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Somewhere in the Dark [IC]

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Zarkenis Ultima
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Somewhere in the Dark [IC]

Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:32 pm

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The story begins on the THIRD BLANK of the NINETEENTH HARVEST of the NINTH CENTURY of the COMMON ERA.
Time as shown is established by the ARATOSHI CALENDAR, which begins the COMMON ERA with the creation of the GREAT DECAD.
The COLDLIGHT ARCHIPELAGO has not known widespread war in many centuries, but danger still lies SOMEWHERE IN THE DARK.




CURRENT STORY:
The Blade of Amaranth
TIME: Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 5 CE

ADVENTURERS:
The Tragic Prince, The Lady of Mercy, The Airborne Adventurer, The Wandering Bard, The Howler In The Night, The Deep Red Water, The Stoneshaper, The Custodian, The High Flyer and The Lost Heir



CURRENT STORY:
The Great Monster Hunt
TIME: Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 2 CE

ADVENTURERS:
The Children of the Hunt, The Mercenary, The Half-Blind Seer, The Adjudicator, The Whispering Warrior, The Storm Child, The Prince of Swords, The Spirit of Vengeance, The Mad Scholar, The Pied Piper of Harush and The Raconteur of the Wildlands



CURRENT STORY:
The Fall Guy
TIME: Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 1 CE

ADVENTURERS:
The Maverick Guard, The Last Watcher, The Many-Armed, The Forlorn Sentinel, The Man from Bridgeby, The Anointed Son, The Master of Flames, The Nomad and The Vagrant King


Last edited by Zarkenis Ultima on Tue May 10, 2022 9:35 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Zarkenis Ultima
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Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:33 pm

Aleish of Velshamir - The Blade of Amaranth


A cobalt eagle flew across the skies of the Far Land. Below it was the sea of clouds that draped the whole of the isles in dark gray. Above, the infinite darkness of the upper regions of the universe, separated from Anur by the very air that its denizens breathed. Some, adherents of firelight and the doctrines that elevated its existence, believed that there was a bright Empyrean blazing beyond the endless gloom and shade, somewhere in the dark. Most others held more esoteric beliefs about that which lay above the face of Anur: poisonous air, the remnants of dead gods, or other worlds just like their own. Be that as it may, the cobalt eagle did not care. As the denizens of the mortal world below looked up in wondering and in wonder, it flew far above all of them, for it was the master of the sky, free and completely alone at the top of the world. Only the wind was its guide and companion. Only the wind.

Suddenly, the majestic bird plunged, dark feathered wings pulling inward to allow it to begin falling from the sky. As it passed through the clouds, the Promised Isles below came into view, abode of warriors and scholars, of paupers and priests, of creatures that dwelt on land, sea and even the underworld. To its right, to the north of the archipelago, it could see the perpetual thunder that befell the isle of Cyrna, striking near the sprawling, towering building that was the Consortium, with its halls and towers and bridges, but never striking the domed top of the building itself. On the other side, to the south, it spotted the old lighthouse by the jagged cliffs of the Dawning Isle, the spent firelight core at its summit still occasionally sputtering, the dim light that it cast towards the nearby sea suddenly flaring up for a moment or two before dying down again, leaving the waters lost in the darkness. And off in the distance, straight ahead of it, the cobalt eagle could see the tips of the spired strongholds that belonged to the warlords of Tregal, in the west.

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As it continued to dive deeper towards the ground, it veered to the left, drawing closer to the center of Valaran as the Dawning Isle rapidly seemed to grow in size from its perspective. Swiftly, the tall snow-capped peaks of the Arathen Ridge rose up to dominate the horizon, and comfortably nestled in the midst of the mountain range was the Seat of the Decad, the Jewel of Valaran. Home to over fifty thousand souls, with many more coming in every ley from the town of Azroot in the northern woods and the nearby port of Erisen in the Erisian Bay, the High City of Aratosh was a sight to behold. More refined than the rough strongholds of Tregal or the sprawling cities of Harush, hewn from stone and steel, yet not quite as esoteric as the hidden retreats of the Sylven in Veraden or the strange halls of the Consortium in Cyrna, Aratosh was a welcoming sight for men and women of all races, with its distinctive brass-capped buildings, ample plazas and numerous gardens located within the mountain's embrace.

