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Illeren Myakleyth

The Wild Stallion - "Stealing's only illegal all the time...so don't get caught."

0 · 652 views · located in Tegea

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

Description

Perfect Heist
Jet Set


"Ten gold says we find a dead body within ten yards...and I win!"


Illeren Myakleyth (Maya-clay-eth)
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INTRODUCTION



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"Name’s Illeren. That’s about it really...so we going to go fight things or what?"

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"Because I can? Seriously, stop asking questions and lets get to it!"


[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Ill, Maya, Clay
Gender: Male
Age: 45
Race: Elf
Origin:Kiloain (Kill-oh-ane), a small settlement near the edge of elven territory.
Voice: Illeren’s voice is light as one would expect of an elf, but with a surprisingly heavy accent that sometimes borders on the incomprehensible. He’ll slur words and abbreviate sentences that, for no other reason than because he wants to, don’t need abbreviation. He makes use of words and swears that often times don’t make sense or are rarely heard.
Class: Cavalier
Offensive/Defensive: Offensive
Magical Affinity: None






PHYSICALITY
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[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: Silky white and short, rarely is it ever out of it’s constant bed look state. Despite the fact that he does indeed maintain it as far as washing it and making sure he doesn’t look like some greased up sausage, he does nothing to make it presentable. As such, it often just floats around of it’s own free will.
Eyes: Gold
Complexion: Heavily tanned
Height: 5’7
Build: Lean but surprisingly muscular for an elf, more so than one would expect from his species.
Weight: 168 lbs
Body Markings: Illeren is an oddity in the fact that he doesn’t have any markings on his face, nor does he don the mask of a Cavalier often if ever. He would rather chuck the thing into the river if he could, but something about it stays his hand. The rest of his body is a different matter, as tattoos concerning one thing cover nearly every inch of his body.

Swords.

Swords are everywhere on him. A massive two handed beast of a weapon with wings covers his entire back. Swords being gripped by a dragon and a snake on opposite arms, and his legs have a rotating chain blade on each leg with the blade itself ending on his shin. His right shin has the elvish word for life drawn onto the blade, while the other one has the elvish word for death. On his breast is a tattoo that makes it look like a dagger has been plunged into his heart, incredibly detailed to the point of making people do a double take upon first glance.


[D E S C R I P T I O N]
Illeren is a fairly easy person to describe from an objective viewpoint, but from an elven one, he’s practically a monster. He lacks most of the grace and airs that a lot of elves tend to put upon themselves, walking around like they own the world. Instead he carries himself with a rather rambunctious swagger that borders between arrogance and playfulness. His head is held high, if only to see above taller people around him, and his back is straight if only to make him appear bigger than he actually is. His armor is of elven make, meaning that the armor is generally lighter than it appears with more than enough durability to withstand a few blows. He refrains from a helmet, afraid that it would limit his view of the world around him, and instead sticks to his chest piece, gauntlets and leggings.

There's red cape that flows behind him at nearly all times of the day, a simple long piece of fabric that has been with him nearly as long as he’s been fighting. If there’s a story to it, he’s not telling anyone. Underneath his armor, or when not preparing for battle, Illeren prefers the clothing of Humans to that of elves, liking the more casual nature of it. As such, he has several articles of clothing that are practically nothing more than rags with sutures. One could say that the only thing refined about Illeren would be his armor.

Illeren has also always been fascinated with swords, as his blade can quickly attest to that. Human made but of a quality usually not seen outside of their capital cities, it portrays its own personality of brutal efficiency in accordance with the species that made it. While not overly flashy or extravagant, Illeren believes the deadliness masked in its simplicity is a bigger feat than making a sword that curves and twists like a corkscrew.

In accordance with his fascination with swords, Illeren has plastered his body with them, yet denying another elven custom. Where his species often mark themselves with ink for feats or achievements, Illeren chooses to mark himself with what his favorite things.





Moral AlignmentCHAOTIC NEUTRAL

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MENTALITY

[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
To say that Illeren is an odd elf would be a massive understatement. He doesn’t seem to portray, or at the very least, does his best to contain anything that might prove he was an elf. If it weren’t for his stature and pointy ears, one could easily mistake him for a human being, or even an orc if the same conditions were applied. Illeren can and will often be crude and overbearing at points, with an emphasis on his outspoken personality. If something needs to be said, he will say it regardless of who the person he’s saying it to is. He’s quick with a smile, a frown, a snarl, and a laugh. In general, he’s someone who wears what he’s feeling on his sleeve, and should there come a time when he’s attempting to hide it, that is the moment you know something is extremely wrong.

