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The Thornweave Witch

As her armies attempt to bombard the Compact's walls and break through, Helena Thornweave has chosen another target... the Castle of Yesterday.


Oct. 14, 2023, 4 p.m.

Hosted By


GM'd By



Raven Amund Katarina Raja Dominique Vitalis Ian Aindre Acantha Kalakh Cillian(RIP) Nadir Kastelon(RIP) Aksel Thea Auda(RIP) Watcher Eirene Raymesin Denica Desiree Lys Cufre Cefyn



Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Gray Forest Outskirts

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Akkar, 2 Blackwood trained guards, Trihy, an unassuming and dapper dressed man, Haldir, a Rottweiler arrive, following Cillian.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant arrive, following Thea.

Benny The Beaver arrives, following Acantha.

2 Culler Brutes, 1 Culler Boatswain, Clowder of the Nine, they have been fed don't let them trick you arrive, following Raja.

Clowder of the Nine, they have been fed don't let them trick you have been dismissed.

Acantha wields Icebreaker.

Thea wields Skystrike, the finely crafted diamondplate kopis.

Vitalis wields Defiance, an Oakhide whip in glinting white.

Amund wields Sandstalker, a golden diamondplate long sword with glass coated blade.

Sir Philip of Punxsutawney, the guarded groundhog arrives, delivering a message to Dominique before departing.

Metzger, a great grey shrike, Jok, the muscley muscle knight, Maximus, the drooly Highhill Mastiff, 2 Veteran White Dragons of Sanctum, 2 House Wyrmguard Trained Guards leave, following Dominique.

Metzger, a great grey shrike, Jok, the muscley muscle knight, Maximus, the drooly Highhill Mastiff, 2 Veteran White Dragons of Sanctum, 2 House Wyrmguard Trained Guards arrive, following Dominique.

Ian gets Intricately forged ancient steel cutlass from Oiled leather bag.

The sounds of roaring and screaming echo through the forest as Helena cuts away from her forces and toward the Castle of Yesterday, bow in hand as she sprints impossibly fast through the trees. When she arrives before the Castle's gates, she seems surprised to see others here. In a low flat voice, she addresses those who stand between her and her prize and says, "You cannot stop me. Nothing can." She lifts her bow and looks just past the group and toward the Castle. "But it is no matter if you wish to shed your blood to protect it. Like -heroes-." She says that final word with a touch more emotion as her voice turns thick with disdain on that one word.

Raven growls and trots after Aindre and Ian in long loping strides with malcontent smeared across her features. She snarls "Look around you, Witch, none of us here are heroes. Just a clowder of murder hobbyists who're fucking tired of your fucking overgrowth." her sword drawn she mutters under her breath "This is an idiot way to die."

Amund unsheathes his blade, his head bowed. Breathing in deeply, he lets it out slowly before looking at Helena. The sword is wielded in both hands with smooth, precise skill. A master's skill. "Not a hero. Never been. I'll fight if I must. I figure I do."

Katarina is dressed in black leather and silver, her hair tied back so that her hairstyle -- while perfectly functional for combat -- resembles a pineapple resting on its side. Gripped in her dominant hand is an ancient steel stiletto, the work of Cobalt herself. She doesn't spit a witty rejoinder Helena's way (she's certain that at least ten of her comrades will, so they have it well and truly covered). Instead, she communicates through action, holding fast at the line, not willing to give an inch unless that inch is taken.

Facing a foe like Helena is a daunting feat. Honestly, Raja's nerves are on end as she slides into the group that stands between the villainess and her goal. Yet, she grits her teeth with a resolute determination to give it everything she's got against this foe. The small proud speech from the Thornweave Witch causes a smirk to twist at the Culler woman's lips. "First time I ever got called a hero. I kinda like that." A cruel dagger is pulled from her belt as she expertly turns it over in her hand. "I just hate interlopers on my turf."

Alerted to the threat to the Castle of Yesterday, Dominique has made her way here to make a stand, whether it is foolish or not. She sits her horse, a black mare, clad in rubicund armor and helm, the very image of some sort of fabled knight. Her chin held high as Helena approaches, the Marquessa of Blancbier draws her longsword, Wyrmshaven, the alaricite gleaming iridescent in the light. "We shall do our duty," Dominique says grimly.

Vitalis arrives with others at the Castle of Yesterday, the memory of it springing back into his mind like the tolling of a bell. He looks at the those near, announcing to anyone and no one, "Fitting that we'll face her here." He bows his head in prayer and then looks up. As ready as one ever is for such a thing. Defiance spills from his hip, moving like a living thing, weaving in the grass. He looks left and right and then straightens, expression solemn.

There's nothing awe-inspiring about Ian's presence here. No towering height or gleaming armor. No standing straight and tall. No noble features. No pithy one-liners. But he's here all the same, standing by Aindre's side, with the bearing of a man who is going to be very hard to move, shifting his grip on his cane so that it looks less like a cane, and more like a sword in its scabbard.

Aindre Grayheart is about as late getting to the assault on the Castle of Yesterday as he was in getting to the defense of the gates of Arx, showing up just at the last moment, probably alongside Lord Ian Kennex. He arrives too late for the meet-and-greet, just in time for a bow to be raised and threats to be issued forth, falling in line with the other would-be defenders. Something someone says does coax a response out of him though, "It's not an idiot way to die." and then he calls more loudly to everyone else, "To kill an army, start with cutting off the head!", hefting his hammer and wielding it at the ready.

Acantha's probably not one of the people you'd expect to see here, but she's dressed in her leather armor and carrying the House Club of Clearlake, Icebreaker. If she looks upset that Helena has decided to veer off from the other group, it doesn't look like it. Benny is chomping at the metaphorical bit to smack something and the Clearlake retinue stands its ground when Helena sneers, but doesn't say anything in turn.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes have been dismissed.

Rocco, the rascally assistant have been dismissed.

There's a sort of shiver in the air, an uncomfortable prickling, though it doesn't linger, and behind them, where the smooth, featureless walls rise higher than any can see past, there's what sounds like a bell chiming...though it's so faint as to be easily waved off as the imagination. Bing. Bing. And then nothing.

Cillian:followed Vitalis to take a stand, he was not going to let Helena step for near anything. His hand holds his bow tight, his eyes fierce as he watches her. "You will end here today." there is a command in his voice, his bow is lifted aimed at her. "You will be stopped."

"I assure you, Helena Thornweave, we do not wish to shed any blood." Nadir's voice rings out, colder than death. "It is my hope that we have yet to cross that point of no return." To the others around him, in the barest of whispers, he says, "I am but a mere pawn. Sacrifice me as you would, if my life would be the hinge of victory or defeat."

Kastelon t any meaningful words at this moment. Instead, drawing his bow, the Keaton huntsman steels himself

Call it pregame ritual or some weird pagan thing. Aksel is off by himself on his knees, his butt resting on his heels. Stone's remorse is laid before him and his helmet to his side. He looks off into the distance his green gold flecked eyes watching the distance. His mouth moves from time to time, but nothing is heard. Finally as the sounds draw closer. Finally moments before Helena appears he digs his hand into the dirt and brings it to rub on his face. For those keen ears too hear 'Spirits of the Earth. Keep our feet stable and our enemies rocky. Please forgive us for the blood that is to be spilt.' Grabbing the helmet the Sword of Stonedeep grabs his helmet and places it ontop of his head. Stone's Remorse is kicked upwards and deftly snagged from the air. He cracks his neck and tilts his head to Ian. "We're good, for now." Whatever that is supposed to mean.

Thea has been here. Standing ready for anything, her kopis raised. She watches closely though. VEry closely

Vitalis checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Vitalis is successful.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Raja is successful.

Amund checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Amund is successful.

Katarina checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Katarina is successful.

Ian checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Ian is successful.

Raven checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Raven fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Aindre fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and archery at daunting. Cillian is successful.

Aksel checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Aksel fails.

Thea checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Thea is marginally successful.

Dominique checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Dominique fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and archery at daunting. Kastelon fails.

Acantha checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Acantha fails.

Vitalis checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Vitalis marginally fails.

Raja checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raja marginally fails.

Ian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Ian fails.

Amund checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Amund is successful.

Aksel checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aksel is successful.

Cillian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Cillian fails.

Dominique checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Dominique fails.

Thea checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Thea fails.

Acantha checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Acantha fails.

Nadir checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Nadir fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aindre fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Kastelon fails.

Raven checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raven fails.

