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Laetya Kyuutae

"Life is more than the laws that govern us." - The Reaper

0 · 857 views · located in Tegea

a character in “Age of Alliance: Serpent's Call”, as played by Ezarael

Description

Waves

"Get me some Bydan Firewater and I think we can be friendly . . . enough."


Laetya Kyuutae

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INTRODUCTION



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"Mind if we skip the formalities so I can take a bath? I need to make up for all the time spent in Byda."

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"As bad as the world can be at times, no one deserves the Pestilence."

[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Cutie, should be pretty obvious where that came from.
Gender: Female
Age: 32
Race: Orc
Origin: Kyoshel’s capital city
Voice: She commands a crisp contralto, albeit closer to mezzo-soprano, with very precise enunciation. Despite years with mixed company her upbringing in one of the Great Houses is still unmistakable to other orcs, but her language has definitely become much more colorful. While not vulgar for the sake of obscenity, she does know how to toss in the occasional swear for color. Sample: Dragon sans filter. (thanks to Wudge for finding this)
Class: Reaper
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive
Magical Affinity: None.






PHYSICALITY



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[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: Laetya’s hair is relatively short, never letting it fall below her shoulders because of the hazard long, flailing hair poses in the heat of battle. Such a hairstyle also facilitates grooming, a daily task she considers necessary, and as such a cheap, wooden comb can always be found on her person. While her hair is relatively thin and dry, at times being equated with straw, natural layers give the implication of body, especially as it grows longer.

Eyes: Startling emerald green, a rather rare phenotype amongst the orcs, mixed with a very calm, but intent, gaze. Her steely gaze is the most focused during times of crisis, having spent much time training her mental fortitude to turn stress into a positive force rather than a detriment. However, this does not mean her eyes are devoid of emotion, it’s just that on most occasions this light will be due to happiness or sorrow rather than fear or anger.

Complexion: A very intricate molting of grey and gold give Laetya a more human complexion from afar, especially when in darker environments, but in broad daylight the golden splotches give off a dim glow. While considered to be one of the least desirable complexions amongst the orcs, it has given her the advantage of blending in more easily amongst the humans and elves during her travels, especially in the bars and taverns she is wont to frequent where lights are dimmed and senses dulled.

Height: 6’ even, putting her at the far end of the spectrum in terms of orc height, but this has not made her immune to the occasional head-knocking doorway that other races love to build. She sometimes muses that humans and elves only started doing this after the embargo was lifted in an attempt to incapacitate orcs.

Build: While the “hourglass” shape associated with the effeminate is still obvious, Laetya has a soldier physique. Not quite wiry, but not all mass either, her definition can still put most humans to shame despite being considered “petite” for an orc.

Weight: 190 lbs

Body Markings: While not nearly as uptight as devout followers of the Faoryuun concerning tattoos and body piercings, Laetya has never felt the desire to permanently mark her body . . . yet.

[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Full-fledged smiles are not uncommon for Laetya, but in all honesty they aren’t to be expected either. Slight smirks crossing her strong, earnest face, and complementing her less than plump lips are much more natural, and the occasional smug look of self-assuredness feels more than welcome as well. Not to say that she doesn’t enjoy smiling, but the act itself feels forced and unnatural more often than not. As such the soft skin on her face has fared very well throughout the years, with nary a wrinkle to be seen. The years outside of Kyoshel have noticeably softened her physical demeanor, having lost much of the rigor and statuesque stature of most orcs, especially those bred in the nobility. Paradoxically enough, while her body appears relaxed and open to the common passerby, the trained eye can discern the readiness pervading from her every fiber.

Despite popular belief to the contrary, physical hygiene is still very important to Laetya, and she sometimes takes great pains to make this fact clear in case she runs across any orcs who have not been banished from the homeland. She does her best to, at the least, wash herself with a rag and bucket of water every day, but she will bathe in a body of water whenever possible to make up for lost occasions. This might have been one of the more difficult adjustments after leaving Kyoshel, taking for granted to public baths that are so common in the orcish homelands, especially in the human kingdoms where daily bathing is sometimes spoken of as unhealthy. Combing her hair is something Laetya considers especially important, doing so twice daily when possible to remove any knots and tangles from her hair.

When reasonable, Laetya will be found wearing light apparel for the sake of comfort and utility, as opposed to heavier clothing traditionally worn by those from noble families. Humans have used to phrase “touchy-feely” to describe her, and while this is not altogether true, neither is it far off the mark. Personal space is practically a moot point for Laetya, and as such she has no problems being within an inch of another individual, even if there is plenty of room to be had. The misunderstanding here is with her amicability with camaraderie amongst men, especially fellow soldiers. This former noble warrior found the general tension between sexes amidst the human world fairly disconcerting at first, but by now has compensated with this cultural difference.


Moral Alignment CHAOTIC COMPASSIONATE.
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MENTALITY

[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Laetya lacks the overbearing self-confidence that accompanies most orcs residing in Kyoshel, and at times this lack of confidence is more than apparent, however it is not crippling. This is, in part, due to the lack of self-righteousness that comes from strict adherence to the Faoryuun, but also from experience gained since leaving her homeland. She has seen enough of Tegea to know that being the absolute best at something is more a result of happenstance than anything else, and that pure luck could very well be the downfall of the mighty.

While she may lack self-confidence, she most definitely permeates an aura of assuredness to those around her, which comes especially in handy given she has a tendency to jump into risky situations head first. Setback and failure has only increased her willingness to gamble on a whim and act instinctively to seize the moment. True enough though, her gut instincts are not always right, but she has learned the hard way that playing by the book can have catastrophic consequences outside Kyoshel.

[F E A R S]

  • One of her greatest fears is having her freedom taken away. The idea of going back to a lifestyle where every step is dictated by someone else’s arbitrary machinations is utterly terrifying to her. She had thought living in Kyoshel had been the epitome of imprisonment, but a rather unfortunate incident in Airedale showed her the error in her reasoning. Despite her orcish pride this is a rather soft-spot in her experiences since leaving her homeland, and as such she most likely won’t bring it up in light conversation.
[Q U I R K S]

  • Laetya loves to bathe, in fact it’s one of her favorite past times, and she will more than happily strip naked and dive into the first river or lake she finds to cleanse the filth and grime away, regardless of who’s around to see.
  • You’d be hard-pressed to find a time when Laetya doesn’t have her sketchbook handy just in case something pops up. Whether it’s a particular scene, an individual’s portrait, or the depiction of some fascinating creature she’s encountered in her journeys there’s always something she wants to jot down. She doesn’t have the best memory, but at the least she can recall the tiniest details of a new addition until it’s completed.
  • Did you realize that alcohol is the best invention on the planet? If you’ve discussed anything related to alcohol with Laetya you would know this by now. Of course we’re not talking about that sissy, elven swill or the fruity wine human nobles tend to drink (don’t mention the cheap wines poorer humans brought about), no we’re talking about pure Byda firewater. Whoever made that deserves a medal in her book. Any establishment serving this drink better have a sizeable amount in storage.
  • While she has always been open-minded about meeting other races without prejudice, humans from Airedale can fuck off. The short experience she had there was nearly enough to cripple her belief in the goodness of humanity. Any human from the region would do well to tip-toe around and stay on her good side. She understands that not all humans are bad, and has met many whom she trusts unquestionably, but there is almost always a nagging doubt in the back of her mind now when meeting a new human for the first time.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Laetya prefers to do what’s right over what’s best, at least in so far as she considers what’s right. While murder isn’t on her list of “accepted daily tasks,” there are times when the situation is unavoidable. Playing the part of holier-than-though warrior is something she could care less about, especially during her travels in the human kingdoms. She has been known to strike while the iron is hot if you know what I mean.

[A G E N D A]

She wants to help stop the Pestilence, all the evil in the world doesn’t justify the loss of so much good that might overcome it one day. Plus, there’s a chance she might be able to visit Kyoshel again, though she’s not quite sure what she thinks of that yet.

[L I K E S]
    • Drawing- Recall how orcs have the finest art of all the races? Turns out Laetya was given quite a substantial education in the arts as a child, and in particular she developed quite the skill-set in terms of sketching, drawing, and painting. While her abilities are almost purely technical they have proved most valuable during the past few years.
    • Flirting - Laetya has been around the block enough to know what she likes and feels more than comfortable going after it. Men or women, they’re both great fun in the sack. She’s a bit picky though, human and elven men just can’t seem to put in the work like orcish men, or women for that matter, can. Women of all races are more than welcome in her sheets, though she does tend to be a bit picker with them than men.
    • Liquor- While Bydan Firewater is her favorite, but she's more than ready to drink most of what's dropped in front of her.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Tight Spaces- The idea of having her freedom restricted, even just the freedom of movement, is pretty damn terrifying for her. Honestly, she might be borderline claustrophobic.
    • Elven Liquor- Please, that swill is practically fruit juice made for children.
    • Worms – Well any small, limp, dangly creature that wiggles around. They remind her too much of human and elven men, poor souls.
    • Mages – Fuck those guys, she’s seen what this magic nonsense can do and wants nothing to do with it.




RATING SYSTEM
[Excellent] - ★★★★★★
[Strong] - ★★★★★☆
[Competent] - ★★★★☆☆
[Average] - ★★★☆☆☆
[Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆
[Learning] - ★☆☆☆☆☆
[Scrub] - ☆☆☆☆☆☆

You have a limit of 20 stars.




PROWESS

[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Drawing: [Strong] - ★★★★★☆ Sure, she has a lot of technical knowledge when it comes to her sketches, but you can’t expect it to have come to this without some raw ability to do so.
  • Raw Might: [Strong] - ★★★★★☆ Ok, she’s a hell of a lot stronger than most humans and elves, especially those of the same stature, but she’s nothing special among the orcs. (+1 from Nidhogg battle)
  • Instinct: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Laetya likes to think that her instincts are pretty sharp, and they tend to pay off most of the time, but when she’s wrong it tends to go much worse than when she’s right.

    [C L A S S | S K I L L S]Image
    • Qundo’Hae: [Excellent] - ★★★★★★ Laetya has been training with Qundo since she was a child, and switching out for light armor has made her that much more dangerous with it.
    • Weapon Variety: [Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆ Master of the Qundo, but put much else in her hand and her technique will fall noticeably short.

    [W E A K N E S S E S]
    • Weak Link: Laetya despises the chain of command, because in most cases the head of the chain is some incompetent fool whose mommy bought their position. Not to say all leaders like this aren’t worthy of being followed, but she’ll be damned if she has to listen to some pampered brat tell her what’s best in battle or question her instincts.
    • Impatient: Despite the cool expression slapped across her face the majority of the time, this lady dislikes waiting around for something to happen. Early bird gets the worm if you know what I mean.
    • Soft Spot: Remember the “what’s right over what’s best” bit from before? Better believe that can be a major liability when it comes to combat. This mixed with the previous two can be a dangerous combination, in fact enough so to get one banished from Kyoshel.
    • Armor Deficient: While the Qundo (see below) is an amazing weapon for smashing all manner of things, the drawback is that to use it as effectively as she does Laetya has to forego heavier armor. It’s never been much of a problem, but close quarters combat happens and that’s when things tend to get hairy.





    ARMAMENT


    [A R M O R]
    Laetya gave up “safety” for speed shortly after being banished from her homeland. While she has had to adapt her armor based upon the region, her most recent travels in Byda have found her with the lightest armor set she has had yet. A thin steel breast plate, strapped over a leather girdle, is all that protects her torso from harm. Her leggings are slightly better off, with a steel skirt dropping to her knees and steel plates covering both her shins and feet, but still this is nothing compared to typical orcish armor.
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    [C L O T H I N G]
    Her recent travels in Byda have left this orc with a preference to lighter garments of sandier tones that strangely complement her oddball complexion, especially during the evening. To be honest, most of the clothing she’s acquired recently is what one might find on a harem girl, so it’s a might bit on the fleshier side of things.

    [I T E M S]
    A medium sized rucksack with various odds and ends someone traveling might need, but the especially important item is her sketch-book, tucked deep at the bottom and wrapped in cloth to help protect it from wear and tear. This also doubles and as pillow, mainly to keep her drawings safe.

    [T O K E N S]
    A rather worn necklace that might seem odd to humans and elves, but orcs would most likely notice a family crest, and if they were sharp they could tell it was from House Kyuutae.

    [P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
    Weapon Name: Qundo
    Weapon Type: Club
    Length: 6 ft
    Weight: Very heavy
    Origin: This Qundo was a gift from her father when she became Naksu, but there’s nothing very special about the weapon itself. It’s not one of those passed down through the generations, no that one went to her older brother, but being a solid piece of hardened steel it’s held up fairly well. Most humans tend to underestimate how quickly she can wield this weapon with deadly precision.

    [O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
    Weapon Type: Short sword
    Length: 3 ft
    Weight: Heavy
    Origin: The good old standby for orcish soldiers, this one’s been with her since she started serving at 20 and some tender love and care has kept it around this long.





    BACKGROUND


    [M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
    Single and ready to mingle.

    [F A M I L Y | T I E S]
    { -100 | 0 | +100 }

      | Father - Tongbaten| [ 100 ]
    The early death of her mother meant that the burden of childbearing fell upon her father’s hands, and her brother’s to a lesser extent but in most cases they were side by side when she was young. Being a member of the Oligarchy meant he couldn’t spend every waking moment with his children, but the time he did spend with them felt special enough for her.

      | Mother - Talyuuenne| [ -20 ]
    Her mother died giving birth to her. While she should not feel one way or the other because of this there’s always a constant doubt in the back of her mind now. Laetya feels that this death might have been due to weakness on her mother’s part.

      | Brother - Qundae| [ 60 ]
    They didn’t part ways on the best of terms, her brother wanting to act like the high and mighty heir of the family that he is. She knows he wants the best for her, too bad he doesn’t know what’s right for her. Despite this slight setback she still loves the bastard. Yes, the Qundo are that important to their family heritage that her brother’s named is derived from the weapon’s name, he knows this.

    [O C C U P A T I O N]
    She hasn’t really had any single occupation since leaving Kyoshel and heading out on her own. Mercenary, bounty hunter, bodyguard, hell most things related to fighting or soldiering are her bread and butter, and you’d be surprised how many shady types jump at the opportunity of having a previous Naksu on their side. She’s sold a few sketches here and there, mainly to hunters looking for exotic game, and even smuggled a few goods on occasion. One particularly bad point in the past few years she even considered working in a brothel for a little while, but the pay would have been atrocious considering she’s an orc.

    [S O C I A L | R A N K]
    Well to be fair it’s not all that bad in the human kingdoms considering how much money she can get her hands on just by soldiering alone, but in other places she’s pretty damn low on the totem pole. Elves have the worst superiority complex imaginable, so anything not elf might as well be trash in their society. As a reaper she has no place in orc society itself, so “rank” isn’t even a factor here.

    [O P I N I O N S]
    • Humans: Humans seem like what orcs would be without the Faoryuun, and quite frankly it’s terrifying. The vast majority of the creatures have absolutely no concept of balance in life, and the idea that greed is practically an idealized trait is incomprehensible. That said, there are some very good humans that she’s met in her travels, but some of the worst scum of Tegea hail from Airedale. The independence to be had in human kingdoms is incomparable though, at least some compensation for how terrible life can be there.
    • Elves: Laetya’s first thought about Elves is that they are what orcs would be if they dropped all concept of individuality from the Faoryuun. Their society seems more akin to a delicate toy, like the fancy ones the wealthier human children play with, but operates like a well-structured machine. The oppressive structure of society leaves much to be desired though, as their lives are practically chosen for them from the start. Don’t even mention the shit liquor and terrible food.
    • Orcs: Orcs are great, and for the most part their society is a happy balance between the independence of humans and tightly structured elves, but the Faoryuun is just a little much to handle sometimes. The thought of returning home has crossed her mind more than once, and to be fair Laetya has no clue what she would do if actually confronted with the choice.

    [R E L A T I O N S]
    { -100 | 0 | +100 }

      | O r c B r o | [ 86 ]
    He reminds Laetya of her brother . . . well a much smaller version of her brother. It’s been a long time since they’ve spoken to one another, and back then he always seemed like he had a stick up his ass, but most orcs tend to be like that anyway. As long as he doesn’t try and “defend her purity” like back when they were younger she may like him more. She's rather pleased with seeing family again after all these years. Yea, that's right she still has shoulders, squirm at their awesome power.

      | A d r i e l | [ 7 ]
    Pretty smug if you ask her, so not necessarily at the top of her list yet.

      | G r e t c h e n | [ -18 ]
    Something bugs Laetya about this lady, she just looks like someone who would toss you to the buzzards given half a chance, plus she stinks.

      | T a n e| [ 12 ]
    Big human. Seems gentle enough despite the rough exterior.

      | K i r | [ 2 ]
Seriously, why all the humans?!?!? Plus, this one makes Gretchen look like a formidable beast, which is saying quite a bit.

    | E z r a | [ 51 ]
He's a filthy, magic-wielding human from Airedale of all places! Besides that, the two spent some time together in the past, and all in all he's not so bad. Easy does good things, even if they're for all the wrong reasons, but he's a damned good fighter and plenty of fun to be around. Reverse sparrowtail WHAT? Honestly, she has no clue how Wormy comes up with this nonsense.

    | B e r l i o z | [ 7 ]
Another human? Oh no, don't look at her like that . . . and don't look at her Qundo like that either! Higoht, please, remember that the Gathering needs everyone that will come, you can't kill him for looking at her like that . . . well not yet anyway.

    | A r a y e l | [ 38 ]
Oh my . . . well hello to you too. Care for a drink?

    | G u l f i m | [ 100 ]
This is definitely a shocker, little Gulfim Gragba is here and all grown up too! Sure she was more or less forced to be around her when they were children, yet another one of her father's ploys to try and keep her out of trouble, but the little tyke was just too precious as a child. So young and innocent, always asking some question or another, of course it doesn't look like much has changed. Hmm, now that she's thinking about it she wonders how Belfor is doing as well, their sparring sessions were always so much fun. Easy, don't you dare think about it! Higoht won't have time to kill you if you keep up like this.

    | A u r e l i t h | [ 26 ]
I mean . . . the girl looks like a strong breeze could break her in half, plus she always tries to scoot away from Laetya when the two are speaking with one another. Almost like she doesn't like being close to people or some such nonsense.

    | I l l e r e n | [ 16 ]
To be fair the guy acts like a five year old, and not just ANY five year old, but a HUMAN five year old at that. Plus, while she doesn't really care if people get a good look at her while bathing she's pretty sure someone's practically stalking her baths, and this just might be the guy. Well him or Easy, in which case she needs to kick Easy's ass the next time she sees him.

    | V a s h a | [ 17 ]
A little on the mechanical side for Laetya's tastes, but looks to be a lean, mean fighter she would like to have on her side, plus the fellow likes to put on a mean drunk when given the opportunity.

    | K i s k e | [ 0 ]
Creepy fucker, and that's about as far as she cares to go with her thoughts on the harlequin human.
[B I O | H I S T O R Y]

Laetya Kyuutae was born to one of the Great Houses of Kyoshel, and as such her life was, well supposed to be in retrospect, planned from the get-go. Learn an art, become Naksu, maybe even Champion, marry a suitable male from one of the other Great Houses, and have children. Not much else is expected from a daughter of one of these houses, of course things started veering off track rather quickly. As her brother was heir to the house, life was a bit more lenient for her, and supposedly her loving father doted on her more than he should have. He didn’t have THAT much time to be around them, but maybe this is where things “went wrong” according to the Faoryuun. Supposedly it was a lack of “obedience training” that steered her into banishment.

Always an inquisitive child, Laetya was constantly finding herself in trouble of some sort or the other when curiosity would strike, and she was almost never content with simple answers to the multitude of questions she always had. This prompted her father to begin having her schooled at a much younger age than usual. Unlike most orcs though, the Kyuutae have a long-standing tradition of family tutoring in terms of warfare, instead of sending their children to masters as is customary. So at 4 years old her father began training her in the art of Qundo’Hae alongside her brother. When it seemed like she still had too much time on her hand an arts tutor began visiting to ascertain her capabilities in these areas.

Honestly, there’s not much more to her early life than that. Just busy days and busy nights that, mostly, kept her out of trouble and following the Faoryuun faithfully. It was also so stifling though, and even as a young child she felt the desire to get out and explore, to find out what more there was to everything. The wall might have been her single greatest enemy as a child, standing there looking down on everyone in Kyoshel, closing them off from the outside world. That made her position in the military that much sweeter once she turned 20 and her time to serve in the military came up.

