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Callavan Sole

"Yeah, you laugh now, but I'll show ya."

0 · 384 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by Tainted Twinkee

Description

Full Name: Callavan Sole
Nickname: Van
Gender: Male
Age: 23
Height: 5'9”
Race: Human
Class Mage

Skills: Callavan uses magic through the use of written symbols. They may be written with any tool imaginable, and can be written by others even if he doesn't know what it does. He's also a decent fisherman.

Weakness(es): He can't use any magic that isn't written, limiting him to what he already has prepared and whatever he has time to prepare. The more complex the magic he needs, the more complex the symbol. He's absolute rubbish in a close quarters fight.

Equipment: Vellum, quills, ink, chalk, charcoal, sewing needles (for making spells.), a few pre-made spells on vellum, some string and hooks (for fishing) a knife (mostly for gutting fish) a flask, some simple supplies for use between towns and a pack to hold it all. There's also has a tattoo on his left hand that lets him cast fireballs (Because, really, what self-respecting mage can't throw a ball of fire at strangers?)

Personal Quote: “The hell you lookin' at?”

Description: Spending as much time fishing as studying, Van's a bit tan with lean muscles and rough callused hands. His mop of sandy brown hair is thick and matted from the time he spends on the shore and he rarely shaves, often just grabbing tufts of hair and hacking them off with his knife. He sports a near constant frown with dung brown eyes and a Romanesque nose. He doesn't keep much stock in his appearance, keeping to a worn brown wool coat, an off-white tunic, and baggy old trousers tucked into a ragged but sturdy pair of leather boots.

Personality: A proud man, Van keeps to himself most of the time, expecting others to think little of him. Given the time to get comfortable around someone he'll let his guard down and can be right jolly. With anyone else he'll be cautious and gruff.
He takes to drinking when he's frustrated or whenver he finds an excuse to. After a few drink he's just as likely to buddy up with a stranger as he is to get into a fight with one. He tends to lose the fights.
In a fight (When he's sober) he'll keep his distance and try to either end it with a quick burst of fire or if there's time he'll set up a trap with magic.

History: Born the youngest of six to a long line of fisherman in Thoav, Van found himself constantly trying to prove his worth, but his brothers were always outdoing him. They were stronger and faster on the boats. They'd bring in the larger hauls of fish. If something went wrong they'd fix it before he could even react.
At the age of fourteen he stumbled across a book of magic. If there was something he could be better than his brothers at then this had to be it he reasoned. Spending what little money he had on it, he spent the next two years studying what magics it contained. At night he'd often sneak off into the woods to practice what he learned in secret.
On the day he turned sixteen he came to realize that if he was to practice magic openly he'd need to earn a Guild Seal. He set off the next day on his own, he traveled to the shores that lead to Ida'an with the money he had earned as a fisherman and begged any mage that would stop for him. After spending a month there he had spent what little he had and was living off the fish that he caught before one took pity on him and welcomed him into the guild's fold.
Unlike the other students, Van found himself unable to perform the simplest of incantations, leaving him to use an older school of magic that forced him to channel his magic into written forms. Often times he'd find himself having to improvise for even the simplest spells. He was a laughingstock among his peers and even a few of the professors.
There was only one professor that could use the same form of magic, Alvin Maycroft. Van grew fond of him, often finding that Maycroft was one of the few people in the Guild that showed him any respect. But there was only so much Maycroft knew and as the years passed Van found himself studying alone in the library more and more.
Eventually Van found there wasn't much more he could learn in the Guild's halls. He had earned his Seal despite the naysayers. At the age of 21 his gave his farewell to Professor Maycroft and set off on his own again. Unfortunately there was little for him to do out in the wide world. More often than naught, he'd find himself scaring off small time bandits or fetching the hides of twenty wolves. It was only by luck that he found himself in Paetax and the notices declaring the King's plight. He took it as a personal challenge and set off for the Black Vagabond.

So begins...

Callavan Sole's Story

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Callavan had shown up in Paetax early in the morning. He wasn't impressed. Not with its tiny streets crowded with folks who only seemed to talk and shop and talk some more, as if they had nothing better to do. He was even less impressed with the smell. The wind was weak, letting the stench sit to fester in the streets, reeking of people, dirt and horse dung.

He rubbed his temples. I've spent too much time inland. Maybe I should just head on down to Thoav, get some work guarding a trade ship. The idea of getting back to the shore where there was a strong sea breeze to wipe away the stench of this city appealed to him. He yearned for the familiar smells of salt, seaweed and old fish. With a sigh he shoved the thought aside. He was running out of money. Thoav would have to wait until he found work, which is what he had come to Paetax for.

There didn't seem to be any work for a freelance mage though. No wives wanting someone to spy on their cheating husbands. No rampaging demons to vanquish. No items to enchant. No cults to infiltrate and, ultimately, destroy. No mysterious packages to deliver to questionable persons on the other side of the city. No distressed damsels needing to be rescued from oversized reptiles. There wasn't even a leather worker looking for twenty beaver pelts to make who knows what.

Suddenly the cathedral bell started clanging, giving Van a start. Noon already? A grumbling from his stomach reminded him that he hadn't eaten since the early hours of the morning. He recalled spotting a pub earlier. It was a bit seedy looking, but it was in a less crowded part of town and the people there looked like they actually had some damn work to do. He pushed his way through the crowd, they were all standing around like a bunch of gulls watching that bell.

After a bit of backtracking, and more than a few wrong turns, he found himself at the Black Vagabond reading the notice that had been posted just outside. Hah! Lucky me. Even got time to eat first.

He made his way straight for the bar and tossed some coins on the counter. ”Bread, cheese and mead,” he grunted to the barkeep.

Only after he had some food and drink in him did he take the time to see who else had shown up for the quest. As he leaned back against he bar he noted a woman in bright yellow, some ponce in a hood off in the shadows, a fool fiddling with an orb, an armor clad woman and even a wee little mage, fresh from the Guild halls by the look of her.

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Once the prince started talking, Callavan ordered a second mead as he found an empty mug a sorry sight. He had to suppress a laugh when the prince mention the Panacea. No wonder he's hiring this sorry lot. He didn't want to waste soldiers on a snipe hunt. He stayed though. It was paying work at least, and, hell, maybe they would find it. There might even be some other treasures to be had.

His introduction could wait, he wanted to see what the others would say first. The warrior wasn't much of a surprise, but he couldn't figure out why she was giving him such a look. He had a bit of a chuckle at the simpleton who admitted to being a thief and Gallow who just stood there looking like a fool. The priest caught him off guard, he had been expecting Akdov to be another fighter. And he wasn't sure what to make of the monk, or what a monk was for that matter. The merchant managed to raise his curiosity. She didn't seem like any of the merchants he had met back home. The archer seemed nice enough, if a bit boring.

With the second drink driving a fire in his belly he ordered a third and raised it up, figuring he might as well speak. “Callavan Sole of Thoav, mage for hire.” After a thought he added, "Guild approved of course." He lowered his mug and took a gulp. “I specialize in traps and enchantments, but...” He held his left hand out, the tattoo on his palm facing upward, and felt the familiar tingle run down his harm as he channeled magic to it and a small burst of flame came forth. Not enough to cause any damage, just a little flash to impress the common folk. “I can offer some ranged support as well.” He paused, taking another drink. The mead was already weeding itself into his mind, muddling with his thoughts. He didn't mind too much, enjoying for the moment the feeling that his mind was freer somehow. ”I'm just in this for money and glory,” he admitted.

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia listened with great interest as the Prince described their quest. It sounded like some epic tale from an old legend where the heroes go on a nearly impossible quest and somehow, heroically manage to accomplished their goal. She nearly laughed. In any case, Acacia knew that this quest would give her many new stories to tell at the worst, if they even ended up getting anywhere. When he asked for introductions, Acacia shifted back in her seat, watching her fellow "Adventurers" as they began the process of introducing themselves. Tal would have loved a quest like this, she thought sadly. It only made her all the more determined to take part. Suddenly a man who seemed to have just come fresh out of a brawl walked in. He didn't seem to have any violent intentions and the meeting kept on without pause.

The first to speak up was a tall woman in some various armor. It all seemed mixed and matched, but suitable for defense. She was fairly well built and spoke with confidence. She then began describing her qualifications and weapons of choice. Acacia was almost impressed as she stored everything in her memory for later.
The next was a man named Xan who blantantly admitted he was a thief. Acacia admired his audacity, especially in the presence of the Prince. It seemed he also perhaps had some interest in stories. Maybe they would get along well she thought, smiling at him as he sat.
Immediately after this, a man in full armor burst into the room, quickly introducing himself. Acacia was highly entertained by so dramatic an entrance. "Maybe I should have come in like that. Would have been fun," she mumbled to herself.
The introductions again went on without pause, only a few of those present seeming to find the sudden arrival interesting. One of those at the bar, a tall, rather large, blonde man who had been one of the few to react, then started introducing himself. Apparentally, he was one of the odd characters that followed the god Deud, and a priest no less. He almost seemed to ramble on, but Acacia, wanting to learn all she could, tried to absorb as much as possible and she leaned forward eagerly.
However, one of the others, a woman in yellow robes, seemed to dislike what he had to say. The mug in her hand suddenly shattered. What a strong grip, Acacia thought with an amused smirk. Those yellow robes seemed familiar, as if she had seen something like them before. The woman explained that she was a monk. Acacia thought over the odd name as it tickled the back of her mind. She couldn't quite place it though.
She gave a slight sigh as the next person, a woman standing in the back named Hayley, introduced herself as a merchant. If she is a merchant, then I am an enchanted cow,Acacia thought, the smirk increasing on her face.
Next was a woman who was a ranger. Acacia could almost imagine just how many places she had been. She wondered how long the ranger woman had been traveling. Most likely several years.
The next to introduce himself was a mage, who also seemed somewhat forward. He openly admitted that he was in this for only the money and the glory. Acacia did laugh softly as this, before gracefully standing to make her introduction.

"I am called Acacia Winn," she said with a bow, her arms sweeping back to dramatically flourish her cloak behind her and her hair splaying in front of her face before she abruptly straightened, tossing her head to get it out of her eyes. "You may call me Bard girl if that is too terribly hard to remember," she said with a wink. "I am merely a humble bard, looking to be of assistance to her king. I do have some ability to defend myself, so that should not be an issue. I don't think there is much else to tell, but I will let you know if I think of anything."

She then plopped back down in her seat, an overly thoughtful look on her face as she tried not to break into a smile. Her chin rested on the fist of her left hand as she held out her right hand, slowly twisting it as if to pop her wrist. When her palm was again turned upward, there was a small knife in it that she proceeded to play with, deftly looping it through her fingers and around her knuckles. She seemed to not even pay attention to what she was doing as her face still bore that silly, thoughtful look.

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Ive done it again

Shame was something Akdov would presume himself above of, but he had made a mistake with the monk and was now regretting it, he should not have offered a drink to the people that place so much value to the purity of body and mind, a purity that could be potentially tainted by alcohol, neither had he failed to notice how his words have triggered something on her, she crushed his token of good will, the priest realized that the lass might not be a potential believer after all, still he would try.

Then came the emerald eyed archer, she had said everything about her while saying nothing at the same time, clever girl knew how to select her words in the end she had revealed what was needed to know, she was a marksman and probably the one who would be of most assistance if the priest ever craved for fresh boar meat... then... then came the fire-crotch

O shes full of it

Akdov drank till the cup was empty as the merchant woman introduced herself, he thought it would be hard for someone to top his loathing for this shameless gut known as Xan, but Deud preached for the sincerity and the lack of secrets that his drunken visitors showed and this woman... who did she think she was fooling?

"So weve got a Triansui, a rogue with pride, a champion of foreign lands, a kula monk, a ranger..." he stopped and drank more from the cup that Vinny had passed him "- mage for hire and a bard girl and we got need of a merchant?" Akdov was saying loud enough for everyone to hear but wasn't addressing anyone in particular, almost as if he was thinking in loud voice

I'm not letting you got off this

"Supposing our prince here needed to finance his campaign I don't see why we would need a merchant, unless said merchant deals with death or..." he looked at the area where her legs joined and chuckled "Well the flesh is weak isn't it?" he then noticed some looks and continued "Crap i am thinking out loud again!" he laughed out loud and allowed the sounds from his gutter to fill out the hall

He turned to the mage for hire and said " you look like a reliable lot good man, Deud appreciates honest men such as yourself, in me you will find an ally so long as you keep true"

hopefully salvation as well

"Sweeten my mood and drink with me damned heathen!" he said in a jesting tone which he coupled with a pat to the mage´s back that he was hoping would make the mage at ease "Vinny get us something to drink, curse you I can still count to 10 without pausing!" he looked towards the bard and lifted his cup and made a nod which he coupled with a smile, if Deud willed it she would receive this as a sign of good will

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Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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The bard girl's words were lost on Callavan, feeling that there was no place for a bard in this venture, so he didn't bother to pay her any heed. Instead he quaffed his drink and finished what remained of his meager meal. Or, at least, he tried to until Akdov's comments got him laughing. Though he had been trying to eat so the laughing caused him to choke and cough and beat on his chest until he could breath again. Then he managed to have himself a proper chuckle.

”Oh, you're so cruel to my fellow Thoavian,” he put particular malice on the last word, making sure that he met her eyes. ”Certainly, she appears to have no goods to sell or even the coin that selling them would bring. But I'm sure she must be able to provide a great a deal that would benefit us on our travels. Perhaps some spices or some particularly fine silverware. Or even better, a shipment of fish wherever we may go in this great land” He had himself another chuckle and turned back to the bar only for the priest to keep speaking to him.

Mayhaps it was the mead talking, but Akdov was starting to grow on him, despite his obsession with Deud. ”An ally, eh? I suppose I'll be needing one if I'm to be traveling with this motley crew.” He stroked his beard in thought for a moment, though no thoughts seemed to occur to him. It just seemed like the proper thing to do at the time. ”I'll take you up on that, and the drink as well,” he said, accepting the offer for another round. Holding his mug up to Akdov, he continued, ”May we drink ourselves into a stupor, for we must be fools to accept this quest.” With that he downed the drink in a single go and slammed the mug on the counter, eager for more.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Now.. why was everyone looking at him so strangely? The reasons were too many to number, and he cast the thought aside.

Gallow's attention was immediately turned to the priest who had bolted to his feet so amusingly. The man's words were grating on Gallow's ears, and for good reason. He seemed arrogant and vain, like most that followed his path in the names of whatever divines they claimed to be the mouthpieces for. The Deluvians did not believe in a religious caste. All priests were good for was adding complication and bureaucracy to something that should remain purely personal. A man or woman's church was their home and they worshiped, or chose not to, mostly as they pleased in the Deluge. The man's bloated sense of self-righteousness fired Gallow up to no end, but he kept his words in his throat, no matter how badly his tongue burned for him to reprimand the oaf.

“You might call me priest, and I will look to save you from damnation both in your bodies and souls." Gallow made a sound of distaste at nearly the same time he heard the sound of glass shattering. He had to turn his entire upper body to look, and saw a woman who claimed to be a monk. Apparently he shared some amount of her distaste for the clergyman, though maybe not quite to her degree. He paid little mind to the so called "merchant". He'd seen innumerable merchants and traders before, and though they'd all had a crafty air about them something about this girl rubbed him the wrong way. Perhaps just his imagination? Possibly. He made a mental note to be wary. As the ranger began to make her introductions Gallow moved nearer the counter, minding the bloodied man behind it, and continued scanning the ragtag ensemble from the helm's thin slit. A ranger.. he'd met a few of those during his time, and they'd varied greatly every encounter. He gauged her by her words and her manner. She was concise, sparing no time for weaving flowery yarns about herself. Good, he grumbled. There was little reason to say more than needed, especially when all it did was waste breath. Both she and the monk shared that attribute. He could not tell what worth a monk would be, but kept his mind open.

Now, the mage was certainly an oddity. He'd not often seen one who looked so.. rugged? Warmages followed a warrior's path, but with Guild training, and so they kept themselves neat as Deluvian martial standards dictated. Other than them, most mages he'd seen seemed more scholarly. An interesting fellow, to be sure. And maybe it was the mead (which Gallow was sure the man was drinking), but he did speak his mind. Not always a good trait, especially so if the speaker was anything like that boastful blackguard of a priest, but in certain doses it could amount to respectability. And then came the bard. His first thought was most obviously: A bard? What use does a bard serve outside spinning tales and singing songs? They were entertainment, after all, and usually little else. Not to say that he did not appreciate the talent of a good rhapsode! Oh, no. Learned poets of high calibre were greatly valued by the Ulaid, and their songs and stories were often the added highlights of many a tavern throughout the Deluge. As for her claim of being able to defend herself.. well.. they would see about that, eventually. She seemed a peculiar one, especially with the way she fell back into her seat and fiddled with a blade. Not odd in a negative way, at least not yet.

The uproarious priest decided it would be a proper time to fire his mouth off, again. Oh, sweet Donn, if only you would see fit to silence this foolish brute, he lamented silently, deciding not to spare a word at the man's worthless expense.

"So weve got a Triansui," Gallow's ears pricked up immediately, his eyes finding a haphazardly armored figure seated elsewhere in the tavern. Another soldier.. the surprises were to continue, then. His thoughts completely deafened him for a moment, and he missed the rest of what the priest had said, although that was more than likely a tremendous blessing. He said a quiet prayer of thanks to the gods. He glanced once more at the Prince, and retired to the counter. Dropping his axe to lean against the wood, Gallow unlatched his helm, slipped it off and set it down. The priest and the mage were now fit to celebrate, and with the adrenaline gone that familiar uncomfortableness was just setting in, again. It was all just obnoxious noise, and it had his nerves on edge.

His throat was dry, and his whole body felt uneasy right down to his core. He ordered a glass of wine, paying the man who served him with a few coins, and sipped at his drink slowly. Teachings among his people made clear the proper method for the consumption of wine. If one did not assert temperance then they might be overcome by drunken fits of violence. Deluvians had a long history of wine making, and as such it was rooted in their culture. Their largest trade with northern Calisma was wine, in fact. He could recall the vineyards sprawling on for eternity under a warm sun, bordered by rolling green on all sides. The memories brought him comfort in the din, and he yearned for the peace to remain.

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Hayley watched the final possible members of the group introduce themselves. A ranger, and archer to be precise, at least they wouldn't be lost in the forest. A mage from Thoav. Hayley would watch her back around anyone from her old hometown, especially a mage. Even though Hayley liked magic, and valuable magic items, she saw most mages as arrogant people, and this one was already showing off. At least he said he was on it for the glory, like everything mages do. The last one to speak was a bard, maybe the group would be entertained with this girl around, and she could always tell tales of their success should they ever return alive with the necklace.

And then, like it always happens, a perverted man decided to get on Hayley's nerves. The drunken priest started talking, questioning the need for a "merchant", putting Hayley's lie in question, she wasn't a very good liar after all, maybe that's why almost everyone gave her a weird look when she said it. The stupid man also had to make a comment on her body didn't he? This is when being a beautiful woman sucks, when you are around drunken perverts. Hayley stood straight and her face started feeling very warm. "Indeed, among other things, I also deal with death if that's what you look for, stupid old man, but you shall not worry about the price, yours will be free if you keep looking at me." She spat out, taking a few steps forward.

Hayley took a breath before explaining what she was. "I have grown tired of the business, and decided to change the way I live, adventuring is a lot more glorious and exciting than discussing prices." She said another half-truth, the girl fought the urge to draw a dagger and stab the man, pull one of his eyes out or turn him into an eunuch.

Then the other idiot, the mage from Thoav, spoke in his turn. Hayley got furious and almost threw one of her daggers at him, but decided against it, the mage didn't seem to be powerful enough to brag over killing him, it wouldn't be wise to start a fight with all these warriors around. But Hayley wasn't know for being prudent. The girl swiftly moved to stand just behind the mage, drawing a dagger. "Are you sure you want to make fun of me? We may have different definitions of fun." She said with a grin, dagger in hand, if he made any more stupid comments Hayley would end up stabbing this man. She examined the back door the barkeep used earlier to disappear, seemed like a good escape route should it be needed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella's posture got noticeably stiffer as words began to exchange heatedly between the members of their newly formed ragtag group. There were few things she knew about dealing with outsiders and by the Gods, she didn't exactly want to work with some of these people but she would at least try. If they dispersed before even setting upon the quest....

The Priest was the first to throw out his ideals then one of the mages. The second mage, a young looking thing, appeared to despise confrontation so she simply lay her head down upon her arms to block out the argument. Next, the 'merchant' stepped forward, answering the Priest's claims and lobbing off a threat of her own as she now wielded a dagger.

Enough was enough. No one that she had originally thought to be a 'leader' of the group, whether the aged Priest or the desperate Prince, seemed determined to step in and stop this mess. So she would. Even if she didn't stop it, she would at least express her opinion that they were all fools.

In her clear, accented voice she finally said, "Enough!" Without the theatrics of breaking glasses or drawing her sword, she simply stood up and leveled a half-glare at all those participating.

"Whether you have come here to partake this quest upon sense of royal obligation or wealth or fame or glory... Know that none of you will have what you desire if you are to kill each other before we even start."

She glanced from the Priest, to the mage Callavan, to the 'merchant' woman all in turn since they were the three closest to coming to blows.

"If she were a merchant or a farmer or even a trollop from some two bit whorehouse I would have to say that as of right now I would prefer her at my side because she would probably bring more to this quest than a love of mead. So if you all are too bigoted to put your feelings aside then let me know now because I cannot help to guard those that would stab each other in the back before we even face an actual enemy worthy of our blades."

Her pale brown eyes were afire with her anger. She decided to settle down, shaking her head so quickly that her blond hair fell into her eyes for a brief moment and causing need for her to run her hand through her tresses to tame them once more.

"If you wish to have your battle then do so now and get it over with. I will be waiting outside so that my armor doesn't get stained over petty squabbles." Her voice had lowered for the last sentence and she pushed passed everyone in the room to walk out of the front door for a bit of air.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Why had he always failed to be so… sharp when he needed to? The merchant was already closer than he would like and worse of all she was going for the bearded mage, damnit it should be the priest not the mage… he had to make her priorities change and she looked like quite the hot head it would not be hard

“Now listen to me wench, who is to blame the joker or those who laugh It was I who spat at your honesty not him, leave him out of it!” there was death in her eyes “Come and get done with it Ive got all night to get stabbed!” Deud would welcome him in the great hall he knew

And she seemed to be going to indeed do something about it, the mage was not content with being merely an spectator and was preparing a surprise of his own, Akdov wanted to shout for him to not do anything stupid when a voice interrupted them
“Enough” it was the swordsman, woman, she then continued to mark the errors in their ways and what Akdov had failed to communicate, if they did not work together they would be doomed from the start

The lying fire crotch had shown everything Akdov needed to know, she was a short tempered brute which despite the lies failed to hide the simplicity of her ways, judging that the situation was distinctively cooler now, the priest knew that the shield woman was the one that he should look upon for guidance and support most of all

He trailed after her giving a glance to the liar and the mage, he wanted to tell them to behave but it stuck in his gut not quite coming out
Making it out he saw her, the Triansui “Lady I think we need a word about this whole endeavor, something is rotten in this company and I think you are the one with the best judgment”

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

Setting

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Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Though he appreciated the priest's attempt to draw the wench's ire, Callavan wasn't one to to back down from a fight so easily.

Grinning, he said, “ Sure you want to do that 'merchant'?” He dropped his hand to down to his side with the hope that she wouldn't notice. The magic was already boiling away in him, ready to be used at a moments. His first move was already planned out. Nothing fancy, he'd wait for her to make the first move then he'd launch a fireball. It wouldn't even have to hit, the distraction alone would be enough for him to jump over the counter, putting something between them.

Then the Triansui started to speak. Some of what she said rang true to him. The rest stank of insult. His words may have been barbed, but they could cause no harm to whoever this fool girl was and she had pulled a knife on him. Yet he was the one being chastised. Was this swordswoman blind? Could she not detect such a blatant lie.

Regardless he focused back on his assailant. ”Well girl? Still think fightin' me's such a great idea?” His temper might have been slightly cooled by the Triansui's words, but he was spoiling for a fight now. Akdov's departure didn't even register with him. ”Think you can even take me?” Sparks popped from his palm, he had started channeling magic without realizing it.

The bloodied stranger seemed to be taunting the prince. He heard a couple more start talking, but he didn't pay them any mind. Callavan didn't care, he just kept watching the 'merchant' over his shoulder, daring her to strike. ”Do you really think anyone here is going to fall for such flimsy lies? What are you really? An assassin sent here to kill the prince? Or maybe you're here just sabotage his quest. No, those don't sound right. You lack the subtly those require. Perhaps the priest was right and you're nothing but a two bit whore. That's not right though, you're not pretty enough for that. No, I think you're just a lost little girl who's gotten in over her head.”

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

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Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia smiled and nodded back at the loud and almost obnoxious priest, Akdov, the knife seeming to disappear as it went back up her sleeve. Though he was loud and somewhat insulting, he also offered a great source of entertainment. Of course his comments, along with the mage's, were obviously quite offinsive and even hostile toward the redheaded "merchant." Acacia just hoped her temper didn't match her hair.

Which apparently it did. Acacia watched, groaning inwardly as Hayley began defending herself from the priest, only to lose her temper at the mage's comments. The redhead strode up to the man, coming to a stop behind him with a dagger now drawn that she was wielding threateningly. This argument sparked several others, who either tried to quench the fight, like Mirabella, who then waked out, or others who only made it worse, such as the man who had walked in bloody before. He apparently is good at antagonizing, Acacia thought with an inward smirk. She had few doubts that this would explain his interesting appearance.

Acacia could already see this dissolving into a proper bar fight. After hearing even the prince getting irritated, Acacia figured she might as well step in between the two still tense instigators of this. They also only seemed to be getting more strained as the mage began threatening as well. Acacia watched as sparks began popping out in his palm. She quickly moved her lute where it would be out of the way, scooted out from behind her table, gracefully rolled over another without disturbing its contents, and landed beside Hayley, a small smile on her face.

"Now, stupid words from drunken idiots aren't worthy of your time, are they?" she said gently. In a lower voice, she continued, "Don't worry, I will help you get back at those louts later," she smiled a bit wider, gently pushing the dagger from its currently threatening position.

"As for you, Callavan, was it? It would probably be wise to cool your head as well. Wouldn't want to get into too much fun tonight, now would we?" she said with a wink.

