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Seasons of the Lich

Faerun

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a part of Seasons of the Lich, by The Cynic.

Faerun - it is a realm of impossible wonder; a world of the holy and horror, heroes and monsters, lovers and infidels, battles and tragedies.

The Cynic holds sovereignty over Faerun, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

526 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://www.wizards.com/dnd/

Setting

Default Location for ╠Seasons of the Lich╣
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Faerun

Faerun - it is a realm of impossible wonder; a world of the holy and horror, heroes and monsters, lovers and infidels, battles and tragedies.

Minimap

Faerun is a part of Seasons of the Lich.

1 Places in Faerun:

5 Characters Here

Caleb Beth-dagon [7] "Salvation through service."
Nevae [4] "Oh, I had a conscience once. But alas, I seem to have forgotten where I put it."
The Crowcatcher [3] "...Turned Craven Demean, A Mere Crow To Be Seen."
Azrael Zakesh [3] "There is no sense in thinking of the future, for often times it never comes."
Syranni Yukreth [1] "Not a beauty nor a charm, but a servitor of the wild."

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Character Portrait: Caine Abel Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon Character Portrait: Veilyn Glannath Character Portrait: Aletrayu Habretta Character Portrait: Azrael Zakesh Character Portrait: Araina Narthanellyn Character Portrait: Brolo
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Character Portrait: Caine Abel Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon Character Portrait: Veilyn Glannath Character Portrait: Aletrayu Habretta Character Portrait: Azrael Zakesh Character Portrait: Araina Narthanellyn Character Portrait: Brolo Character Portrait: Lucien Alamancie
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#, as written by Celedia
.

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Character Portrait: Caine Abel Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon Character Portrait: Veilyn Glannath Character Portrait: Azrael Zakesh Character Portrait: Brolo Character Portrait: Syranni Yukreth
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Azrael

As Azrael stood near the fire it seemed everyone was going to be getting up, apparently the group being in sync on this particular occasion. The newest edition to the ensemble was Caine. Caine was the usual fighter type, always ready for action or more accurately, always yearning for action. Azrael didn't mind the man though, in fact out of all the men in the group he probably liked Caine the most, especially since they both seemed to share a disliking for the sorcerer. He nodded to the Fighter before he began to poke the fire, only turning away when Caleb spoke. "Aye, the sun will dawn within the next hour and we must be prepared to leave thereafter." As much as he liked sitting around and observing those in the group, he was about ready to get going, the need to move around and have a bit of fun overwhelming. "I encourage you all of you to prepare and provision…" Azrael nodded again, this time towards Caleb, deciding not to move immediately but already going over what he would need to do in order to be totally prepared for the departure. He was already wearing his armor and weapons, so the only thing he really needed to do was get all his equipment together and make sure he had his rations packed up which would take no time at all. Caleb departed quickly though and as much as he hated to see the woman leave he had expected it, the reliable one as always, going to prepare herself as soon as she advised others to do so.

As much as focusing on beautiful women would have been Azrael’s pleasure, yet another person, Veilyn, had joined. The rogue was of great interest to Azrael, the half-elf already knowing a good bit about the Drow. He was a former member of the Shadow Thieves Guild, and a traitor at that, one that had made quite a few enemies before his quick departure. Azrael knew this because he had been hired to eliminate the rogue, and while he was currently enjoying the current situation as it suited his needs, he would eventually fulfill his contract and end the Drow's life. As for when he wasn’t quite sure, all he knew at the moment was that the rogue, as was the rest of the group, always close. That meant there would be an abundance of opportunities for Azrael to do what he was paid to do in the near future. Besides, when the time came he would gladly finish it, he didn’t much care for the man and the fact that he was a Drow made it all the easier, not that he had as much hate as a full-blood would have, but he still had a general distaste for the dark-skinned dwellers of the underworld. So, for the time being he would simply watch the man, learning whatever he didn’t already know as he continued his journey as part of Bloodsails Inc.

"I am not too late to this party, am I? Fashionably late is one thing, but most of you are here and that makes me feel like I am interrupting something. I hope that is not the case." It was a ridiculous notion, to think he would be interrupting something at such a time, though it was most likely just Azrael’s dislike of the man causing him to punch holes in everything he said. The Drow didn’t stop there though, he continued, his previous comment being passed up even by him. "So... breakfast?" The assassin was hungry but not nearly hungry enough to accept food from the Drow, even with his stone he wouldn’t feel comfortable, besides he had his own ration packed away just for such an occasion, although the annoyance of hunger had yet to bother him so it was just as well, he didn’t need any food. Azrael shook his head as he passed Veilyn, uttering a polite, “No thank you” before heading towards his humble camp abode. On the way he shot a nod and smile to Syranni who had just arrived before going off and disappearing into his tent.

It wasn’t until inside his tent that the smile disappeared, not that it had been insincere but he just didn’t see the point in continuing to smile whilst alone. Instead he got straight to business, checking the gear he had equipped to make sure he had the various items he always kept with him, his weapons, certain magical trinkets, and of course the other various tools of his trade. Then he got his bedroll nice and neat, situating it along with spare clothing and plenty of his own rations and other odds and ends. It didn’t really take him long to pack up but he took advantage of every minute of it, going slow and making sure he had absolutely everything accounted for, and even when he had finished he didn’t leave the tent, instead he sat down and just stared down at the tents entrance. Azrael was focusing himself, going over everything in his head as a final checklist, because in his experience one could never be too prepared. Besides, if you ever forgot something it would end up being the exact thing you needed later on. He didn’t want to take too long though, the presence of beautiful women all gathered in one location made it hard for him to concentrate since he would much rather be outside with them, having fun and flirting shamelessly.That would come soon though, after he finished his checkup, he couldn't afford to miss a thing, and once he left the tent he would rather not have to end his conversation with the others in the camp to go grab an item he forgot the first time.

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#, as written by Modesty
Nevae
❄ ❄ ❄


Night ebbed, and slumber along with it. Dawn crept in, slowly taking it’s place, bringing forth a natural clock that was imbedded in diurnal creatures. As if on que, moments before first light, thick eyelashes fluttered opened. Sigh like gasp, barely audible, parted petal hued lips as if breathing life into a forever-restful body. Slender figure rose, arms reaching above head and smile befitting lips much like a cat stretching after a comfortable nap. Slow, careful movements worked skilled fingers through lengthy locks, detangling any knots that might have accrued from the night past. Quietly, cloak of cerulean and winter was befitted around lithe shoulders. In like fashion, adornments of silver and precious gem were replaced along fingers, wrists, forehead and throat. Properly attired, if such revealing garments could be so called, hands parted the hide tent and Nevae emerged.

It was then that the early morning light fell on her, she who was still smiling. From icy eyes, to light attire, to pale hair; her figure was extremely out of place amidst the dismal camp of soot, soldier and soil. Porcelain skin, white and completely unmarred, was equally juxtaposed amidst scarred and battle hardened warriors. To further her discordance with her surroundings, deceptively youthful features aged her naught more than seventeen years—barely an adult in many regions of the realm. However strange her appearance within the encampment, Nevae had yet to be questioned. Zacchaeus had seen fit to hire her services, and she was always pleasant, well-mannered and friendly.

That moment was no exception. Caleb, the paladin, walked passed Neave towards her tent. Blue eyes slid over the woman’s face, marking the stress that was clearly defined in strikingly feminine features. The cleric dipped her head in quiet greeting. Her voice was soft, near whisper while mindful of others that might not have woken, “Morning.”

Despite greeting, the shining woman did not linger for idle conversation. Instead, she sought the small gathering that had already congregated in the early hours around the fire. Vision of frost swept across the scene, quickly taking note. The monk, Aletreyu, was back at forest edge, practicing discipline in the routine of her early morning meditation- such dedication that Nevae found unbefitting to her own personal desires. A handful of others were closer to the fire. In time, it seemed, to watch another leave. Azrael rose, sliding past her and towards his tent. As he walked past her, she nodded and murmured her hellos, but continued on her way.

When she had entered the circle of fellow mercenaries, it was then her voice rose to more audible levels, having clearly distinguished that the majority of the company had already rose. Smile, ever-present, remained fixed the true on bow shaped lips. ”Fair morning.”

Her hand raised, an offering to the group. Within delicate fingers was grasped a few packets containing honey and spices to add to morning oats. The result ignited senses to a famished state and then quell them, leaving companions well sated. “Did someone say breakfast? I’m famished.”

It was an invitation for any to join her.

