Makoto smiled at the little Chitine. "Oh, come on, Ulow. Cheer up. We got the book, no one died, and even our horses and Saiza's mule are okay." She pulled Ulow's hands away from her face again. "And just think of the wonderful reward Rin will have for us when we get back, eh?" She gave Ulow a flirty little wink.
Ulow appreciated the ninja's sudden change of mood and gave off a bit of a forced smile in return. Even if talking to Rin again would have extra stigma from now on, she could always count on a drink with good ol' Makoto. That was something at least.
An affectionate four-armed hug only got the larger woman a bit muddy, so Ulow quickly flinched away from it again, and concentrated on cleaning up the mess rather than try to think of an upbeat lie she could spout.
"...Sorry Makodo... Bed all'ya good cloths are back in Kisanugi... foolish..."
As the group made their way back to Kusanagi, they found their nights free of the strange monolith fueled dreams - if indeed dream was the appropriate words.
Still, something wasn't right. That incident, at the library, when Saiza had suddenly screamed and freaked out - there were more. And as time went on, it wasn't just Saiza. Makoto would scream and suddenly find herself holding her nagato, having no recollection of either screaming or drawing her weapon. Likewise with Veldan and her mindblade. It was if they group was seeing something, but forgetting about it.
Then it started happening with Blueberry and the horses - and Emi too.
The group was over halfway to Kusanagi when it happened. They saw. They all saw it, this time, and this time it didn't vanish, and they didn't forget.
They knew, somehow. All those times they had reacted and forgotten. This was it. This was what they were seeing.
And it was horrible.
The horror was roughly the size of a large Orc, although it lay on the ground. It's upper body was humanoid in most vague of senses, while its lower body was a writhing mass of oozing tentacles. And it was wrong. So wrong. So horribly, horribly wrong. It felt like Brookhaven. Like the Wrongheads and the Starspawn and the fog and the great and terrible Other. The group knew. They knew in every fiber of their being. This was something wholly and utterly alien. It did not belong here. It did not belong anywhere on the Great Wheel. The very grass beneath their feet seemed almost revulsed by the creature's presence.
And their heads hurt. There was a buzzing sound. In their minds. Like something scratching to get in. Or maybe to get out?
There was no slime-trail behind it, however. As far as the group could tell, the abomination has simply come into being right in front of Saiza, as the were riding.
Blueberry and the horses reacted instantly, before even Makoto could draw her weapon, bucking wildly and generally freaking out. The group managed to stay atop their mounts, but it was obvious they would have dismount quickly if they wanted to engage the horror, as there was no way the animals were going to stay anywhere near the thing.
Surprise round. The creature gets to act next round. Getting off your mount is part of a move action if you move, but if you just want to get off and not move, that's a move action in and of itself. No map because why bother? You're in a field on your horses when BAM! Horror out of nowhere.
Saiza = 25
Veldan = 14
Ulow = Did not roll. Reg is playing both so for convenience's sake.
Makoto = 10
Mathias = Did not roll. Duck is never around so he goes last.
The terror that whipped through Saiza left a numbed coolness in its wake. It was too much, all put together. After the hell the party had been going through the last few days, the appearance of...this was almost a relief. He staggered off of the bucking Blueberry, who fled back the way they'd come as he slipped on his eagle claws.
Too empty of emotions to panic at what he was about to do, Saiza leaped forward and dug the blades of the metal claws deep into the abomination.
Ulow didn't seem to believe what it was before her eyes at first, perhaps preferring the explanation that she had instead just finally gone truly, irredeemably insane. The rotten feeling it exuded was all too familiar by now. All too familiar. But just another unwelcome dream.
What made her scream, shiver, and quake was the fact that this time the others seen it too.
She had to resort to begging with herself to stay and face it, not to abandon Saiza. Her legs had pulled her off of the horse, but she wouldn't let them move any further.
If it was already within her head, how could she possibly conceive of fighting it with her powers?
A wispy ball of string gained presence within her hands, almost on it's own. She threw it at the thing, and simply preyed it would make some tiny contribution to slowing it's advance. A prayer for Saiza to change his mind.
The orb of web burst rather satisfactorily and knotted sever of the thing's limbs together. The effect might have looked as pathetic as Ulow felt, but there was just no will within her to fight it at all.
"...Saiza... Pleaze... Pleaze dond fighd... Pleaze dond... Id's already.... Pleaze..."