Undoubtedly her father’s doing, Laetya was placed on the wall. Her first day might have been one of the most glorious moments of her younger years. Standing there on the mighty wall, she felt like she was on top of the world, and so much more had been opened up, there was so much more to see outside of Kyoshel. If only there was some way to go out and experience it. That was much of her life for the next three years, patrolling the wall day by day, daydreaming of what life would be like outside. Then, it happened, something no orc thought would happen, it was decided that the wall would come down, and with it the embargo!

To be fair, there are, debatably, three events worth discussing in some detail from here out. Leaving Kyoshel, the event in Airedale, and coming to the Serpent’s Gathering. There are some more important details than others, so don’t bitch if all the beans are spilled about one and not another, ask her yourself if you’re so interested.

A few months after the wall came down, there were reports of smoke coming from one of the more remote villages on the outskirts of Kyoshel. When they arrived it seems that slavers had come and, rather miraculously, not only overpowered the inhabitants to managed to make off with a number of the women and children who had lived there. Quite remarkable for a band of humans to be honest. Unfortunately, they were unable to catch up to the band before they had fled Kyoshel into the neighboring Elven nation. Travel outside of Kyoshel was still highly taboo, and even under these special circumstances they would be intruding on Elven territory, smug bastards who acted upset when you visited with permission.

Obviously she disobeyed orders to wait for word from the nearest outpost, much to the dismay of her Lieutenant. Honestly, even without the Qundo orcs tended to be hesitant to question an Oligarch’s child, especially the daughter of Tengboten. Well she did find the slavers, despite flaring tensions with an elven patrol who happened to come upon the bloody ruckus by insulting the “lily-livered lot of veggie munchers.” When taken back to the capital city and confronted by the Oligarchy she refused to repent for her decision, and somehow managed to snake her way into insulting the Faoryuun. So, that was that. The House of Kyuutae lost a daughter that day, and Laetya found herself a new life outside of Kyoshel like she had always wanted.

Ok, it’s obvious you want the dirt on Airedale. What happened to make her hate this place so much? Why did she almost lost faith in the goodness of Tegea? What’s with all these leading questions to hype up the drama of this mediocre writing? Well, because that last one obviously crossed your mind you won’t get all the juicy bits, or ANY of the juicy bits for that matter. She’ll probably tell someone what happened sooner or later, but I can give some hints. It all started with a brothel find and ended with an orc in a human dungeon, at the mercy of a group of Silver Knights. You can probably piece together the rest based upon other info about her.

Then eventually she found herself in Byda just a few years ago, even spending some time in the fighting pits that can be found around the desert kingdom. Wouldn’t you know it but some agent from the Queen came to speak with her one day while she was drinking in a somewhat well-to-do inn. He told her of some Serpent’s Gathering in Autumnor, had to be fucking Autumnor didn’t it? Supposedly this group was focused on stopping the Pestilence and the reward for success was too much to pass up on at the time, well the reward besides wiping out that terrible affliction.

[F L A G S]
A certain couple of Silver Knights, a pair of twins in fact, one with eyes of burning, blue flame and the other gray and lifeless.

So begins...

Laetya Kyuutae's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

0.00 INK

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The early morning sun filtered into the room in which Ezra lay soundly asleep through a window which overlooked the merchant district and provided a grand view of the clocktower on sunny mornings. He stirred, the sunlight hitting his face causing him to turn away and cover his head with the blanket. And then it hit him.

"Shit." Ezra growled into the soft fabric as he buried his head in the pillow. "Today is the meeting."

"Are you talking to me?" The young(at least, he though she was young) elven girl perked her head up through the covers. Ezra had no idea how she was so energetic at this hour. The sun was just rising, not past eight at the latest, and they had spent a considerable amount of time entertaining one another the night before. Ezra sat up, still somewhat groggy.

"Ehh no. Sorry if I woke you, Elyria." A look of confused anger came across her face, but Ezra was too tired to comprehend why. Before he could realize his mistake, a second elven girl sat up, identical to her twin sister and with the same look of confused anger.

"I'm Elyria! She's Myurial!" Ezra had completely forgotten that he had bedded both of the elven mercenaries he had met in the tavern the night before, and now they were angry. Again to slow to formulate a response, the two elves slapped him across both cheeks in unison before rising, angrily collecting their clothes, and storming out. If the slapping had not completely awoken Ezra, the sight of the two petite elves' bare asses in the morning sun certainly did. He took the time to appreciate the view and, just as the twins were leaving the room, Myurial glanced back and gave Ezra a sly wink. Or was it Elyria?

The remainder of Ezra's morning was uneventful. He rose, performed his morning exercise routine, bathed, and ate his breakfast in solitude, occasionally humming a tune, but otherwise remaining silent. He had packed most of his things the night before, and so only had to take the time to fasten his armor and ensure His Blade was shiny and sharp. Donning his own armor without a squire was something he learned to do in his youth, and although he certainly could hire some boy to be his squire, he preferred to do it himself. When he had finished, he took to the mirror, admiring himself as much as checking for potential flaws in his armor. Finding none(in his armor or himself), he quickly snapped his fingers near his forehead to renew the charm on his hair, ensuring that it would remain perfectly styled unless subjected to serious physical stress, or worse, some sort of bad hair hex. The gall!

Finally finished, he departed, locking the door to his townhouse behind him. Locke and Lynn, his favored housekeepers from Rhiosia, would be arriving the following morning to look after the place for him, so he was able to put his mind at ease concerning the well-being of his favorite residence and march down into the seedier parts of town for this meeting. A week ago, he was in Byda, being told that traces of...Trace had popped up in a village claimed by the pestilence. He doubted anyone had signed up to the gather faster than he did when he heard that, and he wasted no time getting to Autumour to prepare.

Ezra spent his walk in reflection. This was his chance, not only to maybe find Trace and get answers, but also to get out of this rut he had been in since she left. Well, betrayed him. Small details. Was it foolish to willingly try something insane in order to fight the pestilence? Definitely. But since when were real heroics anything but foolish and insane? He found his way to the Ebony bridge and slipped in with the gathering crowd. Wide awake now, Ezra was sizing up everyone here. If this was going to be a competition, he was going to win, and if it wasn't, at least he got to look at some cute asses.

Speaking of cute asses, he spied a familiar one across the crowd, belonging to a lady orc he affectionately called Cutie. Laetya and Ezra had spent some time together a few years back, and as much as he wanted to hug her from behind(and possibly get punched in the process), the foppish elf was speaking to the crowd and he had no plans on getting kicked out for speaking out of turn. He continued to look around the crowd. There certainly were a couple of lookers here, including a little blonde that snuck in quietly as the elf spoke.

Distracted by the blonde, Ezra was slow to react to the commotion going on to his left. Another elf, clearly one a bit detached from mainstream elven culture, shouted out for all to hear that Adriel's hair definitely looked like a cock. From Ezra, this elicited a noticeable smirk, but a nearby orc lady stumbled about awkwardly, one of the other men standing by him nearly jumped to the moon, and everyone else just sort of stood around in an embarrassing silence, followed by a the white-haired elf's cough and what Ezra expected was the closest thing to an apology that the elf would ever say in his entire life.

It was still awkwardly silent, and Ezra hated it, and nobody was doing a thing about it, so he cracked up laughing. It was loud and obnoxious and anyone who hadn't noticed him yet certainly did now.

"Ha! Oh we are gonna have a blast saving the whole damn world if the first five minutes are anything to go by!" Ezra re-positioned himself by the white-haired elf and wrapped his arm around the man's shoulder in a friendly fashion. "Ezra Bravesteel. Here I thought this whole affair was going to be nothing but grim conversations and dour moods. Glad to see I'm not the only one with a sense of humor."

(Ezra greatly approves of Illeren's humor: +35 Approval)
(Ezra is slightly amused by Gulfim's awkwardness: +5 Approval)
(Ezra slightly disapproves of Adriel's general demeanor: -5 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

It had been hours since her bathwater had been drawn. The water itself was tepid and discolored and the reflection looking back at her from tub was what one would expect from a tarnished gilded cup. She didn’t care, this was the first proper goddamn bath she had drawn in months and Laetya Kyuutae was going to enjoy every second possible. Scrub a little here, rinse a little there, and . . . The orc gulped in a mouthful of air with her powerful lungs and, clasping both eyelids shut, proceeded to dunk her head, face first, into the water one more time. Several seconds passed before her powerful frame whipped back up, foamy bathwater spraying all over her room. She relaxed once more, falling back against the frame of the tub with a slapping splat and kicking her feet a few times due to the sheer ecstasy derived from this simple activity.

A rather generous smirk spread across her lips as the decanter of Bydan Firewater sitting to her left caught her attention, she had almost forgotten she had been drinking from it by now, not a good sign. She reached over with her right hand, calloused from years of swinging around her Qundo, and tipped the glass bottle up to her lips after snatching it from the table. Heat on her lips, sweet smokiness on her tongue, cool fire running down her throat, the mere thought of Firewater sent a shiver down her spine, she couldn’t wait for that sweet liquid to start flowing. But wait she did. And wait. Until finally the horrid reality of the situation dawned upon her. She was out of liquor.

Of course, there wasn’t much to do now but be content with what she had so far, dry off, and lay down. The Gathering would be waiting at the Ebony Bridge the next day and she wanted to be there on time, and right now the orcish outcast wouldn’t be regretting her life in the morning . . . well not too much anyhow. Besides, she didn’t want to risk the chance of having to smash some fool’s jaw downstairs for running his mouth about orcs, nor did she care to take her chances explaining why she broke some fellow’s arm for grabbing her ass. No no, none of that would do tonight. Well, she would have had an uneventful night had she followed this line of reasoning, quite expectedly though the lady orc wanted to enjoy her night just a bit more.



A sluggish headache had greeted Laetya as the first rays of sunlight crept through the window at dawn. While she had always tended towards waking early, even the slightest bit of over drinking would keep the orc from a full night’s rest, she just happened to be lucky enough this time not to take up earlier and find herself in the same predicament. She half lurched, half rolled over to the jug of water on the dresser next to her bed, one she had grabbed last night for just this occasion, and set about practically inhaling the entirety of its contents in one fell swoop. Before long the listless orc finally found the willpower to throw herself out of bed. ”Ok it’s time to get ready, Laetya.” Sometimes you just need that extra little nudge in the morning.

Everything from there went fairly typical. A morning stretch and exercise routine followed by breakfast, afterwards leading into a fervent drawing session from her windowsill. Despite missing the chance to sketch the dawn light scenery her vantage of the city caught the tail edge of the morning sun’s golden ascension through the skies. People flitted about back and forth throughout the street, carrying on all manner of business. Quaint puffs of smokes trickled forth from baker’s chimneys, the splish-splashing of buckets being tossed down a nearby well and hauled about by children rang throughout the street, and a town crier stood about shouting out the day’s news. All in all she felt that her current work was a wonderful depiction of Autumnor . . . of course she decided to leave out any depiction of the Silver Knights who relentlessly clanked about through the city.

Before too long though, Laetya closed her sketch book, putting it safely at the bottom of her rucksack, and prepared herself to head out to the Ebony Bridge, not far from where she currently stood. Her Qundo soundly pinged and panged against the paved roads as she strode towards the Gathering. It was probably some combination of her weapon and general demeanor that kept most of the hecklers found in this city at bay, and frankly speaking she didn’t want to waste time nor energy before the meeting. Then she saw it, the Ebony Bridge and the Gathering, or at least what she assumed was the Gathering.

Not one of the first, but not one of the last Laetya found herself closer to the front of the assembling crowd than the rear. A wide grin spread across her face when she noticed the familiar face standing before the crowd one Higoht Ezengbo, a distant relative she hadn’t seen since her banishment from Kyoshel some nine years prior. ”Well, this should be fun,” she mumbled quietly to herself, only slightly joking as she hoped he wouldn’t try and lecture her about what she was wearing. She knew he would. The briefest of waves, a mere flick of her thumb and first two fingers, was made to signal she noticed him from the crowd as his eyes passed over her general direction.

The peacock introduced himself and, in a typical elven fashion, proceeded to imply his superiority with every word that escaped his mouth. So much for the fun part. Then things started proceeding somewhat more quickly, the elf talking about a test and Higoht wanting introductions, and THEN the most curious part of her day so far. Some fellow to her right began calling the elf, Adriel, a rooster. Hmm . . . well he has a point. Despite this outburst, which very much coincided with her first impression of Adriel in some fashion, the Reaper attempted to keep from smirking at the, what turned out to be another elf’s, insistence to keep to what he said.

That’s when she lost it. She was trying to keep a straight face as soldiers should, but the circumstances were too great. There was a clattering of armored bodies swiping across one another and a shout out from an all too familiar voice, which rather surprised her considering the fool hadn’t attempted to grab her ass thus far. When she turned around there it was little Gulfim Gragba, a close friend that was almost like a little sister, embarrassed beyond all belief and blushing to boot, no different that she was all those years ago as a child. Not much farther away was one Ezra Bravesteel, an old travelling companion and the last human she would never tell anyone she might have slept with, clasping who could only be the man who equated Adriel with a rooster. She chuckled to herself quietly, admiring what seemed to be a very fascinating and rapidly deteriorating situation.

Laetya then scooted herself on over towards the traumatized Gulfim, tossing her left arm over the younger girl's shoulders when she got close to her. "Still know how to make an entrance don't ya, Gully?" She then tossed a big wink over to Easy after finally making eye contact with him."No offense Mr. Bossman, but I think it's best if we make our way out to the Quarry before anyone else decides to contribute to this conversation."

(Laetya approves of Higoht: +4 approval)

(Laetya disapproves of Adriel for being a stuck-up peacock: -5 approval)

(Laetya approves of Ezra for being himself: +2 approval)

(Laetya approves of Gulfim for still being adorable: +6 approval)

(Laetya approves of Illeren for calling out Adriel’s hair: +1 approval)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel

0.00 INK

Image


She would never forget the day she left Rielorn. It was ingrained forever in her mind, she knew--not because it had only just happened--but because in a lifetime full of following, she had finally made a choice. In all probability, it wasn’t the smartest choice. In fact, her journey of self discovery would most likely end in certain death, but at least it was a choice she’d made. It was not her mother’s choice, or her grandfather’s, or even her superior officer’s; it was hers, and she claimed it proudly.

That being said, leaving her home was more difficult that Aurileith would have imagined. In all her years, she’d never been far out of elven territory, and never on her own, and saying goodbye to the things she loved had given Aura a moment of pause. Saying goodbye to her grandfather was not difficult. In fact, the curt nods they exchanged could barely be described as a goodbye at all, but saying goodbye to her mother was. She’d explained the situation, and Sage had told her she was brave while Mordyth snorted in the background. They’d hugged, and she held on just a bit too tightly as her mother whispered a fond farewell. Be safe, Moon.

Saying goodbye to Qiqsa was, perhaps, hardest of all. She flew with the bird to the outskirts of Autumour, knowing as they went that it would probably be the last time. Qiqsa, who had been her companion for many years, could not possibly take this journey with her. When they landed, Aura dismounted, grabbed her gear, and stroked the bird lovingly on the head.

“I’m sorry, Qiqsa, but I cannot take you with me.”

Qiqsa, as if she understood, bowed her head to make contact with Aura’s, and the two stood there for a long time. For the first time in as long as she could remember, the elf felt the stirrings of uncertainty deep within her. But she couldn’t go back now. And she didn’t want to. She was proud of her choice, and though she wasn’t exactly sure why, she wanted to do this. And so, with one hand still on Qiqsa as if to draw some strength from their bond, Aura turned toward the city she would shortly be entering. She scratched the bird one last time, told her to fly home, and stood watching until Qiqsa was nothing more than a tiny dot on the far off horizon.






As lonely as it was to be on her own in a strange city, Aura relished the feeling of sheer freedom that came with no longer being tethered. She moved through crowds with ease and stopped to look when she saw something that interested her. She was accountable to no one but herself for the first time, and she took in that feeling of freedom as hungrily as she took in her new surroundings.

Autumour certainly was a sight to see with its tall buildings and even taller trees, leaves the color of rubies and topaz; and nearly as vibrant. When the sun hit them with just the right light, it looked as if the trees had been set ablaze, and Aura stopped to marvel at their beauty, not caring as people cursed and grumbled at her as she stood, still as a statue that had been inconveniently placed in the middle of the street. Eventually, she slowed down traffic enough that the increase in bodies around her became overwhelming, and she moved on, choosing to duck down a less populated back street to regain her composure. The heels of her boots clacked uncomfortably loud against cobblestones sending a few stray cats scattering from the cracks in between the buildings. There was a twinkle in Aura’s eyes as she bent to scratch a particularly shabby gray feline behind the ears.

“It’s alright,” she soothed, “you don’t have to be afraid of me.” The cat began to purr and arched its back, rubbing its face against her hand, claiming her as its own. “I’m sorry little one, but I have nothing to give you.” The gray tabby meowed in protest, stretched its thin body and scampered off, possibly in search of someone who might have something to give him. Aura sincerely hoped there were kind people in this town who had a spare saucer of milk for her new friend.

Getting directions from a nearby merchant, she headed off in the direction of the Ebony Bridge, where her grandfather said the meeting of the Serpent’s Gathering was going to take place. And sure enough, when she reached the bridge, a small group was gathered. Aura slipped fluidly into the back of the group just a kinsmen she recognized began talking. He was with the orc she met at the gala, Higoht, so she knew she was in the right place. When the elf finished his speech, there was a commotion which made her raise an eyebrow. Several things happened at once, and Aura was glad that she was on the edge of the group, instead of in the middle of it. She took a couple steps back just to distance herself a little more.

"No offense Mr. Bossman, but I think it's best if we make our way out to the Quarry before anyone else decides to contribute to this conversation," said an orc she didn't know.

Aura agreed.

(Laetya gains +5 approval from Aura)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
Image


“Is he dead?”
“I don’t know man, but he’s so weeirrd. He’s been sitting there since this morning.”
“And he still hasn’t moved at all?”
“Nope. He hasn’t blinked either.”

Two human boys stood a fair distance from a black-haired elf under an oak tree. Ants were roaming about in their pants as they shifted from foot to foot, half-hiding behind a wagon.

“Do you think we should go get someone?”
“Well, shouldn’t we make sure he’s actually in trouble first?”

They turned to face each other, neither one wanting to go anywhere near him.

“But what if he’s one of those no good elves like ma talks about? He might be dangerous.”
“Yeah, but he’s sitting in our backyard. Ma’s gonna have to deal with him anyway.”

Vasha tried to block out the sound of the vermin that hadn’t left him alone since this morning. It was critical that he focus; a street rat stole from him the day before and he was determined to get his satchel back. Following the directions of a few Silver Knights, the Market District was supposedly the thief’s most likely home. And his current spot was the only vantage point. Still no sight of the brat. Damn fucking kids were making too much noise.

“You go.”
“No, you go.”
“I don’t feel like it.”
“Well I don’t feel like it either.”

Vasha narrowed his eyes, scanning the alleys. He was getting impatient. Enduring children, especially these squabbling mice, was progressively eating into his brain’s fortitude. Suddenly, a familiar mop of hair bobbed into view. That little fuck. He’s already making off with more coin purses. Vasha had to admire his talent, but now was no time for learning – the Serpent’s Gathering started in half an hour. Time to move.

His joints complained as he stood, bones cracking against one another from the sudden movement. A yelp came from his stalkers that, to Vasha’s extreme vexation, alerted the pickpocket.

“You little shits!” He yelled to all three and after a brief snarl at the two boys (causing one of them to fall over), he barreled out into the street. People were everywhere; blocking his path, obscuring his vision. Vasha barely saw the brat’s brown ruffled hair dart into the same alley it had come out of. Weaving through the crowd deftly, Vasha reached the other side ridiculously fast – the thief stood no chance. Worried that the brat might have a foxhole, he quickly rounded the corner into the alley.

“It’s no use. I know where that empties out.” The thief stopped dead in his tracks, still miles away from his backdoor exit. Vasha was not but 10 feet from his back. Still considering escape, his little legs twitched with adrenaline. “Quiet those impulses boy, you know I could grab you before you took 2 steps.” The thief took one last wild look at freedom, breathed in sharply, and then sat down in a puff. Vasha approached him slowly, crouching down in front of his fa… wait, her face? Huh.

“Give me back my satchel.”
“There’s no point, you’ll just rat me out to the soldiers anyway.” Definitely a girl. Always so cynical.
“Maybe you shouldn’t be such a rat in the first place, hmm?” She sat dejected, lower lip plumped out in defiance. “Look, girl. I can’t get my satchel back without you. How bout we make a deal, my satchel for your freedom.” Her eyes sparkled a little, looking up at him.
“You’d set me free?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“But-“
“I don’t care about the stealing. Only that you stole from me.She studied him long and hard but then abruptly stood up and ran behind a dumpster. She came back with his satchel, offered like an olive branch. “Grow up fast, brat.”

