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Orianna

When I say I will follow you into the depths of Hell, I mean it.

0 · 576 views · located in Tristram

a character in “Nephalem Valor”, as played by marredserenity

Description

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Age: 34
Sex: Female
Type: Nephalem
Class: Demon Hunter
Special Abilities: Extraordinarily agile, and an expert with all manner of bows and crossbows.

History: Oriana was born to the humid climates of Kurast. Her childhood was particularly unorthodox, for she did not play with dolls, or engage in friendly games with the other children. From the moment she was old enough to comprehend good and evil, light and dark, Oriana knew that her destiny was to be the bane of the darkness. Her mother was Natalya, the world-famous assassin whose skills and feats had earned her not only sets of armor christened in her name, but immortality. With her mother, Oriana created Kurast's first order of demon hunters and assassins, called The Sabrial. They had just begun to reach the height of their training when the Dark Traveler passed through Kurast, and in his wake, a band of heroes - all inept and under-achieved in Oriana's eyes. Natalya had given them as much help as she could, but Oriana knew their success would not be long-term. Even after Diablo had finally been vanquished, and Baal after him, Oriana felt the shockwaves that went rippling through the Earth's life force. They would be back, but Oriana would not leave the lives of so many innocents and the well-being of Heaven and Earth to anyone else, not this time. When Deckard Cain called for help once more, she was the first to answer.

Personality: For someone so lethal, Oriana's most noticeable attribute is her undying sense of humor. Hardly ever in despair, and always confident, she is mischievous and energetic. This enthusiasm transfers well to the battle field, where she can be found vaulting about and firing arrows from the most awkward and contorted of positions. Even in the face of the most terrifying of demons, Oriana can be found smirking. In spite of her love of laughter, she is a sucker for the strong, silent type, and admires those who have command over the arcane magics.

So begins...

Orianna's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raven Summers Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Archibald Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Zech Character Portrait: Syous
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The last of the wagons had arrived last night during the rain. It blew in from the east and fell just before the sun rose over Tristram. The travelers had all been given room and board at The Inn, and Deckard Cain was expecting to brief them first thing in the morning. It is just after sunrise, and already Tristram is alive with merchants beckoning, farmers plowing, and roosters singing to the sun.

During their slumber, the travelers had all experienced a most unusual dream. They had been walking, transfixed, down a corridor lined with melting candles. In spite of their desire to look left or right, or to stop going, their bodies worked against them until one by one, the candles faded out. The floor beneath them began to crumble and give way to a fiery Hell. Even in the dream world, the hot breath of the hellfire could be felt on their skin, melting away their armor and weapons until they stood, naked, before Diablo. He towered above them, his red flesh brilliant in the light, his eyes giving off a glow more vibrant than the fire itself. His long, spiked tail whipped behind him, and he clutched the traveler in his claws.

SOON, NEPHALEM, YOU WILL KNOW TRUE SUFFERING. THE WORLD WILL BURN TO ASHES, AND ITS PEOPLE WILL FORSAKE YOU. EVERYTHING YOU ARE, EVERYTHING YOU DESIRE, WILL COME TO RUIN.

Diablo's jaws unhinged, and from his mouth poured a dark smoke with burning embers. With a final squeeze - one that left the travelers gasping even in their sleep - he thrust them into his mouth.

This is where our travelers, our heroes, begin their search for The Artifacts.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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As her body had been thrown into Diablo's jowls in the dreamscape, she had broken into a sweat and her heart beat accelerated until the unconscious clutching at her chest had roused her. Her eyes opened. Having fully anticipated waking to see Diablo's guts, or some other unspeakable terror of Hell, she allowed herself the sigh of relief when she realized (remembered, even) that she was in Tristram's single Inn. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed, letting the cool hardwood floors snap her out of drowsiness. She brought a shaky hand to her forehead first, then smeared the sweat from her brow and the tears from the creases of her eyes.

Just for breakfast and Deckard Cain's briefing, Oriana would not pile on the armor that lay scattered across the floor of her room. No one ever accused her of being organized. Bron, the bar and inn keeper, had afforded her a mirror, perhaps mistaking her for the type of woman whose priorities lie in her appearances. In fact, she'd chanced a glimpse in the mirror at her haggard expression and the reddish brown hair that clung to her neck and face. Oriana was not a husband-seeker; she was a demon hunter.

