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Lennox just stared blankly at the spot he had saw Raye. Just before she passed him by and went overboard. The absurdity of it figuratively paralyzed him. Before he could turn his head and tell her to do the thing and save herself, Renata had dove to save her. He then saw a bit of the a boat, the life raft presumably, tip upwards as Tiras jumped towards it to level it out. He tried looking for Wratt but couldn't see him. A grizzled sailor like him would be able to get out of this alive anyway. This boat has to have more than just one emergency vessel with the size of this crew after all. He then faintly heard Tiras yelling and knew it was now or never. They were departing and he had to get on that boat. He ran as fast as he could, which was deceptively fast for someone of his size.

He didn't even look before he was off his feet. His feet went over the edge as he hooked the side of the boat with his left hand. He quickly pressed against the side of the boat. He grabbed his cloak with his right and threw it into the dinghy. The weight from that would have saw his end had he left it on when he took the plunge. He then jumped off the side of the boat, landing just next the dighy. He immediately was submerged, opening his eyes to see the bottom of the dinghy a few feet above him. He surfaced and reached for the side and climbed up. He took off his shirt and immediately tossed it on the deck. He didn't want to get sick. He saw that Renata was given one of the oars. Lennox felt guilty that she would have such a task right after saving Raye, plus the fact that she's also soaking wet. He called out to Renata, "Let me. I should have been the one to save Raye, so let me do this."
"I don't care who uses the paddle just fucking row!" Tiras said as he put his back into it. It got sorted out just in time for another explosion to set the rest of the sinking ship on fire. Tiras nearly wore his arms out by the time the dinghy was coasting onto the rocky beach in the heavy surf. Heavily, he lifted himself out of the boat, then slogged onto the beach, the wet sand tugging at his boots. His lungs were on fire, his arms felt like lead, he was tired, he was hungry again, and he just wanted to sleep. He'd seen another dinghy on the sea, but lost track of it. He looked wearily around now, but did not see anyone besides the dinghy's passengers. Tiras hauled the dinghy onto shore, far enough up that it rested on the grass.

The forest and the ominous fog that pervaded it loomed ahead of them.

"So much for filling my stomach," Tiras grumbled. "Anyone got a hatchet? Best to start a fire before it gets dark."
Renata had decided to take Lennox up on his offer, seeing plainly that his physical strength exceeded her own. Before reaching shore, she'd fixed her eyes on the sinking ship in the distance, hoping to see how many survivors had made it onto the other lifeboat. It barely even registered with Renata that the mission was definitely a bust as the explosives inside the ship were rather loudly compromised: the appeal of a few thousand guilders had lost its relevance entirely as it dawned upon her that drowning may have ended up being a more merciful fate than starving on an uninhabited island.

Renata pushed the boat from the back after it had gotten close enough to land for its occupants to hop out and tow it the rest of the way. She collapsed into a seated position on the earth next to the dinghy, leaving her cloak draped over the edge of the vessel to dry as she rummaged through her bag. Though she was on solid ground again at last, the adrenaline rush of the sinking ship had run its course and despair was setting in. To find the others in this fog, we'll need some kind of beacon... She produced her tome from the pack, her heart sinking with the realization that it (along with her other possessions) was completely waterlogged. Opening the volume, her fear was confirmed by running ink and warped pages. Maybe an older tome would have survived, but one originally produced for a mere servant of the Imperial church had no chance against the sea. "I'll find some kindling," she stammered, desperate for any task that might distract her from how cold she was.
Ah. So this is what the ocean felt like. It was no wonder that people built boats to cross it. Raye had only falling in for a brief moment before someone jumped in to pull her out and she felt like that was enough time to make a judgment on it.

Having been pulled out she laid down on the boat as everyone else rushed about trying to get it to shore. Her clothes were soaking wet but there wasn't much more that she could do but lay there. She didn't know boats. If she wasn't in the way here then that was good.

