The Twilight Strand

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Blaze

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Jan 12, 2019
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East Coast USA
Twilight Strands - Lower Beach to Mid beach

Moving up the beach, Thomas would soon spot two female figures in the distance around a half-buried chest. One was looking around alertly while the other searched though the chest before standing and pointing towards the smoke in the distance. After a few moments the larger of the two women began moving up a path away from the beach.

Twilight Strands - Mid Beach

"Hmm, Looks like they headed towards the smoke. Like something you see?" Irina said, pointing up the beach before wrapping her arms under her breasts and pushing them up under her bandeau towards Anastasia. "I agree that leaving a monster behind us is a poor choice, but it is one we are going to live with eventually. There are too many to kill them all first. They would get behind you even as you killed them. This one however, I think we can go out of our way to get that gem from it." She continued before reaching over and giving Anastasia a slap on the ass before starting up the path towards the spitter.
 

humon

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Location
Canada
The path was fairly short, and went significantly uphill as it wound its way between towering boulders. At the top of the path was a roughly circular space, about thirty feet in diameter, that was enclosed on all sides by more rock and cliff. The ground up there was sand and pebbles. During heavy rainfalls in past eras, this place would have accumulated a lot of runoff from the surrounding cliffs, which was then responsible for forging the narrow winding path downhill and out to the sea. But today it was dry, and it appeared that the sand spitters had made a nest out of this site.

There were three of the alien-looking creatures scuttling about at the top of the path, and behind them there was a small pile of junk and debris they had gathered together to build their nest, which sparkled with the blue and green light of gems. To get there, it would first be necessary to deal with the three sand spitters that presumed to call that nest their home.

As soon as Irina approached within a stone's throw of the top of the path, the closest sand spitter made a hissing-clacking noise of alarm and raised its tail threateningly. The tail then flapped downward sending a wave through the creature's body that made the front end rise up and reveal its ventral side, and the broad vagina-shaped mouth that spanned the width of it. In that quick motion, the spitter released a wad of packed dirt, hardened by its own resin into a pointed dart. The projectile flew directly at Irina, although at the current distance she had plenty of time to evade, and plenty of rocks to hide behind for cover.

As soon as the spitter released its sand-dart, it turned around and scuttled away and out of view, and began scooping up more sand into its mouth to pack together into another dart. While it was in the process of 'reloading', so to speak, the other two spitters crawled forward and turned their attention to Irina, looking for a clear angle where they could spit at her next.
 
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Anastasia couldn't help smirking at Irina's question but didn't trust herself to answer. The truth was she did like what she saw but there was no way she'd admit it out loud. The betrayal of being screwed over by her last lover still stung too hard for her. Attraction could be manipulated and used to someone else's advantage way too easily and that wasn't a risk she could afford to take here...but that didn't change the fact that she found herself attracted to Irina.

She jumped a little as Irina slapped her ass and glared at the other woman's back to hide the little rush of excitement she'd felt. This was hardly the time to be thinking about Irina's hands being on her body and yet she found it hard to push the images from her mind.

Anastasia followed just behind Irina, glancing over her shoulder to make sure nothing was sneaking up on them. As the first spitter attacked she readied her makeshift wand but the creature had already began retreating, so she aimed it instead at one of the two creatures eyeing up Irina and cast another basic attack.
 

Blaze

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Location
East Coast USA
Twilight Strands - Upper Path

Patience wasn't a virtue that Irina held dear to herself, so she was already charging when the first spitter blew it's load at her. Slowing just enough to sidestep the attack, she continued running up the winding slope in a zigzag pattern to avoid the bullets as Ana's magic zipped past her. Whatever happened she wouldn't stop running even if she had to take a bullet. If she stopped they would just pin her down in place, and since she had no way to attack at range it would be her complete disadvantage. In addition if she could keep the spitter's attention on her then they wouldn't be shooting at Anastasia.
 

humon

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Anastasia cast her missile at the same time that both spitters spat their wads at Irina. Dodging one of them was a feat of agility Irina was capable of, but with two darts coming at her at the same time, it was much more difficult. Irina was able to twist her body sideways without losing much speed to evade one dart that grazed narrowly past the left side of her midriff, but this movement put her directly in the path of the second dart, which impacted her right thigh with the force of a wild pitch. There was a brief sting and numbness that would surely result in a bruise later, if not an open cut, but with her adrenaline flowing, Irina was not terribly affected for now.

Anastasia's magic bolt flew in an arcing screwball pattern behind Irina's back and impacted the dirt next to the right-most spitter, kicking up a spray of sand and knocking the spitter sideways. The creature squeaked in surprise and scrambled away quickly, retreating toward the back of the clearing. The left-most spitter also turned and scuttled away as Irina was approaching, the critter not intending to allow her to get within arm's reach.

