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Votu

A traveling Kobold with a troubled past and an undying resolve to better himself in the face of unlikely odds and mountainous adversity.

0 · 400 views · located in Vlyhihr Fields

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by SapereAude

Description

Image

Name: Votu
Age: 17
Height: 4"
Weight: 55 lbs

My Story

My kind are often dismissed as cowardly, foolish, and weak. Little do the ignorant other-races know, we Kobolds have a strong social structure that stresses devotion to the tribe. We’re quite skillful and clever with our hands, and we viciously work together like a well-oiled machine to overcome our physical shortcomings. I come from a fairly large tribe that, like most of our kind, resides deep within the jungles of Chult – in a series of large underground caves within the Valley of Lost Honor. Growing up, I was somewhat revered for what the Kobold elders described as “abnormally strong dragon blood” within me. This, they said, was because I am the reincarnation of Arix the Strong – one of the most revered and successful warriors in my tribe. Arix was killed in a battle against a warlock who, after enslaving one of the many beasts that prowls the forests of Chult, attempted to bend our tribe to his will. The warlock succeeded.

Unlike other races, Kobolds have no concept of permanent familial relationships. I, like all Kobolds, was born in a large nest and raised by the entire tribe; however, the person who is most like a mother to me is a priest of Kurtulmak, god of the Kobolds. She was actually the person who informed me that it was my destiny to leave my tribe so that I could one day return and free them all from the bondage of that wretched warlock. She helped me escape when I was of mature age, and I have since traveled the world in search of whatever it was that would help me fulfill my destiny. Unfortunately, the priest never bothered to tell me what this thing was. Instead, she told me some crap about me knowing it when I found it.

Having never been outside of my home, I had no idea that other races were so hostile toward my kind. I soon found myself living on the streets of every town and city I traipsed into. I eventually found myself accepted into a local thieves guild comprised of other “undesirable” races and societal rejects. They provided me with the skills to keep myself alive while I was traveling. One night, I attempted to steal quite the collection of shiny trinkets from an old man who lived in this town I frequented. When he caught me, a woman (who I can only guess was his daughter) gave me the beating of a lifetime. I’ve never seen someone strike so quickly and with such grace! She outclassed even the finest warriors of my tribe. The man took pity on me and offered me a place to stay, and training in the ways of the Monk. He didn’t seem to care about my race. I’ve been training as a monk ever since.

So begins...

Votu's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu Character Portrait: Random NPC
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It seemed like it took ages for the man to respond but she knew that was only her desperation distorting her sense of things. She had noticed that the man's skin was as white as snow - an odd trait, but she didn't give it any more thought than that. To say that the man's response was a dissapointment was beyond an understatement. The panicked woman felt her heart drop to her knees when he shut her down so harshly. She could feel the tears beginning to well up at the bottoms of her puffy eyes but she resolved to force the tears away as she stared the man in the face. What momentary sadness she felt quickly turned to anger as she ruminated on his words. How could someone be so cruel to someone in need?

"My father is a man of title. I'm sure he would pay you handsomely if you saved him from being devoured by those .. beasts." There was a bit of bite to her words now that wasn't present before - a clear indication that the man had struck a nerve. However, she made sure to maintain a dynamic with her clearly as the one requesting aid.

Seated a few tables away from where Dominic and the frantic woman were, a fairly large (that is, large for his kind) kobold watched the scene unfold quietly. A black cowl pulled over his head obscured most of his countenance from the other patrons. He had a habit of doing this so that he didn't draw any unneeded attention to himself. The last thing he needed was someone asking him why he wasn't digging in a cave somewhere.

Votu's tail twitched when he caught mention of her father's noble status and the reward he'd likely gift as payment for saving his life. He suddenly thought of the prophetic words of the old priest from his childhood. Perhaps this was the event that would launch him down the path of greatness that awaited him! Nothing wrong with earning a little coin in the process, either. He did like expensive things, after all.

He rose to his feet and approached Dominic's table. There was a leather haversack hanging from a single strap on his shoulder, which nearly hit Dominic without Votu noticing as he turned to address the woman.

"Don't waste your time with this low-life. He only wants to see you grovel. Direct me to where your father was taken and I'll return him to you." the Kobold said sternly.

It was a curious sight because Votu was considerably shorter than them both; however, he carried himself as if he was far more important than his stature suggested. The woman shifted her gaze to Votu as he approached her and gasped a little when she saw him. She had never seen a creature of his kind before. He resembled a dragon but she knew by his size that he was something different. He didn't really seem like a suitable candidate but she wasn't about to turn him down if he offered to help her.

"We were hiking like we do every week through Krimolst Slopes to the north. We've done it enough to know what areas to avoid, but I wanted to stop to look for fresh fruit and we ran into a horde of trolls. He wanted to keep going but I insisted. It's my fault." she said, the words practically spilling out of her mouth as she forced back tears once again. She knew that if it wasn't for her, her father wouldn't be in this terrible situation.

