< Meeting the Son | Red Ice Logs | The Final Journey >

Creatures without physical form, the dust-cloud guardians take the form of miniature men, maybe three feet tall with grossly extended limbs and over-sized hands and feet. Leaping from the clouds, wreathing themselves in substance from the dust, they tackle Iron Horse and Kinqueduran. Hands scrabble for the men's mouths, prying them open and trying to force their bodies down into the warm, fleshy bodies.

Other dustwraiths gather bodies around themselves, forming broken pottery into vicious claws to shred the flesh of the men, opening holes for them to enter. With silent screams, they fling themselves upon the two intruders and battle for perches in their bodies.

  • Kinqueduran drops to one knee, the scarlet lance flicking up. The razored edge cuts a path in the cloud of dust, the path continuing through the dust-wraith left momentarily hanging in the air when K dropped out from under him.

Unbalanced, the dustwraith waves its arms in protest, swirling in rage. Its anger stirs the air and it splits in two as Kinqueduran's blade slices through it, reuniting seconds later to dive again at the demon hunter.

  • Dustwraith explodes into two clouds of dust, covering Kin's tanned skin in a layer of grey grit. The other dustwraiths in the room, especially those attacking the Orange, gobble greedily at the clouds, enlarging their own forms from their dead brother.
  • Iron Horse growls as he half falls into a half crouch, the claws in his hands lashing out in flashes of Starmetal and steel as he turns into a whirlwind, tearing at the dustwraith threatening to clinch him and get in his mouth.

The wraith attacking Iron Horse ducks away, gathering fragments of the slain creature to him, growing larger as he howls silently at the young man for daring to strike him

A pair of the wraiths near Iron Horse attack as a pair, leaping for the young man's chest and digging their claws into the flesh above his heart, scrabbling to draw back skin, muscle and bone.

As the ancient pottery claws of Iron Horse's assailants scrabble against his chest, drawing only thin lines of red in his tough skin, Kin is beset by his own pair of the beasts. One clambers up his arm, diving head-first for his mouth with the other scratches at his stomach for a way inside the soft flesh.

  • Kinqueduran comes back to his feet, spinning. The covered shield in his left hand smites the beast aiming for his mouth, batting away the attack as his spear spins to thwack the other assailant's claws like a teacher punishing a misbehaving pupil.

The last of the creatures come against the Exalted, cackling for the failures of their companions and rending with their nasty claws.

Kinqueduran: Caught in a disadvantaged position, K's spear can't quite hinder the attack, and the monster's claws rattle against the Red's armor, leaving thin red lines that blend smoothly with the scarlet lacquer of the armor.

  • Dustwraith despairs even as it cheers its victory, it feels a hole open in the dusty substance of its body. Its own claws opened not only Iron Horse's chest, but its own dusty body.
  • Iron Horse glows an angry red for a moment, glaring at the wraith that attacked him
  • Kinqueduran slips easily into a low stance, spinning his shield across his front. The tattered linen cover unfurls from the shield, and the now-exposed brass scarab flashes wickedly, drawing the eye of the foe. K uses the fluttering linen to mask his attack as he lunges, driving his spear first into the wraith nearest Iron Horse, then ripping the blade sideways through the beast and into its nearby brother.

Kin's attack utterly destroys the first dustwraith, sending another plume of grey-brown grit into the hungry maws of the six that remain. The monster attacking Iron Horse is forced to dive away, losing its chance at the bloody wound in the young man's chest, but gaining a meal of dust and essence from its dead companion.

  • Dustwraith grapples with Kinqueduran, hoping the Exalt exhausted after his outburst of violence. As dusty hands reach for his mouth, the monster ripples, trying to force itself down his gullet.

Kinqueduran: The attack is once again thwarted almost casually, the Starmetal spear seeming to be everywhere at once.

  • Iron Horse pretty much bursts in light as Essence washes across his body and his hands. He's -hurt-, but he's even more angry by now. The young man nearly roars as he turns towards the dustwraiths rushing him, and he spins, claws grabbing both of them, and then smashing them against the floor, where he proceeds to try and MAUL them with his weapons.

The two wraiths snicker maliciously, fading away from the vicious blows even as a third, enraged by the enchantments on Kin's shield, howls for the Orange's blood

Kinqueduran: Howling, sadly, simply isn't enough to wound the Sidereal - a lesson the wraith learns via a quick snap from Kin's lance.

Despite its blood-lust, the wraith is defeated. As is it's friend.

  • Kinqueduran takes a fast step forward, the thick tomb air whistling through the pierce work of the lance head. The spear drives into the howling maw of one wraith and continues, scattering dust as it hungers for the creature behind it!

As the deadly spear nearly decapitates the first wraith, it falls to the ground where one of the others descends upon it, sucking its essence and body away to sate its own hungers. The second is trailing cinders and dust bunnies, but it still howls for blood and a body to inhabit.

