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Maria Solaster

A weirdo in a cleric uniform.

0 · 112 views · located in Zoltia

a character in “The Gala-Dor Expedition”, as played by AtlasAtrium

Description

Maria Solaster

Name
Maria Solaster

Archetype
Human Cleric

Age
32

Bbcode
Red

Theme
Nier - Song of the Ancients
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ady--PNMsfI

Appearance
Maria is perhaps most easily recognized by the uninterested expression she always seems to wear -- something she claims she can't help, her face just naturally sits like that. She prefers to be out of uniform whenever possible, dressing herself up in all kinds of elegant dress and blouse; particularly fancying the more exotic exports. The details are often obscured by her attire but she is actually quite muscular underneath those layers, and many an arm-wrestle has been won by virtue of being underestimated.

ImagePersonality
Maria's resting deadpan stare gives the initial impression that she is disaffected and humorless, but those personally acquainted with her know that to be quite divorced from the truth. While she is indeed normally soft-spoken and seemingly reserved, there are a few... interesting quirks that become apparent in her company. Her choices are aggressively hedonistic and even vain at times, and her strange fascination with battle has led some to draw the conclusion that she is something of a sadist -- not that she would openly admit it.

Skills
  • Fire Magic: As an experienced pyromancer, Maria is able to conjure flames in a variety of shapes. This includes small wisps for banishing the dark, jets of flame that blast forward, or even fiery symbols that can briefly remain suspended in the air. She has also been known to practice a sort of fire breath attack that doesn't require her to have free hands, though it can lead to burns inside of her mouth if she isn't careful.
  • Educated: As a human of noble birth, she is decently versed in history, courtesy, and language. She still hasn't learned how to ride a horse, though. They just don't seem to like her.
  • Berserk: Not many people know this, but in the heat of an especially intense battle Maria begins to adopt a rather... unladylike fighting style.

History
Maria was born to a noble household in Beaucourt, where from an early age her talent for the arcane was trained and exploited in raising her to uphold the standard of the family's name. She never seemed interested in the affairs of the Sacred Flame, but put up with it anyway for the sake of her parents; parents who were both sickeningly doting, and harsh like a whip at a moment's notice. Still, she considers herself a genuine discipline of the Order, though there always seems to be other things on her mind...

So begins...

Maria Solaster's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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Thump. Thump. Thump.

In a slow, mesmerizing cadence, the sticks pounced upon the drum like weapons. One after the other, each resounding blow sent shivers through her body like an echo. There, standing mingled with the face of the festival crowd, a small girl felt an even smaller hand holding her own. She felt safe.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The girl lifted her head skyward. The Sacred Flame was growing darker. Its radiance began to recede into itself, devoured by something invisible to the eye -- color washed away from the streets and the shadows cast around them crawled into the fading light as though it were alive.

She wanted to squeeze their hand for comfort as a sudden tightness gripped her lungs, but only empty air brushed aginst her frigid fingertips. And as if drawn to him, her eyes returned to that man on the drums. His hands were no longer moving, and his eyes seemed to pierce through her with a silent knowing.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Then, she realized. There was no sound in this world. That was her heartbeat she was hearing.

***

One of the corpses opened its eyes.

In repositioning himself for another potshot with the bow, an unlucky bandit's leg ventured a little too near and was instantly seized by something that had, until just now, lain entirely prone on the sewer walkway. His eyes widened in horror as black smoke erupted from his ankle; the hand that grasped him tightened like a burning iron, sinking deeper into his flesh as it burned away through disintegrating meat. The man shrieked like a wounded animal and kicked wildly at the corpse, not even his rotted, drugged out brain was capable of dulling the pain.

With one hard tug, he yanked himself free and drunkenly staggered into a full pratfall that left him collapsed on his rear. Searing fire crept along his pants from the shin up, which he desperately tried to extinguish by swinging his leg around until in an uncharacteristically intelligent move he remembered where he was. Scampering toward the flow of sewage on all fours, his entire body was suddenly lifted up by the back of his collar before he could douse his leg and was unceremoniously thrown against the wall.

In the split second that he was dazed, the corpse -- now standing -- pinched the knife from his belt and drove his own blade through his side. A light love tap on his shoulder set his torso abruptly ablaze, and she kicked the burning man into his bow-wielding partner, spreading the gift of fire to the next startled bandit.

From the far side of the ongoing battle, disciple of the Sacred Flame Maria Solaster stood to her full height, back from the dead. She felt along her ribs with charred fingers and sensed wet, sticky blood soaking through the cloth. Well, maybe she hadn't escaped death just yet.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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Lio dodged with minimal movement as the spear was thrust forth, avoiding it with more of a sway, each time the spear sliding right past his stomach. On the third jab, he brought down his elbow and shot up his knee - pinching the spear’s shaft between them. The rotted wood burst into splinters and the spearhead fell harmlessly by Lio’s feet. The bandit looked at the stick in his hands, then behind Lio to the skull fragments embedded in the wall, and ducked out of the way right as his companion rushed forward to pummel Lio with his shield. Lio punched it.

The bandit stumbled back, two pieces of broken driftwood in his hands brought up to protect his face. He peered hesitantly between the pieces to see Lio blowing splinters off his knuckles. Lio glanced his way, and his lips quirked into a little cocky smirk.

"GNAAA!" A spear-wielding bandit screeched, one hand raised to shield his dark-adjusted eyes from Wilthro's blinding gaze. He stumbled back, back down the stairs, until he missed a step, and fell…

...Right as an arrow pierced his neck. Blood spurted. His jaw quivered. With his last, gurgling breath, the bandit turned his eyes towards his killer - Ashera, her drawing arm held high, two fingers pointed skyward.

Thud.

A bandit archer's screech echoed as his lanky body plummeted into the abyss, Esther's tall figure shrinking from his sight. The second archer's body fell limp. He wheezed his last breath, the alchemist's knife lodged deep within his windpipe. The symphony of a dozen punches rang in the background. Flesh pummeled, bones crunched, and a battered body slammed into the wall with a heavy smack.

