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Tane Solberg

"I weild Duty and Resolve much as I carry them in my heart." -The Juggernaut

0 · 401 views · located in Tegea

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


""I shall do what I must, and worry about what is possible later.""

Tane Solberg



"I have sworn by this shield to protect the people of this realm, often times at my own expense. However, I feel it is worth it if I can serve a noble cause."

"The Plague affects us all, who am I to deny my duty to put it down?"

[B A S I C S]
Nicknames: Baldy. He dislikes this one.
Gender: Male
Age: 37
Race: Human
Origin: Airedale
Voice: Often times rather blunt with his choice of words, his words are carried in a strong, deep and confident voice. When enthusiastic he often begins yelling without realizing it, soon followed by a small fit of coughing as yelling sometimes upsets his throat and makes his voice hoarse. He rarely swears, and often attempts to make light of serious conversations.
Class: Juggernaut
Offensive/Defensive: Defensive
Magical Affinity: Medium


[A P P E A R A N C E]
Hair: What little of it is left is a light brown color, almost hazel.
Eyes: Deep brown, almost to the point of being black.
Complexion: Life has hardened his features to that like rough stone, making him look more like a grizzled old bear than a man.
Height: 5' 11"
Build: You know body builders? Those pansies? That's what I thought.
Weight: Roughly around 220lbs
Body Markings: A thick scar runs from above his left temple to just above the bridge of his nose. On his left shoulder he bears a tatoo of an iron cross.

[D E S C R I P T I O N]
By no means can Tane be seen as a tiny man. For a human, he's rather tall and nearly as wide as an orc to boot! He'd be an awful lot more intimidating were it not for the warm smile seemingly constantly plastered across his face, which looks more like stone than flesh to be honest. Other than that he's a clean shaven, well groomed and bathed individual with one to many scars. Or five. Or like... twelve? A few of em are on his face and head, primarily the left side. Not like he had much hair there anyway so no big loss. As for facial features, he's square jawed and thin lipped, with prominent cheek bones and a broad nose. Also kind of tiny ears.

As far as his body goes... Well there's quite a bit of it go go around. Shoulders so broad he has trouble getting into some doorways, and muscles for days. DAYS. You know how hard it is to move in a 100 pound suit made of steel? Really, REALLY hard, so Tane had to work out. So yeah, kind of a big happy bear of a man, and that's out of the armor.



[P E R S O N A L I T Y]
Faith is of great importance to Tane, but there's a great deal more to the great brute than that! While he may appear to be a giant hulking behemoth, he's actually quite the softy. You'll rarely ever see Tane without a grin plastered on his face, and if you don't see him grinning its because he's laughing. Doesn't matter what it's about, for all you know he may be laughing at himself! He's been known to do so from time to time. A good sense of humor can get a soldier through any battle, and seeing the face of your enemy turn to fear the second you start laughing your ass off in their face? Priceless. Tane loves most all things, and rarely ever holds a grudge. If Tane holds something, anything against you, then you truly are absolute scum. Mostly though, Tane loves love itself. Actually, more like obsesses over it. A true romantic in the most literal sense of the word, he adores the idea of true love and could gossip like an old woman about a cute couple for hours on end. Surprisingly, despite his romantic nature he is able to maintain his composure and with around women "confessing" love. Yes Tane loves romance, but he hates a liar. More than one woman has attempted to manipulate him, or simply sleep with him, in the past. He's turned all of them down... Making Tane a virgin.

Above all things, Tane respects honor, dignity, discipline and mercy. His faith in the creator sets for him a rather strict set of moral standards, and he greatly respects those who follow similar values. However there is a darker side to Tane, one that rarely manifests itself. In the face of the immoral, the honorless, or the merciless Tane's smile fades, only to be replaced by a great scowl. Tane is not a malicious man, but his heart is full of righteous rage, and every so often it comes to bear its fangs on the truly wicked.

