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Adriel Nisaan

The Second, The Ghoul - Infiltrator.

0 · 356 views · located in Tegea

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

Description

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"I don't know which is worse--this disease or the filthy humans it's consuming."





INTRODUCTION



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"My name is Adriel. I hate expansionists and arsonists. I like... trees."

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"My people have decided to send their best, so really, you can all leave if you feel the call of cowardice. The Serass and I are all that will be required to end this filthy affair."


[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: The Ghoul, The Elf.
Gender: Male.
Age: 90.
Race: Elf.
Origin: Rielorn.
Voice: Adriel's voice is deep and rich. Not so much the voice of a natural leader, but rather of a cold reality.
Class: Infiltrator.
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive.
Magical Affinity: Medium; he uses magic more in the way of enhancing his physical style of combat.






PHYSICALITY





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[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: His hair is almost never the same for very long. For formal events, he might wear it tied back and braided out of his mask. For missions, Adriel places it up and out of his eyes, or to the side of his face. His hair color differs about as often as his style. Adriel prefers unnatural colors such as whites, or reds. But depending on the time and place might opt for his regular black hair. Facial hair is not common for elves, and as such Adriel will never know the pleasure of keeping it, or the numerous cuts from shaving it.
Eyes: Gold.
Complexion:
Height: 5'10".
Build: There's muscle on his slender frame, which is not apparent through his loose choice in upper body wear.
Weight: 157 lbs.
Body Markings: Tattoos, tattoos, tattoos! Tattoos in the tribe are awarded, and while they might look like art are deeply symbolic. Wings anywhere on the body indicate that the elf has a flying mount, while fangs indicate that a beast has been subdued. However, the tattoo to be most weary of is one of a skull over Adriel's heart. This signifies that this elf walks with death. This tattoo is a bit double edged. Unlike the rest of the markings which show valor or high esteem in the tribe, this tattoo denotes one that has made a tough sacrifice. They have gone against some of the natural customs of the civilization, in order to ensure others can have them. And surprisingly, Adriel has very few scars to note. One of the more important ones are two scars, roughly the same spacing, on either one of Adriel's inner thighs. These come from riding a wild mount, and the saddle cutting into the thigh. Many elves get these scars from taming mounts.


[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Adriel is not an easy elf to describe--while rigid and serious, he’s a free spirit at his core, and this has left his outer appearance to always be a bit different. He is average height for his race, with tan skin and naturally dark hair. However, he colors it according to how he is feeling at the time. Sometimes it’s white, sometimes it’s red, sometimes it’s any color he can manage. He has a collection of natural dyes that he harvests from the forest. His hair, through his electrical affinity, can be made to stand on end or fall flat and out of the way. Generally, he wears it in a trademark mohawk. The elf is a renowned assassin within the society, and like the majority of Elves, this shows through his posture and upkeep of his attire. Adriel always keeps weapons at the ready, and he almost never wears anything that the elf would deem cumbersome. No one who looked at Adriel would confuse him for a simple soldier or carpenter. His posture is from years of rigorous training, his manners are those of an officer, his form proper, and his speech impeccable in elvish grammar and vocabulary. While strongly familiar with common tongue, he finds some rules ridiculous, and struggles with small details.


Adriel also has several tattoos. Tattoos in his village, and with the rest of the community, stem from great achievements. Anything from slaying beasts, to ones of warning to other elves, get placed upon the body. As such, Adriel’s body has been a canvas for a great number of tattoos. While they might be easily looked upon in his community, to outsiders it would probably unseemly and downright barbaric.

Being given an infiltrator has never gone to Adriel’s head. Elves are prosperous only when they forge a path with their own hands. Now that he’s grown a bit older, and a bit wiser, Adriel has taken to giving back to the community at large. While his job does keep him busy, and far away from home, upon returning Adriel is always quick to reenter society and be among his kind.



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Moral Alignment Lawful egocentric.

MENTALITY

[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Adriel is a bit of an oddball. He's very much two sides of a single coin. Side one is for those lucky enough to be born an Elf. Adriel is a decorated war hero. He fought in the last elven war against the humans, and as a young Cavalier he was brilliant. Most elves still see him as this; they'd think of him as a charming, if gruff, socialite and he'd give them no reason to change this opinion. To the Elves, Adriel shows respect, compassion, friendship, and wisdom. He's always eager to offer his advice, company, and aid; all they had to do was ask.

However, the opposite side of that coin is for all those unlucky enough to be born of any other race. Adriel is a bit of a racist. He dislikes the Orcs as he finds them slaves to their religion. He feels they're unable to wrench themselves free of their teachings, although he finds truth in their Faoryuun. Humans, however, Adriel has the utmost contempt for. He finds them dirty, he hates how they live, he hates that they believe they're wise enough to make world-changing decisions at the ripe old age of 40. Bah! He despises how often they breed, and how they always want to ruin more of the planet with their mindless building of cities and warmongering.

There are some traits that shine through both sides of this coin though. Adriel always has a certain skepticism about him. He's egotistical, and he's blunt. Adriel always likes to get tasks done as quickly as possible; going so far as to make a new plan if he absolutely has to. Adriel admires all those who care for family, as he is very compassionate about his own (and he has no desire to make a new one). Lastly, Adriel likes gardeners. If you're someone who gives back to the planet through gardening, you're Adriel's kind of people.


[Q U I R K S]
  • Petty human hater: It’s no secret that Adriel hates humans. He hates their smell, he hates their machinery, and their stupid way of life. But he also hates their stupid round ears. Just about anything Adriel can find to disagree with humans he will. Their lifespan sucks, they make poor decisions, and they mate like the world is going to end and they just ingested a pound of veluptroot.
  • Master of the slippery slope: And speaking of hating humans, this can start a “slippery logic train.” It’s simple! All the elf has to do is find something that humans do, or can do better than Adriel, and then begin to ponder if doing that thing makes Adriel the same as a human! An example would be riding a horse. Adriel all but refuses to do this, as humans use it for their main mode of transportation, and the elf wouldn’t be caught dead imitating a filthy round-ear.
  • Hairstylist: Adriel loves his hair. He tends to put it in all shapes, and all colors. At this point, it’s become a compulsion. Sure, he’s got reasons to. Like to make it easier to infiltrate a human capital and kill a noble. Or to blend in better with nature, but the reality of the situation is that Adriel just likes making his hair do different things. A little known fact is that Adriel will happily do anyone else’s hair that ask. Even a filthy human! He takes great pride in his work.
  • Filthy Litter Bugs! It's nice to pick up trash off the side of the road to give a bit back to the planet. It's not nice to stall the party because you saw the glint of an old sword-blade in the corner of your eye, littered from some old battlefield. But, that's what happens when you're the environmental equivalent of a crazy cat lady.
  • Cantankerous Ho: Having a deepset fear of falling in love and feeling abject disgust when subjected to love, Adriel doesn't really like to flirt or tease people. He'll throw an occasional joke at a friend, but he's really quite the serious person, and him being a ho does not alter this. Hey, remember how he hates humans with an eruptive passion? He sometimes has a different sort of passion for the ladies, and has been known to frequent... er, certain respectable establishments to see them. It's not his favorite personality trait in himself, but he's come to accept it a little more than he probably should.


Image[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Adriel does not necessarily believe in the laws of society, rather he believes in the law of nature. This has many parts. For his work, Adriel believes in the law of survival. Sometimes it is not the fittest that survive, but those best suited to the world. Humans have a low lifespan, and are not as smart as Elves (might be a biased opinion) so are they really fit, as a species, to live? Adriel does not believe in rampant killing. No animal in nature kills for sport, or prey. They oftentimes leave young to fend for themselves if a predator kills a mother. So Adriel takes pride not to have collateral damage.
However, in a personal sense these same laws govern differently. When finding a mate, Adriel doesn’t believe in the concept of love. He’s lived a very long life and never felt a strong compulsion he couldn’t rationalize away. While his people might be lovers at their core, he hasn’t quite drank the moji-plant juice.
As the law of nature is his guide, Adriel is concerned with the state of the world. He always tries to look after the forest when he’s there. If pesky humans have made awful campsites, or left garbage strewn about, Adriel does his best to clean up after them. Internally, he’s doing his best not to slay the horrible round ears.

[A G E N D A]
Adriel has a strong tie to the wilds. His motivation in life, other than serving the council, is to serve the world. If there’s anything he believes he can do, he will. While this makes him something of a softie towards the Tegea, Adriel does try to keep much of his respect towards the world a secret. Adriel has two main goals in life: The first is continuing to subdue human society for as long as he lives. As Adriel has been involved in plenty of plots to assassinate well known merchants and “expansionists,” he believes this is an achievable goal throughout his life. The second goal is to bring the study of magic into serious consideration within the elven race. Currently elves only really have shaman as their basis for magic. Elves with their near endless life-cycle and incredible talent could see a prospering magical force at their disposal. If elves gave magic a consideration their power would rise tremendously.


[F E A R S]
Human expansion: There is nothing Adriel fears more than human expansion. In his mind they already have too much territory. Humans live such drastically reduced lives, and yet as a society they have not quite mastered taking care of their planet.

War: Adriel is a capable combatant yet, he knows war would have severe consequences on all those involved. The idea of rampant collateral damage, extreme loss of life, and not to mention the toll on the world; would be unparalleled. It is for this reason that Adriel values his job as an assassin. From the shadows he can help steer the world in the correct direction.

Falling in love: Ah yes, falling in love. Adriel knows and respects many people who have been in love. Yet, he knows this is a trap. While in love one is not free to move how they see fit. They are not free to do many things that they have to. That, and there is now a place in the lover’s heart which is a weakness.


[L I K E S]
    • If we’re being honest, which I guess this is the place for; Adriel loves the shit out of strawberries. Well most fruit, in general, is his bane but Strawberries hold a special place in his heart. There’s just one problem. Strawberries are natives to field, and are only cultivated by one race… filthy humans.
    • Adriel likes the idea of riding a horse. He can’t actually do it. He also thinks it looks stupid since that’s what humans do. But the idea is interesting.
    • Adriel really likes studying magic. Any text he comes across, he almost immediately harps on. He believes that elves are behind the times in their study of the arcane.
    • Adriel likes when women flirt with him. Yes, he has a horrible personality. And yes, he'll probably just make them feel like they wasted his time, but inside it's like his heart is hugging a stuff Sphinx he's had since he was 4. He might even flirt back on the rare occasion, even if he's quick to shut it down if it sounds like more serious than he prefers.
    • ...and speaking of, the elf may or may not (he totally does) have his childhood stuffed animal kept at his house. It's there. He's hugged it. There's nothing wrong with this. Leave him alone.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Any race other than elves, particularly humans. A couple of orcs are excluded from his rampant hatred, but it's more like he pretends they're big green elves.
    • He thinks beer is disgusting. He knows! The humans drink it, it’s a pretty natural drink all things considered; but he hates it. (Needless to say he can’t hold his liquor). The idea of mashing up plants and then draining them of their essence, letting them rot, and straining out all that is left sounds distasteful.
    • Disrespect. Even towards humans Adriel shows very little disrespect. He might hate them, he might believe that they are filthy, but he shows him the respect they have earned. If one did manage to impress Adriel, he would happily show them respect… he would probably still be mean though.
    • Lastly, Adriel dislikes riding a mount. And by dislikes he means can’t. Sure! He can ride on the back of a roc for a spell before he drops down from the heavens, however if you asked him to ride it Adriel couldn’t! It all stems back from a fear he had as a child from his first mount. Since then, no riding of any mount has been done.





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]

  • Surveyor [Average] ★★★☆☆☆ He is thorough, and he can track a target to the end of the world, or just peep on women bathing in a lake. His surveying skill lets Adriel take a mental image of a location, it lets him track multiple paths for an assassination, and lets him keep a full radius of defense around him. In this way, Adriel can keep track of a zone and never have to take his eyes off an opponent.
  • Reaction time [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ Adriel's reaction time is fast enough that it can keep up with his tremendous speed. In this way, Adriel can make split second decisions, and change an action which, to most, might have been already completed. It gives him a right postponement. Essentially, a do-over for a move which might ultimately be a trap or terrible decision. While his reaction speed might not be quick enough for a complete negation of all damage caused from a badly planned move, it will at least reduce the consequences.


