The Third, The Gretch - Militia.

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


Damn, everyone's a critic.
Wretched Automatons




"Names aren't important. Status and wealth, bullshit constructs. Fact is that I'm here, and I'm... behaving."

"A disease--a fucking cough, hic, and sneeze disease--has invaded my goddamned turf!"

[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Gretch, usually. She finds Grits acceptable, too.
Gender: Female.
Age: 31.
Race: Human.
Origin: Unknown, but lately she's made a living in Byda.
Voice: Searing and crass, with a clear derogatory tone that does not think highly of your skills in battle or in bed. It has a gruff edge to it, and rarely spikes into higher pitches.
Class: Militia, bandit.
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive.
Magical Affinity: None.



[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: She's blonde, with shades ranging from honey to straw depending on sun exposure. She likes her crazy choppy hair, but she never combs it.
Eyes: Small, blue irises, fixed amid a field of stark white.
Complexion: Her skin is a curious not-quite tan, and is best described as "fleshy beige." She is growing ever darker over time, and there's spots of skin such as the area just before her hairline that are paler. She has blotches and freckles on her shoulders, and cuts all over. A three-inch scar runs across the right side of her waist.
Height: 5'5"
Build: Bony hands, bony torso. The rest is barely masculine, as she doesn't eat enough to support it. It's surprising that she's never mistaken for the other gender, with the hulking way she carries herself and her boyishly thin physique.
Weight: 110 lbs.
Body Markings: Nothing too unnatural, besides the scars. She has a birthmark on her lower back.

[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Her hygiene is... subpar. Honestly, if she weren't wearing any form of armor (which indicates she does something for a living), she'd be pretty trashy-lookin'. She doesn't dress up or tend to her appearance. What she is is what you get, uncombed hair and all. She has a pointed chin with a slight cleft, and a heart-shaped face with harshly downturned brows, shallow cheeks and, by consequence, large cheekbones. It's not that she doesn't eat, but the physical activity combined with the habit of infrequent stops for food tends to make one lean a bit on the gangly side. She is all bone, but surprisingly, other than her hands, her skin is quite soft.

Beauty is not a factor, more a last thought. It shows in her hunkered, sharp shoulders, and in her subdued gait that has only the smallest swing of the hips. She prowls when she's not still, and always seems to be seething for the most part. When she opens her mouth? Oh baby, that's a whole new world. If you were thinking she's kind of cute at a glance, something like a rebellious kitten, hear her fucking roar, because her mouth can fill chamber pots for days. Don't coop her in a room with a poor nun, because she does not discriminate.

Moral Alignment Chaotic Egocentric.


[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Describing her as "foul" would be all too easy. Gretchen is a growling, sneering creature who carries herself with the grace and majesty of a rhinoceros, with no empathy for others. It's not that she doesn't care (she usually doesn't), but she has difficulty understanding emotions, and a tendency to put herself first. Every man for himself. When surrounding oneself with the scum of the earth, the want to act like a decent human being--let alone a lady--wears itself thin quite swiftly. Frankly, mud is warmer than water, and you should consider joining her. Gretchen sincerely is of the mind that her way of life is better, more exciting, and more fun than living in a picket-fence cottage, because fuck that noise. She likes sleeping on dirt well enough, and insects are a petty qualm.

She's thickheaded and thickskinned, like most bandits, and insults will only cause pause if she was itching for a fight to begin with. The good thing is that she never cowers from a challenge, finding only thrill in place of fear. Worst case is just that she dies, right? Gretchen has been known to show a degree of camaraderie, although this only means that she'll be willing to give one-word responses to your problems and ask to spar once in a while. She might spit her fingernails at you, too. But her friendship does mean that she's more willing to put up with bullshit of various sorts, and she'll sometimes try to minimize the deaths of those she acknowledges as allies.

[F E A R S]
Falling freaks her out sometimes, more than it should. It affects her more in dreams, but stopping short of a cliff edge will always make her heart drop. Even missing a step on a staircase sometimes causes a minor internal freakout, and she'll check herself to make sure she's still alive and breathing.