“I will, sir!” And she was gone, off to prey on the oblivious. Vasha made a derisive click with his tongue and checked the clock tower. Ten minutes left. Just barely enough time. Making his way towards Ebony Bridge, Vasha remembered how difficult it was to get directions – it seemed like no one here had seen an elf before, avoiding him like that. No matter, a guard gave him directions in the end. Unwrapping his satchel, Vasha held his mother’s letters gingerly, rubbing them between his fingers. The silver he had brought with him was gone, but he didn’t much care. Vasha checked to make sure all letters were accounted for and wrapped them back up, placing the satchel deep within his knapsack; he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.

Ebony Bridge was within eyesight now, a collection of all shapes and sizes listening to some elf give a speech. Vasha caught the back-end of it as he approached.

“--I’m afraid if I let my colleague speak, he will coddle you all until you’re unfit for any kind of military service. We don’t need to know the names of dead men.” What an inspiration you are. Deciding instantly that the self-proclaimed elf-leader was not worth his attention, Vasha observed what other walks of life he would be working with. There was a large orc behind the pompous elf, smiling about nothing in particular, several female orcs, a handful of elves, and an assortment of various humans. The most impressive of the bunch was a steel man whose bald head glinted from the sun behind them. Vasha heard something about a human quarry and what sounded to be a test. Good, I was getting bored.

“A COCK! 'is ‘air looks like a cock!” Came a voice from deeper within the overhang. Vasha spotted a white haired imbecile boiling with childish energy. Oh god, he’s an elf? What village bred such filth? Though their haughty leader was the picture of a proud rooster. Some pretty boy aligned himself with the white-haired gnat, his guffaw almost as annoying as the latter’s outburst. One of the she-orcs dropped something. Vasha caught a sniff of it - why would she have spruce needles? The other she-orc suggested leaving and then a body hit the ground, an animalistic-looking blonde smiling over the crumpled body of rags.

What in the world is going on?




Vasha greatly disapproves of Illeren's general attitude: -20
Vasha slightly approves of Illeren's truths: +5
Vasha slightly approves of Gulfim's taste in herbs: +3
Vasha slightly disapproves of Adriel's ego: -5
Vasha disapproves of Ezra's gusto: -12

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

0.00 INK

Tane Solberg


Now that their apparent leader's speech had come to a close, a brief moment of silence fell over the company. So brief. In fact it lasted only about five seconds before a strange elf shouted for all to hear. "A COCK! ‘is ‘air looks like a cock!"
Tane frowned in thought, his massive brow furrowing nearly audibly. A cock... does he mean a rooster? Oh yes. I see it now! In fact as far as Tane was concerned, the elf was quite right, though he would refrain from saying so quite as loudly. It seems that this proclamation was to loud for one of their companions, and this was somewhat shocking to him, an orcish woman taller than even himself seemed startled by the sudden outburst, nearly stumbling into him as she dropped a handful of spruce needles about the ground, stepping on quite a few. The gentle yet sharp scent of honey wafted up to his nose, and he was all to happy to take a great whiff.

He starred up through the open window of the abbey, the spring breeze bringing with it the scent of Father Abraham's garden. Of allspice, fresh herbs an-

Tane shook his head, bringing his mind back to the present. This was not the best time for reminiscing his days as a scribe in the abbey. The orc woman was staring at the ground and blushing a deep shade of red, which looked rather odd on her green skin. Tane couldn't help but smile, and before he even knew what he was doing he was on one knee, gathering up the spruce needles. Behind him he heard a voice, a woman's voice and nearly a whisper at that. “This should be interesting.” At that, Tane couldn't help but let out a chuckle, which could be likened to the rumbling of some deep sea earthquake, and straightened, turning his head to look at the woman behind him. His grin split his face in two. "I certainly hope so! So much more fun that way isn't it?" He turned back to the orc woman from before, only to find a second orc woman, who was also taller than him, if but by an inch, with her arm thrown about the first.

"Still know how to make an entrance don't ya, Gully? No offense Mr. Bossman, but I think it's best if we make our way out to the Quarry before anyone else decides to contribute to this conversation."

The two seemed to be acquainted! How small the world was indeed, though Tane was quite glad. The woman did look in dear need of a friend or two. Tane looked at the bunch of needles in his hand and walked over to the two orc women. "Excuse me, but I believe you dropped these." he said, holding the spruce needles out towards the first woman, a smile warming his face. After the needles were reclaimed, his smile deepened as he nodded to the both of them in turn. "I am Tane Solberg of Airedale, but please, feel free to call me Tane!." His smile turned into a grin, but it quickly faded... he felt like he was forgetting something... Oh yes! The woman from before. He quickly took a small step away from the two orcs and towards the elvish woman from before. Now that he was taking a good look at her, she was quite beautiful as far as earthly matters were concerned. In fact all three women had been. "That goes for yourself as well my good woman! Please forgive me for not introducing myself earlier. As I'm sure you heard, I am Tane. It's a pleasure to meet you all." He made a small bow, a fist over his heart and shield at his side, to express his apology.

It was then that he heard the sudden thud of someone falling, brow furrowed he straightened up and turned towards the sound, though in the throng of people, he couldn't see what had happened, or who had fallen. His normally happy face quickly shifted to one of deep concern, the corners of his lips curled downward. "Oh my, I wonder what happened there... Well, no one's screaming so I suppose it's nothing to serious eh?" His smile quickly returned, though there was a hint of concern in those dark brown eyes of his. "I do hope we begin soon, as you suggested. I feel the longer we stay here, the more likely some of these brave souls are to lose heart in this venture."


Tane greatly approves of Layeta and Gully's friendship:+15 each
Tane found Adriel's hair to be quite humorous: +5
Tane is grateful that Illeren pointed out Adriel's hair: +5
Tane is happy to see Arayel has joined the group!: +3

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gray
Image


The crowd was grew ever larger, containing not only big ones and little ones, but annoying ones and socially inept ones, as it might seem. One elf in particular seemed a bit off. His white hair and thin features would have been more at home in a drug house than in Adriel's crowd of warriors. He was twitchy for an elf; Adriel didn’t know if it was nerves, or if he'd followed Adriel straight out of an adjoining brigand den, but Adriel didn’t like him. Oh yes, he did notice the fact that he was being trailed. At first he assumed it was a sickly cat or a stinky human beggar with his unevenly paced steps. There was also a large man, clad in more armor than hair, who was oddly all too happy to be there. There was a frightened orc girl, and a man wearing a full turban. Another human stood nearby, seeming all too proud to be there. Adriel would learn that his name was Ezra. Ezra bothered him. Adriel hoped Ezra would be crushed in the trial. A dark-skinned human was eating. Weren't humans the worst?

Finally, there arrived a couple of elves. Real ones, with long hair and slender waists. That improved Adriel's dour mood somewhat, though not by much. Another orc... friendly and upbeat, it seemed. He rather wondered if they knew what they were doing here. Behind them all, amidst all of these faces, was Gretchen--or as Adriel affectionately called her, anything other than her name because he wouldn’t lower himself to that. He had hoped to see the last of her disgusting face when he'd sent her off earlier that day. Yet as fate would have it, she scampered right on back like rats to a cheese. Just his luck. She must have gotten hungry or something, and returned to feast on his scowling. Of course, if she didn't show up on her own, the serass would have just sent him after her to see if she was dead.

But he digressed; Adriel wouldn’t have time to be distracted by the woman flipping him off, because the twitchy elf suddenly woke from his drug-fueled stupor.

“Cock.”

Ah, his hair looked like a cock, did it? That was a new one, considering the style was an ancient and well regarded one among elves, something Adriel doubted the white haired man knew much of. He could have called it ancient and garnered more respect from the infiltrator, but oh no, cock was preferable. "Do your parents still insist you're an elf? Or do they refuse to acknowledge your father as the milkman? Because no elf would dare spout such foulness to me, round ear."

Here he had tried to make a good impression, and maybe even inspire some stragglers. Well, that was out of the window; all Adriel had to do was be himself. It was around that time that Gretchen managed to make the turban wearer pass out with the sheer potency of her face. Adriel... dryly supposed he could relate to the poor man's reaction. "Can someone help up the master adventurer down there? You there, harlot, as you caused this, I'm sure you're equally capable of waking him. Do it... nicely. The rest of you, unless you feel inclined to aid her, be ready to move. The sooner we're on our way, the sooner we get to show up the Silver Knights."

"--A moment, please," said the orc rather abruptly, going as far as to clasp Adriel behind the wrist. They exchanged a curt look, and Adriel hoped that his relayed the fact that while you may have grown, you're still very much the same child, aren't you? At some point the serass had begun scowling, likely when the man had planted his head into the city road. Still, he kept his brows set, and eyes open and alert as he addressed the Gathering: "This will be the single and only instance in which I will not accompany you all. I know he's... a bit of a grouch, but I do trust the judgement of my Second, and I trust him to make choices best suited to our cause. I can only hope that one day we can both earn that trust from you." He slowed his breathing, bowing his head and pressing a calm beam onto his face. "For now though, I simply wish you luck. Spirits be with you, and thank you all for coming today."

"Thanks Serass," said Adriel, his voice barely above a whisper, "but I told you, no coddling." There was something of a wry smile upon his lips, and the elf hoped that Higoht wouldn't feel too offended. Though deep down inside, he realized that the big green soldier was pretty fragile. "Alright, the rest of you, let's go mining." Quickly turning his back to the company he was leading, Adriel marched towards the smell of clean air.




Gretchen lost 2 approval from Higoht.
Kir gained pity from Higoht.
Gulfim gained 2 approval from Higoht.
Laetya gained 2 approval from Higoht.
Everyone else gained 1 approval from Higoht, simply for attending.





The walk out of Autumour was surprisingly short. The ebony bridge was built near the outskirts of city, and Adriel couldn’t be happier. The fresh atmosphere enveloped him, if the recruits were watching closely they’d likely notice his simple relief to be out of the city. There was some talent among this bunch, even the elf had to acknowledge this. While he might be crotchety and closed-minded, there were men and women among them who seemed battle hardened already. This mission might go well. He picked up his pace as the group moved through open plains. There would have been no sign that anything was amiss until nearly a quarter mile outside the city, when a distinct shaking feeling could be felt even through the toughest of hide boots.

Adriel paused briefly at the first shudder, turning to address them. "I should inform you, any cavalier worth their merit would know what this is... but I imagine I have a more succinct explanation prepared. It's a species of drake that moves through earth; a Nidhogg. Normally they're... smaller, and confined to the elven territories. If you've ever wondered why elves feel as though we're the guardians of the world, you'll be seeing the answer soon enough."

He turned away, resuming his pace. “The beast I ask you to slay makes its lair in the quarry down the road. It is incredibly old, and we shall pray for all our sakes that it is male; regardless, keep an eye out for eggs. I ask that you smash any that you should find; they are most prone to eating flesh when they are young.

"Once we arrive, there will be no turning back. If any of you would prefer to embrace cowardice and another day, by all means, return to the city. To those who feel true loyalty to the cause, again: we’ll be securing a human quarry against a Nidhogg. From the feeling under our feet, I can tell you this is a particularly nasty one.”
The elf didn’t enjoy admitting follies of his own kind, but it was a grave offense from many decades prior. Typically all drakes are no larger than pig or large stray dog when they hatch. During Adriel’s training as a cavalier, he'd been given the opportunity to fight these bog drakes before. Typically, the creatures never leave the forest, and even if they did, they would stay buried for nearly a hundred years. With earthquakes as intense as these, however, it was safe to say this creature might be have survived and flourished even longer than Adriel.


The sight of trees became scarce. Only minutes later, the ground simply disappeared before them, like a magician's trick. The group stood before an incredibly large quarry, a flat slab of ground several leagues below their feet, with natural stone walls on all sides. There was only one long slope which lead into it, and a series of caves along the horizon marked old miner’s holes.

Typically, this would be an impressive sight. The trees had been cleared for lumber supports in the mines, and the stone was carved with such efficiency that one might assume a fictitious race of pint-sized men had dug them. Loose stone on the ramp’s surface would shutter with each quake, and the sounds of warping wooden beams in the mines were disconcerting at best. Adriel began to lead them down a wooden ramp the workers had left behind.


As the quakes reached the peak of their intensity, as it became increasingly difficult to maintain balance, they would know it was coming. On the far wall of the quarry visible cracks began to appear, growing with each quake. Even Adriel, scrunching at the nostrils, had no idea how big this creature had become. Finally, the wall collapsed, giving way to the emerging beast.

While the party was safe up were they were, a sickening odor would soon be accompanying the monstrosity. No doubt about it, the creature was a bog drake, a crouched Nidhogg barely smaller than most human forts. It growled gutturally, saliva spewing from it's chasm of a mouth. Boils shivering under its neck as its massive appendages bent and broke the flat ground under its feet. This would prove an opportune time to get a look at the rows of teeth sharp enough to turn stone into food. It peered up at them, defensively perched near the quarry wall. Each toe was as large as a man, and the feet themselves had more than enough surface area to squash any human dumb enough to stand before it. Then it screamed, reverberating, warning any would-be predators that it was not going without a fight, as its glaring orange eyes watched for any sign of movement.

This was a monster which should have never made it this far, and if Adriel had his way, it wouldn’t be moving much further.



“I will not be helping to slay the beast," Adriel said finally, crossing his arms as pebbles fell all around them. "You’ll do everything on your own, I’ll probably just sit on a rock somewhere and judge your performance.”

Thankfully, near the edge of the cliff a godsent appeared, a stump from a once mighty tree was now kind enough to volunteer as a perch for the elf. Adriel casually meandered towards the now-seat, and made a motion with his hands which couldn’t be a more clear sign language for well, have at it then.



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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Image




It seemed that Illeren’s outburst had done more than just draw attention to himself as several things happened that were too coincidental to not have been a direct result of his proclamation. Someone jumped, another person stumbled, people stared…

And not a single fuck was given by the elf that day.

Most people seemed content to simply let the matter slide into awkward obscurity, but one such human man seemed more than capable of breaking that little bit of social taboo with a boisterous laugh and an arm around Illeren’s shoulders. Illeren raised an eyebrow at the man for a moment, before he introduced himself as Ezra and more or less approved of Illeren’s shouting. Not something he was entirely used to, considering people were either telling him to shut up, move along, or asking where their money was. Illeren gave a single sharp intake.

“Aye mate!” Placing an arm around Ezra’s shoulders in return like they were in a chorus line. “Let there be laughs and excitement, of every variety!” Illeren stated, stealing a glance at the many lovely ladies that had somehow made it into the group without his knowledge. Suddenly he was wishing that his first impression had been a bit more manly, but the situation was done. “Name’s Illeren by the by!” Illeren stated loudly enough for everyone to hear him before removing his arm and continuing to look at the people around him. The orcish woman stated something about getting a move on, and Illeren slammed his palm into his chest plate.

“I agree with the lovely lass of the greenish type! We should go break things that don’t agree with the things that we like!” Illeren stated, his voice much more level than before, but still with a very high tinge of excitement piercing what would otherwise be an almost respectable tone. Save for the content of the phrase...and the slapping of his chest plate...and Illeren being Illeren. He was willing to just get going, when of course Adriel opened his mouth to respond to him.

"Do your parents still insist you're an elf? Or do they refuse to acknowledge your father as the milkman? Because no elf would dare spout such foulness to me, round ear."

Illeren stared at him for a moment, ignoring Ezra’s comment to the insult and portrayed an almost blank expression on his face before giving a slight laugh. “Good to see that the elven stereotype is well deserved ya arrogant piece of cow spittle!” Illeren fired back, a grin on his face as if he was expecting a fight. Frankly, he didn’t care who this person was, what their position in elven society was, or if he could kill him or not with a blink. If you fire shots, you better be prepared for return fire. “‘sides...round ear? MY EARS BE POINTEH LIKE SWORDS!” Illeren damn near yelled as he grabbed them and gave a good yank almost as if he was making sure. It was only after this little exchange that he noticed that Ezra wasn’t at his side anymore, having moved to assist the fallen clothed man that Illeren had completely failed to notice until that moment. Illeren gave a shrug, the situation not requiring input from him in any manner of the word. Instead, he now shook his arms and rolled his shoulders with the impatience of a hopped up druggie. He was ready to go, he had to go. Something had to go and he wanted it to be them to the test.

He was ready for a fight, and nothing was going to convince him otherwise.




Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

As he stared down into the mine that might as well have been an abyss from his point of view, he could feel his legs lock up and his eyes go wide. That was really far down...it was a long drop…”That’s a fookin large hole…” Illeren accidentally said out loud before shutting himself up quickly. A bead of sweat actually appeared on Illeren’s forehead as he stared down, all his thoughts turned to what would happen if he should fall. How painfully sudden it would be, or painfully slow. Either way was not something he wanted to happen, and he might have stood there for several more minutes if not for the convenient timing of the Nidhogg.

Now, Illeren was familiar with the creature. His Cavalier training had made it mandatory to be in the know about the creatures should they find one with standing orders to kill on sight for all Elven soldiers. This was not the creature he had been told about. First of all, it was massive...second of all it was FUCKING massive. Granted the shock of seeing a creature that could have been a physical representation of Adriel’s ego was enough to force him from the edge of the mine and return him back to the moment. Adriel had spent the trip telling them about the creature, but Illeren had to admit that his mind had wandered, and so had his eyes although he would never tell the others about that particular tidbit less he wanted to be slapped several times over.

If it hadn’t been for Ezra’s laughter which sounded more desperate than anything to Illeren, he might have thought he was alone in wondering how they were going to kill something so massive without some sort of siege weapon or mass magic. Speaking of, he had just noticed that Ezra’s sword was now on fire. Suddenly Illeren was seriously considering learning magic because fire and swords was just...well come on...it’s fire and swords! Turning his mind back to the present matter at hand, Adriel made it painfully aware that he wasn’t going to be assisting in any way whatsoever, and left the group to take up a perch along the edge of the cliff. Illeren stared at him as he simply sat at the edge of a deadly drop before realizing he was staring, and that the man was an elf and used to heights.

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

"Alright gang, time to make Papa Elf proud! Any ideas?" Ezra stated as the Nidhogg continued to remind them of its presence. Illeren gave a scoff, pulling his sword from the sheath on his hip.

“My plan is to fook that buggar up so badly it will look better in comparison to it’s present self ya betcha!” Illeren stated giving his sword a once over, running a hand along the inscription on the blade. “But ‘ey! If ya bastards wanna waste time thinkin up a statergy, then all the power to ya! I’mma be down there slicin’ at the squishy bits!” Illeren then turned and ran for the ramp with all the reckless abandon of a suicidal lunatic only to come to a skidding stop at the ramp as he caught a glimpse at the height once more. He paused for a couple of seconds longer than necessary before stealing a glance back at everyone else.

“What the fook ya pricks starin at! I got this!” Illeren yelled back before scrunching himself up against the wall and slowly walking down the ramp as if the ground was going to give way at any moment.

‘ad to be a fookin mine...couldn’t ‘ave been a prairie or city block! Nay, lets pick something that good ol’ Illeren will have trouble with. Illeren stared a glance up at Adriel, who he did not doubt was having a good old laugh at his state right now, his chest pressed up against the wall as he side stepped down the ramp.

Well played ya righteous sap licker!




(Illeren slightly approves of Ezra's approval + 5)
(Illeren slightly approves of Adriel's fiestiness! +5)
(Illeren slightly disapproves of Adriel's fiestiness! -5)
(Illeren slightly approves of Laetya's suggestion to get a move on! +2)
(Illeren greatly approves of Ezra's fire sword thing! +10)
(Illeren greatly DESPISES heights! - 99)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

Shortly after proposing to the peacock that they should get a move on, a giant, lumbering tin can came walking over to present a handful of some green twigs to Gully. The man introduced himself as Tane and . . he’s from Airedale of all places. He seemed gentle, too gentle in her opinion, and like one hell of a good meat shield, but he had to be from Airedale. Just thinking the name left a bad taste in her mouth. ”I’m Laetya Kyuutae. I would say where I’m from but it shouldn’t be necessary.” That was when a noticeable thud seemed to catch almost everyone’s attention, and the orc loosened her grasp on Gully’s shoulder to see what was going on.

A spindly woman with straw-like hair, who would probably make a good scarecrow if you perched her up in a field, was bent over the crumpled body of some man with his face covered in rags. The peacock didn’t waste time insulting the woman, indicating the two were acquainted at least in some fashion, and nearly in tandem with Easy’s rush to the crumpled mass of rags Higoht announced he would not be in attendance to this ritual. Oh well, there should be plenty of time to catch up with him and Gully later. Fortunately they didn’t stand around much longer, Laetya was starting to get a little anxious to start this trial.