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Sparks flew into the darkened skies as Caine tossed the stick into the fire. He hadn't much use for it now anyway, as Caleb encouraged everyone to prepare. A scarred eyebrow rose as he watched the paladin take her leave of the fire and set off to her own tent. Once safely out of distance, Caine turned to the rest of his companions and said, "One of the uptight sorts, ain't she?" He said in jest. "Guess it comes with the title of paladin. Her god must not allow humor," Caine said with rough laughter. Then he himself stood, as several other of his companions arrived. In such a sort amount of time, the camp managed to become rather busy, despite the true break of dawn being a bit off.

He couldn't help but chuckle at the Druidess's offer of help. Unsurprisingly, he wasn't going to take her up on that offer. What kind of man would he be if he allowed some twig of an elf to carry his equipment for him. Instead, he curtly shook his head with a grin. A fighter didn't need help. Then he addressed Veilyn, "Yeah, can't you tell? We're having a party. Sadly, we already drank all the booze," He said, patting the man on the shoulder as he walked past. "We're getting ready to leave. You're more than welcome to make breakfast, just don't expect me to play cook," he said as he made his way to his tent. Like anyone expected Caine to be able to cook. The fact of the matter was that he had enough provisions for himself. Of course if anyone would be kind enough to make said breakfast, he wouldn't be so rude as to refuse warm food.

Back in his tent, Caine began to don his armor. First came the steel plates for his boots, then the greaves. Next came a simple chainmail shirt over which his aged halfplate armor. He slipped his hands into the Tymora blessed gauntlets. He could feel the warmth from the gloves in his fingers, but no tingling came from the enchantment. Finally suited in his armor, he rolled his neck and shoulders, expelling what tiredness he had left in his body. Lastly, he donned his cloak and tossed his silver sword and shield over his shoulder and on his back. This was all the fighter had with him. Caine didn't have much in the way of belongings on the road. Just his armor, his clothing, provisions, and himself.

He stepped out of his tent, feeling more comfortable in his armor than he had out of it. He made his way back to the fire and took his seat once again, awaiting the signal that this journey was to begin. He also kept an eye out for the so-called breakfast that was mentioned earlier. He was also greeted by sight of Nevae. "Morning," he said, acknowledging the cleric.

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Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon Character Portrait: The Crowcatcher
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Aletrayu Habretta


Caleb had long since retreated back into her solitude with the denial that anything was wrong, and them Brolo's excitable voice broke through the air. It wasn't that Aletrayu attested to being in his presence, it was just the simple fact that he was far too dominating in personality. A little bit threatening, too. The Monk would not speak about Caine's punch, knowing that the fighter knew better than that. Speaking of the devil, the man joined the growing group, "I don't punch women, Kanvergiss," He replied to the sorcerer's comment, "Especially when one can punch harder than me." The woman would have laughed should it be appropriate, but she didn't find the humor in it today. Usually she enjoyed Caine's attempts at lightening the gloomy mood, but not today. Sleep deprived, hungry - she was far from being pleasant. One of these days, though, Caine and herself would have to match their skills against one another. Perhaps at a later date.

She realized that when she needed an excuse to walk away from the group, she had none. Her provisions were already packed up. Aletrayu carried more than the rest because she did not hone any weapons. There were some extra objects within her arsenal should she need them, and her set was quite heavy. Thankfully, countless years of hard training without distractions made her stronger than she had ever been. The monk may not be at the pinnacle of her abilities, but when it came down to muscle and physical power, she was nearly there. She just had to be without a weapon in her hand.

The group was an awkward one; each person being from a different corner of the realm as well as racially different, There was a good mixture of all the different species, save for the drow. That starless creature no one trusted. In fact, did anyone trust anyone in here at all? You have Brolo, who is about as daunting as ever. For some reason, she wouldn't trust him with her eyes open, much less closed for one moment. Caleb was just quiet. Caine was pleasant to be around, but she wasn't completely sure of his motives. Syranni, the wood elf, was very dangerous being a woman that probably killed a ton of Humans in her years while in protection of her forest dwelling. It did not appear that she liked the presence of normal people. She talked to no one save for her feline companion. The rest were still being figured out, as judgmental as Aletrayu was known to be.

Then, out of nowhere (like always) the phantom menace of Zaccheus assembled right in front of them. It was laughable, really, how Veilyn almost seemed unnerved by the man's presence. His flesh was disgusting; like a carcass gone too long without warm running blood. His appearance overall was something that not many could enjoy putting their eyes upon. “Good morning, my intrepid friends! I trust you are all ready to depart?” the man forever hugged by abyssal hue questioned, or maybe lightly demanded.

With a voice as soft as a gentle wisp of dancing smoke, she would speak where the drow could not find the intestinal fortitude to, "Good morning. Ready to depart? Perhaps. However, you can trust the bellies of your men and women may need a little filling. It would be very inadvisable to go without food, yes? Perhaps you could join us for a meal, if you do in fact eat at all."

She was ready to go, even in spite of being a little bit on the hungry side. This mission just needed to be over so that she could return to her peaceful nation, and continue her practice. There was nothing else that she held more dearly than the perfection of her unarmed craft. Men were few and in between for her, if any at all. She just didn't have the time for that kind of romance. Every waking moment of her life was spent in preparation of battle, the conquest of peace, and the connection of her inner being with the husk of her.

She could not remember having wanted to set upon this voyage, especially with all of these unwelcome strangers. The bounty from the quest's ending was very tempting, but the possibility of self growth was even more so. Realizing that she was just standing around, Aletrayu took a seat among the fire to rest her legs. The time she had spent in her state of meditation was immeasurable, and unknown. She could have been out in the woods for hours without knowing it.

With utmost patience, she placed an elbow on her right thigh, and allowed her chin to rest in the soft palm of her hand. Keeping that feminine satin of her flesh was just one of many perks gained when not wielding a weapons for countless years.

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Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon Character Portrait: The Crowcatcher
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C R O W

Obsidian oculars turned in his sockets, swooping down upon brusque monk beneath a thick raven veil. He held her in his scrutiny, until a sinister arc formed atop his lips and he spoke in a tone only befitting of he. "I do not eat the fodder of mortals," he admitted, perhaps only to unnerve her. "And though I prefer you lot strapping and fit - I having more important matters to see to. So..." he cleared his throat and glanced at a frigid form pacing for the atypical party. His grin broadened. "Ah - the priestess of Auril! So good of you to join us. I must confessed, I longed to see your bitter beauty again!" A rouse, all of it. A beast like he had no inclinations towards mere mortals. But with that all side, he truly had a pressing agenda. "To the east of the Cloakwood, a gypsy caravan has recently caught the eye of a small Brotherhood of brigands that frequent the outskirts of the forest. At the moment, they have posed a moderate threat and have attempted to raid the gypsies on two unsuccessful and separate accounts. These caravans have no lack of valuable goods...very attractive to bandits and mercenaries alike." The lythari was none too subtle in his allusions.

The lean elf's digits slipped behind his spine and laced together, and then he began to circle the fire. With every step, his eyes bore deep into the faces of his employees. Dissecting them, watching them..."I implore you to seek out this caravan on your journey to Baldur's Gate. You lot are unburdened with wagons and children - it will be easy to intercept their progress - hopefully before the elusive Brotherhood." A curve still teased the ashen seams of his mouth, and his onyx eyes twinkled insidiously in the light of the flames. "I am certain if you pose as their guard, they will have no reservations to accept your aid...nor rewarding your efforts." It was a tantalizing prospect on all accounts. A decent reward, thrilling exotic company, good food and wine along the way - and of
course - the opportunity to scalp a few bandits to boot. Many outposts in the cities paid well per head.

It was by then that the paladin had sifted her way in quietly, standing idle with her arms crossed upon her breastplate. The Lythari gestured towards her, "Your captain will be the noble Beth-dagon. I am sure you have heard tales of her murderous brother, but I confident that there is no finer champion in all of Amn." His lips peeled back, revealing a pearly grin adorned with sharp canines. Caleb's countenance flinched at the remark, but she kept herself composed, remaining statuesque and silent. Her brother was a sensitive issue, she loathed for any to speak of it. Abel Beth-dagon was a traitor, Shadowdancer, and an assassin...one with an abdominal reputation and a ledger dripping with innocent blood. The Lythari knew how she felt about it, the Lythari seemed to know everything, yet he jabbed at everyone's sore spots without the slightest inhibition. "She will be acting upon my behalf...I expect all of you to do her bidding," his words grew heavy and malicious, and darkened in his throat. It was a warning - insubordination would mean no money in their pockets, or worse, depending on how he was feeling that day.

