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Arayel Maervanyn

"Come closer. I don't bite!"

0 · 555 views · located in Tegea

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

Description

[url=music if applicable]

"Isn’t it thrilling? Life is such a fragile thing."


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INTRODUCTION



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"About me? Well, I can be whatever you like, love."

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"To eradicate this bloody disease, ripping through rich and poor alike! 'Ahem.... Did he buy that?'"


[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Ray, a nickname she rather likes though few call her by it.

Gender: Female

Age: 64

Race: Elf

Origin: Rielorn

Voice: She speaks with a seductive, smoky voice but you must be wary of her honeyed words. Careful.

Class: Assasssin

Offensive/Defensive: Offensive

Magical Affinity: None






PHYSICALITY



[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: Full, thick, shoulder length hair the color of a raven’s feather. Arayel does much to tend to her hair and it shows. On social occasions she will usually do a little extra and add some volume to it so it frames her face in soft curls. Otherwise, it’s either tied in a ponytail or kept more smooth and straight.
Eyes: Perhaps the most noticeable thing about her at first glance. In the moonlight they seem almost to shine and in the daylight they are grey. A sort of, crystal like gray. Very intense.
Complexion: Despite her work being carried out in darkness, she is no stranger to the sun. Strangely it is the moon she prefers. Her olive skin compliments her eyes and a flush has crept in in her cheeks.
Height: Arayel stands at 5’7"
Build: Slender as most elves. Curves where they look good and… Well, Arayel has very nice breasts (weapons of a woman and all that...)
Weight: A complimenting 120 lbs.
Body Markings: A tattoo on her leg, reminding her of her of what she is (as much as others). Various other tattoos are found on her body, some or most of them are not commented on. She doesn't talk about them to everyone since they (if you study them) reveal things about the people she's killed. Tattoos tell a story, yes? Come close and explore, love! If you do good, she might tell you the story behind some of them. ]Image
A thin scar running from her left temple to just below her left eye, a scar that frustrates her immensely. "It ruins my face!"


[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Arayel is the type of person you look at and go "I know the type." But you don't, really. All you know is to be careful and perhaps a bit suspicious. The look in her eyes when she talks to you, the tone in her voice that can switch between playful and serious and seductive easily. It carries over into the way she carries herself as well, and she walks with a fluent, elegant stride adding to the grace she possesses. Her favourite colours to combine are black and red, black and silver. The first reserved for her "work" outfit and the second for frivolities of any kind. Yes, she's social. Some would think that, given her profession, smiles would be a rare thing on her face. Quite the contrary. Well, most of the time you'll see a smirk tugging at the corners of her mouth. When she's really having fun, after some wine and ale, you'll hear that melodic laugh of hers (and if you're lucky, she might send a flash of those wonderful eyes your way). At first glance it's obvious that she takes good care of herself. Her hair is rarely greasy and her skin is smooth and she smells nice. If you look a little closer, you will come to realize what she is. Arayel is not built to wear heavy armor or swing a giant sword or axe around. She's petite, fast and always wary.

When socializing you'll see her wearing a suit of black silk, a black surcoat with silver linings and patterns sewn into the fabric. The waistline of this garment would offer a different touch, by the crimson red cloth she keeps tied around her. While wearing this she may seem less dangerous; something she is aware of and doesn't particularly enjoy. You will more than likely find a weapon on her anyway.
Her "regular" clothes, so to speak, are a little different. She calls it her regular outfit because it is what she wears the most. By far. The main difference is, it's armor and Arayel looks less elegant in it. It's a pretty suit of armor (she is a woman) but it is made for mobility more than protection.

Generally, you'll see a smirk on her face. Either because she's observing people or because she's trying to seduce you. If not, you'll see her smiling brightly revealing her white teeth - the upper front two of which are larger than Arayel likes - and it'll seem to be genuine happiness. Should you catch her in a moment of deep thought you'll see that she has quite the resting bitch face. Talk to her and she's quick to snap out of it.

"Oh, your eyes... They-" - Why did you have to mention them?! As much as they are quite different, Arayel wishes that she had been born with blue, green, brown or whatever color eyes people have, instead of... These. She hasn't met a single person in her life who, when meeting her for the first time, does not constantly look at her eyes. Even when they are not talking to each other. The amount of comments she's received regarding them, the way the other kids looked at her! UGH! Fuck. Arayel is deeply self-conscious about them and it bothers her when people comment on them.
"Fine, if you must look, then look. I'll try to ignore you."



Moral AlignmentChaotic egocentric.

MENTALITY

[P E R S O N A L I T Y]

You could argue that she is a little crazy. Arayel actually, really likes - nay - loves her job. That means she likes killing. It excites her very much how quickly (or slowly) you can end a life, not to mention all the creative ways you can do it. To her it's all just fascinating.
Fascinating would also be the word she would use about most people. Everyone, actually. Even if you're stupid. Fascinatingly stupid. When not in conversation or on a mission, she'll observe. At an inn for example, or any social event, Arayel likes to sit and observe people and try to figure them out just as much as she likes drinking and talking. Some would say it's a habit from her work but it would explain her quiet nature as a child where she would just look at people a lot of the time.

