The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

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#1
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The current drew Ilona along at a steady pace, requiring only the occasional shift of her tail in order to keep moving along at a steady clip. Rays of light shown around her, filtering through the surface of the water above. The ocean floor was visible below, in the shallows between a string of islands that were once populated by small groups of surface dwellers. The formori had changed all that, traveling through the depths of the ocean to reach the oceans populated by her own people and raiding and pillaging the coastal waters of both her own people and the land walkers. The local populations of humans living on the islands had been all but wiped out by the amphibious londoriens, taken or killed in raids in the night, and the survivors had fled or remained enslaved to their attackers.

Her own people had suffered greatly, many of their outlying settlements suffering similar raids that left their already dwindling population even deeper in crisis. Her own kind were being kidnapped en masse to be used as brood mothers and slaves, and with every surge of the londorien population that came with groups of their women being impregnated Ilona's people were put deeper into crisis. Even worse, while the initial invaders had mostly been poorly organized and without the support of supernatural powers, the more of her kind they bred with the more they displayed psychic abilities like those naturally possessed by the merfolk. The dangers against her people's settlements were growing by the month now, and if something wasn't done to cease the spread of the chaos their whole civilization might crumble as the border towns were.

It was towards one such besieged settlement that Ilona swam now, for it was home to a sage who might know more about how to free the god of the sea. Aereia had once been a scholar back in the central city of her people, Adamantia, before retiring to the more distant regions before the time of peace had ended. She had been the head of their research on the group of surface dweller sorcerers who had bound Lord Elric, but political machinations had led her to an early retirement and she had come here, to the modestly sized town of Clyons nestled among an archipelago far off the coast of Anudor. The sea bed fell off slightly up ahead, offering her two paths on the way forward; to remain close to the surface, or to keep low.

The larger predators of the ocean had always been temperamental neighbors, and while sharks and hunting whales would rarely venture too close to settled areas they were rarely averse to picking off a lone mer if they seemed like an easy meal. Such predators had grown more dangerous of late, the release of the Leviathans that had sired their races instilling in them a new bold ferocity that hadn't made getting along with them any easier. Whales at least could be bargained with in the interest of avoiding conflict, to an extent, but sharks cared only for one thing; food, and they cared little where it came from. To stay low, in contrast, would leave her less exposed to the larger ocean predators but risk encountering more of the small ones. Galo's betentacled kinsmen tended to remain low to the ocean floor, though octopi more often remained near the coral reefs and the larger squid often kept to deeper waters. Desperate times had driven some of the mer to prey on one another like surface world bandits as well, and such beds of kelp were preferred ambush sights for such neer-do-wells... And more dangerously, for the formori, who would surely see her as another valuable prize to be taken.
 
Jan 8, 2011
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#2
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Today was a proud day, the culmination of more than a decade of intensive training. A proud day, but not really a happy one. The mermaid swam gracefully with the current, barely having to lift a fin to propel herself at speed through the shallow water that surrounded naught but a ghost town. Once this area had been thriving, a little chain of islands that had teemed with life, quaint human villages dotting the landscape. That had been before her time; the fomori had quite thoroughly raided these islands, killing or enslaving most of the humans, the rest fleeing for their lives to the mainland. Now there was nothing.

The humans weren't the only ones who had been driven from these seas. Ilona's own kind had been beaten back by the much more numerous invaders from the deep. Kidnapping, rape, murder, and cruelties the mermaid could hardly imagine, all had been visited upon the residents of this region, and now it was a discomfiting wasteland. There was a growing sense of gloom hanging over her home, the feeling that soon all the seas would be like this, that the fomori would take whom they pleased to the depths with them as slaves, and slay those they didn't want; they were getting more dangerous all the time, breeding with enslaved merfolk and adding their strengths into the mix of their soldiers.

And that was why Ilona's mission was so important, why she had been trained to be the best warrior she could be from the moment she could hold a spear. A part of her had seen other girls having fun, growing up at their own pace and experiencing the joys and trials of childhood, and had resented what her parents had done to her. The long, grueling hours of arduous training, building up her body and mind to the peaks of which they were capable had left her no time or energy for normal girlish pursuits, the discipline expected of her leaving no space for a normal life. Even so, she didn't feel that very often at all any more, not with things as grim as they seemed to be. As an adult she could see that her sacrifices were necessary; her people needed soldiers badly, and didn't have time to wait. And she at least had Galo. An octopus much more friendly than most of his kind, and perhaps even a bit more intelligent, she had met him on the ocean floor at a spot she found particularly peaceful one day, clearing her mind after a rough training session. They had continued to meet in that spot again and again, until finally he started to follow her, helping her with her daily tasks, much to the bewilderment of others. And so he stayed at her side even now, on her first real journey out into the ocean.