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Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Hayley stood there, just behind the mage she couldn't remember the name right now with her dagger up and ready to strike. A lot of things happened quickly. The stupid, fat, old, perverted, drunken priest started his random insults. Hayley was going to switch victims and stab him first, he asked for it. That was when the warrior woman, Mirabella, or something like that. Got up, yelled at them and made a small speech to make them stop fighting then burst outside, followed by the big pile of alcoholic crap shortly after. A little stunned by the events, Hayley simply held her dagger not knowing what to do. The prince and the tall guy, Hayley had no idea of his name, intervened at their own turns. They were right, Hayley was not getting paid if she killed anyone right now. She was going to let it go when the worthless mage started some more insults.

'Enough, I'm killing you.' Hayley thought, raising her dagger for a single strike to his back. But then the monk woman appeared beside them, asking for them to stop fighting, in a gentle way. Startled, Hayley forgot she was going to kill the mage and just stood there for a couple of seconds once more. The young bard also got to them, reasoning with Hayley, she slowly pushed her hand down, Hayley let it go and put the dagger away. "Someday i will kill you both." Hayley whispered to the mage before turning away from him. "Don't stay near this pile of magic crap." She warned both the monk and the bard. Walking quickly, trying to be as far away from the troublemaker and mister beer gut as possible, she would end up killing them if they spoke again.

Hayley wasn't surprised to find herself planning another assassination when she finally sat down on a table on the opposite side to the bar.

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

Setting

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Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Fueled by booze, rage and magic; Callavan was prepared to incinerate everything that stood behind him, so infuriated he was with this 'merchant'. His focus centered on her, there was no bar, no people, nothing, just him and the 'merchant'. He didn't act, instead he waited he to see what she would do. Her dagger was raised as if to strike, exactly what he had been waiting for. A grin spread across his face, what little of it could be seen through his beard. The flood gates that had been holding his magic back folded, his hand was engulfed in flames ready to burst forth. A yellow blur entered his periphery, the monk. The 'merchant' faltered, he saw his chance, an easy shot. The monk's words hit him be he took action, he faltered, the flames held study. The world returned around him, slowly at first, others had been trying to stop him he realized, their words might as well have been directed to a rabid dog.

Now the bard entered, her words shamed him slightly, but the angered still bubbled. The dagger had disappeared though, so with a begrudging sigh the flames flickered and dissipated. Hands raised over his head he said, ”Very well, I concede,” He grunted at the 'merchant's' threat, turning around to watch her go. He considered thumbing his nose at her, but didn't.

Satisfied that the 'merchant' would keep away from him, for now anyways, he turned his attention to the monk and bard. ”I suppose I should thank the two of you for stepping in. I would have likely done something foolish otherwise,” He raised his mug then paused, holding it to his lips, before setting it down without taking a drink. Recent events suggested that it was perhaps not the best of ideas. He continued, ”I wouldn't trust her, were I you. While I may be a rash, crude drunk, I've yet to pull a blade on a stranger for mere words. She is hiding something and I doubt it is in any of our interest. Tread carefully around her.”

”Enough, Thovian.” Callavan turned back to the prince, unsure if he meant him or the 'merchant'. He listened and watched as the prince left. Did he still want to take part of this foolishness? The pay would be good, but then so would his chances of having his throat slit while he slept. Of course, the former was just as likely anywhere else with the effect he seemed to have on strangers. And the prince did offer to supply new equipment. He was short on enchanting tools, not having the coin to buy more, and getting more now would make finding work later simpler. Eh, what the hell. he concluded, I can always disappear when things take a turn for the worse. He glanced towards the 'merchant'. Which may not take all that long

Swinging his pack around, he rooted through it, retrieved a small piece of vellum and some cloth wrapped charcoal and jotted down a quick list of tools starting with what he needed to stock up on.

-Vellum and parchment
-Ink, charcoal and chalk
-String and threads of varying quality

Then he finished with whatever could be useful down the road.
-Various chisels and files for stone and metal inscriptions
-Tools for leather carving
-Black and white tempera paints, as well as a brush to go with them

He didn't expect to receive all of these, but even the simplest of these would enable to create a greater variety of enchantments. The note was passed to the barkeep, and Callavan turned away from the bar. For now it seemed best to not expose his back.

The rest of the day was his to have, it seemed. He had been employed, which meant the job hunting he had planned was no longer necessary. His supplies would be taken care of for him, which meant no shopping and less coin lost. His belly was full for now, so there was little need to search for food. It seemed the self declared thief was of a different opinion and left to eat elsewhere. Callavan decided to stay at the pub for now. Perhaps he could get to know his new found coworkers better, some of them leastways.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Deallo
To be honest, Nel was terribly nervous as she tried to talk the fight in the tavern down, but was relieved as the bard, Acacia, effortlessly swooped in and managed to talk the merchant and the mage down. The monk was surprised at how effortlessly she had used her silver tongue. Not that she would know what a silver tongue is anyway. Before the merchant went off, she warned not to stay near the "pile of magic crap", which prompted Nel to check left up the heel of her foot and check the soles of her sandals. Looked pretty clean. Unless it was magical. Confused, she turned around for some explanation, and Callavan's beard started to thank the two of them and before sitting down, insinuated the merchant was hiding something. Nel wasn't as affected by his warning; mainly because she understood one would have to hide things so thieves wouldn't steal them.

During the mini-conflict, the prince promptly voiced his disapproval towards everyone, except Mirabella, and left rather dramatically, swooshing his red cape around. It was a pretty cape. His chiding, although not meant for Nel herself, still managed to pull her spirits down. Despite that, she understood fairly well that the adventure would be postponed for tomorrow, although why they didn't go now while everyone was here was still a mystery to her. Quickly though, she could see the group being torn apart, one half going out the door to see the "dancing dragon" and the other half...staying. In the midst of a clawing need for fresh air, she as well, wanted to leave but was at the counter with a piece of parchment, trying to hastily scrawl and write things that she would need. Her writing, despite her life as a monk, was atrocious...BUT! If one could squint their eyes and tilt their head to the side it would read:

Bandages

Whether or not it was illegible would be up to whoever would read it. Had it been any other time, she would have looked with awe at the feathered pen, but she quickly set it aside and joined the group just as the ranger was sharing her nickname. Nel gave a quick bow to Mirabella, having already crossed with the ranger, and since the warrior was closer then the thief. "Hello. I'm Nelinia but call me Nel." Before she could have a chance to respond, the monk ran back to her table, grabbed the quarterstaff that nearly slipped her mind, and came back to the group without so much as a huff of air escaping her. She bounced around on the balls of her feet excitedly, grin plastered on her face, eagerly awaiting the trip to the Dancing Dragon.

Although this may sound crazy she's never seen a Dancing Dragon before!

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by slcam
As Hayley walked away, Acacia let out a small sigh. She was glad the monk girl had stepped in, as her simple words seemed to have as much effect as Acacia's own. Of course, the angry red head had only left after giving another death threat to the mage. Just another thing to worry about, Acacia thought as she frowned after her. She had also seemed to threaten her and the monk with her "Don't stay near this pile of magic crap." warning.
However, as she saw the monk's confused reaction to this, Acacia laughed softly. She seemed as though she thought the "merchant" literally meant crap. Acacia began to wonder if she had seen much outside of the... mone... something. Acacia frowned as she couldn't quite find the name. Usually her memory was nearly perfect.

Oh well, she thought with a sigh, again smiling as the mage began to thank them. He also warned them about trusting her, especially in light of recent events. Acacia could only agree. She did seem to have quite the temper. He then walked to the bar to write down his list. Acacia figured she should probably do so as well. She had been expecting that they would be on their way today, but she didn't question the prince's decision. It only seemed wise that they should cool off a bit. Acacia just hoped the whole journey wouldn't be like this.

She heard Mirabella's invitation to the Dancing Dragon. After a moment, Acacia decided she might as well join them since there was not much else to do at this point. She walked calmly to her former position, grabbing her lute and thinking about what exactly they would need for something like this. The prince had already said that they would be supplied with food, horse, water and supplies, so she probably only really needed to mention specifics. She walked up to the bar and got a piece of paper. She had gotten quite used to traveling during the day and staying at inns for the night. She didn't have a good bedroll anymore, so that would be a good thing to include. However, even as she checked a few of her pockets, she could think of nothing else.

  • Bedroll.

Well, I guess that will do, she thought, handing the paper to the barkeep before heading out of the Black Vagabond. Now just to figure out where this Dancing Dragon was. Acacia fortunately had enough money for a good meal and a night at a small inn, but after that she would be pretty much broke. At least she wouldn't have to worry much about that as long as they did indeed leave tomorrow. She stopped a young woman, who gave her directions to the inn. She soon found it, walked in and quickly walked over to those from the "adventurers' group" as she had begun thinking of it. At the table was Mirabella, Xan, Narenia, and Nelinia.

"Mind if I join you?" she said, taking a seat beside Mirabella as the waitress came over. She smiled at those at the table. When the server looked to her she told her in a certain voice, a slight smile on her face, "I will have venison stew as well, with some tea please."

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

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Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Mornings are fearsome beasts and should be avoided at all costs. This was the first thing to occur to Callavan upon waking. It was also the second, third and sixth things. An arm flopped over the bed's edge, seeking for something. It stumbled upon a flask, carelessly discarded the night before. He managed to flip on to his back, wincing when the light that spilled through window attacked his poor eyes. With some effort the flask was unstoppered and what wasn't splashed onto his face made it into his mouth. Now in a somewhat improved disposition, he proceeded to lie there rubbing his eyes and wishing the wrath of hell on whatever demons were pounding away at his skull.

Once he felt that the foul hammer wielding creatures were exercised from his mind, he managed to roll off his cot and make his way over to the wash basin that sat on the table. His face was shoved into it and held there in an attempt to drown whatever remained from the previous night. Unsuccessful, he was forced to come up for air as he wasn't sure whether or not he'd be able to resuscitate himself. As he wrung out his beard he tried to recover the remains of the previous day's goings on.

It started with him waking up in a field, walking into town and being turned down for every job he applied for. Nothing unusual there. Then there was the meet up at the pub and getting into an argument with a stranger. That was different, he doesn't get an opportunity to make an ass of himself in front of royalty all that often. Everyone seemed to disperse after that, except for the damn merchant, and he made an attempt at sobriety. It didn't work, which explained his current predicament. He had managed to make his way to an inn however, that was a point in his favor he reasoned.

Judging by the sun he figured it to be nearly noon, which meant he needed to be moving now. Everything was still in his pack, except for the flask which he'd have to find time to refill at some point. The room had been payed for the night before, so he simply left. He did make time for one stop on his way, for a meat pastry. The smell curdled his stomach, but the greasy spiced meat set it at ease soon enough.

Most of the others had already gathered near the gates already. He noted a small cluster of them were talking, the priest among them. He meandered on over to them, still savoring the pastry, or what little of it didn't seem to entangle itself on his face. Perhaps it's time for a shave. He acknowledged the priest and the warrior with a nod, but not the monk, Still have to figure out what a monk is, who had wandered off as he approached. They were talking about something, but he was far too groggy to care at the moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella sighed deeply as the Priest replied. She had thought that he would take her words from the day before to heart and wake up with a renewed interest in the group as a whole... But perhaps she was asking too much of him. His last words spat out at her with a vehemence that she did not foresee and the shock of his reaction was apparent by the uncontrolled arching of her brows. Still, she let him respond to Nel before bothering to respond to him. Whatever he said angered the poor monk, causing her to clench her hands once more and set her jaw quite snugly before stalking away from them. Her eyes followed Nel for a moment before she spoke.

"A true ally, Priest, is one of the few things in life that you can explain perfectly and some people still would not understand the gist of what you are saying. A true ally, to me, is someone that you can count on and trust. Through roads both clear and sunny or murky and frightening. Someone that you can forge a relationship with that few others know. It is not only borne of battle but of any situation of strife or prolonged travel or even torturous endeavors. Yet, if you close yourself off from people before you truly give them a chance, then you alienate yourself. Tell me. Would your God of merriment wish this for you?"

She shrugged, an action that was barely perceptible in her heavy torso armor and another soft, forceful exhalation escaped her lips as more people began to filter into the clearing. The young mage had moved to sit upon a large boulder and Acacia, the Bard girl, had sidled up to her and initiated conversation. Then the other mage appeared, chewing on some sort of odd pastry as he nodded towards both herself and the Priest. With little left to say to either of the men, she clicked her tongue, urging her horse forward as the Prince began to speak.

Rydas mentioned packs prepared for those with mounts already and Mirabella rode forward to the small pile, dismounting easily and picking through the saddlebags to find what was hers. She had a small list so when combined with the basic necessities such as food and water, there were only three packs that were hers. Loading them up onto her chestnut mare, she climbed up into the saddle once more before trotting casually over until she was closer to the Prince.

"Not to start this mission off poorly or with any hint of disrespect, my liege..." she started, keeping her eyes forward on the others as they gathered either their mounts or their packs and began to prepare for the quest at hand. "But which way are we riding? What information are we going off of?" Finally her honey brown gaze settled upon the Prince with curiosity. "I must admit I have never worked with so little information before."

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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The priest left out a frustrated sigh as the two women left his company, by all that was holy what was their problem?

I will be praying for tolerance again

He wanted to scold that woman, the warrior for her lack of sight on these things, the world was not dealt in black and white Akdov knew it too well being a man of the faith, he would have told her that they had nothing to worry about, that the quest to heal the king was one that the hall lord approved of and that with or without the priest it would be done if Deud willed it.

But neither could he leave out the fact that he bent one knee to the king but he bent knee and spine for his god, if their path placed them against the principles of the priest he would not betray the merry one and if the hall lord wanted to see their quest fail, priest or not they were all as good as dead.

Maybe some things are best left untold

The prince then saw it fit to give an inspiring speech, if he hoped to become a king that would rouse the masses then he really needed to practice on those things because it was a sorry excuse that mixed senseless words like duty and honor and frankly things these lot knew nothing of

Things like fate

Still he moved forward and greeted the bearded mage "Good Callavan, its good to see you will be joining us, if Deud wills it well live to tell of it" he kept at it going over to the horses, it had been a lifetime ago since he sat atop a mount... Arthur had been a capable and ferocious knight he had slew dozens and rode off masterfully

But that man is dead

He had put behind things of the dead man behind him, he had not wore steel, he also had abandoned the ferocious appetite for women that the knight had and he was set to walk the earth with no beast carrying him, he had to be responsible for his own weight... and a cart didnt seemed to be on the options nor anyone looked to be willing to share their mount, and he didnt blame them either

"I am sorry my prince but" he was going to have an effort to not offend anyone now " It seems that many of us are still amiss, while I know were the north lays I am not certain we have got the same point for it, if indeed we are in a hurry I would suggest you set out I should wait for the others and rally them in your direction" he then in a lower voice, talking more to himself than anyone else added "also I didnt request a mount dont know how I am going to keep up with you all"

The setting changes from Calisma to Paetax

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Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Callavan had started to listen to what was going on around him as his higher cognitive processes were gradually returned to him. The warrior was on some self righteous tirade about allies. So much babble about nothing, he thought.

In the meantime he finished with his breakfast, licking his fingers cleans and making a brief attempt at picking the crumbs from his beard. The warrior trotted off, so he assumed that she had finished whatever she was going on about.

Then the prince started talking. Callavan summarized it mentally. Suppose this is supposed to be some rousing speech that will make us forget about how we seem to hate each other and join together for the sole purpose of saving a dying old man by finding an ancient artifact that most likely doesn't exist. He regretted thinking so much immediately. Massaging his temples, he tried to stop thinking until the hangover passed. This resulted in him thinking more and coming to several realizations. These were quickly dismissed as they were utterly ridiculous and not because they forced him to think that the other may have valid reasons for what they do and they he is not necessarily right.

More words from the priest. They passed through one ear and only caught his attention by making a ruckus on their way out the other. Unsure of what the proper response would be for whatever the priest had said, he simply nodded. Apparently this was the right one, for the priest kept moving.

Noticing that the others were getting there mounts and supplies; he headed over to the horses, digging through the packs to see which was his. He found them strapped to a buckskin rouncey. The fact that he knew what a buckskin rouncey was surprised him as he knew very little about horses and it had never occurred to him that there were types of horses before. He then ceased to care, because he had new toys.

Everything he had put on the list was there and they all to seem be of a good quality. This was much better than he expected. He made a note to work for desperate monarchs more often.

A sudden commotion forced him to disregard his toys. The monk seemed to be having some trouble with her horse. He was about to help her, but it seemed that the horse was having more trouble with it's monk.

The setting changes from Paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre
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Image


It had stricken him then and there that the man was not only one of mere authoritative status. The whispers were true: the Prince of Calisma, through his weariness, led him to the tavern. Easily impressed as ever, Icareau had been wrought with awe, the admiration hidden by the shadow of his hood. Never would he have fathomed being recognized by royalty, not without startled gestures, no matter how brief. Strange and invigorating, that was, enough to send him dashing away to the Vagabond. Predictably, any meetings had adjourned, yet information was readily known through the barkeep. His needs were hardly demanding: a handful of spare whetstones, flasks, and rope should prove sufficiently; that, or his trek thus far had been fueled by pure instinct and luck, not to mention half a whisker or two.

He had not pursued comrades, nor had he basked in the grandiosity of the capital by moonlight. No one needn't remind him that he was not meant to enjoy it. Leering eyes cast him elsewhere, past the gates, up the hills, and down the dust trails to the cottage he called refuge. The elderly farming pair, who in time had been kind enough to lend him shelter in exchange for working hands, would tend to his belongings. Sleep eluded him. Hacking at the oak in the backyard ensured a good swinging arm—quicker, more agile, a tad more spirited, that'll do. Hours not spent in faux training were devoted to homely letters, though based on the lack of responses thus far, his efforts were made in vain. But Icareau kept at it for the sake of letting ink flow. He was as desperate as he was sad.

...And his cape was so red!

Love,
Chaton


Dawn met the city of Paetax.

Curious were the adventurers gathered at the gates, not in the least of which was the yellow-clad female who stirred heroic notions within him (for what better way was there to start a quest with a damsel, and he was ever so noble), but he remained hesitant, lying in wait until the Prince began to depart. Still others arrived after his instruction; Icareau took comfort in knowing that one was not as timely, although another's boisterous invitation to drink, however humorous, he could do without. How tragic it would be were he too inebriated to steer his mount!

"Sorry to keep you waiting!" he said to the venturing band, tail trailing loosely 'neath the folds of his cloak. One more delay and he'd be the subject of a running joke. He would not reveal himself, not entirely yet. In spite of uncertainty, the cat spun round to face and greet them all, with prolonged consideration given to the Prince. Paws were cupped demurely as he bowed, rattled off apologies, and sought the pack horse that held his requested items. The quips came rather quickly—"I am Icareau Sauveterre of the Feledine in Rousillen. We're not all bad, really, just a bit stingy. I'm so elated to travel with you all! Just think of the trouble we'll get in to. ...!"–which, in all his excitement, did not seem so detrimental. Such an array of scents and sights and sounds must be cherished. And he spoke as he swung atop his found steed, a young thing richly dark in pelt that appeared to huff bemusedly at his presence.

Less curious were the horses themselves, sans the victim of the reins incident. The forest of Taphon bred trackers, raiders, expert beasts who stole fine stallions from their trespassing owners. His riding was competent, his mounted combat skills a bit less so. Most dire was the image of his kind, especially one so small, gripping the reins so tightly, so eagerly. Had a few of the women not been shorter in stature, he might have been too flustered to attend.

To the lady in yellow, he smiled a meek smile, relieved that she was to be accompanied on her mount. To the rest, to those clad in armor or robe, to those weathered or bearded or bruised, he beckoned them as their leader had done, grinning as he directed the horse northward. Subtlety was needed, but it was hard being subtle.

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Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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The monk and her horse problem seemed to be sorting itself out. Though all the talking only seemed to aggravate his headache more. Callavan hefted himself on to his horse. Riding was a rare privilege for him, but he knew enough to get by. With a gentle nudge he urged the horse on, following after the prince.

He slowed a bit when the cat showed up. He had never heard of the Feledines before, but he was far too hungover to care at the time. The cat seemed to be coming along with them anyways. So curiosity could strike him later.

He picked up his pace, glad to be rid of the city. The riding was pleasant enough, better than walking leastways. It was nothing compared to a good ship though. What he'd give to be back on the water. He'd spent the last seven odd years on land with only brief spells along the coast. He missed the sea air, the feel of a rope in his hands as he set the rigging or pulled in a net. Hell, he even missed packing oakum between planks. He couldn't understand how these inlanders didn't go mad so far from the sea.

As the remnants of the previous night's drinking passed and the sun faded he found his spirits improved to a small degree. He hadn't even noticed the time passing and was surprised when they stopped. It took him a moment to realize they were settling in for the night. Slipping off the rouncey, stumbling when he hit the ground. His legs were stiff from the day's riding. The inside of his thighs rubbed raw. It had been a while since his last ride. They had a lot of traveling ahead of them and plenty of time for his skin to toughen he supposed. He took a moment to stretch his legs before he saw to his horse.

With the horse settled he set himself next to the fire. He didn't bother using his saddle as a seat. The ground was good enough for him. He hadn't expected a stew for supper, let alone one cooked by a prince. Callavan didn't know much about cooking himself. Normally he would simply roast whatever he had over a fire. He gave his thanks to the prince when he received his bowl.

With food in hand he was ready to relax for the night, but then one of the rangers seemed to notice something, motioning them to be quiet. Callavan ate as he watched. The crown seemed to have enemies. Maybe some of them had tracked their party. If there was to be a fight, he'd rather have something in his belly over nothing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn
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#, as written by Celedia
While waiting for everyone else to gather their bearings, the Triansui sat proudly upon her horse as she watched the proceedings. From the depths of the crowd emerged a cloaked figure, one with a tail trailing loosely behind him or her and the sight immediately brought about Mirabella's warrior instincts as she clasped a hand onto her sword, preparing to draw steel. Yet, the voice that emanated from the figure was anything but imposing, as stories and legends of her people should suggest. In fact, the voice was almost as naive as poor, lovable Nel's was which caused her to stay her hand for but a moment.

"I am Icareau Sauveterre of the Feledine in Rousillen. We're not all bad, really, just a bit stingy. I'm so elated to travel with you all! Just think of the trouble we'll get in to. ...!"

Feledine.... she repeated to herself and her hand clenched a bit tighter while still allowing the weapon to remain sheathed. How in the hell could the Prince allow a Feledine onto this quest?

The Feledine were a race of cat like people which had descended upon her homeland in ages past and before a treaty could be forged, many from both sides of the war with the Feledine race had been lost. Though her people were a proud race of unequaled warriors, they could not have expected the bestial ferocity of the cat people and some of their best had been murdered by the nomads.

Her eyes narrowed at poor, unsuspecting Icareau and stayed upon him until her attention was turned elsewhere- They were finally moving.


As the adventure began in earnest and the Prince led the group out of the city and to the north, Mirabella allowed herself to fall behind and bring up the rear. She was used to playing bodyguard for both nobles and merchants and knew that being attacked from the rear was more likely than a head-on assault. She wouldn't allow any of her new found friends (or new found comrades, for those she didn't quite trust) to be wounded on her watch. From this vantage point, she watched as her fellow travelers interacted. So much could be told from a person's actions for they were usually more truthful than a person's words.

Nari, the ranger, was quiet, friendly and gentle. She had offered an apple to poor Nelinia, which had seemed to brighten the young monk and before she rode off to follow the Prince, she had offered another smile to Mirabella. It wasn't a calculating smile that most other woman seemed trained in but one that, once delivered, made the recipient smile as well. This strengthened Mira's perception of the slender ranger.

The one thief, Xan, had a sweet interaction with one of the younger townsfolk as they were heading out of the city. The crystalline orb that he had toyed with in the tavern yesterday was now being passed down to a girl that couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Obviously shy, the girl took the orb from Xan, her large eyes growing wider with excitement as she took her new treasure back to show her mother.

It was these little scenes that entertained Mirabella throughout the day long trip. Little things, such as one of the riders grumbling about their butt being sore from the riding thus far or another one claiming they were parched barely an hour's ride out of the gate. A smile threatened her otherwise neutral countenance as they all became accustomed to the life of riding on the open road.

The ride was thankfully uneventful. She had hoped that no one would be idiotic enough to attack them so close to the city but she did honestly expect it at some point in time. There were quite a few people in Paetax that would like to see the mission fail and for the King to slip into the oblivion of the afterlife. Yet they made their way to a clearing that they would use as their camp and everyone began to dismount and prepare for the evening. Mirabella dismounted with a practiced ease, unloading her horse and slipping the bridle off of the mare so that she could roam nearby and graze. Her mare was her companion and had been for quite a few years now. The Triansui knew how to fight while mounted and Blaze, named due to her sorrel coat, seemed to be able to anticipate her moves. This all led to a remarkable relationship between horse and rider which allowed Blaze more freedom than the Triansui might normally give to an animal and she patted Blaze on her side before telling her to roam off and eat.

Looking around, everyone else seemed to be settling in for the evening nicely. The Prince was cooking and serving stew, the other riders were all working out their aches and pains with the exception of Van, one of the mages, who appeared to be walking a bit bow-legged. Laughing, Mirabella dug into one of her packs and pulled out a jar of ointment that she had bought from an apothecary before this mission and walked over to the mage to hand it to him.

"It treats saddle sores and prevents new ones from forming. Keep it as long as you wish and share it with those that may require it as well." Her attention was caught during the small verbal exchange by one of the rangers, who crouched down and gestured to one of the tents.

Intruder...

Dropping the jar of ointment into Van's hand, the Triansui drew her blade fluidly and began to circle around to the back of the tent. If the intruder, or beast, happened to fly out of the front of the tent then they would be greeted by the dozen or so people surrounding the campfire. So the Triansui moved slowly, trying to keep as stealthy as possible in her mismatched plate/leather/chain armor until she had a clear view of the back of the tent.

The fabric was parted by a sharp slit, allowing both sides of the manmade entrance to billow slightly with each breeze that passed through the area. Without warning and with little regard to stealth or safety, Mirabella popped through the same slit that the intruder had passed through with her sword arm ready.

Her eyes fell upon a rather wild looking figure donning rather naturalistic looking armor and her brow arched as she spied the woman moving about the tent. She looked like one of the forest dwellers but wasn't one that she had traded with in her past travels so Mira remained vigilant as she asked, "I will not harm you unless you attack... What are you doing in this tent?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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The others seemed to have everything under control, so Callavan kept on enjoying his stew while he watched the proceedings. It was a wonder that one woman could cause such a ruckus. An amusing ruckus admittedly. He even had himself a chuckle at the monk's outburst. But he lost interest as they went on with talks of what to with her.