She can pretend to many things, but at her core she is socially dependent in the sense that she would truly lose her mind if left alone. The thrill and excitement of talking to other people (and possibly sleeping with and or killing them), drinking with them, sharing stories and all that. Her lack of confidence in her abilities most likely stems from the issues between her and her father, but you'll never make her admit it. Sometimes to the amusement of others, Arayel does not suffer fools. She had severe problems with her patience when she was younger. With the help of her master she trained that and it got much better. Except in this case. If she thinks you're unreasonable or simply just unintelligent, she will do nothing to hide her sighs and the rolling of her eyes. Her reaction? Heading for the door.

If you ignore the fact that she has troubles fathoming what a life is worth, you have a half decent person here. It's not that she doesn't care who she kills and she may even, on a rare occasion, hesitate with striking if she sees a more beneficial way of going about it. Love is not really a thing she believes in. No one has convinced her that it is really a thing and that it can't really work. Arayel has actually come to the conclusion that no one wants a partner with freaky eyes and so much blood on her hands.

[F E A R S]

  • A rather mundane fear of the open ocean and large lakes. She loves the forest. Forest is good. The ocean is deep and dark and she will have killed you long before you try to force her into any kind of sea vessel.
  • In all honesty, the Pestilence scares her more than she wants to admit.

[Q U I R K S]
  • She bites the inside of her cheek when she thinks. It makes for some odd facial expressions.
  • She takes something from each contract, each person she assassinates.
  • Arayel will only take off her wristblade if it breaks or if she's bathing. This explains why the outfit she wears when socializing is long sleeved.
  • Has a habit of keeping eye contact longer than the comfortable amount of time. This contradicts her consciousness about her eyes, and whenever she does this she is constantly aware that the person she is looking at may well say something about them.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Loyalty. HAHAHAHA! Well, she admires it, alright! True, with the people she has surrounded herself with, loyalty was never really spoken of. It was widely accepted that the man in front of you could betray you in the near future. Aside from the man who trained her, Arayel can't remember the last time she had to even deal with the concept of loyalty. Betrayal isn't her first option, but if you're a prick then she'll consider it.
Killing innocents isn't new to her. In her criminal years her targets were usually corrupt merchants, diplomats and so on, but an innocent sometimes had to go. Greater good, right?

[A G E N D A]
Though it can be changes, her current goals are quite simple. Arayel could find something she would rather do, off the top of her head, than be part of the Serpent's Gathering. Yet, now she's here and might as well make the best of it. Besides, if she does good she might be pardoned and allowed to live. She wants to help eradicate the Pestilence! ...So she can be redeemed and maybe go back to killing corrupt people for money, if anyone will hire her.


[L I K E S]
    • Wine. Well, alcohol in general. She has many good memories from inns and taverns, drinking with men and women. Some favourites as well, actually.
    • The darkness. Ooooh, romantic! No seriously, the darkness and the moonlight. Concealment and all that. Good for stalking and killing. Arayel feels more comfortable at night because that's what she is used to. Most of her work is done (in her experience) in the darkness.
    • Killing. Quite simple. She enjoys it.
    • For an elf this might qualify as a quirk? Meat. Not every day and not very much of it. When she grew up she lived on a diet of green things, but now she also likes to eat meat a couple of times a weak. It gives you an entirely different energy!
    • Singing and people singing to her.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • People mentioning the scar on her forehead. It makes her very uncomfortable.
    • Idiots and fools and general lack of intelligence. This she has no patience for.
    • Any conversation or string of words regarding eye color. Arayel will promptly find an excuse to leave.
    • Being unarmed. Sure she can fight with her hands, but with her weight, height and physical strength? In other words; put her next to that guy Tane and you'll understand why.





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] Minimum of two, maximum of three.

  • Right outta my shoes: [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ She was fast when she was a kid and it hasn't changed. Well, her speed has changed but you go ahead and see if you can outrun her. Being an assassin requires you to be in good physical shape and it's good training. Cities are more challenging (and more fun) while she can sprint through the forest without tripping.
  • "Hey, stranger.": [Strong] ★★★★★☆ Claiming that this was something evident even when she was a child, would just be wrong. Seducing was something she found quite easy when she got older. It was useful as well when she required information about someone, during a contract. Granted, how easily people are seduced differs but she is usually succesful. That means when she does get rejected, it has quite an impact on her.


    [C L A S S | S K I L L S] Minimum of two, maximum of three.
    • Assassination: [Strong] ★★★★★☆ Arayel can carry out an assassination near perfectly. She has learned to manipulate her target so that it suits her best. If her target knows she is coming, it's because she wants him/her to know. While some would say she is a little careless and toys with her targets, you can't argue with the results.
    • Sneaky bitch!: [Average] ★★★☆☆☆ Some rely mostly on stealth, she does not. It can get boring sometimes. Stalking your target through the streets is just.. It's too tempting to strike right then and there! Instead of that she prefers waiting at her target's destination or near it. Her attacks are sudden.
    • Poisons: [Average] ★★★☆☆☆ While her poisons are potent enough, it takes a while for her to create them and make them the best she can. Sometimes she'll disappear for a few days and head into the kitchen, as she calls it. Arayel usually makes large batches of poisons so it'll be a while before she has to do it again. Those with skills higher than her don't have to consult books; they just go out and collect what they need and then begin. In her case, the books are needed.