She stopped just short of her door, her hand hovering above the knob, when she heard footsteps pounding down the hallway and the stairs. Probably one of the other tenants, or possibly one of the travelers she'd seen stepping off the wagons from last night. When the footsteps indicated the tenant was downstairs, she slipped out of the door and descended to the main level. She saw the man with the red beret at the table, but took her seat at the bar.

"Mornin', Bron," she said, offering him the faintest of smiles. "Haven't got any hot tea, have you?"

Bron laughed heartily and shook his head. "No, milady. I'm afraid all we've got in the way of drinks are ales, beers, and rum. Have any of those, will ya?" His grin was broad and goofy.

Oriana laughed as well. "No. No, I'm afraid I won't." She looked over her shoulder at the red beret again. "I'll have whatever he's havin'." Then she leaned in close. "Do you know him? He seems terribly mysterious."

Bron leaned in on an elbow, his free hand tossing a towel over his shoulder. "His name's Marius. Not much of a talker, but I reckon a pretty lass like yourself could cozy on up to him no problem." Bron stood up straight, waggled his eyebrows at her, then disappeared into the back room after handing Oriana her plate.

She smirked, picking at the food with her fork, resigning to leave it be. No, she was too curious. She spun on the bar stool with her plate, set it straight down at Marius' table, yanked out the chair in front of him, and sat down. She smoothed the sleeveless tunic she wore, adjusting the belt that rested over her belly button. For now, she'd let the man (who she could now see was much older than she) stew. Oriana began eating her breakfast, waiting for a reaction.

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Lanaya
Barely a quarter way into his meal, Marius couldn't bear to take another bite of this so called 'food'. Truth be told, it was probably his fault. For too long did the old veteran feast on fine cuisine that he was scraping the bottom of the food hierarchy his tastebuds were incapable of handling such change. The tavern was slowly coming to life, more and more traffic going to and from the counter as the early rays of the sun greeted the weary folk. To keep his mind off of what was on his plate Marius resorted to one of his favorite pastimes: people watching.

There are particular things to look for when you're creating a first impression of a person. Things like how they hold themselves, what they're wearing, how they keep their facial hair (if they are a gentleman of course) and how they stroll past all give clues to the personality of different characters. Marius was old enough to pick up on these queues fairly easily. Only a fool allows comfort for himself in a room full of unknown people -- unknown variables. Identification of any sort was the key to staying one step ahead of the thugs in the alleyway or a friend just about to stab you in the back, and Marius' youth gave him plenty of time to learn from those very mistakes. This 'skill' suddenly becomes more significant when you can pick out the particular individuals in the room that stand out from the rest, individuals that could potentially possess great skill -- for better or for worse.

At the moment there was nothing of note. Men clad in cloaks, rusted armor and aged swords nearly scraping the floor sat at their tables, enjoying their drink. And then there were the cutesy bar waitresses scurrying about like mice, raising their voices with the pure intent of sucking their victim dry of whatever coin was in his pocket that day. There was nothing different about this tavern than any other Marius was in, that was for sure. Marius slowly scanned the room, taking in his surroundings. These men and women surely weren't the salt of the earth, but there was something comforting about this moment he couldn't quite place.

Then in his peripherals Marius caught somebody of notice, a woman making her way towards the bar. She looked familiar, and she stood out from the weary townsfolk that filled the place. Perhaps he caught a glimpse of her as he got off the wagon when arriving here. He could already assume she was highly skilled, for a fair woman like her wouldn't compose herself so confidently if it weren't such. Marius was all too familiar with the damsel in distress facade that some women enjoyed putting up, but this woman was not that at all. He noted the rugged men at different tables childishly whispering in eachothers ears, admiring her slender form. Marius grumbled.

