The World Beyond

The World Beyond

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A group of exiles band together to search for a place they can call home.

748 readers have visited The World Beyond since Chari created it.

Introduction

Background
It has been years since Tyvern has been seen as the weak nation that it once was. This view was changed by one man. A man of extraordinary power. Few know exactly where he came from, but from the appeared on the battle field alongside the Tyvernian army, they have been nigh on invincible. And it is to this backdrop that our story is set.

Tyvern, while small, is located in one of the most strategic spots imaginable. It controls a section of land through which all major trade routes run, and has an abundance of natural resources which make it quite prosperous in it own right. The amenities, however, are also the reason for all its tribulations. It is constantly at war, with one nation or another, to defend its land and people. Before the arrival of the hero, they were usually overrun. This has entirely changed now, and while they are still at perpetual war, they are no longer trampled. They beat down the enemy before them, then turn onto the next, lead by the hero who inspires bravery and confidence. The Tyvern army itself is nothing to forget about either; they are easily the most experienced army in the world.

Another thing that is unique to Tyvern is the way the handle there people. Anyone who is viewed as even a possible malcontent is examined, and if they are found to be against the grain of the common society, then they are exiled. These exiles are allowed to return if they change their way of thinking, but most "disappear" after a few months or years in other countries. This is done to keep the people united against the outside foes. People expelled range from visionaries to criminals to just normal men with different ways of thinking.

Geography
There are only a few locations important enough to list right now, but allow me to say them right now:

Tyvern- the country of origin for all the main characters. There isn't much to add from what is up there.

Haarpa- a country that borders Tyvern, and the place where the exiles are first shipped. Hot. Unnecessarily so.

The Deadlands- an area of land around Tyvern that has been the site of countless bloody battles. Made up of sparse grasslands and bogs. Very inhospitable.

Jinera- another country on that boarders Tyvern. One of the few that does not attack it on a regular basis. It is ruled by king or queen who is determined by might of arms in single combat.

Toggle Rules

Ugh, sorry if this seems confusing, but I am tired and I have to get my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. I'll try and fix it soon, but I have no idea when that will be.

The magic in this story is simple enough. There is one person in the world who manifests the powers of a single element of magic. This element can be one of the traditional ones, such as fire, water, or lightning, but I am more than open to ideas of the players themselves for the elements. Just be aware that there will be guidelines drawn as I don't want elements encroaching on each other (ie the water person controlling ice in some way or something). That being said, if there is a way to branch out a power in a way that affects no one else, go for it. That often makes for the best characters and abilities. Fire, Ice, and Wind are already taken.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 3 authors

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Sleep didn't come easily for Zhyle as he wondered about the future of their merry band, contemplating their next moves. Well, to be honest, his next moves. He hadn't voiced his concerns vehemently but the idea of proceeding to Jinera seemed less than ideal. Haarpa was not the ideal situation, and taking a boat out of there seemed foolhardy which indeed left Jinera. But some little bit of him called out to possibly sneak back into the green fields of Tyvern that had cursed them. Would it be possible to sneak back, or even ever return? He came to the sad conclusion that he could definitely not return any time soon. Which left sticking with this group to Jinera. Who knows, they might be nice... Right?

Zhyle woke early over the next couple of days, tending to their horses before finding his way around the town. Occasionally he stopped by the smithy where he had made a friend the previous day. At first he found himself wasting the day away wandering and mapping the streets of the colosseum town, which soon wore old. Finding himself with a dismaying lack of work to do he wandered his way around the central colosseum and markets for the majority of the first day, managing to enter and catch some another of Miri's victories before departing for the inn they resided in. As the days continued Zhyle found himself taking out his horse from their inn and riding around the area nearby before selecting an area off the beaten trail where he gathered he would not be bothered before settling down to train with his bow, and to his own surprise trying to remember the basics of swordplay that he learned a long time ago.

The town's hustle and bustle rose as the weekend tournament steadily approached. Zhyle found himself spending a lot of time in the city around the colosseum observing the patrons who arrived early for the weekend, as well as watching what fights he could. And then in the afternoon he would attempt to copy at least one or two things he would note from competitors, obviously failing grandly at most replications, but at least gaining insight into the combat of Haarpan swordsmanship.

And when the tournament finally arrived Zhyle counted himself as excited as any of the other watchers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

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Saerin had much to keep him occupied over the next 3 days. First and foremost war preparation for the journey to Jinera. Since he had been there years prior, he focused on trying to glean news of recent events from the townsfolk in the arena, the market, and a local tavern. Unfortunately, most of the news he found was of passing interest, pure misinformation, or older than 4 months. It was all typical Jineran news: "Warlord X defended his title," "Blademaster Y was defeated by his former partner," and other things along those lines. Still, it was good to refresh himself of the names of any important players in the 'game.'

Random times throughout the days Saerin dropped in on the stables, tossing a few coppers to the boy tending to their mounts. He had learned the benefits of doing this from experience: the boy would take better care of the horses, keeping them well fed and groomed, and would be faster in assisting them whenever they showed up. The varied times of his visits kept the boy on edge, meaning if anything went awry they could escape the town with minimum fuss. After this Saerin would tour the shops, picking up small trinkets or tokens that had spiritual signatures. One such item was a small jade statue of a man, no doubt nicked from the body of a merchant in the wastes if the 'mood' of the residual spiritual energy was anything to go by.

During the Coliseum's busier hours Saerin performed his fortune telling routine, increasing his pool of money as more an more people began spreading the word of good fortune. The voices of those who lost to his advice were drowned in a sea of praise, causing business to ramp up steadily each day. The green man refused to accept Saerin's personal bets, but other bookies were more willing to assist in growing the small fortune in the various pouches of his flowing attire. Between tellings Saerin managed to commune with the spirits of the fallen fighters directly, polishing up his knowledge of combat through their commentary on the battles. When they were quieter, however, Saerin managed to fit in some meditation as much needed rest.