    [W E A K N E S S E S]
    • Lightly armored.: While people like Tane are built like tanks and then dress themselves in a tank, Arayel is not so fortunate. In combat she much prefers attacking on the flanks of a battle or doing some sneaky behind-enemy-lines-mission. Match her with a heavier, well trained warror and chances are that she'll be dead pretty quickly. Arayel knows that she can't take very many blows and you can only dodge so many times. Her only hope when pitted against a larger opponent is to that he or she is slow so that she can get close. Being lightly armored does have something to do with her vanity.
      -"I can't walk sexy if I'm wearing plate!"
    • "I'm not an orc, alright?": She is made for fluent, sudden and lethal attacks. With sword or wrist blade. Arayel simply doesn't have the strength to fight another person for half an hour. Have someone else do that, she'll find someone... Unsuspecting.
    • Socially Dependent: Being alone for extended periods of time will drive her insane. Actually, frighteningly insane. If you walk past her you'll hear the conversations she starts having with herself, the shadows around her and her weapons. It's kind of creepy.
    • Patience:Recklessness, carelessness. Call it what you will. It has improved from when she was younger, but it can still cause problems. Arayel consciously works around this problem and tries to manipulate her contracts so that she won't have to test her patience. It's not so much that she gets actually bored, more... More that she can't handle the excitement as well as many of her colleagues. She's a sucker for the thrill
    • "Bah! Magic...": This otherwise capable woman possessess not an atom of magic in her. Never, ever has she ever felt the slightest jolt of anything that could remotely pertain to magic. Arayel wrinkles her nose at it and doesn't like it very much. It's unfair.






    ARMAMENT







    [A R M O R]
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    Mobility over protection, get it? Arayel wears a well fitted suit of reinforced leather armor, with steel shoulders. Guarding her midsection and vital organs, there is also steel plates and also a crimson red sash. Everything else, leather. The hard bits have silver inlays and engravings, obviously elvish. Who says you can't look dashing when you kill someone?

    [C L O T H I N G]

    Well, it kind of matches her armor. Usually she wears her favorite outfit which consists of black silk with - guess what - silvery linings and patterns sewn in. Her trademark, the red sash, also there. When socializing she'll wear that fine suit and when she's merely visiting an inn or something not quite so fancy, she'll switch all the silk for a pair of trousers of a tougher material and a black leather vest and a black shirt. Guess what color the pattern on her sleeves are!

    [I T E M S]

    Tools for maintaining and repairing weapons, waterskin, lockpicks, coin, poisons and her clothes.

    [T O K E N S]
    (please see Character Skeleton Companion, or PM us!)

    [P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
    Weapon Name: Dark Sister
    Weapon Type: Wrist blade that can be activated at will. The blade springs out via a mechanism controlled by a movement of the wrist.
    Length: 10"
    Weight: ½ a pound?
    Origin: Dark Sister has been with her for a very long time, but it was given to her by her master. When he felt she deserved the weapon and that she was finally ready for her first contract, he gave her this. You will rarely see Arayel without this! Well... You'll rarely actually see it, but you get the point. She never takes it off.

    [O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
    Weapon Type: Short sword.
    Length: Three feet.
    Weight: Light, allowing for Arayel to actually use it.
    Origin: Rielorn. Not exactly a cheap weapon, but one everyone can buy at a finer blacksmith.






    BACKGROUND


    [M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
    Single. "Sure, we can have fun. Just... Don't expect things afterwards."

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

      | S a r a e l | [ -50 ]
    "I can't figure out if I want to kill him myself, or I just want him to die." - Things aren't great between them. Haven't been for a long time. In her opinion, all he did was get her mother pregnant and then ignore Arayel when she was born. She cannot remember the last time she spoke to her father. Well, aside from that one time in front of the entire council of the Watchers...

      | M i r y t h | [ 80 ]
    Oh mother! She was the kind one. Always tending to her needs when she was a child. When she came home with a scratch, she'd clean it and kiss it and smile. Those things that good parents do. Arayel loved her mother, but doesn't understand why she chose to put up with her husband and the way he treated their daughter.


    [O C C U P A T I O N]
    Assassinate. Of course, no job is fun forever and you can't spell "assassin" without "ass". Still, the best job in the world. Arayel wouldn't couldn't imagine doing anything else than that and never will. Before the unfortunate incident that lead to her arrest and subsequently her arrival at the Serpent's Gathering, she killed for her government.


    [S O C I A L | R A N K]
    Hmm... Perhaps given another profession, she could have used her father's position as one of the Watcher's to her advantage. Alas, she is an assassin and her relationship with her father is shit. Those few that know her are well aware of her skills, but that doesn't make her a noble now does it?

    [O P I N I O N S]
    • Humans: Many of the elves she know don't exactly have anything against humans as such, they just kind of look at them with pity sometimes. Such short lives, kind of like a younger sibling your have to take care of. That opinion has rubbed off on her but she is surprised every time she meets one. They're interesting. In essence, she doesn't think they're much different from elves. Sure, they don't live quite as long but they can love, hate, make war, discuss politics, fart, eat, sleep, fuck... Their appearance is different but hey, Arayel will gladly try new things.
    • Elves: Yay, us! This is her people and they will always be her favorite. She's killed many an elf, sure but she grew up with them! Doesn't really make it better does it? Well, she did grow up with them and is an elf herself, what is there to more to say? She loves the culture, their music, their cities and the forest. Go elves!
    • Orcs: She never really had dealings with them. They're an impressive race from what she's seen, but a little intimidating as well. Some of those she has met were built like a brick shithouse. Houses, as it were.
    • The Serpent's Gathering: "Hey I just got here!" They are a bunch of colorful bastards. The purpose is noble, but how is this going to work out?