That journey had brought her here, effortlessly propelling her to what she hoped was the town of Clyons. A scholar had lived there, Aereia by name, who had long studied the God of the Sea, and the surface-dwellers who had sealed him away and started the merfolk down the path to ruin. If anyone knew anything about the location of Lord Elric, surely it would be her... And without Lord Elric's help and protection, surely Ilona and all her kind would perish, crushed between the twin threats of the fomori and the foul leviathans, creatures so terrible that likely none but a god could stand against them. Supposedly the town's defenses had held against the fomori thus far, but if they hadn't, well... Then they were back to square one, and the ocean was a big place to search.

As she swam along Ilona came to a spot where the water deepened, farther from the islands and their skeletal towns. That meant that she could dip farther down, swimming along the ocean floor, or stay up here close to the sunlight that streamed down through the water. Farther down risked running into bandits or octopi, or perhaps even some of the fomori... Staying close to the surface risked being seen as prey to a passing shark or whale. Of course, she also knew the currents closer to the surface better, found the light a more pleasing atmosphere, and that made the decision for her more or less. The mermaid kept her eyes peeled for threats, her spear at the ready, though she didn't anticipate too much trouble this close to a settlement. The problem would come when she got within sight of the town most likely, at least in her opinion; there would probably be fomori there, waiting to pick off any who had wandered too far from their homes.
 
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#3
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

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With Galo swimming along beside her, Ilona swam along, high above the kelp bed and any dangerous predators that might be hiding among it. The waters were clear and the sunlight bright, allowing her to see for quite a distance ahead, and so she spotted the shark swimming up ahead well before it was in sight. It was luckily not one of the larger examples of the breed, the flat conical snout and primarily gray coloration marking it was a bull shark. They were an aggressive sort to begin with, but so long as they didn't catch her scent they generally wouldn't go for long chases, preferring to hunt in murky waters rather than the clear ones in which she now swam. It seemed to be swimming in a direction that crossed her path, towards the shores of one of the larger islands, and she could easily wait and see if it simply opted to ignore her and continue on. Even so, it was clearly close enough to Clyons to be a danger to her people, and killing such a beast would be a good test of her skills. Alternatively, the mermaid could swim below it, where it was less likely to detect her, and hope to skirt on by at risk of being ambushed by something in the kelp beds.
 
Jan 8, 2011
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#4
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Ilona did love being out in the open ocean like this; the water was so clear and blue, you could see forever. It was pretty, but also it was also helpful for spotting potential dangers. And so it was that she saw the shark swimming towards her most likely long before it saw her, far out to sea. A bull shark, as it turned out. An aggressive and nasty sort even amongst sharks, though these were most certainly not its favored hunting grounds. She could have avoided its path easily, and it most likely wouldn't have caused her any trouble... but she saw no need to alter her course. She would give it no trouble, but if it attacked her, well... Her spear was at the ready, and she would have no qualms about accepting its challenge.

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#5
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Though it wasn't in its natural hunting grounds, the bull shark altered its course as Ilona approached. Unafraid though she might be, she knew a predator shifting into a hunting state as it turned towards her about halfway, circling closer and around the mermaid as she continued on her original path. Ilona was not without practical preparations in such a situation, however, and with an effort of will the very waters around her hardened with her psionic might. The shark turned suddenly as she drew near, a powerful swish of its tail propelling it toward her as its jaws opened wide, but she'd been just barely ready for the oncoming creature.

The wall of telekinetic might deflected it just enough to allow Ilona to thrust herself aside with a quick motion of her own, and with weapon in hand she was left to square off with the dangerous predator as it circled for another pass. While many sharks were opportunistic rather than outright aggressive, this one seemed fairly aggressive. It might retreat if she wounded it, but she could just as easily simply try to kill it outright. Galo, in the meantime, shifted lower, keeping carefully out of the shark's path, not yet doing anything to intervene between Ilona and one of his natural predators.
 
