The Nameless Scourge II

A JP by Tahjerius, Ender, Thaen, and LSP

((Ship of the Fair Lady, Kobroran Sea))

His sword arm knocked away, Ponce simply drew his left arm back, and with a great shout, he exclaimed, "ENOUGH!" and his hand shot forward, gripping the weapons master's face. He growled, giving everything he had, and he could feel the pain, the exhaustion, the forces of gravity as he moved, all exhilarating, and pushed the man into the floor, and he crashed into the boards with a momentous thud.

The weapons master lied there, the boards below him having given way as he collided into them, and he now found himself in the collapsed cavity, covered in sawdust, splinters, and pain. So much pain. He looked to the sorcerer, who now was likely going to try and finish him. He had something for him though, one last spell, though he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to cast it in time.

Ponce turned with an annoyed growl as the undead guard from earlier rose, clutching its blade and lurching at the sorcerer, swinging wildly. He effortlessly dodged the blade, before stabbing into the mindless zombie with his own blade. The guard shivered and dropped in a heap, motionless. It seemed it was over, as the guard laid limp for a moment. Then, several more purple worms seemed to crawl out of the woodwork and enter the guard. Joseph was still dazed from Ponce's attack that he just noticed the guard convulsing. Then, its eyes stopped glowing purple, and became pitch black, like an odd darkness had taken the corpse.

It picked itself up once again and slowly approached Ponce, its movements more fluid and less janky, as if it was alive now, more so than dead. From its wounds, twisted flesh grew to replace it, some tentacles poking out from where there once horrible gashes. There were clicks and snaps as the corpse adjusted its once broken bones, no doubt healed by the twisted power at work. Once the corpse of the guard was healed, its pitch-black eyes, its eyes changed to appear somewhat normal, if it wasn't for the unearthly purple irises that replaced his old eye color.

Joseph looked at the guard, "What in the hell happened?" The guard smirked at Ponce before speaking in his normal voice, with a dark echo at the end, "I should hate you for killing me, however, you are also the reason I was enlightened. Shame that you work for the Being, we could have been good friends. However it doesn't matter, my new master has given me a new life, and your actions, Ponce, are ruining his work to take this world. So I shall stop you, now." He lifted his hand and his long sword flew directly into his hand, fleshy tentacles wrapped around the blade, changing it to a twisted blade with some twisted flesh growing from it. He pointed the blade at Ponce, "How about we make this fun, you can call me Sabriel, I work for the powerful entity that many know as the Nameless. Now, why don't you introduce yourself?"

Joseph motioned Jeke to get out of there, his mark was going insane by the presence of the resurrected guard, whoever he used to be, he was an enemy.

"It must sting for your master to know that a single mortal is stepping over his plans again and again. Well, if I were you, Sabriel, I think I would just defect to the winning team."

Sabriel sighed, "You are a nuisance at best. It's cute how you think you are so much stronger than you really are, doing all this madness for a creature that doesn't even acknowledge you."

"And I suppose requiring a master to hold your hand is much more admirable?" Ponce questioned with a gentle tilt of his head.

Jeke worked to free himself, gasping as the adrenaline could not keep up with the pain. As he pulled himself up from his hole, he hissed in a bit of pain as he found a wood splinter lodged into his shoulder. Reaching behind him, he yanked it loose with a quick motion. He quickly looked at the two as they pointed blades.

His hand gripped the hilt of his bastard sword as he raised and drew. He took two pained steps forward and stabbed Sabriel from behind, aim true as the tip erupted from the man's chest.

Sabriel looked down at the sword in his chest, tentacles busted from his wounds and enveloped the blade, dark cracks began to form. Joseph pulled Jeke away just as the tentacles consumed the blade and shot it out, hitting Joseph in the shoulder, he shouted in pain. Sabriel's wound closed quickly, "The Mother dies on this ship, you and your chaos lord won't stop it, not the fair lady, and not the old guardian." He lunged with his sword, Ponce blocked the attack, only for Sabriel to pierce his hand right through Ponce's shoulder before ripping it out, "You are alone, you will fall like so many."

"Ggrrgh!" Ponce exclaimed through gritted teeth, taking a haggard step backward.

"Joseph," Jeke whispered to him, gripping his Helios. "Your mark is a curse but whatever that is, I think I can beat it. I need to get this in him again," he finished, meaning his sword.

"That did literally nothing," Joseph replied, rotating his shoulder to ease the pain.

"I know. But let's see how it likes the sun." He stood fully. "Don't let him get away, that assassin."

Once more, Jeke charged with his sword. His footfalls were noticed and Sabriel swiftly turned away from Ponce to parry the weapons master's sword. "Persistent, aren't you? Fine, I will grant your death wish…" Sabriel slashed and cut with his own sword, Jeke barely blocking multiple strikes with parries. Each time, the Weapons Master felt his arms shake with the impacts that were far stronger than they should have been.

The man chuckled as he drove his sword into Jeke's chest, shoving him to the wall of the hallway. "You should have run, Jeke Kerron," Sabriel mentioned as he held the blade in place, Jeke crying out as a rib fractured.