It didn't take long for the boat to hit shore. With everyone else hopping off it meant that Raye shouldn't just keep laying there. They'd probably think she was dead or something. Rising to her feet she hopped off the life raft onto solid land and then started shaking her body to shake the water off of her clothes. It had some success. She was still rather water logged but she was at least not as soaked. Sadly anyone near her would probably have been hit by the water.

It seemed like the most important thing people were wanting now was fire. Standing there she thought for a few moments, looking at Renata as she said she'd get kindling. ”I'll find some fire.” She said before just walking off into the forest.
Lennox hesitated at Tiras' yell, before trying to match his pace. He'd never used an oar before, but the concept was easy enough. They made it to shore relatively quickly for where they were. They could've been at it for hours. When they got to shore, Lennox was a bit surprised at how winded Tiras was. Must have been due to the weight of his armor. He grabbed his cloak, which was a tad damp and draped it over his shoulders. He elected to leave his shirt on the boat, as that thing was soaked. He took off his boots and began walking barefoot on the sand. He probably would have taken his pants off, but there were women around. Wouldn't have been polite. "You might want to start dropping some excess clothes until everything's dry. Don't want to get sick out here."

When Tiras asked about a hatchet, Lennox reached for his waist. He had one when he split off from Carla. But it wasn't there. The loop it was on was torn. "Shit, mine tore off when I jumped into the water." He looked around and looked back at his sword.

That was when he heard Raye say she'd 'find some fire'. "Wait, I got a magic FIRE sword! Where are you going?!" He took three steps before realizing he couldn't reliably use the fire from Dyrnwyn. "Wait, scratch that. Probably won't work. Wait....do you even know how to start a fire?! Wait, I'm coming with you!" He gave chase, once more, thinking they were going to look for flint or some other kind of rocks to cause a fire. Then another thought came to mind. He followed her into the forest, checking to make sure the others were out of sight. "Raye, when you transform, do you breath fire? Is that what you're going to do?"
Tiras watched as the naive little ward of Lennox replied to Renata's declaration of her search for firewood to burn with a declaration that she would "find some fire." As if that made sense. The squire watched as Lennox then ran after her into the woods. Tiras, meanwhile, got out his dagger and found a good spot, with some nice, loose, moist earth, near the forest, and started using the dagger as an improvised spade to dig a fire-pit. It was slow going, but he was making it a rather large fire pit. Three feet across, and nearly six inches deep. Just a dagger wasn't going to make things go very fast, but then he thought of the oars, and how almost-spade-like they were. He retrieved one, and continued digging.

With a much better tool, his task got done relatively quickly.

Then he started breaking off branches from the nearest tree. More firewood, longer fire, right?
Find some fire. Raye's phrasing gave Renata a wistful reminder that they were alone on this island; in practically any other location, she would have held out hope for the chance of finding an errant pillar of smoke leading to a campfire with a group of weary travelers huddled around. With how used she'd gotten to begging and extortion in the past, it was practically free food.

Perhaps it was just as well. Neither Lennox nor Tiras would approve of such a method of survival, she imagined. At any rate, Lennox seemed to be wise when dealing with water: Renata felt a little better after electing to untie her hair and shed everything save her dress for the time being. Whatever happened on the ship with Lennox raised concern, especially after his nonchalant confirmation that he possessed a magical fire sword, but all Renata could do about it was give him a wide berth.

She didn't have to go far into the woods to find twigs of all shapes and sizes— in fact, the woods appeared so thick it seemed to be difficult to venture farther than a stone's throw in. There was a faint rustling on the other side of the thicket: wildlife? It hardly mattered; everyone in the group was likely too shaken to even think about hunting anything. The robotic task of collecting kindling was too comfortable to interrupt, and she soon had her arms full. A few rounds later, she'd made a nice little pile next to the firepit. It was just enough, hopefully.
Tiras arranged the wood in the firepit, building a little structure out of the wood that, he hoped, would support itself quite solidly while it burned. Fire was finicky with things like that, he'd found. When he was satisfied with it, he reached for the small, rough steel tray in one of his belt pouches. He pulled out both the tray, and the flint that went with it. He dragged the steel across the tray over the firepit. A rain of spark fell into the sticks and leaves. He dragged the flint again, and some of the sparks caught this time. The fire consumed the leaves at a rapid clip, but not rapidly enough that the larger sticks wouldn't catch.