Rumors began to circulate in the city of a shadowy figure that would travel the streets before vanishing into the wastes. People swore that, the night prior, they looked out of their window and spotted a distant, intermittent glimmering in the sands. Like a star had fallen to spend several hours among men, then vanish before dawn. Others claimed it was a demon who preyed upon the homeless and drunks before performing dark sacrifices in the desert. The more astute said a mysterious swordsman was sneaking into the wastes at night to train among the sand and bones, his twin blades catching the moonlight as he practiced ancient techniques with the ghosts of the damned. Saerin determined that the last theory was pretty close, but calling a dagger a sword was a bit generous.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon

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#, as written by Chari
"Greetings all, to this weekends Tournament of Champions!"

The crowds roared in response to this bombastic announcement, perhaps a tad louder than Miralda would have liked. He tried to hold her focus while the crowed cheered, doing some last minute image training for possible scenarios she could run into. At this point, there wasn't anything else she could do. She had sharped her sword, polished her armor, and inspected her shield long before she had left this morning. Indeed, her sword had been sharped and polished almost daily since they had reached civilization outside of Tyvern. As the crowd quieted, the announcer continued.

"To kick off today, we begin with a massive melee! This scrum is meant to separate the wheat from the chaff, and will continue until there are only eight men left standing. While killing is strictly prohibited, everything else is fair game! All weapons and armor are allowed! AND NOW, THE MOMENT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! 3, 2, 1, MELEE!"

With that, the arena burst into action. The sounds of battle erupted on all sides, and Miralda herself had to quickly block and dodge so as not to knocked out of contention early. She executed a fighting retreat toward an area near the wall where the melee thinned, and in the process noticed something peculiar. There were a group of people, seemingly 4 men, who seemed to be going the same exact way as her. They were fighting others in their paths, but found quick ways to disengage and continued to move in the same direction she was. When two of them bumped into each other, they didn't start fighting, but rather steadied each other than split apart slightly.

Miralda cursed under her breath. She might not know exactly why they were doing this, but she had a few ideas. More importantly, she had a good idea of what they were doing. They intended to take her out as a group, and she was not at all confident in her ability to take all of them at once. She needed a plan.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow

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Zhyle shifted nervously in the stands as the melee began. He had been excited as he had entered the stadium, but as he had watched the competitors pour into the stadium he had slowly been filled with a sense of dread. Sure he may trust Miralda in those one-on-one matches, but in a chaotic brawl such as this... he didn't know how well her nobly trained sword would fare. It would also be much harder for anyone to read these opponents in the matches, every second wasted could be an opportunistic thug looking to put a club or hatchet into the back of your neck.

He rested his chin on his fingers as he furrowed his brows towards the competitors making their final preparations and the announcer began to energize the crowd. Zhyle nervously caressed the clasp on his sheath as the crowd's energy rose to a fever pitch. Normally having the blade by his side didn't really make him feel that safe, but when surrounded by people that were largely armed with bare fists the lump of steel made him confident that he would not encounter any trouble.

Once the announcer signaled Zhyle watched the competitors leap into action. As expected the large portion of the fighting was happening near the center of the arena with those bold and or fool enough to rush headlong to meet their foes. Around that initial bloodbath of meatheads the cleverer competitors toed the edges of the fights, looking for sneaky or flashy kills to eliminate competition or dissuade others of approaching them. The grandstanders were Zhyle's morbidly favorite to watch. They were they type of people that may inspire fear in a round such as this, but their flamboyant methods would not hold up in later rounds unless they were made of tougher stuff than what they were showing here.

Zhyle smiled amusedly at the scrum before a small cluster of people on the outer ring caught his attention. While there were certainly those that were trying to avoid conflict altogether and simply survive the initial onslaught, one group in particular caught his attention. Then he groaned. A group of four men had seemingly formed an alliance and had their sights set on Miri. Perhaps they had been slightly too successful in making their money through the arena. Zhyle's mind worked as he surveyed the battlefield. Fighting head on would be a poor decision while running would simply end in her being encircled. Distance alone wouldn't be enough she needed bodies in between her and the makeshift coalition. The only place that she would be able to find that was the mass of blood and bodies in the center of the arena. The group couldn't follow her there since they would no longer be able to communicate or avoid conflict.

As Zhyle arrived at this conclusion he found himself standing at the edge of the wall surrounding the arena. Well, if he was here, might as well roll with it. Adding his voice to the roar of the crowd around him Zhyle bellowed "Miri! Center of the fight! Lose 'em!" As he shouted, unsure if his words reached his intended target he noticed something else strange. One of the men, who were standing in between Miralda and himself turned and looked at Zhyle, narrowed his eyes, looked off to the side and gestured back towards Zhyle.

Zhyle winced as he realized two things from the motion. One, the men in the arena thought that Miralda had a support group outside of the ring trying to rig the fight for her. Two, the men had a support group outside of the ring and they were coming for him.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

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"Sorry sir, no admittance without the proper credentials."

Saerin looked down at the small man blocking his path, whose skeletal index finger attempted to push him back as some sort of intimidating gesture. He wore the black suit of a noble with white frills exploding from his collar and sleeves. A pencil-thin mustache curled around both of his cheeks like a treble clef, and the top of his head shined nearly as brightly as the sharpened edges of the battleaxes wielded by the two oafish friends standing at his shoulders.

"No one seems to be stopping them," Saerin replied gruffly. He leaned back slightly before glancing left and right, the sudden change in resistance causing the smaller man to stumble slightly. On both sides, people streamed through the other entrances to the arena unimpeded. He turned back to the man in front of him, who was straightening his jacket.

"That, sir, is because they are regulars. Anyone here could vouch that they have been here before and behaved. Is there anyone here that would do the same for you?" A small voice (one of his clients?) began to rise in the crowd before being silenced by a raised fist from one of the cronies.