Votu groaned when she made mention of Krimolst Slopes. That place was known for the kinds of dangerous creatures living there and yet people willingly went there for no good reason. Idiots. No matter. He would continue on this endeavor regardless. Maybe he would even find some new ingredients for his potions there as well.

"Stay here."

That was the last thing Votu said before heading toward the door. Once he was gone, the woman turned back to Dominic and said, "Please, go with him. I can't have two people in the clutches of those foul beasts because of me. Please."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu Character Portrait: Random NPC
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Only weak people slung around insults. Dominic smiled, but it was an unearthly smile. His lips twisted into a half grin, while his eyes shined with delight. Votu was revealing more about himself than he realized. He calmly folded his slender fingers and looked toward the panicked woman. There was no sense in creating a scene, since he did enjoy this place. He was a regular at the Blue Moon Cafe and the last thing he wanted to do was react to someone like Votu.

Dominic stood up and moved away from his seat, the drink abandoned with reluctance. Rewards interested him in a mild fashion, but they weren't what drove him to go on reckless ventures. His thin smile exposed curved fangs, their points glinted against whatever light cast on their eerie form. The vampire was enjoying the plight of both creatures: Votu, for his reactive nature and the woman for her meek desperation.

There was nothing to be said about the incident. Payment was all he cared about at the moment. Dominic stopped smiling and looked toward the woman. His hands remained folded, the silence between them swelled to an uncomfortable level.

"I need half the payment now and half later when the job is done. I will not join him until I get half the payment." He nodded toward her once. "I'm sure you understand why I won't blindly go without some insurance." Dominic stood there and waited, his form stilled and phantom-like.

"Once I have the first half of the payment, we can begin the search for your father." He waited to see what her reaction would be. Her hysterical outburst created an excitement in the vampire. He'd love to sink his fangs into her supple neck, but he ignored the intrusive thought. He needed to focus on the business exchange first.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu Character Portrait: Random NPC
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The woman felt a chill run down her spine when she noticed the elongated ivory peaks that descended past Dominic's lips. "A vampire.." she said beneath what little breath she had, the rest of which had fled her lungs as if to escape the presence of such a menacing creature. An apposite feeling of regret settled in her stomach as she considered whether her tone earlier was wise in light of newer, most unfortunate details. Of all the creatures into which she could stumble.

His request wasn't an unreasonable one even though part of her wanted to fine a reason to hate him more. She bit her tongue and searched her person for as much gold that she could find. Two sacks hit the table with a collective jangle.

"That's all I have on me right now. 750 gold pieces and five gemstones each worth 50 gold. I will have the rest for you when .. if you return with my father in one piece. Now please, go."

She had to ask herself if it was a good idea to place her father's life in the hands of a vampire and a creature she'd never seen before. Maybe she was wrong in thinking that the dragon-esque figure was the one who needed to be watched. Sadly, it appeared that the unlikely duo was her only option. After all, she knew the city guards wouldn't bother investing time and effort into an endeavor so far out of the city's walls - even if it was with the hopes of saving an aristocrat.

Votu couldn't get the image of that guy's head out of his mind. Oh how he would have liked to punch through that smug face of his but that would only cause more problems than it would have solved. The nighttime air was a nippy thirty degrees and yet he had hardly noticed it. The anger that festered within him was causing his blood to boil - literally. His core temperature was rising rapidly, causing a puff of what looked to be steam to drift from the corners of his mouth as he stomped down the cemented road. A wayward insect drifted past his face during this time and was almost instantly liquiefied by when it passed through the gaseous oral discharge.

Votu noticed this and stopped in his tracks. Then, he silently watched as what remained of the once living insect fell to the ground in an awkward spiraling pattern. It seemed like it took forever for it to hit the ground, and even though he knew that it wasn't going to happen, he hoped that it would take flight again in some miraculous stroke of luck. The moment it hit the ground marked the final chapter of what likely was an incredibly brief and uneventful life. But that knowledge didn't change the unsettling realization that his lack of self control had inadvertently harmed another creature. His legs felt like they were filled with plaster as he reached up to grab the rosary that hung around his neck. He uttered a small chant beneath his breath in some unknown language. Not just once, but repeatedly, and he would continue to do so until he had deemed it necessary to stop.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu Character Portrait: Random NPC
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Dominic moved with a supernatural grace and pocketed the bags of coins. He nodded toward the tearful woman and motioned toward the bar behind him. Their contract would be verbal, but if she decided to fail the second half of the payment, he was certain she'd make a delightful fledgling.

"I'll meet you back here in a weeks time, if not sooner. These brutes, or trolls as you call them, will be handled with ease." His smug tone never wavered, but it was more for her comfort than anything else. He had been around a few hysterical women before and he knew how to calm them down, even if it meant telling a white lie.

For all she knew, he could have left with the money and she'd never hear from him, or her father ever again. Then again, some morals still existed in the vampire, although they were few and mostly rotting away over time. He smiled at her and reassured her with a gentlemanly gesture.

There was nothing to fret. Everything would be taken care of in due time.