From the foothills of the Arathen Ridge, a winding path led into the heart of the mountains, where one would at last encounter the great stairs that led up to the gates of the High City itself, where all residents and visitors enjoyed the protection of the Great Decad and the High Queen. To the sides of the stairs, small paths led up to a complex mechanism of pulleys, cables and counterweights created by Dvar engineers to send goods and animals up into the city directly, bypassing the stairs and sparing merchants the herculean task of carrying their wares up to the gates in exchange for a small fee. Just past the gates of the city lay Valdis Square, a large, ornate flat expanse containing several gardens and a central fountain, an area named after the Madir matriarch herself in which locals and foreigners often gathered to mingle, share news and gossip, make friends and settle business matters. Just off to the side, up through a long, sloping hallway, one would find the market, where goods of all sorts could be found.

The dreary-feathered bird cared not for the social or economic affairs of mortals and land-dwellers, however, and as it approached the city, it unfurled its wings and once more began to soar higher and higher, flying over the carts and tents of the merchants, over the banners and ramparts of the soldiers, over the brass tops of the finely carved buildings that laid against the stone foundation of the surrounding mountains and the canopies of the groves that were scattered throughout the city to provide respite from the urban landscape and the monotonous stone peaks beyond. The cobalt eagle flew even higher than the Arafel Palace, where Valdis the Thrice-Blessed, fair and just Madir ruler of the High City, dwelt and watched over her city and the rest of the Promised Isles dutifully, and into the snow-capped peaks beyond, where its long flight would at last lead it back to the nest that it knew as home.

But as the dark majestic bird's journey came to an end, another journey was about to begin. A journey that would perhaps become the beginning of something much grander. Or, perhaps, a journey that would result only in woe, leading travelers astray and leaving them lost somewhere in the dark.

For Aleish, the wandering Vantyr that hailed from the town of Velshamir, it was hard to tell. Not in the least because he had only just come to, after spending most of the previous tempering attempting to secure safe lodgings within the city, eventually coming to rest inside a room on the second floor of the Silver Swan, overlooking Valdis Square. Transient, dreamless slumber followed, still like death itself. But it had now come to an end, and the Vantyr stirred as light began to leak in through the edges on the window, creating a luminous frame around it. This light came from the outside, as the bulbs and flowers of the plants that dotted the gardens of Valdis Square began to open up and glow a soft azure, bathing the area in coldlight, signifying the beginning of the waking - the beginning of a new ley. Before long, the rest of the city would follow suit, breathing life anew into the dark metropolis.

Standing up, Aleish quickly moved up next to the window, placing his back flat against the wall and moving the curtain ever so slightly to take a discreet look at the outside. Barely any movement could be seen thus far in Valdis Square, which was to be expected, though it relieved him nonetheless. It meant there was no one waiting outside, no one to jeopardize his plans, or attempt to end the journey ahead of him before it had even begun. It was perhaps foolish to expect something so bold to occur in this place - of all the locations in the city, Valdis Square was one of the most heavily guarded, as it was both a monument in honor of the Thrice-Blessed Queen and the first sight of Aratosh proper that any visitors would see. It would not do to allow unsavory things to happen there, in plain sight. Still, caution was never a bad thing. It had gotten him this far in spite of his trials and misadventures, after all.

Satisfied, the dark-haired man put on his boots before grabbing a leather belt that hung from the edge of the wooden headboard and donned it. Next to it, resting against the corner of the room, were two swords in their sheaths - one of them was reasonably long while the other was fairly short. From underneath the pillow, Aleish retrieved a broad dagger as well, along with a small pouch filled with coin. Affixing all three weapons and the pouch to his belt, the warrior took one last look at the room before moving a wooden desk from the door and making his way outside.

