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Vasha Rhuin

"Ugh.. I'm bored already."

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

Description


"There's so very little that's worth my time."


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(V-aw-sha) (Ruin)




INTRODUCTION



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"Vasha. Beyond that you'll have to work for."


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"Saving people. That's as good a motivation as any, right?"


[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: The Blood Phoenix, Vash (V-aw-sh)
Gender: Male
Age: 68
Race: Elf
Origin: Rielorn
Voice: Low and lumbering. Vasha's voice is one that crawls like a spider and caresses like a piece of lush silk. He's always had a habit of speaking a little slow, likely because he doesn't want to expend the effort of speaking faster. Most don't seem to mind though (in fact some quite like his drawl) so he's never thought to change his speaking patterns.
Class: Cavalier, though he has been offered a higher class. The watchers were furious when he refused. He has his reasons.
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive
Magical Affinity: Medium, though primarily for only one type of spell.






PHYSICALITY



[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: If Vasha actually took the time to take care of his hair, it would have been a silky and beautiful jet black. As it stands, he washes it just enough so that it doesn't start to stink and hasn't cut it in over ten years (resulting in a length down to his mid back). Luckily, he was blessed with thin, glossy hair so it hardly ever knots. His hair has, however, taken to grouping into pseudo dreads, much to his mother's disapproval. Whom he may or may not see on a regular basis.
Eyes: Vasha's vibrant, reddish brown eyes are nothing out of the ordinary at first. Direct a bit of sunlight in them and they glow like fire - casting an unearthly image. Vasha is not aware of his terrifying sun bro self and finds it odd that so many avoid him during the day.
Complexion: Olive and tanned. Vasha has spent many a day out in the sun.
Height: 5'9"
Build: Sinewy and lithe, like a panther. Seemingly no part of his musculature is wasted or inefficient - he has just the right amount of muscle to perform and no excess.
Weight: 180 lbs
Body Markings: Vasha's body is absolutely littered with scars. In some places, it's difficult to even differentiate where virgin skin is. Most of the scars are underneath clothes (on his stomach, back, legs etc.) but there are some creeping down his forearms and a couple on his neck. A nasty one looks like it split his left hand right open. Surprisingly, no tattoos. Vasha believes that with the amount of abuse his body receives, the tattoos be obsolete - they would be marred and indecipherable within days. Plus, he doesn't really like tattoos.


[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Yup, definitely don't want to piss that guy off. Vasha intimidates most people, though not through any effort of his own. Almost always serious, his face is set like silicon. Sometimes, he'll remain still for long stretches of time and the only way you can differentiate him from sculpture is by the way his eyes slowly blink. Lounging is his favorite past time as he finds that he's hardly ever bothered, something he values greatly. A large, lazy cat is not a far off metaphor for the elf.

Though decidedly not tall, it is hard to ignore Vasha's presence in a room. An air of confidence follows him wherever he goes and he is never one to slink into a corner. He holds himself with good, if not perfect, posture, shoulders back and upright. Unlike most elves, he is not graceful but does have a fluidity to his movements that make him undoubtedly elvish. Elvish beauty is not lost on him either, a great boon that he appreciates (considering how many women he's gotten into bed because of it). Predatorial and assured, there is a dangerous allure to him that has been the undoing of many.

When out and about, there is a thick barrier around him that says 'FUCK OFF' in bright red letters. Difficult to engage and even harder to truly entertain, one might think that Vasha would be forever alone. And yet, when his party goes to the bar, he does too. When the group sits around the campfire, he finds himself a seat within the circle. When someone starts talking to him, he actually attempts to hold the conversation until it becomes too boring that is. Vasha doesn't hate people, he just often finds them not worth the effort.

When one does get the mask to slip, Vasha's sincerity is a coin toss. Sometimes he will be heartfelt in his expressions, a true laugh, an unrestrained smile. Most times his expressions are shallow and fake, his smile not quite meeting his eyes.




Moral Alignment CHAOTIC | NEUTRAL

MENTALITY


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[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
It's all a balancing scale for Vasha. Ruthlessly pragmatic, everything must have its reason. Often times, Vasha will have an unorthodox justification for his actions, caring little for morality and more for the end goal. The ends justify the means. Vasha believes the world is broken in many ways and needs to be fixed, the pestilence only being the most recent issue. Add this cold calculation to the fact that he's rather apathetic and you have a man that rarely takes initiative in matters that he deems unnecessary. Hobbies? Unnecessary. Proper Hair Care? Unnecessary. Friends? Unnecessary.

Emotions are difficult to express for Vasha. Certainly, he understands what sadness means. He recognizes anger and happiness. He even has a knack for saying things to illicit a specific emotion from someone (though he rarely does, waaaaay too much effort). But when it comes to experiencing these feelings himself, he finds that they are either muted or contorted in comparison. Sometimes when he should laugh, he feels like crying. When he should be crying, he laughs. To be honest, this scares the ever living shit out of him and that fear is the only reason he isn't a complete sociopath. Remarkably, Vasha can grow to care for someone. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience on both ends, but Vasha can be a compassionate, loyal companion, if unduly blunt and insensitive. The only people to gain this relationship so far are his mother and a friend long since dead.

Born with a genetic condition that numbs his sense of touch, Vasha craves physical over-stimulation. He particularly likes hurting others (vicariously experiencing pain through them) which has manifested into a sadistic personality. Finding that very few take enjoyment out of pain, he saves his sadism for the battlefield. Even there he must be careful given how many strange looks he's gotten from comrades when he started torturing someone on the edge of death. But when he does have the opportunity to indulge his darker side, oh boy is he going to make them hurt.

[F E A R S]
Himself and what he's capable of. Most of the time, he ignores the burning need to destroy that floats around in the back of his mind. Otherwise, very little fazes Vasha. Grotesque creatures, the dark, the black ocean, the unknown? Fight me. He happens to be hyper allergic to bees though and can't stand them. The stoic, silent Vasha will flip the fuck out when a yellow and black devil comes anywhere near him. He fears love but only because of all the emotions, he understands love the least. Due to his genetic condition, he also fears not being able to feel anything physically and will seek out ways to remind himself that he still exists.

[Q U I R K S]
  • Loves being naked. The fewer clothes the better. No modesty either means that he has had quite a number of awkward stare downs (literally). Vasha, if allowed, would do everything naked (well maybe he would cover up some bits when fighting).
  • Has a tendency to mindlessly touch the outer part of his left thigh. Although most of his body is immune to soft touches, there are a couple of spots on his body where this is not the case. The aforementioned is one such instance. When Vasha begins to panic because he can't feel anything, he will seek out these spots, caressing them to calm himself down. Over time it became a subconscious habit.
  • Comatose. Of all the people he has met, he sleeps the most. If nothing aroused his interest, he would likely sleep with no regard to his bodily needs. Luckily, there are still many things he enjoys and desires to pursue, even if they aren't the most noble of endeavors and generally are at the expense of others.
  • Can be competitive randomly, almost as if by mood. Secretly beating them in his mind, his opponent is completely unaware any competition had begun.
  • Shallow breather. Vasha tends to breathe in his throat and will sometimes stop breathing all together for minutes at a time. It's not known whether he does it on purpose or if he just forgets.
  • Artificial people bug him terribly as with his already low social intelligence, dishonesty makes emotions even more difficult to understand. Hypocritically, he seems to have no issue with lying and being artificial towards others.
  • Growing up, Vasha was taught courtesy towards women. Though he uses them only for sex now, he still treats them with respect, holding doors open and taking the burden whenever possible.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
There are very few things Vasha wouldn't consider doing. Rape, physicially causing pain to someone that isn't an enemy or wouldn't want pain, and emotionally hurting someone deliberately are probably the only three. He's not above betraying someone, lying, stealing, torture (which he's very fond of), senseless murder, etc. etc. Paying off your debts is the only value he holds sacred.

[A G E N D A]
Vasha doesn't entirely know what he wants to accomplish. He knows that he has needs (eating, sleeping, fucking, etc.) and likes to fulfill them but hasn't had the passion for a dream or goal take place yet. He chose the Serpent's Gathering for freedom (maybe expecting to be able to fulfill his sadistic nature as well) and the ability to start making choices in his life. Most likely, he will find some extreme unorthodox idea and pursue it once the pestilence has been defeated.