The squire stood up, taking one of the sticks and lighting its end.

"I'm going to see if I can find any driftwood. I won't be long," he said.
Flickers of light coming from the shore.  They splattered a glow into the forest, puncturing the leaves and brush just enough to flash the faintest light onto a fallen soldier, laying face-down on the ground.  Several arrows, their feathers brittle and frayed, were buried in her body - her neck, her arms.  The forest lay still, save for the canopy rustled by the seaborne breeze.

With the light came the muffled sounds of voices.  With the voices, came a muted, swelling aura of dark energy, pulsating from the heart of the soldier.  As it grew and covered her in a black haze, her body twitched involuntarily.  A familiar voice echoed in her ear...


Her body twitched again.  "...a message..."

Finally, she found the strength to move her arms, to push herself up from the ground and slowly, wearily, onto her feet.

"...a message... -agon's... this- ..."

The voices from the distant shoreline seemed to ripple across the soldier's body.  Her shroud of darkness seemed to trail behind her as she took her first steps in decades.  Her eyes finally opened.  Bright.  Golden.  Piercing.  She reached up to her neck and plucked the arrow from it.  Shadows poured from the wound.  She clutched at her belt, for the sword that was no longer there, as she made her way towards the edge of the forest.

"This is a message... from Lord Nergal..."

Her voice was faint, barely above a whisper.  The magic was weak.  But it was enough.

"...I await you at the Dragon's Gate."
The dark shores of Valor were dimly lit by the moon and the nearby fire started by the castaways. Waves washed in seaweed, driftwood, and whatever contents from the Mermaid’s Desire that survived its sinking. Among those contents was Wratt. After what seemed like months, the merc woke up, spewing forth ocean water. It was a miracle he still had his sword and crossbow, though not much else. He slowly picked himself up and looked back to see what was left of their ride home.

“Sunnava-” Wratt mumbled in frustration. There was no boat left. In the dark, the only other thing around came from the campfire in the distance. At least someone survived, he thought. He quickly shuffled his soggy boots all the way to where the remaining crew were to be camped out.

Along the way, he encountered Tiras. Wratt only replied with a grumpy nod as he made his way to the warmth of the fire. It seemed the rest of his crew were either in the forest or dead at the bottom of the sea. He didn’t much care at this point. All he cared about at the moment was not joining the dead. At the camp fire, he began stripping off his armor, throwing aside the clumps of seaweed lodged beneath the plates. He threw off his drenched boots, leaving him in soggy clothes. He desired a pipe, but alas, that too didn’t survive the sinking.

“Effing typical,” Wratt mourned his luck. Things couldn’t possibly get worse.
Tiras was surprised to see Wratt had survived the sinking. He looked a soggy wreck. The mercenary nodded to his employer, who nodded back, then continued to the beach. He looked around to try and find any dry driftwood, but he found nothing. Disappointed, he turned back and made his way to the fire. He saw that Wratt had stripped off his armor and boots so that they could dry. He probably would've stripped off his wet clothing had there been any blankets under which to warm himself while his clothes dried. The party of disgruntled survivors was all around the fire, savoring its heat. The green squire doffed his helm at last and joined them.

Amid the crackling of the fire, Tiras noticed something... off. He couldn't say for certain why he felt that way. It was like he was hearing something, but it was just soft enough that he couldn't make it out.

"Did someone say something?" he asked the group, looking at each of them. He stood, leaving his helm on the ground as he looked around. His hand found his sword.

Suddenly, he saw it. Two points of light in the dark under the trees.

"Company," he said.
Raye nodded as she continued to walk away from the others with Lennox keeping up with her. "It sounded fire was something that we would need so I went to go get some. You wouldn't want me to make it around the others, wouldn't you?" At least the girl was trying to keep her true nature a secret from others now.

