Shady Impressions

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Re: Shady Impressions

Postby TendoTwo » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:34 pm

Was a little confused about the nature of the attackers at first. At first I assumed there was just one when Dax mentioned the puffing, the many when they were repeatedly being hit by arrows... but then one again when Russo went looking for him..... until the story started referring to the attackers as "them" again... but then there was one snow bank left so it was just one? ... but then it refers to the sheep as "them" again?

> TendoTwo hurt himself in his confusion!

Err, other than that, I wanted to say that another part that was a little confusing was the narrative of the attacker. When they mentioned "Knew I forgot something" I thought they were revealing themselves... and comically covering their breath after revealing themselves, but it turns out they didn't. It was a little odd that we could read what the attacker was saying/thinking when they were still supposed to be a mystery to us and to Russo's group.

Oh... and one final criticism: "“Are these… are these are blunted?”" :wink:

That being said, it was nice to see the dialog between everyone here. It's not often you see Dax interacting and especially having a conversation with anyone other than Russo and Jem, he acted a lot more normal and less like a childish puppy than I expected. I mean, he still had his moments, but he was more mature than felt let on with his conversations just with Jem and Russo (especially Russo) before.

Was also laughing when I realized they group basically went "so blah blah blah" *arrows!* *barrier!* "so as I was saying blah blah blah...." :lol:

I also loved the silliness of the last snowbank being the one the attacker was stuck in... and still refusing to come out at first.... if I didn't know any better I would swear that Russo was related to Deadpool with him always pointing out stuff like that..... well, maybe a reluctant and (kinda) less homicidal version of Deadpool. :P
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Re: Shady Impressions

Postby RaddaRaem » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:26 am

Yeahhhh mentioned as such back on FA but wasn't too hot at conveying who was speaking and switching between folks in a manner that wasn't confusing. Here's hoping this round goes better! Also the Deadpool comparison does seem apt as of posting given that movie did just come out. XD


Chapter 52

By: RaddaRaem

Russo quietly sized up his newfound foe. Energetic auras flared to life around his gloves when he observed her black tipped fingers, their surfaces lined with scratches, pinch at her weapon’s bowstring. Mage and archer simply stared each other down as a bitter wind whistled by. The flapping of Russo’s cloak served as the soundtrack to their showdown. Along with a couple intermittent brrrs and the clacking of teeth.

“Soooooooo…” the human drawled out. Chapped lips parted, he fumbled for his words. He… didn’t actually care enough to suss out why she was doing what she was doing. Be it robbery or assassination that motivated her to nock those arrows, magical and anti-magical and otherwise, it equated to assholery all the same. Know what, screw that. He wasn’t going to bother with banter.

The ovine’s brows, wherever they were under that wooly expanse that comprised her face, furrowed. “…Sooooooo?”

Indifference gave way to interest as Russo couldn’t help but stare. He could recognize, he could see, where her muzzle was. Dense tufts of black wool breached the wooly walls of white and gave definition to the lass’ neck and sheepy snoot. Granted, Russo only knew exactly where her nose was by tracing the source of the twin trails of misting breath that puffed out every so often. Then there was the matter of her eyes. That forest of darkened fluff that wrapped around her muzzle crept up towards where they should have been. Should being the key word. It was proving taxingly difficult to stare her down given the cascade of snow white stringy hair draped down over them.

An awkward silence hung about the air that was only exacerbated by the wind dying down. The sheep shuffled side to side on her hooved feet. The twisted wisps of wool draping down along her ankles frayed where sun bleached shin guards, the leather crinkled and faded, clung tight to her legs. Her horned head slowly bobbed about in a circle to coerce a couple more syllables from her target. Those black wooly ears, contrasted sharply against the white hair draped atop them, flit about just beneath the conical cream colored horns that jutted out from the sides of her skull.

Whatever thoughts Russo had about dragging this out to allow Morgan, Tyr, and Dax to put as much distance between here and wherever the hell they currently were was bapped aside. A thought, no, an inquiry, hovered about the burning fires of his curiosity.

“Hey. No,” he mentally chastised himself. Russo already swore off banter immediately after half-assedly attempting it. No no no she wasn’t worth it. But still… said question flit tantalizingly close to the flames of thought, much like a moth, and oh for fuck sakes it bumbled right into the crackling inferno. Shit. The fires flared in intensity as the question’s corpse crackled within the sated flames. Too late to stop it now. His curiosity piqued, the now crispy question burning brightly at the forefront of his thoughts, Russo reluctantly resigned himself to speaking his mind.