"I can speak up for this poor gentleman," a familiar voice chirped from the next entrance. Saerin glanced over, not surprised to see the green-suited man from the first day staring at him with a devilish grin. "He is a guest of honor! Bartholomew, please help me escort this gentleman to the VIP entrance." Saerin saw no point in arguing as the two rats and their guard dogs began to shove him around the side of the building. "Oh, we have much in store for you! A grand buffet on the mezzanine overlooking the fights, one of the best seats in the house, access to the most powerful men in our city..." The man continued to grandstand as they turned the corner into a dark, secluded alley adjacent to the arena. "Oh! And a knife for your liver."

The two large men suddenly heaved Saerin by the armpits into a nearby wall. He hit the ground, slightly winded but otherwise okay. The larger men placed a foot on the inside of each of his knees and held him up helplessly by his elbows. The green man pulled a small, unadorned dagger from beneath his coat. "You really thought you could get away with it, huh? Fixing our fights? I don't know how you do it so well, but it ends today. For you and your two little roommates."

"It came to my attention that various parties are interested in taking your... what? Granddaughter? out of the fight for good, along with her two companions. My cooperation is simply the fortuitous result of common interest." The dagger danced in his palm as he spoke. He suddenly looked up in anger. "Why are you so silent? Even at the end, the stoic fortuneteller."

"Indeed," Saerin said. "We all play our parts until the bitter end."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon

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#, as written by Chari
"-ri! Center----! Lose 'em!"

While most of Zhyle's comment was lost to the crowd, Miralda understood his intent. Unfortunately, she was still moving towards that open space by the wall, and the only way to turn would be through her... followers.

She slowed her movement down as much as she could, and was pleased to see that the others were content to slow with her. It gave her time to make a plan. She would hit one of the two outer men if they hit a rough patch of fighting or slipped up in any way, then work her way around the arena and look for another opportunity to strike. Still, she doubted this plan would last too long as it was counting on her current luck of not getting caught up with other fights. Well, that was something to deal with as it arose, she had a plan to implement.

Right as she hit a clearing, the leftmost man stumbled. With a burst of speed, she was on him with a vicious overhand strike. The man was quick enough to throw himself to the side, but she followed with a strong kick that caught him behind his knee. Before he even had time to grab his leg in pain, she fell onto his face with her shield, and he was out. She rolled herself off the insensate man and to her feet before any of the fighters around her could capitalize, and started working her way in the circle she had planned. One was down, but she doubted the other three would let her take them down quite as easily.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow

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Zhyle's mind was predominated by the word "shit" as he turned and walked away from the edge of the viewing gallery. So people were coming for him. They knew what he looked like and in their messed up little world he was somehow involved in fixing fights.
This is not what he had hoped for when he arrived at the arena this morning.

Worst of all it wasn't like he could just clear up this misunderstanding. What was he supposed to say? "I don't have any money? Oh why yes murderous bastard, I do live with those people, but I assure you they have nothing to do with me." And EVEN THAT was assuming he got a chance to speak to them in the first place. It wasn't like he could guarantee safe parlay with them.

He needed to move. He needed to leave, get to somewhere away from the arena. Maybe lose the pursuer(s). If he remained where he was he could be easily found and at worst get his throat slit. So he needed to move. He walked hastily up to the nearest vomitorium and entered into the central concourse of the colosseum. Which, upon arrival to the concourse, he found to be depressingly empty.

"Well of course it is you little shit." he muttered to himself. "Everyone is watching the arena, like you should be right now. You and your big mouth." Composing himself slightly he began making his way through the pathways towards the exit. He had hardly gotten one-hundred feet before he heard the footfalls of running approaching from behind him. Zhyle spun around with a look of surprise plastered on his face as he saw a girl, roughly his age tearing down the concourse after him, short sword already drawn. She skidded to a halt as he turned to face her and evaluated his expression. "What" she spat at him "not what you were expecting?"

"Indeed not" he replied, "I expected at least a hint of subtlety"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

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As the thin man positioned the tip of his blade against Saerin's chest, preparing to plunge twelve inches of steel into his abdomen, an eerie chuckling began to fill the alleyway, which was isolated quite soundly from the noise of the Arena entrance. The two brutes holding Saerin tightened their hold on Saerin's elbows, so he didn't get any ideas. The green man was taken aback, his surprise causing him to drop his arm. The man turned his back on him, exasperated. "How dare you laugh at me? In my moment of my victory, just before we leave you bleeding in this grimy shithole of an alley?" He paced in a circle three times, feeding his anger, before motioning to one of the men. Saerin's vision flashed as his cowl was removed, then a sudden pain as a fist enveloped a good portion of his hair, pulling his head back so Saerin was looking at his master directly. The green man turned instantly, resting the point of his dagger against Saerin's jugular. "What is it you find so funny about all this?" His assistant, Bartholomew, squeaked out, "He means to mock you, Lord Artur!" before being silenced by a glare from his master.

For several long moments Saerin's laughter continued, followed by a short silence. "Lord Artur? Do you wish to know what your part is in this grand play, Lord Artur?" The gems on his chest illuminated suddenly as Saerin opened himself to the spirits of the coliseum, causing the green man to throw up his hands to prevent himself from being blinded. The dagger missed anything vital on Saerin's neck, but it's arc cut a shallow gash up Saerin's chin and across his left cheek, barely missing his eye. The laughter began again, this time louder, as black blood flowed from the wound. Then, suddenly, it ignited in a blue flame that rapidly spread to envelop his head. This caused his captors to panic, and for an instant they all took a step back.

Saerin felt the rage and bloodthirstiness of the many souls who bled out in the dirt of the coliseum. Crying out in shock over having their lives suddenly ended. Crying out in frustration at losing their matches. Crying out in pain over being unable to say goodbye to their friends, spouses, children. Crying out in anger at the unfairness of it all. Saerin felt all of this emotion hundreds of times over in mere seconds. The men stepped back, for an instant. The men loosened their hands, for an instant. The men felt fear, for an instant.

