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Beyond Light's Reach (IC Reboot)

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Tomia
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Beyond Light's Reach (IC Reboot)

Postby Tomia » Mon May 25, 2020 3:22 pm

Unknown Temple, Southeast Dascus

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Dulen
"Oh I once knew a Dascan mageee, he couldn't have been half my age. Yet he sang and he danced and when his fingers did blast, well I damn near did shit in my pants!"

A roar of chuckling broke out around a short dwarven man who was singing a ludicrous song among the hired soldiers of the expedition. He didn't look like much of a warrior, he wore silk clothes rather than armor. However he did have a strange crossbow on his back. He had decided the group around him had needed a bit of livening up and he couldn't think of a better way than a good song. He had to admit, this expedition had brought together an incredibly assortment of people. The nobles up front, they were boring but back here? That's where the interesting characters were. He saw a mercenary with an enchanted sword, more beastfolk than he could count, and even some goliaths. Since they still had at least a few minutes until they reached this temple business he decided to make small talk.

There was a wolf like beastfolk nearby, a shi'el knew them to be called.

"Hey there, you're Antoran right? I've been out to your neck of the woods before, very interesting place, though not the safest for someone as small as myself. So what brings you out here? What interest do the shi'el have with a temple in a random Dascian forest?"

Brialya
Being undercover as a soldier was boring. Being undercover as an Athelaian soldier was even worse.

Having spent the last few weeks marching and sitting in brooding silence, Brialya was beginning to question whether or not this mission was worth it. Then she thought of her parents burning to death in their own home and her resolve returned. At the camp things had been much livelier, to the dislike of the priests of the Light. For her cover, she was required to join in, drinking, telling stories, and dancing with other elves. It’s a strange feeling, playing pretend with people who had been your enemy since birth. Still Briayla played it well and was now part of a special group headed to investigate this mysterious new temple. To say the Athelaians were on edge was an understatement. Brialya felt a growing sense of unease and tension among their ranks, and it was clear this was the last place some of them wanted to be. Still they kept the peace and had been impressively tame regarding the mages they had been forced to camp with for many nights.

Brialya didn't care about any of the politics though, she was there for one reason.

Someone here knows who Purity is, and I'm going to find them.

Purity was the name she knew the man who had killed her father by. He was a high ranking member of the Athelaian army and he was leading some kind of secret organization. She was on a mission to kill him and that’s what mattered to her. Still she knew she had to be careful, she was dressed like an Athelaian so people were going to treat her like one. She had done a good job of putting on the act. She convinced her fellow soldiers that she was a devout follower of the path but she knew the truth.

By Faenar's cloak I am shielded, by my faith I am reborn.

That mantra anchored her to her true identity, her faith and determination was something no circumstance could take from her.

"Commander says they're only letting us bring five soldiers in." One of her fellow soldiers said in front of them.

"Bunch of bullshit that is." Another replied. "If they think we'll just let the mages run this show they are as dumb as they are deviant."

Brialya couldn't help but feel this peace of theirs was very temporary.

Faith guides my blade, I kill to protect the innocent, in Faenar's care freedom lives on.

Sir Quentin "Wolf" Raeden
If the ancients were kinder, they would have built their temples in nicer places. The knight thought in an absent-minded manner as he rode atop his horse through a thickly forested path. He was accompanied by a half dozen other knights of Shotarr as part of a larger international expedition. Their flag flew above them proudly as they marched. In total there was probably a hundred and fifty people travelling together. They were all part of an expedition to explore a recently discovered temple of unknown origins. The various nations descended upon it like vultures as had been the trend for the last few years. Thankfully however instead of fighting a war, they actually decided to try to handle things diplomatically. Quentin was likely in the minority among his fellow knights in that opinion. Many of them welcomed war with Dascus or Athela or anyone really. Whether it be to earn glory as a warrior or secure land and title as a commander, the motivations of the Knights of Shotarr had fallen far from their original purpose. Many assumed Quentin had these desires as well, after all the famous Wolf had the potential to be a mighty warlord.

I just want to protect people.

It was laughably naive for a man who was trained to kill others and likely made most common folk shit their breeches when he walked past, but it was true. He didn't want to be some lord growing fat in a castle, that was never his interests. Still he was loyal to the knights, his brothers, and to the will of their benevolent lord Shotarr. He was just grateful for the opportunity to prevent death rather than cause it.

Sir Quentin and his entourage were close to the front of the group. Alongside them stood a group of Knight Enchanters from Tashar as well as a number of their researchers. Next to them, standing a healthy distance apart was the Dascian contingent, led largely by the representatives of the Magi Consortium. Their symbol, a phoenix flying over the rising sun, flew above them. They were also accompanied by members of the royal army. Of course King Adrian himself was not in attendance. Quentin knew that poor boy had more than enough on his plate to deal with in his own home.

Trailing a good distance behind them were the Athelaians. Strange folks those elves were. They were clearly not comfortable intermingling with humans, or even worse mages. Still something was more off with them then usually. Their contingent was larger than the other nations, and they had far more warriors than researchers. Behind them were the various mercenaries that had been contracted as protection. It was an extremely motley crew and that made Quentin wary. The last thing they needed in a heated situation like this was an undisciplined sell sword quick to draw their blade.

After another twenty minutes or so of riding they approached the entrance to the temple. It was inconspicuous enough but it gave Quentin a dark feeling. He didn't want to be anywhere near these ruins, but duty called that he moved forward. He turned to his second in command, Sir Lucius.

"Pick two other knights to come inside with us, and bring one of the Chosen as well. Gods forbid we need them."

With that done, they descended into the temple. The path was narrow, and only one knight could enter at a time until it opened up into a wider chamber. The first room of the temple was as bizarre as Quentin might have expected. At the center stood a fountain with a glowing magical orb. The orb was projecting images onto the walls. It depicted monstrous horrors, demons with tentacled faces and massive claws. Images of fire flicked across the walls and another wall showed the image of a great war between these demons and an army clad in white.

What the hell have we walked into?
Last edited by Tomia on Mon May 25, 2020 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Finland SSR
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Finland SSR » Mon May 25, 2020 3:35 pm

Syn of Ashar




This certainly doesn’t feel like any ordinary mercenary mission... all the escort tagging along with them appeared too flavorful. Of course, it’s not like Syn could claim to be any less noticeable - maybe the young inventor himself was, but the nine foot titan of a Golem walking after him, towering over even the Trar’el Thalari warrior among them, certainly was not. Still, with all the beastfolk, goliaths and magical warriors in their ranks, all from pretty much every nation and culture inhabiting the continent, this mission certainly stood out from the mundane escorts and raiding parties he had to attend in the past.

Truth be told, Syn hadn’t really been paying attention to the nitty gritty of their quest. They were travelling to the thick, hilly forests of the Dascus-Tashar border region in search of an ancient temple, and the research expedition needed powerful warriors to tag along and cover them.

But if that temple was abandoned and they were planning to explore it instead of besieging it, then why was such a large party assembled to follow? Certainly feels a little overkill... Still, Syn did not question it. There’s always a rational reason for everything, and this was no other. Following the rest of the party, the runesmith was immersed deep in his textbook, writing down notes. A few weeks earlier, he had gotten a hand of a runesmithing catalogue published by the Magi Consortium itself, and every time their party set up camp, his nose would either be buried deep in the text or in his textbook where he marked down any useful information. Most of the runes listed in the tome were either ones which Syn was already familiar or whose inner workings he already understood, and could have replicated without the need of a tutorial - but others were far more interesting.

Some even detailed advanced golem construction processes. Ones which he can certainly scavenge for his own creation...

Syn closed his notebook and placed it back into the Golem's backpack when the party stopped, standing before the entrance of the temple. Certainly as abandoned, overgrown and ominous as the runesmith expected. Four Knights of Shotarr went in, including their leader, Sir Quentin, while the rest stayed outside.

"Stay." Syn commanded calmly, and the Golem, who had been ordered to follow its master behind his back up till now, stopped, its movement freezing like that of a statue. The runesmith kicked a few pebbles away with his foot and peeked over the wall to the depths of the temple. The path was narrow and tight, and yet it caught Syn's note that there was a source of light coming from the depths. And it wasn't their own.

"Wait, what?.."
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The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune
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Postby The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune » Mon May 25, 2020 5:30 pm

Prax'Ak Dor Molap

Prax walked along with the main group in great strides that easily kept pace with the horses. The slight breeze in the air filled his mane and gave the pridelord a look of power, beyond what his size and reputation already did. Prax did not mind it. Manes were useful telltales of a Ga'el's power, and they were a good natural defense against attacks aimed at the neck or face. Indeed, the practical labyrinth of hair around Prax's head was more than proof of the former, and the lack of scars around his face, with the exception of his wounded eye, the latter. Still, manes such as his grew hot in typical weather, and it was not uncommon for warlords back in Trara to tie theirs back in order to deal with the heat, else they die from it, like the tragic ending of Rai Dor Falar, the fifth Trar'Ga.

The night before this had been spent celebrating and reveling among the soldiers of Tashar. The mercenary company Prax had followed into this combat were a well respected group, and so the men of the Empire had been glad to have them on their side. Prax was rather fond of the Tasharans as a whole. As a follower of the Thalai, he mistrusted magic, and so too distrusted the Dascians. And the Elves... well they were just strange. Strange smell, strange customs, and strange beliefs. Still though, they were better than magicians. Shadows passed over the group as Prax looked up at the group of Hercynians that were following the delegation. Their presence made Prax bristle. Though most people outside of Antora were... not overly fond of beastfolk in Prax's experience, even the other Thalari had a particular distaste for the group once known as Bar'el. Though St'el Owlmen were not an overt favorite among the beastfolk community, they were rare, and spread throughout the world. Plus, even Prax could not deny the craftsmanship of the St'el. But Bar'el... murderers who forsook the Thalai and all that made them what they are. The worst kind of wretches.

Prax thought back fondly to the night before. He had greatly enjoyed the Human revelry and it's various assets. Though he found most other cultures strange, he took great joy in watching the humans celebrate, much like humans took joy in watching dogs play. It was cute in a way, especially when they challenged Prax to drink of their stock. While it certainly tasted better than most Antoran and all Traran alcohol, it lacked the potency that Prax was used to, and so the Pridelord would go through a barrel or two of the stuff on his own without much of a thought. He had retired shortly afterward, sleeping in his Lion form as he was want to do.

The sound of a hustle in the morning had awoken him, and his hearing had given him the information that the coming conflict over some temple had been postponed for a neutral research team to enter and conduct a survey for all involved sides. It was good for sure. Prax, like all of his kin, enjoyed combat. But these other nations of the world seldom partook in honest battle. If anything the crater that was left of Eckers had taught him that these "Civilized" empires seemed to glorify slaughter and call it glorious. Prax had taken it somewhat upon himself to try and fix that wherever he could. If that was the legacy he could have in the outside world, it would be a good one. So, he had tagged along with the Tasharen delegation. He had found that humans rarely tried to stop him, and when they did Prax could easily call upon his "noble" blood and "status as an emissary" to get himself into places. Both were strange and somewhat redundant concepts, but they worked like a charm every time.

As the group got to the doors of the temple, the leader of the Knights split their group, clearly intending for only a small number to enter the temple. Prax's ears perked up at the sound of someone questioning another Antoran. Stepping over, he found a Dwarf questioning a Shi'el. Prax chuckled a bit, saying "You might be there all day Bard. Shi'el are many things, but I have never known one to spend words when they are not needed. If one of their kind has found their way out here, I doubt they will be talking much at all."

Soren Longtalon

The Tyto squad circled overhead of the research group. An initial search of the camps had not yielded results of the Raven King's whereabouts, and Soren was unwilling to let the carrion breath slip through his talons another time. The group below them were motley indeed. An assortment of the other races, a few ground based beasts, and even a few other fliers among them. Still, Soren did not trust the group as a whole. The sooner they were done with this business and back in Hercynia the better. Still, he was not one to look an opportunity in the face. All the groups on the battlefield were represented here, and that made interr-... questioning them much easier. Noticing the procession stop in front of the temple, Soren directed his group to land.

