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Game: Return to Home

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Center of All's picture
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factotums
Joined: 2004-05-11
Game: Return to Home

Everything was exactly as they remembered. A sheet of clear, crystal-blue ice covered everything. Above, the dark grey clouds hung low in the sky. And all around, except for their own movements, the air remained perfectly still. They were intruders, warm-blooded, living creatures in a house of frozen, unyielding cold. The chill that penetrated their bones was more than a physical cold. It was the emotional cold of finally returning to their home after so many years away. Faces turned in wonder and awe at the morbid beauty of the ice that glittered as it caught the rays of an unknown light.

They approached the palace, the Spire of Tekar, once the jewel of their hometown. From there, the Tekaran ruled over the city. But now, it sat frozen in the same ice that had claimed the rest of the demiplane in its frigid claws. The Spire’s great towers once shone with a golden light far above the rest of the town. Now, its once-magnificent pride gleamed only with the cold light of the quiet ice.

Their boots crunched in the ice as they walked toward the Spire. They had all brought shoes that gave them traction in the ice. They knew from their experience twelve years ago they would need the traction. The ice was perfectly smooth, far slicker than any other ice they had encountered before. All around, the frozen buildings evoked long-lost memories in each of the travelers, memories of a childh ood shattered by the icy death. None of them could remember having seen the creatures that assailed their home, but all remembered the fear that had gripped their young hearts.

It had been twelve long years since they had seen the Spire of Tekar, home of the Tekaran, their rulers, since they had bid it farewell. The majestic beauty had not changed from their old memories. Even covered in the ice, the Spire was as proud and noble as they remembered. Finally, they came to a stop at the outer courtyard of the Spire, just inside the main gates. For several long moments, they stared at the Spire in quiet reverie, reliving the events that led them away from their homes. Then finally, one dared speak.

OOC: Please take a bit of time to post some introductions and establish your characters, their appearances, and their relationships. Consider it that first person posting is the first to arrive on the scene.

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Primus, the One and Prime's picture
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The quietude of the icy demiplane was broken by a joyful whistling as the first of the orphans reached their ancestral home. The tune was an eladrin composition, first performed by Virily the Firre at the festival of Seven earths, and was taught to its current performer by his adoptive father, the great celestial bard Koo’Jiyad. Koo’s skill with music had not been completely taught to his son (the orphan repeatedly hit a number of wrong notes) but the basic tune remained clearly identifiable throughout the musical interlude.

As the figure walked over the ice, its booted feet made nary a sound. The boots were made of fine leather and the soles were studded with metal spikes for easy travel over the icy surface. In addition to the boots, the figure wore a long white robe trimmed with yellow and blue thread. Beneath the robe, the figure wore a suit of leather armor, though they did not wear it with the practiced ease of a seasoned warrior. In fact, something in the figure’s gait seemed extremely child-like and playful, more like the posture of a four or five year old and not the mature walk of an adult. But the figure was an adult, far passed the age of maturity in most cultures.

His’s walk slowed as he neared the central tower of the demiplane, a reminder of his life before the awakening of his true purpose. The young aasimar man’s eyes did not rise to gaze at the tower but instead focused on the ice. Gazing up from the ice, an illusive reflection gazed up at him. His’s eyes seemed to examine the reflection intensely, surveying the long blue hair that cascaded around the aasimar’s shoulder, the wolf-like ears that protruded from his skull, and the powerful purple lupine eyes that seemed to gaze infinitely into themselves. Rising passed the reflections shoulders were a small pair of blue-feathered wings, a pair of appendages that had been increasing in size ever since he had discovered his true identity. The reflection seemed to glow with an inner light of purity, a light clearly visible to the aasimar, the same light that others could see pouring off of him.

And there Calcarab stood, out on the icy plain, staring at his own reflection deep in thought. Few people would have expected to see a being such as he there, standing so alone and vulnerable. It is not often that one such as he leaves their domains. But lo, there he stood. Calcarab. Emperor of Elysium.

