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Mojohra Jojohrum

"Call me Mojo Jojo . . . ok, you can call me Mo if you REALLY want."

0 · 261 views · located in The Dying Land

a character in “The Lost Lands”, as played by Ezarael

Description

Mojohra Jojohrum

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Mood Music
Full Name: Mojohra Jojohrum

Nicknames/Aliases: Mo and Mojo are the most common

Age: 28

Gender: Male

Occupation/Class: Roaming harlequin, self-described cultist

Kingdom of Origin: Yulia

Description: Underneath all the makeup and costumes lies a man whose appearance belies his age. His bronze skin is taut, thinly brushed over his gangly frame, and if it wasn’t for the numerous scars decorating his body it would appear surprisingly well-kept. Mo is shorter than your average bear man, and isn’t particularly tall compared to most women, either, but his curious physique tends to distract from this fact. His arms are absurdly long for his stature, his hands dangling near his knees, and with near comically large hands and feet to boot it’s very hard to take in all the curious little details. There’s nary a soft curve to be seen, his limbs locking together to form jagged edges, his face keeping this pointed characteristic as well. A mop of dark, auburn-touched hair dangles loosely in-front of a mismatched pair of green and blue eyes, with a wide-mouth more than capable of splitting into a cavernous smile of large, pearly white teeth.

-Tones of Summer Lands: While Mo may have been born and raised in Yulia his physique and complexion are native to lands far south of the kingdoms that were.

Equipment:Image It doesn’t seem like Mo wears any armor, but then again with all the baggy, festive garb engulfing his slender frame it’s quite difficult to tell if there’s anything hiding underneath the cloth, yet given the acrobatic feats he’s wont to perform on the spot it’s hard to believe there’s anything there. A pair of clawed, metal gauntlets adorns Mo’s large hands, but for the most part he carries a pair of long daggers to fight with, using his exceptional speed to tear into his enemies’ weaknesses. A peculiar pair of dolls can be found pinned on either side of his chest, underneath his clothes.

-A Quick Cut: Daggers have long been a staple of harlequins in the Yulian tradition, especially pairs of them. Curiously enough Mo’s are Aressan, a simple, yet elegant, design most common for the lower strata of Wolf Knights.

-A Firm Grip: Gauntlets have popped up in a number of different ways throughout Yulian history. Roaming performers have utilized various gauntlets for since their inception, using them to perform acrobatic feats and stunts with their ever-changing studios, and more recently they have made their way into underground boxing matches, flesh yielding a decidedly delicious crunch for the crowd with a blow is struck.

-A Bag of Tricks: A harlequin always needs a goody bag for their performance, a one-stop shop for all their makeup and special effects needs, and Mo is no exception, except for a number of items required for ritualistic purposes of course.

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Personality: It’s hard to describe Mo . . . ok maybe it’s not so difficult to do. First off, Mo is an inveterate liar, at least that’s what everyone tells him. As a performer he has learned that the best way to enthrall someone is to take the truth and just twist it ever so slightly, not so much as to be unbelievable, but not so little as to seem like an everyday occurrence. It may be that he’s not even lying, just that he always gives the right answers to the wrong questions, or that could just be what he’s told himself for the past 20 years. Aside from that, he also tends to be an extremely talkative fellow, always jabbering on with some seemingly nonsensical dribble about one thing or another. Most of the times it’s hard to tell to whom he is speaking, as for the most part he tends to divide his attention between other people and the two dolls on his chest. It’s undetermined whether he is actually hearing voices in his head, the dolls really are talking to him, or he’s just pretending for the show.

Skills: Mo is skilled with acrobatics and related activities, and his time as a performer has heavily influenced his fighting style which leans towards close calls and extravagant movement. His movements are quick and fluid, practiced over and over until they become instinct, but every action is a miniature performance, a moment of spectacle meant to tie in with those before and after to form a grand opera. He is also unnervingly precise with his weapons, slicing and dicing on foes as a practiced surgeon might operate on a patient, and he has learned how to use them to open/break locks. While untrained with most weaponry, he has a natural affinity for blades, but avoids anything needing two-hands. All his time spent in front of cheering/jeering crowds has also trained him to be particularly attentive to details and makes him quite difficult to surprise.

Weaknesses: Mo is fascinated by magic and magical artifacts, to the point that he has a hard time focusing on anything else when either is in play. A lack of armor is also particularly discouraging, given that the slightest miscalculation separates him from life and death in battle. It’s also fairly easy to make Mo pause should you give him a riddle, while not the best with them he loves to drop what he’s doing and start pondering them.

Fatal Flaw: Mo lives and fights with a reckless abandon, caring not for his own safety, nor that of any others nearby, and his penchant for theatrics only makes this all the more dangerous.