Passing through a hallway consisting of several other doors leading to similarly small, albeit comfortable and relatively clean rooms, Aleish thought of his mission, his mind wandering back to the preparations he had made. It had been a fortlight since he had sent out word of the Collector's latest fancy, and the hefty prize that he promised to those who would deliver it to him. Signs and parchments had made it from the High City all the way to distant cities such as Avernus and Bridgeby, to the retreats of the woodland folk in the Luminous Isle, to the deep ports of Tregal and even to the Consortium itself. Messages would appear on bulletin boards, and hearsay was carried over far and wide, that an agent of the mysterious Collector who dwelled in the High City was looking for a group of people, both skilled enough and sufficiently reckless, to embark on an arduous journey to retrieve a long lost artifact.

Fourteen leys had passed since. Aleish was brought back to the present as he made his way down the stairs and was met by the sight of the taverner, an elderly Menash male whose large silvery eyes gave off a faint sense of mirth even when he wasn't smiling. "Ah, so you're another early bird like myself! Wouldn't have pegged you for one, lad. Why I half expected you'd spent the whole slumbering outside and then come back here to crash at right about this hour." The old man joked. Unlike most other people one would come across in almost any settlement, the taverner didn't seem to regard Aleish with any overt suspicion or hostility, perfectly content to engage him in conversation and even joke around despite the grisly reputation Vantyrae had among the other peoples of the Far Land. Perhaps it was this lively disposition and lack of prejudice that ensured the Silver Swan was never lacking in customers.

"Alas, I am not the monster people think I am. I happen to prefer cattle to children." The Vantyr deadpanned, only to smile a moment afterwards. A bit of humor mixed in with the truth. The old Menash let out a hearty laugh, albeit taking care not to be so loud as to cause any of his guests an unpleasant awakening. Digging into his pouch, Aleish fished out a silver royal and flicked it at the man, who caught it with surprising dexterity for his age.

"Thank you for your patronage, lad! Feel free to come again whenever it is you return from your journey." He called out before turning back to his own business. Aleish offered him a polite nod and then continued making his way out of the establishment and into Valdis Square proper. The summons he had sent out clearly instructed to meet there on the first waking of the third blank, under the gaze of the statue of the Thrice-Blessed, and to look for the swordsman with the brand of the serpent, a clear allusion to the image inked into his right arm. The call had been made, rewards had been promised, and now the only thing left before the beginning of a difficult journey was to wait and see who would show up, motivated by the promise of a hundred gold royals, the prospect of a grand adventure, or even just the opportunity to uncover ancient mysteries that lay in wait somewhere in the dark.
Last edited by Zarkenis Ultima on Wed Apr 20, 2022 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Tomia
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Postby Tomia » Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:43 pm

The Great Monster Hunt

Just outside the open-air markets of the Woodland District of Aratosh, a great deal of commotion and yelling could be heard. It was the type of shouting you would hear at a local gladiator ring, as a very large Vilden stood in the middle of the ring. He was bare chested, with ripped leather pants covering his legs. He seemed to be glistening in some kind of oil to highlight his muscles, but none of the showmanship diminished how ferocious he looked as he stood in the makeshift wooden ring. He let out an intimidating roar as his last opponent hobbled out of the ring, the crowd jeering and cheering loudly around him.

"Someone smash that fookin' cat's face in!" Shouted one belligerent crowd member shouted. Another Vilden stepped up into the ring, a catlike smile across her face. This one was lion like as well but far more feminine and smaller than the male vilden, standing only five feet and seven inches compared to his well over six foot frame. The woman's features were slightly more resembling a Meanai or a Madren. She had a familiarly humanoid face, a thin jawline, and a narrow nose, complimented by light brown eyes which was useful in playing to a crowd. She wore a thin Meanai style blue dress that complimented her sleek form. She was smaller than the beast behind her and so was far more disarming.

"Hello, hello, ladies and gentlemen! Remember why we are here, great adventure and coin awaits anyone who can defeat this lion of a man! Now come on, who thinks they have what it takes to defeat Braddock the Bone Breaking Barbarian!"