Then, within the depths, fire rose. It spread like a disease, from one flailing bandit to the next. They screamed and screamed, their greasy, grimy forms especially vulnerable to ignition. The flames lit up the dark dungeon just a little brighter, catching the group's eye and directing them to the figure of… a woman. Her white robes were almost drowned out by blood and grime. Almost like a fabled revenant, back from the dead to exact furious vengeance.

The bandits' crude formation broke, most having felled by fire and steel. Those that remained slipped between grates, crawled through drainpipes, and fled, back into the darkness from whence they came.

A burning, screeching bandit waddled towards a grate, but fell before he could flee, his flesh blackened to a crisp. Silence returned to the sewers, and with it, the taste of victory.

Lio bounced up, jittery with adrenaline, and shook his burning fists with an exuberant “Whoop!” He did a quick headcount, then turned his attention back to the resurrected woman in bloodied white robes. He went through a few obvious calculations behind his eyes before coming up with a name.

“Lady Solaster,” he called over with a bow, “Aren’t I happy to have one less corpse to loot.” At that, he pulled a roll of bandages that matched the ones on his hands from his pocket and hurled them over her way, then ducked down to shift through a bandit’s pockets. He came up with a set of knucklebones, real bones - uncertain specimen. He spared a grimace towards the Sacred Flame cleric that had fallen with her, but was yet to get up. “Who’s getting the bad news?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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"Loot me and I'll strangle you." Maria answered matter-of-factly, resting a gloved hand on her hip. Sopping hair clung to her neck and shoulders, and her usual veil was likely floating well on its way down the stream. This slimy, disheveled looking woman had seemingly risen from the grave once already, and there was little doubt she'd do it again if anyone so much as laid a finger on her body.

She shared Lio's gaze down at her fallen comrade, rolling the body over with her boot to get a better look at his face in a display of blatant disrespect for the dead. Well, the probably dead. She squinted as if to better ascertain his identity, but after a few seconds something on her face said that she didn't really know or care.

"Think his name was Jeremy or something," she said, getting her partner's name completely wrong. "Wasn't paying attention, I hardly the know the guy. Oh well, he's in a better place now." With that said, she grasped her pendant and knelt down to offer a surprisingly solemn prayer for his spirit, deeply lowering her head. The whiplash on this woman was incredible.

"Looking for some lost company, I take it?" Maria cracked an eye open, still kneeling. "I don't recognize your friends there."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

0.00 INK

#, as written by Byte
Image


And that’s when it ended. Not with a bang, but a grand display of fire and a whole lot of screaming weirdos sporting some hot new outfits. The rest? Well, they smartly slinked back into the depths of the sewers where no stink could escape. For all their freaky splendour and animalistic instinct that spoke more to eating their prey as soon as they could sink their teeth in, the crowd of bandits was more easily dispersed than Serena would give them credit for. Guess that instinct wasn’t failing completely when it came to retreating with imaginary tails between their legs.

“And good riddance, too.” The pirate nodded with a little too much relief; the disgusted grimace making way for her usual smile. They were alive. That counted for several positives, didn’t it?

Too bad they were still mucking about in a sewage system…

With Wilthro back in his usual glowing disposition (and seated more comfortably on her shoulder than before the fight, weirdly) Serena followed closely behind the rest of the group to stare and gawk at the newly reanimated corpse. A flame priestess, apparently. Not the most cheery lass she figured.

Either that or she really didn’t care much for people. Specifically poor dead Jeremy. Poor sod, given the literal cold shoulder by a pretty woman. Maybe he could’ve livened up the situation by timing his resurrection to this very moment. Serena offered the corpse an apologetic look before turning to face the priestess.

“Just seeing if nobles really shit diamonds, rescuing damsels. The usual fun stuff.” She answered, flashing the woman a grin.

“You’re not the sewer princess we’re looking for, right?” She probably didn’t expect a serious answer, only glanced at her companions for acknowledgements. Never hurt to check the credentials. Some nobles would always relate back to another in the end; which probably made family reunions a mess to organize.

“You got some seasoning on you.” A single finger pointed out the obvious smear on the woman’s clothes. “No wait, that’s blood.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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Caught up in the midst of battle, the sudden inferno was as much a surprise to Ashera as it was to their assailants. Fortunately for her, she wasn't the one given a surprise flame bath. The troglodytes that weren't already burnt to a crisp made a swift retreat to the holes they crawled out of. Hopefully that would make them think twice about attacking again, the elf thought to herself.

The lingering question on her mind of where all that fire had come from was interrupted by the sight of what could only be described as the dead – or rather, nearly dead – come back to life. Ashera jumped back out of shock before realising this was not another threat. The elf watched as this 'walking corpse' gave its less fortunate comrade a borderline disinterested poke with a boot before immediately delivering last rites.

To Ashera, the figure's appearance reminded her of the undead she'd heard of from childhood stories. Of course, they weren't real, and even if they were, undead didn't conduct themselves in such a manner, especially one so disjointed as this. But that didn't make this person look any less unsettling. Slowly, nervously, she approached the bedraggled priestess. But not too close. It was filthy enough just being down here.

At the priestess' question, Serena was quick to explain what brought them down here, in her own way. “Princess, not priestess,” Ashera reminded the pirate. “Or... heiress, I suppose? But these are mere semantics, and we can ill afford to waste time...”

The elf gave this scraggly stranger a more thorough once-over, her expression softening at the state she was in. Just how did she even survive all that? “Tell us, are you able to walk unaided? No serious injuries? There is an exit not far from here, if you can make it.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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Maria finished bandaging up her most severe wounds, keeping an ear open as she pulled tight on the final knot.

"I don't take drinks from strangers," she said, seemingly trying to push the potion away with her gaze alone. And definitely not from a gaggle of mild-mannered sewer women; these were the witches three if she'd ever seen 'em. Carried by stuttering steps toward the wall, her shoulder heaved into it and braced against the stonework for support. Fingers gingerly wrapped around her oozing side, her chest rose and fell with long, quiet breaths. Her brow raised slightly while the redhead explained their presence down here in shit city.