[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Speed: [Strong] ★★★★★★ Adriel considers himself to be the fastest being alive. He lives his speed. As such, Adriel takes pride to ensure that his speed is at its best, either via normal means like training, or by enhancing his already quick moves with lightning. This is Adriel's best stat for a reason, the Elf takes great pride in his style which is entirely based on this stat.
  • Assassination: [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ In reality, Adriel isn't the best assassin to ever walk Tegea. He'd insist anyways that this is the case. However, his quick thinking, attention to detail, and reflexes certainly add to this. Adriel is a very competent assassin, his eyes spot weaknesses in armor, and an opponents way of fighting. Adriel is all about maximizing weaknesses, and quickly taking down an opponent. While this stat isn't high, it's more than bolstered by his other abilities.

[SPELLS | POWERS]
  • Lightning manipulation [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ Finally, he's come to command lightning. Adriel has tamed the lightning. He can generate it from his body, without harm to himself. Coat weapons with it. Blind, stun, paralyze, and deafen opponents using it, and cut through their armor with ease. Lightning might as well be the element of armor shredding, because before it Armor might as well not exist. Adriel uses his lightning as a trump card, and another base to his style. He can enhance his speed, strength, and reflexes, give his weapons a lightning sharp edge, and lastly use it the way nature intended; to give himself some range. To Adriel there is no better element. Well, maybe the summons of his master, but that's up for debate.

    [W E A K N E S S E S]
    • Slow learner: He's a old cranky spider webby butt who's set in his ways. This also makes him quite stubborn, and difficult to negotiate with once he's made a decision.
    • Tunnel vision: Unlike Bo, he does not consider escape and consequence. When it comes to assassinations, he only plans up to the point of the kill, and he's most certainly not a team player.
    • All for one: His greatest strength is Adriel's greatest weakness. Adriel strongly believes in the thought of enhancement. All of his abilities compliment one another, they work in sync to create one hell of a speedy electric elf. There's just one problem with this, this is all Adriel has. He's a one-trick pony, and if defeated or analyzed, Adriel has no backup or trump card to pull him out of any mess he's put himself into.






    ARMAMENT


    Image[A R M O R]
    Adriel wears the lightest armor possible. There are few dragging pieces if any, Adriel shies away from garments that flutter, such as capes or skirts. His boots are made to compliment his weight and speed.

    [C L O T H I N G]
    His daily wear consists of either black or plenty of colors. Vibrant reds, and greens, all with the softest silk and cotton possible.

    [I T E M S]
    Adriel carries vials of poisons and potions on him almost always, and no, he does not get them mixed up. He's never far from something that can be used as an improvised weapon.

    [T O K E N S]
    A tree. Idfk.

    [P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
    Weapon Name: Hidden Snakes
    Weapon Type: Bracelet/whip/sword/spear.
    Length: At its shortest, around three feet from end to end. At its longest, 10 feet.
    Weight: 4 pounds.
    Origin: These weapons are ones that Adriel fashioned when training with his master in the wilderness of the Orc lands. They are made of semi-precious river stones, and thread from giant spiders; which is known for its strength, and stretching capabilites. Normally, they are ordinary bracelets which take up the whole of his forearms. They snake up his forearms from his wrist and each stone seems to be of varying lengths. However, when an electric current is put through them, the bracelets can constrict to form a perfect sword. With a different amount of energy, a whip-like weapon appears with the electric amplifying its cutting ability. The weapons are quick and effective. Adriel can utilize them for strangling, garroting, cutting, swordplay, and in its rarest of forms a spear.

    [O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
    Weapon Name: Silver long swords
    Weapon Type: Long swords
    Length: 3 feet.
    Weight: 6 pounds each
    Origin: These are nothing special. Made from Elven smiths, they are silver to kill the un-pure. Normally Adriel coats them in poison and utilizes them as quick means to dispose of easy prey. He does not use these on anything which would pose a challenge.






    BACKGROUND


    [M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
    Single. No one can put up with his shit.

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

      | D a d | [ 100 ]
    Falon is Adriel's father, and the reason he has been able to keep trucking through his whole ordeal. He's a good man, a baker, and the wisest Elf Adriel's ever met.

      | Siblings | [ 25-75 ]
    Adriel has four of these. Some he's not quite so sure he likes, others he likes okay. Hiverian is probably the favorite of the bunch, but he's lazy, confident, and blind. Still, Adriel does have love for the others, he just hasn't gotten a chance to see his sisters in some time, and his youngest brother, as far as he knows, is a farmer.



    [O C C U P A T I O N]
    Adriel is an elven infiltrator. He's most notable for killing humans and corrupt elves, even in peacetime. His exploits have earned him fame as a codename, the Ghoul. As Adriel has been an infiltrator for so long, and his human killing has been so numerous, there are now bedtime stories about him which humans use as a cautionary tale for their children. "When you grow up don't be rude, or he'll slip poison in your food. If you go out, lag about, or else the Ghoul will leave you strewn about." Happy little songs like that.

    [S O C I A L | R A N K]
    Officer. It's not the best of ranks, but a worthwhile one, and he's rather popular when he returns home.

    [O P I N I O N S]
    • Humans: Hates hates hates hates hates.
    • Elves: What a lovely bunch of well meaning, well mannered, and beautifully cultured individuals.
    • Orcs: One or two are okay, he supposes.

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

      | O r c B r o | [ 90 ]
    Bo is a quick learner. His skills are sufficient for someone of his age, and he's capable in a fight. As a leader, Adriel's seen better, and he'd prefer it if this whole thing were just the two of them.

      | A d r i e l | [ 100 ]
    Hrmmm... he's handsome, dreamy, and loves long walks on the beach.

      | G r e t c h e n | [ ??+10 -I-I don't know what you're talking about, I don't even know her. I don't associate with human trash. ]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOnSO7vJCTg

    | T a n e| [ 30 ]
Yes, he's human (heaves the biggest sigh known to Elves) but he can carry his own weight, and he's a mobile siege tower. I might just take bets on whether or not he can solo the entire trip.

    | K i r | [ -5 ]
Why is he even here? This man is scared of TREES! Surely the most dangerous creature in the lands. OH! I wonder if we're going to go to any forests on our merry quest?

    | L a e t y a | [ 40 ]
Ah, an Orc woman you say. Yes, yes please. Can we just have a whole team of these, and some elves? We'll forget the humans when they die by the wayside.

    |E z r a | [ 15 ]
Oh please! If we had a gold coin for every one of his stories that were false, we could rebuild the Rielorn treasury. But at least he's useful unlike some useless scared human who's scared of trees!

    |B e r l i o z | [ 15 ]
A rambunctious sort. I feel his go-getting nature might cause more harm than good...Ahem I mean, he's human trash, and his magic is lack luster at best. Get good.

    |G u l f i m | [ 43 ]
Well, what do we have here? Capable- Check. Cute- Check. I might have to rethink my stance on Orcs.

    |A r a y e l | [ -15 ]
YES! Another Elf! This is amazing! WOOOOOOOwait. How the hell'd she get here? Oh brought in by councilman as a redemption for crimes, you say? She's a blight on our race and my eyes see better when they look at round-ears.

    |A u r i l e i t h | [ 66]
Well well well, what do we have here? An archer, a mage, and a shining example of all our culture has to offer. We need more like Aurieleith.

    | I l l e r e n | [ 15]
Oh, an Elf who's spent most of his time with humans. He seems weary of our high structures, and I can't imagine any Elf would talk in a manner reminiscent of societies too poor to afford plumbing. Wait, I feel I am being too harsh, using words and grammar he can't possibly understand. Let me break it down in a way more becoming of this man. "He's a right dumb cunt this one, and if he 'ad less brains 'ed fall to 'is death from one of our billdin's.."

    | V a s h a | [ 70]
A well respected elf. One who has served a cavalier, and one who has a mighty magical power. He's someone Adriel very much admires. However, he has noticed this is not a two way street. This predicament is one Adriel rather expected, as he's abrasive and tends to believe himself better than most. Never matter, the infiltrator will keep tabs on Vasha and who knows... maybe he'll even learn a thing or two from his junior.

    | K i s k e | [ -100]
Fuck this guy. Fuck his clown shit. Fuck his illusions. Fuck the way he walks. Adriel will kill him in his sleep, or on the field.


[1B I O | H I S T O R Y]
ImageAdriel was born and raised in Rielorn, an extravagant place to grow and learn. The elven government ensured each child will live a productive life, and Adriel was no exception even having come from an average family. His father, Fallon, was a baker by trade, and the house would always smell of the crafts Fallon brought home with him.

At the age of ten, the military life was chosen for Adriel, and what brought him to the path of cavalier was his ambitions (and his utter incompetence with a bow). He lusted to see the outside world, and to see the humans’ magic. Every time a wandering trader would pass through, Adriel’s tiny arms would leave filled with spell books, or tomes of knowledge. All this knowledge and desire to become a mage would have manifested Adriel into a wonderful Sorcerer if only he’d been born human. Elves look at magic as relatively uninspiring. There’s plenty that can be done with it, but not enough that they view it as a necessity. While elven shamans are treated as doctors, or holy men, most other elves who inherit the gift look at it as an easy way to do dishes, or the laundry.

The Cavaliers are an interesting bunch, with a want for glory or adventure, or to impress pretty highborn girls. From this point in the elf’s life until they are in the ground, an elf is required to hold the traditions of a cavalier: Sword training from dusk until dawn, orders which compel conformity, and training for war. While humans look at war as a means to conquer one another, and take from the world at large, elves have a different meaning for the word. They use war to mean an ongoing conflict with nature.

Adriel’s society encouraged oneness with the universe. Everything they took, they gave back. Ribs from a beast would be made into a weapon, and even though they didn’t eat its meat, they would turn it into food for their beasts of burden. However, the elves know that no creature is without strife for survival. There are beasts in the wilderness which flourish off malice, and anger. Cavaliers are tasked with putting these beasts to rest. Of course, any time there is an armed conflict, the Cavaliers come out in full force, but there’s never a down time. If a new elven city needs to be built, they’re there to protect the workers and help where they can. If an archeologist goes to study the ruins of ancient elven society, the cavaliers come bearing shields and torches. The cavaliers, essentially, turn relatively wayward youths into soldiers who give back to the community.

Sure, it’s no baker like his father wanted, but it’s a good job. Elves do have a wealth gap, and a cavalier will always be poor, but past training is an exciting and noble life. Adriel loved this life, he bonded with comrades, he fought terrible beasts, and he still imagined visiting human cities. His early life had seen Adriel become something of a human fancier. All of those spell books and tomes had given him belief that humans were the most amazing creatures on the planet. They had such short lifespans and accomplished so much. This was a thought that permeated elven tradition. Humans were new to the planet, so elves had to take care of the burdens they couldn’t be tasked with.

It was in war that this thought would change, albeit slowly. Adriel was part of the 103rd division which typically dealt with beasts, but every now and then, got tasked with taking care of bandits. Horrible beings. Ones who couldn’t grasp the laws of society. A bit like Adriel before he had joined the military. However, the consequences of adults carried more weight than those of children, and as such, any bandits which came into the elven woods were to be put down.

On one particular occasion the 103rd was called in to eliminate a large tribe of bandits eager to make the fertile woods home. They had not only set up camp, they had cut down large trees and set up spiked walls. The bandits had tried to claim what was not theirs, and Adriel was tasked with making sure they didn’t live to regret this decision. For three days, scouts had spotted the encampment before the regime came upon it. On the third day, the elves fought back. The stronger elves broke down the massive doors of the fort. Adriel was on the front lines and rushed into the fray. It was a frenzy of blood as the humans were without their armor, and Adriel cut down more than he could count. He lost track in the battle, but his well-honed skills were more than good enough to take down the fellowship of thugs.