"Now, my dear. Take yourself to a comfortable hotel and relax. I will rendezvous with you in a weeks time." He stopped smiling in her direction and glanced toward the doorway. His footsteps glided over the stone floor and failed to make audible sounds from the soles of his shoes.

With the way he moved, he might as well have been a phantom.

He exited the establishment and rounded a corner with a purposeful step. The bags of coins were tucked neatly in his suit pocket, but he jangled them to get the attention of Votu.

Dominic studied Votu with a careful approach. He was an odd creature and even odder to mourn the death of an insect. Humans reminded him of insects. They had very fragile life spans and could drop with the slightest of damage done to them.

"Interesting creatures, aren't they?" He spoke to Votu in a monotone. From his suit pocket, he produced one of the bags of coins and tossed it in his direction. Votu more than likely thought he was commenting on the fallen insect, but he was remarking on the human that gave them the job. "Such fragile beings and they only live for a brief moment, before death claims them." The lifespan of humans and other mortals created a genuine curiosity in Dominic. He watched the actions of Votu for a moment, but he was thoroughly entertained by the rosary.

"I told the woman that we would complete the job. This is your half of the payment." Dominic motioned toward Votu's sack of coins with a pallor hand. "If you are ready, we may begin." He stood still, silent as a statue and appeared to blend in with the shadows of the night.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu Character Portrait: Random NPC
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Although she knew that she probably shouldn't the noble woman felt somewhat comforted by Dominic's words. She fetched a bleach-white handkerchief and dabbed it under her eyes to wipe away any tears that had gathered there. "One week's time. Got it." The woman gave one final nodded before turning to sit in the chair from which Dominic had stood. It would be a while until she'd be ready to return to her home. Perhaps she would enjoy a drink or two while she was here. It would certainly help to calm her nerves.

Votu heard the jingle of coins behind him shortly after catching Dominic's scent. The man smelled of .. well, death. He had noticed the unsavory odor while they were still in Blue Moon, and although it was faint, it seemed to naggingly linger under his nose. He turned to face him once he finished his chant, at which point the sack of gold and gemstones had already been tossed toward him. Votu caught it and quickly tucked it away.

Then, he glared at Dominic for a second or two, learly unamused by his comment. "There are many creatures with short, vulnerable lives. Nothing interesting about it."

Although it might have seemed that Votu was mourning the insect's life because he revered it in some way, this was not the case. In truth, he was more so perturbed by his lack of control in that very moment. His temper had blinded him to the internal changes in his body, and that momentary loss of self-control had resulted in something else being harmed. It conjured memories of his past, especially his training at the monastery that took him in. His temper was his biggest problem back then and it seemed that after all these years, he still had yet to master it.

"The Krimolst Slopes are a four day's journey from here if we keep a moderate pace. I plan to get there faster than that, so we'll get there in just under three days - if you can keep up that is. I know your kind hates the sun, so that'll cut down on our travel time significantly."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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Votu never thought he would be working with a vampire of all creatures. He supposed it could have been worse. After all, vampires were often shunned by the races to which they previously belonged. And not without good reason, either. One could expect nothing less when the creatures often conspired to enslave those they considered inferior to themselves, or even more savagely, to drain them dry whenever they could. These were all opinions that Votu had gathered during his studies with his order - the Order of the Yellow Rose. He had never actually met a vampire before now. He hoped that this mutual fate of being scorned by the other-races would keep them from fighting long enough to complete this quest they had undertaken.

Votu had no problem with Dominic feeding on animals to sustain himself. He was going to deny the man of his very nature, even if he found the thought of him downing a creature's lifeblood revolting. Intelligent beings, on the other hand, was a problem. His tail flicked suddenly and sharply when Dominic mentioned feeding on a random person. "You'd best keep your fangs away from the necks of anyone we encounter on our journey, for your sake. If we happen upon someone who deserves such a gruesome death, that's one thing. But I'm not going to let you go and devour anyone you see fit just because you're a slave to your thirst."

An scoff escaped the kobold's lips before he began toward Wraeyoln's gates. He made no effort to hide his "pathetic weakling" comment either. That was the last thing he said before their journey began. One of the benefits of spending time as a rogue was being especially good at discovering secret passageways. Votu's extended stay in Wraeyoln had allowed him to find several little-known passages throughout the city that allowed them to exit it much faster than they would have otherwise. As travel in and out of the city was commonplace due to its popularity, the posted sentries gave them little more than a nod as they exited.

[Exit to Vlyhihr Fields]

The setting changes from Blue Moon Cafe to Vlyhihr Fields

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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Dominic laughed and he hadn't laughed in eons. The sound was like a sharp rasp, which swelled with a genuine warmth. His eyes glinted with a mischievous glimmer. There was nothing more grand, or satisfying, than watching another squirm in his presence. Votu had all the tell-tale signs of insecurity. The rosary was just a simple, but aesthetic touch and he appreciated that fact. Although the kobold proved to be a nuisance, Dominic knew that they would be partners on this odd journey, so he would inevitably be relying on this being's help.

