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Berlioz Sarkozy

The Bull

0 · 464 views · located in Tegea

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

Description

(Theme of Ogre - Street Fighter X Tekken)
(Knifepoint - Dead or Alive 3)


""I live and breathe for Karaba.""


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Berlioz Sarkozy




INTRODUCTION



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"Berlioz Sarkozy from Byda, but my training unit’s been calling me The Bull. Because I can run at people."

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"...This is the serpent’s place...right? I was supposed to be sent to some group after my training."

[B A S I C S]
Speech Coding: ['b'] (Without the apostrophe's.) [....Just bold it.]
Nicknames: The Bull, Bell, Belli, Berli
Gender: Male
Age: 27
Birthday / Sign: May 12th / Taurus
Race: Human
Origin: Byda, in a small village named Peri.
Voice: "You want to hear how I sound?" Though deep, Berlioz's voice is a mimic of his mother’s. Her heavy accent, shrilly whispers and thick roll of the tongue when sleepy was probably the only thing inherited by him.
Class: Knight
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive
Magical Affinity: Medium. His mother was a fantastic mage but Berlioz has a difficult time tapping into that latent power. The only thing he can really do is expel it, which doesn’t do anything besides transform his weapon and armor, and can knock a (very) weak person down to their feet.






PHYSICALITY



[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: Thick, brown, dreaded hair. Smells strongly of cinnamon and grass and is usually pulled back into a bun.
Eyes: Plain brown eyes. They can be sleazily thin when he's concentrating or manic wide when upset.
Complexion: Berlioz’s red-brown skin is radiant and mostly clean. He has small patches of acne around his jawline, but they only pop up when he becomes stressed.
Height: 5'9"
Build: Constantly trying to bulk up his figure, Berlioz’s body fluctuates from being heavily muscled on a slightly lean frame to a mostly muscled figure with a partly bloated stomach.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Body Markings: His body always has at least one or two bruises from sparring and battle. But the two things that are permanent are the tattoos on the back of his hands. The left is the name Yael and the right is the name Karaba.


[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Straight-faced, seemingly aggressive and heavy with muscle, if people didn’t normally move out of Berlioz’s way, his footing eventually would. His heavy gait is secured by constant, conscious pressure being put into his feet, often leaving deep impressions on soft ground. This type of walking makes him appear like he is about to break into a run, which usually alerts people to step aside.

When he isn’t wearing weights or armor, Berlioz likes to walk the streets with a sleeveless black shirt and spandex-like materialed shorts. Or any clothing that accentuates his deep muscling and sky-high buttocks. He says it’s because it’s comfortable. Yeah, right.



Moral Alignment
Neutral/Compassionate.
MENTALITY
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[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Mentally, Berlioz is excellent at one thing: Doing. If he sets his mind to it, he is capable of a wide-range of feats. Need to learn how to knit for Karaba? Expect blankets within a week. Broke his wrist? Time to learn some leg-based martial arts to keep himself primed. Outside genetic and mental limitations, there is little that Berlioz cannot do.

But just because he can do it doesn’t mean it was the best course of action. Berlioz can be so focused on doing he rarely puts thought in how and takes whatever option is right in front of him. If a door is locked, he’ll try to ram right through it, not even noticing the key on the table behind him.

On the emotional aspect, Berlioz is sensitive, intuitive and prone to self-depreciation. Most of the time, criticisms will go straight to his heart and he’ll make it seem worse than what it really is.

Externally, what mostly everyone sees, is a calm and quiet man. When you say his shielding can use some improvement, he’ll thank you for noticing and then return to his tent to mope about how he’s the worst lancer the Serpent’s Gathering has ever been cursed with. He’s stubborn about hiding his sensitivity and will hold his tears for a painfully long time before someone sees him whimper.

The only time he breaks this facade is when someone compliments him. That’s when he, unsuccessfully, tries to hide his boyish, full-faced smile.

[F E A R S]
Berlioz has constant anxiety of letting down the people he cares about. Well, the person he cares about. His irrationality is at it’s highest whenever Karaba even appears to need something. If he can’t sate her desires, it eats away at him and will likely send him into a self-harming depression.

*This fear will transfer to the SG members when/if he starts to enjoy their company.

Berlioz recently obtained a fear of having his ears burned off. Nidhogg scleras ain't nothing to fuck with.