Illeren has lived by a code, or a saying to be more exact for nearly the entirety of his life. “Because I can”. He’s impulsive, often choosing to do things or not do things on a whim regardless of the consequences. Even his accent is of his own choosing, altering his voice because he could until he did it so often that it eventually became his natural speech. With that in mind, he’s done a little bit of everything in his relatively short life, from stealing and banditry, to saving damsels in distress and even taking part in a play. He has a personality that attempts to take the spotlight from other people through his outrageous behaviour all on its own, even though that’s never his goal. When asked about himself, he’ll often times shrug off the question stating the very obvious. He’s an elf. He’s a swordsman. He fights things. He has two eyes and white hair. Rarely will he ever talk about himself, instead diverting the conversation to another topic or simply dumping a bucket of sewage on one of his compatriots because he could.

Despite his practically immature attitude on life, Illeren does have a compassionate side in him. He doesn’t like to see people suffer...much. Its true, he did resort to banditry for a small time, but he always made sure that the people he stole from walked away with their lives if he was given a choice. He fights because he likes to fight, not because he likes to kill things. Killing things is just an unfortunate side effect of a damn good fight, and one would be hard pressed to not find people or creatures out there that need to die. As such, he’ll often stop to help people out if they’re in a bind when it comes to swordplay or battle, but generally doesn’t stop to give money to beggars. After all, he has his own problems to look out for as well.

[F E A R S]
-Heights: Now this you would not expect from an elf, right? After all, they live in the trees! In actuality, Illeren has lived most of his life on the ground, or close enough that a fall wouldn’t kill him. As such, he’s developed a sense of vertigo when on high places and generally tries to avoid the ledges or looking down if he’s forced to go up.

-Headless chickens: There is a story here...an incredibly embarrassing one that he will never ever speak about to anyone ever...but there is one.

-The Watchers: He fears his own kind, or more specifically, the leaders of his own kind. He didn’t exactly fit into the mold,and when he did leave it was without ceremony or warning, he simply took off. As such, he’s hesitant to even go back to elven territory, and avoids Rielorn like the plague itself.

[Q U I R K S]
  • Illeren is incredibly impulsive, and much like a child, is hard to control when he has his blood pumping with excitement. This can lead to all manner of things, which in his experience can mean a couple of remarkable one night stands or being chased out of a town with pitchforks and torches.
  • In case it hasn’t been mentioned enough. Illeren really REALLY likes swords, and it’s one of the few things that can hold his attention for any length of time. While not a blacksmithy himself, he can recognize fine talent and craftsmanship from a glance alone, able to pick apart the blade with his eyes to spot the imperfections and subtle nuances of the craftsman.
  • Yet another thing that sets him apart from his elven kin and closer to a human would be his love for steak. He generally enjoys all forms of meat, but steak is practically candy to him and he’s thankful that he doesn’t have 24/7 access to it otherwise he would weigh several hundred pounds.
  • Illeren has a nasty case of Kelptomania, often times grabbing things from nearby without even realizing he's done so, only to find them later on his person with no knowledge of how they got there. He doesn't do it out of malice, more an unconscious movement of his body with often times pleasant results.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Illeren has a skewed version of morality in his mind. On one hand, he’s not above stealing from others to keep himself going. He’ll even go as far as to assault someone with something that he desperately needs, or conning people out of their hard earned coin if he believes he can get away with it. On the other hand, he doesn’t like to see people physically suffer and will generally not kill anyone that he doesn’t absolutely have to. He’s not afraid of death or the act of ending a life, but he generally doesn’t like the feeling that he gets afterwards. When he pulls off a successful robbery, or achieves an item that he really wanted through illegal means, he gets an adrenaline high. When that act is then followed or achieved through the act of mortal violence, that high never comes.

So long as you don’t ask where he got some of the items that he has, or where his money is coming from, you could say that Illeren is a decent guy. He’ll hop in a fight with nary a breath to help someone getting beat down, but won’t offer money to a beggar. He’ll protect someone from a monster, but then leave them to get their own bloody wagon out of the mud. In the end, I guess you could say he helps people as far as his own adrenaline addicted self would like to.