Partnerships were rarely made with the vampire, but he found that he was benefiting from Votu's companionship. He had already provided him with laughter and curiosity, which was an amazing accomplishment in itself. As for the behavior of Votu, Dominic could only appreciate the subtleness of his rogue-ish personality. There were few creatures that entertained the vampire, so Votu should consider himself lucky and that he wasn't ending up on the vampires menu.

He travelled with Votu for some time, but when he thirsted for blood, he fed on common vermin and the like. Dominic silently wondered if his friend would take offense, considering the type of creature he was, but he didn't question it further. The simple blood from rodents, or other animals they came across, would only satiate him for a few days. Once their traveling was complete, he'd need to feast on something larger, like a troll.

"This place is quite...interesting. If I'm not mistaken, I take it that this isn't your first venture?" It was quite obvious that this wasn't the kobolds first venture, but he wanted to get to know his partner. If anything, the quaint conversation would cure his boredom of the hike.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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Although he wasn't enjoying how unremarkable the journey so far had been either, Votu didn't show it. One of the central tenets of his monastic order was that suffering was to be endured without complaint. Stoicism, as the Monks of the Yellow Rose saw it, would be rewarded by Ilmater - deity of the suffering and downtrodden. This inclination to persist onward through hardship wasn't solely motivated by a desire for divine reward, however; he was also taught that it built character and made you strong if you rose above a momentous task or tribulation. This take on Ilmater's teachings was unique amongst his followers. Most tended to focus their efforts on relieving (and often adopting) the suffering of others. This, while noble in some respects, too often traversed into masochistic territory in Votu's opinion.

Interestingly enough, Votu hadn't stopped to eat at all during their journey so far. Dominic likely could recall that the kobold had been in the Blue Moon café for at least as long as he had. That coupled with a few hours of travel would surely make someone hungry but Votu didn't appear to be perturbed by hunger or thirst. Whenever his new traveling companion stopped to eat, he remained alert to their surroundings.

"That's right. I've gained a lot of experience with traveling over the years. Mostly out of necessity. If it were up to me, I'd still be living amongst my tribe." Votu replied with a confirmatory nod, "What about you?"

Just then, Votu noticed something from the corner of his eye: A familiar collection of shrubbery to his left. He hurried over to the plants and crouched a little to get a better look at them. A quick examination of the flora revealed that they were Ginseng plants. If Dominic watched him, he would see the eccentric kobold pluck a couple of the plants from the ground and gobble down their thick, brown roots. He recognized how odd this likely seemed, but he wasn't going to bother explaining why he did it unless asked.

----


The high-pitched screech of a bird of prey echoed in the distance. Votu instinctually glanced upward to see what the source of such an annoying sound was. If he had eyebrows, they'd be furrowing with frustration right now when he saw two dire eagles circling high above their heads. The massive creatures were larger than any other natural birds in the area and it showed, even from their current distance. Normally the raptors would have been well-hidden within the darkness that blanketed the landscape, but kobolds were adapted to seeing in the dark, so Votu spotted them with ease. Dominic was likely the same due to his vampiric condition but that remained to be seen.

"We've got trouble. I hope you're well-fed and ready for a fight because we're about to have one."

He was barely able to get the words out before two arrows came zipping toward him! The first soared about a foot two his right and the second would have found purchase in his right shoulder had he not slipped just outside its path in the last minute. His head snapped in the direction from which the arrows had come: northeast of him. Three large centaurs emerged from a thicket of trees with their weapons in hand. They were all rugged looking men with odd mixtures of crimson and white body paints splattered across their bodies haphazardly. Two of them wielded longbows appropriate for their size and the other held a pike in his hands.

Three more appeared from behind a large rock formation across from the first group, then even more approached from behind and to their immediate right until they were surrounded by more than a dozen centaurs, each snarling and practically foaming at the mouth as they glared at the two of them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
Davien cursed under his breath as he began to bring his fishing line to shore. He didn't even
have a pole, just some string and a hook, no bait. Tying some rocks into the string for weight,
he had been casting out into the nearby river for hours now. It had been at least two days since
he had last ate, and about half as long since he had slept. He was losing patience after hours of
this repitition, cast out, reel in empty. He swung the hook over his head one more time, tucking
his ears down to avoid hooking himself like he did earlier in morning.

Daviens expression was as bored as you could imagine a fox's face being. It had been days since he
had seen a road, much less a soul besides the local wildlife. He sighed, tapping his finger on the
the side of the rock he was currently sitting on. He rolled his eyes towards the heavens, letting out
a huge sigh before...

His fishing line snapped taut, almost being ripped out of his hands. Letting out an involuntary
yelp of excitement Davien jumped to his feet, pulling the string back end over end as he reeled
in his catch. He began to laugh, realizing how heavy the prize on the hook was. His luck was finally
about to change! Fish had always been Daviens favorite, even long before he was on his own.