An instant was all they had.

Fueled by raw emotion, Saerin broke his arms free from the grips of the men, bringing his hands down to his boots to draw his curved daggers. Before they could draw their cumbersome weapons he had brought his arms up, crossing them across his chest. Artur watched in horror then as his arms fanned out to the sides, jamming the blades into the stomachs of his cronies and twisting violently. They fell to the ground screaming as Saerin arose, his face bathed in a raging blue hellfire of the damned. Bartholomew backed up in fear before falling backwards over some knee-high crates. Artur stood, frozen, as Saerin approached, and dropped his blade to the ground. "You're part is to die, here, a rat who thought to hunt the cat." The blade came quickly, burying itself to the hilt in the man's right ear. To his credit, he maintained eye contact until the moment it came, fearful as they were. The man died instantly, but it took his body a couple seconds to realize this before he collapsed in a heap.

Saerin finished off the guards, silencing them in case the continued noise caused the people Artur had undoubtedly paid off to ignore screams of pain noticed that they belonged to two men, not the one they were expecting. But he still had some business here.

Bartholomew had attempted to hide himself among some sacks of flour, but was betrayed by his own uncontrollable sobbing and the puddle of urine that had pooled beneath him. He whimpered as the demon approached him. But suddenly, Saerin stopped.

Once you've opened yourself up to the spirits, it can be very hard to get them to leave. However, Saerin had experienced this before and began to clear his mind (with some considerable effort). Slowly, the fire illuminating his face faded, revealing a stream of red blood that flowed down the left side of his face. Then, his gemstones slowly dimmed until they were as dark as a winter's night. He was suddenly very... tired. Emotionally and physically. But he was free from their influence, for the time.

Bartholomew seized this opportunity to grovel at his feet. "Please spare me, oh great one! I was just doing what the master said, I swear it!" he pleaded. Saerin let out a long sigh. "I'm sorry. I can't have any news of this getting out." Bartholomew began sobbing anew, practically kissing his feet. "I won't tell anyone, I swear! Upon my children's life, I swear!" Saerin stared down at the man, a great sadness resting upon his shoulders. He'd seen similar men before in the past, falling into a bad crowd and becoming a terrible person themselves for the sake of feeding and protecting their families. The greatest of tragedies, becoming evil in order to do good.

"Then you should understand why I must do this. You threatened my companions, and they are not much different from children themselves." He kicked Bartholomew, who had begun to control his crying, over onto his back. They made eye contact. He sighed again. "I'll make sure they are taken care of. Enough gold to get them by."

Realizing that was the best he was going to get, Bartholomew resolved himself to his fate. He barked out directions to his home, so Saerin could hold up his end of the "bargain." He barely made a noise as the blade penetrated his ribs and pierced his heart. He died instantly, knowing that his children would at least remain fed.

Saerin returned to the other three, retrieving his second dagger. He threw his cowl back over his face, obscuring it in shadow once again (save for his bloody chin). He glanced once more back at the fourth corpse behind him, then broke for the inside of the coliseum, where Miralda and Zhyle were likely in similar situations.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon

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#, as written by Chari
The roar of the crowd had only gotten loader since the melee had started, rising to levels which almost drowned out the sounds of the fighting itself. Indeed, down of the field, it was impossible to hear anything over the din of cheers and clashing metal. On the plus side, this meant that Miralda’s would-be assailants could very well regroup after losing one of their number. Unfortunately, this didn’t mean they would stop.

Glancing around, she could only see two of the men she had noted earlier, the third having been lost in the throng of fighters in the ring. It was possible, Miralda mused, that the third had been taken out by an uninvolved fight, but she wouldn’t believe that until she saw the man on the ground. Still, while she had the chance, the dashed toward the closest man through a slight opening in the brawl.

The man obviously saw her coming, and readied himself. He wielded a trident and net, not a weapon combo she had ever seen used before. The net, at this point, looked like it had been through a thresher, and as he threw it got caught on the other fighters in the area and tangled them up while going nowhere. Scowling, the man took his trident in a two-handed grip and stabbed at his prey. She dodged to the left, but the man quickly swept his polearm to match and she was forced to bring her sword to block. The sword caught the trident between two of its prongs, and while it was a heavy blow, Mira brought the spear to a stop before a bladed barb could cut her side. Her adversary, however, smirked nastily and twisted, ripping the sword out of her hands.

Her eyes widened, but she rushed forward as the man turned to recover his stance. She pushed away the haft of the trident with her buckler as she lunged in and struck out with a fist to his throat, crushing his larynx and sending him to the ground coughing. She followed this with a booted kick to his side, and was rewarded with a snap from the man’s arm. She picked up the now user-less trident and spun quickly to face another assailant, who was clearly none too pleased with the state of his compatriot. He moved forward with a vicious diagonal swipe from his battle-axe, which she caught with her buckler, barely. The small shield, however, was not designed to take such a hit, and dented in heavily. She jumped back as far as she could, then in a surprisingly clean motion, she spun in place, throwing ruined shield at her opponent like a discus. This move clearly took him off guard and his surprise got him beaned in the forehead with a hard metal projectile. If that wasn’t enough to knock him out, a spinning hit with the haft of Mira’s current weapon to his temple was.

Mira took a moment to admire her handiwork, then quickly dodged away as a nearby combatant took a swing. Now all she had to do was make it through the rest of this melee, with a weapon she didn’t really know how to use, against the best fighters in the area, while making sure not to be taken off-guard buy the enemy that may or may not still be around. Well, it’s not like her master hadn’t put her through worse.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow

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Zhyle had seen a fair bit of blood here and there. Watching the colosseum the past few days had seen to that at least. He had even seen his fair share of his own blood. Like that time he had fallen off of his horse when he was 11, leaving that scar on his scalp. Or that time he cut open his hand on the nail working on the barn, also known as the only time his father’s alcohol had come in handy at all. But this time… was slightly different. A cut from a blade was very, very different than any of those minor injuries he had sustained before. Because this time there was intent. This time, someone was actually trying to kill him.