"Your current mission is to reach the city of Baldur's Gate within half a fort-night. There I will meet you again and debrief you - OH! Would you look at the time..." The lythari gazed beyond the awning, where the horizon had crept over the top breasts of the canopy and dove into the forest, shedding dim rays upon the autumn leaves. Time to go... "Farwell, friends!" he chimed, dissipating into a fog of black mist.

K N I G H T

Icy eyes narrowed within the gloom, waiting for the fading remnants of Zedek's presence to be carried off by the morning's gelid breeze. A soundless sigh escaped her breast. It is time... "Regrettably, our morning has been concluded. Gather what you can of your provisions. I possess one Bag of Holding that will lighten the burden of bedrolls and other equipment. Hand me what you do not require on the day's road, then we shall be off." It had been quite some time since she had journeyed without a heavy-horse. She disdained going on foot - she yearned to be in a saddle again. Alas, the beasts were expensive, and she and her companions - for the
time being - were short on gold. Now then...

"Zedek has granted us half a fortnight to reach the capital. That gives us seven days, yet by cross-country we could easily reach Wrym's Crossing in two. I believe he has allotted us this extra time to take care of business - either our's or his own." Clearly, there were things Zedek had to get done, and there were many tasks the mercenaries could fulfil before then. "We will accompany the gypsy caravan to the Friendly Arm, restock from there, then head to the city." If anything else happens along the way, well...at least they had the time for it.

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#, as written by mombie
Syranni Yukreth

There he was; a man of enigmatic countenance and gruesome gossamer flesh. It was none other than the male she donned 'Black Bird' in the silent and self-reserved space of her cranium. There was nothing alluring about him, but something mysteriously insidious about the tuning of his vocals when words crept from his constantly smirking lips. The orders were passed through that smile, which was nothing short of a friendly guise. He even went so far as to insult the common needs of mortals, as though he attempted to put a etch a permanent shiver through their bones. Indeed, he was creepy, and most kept their lips sealed in his auspicious presence, but the ranger did not know who was afraid, and who wasn't. Fear was something hidden deep within one's core, for there was a need to allow valor to the forefront. Especially in times such as this one. Her eyes, like luster jades embedded deep within sockets, raked over his now perfectly sunlit figure. However, when he departed so quickly as he came, the wood elf felt a heaviness lifted from the traveling group. It was a rarity to see anyone eager to set their eyes upon Zedek.

Following the wavering visage of the Crow, was a woman with a physical strength seemingly matching that of her own beating organ. Caleb was a leader that Syranni welcomed with open arms, despite the fact that she did not take too kindly to the mortal species. They were as Zedek stated about their food, fodder; fouled creatures that devastated the earth with their presence, and did as they pleased with no regard to anyone else. The Knight's words were taken into account, as they were more of a demand than anything. The ranger did not need most of what she had brought with her; a tent, most unnecessary of all the things. After all, was she not a creature that slumbered peacefully beneath a wide floral canopy? The vibrations of the earth, including its monstrous empyrean storms were welcome upon her flesh as they felt the need to come.

Glancing from Caleb to her feline companion, Syranni gave it one last tap on the shoulder blades before summoning her horse. Of all the animals she had tamed on her life's voyage, this creature would not have been one of them. The rangers were notorious for climbing upon the backs and allowing a myriad of animals to carry them. Still, as the beast's hooves thundered gently upon the surface, there was something about them - powerful and fleeting. Like her cat, the horse also had coils of sinew that bulged as a display of their strength and stamina. Fingers caressed the softest fur, which shone brilliantly with that subtle touch of the morning sun.

Most of her things she would leave behind, able to fend for herself without the mundane and common necessities. The only objects that would be carried upon her person were weapons, and whatever she had of monetary value; like money. "Aye, I can leave everything but weapons behind, Caleb. I am not beneath relying on the wilderness and the earth for my needs." It was no insult, as much as it could have come off as being, "It is more important that the mortals carry their things, rather than a wood elf." Okay, so many it was a slightly crass statement. Who could blame her, though? For countless years the humans have stomped across the earth, their imprints violent and disastrous. Syranni was not about to sugar coat her words because there were some mortals present. Those that knew her found that the woman was silent, but what she had to say was more along the lines of brash. The truth hurts, you know?

Her bottom was flushed upon the horse's back, choosing not to have it saddled. It was demeaning for a beast to be bound, was it not? Syranni would lightly grip the thick coils of an ebony mane, and direct the creature with the meat of her thick thighs. Most of her demands were but silent whispers that the animal could understand, and she too could understand its snorts, grunts, and secret words. Even the tiring of its muscles, and the sluggish pace could be well comprehended by the ranger as a meager plea for rest. To Syranni, it was more than just speaking with the creatures of this world; it was understanding that their bodies spoke just as loudly.

Mounted upon the fleshy four-legged vessel, she would wait patiently for the others so that they could embark upon this small quest to the Friendly Arm.

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Character Portrait: Nevae
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#, as written by Modesty
Nevae
❄ ❄ ❄


The reply in such a manner that was only fitting to one as cabalistic as he. While slender eyebrow itched to arch in question, porcelain façade remained unmoving. Nevae’s face was always the careful courtier’s mask, un-hinting at any such thoughts that might have brewed beneath and instead maintaining an ever-present pleasant demeanor. The creature, as she was unsure what race he was in particular, turned attentions to her in murmured greeting. While no words replied from bowed lips, a small curtsey was given for show. Head bent in small acknowledgement for the compliment, silence given to his followed words.

Interest piqued as conversation turned to duty. Without waiting for task the word ‘gypsy’ inspired thoughts of coin, full knowledge known of their hording. Corner of rouge lips tugged, threating a wider smile, at the possibilities. It appeared that the lythari was giving her opportunity to kill three birds with one stone: paid task, reward for said task and spreading the fear word of Auril, which was reward in it’s own. How gracious. And if wine was shared perhaps a bed might be as well, a welcomed idea to pass the time.

Pale vision followed gesture, eyes leading to the paladin. Employer named said woman lead and Nevae quietly nodded her understanding. Vision brightened with minor amusement as she watched the warrior woman stiffen at mention of less than favourable memories; a result no doubt intended from the shaded man. The warning of heeding was not lost on the priestess, and she would obey. Thoughts of abeyance of pay were less than acceptable in the heart of one who desire so much more. It was in quiet contemplation that she wondered why the crow-like fiend held so much interest in the statuesque woman, though the curiosity was uncharacteristic and short lived.

And then he was gone.

Person turned, attention given to the new person in charge. All business, no pleasure… Nevae mused, listening as Caleb addressed them. Breakfast concluded the slender Illuskin again thanked Veilyn for the morning snack before retreating to her empty tent. Her trinkets of high importance were stashed about her person, most of which were worn. Weapons were strapped in place, a mace at her side and dagger in her new boot. Shield, pretty and new, was hoisted to back. With tent and bedroll tied together the young priestess returned to place them in the bag of holding.

”Ready on your word.” The statement gave notice that she was set to leave at moment’s notice as well as an agreement to follow the woman as stand-in leader for their shadowy employer. Thoughts drifted to the gypsies and the voyage ahead, bring yet another smile to pretty face. Such wondering was cut short as attention drew to the wood elf who spoke, condescending attitude to materialistic possessions. Whether intended or not it was directed at Nevae, she who held all things of monetary value dear. Words, less than kind, were bit back. Auril's wrath would meet the elf at a time when her job wasn't on the line.

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Character Portrait: Balthazar
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B A L ʈ H A Z A R
Even before the Lady of the Night made her exit off the stage, the young adventurers were ready to move on to greater things. Except, for one man sleeping in a tent much farther away from the fire. As the nightmare played, he tossed and turned. Night had never brought him the comfort a believer of the Mistress would hope.

The man woke up with a start. His tent was colder than the rest but he was drenched in sweat. His breathing was shallower and his eyes wide open. Stupid kid. Stupid dreams, he thought and spat on the tent floor. Every night he would have the same nightmare and every night he would wake up a few minutes before daybreak in the same condition. He was feeling tired. Shaking off the feeling he stepped out but went back in when he realized that the sight of a naked man would impress nobody.

Keep at it. Don't repent. Then wonder why this happens,the priest said.

Shut it, old man. After finishing his business, Balthazar packed up and he reached the bonfire just as their leader started speaking. Balthazar looked at the rest. The kid had interacted with most of them, hiding Balthazar's true motive. As usual, the cruel and cunning Remi knew how to turn bad luck around. Most of them would believe Balthazar was a fool; a idiot who was naught a threat. Perfect cover.