Katarina checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Katarina fails.

Whatever disgust Helena felt at the very word 'hero' is gone well before anyone says anything. She lifts her bow into the air and fires, but it is not one arrow that emerges from her bow but half a dozen that seem to seek their targets specifically. Those that are hit might feel the piercing pain of the arrow, but when they try to reach to pull it out, there is nothing there, not even blood.

Heroism is measured by deeds, not by words -- otherwise every loudmouth at the pub would be a treasure of the kingdom. Katarina resists getting into a game of banter, and instead dives into a game with much worse odds of getting hurt, as she attempts to hit Helena low with her dagger while other, taller heroes (or however they classify themselves) hit the witch high.

Acantha checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Acantha is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Acantha does not take a permanent wound.

Acantha checks 'unconsciousness save' at normal. Acantha is successful.

Acantha remains capable of fighting.

Amund reminds himself of his training, eyeing Helena and moving in time to intercept her at a given path. Then, the trajectory of the short arc of his glass-encased sword is sent to slice at her, while he remains keen as she fires back towards him. Out of reflex, the arrow travels past him when he pivots to the side, getting ready to engage a dreaded Thornweave. A leveler of cities, the worst kind of destroyer of hopes. He's never faced her before; but he's paying uncanny attention to that bow, now. And the hands that carry it. He moves back in to intercept and engage once more.

It might be thirteen or so against one, but Aindre Grayheart doesn't look like he's going to let the deceptive advantage of that hold him back any. The bow is still raised, and he throws himself into the fray against Helena Thornweave, red cloak billowing out behind him. When he finds an open shot with that hammer of his he takes it, lunging in and swinging through hard.

Kastelon checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Kastelon is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Kastelon does not take a permanent wound.

Kastelon checks 'unconsciousness save' at easy. Kastelon is successful.

Kastelon remains capable of fighting.

Katarina checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Katarina is marginally successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Katarina does not take a permanent wound.

Katarina checks 'unconsciousness save' at easy. Critical Success! Katarina is spectacularly successful.

Katarina remains capable of fighting.

And so it begins. When the nemesis lifts her bow in the air and those 'arrows' come flying down, Raja begins to move. Quickly, she moves forward, her blade glinting in the light. Raja truly tries to get out of the way of those arrows, but they aren't your normal conventional arrow! She feels a pain in her side at the same moment, turning to try and avoid it's piercing. It still stings! Instinctively, Raja's hand swings down to her side to find an arrow, but it is not there! Assuming the arrow just went past her, Raja moves forward still with weapon brandished and slashing.

Acantha's worried, but she gives a look to Benny and there is a bit of a nod to him, "Feel free to do your thing if you want." she whispers to him. She was afraid that she'd lose him as well. Just like they'd lost Vano. She was tired of losing everyone. Maybe today that might be the day. Or maybe they'd lose everything. The woman swings the diamondplate club with ferocity, but finds no purchase on the Thornweave. And she was sure she just got shot by an where was it?!

Even as heavily armored, as Aksel is he moves with speed of a man much smaller. There is no great battle cry, no grunts. Just the cold gaze of a man who is solely focused on the target. It's a chaotic fight, one that sees the side we'll call hero's, streaming in on all sides. But Aksel is a verteran warrior and he times his strike with others, trying to take Helena's head clean off with Stone's Remorse, the sword (axe!) of Stonedeep.

Thea straightens, her body posed. She knows and she's ready. Taking a deep breath, she charges and swings with her kopis. She knicks the Thornweave maybe just a touch, but----suddenly she feels a sharp pain and she gasps in pain. "Fucking shit!" Thea stumbles back, her lips pinched. "I can't see it!" But there's no time to really LOOK for it...

They attack, Vitalis weaving in with the others, choosing his moment. It's a thing to strike amongst all the others, but his is a weapon of precision and he sees his opening and takes it, Defiance's report cracking loud. He falls back with the others, ceding ground, and flinching as Helena's single shot becomes a multitude - he tenses to edge away, too late, and finds... nothing in his arm. Nothing, save the pain. He hisses and regroups.

Twang! There is not much hope - a look, at least, as to where certain people are before he shoots - but Kastelon's shot sails off into the air, and not anywhere as close to target as he should wish.

As Helena fires her bow, Dominique isn't expecting multiple arrows to be loosed. She tries to dodge out of the way, but her horse freaks out, shying from the ghost arrows. The Marquessa is not able to maneuver fast enough to avoid getting hit, and loses control of the mount. She cries out as pain lances through her left shoulder, knocking her back out of the saddle. The horse "neighs" and bolts away, leaving Dominique's intended charge as a complete failure as she picks herself up and sword off the ground.

Ian follows Cillian's arrow with steps that are swift and true, not quite a run, but for Ian, more sure than he really should have the right to expect, and closes on Helena a moment after the Northerner's arrow makes contact, rendering his own attack into a fierce and targeted heightening of the damage that arrow does. He pulls the gleaming, wickedly sharp alaricite sword free from his cane at the very last moment, a cut on the draw, and the blade bites deep even as it emerges, in one controlled, beautiful arc. He moves like a man driven forward by a raw determination that disregards his own wellbeing and survival, and even the bite of being struck by a phantom arrow as he closes isn't enough to slow him down. Yet, anyway. Right now, Ian is singleminded in pursuit of one goal: Helena Thornweave cut down.

Cillian growls as he lets his bow go! he moves so he is not in danger of shooting anyone else as he lets the arrow fly. Watching Vitalis then Ian he nods to them as he moves to try and not be a target. He was watching waiting for her to shoot one of them, ready for that but not a dozen of them. He attempts to move but is not able to in time and he hisses looking to where he was hit but there is nothing there. There is another growl that comes from him as he lifts his bow up ready to shoot again.

Raven staggers back with a sharp grunt and pained grimace. Her free hand lifts to seek the shaft...and finds nothing. Her expression morphs into a scowl and there's a deep breath taken as "Nope. Not going to do it." she grumbles to herself and advances.

As the defenders attack her, Helena moves with spuernatural speed as if there is no real way to tell where she might be any given moment. Yet the blow from Amund lands and she seems... surprised. That doesn't really seem to slow her down, though. Even when Cillian and Ian work together to land subsequent blows as well. It seems the same when Raja and Katarina manage to land their strikes, too. She does not laugh and wince. Helena only remains stone-faced as she nocks another arrow. Vitalis is at least close enough to notice that when he manages to hit Helena... that wound he left behind on her closes awfully fast.

Katarina checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Katarina is successful.

Thea checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Thea fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Critical Success! Aindre is spectacularly successful.

Amund checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Amund fails.

Ian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Ian marginally fails.

Raven checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raven is successful.

Aksel checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aksel fails.

Raja checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raja is successful.

Vitalis checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Vitalis fails.

Acantha checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Acantha fails.

Dominique checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Dominique marginally fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Cillian is marginally successful.

Vitalis' eyes widen, then narrow, "She's healing." He lifts his voice, "She's healing, Kennex." He looks to Ian near, and Cillian beyond him. He grits his teeth and turns his head to look at the Castle of Yesterday behind them in his peripheral vision. //Hope there's a defender in there can help.// He renews his prayer to Gloria and tucks his chin, squaring up to face Helena again. On the way he spies Raven, "Blackheart!" he bellows.

Kastelon checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Critical Success! Kastelon is spectacularly successful.

Thea checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Thea is successful.

Acantha checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Acantha fails.

Acantha has suffered a serious wound!

Acantha checks 'unconsciousness save' at daunting. Acantha fails.

Acantha is incapacitated and falls unconscious.

Thea checks 'unconsciousness save' at normal. Thea is successful.

Thea remains capable of fighting.

Despite whatever damage is done to her, Helena doesn't seem to slow. This time, she fires arrows in rapid succession, her hands a blur as she seems to pull arrows out of the air and fire them. Those struck would feel burning pain centering on the wound that seems to radiate. This time there -is- blood and it feels as though every drop of it is on fire. Aindre and Kastelon manage not just to avoid the arrows, but their deflection seems to annoy the Thornweave, particularly as those arrows come back toward her.

Raven pivots as another volley of arrows is sent their way "She's a witch! what do you expect?!" She watches all this and trots back "Anyone fit for cover! I could use some." her apparently slight retreat not running away but she has a grimly determined air suggesting she might be gestating a very bad idea. She keeps her sword up but insanely her eyes actually close and she allows herself to become oblivious to the battle around her without even confirming that anyone is willing to potentially take an imaginary arrow for her.