And they were making a damn good job of it so far too.

He staggered through the alley outside the colosseum blindly, focusing on applying pressure to his gouged arm. His sword had been lost somewhere inside the concourse of the large structure, though the lump of iron hadn’t been much use against this swordswoman he had faced.

Her… Dammit he felt humiliated. He could tell just on her face that she had been shocked at how inept he really was with the blade on his hip, and it only took two passes of blows before she had scored her first hit on him. And the next couple of attempts had not fared much better, leaving Zhyle with a number of small gashes on his shoulders, chest and legs where he had clumsily attempted to block or parry. This had all culminated in the large gash on his left arm that he had stupidly flung up instinctively to protect himself to no avail.

It wasn’t all bad though. He was currently still breathing, albeit at a much more rapid pace than he would like. After their final pass Zhyle had been able to outrun the female fighter, catching her off guard as she gloated and taunted him. And upon reaching the entrance to the arena he thought he would be safe. She wouldn’t murder a man in broad daylight in the middle of the street right? He just had to stick to the crowds.

But dammit she did have a quick wit, Zhyle had to give her that. He had made up maybe a half dozen paces before she charged after him, screaming and accusing him of being an escapee from the arena. A dishonorable criminal that had killed a man and escaped from the melee to run away. And nobody that was in town would disbelieve her story, would they?

Zhyle grimaced, thinking about the likely scar on his left forearm as he attempted to staunch the trail of blood as he ran.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

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Saerin hurried through the crowd, the ends of his sleeves folded in on themselves to hide the blood that had covered them when his daggers had torn holes through the torsos of the two men who had held him pinned just minutes ago. Surprisingly, no one looked close enough at him beneath his cowl to see the blood dripping from his brow to chin. Eventually someone would ind out he was wounded, and then the questions would begin. Not being one who was willing to sit under any scrutiny, that meant the sooner he got out of here, the better. However, he had bigger fish to fry...

Miralda and Zhyle were definitely in trouble, if Artur had been telling the truth. Of the two, Mira had proven to be able to handle herself through her performance in the arena so far. She could probably wrap things up for herself and collect her winnings without too much fuss about it. He could probably leave the town now and meet up with her later, or continue on her own. They had only agreed to travel together for a little while longer...

He shook himself back to reality. The blood loss and strain of his channeling was causing his thoughts to become erratic. He couldn't leave these two, not now. Their fates were linked when they began their journey. He stopped for a moment to re-focus.

If he left the city now, Zhyle was going to be in a bit of a tight spot. A city is not a place one can easily use a bow, especially near a crowded arena, and Saerin had little confidence in the boy's swordsmanship. Plus if his attackers had any type of longer ranged weapon, like a staff or polearm, he would likely lose his weapon before he could get in range (though, if his skill was lacking enough, he would probably be disarmed anyway).

That meant Saerin had several things to do, in order of importance:
  1. Make sure Zhyle wasn't killed by an assassin.
  2. Drop a small pouch of gold off for Bartholomew's children. Likely just hide it in a place his wife would discover it; the less he had to deal with her the better.
  3. Leave a note at the inn for Mira so they could regroup later.
  4. Retrieve his horse and get out of this city before anyone deduced that the bloody man running out of the alleyway was related to the streaks of blood on the ground leading to a pile of corpses behind some stacked crates.

Saerin's concentration on this list was broken by shouting near the entrance of the arena. Since it was his best lead at the moment, he started to make his way towards the noise.

He was mildly surprised to see that, while being wounded, Zhyle hadn't been killed by his attacker. That meant the boy was either extremely lucky, more skilled than he had appraised him as being earlier, or just very, very fast. He kept a reasonable distance from the two, ready to spring in if the girl pursuing him was ready to deal a fatal blow, but decided to hold for now. The kid had surprised him already, and he wanted to see if he could do it again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon

0.00 INK

#, as written by Chari
At this point the arena had started to finally clear. While many men continued to fight it out across the field, far lest were present than had been there at the start. Some littered the floor, either dead or just knocked out, but many had left under their own power, figuring that the jackpot couldn't be worth the pain they had been going through. For Miralda, the thinning crowds were both a blessing and a curse. While it made actual combat easier, it also meant she could no longer hide herself in the throng. Which meant she was now facing down her final assailant head on with a weapon she didn't use.

The man before her sported a gladius and a legionnaire's shield. While such weapons were phased out of most armies around the world long ago, that did not make the weapons themselves any less deadly. And seeing as she was stuck wielding a glorified pitchfork she didn't really know how to use... She could certainly feel a certain sense of pressure.

She feinted a stab to grab the innitiative, and was rewarded with a momentary twitch of the shield to block a blow that would never come. She again feinted, this time to the outside of her enemies left, and he again bit, this time moving his shield a bit more wildly to try and recover in time. As the shield move, she spun right and whipped her trident at his sword hand. She slashed his wrist deeply enough to for him to drop his sword, but before she could capitalize on his lack of weapon, she felt something very solid smash into her side, sending her to the ground. She rolled to her side to recover as best she could, losing the trident. She scrambled around for a weapon then pushed herself to her feet, this time with a simple dagger. At least she knew how to use this one.

Across from her, the man had recovered his gladius, although he was wincing at trying to use his damaged wrist. While her side was aching in pain as well, she charged. Her opponent readied himself and, for the first time this melee, she found herself in a true clash of blades. Every attack she tried was deflected by either his sword or shield, and whenever he was ready to strike out himself, she was already gone, moving to attack at his side. The exchange when on for thirty full seconds, with him blocking and her dodging, until one of them finally made a mistake.