The Crowcatcher, as the man had introduced himself (truth be told, Balthazar had no idea what creature The Crowcatcher was; he was merely making assumptions. Once more interaction were possible, the creature behind the mask would be revealed.), started off with refusing the offer for breakfast. For a moment Balthazar considered eating, otherwise the Kid would clamor about being on an empty stomach. Balthazar decide against breakfast. He knew nothing about the quality of the food prepared and would rather not poison himself.

A dealer in shadows. Hmm. Not one to be underestimated. Nevertheless, we are here for a reason. How long before you decide? the Merchant asked.

You listen here, Balthazar began, I'll finish off the job after I find out why all you idiots managed to get in my head. Once I remove you all... The raven haired elf continued talking; this time about business. He talked about a gypsy caravan filled with valuables and how protecting the caravan would be good for them.Fattening us up, eh Crow? The Merchant spoke.

Balthazar ignored the Merchant's comment. When the man chose the Paladin as his stand-in leader, Balthzar was surprised. He isn't going to travel with us? he thought as the Crowcatcher's voice turned threatening. Either we follow her or we are killed by him, the hidden words beneath the flowery language informed Balthazar. Balthazar looked at the Paladin with a sense of hatred. Paladins were the kind of people out of remove all the fun from life. If the Crowcatcher chose her to be the leader, it meant one of two things. Either she was the strongest among equals (Most here could beat Balthzar if they knew he was coming. But if they didn't, then nothing could save them from Kelemvor) or she was so stupid that she would not make a move when handed such power.

It didn't matter for now. Balthazar kept his belongings in the bag of holding. Zedek, the name the paladin called the Crowcatcher by, had already left in the shadows. Hopefully the next seven days would be better than having to look at the same ten faces again and again and decide which one is worth the risk.

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#, as written by Celedia
-=Araina=-


The chatter of the group amused the druidess, even causing the faintest flicker of a smile to ghost her lips before she caught herself. Perhaps other than the stoic Caleb and the silent Syranni, she could peg each and every one of her companions personalities simply from their idle chatter or lingering gazes, their facial twitches and their habitual quirks.

If anyone had tried to read Araina in the same way though, they would most likely come up empty handed. As the rest spoke amongst themselves, she stood still amongst the tree line and even as all eyes turned to their employer, the elusive and enigmatic Zedek, the druid still kept the side of her lean frame pressed lightly against the bark.

It was only after he had laid down his plans for the group that she drew in a subtle yet quickened breath. We’re going to a city…. Her eyes narrowed at the thought before settling into a blank stare as she focused on their intrepid leader, the Paladin, instead.

One last figure came from their tent towards the campfire as the humans began to gather their accoutrements. Balthazar, as he called himself, caused the fine hairs upon her arms and the back of her neck to rise. Though all humans seemed to be an affront against nature, this shadowy figure seemed even more so though she couldn’t quite peg down the reasoning.

Perhaps it was the subtle facial expressions that crossed his countenance even when there was no one speaking to him. Perhaps he was simply an imaginative soul who played out scenarios in his head while keeping his words to his self. Still, at least someone that was obviously unsettled was easier to plan around than those that pretended neutrality while hiding evil intent.

The druidess shook her head once, long flame-like locks tousling gently about her lithe form as she wandered towards Syranni and her steed. Laying a calm hand upon the horses flank to let it know that she approached from behind, she skimmed her hand over the rest of its coat until she was about to touch the ranger’s leg then withdrew her hand to her side once more. Looking up to the ranger, she smiled truly and inclined her head towards the girl. “Our time in the forest grows to a close.” She voiced her thoughts, to no one in particular yet she knew that the other woodland elf felt the same. “Let us hope that we do not accidentally kill someone in this human city.” As she turned to await Caleb’s lead, she planted her staff firmly into the ground beside her.

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Veilyn enjoyed playing this game with the young Nevae. It was like playful fencing, a touch here, a touch there. The words were soft but they hid a sharp meaning. Currently, the rogue liked to think he was winning, however arbitrary the lead might have been, but the gods themselves likely had not a inkling of what Nevae was really after. She wasn't that foolish that she'd be after love, Veilyn knew that much, and that was all that mattered for now.

Zaccheus announced to the group their next destination, the city of Baldur's Gate, and their mission thereto. It was simple, plebeian in comparison to what Veilyn had past experienced and expected from the enigmatic leader, but he supposed that every adventure started somewhere, often with giant rats or, in this case, bandits. Perhaps he would lighten the load of the travelers, so that in the future, they would not be so burdened with wealth that attracted those who wished them harm. After all, he was a gentleman.

The adagial "floor" fell then into the possession of the paladin as Zaccheus proclaimed her their captain and de facto leader. She offered the party the use of her bag of holding to carry their things, and was quick to assert that Zaccheus had given them more than enough time to reach the capital. Veilyn did not bother to hand over his reverie mat, as it did not burden him overmuch, and the burden it did present was useful in keeping him fit. As a matter of fact, Veilyn brought nothing but what he saw practical and could fit in his pack. He had several stashes in the capital should he need anything, so he did not worry. Content with travelling as he was, he stood back and observed the rest of the party.

The first to speak up was Syranni, the wood elven ranger. Veilyn's suspicions that she was the kind of surface elf that killed people for trouncing on the flowers that grew in her precious little forest were confirmed when she spoke about not needing to bring anything. Of course, Veilyn carried not much but items of practicality, but he did not brag about it as if it were some kind of contest and the one who relies on material things the least would win some sort of prize. Pride is just as terrible a sin as greed. It's as if the girl cared more about other's perception of her regard for nature than her actual regard. Veilyn's distaste only increased at the sight of her horse, seemingly the only one in the group.

It would seem that you rely on nature even more than yourself. Veilyn muttered under his breath, though it was likely that Nevae had overheard due to her proximity. He decided not to waste any more thoughts on the ranger, and turned his attention to Balthazar. Veilyn hadn't yet formed an opinion on the man, but it was clear that he was not right in the head. He currently observed the man as he arrived, quiet, and seemingly lost in his own thoughts. The one time that Veilyn had interacted with him at length revealed that he was somewhat absent minded. In fact, he seemed like a kid, and it made Veilyn wonder why Zaccheus brought him on. The man had his own motives, and that's all Veilyn had to say about that.

The time to depart seemed to near, and in case Caleb did not pick up that he too was ready, he spoke up. "I'll follow you to the ends of the earth, my lady Beth-Dagon," He bowed comically low and gave her a a playful, mocking smile, and then finished, "If you'll have me, that is."

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#, as written by Baby
Johnathan of the Illumination.


-The night before



No one doubts the exarch of Tempus
Whose dogma has yet to forsake us.
Remember my friends, when the troops are led,
The Red Knight is always, three steps ahead.


Before Johnathan could bow, his audience stood up and shook the ground with their stomps. Their hands were endlessly clashing with an applause that was surreptitiously asking for another tale by boosting the bard’s ego and egging him for more.

Johnathan knew this trick well and occasionally deluded his audience by appearing to be touched by their applause and giving them another tale. But tonight he was tired and had to travel to Baldur’s Gate in a few hours to serve as a replacement in a mission. He raised his instrument to the audience of Tethyr and took a bow, his silent response to their request for more. When they calmed, Johnathan spoke

“Happy birthday princess Zandra. And may your life be filled with many more.” Johnathan’s deep, musical voice echoed in the hall, easily reaching the princess, sitting on a throne-like chair in the far back. The princess was still young and easily excitable, and had a small group of her female peers seated next to her. Johnathan made it a point to watch her intently with his eyes until her pale cheeks reddened in a blush under his seemingly passionate stare. His serious face lifted with a smile, directed at her and left his face when he broke eye contact, so everyone else could see that the smile was only for the princess. That motion would stir gossip for the people of Tethyr, and be awarded plenty of giggles from the princess’s entourage.

With that, he left the stage, his violin being carefully placed in its makeshift holster on his back, where his quiver would normally be. He was greeted by blue eyes, of similar size but more intensity than his own. “Johnathan. I do wish you would stare at me like that. I am your mentee.” The woman hissed, giving Johnathan a jealous frown and lowering her steel blue eyes.

“Allora, you know that no matter how many other women come into my life, you are still the-“ Johnathan was joined by Allora, who rolled her eyes as they both recited his famous line given to her. “-apple of my eye.” “Yes, yes Johnathan. Sing me a song I haven’t heard before.” Johnathan wasn’t offended by his mentee’s unrefined remarks, after 20 years, he was used to it. Even when she was a child, Allora was very possessive and hated seeing Johnathan with another being, be it man or woman. Johnathan found this both off-putting and complimenting, not letting her jealousy stop his flirting and traveling nor letting her jealousy influence his feelings for her.