[Q U I R K S]
  • He sub-consciously bites his bottom lip when he makes prolonged eye contact. Can be either suggestive or an anxious tick. It’s usually suggestive.
  • Rarely forgets a name and face.
  • When he hugs someone, his arms go around the person completely and when he shakes hands, he uses both hands to encompass the other person’s hand. He basically has oppressive physical touch.
  • When given unprovoked affection, he blushes and stutters for a few seconds.
  • Loyal to his gut feelings.
  • He trims his own eyebrows, and does other meticulous grooming.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Though he prefers honest work, Berlioz is willing to lie, cheat and steal in order to get the job done. He is hesitant on killing outside of combat and will not kill innocent people. Yet for Karaba, he is willing to stretch his morality even further. And is even willing to betray close friends and alliances.

[A G E N D A]
Berlioz wants nothing more than to make Karaba happy and successful.

[L I K E S]
    • Compliments. Oh stop it, you~
    • Being read to. Berlioz can read on his own, but he prefers not to. If he puts his insecurities aside and asks you to read something to him, it’s because you are special. Or just not a jerk.
    • Patient teachers. Berlioz knows he’s a little slow. And if someone gets frustrated with him, he gets frustrated right back. Patience goes a long way with a bull.
    • Being thought of. Usually being the thoughtful person, Berlioz likes it when people say or do things that shows he was taken into consideration. He doesn’t like to display his gratitude, but his manners won’t allow him to not slip out a thank-you before hiding away a shy smile.
    • Bananas. No further explanation.
    • Bread. Cheap to buy and filling, starches are the staple of his meals and his guilty pleasure when he’s on a diet.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Uppity mothafuckas people. Berlioz worked for everything he had when his mother passed away. And Afua looked down on him being a child of a low-class working man. Being judged by anything but his actions deeply unsettles Berlioz.
    • Cold food. UGH! He’ll even take his milk warm.
    • People who speak with uncertainty. He usually can’t pick up why, so if THEY are unsure, HE is unsure. And then nobody gets anything done.
    • Delicate/easily harmed people. It’s too much stress to be around people like that. The only exception is Karaba, who is hardly delicate.
    • Witty jokes. “What? I don’t get it.”





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




PROWESS

[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Aptitude: [Strong] - ★★★★★☆ He can pick up sword fighting or archery if that’s what was called for. He is like soft clay, ready to be molded into pretty much whatever, whoever sees fit.
  • Stamina: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ In and outside of the bedroom, Berlioz has a lot of energy to spend. He doesn’t use it wisely, but he still has a lot. And he recuperates in a fair enough time as well.
  • Natural Regenerator: [Learning] - ★☆☆☆☆☆ A lot of small physical wounds are healed at an expedited rate. He won’t be closing a cut on his back in combat, but after a day or so, it’ll be completely healed.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Chhaaarrrrge!: [Excellent] - ★★★★★★ Almost put into the Militia class for his ability to pick up any weapon with enough practice, his commanding officer immediately changed his mind when he saw Berlioz do a practice run through a group of men. With the surest of footing and the ability to gain tremendous speed within moments, he can easily knock down men much heavier than himself.
  • Strength Of Five Men:[Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Ok, not really. But he does pack a punch! While he isn’t exactly the best at one-on-one’s, he can knock someone out with ease. As a knight, it makes his attacks punishing when his opponent makes any wrong moves on the field.

[SPELLS | POWERS]
  • Flux: [Learning] - ★★☆☆☆☆ Increasing variety with each star.
    *Flux can be shifted into a throwing spear, losing 50lbs of weight, most of it’s natural width and gaining 2 feet.
    **Flux can now merge into his armor and form sharp blades jutting from the top of his wrists. The blades can be as long as 5 inches.
  • Fatalis: [Learning] - ★☆☆☆☆☆ Increasing variety with each star.
    *The Fatalis armor can be shifted to weigh 10lbs more or 10 lbs less.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • One Track Mind: If you are going to point The Bull in a direction, it better be the right direction. His footing and weight doesn’t allow for him to make sharp turns (or any real deviation from a straight line), so if he starts the charge, he has to come to a complete stop before going another way.
  • A Bit Slow: For someone capable of great things, he sure as shit doesn’t show it. He’s a slow learner and often needs to be spoken to slowly when given directions. And even then, repeating it twice is usually necessary.
  • Overkill: Exaggerated movements, over-extending on a charge and just overall lack of efficiency can tire him out faster than regular knights. What’s the point of building up stamina if you can’t use it properly? Yeesh.
  • Magicians: He can take the fireballs. He can take the icicle storms. But he can’t withstand mental hexes and anything of the like. If there’s a mage on the other side that specializes in mind control, Berlioz has little defense against their manipulation and will likely turn the charge on his own comrades. Best to keep him away from that type of stuff.