Brief History: Mo grew up in a poor village on the southern border of Yulia, or what was Yulia before the expansion. He can’t remember how poor he was, this would be the difference between say having torches and pitchforks when running someone out of town and just having pitchforks. Not terrible days, but not the best either, of course he can’t really remember too much to make a definitive statement there. Somehow, though, he found some way to join a troupe of performers who happened to wander through his not so cozy home. They were decent enough to live with too, even with all the pickpocketing and scamming he needed to do to help pay his way early on. Ah, the good ol’ days of stealing candy from fat little babies and taking alms from the blind. They were pretty grand, to be completely honest.

After a while he managed to work his way up to performing, all the running from authorities and climbing through windows really payed off once he started growing up, and even landed a gig as a harlequin. Of course, graduating to such a high position in the group meant taking on greater responsibility, you’d be surprised how many folks want to take advantage of good natured performers such as they and either watch a show without paying or trying to waylay them on the road. Both tasks had their advantages: the first meant you could get a giggle terrorizing folks while acting like it was all part of the show and the second meant you could carve up a few blokes and acquisition their goodies. Fun times.

Things didn’t get really interesting until after the fall of Elidia. The prophets came back singing of the fantastical beasts they beheld roaming the countryside, and his pretty little head was filled with marvelous hopes and dreams of what could be. Mo was obsessed with Elidia and set out to find out everything he could about these kinds of things. How could you summon a demon, or any creature from the beyond? Is there any way to become on yourself? Are there other forms of magic, or what have you, aside from the drivel being policed by Yulia? Eventually he joined a cult that was also interested in such questions . . . well he started performing rituals and calling himself a cultist to be more precise, turns out not too many people take harlequins seriously when they talk about such serious matters.

Then he was arrested, let us not bother with the details of that particular “incident,” such a shame they interrupted when they did, and Mo found himself in a dungeon and at the mercy of the Inquisition. Such serious fellows with all their fancy “morals,” but they’re more like peacocks than anything, putting even the most flamboyant of performers to shame with their pomp and ceremony. So inept too, the poor fools couldn’t even torture him right, he was constantly having to suggest corrections to their methods . . . unfortunately they never took his advice. Then it came. The “ultimatum.” Set out to Elidia and return with secrets in tow or die in the dungeon. Even if he succeeds he’ll still probably die in a dungeon, but at least he’ll be able to see Elidia with his own two eyes.

Other: Mo is illiterate, interestingly enough, and is easily distracted by shiny objects.

So begins...

Mojohra Jojohrum's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Kormrok Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Callias Dimitriou Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia

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Midgate - Aressan Wall Border


Rain fell hard over the Midgate Fort, leeching into the gold-hued Aressan stone and making the sentries on the outer walls shiver in their uniforms.

The blue and silver griffon flag had become limp and listless in the driving storm, but it had in no way dampened the activity of the...somewhat unwelcome foreigners within the fort.

Soldiers jogged about beneath the roof overhangs of the large courtyard, and from time to time a dark-cloaked Inquisition officer might be glimpsed flitting about between the buildings. Across the yard from the gate stood the enormous structure of the Elidian Wall, and, most prominently, the Mid Gate, a vast expanse of iron whose arch would have been large enough to sail a ship through. What the once-citizens of that old kingdom had thought they would be accommodating with such an enormous entryway it was hard to say, but now it belonged to Yulia...and it was guarded jealously.

The fort was a relatively recent addition, it only being completed a couple of years previously; as the most practical and efficient means of enacting Yulia's proposed plan to handle the problem of the Lost Lands...and in the process handle the problems of the number of prisoners within their dungeons. Midgate Fort had been used by the Inquisition as a prison since its inception, so eliminating the problem of having to personally escort the rather unwilling 'explorers' under guard to the gates. It also meant that for those that remained as inmates for more petty reasons, the looming iron jaws forever in their field of view presented a permanent threat as to what might be waiting for them if they caused problems.

It was within this stronghold, up within the thick defensive structure in the walls, that Inquisition Officer Vesgha, dressed in the black, silver-lined garb typical of the order, strolled calmly through the damp, torchlit corridors of the prison, reading off a set of names from a list in one hand, and indicating to individual cells with the other, pointing to the heavy-set troops behind her whom they needed to escort out. Every so often the figure would pause, point inside the gloom of one of the cells, and in would march a couple of soldiers to drag some unfortunate out into the light.

Some would go willingly, some less gracefully, but eventually, all would go.
It was not just prisoners participating however. Standing at the end of the hallway, near the exit to the main stairway, someone else was standing, awaiting acknowledgement.