[A G E N D A]
Saying that Illeren has an agenda is like saying a Chicken would like to become ruler of the all the realms. Illeren has, and always will be driven by his whims and desires. He doesn’t have an overarching goal or some big plan in the works. He goes where he wants, when he wants because he wants to. In the end, he sees that as his ultimate goal, to be able to do whatever he wants for as long as he lives.


[L I K E S]
    • Steaks. Disregard leaves, acquire beef.
    • SWORDS! There’s still room on his chest for another tattoo of a sword, and who knows, maybe there will be another sword better than his that he can steal or buy.
    • Adrenaline highs. Whether they be from fighting or stealing money right out from under someone’s nose. However he can get it he will do so.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • People who take themselves too seriously. The world is filled with creatures and species of all kinds going through life with a scowl and a frown. Live life as it was meant to be lived and enjoy what you have. If you don’t enjoy what you have, steal what you need to make it so.
    • Waiting around. Illeren is first and foremost a man of action. “Wait and See” is simply not a term he’s familiar with. He would rather charge head first into a situation and figure it out on the fly rather than plan every little detail of every waking minute. If you plan on doing that, keep an eye on Illeren so that he doesn’t charge off without you.
    • Chickens. Yes, this still ties to a rather embarrassing story. No, he will not tell you about it.
    • Vegetables. More a mild dislike than a general hatred, if he has a choice between meatloaf or a salad, he’s choosing the meatloaf.





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

You have a limit of 20 stars.




PROWESS

[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Enhanced Senses: [Average] ★★★☆☆☆ Despite his general frivolity concerning life, Illeren has been known to hear things from farther away, see things clearly from a sizable distance, or smell the slightest fragrance. He is by no means an elven bloodhound, but compared to his brethren and the other species, he is above them ever so slightly.
  • Deft Hands: [Competent] ★★★★☆☆ This applies to more than the obvious pick pocketing or lock picking. His swordsmanship also comes from his rather impressive hand control, able to spin, toss, and flip his blade with remarkable precision. Naturally, his skills in the thieving market aren’t that bad either.
  • Herbology: [Poor] ★★☆☆☆☆ Almost like a stereotype, nearly all elves are familiar with some sort of medicinal herbs and spices. Illeren has a very limited knowledge of this, able to create such things as to help with headaches or mild painkillers, but its rare that he can find the right ingredients and for the most part everything regarding this is a crapshoot. You would be better off finding a legitimate healer rather than relying on anything that Illeren can cook up.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Swordsmanship: [Excellent] ★★★★★★ Probably one of the biggest reasons Illeren has gotten away with living the life that he does. His ability with a blade is incredible, capable of going toe to toe with people who pride themselves on a life of military service. His partial Cavalier training, mixed with more than enough private trainers and general fights through the years have honed his ability with a single blade to be able to take care of himself.
  • Athleticism: [Strong] ★★★★★★ Part training, part running for his life, and part luck, Illeren’s body is a finely honed machine capable of producing contortion worthy motions. It is not uncommon to see this swordsman flying through the air with a sideways flip, perform backwards somersaults, or any other possible move that you can think of. He’s incorporated this ability into his fighting style, making him more than unpredictable on the battlefield. This also applies everywhere else as well, performing gymnastic moves when required to get into a building or steal an item.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • Who needs a shield?: Illeren, while technically classified as a Cavalier, has abandoned the shield in its entirety, focusing instead on the single bladed approach and shoving all of his effort and energy into the offensive side of things. What this means is that while his offensive capabilities double, his defensive capabilities are extremely limited. He can hold his own against blades or other melee weapons where parrying is an option, but against extremely strong blows or ranged attacks, Illeren could be in serious trouble.
  • Why wait when you can strike now!: Illeren has spent a great deal of time honing his combat technique, but he has yet to learn the discipline that comes with being a great warrior. In times when stepping back and surveying the situation might be a better course of action, Illeren will almost always push forward into the fray, throwing caution to the wind in favor of striking first. Obviously this can throw off group synergy when he’s essentially doing whatever he wants at the time.
  • Like a Pillow: Illeren is an elven straight up fighter, and as such doesn’t have the stature or the musculature needed to often hold his own in a battle of strength with his foes. While more than skilled enough to go toe to toe with most combatants, he must avoid a battle of strength at nearly all costs. It’s relatively easy to push him away, off, or down should people get a good decent hit on him, and he’s the last person you want to act as a blockade, or to hold a choke point.