Biting into his lip, wincing when he felt skin peel off it, Russo exhaled loudly through his numbed nostrils. “Soooooooooooooo…” He could only blink blankly at the sight. Tufts of wool scrunched together in the general area of what he assumed to be her forehead. “Alright. How the hell do you even see?”

“I. What.” This... was not how the archer envisioned him trying to break their stalemate. Lips pulled taut, she couldn’t help but inhale deeply as she reluctantly put forth the effort to answer. “Well. How do you think? With my eyes, you idiot.”

“No no no I get that. I mean,” Russo resisted the urge to gesture at his face and effectively disarm himself. “There’s just. All that. You… you know. Hair in the way.”

A grumpy bleat sounded out the ovine’s black wooly maw. “What’s wrong with my hair?”

“Nothing!” He couldn’t help but smirk at how she stamped her hooves, their surfaces clacking loudly against the rough stone, in annoyance. “There’s just so damn much of it.”

Bahhs, low and guttural, rumbled free from the sheep’s snoot. “Ech. Enough of this. You’ve wasted enough of my time as it is.” Fingers clenched, wrinkles formed in the battered leather wrist guards wrapped around her arms. Cracks in the splitting hide pocked her armored limbs. “Stall for time all you like-”

“Alright,” Russo replied with a shrug. “I mean, that was the whole plan to begin with.”

“You.” She let loose a tired and bitter sigh. “Fuck sakes, at least lemme finish. Stall… stall… goddammit you made me lose my train of thought.” The sheep’s wooly arms shifted restlessly. “Regardless, it’ll do ya no good.”

The mage’s chattering teeth bit into the interior of his cheek. He cringed when he felt smooth flesh rolled between his molars. “Uh huh.”

She dismissively exhaled through her teeth. “You’re not the first to run your mouth and you sure as shit won’t be the last.”

Russo continued doling out uh-huhs and mmhmms unabated. “Hey, I’m just saying. Here we are. Conversing. Eating up precious second after second.” He snorted at the sight of her posture slackening from the copious amounts of salt bearing down upon the sheep’s shoulders. “You too scared to fire upon me lest I poof away wherever. Me… I… grammar, reluctant to send anything right back at you knowing you’ll just nullify it. So!”

“…That mouth of yours will get tired flapping eventually.”

“Probably. But, until then, I figure I’ll just let this standoff run its course. Then I’ll teleport away at my leisure and leave you with nothing to show for it.”

Another grunt, low and prolonged, rumbled across the barren bitterly cold battlefield. “You’re an ass,” the ovine opined.

“You know that just encourages me, right?” Russo replied with eyebrows cocked and toothy grin spread wide. He couldn’t help but giggle at the grumpy bahhs and bleats that spilled out towards him in between the waves of curses. Eyes on her hands, the wisps of magical energy seething around the mage’s gloved fingers flared whenever those dark digits of hers so much as twitched upon her bow.

This was what had Nadie so worried? So fearful? Snrrrk. “Woop, easy there,” Russo mentally cautioned himself. “I’m gonna spill over into monologue territory at this rate,” he continued on. The mage casually stamped down the sheer smug exuding from him. Best leave the gloating for after the fight, not during it. He’d have all the time in the world to embellish and talk up this showdown when he partied back up with… oh. Oh no. “…How am I going to regroup with them?” Russo pitifully asked himself.


“How is he going to regroup with us?” Morgan asked aloud, her voice no more than a raspy whisper. A warm haze settled down on the trio of furs as they covertly ascended the mountain pass. Convincing as Tyridia’s illusions were they were purely visual in nature. The raccoon, fox, and wolf still had to remain mindful of their footfalls lest they offer any auditory hints to potential pursuers. Slow and measured, they avoided eliciting the crunch of errant pine needles or fresh snow the best they could.

“Ooh oh!” Dax barked as quietly as he was able. “Russo can poof back to us with a fancy crystal that he didn’t give us and ohhhh that is probably why you’re asking aren’t you.”