Jump to the left. Step to the right.. What's the next part of that? Aksel apparently wasn't paying attention during dance class that doubled as dodge training as he was still stepping to the right to distance so he can see that whip face bow being shot, he stumbles. The invsiArrow, digs through his armor at his shoulder causing him to grunt once in the seering pain as blood seeps from the wound, but he simply grits his teeth and timing things with the massive grouping of people he moves quickly to strike with his great axe.

Katarina moves through the latest hail of arrows, but it's only as she does so that a sharp pain in her hip leads to the delayed realization that she's already been struck. That's the trouble with wounds, you know? Sometimes your adrenaline gets all jacked up and being punctured in the hip doesn't /hurt/ until you /notice/ it. Then? Then it's /miserable/. Katarina pulls the arrow out of herself -- leaving it in to bob around will just make the wound worse -- and swallows a yelp of pain while doing so. She can sulk while ladies-in-waiting apply salves later. Right now, all she can do is swoop in again at Helena and try to strike her in the side with her Cobalt-forged blade.

Thea hears Viatalis and narrows her eyes. "What the fuck...,"she starts but then she's curling in pain. This time from her side. "I swear to Gods, when I get close enough.....,"she hisses out.

A canting of Ian's head in Vitalis' direction makes it clear that he's heard the other man's words. A phantom arrow grazes his left arm as he takes a flask from his belt. He pulls the cork out with his teeth and spits it aside. "Mangata, I know you have a lot on your plate, but we're really up against it here." This haphazard prayer accompanies the dousing of his sword with a clear liquid.

Ian gets a simple, steel flask filled with Holy Water from Oiled leather bag.

Is it venom? Amund is struck this time, with the arrowtip piercing past the fireweave of his left sleeve. He was too slow this time around to dodge and the arrow pierces flesh, but not gravely so. But the Northern swordsman is still fixated on Helena's bow. Her bow. He does not try pulling out the arrow, instead resorting to a right-handed grip of his blade, aiming to divest that elven woman of her bow and hoping others notice what he's doing, and understand, and follow through with it. He will strike with force when the moment comes. "Sod it. The bow, everyone! Disarm her!"

Vitalis takes a simple cloth pouch stitched with Mangata's symbol from scholar's leather satchel.

Vitalis takes Vial of Holy Water of Mangata from a simple cloth pouch stitched with Mangata's symbol.

For having only one true and being worse for wear already, Kastelon is still a creature of the forests. A quick feint and he is evading the latest to come his way, a quick glance about to look for any recognizable compatriots before the bow comes to the fore again, string drawn back hastily.

As Helena fires another volley of arrows, Dominique is back on her feet, and is grazed again with another arrow, this one along her cheek. An angry red slash of blood appears along her cheek before the arrow flies off, but she hisses with the burning pain. Blinking back sweat from her eyes, she finds her battle stance, and moves in to engage with the Thornweave. She attempts a somewhat reckless thrust toward the superhumanly fast woman, her blue eyes narrowed in determination. She doesn't waste time with words, focused on trying to actually make contact with the speeding apparition of a witch.

It isn't particularly easy to dodge much of anything in alaricite armor, not really, but Aindre's worked and trained in the stuff for many years now and with the right eye for combat, he manages to skirt beneath one of those strange arrows coming for him as he throws his weight into maneuvering around Helena Thornweave. Huffing and puffing, he shouts to the Kennex lord, "Maybe a god of fire, Ian! I could go for some fire about now!", that all while hefting up his hammer again, preparing to try and keep the witch off her perfect shots or disarm her entirely.

Acantha was way out of her league here! But you gotta try! This time the woman has a death grip on Icebreaker as she swings at Helena, but that does nothing. The cries of her healing are lost in the sudden sensation that her blood is on FIRE. But she crumples to the ground in agony before she loses consciousness. Benny bristles and thumps his tail on the ground like a drumming as he bulks up and works on dragging her unconscious form from the danger. Oh that's going to sting if she wakes up!

Vitalis grunts as another of Helena's cursed arrows finds its mark in him. He looks to the wound, still expecting a shaft and finding none. It burns like anything and he grits his teeth against it and squints at Ian, sardonic, "Drin-oh." //Good idea, Kennex.// He likewise fishes a vial from his satchel and bathes Defiance's popper. Amund's exhortation gets a nod and he's definitely going to try. Disarming is something he can manage... sometimes. He moves to position himself in front of Raven, offering her the cover she's asked and then looks for his opening.

Raja isn't exactly sure how to deal with this! However, there are others with ideas it seems. She decides to simply continue her assault! However as more blows come her way, Raja moves with expert pricision to get out of the way of whatever comes her way.

"There's a bit more!" Vitalis offers the vial up and sends it to whomever asks.

Cillian frowns as he gets barely out of the way of a arrow that grazes his arm, he looks to Vitalis nodding to let him know he heard his words and then the tell to disarm her. He looks over as Acantha goes down, he growls as he turns back he is going to try and aim for arms or hands as he knocks his boy at the ready.

Aksel checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Aksel fails.

Vitalis checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Vitalis is successful.

Amund checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Amund is successful.

Thea checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Thea fails.

Dominique checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Dominique fails.

Katarina checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Botch! Katarina fails completely.

Ian checks dexterity and medium wpn at daunting. Ian marginally fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and huge wpn at daunting. Aindre fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and archery at daunting. Kastelon marginally fails.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at daunting. Raja fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and archery at daunting. Cillian fails.

Raven checks mana and occult at daunting. Raven fails.

Raven checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Raven is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Raven does not take a permanent wound.

Raven checks 'unconsciousness save' at easy. Raven is successful.

Raven remains capable of fighting.

Herja has rolled 1 2-sided dice: 1

Despite her rather decrepit condition, blighted as she is, Helena Thornweave still moves with the grace of a dancer, a stark reminder that whatever the witch is now, she was once a sylv'alfar. She avoids being struck with anything that wounds, but both Vitalis and Amund working in tandem manage to knock her bow loose from her hands while she is otherwise dancing her way through dodging the others blows. There might have been a moment of surprise when she is suddenly without a bow, but surprise quickly turns to anger. In one moment she is snatching a thorned dagger from her waist and throwing it at Amund's throat and in the next, she is holding out her hands, laughing as blood red tendrils fly from her hands, thin at first but then thickening upon contact with whoever does not manage to get out of the way.

Amund checks 'death save' at easy. Amund marginally fails.

Amund has died.

Thea checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Thea fails.

Raven checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raven marginally fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aindre is successful.

Ian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Ian marginally fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Cillian fails.

Aksel checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aksel fails.

Katarina checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Katarina is successful.

Dominique checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Dominique is successful.

Vitalis checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Vitalis marginally fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Kastelon fails.

Raja checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raja is successful.

Aksel checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Aksel fails.

Aksel has suffered a serious wound!

Aksel checks 'unconsciousness save' at easy. Aksel marginally fails.

Aksel is incapacitated and falls unconscious.

Cillian checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Cillian is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Cillian does not take a permanent wound.

Cillian checks 'unconsciousness save' at normal. Cillian is successful.

Cillian remains capable of fighting.

Kastelon checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Kastelon fails.

Kastelon has suffered a serious wound!

Kastelon checks 'unconsciousness save' at daunting. Critical Success! Kastelon is spectacularly successful.

Kastelon remains capable of fighting.

Thea checks 'death save' at easy. Critical Success! Thea is spectacularly successful.

Thea remains alive, but close to death.

Thea is incapacitated and falls unconscious.

Thea checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Thea fails.

Thea has suffered a serious wound!

Raven checks 'unconsciousness save' at normal. Raven is successful.

Raven remains capable of fighting.

Auda hasn't been seen since the 'negotiations' in which she left with Helena. She slinks out from the deeper forest, quiet as a mouse. She's always been thin, her eyes an emerald green-- but now it's much more lurid green, almost sickly. Her skin is a bit more pale, like she's wasted away a bit. Blighted, really, though not nearly so far gone as Helena. Foliage wilts as she makes her move, breaking into a sprint to plunge her dagger into Helena's back. All of her strength goes into the blow, Auda visibly weakening as she twists the diamondplate blade. "The Triarchy sends their regards, Sister."

As those vines seek out their targets, Helena laughs again, even using some of Amund's blood to try to strengthen her vines. Those that are struck rather feel like they've been hit with a hammer. Helena starts to prepare to lash out again, but the surprise of a dagger in her back stops her short. She turns to look at Auda, blinking and uncomprehending, leaving herself exposed to the others. Then, with a snarl, her vines are instead directed at Auda and they rip her in half.