ARMAMENT


[A R M O R]
Illeren is typically more heavily armored due to his beginnings as a Cavalier, but compared to other species that isn’t saying much. His armor is of an elven make, lightweight but surprisingly durable and more than capable of withstanding several direct blows from mid-weight weaponry. It is composed of a chest piece, gauntlets, one shoulder pauldron (The other one having been lost in a battle prior and never replaced), greaves and leggings. As is the norm with elven made weaponry and armor, they are fairly ornate and extravagant in their design, but allow for breathing room so to speak. As such, Illeren is able to retain most, if not all of his flexibility and speed while encased in the protective suit.

[C L O T H I N G]
Underneath his armor, Illeren typically wears light and unrestricting garments not at all assisting in the protection of his body. At that point, he’s more focused on mobility over defense, and as such the clothing often changes color but not shape. There is also the matter of the cape, which doesn’t really have a purpose or story aside from the fact that Illeren really likes it. As such, it’s the only piece of apparel in his combat makeup that doesn’t have a specific purpose or reason for being there.

Outside of his armor, Illeren isn’t one for style or even really functionality, preferring comfort over all else. As such, his shirts and pants are little more than slightly extravagant burlap sacks. He doesn’t scrimp on his shoes though, which are the most comfortable pieces of clothing he has managed to steal or buy.

[I T E M S]
Illeren carries a small pouch on his side which holds a number of items capable of keeping him going on the long treks between settlements and cities. He also has a ring his left hand. This item holds no particular significance for Illeren, merely being there to add “Flavor for the tossers who call me uncultured”.

His Cavalier mask is also attached to a hook on his belt for the entire world to see.

[T O K E N S]
A sword of magnificent make. The sword to beat all other swords.

[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
Weapon Name: The Cry of the Wind (Has been inscribed on the blade)
Weapon Type: Single handed double sided blade.
Length: 45 inch blade, 10 inch handle
Weight: Moderate
Origin: Made by a human smith by the name of Jonathan Lucan in the human controlled land of Airedale. Horrible stinking place, but the smiths there know their stuff. One of the few things that Illeren stuck around long enough to earn the money to pay for it. A sword worthy of use should be a sword worthy of pay.





BACKGROUND


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Illeren is currently single, his current life style not suited to settling down in any regard, although he is quite versed in female anatomy.

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

    | Killian Myakleyth | [ -50 ]
Illeren’s father, and someone who is almost certainly disappointed with the child that he raised. Killian is a Cavalier with the Elven military, and is the source of Illeren’s initial training. However, he was a harsh man who believed honor, duty, and trust in the Watchers was something that should be above all reproach. As such, Illeren hasn’t seen his father since he ran off, and has no desire to see him again.

    | Lusana Myakleyth | [ -20 ]
Illeren’s mother, while not nearly as demanding as her husband of their only son, was still in the higher regions of believing in something more than herself. She tended to his wounds, fed him, clothed him, did everything that a mother should do but it was not because she was necessarily a loving mother. In truth, Illeren had a feeling that she was afraid of Killian and was doing this only because it was what he wished. Regardless, he dislikes her for not having the spine to speak up and defend herself and potentially her child. Like his father, he doesn’t care if he never sees her again.


[O C C U P A T I O N]
Illeren has done a number of things prior to Serpent’s Gathering, but if you were to really sum it up, I suppose a sellsword would have to do. Mix in banditry, thieving, the occasional farm hand and messenger and you have yourself a well rounded man who can and will do pretty much everything.


[S O C I A L | R A N K]
Illeren doesn’t really have a social ranking in the Elven community, although if he had to guess ‘outcast’ would probably be the one that suits him the most. He doubts he’s welcome back in Elven territory, but among humans and the few orcs that he’s managed to encounter it’s somewhat a mixed bag. You’ll meet some people who praise his swordsmanship and his strength of character, while others will utter death threats at the mere mention of his name.

