Title: Zertinan Caverns
Sephiroth - November 9, 2010 05:13 AM (GMT)
The long, twisting stone corridors of the Caverns stretch for miles below the sands of the Zeklaus Desert. There are several places where the caves poke a weathered opening through to the upper world, but the only commonly known one is located in ancient, rocky hills to the southwest of Rabanastre.
Near the entrance the caves seem fairly innocuous. In fact, the cool, calm atmosphere is a relief after the hot, gritty air of the desert. Tunnels meander aimlessly, lit by cracks in the ceiling that in some places allow sand to filter through, creating interesting cascades and covering the rock with a soft carpet. Some plants even grow here and there, watered by moisture trickling out of the walls. The only enemies commonly seen here are flans and large toads, and the occasional passing bandit.
Go deeper, however, and the pleasant feeling dies. The caves become treacherous. Vast chasms, effectively bottomless, split the caves; the paths clinging to the walls sometimes crack and fall away into the abyss. No illumination penetrates here from the outside world; the only light comes from the eyes of the fiends that haunt this place. Should one survive long enough, a great subterranean sandstorm can be found -- unnatural, powerful, and impenetrable. What lies within, apart from the blasted bones of the overly curious, nobody knows.
((This takes place about half a day earlier than Kelaj's arrival in Rabanastre.))
"This ... has to be ... the place." Kelaj rested the palm of his left hand against the rock of the hillside, leaning against it as he stared into the dark opening. His legs ached from the long trek; at least the rags he had wrapped around his feet prevented his pads from blistering. Still, the heat had taken its toll. He let his mouth fall open and his tongue loll out, the only way he had of cooling off.
Maybe I shouldn't have come alone, he reflected as he forced himself to take the final steps into the uninviting orifice. Working in a team was not his style, however, especially if he was not the leader. At least the Varg had to be at the same disavantage. He stood up, hefted his weapon, and strode in.
He did not go far before he collapsed with his back to one of the walls. Letting his halberd rest alongside him, he took a canteen from his belt. He opened it, tilted his head back, and poured some of the liquid onto his thirsty tongue. He wondered sourly if it would be easier to drink without a muzzle. Nevertheless he finsihed and put the canteen back in its place.
He was still panting from the heat, however, and elected to rest. Only a few minutes had passed when a mocking laugh rang out. "Well, what have we here? Somebody's stray dog?"
Kelaj looked up, glaring but unable to refrain from panting. His quarry stood on an elevated tongue of rock, where a crack in the ceiling let in a shaft of light (and a cascade of sand) that perfectly highlighted the lupine thief.
"You have fur too," he growled. "You should know what it's like. I don't see how you can stand to live out here."
Lone Wolf laughed again. Leaping down from his perch, he landed easily and drew his rapier. "I have the brains to prepare for the heat." Reaching up with his left hand, he pulled a pendant from beneath his tunic. At the end of a slim silver chain hung a lump of ice-white rock, the light winking off of its faceted surfaces as it slowly spun. "Ice Magicite."
"Very pretty." Kelaj grabbed the haft of the Black Crescent and pushed himself away from the wall. "I think I'll keep it for the trek back to Rabanastre!" He swung the halberd out, firing a blast of Holy energy from it at the werewolf. Lone Wolf cursed jumped away.
The battle was furious, but it went by all too fast. Kelaj was obviosuly more than a match for the thief in terms of skill and strength, never mind magic. However, the exhaustion of walking through the desert was telling. Lone Wolf got in several jabs, and managed to snag Kelaj's money pouch on his rapier. At that point Kelaj had left his temper and sprang on his foe, trying to wrestle him, fang to fang and claw to claw. In the end, though, Lone Wolf managed to slip free, leaving Kelaj collapsed in a panting heap.
"Heheheh," chortled the thief as he bounced the coin pouch in his hand. "Maybe you'd have a better chance with mange!"
Kelaj answered by lifting a hand and firing off a branching wave of electricity. Singed and shocked, Lone Wolf jumped back with a surprised yelp. The bounty hunter reached out and grabbed his halberd, slowly raising to his feet. The outlaw snarled, but he did not want to keep fighting. Turning tail, he fled into one of the passages, letting one last taunt echo behind him.