Perhaps calling it a mistake was a bit much, really. The legionnaire, just once, made a wince harder than normal, and Mira pounced. Not literally, of course, but she dropped down for a low kick the second the man's eyes closed, and before he could even begin to open them, he was already on the ground. Mira's dagger quickly made its way into his heart, and she pulled it out just as fast before jumping back, just in case the man had any last resorts.

She needn't have worried. The man clutched to his chest as his breathing got steadily worse, in too much pain to do anything but grasp at his last few moments of life. Miralda sighed heavily, relieved she no longer had to deal with people after her neck, then dodged away as soon as she heard a woosh of air from her side. If she were anywhere else, she would have started berating herself for her own air-headedness. Sure, no one was specifically after her any more, but this was still a fight to the finish with many other people. She readied her weapon once more, her fight was not over just yet.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow

0.00 INK

Damn that… rat! He just didn’t have the audacity and come out and die like a man did he!? Selk glowered at the alley in front of her. The blood trail had been steadily increasing in volume and frequency, making the trail easier to follow for her, for which she was thankful. While many would think being a mercenary would lend one to back alley dealings and shady sidestreets, Selk had never seen the appeal of the cloak and dagger. She preferred the finer things in life. Like a fine sword or a nice bath after working up a sweat.

That was a thought that brought a grim smile to her face. Oooh, boy what WOULD she do with the money after she killed this bastard. Cheating in the colosseum wasn’t the worst thing that she had been called to do justice for, but she wasn’t really here to ask questions about where the money was coming from. She was just here to get a purse.

She paused as she reached a larger pool of blood. It was fresher than most, and much larger. He had stood here for a while, and as she looked up she knew why and almost laughed out loud. The rat had found himself back on the main road. She smiled as she looked about the street of artisans. He had almost nowhere left to hide, if she could find one of the sparing guards in the city due to the tourney they would almost certainly believe her lie and return the rat to her custody. Where he would be summarily executed. Easy peasy. She slowed her pace as she followed the blood trail up the street before making a turn down the main road and ending at an unassuming solid wooden door smeared in blood. Bingo.

“A blacksmith” she thought to herself as she glanced up at the sign. He might have half a brain after all. Most smiths would be interested in the matches happening down at the colosseum and how their blades may be faring in the game, or just to admire the weaponry of the contestants. Most would have left their shops with only an apprentice unfortunate enough to be tasked with keeping the furnace alight.

She smiled widely as she reached down to the blood soaked handle of the door and swung the door outwards,hopping back out of the small pool of blood that had been left on the front stoop. And she was instantly barraged by the sound of the hammer and anvil of an active smithy.

The poor rat! He had probably picked the ONE active smithy in the district! He had to be just hiding in the front! It would make her story all the better! She slowly unsheathed her blade and poked her head into the doorway and into the sparing interior of the building. Edging inside the building she slowly turned her blade towards the boxes and counters that made the storefront of the building while her mind raced. Where was he!? Where did he hide!? What was happening here!?

“Lady, if you want your blade reforged, you’ve come to the right place, but please, for now sheathe your steel.” She jumped as she realized the sounds erupting from the back of the room had stopped and the mountain of a man at the forge had stood up facing her. While inwardly she cursed her inattentiveness she forced a smile. “Sorry, but I am here on… other business. You see I was just enjoying my boy’s… uh… attempt at the arena. But the coward just up and ran as soon as he got a scratch. I swear, the only thing strong about that boy is his bluster.” She joked lightly, while shaking her head. “I followed his trail, which seems to lead to your shop. Now, where is he? I don’t know where you have hidden him, but please, I need to have a serious talk with the boy.”

The smith furrowed his brow… thinking of an excuse she assumed before responding. “Now… lass, I am sorry but I have seen no boy but my apprentice this morning whom I sent to enjoy the festivities. Now I can assure you, that you are the first person to grace my shop this day. Now if you could tell me what your apprentice looks like, I may be able to help you if I do see him”

Selk gritted her teeth. Shit. The man was testing her. She quickly thanked her lucky stars that she had a clear portrait of the man in her mind before starting off her brief description of the man, while adding her own embellishment here and there, such as scars on his legs or arms that she could talk her way out of later. All the while the man just nodded slowly, taking in the information. Once she had finished there was silence for a second before the smith opened his mouth and spoke with a growl.

“Now I don’t know who you are girl but I do know this boy you speak of, as I am sure you are aware. Unfortunately for you, I know him better than you seem to think. I may be a simple smith, but I am not a dumb man you seem to believe. But I do know a boy who is as uninterested in combat as that would have no master such as yourself. So get out of my shop, scoundrel.”

As he spoke those words the smith began hefting his hammer and it suddenly looked like a warhammer in the eyes of Selk. And she gritted her teeth in frustration… and fear. Shit. This day was looking SO good too. She was gonna get paid today. Dammit that nice bath would have to wait. Hopefully she would get to keep some of her commission if the other idiots in the ring managed to kill the cheater herself. But for now, if the rat was under the protection of this smith… there was really nothing she could do. She wasn’t particularly looking for trouble with the town guard and this smith was not included in the immunity that she had been promised for killing the rat.

“Fine.” She yelled, dropping her useless act and backing once more out the doorway to the shop. “But you better make damn sure he gets out of town before I see his face again, otherwise he is a deadman. And you can take that to be a promise on my word as a sword!” And with that she dashed down the main street, lamenting the loss of that nice fat purse.

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Zhyle couldn’t help but mutter under his breath, chuckling to himself. “Don’t worry, sister, I don’t plan on being in town for very long”. He shifted briefly behind the rainbarrel at the side of the building. It was a tight squeeze into the side alley of the smithy and it had been even worse as he had to be sure none of his blood spattered onto either wall. The faintest shine reaching the swordswoman could have given her away.