His smile faded however as the large object on the end of the line came closer to shore. It was
nothing but a large water logged stick, waving back and fourth in the current. Daviens mood once
again soured, cursing yet again under his breath as he reached out to take the stick off of his
line. Davien slipped as his weight adjusted, causing him to fall into the creek with a loud splash.
Cursing for a third time, very much audible for anyone in the area he stood back up, realizing
he had let go of the string in his surprise, and it was now washing down the river into the horizon.

"No, no no!" He yelled out to himself, burying his head in his hands. Things were definately not looking
good now, sopping wet and having to resort to chasing something landbound for dinner. And Davien was not
in the mood to run right now. He kicked at the waters surface, sarcastically talking to the universe itself.

"Thats fine, I grew tired of fishing anyways!" He screeched to his own misfortune.
"At least now there is nothing else you can do to me to make this day worse!" He chided as an afterthought.

Sighing, he bent down once more to gather up his leather satchel, putting it back over his shoulder
after making sure the contents were still secure inside. As he straightened back up, he had the strangest
sensation run up his spine, making all the hairs on his body stand on end as he froze. Looking back, he saw a
gigantic eagle swooping down at him, beak large enough for him to completely fit inside.

He had no time to react, before he could even move his arms he was five feet off the ground, being carried
by a gigantic single talon that miraculously didn't rake him with its claws. He wriggled as hard as he could
but was not breaking free, the talon was too strong. They were now roughly 100 feet in the air, being bombarded
by the wind from the downstroke of the eagles mighty wings.

It was clear that the fall was his only option to pursue, waiting to see if the eagle would kindly let him go
was somehow seeming out of the question. He continued to try and wriggle against the ironclad grip,
finally getting a hand free. He may not be able to reach his dagger but he might have a trick up his sleeve.
Frantically, he began to snap his fingers as he concentrated.

"Come on..." He snapped again, as flurry of sparks flew out from his hand. He laughed with excitement, heart
racing. He had to get it to work... Another snap of his fingers as a large fireball erupted from his hand in a
large, unaimed cone. Luckily most of it was aimed upwards towards the giant raptor. While the blast didnt actually
harm the bird visibly, it did leave a strong scent of burnt feathers and startled the eagle out of
its current flight path. Along with a deafening screech, Davien was released from its grip. He couldn't believe it
actually worked, as he was almost certain he didn't understand how that spell had worked. He would take the success
though.

All these thoughts were short lived however as he then noticed he was a few hundred feet in the air, gaining speed as
the ground sped towards him. Well.. This had worked out like most of his plans, phase one, spectacular. Phase two, plan
it later. That formula didn't seem to work out very well for him this time. He began to scream, purely out of instinct and
realizing there isn't very much that he could do at this point to alter his fate. Perhaps it would at least be quicker than
being baby dire eagle food.

Somehow, showing how lucky an unlucky Mishqua can get at times, he landed atop a thicket of trees,the first impact stopping
his scream.

"AAAAA-" Thunk. "Eeuugg..." A few more grunts and groans could be heard as well as branches snapping.
He came to a stop about halfway up a particular oak tree, suspended by his coat from the branches.
Out ahead of him he could see the backsides of some extremely angry looking centaurs, and a human
and... Kobold? No... It couldn't be. But it was!

Yes, a human and a Kobold out in the distance. It looks like they had warranted the centaurs attendtion, and they seemed to not quite care about the fox that fell out of the sky. At least for now, they must have noticed him the way he was screaming, he thought. Either way, it seemed like no matter how he struggled, he was too tangled in his cloak in the branches
to be of much use to anyone until he was assisted. For now, he might as well wait and see how this
fight would fare...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
Yes, it certainly was one of those days. His feet hadn't even touched the ground and strangers were selling
him out to the local creatures. He was so angry he couldn't even articulate his words, stream of consiousness
coming out in a flurry of barks and growls. He struggled further against his current coccoon of clothing
to no avail, before stopping and re-evaluating his situation.

Finally composing himself to a level of calm that he could speak, he took the oppurtunity.
"How about this Horseman, you let me down and I will secure both of these dollards to get off your land!
I don't even want to be here! I hate company!" He struggled again, only making his current tanglement worse.
"A man that pasty cannot be trusted! In fact, most men cant be anyways! And that Kobold is obviously up to..."
He looked at the lizard. "Well gods, look at him! He's up to SOMETHING!!"

He began to laugh a bit and changed his tone.

"But me, I am a friend of the horseman! I have a friend who is a horseman! His name is Horace!" He lied.

"I would never steal from a horsemans god given right to this land or purposefully trespass here. I swear upon
the likely graves of my family!" He lied again.

He began to pant as the struggle of attempting to get free wore on him. He soon ran out of breath, which might
honestly be the best thing for him at this point, watching the two groups helplessly as they decided his
fate. His expression was still that of extreme grumpiness and resignation to his situation.

"Hmph."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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Things were quickly getting out of control. They had been surrounded by fifteen centaurs and to make matters worse, some random creature had come crashing down into the canopy not too far from them. A quick thinker, Dominic had already begun attempting to negotiate with the ferocious-looking band.

