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Ezra Bravesteel

"I'm here to kick ass and save princesses. And I'm all out of princesses!"

0 · 567 views · located in Tegea

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

Description


Holding Out For A Hero
Africa
You Give Love A Bad Name


"A coward goes from dust to dust, a hero from dust to glory."


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INTRODUCTION



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"Ezra Bravesteel, adventurer extraordinaire, rescuer of fair maidens, and slayer of--hey! I wasn't finished!"

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"We're all here to save the world, I just have the best hair."


[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Heartseeker, Firebrand, and Drakeslayer are titles he legitimately earned in his early days of heroism. Anything else he might call himself has about a 50% chance of actually being true. He was also affectionately called Easy(as in E.Z.) by his childhood crush.
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Race: Human
Origin: Alderbrook, a small fishing village in Airedale.
Voice:
Class: Blackguard
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive
Magical Affinity: Medium






PHYSICALITY



Image[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: Ezra's dark hair is his pride and joy. As such, it's almost always perfectly styled and well kept. He always carries a small comb in order to fix it in the field if it gets messed up.
Eyes: Amber, like fall leaves shortly before they turn red.
Complexion: Fair. Surprisingly so, for someone who leads such an active lifestyle.
Height: 6 feet even.
Build: Athletic. Lean and muscular but by no means built like a tank.
Weight: 185lbs
Body Markings:
None, not even a single scar.

[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Ezra describes himself as exceptionally handsome and in superb physical condition, with a heroically masculine jawline. This is mostly true. Over a decade of adventuring has given him a chiseled body that even the most cynical of women can't resist raising an eye at. His dark hair is always perfectly conditioned and styled, and he even carries a small comb around to make spot corrections in the field. Combined with his above-average height and well groomed beard, Ezra is many a woman's definition of "tall, dark, and handsome". His face is unmarred by scars, and is made up of all the features one might attribute to a fairy tale hero. He is adept at striking heroic poses and has the natural charm and charisma to match it. His smile is known across the human kingdoms for it's ability to make any woman blush, and he generally carries himself upright and proud.

Ezra's armor is surprisingly unadorned and simple, although very finely crafted. Lightweight, easy to maneuver in, and covered in hidden pockets and sleeves, his armor clearly marks him as a freelancer. He takes extremely good care of it, and regularly has it repaired and refitted, to ensure it's effectiveness. When not going into battle, Ezra is a bit of a dandy. His clothes should match his dashing good looks, after all. He keeps a team of tailors on retainer to ensure his wardrobe is up to date and fashionable.



Moral AlignmentChaotic Egocentric.

MENTALITY

[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Ezra is a self described dashing hero, a charming ladies man, and a manly slayer of all things deadly and dangerous. While this is a bit of an exaggeration, he is by no means a chump. He possesses the skill to back up his braggadocio, and while the women with more agency than most are typically immune to his charm, the daughters of blacksmiths and tailors across the continent line up just in the hope that he will look their way. His reputation is mostly deserved, but he has become haughty and arrogant, and although he is undeniably still a badass, his pride is definitely a glaring weakness. Because of this, his attitude can also be a problem; while most people who only know him via reputation are often star struck in his presence, anyone who takes the time to know him will come to realize that he is a self-centered, egotistical jerk who only saves the day for the glory and to feed his own vanity. Indeed, while most humans know him as a hero, he is really kind of a dick, often employing less than reputable tactics to win the day. While such actions are expected of blackguards, they are surprising when they come from someone who claims to be a virtuous hero.

Ezra isn't all bad, however. For every moment of arrogance, there is one of confidence, and for every dog kicked, there is one pet. While he may have selfish reasons for saving damsels in distress, the fact is that he still goes out of his way to save them. He may be a egotistical jerk, but who else is stepping up to save the world? He deserves some points for that, at least. When he's not busy being a vain, narcissistic douchebag, he can be downright likeable. He has a good sense of humor and a charming wit, and when having a friendly conversation with him, it is easy to forget his selfish attitude. He's loyal to those he considers friends, and his douchebaggery comes more from him being self-centered than from him putting down others. In fact, he loves when one of his comrades scores glory for themselves, and he's quick to "bro out" with anyone who he considers to be a badass on par with himself.