[Q U I R K S]
  • Notably, if she's calling you from afar, she's going to use some sort of horrible nickname--it's one if the many instances where she considers using someone's real name to be too affectionate.
  • She'll take things and, more often than stashing them, leave them around in unusual places. Allies are not exempt. The more inconvenient the item would be to lose, the more often she'll jack the same thing--such as a single shoe.
  • She often feels a little like she's living on borrowed time, having had some severely narrow scrapes in the past. Small instances of alarm can cause her to wonder if her time has come, and whether or not she's okay with accepting it or if she should try to come up with a plan to bargain with the reaper, and did she forget her copper coins in her tent aaaahhhh.....
  • She has a terrible sense of humor. She rarely laughs. In general, finding common ground and speaking with her is a challenge, but she's randomly willing to humor others and doesn't shy away from conversation. You know, unless it's nosy conversation.
  • The average person may deduce that she's put up walls to prevent herself from getting hurt. Really, it's more like she's put up spiked tower shields, and dares all contenders to ram themselves into her. These are not soulful barriers to protect or tear down, but iron maidens to impale and devour.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
She's been in enough group raids to avoid friendly fire, but that doesn't mean it's against her morals.

[A G E N D A]
Well, it's complicated, but ultimately she wants to go back to doing bandit stuff. Bandit stuff was the light of her life. Good times.

[L I K E S]
    • Birds are just about the only thing that can sit her down and make her gaze dreamily at them. She doesn't really appreciate the beauty of much else.
    • If there's anything she splurges on, it would be daggers. She doesn't even have a collection, keeping only two at a time. When she finds a really nice one, however, she's quick to replace the obsolete, regardless of price tag.
    • Another thing she may spend a little too much on are sweets. Yes, ha-ha, Gretchen has a sweet tooth, fuck off.
    • One of the highwaymen she used to run with considered himself a fine chef, and would always cook for his friends. From eating so many meals he'd burned to a crisp, Gretchen will only eat meat if it's very well done--anything else tastes raw by comparison.
    • She loves wearing large furs not only for the warmth, but for the looks and soft exterior.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Getting wet. She hates the sensation of being in something. She likes to say this is why she wouldn't be a good man.
    • Romance, chivalry, princesses, ponies--anything that would delight a small child is absolutely revolting to Gretchen, and she's been known to make retching sounds by herself in a corner when she sees one of the aforementioned.
    • The reluctant. Having second thoughts? About life? About the mission? About the breakfast you had this morning? Fuck you! Be a fucking man.
    • Music and merrymaking. Go die in a river.

[Excellent] - ★★★★★★
[Strong] - ★★★★★☆
[Competent] - ★★★★☆☆
[Average] - ★★★☆☆☆
[Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆
[Miserable] - ★☆☆☆☆☆
[Scrub] - ☆☆☆☆☆☆

You have a limit of 20 stars.


[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Pain turns me on: [Strong] - ★★★★★☆ While she doesn't go after being injured exactly, she does have an unusually high pain tolerance--because frankly, she enjoys it. Trap her in an interrogation room? Ooh, use that pointy one. She enjoys dishing it out a lot, too, so you can't say she's unfair. She gives and receives in equal measures.
  • Six senses: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and... directional. What were you thinking the sixth sense would be? Gretchen has a heightened awareness of her surroundings when she puts her mind to it, and is sensitive to smells and sounds in particular. Granted, "sensitive" does not mean she's easily revolted. On the contrary, she could stand to sit around in elephant shit longer than most people. Not by choice, mind.
  • Appraisal: [Competent] - ★★★★☆☆ Your trinket is worth shit, jack. Having been in the business of pilfering for some years, Gretchen has an eye for the value of things, and familiarity with expensive and popular brands. She can easily recognize a signature and differentiate gemstones, and tell you with a quick fondle of an object how much they could sell it for on the open market. Well, she'll be honest if she likes you.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Wild Smile: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ She can go berserk at will. Heavily reliant on her natural pain tolerance, she can fight without fear of consequence, her only goals being to experience the splash of red and sqlick sound of flesh and innards. Because her swordplay is unrefined and self-taught, she was forced to adopt an unrestrained style to make up for her lack of finesse--and it's carried her just as well. While Gretchen has grasped the rhythm of battle due to seeking it out as often as she does, she currently lacks the ambition to achieve true bloody harmony.
  • Bobo doll: [Excellent] - ★★★★★★ She can handle damage, but that doesn't mean it's good for her health. Gretchen has learned to roll and sidestep in all directions on a whim. When dodging doesn't work, or works so well that she loses her balance, she's quick to regain her footing and resume combat. It's very difficult to truly knock her down, let alone knock her out.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • I'm all wet...: She can't swim. Fuck water, man.
  • Do a barrel what?!: She's not an acrobat. She's wiry, decently fast, and hella aggressive, but she's not somersaulting and back flipping onto enemies on a whim.
  • My fucking neck hurts: Well, she's quite short. Maybe you can squish her. In her early days of being a bandit she used to be picked up by the scuff of her collar a lot (and reacted quite like a rabid raccoon would if put through the same treatment). Nowadays, anyone who tries is liable to lose an arm, friend or foe.
  • Cock sucking arrows...: She hates fighting ranged enemies. She has a couple of ugly scars from getting a porcupine shoulder at some point in her life. She's quick on her feet, but she generally can't close the gap before a bow is fired.
  • Etc, etc: She's not super human, she just doesn't acknowledge pain and dodges a lot. She hits like a champ, too. Otherwise, she's an average human being.


