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Ice

"Ice knows-un meny things humi don'ta know, Ice kippa secrets Emaki with Ice!"

0 · 329 views · located in Valderia

a character in “The First Valderian Expedition”, as played by TomorrowsHerald

Description

Why dem humies callem a liar-Ferret? Ice never tellem any lies-un, he no-tellem alda truth!

Kindred Name: Emakiblizaminspwara (Hidden-in-the-Song)
Nickname: Ice
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Race: Ice-Ferret Kindred (Beast-man)

Physical Description & Clothing:

Ice stands roughly at five feet of height, baring a particularly long neck longer then that of an average human. His Fur is mostly brown, with a a light-brown patch running down from his neck,through his chest to his tail. Ice's face shares the lighter variant of his fur around his eyes and ears, he has twin tattoos of a red and blue color across his left eye and right cheek; these take the shape of do-re and la-ti musical notes. These notes have no meaning to other races, but Ferret kindred recognize the notes as a deceleration of loyalty to Writhka the Trickster among their people. Ice regularly grooms his whiskers and has a single bronze ear piercing which bares the markings of his village.

Ice's outfit is rather light, since his fur supplies him with any protection he many need from the cold. It consists of an open waste-coat of a faded blue color and simple white brown pants with a hole for his tale. Ice wares no shoes, preferring to walk bare footed so that he may "hear the Earths musics"

Fur color: Brown-light brown
Eye Color: Dark brown

Occupation: Traveling Harlequin; musician, storyteller, information broker and burglar

Bio: Ice was born in the Ice-Ferret village of Hakajima, which was built into the mountain face of one of the larger mountains in the Northern Mountain Range. Ice's childhood was pretty usual; he grew up in the village, leaving only to hunt and to forge for food when his duties demanded but never more then a few miles away. When he was old enough, he was initiated into the monastery of his village, were he learned of and served his ancestors, now spirits in the ice and snow of their mountain. When he was 14 winters of age, he was finally sent on his spirit quest in the hall of mirrors; an immense network of ice caves were generations of his ancestors lay buried. It was here that he found his protecting spirit, and were his life took a very different turn then that of his kin.

Ice, being brave and rather foolish ventured deeper into the hall of mirrors then any initiate had done in centuries and became hopelessly lost. For many days he went without food and hardly any water, until he found a strange metal door, unlike any he had seen. Ice being...Ice, loved pranks and trickery and was therefor quite adapt at lock picking. He was able to pick the locks to the metal door, inside he found troves of scrolls, a strange staff and a flute of wood Ice did not recognize and a large ice coffin - like the ones which contained his own ancestors still in their flesh but different and much older. When ice walked to the coffin, he saw that it's occupant was unlike any creature he had ever seen, and he had seen Dwarves and humans from afar. Ice was just as certain that the creature was not an elf, for she lacked the rumored pointed shape of their ears.

When Ice proceeded to touch the tomb, he found that he could not remove his hand from the ice. The long dead corps opened it's eyes, and Ice quickly recognized that he had made a spirit link with the dead - what he was in the hall of mirrors to gain but didn't think could be possible by someone not of his kin.

It was on that day that Ice became the medium of Lore, a mysterious survivor of a long extinct race which once walked the Earth along with the mythical Elder race. Though she remembered little of her previous life, Lore taught Ice to read her scrolls; which turned out to be songs, stories and tales of her people. Ice took up his spirit's staff and flute, the former able to sense and communicate with spirits and project their image into the physical world. The flute was not magical, but could bring both Ice and Lore closer together, much like meditation.

Ice became a bit of an outsider in his village because of his odd spirit though he wasn't out-rightly shunned. Answering his spirit's desire to broaden their horizons and see the world, Ice joined a traveling Ferret Troupe of Writhka with which he has traveled and learned the ways of the Harlequins ever since.

Hometown: Secret village of Hakajima

Line most Ferret villages, Hakajima is hidden from the world inside the mountain face, far away from the preying eyes of any travelers or the native Dwarves which live bellow. The Ferrets are a conservative and isolationist people, unseen and unknown to the majority of the other races and happy with that arrangement. Hakajima is one of the oldest settlements in the world, and was a settlement even before the Ice-Ferret tribe made it it's home, though who came before is largely unknown. It is a comparatively small village with only a few hundred residents, but it is one of the most important sites to the Ferret Kindred and the center of their spiritual teachings. All of Hakajima's residents are monks in their villages monastery, they serve their ancestors and carry their spirits as mediums to guide their people on the path the ancestors had chosen.

Hakajima is known to the Ferret kindred and a some magical academics for it's prophecies, though few have ever heard them. The village has no warriors but it's monks are capable spirit magicians and have their own martial arts with which to defend themselves. Its main defense is the secrecy of it's location and its name, which is in itself spirit bound and renders those who know it unable to speak of it.


Home country: Minoresse - Northern Mountain Range

Personality: Ice has taken many of the habits of the Harlequin traits, he is bold, witty and loves jokes, stories and riddles. He talks a lot, frankly too much and is eager to please others but does not reveal much useful information, preferring to keep much of his information to himself or even lie even when he has no reason to do so. Ice is however strange even to his Harlequin companions, he knows things - stories songs and tales which no one else knows and though he takes very little seriously - where spirits are concerned he tends to be very quite and serious. Overall Ice is very warm and friendly , though it can be difficult for none Ferrets to understand his highly accented speech. His closer friends know that Ice always knows more then he is willing to share and that very little of what he say's can be completely trusted, but since these close friends are Harlequin - nobody minds that healthy habit for trickery... so far.

Likes: Spirits, old things, shiny things, sweet roll's, animals, forests, mountains, mirrors, stories & tales, campfires and traveling with company
Dislikes: being called a liar, being hit by hot things, warm climates

Skills and Abilities
Lock-picking
Being sneaky
Playing music, acting and story telling
Martial Arts - specifically wielding his staff as a weapon

Equipment & Weapons:
Magical wooden staff, long bow and a few dozen arrows (uses those more for hunting then fighting)

Magic: Ice gained from Lore, two main abilities - her skill with the element of shadow and her spirit energy

The first allows Ice to take refuge in shadows, an ability he uses to hide and to eavesdrop on people.

Lore's spirit energy can be used to create a blast or light which momentarily stuns and blinds enemies, it can also be used to reveal things which have been hidden from plane view - such as secret compartments and doorway's.

Ice's own elemental ability is rather rudimentary, he can manipulate the temperature of water and turn it into ice. He can create a small ice barrier and even craft small objects provided there is enough water, but this takes time unless the air is fairly cold anyway. Overall this ability is better suited to burying the dead of his people in their ice caskets then for combat. With practice, Ice could develop it further but so far he hasn't felt the need to. Ice has tried to learn how to increase the temperature of water, but so far he has only been able to warm up water for his tea - which was the goal he had in mind when he began by the way.


I feel like eating cheese

So begins...

Ice's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice
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Ice had looked forward for a day such as this for a long time, for too long he had bungled around the roads and he was happy for a nice relaxing day or so in this fine Humi town. The day had started capitally, Ice had woken up as usual at O'eight hundred and then proceeded to sleep in until midday. He dreamed pleasant dreams of wondering around a magical valley full of many wonderful cheeses. The powerful scent of Camembert, Brie and Livarot filled his nose, it was good to be alive!

But then... the big giant mice came

Ice did every thing he could to protect his cheeses! but he was simply tied up by the rats and forced to watch as they proceeded to eat all the cheeses... Camembert, Brie and...Livarot.