Irina reached the top of the path to find the two spitters hurrying away from her, running behind the nest for cover, while the third spitter was squatting somewhere in the middle of the clearing. It had just finished shoveling sand into its mouth, and it was still in the process of packing it all together into a fresh missile.
 

Blaze

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Jan 12, 2019
Location
East Coast USA
Twilight Strands - Upper Path

Irina let out an unladylike grunt when the bullet took her in the chest, ripping a hole in the already weak fabric. It slowed her half a step, but she kept charging up the hill. Ignoring the other two spitters, she focused on the one trying to pack sand in like a certain square robot. Lifting her sword up above her, she drove it point down towards the spitter.
 

NoNames

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Feb 23, 2019
Thomas watched the two women for a moment from a distance, making sure they weren't undead. After he'd satisfied his curiosity he chased after them. Even a loner had to acknowledge the validity of there being safety in numbers. Thomas especially didn't cherish the idea of another encounter where he was outnumbered.
 
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Blaze

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Jan 12, 2019
Location
East Coast USA
Twilight Strands - Mid Beach

By the time Thomas reached the place the women had been they had already started to head up the west slope away from the beach. A large chest that looked thoroughly ransacked rested half buried in the sand nearby. He could continued following the women up the path, or move on to the upper beach where the smoke in the distance was coming from.
 

NoNames

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Feb 23, 2019
Thomas knew that smoke might mean a settlement, but who knows what trouble he'd run into between here and there. Better to join up with the other two. Maybe there was a good reason they weren't heading in the obvious direction.
 
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Anastasia watched Irina charging forward with a surprised look on her face. She wasn't used to seeing people run headlong at an enemy these days. She'd been training as a magic user for too long now. People with her skill set tended to hang back and act as ranged fighters rather than getting stuck straight in. She admired Irina's spirit but worried that her makeshift wand wouldn't be good enough to use at this distance without potentially hitting the other woman, so she forced her legs to move and ran forward to get a better shot at the creature Irina was attacking.
 

humon

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As Irina stabbed downwards with her broken blade, the sand spitter scuttled backwards quickly to get out of the way. Her sword struck only sand, although at least she had kept the spitter busy, interrupting the formation of its next dart.

Anastasia reached the top of the path at this point to find Irina trying to stab at the agile little critter. The other two were still out of sight behind the junk pile.

Thomas, being late to the part, had to keep jogging to catch up to where the girls were at the top of the winding path. At the time that Anastasia reached the top, Thomas was just arriving at the bottom of the path and could look up to see them engaged in combat, though he could not see who or what they were fighting.

The path was fairly short, and went significantly uphill as it wound its way between towering boulders. At the top of the path was a roughly circular space, about thirty feet in diameter, that was enclosed on all sides by more rock and cliff. The ground up there was sand and pebbles. During heavy rainfalls in past eras, this place would have accumulated a lot of runoff from the surrounding cliffs, which was then responsible for forging the narrow winding path downhill and out to the sea. But today it was dry, and it appeared that the sand spitters had made a nest out of this site.
 

Blaze

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Jan 12, 2019
Location
East Coast USA
Treasure Cove - Upper

Irina swore as the spitter moved back and her sword bit into the sand and rock. "Stay still little asshole." She said in anger as she lifted the blade and stabbed down again. This time however, she expected the creature to move again and her free hand was already in motion to grab the spitter's legs.

If she was successful in her grab she would immediately lift the spitter into the air and smash it into the biggest rock she could reach. If no suitable rocks were in sight she would simply stab her sword into it's face.
 

NoNames

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Seeing they were in trouble, Thomas rushed to get closer. The path was steep, though, and pebbles slid around underfoot making it dangerous to move too quickly. Making what progress he could, he hoped his help wouldn't be needed before he could get there.
 
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"Slippery little bastard, isn't he?" Anastasia called out to Irina, watching to see if Irina killed or damaged it with her wand at the ready. She didn't want to risk hitting Irina or using a spell that would miss. The monster was too close to Irina for Anastasia to guarantee she'd hit it so she kept a look out for other enemies while keeping one eye on the spitter Irina was fighting.
 

humon

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Jan 3, 2019
Location
Canada
The sand spitter squirmed violently when Irina picked it up, trying desperately to slip out of her grasp by beating its tail against her and twisting in all different directions. In the process, it sprayed the contents of his mouth against her leg, and because the sand dart had finished compacting, it came out instead like a shotgun blast of sand grains hardened with resin, which at this near-point-blank range was enough to leave her left shin and kneecap stinging and oozing blood, as if she had fallen off a skateboard.