[A R M O R]
Leather tunic, with metal shoulder pads and a fur cape. She wears thick boots fit for every terrain.

[C L O T H I N G]
Sometimes she'll tie a sarong around her waist if she doesn't feel like wearing pants, but usually keeps on her tunic, chafing and all.

[I T E M S]
In her rucksack are some old coot's necklace with a picture of a girl in it, a small axe she keeps in her bag, a box of flint, a pouch of water, and a dozen apples that are slowly decaying.

[T O K E N S]
A specific selection of daggers, carved by the distinguished Casalaina smithing brand. She seems to enjoy collecting this brandname in particular, throwing them away less frequently and always checking stores for new editions.

[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
Weapon Name: Lily Leaf Sword
Weapon Type: Short serrated blade.
Length: 4 feet.
Weight: Light.
Origin: She picked it up somewhere and decided she liked it. Best friends since.

[O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
Weapon Type: Various daggers.
Length: Various.
Weight: Varies.
Origin: Her hobby. She picks them up wherever she goes, and seems to only use them when she needs to whip it out from under her pillow. So, not really meant for true battle as much as, er, social disruptions.


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Um... Never married. And she's never quite going steady with anyone, per se, but to call her "single" would sound strange to her. She's not certain she knows the meaning of the word "relationship."

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

    | W h a t F a m i l y ? | [ 000 ]
Gretchen's past may as well be a nonexistent concept.

[O C C U P A T I O N]
Quite literally pillaging and raping. Gretchen has done vile and atrocious deeds that she'd gladly share in polite company.

[S O C I A L | R A N K]
Poor. A seldom few deeply fear her from an awry personal interaction, but her reputation colors her as more of a lesser demon to despise and jeer at. Besides, being a woman, few take her seriously. She's used to it. She can change their minds if she felt like it. Slicing off an ear will usually accomplish just that.

[O P I N I O N S]
  • Humans: "I've seen lots of these chuckleheads."
  • Elves: "I don't doubt they fuck and piss just like us."
  • Orcs: "Bet their farts stink like us, too."
  • Everything else: "Ehhhh."

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

    | B o s s | [ 15 ]
"You are HUGE! That means you have huge guts!!"
She's not quite sure what to think of the guy despite the above quote. She'd rather like to fight him, but she knows she'd get squashed. And he'd probably feel bad and ask if she was all right and bullshit like that, so no thanks. For now, she's keeping out of his hair so long as he keeps out of hers.
//"You talk as much as Sasha, goddamn. This 'follow the leader' shit is getting on my nerves..."//

    | C h i e f | [ -5 ]
"Bossy fuck..."
Since she's joined the Gathering, he's been nothing but rude. Adriel is too goddamn smug. He doesn't flaunt it, but she can smell a superiority complex from a mile away. She wouldn't mind taking him down a notch or two. Or several notches. Or knocking him over in general.
//"Paws off my sword, chief, or I'll find one of your eloquent elven pieces of shit and gut you with 'em."//

    | G r e t c h e n | [ 0 ]
She doesn't talk about herself, so it follows that she doesn't often think of herself either. Her stories have more to do with things she's done to other people, and things she's looking forward to fighting one day.