[F E A R S]
  • Corruption: Tane fears this on both the political and emotional level. Corrupt politicians and officers can bring this great campaign down on its knees if we are not careful. Corruption of the soul will lead us down a much darker, dangerous road.

  • Being proven unworthy: Surprisingly enough, Tane has some issues with self confidence. As such, he places much value in his own self worth as a warrior. Things that prove him wrong tend to give Tane doubts as to this worth.

  • Spiders: Just the big ones really...

[Q U I R K S]
  • Never has he been seen without his shield close at hand. Ever. Even in the bath.

  • Is always on time. Never early, not even by a minute, and never a second late. Always arrives exactly when scheduled to meetings, dinner, and even when turning in for the night.

  • Refuses to wield any weapons save this shield and flail.

  • Tane is in love with the idea of love, which makes for some awkward situations. Gender, race, ethnicity all cease to matter once Tane realizes that love is a part of the situation. He loves to talk about love, hear about love, write about it, read about it, anyway he can get it.

[E T H I C | V A L U E S]
Tane attempts to adhere to a strict set of set values he deems both honorable and pious.

1. Kill not the innocent man: Pretty self explanatory.

2. Protect your fellow man: Tane's interpretation of this has led him to believe that he must protect all sentient life in the realm, not solely humans. Such is his "Duty", and is how his shield was named.

3. Punish the wicked and the slaves of the wicked: This is Tane's "Resolve" to protect his fellow man from the forces of "evil" and was how the flail he wields received its name.

4. Show compassion to all of the Creator's children: The primary reason Tane hates racism, as the Creator is the father of all races.

5. Be merciful in all your dealings: Mercy is a double edged sword. One side of mercy is letting your foe live to see justice through other means. Another is to put them down so they do not suffer said humiliation.

[A G E N D A]
Tane's personal goal in this grave endeavor is to simply prove his worth to all those who dare watch. The gods, men, women, bandits, he cares not who sees only that they do. As conceited as this sounds, he does none of it for personal gain or wealth, but devotes all his deeds and efforts to the Creator, whom he worships. Tane only holds one grudge, and that is against the Silver Knights. Years ago they denied him permission to join their ranks, an honor Tane had sought for a long while. In resentment, Tane joined the Serpent's gathering. Other than that, he believes this cause to be a righteous one, mayhaps even his reason for being created. He is after all, quite a religious man.

[L I K E S]
    • Men of faith: It's always good to see the good men and women of the churches of the land doing good works, healing the sick and feeding the poor. Occasionally ideals and beliefs clash, but Tane is rarely ever seen attempting to push his faith onto others.

    • Pork: Tane rarely gets to eat meat, as he comes from a rather impoverished area, but when he can afford it he always eats pork.

    • Books: Anything to do with knowledge actually. Being raised as he was, the pursuit of knowledge and its recordings are very important to Tane.

    • A clean suit of armor: Really, it starts to stink in here after a while.

[D I S L I K E S]
    • Racism: It goes against his own personal beliefs and is generally just unacceptable behavior. Few things can get actual anger from Tane, but a slur against any race is a good way of going about it. Definitely not a good idea.

    • Bandits and thieves: What right have they to steal what was earned by another? They are among the wicked and must be punished.

    • Nobility: A lot of people place way to much value in the weight of their coins, and Nobles are the worst of the lot. They force others to fight for them in exchange for mediocre pay, while they lounge in their grand houses dining on fine meats and wines. Disgusting.

    • Alcohol: No this isn't because Tane can't hold his liquor. It only got bad once okay? Okay!? Leave him alone.

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

You have a limit of 20 stars.



[N A T U R A L | T A L E N T]
  • Made of tougher stuff: [Strong] - ★★★★★☆ Most of his life Tane has been beaten, hit, slapped, trampled, stabbed, cut, gutted, or impaled... and none of it has killed him so far. He certainly knows how to take a damn punch or a hundred, even without his armor.
  • Kind of an airhead: [Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆ Tane's casual and cheerful demeanor makes him easy to get along with, talk to, or share a secret or two with, what could be the harm?
  • Man's gotta eat: [Scrub] ☆☆☆☆☆☆ He's certainly no master chef, or even a decent cook, but with a few spices and some natural ingredients Tane can cook a hot meal. It's.... Okay. Usually.