Hearing the Knight Commander, or who he could only assume was the Knight Commander was only taking a small group in, Soren made a note to say aloud in Common "Some of us should join them, it would do the group well to have at least a few nocturns down there." He followed this with a click and a whistle that too the untrained ear would sound like a mere signal for the rest of his men besides his two bodyguards to take a rest. Those trained in linguistics however would recognize Soren's sharp order in the Tyto language, telling his men to "Question the rest."

Soren entered the temple with the group of Knights into the Orb room. The sound of the Tyto's talons clicking against the stone floor echoed off the walls. With their feet hidden under the wings the owls had wrapped around themselves like cloaks, it gave the delegation a rather eerie aura. Soren looked at the images with abject disgust. The Tytos had few tales from the Demonic Wars, but they frowned upon them none the less. The Dukeling asked aloud, to no one in particular "Does anyone know how old this place is?"

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Zjaum
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Postby Zjaum » Mon May 25, 2020 6:13 pm

Werakoya Eyeketrau

Werakoya approached the general orbit of the crowd gathered. A cadre of knights and their unwitting followers were already entering the site, and she'd only just arrived! She picked up her pace. If she was going to be last, she was at least going to be fashionably in line. She jogged for a good minute before stopping. No one was following the knights. Well, there were a few, but they may have had her same assumption. She looked around. She was now in the center of... a lot more people there than she'd expected. She'd expected half a dozen, but she was estimating two dozen at least, maybe more. Why would the Dascians need so many? And, out of all this many, they didn't have anyone available who had skill in traps? Well, perhaps the trappers weren't all Dascian. Still, this was much less comfortable than she'd liked; she was too close to too many conversations. Best to regroup and reevaluate.

She walked casually but cautiously towards the far orbit of the band, where most peripheries couldn't notice her. But, of those who did, she'd stand out from the rest of the group. She moved closer to blend in with the crowd. But... she was a Goliath. People could distinguish her regardless, especially when compared to the many humans. Well, there were some Goliath females like her, and that... lion, thing. Ah, but they were too sparsely populated to avoid detection. Werakoya moved closer to the near orbit of the people gathered there.

She grew a little nervous. She was going to have to walk into dark, cramped rooms with these people. She pulled out a couple ball bearings and began fidgeting with them. Maybe this was a mistake. She didn't have much of a place with these noblemen, these magic users, these great and mighty people, above her in all but stature. She took a deep breath. She looked around at the people who had gathered. The helmet on that one had a small crack, in a way that could prove fatal. The dwarf's contraption needed a few tweaks before reaching perfection. The knight entering the temple didn't tuck his gambeson in properly. Werakoya nodded. These people were well past her, but not quite out of her reach. Physically and metaphorically, that is.

Observing these people was fun. She looked for shaded, dark corners from which she could gaze upon the legends. Finding one beyond the heads of one group, she trotted off to camp.

Alas, a blue elf had already claimed it. She too listened carefully to the surroundings. Doubtless she probably noticed her, what with her big pointed ears. It seemed like conversation was inevitable. Werakoya plopped herself down beside Brialya and announced herself with a smile. "Good day! My name is Werakoya Eyeketrau. I am a Goliath from Dascus. Are you an elf?"
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The Republic of Atria
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Postby The Republic of Atria » Mon May 25, 2020 7:32 pm

Lud Ornn

It was a few day's travel to get to the temple, but he had the Tashar contract he could show and hopefully not have any trouble. Once the large man arrived to the encampment, he spotted the temple which was what they needed guards for, along with a handful of Shotarr Knights. Something he wanted to avoid. In theory, he could just stay outside among the other mercenaries they hired and not interact with them at all. He'd probably get questioned about it if they saw the magical properties of his sword, but given the unlikelihood of anything interesting happening other than drinking and maybe shooing away some animals, there probably wouldn't be an issue.

He entered and stood a little bit away from the temple. Best to avoid the Shotarr at any cost, interaction being kept solely to an as-needed basis. He had a pretty solid cover story, one that they definitely couldn't verify in the time it would take for this expedition to be done with, plus they were probably more interested in digging around for whatever dusty old relics they could find.

Lud decided to strike up a conversation with the Ga'el who seemed to be talking to a Dwarf and an Antorran. He approached unusually silently for someone wearing as much plate as he was. "Greetings. I presume you're all here to protect a dusty temple for a large amount of money?" He said with a sneer under his helmet and a chuckle after. "Name's Lud. Glad to be working with you all for the next bit."

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Ceystile
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Postby Ceystile » Mon May 25, 2020 10:11 pm

Vissra Montresor
After what felt like forever of riding, camping, and all manner of other "fun" outdoor activities, they'd finally reached the unholy grail of their mission...the temple seemed to loom over them like some sort of ominous cloak, although Vissra herself couldn't deny that it was of fine craftsmanship. Beautiful or not on the outside however, it was what was supposedly inside that really mattered to everyone present, especially her. When they had reached the entrance, Sir Quentin ordered only a small team inside with him to scout while some of the rest stayed outside and waited, which suited her just fine. She could fight if need be, but she was a healer first and foremost and that was what she'd stick to unless given no other choice. Vissra decided to follow inside, she could be useful to the team in case they needed patching up but she wasn't going to be dumb enough to jump into danger. With nothing left to do but take the plunge, Vissra scanned their very...varied crowd to say the least, composed of a variety of races and individuals whom all seemed to wear a different expression on their faces and that made her very grateful that her own face was hidden beneath her birdlike mask for the time being, the symbol sewn onto the back of her mustard-colored robes marking her as a doctor. In other circumstances if she wasn't needed, she may have parked under a tree and tried to relax but one certainly didn't need to be a warrior to know that relaxing was the last thing one should do in this scenario.

Thérèse Valsier
Sir Quentin's thoughts were right about one thing, King Adrian was not here and would not be accompanying them...it was far too risky at this point in time, but someone else from the court was there. Essie adjusted her pointed, wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun out of her eyes, oddly fitting as the king's "shadow" and a fond smile came over her face at the nickname. Courtiers and fellow Dascians would call the young wizard his shadow even before he became king, as they were nearly always seen together. Like two peas in a pod her mother would say, even if one of those peas was missing. It was odd and kind of...lonely, being on this journey without him, but she knew it was necessary to keep him safe especially with the lack of heirs. In fact, that was the primary reason of her going on this journey, to protect her kingdom as well as him. Her mother and their cabal, the people of Dascus, they were all counting on the success of this mission which is why it took everything in her not to protest from her place alongside the members of the Consortium when Sir Quentin only brought a couple of his own faction in and an elder Consortium member decided to advise her to stay outside. She wanted to scream, they were finally at the place they were looking for, the item they were looking for and now they just wished her to wait out here?! But it wouldn't do, not now...she was already the youngest person here, she didn't need to be sent home for "acting like a child" when they'd some so far to their goals. She was going inside whether they wished it or not, caution be damned. Edging her horse a bit closer, Essie could see that there were some sort of symbols carved into the stone of the temple's entrance.
Just because I may be a bit on the young side doesn't mean I can't be of use...it's better than sitting here twiddling my thumbs. So she rode up until she was at the mouth of the temple, dismounting and with the horse's reins wrapped around her arm, she pulled out a thick hardcover book and began to flip its pages, staring up at the symbols.


"Hey." A somewhat muffled voice startled her out of her thoughts, turning around she saw a white-beaked face staring directly at her. This must be the physician from Tashar. I don't think they wear that outfit anywhere else.
"Hello. I'm sorry, did you need anything?"
"No, I was just curious as to what you were doing, that's all. I'm Vissra, by the way. Vissra Montresor, and you might be?"
"Thérèse Valsier, but my friends call me Essie. I was just trying to decipher whatever the hell this is...it may look insignificant but I'm taking a quick scribble before I go in because it may be useful later. An idle mind is the demons' playground, my mom used to say."
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Essie." Vissra finally decided to remove her mask and clip it to her belt, revealing a striking brown-skinned woman. "I think it's better to see each other face-to face when making introductions, don't you agree?" Her tone was friendly as she looked down at the younger woman (who was also shorter), but she looked a bit concerned about something. "I was wondering if you can satisfy another curiosity for me. I was wondering..."
"Don't even ask, I know what you're going to say. Why is somebody this young on a mission like this?"
"Well, yes but how did you...?"
"I saw it on your face, that look. I know it seems odd, but trust me when I say that I have my own reasons for being here. Important reasons, like everyone else I can imagine." She was finally done with the last stroke of the pen, placing both back inside her pack and tying her horse up on a nearby tree. "So, shall we go in?"
"That's what we came all the way here for, didn't we?" Vissra quipped. Essie chuckled back and the two women went inside the temple, Vissra replaced her mask and they walked as fast as they could in order to keep up with Quentin and his squad.
Last edited by Ceystile on Mon May 25, 2020 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Zarkenis Ultima
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Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Tue May 26, 2020 10:30 am

Neferis Lahari

Tomia wrote:---
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune wrote:---
The Republic of Atria wrote:---


From the camp that had been set up the previous night to the abandoned temple in the midst of a large hill, an enormous grey wolf walked calmly alongside the marching forces of Tashar, Dascus, Athela and the Knights of Shotarr. Though many among them, human, elf or dwarf alike, found themselves intimidated by the presence of a beast that made nature's usual fare look small, the soldiers and magicians of Dascus found some measure of comfort in their presence. After all, they had been the ones who hired the enigmatic Wandering Wolf, and though they found her no less intimidating than their peers from the other nations did, they took comfort in the knowledge that the large beast would be on their side, should conflict break out during this expedition.

The wolf knew of this, but paid little mind to it. She would, of course, see her contract to its completion and fight honorably should the time come, but the thoughts, the hopes and expectations of those people were the concerns of lesser creatures. She was not here in this artifact hunt for power, for fame or for riches, but simply because she was in search of a worthy cause, and being at the heart of an expedition where so many different factions and nations were represented seemed to her like a convenient way to continue her search.

As the group approached the entrance to the ancient temple and began slowing down, the she-wolf decided to shift back into her original form and focused. After a moment, where the great grey wolf had once stood there was now a curvaceous, dark-skinned, lavender-haired woman with ears and a tail like those of a wolf and tattoos all around her body. She wore light, silken clothes around her chest and lower body, ill-advisable in cold or rain but perfect for the scorching, expansive desert she hailed from. Bracelets and an ornate necklace made of gold gave her an air of wealth - albeit not in a way that made her seem less threatening to the other races around her - and a patch of black and red silk adorned with gold was draped over where her left eye would be, if she had not lost it while in service to the Foresters years ago.

Now in a form that blended in more easily with the rest of the expedition, the woman noticed that the knights and envoys of the various nations were heading inside, leaving some of their troops behind to keep watch over the temple's entrance. The Dascians had not called for her presence, so instead of following them, she wandered closer to the other mercenaries, hearing a certain dwarf merrily singing a rather inappropiate tune. Unable to keep herself from snickering in amusement as the crowd around the dwarf burst into laughter, she continued to observe from a short distance away, though she noticed with some curiosity that the dwarf had seemed to notice her and began walking in her direction until she was close enough to start a conversation, asking about her motives for being here.

Before she could answer however, another Thalari approached, a Ga'el, one she easily recognized by his garb as belonging to the Wastes in eastern Antora. He laughed and addressed the dwarf, remarking on the supposed taciturn nature of her tribe. At this, the Shi'el smirked.

"A common misconception. You must not have met many Shi'el that were fond of your presence, child of Ga." She stated, before turning to look t the dwarf. "You misinterpret my role, dwarf. I am but another mercenary here, not some official representative of the people of Amarkar. My tribe has little interest in these mystical artifacts, we do not need them to defend our domains." She explained, before looking towards the temple.

"I am here on my own business, in search of purpose. I will not find it at home, and I figured the humans' war games might provide me with one."