    | B a l d y | [ 35 ]
"I think hairless wonder over here has a good idea."
She actually kind of likes the big lug. Of course, this doesn't mean she acts differently or treats him like any more of a human being than the rest... But she'd like to break that armor open. Like a pinata. With a big stick. It's a crying shame this bastard doesn't drink either.

    | K i l l e r | [ --?! ]
Oooooh richy fuckin' rich of course she'd see him again. What was his name? Killer? Or, uhh... what was it she'd call him?
Oh, yeah. Fuck face. Get it? Because he has a gaping hole in his face, and you could...... Oh, what, you were thinking it, too. He was one of the bastards that left her to piss away in jail, but she doesn't hold a grudge over that. Forgive and forget. They can go back to being buddies for all she cares, just like old times.

    | B i g G i r l| [ 17 ]
"Wanna make somethin' or it?"
She doesn't like how Laetya looks at her. Or does she? Gretchen can't quite decide, but she's decided the orc woman knows how to carry herself. Ooh la fuckin' la. It does annoy the crap out of Gretchen having to look up so high at her, though, so that alone might be off putting enough to ensure they never get along.

    | E z r a| [ 15 ]
"What? The hell you looking at?!"
Stop leering at her. Do you value your eyes? Because she guarantees you she knows someone who does more. Anyway, she's stagnantly unimpressed by anything that comes out of his mouth, and might tune him out when he approaches her--so it can be hard to have an opinion.
//"Wonder how how tall a cliff he'd jump from if I ask him to..."//

    | B e r l i o z| [ 12 ]
"Another big guy. Fuck."
You're cute, but not that cute. She'd prefer Berlioz, like she prefers everyone else, to be a healthy arm's distance away--no more, no less.

    | G u l f i m| [ 2 ]
"What are you....?"
So quiet. So nervous. Reminds her of Killer. Except, you know, taller and greener. Maybe she would like to spar...?

    | R o y a l| [ 32 ]
"You remind me of someone I don't hate."
Oh yeah: Me.
Ooooh, Gretchen feels a natural affinity for this one. She doesn't believe for a second this bitch is here out of the goodness of her heart. No no no, A-royal here was dragged by the wrist chains, just like her. And it's going to be fucking dandy from here, Gretchen can tell you now.

    | A u r i l e i t h | [ 2 ]
"All your names sound the same...."
Well, she's easy on the eyes, and an archer. She can keep the Killer company back there. As far as Gretchen is concerned, Aurileith is just another elf, no different than the other two. Okay they're different but she doesn't care... yet.

    | S i c k n e s s | [ 26 ]
"Ily-liver. Ahahaha."
Foulmouthed kleptomaniac? Sounds fun. That he's an elf, to boot? That's some interesting shit. Illeren acts more like her old compatriots than these other fools, so she sort of likes having him as background noise if nothing else. Might help her sleep at night. Besides, he stole Adriel's thunder; what's not to like?

    | S a s h a | [ 70 ]
"I think I like elves after all."
Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers? Creep. Not that she'll hold that against him. He seems like he has a sense of humor. Each elf that's shown up has been more interesting than the last. This one might be a bit intense compared to the others though, and she finds herself both a little intimidated and curious as to where he'll go from here.
//"He does have a sense of humor. Ha! Fuckin' called it; I know his type. So long as he doesn't get too used to getting his way, we'll get along just fine."//

[B I O | H I S T O R Y]

Gretchen started off as a highwayman. Entitled bastards was what they were, and uncreative to boot, haunting roadways and bridges like a troll collecting tolls. They harassed her for her full name, so eventually she kicked them to the curb. When she became a bandit, when she started defacing unexpected guests in her tent, she decided that was what she would do for the rest of her life. Then, in northern Airedale, she stood on a cliff face as she watched Silver Knights quarantine a burning village, impaling every body they met with their blades. "If the knights are involved," said someone next to her grip tightening uneasily on his dagger, "that place must have the plague."

"Huh." She said, wondering if that would have been a better career choice, because apparently the knights got received murder vouchers upon joining. Yes, Your Majesty, my annoying neighbor had The Pestilence, I had to kill him and his little dog, too. The village being razed to the ground put a bit of a damper on her plans that week, however, as she was planning on raiding it the following day. They had to trek several leagues down the road to find food. Deciding loyalty and friendship were slowing her down, and cost too much effort anyway, she started bouncing from bandit camp to bandit camp for seemingly random periods of time, and at one point even came to settle in Byda as part of a mercenary band.