After their departure for the Quarry Laetya found herself in quiet contemplation of what was to come. While she stayed close to Gully during their trot out from Autumnor, the older orc found herself somewhat lost for words. Sure she wanted to talk and catch up with the girl, but it had been nearly a decade since she left Kyoshel and she was unsure about how to go about reconnecting with her younger counterpart. Luckily she didn’t need to ponder this for too long as the peacock began discussing their mission after the ground started rumbling faintly. She waited until after his explanation to turn to Gully with a big smirk on her face. ”Well, let’s see how good you’ve gotten with that ancient piece of steel there.”

Everything had progressed very quickly once their disparate gang arrived at the quarry. The peacock ran off to watch the proceedings, thanks for helping fix your race’s mistake there buddy, the elf with the disposition of a five year old stormed off right for the beast like some lunatic, two of the women folk rushed head first and jumped on the damned thing, and here she was popping a boil at least as big as she was. She had taken Mr. Creepy-Elf-Guy’s advice and moved to attack the creature’s rear appendages knowing that she wasn’t the quickest on her feet. She had taken the opportunity of her positioning after the straw-haired woman who managed to overcome the bandage man earlier with the sheer . . . pleasure of her company.

Her Qundo had landed in the boil with a sound akin to a flat rock smashing a stocking full of spoiled meat, she really wished she didn’t know that, and the after-effect was much the same, again something she would rather not know. A viscous, warm fluid had spouted forth from the wound and covered the orc like wet wool blanket. Unfortunately the Reaper has always had a tendency to shout, scream, and grunt while fighting and this was no exception. Quite possibly the second most disgusting thing she’s ever tasted.

”Tane, think you can lend me a hand with this?”

She shouted as loudly as she could towards the mountain of iron wielding that big mace around. He was slow so this might not be the best situation for him, but the two of them would definitely be able to distract and impede the Nidhogg with their weaponry. Laetya had quick-stepped back from the beast in anticipation of whatever the hell it might do in retaliation. She forcefully spat to try and get as much of the filth out of her mouth as possible, and the difficulty of doing so served to further piss her off. It was going to take a lot of liquor to wash away this vile flavor.

Hot, sweaty, and sticky. This orc had been all of the above more times than she could count at this point, and some of those she would gladly forget if she had a chance. Speaking of which, where the hell was Easy? After this damned battle she needed to slap the piss out of him for even thinking about grabbing her ass. Well, she didn’t know if he actually did, but she knew the damned Blackguard all too well by now. ”Easy, if you’re dead I swear I’m gonna kick your ass from here to Byda and back!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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Kir
There was peace in unconsciousness. There was no relaxing dreams of better times (there were no better times) or of some far flung fantasy of wine and honey and women and clouds to dote on him, just nothing. An absence of everything was about as good as Kir’s brief moments of fantasy took him these days, and he did not remember a time where this wasn’t the case. No pain, no abuse, no hurting others, no others at all; a maddening and eternal silence was his heaven. Sadly, it wasn’t as eternal and silent as he would have liked, as fate betrayed him by bringing him back to the world with a quake. Cast from heaven, Kir’s consciousness returned just as a face that was charm and smiles had finished saying something to him. The grogginess of the moment kept him from understanding what was said, and he certainly wasn’t going to ask him to repeat it--he was having a difficult enough time looking the man in the eyes, or anywhere even near the eyes.

So, knowing that he couldn’t stay flat on the ground and wait to be trodden upon, he propped himself up with his arms and returned to the posture he had before Gretchen made the universe just that much worse by presenting her continued existence before him. While he faced the handsome man who had helped him up, his head remained hunched over and his eyes still trailed downward, trying not to catch the eye of anything. He wanted to express some degree of thanks for doing so with a few shakes rather than a kick or a slap, but recent consciousness was not friendly to coherence normally and especially so for Kir, so all that emerged was a mumbling that he hoped carried a tone of gratitude. He hoped, because he wasn’t overly familiar with such a thing.

Regardless of what he did or how coherent his words were, the group apparently didn’t feel like waiting for the unconscious man to get up, as they’d already started moving to the quarry, to do something that involved quakes and tests. At least, that’s what he assumed, though that could have easily changed after he stopped being a member of the elf’s audience. Kir didn’t have much choice in the matter anyway, so he trudged along with the group, making sure to keep away from everyone else. And it was at this point that he realized several of them were paying far too much attention to him, which is to say, any attention at all. Feinting attracts the eyes. With that thought boiling his brain, Kir spent the rest of the march to what wound up being the quarry worrying about everyone looking at him. That is, until they came close enough to start feeling the earth shake beneath them.

When you live in the desert--the actual desert, not a city built on stone that’s near a desert--you’re not really used to the ground shaking. Pouring, shifting, sinking, blowing: that’s what the ground was supposed to do. As such, while this was an entirely new thing, it didn’t cause as much worry from Kir as one would expect. Sure, someone used to the flat, stable rock and dirt would probably have a great deal of worry once it started shaking, but to the desert-dweller this might as well just be another quirk of terra firma. Granted, that did not mean that he wasn’t worried (he’s always worried, after all) especially when the elf addressed the group during the march to tell them what was causing the quakes. He had no idea what a drake was, but it didn’t exactly sound good and the one they were going to fight was apparently bigger than it should be.

And he was right. If that was a drake it was far, far too big. Kir didn’t need to know what a drake or a Nidhogg was, or where it came from or what it did, he knew just from seeing it that it was too big. He would have been concerned about the smell, but such things tend not to bother you after you’ve spent so much time at the bottom rung of existence and have a cloth covering your face. And this is what they were going to kill it, without the help of the elf that brought them here or the orc that left them while they were still in the city. Naturally, this is where Kir wanted to run away from the giant, grotesque monster, but then people started running towards it. The man who had woken him moved forward, the shouting elf worked his way down into the quarry, another elf started advising everyone on what to do, his nightmare jumped off the side and hopefully to her death, followed by two more women.

Kir, feeling the pressure to actually do something, used his fear of the people around him to fight his fear of what was before him. He moved closer to the drop-off, enough to have a better shot at the boils he was told to aim for. With his right hand he pulled his shortbow from its quiver, and with his left he grabbed one of the many arrows from his back. Locking the two together, he peered out from underneath his rags and violently separated them. A boil on the beast’s back sprouted a wooden growth with mutilated feathers, then another, and another. He wasn’t sure how much good this was actually doing, but it was what he was told and what he would do.

(Kir slightly approves of Ezra helping him: +5 Approval)
(Kir greatly approves of Gretchen jumping to her presumed death: +15 Approval)
(Kir disapproves of Adriel leading them to a giant monster and not helping: -10 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


Berlioz went to pick up the bandaged man, but saw another human go for him first. A part of him felt guilty for not moving fast enough, but decided he would dwell on that thought later. The group was moving and he had to pick up his weapon and armor that was delivered to the city’s smithery, as well as a few other things he left behind at the training camp. He figured he'd just run there and find the group later. Easy.




What? It was easy. A gang of humans, orcs, and elves, all looking and dressing different from one another? Berlioz wasn’t that slow. He found them walking out of Automour and caught up to the front of the group, so he could find out what was going on. Adriel began speaking, and though Berlioz tried his hardest, he couldn’t keep up with what was being said.

"I should inform you, any cavalier worth their merit would know what this is... (What’s a Cavalier?) but I imagine I have a more succinct explanation prepared. It's a species of drake that moves through earth; a Nidhogg. Normally they're... smaller, and confined to the elven territories. If you've ever wondered why elves feel as though we're the guardians of the world, you'll be seeing the answer soon enough.(I-...I never wondered that. What is he talking about?")"

The beast I ask you to slay makes its lair in the quarry down the road. It is incredibly old, and we shall pray for all our sakes that it is male(Why?); regardless, keep an eye out for eggs (Is the male protecting the eggs?). I ask that you smash any that you should find; they are most prone to eating flesh when they are young.(??? I’m so confused?)

"Once we arrive, there will be no turning back. If any of you would prefer to embrace cowardice and another day, by all means, return to the city. To those who feel true loyalty to the cause, again: we’ll be securing a human quarry against a Nidhogg. From the feeling under our feet, I can tell you this is a particularly nasty one.”

Berlioz began gnawing on his bottom lip as he looked around the group to check the faces of the other people. Nobody seemed as confused as he was about the information being given. He felt like he would always be lagging behind if this is how their tasks would be presented. And he also began to wonder if he was the right person for the job.

...Whatever that job was.

Shaken but not completely dissuaded, Berlioz continued to follow the elf and allowed himself to be descended somewhere with a horrible odor and cracking floors. They were soon accompanied by a large, boiled monster, who was birthed from the cracking earth like a spawn of hell. It was a deformity of atypical beasts at best, and the piercing scream it ripped out from it’s swollen, brown belly gave Berlioz shivers. He wanted to kill the monster to rid his eyes of such a nightmare, more so than it being his mission to do it.

"Time to make Papa Elf proud! Any ideas?"

No. He didn’t have time to fully comprehend the information from before, and the longer that monster lived, the more frustrated Berlioz was with it’s existence. He was about to follow the white-haired elf down the mine shaft to have at it, but a darker-haired elf began speaking to the group.

A part of Berlioz wanted to ignore whatever was being said and just get into the battle. This elf had no leadership over him.

But a larger part of Berlioz was tempted to stop and listen to a small piece of heaven. Berlioz didn’t know if the elf always spoke like that or if it was just for the occasion, but Dark Hair’s voice was so slow and crisp, it calmed Berlioz’s steady aggression and commanded his undivided attention.

“Those boils are our best bet. (Ok, I see the boils. I know what you are talking about.) I strongly encourage you all to pick people to work with, taking turns to burst a boil while the other attacks on the opposite side. Coordinate accurately and immediately, as even though popping the boil gives us a window to act, the distraction will wear off all too soon."(Will it counter attack or something?)

Berlioz nodded along to the information, following most of what was being said. He would have appreciated Dark Hair saying it all over again, but he wasn’t about to ask for a repeat. He got what he needed to know. Piercing attacks, boils are important, don’t get crushed, and Dark Hair needs a partner. And guess who the fuck was going to volunteer.

“I’ll go ahead of you, Dark Hair.” Berlioz made eye contact with the elf, subconsciously bit his bottom lip, and started making his way down the mine shaft to the final floor. He wouldn’t have minded jumping on the Nidhogg, like he saw two other women do, but standing there and listening to the elf gave Berlioz time to actually think about how he would attack. He just needed enough room to run.

When he got down to the bottom floor, he decreased the weight of his armor by ten pounds and began his hellish charge, picking up a frightening speed in front of the Nidhogg’s body. He was grateful that the others had already started attacking, since the beast was constantly flinching in pain and giving Berlioz the opening he needed. Releasing a loud battle cry, Berlioz closed the small gap between him and the Nidhogg with a strong jump from the ground, moving his lance backwards and then slamming it straight into the beast’s right eye. When it pierced the gelatinous orb, he shifted his weapon and shield into a throwing spear, holding on to a slimy piece of it's flesh while constantly ramming his weapon deeper and deeper into the Nidhogg’s eye.


Berlioz got his armor and stuff from the blacksmith! As well as stuff he needs for basic living! Updated items.
[Berlioz disapproves of Kir being so easily overwhelmed. -2 Approval]
[Berlioz loves that Illeren charged head first into battle. +1 Approval]
[Berlioz heard that slick shit Gretchen said from before. -1 Approval]
[Berlioz greatly appreciates Vasha clearing up the confusion. And his voice. And maybe his legs too... +4 Approval]

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

Image


Ezra listened intently to the dark-haired elf, whose name he would later learn as Vasha. To be fair, "hit the boils, don't let it crush you" was a fairly obvious strategy. Still, Ezra appreciated the advice, because he did not know that slashing would be futile. He stepped to the side a bit even as Gretchen, the blonde, charged ahead.

"Hesitation's unbecoming, maggots. Don't let the piece of shit start climbing."

Ezra liked her. She was a charmer, for sure. He watched as she practically dove into the mass of fleshy, pulpy nidhogg flesh below them. The following scream was...unpleasant, and Ezra realized he was going to need more fire. He began murmuring the words beneath his breath, and as he did so, his veins began to glow ever so faintly the orange-white glow of flickering flames.

Then came Arayel, following in Gretchen's footsteps, almost literally, albeit with more style. While he reckoned that Gretchen was more his type than Arayel, the elf was objectively more attractive. The way she moved past him on her way to jumping on the beast, and the way she smoothly and effortlessly transitioned from walkway to air to screaming ragebeast was more than a little distracting, and Ezra almost lost his place in his words as he watched her.

The air around Ezra grew dry and hot, and it simmered and gleamed around him. He knew it was time, and he began his running jump. The moment he pushed off from the platform, and the beast and his comrades became fully visible beneath him, he felt the magic pulsing through him. His spell wouldn't be all that powerful, compared to a dedicated sorcerer's attempt, but dammit, it would be flashy.

Ezra hurled himself through the air, the momentum of his run carrying him out and above the beast. Sparks flew as his body cut the wind and for a moment, he could hear nothing. Then, an explosion. From the flash and the smoke, Ezra emerged, flaming sword gripped reverse and pointing downwards. The force of the blast launched him down and into what he assumed was the nidhogg's right shoulder. His blade sunk deep into the flesh, and tendrils of fire lashed out from the wound, causing several nearby boils to burst. Smoke and ash sloughed off of Ezra as he heaved downwards, tearing his blade down the beasts massive arm. The stench of the nidhogg, once thought to be as bad as any smell could possible be, was significantly worse once it became burned. Ezra continued to slide down the arm, his blade flaying and melting and tearing the flesh from the beast. He heard the sound of great tendons snapping and the strips of flesh they were connected to peeling back, revealing charred and hacked muscle.

At last, Ezra's boots touched the ground. Using the momentum of the fall, he jerked his blade from the beast's mangled arm and in one swift motion, he turned and swung. He mustered all the magic he could in that short time to power the swing, and slammed his blade into the nidhogg's version of a wrist.

Or, he would have, had the beast not already retracted the wounded arm in a flinch. The momentum of the swing sent Ezra tumbling forward, towards the beast's hind legs. He had nearly recovered when the monster slammed it's arm back down, sending a shockwave that propelled Ezra forward even more. The only thing he could do before slamming into the back leg was raise his blade. That turned out to be a mistake, as the sword pierced the flesh of the hind leg a certain distance before glancing off of bone, causing the handle to jerk out of his grip and smash him in the stomach.

There goes breakfast.

Ezra moved fast to recover his sword, and managed to yank it out in the nick of time. Just then, the beast recoiled again, it's back knee slamming down where Ezra had just been. Without thinking, he rolled to get out from under the beast and as he was coming up, some wound on the beast split, showering him with blood and pus and gristle.

”Easy, if you’re dead I swear I’m gonna kick your ass from here to Byda and back!”

Ezra turned to see Laetya, similarly covered in gunk, and waved his off hand, only to grimace from the pain and stench.
"Pshhh. It's going to take something a lot bigger and a lot nastier than this adorable little bog drake to kill me Hun. How are you doing? Need a hand? How about my whole body?" He opened his mouth to grin but it was filled with reddish brown mixture soaking him, and he gagged and spit. It was attractive.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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“It’s ok, just edge myself down to a spot where the ground is not so far down...not so far down...edging edging edging.” Illeren said to himself as he stopped to check his progress and immediately regretted his decision, noticing his breathing get a little heavier as he yelled out in anger and slammed his fist into the wall. He had fought monsters, bandits, guards, and angry fathers alike, but here he was afraid of something that couldn’t necessarily be fought. He looked back to see people already jumping off the Quarry onto the bloody thing and he wanted to yell in excitement and frustration at the same time. He wanted to help, he desperately wanted to do something but every time he turned around his legs seized up.

By this point a good portion of the group had already engaged the beast. The blonde haired woman, the elven seductress, and the burly man had already gone full blown mountain climber onto the beast, stabbing at it repeatedly in different spots as it screamed so loud Illeren was wondering if it would shake him loose from the wall, to fall to his death in a bloody mess of broken bones, ruptured organs, pools of blood…

“AHHHHHHHHH! STOP IT!” Illeren yelled, slapping himself. He needed to get a hold of himself, he needed to do something. Wait, he had an idea. It was a horrible idea that might end up incredibly badly, but it was something. He gave one last glance over at the creature and everyone stabbing at the boils. “Squishy bits...I was right! Stab at the squishy bits!” Illeren yelled before nearly slamming his face into the wall to avoid the sight of how high up he still was. How many steps was it to the edge? 2 good sized bounds? Hopefully he was right or this plan was going to go worse than that time he decided it would be funny to steal from the head of the Blood Ranger Mercenary Company.

Illeren took a couple quick breaths. He had to get into the fight quickly, if only because he was missing out on the best parts. He shut his eyes tight and shoved himself off the wall.

One step...two st-

He felt his foot give way from the edge as he miscalculated how large his strides were. He opened his eyes in surprise and didn’t even manage to get out a yell before he crashed onto the back of the beast at an angle, sliding quickly down the side as he managed to keep a hold of his sword through sheer training and instinct alone. He slashed wildly as he fought to gain a footing, stabbing his sword into the beast only for it to pierce a boil and spray bile and puss everywhere, missing Illeren only because his sword’s quality was working against him for once. The sharpness of his blade sliced through the ‘weak’ spot like a hot knife through butter and didn’t slow him down one ounce.

He felt his body start to move of its own accord now, his mind no longer focused on its fear of heights and instead realizing that there was now a tangible enemy to be killed, and moves he could make to counter that threat. His hand gripped the skin of the Nidhogg, managing to find purchase nearly on friction caused by its hard and leathery skin alone. He couldn’t stop his rapid descent, but he could control the landing as he contorted his body so that he managed to get his legs underneath him. At the last moment, he kicked off with the grace of an acrobat, performing a slow arcing back flip to the ground which, unfortunately, was still a sizable distance away. He landed hard into a backward roll, or to be more specific, several backward rolls as he did his best to minimize the imminent shock to his legs and failing. When he finally stopped with his impression of a small barrel, he slammed his free hand into the ground and came to a small skidding stop, grimacing as he did so. Not at the fact that his hand was slightly cut up from the coarse ground, but from the pins and needles now coursing their way through his lower body. He stood, but his legs were obviously shaky from the impact alone as he shook them like he was trying to get rid of that one obnoxious dribble of piss.

He slapped the flat end of his sword against both legs, attempting to get more feeling into them before staring up at the massive creature. “Now we’re on even footin’ yah garden vegetable lookin’ mother fooker!” Illeren yelled, as if he hadn’t just been scared by a tiny drop just a few minutes prior. He looked over and managed to spy Ezra and Laetya battling with the Nidhogg on the ground, and both covered in...well if Illeren said ‘diseased shite’, he wouldn’t be wrong. He ran up to the creature, passing by Laetya with a laugh. “Looks like you could use a bath luv!”

He ran for one of the legs not currently under attack, the front right leg to be specific, and started slicing, stopping only to also laugh at Ezra’s misfortune as well before continuing. He spun his blade with a practiced grace as he engaged the foot like it was an enemy all it’s own. He slashed and cut his way through the leathery skin, stopping only long enough to look up and see a couple of boils further up on the leg. He gave a wry smile as he grabbed the top of one of the Nidhogg’s toes, handstand-flipping his way on top of the foot and jumping up to deliver a blow to the target of opportunity. The juice from the infected region sprayed, but luckily Illeren was already falling below its trajectory. He landed, and prepared to jump up for another one when the foot moved, keeping him unbalanced and forcing him to jump off as it became too sporadic for him to maintain his footing. The creature seemed to be moving somewhere, and Illeren had to get out from underneath the Nidhogg to avoid being crushed.

He ended up at the front of the creature, stealing a look up to see the Knight and the blonde haired woman stabbing and slashing at the creature in their own ways. One looked like she was simply trying to get a hold of herself and the creature, and the other seemed like he aggressively wanted to become an optometrist. Illeren looked over to the ramp, contemplating trying to jump onto the thing a second time but immediately hating that idea after what happened the first time and knowing that his vertigo would immediately kick in. He looked back at the feet with an almost abysmal look this time. There were others, stabbing the creature in the face, and he was practically giving it a foot rub. He gave a grunt as he held his sword in both hands and charged for the foot once more seeing as the creature had stopped moving so much.

At least today wasn’t boring.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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Tane Solberg

After the three women he'd met in the initial gathering introduced themselves, it was finally time for them to head off to this quarry. He couldn't help but feel a little... excited. He'd been looking forward to this for quite a while now, and now that it was finally time to prove himself he could barely contain himself.