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Another pair of boots crunched softly on the ice, the sound all but lost to the wind. A slim, short figure picked its way through the buildings toward the central tower. Its gait was not quite confident, but definitely practiced: the stride of someone used to walking but wary of what she might be walking towards. With the glare of the ice it was difficult for Calcarab to discern much beyond the figure's walk and the billowing cloak it tried to keep around it.
Nearing within several yards, the woman jumped into focus. Her neck-length auburn hair and slightly-pointed ears framed large green eyes which darted around cautiously. She didn't exactly frown, but the woman had a distinctly sad expresion on her face. For some reason it struck the Emperor as more than sorrow for her surroundings. The cloak blew wide to reveal a somewhat scuffed and creased leather jacket and pants that once must have been very impressive. They didn't look battle-worn, just worn. A bow was slung over the womans shoulder, and her hand rubbed it as she resettled her cloak. At her hips was a wide leather belt with two iron short swords and a dagger tucked into it. The swords looked heavy, but it was obvious she knew how to walk with them.
It was some moments before Clacarab recognized the woman. When her eyes shifted over the aasimar while still seeming to look downwards, the memories came floating back. Aemyon Larutain: the quiet girl who used to wander alone; the silent girl who seemed to talk to her twin brother with thoughts; the mute girl who disappeared almost immediately from the orphanage after it happened.
She looked about to speak, or at least to greet him, when she turned her head to the faint sound of a third set of footsteps.

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She had stood by the portal in awe when the two of them first came through. It looked exactly the same. Her memories of some of the details were hazy; she had been very young when it happened. But the ice was the same. She glanced down at the snow around her feet, at the ice-boots her brother insisted she wear here. She adjusted the shawl over her shoulders - another insistence. Her brother really was too protective at times. Speaking of... where had he gone? He had gone towards the tower without her.

She couldn't help it. She had to see her home. Only a glance, only a moment, then she would catch up with him. It was the same, too. Empty, just like they left it. She couldn't bear to look upon it for too long. Looking up, the tower was easily visible. To that tower she made her way, snow crunching lightly beneath her feet. As she approached the tower she was surprised to see two people, not one, standing in front of it. The other must have arrived before they did.

Approaching the two already at the tower was a short girl, barely above five feet in height and slim to match. She has short white hair, in almost a boyish haircut that leaves her white locks disarrayed and slightly spiked. Her violet eyes are a match for her brother's. A pair of white-furred fox ears poke up from her unkempt hair and a matching tail twitches nervously behind her. She's dressed simply, in slightly worn skirt and shirt, the latter lacking any sleeves. Making up for the deficit is a shawl over her shoulders. A bag hangs on her back from a single strap that goes over a shoulder and crosses diagonally over her chest.

She starts with a brief chastising in the tongue of the guardinals (or just Celestial if Calcarab doesn't speak guardinal). 'Emperor, you should have waited for me.' It comes out sounding slightly more amused than disapproving, though. It takes Eiliara a moment to recognise the other, but when she does a broad grin crosses her face.

'Amy! Wonderful to see you again.' She spreads her arms out, inviting the girl to give her a hug. Her tail slows in its swaying slightly at the prospect of old friends seen again.

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ceratus's picture
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The noise of creaking ice alerts you to the presence of another. A large figure, wearing very little except for metal armor, leather pants, boots and a shirt , seems to be having a bit of difficulty crossing the slippery terrain. As he raises his head and spots you, a large grin appears on his face. As he calls out a greeting to you, you recognise Allan. He looks prettymuch the same, except that you don't remember him being quite so....*wide*....

Before you have a chance to reply, Allan missteps. He starts windimilling his arms for balance, but falls nonetheless. The sound of metal and flesh hitting ice echoes throughout the emptiness around you. Letting out a loud curse, he carefully gets up, picks up his dropped warhammer and backpack, and continues to make his way toward you, far slower this time.

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“My apologies, Duchess,” Calcarab said with a grin, “The ice looked so beautiful. I moved on thoughtlessly.”