Then, back to banditry. Breaking shit to break them and taking money on your own was so much more fun than breaking only certain shit and getting paid for it. She killed children just as she killed everyone else. She killed partners when she didn't feel like having an alliance anymore. She did many things, and was remembered for it. There weren't too many rude blonde people in Byda, it seemed. Gretchen was never the leader of any particular group, but her opinion was usually taken into consideration (she was quite loud about it), and she somehow usually played a key role--usually stabbing the hostage roles, because believe it or not, some bandits had delicate sensibilities. She usually tried to get blood on those bandits on purpose.

So of course she was left for dead the one time she fell behind, and rather immediately, was shackled by the royal guard.

Placed in confinement in the capital of the nation, they tortured her for her full name, and broke her nose at one point. Red oozing into her mouth, she just smiled a whole bunch, and spat at them once in a while until the wardens gave up on her.

Prison wasn't so bad, in her honest opinion. She got to freely shank whoever tried to get on her case, and they gave her food--well, slop, but it was edible slop. She spent a lot of time doing nothing, which was grating sometimes, but it wasn't anything she couldn't handle. She remained amusedly defiant until the end.

Then, the queen came by in her big fat garish dress and picked her at random to be hauled off to the elven capital. What the fuck was up with that? Gretchen didn't want to go. She was minding her own damn business and the royal cunt had to come interrupt her thoughts. The horrible bandit asked questions in the carriage, unable to even lift her arms with the short chains and iron ball, and no one would answer. They wouldn't even beat her anymore, which was annoying. The queen peered at Gretchen once in a while from under her long lashes, and tried to speak politely, but her personal guards insisted she stay quiet, knowing full well Gretchen would only respond with heresay. And so, it was a long, quiet trip.

Once there, there were a fuckton of elves. Gretchen wasn't sure what she was expecting. She'd run with a few elves before, but there were so many. She was escorted (shoved in) with the queen into a meeting room, where there were some fucking orcs, too. Holy shit, colorful assholes! Big whoop. They exchanged niceties, and the queen said something about offering Gretchen to form a discreet alliance and support the Serpent's Cock of whatever, and that she would be the experiment to ensure the immunity worked on humans.

Gretchen coughed politely. "Excuse me?"

They ignored her interruption. Kicking and screaming, she was dragged into private chambers while a big green motherfucker and a particularly surly knife-ear followed. They explained what was to be done a little better, and she slowly realized that undergoing the... whatever you'd call it... snakes and flowers and shit, meant she wouldn't have to return to prison. Not that they needed her consent with her being the queen's property. The orc seemed reluctant, but she came to agree to it almost only from curiosity alone. They had told her that the disease was getting worse, and before she had gotten arrested, it certainly was. She's had more narrow scrapes with the damn thing that she could literally count.

The knife-ear smirked when she consented personally, in a sort of sneering way. He dipped his hand into a basket they had brought with them, and there was the writhing golden creature held between his fingers. The snake lashed itself towards her, biting hard through her leathery arm, through her puckered scars.

Gretchen felt like she was being burned alive. Like her body was covered in cracks, and the sun itself was seeping through them.

She doesn't remember how the orc had to hold her down as he force fed her the cure, or how the elf cursed violently in his language when her thrashing almost clocked him in the eye. She remembered screaming a lot.

[F L A G S]
Let's all go on a merry journey to find out who she is! :) This flag is active so long as there's people to pursue it.

So begins...

Gretchen's Story


Characters Present

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

0.00 INK


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lumbering beast.

(Gulfim slightly disapproves in herself: -10 Approval)


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.


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.


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."


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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Once the threat of being hit out of nowhere had passed, and Kir had finished peering at the shouting elf who had deigned to stop talking, he returned to his resting position. His arms returned to his sides, his body returned to its hunched posture, and his eyes descended to the back to the ground to observe everyone’s boots, a pair of which joined the elf’s and began speaking. Humor he called it and maybe it was for someone who didn’t flinch at every sound as if it were about to hurt him. And, after he had finished, a woman amongst the crowd added in her own opinion on what to do, leaving. Leaving felt like a good idea. In fact, it was a great idea; there were too many people in the city and they made too much noise. Not to mention that, once outside the city, Kir would have a chance to look upon the great spires and towers and walls once again. But then the gates of the underworld had to fly open and send forth a great atrocity upon the world, or, at the very least, Kir’s world.