It wasn't fair!

Wake up lazy bones! shouted a voice in his subconscious, and wake up he did unwilling to partake in this torture any longer.

Ice opened his eyes and gazed sadly at the tavern room's window, he smelt all the smells of a usual Humi city but alas not a hint of any cheeses worthy of second thought. Ice thought back to the dream, his left eye brow twitched as it often did upon realizing that he had been duped. He closed his eyes and tried to drift back to sleep, ohh he would have his vengeance, he would not surrender to that bitch just because she wanted to be all up and at them! Ferrets needed their sleep!

I swear, next time I will have you assaulted by a decomposing Limburger zombie monster! Shouted the bitchy spirit again, Ice shuddered in fear; Lore had the uncanny ability to make dreams quite realistic to the senses and decomposing Limburger did not sound very precious.

Look... I am sorry about your precious cheese, but I have a special feeling about today. Something is going on, I can just feel it, and I want in

Ice hissed in annoyance but didn't argue, he left the sleeping quarters and walked down to the tavern proper which was as busy as always.

It didn't take long for Lore to spot her current fancy, a curious display of multiculturalism around a Humi who had just declared he was gonna look for a mag vault. Lore didn't wast time to pester Ice into action, just as she had done when she had encouraged him to join the troupe. Lore didn't mind it though, truth be told he wanted to get out of the convenient shelter of his own kind and experience the world through other individuals and gain their perspectives.

As one by one the circus around the lad swore their oaths of allegiance, or just swore; Ice could not tell with some humis. As they did so, he awaited his turn and pulled by his side his staff and flute deciding he should impress his would be employer who would probably soon end up refusing people.

Wasting no time Ice proceeded to pull off his usual show stunt, he began by playing a short tune on his flute to attract the attention of the tavern. A puff and a muff , and some rounds of applause and drunken vomiting later, Ice put his flute back in his pouch and now began his real show.

"Ladddis.. spirits and Gentlemenn" stated Ice, ignoring a Nord's calls of outrage at his audacity of daring to call him "gentle".

T'night, wee havin dee greit honorrr of havin' sevveral spirrits of note amongst usss...sss...ss

...s


The crowd, captured by the flute playing gazed at him with demanding eyes - entertain us ohh maestro! Ice translated their gazes but know they were really sayin "brevity is the soul of wit, don't waste our fucking time".

Without furrther delay'a ill'a begin said the Ice-Ferret, and then proceeded to smack his staff at the tavern floor 3 times before saying with a booming voices his favorite line in the entire performance "Isss there any one der?, oneo knock forr no, two knockss for yesss

Ice only grinned when the Nord he had pissed off from earlier made a the usual smart mouth comment about everybody being able to do that stuff before pushing his magic into the staff and summoning the image of the spirit of the late Lord Kokor Shemesh, the hated and infamous tax collector who had 'terrorized the Solarian Empire for two decades before being stabbed, shot, and beheaded a few weeks ago by a mob.

The crowd gazed amazed at the manifestation before them, who then proceed to make the most obscene and ridiculous headless chicken dance much to the joy and entertainment of the crowd,which had naturally unanimously hated the man.

After summoning several other hated public figures to join Shemesh in preforming several other stuns, Ice walked over to the Humi in charge of the vault trip and asked with a sly grin.

Well sirr, did I passs de qualifiers ? My spirit and'I would vverry mucha'lik ta join yur adventurrr

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:33 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


When that tall man who had called his expedition "insane" cut into the conversation again--not to mention insulted another one of his new companions--Kaus had to try hard not to glare in his direction. That guy...the way he talks, he's not saying he's interested; he's forcing himself into the group! I shouldn't accept him at all. "Miroch and Skoggr, then...got it," he replied to the other two men, making a great effort to smile. Attending to so many people at once was starting to tax his mind.

Skoggr, who already seemed disappointed in his new employer, told Kaus to let him know when they could talk some more, before going off to have a drink with that tall man. Come to think of it, he didn't know that man's name...and wasn't sure if he wanted to, either.

At that moment, he heard Claire talking to him--something about looking forward to his leadership. Just after she said that, however, she looked to another part of the room, and noticed something. "...What do you say? He seems like he would make for a good addition to our bodyguards. You should try recruiting him," she urged, before pushing Kaus towards a certain part of the tavern.

"Whoa!" Kaus yelped, quickly managing to regain his balance. "Hang on, who are you talking ab..." His words trailed off when he realized which direction she had been pushing him in. Oh my god...that can't be a person, that's a GIANT! "No, wait, Claire, are you sure this is a good idea? I mean, he doesn't look li-"

"Go on, do your thing, great leader," Claire insisted, as if oblivious to his protests. "Wait. It's dangerous to go alone, take this." The next moment, she handed him...that deadly concoction. Yep, that one with which she had sent some man off to presumably some (un)pleasant dream.

Somehow, the drink didn't give Kaus any more confidence than if he had been walking towards this absolute titan with a set of full armor. "Uh..." At this point, though, he didn't know if he could even argue his way out of this anymore. Swallowing down a huge gulp of air, he slowly approached the giant, cringing in anticipation.

He didn't even get halfway across the room when something else crazy happened (at this point, Kaus was wondering if he had disturbed the balance of the universe merely by walking into this tavern). The shrill notes of a flute sliced through all conversations in the room, followed by a heavily-accented voice calling out to all of them. "Ladddis..spirits and gentlemenn...t'night, wee havin dee greit honorrr of havin' sevveral spirrits of note amongst usss...sss...ss..."

Confused, Kaus looked around for the owner of this voice, before realizing it was coming from barely a meter next to him. Realizing he was a bit too close to the performance for comfort, he rushed to the other side of the room, careful not to spill Claire's ale.

"Without furrther delay'a, ill'a begin," Three loud knocks, the sound of wood against wood. "Isss there any one der?, Oneo knock forr no, two knockss for yesss." When Kaus turned around, he saw that the owner of the voice was a ferret-Kindred garbed in a faded blue coat and light brown pants, carrying a wooden staff.

"Ha! Anyone can do that sort of trick, furball!" a voice called from another corner of the room. However, the ferret man merely smiled and raised his staff, somehow conjuring up the image of a man Kaus didn't recognize. This image then proceeded to dance around as though it were controlled by the most incompetent puppeteer ever, to the delight of the onlookers.

As several other images of different people joined this one, the ferret man walked up to Kaus proudly. "Well sirr, did I passs de qualifiers? My spirit and'I would vverry mucha'lik ta join yur adventurrr," he drawled.

Unsure of what to say about the display, Kaus had difficulty finding his voice. "I...didn't really need 'qualifiers,'" he managed. "But yes, we'd appreciate it if you joined." The people he was attracting were getting stranger and stranger...

Well, now for the elephant in the room. Quite literally, in fact. Turning back to the enormous man Claire had scouted out, Kaus approached him slowly, tentatively. He cleared his throat, before looking up with the best smile he could produce. "Um...hello," he greeted, trying not to let his nervousness show. "I'm Kaus Meridion. I'm recruiting people to search for a Magic Vault. Do you...think you'd be interested?"

He prayed desperately that this man wouldn't reward his efforts with a punch in the face.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:36 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


With fingers about as big as salami rolls , the giant man prodded Kaus in the chest multiple times while expressing...a lot of doubt, to say the least...about his quest. Grabbing onto a chair to steady himself, Kaus made a second attempt to sound more convincing. "But you can't have searched the entire wilderness, can you? Besides, it's more likely the Vault will be underground, and I doubt you could find anything like that so easily, even if..."