"We're on the same page then. Cool. If it turns out I let unvetted help botch the rescue, my ass is smoked. So, try to make my life easy and we'll get along just fine. Otherwise I'll throw all of your rotten carcasses behind bars for obstructing the Order." Maria paused, then followed with, "I can walk. I'm just being dramatic, I'll take a look at my cuts later."

Pushing off the wall, she scanned the debris strewn about the sewer floor and spotted her weapon. She tucked the tip of her boot under the handle and kicked the mace into her hand, latching it to her belt. Her shield was nowhere to be found however, so she knelt beside one of the dead bandits and got to work. Folding his arm over, she gripped the edges of the wooden shield and yanked it from his stiff fingers.

"Oh, by the... way..." Maria grunted, rising to her feet. "I wasn't serious about the prison thing. Just a little joke."
She smiled warmly at them. Maybe genuinely, maybe... not.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Anaïs Botrel

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Lio looked up from searching the bodies. He flopped the arms of the bandit he was propping up in the shape of a 'W' towards the others with a shrug at Maria's 'reassurance'. Then he let the body drop and hauled himself up, bouncing a small sack in his hand.

"WELL," he interrupted the tension lingering from the threat-or-not, "No ring here. Just a bottle of brown with something living in it, and a bag of -" He put a pause on sloshing around an ale bottle to pull the sack open, and a cloud of grey burst in front of his nose. He pulled the drawstrings closed as he doubled back, coughing. "... That's witchpowder. Raven, catch." He ditched the bag at her, then furiously rubbed at his twitching nose. "You'll think of something to do with it. Don't mind me if I start getting snappy." He pressed a thumb against his nostril and blew out his nose, hard. "Or pass out. We'll take your lead, Solaster."

The group moved on, walking past bodies and rubble. They found one of the grates the bandits escaped through. Lio stepped to the front, paler than usual, and yanked the grate from the doorway. The rust-red metal gave way with a shrill noise.

The party ventured forth. Further and further. The path grew narrow, into an old, brick-laid tunnel. Their steps echoed through the mouldy, dirt-encrusted walls. Faded remnants of graffiti etched upon the tunnels. Images and writings of red hatchets, growing older, darker, and blurrier the further they went.

And then, at the end of their path, they found… a door. Slightly ajar. Broad and thick, with a cool black colour peering between layers of rust. Darkness seeped between the cracks. A droning, rumbling sound came from within, like the growl of an old beast.

This was the only way forward. Lio pushed the door aside. The metal shrieked as it ground against the stone floor. Wilthro's lights shined into the darkness, and revealed…

A towering silhouette. More than eight foot tall, with arms like great oaken logs, held high and stretched far over the party. Strips of bone and carrion dangled from the ceiling like a macabre curtain. Inflamed by the owl's bright lights, the shadow's bellowing growl ascended into a roar, and the party's ears rang from such unearthly vibrations as it lunged for them!




Meanwhile, above ground, where the daylight was reflected in sparkles across the canal. The Royal Beaucourt University stood as a shining jewel in the Diamond Quarter. Behind its rustic arched windows, the finest scholars of Arc-en-Lume had conducted their studies and tended to its archives for more than five centuries.Three shapes exited its front doors. A tall, thin human scholar, a stout dwarf with an ink-black beard, and a drow woman in a hood, bound to the dwarf by a silver chain.

“...I’m tellin’ ya, Philibert. This will be the discovery of a lifetime!” The dwarf argued, with a loud and spirited voice wholly typical of his kind. “Think about it! Gala-Dor, home to the first and greatest dwarven kingdom!” The dwarf continued, his arms held high, his hands splayed open for emphasis. “Its significance to history can’t be disputed!”

“Significance to Dwarf history, Hilgur,” the scholar corrected as he pushed his spectacles upon the bridge of his nose. “No offense, but it’s not a subject many in Arc-en-Lume care about.”

Hilgur’s spirit deflated with his shoulders.

The scholar sighed, and looked down upon the dwarf with creased brows. “And that’s not even the biggest issue. This… this map, the one you claim to possess... Where is it?”

Hilgur’s stance turned rigid. His expression grew darker. “I told ya. It’s confidential. Ya’ll just have to have faith.”

The scholar turned away. “Hmph. Well, unfortunately, the University must again refuse your request. We can’t provide investment without evidence.” He glanced at Hilgur from the corner of his eye and turned his nose up. “We are academics. Faith is not empirical. Good day.”

Hilgur watched as the scholar strutted back inside. “Lousy smartass beanpole son of a...,” he uttered under his breath. With a shake of his head, the dwarf walked away, towards a bridge over the canal, with the drow in tow…

...Right into Anais’ view.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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#, as written by Byte
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“You do know how to laugh, right?” Okay, Blondie was officially beginning to force a complete re-evaluation of Elves and their… odd behaviour. Not that certain knowledge was privy to her in the first place, but damned if there wasn't something creepy about the formality of it all. The way she carried herself, might as well have friends in high places here in Arc en Lume after all.

Serena flicked her attention from the Elf to the priestess, a single brow curling upward at the mention of jail time and the subsequent deflation of just having a laugh at the expense of threatening some strangers. “Flame worshipper with humour, huh? That's news to me.” The one anomaly, or did this one think you broke ice with a deadpan? The pirate managed a giggle. Good enough for her, she guessed. “You could be lying, though. Disarming us by pretending and then arresting us for the sake of it.”

Maybe she was simply accustomed to taking the worst case scenario and bracing for it. Serena didn't want to end up tossed in a dungeon for fun, though. Such a murky environment was only marginally better than her current one, although this had the upside of not being chained to the wall.

“Hey, better keep some of that.” Serena ogled the bag of witch powder with great interest. She wasn't a junky, obviously, but… “Worth a fortune if you know the right people.” She flashed Raven a knowing smirk.