[O P I N I O N S]
  • Humans: What’s there to say? There’s good and bad ones, just like everywhere else. They tend to be everywhere and Illeren’s main source of employment, money, and food so he can’t complain about them. Unlike other Elves, he never considers himself above them nor does he seem to believe that they need helping. If anything, human culture has rubbed off on him a bit too much, to the point where he doesn’t consider them equal but more of an unpredictable factor. Something that makes working with them all the more interesting.
  • Elves: For the most part, Illeren’s thoughts on his own kind are not very favorable. He’s always been one for individualism and forging his own path, while for the most part, a lot of elves seem to work like cogs in a machine. He knows that there are those out there that are like him, either craving freedom or already having achieved it, but for the most part he limits his interactions with his own kind to a minimum...unless they are the attractive female type...in which case elves are the best thing since other elves.
  • Orcs: Hulking brutes of raw strength, or at least, that’s Illeren’s main opinion of them. He hasn’t met too many of them to be perfectly honest, but he does seem to see a bit of elvish culture in how they handle things. These ‘Noble Warriors’ seem to be locked into a role regardless if they enjoy it, and it’s something that he doesn’t find enticing. He neither likes or hates them, much like humans they’re unpredictable but mostly from his lack of experience with them...and that makes them enticing.

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

    | O r c B r o | ”It seems like ‘alf the time he’s got a crab on his crotch...and the other ‘alf is him tryin’ tah dig it out” [ 52 ]
Illeren’s opinion on Bo is a bit mixed at the moment. He doesn’t fully understand the orc, considering that he seems to have a bit of levity and yet is driven by a deeper purpose. Illeren understands that the blight is a threat to everyone and everything, but he just can’t seem to summon the drive to fight it quite like Bo seems to be able to on principle alone. Only time will tell if he becomes too much of a dictator for Illeren’s liking, but for the most part he enjoys Bo’s company.
+1 for his name not being a high born dicker
+1 for Strength


    | A d r i e l | “His chair is so 'igh I’m getting vertigo just looking at him...the fookin’ egotistical cant.” [ -39 ]
In many ways, Adriel immediately reminds Illeren of his father, which is more than enough to make him dislike the elf right off the bat. The man’s thoughts on species, humans in particular is part of the reason Illeren left the Elven society in the first place. He’s an assassin as well, not something he generally scoffs at as that typically requires a great deal skill to be able to do, but he feels like the man holds himself in too high of a regard. In the end, every single one of them can be killed by a blade, and every single one of them will eventually die. Also...his hair looks stupid.
+ 5 for Feistiness
-5 for Feistiness
+1 for not beinga stuck up dick


    | Gretchen |”It seems like mah past may ‘ave caught up to me…” [ 10 ]
Illeren isn’t the cleanest person on the planet, regarding his appearance, speech, and mannerisms...but even he pales in comparison to this woman. A bandit, without a doubt, and more than capable of making him remember his less than savory time on the highways between settlements robbing the traders as they made their routes to and fro. In a way, he doesn’t mind Gretchen. He’s not worried about insulting her, or making her cringe whenever he swears, but he’s also conflicted. She kills easily, swears easier, and has done things that Illeren would never have even considered. In short, it remains to be seen if Illeren will enjoy her company, or hate her for the vile creature she could potentially be.

    | Gulfim Gragba | “I ‘ave never seen someone in more need of a plowin’” [ 44 ]
Gulfim is one of those orcs that defies Illeren’s thoughts about their species. She’s literally everything they’re not...which is where the comparison between him and Gulfim comes in. Sure, they’re polar opposites in terms of personality and behaviour, but both of them defy what their species has stereotyped them as in their own way. While he feels like she needs to loosen up quite a bit more, already thinking about the many ways that could potentially happen, he doesn’t quite feel comfortable around her yet. Her inquisitive nature and constant analyzing eyes make him twitch and he would prefer her to look somewhere else...like an interesting tree or a blade of grass with a great personality.
+3 for lady like strength
-1 for Hesitation
+2 for Hesitation-caused plan


    | Tane Solberg |”When the fook did mountains grow legs?!” [ 37 ]
Once again we come to someone who is more duty bound to do what’s right than their own individual thought. Sure, Tane seems like a great guy who laughs and gets along with others, but his rigidness to his code and adherence to religious scriptures forces Illeren to stay more than an arm's length away. Last thing he wants is some kind of lecture about how his behaviour is the work of the devil or something like that. If the man chose to walk this path, then Illeren can respect that, but for the moment is simply too cowed by the man’s duty and devotion to really form a friendship with him.