ARMAMENT


[A R M O R]
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[C L O T H I N G]
Berlioz owns a special type of armor created with steel and parts of a Fatalis drake. It’s enchanted to shift to his arcane energy and will. It (potentially) can be as light as chainmail or heavier than ogre bones.

[I T E M S]
Berlioz has two small, pink, heart-shaped earrings in his ears. They were a gift from Karaba when she was ten and naive about masculine jewelry and to the fact that piercings were necessary to wear earrings. (Not that it mattered to Berlioz, who immediately pierced his ears then and there to wear them. And proceeded to hide the infections that came after from her concerned eyes.)

Carries a bag filled with miscellaneous items. Current item of interest is Karaba's last letter to him.

[T O K E N S]
Anything done for Yael’s grave, sent to Karaba, or sent from Karaba to let him know she’s OK. A letter from her will revitalize him more than a fine meal, and sending her a necklace inspires him to continue making her happy.

[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
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Weapon Name: Flux
Weapon Type: Enchanted lance and shield
Length (Lance/Shield): 12/4 Feet
Weight(Lance/Shield): 65/30 lbs.
Origin: Created especially for him, just like his armor, Karaba enchanted his lance and shield to change their shape based on his magical energy and willpower.





BACKGROUND


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Single.

Sexuality: Bisexual

[F A M I L Y | T I E S]

{ -100 | 0 | +100 }

    | Yael Sarkozy (Deceased) | [ 100 ]
They've been through poverty together and yet Berlioz remembers nothing but kindness from her up to her last years of living. She was patient and empathetic with his deep-sitting emotions and also fostered his independence and self-discovery. She will always be close to his heart.

    | Karaba Ibori | [ 101 ]
A strained relationship when Karaba was first born, the two have come to love each other as the years went by. Though Karaba thinks and acts differently from Berlioz (and what he would approve of), it doesn’t cause him to lose his big brother disposition. He overlooks most of her snarky attitude and attends to whatever needs she presents to him. And then some.

    | Afua Ibori | [ -80 ]
The pompous biological father of Karaba. While he finally came to accept Karaba as his daughter because of her renowned brilliance, he’s always been critical and harsh towards Berlioz. The only reason Afua’s alive is because Karaba would cry and probably scratch at Berlioz’s face afterwards if he killed him.

[O C C U P A T I O N]
A bodyguard for whatever noblemen who needs protection at the time. His off and on work is supplemented by being a part-time merchant assistant.

[S O C I A L | R A N K]
Berlioz is a nobody. Anybody can replace him in his jobs and he isn’t very influential in general. The acquaintances he have are usually friends of Karaba who live next to him, but he doesn’t talk to them much.

[O P I N I O N S]
Berlioz isn’t concerned with race or culture. If you treat him with respect and don’t do wrong by him, then he couldn’t care less where you came from or what blood runs through your veins. And though he is neutral about social standing and race, he expects others to be so as well. Racism, classism and sexism pisses him off, and any chance of being his friend is lost.

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

    | O r c B r o | [ 04 ]
I’m grateful that he let me in and didn't make anything complicated. I don’t have the patience to argue with the judge again. I could probably enjoy a date with him.

//

Seems to be protective of the orc women. I got the message, Bo.

//

I can confidently follow him into battle.

    | A d r i e l | [ 00 ]
He looks at me weirdly. I think it’s with disgust but I’m too thrown off by his hair to actually concentrate on that. I wonder if I can get my hair into a mohawk too.

    | G r e t c h e n | [ 04 ]
Nice name. Strong and cacophonic. I like the way she turns up her mouth when she spits fire.

//

Don't spit that fire at me.

    | T a n e | [ - 01 ]
Teach me how to use that flail. Please. Or at least let me hold it.

//

Unnecessarily stingy with the flail. :<

    | K i r | [ - 02 ]
Who? Oh, that guy. I honestly didn't know he was around 'til you pointed him out to me.

//

He fainted just by looking at Gretchen. I hope I don't have to babysit him.

    | L a e t y a | [ 00 ]
Bless that tall glass of water. And the club she wields too. I’d ask if she’d teach me, but she might take it the wrong way.