The group soon resumed their navigation through the sewers with a new addition in tow, and Wilthro as the everlasting nightlight. “Lucky he never runs out of power, huh?” The little pirate said jokingly for want of clearing the awkward silence. Deeper they went, acquiring muck and grime along the way, and Serena was inclined to agree with Blondie's desire to take a nice long bath after all this was done.

“Bloody hell!” A deafening growl gave way to several sharp nails digging deep into Serena's flesh, and the pirate would've winced if she didn't already shriek at the looming monstrosity that lurked behind the door. Wilthro let out a frantic screech, clapping his wings and dragging Serena's shoulder with him. Something the pirate didn't appreciate at the worst of times. “GAH! Wilthro, you're hurting me!”

While Raven was quick to temporarily close the entrance between them and the next threat, Serena had managed to calm the poor owl somewhat. Alright, that wasn't a normal thing to see in the sewers. Magic waste or otherwise. “Think you could arm wrestle that thing?” She glanced over at the monk. “I'll bet in your favour if that helps.”

Otherwise, turning around and legging it, praying it couldn't keep up was the next best thing.

There was the flame priestess, of course. But somehow enduring another fiery blaze (and probably being in the middle of it this time around) wasn’t exactly top priority. Or… “Alright Blondie. How about an Elven touch for a change. Don't you breathe magic up there?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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Maria slowly lowered her mace with a frown.

"Well. I was going to beat the shit out of it. I guess now the plan is that we wait about ten seconds first."

Admittedly, the best plan of attack would probably be to put some distance between themselves and the door, and then bombard the thing as soon as it popped out; the combination of the owl's disorienting light, whatever chemical bombs the alchemist had on hand, the elf's bow and arrow, and her own motes of flame would likely be more than enough to give them opportunity for a clean finishing blow. Not that she felt like saying any of this out loud, of course.

After all, what's a battle without the thrill?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

0.00 INK

As much of a relief as it was to see the priestess comparatively well, Ashera felt just a little put off at the thought of being tossed in jail on a whim. “Then... we shall do our best not to impede you,” the elf replied before whispering to Serena, “Perhaps it's best we play it safe and not draw her ire.”

A cursory picking over the fallen bandits revealed very little. Ashera herself abstained from the looting, not even willing to consider touching such... filthy creatures. Lio, however, recovered a bag stuffed with a certain grey dust, tossing it to Esther. Ashera knew enough from her studies to recognise the substance from its name. “W-witchpowder? As if I weren't already glad enough of these masks...” She knew the stuff to be potent and dangerous in equal measure. No better person to keep hold of it than the trained alchemist.

With their rummaging concluded and another new face among their number, the group set off, deeper into the sewers. It seemed that the further they went, the more dank and decrepit everything was, and the more Ashera longed to be out of these wretched tunnels as soon as possible. Wilthro's eye-beams blazed a trail through the darkness all the while. Ashera fervently wished to ask the bird's owner just how long that light could last, and perhaps a hundred other things about him... but alas, this was neither the time nor the place.

As if to drive that point home, inevitably the next door they opened happened to have something unpleasant waiting for them on the other side. And big. Very, very big. Having sensed a vague, impending peril ahead in advance, Ashera had the foresight to have positioned herself near the rear of the group, bow in hand. But thankfully Esther had the initiative to seal the door with some frost-based concoction. That should buy them... maybe some time.

While the layer of ice splintered and groaned, Ashera's attention was quickly grabbed by Serena asking if she had anything useful to contribute to their predicament. At least, she was pretty sure that's what the pirate had said.

“You know... I may just have the thing.” Without further ado, the elf retrieved an arrow from her quiver – this one tipped with a crystal, faintly glowing from within. Yes... this one should do nicely. “If I could trouble you all to give me a clear shot?” she called out to the others. “When the door gives way, I shall provide you with an opening.”

Once Ashera had the line of sight she needed, she notched the arrow and drew back the bowstring. Her attention was focused on the frozen door, on the very instant that the monster would break through. As the appointed moment drew near, she began to whisper something in Elvish under her breath, causing the crystal arrowhead to glow brighter. Just before the door was opened, Ashera released the bowstring. Her arrow sailed through the door like a small comet, and detonated on impact with its target.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hilgur Black-Mane Character Portrait: Dreador Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Anaïs Botrel Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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Lio gave the group a flat look with burning red eyes. "You sorted?" He snapped, sniffed, then shook his head. "...Sorry. Here, let me get it."

He gripped the door handle and pulled, the ice cracking against his strength - then it flung open, and he ducked out the way with it, and Ashera's bowstring sprang back as the arrow flew through the doorway.




Though Dreador looked still, beneath her hood, her eyes were darting about in sync with her rush of thoughts. She followed the twitch of Anais's fingers, the hand on her chain, the woman's glances at it. Her chin lifted, just enough to raise her sky-blue eyes to meet hers with a wary expression. She lifted a dark, slender finger and wound the silver chain around it. And tugged.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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"LAUGSHAT FRUM, ISG URDAN LAT, ZA SHARA MADURZ!" A booming baritone commanded from the other side of the door. "LAUGSHAT FRUM, ISG URDAN LAT, ZA SHARA MADURZ!" It repeated, this time to the rhythmic slapping of enormous hands on flesh.

The door was flung open, allowing the light to splash inside, silhouetting the enormous figure undulating over the groaning form of a Red Hatchet bandit. They were splayed out in the middle of what appeared to be a magic circle etched in chalk on the grimy sewer floor. "FRUM BARASH!!!" It screamed, as it lifted a chunk of some kind of crystal and crushed it forcefully into the bandit's back.

"IZUB DUSH MADURZ LAT ZA BOLVAG!!!" it bellowed, hoisting the man up in front of him at the crescendo. There was a notable pause as the arrow struck the man, exploding brilliantly and showering the entire room with viscera. The figure held it's oaken arms aloft for a long moment before his shoulders slumped, and his massive hands thudded slack to the ground.