Shortly after she had spoken those words, another person suddenly announced their presence, a man who had somehow approached without making a sound despite the amount of metal armor covering his skin. Of course, even if he stayed out of sight and made sound, the she-wolf had caught his scent as he approached, so when he spoke she calmly turned around to appraise him, nodding at his introduction.

"Greetings, Lud. Most humans know me as Wandering Wolf, but my name is Neferis." She said, before nodding in the direction of the guards looking over the temple's entrance. "Which one of them hired you?" She asked, referring to the three nations involved in this expedition.



Saelaam of Trelia

Tomia wrote:---
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune wrote:---


Oadot's Chosen had always had amiable relationships with the Honor Guild and the Knights of Shotarr, as the three were, at least in theory, sister organizations that served the Pantheon and upheld its virtues. Thus, it was no surprise that several Chosen from the sanctuaries in human lands had volunteered to accompany the Knights of Shotarr on this expedition when summoned. In the end only a few among them, the most talented, were chosen for the task, with the promise that they would be protected by both the Knights of Shotarr and the Enchanters. Being a rather pacific lot, they opted not to mingle with the mercenaries, and they had been told to stay put outside of the temple, so for the time being they were content to converse with each other - they hailed from different regions of Tashar and even Dascus, with wildly varying life experiences, so there was no shortage of topics.

The din of conversation died down, however, as the Chosen watched a man clad in armor, the Knight Commander's right hand, Sir Lucius. The priests of Oadot had grown acquainted with him and the other Knights of Shotarr during their journey together.

"Sir Quentin has requested one of you to come with us to the temple." The man spoke firmly. The Chosen once more began talking amongst themselves, deliberating on who should rise to the task. After a few moments, one stepped forward from their ranks.

"I will go." He spoke. The Chosen who volunteered for the task at hand was a man with a soft face that made him seem younger than he was, and a striking pair of black feathered wings growing out of his back through holes in his priest robes. He was in fact a Thalari, a member of the crow tribe specifically, though he was a far cry from the reviled courtiers of the Eagle King. In fact, many knew him as the Paragon of Trelia, and the people of that town described him as hard-working and honest, rather than scheming and deceitful.

There were no protests, and so Sir Lucius nodded and headed back to the temple entrance with Saelaam in tow. Sir Quentin and Sir Lucius walked inside first of all, entering dark, narrow passage in front of them, and the Chosen walked in behind them, followed by two other Knights of Shotarr.

Oadot, keep us safe. Protect our souls and deliver us. The young man silently prayed as he crossed the dark corridor. While he tried to keep an aura of calmness, with his hands folded into his robes and a neutral expression on his face, inwardly he felt very uncertain. Tensions were high between the various factions present, and while the Knighs of Shotarr had promised to keep he peace, he had his doubts, as they didn't seem to have too many troops present. In a sense, the reason he had volunteered was to ensure that his peers would be safe in the outside if something did happen.

He cast these thoughts aside as the group stepped out into a large chamber with an orb atop a fountain at the very center of the room. He found his attention captured by the images projected on the wall, although not in a good way - the horrors that could be seen did little to assuage his fears, though a hint of curiosity emerged as well as he saw the white armies triumphing over the nightmarish beasts.

A voice suddenly broke the silence, and he turned to find the source only to see an owlman there. His brow furrowed instinctively and he quickly looked away. He knew and cared little about the owls and their feud with his cousins the ravens, but he did not trust the Dukeling, for the sole fact that he was Hercynian. Instead of answering - and he did not know the answer either way - he approached the Knight Commander while looking around and appraising the room some more.

"...I do not think this is a place we should disturb."
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Absolon-7
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Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Absolon-7 » Tue May 26, 2020 4:34 pm

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune wrote:Soren Longtalon

Rudolph Thorbecke

Rudolph walked around the makeshift camp of the expedition eyeing up any of the more notable people. He was signed up on the Dascan contingent as one of many expendable mercenaries to buff up their security but he had a greater purpose in mind. This was quite an extraordinary of event of the nations of Eboris working in, if uneasy, but still admirable cooperation. In truth, he had signed up for any lead on the necromancer he had been hunting for so long. The very one who had tricked him into getting an innocent man executed. The chances of finding a lead were slim to nonexistent just like most other attempts but he had no mission from the Slayers at the moment so he might as well try as futile as it may be.

His ragged cloak obscured him from being that noticeable but he himself noticed a small group of Knights of Shotarr begin their breach into the temple. After seeing a random assortment of others he chose to slide into the temple himself not fancing the tight squeeze but he eventually caught up to the others. The room was quite bizarre. Overgrown with plants, an ornate golden gate at the far end, and some mysterious glowing orb in a centrally located fountain piece right under chandeliers. He was apparently near the bird looking beastfolk of the entourage as an owlman spoke of the temple's age while while a winged beastman he couldn't exactly identity, possibly crowfolk, was disturbed by the place's aura.

"Judging by how overgrown the roots are on the entrance this place could be over two centuries. Maybe three," guessed Rudolph towards Soren as he was mesmerized by the projections from the orb their shimmering light almost reflecting over his black armor, "Although looking at the wear on the stones could give a better idea."
Last edited by Absolon-7 on Tue May 26, 2020 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just passing by. Please no militarization of borders.
Giovenith wrote:...The past was not happier. It was not more peaceful, people were not nicer, things were not better. You only think of it that way because you are afraid of the chaos of the present and the past seems inherently orderly because you already know what to expect from it...

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Segral
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Segral » Tue May 26, 2020 4:43 pm

Claire Dione

Tashar had hired well. Neither the League nor Hercynia had taken a side in this massive Holy War, yet Tashar had lapped up dozens of Beastfolk from every corner of the two nations. From her post alongside the horsebound procession, she could spot a man of the Lion tribe, his mane flying vainly in the wind. She could spot a group of scorpion-folk, their tails high in the wind and claws out. She could even spot what appeared to be a woman of the Eagle tribe, possibly from Hercynia, maybe even Sarthares. Few of the marine Thalari had come here though, and understandably so. The people of water were proud, independent folk, ones who did not speak unless spoken to, and they preferred to live within their own world rather than deal in the petty conflicts of another's. To be truthful, Claire wished for the same life, she wished that she was still in Zhoria, preparing for the next coastal skirmish rather than preparing to dive headfirst into a continent-wide war. But General Iena was firm. Zhorian warriors were in high demand, and rightfully so. In a war such as this, one needed the best, and Claire was most certainly the best.

Although, currently, she didn't feel the best.

"My legs are too sore for words." Claire said with a grimace, yet again rubbing her thigh. She had been shedding her skin every six hours so that she may traverse land with the rest of her procession, and the ordeal had left her legs raw, red, and chafed underneath their breeches. The metallic skirt did not help matters, pressing down on her waist and filling her nerves with an acute burning sensation.

"Aye, mine too." replied Victoire, another one of the three Zhorians sent to investigate the temple. Victoire was even more serious than Claire, if such a thing was possible. She was a strong warrior, but she had a reputation for her ability to gently kiss her superior's asses. Beyond that, she was a great companion, and excellent in the field of sparring. Claire often went to sleep with an assortment of bruises coating her body, scars born from their combat sessions. "The temple is within sight, though. Soon, our legs will find rest." she solemly added, dark eyes focused squarely ahead.

"The crowd has slowed!" quipped Sria, the last of the trio that had been sent from Zhoria. "We are close, sisters!" she said excitedly, her stride beginning to outpace Claire and Victoire's slow lumber. Sria was 24, five years younger than Victoire and seven younger than Claire, and she showed her youth frequently. She was always full of energy and excitement, bubbling through her martial warrior discipline. She was immature, but needed; not even the mystical elven archers of old had as wicked of a shot as she did.

"Relax, young one." Victoire chortled, clapping Sria affectionately on the back as the younger girl pouted. "Save your energy for whatever horrors may lurk in that forsaken temple. You will be competing with scores of arrogant men for them."

"Indeed." Claire affirmed, catching up to the duo. "You will be fighting two different enemies in those halls, if my words are properly understood." she said, glaring at a nearby knight as she spoke.

"Pssh! You two worry needlessly! We are the Warriors of Zhoria, we are women of valor! We do not fight against others, they fight against us!" Sria crowed joyfully, eliciting a hearty laugh from the other two. The three women continued to talk, joke, and laugh for some time, humor acting as the best painkiller, the best distraction from the ache in their legs. Walking on land was an experience that every Thalari of the seas detested, mostly for the pain of shutting your gills closed every six hours, and ripping the skin off of your own tail. Not to mentioned the regrowing process, a wildfire of pain that made the burning sensation of shedding feel like a small campfire. However, the chatter was enough to keep Claire's mind off of the pain until the procession slowed, coming to a dead halt in front of the temple's entrance. It wasn't just the Tasharan procession either; the Athelian and Dascian processions had similarly dragged to a halt. The temple's entrance was well within sight; a crumbling stone building of old age that had been partially reclaimed by the natural plant life of the region, with moss, roots, and weeds crawling across the weathered stone surfaces. Unfortunately, due to the Zhorian trio's position in the middle of the procession, neither Claire, nor her fellow warriors could see why the procession had suddenly grinded to a screeching halt.

"Why have we stopped?" Victoire asked, her hand reaching for the hilt of her broadsword, currently sheathed in the scabbard at her waist.

"I know not. One of us should head to the front of the procession so that we may see for ourselves." Claire responded curtly, turning to Sria. "Sria, you're the spry one in this group, head to the front so that we may learn what the conflict is."

"With haste!" she said brightly, quickly dashing up ahead and out of sight. Claire and Victoire stayed silent, both women non-verbally acknowledging the very likely possibility that they may have ran headlong into danger by reaching for their weapons. Victoire pulled her sword slightly out of its scabbard, a hint of polished bone catching the light. Claire twirled the trident that had been hanging loosely in her hand, crossing it into a battle-ready form in front of her chest. She usually preferred the pike, but she did not how large or small these ruins would be, and a ten-foot pike could be a fatal weapon, for both her enemies and herself.

"Do you think it is dangerous?" Victoire asked, a hint of nervousness in her voice that was seldom heard. Truth be told, Claire felt the same nervous, but chose to push the fear back and form an edge of steel around her voice.

"In the temple? Perhaps. But my ears hear no sound of combat or war, so I am inclined to believe that no violence has broken out yet. Time will tell, I suppose." Claire said, looking down at her hands. The two women waited in silence for some time until Sria came bounding back, panting slightly from the long sprint up to the head of the procession. "They...pant...have said...pant...excuse me." she started, seemingly attempting to catch her breath.

"Come on, what is the news?!" Claire said in an anxious voice, shaking Sria's shoulder slightly. "You must tell us, Sria! What did they say, what is going on?"

"One...second. I am...too out of breath to...speak." she said, her pants now lighter despite her constant gulps for air.

"And yet you have the breath to tell us you are out of breath!" Victoire admonished, eliciting a giggle from Claire. "You must speak, what is the news?"

"Well...the envoy is only permitting a handful of warriors to enter the temple." Sria said at last, much to the dismay of the other two. "They have told me to send just one warrior from Zhoria into the ruins, as they cannot afford crowding the temple's halls with too many of us." she said, her scowl mirroring those of her two colleagues.

"Dogs!" Victoire cursed, gripping the sword's hilt so tightly that her knuckles turned a thin shade of white. "Once again, our worth has been trampled upon by these men who cannot see beyond their dicks and their blades! I am likely more capable in combat than almost any other soldier, man or woman, in this procession, and yet they push me down in this manner! I will not stand for it!"

"Shhh, your immodesty is attracting attention, sister." Claire said coldly, conscious of the stares that Victoire's rant was attracting. "But you are right. Once again, it appears that society intends to erase the Zhorian contribution to wartime. Nevertheless, we must adhere to their ludicrous rulings. Which of us shall venture into the temple?"