  • Iron Horse takes that chance to step forward and slash down at the feeding wraith, aiming to pierce him -and- his wounded friend... but he doesn't remain there for long, spinning right around and lashing out at the two wraiths still harassing him. He's beginning to get pretty frustrated.

Though one of his targets escapes, Iron Horse finally slices through two of the wraiths, nearly dissipating one but only slightly harming the other as it feeds. Howling in pain, it dives for the wounded wraith, sucking at it's form as well.

Kin is beset by the blood-lusting wraith, not the least bit deterred by its previous defeat. Maybe it will be deterred by this defeat!

  • Kinqueduran darts in front of Iron Horse, shield before him. The Starmetal lance cuts down, hard!, into the wraith poised to strike at Iron Horse, then cuts a savage right, tearing its way through the dust-devil to bury itself in the other threatening wraith's neck!

Both wraiths are wounded, but neither is killed. The feeding wraith does not even stir from its vicious consumption of former allies, sucking down dust to fill the holes in its body. Swelling quickly, the cannibalistic wraith is nearly the size of Kinqueduran and growing larger every second as it strips the room and its fallen friends of dusty substance

  • Iron Horse grins back at Kin... and takes a few moments to SMASH down at the feeding wraith, claws stabbing and raking across its half-solid body, with every intention of finishing it off before it gets TOO big!

Kinqueduran: "Iron Horse, left, then right!"

  • Kinqueduran prays that Iron Horse will figure that out as Kin lunges in, striking first at the wraith on the right, then the one on the left.

Gathering in the remains of the monstrous cannibal, the two remaining dustwraiths loom nearly the size of the men whose bodies they seek to take for themselves. As Kin lashes out with his spear, the two wraiths leap together, sucking in all the dust around and even each other. Though wounded, the dustwraiths present a formidable foe as they unify to take at least one body for themselves.

  • Kinqueduran deflects the impressive attack, and sounds like a drill sergeant as he snaps at Iron Horse. "Kill it, son, kill it!"
  • Monster Dust Wraith? screams in rage, hammering its fists against the air as Kin deflects its blows, preventing the monster from taking his flesh.
  • Iron Horse blinks for a second at the wraiths become one, but then he hops back and jumps right above Kin as the creatures strikes unsuccessfully at him, flipping around in mid air and coming down towards the wraith like a drill. A drill with -very- sharp Starmetal claws! "RAAAA!!"

Dustwraith: "ARG!! WHY will you not give me a body!"

  • Kinqueduran straightens to his full height, his legs like mighty springs launching him upward, his leap headed up by flickering Starmetal. Kin also somehow finds an answer to the question, "You didn't ask NICELY!"
  • Dustwraith howls as it feebly bats away the spear, nearly losing an arm in the process. Now desperate and dying, the dustwraith leaps for Iron Horse's mouth, still open from his scream of rage.
  • Iron Horse lets the dustwraith meet his armored hands, batting it away. "And you are trying to -kill- us!"
  • Kinqueduran 's leap carries him up and over the dustwraith, and he turns midair, using his weight and momentum to drive the lance down through the wraith's torso.
  • Iron Horse turns while the thing is distracted, hops back, and then POUNCES towards the creature's back, slashing down at it's back with a loud growl. "You are also fighting ME!"

As its fist takes Kin in the jaw, the beast senses a moment of weakness and begins stuffing its massive body into his mouth. The Orange's cheeks puff out as dust and soot are crammed inside, he coughs as it works its way down into his lungs and gut. The beast ripples, trying to flow inside the man before Iron Horse can attack

  • Iron Horse 's claws strike true, tearing down the creature's back easily, and he hops back slightly as the thing begins to fall apart like... a big pile of dust.
  • Mega Dust Wraith? shudders for a moment, then collapses to the ground in a tide of dust that coats both men from head to toe. Without animating force behind it, the dust that has already entered Kin's body is rendered inert, though he has still ingested significant quantities of the foul-tasting :matter.
  • Kinqueduran drops to one knee, coughing viciously, eyes closed tightly.
  • Iron Horse coughs a few times himself, and slaps the dust off his clothes unsuccessfully, moving towards Kin and patting him in the back. "Hey, you ok?"
  • Kinqueduran lurches a little, then vomits. After another brief coughing spell and another heave or two, he groans. "...totally..totally fine."
  • Kinqueduran looks up, grimacing and wiping his face with the back of his glove. "You're cut pretty cut up, son, you alright?"

Iron Horse: ... eh... I'll be fine.

Kinqueduran: "Yeah, you'd better be."

  • Iron Horse winces, scratching the back of his head. "... let's get going, ok?"
  • Kinqueduran nods, rising to his feet.

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