Padded hand papped against a grey fuzzed cheek, Morgan groaned. “I can’t believe I agreed to splitting ourselves up like that. He’s an idiot and auuuggggghhhh I’m no better for enabling him.”

“Try not to be too hard on yourself!” Tyr’s timid voice practically dissipated as it was carried along the heated air. His furry digits had long since gone stiff and flit only every so often while he puppeteered the individual flames that comprised the shroud of fox fire that engulfed them. “We were under a lot of pressure to act, and fast.”

The white mage sighed and grimaced. “Which is exactly when a clear head is needed most,” she bitterly replied. A cool and collected head that she had been unable to provide. The racooon flipped down her hood and ran a hand nervously through her shoulder length black hair.

Forcing his lips shut, Dax whined softly. “M-maybe you just need more practice is all!” the wolf uncertainly opined.

“Practice?” Confused more than anything, Morgan reluctantly entertained Dax’s line of thought.

Nuzzling his soft chin against one of the patches of cloth sewn into the chest of his worn blue cloak, the wolf hmmed. “Whenever bad stuff used to happen I always got scared! Too scared to run or or or fight or anything!” Dax tapped his pudgy padded toes together shyly as his thoughts drifted towards his absent teacher. “But then I started adventuring with Russo!”

Tyr and Morgan exchanged incredulous gazes.

Dax arooed softly. “Okay, I mean. The bad stuff never stopped happening. And probably happens even more often now that I think about it. But still! I’ve gotten used to it. I am still sorta scared whenever stuff like this does happen,” he reluctantly acknowledged. The gently curved cloth protrusions sticking up out of his hood flattened with the splaying of his ears. His tail took to wagging gently when he dwelled on how much he had grown. In terms of courage not corpulence, anyway. “But having Russo around helps me be brave! I-I can be brave too it’s just I’m more brave when he’s around and umm… well yeah!” Having long since lost control of where his sentences were slinking off to, the wolf took to resting his hands on his portly hips and growling proudly. “I even shooed away a dragon once, all by myself!”

“Now when I think, ‘role model,’ Russo isn’t exactly who comes to mind,” Tyr gently rebuked the wolf with a roll of his eyes. Though… the human’s crass and callous digs at Xis did prove comfortingly cathartic. Maaaaaybe he’d have to rethink that. “I think I get what you’re saying though,” the foxy summoner acknowledged. His gaze turned towards his ring-tailed companion. “It’s nice to think and hope you’ll act a certain way in certain situations. But… there’s no way to know until you’re thrust into the middle of it.”

Tongue, along with a few teeth, sticking out between his lips, Dax nodded enthusiastically. He might not have been as eloquent with his words as the fox was but he recognized the intent behind them all the same!

The vulpine’s orange furred cheeks puffed out while he chewed on his words. “We are still kind of new to this whole adventuring thing, you know. That and, I mean, the whole keeping your wits about you comes with a whole lot experience we don’t have yet. Maybe not to the point of desensitization… but I’m sure you’ll get there in time!” Tyr’s gaze settled softly on the raccoon. Her head bobbed side to side with the reluctant recognition that her lack of experience was something that couldn’t be helped.

Dipped down low among the frigid and frozen debris lining the mountain path the fuzzy trio paused to gather their thoughts. All while conveniently basking in the residual warmth of the illusion that shrouded them.

Breathing in deeply, Morgan composed herself and flipped back up her hood. “Well… it’s not like I panicked. Rushed things, sure.” Her spirits lifted at seeing the fox and wolf’s unspoken reassurances. “Next time, then,” she said with a smile. The white mage peered down the snowy slopes they had hurriedly ascended. Trickles of sparkling water, cutting through mounds of white puff, streamed down the frozen beds of pine needles and pebbles that lined the mountainside. “Pep talk aside, let’s find a way to rescue Russo from himself.”

Agitated air huffed free from the raccoon’s moist black nostrils. “For someone so familiar with teleportation it sure would have been nice if he had hooked us up with a waypoint crystal or something of the sort ahead of time,” Morgan grumped aloud.


“This was actually going really well until the part where I remembered I’m retarded,” Russo mentally lashed out at himself. A composed if not entirely indifferent facade was presented to the antagonistic archer while the mage furiously mulled over how to salvage his fuckup. How hard. How hard would it have been to just set up waypoint with Morgan. Just slip her a crystal he could warp to at his leisure and fuck sakes it’s not like he hadn’t done it before with Jem arrrraaaurrrrgh.