Johnathan walked alongside Allora as she joined their arms in their leisurely stroll to their home. While listening to her talk of her practicing for the day, Johnathan smiled at familiar faces in the road, who also receiving a warning glare from Allora. “Are you still seeing that boy, Allora?” Johnathan hummed, interrupting Allora and also shocking her. “What boy?” Allora asked, confused. Not confused at his question, but confused on how Johnathan found out about her secret relationship with Caine, a boy she met after one of her performances.

An hour and several arguments over jealousy and fairness later, the siblings were inside their family mansion, walking up the stairs to their rooms. “Allora I just do not see how I cannot get to have any friends, but you can have a boyfriend. You are not being fair to me. “Johnathan said calmly, though under his stone expression, he was actually very upset. This argument has been going on for years and Allora always ended it on a sour note. “It’s not fair to me! I just want to spend some time with my older brother and mentor, and all you can do is think about every pair of legs that walks by you, Johnathan! You don’t love me!” Allora yelled, storming into her room in front of the stairway and slamming it shut. “That is not true!” Johnathan raised his voice while going into the room right next to hers. He did not slam it shut, but wanted to.
After a few minutes of being angry, Johnathan felt his mood lighten. He was never one to be sad or angry for long, he sung better when he was happy, and he always made the effort to be happy.

He picked up his violin and started to play very close to his eastern wall, the wall shared with his sister. Every member of the Illumination family was a lover of music, and the family’s crest had a lyre for their symbol. The Illumination blood runs deep and produced countless bards in their centuries, many famous. The blood couldn’t be thicker for Allora. Nothing, and absolutely nothing can alter her mood so quickly, other than the strings of an instrument. Within minutes of hearing him play, Allora joined him with her lyre, humming a little as the duo played.


Allora, you are heaven’s melody.
And your notes play the tragedy of my soul.
I’ve crossed through the garden of beauty,
And loving you is my toll.
If we were not bound by blood
Would you love me?
If I worshipped you and took your hand,
Would you marry me?”


Johnathan ended his part, dragging his last note for emphasis. Allora loved Johnathan’s nocturnes, and he exploited that whenever they argued. He quieted his instrument to better hear Allora, as he always indulged in her singing. Her voice was suited to opera and she was a prodigy of the musical mastery. He mentored her as best as he could, but knew that she would soon surpass him and become a legend. Even their father, a stone critic of his children, let her sing without interruption, only correcting her missed notes after her songs were over.


Johnathan, Johnathan
Have your words won me over so soon?
Surely your love is but a passing storm,
Dynamic yet temporary.
I know you’ll leave this maiden forlorn
But my heart says “Quite the contrary!”
You are filled with many things, but not surprises.
You will love me or leave me when the sun rises.


Allora ended her note perfectly and stopped playing her lyre. Johnathan managed a quick “I love you.” before he fell asleep. His tired body with Allora’s melodies was too much to resist.

In the early morning, long before the sun came up, Johnathan awoke. He freshened himself up and packed his shortbow, Angeline, and his quiver filled with steel arrows. He needed little else for the mission, and if he did it would be easily acquired. He took ten minutes to write a farewell letter to Allora and slid it under her door before he went into the family stable.


-Currently
"So Cap, when we be off?" Johnathan heard from the right of his horse. He directed it towards the voice and approached easily, his arms raised to show he had no weapons. He approached a group of people coming in various tones and background. He already knew by the time this mission would be over, he would have many stories to make into musical tales.

“When you have your bard, maybe?” Johnathan exited from some bushes and nodded to the group. He jumped off his horse and took out his violin from the pouch on the steed’s side. With a whistle, the horse left and returned back to the Illumination mansion, knowing its way without the lead of a rider.

Johnathan stared at the woman who was presumably Caleb Beth-Dagon. Though the upcoming song was for the group, Johnathan stood and played in front of his leader.


Lucien is no longer your bard
But I assure you I am just as well
I am a master of many instruments and tales.
Behold your bard is Johnathan of the illumination!
And none will serve you with a greater passion than I.


Which is the truth, many bards are special for something about their tales, whether it be their voice, their instrument, or their dance, and for Johnathan it was a combination of his voice and violin, he was filled with passion and vigor. He sung his tales standing straight, he never danced and never found the desire to; he believed it took the seriousness from his tales.
“But I would prefer to just be called Johnathan, as my title is too wordy for casual conversation.”

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Character Portrait: Caleb Beth-dagon
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K N I G H T

Forlorn eyes dwindled, and amidst the voices of her troop, she heard the sentient voice of her kin plague her ears; “And when you do so find your piss-ant glory, it will be not Torm who watches you. No, sister, sweet sister…know that it will always be me in shadows…watching you, hounding you…until at last, in your final moments of virtue – I will destroy you, desecrate you…ruin you, until whatever remnants of your life remain are utterly spent.” Loathing flashed vividly in her mind’s eye – she felt the hatred of her kin’s gaze; it damned her…cursed her, and in the last moments of dissipating shadow, she hopelessly tried to understand Zedek and his intentions. Why her? Why choose the bedeviled paladin as their leader and captain? She was cursed, he knew that. Despite the seemingly honorable task before them, she had never felt such trepidation in her heart. The journey ahead of them would forever change all of their lives – or claim them. A soft sigh escaped her breast and she tethered the magical tote to her cinch. "I'll follow you to the ends of the earth, my lady Beth-Dagon," she heard the drow's flattery, spoken through midnight lips, laced with honey and - by her assumptions - false candor. "If you'll have me, that is." She trusted nothing about the drow, and for good reason, but she did her best to reserve her judgement. "Easy there ladykiller. It's just not seemly to fraternize with your captain." Caleb heard Caine next, and although she regarded him silently, she agreed with him. She did not have time for fraternizing.

"Give me no reason to dismiss you, drow - than mote it be." She replied dryly.


Lucien is no longer your bard
But I assure you I am just as well
I am a master of many instruments and tales.
Behold your bard is Johnathan of the illumination!
And none will serve you with a greater passion than I.


The lyrics of a winsome voice broke Caleb from her brief reverie, and when the entertainer emerged from the thicket - on the back of a white steed - she gave a droll smile and looked away. “I welcome you, Johnathan…the Crowcatcher does not waste time.” She began to take a few steps towards the borders of the camp. “The stage is set, then, and the players present. Let us be off.” She spoke uncharacteristic words with a hint of humor - a rarity at best – then gave one last look to her companions. Such a group; it was a cluster of souls from one corner of faerun to the next, all harboring separate intentions, emotions, beliefs, and gods. “A concoction for disaster,” she thought bitterly. She was no stranger to doubt and underestimation; Caleb knew that many thought her unfit for leadership, and she often felt the same. Yet she had lead men and women countless times in her last fifteen years of service. Still, she could not help but feeling there was some other purpose for her lead.
By the time they were ready to depart, she was hesitant. The final member of their entourage and not yet shown his face – the barbarian from the icy wilds of Spine of the World. Perhaps the Zedek has chosen against his employment – it was dangerous to have such a companion; Caleb had seen more than one berserker turn and murder their own brethren. A shudder coursed through her. Caleb paced for a bucket filled to the brim with water, and grabbed it douse the camp-fire flames. “From herein, cook-fires will be kept separate from camp, and doused after use,” she told them. The reason was simple, yet the logic and practice often escaped even the most intelligent: fires betrayed your whereabouts, why keep them where you slept? In one swift moved, she tossed the water atop the flames and smothered the heat, reaping a squeal and hiss from the coals in a cloud of hot steam.

When no others posed qualms to leaving, and the barbarian had not shown himself, she took the initiative and began to head into the tress. The forest trail was cowled by red and gold veils and the sun had risen over the canopy, mingling with pale clouds on the azure. Soft sunrays filtered through the autumn leaves, revealing flecks and fragments of dust and pollen drifting down from the cover. It was a brisk and chilly morning, but the Cloakwood embraced them tightly and huddled what warmth it could. She reckoned the group would no likely remain close-knit throughout their travels; each seemed to have a different method of travel and trekking. She did not care; so long as she kept tabs on them all, she did not care.
It would be an hour march until they breached the edges of the forest, and from there, about a three hour walk along the coast-way until they intervened on the caravan’s supposive path. She only hoped Zedek was right…

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Character Portrait: Nevae
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#, as written by Modesty
Nevae
❄ ❄ ❄


The slim, fae-like woman exercised a patience that did not come naturally to her. Her duties concluded and allegiance pledged, something momentary at best, Nevae waited for the other sellswords to fall in line. It was in this lull between tasks that moments awarded opportunity to better observe her travelling party. Varied was the most polite word thought of to describe the motley bunch, unsurprised by fact that only their benefactor linked them to one another. Coin was more than enough to sway the priestess’s demeanor to pleasantries, but for others she was not so sure.