"Frum kul nurz..." it muttered. "Ah! Frum kul nurz!" it spluttered, more urgently as it scrambled to its feet. It locked crazed eyes with the elf for a long moment before suddenly lunging towards the door. Charging into the light was the massive 8 foot tall figure of a bloodsoaked orc. "FRUM KUL NURZ!" he screamed at them, grabbing the door and slamming it, nearly ripping it clean off its hinges. The force reverberated through the sewer, splintering the stone frame.

After a few moments, hurried scribbling and muttering could be heard faintly from the other side.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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"Orcish is pretty easy to understand. For example, if you beat them over the head that means 'start behaving'." Maria twirled her weapon in her hand, as if to soon demonstrate. "Might be a bit of a regional dialect though." She casually strolled up to the door and began rapping the head of her mace against its surface.

"Don't be shy, we just want to talk," she said, completely ignoring the fact that they just tried to kill them with an exploding arrow.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

0.00 INK

#, as written by Byte
Image


Serena braced herself for an epic struggle between man and beast, the sort of fight you’d hear in the bard songs of old. Three brave adventurers (and an annoying pirate) stood posed, ready to strike as Lio opened the door. Blondie’s arrow zoomed past and blinded the room in an explosion of light and viscera. The creature scowled and bellowed; arms as big as ship masts reaching towards the group.

… And then the door shut with a reverberating *clang!*

“Well, that was rude.” The pirate offered still struck with a mixture of fright and awe; eyes glancing from one group member to the other. Neither of them probably knew what the hell had just happened. First time she heard about it, anyway. Not that every Orc was prone to leaving doors open, certainly not the ones with some form of education. But an enraged Orc? Yeah, manners were lacking with those.

“Maybe he’s a tourist come to sniff some posh shit?” Serena flashed an uncertain grin and a light shrug of her shoulders. It had been a weird couple of days anyway, why not add a freakishly big Orc with a headache to the mix?

Now Raven, she had the right idea about it all. “Didn’t look the talking type, but I want to feel like I’ve done something today.” The pirate strutted over towards the alchemist, exchanging a quick glance with Wilthro who took the sign and fluttered over towards Esther’s shoulder. “He hates it when I do this, might want to hang onto him for a bit.” She said with a smirk.

What followed was a series of grumbles, growls and screeches, a sort of… vocal warm up for the damned if there ever was such a thing. And Serena had to suppress her own enjoyment out of the weirdness of it all. “Sorry, haven’t spoken to an Orc in a while. Just making sure I get the inflections right, otherwise...” She not-so-subtly slammed a fist into the palm of her other hand.

Not unlike what the flame priestess was planning to do in the first place. Had some strange ideas about making friends with the locals as well, that one, given her odd mannerisms when knocking on the door and kindly asking the Orc to come out of hiding. All the while keeping a tight grip on that mace.

Yeah, friendly pat on the head her ass.

“Right, step aside missy.” Serena eyed the flame priestess carefully. “Don’t want to get killed a second time.”

Serena put an ear at the door (which had received several dents and gashes because of poor handling) hoping to catch something. Anything that might give away the ludicrousness of this whole plan. There was a faint muttering, something she didn’t quite catch but what might’ve been in the similar vein that she’d heard the Orc mumble and scream about earlier.

Whatever it meant… Orcs were an odd bunch, and this one was even odder still.

The pirate pondered for a moment, pausing before giving a gentle knock on the door. “BADZURZ!” She growled, face contorting to a frown. “Badzurz dagronk! Izishu nargzab flas! Nar skazga!”

If there was anything she’d learned in her lessons, it’s that the orcish language wasn’t simply banging two sticks together and waiting until a head got crushed between someone’s thigh muscles. She hoped it still wasn’t. That would make this conversation an awkward affair moving forward, who would crush who and all that.

There was another pause… And then, “Sharog nurz frum!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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"Dushum ghashan," was the muttering behind the door... over and over. There was a notable pause in both the scribbling and the orc's muttering as Serena barked from the other side of the door.

"Hmm... impeccable grammar. 'Badzurz' is a command though, say it with your diaphragm... like... like oh!
Like you're gonna crush my skull between your thigh muscles,"
he corrected in a rumbling baritone. The scribbling resumed in silence for a long moment before the rustling sound of an enormous weight lifting itself to its feet thudded through the wall. He cleared his throat several times.

"BadZURZ!!" he bellowed, flinging the door open and taking a step towards them... at least as much of a step as the door frame would allow at least. "Hmm," he stroked his blood crusted beard for a moment before attempting to stuff his considerable girth through the door. He made several attempts to come through, including one where he backed towards them until he managed to slide himself through onto their side.

"Attention, puny mortals, it is I, Orcimedes, ruler of the Western Pass! Terror of Thum-Dor! Inconvenience of the slightly farther away Ruzmok-Dor! Mightiest of Shaman," he announced, sweeping his enormous staff grandiosely over their heads. "You tread upon the domain of I and my Warband, the Red Hatchets. But fear not, though one of my warboiz has succumbed to an evil spirit, I have contained it safely in the room thither," he explained, motioning behind him.

Indeed, behind him in the room, scrawled across the door and much of the floor was a fully realized magic circle with complete and accurate array tracing intersecting with the original seal in the center of the room... or at least it would be if the sigils inscribed resembled any known arcane language and not roughly sketched animals.

The orc slid himself gracelessly to the ground before them with a grunt and crossed his legs, laying his staff across his lap like an adolescent tree. Behind him, the battered door finally fell off its hinges.

"What is it you wish to speak of?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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Ashera winced at the crude, guttural speech that answered her magic arrow. Orcish. The sound was like nails on a chalkboard to her. The brute's nightmarish features stared straight at her from the open doorway, almost as if poised to charge. And then...

SLAM!

...and then it just shut the door on them, almost like a disgruntled elder wishing to get away from the younglings. Ashera stood there, agape, uncertainly grabbing another arrow in case this was some kind of feint. But when no attack came, her posture gradually relaxed. Ashera truly didn't know what surprised her more. That an orc was living in Arc En Lume's sewers (though such an environment was fitting for the creature) or Esther's suggestion to try speaking with it. Whether fortunately or otherwise, Serena happened to know the... language, for lack of a better word, and made efforts to reason with this orc. Curious indeed.