In the end, the elves had lost twenty men. Adriel stood in a pool of blood, his shield was bashed into oblivion at some point, but he had picked up another sword to counter for this. His impromptu decision making, quick footedness, and effortless killing, hadn’t gone unnoticed.



“The watchers are everywhere.” They tell you this when you’re young, but no one believes it. Yet always observing battles, watchers can spot those who have hidden talent, and in that battle, all eyes were on Adriel.

Within a week a new assignment, a black scroll, came into the barracks post. On it was a name, and instructions to come alone to a local church. Once there the elf found himself greeted by men he knew to be Infiltrators, an elite group who work for the government to change the world. Being given an invitation to join is not a choice. Adriel was be able to move from his parents’ house (at the ripe age of 30) and essentially achieve the rank of a lord (if one were to compare elven statuses to a human's).

Infiltrator training was different -- a cavalier would place down his shield, and take up his own strength. Unlike cavalier soldiers which pigeonhole elves to become the most effective soldier unit, the Infiltrators make use of natural talents and hone the inner strength of an elf. For Adriel, this was his speed. As it turns out Adriel had insanely quick reaction times as well. The Infiltrators were quick to make use of this, and Adriel learned a new style of combat, one grittier and less noble than before. There was one downfall: the new Infiltrator learned very quickly that he couldn’t ride a mount. He’d be bucked off horses, and thrown from the wings of birds. Of course, Adriel tried and tried again, but just as he tried to take up archery in his youth, it wasn’t for him. All this training would soon come to a head when Adriel was released to track the owner of the name on the black scroll, and Adriel knew it could be anyone; ministers, bakers, craftsmen, anyone in the village who harbored thoughts which were dangerous to the way of life the elves lived. Of course, they could be human or orc too, but the assignment to kill one from another race came to only the most seasoned Infiltrators. As it turned out, it was an elf with rebellious thoughts, who Adriel snuffed out without much struggle.

Adriel’s second assignment was a name all too familiar to him: his previous captain. It was important to note that "elves do not kill other elves," and those who are taken by the Infiltrators simply disappear. For many days, Adriel scouted his captain. He didn’t know what his former friend was doing, but he couldn’t question it.

Eventually, Adriel decided the best way to undue the captain was simple. Adriel greeted him as a friend. Passing by him on the street, Adriel ran into him and offered to make lunch for him. When the pair went out, Adriel slipped a poisoned pea into the soup of his old commander. The job was done, and the pair left as friends. The captain died in a week of a rare toxin no shaman could cure.

This task rested heavily on the young elf’s head, he took a leave of absence for a while, in order to clear his thoughts and understand if this was the correct path.
It was his caring father who nodded and listened, while he cleaned up the kitchen for the night. Fallon’s advice was not to lose hope. An Infiltrator was a tough job, but he was certain his son could do it. He mentioned, however, that since his son was working so hard, a vacation may have been in order. He'd seen some orc soldiers earlier that day traipsing about Rielorn, and proposed his son hitch a ride, as the entire city was abuzz with the news of the orcs possibly lifting their embargo.

Adriel had never seen an orc, but he was soon tasked with guarding the room where all of the delegates met. Adriel, like all Infiltrators, was given a new mask to celebrate his title--that of a long beaked bird which covered the face, with partitions only for the eyes. The meeting proceeded, and it seemed the elves were pushing strongly for the orcs to rejoin the rest of the world. A strong disagreement ensued, and he was not paying enough attention to realize which side first drew a weapon--after all, within moments a female orc, a monk guard as he would discover later, stepped in and disrupted the argument before it could begin. Adriel remains uncertain how it was she did it. Possibly by unleashing a fraction of her power; an enormous golden palm, curled into a fist, materialized in air above them pulsating with energy. She seemed to ignore it, even smiling pleasantly when others made eye contact.

He found that she was someone who lived outside of the walls and customs of the orcs in the hopes of converting wayward orcs back onto The Path, The Faoryuun. Monks had tough jobs, and they were mostly all incredibly skilled warriors. Anyone who dared to walk into plague-country alone had to be more than competent. Her name was Luenne, and it seemed she was well respected. They had asked her to accompany them not only to receive her protection, but her knowledge of the outside world was far greater than many of their kind.

There came more tense moments in the room, some where even Adriel moved forward his hands on his swords. Yet no violence came to pass. Eventually, a charter was signed, and the orcs would now officially had a place in the world alongside humans and elves--though they refused to take down their massive wall as the elves would have preferred. When the conference was all said and done, Adriel approached Luenne. His mind still clouded from his most recent assignment, he thought that studying underneath Luenne might give him some of her poise… plus, he was entranced with her power. The elves did not look at magic the same way he did. He saw it as a tool, and a weapon. Perhaps Luenne saw something in Adriel which he did not, or maybe she just liked the idea of an elven apprentice, whatever the reason Adriel would be with her for nearly thirty years.

In thirty years, he learned patience, he learned how to fight, and he learned control. In thirty years, Luenne did not teach Adriel a thing that she knew. However, she helped hone him, turned him from soft clay into something which resembled an Adriel of "true" potential. Yet, she also helped him unlock his most sacred art: Magic is different with everyone who uses it, and to Adriel, it came in the form of a jolting, living light that he came to manipulate between his fingers.

His task from his master had been one of repetition. Do one action, one hundred different times, with one hundred different variances. This went for every action. If he moved a cup, it had to be repeated, if he brushed his teeth, repeated, if he swung a sword, repeated. Every time he repeated an action, he learned a new way of doing things. He learned a perfect movement which could not be easily tracked, and allowed for a “clutch” reaction where he could pull back from an action if he felt he made a wrong move. While practicing this style of fighting Adriel trained hard, eventually stepping up from 100 punches done 100 different ways, to 10000. It was the first day he completed this task, high above a mountain, when he felt his exhaustion kick in. No longer able to move, Adriel was about to collapse when he felt a new sensation. It was being struck, literally, by lightning. Thankfully he survived and learned his new magic trick from it.

All throughout his training, a small orc was by his side doing the same routine. At first, Adriel assumed the small thing was her child, only after being corrected did he learn it would be his sibling--a fellow student. It would take Adriel years to even address the quiet boy, who would grow up before his eyes. While they never talked much, the elf did come to recognize him as a brother, as their master desired.

Sooner than he expected, Adriel left training to return home to the elves. With his head on straight, and with a new power and path, Adriel quickly gained ranks as an Infiltrator. As his rank increased, so did his knowledge of how to use his powers. Yet, there would be one major change: his orders increasingly began to send him into human territory. Once, a band of bandits had captured and enslaved elves, using them for God knows what. By the time Adriel arrived, most of them had starved in their cages. Others were forced to fight one another to death for the amusement of the camp. Instead of thinking with the grace and poise of his master and young orc brother, Adriel went in like a savage, too quick to be stopped. Utilizing lightning, Adriel could strip their armor. The men were shredded, melted, and disintegrated by the time the elf was finished. He had seen much, but this had moved him off of his path of inner peace, and hatred was the only thing that remained. Adriel had found himself unable to feel empathy for any race that could breed creatures so cruel. No other beast in the forest would do this, and certainly no elf or orc. In that instant, his feelings for humans shifted drastically, and he requested to only go on missions which involved human targets. If possible he’d stop the spread of their kind, and hopefully take out the rest of his rage on them.

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Decades later, long after his reputation swelled to its peak, the disease grew dire, and Adriel was called again to stand in during a delegation between elves and orcs. Luenne was not present this time; it did not stop him from looking for her. A little dismayed by the turnout of the orcs, he kept his eyes to the ground, and passed time by listening to the discussion. Typical of elves, they sought to propose a solution, an alliance of some sort.

To his surprise, there was a name he recognized. One named Higoht Ezengbo, apparently, had gained some newfound importance in the world in one of the more unfortunate ways. Well, Adriel thought, it was better than being dead. The elf scanned the colorful faces to see if he could recognize the little boy...

... There was not a single child in the room. Higoht, his serass, had been directly across from him all along, gritting his teeth quietly. The orc was... bigger than Adriel, now. Watching him, Adriel saw past the orc's stoic disposition, and sneered with annoyance when he suspected Higoht's mind was lollygagging elsewhere, when he noticed the orc's eyes close when they shuddered. That perfect student of Luenne, that serious little boy, was disgracing the entire room by letting something as pitiful as emotion stand in his way. Shortly afterwards, Adriel approached him and hissed in his ear.

"You're better than this," he said.

He attended the gala that his people hosted to help Higoht choose the "second" or whatever, of course, as elves weren't so much invited as they were expected to know when to show up. He kept to himself, exchanging small words with his kinsmen, and left early to get some rest. He wasn't certain how to react when the serass pointed to him as a Second the following day, but nonetheless found himself nodding silently, realizing this was correct. This was his new obligation to the world.

It would take two weeks to acquire a selection of Styx snakes. The orcs had not acquired one in advance for two reasons; the first, they’re an uncommon species even amongst the thick wilderness of the Orc homelands. Even if one was found they’re extremely temperamental creatures, prone to aggression and they’re known to strike under the slightest sign of duress. The second reason is that Styx snakes are known to die in transport. They exist in such a small region for a reason, any major shift in temperature, or perhaps the feeling of being caged, can quickly kill a Styx snake. However, the Orcs had put plenty of manpower on this mission, their soldiers were sent out to scour the wilderness. Their enclosure was quite large, and magically enchanted to stay humid and warm. It was an ideal enclosure for such a simple creature. The snakes were plied with drugs to keep them docile during transport, and in only a matter of weeks the Elven forest of Ryelorn had seen its first ever Styx snakes.

Given the nature of the species, great care was made to ensure there would be no escaping. If a creature such as this got out, and could manage to thrive in the elven wilderness it would wreak havoc on the local wildlife. So, under lock and key, and a procession of guards a very large enclosure was brought to the elven capital, and put into a stone basement. Nerves were high that day. Adriel’s own father urged him to reconsider this experimental method. Yet, Adriel felt gifted for being chosen. If the elves were to have him as a second in command over this unit, he’d need to show courage. Before sunrise, that morning, Adriel made his way to the secure facility, and moved through the two locked doors.

An orc unlocked a door on the enclosure, it was a simple mechanism. When opened the cage released a small amount of smoke. Adriel believed this to be the drug which had pacified the creature. Rolling up his sleeve, the elf could feel his heart beat in his chest. His instincts urged him to reconsider this, even they knew what kind of hell this snake was known to inflict. Perhaps by will, or simply his dedication to the force, the elf inched his arm inside the cage. There was nothing. Stillness for a moment, as his arm groped into the darkness.
Without warning, a creature struck. Two, actually.

This pain was a creeping pain, with only enough time for Adriel to recoil his arm before it hit. The point of impact had been on his wrist, and the poison traveled quickly through his veins. Fire. Pure and simple climbed through his arm and into his chest. The feeling was excruciating. Like lightning scorching the skin from the inside. His mouth began to foam, his eyes began to darken, and his body writhed, and contorted in the most macabre of ways. An elf behind him quickly began to administer some healing magic, it was meant to dull the pain, but by now it did nothing. There is a legend which says that the bite of a Styx snake sends the victim into their own private hell, and there might be some truth to this. Each second felt like an eternity, as the chief doctor took the antidote off of the table, and forced it into the wound, and down the throat of Adriel.

Even with it in his system, the antidote seemed useless. The venom had wrapped itself around Adriel’s heart, and began to make it flutter. His lungs too seemed to breathe in only space. An emptiness which contained no air, and only futility. His hands dug into the earth, and bolts of lightning scattered from his form.
Then, silence.

The air seemed to go silent with the pain. Adriel hadn’t noticed but he had been screaming while he thrashed. His body had been under too much turmoil to register the screams. The violent bolts of lightning which had leapt from his body had torn the place apart. One guard was downed his armor blackened, the walls were scorched, and cut, and the floor was cracked like a spider’s web. But, at last, after an eternity in pain Adriel rose. He wiped his mouth and eyes to find blood. The elf wouldn’t be surprised if every orifice in his body had bled. But it was over. It was finally Gods-damned over.