[C L A S S | S K I L L S]
  • Glancing blows: [Excellent] ★★★★★★ Properly wielding a shield isn't nearly as easy as your average soldier believes. Taking a blow dead on is likely to break your arm, so Tane has long practiced his skills in rolling with a blow to minimize the force exerted on his body. Using this technique, Tane can take massive amounts of punishment from even the strongest of enemies with minimal damage to his person.
  • To their defense!: [Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆ Tane isn't all that quick, but he's trained long enough to know when someone's in trouble and how to get there as quickly as possible, even if it means literally throwing himself in front of them.
  • Punishment: [Average] - ★★★☆☆☆ Once Tane has been in combat with a single enemy for a prolonged period of time, he learns the enemies attack pattern and can see the openings in their attacks. On the enemies next attack Tane will parry the blow away with his shield and slam Resolve into the enemy, often times gravely wounding them or breaking bones.

  • Skill: Barrier [Poor] - ★★☆☆☆☆ Tane's moderate affinity for magic can be used to further augment his abilities as a Juggernaut. While most of his class are vulnerable to magic as it tends to ignore armor, Barrier creates a magic wall in front of his shield with high resistance to magical attacks. He can't hold this spell for very long as of yet, but in a dire situation it's a vital skill.

[W E A K N E S S E S]
  • It's easy to run from a brick wall: Tane isn't exactly the fastest or most acrobatic member of the group. Or any group. He can march for days on end, but it's hard to move faster than a sprint for more than a minute.
  • Frontal Assault: Tane doesn't fare well in any form of combat where he's not facing the enemy head on. Ambush and subterfuge kind of go over his head, mostly because he can't move fast enough to catch 'em.
  • A noble cause: While this is also one of Tane's great strengths, in the wrong situation it can be a grave weakness. He tends to put the cause he fights for above his own personal safety, mostly because that's his job. It's nearly gotten him killed many a time.


[A R M O R]
A 75 pound suit of full plate armor, made of burnished steel to help against corrosion, adorned with brass filigree. Underneath the initial plate he wears a 25 pound chain hauberk, leaving his total armor at 100 pounds. He also wears a white tabbard, bearing the symbol of the iron cross. On his back was once a brilliant crimson cloak, but it has faded to the deep color of blood.

[C L O T H I N G]
When not in a full suit of armor, Tane usually goes about in a simple white cotton shirt tucked into brown trousers and ankle high boots. Over the shirt he usually wears a small coat of animal hide.

[I T E M S]
A leather bound book titled "Works of the Creator". A religious text obviously, which he is often seen reading
Leather waterskin
Oil lantern and flask of lantern oil
A huge bag full of leather straps and buckles, meant for joining armor plates

[T O K E N S]
A simple Iron cross necklace.

[P R I M A R Y | W E A P O N]
Weapon Name: Duty
Weapon Type: shield
Length: 4 1/2 feet tall
Weight: A shoulder grinding 35 pounds
Origin: Don't think a shield is a weapon? Ever been hit by a 35 pound piece of wood and steel swung by a 320 pound behemoth of a man while he charges through your ranks? Trust me, it's a weapon. Duty was bestowed upon Tane once he was promoted to Juggernaut. Local priest of the Creator, Father Abraham was in charge of the ceremony, and dubbed the shield "Duty" as it was given to him, and he was told its weight was a symbol of the burden he is to bear.

[O T H E R | W E A P O N S]
Weapon Name: Resolve
Weapon Type: Flail
Length: 2 foot handle, 1 foot chain, 1 foot long weight.
Weight: A hefty 10 pounds.
Origin: Granted to him in the same ceremony as Duty, Father Abraham dubbed this massive flail "Resolve" as it was only to be used against the wicked, a constant test of his faith.