[F E A R S]
In his own words, Ezra fears being less than legendary. He is aware that humans are the shortest lived of the dominant races, and rather than aspire to the impossibility of physical immortality, he hopes to attain immortality through heroic deeds and recognition. The idea of dying and being forgotten is so horrifying to him that he goes out of his way to be extra impressive in front of people more likely to spread his exploits, such as bards and minstrels.

He's also afraid of aquatic animals larger than his hand. There's something just not right about the way eels slither through water.

[Q U I R K S]
  • Bar'd: Ezra drinks, and when he gets drunk, he sings. He's actually pretty decent too, and it wouldn't be so bad if he didn't only and exclusively sing about his own exploits, half of which are most likely blatant lies.
  • Large Ham: Ezra can come across as larger than life, particularly when his heroic feats are the topic at hand. He is prone to poetic speeches complete with dramatic gestures. It would be funny, if his seriousness did not instead make it sad.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Ezra's hair is always perfect. This is due to a combination of constant conditioning, in-field and even in-combat styling, and a minor little magical charm that makes his hair almost impossible to become tussled or matted or messy. Even when removing a helmet, his hair will be miraculously perfect.
  • I Am Not Left Handed: Ezra loves pulling this one. Typically, most of the chumps he fights in his adventures are no match for him, and so he has invented ways to keep the fighting more entertaining. In addition to handicapping himself, he also tends to perform flashy, unnecessary combat tricks, especially when there are onlookers, as opposed to simply ending the fight efficiently.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
“A hero is sworn to valor.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.”


Ezra swore by this code in his youth, when he first picked up a blade and saved a damsel. He espouses it when anyone asks why he does what he does. As the years went by, and his fame(and pride) grew, it became less of a personal creed and more of a catchphrase. Although he doesn't actively subvert it, and follows it when it's advantageous to do so, it rings a bit hollow these days. He is by no means a criminal, however, just a jackass.

[A G E N D A]Image
Ezra set out in his youth not to win glory, but to make the world a better place. From saving village maidens to driving off bandits, Ezra was determined to make a difference, and didn't care about the recognition. The thing was, despite being of low birth, he did win recognition, and a lot of it. By twenty-two, Ezra Bravesteel had become known across the human kingdoms as a hero for the commoner and the noble alike. He was young, and famous, and rich, and despite his good intentions, he fell victim to the corrupting influence of pride and money. He was still killing drakes and saving maidens, but now the quest was all about him, and all about his success. And here we find him today, addicted to the fame and glory that comes with saving the day. Some part of him, however deep inside, wants to be a hero pro bono again. Volunteering for a possible death sentence fighting the pestilence(something he would usually avoid because, y'know, he enjoys living) might be a result of that.


[L I K E S]
    • Showing off. Ezra is really good at a lot of things. So good that he can't help but show off in front of others, particularly women. He spends much of his alone time practicing totally unnecessary spins and flourishes, so he can actually get away with showing off in combat. He's also taken trash talking to a new level, delivering some pretty hot one liners to foes who do more than inconvenience him.
    • Saving the day. Lately it's more about the recognition received from saving the day. He will not claim another's glory, however, unless they are dead. Even then he is picky.
    • Women. His standards for beautiful are all over the place, and don't seem to follow a logical pattern. However, he always seems to go after diminutive blondes.
    • His hair. It's flawless, and it magically(literally because of actual magic) stays the perfect length and perfectly styled. He even styles it in combat, between dispatching enemies. This tactic actually works as an extremely effective taunt, as sentient foes get really pissed when you kill their buddy and then take the time to fix your hair before moving on to them.
    • His Blade. No, his sword is literally named His Blade(after the line from his code, which is engraved along the blade.) He had it made for him at some point before he became a famous asshole, and it is of superb quality. It even has blood grooves(okay, fullers). It's mostly unadorned, but damn is it sharp, and Ezra is no slouch when it comes to maintaining it.
    • Trace Merrow. "She's...she's wonderful. Perfect. Beautiful. Smart. Almost as good as I am with a blade."