//

Caught me staring. At both her legs and club. And then Bo gave me a look. I'll keep my distance.

    | E z r a | [ 00 ]
He’s alright. My guts telling me to not believe half the things he says, but I still like how he talks a lot. Could make for a good reader.

    | A r a y e l| [ 10 ]
...Says the nicest things... *sigh*

//

She's dangerous. I can feel it in my gut.

    | G u l f i m| [ 05 ]
Stares at me a lot. I want to stare back out of curiosity, but I'm afraid Bo might be creating a harem of the female orcs. The gallows isn't worth the flirt.

    | A u r i l e i t h | [ 00 ]
I didn't know anything could be mounted except for horses. I'd like to hear about how she goes about taming beasts, but I'll be damned if I'm the one to break the ice. My luck with getting to know people in this group has been lackluster.

    | I l l e r e n | [ 05 ]
Very pleasant to be around. I was a little thrown off because I can't understand half of what he's saying, but the parts I do understand, it's usually something shamefully honest or funny. Would never ask him to read something for me, but he'd make a fun sparring partner.

//

Has no regards for his safety. I like that.

//

Stop. SINGING.

    | V a s h a | [ 03 ]
Honestly? I think some of these elves are killers or something. I know it's wrong to make these assumptions without knowing a person but there's just something cold about his eyes. Arayel has the same look and it just throws me off. I hope they don't kill me :< , they walk so quietly.

//

Gods, what a voice. If he doesn't turn out to be a creep, I'd gladly ask him to read me any and every thing.

    | K I S K E | [ 02 ]
She's OK. She keeps staring at me and it's hard to stare back because she's got all that make-up on. Weirrddd looking female, honestly. But those card tricks are freaking neat.


[B I O | H I S T O R Y]
The story starts with the intelligent, yet sultry Yael. Born into poverty and ran away from home at the age of 13, Yael's life was filled with fascinating and horrifying events. Being almost sold into slavery, was twice close to dying from starvation, seeing the stars up close through a looking glass she created and then traveling across the country by enchanting wild mares she came across, there is nothing she hasn't done. Berlioz believes with all the stories Yael told him, he could make a big book out of it. And that's only with the tales she chose to reveal to her son. Berlioz still learns new things about his eccentric mother to this day, and most of the time, it's things he doesn't want to hear.

For the truth was, as fondly as he remembers her, Yael wasn't just some free spirit he originally thought she was. Nor was she wholly honest in all she told him.

His father, Jacques, wasn't a famous writer from across the seas. He was a guard in Rhiosa when they began courting and living together. He abandoned Yael when he found out she was pregnant, leaving her homeless and forced to return back to her hut in Peri. She couldn't leave the hut often, so she started to use her magic to invent things to sell out of her home. And it was probably the first time Yael gained popularity in a good light. Inventing and selling in the daytime, she spent her afternoons and nights teaching young Berlioz all she learned from traveling across the country.

While her inventions didn't sell for much, they still could afford to eat and maintained a good home, since Berlioz learned how to take care of the hut and even cooked at a young age to relieve stress from his mother's work day. Sheltered and secured in happiness, Berlioz spent the first 7 years of his life unaware that he was poor, let alone at the bottom of the social construct that was class.

But Afua made him well-aware of how little the world thinks of him. Afua Ibori was a well-known nobleman in Byda, who frequented the poor villages on the outskirts of the kingdom with his companions to amuse themselves with the lives of people from lesser blood. His snarky comments and upturned nose didn't affect Yael when he visited her in-home shop. She only looked at him with tired brown eyes and asked if he was going to buy anything. He lied and told his friends he wanted to buy land in Peri to build a personal garden, but he really continued to frequent that village because he'd never been looked at with such a nonchalant attitude before. And he was intrigued by Yael's simple beauty.

The nights where Yael would spend with her son was snatched away by Afua, who would come to her door a few hours after sundown and take her away until the morning. Worse still for the lonely Berlioz, he later begun visiting her in the day, often talking about proposals and his acres across the kingdom. He pretended to not notice Berlioz when the two were in the same room, and when they were alone, Afua would talk to Berlioz like he was an animal. A filthy, flea-ridden animal. Reaching the epitome of disgusting, Afua proposed to Yael a few weeks later, offering her a comfortable home for the rest of her life, as long as she threw out Berlioz and started a new family with him.

Berlioz was almost sure she'd say yes, as even he was tempted with all the things Afua promised to Yael day after day. He was happy that Yael turned him down, but a large part of him felt guilty afterwards. He felt like he was the reason his mother couldn't have freshly baked cookies every afternoon and floors that had wood to cover the dirt when you walked into the house. And when Yael bruised Afua's pride, the opportunity to change her mind was gone with him by the end of the day.