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

      | O r c B r o | [ +65 ]
    Seems friendly enough. Strangely confident - don't ask, you'll know when you meet him. What with the fucking smiling all the time? Not entirely trustworthy.

      | A d r i e l | [ +50 ]
    Well, points for being an elf. Could shut the fuck up, sometimes. For the benefit of them all. There's this thing about him though... If he could just not be a prick, he might be funny as well. I said maybe, okay?

      | G r e t c h e n | [ +11 ]
    "And this, kids, is what happens when siblings have children."
    That must have been the case with this one. Unpredictable and insane. Arayel doesn't like her very much and doesn't see that changing in the near future.

      | T a n e| [ +83 ]
"Oh, my."
He is big. I thought orcs were the huge, strong warriors. This behemoth of a man... It's.... Wow. And he's sweet, too! Good thing he's wearing armor.

    | K i r | [ +45 ]
"Fascinating."
He truly is. What happened to this man? Arayel finds him interesting and has made it her goal to find out what he went through to look and act the way he does. Perhaps she'll armwrestle with her if she gets some alcohol in him?

    | L a e t y a | [ +53 ]
"I may have to steal her clothes while she bathe."
Laetya. She'll remember the name. Granted, Arayel can't drink firewater, but she'd like to drink with this orc. And see where it goes from there... Carnal desires aside, she seems decent enough.

    | Sir Blabbermouth | [ +05 ]
"Shh."
Sure, he's a looker and all that, but... Does he ever shut up? If I were to believe half the things he says, he could've probably ended the Pestilence himself, won three wars, save a damsel in distress, drink the armed Orcish Reserve under in firewater and be home for supper.
Perhaps, if he tones it down with the stories and talks half as much then his charm might work.

    | B e r l i o z | [ +50 ]
"A man of action."
Arayel respects that. Compliments works like a charm on him!

    | A u r i l e i t h | [ +41 ]
"Smile, sweetie."
It would really do something for that face of hers. Not that she's ugly or unattractive, but if she would just flash those choppers once in a while. Arayel is going to have a good time trying to make her do exactly that. It seems like this elf has a sort of cautious curiosity.

    | G u l f i m | [ +63 ]
"Fuck she is adorable."
She is so awkward, but so cute at the same time. Obviously she has a tender heart and doesn't seem to be entirely comfortable when surrounded by people. Believe it or not, Arayel doesn't feel like teasing this one. Wow... Dammit, she touched the soft spot in my heart.

    | I l l e r e n | [ +25 ]
"Oh, another hum...What!?"
While she doesn't care that he doesn't look like an elf, there's still something odd about him. Several things to be honest. A curious little thing.
He is trouble and Arayel senses that he gives new meaning to the phrase "Never a dull moment." Especially with Ezra by his side.

    | V a s h a | [ +75 ]
"Look at those eyes."
She just can't get over those eyes, really. He is stern and serious, relaxed though still maintains his posture. Handsome. Something about him tells her that he has a dark side, and she kind of wants to see that. Ray is trying to figure him out but finds herself constantly thinking about just going up to him and let her eyes meet his. Sigh.
[B I O | H I S T O R Y]

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Oh Rielorn... Rielorn was definitely not the worst place to grow up. Of course, every city had it's less savoury quarters and it's thieves and so on, but it also had so much of the opposite. Said thieves, if they were good enough, lead fine lives. The accumulated wealth of the elves was (and is) stupendous. This was where she was born on a night of heavy rain. In the dense forest that didn't mean much, aside from the smell. The first thing their parents noticed were the color of her eyes. At first it was thought that she had some kind of affliction that blinded her, but as she grew this didn't seem to be the case. Arayel's vision was perfectly fine. Her mother made up a story that she used to tell her, that in her eyes was reflected the moon from the night she was born. Very poetic. Every time she heard this story she would smile and kiss her mother, but knew it was just a story. Arayel was nothing special. Not in her mind. In fact even when she was a little older, no one knew what she was good at, if anything. That was worrying to her parents you see, because most other parents whose children were the same age had at least a notion of what their children's skills were, and what the council might make of them. Ray's parents had none.

Sure, she played with the other girls and boys, crowned with wreaths of flowers and all that. There was always something different about her though, that strange stare in her eyes, the way she carried herself and the way she reacted physically. That kid was fast. It would be around the age of nine that she would show signs of her potential.
She mastered hide and seek with the other kids, she was quiet and observing and had this air of mystery and intelligence about her.
Miryth and Sarael Maervanyn were happy that they finally saw something in their daughter. Of course they loved her and all. Well... She knew her mother loved her. Her father? She wasn't sure. He was a member of the council after all, and could you imagine the unbearable shame if his own daughter should fall short of something grand! The fact that she was good at hide and seek, fast and intelligent were not points they made when it was time for the council to decide what was to become of Arayel. Still, they saw the same potential. Assassin.

Despite her quiet, observing nature and intelligence, she had no expectations of what they might chose for her. The profession she was assigned had not even crossed her mind, where instead it seemed much more probable that they would have chosen something like baker, jeweler or seamstress for her. This would be something entirely different than what she knew already.