The sheep narrowed her unseen eyes. She actively contemplated whether or not it was honestly worth it to force this confrontation to a conclusion, however unsatisfying, on her own terms. To her relief a breeze had picked. At the very least something had come along to fill the awkward vacuum of silence. Twiddling those hooves, flakes of snow and slabs of ice crunching beneath them, the ovine hmmmed. Okay. She would shatter this standoff after ooooone last dig at him. Fuck all if she was going to let him have the last word.

“Cold yet?” she bleated out over the whistling of the wind.

Visibly shivering, Russo grunted at his accuser. The smoky wisps of magic wafting off his gloves, practically peeled away off his clothed digits by the gentle gusts, took on a reddish hue. Cracks and snaps pierced the air as flames made themselves manifest above his palms. “Nope,” the human replied while basking in his newfound warmth. “You?”

Clods of snow caught amongst the tangles of her wool, the sheep simply snorted. “I’m fine.”

Russo shrugged. “If you say so,” he replied. The human shifted in place and lowered his arms slightly. Just enough that the now heated air before his eyes ceased to warp and obscure his line of sight.

“Think think think think…” Russo repeated to himself in between bouts of self-hatred. Was there any feasible way to still regroup with Morgan, Tyr, and Dax? Teeth clenched together, his jaw began to ache when no obvious options presented themselves. Mmff… this wasn’t working. Okay maybe instead of figuring out what ideas would work he could rule out what wouldn’t.

Frustrated snoots and huffs pulsed free from the ovine’s snout. Dammit dammit dammit. Fine. One last GOOD dig at him and then she was done. Diatribes and all manner of invectives rattled around the confines of that horned head of hers while she shook it side to side. After much deliberation, she wrangled up the rudest words that her vocabulary could muster. “I don’t like you.”

The mage blinked repeatedly, completely taken aback by his foe’s dastardly declaration. “…You’re not very good at this whole banter thing, are you?”

“Shut up.”

Russo rolled his eyes. Amusing as this was it probably wasn’t going to help him. She had yet to so much as loosen her grip upon her bow or notably shift her shooting stance. That was one course of action he could rule out at the very least.

Hmmph. The archer’s sheepy snoot scrunched at the reception she received. Okay so that one didn’t count. She wanted to get him GOOD, dammit. “Well?” she asked impatiently.

“Well what? You just told me to shut up.”

So she did. An irritated bleat billowed free from her black lips.

“We don’t have to banter you know,” Russo helpfully offered. Hmm… what else should he not do. Idiotic ideas swirled about his noggin while he stared blankly at the sheep. Augh, whatever it was he eventually settled on it would have to allow for his friends to safely reveal themselves without fear of reprisal. “That narrows things down, I guess,” the mage mentally mumbled.

“I know, I know, I know!” The agitated archer bellowed. “But you’re better at this than I am and I hate it! I HAVE to win.”

The human narrowed his eyes and ummmmmmed aloud. “You. You are aware that you’re the one dragging this out at this point, right?” At this rate she’d be baited into breaking this standoff all without Russo even making an active effort to antagonize her. Athough… hmm. He had yet to seriously entertain the notion of coming to blows with her once more. Maybe he should.

“Bahhhh!” She sensed hesitation. An opening! “What? Worried that you’ll falter if I keep you at this long enough? Scared that I’ll pull the… the…” the archer tapered off and pursed her lips.

“You were about to make some sort of sheep pun weren’t you.” Eyebrows raised high atop his forehead, Russo nudged the exchange along with minimal effort. As she grumbled and resisted the urge to spit out another idiotic response he pondered a plan of attack. So long as she was mobile and had a line of sight on him there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot he could do besides avoid being hit. Then there was the whole matter of how those arrows of hers could snuff out both his barriers and spells. Dammit, this was going to require strategy.

Flat teeth grinding together, the ovine seethed within the imagined hole she had dug for herself. Forget it. Her rock hard fingertips clenched against the wooden shaft of her arrow. With a subtle curl of her wrist she tugged the feathered projectile back to nock it against the string of her bow. “Your words cut deep, mage. But my arrohhhhh come on!” Grumpy bleats bellowed out from the archer when a pulse of light forced her to squint. “Let me have this! At least let me get a parting quip in before I bury your obnoxious ass!” She yelled out across the now Russo-less battlefield.