It didn't take long after they were out of sight for her to stop suddenly and look around. After a bit she found a rather large branch. She picked it up, it being a bit heavy, and stuck it a bit into the ground to steady it.

"Stand back," She said as she stepped back and with a hand on her Dragonstone and transformed into a light purple feathery Dragon. The first thing she did was shake herself dry, now that she was technically out of her wet clothing, before turning back to the branch to do what she had come to do.

Opening her mouth she let out a stream of purplish fire. The branch lit up with a bit of a flame. With it alight she stopped her own flame, transforming back into her now dryer humanoid form.

Picking the branch back up she turned and headed back towards the camp.
Renata nodded at Wratt as he arrived at the campsite, although it was such a weary nod it was barely noticeable. Gazing blankly into the fire, she dwelled for a moment on whether or not the sorcerer who saved her from drowning had survived the shipwreck.

A moment, however, was all Renata had to dwell on things as a shadowy figure shuffled out from between the trees. She reached for her sword as well, a moment passing as she realised it was not at her hip, and sheepishly produced it from her bundle of belongings as she stood. "Who's there?!" she queried the stranger, who looked none too friendly even though at this distance there wasn't much more visible than a dimly-glowing pair of eyes. This must be one of the mutineers from the ship, she figured, hell-bent on performing some violent act before dying on this forsaken rock... yet she already knew not a soul on the ship had possessed such a foreboding pair of eyes.
"No, I really wouldn't. But your wording there...nevermind," he relented. He didn't need her to elaborate more. Just do the deed and return, hopefully without drawing the attention of the others. He was still rather curious about her transformation and watched with genuine interest. Until she decided to dry herself off. At that point, she just got him even wetter and almost got water into his eyes. By the time he wiped his face, she had lit a branch and began walking back. He gave chase and followed her through the trees until he heard a voice. He couldn't quite make it out, but elected to rejoin the group.

He then noticed Wratt had joined them. Before he could come up with some witty quip, his attention was drawn to the two glowing eyes. He cautiously approached the lights, noticeably disarmed, giving the light source a wide berth. He began stretching, loosening himself up to charge the source. He hopped in place hoping to shake off some of the water while getting ready to strike. He had his hands in front of him, ready to grab the source if it came charging. If this was a man, he had a decent chance of fending it off. If it was an animal, if he got first touch in their exchange, he'd probably come out on top. Anything else...they had a dragon girl.
Wratt had to take a break from warming up to address the two glowing orbs that were emerging from the forest. It seemed more than his present crew survived out on this rock of an island. Rather than approach it like Lennox, he began loading a bolt into his crossbow. People didn't have eyes that glew like that, and who knew what else lived on Dread Isle. Needless to say, Wratt didn't feel the slightest bit of doubt taking aim at the supposed creature.

"Heads up, Lenny," Wratt warned Lennox as he opened fire as soon as he had an opening. The bolt sailed past Lennox's face, through the air, and towards a spot about a foot below the glowing eyes. There wasn't much he wanted to see alive on this forsaken island anyways.
After Wratt shot at the thing with glowing eyes, Tiras heard a grunt, as of breath being knocked out of someone's chest. And with that breath came words.

"This is a message from Lord Nergal, 'I await you at the Dragon's Gate.' This is a message from Lord Nergal, 'I await you at the Dragon's Gate,'" the melodic voice kept repeating ad nauseum. The creature with the glowing eyes emerged from the forest. A concealing mist of purple and black smoke wreathed her form. Her clothes were tatters, but it was evident that the woman had been a warrior. She clutched her sword hand at her side, where once, a sword might have dangled. Her other hand grasped the bolt that was buried in her chest. Her jet black hair was matted down, mixed with sticks and leaves. There was an otherworldly appearance about her.

Tiras ran forward, drew his sword, and thrust the blade through her, up to the hilt.

She responded by thrusting the bolt into his right arm, just above the armor protecting his forearm.

"This is a message from Lord Nergal, 'I await you at the Dragon's Gate,'" she kept repeating, now with more vigor.