The frosty blue eyes under the mask of the hood looked the mage up and down. Small, plain-looking, coat and mantle indicating a second-class magus. The kind trained for combat. She stood up to her full (somewhat unimpressive) height and carried herself in a manner that implied she felt above waiting round in this grim place.

Mage Adella adjusted her mantle, the silver feathers glittering in the guttering torchlight. The dungeons were inevitably disgusting and she was never exactly keen on venturing down there unless expressly ordered, however needs must. You had to sometimes demean yourself a little in order to reach new heights. As Officer Vesgha approached the young mage bowed her head in respect.

"Officer. Second class magus Adella Darr. Order of Crows. I'm here for the operation."

Looking the woman over once more the Inquisitor gave a brief nod.
"A pleasure to meet you Mage Darr. Commander Sullivan already spoke to me about the arrangement. The preparations are in place, and we will provide you with everything you need to complete the mission. It's great work that you are doing here soldier, not many would have it in them to put themselves shoulder to shoulder with..." the blue eyes flickered up to those being led out of the rows of cells.

"...animals."

The Yulian caster, paying little attention to the shuffled a little, trying to maintain her decorum in spite of the compliment.
"Be assured I can handle myself Officer. None of them would be able to get past me."

"I do not doubt it Mage Darr." The Inquisitor responded, gaze turning back from the prisoners.
"Proceed to the courtyard and the rest of this rabble will be joining you shortly. Remember to watch yourself, and best of luck, lot of hope is resting on your shoulders."

A couple of sharp nods from the mage sent her down the steps, out through the guarded archway and into the rainy yard. Beside it sat pack, bedroll and a few sets of writing supplies, things she might need beyond. As representative of the Order of Crows and the Yulian School, she would be better equipped than the sacks they were doling out to the scum. In some sense she was rather pleased of it, but had a degree of concern about theft, surrounded by the lowest of the low.

Yulia didn't get to where it was by being easily intimidated though. Surely such people would learn to respect her power, if not her authority. She was, after all, a sorceress. Yulia had conquered all the continent. Only Old Elidia stood before them now...and she might be instrumental in delivering that into their hands. How glorious that would be. In spite of herself, Adella could not help but don a smile as she stood waiting in the pouring rain.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia

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#, as written by Ezarael
Midgate - Aressan Wall Border


It had been raining for days. An intermittent southerly wind kept blasting through the tiny cell windows, gracing resourceful prisoners with an extra ration of water. By now the rain had soaked through their allotted rags and bedding for long enough that a heavy mustiness pervaded the cellblock. Once the rains left the cells would become sweatboxes, yet another way to punish their inhabitants, and give way to all the chittering, skittering bugs birthed by fetid pools of water stagnating in wagon ruts and cells with prisoners too fresh to understand or too worn to care about the rain.

Mojohra Jojuhrum was somewhere in-between these extremes. He loved the rain in all its tragic glory, keeping his face planted near his window to feel the wind whip and the water splash. He had always had a soft-spot for it, even as a boy he would stand outside in it, no matter how heavy the downpour, to feel the water cleansing all the anger and sorrow from the very depths of his soul. So engrossed was he with this feeling that he missed the first names being called thanks to a delightful thunderclap. The clattering of steel harmonized very well with the pattering of rain drops as heavily armored guards rushed to comply with barked orders.

A stream of light burst forth into the harlequin’s dark, dank cell, bringing with it a gust of just slightly fresher air. Mo’s head lolled backwards, his body still fixated towards the windowed wall, to gaze upon the guards waiting outside. Someone stopped outside his door wearing a black costume, tinged with silver, that threatened to merge with the shadows. An Inquisitor. As her hand rose to point at him, Mo lodged his feet firmly between chest and wall, kicking his feet up and towards his right shoulder to give a twist to his dismount. It was much less extraordinary than he would have liked, but neither the food nor facilities were capable of maintaining him at top-condition.

"Left and Right won’t miss the show will they? I can’t perform without them.”

His answer came in the form of cold steel biting into his shoulders, sending him near-tumbling out into the hallway and herded towards the stairs and outside. There were other prisoners emerging from their cells as well, some not so politely as he had been, each looking more ragged than the last. Amateurs. Alas, even a true showman such as he was hard-pressed to maintain appearances. He had fortunately prepared for such a momentous occasion, choosing to leave an entire change of brand new, festive garb in his bag of tricks.