Now, now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would an Emperor of an entire plane of existence and ruler of nearly half of the multiverse listen to the chastisements of a mere Duchess of a gate town? First and foremost, Calcarab knew that in order to rule a nation as varied and heterogeneous as the Upper Planes a true ruler had to be able to take criticism and listen to any of his subjects, be they Duke or Peasant, Hebdomad member or Coure. Also, this woman was no mere Duchess. She was the Lady Eiliara, the most beautiful of the celestial-touched, most graceful being on the shores of Oceanus, and she who held a good portion of his heart in her hands.

Calcarab would do anything for his sister -- well, anything that would not interfere with his duties as Emperor -- and was kicking himself for having left her behind. An emperor has many enemies and even here, in his ancestral home, he had to be ever vigilant.

Calcarab surveyed the two arrivals with appraising eyes. “Greetings and felicitations, Lady Amy, you are looking quite splendid. And Sir Allan, you should watch your step,” the lupine young man said, smiling widely as he approached the large man, his breath turning into a cloudy mist in the cold air.

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Amy accepts Eiliara's open arms with a quick hug, seeming uncomfortable but grateful through the short contact. She glances around with a mixture of hope and unease, an expression which is easy for the others to interpret: Where is Celecox?
She gives Allan a quick smile as greeting when he picked himself off the ground and shifts her backpack slightly. Reaching into it she removes a small slice of dried fruit and takes a bite, chewing slowly. The act doesn't seem to be motivated by hunger so much as a need for something to do. As an afterthought, she looks at the others with a questioning expression, wondering if they too would like some rations

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First Amy, then the others, gradually became aware that they were being watched. Casting their eyes around the area, they eventually realise that in the shadows not far from the group, a slim half-elf is watching them. It is only a slight movement on his part that gives him away; he has probably been there since before they arrived.

Realising that he has been spotted, Celecox straightens, and approaches them, moving easily across the icy surface. Away from the shadows, his dark clothing clearly stands out. He has a buckler strapped to his left wrist, and a longsword hangs in a worn scabbard at his left hip. There is a bow on his back, but he carries little else. He says nothing as he nears the others, before hugging Amy tightly to him.

"I hope you all brought more food than that." he says, having released his sister. "I've been here for three days, and if there's anything to hunt here, I've not come across any sign of it yet. My gear is all stacked in a shelter about a quarter of a mile that way." indicating with a jerk of his head.

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Eiliara smiles at Calcarab with a wink, letting him know that he's quite forgiven. Amy's reluctant hug upsets her slightly, and her tail resumes its agitated twitching. What was... oh. Celecox wasn't here yet. She was greeting Allan with a warm smile and a hug when her left ear twitches - more footsteps in the snow. Eili turns and waves at Celecox - oh, good, now Amy should be cheering up - and wiggles her toes. These boots were so constraining; she couldn't even feel the ground beneath her.

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Amy smiles and hugs Cox back. "Brother," she says softly. It is the first time she's spoken and the others notice how thin her voice sounds, like an instrument hardly used. The half-elf turns around to sweep the whole group, "It is good we are back." She says simply.
From anyone else, this statement would have been so meager as to almost avoid notice. But from the quiet Aemyon it was tinged with messages. Her upturned face, a change from her normally lowered gaze, bespoke a true gratitude that the friends were reunited. The open gesture of her hands resting at her side conveyed an ease, a relaxation from a body that was clearly used to distancing itself. Her cloak flapped freely, an uncommonly careless gesture that showed the torrent of memories and emotions distracting the young rogue.
And yet her eyes flitted past the group as she finished speaking to the columns of ice that were their homes. Her mouth tightened in the pain of new memories and her hands ceased their open gesture to rest lightly but purposefully on the pommels of the short swords. She gathered her thoughts and her memories as her eyes flashed around her as if suddenly worried of dangers. The second meaning of her statement became apparent: it was good they were back, but this place was home no longer.