Zhyle leaned back smiling as he listened to her steps fade into the distance and the rhythmic sound of the smithy start back up looking back on his plan. Once he had come up with the idea of what to do he had slowly began caring less and less about containing his blood, giving the appearance of losing strength, while making sure to gather a substantial amount of blood absorbed in the improvised sling of his shirt he had made. Upon reaching the main road he wrung his shirt out creating a pool of blood, making it look like he stopped. He needed a little time and he wasn’t sure how far behind she was. Afterwards he sprinted around the corner to the blacksmith he had frequented this past week. The old man would be there, he was sure. The man had said so when the two had talked about their plans for the tournament.

From then all he had done was smear his bloody hand on the door handle and slam his bleeding arm against the door and finish wringing out his shirt at the entrance to the shop. Then just let her draw her own conclusions as he removed his shirt, wrapping the entire thing around his bloody arm and squeezing his way to behind the rainbarrel in the narrow alley at the side of the smithy.

He breathed deeply before carefully unwrapping his arm and wincing at its appearance. He would have to get it dressed soon, covering it with a dirty shirt was not exactly sound medical practice. So, redressing he emerged into the main street before heading in a roundabout way back towards the inn that he shared with the other two.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow
  1. possible duplicate content

    by Lightning Flash
  2. possible duplicate content

    by Lightning Flash

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Double posted somehow...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

0.00 INK

Saerin smiled a bit as he watched Zhyle's plan proceed without a hitch. He waited until they boy vanished from sight before slipping out of the alley he had concealed himself in after the girl entered the Smithy. What the boy lacked in practical skill he made up for in wit, that was to be sure. He twirled the card he held in his hand thoughtfully as he walked. While watching the boy he had absentmindedly drawn the Seven of Swords. Put bluntly, it symbolizes victory via outsmarting your opponent outside of direct combat. Putting yourself in your opponents' boots and predicting their actions to a tee. A very useful skill, if properly honed.

After some walking, Saerin found himself standing out front of a small block of buildings. He counted out a portion of his prize winnings into a smaller pouch and prepared to approach the door, but as he did he happened to glance through the window. Inside, he saw a man and woman embracing and heard the laughter of children. Even in his weakened spiritual state, he felt intense confusion. Followed by intense anger. Thoughts and feelings from hundreds of residual souls with nothing better to do than gossip flitted across his consciousness:

...some time now... he doesn't know... about 6 months... what about the children?... he's rich... not the only one...

Saerin's knuckles turned white as he gripped the leather pouch. Bartholomew's wife was apparently well taken care of. Saerin suppressed the emotions pounding into his skull like a hundred blacksmith's hammers. He wouldn't take the money. He wouldn't kill the couple, leaving the children as orphans. He couldn't listen to the urges pressed against him by the spirit of Bart, who was apparently not quite the noble man he had attempted to seem at his death. He would keep his promise.

He dropped the bag next to the door, the stumbled down a side street. Spirits were always stronger the more recently they died, and Bart was no exception. And he had not been in such a weakened state in years, so the pressure to give into the blind rage was astounding. At this rate, he wasn't sure if he could fight off another possession. His nails dug into his palms to keep himself from giving in, but he needed to distance himself. Fast. He entered a blind sprint in roughly the direction of their room at the inn, not bothering with subtlety.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon

0.00 INK

#, as written by Chari
The melee was starting to wind down, but that didn’t really mean too much for Miralda. After all, she was still in the fight, and a dagger is not a weapon one uses for a fight like this. While there were only four fighters left outside of herself, they were all the best (or at least the luckiest) the arena had to offer.

She herself was certainly lucky that three of them were embroiled in their own fight on one half of the arena, while she only had to deal with one opponent. Unfortunately, she was facing the massive man from her penultimate bought from yesterday, this time effectively armed with a toothpick. The man nodded to her and called out, “Shall this be to first blood then, little lady?” While she scowled at the appellation, she nodded herself in agreement, saluted with her dagger, then charged.

Her opponent quickly cut off her route with a swing of his axe, which made her scramble backward to not get hit. She feinted a move in momentarily then moved to go in from an angle, but the axe-wielder didn’t bite on her fake and she was again forced back after a close shave. With her small weapon, she couldn’t hope to block, and even trying to deflect a blow wouldn’t work well without either a metal shield or a much larger blade. To get in to attack, she would have to get creative.

Her opponent didn’t give her much time to think however. The second she stopped trying to move in, he started moving towards her with little movements of his axe that he could easily turn into fill swings. As she backpedaled, she spotted a longsword to her back and left. As she was forced back, she changed her direction slightly so that she would end up right over it in a few more backsteps. The instant she was driven back far enough the sword was halfway between herself and her opponent, she struck.
The dagger came out of her hand spinning, on a collision course with the behemoth of the man across from her. He brought the flat of his axe head around to block the improvised projectile, but Miralda was already off, running straight at him while she bent to collect the longsword mid-stride. The axeman wasn’t distracted for long, however, as a slash came out targeting her mid-section. Using her momentum, she went all the way down to slide on her back under the strike. It was close; so close, in fact, she could feel hair being clipped from her bangs. Still, she got under it successfully, and spun quickly to nick the leg of her target before she lost momentum a few feet past. While her backside was rather soar now (she would make sure she was wearing at least some kind of armor there before she attempted that stunt again), she rose to her feet feeling triumphant. She had won!
Her adversary shouldered his axe, shaking his head amusement as he walked toward her, and chuckled, “Well, I see that you have quite the create mind there, little one. It was a good bout once again, and I would love to do this once again. First, however…” Suddenly his axe was no longer on his shoulder, and she dropped to the ground to avoid the blow. However, the blow didn’t come, at least not at her.