Sadly, his boredom had to be postponed due to some more surprise visitors. He grunted a curse under his breath, setting his stew by the fire with the dim hopes that he'd be able to finish it at some point. He sprung to his feet, the soreness from riding having disappeared with all the excitement. Everyone else had already started fighting. He took a moment to look around and see where he was needed most. Having to fight with a group was frustrating after spending so much time on his own. Normally he'd simply hide and pick enemies off slowly with tricks and traps, but that wouldn't work with so many people running around killing each other. Well, it wouldn't work with him trying to keep some of them alive anyways.

A sound of movement behind him caught his attention. With hand held out, he spun around to meet his assailant, a small lad with his sword held ready to swing. Before he was within arm's reach flames engulfed him. He fell to the ground screaming and writhing in pain. With a grimace, Van pulled a knife from his belt and slit the boy's throat. Fire was a poor way to die.

The priest had fallen while Van was busy. But one of the rangers rushed to his aid before Van could. Another look around and he saw that the wee mage and the monk were outnumbered. As soon he started toward them the bandits started falling. Then the mage disappeared and the monk was running off to fight someone else. This was all very frustrating to Van, who felt entirely useless as he spun around in circles trying to find someone to help. The fact that there was now an old man beating bandits with a log only made it worse.

He looked towards the priest again. The ranger was down and now the other one was helping him while the thief covered them. He seemed to be at his limit though. Which meant Van finally had something to do. He rushed over to them, rifling blindly through his satchel as he went. He pulled out a handful of small scrolls, each tied with a colored string. Keeping one with a pink string, he stuffed the rest back into the bag.

Once he was near the others he poured magic into the scroll and a clear pink bubble enveloped the group. ”It'll stop the arrows, but it won't keep them out,” he yelled. As if to demonstrate for them, a bandit fired an arrow at them. As soon it hit the barrier it slowed before tumbling to Van's feet. He'd make the bubble impenetrable if he could, but he wouldn't be able to keep it up very long if he did.

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Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by KuroRyu
A sound from behind him caught Xan's attention for a moment. He turned to look behind him for a moment, noticing two figures fighting it out, who they were he couldn't really make out, but if they were fighting each other he knew that one was friend, and the other foe. He would just have to leave his back to them, and focus on those still hidden in front. The aches in his shoulders stabbed at him, but he knew so long as there were those attacking that he could not stop. At least not until the two that were downed were properly treated and taken to a safer area to rest. With every heartbeat he could feel the pain pump through his shoulders as well, he wasn't quite sure how many more times he could attack before both arms gave out completely. He made a mental note that he would have to re-train himself somewhere, sometime, along the journey.

His attention was drawn away once more, this time by the female ranger, Narenia, who had come to aid those that were down. Although it looked as if she would need some aid herself as well. Although it was dark, the fire light reflecting off the blood that had soaked her midsection made it apparent that she was injured herself. He couldn't do anything except nod his head to acknowledge her words. Although the rain of arrows had lessened there were still few coming, Xan spun the chained dagger and had it act as a shield at the projectiles. So long there wasn't an army shooting all their arrows at once he should be able to deflect them without much problems. The real problem was that now the bandits were using ranged weapons from the shadows. He could possibly go and find them, but that would leave Narenia and the downed vulnerable, for now he couldn't do much except to guard them from the incoming arrows.

Xan's dagger and chain only stopped when something else had appeared around them, a strange pink membrane of sorts, he wasn't quite sure what it was. Until he heard a voice close by, he turned to find the mage now joining them, apparently the bubble was something of his. It was something well needed, a guard against the flying projectiles, this was just the calm that Xan needed. He relaxed himself, his daggers now hanging by his fingertips. He closed his eyes and breathed in deep, letting out the air slowly. He slowly rotated each shoulder, a slight popping sound coming from them as he did, he did the same with his neck. His breathing still in a slow manner, long breaths in, and slow breaths out. It wouldn't stop the pain, but it could fool his body into thinking there was less damage than there really was. It would have quite the after affect of all the pain that had built up and the body ignored hitting him at once, but it had to be done.

"I leave them in your care" Xan said to the mage as he ran out into the trees where he last saw the arrows come from. It was dark, the eye really couldn't see much within the trees, and it was perfect for the ranged attackers. On the other hand, it was quite good for him as well, his mid-range weapons meant he didn't have to get to close and risk being spotted. Although his eye was nearly blinded by the darkness as well, all he had to do was wait and listen for the creaking of the bow as an arrow was pulled back on it. Then find it in the moment that a slight glint flashed showing the tip of the arrow, it was difficult, but not impossible. The first one he heard was quite close, only about an arms length away from him, and thus clearly visible as well. Instead of hurting his shoulders more by throwing the daggers, he simply tossed the chain around the assailant as he prepared another arrow and pulled him in close and directly into the daggers before dropping him.

Another sound, this time it was the sound of an arrow being shot, he was slightly worried, but was also confident that the Mage's barrier would hold strong. He crept towards the general direction he heard the sound coming from, and stopped to listen once more. His eye opened wide and focused, until the heard the creak that signaled the bow string being pulled, and he found his moments glint of silver and light. With it he threw his dagger, the scream of pain made it apparent that he had hit his mark, whether it was a death blow or not he didn't know, but it should stop that archer for not. He listened in once more, it was silent, were there only those two? Possibly, but instead of going back out into the light, he sat and waited in the shadows. Keeping his eye on his companions that he had left, to watch and see if anymore arrows were to be launched from a different direction.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn
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As she tried her best to patch up the Priest, Nari could feel the arrow in her stomach. It was hard for her to concentrate on what he was doing through those wracking pains. The Thief looked like he was beginning to tire, and as it looked as if their darkest hour was upon them, the Mage came. He wrapped them in a kind of light pink transparent shield, which held Nari in awe and made her momentarily forget about the pains. Next was the Prince. The Priest had tackled him - much to Nari's confusion - but he was down and now the Prince fought along side them. She cursed herself for rushing to the Priest's aid so quickly. Nari would have been a greater help at distance, raining arrows upon their enemies. Fortunately, their ranks were thinning now.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, she caught bits of conversations from her travelling comrades. The Thief disappeared suddenly. One had to admire his fighting style. The way he used his two daggers was more than likely exhausting, although it was effective. He ran and as far as Nari could guess, he ended the lives of those who hadn't yet fled the site. Her mind again wandered to the big brute of a man, although he seemed old, that had made his presence known by swinging a great big log at his enemies. In the heat of battle, Nari had called out to him to heal the priest, but he hadn't made it. He must have been caught up. The Prince, Akdov, Acacia, Alice, Hayley, Nel, Mirabella, Xan, the Mage, Feylon. Her mind went over the core members of the group again, should they be missing now that the battle was ending. Nari had managed to stop the bleeding of Akdov's wound, so he wasn't in danger of dying unless the wound was left unattended now.

Her hand found it's way to the wound again. It was bleeding badly and Nari's was a little dizzy. In order to get the arrow out, she had to get her armor of first. The light plate adorned with beautifully ornamented leather, would make it impossible to get the arrow out. It had to come off, but all Nari did was sit back against a tree. The next thing she heard was the Prince's voice. He called for them to gather, but Nari didn't move. She looked at them though, and watched the new arrivals. Attica from before, who she hadn't noticed during the battle, the man with the log and a new one. A heavy armored man, kneeling before the prince. The Ranger woman was relived to see that only the Priest and Feylon were down and wounded, along with herself but she was still concious. The others seemed to have minor wounds as far as she could see.

She let her head fall back to relax a bit, taking deep and steady breaths. Not long was she allowed to rest though, as the warrior woman Mira had come to her and spoke. I would have thought so too, but apparently I was foolish enough to rush to the aid of that oaf. She said, serious at first and then giving Mira a faint smile. She let her hand wrap around the arrow and tried not to move, trying to get rid of the jolts of pain. Mira called for aid to the wounded, and Nari's eyes found the newly arrived Paladin. She wasn't going to have someone she didn't know treat her wounds. "Mira." She called, reaching out and grabbing her shoulder. "You have to help me get the armor off." Nari spoke between gasps and jolts of pain, her blood trickling between her fingers. "You ha-have to-" A grimace flashed across her face. "Just pull it out." Narenia leaned forward, revealing her back where the armor was tightened to fit the armor closer to the body. She had to loosen that and then lift the armor off the arrow and then over her head. "How do you know that Paladin isn't another assassin?"

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Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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With everything calming down Callavan let the barrier fade, stuffing the scroll back into his satchel. His heart was racing, invigorated by the battle. It had been a while since he had a good fight. But now it was over and he needed to calm himself. Taking deep calming breaths, he looked around at what remained of their ruined camp. It seemed like nearly half of their merry little group had been injured. He'd help them if he could, but he was no healer. Instead he helped gather the fallen into a pile.

Once everyone had been tended to, he gathered with the others around the fire. He grunted as he sat. The rush of battle had made him forget about the fatigue of the day's travel, but it hadn't forgotten about him. He'd have to remember to try the ointment the Triansui had passed him earlier. For now he would have to be satisfied with wine and cake.

There were some new faces around the fire. He recognized two of them; the wildling (who seemed to be there of her own volition) and the old beast of a man who'd rushed into the fight with them. He wasn't sure what to make of the other two. The prince trusted them apparently and Van had seen one of them tending to one of the ranger's injuries. The fact that they showed up right after the fighting had ended made Van suspicious though.

He pushed thoughts of treachery from his mind, for he saw that the priest had recovered. ”Glad to see that you're well, ya old codger” he said, grinning. “Thought we'd lost you in that little scuffle.”

The prince had started talking again, so Van turned his attention to him. The quest got a lot more interesting once he finished. Before, Van had thought this was nothing more than a wild goose chase, but this talk of Idassava made it seem much more plausible. There was no telling what else they may find in her ruins. While the others voiced their thoughts and concerns he dreamed of lost tomes and forgotten magics.

His passing fantasies were interrupted by his own yawning. It had been a long day and he was starting to feel it. He looked around at the others who looked ready to whittle the night away with talk. Except for the wee lil mage who had fallen asleep already. Van felt a pang of sympathy for her. She looked exhausted. This was probably the first time she had been in a fight. He remembered his own first, unable to manage his reserves of power, exhausting himself with wasted spells, damn near killed himself with other spells. He thought about giving her a few pointers.

The more he toyed with the idea the more he realized that he needed to change his own style of fighting. He hadn't been much use in their last fight. Most of his offensive spells were just as likely to hurt friend as they were foe and all of his defensive ones were made just to defend himself. With a sigh he put away these thoughts for the day after, when he could approach them with a fresh mind. For the time being, he focused on what the others had to say.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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“I am quite alive Callavan, if poison, the gallows a serrated blade and a Riftwalker could not be my end I don’t think a stick stuck on my arse is anything to worry about, besides I have got an old friend to drag me back to safety if things get messy”

Now that the prince was done he figured it was time to tell them about Geraint “Ladies and gentlemen id like to introduce you to Geraint Maghdohl or… G for those who are close, in any case he is a shaman the kind that you would not like to find in a dark alley or anywhere really… he is strong as a bull and just as stubborn never argue with the shaman because once he is set on something only Deud could strafe him away… but few friends are as true, reliable and fierce”

Geraint had told him how he had not aged a day –That’s because I didn’t…- “Well I wish I could say the same about you, before you didnt look so goddamn wasted you old fart" he laughed as he spat the words... Geraint probably knew or at the very least suspected something... every time they met he always made the same remark

Akdov smirked at the paladin, this was one of the nice ones it seemed “Lance, good man we share a common goal and that makes us allies I will put all my abilities to our endeavor” it wasn't necessary to add how many times Akdov had been cornered and barely survived to the blades and clubs of the so called defenders of the faith “Fear no betrayal or secrets from me, you will see it coming if there is anything you should be worried about” there was however also something he wanted to ask of his fellows but had quite got the nerve to speak, but a Paladin was just the thing "Might I ask a little advice of you later lance? I am not the most formidable or sensible fighter maybe I could benefit from your directions"

The round up afterwards came easy, with the singing of the bard to sweeten their moods, she was good at it and made the priest realize that while she had no weight or utility in combat or practical purposes the others might as well see him as that, but she knew how to play a song and it soothed him, as everyone was making their ways to sleep he would go sleep under a trunk or something of the like, probably Geraint was going to sleep like a wild animal and snore loud enough for everything in a 20 kilometer radius to hear them all.

The priest mind came back to Ryja, never had something had pushed him so far, had she lived he would have probably forsaken his responsibilities to Deud for that maiden... but as they say... Deud has a plan for everything and if he willed for her sacrifice then it was simply meant to be,besides she made her choice and he had accepted it long ago

Even if I never agreed to it

It was good to have Geraint show up again, but memories of an unwelcome nature had surfaced as well... so many had died to stop the Vradakah and he knew it had been worth it all, even if a whole continent had to die to stop the mad goal of the Riftwalker it would be called a god damned good bargain, he was proud of what they had achieved... but it had left him full of sorrow, a survivor guilt and the longing of their company

He wasnt going to get any sleep so he might as well stand watch, he approached the prince and told him "prince, you might want to get some sleep I already got enough from that wound so im not in the right mood if you catch my meaning" the man didnt look in the right mood either, but as a priest it was the right thing to do, he figured he could lighten his mood too "You know, having two paladins a prince and a priest we could easily make a knighting here and there or who knows even a wedding ceremony" he gave a chuckle at his own joke, one the prince did not seem to share

Holy brew, the court of this one is going to be boring as the underlands

"Go catch some sleep your highness, Ill sleep when im dead"

The next morning he woke up to a discussion about what to do with the corpses, the monk wanted to bury them "lass you can not afford yo be so naive!, next you will have us tracking their family members to return any heirlooms, we`ve dallied here long enough as is and frankly we dont know if they have any friends in the area and if this is the case I wont be bothered to dig them a grave" he made a nod to the mages "let the flames purify them, they lived by the sword and died by it, only fair way to go" but a prayer was needed no matter how wicked the men and women might have been " Lance I think you, who did not drawn their blood would be the right man to say anything in the rites of passage for this wretched or..." he looked at Geraint "Well G could do a ritual for them... but they're not worth the effort of the man Id say" he scratched his beard and said "Ready when you are your majesty"

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Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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With conversation dieing down Callavan took his leave of the fire's warmth. He faded into the woods for a bit of privacy as he applied the ointment from the Triansui. It took a lot of the bite from his sore legs. With that taken care of, he returned to his tent to find that it had been trampled in the brawl. Taking a closer look, he saw that it wasn't too damaged and was still usable, but he was tired and didn't much care for setting it up a second time in one night. Instead he took his bedroll and found a soft patch of grass to sleep on.


Dawn came much faster than he would have liked. The sun shone right into his eyes to wake him. A few of the others had woken as well, but there were others who had managed to stay asleep. He sat himself up and reached for his flask only to find that it was still empty. Being sober for so long was starting to sour his mood.

Stifling a yawn, he packed up the trampled tent and set it aside with the rest of his pack and tack, figuring that there was little point and saddling his horse so soon. He'd let the beast rest for now.

With what little chores he had set for himself taken care of, he made his way to the fire where breakfast was in the works. While the Prince cooked, Van pulled out some parchment and charcoal. His hand moved slowly, weaving lines together into intricate patterns. It had been a while since he had worked on any new spells he realized. He had crafted a new spell easily enough, but sticking to spells that he was already familiar with had made him forget a lot of the nuances of spellwork. This new spell was far too inefficient and weak for what he wanted. He crumpled the parchment and tossed it into the fire before pulling another sheet from his satchel. This was repeated a dozen or so times before the food was ready.

He shoved his writing tools away and sat fuming while he ate. He ignored the others mostly, sticking to his own little mindscape. So much mindless chattering, he thought to himself. It was only when the Triansui joined the group around the fire that he pulled himself from his own reverie. He retrieved the ointment from his satchel and tossed it into her lap.

”Thanks for that. It was useful,” he said. His food was finished and the prince was getting ready to burn the bodies, so he left her that and went to ready his horse.

It didn't take him long and seeing that most of the other horses were readied as well, he thought that their merry little band was set to go. This left him only slightly surprised to find them arguing over what to do with the bodies. The fact that the monk of all people was the one arguing was much more surprising. Callavan didn't much care what happened to the bodies. He found it difficult to give a damn about anyone that tried to kill him. Rather than joining in, he waited for them to come to a compromise.

When they didn't and the monk chose to stay behind, he simply shrugged, happy that they were ready to leave. A couple of others spoke to the monk, making some very good points he noticed. Then the bard joined her in digging graves. Van rolled his eyes, thinking that it was entirely pointless. Still, he thought back to the bar, where the two had stopped him from making a complete ass of himself over some petty squabbling.

”Oh for fuck's sake,” he muttered to himself before calling out to the leaving group. Oi! I'll catch up with the lot of you!

Walking over to the pile, he pulled a sword from one of the bandits. With that he dug it into the ground and started drawing out a spell. He spoke as he worked, ”I'm only doing this once and in all likely hood, I'll be the first to set fire to the next bunch that attacks us. You may be from some hole in the ground where everyone farts fairy dusts and rainbows, but out here you're gonna have to grow a thicker skin. How many innocent people do you think these bastards have killed? How many women they raped? Children's throats slit? They don't give a damn about anyone else and if we hadn't killed them, they'd have just as easily killed us. And now you want to take your sweet time just to give them whatever the hell you think a proper funeral is?”

By the time he finished ranting the spell was set. ”Alright now, back the hell up,” he said. Bending down, he placed a finger on one of the lines. He could feel the magic swell and pulse around him as he channeled it into the sigil. The spell required more power than he'd normally use at once. By the time he was finished with this foolishness he'd probably need to wait at least a few hours before he could cast anything else. When the spell had the all the power it needed he backed away. At first it did nothing, but then the earth bowed inward, towards the sigil. It flowed up and out into a neat ring of dirt around a circular hole that was as deep as a man was tall and about four times as wide.

”I'm not digging a grave for each man. If they fought together then they can rot together,” he said. ”Now help me move these bastards.”The sword he left planted in the ground, he'd need it again when he filled the hole. Hopefully they'd be done before the others got too far. At worst they'd have to ride through the night to catch up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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She smiled when Mira came over and nodded, moving a little so she could sit down at a more comfortable spot. The ground was more even where Nari had taken a seat. She held a hand up to decline her offer of berries with their breakfast. Nari was fine with the bit she had already taken. "No thank you," She said and smiled. "And thank you. For partaking in saving my life." Nari planted her hand on Mira's shoulder and squeezed it gently, giving her a warm smile as if to make sure she knew she meant it. It had really meant a lot to Nari that another person had actually come to her aid. It also gave her hope that this quest might actually succeed. At least the group wasn't fully without a sense of unison. The ranger took another bite of her food and chewed, glad that they were at least offered something to prepare them for along days ride. The Prince had said they were going to Pyzer Lake. In her mind, Nari wondered if they were going to travel further inland, or if he would follow the coast along the bay.

She laughed briefly and looked down at the ground, giving a shake of her head when Xan told her that it was always difficult to get up in the morning. Fortunately, Nari had never had that problem. At least, not during the time she had lived on her own in the wild. As a Ranger. When she had still been a child -living in the South- due to her highborn heritage, she was allowed to sleep late some days. And the days she weren't allowed, she did it anyway. Her excuse was that she needed her beauty sleep. "I'm quite fine." Nari said and nodded, giving Mira another smile and then searched for the young Paladin who had stitched her up. She was unable to find him though. "The young Paladin was a great help though. He did a good job." She lifted her dark tunic once again and looked at the stitches. It was strange how it seemed so rapidly healed already, leaving Nari to yet again wonder if the young man had any healing skills beside just needle and thread. Her eyes were still upon the thief as he walked off. Nari too had noticed the escalating arguement between the Prince and the Monk. She gave Mira a look and wrinkled her nose at the mention of burning flesh. Nari agreed with the Prince though. Burn them and let that be it. She shook her head and ate the last of her jerky. "She's too naive. Too young, at least of mind." Nari sighed deeply and looked toward the Monk again. "I can't help but care for her though."

People came and went to the fire, eating their breakfast and minding their own things. Some of them gathering at the scene of the two argueing. Too Nari's own agreement, the Prince gave her an ultimatum, like you'd give a child, and let her stay behind to dig. He was under pressure of time and worry. They had to move on. "She'll scratch her nails off before she gets a foot deep." Another sigh escaped her as she stood and brushed her behind, ridding it of dirt and leaves. "We should probably get ready." Nari pointed toward the mage now helping them digging a hole. If that would speed up the process and let it be the last to hear of it, that was please Narenia as she was tired of hearing about it. As harsh as it was all put to the Monk, it was sadly the truth. They simply didn't have time to bury each and everyone of their enemies. "If by chance you'd like to, feel free to ride by my side. I'd like to talk to you, Mira." With that, Nari stood up just to hear the last words of the Prince Rydas. They were told to mount, and so Nari did after donning her armor and strabbing her sword onto her horse so it was easy to draw. Her bow was there as well, and the quiver on the right side of the horse. She gently kicked the horse and rode up the Prince, waiting for him to lead the way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Deallo
Anger wasn't a feeling that Nel was used to but it was something she managed to hold onto surprisingly well as she unearthed clumps of dirt from her hands and flung them behind her. Her ears were burning from all the shouting and she found herself taking deep breaths. The scene was all too familiar to her. Her hands were smaller and less calloused then, heavy droplets of rain beating against her head and monk robes, desperately trying to dig out the mud along with all the other hands. Hands of all sizes assisted her endeavor and twenty graves were miraculously dug out in the rainy weather. The small girl dragged three of the equally small yellow-clothed bodies.

The monk was brought back into present by the words of the group's self-proclaimed thief who had brought the duty upon himself to lecture Nel. She ignored every single word...unaware of the seed of doubt Xan planted in her fertile mind. His words would've been convincing enough had it not for the anger clouding her thoughts. "I wasn't kicking and screaming."[/i] Nel spoke bitterly, looking at her side to discover him already walking away. Speak and leave; it's all everyone does." she thought bitterly as her hands were immersed in earth. The hand on her shoulder caused her to jump up again and to nearly throw a blow until she caught sight of the bard's face and heard her voice. [b]"You mustn't scare me all the time Acacia but thank you for the help." Nel said, slightly happy at the fact someone decided to help her.

A shadow was cast over Nel and the shadow squatted down; prompting itself to it's owner. Feylon. From what she remembered him as; the bloody man at the Black Vagabond. His words were filled with hate towards the men they have killed. "To justify an evil by deeming it be used on evil is still evil. I cannot pretend that spilling the blood is anymore right then spilling the blood of a child." Nel however stopped digging for a moment and looked at the ranger's face, noticing all the various scars that took place and then down at his hand.
"This isn't the first time I had to dig graves." Nel quietly admitted, turning her attention back to the ground, rearing her arm back she stabbed her palm deep into the dirt and shoveled large clumps of wet earth by hand. "I shall be finished by noon." She said rather quaintly.

The next person to lecture Nel was the man with the beard. Though with such a description that could now pertain to three people of their motley group of adventurers, it was the mage who had spoken, Callavan, who was also dragging around a sword as he spoke. The harsh words made Nell stand up; to instinctively stand her ground literally and mentally to his cruel words. As soon as she was told to step back, Nel opened her mouth, ready to speak back, until she noticed no sound could come out of her throat. Nel tried again but was met with only the sound of air. A desperation to speak came over her. No matter how hard she tried; she couldn't talk back. That was when the ground started to shift, in and out, into a large circular hole.

Nel contemplated whether or not she should lash out at the mage. On one hand, he insulted her, her monastery, and her fellow monks in one fell swoop. On the other hand, it seemed he created the hole with magic, thus supporting her? Was it truly support? Was it pity? Was it contempt?

Clueless on what to say, angry enough to ball her fists, but grateful enough to accept the help, the monk went around the circle and went to the pile of bodies. She hadn't noticed the fact how hard she was pulling each body, damn near throwing them into the pit with one arm each, obviously venting her anger in each and every pull until there were no more bodies to pull. With the weapons of the dead left in a pile, Nel grabbed each sword, and stabbed it forcefully into the perimeter of the hole, any weapon that could stab was dealt in this manner, any weapon that had just an edge or shields were thrown onto the perimeter.

As soon as the monk was done with the procedure, she no longer wanted to see Callavan's face nor hear his insulting words any longer, and proceeded towards the fire to grab her quarterstaff with dirty, bloody mud-stained hands. With glazed over emerald eyes, she managed to walk over to Maria, Acacia's horse whom Nel promptly named, taking unsteady breaths, and awaited the bard to follow suit.

The monastery steeled her hands and skin but it never would've nor could've; steel her fragile heart.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Geraint couldn't help but allow a small smirk to cross his lips while the Priest, his old comrade briefly introduced him to the rest of the group. Thereafter the two were kept a little more to themselves, still standing just outside of the circle of comrades while the rest ate sweat cakes and partook of wine. It was only a few moments later that the old Shaman guffawed in response to Akdov's comment about the two men's ages, clapping his old friend on the shoulder in the process as well.

Soon enough, and to Geraint's pleasant surprise, one of the younger adventurers began a little song, complete with a skillfully strummed lute to accompany the melody she had so graciously begun to spin. It was a nice reprieve after the battle, brief as his participation was. As the Old Man listened, the subject of the song brought his thoughts to far off days of his youth, campaigning for one reason or another across this or that stretch of Calisma. It was true what the song said, some days all a young soldier yearned for, more then a stalwart companion, more then a good meal or a willing maid in his bed, was that bed... that soft, comfortable place to rest, without a stone in your back, or a branch rolling onto your face... a fellow soldier elbowing you in the face while you sleep.

Old Mags was jostled back to reality by the final strumming notes of the song, and he watched as everyone collected themselves off to bed. Akdov walked over to the prince not long after and volunteered for second watch. When the Priest returned, Geraint offered to share the watch with him, and the two spent much of their watch that night conversing and catching up on old times, the Shaman leaving the majority of his spiritual allies the duty of standing guard so as not to let any of the group be caught unawares in the night.

When the morning finally arrived, it was greeted with a grunt by the bearded Shaman. Rolling out of his bedroll, he brushed any stray dirt or leaves that may have found him in the night, and after packing his meager belongings, he joined his new fellows at the breakfast fire. Giving a surprised thank you to the Prince for preparing their morning meal, he ate quickly, and set about cleaning things when the meal had finished. His cleaning slowed as he stared curiously at the argument that arose over the disposal of the bandit corpses. It burned, flared, and then was stomped out, as the call was made for dispersal, they were to be leaving soon.