Arayel began her training immediately and quickly discovered her impatience when things didn't go her way. A child's mind, yes, but her master cared not a jot. The first couple of years were spent on learning true patience. The times she received a slap over the knuckles followed by the word "Patience!" were beyond count. Sometimes she would be so bored and angry with her master that she would unleash a fury you wouldn't expect of a girl her age, and all it did was make her master smile. Understand that Arayel had nowhere else to go. She had no other choices or preferences. This was really all she had, feeling a small amount of encouragement (or disapproval, in fact) from her family. So she stayed.
As time passed these episodes lessened in frequency and she matured. At the age of fourteen she had vastly increased her patience, gaining a certain amount of respect from her master while also coming to respect him. . Years went by and she was trained gradually in different things. Her speed, general agility, the senses, poisons, anatomy, memory, killing. All of these were trained rigorously. Needless to say, this took years. Training would include the study of poisons which required great care and a lot of reading, gathering the right herbs and measuring the exact dosage to make it the most potent poison you could get. She would study the human body. Which arteries were where and which to cut but also how to stop a bleeding. The art of remembering the smallest details as well as training the senses. Yes, blindfold and all. Then there was the physical training; something she greatly appreciated as a break from having her head in books.

"The Watchers are everywhere." They tell you this when you are young, but no one believes it. She was still considered young by then, but one night there was a black scroll on her small, wooden nightstand. A message stating clearly that someone had been keeping an eye on her. Of course, she knew who someone was, but now was when all the secrecy truly started. It further informed her that she had been given her first assignment. Pride? Sure. Nervous? Not so much... Excited.

At the age of 27 she was a very different person than when she started her training. She had matured, had honed her skills and learned many new ones. Arayel had become a woman and had discovered that there were other weapons than poisons, daggers, swords etc., that only a woman possesses. Most considered her attractive and most fell victim to her seduction. In other words, she was much more capable as an assassin. Lingering from the child she was, you would still find that same intelligence and constant observation of other people and her surroundings. Her parents she hadn't seen very much during her training. There was a cold air between Arayel and her father. The more she had learned and the more she grew, the older and wiser she got, the less she heard from him. She had spent most of her life in a threadbare tunic, working hard to receive new clothes. Her father had everything he wanted and more, rarely paying her a visit or showing any kind of affection for her, really. You see, despite the first few years being difficult, Arayel and her master had grown fond of each other and he filled the void her father had left.
Sadly, this all took root in a great misunderstanding. What she perceived as his disinterest and disapproval of her, was really his attempt of securing her succesful education. See, Sarael Maervanyn wanted what was best for his daughter, but was incapable of showing it. The silly notion that if he left her alone to her studies, she would improve and be happy was stuck with him.
Daddy issues and a vast knowledge of how to kill a man. Fantastic!

Her very first assignment. As a gift from her master, she received her very own, custom made wrist blade. Those she had used in training were of course, well, those you used for training. Worn. The mechanical parts jammed from time to time, which was very inconvenient. She learned that it was also part of her training to make sure her equipment was in a working condition.

Wasn’t it incredible? It was a good kill. He never knew she was there until her blade was in his neck, but wasn’t it incredible?! The color of the blood, red in the light but dark in the shadows and the way the light left his eyes and they flickered shut. She had been given a name and didn’t question the council’s decision. The man had to die. So she had observed him for two days before taking action. He was easy to read. Perhaps because this was her first assignment, they had chosen someone they deemed to be an easy target?
Whatever the case, Arayel knew this was what she wanted to do. It was fascinating.
You would not believe the amount of repetitions her master had her do, for every single action it would seem. Now she understood why. Each repetition of even the simplest thing was a step closer to perfection.

That was how the next few years went by. Still training loyally under her master, but gradually more and more scrolls landed on her nightstand. She did well. She was no Infiltrator - by far - but she was good at what she did. More assignments meant more experience and pay, important targets meant higher pay. Most were merchants and diplomats or dangerous religious individuals. A few were actual obvious criminals. During this time she enjoyed herself thoroughly. If there was a party, she’d attend wearing her mask and drink wine and flirt and occasionally take someone into her bed. Arayel discovered that men and women alike can do wondrous things under the sheets.

Such was her life for many years. Many years meaning until she had reached the age of 47 which isn’t really a very long time for an elf. There were no new skills her master could teach her, but she could still practice those she had and get better. Practice, assassinations, wine and sex. That was the way of it and she was content. Instead of living with her master, sleeping in a room which was very sparsely furnished and decorated, she now had her own small typical elvish apartment. Alas, nothing lasts forever.

One day there was not one, but two scrolls for her and also a letter. The first scroll was an assignment from the government, just another job but the other one held a darker undeniably more attractive offer. It was an offer to join a group that sought balance. To her it sounded like they wanted to be like the Infiltrators, which was of course absurd, but she kept reading. They felt that much of the Rielorn’s wealth ended up in the pockets of those who already had so much, and that the export trade was also a problem. Whichever way they tried to mask it, Arayel could see through it. They were thieves and other assassins. For a long moment she looked at the letter and then nodded to herself wordlessly. The wording and the exquisite penmanship was enough to convince her. It wasn’t exactly legal, but if this group lived up to their promises, it paid quite handsomely.
The third letter was from her mother. The raven haired assassin was not moved, no, she had learned to control her emotions a long time ago, but more curious. Besides, there was little emotion left when it came to her family. Her mother she could spare a thought from time to time, but that was on a good day. Miryth began by telling her that she still loved her and hoped she was well (she had never mentioned her daughter’s career). What followed was troubling to her, though she hadn’t expected it to provoke such a reaction. Rural towns and villages had seen a new type of disease on the rise, one they hadn’t seen before. Arayel had heard of it, but paid it no mind. A mistake. Her mother had been sent by her husband to go tend to these sick people. "Someone has to do it." Were the words she had used. To everyone else it was of course a noble task that a wife to one of the Watchers would go tend to the sick, but why did her mother have to go? Why not someone else, less important?. The letter lastly informed her that her mother wouldn’t return to Rielorn. The town she was in had been put under quarantine to contain the sickness. By the wording and general tone of the last paragraphs, it was clear that no one was meant to leave that town and that anyone who was in there, was deathly sick. That letter is all the remains of her mother. Arayel never went there, or wrote back or did anything to contact her really. Something she is deeply sad about today.