"That isn't going to work. These aren't the kind who are interested in negotiating." he quietly muttered to the ivory-skinned man. At the same time, his eyes never left the group of centaurs who had fired upon him. When the fox creature's gaze met his own, one thing he would notice was Votu's eyes narrowing in frustration when he suggested that he was up to no good. Maybe offering the little cretin to the centaurs was a good idea after all.

"Keep it up, furball. These guys won't be the only thing you'll have to worry about."



----


The faint clip-clop of hooves against the ground interrupted the banter. Several of the centaurs shuffled aside to make way for what was presumably the leader of the group. A male of considerable stature even amongst the others, his humanoid torso was riddled with scars of various shapes and sizes. This, without a doubt, was a testament to a life of battle and bitter conflict. It had apparently been a long one so far, too, because the man's roughly shaven hair had more than a few streaks of gray running through it. He held the hilt of greataxe in his right hand, which created a deep trail in the ground behind him from its sheer weight. It was simple in design, but a cursory examination of the weapon would reveal that it was well-suited for repeated and frequent use.

The Centaur looked the three of them over for a moment before giving a disapproving snort. Then, he spoke in a gruff voice that was akin to gravel grinding against itself, "Most people are smart enough not to wander into these lands. Looks like we're going to have to show you why."

Then, he waved a hand in a gesture toward the other Centaur. "Kill them."

Four centaurs, two on each side of the leader, reared backward and charged toward Dominic and Votu. One of the two that approached Dominic attempted to spear him with its pike. The other circled around to ready for an attack from behind. The same sequence occurred with Votu, who was a bit farther away.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
The sudden flurry of activity made Davien start again. The centaurs began to charge Dominic and his full
attention immediately went back into survival mode. He forced his mind to take a step back as he inhaled
deeply. He began to pick and snap the branches of where his cowl was caught in the tree. Just a few more
places, and...

His weight adjusted as he began to fall once more with a loud rip. He landed upon the ground with the
majority of his cowl staying tangled in the tree. No matter, Davien thought. It was cheap fabric
of a low thread count it would be easy enough to replace. His dagger still remain on his belt, and there
was no other damage to his armor. He scurried to his feet, looking back at the battle now at hand.

He was just in time to catch a glimpse of the dagger retracting from the first centaurs neck. The pasty
man moved with an unnatural speed, seemingly immune to pain as he noticed the cut on the mans leg, yet
he was still putting his full weight on it. The part that seemed the most unnatural to him however was
how he licked the blade after the attack. As the man went running to meet up with the kobold Davien turned
to make his leave. He began to run, still dazed and unsure of where he was, unable to get his bearings
after literally falling out of the sky.

Davien stopped abruptly after a few hundred feet, eyes widening as he patted his side. His satchel was
gone, it must have been tangled up in the tree with his cowl! Damn... Without hesitation he turned around
and began to sprint back to the thickett of trees, hoping that the battle was still going on and everyone
was still preoccupied. He waded his way back into the thick growth of trees, looking up at the remains
of his cowl. Indeed, there it was. Dangling about 8 feet in the air by its strap, cruelly just out of reach
with no nearby steps to aid in jumping and getting it.

Think...

Looking around his immediate area, he located a rather long stick and picked it up with both hands. He
knew time was of the essence but he carefully began to try and fish the satchel out of the tree. Leaving
it was simply not an option at all. It had to be quick too, before either the centaurs or the strange travelling
party could get to him. He may have lied about having a centaur friend, but he told the truth when he said
he didn't prefer company for long.

"Come on, dammit!" He cursed at the branch as he missed the satchel once more. The branch raked across
another in the old oak tree and snapped in half. Gritting his teeth, he angrily began to climb the base
of the tree whose branches it was stuck in. Whether or not he would get there depended on whether he was
spotted or not.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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The centaur unleashed a triumphant, tooth-bearing roar when it saw the jagged end of its pike sink an inch or two into Dominic’s leg. There would be plenty more of those if it had his way. Its joy didn’t last long, however, because it soon noticed that the wound it’d inflicted had begun to heal before his very eyes! The creature grumbled in some unintelligible language as Dominic prepared his own attack. The pale man’s speed was impressive for someone with just two legs, but the same couldn’t be said about his attack. It seemed that the centaur was one step ahead of Dominic. Just as he took a swing at its burly neck, it recoiled just enough to avoid a potentially fatal blow from the man’s dagger. The weapon’s point did manage to scrape its neck, but the centaur’s thick, almost leathery skin prevented it from doing any damage. The second centaur that targeted Dominic took aim with its longbow and loosed two arrows toward him.