The young Bear Cub was evidently going to stay behind and bury the bodies by hand. Geraint decided he'd help everyone else pack-up to go and see how things developed, a number of the compatriots were still speaking with the little yellow clad, apparently strong willed little girl. Including a greasily bearded fellow who was drawing something in the ground with a sword whilst muttering obscenities about the dead before them.

The others began to move off while this went on (I think?). But the old Shaman decided to stay, it was just the young lute player, the yellow-clad spitfire and the bearded, apparently, mage. In the event they were waylaid on the way back to the rest of the group, it would serve them to have a little iron to help stave off whatever assaulted them, and since Geraint did not yet know the capabilities of his fellows, he figured it was better to be safe then sorry, he and likely the mage could aid them in catching up to the main group if they really ended up being that far behind.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian
As Travian began eating, a girl pulled out a lute and announced that she would play. He perked up in excitement; a bard was always a welcome addition though he found himself wondering how well she had fared in the battle. He made a mental note to watch out for her. The song she sung was a familiar one, and he would have joined her if the rest of the group hadn’t been settling down to sleep. His singing was of the kind only welcome in boisterous celebrations where everyone was too drunk to discern quality.

The wine helped his exhaustion catch up with him and he dazedly prepared for sleep when the song was done. He didn’t have a bedroll so instead he pulled out his cloak and laid it out on the ground. He decided to take off his plate mail for the night since he knew it was a luxury he might not have in the future, given their destination. The back of his mind nagged him about the possibility of more bandits but he shrugged it off, “I’ve still got my chain mail on….”

As he settled in he saw that the priest and the older man he introduced were preparing to stay up and keep watch. He felt a pang of guilt for not thinking of that and volunteering himself, but it had been a long day and the two men seemed glad for the chance to catch up.

The smell of the food woke him. As he rose he saw that pretty much everyone else was up and nearly ready to go. Though his stomach rumbled, he decided it was best to get everything ready before settling down to eat. He began with the horse. The grey mare may have been dumb but at least it wasn’t intentionally disobedient or stubborn. It let him put on the saddle and packs without any fuss, “I guess it could be worse.” He decided he may as well come up with a name for it, but that could be decided later- it would give him something to do while they rode.

As he began putting on his armor the ranger he had healed approached him. “Thank you, Paladin, for coming to my aid.” She said as she bowed her head.

“No problem, I kind of shut everything out when I see someone is injured, sorry if I seemed cold.”

She sat down and he decided to join her once he finished getting his plate mail on. She gave a friendly greeting to Xan who seemed to be having trouble being up so early. Before he had a chance to address the thief, Mira joined the group with some fresh fruit. Since she offered he ate a little bit but left most of it for Mira and the others.

Xan was looking a little more awake after he finished eating so Travian decided to talk to him. “Your name’s Xan, right? I wanted to apologize for interrupting your privacy last night. I was impatient to find the group and didn’t consider that you were enjoying a moment alone.”

It was then that the Prince addressed the matter of the bodies. He knew a prayer for the dead, but before he could make his way over a heated debate broke out. Like the Prince, he was accustomed to cremation and though burial was not a totally foreign concept it was one he was unfamiliar with nonetheless. It was apparently very important to the monk though and she refused to budge on the issue. The argument ended with her attempting to dig graves by hand as the Prince and most of the party set off. He was a little torn, he wanted to help but he knew the monk was still fuming and might react with hostility to a stranger. That didn’t stop Xan and another man from giving her some advice before they left, but he could tell by her expression that even Xan’s friendly words only made her angrier.

He was relieved to see someone- the bard, come to help her. She finally seemed to calm down a little bit so he went to help too. And he was not the only one; a bearded man who soon revealed himself to be a mage used his magic to create a giant grave for them. Travian was grateful that he sped up the process but a little irked at the man’s rude words- they certainly weren’t going to make the monk any happier.

Travian and a handful of other people helped the girl pull the bodies into the hole. Once they were done the mage sealed it up again. He delivered his prayer quickly and silently before returning to his mount, giving the monk some space. He waited for everyone else to set off before bringing up the rear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had finished her breakfast just as some of the others were beginning to trot off on their mounts and the argument that had ebbed and flowed behind her appeared to be resolved. Nel was surrounded by a few caring people who had not abandoned her to the task and the Triansui wasn’t surprised to see Bard girl by her side but she was intrigued that Ian, Van and Geraint had stuck around.

Nari spoke to her and though she agreed with every bit of it, she also had a soft spot for the monk but the small band that was burying the bodies already had a handful of capable fighters so it was with great reluctance that Mira decided to ride on after the Prince as well.

Still, she couldn’t leave the monk without saying something and she crossed the clearing and pulled the girl close, wrapping her in a quick bear hug before releasing her. “No act of kindness, no matter how small and no matter whom it is directed towards, is ever wasted. Do not let anyone ever let you believe differently.” With a smile and a nod directed to each of the others that would stay behind, Mira went for Blaze and mounted easily, clicking her tongue until the mare was set to a canter so that they could catch up to the others.

When she reached the group, she slowed her pace, settling her trail beside Nari’s where they would converse throughout the rest of the ride. Many subjects were broached but none delved too deeply into their pasts. Their friendship still, perhaps, too new for such things. Every once in awhile, the group fell into a comfortable silence, simply enjoying the sounds of nature that surrounded them.

It was during these lapses that Mira could not help but turn around to look behind her to see if the others had caught up to them yet. Hopefully, they would not be more than an hour or so behind the main body of travelers. Who knew what they would run into on the trail to the ruins since they had already had one battle less than a day after setting out from Paetax?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia gave a small smile as Nelinia refused the ranger's hand, as she expected. Though Nelinia was naive, she was also dertermined, 'And downright stubborn,' when it came to doing what she felt was right. As even Callavan came over and began lecturing, Acacia began digging. She wondered if everyone would lecture the monk. She acted child-like at times, but she was definitely not a child. Digging, for this purpose especially, made Acacia fidgety as she refused to think of other times, times which had come to the forefront of her memories too many times in the past few days. Perhaps more that they had in the past several months.

Acacia noticed Callavan carving symbols in the ground with a sword. She decided it must have been some sort of spell and wiped her knife on the grass before it disapeared up her sleeve. She stood, and hearing his abrupt warning, backed away a bit. She thought about pulling Nelinia back as well, but figured she might actually get punched if she startled the still angry girl. Suddenly the ground opened for one large grave. Immediately, Nelinia went over and began flinging bodies in. Acacia managed to drag one body over before they were all taken care of. She was amazed at just how much strength Nelinia had. The mass grave was soon covered and it was time to go catch up to the rest of the group.

Nelinia stormed over to the horse, Maria, with a troubed look on her face. Acacia gave one last look at the camp and then at the grave, giving a small shudder. She smiled briefly at Nelinia and thought about saying something. She decided against it, the girl had been lectured too much already today, and it wasn't even noon yet. She strode over to Maria, checked to make sure everything was in place, and climbed into the saddle. She helped Nelinia up and made sure they were both firmly seated. It felt odd to be sitting there, and all the forgotten sore spots from yesterday felt just as sore again. This time, she remembered to put her feet in the stirrups, but just as quickly withdrew them. They were too high and Acacia had no desire to adjust them. When those others who had stayed behind were also ready, she set off, surprised to have no further difficuties so far.

After a few moments of silence that made Acacia antsy, she spoke, unable to bear it anymore. "So, Neli, if you don't mind me calling you that?" It came out as a question and she gave a small pause before continuing, "Tell me about where you come from. The mon..." She paused again with a sigh as she still couldn't remember. They caught up to the rest of the group quickly, and Acacia hoped the tension from earlier would be gone by now. That kind of tension was never any fun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Everyone seemed to be all brisk business once the bodies had been "properly" disposed of, well, with the possible exception of the bearded mage, but it was entirely possible, even likely, that the younger man had expended a great deal of energy opening and closing a hole in the earth that size. As such his relative lethargy was excusable at worst. Still, Geraint waited, for everyone to get up and ready to go and then followed, acting as vanguard for the group on their trek to catch up with the rest of their fellows.

The old man didn't have a horse, and a combination of pride and newness to the group precluded his asking to ride along with someone. He hadn't exactly been much help with the body disposal, and wouldn't he look the old crotchety fool to stay behind, do nothing, and then have to beg a ride to catch up with the others? Fortunately, and Geraint had kept this thought well in hand before making the decision to stay, he had a "Shamany way" to handle the problem. While he'd waited for the others to gather themselves together, the little bear cub, her riding companion, and the others, the aged watched had reached into one of a number of pouches kept beneath his kilt, pulling from the soft leather confines two small tokens. One was a crudely carved depiction of a spotted cat, though it's eyes seemed almost to move of their own accord if you looked at it out of the corner of your eye; the other was a much more detailed little elephant, ridges, wrinkles, trunk and all, intricately worked with obvious care and skill.

Plucking a long fallen leaf from the ground, the old Shaman crushed the brown brittle thing in the hand not carrying the tokens. He kneaded his fingers a moment or two, before opening his palm and blowing the leaf's fragments over the two animal tokens, muttering something in a gravely voice as he did so, and squeezing everything tightly in his fist for a moment or two. Then without further ceremony, he popped them both into his mouth, completely ignoring the fact that they were made of wood and sparsely covered in plant matter, and pressed them beneath his tongue. There was a tingling sensation as they seemed to meld their forms with his own "dissolving" in the old man's mouth, and then all was ready. Including his compatriots.

When they began to move, Geraint took up his caber and stayed to the rear, moving in only a light jog and yet matching pace with the horses. The dual tokens he'd used served, as one might expect, two purposes, one was to allow him to move at greater than normal speeds, the other was to give him the endurance to continue for the whole day if necessary. Like much of his mysticism they could be used differently depending on the situation. For example he could have used the speed token to grant him speeds faster than most mortal beasts, but the charm would have lasted only a few moments, a minute or two on the outside, whereas this lesser modification would last him the day. Either way, the spirit within would be spent for the rest of the day, until it had had time to recuperate.

Almost surprisingly, making Geraint realize he was getting pessimistic in his old age, his group seemed to catch up with the rest of their party with little incident, and indeed the remainder of the day past in a similar fashion. Till finally the time came for camp to be made, fires to be readied and tents to be pitched. One of the knights calling out duties shortly after everyone had grouped up in their chosen place for the night's rest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by KuroRyu
As the Prince's steed started it's trot towards their next destination the rest of the horses that were to follow followed. Xan looked back to see the bearded mage doing something in the dirt with a sword that he had picked up, the others that had stayed behind watching the man work. Xan looked back towards the direction in which the group was travelling in. It looked as if it would be another long ride, and he wasn't sure whether he could stand to be split in the middle for a long period of time once more. Instead he took his feet out of the stirrups and crossed his legs a top the saddle. He wobbled a bit, nearly losing his balance completely before he managed to get used to the rhythm of the horses trot. It felt a bit awkward, but he hoped that if he were sitting in this position he wouldn't end up with the pain in his crotch that he had after the first ride.

As the ride went on conversations sprang up from within the group, people speaking here and there, eventually conversation engulfing the entire group. Stories and laughs came and went, Xan simply throwing a few one liners in hopes of getting a laugh or two, or at the very least a smile. He didn't really have any stories of his own, not yet anyway, hopefully this little search for the cure would give him the story to end all stories. His eye would look towards the forest that they were following along, trying to see if he could see anything of interest. Nothing really caught his interest, just tree after tree with even more trees behind it.

Eventually the group came to a halt, along with the announcement that they were to make camp. Although the area that they were making camp in wasn't anything special, the scenery before them was quite nice. The sight of the mountains that was to be seen before him was quite the sight, he could probably stare at them for a day and not get bored of the sight. Further down was the sight of a large waterfall, giving water to the lake that lay in front of them. One the shores of the great lake was their final destination. Although their journey here wasn't as exciting and filled with action as he had hoped he knew there was still a good chance for things to start getting good within the ruins. In truth he wanted to run into those ruins at this very moment, but he held back the urge to. He decided to distract himself by tending to Myst instead, pulling off the saddle from his mounts back and giving it a good few pats.

"Feel better, right?" he said with a smile, smoothing out the hairs on his mounts back a bit. It seemed that was about all he had to do to relieve his four legged companion, he didn't use a tent, and his bedroll went missing in the battle the night before. Xan simply shrugged at these facts, it wasn't necessarily essential for him, he was just fine sleeping on the ground.

Had this been all he needed to do, his mind probably would've went back to the ruins that lay so close. Luckily something else managed to distract him, the scent of food that lovingly caressed the inside of his nose. The thought of food, and the hunger in his stomach were more than enough to take complete control of his mind and keep it from wondering about anything else.

It was, once again, the Prince himself that was cooking the meal, and if were to be anything like the day before Xan was sure it would taste great. Although something about the Prince was slightly off, he didn't quite have the presence about him that he had before. It seemed quite a bit of exhaustion was hitting him at once, which might be a good thing. It could mean that his high strung tension had loosened and he was finally able to be at ease, at least a little bit. The Prince excused himself after asking for someone to take first watch, and to make sure that everyone had their share of food. Xan supposed he could do as much, although he wasn't quite sure how long first watch would be, hopefully short enough that he wouldn't fall asleep on the job. He got up and went to where the Prince had been cooking, he looked at the bread and foul that was prepared as everyone's supper. He took a little look around before finding the necessary supplies to divide up and serve the meal to everyone equally; or at the very least as equally as he could get it. Placing, to him what looked like equal, pieces of bird and bread on a plate before passing it to the nearest person so they could pass it along as well until it hit the end of the line. Eventually having a plate for himself when everyone else had one in their hands.

The night went on just as the last did, without the unexpected bandit attack ofcourse. Xan managed to keep himself awake for the first watch, thankful that someone had come to relieve him of these duties before he completely passed out. As soon as it was clear that he no longer had to stay awake he simply wrapped his cloak around himself and fell asleep where he sat

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


The morning rays blinded Xan through his eye lids once again, he moaned and groaned as he tossed and turned, trying to find a direction where his eyes wouldn't be assaulted by the suns rays. He simply groaned louder as his attempts ended in failure, his eye opening halfway, sleepily looking around. It felt about the same time that he had awoken the day before, but with one slight difference, there wasn't any scent of food cooking flowing in the air. He couldn't be awake before the Prince could he? He managed to get himself up to a sitting position, his sleepy eye looking around, not a sign of the Prince anywhere.

'Well he did seem pretty tired last night' he thought as he let out a yawn, a hand rubbing his good eye to try and wake up. He stretched himself as much as he could while still staying in a seated position, a few snaps and pops were audible as he did. Xan looked towards the Prince's tent that he we to sleep in last night, should he go and wake the man? It didn't feel quite right to wake a crowned prince to have him make breakfast, but then again Xan didn't know how to cook, and he wasn't sure who else in the group could. Still, there was something in the back of his head that bothered him, he wouldn't wake the Prince, but simply checking on the man couldn't hurt, right? Xan managed to get himself up onto his feet, wobbling a bit after the first step, nearly falling back down to a sitting position. He managed to catch himself before that could happen and continue on his way.

"Good morning. ?" he said as he opened up the entrance to the Prince's tent, only to find it empty and abandoned. Strange, could he have gone out to find ingredients for breakfast? He looked around again before he saw foot impressions on the ground, leading to a cluster of trees. Xan sat down next to the footprints, it was clear that it was left by the Prince, simply from the fact that it did start from his tent, and he went of his own will. Unless of course some person could pick up and carry away the man without any struggle, fight, or sound. Then again the prints weren't deep enough for it to belong to someone carrying the weight of another man. Not only that the edges of the prints were dry, the footprints were quite old by this time. Things definitely weren't right.

"Hey, Hey!!" he shouted out, "Everyone wake up!! We have a situation!" although he wasn't at a one hundred percent certainty that something bad had occurred or not, but it would be best to have everyone be aware of the situation. He followed the footsteps that were left until they broke through the trees so that what lay on the other side was visible. The footsteps became slightly lighter as they continued on into the field, his eye traced the path that would have been taken, his sight resting at the remains of the citadel that they were to enter today. Had the Prince gone in on his own? No, that can't be right, if he intended to do something like that from the beginning what would be the point of gathering people to accompany him on this quest. Then again the footsteps told a different story, but if he had gone in on his own why? and was it of his own will? He started down towards the citadel as well, a hand going behind him to retrieve his weapons.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Travian

Travian was surprised how quickly the burial group caught up with the main party. He was also relieved to see the young monk opening up to her riding partner. Out of the group that stayed behind the older man stayed at the back of the group with the young paladin. Travian couldn’t be sure of his name but he remembered him being introduced as a shaman. It stuck out in his mind because he wasn’t exactly sure what a shaman was, though he could tell the man was formidable by his ability to keep up with a horse on foot.

The group was in a pleasant mood, chatter and laughter surrounded them. Travian felt right at home and spoke freely with the others. The cheery atmosphere went on into the night, combating the unease of being so close to the eerie tower. However, as everyone began to settle down to sleep and the silence of night crept in Travian’s mind began to wander back to stories he’s heard. Legions of soldiers that marched on no matter what injuries they took until the attackers were overwhelmed. Their bodies would be raised by the necromancers and the next combatants would have to face their comrades’ soulless husks. It was truly horrifying.

Sleep did not come easily- and not just because he decided to sleep in full armor that night. An eerie feeling filled him and try as he might he could not push such dark thoughts from his mind. He fell asleep without realizing it and his dreams were full of dark voices whispering to him. Dead faces staring out at him.

"Hey, Hey!!" a familiar voice shouted out, "Everyone wake up!! We have a situation!"

Travian jolted awake. His shield and a throwing spear were in his hands as he looked around. Xan and the male ranger were a little ways into the woods, inspecting something. Xan moved out of sight as the ranger called out to get the mages. Travian wasted no time, he immediately found the bearded one that had used magic to dig a grave the morning before and began shaking him.

“Wake up! There’s trouble!”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Deallo
Nel was glad she wasn't the only one uncomfortable with traveling and the bard's words managed to bring peace to the fact that it was normal to feel a little weak while traveling. The monk expected the bard to rattle on with her various tales and stories like last time and eagerly awaited them as she remained seated on the horse until she realized Acacia was silent. The silence was unexpected; but Nel appreciated it none the less as silence was something hard to find these last few days and said nothing to voice her concern. They soon caught up with the main group and Nel refused to even glance at the prince's general direction; noticing the old man catching up to the horses by jogging. Nel would have called out to the shaman had she not been busy holding onto the bard so she wouldn't fall off.

The evening they had set up camp, spirits were up once more, stories floating around the campfire. Nel was the only person in the group to hold a grudge against the prince and one of two to hold one up against their hairy bearded mage. While she sat next to trusted individuals, those who didn't sport false deities to fight for, she made to sure to ignore the presence of Rydas and Callavan. The monk absorbed all the stories at the campfire, even the one that their priest had spoke of, envious that she had no interesting tales of adventure to speak of. The food was just as delicious to eat, a mix of various berries, some sweet, others sour, but each complimented the others flavor and was savored.

That night when she slept, her head was furthest away from the entrance to her tent, and held her quarterstaff in her hands. It was a necessary precaution; she wasn't going to be killed by soldiers of "God" in her sleep. Her sleep was, as always, short and sweet. Nel decided it'd be best to meditate, at least until everyone woke up and did so in the safety of her tent. Every sound was silenced, sounds including the Rydas' walk into the ruins, as hours seemed like days, and the sun gave light over the camp. The monk had felt refreshed as she left her tent and managed to take the time to stretch out her limbs and the voice of a shouting paladin, the one which Mirabella was fond of, started to shout of trouble. After a moment listening to the shouting around the camp; Nel could hear the distressed words that the prince was missing.

"Men of god!" The priest thundered for a moment, prompting Nel to reluctantly turn her head, then to turn it back and walk the other way. She wanted to be nowhere near that crowd. Then for a moment, she thought she could make out a figure across the trees, and started to move towards the brush until she made it into a clearing and saw the ruins of Idasseva. The monk ran towards the shadowy figure, believing it to be Rydas, until it turned around from the noise she made, and the face of Xan appeared.
"Oh, Xan." Nel said, somewhat surprised at how easily she mistook him. "Have you seen the prince? It seems he's walked off somewhere..." The monk didn't know if she was worried or glad. Everyone at the camp seemed to think it was the end of Calisma.

Was it?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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He laid on his bedroll, goblet in hand, dripping the last essence of wine that he had missed, when it rang in his head. The voices echoed, but sounded as though part of a dream. That was of course only until one rang then grew louder, even in his sleep he tried to make out hat it was saying, "Lance, his majesty is missing! get up we need to get ready". With a thunderous roar it awoke him. He rose quickly and wildly to the news.

"What? Wher- Where has he gone?" As he stood, it seemed almost in an instant that he was holding his sword and shield. It took him a second to gain focus. Seeing that everyone was in a sort of organized panic he realized that this was not a time for battle, but one of haste in action. He threw down his weapons to begin donning his armor. His eyes glanced over the party hurriedly, making it difficult to make out who was who, what he did notice though was that he is probably the last person awake.

As he struggled to quickly make ready, another voice rang in his head, that of the prince, and of his own promise to him. A heavy breath of rage and guilt heaved in his chest. Immediately he turned and began shouting orders in a way out of character of himself. "Quickly grab a small bite to eat and drink! Let us try to quickly take down camp, let us not leave too much trace. Rangers and rogues, begin tracking cautiously if you have not already. The rest will follow your lead, with mages in the middle, and the warriors covering the rear." As he was about to put on his chest plate he first rested his head on his horses saddle, attempting to gather his thoughts, center himself. "It may be best to either release your horse or walk with it, as we must be extra careful and aware from here on in towards the ruins. If the Prince's cloak is still around, someone should put it on, covered by the hood, and pose as the Prince to not raise the suspicions of any who see us."

He shouted the orders while clearing his sad excuse for a camp, reaching into his sack to blindly break off a piece of bread. The walking will have to suffice for a morning workout. The adrenaline from being awakened so hurriedly made his armor feel light as usual, but he knew it would not last. Eventually the lack of sleep and exercise would weigh on him, but he could not show it. "You're now our head of defense" the Prince's words made him shake under his armor, but he had to keep his head up and his eyes sharp now. "I will not fail you again" he whispered to himself, sheathing his sword and picking up his shield.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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To Nari, the ride seemed a little slow to begin with. It made her think heavy thoughts with grim expectations for the rest of the day, but fortunately it was all made better when Mira caught up and reined her horse in next to hers. They all started sharing stories and tales, talk being heard all around her. It made her mood lighten a little, something she was grateful for. The warrior woman next to her was the friendliest person Nari had met in a long time. Their handsome Prince seemed nice as well, but she had yet to figure him out. He was very serious when he spoke, and the amount of words Nari and him had exchanged was limited. Fortunately, there were other people she could talk to. The whole business with the monk and her desire to bury the bodies had been a bad start of their morning, Nari thinking it to be unnecessary delay. She would have burned them as well. That was how you did it in the wild, and that was how they had to do it. They didn't have the time to bury each and every one of their enemies, and Callevan couldn't keep doing that neat little trick of his.

When finally they reached their camp for the night, Nari stopped Vanir in his tracks and looked out across the open plain that streched out between them and their destination. The ruined citadel seemed eerie. Looming over the lake like some dark, destroyed watchtower. Nari took a deep breath to avoid a shudder, the feeling of a cold knife running down her spine displeasing her. Something was very wrong with this place. She knew it. Fortunately the night came rather pleasantly, no severe dicussions and arguements. The Prine however, after a days ride of fine mood and raised spirits, all of a sudden seemed tired. He excused himself and walked to his tent, apparently going to sleep. Nari's first intention was to rise and follow him, asking if he was okay. But looking into a Prince's tent, only dressed in her poor clothing she wore under the armor, seemed inappropriate. The Prince would appreciate proper etiquette and behavior, even out here. That was her impression.
When her stomach was full and she had tended to the wound she had sustained the night before, Nari went to her tent and decided to get a good nights sleep before the dawn. Luckily, hers wasn't the first watch. The night came and went, Nari sleeping rather peacefully.

The first words to reach her ears the morning after were of several people. Something's wrong. She thought, opening her vivid green eyes and rushing outside with her shortsword in hand, dressed in little more than undergarments. When she discovered that they weren't under attack, Nari began dressing herself and hoping that no one had noticed. Everything was very hectic at the moment, but she was grateful for the fact that someone had decided to take charge. The Paladin who had stitched her up was barking out orders. Nari gave him a smile and a nod, letting him know that she approved of his quick decisions. Something had to be done, and the Prince be found. Her only fear was, that the Priest would oppose. Nari could already feel the irritation building up at the mere thought of him opening his big mouth. Could he just keep quiet now, she'd be thankful. As fast as she could, the Ranger packed her things away, tied them to her horse and gathered the things necessary for scouting. That meant her bow, shortswords and a few additional belongings.

"It's such an open plain," Her hand rested on the shoulder of Feylon, the other Ranger. "I'll track the footprints as far as I can." Nari nodded at him once, and then began tracking the Prince's footprints. Her mind circled about that grim ruin ahead though. How close would she have to get before she was in danger. In her mind there was no doubt. Where else would he have gone but for the citadel?

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Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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With the bodies deposited Callavan sealed the hole, tossing the sword aside once he was finished. He had remained silent throughout the process, working with quiet determination. He noticed that the monk seemed even more frustrated. She was such a queer little thing, having what seemed to be more compassion for those who'd slit her throat and nothing but contempt for those who'd aid her. He had to wonder, was she an oddity wherever she came from or was everyone there just as mental?

Whatever the case, the work was done and it was time to leave. Van kept to himself throughout the ride, shutting himself off from world and blindly following whoever was in front of him. He resurfaced briefly when they rejoined the rest of the group, only to fade back into the ether of his mind. The fugue grew fainter as they drew closer to the citadel. Even at a distance he could feel the magic emanating from it, pulsing and swirling around him. It was invigorating. He found himself smiling just the smallest bit and even joining in with the others' conversations.

It wasn't long before they stopped to make camp. His legs weren't nearly as sore as they had been the day before, which made it much easier helping to set up camp. The work passed quickly for him and before he knew it, they were all seated around the fire with yet another meal provided by the prince. His mood soured as the priest told his story, as any talk of the days before the guild was wont to do. He may not have been present for the days of old, but surely the stigma of these mad mages was hyperbole. Not to say that he didn't believe any had existed, but the tales of those older than him would make one think that there were two feral mages for every peasant in the land.