Continued racial demarcates was already dividing loyalties. While she had no particular love for the human city, as it had been so delicately described, the description of such begged speaker to be ostracized. Truth be told, the Frosttouched femme was not heartbroken at the thought of being at odds with the flora-esque Elvens. Auril did not discriminate her followers, nor whom her wrath could befall, and Nevae had committed life long goal to mirror her. In time, if The Frostmaiden was kind, a snow storm would award ample opportunity to correct the calumnious attitude. Smile widened a little in pleasure at thought.

“Perhaps the monk could teach you meditation, or I could show you a prayer or two. It does wonders for those with no self-restraint. We wouldn’t want any accidents to disrupt the Crowcatcher’s plans.” Words said in earnest, a helpful suggestion to the Druidess. Blue eyes did not deceive careful mask.

Icy vision, in hue not emotion, slid from fire-coloured tresses to the silent figure in their midsts; the assassin. Eyes swept across flickering countenance reminiscent of a man deep in though. Such distinct change reminded her of one deep in thought, or arguing over ones own morality. Dilemma was constantly scrawled across quiet features, an enigmatic and disturbing thought all the same. A puzzle to be solve, for sure… she had yet decided the man’s usefulness to her own private cause.

It was low words, muttered beneath breath and faintly, that draw steady gaze back to the Drow. Attentions had been sifted in time to watch playful bow and mocking smile match with honey-slicked words. While eyes gleamed a little brighter with amusement, her own countenance didn’t shift; the rogue was an endless source of entertainment. While she trusted the elf not, she quickly dubbed him the most likeable of the bunch.

Irony then beset conversations. The fighter teased her favourited drow despite own flattery littering his words. Had he not just called her ‘love’? Amusement deepened. Shallow eyes once-over’d the gruff fighter, marking with ease each muscle clearly define and putting them to use in mind with less than wholesome thoughts. There was another man to be used towards her cause, perhaps. He was quick to defend their human race, throwing like-kind insult towards the forest elves, a man to her own heart. His question, vocalized, was on Nevae’s mind too. Gaze skipped to designated Captain, eager to hear response.

Answer, however, was cut short by timely entrance. A man, before unseen by slender cleric, stood before Caleb. Introduction was sent forth in form of song and violin, announcing himself bard before all. Ah, the replacement has arrived. Nevae had great fondness for music. Her order, the priestesses of Auril, sang songs of praise and worship constantly, though it seemed inappropriate with the lack of cold air at present. Soon, when winters came, she would sing again. Still, a chill air was about and perhaps a praise or two would pass time in travel…

Caleb spoke, departure announced and venture set forth. She moved, disappearing into the tress. Nevae looked to Veilyn and Caine who stood beside her, a small curtsey-as best as could be done with shining and heavy shield on back- given to her comrades. “Gentlemen,” and the term was used loosely to both, “Shall we?”

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Character Portrait: The Crowcatcher Character Portrait: Ari-Logan Askew
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Thwack! shot the longbow, the arrow whizzing through the air, and with a Thump!, it hit a tree.

“I swear I’ll…” Thwack! Thump! “….burn you if you get me lost again like this.”

The Sorcerer stood with his bow, another arrow pulled from his quiver and poised at the ready. The man wasn’t very tall; in fact, he was just about average height. His build was also average, though it was obvious that whatever did not make him skinny sure wasn’t muscle. Any other features that the man had were obscured by his long blue robes, which were trimmed by various interweaving designs. The robes seemed a little long for him, as its hem glided along the floor with each step. Strangely enough, it was not torn in any way, as one would expect something dangling so precariously on the floor. With that realization in mind, one would naturally look towards the rest of the robe for any sign of wear-and-tear, but alas! to no avail!

Thwack! Thump! Another shaft flew. By this time the Sorcerer had reached the first arrow he had let fly, which was stuck in a large ash tree. He pulled it out and stuck it back into his quiver. From the disarray of arrows in the surrounding woodland, one would assume that either this man was a terrible yeoman, not worthy of even holding the bow in his hand, or he simply did not aim.

“We’ve been here before, damn it! This tree is already marked by your kiss! I swear I’ll burn you….”

He sheathed the bow behind his back and went about collecting the loose arrows scattered about the forest. Reaching the last one, his gaze drifted upwards towards the smoke of a fire. “I’ll be damned…” He swore, sporting a mischievous grin which exemplified his large canines.


“You were right after a-” He said, in a grateful tone, which was cut off by a more angered one, “You bitch! Why’d I go in a circle then?”

As there was no one around to hear him, silence was his reply. He trudged along groggily, mumbling every so often. Behind him the sun was just rising, and he sighed loudly. What started as a short trip to satisfy certain bodily needs turned into a whole night of running about in confusion. Remarkably he had been going in circles the entire time, swearing loudly.

“I hate you…” he mumbled as he stepped within the borders of the camp.




The sight he saw there did him no good, either. He saw the black head of their conniving leader, and it made him shiver. That figure came from the shadowy reaches of Talos-knows-what, and was addressing the party, excluding our Sorcerer of course. He was saying something, though few words truly passed into the magician’s ear. The Crowcatcher, as the leader was known, was giving orders pertaining to some caravan, which was ambushed by bandits and needed unburdening of its children… or something. Our sorcerer also noted that the paladin, of all people, was to be their leader.

In a flash of smoke, as it was, Crow disappeared, and the sorcerer could be seen stumbling behind him.

“I missed the orders because of you,” he said aside. “I swear I’ll burn you, or my name isn’t Ari-Logan Askew!”

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B A L ʈ H A Z A R


When the Ocarina blows away the shadows,
Revealed is the plague,
When the Sands of time bury others,
Revealed are the stakes.

Striketh the paper, blood,
A pledge beyond death
Nothing is true,
Everything is permitted.




I see you still remember it.
Brother Remi, assassins never forget, come even death.
Why did you, then, leave?
I did something no man should, something I knew I would regret.





One leg fell before the other, a sign that the entourage was ready to set sail. Behind the rest, walked Balthazar. He loved the serene breeze of the forest. Even if the chilling wind tried desperately to stake him, it was the howling fireballs that ran amok in the cities which he hated. When was naught but a milk drinking baby in a whore's arms, he imagined the forest around them was alive. It hid them from the demons, from the burning torches of the villagers.

Silence filled the air, if only for a fleeting moment. Each adventurer and barnstormer here walked their own path, had their own goals, their own means, their own lies. Yet, for the next few moons, he would have to consider each one his compatriot. Perhaps, even save them. No, he would just try. Any more than that would just be a waste of his time.

Rustling of leaves, he heard. A rabbit thrashed through the fallen dry leaves in an attempt to evade something. For a few seconds he studied the noise. The commotion caused by the predator was not something a fox would make, a fox was too big to go through those bushes, especially with the razor sharp thorns. A snake? No, a snake would not bother chasing after a prey, stand and deliver its motto.

Is violence the only thought in your mind?

The agitated bush moved ever so slightly, and through the gap saw Balthazar the predator. It was just another rabbit, albeit a larger one. This one's fur was darker, with spots. More importantly, this one looked succulent. Balthazar's maw grumbled, cursing Balthazar for missing breakfast. Balthazar wondered what the kid would allege when Balthazar would let him out of his mind's cage. Some where along the lines of, "You meanie," he was sure.

Realizing the world would not stop for him as he pondered what one part of his brain would say to the other, Balthazar moved on. He was slacking behind, more than he wished for. He may have the skills to know if a bear was around, it was not like he could stop the bear. The bear would still crush Balthazar's weak little spine and tear off his head, leaving behind only the blood coagulated on the leaves as proof. Perhaps, someone would remember him.

Unlikely someone would remember a son of a whore.
Who cares what my mother was? The world will know of my legacy!
The greatest legacy assassins can have is no one remembering them.
What nonsense! I wanna be as great as El Dor!
If people knew he was an assassin, he was not very great at his job.
You've gone senile. People are afraid of him.
People are more afraid of the dark.