Votu easily slipped his head just to the side of a pike when the centaur thrust it toward him. The creature rose high above him on its hind legs and attempted to smash him with its hooves, but they struck nothing but hard ground when he rolled away. The second centaur that set its sights on the kobold monk had better luck with its attack. The foul beast charged full speed and readied its pike for a strike of its own. It had every intention of skewering the little reptilian so it could parade it around for all to see. Just as Votu rose from his successful dodge of the last centaur's attack, this new combatant drove its pike into Votu's shoulder. He growled as the sharp pain tore through his right arm, causing his blood to boil. He was angry, but he welcomed the pain that came from his wound. It would fuel him to repay his enemies with even greater suffering than he had sustained. A steady stream of discolored blood flowed from the open wound as he turned to face his assailant. Then, he attacked. The ferocity with which the little kobold fought was something you'd have to see to believe. He delivered four relentless attacks in rapid succession, each a manifestation of his mastery of unarmed combat. His comparatively diminutive size allowed Votu to slip under the centaur's long equine torso and deliver a well-placed claw attack to its exposed underbelly. Not only did his sharp claws tear through its thick hide, but they delivered a special ingredient produced by his own body: a highly acidic secretion.

If the centaur's lower torso couldn't fend off attacks from his claws, then it certainly couldn't resist the highly corrosive ooze that spread into the wound. Aggressively dissolving any foreign organic matter it touched, this acid aided Votu in disemboweling the poor creature before it could think to retaliate or flee. He practically bathed in gore as its piping hot entrails came crashing down on him. The now dead centaur collapsed to the side soon afterward. Votu locked eyes on the second centaur who'd attacked him first, gritting his teeth as bits of meat dangled from his false horns. Most notably, the wound in his shoulder had vanished somehow.

Votu hunched over as if he were about to vomit, and exhaled a gout of corrosive energy toward it. The centaur instinctually dashed to its right to avoid it, but not without having large portions of its back legs and torso doused in the caustic matter. It screamed in clear agony and retreated approximately 50 feet.

One of the centaurs nearest to Davien noticed him trying to fetch something out of the tree. It quickly nocked an arrow and loosed it in his direction with the hopes of piercing his right side.

As the battle carried on, the centaur leader watched with a twisted expression on his face. One might have expected him to be perturbed by the kobold's actions, by the gruesome execution of one of his men seemed to excite him further. There was no telling how demented this one was.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
Davien had only looked up for a split second after hearing a sickening squelch. Peering back down the
tree, distracted temporarily, he saw Votu bathing in the entrails of one of the beasts. Hm... Maybe he
should have chosen his words a little better... He had forgotten what mean and bloodthirsty little
beings they could be. He continued to climb after a brief respite. Davien was able to crawl all the way
out onto the branch that currently held his prized possession. He inched his way down the branch, tensing
up with every creak and wobble that challenged his faith in the strength of it.

Finally, Davien delicately picked up the strap of the satchel and reeled it up to himself. Now it was time
to run. After seeing the Pasty mans and Kobolds adeptness in combat, it seemed like he could very easily
become a fur coat for the party or perhaps dinner for the centaurs. Sticking around in his mind was simply
not an option with survival in the cards. Wrapping the strap around his torso he hastily began his descent
down the tree.

He had however only gotten a few shimmies down before an acutely sharp pain reverberated from his arm
up into his skull. He yelped involuntarily as his muscles tensed up and he released his grip on the tree.
Fully expecting a fall, he was a little more than surprised when he didn't. Instead, the pain in his arm
intensified tenfold, causing his eyes to fly back open. An arrow, crude in design and fletching had firmly
attatched his arm to the trunk of the oak tree. For anything heavier than him, their body weight probably
would have snapped the arrow.

Scrambling to regain his feet against the trunk and get the weight off of his new wooden limb as fast as
possible, he tried to push through the pain and think. Pushing up his weight with his feet, he began
to attempt to pull the arrow out of the tree himself. His blood however had run down the shaft of the arrow,
making it impossible to grip. He tried his best to break the arrow, but it was stuck in his dominant arm, and through the pain he couldn't muster the strength to break the sturdier-than-it-looked arrow. He was stuck. Really, really stuck.

"Well, you horses ass. At least you aren't bored of fishing anymore." He chastised himself, somehow finding
just the slightest bit of humor in it all. His feet slipped slightly against the moss covered bark, showing
even simply standing against the tree would be a huge physical endeavor in itself, but one more welcome
than the searing pain of dangling.

Here he remain, stuck, face to a tree, bleeding slowly. The very last option would be to rip his arm
directly out from the tree, leaving the shaft of the arrow embedded in the tree and a gaping hole in
his arm. Davien was almost sure that would lead to him bleeding out however, especially this far out
in the woods where the only local creatures and folks he had met tried to eat him, kill him, or barter him.


"If I survive..." He thought. "I'm never coming to this fecking forest again."

He didn't know who was aware of him still being in the tree or not, but attempted to remain quiet as a churchmouse,
silently adjusting his weight and trying to remain unseen until the battle was over. Occasionally he would
attempt to strain his neck and catch small glimpses of what was happening.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
Between the pain and blood loss and his current lack of sleep, Davien could quite tell if what he was seeing was real
or simply a hallucination, which he had been prone to before. His eyes dialated in suspicion even as he stay stuck
to the tree. Something about this man seemed all too real to him however. He turned back to the tree, looking at the
arrow portruding out of his arm. He gritted his teeth and looked back to the man, his footing slipping slightly
against the tree as he regained his stance. "And.... What would those be?" He said in a pained and tired voice. Hell,
he didn't care actually. He just wanted down, and he could simply elope after the party had gone to sleep, maybe even
a little richer than before.