The guild seemed useless to Van. Perhaps it eased the fears of the everyman, but to him, it only served to hamper the progress of those who sought after the magical arts. So much potential was wasted because it went unnoticed or they were too scared to follow after it. Van, himself only discovered his talents by chance and he was forced to hide it, sneaking out to practice and study in the dark of night. He was in constant fear of discovery. The only thing that kept him going was the shear thrill of using what he learned. It was only when he had exhausted what little resources he had that he he joined the guild. What he learned there was invaluable, but he was disgusted with his fellow mages. They had grown stagnant, sticking to a singular form of magic (the fact that Van deviated from it brought him constant mockery), and only learning what was left in books. They made no attempt to grow as mages, to seek out new ways of harnessing magic, to explore the endless possibilities. Eventually his frustration got the best of him and he left. He decided that from then on he would teach himself and if he could, find rogue mages that existed outside of the guild. After all, if he could avoid them as a boy there surely must be others.

-----------------------------------------
Van found himself being shaken awake by one of the new comers. Swearing, he shoved the man off him as he tried to gain his bearings. There was some sort of kerfuffle in the camp. With bleary eyes he shoved his boots on and grabbed his satchel before join the rest of the group. Someone was barking orders, but Van's mind was a bit too foggy to make out what was going on. He gathered that the prince was missing and some of their number had headed out ahead of them.

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Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Celedia
The rest of the ride to the Citadel went quickly, in Mirabella’s point of view. Conversation kept their minds occupied as they traversed great distances and while she kept vigilant of their surroundings, the Triansui knew of their arrival at their destination by the sudden fearfulness in Blaze’s step. The mare reared her head slightly, then shook it as if saying she would step no further and only with gentle coaxing from the warrior did Blaze finally proceed forward to the clearing where they would camp.

Another meal was eaten, this time more heartily than the night before since the commotion had caused her to eat little, and she was asleep on her bedroll before the last licks of sunlight withdrew from the area.

She was awoken by the sound of scuffling about and the loud shouts of newfound friends and allies. With practiced hands, she was armored and armed within a matter of minutes and her bronze plate shone in the morning light as she packed a few of her heavier belongings onto Blaze while keeping the rest of her things that were easier to carry in the multitude of pouches about her waist.

While she readied herself, she overheard the conversations taking place and a single golden brow arched. For once, she agreed with the Priest, which was a shock in and of itself. Perhaps there was more to him than it seemed because he settled easily into a role of leadership with a plan that was admirable.

As she passed by Akdov, she simply gave a small nod of approval before heading to one of the mages. Van was the only one that she knew the name of, the smaller girl mage never introduced herself, to Mira’s recollection, so if she were to watch over anyone, it would be one that she was at least semi-familiar with.

“Ah, I am to play escort with you, mage, but from some of your tricks that I’ve seen I have a feeling you won’t need a bodyguard.” Inclining her chin towards the citadel, she tried to joke even though her eyes held signs of worry over the Prince’s whereabouts. “Let’s go, squishy one! Everyone else is running headfirst into the unknown. I wouldn’t want to be the very last ones in. Cleaning up after everyone else isn’t as fun as it seems.”

Even after the words left her mouth, she was hoping that they weren’t true. It was foolish for so many people to just run off without a plan into the great unknown. Their one true, agreed upon, leader having seemingly abandoned them; the Prince wouldn’t have wandered off on his own which meant something else was already working against them and could get to them with little effort. A comforting thought.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Akdov was dissapointed by Lance`s lack of leadership, if he ever wanted to be a paladin he would have to accept that protecting is part of the task but so is leading and the idea of the soldier leading was not something he wanted, the man was unable to detect supernatural presences and could not distinguish if the events unraveling in front of him were to be fought by faith or by steel

"We have to move people, those that are ready prepare to move out we already have quite the lot of people headed in the citadel while I will not have anyone enter it just yet we must judge the situation from what we see in the outside and verify if Xan is back with news" despite how reluctant he was and longing for the comfort of just following around it was too risky to let others make choices that he should be making "Geraint already moved ahead, so it is settled that he will be our vanguard I know the man and can attest that he will do fine"

He pointed at the green eyed rouge "Huntress if Xan has failed to come back to us I want you as our lead scout, while I realize that the woodland might be more to your liking I hope whatever our scoundrel has unveiled can give us an edge, besides I can judge that you have some knowledge of first aid so I will be requiring you to assist me when my mending is not enough"

O shit what was her name?

"Mages" he said to Alice and Callavan "you must not under any circumstances find yourselves alone the advantage you provide is far too valuable to risk, Mirabella guard good Callavan and soldier I will insist that you keep the other girl safe, I will be needing the paladins on other roles due to their potential to fight the unholy if the 3 of us focus I believe we can heal wounds and purify the foul taint that the necromancer might have left lingering"

Some growled, some gave an approving nod and he realized that his own preferences had clouded his judgment, he had completely left out the 3 brats they had a spine all of them he knew

"Acacia I would insist, again, that you stay behind but if you must come I have a task well suited for you, I assume bards have good memory no? I hope that someday you will make a lovely tune about our courage here but I will ask you to keep a close track of the surroundings, take note of any icons or landmarks and the doors and paths we take I would not like to get lost there and that is something that would be valuable to us"

He then looked at the monk... part of him struggled to not make a smart remark of how she should be the headmistress of the rites of passing but right now he had to make bridges not pits "Monk I will ask you this, assist the huntress in whatever she might ask of you, I trust you are agile enough to perform under her direction" then there was the firecrotch, Akdov did not want hot tempers going to the Citadel with friends like those who was in need of enemies "Id like you to stay and guard our flank at the entrance dont want the enemy sneaking on our back"

Or you for that matter

"The paladins and myself will be in the center their ability in case we need either involvements of both arms or prayer we will be able to assist either the rear or the front in short notice" he looked at the group and concluded "Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others dont take too much time but dont arrive unprepared either"

He had everything he needed, the tome of truth, his staff and the cup, he walked pondering if he was fit to lead... if Xan was around or the paladin lance had been up to it he would have been more comfortable with them having to bear the burden, if these where faithful then it would be different, but right now he had to act as the elder that he was and make his best to see them all alive through

As he drew closer however, the stench of something that simply was not right permeated his advance, he looked at the hellish citadel and it occurred to him that it looked more like an unholy cathedral which was a bastion of blasphemy to the faithful "Deud`s mercy" he told to himself, he was unnerved by the realization that the place was emanating something dark... in broad daylight

The prince did went missing at night did he not?

They would have to preferably end this quickly, he found Geraint there waiting "Were getting too old for this friend" he smirked giving some humor to a truth that was harmful to the pride, however in case he indeed didnt made it out he had to slip "G, look should things go sour... remember that I told you that before I became a priest I was a man of influence in Queran? I heard that my last wife had a child who himself bore a daughter later on, they probably are living off the wealth that I left them back when... they're doing good, just..." he saw how those that had accompanied him were giving looks to them "well you will know what to do I'm sure, just being a paranoid old man"

As they gathered around he began to prepare a rite, a blessing of sorts... faith would shield him to an extent, but would Deud be so benevolent to those who did not bowed?

Setting

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Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by Celedia
As the group passed through the towering archway that led into the Citadel, Mira couldn’t help but lift her chin and cast her eyes upon the massive structure. Ominous…. She had heard that word before and it fit their surroundings quite well, now. Never before had she felt such a sense of foreboding and it made her edge closer to the mage, Van.

Soft conversations echoed around her and she winced as she heard Akdov basically spout his living will to his old friend, the Shaman. A quick glare cast in his direction signaled that perhaps it was a foolish thing to speak of when the courage of some of their party members was already threadbare at best. Yet she did not part lips to verbally issue her warning because an argument would also do little for their resolve.

As they crept deeper and deeper into the stone structure, avoiding traps with the helpful markings from Xan to show what spots and steps they should avoid, there were brief bouts of silence as each party member made their way through or over the dangerous area. It was during one of these lulls in conversation that Mirabella first heard the noises.


Tap… tap… tap…. Crunch.



That’s comforting… The Triansui thought sarcastically and in fluid motions, she retrieved her shield, slipping her left arm through the straps on the back then quietly drew her sword free from its scabbard with her right hand. None of the others seemed to note the sounds that were emanating from deep within the Citadel, growing louder with each step that they took further into the archaic corridors.

Pausing her steps, Mirabella held up a hand for the others to fall silent once more and the sound seemed more pronounced this time around.


Tap… tap… tap…. Crunch.



Worry filled her eyes and she let her gaze sweep the passageways more quickly, noting that the thief had left the doorways open to signal that he had searched the room’s interiors before moving on. The warrior wanted to move more quickly, in case the horrifying sounds were related to the Prince’s disappearance but on the other hand she knew rushing into the unknown would be foolish.

“Perhaps we should quicken our pace to get closer to our thief scout.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian

The mage he had been trying to wake was grumpy when he finally came to, cursing and shoving his way into alertness. Once it was apparent he was truly awake and wouldn’t just roll over, Travian backed off. That task done, he began surveying the camp more carefully, his stomach began to quiver as he realized what had happened, “the Prince….”

As others-most notably the priest, began waking up and taking stock of the situation Travian made himself ready. His stomach seemed heavy; the quest had just begun and he had already failed his prince. He felt sick as he reflected on the confidence he had shown when he first caught up with the group, “just hollow words I couldn’t back up….” He took a deep breath in an attempt to just exhale all his negative thoughts. After a couple more he looked around at the others again: a few had gone off after Xan, some were still waking up and getting themselves ready, some were considering strategy, and the rest just milled about seemingly wondering what they should do. Unorganized as they were, there was something about them- he found himself thinking back to the pile of bodies at camp when he first joined the group and a new wave of confidence filled him. He- no, they had not failed yet; they could do this.

"Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others don’t take too much time but don’t arrive unprepared either,” Akdov announced after explaining the third formation idea that morning. His idea that himself, Travian and Lance should stay in the middle was a sound one, and knowing Mirabella was in the front made him more comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t. Most of the party accompanied the priest to the entrance; some still seemed a little confused about the conflicting orders, but as there had been no apparent signs of distress from the group that had gone ahead there seemed little need to establish a formation until they actually reached the citadel so the issue was put aside for a moment.

As they walked, he found himself taking note of a particularly small girl that he had somehow failed to notice before. He wondered what such a meek-looking type was doing there until he saw her mage’s seal- yes it made sense now. However, despite whatever skill she may have had she seemed anxious. He started to consider whether he should take charge of her protection, that is until he remembered the priests words- once again he found himself agreeing with the man’s logic despite his own wishes. Well, he could still say something to her at the very least.

“Excuse me, Miss.” He said as he approached her, “I hope you will not think me rude, but I couldn’t help but notice that you seem rather uneasy; more so than the rest of us at least. I know it is not my place to look out for you, but should anything happen find me and rest assured my shield will defend you.” He closed his eyes and made a gentle hand motion, “the protection of Urusk be upon you.”

**********************************************************************

Tap…tap…tap….crunch

Travian felt his heart rate shoot up. The crunching sound in particular set his pulse pounding-it was somehow familiar but either ignorance or simply an unwillingness to recognize it kept him from identifying the source.

Tap…..tap…..tap….crunch

Under his breath he prayed for the Prince, and Xan. “Please be okay.”

“Perhaps we should quicken our pace to get closer to our thief scout.” Mirabella said from up ahead.

“Aye, and the Prince too!” he said as he began moving more briskly.

Tap….tap….tap….crunch

Damn it all! If we could just get to wherever that sound’s coming from- if I could just see it…..
a cold bead of sweat rolled down his face…. I wouldn’t be so damn afraid.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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"Very well lets get to it" Akdov said as everyone was now geard up and ready "I dont suppose none brought any torches?" he did not count with the cat-like senses that some of the rogues had, he was a man of light and he would be damned by walking into that pit just like that.

He placed firmly his staff in front of him, then knelt as he began to read out loud passages of the tome of truth "...Thus in the days of Ruglia did he found himself starved, wounded, tired and in darkness, it was only then that he dared to ask the hall lord for help, a mercy that the kind one would give but the Saint saw not fit to bother thee..." closing the book and kissing its cover Akdov whispered something in a language known only to those close to Deud, he took a dip drink of his cup and then spit out a burst of liquid that poured into his staff.

Just like in the bandit attack the staff began changing, it was nothing as drastic but it was flashy in more than one regard the index and thumb joined making a circle and in the gap it appeared, a dim and kind light that did not hurt the eye, rather than emit light it seemed to dissipate the darkness

The citadel felt hostile and oppressive, it reeked with a malign intention toward them as if the very walls were alive and it welcomed with the friendly and kind intention of seeing them all dead, and mayhap something worse in mind for some of them

Theyre welcome to try

He was walking tall and proud, fighting blades, tracking beasts, wrestle monsters, hit far away targets, throw fireballs... not one of these things he could do... but purge the wretched taint of evil was a career and profession to him, in the dealings of men good and evil mostly fell on perspective, but there was a wisdom above their understanding that could only be labeled as benign in its kindness and desire to protect and grow, but there was also something on the other ends in a darkness beyond time and space... something that held humans in deep contempt, to put it simple if you were innocent in Deud´s eyes you most certainly were guilty in theirs.

"You can feel it cant you?" he said out loud not really expecting an answer "There is something unnatural and corrupt about this place, like a festering wound in the land, corroding that which it touches... I dont think Errion had it in him to cut the source of whatever lies here, I think he might have pacified it but not quell it... and maybe it harbors grudges towards the bloodline"

Soon they found their lead scout "Xan good man!" the priest shouted with enthusiasm, he was glad to find him alive and well "dont suppose you found the prince?" the scoundrel did not seemed wounded in any way, to be able to mark all those traps without getting some noticeable damage, Akdov was developing a respect for the man.

Accacia the bard began to ask for his health and such "Indeed are you hurt? I can help you if you are injured" and then it simply happened in a outstanding and monumental moment of wonder the monk showed that common sense was not that common and it made the priest wonder just what sort of bizarre coincidences and circumstances had led her to grow so old without getting herself killed

Like a curious cat the monk simply rushed ahead of everyone disregarding the priest sensible plans

God damn

Narenia the huntress then voiced her concerns and confusion regarding what she should do "if there are traps or wards then she is already dead ahead of us, I wont have someone dying if I can help it however" he pointed at the scouts "Xan, Huntress follow her if you can but dont risk yourselves if there is uncertainty" they were lean and agile fellows surely they could chase with ease

He turned to Callavan "Cal friend I would follow her through the arrows but im too fat and too fucking old to do so, I need your help to keep up!"

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Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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There was an air of anxiety surrounding the group. Callavan couldn't quite figure out why. Perhaps they were worried about the missing prince. He hadn't seen any signs of a struggle, it seemed more likely that prince had gone ahead in his own eagerness to find the Panacea.

The citadel itself seemed harmless enough to him, even keeping whatever traps there may be in mind. He wondered if the it was simply the fact that it was so decrepit or that there were gravestones around it that was putting them all on edge. Then again it had previously been inhabited by an evil sorceress. That seemed likely to make people nervous. It seemed rather silly to Van, like a child's fear of bogeymen.

He, himself was a little giddy, though he didn't let it show. He had never seen so much magic gathered in one place, even the guild paled in comparison. It hung like fog in the air, tinting everything in colors he couldn't begin to describe to those unable to see magic themselves. Was everything like this before the king? All he wanted to do was reach out and give it structure, purpose, to use all the potential it had. Alas, there was work to be done.

Apparently roles had been given while he was off in his own little world again. The Triansui, he really should make more of an attempt at remembering her name by now, was to guard him, the 'squishy one' as she called it, which left him a bit miffed. He merely shrugged in acknowledgment.

With everyone a touch more organized, they made their way into the citadel. The Triansui, Dammit, what the blazes is her name, edged a bit closer as they entered. Van quirked an eyebrow at this, but said nothing as had become his habit apparently. Then he heard the noise.

Tap...Tap...Tap...Crunch.

He was the one to move closer this time. Now he was starting to lose his nerve. It was an odd sound, not that of aging ruins or a sprung trap.

They moved on, following the thief's markings. He was sorely tempted to stop and examine some of the traps. He could feel their energies, they were such intricate pieces of art. He could spend weeks dissecting them, finding all their little nuances. But, as before, work and what not.

Eventually they caught up with thief, having reached a trap he couldn't get across. Already anticipating that they'd be looking to him to get them across, he dug through his satchel looking for the spell he'd need. While he was doing that, the little monk ran on ahead of them much like a child skipping across stepping stones. He chuckled to himself.

“Right then,” he said, having found the scroll, ”Those of you who'd like to avoid being shot or the elderly.” He smirked at the priest. ”Gather round me and stay close. Uncomfortably close.” Judging by the arrows that had stuck to the floor and wall, there was a lot more force behind them than those of the bandits, someone mentioned that they were poisoned as well. Even if he slowed them down, there was chance they'd nick someone and he doubted any good would come of that. That meant an impenetrable barrier this time. Luckily the citadel left him with a greater well of power this time. Still, he'd have to make it smaller or he'd risk burning himself out.

It was slow going with everyone pressed together, but they managed to not get themselves killed. It was only as they passed through the hall that Van noticed something. The magic around them had changed, it was subtle at first but it grew more noticeable the further they went. It was like nothing he had seen before. The very nature of magic as he knew it was neither good nor bad, it was simply a force that could be forged into a tool. But what he felt now was different, he didn't have to the words to describe it. The closest words he could think of was malicious or malignant. Whatever it was, it felt wrong, it made him feel ill. Then there was the smell they found once they caught up with the others, putrid rotting flesh. He'd rather dive into a pile of old fish then what he smelt now.

At least they found what was making the noise, which only made Van feel worse.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Travian

With their now quickened pace, it didn't take long for the group to catch up to Xan. It seemed a trap had finally gotten the better of him as he sat huffing and puffing at the edge of a room that's floor was covered in arrows. The ranger guarding the mage girl began inspecting the room as the bard and priest inquired after the rogue's health. Travian let out a slight sigh of relief when he said he was okay. All together again (save the prince, that is) the group was allowed a calm moment. The noise persisted and Travian's heart seemed to pound in time with it, but at least there was one less thing to worry about now. The shaman even made a joke and Travian laughed lightly- beginning to feel himself relax a little.

The monk however, took it seriously and began actually leaping across the room from arrow to arrow. Travian simply gaped, maybe he could do that without his armor and equipment, but that was a big maybe and there was no chance in hell of him leaving those things behind in this place. Xan and the ranger managed to get across almost as easily- though they weren't quite as graceful.

"Cal friend, I would follow her though the arrows but I'm too fat and fucking old to do so. I need your help to keep up." The priest said to the older mage.

"Right then," the man replied as he unfurled a scroll, "Those of you who'd like to avoid getting shot...and the elderly, gather 'round me and stay close. Uncomfortably close."

Unsure what would happen, Travian did as the man said. After a moment, a protective aura surrounded the group. It was not unlike the kind of wards Travian could create with his shield, though doing one as complicated as this would have him on his knees once they made it across. Travian looked at the mage with a newfound respect.

It was slow going; the arrows had left little room for feet- especially so many clustered together. So far no new arrows had fallen, but everyone was sure to keep inside the aura in case the trap were set off again. Once they were about halfway across Xan's voice could be heard yelling back to them.

"Someone with holy abilities please make your way to the front. NOW!"


"Come with me, Priest!" Travian said as he raised his shield over their heads. The shield was big enough to cover both of them, but Traivan still cast a light ward as they moved away from the mage- just in case. As they stepped over the threshold into the next room a foul scent assaulted their nostrils; it was so sudden and intense that it was almost as though there had been a blast of air. The scent and the scene before him stopped dead in his tracks. The nights of his childhood that had been spent tucked tightly under the blankets came rushing back to him as the words formed on his lips. Ghoul.

Seeing the monk in danger snapped him out of his fear and he charged into the fray. She was in the grasp of the creature, and though Xan held it back with his chains and the ranger wailed on its arms with a dagger she was unable to escape.

"Don't let it touch you!" Travian shouted as he sprinted towards them. He knew they had probably heard the same stories he had, but a reminder couldn't hurt. He raised the throwing spear he had been carrying and tossed at the creature's face; he doubted it would do much damage but it did send it's head reeling back away from the monk. Travian then readied a melee spear and charged the creature's left hand. "If those arrows stuck into the ground, hopefully my spear will be able to as well" As the tip bored into flesh he kept running- spreading the arm out away from the monk and ranger. When the tip emerged on the other side he thrust it into the ground with all his might, about faced and began running towards the monk.

With only one arm to keep track of the ranger seemed to be doing better, and most importantly the monk was open. He moved in and scooped her up in his free hand while keeping his shield between themselves and the creature's mouth. Once he had her he ran like hell back to the priest, the foul air filling his lungs as the exertion forced him to take deeper breaths. He laid her down gently. "She's been paralyzed" he said in between gasps; hoping the man could do something to help her.

He glanced back at the creature and saw that it had pulled it's hand out from the spear which was still stuck in the ground.

"Well, at least it shouldn't be able to grab anyone with that hand," he thought as he pulled out his second close-range spear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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It startled Akdov to see just how agile Feylon was, he was under the impression that the soldier would be a swordsman or someone with practice in fencing but he moved quick as a snake following Xan and Narenia without much effort or pause

Bloody hell he should have told me about that

Callavan then made a remark that they would have to get uncomfortably close to each other, he winked at Mirabella and said "O woe us, I fear I might get ravaged by kinky hands" he laughed all the way through as Callavan led them, that was a talent of sort that the priest had even in the darkest hours he could find a reason to laugh

It was unsettling to hear action coming ahead and more so to hear Xan calling out for a man of god to assist them immediately, his voice broke no argument

So now you pray sinful children

Travian showed startling initiative by shouting that the priest should come with him and rushing ahead of Callavan´s ward, Akdov followed suit and was welcomed by the sight of Xan struggling against a thing with a chain, in yet another moment of courage that surely was making the patron of his order proud Travian charged forward without any hint of terror, whether this courage came from familiarity, hubris or the desire to help Akdov could not tell but he was moved by his actions, he looked to the monk then, she was going to be fine... just not soon.

He could break the taint, but it would take time, time the ghoul would not spare... it had touched flesh its zeal and fervor would only increase now "I can help her but first we must banish the ghoul" he would not have more victims if he could help it, healing one back was bad enough "Xan, Huntress keep your distance dont let it touch you, try to impair its movement" Travian was too valuable to send to errands but the monk could not stay here "Soldier" he told Feylon "She cant stay here the creature will do its best to get it and if it consumes its flesh things will get ugly and fast, carry her out of here well cover you, send for Lance, Geraint and the mages tell them not to allow it to get close"

A cracking sound was heard and he saw how the ghoul had pulled itself free "Damnit I could try an burial ceremony but we lack the manpower to keep it busy while I make the ritual, if I begin it will come to get me and it wont stop until I die" Travian seemed to get the idea "Once Geraint and Lance arrive I will feel confident enough to try until then " in one motion he dug his staff in the ground and then took a heavy gulp of his cup, then in one grotesque show that was not expected from other more conventional priests Akdov regurgitated a stream of highly pressurized vomit from his mouth towards the ghoul which knocked it back, Akdov fell on his knees and elbows coughing while cleaning bits of the crap that still hung up from his beard "we just need to keep it busy until the others arrive, play it safe" he spat and regained his composure

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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#, as written by Celedia
Time was of the essence and perhaps it was this fact that caused the next series of events to play out both too rapidly and too slowly for Mirabella. If it were to be recalled at a later time, the warrior might bring up a flicker of random memories. A pat on the shoulder by Nari as she passed to catch up with the nimble Nel who hopped through the dangerous arrow trap to head off on her own with Xan, another agile acrobat, quickly following.

There was the eerie stillness of the citadel, the odd play of emotions through each of her comrades as they too made their way via the mage’s protective spell towards the circular room. A few jokes were told to ease tension. The mage, Van, called the priest elderly which made her lips split into a wide grin before the priest cracked his own comment about kinky hands. If hers had even been free, she would’ve held them aloft for his viewing pleasure. Those free roaming touches wouldn’t come from her hands even if they did not currently bear sword and shield. The holiest man among them seemed to be one of the most lascivious.

Then the world paused, as if holding its breath before all hell broke loose. Upon entering the room, Mirabella’s mind couldn’t keep up with the calamity. Nel, seemingly frozen, was being dragged away from a vile creature that reeked worse than any place she had ever visited. Ghoul the word was either screamed out or whispered by various people and everyone battled desperately to take down this new foe. Only the second battle they would encounter and it had to be this… This thing?

Ghouls were notoriously hard kills. In all of the lore she had collected on her various travels or through her kinsmen there had never been any real tactics shared about the creature. Holy magic, the kind that her people couldn’t cast, was useful so the only options she was given to defeat a ghoul were slim.

Decapitate it or run for your life.

Its touch was paralyzing so she couldn’t get too close but still she had to do something. The priest needed time for his spell.

Keep it busy, she heard the priest say and with that she saw the ghoul being knocked back once more, this time by the stomach-churning display of Akdov vomiting upon the creature. Disgust roiled through the warrior’s body but they couldn’t hesitate. They had to keep the beast away from the others while the men with holy magic did their duty.

Keep it busy.

Mirabella held her shield in front of her and ran full force at the ghoul. Thankfully its movements were lethargic so even as it reached out its uninjured hand, she bashed her shield into the foul undead sending it staggering back another few feet and disorienting it briefly. Over her shoulder she called out to the priest and paladins, “Keeping it busy. Do what you need to do.”

With that declaration, she caught the eye of Xan, Nari and Van. Those with ranged abilities that could give the ghoul everything they had while awaiting the spell to unfold. The ghoul took another lumbering step towards her and she parried its outstretched hand away with her sword then tried to hack at its leg with a swift blow. Perhaps, if they could disable it then it would be easier to take down.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Geraint's mouth literally dropped open when Nel bounced across the field of arrows as if it were a spring meadow. He'd been joking, joking! His complete and utter surprise was briefly compounded by two more of the group taking off after her, albeit somewhat less gracefully. The gaping maw of surprise turned into a wry grin, and a chuckle escaped him. "Well, I'll have to remember not to discount such ideas in the future then won't I?"

The Old Shaman was just pondering how to go about passing through that hallway, he presumed it was still trapped or Xan would not have been standing on this side of it still, when Callavan called everyone to gather together, and enveloped them all within a protective shield of some sort.