Another roar from the crowd built up as a very large Madren man stepped forward into the ring. Braddock smirked stretching his massive arms as the Madren boldly removed his hide armor as the two warriors faced each other bare chested. Braddock would fight unarmed as were the rules but it seemed the Madren would do so as well until suddenly a great axe manifested in both his arms, earning another roar from the crowd.

"Here we go folks! Let the battle begin!" The announcer shouted. She didn't seem too worried about her fighter. She had seen this many times before. The Madren charged aggressively at Braddock, who gracefully dodged a massive blow to the right before dodging another one to the left as the Madren swung his axe down with deadly force. He repeated this twice more before his breathing started to heavy and he realized he was being toyed with. At that point Braddock laughed, a throaty and deep sound.

"My turn." The beast moved with startling speed as his right hand went for the Madren's weapon, his claws digging in to the man's hand, leading to a howl of pain as the weapon dropped to the floor. Grabbing him by the wrist, Braddock spun his foe around, sending him flying nearby and disorienting him before slamming his shoulder in the man's chest. He fell to the ground, knocked out cold as the crowd cheered.

Well that one is useless. Shetal the announcer thought to herself. They were looking for people with unique skills, not just simpler bruisers that couldn't even beat Braddock. They hadn't found much just yet but they hadn't been at it for too long. They would wait as long as it took until they found people strong enough and likely crazy enough to hop on board for what they had planned. There was a reason that her advertisement for the adventure didn't mention what they would be doing after all.

"Well another one down, who is next?!" She called out as Braddock let out a victorious roar.


The Fall Guy

Narill was waiting, easily her least favorite activity. She sat underneath an apple tree, the long branches hovering over her as her eyes were focused on the nearby road. Behind the tree sat Taruk, spread out lazily behind the tree, a few bits of apple cores scattered around him. Narill's casual body language hide the fact that she was getting a bit paranoid. She didn't like working with strangers, and she really didn't like waiting in the open for them. Still, it couldn't be helped. Strangers were the only ones who would listen to her at this point, and she couldn't risk meeting them in the city of Arboris. The longer she avoid the attention of the guards the better. She just hoped those that answered her board post in the capital were competent. There was too much riding in this for her to rely on fools or blunderers.

Her instructions had been clear, to meet her at the Erante Forest on the first day of the third blank at tempering. She wasn't exactly hiding, but she did not give specific instructions about her location. She would be easy enough to find though for someone who put in a bit of effort. She and Taruk had left pretty clear tracks, including a small trail of apple cores from the entrance sign to where they resided less than a half mile away. That was a first test in a way, she had no tolerance for people who wouldn't bother to show up at time or who had no attention to detail. The offer would hopefully be attractive enough, the party would split the bounty that was put out on the poisoner between themselves. A total of four hundred gold royals. Still, she'd prefer if she didn't only get coin thirsty mercenaries. As she waited, doubt began to creep in regarding her plan. Did she even need strangers? Years before she would have hunted down this shadowy culprit herself. But that would require embracing methods that... weren't who she was anymore. For now she would do things by the book, well at least mostly. She obviously was playing outside the rules, but she would limit the bloodshed as much as possible. She wanted to help her brother more than anything, but she needed to be careful not to lose herself in the process. Taruk seemed to sense that she was deep in thought and made a purring sound as he plopped his large head in her lap. She couldn't help but smile at that as she pet the loyal beast. He was her best and perhaps only friend, but Narill wasn't in this to make friends. She had justice on her mind, and that was all that mattered.
Last edited by Tomia on Sat Mar 05, 2022 10:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Absolon-7
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Postby Absolon-7 » Sun Mar 06, 2022 12:07 am

Tomia wrote:---

Artorius - Chapter 1: The Fall Guy

The dark forest enveloped his whole being like a kind mother's embrace for long had he departed Veraden so long ago. Below in the shade of the Erante Forest, Artorius wondered what had overtaken him take a job so quickly after returning to his homeland. He had planned to take it easy and perhaps visit the periphery of his home Garden, but only just as he had no wishes to actually go back and mingle. Instead here he was moving like a slow shadow with no irregularity or interruption to his pace. The crushing and scattering of leaves left in his footsteps where as natural as that of a warm breeze disturbing them. No Spinose would dare to leave something so sloppy as a trail in their woods. Not like these apple cores thrown every which way. Either this person valued their health a bit too much or this was some deliberate marker. He'd make the call once he found the source.