Auda has died.

There is too much chaos, too much willy nilly to this fight for Aksel it seems. One on one he can shine, fighting in a unit the same. But this disorganization has him not at his best it seems. Trying to time other bodies doing there own thing only has him swinging down word and missing, his blade bouncing of a rock and causing sparks to fly. He turns just in time to get blasted by red tendrils right in the chest that sends him skidding backwards several feet before he halts. Breathing heavy he growls, his green gold flecked eyes blazing in anger. And as he takes a step forward he falls flat on his face. TIMBER.

Everything seems to happen in such a blur. Dominique misses once again with her thrust, only to see Helena eventually lose her bow thanks to Amund and Vitalis. Then the Thornweave is throwing that knife at Amund, who dies, followed by those creepy red vines. She's too busy dodging red vines to notice Auda come up behind Helena with a knife in the back, but having successfully dodged the vines, she's prepared to charge with her blade to try to take annother stab at Helena's back as the witch turns toward Auda. It might be an honorless blow, but hopefully if it worked once, it will work again?

Having heard of Auda leaving with Helena back during the 'negotiations', Raja had deemed the woman a traitor! So, when Auda arrives, Raja is taken back, her lips curling up in a snarl at the woman. But.. the ultimate agenda is revealed and Raja's eyes go WIDE. There is a myriad of emotions that plays across her face. At first there is anger, then remorse, then anger again. As Auda's body is torn apart by the vines, her blood splatters across Raja. Now her face shows shock! However, the shock does not remain, there is sudden rage as Raja launches herself at Helena with a wicked alaricite blade.

Katarina's dive at Helena was like watching a toddler testing out their running ability -- there was really no way for it to end except with Katarina face-down on the ground, her knife not even coming /close/ to the witch. It's only by the grace of the Gods that she can turn her fall into a pained tumble, rolling herself out of the way of the vines as they explode outward. Her roll terminates in a prone vantage point, from which she can watch Amund demonstrate the bad kind of sword-swallowing -- see Acantha being dragged off by a big rat or something -- be close enough, just barely, that when Auda is rent asunder, a few droplets of blood hit Katarina on the face like the first raindrops of a gray autumn afternoon. But what else can Katarina do except get up... try again? "Pierina," she mumbles to herself, "I should /hope/ that you would be proud of me right now." Her hip hurts. Her heart hurts. But there's no other option available to her beyond charging through the vines and trying again.

As for Raven, her attempt at magesight doesn't give her any information to use, just a searing headahce and blood pouring from her eyes.

Acantha misses all this backstabbing (literal) as she's unconscious and being drug by Benny. The beaver is very unhappy and every so often he thumps his tail against her head with a sound of irritation. Like he tried to talk her out of this at some point.

Raven gives a deep, woeful bellow and her free hand lifts to one of her eyes. She staggers backward, blade up defensively but she is definitely backpeddling AWAY from the sounds of combat-not that it saves her from another one of Helena's wicked barbs. She staggers a bit and tries hastily to clear her eyes of blood.

The force of a vine that he didn't quite manage to get away from wrenching Ian's shoulder is enough to stagger him, but not enough to drive him from his feet. The only hint that he registers the people who are falling around him is a quick glance in Aindre's direction to make sure that he isn't one of them. There are heroes here, but Ian isn't out to make himself into one of them; Isles warriors are not taught to win, not be men of honor, and when Helena's back is turned and she's distracted by rage, he doesn't waste an opportunity that he's got to know isn't going to come again.

Cillian blinks as he watches Amund die and then his eyes dart to Vitalis, "Clement! Don't even fucking think about it!" he yells to the man and then another falls to the ground and its Aksel..."Helena!" he cries out in anger as he watches those he knows and calls friends become hurt or worse. While she is distracted puts another bolt in his bow, he starts to pray to Skald and Petrichor! "Help me, protect all who need it, help me protect the city. I ask you please to stop her."

As the battle rages outside of the city walls, those within them, paralyzed by fear, see the rising swarm of huge insects rise and try to push past the defenders and over the city walls. There are screams of terror and yet... well before being able to land, the insects push up against some sort of invisible barrier and disintegrate in a brilliant flash of light that illuminates the night sky for a moment.

The witch proves, time and again, much too fast for Aindre Grayheart to land a telling blow against with that slower hammer of his even if he seems deft in managing to swing his considerable weight out of her worst blows in just the same fashion, somehow, by the grace of some gods out there. Then, for all the chaos of the combat happening, just after he manages to fend off a tendril of blood, he looks rather stunned at Auda's sudden appearance and the events that follow after which leave a knife in Helena's back. There's no time to wait though. "The tide turns! Press! Fight! She cannot have what she has come for!", he bellows, looking for all the world like he may try and just hammer that dagger in more deeply.

He isn't a hero. Well, he wasn't. He did strike a target many times faster than him, however. Amund was good at spotting things, like trends in his foes, but he didn't realize that this particular Thornweave foe had once up her sleeve, literally. The dagger pierces his throat, clatters to the ground, and he falls shortly after he manages to disarm her with a slice that is meant to force the weapon down along with Vitalis. His eyes don't even close when he falls to the floor, his blade still held in his grip.

Struck, but not yet felled, Kastelon lets out a sound not too unlike the bellow of a bear free when he is struck. It helps not one whit with his aim, the hot sound of the pain from whatever has found him, with his arrow going astray. But already, another is knocked as if to refuse to say die.

Another prayer on his lips, Vitalis braces in front of Raven and slings Defiance at her, the mage is not his target, though, it's the bow in her hands. The end whips around an arm of the bow and Vitalis pulls with all his might. The bow wavers, much to his surprise, and he redoubles to pull again. He isn't entirely sure about what happens next, save that Amund does something and the bow goes tumbling, and then ... the blade and the blood and the vines. "Gods-" he starts towards Amund -- //she's mad.// -- and stops as he slumps to the ground. And then Auda. It's a lot. Too much. Vitalis' ears ring, heart pounding, thoughts racing. He trembles and feels about to come apart. Strangely, the sight of Raven with blood pouring from her eyes brings him back. He gives her the vial of holy water, "Here." There's not really time to say much more. There's Ian. Cillian. Comrades. The flash of light from the City feels like hope and once again, Vitalis turns, trembling still, jaw clenched, to face Helena down again.

Thea doesn't get her chance to go after Helena. Nope. She's met her match this day as she taken down, but not before she can be heard,"Burn her the fuck down...."

Apart from the initial sensation and the few seconds of faint chiming, the Castle of Yesterday has stood silent and unchanging as blood and bodies are spilled before it. A few moments after Auda is torn apart, however, that changes. There's something that can only be described as a scream-howl from the other side of the wall - not directly against them, but certainly close - a sound of fury, and defiance, and then grief. Silence after.

Raven reaches out for the water but then tries to snatch at Vitalis "Damnit! What's happening?!" She tries to regain her footing and move forward but the way she wobbles and lists suggests perhaps her head is still spinning or pounding too severely for her to be steady. "Ughnn...fuck.." She wheezes at the howl "Aindre you better still be alive, no one wants to tell the Queen bad news!" She pauses and sinks down to one knee.

Aindre checks dexterity and huge wpn at hard. Aindre marginally fails.

Vitalis checks dexterity and huge wpn at hard. Vitalis is successful.

Dominique checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Dominique fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and archery at hard. Cillian is successful.

Ian checks dexterity and medium wpn at hard. Ian is successful.

Katarina checks dexterity and small wpn at hard. Katarina fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and archery at hard. Kastelon is successful.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at hard. Raja is successful.

In one last huge blaze of fire, hot enough to singe the hair of anyone within several feet of the wall of flames, a huge dome of fire expands like a bubbl, growing and growing until the screams of the insects and creatures dying within it reach a crescendo, but there is one voice that is louder, one voice that screams into the darkness from the middle of that writhing mass of fire and dying monsters out one single word. A name.


The heat intensifies, the fire reaches up as it if would touch the stars and then... it dies.

2 Culler Brutes have been dismissed.

1 Culler Boatswain have been dismissed.

Clowder of the Nine, they have been fed don't let them trick you have been dismissed.