[L I K E S]
    • Paper Cuts: Or maybe more like deep, thin slices made from the assortment of knives that he carries with him. Vasha enjoys pain and likes to carve interesting designs into his skin. Due to his regenerative ability, the wounds heal fast and leave a much smaller scar because of it. Vasha likes to think that his form of knife tattoos are far more elegant than the tattoos of the rest of his race.Image
    • Intoxicants: Keeping his own demons at bay is hard work. Alcohol and other drugs makes it considerably easier. Vasha has built up an impressive resistance to alcohol and as such is often the last man standing in a drinking contest. When drunk (which is rather hard to achieve) Vasha tends to talk about unorthodox, controversial issues that have gotten him in many a fight. He is not an angry or violent drunk however, instead becoming his own twisted form of social butterfly.
    • Carnage: Blood, guts, carcasses, you name it, Vasha is a fan. His appreciation of carnage lies in how fascinating the innards of once living people are. Dissecting is a rare hobby that he humors, finding dead animals to experiment on and learn from.
    • Flickering Flames: One of the few things Vasha considers beautiful, he loves the pulsing tongues of fire. When gathering around a campfire, Vasha will sit long into the night, in rapture from the give and take of the flames. He can be a bit of a pyromaniac, starting fires even on a scorching day. Youll often find torches and candles on his person. Lighting them spontaneously, Vasha will wave his fingers through the fire, burning himself.
    • The Stench of Burning Things: A follow-up to the aforementioned fire worshiper, Vasha likes the smell of burnt things. Keyword burnt here, not cooked. Vasha will collect various herbs and plants to test out what kind of smell they make when burned. Over time, Vasha became skilled at picking herbs and plants that acted as pleasant smelling incenses.
    • Leaving the Nest: Vasha's mother has always been suffocatingly overprotective. When she realized that he was.. unique in comparison to the other young elves, she knew that he would have a rough childhood. Even though he is fully grown now, she still fears for him as he never truly adapted to Elvish culture. Vasha is grateful for all the attention his mother gave him but also believes that it is time she let him go.
    • Background Noise: Having too much alone time is bad for Vasha. His mind slinks into a dark never ending hole that becomes more attractive the farther he falls. So he goes to parties. Funny to think that the sound of drunk cantankerous fools would be the rope that hauls him back up.
    • Metamorphosis: Butterflies are inspirational to Vasha. Although he cares nothing for the bug's beauty, the way it got there is profound for him. A being inferior in all ways, weak and vulnerable, undergoes a transformation to attain the ultimate freedom, flight. Suffice to say, Vasha is a fan of both change and independece.
    • Space: Stars, the moon, and the galaxy. All childhood wonders that made him stay awake at night with possibility. He particularly likes to invent stories for each sparkling dot in the sky.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Maudlin People: Efficiency is a core part of Vasha's personality. Anyone that doesn't at least try to make the best use of their time frustrate Vasha to no end. He'll never understand why people keep so many memorials of times past or why one goes out of their way to visit a specific spot of personal significance. You should cut out what is no longer present, sever all ties to things that serve no purpose any longer.
    • Fuck Chocolates: Vasha hates sweet things. They almost taste sour to him. On the flip side, citrus fruits taste fabulous, like little god fruits. This taste bud anomaly might very well be another genetic mutation from his birth.
    • No Drool, Thank You: Babies should just grow the fuck up. Disgusting saliva-y smell, they shit all the time, and they wail like ghouls. Vasha wishes that all the races would stick their little brats in an enormous cellar and let them out when they become adult-sized. That way, they would be less of a hassle on the rest of the world. Vasha doesn't understand how ridiculous this sounds and will readily argue about it.
    • Social Customs: Another inefficient and meaningless part of self-conscious beings that should be eradicated. What good does tradition do really when all it does is celebrate the past? The future is the only time that truly matters.
    • Stupid Oversensitive World: Ahh, you pesky emotions. Always fooling and tripping up Vasha. Contrary to what most might believe, Vasha doesn't want to be a social dunce. He doesn't want to hurt people's feelings or cause pub brawls. When you texted him DAYS AGO and he STILL hasn't responded, he doesn't understand that 'No, I'm not mad' means that indeed, you are very mad.
    • Bees: He would be more content surrounded by children honestly. And Vasha hates children.





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]
  • Snake Movement: [Strong] ★★★★★☆ Without a shield, a cavalier is half the soldier, his master used to tell him. But Vasha refused to pick up a shield, saying it slowed him down. Over time, he perfected his natural affinity for dodging. It is uncannily difficult to hit this elf. He'll deliberately trick you into thinking you've learned his feinting patterns and then change it up at the last second to deal a mammoth counter strike.
  • Sadism: [Average] ★★★☆☆☆ Vasha is careful not to show his sadism too much - he learned that early in his career. But the person on the other side of his blade can feel it. The barely contained excitement, the frenzy, the complete lack of fear in his eyes does a lot to intimidate. If not careful however, his allies will pick up on his sadism and may lose trust in him depending on the strength of their relationship.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • The Patient Kill: [Strong] ★★★★★☆ Given his natural ability to dance around an enemy's blade, Vasha can take his time. Religious training of body make-up as it relates to strength, endurance, etc, gives Vasha knowledge of an opponent's weaknesses. If faced with an unfamiliar opponent, Vasha is able to actively analyze their fighting style and make quick, snap judgements on how to defeat them. This can result in him losing a fight badly at first and then exponentially gaining the upper hand. Wearing down his opponent is usually the best strategy but when he's pressed for time, decades of training reveal the ideal time for a quick, lethal riposte.
  • Mail Breaker: [Learning] ★☆☆☆☆☆ Never a strong suit of his, cavaliers are trained to be effective in combat against heavy armor. His favor for light, pointy weapons make winning against an armored unit a dubious proposal indeed. While he can find gaps in armor and successfully kill his opponent, the amount of time required to do so will take a lot of endurance. To remedy this, he's started to carry around a deadly mace to break through steel. He's still pretty god-awful at it tho.

[SPELLS | POWERS]
  • Regeneration: [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ Vasha's signature ability. While most of the time his evasive stance is sufficient, there are times when he can't weave in a lethal blow. The ultimate winning move is to trick his opponent into thinking they have the upper hand. Faking heavy breaths, purposefully dodging slower, making the opponent see blood and then letting them sink their blade deep into his flesh. The victory! They think. I've beaten him! They cheer. Only for Vasha to stick his saber deep into their neck, pushing them over, pulling out their weapon, and immediately healing his gaping, blood-spurting wound. Important to note, his regenerative ability is not all-encompassing. Healing a fatal wound takes a lot of energy and will decommission Vasha for a few turns or until a healer helps him back up. He can't heal blows to the heart or brain and he can only massively heal once or twice during battle (depending on how much energy he has used). Outside of combat, small wounds heal very fast - it's hard to ever spot a bruise or scratch on Vasha.
  • Wound Transfer: [Poor] ★★☆☆☆☆ A new technique Vasha has started to develop, he can take the damage his body has suffered and transmit it to an opponent. He has yet to experiment thoroughly and doesn't understand how it works but suspects that he can inflict damage on himself as a way to inflict damage to the opponent. Given the fact that his body is healed less and less effectively by his heals (the heals are rather like a drug in late stage addiction and are reaching a threshold past what his body demands to get his 'fix'), Vasha hopes that this new spell will make up the difference.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • Reckless: Vasha's greatest strength and greatest weakness. Also what cost him the life of his dearest friend, not that he has that many of those. While the first side to show aggression generally wins by putting the opponent on a back foot, a well trained group that performs a counter engage could easily destroy Vasha. His proclivity for putting himself in harm's way, although often beneficial, could spell out disaster if he does not plan out how much damage the opponent can do.
  • Insensitive: "Your mom was a whore, that's why she died in an alley. I know she died yesterday, doesn't change the fact that she was an idiot." Vasha has no sense of when to respect people's emotions. To him, the truth he sees should be discussed, no matter whether that truth is legitimate or not. Generally, it would be a bad idea to go to Vasha for support. In the rare case where he knows you well and cares about you, he will tailor his responses to be more supportive and offer his shoulder up for tears. Still doesn't make you feel much better though.
  • 1v1 me Bro: Great versus one person, terribad against groups. Vasha excels in duels as his natural abilities allow him to almost always get the upper hand. In groups, the individual disappears into the throng and finding an advantage is more difficult for him, if not impossible.
  • Daft: Yea, he's not gonna notice your fluttering eyelashes and subtle flirts. Nope, he doesn't know what that wink means either. Using a double entendre to tell him to remain cool in a threatening situation? And there he goes, punched that guy right in the nose.
  • Those Guns don't Look Very Strong: Vasha isn't strong. He isn't weak either, but he certainly isn't known for those smaller than average triceps. Vasha is of medium physical heft - he would win just under half of all arm wrestling matches. As such, Vasha doesn't rely on his strength. He relies on the enemy's weaknesses and finding ways to handicap them further.







ARMAMENT


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[A R M O R]
Something functional is what Vasha goes for. Light armor that he can move around freely in and doesn't weigh an arm and a leg. A set that he picked up a while back has become his favorite though he wouldn't be remiss if he had to use a new one. Generally speaking, hard leather with steel in select places (heart and lungs, groin) is all he needs. For the areas of his body that are sensitive, he applies another layer of steel protection underneath.

[C L O T H I N G]
Dark clothing for one. Crimson colored accents even better. Usually Vasha wears a black or burgundy tunic, an ornate leather vest (the most valuable thing in his possession as a family heirloom), dark colored pants, thick boots, and a blood red scarf.

[I T E M S]
Malleable objects to destroy at a latter date (candles being a favorite), all the customary adventuring and soldier equipment, letters from his mother, a coin pouch, and sharp, slender knives.

[T O K E N S]


[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
Weapon Type: Saber
Length: 3 feet
Weight: Very light
Origin: Given to him by one of his first masters, Vasha proved way more effective with a light weapon than the traditional straight sword. As time passed, Vasha started to carve designs in the blade as he conquered particularly tough enemies.

[O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
Weapon Type: Mace
Length: 4 feet
Weight: Heavier
Origin: Knowing that he would need a weapon for an enemy with armor, Vasha picked up a mace as well though he's no where near as good with it as he is with his saber.





BACKGROUND


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Single and mostly heterosexual as he's never found a man he was sexually attracted to. Although Vasha prefers one-night stands or fuck buddies to all else, he is 'romanceable'. Just be prepared for one hell of a ride. Both metaphorically and literally speaking.