Actually, wait...do I really need to bother with this guy? I've already got...uh...Miroch, Claire, Hela, Ruth, Skoggr, that ferret man...six people who agreed to come with me without arguing too much. So even if this guy doesn't want to join us, we should be fine, right?

Slowly, Kaus made a decision. "...actually, never mind. If you're really not interested, the deal's off," he declared, stepping away. He tried not to look too angry, but the words were bitter in his mouth. Ah, well...it was bound to happen eventually.

Turning to the ferret Kindred, he added, "Better come with me. Let's get you introduced to the others." Quickly, he strode to the others, who were still standing at the bar--it seemed they were introducing themselves to each other. Well, except for Skoggr, who was currently having a drink.

"Okay, guys," he called, looking over each of them. "We've picked up one more member..." He gestured to the ferret man at that point. "...so, I think we should be fine heading out with these numbers. Is there anything you guys think we need before leaving Alshain?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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Ice looked around him grinning broadly from whisker to whisker towards the newly created band of adventure. He gave them all a professional bow, holding his right arm above his chest. Lore silently applauded him for getting into the band, eager to learn more about the past she could barley recall. Ice thought to say goodbye to his former troupe, but smiled slightly remembering that goodbyes where simply not the Ferret way, they would always meet again ether in the flesh or the spirit.

Human lands had really started to make him sentimental...

"Ello, Im's glad to'a being picked'up by neww humi bosss-man. Amongss me kin people, i'a got callerd Emaki-blizamin-spwara, 'maki knows'a find Ferret-kin hard'un yur speek, so 'maki calls him'a Ice in humi lands - Im'an Ice Ferret kin yu'seee".

Turning to the boss, Ice looked curiously and thought of what humi's might need traveling around.

"Humi boss-man might wanna buy'a some warm'a fur clothes, weather can'una all cold like real'a quick. Humi knows!". said Ice, hoping to be helpful to the poor humi's who didn't have their own fur.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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"Hela Alyndra," she told the elf. "And my accomplice here is Ruth. I'm sure it'll be a pleasure working with you, Miroch. More than those Nords, at any rate." The Kindred woman looked up to see Kaus attempting to communicate with another one. Brave lad for standing so close to this one though, for he was taller than the previous two.

Fortunately, from the look of things the colossal Nord didn't seem that interested or at the very least this Kaus kid had opted out of recruiting him since he returned to the group without another extraneous lunatic to add to the mix. Instead, he came back with a ferret Kindred. Or stoat or weasel. Hard to tell, really.

Hela gave a wave to the two as they approached the bar. Looks like they now had enough people for the job. "Well, we've already got our gear. Just need to finish our drinks. Ruth, be a dear and fetch 'em for us, will you?"

The dwarf turned to her friend with a puzzling glare, allowing a pause to linger before retorting; "Do it yerself. Ya know how t'work those legs, don'tcha?" A brow lifted upwards for added effect.

Hela smirked, gleefully pouncing on the dwarf's words. "Oh, you know I do. Fine, I'll go get them. Just keep an eye on my seat." She left her place at the bar and hurried off to retrieve their mugs of ale, which were thankfully still there. This accomplished, the Kindred returned to the bar and handed Ruth her mug.

Riiight... She could've guessed that would happen, and Hela was nothing if not eager to jump right on top of her remark, wasn't she? With a resounding groan and complementary roll of her eyes, Ruth took the mug and turned her attention to the Teker kid standing before her. Although not without first giving the fox Kindred a subtle nudge with her elbow.

"Just one more question, lad." Stubby arms folded, somehow her expression becoming even more serious. "I'd like to think ya got yer head screwed on right," A suggestive look projected itself on the more competent recruits. "So before we go I'd like some insight on yer plans. Findin' a magic vault's a big claim after all." That and Ruth still had some... reservations, as expected. Even the Kindred's expression was more businesslike at this point, and both were hoping that the job (and more importantly, the pay) would be worth the time and potential risks involved.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:36 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


Frowning slightly, Kaus tried to make sense of what the ferret man said--his accent made it a bit hard to understand his words. "...so...you want us to call you Ice, and you recommend we get fur coats?" he asked, just to be sure. "Not a bad idea, but the Heartland gets pretty warm at this time of year, so I don't know how much we'll need those coats...nonetheless, we're traveling out to the wilderness, so I guess we should prepare ourselves for any scenario."

Just as he finished speaking, that one Nord cut in again, introducing himself as "Sig", before standing up and walking to the doorway. Just perfect. So he's coming along after all. Wonder if I'll have to keep him in check...? Aw, geez.

Hela explained that she and Ruth had all their gear ready, before leaving to get their drinks which were still at their table. As she returned, however, Ruth looked straight at Kaus with an even more serious expression (how was that possible?!)."Just one more question, lad. I'd like to think ya got yer head screwed on right. So before we go, I'd like some insight on yer plans. Findin' a magic vault's a big claim after all."

Considering for a moment, Kaus rummaged in his satchel before bringing out two books--one was covered in unfamiliar glyphs, while the other was in the language used by all three human kingdoms. "I don't know how much more faith you'll have in me after this, but here we go," he warned. "In fact, the rest of you probably should listen..."

He repositioned himself to stand closer to the center of the group, beckoning the others to get closer so they wouldn't miss a detail in the noise of the tavern. "You all remember that one Vault was found about a year ago, right? I went there myself while they were trying to break it open. And when we finally did open it, there was magic, yeah...but not just that. Among other things, I found a number of books inside, like this one--" He held up the book with the strange glyphs here. "--and my family was allowed to bring some of them home with us, in order to discover more about the Elder civilization."

Flipping open the book, looking through the various slips of paper he had put in as bookmarks, he continued, "I'm afraid we still don't understand much about them, especially their language, but there was one interesting thing I discovered." Finding a certain note, he opened it up to reveal a map which spanned two pages. "This appears to be the continent on which the Elders lived...well, part of it, at least. But...do you see this?"

His finger pointed at various lines running across the map to various dots, as though they were constellations. "Yes...if these dots are cities, then they had some...paths or something running between all of them. It might seem crazy, but...oh. Sorry, I need this briefly."

Taking Hela's mug and putting it down on the book so it'd stay open on that page, he raised the other book--the one belonging to humans--and flipped it open, revealing a map of the Heartland, Alne, and the various Teker city states. "Here's the strange part. The landscape in this book is different from what the Elder map showed, and the coastline also doesn't quite match. And yet...and I pity whichever cartographer had to add these in..."

Surely enough, the exact same paths were carved into the human map, in the exact same patterns and the exact same scale. There were no longer dots appearing at every intersection, but it still matched almost perfectly. "About two months ago, I even followed some of these paths myself to see if it was true. There are...dried river beds, or something of that sort, following those exact patterns," Kaus continued, quickly building towards his conclusion. "I don't know if this plan completely works, but I'm guessing if we try and find those Elder cities...that might lead us to a Vault!"

Finished talking, he waited for a response, hoping his claims didn't sound like hoaxes.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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Skoggr listened to the young man explain himself, finding his enthusiasm somewhat amusing.

When the first book--the ancient tome--was revealed, he scowled, and touched the iron blade of his axe to avert bad luck. Some folk weren't sure what to make of the 'elders', and Skoggr, like many of them believed their strange language and symbols were the basis of malevolent magic. The thought never occurred to him that he himself had dabbled in fouler magic in his younger days. And now he was stuck with the Jackal.