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Having just gotten to the place where the group was standing, due to his slow and careful pace across the, Allan greets his old friend. "Cox! Good to see you again!". He then envelops Celecox in a bearhug that drives the air his lungs. He then goes on to do the same with every member of the group, relenting if someone turns him away with a gesture.

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Cox remains stood close to his sister, but his gaze sweeps over all assembled as he speaks.
"Is anyone aware of another coming. Mail takes some little time to find me, so I haven't heard from anyone saying either that they are coming or not. Apart from Shola, that is," referring to a young human girl who had been rescued with them, and had later been adopted by a family from Fortitude. "If you didn't hear, Shola died in a fire about five years ago."

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Calcarab’s eyes widened a bit at the news of Shola’s demise. She had been a kind soul who had shared many a hearty game of ball with the aasimar and his sister. His heart clouded over to hear of her demise. “That is, in fact, sad news, friend Celecox. We should all give a moment of pause, out of respect for Shola and all of the others of our home who will not be able to make this journey.” Calcarab’s words struck a cord in the others, bringing to mind their families and loved ones who had not survived the holocaust that had orphaned them in the multiverse at large. The Emporer, closed his eyes and bowed his head, his wings folding around his body in solemn gesture.

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Eili's eyes widen at the news of the girl's death, and her ears lay down sadly. Shola was supposed to live. She made it out of the town with the few others, that meant she survived. She was supposed to keep surviving. Eiliara bows her head, squeezing her eyes shut.

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The happy, yet cold reunion is interrupted abruptly as all of the gathered people feel the hairs on the back of their necks rise from a sensation of danger. A faint scratching noise across the ice, and the sudden movement in the still air alerts the group to the presence of other beings. They snap to attention just in time to see two icy creatures running toward them across the frozen courtyard. In the gleaming light, the travelers get a good glimpse of their assailants. Felines, large, panther-like beasts made entirely out of blue ice, charge across the icy ground toward the group, their cold fangs glimmering in the light as they run.

The creatures attacked the first person to catch their eye, lunging at the Emperor of Elysium with their mouths wide, icy fangs gleaming. Calcarab spots the oncoming assault just in time and barely manages to sidestep the attack, slipping slightly on the slick ice. The ice-cats land in a graceful crouch and quickly whirl around, fangs bared and eyes glaring angrily.

And now, time for the first combat!

I have just rolled everyone's initiative to make things simple -- I will probably roll combat initiatives, but you are free to make your own rolls otherwise.

The initiative order is as follows:

Calcarab
The Cats
Cox and Eiliara (Act on the same initiative, either of you may post first while the combat lasts)
Allan
Amy

If you are making an attack or check, just post the result at the end of your post and let me know what you're doing.

Also, consider that the cats are within melee reach. Make sure to let me know if you're going after Cat A or Cat B.

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Calcarab stood perilously on the ice, his wings extended to aid in his balance. The aasimar's calm violet eyes leveled to regard the felines. On any prime world it would be assumed that such beasts were mindless monsters bent on destruction, but the planar Emperor knew that beasts such as this often were more intelligent than one could immediately tell.

"We do not wish you harm," he spoke in a soothing yet commanding tone - his intense violet eyes gazing into the eyes of the ice beasts, "We are merely passing through this area and will leave your territory if you so wish. Be warned, however, that the foe you now face are Calcarab I, Emperor of Elysium and Protector of the Planes of Truth and Light, and his associates. We will defend ourselves if we must. Please, leave us be."

The Emperor's hand had fallen to the hilt of his rapier, though he made no move to draw it, waiting, instead, to see what the frigid felines would do.

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If the icy predators understood Calcarab, they made no sign, immediately lunging again. One made its mark, biting painfully into the Emperor's arm as it lunged. It released and fell back, cool blue fangs stained red by the aasimar's blood.

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Calcarab grunted as the feline's attack hit home, a look of pain and anger crossing his face. "So be it," he said, his voice somewhat tight from the pain, "Do not let it be said that you were not warned."

