

Author:  ddranimestyle [ Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

Tyzrk was starting to become frustrated. The man was getting tastefully annoyed, but never aggravated to make the first move. Tyzrk didn't feel comfortable moving before he did first, but the tension in her muscles made even standing start to become a tiring chore. She was starting to make a big deal out of how she stood, her stiff posture displaying a shift in confidence as the lone man in front of her roused, fighting for squabbling dominance. The elf entertained the thought of attacking helpless travelers, and was so close to seeing right through him. She knew his words were jest, but not for the reasons he had intended. His pose signaled to her that her attacking first was indeed what he wanted her to do. She wasn't going to be an idiot, now!

In what seemed like her first movement since standing, Tyzrk crossed her arms confidently, giving a dissatisfied frown. “Come now, ya' gotta try harder than that," Tyzrk yelled across the way of trees, almost painfully casually. A piercing look through the cleared air might have given him the impression that he was figured out, if it weren't for her opening her mouth a half second later. “You know honor has nothing to do with it."

With a breath and a thought, Tyzrk was able to find magical energies brewing deep within her, as if a second heartbeat supplied her strength. It was apparent to her now that the same energies existed in the person before her. No fool would surly walk around in unknown territories without a survival strategy. Should he really be a begging man already robbed and pummeled to senselessness, he wouldn't make a show of himself here. But to trick her into opening herself to an unseen threat was rather coy - if only it weren't for the fact that she has tried that exact same opening so many times! She couldn't possibly think that he was tricking her into not wanting to attack - her brain just simply could not conceive on that many layers. His emphasis on lack of weapons only sealed her determination that he was in fact more than apt to attack armed with his very own mind.

Tyzrk honestly felt like a genius, barely able to hide the joyous epiphany of determining her foe's strategy. Her eyes squinted as a teeth-bearing half-smile displayed her cocky emotion, as if the discovery of truth alone were enough to instantly win this battle. “Isn't that right... mage?"

She awaited the glory that came with finally overcoming opponents with smarts.

Author:  leboyX [ Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Let's not make a big deal out of this...

You know honor has nothing to do with it.

"What?! What're you talking about?!"

Jaedin made no effort to conceal his bewilderment. Was this woman crazy?! She looked so certain about something, but gods only knew what that was. Tyzrk positively beamed with energy and exhilaration; something about her realization had awoken something in her. A spark of anxiety danced in the back of Jaedin's mind; did she know something he didn't? Was she unfolding some elaborate plan, from which escape was already impossible? But, the more Tyzrk spoke, the more Jaedin doubted an elaborate ruse. More likely, she really was just crazy. How else could he explain her irrational outbursts?


If not for the deep fear for his life, Jaedin would've burst out laughing right there on the spot. Even so, his eyes couldn't help but brighten; all this time, he had thought this woman meant him harm, but it looked like she was just grasping at straws. She didn't know the first thing about who he was. She acted like a child, though her appearance seemed to argue she was not. He was almost moved to pity, but wisdom guarded his mind from such folly; for the sake of his life, he wouldn't let his guard down just because some woman acted crazy enough for him to consider her harmless. No one was harmless in Darkness Incarnate.

If he continued to stay here like this, exchanging words with this woman, Jaedin wasn't going to get anywhere; the last thing he wanted was to go nowhere in whatever forest he'd found himself. There were things to do; people to see; facts to check and confirm; he needed more than just the feeling of life to believe he truly tread in the land of the living once more.

So, he turned to leave. Even if Tyzrk was lying, wrong, or lost herself, the information she'd given Jaedin on the area was more valuable than not having any at all. Assuming a 10 mile hike in any direction wasn't going to get him to the main road. He had to, quite literally, do the leg work.

"I don't have time for this nonsense, girl. It is clear you aren't here to help. I doubt you could even help yourself. Go and find some other hapless stranger to fall victim to your senseless conspiracies."

What more could he do? Jaedin struck out to his right (Tyzrk's left) at what he guessed was east. If he could find a river, he could follow its flow to a town or village. If he found a main road, he could do much the same, as well as meet someone who might give him better guidance. He hobbled over gnarled roots and thick foliage, but the more he walked, the more he become accustomed to the terrain and to the new strength returning to his body.

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