What completely threw Ashera for a loop was that not only did the plan actually work, but the response that came forth was so... articulated. More at home in the voice of a human noble than an orc of any stature. Nevertheless, the elf jumped back when this unusual orc suddenly burst out of the door and introduced himself as Orcimedes. More importantly, he mentioned that he was in league with the Red Hatchets. After finishing explaining why he was down here, Orcimedes went on to ask the same of the band of misfits that came a-knocking.

“You are with the Red Hatchets?” Ashera cautiously enquired. “Are they not all merely degenerate junkies? Or does witchpowder work differently on orcs and make them erudite instead?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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"Ghru?" He guffawed, with a look of minor offense. "Young lady, I assure you that I don't require alchemical assistance to become erudite," he replied, pulling what was to him a tiny notebook and stick of charcoal from the satchel on his hip, flipping through towards the end and scribbling something hastily while carefully mouthing the word. "Erudite indeed," he muttered, snapping the book closed and stuffing it back into his pouch.

"You misunderstand, Golog: Orcimedes is not with the Red Hatchets. Guided by the Shamanic spirits, I have traveled here and discovered a den of Lesser Dagul. I've inducted them into my warband in order to exorcise them and impart the wisdom of the five tenets of Shamanism," he explained. "Red Hatchets are with the warband of Orcimedes."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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#, as written by Byte
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In all honesty? Plans never went as they should when Serena had a finger to stir in that particular pot. So imagine the surprise and joy when the Orc actually wasn’t a cracking heads first, ask questions never sort of man.

With a loud roar the door flung open, and out came the eight foot greenskin muttering with a voice that could only suggest he’d wash his mouth with thumbtacks and a good strong pint of ale. Then again, most of his kind sounded like that anyway. So not a lot to complain about on that front.

“We’ve got ‘Open Sesame’, but yours works too.” The door had finally succumbed to its poor treatment and, with a metallic thud, came crashing off its hinges and down to the ground in unison with the Orc. All that was missing? A standing ovation, but Serena kept from bouncing up and down like some giddy girl come to meet her idol; Might’ve slipped a bemused giggle and a little smile in tow though.

Wilthro shook, visibly uncomfortable with the giant’s presence. The owl gave a weak ‘Coo’ as he inched closer to the alchemist’s head, a cautious glance taking stock of the situation.

“They don’t look very wise, probably the broken spines and torn limbs and all.” Serena commented jovially, daring a glance inside the room that had served as some makeshift summoning chamber or other unpleasant dealings that might as well scream Demon worship at work, don’t disturb.

“Hey, Raven, you know this big lump? Huh...” Maybe a legend like that wasn’t common knowledge if one didn’t live in or visited Stormhold on a regular basis, and Serena hadn’t a single clue what Esther was on about. Would be the mother of all coincidences if this Orcimedes was one and the same.

“Oh,” The pirate piped up. “You haven’t found some damsel lying around here have you?” Brown eyes turned back to the Orc, gleaming with their usual joy. “Or has she been imparted wisdom too?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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"Ah yes, I was quite rambunctious in my youth," he replied, grunting with amusement, though he regarded Esther for an uncomfortably long moment with his piercing amber eyes while stroking his beard after her comment about his identity. "Hrmph. Hard to believe you say. You ever hear stories of Aslak the Insurmountable?" He asked, straightening his back and tapping a finger on his knee unconsciously. It thumped loudly against his skin.

"Very highly regarded hero amongst Stormians... Holdians... your peoples," he said. "Old rivals, I and he. One day he approached the mountain pass with a large caravan on his way to Helgarde and I came out to meet him with the rest of the Warboiz. 'Halt'he says. With such a commanding presence that we couldn't help but obey. Suddenly. Some of the boiz even fell over.

"'I can't handle your bullshit today, Orcimedes,' he says. Well, I can't just let him through, I have a reputation to keep: Orcish hierarchy and whatnot. So he challenged me to a duel,"
he explained, clambering to his feet and fumbling about with his belt.

"My axe vs his branding iron. Couldn't say no," he grunted turning his back to her. With a heavy thud his trousers dropped to his ankles. "Not in front of my warboiz. Well I lost that duel and the caravan went through to Helgarde," he said lifting his tunic to expose his left buttox to her. Seared into his flesh was a large stylized 'A.' He pointed to it enthusiastically.

"Apparently the caravan was transporting some important dignitary or noble or something. Helgarde made him a Vassal over that if you can believe it," he chortled, pulling up his pants. "I launched a live cow through a window of Helgarde castle proper the very next day with a trebuchet I stole. Caused quite a ruckus," he said with a laugh as he pulled his trousers up and returned to his seat with a grin and a wistful sigh. Those were the days.

"What's this? Damsel you say?" He rumbled in thought, stroking his beard. "No. No damsels that I can recall... there is a large chasm at the end of this path, however, where some surfacers have set up a holding camp. They are not amenable to the five tenets of Shamanism: had to kill one," he grunted with a note of displeasure. "You might check there."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster

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"A whole tower?! Is that what they say?" He laughed, slapping his thigh. "No, t'was a moo cow. Landed straight in the grande hall. Not sure my axe could have knocked a tower down, but I did throw it into Helgarde: knocked down a whole row of outhouses! Spectacular," he snorted, shuffling to his feet.

"You should have seen the look on Aslak's face when he chased us away. Bards do weave a thread don't they... ahhah!" He chortled, positively tickled as he roughly brushed the dust out of his tunic and leggings, doing little more than to smear the blood further over himself.

"Hah! Come then, to the chasm. I will take you there, and you can search for your damsel," he said, squeezing his girth back through the door into the "exorcism" room. "Take heed not to scuff the array lines. Might release the spirit."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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Through it all, Lio shivered against the slick stone walls, eye occasionally twitching. It was remarkable just how much paler the man could grow. And just how short he looked now that he was hunkered down with that green beast hovering over their heads. His brows perked up as the party began to trudge away, suddenly looking alert despite the… dark, glazed over pupils taking over his entire eyeballs.