Kerron looked at the man. He gripped his sword tightly in hand. "You should have gone for the head," was his gritted response. This time, he batted the blade away and twirled it expertly to stab the being in the abdomen. Sabriel grinned widely as the black tentacles once more began to encompass the weapon.

"Helios!" Jeke cried.

There was a flash of golden sunlight, the blade burning deep as Sabriel screamed in immense pain. Joseph came from behind with a savage downward stroke into the back. Jeke yanked the sword free, blood and darkness burning from the blade as he kicked the man through a cabin door. The wooden splintered under the weight of the man as he fell backward, Joseph dipping out of the way just in time.

Jeke stood, sword poised for only a second before it dropped. The glow disappeared, its owner clasping his chest as he dropped to a knee. He ripped open his tunic and sure enough, his mithril shirt stopped the blade. Damn, that smarts, he thought in pain.

"Now where'd that assassin get to?" Jeke spoke, turning around to where Ponce just was, only to see the sorcerer was missing, and a path of blood splatters that trailed out of the room.

Ponce snarled as he went, the growing severity of the cracks on his face a representation of how he felt inside. First, the assassin's hideout was discovered, and now this!?

"I'll be damned if I let this slip away from me, too!" Ponce spoke aloud, pieces of his smooth fair skin peeling away to reveal ragged, purple-tinted flesh.

"What, who goes there?" A guard said, rounding the corner, only for Ponce to grip the man by his gambeson, "Get out of my way!" before launching him with force, sending him careening toward a wall, crashing into it, and falling in a heap.

He rounded the corner himself, finding a hall with an elaborate door at the end, and two guards stood at it, most likely to keep an attacker from getting in. Ponce approached, sword at his side as he glared at them.

"Make this easy and move aside." He said with a grim expression.

The men looked to him with horror but unsheathed their weapons nevertheless.

"If you think we're just going to lay down and die so that you can kill the Mother, you've got another thing coming."

Ponce raised an eyebrow, before looking back to see a straggler guard had shown up behind him.

"So many assumptions. I was going to spare you, but make no mistake, if you stand in my way, you will die."

Ponce exploded forth with short warning, crashing into the left guard at the door with reckless abandon. With a growl, he forced the right guard away as he tried to slash at the sorcerer, before assaulting the left guard once more with a hard right hook. He heard footfalls of someone approaching his flank, grabbed the dazed man in front of him, and with a wince, spun, only for a blade to slash across the man's chest as the flank guard ripped into his ally. With a wave of his hand, one of his throwing blades flew free, slicing into the attacking man, dropping him as well. Whipping left with his hand, the blade pierced through, exciting the first man's body and flying toward the last. The man put his arms in front of him, and the razor bit into them, embedding themselves in his flesh. The man shouted in pain, only for Ponce to finish him with a thrust through the gut.

With a breath, Ponce gripped his wound, bracing himself against the door. Even now, blood was still running down his blackened leather armor. He needed to stem the bleeding, now. He looked to his hand and thought of a hot stick with a hot coal at the end. With a blink, said item rested in his grip. He learned his teeth and pressed it through the hole in his armor to the wound. There was a sizzle as his flesh burned, and he let out a scream of pain, before pulling it away and throwing the metallic stick and coal to the ground. Just barely regaining focus, he turned at the sound of footsteps.

A mass of tentacles in the shape of a man slammed Ponce's face into the wooden door. It seemed when Sabriel was blasted by the sword of blazing sun, his body had transformed into the disgusting mass and reformed. It transformed into an enraged Sabriel and punched Ponce in the gut, before stabbing him with bony spikes. He threw him across the boat and attempted to open the door to the Mother, a knife landed in his hand. He turned to see a winded Joseph and Jeke, "You know, you two are becoming a nuisance now." He ripped the blade out and blasted a fireball in their direction, "Pests!"

The two dived out of the way as the fireball crashed into the deck, splitting the wood tiles it did hit, and setting the ones it grazed aflame. Jeke looked up, the feeling of his face pressed against the floor much more familiar now than he’d care to admit. But as he shook the pain away, his eyes rested on the burning wood.

“Oh shit,” He said, standing and quickly moved to the flame, stomping on it to try and put it out.

“I don’t know if Belmae’s going to be able to stop that thing alone!” Joseph exclaimed, coming to Jeke.

“The damn sword barely did anything… what do we have that can stop it?” Jeke said with a tone of frustration, finally stamping the flame out.

“I don’t know, but…” Joseph turned towards the room, before giving Jeke a look, and charging off.

“Wait, what? What are you going to do?”

Joseph turned back, “I’m going to fight fire with fire.”

Jeke regarded him with a puzzled look, before turning at the sound of a pained grunt. He turned to see the sorcerer, once again haven risen, though covered in slashes and blood. Ponce stumbled forward, reeling, nearly falling, and managing to catch himself against a wall. Jeke despised that man, or whatever he was, but he had to give him props for his determination. Any other person would have given out by now, and still he found the strength to rise. Ponce looked up, only just now noticing the Weapons Master, and clutched his sword, taking an awkward and exhausted stance. He had more in the tank, he knew he did, but with the egregious amount of damage he had taken by this point, his body wasn’t going to allow him to go any further.