It was late in the afternoon when Adriel was allowed visitors. His father had been first, bringing fresh baked fijon fruit bread, and teas. It was a relaxing meal, although it could have used a bit of meat. However, his new comrade Higoht had come second. His eyes showed more compassion that Adriel would have expected, after all the orc had been through the process himself as a child, and would soon be witnessing many new recruits endure the same training. Higoht, however, had brought a better gift than Falon, he brought Adriel his weapons, and the elf knew it was time to get going. There was no rest for such an important journey lie before them. The two would leave shortly they’d be visiting the human capital of Autumour. The journey itself was a long distance away, and one of the pair of them didn’t ride a horse. So time was precious.



[F L A G S]

So begins...

Adriel Nisaan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan

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#, as written by Gray
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Turmoil rolled across these lands like an upset stomach. Monarchs shivered in their gallant thrones, cowing from the problems they faced and silently praying the Pestilence would not seep through their gilded walls. When they weren't panicking and banging at the castle doors, their people were obtrusively oblivious. The Pestilence itself was as vicious as ever, killing and devouring like a mad dog. But that would not be an issue today. Today was special, for today would be a momentous occasion: wherein the Serpent's Gathering would be formed, forever solidifying the alliance between elves and orckind; wherein they would have the first great leap towards combating the plague.

Yet to Adriel Nisaan, it was a shit day. To Adriel Nisaan, the crowded city streets of Autumour left much to be desired. Too many humans, too many mercenaries clad in armor, reeking of desperation. The Serpent's Gathering had come to this nature-forsaken place as a meeting point, and as an aside, his companion suggested they try again to seek an official human alliance to the cause. They were not only denied official entry, but they were derisively escorted out of the westward Autumour castle's premises by Silver Knights who laughed them off. "The gall," cooed one Silver Knights to the other before muttering some racist slur. It prickled Adriel's nerves like the jolts of lightning that ran through his veins. The whole day had gone poorly, and Adriel hated it. It felt like he was the only elf in Tegea, surrounded by a sea of disgusting and dirty people. The townsfolk here had it “better” than most other humans, their streets were “cleaner” than most than most other humans. But all around him, the elf’s eyes saw nothing but dirty, impoverished, and pathetic beings.

It might not have seemed nearly as bad to him if the large man standing to his left, an orc who Adriel had known for far too long, didn’t seem so chipper about the ordeal. Higoht Ezengbo was his name, and to Higoht, it was a very nice day. Most might have expected something more poetic from the so-called champion, but Higoht was feeling perfectly peachy almost from the weather alone. And Autumour was beautiful; he found colors not only in the falling leaves, but in the sheer variety of people they passed, and in those gaping faces awed by his height. Yes, he loved these random citizens. When they first arrived, he had tried to stop and talk to children brave enough to approach him until Adriel dragged him to his senses.

"You were too damn friendly back there," the infiltrator groaned in his general direction. It seemed only to rustle further ire when Higoht only chortled in response. "In front of the castle, I meant. And you were too damn friendly, taking a gander at the half-baked mercenaries who’d come by to show what they were capable of. If it weren't for me, half this disgusting city would be a member of the Serpents Gathering!"

"I suppose that bothers you." Conceded Higoht, before briskly continuing when he saw Adriel's dark expression. "Thank you for your efforts, Adriel. Very good. You must be tired, here, let's have a seat." There was a plethora of crates laying about, abandoned under the meeting point, under the the ebony bridge. It was where lovers met, from what the orc had heard. One of the small wooden constructions creaked under his weight, but Higoht paid it no mind. He knew from how little it bent that it would hold his weight.

“I have a feeling that you and I, Serass, are going to be the only two people good enough to join,” Adriel resumed, paying Higoht no heed. A hearty stretch and a yawn accompanied a quick twitch of his neck. He hated it so much here that he was bored. At least that in itself was interesting; Adriel couldn’t remember how many years it had been since he was last bored.

"But Adriel," Higoht chided rather seriously. "I can't join my own party. That's not how it works at all."

The elf glared at him a little, but deigned it best not to respond to such foolishness. “...Look. You can go stay here, but I am going to go look through the local brigand dens. There’s probably a few redeemable elves in there that would join our cause.”

"So impatient." Higoht said under his breath, not remotely in a quiet way, "That's why I'm still master's favorite." He blinked up at his Second innocently as he lifted an armored leg to rest atop his crate. "Just remember we have agents doing this job for you."

"And not one has been assigned to Autmour." Adriel replied curtly. Then, taking a deep breath, Adriel stalked off. He couldn’t believe he was resorting to this; brigand dens were never located in the “good” parts of town. They were always more desperate than humans areas normally were, full of thieves and assassins. As an infiltrator, Adriel had used more than a few brigands in the Market District to launch hits in the very city. But he had always hated talking to them, and used them only when necessary. If he was seriously considering going there for fun, then this whole recruition plan might not be going as well as either of them had hoped.

Thus far, they only had one new member, and that in itself was getting on his nerves. She was forced into their midst like a single, dirty sock by the Bydan Queen, and she was so thin that Adriel was certain she wouldn’t last the winter, let alone a jog through the Pestilence. She wasn’t here now, thank the Gods--with that mouth of hers, they had argued for hours, despite the orc trying his best to maintain peace. Adriel had sent her to search for recruits earlier this morning, and initial complaints aside, the quiet that came with her absence had been a blessing. The elf moved through the city quickly; his life dedicated to the purpose of quick walking and silent stepping had made few notice his movements. In a blur of speed and wind, Adriel found himself in the Market District.

Even though he hadn’t noticed any street signs, the elf knew he was in the right place. The air here clung to his clothing, and everything seemed to carry a layer of dirt on it. The smells were ghastly. Rotting food, rodent-chasing cats, and the occasional slumped body were common sights on the crumbling streets of the Market District.

Where there was darkness, there was a speck of light. He entered the first dingy and discreet looking building he found, and inside was a hall of festivities. Dancing barmaids, loud music, and enough beer to swim in could be found in plenty at the tavern, and it wasn’t even noon. Normally this was Adriel’s kind of place, but as it turned out, while alcohol might build liquid courage, those he approached must not have drank much. Most elves he'd found turned down the offer without difficulty. Others realized he was serious, and then immediately went back to drinking. He should have realized sooner that the people living in Autumour, of all places, would never face the Pestilence. It was too far away, their walls were thick, and there were too many damn Silver Knights--a few on their day off had tried to pick a fight with him. Even the hardiest of men here seemed reluctant to even speak of the horrors that occurred in the outer territories, and had no interest in leaving their fair home. Of course, none of this caused him to reevaluate his opinion on the human population as a whole. So many people, all choosing not to fight a disease that affected mostly their kind. Scum, all of them. Eventually, Adriel left the district, picking at his clothes that now smelled like beer and filth. He rejoined his ally on the stoop of boxes, refusing to acknowledge Higoht's desire to say something about it. “I certainly hope the woman’s found something. Otherwise it’s going to be just you and I. How do you feel about being heroes, serass?”


The orc raised a hand calmly, again quelling the urge to say something about Adriel's new choice in perfume: "Adriel, we wait here until sundown. Have faith in your agents... and in mine." As if on cue, the orc made eye contact with a passing warrior who had slowed his pace and looked around. "Good afternoon," Higoht began amicably as more people seemed to gather under the ebony bridge.

They were starting to file in now, like mice to cheese. There were short ones and big ones, humans and nonhumans alike. It seemed as though the agents had indeed done their jobs providing a wealth of newcomers. Good for them; Adriel had to admit he was impressed. Realizing that he had a role to play and a reputation to uphold, Adriel arose from his dingy box, his hands flicking a current through his hair to ensure it was out of his face. Higoht stood up next to him, rather dwarfing him, but Adriel paid him no heed. They had agreed previously that Higoht would be keeping his mouth shut for the time being. Adriel gazed out at the forming group, his features increasingly still. His posture was rigid, beaten into him by the Infiltrators, displaying poise, grace, and left little to the imagination.

“Greetings, everyone." Said the elf, at a solid enough volume for all to hear. "Hurry up, file in. You’re all a varied bunch if I’ve ever seen one. This is the Ser... This is Higoht Ezengbo, hero of Kyoshel, the First with immunity to the Pestilence, as well as your leader. You can talk to him when you come back. I’m sure he will be happy to greet those of you who live through the ordeal.” Toward the back, he noticed a familiar blonde return and mingle within the crowd. She had no one with her, the wench couldn’t even find a single being to join the cause. From how she nonchalantly hung her head and pulled off chunks of her nails, he suspected she didn't even try. Apparently she was about as useless as most of her kind, which was exactly as much faith as he had invested in her. “My name is Adriel Nisaan. I’m an infiltrator for Rielorn," he paused, and said rather scathingly, "some of you might not know what that is... But I was also once a cavalier in the elven military. I will be administering the first and only test to gain entry into the Serpent's Gathering.” His gaze fell upon the equipment most carried. It was an old infiltrator trick, to look at the gear of a soldier who stood before you, and then towards their faces. Some of it was passable, others great, and some of the equipment was downright garbage. Some didn't even wear armor!

"Now you know who we are," Higoht said, ever the opportunist, "Why don't we introduce ourselves? I recognize a few faces here--"

“--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.'” Honestly, the elf had rarely led before; most of what he was said then was verbatim from the opening ceremonies of the infiltrators. From behind his shoulder, Higoht pursed his lips in a way that said He won't actually stop you from introducing yourself, you should do it anyway if you feel like it.

Finally, Adriel studied their faces. It was hard not to let out a visible sneer at the sheer number of humans in their midst. So, he let it out freely: Adriel’s nose curled so much the man in the moon would be jealous. “Every group has a training day on their first day. I’m glad to see most of you at least came prepared. We’ll be going to Rogland Quarry, a human quarry not far from here. The outgoing Silver Knights take far too long to get ready, and we’re the only group that can make it in time to do what must be done, save for a guild. Needless to say, I’ve got something special planned for you all.”

In the elf’s mind, more than a few of these people would be dead. This test was no small feat, and he still was uncertain how it was allowed to escape the elven territories. Now there had been reports of small earthquakes near the quarry. “Once I am sure there’s no stragglers, we’ll depart.” He silently, and rather pridefully congratulated himself at the end of his speech for not being too racist--otherwise the Serass would have scolded him in front of everybody. While there weren’t too many elves in the party, Adriel was glad to see a few faces belonging to kinsmen. He also noticed a few orcs in the group too. It seemed to be a solid team composition if nothing else.





The {Atlas} has been updated.
Adriel gained 2 approval from Higoht.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Tane Solberg

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Tane Solberg


The sun sat in its morning perch, gazing down at the dirt road and the man who traveled along it this day. A tall man, and wide, known to many as Tane, and a few as Solberg. He'd been walking for days on end, in a full suit of armor, but today would end that. By noon today, he should arrive in Autumour, where a group known only as Serpent's Gathering would be meeting. Tane, only to glad, had been invited to join said group and happily accepted. He fully intended on doing as much good as there was to be done, and with the Pestilence ravaging the country, there was quite a bit to be done. His only real regret was his weight. The sad truth of the matter was that a 330 pound man could not sit on the back of a horse without breaking it. So he walked, as he had for many days now.

The heavy clattering of those armored footsteps made his presence known to all on the road. Such was the delight of a trio of bandits sitting within the dence brush on the roadside, with knives in hand and greed in their blackened hearts. The leader of said trio, one Arnaldo Haroon, sat just around the bend, waiting for his chance. They spoke in whispers of their next victim and speculated.
"With all 'dat armor, 'ayhaps it be a Silver Knight?" asked their hitman, Martin Ingolf, as he played with a heavy wooden cudgel in his hands. Not the most clever man, or the prettiest. His nose was broken in more places than you can count on both hands.
"Not likely. Silver Knights rarely ever traveled alone and even at that it's usually on horseback." said the second, more reasonable member of their troope Govad Jackie. At a glance you could hardly even tell he was a bandit. Worse, he looked like a lawyer.
"Just a passing mercenary 'eh?"
"Probably. Autumour is crawling with sellswords."
"No one 'ill miss just one then?"
"I doubt they would."
"'Ehn I don't see no 'arm in it. Let's get 'em!"