[M A R I T A L | S T A T U S]
Single and looking. Also straight.

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

    |Father Abraham| [ +100 ]
Ah the good Father. A more Pious and generous man there never was, willing to take a pair of children into his care when he could barely afford to feed himself. As Tane never knew his actual father, he always thought of Abraham as his dad, and the man was more than willing to adopt both him and his sister. While he was kind he was also quite strict, always making sure the two of us were staying out of trouble and praying daily. He wanted the two of us to be good pious children. I still feel a little bad about leaving the abbey to join the military, but I can do a lot more good out here than in the abbey.

    | Sophie | [ +150 ]
My dearest younger sister, I believe she turned 30 this year. Hair the color of straw and eyes as blue as the sky, she was like a ray of sunshine dancing through the muddy streets of our little village. She never complained about how there was nothing to eat in the house, or how mom was never home, or when she was she always smelled of liquor and would start screaming at the two of them. She withstood it all, almost better than I did I think, and has grown into a beautiful woman. Maybe she's married by now! I should write her a letter soon.

    | Sherah| [ -20 ]
Ah yes... our mother, if you can call her that. Sure she gave birth to me and Sophie, but she sure as HELL did not raise us. That was my job. When she wasn't out flirting with the soldiers passing through the town, she was in their beds. That's the sad truth of it really, Sophie and I are only half siblings by blood. Neither of us know our fathers, and neither of us like our mother. When she did come home, it was with a bottle of liquor she'd bought with the money she'd stolen from the soldiers she'd slept with. More often than not I'd have to steal the money when she was asleep just to buy food, then be beaten later once she found out. I don't know where she is now, nor do I really care. Creator have mercy on her damnable soul, for I will not.

[O C C U P A T I O N]
A Juggernaut in the Airedale military. Before that, a scribe.

[S O C I A L | R A N K]
A soldier, nothing more and nothing less.

[O P I N I O N S]
  • Humans: His own race, capable of its own greatness, and its own atrocities.
  • Elves: An interesting peoples to say the least, though they tend to put on airs of superiority. Not that humans don't do the same thing I suppose.
  • Orcs: A race of savage warriors, he's fought more than his fair share of them in the past and nearly every one of them was a worthy opponent.
  • The Silver Knights: I'm sure they're doing their best against this blight, but they already denied me admittance into their ranks. Well, they'll soon come to regret it once they see my feats in battle!
  • The Serpent Gathering: I'm glad someone is doing something about this mess, and better yet has agreed to let me be a part of it.

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

    | O r c B r o | [ +79 ]
Our capable leader, and a rather... Loud man at that. Everything he seems to do is like he's bragging about something. To who I wonder? His men? Other orc leaders? Mayhaps the Silver Knights? The later is the most likely. I enjoy his company well enough, and he has a good mind for tactics. Just wish he knew a bit more of what it was like to fight on the front lines. Its a whole different world out there my friend, a cruel horrid world.

    | A d r i e l | [ +25 ]
A man I can't seem to get a grip on. He changes moods and words like the day changes to night. One thing I am certain of though is his contempt for human kind... It makes him rather... Difficult to work with, but I try not to let it affect my judgement. Though most days I feel like slamming him into the ground till his teeth fall out. Not exactly... priestly thoughts I'm aware, but the man irks me so.

    | G r e t c h e n | [ +3 ]
This woman I'm afraid reminds me a bit of my mother. Her lack of care for her allies is disturbing, and the other day she actually growled at me. It's easier to deal with her if I think of her as a slime monster.

    | K i r | [ +30 ]
Poor wretched soul, forced into a life of banditry. While I cannot forgive him of his past crimes, I can certainly help him move forward from them.

    | L a e t y a K y u u t a e | [ +35 ]
A fine companion and fellow warrior, but with some rather... Well, lets just unpriestly habits. She can certainly put her liquor away, I'll give her that!

