HH: Loren & Jigano
charks the shark
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#1
Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver

The Labyrinth

Boggarts pick your most primal fears, but what if there are fears lurking within that you didn't even know you had?

The steep overgrown walls of the maze become hardened like rock, and a sound like a bull on steroids bellows from somewhere behind you. Something instinctive within you responds, wanting to run, to flee. Fire explodes behind you, and inexplicably you turn to see a bull bathed in flames with eyes like pinpoints of harsh starlight and strands of lava-like saliva dripping from its mouth. Lowering its horns, it charges.

All you can do is run. Vaguely in the distance you hear the sound of water, of lapping waves, of an ocean.

Fire or water. The choice is yours.

This Halloween Hijinks thread is for Loren and Jigano. Occasionally I may pop in to mix things up, but you are welcome to PP the situation as you see fit. Please remember to use the NPC account when you reply, and try to post your replies within 72 hours of each other.
You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.
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#2
LOREN
He ran.

Which was stupid, when he had more than enough abilities to overcome this bizarre sensation of fear. But it rankled, it defied, it sent him to extending long limbs and racing along the labyrinth’s threshold, an inherent, inborn sensation unfurled by pure instinct and not much else. His eyes caught the telltale burst of flames, the sensation of infernos burning against his skin, threatening to surge; and then there was the bull itself, appearing, charging, horns and fires, devastation and demolition.

Hadn’t he experienced this enough? Hadn’t he been through trial after trial, tribulation after tribulation? What had he done this time, to deserve such terror? How many times would he be forced to face such adversities? Or what hadn’t he done, extending his misfortune somewhere in the collective unknown?

And while he rushed, while he paced, he mulled over the possibilities of his impending doom. Was there something he could summon to counter-act the rage, the stampede, the assault? Out of some bizarre weight of panic (when was the last time he’d been seized by trepidation?), his thoughts weren’t quite as calculating as they should’ve been, his powers summoning a siren (while simultaneously creating ear plugs), hoping to draw the bull away from himself, a lure, a snare on songs.
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#3
JIGANO
Jigano thought, at first, that he was dreaming. Had he fallen asleep, perchance, with his nose in one of his books? Or worse, had he been dragged into the book? It wouldn’t be the first time. Whatever the reasoning behind his current situation, the bard knew that in this battle, fighting smart was the single reasonable option. Brute force (of which he was not renowned) would leave him little more than a bloody smear on the labyrinth flagstones.

And so, to put some much desired distance between himself and the Minotaur, he flew on ghostly wings through the serpentine pathways, croaking something like a mockery to the creature behind him. He wasn’t exactly a red rag, but the bull might still see him as a suitable target - and if he could lure it, he had time to think. And thinking was most definitely more his forte.

Unfortunately, his flight was interrupted by the most wonderful of songs, one that filled his mind in its entirety, one that threw the balance of his beating wings and set his flight feathers on edge, of such a thing were possible. Clicking his beak, Jigano turned his head this way and that to locate the noise - and flew into Loren’s back with a whump.
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#4
LOREN
Gods, was there anything else that could go wrong? How many circumstances did he have to run into? What had he done to deserve these measures? All he’d done lately was try to help others. Instead he wound up in this ridiculous mess.

Incapable of hearing the movement of wings, due to the ear plugs, he had no notion of anything creeping up behind him (which, to be fair, was probably foolish when he still, yup, he checked, had a bull running after his form), until it hit him square in the back. Instantly brazen, and potentially fearing the worst (the bull’s horn? Something else aiming to pierce him?), he glanced over his shoulder, legs still pumping, while he paid no attention to his surroundings. Only to the bird. The siren might’ve been off in the distance, not entirely certain. His features were more attuned to the beast at his spine.

“Do you mind?” It was a bristling sneer, made on impulse and impetuousness, the rush of stress and apprehension laden throughout his months, weeks, and days lingering and spent on this damned world. Why had he even bothered to come back, when everything kept cycling back to his failures, to his ineptitude?
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charks the shark
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#5
Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver
If anything, the siren's song seems to make the bull grow angrier. A great piercing cry can be heard through the Labyrinth as the bull skewers the summoned creature, and then a terrible, rumbling bellow which shakes the very earth on which Loren stands and makes Jigano tremble in the air.

There's red light and steam coming from between the thickly tangled and leafy walls, pouring around the place where Loren and Jigano stand. It's rather suffocating, and if they aren't careful they may find themselves seeing things that aren't there....
You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.
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#6
JIGANO
Perhaps it is good fortune that sent the bard crashing into the summoner, his feathers ruffled as he fell to the ground, momentarily shaken by the surprise. That moment of impact was all it took to free him from the enchantment of the siren's dulcet tones, though he still felt the chill of the haunting song threatening to pull him back into its grasp. How he yearned to find its source, to study the owner of such a beatific voice! To sing alongside her into the night, hymns of adventure and romance and-

No. The raven croaked a strangled sound, shaking his head to clear it once more. There was the beast to consider, and now the summoner as well. He would like to work together to coordinate an escape, but Loren's brusque manner and easy sneer would make that into an imposing challenge. Gods least fortunate, why couldn't he have found a more agreeable companion? Ah, well, there would be time to commiserate later, when their lives were not at risk.