It was a pointless battle, one fought against insurmountable odds with the help of fucking nothing. It was like the time in the forest when he and his mother were being chased, again, by torches, years after he was born out of her foolish womb. He should have ran, for she was only a whore. Yet, he tried to save her, once. She was sent to the dungeon, where she had no doubt been passed around like a dog, like the man, whose servant Balthazar was forced to become, said. Even if, in the end, he broke free from the shackles, he was still haunted by her.

Just before he could break down into tears begging Shar to circumcise that memory out of his mind, his eyes closed, reacting to a sudden increase in light. They had reached near the edge of the forest. Sometime later they would eating nice food in a nice shade. If only the gypsies had roasted lamb...

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Character Portrait: Uglúk the Ugly Character Portrait: Nevae Character Portrait: Caine Abel Character Portrait: Veilyn Glannath
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#, as written by Seraph
Uglúk


The night air felt crisp around Uglúk's bare buttocks and his overgrown cock which was lightly swollen. It could have been the Clerics's blaring knee to his groin earlier that evening. Then again could have just been the feel of her itself. So nice and taut. And those buttocks? Yes, it was definitively worth the sharp jabbing pain then, and the yearning to be between her warm thighs now. It gave him a feel of those sinuous legs, right? That smooth, soft skin almost creamy in texture just above her knee as it rose to meet his loosely hanging self beneath his animal hide 'kilt'.

Damn were they solid!

Although the pain was certainly real enough, even HE would think twice about rubbing her ass like it belonged to him in the first place. Perhaps it should...Hmmmm. The Orc was getting side tracked from his purpose. He was hunting. Naked as was his tribe’s traditional rights. Like Druids and Rangers, the Elk tribe was far removed from the bustle of the city. They were nature driven folks, although guided by the Foehammer, Lord of Battles--Tempus. They were war-like and quite savage. Nevertheless, while they took from their indigenous enemies; Orcs, other tribes and goblin-kind they could be civilized enough to enter cities and towns. Mainly to sell their wares.

Uglúk's uncanny sense of smell, and his incredible ability to see in utter darkness both inherited traits of his Orcish father who--after he had raped his Uthgardtian mother in a plunder of one of their villages along the Desserrin River, proved invaluable. He could hunt and track game for miles. With his naked body, he carried a spear, not his infamous long-bearded axe. The slate rock tip, a crude primitive design but nonetheless surprisingly ingenious ploy for an Orc known for his volatile temper, lewdness and lose tongue and little regard for authority.

Perhaps that was why he had been convicted and tried to death. He knew not and cared for as little.

Coated on the edge of the spear, a neurotoxin from a serpent he had snatched up. What he was hunting for the Cleric's approval was quite dangerous. If the playing field wasn't leveled a bit, he would head back with no pelt and plenty of scars to prove he was a worthless shit. He'd show her! He came around the bend slowly stalking his prey. His naked body flexing muscles others only dreamed they had. His biceps were about as large as dwarves’ head and just as stout while his hand could grip a man's skull and him quite still. If not, his thumb might apply pressure and no one but the Orc wanted that.

Before him his prey item: a brown bear. His 'boar' tusks sneered more as his right arm drew back taking with it the spear. The creature would momentarily have no idea what was about to happen. He thrust the spear through the air, lodging it well past the creature's thick hide. I snarled in pain turning to face it, perhaps even remedy it. Seeing the bear try and bite at the heft of the spear, Uglúk himself charged over. He grabbed the shaft and with the shaft driving the spear even further into its innards.

The poison entered the blood stream. Carried towards the heart rather than away--such was the nature of a weapon that 'thrust', 'pierced' or 'stabbed. It created suction with the pressure of the inside cavity. The highly modified saliva of the reptile impacted the bear's coherence as much as the pain. Uglúk had been taught to expect, even garner its effects when used on a creature--or somebody. It warranted an anesthesia like state where struggle was impossible, only inevitability was to ensue.

He couldn't very much say the bear didn't feel it robbing it of its life. That it was painless. But it was easy.
At one point during the bears frenzied growls and his feral grunts, Uglúk placed his bare foot on the creatures hip and snapped the shaft of the weapon making it too short to pull out any longer.

"There! Pull that out you sum bitch! "Uglúk growled and lifted what ordinarily would be a small boulder but in his hands look like just a rock due to their size. Kicking a weakened bear over by forcefully 'snapping' his knee outwardly, the poison also having an effect seizing the bear's muscles involuntarily. Uglúk set to motion, the savage act of smashing the creatures cranial. So lost was he in the violence that it washed him red with blood. His heart was a thunderous one, pounding away with large exhales through his some-what human looking nose in gusts and blasts.

His enormous chest hardly seemed like it were fluctuating at all. Sweat gleaned from his bare naked poise as he tore the head of the spear out. Blood came out in a geyser. A small one but he had severed a major artery that still had pressure built up inside the plexus. The Orc, like his brutish relatives and the savages of the Uthgardt set about the laborious task of cleaning and skinning the animal meticulously. The fiber of flesh and sinew being carved by steady hands--if any one saw how good he was at this it would only promise to prove his intimidation.

By the time he finished, and washed the pelt of blood--it was morning. His Orcish eyes, small but retaining the blue-grey of storm clouds like those of his mother squinted. It wasn't so much the light hurt him in anyway, it was just a nuisance. He ate what he could of the bear, deciding to leave the rest to be carrion and scraps for other wildlife and took the pelt he had sheared off and ambled of towards the group, his nose leading the way. He had hardly missed the crowd--if not for the shrewd woman who teased his thoughts with her supple breasts and taut buttocks--the fighter was surely of the same mind at least when it came concerning battles.

Cain was a stout man--for a human. As stout as any dwarf. He couldn't complain too much...There were...elven folk about. Those scrawny toothed-picked sons of bitches pissed him off. How the hell did they walk on snow anyways? Fucking faeries. They mine as well bee nymphs! He could chuck one if he could catch first. That's another thing. They were sly and arrogant too! Uglúk snarled, walking into camp in the nude showing his well-hung proportions passive-aggressively. About the only thing about the Orc the was the least bit "passive".

Ambling over to the blond seductress, he rolled his enormous shoulder--nearly twice that of Cain's. He wasn't competing in any way, or maybe he was it was hard to tell, he was an Orc of Tempus. He eyed her up and down, making damn sure he knew where her leg was. "There," Uglúk grunted at her, his scarred face in intimidating to any one elses. "That ought to keep you warm till I can." He chuckled, though, with an Orc they looked cocky all the time with their perpetual sneer. His upper body 'rocked' as he laughed before he turned to dawn his own hide armor and lift up an ace that he could uncannily weild with frightful ease. The blade looked bloodstained all the time, and the long-bearded axe head was deliberately chipped as if to take out chunks as it rent flesh.

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Veilyn grimaced at Caine's joking punch. It didn't hurt, but it caught him off guard and he stumbled. He let out a quiet, annoyed laugh in response to the man's joke. Then the worst part came. Caine couldn't help himself from belittling Veilyn by resting his elbow on the dark elf's shoulder and leaning on him like an end table. Veilyn clenched his teeth, but did not otherwise respond. Looking back, Veilyn realized that responding in any way would have saved him from his next torture.

The voice was like wind through grass, but it grated on Veilyn like chains in the underdark. Turning, he saw the source, a young human that, in Veilyn's eyes looked no older than nineteen. It was always hard to tell with humans. Before he could quip, the young man started to sing, and through song confirmed that he was to be their replacement bard. He introduced himself, and Veilyn made a mental note of his name, just in case. Veilyn was eager to get moving.

Fortunately, so was Nevae and everyone else it seemed. Caleb was off, and Nevae followed. The rest of the group slowly ground into the march, and new faces joined them, likely replacements. Veilyn made a habit of staying in the middle of large crowds whenever possible, so he positioned himself between Caine and Nevae, the only two he cared much to talk to, if any talking was to be done. The group marched on, and before long they had entered the forest proper.The other elves must feel so at home here.

He would have continued enjoying the privacy of his mind but, like they do with most all things, the Orc returned and interrupted them. Interrupted wasn't quite the right word, actually. Veilyn thought words like "shattered", "destroyed", or "torn asunder" were more befitting. The Orc, who Veilyn remembered as Uglúk the Ugly, sauntered into the bulk of the group, naked despite the cold and showing off his "gift" in a way that made Veilyn wish the underdark had caused Drow to evolve blind. He grunted in distaste and tried to avert his eyes, but such things were hard to avoid, especially when one's peripheral vision is so advanced. The Orc deposited the hide he had been carrying to Nevae as some sort of courting gift. This tactic must be somewhat successful in Orcish culture, so Veilyn decided he'd have to give it a try at some point in the future. Perhaps in less civilized company, though. The Orc grunted out his words like it was difficult, and his voice sounded like to stone blocks rubbing together. His comment was suggestive and straightforward, far from the witty game that Veilyn was used to. He laughed, and relieved Veilyn's eyes by leaving to get dressed, which might have been the nicest thing anyone's ever done for the rogue.