Not that it would take long as he had already spotted an Alfar woman and a fanged beast in an apple tree clearing in the distance. He didn't feel like coming up to her quite yet instead he chose to circle around her and the beast and climbed up to the base of a nearby tree to watch them. He did feel some sympathy for her as well as a distant camaraderie. While the Illuma Guard protected in the light in the surface, his Spinose brethren fought somewhere in the dark below. Both of the mammals seemed contrasting with the other. The fanged furred beast was loafing around while the Alfar woman behaved like a frightened deer in the open. Having felt like he'd observed enough and no one else in sight he jumped down below next to the apple tree landing in a crouch. As he stood up his height, staggering for even a Sylf, loomed over the woman as he stood as still as the tree Narill leaned upon.

"I supposed I passed?" asked Artorius, the metallic sheen of his armor glistening in the forest light.
Last edited by Absolon-7 on Tue Mar 22, 2022 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Galnius
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Postby Galnius » Sun Mar 06, 2022 1:33 am

Nemina, The Storm Child: The Great Monster Hunt


Tomia wrote:



Nemina watched the duel between the two warriors with intense curiousity. They seemed to handle spars here much like they did back at The Consortium. First, the Madren man made his attempted attacks. The Vilden, in response, defended. Typically, the defense would be a shield spell or similar in her spars, but it appears that evasion was the Vilden's preferred mode of protection. After exhausting not one, but three attacks (which was against the rules that Nemina had experienced in the past, not that it seemed to matter), it was the Vilden's turn. Braddock, she believed?

The Vilden was very.... physical. Brutish. Then, he was called a barbarian. This didn't stop Nemina from recognizing his talent in the ways of strength, of course. He was a force of nature, and the Madren man stood no chance. In a matter of moments, he was out of the ring, tossed aside, quite beaten. There was no fight left in him, and he couldn't even concede properly.

Of course, in this study, she did hear something of adventure. Before her father had left her, he had advised Nemina to find one. It was in adventure, he said, that one could truly test their magic, and truly excel. The Consortium had nothing left to reach her, but perhaps this vilden duo did. It started there was only one way to find out.

Nemina exited the crowd and brushed past the fallen Madren man, giving him little more than a glance. His technique was shoddy, and far beneath her. The spar would be too different in all accounts to bother figuring out where the other has failed. Instead, she simply approached the ring.

"May I have a try in the spar?" Nemina asked, her voice clear yet revealing nothing. She did not care to wait for an answer, however. It was merely a formality. Instead, she readied herself. The clasps of her travelers robe came undone, revealing an icy blue robe that shimmered in the high sun. As she took the time to fold it and neatly place it near her walking stick, she heard jeers from the crowd. A massacre, they claimed. That didn't make much sense, as there was little need for blood in this spar. Ignoring more taunts and jeers, she entered the ring. "Shall we begin?" Nemina's head tilted, waiting for the official invitation.

Both Vilden stared at her cautiously. Unlike some of the crowd, they knew appearances were hardly telling of ones ability. Braddock looked to the announcer, who shrugged, allowing it. "Well, if you're ready." Braddock took a defensive stance, studying the unknown party.

With a short curtsey, illiciting more jeers, the match began. The wind picked up in the area, wrapping itself around Nemina and taking her several inches of the ground. Braddock's eyes narrowed. A magic user. From the static in the area, her preferred specialty was abundantly clear. And dangerous. He rushed her, hoping to cut off a spell she was preparing.

He had almost closed the gap when a bolt of lightning struck. Nemina had not intended to hit him, simply trying to send him off the ring by blowing the ground beneath him. It was clear that he had no shield spell, and she did not want to be the cause of injury. As the bolt struck at his feet, stones were sent flying from a shockwave that threatened to send him off his feet. It was with difficulty that Braddock remained standing, planting his back foot hard enough to indent the already damaged ring. As the force of the blast faded, he looked at his opponents'... And charged.