    | E z r a | [ +8 ]
I honestly don't know what to think of this man. Yes he performs heroic deeds and fights in our righteous battle, but he doesn't do it for anything other than his own personal fame. Pride is a sin my boy, and you're damn guilty. Outside of that, his hair is quite nice. Reminds me of my own before I had to shave it all off. Mayhaps I should grow it out again? He certainly gets along well with that loud elf. Maybe TOO well.... Hmm....

    | T h e B u l l | [ 00 ]
Aint' no man here gonna touch MY flail.

    | G u l f i m G r a g b a | [ +115 ]
It's rather odd just how small this world is. This young orc woman, so righteous in her beliefs, yet so wide eyed and curious reminds me of my sister. I feel a natural instinct to protect her. Besides, she's a kind, polite, well mannered individual. Who wouldn't get along with her?

    | A r a y e l M a e r v a n y n | [ +82 ]
Surprisingly, a good enough person for me to get along with the majority of the time. I know right? Me and the assassin good buds? The world's a small place I suppose, and I'm surprisingly good at making friends. I enjoys our conversations, though at times they can be a little macabre. I'll overlook the bit where she kills people for a living only because the majority of those people were corrupt politicians, people who plague my home town. I'm sincerely glad she survived the Styx snake... That thing is awful.

    | A u r i l e i t h S a b r i e l | [ +40 ]
Freedom is alot more that the ability to make your own choices in life, it is also the responsibility to live with the consequences of those choices. Making no choice, is in and of itself a choice.

    | I l l e r e n M y a k l e y t h | [ +15 ]
I cannot abide by his constant impulsive behavior. Stealing "Because you can" is... I lack the words for the amount of wrong that this man is in the brain. I will tolerate him for now, but the moment he is no longer an asset, or worse becomes a liability, I'd likely put him in jail myself. He certainly gets along well with Ezra. Maybe TOO well.... Hmm....

[B I O | H I S T O R Y]
Tane was a simple boy like any other, raised by a single mother in a small village in the human capital of Airedale. That's where the fairy tale ends. You see, Tane's mother was a raging alcoholic, and kind of a skank to be honest. Ever since he was young she would shamble of into the night, leaving him alone in the house, often times unfed, and drink with the soldiers until dawn. She usually woke up in their beds. This is also how Tane was concieved, as well as his younger sister Sophie. For many years this went on, until his mother became pregnant with Sophie. Tane was only seven at the time, but he knew if his mother continued her wretched cycle of drinking and sex, his little sister would die in the womb. Desperate, Tane sought the help of a priest named Abraham. For nine months Abraham was able to convince the soldiers in the area not to sleep with Tane's mother, and not to let her drink, and those months were hell for Tane. In her sober state, his mother was a fury, and beat him morning noon and night. When Sophie was finally born, Tane decided that there was no way she could survive in this house. For 6 years the two children suffered at the hands of their mother, until Sophie and Tane were old enough to leave the house in the middle of the night and hide in the abbey where Father Abraham was at.

The old priest agreed the raise the two children, but only if they promised to be pious, and to never end up like their mother. They agreed, eagerly, and began their new life in the abbey. The nuns taught Sophie how to cook and sew, while Abraham taught Tane how to read and write. For many years, they lived in that abbey, almost like a family and were happy. But with time money became scarce. There was hardly any food for the priests of the abbey, never mind two growing teens. So at the age of twenty, Tane made the decision to join the military. They would accept anyone strong enough to carry a spear, and they were desperate for money. Abraham was against this, but Sophie merely smiled and said "Come back alive, okay?"

Ten years passed, military campaigns and wars sprung up everywhere so Tane was never short on work. All the money he made he sent to the abbey, and occasionally he even got a letter back letting him know they were fine. Those years had changed Tane, from a young scribe into a soldier. In recognition of his deeds in the field of battle, Tane was called back to the capital for a promotion. He was to be a Juggernaut. Father Abraham was to be in charge of the ceremony, and he even got to see Sophie. That day, he received his armor, his Duty, and his Resolve.