...who seemed to have a different reaction upon seeing the Elder tome.

Words from the old ones! Yes, yesssss! This one holds the key to riches and power beyond your wildest dreams, Haakon! We will keep this one alive, yes?


Skoggr scowled, at no one in particular, and rubbed his temples. "Now is not the time for words." He hissed to the spirit.

It giggled, but remained silent after that, allowing the Nord to focus once more on what their leader--or as Skoggr preferred, his charge--was saying. Which, as it happened, was when the second map was presented. He saw the excitement in the young man's eyes, noticed the glimmer of greed and fantasy in some of the others. But none of them looked the least bit worried. What was out there, far out there in the wilderness? What lurked in silent cities, aeons rested, mute witnesses to ages and beings from a time barely understood?

The Jackal might have a better understanding, but Skoggr suspected the little bastard wouldn't willing part with it's knowledge. The expedition sounded all fine and dandy, but it was the journey he was worried about, not the plan. After all, how many people had ventured deep into the wilderness? He'd heard stories throughout his life about horrors that lurked in lands untouched by men. Though he considered himself well traveled, his prey had always been human--or dwarven, or elven, or--or anything else in the known territories, leaving him with little experience of the uncharted lands.

After waiting for the boy to finish, he rapped the haft of his poleaxe on the floor to gain then attention of his charge. "So you have a map, good. But have you paid mind to what stalks the wilds out there?" He paused to sweep his icy gaze across the other adventurers. "Perhaps we'd do well to gain a better understanding of what we might come up against. There must be someone here amongst us who has ventured into true wilderness?"

Skoggr took a seat, his expression cold. "I like to know as much as possible about what I have to kill. I think we would all benefit from any knowledge amongst our little...expedition. I'd also suggest that if you're not armed, you do so before you leave."

With that Skoggr gestured toward Kaus to comment or continue.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:40 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


The noise of something striking the wooden floor caught Kaus' attention. Looking up in that direction, he was met by Skoggr gazing at them with a stern, cold expression. The Nord with the painted face pointed out how they didn't really have a good idea of what sort of creatures they might encounter in the wilderness.

Right away, Kaus could feel the wind starting to leave his metaphorical sails. Already, there was a great deal of unexplored territory, even between different kingdoms. But the wilderness to the east and west of all the kingdoms--which, combined, basically stretched from north to south for a few kilometers--was an even bigger mystery. No one wandered through those areas; no one had any reason to go there. Yet he hadn't thought once about this problem.

"Well, uh..." He found himself at a loss for words. This was bad. He had to find a way to save face quickly. "Um...yeah, good call. And, um, even among those of us who are armed, we probably should also make sure our weapons are in good condition. Probably best to find a blacksmith...yeah."

Even though Kaus tried to look at least a bit enthusiastic while saying this, he knew he hadn't addressed the main problem that Skoggr had highlighted, and he felt even more worried now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Miroch nodded in acknowledgement of Hela's and Ruth's names before looking at the new arrival. It introduced itself as Ice, an Ice Ferret kindred. Miroch nodded to him.

"My name is Miroch Vutan."

Then he kept quiet as Ruth asked Kaus what his plan was, and also while Kaus explained it. He understood what Kaus was saying, agreeing that it would be a sensible to try. Something tugged at the back of his mind however, but he ignored it for the moment. Then the skinny Nord spoke up, questioning Kaus's plans more, wanting to know more of the wilderness that was where they were to be adventuring. Miroch had some experience venturing out into the wilderness, though he'd usually have been accompanied by a ranger, whether a mercenary or one of his employer's own men. The jobs he had there usually involved capturing some manner of strange beast, with Miroch serving as one of the restrainers as Gorrjen's power granted him greater strength than the average elf.

"I have gone out to the wilderness a few times, though I am no ranger. I can tell you about some of the beasts we may face out there. Some have skin tough enough to ward off a blade, some have claws and tusks as sharp as any blade, others have the strength of five men but all of them are more than enough to kill any wandering traveler. However, all of the beasts so far have been beaten by the intelligence and teamwork of a small team, about the same size as us. Though, I recommend that the best fighters among us deal with them. Their physical prowess is beyond the average man's, but only the most dangerous can defeat a party of elite warriors. What we should face should be a challenge, have no doubt, but we should be fine. What I have found, is that while their skin may be tough enough to resist a blade, if for a short while, blunt force can still break their bones and damage their organs. With enough strength, we could crack their heads open internally. That can be as deadly to them as a sword through the belly."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:40 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


To Kaus' good fortune, Miroch chimed in with the most impeccable timing and told the others about a few times he had gone into the wilderness. But why would he need to go in there...? Eh, I can ask him some other time.

"Intelligence and teamwork, huh..." he murmured, looking down at the floor, with one hand on his chin in the "deep thought" pose. "Right, then. Let's figure out what all of us can do once we get out of the city, so we can cover each other's weaknesses if we have to fight."

Thinking back to the suggestion he made a little while ago, Kaus decided it was probably best to go get their weapons checked. Just to be safe, of course. He knew his own weapons were still in fairly good condition, but a little maintenance never hurt. "Hey, if you guys don't mind, shall we head to the blacksmith now? We can keep talking on our way there."

As Kaus walked towards the door, he glanced briefly on that gigantic man in the corner--the one Claire had recommended that he hire. Wait, Claire? Oh, that's right...I'd probably better tell her I couldn't do it. "Yeah...you probably can tell, but I didn't manage to get that guy you saw to join," he told her. "Sorry about that. Oh well...come on."

He pushed open the door and stepped back out into the cool morning air. There were still plenty of people around, rushing to their jobs around the city, but the flow of people had diminished ever so slightly. Definitely better than inside the tavern, that was for sure.

"I haven't been in Alshain very much," he admitted. "Anyone know a good place for armor and weapon repair around here?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by Eyliel
Having pushed Kaus into motion, Claire watched the younger Teker move towards the huge Nord with hesitant steps. She wondered how the recruiting would go. Before she could witness that event, however, something else drew her attention. A member of the Kindred had begun some kind of show, conjuring images of some people Claire did not recognize. Judging by the reactions of others around her, however, the locals did know who those images were of. Claire found the distraction somewhat amusing, though she was more interested in the one behind it. It was one of the Kindred, right? They were of quite a wide variety, as this one was far more animal-like than Hela, with whom she was already acquainted. Her heart of a scholar made her curious, but she shook her head after a moment. She was already devoted to Alchemy. Unrelated distractions were unwelcome.

Suddenly, Claire realized that she had fallen into thought, with many events having taken place during her momentary stillness. After some observation, she deduced that Kaus's negotiations with the giant of a man had failed, and instead he had brought with him the Kindred from earlier. What kind of animal was he based on, actually? Claire had never really studied biology that much, and had not seen many different animals back at Malera. Well, other than fish. She'd have to ask someone about it later. But then it turned out that there would be no need to do so, as the Kindred man introduced himself as an 'Ice Ferret'. Emaki-blizamin-spwara. A rather interesting name, one that wouldn't exactly come out naturally if she tried to pronounce it. She did, however, remember it. For a while, at least. The details would fade from her memory soon enough, since it wasn't related to Alchemy, so she decided to write it down before she forgot. 'Ice', however, was something she could remember perfectly well even without taking notes. "Claire Lucion. It is a pleasure to meet you", she briefly introduced herself.