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

    |O n i t i e l| [ 95 ]
"No, I don't still live with my mom." If Vasha is capable of love, he loves his mother. The only person that was never afraid of him, no matter how dark he got, who accepted him despite his own inability to do the same. She helped him to understand what he was and how to adopt his behaviors so that he could function in society. As her only son, Onitiel took to obsessively watching over him, especially because of how different he was. Onitiel forced him to go through lessons on what to do in each social scenario as she knew that her son would have to fake it in order to remain unsuspicious. It was a long fought battle against the oversight of the watchers, but she succeeded. They still talk regularly and Vasha feels homesick if he doesn't hear from her or see her every few days.

    |T h a n o s| [ -60 ]
"Who?" Vasha refuses to think about or talk about his father, even with his own mother. Thanos used to be a good man, a good cavalier and a good husband. But something started to go wrong in him after he came back from one of the nastier wars elves had seen. Suffice to say, the man had a long way to fall but fall he did.

[O C C U P A T I O N]
A commander for the elvish army, Vasha was praised and feared. His unique fighting ability and unorthodox methods consistently delivered success with the fewest lives lost. His men were loyal to him, he was on the up and up, and life had never had more luxuries. Too bad he hated every second of it.

[S O C I A L | R A N K]
Born into a well respected family, Vasha is about as well off as any other elvish citizen. Through his military experience, he gained a fearsome reputation as being unstoppable and was quickly promoted to a high rank within the elvish army. Many relied on him for his knowledge of various enemies and his endless patience for the right moment. Currently, Vasha is undefeated as an elvish commander.

[O P I N I O N S]
  • Humans: "Obnoxious." Humans are loud. And fairly stupid. Vasha agrees with his society in that humans need to guided, though he doesn't think that should be his job. Humans do encourage free will though and that is something Vasha envies greatly, no matter that most individuals he meets are completely idiosyncratic.
  • Elves: "By far, we are the most effective." Elves are what he knows best and what he's generally most comfortable with. There are many things he disagrees with as far as elvish culture is concerned but he also recognizes their brilliance in comparison with other races. For example, he hates the forced specialization his society practices and yet elvish goods and services are the best the world over.
  • Orcs: "Stronger than humans and even more tradition that elves. Greeaat." Of the three races, Vasha likes Orcs the least. This is most likely born of unfamiliarity than anything else.
  • The Pestilence: "Needs to be stopped but a fun diversion nonetheless." Vasha was getting sick of the monotony of elvish life.
  • The Serpent's Gathering: "My new best friend." The Serpent's Gathering is the perfect escape from the elvish military as far as Vasha is concerned. Being a leader, though Vasha was good at it, wasn't something he enjoyed. Continuing forward, Vasha will try his utmost not to piss anyone off within his new sanctuary, as impossible as that goal might be.

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

    | O r c B r o | [ 15 ]
"Do you think his face will freeze that way?"
Laughs too much, smiles too much, and something about his constant cheer makes Bo seem suspicious to Vasha. As long as he minds his own business, Vasha won't hold it against him. His traditional roots are another matter entirely. Vasha may not be able to help chastising him for his wasteful principles. He'll try to avoid doing that considering that the orc is responsible for getting Vasha out of Reilorn.

    | A d r i e l | [ 18 ]
"He has a prickly stick up his ass."
Adriel is high maintenance and contradictory. His hatred of humans is illogical and melodramatic. In fact that's the perfect word for Adriel, melodramatic. Definitely has a flair for theatrics, that one. Ridiculous hair is ridiculous. Vasha does respect his work ethic though, believing the elf to be competent - as all elves should be. The fact that he's blunt and always speaks his mind is another trait Vasha appreciates.

    | G r e t c h e n | [ 35 ]
"I like a woman that knows what she wants."
And she'll get it. Vasha notices that many others in their party hate the woman but he gets her (certainly more than they seem to). In fact, she's quite like him in some ways. She gets the same twitching annoyance when faced with intricate emotions and craves the same primal destruction. Maybe he can find a kindred spirit out on the battlefield. If not, he'll just stay out of her way and hopefully she'll stay out of his in return.

    | T a n e | [ -8 ]
"A giant dandelion. Not the ideal combination."
Such a hard exterior only protects his mushy gushy innards. Like an insect. Vasha doesn't have much of an opinion for insects. Especially religious ones.

    | K i r | [ 2 ]
"Broken."
He's even more fucked up than I am, poor fuck. Someone either needs to stitch him back up again or put him out of his misery.

    | L a e t y a | [ 37 ]
"Delightfully un-orcish."
Vasha likes Laetya. Not too orcish in terms of culture, assured, and one hell of a warrior. Whether it be that quirk in her eyebrow or the sexual energy she has around her, Vasha wouldn't mind experimenting with her.

    | E z r a | [ -43 ]
"Fucking annoying."
Vain, egotistical, and always talking, Vasha wishes he could use the man as bait during their next battle. Maybe throw his comb into a horde of enemies.

    | B e r l i o z | [ 32 ]
"Go-getter. I like that."
Berlioz's actions speak volumes. Even if sometimes his methods aren't the most effective. Vasha figures that a little constructive criticism will fix that right up... wait why did he run off to his tent?

    | G u l f i m | [ 35 ]
"Much too kind."
If not for her outright girth and lovely face, Vasha wouldn't have paid her much mind. He doesn't really understand why she's so mouse-like, considering her appreciable strength. Reminding him a little of Ninelyn, he hopes that her sweetness won't be her downfall.

    | A r a y e l | [ 42 ]
"Think she'd want to join my dissecting outings?"
She likes to kill. Vasha can see it in her eyes. That fact alone excites him. Maybe they can find other things in common.

    | A u r i l e i t h | [ 2 ]
"She's hiding something."
Vasha can tell that she is deliberately holding something back but he can't tell what. The curiosity is driving him mad so he has started to follow her around when he knows that she is distracted by other things. He won't rest until he discovers her secrets.

    | I l l e r e n | [ -65 ]
"Elf-baby."
Illeren is a child. Impulsive and foolish. Vasha doesn't see the two of them getting along.

    | V a s h a | [ 0 ]
"..."
Vasha's opinion of himself is pretty much dead nuetral. He doesn't like himself but he doesn't hate himself either.


[B I O | H I S T O R Y]
The flat at the top of the tallest tower in central Reilorn - that was Vasha’s home. More houses were stacked on neighboring towers as each year passed but not one ever reached the height of the Rhuin abode. Their star high position was something of a gloating right for Thanos and Onitiel - it was literally the best seat in the city for star gazers. Among the lush green trees that billowed out, blotting the sky, a few canopies had yet to flush out completely, letting the actual sky peek through. During the day, the sun bathed the underbrush beneath the tower of Onitiel and Thanos, breathing life and vibrancy into the small patch of wildlife. Young elves and elders alike would gather and enjoy the warmth of its rays, playing childhood games and enjoying a good book. But the true beauty of the Rhuin residence had yet to come, revealed only as the sun bowed under the horizon. When the moon was framed just right in the hole of the canopy, brilliant stars weaving a dappled carpet of light across the oak boards of their patio.

Vasha grew up with these stars. First as a young toddler that thought they were magical glow-in-the-dark paint and then later as an adult that longed to find the answers he was looking for within them. He sure as hell hadn't found them so far.

But back to Vasha's childhood. Early life should have been a breeze for Vasha. His family was well off considering the socialism construct of Elvish society and they were respected and loved by the community (throwing star-gazing parties played no small role). Plus, both parents loved him and provided all the support he needed to become a "dutiful elf". His father, Thanos, desired that much more than his mother did, caring perhaps a little too much for honor than his own son's well-being. As a Cavalier, Thanos was rarely present during Vasha's childhood. Always away on some 'duty' or another, he never noticed how odd his son was, never present for the strange things little Vash would do and say. Like that one time that he tore a frogs legs off (out of curiosity) and then asked his mother why it wouldn't move anymore. Or that one time that he convinced a playmate that the water he drank was slowly burning him from the inside (Vasha could have sworn this was true but in reality had drank a bottle of liquor and confused it with water). No matter how she explained things, Vasha wouldn't understand. Death was by far the most difficult topic, especially in how destruction relates to the death. Many a frog, rabbit, and squirrel died to Vasha's 'experiments' before she finally managed to make him understand - but not in the way you would expect. She had to contort the truth and bend it to Vasha's world. "If you experiment too much on something dear, you won't be able to experiment on it anymore. There are only so many ways you can twist and tear before a creature will die."