"That's all for now -- but do come back when you've gathered enough money for another donation! I could retire if everyone were as generous as you!"
Kelaj started after him, but nearly fell to his knees. Damn him ... At least Lone wolf had not gotten all his gil; a tear had been ripped in the bag and several coins fell out. Kelaj now gathered up this moeny -- a grand total of three coins worth seven gil. Growling to himself, he turned and headed back for the entrance. Lone Wolf knew these caves and he did not; besides, he had no inclination to face the monsters deeper in when he was half-dead of weariness already.
[Kelaj -> Rabanastre.]
Zell - December 10, 2010 07:43 PM (GMT)
Gospel walked through the desert, the strong winds blew clouds of sand towards him but his goggles kept the dirt and rocks from blowing into his eyes. The heat wasn't really bothering him with his mother being a fire esper heat didn't really occur to him. "This varg is supposed to be in a cave nearby. But where?" Gospel ran through the sand and perched himself atop the massive dune.
Gospel shielded the sun from his eyes and looked over the landscape until he saw the opening of a cave. "Ah ha! There!" Gospel surfed down the side of the dune, when he reached the bottom his foot caught in the sand and he face planted in it. Gospel raised back the sand and shook it from his clothes and hair. "Ugh! it tastes horrible!" Gospel shook himself again and ran across the sand again.
Gospel arrived in the cavern a few minutes later and stepped into the entrance. "Alright, the bill says he stays near the entrance since the monsters within keep him from going deeper." Gospel looked around the entrance but didn't see anything that looked like another werewolf, he then took a big whiff of the surroundings trying to tell where his target was, even though his smell wasn't as good as it was in Wolf form he could still track feint smells. Gospel could barely smell something, burnt?
Gospel then reached into his pocket and pulled a small handful of gil out and placed it into a bag with some rocks, he then shook the bag up and down so the the jingle echoed. "This bag of gil sure is heavy! I better stop in this cave and rest a minute!" Gospel then sat on one of the nearby rocks and sat the bag on the ground next to his foot. Now, I wait. He should show up soon.
Sephiroth - December 10, 2010 08:25 PM (GMT)
"You must think that I'm an idiot."
Lone Wolf had been headed out. His supplies had run out -- he had used his last Potion healing the injuries sustained dealing with that fox-man. It was time to head into time and pick up some necessities. And possibly pull another job. It seemed, though, that he would have to deal with yet another interloper first.
He stood in the entrance to one of the lower passaes, hands on his hips. "You're obviously another do-gooder here to collect the price on my head. I wouldn't mind taking the gil, though, after I've taught you a lesson." He stepped out into the front cavern, drawing his rapier Autolycus. "Just like the last one."
He really hoped that this one didn't have magic.
Zell - December 10, 2010 08:43 PM (GMT)
Gospel stood and smiled before he shrugged. His poorly acted plan didn't work. "You didn't fall for it but I still think your an idiot. All of you villians are!" Gospel drew the blades from their sheaths, he could then feel the blink effect begin to work and his body was now lighter feeling.
Gospel focused the fira spell around his blades and shot of two fire blades at Lone Wolf. "I'm doing this for the money. Bastards like you need to be punished!" The fire blades lit the cave a little better and Gospel was able to get a better look at Lone Wolf.
"You have fur. Are you an Esper too?" Gospel focused on the Verg but his scent was nothing like his mothers. "No, your just a normal werewolf. So I won't feel guilty about this later then." Gospel ran in after his fire blades, hoping to get a slash in on his torso while he would be forced to block the attacks.
Sephiroth - December 10, 2010 09:48 PM (GMT)
Lone Wolf's fur bristled a bit at being called an idiot. "You call me a villain? You ever see a world being destroyed? I'm just trying to make a living!" Seeing his opponent draw a pair of knives, he made a note to draw his own knife so that he could the edge. But, that wasn't the only thing he noticed; the young man's outline seemed to be blurring now. Some sort of magic, he guessed; how annoying.