[D I S L I K E S]
    • He kind of hates that he has become a arrogant prick, but rather than fix it, he just ignores it, thus why he hates anyone who points it out.
    • Strategy. "A plan? How's this for a plan: I walk in and all the bad guys fall over. The end."
    • Orcish food. The tingly-burny sensation on his tongue is something he'd never like to experience again. It did give a new appreciation for milk, however.
    • Downers. Seriously. He might be a jerk but goddammit, he's really peppy. Anybody who gives up at the slightest opposition, or who is always a nay-sayer, really puts him off. Really, it's about the apathy and laziness involved. As someone who had worked hard to get to where he is, and succeeded, he gets irritated by anyone who is content to just sit and wait for someone else to save them.
    • Trace Merrow. "The queen bitch, for sure. Liar. Thief. Traitor. Worst of all, better than I am with a blade!"





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

You have a limit of 20 stars.




PROWESS

[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Enterprising Young Man: [Competent] - ★★★★☆☆ Ezra certainly is a hard worker. Nearly all of his accomplishments are the result of honest hard work. Indeed, he was born to a poor fisherman and had nothing handed to him. Despite his current selfishness and arrogance, Ezra maintains this work ethic, and it allows him to accomplish virtually anything he sets his mind to.
  • Recovering from Pride: [Scrub] - ☆☆☆☆☆☆ Though he isn't about to admit it, he's begun to grow tired of being the guy who all his friends hate, but everyone who doesn't know him personally loves. He wants to return to his glory days before all he craved was glory, back to when he saved princesses because it was right, as opposed to doing it for the recognition. He wants very much to go back to being a real hero, but he has a really big ego to overcome first.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Swordplay: [Strong] ★★★★★☆ Swordsmanship is Ezra's prime skill and his main claim to fame. While he is no slouch in other areas, swords are his specialty, and there are few who are his equal in sheer skill. Ezra is in fact so good that he fights with his left hand simply as a way to make things more interesting, and delights in opportunities where he can switch hands and reveal he's been holding back.
  • Aggressive: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Blackguards are feared for their unpredictable styles and use of disruptive and guerrilla style tactics that some might consider dishonorable. Blackguards, of course, prefer the term practical. Ezra, who follows the path of the Aggressive over that of the Deceptive, focuses on the "disruptive" side of blackguards. His in-your-face positioning and barrage of attacks trips up opponents and leaves them vulnerable. This is particularly useful against mages and anyone who factors precision into their fighting style.
  • Jack of All Trades: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ As a blackguard and experienced hero, Ezra finds himself in possession of a number of useful skills with applications both in and out of combat. He has general experience and knowledge of all sorts of things, even if he hasn't taken the time to master any of them.

[SPELLS | POWERS]
  • Flash of the Blade: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Ezra channels the majority of his magic through his blade to increase it's effectiveness. Against non-magical blades, his will most always triumph, even breaking some of the weaker ones on contact. His attacks do slightly better against armor than ordinary blades, and magical foes find their spell power dampened slightly with each successful hit. There's also a variety of minor or entirely aesthetic cantrips placed on the blade, such as being constantly shiny or having the handle being scalding to touch by any hand other than Ezra's,
  • Firebrand: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Ezra is roughly on par with an average mage when it comes to fire magic. The fire he creates burns hotter, brighter, and larger than when he started out, and he can summon it more easily and at a lesser toll on his body. Without a weapon, Ezra can rely on his ability to create fire to fight against most normal enemies.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • Master of None: Ezra is good at sword fighting, but there's always someone better. Other than that, he doesn't really specialize in one area too much over another, and while this lets him cover a broad range of tasks and jobs, there are some things better left to professionals.
  • Arrogant Prick: Ezra is so confident in his abilities that he handicaps himself on purpose. He lets his pride get in the way of doing something efficiently, and he has a serious case of self-centered jerk to work through.
  • Not an Island: Ezra could fight mooks all day. Even more experienced enemies don't give him much trouble on their own. Alas, he cannot take on the whole world by himself, even if he would like to say he can. He has to rely on the help of allies, or else he could become easily overwhelmed.






ARMAMENT


[A R M O R]
Finely crafted but mostly unadorned. Black stained steel pauldrons over a leather tunic or cloth tabard, steel and leather gauntlets, steel plated leather boots, and cloth trousers under light steel and leather thigh and knee guards. Lightweight and built as a compromise between speed and protection, Ezra's armor is almost deceptively plain. His hunting knife, as well as a variety of tricks and useful knickknacks are carefully concealed and easily accessible should he need to pull a fast one on an opponent to gain an advantage. Occasionally, in colder climates, he will don a white traveler's cloak.