"It should be me." Victoire said immediately, folding her arms. "A sword is best for a narrow hall or cramped room. If we stumble upon conflict, I will be the best equipped to fight any threat."

"Why must it always be you who enters every battle, sword aloft?" Sria asked with an angry frown, jerking a thumb back to the bow strapped to her back. "It should be me. I'm the smallest of us, I can move through any narrow space that Victoire can, and better. I can attack from the long and the short, and you two are limited to the short. It should be me." Sria exclaimed, looking towards Claire for non-existent support.

"No, Victoire is correct. Sria, you are an archer at heart, you should stay on the outside as a reinforcement. If the horrors within overwhelm us, we cannot afford to lose you. But, it should not be Victoire who enters the temple. It should be me." Claire said with a firmness that stunned both of her comrades. This was her battle, she had been General Iena's first choice, and she fully intended to enter that temple, even if she had to fight Victoire for it.

"Why? Will you snag your lengthy trident on a root in the wall, and get your throat slit by a booby trap?" Victoire demanded, the taller Thalari stepping directly towards Claire and glowering down upon her, attempting to intimidate the smaller woman. Claire did not budge, mirroring Victoire's motions by matching her steps forward.

"And will you continue to throw a tantrum while you are caught in said booby trap?" Claire said coolly, with a slight smile. "Your heart is full of fire, but Eboris has already seen too many forest blazes. To be perfectly honest, you should have been a follower of Qrodia instead of a Thalari of the sea, it suits your spirit!"

"Haha, very funny." Victoire said irritably, incensed by Claire and Sria's chuckles. "Is the purpose of your lecture to mock me, or do you have an ulterior motive that we should all be aware of?"

"Alright, I see your conviction is as strong as mine. And the helm on your head. So, let's let Fate decide it." Claire said, ignoring the brilliant shade of crimson Victoire turned at these words. She reached into the bone pack on her back, digging around in the rough pockets until she managed to find the stash of coins that she had pushed to one corner. With two fingers, she pulled out one, a thick coin made of hammered bronze, with a trident stamped on one side and the head of Zhoria Qoit on the other. "We will flip for it. If it lands on the trident, you will enter the temple. If it lands on Qoit's head, I will enter. Is that fair?"

"Fair." Victoire said, nodding as she focused her eyes upon the coin in her palm. Sria was also focused on the coin, the frown on her face completely erased. With a deep breath, Claire shifted the coin into a flipping position, her thumb positioned on the edge. With a flick, the coin sailed into the air, spinning round and round as if reaching up to the heavens to ask for Fate's opinion. And with a dejected downturn, it fell back down, Claire's other hand clamping down on the coin in mid-air and pressing it down on her forearm. Slowly, she lifted her hand, revealing the coin on her forearm, the head of Zhoria Qoit boldly printed across the top.

"Curses." Victoire said, scowling slightly before straightening up with a smile. "Well, if it's what Fate decides, so be it." she said, affectionately clapping Claire on the shoulder. "Take care, sister. Represent us well."

"I will. Take care." Claire said with a nod, beginning to set off in the direction of the temple, before suddenly turning back. "Sria, make sure you keep this older one in check, keep her from slaughtering any Tasharen men that throw a word her dirction, hmm?" she with a grin, prompting a laugh and friendly wave from Sria and a slightly more reluctant smile from Victoire as Claire set off in the opposite direction, marching towards the front of the procession. Few noticed her despite the odd spines and tassels folded against her back, mostly thanks to her diminutive stature. It didn't matter. She would gain more than enough attention in the temple, and, if the soldiers fighting alongside her were men of some caliber, they would respect her.

The entrance to the temple was narrow, practically a mining chute into the depths of the temple, and the only way to properly enter was to move in single-file fashion. Men in front of her, and men behind her. Detestable. Thankfully, the architects of this temple seemed to take pity on her, as the entrance soon opened into a wider chamber, allowing her to loosen her grimace somewhat and distance herself appropriately from the growing crowd, all fanning out as a few men stepped forward. She would have stepped forward too, had her eyes not been busy taking in the sights of the room. Or rather, the chamber, as it was too great in size to be merely a room. High ceiling, thick walls made of gray stone slabs, columns flanking either side. And of course, the main attraction, what appeared to be a dry fountain in the middle, the smooth stone parched from centuries of dehydration. But the fountain itself was not the main attraction, it was a glowing orb set at the top, polished and shimmering with a sheen that should have dulled years ago. A light resonated from the orb, casting a glow on the stone walls. The glow seemed to take shape, forming all sorts of hellish images upon the walls. Creatures with warped faces, teeth and claws that put Claire's own serrated teeth to shame. Fire, so much fire. And a war, a war between an army of white and these creatures...no, not creature. An owlman and a crowman spoke, questioning the age of the temple and whether it was fit for exploration, respectively. Her chance to assert leadership.

"It is impossible to say how old it is." Claire sad gravely, stepping forward at last. "This temple should be in utter ruins, and yet something keeps it intact. Magic may be masking its true age, smoothing its wrinkles." she said, her eyes fixed on the orb as she replied with a hint of curtness in her voice. She would work with these men to achieve their common goal, but they were not her friends, merely her allies. "In any case, we must press on, with caution of course. If there is a dangerous secret here, it is our responsibility to find it, and make sure none fall to harm because of it. We must not be cowards." she said firmly, casting a sideways glance at the rest of the group to gauge their reactions.




Krook Tolasthes

What a lucky Thalari he was! His stomach had been growling at night, keeping him awake with no chance at any sort of sleep. He had ventured outside of the Tasharan camp and into the forest, hoping to find some tasty fish, or maybe small rabbits to eat, but, behold his luck, he found an entire group of deer! He had caught the biggest, strongest buck in his jaws, mightily crushed its neck, and said the Prayer of Hunt, praising the animal for its courage and hardiness, and promising to respect the kill with his hand over the buck's heart. He had dragged it back just after nightfall, and once the sun had come up, he had fully butchered and stored every part of the deer. First, he had cut a big slit in the deer's belly and took out its liver, and setting it to dry. He had then used his claws to skin the carcass, scraping off every last bit of flesh from the hide. He had washed it with water and oak bark, scraped off all of the hairs, and finally, mashed up the deer's brain and used it to soften the hide. By the time he had hung the deerskin up to dry, some more new friends had come to help!

They cut the deer's meat up into flat strips, starting up a campfire and smoking the fresh meat. Once the strips were dry, they pounded them flat with stones. One of them got the idea to stuff the deer meat, so a quick Thalari had jumped back into the woods to gather a big bag of mushrooms, berries, and nuts to stuff the bundles with. In the meantime, Krook and the rest of his friends took care of the innards. They washed the innards with more oak water and hung them to dry. There was lots of uses for these things; stomachs were great waterskins, bladders were great tinder pouches, and the guts were great for all of the nuts that he had to carry. The lungs were good meat too, nice and tough, like jerky. They melted down the hooves to make stew, and when there weren't enough hooves, they used bones and teeth. They made thread from the sinews, which they all shared, and then they harvested the bones and blood. Krook kept the antlers and some of the long bones, they were good for arrowheads. Some of his friends put their bones into the stew, some of them cracked the bones and ate the marrow, some of them made needles and ornaments, and one of them made a flute, so they sang and danced and played old folk songs on the flute for so long that Krook nearly lost his voice. The stew was ready soon after, so they all ate together, washing the stew down with deer blood and berries.

It had been a good day.

Now, they were at the temple, and the procession had halted. They were only letting a few select soldiers in to guard the research team, which was fine with Krook. He was an archer, and it was hard to aim and shoot a big bow like his in cramped, dark temple rooms. He could hurt somebody very badly, and that would reflect terribly on the Foresters. He was too big anyways, he towered above every single other soldier in the procession, aside from a few select Thalari, like the massive Ga'el that had been striding alongside the procession earlier. He was huge, even for a Ga'el. He had thought about talking to him earlier, maybe ask how had grown so massive, but he had gone off to speak to a group of nearby people, and Krook didn't want to disturb their conversation. So, he contented himself to sitting cross-legged in the grass nearby, snacking on another hunk of smoked meat. He had brought a big bag containing his share of the meat, along with another bag containing his share of the greens, mushrooms, berries, and anything else the quick rabbit Thalari had found. It had been smoked hours ago, but was still fairly warm thanks to the tight bag, and let out a smell that was mouth-watering to anybody with good taste.

Humming an old song from the Great Swamp, he took another big bite, his teeth shredding all of the berries and leaves and meat in his mouth into one delicious paste. His mouth was practically dripping with the juice, a few threads of mashed berry and drool slowly sliding down his chin and dripping everywhere. Including his wedding ring. That wouldn't do.

He tossed the rest of the meat into his mouth, chewing it as he grabbed the bundle of rawhide that had been strapped to his back. It was rough and coarse, and better for making rope, but it would work as a cloth. He carefully wiped his hands clean with the hide, taking extra care to scrub every last drop of juice off of his ring. He couldn't dare stain it, it was the most precious thing he owned. It was worth a lot; his Dearest had gone all the way to the Bank of Ashar to get it, and it was made of pure gold, with a single ruby in the center, like a big red eye. But it was worth more than just money, it had love in it. He missed Sylvia terribly, it was the only downside of going on this expedition. That, and not being able to see Vlark any more. Soon, it would be two years since his son had been sired, and he couldn't bear to miss that day. If this expedition took too long, he would have to send his son a letter, and that was no way to do things! He needed the money for his family, but as he got closer and closer to the money, he wished he could have his family back. Oh well, it would just be another couple of weeks. Soon, he would right back home, where he belonged.

And with that merry thought, he took another bite.
Last edited by Segral on Tue May 26, 2020 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
yea bro idk

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Tomia
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Posts: 15164
Founded: Apr 13, 2013
New York Times Democracy

Postby Tomia » Tue May 26, 2020 5:17 pm

Dulen
Dulen chuckled at Neferis' comments to Prax. "She got you there Courage. This one is clever no doubt about it." He said giving him a nickname as he was prone to do. "I have to say wasn't expecting such lively company on this trip but I'm glad for it. Better than those Path folks or those mages who like to recite textbooks at you." He then turned to Neferis when she mentioned seeking purpose. "Ah purpose, a noble thing to search for, but I find it's usual not worth the trouble. Personally, I think enjoying yourself is the best purpose to have. Plus it tends to be less likely to lead to death by many many arrows." He said with a smile. "What kind of purpose are you looking for Wolfie? Adventure, wealth, a holy cause? You won't have any trouble getting them to notice you that's for sure. Unlike me you don't have to worry about them stepping on you. I'm Dulen by the way, a Merry Man of the Vine at your service."

He turned to Lud who had approached their group as well. "Nice outfit there, got to say it's refreshing to see something other than drab full plate armor that these regular army types wear."

Brialya
The undercover elf had been sitting mostly solitary when a surprisingly friendly Goliath approached her. Brialya hadn't met many Goliaths that she wasn't firing arrows at, but this one didn't seem to fit what she had heard about them. The others around Brialya were giving Werakoya dirty looks, and Brialya had to be careful not to blow her cover. "Figure that out on your own eh?" She said dryly in response. She then begrudgingly offered her hand to shake in greeting. "I am Diana, a Guardian on the holy path of the light." Her fellow elves sitting around nearby who over heard followed up with "Praise the Path". Brialya hated these silly conventions but she needed to follow along.

"So, what's a Goliath doing here? Here to try to steal the artifact for the Horde? Whatever it may be, as long as you stay out of our way we can get along. Might as well, since we're likely to be out here a while."

In the Temple
"Eh, who are you calling cowards?" A large Eshoni knight said who was standing in the nearby corner with a few compatriots.

A woman in red mage robes spoke up at Soren's question. "She is right. They are much older than that Crypt Slayer. These ruins are at least a thousand based on the languages used throughout these carvings, but we have no way of determining precisely. It could be far older for all we know." The woman was Fiona Soret. She was a grand enchanter of Order, which meant she had voting rights upon their grand council. She represented the political faction known as the Protesti who were known for their more conservative views regarding magic. Tashar's choice of representatives sent a pretty clear message.