After her brief conversation with the bartender, Marius saw her walking towards his table. He sat there, still, his plate nearly untouched. Marius was a quiet man, his voice driven only with brevity and purpose. The woman did not seem to mind taking a spot at his table, so neither would he. Normally he would have expected some sort of introduction but she simply took a seat and started at her breakfast. There was a moment of silence between the two as Marius watched her, slowly piecing together a first impression. Then he finally spoke:

"I enjoy my share of pretty faces," there was a pause as Marius spoke, then his face darkened, "But I must warn you this food is shameful and has soiled my mood,"

That was Marius' attempt at an introduction. More importantly, Marius was dead serious about every word he said and that severity could be heard with every syllable. Nonetheless, Marius grew up on manners. After a moment he spoke again.

"I am Marius, thank you for your company,"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Oriana did not much mind the food. To her, it was merely fuel for her body and not a source of entertainment or pleasure. After consuming two sausages and taking a rather sizable bite from the bread, Marius had spoken, and her eyes came to meet his. She chewed. And chewed, and chewed, before finally gulping it down with a bit of his ale (she'd not gotten her own). Her eyes were of the lightest blue, like the clear skies of Mount Arreat or the tropical seas of Kurast, and her eyelashes dark and heavy. He may have noticed the kind of faint glow to them, how they cast the slightest of shadows, and undoubtedly he would know this was the mark of the Nephalem.

"I dare say, Marius," she said, smiling. "If something as trivial as food has made you such a sour man, I hate to see what a few days down in the catacombs will do to you." She pushed pieces of hair from the sides of her face, tucking it behind her ear.

There was not a spec of makeup on her face; she'd found that these things were too time-consuming, and that the demons or monsters who fell from her arrows seldom cared about her face. At any rate, Oriana fancied hoods, whose shadowing effects made face painting obsolete and, well, foolish.

She wiped her hand across her lap, and extended it to him. "You're welcome for the company, Marius. I'm Oriana. I assume you're here for Deckard Cain's briefing as well."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Zech Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by tigerz
Zech awoke just as he had been thrown into Diablo's gruesome mouth. He was sweating and panting frantically as he looked around his room. A state Zech would never allow anyone to see him in. Zech's thin pale hand rubbed the back of his sweaty neck then made it's way to pushing his now wet fair hair out of his face. Zech swung his feet out of the bed and let them hit the refreshingly cold hardwood floor. He looked at his feet while he placed his hands on his knee to let out a sigh.

Zech stood up and walked towards his dark armor and black cloak he had neatly set in the corner the night before. He put them on and adjusted some making sure it was perfect. Then before he opened the door to the hallway, he carefully pulled the hood of the cloak over his eyes so they could not see his piercing iced blue eyes but he could still see perfectly.

The hallway had the same wood flooring as his room. Zech looked around for a moment to find where he would be given a briefing from Deckard Cain. Zech walked in quietly to the bar. Almost unnoticed as He took a seat near a man with a beret that looked much older than him and a woman across from the man that looked about Zech's age. Zech kept quiet as he was given breakfast. He had no desire to talk to them and began to eat.

The food wasn't to bad. Zech had eaten much worse before. Besides it was food and that was all that mattered to him. While he was quietly eating Zech thought about his dream. He knew exactly what it meant but couldn't seem to shake the doubt that was lingering in the back of his mind.

The setting changes from The Slaughtered Calf Inn to Tristram

Setting

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Archibald Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The most pleasant of nightmares had visited him in his sleep.

It wasn’t a mere frightening experience, one of those wonderful things that had him twisting and turning in his meagre bedroll at the side of the less-travelled road, awakening in a cool sweat and clammy palms that had soaked his clothes, his unkempt beard, the cloth of his gloves. No, this nightmare posessed, even when he was being devoured by the most fearsome of nemeses that he could imagine, a potent sense of purpose that drove him onward. Not only did he wake up with the sweat drenching him and the delightful fear clutching at his chest, but he had woken with a direction, an invigoration of the soul.

Archibald had even had to change his pants, something that he hadn’t had to do since he had just taken his vows and sworn himself to the light. Chuckling darkly to himself, he walked into the bar of Tristram - the evil radiating and soaking the place from ground to the tips of the trees, making him breathe deeply and exhale through his teeth - a purposeful man.