"Quiet you idiots!" scolded Arnaldo, finally speaking. "He's going to hear us! If you screw this up for us again I'll cut off your-" he cut off mid sentence as he saw the other staring at something behind him, eyes wide in fear, mouths agape.
"Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear your conversation." came the deep melodic voice of the steel clad giant standing behind the bandit, in one hand this giant held a shield taller than most men, the other carried a flail as heavy as a newborn calf. "I do believe you intended to rob me, correct?"
The bandits reaction was fast, much to fast for Tane to keep up with, not that he needed to. In a flash the bandit swung around with knife in hand, only for the cheap knife to shatter on Tane's uplifted shield. Arnaldo's face went pale as the broken knife hilt fell out of his shaking hand and rolled onto the ground.
"I'll take that as a "Yes"." as Tane stepped into the circle of men, the other two dropped their weapons and backed away, their faces as pale as their leader's. "Now here's how this is going to work..."





"And that's how it happened officer."
"Bullshit. That can't be true." barked the city guard, taking the heavy rope from Tane's hand, a mix of disbelief and confusion distorting his face. Attatched to said rope were the wrists of three bandits, one with a re-broken nose, the other a black eye, and the last missing half his teeth. Despite this, the three bandits had both hands clasped together and were praying, vigorously and avoid eye contact with everyone, including eachother.
Tane merely shrugged, a motion akin to the relocation of two mountains. He was fortunate to have found a guard just outside the city to take the bandits off his hands, he would run late if he had to take the bandits all the way to the city's jail himself.

"There's no way you fended..." The guard gave Tane another good look, taking into account the nearly 6 feet of armor, the massive shield, and the gargantuan flail on his hip, gulped as Tane's grin only widened, and resumed speaking.
"T-There's no way AFTER fending off three bandits you managed to convince not one, but all THREE to a life of piety."
Tane simply pointed with a finger the size of a bratwurst towards the three praying bandits, whose chanting immediately became much more fervent, nearly frenzied, in their very open display of newfound piety.
"In fairness, they weren't very good bandits, likely the worst I've ever met, but I've already ensured they regret their sins, so please ensure they pay for them, won't you my good man?"
"W-Well yeah I guess..." came the guards nervous reply. This... giant walking piece of steel, he refused to think of the thing in front of him as human, was really starting to freak him out.
"Excellent! I shall be on my way then! A good day to you good sir." said Tane, the grin on his lips splitting his face as he started making his way into the city, humming a happy tune which could barely be heard over the cacophony that was his every step.

Their place of meeting was under the Ebony bridge, and Tane was among one of the first to arrive. There hadn't really been an exact meeting time, so there had been a mild amount of fear that he would be late. Soon after him, many others began filing into their meeting place, of all races and walks of life. The majority of them were rather average human men, so Tane sort of... stood out? Like a tree in a field of short grass. He was eager to begin, this Serpent's Gathering as it was called, was this world's best hope of beating back the Pestilence. Though, the elf who was giving this rather... "un-encouraging" speech spoke first of a training day, something special planned. Well, Tane had expected some form of test so this wasn't all too surprising. Either way, if this was the first step to saving the world, so be it. Tane was prepared for whatever came at him. So long as it did so from the front anyway.



(Everyone has gained 100 approval from Tane. Remember, Tane loves you all!)

(Im only kind of joking.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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The day...well it was like any other, but Illeren took any opportunity he could to appreciate the fact that he was alive. He strode through the streets of Automour with a smile on his face that was somewhere between arrogant and genuine happiness. He just had those expression where it just didn’t seem to be any one feeling or emotion. His elven armor clacked ever so slightly with every step he took as he slid past the rather populated area of the housing district with a subtle air of experience, his red cape flowing with the ebb of the crowd. His gold eyes slid over everyone that happened to pass him with a highly detailed inspection of their person. Were they carrying anything of value? No? Moving on then! Despite his status as an elf, he was more comfortable navigating the cramped streets of Automour than he was talking to trees...or some other shit that a human would accuse him of doing. A couple even now were looking at him and sneering, and he flashed them his toothiest grin he could muster. He was used to the reactions long before this point in time, they no longer bothered him in the slightest.

He paused a moment, running one of his hands through his white hair as he spun around looking for a direction. Where the hell was he going? What was he currently trying to accomplish? Where had this apple come from? Illeren held up an apple, looked it over and shrugged as he took a large bite out of it. He chewed thoughtfully as he attempted to retrace his steps. First, he had caught a couple of bandits for a merchant paying a tidy sum...granted they would need help eating for the rest of their lives since Illeren had been forced to cut off their hands. Then he wandered for awhile, ended up in a tavern, ended up thrown outside a tavern, ended up inside a different tavern. There he had heard rumors abo-

That was it! He remembered why he came to this city in the first place! A gathering of people and warriors from all makes of life preparing to fight the pestilence and what ever came with it. How could he forget that? Maybe it was due to the local guard wanting to hang him for thievery in that small town of Lurendale. Maybe it was that fucking pack of wolves which had come out of nowhere on his way here. Maybe it was because his brain worked to fast to keep up...with his...thoughts? Ok, that didn’t make sense but regardless, he knew where he was going now...sorta. He wasn’t too familiar with Automour, only having come here a few times during his life. He took another of bites from the apple, and tossed the remainder into a beggar’s lap as he walked away. He glanced back at the man, who scrambled for the piece of fruit and happily shoved it into his mouth. As he watched the man eat it, he could only regret his current action.

Now he really wanted that apple back…




Illeren stumbled around the city for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a handful of minutes. The dirty and grungy air of the housing district had been replaced by the dirty and grungy air of the market district, slightly less crowded and yet filled with more pestilence and disease...mostly spreading from the merchant’s mouths. Yet despite that, he still appeared to be essentially lost. Where were they meeting again? It was...under a bridge? Started with an E right? Eternity bridge? Eclipse bridge? Erotic bridge? Oh please let it be the last one. Illeren grabbed a random passer by as his thoughts raced. “Oi, mate...could ya tell me where Erotic bridge is?” The man looked at him as if he had sprouted a third eye.

“Erotic br-Get the fuck off me tree humper!” The man shoved Illeren back, walking away briskly while Illeren flipped him off with both hands.

“Pot callin’ the Kettle black ya fookin pig soiler!” Illeren yelled back as he looked around some more, seeing that a couple eyes had been drawn to him, but he didn’t pay them much mind. As he looked through the crowd, he spotted something that didn’t seem to quite fit the mold of the market...which is to say the man or elf looked fairly well groomed and armored. As he looked closer, he spotted the ears of his own kind and watched as he entered a shady looking establishment. Illeren wandered closer, looking into a window as casually as he could...which is to say he pressed his face up to the glass much like a kid at a candy store. The elf seemed to be talking to different people within the building, mercenaries by the looks of it. Could this be part of the group he had been trying to find? He was too well equipped to be a simple sellsword...like Illeren could say much, as he looked down at his relatively ornate elven armor and high quality sword. Still, he didn’t feel like engaging with another elf if he didn’t have to, and chose to simply follow the elf from a distance.

He waited around, kicking rocks, kicking people, kicking buildings until it seemed like the elf was heading out of the market district. tailing powers activate! Illeren thought to himself as he put both hands behind his head, leaned back and whistled as he started following after the man. If he noticed, he didn’t seem to care as he lead him on a merry journey through the rest of Automour to a bridge. Could it be the bridge? Illeren paused long enough to look around the place until he found a sign. ‘Ebony Bridge’.

“It was fookin Ebony! Not Erotic! Did you see that? What a fookin blund’r for me to make, equatin’ such a fine lookin piece of mortar and pestle to a 'ookers cock trap!” Illeren nearly yelled, looking over at yet another random person simply passing him by. The man looked at with the same expression as the first, and continued walking. ’uh...second time today someone’s givin me that look...maybe they’re just amazed at ‘ow good I look! With that thought in his head giving him some very false confidence, he brushed himself down and licked his tongue to pull his hair back slightly. Without further delay, he made his way down the stairs to the bridge.




It wasn’t long before others for the group seemed to start flowing in. Illeren hadn’t been paying too much attention to them, instead his focus was on his fingers...or more specifically the dirt under one of his fingernails that he couldn’t seem to get out and had unofficially declared war on as he picked and clawed at it with maybe a bit too much fervor. It wasn’t until the elf that he had tailed here spoke that he gave a bit of jump, pulled out of his little battle with self maintenance. He shook his head slightly, giving himself a couple light slaps on the cheek to prep himself to pay attention. He need this information, it was a job...a job that was supposed to pay remarkably well. Also help people...which was good and all, but gold would help people too...People named Illeren.

Ileren’s eyes drifted to the orc first, seeing as he was taking the backseat to an elf. Not something he would have associated with the much more warrior like people, but there it was. He seemed a respectable sort, even if his hair seemed to be matted down slightly. His armor and weapon were above the standard grade of any mercenary or sell sword that Illeren had come across, aside from the very rare exception. That lead him to believe that he wasn’t one...in fact Illeren’s information on this gathering was limited at best. He had heard about it from a friend of a friend of a barmaid of a wench of a guard of a warlord of a mercenary. Maybe he had been wrong about this...maybe this wasn’t what he initially thought about it. As he looked around, seeing the very mixed group of people though, his fears dissipated. There would no way in hell be this many people if there wasn’t something large on the line. Regardless, returning his thoughts back to the orc, he seemed relatively laid back and relaxed. Good, if he HAD to take orders from someone, he was hoping it was someone who didn’t have a stick up their ass.

The elf on the other hand, must have had two sticks and rammed them both up his rectum. Everything about him screamed ‘Homeland’ to Illeren, which made him instantly dislike the elf. Granted, he typically didn’t like his own kind anyways, but this guy was a walking stereotype.

“Greetings, everyone. "Hurry up, file in. You’re all a varied bunch if I’ve ever seen one. This is the Ser... This is Higoht Ezengbo, hero of Kyoshel, the First with immunity to the Pestilence, as well as your leader. You can talk to him when you come back. I’m sure he will be happy to greet those of you who live through the ordeal.”

You even talk like a pompous arse. You...pompous arse. Illeren thought as he crossed his arms.

“My name is Adriel Nisaan. I’m an infiltrator for Rielorn. Some of you might not know what that is... But I was also once a cavalier in the elven military. I will be administering the first and only test to gain entry into the Serpent's Gathering.”

Oooooooh, a cavalier and a infiltrator. Were you a magician too? Can you pull a bunny from a 'at, or one of those sticks out of your arse...cant Illeren thought once more as he rolled his eyes and did his best to pay attention. The orc tried to talk, but was rudely interrupted by Adriel.

“--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.'”

Your 'air is stupid...why is it stupid? I 'ave something for this...'old on. Illeren continued internally mocking the elf as he took a pear and chomped a bite out of it.

“Every group has a training day on their first day. I’m glad to see most of you at least came prepared. We’ll be going to Rogland Quarry, a human quarry not far from here. The outgoing Silver Knights take far too long to get ready, and we’re the only group that can make it in time to do what must be done, save for a guild. Needless to say, I’ve got something special planned for you all.”

WHERE THE FOOK DID I GET THIS PEAR?!

“Once I am sure there’s no stragglers, we’ll depart.”

I 'ave something for this...I 'ave something fo-That’s it!

“A COCK! 'is ‘air looks like a cock!” Illeren yelled, happy to finally put two and two together as he looked around and saw many eyes on him, looking at him as if he had grown a third eye. Ok...it was definitely not the handsome factor that he had been hoping for.