Meanwhile Quentin turned to hear the Chosen they had brought with them address him. "I agree with you, unfortunately there are likely many others here who disagree."

"There certainly are." A prestigious looking mage said from among the Dascians that were entering the chamber. "While the rest of you fear ancient knowledge, we magi seek to learn from the past."

"Ah, Sabrina, if Dascus let you out of your tower they must really be scraping the barrel." A Tashar mage said to the laughter of his compatriots. "We're here so you don't blow yourselves up. You're welcome." Before there could be any reply Quentin spoke up.

"Enough, we're here for a reason. Let's get on with it." He spoke in a clear and commanding tone, and it was clear he had the attention of the room. He gestured to Claire. "She is right, we have no course but forward. Otherwise we are here for no reason." The Athelaians were the last to enter the chamber and were clearly lagging behind intentionally. Once they did Quentin led the group through a set of golden double doors, opening to a new chamber. This one had a higher ceiling and was wider. The back wall was carved stone. The stone was pitch black unlike anything Quentin had ever seen. And the entire wall was covered in stark white carvings. The language was like none Quentin had ever seen before, and it filled him with a deep sense of dread.

"Grand Enchanter, have you... ever seen anything like this?" He said turning to her for guidance.

"I...have not. It seems to be a language, but whatever it is is older than anything we know of."

"As unexpecting as it is that these novices from Tashar are unfamiliar with it, we suprisingly are as well." The prestigious looking Dascus mage known as Baldwin said.

Quentin's eyes turned to the center of the room, where a on what looked like an alter sat... a hammer it was etched with similar markings as the wall but these markings pulsed blue with energy.

"No one touches that hammer."
Last edited by Tomia on Tue May 26, 2020 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ceystile
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Founded: Jan 29, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ceystile » Tue May 26, 2020 7:03 pm

Essie used her staff as part walking-stick as they entered the temple, following Sir Quentin's lead they soon were in a room with a glowing orb. Demons and other such horrifying effigies stuck out in stark relief in the dim magical light. Vissra was in awe along with some cautious wariness, she'd never even seen a place like this before...it was unnerving, knowing that the people who once stood here were now long dead. Meanwhile behind the two, the mages from both their countries were beginning to have a discussion...one that turned into a bickering match between the members of the Consortium, mainly Lady Sabrina, and a man who was obviously a part of the Enchanter Order.

"There certainly are." A prestigious looking mage said from among the Dascians that were entering the chamber. "While the rest of you fear ancient knowledge, we magi seek to learn from the past."

"Ah, Sabrina, if Dascus let you out of your tower they must really be scraping the barrel." A Tashar mage said to the laughter of his compatriots. "We're here so you don't blow yourselves up. You're welcome."


Essie pinched the bridge of her nose and let out a rumbling sigh. "For fuck's sake...and I thought I was the only kid around here." she said lowly, making Vissra chuckle next to her. "I guess everyone here is a little unruly...ruly people aren't likely to take on a job like this." the doctor quipped. Sir Quentin seemed to have the same idea as them, for he shut down the squabbling mages rather quickly and effectively as they proceeded to another room, where a hammer rested on carved stone. When questioned about the carvings, the senior mages admitted that they didn't know, and a Dascian mage made some quip about the Tasharens before admitting he hadn't seen them either...Baldwin, if she remembered correctly. Essie had seen them around during their time at court.
"Again with the pissing contest." She stepped forward to study the markings all around them, flipping to a blank page in her grimoire and began scribbling down. "For future study. Sir Quentin...I may be wrong, because like everyone else here I know fuck all, but judging by the paintings in the other room and this hammer..I think this room may have been used for sacrifice. Maybe even human sacrifice." Essie told the knight. "Seems that way."

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Zjaum
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Founded: Oct 15, 2016
Corporate Bordello

Postby Zjaum » Tue May 26, 2020 8:02 pm

Werakoya Eyeketrau

"Figure that out on your own eh?" Brialya said dryly.
Werakoya nodded. "Why, yes! I'd read about-"
"I am Diana, a Guardian on the holy path of the light."

The giantess nodded to the elf, then to the elves beside her echoing her introduction. Oh, they must be some of them weird priest-types. She'd never met a priest-type before. Depending on the situation, based on their reputation in Dascus, priestesses could be either popular paragons or pariahs. She didn't quite know how to respond to people like her. To be fair, she didn't quite know how to respond to most people. She decided on a bow, even while seated. If it was offensive to her religion, then the priestess didn't have many options for retaliation against someone a foot taller and much stronger than her. Well, unless she used magic. Oh, the things Diana could do to her then! The giantess could be turned into a pony, or grow a tail, or she swell to twice her height! Oh, the attention she would get then... it would be unbearable! Werakoya's bulk shuddered as she shook Diana's hand, her face betraying her inner thoughts.

"So, what's a Goliath doing here? Here to try to steal the artifact for the Horde? Whatever it may be, as long as you stay out of our way we can get along. Might as well, since we're likely to be out here a while," stated the elf.

The giantess rubbed the nape of her neck. "I stole a lot when I was a child, but my days of thievery are... Oh." Diana probably looked down on thieves. Revealing herself as a thief... well, ex-thief... was a tactical mistake in the conversation. Still, the unforced error was not the only thing that corroded the dialogue beyond repair. Phrases like "stay out of our way" put a halt to the giantess's many questions and pointed talk elsewhere. Werakoya bowed again while standing up, almost losing her balance and crushing the brittle friend. "Well, sorry to disturb you, madam priestess lady elf. I see that you're very busy. I'll go away now."

She stepped and began to turn before pausing. "Oh, you were talking about Haruza's Horde! I've never met them, actually. I was raised by humans. Apologies for the misunderstanding!"

She completed her about-face and moved away. What was she doing before? Ah, yes, finding an inconspicuous refuge. Her first option was gone, and there were few others in sight. Talking with the two other Goliath females would probably give the former conversationalist the wrong impression, if the priestess was still watching her. Should she turn her head around? No, it would arouse too much suspicion among the priesthood. Still, it would be a good idea to blend in with people her height. After a little bit of wandering, she found one: a big alligator-looking biped, currently enjoying a meal. He was taller, absorbing most attention that would be directed toward herself. He was sitting down, giving her an excuse to do the same. And the food looked really good, especially around now.

She approached Krook's encampment. She hopped on her feet, tucking them in to fall seated on the big grasses. The grass was not as soft as she'd calculated, and she felt a sharp pain in her lower back. "Ah... that was not a good idea... Hello! My name is Werakoya Eyeketrau. I'm a Goliath from Dascus. What's your name?"
Last edited by Zjaum on Tue May 26, 2020 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune » Tue May 26, 2020 9:30 pm

Prax'Ak Dor Molap

The Lionman guffawed at the Wolfgirl and the Dwarf. One could say many things about the world outside of Trara, but they were nothing if not entertaining. That said, if he were as prone to... well dying as the outsiders seemed to be, then perhaps he would be a pessimistic. But Prax had yet to encounter a being that truely scared him. Except for sharks. The Lion did not like Sharks. Banishing the thought from his head, Prax offered his thoughts to the Wolf "It is a worthy cause for an adventure, do not let it dishearten you. I find myself on the road for similar reasons, albeit I do not think our experiences are identical. These outsiders can be remarkably enlightening creatures sometimes."

Prax laughed at the Dwarf's short joke and responded in kind "Prax'ak Dor Molap at your service, Good Bard Dulen. Though most either call me the Pridelord of Eckers. You are indeed quite humorous. Take pride, it is an uncommon gift."

To Lud, he nodded and said "Well, not really paid. I came to fight for Tashar, but the ruckus all of you made this morning caught my attention and I figured I would tag along. You never know what fun you can have when you follow a good ruckus."

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The Republic of Atria
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby The Republic of Atria » Tue May 26, 2020 10:01 pm

Zarkenis Ultima wrote:Neffy


Tomia wrote:Dulen


The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune wrote:Prax'Ak Dor Molap


Dulen was the first to comment, mentioning that he opted for a more fun set of armor rather than standard plate. "I'm glad someone enjoys it! I've been mistaken for a Shotarr Knight many a time, despite having no dealings with the order. And yes, It's also nice to see someone who appreciates not being stuck looking one of a thousand identical soldiers. I'm not part of that rank and file, dammit!" He said, his tone quite jovial. "Besides, you ask me, bit too many of those knights have the approachability of a rock covered in blood worms. I prefer a more friendly approach. What brings you here small friend? The allure of not being stuck in a city?"

The next to speak up was the beast woman who introduced herself as Neferis asking which of the factions had hired him. "I believe it was the Tashar. That's what the contract said at least. they were offering good money for protection, couldn't resist a job where I sit around, drinking and meeting people who have more stories to tell than about the one time they found a rat in their cupboard." Not that he had much in the way of better stories to tell himself. "I usually just get paid to get rid of some bandits or a few too many wild animals. As for your name... I may have heard it in passing, but you seem mighty. What is your mightiest deed? My local reputation reached a height where I managed to scare a group of a dozen bandits away without even having to draw my blade! My only complaint was that they mistook me for a Knight of Shotarr. It worked to my advantage then, so I didn't bother to correct them."

Finally, the largest of the group who introduced himself as Prax. And a bunch of other words he was never going to say, but Prax was easy enough to remember. "That must have been ruckus the others made. My other point of pride is my ability to move silently and only be heard when I want to be heard. That, and I just arrived after you, so there is that." He wasn't sure why Prax was doing this without monetary compensation? Maybe he just wanted some good old fashioned violence. Fine by him. "Good reasoning, though I doubt you're going to do more than drink and yell at the evening fire. I doubt any of the dust bunnies in that temple are going to give you a challenge."

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Lazarian
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Lazarian » Wed May 27, 2020 12:31 am

Festus Attore

"You never know what fun you can have when you follow a good ruckus? Wise words, Praxus of Eckers!" laughed Festus, striding into the circle with a merry strum of his lute to finish the tune, as well as announce his arrival. They would have heard him coming, as the song grew louder as he grew closer.

Festus was no mighty warrior or powerful beast. Nay, he stood at a mere average height, with a slight gut hidden beneath a purple tunic and iron cuirass. He was certainly no warrior or mage, despite the Dascian crest pinned upon the cuirass. Curly hair dangled to his shoulders, with rosy cheeks and a broad grin betraying a bright and optimistic nature.

He'd been standing away from the group, idly plucking away at a melody. His employer (a Dascian mage by the name of Sabrina) had entered the temple, leaving him behind. It wasn't like he had any use going into a moldy and dusty ruin, anyways. He was here to play ballads for her, turn the entourage's water into a fine selection of sherry (her personal favorite) at times, and to generally entertain the soldier folk. It wasn't a bad job, by any means.

He'd left the monastery approximately a month ago, leaving the Hurelan Freelands with little more than a lute and a quarterstaff. The Abbot had given him little advice, other than to spread the works of Benthoral and to return in three years time. Such was the missionary work of the Merry Men - informal, unstructured, and unpredictable. Festus didn't resent it, although he did miss the comforts of home. The days spent tenderly raising their vineyards and nights spent in drink and cheer were certainly worth missing, in his eyes. He'd joined up with the Dascian expedition by mere coincidence. A few weeks ago, he'd played at a banquet hosted by Sabrina's cousin, and it just so happened that the sorceress seemed to have a soft spot for a drink at times. Following the path of wherever fate swept him, he'd agreed to come along and provide his services in exchange for food and lodging. It'd been a decent enough few weeks, though he didn't care for the snobby Dascian mages and their like.

He'd been listening to the group converse for the last few minutes, in between bars of melody. They were an odd bunch, which made them even more appealing in his eyes. A barbarian, two beastfolk, and a dwarf! You didn't see that every day. He figured it was about time to extend a welcome, seeing as Sabrina had told the men that they may be camped outside of this ruin for a while.