[C L O T H I N G]
Ezra is a bit of a connoisseur of fine clothes. One could even make the case that he's a bit of a dandy, although he lacks the effeminate attitude and aversion to physical activity. Regardless, Ezra loves his fancy clothes, to the point that he keeps a team of tailors on retainer to ensure his wardrobe is fashionable and perfectly fitted. It took a great deal of convincing for him to allow them to stay behind. That said, he's not particularly against wearing simple clothes, although he usually only does so when on extended missions, in order to keep his finer clothes in good shape.

[I T E M S]
Travelling pack filled with:
A flask filled with a grey/green/black mixture that smells similar to rubbing alcohol.
A water sack, also filled with alcohol. Cheap wine this time.
A small blade maintenance kit(whetstone, file, oil, polish, etc)
A small, very fine ivory comb.
Lots and lots of jerky from various animals. All mixed together and not labeled.

[T O K E N S]
Books on magical history/artifacts/theory.

[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
Weapon Name: His Blade
Weapon Type: Longsword
Length: 40 inch blade. 10 inch handle.
Weight: Medium(feels lighter in his hand due to magic)
Origin: Forged specifically for him as a reward for killing the drake that had been harassing the village of Crester.

[O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
Weapon Type: Hatchet
Length: 16 inches.
Weight: Light
Origin: Run of the mill hatchet with a variety of uses, from backup weapon to firewood chopper.

Weapon Type: Hunting Knife
Length: 5 inch blade, 4 inch handle
Weight: Very Light
Origin: Ezra can't even remember where he bought this. Less of a weapons and more of a tool. He has killed with it, however, so it counts.






BACKGROUND


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Single and straight. Into one night stands(and has quite a few of them) but never anything long term, no. His heart is reserved for the one woman who will never have him, Trace Merrow, a diminutive, aggressive blonde. Ezra's type is, unsurprisingly, diminutive, aggressive blondes.

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

    | Brant | [ 100 ]
Ezra's father, a blacksmith in a small fishing village. A good man, if a bit dull. But no one ever said simplicity was a bad thing. He taught Ezra the value of hard work and diligence, and Ezra loved him like, well, a father.

    | Aeria | [ 100 ]
Ezra's mother. An adventurer in her youth, she settled down with a small village blacksmith to raise a child. She was killed fighting bandits when Ezra was five, and although he doesn't remember much, he does recall her beauty and kindness and warm smile.

    | Trace Merrow | [ 100 ][ -100 ][ ??? ][ WTF ]
Ah, Trace. The history between Ezra and Trace, his one time fiance/rival is long and complicated, and to tell it all would require significantly more alcohol than is currently available in Autumour. Suffice it to say he is utterly in love with her, and would try to kill her if he had the chance. Ever his match with blade and wit, Trace is responsible for igniting his passion for heroics, as well has his increasing alcoholism and glory addiction. There is a LOT of baggage here.


[O C C U P A T I O N]
Professional hero-for-hire. What this amounts to is mercenary, although he is an honorary knight in Byda and Airedale, and his travelling hero status makes him very popular with the common folk.


[S O C I A L | R A N K]
Technically nobility, due to honorary knighthood, but in practice closer to wealthy commoner, like a rich merchant. He is widely known across the human kingdoms, though he has never even set foot in the lands belonging to the other races, and as such has no idea what his reputation, if any, is there.

[O P I N I O N S]
  • Humans: His own race. "We are what we make ourselves to be."
  • Elves: Pointy-eared, long lived humans? He has noticed that they are often condescending, but he promptly proceeded to show up or kill any elf who ever talked down to him, so it's not like it ever really effects him. He doesn't understand racism.
  • Orcs: Honorable, if a bit weird. Their traditional food is atrocious, and they don't drink alcohol to compensate for it. Ezra was companions with a lady orc for a year a couple years back, and she was one of the best comrades he had ever fought alongside. Again, he doesn't really "get" racism.
  • Silver Knights: "Pshh, these blokes wish they were as good as I am." Too slow, too military, and too haughty for Ezra's taste.
  • Pestilence: Possibly the worst thing imaginable. Maybe even worse than Trace. Maybe.
  • Serpent's Gathering: It's about time Ezra returned to doing something legitimately selfless for a change. And it's not like he was gonna live forever anyway, right?