“I mean...a cock...er...spaniel? Cockeral? Cockles?” Illeren coughed slightly, then seemed to puff out his chest. “Nay, I’m fooking owning this. ‘is ‘air looks like a fookin rooster.” Illeren looked around, defying everyone’s eyes much like a kid who believes he’s right even when he’s wrong. There was a bit of an awkward silence afterwards, and Illeren gave another cough.

“On a more serious note, lookin forward tah workin with all ya!”

(Illeren gained 5 approval from random fruits)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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Kir
For Kir, it had been quite the march from wherever he was to wherever he was going. Days’ worth of walking on sand on stone and on grass all so these people could take him and a few others to some recruiters. While he wasn’t very much interested in the destination, there was still the fear of what this group of armed people would be doing and how they’d be treating him. The escorts did a decent job easing his fears by not treating him too horribly. They weren’t exactly nice and welcoming, but they didn’t hit him or yell or chained up. And, very importantly, they never made him take off his headdress for them, left him alone while he ate, and made sure none of the other recruits bothered him. Their orders were simple, their tone wasn’t too harsh, and their fists were never used; they might as well of been saints in his eyes, sad as that may be.

When they approached Autumour, you could have told Kir that he had entered the realm of some magnificent deity and he would have believed you and held no doubts about it. He was used to wooden and clay houses barely big enough to fit a family or temporary huts that needed to be set up and dismantled on a daily basis. Even after he was captured he had only seen a modest bit of stonework at the small town his escorts had found him at, and they had not traveled to or even near anything much larger this entire time. They took Kir from small stone buildings to massive walls and clock towers with no transition to make him any less maddeningly gobsmacked by the sight in the distance. And it only grew worse the closer they got; he could mutter to himself some rationalization for what he was looking at that tried to convince him that it just looked bigger than it was. He gave up long before they reached the gate and were let in.

Once they were let in, the awe subsided somewhat. Part of it was that the amazement fades a bit over time, but mostly it was because he came to realize that there were people everywhere packed into all these big buildings. More importantly, there were lots of people crammed into the streets that he now had to walk through. As much as the city was filled with all the human weirdos that three kingdoms had to offer, he was still convinced that someone like him covered in scars and bruises with barely a shirt on and with his face covered being escorted through town would draw a bit of attention. Not to mention some of his diverse group of future recruits weren’t as cooperative and needed to be dragged by chains, though why they were all still given weapons he didn’t understand. His own bow rested in its quiver at his hip, rhythmically tapping against him as he walked and his arrows did the same at his left shoulder. Regardless of his own personal armament, Kir wasn’t very good with gawkers, especially if they were within touching distance.

”Move aside!” One of his escorts, a big brute of a man with more hair on his upper lip than on his head waved his hand in an attempt to create a wide berth. Few people seemed in the mood to disagree with someone like him giving them orders, and a gap in the street was formed.

It wasn’t for Kir’s comfort or state of mind, it was to keep his chained traveling companions from being within reach of some random civilian who probably wouldn’t appreciate being turned into a hostage or a victim. Not that that didn’t stop Kir from greatly appreciating it, turning the big brutish man whose name he didn’t know into one of his favorite people.

All that said and accomplished, Kir would probably not get to experience anything remotely close to comfort for quite some time. Sure, people couldn’t reach out and touch him (as if they would outside of his fearful fantasies), but they could still look, and their gazes made every mark on his body itch. He kept his eyes down though, not even able to see anything at skull-height or any real distance to the side with his headdress on, so once again the fiction of other people was all that was needed for him to react. Ebony Bridge was apparently where they were going, but until then it was all left foot right foot from there, with the occasional stop so Mr. Brute could order more people out of the way. The amazing buildings and people and merchandise and clock tower that had stunned Kir from a distance now went completely unseen. The streets and other people’s boots looked decent enough though.

When they arrived there was, unfortunately, a bit of a crowd had already gathered and no amount of shouting from Mr. Brute was going to disperse them. In fact, he turned traitor and marched them right into the crowd and pretty much placed them amongst the others. Kir wound up next to an elf with white hair who was too busy playing with his fingers to notice what was going on around him. And then the two in front, another elf and a big green man that was apparently an orc, started speaking or, at least, the elf started speaking and the orc was told not to speak repeatedly. Kir kept his eyes down, examining lots of boots (and a few shoes), so he didn’t catch everything that was being said at the moment. He completely stopped trying after a point since he didn’t really understand what was being said: infiltrator, pestilence, and Silver Knights might as well of been foreign words to him. His ears did perk up when something comprehensible was said about training and a quarry, though what they’d be doing for training at the quarry he didn’t really know, which made him try to pay more attention. That was a mistake.

Without warning, the elf next to him just suddenly shouted. The sheer anxiety and fear Kir experienced in that moment meant that he would never know what was actually said, his heart pounding in his chest and his scattered thoughts were too loud. He practically jumped at the noise and instinctively raised his arms slightly to protect his body from a blow he had learned to expect. It didn’t come, but he did finally look straight at the white haired elf (admittedly with shaky eyes) to see him continue going on about whatever it was.

Kir was really starting to miss his prison cell.

(Kir slightly disapproves of Illeren shouting: -5 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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The world was much vaster than she had ever imagined. Within the confines of Kyoshel's great wall, it had appeared small and familiar and mostly shielded from whatever lied outside, impregnable to all violations. The further they travelled, the less she felt she understood. In fact, she wasn't sure if she had truly known anything at all. What existed outside of Kyoshel? Mean monsters, toothed and gnarled with ill-intentions. Hunched and glowering from all sides of the neighbouring kingdoms, and here she was, trudging towards their main encampment. A city solely belonging to humans. One that supposedly harboured the vilest of creatures, predisposed to spit in her face upon arrival because they believed her people to be the monsters. Something about misunderstanding the unknown and not being able to explain their culture properly. Strange, how it felt hypocritical.

Two days and nights were spent travelling on the busy main-roads. Gulfim relished nightfall. It was the only time she could wander away from her travelling companion, and escort, in order to investigate the strange foliage they had encountered without appearing foolish. There were soft, three-pronged leaves. Pinched between her fingers. There were flower flutes of varying colours; tall, velvety, and pretty. And sweet-smelling needles that she had swiftly bundled up and stuffed into her satchel. Beyond plants, there were insects she had never encountered before. Crooked stick-like things that made clicking noises whenever she turned her back. At times, the newness became dizzying. These events, small as they were, would not have occurred had it not been for a single, seemingly insignificant letter written to her. Sent by the Serpent's Gathering—whatever that truly meant. On those nights, she would return to camp, gripping the crumpled letter against her armour-clad chest, further dazzled than when they'd begun their journey.

There was so much to see, and too little time.





On the third day, Autumour loomed closer and closer. The closer they came to entering the human city, the harder her heart trumpeted. Gulfim tried to inscribe an expression of nonchalance, tried to will her lips into a timid, unimpressed frown, while her stomach swilled and tossed and turned over with butterflies. Or bile. Bile-butterflies. She wasn't sure which it was, honestly. She smoothed her sweaty hands over the front of her thigh guards and swallowed around the tangle building at her throat. From what she could see, the buildings appeared as if they were all pressed together. An assortment of hedge-mazes, twisted together. Spires, more like. Touching the sky and threatening to crush her with its presence, with its very shadow.

“Just have a little faith. I've been there before.”

The fiery-haired Orc slapped a hand across her back and shot her a comforting, gap-toothed grin. A stark contrast to her full-set of well-maintained steels, leathers and plates, bound together by god-knows-what force of patience... her companion opted for comfortable clothes. Simple, old leathers held on by iron clasps, neatly accentuated with an enormous axe strapped to his bare, tattooed back. Tattoos might have appeared strange on an Orc, had the person viewing them known of their finicky culture, but he looked as if he didn't care. He was everything she was not. Loud, brazen, brave. She was nothing but a repressed roar and someone too big to fit in such a place. Had it not been for his guidance, Gulfim doubted she would have made it far outside of their home. She had agreed to undertake this journey because... she wasn't so sure.

“I'm not worried, I'm not worried at all,” she cleared her throat and sniffled, not quite indignantly. Because he was right. She feared her heartbeat would give her away, clattering against her ribs as it was, and completely ruin her carefully composed veneer of bravery. Like a sick thing she'd built from rickety sticks on their journey, it felt like it was already slipping away. Tumbling into the wake of her boots, leaving deep imprints that marked her as too heavy for these roads.

He sneered and knuckled his crooked nose, eyes twinkling in amusement, “If you say so, boss.”

“I do,” she thumped a fist to her chest and dropped it back to her side. Where should she put them, anyhow? Did it matter where they lied? Why could she not quiet her thoughts? She finally settled it against the pommel of her blade, swinging at her hip. It was a small comfort as they stomped up the wooden slats leading up to the opened gate. She hunched her shoulders and then set them as straight as she could manage. Straight chin, straight back. Not a bloody fool. The gate itself was not like Kyoshel's grand wall, but it was great all the same. What lied inside, particularly. Guarding each side the gate were two men bedecked in gleaming armour, leaning against the adjacent walls—and she might have commented on their impressive plates, if it weren't for the fact that she felt the strangling warmth of unease biting down her spine. Humans.

“Alright. Straight through then, business in the markets,” Nelfin's sing-song voice rumbled to no-one in particular, as he squinted his eyes at the careless, lazy guards. He bumped into Gulfim's shoulder to keep her from freezing in the middle of the bridge. Gawking like a wide-eyed child, half-paralysed with the sickening squelch of terror rumbling in her belly. Instead, she clenched ground her teeth together and plowed forward, behind Nelfin. Her head slowly bowed down, bright eyes focusing on the cobblestones and all of their cracks. Her spine prickled when a loud, cackling snort sounded behind her bunched shoulders.

“Lumbering ugly beasts, those. Seen too many of them lately,” said far too loud, in a leering tone that buried into their backs.

“Is that even a woman?” the other one snickered, breaking into wet, noisy laughter. She heard him slapping a hand to his knee. Metal clanging together. Mocking them. Mocking her. Their voices faded into the background of bustling humans, screaming about cockles and clams and the softest linens you've ever touched. She felt as if she were shrinking into herself, disappearing entirely, even if she currently towered over nearly everyone in this place. "Ugly gits."

“Pay no mind, boss,” Nelfin finally broke their silence, rolling his eyes skyward, “Wha' do they know. Milksops. Weak blighters. Arses.” He grinned again, and she imagined being able to fit one of these buildings in that gap-tooth of his. And she remained silent. What more could be said? There were no venomous words, only a shy, wibbling mouth that could not quite form words to describe how she felt. He stood like a beacon of light to her ramshackle shambles-of-a-ship, drifting into open waters. Filled with treacherous beasts. He led them through what appeared to be a market place, wading through people as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Gulfim followed closely behind and twitched away from errant elbows and arms. Careful to smother her anxieties by nearly stepping on Nelfin's heels, and grumbling apologies under her breath.

And while Gulfim still prickled about their most recent indignity, the city's splendour stole her attention away. Trees that reminded her of sunrises, spiralled up and over the streets. And there, in the heart of the city, lied an enormous clock tower. A solitary finger reaching towards the clouds. Kyoshel had no need for such fancies, such frivolous things. She quietly wished that they did. Merchants cried of their wares and snapped their fingers, clucking and calling at them as they passed, and while she still felt momentarily terrified that they would gnarl hidden-teeth at her, Gulfim ogled their wares, mesmerized. They ducked beneath ornate archways and dipped down twisted alleys. Nelfin occasionally rattled on about something but she was lost, lost in everything there was here. Her head swam.

“And 'ere we are, boss, and this is where we part,” Nelfin tousled a meaty paw through his hair and sucked at his teeth, shaking his head, “Ah, ah. Don't say a word. May we meet again.” He clapped a hand on her shoulder and swiftly turned her around, pushing her in the general direction of an accumulation of people. A gaggle, a group, an assortment of individuals that would terrify and mystify her. She barely managed to chortle out the same response. An old Orc send-off. She would see him again, she was sure of it. But, her tongue felt tangled in her throat and she only managed a soft squeak as he disappeared down the alley they'd come from. And then, she was alone. Not quite alone. She took another whittling breath and stepped towards the assembled group. Good, smooth, be steady. She strained her ears for instruction, while her hands absently tightened straps, smoothed down non-existent crinkles in her armour.