Definitely not what he was expecting. Not even a little. A Nidhogg? Really? The very first thing they were going to be thrown up against was a Nidhogg? And a massive one at that. Ugly too, almost as bad as it smelled. The horrid stench of over ripe fruit and decomposing corpses reminded him somewhat of his hometown, not really the way you want to remember the place you grew up. Not long after the explanation of what they would be doing did many of their brave company launch into action!
The man with the pretty hair, Erza I think it was, asked for any suggestions. The loud elf from before gave a rather decent one, kill it dead as it were. He then promptly threw himself into the quarry after the beast, but hesitated. Mayhaps scared of the sheer height they were at? At that point, a dark haired elf actually gave them a fairly decent rundown of "killing Nidhogg 101". It seemed like a good plan, but many seemed to ignore him in favor of actually jumping onto the beast itself! He wasn't sure how great of an idea that was, but it seemed to be working fairly well so far.

That gave him an idea... What happens when you drop a boulder off a cliff? Whatever it hits goes splat! Very much splat. Mind you sometimes the boulder breaks, but the beasty down there looked pretty squishy. It would probably absorb most of the impact. Probably. In all likelyhood this was not a good idea, but that hadn't ever stopped him before. He'd have to wait for the right moment though, and hope that his companions could survive that long.

He then heard the orc woman from before, Laetya, call out for his assistance. He frowned and looked down at the creature, and knew if he did it now he'd likely break something. "Be down in a minute friend! Please be patient!" They probably didn't have much longer. The Nidhogg had already begun retaliating against them. It irked him that he wasn't down there helping, but he doubted even he could block a swing of those massive arms.

That's when he saw his chance. Just after the pretty boy slashed up the creature's leg in a show of steel and flame, it seemed to go very still. Now or never! Tane broke into a dead run, something that was quite difficult in a full suit of armor, and leapt off the cliff, shield pointed down into the quarry. For a brief second, he saw recognition in the beasts one good eye, then fear, a very logical response given the situation.

What situation? 320 pounds of steel flying at your head from a cliff top. Then he made impact, this shield slamming into the leathery hide of the beasts head, a sick *crack* from the creature's bone as its head slammed into the ground with the force of the impact, snapping its jaw shut.

He slowly pushed himself up, his body immediately exclaimed its protest but he ignored it for now. He probably fractured something of his own in the fall, but that would heal. He looked up to see the very angry blonde woman and Arayel on the back and neck of the slimy beast. He gave them a smile and a wave before he broke out into laughter. This whole situation was absurd! He literally just fell on the head of a drake, and here he was laughing like it was no big deal! "S-Sorry to drop in like t-this. Hope I wasn't interrupting anything!" Then he felt the creature lurch under his feet. His feet slipped out from under him and he slid down the side of the beasts slimy head and to the ground next to Laetya, who like most of them was covered in slime.

The beast was obviously not happy with him, as the second he was off the thing's head it turned its massive maw at him and lunged, sharp teeth barred in full. He positioned himself between the beast and Laetya and widened his stance. "Do try to stay behind me friend!" he yelled to Layeta, still laughing, as the beasts face slammed into his shield, glancing off towards the left, leaving its neck exposed and a large gash in his shield. He doubted it would buff out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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#, as written by Jäger
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"Hesitation's unbecoming, maggots."

Ah, that sun-bathed hair and tiny, sharp face from before. As she briefly made eye contact with Vasha, her eyes were wild with violence, a smoldering hatred boiling within. The rangy woman reminded him of a rabid dog, except without the threat of an incurable disease. A shame that - I’ve always wanted to test out its implications on a human being. Vasha felt a twisted kinship with her as she lobbed herself on to the beast, almost indulging in her berserk mania himself, arm twitching in anticipation from the thought. But he checked himself, shaking his head slowly in small movements to cleanse the urge.

Vasha hadn’t realized that he had been joined by someone else during his lapse – an elvish woman, dark and compelling. Her eyes were liquid mercury, hair the maw of night. A rolling softness of cheek and lip offset the unearthly quality of her eyes, lending her an altogether unsettling appearance. Despite that, Vasha found her incredibly beautiful, perhaps due to the very fact that she possessed such visual contradiction.

"We mustn't disappoint father." What is with all these people calling that elf Dad? Soon, she had launched off the side and more followed; the pretty boy from before who spewed lava from his hands, an orc woman with one hell of a weapon, and even the pile of rags from earlier managed to find himself an ideal vantage point, slinging a barrage of arrows into the beast. Vasha found a new appreciation for pretty boy, looking after the flames hungrily as they spiked and slithered across the Nidhogg’s form. The Nidhogg was noticeably distressed, using the momentum of gravity to violently barrel its body from side to side. Like a ship caught in a storm. To his approval, most had followed his advice, finding others to join arms with. Now all he had to do was find someone that would do the same for him.

A brown-skinned human approached him from near the front of the pack. He had impressive heft and a sort of nervous excitement that lit up his features when talking. “I’ll go ahead of you, Dark Hair.” When the man bit his lower-lip noticeably, Vasha’s eyes snapped to them, finding the mannerism odd to say the least. He almost felt the urge to tell him to bite harder and draw blood.

“Thank you for stepping up – I have no doubt we’ll make a fine team.” The man disappeared down the ramp, entering the battlefield. Vasha followed him, taking a moment to appraise the scene. More had joined the fray. A silver-haired elf took up point on one of the ramps against the quarry wall, gracefully avoiding a sudden explosion of mucus and grime that showered most of their party. The white-haired rat from before had managed to get to ground level without dying, attacking its front right leg. His partner had rammed a lance deep into the thing’s eye, gauging it out in waves of continued force. Looking back up at the members remaining, a hulking suit of armor was positioning himself for what Vasha assumed to be a plunge. Following the man’s trajectory, Vasha realized that he was going for its head.

A brief pause from the Nidhogg and the giant pitched himself off the side. A squealing noise distracted Vasha from the tank’s landing – looking out past the Nidhogg’s gargantuan form, smaller, faster shadows appeared from beneath its cavernous stomach. It was a mother. Oh, now this has gotten exciting. A voice echoed through the quarry, “By the Gods. Recruits! Kill every last one of them. Let none flee.” The elven archer had noticed the new development as well, running down the ramp as lighting suddenly sparked against the walls of the quarry. The tank rolled off the Nidhogg’s head, revealing a jaw that couldn’t quite close anymore.

Pivoting on his heel, Vasha broke into a sprint, jumping off the lowest ramp and landing near his partner. Still, the brown-skinned man continued his assault, backing off when the Nidhogg moved to attack him and reapplying pressure when it was distracted. “Well done!” Vasha exclaimed when he saw the pus and grime spilling forth from the Nidhogg’s eye like a broken faucet. The Nidhogg, in a bout of vexation, moved a massive clawed foot towards them, obviously with the intent to squish. Vasha predicted the arc of movement, jumping in the air before the foot had slammed into the ground. Finding purchase on the slimy skin of its tendons, Vasha used the Nidhogg’s next retreating movement as a springboard to land near its face.

“When I tell you, use all the force you have to drive that lance as deep as you can into that hole of an eye!” Vasha barked over the ever rising sound of the Nidhogg’s wails. He waited, observing the ebb and flow of the beast’s movements. The sickening squish of boils reverberated in his ears. Still yourself, Vasha. Patience. And then he felt the growing simmer of paralysis as the Nidhogg became overwhelmed, passing over its enormous flanks like a tsunami. “NOW!” Vasha yelled, waiting for the lance to appear from his peripherals before piercing the Nidhogg’s other eye in a flurry of strikes. The Nidhogg opened its broken jaw and angled its head upward, a torrent of air pouring from within as a great howl of agony. Vasha quickly took the opportunity, throwing himself into the beast’s mouth. His saber pierced the flesh of its tongue - a place to hold on before the Nidhogg reflexively swallowed him whole. It was much more slimy and hot than Vasha predicted. He could feel the tingling of pain from what he assumed were regurgitated stomach acids and other digestive enzymes. The damage would have to be severe he could actually feel the pain. He needed to act quickly.

Ripping his saber out and propelling it further down its throat, Vasha looked for the lymph nodes that he assumed would be at the very back. Occasionally light would pour in, casting vicious shadows across the bumpy texture of its tongue, almost looking like miniature mountains and valleys. Gods, was it massive - the tongue itself was nearly the size of a town square. It felt like an eternity before Vasha reached the back of its throat. His entire body was thoroughly soaked in the thing's blood and fluids. Groping around in the dark, he felt something much softer beneath his hands. Fleshy globules the size of adult sheep lined its vast palette. Hoping that this was what he was looking for, Vasha took hold of each one with his left hand and sliced through the back with his other, promptly stabbing his saber back into its flesh so that he wouldn't fall into the black hole of its throat. Upon each removal, the Nidhogg rumbled like an earthquake, nearly shaking Vasha free of his foothold.

How the fuck am I going to get out of here?




Vasha approves of The Bull's teamwork: +10
Vasha slightly approves of those that followed his advice: +2
Vasha approves of Ezra's fire making ability: +7

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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"This sword. Where it ends, and I begin."


There's was so much happening at once. Too many people with too many personalities, bundled and bunched into a group reminiscent of Orcish ranks. Certainly no chest pounding but she was sure that would come later—and if things couldn't get anymore surreal, an arm dropped around her shoulder and a familiar body drew her into a warm side-hug. Laetya. Her blue eyes softened. An inch of tension left her drawn shoulders, and a tremble-ridden sigh escaped her lips. Her mouth opened to say anything but then, the armoured man she'd bumbled into knelt forward and collected the needles she'd dropped and offered them back to her. No judging leer. No curled lip, insult curdling on his tongue. A simple gesture. Her mind whirred and stuttered, but she managed a soft-spoken, “And I, Gully Gragba.” Too stiff. But there it was. She accepted the bundle and sheepishly shoved it back into her satchel, underneath the helmet she'd been trying to extract.

While people like Ezra or Laetya or nearly everyone here wielded words as easily as she did her sword, Gully floundered and found herself having little to say. She did find Illeren and Ezra amusing, as well as she found Tane chivalrous and kind. Her words, however, stuck in her throat like those prickly needles. Conversation was devastatingly gut-wrenching. Instead, she remained swaddled in Laetya's embrace and glanced over shoulders when she heard someone thump against the ground. It appeared as if it were merely a shamble of rags and limp limbs, but people were already bending over to help him up, and Laetya was already leading them in the opposite direction. Her jelly legs disobeyed her willingness to incur aid. She moved like the river and flowed along with the group.




Moving away from Autumnor into more unfamiliar territory filled the silence she supposed she should haved filled with Laetya. Should she have asked what she'd been doing over the years? What had happened in Kyoshel on the wall? Why she'd disappeared and never returned? The details had not been told to her. Confidential as they had been. Questions were met with stern frowns, shaken heads, and cutting words that ended her queries. Her older brothers responses had always been grim. If even he wished not to speak of it... she wondered whether it would be appropriate to mention at all. Whether or not fortune smiled on her, she needn't fill in the gaps with her blubbering. Adriel's instructions began and she listened with rapt attention.

Ancient steel. She, too, smiled. This is where her little spark ignited. Words were words. Sounds to fill empty spaces. Emotions that did not quite fit in her palms. Giving and taking and giving again. Those were rivers she had not learned to cross yet—these oceans, however, were ones she sailed frequently. Like a sailor scrambling up ropes, relying on muscle memory, Gully's countenance shifted as her fingers tickled across the pommel of her blade. Fighting coloured her world when she could not. She could almost feel her heartbeat drum through her head. It was a song she leaned against for familiarity and comfort. And while she actively listened to Adriel's nonchalant admonitions, Gully's eyes followed the craggy quarry, dipping into darkness.

Even as the ground shuddered and trembled beneath their feet... it was the stench that bothered her most. Certainly unlike the softly-scented needles pushed to the bottom of her satchel. She would've liked to catch a whiff of it in that moment. Soon after, a shambling wreck of flesh shuddered from the recesses of the presumed nest and the Nidhogg bugled towards them. Vasha's useful knowledge would not go to waste. Avoid the walls when it clambered up them. Focus on it's neck-riddled boils. Consumption of rocks. Speedier individuals towards the front and slower, hardier ones towards the back. She fell somewhere in the middle. She shifted her weight and dropped the satchel to the ground. And she did not hesitate, throwing herself into a throttling sprint. Her left hand closed around the hilt of her blade and it sang free of it's scabbard.

Gully sprang into the air and relished the wind as it bit past her cheeks. Far more sprightly than her weight would impress. She tensed her legs and arms and landed across the Nidhogg's slimy back with her own, considerably-less disgusting one. Her momentum carried her all the way down it's thumping tail and she scored a flesh-wound with her sword, slicing down it's spine. She wove between her perhaps-someday companions and slipped her blade in Illeren's mentioned squishy-bits. Dipping underneath it's belly and diving away from it's stomping claws. It did, however, slap her away with it's hind leg, driving her into a loose-limbed tumble into the furthest wall. She crooked forward and wheezed. Fortune held. She'd managed to keep her sword in hand.

Stop!

She took another withered breath and pushed herself back to her feet. There was a wetness blooming down her neck. Blood. Her blood? Maybe, it's blood. She wasn't sure. Another shout sounded over the clamor of grunts, roars, and bloodcurdling screams. One of fury and rage—belonging to Gretchen, being tossed around like an angry leech. Vasha and the dark-man were dealing with the Nidhogg's razor-toothed maw. Everyone else was hidden beneath the Nidhogg's girth and stomping legs. She wanted to cry wait wait wait. That she would be there. That she was coming to help her. The words died, and where words died, actions persisted.

She hurtled forward into another calf-burning run and utilized her momentum to swing her sword in an upward arc beneath the screeching younglings rippling throat. Before it had the chance to dip it's head across Aura's face. Before it was too late. It's head tumbled beside Aura's face, and a neat spray of blood and whatever-else followed along with it. Grabbing the creature by the back of it's shoulder, Gully hefted it off of her with a grunt and exhaled sharply, trying to regain her lost breath. Everything was happening so fast. Too many people, too many different personalities. All bundled up. Fighting together. Her heart soared.

Gully wiped a grimy palm across the front of her leathers and offered it to Aura. A smile. Gore-spattered as she was, her eyes swilled with concern. Worry. Strange how battle changed how she felt so quickly. The nattering nerves striking doubt through her mind were mere afterthoughts, as long as this person... a stranger, was whole and fine. “We're not finished yet.”

Of course not.




Gulfim greatly approves of battle +50
Gulfim approves of Vasha's knowledge +10
Gulfim approves of everyone's fighting prowess +5

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
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Getting on to the beast was one thing. Actually doing something was quite another. Keeping herself oriented proved more difficult than she had imagined. The Nidhogg constantly moved and tossed it’s head. It seemed that Gretchen had started the assault. She had jumped, other’s had also rushed into battle while Vasha was the only one who came up with an idea. Yet, now it looked like everyone was stabbing, cutting, shooting or otherwise hurting this thing. It was obviously in pain, for it screamed, rumbled, tossed, turned and shook regularly. Arayel’s sword was embedded so deep within the monster’s flesh that she could only just grab the handle and hold on. She had cut a pocket for her left hand to grab while she tried to cut deeper and deeper. At some point she had to do some damage. Currently, so much puss, blood and gunk was seeping out through the wound, that it covered quite a bit of the neck. The stench, though! It’s blood, if it would classify is that, was not only disgusting in consistency but it was also hot. Cold, pallid slime would have been better!

I am owed a bath. She wasn’t given much time to complain though, since someone decided to slam a lance into the eye of the great beast. Barely, she managed to hold on. If the sheer motion of the Nidhogg tossing it’s head wasn’t enough to throw you off, the folds of skin that were suddenly set into motion might do the trick. “Oh, you have got to be-“ No time to recover from that either. In fact, she couldn’t see who it was, but someone with an affinity for fire had hurled themselves over the edge of the quarry. On his descent, he emerged. Ezra. He did know how to make an entrances, she had to give him that much.
That incurred another violent motion of the beast. It was hard getting any work done when you were dangling from the hilt of your sword, several feet above the ground. The attack Ezra seemed to want to carry out looked as if it was going great, but at the last moment he missed. He took it well though. He recovered and then instantly flirted with Laetya. Arayel let out a chuckle before resuming her carving into the beast’s flesh.

Though she agreed with the pace of the battle more now, she wouldn’t have that joy for long. At first she had disliked Adriel’s inaction regarding the whole affair, but he might redeem himself now. He stood, moving to join them in their battle albeit against a new enemy. Well, sort of. They were the spawn of the Nidhogg she was currently crawling on the neck of. Adriel was eager to have these young killed. Understandable, otherwise another unlucky bunch would be here in some centuries fighting this exact battle. While she had no intention of leaving the work she was doing, she managed to get a look at the ground and see them engaging the young nidhoggs. At least someone was taking care of it.

“Does anyone else feel like they can’t catch a TANE WATCH WHERE YOU-“ She hadn’t finished her sentence. In essence, that was what she had been trying to say anyway. The giant, plated man had hurled himself off the cliff, towards the beast. Why was that so popular? Perhaps he didn’t account for the threehundredandsomething pounds of force he would hit the beast with. Needless to say, Arayel’s knuckles tightened around the hilt of her sword and she heard the sickening crack of Tane hitting the head of the nidhogg and then they went down. It’s jaw hit the ground with a loud crack and it’s teeth clattered together. Well, it sounded more like the largest gates you could imagine, being slammed shut. The force of the motion had resulted in Arayel’s sword drawing a deep gash all the way down the creature’s neck, blood and puss squirting everywhere. All the while, Tane was laughing. It would seem that the beast was beginning to panic. It struck out at Tane, who in turn shielded Laetya. It was incredible to watch how he could fend off something that could strike with such force.
Arayel pulled on her sword again, causing more blood to pour out. Now, she didn’t know much about Nidhogg anatomy, but judging by the amount of blood it would seem that she had cut a main artery in it’s neck. It’s movements seemed more sporadic and desperate. Both eyes had been put out, Ezra had struck it with fire, it had been shot at, had it’s boils popped, it was bleeding and Tane had dazed it. And Vasha had jumped in it’s-

“Vasha!” Granted, this was not like the job she had before. It wasn’t anything like assassinating. New tasks required new tactics, but jumping into the maw of a nidhogg? With a few more pulls, her sword cut further through the flesh of the beast and left her dangling just below it’s broken jaw bone. That’s where Arayel began carving. Vasha couldn’t die yet. None of them had her permission to die. She hadn’t exchanged words with all of them. Hardly any of them, in fact. She had to get him out. If nothing else then for conversation’s sake.

Arayel approves of Ezra's flashiness +5


Arayel greatly approves of Vasha's courage +10


Arayel vehemently disapproves of being covered in goo and disgusting fluids in general.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

Image





Illeren’s demeanor had changed ever so slightly once he was in the heat of battle, doing his best to eliminate the creature in front of him. It wasn’t a complete 180 in terms of his personality, but looking at him it was clear to tell. His smile was of excited determination rather than mischief, his motions were fluid and filled with a singular purpose, and his blade soared through the air with every flick of his wrist almost like he did so himself, his body contorting as he made to dodge the subtle but dangerous movements of the giant Nidhogg. The only thing that remained was probably his speech.

“Ya feel that you right tit gobblin wanka!” Illeren slashed and pierced with every ounce of his being, knowing that even though it didn’t seem like it, the cumulative effects of all their attacks was slowing the giant ugly beast down. He continued to do so right up to the point where the Nidhogg decided to throw a temper tantrum and stamp its feet up and down. Illeren forced his sword deep into the leg from where he was standing, on top of the foot, and held on for dear life while the Nidhogg did it’s best impression of riverdance. When it finally decided that enough was enough and it was time to move, Illeren retrieved his sword and jumped off the foot, landing in a single roll. The entire body was moving like some kind of weird body of water, with skin flapping about like the waves gross massive balls of pus and blood shooting every direction. Illeren charged forward, intent on keeping up with the Nidhogg, ducking and weaving through the ballistic bath intentions.

Illeren was still beneath the creature at this point, and he was seriously starting to reconsider his position as keeping his balance amidst the clawing and scraping of the beast was almost as hard as getting a blow in himself. Dirt and dust was kicked up, coating his armor and himself as he coughed and forced his eyes open through tears caused by the obstructions. At the very least, it wasn’t what everyone else was currently coated in, even as his white hair was now a dirty grey. When the beast finally did stop, Illeren took that moment to clear his eyes so he could properly see. He heard the pompous ass yell something about killing every last one, but to be honest listening to that elf was really damn low on his list of ‘fucks given’.

“RAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Enough of this dirt shite in my sockets!” Illeren stated, finally getting fed up with the dirt in his eyes and instead making for the nearest leg and jumping up on top of it once more as was the norm for him. His eyes would clear eventually, but for the moment he simply wanted this thing dead for shoving dirt into the golden gems that were his eyes. He stabbed, slashed, cut and weaved through the boils on the beast’s leg, giving off insults that were getting more and more incoherent as time went on. Starting with ‘Ya fookin bastard!’ to ‘’ant dis lookin fookbar!’. When he finally did regain his entire vision back, he looked over to see a baby Nidhogg grappling Aurileith to the ground. Before he could make a move to help her, the sheepish orc came by and cleaved the bloody thing’s head off. Illeren gave a smug nod as he absentmindedly stabbed at the mother’s foot some more.

It wasn’t long after that the baby nidhoggs were dead, and the mother collapsed on the ground, much to the surprise of Illeren as he made a mad dash to get out from underneath her once he realized. She had crashed to the ground and Illeren threw himself to the dirt in order to avoid being squished. He got up, wiping the dirt and grime off of him as best he could before looking back at the creature. There was a brief moment of silence from him before he gave a hearty laugh and pointing his sword at the carcass. “Right! We fooked ‘er up somethin fierce we did! I mean, just look at ‘er, all crumpled up like a wet sack of potatoes!” He twirled the sword a couple of times before smoothly returning it to its sheath. He turned to look at the others, noticing that they were all more or less covered in guts, pus, and blood. He laughed even harder, if that was even possible.

“Look at all ya silly gits! You just...I...you’re…” He couldn’t even get out a proper sentence, at least for Illeren, without bursting into laughter. Sure, he was covered in dirt and grime a plenty, but not organic matter. Adriel started talking to them, and the moment his grating voice started making it’s way to his ears, Illeren’s laughter died down. At the very least, the elf seemed pleased with their progress and achievement, so it toned down Illeren’s annoyance of the man somewhat. He ordered a trophy to be cut before he started talking about what they were to do next. Barkmere, Illeren had been there before and personally didn’t like the place. It was a nice town of course, probably one of the better ones out there, but it was too bloody close to Elven territory for him. He hated going back that direction for any reason whatsoever, and gave a huff as he realized that he didn’t really have a choice in the matter if he wanted to continue with the job. He had realized that he might be forced to go back to the dreaded land of the tree humpers, but he had hoped it wouldn’t have been so soon.

Although there was the bone of contention regarding the induction. An immunity to the plague? Yes please, but what did he mean if they survive? Was the cure almost as deadly as the disease itself? Well that seemed right stupid to Illeren. Adriel tried to amend his statement, but it was already too late. There was a threat of death from the thing supposed to protect them from threat of death...Ironic. He then made to go help the blonde woman with her sword while Illeren turned to the others of the group. “So, we go drink a brew that may kill us, or save us from a different death…” Illeren put a hand up to his chin. “Sounds dangerous...I like it!”




The trip to Barkmere was more or less uneventful, with Illeren being bored for the majority of the way there. He sharpened his blade as he went, practiced twirls with it, and generally used it to relieve his boredom. At one point he had started singing folk songs, but after a few very pointed glances he got the message and stopped...for the time being. They couldn’t stop the Bard Illeren! It took a number of hours before they reached Barkmere in the dark of night and the building’s glow providing the only source of light for miles around. They approached the walls, with Adriel getting them inside and directions to where the group was supposed to meet. The walk there was short and, once more, uneventful as they moved inside and were greeted with the leader of the expedition. Bo smiled and waved them inside, another rather unpleasant looking elf taking them and moving them to some bathing area. Illeren gave a very audible sigh of relief. “That’s great! The rest of ya smell like a bad case of chicken pot stool!”

It was to his utter dismay that the bathing areas seemed to be separated by gender, leaving Illeren pouting slightly as he and the other guys were lead to the baths. Once his initial disappointment wore off though, he didn’t waste any time whatsoever. Going into the changing room, he quickly tore off his armor with both a practiced ease and reckless abandon as piece after piece seemingly flew from his body. Aside from his sword that is, which he ever so carefully detached from the side of his chest piece and gently set it down as if it was some revered object. He kept going until he was completely stark naked in the change room, portraying the scars and tattoos that literally marked nearly every inch of skin. Without bothering to don a towel or any sort of covering garment, he walked out into the main area of the bath.

He walked along the wooden boardwalk over top of the bath, giving a good inward breath and stretching before tossing himself over the board and literally belly flopping into the water. He surfaced near the edge of the bath with a wide smile planted on his face as he simply sat in the warm comfort of the bath, enjoying what would probably be a very scarce occurrence of being clean. He let himself slip down into the water until it was up to his eyes, peering into every corner with more than a hint of mischief about them as he moved around the pool.




Illeren exited the baths with only a loose pair of cloth pants adorning his body, leaving his upper body and all its tattoos exposed for the world to see. His armor was in a bag, toting along his back while he held his sword in the other as he followed the instructions of the orc, who had found him investigating several closets...cause he was ‘Lost’. Bastard had caught him in the act of trying to nick anything that was worth anything in there, luckily Illeren had been able to play it off. Or at the very least, if the orc gave any indication he knew what Illeren was doing, he never said anything. Little beads of water still clung to Illeren, and his hair was still fairly matted from the water as he attempted to simply wipe the water off of him. While doing so, he nearly full on stumbled into Bo.

“Oi, my bad.” Illeren stated, looking up at the man.

“No harm done..." The orc replied, amused if anything. "You're Illeren, right?”

“Aye mate, tis my name. Hig-oit right?”

“Hiː goʊ, but just call me Bo.” Illeren gave a smirk.

“Much easier on tha tongue! Less pretentious too, sounded like a ‘igh born dicker for a moment there.” Illeren pointed to the room. “We settin’ up in there?”

“Haha, yes. Go ahead and get comfortable, we’re still waiting on the others.” Illeren gave a nod, slapping the man on the shoulder as he went inside. It appeared he was the first one here, and so he set about taking up a spot at that table, setting his armor off to the side and placing his sword on the table in front of him. He took a look around, to see if there was anything else that he should be aware of and finding nothing. He sat himself down, flipped the sword into his grasp and leaned back, placing his feet on the wooden surface as he unsheathed his sword and went about glancing at it. He reached over into his pack and brought out his sharpening stone once more, letting the rhythmic motions keep him more or less entertained until everyone else came in.

That being said, when everyone else did come in, Illeren didn’t bother stopping. He simply slowed until the sound of the stone on sword was practically imperceptible. He glanced up at Bo as he started to talk, everyone paying attention to their leader. He didn’t bother moving from his current state, which some might have seen as incredibly disrespectful, but he was paying attention at the very least.

Bo introduced himself, and set about starting the story with a tale about a snake. Apparently its poison was what allowed one to be immune to the plague ravaging the lands, but you had to survive it first. Illeren let his head drop slightly as he thought about it as trading one poison for another. At least this one would prove to be survivable, mostly. When he mentioned the side effects, making special note of what Adriel did during his stint with the drug Illeren gave a scoff. “‘e’s an assasin ain’t ‘e? ‘e most likely kills people when ‘e’s sleepin!” Illeren stated without so much as a single care given as to what the others might be thinking about when he said that. He simply continued his slow upkeep of his weapon as Bo continued. There was talk of respect, loyalty and everything else that came with being under the employ of someone else. Funny enough though, he made a note to mention morality, which struck Illeren as odd.

He wasn’t the most ethical man around, but he knew where to draw a line. It just struck him as weird that the boss of this so called group would be open to their interpretation what was right and wrong when really it should simply be left up to him. He then went on to list all of their objectives while they were with the group, which Illeren found to be common sense. If they were going to be immune, it would only make sense for them to be in the thick of it. If they survived the induction anyways. Illeren perked up when he started listing out rewards with a noticeable bodily movement. Pardoning? Pass. Fame? Pass. Respect? Pass. Physical Recompense? Now that’s what I like! Anything I can think of? Oh, I won’t ask for much me thinks. Maybe a castle, my own brothel, and enough gold to drown several leagues of leprechauns.

Finally Bo seemed to wrap up, indicating that his assistants would help with the induction ceremony. Maybe the speech would have scared off anyone else, but in Illeren’s mind, immunity to the plague was enough to warrant a try. At the very least he would be able to travel without fear of turning into a brain dead ghoul, not that several people hadn’t already thought he was one. “Well enuff wastin time then! Let’s drink a brew and avoid ghoulification shall we? Ladies first!” Illeren said, pointing to Ezra with his sword and a wicked smile.




Illeren ever so slightly approves of Adriel not being a stuck up dick. +1
Illeren slightly approves of Gulfim's "lady like strength" +3
Illeren slightly approves that Higoht's name isn't a high born dicker +1
Illeren disapproves of not being able to nick anything.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

Tane Solberg


After a final lurch from the grotesque mass of flailing flesh, its head came to a rest on the ground. Light faded from its bulbous eyes as blood drained from the massive wounds covering its back and legs. It smelled like swamp gas and death. He lowered his shield and took a look around the field. How many had they lost? Who had survived? Five had died in the battle, maybe more that he couldn't see. He whispered a soft prayer for the fallen as he put his flail to its mounting on his side. He turned to Laetya, who was literally covered in the gunk, and nearly gagged. Instead, he let out a hearty laugh and slapped her on the shoulder. "Well now that wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be! Mind you it smells worse than I thought." He spent a moment digging through his pouch and passed her a clean piece of cloth. He would not want it back.

Adriel, their fierce and fearless leader, also kind of a racist prick, finally acknowledged their worth. It sounded forced. He told them they were heading to Barkmere, though he'd never been there before he recalled it being a rather quaint border town. Maybe they'd let them take a bath. The angry blonde one needed it badly. At first glance it was... well it was hard to tell she was even human! Covered from head to toe in gunk, she looked like some kind of furious slime monster. He couldn't help but chuckle.





The march to Barkmere was long, quiet, and rather... Smelly. As they walked down the road, he swore he could see plants on the road side wilting with their approach. He'd long ago shoved some bits of cloth up his nose to protect him from the stench. After about ten minutes, they ceased working. But ahhhhh... those ten blessed minutes of relief from the stench of that horrid beast. He began to envy the young woman Gulfim and her bushel of fresh needles. Mayhaps they were granting her some measure of reprieve.

Finally they neared the gates of Barkmere where a familiar and friendly face waited for them. Sir Higoht the kind orc quickly ushered them into the Inn, where a medicine man and a full bath were waiting for them. Thank the creator. While most of the men had already hurried out of the dressing room and into the bath, he still was busy with the removal and cleaning of his armor. He hadn't gotten to horribly slimed, so it didn't take long to clean it all. His main concern was the shield. There were now three large gashes in the paint just under the cross. And a tooth. Must've come loose when he came in like a wrecking ball on the things head. He yanked the horrid fang loose and inspected it before pushing it into his bag.

At long last he stepped into the bathing room, a towel around his waist for modesty's sake and his shield on one arm, where his nude companions all lounged about in the warm waters. Ezra was boasting about this scar or that one, the bandaged man hiding in a corner where he could be alone with a bucket of water, and the loud blonde elf circling in the water like some kind of shark. He laughed at that too before stepping into the water and sitting down, the warm water barely reaching his pectorals. The warm water felt odd on old scars, particularly the one on his left side where he'd taken a spear. The scar twinged but eventually the muscles around it relaxed. He sighed happily and began lapping the warm water over the rest of his body, and that's when he noticed something odd. His head was covered in short stubble. Was his hair growing back? With conflicting thoughts as to his hair style, or lack of, he exited the baths and donned his casual wear. It was rather cold outside the bath, so he donned his coat as well.

He stepped into the meeting room second to none other than Higoht himself and found one of the few available seats. He barely fit. Higoht finally called this little meeing to order and told them of their next trial. Be bitten by the Styx snake and live. "Ironic. The key to the immunity was, all along, something else equally capable of killing us?" He gave a hearty chuckle which probably got him some odd looks. "Some did say the Creator has a sense of humor. I'm begging to think they were right." They would definitely have to find some other method for curing the disease. From the sounds of things, the antidote was nearly as hard to obtain as the snake, and it was unlikely that everyone would survive... Yes, an alternate method needed to be found. Silently, he prayed that they would succeed before the disease spread to his sister and Father in Airedale.

The loud elf was first to speak up, with a flourish of his sword he volunteered Ezra for the first bite. Ezra, seemingly unfazed, accepted the challenge with a drink from his flask. Or perhaps not his, he didn't seem to know what was actually inside of it. He seemed a bit to drunk to go first, or perhaps not drunk enough as he kept dipping back his head and drinking from the flask, so Arayel was actually the first to go. He offered a prayer for her and a smile as she was led down the stairs. Slowly he began to get anxious, and found himself sitting down by the door to the stairs. Then he heard it. "FUCK YOU! YOU SON OF A WHORE!" For a moment he thought she was yelling at him, his mother had been in fact, a whore, but she was likely just screaming at the pain in general. Styx snakes were no laughing matter. He heard the thrashing and screams, and suddenly everything went silent.

His heart sank, and those next few minutes were some of the longest in his life, but they finally ended when she came up through the door, looking... errr... haggard is the polite word. His whole body heaved with a sigh of relief, he couldn't stand the thought of losing a comrade outside of the battle, against a foe he could not defend against. "You gave us a scare there! It went dead quiet down there for five whole minutes... I feared for the worst." Arayel seemed in dire need of a drink and a bed, and after getting her arm over his shoulder, he managed to lead her to the bar. She seemed to content to stay there, so he busied himself with the rest of his comrades.

After that, Tane's role was more or less decided. Bo led them down the stairs to what could be death, and he led them to a stiff drink and a room. Some fared better than others, the man with the strange armor seemed more angry than anything, the loud elf simply swore the whole time, the bandaged man seemed awful and barely even spoke as he was led to a room, Ezra seemed more or less fine but he'd probably had enough to drink for the night, and the dark elf from before was seemed... Alive. More so than before. "You seem to have taken it better than most friend." he said simply as he passed the man a stiff drink. "Rooms are upstairs. There's an empty one on the left end of the hall."

He watched the man walk off and took a heavy breath. He was the last. Higoht came up to him and led him down the stairs he'd seen everyone else go down thus far. The room wasn't nearly as bad as he had imagined it to be, in fact it was quite nice. If you ignored the stone slab covered in restraints. Taking a second look, most of the restraints were broken, ripped apart by the thrashing of those they'd held down. He did as instructed and lay upon the slab, though there seemed little actual point seeing as the few remaining restraints didn't actually fit around his limbs. After those who felt uncomfortable leaving this giant unrestrained left the room, they brought out the snake. It was actually quite beautiful, scales that shimmered like gold in the dim light. Those glimmering scales lashed out in a flash and latched down on his arm with a sharp pinch.

For a moment, he wondered if that was really it, just this mild sting and burning sensation near the bite? That can't be right. People were down here screaming bloody murder. That's when he felt it. His chest tightened until he felt his ribs must surely break, his throat sealed up as if filled with wax, the rest of his body unrestrained was free to contort and twist at its newly found, sick will. He'd never experienced such full body overwhelming pain! As the air suddenly burst forth from his lungs he found himself laughing, harder and louder than ever before, filling the room with the echoing boom of his pained voice. Then quite suddenly everything went dark. The pain was gone, but so was everything else... he was floating in endless sea of black, devoid of feeling and light. But there he saw a massive serpent, coiled around the world, its black scales shimmering in this black sea, thick green smoke billowing from its gaping mouth, fangs bared at him, ready to strike and take from him what life he still clung to. Just as he felt the snake ready to lunge, to make a meal of him and end it all, he was unceremoniously lifted from the black sea, a world of color swirling around him as he broke the black water's surface.

He found himself back in the room, sitting upright on the stone slab and panting like a dog, his whole body covered in sweat. There was very little left of said slab, and a large section of it was clenched it his hands, broken and jagged. He let it fall to the floor as he fell back, trying to get some breath back in his body. The snake charmer and the medicine man let out a massive sigh of relief, down at the other end of the room. After a minute or so he sat back up and pushed himself to his feet. "Sorry about the rock. Thank you for your service." his voice was hoarse and it hurt to speak. As he shakily made his way up the stairs, he seriously considered taking up drinking. No way would it end well, but maybe it'd make his head hurt less. With these thoughts in his mind, he found himself curling up on the stairs and passing out.

Tane approves of the Illeren and Ezra dynamic, and secretly wonder's if they're gay... +5 for ship.
Tane also approves of Ezra's chest hair. Nice manscaping sir! +3
Tane is glad that Arayel survived the ordeal. Can't go having you all die on me can I? +5
Tane is oh so glad that Higoht had planned a bath. +4
Tane thinks the slime monster Gretchen should be a movie. +3

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Kiske Kirill

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

The realization that she had been caught off guard didn’t occur until Laetya had been planted flat on her back, a respectable flurry of dust settling on the ground from where she had skid. This Nidhogg was a hell of a lot faster than she expected. Just had to go tryin’ to make conversation in the middle of a life or death battle with a monster . . . at least I’ll know better next time. It almost seemed like the massive beast was aiming for her again when a brilliant flash of steel came crashing down on its head, followed by a deafening crack. Before she knew it there was a heaping mass of steel standing in front of her, Tane, advising her to stay behind him. ”Yea, thanks for the advice as you so kindly have the creature’s attention focused right on us.” Near life-threatening experiences made her a little snippy at times.

Most of what happened afterwards was rather blurry as the orc found it somewhat difficult to focus until the beast was dead and gone. People rushing left and right, some dying horribly and others not so much, and finally their fearless escort joined the fray, squawking about killing or whatnot before she finally found another reason to dislike the stuck up bastard. Another filthy magic user, they were just all over the place weren’t they? As if being a foul-tempered elf with his head stuck up his ass wasn’t bad enough, he had to be a magic user. Things could be worse though, at least he didn’t seem like a hypocrite. It wasn’t long before they were on their way to meet Higoht at Barkmere, one of the first towns she visited after leaving Kyoshel. While some of the group seemed to get side-tracked, or maybe they died earlier who knows, Laetya began lagging near the back of the trotting champions of the Gathering. The bruises on her left side were being a literal pain in the ass as the trek continued.

Their arrival at the city was less than triumphant, being greeted primarily by the sound of gagging citizens throwing up their hands to cover their mouths and noses. Higoht greeted them briefly, and quickly ushered them towards the baths of an inn he had reserved for their sakes, she would definitely need to find a way to thank the big lug for his act of generosity. That or ask him for some coin seeing as he was doing so well nowadays, anything besides Elven liquor and grub would probably be more expensive in a damned border town trying to mark up the price of their goods. Bastards. Her first mission though, was to quickly make her way to the bath and soak for as long as possible before the evening’s proceedings, expediting the scenario by waving off the orcish medicler Higoht posted near the baths. She wouldn’t mind having his hands on her for a bit, hell she would probably return the favor, but her wounds didn’t seem that bad, all things considered.



By the time she had made it to the meeting room, Laetya was positively seething at how the night’s events had turned out thus far, having made a fool of herself in front of both Gulfim and Higoht. She had decided to stay dressed in, her thankfully clean, under-armor, hoping to feel secure in some fashion given the turbulent evening. The room itself made her extremely uncomfortable, dark and crowded as their group attempted to placate themselves while seated at a round table covered in a tablecloth that was much too nice to be here. To top it off the chairs themselves weren’t made for orcs, which was to be expected, but this forced the already perturbed Reaper to stand behind her chair instead of being seated, leaning over the furniture with her arms crossed over the top of its back, her back and shoulders shaking slightly as her foot tapped up and down furiously. At least the white-haired elf was singing a merry little ditty that helped calm her fury a bit, and her current position most definitely gave her a marvelous vantage point of the curious elven female’s revealing bodice.

It wasn’t until everyone arrived that her cousin decided to show up and tell them exactly what the hell else could go wrong with the rest of the night. Tired? Check. Concise? Thank the gods. Congratulations? Better be booze. Proud? Fuck you. Adriel? You wish. Uhhh Bo? That’s when he finally caught her attention in full, bringing up the Styx snake. Of course she knew what the hell those were, dangerous worm-looking bastards you stayed the hell away from with a ten-foot Qundo if possible. Hmm, immunity to the Pestilence or NOT be bitten by a damn snake . . . yeah, really tough choice. I’ll take my chances with turning into a vicious cannibal. Of course it was all a little dull after that. Childhood bite? Old news. Hellraising experience? No shit. Adriel killed a man? Must’ve insulted the hair. Official member, loyalty, respect blah-blah-blah. Then, there it was again, that damnable hook taking her mind off the more important things in the evening, like where the good booze could be found. Just the thought that Ezra might be able to make a moral decision for the group left Laetya mortified. Maybe she was right when she said Higoht’s brain had been fried by the Styx venom all those years ago.