“No,” Russo answered. Annoyance present in his tone he awkwardly steadied himself upon the rough and rocky inclines. A faint plucking noise thrummed between his ears. Groaning, he teleported away an instant before an arrow lodged itself into the snow smothered outcropping behind him. Flakes of white puff, intermixed with pebbles, gently rained down upon the immediate vicinity.

She snorted dismissively. Nocking another arrow, the sheep took to scanning her surroundings. “I thought you were going to cut and run?”

“Ehhh. I mean, that was the plan to begin with don’t get me wrong. But then I started thinking.” Mid-monologue, the mage constantly took to teleporting. Gods forbid he actually give her the chance to take advantage of the auditory cover he was providing. “What’s stopping you from sulking on after us? Oh sure we’ll have a hell of a lead on you but, you know, I figure you are bitter and petty enough to hound… sheep… whatever us, day and night.” If anything, Russo could at the very least be proud of the quality of his bullshit he had conjured on such short notice. “I figure-”

“Bahh blahh bahh who cares!” The ovine’s arm flung back and forth as she nocked and released her arrows in rapid succession. “See! I can interrupt you too!”

Splishes and hard claps sounded out from beneath Russo’s boots for what few moments he remained solid. Slush, trickling down from the melted mounds of snow cover he had flushed his snippy shooty foe out of, coated the sides of his footwear as he haphazardly traversed the terrain. The sun’s rays, blinding when reflected off the already sparkling streams, forced him to squint his eyes upon every reappearance. Maybe melting everything in the immediate vicinity to suss that sheep out wasn’t all that great an idea in hindsight.

An infuriated growl slipped carried across the bumpy battlefield. “Would you… just… do you even know any less shitty spells?” Scratches accumulated on the archer’s keratin fingertips as she sent one arrow after another flying at the bursts of light that infuriatingly announced where her target had been. “Remember your training, remember your training. No more rookie mistakes…” the sheep grumped aloud at herself through clenched teeth while she cautiously took to hopping and sidestepping as she shot. Anything to keep herself from being a stationary target.

“Now that-You mention it.” The mage’s constant teleports allowed for spoken sentences that consisted of a few syllables at most. Swinging his left arm about the length of his body, cool blue wisps trailing off his fingertips, a freezing gust of air billowed forth. Whatever warmth remained was sapped from the very air. The streams and rippling puddles of slush promptly refroze into misshapen and pointed slabs of ice… that still practically radiated with reflected sunlight and were blindingly bright as all get out and shit this didn’t help at all.

“That’s… you’re not even making the effort to aim at me are you!?” Horned head shaking side to side the sheep forced herself to swallow her pride. This was stupid and so was she. Why should she be mad he wasn’t actively gunning for her? She shouldn’t be but she was and oh did she hate him. “Know what? Fine. Treat this, treat me, like a joke. It’ll be the lasssssst oh forget it. You’re using that bullshit spell so often you can’t even hear half of what I’m saying can you.” She contemplated whether or not that arrogant idiocy was just a mask. A façade used to distract her and throw her off his trail. Was he just trying to outlast her? Trying to make her expend her entire quiver of arrows?

Russo aughed. How? How how how how how did he manage to muck up what little visibility he had even further? The idiocy, if anything, was genuine. Gahh, it was like she was an obnoxious wooly island hidden among a sea of sunlight. …Wait. “She’s surrounded, isn’t she?” the mage mulled to himself. To his dumbfounded disbelief it was as if his string of stupid decisions had somehow cancelled one another out. He could just freeze anything and everything around her! Effectively trapping her in place. Stupid piled on top of additional stupid resulted in accidental and completely unintentional genius, apparently.

Tufts of wool brushing against her squinted eyes, the ovine took to keeping her commentary to herself. “What is he doing?” she grumbled in between shots. The ground immediately before her glowered with halos of light that wavered between white and yellow in hue. They gave way to blues and greens that burned against the back of her eyelids even when she blinked. With a shake of her head locks of hair swung down before her eyes. Was he trying to blind her? “Good luck with that,” she reassured herself with a dismissive snort. Whatever it was he was doing she’d keep her distance regardless.