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#6
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

As Ilona swam towards the shark the large creature took notice, altering its course at first subtly, but then rather obviously; it was on the hunt. As it swam past her, beginning to circle, she closed her eyes and focused her mind, the water around her hardening into a sort of invisible shield. She opened her eyes once more and clutched her spear, waiting as it circled for it to lunge in at her... When it did she realized that she had taken it far too lightly! Her shield of hardened water managed to bat the side of the shark's head just enough to allow her to avoid its powerful jaws, coming within inches of a sudden end to her mission.

The mermaid cursed herself inwardly, watching as the young shark swam away, circling back for another attack... Her tentacled friend slowly drifted downward, away from the scene of the combat, and that was just fine with her. She didn't expect Galo to do much, if any, fighting with her, especially not against something so naturally scary to him. In any case, now that the shark had made the first move she had no qualms about hurting it, and now that she understood its speed she wouldn't underestimate it. When it came in close she would propel herself forward with a kick of her powerful tail, trying to get alongside it and stab it twice quickly in the side. If it didn't die it would surely think twice.

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#7
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Lunging with a quick shift of her tail, a motion of Ilona's tail sent her spear forward with a quick jab that buried her spear into the shark's side. Blood erupted from the fresh wound as her weapon buried itself into the beast's flesh just behind the gills, and she both saw and felt it flinch before retracting her weapon to deliver a second jab just a bit further back. It thrashed in pain, but then suddenly lunged at her again. Its jaws nearly closed on her once again, but then suddenly Galo launched himself onto the creature's head, wrapping tentacles around the shark's jaws. He wasn't strong enough to close them, but he did blind it momentarily, allowing Ilona to escape feeling its teeth once more.

The shark was badly wounded, blood clouding the waters as it spurted from the two puncture wounds she had inflicted. Galo was desperately clinging to its head, trying to keep his numerous limbs from its jaws even as it snapped at him, but with the octopus' intervention Ilona had an opportunity to land a fatal blow on the thrashing shark.
 
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#8
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Ilona's quick movement got her momentarily past the shark's powerful jaws, and without hesitation she plunged her spear into its side. She could tell that she had hurt it fairly badly just by the way it flinched when she pulled the weapon from it, and then jabbed it in deep again. A cruel wound, and painful too, but the creature wasn't disabled just yet, and it quickly made to show it. It surged forward, its jaws opening in a flash; the mermaid flicked her tail, trying to propel herself away, but she just wasn't going to be in time... until Galo threw himself at the shark, grasping it and knocking its jaws around just enough to keep them from closing around her shoulder. She would have to thank him profusely for that later! For now, though, she had to do something about the beast. Blood was pouring out of its side, turning the once-clear water into a cloudy murk as it thrashed about, trying to bite either her or her friend. With a determined glare Ilona surged forward, attempting to plunge her spear into it one more time, now putting more power into the strike; it shouldn't take much more to finish the wounded creature, after all.

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#9
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With one final surge of motion at a critical moment, Ilona thrust herself and her spear into the spreading cloud of blood in the water. She felt her spear bite into flesh, and saw through the haze of gore that she had hit it directly in the gills. The added force of her strike drove the weapon clean through the shark's side and out the other, piercing vital organs all along the way, and for a few moments it thrashed wildly... And then seemed to go still, floating in mid stroke of its tail while slowly starting to turn over.

Her spear was easily retrieved, and Galo slipped off of the dead shark's head and slowly settled around Ilona's waist, tentacles wrapping around her tail as he clung to her backside. The octopus was always nervous around even the smallest of sharks, and the action he had taken to protect Ilona that had likely kept her from being maimed had likely gone against every one of his survival instincts. Whether or not Ilona wanted to take the time to take some of the dead shark's skin at that point was up to her; policing the corpse would be a bloody task and would take some time, and the blood might easily draw more predators. It would no doubt sink over time as well, bringing her down towards the kelp beds that she had been deliberately avoiding.

It would be much easier to simply leave the corpse behind, however, allowing her to continue on towards Clyons without wasting any more time.
 
Jan 8, 2011
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#10
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Galo's desperate struggles to keep the shark's jaws at bay provided just enough distraction for Ilona to lunge forward and plunge her spear into its gills, impaling it all the way through. As badly as she had already hurt it there could be no doubt that it was a fatal blow, and blood poured out rapidly into the water all around her. It thrashed wildly in its death throes, flailing its tail and head for a few moments before going quite still, its body starting to turn belly up.