Years passed, and we are forced to look to the present. After failing to join the Silver knights a few years ago, Tane instead joined the rival organization Serpent's gathering, as much to prove the Silver Knights wrong as too do his part in ridding the world of the pestilence.

[F L A G S]
Weddings. The minute anyone, ANYONE brings up the subject of marriage, Tane will drop everything to give them a perfect wedding.

So begins...

Tane Solberg's Story


Characters Present

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

The sun sat in its morning perch, gazing down at the dirt road and the man who traveled along it this day. A tall man, and wide, known to many as Tane, and a few as Solberg. He'd been walking for days on end, in a full suit of armor, but today would end that. By noon today, he should arrive in Autumour, where a group known only as Serpent's Gathering would be meeting. Tane, only to glad, had been invited to join said group and happily accepted. He fully intended on doing as much good as there was to be done, and with the Pestilence ravaging the country, there was quite a bit to be done. His only real regret was his weight. The sad truth of the matter was that a 330 pound man could not sit on the back of a horse without breaking it. So he walked, as he had for many days now.

The heavy clattering of those armored footsteps made his presence known to all on the road. Such was the delight of a trio of bandits sitting within the dence brush on the roadside, with knives in hand and greed in their blackened hearts. The leader of said trio, one Arnaldo Haroon, sat just around the bend, waiting for his chance. They spoke in whispers of their next victim and speculated.
"With all 'dat armor, 'ayhaps it be a Silver Knight?" asked their hitman, Martin Ingolf, as he played with a heavy wooden cudgel in his hands. Not the most clever man, or the prettiest. His nose was broken in more places than you can count on both hands.
"Not likely. Silver Knights rarely ever traveled alone and even at that it's usually on horseback." said the second, more reasonable member of their troope Govad Jackie. At a glance you could hardly even tell he was a bandit. Worse, he looked like a lawyer.
"Just a passing mercenary 'eh?"
"Probably. Autumour is crawling with sellswords."
"No one 'ill miss just one then?"
"I doubt they would."
"'Ehn I don't see no 'arm in it. Let's get 'em!"

"Quiet you idiots!" scolded Arnaldo, finally speaking. "He's going to hear us! If you screw this up for us again I'll cut off your-" he cut off mid sentence as he saw the other staring at something behind him, eyes wide in fear, mouths agape.
"Excuse me, but I couldn't help but overhear your conversation." came the deep melodic voice of the steel clad giant standing behind the bandit, in one hand this giant held a shield taller than most men, the other carried a flail as heavy as a newborn calf. "I do believe you intended to rob me, correct?"
The bandits reaction was fast, much to fast for Tane to keep up with, not that he needed to. In a flash the bandit swung around with knife in hand, only for the cheap knife to shatter on Tane's uplifted shield. Arnaldo's face went pale as the broken knife hilt fell out of his shaking hand and rolled onto the ground.
"I'll take that as a "Yes"." as Tane stepped into the circle of men, the other two dropped their weapons and backed away, their faces as pale as their leader's. "Now here's how this is going to work..."

"And that's how it happened officer."
"Bullshit. That can't be true." barked the city guard, taking the heavy rope from Tane's hand, a mix of disbelief and confusion distorting his face. Attatched to said rope were the wrists of three bandits, one with a re-broken nose, the other a black eye, and the last missing half his teeth. Despite this, the three bandits had both hands clasped together and were praying, vigorously and avoid eye contact with everyone, including eachother.
Tane merely shrugged, a motion akin to the relocation of two mountains. He was fortunate to have found a guard just outside the city to take the bandits off his hands, he would run late if he had to take the bandits all the way to the city's jail himself.