Magic. Never gets old does it?

Then, part way through, two things happened, the first was Adkov's comment about wandering hands, directed, apparently, toward the Lady Knight, which gave Geraint images that caused him to shudder inwardly, though all that shown on the outside was a quizzically quirked lip in Akdov's direction. Mirabella couldn't have been much older than Geraint's own daughter, if that, and the concept of the two of them together was just... ugh, it didn't bear thinking about.

It wasn't but a few moments later when there was a shout from the chamber up ahead, answered by the cry of one of the Paladin's, whom grabbed Akdov and charged forward, shield raised to the ceiling for protection. There were obvious sounds of scuffle, shouts, and all in all, the general sounds of frenzy that often accompany combat. Soon enough, though the wait felt like an eternity, they emerged into the chamber to be confronted by a ghoul. A ghoul of all things. Of course just, just as he entered the room, he had the unfortunate and dubious pleasure of watching Akdov knock the undead fiend back a number of paces... with vomit. Compounded with the overwhelmingly cadaverous stench already permeating the room, and the Old Shaman immediately turned an ugly shade of green.

He took an deep drag of breath, instantly regretted, and wreathed his face in a small torrent of wind, with an angry, contemptuous gesture. Hearing would be mildly more difficult, but since everyone was shouting that wasn't likely to be a real problem, more importantly, the breeze that now disturbed only his hair and beard kept that ungodly awful smell from his nose... mostly. It would have to do for now though, there was a battle to be fought, with many of the others already engaged. With a roar, the Shaman charged, bringing the caber to bear, reaching the Ghoul just moments after Mirabella engaged it. Keeping his momentum, he dropped to his knees, sliding alongside the enemy, and using his spirits to increase the speed of his slide, took a great swing at the creature's knees. It was surprisingly stable though, and he only managed to stagger it. However, the the attack was well timed, as the Transui's swing at the Ghoul's leg collided around the same time, taking it from it's feet, at least for the time being. All this happened quickly enough that by the time Geraint had regained his feet and turned around, the creature had yet to shamble to it's feet. Which gave Geraint time to notice something would he rather not have, two lines through the disgusting bile laden attack salvo Adkov had launched earlier led to the Old Shaman's position, and he knew without looking his knees would be covered in it.

I hate vomit.

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Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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It didn't take Callavan long before he caught up with those who had run ahead. By the time he did he saw that the monk had already fallen and pulled to relative safety by the paladin. The thief and ranger were making some attempt to busy the creature. He had in fact, arrived at just the right time to observe the priest's projectile vomiting. This combined with the taint of foul magic and the eau de ghoul offended his stomach to such a degree that it spewed it's own contents in retaliation.

With such bodily functions properly dealt with (which involved a healthy round of dry heaving and a half hearted attempt at wiping his beard clean with his sleeve) he returned his attention to the ghoul, who was currently being battered by G and Gods dammit, what the hell is her name. Still feeling a bit dizzy, he braced his left hand with the other and pointed it in the general direction of the abomination. He hesitated. He was just as likely to hit an ally as the beast and even if he did manage to hit the thing he doubted it would do much damage and would just leave them with a flaming ghoul to deal with. With a sigh he lowered his hands and ran a mental checklist of the spells he had prepared. All of them were either ineffective or were as likely to hurt friend as foe. He swore and followed it up with another bit of dry heaving.

The other ranger called out to him, asking if he could enchant her arrows. He shook his head. "No, it would take too.." he broke off as an idea occurred to him. "Wait, wait a moment," he finished as he dug through his satchel, retrieving two scrolls. One was the barrier spell he used earlier and the other was new, an explosive spell that he normally used for demolition. It would be the first time he tried using it in combat. Unfurling the barrier scroll, he knelt on the ground with a piece of charcoal. It would need some modifications for his plan to work. "Arrow," he said, holding a hand out once he had finished.

With great care he wrapped the scrolls around the shaft of the arrow, using the ribbons from them to hold them in place. The barrier spell worried him some. The charcoal smudged so easily it could ruin his plans. Ink or paint would have worked much better, but there wasn't time for those to dry. And if it did work he'd be short a spell as he had not prepared any others. Hopefully they wouldn't be needing a barrier any time soon.

Before handing it back to the ranger he gave both scrolls a charge of magic. "Alright, this should at least slow it down some. One of these will create a small explosion. The other will hopefully create a ward to contain the explosion." With a shrug he added, "No idea if it'll work or not. Never tried something like this."

To others he yelled, "Oi buggers! Best stand back now, lest you want to lose a limb or two." Turning back to the ranger, "Oh, you should fire that soon. You've got about twenty seconds before it blows up in your face."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Travian

Travian was still trying catch his breath when the rest of the group caught up. They were just in time to see an.....impressive display of projectile vomiting from the priest which knocked the ghoul back a bit. He had requested that everyone keep the ghoul busy so he could prepare a spell and Mirabella and G were eager to oblige. Not quite ready to charge in with them, Travian watched carefully- ready to run should either of them get themselves in trouble. He was also concerned about Xan, the beast may try to shake off the chains at any moment. With Mira and G coming at it, the ranger had a chance to get away and he took up the monk as Akdov instructed. Travian was relieved to see the two of them get away safely.

The two fighters worked together well and with two hits to the legs the creature came falling forward. Finally fresh and now presented with a golden opportunity Travian surged forward. His first thought was to take out the creatures eyes but he quickly realized what a bad idea that would be "don't want a creature with a paralyzing touch flailing all around...." His hesitation almost lost him his chance- the creature was beginning to shamble to it's feet.

To stop it Travian plunged his spear into the creature's neck. Its mouth surged towards the paladin in retaliation, but he easily blocked with his shield. With the its face so close it was easy to remove the throwing spear he had hit it with earlier. Not wanting to linger so close to it's paralyzing flesh he stowed the ranged spear and then pulled out the melee one that was still lodged in the neck. The creature rose as he backed away from it and tried to take a swipe at him once it was up. He blocked with his shield but the blow was powerful enough to knock him off his feet. He landed square on his back and got the wind knocked out of him. He struggled to regain his feet as he felt the creature closing in on him, but it was hard enough just getting air. It attempted to hit him again now that he was vulnerable but he managed to get his shield up in time. That was when he heard the mage call out

"Oi buggers! Best stand back now, lest you want to loose a limb or two."

He coughed before spitting out "Working on it!" It was then that he realized he breathe normally again and he scurried to his feet. He ran to what seemed a safe distance- keeping his eyes on the ghoul the whole time. Before he could see what the mage was up to the priest summoned him.

"I will perform the rite of Sanskar that demands you act as my acolytes and put your arms down while cleansing your souls of any intent of violence."

Travian had never heard of Sanskar but Akdov's description made it sound similar to the once exorcism he had been present for. Though at that time all he had to do was hold down the poor victim- this would be a lot more complicated. He made his way to the priest and removed his pack and shield. He closed his eyes and knelt before the man. He turned his thoughts away from defending himself and the others (with force if need be) and instead concentrated on helping the poor soul-peacefully- gently guiding rather than forcing it out. The more peaceful his mind became the more in tune he felt with the magic the old man was conjuring. More than anything he tried not to think about what would happen if the ghoul reached them before Akdov was ready.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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Geraint watched the battle unfold quickly after his initial plunge into the fray. The ghoul took a few more hits, before a call from Akdov and the Bearded Mage signaled the convergence of two very different plans. Plans that frankly called for entirely opposing sets tactics for those who favored melee such as he himself and the Lady Knight currently holding the foul creature at bay. As luck, fate, chance, or just good planning, would have it however, Xan, the increasingly resourceful rogue implemented a plan that would, temporarily at least, satisfy all plans and keep the remaining party members safe from harm.

Even as the undead figure raged, eyes literally glowing red with fury and hatred toward the two Holy Men whom worked to purify its soul and separate it from the unholy shackles that bound what should be a free spirit to the withered remains of the long dead corpse, it was whipped around and pinned to the wall. An impressive feat that scarcely left Geraint with time to wonder if it was the single minded fury toward the holy men that allowed such maneuvers or if Xan was really that quick and skilled.

With blades cutting through flesh, bone and biting into stone, the ghoul was pinned by the Rogue's unusual weaponry... not that the Old Shaman had cause to call anyone's choice of weapon unusual. Still, with the Sanskar infused anger fueling its limbs, the creature may not stay pinned long without aid. All were free of the blast should the Mage's trick work, and Akdov needed only time. So Geraint answered his ally's call, stepping up to Xan's side before pulling him back farther from the living corpse, willing his spirits into action as he did so, ending it with an stomp of his foot once he'd drawn his comrade to a (hopefully) safe distance. The sound echoed hollowly, as if from far away, and the stone, marred by the malevolent bondage daggers, grew out to encase part of the blades, holding the ugly fiend tighter to the wall, and sprouting additional, painful restraints elsewhere. Hopefully all together they would hold until the Ghoul was blasted to pieces or freed from its not-quite-mortal coil.

"Anyone? Now would be a choice time!" After all, he wasn't entirely certain how long that would all hold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella was grateful for the aid in fighting the creature. Geraint had helped her in taking down the creature and then Xan had used his unique daggers to chain the ghoul to the wall. Seconds were ticking by and still she had not seen or heard the arrow fire that the mage had crafted for them. Hadn’t he said they didn’t even have half of a minute before it would blow?

Turning her head quickly to scout out the area to see where everyone was, Mira caught sight of Nari with the spelled arrow still in hand. “Everyone back!” She called to the people still left close to the monster and with all the speed she could muster, she sprinted towards the female ranger while sheathing her sword. Plucking the arrow from Narenia’s hand she moved just as quickly back towards the ghoul, praying to whatever spirits were listening that she wouldn’t be blown to smithereens and once close enough she stabbed the arrow at the ghoul’s face. Her aim had been reckless and the projectile stabbed its way through the rotting flesh of the creature’s cheek, pushing the scrolls which were wrapped around its shaft up a bit until they were pressed flush against the ghoul’s jaw.

“Nowwouldbeagoodtimetorun!” The Triansui’s words ran together as she turned on her heel and raced passed anyone within spitting distance of the ghoul. At first, she thought that her rushed efforts had been for naught. That the arrow hadn’t worked for some reason but thankfully she had not turned her face to check. Within seconds of the thought of failure entering her mind, she was quickly proven wrong as a muted boom echoed through the massive room. Mirabella didn’t stop again until she was beside Xan and she finally turned, seeing blackened bits of flesh sprawled against the wall while smoke emanated from the spot where the ghoul had been chained.

Xan’s weapons looked a little worse for wear but that was probably just undead gobs sticking to the metal. It would no doubt be hot to the touch since it had been within the blast radius and while she tried to catch her breath, the warrior looked over to the Priest and Paladins to see if they had completed the ritual. The ghoul and his paralytic touch were no longer a threat but the holy men would no doubt be concerned over the state of the monster’s soul.

Patting the thief on the shoulder, Mirabella muttered a breathless, “Good thinking, shady man. Sorry ‘bout your daggers.” Then she passed over to where the monk, Nelinia, lay unmoving. She placed her round shield upon her back then fell to her knees beside Nel, casting a look at Feylon, the ranger whose name she still did not know. “How is she doing?” Her voice was quiet, worried, and barely perceptible to anyone but those nearest to her.

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Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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It had gotten all quite complex again, and as usual it had involved one mage that wanted to see things explode.

Merely a setback he hoped, all he would require to do was contain the explosion on the enchanted missile and then the Sanskar could proceed, it would be complicated, it would demand his best but that was just what he was willing to give it if it meant the redemption of that poor soul in that foul prison.

And then before he could manage it, the projectile went off in a loud and flashy explosion

"NO!" Akdov shouted as the target of his Sanskar was now non gone, it needed a soul, and it needed it now... could there be time to cancel what was once in motion?

He tried, time was running short the barriers where opening and now there was nothing to send, divine powers would not be amused by this folly one did not called upon them on vain, Akdov was left with a terrible choice, either fulfill the ritual and send his very own soul to the afterlife or be part in the desecration of a sacred rite of peace

Evil thoughts raced through his mind, he could send his companions in his stead, he could send the paralyzed monk and then give her a first hand lesson about why it is important to burn bodies to speed their passing... what was he thinking?

It is too late to stop it... I have to go through with it, but what if... what if...

If she died, then the Sanskar would be valid, there would be no backfire to his ritual... but if her body was restored quickly enough then perhaps, perhaps he could summon her soul back to it, was he willing to run that risk with an innocent life... naive and misguided as she was this did not gave the priest the right to use her as a scapegoat to justify the rite he had misused.

It would have to be him then.


Dropping his cup and tome Akdov sunk his hands against his chest as something dug itself out of his breast a shinning light flew of in a torrent of blood, Akdov fell his essence escaping him, he could only hope they would manage without him

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Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Van started to back away from Nari, fingers jammed in his ears. She was taking far too long with the boom stick. Though he had grown somewhat fond of his new allies he was not about to stand next to one when they were about to blow themselves up.

”Fire the damn thing already,” he yelled.

It seemed he wasn't the only one growing impatient. He watched as Mira, Hah! I was bound to remember her name eventually! grabbed the arrow from the ranger and run back to the ghoul, shoving it through the foul thing's face. Fingers still buried in his ears, he winced, anticipating the explosion.

Boom, splat, rotten meat scattered across the room. Callavan held his breath, hit with another wave of nausea. Once it started to pass he took brief, cautious breaths. He dimly heard the priest yell something, followed by a flash of light. Van turned in time to see the man collapse. Well, crap...

Straightening up, he took a moment to look over the others. He had been so caught up in the fight that he lost track of them. Two down, one missing. Their merry little group wasn't doing so well and a new trend was starting to appear. Those who took lead over their band seemed fated for a poor ending.

Others were looking after the fallen. Van kept his distance, feeling that he'd only get in their way. Of course this didn't matter much as their brief respite was cut short.

The voice was chilling. Her words rattled around Callavan's skull, picking and teasing at old fears, bringing them forth from long forgotten depths. These he shoved aside, they were the nightmares of a child. He had no time for them for there was, as always, work to be done. He could take the time to shit his trousers and curl into a trembling ball later.

He looked to their new challenger. He recalled old tales from old men in even older pubs, tales of a beast that move like a mirage. It was much larger than he had imagined. He briefly reconsidered shitting himself.

Turning to others, he waited for someone to yell orders. No one did. Two leaders down and everyone else seemed hesitant to take the lead.

“Gods dammit,” he growled.

He had no idea how to fight the damnable thing. It wasn't even supposed to be there. It should be a damn pelt hanging on some rich bastard's wall.

Think, think, think. Tricks and glamors flashed through his head, all useless in this instance. Except one, it was risky and most likely a terrible, terrible idea.

”Hoi! Everyone, gather in a corner,” he yelled. ”Archers, keep the damn thing distracted. And would someone grab dead and deader over there.” He lobbed balls of fire at the beast as he ran. None of them hit. It was too damn hard to read its' movements.

Once they had all trapped themselves in a corner, the one's who had bothered to listen to him leastways, he pulled out chisels and a hammer from his satchel. He had taken a few items from the supplies the prince had provided. Most of them remained with his horse, making them useless now. Still, something was better than nothing.

Hoping that the archers would keep the beast busy, he set to work. Two chisels were driven into either wall and two more into the ground. A ball of twine was tied to them, woven into a crisscrossing pattern. He tried to move it as far forward from the huddled mass as he could, to give them some room to fight, but he only had so much string.

Next he pulled three scrolls out, clenching each between the fingers of one hand. He poured magic into two of them. A dense fog sprang forth, filling the room in moments until they could only see a few feet in front of them. A powerful smell followed. It was a thick, chemical scent that assaulted the senses and blocking at anything else. He spoke as he did this, ”Alright, anyone with something sharp and pointy, move to the front. Don't trust anything you see, except the strings. If they move, start hacking and slashing until they stop. Anyone else, either try to get the other two on their feet or think of something clever to save our collective asses. Hopefully my magic will confuse the damn thing, buy us some time. The strings will give us a sense of where the beast is. Unless it jumps them. Then some of you will be killed or horribly maimed. On the plus side, we should be able to kill it while it gnaws on your corpse.”

As he was about to trigger the third scroll he added, ”If you've got something to say, say it very loudly.” Before anyone could respond he activated the spell. The room was immediately filled with a loud cacophony; maddening ringing, ear ringing explosions and explosive clangings.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Whatever happened, it happened fast. Nari hardly managed to understand what was going on at the time of the explosion, but she was just glad that the ghoul was now dead. The scent that followed though, was disgusting. It made her retch once, although the contents of her stomach never followed. It was that kind of smell that made the air heavy, hard to breathe. "Damn..." She said under her breath and shook her head, now able to look up and breathe somewhat properly. What she saw now though, made Nari tilt her head. The Priest radiated some kind of very bright light, after which he fell to the floor. Something in the back of her head told her that Akdov had been preparing some kind of ritual during the fight, and maybe this was the effect it had on him if it failed.

Nari did nothing though. She remained where she was with her bow in hand and watched him. It didn't matter how much she tried, the ranger simply couldn't feel empathy for the man. All she could see was that they lost a healer, which was bad. Her eyes moved to Nel, who was also unconscious. For the Monk she had greater concern, but people were already tending to her.
Gods... Her mind went as she heard the voice. It was like having the edge of a knife run down your spine. "Is that the Prince?" She wondered aloud, raising an eyebrow. Not long were they allowed to think as another beast attacked. From the ashes and into the fire.

"Aim for the eyes!" Narenia nocked an arrow, and let those who carried the unconscious pass her. A deep breath, time slowed until all she could hear was the sound the string of the bow made, as she pulled it back to her ear. Everything stopped, arrow aimed straight for the eye of this big beast. As the arrow flew, the string graced her cheek and left a mark. Much to her own surprise, Nari discovered that the arrow hit it's target, sticking out of the eye of this beast. Now that she really saw it, something from her memory told her what it was, though she couldn't remember the name. It was unmistakable though, with it's fur and two legs too much. Now that it was blinded on one eye, Nari kept firing. She hoped that she could get a clear shot at another. Until then, all she did was keep firing, keep out of dodge and follow the instructions the mage gave them.

I hope it was the real one I hit. The thought struck her. If she had hit the real Displacer Beast, then it would be easily regocnized. But as far as she could remember, the books had told her that these animals created their illusions, and kept their prey busy. Then they would close in for the kill. "Watch the corners!" She wasn't about to have something jump out and kill her in a moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Deallo
In that crucial moment of time the monk held back the ghoul; her arms and legs suddenly went limp. It was as if her body had shut down, the Ghoul's teeth neared, and all she can think about was about how this was going to end. Eaten alive. A mix of terror and fear flowed through her blood as the creature grew closer and closer while she was utterly powerless. Nel couldn't even scream. The worst part of it all was that she couldn't even close her eyelids to block the reality of being eaten by a zombie; forced to watch it as was going to happen before her very eyes.

The ghoul's rotten face grew closer to the monk's, jaw unhinged, rotting teeth begging for the gluttony of meat about to doom Nel until it's head suddenly reeled back. Shock and relief poured in Nel's mind as her eyes caught the chains that were wrapped around the zombie's neck. Xan. With one vicious pull, the ghoul was hoisted into the air but it's grip on the monk's shoulders didn't waver, pulling her up with it. When she landed hard on her side, she couldn't feel neither pain or floor, but heard and saw everyone who attacked the beast. The monk could see Feylon slashing away at the creature's arms with his knife and the spear of the Paladin pinning one of the arms of the ghoul. Travian tried to pull Nel but the ghoul's grip was relentless.

It wasn't until a stream of high-pressure ...vomit hit the creature, pushing it back, and finally weakened it's grip enough for the paladin to pull Nel away. Unfortunately, Travien had placed her in front of the one person she didn't want help from. The Priest. In such a weak and vulnerable position; she mentally debated which of the two she would rather have in front of her. The ghoul or the Priest? As luck would behold, he didn't even acknowledge her presence, glowing with holy magical energy. Though she couldn't scream; the monk would've pulled herself into a fetal position at the sight of it. Horrifying memories flashed before her eyes. So much blood. Screaming. Chaos.

Just as quickly as she was placed in front of the priest, she was swooped away once more, away from the battle. Her head was lying back, staring up into the ceiling, unable to see her savior. Nel was propped up against the wall, sitting down, and could finally see who it was that carried her. The rogue Nel knew as "the man covered in blood" back in Paetax. Despite being unable to feel the moisture behind the walls; he layed it under the monk to keep her dry.

She felt like a child all over again, being watched over, and powerless to do anything while everyone else fought. Nel was the injured one all over again. Worst of all, she couldn’t even see the fight with the angle she was given, allowing her imagination to fill in all the details. Unable to just turn her neck; the monk was caught in a waking nightmare. It was impossible to breath, a heavy weight baring down on her chest, and dizziness came over her.

Just as the ghoul exploded, the weight from Nel’s chest was lifted, taking a sudden gasp of air before coughing and at the disgusting smell that overtook the room. Had the scent of ghoul been not any more sickening before; it somehow manage to get worse with bits of the creature’s burnt flesh splattered around the room.

It wouldn’t stop the monk from breathing in the precious air, despite how sickening it was, and turn her head at the scene before her. No-one was hurt except that of the priest; yet an odd thing his injury was.

“Is it over?” Nel managed to cough out to Feylon; hands starting to get feeling once again. She spotted Mirabella running over and heard the warrior inquire about her condition. The women in yellow manage to squeeze out a smile to her friend. “I am fine.” She managed to sadly speak, looking down at her feet as she did.

“But useless.”

A voice brought her back to reality; a voice unlike any she has ever heard. Something about it brought shivers down her spine but those shivers were nothing in comparison to the creature that manifested from the shadows.

The giant panther-like monster made Nel’s blood ran cold with fright as she inspected it. Armed with six legs and two shoulder tentacles with spades as sharp as blades on them. Evil practically emanated from the creature. She heard the voice nagging in her head:

“Cooooward. Nothing but a useless coward.”

The Displacer Beast looked directly at the crowd of three, leaned back on two if it’s legs, and smacked its lips in anticipation. Perhaps it was such the proximity of the prey or perhaps that group caught his attention at first glance by the yellow robes one of them wore. Nel recognized the gesture from a few black cats in the village whenever they were hunting mice. It was very much the same stance.

The monk stood up; leaning against the wall for a brief moment before regaining her balance. She stood erect between her two comrades about to speak just before the creature suddenly pounced in the air toward them. With her wits finally about her; Nel's instinct practically screeched to move. She ran in between both Feylon and Mirabella, one hand at the rogue's stomach and another at the warrior's back who faced the being.

"Forgive me." She uttered just before taking one more step, pushing them with all her might, launching them towards the direction of the creature. At first, it might have been an incredibly stupid tactic to see, to just charge head-on against an enemy. In hindsight, it was an excellent maneuver, for if anyone observed a cat, big or small, their pouncing relied on precision with their prey.

Yet as Nel shortly followed suit, it seemed the two paws were directly overhead, ready to crush her. She closed her eyes in the run but felt nothing as the front paws flowed through her effortlessly, the impact crashing into the ground two feet behind her, alongside with two of the creatures deadly spade-like limbs. Dirlagraun were intelligent predators and this creature was no different. It's plan was to scatter the small group by pouncing in front of them, pinning at least one of the prey, forcing the rest to run backwards or through the sides, ridding the stragglers with each of its deadly spade limbs.

The three were directly under the belly of the beast, where it's spade limbs couldn't reach them, in between the six legs of the creature. Nel's heart was practically beating out of her chest over her near death with the illusion of the beast but she knew all too well it was too soon to stop and breath. The monk grabbed one arm from both the rogue and the warrior; forcefully yanking both of her comrades back to her feet.

"The knees." She said quickly; finding it unnecessary to give any more further explanation. Everyone should've known as she did that the knees were one thing that'd bring down any man or woman, small or large, and the monk hoped that applied to creatures of this magnitude as well. The orders from the mage, Callavan, were in all honesty, the absolute worst advice she's ever heard. Perhaps it was the philosophy of the monastery rubbing off her or the common sense a bare fist fighter had but being backed up in a corner against a regular foe was a recipe for failure. Being in a corner with this thing as an enemy is a damned catastrophe.

It was the mayhem, the fact that she was nearly eaten by a ghoul, nearly crushed by a monster, the in-fighting, the actual fighting and the life-threatening advice that caused the tremor of a voice she never heard before. "Don't get trapped in a corner!" Nel shouted strongly, surprised to hear her own voice loudly but so...satisfied to hear it. "Get under it and break it's legs!" The monk ordered just before running up to one of the front legs of the beast, jumped up, and raised a leg into the air only to be brought back down. The vicious axe-kick was about to crash into the creature's knee but instead went directly through with no resistance.

Nel landed the drop and threw strike after strike at the leg of the beast, hitting the illusions spot on, until she swept her hand throughout the entire leg and felt the invisible calves. It was all a trick but now she found the secret. One hand grabbed the invisible pelt and clenched the fur of the creature in her vice-like grasp while the other hand reared itself back to gather the power necessary and shot through the air; landing on the front of the knee with an audible crack left to her delight.

"Grab it! You can't miss if you grab it!" The monk shouted for the last time, clinging on to the leg as the creature ran just before the room was filled with white mist of a strange scent, continuing to strike the leg with brutal punches and elbows until the room suddenly exploded, a painful ringing swelled in her ears.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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A grim grin broke out over Geraint's face as he watched the ghoul explode. Despite his years of adventuring, soldiering, and the fact that he'd engaged undead in the past, that was probably the flashiest Ghoul kill he'd ever seen. The explosion making fleshy unliving kindling out the creature, which, like the fire itself, was briefly stopped against a translucent bubble of force before falling to the ground. The grin turned to a look of confused concern when he heard his long time comrade shout out a single word in anguish. "No!" Came the cry. Geraint's face whipped around, hair whipping his face as he his eyes landed on the old priest in time to see what the Shaman's experienced eyes realized was Akdov's soul fly from his chest into a portal not far away.

The Old Shaman's face turned ashen grey as his friend fell, not just lifeless, but soulless the vomit slick floor. The sheer shock of the moment caused him to remain still long enough for the unearthly voice of the Necromancer, presumed dead, now likely undead, to deliver her soliloquy, before he even took a step toward his fallen comrade. The crunching of stone beneath immense weight and the very faint sound of claws scrabbling, even digging, into stone, diverted his attention long enough to register the displacer beast's presence... it didn't matter.