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

    | O r c B r o | [ 65 ]
The First. The Leader. Well, if Ezra wasn't gonna lead, he's glad it's this guy. He really likes that Bo is so confident and pleasant. Good vibes. Good start to this whole adventure.

    | A d r i e l | [ 15 ]
Ehh. Ezra appreciates his skill, and assumes there must be a reason Adriel is here. He, however, didn't realize it was even possible to be so self-centered. It also doesn't help that he's maliciously racist.
// Pompous and seems sticky. -5
    | Grits | [ 50 ]
Of course, he gets put on a team with a diminutive, aggressive blonde, who is around the same age as Trace. Can we not talk about how angry/turned on he is?

    | Tane| [ 35 ]
A little too pious for Ezra, but not bad. He's mostly glad that the brunt of enemy attacks will be aimed at Tane, rather than himself.

    | Kir| [ 00 ]
"Wait, this guy is a part of our group? He's so quiet, I thought he was like, a guard, or a nameless bystander."

    | Cutie| [ 75 ]
"You guys, Cutie and I go way back. Tell them about the time we hunted a pack of direwolves halfway across Airedale! Ooh! Or when that rogue Rhiosian sorcerer had us cornered and we had to pull the reverse sparrowtail gambit to get him! Good times!"

"Fine. Fine! Just tell them how I distracted him with spontaneous dance and you hit him with a club."

    | The Bull| [ 50 ]
"A knight who isn't a total pompous snob? Someone who enjoys listening to me talk? Possible sparring partner here I come!"

    | Gully| [ 45 ]
"Gully! Want to hear about when I defeated Galdazor Giantsbane in single combat? Or when I stood alone against the rioting mobs during Tamzin's Rebellion? I have plenty of fun stories to share!"
// Awwwwkward ;P +5
    | Aura| [ 35 ]
"I hope I look half as good as her when I'm in my seventies. Can't get a good read on her, but she is a looker!"

    | Ray| [ 40 ]
"I like watching her walk away. What? I'm not only into blondes!"

    | Ill| [ 75 ]
Ezra is gonna bro it out hard with Illeren. He can just tell.
// "COCK!" +35

    | Vashy| [ 25 ]
"Bait? You mean, I kill the baddies and get the glory while you sit in the back and cut yourself? No, seriously, if you're so into pain I can test my sword on you, all you have to is ask. xD"
Ezra likes Vasha precisely because Vasha hates him. That kinda opposition reminds him what an asshole he has become.
[B I O | H I S T O R Y]
Thirty-three years ago, a middle aged adventuress passed through the small fishing village of Alderbrook, in Airedale. She bore the name Aeria, and while no bard could tell you tales of them, she had her exploits about the land. In Alderbrook, she lay with the town's blacksmith, Brant, before moving on to more adventure. Just over nine months later, she returned, a young baby boy in her arms. Settling down, Aeria and Brant named their son Ezra and, in his own words, "A legend was born."

As much as they tried to live a simple life, fate tends to bring trouble to people like Aeria, and when Ezra was five, the village of Alderbrook fell under siege by an unusually organized group of bandits. Too far from the capital to warrant any sort of military presence, and lacking a militia capable of challenging the bandits alone, Aeria took up her sword again, despite her age. She led the militia against the bandits and, against all odds, won. Their celebrations would be short lived, however, as their victory was of the Pyrrhic variety. Aeria defeated the bandit leader in single combat, but her injuries were too severe, and she soon succumbed to them, leaving Brant to raise Ezra alone.

The days and months and years went on, with Brant raising Ezra as best as he could. It sounds bad, but Ezra probably had it better than most commoners. Alderbrook did well for it's size, and as the town blacksmith, Brant had no shortage of work and thus no shortage of money. When Ezra was ten, he began training as his father's apprentice. The work was hard, and dull, and Ezra got burned a lot, but he doesn't regret a bit of it. He learned how to forge and maintain all manner of arms and armor, as well as how how to make all sorts of useful tools. Most importantly, he learned the value of hard work, a virtue he would never forget.