Helena Thornweave snarls in rage and pain as she abandons Auda's mangled body to face the others once more. She floats several feet in the air, surrounded by those wicked bloodvines, now thorned as well. Her skin is even paler now with black veins spidering out over that colorless skin as it becomes obvious that Auda's dagger was not just any ordinary dagger. She snarls and lifts her hands, but the sound of screams and the fire in the sky force her to pause as she says softly, "No!" Distracted as she is, she is far less effective at defending herself than she was before, taking each blow with a sort of stoic indifference, even as her skin is split open and bruised. She lifts her hands to the sky, laughing, as she says with black bile staining her teeth and dripping from the corner of her mouth, "My devotion does not waver, Master..." She stretches out her arms and those vines go flying outward, fast as arrows and sharp as blades, seeking out the hearts of her targets in one last push to remove these obstacles to what she is really here for.

Katarina checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Katarina marginally fails.

Raven checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Raven is successful.

Ian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Ian marginally fails.

Aindre checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Aindre marginally fails.

Cillian checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Cillian is successful.

Dominique checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Dominique is successful.

Vitalis checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Vitalis marginally fails.

Kastelon checks dexterity and dodge at daunting. Kastelon is successful.

Katarina checks 'death save' at easy. Katarina is successful.

Katarina remains alive, but close to death.

Katarina is incapacitated and falls unconscious.

Katarina checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Katarina fails.

Katarina has suffered a serious wound!

Ian checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Ian is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Ian does not take a permanent wound.

Ian checks 'unconsciousness save' at hard. Ian is successful.

Ian remains capable of fighting.

Aindre checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Aindre is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Aindre does not take a permanent wound.

Aindre checks 'unconsciousness save' at easy. Aindre is successful.

Aindre remains capable of fighting.

Vitalis checks 'permanent wound save' at hard. Vitalis is successful.

Despite the terrible damage, Vitalis does not take a permanent wound.

Vitalis checks 'unconsciousness save' at daunting. Vitalis is successful.

Vitalis remains capable of fighting.

Hacking through the brush is one thing. Hacking through an actively moving brush is another. Hacking through a brush that's trying to hack back -- forget about it. Katarina can't bring her ancient blade close to Helena because she's busy fighting against the entanglement of vines -- until a particularly quick one whips at her from below. What happens next is simple physics, as Princess Katarina Valardin is launched into the air -- not a distance that anyone would consider truly extraordinary, but enough that when she falls -- and she does -- her impact is a particularly ugly one. Her hip and her belly are torn, her face looks like Aindre teed off on it with his war hammer for practice... but she's alive. She's just not going to be moving or anything for a while.

Raven pushes to her feet and lifts her sword. She strides forward to stand between those fallen and Helena. There's a sharp inhale when Aindre, Ian, and Vitalis take more wounds and she moves forward to press with them, helping shore up a unified front against a terrible enemy even though her face is covered in now drying blood.

That stubbornness that Ian projected at the beginning seems to have only grown, injury after injury, as he tanks hits that he should probably be trying to dodge, rather than give an inch of ground. He grunts as a vine pierces him through a side that he'd already been favoring and lurches, but doesn't let himself fall. There's nothing flashy about the swift movement of his alaricite sword, the lambent blade shining in the light of the distant fire, just ruthless brutality, stripped of artifice.

Once again, Dominique misses the elusive Thornweave, but she manages to dodge another one of those horrible vines, pivoting out of the way, and then taking up her stance once again. She glances up at the flash of light, then focuses her efforts once again on Helena. She keeps herself between Helena and the entrance to the Castle of Yesterday, determined to block the woman's path however she can. "This place does not belong to you, Helena Thornweave." The Marquessa scowls as Katarina is thrown bodily into the air and crumples into a heap, and takes another swing at the witch, longsword curving in an arc, trying to aim for her neck in hopes of a lucky stroke.

Cillian is not wanting to get hit by one of them vines, ducking out of the way he is looking around him. Moving his hands to put his bow back onto his back and he moves where he last saw Helena's bow drop. Quickly moving for the bow that lays on the ground, he prays for help in this and picks the bow up and levels it on Helena and let lose a arrow praying it will work hoping that it may help put her down.

Even once in a while, a broken sundial is right.
Kastelon shoots true, the arrow sailing away before he moves to avoid the infernal incoming fire - it is a fear that he knows not how he has done so (let us be honest - it is but a step to the right or a jump to the left), but unscathed as he is (for the moment, for he is rather scathed), he moves mechanically to set up another shot..

Aindre's brief run of luck dries up under Helena's post-daggering salvo of fury, risen up into the air like she is and lashing out with so many of those dangerous and unnatural vines. Two of them zip in and spear right into him, even punching through the alaricite plating he's wearing, one to stab him through a shoulder and the other to get him in the meatiest part of his leg, while a third just barely manages to graze him. He cannot help the fierce grunt of pain, a double-tap of it, but he follows it up by roaring in defiance at Helena Thornweave. Huffing and puffing still from the length of the fight, he sets his jaw and with but a glance at the looming Castle of Yesterday - where those sounds came from - he charges in again with hammer hefted to swing.

It's chaotic, and strange. But what hasn't been these last years? The thoughts flash through Vitalis' mind as he braces to face Helena fucking FLOATING in the air with a hellish halo of thorned vines wreathing her. They strike out for the defenders and one buries in his guts, he stumbles, goes to a knee, a scream ripping from him. He remembers screams like that - they fill his dreams. //No.// Gods, he can feel the life draining out of him. Blood. He sways there, gutted. And then the vine retracts. He screams again, staggering up, blood on his lips, blood Defiance's white binding. He screams - a different sort of scream, a battle cry - strange from the throat of man who stakes much of his worth on going unnoticed and strikes out at the marauding mage.

Vitalis checks dexterity and huge wpn at normal. Vitalis is successful.

Ian checks dexterity and medium wpn at normal. Ian is successful.

Aindre checks dexterity and huge wpn at normal. Aindre is successful.

Raja checks dexterity and small wpn at normal. Raja is successful.

Kastelon checks dexterity and archery at normal. Kastelon is successful.

Raven checks dexterity and medium wpn at normal. Critical Success! Raven is spectacularly successful.

Dominique checks dexterity and medium wpn at normal. Dominique is successful.

Cillian checks 'death save' at easy. Botch! Cillian fails badly.

Cillian has died.

Ian grabs the vine that pierces his side with his alaricite-clad left hand and JERKS, not to jerk the vine out of himself, but to drag Helena off her balance, toward Aindre's hammer and Vitalis' blade. It's only after he does this that he brings his sword down to slice through several of the vines in his vicinity, one of them still stuck in him, others menacing his allies, with the intent of freeing them to act.

There is no shout from Kastelon who, resolute and bear-like, plunges ahead with the needful work. -Twang!- goes his bow as he steadily moves to the side, those angled shots to avoid those in closer combat. No, it is deadly silent from the Keaton huntsman as he adds to the volley, that one hazel eye staring deadly at his intended target (and not at those who might be hit by a steady shot from him. Again.)

Sometimes you have to take a few lancing vines to the extremities to be able leave a mark somewhere, and Aindre Grayheart has certainly taken his fair share, bleeding from several places, probably seared through into his soul with some weird arrow. He keeps going through those, sensing the failing moments of the witch, and roars at her, "You have a lot to kill for!", while swinging through with that hammer of his in search once again of the dagger that Auda had left in her back. "But not enough to protect!". Between himself and the others left standing it has to be enough, it must be, because it almost seems as if he does not have the strength to find another all-in strike, not with so much loss around. "That's why you'll lose.", he adds more quietly, being forced to a knee to catch his own weight.

Red. Raja simply sees RED! The rage the riles up inside the Culler woman is simply palpable. If ever the woman had turned to a bloodlust, it is now. The scream that erupts from her is feral and filled with complete and utter hatred. The curved blad in her hand, made from the fang of an oversized serpent plunges deep into the vile form of the villainess. Over and over and over. Any flesh that Raja can cut into, she does. Bits of gore cover her face. Bits of flesh dangle from her leathers. She does not stop until she is SURE the witch will never rise again. Even then, Raja will hunch over the form of the dying or dead woman and plunge her blade several more times. Finally, sated, Raja stands back up, her form trembling as she stares at the remains of the fiend. The red fades and she looks back to the scene around her. Fallen friends. Auda. Cillian. Others she did not know, but respect. Others that lie bleeding and wounded. Then with a snarl, she spits on the woman's body and utters a foul curse.

Raven doesn't make a fierce battle cry, her skull still splitting but while Helena's busy with the onslaught of the masters she darts in and slashes in an attempt to spill the woman's vile guts "Just a fucking puppet." she whispers in clear exhaustion.