The first of the beastfolk was a beautiful woman. Even an Athelan would say so, and they were infamous for their subtle hostility to the other races. She stood quite tall, towering over him. It gave him a better view of some her better features, such as a lovely pair of hips and an excellent set of...eyes. The darker skin probably placed her towards the South, if he had to guess, and the lavender hair, ears, and tail confirmed her status as a Thalari. Clearly a little wealthy, considering her garb was made from silk, and her jewelry was finely crafted. One of her eyes was obscured with a patch of crimson and black, perhaps some strange foreign style.

The second beastfolk was even bigger than the last. Good Pantheon above, was he a big one! The lion towered at least two feet above him, with his mane gently swaying in the breeze. A magnificent creature, with gleaming fangs and bulging sinews and muscle. Festus was sure glad that this creature was not an adversary. One of his eyes was scarred, although the creature seemed to be able to still see from it. Strange that both Thalari had some sort of eye marking - perhaps a sort of cultural thing. Or just a strange coincidence. Benthoral was a god of fortune and coincidences, and Festus liked to try to read into whatever strange patterns arose.

The barbarian was a human as far as Festus could tell, standing at the height of the woman. Yet another chap taller than himself. Presumably, all of these three were the muscle employed by the Tasharen or Athelan contingents. The man was wearing a peculiar armor, with a horned helm and an exposed midriff. Most likely Tasharen origin, perhaps? Perhaps it was designed by a Hurelan, judging by the quality of the work. Certainly not Athelan in design, and the Dascians tended to lean towards more practical armor designs. The man's face was hidden, though he struck Festus as hired muscle. Perhaps a Knight of Shotarr.

The dwarf, thankfully, did NOT tower over Festus. His fine silken robes were a familiar shade of purple, and Festus's already wide grin grew wider still at the sight. The shorter fellow had a strange crossbow strapped to his back, and he struck just as recognizable a figure as the other three despite the lack of stature. Bright eyes, bushy eyebrows, and sharp features gave him a friendly look, and he carried himself with the typical casualness one could expect from another Brother of the Vine. Festus could just tell that he was - it was an instinctual feeling, and after meeting enough of them, he knew it to be true.

"I knew I felt a good omen around here!" Festus continued, extending a warm handshake to Dulen. "It's lovely to meet you, brother. I'm Father Merlot, though you can just call me Festus. Who may you be, and what brings another Merry Man all the way out here?"
Last edited by Lazarian on Wed May 27, 2020 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Zarkenis Ultima
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Wed May 27, 2020 1:24 am

Neferis Lahari

Tomia wrote:---
The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune wrote:---
The Republic of Atria wrote:---
Lazarian wrote:---


Hearing Dulen's comment towards the large lion man, Neferis inadvertently let out another snicker, which quickly grew to a hearty laugh upon hearing also the short man's remarks regarding the stuck-up Athelaians and the bookish Consortium magicians. Her hands, which were previously resting on her hips in a confident pose, quickly went to her stomach as she tried to stifle her laughter and calm herself down.

The dwarf continued to speak, this time offering his thoughts on her search for purpose and introducing himself as Dulen, one of the Merry Men of the Vine. The grey wolf grinned at this, the Merry Men were perhaps her favorite among the eleven holy orders that served the supposed Gods of the Pantheon. Many of the others had a distinct holier-than-thou attitude, or were too drab an serious, or just plain boring, but the Merry Men of the Vine were folks who knew how to have fun, and even if their ideas about worshiping their God were as bizarre as the rest of the Pantheon's holy orders, the gifts of wine they bore and their jolly demeanor was enough to endear them to the wandering Shi'el.

Once more the Ga'el spoke before her, offering words of encouragement and remarking on the enlightening nature of the humans and dwarves that surrounded them. In response the she-wolf simply struck a confident grin. "I appreciate your words, son of Ga, though I am not one easily disheartened."

Neferis then looked back at Dulen. Normally calling one of her tribe and status such a silly nickname would be an offense demanding retribution but the little man was extremely amusing and seemed to have a certain wisdom to him, not to mention that he was a Merry Man of the Vine of all things. Thus, he would live. What's more, she would ensure that he did. For the time being, however, she simply shrugged. "Certainly drinking and singing keeps you away from the falling arrows, but what if you relish a good scrap, my friend? If what one enjoys is battle, then one will surely end up near a battlefield while partaking in one's own revelry." She argued, only to let out a chuckle afterwards.

"But I was never one to enjoy meaningless violence like that." She admitted afterwards. "No, I'm simply here searching for a cause that can bring honor to my family and my name. Escorting a pack of snotty magicians is hardly such but... I figured this would be a good place to start."

Turning to Lud as the man answered her question, she listened to him explain his reasoning, finding it not too different than that of many other men like him, focused almost solely on coin and the supposed benefits it brought. She supposed that, at least, there was something commendable in the fact that this one was upfront and honest about it. He was not trying to deceive anyone. What came afterwards was far more interesting, however, with the man asking to hear about her tallest deed and promptly sharing his own, which struck her as more of an amusing tale than a heroic feat. Nonetheless, it worked, getting yet another laugh out of the she-wolf. These people were quite amusing indeed.

"My mightiest deed, you ask? I'm certain that would have been many, many years ago, when I dealt the killing blow to a great sandworm of the Gules during my Great Hunt, when I was only twelve years old. The entire palace ate sandworm that night." She paused dramatically. "Sandworm tastes awful, though." She laughed. "No, if you've heard of me it surely is from more recent deeds. Perhaps you heard of when I incinerated a host of raiders headed towards a town called Harwood. Or of one of the many... what are they even called? Barons? Counts? Something like that, I've escorted a few. You would be surprised how much these Dascians are at each other's throats, I find it baffling." She remarked. "But, that is why I'm here, one of these nobles recommended me for the job."

As she finished with her story, Neferis noticed a fifth person approaching their small, yet steadily growing group. Like before, she caught his scent well before he arrived, though he seemed like a fairly harmless person - a man with purple robes, a lute and a smile on his face. He soon revealed himself as another man of Benthoral, which earned a chuckle from her. "Two Merry Men of the Vine, eh? I suppose coincidences are plentiful on this expedition." The she-wolf remarked. "Father Merlot you say? Are you with the Dascians as well?"
Last edited by Zarkenis Ultima on Wed May 27, 2020 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Auropa
Diplomat
 
Posts: 534
Founded: Jan 07, 2014
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Auropa » Wed May 27, 2020 5:03 am

Segral wrote:Krook Tolasthes
Zjaum wrote:Werakoya Eyeketrau

Ylva Pathmaykr
Gwendolyn Sirrade


As the mixed company of races, nations and guilds marched through the woods towards the temple, two of its number walked side by side as part of the rear force but still somewhat isolated from the larger bands and groups around them. One was a large, imposing warrior of grey skin adorned with intricate blue patterns and while wearing mostly light armour, she carried a large, crude hammer of stone across her back, its simplicity making its unmistakable purpose all the more clear. By her side walked a small, almost pristine looking human of snow-white hair and piercing blue eyes. Unlike her companion, her gaze stayed transfixed on the path ahead of them and showed little care for the surrounding sights. Carrying only a thin blade at her side, she almost appeared unsuited for combat by comparison with the others but the clear sense of purpose and focus about her would remove most doubt from anyone curious or brave enough to look for too long.

“How about them? Big metal one against the lion?” Ylva asked uncaring of her companion's cold demeanour as she stretched her tired back and gestured towards the centre of the group with her head.

“The golem would win. Obviously.” Gwen stated indifferently after a brief glance towards the group.

“Obviously?!" The goliath repeated in feinged shock "Do you not see the size difference! A Thalari like that could tear the scrap heap apart with his bear claws.”

Breathing out a low, seemingly tired sigh, Gwen resisted the urge to roll her eyes and continued.
“The golem is magical in nature and quite clearly made of metal. The Ga’el, while somewhat large, is only made from flesh and bone. It’s a bad matchup, one I’d hesitate to even call a fight.”

“So when it comes to magic and steel going against muscle and grit, you’d give the win to magic?”

“Without exception. Honestly its pretty far from being a difficult choice to make.”

“Huh, interesting you’d say that.” Ylva began to say as a wide smile began to creep along her face “Especially since in our last, oh what is it now? 3? 4 maybe? I'm gonna with our last 4 matches, my muscle ended up trouncing your magic.”
Earning an ice-cold glare in response, the goliath finally burst into a fit of laughter at her friend’s clear displeasure.
“Hahaha! Alright, alright, I’m sorry! But I did warn you that mountains are my specialty. Tell you what, once this job is wrapped up and we’re back on the road, we can have a rematch. I'll even let you decide where and when.”

“… I won’t go easy on you. And if we’re not playing to your strengths for once then don't expect to grab me so easily next time.” She eventually replied before shifting her eyes forward as the soldiers around them began to slow down from a march to a stop. “I suppose this means we're here… Come on, if we're not allowed to go inside the temple then at the very least we can still wait by the entrance.”

Saying that Gwen was let down by the fact she wasn't allowed to join the first group into the temple would've been a gross understatement. But after several hours worth of ranting and reducing a few dozen practice targets to splinters, Ylva was happy to see her companion mostly calm about the situation. “Don’t you go getting all mopey on me.” she stated as she landed a playful shove against her friend’s shoulder and offered a warm smile. “Even if its not today, you’ll get your chance to shine. All that matters is that we’re here, let the rest come naturally with time. And besides, look at this assortment! Beastfolk, elves, humans, Goliaths and yet somehow no one’s even been stabbed yet! With people being this accepting you might even be able to make a friend for once!”

Giving half an eye-roll in response and the slightest upward twitch of her lips, Gwen turned towards the temple and continued forward. The initial expedition party looked to have already set off by the time she arrived and since then the remaining members of the expedition seemed to be spreading out into makeshift groups and camps. Deciding against wasting her time and energy with them, she instead moved closer to the entrance and took a clear, shaded position off to its side. If nothing else, she could at least look the part of someone taking their guard role seriously but on the off chance that something did happen to go wrong, then all the better that she start closer to the action.

Ylva meanwhile, decided to turn her attention to the many different figures dotted around the expedition. Some of those that piqued her interest had remained around the temple and were already starting to move about and mingle with one another. One individual in particular though had caught both her attention and curiosity. Goliaths are, while not non-existent, a rare sight to see away from their tribes and clans. Even rarer though, was the sight of one acting timid or anxious. It wasn’t to say that all goliaths were battle hardened, adrenaline seeking warriors but the stereotypes existed for a reason and something about seeing one try to slip through a crowd and apologise to an elf seemed beyond strange to her. After watching the other goliath woman wander around in some sort of quiet panic before finally settling down beside the party’s rather unique Crocodile creature, Ylva had enough of watching and moved towards them.

“First time away from your clan?” she asked as she approached the skittish goliath and Thalari beside her.

“Best get used to all the glares and whispering, the squishies aren’t all bad but they’re pretty fond of panicking and jumping to conclusions. They also do not like being called squishies” She added with a small chuckle as the memory of a not too distant bar brawl crossed her mind.

“I’m Ylva of the Pathmaykr clan. Now, did you say that you were from Dascus? I didn’t know there were any of our clans left in those lands, figured they all got sick of the mages and left to find some place quieter to live. Still, good to see stubborness runs in the race.” She stated with a smile before turning and letting out a low whistle as she finally sized up their crocodile companion. “Well you’re a big one. What brings a Thalari like you to a temple like this?”

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Finland SSR
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 15001
Founded: May 17, 2014
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Finland SSR » Wed May 27, 2020 7:10 am

Syn of Ashar




Resting his back onto the moist overgrown wall of the temple, standing next to the entrance, Syn watched as the marching levy of warriors devolved into a camp and a conversation site. Nobody approached Syn, however, instead conversing with all the other equally interesting strangers they've all got to work together from here on out - and the runesmith was totally fine with it. Not that he was afraid of opening up to speak to anyone, he just had plenty of things to do without needing to be bothered.