Nemina did not have the time she was hoping for, only able to create a weak lightning shield before he arrived. With a mighty roar he fought through the pain and the minor jolts that tried to stop him. He continued through, and arrived at the storm child. His blow never arrived.

Instead, he stopped himself, seeing her give a small curtsey instead of reading another form of defense or suck. It bewildered Braddock, to say the least. It bewildered him more when she stepped out of the ring, and then spoke.

"You withstood my attack and broke my defense. By sparring rules, the victory is yours", Nemina said, matter-of-factly.

"That's not really-" began the female Vilden, though she was plainly cut off.

"However, I do believe I would be of use to your venture. Had I struck Braddock with an intent to harm, healing would need to be done, even if he had worked through it. Furthermore, my lightning is clearly capable of producing more force than your physical attacks. As an ally, a storm sorceror such as myself would be unexpendable. Is that not sufficient enough?"






Puck, The Many Armed:The Fall Guy

Tomia wrote:


The entrance to Erante Forest was very easy to find it one first came through Arboris. However, the forest itself was quite large. For travelers such as Puck, such a location was a maze of the unknown, where twists and turns could easily get one all discombobulated if they weren't careful. However, she had been told to meet someone here. In this forest. Somewhere. Had she missed the part in the message that said where in the forest to meet? Puck had a habit of overlooking such details, and she didn't have the message with her.

Well, in cases, like these, there was only one thing to do. "Spider." As she said this, the pack on her back seemed to come to life, with six hands emerging somewhere from within. "Ah, good, just the ones I needed, then." One of the hands patted her on the head, as four detached and zoomed into the forest. One set off to search in the nearby treeline, in case they were looking for people entering. A second started going around the perimeter. The other two went into the first, one following the most worn path while the other followed a curious trail of food.

In about 10 minutes, all but one returned, and re-attached to the arms. A pair of goggles were produced from within the pack, allowing Puck to share sight with the one that had not returned. Ah! There, one person and a large cat! If that wasn't them, then Puck was a hog's auntie! Then again, it may not be them. But at least she could ask for directions! Puck began running forward, eager to join the group that sat half a mile away, when suddenly-

WHOMP

"Owww." Puck found herself dazed after she slammed into the trunk of a large tree. She had intended to beeline for them, but forgot that the straight line may have obstacles, and while sharing sight she could not see them in front of her. "Spider?" Only two arms popped out this time, as they always came in pairs. Only one had a hand, as the other was off still watching her possible friends. That one, too, deranged, but instead of zooming away like before, it led her in the direction she had to go to find the other. It was one of the best benefits to having them work in pairs.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes of walking through the woods, Puck spotted the large cat, but instead of one person, now the were two! "Hullo there!" , she called out. Her dialect had notes of the Dvarda of northwest Harush, though after a few years away it had dulled in intensity. "I was told to meet here by a person by the name of Narill. That wouldn't happen to be one of you, would it? If so, I assume the lady with the cat? Name's Puck! I hope to be of good service, and perhaps we can even become good acquaintances! "
Last edited by Galnius on Sun Mar 06, 2022 2:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Zarkenis Ultima
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Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Sun Mar 06, 2022 3:48 am

Inti Erdonai - The Fall Guy


As the Alfar maiden and her beast continued to rest placidly against the purpureal apple tree, a faint echo of a distant sound made an act of presence amidst the rustling of the leaves and the whispers of the wind. No more than the faintest of disturbances... at first. But as the seconds passed, it became clearer and clearer, the jumbled drone turning into notes and the notes growing more distinct from each other. Soon the soft tones of a wooden flute became apparent to those who would listen, and it seemed the musician was drawing ever closer. Other sounds soon began to accompany the flute-playing - the crunching of leaves underfoot, the rustle of low glowberry bushes and other shrubbery present in the forest as someone made their way past, the occasional vocalizations of nearby animals as they reacted at something or someone that approached. Before long it seemed as though the mystery musician was only a few dozen feet away, albeit still completely obscured by the dense foliage present inside of the Erante Forest.