Two boots came into Kir’s view from the side, smaller than most and lighter than most. When he understood that they weren’t simply passing by and were actually approaching him, he turned his head up slightly to see more about this person, as well as bringing his arms in front of his lower stomach as his reflexes commanded. Though he was still tense and anxious about who was approaching him and what they might want, he didn’t expect it to be too bad, even through the filter of his unending fear. As the boots grew legs, and the legs grew hips, and more and more grew atop the last bit, though, fate took his expectations of an event that would simply be racked by great unease and dashed them against ground. The moment he saw her hips move and her legs walk the specific way they walked, he might as well have had all horrors of the pestilence dropped on him from the sky. And it only grew worse the further up he saw.

Messy, dirty, yellow hair shaped as if it belonged to someone who had suffered a bully’s knife or simple childlike ineptitude. Skin that has been touched by the sun more than it probably should have. A bony jaw with pronounced cheekbones, as someone who has lived the desert life might have. And blue eyes, those blue eyes, that stared into his. His eyes widened and shifted and stuttered and shook down to the very bones they didn’t have–they were of an animal that knew death and danger came but could not flee.

"You look familiar, I know you."

And she did know him. She probably knew Kir better than anyone else alive at this point. She knew where it would hurt, how it would hurt. How to crush his mind with a look, and how to break his body with more. She knew to get in close and spray the red of others and cover him with it. As a hellbound spirit that should be gone from this world, she probably knew him even more, more than even he did and ever would. Gretchen was the sort of woman, the sort of thing, that would live in his torturous prison in the hells of death. Apparently, she had grown tired of waiting for him and sprung free to hunt him down as he still drew breathe.

When they had last seen each other, he and the other bandits of that particular group were leaving her behind, assumedly buried under some amount of sand and dead to the world. The weapons she wielded and the armor she wore deemed to not be worth sticking around and looking, and Kir appreciated not having to try. She was finally dead then, and he was free from her.

But here she was, looking at him through the necessary and unwanted gap in his headdress, talking to him, recognizing him. Kir had no idea what to do at this point. Should he run? His legs couldn’t hear him over their own attempts at screaming in terror and trying to convince their nonexistent legs to run. Should he attack? His arms weren’t fairing much better than his legs and that was more terrifying than standing still and pretending she couldn't see him. Should he scream and condense himself into a little ball and hope it all goes away? That’s what a smart man would do, but he had problems with his mouth without paralyzing fear staring him in the eyes, not to mention such a thing would require his arms and legs to actually work. So his body, amongst all the anxiety and fear flowing through its veins, managed to come to a compromise: Kir collapsed. His knees buckled, his eyes rolled upwards as the lids came down, and his arms didn’t move to brace his fall. The breathe he had been holding since he understood who it was in front of him (he wasn’t really sure how long it had been) escaped his mangled lips in a sigh as his body crashed to the ground with a thud. Hopefully, Gretchen couldn’t follow him to where he was going.

(Kir greatly disapproves of Gretchen for still existing : -15 Approval)
(Kir greatly disapproves of the universe for allowing Gretchen to still exist : -25 Approval)


Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Jäger

“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.”
“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


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


Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Gray

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.


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.


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

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

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

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

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!

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


Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Jäger

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


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.


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

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.


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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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)


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]


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.


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.


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.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel

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It was as if the fullest, brunt force of gravity wrenched her forward again, but this time at a jarring right angle. Apparently wasting no time, Gretchen had rammed her bare feet into the dirt to barrel full speed, shoulder checking the young drake and tumbling together with both the beast and a hard downward force. With a feral cry, she wrestled against its tough, writhing hide as its talons flared and thrashed beneath her. It caught with a revolting, riveting drag onto parts of her thighs and chest. She successfully straddled the creature, even roughly punching it right in the teeth before clasping both hands on her dagger and baring straight into its bulging throat. The junior screamed at an unholy pitch, or it started to, while its bubbling blood began to fill areas it should not be filling. Gretchen did not even register the violent spurt of drakeling blood that coated her face and neck. She stabbed it again, and again, and five more times for good measure even after movement had stopped beneath her.