He wore nothing but tattered robes and a hood that was pulled over a smooth face and head, a red semi-circle dotting the place just underneath his clear, blue left eye met his hallowed and pale cheeks.

Underneath the tattered cloth was rusted, heavy plate that was oddly soundless as it moved, a blurry effect surrounding the metal. When the eye rested upon it, it was like it couldn’t focus properly.

He approached the slum of a bar with a sheer fascination, stooping to take in the rotting wood dotting the place and the wobbly nature of a stool as he passed. Archibald’s eyes searched the faces for the most well-armed individuals, and-

Aha. His footsteps took him forward, towards Marius and Orianna’s table, a slight limp to his steps. Standing beside the two, he bared yellow teeth as Orianna finished her question.

“Am too,” he grunted, his voice sounding strained, broken, “sounds like we’re to be traveling mates.”

He raised an eyebrow at Marius, giving him a long, searching look, the difference in the two men’s statures palpable.

“Archibald,” he said, offering his hand - tattered gloves attempting to cover a rusty, gnarled gauntlet - towards Orianna, shifting his shoulder to turn his back on the other veteran.

The setting changes from Tristram to The Slaughtered Calf Inn

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Zech Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Lanaya
"I'm a man built on fine cuisine Orianna," Marius took her hand, shaking it firmly before grabbing the top of his cup of ale and sliding it back to his side of the table.

"I find it is a good coping mechanism for the little things that can get on my nerves".

Marius had already grown accustomed to the ever changing societal trends, the rebellious nature of the younger folk blazing a cement road over his own generation. He didn't enjoy the change but, it was a revolution that was way beyond his control. It suddenly dawned on him that well.. . he was getting old. Who knew how long his old bones would carry him for? Quite frankly a dastardly trek into the chaotic, claustrophobic catacombs of Tristram's monastery probably wasn't the best sort of activity for a man like Marius. He should be enjoying the splendors of the more fanciful locales in Lut Gholein. That would be nice. Marius almost got lost in a train of thought before returning to the conversation.

"Yes, I am here for Deckard Cain, but more importantly I'm here to see what sort of people he has decided to send into the catacombs,"

As if on queue another character dressed in the typical clothing of what Marius learned were called Demonhunters sat just nearby to them. Marius gave him a quick glance. He was obviously here for Deckard Cain too. Simply by the look of the armor he meant business and had little to no interest in speaking to them. Marius didn't mind, he's had his fair experience with the quiet enigmatic types. They tend to let their skill do their talking, and while Marius was perfectly fine with that he learned the essential component to any party was communication. If there was a shell cloaking anybody it had to be cracked, and due to the circumstance preferrably sooner than later. Noone has to be best friends but being able to trust the individual covering your backside is vital.

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Archibald Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Zech Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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There was something about the solemnity of Marius' character that made Oriana giddy. She had spent many years around these types of men, who took themselves far too seriously and seldom left time for enjoyment. His grip on her hand was firm, a fact she greatly appreciated. She hated being treated like an injured doe, and so often had she extended her hand in greeting to be met with a limp grasp or a flaccid hand.

From the corner of her eye, she saw the other man sit down. She'd not conjured enough interest in him to yet speak hello, but instead felt a sort of competitive edge. He was a demon hunter as well, this she conceived of his attire and gait - the careful, silent steps of a hunter and the grip of a bowman. Or was it so? All of the demon hunters trained in her order had been masters with bows and throwing knives and she hardly knew of a better way to slay. At any rate, the childish urge to prove herself more capable than he came bubbling forth, which she deftly concealed in her eyes and the sidelong glances she threw his way.

When finally she'd resigned to bid him to join her and Marius, the man named Archibald had stepped up and thrust his hand at her. Her, not Marius, not the other. It was, to say the least, comical, and she'd perceived it as an attempt to undermine Marius' apparent seniority. Nonetheless, Oriana took his hand and shook it with the same firmness with which Marius had taken her own.

"Wonderful to meet you, Archibald. I am Oriana," she said, taking her hand from him and gesturing toward Marius, "And this is Marius. I suspect Deckard Cain will be here shortly to brief us all."