Calcarab's hand clasped his rapier and drew it in one quick motion. He lunged with the thin blade, but the pain in his arm caused his swing to go far awry and he was forced to pull back quickly or else recieve another nasty scratch from the icy beasts.

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If AMy was surprised, none of it reached her face. Instead a blank look of purpose settled over her finely elven features as she took stock of the situation. She unsheathed both short swords in a swift motion and watched her friends to see who needed help.

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We're too close for the sort of fight that Cox prefers (peppering the opponent with arrows), so Cox draws his longsword and steps up to swing at Cat B.

[OOC: If I've understood you right, you want d20 results here, rather than your rolling them all for us. If this is so, Cox hit a disappointing AC 13]

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OOC: Yeah, you have the right idea.

Cox's blade struck a glancing blow on the feline, bouncing harmlessly off the creature's icy hide.

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Cox grimaces, and moves (takes his 5 foot step) to move closer or in front of his sister.

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Eiliara lets out a small cry at Calcarab's injury, and raises a hand to him; she drops it back to her side when she realises there's nothing she can do. She whispers, 'Protect me,' and conjures a glowing form of light to interpose itself between her and the cats.

'Emperor,' she says, 'be merciful, please.'

OoC: Eili casts Dancing Lights and forges them into a glowing person.

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Allan, previously somewhat subdued after hearing of Shola's death, is now, seeing that a fight is inevitable, again his cheery self. He draws his warhammer, not bothering to take his shield off his back, and approaches the nearest cat. "Why try to reason with them", he asks Calcarab, "when you can simply beat them senseless." He makes his point by swinging his warhammer down at the cat.

{Moves into a position to attack Cat A}
{D20 roll+modifiers=4+5=9}

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The feline smoothly slid to the side, avoiding Allan's hammer. The big man's hammer slammed into the icy ground, sending a spiderweb of cracks across the surface of the frozen landscape.

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Amy slips behind the icy creature threatening her brother, looking for a weak spot to slip in her swords. She lunges at the first oppurtunity, the cold iron of the blades flashing dully in the frozen light.

Amy moves to flank Cat B, which I take to be a five-foot step since she was hugging Cox right before the cats showed up.
First attack roll: 15 +1 -2 = 14 Damage: 1d6 +1d6 (sneak)= 6
Second attack roll: 18 +1 -2 = 17 Damage: 1d6 +1d6 (sneak)= 4

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Amy's first strike bounced harmlessly off the crystalline body of the ice cat, but her second pierce struck true, driving into the creature's body. It howled in pain as she struck it and glared balefully at the young woman.

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Eiliara's pleas for mercy were heard and understood by her brother. The Emperor thrusted again, once again completely missing his mark. "These beasts won't require my mercy if I keep this up, dear Duchess," Calcarab said with a smirk.

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Ooh, second round already. Doesn't time fly when you're having fun?

I realise that the cats get to go before me, but as I'm here, I'll roll my results now, and they can be applied after the cats have gone.
Cox continues to attack cat B, but misses.

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Sorry for the delay, everyone. Been very busy lately and will continue being busy for the next few days.

The felines growled angrily and crouched cautiously, crystalline eyes gleaming. One pawed curiously at the glowing figure that had appeared before it and, in frustration, snarled and exhaled. A cone of snow and ice crystals sprayed forth from its mouth, encompassing the lights and the girl behind them.

The other cat, meanwhile, whirled about and swiped at Amy. Its claw raked into the girl's flesh, followed quickly by a savage bite. Cold shot through the young woman's body as the icy claws and fangs sank into her skin.

Eiliara takes 4 damage -- Reflex save vs. DC 10 for half.

Amy takes 6 damage.

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Paging Bob the Efreet! I'm guessing you're not back from your convention yet, so we'll move on. Allan, go ahead and go. Bob, if you get back before the end of the round, go ahead and post. We'll assume that Eiliara is delaying action if you make it back in time.