It had been many, many years since someone close to him had been lost, and Geraint was unprepared for his reaction, he had to get Akdov back, he had to. Normally it would be impossible, but with the method of removal being the Sanskar, and with the veil between the world of life and death so thin in this sanctum of evil, the possibility existed that he could draw the priest's soul back to his body, and circumvent the Sanskar ritual. Perhaps it was that possibility that drove him to act as he did, foolish by any standard, he ignored the battle about to erupt around him. Ignored the call of the mage, the arrows fired by the ranger, even the shouts of the little Bear Cub. With a swift sureness of step belaying the frayed nature of his thoughts, the Old Shaman was at his fallen friend's side in moments. As the Six-Legged Not-Cat began to attack the others, and some of the group retreated to a defense position in the corner, Geraint slammed his caber into the stone merely inches from Adkov's face, the stone splintering as he drew spiritual power into it. Channeling his allied spirits into the caber and creating an anchor for Akdov's soul to hold onto, he just had to draw it back to this plane. He closed his eyes and shut out the battle around, the sounds of the Displacer Beast pouncing on his fellows and the fighting and shouts that ensued. He peered through the veil to find the recently departed priest.

In the most basic sense, there are two planes of existence. The material plane, the plane of existence that the average man or woman knew and experienced, and the land of the afterlife. But there were other places, other planes, and, most importantly for the Shaman's purposes, places in between all of them. Akdov had been dead only moments, the transition from life to death eased by both the ease of passage in this place, and the ritual that took the Priest's life. As such the Holy Man's soul would not have traveled all the way to the land of the dead. Reaching out with his thoughts and his unique brand of power, Geraint sought and found Akdov's soul, glowing bright and golden just as it had moments before, and drew it back toward its home plane, and home body.

Eyes opened, and the pained leonine roar of the giant Not-Cat reached old ears. Hopping back effortlessly on its five uninjured legs, the Displacer Beast backed away from the foes it had already engaged, shaking roughly and violently in an attempt to dislodge the yellow-clad monk so fiercely clinging to one of its legs, assaulting the beast all the while. Finally, with a growl, a barbed tentacle wrapped around Nel's leg, wrenching her from its leg with a whip-like motion and flinging her away. Geraint had only time to see that it looked as if she was sailing in the general direction of the Mage's net before the feline eyes focused on Geraint. It occurred to the Old Adventurer then that he was standing alone in a room, near a corpse, with a vicious beast that had him to choose from out of a number of small groups of people. His old eyes widened at the realization.

Time. "I need time!"

As if an answer from a god, and perhaps in in some ways it was, Lance came roaring out of nowhere, sword gleaming in the dull light, and shield glowing with holy power. Shouting a challenge and calling upon his god, the Paladin charged the Displacer beast, shield held forward, the bright white light shining from the cross welded to it, and something interesting happened. Where the light touched the Not-Cat, it seemed to shift from where it appeared to be when viewed outside of it's glow, and the Shaman realized that the Paladin's holy light was revealing the creature's true location. Satisfied that for the next few seconds the Holy Warrior would be safe, and his contribution would aid the others in the Displacer's demise, Geraint returned his attention to his reattaching of Adkov's soul.

The weaving was a complex process, the Sanskar ritual had ripped Akdov's soul from his body true, but Akdov's willingness had made the cut clean, Geraint needed to bind and retie the metaphysical fibers of body to soul, which would be easier if he had an unraveling tapestry to work with instead of a cleanly sliced and bound tablecloth.

The Shaman wasn't sure how much time had passed, it could have been seconds, it could have been minutes. All he really knew was that the process had been started, the life-giving threads were attached, but it wasn't nearly complete yet, when he felt himself flung forward by a heavy object impacting his back. He was flung forward, careening over Akdov's still warm quasi-corpse to crash and skid several feet away. Shaking his head to clear it, Geraint looked back that way, and his eyes widened, an agonized, snarling sound ripping from his throat. His caber had been toppled, laying over and possibly crushing Akdov, with Lance sprawled partially over it, his helmet gone and a great bleeding gash on his forehead. The magic had been ruined, everything was unraveling, even if he had the free time and lack of distraction Geraint wasn't at all confident he could wrest Akdov's soul from death's parlor room a second time... and with the beast causing problems, inflicting more death and destruction, it would... it would be impossible.

Beyond the, now pile, of corpses, the Displacer Beast crouched, watching the room and group at large, eyes narrowed, likely in pain and/or annoyance against the intense cacophony of sound, one leg raised to keep pressure off of it, and blood dripping from a number of cuts along its muzzle, neck and one of the tentacles, each of which swished about defensively.

The Old Man's eyes watered briefly, but he frustratedly blinked them away as he stood to his feet. It didn't take long at all, and when he'd risen entirely to his feet, his stance was that of a predator, his eyes ablaze with a fury he'd rarely felt, and none with him had yet seen. Truly, if looks could kill, the Displacer Beast would have been banished to the deepest layer of hell, bathed nightly in brimstone and ripped apart piece by tiny piece over the course of millenia with no gap in the pain until it was too far gone with madness to even continue to beg for the end.

One hand shoved into a pouch as the Shaman set his jaw. "You will know death creature, and if you're mistress revives you I'll feed you her head before killing you again myself..." The words were lost even to Geraint's ears, but that didn't take the wind from his sails any. Indeed, with that he crushed the cat token in his hand, pulled from his pouch, his pupils narrowing to feline slits, and with a growl to match that made earlier by the giant Not-Cat itself, blurred forward at surprising speed to collide with it. There was a flurry of movement as the two grappled, and when they "stilled" if that word could be used, Geraint seemed to be grasping two handfuls of empty air, which was dimly mirrored by the two forelegs seemingly suspended out away from his body. The barbed tentacles lashed at his body, grinding his back and sides, but he ignored them, answering the roar of the Displacer Beast with a growl and a head-butt to it's nose, which caused it to let out a startled yip.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by Celedia
Once more the chaos of battle took over the small group and with the lack of leadership weighing heavily upon them, everyone seemed to disperse. One moment she was on her way to the corner to guard those that needed it but then on her way over, the small monk yanked her down to the ground with a strength and a quickness that she did not believe the young girl capable of possessing. It was just as her back hit the stone flooring that she felt the faint whoosh of air as something passed over top of them and though she didn’t say it, she was thankful for Nelinia’s quick thinking.

The displacer beast was a bastard to fight, that much was sure and as soon as she was standing on her own two feet once more she tried desperately to slice her blade into the creature’s flesh. Yet, how can a warrior without a hint of magical know-how attack a beast that is shielded by illusion? The image of the creature seemed to always been a few feet away from the actual body and though a couple of lucky strikes hit something she didn’t feel comfortable battling a hidden foe while there were so many of her comrades in close proximity. Nel was attached to one of the beast’s many legs and Travian and Lance would both zero in, slashing at the creature before retreating to assess the situation once more.

The mist and cacophony of sound that the mage summoned seemed to hinder the creature’s attempts but it also affected their side equally. Those with keen hearing stood about clutching their sensitive ears and it was only then that Mirabella noticed that the mist that Van had summoned would part in a way that didn’t make sense. The displacer beast would pounce towards someone but the mist would part three feet to the side of the illusion and it was then that she found her answer. Attack wherever the mist was cleared from movement and not the actual visualization of the creature itself.

Using this logic, she struck the beast with great force three times and annoyed it so considerably that it leaped in her direction, causing her to just barely evade its massive form but the dirlagraun’s paw still caught her shoulder which knocked her off balance and sent her tumbling to the ground.

“Mira! Slice off those damn things if you can!”

”Oh, right Ian because I was simply waiting for you to give me the go ahead, I’ve been practicing my footwork for the next masquerade ball. What was I thinking?”

Though her comments were sarcastic, they were also good-natured. The Paladin and Triansui had a history of ribbing each other and even in a situation as dire as the one they were in now, she couldn’t let the opportunity pass to respond. Yet, both Geraint and Ian were right. With the illusion of the displacer beast nullified, now was the time to go on the attack and she pushed herself up, steadying herself briefly while she swapped out her shield for her hand axe. The beast was massive so there would be no shield pummeling it into submission so she may as well use her free hand for something useful, like an extra blade.

Now wielding her short sword in her right hand and her axe in her left, the Triansui sprinted forward while the dirlagraun’s attention was focused on Ian. Using a stabbing motion, she buried her sword into the creature’s side to keep it steady then swung her axe at one of the tentacles. Her axe had remained unused since it’s sharpening in Paetax so it cut cleanly through the appendage, causing it to fall off of the beast while the dirlagraun let out a vicious sound that was somewhere between a squeal of pain and a roar of anger.

The blond warrior grinned but the victory was momentary as the beast wheeled around, its attention now focused solely on her and as she jerked her arm to withdraw her blade from its musculature the dirlagraun vaulted towards the Triansui with renewed ferocity despite its many wounds.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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His head felt as if a giant was feeling in a mood for vandalism and his brain was the only object around

The man known as Lance was grinding his teeth in agony, memories that rushed in unwelcomed and deeds of the past that he could not find no matter how hard he dug into his memory, there was a small notion of what the cleric knew about the man he had been before, but he could not recall for his life the face of his last wife, or the color of the hair of his child, nor the landscape surrounding his manor

In its place there was the streets of Thoav, the experiences of running away with a mouth half full a stomach half empty and a man shouting after him and his band and also Oleander whom had pushed him forward into the path of righteousness

But that wasn't right, it had been Aliuqet whom had taught him the ways of Deud, the first man that the person who would later be baptized as Akdov had seen, the one that had revitalized him with the spirit of the Hall lord, he could also recall the exploits that such holy man had carried out.

And he would never forget Ryja, nor her dreaded sister the Riftwalker. There were others too, Geraint the bear of a man, Emerich the marksman who had doomed himself covering his friend`s escape even as the enemy closed in around him, Nathenya the crazed warrior witch that chopped off manhoods and fed them to her wolves...

Who has he? Who am I?

He stood and watched the looks thrown at him by his companions and then finally realized what had happened when he saw the grayish ruin of a man that had a mutilated wound on his chest that was gripping firmly a book with a cover he knew all too well, he made his way forward and closed his eyelids, he retrieved the tome, the chalice and the staff.

"Callavan, if you would be so kind this vessel needs to be set ablaze" some of them objected and then he explained "I am sorry to inform you that... the cleric that had traveled with you as well as the paladin Lance are... in a different state now I dont have the answers I am sorry" he continued "I am Lance, I am Oleander`s pupil and acolyte and I remember the sacred oaths that I took long ago, but..." this was not getting any easier, he had hoped it would as the tale progressed "Above that I am also Akdov Mur, of Deud`s chosen blessed by his sacred gaze who imbibed on the holy cup of the days of Ruglia, I remember our quest, I remember that the King to whom we owe peace lays sick and dying and our beloved prince now has gone missing in a macabre maze"

He chained the tome around him, placed the staff at his back and tied the chalice to his belt with the girdle that had been in the priest "Now is not the time to doubt our duties but to embrace our task, you might call it destiny, luck or divine guidance but we are here today to set the world straight, to honor the sacrifices of those that fell we must keep forward"

A wicked giggle then was heard and then an amused clap coming from a balcony above them a woman and... Rydas? they were praising their performance and inviting them forward to a chase "By all thats holy what in the dry hell was that?" asked Akdov not really expecting an answer "I had doubts on the prince intentions but this goes beyond what I ever could have feared" the mages could probably know "Was he under any kind of spell? is he master of his own will?"

We have to thread carefully now

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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Callavan swore under his breath, though with all the noise he had made he might as well have yelled it to the heavens. Only a few had followed his plan, the rest had rushed the beast. He felt foolish, hiding in a corner while they all battled on the front lines, risking life and limb for each other. He thought to follow after, but all his experience and reflex screamed for him to stay hidden, to strike from the shadows. So he stayed in his little web, like a spider struck deaf and blind, waiting for prey that would never come.

He could hear them, barely. There was shouting, the wet smack of metal on flesh and the cries of who had yet to know defeat. The fog thinned the faintest bit, making vague blurs turn into vague shapes.

Something flew past him, striking the largest of the shapes. It flopped to the ground and fell still after a few flailing movements. Callavan looked back to see the wee mage hunched against the wall. Was she there before?

The hall went silent and the fog slowly dissipated once he cut the power to his spells. He gathered up the tools used to construct his web and offhandedly said to the wee mage, ”Good work.” It was rather handy spell work he had to admit. He honestly hadn't expected it from her.

Gathering round with the others he saw they were battered and bruised, but more or less alright. Except for the priest, who still laid on the ground. He hadn't seen the ruined chest of the man in the panic before.

"Callavan, if you would be so kind this vessel needs to be set ablaze," said Lance, followed by a bunch of other spiritual crap. Van didn't give a damn whether whether the paladin was lying or not, the priest, or at least his body, was dead. Too frustrated (and bit too nauseous still) to mourn his new found friend, he set to the task of disposing of the body. He didn't know what sort of ceremonies there were for a priest of Deud, but a fire seemed proper and as far Callavan was concerned, funerals were more for the living than the dead.

He crossed the priest's arms, closed Akdov's eyes and, after a thought, fished around his bag for two coins, placing one over each eye just in case. Unsheathing his knife he carved a spell in to the priest's forehead, it seemed crude, but it would work faster than his usual fire, converting the body into flame rather than burning it.

There was a sound of applause while he worked. He stopped, looking up to the balcony to see Rydas and the woman. As the woman spoke he gripped his knife tighter, digging deeper into the priest's flesh. He threw a ball of fire at them, but he was too late. They had already retreated deeper into the ruins.

The paladin spoke again, asking whether the prince was under some sort of the spell.

Van grunted, finishing the spell he wiped his knife clean on the Priest's clothes. ”Hell if I know. This place reeks of magic and I don't know a damn thing about spells that effects the mind. That sort of asshattery was outlawed when the Guild was established.” He triggered the spell. There was a flash of blue flame that consumed the Priest leaving naught but the ashes of his belongings. ”But I swear by the drowned god's tits that if he isn't, I'm shoving my hand up his ass and roasting him from the inside out.”

He dusted of his hands, looked around at the others and said, ”Now lets get moving. I'm sick of all this shit and the sooner I kill whoever's behind all this bullocks the better I'll feel”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia gave a quiet shriek as Mirabella shoved the modified arrow into the ghoul and it exploded into bits. She turned her back quickly to prevent the worst of the rotting goop from covering her face. She quickly realized that she hadn't gotten quite far enough away from the faint ringing in her ears, and the newly strenghtened odor of decay was giving her a headache. She flung her arms back and forth for a moment, trying to rid herself of some of the unpleasantly slimy substance. A moment later, she heard a loud, "NO!" as Akdov fell limply to the ground. Acacia stared in horror, not able to see any injury on him, but it was soon certain he was dead, despite attempts to revive him. Geriant stooped over the priests fallen form, trying to bring him back as well. Acacia was unsure of what had taken the priest's life, but she greatly hoped that the shaman could help him. It was somewhat ironic that Akdov had been worried about her, yet she was unscathed and he was gone, or so it seemed.

She was moving toward the priest, anxious to help in any way she could, when a sinister voice rang out in the room, calling to a kitty that was likely to be something far more deadly such a place as this. It was a Dirlagraun, or more commonly know as a Displacer Beast. She had always heard that they had been hunted to extinction. Apparently that belief was false. Her face became notably paler at the sight of the large, panther-like monster. It looked grotesquely muscular with its six massive legs and sharp tentacles projecting from its rippling shoulders. Callavan called out for them to come to him in the corner, and she quickly went toward him she watched with fascination as he put up a web of rope, but, remembering herself, pulled out the dagger Feylon had lent her.

The Displacer Beast began pouncing, making multiple versions of itself as those who chose to fight it directly instead of from the corner began their assault. Callavan's next spell came into effect, causing noise and making it difficult to see. Acacia stood near one corner of the net and jabbed through the openings whenever they moved near her. To her satisfaction, she heard the Beast screech in pain more than once. A moment later, things became quiet and she saw the form of the beast become suddenly still and fall over, completely frozen. A moment later, Alice slumped to the floor and Acacia hurried over to her. "Is there anything I can do to help?" A small smile briefly lit her face as she told the girl, "That was great, Alice."

Abruptly, Lance fell to the floor and began thrashing, and Acacia stared wide eyed. 'What in the world is going on?' Turning to look, she saw that Feylon was also down. He seemed to be bleeding badly as well, and the sight made her feel lightheaded and queasy. Lance didn't make her feel any better or less confused when he got up and claimed that he was now both Lance and Akdov. However, it didn't stop there. Applause rang out from a balcony and Acacia looked up to see Rydas there with the woman, calmly watching them. By now, Acacia was severely perplexed and slightly dazed. She walked slowly across the room as her eyes continued to dart back to the landing the Prince had just disappeared from a moment before. She fished her throwing knives from among the various goop on the floor until she again had the remaining nine knives. She stood staring at them a moment, taking the time to try to put this puzzle together.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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For all the blows Travian and his fellows seemed to land on the beast, it showed no signs of slowing down. It thrashed and clawed and bit at anyone foolish enough to get close to it. Then, in an instant it was dead. No twitches, no howls of pain; one second it was alive and the next it was just dead. It had been brought down by some sort of powerful spell and Travian couldn’t help but shudder at the terrifying power that was magic. He couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to live in a time where mages were unchecked, where displays like the one he had just witnessed were commonplace, old hat.

He was by no means ungrateful for the spell though, it had no doubt saved lives. Assuming that it was the older mage who had done it, Travian turned towards him to offer his praises. However the look of bewilderment on the man’s face suggested that it wasn’t his spell….or at least not the one he intended. It wasn’t until the others began praising the young girl that he realized it was she was the one responsible. He was not only grateful to her, but happy for her; after looking so scared before she had managed to find some courage. She seemed a little overwhelmed at all the attention the others were giving her, so he simply added a thank you to the chorus. It wasn't much but if she had paid any attention to his face and tone when he said it she would have known how sincere it was.

Just as the words left his lips, Lance became the new center of attention. He was on the ground next to the beast, screaming with his hands to his temples. Travian rushed to his side and hovered over him unsure what the man’s problem was or how he could help. The man stopped after only a few howls and was then silent for a few moments. It looked as though he was collecting his thoughts, so Travian let him be. When he finally did speak it was with a calm demeanor that suited neither his still echoing howls or what he had to say.

How could it be? How could two distinct people fuse in this way? His manner of speaking, it was very much Akdov's but the voice was Lance’s. He seemed to know the histories of both men though they had not known each other before and had not interacted much since meeting. But perhaps worst of all he saw no hope of Akdov returning, for he instructed Callavan to burn the body. Travian could not accept that. But he couldn't bring himself to say anything. Travian knew that whatever turmoil he felt must be nothing compared to what those two felt and yet they were acting as though they had accepted it. Because there was no time to deal with it right now. And if they were ready to move on then Travian had no right to hold everyone up.

No time. No time. There were those two words again as the Sorceress and her new lover left the room. No time to think about whether the prince betrayed you. No time to think about if you were all brought to be butchered. No time to think about the possibility of having to kill the man you swore fealty to. And no point anyway, since you have no idea what's actually going on.

The mage didn't know whether he had been enchanted or not. For a few moments the room was almost completely silent. Those who did speak did so with lowered voices and everyone made themselves busy in some way or another. Taking care of weapons and wounds, Travian was no exception; he rubbed some ointment onto the light wounds the spiked tentacles had left, gathered and cleaned his spears. He was ready....at least when it came to the physical preparations....

The monk however, was totally ready and she had no qualms about climbing up the balcony after the prince and sorceress. She only paused for a moment to address a red haired woman who had just caught up with them. Travian just stared at her in utter disbelief, only returning to his senses when she passed out of sight.

“DAMN IT! You think she would have learned after the Ghoul!" He took a quick look around at his companions, "We have to catch up to her before she gets into trouble again! Xan, rangers, can you scout the other rooms? I'm sure you all could make the climb but the rest of us are going to need to find some stairs and quickly.” Then turning to the other paladin. “Lance, Akdov, can I leave the wounded to you or would you prefer I stay?” Before they could respond he noticed the mage girl, floating just below the balcony as though she were unsure whether it was okay for her to follow. She was looking at him. "Go!"He would feel better with someone going directly after the monk. "But please be careful! Is there some signal you can give us if you get into trouble?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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He was afraid

No that was undercutting it, he was terrified

Terrified when he tried to heal the wounded and the calls he made went unanswered, the power and favor he once had commanded with his god were either being dampened by another source or something far worse, the blessed body of the man that had been Arthur was the one who had attained all those ointments and honors to the hall lord

Logic would dictate that it was the soul that should be the one to be held accountable for its deeds, but maybe Deud had frown at the defilement of the Sanskar, and he was inhabiting the body of another man, a man that had been sword to Pelor... maybe both gods were at an argument at the moment about what was who's

But he was needed here and now, and goddamn the lack of common sense from these people was still something that did not cease to amaze him, despite having wounded and dead some still felt like rushing in along without a clue of whatever it was that awaited them or even if their companions were good to go

I swear I cant figure how she survived into her age

The group was still gathering when the wizardess, monk and soldier moved on and that red headed troublemaker "Seems like were out of time Travian, the wounded are leaving the healthy behind seems that logic and consequence don't hold the power they do outside, we best pack things and get going" it was not long before they were on the move following the smell

a delicious smell that made Akdov realize that he felt hunger, a hunger that he had not felt in decades in his blessed body, he also could not help but to notice the pleasing anatomy that the prince`s companion featured- Goddammit these youngsters!- He did not recall feeling so, lustful, maybe it was age, maybe it was something done to him in his consecration, but she had curves where a wench should have them and everything seemed to bounce in a very feminine way.

Lance must have struggled a lot if he had vows of chastity

And the dishes, there was Umathonel wine there! those bottles were worth a small city and were holy property to the Church of Deud only to be opened at the best celebrations, and the spiced pork, and the cinnamon pineapple and the molten cheese pot and the stuffed turkey and... and...

Get back on your senses!

"Rydas I see you waited for us before you ate, how very kind seems like humor has found you at last" he noticed the tied fellows, they could be either friend or foe but they had parts to play he was certain "It is so very nice of you to have prepared this banquet for us" he moved forward boldly almost defiantly towards the table "I have to say it is nice for a change to be received like this, yet there is just one thing... " in one quick motion he pulled the mantle off the table intending to make a mess of it and instead the dishes and bottles stayed exactly in their place while a very confused Akdov held to a piece of cloth, their female host made a giggle

Well that wasn't supposed to happen

"Errr... what I meant to do was this!" he tried then lifting the table but by the barrels that thing was heavy or Lance was not as strong as the priest had been they were both now snorting and grinning "Screw this piece of sh-"he turned it over to the side instead, this time doing what he intended all along, screw up their plans "I don't know who are you or what you have in store wench!" he unsheathed his sword and pointed at their direction "But Rydas is expendable he is second in line after all and your intent to do us harm is clear so excuse me if I am rude when I decline your so called hospitality, you have underestimated us it seems "

He made a signal for the rest of the group to follow, hopefully they would and if not... well he already had made a fool of himself with the table "Feylon aim at his knees, Nernia aim at her gut!" those two smirking jerks looked awfully calm, Xan would have alerted them if something was up or the mages should have seen a hint of something to be worried about " Callavan, Alice dont let her do anything without you noticing it!" he then made a nod to Mirabella and Travian "draw your steel"

Akdov had been a man of words, he was an accomplished orator after all " Listen and listen to me well, while the Panacea might be a lie we root out the corruption in Paetax today!"

Half of confidence is being confident, well it better be causing an impression on those two

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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Callavan

Callavan watched a few of the more agile make their way up to the balcony before disappearing. Were he able, he would do the same. Instead he was stuck with the wounded and their wet nurses while they licked their wounds. He started pacing, hands held behind his back so tight that his nails dug into his flesh. It seemed that he was only growing angrier as time passed.

Eventually the others were ready to move on. He did see the Triansui and the harlot talking off to this side, but he paid them no heed. He doubted very much that the merchant had anything he needed to hear.

Van was very much tempted simply shove the others onwards as they couldn't move nearly as fast as he would like. He was even more tempted to to launch a torrent of flames once they made it, but he stayed his hand, holding it behind him as it sparked with anticipation.

Taking a deep breath, he reminded himself to stay calm and plan his next move out. His eyes darted around the room, taking in all that they could while Lakdov spoke.


Oba

There were words spoken nearby. Sounded like some mindless prattling. She opened her eyes slowly, there was a bit of haze on everything as she readjusted. She tried to rub her groggy eyes only to find her arms bound to the chair and her feet, to boot..

”Craaaaaaaaap,” she sighed, head rolling from shoulder to shoulder. Still half asleep, she tried to make some sense of her surroundings. Protective charms still hung from her neck, though they didn't seem all that effective now. Yaatu, her dear husband, was by her side as well, bound same as she. He sat straight as a board, with dulled eyes staring forward. She didn't bother asking him what was goinging on, knowing that his mind was long since gone.

Dekard was there as well, apparently in the same state as she, as well as a handful of others. Two she was unfamiliar with. There was the sorceress who had captured her and even the prince himself was there, that was a surprise.

What else was there for her to see? Oh, food, of course. A very generous serving at that. Not that it mattered, she wasn't quite capable of feeding herself at the time. Which was all the more frustrating considering how hungry she was. How long had it been since she eaten? Days? Weeks? Months? How long had she been there for that matter? She hadn't been in quite the right mindset to keep track of time since coming to the citadel.

And now there were suddenly more people. People who yelled, and generally made a fuss. It was all very grating on Oba's nerves. Her head was already pounding from whatever the sorceress had done to her. Yet, as obnoxious as these strangers were, they were, at the moment, Oba's chance to get free.

“Witch boy!” she hissed at Dekard. ”It pains me to wake you from your little nap, but it seems we damsels have found us some knights in shining armor to whisk us away.”

After a bit more yelling and some tantrum induced table flipping, the fighting finally began. Oba heard one of her fellow imprisonees say something and do some flashy spellwork. Someone threw a log that sailed right by her head which was shortly followed by some fires over her head.

”Oh don't mind us! We'll just sit here and relax while you kill each other!” she yelled.


By their powers combined......They're still just Callavan and Oba....


Van didn't have much time before all hell broke loose, he followed up the shaman's caber toss with a healthy round of hellfires and damnations. He aimed for the sorceress, mostly. Though he would have liked to injure the prince at the time, he didn't know how much of this his royalty was responsible for.

”Callavan, Alice dont let her do anything without you noticing it!" he heard the prie-ladin yell.