As if on cue, the Inn's door creaked open, and the elder came staggering in, a young woman at his side. She attended to him carefully, clutching at his elbow lest he fall, in spite of Cain's protestations. Oriana watched his every step, pained at the amount of effort he must issue to merely walk. The man had certainly tested the limits of human aging.

"Hello, travelers," Deckard Cain croaked, finally coming to sit near the hearth of the Inn's fireplace. The waitresses exchanged glances and retired to the kitchen. Even Bron raised his eyebrows and found somewhere else to be. The patrons in the bar seemed to become silent all at once, then idly ambled out.

"If you are here, it is because you have received word that the world needs your help again." The young woman next to him remained standing, her eyes staring into each of the traveler's faces, studying, calculating. "A group of cultists believe they can harness Diablo's essence and control him. They are called the Skartara Few, and I am afraid they have already collected two of the seven artifacts."

Deckard paused, breathing laboriously. At this, the young woman's face hardened. "The cultists are wrong," she said. "I've seen them - in my visions - and I've heard the whispers of the ancients. They cannot control Diablo; no one can."

Oriana shifted in her chair uncomfortably. It was just as well that Deckard wasted no time in splaying out the problem at hand, yet she could not help but feel uneasily around this girl. "And who are you?" she demanded, an eyebrow arching.

The young woman glanced down to Deckard sadly. "My name is Leah. I am Cain's niece, and the only person who can lead you to the artifacts."

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Archibald Character Portrait: Marius de Vittoiré Character Portrait: Zech Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by tigerz
Zech noticed the two looking at him. Especially the woman that looked of his age. Zech could see her making glances at him out of the corner of his eye. He was about to speak when he saw a man walk up to her and introduce himself. Zech closed his mouth and leaned back in his chair. The man's name Archibald. Zech heard someone walking into the room and he quickly turned his attention to a very old looking man that was Deckard Cain. Following him was a young looking girl.

Deckard spoke and told them what they needed to do. Zech already knew this and wanted to get on with it. He thought he could very much fine the artifacts himself but he was told he had to work with the other as a team. Something Zech was not use to at all. While Deckard was talking, Zech glanced over at the girl that was eying him earlier. A smirk formed on his face then quickly faded away to his usually unreadable expression. she had a competitive feel to her and Zech liked that. he loved a challenge.

Then this girl had questioned why the girl was there with Deckard. She had responded. "My name is Leah. I am Cain's niece, and the only person who can lead you to the artifacts.". Zech's full attention became focused on Leah. How could this girl be the only way to the artifacts. She looked so weak. Zech hoped they wouldn't have to waste time protecting her during all of this.

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Arkas Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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While Leah appeared to sustain quite the insult at Arkas' demands and buffoonish behavior, her mouth slightly agape as though she were struggling for a response, Oriana only felt annoyance. It was a fact of nature that demon hunters and barbarians seldom got along. While the former was a light-footed, swift, stealthy hunter and tracker, the latter charged onto the battlefield with a slew of roars and wide-arced swings of gaudy weaponry. It was ridiculous, really, though Oriana's allegiance to Cain and the well-being of the earth meant she would suffer the barbarian, all the while resisting the urge to send an arrow through his skull.

For now, resisting that urge meant saying nothing. She leaned back in her chair, letting her arm drape over the back of it, while Leah cleared her throat, gathered herself up, and spoke to the barbarian. "You expect to do it alone? Only a fool-"

At this, Cain raised his gnarled hand, and Leah stopped, looking defeated. "Leah, do not underestimate these heroes. There is a reason I have called on them specifically to be here." He took several moments to collect his thoughts, and, gripping his walking stick, peered into the barbarian's face. "While I do not know where the cult currently is, I can tell you where the first artifact is. In the pit of the Cathedral are the Catacombs. For years they have been free of the evil that plagued Tristram, but Leah can feel their presence emanating from the once hallowed grounds."

Her curiosity peaked, Oriana leaned forward onto the table with her elbows, fingers interlocked. "The Catacombs? That's where the first artifact is?" She admitted that it seemed coincidental, for their first quest to take place so close to Tristram itself. Serendipitous, maybe? At any rate, she could not deny the excitement fluttering in her chest.