Determined to give his mother the life he'd taken away, Berlioz spent his days looking around the village to earn coin. He found work as a farm-hand and did all that he could to get as much money out of the day as possible. But his extra income didn't do much for their situation, because shortly after, Yael started to show in her pregnancy, something she tried to hide from both Afua and Berlioz. But this time, she didn't have the energy to invent or even leave the house. And suddenly, the slightly bratty, ignorant, home-schooled Berlioz mentally grew up at least 10 years past his time. He spent all day working to come home and take care of his mother.

When Karaba was prematurely born, Yael's weakness was amplified. She couldn't get out of bed and had to be forced to eat twice a day because of her tremendous loss of appetite. And though Berlioz had matured during the last year, he couldn't help but to harbor a small hatred for baby Karaba. Like Afua, Karaba's presence in Berlioz's and Yael's life was parasitic. The pregnancy made his mother weak and pushed them further into poverty, and her birth almost killed Yael. But luckily, their mother pushed through for two more years. When Karaba was able to form cohesive sentences, Yael succumbed to death, after making Berlioz promise he would take care of his younger sister.

For the next 7/8 years, it was hell. Berlioz had to put with the brattiest kid he's ever known, and had to constantly remember Yael's last words to not strangle his younger sister when growing up. If it wasn't trying to make her stay for her lessons in church, it was getting her to eat her vegetables. Which he worked all day to afford to put on the table and then properly cook. When Berlioz was on the brink of giving up on being a guardian, Karaba was kidnapped by a few slave traders. Berlioz only found out about it when she was missing for two days straight and searched all over for her. He found her and a few other young girls a few villages away from Peri and went to town on the scumbags who managed to trigger The Bull's temper. He freed all the girls but didn't stick around for the recognition, he just rushed home to give Karaba the spanking of a lifetime for not coming straight home after her lessons and also grounded her for a whole year.

Thankfully, Karaba's attitude changed. She was still a brat, but she was a sensible brat. And she gained respect for Berlioz. Their tense relationship slowly eased into something less taut and more loving. While Karaba became more focused in her education and developing her natural talent for inventive magic, Berlioz helped her get into a distinguished mage academy in Rhiosa and helped her afford the trip there. And like a cruel irony, it was when Berlioz finally came to the point when he did things for Karaba because he wanted to and genuinely loved his sister (and not because he would hate to go back on his promise to Yael), was it already time to send her away. This course of actions intensified Berlioz's love for Karaba. His pent-up hatred was assuaged, they were finally coming out of poverty and she was the central focus in his life.

So with all that love to give and only letters to express it, Berlioz often teetered on the brink of mania when it comes to his beloved Karaba. Such as when she had her first bleeding, her first suitor (followed by a never-ending trail of lovers), her finding and connecting with her 'long, lost' father Afua, and when she told him one of her male companions slapped her when they got into an argument.

A few days later, he was in Rhiosa and attempted to take the same man's life. Come to find out, he was a wealthy nobleman, and always traveled with bodyguards. Stupidly enough, he still attacked the carriage, attempting to fight four men at once with just a dagger to get revenge for his sister. He barely lost the resulting fight and was taken to court. What would have been an open and shut case was salvaged by Karaba and one of the bodyguards whom Berlioz had attacked. While Karaba argued that he could do community service, the bodyguard offered to put Berlioz's strength to good use and send him to the Serpent's Gathering. The judge finally agreed and sentenced Berlioz to do basic training at a Silver Knights camp and then become a member of the Gathering.

Only to find out a week later through a coded letter that Karaba poisoned the man and he was going to die soon. So he was 'a stupid oaf' for thinking Karaba wasn't capable of defending herself. A little annoyed with his own hot-headedness but grateful things didn't turn out for the worse, Berlioz is ready to do what he needs to do to get back to his normal life.

[F L A G S]
Karaba’s Greatest Invention!: Karaba is always in need of coin. But this time, it’s for something big; She wants to create a device that can help people fly short distances! What use does that serve? Berlioz has no idea. But he wants to help however he can. He needs to find a way to get a lot of money to his beloved sibling!

So begins...

Berlioz Sarkozy's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lumbering beast.

(Gulfim slightly disapproves in herself: -10 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: 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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Image




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

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

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

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

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!




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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: 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: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: 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: 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: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy

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

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

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

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

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

Goodbye, Belli.

Karaba.


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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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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