“What? Yeah? Follow the green giant? Wait, didn’t we blow it up?” He blinked a few times, shook out the sweats, then grimaced. “Ohhhhh, Flame forsake me, aha, ha... I’ve dabbled in the ol’ alch of mey myself but this, this, they’ve been mixing something strange in this. I think I felt bones when I held it.” His voice raised to a wheeze as he lumbered behind. “I’m fine. I’mmm fine.” Then in a mutter, “I’m going to kill that ring when I find her.”

With Orcimedes leading the way, the group ventured forth. Down ancient stone steps and through rusted iron grates, into the bowels of the sewers. The walls seemed greener the deeper they went, layered with centuries’ worth of grime and filth, left to fester and spread. Rats scurried away from the party’s approach. The further they went, the more rats they found. Even with their great numbers, Orcimedes’ booming stomps staved off any hostile intent. They retreated, into the cracks and crevices which beset the sewers.

Eventually, they came upon the end of the path. A great chasm laid ahead, thirty meters wide and pitch-black with no bottom to be seen. Surrounding the edge of the chasm was the heart of the Red Hatchet’s operations. A rickety fort of scaffolds and spikes, built into the walls and shrouded in patches of tarp.

On the highest peaks of the scaffolds were the Hatchets’ archers, three on one side, and three on the other, their fire-tipped arrows already trained upon the party. Eight more gathered to greet them, with axes and spears and sneering faces painted with blood. They stood there, hunched over into battle stances, and remained.

Thud.

The sound rang behind the scaffolds. A shadowy form emerged, its head a fang-filled, growling maw.

The Red Hatchets thumped their spears on to the ground, in tune with the encroaching steps.

Thud, thud, thud!

“Georgina! Georgina! Georgina! GEORGINA!” They chanted and chanted, the sound swiftly filling up the arena.

Heavy paws. Scraping metal. Nine metres from the head to the base of the tail. A giant beast, shrouded in damp and frayed grey fur, with a face that was somewhere between a rat and a direwolf. A moist, lolling tongue licked over its rotten, crooked fangs, and the reins of chains bolted onto its cheek armour. Its eyes were bloodshot red and unfocused, its body barded by layers and segments of rusted, blue-grey iron fastened by leather. It emerged to face the party, and upon its back was the largest, most heavily armoured bandit in the room. Their leader.

The Bandit Lord was dressed in armour that matched his mount; one that bore the scars of a hundred blades and the dents of a hundred hammers. Blood-red paint was slathered over the left side of his cuirass. A crooked, bucket-shaped helmet shrouded his face. He held Georgina’s chains in his left hand, while his right wielded an overlong, razor-sharp bardiche, rested upon his shoulder.

The Bandit Lord raised his left hand, and his men were silenced in an instance. He stared down the group, towering even Orcimedes atop his mount. “Well, well, well,” he spoke. “You’re the ones who’d given my men a lot of trouble.” His voice was low and deep, yet it lacked the other bandits’ manic intonations or their lowborn accents. He cocked his head, letting out a raspy chuckle as he observed the party.

“You don’t look like Sacred Flame...” He stopped at Maria. “...Most of you, that is. What brings you here, to this trash heap at the ass-end of Beaucourt?” He glanced towards Orcimedes and Esther, his voice rumbling into a purr. “The sewers are not exactly tourist traps, hehehe.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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Maria took great care not to let her boots tread over the roaming sewer fauna -- fauna that by now, must have caught the scent of fresh blood upon their clothes, mixed in with whatever sewer muck was wafting through the tunnels. Rats weren't exactly picky about their food sources, she expected their return trip may yield some new visitors around the cadavers they'd left behind.

Even as they pressed further into the depths, the sickly odor of burned skin seemed to follow her, long after the group had already moved on. It was a smell she despised, almost distinctly so. She preferred her mace and board anyway, but that was yet another reason for her to stay her hand from casting the spells she'd become familiar with over the years; such that it became something of a reputation in her circles. Why would such a talented flame mage trade her gifts for simple brute force? To that, she had no answer. Or rather, no answer that wouldn't leave others mildly unsettled.

Finally encroaching onto Red Hatchet territory proper, her gaze swiveled around to take in the ramshackle assortment of boards and ladders into something that could arguably be described as fortifications. Maintenance down here must not be very thorough if structures like these had managed to spring up beneath their notice...

The leader, she presumed, introduced himself in style, bearing down on the group aloft some manner of beast. After posing his question, Maria looked over her shoulder to address the group behind her and made a face that expressed something like, let me do the talking, okay?

Turning around, she stood with her back straight, shoulders broad, and head held up high with her shield at her side and her weapon held vertically over her chest.

"BY THE GRACE OF THE SACRED FLAME, YOU ARE HEREBY PRIVILEGED TO LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS AND SUBMIT QUIETLY TO THE CUSTODY OF THE ORDER." Her voice boomed throughout the hollowed space with unerring authority, the reverberating echoes spiraling down into the deep.

"FURTHERMORE, YOU WILL RELINQUISH TO US YOUR CAPTIVE, ALONG WITH ANY CONTRABAND YOU HAVE UNLAWFULLY OBTAINED. THERE WILL BE NO NEGOTIATION.

YIELD, OR LIBERATE YOURSELF INTO THIS CHASM BEFORE YOU, LEST THE FULL WEIGHT OF YOUR DIVINE PUNISHMENT REND YOUR SOUL FROM ITS VESSEL. YOUR MERCY RESTS WITHIN YOUR OWN HANDS." Maria let out strong, controlled breaths following her informal decree, fixing her eyes upon the bandit leader with a solemn confidence.

Then she turned around and did a small thumbs up. With a little reassuring smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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"Ooooooh!" squealed Orcimedes in a rising pitch, practically dancing with giddiness. "Hmm! Yes! Very rousing! Superb entrance!" he commended, stomping over to Maria and squatting down to her level.