Crackling sounds struggled to make themselves heard over the sheens of spells and plucks and plings of arrows as sheets of ice advanced on the ovine. Pockmarks peppered the uneven surface of the frozen liquid, courtesy of the countless flash frozen bubbles that had long since burst.

Methodically… okay maybe not methodically. It was more of a sort of in between half-assing it and giving it his all. Regardless, Russo teleported about his opponent so as to slowly corral her away from the edges of his impromptu trap. The longer he could keep her ignorant of his aims meant she’d have all that much less time to react and respond.

“You… I… Hmmph.” The sheep had grown uncomfortable with what amounted to silence settling down upon them once more. “Are we done bantering or something?”

“I thought-You didn’t-Want to-Anymore?” Russo blurted out between teleports.

Damn him and his logic. “Okay so maybe I did but. Urf. Shit. This bahhhhnter stuff is hard,” the sheep loudly sulked. Steeling her resolve once more she took to alternating between nocking carved and corporeal arrows against the string of her bow so as to conserve ammo. “Would you just lose already?”

She certainly wasn’t making this difficult for him. “Look, we’ve been-Over this-No,” he responded matter of factly. The arghs and bahhs he received in reply only served to encouraged Russo while he continued to surround her position with ice.


Arms trembling, Tyridia’s limbs ached as he forced them to remain held out at his sides. Heated air continued to swirl about the trio and mask their presence at the fox’s faltering command.

“Lemme help with that, Tyr,” Morgan quietly offered. What looked like white spores flit off of her padded palms, twinkling away into the airy ether above, as a warm glow overtook her fuzzy hands. Reaching forward the raccoon gently massaged at the vulpine’s shoulders. The gathered magic seeped into Tyridia’s form, furry flesh pulled taut was rendered relaxed and rejuvenated, ultimately soothing the fox’s wearied muscles.

The fox offered a relieved hmm in response while he rolled his shoulders. “Appreciate it,” he turned back to smile at Morgan as he reasserted his grasp on the swirling fox fire that shrouded them. “Still though… don’t you think it’s a bit reckless for us to rush back in there without something a little more fleshed out than this?”

“Hruf, well we can’t just leave him!” Dax promptly rebuked the fox with a pouty growl.

White hood sliding back and forth over her head as she nodded, fabric dragging against the tops of her perked pointed ears, Morgan acknowledged both the fox and wolf’s concerns. “I know it’s not desirable but this is a matter of the sooner the better. Or, at least I think it is. Thinking on my feet still isn’t my thing,” the white mage offered as a disclaimer of sorts. Arms crossed about her chest, the white mage took to twiddling her fingers against her elbows. “We want this to be a regroup, not a rescue, after all. It’ll be a whole hell of a lot easier on us if Russo is still in a position to actually take advantage of whatever help we can offer. Thus, time is of the essence.”

The trio timidly reversed themselves and returned from whence they fled. Gravity, and a couple of spell casts from Morgan, eased the strain upon their legs while they traversed back down the mountainside.

“So what do we do if he’s down and out when we get there?” Tyr inquired.

Tail swishing behind him in defiance, Dax promptly piped up with a question of his own. “Or or or what if Russo isn’t that? What if he’s still up and at ‘em?”

Morgan exhaled softly through her wet black nostrils. Eyes trained on path steadily sloping down before her, she allowed her jaw to go slack and lips to part. “I think… I think we’re just going to have to figure that out when we get there.”

“But!” The wolf began to interject before being shooshed by the papping of a padded raccoon finger against his lips.

“We can only plan so much around the unknown. And Russo’s status is a big unknown,” Morgan offered in response. “Let’s say… let’s say what if he’s fine? Well we’ll need a plan of attack to back him up and get him out of there. But what if he’s been hurt? Now that’s something different altogether and we’ll have to rethink our approach entirely. Or if he’s been captured… again, you get my point. And so on and so forth.”

Chin tucked against his chest, Dax huffed. “I knowwwwwwww.”

Morgan hehed. “Believe me, I wish this was something we could prepare for. Just gonna have to settle for navigating our way through the here and now the best we can.”

“Speaking of…” Tyridia’s ears flicked to and fro. Sounds of battle, consisting of a mixture of curses, bleats, and bahhs, filtered into the whistling windy ambience that blanketed the mountainside. “I think that’s a good sign?” The fox opined with a degree of uncertainty.