The mermaid exhaled in relief, pulling her spear free of the corpse without difficulty and dismissing her shield as Galo swam off of it, moving around behind her and wrapping his tentacles around her waist, clinging tightly. She reached back and lightly rubbed the top of his "head" as she established a mental link with him, speaking to her octopus friend with her mind. "Thank you for that, Galo. You were very brave there, and you certainly saved me from grave injury, if not death. I owe you" she said, gazing at the creature that had almost brought her journey to a premature end. Its skin was valuable, could make good leather for armor if she were to take it, but all this blood would likely attract other sharks to the scene given enough time, and she had no wish to fight more of them. So she took a deep breath and began to swim once more towards Clyons, resuming her journey quickly. With some luck maybe she could get there without any more trouble, though she wasn't exactly counting on it.
 
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#11
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"Lets just get out of here before more of them show up!" The octopus answered over their brief mental connection. Most creatures of the sea were fairly simplistic mentally when Ilona connected with them psychically, but octopi were intelligent enough to hold a conversation almost equivalent to one of her own kind. With her own plans mirroring the invertebrate's, Ilona would leave the shark carcass behind, and began to continue across the surface of the sea.

The tides picked up, the current channeling her towards the center point between the three largest islands in the archipelago, where Clyons was located. The sea became more shallow as she continued onwards, drawing the kelp beds and the surface of the sea closer. Growths of coral on the sea floor and strands of seaweed reaching towards the surface began to appear irregularly, clinging to the dunes of silt and sand that grew increasingly close. After only another short bit of swimming, the town she sought finally came into view over the horizon.

It wasn't a large settlement, and it had been built long after Adamantine had sunk beneath the waves. As such, it was constructed with the practical needs of living underwater fully accounted for and using materials easily replaced without going to the surface. As such, rather than stone or wood enchanted to withstand the wear and tear on such materials that occurred beneath the waves, the shelters had been built out of glass shaped beneath the water, out of coral made to grow as their owner's wished, or out of woven strands of kelp and seaweed. Kelp and seaweed farms surrounded it, as well as constructions for shellfish and bottom feeding catfish, providing plentiful food for the mer to survive without having to hunt, though the surrounding area was undoubtedly lush enough to provide plenty of prey... Assuming the formori hadn't expended its natural resources entirely, as they often seemed to do when they arrived in a place.

Unfortunately for Ilona, she wasn't to reach Clyons without encountering the creatures that had come to torment it in an example of what was happening to her kind across the coasts of Heloras. She spotted them just as she passed through a thin forest of seaweed strands, where the kelp below was thinner; no less than seven of the formori, their bodies a more twisted amalgamation of fish and human. Where Ilona's people were elegant and beautiful in their combination of humanoid and aquatic creatures in form, the formori were entirely humanoid but with aquatic details, possessed of varying degrees of fish or amphibian body parts. These ones were possessed of groper-like heads, their snouts shortened and flared and their mouths lined with sharp teeth. They crouched in a cluster on the ocean floor, clutching knives and spears and nets in their webbed hands, and they spotted her just as soon as she spotted them, their dark scales letting them hide among the kelp fairly well but the angle from which she viewed them allowing her to spot them almost without the benefit of their cover.

The band of formori trappers took off out of the kelp bed as soon as they realized their ambush had failed, fanning out in all directions to try and surround Ilona before she could use her superior speed to escape. It wouldn't be easy with so many, but if she reacted quickly the mermaid warrior might be able to escape without a fight, but that would leave the group of formori to reset their ambush for anyone else who might come along. Despite the risk, even with her super maneuverability trying to take on the group with only Galo's help would be a risky proposition. The surface was at her back some thirty feet upwards, giving her some room to maneuver to keep them from simply surrounding her, but if she ended up in one of their nets things could no doubt quickly go from bad to worse. Of the seven warriors, two came at her almost directly from below, branching out slightly to either side but coming on slowly while the rest swam further out. There were two others with spears, clutching the primitive stone-tipped weapons in both hands as they went wide to intercept her if she tried to flee or eventually come at her from above. The other three carried a pair of sharpened hand weapons; shells or stones or shards of metal or glass. The tips of their sharpened weapons were covered dark red stains, and they advanced menacingly towards her as quickly as their kicking legs could propel them.
 