Leah looked on Oriana with more affectation than she had the barbarian. Her features softened, and she nodded, saying, "I know it seems strange. After all, when The Dark Wanderer first descended into the Catacombs, he'd cleared it of Diablo's influence." Suddenly, she became very grave, now looking at the barbarian. "But I'm telling you ... there's something down there, something evil and foul, and I know it has one of the artifacts. I can feel it."

Feel it, eh? At that, Oriana pushed away from the table and stood. She stretched her arms above her head, popping her neck and back. "Let's get started then." She wasn't about to put any more time between her arrows and a demon's face.

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#, as written by Gasmask
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"You expect us to find an evil that has avoided the grip of the last few veterans of Leoric's army missed?" Arkas grumbled, it had been in his education(The only education worth learning.) to learn of the mighty army that King Leoric had assembled before his fall and subsequent rise as one of the undead.

Arkas breathed slowly, stepping away from Cain with a scoff. "I'll be back when I have the artifact." The barbarian cast a look at the demon hunter, Oriana. It was true, their kind were never meant to get along, the hunters were far too wrapped up in the hunting part, rather than the killing.

If they were going to the same place however, it wouldn't hurt to have someone watching his back. Even if it was a cowardly arrow dealing woman. If that was the worst of what he would have to go though to be dealt a hand of retribution, he'd gladly go though it.

"When we have the artifact, I mean." Arkas cast a curious glance at Oriana, holding out his hand to shake hers, hopefully solidifying an unspoken partnership.

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Arkas Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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At the extension of his hand - the implication of which would not go unnoticed by the keen demon hunter - there seemed to be a pause in the room. Both Cain and Leah had exchanged looks before turning back to the pair, holding their breath, waiting for the union of their hands as if the fate of the world rested in that single gesture.

Oriana was no fool. And she was certainly not childish enough to refuse the tacit offering of an alliance. While it was true that she scorned the barbarian way of slaying, it was also true that they were perhaps one of the best companions a demon hunter could have. While he rushed in, it would give her the perfect opportunity to find a nicely elevated platform and rain hell down on their foes (an expression she'd later chuckle at - if their foes were, in fact, demons, would it be more akin to raining heaven down on them?). And so, with little hesitation and no small amount of eyeballing, Oriana took the barbarian's hand, gave it one firm shake, then released him as quickly as she could.

Leah and Cain exhaled.

"And the artifact we shall have," she said coolly, turning from them all and ascending the stairs. After all, there'd be no amount of demon hunting should she neglect her armor and her trusted weapons. She would emerge moments later fulfilling every stereotype of demon hunter get-up: stiletto greaves, a crossbow in each hand, and a slender form covered almost entirely in thick, black leather and metal accents. The most prominent of these was of course the demon hunter's hood, which fell neatly atop her crown, casting the shadow that would make the Nephalem's glowing eyes all the more frightening. None of it was meant to seduce, but rather to give her protection and the ability to somersault to safety should the need arise. She could not be weighed down by the heavy chain mail of other slayers.

"To the Catacombs?" she asked, the tone of her voice failing to hide the smile beneath the hood.

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Character Portrait: Orianna Character Portrait: Arkas Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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While Arkas was busy making his hasty exit, Oriana was checking the tips of several of her arrows for sharpness. Finding them to meet her standards, she holstered one crossbow at her side and came to Leah and Cain, who found she looked quite severe in her traditional demon hunter gear. She lifted her head, letting the ambient light settle into the shadow of the hood so that they may look upon her face.

"It seems my new ally has forgotten a very important question," she said calmly. "What will the artifact look like? How will we know when we've found it?"

Cain nodded, but the old man was too slow. "I can't say for sure what exactly it is. But you're a Nephalem, right? You should feel its presence the same way your kind can feel demonic presence."

"Not the most accurate method, I'll admit," she said, frowning somewhat. "Will it be a weapon? An ordinary object?" By now, Arkas was shouting at her to come along, and she was stifling her protestations in order to save face in front of Cain and Leah.