A sack was thrust into his hands upon exiting the stairwell to the courtyard. He was curious what was inside, but the sensation of the rain overcame him, a calm expression donning his face as he was engulfed in water. It would last just a moment before a swift push guided him towards another prisoner, a man just slightly taller than he who seemed to be parroting the Inquisitors and their gibberish, standing in front of a most extraordinary sight. A mage. Shorter than he, miraculously, and standing in the rain with them with a rather ridiculous smile spread across her face. Mo’s own cavernous grin creeped slowly from ear to ear, his lips somehow still sealed together, as his eyes narrowed and head dropped slightly. His right hand lifted to just below his shoulder, fingers wiggling ever so slightly as a wave. This was going to be fun.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia

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The dungeon cobbles reeked like the mange-covered arse of something that had been dead for days. Mold, sweat, blood, and and far less desirable fluids had amalgamated over years of use to form a slimy film that was tacky underfoot. It was far less pleasant for those without shoes.

As the storm raged outside, squalls of driving rain whipped down through the windows. Streams of water found purchase in the grout lines and mixed with the floor paste, jostling the more fresh layers of it loose to swirl about the ground in fetid soup. The water was cold, but it did little to mask the choking stench.

And in one cell toward the back of the hall, Maeve Byrne of Pradus sat kneeling in it. The woman had slumped into a crumpled position against the grated wall, ignoring the fact that her legs had long fallen asleep against the chill of the ground. Her fingers reached through the bars into the adjacent cell, clinging with white knuckles to the hand of a blonde woman in a similar position on the other side. Their faces were pressed close, pale lips separated from fully touching by a layer of rough iron. 



“Elaine,” Maeve said, stroking the woman’s hand as best as she could, “Lainey. Have faith, love.”



Elaine sniffled, shaking her head. She stiffed her hold on Maeve’s fingers as the dungeon door screeched open and the black-cloaked figure of an inquisitor appeared in the doorway. “You don’t have to go. We can find another way— work this out somehow. Maybe I can make a deal, or… Or—“



Maeve’s eyes clenched shut, leaning her forehead into Elaine’s so that the bars left an impression on her own face. “This is the deal, Lainey,” she replied, lowering her voice as the Inquisitor began her morbid roll call. “This is what I have to do.” 

Lainey shook her head again, and tears that she had long thought were dry began to fall. She opened her mouth to speak, only to be cut short by the Inquisitor’s demanding tone.

“Maeve Byrne of Pradus,” the robed figure said.



Elaine let out a wailing, unintelligible sob and Maeve leaned forward to try and catch some semblance of an embrace from her spouse. Her hands stretched forward to brush Elaine’s bloodless cheek. Her mouth parted to try and steal a final kiss.



The guards were quicker.

They seized the called prisoner and yanked her to her feet before she could take her closure, and she brought back her head of fiery hair to knock one in the chin. “I just want to say goodbye!” she yelled, but the two men dragged her toward the door, “Lemme say my goodbyes, you bloody sacks of taint grease!” 

They slammed her shoulders against the wall on the way out, all the while ignoring Elaine’s increasingly louder pleas. 



Maeve spat as the wind was knocked out of her.



“Mite jealous of my wife, are you? Ugly bruiser.”

Maeve was dragged forward with such force that her feet lifted off of the ground, and she gave a kick at someone’s passing ankle. “I love you, Lainey girl!” she hollered back down the hall, even as the door was slammed shut behind her. 

She was dragged in a similarly degrading fashion all the way down to the courtyard, though her struggles ebbed the further she was led from the dungeon. By the time the guards left her to stand in the pouring rain within view of the Mid Gate, Maeve offered no more resistance than a high-held chin and a look like murder in her eyes.



“Maeve Byrne of Pradus,” said the guard dispensing equipment, and Maeve nodded. He handed her a thin, light pack of prisoner’s rations and then, with a look of disgust, a saber and belted sheath.



She took the latter with an obvious look of pride, and promptly fastened it about her waist. Her gaze skimmed over the party around her, noting several other prisoners of various nationalities before settling on a short Mage in a pretentious cloak. “Can you appreciate a good bit of equipment, Mage?” Maeve shouted over the rain, taking a long moment to look the shorter woman up and down with a hungry stare. From what Maeve understood about such expeditions, the girl was likely to be the Yulian scum coming with the party to keep the lot of them in line.



If Maeve had to be afraid of what lie behind the walls, she was going to make sure their new “supervisor” was doubly worried for her own bodily safety.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia

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The rain splashed against the cells of the window, slowly gathering into a small bowl that was placed very carefully on the ledge to gather as much water as it could. A man sat in the corner of the cell, his head resting against the wall and his one knee raised and his right arm placed on top of it. His head listed lazily upwards, staring at the bowl as water started to flow overtop of it. With an almost sloth like mentality, he slid his way up the wall and walked over to it. Grabbing the bowl carefully, he gulped down the liquid as best he could. This would be the most hydration he would get in days, followed quickly by a steam box that would threaten to dry him out completely. Normally the rich paid a ton of money to get the spa treatment, and if they wandered into a cell after a fresh rain, they could get the same result.