"There's no way you fended..." The guard gave Tane another good look, taking into account the nearly 6 feet of armor, the massive shield, and the gargantuan flail on his hip, gulped as Tane's grin only widened, and resumed speaking.
"T-There's no way AFTER fending off three bandits you managed to convince not one, but all THREE to a life of piety."
Tane simply pointed with a finger the size of a bratwurst towards the three praying bandits, whose chanting immediately became much more fervent, nearly frenzied, in their very open display of newfound piety.
"In fairness, they weren't very good bandits, likely the worst I've ever met, but I've already ensured they regret their sins, so please ensure they pay for them, won't you my good man?"
"W-Well yeah I guess..." came the guards nervous reply. This... giant walking piece of steel, he refused to think of the thing in front of him as human, was really starting to freak him out.
"Excellent! I shall be on my way then! A good day to you good sir." said Tane, the grin on his lips splitting his face as he started making his way into the city, humming a happy tune which could barely be heard over the cacophony that was his every step.

Their place of meeting was under the Ebony bridge, and Tane was among one of the first to arrive. There hadn't really been an exact meeting time, so there had been a mild amount of fear that he would be late. Soon after him, many others began filing into their meeting place, of all races and walks of life. The majority of them were rather average human men, so Tane sort of... stood out? Like a tree in a field of short grass. He was eager to begin, this Serpent's Gathering as it was called, was this world's best hope of beating back the Pestilence. Though, the elf who was giving this rather... "un-encouraging" speech spoke first of a training day, something special planned. Well, Tane had expected some form of test so this wasn't all too surprising. Either way, if this was the first step to saving the world, so be it. Tane was prepared for whatever came at him. So long as it did so from the front anyway.

(Everyone has gained 100 approval from Tane. Remember, Tane loves you all!)

(Im only kind of joking.)


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 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 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.”


“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. was definitely not the handsome factor that he had been hoping for.

“I mean...a 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)


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth
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#, as written by Baby
The Bull

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait, what?

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: 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

“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.”


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The {Monster Compendium} has been updated.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin
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It seemed that Illeren’s outburst had done more than just draw attention to himself as several things happened that were too coincidental to not have been a direct result of his proclamation. Someone jumped, another person stumbled, people stared…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illeren wasn’t ready for a fight.

As he stared down into the mine that might as well have been an abyss from his point of view, he could feel his legs lock up and his eyes go wide. That was really far 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’s fire and swords! Turning his mind back to the present matter at hand, Adriel made it painfully aware that he wasn’t going to be assisting in any way whatsoever, and left the group to take up a perch along the edge of the cliff. Illeren stared at him as he simply sat at the edge of a deadly drop before realizing he was staring, and that the man was an elf and used to heights.

Ironic, Illeren was aware.

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

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

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

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

Well played ya righteous sap licker!

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin
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#, as written by iCakez

I don't know what I expected...

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gulfim Gragba Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel
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#, as written by Ezarael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin
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#, as written by Jäger

"Hesitation's unbecoming, maggots."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Gretchen Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Kir Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin
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"This sword. Where it ends, and I begin."

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Of course not.

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin
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#, as written by iCakez

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

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

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

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

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

Arayel approves of Ezra's flashiness +5

Arayel greatly approves of Vasha's courage +10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah. It was a joke.

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth
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Delete this--double posted because of all those crazy RPGateway errors.


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Adriel Nisaan Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Aurileith Sabriel Character Portrait: Ezra Bravesteel Character Portrait: Arayel Maervanyn Character Portrait: Berlioz Sarkozy Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth
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The world is built by killers, so you better get used to looking at them.

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

She would not falter in this.

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Good times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Higoht Ezengbo Character Portrait: Tane Solberg Character Portrait: Laetya Kyuutae Character Portrait: Illeren Myakleyth Character Portrait: Vasha Rhuin Character Portrait: Kiske Kirill
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#, as written by Jäger

Vasha was greeted by the bald suit of armor on the last few steps up the stairs. Friend? I’m not your friend. Ah, right. Small talk. The giant’s friendliness seemed awfully out of place for such a hulking creature - consequently irritating him. Luckily, the pain high still blanketed his euphoric brain and a giddy energy had begun to grow in his legs. Best to ignore the hulk’s idiosyncrasy for now. Plus, that drink looked helpful. “Thank you. I wish you luck.”