Vitalis is going on grit alone, barely able to hear and see through the pain singing in his blood, in his mind. He sends the whip out, snaring Helena's foot and dragging her down. See, two can play at that game. He pulls a dagger from it's sheath at his arm and buries it in her side, teeth bared and bloody. Then staggers back, stumbling away, mind reeling.

Dominique feints at the last moment in that sweep for the neck, and instead of going for the neck, she goes for a vine, the one that struck Vitalis. She'll then start hacking at any other vines within her reach. She hacks at vines with focused intent, hoping it will in some way further weaken the woman, and free the way for others perhaps more skilled to move in for the kill. She seems to be pretty good at doging the vines, so the least she can do is take a few of them out in the process. The blood red vines fall around her with sickening plops and sprays of blood-like sap over the ground as she hacks at them with Wyrmshaven, the alaricite longsword taking on a red tinge.

Cillian moved pikcing up Helena's bow aiming to shoot it, letting the shot loose was perhaps the worse idea the Northern Lord could have done! He was done seeing people hurt, done seeing blood on the ground but as he holds the bow something isn't right, something is wrong. There is no sound, there is nothing he looks to Vitalis and Ian as if he was going to say something and his body drops to the ground.

Ian successfully manages to drag Helena closer so that she is within range of the others. She howls with manic laughter as Aindre's hammer drives the dagger in her back in deeper, further spreading whatever nasty poison that Auda left on it. Raja's blade plunges into Helena's form again and again, but still she laughs and laughs. It is finally the arrow loosed by Cillian, *from her own bow*, that steals that last lingering bits of life from Helena Thornweave. She smiles through a mouthful of black, foul, stinking blood and says, "Finally." Between Raven, Vitalis, and Dominique, whatever is left of the Thornweave witch is nothing but a bloody ruin.

Yet, as they finally finish one of the Metallic Traitor's most devoted servants off, Cillian drops the woman's bow and stares at his hand as it slowly starts to turn black and then wither before his very eyes. Before too much longer, the corruption spreads until he is gone as well.

Ian is barely on his feet by the time Helena drops, clutching his side with his left hand as red smears over the pale alaricite of his articulated gauntlet. He turns towards the others, towards Aindre, Vitalis, and Cill -- The sight of that black corruption starting to spread drives him back into action with a sharp curse. He darts towards the other man, once again, not quite at a run, and lifts his sword as if to cut Cillian's corrupted arm clear off. But he's too slow, probably he always was going to be too slow, and the other man is beyond help before he can bring the blade around to strike.

The entrance to the Castle of Yesterday doesn't so much open as snap away in a violent copper-tinged shimmer from the woman who exits, and it closes so fast behind her that there's not even a chance to glimpse what's inside beyond the general sensation of light and green, leaving a blank, blood spattered wall once again. Watcher is clad in simple wools - though there's a sense that she's wearing something beneath it - and her eyes are wild, with flecks of gold attempting to push through the flat gray. She stalks toward the downed Helena, heedless of anything else beyond a glance toward Auda's remains...though even that is less than momentary. "Where is she?" she snarls at the dead Sylv'alfar. "Where. Is. She?" She snatches violently at goopy, bloody clothes, attempting to haul her up. "*WHERE IS SHE*?!" The (obvious) lack of an answer only seems to infuriate her further, as if Helena being dead were suddenly a personal insult. "You failed. You fucking failed, you slaving piece of shit. You *fucking failed*. They're not even here! You fucking failed and he doesn't care that you're dead. *Fuck you*. Fuck you!"

Raven checks composure at hard. Raven fails.

Raven turns "No, no..." Her bloodshot, bloodstained eyes widen "NonononononNONONONO!" She doesn't drop her sword but it's held off to the side while she shifts weight between her hair and runs a hand through her hair. She stares at the pile of dust that was once Cillian and there's a scowl followed by a deeply frustrated, helpless "FUUUUCK!!!"

Aindre, down on one knee, knows he does not have the time to remain like that for long. Or at least, other people do not. "Ian??", he calls out, dropping the helm from off his head and letting it roll to the ground as he searches around for his friend. Still he huffs, seemingly unconcerned by the strange change in the Castle of Yesterday or the occupant coming out. "Ian! We have to get the wounded to help! Can you walk?". Can he even walk? He painstakingly pushes himself back to his feet to test, alaricite-on-alaricite the whole way while also surveying everyone else, searching for the dead, the hurt, who takes priority here.

Katarina, being one of the wounded, lies prone, inconveniencing those who risk tripping over her until she's dragged off the battlefield.

Thea is most definitely unconscious. Woe is the one that has to tell Eirene her niece is down for the count.

Vitalis watches the onslaught through eyes bleary and struggling to focus. Blow after blow rains on Helena and an arrow buries in her chest. She spills black blood and a breathes her last. He turns to see who fired the bow. Cillian holding Helena's bow and looking strange. He looks up, looks lost, and Vitalis' gut siezes. "Cilli-" blackness flows from the bow into the archer's hand. And then //pours// into him. Vitalis is slower by a step than Ian, "Cillian, no no no no." He kneels at his side, over his friend, tears coming. "Fuck. No no no." His stomach aches, burns, from more than the lingering dark magic. No. The momentous opening of the door to the Castle of Yesterday goes unnoticed. Cillian is dead. His voice is hoarse, saying to Ian, "I promised... I-" he cuts off. Cillian.

As the rage fades from Raja, grief creeps in to take it's place. Her gaze turns to where Cillian was, then to the body of Auda. She moves to auda's remains and kneels beside her. "I'm sorry I doubted you." She says in very soft tones. "I'm so sorry, friend." She closes her eyes. The words she says seem to be heavy with remorse. She glances to the others griving for Cillian and her lower lip actually begins to tremble. "I.. I will send word for the Harlequins." Raja offers to her allies.

"We both promised, Vitalis." Ian's expression is flat, stony, when he turns back to look at Aindre. Whatever he is (would be) feeling, he's locked it all away for now, probably forever if he has anything to say about it. "I can walk," he says, his voice eerily calm against the shouting that surrounds him. He cleans his sword on his sleeve and sheathes it into his cane again. "But I'm not going to be much good for carrying anyone."

As Helena's body finally falls to the ground dead, Dominique breathes out a sigh and takes a step back, flicking her blade to the side. She looks around at the others, at the damage wrought, and draws a breath. She sees Cillian fall after loosing the arrow from that cursed bow, and a look of sorrow passes over her features, followed by anger. She glances at Watcher as the woman approaches Helena's corpse, then looks to the fallen. First, she points to Helena's bow. "We should destroy that," she says. She turns toward the fallen Thea then, walking over to check on the fallen Wyvernheart woman. Seeing her unconcious but alive, she moves over to Katarina next. She moves to Amund, and then Cillian, checking them all. She starts organizing litters to carry the dead or wounded, while respectfully quiet otherwise as others grieve their fallen friends.

Benny was making no stops to get Acantha's unconscious body out of the middle of the fight. The beaver had left a trail of the Countess' blood behind as a calling card...or map to where they were heading and that was towards the place where those with healing talents were. There is only one thought in the creatures head at the moment.

Dominique doesn't forget about Acantha either!

Lys arrives, following Eirene.

Raven draws in a deep breath and looks around "We passed a wagon on the way here. I'll bring it over." She pauses and eyes the bow "I don't suggest anyone fucking touch it. Maybe someone should ask Her Majesty what's to be done with it?" she then resumes her wearied trot towards the cart she saw to load the wounded on.

2 House Wyrmguard Guards, Sir Philip of Punxsutawney, the guarded groundhog arrive, following Desiree.

Eirene rides her horse hard and fast from the city proper, with a pair of horses on her heels. She rides for the Castle as fast as the horse can take her. The fact the city isn't destroyed in the distance says they were successful in keeping it intact. She practically leaps off the horse as she sees the level of wounded and injured... and worse.

Kalakh sucks a breath in through her teeth and manages to make it sound like a growl. "*Where*--" She roughly drops the body, clenching her fists...and for a moment - one - there a sense of something larger than the unremarkably sized woman, as if she *were* violence rather than doing violence. "If you can *fucking hear me*--" But that cuts off as well, and she slumps back, hands to her face.

Watcher sucks a breath in through her teeth and manages to make it sound like a growl. "*Where*--" She roughly drops the body, clenching her fists...and for a moment - one - there a sense of something larger than the unremarkably sized woman, as if she *were* violence rather than doing violence. "If you can *fucking hear me*--" But that cuts off as well, and she slumps back, hands to her face.