He responded in kind, ”Oh! And here I thought I should be staring at the wall like a jackass!”

Once the fighters had drawn around the couple he ceased his assault, figuring that his allies wouldn't appreciate being set on fire. And yet again he was left useless while everyone else fought.

Oba cackled, ”Oh-ho! The little witch has himself a littler mistress! What will that horned lass of yours think!”

Seeing that the monk was freeing one of the captives, Van made his way over to one of the other ones. Avoiding the spellcaster, the loud one and her dim eyed compatriot, he settled on the purple eyed girl that remained.

”Think you can fight?” he asker her as he slit her bindings with his knife. After a thought, he added, ”Or walk, for that matter?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Cord Braxton
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#, as written by Adantas
Disjointed blackness. Images and people, blurring as one. It made no sense, not that much did anyway but this was a different form of nonsensicalness. She didn't understand, there were constant voices around her, some spoken eerily like on the wind and others harsh and loud, booming like eruptions of the earth. There were voices of the spirits, usually so serene and calm, crackling and buzzing like angered wasps, but still ever so quiet as a whisper. The other voices where people, men; creatures that she rarely came in contact with.

Her mind burned as she tried to recall what had happened, dizziness coming wave after wave. She was following something, there had been a melodic tune that lured her to this path. Like a faithful dog, she obeyed and began her travel towards the unknown. She knew not of other villages, let alone whole cities, so it concerned her not the direction she was heading. Another sudden flash of pain as she attempted to bring the memory to light as to what exactly had happened on the road to this place. It seemed lost the actual event, but fleeting moments such as the voices, roughness and sudden disability and blindness engulfed her.

The array of images in her mind abruptly dissolve as her eyes snap open. A war drum was playing in her heart as she found herself unable to move. A cold and crippling terror began to work through her body as feeling returned back to her body. Everything was overwhelming and in that moment she needed to release it. Her throat was ragged raw that when her scream did erupt it came out cracked and muffled. Muffled because she found that there was something occupying the space in her mouth. A gag had been placed between her lips, rendering her ability to scream her fury obsolete. She became more and more frantic, eyes whirling around and limbs thrashing against the restraints. Even her feet had been tied down, and as she became more and more volatile in her movements she was soon becoming out of breath. It didn't occur to her that if she had stayed calm, her captors wouldn't have restricted her so. But of course, her fear was more overpowering, the knowing that she could no longer be in control of her limbs terrified her to no end and her struggling soon became more desperate. While it had begun to rock the chair, it was too heavyset to possibly knock it over with her light weight.

So focused on getting out of her bonds that she hadn't realised that all around her were people in similar positions. A wetness was beginning to form in her eyes as it dawned on her that this was inescapable. She was helpless, defeated and unable to stop the coming. Her head sunk, lowering to her chest and she closed her eyes. There were spirits all around her, this was indeed a very powerful place and she knew that shortly one would take control, but aside from their haunting wordless cries she could hear others, but they were so indiscernible that she paid them no mind. Only concern now was how long she had left.

Like the flood gates had been loosed there was a sudden and powerful rushing of energy through her. A numbness settled over her and a different blackness surrounded her. There stood, in her minds eye, a thin, well built and clearly battle worn man. His daunting walk towards her seemed to emit power, embodying the very fear of someone vastly stronger than her taking over, enslaving her in her own body. He stood before her, steely eyes burrowing into her and grave expression set like stone.

"Get up." The words reverberated throughout the ominous place. She obliged. "Foolish child, if I had not the foreboding I would not bother with talking with you." He looked away, scowl clear on his face. "Calisma is in the midst of chaos and for some reason you are a part of it. Now is not the time to be lost. There are a many whom have so wished to reclaim their life within you, I and the one you call Lady Silence have kept them at bay. There are those that need you. You, the connection between us and the living, something that will greatly aid in the coming trials. So, arise!" His final words exploded and like sand on the wind, he vanished.


Suddenly awakened, her head whipped up and another protest erupted from her throat. From where she could see, there was a grizzly of a man removing the bonds of another woman. Wildly shaking, and calling out as loud as she could over the din of commotion she tried to gain some attention, not a difficult objective when the other captives were unconscious.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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Now that the situation had developed into what was nothing less than an incoherent fracas, Selene realised that any hope of being untied from her rather ignominious position at the over-turned table was annoyingly slim. With the recent entry of several people - although many that seemed to be injured recently - she had retained the seemingly vain hope that at least one of them could turn their attention away from the golden opportunity to have a whack at the lovely couple and instead lend a hand to those clearly unable to help themselves.

Unfortunately for Selene, this remote possibility seemed to be more remote by the second, as the searing light from what she assumed was magic burned briefly into her retinas again. Although she squeezed her eyes closed to escape the glare, her headache nevertheless kicked up a notch, and she automatically gave voice to a few choice curse words. While she understood and shared the sentiment that prompted them into the impromptu battle with the undoubtedly beautiful woman - whom Selene wanted to punch repeatedly - she was nevertheless annoyed at the fact that such an action went hand in hand with ignoring the reluctant dinner guests.

Suppressing the urge to vomit, Selene opened her mouth to vent her helpless fury on...something, but was abruptly side-lined when one of the other captives stole her thunder, making a loud statement that was, to Selene's ears, wonderfully appropriate. She turned to identify the source of the sound, and although she didn't recognise the woman and was somewhat unnerved by the amount of what appeared to be jewellery that she was sporting, she nevertheless gave what she hoped came across as an approving nod. It would have been infinitely more civilised to make some kind of comment, but given the ruckus in the general vicinity, Selene doubted that any kind of noise her aching throat managed to produce would be heard.

Selene watched somewhat resentfully as the other captives were released around her, and she drew in energy to make some scathing comment about her own situation, when she sensed rather than saw someone come up behind her. Unable to contain the way her body flinched automatically as he produced a knife, Selene's thoughts took the form of barbed curse words yet again.

"Of course I can walk. I learnt that particular skill many years ago, and if I'm not horribly mistaken, I am still in possession of both legs and feet." Her words were snapped out with considerably more bitterness than Selene had intended, a by-product of the headache still chipping away at her sanity. But as he cut through her bindings - I really should consider carrying a knife - Selene's hard gaze softened, and she even managed a small, grateful, and somewhat apologetic smile.

When she spoke for the second time, the hoarseness that had initially marred her careful pronunciation in a voice devoid of any easily identifiable accent had vanished, as had the emotion infusing those first unwise words. "Thank-you. You have rendered me a great service, and I repaid you by being unkind. For that, I apologise." Nothing in Selene's manner would suggest that those final words had been difficult for her to articulate without flinching. Her tendency to act - or speak - without first considering the ramifications constantly landed her in similar situations, yet she usually allowed the unfortunate recipient to make the assumption that she was both unfriendly and mean. Shaking off her bindings with more than a little disgust, Selene took in a deep, fortifying breath, and immediately wished she hadn't. The air was soured with a strange combination of magic, cooked meat, and what was probably blood, and hardly palatable to someone who'd just woken up with a headache. Once again resisting the urge to throw up, Selene hesitated for a second or three, then, with little ceremony, rose to her feet.

Swaying initially, Selene grabbed the back of the chair to steady herself, releasing the wood she had only recently been tied to when she was sure she wasn't going to plummet gracelessly to the ground. That achieved, her purple eyes raised once again to the man who'd essentially saved her. Gesturing somewhat vaguely to the chaos around them, Selene's lips twitched into a highly amused smirk. "It appears you are needed elsewhere. Don't worry; I have no immediate intention to become closely acquainted with the floor, nice as it is."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl
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The fighting was ferocious, never before had Akdov felt so savage and bloodthirsty... his rage and passion had always been in check up until this moment, yet he could not find it in him to temper this outburst for blood, the demon sent in several directions streams of flame, which were easily deflected by his mighty shield.

Then he was upon her, he swung his longsword without any technique just hoping to lump off something or make something bleed but the temptress was swift and returned the ill aimed strikes with lethal precision going for the weak spots like tendons and bone joints, again Lance's armor proved to be a much needed safeguard against them.

Yet he could not harbor hope, even while they were outnumbering their current target she did not seemed to be worn out by the combat due to the lack of strikes by their part reaching their objective and to add to their woes the number of Vrocks charging to aid their mistress was enough to overwhelm a small city, by the time they made to her position death would be the only outcome, filled with dread the paladin kept slashing knowing that with each second the horde of ravenous beasts would be upon them, it was too late the succubi seemed to be incredibly dense, even when the strikes landed she simply brushed them off.

As the Vrock horde rushed in and Akdov`s water almost dropped a black angel surfaced to cover them

"Come and get it bird brains!" the rogue jumped at them charging like a madman having the numbers heavily against his favor, the tenacity on the man!

He quickly killed two of them in a swift strike at their guts, using the momentum of his charge he threw a kick which sent the majority of their vanguard in disarray breaking their advance completely, the scoundrel kept on going like a whirlwind of death. As the Vrocks were still getting back on track he grabbed the neck of the nearest one and snapped it in one wild move then not wasting another moment he gave a snapping kick to another one locking both of his heels around its neck and snapped it as well while impulsing himself through with the force of the motion.

Yet the enemy was not bereft of their own damage, while he had successfully killed at least 5 of them in less than a minute for each the claws of the demons had reached him and left wounds that if not tended immediately would grow to be fatal.

And they did not yielded, they forgot their mistress aid and went berserk for vengeance.

With the time they needed to get their act together and the agility of the rogue being dispaired by his wounds the horde of the birds fell upon him and he was soon overwhelmed but none could deny the fact that as hard as he took damaged he did not fail to deliver it back at his attackers, every scratch and bite was paid off in kind with stabs to the gut or coldly calculated jabs through the eyes.

As they began to wear her down before the joint efforts of the knight, the monk and the paladin progressive and decisive damage was being delivered on the demoness, her parries were slower, her attacks had been drained of their vitality and the smugness on her face was replaced with a palpable fear of defeat.

It was when the prince moved and clipped her wing off that she realized that she could be banished here despite her careful plans and made a retreat, as Akdov cleaned his wounds he turned his gaze to the rogue that had secured their attack, he was leaning against a wall and the punishment he had been delivered could not be hid, neither could the pile of corpses around him.

"Hold still" Akdov ran towards him desperately making incantations and prayers to request assistance to his god, assistance that never came... even at the height of his power Akdov was not sure he could have done anything for him, his scarred eye had been completely torn out, part of his left cheek was missing leaving the teeth bare, multiple lacerations had been delivered across his chest, which were still bleeding, his left hand was a maimed wreck with only thumb and middle finger remaining, the man was going to die... "We got them good didn't we?" the rogue said not clear if it was a question or an affirmation "Yes we did" Akdov blurted "The prince is he..." judging by his lack of movement Akdov could make out that the man was blind completely "Safe he delivered the finishing strike"

"Good... good, Lance... find Systril, find my sister Yun Halli... deliver her my daggers..."
Akdov clasped his hands with the wreck that were his and gave some some relief by saying "I swear it, ill find her and deliver your legacy" Xan gave something that could be a smile, it was hard to tell with half of his face missing and then finally moved on from beyond his mortal shell

Akdov stood up rage boiling as he moved towards the prince "You idiot!" he yelled at him, he would have backed it up with a blow to the face had the battle with the succubus not left him so tarnished "nice way to deliver us to the enemy's hands there prince, tell me now does your plan to get your father killed failed here or do you have some other backup plan to make a grab at the crown? did the demon failed to deliver her end of the bargain!" but it was not wholly the princes fault, the crew had been slow to react to his directions, both archers had not moved to make any damage to the prince or the temptress when the events began to fold out of control, Akdov had shouted those threats precisely to make the enemy know that they were being kept on check "And you fools" he said to the soldier and the ranger "What kind of marksmen are those that fail to deliver their mark and instead chose to simply watch as a beast ravages your companions?" then there were the wizards...wizards that sat helplessly as a monster far beyond the capacities of steel presented itself "which part of dont let her do anything without you noticing confused you? I mean maybe you noticed it but I didnt see anything flash in her general direction now did I?" he clasped Xan's daggers and made clear his frustration "If only you were more competent a good man would not have had to die to secure our assault, shame on you all who failed to give what was needed" he could now only feel that his old friend, the Triansui and the monk were the ones worth anything "G, I will need your help moving his corpse" he signaled towards Xan "I will not let such a brave soul go down on a place of such unholiness, he needs sacred ground to host his rest"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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#, as written by Celedia
-=Mirabella=-


Hope began to thread its way into Mirabella’s very being as both the Prince and Xan joined in their battle with the succubus. The fighter grit her teeth, trying not to focus on how Nelinia gasped in pain or how the thief suddenly fell silent but instead she kept pursuing the succubus. Her two weapons moving in a precisely timed flurry that sought to keep the demoness on her toes, holding her attention so that the others could land blows against the vile fiend.

One such hit rang true and the Prince’s sword struck Nilux’s wing, drawing a shrill cry from the woman’s poisonous lips along with threats aimed at Rydas before she slipped from their plane. The battle had ended. Their enemies were either in tattered heaps around them or had escaped and it was in the silence of the aftermath of battle that everything could be assessed. The thrill of such a fight was usually rewarded with a slain enemy but in this fight they weren’t so lucky. Not only had the temptress escaped but the group was left wounded and weary with yet another loss of life to attend.

Yet, before they could even process what had happened, much less deal with their own grievances, Lakdov’s voice shattered the silence with accusations and inflammatory remarks. Not that the reaction was anything less than what she had expected from the Priest but his timing was imperfect.

Breathing in and out slowly, the Triansui took the time to sheath her bloodied weapons before speaking softly, yet firmly to Lakdov. ”Priest,” she paused a moment, hoping to draw his attention without elevating her voice as he had. ”I understand your pain, your grief. We all do…” Her bloodied face tilted so that her troubled gaze could fall upon Xan’s body, the oddly honest thief who had given his crystalline treasure to the child outside of the gates at the start of their journey. ”But that is no reason to attack people that are already battle weary. Once again, you seem intent to divide this group instead of strengthening it. Without those mages? We wouldn’t have had the scrolled spell for the ghoul. We wouldn’t have ended the diralgraun as quickly as we did.”

Her eyes cast quickly about the room in search of both Van and ‘Eidolon’ as the Triansui named their contributions to the previous battles and then she returned her gaze to Lakdov. ”And the Prince? Judge not lest ye be judged. If that creature had set her magic upon you instead are you so arrogant to believe that you would have cast off her attempted charm? He was most likely asleep, when we’re all at our most vulnerable and I have no qualms in admitting that were I male, she would have probably made me a puppet just as easily as she had made him.”

Her finger jutted out, pointing towards Rydas though her eyes never left the Paladin/Priest. ”So, yes. It is a shame that we have lost so many in these battles today but for once in your life get your pompous ass off of your high horse and realize that your constant derision serves the group no benefit. You are not the only one who has lost a friend and comrade this day so stop wallowing in your self pity long enough to see that.”

Having said what she needed to say, the Triansui turned to check upon the two comrades that were closest to her position. First, she walked to Feylon who had maneuvered quickly out of the way of her attempted knockout earlier and slipped upon the bloodied floor, rapping his head soundly against the elevated dais instead. She checked to see if the ranger was still breathing then laid two fingers upon his neck to check a pulse that was steady and strong. He was unconscious but otherwise in good health, so she moved to the next.

Nelinia wasn’t as lucky. Her wounds were many and blood stained her yellow robes so that they had turned a mottled brown in places. ”Nel, you fool…. Mirabella chided her, trying to keep the strain from her voice. Yet, as she went to pull the monk’s sleeve back to examine her arm a flash of silvery light filled the entire room, causing the warrior to leap up and spin around with her hand upon her blade. The light had made her think of a magical attack and yet it was quite the opposite. The raven-haired woman that had been trussed up to one of the banquet chairs now crumpled to the floor soundlessly. The magic had felt… Beneficial instead of detrimental.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee
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Callavan felt numb once the fighting had finished. Exhausted both physically and mentally he didn't even try to defend himself when the accusations started flying. He felt a flicker of anger but it was smothered quickly enough. His ego had overstepped his abilities and lead to the injury and death of others. Fighting bandits had bolstered his confidence, but a greater power had presented itself to him that day and found him lacking.

He bid farewell to the everyone that night, asking that the prince send his pay to his family home in Thoav, before parting ways.

A few days later and he found himself on the shores of Ida'an, with no small thanks to the horse that had been provided with. He crossed the waters with one of the familiar enchanted boats, the wood worn smooth by many hands over the years.

There were a great many new faces eager to learn the secret workings of the world, much as he had once been. There were familiar faces as well; most didn't seem to recognize him or simply didn't care, some threw snide words and insults, fewer still gave a smile and greeting before scampering off. Some things never change.

A quick stop at guest housing was the first order of business. He scraped some of the road off himself, scrawled a hasty note to his family explaining what had happened and then he was off again.

The library was the goal of this trip, a long fat building that could fit most of the other campus buildings inside. Van snaked his way inside, winding through a maze of shelves. A good chunk of his time at the guild had been spent there and even after all this time he'd bet a gold piece that he could find his way through blindfolded. He spent all his time in the library; only taking breaks to eat, sleep, fish, and harass students after drinking too much.

A week passed by as he read and read, taking note of every little thing; but, eventually, being shut in all day with nothing but books and the roving groups of tittering of young magi was slowly driving him mad.

He withdrew to the vaults under the guild where he could experiment in peace and relative safety. He started with simple modifications of spells he had grown familiar with before moving on to newer ideas, pulling from what he had read and whatever strange notion struck his mind.

A slight mishap, involving a remote immolation spell, left his clothes in tatters; forcing him to walk through the campus nude until he found someone willing to lend him a set of replacements.

Shortly after that he received a parcel from his brother containing a part of his payment from the prince, a letter stating that he'd keep the rest safe for Van, and an invitation bearing the royal seal. He skimmed the latter briefly. He was unsure of whether or not he should go. His companions had been good people on the whole, but he felt no sense companionship with most of them.

He tossed the bag of gold from hand to hand. It was hefty, only a portion of his keep and judging from its weight, it would could keep fed and housed for about two month. Four if he was thrifty.

There would be nobles there, that was doubtless. Not that he was keen to socialize with them, but nobles had deep pockets and little sense when it came to spending, and tales of their adventure had likely begun circulation among the upper crusts, greatly exaggerated he imagined. Some fool was bound to offer him a patronage simply for bragging rights. Van could preform simple parlor tricks from time to time and spend the rest of his days getting payed to do whatever he pleased.

It was decided then. He packed his things, as well as a few books that he had 'borrowed' from the library, and took off for Paetax the next morning.

He arrived two days later, leaving a week and a half before the coronation. After finding lodging he promptly lodged himself in a tavern where he stumbled across a familiar face or, rather, she stumbled across him.

“Ah, the mage!” Oba exclamed obliging herself to the stool next to his, ”One of them anyways. Sorry, never caught your name before. No one seemed in the mood for introductions at the time, what with all the demons and dieing and then you went and disappeared on us. Well, not quite disappeared, seeing as how you said your goodbyes before going on your merry way. Though I'm sure you could have had you wanted. What with the magic and everything.”

Callavan thought that she was taking a breath after her spiel, but she was only breaking to spout her order to the barkeep before continuing. ”Have you been well? It doesn't seem so.” She made a pointed look at the borrowed clothes he wore. They were still the ill fitting rags that he had borrowed after his accident. ”I'd have thought the guild would take better care of their own. It only seems fair when they keep such a tight leash on you all. That must be maddening. I don't know how you stand it. Oh, by the way, I'm Yaa Oba, or just Oba if you prefer.”

Van thought back to the citadel. She hadn't fought, nor did she cower. She strode through the conflict with a confidence that bordered on madness. Afterward she had gone around treating any minor wounds that the priestess's spell hadn't cover to prevent infection. All the while keeping up that mad glee.

”Callavan,” he returned, ”And I'm fine.”

A silence passed between them that slowly edged into uncomfortableness as the two drank. Oba offered him one of the sweet rolls she had ordered. He accepted it.

”So, what happened to the large fellow that was with you?” he asked.

”Oh, Yaatu. He's fine. A bit touched in the head y'know. Far too much stimulation in the city for him, so he stays in our room,” she answered, eager to break the silence. ”I'm guessing you're here for the coronation as well?”

Van nodded.

”Fantasic. I was a bit surprised when I got an invitation. Tell me, have you found anyone to go with you?”

He shook his head.

”Ah, then you'll just have to accompany me then.” She smirked, downing the rest of her ale in one long gulp and following it with a loud belch. ”After all, a fine lady such as myself can't possibly be expected to walk these streets alone.”

This got a small chuckle out of Van and he agreed to escort her to the coronation. They spent the rest of the evening getting properly drunk and sharing stories. Van told her how he had lost his last set of clothes with a few embellishments, such as marching through the master mages' office and passing through the women's dormitory asking if he could borrow a slip. In return, Oba told him about the time she had accidentally gotten an entire village high during an exorcism.

He had somehow managed to make his way home after the previous night. Extremely hungover, he managed to stuff something that resembled food down his gullet before heading to the shopping district. After talking with Oba the previous night, he realized that he was in sore need of new clothes, especially if he was looking to impress a new patron.

There was some unexpected difficulty in this. All of the shop keeps thought he was a beggar and refused to let him inside. After this happened a fifth time Van was feeling especially perturbed.

”Now listen here,” he hissed, grabbing the keep by the collar and pulling him close. ”We,” he indicated himself and the keep. ”Are going in there,” he pointed to the shop. ”You,” back to the keep now. ”Are going to take my measurements and then tailor me two suits. The first will be simple everyday wear, nothing flashy. Something comfortable and practical. The second will be more formal. You may take more liberty with the latter, so long as you don't make me look like some foppish git. Do you understand?'

”Let go of me you beer soaked tramp!” the keep yelled, struggling against Van's grip. ”Someone call the guards! This vagrant is attempting to rob me!”

Frustrated, Van grabbed up his beard with his left and released a small flame. It wasn't enough to burn himself, though he winced at the stray embers biting at his skin, but it was enough to singe away most of his facial hair. The intended effect was supposed to make him look like less of a vagabond. Instead, the shop keep was faced with a mad man who had just set himself aflame.

Regardless, it got him into the shop and afterwards he had to force the tailor to accept his payment. He made another stop on his way back to his room, getting himself a proper shave and trim so that he no longer resembled a mangy dog stuffed into a suit.

Between then and the coronation; Callavan spent his days working on his magic, alternating between studying and using a needle and ink to add to the spellwork on his left arm. While his nights were spent drinking with Oba.

Before long it was the day of the coronation. Callavan dressed up in his new suit, the left sleeve rolled up to avoid irritating the new marks; he picked up Oba, who had dressed up for the occasion in a dress with appropriate amounts of frillyness and the two set off for the castle.

Callavan greeted the prince and princess first, bowing low and addressing them as m'lord and m'lady. He felt increasingly uncomfortable. These strange social customs were entirely alien to him and he was simply mimicking what he had seen traveling troubadours do in their plays. He rose almost mechanically, walked over to where the others had gathered and tried his best not to make anymore of a fool of himself.

Oba on the other hand was completely at ease. She curtsied to the two with a slight bow of her head. ”It's a pleasure to meet you again, your highness. As well as to make your acquaintance, Princess. I'm honored that you invited me. Especially after, as I recall, you accused me of being a traitor aligned with the Tommyknockers,” she gave them a playful grin before prancing away to join everyone else.

”Oh, Little Bird,” Oba said, seeing that Siobhan was there. ”Glad to see that you are feeling better after that impressive display you put on for all of us.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian

Travian bowed low when the princess address him. “Thank you for the invitation, it is a great honor.” He looked at each of his companions and smiled or nodded as they were similarly addressed, in several cases making note of names he hadn’t heard or remembered.

Nelinina, the reckless little monk he’d saved from the ghoul. He was glad to see that she was okay, considering she had apparently learned nothing about diving headfirst into things. Still, it had been that very rashness that saved the prince’s life so it would probably be hard to convince her to act otherwise.

If he had not known Mirabella as well as he did and thus didn’t know the significance of her mishmash armor he would tease her about wearing it to the palace. In spite of that, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was any occasion for which she would wear something else. Suddenly the image of her dancing at a ball in her armor sprung to his mind and he had to suppress a chuckle. He made a note to bring that up with her later.

He was also happy to see Acacia again. He had been so worried for her after what happened during the citadel, and though the presence of the babbling woman had seemed to act as a balm she remained troubled throughout the whole journey back to the capital. Once they made it back the two departed and he hadn’t seen either of them since. Wherever they had gone must have been good for Acacia because the smiling woman in front of him was quite different from the depressed one he had come to know.

Callavan he didn’t even recognize until the prince and princess addressed him. The man looked completely different now that he was clean shaven. He actually looked like a reputable person!

After all had been acknowledged servants guided them to rooms which had been prepared. Even though he had been to the palace before he hadn’t seen much of it beyond the great hall, and he marveled at all of the new sights. He was eager to catch up with the others but decided to change and freshen up a bit first. He changed into a lighter tabard which was still quite formal, though not quite as much as the velvet one he had been wearing. The princess had said to dress casual but he couldn’t bring himself to drop too much formality in the palace; he was a member of the nobility after all.

That’s when the realization hit him. His family would be at the coronation. In the past whenever there was an important event that might bring them to the palace he simply made a point to blend in with the other knights. But it was different now, he wasn’t just an average knight anymore he was a special guest of the prince. What if he was announced? He still held his family name, he wouldn’t have been able to become a knight without it; he had been so careful not to make so much of a name for himself that the courtiers might gossip about him.

Overwhelming guilt consumed him. So many times he wanted to write to them, or visit them when he was passing through the area. How much grief had his selfishness caused them? He’d kept track of them through the years, he knew that he now had a sister. Finding out about Kalifina had only increased his desire for reunion. He wanted to meet her more than anything. Her presence also dispelled the fear that his parents might reveal him. She was the charming debutante his mother had always wanted; she’d never find a good husband if anything were to mar the name Zarel.

Despite all of this the only response his brain could ever conjure to the idea of reuniting was “I’m not ready yet.” And now he might not get a say in the matter. More than anything he wanted to be the one to tell them instead of being revealed by circumstance. A part of him was happy, not having the courage to deal with this was the one thing he hated about himself, but mostly he was just anxious.

He had to talk with someone. Listen to someone else’s worries or even just small talk. Anything to take his mind somewhere else and banish the anxiety. He strode out into the hall hoping to find someone milling about, doing his best to keep his mask of confidence from slipping.