There was a sharp rap against the bars to his cell, and the man turned around. “Varin Zeracuse.” The guard stated, followed quickly by another guard carrying a set of armor. “Today’s your not so lucky day. You’re going beyond the wall.” The other guard unceremoniously dumped Varin’s armor on the ground before walking out of the cell. “We’ll be back in a few minutes to take you down to the courtyard.” Varin stared at the armor, then back at the guard who locked him back in without another word and walked off down the hall. Varin looked back at his armor, something he had worked on for countless years to get it right, and now currently laying on the ground and about to be donned by an accused murderer. Not exactly how he would have liked to have worn the suit for battle, but as the circumstances were, he was just glad they were allowing him to wear it at all.

Varin placed the bowl back up by the window, letting the rain wash over his hands for a moment, basking in the calm and refreshing feeling that came with it before turning back to the armor. With practiced ease, Varin took the pieces off the armor one by one and attached them to himself. The entire suit took a few minutes to adorn, and it fit as snug as a glove, perfectly crafted to fit his body. He had spent the better part of 5 years crafting it to where it was today, so anything less would have upset him greatly. Once that was all done, the only thing left was his helmet, which he tucked under his arm and made his way back to his window once again. He grabbed the bowl and sipped at what little water had managed to make its way into the container. He managed to steal a glance outside into the courtyard below and witnessed several people already gathering in the rain. Unlucky bastards, being called first into the downpour and being forced to wait the longest with drenched clothes and fever inducing conditions. He couldn’t make out who the leader of the small group was, but he knew it was an Inquisitor for sure. They wouldn’t entrust this to anyone else, there had to be at least one person whose entire goal was to succeed at conquering the Lost Lands instead of maybe just surviving and escaping Yulia’s law.

He held the helmet in his hands, flipping it over so it was staring at him and cursing his current existence. Damn it Oscar, you fucking kid… Varin thought to himself as he flipped the helmet around and placed it on his head, feeling it slide on into a tight fit that suited him perfectly. He made sure the clasps were tight and that the helmet didn’t move when he shook his head. He slapped the side of it slightly just to give himself a physical reassurance that it wouldn’t fall off. With that, he went through the process of double and triple checking everything on his person. A few minutes later and a trio of guards showed up at the door to his cell.

“Hands on the wall.” The first guard stated, which Varin complied. He heard the gate open, followed by the sound of swords leaving their sheathes and the clank of armored boots on stone. Within moments, his arms were being yanked behind him and shackled. At the very least they had allowed him to get suited up before they decided to throw him to the wolves. He had tried to be the model prisoner to avoid any unnecessary punishment from overzealous and sadistic guardsman. For the most part he had been successful, hence why he felt the guards weren’t being as brutal as they were no doubt used to being, preferring to simply shove him towards the door without a further word. Varin complied silently, letting the guards guide him through the hall, down a set of stairs and stopping just short of a door leading to the courtyard. One guard stepped in front of him and opened the door, revealing another set of guards who were outside and holding equipment that was undoubtedly meant for Varin. His weapons were among the things being held by one of the guards, along with a sack that probably held the bare minimum of survival gear. All Varin could think about was the shitty job these guys had to stand out here all day.

“Varin Zeracuse.” One guard stated. “You have been accused of murdering a guard of the Yulian Military and have been found guilty of your crime. You have petitioned the crown for the right to participate in an expedition to Elidia in exchange for your freedom. Your success will be judged by the Inquisition should you return.” The guard nodded to the guards behind Varin, who unshackled him. Varin brought his hands forward and flicked them slightly to get the aching sensation of the cuffs off of them. The other guard holding the equipment handed Varin his weapons, of which he quickly went about attaching the sheathes to his person. His twin blades were adorned his back, and his warhammer was strapped to his side. With that, a sack was thrust into his hands. “Continue forward and gather with the remaining convicts.” The guard stated, stepping aside to let Varin pass towards the group that had already assembled. There was a slight shove from behind to get him going, but nothing more. He continued walking forward, slinging the sack over his shoulder and fixing it to work much like a backpack, sitting on top of his sword sheathes.

The rest of the group that was already outside was a motley assortment of people that Varin wasn’t sure he wanted to get a read on. One looked ready to simply collapse if someone breathed on her, another was glaring daggers into their supposed leader of the expedition, another looked way too happy to be here and the last of the group so far seemed to be nearly as defiant as the woman was. Varin should have been worried, even slightly, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to care enough about these people at the moment. He knew that the main motivation with this group would be to simply do the job and get back home, wherever home was for them. He didn’t care about their well being, only making sure he managed to get back in one piece. Varin didn’t say a word as he took up a spot beside the angry woman, adjusting his pauldron to make sure it sit just right. He lifted his face plate up, allowing his face to be shown and stared into the sky holding his mouth open. There would be no telling when he would get a decent drink of water after they left the prison, so he wanted to make sure he got his fill first.