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Seeing Amy's plight, Allan turns toward her, and makes his way to her side, recklessly ignoring any attacks from the cats. Having made his way there, he begins casting a spell.

(Move to Amy{I'm assuming I'm close enough to do that})
(If possible, position myself so that casting my spell doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity)
(Casts Cure light wounds on Amy, sacrificing Enlarge person)
(Roll 1d8+1=5+1=6)

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With Allan's spell a liquid coolness flowed through Amy's body, somehow different from the cold outside. The cat's clawmarks stopped burning and the skin tightened as the wound closed. She felt immensely better, but there was no time to thank the tall human now. Amy did manage a smile, though, remembering for the first time in many years the security of traveling with friends. This revelation fueled the need to press the attack and save her friends.

Two more sneak attacks
First attack roll: 16 +1 -2 = 15 Damage: 1d6 +1d6 (sneak)=11
Second attack roll: 10 +1 -2 = 9 Damage: 1d6 +1d6 (sneak)= 9

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Sorry for the delay -- Am in the process of moving to a new house. I will attempt to post this evening, assuming my internet is up and running like it should be.

UPDATE: Again, sorry. I'm still not fully settled in, will try for Sunday.

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The impact of Amy's first strike caused the icecat to shatter. The beast simply cracked and fell apart, pieces of once-living ice evaporating into steam and dissipating completely. As the feline vanished, a tiny cube, three inches to a side, fell gently onto the ground. An intricate sigil was carved into the side of the cube, but the others still had the other feline to worry about, and couldn't get a good enough look at the cube just yet.

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OoC: Reflex save 13+5=18 - Eili takes 2 damage.

IC: Eiliara cries out at the blast of icy shards, the luminescent figure before her fading away. She moves to position herself so that Calcarab is between her and the remaining cat.

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“You are alone, beast, your ally has fallen,” Calcarab said in his sonorous voice, a tone that demanded respect and obedience in his voice. The Emperor brought his rapier around in a slicing arc and then thrusted forward piercing the frozen feline’s side in an apparently painful wound. “Surrender now and you will not be destroyed.”

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The beast roared angrily at the pain shooting through it and whirled on Calcarab. If it understood the Emperor's words, it didn't show any sign, lunging angrily at the aasimar. It missed pathetically, though, claws swinging wildly as Calcarab easily stepped out of the way.

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Cox positions himself to strike at the remaining ice cat, before swinging at it, although he tries to remain between the cat and Amy if at all possible.

(Rolls 13, hit AC 15, if that's good enough then did 3 points of damage).

OOC: Whilst I remember, I will be away on a course from Sunday evening until Friday evening. I hope to be able to get to a computer sometime during that time, but it is possible that I won't be able to.

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Cox's strike caused the feline to shatter, much like the first. As the ice evaporated into steam, and then dissipated, a small cube toppling onto the ground in its wake. The cube was identical to the first, with a unique sigil on one face.

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Cox looks closely at the cube, trying to identify the marking on it, although he is careful not to touch it. Whilst he does so he tries to wrack his memory to see if he is aware of any creatures that might match what they have just fought.

(two d20 rolls, a 4 and a 19 respectively. Possible relevant knowledge modifiers, nature +6, the planes and arcana +2. Apply as appropriate.)

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Eiliara sighs at the destruction of the last cat, but a bit of tenseness leaves her. 'Any idea what those were?' she asks, walking over to crouch near one of the cubes. 'I don't remember them from...' Eili trails off, and shakes her head slightly. A little more sullenly, she returns to peering at the cube - taking a hint from Cox she doesn't pick it up.

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Calcarab lowers his head a moment and mutters a silent prayer for the good graces of the celestial planes upon the dead. Opening his eyes he kneeled in front of the cube Eili was looking at, gazing over the rune inspectively.

"It is no marking I have ever seen nor heard of," he said, rubbing his chin. "I wonder where those beasts came from. The Duchess is correct, no such animal ever threatened us before the catastrophe... perhaps these creatures came along with whatever sealed the fate of this, our ancestral home."