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#12
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Ilona couldn't help but smile a little bit as Galo agreed with her with perhaps a different level of urgency. She thought he was cute when he got scared; it wasn't something she experienced all that often, so she couldn't relate all that well. Even just now, having come mere inches from being maimed or killed, she hadn't felt all that much fear and didn't allow herself to dwell on it now. Whether it was a product of her training or just a quirk of personality was hard to know, but it had certainly helped her along her way so far.

Under way once more the two swam with the current towards Clyons. It was located in a more shallow portion of the sea, almost exactly between the three largest islands in this little chain, nestled in amongst some kelp beds and the very beginnings of a few coral outcroppings, though they hadn't quite taken off yet. Maybe some day... In any case it was a pretty area for a town, and after a short while the buildings of kelp and corals and glass came into view. It was a quaint little village compared to Ilona's home, though it had its own charm that way, and it would have been much easier to maintain than the structures of stone and wood she was used to living amongst.

There was one last obstacle between her and Clyons, though... A small forest of kelp, just perfect for ambushes. Knowing that the mermaid kept her eyes peeled, looking for either bandits or fomori who might be lying in wait... and sure enough there were a number of them in her path. Seven in all by her count, though there could always have been more hiding about deeper in the kelp. She hadn't seen many of these creatures in the past, and she never got used to the look of them... They were hideous, awful-looking beasts, nothing at all like her own kind despite also being fusions of man and fish. They saw her at the same time, all of them starting to swim in various directions; they were going to try and surround her, that much was clear. It was a sound strategy, but she was close to the surface and could easily keep it to her back, at least she thought so.

That left Ilona the question of how to deal with this. Fighting seven of them, well... that could be dodgy. They didn't seem like particularly strong specimens, but numbers always enhanced the danger of any situation. She had the advantage of her tail, though, and the maneuverability that it gave her over them. Maybe she could manipulate the way in which they attacked her. Galo was still clinging to her backside after their last combat, and she was fine with him staying there for the moment, perhaps covering her from enemies that might approach from behind. Quickly she made a decision, swimming at the town while she brought her mind to bear on the water around her, resuming her use of the mental shield. Perhaps she could force them to fight her one or two at a time, kiting them onward so that they couldn't put their full numbers to work against her. at any given time.

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The formori came on fast, bursts of speed coming as they kicked furiously and closed in around the mermaid one by one. The two with spears were first, jabbing at her fins. If those were torn she would be crippled, helpless, and seeing them jabbing at her lower half Galo shot off suddenly and launched himself at one of them. The octopus thrashed wildly, forcing the formori back, but then the other spear wielder turned and jabbed at him from behind. Galo thrashed as blue blood erupted into the ocean waters, but the merciless spearman who had impaled him dragged the octopus around and tossed him towards the ocean floor, putting the minor nuisance out of their way. He drifted towards the kelp bed, blue blood creating a cloud of inky darkness as he sank, now totally unmoving besides the occasional spasm.

The rest of the hideous raiders closed in on Ilona, ignoring her fallen companion. Their real prize was ahead of them, not below. They were slower than her, but she couldn't avoid them all, and eventually one of the formori clutching a pair of primitive blades came close enough to wave the makeshift weapons at her threateningly. Her psionic defense offered her added perceptions as much as it produced a physical barrier, allowing Ilona to twisted in mid stroke to avoid both slashes made by her first attacker. Having to dodge the first slowed her down, however, and the next two closed in from either side, trying to do what their initial companion had failed to.

Not a one of them managed to score a hit, but they sent Ilona squirming this way and that to keep her flesh from harm, the hardened water only so effective against so many direct attacks. Faster and more maneuverable though she might be, their numbers were starting to let them manipulate her movements, limiting where she could go without risking the bite of their weapons. The spearmen were catching up, but the real threat came on sooner rather than later when the netters came up, tossing their entangling lines of weighted interlocking kelp ropes one by one. The first Ilona thrashed away from, the fabric barely grazing her tail and luckily not entangling her in the slightest. The second hit a wall of her will, stopping impossibly in mid toss only to join the first net in sinking down towards the ocean floor. The two netters followed, kicking their feet as they went to retrieve their weapons, passing the spearmen on the way back.