"It could be anything. A sword, a key, a goblet even." Leah seemed to understand the frustration Oriana felt at being rushed, and so she gestured toward the door. "You'd better go. Good luck. Uncle Deckard and I will be here if you need anything."

Oriana was outside and within a few small paces of Arkas with almost preternatural speed. "You have no idea what you're looking for, do you?" Of course he doesn't, but such is the barbarian way: charge in first, smash heads in, ask questions later. It's a wonder they got anything accomplished.

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#, as written by Gasmask
The horse was spooked by the weather, that much Arkas could tell. The white shaggy pony gave a loud 'whuff' and a few nods when he approached. The barbarian patted the horse's face, murmuring something in the animals ear and secured his saddle, pulling off a sack and dumping it on the dirty stable floor.

"No. I don't. You're the book reader, you tell me." Arkas replied.

The first thing to leave the sack was a twin horned helmet with the two horns curling under the lip. Arkas hefted it up in his hand, hitting the top of it with his fist and made a dissatisfied noise and shoved it back in the burlap. The second item was a selection of throwing ax, and the he retrieved a few more items that looked like tubs of blue paint.

"Why think when I can get you too." It was probably one of the reasons he had got into a partnership with her.

Arkas spat into one of the tubs, crudely stirring it and raising it to his face to paint small viscous lines down his face and lips, giving him the appearance of a badly accented skull. When that was done, he tied his ponytail into a tight knot behind his head. It wouldn't do for it be caught in combat and have his throat slit.

Arkas stood up and started for the cathedral. "I'm ready. Let's kill."

The setting changes from The Slaughtered Calf Inn to The Cathedral

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The Cathedral sat near the outskirts of Tristram, swathed in fog and decorated with the stench of death. It did not take the acute senses of a demon hunter or the battle-beaten instincts of a barbarian to feel the foreboding and the evil that radiated from these once sacred grounds. Many skeletal remains had found their home both at the threshold of the Cathedral, and within its decaying walls. It was no longer a place of worship, but a place of eternal rest, and eternal unrest.

All of these things were par for the course for this old haunted church, but both Arkas and Oriana would feel that something was distinctly off. It was a sort of static in the air, like an electrical hum of energy, and the closer they got to the Cathedral, the stronger it became.



Oriana would not afford herself so much as a grimace, not in front of Arkas. Always the competitive adventure-seeker, she was determined to prove him wrong in his accusations that she was only a book reader and a thinker. Why did barbarians see such flaw with thinking ahead, anyway? Was it so wrong to ask a few questions? The truth was, Oriana had been to the Catacombs - the dusty, filth-infested tombs that lay within the bowels of the Cathedral - and had spent enough time there for anyone's liking. And it wasn't the animated skeletons, the leaping creatures who lashed out with reptilian tongues, the howling man-beasts who swung battle axes and great swords, or even the grinning succubi who sent orbs of enchanting light that tore through entire bodies. No, something else frightened Oriana about the Cathedral, but there would be no glint in her eyes that would betray her. She would remain impassive, stoic, collected. Arkas could not - and would not - see her as otherwise.

The first thing amiss, she noticed, was the complete lack of activity. Often the Cathedral grounds were patrolled by skeleton soldiers or the walking dead, but there was nothing. Her glowing eyes surveyed their surroundings, feeling even more unsettled. Absentmindedly, she drew nearer to Arkas, as if the mere girth of his person would provide some form of security or reassurance that she was only being paranoid, or too cautious.

"Well," she said firmly, without so much as a quiver to her voice. "Shall we?"

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#, as written by Gasmask
Arkas grunted, nodding his answer to her question as he stalked into the grounds. The warrior cleared his throat and spat onto the unhallowed ground. It wouldn't go down well to have his calls and taunts get stuck in his throat in the middle of a battle, it was no lie that they were important to the barbarian way.

"You can't feel that, hunter?" Arkas stopped in his tracks, the red hairs on the back of his neck sticking up and the scorch mark on his bare shoulder tingled once again. It told him something about the church, something that made him uneasy but giddy at the same time. Arkas would turn around and grin lopsidedly. "The slaughter nears"

Arkas wasn't afraid, he'd seen more fearsome sights in Diablo's army at the steps of Mount Arreat. "We forgot a necromancer, hunter." He growled, looking smug. If only to disturb his companion and turn the numerous dead against their infernal masters.