That’s when the waiting game began. She had wanted to go first and get the damned thing over with, well maybe not so much because fuck getting bit by a snake, but still though everyone kept jumping at the damned opportunity to get on with their night. The white-haired elf goaded the gaudy Ezra, with that sickening chest-hair showing shirt of his, while the chesty elf decided to just go ahead and get it over with. Then followed Bandages, the lunatic who charged the beast earlier and won’t stop eyeing her Qundo, the bossy elf, the white-haired elf, Ezra, and finally Tane. Enough was enough, it was getting late and watching everyone come up looking like they had just seen death incarnate was not helping her prep for this little ritual at all. Before anyone else could climb up and volunteer to go Laetya charged forth and stomped down towards the basement lying below. Snarling at the trio of men waiting for her, ”Hurry up and strap me down so we I can get this the hell over with.” With that she laid back and clamped her eyes shutting, hoping that not seeing the snake would make things easier.

She couldn’t have been further off the mark. The bite itself didn’t seem all that bad to be honest, she had probably felt more painful pin-pricks, but when she opened her left eye to try and make sure they weren’t tricking her something very wrong was happening. A creeping haze was working its way from the edges of her vision, blurring and blacking it out. A frigid chill descended upon her prostrate form and the air dampened, thickening heavily until her breathing became laborious. The tightening around her heart sent a pang of panic through her system, the thought of being jammed into a cramped box flashing through her mind’s eye for a split second. ”Ok, I’m good to go, you can hurry up and let me go now,” she growled in frustration, with just a hint of desperation in her voice, if there was anything she feared most in the world it was being chained and caged.

The orc bucked against the restraints as hard as she could, hoping to break the bonds as silence pervaded the still air around her. No one was there. Why were they doing this? The sickening chill in her chest began to burn like a ferocious winter, the biting cold creeping through every fiber in her body. Laetya struggled against her bonds even more fiercely, ignoring their bite into her exposed flesh, the heat of her blood searing against the icy chill permeating her body. Then, as suddenly as the horrifying experience began, it stopped. Like a tidal wave crashing over her, all the unpleasantness of the situation merely disappeared, leaving a frantic look in the orc’s emerald eyes as she finally caught sight of the three in the room. The silence remained between them as they waited to undo her restraints, wanting to make sure that she had truly finished the initiation. After Laetya sat up and began rubbing the areas where the restraints had cut into her flesh Juyo made a move to heal her wounds, and a powerful crack echoed around the dark chamber as she ferociously slapped his hands away. ”I swear if any one of you tries to touch me again tonight I will cut your hands off so that when I break them you can’t heal them afterwards.”

Then she marched out, simmering furiously as she stomped through the room where the few remained who hadn’t taken the initiation.



By the time the first rays of dawn peeked over the horizon Laetya was already drenched with sweat and panting furiously. Her night did not go as planned. She started off by finding the last flask of liquor in her pack half-full, and after quaffing it quickly she began to argue vehemently with a rat who had made residence in her room. Ok, maybe she was arguing with herself more than the rat, but everything was directed towards her. The affair didn’t carry on for very long, only a couple hours, but it was enough to get her blood boiling more than slightly. So naturally she attempted to calm down by drawing in her sketch book, but to no avail as her hands were shaking so intensely from the rat affair that everything kept coming out fuzzy and jittered. Finally she resorted to something she hadn’t done in a very long time, practicing martial arts.

Her family wasn’t renowned for their martial styles outside on using the Qundo, but they knew the basics of hand-to-hand combat, as any warrior should. And there she was, outside the back of the inn, tossing her hands and feet willy-nilly as she attempted to recall half-forgotten moves and improvising when she couldn’t remember. It was much more exhilarating than she recalled, and the mental processes involved served to greatly distract her from the previous day’s events, calming her in a much needed fashion. Laetya was fairly sure the noise she was making might be attracting undue attention in the wee hours of the morning, but it seemed either no one cared, or they didn’t want to bother an angry orc who looked ready to snap more than a few necks.

It wasn’t until well after the sun had risen that she decided to meet with the rest of her companions in the inn’s lobby, she had neglected to bathe after training all night, instead merely tromping upstairs to bring her belongings down. Higoht had said there would be more fighting today, so she might as well be ready for it, and a bath might not do more than relax her too much. While she could feel the first tendrils of exhaustion creeping through her body it would take more than one sleepless night to keep her from performing at her best. That’s when her cousin introduced the group to their newest companion, a very strange and unfortunate sight indeed. The fellow had more makeup on than most whores, and his clothing made even the gaudiest of them look plain by comparison, what’s worst is the fact he was yet another human. While she wasn’t exactly thrilled to be working with a high-profile killer, there wasn’t too much to do about that fact and most of them in the Gathering might be labeled killers depending on who was talking. Still though, this Kiske guy was a really creepy looking fucker.

Whatever the case though, there was another mission it seemed. Shortly thereafter they were marching their way to some small town nearby called Merrilville, a miraculously quick jog from Barkmere in all honesty. As soon as she caught sight of the town creeping over the horizon Laetya could tell something bad had happened there. While the half-chewed bodies could be blamed on scavengers, there weren’t nearly enough to justify any type of bandit, or even slaver, attack on the village, and the relatively massive walls said such an alternative was also highly unlikely. Once they were coaxed inside gate and towards the town center she kept near the edge of the pack but stayed a healthy distance from the treacherous alleyways that peppered the village. She wasn’t sure, but the shadows weren’t moving like they should have been.

As Higoht cautioned them, as group of inhuman beasts emerged from the lurking shadows. Laetya had never seen the plague-ridden with her own eyes, but she had heard more than enough stories to verify what was before them. They weren’t the ugliest things she had ever seen, but this first contact still left her stomach in a slight knot, maybe just a half-hitch. She let her pack, hanging from her left shoulder, drop down to the ground with a soft thud and assumed an aggressive posture. With a sideways twist of her head she looked back at the rest of the group, turning towards the nearest alley, ”Never been the best with time, but I’ll be seeing you all when I get back.” Without another word she took off to face whatever dangers lay in wait.

Laetya disapproves of Adriel’s magic. -10 approval

Laetya approves of Gulfim for being the same, but not. +4 approval

Laetya approves of Higoht for being the same, but not. +4 approval

Laetya approves of Illeren’s singing. +3 approval

Laetya questions Ezra’s clothing. +/- 0 approval

Laetya doesn’t question Arayel’s clothing. +6 approval

Laetya disapproves that Higoht might let Ezra make moral decision for the group. -7 approval

Laetya approves of everyone who made it through the initiation. +15 approval

Laetya disapproves of everyone and anyone after the initiation. -3 approval

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

0.00 INK

Image


The world is built by killers, so you better get used to looking at them.


How did one prepare for a cryptic, inexplicable initiation? It went beyond whetting blades and stretching stiff muscles. This was a battle she was not accustomed to facing and so, Gulfim had chosen to fuss with her armour until it shone like gleaming scales and slick obsidian. She'd had more conversations than she expected she'd have in such a short period of time, and had much to contemplate, but for now it would have to wait. She had no idea how the others fared, but hoped that they were well. Hoped with glaring urgency that they were alive. Even though she'd said nought a word, Arayel's reassurance resonated in her thoughts. They would be there for her afterwards. The fluttering birds-breath of a heartbeat felt unusually calm as she stepped down the stairs, trailing behind two hulking healers. This was just another trial to face, and if she were to compare this with what she'd had to endure beneath her father's cumbersome expectations, and her older brother's limitless shadow, it felt much lighter.

She would not falter in this.

She would endure. She would overcome. She would live, live selflessly and prove herself capable.

Down and down they went until a wafting smell of duskwood and pine needles met her nose. Pine needles? Perhaps not. An unfamiliar scent of old candles, musty warbled stones, and subterreanian earth. A curious, unknown earthly chamber illuminated with candles and torches—perfect for it's purpose, she supposed. There was a handwoven basket nearby, flanked by two healers, who were already ushering her towards the slab. She trailed calloused fingertips across it's surface, fixated on it's coolness, and placed both her palms onto it. She willed within herself a calmness, a tranquillity she could grasp and centralize herself with. If what Bo said was accurate, then that calmness would disappear. Every once she'd amassed until now would pour away, leaving her vulnerable. That, in itself, terrified her. The inability to remain whole, and calm, and assured. She took another deep breath and centred herself as the healers shuffled around the slab, unfastening the leather straps. Underground basement, musty smells, humid air.

Gulfim finally hefted herself onto the slab and stretched her legs outwards, trying to ignore the bead of sweat gathering at her temples, on her drawn-in brows. She forced her lips into a thin, dispassionate line; though, she could feel the blossoming fear resonating in her core. Hammering a hapless, quivery tune, which rattled against her ribs. What demons did she harbour? What would it be like if her fears were drowned out and overpowered? What would it be like if she, like Gretchen had against the Nidhogg... She shook her head and laid back against the now-shivery slab of rock, allowing them to strap her ankles, and upper arms down. They murmured instructions to one another, as if to make last preparations and finally carried the basket to her side. One of the orcs, smaller than the one who held the basket, adjusted her straps once more, before inclining his head. Ready, then. The lump in her throat remained a knot she could hardly swallow around.

When he pulled the top of the basket off and carefully handled the Styx snake, Gulfim bright eyes fixed on its gleaming scales. Gleaming like her well-oiled leathers, with eyes that spun like polished gems, catching the candlelight as it slithered around the man's green hands. It's forked tongue darted in and out of its mouth. The orc-healer drew closer, holding it aloft. It was mesmerizing, in a sense. Somewhat unexpected. What had she expected? A terrible monster. She'd heard tall tales and whispered stories in Kyoshel about the snake itself, but hadn't expected it to be so pretty. She found herself leaning forward to get a better glimpse, and in a flash of coiled capacity, the Styx snake hissed backwards, and latched onto her neck before she had the chance to jerk her arm up to defend herself. Flanged fangs dug in until the healer pressed it's head back, dribbling maw and all, releasing her from it's clutch-hold.

Her eyes swam. Gulfim hardly recognized them plopping the Styx snake back into the basket, hardly recognized anything at all. Red, red, red.[/color] Her senses were suffocating—drowning in the belly of a monster, and with it came a wholehearted soul-wrenching anger that resonated as brightly, as blindly as the blistering pain spanning down her neck and spine and thrashing limbs. A depth worthy of filling chasms of calm, tranquil pools. Her muscles spasmed and twisted and screamed against the strained leather straps, and her eyes rolled back into her head. She gnashed her teeth at the [i]faceless ones standing around her, and jerked upwards, pulling against the restraints. Blistering, burning snakes wrapped around her wrists. They were pulling her under. Underneath what? She wasn't sure. She couldn't—

Hissing.

Hissing.

And there he was. Standing next to one of the faceless ones, closest to her. Lips pulled into a disapproving frown, eyebrows drawn together as if to say she'd failed again. She'd failed her family. She'd failed them all. With all of the pain she felt, as if her bones were brittle branches crackling underneath his feet, Belfor looked upon her failures and arbitrated shame and weakness. The sound that escaped her own throat was feral and angry and bubbling with the same fractious storm brewing in her gut. Her heart felt hollow; a stone slab, cold to the touch. Unbeating and unusually quiet against the lick of fire fingering down her spine, her bones, her eyelids. There was nothing to cling to. No light, no centre-point. She waded in darkness, and it ignited flames instead. She thought she heard voices, but she couldn't be sure. Muddled and muffled and incessantly persistent in their rabble—she wished they would cease, or she would... she would...

You are weak, little sister. And we can't afford weakness.

He tilted his head and raised his hands, motioning to the faceless ones. More words, fumbling out of his mouth like yawning wounds. Gulfim blinked furiously, desperate to see him clearer. Willing him into nonexistence. Wanting to wrap her hands around his throat and squeeze until the words simply stopped. She longed for silence. To stop feeling that relentless, drowning malice. It made her feel sick; dizzy and weak. It was as he said. Her body shuddered violently. He was right, wasn't he?

You want strength? You want to be stronger? You're just a little girl. This it too much for you to handle. Pathetic.

She was frothing madness. Acerbic flames, fanning outwards. A monster's belly, swimming in a monster's belly. Full of filth and aching limbs; screeching lungs that could not form words of their own. She gurgled around growls and snarls and a savagery she did not believe existed. Stop, stop, stop, stop. Her body was not her own. The leather straps, the cold Styx snakes, strained against her efforts and finally tore apart and snapped off the slab, hurling her forward while the faceless ones converged and grabbed onto her shoulders. Too late. Too late, now. Bright eyes fixated on Belfor's grinning face, on his condescending expression; unimpressed by her corded hand bound around his neck. Fingernails digging in like talons. Her head snapped backwards, jabbed from somewhere faraway. Her hand remained, tighter. Their voices were small things, soft murmurs in the background of his.

Pathetic.

Constricting fingers dug into the fleshy parts of his neck and fingernails continued digging trenches, burying deep enough to smother the smile from his mouth. Mush it into a strangled wail. There were hands wrapped around her shoulders, her biceps, her torso—all trying to force her back down. She could not swallow her rage. Impossible. Couldn't they see that? Couldn’t they understand? She could house it no longer. Errant fingers pulled back her lips, cracked open her grinding teeth and slime, monster slime, was shoved in. She tried to spit and bite and throw her head back but more hands clamped her mouth closed, held her chin and head position. All of the fight had left Belfor. In turn, her slick-wet hands released their grip on his neck and she was slammed back unceremoniously against the stone-slab. She was a mouse in the woods, she was a moth in a jar, she was choking on hatred, she was a child in a woman's body. Her limbs were cramping with the need to run far away, but the fight had left her as well, and the darkness ebbed like the sea. In and out, in and out.

Voices. More voices. She wished they'd simply... cease.

She tried to swim back to something. The whites of her eyes were bloodshot and red-rimmed. Puffy eyelid clicking closed. Bruises. She felt bruised and beaten, and wondered idly if something had happened. There were softer voices, now. Whispering to each other; muted, clutching things that she wanted to reach towards. Promises whispered in the darkness that pervaded her vision. She allowed it to carry her wherever it wished. Heavy chest rose and fell. Battered knuckles clenched tight to her sides. She tried counting. She tried rolling words around her tongue, but only managed a small croaking noise. Suddenly, a strong hand dropped across her shoulder. Comfort, calm, still. There was a whisper—a familiar lullaby of words, just beside her head, but she could not make them out.

Her eyes slowly drooped closed, and a soft sigh escaped her lips. She slept.




There was no one yelling in her ears when consciousness claimed her. No unknown, mysterious voices muttering around the stone-slab she expected to awake to. Instead, Gulfim shifted against clean linens, though her body protested even those small movements. Had someone hit her? A brick wall, maybe. It certainly felt like it. Her last memory was being bitten by the Styx snake, and then nothing. Simply nothing. The more she scrounged her thoughts, the less she seemed to recall. There was a biting sensation of unease, swirling in the pit of her stomach. Besides that, there was little else. Perhaps, the others had similar experiences. She'd seen Arayel limping back up the stairs, towards their sleeping quarters. Hopefully she hadn't been the only one to faint. How embarrassing.

One of her eyes was swollen shut, and there were bandages wrapped around her arms, her knuckles. Gulfim took a deep breath and fixed her eyes on the ceiling. She wondered meekly if she should seek out the others and question how their initiations had gone. Wondered if she should simply seek them out to see that they'd all survived. She hoped that they were alive, as well. Hoped that their initiations hadn't taken too much of a toll on them. If she couldn't remember her own, and she was still alive and well, everything was fine. The Pestilence would not affect her as it did others, and she could commit herself to their objectives. A weak smile tipped the corners of her lips up. She hadn't perished in an earthly basement before being able to prove them all wrong. Her family, her brothers. Herself, perhaps, most of all. She was still alive.




After seeing to her armour once more, giving it last one last once-over before she began putting it back on. Snapping on buckles, pulling straps tight against her hips, and straightening out any non-parallel armour-pieces. It took some time. As soon as she was satisfied, and she'd quelled the nervousness already gathering in her legs, Gulfim regarded her blackened eye within the reflection of an old shard of glass. Mottled strangely against her mossy skin. She'd had bruises such as this before, but none she could not remember. Perhaps, no one notice. Everyone had looked particularly haggard after their initiations, from what she'd observed; she was no different. Of course, this journey would task them all. She made a small noise of approval, patted a hand down across the pommel of her blade and slipped out of her chambers.

Everyone had already gathered in the inn's lobby. Gulfim remained resolutely silent, though she took a quick count to see who'd survived, and was pleased with the number of familiar faces she spotted among them. Bright eyes crinkled at the edges, clearly relieved. Good—she shouldn't have doubted them in the first place. Some of them had already proven resilient while battling the Nidhogg... either that or far too stubborn to die. Dying in an old basement because of a snake bite? It was not a death she'd wish on anyone. She did not know whether they thought the same, but death in battle was always much preferred. A senseless demise without achieving your goals? A waste of life. Grim or no, it was the truth.

Any questions she might have had for them pertaining to what they'd gone through in the basement was neatly smothered by further instructions. Gulfim did not mind. Movement meant action, and action was something she understood well. She craned forward and listened intently, only slightly distracted by their newest travelling companion. Rocking on his heels as if he were trying to contain boundless energy. Juggling a simpering smile that appeared as if it were two steps away from transforming into a wily, delighted grin. A high profile killer? An assassin of high calibre. The title was impressive enough, and he did appear light on his feet. He would provide them with many skills, she was sure. His appearance was puzzling. She did not understand why he wore so much makeup and wished to ask him, though she doubted she'd have the opportunity because they were already being led out the door and Kiske walked beside Bo.

This particular journey was much different than the one they'd undergone to reach Barkmere. It felt different, mostly. While she wanted to pull up beside Bo and question his reasonings for taking them here, Gulfim hung beside Laetya and focused on her senses. Was this just another trial to face and overcome? She doubted it. Combating the Nidhogg had been Adriel's personal assessment of their abilities, and they'd passed. Surviving the Styx snake's venom and acquiring it's protection against the Pestilence had been their initiation into the Serpent's Gathering and now, they were performing it's duties. She adjusted her own lofty pack. There was a heaviness overhanging their footsteps, and soon after... a putrid, husky scent drifting from the buildings ahead of them. When they entered the square, Gulfim nearly walked into Ezra's back and wobbled backwards, sputtering an apology as she fanned out as per Bo's instructions.

It was only then that she noticed the bodies. Piles. Missing limbs and some bent in awful angles, gnawed and chewed and missing pieces of themselves. Some of those pieces hung from fiendish mouths. If they could be called that—jaws bent in equally terrible angles, boasting jagged fangs and slavering spit and blood down their pointed chins. Beady eyes swung towards them. Her hand did not waver. She did not hesitate. Her blade had already sung free from it's scabbard and she held it at the ready. Bo gave them further instructions, and Laetya was already sprinting down one of the alleyways. Gulfim nearly hurtled after her retreating form, but jerked to a halt. Twenty minutes? Shouldn't they stay together? Fight as one? This was not her squadron in Kyoshel. This was not... Gulfim regarded the others, eyeing the approaching forms.

Gulfim approves of Arayel's comfort +10
Gulfim approves of having Kiske onboard +5
Gulfim greatly approves of everyone surviving the Initiation +10
Gulfim disapproves of her own weakness -5
Gulfim disapproves of Laetya running off on her own -2

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy

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#, as written by Baby
Karaba Ibori wrote:
My dearest Belli,

I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the banana bread. I’m never the one who bakes it, so stop asking for the recipe.

On another note, it’s good that you are still alive and capable of defending yourself. I’m even a little jealous that you fought a great beast such as the Nidhogg. Was it really as big as you say? Did you carve some pieces for me? I’m sure you didn’t, because Kirikou only came back with money.

What is your soldiers wage anyway? Is it measly? Do you sleep on the ground? Closely with your unit? I hope not. I’d like some personal space.

Anyways, sorry for the short letter. I’ve been...busy. And busier still making some last minute plans which are noneofyourbusiness. So don’t ask Bell. Seriously. I won’t have the time to write to you, so you’ll be without my letters for a few days.

Goodbye, Belli.

Karaba.


Berlioz reread Karaba’s last letter to him as he prepared for their march in the morning. He was angry with her, but still worried sick. They had an agreement to write to each other as often as possible. How busy could she have been to not write back for so long? And what could it be that she wouldn’t tell him?