Naturally nothing was ever calm or normal as a commotion from some guards caught his attention. With a slight snap of his head, his face plate fell down and with a satisfying click, locked into place. Off to the side was some scrawny looking man running through the Yulian guards. The direction he was sprinting towards seemed to indicate that he was trying to get to the gates to Elidia. Varin couldn't think of any reason why someone would go there willingly aside from blind patriotism such as the Inquisitor standing before them, but shrugged and actually ignored everything that was going on off to the side. He could care less if the man succeeded in whatever he was trying to do as Varin found his hands to be much more interesting, flicking his fingers against each other in an effort to pass the time.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia

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#, as written by slcam
“Esra! Please… please just look at me. Esra! Turn around!” Ima’s voice called out, shrill with worry. Her palm slammed repeatedly against the wood of the heavy door, her face against the cold bars. She looked into the scantly furnished, cell-like room, but her eyes were fixed only on the huddled form sitting on a rickety chair. A ragged blanket covered the thin female, a blonde head visibly hunched over defeated shoulders. As Ima watched, a dark, pernicious mist descended, obscuring the sallow figure, but Ima would not be denied. She continued to bluster at the unmoving girl, even as cruel fingers pulled back at her hair and scrabbled at her arms. Ima’s breath caught as the still darkening form finally began to turn.

A gaunt, hallow-eyed face glared back at her, hardly recognizable and wasting away as she looked on in horror. “Too late,” it rasped. “Why were you too late? Didn’t you care, Ima?” Its tone was mocking, spitting her name out like a curse. The skull-like face slumped and stilled.

Ima felt herself torn back, everything fading to darkness as she screeched a final, “Esra!”


Ima jerked awake, trembling as she pulled herself up with a muttered curse. She panted harshly, trying to still her nerves. It had only been a nightmare. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. But the fear was real enough. The Yulian bastards had Esra, but Ima had seen her only a couple days prior. She was still fine, and Ima tried hard to reassure herself that her sister would be alright. That was why she was doing this, after all. It was a crazy task, but she had to do something or be executed, leaving Esra to fend for herself. One thing those dark-cloaked Inquisitors did well was exploiting weakness, and they had Ima neatly pinned. She would do what they wanted. There was no other choice.

Ima shivered, starting to realize how cold she was. The floor was damp, rain still pouring through the narrow, barred opening that counted as a window. The grey, gloomy light revealed little of her surroundings. Still, she knew them well enough by feel. The cell was hardly three paces wide, and narrow enough that she could stretch her arms out to touch either side from where she was seated against the wall. The roughhewn stone floor was covered in the sort of detritus that one was better off not considering too closely. Now that the rain was coming in, the muck was beginning to soak through the worn piece of blanket on which Ima sat. She pulled herself up to a crouch, crossing her arms over her chest to conserve a bit of warmth. At least they had given back her normal clothing after she agreed to their blasted quest.

She clasped her hands together, her thumb slipping under her left sleeve to skim over the marking hidden on the inside of her wrist. The eye of the Lady, meant to bring luck. It had once given her a measure of comfort, but now she felt uncertain. What had Ima done to bring down such misfortune? Where had she gone wrong?

Her eyes stared at the bit of sky visible through the bars, searching the misting clouds as though they had the answers. From this angle, she could not see the wall, but it was never far from her thoughts. She wondered how long the bloody sods would take to send her off. They acted like it was going to be soon, but seemed to get a kick out of leaving her in the dark. Literally, in this case. Noise began to emanate from the hall, a loud-mouthed Inquisitor shouting out names. Each name was accompanied by the unmistakable clamor of armored guards and various amounts of fuss. Ima wearily raised to her feet, stepping over to the door to see if she could catch a glimpse of what was happening.

Looking through a narrow slit in the door, Ima could only see flickering shadows in the bright hall. After a moment, she was able to make out the form of the Inquisitor. She got a scant impression of a woman being dragged away between guards as she shouted back at another prisoner. Ima quickly lost interest and stepped back. Perhaps they would be calling her soon. She took a moment to prepare herself, to stuff down the loathing that had been growing against these cursed Yulians ever since she had been captured. It was always better to present a cool façade, hiding her true feelings. Then they could not be used against her. She took several long slow breaths, gradually relaxing her muscles until she could school her face to blankness.