The dwarf woman, Ruth, raised a wise question. How was their leader going to find a magic vault? As this subject was directly related to Claire's own objective, her attention was quickly focused onto Kaus as she waited for his response. And the boy brought out books. The first thing she did was read the titles of the books, which happened in an instant. Next, she listened intently on Kaus's explanation while eyeing on the books. She decided that she'd ask Kaus if she could read them later.

After the explanation was done, Claire decided that it was good enough. She was not fully convinced, but she had been planning on following him even if he hadn't told them about this. Sooner or later, they were bound to run into one of those magic vaults, since they knew what to look for. If Kaus was telling the truth, he had been to one of the vaults himself. He knew what they were like.

Next came the topic of possible obstacles for their expedition. Namely, the dangers of the wilds. That wasn't of particular interest to Claire, so she let her consciousness wander elsewhere. She did catch a few words before that, however. Blacksmith, good condition, weapons. Interesting. Maybe there was something she could do... She did not know the method for it yet, but she was certain she could somehow take care of the condition of weaponry. A protective layer placed on top of the weapons? But that would only be a preventive measure. She'd need something that could also repair any damages already done. There was much research that needed to be done.

While she was still thinking, Kaus approached her, informing her of his failure to recruit the Nord she'd suggested earlier. She shrugged. "Well, it wasn't particularly important. Do not worry about it." The younger Teker then left the tavern. Claire immediately followed, as she thought of something.

"Wait. There is one thing that needs to be done. We will need horses and a wagon. If we are to to travel long distances, we will need plenty of supplies. Foraging, hunting and fishing can provide a part of what we need, but there are some things necessary that cannot be gathered from the wilds. Also, if we are to bring back whatever we find at the magic vault, we will need something to carry it in." Also, if they had horses and a wagon, she wouldn't need to walk. And she would have an indoors location to do her experiments in. But she didn't say that out loud. She also conveniently decided to forget about the fact that they were going into the wilderness, where one wouldn't have easy-to-travel roads. But they'd deal with it when the time came. She wanted her comfortable wagon. "If you agree, I know a person we can buy both things from, and will have them ready by the time you return from your trip to the blacksmith." She'd just need to go get her things from her room at the inn first, and then she'd be ready to go buy them. The man who was willing to sell those things was close by, so she'd be done with her business quickly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Valar Karackson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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A large group passed by, coming from some tavern or another. Looked like a popular one-- the paint on the sign was actually fresh, so someone was maintaining it. The group looked armed. Might be some adventurers-- they didn't really look like guards.

Varghos was still nowhere to be found, but that was typical. He wasn't the type to stick close. Maybe Kav could be the one to get the work for the two Shadehands this time. He walked toward the group, trying to eavesdrop and hearing nothing specific. After a couple minutes of very conspicuous tailing, he caught something...

"...whatever we find at the magic vault, we will need..."

A magic vault? This could be interesting...

He walked up to one of the group members at random, figuring the Ferret-kin would be able to provide some information.

"Hey. You the leader of this group?" Kav asked the Ferret-kin. As far as Varghos had taught him, there were some pretty competent Ferret-kin mercenary leaders, and some famed warlords as well. It seemed a good guess for the leader.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:44 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


"We need what?!" Kaus looked at Claire in utter shock, before managing to recompose himself. "I mean...is that really a good idea? What if we end up going through a mountain pass or something? That wouldn't go well for the horses or the wagon..."

Thinking about it more, he could definitely see why it was needed, and Claire did bring up good points. But Kaus just wasn't sure if he could make it work, depending on the terrain through which they traveled. Ah, geez, what to do, what to do, what to do...come on, Kaus, you have to think of things quickly here! You're the leader, ya know!

"Hm...I'd better think about it for a while longer," he finally muttered lamely. "Uh...Miroch, I don't know if we'll follow your routes through the wilderness, but do you think the wagon is a good idea?"

He didn't even receive a response before he heard someone asking for the leader of the group--almost immediately followed by Ice's thick accent. Oh, geez, another member? Hm...well, I guess it can't hurt...

"Actually, hold that thought for a moment..." Kaus told the black-haired elf quickly, before quickly striding over to the person whose interest he had caught. It was a very short stoat-Kindred, with a scarred face and pale, ripped fur. "Um, hey! You were asking for the leader, right? I'm right here. Are you interested in coming with us, then....?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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"Um, hey! You were asking for the leader, right? I'm right here. Are you interested in coming with us, then....?"

Kav turned from the Ferret-kin to face the young adventurer. He seemed pretty green, but there are worse leaders. The group was a motley crew anyway. The only requirement that Kav could see was that the members be able to walk and breathe, though some of them clearly knew how to fight. Probably some combat mages, too.

"I might be. I'm with a small group called the Shadehands. We do this sort of work sometimes. If you want to hire us-- well, all two of us, once Varghos shows up." Kav briefly looked around to see if the owl was nearby, to no avail. "Well, Varghos might be a while. But you still have me, for now. I can fight with sword and sorcery, and I know how to survive pretty well. People tell me I'm a good chef, too."

Kav gave the adventurer pause. "By the way, I'm Kav. You?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:46 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


"Shadehands...?" Kaus repeated, not recognizing the name. Something about it sounded like a name someone would give their group just to sound evil...eh, whatever. There wasn't anything wrong with that, anyway. "Anyway, it's great to hear you'll join us. Welcome to the team, Kav. I'm Kaus."

He paused for a moment, wondering if he should wait for Kav's partner. But if Kav himself doesn't know where that man is, we'll be searching for a while...no, it's probably not worth it. All the same... "You don't think your partner will really mind if you come with us without telling him, do you?" Kaus asked, not wanting to cause too much trouble.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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"You don't think your partner will really mind if you come with us without telling him, do you?" Kaus said.

"Varghos won't mind. Probably. He has a habit of disappearing-- he's used to finding me after doing whatever he does." Kav smirked slightly. "I just don't ask him any questions, and we get along just fine. And it's fine if you haven't heard of the Shadehands-- we're a bit of a small company right now." Really, the Shadehands were just him and Varghos, but advertising was better if he didn't mention it. Usually, he or Varghos got hires as a 'representative' of the group, implying that a larger force existed somewhere. They got paid better that way.

Maybe Varghos was looking for inn locations, or something. This seemed like a popular town for travelers, so that wouldn't be surprising. Might be some cheap land near the city's edge, something small that the two of them could run easily. But they didn't really have the money for that right now. Hopefully, this new job would change that.

As the group reached their destination (a smithy, Kav realized), he stopped to speak to the Ferret-kin he'd kind of cut off earlier to speak with Kaus.

"I'm Kav. Sorry for not saying that earlier. I will say, it's good to see some familiar Kindred. So, what kind of music do you perform?"

While music wasn't Kav's forte, he knew most of the old tavern songs. It was part of the tavern trade to know what the songs were supposed to sound like-- keeps the phony singers away. Maybe, if Ice was good, Kav'd let him perform at his tavern someday. Of course, that was thinking years into the future... wasn't really his place to think too hard on it right now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Before reaching the smithy and before Hela's question, Miroch thought about his response to Kaus's question. While it was a decent idea to get a wagon, it would also present some difficulties. Whilst it provided a sort of shelter should any of them get injured, and it would have helped in carrying whatever they needed, if they were going into the Wilderness the wagon would also present the threat of not only beast attacks, but if they were close to any major roads, no doubt a opportunistic bandit attack as well. There were many who were desperate enough to assault even a pack of adventurers such as this, and few who were cunning enough to formulate a plan, and some garnered enough attention through number alone. The wagon would also significantly slow the pace of the expedition down, with paths needing to be cleared for the wagon to proceed. Then came the problem to care for whatever was to pull the wagon along, if they were to be killed or sustain any injuries, it would be likely that it would be nigh on impossible for them to progress with it. Still, it would be up to the group to decide, he still had to answer Kaus's question. By the time he was done thinking, he had zoned out sufficiently that he found himself at the blacksmith with another Kindred, that he vaguely recalled was name Kav. Then Hela spoke up, and after Kaus answered the question, Miroch would speak.