The greatest lesson of death came when Vasha almost lost a person, not just an animal. Vasha had few friends growing up and even fewer when he reached adulthood. Ninelyn was one of the few, finding Vasha to be absolutely hilarious. Vasha never understood how he was so comical but loved that for once, he brought joy and not frustration. The two were quite the pair, running around causing all sorts of mischief. The great bread heist was performed by them (Vasha said that the people of the village were getting too fat and that he needed to give back to the frogs since he took away their parents - the villagers found a small tower of rolls stacked outside a pond ) as well as other various 'mysteries' heists (Vasha had yet to learn what property meant and persuaded Ninelyn that it was ok too). This time, Vasha was ambitious. He wanted to break into the gryphon stables and steal a gryphon to keep in his home. As darkness fell on the village, Vasha and Ninelyn crept out of their homes, sneaking past the guards into the stables. When they saw the impressive beasts, Vasha enraptured and Ninelyn secretly scared, he changed his plans immediately - there was no way a gryphon would fit in his tiny room! Riding them instead would just have to do. He let Ninelyn go first (remembering his courtesy lessons from his father) and closed the gate behind her. Ninelyn had never been more scared in her life, trying her best to gather the courage she needed. She failed however, panicking and crying to be let back out. The Gryphon had been startled by Ninelyn's fast movements, its head cocking back into a predatorial stance. As Vasha looked into the glint of the Gryphon's eyes, the predator within him answered back. He turned to Ninelyn, her terrified expression, the snot running from her nose, and he locked the door. Vasha wanted to see how the Gryphon would react, to learn from it. Ninelyn's eyes widened at the click, searching Vasha's face for the reason why. But he just stared back, empty and cold.

If not for the guard that heard her wails, Ninelyn would have died that night. They found Ninelyn lying in Vasha's lap, the gryphon enraged by its prey's escape. The girl had passed out from gushing wounds and the boy, with comparable gauges in his own body, weeped again and again, "I didn't know, I didn't know." Luckily, Ninelyn survived her wounds. She never spoke a word of how it happened, not how Vasha had locked her in and not how after the first attack, he had rescued her, almost dying himself. She knew that he was broken, that he was dangerous and unpredictable. She knew he would only bring more trouble. But she trusted him. She loved him.

Vasha hated himself for what he had done to Ninelyn. He finally understood that there was something dark and twisted within him that needed to be constantly monitored. His blood debt to her was one that could never be repaid. But he could at least swear to protect her for as long as she lived. Thus an unbreakable bond was born.

The horrible affair wasn't all bad though. Vasha learned that he had an affinity for healing magic as his body regenerated wounds abnormally fast. He also had some kind of disease that made his body numb to pain. Onitiel always knew that her son was insensitive (both emotionally and physically) but never thought that it could be on this large a scale. After he had healed completely, she tested his entire body and found places where he was as sensitive as everyone else but those spots were few and far between. In fact, it seems that the regeneration had made his condition even worse as Vasha started to have panic attacks on a regular basis, claiming that he couldn't feel anything. Onitiel created coping strategies for him, such as making him aware of the sensitive spots on his body, teaching him meditative techniques, and practicing distracting mechanisms. Vasha adopted a self-mutilation tactic that worked when the other techniques failed. His mother hated that he did this, pleading that he would do it rarely if ever. To avoid bringing her pain, Vasha never did it in front of her, using a thin knife that didn't leave a scar. Over time he got addicted to it, loving the feeling of the numbed out pain. Unfortunately, it never lasted long as his body immediately regenerated the wound.

It was right around the time of his young adulthood (20-30) when his father came home from a nasty series of skirmishes. He came back significantly different, despondent and irritable. It got worse when he was suspended due to mental health issues. The irritability became anger and the anger became violence. He started to lash out at the nearest target, usually his wife. Chosen for cavalier training about 10 years back by the watchers, it took Vasha a while to learn what his father had turned into. He would see the bruises and cuts on Onitiel and she would explain it away with classic abuse lines, I fell down the stairs, I was clumsy with a knife, etc. Since dishonesty is difficult to detect for Vasha, he believed her and didn't find out until he caught his father red-handed (literally), the blood of Onitiel on his hands. Vasha went berserk, nearly killing him and would have if not for his mother pleading for him to stop. He snarled out that the next time he saw Thanos, he wouldn't hold back. Thanos was noticeably absent the next time he visited home.

Two decades passed and Vasha completed his cavalier training, promoted to captain for a small unit. Onitiel pulled a few strings and got Ninelyn (who wound up as an archer) to be on the same squad. Ninelyn couldn't have been happier, Vasha deeply grateful that he could still stand true to his debt. They completed many a successful campaign, promoted to progressively difficult missions. Vasha became renowned for his high-risk high reward strategies, often using bait as a way to win a fight. Just like his life principles, efficiency was the answer in any situation, even if it was not necessarily morally correct (like sacrifice a few soldiers to distract while the rest of his unit killed off the main threats). His shieldless, aggressive fighting stance raised eyebrows as well. They say he couldn't be killed, regenerating any wounds immediately after he received them. In reality, Vasha had come close to death many times as he could only regenerate so much - Ninelyn was the only one aware of his precarious bluffs, often the one to bandage him up when no one was around. She feared for how reckless he was, lecturing him many times on how stupid this whole gambling charade had become. Vasha assured her, saying that he was getting stronger with each near death encounter, that his limit was increasing. Good luck can only last so long, Ninelyn would chide. Sure enough, Vasha's luck ran out. During one mission to take out a horde of orc bandits, he overextended past enemy lines, surrounded and wounded gravely. Even still, he bluffed, acting like the wounds were healed when he was all out of juice. Ninelyn knew he would be dead without her, rushing towards them and flushing them away from Vasha (just as he passed out from blood loss) with a flurry of arrows. But she had overextended herself, taking an axe deep into her back for her hubris. The rest of Vasha's unit finished off the remaining orcs, hauling both of them off the battlefield. Vasha survived as his regeneration kicked back into effect. Ninelyn was not so lucky.

When Vasha awoke, the sad faces of his soldiers surrounding him, he knew what had happened. Devastated, he drowned himself in physical pain, practically throwing himself into enemy blows. While his regenerative ability got stronger, the watchers took note of his absolute disregard for his own life and suspended him from battle until he had made amends with his loss. Returning to his mother, Vasha cried for the first and last time in her lap. Onitiel let him mourn for a few days and then forced him to stop, saying that self-pity was the road his father took. Reason enough, Vasha stopped grieving, letting his mother teach him how to be sound again. A few months later he returned to duty, wiser for his loss. Success welcomed him as he climbed the ranks and by the age of 50, he became an esteemed elven commander. Nonetheless, he felt empty, a lingering effect of Ninelyn's death. Yearning for something to make him whole again, something to end the boredom of monotony, his superiors told him of the Serpent's Gathering. He had heard of this pestilence, yes. It would require him to leave everything behind? Oh goody, goody. Sign me up.

[F L A G S]

So begins...

Vasha Rhuin's Story

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

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#, as written by Jäger
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“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: 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 Gray
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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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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: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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#, as written by Jäger
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Still preoccupied with the pile of cloth in front of him, Vasha barely registered Adriel’s admonishment of Illeren and Illeren's childish rebuttal- he was theory-crafting why the nameless soul passed out. Did she kill him? Nope, no blood. She looks too brutish for something like poison and that sadistic glint in her eyes suggests that she would want to soak her hands red. That only leaves fainting from intimidation or some medical issue. Hmmm. Intimidation much more likely of the two outcomes.

Pretty boy approached the two, shaking the stranger awake. Curious, why the head bandages? Vasha felt the urge to remove them, like opening pandora’s box. The male orc interrupted his temptations, informing the group of his presence or lack thereof on the next mission. Ahh, so then this would be Higoht. Vasha listened, only really preserving what he thought was important; Adriel should know what he’s doing, kinda, and Higoht believed they would need luck wherever they were going.

Excitement simmered through Vasha’s veins.





The sun hadn’t fallen much deeper towards the horizon when the first shakes hit them. Cautious, Vasha looked to Adriel who began explaining the truth of their test, Nidhogg extermination. But as Vasha felt the tremors, he knew it had to either be a whole brood of them or something significantly larger than anything he had personally exterminated. As the tremors continued to increase in size and the latter was confirmed by Adriel, Vasha decided it had to be absolutely massive - there was no other explanation for the strength of the quakes. What elf failed in his mission to let this monstrosity form? Vasha grit his teeth in annoyance at the thought. He was glad that Adriel was doing something about it though, even if it was in the form of throwing them into a boiling pot.

They came upon a cavernous quarry, large enough even for the Nidhogg when it thought to rest and get fresh air. Descending a level down with the rest of the group, Vasha spotted the enormous holes the monster had been using for transit to catch prey, large intersecting cracks appearing on a far wall. His body tensed in anticipation. CRACK! The wall splintered open like balsa wood and the Nidhogg cascaded out in great folds of skin and appendage. Vasha’s nose crinkled from the sight, knowing the disgusting smell would follow.

“I will not be helping to slay the beast. You’ll do everything on your own, I’ll probably just sit on a rock somewhere and judge your performance.” Adriel left them to their own devices, Ezra stepping ahead of them in address, “Alright gang, time to make Papa Elf proud! Any ideas?"

The white-haired elf spouted nonsense and took off down the ramp. Vasha looked after him with a mix of pity and annoyance. Shaking his head back and forth, a slight simper on his face, he spoke up.

“Yes, actually.” Vasha walked from the middle of the pack to the front, looking out at the Nidhogg for a brief moment before speaking. “You all may have knowledge of this beast, but regardless, I suggest you listen to my words. It may save you some frustration and even your life.” Vasha's drawl was slow and sure, commanding obedience. He pointed at the oscillating boils that covered the monster, “Those boils are our best bet. 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.”

“It can climb so if we can take out its front legs, we can incapacitate it. Before we succeed in amputation however, be warned: when it's not consuming rock, Nidhoggs have a habit of climbing and then falling to squish live prey with sheer weight. This one is the size of a small town, so get out of the way immediately when it grabs hold of a wall.”