    | Kir | “Shit, it seems like someone heard of God Complex and decided to one ‘undred percent it in the other direction!” [ -19 ]
How is it that one person, regardless of species or gender could place so little value on their life...and then have the audacity to continue living? Illeren doesn’t claim to be a philosopher or any kind of academic, but he’s positive they would get a good book or two out of this guy’s mind if they were given the chance. His subservience to just about everyone and everything within range makes Illeren uncomfortable when approaching him, because he doesn’t want to be seen as a superior being. In that way, all Kir does is project an image of the stereotypical elf onto Illeren that he’s worked hard to make sure he doesn’t convey. The ‘Wanting to die’ and ‘serving anyone and anything’ part aside, Illeren doesn’t really care for the man himself. He’s basically become a blank slate, doing what others tell him to do, so Illeren can’t get a grip on his personality and that bugs him to no end.
+1 for getting Illeren's ass in gear

    | Laetya Kyuutae | “She follows her gut like I follow mine...Annnnnd now she’s stripping in front of us.” [ 69 ]
In many ways, Laetya reminds Illeren of himself. She follows what she feels and he enjoys that about her, even if it’s more based in reasonable and logical things as opposed to spur of the moment ‘stealing of a bucket cause he could’ thoughts. She mimics closer to the other orcs that Illeren has met though, with a head on approach akin to a raging bull that he could only hope to keep up with. So in short, he finds her a decent sort and the fact that she tends to get naked when around a body of water doesn’t hurt either.
+2 for wanting to get a move on!
+1 for walking away


    | Aurileith Sabriel | “If there was eva a reason to go back to Elven territory, she’s evidence of it.” [ 50 ]
Well the first thoughts about Aurileith that go through Illeren’s head you don’t need to be privy to, let’s just keep it at that. After that though, and you start digging deeper into the woman herself, Illeren finds her somewhat hypocritical but not to any kind of damning degree. She seems to want to run free, to be anything and everything she could imagine, but is tethered by duty or promises. She’s also a little soft for his tastes, granted that adds to her allure of elven beauty, but looking at her it was hard not to feel like she would break at the first sign of conflict. She seems like a nice enough person, but only time will tell if her hesitance to actually embrace freedom rather than look at it through stained glass will become a reality.

    | Ezra Bravesteel | “Oi! Ya fooker, lets hit up a bar and start a brawl!” [ 95 ]
Out of the entire group, Illeren feels like he relates to Ezra the best. Sure, while Ezra does tend to brag and hog the glory a whole hell of a lot more than Illeren, he typically doesn’t mind him. He seems like the kind of guy that would just be great to be around and enjoy the camaraderie and stories that are bound to happen. Like Illeren, he doesn’t seem to hampered by anything other than his drive and imagination, which leads Illeren to believe they could get into all sorts of shit together.

Also, the irony of an elf liking a human the most is not lost on Illeren, but he generally doesn’t give a single fuck.
+5 for approval
+10 for FIRE SWORD THING!


    | Arayel Maervanyn |”You want me to stop staring at your eyes? Then stop staring at my arse!” [ 14 ]
Ah, assassins. Hidden agents of the shadows that make the world go round and make everyone afraid of the dark even in the safety of their own homes. To be perfectly honest, Illeren isn’t sure what to think of the woman yet. Sure, she’s an elf like him, and like him doesn’t exactly fit the stereotypical norm of an elf. Unlike him though, she seems to enjoy the act of killing. He feels like she’s one of those people who could whisper honeyed words in your ear, right before shoving a dagger in it. She’s someone to be wary of, to never let your guard down. Assassins are notorious for being solo agents for a reason.

    | Berlioz Sarkozy |”Oi, mate...there’s a key on the table…” [ 53 ]
Now, Illeren would never claim to be the best elf at reading people, but he knows for a fact that this guy is trying to prove something to the world. He rushes head first into every situation, and while Illeren likes and respects that about the man, he doesn’t think that impaling himself on a sword is the best way to disarm an opponent. I guess what Illeren is saying is that while he’s impulsive, he’s also intuitive enough to find something to work to the situation. Maybe Berlioz could learn a thing or two from Illeren, or maybe he’ll try to haul hay bales by himself while passing by two oxen. Who knows with this guy anymore. Regardless, Illeren doesn’t mind the guy and feels like given enough time they could be good friends.
+5 for THUNDER THIGHS

    | V a s h a |"'is face is made of stone, and eyes of fire...I know what 'e is!...'e's a Golem!"[ 10 ]
Illeren couldn't claim to be a fan of Vasha, nor could he truly claim to hate or dislike him either. For the most part, he sees Vasha as part of the decor, yet another item in the background that fails to register to Illeren most of the time. Granted that isn't saying much, considering if he was in a reputable black smith EVERYONE would be background decoration. That being said, he does have a slight amount of respect for the man's fighting style, mirroring his slightly with Cavalier training without a shield, but can't relate to how patient the man is. Also, his fascination with pain, both inflicting it on others and himself is more than a little disconcerting. End of the day, he trusts the man to hold his own in a fight, but essentially Illeren is fine with keeping a fair distance between them...until it's time to unleash hell in the form of a sewage bucket!