Princess Katarina Valardin, Minister of War, Fleet Admiral, et cetera, is enjoying an idle moment when the fresh faces arrive. At least, one hopes that she's enjoying whatever dream she's in, because she's not conscious enough to articulate it. In fact, she looks like a wall fell on her. A wall made of sharp rocks. Her leathers are torn, as is her skin, and while her guts are all where they're supposed to be, it's still an unnerving thing, like maybe they /won't be/ shortly. Her face is almost unrecognizable from the swelling, a freshly bent nose, a broken orbital socket, this, that, the third thing...

Sternly, Kastelon looks about - perhaps a hint dazed - as things seem.. calmer? The Keaton lord slowly, slowly puts away the boots, before he gives a cursory glance about and moves, wordlessly, to help the wounded to those reverting aid.
Not that he does not need some himself.

Raymesin arrives in Eirene's wake, watchful and wary until he takes in the scene he finds, at which point he keeps being watchful and wary, but peels his hood back. Tear-tracks mark the smudges of soot on his face, pale scars against the darkened skin.

There are so many wounded to see to and Aindre just isn't much good at healing, but at least he's good for hauling. He just finds the nearest person, Thea, and hefts her up into his arms as carefully as he can, helm and hammer left behind for the moment, and rather he's sort of caught himself in a sudden conundrum - hm, there really isn't anywhere better to put her than right back on the ground - when Eirene rides in on her steed and the man allows himself to breath a sigh of relief. "E! You're alive! We need you!" Maybe he goes and places Thea close to Katarina so there isn't as much running around to do to tend to them. "Can I get some cloaks down here? Mine even? Cloaks down!".

Vitalis is numb. It was a victory, sure. It doesn't feel like a victory. He looks at his hand, at ring on his finger. His hand drops, eyes falling on Amund as he doesn't know where to look. He can't look at Cillian. Amund. "What was his name?" Tears flow freely, and he rasps out a hoarse, "Thank you." He bows his head and offers a prayer for the souls of those returning to the Wheel and then turns to join those struggling back to the City. He pauses, Watcher's menace palpable, and then wilts again. It's too much. It's all too much.

With slow movements and hands in her pockets, princess Denica's cheeks are stained with tears, bloodshot eyes red and raw. There's a stillness to her, as though she's cried all her tears and there's nothing left. Rather, she's here to answer some questions, to look around and try to find the faces she needs to see in that moment. Not getting in the way and certainly not making any noise about it, she merely silently observes from the side-lines, available to help if needed, but mostly needing those answers.

Dominique's horse hauls ass all the way back to the Wyrmguard Estate and this puts Desiree on high alert. Can she fight? No. Does she have armor? Not at the moment. But she has chutzpah to get on that horse and ride it out to where she technically has no business going. As they get closer, the steed wants nothing to do with going any further but somehow Desiree convinces the animal to keep going forward until they reach the outer area of the Castle of Yesterday. "Whoooa." It's not something she tells the horse but rather a reaction to everything that's going on around her.

Daoud, a Harrow Banshee arrives, following Cufre.

The battle field is bad. There are lots of wounded, many unconscious. Almost everyone bleeding from some place on their body. Helena is dead, being man-handled by a distraught Watcher. Poor Cillian is likely not recognizable as his body had turned black and corrupted. Armund was slain, his body lying lifeless in the field. Then there is Auda, her body torn to pieces. Raja is kneeling by Auda, grief on her features as she gingerly tries to reconcile what is left of the woman's body.

Ian's expression is hard as he stands at the heart of the carnage outside the Palace of Yesterday, clutching his side with one hand, the alaricite on the gauntlet that covers that hand smeared with red. He looks up as people start to emerge through the trees, something subtly wary in his eyes. "Watcher," he says softly. "It's about to get crowded out here."

Raven shucks her steelsilk cloak and thrusts it at aindre "Here. Anything I got is yours." Like her face isn't covered in blood and her eyes are green circles in a pool of blood in a way that looks creepy almost certainly isn't sanitary. She pauses and rests a hand on Raja's shoulder, offering a flask, "I'm sorry for your friend, Raja. Maybe sometime you'll tell me about her?" She spies Ian and there's a frown as she sizes up his state but for the moment she remains next to Raja, offering the flask.

Grim faced with a grief stricken countenance Lys de Lire follows behind Eirene, jumping down from her horse after the general-healer does. Her gaze sweeping the battle field. Her tongue runs along her upper teeth and she's several steps after Eirene when her gaze is drawn first to Watcher and the remains of Helena and then behind them to ... She stops in her tracks. A little unhinged giggle escapes her and then she clamps her jaw shut. Silently she makes her way over to the pieces of her once-friend. There is no screaming, no keening wails, just silent tears as she kneels down in the bloody ground and begins to, well, gather the pieces she can recognize. Her voice a bare whisper, "Oh, Auda."

"City's safe, we stopped the fucking plants before they got to the walls," Eirene tells Aindre, eyes taking in the wounds the former prince has suffered. She stops as she spies the bodies and arches her eyebrows but there's time for explanation later. "I'll see to Kat, then whomever is next." She gets her medical kit out of its pouch and sets to work. "Talk. What happened, who did we lose?" Armund's body is given a glance with a grunt.

Dominique continues to help organize litters and ensure the grievously wounded are seen to. She doesn't weep at the losses, but her expression is solemnly composed. As Desiree arrives with Dominique's horse, the Marquessa looks relieved to see both her sister, and the mare. Then she gets a worried look on her face. "Desiree! Why are you out here with no armor?" She moves toward Desiree, and takes the horse's reins, wincing as her shoulder reminds her about that painful ghost arrow that struck her. "We may need help tending to the wounded if you're able," she adds, her voice pained. "I'm no good with healing. Are you?"

Raja looks up to Raven. After the stuff that happened this day, Raven's bloody eyes do not seem to phase her. "Thanks." She says. She reaches out with a bloodied hand to take the flask and then proceeds to take a hearty pull. "I should have known she wasn't a traitor."

Eirene checks 'recovery treatment' at hard. Eirene is successful.

Raymesin looks around at the various people, the living and the dead, then offers Raja, Ian and Aindre a nod. That done, he gets back on his horse, and turns its head towards Arx once more, with a nod for Denica and Cufre when he spots them. His tears just keep flowing, and he doesn't seem inclined to open his mouth right now.

Raven squeezes Raja's shoulder "You did the best you knew how. You'll make sure Everyone else knows she wasn't, yeah?" she squeezes Raja's shoulder and leans down to whisper.

Raven mutters, "do me a ... and wrangle Ian towards a ... ... ... ... worse than ... am ... he ... ... standing ... his ... power for long."

"Dom! Desiree is relieved to see her older sister Dominique in the crowd of destruction around them. "This is.." And she finds her words tremble in the back of her throat. "Is it done? Is she dead? What? I'm wearing leather." Not that she keeps her voice down at all. She spied Eirene and Aindre, Thea, who appears like she's napping, maybe. Hopefully. The fair complexion woman goes a little pale as she clears her throat. "I am um, good at perhaps wrapping a bandage. But I cannot sew skin or uh." And she seems to go a little grey. "But you know I can clean and wrap. That's it. Oh I can fetch water." She isn't sure who is more taken aback by the scene, the mare or herself. "Let me see you. Are you terribly hurt? Oh this armor looks great on you. Let's upgrade this though, yeah? Alaricite is always in fashion." Desiree tries to make conversation a bit light-hearted in the moment. "Lady Eirene!" She waves enthusiastically. "I can help you wrap bandages or fetch water. I'm at your disposal!"

Watcher presses her hands against her face a little harder, her fingertips dig a little, and it seems to...not settle her, not at all. Center her. Just enough. She drops her hands, looking sharply toward Ian. Her eyes are glittering with more than anger now, but the rest of her looks like murder. Her gaze turns toward Auda, and her shoulders twitch. Then her jaw. Lys is there, though, and so she looks back to the dead Helena. Another clench of her hands, and she snaps, "Get that shit off my lawn." The woman turns on one heel and heads straight back toward the blank wall of the castle that she came out of at a pace that's not quite a sprint, but wants to be.