Syn's Golem crouched down and the runesmith began rummaging through its backpack, and pulled out an apple from among his supplies. He sat down on the ground, back still resting onto the wall, and ate with one hand while sketching into his notebook with the other.

They had a pretty colorful cast here, so many of them stood out from the crowd, especially compared to the drab boring crowds of soldiers he used to tag along with until now... Almost instinctively, Syn began to sketch a few of the faces he could see in the crowd. The Thalari stood out the most, the giant lion-man and not so giant wolf-lady in particular, someone with really bright red hair was somewhere within the crowd too apparently, that couldn't possibly be natural...

And, all in all:

"With how many people there are, it's almost like we're here to take over a small county instead of escort a research expedition..." Syn muttered under his breath and turned to the Golem - it had stood back up already, and stayed silent like always. "...Yeah, you're right, you can never be too sure. I mean, this ain't no Ashar, but it's still a border region - there could be a giant camp of bandits inside that temple for all we know..."

...

"Wanna go in to search for one?"

Once again, the Golem said nothing, which, to Syn, was enough approval. "Follow." He didn't catch anyone following him or even looking in his direction, so the runesmith rose from his seat and began walking by the ancient walls of the temple. Less than a minute later, he and the nine foot tall contraption were already deep within the foliage of the forest. From up close, the temple was awe inducing - whoever was behind its construction must have put their heart and soul into its design. So whatever mysteries it holds must be truly peculiar.

And it fueled Syn's curiosity even further.

The walls were massive, but they had not withstood the test of time well - at places, they had decayed, some of the slabs and stones disassembled or broken, which was enough to take advantage of.

"Disassemble this wall to make an opening."

The Golem followed, pushing its heavy armored hands through the cracks and pushing stone apart, widening the gap in the wall, and revealing the pitch darkness of the corridor behind it.
Last edited by Finland SSR on Wed May 27, 2020 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Zarkenis Ultima
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Posts: 42521
Founded: Feb 22, 2011
Democratic Socialists

Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Wed May 27, 2020 12:21 pm

Saelaam of Trelia

Segral wrote:---
Tomia wrote:---
Ceystile wrote:---


It wasn't long after he had spoken that someone else, another Thalari by the looks of it - albeit clearly not one from Hercynia, but from the distant coasts of Antora where the seafaring beastfolk dwelt. Saelaam knew next to nothing about them, but simply from hearing this woman speak, he learned more than enough about her. Another one of those high and mighty, arrogant warriors who believed that brawn would solve every problem and couldn't think further ahead than their next fight. He had seen the type many times before, and while they gave him and his people no shortage of injuries to treat, he cared nothing for people like that. Ignoring the remark, he turned away with a scowl on his face, and listened instead to Sir Quentin's reply.

"Whoever disagrees is not very-" The young crow began to say, only to be promptly interrupted by one of the many magicians present, one Lady Sabrina of Dascus who seemed just as short-sighted as the woman from before. While a discussion broke out and was promptly quelled by the Knight Commander, who urged the expedition onwards, Saelaam sighed quietly and rubbed his temples before trailing behind.

Oadot, I implore you, deliver us from the stupidity of these people...

Crossing the golden doors, the priest of Oadot looked around and found himself unnerved by the large enclosure of pitch black stone, which seemed alien to him, as though it belonged to a different time. The white carvings on the far wall were just as perplexing, but most eye-catching of all was the hammer located on an altar in the center of the room, covered in the same carvings as the distant wall and pulsing with an unknown energy. As soon as the young crow set his eyes upon it, a sense of foreboding invaded his body, as if something terrible was about to happen, as if something dark was looming. And there didn't seem to be an obvious way to stop it... but that wouldn't stop him from trying.

Before anyone said anything else, Saelaam extended his hard towards the hammer. Rather than reaching for it, however, he simply pointed his palm towards it.

"Ergis."

A translucent white barrier suddenly manifested around the hammer, encompassing it fully. Saelaam realized, perhaps too late, that this action immediately caught the attention of everyone present, the Dascians, Athelaians, Tasharen and even the Knights of Shotarr themselves now eyeing him suspiciously. It wasn't an ideal situation, and yet, perhaps he could use it to address them without interruptions.

"There is something dark here that should be left undisturbed." He asserted. The Grand Enchanter raised an eyebrow at him, and he could hear Lady Sabrina chuckling and raising her hand, as if about to speak and belittle his worries. He wouldn't let her. "Do the images on the previous room mean nothing to you people?!" He raised his voice in anger, more than necessary as he soon realized, but now there was nothing to do about it. He carried on. "I've never been one to blindly believe in legends, but you yourselves have admitted that this is older than any of us could imagine, and the visions the orb projected on the walls make it extremely clear that nothing good happened here."

He paused for a moment, both to calm himself down and to catch a little breath. "I am a Chosen of Oadot. I can't just stand by idly and watch as someone unleashes something that could harm more people than I can possibly heal." He stated. "We should leave at once."
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Theyra
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Founded: Aug 29, 2015
Democratic Socialists

Postby Theyra » Wed May 27, 2020 6:24 pm

Ivaran Miaris

How long is this expedition going to take? Ivaran thought to himself as he waited outside of the ruined temple. He was standing with the rest of the Athelaian contingent. Specifically with the Guardian group and he could see the stares his fellow Guardians were giving the mages that were in view. A distrustful stare that the mages that noticed gave an equally negative look in return. Perhaps the one time that he had witnessed Guardians and mages having to work together on something. It was undesirable at most and Ivaran wished this expedition would finish up soon. Best he will be sent back to his duties back in Athela. But, until then he will do his best to keep the peace and tolerate these mages.

Ivaran gave long look at the ruins of the temple and his armor shined in the sunlight. He could not help but be curious about the temple, who built it, why, and what secrets it has. Even thought about joining the team going inside. But, if a fight were to occur inside. The interior of the temple might be too small to use his glaive. So he opted to stay outside and wait patiently for any kind of discovery can be made. However, any artifact here might be magical in nature. Which can only be trouble and it would be better if Athela takes it and either seal it away or destroy it. Though what will happen once the expedition finds whatever is in the temple how negotiations will go down. No doubt that the Dascans and Tasharans will want their hands on it. Ivaran shrugged at the thought, politics was not his specialty. Better to let others handled that.

Ivaran stopped looking at the temple and looked around the camp. The things that stood out was the presence of Thalari and goliaths. Mercenaries no doubt and he wondered who else has been brought along on this expedition. Then he spotted a dwarf and a human talking to a wolf-like Antoran. "Hmmm", a dwarf that is an uncommon sight. Guess this expedition attracted several different types of people, he thought. As he scanned the rest of the camp. Then he heard a voice coming from behind him, "Any idea on how long these researchers are going to take?

Ivaran turned around to see a fellow Guardian with an annoyed look on his face. "Because I do not want to have to be here anymore then I have too".

A Guardian next to his left replied, "Hagen I know the feeling but, just wait. Once they find whatever is in this bloody temple then we get to go home".

"Bah, and how long is that going to be? Hagen looked over his shoulder at the nearby human mages. "We should not have to work with these.... deviants".

"Listen to your friend Hagen", Ivaran said to Hagen in a calm tone. "We are not here to cause trouble, just be patient and we will be out of here in no time".

"If you say so", Hagen said unsure of what Ivaran's advice.

Ivaran turned back around to the temple and gave another look at it. Hagen's sentiments are likely what the rest feel, there has been an air of uneasiness with the Athelaians. Just be patient Ivaran remind himself, they will be out of here in no time and they can get back to Athela. He just needs to wait.

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Zjaum
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Corporate Bordello

Postby Zjaum » Wed May 27, 2020 6:47 pm

Segral wrote:Krook Tolasthes


Her hair was a shambles. She had those dark ink streaks all across herself. She was so tall. She was invasive, she was rude, and she smelled weird. Yes, these were the clear signs of a wild Goliath. Judging from her height, she might have been a tribal leader. Strength and size, that's all what Goliaths cared about, right?

But, despite the strong disgust welling up inside Werakoya, more powerful feelings yet rose to dominance. The runner-up was fear. This barbarian had been listening in on her. Worse, this behemoth was strong, and sturdy, and had a big, fat, oddly-intricate hammer, and could probably kill her with a well-placed stare. Werakoya had small visions flash through her head of even worse things than death that Ylva might do to her, most notably converse.

Primarily, though, the rogue was curious. The number of Goliaths she encountered in her adolescence couldn't fill both hands. Not that she ever wanted to engage with that barbaric culture, but... Ylva was her people. And Ylva was very apparently eager for her conversation. And Werakoya had as many questions for her as she did for Diana.

These feelings needed to culminate into a brief pip of a response. Werakoya took a deep breath, coughed a little from the smell, and thus started off pretty weak. "No, I... uh... I'm part of a clan of squishies... I mean..." Werakoya cleared her throat.

Perhaps she could tolerate this monster's presence for a little bit longer. The Goliathess being the monster in this scenario, not the actual crocodile man. From a distance. Werakoya adjusted her tuchus a cubit away from Ylva, while turning herself slightly to her newfound Goliath to give the ironic impression that Werakoya was being polite. Her seat was considerably wetter than before, but that was a small price to pay for... something.

"Let me start over. My name is... but you know that. Let me start over. My tribe abandoned me a long time ago, when I was a child. I guess Dascus wasn't for them, like you said. Or I was... Anyway, I lived among the..." There wasn't anyone below six and a half feet in the circle, nor for several yards away, so... "I lived among the squishies for most of my life. But, uh... I guess we can be a clan, now!" Hopefully that would appease the blue barbarian. Who knows? Perhaps, given enough time, the three of them would become acquaintances.
Last edited by Zjaum on Thu May 28, 2020 3:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I use my NationStates stats, because a population of billions/trillions and an economy of hundreds of trillions is totally viable, trust me.
But seriously, aside from the population and GDP, just assume that my NS stats are roughly accurate.

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Takaka Tar' Turayi,
The stars will be ours someday.

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Galnius
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Founded: May 15, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Galnius » Wed May 27, 2020 10:34 pm

Tenna
A silent elf rode alongside the party in plain, brown riding clothes. The leather and hide used to make it was higher end, and the horse was speckled in a salt and pepper fashion. While she would have preferred to walk and to have a bit of armor, the get-up was sadly necessary for her masquerade.

To the others in the procession, she was there as a servant from a small city's merchant guild, hired to log what may leave and to price what she could. In order to further cement that, she carried a half full log book of her writings and carried a document signed by one such merchant who owned the Street Crawlers more than a few dues.

The elf woman was named Tenna, though was spoken in darker circles as Daggermark. She led the Street Crawler branch in Tashar's capital, and went on this expedition to see what she could snag to sell to the highest bidder. There was only one issue...the company.

Three of them were part of the Merry Men, and all in all not a threat to her endeavor. While they could be powerful enemies or great allies, they had a tendency to drink away their perceptions and believe in the good in people before all else. This trio especially seemed to symbolize them. One was a fat dwarf, found most of the time telling wild tales. Joining him commonly was a human girl who never seemed sober, and never sang on key, much to Tenna's chagrin. The third seemed...quintessentially bardic. He was always strumming away and making jokes. In other words, harmless.

However, that is where the easy people ended. The elven nation had sent a damn small squadron of soldiers with them, including an archer that seemed a bit too wary. In Tashar's ranks were a man with a golem, multiple beast folk, and what Tenna could only assume to be soldiers. Even the Beastfolk tribes themselves and Dascus had sent people in that looked as easy to slip by as a cornered wolf.

When they arrived to the temple, nothing was made simpler. Certain people had been selected to go in, and Tenna knew she didn't have the credentials to make a case for herself. However, an opportunity soon introduced itself with a large bang.