“Damn it, Karaba!” He cursed out loud, too deeply engrossed in his thoughts to repress his emotions from breaking his placid facade. He evened out his brows after taking a few breaths and stuffed the letter in his shorts’ pocket. When he put on his armor, he took a moment to practice a few thrusts with his lance, building momentum and anger with controlled, refined movements.

Up...down...center! ‘Karaba...’
Up. Down. Center! ‘We had an agreement.’
Up, down, center! “KARABA!” With one final thrust in his round of practice maneuvers, he turned on his heel and bashed his shield into his imaginary foe, causing a loud thud when the metal and wooden floor collided. His breathing was hitched again and he cleared his brow from the line of sweat racing down to his chin. Wherever they went that day, he knew he’d be in the front lines.




Merrilville was a disaster. He could smell the decay and abandon before he even reached the village’s limits. He had never witnessed the effects of the disease before and now a part of him wished he never did. It was an eerie quiet around the streets. There were bloody prints and broken doors, almost as if the village was ravaged by a maleficent group. He didn’t really know his neighbors well in Peri, but he knew he’d be devestated to see his own village like this. Broken and disgusting…

Berlioz stopped mid-march to examine a hut that looked a lot like his own. The straw walls were ripped into gaping holes, allowing him to see into a room. From the looks of it, it was a….a…- By the gods, this was somebody’s bedroom! Someone used to sleep in the same room that was covered in blood. The floor mat and blanket had traces of blue between the black liquid hardening between the cloth and straw. There was a small ragdoll ripped through the center with one of it’s black, button eyes missing. It was fashioned in a green dress, but any hair that it could have had was indistinguishable by the torn and twisted neck. Berlioz could only assume the room belonged to a little girl.

He had to stop this pestilence. Before, it was impersonal. Something he believed that would handle itself. Or at the very least, be handled by capable hands. Was he then bearing the weight of such responsibility? How could he stop this? How could he prevent the disease from reaching Peri?

“Ugh…” Berlioz groaned under his breath as he caught up to the group, discovering pieces of human bodies in a messy, gory pile by an alleyway. In the still silence, he was called to alert by struggled, choppy breathing. Bo positioned himself, ready for something that Berlioz wasn’t. Following suit, he stiffened up and brought his lance out in front of him.

A shriek through the alleys and wolves, or at least, humans that looked and moved like wolves, charged towards Bo. He fended them off with admirable strength and expertise, and commanded the rest to destroy the diseased and find survivors. Berlioz wasn’t sure how he would measure twenty minutes, especially since he easily lost his sense of time in battle, but he wanted to prove that he could be useful in this campaign. Sickened with it all or not, it was time to move.

He saw a pack of the infected running down an alleyway towards the group and took the opportunity to fight in his best environment; a straight line. With only a tense of his thigh muscles as a warning, Berlioz went from standing still to a deadly rampage in a matter of moments. He left behind a huge trail of dust as he set his lance mid-thigh and started to impale and trample the monstrosities in the small alleyway, using his purposeful movements to set his full weight onto whatever survived his steel.

Berlioz likes the way Bo sets an example. +4 approval.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin Character Portrait: Kiske Kirill

0.00 INK

Image





“Eh?! WHAT NOW?! WHAT THAT?!” Illeren woke with a start, sitting upright from his bed, his sheets tossed every which direction and half the pillows sitting across the room from him. His eyes were half open as a mighty yawn escaped his mouth as he simply sat there for a moment. He slowly made his way off the bed, practically dragging his feet behind him as he made his way to...where the hell was he going? He stopped, peering around the room once more. He needed to wake up before he could do anything, but apparently his body was already doing that for him as a massive headache and familiar sensation in his stomach forced him into fight or flight mode. He shoved a hand to his mouth as he quickly peer around the room and spotted a bucket. He dropped to his knees, shoving his head into it and letting what felt like his entire stomach empty into it. He heaved more than a couple of times, finally peering up and wiping what was left of his supper or lack thereof off his face. “Nevah again...I swear...I’mma give up drinkin..” Illeren peered to his left where a dresser sat, and on the edge was a flask of some sort. He reached up for it, uncapping it and giving it a slight sniff. Whatever it was, it was strong...and strong was good. He placed his back against the wall and took a nice long drink from it, releasing it with a sigh of content followed by a rather loud belch. “Tomorrow...I swear...I’mma give up drinkin.” He stated to no one in particular.

He took another couple of long swigs, feeling his headache starting to subside now that the alcohol had been reintroduced to his system. There wasn’t enough left to get him right and properly drunk, but just enough to stave off hangover symptoms. Once he finished the small flask, he tossed it on the floor and let his head hit the wall behind him lightly, staring up at the ceiling for a few moments. “Right…” He said lazily as he got up from his sitting position. He looked around for a bucket of water, customary for a morning wash up in these places as a slow look of realization hit him. He looked down at the bucket, noticing that it was nearly full...he hadn’t thrown up that much. He grimaced, reaching a hand up to his hair and feeling the cow licks that had it flowing every which way.

“Welp...time tah dunk mah head!” Illeren stated as he made his way to the door and quickly exited, looking down the hall and noticing a single caretaker looking at him. They looked at each other for a moment before Illeren thought it was getting awkward. “Dah fook yah lookin at?!” Illeren stated, thinking that the human was some kind of racist. The man simply pointed and Illeren looked down before giving a nod. “Right...well obviously that’s a reason to stare. I’mma get some pants!”




Illeren smacked the side of his head, trying to get the last of the water out of his ear as his slightly matted down hair proved an indication of what he had just done. Ran into the bath, literally dunked his head in, and ran off laughing like an idiot.

Good times.

Finally his ear popped and the last of the water drained out. Finally. Illeren thought to himself as he double and triple checked the straps on his armor as he walked through the halls. Illeren couldn’t claim to be responsible about...well anything, but when it came to his armor and weapons, you would be hard pressed to find a fault in them. His armor was tightly put together to the point where it made virtually no sound as he walked. A by-product of his time as a cavalier he supposed, and his weapon was already sharpened and ready for the day. He passed by a couple of people on the way, his hand reaching quickly and grabbing a carrot from their basket as he passed with the couple being none the wiser. Once they were out of sight, he chomped down on the vegetable, munching loudly as he walked in on the gathering of heroes.

Bo explained what they were doing today while Illeren enjoyed his breakfast like some kind of ADD rabbit, his eyes constantly darting every which way looking for something to supplement the carrot with. When he got around to introducing their new addition though, even Illeren paused as he looked at the man, finishing off the carrot and swallowing just enough to make sure his words were somewhat understandable. “Well what tha fook is that thing? I mean, look at this guy!” Illeren swallowed a bit of his carrot between words. “Are we ‘irin’ court jesters now?!” Illeren pointed at him with a small piece of bread. “Cause this fooker looks like ‘e face fooked a wet tapestry!” Illeren paused, looking at his hand.

“Oh ‘ey!” He exclaimed as he munched on the pastry like a happy child.




The trip to Merrilville was relatively boring as everyone still seemed to be in their own little world. Illeren managed to fill the time with more of his own little folk songs which, despite their vulgarity, actually sounded better than his natural speech as he actually spent the time to form his words.

“So what do yah do with a wonderful whore? Yah take her upstairs and lock the door! Yah bounce, yah plough, yah get turned around! Yah hump, yah squeeze, yah enjoy the sound! Until it comes, the time of payment, and ya’ll are left sayiiiiiiiiin...Yah don’t have the coins, after bustin yah loins, so ya’ll just ain’t payiiiiiiiiiin!” Illeren pretended to play some drums, making the sounds to go along with them. “So they scream, and they shout, which would be swell...if yah weren’t askin…” Illeren stopped for a moment. “Damn, what’s that smell?!”

Illeren looked around at the carnage that was surrounding him, having not even bothered to notice it through his little illusion of happy revelry. The air and people around him were silent as the signs of death and destruction hung over everything. Illeren grimaced, mainly due to the stench and sight rather than the thought of what happened. Illeren didn’t bother commenting this time, leaving his humor somewhat detached from the situation as the signs of what happened here became more prevalent when the corpses started showing up. Illeren crouched near one, lifting up a flap of skin and recognizing teeth marks, too big to be a wolf or something along those lines. “Fookin’ ghouls.” Illeren stated, grabbing his sword from its sheath and spinning it a couple of times.

They made their way farther into the village, Illeren twirling his sword every so often but not necessarily walking in a ready stance. He was more than fast enough to deal with anything that came at them, he was more or less trying to see what exactly they looked like. No sooner did he think this when three ghouls appeared in front of them, screaming and making a beeline for the group. Bo stepped forward, fending off all three with a mighty push of his weapon. He barked out orders for them all to spread out, search for survivors and eliminate the plague ridden. He pushed one of the creatures down the well, hearing it scream all the way down. Illeren looked off in a couple of directions, hearing screams come from nearly all directions.

Immediately people were starting to do whatever it was that they did. Laetya took off in a direction and Illeren contemplated following...for more than a couple reasons as he tilted his head before shaking it and reminding himself of the current situation. Gulfim seemed to chase after her for a second, and he was about to watch her leave too, but then she stopped and seemed to hesitate, much to Illeren's dismay. Why's she stoppin? Maybe If I smack her on the tush she'll run off like a bronco! Illeren gave it some more thought before deciding that would be something to save that idea for the future, if only because the situation could rapidly deteriorate into him getting a face full of sword.

He watched as Berloiz charged in magnificent fashion towards another group of the plague ridden, and Illeren bust a gut laughing as he walked over to Ezra and nudged him with his elbow. “Oi...oi oi oi…” He pointed at Berloiz with his sword. “We totally ‘ave to call ‘im Thunda Thighs now…” Illeren laughed harder as an arrow flew past him and into the waiting head of a ghoul. Illeren looked back towards the archer with a penchant for overindulging in face gear and gave a sigh. “FINE! Alright! I get it! I’mma go kill things now!”

Illeren strode forward, looking for anything to engage and decided to pick a path at random, jogging at a steady pace down a street until a group of four plague carriers came running on all fours towards him. Illeren gave a smile, grasping his sword in two hands, slowly wrapping his fingers around the hilt. “Ya’ll my first challengers! Oh! And this time, there’s no silly thing like ‘eights to get in tha way!” They simply snarled and screamed in response, Illeren’s smile was practically beaming, readying his swing as the lead beast lunged at him.

“Ooooooh...What do yah do with a wonderful whore...”


Illeren slightly approves of Bo's strength +1
Illeren slightly approves of Laetya walking away +1
Illeren slightly disapproves of Gull's hesitation -1
Illeren slightly approves of coming up with a future plan regarding Gull's hesitation +2
Illeren approves of THUNDER THIGHS! +5
Illeren slightly approves of Kir getting his ass in gear +1

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin Character Portrait: Kiske Kirill

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
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Vasha was greeted by the bald suit of armor on the last few steps up the stairs. Friend? I’m not your friend. Ah, right. Small talk. The giant’s friendliness seemed awfully out of place for such a hulking creature - consequently irritating him. Luckily, the pain high still blanketed his euphoric brain and a giddy energy had begun to grow in his legs. Best to ignore the hulk’s idiosyncrasy for now. Plus, that drink looked helpful. “Thank you. I wish you luck.”

He entertained the notion of mingling for a moment but almost immediately dismissed it, realizing that his body needed rest. Socializing and barrel experimentation would have to come tomorrow.

The room he found himself in was surprisingly luxurious. Plush, gilded sheets and ornate furnishings. Vasha was happy to find that his window overlooked the cluster of barrels he had so tactfully hidden his own in. He finished off the rest of his drink and retired for the night.



Well before the others woke up, Vasha slid his eyelids back into their sockets. He stood, cracking the joints of his neck and the small of his back. A new day had begun, slightly more exciting than the last.

Good god. He was more excited. Not by much, but it was undoubtedly noticeable. How long had it been since he actually looked forward to a new sun? When he didn’t sleep excessively to the point of being nearly late to everything? When he wasn’t a walking husk? Granted, there was a very special barrel outside with his name etched in stench but he wasn’t one to split hairs. Something good was happening.

He packed his things and left the inn. One of the she-orcs was already outside, beads of sweat dotting her like ornaments on a Christmas tree. She struck the air in what looked to be some kind of flimsy training regimen, so focused that grunts of movement escaped her regularly. Vasha had never encountered such a mountain of a woman. Disorientation and attraction fought each other for a lasting conclusion. In the end, attraction scraped by, the victor.

So far, she hadn’t noticed his approach and he intended to keep it that way, skirting around to the backside of the inn. Awaiting him was his, for the most part untouched, barrel. Some claw marks indicated that an animal had found the smell desirable but a lack of thumbs prevented its entry. If he had more time, he would’ve sat in wait for the creature, curious to see what could find such an odor enticing.

Retrieving the sac, he scoured the city for a long forgotten place. A deserted barn sat in the sparser parts of town, ashen scorch marks licking the wood. Vasha took up residence within and began his incisions.



Some hours later and in desperate need of another bath, Vasha returned from his makeshift laboratory. He’d learned some interesting things; just as he suspected, there were similarities between Nidhogg young and other pack-like creatures. He had yet to learn why they disbanded their protective unit as they grew though he fancied it was for the same reason territorial predators fought to keep their lands free – food. He’d have to deduce if they were cannibalistic when he came across another pool of teenagers.

A quick wash, careful to avoid wetting his hair, and he was ready to go. The walking, talking flower arrangement they were supposed to be allies with made Vasha’s nose scrunch more than even the most foul parts of the Nihogg dissection. What in all of creation was it? A cross between a butterfly and vomit, a repulsive collage or rainbow shit spewed out of a unicorn’s ass. Vasha had heard of these ‘clowns’. He just never expected all his visual nerves to be assaulted upon sighting one. Surely, this one was on the extreme side?

Nevertheless, the affront to any sliver of fashion sense was so offending that Vasha had trouble defining how he actually felt towards it, him, whatever the fuck it was. Deciding that it was preferable to not stare directly into the sun, Vasha directed all of his attention to Bo, miffed that bits of the creature occasionally bled into his peripherals.



To make matters worse, Vasha became acquainted with Illeren’s yowling on the way to Merrilville. It wasn’t the tune that gave injury, rather the accent of insolence added to each high note, like a seagull dropping white bombs on your head or a squirrel nicking your ice cream cone.

Thankfully, the trip was short. Devastation greeted them in wafts of decay. Apparently a staple of their journey would be foul smelling vacation spots – not that Vasha minded overmuch. Better than no vacation at all.

Bo led them through the wreckage, alert and tense. Sounds of life could be heard here and there, guttural moans and footsteps. Vasha would soon find out that it wasn’t life at all that shuffled towards them. No, the creatures hunting them were suspended somewhere in the middle, an altogether fascinating concept to Vasha. As the first few appeared, some of their number engaging them head-on, Vasha felt his lips curl into a smile. Oh, he couldn’t wait to bring home some samples.



Vasha sightly approves of Tane's alcohol contribution: +3
Vasha approves of Laetya's muscular frame: +4
Vasha disapproves of Illeren's musical inclinations : -3

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by iCakez
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Though she could hardly remember a night’s sleep equal to the one she had just had, she was quickly reminded of what happened the night before. She had to recuperate from the amount of energy her muscles had used when they cramped up during the Initiation. Yet, her legs swung over the side of the bed and she sat up, dark hair a mess, shoulders sore and eyes tired. Arayel cracked her neck, sighed heavily and stood up. The covers fell away and the cool air hit her naked form, goosebumps rising on her skin.
It was still early and that meant she had the time for her morning routine. She got dressed, cleaned and sharpened her weapons, brushed her hair (opting to tie it up in a ponytail after much contemplation) and finished it all off by tying the red sash around her waist and equipping her weapons.
When she was satisfied with herself she ventured out the door, down the stairs and went straight for breakfast.

The room still smelled of tobacco, ale, wine and people. It probably always did. There were a few people there, but it was quiet. Elegantly, she strode through the room and politely asked for something to eat. The barkeep hurried himself and quickly found something for her. She was served bread and cheese, an apple and some water. It wouldn’t keep the hunger away for very long, but it’d give her some energy if nothing else. “Thank you.” Arayel said sweetly and paid the man who let his eyes linger on her for a little longer than he should. Not that she minded at all.
The water was nice and cold, the bread wasn’t too hard and she only had to cut away a little bit of the cheese. The apple was the best part. Red, sweet, not soft and mealy but just right. Arayel ate with pleasure, studying the people who were also sitting in the room. As the minutes ticked by, more woke up and piled in. Some looked chipper and ready for the day while others looked worse for wear. Some were shaking and immediately ordered an ale or a glass of wine to start. Rinárwin marbos.* She thought to herself. What a terrible thing it must be to wake up and find yourself craving alcohol. Some people simply can’t function without it. What a sad and miserable life to lead.

The shuffling of feat on wooden floors and the glimpse of someone familiar tore her from her thoughts. She stood slowly and exited the room, heading for the lobby to receive instructions along with her comrades. They had a new destination and apparently a new addition to their group. So many colours. Another brain to pick at. And this one might be very interesting. Perhaps even too much?




Merrilville. Disease. Stagnation and disrepair. Those were the initial impressions. Vivid eyes darted around the scene in search of movement or potential dangers. The group made sure to stay away from narrow alleys and such. While she took in the sight of it all and wondered if everyone who had lived here, was in fact dead or if anyone had gotten away. With Arayel it wasn’t the top priority with her, if there was killing about to be done. The corpses that lay around the place were in various states of decay, but all of them foul smelling. Or was it just the air here? Heavy and thick. She drew her blade slowly and moved to the right. She had heard the ragged breathing and though they weren’t fast, the diseased appeared suddenly. Higoht their fearless leader moved faster than Arayel would have thought he could and blocked the path, pushing them back before giving them orders. Apparently the noise had stirred the plagued and more came creeping forth from the dark. It was only now that she realised she was smirking again. 20 minutes.

Some of the bodies were missing parts. Some of them had large chunks missing. They were bites. The plagued ate each other. The thought mad her stomach turn for a moment before she regained her composure. Some didn’t even look human anymore. Laetya, the orc had already rushed into battle. For a moment it looked like Gulfim was going to follow her, but she only took a step. Doubt was plain on her face. Arayel put her blade in the other hand and shook her right hand, to loosen it up before repeating the same thing with her left. She watched Berlioz charge with his lance - which was a fine sight - and cracked her neck. Arayel hardly noticed Kir. That wasn’t strange in itself since he was pretty unremarkable, but she usually noticed the small things. As she steadily grew restless, she caught a smirk on Vasha’s face, that matched her own. He was really quite interesting.

Alas there was no more time to stand idly by. She was itching for a fight. For a moment she had considered rushing after Gretchen, but it seemed that situation was under control. Or, it probably never was with that girl, but somewhat perhaps. Still smirking, she slid into the shadows of an alley and decided to move left and circle back to their original position. There were sounds of battle ringing from the village but it was quiet enough for her to hear her own breathing. Her blade was perfectly balanced in her hand and her steps made no sound as she walked. Turning a corner, she spotted three of the infected with their backs to her, hunched over a corpse that was too large to be human. She inched closer, hearing the sounds of the creatures feasting and the smell of it. When she was close enough, Arayel let her sword float through the air and heard the wind sing off the blade just before she brought it down. It went straight through the back of the neck and came out through the neck, crushing the larynx entirely. The rush she felt in the same moment was indescribable. Exciting. The two remaining creatures quickly became aware of her presence and charged at her. Arayel danced to the right and brought the blade down across it’s back. It fell and stayed down to recover. The other creature waited. It clawed at the air and Arayel smiled, enjoying it. She took three steps back and feigned retreat which brought the plagued ex-human to attack. It came at her with arms stretched out, claws razor sharp and searching for soft skin to tear. With a flick of her wrist she took the left arm off and fluently brought the blade low, but didn’t move. She pushed it through the soft rotted skin under the chin of the creature and watched it come out of the top of the head. Arayel hadn’t moved so she stood there with a ragdoll leaning against her. She sighed and watched the last wounded one trying to stand.

She let her kill fall and withdrew her blade from it’s flesh, walking towards the last with slow steps, dragging it out. Most of what made it human seemed to have left it, but it one thing was certain. It knew it was about to die. Arayel kicked it onto its back and placed a boot on its chest. It howled and screeched, grabbing at her leg. Watching it for a moment, she had half expected some measure of pity in her heart. No. Instead she pushed her glade through its neck and watched the body go limp.

Turning around and flicking the blade to get some of the blood off, she looked around and made sure there was no immediate danger. "He did say something about survivors…” She would start with the nearest building. In situations like these were she was alone, she was glad she fought with shortswords.

*Rinárwin marbos = Horrible disease