    | Kiske Kirill |"Why the 'ell is 'e apply'n makeup when we're trying to kill things!?"[ 20 ]
Kiske is not someone Illeren is used to interacting with, as many people would say without a doubt. Illeren is used to being the obnoxious one, the center of attention, the instigator. It now looks like he has a challenger to the throne who juggles make up, weird life choices, and a fascination with the dead. A weird amalgamation of some of the most separate interests he's ever seen, he believes Kiske will be fun to watch if nothing else. What the man is like in the heat of battle will be something different, as even some things need to be taken with a degree of seriousness, lest they get a sword through the gut. Oh, also, to hell if you think Illeren's allowing that crazed portrait of a child's nightmare to operate on him. Let Aurileith do it!


[B I O | H I S T O R Y]
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Illeren’s history is not something he likes to talk about, unless you’re referencing exploits or fights from the ages. Illeren was born to a couple on the edge of Elven territory, the settlement of Kiloain. While a typically small patch of land by the standards of elf society, it was heavily militarized, used practically as a watchtower for threats from their neighbors. Illeren’s father, Killian, was a high ranking Cavalier within the Elven military. He wasn’t in charge of the settlement by any means, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who would openly disagree with him. His mother was a baker, a rather skilled one if you believe the stories that Illeren would tell you.

His very early childhood was fairly standard, with the notable exception of his father’s lack of presence. Heading up the military arm of Kiloian took up a great deal of his time, and as such his family came second to the needs of the settlement. It wasn’t until Illeren was nearly five years old did Killian even become a factor in his life. It seemed like Illeren would have preferred him to stay out if you ever got him to talk about it, seeing as his father didn’t see him as a son but a protege and successor. From that moment on, he was no longer allowed to call Killian ‘Dad’ or any other kind of sentimental nonsense. It was “Sir” or “Commander”. There, his long ordeal of training to become a Cavalier began.

Naturally Illeren was placed in a school or training camp if you will of other children roughly his age, all of which would be undergoing the training necessary to become a Cavalier. The only problem with this was that his father seemed to develop the idea that someone might consider him to be playing favorites, seeing that his son was also in the class. This lead to Illeren’s life and training becoming a literal hell for the next number of years. While Cavalier training isn’t necessarily easy by any stretch of the imagination, Killian made it his sole goal to push Illeren farther and faster than any of the other kids there. If they had to do one hundred pushups, Illeren had to do two hundred. If they were to perform a series of attacks in ten second, Illeren had to do it in five. Even when he returned home it didn’t end. If Killian wasn’t pleased with Illeren’s performance, he would come home and conduct his one on one training right there in their house. A slow and gradual build up of hate was generated towards his father, and partly his mother for never stepping in to stop the obvious madness from happening.

In its own way, this proved to be better for Illeren than anything. He quickly started surpassing every other member of his training group, easily besting them in one on one combat, two on one combat, and if he was really feeling it, three on one combat. Like the other Cavaliers, he was trained to use a sword and shield in unison, but later dropped the shield as the years went on, choosing to go with the two handed blade technique instead. It was one of the few things his father didn’t object to, instead simply opting to see how long he could go before he chose to bring the shield back. Instead, Illeren proved his father wrong and showcased an increased aggressiveness and ferocity with both of his hands on his weapon. He slowly but surely became the top Cavalier of his class, and by the age of 15 graduated with top honors.

Normally Illeren thought that was the end of it, that he had somehow passed some long trial of life and now he was finally through it. Instead, the other children were shipped off to different posts, while Illeren was to remain under the command of his father, who by that time became the Commander-in-Chief of Kiloain’s military forces. Typically one would assume that such a posting in a small outpost was a career killer, but due to their proximity to the border, it was actually a great honor. He was essentially the man in charge of their first line of defense, and he ordered his son to stay in Kiloain. He was presented with a suit of armor by his father, his first and only sign of appreciation to his son. Specially crafted and honed to fit just him, it was a temporary stopping block in the life long drill that had become Illeren’s life. Until the very next day when his father seemed to revert back to the same person he had been for the past ten years.