There weren't any rocks immediately nearby to beat the spitter against, but it was not difficult to whack her broken blade against the parts of it that were not wrapped around her hand, and that would have the same effect of ultimately knocking it unconscious.

There were two more sand spitters hiding behind the junk pile that served as their nest. They had used this time to form new sand darts, and were now emerging in unison from behind both sides of the nest to attack. Because Anastasia was watching for this, she had a chance to pre-empt their volley with an attack of her own.

Thomas would reach the top of the path at about this point, just in time to watch Anastasia and the two sand spitters play quick-draw.

The path was fairly short, and went significantly uphill as it wound its way between towering boulders. At the top of the path was a roughly circular space, about thirty feet in diameter, that was enclosed on all sides by more rock and cliff. The ground up there was sand and pebbles. During heavy rainfalls in past eras, this place would have accumulated a lot of runoff from the surrounding cliffs, which was then responsible for forging the narrow winding path downhill and out to the sea. But today it was dry, and it appeared that the sand spitters had made a nest out of this site.

There was a small pile of junk and debris they had gathered together to build their nest, which sparkled with the blue and green light of gems. To get there, it would first be necessary to deal with the sand spitters that presumed to call that nest their home.
 

NoNames

Virgin
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Thomas wasn't entirely sure what those things were, but they clearly weren't friendly. Thomas didn't bother to stop. Instead, he picked up speed and rushed the leftmost spitter in the hopes of crossing the distance before it could fire again. Aiming between what looked the most like eyes, he slammed his fist into its head.
 

humon

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Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Canada
Then as the gladiator's eyes scanned over the various rocks in his field of vision they abruptly picked up a camouflaged shape nestled among them.



It was some kind of crustacean or giant insect, roughly the shape of a scorpion, but lacking any claws or discernable features such as eyes or a mouth. Its tail had no stinger, either. It was just some freakish type of monster. And it wasn't the only one on this beach.

As soon as the creature realized it had been discovered, it perked up immediately, rising up on its six legs into a threatening stance. It hissed angrily, and then flicked its tail up and down. The strangely-shaped front of the creature rose up from the ground, revealing a large vagina-like mouth along the ventral side of its body, and it spat a wad of wet sand directly at Xerephon. The earthen projectile had been packed together and hardened by some kind of resin, so that it flew through the air like a dart, striking hard against Xerephon's breastplate. The sand packet disintegrated immediately as soon as it struck the solid steel, but the force of the impact carried through into Xerephon's chest as if he had been hit by a baseball at 80 mph.
 

Blaze

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Jan 12, 2019
Location
East Coast USA
Treasure Cove - Upper

Irina grunted as the pain from the sand flared up her leg. It wasn't enough inhibit her movement, but it stung like hell.

With the KOed spitter still in her hand, she quickly shook it out until it hung limply in front of her. Crouching down to reduce her profile to the remaining spitters, she held the body up in front of her as a shield to break the impacts of compressed sand that were surely going to be heading towards her.
As soon as she saw or felt the two impacts, she would hurl the spitter at it's fellows before changing once more before they could load up again.
 
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Alicia had to admit, Irina knew how to fight. It wasn't something she'd admit to the other woman, not yet anyway, but it was obvious that she was a highly accomplished fighter.

She watched the monsters' movements, focusing intently and breathing steadily as she grounded herself. Feeling calm and collected, she aimed her makeshift wand at the one nearest to her and let off an attack.
 

humon

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Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Canada
Anastasia's readied attack came first, striking the spitter on the left square in the... anterior globe. This disrupted its attack, leaving Irina only to fend off the dart from the spitter on the right. A tuck of her body sideways and a swing of the dead spitter's body allowed her to fully deflect the dart with only a minor impact being felt upon her left hand as the dart bit into the spitter corpse and disintegrated into its constituent particles.

Thomas was able to run across the field while this was happening, finding a lane between Irina and Anastasia where he could charge the spitter on the left, which was still reeling from Anastasia's concussive magical attack. As soon as he was on top of the creature, a series of strong blows to the dorsal side was enough to kill it (is he using some kind of claw weapon? I forget).

With the path to the left spitter blocked by Thomas, it made sense for Irina to go after the spitter on the right, and even though it tried to flee back behind the nest and burrow under the junk pile, Irina was able to get a quick stab through its tail to pin it to the dirt like a mouse caught in a trap. From there, she could grab the tail with her free hand and yank it back out into the open, and hack into its thorax with the dull edge of her sword.

And just like that, the battle was over, and it was possible to return to the good stuff, like talking and sorting through loot.

There was a new arrival to the party, so that would be the first item of interest.