Finally, she heard her name called out by that malevolent voice. She straightened as the door was thrown open. The torchlight was far too bright and she lifted a hand to shield her eyes. The guard roughly clamped a gauntleted hand around her upper arm and jerked her forward. The second guard quickly followed suit as they pulled her from the cell.

She tried to wrench away from their cruel grasp, protesting with a cold, venomous tone. “Oy, get your filthy wigglers offa me! I can walk on my own two gams, you know.”

The iron grips on her arm only grew more painful as they bodily yanked her down the hall. She desperately scrambled to regain her footing and regained her balance before they could drag her down the stairs as well, glaring daggers at the pair. They hardly seemed to notice. The group stopped long enough for an official to read off her supposed crimes and the terms of her release into Elidia before she was pushed out into a rainy courtyard. The Midgate loomed, threatening, off to one side. Her head swiveled as she was released, instinctively seeking out possible routes of escape. There were none.

She mindlessly rubbed a hand over the bruised skin of her arm, gazing upward at the wall of Elidia. Her musing was disrupted by a gruff voice. Ima Creslade?” Her eyes flickered toward the man as he thrust a sack into her arms. Apparently the glance had been enough confirmation and he strode away without another word. Ima heard the subtle rattle that indicated her blades and picks were inside, even as she noted the hilt of her dirk sticking out of the sack.

Her eyes swept over the courtyards other occupants, noting them for the first time. None of them seemed to be especially paying attention to the small, dark-clad figure. She backed off from the group a little, crouching as if merely to adjust her boot and easing the sack to the ground under her legs. She donned a faintly mottled grey cloak onto her back first, pulling up the hood against the rain, followed by her dirk. Her attentions swept the courtyard as she flitted small throwing blades into their concealed places about her person. She felt a small measure of relief that the familiar items had been returned. Soon, various pouches and a couple sturdy daggers were joined to the belt at her waist.

Ima remained crouching, taking time to observe the others in the courtyard with a wary eye. So far, there were a couple men. One was being roughed up after mouthing off to a guard while the other, heavily armored, stood by a fiery headed woman with a sword at her waist. There was also an odd looking man in some manner of performer’s garb. Ima found something unsettling about his manner, but she was not sure exactly why. There was another woman, standing blankly off to the side, looking as thin as death. She seemed… empty somehow. Ima’s gaze moved on to the one who was, perhaps, the most interesting of the gathered group. A Yulian mage, by the markings on her attire. From the horse and bags sitting nearby, it was clear the woman would be travelling into Elidia with them. A babysitter of sorts, then? Ima looked on with a measure of contempt, wondering how long the diminutive mage could hope to last. She was the only one present with a similar stature to Ima, but her arrogant bearing made it clear she feared no threat, for now.

Ima did not waste her time glaring, instead turning her focus to counting out the rations in her bag. It was a pitiful amount, but Ima hoped she could soon supplement it. She swung the sack onto her back, out of the way of the hilt of her dirk. She remained squatting, perched lightly on the balls of her feet, content to observe. She had no desire to draw attention to herself for now. Her cloaked, still figure blended well into the bleak shadow cast by the wall of the fort at her back.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalis of Aressa Character Portrait: Maeve Byrne Character Portrait: Ayame The Eastern Swordsman Character Portrait: Kormrok Character Portrait: Sairen Varimor Character Portrait: Ren of Yulia Character Portrait: Mojohra Jojohrum Character Portrait: Gallard of Yulia Character Portrait: Ima Creslade Character Portrait: Varin Zeracuse Character Portrait: Ludral Character Portrait: Garrim the Greater Character Portrait: Callias Dimitriou Character Portrait: Adella of Yulia Character Portrait: Anai Calagrian

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Two of the soldiers of the Midgate Fort, plate clanking in the dank hallway, followed at Vesgha's heels as the Inquisitor walked, no longer alone. Her progress had caused her to be met by the tall, imposing figure of Commander Taron, head of the soldiers stationed at the garrison.

There had been a few exchanges of pleasantries. How his wife was doing, whether his youngest was recovering well from falling from a horse the week previous. Then things turned to rather more formal matters. Most pressingly, that of one of the prisoners.

"Are you certain this is the best course of action, Vesgha?" the man asked, his heavy beard bristling in the cold.
"After all of the back and forth from the Court about the applicable law.. it seems rather abrupt.. we've not even been able to prove a crime took place."

The Inquisitor did not look round, nor alter pace.
"The problem of the Aressan is not just one of justice, it's a political matter." she explained, in a very matter of fact fashion.
"The wolf thought she'd played a rather clever little game by surrendering to Yulian law and then calling a duel. We could have arrested her on violation of the codes, had that pompous fool not destroyed her sword. Killing Garech cemented her place in the consciousness of the Aressans."