She heaved where she was for a short while, her lungs barely able to keep up as her hands shivered with rapture. Jiggling the handle of her dagger out of what was now a fleshy disarray, the bandit swung her torso upright and lurched forward into proper footing. How could she describe what most people would feel if they shared her body right now... Like singing and dancing? Yeah, that sounded about right, though it far from showed on her features: Gretchen did not look pleased in the slightest. Gretchen wasn't certain she had noticed the elf who had been knocked down by the shithog in the first place, although she did witnessed the fiasco wherein the daffy woman tried to communicate with the fucking animal. Only a low snarl came to manifest as Gretchen spared Aurileith a passing glance: her outward disappointment and rage directionless, her mind utterly elsewhere. All the while she breathed heavily, seething and staring around for another one of the little shits.

Then, spotting one, she bolted. Mindless of her surroundings. Mindless of her companions. What companions?

...She couldn't FUCKING believe that she had tumbled off the ugly colossus the way she did! Her damn sword had gotten thoroughly lodged into the mother nidhogg, probably having dug into the surface of its spine, and she couldn't get it out for the life of her because the big fuck wouldn't stop flailing around like a retarded lamb! Yes, everyone was trying to kill it and it reacted on instinct. Gretchen understood the gist of that concept, but it still pissed her right the fuck off. As such, ignoring everything around her, Gretchen spent the majority of the battle digging her own little trench into the monster's back. What use was it all if it stole her lily leaf sword?! She held on as it slung its head to and fro. She held on through its abysmal screams as it took despair and damage. She held on even as its tail pretended it was a mallet and swung through walls and people alike.

Oh, no. What did her in was the smartass who decided to use his fat ass to stampede down right into the nidhogg, probably giving both it and everyone near it a goddamn concussion. With that, combined with the creature's reinvigorated last ditch attack, Gretchen finally lost her grip on the pommel of her weapon and was flung towards the wall where she started this mess. She grunted loudly through her teeth on impact, her left elbow and tailbone having taken the worst of it. Thankfully she didn't use those for too much. Glaring and staggering to her feet, she saw red. And she kept on seeing red, even after taking it out on her first prey.


Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Jäger

"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


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.


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


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.


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah. It was a joke.

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


Characters Present

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

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#, as written by iCakez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arayel approves of Gully’s naivety. +5

Arayel approves of Bo’s leadership. +5

Arayel disapproves of that motherfuckin’ snake bite fuckthatshit.


Characters Present

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

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He smelled like mucous, sulfur, scalded membranes and burnt infanticide; a potent and stimulating combination. Alluringly crispy, like she could dip her hands into his ribs and wrench out blackened flakes. Indeed, she snarled at him, snatching away her blade and muttering what little thanks she she could pridefully muster under her breath, but the back of her mind ran rampant with ways she might orchestrate her next interaction with Adriel. The way he sneered when he smiled, with the barest flash of pink above his canines. She knew already that she would be in a rut around the damn elf until she could fight him. Watching him tear down the leathery hillside that was once alive, Gretchen wondered if she might challenge him to an arm wrestle or hit him in the head with a rock from behind. She forgets which was more the acceptable thing to do in society. She knew, though, which of the two would amuse her more. Scaling down with less refinement, she merged into the walking pile of bodies in short order, making sure to grab her boots and cloak that she'd left on top of the cliff face before they fully moved on.

Like she'd failed to notice the large dark-skinned human vanish from their company on the way there, she failed to notice the disappearance of an elf on the way out. She was used to marching long distances, and spent most of it inspecting the new chips near the tip of her sword.

There were even more elves upon arrival. Great. She, for one, found it quaint that the guards up front did not react much to their odorous entrance, but she supposed all that armor had to have some use other than ensuring one would be a jumbled metallic mess should one trip while wearing it. The orc champion had been waiting for them, and she unkindly hoped he was stuck with his thumb up his ass for longer than he liked.