It stirred something in her that she didn’t know was there. Despite the years of seperation and the apathy from her father, there was still some love left for her mother. And now she was to die with all the rest of the diseased.

Little over three months later and business was good. Arayel had taken the offer she’d received while still taking assignments from the government. Six months later and she’d worked her way up in that little gathering of less savoury personalities. Skip ahead a couple of years and now she sat by the table while the big decisions were made, lounging in her chair, clad in her assassin’s outfit with her feet on the table and her fingers interlaced. In these circles, people now knew who she were. It was just important that her presence there didn’t become public, common knowledge. By her less legal business she killed more than on her assignments - which she enjoyed - and also made some coin on it. She was able to buy the finer things such as a fine black silken outfit with a red sash round the waist, somewhat matching her assassin’s outfit but more appropriate for socialising. A favour could be bought from time to time as well. As their business grew and their activities were more frequent and ambitious, the decision was made to move their meetings away from Rielorn’s center and towards the outskirts of the kingdom. It made business with humans all the more easy, but it was timed perfectly for a calamity.

Not many months after the move, they heard about this disease more often than not. It was the same that had taken her mother, and Arayel was uneasy. From the time she’d received the letter from her to the point where she decided to join the organisation she was now in, she had mourned by drinking wine and having sex. What? It worked. Somewhat. The Pestilence it was simply called, but there was nothing simple about it. Direct contact and dealings with humans was limited as apparently they spread the sickness. Then it was elves as well, but not as many. Rumours started pouring in, horrible stories of entire towns razed to the ground. An order called the Silver Knights and much more.

————————

“-How many?” Arayel spoke clearly and looked at everyone gathered at the table, intensely. "What if they carry the disease?"

One man sighed and cleared his throat. “Woman!”. Most of them knew not to speak to Arayel like that. “Things have never been better. I, for one, see what we have built and wish for our small empire to grow! So what if they are sick? They are humans! Why should we care, we need only trade with them and those we trade with, are healthy.” Some nodded and tapped their knuckles against the table.

“They'll have en escort larger than before, you know that." She countered and sighed, as if this was logic. Which it was to her. "It doesn't matter if they are humans, orcs or elves. If they're sick, they're sick. Do you remember the last time we hit a trading column?" That was a memory she would rather forget.

It was perhaps a fortnight ago. Business as usual and they were closing in. These merchants had made camp for the night. There were three men they wanted in particular. One of them liked to abuse little girls of any race, the second was a fraud and the third... Well, he was in the same tent. What they didn't know was that those in the camp had contracted the Pestilence.

Arayel shuddered as she remembered. The way the first man's flesh fell off the side of his face and the way the second man was bleeding out of every orifice.

They'd found the three merchants alright and she was first in the tent. What she found... Let's just say that for the first time in many years, she had nightmares.

The door came crashing open, letting in a cold breeze. Everyone turned and looked towards it and the room was eerily silent for a moment. Then they came in. The commotion tore her away from her memory of the Pestilence, and for a moment she thought it was the diseased coming in. It wasn't. That beautiful armor could only be one thing. Cavaliers. Thirty of them. Every exit was covered and it didn't take long for them to seize everyone. None escaped. "So much for yor grand empire." Arayel said and looked at the man who'd spoken up before. Two Cavaliers seized both her arms and pushed her towards the door. She struggled once and promptly received a blow to the back of the head, knocking her out.

———————



She woke in a prison cell with no notion of how she got there. The Cavaliers that had been sent there to investigate (very carefully), had been instructed to keep her in an isolated cell until further notice. From the locale, the messages and the people they had arrested, the Cavaliers were quick to deduct Arayel’s part in this. Hence, the prison cell.

It took a few days of stale bread and cold water before she was let out. Well, let out isn’t the right wording. The Watchers would pass judgment and she had better be there for it. That meant a visit with her beloved father.
Her knees hit the floor with a loud thud and she hung her head low. A voice rang out commanding her to face the council. She obeyed.
She was sure that this meant a death sentence. All the lives she had taken? The valuables she had helped steal? Death, for sure. Yet, the only one who called for her head was a man with dark hair, blue-grey eyes and thin lips. Sarael Maervanyn, her father. There was a moment of complete silence. Evidently, the rest of the council was shocked.
Arayel smirked.

It felt like hours in that room. An interrogation that went on for an eternity. They asked about all her crimes and trespasses. About how extensive her activities and operations were, so they could weigh it all in the end. It all culminated in the Watchers reaching a verdict. The relatively young elf sat on her knees with her hands tied behind her back, waiting to be condemned to death.
Cheating death twice? Ain’t that a fucking surprise? Whether her sentence was better or worse, she wasn’t sure, but she wouldn’t be dead. For now. One had already been elected Second in the Serpent’s Gathering. Arayel remembered. She was there when Adriel was named, thoroughly pissed that it had to be him. He was an acquired taste. One she hadn’t gotten used to (doubting she ever would). She was to go to the Serpent’s Gathering and take up their noble cause to redeem herself.