The woman traced a gloved hand along the damp stone brickwork.
"Every day that story circulates around taverns and market stalls, growing more exaggerated and ridiculous with each telling. The Aressans regard that animal as some sort of folk hero. Some symbol of resistance to Yulian rule.
The people in this land are riotous and resentful. There are talks of militant groups that hope to reclaim their rightful monarch from Yulia. It is a powder keg... and either freeing or executing the knight could be the spark to light it. Allowing her to walk free makes us look weak, executing her would make us look tyrannical, unjust. This is the best possible solution. We can tell them the Knight went of her own accord, please the plebs with some story of heroics, and get this problem off our hands
."

After a few moments of walking they came to the end of the hall, where a cell sat in gloom and dark water.

For a brief moment, thunder flashed through the barred windows, lighting up off the battered steel scaling and the jagged edges of a distinctly lupine helmet.

It had not taken the knight long to reclaim their former presence.

"Kalis of Aressa, the Inquisition is here to take you up on your generous offer to venture beyond the wall." Vesgha stated, keeping an entirely straight face. Both the speaker and the recipient were well aware of the lie, but protocol was protocol.

As the guard stepped forwards to seize the arms of the prisoner, the lightly armoured for rose seamlessly to its feet.

"There's no need for that." came a level voice from beneath the visor, bouncing off the inside to give a sort of metallic quality.
"I'm ready."

The knight walked silently between the two soldiers, who walked whilst eyeing the prisoner with suspicion, each exchanging a glance with the other in an attempt to anticipate any form of trickery on the Aressan's part. It was not as if they'd not heard the stories. Heard the lurid descriptions of the mad wolf-woman hunched over the red mess of Sir Garech's skull, uniform splattered and sticky with gore and bone.

For her own part, Kalis gave no indication of any of this savagery on the walk down from the tower cell, and passed into the rainy courtyard without a word.

It was shortly after her boots had stepped out onto the sodden cobbles that a heavy metallic crash sounded out behind her.

The knight looked back to see it lying in a puddle, flung out of one of the windows where some soldier up a floor higher suppressed a giggle and pulled back in.

The bladeless sword, a hideous, heavy chunk of twisted metal that looked no worse for its fall, and no worse for years lying in the bottom of some store room. Admittedly, it would be hard to make its condition a lot worse than it already was. No sane man would ever call that thing a sword anymore.

Though clearly if she was able to murder one of their generals with it, Yulia saw it as more than adequate equipment to take on the dangers of Elidia with.

That suited Kalis fine.

The knight swept the broken sword up and rested it on her shoulder, surveying the others present through the visor of the helmet. They seemed to have gathered quite a collection. People from numerous different nations....well, now supposedly all united under the Yulian crest.

Adella had been taking stock of these assembled people too. And not too kindly. She had noted some of the looks that she was getting. Criminals. Traitors. Deviants.
And something even worse than that. Her gaze lingered on the shabby-looking figure of Renevari.
"Abominations." she muttered under her breath.
Abominations. Disgusting corruptions of her noble cause.

Caught up in giving that freak a poisonous stare, Adella had not noticed the arrival of Kalis, or indeed the arrival of the authority...well not until it spoke.

"Mage Darr, would you do the honours?" Vesgha asked, rain beading up on the Inquisitor's black hood.

Adella was pulled out of her reverie and gave a sudden, eager nod, before beginning a very brisk walk across the courtyard to the dark steely expanse of the Mid Gate.

In the centre of the gate, set about chest height for most (and a little further for the rather diminutive Adella) was a seal, some old glyph forged into a round plate that sat over the centre of the divide between each side.

The mage stood before it, taking a deep breath before extending a hand and pressing it against the sign on the the plate.
The sunken metal began to flare a strange, electric blue, and this glow began to spread out from where the woman stood, expanding in geometric lines and shapes across the dark grey surface. As it reached the edge, a low, rumbling grind let loose from the dark guts of the gate. The ground beneath the feet of those in the courtyard shook. Horses in the stables started to toss their heads and whinny in fear. The troops on the edge of the courtyard reached for their weapons in tense anticipation.

The jaws of the Mid Gate slowly, heavily, spread wide open.

Adella was left stood alone at the edge of Aressa, and opened her eyes to find herself gazing ahead into the Lost Lands.

There was no rain.

Before her, the rain simply stopped. In front was a grassy ledge, stretching some distance away, with overgrown shards of paving dotting the organic surface.

And not a hint of rain.

Sunlight peaked through the clouds in the Elidian sky.

A shiver crept up Adella's spine. Then, a sudden shout caused her to whirl around, in time to see another, an intruder of all things, dashing towards the gate.

"What on earth are you doing?!"

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