They wouldn't be a problem again for at least a few moments, but the spear wielders were coming on fast, and the formori with knives were still trying to keep her contained between them so she couldn't escape.
 
Jan 8, 2011
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#14
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

The formori were surprisingly quick as they approached Ilona, though not quite fast enough to catch her out initially. The two of them who carried crude spears stabbed at her, trying to cut up her fins to cripple her as she swam, but she was just out of their reach... This provoked Galo to leap from her backside suddenly, his tendrils flailing at one of the spearmen and causing it to retreat... but the octopus didn't take into account the second of the fomori, who stabbed him from behind. His body twitched and flailed for a moment before being tossed down towards the ocean floor, blood pouring out of him...

The mermaid watched all the while, but the emotional impact of it didn't hit her right away. She did feel a somewhat novel emotional response, though... A sort of rage welled up inside of her as she glared at the fishpeople attacking her, continuing to swim away, ducking and weaving as the others of them came forward with blades, stabbing and slashing at her. With the help of her psychic abilities she avoided every swipe, both through the deflection provided to her and her keener than usual senses. She wasn't completely out of the woods even then, though... Two more threw nets at her, one of them coming up short and the other blocked by Ilona's mind. That left those two out of the fight for a little bit, giving her time to focus on those that remained. She had to thin the herd, or at least make them fear her abilities... And so she attacked the two knife-wielding ones as powerfully as she could manage, hoping to stop their corralling her.

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#15
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Ilona twisted and drove her spear furiously into one of the formori who had tried to stab her, returning their violence in kind. The sudden shift took the hideous mutant completely by surprise, and she practically impaled him as the tip of her weapon appeared out of his back, a billowing curtain of inky redness exploded from him before she retracted the weapon to turn it upon another. That one was stabbed through the eye, causing her already bloodied weapon to erupt out the back of his head, but even with two of them floating with Galo towards the ocean floor the rest continued in on her.

The last remaining formori with primitive daggers continued to jab at her, though he did about as much now as he had before. The two spear wielders now joined the fray, however, the first of which jabbed at her stomach and caused her to twist out of the way. The other aimed a jab at her tail in the midst of her evasion, however, and though her will hardened to resist it the spear jabbed weakly into her flesh, piercing her scales. The pain was minuscule, the strike barely producing any blood, but the formori who had delivered it grinned nonetheless as all three pulled back just slightly. Moments later Ilona began to feel her muscles seizing up, random spasms robbing her of precious strength and agility. The three fighters continued to remain too close, harassing her as she was made to slow, and the netters were quickly catching up to rejoin the fight against the now poisoned mermish warrior that had stumbled upon them.
 
Jan 8, 2011
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#16
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Ilona's first strike hit its target with stunning force, piercing it in the gut and all the way through. Blood poured from the doomed creature as she pulled her weapon free, turning her wrath onto the second of them. It wasn't fast enough to escape, and she drove her spear right through its eye and into whatever passed for its brain, jabbing out of the back of its skull. Two out of the seven were dead, but still the mermaid felt she wasn't dealing with them fast enough, couldn't deal with them fast enough.

Before she could continue bringing the fight to them they resumed their attacking, the one remaining knife-wielder trying to stab her as she gracefully twisted out of the way, the spearmen closing in on her and jabbing their crude weapons at her. One of them missed entirely, though the last of them managed to just poke her with its speartip, digging in between two of the deep blue scales covering her tail. There was a light twinge of pain, almost nothing with all the adrenaline running through her... but after a few seconds she felt the muscles in her tail start to twitch and seize, making it hard to move precisely how she wanted... Poison. The bastards were using poison. Her eyes grew wild with hatred as she glared at the grinning little shits, trying to get a burst of speed to attack two more of them. Her rage was only growing, her need to stain the ocean red with their blood rooting itself deeper in her soul.

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#17
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Ilona's fury led her to lash out savagely, impaling the last of the hand weapon wielding formori though the chest, leaving yet another carcass sinking towards the bottom of the ocean. The mermaid reversed her motion and spun her spear, a movement impractical to the point of being almost impossible underwater but powered by her enraged strength it swung out wide. Her finely crafted spear easily outranged the formori's primitive one, and she opened the neck of one of other formori even as the last with a weapon that could actually hurt her launched himself toward her. Again she twisted to avoid the pointed weapon, but this time the formori's vicious assault was too aggressive for either her weakened motion or her psychic shield to stop entirely.