“Lastly, its hide is resilient and can deflect slashing blows. Those of us with blades will have to practice piercing lunges only if we are to even scratch the thing.”

“If you want my suggestion on where to be, those of you with speed, go for the front legs, those of you that are slower but have more strength, go for its sides. I will lead the attack on its face. Is there anyone willing to join me?”




Vasha slightly approves of Adriel's resourcefulness: +3

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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When turbanhead fell like a rock experiencing a severe bout of gravity, Gretchen hastily checked her hands. Perhaps she got a bruise from clocking him in the cranium? Perhaps there was a dagger in her palm, and she had stabbed him unawares? Perhaps... an invisible dagger...? She flexed her right hand, finding nothing. Truly, the man had hit the ground after nothing had happened to him. She looked around, rather incredulously, searching for someone holding a poison blowpipe. Eyes that had noticed the incident only met hers in return, perhaps... accusitory...? The ensuing shrug, she felt, utilized every muscle in her upper torso; she didn't do jack shit this time.

"Blabla harlot, I'm sure you're equally capable of waking him bla!"

There he goes, bossing her like it's his damn job. "Nice try, chief," said Gretchen, scratching the the side of her nose with her middle finger. "No dice. Brat's more liable to actually drop dead the second time he sees me." She even humored Adriel by kneeling down and slapping Kir a couple times on the cheek. Lightly, as instructed; what was she if not endlessly obedient? Thankfully she remembered which cheek was the "correct" one, elsewise one of the leaders might decide she would be the test they had to kill. Yes, she remembered him. That is, she remembered his face. Or is it more accurate to say she remembered his physique? Whatever, she recognized that they had met before back when she had literally more light in her fucking life. Gently overcast Autumour was a miserable place compared to the beating sun of Byda. She rolled her shoulders and straightened, poised like a rebellious meerkat if there ever was one, gaze downcast. What was his name? Something to do with... keeling over? Appropriate for the skittish bastard. She remembered how he lingered behind their crew so often he had enough time to build a house back there. How he squirmed and screamed at the sight of blood. It was funny sometimes. She enjoyed reinforcing the fear, sometimes. One time, in a fit of annoyance, she showed him a freshly painted dagger, flicking her wrist menacingly. Damn near accidentally took his nose off when he flinched like a reed in the wind. Ever since then she may as well have been the Pestilence to him, and she's... been treating and viewing him about the same, hasn't she? At least she thinks that's how it went down. For the most part, it was just a Tuesday. Gretchen wondered if Killer--that's what it was, Killer!--had followed her to the Gathering. Unlikely as the thought was, she couldn't help but suspect it with his bizarre puppy mutt persona. If he wasn't intentionally stalking her... well, that thought in itself almost made her chortle. As in choke, snort and chuckle.

Then a human-shaped shadow fell before her--another one?! No, this one was conscious, kneeling and perfectly balanced. It was that dark-haired lech from before. Getting a better look at him, she noticed several things. His eyelids were flickering and interested. Interested in... was something on her face? His posture, somehow perfect, as if he knelt professionally for years. Facial hair. She can always appreciate facial hair; it was something she couldn't do, though some people might insist otherwise. And that grin, that would part and give way to words. What in the....?

"Come here often?" He said.

She knuckled her cheekbone, looking as vexed as she was haughtily astonished. Come here often? "Does that..." she began, looking almost innocent for the moment, "Does that fuckin' ever work for you? What if I said 'oh yes, sir, this is my favorite fuck spot, come here all the time'?" She huffed loudly to drive home her point, but a vague, depraved gaiety seemed to glimmer across her features.

"Careful he doesn't imprint on you when he wakes up, carpet jaw," she added cynically, "might fall in love with you and follow you to the toilet." And with a coquettish roll of her fingers, she strode off. At least Killer wasn't her problem anymore. If there was anything that could give Gretchen shallow enjoyment, it was pawning off jobs to other people once in a while.




The elves seemed too damn keen about this thing, for some reason. What Gretchen got out of the schpiel was that it was big, and it was stinky, and it did bad things maybe. Like any other wild animal that wandered around too much. However, the ground shaking like an old maid made her stare down at it hatefully. She even stopped to stomped her foot back at it once or twice. When they reached their destination, when the wall crumbled into bits and pieces to reveal the ugliest mug she could imagine, she had to admit she felt her throat drop into her chest. And that filled her with so very much hate. She lended an ear halfheartedly to the next pompous elf in their company, who deduced a method in the madness, suggesting sound thoughts such as working together and surrounding the beast from all sides. Good strategy, overall.

Too much fucking talking though.

"Hesitation's unbecoming, maggots." She slurred evilly to no one in particular, vastly unamused. She might even have been talking to the Nidhogg, which was slowly crawling in their direction to peer up and appraise them. Instinctively cracking her neck against her collar bone, she advanced toward the cliff face as she tore off her fur cape and kicked off her boots, bumping shoulders with the dark-haired elf and pushing past the light-haired one. Were they synchronizing their appearance or something? Whatever. "Don't let the piece of shit start climbing." Within the last several feet she bent at the spine, lifting her heels with each hastened step. Then, she drew her sword, gripping the ricasso with her left hand as she leapt straight into the gaping cavern.

The fall lasted only an instant, but she felt her ears ringing for an eternity, swallowed whole by the air itself. Her blade dug in deeply, greedily, with a high-pitched squelch and a splurt of amber liquid that mixed with its blood. She smashed into the soft, oily nape of the thing's neck, bust first, recoiling as much as she could only to find her feet unreliably soaked. With the sheer mass of the creature she knew she would land somewhere, but she hadn't accounted for too much beyond "introduce hurt to ugly git."

Then, of course, there was the much louder and immediate noise of either pain or irritation from the monster, and judging from the sheer volume, and how she was thrust up and slammed back down with the angry toss of its head, she knew she was indeed very near those vocal chords. Nearer to the chords than I am to its ass anyway. Gretchen felt her wrists screaming as she held on, and in vain tried again to better secure her footing. Roaring back as if to compete with the gargantuan, she released one hand from her sword, fishing her body for a dagger. If she had no footholds, she was damn well going to make some.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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#, as written by iCakez
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I don't know what I expected...

In her experience, most people who called to arms for a noble quest had a sense of righteousness and honor that, in most cases, meant that they believed their cause was just and right. Therefore they always had to give this long, inspiring speech. That was evidently not the case with the Serpent's Gathering. They had gathered, Adriel had said a few words, Higoht as well but then.... Then things happened.
Aside from the white haired elf-human-whatever-he-was shouting and causing a raucous, people talked, someone fainted and Adriel insulted someone. Oh, right. Illeren. Who else. As she shifted her weight to her left foot, the giant she had silently admired spoke.
"I certainly hope so! So much more fun that way isn't it?" His voice was rumbling and deep, resonating within all that armor and matched his size. Arayel tilted her head, nodded and gave him a smirk. He proceeded with his kindness, which she found interesting. No, she hadn't met many like him. When he stated his name, she stated hers.

A rather humorous scene seized her attention instead. Loud-mouth, also known as Ezra kneeled down next to Gretchen and fired off one of his lines. They were trying to wake up Kir, but that wasn't interesting. It was much more amusing to see the expression in Gretchen's eyes. She was wild that one. It was a little concerning but she would lie if she said she didn't like it as well. Regardless, whatever Loudmouth had said, it didn't work.

While she stood and watched the ongoing interactions around her with interest, she forced herself to think about the task at hand instead. She had heard what Adriel said but it hadn't filled her with dread but instead she felt like it was just another job. It would be an exciting thing when they got there, sure, but not yet. Maybe when she got there and saw the fucking thing.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

En route she kept herself in the middle of the group until they reached their destination and Adriel adressed them. She took a few steps forward to better hear and see. She never had to deal with a nidhogg and had never seen one, but she'd heard of them and read about them. Judging by the tremors in the earth that slowly started to get more and more violent and eventually became quakes, this was not a small one. Adriel did say it was old. Apparently, the man himself was not going to participate. Arayel wrinkled her nose and sighed, visibly annoyed. I get it. Working together and all that. But it didn't sit well with her. Higoht wasn't there either, but he was not an asshole. Still, she kept quiet and watched him go sit and wait for them to die. Arayel supposed that was his secret wish. Yet, she didn't get to stare at him with disgust for long! The Nidhogg burst forth from the quarry wall and roared, spat, flapped and reeked. Her head snapped to the direction of the sound and her eyes widened. "There's so much skin."

The first to step up was, of course, Ezra. Blabbermouth. Loudmouth. That man would have several nicknames before their quest was through. The next was the little white haired bugger, declaring war on the damn thing. He ran for the ramp, charging, but came to a halt suddenly. For a moment it seemed like his courage faltered. Arayel stared intensely at him, but he did continue.

She walked forwards and watched the ugly thing, standing next to Vasha. After inspecting all that flapping skin and the boils she turned to look at Vasha. It was fucking fantastic to be surrounded by people instead of being in the company of prisoners and guards that weren't allowed to talk to you much. That was torture. But now, with the prospect of killing something. Exciting!
Vasha had quite some knowledge about the beast. Good that someone did, for she had none. Well, she couldn't remember much about Nidhoggs. What he proposed was a sound plan. Either Gretchen agreed with him or she didn't give a shit, for she was ready.