Beating powerful wings the raven rose once more, flying around Loren in a sweeping circle just as the terrible scream pierced the air around them, shaking the Sage to his core. "Look!" he informed the summoner before rising up among the insurmountable hedges in an attempt to catch a glimpse of their pursuer. The Minotaur, more smoke and fire than actual flesh, seemed able to navigate the labyrinth with unjust ease. Already Jigano could see the leaves trembling with its approach. They would need a better set of distractions, some way to lure it to other pursuits.

Dropping back down, the raven croaked his suggestion to Loren, praying the summoner would cooperate and not just push back out of childish spite. "Decoys! Right! We hide!" If they sent louder decoys down the winding paths, perhaps they themselves could escape by virtue of stealth, settling into an alcove and waiting for the storm to pass them by as they hid among the denser foliage where they might escape notice altogether.
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#7
LOREN
For some reason, he seemed to be surprised when the siren’s song was cut completely short; the bull rampaging, skewering the precious creature. It was gone within an instant, surprise reflected on the summoner’s face for only a moment, before grumbling within the bull’s monstrous bellow. “It’s because I’m a Launcelyn, isn’t it?” Couldn’t he catch a break? There was almost a childish glint to his eyes, suddenly not fearful of the damned creature before them (after all - what had he ever encountered that was worse than his family?), too morose, too melancholy, too piqued and pissed in his own ill pursuits –

Oh right, Jigano was there too.

The raven kept circling around him, causing his eyes to roll even as danger loomed quite close by. But he followed the directions, the motions of the raven, and then segmented his gaze back along hedges. Decoys? Couldn’t Jigano be a decoy? Maybe he could send the intrusive, nettling bird towards the bull, and make his own escape. On a sigh, which should’ve been more passionate, fervid, or quick, based on their current predicament, the summoner raised his hands and unleashed a few harpies, loud and brash, screaming their way down winding paths. Then he flatly ignored the rest of the Sage’s advice, ducking along another unfurling wall, choosing a different path.
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#8
JIGANO
For a brief moment the bard wondered whether his bristly companion would come through for the two of them - but come through he did, a flock of harpies screeching their way along the serpentine corridors of the labyrinth. Now if only he would follow the rest of the Sage’s instructions! The joy and elation that had bubbles up in his feathered breast plummeted just as quickly as Loren continued along his own way - giving a croak of (impatience? disdain?) warning, the white bird found himself caught between following the diversion and completing his own plan.

But then had he not left enough death in his wake during his life? Enough pain, enough hopelessness? It felt, still, as though he owed something to the world, Caido or otherwise... and allowing the foolish Abandoned to run to his doom would only cause his debt to grow.

Beating his wings, he urged himself after the Launceleyn, intent on trying to sway him towards caution... but then he swore the branches of the hedges tried to grab for him. No, surely that couldn’t be right! A trick? An illusion? Either way, the unfortunate Sage was caught, frantically trying to navigate around the wooden serpents that snapped and reached about him.
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charks the shark
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#9
Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver
The harpies are an excellent distraction, and for a moment it seems you may be safe.

But then the vines reach out and seize the white bird, and now Loren has to make a choice. Will he leave Jigano behind as another decoy, or risk wasting precious moments in an attempt to free him?

Jigano, meanwhile, will only find the snake hedge growing more restless the more he struggles. Maybe if he could figure out another tactic, they'd be more agreeable about releasing the raven...
You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.
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#10
LOREN
Were he in a better mood, Loren might not have hesitated at all. He might have lunged straight for savior moments and heroic complexities. But it was there, pressing against his skull (leave him behind an echo, a drifting void). His day gone completely south, however, left him prickly and bristling, and it was tempting to simply let Jigano remain behind. It would buy Loren more time. It would leave the Sage to his own devices. It would be cruel, but wasn’t Loren that way? Wasn’t that how he’d been raised – to be malicious, to be deadly, to be lethal, just like the rest of the Launcelyns?

Or was he trying, striving, to make a name for himself, instead of the one anointed and christened like devil’s handiwork?

He sighed, eyes catching and watching the harpies for a moment, then lunged for Jigano’s small form in the hedges. Within a moment, he’d created a pocketknife, and worked along the snaking, serpentine lines, attempting to cut the bird free. If the harpies, blessed, summoned creatures (thank the gods he still had a modicum of skill), could keep the wild beast entertained, he might have time to ensure the Sage’s safety too.
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