Realizing he'd been holding his breath, he let it out in a sigh and then glanced from Nevae to Caine and back again, shrugged his shoulders, and kept walking.

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#, as written by Modesty
Nevae
❄ ❄ ❄


The small crowd dissipated at leisure, splitting off in singles and pairs and disappearing into the trees. Last words had been dismissal, directive given and direction taken. Slender femme had paused for escort, eager for small chatter to help sands of time slip quicker through the glass. The journey would be long, and no doubt arduous, but promise of fortune helped to grease the way. The drow and fighter combination promised amusement in the lull between tasks. Her smile was pleasant as she waited with false patience, first steps falling behind the bulkier of the three and followed lastly by her favourited companion of recent.

Still, scant few steps were taken as cerulean eyes scanned the tree line ahead. Another member was quick to join the entourage. The figure was swaddled in navy robes, hood drawn to shadow face from view save lips which had just finished moving; was the stranger speaking to himself? Curious. Quick glance slipped from shaded head to clothed toe taking in bow and staff, and settled on glistening trinkets. The slim male had an aura of maliciousness, though not quite as prickling as the recently departed Crowcatcher. From staff to herbed-pouch, and less than battle-worthy attire, Nevae would bet her prized possessions on a magic user, though she’d never been a gambling woman. Her hand rose, lips parting to call out in friendly greeting, but movement was stopped short by a rather more drawing entrance.

It was heavy footfall reminiscent of beast that drew gaze from wayward newcomer. To say new sights were revealing was an understatement at best, figure emerging from trees stark naked in all his morning glory. One fell look was taken before blonde locks turned head in feigned modesty, delicate fingers moved from started wave to block view. The feel of thick, coarse fur and a grunting omission was what drew her gaze back to her, a pelt thrust into her arms with lew remarks punctuating the gift and promise. Or was it a threat? Nevae mused it was dependent on point of view. Azure eyes rose to the hulking half-orc, friendly smile quickly vanishing.

Scarred features were quick to return flashes of the evening before, memories she had buried with a good night’s rest. Still, the violation and depravity of action returned to present mind, and while the hard jolt of her knee slamming into the offender’s package brought forth unending satisfaction, her mood was sobered. Ugluk was barbaric at best, a distaste for less than refined manners clear in Nevae’s drastically altered mood. Dainty nose wrinkled and gaze dropped to the twenty-pound skin that had been thrown into her arms unceremoniously, disposition further marred by innuendo. "That ought to keep you warm till I can."

It was only with practiced patience that she managed to swallow the anger growing within her breast. Warm? She was the Frostmaiden’s priestess, devoted to the cold winds, originally born to the nomadic tribes of the northern frosts, she quietly mused, dry irony still not lightening atmosphere.

“Auril granting, I’ll stay cold until the day I die.” She quipped shrewedly.

For a brief moment she examined the gift, an item of much more value to her than the ‘package’ that delivered it. The pelt was untarnished, expertly skinned and cleaned in a skill that seemed out of place when taking in the brutish hand that carved it. The fur would need to be bleached and dyed to colours appropriate to faith, but it would fetch a pretty penny. Perhaps she’d find use for the orc yet. While her dainty frame gave impression of encumbered on view of shield, mace and monstrous skin, she was stronger than she looked and had an arsenal of spells to aid her. Regardless, the idea of traipsing through thicket with arms full was foolish and something less than ladylike.

Vision, once more, shifted to the large half-being (who had just returned, slightly more decent) with expression softening. Eyelashes batted in manipulative exhibition, lips softening to pull at a smile—though whether to lighten mood or in response to Caine’s relief it wasn’t clear. ”Carry this, please? I hardly have the strength to carry around this carcass all day, and the Captain has disappeared with that bag of holding. ”

A pause, before she threw in her own innuendo just for good measure; ”And well, you’re just so large, I’m sure this little thing is nothing for you to throw around.”

Smile pulled a little wider, amused again at the play of words. Head tilted to her companions, urging them to continue. Nevae let the skin fall to the ground before starting after Veilyn again, there was still a ways to go before the caravan and something told her that the walk just got a little longer. The cleric sighed softly to herself.

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#, as written by Seraph
Ugluk


“Auril granting, I’ll stay cold until the day I die.” He hadn't heard the mischievous gibe she made--he was much too busy with donning layers of hardened leather. If one could read the life of another by simply their scars--the Half-Orc had the most of the bunch. The cruelties of savage repercussion was not his kin folk's alone. No. Mankind played an eager hand in his punishments. Despite what was rebuked about his 'package' it was his chest, arms and back that solicited a life of violence tending towards more self-sustained than garnered by the end of a smaller species than him.

In fact, most of the striations were long, focused and had been deliberately made. Most would be assuming that he was clawed in his tenacity to attack even the most daunting of nature's creature's. They would not expect them to be reminders of slavery. Given his sheer size, of a little over seven feet--even big for a common half-orc--they would not have known he was once quite docile and timid as a giant. But, as all things went the world was kind enough to make him realize that every day spent under the lash of whip was never going to change where he was in life. That things he wanted but was never smart enough to obtain either through knowledge or money-- he would take by force.

This path of self discovery led him to his idol. Tempus. What one could not protect, they had business having it in the first damn place. A rule of thumb he took to heart when he stopped being a pack-mule, a common slave. When he was tired of his fellow clan-mates sneering at him because they were full blooded human and he was only half a human being. This led to a remarkable confrontation, one that would shape the Barbarian's life. Where he stood erect after the lash of a whip and turned around. The reprisal was long awaited, the courage that filled him that day would make him feel all the pain inside over a lifetime amplified by the fact that he would never be 'good enough' for them. He would always be half an Uthgardt.

That day would not be like any other. They would know what an Uthgardt could do, even if he was only half. He killed his oppressor, yanked the whip that had so long been the bane of his own existence. Living each day scared of being struck. Living each day where his purpose and his only reward was not to be struck by it. When he felt the bones of the man's face breaking under the might of his own two hands, the fellow Uthgardt's screams he could not hearken for they were distant sounds, babbles of a brook compared to the raging of a river inside him. When all was said and done, blood had washed over him as though baptized by his Lord, Tempus.

When they demanded a trial by combat, customary for every Uthgardt--except him. The only reason he got it was the offended wanted it blood, his blood. They would not give him a weapon. So when the trial began, he tore the holy symbol of the Uthgardt out of the tree stump after a brief prayer to the deity, a feat that no one had been able to do prior. Heralded as Tempus's own axe. The Uthgardt had never seen the weapon,a fearsome notched axe in combat so they were ignorant to the fact that it ad an adamatine head. The first blow was all that was needed as it thwarted his challenger by splitting him in twain like a log.

The people were shocked and outraged. A murderer was to decisively win a battle? Was to live among them as equals? They called the axe enchanted, said it must have been tampered with the night before. How else would the savage know it would slay a brave warrior, one of their finest? Needless to say, he was exiled. Not for supposedly killing a man in a fit of rage or slaying their finest champion--no, he was banished because they believed him to be a liar and a cheat.

”Carry this, please? I hardly have the strength to carry around this carcass all day, and the Captain has disappeared with that bag of holding. ”
Of course, she was playing the damsel in distress. Yet, she was...pretty. Uglúk was fascinated by most of the more human females--the elves...they just seemed too frail. He was actually afraid that if he smacked one on the ass, it would break His strength disconcerting? Hah. The paladin too had caught his eye, he was ever so curious about her. Her rigidity of her faith was what was so profound about her. Most would have probably pointed out that she was probably as tall as a man--maybe even as stout. But that was not what Uglúk saw. He didn't even really consider her physical traits--her hair maybe, but that was really it. He was entranced by her despite her moral uprising.

The cleric? She was easy. Uglúk often thought if he lit a fire up under her ass she'd dance. She was so...cold though. ”And well, you’re just so large, I’m sure this little thing is nothing for you to throw around.” That was a nice touch. He thought that since she did go the extra mile, he could too. Granted, if she wanted anything else, she would have to extremely enticing. Firsts gifts were always free. " Yeah, yeah. " The Orc grunted, his nose not quite like everyone elses it was inset rather that protruding. With that, he grabbed the fur and folded over one shoulder. He scratched his scruffy chin, a bristling briar of coarse black hair.

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