Apparently the fact that her father had called for the maximum punishment had left everyone else in shock. That was most likely what saved her.
When the two Cavaliers that had dragged her into the room pulled her to her feet to leave, she looked up at her father. Wait... What? That expression. That actually looked like a mix of sadness and happiness. Arayel couldn't make out whether he was sad that she was a criminal or if he was happy that they had spared her. Perhaps both.

“If you return, Arayel Maervanyn, we shall reconvene and decide if you have redeemed yourself.”

[F L A G S]

So begins...

Arayel Maervanyn's Story

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: 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
Image


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

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

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

“Cock.”

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

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

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

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




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





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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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

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



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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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: 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
Image


I don't know what I expected...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


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




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

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

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

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

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

...Whatever that job was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There goes breakfast.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

One step...two st-

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

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

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

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

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

At least today wasn’t boring.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arayel approves of Ezra's flashiness +5


Arayel greatly approves of Vasha's courage +10


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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin

0.00 INK

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

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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




Vasha approves of Arayel's assistance: +6

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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




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

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




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

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

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

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

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

Ah. It was a joke.




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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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"Arayel.” She stated when he subtly asked her for her name. Her tone of voice carried the message that stated 'don’t you forget it’. The fight had died and it seemed like everyone was covered in nidhogg bits. She had been in quite a few, but this was by far the messiest fight ever. Vasha’s trip out of the beast hadn’t gone unnoticed. It must have looked quite amusing from a distance. Surely, their grumpy supervisor must be satisfied with them. They had just killed a big mutated snail. Arayel sighed and shifted her weight to the other foot, appreciating Vasha’s eyes for a few seconds before looking around at everyone again. She didn’t have to wait long.

Adriel, the embodiment of bitterness and a tribute to pissed off, barked something akin to orders. Or was it just to get attention? A slightly surprised expression flashed across her face as the man actually praised them. [color=]He even said ‘extremely'![/color] Shaking her head, she began walking towards Adriel. [color=]“Silrai houn dolomé.”[/color] Arayel mumbled under her breath, inaudibly (she hoped) stating what she thought about the elf at the moment. Pompous prick. She never got all the way over to him before he stabbed a finger at her and told her to retrieve a souvenir from the beast. She tilted her head to the right, then nodded and walked over to the nidhogg. Arayel knelt down and started cutting with precision.
Would they let her keep it? Actually being allowed to keep something from this heap of goo, was wonderful. She wouldn’t let them take it away from her. Once she cut out the bone, she stood and returned just in time for the blonde wildling causing trouble. Well, trouble might be a big word to use but the expression on her face when Adriel threw her sword to her was wonderful. Sadly, he didn’t pay attention to it. Upon studying the standing members of their group she discovered that they hadn’t lost a single person. They were all alive. In their group, at least. Unexpected but good. Arayel hadn’t allowed any of them to die in her mind yet. Not before she got to talk to them all. Alas, that time would not be now. Now, they would go to Barkmere.




During the walk to the town she tried wiping the rest of the nidhogg bits off. Just so it was easier to clean when they actually arrived. They smelled horribly. All of them. Perhaps the reason they weren’t attacked by a gang of highwaymen was because of that. Few of them talked during their journey and Arayel herself was consumed by her own thoughts. That made the trip feel like it didn’t take a very long time. When they finally came to the town of Barkmere, two heavily armoured elves stood in front of the gates. She had never been here before but it looked like a cozy little border town. Adriel lead them to an inn. There, Higoht waited. The orc from before. The one that seemed friendly enough, giving them all a good impression. Then Adriel had opened his mouth. The two of them were quite different. How did they get along? The big orc greeted them and ushered them inside. Either he had encountered nidhogg’s before, or he’d been warned about the stench for he immediately directed them towards the baths. Another elf came and lead them there. Gender separated. Though she was by no means shy, that was a relief.

First, she cleaned her armour. She was quick to get it off and find a bucket, a brush and a piece of cloth. Practiced movements made sure she got everything, everywhere. Granted, she wasn’t very large so there wasn’t a lot of armour to clean, but it really didn’t take her long to get it spotless. Arayel finished the process with soap and oils and then placed it on a bench in the room adjacent to the baths. Standing in her undergarments, she took out her casual clothes which was folded neatly and took them with her. There were already people in the baths, relaxing in the warm water. Arayel put down her clothes on a dry bench, far from the water and went to the edge. Shedding her undergarments with a smirk on her lips, she dipped her toe in the water and bit her lip. A few seconds later, she was sitting in the warm water and enjoying every single second of it.




She realised just how long it had been since she’d worn this attire. It felt much softer on her skin, it was easier to move around in and it was beautiful. Black silk with silver patterns and that trademark red sash she keeps tied around her waist. Although she had initially been against it, her hair had been allowed to hang loose, framing her face in soft curls. With elegant strides she entered the room they were to meet in. Higoht sat in a chair that was a little too small for him and began talking to them. First he spoke about the styx snake - a vile creature she’d had the fortune of never encountering - which was apparently going to be their ticket to immunity.
"Adriel told me that he killed a man when he went through his.

“Vaanmalin.” She whispered and smiled, leaning back in her seat. Surprise. Not that she thought he had no restraint or self control in general, but of course he had killed someone during this. With all his hate and bitterness it kind of seemed like karma. Only, it wouldn’t really be since she suspected that Adriel didn’t give a shit.