The spear point barely clipped her shoulder, barely managed to draw blood, but the venom coating the tip still made the arm's muscles seize at it entered her bloodstream. The more poison she took the more difficult it became to even move at all, and the slower her motions became the more difficult it would be to avoid more of their jabs. Luckily now there was only one of them who was armed... But unlucky for her, the two formori with nets were back in range to throw their weapons. They hurled their nets, one at a time, and the entangling strands of kelp hovered over her and began to fall. Ilona simply dodged the first entirely, swimming out from under it as it fell, but then the next one was coming down right on top of her. The mermaid's will rose to stop it, making the water solidify against it to form a barrier that would keep it at bay long enough for her to get away... But then it wasn't stopping.

It was sinking, more slowly than it should have, but coming down upon her, strands of kelp closing in around her. She had to dive, her psychic shield holding it off just long enough for her to get out of the way, but that put the enclosing formori above her, and the two netters were able to retrieve their weapons more quickly this time.
 
Jan 8, 2011
6,150
63
#18
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

Ilona's spear found purchase yet again, the mermaid driving the weapon brutally into the chest of the last of the knife-wielding formori, killing it more or less instantly. She wasn't done yet, though, pulling her blade free and spinning it around, swinging it at one of the spearmen as it approached to attack her, slicing its neck open wide and causing it to float away, limply twitching. She was getting careless in her bloodlust and rage, however, leaving openings. There wasn't enough distance between her and the last remaining spearman, and he lunged forward with his already bloodied spear, just barely clipping her shoulder... That was enough, however, for the poison on its tip to take hold, another series of spasms seizing her tail.

That worry was pushed aside as the ones with nets closed in once more, tossing the weighted kelp over her. The first she just barely managed to duck out of the way of, which led her right into the path of the second one. The mermaid willed the water above her to harden, to stop the net before it could reach her... but she could only manage to slow it down. That meant she had to dive to escape, and even then just barely got out of the way, a strand of kelp brushing her tail fin. That gave her a little bit of time to breathe. Her tail was twitching, her whole body feeling weak from the poison... but now she was face to face with the last of the weapon-wielding creatures. The beast that had stabbed Galo. If anything could keep her fighting through the paralysis that was swiftly gripping her muscles, surely it was her desire to spill that thing's blood! She willed herself to surge forward once more, to drive her spear into it, and hopefully then to turn to the net throwers...

Spoiler
 
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Tassadar

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,011
83
#19
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

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Ilona's spear jabbed forth once more, already coated with gore that it gathered each time it plunged into a formori body and retreated again. The finely crafted weapon earned another dose of vital portions as it turned upon the raider who had stabbed Galo, her only friend, and left his body to be the first to drift limply towards the ocean floor. The water was already full of blood, leaving her seeing and striking through a veil of crimson, but her spear point found its way into yet another formori eye socket, jabbing out the back of its soft skull before retracting coated in brain matter.

That left her turning upon the netters, arguably the biggest threat to her among the group from the very beginning, as the last of the other formori bodies began to drift lifelessly among the currents. The first tossed his freshly retrieved net as she jabbed up at him, but with a flick of her tail she was beyond it, and he earned her spear through his crotch in recompense for his efforts. The formori clutched at the penetration, a look readable as pain evident on his face before she yanked her weapon back with a sizeable portion of his innards, and yet another body as added to the growing collection. That left only one more, who hurriedly tossed his net only for Ilona to catch it again as she weaved away from it, preparing to send one final strike towards him.... Only for her body to seize suddenly.

Her muscles wouldn't work. All of her vigor, all of the rage flooding adrenaline into her system, suddenly none of it mattered. Suddenly her tail went limp, her fingers slackened around the hilt of her spear, and the world seemed to spin. Vaguely, she realized that the formori was preparing to capitalize on her sudden helplessness. Even with her body paralyzed, however, Ilona's mind was as strong as ever, and while it couldn't immediately shake off the effects of the poison gripping her it could easily serve as fuel for her psionic gift. Her will hardened, and the water around her hardened at its command, so the net thrown over her fell a foot or so and then simply... Stopped, hovering as if frozen as her mental barrier caught it.