What was that? Tenna looked towards the area where the sound had come from and noticed the man with the golem trying to beat his way in. It seemed that this was the best opportunity she would get, as with that everyone had been distracted by either themselves, or each other. With that, Tenna slipped in, staying back just far enough to make out the party ahead, and a hammer....
I've read your Sig! I've read your soul

Before you complain, remember, Kangaroos can't hop backwards. Really makes your problems seem small don't it.

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Tomia
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Founded: Apr 13, 2013
New York Times Democracy

Postby Tomia » Wed May 27, 2020 10:51 pm

Dulen
"Prax the Pridelord, that has a good ring to it." Dulen commented to the big fella, resisting the temptation to take out his notebook to write that down. Then they were approached by a new person, in familiar purple robes who approached Dulen in particular. "You have a good eye friend, Dulen Varcan at your service." When he asked what he was doing there Dulen offered a coy smile. "Well, let's say inspiration. I couldn't care less who comes out on top here, but the result is surely going to be interesting. And what about you Festus? What brings you here, like you I wasn't expecting a fellow Merry Man to be here."

He then turned to Neferis. "You clearly haven't been to the right taverns Wolfie. A bar fight can be just as exhilarating as a battlefield, and less likely to end in death by fireball." He then chuckled as she bragged about her accomplishments. "No wonder these nobles wanted to hire you so bad. You're going to have to tell me more about that fight with the sandworm later, that sounds like a book worthy story if I've ever heard one."

Dulen started to notice out of the corner of his eye that Athelaian soldiers were moving forward towards the the temple. Their golden armor shined from the sun's reflection as almost two dozen soldiers made their way to the temple's entrance. Rather than head inside they instead turned their backs to the entrance and blocked anyone else from entering. Their weapons were not yet drawn, but their intentions were clear.

"Well shit" Dulen said as he saw the scene unfold. He turned to Neffy, "Looks like you might just find the scrap you were looking for."

Brialya
Before she was able to question the Goliath who was ran off, her troop was being given the order to move out towards the temple. What's going on? She wondered, grabbing her bow as she followed them. On her way however she noticed a man and a very large creature moving through the forest. Now there were two mysterious things going on. Brialya had to make a choice, ignore the strange man or slip away from the Athelaians.

Screw it, I'm not one of them anyway.

Brialya slowed her pace slightly to put distance between her and the solider in front of her until they were close enough to the forest where she was able to slip off seemingly undetected. She then made her way through the forest along the walls of the temple looking for the large golem. She heard it before she saw it as a boom shook the ground. She ran towards the source and found the man and his creature.

"Are you mad? Why is your beast here punching holes into an ancient temple?" She called out to Syn. Her weapons were sheathed but she was clearly on edge.

The Temple
"You are quite right healer, we are all leaving, but it shall be us who leaves with the hammer." The voice came from behind them as the Athelaian delegation pushed their way deeper into the room and put themselves between the hammer and the others. There were eight of them in total, four warriors and four priests. However this was the first time Quentin that Quentin really took a good look at the elves. The leader seemed in his mid-40s and like the other warriors brandished a sword and shield. They were Guardians clearly, not just regular infantrymen but elite soldiers. The priests did not seem like usual priests either. Their robes were heavier and seemed excessively large. That was when he made a dark realization.

Those are no priests.

Their robes were armored, and they were likely purifiers, armed with knives or whatever other small weapons they could conceal. The Athelaians clearly had this planned.

"What is the meaning of this?" Quentin demanded, though he already knew the answer.

"It's simple, we are leaving with the hammer." The Athelaian leader stated. Just then the walls began to shake and a crash could heard nearby.

"What in gods name was that?" Sabrina exclaimed. Soldiers all throughout the cavern were drawing their weapons now, though no one yet made a move.

Quentin turned to Sael, the outspoken healer next to him as well as Essie the young Dascian who had given her thoughts about the temple's origins. "You two should leave now, this is going to get ugly." He whispered to them.

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Finland SSR
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Founded: May 17, 2014
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Finland SSR » Thu May 28, 2020 2:21 am

Tomia wrote:Brialya


Syn of Ashar




Syn had hoped to stay out of everyone else's sights while infiltrating the palace, but that hope turned out to be futile. Tagging along with a nine foot golem certainly doesn't help with slipping away undetected, no matter how few people pay attention to you... The runesmith turned around as soon as he heard the voice of a woman yell straight at him, and saw that it came from an Elvish woman with white hair and light blue skin, a combo so unnatural that it immediately got Syn to do a double take.

And Athelaian uniform too, huh? She's going to lecture me about how I'm desecrating something holy to her religion, isn't she?..

"I am disassembling this wall in order to create an entrance. I figure that part should have been obvious." Syn replied, remaining calm even if he did note the elf's hostility. The Golem continued working unabated, pulling apart stone and rubble until finally, it suddenly stopped - the gap in the wall was now large enough to fit a person. Maybe not the lion-man from back in the camp, but Syn wouldn't even need to crouch.

"I've got the sneaking suspicion that I really want to know what's inside this temple, and when knowledge is on the line, I've got a duty to learn it," the runesmith continued, already turning towards the entrance. "I'm sure you understand - your religion is all about learning more about the Light, isn't it? Well, so is mine... a different kind of light, but still."
I have a severe case of addiction to writing. At least 3k words every day is my fix.

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Segral
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Founded: Sep 06, 2017
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Segral » Thu May 28, 2020 3:00 pm

Claire Dione

This Hercynian seemed to think very highly of himself, as made evident by his haughty posture and the steely glare he gave Claire as she spoke. She did not know much about these Hercynians, but simply from seeing this boy's scowl and contemptuous glare, she had learned more than enough about him. Another one of these doddering, "pure-hearted" fools who viewed her clan and other warriors with mocking scorn, ones who claimed to use their heads but thought with their fragile little hearts instead, throwing tantrums when things didn't align with their idealistic dreams. She could tell this boy was a crowman, which surprised her given the rumors of coldness and cunning-ness that had drifted along the ocean currents. Still, she cared just as little for weak-hearted cowards as she did for manipulative scum, and the boy was not worth her time or her thought.

The magicians present seemed to content to focus on other things, such as petty rivalries between nations. It was expected, even if it was somewhat disappointing to watch proud, educated mages squabble like children. She could not help but side with the Tasharans in this debate. It was fine and good to be a lofty Dascian, delicately picking your nose while you warbled and droned over your own magical superiority, but when dealing with unexplained, unexplored deep magicks such as this...caution and martial study were key, not wild forays into the great unknown. They had the luxury of scoffing and smirking until their latest magical plunder blew their own fingers off.

The Knight Commander soon quelled the discussion entirely, acknowledging Claire's words and leading the group forward. As she moved, she couldn't help but smile slightly. They now knew of her, and with the Commander's respect, they too would treat her as an equal. Perhaps the Knights of Shotarr possessed a unique ability to knock sense into their men. It was only a fleeting thought though, as the Knight Commander lead the procession forward through a set of double doors, into another room straight ahead. It took some time for the crowd to thin out enough to give Claire an unobstructed view, but once that view came, she would have preferred to be blind. The room was an even wider chamber, deep and tall. The side walls were of a normal, somewhat aged gray, but the back wall was enough to make her whisper prayers to the spirit of Qoit above. The stone was night black, like the sunless wastes of the deep Antoran sea, where the Lanternfish and Anglerfish and Eel glided hopelessly. Much like how the Anglerfish's light shone in the black water, white carvings shone starkly on the pitch-black stone wall, written in a tongue that Claire did not know, but somehow, instinctively feared. Not even the Grand Enchanter knew of it.

Suddenly, an incantation resonated behind her, uttering a single word. "Ergis". Before her eyes, a milky white shell formed at the center of the room, protecting a...hammer? She hadn't even noticed it was there, it seemed so inconspicuous. It was large, but the goliaths outside held even larger. Either way, the sudden intrusion was unwelcome, and as she turned around to find the source of the incantation, she laid eyes upon an all-too familiar face; the crow boy. Ranting and raving about "something dark", and how "nothing good happened here", and how he cannot just "stand by idly". Claire was not a religious woman, but in this moment, she prayed that Oadot was listening, and that he would throw his chosen crow some brains from the heavens, or a stone if it would hit the mark.

She opened her mouth to say that of course nothing good happened here, everybody knew that, but whatever happened a thousand years in the past was likely not in the same place, and even if it was, it was their duty to ensure that it remained there, but she would not get to say any of it. Eight elves of the Athelaian delegation pushed their way into the room, one of them roughly ramming Claire back with his armored shoulder. It was a priest, one with thick, heavy robes, soft and downy like light. So why did his shoulder strike so hard?

He is armored.

These were not priests of Light and researchers, they were warriors. Elites. And in their leader's words, they were here for the hammer. "Traitors!" she thought to herself, her hands gripping her trident with a fury so deep that it turned her hands white. These bastards knew the code, they gave their word, and yet they betrayed it, for what? She had sympathy for Athelaians, they too were victims of mockery at the hands of arrogant Dascian mages, but she had no love for traitors.

Just then, the walls began to shake and rattle, the sound of crashing ringing throughout the chamber. Her fellow Tasharan hires were holding their weapons aloft, and Claire moved swiftly to copy them, bearing down into a combat stance with her trident aimed directly at the Athelaian leader, slowly inching forward with her fangs bared.

"What is the meaning of this, you dogs?!" Claire barked, the expression on her face bearing nothing but sheer rage. "Is that crashing the sound of your troops smashing through the temple walls to ambush from the flank? Answer me, or the white text of the walls will forever be hidden, for it will be stained red with your filthy blood!"




Krook Tolasthes

Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a woman plop down beside him in the grass, wincing as she did so. It was a big, tall woman, with short, dark hair. She was very tall indeed, when she sat down, she came right up to Krook's shoulder. Regular women only came up to his chest! Well, regular human women...which meant that this woman wasn't human. She wasn't an elf, either. She was...she was...

Oh! She was a Goliath! That explained it.

Her name was...Werekoya Eyekatrau, and she was from Dascus. Krook had never seen a Goliath from the cities before, all of the goliaths he had seen lived in Antora, in the thick forests and bracken that grew near the Swamp. Some of them were quite nice, very intelligent, and sophisticated too. But some were savages, who plundered the nearby ranches and destroyed huge swathes of the Forest in their battles. The Horde was the worst, because they had mages, and some of them could cast fire in their spells. Their fires took days for the Foresters to put out. But this Goliath was from Dascus, so perhaps she wasn't a savage or a horde member. Maybe she was nice, intelligent, and sophisticated too.

Krook opened his maw to greet her back, but before he could, a second woman plopped down beside him, even taller than Werekoya. She began talking to the other woman, which was fine, because Krook needed to swallow the deer in his mouth so that he didn't talk with his mouth full. As well, it gave him to study the new woman's face. She was also a goliath, and looked more like the ones that Krook had met in the woods, with big, tangly hair and all sorts of ink dashes in her face. She had a huge hammer strapped to her back, longer than Krook's entire arm. At first, Krook thought that there was a possibility that she might be a savage, but then she spoke, and she sounded intelligent and sophisticated. She was telling the other woman that she should get used to "squishies" giving her glares and whispers, and that her name was Ylva, of the Pathmaykr clan.

Ylva then noticed Krook sitting there, and whistled, looking him up and down. If crocodiles could blush, he would be doing so right now, but all he could do was pull his lips back into a cheery, berry-stained grin. "Hullo! I'm Krook Tolasthes, it's nice to meet you Ylva, and you Werekoya!" he started, his voice a deep and rough, but still friendly rumble. "I'm a Forester from the Great Swamp, but I was hired by Tashar to help guard the processions. They needed warriors with archery skills." he said with a sagely nod. "Would you two like some deer, it was smoked just last night, so it's still warm. And er...what are 'squishies'?" he asked inquisitively, tilting his head to one side as he offered the bag of meat forwards the two women. Maybe Werakoya was right, the three of them could be a clan, there was plenty of time for them to get to know one another. The thought was so pleasant, it made Krook completely oblivious to the Athelians forming a human wall around the temple entrance, their backs facing the crowd.
yea bro idk

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