He didn’t seem to get it out of his head that he no longer had to pretend that he was playing favorites. Illeren was berated every moment he was on duty. He wasn’t standing straight enough, he wasn’t paying attention, his words were slurred when he addressed a superior officer. Each one was landed with yet another punishment, be it extra drills and training or cleaning the latrines. The pot was boiling, and it wasn’t until he was twenty years old that it finally bubbled over. Fifteen years of this shit was enough for Illeren, who had long ago decided that he didn’t like the rigidness of Elven society. He wanted to see more than just tree lines and the edge of Elven territory. He wanted to talk to people other than military commanders. He wanted to live, laugh, and possible love but he knew he would never get that here. Under the ever watchful eye of Commander Myakleyth, and the subservience of his mother.

There was much internal quarrel for Illeren as he considered what would happen should he choose to leave. In the end, he decided it was the best thing for him, defying all his years of training and discipline for this one rogue act that would free him from the ever oppressing grip of his father and by extension, the Elven society. Without even a goodbye, Illeren had packed his bags and armor and left Kiloain under the cover of night.

The years progressing after that fateful night unravelled every bit of discipline that Illeren had built during his childhood. He adopted his new methodology “Because I can” about a year after leaving Kiloain. From there, he participated in a number of things ranging from banditry to farm hand for a bit. His skills with a blade never wavered however, somehow managing to stumble upon trainers from all makes of life in order to further hone his skills with a blade. At some point along his travels, the exact time lost even to him, he thought it would be funny if he started talking with an accent not of his homeland. He stuck with it, and has done so for so long that it has replaced his standard accent.

His appreciation for weapons, specifically swords, had always been with him since his early childhood. Now that he was out in the world, seeing new places and meeting new people, his mind exploded with some of the blades he was coming across. He got multiple tattoos, hired a blacksmith in Airedale to craft his current sword, and generally took care of it like a mother should have taken care of a child.

The rest of his history up until the present, a little over twenty years of it, is a mixture of jobs, both good and bad, along with more than a few hijinks involving the farmer’s daughter and a bucket of manure. He became the person he had always wanted to be, unchained to family or societal burdens.

Illeren had actually been near Autumnor when he had heard about the Serpent’s Gathering. He had been out of a job for some time, getting by on small body guard gigs and the occasional robbery of a merchant. The reward was more than substantial, but also part of him knew that the pestilence was a threat to everyone and everything, including himself. He would rather be there, on the front lines fighting it than waiting for someone else to fix problems that everyone would be facing at some point. Without much further thought, as was the norm for him by this point in his life, Illeren was off to the gathering with adventure on his mind and an adrenaline high in waiting.

[F L A G S]
Heading back to Elven Territory, specifically Kiloain.

So begins...

Illeren Myakleyth's Story

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Now he really wanted that apple back…




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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“--I’m afraid if I let my colleague speak, he will coddle you all until you’re unfit for any kind of military service. 'We don’t need to know the names of dead men.'”

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

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

WHERE THE FOOK DID I GET THIS PEAR?!

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

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

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

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

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

(Illeren gained 5 approval from random fruits)

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kir was really starting to miss his prison cell.

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lumbering beast.

(Gulfim slightly disapproves in herself: -10 Approval)

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


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

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

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




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

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

"Right.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, what?

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

“We. Don’t. Speak. Elvish!”

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

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

“Surprised I didn’t kill you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“…told you she fucked him.”

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

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

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

A COCK! ‘is ‘air looks like a cock!

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

“This should be interesting.”

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Kir
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)

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
Image


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What in the world is going on?




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gray
Image


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

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

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

“Cock.”

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

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

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

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




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





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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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

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



The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Image


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Image




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

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

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

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

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jäger
Image



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

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

Excitement simmered through Vasha’s veins.





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Vasha slightly approves of Adriel's resourcefulness: +3

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

"Come here often?" He said.

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

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




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

Too much fucking talking though.

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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#, as written by Baby
The Bull


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




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

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

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

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

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

...Whatever that job was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

One step...two st-

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

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

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

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

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

At least today wasn’t boring.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Tane Solberg

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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


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

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




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

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

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

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

Stop!

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

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

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

Of course not.




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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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




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

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




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

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

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

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

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

Ah. It was a joke.




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