He knelt down to pull the Halcyon Blade from its sheath on his boot, but before he could, a fire spell was thrown his way. Yelping in surprise, he jumped forward, rolling out of the way of the attack and the subequent charge. He jumped to his feet, pullign the knife out at the same time, and spunt o face the would-be hero.
"Never heard of an 'Esper', but there's nothing 'ordinary' about Lone Wolf the Pickpocket!" He lunged forward, stabbing at Gospel's back with the rapier.
Zell - December 10, 2010 10:02 PM (GMT)
Gospel twitched a bit with anger when he was questioned about seeing a destroyed world. "I have seen it! The demented clown destroyed everything and killed people I cared about!" Gospel easily dodged the blade aimed for his back.
"Thats a weak excuse for stealing and hurting people! Have you ever once thought about how you effected those people?" Gospel shot his right hand up towards Lone Wolf's rapier attempting to slam the hilt of his blade into his hand and disarm him of the rapier.
Gospel then pushed his other hand towards Lone Wolf's chest and attempted to blast him with a close range fire spell.
Sephiroth - December 11, 2010 01:27 AM (GMT)
Lone Wolf jumped back as the man dodged his stab. "Tch." He was quicker than he would have thought. He put his left hand up, blocking Gospel's knife with his own as he drew the rapier back for another thrust.
"They probably didn't even notice, they're so rich." He pressed with his left hand, trying to keep the knives locked together as he struck again with Autolycus. However his plan was mute. Seeing Gospel strike out with his other hand, he moved to parry what he thoguht was another knife thrust. The unexpected fire spell struck him squarely, blasting him back several feet and scorching through his tunic. Smoke and the stench of burnt fire rose from his chest as he tried to keep his footing.
"Rrrrr ..." It was a growl, with only a touch of a whimper. He shifted his stance, as the Ice Magicite suffused the cavern with a cold radiance. "Your tricks ... won't work, boy. This thing wards off more than the desert heat." Probably if he actually knew how to use it he could nullify the fire attacks altogether; but the burn was only minor. Hopefully the boy would be convinced that his fire attacks were pointless and would stop.
Zell - December 11, 2010 03:45 AM (GMT)
Gospel looked at Lone Wolf with a smile. "Probably so but still, you shouldn't resort to stealing just because things look bad." Gospel sighed and placed his daggers back in the sheaths. "Hmm, you need Ice magicite just to survive? The heat out here isn't that bad."
Gospel tightened his grip and his pupils became slitted. "I'll show you the power of an Esper. Maybe through this power you will see the error of your way." A power began to swirl around Gospel and then he was engulfed in a bright light, once the light faded the brightly dressed boy was now a towering silver Werewolf.
"See if you can keep up with this!" Gospel dropped to all fours and shot off towards Lone Wolf, once he got into close range Gospel jumped to the right and onto the wall. Gospel dived off the wall at Lone Wolf and slashed with his right hand claw aiming for the left shoulder down to the right hip in a diagonal slash.
Sephiroth - December 11, 2010 04:10 AM (GMT)
Is he going to fight or jabber? Well, Lone Wolf wasn't averse to the idea of not fighting. If the boy was giving up, he'd just take his gil and boot him out. "You wouldn't say that if you had ..."
The thief stared as the boy's eyes changed, and the light surrounded him. His jaw dropped as the transformation was revealed. "... Fur." He lowered his sword, stepping back from his opponent.
His head snapped to follow the motion as the other werewolf jumped, but Lone Wolf's taste for combat had deserted him. Before Gospel hit the wall, the Varg had turned tail and was bounding for the tunnel entrance. Note to self: avoid Espers in the future.
Zell - December 11, 2010 05:27 AM (GMT)
Gospel's claws ripped deep into cave floor below him, when Gospel looked up he saw the thief running for the hills. "Coward." Gospel growled and took off off in a flash, he zig-zag jumped across the sand so that his movements wouldn't be slowed by the shifting sand.
"I'm gonna catch up!" Gospel teased Lone Wolf as he ran behind him, for some reason Gospel had more fun when they ran from him; it let him run out the excess energy he had been building up.