Tiras kicked her off his sword and decapitated her. Instead of her head flying off, however, she just slowly dissolved into dark mist. The squire stared at the spot for a long moment before the pain brought him back to the present. Tiras fumbled, trying to sheath his sword. His right arm was hard to move, and he could feel the blood starting to run down into his glove. At last he managed and was turning back to the fire to tend to the bolt still in his arm when...

"This is a message...," he heard again. The voice was masculine this time.

"What the hell?" Tiras looked back and forth, trying to determine where it was coming from.
Lennox barely blinked as the bolt passed him. It wasn't that he had faith that his allies wouldn't kill him. It just happened too fast for him to react. Didn't even have time to flinch. When he heard the thing speaking, it began concerning him. That name. 'Lord Nergal'. Where had he heard it before? He wracked his brain over it as Tiras acted against the apparition. She(?) was struck down, but not before inflicting a wound against him using Wratt's own bolt. A new voice sounded out and Lennox believed he had the direction squared away. He ran towards it before being greeted by another pair of golden eyes. Before it could charge him though, light beamed out of its eyes and mouth before it dissolved. Unlike the previous one though, the mist drew backwards towards a familiar silhouette. A man approached out of the mist. He was malnourished and sleep deprived, but seemed equally more lively than when he had seen him last. "Lennox Hyperion? Is that you? What are y-"

"Wolfram! No time! What are those things?!"

As Lennox cut off his uncle-in-law, two more voices chanted again the same message. "This is  a message from Lord Nergal, 'I await you at the Dragon's Gate," could be heard from two different directions, slowly approaching.

Wolfram just laughed. Lennox didn't what what thoughts when through Wolfram's heard to spark that response. This may have something to do with Cassandra's whole spiel about 'keeping Wolfram from making things worse'. Whatever these are, Wolfram must have already studied them extensively. "They are relics from a time before you and I. Servants of a great evil from before King Zephiel's war." Lennox noticed Wolfram eyeing up the group and taking a particular interest in Raye. Lennox stepped into his view, letting him know that Raye wasn't going to be a tool of Wolfram's. "My time on this island has come to a close. You seem to have riled the morphs up. It's no longer safe to conduct my research. Come, Seren, we are leaving." Wolfram walked past Lennox with an equally withered looking red head girl with him. She was carrying some kind of staff. He looked over at Raye again before speaking up. "I'd ask for directions, but I think you have higher priorities. Oh, and Lennox. Pick up your sword. Fair thee well."  The red head Seren raised her staff and they were gone. It was some kind of warp staff!

Lennox took up his advice and ran back to the boat where he grabbed he swords and threw his cloak back on. He began heading back when he saw a pair of glowing eyes approaching and they weren't the ones talking before. They've got four of them approaching now. "Guys, we've got company!"
As soon as Renata had witnessed one of the strangers speaking words other than the same old spiel about a Nergal, the man had spoken a few words to Lennox and disappeared. She knew that warping magic existed, of course— though it was also used by heathens, many servants of the Church still held the spell in high regard for its obvious utility. Something about the man in robes walking out of the fog only to nonchalantly warp away made Renata's blood boil in anger, but she hadn't the time to think about that or the fact that Lennox apparently knew the man by name.

Renata stepped to the side as a rust-caked battleaxe soared her way and rushed the apparition that had thrown it, going for a slash at its neck. Her sword connected, but the morph hardly seemed fazed as cold, black shadow erupted from its wound. A creature of darkness, then. It was time for Renata to see if her tome still worked. She managed to kick the morph away as it tried to grab her, falling to the ground and rolling to where her tome was on the ground by the fire. Scrambling to her feet, Renata was already halfway through the incantation by the time she'd assumed a battle stance, tome in right hand and sword in left. The morph reeled and snarled as it was beset by—

A rather large spark.