"I have thought about what you have asked me Kaus, about the wagon. While it is true that it would help us with carrying items, and it could provide a shelter for those who are injured, we must also think about the disadvantages of getting one. The chance that bandits might attack is relatively high, even with a group like this. Many are desperate enough to attack, and there are a few that are smart enough to come up with a good enough plan and others just have sheer numbers on their side. A wagon would also limit out ability to travel through the Wilderness, with our need to clear a path big enough for it. Then whatever is pulling our wagon will also be another concern that we would have to address. If they were to be killed, or even sustain injury serious enough to disable them, then we are unlikely to be able to move the wagon. All of these factors will be different in severity depending on the size of the wagon we might take of course. Honestly, I feel like if we were to get a wagon, a small one would likely be a decent choice. Larger if were really planning on spending several months in the Wilderness."

You know, you've said more in the past day then you've said in the past few months.

Really? No wonder my throat is starting to get sore.

Though, you have spent the last few months not doing much work that required talking, and this Kaus does seem like the type that will need guidance, especially with the lack of experience we've seen so far. Why did we join this boy again?

Desperation. Desperation is all this is. If this doesn't go well enough I might think about leaving the next time we're in town. After all, there are other things I can try.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:49 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


"Well, that's good to hear...I just hope he doesn't appear in our midst crying bloody murder for some reason," Kaus laughed, before looking up. A sign hung over his head, denoting a blacksmith shop was right there. "Oh...looks like we found a place. Is this one good quality or..."

He didn't get to finish that thought before Hela interrupted him, seeming a bit impatient. "Huh? It's still fairly early, tho..." Suddenly getting second thoughts on arguing with the fox kindred (mainly due to what seemed to be a murderous glare coming from Ruth), Kaus quickly changed his tune. "Ah...never mind. I'll try and speed things up a little...we'll just go here, in that case."

At that point, Miroch replied on the subject of the wagon...and, while his answer seemed to have a lot of thought put behind it, Kaus didn't feel like it really helped that much. He's bringing up the exact same flaws I was worried about...

"Hm...well, I guess it kind of depends on how long you guys are willing to be with me, huh..." he muttered, putting a hand to his chin. "Alright...I think a small wagon would probably be best, then. Okay..." Quickly, he turned to the alchemist. "Um, Claire! You said you know a place where we can get a wagon, right? Ask them for a smaller one, okay?"

Thankfully, the blacksmith (who was not too happy to see a group of this size) didn't take very long to repair everyone's weapons and equipment. By now, Kaus already felt like steam was coming out of his ears from trying to make all these decisions.

Wait, we probably need to g--AH, FORGET IT! He opened his mouth, and was about to let out a long sigh...but quickly thought better of it, and tried to stifle the noise as hard as he could. "I hope Claire doesn't take too long..." he muttered to himself.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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Skoggr had been walking a slight distance away from the rest of the group. That did not mean he wasn't paying attention. He noticed when the battered looking Stoatkin joined the group, and he also noticed when the elf spoke up. The Nord listened to talk of banditry, and scoffed. Bandits were the low of the low, scorned and spit upon by raiders like himself.

He gave the elf a disappointed look. "Bandits are easy enough. They're driven by desperation and fear. That, is how you beat them. When the first group attacks, you kill them."

As he spoke, Skoggr's eyes glinted with malevolence. "Let some run. Track them. Kill some more in the night, loudly. Make sure they scream. You leave trophies--totems, if you will--to be found by those who would think they could do better. Oh, and leave a survivor. Always leave a survivor. Terror is such a wonderfully effective tool."

Having said his piece, Skoggr withdrew his malignant gaze from the group. The Jackal scraped it's claws across his ravaged mind and cackled. The Nord would never have been above committing such horrible acts, but the spirit infesting his head made such thoughts almost pleasurable, rather than the brutal-but-necessary tactic he otherwise would have considered it.

The acute self-disgust he began to feel faded as they reached the smithy. Skoggr's own gear was in immaculate condition, as he did his own maintenance. However, there was something missing from his personal armory. Ignoring--rather pointedly--the dwarf and her friend as they approached their young leader, he stalked into the forge.

And there it was, hanging from a wall. A war-pick of the single-handed variety, constructed of what looked like one large chunk of steel. It was plain, devoid of ornamentation, but looked all the more functional for it. Almost reverently, he took the weapon from the wall, and gave it a few test swings. He liked it. Normally the Nord wouldn't have bothered, but he took the insight the elf had given about beasts in the wilderness to heart. The wicked, long point of the weapon, and the hammer head on the opposite side would be perfect for penetrating through hard shell and thick hide if his axe proved insufficient.

The look the blacksmith got when he quoted Skoggr a ridiculous price managed to look both murderous and hurt. He never said a word. The blacksmith lowered the price substantially. The Nord leered, and paid the coin required. His new weapon acquired, he stepped back outside, slipping the weapon through a loop on his belt.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by Eyliel
Unfortunately, Claire did not receive the immediate approval she had desired after her speech about the importance of having a wagon with them. Well, at least Kaus did seem to at least consider it. Claire fell silent as she watched the young man pondering on the question, and then passing it onto the elf in their midst, Miroch. Before he could answer, however, they were approached by yet another member of the Kindred. Quite similar to the Ferret Kindred, Ice, he introduced himself as Kav. She made sure to memorize the name for later, when she'd have time to talk with him. For now, however, there were other important things. Namely, the question of the wagon. She listened on to the conversation between their leader and the new potential member with one ear while keeping her eyes on the important one, Miroch, waiting for him to tell his opinion to Kaus.

Finally, the elf delivered a speech on the merits and faults of having a wagon with them. Mostly of the faults, to Claire's disappointment. She was not particularly worried about bandits or the like herself. Things would work out. If nothing else, she could trick them into drinking some of her 'special beverages' and proceed to rob the robbers. Hm? For some reason, Claire thought that she was forgetting about something. What had happened to the mug of ale she'd given Kaus earlier...? She had forgotten to ask. Oh well.

Luckily, Kaus seemed to decide on getting a wagon after all, despite Miroch's speech on the possible demerits of having one. He asked for a small one, but a small one was all she really needed herself, so she was happy with the result. "I'm glad you made a wise decision", she responded with a slight smile. "I will return shortly."

With that, the alchemist turned about and left with a flutter of her cloak. She first made her way back to the inn, where she picked up her things from her room. She tossed the innkeeper a few coins as a reward for the good service. Although she had overpaid for her room in the first place. She glanced about to see if there were any new motionless figures sprawled on the floor. It didn't seem so. She did find her earlier test subject, though, and, feeling a bit sorry for him, threw the innkeeper another coin and asked him to take care of the fallen Nord, making sure he wouldn't get robbed or anything while unconscious. After that, she left for the place she would get her wagon.

She had first arrived to the city of Alshain on a small merchant caravan. However, due to some troubles on the way, the leader of the caravan had decided to retire from the job of a traveling merchant. Therefore, he had no need for his many wagons anymore, and would sell them for an affordable price. He had told her where he lived in case she came across anyone who needed a wagon or two.