She listened, quietly. As much as she wanted to cross her arms over her chest she couldn't seem to do it. Her gazed lingered on Bo, because familiarity made her feel grounded, but it drifted towards Adriel, the elf-man with strange hair and an outward, undampened flare, who did most of the talking. His words felt grand. Grand like the city she'd wandered into, and while he did not seem to think highly of them, she felt something flutter. Skin-deep, heart-deep. A calling? Perhaps, perhaps not. Her lips tugged into an uncomfortable frown. If she could have somehow assembled her expression into something similar to the small, blond woman lingering at her left elbow, she would have. Unfortunately, she could not. She wished she'd worn her helmet. It remained tucked into her satchel. Her hand squirmed into it and touched the bundle of needles she'd previously collected, seeking comfort.

When another male-elf, snowy-haired and foul-mouthed, called out Adriel on his interesting choice of hairstyles, Gulfim's arm jerked out of her satchel and showered their feet with honey-scented needles. She nearly backed into a heavily armoured man, barely brushing steel plates, before recoiling back to where she'd been standing before, crushing the needles she'd dropped underfoot. She stood, ram-rod straight, with an odd discolouration of ruby blooming across her freckled cheeks. Stupid, stupid. She willed transparency. Invisibility. Hope they focused on the words cock and hair.

Lumbering beast.

(Gulfim slightly disapproves in herself: -10 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


Six came like an arrow. He didn’t remember falling asleep on his mat, but he remembered being woken up by his commanding officer who was yelling at him to prepare to go into the city to join the Gathering.

Seven was molasses. Slow, rigid movements of sleepy grooming. The bar of soap fell into the river a few times before he woke up enough to realize he needed to grip the damned thing in order for it to stop falling out of his hands.

Eight was an adrenaline rush. He was awake now. He memorized the map and paths to get to Autumour the night before. He was told if he went by foot, it would take an hour. Berlioz knew he could do it in half that time. He put one foot in front of the other, and like a geared-up locomotive from hell, he slowly began his famous charge.




Berlioz skidded to a halt when he came to the bridge, allowing his body to plop down on the ground from his poor attempt at breaking in order to settle his beating heart.

Fatigue played a part, but the real reason behind his cardiac tremors was the power trip he was trying to calm down from. When he got to the more crowded parts of Autumour, he believed he’d have to slow down in order to get through the horde of people crowded around the center of the market. But before he could open his mouth to shout an ‘Excuse me!’, people were tuned in to his oncoming presence like paranoid cats, and jumped out of his way. The path cleared for him as if he was some kind of monster to be avoided, filling Berlioz with ugly vanity. He felt guilty for loving that so much, loving how terrified people looked when his legs left behind a foreboding gust that could knock them back if they didn’t move far enough from his course. He never really ran like that outside of his recent training, and from how his ego swelled up, he made the decision to reserve his charge for battle to maintain his level-headedness.

"Right.”


Berlioz reassured himself as he got back on his feet, dusting off his spandex shorts and putting his legs in motion again. He joined the group of men and women standing in front of an elf preparing to deliver a speech, almost ready to listen until he felt a sudden weight on his left shoulder.

“Kirk!” The eagle named Kirikou chirped loudly into Berlioz’s ear, as if the human needed to be alerted to his presence, since his sharp talons digging into his shoulder wasn’t enough.

Berlioz took the sack that was hanging around Kiri’s body, eager to see what Karaba was going to surprise him with this time. As the elf continued speaking, Berlioz took special care in being as quiet as possible when he rummaged through the sack. His eyes first saw a rolled up napkin handling some type of silverware, but quickly moved it aside to inspect the container that it was rested above. He pulled it out to see the clear part that the wooden lid hid from his curious gaze and his heart almost skipped a beat. Banana bread.

As if he was afraid to taint the purity of such a dessert by going too fast, Berlioz slowly opened the lid of the container, releasing an imagined golden light that popped up from the perfect bread and a powerful aroma of mushed-up bananas. Intensified from being trapped in the container while being heated up by the sun’s rays, the smell of bananas offended, or entranced, the nostrils of people within a two-foot radius the moment he opened the container and spread evenly every second afterwards.

Too excited to even think twice about his actions, Berlioz was but a second away from slamming his face into the bread in order to bask in it’s essence and devour it at the same time. But Kirikou squawked loudly into his ear again, stopping Berlioz from living out his life’s dream. Behaving a little too intelligent for Berlioz’s liking, Kirikou grabbed the napkin from the sack with his beak and rammed it into Berlioz’s cheek.

Berlioz thought long and hard about all the reasons why he shouldn’t cook the eagle already. He knew his emotions were over the top because banana bread was involved, but Kirikou acted too much like his owner. And Berlioz didn’t love the bird nearly as much as his sister for him to let it slide. But he restrained himself from acting on his impulses, and snatched the napkin from Kiri’s beak, unraveling it to reveal a spoon.

“I guess this would be the smarter thing to do than slamming my face into it.” Berlioz muttered under his breath. He took a bite of the soft, fruit and crumb-filled bread, died and went to heaven, then was reborn again to continue listening to the elf in front of him.

By the looks he was giving the crowd, the elf wasn’t too happy to see them. But by the good grace of banana bread, Berlioz couldn’t muster up the desire to care. He didn’t speak in a lively enough manner to wake Berlioz up from his food-induced stupor, and only some words stuck out to him. Like test,Serpent’s Gathering, and dead men. And cock.

Wait, what?

"‘is ‘air looks like a fookin rooster.”

Berlioz turned his attention to the voice at the far end of the crowd and back again at the elf delivering the speech. His hair did look like a rooster's, but none-the-less cool. Realizing he wasn’t taking the whole ordeal seriously, Berlioz put away the container of bread and focused more on what was being said.

Another voice had joined in on the far end of the group, this time it was another male laughing loudly, stirring up the silence and once again getting Berlioz’s attention. He couldn’t really hear what was being said afterwards but it was nice that everyone seemed to be getting along so far. Not wanting to attract any attention from the other end of the crowd, Berlioz stood quietly, waiting for the next move to be made.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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#, as written by iCakez
Image


“No, of course not. He won’t untie me so I can pull up my hood and keep the rain from drenching me.” A dramatic sigh followed. “And I’m not allowed to bathe, oh no! Too dangerous. I’ve even been unarmed, can you believe it?” The only sign that her guard knew she was there was the glance he gave her and the shake of his head. “And now he shakes his head because he thinks I’m crazy.” Arayel looked at the guard with all her sudden fury. “Well if you were trapped in a cold cell, forbidden to speak or see anyone you’d go A LITTLE INSANE AS WELL!”

“What’s she yelling for?” One said to the other and ate a piece of chicken. He looked at his friend and smirked, shaking his head. It was obvious that they weren’t new to this kind of business. They knew how to keep their prisoners in line. Well, most of them. They weren’t bothered the second one of them opened their mouth.

There was one guard constantly walking among the prisoners, checking on them. Three more sat by the fire and then there were two out as sentries. Six guards, yes, she had already done the math. It wasn’t worth killing them. Instead, Arayel had endured her journey so far.

“We. Don’t. Speak. Elvish!”

Maybe she was wearing them down? He did seem annoyed, but not overly so and he did nothing but shake his head yet again and sigh. There was but one Elvish guard among them, but he was one of the sentries. The rest were human. It had not occurred to her that she had been speaking her own tongue. Before they set out on their journey to Autumour, she had been confined to a damp and dark cell in Rielorn. Arayel and solitary confinement didn’t go well together. The only social interaction she had was when they fed her. Little more than a week of that was enough for Arayel to start talking to the shadows and it hadn’t warn off yet, even though she was under open skies now. The guards that kept them weren’t very talkative. Within the hour they were all fed and were allowed to rest. It took a while, but eventually she slipped into an uneasy sleep.

When she closed her eyes the previous night they had been quite close to the city, for she awoke under a roof with the sun peeking in through the shutters. Tangled in the covers she found herself but quickly discovered that she was not alone. Before turning around she looked around the room. Her belongings were there. As in, her sword and the wristblade, her armor and so on. It was slowly coming back to her now and she bared her teeth in a wide grin as she turned around. I knew he couldn’t resist! She thought, looking at the elf guard’s sleeping form. Out of all of them he had been the one her charms would most likely work on. Arayel still smirked as she stretched, feeling positively reinvigorated. This was just what she needed. Not bothering to cover herself, she stood from the bed and proceeded with getting dressed. Her latest victim stirred and opened his eyes as she was squeezing into her pants. First he looked confused, then he seemed to realize what had happened, then it was shock and horror, then more confusion and then a satisfied smile. She tilted her head and looked at him.

“Surprised I didn’t kill you?”

“Well… They did tell me you were dangerous.” He said (his name escaped her). Honestly, she didn’t care much. Arayel wanted one thing from him and boy did she have it.

She giggled an innocent giggle and shook her head, moved over to the bed and ran a finger over his lips and down his chest.

“No,” Arayel purred. “I behaved, didn’t I?”

The man shrugged. “Somewhat.” He said, seemingly as if he meant it.

“I was a good girl.” She insisted and sighed, standing up. There was still time for breakfast before she had to go to the Serpent’s Gathering. That was fine by her, frankly, she was bored with her plaything. Arayel put the rest of her clothes on, tied the red sash around her waist and brushed her hair. The finishing touch was a quick adjustment of her chest.

“You’ll never see me again, I suppose.” She stood for a moment and bit the inside of her cheek, thinking. Then she headed for the door.

It wasn’t sad. Her friend had asked for seconds, so to speak, but she had denied him. Too boring. Perhaps because they had been at it all night. Either way, she was glad to be rid of him. When they had first taken her from Rielorn, the guards had been told that she was not to be listened to, she was to remain unarmed until she came to Autumour and they couldn’t fall for her advances. They didn’t listen, she had just received her weapons now and as to that last thing… Well…
The establishment in which she found herself was not too bad. Well, compared to some of the places she had been. It wasn’t in the good end of town, but it wasn’t flowing with rats and dead bodies. That was always nice. There were two guards waiting for her. One of them handed a few coins to the other when they saw her coming down.

“…told you she fucked him.”

Ignoring that, she decided to eat her breakfast and get out of there, away from guards. During her journey to Autumour she had come to accept that this she had to do to be able to go home and continue her life. While this wasn’t her favorite thing, it was necessary. Besides, she was off to a good start already.

Before she could finish her meal, she was seized by the elbows by her two escorts and pushed out the door. They were being paid to deliver her all the way to the Serpent’s Gathering. Thankfully, not in chains. The way there was not so bad. A lot of people but it was a big city.

“How’s the view back there?” Arayel called over her shoulder and smirked. She heard a chuckle.
“I have to look good, fellas, come on.” In fact, she meant that. If the rest of the Gathering knew that she had come from a jail cell… Well, it would be easier if she looked attractive and pretty. Still, they didn’t answer her. They continued in silence for a while, but eventually came to the Ebony Bridge. That had to be the Ebony Bridge.
“Boys, it’s right down there. Can I please go the rest of the way on my own?” Arayel said as she turned around, hands on her hips. The two exchanged looks and then nodded, though obviously reluctant.
“Good. Now, how’s the hair?” She continued. “Yeah? Skin clean? No dirt?” They shook their heads. “Tits?” One of them nodded though the other slapped him. She cast a glance down over herself and was satisfied after one final adjustment of her chest. There was a brief pause before she turned on her heel, gripped the strap of her rucksack and headed for the gathering.

A COCK! ‘is ‘air looks like a cock!