Renata had known she'd be rusty, but not that rusty. She hadn't seemed to have done all that much damage, but the morph had had an exaggerated reaction— did these creatures feel pain? What she had done, however, was attract the attention of a few other ones; all she could do now was back up closer to her comrades and the fire, aware that she'd been lucky with her first foe and would do better to fight the others with extreme caution, as the morphs' words continued to echo: "I await you at the Dragon's Gate."
Wratt was expecting a human reaction to his crossbow bolt. Specifically, the reaction that involved collapsing to the ground and dying. Arrows proved ineffective, judging from the creature’s porcupine appearance. The morph simply used the arrow as a weapon and stabbed Tiras in the arm, though that didn’t stop the latter from beheading the morph. Good thing the squire was still in fighting shape: more were coming.

Surprisingly, the next thing that came was some wizard and his wench. He immediately recognized Lennox and vice versa. But before they could get any useful details about surviving this place, the enigmatic visitor warped away. The only things Wratt got out of that conversation were a) these creatures were morphs, b) Lenny was actually from one of the wealthy families from Etruria, and c) he knew more about their situation than he had let on.

“Seems you know a little more about our plight than you’ve let on, Lord Hyperion,” Wratt snarled at Lennox. He did not like surprises, particularly ones that could get him killed.

He didn’t engage the nobility for too long as more creatures kept coming. He passed Renata and her display of magic.

“Neat trick,” he commented sarcastically as he pulled out his broadsword and charged at one of the foes. Rather than waste time with stabbing actions, the mercenary cut the morph at the knees. The creature fell on its back as soon as its limbs were severed. Wratt took the opportunity to stomp its head with his boot. The skull shattered, emitting its dark matter all over the beach. It turned out that rotting flesh, brittle bones, and flashy purple smoke were no match for might and metal.

“This Nergal’s gonna be sorry if we ever get over there!”
Lennox returned to the group, Dyrnwyn in hand. The blade was forged with gaps in the middle of the blade, one near the tip, one near the hilt, and one a foot higher up from the one near the hilt. As Lennox put both hands on the hilt and raised the sword so that the lowest hole was eye level, the magic fire that engulfed the sailor before returned, filling each of the holes with fire. Before he can charge anything though, Wratt threw him off guard.

Lord Hyperion was not something that he expected to hear. "Lord what now?! I never said-" Before he could say much to argue about never revealing his surname, it's because he didn't. Wolfram did, the bastard. But, neither said he was a lord. Mainly, because Shad was the lord, not him. But for him to piece this together. He must've met Hyperions before. Be it Daren, Maddox, or their cousin Deiter. They way he reacted though, it must have been the later two. Uncle Daren wasn't anywhere the madman that Maddox and Deiter are. "Fuck this." He turned back towards an approaching morph, raised his sword, took a big step and swung downwards. The fire from the blade was gone, now rushing towards the morph. It was consumed with fire, but still kept it's approach. Lennox ran towards the flaming morph, tossing Dyrnwyn in the air. It's eyes followed the sword, ignoring Lennox now in it's face. He punched it in the gut, followed by a jumping uppercut, which knocked the morph back a couple steps. At the height of his jump he grabbed Dyrnwyn and swung down, splitting the morph in two. Instead of gore spilling out though, it just faded into the same dark mist that and engulfed them.

Another morph had came up on Lennox from the tree line. Lennox got back up to a standing position. The morph thrusted at him with a spear. He had a hard time getting in, so he stepped back and threw off his cloak, tossing it at the morph. He stabbed it mid air, but the added weight from the chainmail lining, almost disarmed the morph. As it struggled to lift the lance, still talking about Nergal, Lennox ran at him and jumped, raising his knee in the process to hit the morph in the face. It recoiled, letting go off of the lance. Lennox performed a kip up after landing on his back with that knee strike. He unsheathed his steel longsword and stabbed the morph in the sternum. Again, it recoiled, pulling the sword from his hand, still stuck in him. Lennox walked over, grabbed the morph's shoulder with one hand and his sword with the other. He pulled the sword out and stabbed it repeatedly until it just decayed in his hand. He returned to his cloak and liberated it from the spear it was attached to. He sheathed the longsword, grabbed Dyrnwyn, and returned towards the fire, having strayed a bit far in this attack.
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