"On second thought yes..." He stated, the pain beginning to become too much as his vision began to swirl, a small puddle
of blood forming at his feet. Looking back he saw the fire in doms eyes, or maybe it was the cold, soulless vaccuum, but
whatever it was made him second guess his second guess. Perhaps trusting this man would be a mistake...But Davien
had gotten himself out of trouble before, and he was almost certain he could again, no matter what this man was. He
slipped again, falling completely down and hanging by his injured arm once more. The pain forced him to agree as he
scrambled to get the weight off of his arm.

"Gods above yes! Fine! Just let me down! I'll pay you or whatever your terms are!" He was in danger of passing out at this point, vision getting blurrier and darker. If he lost consciousness, he died.

Davien didn't seem to grasp how dire those terms may be at present, but it was here that his desicion was made to agree to the terms.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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Dominic listened to the fox-man and nodded solemnly. He had just made a contract with a vampire. A sense of electricity would burst through the individuals and dissolve into nothingness. It was as though it had never happened. Yet, with the uncanny smile on Dominic's face, it had indeed transpired. His agility was something to be admired by mere mortals and even by those blessed with athleticism. He prepared himself for a jump and leaped to a nearby branch, his feet firmly planted and his body still. While the tree might sway and move about from the wind, or Davien's disturbance, he remained unmoved. For a moment, he studied Davien as a predator would a wounded prey.

He kneeled on the branch and allowed himself to take in the scent of blood. Dominic took his slender index finger and swiped the blood that dribbled on the branch, then brought it to his eager tongue.

It was delicious, but not as sweet as he had hoped. Dominic studied Davien's position again and was unable to share empathy for the pain he was about to endure. He treated Davien like a piece of equipment stuck and not a being in pain. The horrific pain that Davien would feel in the next few minutes, would prove what kind of being Dominic was on the inside: heartless.

Dominic existed for contracts and adventures, but even they bored an old vampire like himself. However, this creature proved to be an interesting development. He tugged at Davien with a harsh gesture and felt the flesh snag free from its position. Dominic knew that mortals tended to faint under pressure, so he held Davien like a heavy sack and leapt down with the grace of a performer.

His motion unnatural, Dominic realized he was still holding the creature and kept himself from drinking Davien's blood dry. With the type of injury he endured, it would be useless to include him in the battle. Dominic didn't know what to say to him, so he stood near with an awkward presence. He didn't free him out of the goodness of his heart, but out of the mere fact they had agreed to a contract. For all Davien knew, Dominic would have felt no remorse in letting him rot in the tree. Few knew Dominic on a personal level, but this was just how he operated with his thinking and very being.

Others would see him as a cruel entity, but when you lived as long as he did, you thrived. Dominic looked at Davien and took in the scent of the blood, then shuddered. His instincts were coming to surface, but they still had to deal with some brutes.

"As payment for freeing you, you will give me some of your blood." Dominic paused, his eyes glowed with an all-knowingness. "I can heal your injuries, but that would put you further in debt. Unless that fact doesn't bother you. We could use another to fight on the field with us." He said, his tone without a hint of invested emotion. This individual proved to be interesting, but he would have to join his comrade soon.

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Character Portrait: Davien Kietrasun Character Portrait: Dominic Crane Character Portrait: Votu
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#, as written by Davien
All of Daviens hair stood on end as he felt the contract ratify itself. The electric sensation lingered
longer around his open wound. Immediately after watching Dominic hop up to his level with unnatural speed
and ease. His eyes widened as he looked back at Dominic, watching him sample the blood.
"What... Are you?" He mumbled mainly to himself, trying to comprehend what kind of creature he had just
bargained with.

Before he could begin to try to answer the question his eyes were sealed shut with pain, a silent scream
coming out of his mouth as he was ripped from the tree, vision once again fading to black as searing pain
eminate from his arm. There was a sensation of moving, and his eyes opened a short while later, vision
blurry. His head rolled back and fourth, as he was clearly in shock. He may not have been in the right
mind to agree to anything, but the throbbing pain from his recently open wound was a good decision
pusher for him. He heard the words Payment, you, give, and blood the clearest, as he tried, but failed
focus his vision.
He nodded, stating "Fine...Yes..."
Head still rolling back and fourth. He then heard him continue, in a voice that sounded like it was coming from the opposite end of a tunnel. Once again some words rang clearer than others. Heal, injuries, debt. Even in his incapacitated state the last word
made him wary, but he again agreed, trying to roll his whole body over, arm beginning to throb once more.

"Fine! Please!"

It didn't matter how indebted he was, to be free of this pain and leave with his life
was worth more to him than ever now. He focused his blurred vision as best he could on the black blob
in front of him.