“How can you kill so recklessly, sorcerer? How do you sleep at night?”

Ponce exhaled slowly, his ragged breaths sounding almost as if they themselves caused him pain.

“I don’t... swordsmaster. I haven’t… not in several days…”

Jeke looked at him in frustrated confusion, “What do you fight for?”

“Everything.” Ponce answered without breath or hesitation, “I have peered into the endless void of stars beyond this world and I know what stares back. I only kill those who stand in my way, those who stand aside, I let live. I am not merciful, but I do what I must. And my work will be finished.”

“No.” Jeke Kerron said to the sorcerer, “You’re going to answer for your crimes, you’re done now.”

Ponce raised an eyebrow, “No, not yet, but the Mother will be if you don’t deal with that thing.”

Just as he spoke those words, there was a crash as several boxes and other objects clattered to the ground, the sounds of intense struggle echoing from the room. Jeke turned, and only glanced back towards the sorcerer, just to find him gone, dimming embers of scroll parchment slowly falling where he once was. Jeke exhaled, his expression stony and determined, and turned, sword at the ready to face the wrath that resided in the next room.

An unearthly screech could be heard as the thing that was Sabriel, white flames consuming it, howled and screamed as it writhed in pain. It's form was no longer that of a man, but the mass of tentacles again. Joseph flinched as the flames nearly consumed the creature, it snared at the door, "The Anthema Acts! Curse you Guardian!"

Joseph used the opportunity to blast the thing with a bolt of black flames, sending it on the floor. Purple light blew out both flames. The mass of tentacles looked at Jeke, "You've been the guardian."

"The what-" Jeke asked under his breath, still clutching his sword and trying to determine whether he should stab the thing in whatever was its face, or listen to what it had to say. An answer came, though, when the thing all of a sudden rose up in a last ditch effort to harm the weapons master. Jeke quickly prepared to strike, only to see a quartz war maul slam down atop the tentacled mess of an assailant.

"That's enough of that." Belmae declared, a scowl upon her face as the monster laid still. A silence fell upon the room for a moment as everyone took in the thing that lay supposedly dead before them, as well as all the carnage that it and the white-haired assassin that had come before it had wrought.

"Well, I guess we throw it off the ship, " Jeke spoke, starting at the remains in his own state of awe, "Unless anyone wants sush-"

"Wait, is it moving again?" Joseph interrupted, slowly raising his longsword. Everyone in the room looked down at it, and it had indeed began writhing once more. Belmae raised her mual once more, preparing to finish it once and for all, however before she could, the creature leaped across the room, slithering out of the door.

"No no no, not again!" Joseph groaned, shorting out of the door with Jeke in tow. The two warriors sprinted as fast as their exhausted bodies could take them, trailing the monster to the side of the ship, where it proceeded to slither atop the railing. Shifting now, it molded itself into the form of a man, and it wore the same face of the fallen man whose body it had disgracefully possessed.

"Why don't… you just give up… huh?" Jeke spoke in between breaths. The weapons master had incredible stamina, but today had been nothing short of trying, and after having to pick himself up from a bloodied and bruised mess far too many times for one day, the warrior was rightfully exhausted.

The creature, once a man, and now this… thing that chose to call itself Sabriel, grinned at the two.

"You two are formidable, I'll give you that. And if it weren't for the… intervention of forces above and beyond, this all may have been that much easier. But this battle has been lost, I'll accept that. Don't drop your guards though, " He raised his hands, stretching them out either way.

"The Nameless is a being of infinite wisdom, and unyielding perseverance. We will reign supreme, in spite of the guardians of this world, or interlopers of the next."

And with that, he tilted back and proceeded to let himself fall. Out of pure reflex, Jeke lurched forward and reached out, only to find his effort was too little, too late. Sabriel disappeared over the edge of the ship, yet as Jeke peered over, he saw only the dark waves below, and no sign of the servant of twisted chaos. Joseph came to his side but a moment later, peering over the edge as well.

"Do you think he just held on to the edge?" Joseph eventually asked him.

Jeke stared down at the waves for a moment, "No, no way he could have physically vanished like that. Had to be magic, some kind of transportation or teleportation spell."


The two looked at the waves for a bit, mostly just glad to not be chasing something, or trying to kill something, or trying not to be killed by something. The silence was calming, especially with the thoughts that those things were still out there lingering in both the men's minds.

"You know, in all the years I've been doing this, this is the first time I've seen any of this. To this extent, at least."

"This past week has been pretty unusual, huh?"

"Unsual? Ha! More like bat-shit insane, " Jeke said, turning and shaking his head as he went.

Jeke stopped to turn to the cursed warrior, "Come on, let's get back and report to the Paladin, and in the future, try to keep the eldritch magic at a minimum,"

Joseph signed,"I'll try, but with this mark, it's likely to go crazy."

"I'm going to go crazy at this rate…" Jeke muttered under his breath as he pushed open the door to the Mother's quarters.

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