The barbarian felt the daggers on either side of his waist, pausing over them for a moment before drawing the great-sword from his back and running it across the closest gravestone he could find to hone the edge. As he did so, he would look ahead at the empty grounds.

"Let's hope the dead aren't so dead. It's been awhile since I've drunk out of a skull."

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As the edge of Arkas' sword eased across the face of the gravestone, the ground began to rumble. Whispers seemed to rise from earth, concealed in the fog that hung low to the ground.

Hands burst forth from the dirt, the mist began to swirl around, and a flurry of bats came to assail them. When finally they cleared, Arkas and Oriana would find themselves surrounded by a sizable army of skeletons and the undead. Something was different about them, though. Rather than leap for the adventurers, as they had been known to do, they stood completely still, staring, circled around them.



At the onset of the rumbling, Oriana's crossbows were already hoisted high, her feet poised to send her somersaulting for a better vantage point should she need it. Knowing that her arrows would be useless against the bare form of a skeleton, she sent an arrow flying into the first walking dead to come crawling from its grave. The arrow splashed into its head, knocking the unholy creature down, but it did not explode into a all-too-pleasing spatter of blood and guts. Instead, it pushed itself to its feet, once again standing with the others and staring.

She lowered her crossbows. "That was not quite what I expected," she said, angling herself so that her back was to Arkas' back.

While Oriana remained tense, alert, her weapons lowered only slightly, Arkas' words seemed to sink in all at once. "A necromancer?" Then, a smirk came ambling across her lips and she lowered the crossbows completely. "I don't think we've forgotten one at all," she said, gesturing toward them. "They're being controlled." She looked over her shoulders at the barbarian. "And I'm guessing Mount Arreat doesn't have a school for those rogue barbarians interested in black magic. So who's controlling them?"

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Arkas stabbed the point of his greatsword into the ground, turning his head to whisper. "Whoever they are, they aren't helping their reputation." The barbarian swung his point free of the dirt and pointed it at the closest skeleton. "No closer, or someone loses their head again." Arkas snarled to the simple minded undead, switching one of his free hands to grip the hilt properly.

Arkas knew he'd need all his cleaving power to make sure the skeletons stayed down, the zombies weren't much of a problem with his allies accurate bolts. "Stop playing and come closer, 'mancer. It'd only be one of your kind." The warrior took a brave step forward, but so far as to break the back-to-back.

Arkas was like any other barbarian. Orianna was lucky she hadn't drawn a true first blood, otherwise there would've been a lot more action to his threats against the dead and their hidden master.

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As if in response to the barbarian's demand, the resurrected all turned and began to stumble toward the Cathedral. They groaned and their bones gnashed together, nothing but the magic of reanimation propelling them forward.

Oriana narrowed her eyes at their sudden lurch forward. "I guess he's going to lead us straight to him." She would wait until the entirety of the army would pass them before turning toward Arkas. For the time being, at least, she did not feel any ill-will toward him, and the usual vitriol between demon hunter and barbarian had been silenced. Now, he was an ally, someone whose back she would watch if it meant her own life. Allegiance was blind in the face of pure evil.

"The question is," she said, her eyes caged on the rotted doors of the church. "Is he friend or foe?"

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"Depends." The barbarian grunted and signaled for the hunter to follow him, keeping an eye on the last unholy creature to enter the foreboding church doors. "We haven't walked up here just to come back because a few skeletons gave us the spooks." Arkas replied, keeping his sword out as he opened the door and ushered the hunter to go first.

"You've got the eyes, I've got the sword." The barbarian grunted. Going first meant she could pinpoint any traps that would lie for them inside the church itself or maybe the master of the passive undead creatures that had proceeded them. Not to mention she was probably deft enough to dodge the aforementioned traps.

Not that Arkas couldn't... Damn crossbow wielding wench thought she was better than him, he'd prove her wrong when he killed the necromancer solo.