Arayel followed the wild girl with her eyes and even took steps forward to see where she landed. On the beast itself. She looked back at the remaining people and giggled. "Impressive." She said approvingly. It wouldn't do to just stand around anymore though. They had a job to do. Turning on her heel and walking towards Vasha, she pulled her hood down and brushed a lock of hair out of her face, smirking. She looked at the group and then at him, shrugging. "We mustn't disappoint father." She said, glancing over at Adriel. Then she turned and walked towards the edge of the quarry, considering attempting the same feat as the Gretch. It took a brief moment for her to make up her mind. It was going to look great. Like Gretchen, but more graceful. Hopefully. Someone capable of breaking or actually hacking off the legs could go for it. Arayel's wristblade wouldn't be much help here, and her sword was the only thing that might do a little damage. Perhaps she could piss it off? All of this she thought of as she walked back and measured up the length she needed to make the jump.


The stench just got that much worse when you were actually on the damn thing! Landing on it was unpleasant. It was disgusting, yes, but it hurt. It wasn't like landing on hard, solid ground but instead she felt like she was smacked, but the sensation went through her entire body. At first it knocked the air out her lungs and disoriented her, but she quickly recovered. Her elven sword was embedded to the grip in Nidhogg flesh. Arayel pulled it out, sliced the flesh above her right hand so she had somewhere to hold on to. It was slippery and sticky but she could now be steady enough to cut, slice and stab at the beast. Perhaps she could cut deep enough to cut something vital.


In the middle of all this, she realised where on the beast she was. The back of the neck. Gretchen was somewhere below her, she thought. She must have stabbed the thing and hurt it, for it shook it's head and roared. When it tossed and turned, there was a moment she thought she wasn't going to able to hold on. But, she managed.

"I THINK YOU PISSED IT OFF!" Whether or not Gretchen was going to hear that, she didn't know.

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

0.00 INK

#, 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

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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: 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: Kir Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

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Aura walked from the meeting point to the quarry on the outskirts of the group, keeping silent but watching, observing. The group she’d chosen to join was colorful to say the least, and she enjoyed taking in the nuances of facial expression and body language that each member of the party exhibited as they journeyed. Aura observed it all. The downcast head of the man who’d fainted suggesting apprehension; the roving eyes of the dark-haired human who’d helped him suggesting perviness; and the quick stride and effortless posture of their leader suggesting… confidence? Boredom? Aura wasn’t sure.

As they drew to a halt at the top of the quarry, Aura guessed by the rumbling of the ground and the stench in the air what it was they would be facing, but as the nidhogg emerged from the earth, the elf realized she had never encountered one so massive. Her hand went automatically to her back to retrieve her bow while the other nearly simultaneously readied it with a notched arrow. She pointed her bow at the ground and stood in a defensive position as strategy began being discussed. A soldier at her core, she did not dare make a move as one of her kind with a commanding voice assumed the mantle of temporary leader and suggested a plan of attack. Having faced bog drakes before, Aura already knew what she should be doing, but still, she waited until an agreement seemed to be made about the best game plan. Once people began jumping off the side of the quarry and onto the beasts, she decided it was probably safe to begin attacking.

The elf had been called upon before to slay nidhoggs, and she’d always felt a pang of regret in having to put them down, as she did with most any living creature. But, Aura felt no such regret now as they battled this monstrosity. It needed to be exterminated. She made her way slowly down the quarry ramp, flawlessly loosing arrows into the boils of the beast as she went, her posture rigid, on guard for any imminent threats. As it so happened, this proved useful, not for any attack from the nidhogg, but for the large piles of slimy mucus flying in all directions like a disgusting fireworks display as the team hacked into the giant creature. Aura sidestepped the mess as gracefully as she could, having no wish to suffer the same fate as the members below who were covered in the stuff.

Just as the beast seemed to be on its last legs a new threat appeared. She saw them before she was fully down the ramp, and she heard Adriel’s shout not long after. "By the Gods. Recruits! Kill every last one of them. Let none flee." Nidhogg babies, freshly spawned, made their way from a crack in the quarry walls to the open area where many of members of the group were engaging in combat with the mother. Aura felt her stomach drop, and she allowed herself a split second of fear before she put away her bow and raced down the rest of the ramp, hoping she could defuse the situation and prevent needless death. Perhaps the infants could be subdued rather than slaughtered.

As she reached the quarry floor, she looked up to see one of the infants charging at the elf who’d introduced himself a Illeren as they were leaving the Ebony Bridge. He was rather preoccupied with battling the mother and had not yet seemed to notice this new threat. Aura threw herself in front of the charging nidhogg.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop!” Aura cried, and for the moment, it listened. The baby stopped in its tracks, though reluctantly.

The trick in getting most beasts to submit, Aura had found, was controlling her own emotions. If she allowed herself to feel fear in this moment, the creature would sense it. So she focused on clearing her mind, and exuding calm authority. She bent her body just enough to show that she wasn’t a threat, and with her palms held out in front of her, she forced eye contact with the baby nidhogg. When it tried to move around her, she again stepped in its path. “Stop!” she exclaimed again, taking care to keep her tone free of desperation or frustration, leaving only dominance. The beast bucked its head back as a growl rumbled in its throat, but it backed up an inch. She advanced a step to match it immediately, knowing that if she showed the slightest sign of weakness now, she might be done for. “Back!” Aura stepped another foot forward, forcing the nidhogg back even further. It roared again and met her eyes without hesitation. The elf could see then that she’d lost what little control she’d had over it for a brief second.

She barely had time to brace for the impact before she felt claws ripping the skin of the forearm. The beast advanced on her, sending her to the ground and knocking the wind out of her. At this point, Aura could only hope that she’d distracted the creature long enough for another member of the party to get the drop on it.

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: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
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It was so dark. Vasha’s body steamed from the heat of regeneration, new skin forming atop melting skin. The Nidhogg’s acids had burned through several times over now and his spells wouldn’t be able to keep up much longer. He had tried crawling back out. Stabbing his saber into that continent of a tongue over and over.

But, no luck. The undulations of death made the angle too steep, the thing’s gelatinous battle wounds too slippery to reliably scale. He needed to find another way. Settling into a pocket near where the lymph nodes had been, Vasha thought of the only solution he could; dig his way out. Seconds ticked by, his ragged breaths and the Nidhogg’s wails his only company. The stench of rotting flesh drifted into his nose. He hoped it wasn’t his. Had he known the Nidhogg’s acids were this destructive, he would have planned a secure escape route, not improvise like a fucking fool. He felt his progress with blind hands, cursing to himself as he realized that he’d barely dug a foot. Panic blossomed, its wicked betrayal annoying Vasha more than anything else. He forced himself to take deeper breaths. Sharp popping noises came from the constant regeneration of his skin. Slowly, his mind manipulated the panic into adrenaline, the fear into vigor. Driving the saber back down into its flesh, he grated through clenched teeth, “I will not fucking die here.”

“Vasha!” It was muffled, nearly indistinguishable from the groans of the beast. But someone was calling his name. Who..? He altered his angle in response, following the vibrations another sword was making on the opposite side.



In it's death throes, the creature's breath became more troubled and it's roars and groans lesser. This was going to end soon and they were all alive. They were all alive, right? Well, they'd soon find out. Getting Vasha out of the nidhogg's mouth was her main concern at the moment and it was an arduous task. As it was dying, it's head moved less and less which made it easier for Arayel to slash and cut through the flesh of the beast. With each strike, more blood poured out of the wound. "Vasha!" She called again, this time louder. The process was speeding up now and he had been in there long enough.



A foreign blade cut through his hand, revealing the outside world. Vasha’s lips split into a wicked grin. Freedom. His entire body was on fire. Covered in foul, alien fluids. But he was alive. What a feast. He took his saber and tore through the stringy meat one last time, strands of muscle and skin clinging to him like an obsessed lover. And then, the last layer of skin collapsed, splashing light onto him as he tumbled out. Vasha’s arm caught on the owner of the blade, whipping them both through the air. Quickly, he positioned himself below the other body, making sure that he would take the brunt of the fall. He hit the ground hard, flat against his back. Eyes widened in pain. A sharp inhale and then a bloody cough out. He groaned deeply.



They went down and her knee hit the ground hard. Vasha was on his back below her, with her on top. Arayel smirked, tilted her head to the side and fixed her eyes on his. The situation was beyond amusing. He was absolutely covered from head to toe in blood and slime while she had managed to mostly only get her boots and legs dirty. After a moment of just staring at him, she leaned down towards him, her face slowly nearing his and all the while that smirk was still on her face. "You." She purred, hands resting on his chest. "Reek." As far as she could see, he wasn't hurt. Not gravely anyway.



To his surprise, the voice from within the Nidhogg was that vivid female elf from before. Vasha half-smiled back, staring at where their bodies met. “So do you, now.”



His otherwise stoic expression and demeanor from before was what made his reply surprising. He smiled. Well, half-smiled. But he played along! She liked that. For a brief moment she sat and simply enjoyed the interaction. The mere thought of so many people to talk to, observe and just generally interact with made her giddy. Arayel returned her focus to Vasha and she gave him a wink and then slowly stood up. She extended her hand, helped the man up and looked him up and down before retrieving her sword from the ground next to the now dead nidhogg. Someone else would have to clean up that fucking mess. Too bad it's meat wasn't edible. It could feed cities. As she walked back towards Vasha, she wiped off her blade in a piece of cloth. The scent of the blood rose up into her nostrils and almost made her gag, but she maintained her composure. What about those young nidhoggs? Had they killed them yet?