Eyebrows arched, the white mage gently urged her summoner companion forward with a pat on the back. “Only one way to find out,” she replied. The group’s descent, lurching in its pace courtesy of the ice and snow that still littered the path, drew them ever closer to their answer.

“Would you… just… do you even know any less shitty spells?” A feminine voice bleated out at them from below.

The raccoon, fox, and wolf quickly exchanged glances. Welp. That answered that.

“He’s fine,” Morgan remarked nonplussed. Dax heaved a sigh of relief while Tyr peered down curiously at the antics unfolding below. “With that said, now is a time for action,” she carried on. A pause lingered on her lips. “What that action is… we’ll get to figuring out nowish.”

A hmmmmm slipped free from the vulpine summoner’s lips while he took to thinking aloud. “I could use my fox fire to shroud Russo and hide him from whoever that is down there.” Tyr’s pointed teeth bit down into his lips as he thought through that potential plan of attack more fully. “Mmfff but that would leave us exposed. Not uhh… I’m not quite there yet when it comes to maintaining multiple illusions. Just putting that out there.”

“We’re here to rescue Russo. Not the other way around,” the white mage gently chimed in. Morgan sighed as she drew upon blanks as well. “A straight up attack won’t do us any good either. Even if we were to attack from afar all they need to do is trace the bead on our spells to find us.”

Dax’s focus swiveled back and forth between the fox and raccoon as they bounced, and promptly scrapped, one strategy after another off each other. At least until a couple flares of Russo’s teleport spell caught the wolf’s attention. His thick fluffy tail slowly took to flopping side to side as he watched his deigned teacher work.

Tyr’s eyes drifted to the sides of their sockets as he took to pondering once more. “Oh! What if… what if… augh this made sense in my head.” He puffed out a cheek and took to chewing on his words, grinding them down into something that could be properly articulated.

The wolf took to bobbing up and down on the balls of his paws as he excitedly watched Russo tighten an icy noose around the archer’s neck.

Morgan inhaled and exhaled deeply. “We could try a distraction but there’s no telling if that would do more harm than good.” She brought a hand up to her fuzzy cheek and huffed. With a shake of her head she continued stringing her thoughts along. “After all we risk shooting ourselves in the foot if Russo is the one who ends up being distracted.”

Growls and grrrs tumbled free from Dax’s muzzle as he impatiently awaited a victorious conclusion to Russo’s latest tussle. Unable to contain himself, the wolf let rip a bellowing bark across the rocky slopes. “Russo, Russo, Russo! Didja win yet?”

“What the.” Stopped in his tracks, arms at his sides, the human stared up in unseen canine’s general direction. Frosting wisps of magic that caked his gloved fingertips tapered down to the rock below and created frozen puddles at the mage’s feet. “Dax?”

“Bahhh?” Relaxing her grip on the arrow nocked against her bow’s string, the archer’s inattention allowed it to fall against the ground. Chin tucked against her shoulder she turned to face the perceived source of the interruption. “Hey hey hey, butt out! We’re in the middle of something here!”

Russo astutely noted the shooty sheep was now disarmed. “Oh. Right. Ummm. I should probably take advantage of that.” Slinging his arm forward with a snap of his fingers, a bolt of lightning lurched out from his digits and sent the ovine flying back with a bleat.

Bouncing bumpily along the conjured ice, her bow tunking off and away, smoke wafted off the sheep’s wooly frame as she groaned painfully.

“Huh. Well then.” Eyebrows arched, Morgan cobbled back together her thoughts. “I guess that works too. Good job, Dax,” the raccoon plainly stated as the wolf yayyyed beside her.

Clapping his hands, the wolf watched on as Russo actively burgled the archer and made off with her weapon.

“Now remember, Dax. Theft is bad,” the white mage hurriedly chimed in as the human tossed a middle finger back at the slowly rising sheep.

Lips pursed, Dax hmmmed. “Then what did he do just now?”

“He… he disarmed her!” Tyr nervously clarified. “You’ll figure out the subtleties between them as you adventure more. Don’t worry about it,” the fox stated.

“Ohhhhhhhhhh.” Head bobbing up and down, the canine growlfed in delight at another lesson learned.
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Extinction Level Event
Extinction Level Event
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