Then, there was the junk pile that was the spitter's nest, which clearly contained some gems among other larger objects and piles of goop. Pulling it all apart, five virtue gems were recovered: two red, two green, and one blue



The first red gem was a skill gem that was supposed to add a concussive shockwave to a mace, sword, or axe, which would knock a person backwards as if bodychecked by an NFL linebacker. This was a very common gem, typically used by soldiers to break enemy formations.

The blue gem was a common-as-dirt support gem called Arcane Surge that was meant to pair with wand-based skill gems. Its function was something like a spell energy capacitor, which can charge up slowly from the life force of slain monsters, and then when full deliver a power boost to all magical attacks from that wand for a period of several seconds.

The first green gem was a skill gem that added a weak poison to attacks made by a piercing weapon. The poison delivered is magical in substance, and works by overenergizing the blood cells it comes into contact with, causing them to burst, weakening the victim as if he had lost that much blood to injury. This deleterious effect is commonly known in as 'chaos damage'.

The second red gem was a support gem for physical attack skills, which was designed to leave large open wounds in the enemy. Even blunt force trauma would, under the effect of this gem, result in the skin breaking open in a plethora of tiny cuts that will bleed profusely until naturally clotted. Natural physical cuts and puncture wounds made under this support gem would simply take a bit longer than normal to close up and scab over.

The second green gem could be best described as the physical equivalent of an Arcane Surge. When a skill supported by this gem is used to kill a human or monster, or destroy and undead creature, the life force released (or animating force in the case of undead) is channeled by the gem into the wielder's body, enhancing the oxygen intake of their muscles for a short period of time. A warrior buffed in this manner will be able to move and attack and cast spells much faster than normal. Use of this gem is strictly prohibited in international athletic competitions.

Aside from gems, some other useful items could also be scavenged from the spitter's nest

A small round wooden viking-style shield formed the floorboards of the nest. It was encrusted with numerous blobs of white crap that looked like bird shit but was more likely spitter shit. However, it was still sturdy and functional, and with a bit of pressure-washing, it would clean right up. The shield measured 30 inches in diameter, so it would not protect the legs very well, but at the same time was fairly light and easy to carry around. The handle in the centre was still in place, with a steel-dome boss on the outside face to protect the hand. There was also a pair of hooks on opposing edges where a sling strap would have gone, but only tattered fragments of leather remained of what was once there.

There was a rusty dagger, about eight inches from hilt to tip, almost completely encased in a foul-smelling black sludge that was a composite of dirt, dung, and spitter resin that seemed to form the walls and ceiling of the nest. Only the handle was poking out of the sludge, with a thin tattered layer of leather wrapping around it as a grip. The blade and hilt were covered in rust patches, making it practically junk from a trader's perspective, but still fully capable of stabbing people to death with. It also had sockets for two gems; one in the hilt and one in the pommel.

Among a sludge pile filled with bits of broken glass there was a glass flask that was fully intact, and in fact the sludge inside of it had a curious red tint to it, like freshly-spilt blood. This was a healing flask, one of many like it that were produced all across Wraeclast, and also Oriath. These magical containers have the basic ability to purify water of harmful bacteria, through the application of mild chaos damage to the liquid, thus making the water in the flask safe to drink without risk of contracting some debilitating tropical disease (although chemical toxins will still remain, so it won't desalinate sea water, for example). In addition to water purification, these flasks often have a secondary enchantment to add magical properties to the water that fills them. In this case, the red tinge of the sludge was the flask's magic at work turning the moisture in the sludge into a healing potion. The spitters were likely using this flask as a renewable source of nutrients for their larvae. It would probably be a good idea to wash the flask out thoroughly before using it for human consumption, though.

Some other odds and ends included a single leather vambrace that buckles around the forearm (one buckle strap was still intact, the other was broken off); a single leather boot, men's size 8; a scroll template, which is a blank scroll of magic-weave paper ready to be scribed into a magical scroll by a sufficiently trained wizard with sufficient-quality magical ink; a leather coin pouch with 5 bronze coins in it stamped with the face of Dominus, High Templar of Oriath; a simple gold ring; and a Karui-style necklace made from seven harpy talons on a string.

There were also two sand spitter eggs in the center of the nest. Spitter eggs are fist-sized translucent-white balls, squishy to the touch. Conventional Karui wisdom is that they taste awful, like eating dirt, no matter how you cook them, but they can provide much-needed nourishment in a time of famine. Oral tradition speaks of a hurricane that swept the coast of Wraeclast over a century ago and wiped out almost all the edible plants and wild game, except for the sand spitters, and so the Karui survived by eating the spitter eggs (typically boiled in a soup with a certain kind of treebark and cave lichen).
 
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