Thursday, 16 March 2017

Aephyus Lantern Year 11 (Part 2)

         There was no time for preparation or fuss before the survivors set out to fight the Hand. Somehow the four of them, Caleb, Gaea, Lorena and Icarus found the strength to march towards another showdown with one of the horrors the darkness had to throw against them. Cautiously they approached the Hand of the King who seemed to wait for them with an aura of impatience as he flourished his finely wrought blade in a series of complex maneuvers. Then, with a nod to the approaching survivors he sheathed his blade and waited. While there was definitely no lack of menace in the Hand's actions it appeared that he was more intent on showing his skills and strength off to the survivors than simply killing them where they stood. This realisation led the survivors to approach slowly and let the Hand make the first move.

Lightning fast he attacked Gaea, and though the uppercut was strong and fast, she found that it was well within her ability to dodge the strike. As quickly as the attack started, it stopped and the Hand merely regarded Gaea with an amused manner. She cautioned the others to remain back from the monster and prepared herself. The second test came soon after in the form of a flurry of quick armoured jabs, as quickly as they came though she was able to raise her shield and was able to catch all but one of the punches on its iron surface. The final jab went low but she was able to dodge it before it struck her. The hand, obviously amused and a little impressed by the Green Saviour let out a soft inhuman chuckle which sent the survivors into a panic. Gaea and Caleb, the bravest of the survivors found themselves brought to their knees in dread, while the minds of Lorena and Icarus nearly broke and they fled away from the monster. Quickly though, Gaea regained her feet thanks to the encouragement of the others and prepared to go a few more rounds with the monster.

Lorena and Icarus flee from the Hand.

This pattern continued on, the Hand would unleash devastating blows with his fists at Gaea and she would deftly turn them aside. Occasionally the Hand would single out Caleb as well, and though he was not so fast or tough as Gaea, he was able to use her old Leather Shield and the cover of some long grass to survive the blows. Finally, the Hand stopped and opened his arms wide, signalling for the survivors to approach. Lorena and Thalia were hesitant, but Caleb declared that his foresight had shown him that should they disobey they would face a harsh penalty. Thus the survivors assembled before the Hand but still held to the safety of a patch of long grass. The hand then unleashed heavy blows upon all four. Many punches went wide as the survivors dodged his attacks, others struck shields, and some found their targets, but when all was said and done the survivors remained standing before him, bruised but not bloodied. The Hand, impressed by the strength and audacity of the survivors, stepped back and began to applaud. The terrible sound of his armoured hands clapping forced the survivors to their knees and they began to writhe in agony. Icarus was sent into a near fatal state of shock, while Caleb and Lorena found that once the agony had subsided that they possessed an even greater strength than they had before. Gaea was the most changed of all, her already formidable physique being twisted into the epitome of that of a warrior. 

The survivors line up in the dark to take their beatings, all but Icarus come out the stronger for it.

Elated by their victory, the four made the short return to Aephyus and are initially greeted by the sights of hundreds of beautiful pollen clusters and flowers dancing in the air above the atmosphere. The entire settlement is overjoyed and exhilarated by the beauty and the thrill of their victories and they begin to frolic and celebrate. As the merriment continued though a few of the survivors began to drift to sleep. It was only later, after the party finished that the survivors even noticed that four of their number had fallen into a deep sleep from which they would not wake. For days they attempted to nurse them but on the third day death came. With a sickly popping sound the heads of the unconscious survivors split open, spilling seeds and brains onto the cold stone floor. There was little the survivors could do but clean up and erect graves.

The survivors make merry as the toxic spores infect some of their companions.

The deaths did not prevent the settlement from making the most of the resources that they had gathered from their hunt with the Lion and a period of relative prosperity was ushered in. The settlement developed a clan approach towards raising strong children and this was quickly put to use in raising Thalia's newborn twins, Dusk and Dawn, one of whom would ultimately become the settlements next Twilight Knight. The sound of clanging metal was also heard constantly as two new beacon shields were created to help protect the warriors of Aephyus in their future endeavors. The past lantern year had been a difficult one; they had faced monsters and a nemesis, and watched many of their own die to disease, but ultimately they had triumphed and made new weapons and brought forth even more children into the world.


So major SPOILER, but the Level 1 Hand fight is pretty easy as long as you have a tanky character or two, and is trivial with a Green Saviour so long as you just stand there and take your beating. That's about all there is to say about that one. The downside though is that since I've fought him early, it means I'm going to have to deal with a Level 2 during LY 13. Now I've fought a L2 before so I'm not too worried, but what it does mean is that I have one less Level 2 option to fight in LY19 which means I'm probably stuck fighting a L2 Butcher. All in all though it is well worth it in order to be able to hold onto my hard won iron and build a nearly full set of beacon shields.

In terms of the settlement phase I had to deal with necrotoxic mistletoe, this sucks but it's the price you pay for the Vespertine Bows and I pay it gladly. Ultimately I was left with enough endeavours to innovate Clan of Death and give birth to 4 new children, two of whom now have the Twilight Sword proficiency already at 3 thanks to being Thalia's children. This means next year I will send off Thalia to hunt so that she can move on with her quest of being a twilight knight and I can prepare her offspring to probably be the Twilight Knight I use in the watcher fight.

All in all, life in Aephyus is good!

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