And soon enough, she arrived at the soon-to-retire merchant's home. She exchanged a few words with the servant who came to open the door -and who gave her a dirty look, she was a Teker in Solarian land, after all- and then waited for the merchant himself to arrive. It did not take too long, and Claire explained her intention to buy a wagon herself.

He was a bit surprised that she was a buyer herself, instead of simply sending someone his way, but was perfectly willing to do business with her. She asked to see a small wagon, along with some horses used to rough terrain, and was led to the stables attached to the merchant's house.

The selection process took a while as she explained her needs further, but eventually the experienced merchant showed her the one that he believed was the best one for traveling through the wilderness. Claire herself was no expert, so she couldn't tell whether that was true or not, but with one look inside the wagon, she could tell that it would fit her needs nicely. The inside was perfectly shielded from the wind and rain, there was enough room for doing experiments and space for supplies as well. It would do nicely.

Next, he showed her two horses, both of them apparently used to moving across the wilderness. One of them seemed a bit on the old side, but both still seemed very healthy and strong to Claire's eye. The merchant also told her some details about how they should be treated, their personal quirks and other such things, and she made sure to memorize the information, even if it didn't seem that important to her. She could pass it on to someone else in their group a bit more experienced with handling horses.

There were a few more minor details that they had to go through, but soon enough they were done, and only the transaction remained. Claire took out gold from her pouch until the merchant seemed satisfied. She had probably overpaid again, but that didn't matter so much to her. Her initially large supply of money was starting to run low due to her careless spending, but she was confident that she could make more with her special talent of Alchemy.

With that, the transaction had been completed and both sides left satisfied. Claire pushed her belongings into the wagon and sat onto the driver's seat, urging the horses onwards towards their destination at the blacksmith's, where they had left Kaus. Claire had no idea what she was actually doing, having no experience in driving a wagon or horses in general, but the horses themselves seemed to almost read her mind, going exactly where she wanted them to go. Smart animals. Or maybe she was just a genius at handling horses? Well, regardless, Claire seemed to be making progress towards her destination without too many people shouting at her angrily.

She should arrive at the blacksmith's soon enough, unless something unexpected happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--8:56 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


While waiting for the others to finish getting their equipment checked over and for the wagon to arrive, Kaus took out both of the books he had shown to the others in the tavern. Flipping both of them open to the maps, he glanced between them a few more times to remind himself of the route they would take.

Alshain lay in the southern portion of Solarian territory, and just northeast for twenty or so kilometers was the capital itself. Coincidentally, many of the ley lines (the name he used for those paths which appeared on both maps) happened to meet directly at the capital. However, the capital was massive, and the lands around it used as farms, mines, quarries, and the like. By the time you got to anywhere remote enough for a vault to be hidden, you would be quite far from the ley lines' meeting point. If a vault really was there, it probably would have been found by now.

In that case, the best route for now would be to head south, towards Alne. Several ley lines met up within its border, before splitting off into the wilderness, through Alne itself, or through Sylvana and the Teker States. Getting into Sylvana wasn't a good idea at all, though, and Alne was closer to Alshain than Teker territory anyway. From there...

One of the branching ley lines split up and regrouped time and again, until it reached one particularly large dot on the Elder map. But when Kaus looked back to where it should have been on the human map, he saw empty space. If there was a city in that place, it was quite far into the wilderness to the west of the elven kingdom...

...I'll figure out what to do next once we get into Alne. Just as he closed both books and stowed them away again, he saw a wagon approaching, pulled by two black horses. Surely enough, Claire was the one sitting at the reins. Huh...that seemed pretty well timed, Kaus thought, as he walked up to the wagon.

"That was certainly quick," he commented. "Yeah...this one should do nicely. Nice work, Claire." Then he turned to the others, seeing they had all finished getting their equipment checked over. "Okay then, everyone! We should be ready to move out now. We'll be heading south, towards Alne. Let's get going!"

In a short time, they passed through the southern gate of Alshain, moving across the roads which cut through the grasslands. Not all of the puddles from last night's rain had dried up, but luckily, the ground seemed firm enough, to Kaus' relief. If the wagon somehow got stuck in the mud right at this point, it'd be the most anticlimactic start to a journey ever.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Varghos "The Butcher" Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--9:01 AM
Alshain, Solarian Empire


The wagon would be incredibly cramped with no less than eight people inside, to say the least, and Kaus made a point of letting his legs dangle out of the cart, over the road, to free up a bit more space. Honestly, I'd rather go everywhere on foot...not that I think the others would appreciate that... Sighing, he opened up another one of his books to check over his notes.

However, no matter what he tried, he just couldn't focus. In fact, he found himself thinking quite a bit about what the others seemed to think of him right now. Was he doing a good enough job as leader yet, or had he already failed in the first hour?

Best not to think about it now, he told himself, letting out another sigh. Strange, his sighs seemed to be getting longer...Wait, since when do I notice THAT stuff about myself?! Though Kaus was just about ready to put his hand to his forehead and sigh yet again, he managed to resist the urge.

Looking out towards the road, he could see they were already reaching the first hill. There was some strange man at the side of the road and WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT IN HIS HAND?! Wait, was that a...head...? Grimacing, Kaus watched as the man drove a spike through the head and impaled it to a tree, before walking away as though it were only another Sunday.

Noticing Kav was calling the man over, Kaus quickly nudged Claire and whispered for her to stop the cart. After that, he walked over to stand next to the stoat Kindred, who was now starting to tell him about the merits of this man--apparently he was Varghos, another member of the Shadehands.

Looking this "Varghos" character over, Kaus couldn't help but get some kind of bad feeling about him. But he had no idea whatsoever about how to voice his suspicions, so he just shrugged. "I guess it can't be helped...we'll take him along."

Turning back to sit next to Claire, however, the young leader realized just how little space was remaining in the cart. Oh, no... Letting out the much-dreaded sigh, Kaus climbed off the cart and walked over to the front. "I think we'd better go a bit slower," he told Claire. "There's isn't enough room for all of us. I'll just walk it, I suppose..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Sigurthr Arvidson Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Varghos "The Butcher" Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Miroch had traveled with the caravan on foot, with the horses straining to move the cargo of seven or so other group members and the needed supplies. He didn't know why they all wanted to stay cramped in there, but he didn't have any comment. Even when the Owl Kindred approached the group and Kaus let him join, he didn't say anything. He just kept walking along with the wagon. As far as he could tell, they were still heading south, towards what he faintly remembered was an area called Sylvana. It was a while where they traveled, until they reached the more forested areas of the countryside of Alshain, slowly merging into the forests of Sylvana. It was already getting dark, as it took the better part of the day to get there. Miroch recommended taking up camp for the night, as it allowed the horses an opportunity to rest and recover from the long day's journey. After eating his dinner rations, Miroch wandered off into the forest, taking his staff with him. He'd said he'd be back soon, and he wanted to meditate as he usually did before he slept, also volunteering for first watch of the night.

It must have been a few minutes into his meditation in a clearing before he heard a growling in the bushes. He'd found his first beast. He'd encountered one before, but that was over a year ago, with a group of trained hunters and with the faint remembrance that this Atilgan was twice the size of the one he had hunted before. It stood at about his height at the shoulders, but one and a half times his height in length. Overall, it was big, scary and saw Miroch as supper. Its hide was thick enough to dampen even his enhanced blows, and unless he was extremely lucky, he'd have to fight it alone, a daunting challenge even for him. He drew his staff calmly before reaching deep into himself and waking up Gorrjen.