Another orc, a healer, gestured for her to come to him. Gretchen grudgingly obliged. She hadn't even noticed that she dislocated her shoulder, despite the limpness of the limb and how it felt like the open palm of a God reached under her skin and rubbed her nerves and tendons the wrong direction. It wasn't her dominant arm, and she supposed, when the medicine man inquired, she was just used to this sort of thing. Being launched into a wall by a catapault named Tane? Not exactly, but it sure hasn't been the first time. He was patient enough to tend to her as best as he could, so she kept her mouth shut, and they emerged friendlier than they might have otherwise. Then it was time to get clean. Normally Gretchen preferred to hoard her sweat and caked dirt, but even she knew where to draw a line in the sand, and that line struck straight through stinky bog drake organs. She entered the baths sometime after the others, had already made themselves comfortable, and Gretchen felt comfortable keeping to her goddamn self. After stripping off her mismatched armor and wiping off what she could, she toed her way to the shallow end of the bath. And she hesitated. She hated the feeling of water, how it tried to swallow her and lick at her. At first Gretchen only allowed the water to lap at the dry wounds on her feet and ankles, teetering at the warm edge with stagnant defiance. Then, designating a corner of the bath as her own, she allowed her waist and its dragging marks to be engulfed as well, and gradually deflated down to her neck. The bandit tried to distract herself by looking away and making notations of her female compatriots who also jutted of the water like reeds in a swamp.

And of course she stared; she had been around men for longer than she could remember.

The sultry, dark-haired elf Arayel seemed to be enjoying herself. She had a bust and waist ratio that almost made even someone as callous as Gretchen turn green and raise a brow, but the woman was soft-skinned. She may have gotten her hands dirty, but they were far from callused. The other elf Aurileith, meanwhile, had the slender body of a soldier, with sturdy arms despite her long fingers, and lined abs despite her long, carefree hair that pooled around her on the water's surface. The orcs took it even further than that. The one known as Laetya, especially, had the body of a farmer's very grown daughter who had never had a day's rest, and hadn't needed one. Her thighs, in particular, might have been worth buying the farm. The other one, Gulfim, the meek one that Gretchen was certain she would never understand, dipped and hid her breasts beneath the water, but it was translucent enough that Gretchen could make out the shape of a very nice butt.

Gretchen herself was more like a scratchpost than a human being, lined with indents and terrestrial rifts. Burns spilled across her limbs like ruddy spoiled milk. Even her earthly assets, her lovely sloping shoulders and distinctly female protrusions, were riddled with blemishes and puckered scars from violently withdrawn arrows. And she did not like her hair getting wet.

After thoroughly drying herself and dipping into her bag for her bedclothes--a sheet she adeptly tied into a sarong and a comfortable cotton shirt--she made her way to the meeting room, making eye contact with the orc Higoht and tipping her head away from him as she walked by. She was far from the last to arrive, but many of the seats had already been taken. She played eenie-meenie to decide on one, and then instead decided on a different one at random, slouching into her seat like the hooligan she was.

She smirked to herself, behind her hand (she couldn't stand the thought of the high adventurer buffoon thinking he'd won a smile), when the man named Ezra volunteered himself to be "first." Her initiation had taken place a week ago. Really, she wasn't certain she even needed to be in the room, or what they would do if she had gone straight to bed, but she rather felt like people watching a little more after leering at the ladies in the bath. The camraderie that already began to form at the seams was strange and alien, and to her, it was like pressing into a gilded cage with mythical creatures in it.

Why yes, she had been to the circus before, several years back. That was a different time, but her stance remained headstrong: her idle interest in no way meant that she wanted to be in the cage with them.

She had gotten the jist of what "Bo" described before, so she only half-listened to his schpiel. She hadn't known about the reward, though she supposed hers was her release from prison that she didn't fully appreciate. Gretchen wondered if she would be able to come up with alternative compensations even if she wanted to, as despite being a bandit, she never truly wanted for much. Perhaps the monetary reward would suffice.

"Good luck, Killer!" she had catcalled at her fellow cutthroat when it was his turn, shifting from her stubborn folded arms. Otherwise, she kept to herself until she got bored and left to go to bed.

Adriel lost -20 approval from Gretchen; she could have gotten it out herself.
Adriel gained +5 approval from Gretchen; she appreciated him wasting his time and his smell of death.
All women gained +2 approval from Gretchen; for having nice bodies.


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Good times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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