The formori panicked. It thrashed towards her, drawing a pair of stone knives; if it could not catch her in its net, perhaps it could simply leave her too poisoned to move or think properly. Ilona's tail twitched, the muscle contractions that had paralyzed her abating... Leaving her able to move, able to twist just as she was starting to sink, able to grip her spear tightly just as it was about to float out from between her fingers and turn the weapon upon the last of her attackers. He stopped short as she began to move again, trying to backpedal away, and the hasty reaction actually saved her from the first jab, which used only the strength of her arm. The second, powered by a powerful motion of her tail, was not so easily avoided, and it ended up burying her spear into his stomach.

Pain washed over the last formori's features, as readable on his hideous inhuman face as it would have been on that of one of her own people, but whether or not Ilona felt any pity for the dying thing was up to her. The thing frantically kicked, but that only served to writhe the head of her spear in its guts, worsening the wound further, and when she once more drew back her spear it came with a fresh fountain of gore. He spasmed once, dropped his weapons, looked down at his innards as they floated away from him, and then his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he joined his companions in floating lifelessly towards the ocean floor.

The last of her attackers was dead. The party of seven had been killed to a man, and given the amount of blood in the water is was likely that scavengers would be about to claim their bodies all too soon. Ilona had ensured that they would eat well today... But one of the bodies falling towards the kelp bed was one she might wished to never see so limp. Galo still wasn't moving, and blue blood was trailing him in pulses that dispersed steadily out into the ocean waters. He was nearest to the ocean floor among the articles of carnage, his tendrils flailing in the drift, likely only moved by the currents now even as their tips gave the occasional jerk...
 
Jan 8, 2011
6,150
63
#20
Re: The Battle Beneath (Tiffanian)

It was almost getting hard to see in this little patch of ocean, such was the volume of blood and gore that had already been spilled. And there was more to come... Ilona faced down the last of the spear-wielding formori, hatred practically shining in her eyes, and with a quick thrust she put her own spear through its eye. It pierced the creature all the way through, practically obliterating its head when she pulled the blade free. There wasn't any time to celebrate internally, to acknowledge that with that she had avenged Galo; there were living formori around her yet, and she was determined to fix that. One of the net-bearing ones tossed the kelp implement at her, but without any distractions she was easily able to dart past it and right up in his face, driving her spear through his crotch and up into his guts, yanking them out viciously.

That left the mermaid alone with the last of her enemies, which was... not a good place for a formori to be. At least, it would have seemed so. And yet as she made to rush at him her entire body seized violently and then went limp, the poison coursing through her doing its work. Still she didn't panic, didn't give in... and when the formori tossed its net at her she swatted at it with her mind, stopping it in mid-flight and causing it to sink away towards the bottom. Her enemy was not so mentally disciplined as she was, however, and with its comrades dead and its attack failed it began to obviously panic. The fishman pulled a pair of knives, probably poisoned like everything else they had thrown at her, and given the state she was already in a very dangerous threat... but as it approached Ilona felt her tail begin to twitch again, the feeling and control returning just in time. She grasped her spear tightly, twisting around and stabbing at the formori, though it managed to push itself back and out of the way... but not from her second jab, which landed her deadly blade deep in its stomach.

Agony washed over the creature's face, and Ilona took a moment to drink it in as she held her blade in its flesh. It squirmed and kicked as if trying to escape, a rather futile gesture given what escape would bring for it now... and when she pulled her spear free the thing clutched at its intestines as they floated free, struggling for a few more moments before dying. She watched without pity or remorse; this was no more than the filthy creature deserved. Perhaps even less. She took a deep breath, trying to center herself a little bit as she felt a rush at having won such a combat, at having cut down so many of the formori... but that feeling didn't last more than a couple seconds as she scanned the ocean around her.

Because there, floating towards the bottom, was Galo. It hit her then all at once, the emotion her pumping adrenaline and the carnage had suppressed. The mermaid swam quickly towards his limp body as a sick feeling grew in the pit of her stomach, a feeling of emptiness such as she had never felt before. The only friend she had ever had... Despite their uselessness under water she felt the tears coming as she reached him, gently grasping his bleeding body and pulling it to her chest. With this amount of blood filling the water the scavengers would come soon, she should have left right then, but... her motivations were all receding in the face of the first real loss she had ever felt.