As he grew into his teen years, Ezra filled increasingly with wanderlust and a desire for adventure. It seemed he had more of his mother in him than just her good looks. It was also around this time that he met Trace of Tarrendal, possibly the most important person in his life. He was fourteen, tall and lanky and full of hormones. She was thirteen, an early bloomer and easily the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He fell for her the very day she moved with her uncle to Alderbrook, and they became quite close.

Ezra and Trace spent almost all of their free time together, to the point that seeing one without the other was a cause for alarm in Alderbrook. She was mysterious and exciting, and Ezra always found himself chasing after her on another adventure, before they even had a chance to rest from their last. Her outgoing nature and witty personality unlocked something within Ezra. Or, more accurately, lit a fire under his ass and kicked his sense of adventure into high gear. At seventeen, the two of them (full of hormones and fucking like rabbits) finally stumbled across what they had been looking for: a genuine quest to undertake. Briony, the daughter of the (very) minor lord who served as warden of the region, had been kidnapped, and was in need of rescue. The lord offered a sizable bounty for anyone who would bring her back unharmed. So the two of them geared up in the middle of the night with weapons and armor a little too big for them from Brant's shop, "borrowed" a pair of horses from Trace's uncle, and rode off into the night.

The "quest" turned out to be a false alarm, as the girl had not in fact been kidnapped. She ran away, herself enamored with the idea of going on an adventure, and while the knights and mercenaries searched well known bandit hideouts for her, Ezra and Trace found her trying to steal bread from a baker because, in her adventuring plan, she had not accounted for food. After collecting the bounty and returning to Alderbrook, Ezra and Trace had only one thought on their mind: "Lets do it again!"

And they did. A lot, actually. With rigorous training and a lot of determination, Ezra Smithson and Trace of Tarrendal began forging a reputation. As you might now realize, Bravesteel and Merrow are not, actually their surnames. What kind of commoner has surnames like that? As their reputations grew, they decided they needed more heroic sounding names. Ezra chose his because heroes should be brave, and steel had a manly sound to it. Trace took hers from a character in one of her favorite books. It was around this time, shortly after Ezra's 21st birthday, that they became engaged.

Then, it happened. Ezra likes to dramatically call it, The Fall, but that's a tad pretentious. He was madly in love with Trace, and their wedding was only days away. They had only one last job to do, and it was supposed to be simple. A rare magical tome had been stolen from a Rhosian academy, and an obscene amount of gold was offered for it's return. Even Ezra, who didn't know that much about serious magic theory or history, knew that the reward was way disproportionate for a simple tome, even a rare one, and he got the feeling something fishy was going on. Things were made even weirder for him when, after they had recovered the tome, Trace couldn't stop herself from obsessively reading it and, when the time came to return it, killed the mage who was to take the tome from them, and then engaged Ezra in a heated duel, all without an explanation. Of course, Trace had always been slightly better than Ezra with a blade, even if he loathed to admit it, and she bested him. Angry and confused, Ezra begged for an explanation, but she wouldn't give him one. She wouldn't even kill him, saying only that they'd see each other again. Taking the tome, she left, and he hasn't seen her since.

Ezra tracked her for a while, but never caught her. From what he was able to gather, she was stealing magic tomes and artifacts from all over the human lands. Eventually, after a year with no luck catching her, he simply gave up. He returned to adventuring and heroics, albeit with less idealistic zeal and more alcohol, and soon, he was the man he is today, a glory hound with a reputation for chasing feisty blonde girls in taverns.

Skip to a week before the Gathering, and Ezra finds himself approached by an agent of the Bydan Queen. Heroes were needed, and no one was more qualified as a hero than Ezra. Sick of heroics-for-fame and wanting to get back to his old self, Ezra agrees to think about it, but when the agent mentions that one of the artifacts stolen by Trace was found in the burnt remains of a village claimed by the Pestilence, he wastes no time signing up.

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[F L A G S]
Trace, or any of the artifacts she stole, or any lead on where she is or what she is doing or why she is doing it. He perks up like a prairie dog any time anything that even remotely connects to her is brought up.

So begins...

Ezra Bravesteel's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


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

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

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




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

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

"Right.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, what?

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by iCakez
Image


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

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

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

“We. Don’t. Speak. Elvish!”

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

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

“Surprised I didn’t kill you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…told you she fucked him.”

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

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

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

A COCK! ‘is ‘air looks like a cock!

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

“This should be interesting.”