The rest of the speech was good. He informed them of what they wanted to know and then filled in with the usual. Though she would prefer that Higoht did not ask them about which moral path to take, should they come to an impasse, she was overall satisfied with him. Besides the general information, they would also be pardoned for their crimes. The fame she didn’t really care much about, not the respect either. The wealth, sure. But it was the fact that she could be absolved of her crimes that counted with her. Arayel had to leave a good impression on Higoht at least (she wasn’t sure it was possible with Adriel), so he could recommend that they Watchers spare her. Though he was friendly to behold and listen to, it did feel that there was an underlying tone of warning in his words.

She had been sitting quietly, looking around at new found allies, muttering the occasional word in Elvish and relaxing as much as an assassin and a former high ranking criminal can. When their orc leader wrapped up, she exhaled deeply. It hadn’t scared her off. It had the opposite effect, in fact. Before anyone could say anything, though, the little white haired shit stood and suggested they drink and get on with it. The joke he played on Ezra made her smirk though, but she shook her head. A second later, Ezra jumped up in a flurry of words and chest hair, boldly volunteering as the first to receive the antidote. Then he proceeded to upend a flask with something she assumed was alcohol in it and making a face afterwards. To her right sat Gulfim, the orc. Apparently she had not understood the joke Illeren had made until now. She giggled softly but tried to hide it. Although Arayel is an assassin and kills for a living, enjoying death and illegality, sleeps with both men and women, she does have a heart and that soft sound coming from the orc next to her went straight to it. She extended her hand and placed it on the woman’s shoulder, fixing her vivid eyes on hers and letting out a soft laugh herself. With a final squeeze, she stood and sighed. “Enough!” She stated loudly. “Let’s get it overwith.” She had no time to wait around for that excruciating pain! If that was what it took to become a member of the Serpent’s Gathering and thereby gaining her freedom, there was really only one way to go.

She was escorted down. Deeper below the earth. It was dim and the air was thick with the scent from the candles that provided the light they saw by. At first it looked more like she was to be sacrificed. The stone slab in the middle of the room looked uncomfortable, but she had a feeling that none of this was going to be comfortable. One reassuring thing was that the medicine man looked like he knew what he was doing. Arayel did as she was asked, displaying no fear at all but moving steadily and elegantly over to the stone slab and laying down. Her heart was beating faster and the adrenaline coursed through her veins. She took a deep breaths and closed her eyes, rolling up her sleeve. When the snake was brought forth, she had to looked at it. It was not the horrid monster people described it as. In fact, it was remarkably beautiful. It had shimmering, golden scales and eyes so dark. Fascinated, she looked at the snake and watched it curl back and-

“FUCK YOU! YOU SON OF A WHORE!” She screamed. The bite it self was not particularly painful. Not more than any other snakebite, she supposed. It was the venom. The venom that made your skin feel like it was on fire, blistering and falling off. A pain like this she had never experienced before. Nothing so intense, and nothing so mind-numbingly painful. At first it stung, then it got worse. It felt like her veins were on fire, like the blood had reached the boiling point. Then it spread, quickly. The wound itself was the epicenter of pain. A wound that pulsated with each heartbeat that then sent a wave of pain out through her body. It had now reached her chest and continuously spread. Arayel’s body twisted and turned in pain, her fingers tight and also twisted strangely. The snake was not there anymore. Someone had taken it away and (hopefully) put it back in it’s basket. What was only seconds felt like hours. The pain had spread to her extremities and every single fiber of her being experienced this fresh hell. When it felt like it reached it’s peak, someone managed to pry her jaws apart and pour a mushy substance into her mouth. They forced her mouth shut and made her swallow it, resulting in her body relaxing somewhat. After a few moments she wasn’t writhing, twisting and turning in pain anymore. There were beads of sweat on her skin as she lay there, shaking. She was still in violent pain but whatever it was they made her eat had dampened it. Her breaths grew quicker and she couldn’t quite keep her eyes open. The figures that stood over her spoke words to her, but she couldn’t make out what it was. Arayel tried to speak, but slowly slipped into unconsciousness.

“Wake up.” It sounded muffled, but she heard it. Slowly, her vivid eyes fixed on those above her. It still hurt. It felt as if her bones ached. Her muscles needed rest. She longed for soft pillows. She had survived. They helped her up and let her sit for a while, drinking water. How long she had been unconscious for, she didn’t know but it couldn’t be very long. It didn’t feel like it, anyway. When she was ready, she stood on her feet though they were unsteady. Her legs were wobbly and there was no way she was walking out of that room with all the grace she usually had. Thanking them didn’t feel right so instead Arayel turned her head and said: “Don’t kill any of the others.”.

The door creaked as it swung open and out stepped Arayel, heading up the stairs to get a drink and some sleep.


Arayel approves of Gully’s naivety. +5


Arayel approves of Bo’s leadership. +5


Arayel disapproves of that motherfuckin’ snake bite fuckthatshit.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Jäger
Image


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He had work to do.



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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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

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

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



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

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

It found one.

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg


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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Delete this--double posted because of all those crazy RPGateway errors.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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


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

She would not falter in this.

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

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

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

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

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

Hissing.

Hissing.

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

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

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

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

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

Pathetic.

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

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

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

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




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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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




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

Good times.

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

*Rinárwin marbos = Horrible disease