Rolling her shoulders, despite the tears, Denica looks unharmed, just very sad. A little sniffle has her removing a hand from her pocket to run under the bottom of her nose. Catching the nod from Raymesin, she returns it with a gentle glance in his direction. Then she goes back to looking around once more. It's then she sees the unconscious body of her friend and she makes her way over to where Thea is laying, taking off her heavy greatcoat so to cover her, in case people get cold when they are out cold. Denica is not a medic, she doesn't even try to touch the woman, rather she just sits there to keep her company, because that's what friends do.

"Good. I'm glad it was stopped before it could breach the walls. Would that I could be in two places at once.", Aindre remarks, and he takes a moment look around at the dead. "Sir Amund. Lord Cillian.", he recounts. "Auda, I think her name was, I had never met her. I guess she was not so far off our own side as we had thought. An unlikely hero." As some other people start to filter in, the former prince makes some requests of them to see to the wounded, to make sure they're brought by Eirene, and he turns to Ian there. "Ian. I've got to go. I need to check on Symonesse.", he says, then looks back to Desiree. "Can I have use of your steed?".

Cufre is breathless with running to meet the call for Harlequins, but draws short at the sight of battle freshly-fought. Her wide eyes sweep the scene before her, snapping shut at the sight of Raymesin's tears. A steadying breath later, and she has claimed calm enough to step further, to find the fallen and kneel beside them. To say prayers to the Queen on their behalf.

Raven spies the look "Oh fuck off. I was asking her to corral you towards a physician because you look worse off of anyone still standing and I didn't dare..." She waves a hand "Fuckit. Sooner

Ian takes a step away from Watcher, clearing the space for her withdrawl, and only nods to Aindre once she's gone. "Tell her --" He cuts himself off. "Send me word, alright? That she's okay?"

Dominique nods to Desiree. "Yes... Helena Thornweave is dead. She did put up quite the fight." She looks once again to the fallen, and shakes her head. "I can wait - there are others who need more healing than I," she says in reply to Desiree. When Aindre asks about the steed then, Dominique, who had taken hold of the reins, nods to him. "You may," she tells him, having overheard his need to reach the Queen.

Thea is pale, lifeless. Looking as if she was shot with---arrows of some kind. But you can't see them. Stabbed with some vines. You know, the usual.

Vitalis is kneeling by Cillian's blackened and cursed body. He sits silent, unmoving until someone comes to take Cillian away. Then he joins the flow of people to physicians or back to Arx for a bed. He doesn't speak.

Raja offers the flask back to Raven, then gives a nod to what is whispered to her. From her back, she pulls off a furry cloak and then covers Auda's remains. Silently, she moves to stand up. Then there is the look from Ian and the quip from Raven and Raja sighs. "I am too sober for this shit." She glances to Ian, "You need to see a medic. You look like shit."

Lys feels eyes upon herself and looks up toward Watcher but keeps her mouth shut. That's a whole lot of violence in a small package. A cough is given when the order to get that shit off of her lawn is given and she pushes herself upward. Her voice wavers a little as she calls out, "Someone help me build a pyre to burn it." She points at the remains of Helena. A flick of her eyes is given toward Raja and she says, "Will you see to Auda while I get rid of the, um, shit for the angry woman?" She points toward where Watcher went.

The look Ian gives Raven, and then Raja, is dangerous. "No," he says, his voice low. Whatever else he was going to say to Raja, he stops himself, and just repeats: "No."

Eirene kneels beside Katarina and starts applying gentle pressure to the worst of the wounds. Bandaging. Splinting. There are salves applied. It's all very stopgap. "We need to get her into a wagon and back to the city. I've done what I can to stop the bleeding." She stops when she's told Cillian is among the dead. The dark body by Vitalis. She looks up and over at the cradled body. Her gaze flickers a moment as if she's taking a deep deep look at Cillian's form. "He's... free. His soul. It wasn't dragged down. He can go back to the Wheel safely. The corruption didn't eat him away," she says, hoping it gives Vitalis some comfort.

Knowing Dominique's horse probably wants to get the h-e-double hockey sticks out of this place, Desiree looks to Dominique then back to Aindre. "I have no problems but it's Dom's horse. We'll be here for a bit anyhow." She gives her sister a nod as Aindre mentions needing to see the Queen. Then it's like she overhears the names of those who have died in battle. "Oh no." And sadness does take her expression. "Sir Amund. We had discussed training. Lord Cillian whom I did not know personally but heard many wonderful things. War is not fair." Desiree reaches out to give Dominque's hand - so long as it is not injured a squeeze. "I am so grateful to see you standing, sister." Her eyes move to Thea. "Let me go and check on her and see if she's still breathing. Please let her still be breathing."

Raymesin glances back at Ian at the man's words. "This 'orse'll take two," he says - but then again, that horse isn't his, so he probably isn't too worried about it.

Wordlessly, Ian goes to mount up behind Ray.

Raven gives a wearied grunt and shuffles off at a heavy, plotting gait on foot.

Vitalis nods, some flicker of recognition and hope. His hand clasps Eirene's and he gets to his feet. Finally.

Eirene checks 'recovery treatment' at hard. Eirene is successful.

Raja glances between Ian and Raven and sighs. There is a shake of her head. When Lys speaks to her, Raja turns to listen. "Yes. I can do that." She then turns to busy herself with the arrangements of getting Auda's body back to the city and to the Temple of the Queen of Endings.

Sitting next to the unconscious Thea, Denica isn't quite sure what to do beyond that. And so, she sits and keeps the woman company, though she wouldn't know it. When Eirene is finished with Katarina, Denica does ask her or any of the other medics about. "Should I get Thea back to the hospital? Would that be better? I don't want to move her if I shouldn't, but I can carry her back if that would be helpful."

"My thanks to you, and to House Wyrmguard, Marquessa.", Aindre says, whenever it's decided that he may have use of the horse. "I will have it sent back as soon as I arrive to the city. And there should be more coming. Wagons, help.", he promises. That said, he wastes little more time save to look around and survey the carnage one last time before he nudges the beast along and into a gallop, heading for Arx. Someone should probably get his hammer and his helm.

Eirene says, "We have wagons at the Solace and Grace. Either one is good for transporting." She yells this to Aindre as he leaves. "Send them back?"

Eirene nods to Denica as she goes to check on her niece, having checked on Vitalis once he leaves Cillian's side. "Wake the fuck up, Thea," she says dryly as she kneels beside the other Malvici. "We should get her stable then wait for the wagons," she tells the Thraxian. Desiree is given a small smile. "She's breathing, yes. Looks like she got bruised something fierce. Maybe even broken bones internally."

Eirene checks 'recovery treatment' at hard. Eirene is successful.

Cefyn offers Ian a hand up behind him, then kicks his horse into movement. It's not very fast, all told, but the knifeman and the swordsman depart, battle-weary as they are.

Lys gives a watery smile toward Raja and then turns, grunting as she begins to grab the remains of Helena Thornweave, attempting to drag it further away from the castle. If not stopped she'll drag the corpse an 'appropriate' distance away and then start throwing sticks, twigs, leaves, and other refuse over it. Clearly aiming to light the corpse of fire.

If she could, Thea would likely be giving Eirene the finger. But here we are. Dozing. Mentally flipping the bird.

Eirene checks 'recovery treatment' at hard. Eirene is successful.

Ian leaves, following Raymesin.

Dominique stays just long enough to ensure the wounded are handed off to people who can care for them. Then she'll begin making her way home.

The entryway to the Castle of Yesterday appears again just as Watcher reaches it, though a little more gracefully this time. She's through almost before it's done opening, however, and it just as quickly closes, leaving only a blank, featureless wall, as if the entrance had never been there to begin with. A minute or so later, that sense of...something that the defenders felt when they first arrived can be felt again, bleeding away. There's a single, faint bell chime to follow. Then silence.

Eirene checks 'recovery treatment' at hard. Eirene marginally fails.

One she's finished building a mound around the corpse, Lys pulls out a canteen from inside her bag. She pours what smells like grain alcohol all over the mound. Then a flint and steel is pulled out. Her lips curl slightly and she says, "Fuck you." Then she's dropping the flame down onto the alcohol doused mound. Letting it go up in flames.

Benny The Beaver have been dismissed.

The remains catch quickly and burn, though the stench of the smoke is terrible.

Eirene patches up the immediately needs of the wounded then goes to make sure the ambulance wagons take them to where they need to be. Once her medic duties are done, she goes to join Lys in watching Helena burn. She pulls a lock of hair out of her pouch and throws it into the flame. "Oberion, you are avenged. I am sorry you weren't here to see her stopped. I'm sorry she did what she did." Then she coughs and covers her nose and mouth, stepping away from the stench.

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