He entertained the notion of mingling for a moment but almost immediately dismissed it, realizing that his body needed rest. Socializing and barrel experimentation would have to come tomorrow.

The room he found himself in was surprisingly luxurious. Plush, gilded sheets and ornate furnishings. Vasha was happy to find that his window overlooked the cluster of barrels he had so tactfully hidden his own in. He finished off the rest of his drink and retired for the night.

Well before the others woke up, Vasha slid his eyelids back into their sockets. He stood, cracking the joints of his neck and the small of his back. A new day had begun, slightly more exciting than the last.

Good god. He was more excited. Not by much, but it was undoubtedly noticeable. How long had it been since he actually looked forward to a new sun? When he didn’t sleep excessively to the point of being nearly late to everything? When he wasn’t a walking husk? Granted, there was a very special barrel outside with his name etched in stench but he wasn’t one to split hairs. Something good was happening.

He packed his things and left the inn. One of the she-orcs was already outside, beads of sweat dotting her like ornaments on a Christmas tree. She struck the air in what looked to be some kind of flimsy training regimen, so focused that grunts of movement escaped her regularly. Vasha had never encountered such a mountain of a woman. Disorientation and attraction fought each other for a lasting conclusion. In the end, attraction scraped by, the victor.

So far, she hadn’t noticed his approach and he intended to keep it that way, skirting around to the backside of the inn. Awaiting him was his, for the most part untouched, barrel. Some claw marks indicated that an animal had found the smell desirable but a lack of thumbs prevented its entry. If he had more time, he would’ve sat in wait for the creature, curious to see what could find such an odor enticing.

Retrieving the sac, he scoured the city for a long forgotten place. A deserted barn sat in the sparser parts of town, ashen scorch marks licking the wood. Vasha took up residence within and began his incisions.

Some hours later and in desperate need of another bath, Vasha returned from his makeshift laboratory. He’d learned some interesting things; just as he suspected, there were similarities between Nidhogg young and other pack-like creatures. He had yet to learn why they disbanded their protective unit as they grew though he fancied it was for the same reason territorial predators fought to keep their lands free – food. He’d have to deduce if they were cannibalistic when he came across another pool of teenagers.

A quick wash, careful to avoid wetting his hair, and he was ready to go. The walking, talking flower arrangement they were supposed to be allies with made Vasha’s nose scrunch more than even the most foul parts of the Nihogg dissection. What in all of creation was it? A cross between a butterfly and vomit, a repulsive collage or rainbow shit spewed out of a unicorn’s ass. Vasha had heard of these ‘clowns’. He just never expected all his visual nerves to be assaulted upon sighting one. Surely, this one was on the extreme side?

Nevertheless, the affront to any sliver of fashion sense was so offending that Vasha had trouble defining how he actually felt towards it, him, whatever the fuck it was. Deciding that it was preferable to not stare directly into the sun, Vasha directed all of his attention to Bo, miffed that bits of the creature occasionally bled into his peripherals.

To make matters worse, Vasha became acquainted with Illeren’s yowling on the way to Merrilville. It wasn’t the tune that gave injury, rather the accent of insolence added to each high note, like a seagull dropping white bombs on your head or a squirrel nicking your ice cream cone.

Thankfully, the trip was short. Devastation greeted them in wafts of decay. Apparently a staple of their journey would be foul smelling vacation spots – not that Vasha minded overmuch. Better than no vacation at all.

Bo led them through the wreckage, alert and tense. Sounds of life could be heard here and there, guttural moans and footsteps. Vasha would soon find out that it wasn’t life at all that shuffled towards them. No, the creatures hunting them were suspended somewhere in the middle, an altogether fascinating concept to Vasha. As the first few appeared, some of their number engaging them head-on, Vasha felt his lips curl into a smile. Oh, he couldn’t wait to bring home some samples.

Vasha sightly approves of Tane's alcohol contribution: +3
Vasha approves of Laetya's muscular frame: +4
Vasha disapproves of Illeren's musical inclinations : -3