Gospel closed the gap between them more and more until finally he was nipping teasingly at the back of Lone Wolf's tunic. "Got ya!" Gospel pounced and attempted to wrap his arms around the thief's torso and drag him to the ground.
Sephiroth - December 11, 2010 05:40 PM (GMT)
Lone Wolf had always been considered fast. However, four legs were better than two, and he knew he couldn't outrun his new and improved opponent. He did another whimpering growl as the werewolf taunted him. This isn't fair!
Well he had a decision to make in a split second. And, since running was pointless, he made it, acting on panic as much as anything. "Get this!" he retorted, spinning around to slash out with the Halcyon Blade, then plunge Autolycus into the hostile furry body as deep as the rapier would go. Regardless of the attack's success, though, it did not stop Gospel's momentum, and Lone Wolf was borne to the floor, stunned and witht he air knocked out of him.
Zell - December 12, 2010 04:17 AM (GMT)
Just as Gospel was pulling Lone Wolf to the ground the coward decided to make a final stand, the dagger slash caught Gospel along the side of his snout; Gospel twitched slightly at the pain but the adrenaline allowed him to ignore it enough.
From the other side though Gospel's momentum ended up running the rapier all the way through his shoulder, he let out a loud roar as the blade pierced through the muscle and sent waves of pain over him. "Damn it!" Gospel crushed the thief to the ground and then pulled the blade out of his shoulder with his mouth and threw the blade as far out of reach as he could.
"I have to admit you were a lot more fun than the bandits back home. But you'll still meet their same demise." Gospel brought his hind legs up to pin down Lone Wolf's legs and used his arms to hold down Lone Wolf's, Gospel then stared the thief down. "You should have chosen a different path. Farewell." Gospel snapped his fangs down on Lone Wolf's throat and began to tug, attempting to rip the very life from him.
Sephiroth - December 12, 2010 10:04 PM (GMT)
Lone Wolf's mind raced. Struggling was useless -- of course he tried, but the Esper was just a stronger wolf. He was pretty literally pinned, and helpless -- a situation totally unbecoming his dignity.
He wasn't really paying attention what the other lupine was saying until caught the word "demise". All his fur stood on end, and his eyes widened as he met Gospel's gaze. "W-what?" No! It can't end like this! I can't die! "You can't mean -"
Further words were cut off by the teeth buried in his throat. All he could manage was a gurgle as his voice-box and windpipe were crushed. Not me ... not ... like ... this ... And the flesh of his neck tore away, bursting the vessels. Lone Wolf choke as the hot fluid invaded his lungs, but soon it did not matter, as he was dead.
Zell - December 13, 2010 08:07 PM (GMT)
The meat hung from his jaws and was quickly thrown to the ground before Gospel let out an extremely loud howl, Gospel stepped off of the corpse of Lone Wolf and Morphed back into his humanish form.
"Ugh, it must have been ages since he bathed! Nasty taste!" Gospel spitted on the ground a couple times and brushed the bits of fur and meat from his tongue, he then gargled some of the water he had with him and spit again; finally the taste was gone and so was the really dirty fur.
"The guy will want some proof that I really did get him so..." Gospel looked over the dunes and found the rapier he threw, he looked at the blood on the blade and then remembered it went all the way through. Gospel looked at his shoulder and saw it was still bleeding slightly but nothing that couldn't wait until he got back to town.
"Wait." Gospel touched his face and his fingers were covered in blood, the knife wound on his snout had transferred to his normal form; the slash started from a little under his right eye and ended slightly above his top lip. Gospel cleaned the wound and medicated it the best he could for now and then walked over to Lone Wolf's corpse again and took the dagger before he began to bury it in the sand.
"Not exactly the most professional burial but its better than just laying here for the monsters to eat." Gospel clapped his hands together and bowed slightly, showing his respect for his opponent. I've done this numerous times but it still isn't easy. Gospel tied the rapier and dagger together and strapped them to his back, in his hand was a bit of Lone Wolf's tunic, each of these items would prove he defeated his mark.
[Gospel --> Rabanastre (to report his mark)]