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A sharp nod from Amy indicates to her brother that she agrees, and the firm set of her jaw shows her distress at the level of destruction their home has endured. Shifting her gaze to the horizon, a strange warped horizon from the tight limits of the demiplane, the half-elf reminds everyone of a spooked animal who has not yet calmed. Her intention is clear: what other animals lurk in this place they used to live, and how close are they?
Despite her nervousness, Amy's gaze keeps flickering back to the cube showing her obvious interest. Expectantly she looks up at the Duchess, apparently waiting for her do act. It is several moments before Eiliara realizes that the half-elf expects her to cast a spell to solve the mystery.

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"I've seen something like that symbol before" says Cox suddenly. "There's a tree like it on the Beastlands. I can't quite place exactly where at the moment." He thinks for a moment more, then shakes his head in exasperation.

"Perhaps we should find somewhere less exposed. If you'd like to follow me, I can take you back to my shelter. I can pick up the rest of my stuff, and it's large enough for us all the be out of the weather, just about."

Even as he says this, Cox is scanning the horizon for anything else moving, and following the tracks of the cats with his eyes. Amy, at least, understands that Cox is upset that he wasn't aware of any creature of this size in the area.

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Seeing her brothers discomfort Amy nods. The simple gesture meant that she agreed with returning to a shelter, and to comfort him by showing that she didn't blame him for not noticing the creatures. She gave another curious look at the cube, a look which assured the others that she was not finished thinking about the item, and sheathed her weapons to go. The way her hands still hovered by her belts, however, reminded the group that danger might not be gone completely.

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"Then this is what we shall do," the aasimar said with finality.

He made a motion with his hand and spoke in a strong commanding tone. "By the names of the Five Companions, and by my sister's name, Eliara, and by my own name, Calcarab I of Elysium, it is demanded that you enter my possession."

The two rune-encrusted cubes floated gracefully off of the ice and into Calcarab's pack.

"Now, sir Celecox, let us retire to your lodgings. We may regroup and come up with a new course of action there."

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Cox leads the others towards where he has slept for the past few days.It isn't far, but is out of the wind, and the weather, and is dry. It isn't one of the underground shelters - too many bad memories attached to those.

Basically, it is what used to be someone's house, but looks as though it was abandoned before the disaster. The upper level is unusable, but the ground floor remains accessible, if you don't mind having to duck in through an open window (the door is frozen solid), and although the room that the window opens onto is pretty unpleasant (the wind does get in there), the two rooms that lead off it are quite snug, albeit unfurnished.

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Aemyon took a cursory glance around the jumbled room that the window opens onto. Snow flurries shifted across the floor like insects diving for cover now that the residents are home. She let her cloak go and moved into the other rooms, a silent shadow fading into the gloom of the abandoned house. As she passed Cox, she gave a faint smile and put a hand to the bloody tear where the cat had ripped her. The skin was completely repaired, but there was still a twinge, as if her ribs remembered the icy claws. She was determined to work the sensation out of her muscles before they went anywhere else and she sat down in a corner to massage it.

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Eiliara stretches as she walks across the room, lifting her arms above her head for a couple moments. She moves through the ice and debris somewhat clumsily, stumbling over a few things she apparently didn't notice. On the other side of the room she turns to briefly glare at the floor that so maligned her before slipping off her boots, leaving them at the doorway to the inner room before stepping inside. Twirling about a couple times, she turns to face her brother.

'Emperor,' she says, 'let's have a look at those cubes. They're surely something interesting.'

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Cox glances at both Eiliara and her brother, clearly interested in the cubes, but starts to build a fire instead. He builds it in the entrance room, as both the open window, and the impassable staircase (behind which must lie some open space) combine to give a flow of air in the room that will take the smoke away. The wood burns badly, but catches eventually, although the heat that it gives off is, at first, only slight.

Once the fire is going, Cox turns to see what Calcarab and Eiliara have been up to, and to see if Amy is still in the further room.

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