What do you... oh. Alright.

With that he felt the flood of magical energy fill his system, enhancing his own endurance and strength. This manifested as a glow of orange-yellow flame around his hands and feet. up to his elbow. A softer glow enveloped his body, to identify the enhanced endurance. Hopefully, he could outlast the beast and finish it before it tired him out. It was a slim hope. He saw a flicker in the corner of his eye, what seemed like a white flicker, but he ignored it for the moment as the Atilgan pounced at him, its claws flashing in the moonlight filtering through the leaves. Miroch rolled to the left side of its attack, slamming the staff into the beast's flank which caused it to stagger before it charged at Miroch again. This continued for a few more moments before the beast backed off, a dull ache in its side from where Miroch kept hitting it the blows had fractured bone and ruptured blood vessels, but it would live unless further damage was done. The Atilgan circled around Miroch whose breathing was now heavier from the exertion. He had been hit in the side where he had been caught off guard as the Atilgan whipped him with its tail. Luckily, the strong, thick cloth of his robe managed to absorb most of the force, though it had been torn. He'd just have to fix it later. Already, the fight seemed to favor Miroch, until the Atilgan did something strange. It opened its mouth and stood there for a moment, emitting something that seemed to resemble a roar, but in silence. Then, Miroch suddenly felt extremely sick, the inaudible sonic attack destroying Miroch's sense of balance and he struggled to continue standing, leaning heavily on his staff which was starting to dig a small hole into the ground. The Atilgan, seeing its prey defenseless, closed in slowly, almost seeming to relish the fact that it was going to finally get its meal.

Miroch just looked at it and silently prayed to whichever god favored him now to send some measure of help to him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Skoggr Character Portrait: Varghos "The Butcher" Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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April 9--9:47 PM
Forests on the Solarian Empire/Sylvana Border


With the dim light of the campfire dancing lazily nearby, Kaus wrote in his journal about that which had happened today. After leaving Alshain and recruiting Varghos, nothing truly eventful had happened to the party. Still, it was nice to relax for the night.

Currently, they had set up camp in a clearing in the forest. The wagon was parked just off the side of the road, and a few stones had been put down around the gently burning flames. Tall conifer trees surrounded them on all sides, and the moon shone brightly from high above. While Kaus couldn't tell how many of his companions were awake now, he chose not to disturb them and instead document what he had seen so far...which wasn't that much, admittedly.

From here, it was a bit tough to make a call on which direction they should travel next. The southern forests of the Solarian territory had very few notable landmarks, and it would be quite easy to get lost. And, of course, running into Wood Elves would be far from pleasant...

I think it should turn out okay nonetheless, though. Blowing gently on the ink to dry it off, Kaus closed his journal and put it away in his satchel. Then he laid himself down upon the grass and got ready to...

Before he could close his eyes, strange noises echoed from deep inside the forest. Surprised, Kaus immediately sat up. What was that...? Where did that come from? Standing up and listening intently, he tried to figure out both of those questions. Was that a roar...? And it sounds like something is rampaging somewhere. Something huge. Oh, no...is it coming to our camp?

The young leader looked around at the others, wondering if they were sleeping or if they had noticed something. And then the thought struck him. Wait...Miroch isn't here.

He said he'd take first watch. Then that must mean...oh, geez, I hope Miroch isn't there!


Picking up his sword, his bow, and his quiver, Kaus looked around at anyone who looked like they were awake. "Best not go to sleep just yet. Be on your guard--I think there's a monster out there. For now, I need to see if Miroch's okay!" Finished speaking, he immediately ran towards where he thought he heard the noise coming from.

While Kaus ran, his eyes began to glow silver as he activated his magic. Glancing from side to side, he tried to find out where the monster was, and if Miroch was there. The darkness of the forest meant nothing to him, as he could see perfectly fine. The roars and the noises steadily got louder as he continued to run.

Avoiding a large root, Kaus looked up once again--and there it was. A massive, bizarre, four-legged creature with thick, tan-colored scales and spikes across its tail. Some kind of hair stuck up across its neck, and its chin protruded outwards. And just how many eyes did it have, anyway...?

At the moment, it was having a scuffle with a certain black-haired elf. Miroch. Though Kaus was tempted to call out, he figured it might distract Miroch and cause a premature doom. So, with his still eyes glowing, he took out his bow and a single arrow. In a short time, he had it pointed at the front left leg of the beast. But without warning, the beast reared back and howled, yet it produced no noise at all. At first, Kaus wondered what was going on, but he suddenly clutched his head and grimaced. For some reason, some sort of pain had entered his head, and it almost felt bad enough to split it open.

Got to...make the shot...no matter what... Clenching his teeth, Kaus raised the bow and arrow again, ignoring the intense ringing in his mind. He pulled the arrow back, both arms shaking back and forth. Without even knowing where he was aiming anymore, Kaus fired the arrow.

He wasn't lucky at all. The arrow struck the beast in the side, harmlessly ricocheting off the tough scales. The beast, however, turned around and immediately prepared to attack Kaus, as though he had committed some terrible atrocity. Realizing he didn't have much time before he was made into the beast's next meal, Kaus fought the ringing in his mind once again and reached for another arrow. With the beast charging at him and his hands fumbling as he tried to ready his bow in time, Kaus was getting more and more panicked--which didn't help at all when one had a headache this bad.

By some miracle, the next arrow was loaded up and pulled back to be fired. Without a second to spare, Kaus fired the arrow at random, praying he'd somehow strike a critical point right then and there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kaus Meridion Character Portrait: Uriel ven Iova Character Portrait: Ice Character Portrait: Miroch Vutan Character Portrait: Kav the Stout Character Portrait: Hylonome The Forsaken Character Portrait: Varghos "The Butcher" Character Portrait: Claire Lucion Character Portrait: Ruth Character Portrait: Hela Alyndra
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Miroch had followed the three other members of his group, one newly joined, back to the camp. He had stayed silent during their walk realizing some drawbacks to Hylonome joining the group. He no longer could use his spirit powers near her without causing each other pain, though he was pretty sure she could still use hers, with the evidence being her holding that phantom sword, and unless a deal was broken between the two spirits then it would remain this way. Though even trying to speak with his spirit was likely out of the question, seeing as he needed a solid flow of energy for any prolonged conversation. He could still hold his own, but his potential strength had been slashed nearly in half, as his strength doubled when he used his sprit magic, and his spell shield was by no doubt disabled as well, so his own defence against long ranged magic had been reduced to dodges. Soon they reached the outskirts of the camp and Miroch nodded along with Hela's story. It was believable though he doubted any of the spirit tethers would believe it if their spirits talked to them and notified them of the truth. Then he merely stood still as Kaus clapped his hand onto his shoulder, which would have looked fairly ridiculous considering how much taller Miroch was than him. He nodded before entering the camp with the group.

After Kaus's announcement and seeing him approach the lady of the shield, he had little choice of choosing healers so he headed over to Claire, who was sitting by the camp fire and sat by her.

"Kaus wanted me to see you, though I'm perfectly fine." He pointed to where the Atilgan had lashed out with its tail and created a tear in Miroch's robes. It had not gotten to the skin underneath. "The sonic attack has not any lasting injuries on me either. I recovered from that just after I came back." Miroch continued sitting next to her, to humour her if she still wanted to check on him. He still needed to patch up his robes with the extra cloth he carried with him.