"Deep breaths, puff out your chest. Speak with your diaphram, it helps command the tone," he explained, then stood up, taking a breath and sweeping the wyvern skull of his staff dramatically out towards the bandits. "BY THE GRACE OF THE ALMIGHTY SACRED FLAME!!" He bellowed, his voice boomed with the authority of a thunderclap, knocking the dust out of the rickety scaffold structures.

"Like that. See how I used 'almighty' as the descriptor for your deity since a holy woman has to respect her own humility: Can't go throwing about phrases like 'Puny Mortals' like the heathenistic non God-fearing Orc I am," he snorted.

"Ooh, also! Ooh, you can add 'OR DIE' as an ultimatum to the end of any sentence to make it more intimidating. Try again... go ahead they'll wait,"
he said, ushering her towards the bandits like a small child.

"So precious," he whispered loudly as he turned back to the rest of the group. He wiped a tear from his eye, though it served mainly to smear more grime across his face. He gave her just the gentlest shove out into the spotlight like a doting parent... a doting mountainous parent looming behind her in the shadows, amber eyes gleaming in the shadows at the bandit leader.

The cunning, calculating gleam of a beast planning its next move, like he would leap out and unleash the unbridled ferocity for which his kind were known. Mercilessly smashing his way through their ranks, as a truly unstoppable wrecking ball of force. The intricacies of this kind of mental duel were often lost to those who weren't trained in the art of battle. True masters of the craft could strike their opponent down with only their gaze, without even having to lift a finger. A master, the bandit leader was clearly not... was that paralysis creeping into their bones as their gazes locked? Or just their imagination?

Orcimedes' thumb twitched, sending a jolt of tension through the air. The orc's presence was overwhelming, and the weight of his intent crushed down on everyone's shoulders. This is what it was like to face a true legend in the flesh... the bandit leader must have flinched involuntarily, as the orc's piercing amber gaze widened suddenly as he sensed his opening. He moved with terrifying quickness, far faster than any object with his girth had any right to, leaping over Maria and charging the bandit leader, his eyes locked straight onto their weakest point.

"HUNDUR!!" he shouted, with childlike glee as he dove to tackle the beast rider and all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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It never ceased to amaze Ashera just how deep these old sewers continued to go. They had been down here for so long and gone so far that she almost started to wonder if they might never see the sun again. A shudder ran down her spine at the thought. She kept a watchful eye on Orcimedes, who was apparently amenable to leading them to the Red Hatchets; if he chose to turn against the group, the fight would doubtless be a bloody one. After yet more trudging through the damp and the filth – and more fervent wishing for a bath from the elf – the ever-growing band of misfits reached the mould-ridden heart of the sewers. Right into the Red Hatchets' encampment.

Despite Ashera's premonitions, even she was taken aback by the small army amassed before them. The entirety of the Red Hatchets had focused their attention on the would-be rescuers, ruling out any hope of sneaking their way out of this.

Maria was the first to respond to the bandit lord's challenge with a rousing ultimatum, to give up their hostage or suffer the consequences. Ashera was certainly emboldened. It almost felt like they stood a chance, horribly outnumbered though they were. The speech was undermined somewhat by the priestess' smile and thumbs up to the rest of the team, however. A nice gesture, but even Ashera had her doubts about doing so in full view of the enemy. What also didn't help was Orcimedes'... "contribution" afterward. Coddling their erstwhile spokeswoman like a child took the momentum out of the negotiations. By the time he went to do what orcs did best, Ashera had resigned herself to prepare for battle.

No sooner than Esther had called for the others to seek cover, Ashera pulled out a small crystal and attached it to her belt. The crystal flared with a silvery inner light at her touch, and a rectangular plane of invisible energy appeared before her, wide enough to shield herself and the others without fully blocking the way forward.

The elf felt her way closer to the left of the shield wall, preparing another one of her magic arrows. Through the barrier she had a good enough view of one of the enemy structures, for lack of a better word. When she noticed a pause in the hail of arrows from that side, Ashera leaned out of cover and returned fire, aiming more for the fort itself than the archers manning it. The overloaded crystal projectile impacted with a large blast of concussive force, dangerously shaking the ramshackle fortifications.

Unwilling to have to use another of her crystal arrows so soon, Ashera switched to the mundane variety and provided some covering fire for those who charged straight into the bandit horde.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ashera Vallenai Character Portrait: Esther Alfsson Character Portrait: Serena L'aporte Character Portrait: Maria Solaster Character Portrait: Orcimedes Lavatrina

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#, as written by Byte
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They were certainly organised for a ragtag group of drugged-up bandits.

Serena stared at the makeshift fort, held up by only the smallest of threads and probably about to shift and tumble into the depths if you so much as sneezed a bit too hard. It made her feel somewhat uncomfortable standing there with the bellowing Orc the size of two trees.

“Ehm, I’ll second my motion to get the Hell out. Now?” The comment had fallen on deaf ears, and the pirate contemplated for the second time today why she hadn’t thought about bringing something sharp to shank someone with.

She was fairly used to running away from her problems in that regard, especially if they carried around a big fuck-off dograt to show off to the in-laws. And Serena felt her instinct nag her like an incessant fly buzzing around her ears.

Maybe she should’ve listened.

The flame priestess’s attempts at mediating the situation were dubious at best, and even Serena had to give some disapproval. However much the thumbs up made her grin.

“You have a terrible way with words.” Was an understatement.

Not long after it all, the newly acquired meatshield launched himself into the thick of it with a bellow and pounced on the beast and its rider. And Raven couldn’t have said it better. Diplomacy, indeed.

“If this plan fails, let me know. I’d like a headstart.” The pirate nodded to the alchemist’s suggestion to go and hide, pausing for a moment to allow Wilthro to flutter to his typical spot before taking cover behind the magic barrier that Blondie had so thoughtfully put up. Figured it was good enough of a cover. Magic was sturdy, right? Yeah, this was going to be a tough fight if she had anything to say about it. Which she didn’t, but that wouldn’t stop her from wanting to bring in a good word or two about dragging random strangers along for the ride.

The catch? Well, they’d have to live through this mess first...