The elf seemed to be pleased with him though he didn’t entirely understand why - considering that he’d gotten her covered in shit. Regardless, she remained on top of him for a while, eyes glowing with mirth. He half expected her to start kneading him but she winked instead, offering him a hand after she stood. With an appraisal of his body, she twirled around, the buoyant sway of her hips daring Vasha to look after. And he did, willingly.

Everything was sore. Skin tingling with sweat pain, the gash in his hand still pulsating as he used the last of his healing ability to stabilize it. Vasha couldn’t be more pleased. And the Nidhogg was dead. Fantastic. Pity it had to end so soon. Now, where was his saber?

The raven-haired elf returned to his side, looking about for any other threats. “You know my name. What’s yours?”




Vasha approves of Arayel's assistance: +6

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

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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: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir 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

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After helping Aura back to her feet and turning back to see Vasha jettisoning out of the Nidhogg's gaping maw, covered in sludge and mouth-grime, and for a few breaths, Arayel... Gully's sword dipped lower and lower until she opted to extract the only clean piece of cloth on her person to wipe her blade off and slip it back into it's scabbard. The Nidhogg had slumped onto it's oozing face—dead, clearly dead. And Adriel was already moving into the cave to deal with the rest of it's crabbing fledgelings, sizzling them to little more than twitching limbs and ash. She watched as everyone gathered their wits and shook themselves off. They were a smelly, putrid mess of dripping Nidhogg-matter and blood. A simple twitch of the nose was the only indication that it bothered her. Instead, her bright eyes glanced across them. She, too, counted their losses, quietly bowing her head and whispering soft-lipped prayers. A send-off to their spirits.

As far as she was concerned, they were the lucky ones. She did not fault Adriel or Bo for the deaths in the quarry. Future battles would always wage fatal stakes. They would live to see another day, and those who'd died did so bravely. Whether it was simply a test of will and strength or something much more complicated, honourable deaths occurred on battlefields. If she were so lucky to die with her blade in her hands, she would have no qualms and no regrets. Knuckling some of the grime from the bridge of her nose, Gully straightened her shoulders and finally slicked her fingers across her neck. What she'd presumed to be the Nidhogg's blood revealed itself to be a yawning flesh-wound. No more than an inch deep. Probably needed stitches. Another scar to add to her arsenal. Another thing making her less woman, more beast, she supposed.

Watching Adriel wrench the blade free from the Nidhogg's pustule-ridden back and toss it over to Gretchen—who was slicked and nearly covered from head to toe with much, much more blood and ichor than she'd imagined possible, caused her to pause in her steps. She'd seen her during the battle. Not quite frothing at the mouth, but wild in posture, wild in action. Eyes like wildfire and rage and teeth-gnashing fury. A torrent of energy contained in such a small body. Beastly, in nature. And very human. She watched her for a few more moments, tilting her head owlishly. A curiosity. Gully cleared her throat and quickened her pace until she staggered herself beside Laetya and Ezra.




As much as the others might have found the trek to Barkmere uneventful and dull, Gully enjoyed the brief spurts of silence. Even the accompanying chatter between her new, blooded companions did not bother her as much as she'd thought it would, and if it wasn't for the awful smell wafting behind them, it might've cut a wholesome scene. Her stomach still fluttered and flipped whenever someone directed any questions her way, but for the most part, she tempered a thin-lipped expression onto her face and bobbed or shook her head in response. For the most part, they trekked in silence while she mutely counted their footsteps to keep herself busy. She swore that fighting the Nidhogg had been the easiest part of this journey—but now, faced with idle conversation and knocking elbows with strangers, Gully floundered on dry-land.

Instead of relying on her staggered repertoire of non-wit and sly remarks, she admired the scenery leading up to Barkmere's nondescript town and noticed Bo and someone else she did not recognize waiting on the rise. A ghost of a smile twitched at her lips, and slowly died as they made their approach. There would be no time to assault Bo with the flurry of questions dancing on her tongue—not now, anyhow. He was already giving them further instructions, and she had to agree that scrubbing themselves clean of the smelly grime caked on their skin and armour was far more important than skipping off to their next order of action. Tending to their wounds, as well. The yawning wound at her throat had already congealed and now, thumped dully. It was the idea of bathing with the others in an open chamber that plagued her thoughts. Any amount of internal preparation would not suffice. She inclined her head and headed into the inn with the others.




Battling against scaly slime-bags with multiple limbs, all slavering to feed on their sorry corpses? A simple enough affair that involved pure, unadulterated strength. Huffing down the ranks and remaining at stiff-spined attention while scarred Orcs screamed in her face? Terrifying but still manageable. And juggling the responsibility of keeping her home-bound companions alive and well while leading them in and out of Kyoshel's many scuffles? A thrill in comparison. Bathing with people she hardly knew? An awful reality that lent her little bravery. Her legs were anchors, and she, an old ship destined to remain adrift in dangerous waters. It was simple really. All she needed to do was reach for the door handle, let herself in, and continue her business as everyone else did. Yet every time she raised her hand to undo the latch, Gulfim's heart hammered until she pressed it back to her side, lips smothering down in a frown.

She did finally make it in, however. Weighing her options, she decided that it would be far more embarrassing to explain what she was doing standing in front of the door—not doing anything besides staring at it. She'd painstakingly removed her armour and set them aside, folded meticulously atop one another. Soft sighs, irritated grumbles, and light conversation drifted from the large tubs. And here she was, already sweating from the warmth radiating through the chamber and steeling herself to round the corner and sputter out her introductions. Instead, Gulfim slipped from her dirty underclothes while grounding her teeth together and controlling her muscles and movements to make herself as quiet as possible. Perhaps then, no one would hear her enter and she could mould herself into the wooden slats, clean as a whistle. Perhaps, she wouldn't humiliate herself by saying I am Gulfim Gragba and y-you're naked no no no don't look I'm not ready. She inhaled far too sharply, and counted one, two, three.

Fortunately, Gulfim survived her first shared-bath experience with little more than a bloom of embarrassment stippling across her ears. She wasn't sure if she'd grown closer to the women from seeing them completely naked or frightened herself even more than she'd been initially. Either way, she was clean. Mission complete. She also had time to scrub her armour clean and apply a fresh coat of mink oils to the leather segments. While the others donned soft, comfortable clothes, she'd opted to slip back into her armour. It contained her apprehension, squeezed it in a confined space so that she could manage it far better than if she were to go without. Some of the others wore far stranger clothes than she was used to. Ezra in particular, she'd noticed, had chosen an odd tunic that dipped low across the chest—and while she did not observe her father's telltale sign of human-fangs and beastly qualities, there was hair. She quickly averted her eyes and levelled her them back at Bo, focusing on his words, and resolutely attempting to ignore the itchy feeling of wanting to look at the other people surrounding her.

Ladies first, Illeren had said. And then pointed out Ezra with his blade (which was unusual enough). From what she could tell, Ezra was not a woman. The issue was moot. Gulfim was ready to receive the serpent's bite, after all. She did not joke as Illeren did, though she did admire Ezra's willingness to volunteer himself first.

It took her a few moments before her bright eyes widened and a giggle rippled out from her lips, soft as bells, clearly before she had the chance to smother it down with the knuckles of her hand.

Ah. It was a joke.




Gulfim slightly approves of Illeren's humor +5
Gulfim secretly approves of Ezra's chest hair +2
Gulfim approves of Bo's clarity +5

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
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She spoke, short and sweet. Arayel, hmm. Have I heard that name somewhere before? He met her gaze, contemplating.
I would’ve remembered those eyes.
As she remained in his sights, peering at him with this odd tilt to her lips, Vasha wondered if she was asking herself the same. And then, the moment was over, the hold unlocked. He found himself at a loss from it, fiercely annoyed that he couldn’t place the memory. The curiosity persisted for a while longer before he audibly sighed. Shoulders relaxed. Fur un-bristled. There was absolutely no point in mindlessly chasing the thought. He would remember.

Trying to turn back towards the Nidhogg, he realized there was something wrong with his neck. It wouldn’t move. He assumed it was a postponed effect from the fall. Still, he could feel nothing, with no way to tell how critical the damage was. Complete physical numbness - probably from abusing the power. A creeping tremor slithered up his spine, his heart palpitating. ‘What good is victory if your life is the wager?’ Her voice echoed in his mind, emotional and so out of his depth. ‘One of these days, you’re going to get a bad hand Vash. Please, please, stop being so reckless. People rely on you.’ Taking a dagger out from his pack, he angled his body such that the left side was out of view. Slowly, the blade pierced his flesh, sinking down steadily. Like the drip of hot wax. He buried it to it’s handle, all 5 inches. Years of practice guided him to the nerve endings, the acute muscle clusters, avoiding the thicker bone and ligaments. Just barely, he felt pain. Just barely, he felt pleasure. But it was enough - Ninelyn was gone.

Adriel called out, emerging from a cave sparkling with static energy. Fascinating. So this is the fabled lightning of the Ghoul. The sparks earlier must have been from him as well. Vasha listened to his words more intently this time, modifying his cursory opinion from before. The elf may be an uninspiring leader but he was gradually earning Vasha’s respect, even if only as an object of study.