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Laetya approves of Higoht: +4 approval)

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What in the world is going on?




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gray
Image


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

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

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

“Cock.”

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

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

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

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




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





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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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

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



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Image


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

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

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

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

"Can someone help up the master adventurer down there? You there, harlot, as you caused this, I'm sure you're equally capable of waking him. Do it... nicely. The rest of you, unless you feel inclined to aid her, be ready to move. The sooner we're on our way, the sooner we get to show up the Silver Knights."

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

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




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

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

“I will not be helping to slay the beast. You’ll do everything on your own, I’ll probably just sit on a rock somewhere and judge your performance.” Adriel spoke and then pranced off to his perch. If anyone was upset about being forced to fight this monster without Adriel, it wasn't Ezra. He was practically giddy.

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Image




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

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

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

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

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
Image



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

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

Excitement simmered through Vasha’s veins.





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

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

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

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

“Yes, actually.” Vasha walked from the middle of the pack to the front, looking out at the Nidhogg for a brief moment before speaking. “You all may have knowledge of this beast, but regardless, I suggest you listen to my words. It may save you some frustration and even your life.” Vasha's drawl was slow and sure, commanding obedience. He pointed at the oscillating boils that covered the monster, “Those boils are our best bet. I strongly encourage you all to pick people to work with, taking turns to burst a boil while the other attacks on the opposite side. Coordinate accurately and immediately, as even though popping the boil gives us a window to act, the distraction will wear off all too soon.”

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

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

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




Vasha slightly approves of Adriel's resourcefulness: +3

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

"Come here often?" He said.

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

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




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

Too much fucking talking though.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Ezarael
Laetya

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


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




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

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

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

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

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

...Whatever that job was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There goes breakfast.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

One step...two st-

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

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

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

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

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

At least today wasn’t boring.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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"Hesitation's unbecoming, maggots."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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


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

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




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

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

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

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

Stop!

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

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

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

Of course not.




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

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

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

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

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

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

Arayel approves of Ezra's flashiness +5


Arayel greatly approves of Vasha's courage +10


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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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: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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The remainder of the battle passed quickly, and Ezra did little of note. A few quick slashes dispatched a straggling baby nidhogg, and the next thing he knew, they were leaving. Adriel seemed...pleased? Ezra couldn't quite place it. Then again, he noticed as they neared Barkmere, most of what was going on was fuzzy. It wasn't until Illeren was standing in front of him, stark naked as he relaxed in a warm bath did he realize that he didn't remember getting there. It was the shock of the sight, mostly, that brought him back to reality. Perhaps he had used too much magic fighting the nidhogg, or perhaps he had a minor concussion. Either way, that was out of his mind as he tried to shake the memory of what he just saw. Why couldn't it have been the blonde?

Afterwards, they all gathered around the table. Ezra had found himself a comfortable evening attire, including a shirt which exposed far too much of his chest, and his chest hair, to meet anyone's(except, perhaps, Illeren) standard of modesty. Regardless, it looked good, and he looked good, and people would look, and he would be happy, so he wore it. Besides, he'd be stuck in armor for the foreseeable future anyway.

Ezra arrived with some of the others, not early but not late, and took a seat across from Illeren, who had his feet kicked up on the table and was sharpening his sword. Ezra suddenly felt like he should have brought his sword to compare. Still, he brought his own toys to occupy him, and he sighed in a relaxing fashion as he removed a small hand mirror and his special comb from somewhere in the folds of his clothing, and began to style his hair and beard while the others filed in.

The orc, their leader, who introduced himself as Higoht, explained the method by which the group of them were expected to gain immunity to the pestilence. Get bit by a snake, take the antidote. How bad could it be? Ezra had been bitten by plenty of things, and in his experience snakes weren't that bad. Orc women, on the other hand...

As the orc came to a close, Illeren stood and pointed his blade across the table at Ezra jokingly and erupted,
“Well enuff wastin time then! Let’s drink a brew and avoid ghoulification shall we? Ladies first!”

Ezra jumped up in response, as if it was a challenge.

"Ha! I'll go first. Bring on the snake." He quickly retrieved his flask and downed whatever was in it. Honestly, he couldn't remember, but he choked and giggled as the sludgy liquid drained down his throat. "Phuh...fuck. Can't feel any worse than whatever that was."