“It would appear that someone here meant to finish you while we talked.” She turned to see a man shouted in pain and clutch at his now missing hand. On the ground was a sword, along with the hand that still held it. She let out a breath in relief, both for the attack that she had though was at her and for the one that she had never seen coming. Although, now that she listened, the sounds of combat were gone. The large man laid down his weapon and held his hands up in the surrender gesture. After a moment of pause, the announcer went, “A-a-a-ASTOUNDING! The new-comer Miralda has won the melee within the VERY week she qualified! Everyone, give her a round of applause!”

The crowd erupted into loud cheers (and jeers) as Miralda shakily got back to her feet. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, all she wanted to do was go back to the inn and sleep. Still, she trudged up to the arena managers who had come down on the field to accept her prize, a not-so-insignificant amount of coin and some good chainmail. The chainmail was too large for her (they had probably expected male with a much larger fame than she had), but she figured she could give it to one of her companions when she saw them again.

After what felt like an eternity of being paraded about in the arena, she made her way back to the inn and collapsed onto the bed face-first without changing into anything more comfortable or even washing the dust and blood off herself. She would take care of that soon, she just wanted to take a little break…

Setting

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Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow

0.00 INK

Zhyle had plenty of time to ponder the wonders of adrenaline on his way back to the inn. While he knew how to (roughy) tourniquet and bind an injury, herbal remedies or medicine was not his area of expertise. He would have to pick up a book on that later.

He had made a point of at least containing his injured arm inside of his shirt, to try and make the least scene possible, most people were still at the arena watching the tournament. And, if he was lucky they would be there for a while longer. But just to be safe he made sure to keep a wide birth from the arena, as he could only guess that is where the sword lady would go, to report to her comrades.

Zhyle slowly made his way back to the inn among increasing crowds. Now this was both a good thing and a bad thing as far as he could see it. Even without evesdropping on the chatter of the crowd the electricity and thrum in the air indicated that these were folk coming back from the arena. The good news is that he would likely be able to blend in since he was making an effort to conceal his injuries. The bad news was that there was probably nothing from keeping that mercenary from tracking him down again, as her schedule just likely freed up. He could only hope that the old man had made it out of there before trouble found him right quick.

He made his way up to the inn through the heavy crowd of drinking patrons bemoaning their lost coin accompanied by the exciting renditions of the fights. He let out a sigh when he finally reached the door to their room, releasing the tension he had been holding that entire day at the prospect of sitting down and possibly getting some proper relief for his arm, and opened the door.

It hadn’t occurred to him that someone might be inside the door, so when he saw a figure lying on one of the beds he stumbled backwards taking a sharp breath.

Of course he promptly felt very silly for his surprise upon recognizing Miralda on the bed. So she had pulled through, well that was good. Well, good and bad, good because her dying would be a bit of a bummer but bad because if those people were thinking they were cheating before, now they would be CONVINCED. He walked slowly over to the bed before sitting down at her side with a bit of a grunt.

“Glad to see you’re still kicking tiger, but a few things first.” he said while shaking the back of her head with his left hand. “One, I am pretty sure we should get out of town yesterday. Two, you know anything about treating cuts, or want to help me wrap this?” As he finished he revealed his injured right arm, removing the dirty bandages from around them with a wince.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Miralda Cristina de Reon Character Portrait: Zhyle Alkuow Character Portrait: Saerin Tytoh

0.00 INK

It took all of Saerin's focus to drown out the voices of the spirits as they pounded against his consciousness. The adrenaline brought from running helped only slightly as he made his way through the streets, dimly aware of the people he passed. Eventually his flagging stamina became an advantage as he reached a steady rhythm in his gait, his mind focusing on only one thing: escape. He locked his gaze on that singular thought and allowed it to drift only to the movement of his feet as he dodged through foot traffic. As long as he kept moving, that would be his armor.

He reached the inn, ignoring the concerned look of the innkeeper as he pushed through towards their room. He swiftly pulled out his room key, and after a few moments of difficulty locating the keyhole he threw the door open and moved in. His mind barely touched on the two figures in the room as he, catching himself, managed to not slam but firmly close the door. He then slid to the ground, back against the rough wood of the door, as the exertion caught up to him. The mental claws of his spiritual associates, by now, had retreated a distance, circling with hackles raised like a wolf ready to pounce. They knew that he was weaker than normal, and if they struck again while he wasn't on guard he may not be able to stop their advances. His right hand raised to his temple to steady his mind, he took a moment to examine his surroundings.

Mira appeared to be alright, probably about exhausted as he was from the way she had fallen on her bed. Well, perhaps not as much... while he kept up his training, it had been some time since he had run quite that much. Her breathing was heavy, but his own was very labored and rasped deeply with each inhale. Appearance wise she was dirty, but about as much as one could expect from a tournament champion. Given a brief time to recover she would likely be back to "normal."

Zhyle, though, seemed another story. He had watched over the boy before to make sure he didn't die, but he hadn't gotten a close look at his injuries. A few sword pricks at his shoulders, arms, legs... spots commonly left exposed by novice sword wielders. Whoever had dealt those blows seemed to have been wanting to play with him before finishing him off. That gouge on the left arm, on the other hand... maybe not inherently lethal, but definitely the first stroke of the attack meant to finish him off. Assuming it was the same person who had dealt the other wounds, they likely meant to disarm him and close in as Zhyle's desperation and fear rose. They had underestimated him, though, and his cleverness allowed him to escape with his life.

Saerin himself was not looking much better. While there most of the blood on his robes were those of others, he had sustained several lesser wounds (as well as a light cut on his neck) that would take time to heal. His powers had taken the brunt of the attack, though... if he allowed himself to use any of the abilities that might help them, he would be opening himself up to the spirits and allowing them a point to attack. Until his mind had time to settle from his earlier possession that was something he could not allow.

He brought his legs in to a folded position, despite their protests. He didn't get this far to be stopped by something like fatigue. He held them there for a moment before rising. "I will ask the innkeeper for a wash basin and some clean cloth. After we've all cleaned up, we need to talk."

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