In one quick stroke, Vasha pulled out the dagger. Everyone around him was caked in Nidhogg shit though he was probably the most decorated of them all. Beneath him was a sea of unnamed musculature and skin tissue. Pieces of bone stuck out like gravestones. All of it smelled like ass. Terrible, repulsive Nidhogg ass. The mountainous Nidhogg corpse towered above them, its shadow covering a great deal of the quarry. Flies had started to swarm.

Some patches of dirt managed to escape the shit storm, like beige acne spots amidst scar tissue. He found one such patch, squatting and grabbing fistfuls. First he cleaned the blood off his dagger, returning it to his pack. Then he bathed himself, rubbing the tiny granules against his body. It felt vaguely like sandpaper. All the while, he listened to Adriel and watched the others. There were fewer now. Corpses floated in the shit sea like bloated whales. From the back, Pile of Rags approached them, shoulders hunched and spine curled. A standing fetal position. Strange that he would want to appear so small.

Vasha caught what looked to be an expression of delight flit across Arayel’s face as she tore off a momento. Intriguing. Illeren was spouting childish nonsense, immune to the usual awkwardness that would accompany such behavior. Adriel continued speaking, seemingly unfazed. The words, “dont care what you did to survive”, caught Vasha’s attention. He’s sensible? How surprising. “Filthy human lands.” Nope, nevermind. The rest was about another sort of test, leaving for Barkmere, and information about the cure. Vasha knew Barkmere. A novel opportunity, one that could've been the perfect experiment for race hybridization if it weren't for its bleeding heart residents. Vasha had had a number of arguments with his superiors back in the day on the exact issue. The general consensus: you can’t just superimpose evolution on a sentient species. Narrow-minded liberals.

Congealing the stringy gore within the dirt, Vasha was able to remove most of the thicker Nidhogg residue from his armor. It still clung to his hair like a prepubescent brat and his face was more or less stained brown, but at least he could now move without guts between his legs. The others were getting ready to leave, collecting their belongings and following Adriel up the ramp. Vasha stayed behind, however.

He had work to do.



If Vasha hadn’t known how to get to Barkmere, it would’ve been a simple task of following the pungent trail the others left behind. Fortunately, he did and was able to take a side route that was less… aromatic. The trek was largely uneventful aside from how deserted the roads were. Vasha remembered when they were bustling, alight with all sorts of merchants and travelers. Granted, bandits and thieves were just as plentiful but the decrepit roads made him itch with something he couldn’t quite name. The pestilence had a farther reach than he had thought - and that ignorance worried him. What other things do I not know? He made a mental note to speak with Higoht.

A leather sac hanging from his belt was dripping, the bottom soaked through. Inside were all sorts of Nidhogg anatomy, from the stomach, to the heart, to its brain. After the others had disappeared over the cliff edge, Vasha began dissecting the mother and her young, careful of the stomach acids he had encountered earlier. Of course, with the sheer mass of the mother, he could only get so far in a reasonable amount of time, prioritizing its brain and appendage growth. Looking for anything that might tell the story of its existence, what makes it tick and what makes it go silent. Once he was done with the mother, he stashed the smallest offspring within a sac (for future academic learning of course). At that point, he was about an hour behind the others.

He had made good time since, estimating that he was about 20 minutes out. When he came upon Barkmere’s acclaimed walls, the others had already gone inside. That wasn’t an issue however as Nidhogg remains covered him much the same as his party. Vasha was officially welcomed to Barkmere with a gruff nod and a hand covering the nose.

Knowing full well that he couldn’t just waltz into a well-respected inn with a bag full of Nidhogg guts, Vasha found a lonely, abandoned barrel and deposited his loot. There was little worry of theft thus his primary concern was disguising the scent. Finding various herbs and powders from other barrels, he concocted a cocktail of musky scents that did indeed mask the smell. The problem was it overpowered it rather than lessened it. In spite of what most would consider a failure, Vasha was satisfied. Now there was no way anyone would go near his barrel.

Still, his neck was paralyzed and he hadn’t been able to avoid the stomach acids entirely. When he arrived, he had seen the back end of some his party members entering an inn. Following in their footsteps, he asked the innkeeper where his comrades were, explaining that he had arrived just now. Baths? Heated baths? That sounds marvelous.



Outside the baths, Vasha spotted an orc offering healing beside the entrance. The orc was good - within moments he could move his neck freely again, the burns from the acid all but forgotten. Expressing his gratitude, he crossed the threshold, heavy, humid fumes blanketing him upon entering. Taking a moment to enjoy the luxury, Vasha suspected that it would be long indeed before he’d be granted it again.



Refreshed and rejuvenated, albeit angry as all hell that his hair was soaking wet, Vasha joined the others in the meeting room. Most in attendance felt fairly stiff, on the defensive, awaiting whatever new test they were about to undertake. Taking a seat near the middle of the table, Vasha settled in to watch the show. Illeren had propped his feet up on the table like a little child, practically jumping with selfish energy. God, how Vasha wished he could just stick the twerp in a deep hole and wait until his maturity became a little more bearable. Several in their attendance were wearing peculiar clothes. Like the bawdy, open shirt on pretty boy over there or Arayel’s overly elegant choice in dress. It did compliment her attributes though.

He had decided to wear a simple black tunic, collared and well-fitting. In addition, he kept some leather belts on him, never too keen on being defenseless, even when there was no danger in conspicuous view. One never knows what trouble might be around the corner.

Higoht, no Bo now, began speaking once the last few found chairs. Gradually, his voice gained more confidence. Vasha was grateful for the clarity, finding it extraordinary that coincidence had seen fit to give Bo the cure to this disease as a boy. It all seemed so unlikely, that the very cure would be a poison that was renowned for taking lives. Terribly fitting in its own way. The next part both excited and terrified Vasha. Lose all control? What does he mean? Rather abruptly, Vasha felt sick to his stomach, worrying about the implications from such an out of body experience.

Moral path? Well that’s a simple decision - choose that which has the most positive outcomes. Vasha found it bizarre that Bo would even have to ask the question. As he thought about it he realized the orc had no where near the experience he possessed. Perhaps he hadn’t learned the lesson yet. Talk of potential missions, rewards, and a final disclaimer followed, all of which Vasha thought irrelevant: what he would be asked to do mattered not, he had little care for material rewards, and although unnerved, he was anxious to get it over with. Apparently, a number among them had the same idea. Vasha sighed and leaned back in his chair. It was going to be a long night.



Once the eager ones had been served, faces hollow and exhausted as they trudged up the stone steps, Vasha volunteered. He felt as if his demons were coming up to greet him as the light got fainter and fainter. And yet… what is that smell? Scented candles? They smelled of duskwood and home, a small token of comfort that held his apprehension at bay. An impervious stone slab greeted him when he reached the bottom, offering cold condolences as he laid his back against it. The air was musty. Cold and unforgiving. A crooked elf appeared from the umbra, a straw basket in his hands. The lid opened. Light reflected off its golden scales as it traced the contours down the keeper’s arm - a styx snake. With a deliberate squeeze against its throat, the thing’s fangs expanded out, bright white against matte black.

At first Vasha felt nothing. Not the bite and not the initial circulation into his bloodstream. On the return trip back to his heart, something started to happen. It was like getting pinched harder and harder. A compression of meat and sinew. And then it hit his heart. Agony like he’d never felt before; burning like he was submerged in lava, suffocation like he was perpetually drowning. A pounding bass drum of rolling spasms overtook him, crashing against his head like the great waves of a typhoon. Rebellion. That’s what his body sang, trying to launch itself off the slab, trying to get away from the pain. But he was being held down, by what or who he had no idea - he was far too gone. In order to cope, his regenerative store kicked in, attempting to fight the poison. No matter how much he regenerated, the toxin found ways to osculate faster through his veins. Almost like it was learning. As a last resort his subconscious tried to send the torment outwards, yearning for a scapegoat.

It found one.

Immediately, some of the bonds relaxed, giving Vasha the opportunity to act. Like a wild animal he tried to rip away from his chains. Sickening cracks came from the points of high strain. A large hand slammed into his chest, forcing him back on the slab. Vasha growled, deep and guttural, face distorted into a grisly expression. Suddenly, something crashed into his lower jaw, cracking the bone there as his mouth opened. A cottony substance was forcefully jammed into his mouth. Then another sudden pound to his adam’s apple and he reflexively swallowed the substance.

A long while passed before control started to return to him. Awareness came in glimpses. Someone had been wounded and was receiving healing from the orc that had helped him before. Then the orc moved to help him; mending his broken jaw, broken limbs, and bruised neck. When he felt like he was himself again, he gingerly sat up, observing the damage he had caused. The medicine man told him that he had somehow transferred his pain to the elf over there and had ignored his own welfare, breaking his own bones in the process.

“Ah.” was all Vasha could manage, throat sore and croaking. Trying again, he spoke, “Tell the elf I’m sorry when he wakes.” he coughed painfully, swallowing dryly before continuing, “And that if he should have any favor I can reasonably perform, I will do it.” The orc nodded, returning back to his companion. Vasha got up in stages, testing his weight on each leg before attempting to walk. Part of him felt horrible, like he’d come back from the dead. Which in a way he had. But another part felt differently, more intensely. He felt alive.




Vasha approves of Adriel's combat prowess: +6
Vasha approves of Arayel's tastes, both on the battlefield and in clothing: +5
Vasha slightly approves of Higoht's luck with fate: +3
Vasha slightly disapproves of Illeren's childishness: -3

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

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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: 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
Image

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

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#, 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

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