Arayel had managed to rather discretely merge with those who had already gathered there. Unlike the elf shouting about cock, she had no desire to make an entrance . Her eyes were drawn from her kinsman who had introduced himself as Adriel to another one, white haired and loud. Thought she found it amusing, she wasn’t so sure Adriel did. In fact, she wasn’t sure he found anything remotely funny. Apparently, the commotion startled an orc so much she nearly collided with the biggest man she had ever seen (whom she stood behind and to the right). The snow-haired elf fired off something the could possibly resemble an excuse, the orc lady tried to be invisible and a human started laughing. The butterflies in her stomach were in an uproar, her heart was beating fast and she was giddy to study these people and get to know them. So awkward, so funny, boisterous. So many to talk to.

“This should be interesting.”

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Laetya approves of Higoht: +4 approval)

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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

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

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

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

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






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

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

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

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

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

Aura agreed.

(Laetya gains +5 approval from Aura)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel

0.00 INK

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It wasn't difficult to return to old habits. For Gretchen, being behind bars may as well have been a day trip with how effortlessly she tucked herself into the shadows of an alley, two blue spots glowering out of her sockets like a beast in tall grass. It was a shame she had no idea where to go from there. Her thoughts repeatedly stalked back to mugging someone at knifepoint, but it was too bright, and the people were too... indignant, she could tell. They would have screamed for a silver knight even if it cost them their genetalia, and that was a more ballsy crowd than she liked. She supposed she could, oh, do what she was told, but where was the fun in that? It wasn't as if she was promised any form of reward or positive reinforcement if she fucking found someone. Oh, no. "You're a human," the elf had informed her (thanks, she hadn't noticed until just then), "we're surrounded by other humans. You should go find recruits among your people. Speaking with your kind makes me feel as if I'm losing parts of myself."

"I can show you what that feels like," she had shot back rather eagerly before he had ushered her off. So what if she succeeded in her absurd little assignment? She'd probably just have to endure his smart retorts again. "Oho, good job Gretchen," he might even deign to say her name, "more of your filthy ilk." All the while his lifted chin would wordlessly imply, "go die."

The fucking elf reeked of an entire stable full of bullshit.

So instead, Gretchen fucked around for the majority of the day, sulking or wondering rather loudly why the queen of all Byda was such a massive goddamn cunt licker. She was rather hoping the guards would make something of that, ship her back to a nice, cozy prison cell where she could rot in peace, but it seemed they were too busy doing fuck all to pay attention to her raving. At this rate it was likely that they'd tuned her out so much, they presumed she was the town crier doing her morning routine. It was with great reluctance that she returned to the bridge, muttering at length and practically breathing pure profanity. There were people there, when she arrived. More people than necessary. Not that she knew precisely the answer to "how many warriors would it take to annihilate the Pestilence?" but she was already of the mind most of them looked as if they'd had their faces caught on fire and someone had tried to put it out with a fork. And of course they all towered over her like fucking monstrosities, but she would bet hard gold that she could take on at least half of them in a knife fight. Maybe not all at once though.

Adriel seemed to be giving her the stink eye on occasion during his big mighty speech, and she flipped him off whenever he did. When a loud, dark haired son of a bastard son leered her general direction as well (and what the hell was wrong with him?), she simply rotated meagerly at the shoulders while perfectly maintaining the hand gesture. She did listen, to a degree. She caught that they were all dead men, surprise, surprise, blablabla, brag brag brag. Oooh, look at me, I'm an infiltrator, snark-snark. Then there was something about a... change in location? Bastard had told her they were going to the woods! Change of plans, she imagined. She supposed it didn't matter too much, but it was an annoying detail nonetheless.

Then there was some shouting about cock; while she had no roaring guffaw to match that of the one whose name she learned was Ezra, a crooked smirk streaked across her features, much like a manic, breaking eggshell. Her new friends would not all be dull after all, it seemed. Yet, the pessimist in her insisted that there was always room for too much of a good thing.

And what of the women? Gretchen scanned the crowd, which seemed to consist of a fairly even divide of genders. There was a bit of everything, really. Every build, every hair color, take your goddamn pick, although there didn't seem to be too many human women. Well, except perhaps that one that jumped at the earlier noise, which a headdress wrapped around and around his.... Gretchen cocked her head for a moment before maneuvering her way through impeding bodies. Something about the person was intriguingly off; his yielding mannerisms that seemed to beg to be released from even existing. By the time Gretchen made her way to her quarry, it seemed an orc woman was talking. The words didn't reach her ears. She was quite preoccupied by leaning in--or rather, leaning up as the man had a few inches on her--and staring straight into the fault between headdress folds with her slitted, animalistic eyes. "You look familiar," she hissed between her deliberating teeth. "I know you."

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
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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: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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Tane Solberg


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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The next bit passed by faster than Ezra had expected. A wink from Laetya, a friendly giant, and a silent newcomer. Ezra smiled like a kid in a candy shop the whole time. He was having more fun in these ten minutes than in the entire last year combined. Naturally, The Cockiest Elf On The Planet, Adriel, needed to ruin it.

"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."

Ezra turned back to Illeren, and chuckled.
"Ouch. Do you need some water for that burn? I...oh. All I have is alcohol. Drink?"

Then, the same man who had jumped out of himself earlier, fainted, and standing over him was a short, blonde woman. She would be the spitting image of Trace, emphasis on spitting, if Trace was one half street mutt, one half hatchet and had been left in the sun to dry for a few years. She stood over the collapsed man, and she smiled like a knife.

"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."

Ezra looked around and grumbled. It didn't seem like anyone was up for helping the poor sod up, and while he was keen on meeting blondie, her vicious snarl said something somewhere between, "I didn't mean to!" and "Come closer and you're next." He hesitated, before realizing that nothing fun ever happened if you didn't risk losing some skin, and made his way over to the couple and knelt down beside the man.

"So," He looked at the blonde, standing above him, and smirked. "Come here often?" He spoke as he gently shook the unconscious Kir, taking care not to disturb the head wrap. Ezra figured he must be wearing it for a reason, and did not want the man to hate him for removing it. He spoke again as Adriel called for the group to move, this time towards Kir. "C'mon wake up! You''ll miss all the fun!"




Ezra remained at the forefront of the group, just behind Adriel, for the duration of the trip. When he turned to address the group, Ezra listened silently. He was serious now, as there was a time for fun and a time for hunting and killing century old death beasts. Now was most definitely the latter.

They arrived at the quarry, and Ezra immediately began surveying the area. The quakes grew more and more intense as Adriel led them down a wooden ramp that was nowhere near as sturdy as Ezra would have preferred. The far side of the quarry wall began to crack and Ezra drew his sword. He'd never fought a Nidhogg before, but he had heard of them. This one felt bigger than the ones he had read about. A quick muttering under his breath and a swipe of his fingers later, and his blade ignited in a shimmering fire. Finally, the wall collapsed and the beast emerged. Ezra wanted to puke, but he could only manage a laugh that, given the circumstances, sounded insane. The smell was horrific, and it looked worse, and it was definitely bigger than anything the books had told him about bog drakes. To top it off, it screamed like a thousand dying horses, which was probably the worst sound he had ever heard. Again, a laugh, accompanied with a ear-to-ear grin, escaped Ezra's lips.

“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 spoke and then pranced off to his perch. If anyone was upset about being forced to fight this monster without Adriel, it wasn't Ezra. He was practically giddy.

"Alright gang," Ezra spoke as he turned to face the rest of the group, Nidhogg roaring horribly behind him, "Time to make Papa Elf proud! Any ideas?"

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Image




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

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

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

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

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!




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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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.

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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: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy

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With protruding arrows and bursting boils, and at least two pipsqueaks burrowing into the Niddhog's back, the monster was understandably getting deeply frustrated. It began to stomp all its limbs, its body rumpling and crumpling in skin undulations. As it turned and rumbled to try nip and crush its irritants, what was a charging speck got larger and larger, accompanied by a dull screaming noise. When it felt the churning pop of its eye, the Nidhogg let out a great groan to embellish its blinding pain, which only seemed to spur further stabbing. It shook itself like a wet dog, sending clumps of its secretions in all directions in its desperate attempt to dislodge its passengers.

It swung its head to the side and bent its torso at a worrying angle as it turned tail and began to lumber back to its lair. It had had enough of these fools! The Nidhogg might even be able to make a meal of any that it squashed along the way. That was when the searing sensation struck, a burning that it had never experienced before. The Nidhogg roared again in a raw, bestial way that shook the entire quarry, causing pebbles and small boulders to tumble and break. It swung its heavy tail wildly like a slow pendulum as its burning limb collapsed from under it when it tried to perform its undulating trample again, effectively crushing its arm further from its own weight and rendering it useless.

Its other limbs were being taken advantage of now, too, causing it to claw at the ground as it continued to defiantly shake its head and snap its jaws.

Then, for a moment, the injured and infuriated Nidhogg froze entirely, every muscle in its body stiffening as its remaining pupil dilated. There, standing on two legs with its underdeveloped tail and tucked in claws, was one of its young. The newborn cocked its head, observing its surroundings with this new sensation called sight, its sharp teeth gnashing thoughtfully. It smelled something coppery. Whatever it was, it smelled delicious.





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A splat of something fell to the elf's feet. No doubt caused by the Nidhogg being torn apart. Adriel had to admit, he hadn't been paying attention at all, but that was over now that the elf had a thick slimy substance on his shoe. Finally, with an unimpressed glance, he looked towards the beasts and the thing they were killing. "Well, that's certainly one way to slay a Nidhogg." In all his years, he had never seen such a gruesome sight before. The new recruits were doing well, though, despite their gracelessness in battle. One had even gouged an eye out. They were the most likely cause for the goo that was now on Adriel's shoes. The group looked like it had divided itself without a proper leader guiding their charge, which was understandable due to their lack of training, though he could swear he'd heard someone barking suggestions once or twice. There were a few stationed in the front, some even on top of the beast, and finally a few stalwart stragglers, including one he'd heard the serass recognize as "Gulfim," chose to bring up the rear. He had a hard time making out the rest of them. One such individual, either an orc male or a very large bandit had attempted to use his mighty strength to lob off the uncontrollable tail, which would prove disastrous for the poor soul.

"Better luck next time." Adriel said beneath his breath. The beast was clearly in pain, its screams felt throughout the quarry, and its tail smashed into unlucky soldiers until it finally made contact with something harder: the wall of the damn quarry itself. The wall shook, and sundered, leaving a new gash in the mountain and giving him unsteady footing. But if that was all it had done, Adriel would have been a happy overseer.

He heard them, like the sounds of chirping toads. Voices, new voices. They were not as overarching as the Nidhogg's bellowing, instead a few octaves higher, but nonetheless he knew them to be the same creature. From one of the caves, a creature no larger than a mother sow appeared. Standing on its hind legs, eager to feed, was a baby Nidhogg. Soon enough another head appeared, and then another, with the trio tromping out into the open and screeching eagerly. "By the Gods. Recruits!" the elf shouted across the quarry, "Kill every last one of them. Let none flee."

Adriel could no longer ignore this threat. Sure, the outpouring of potentially hundreds of baby bog drakes would have a high chance of completely destroying the nearest human civilization, swarming and killing all of the round ears, but it'd also kill all of his elves in the quarry too... as well as the orcs, Adriel presumed. Standing from his perch when the final quake came to a halt, the infiltrator supposed it was time to lend a hand. He was watching carefully as the three drakes escaped a crack in the wall, and was determined to destroy the rest of them before they could hatch and do the same.

Magic was one of the simplest weaknesses of Nidhoggs, as the men seemed to be discovering. A bog drake's skin repelled blades, but magic could sink its fangs into the beast better than any blade. Adriel's breath staggered, then lengthened as he took in a large breath. Soon he could feel it, his magic coursing through his veins, trying to escape. It leaked out of his body and enhanced his speed, strength, and reflexes. Lightning was the glue that held his technique together. The elf launched himself from the cliff, hopping from ramp to ramp on the scaffolding while letting the lightning escape his body and cover his form like a cloak. He moved right by the giant beast, too quick for its one eye to see, and sprinted into the heart of the earth; where a volley of sparks would illuminate the cave mouth.

Finally, he played an active role in keeping his recruits alive. Well, if the few Nidhogg he had allowed to escape the caves didn't overwhelm the group.



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

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