And then, nothing.

In an instant, it seemed as though the flute and its player had vanished from the face of Anur. What's more, it seemed they had taken any echo of the song along with them, leaving behind only a void of sound, a strangely eerie and unnatural silence. Moments passed with nothing more happening.

Then, all of a sudden, a bright glow right next to the apple tree, next to Narill and Taruk and the two others that had joined them in the meantime. While there had been nothing in that space just a moment before, there now stood a young Feren with short blond hair and a smile that could light up the slumbering itself. His hands were held up above his head, as though he were a showman that had just put on an act and was now receiving the crowd's rapturous applause. In fact, the sound of a triumphant fanfare had accompanied his display, and orbs of light seemed to shoot up from behind him into the air before silently exploding in bursts of color. He looked intently at all four of his witnesses, as if gauging their reaction. His eyes had a light of their own, albeit not menacing like a Vantyr's, or blazing like a Shay's, glowing softly with a light blue coloration as he observed his new acquaintances.

Before any had a chance to say anything, however, his stance quickly shifted. He went from standing up at his full height - above average by Feren standards, though a measly four feet and eight inches was nothing for most other races - to a deep bow, once more as if he had just performed in front of an audience. His bearing certainly led some credibility to the idea that this was a bard of sorts, as did the flute on his belt and the wooden lute case strapped to his back, though observing him for any length of time would reveal that there was more to him than that. His black and green attire was ornate, but left his arms bare, leaving his intricate ritual markings in full display. He seemed toned as well, for how little that meant to a folk like the Fereni, and a potential reason for it was the rapier hanging from his belt, next to a small crossbow designed to be used with a single hand.

Straightening up, he quickly pulled a rolled up piece of parchment out of a pouch on his belt and held it out in front of Narill, gravity doing the work for him and unfurling the document to reveal that it was a copy of the very same summons she had sent out to the High City to request assistance for her conundrum. During his stay on one of the many taverns that lined the city's plazas, he had come across a bulletin board with said document on display, and the decision to return to Veraden had come easily after that. There was, however, a significant difference between what she had written and the document in front of her. At the bottom of the parchment, written in exquisite calligraphy, was a signature that read: Inti Erdonai, adventurer extraordinaire.

Having handled introductions to the leader of their small adventuring party, Inti turned to appraise the two others in closer detail. One of them was a Sylf of the Spinose variety, a positively massive individual who looked every bit as heavily armored as the plate-covered knights he had seen in the cities of the Madir. The other was a bespectacled young Dvar woman with brightly colored hair, and interestingly, the only person in the group he didn't have to physically look up to. Noticing the flowers that adorned her hair the blond Feren smiled faintly to himself and pulled out of some unseen spot a faintly glowing azure rose, carefully inserting the stem into her braid before backing away to admire his handiwork, offering the artificer a wink as he did so.
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Sterkistan
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Founded: Jul 13, 2015
Ex-Nation

Postby Sterkistan » Sun Mar 06, 2022 8:01 am

Tomia wrote:

Galnius wrote:



The Whispering Warrior - Mardun Zuhlem
The Great Monster Hunt



Mardun had managed to find his way amongst the lively crowd surrounding the makeshift, and now slightly charred fighting ring. Rudely awakened by the roaring of cheers and laughter, he had packed his camp and come to investigate what all the noise was about. Two Vilden was what the noise was clearly about. They stood in the centre of the ring, jeering for opponents for their 'adventure'. Mardun loved adventure as much as the next frontiersman, but what really caught his ear was the talk of coin. His coffers were running a little low this season after all.

Mardun eased his way to the front of the crowd as the duels commenced, the Vilden Barbarian dispatched a burly Madren fighter without even breaking a sweat. Though the fight that followed was much more interesting a watch. Hairs on the back of Mardun's neck stood up as the woman floated off the ground, lightning striking where she willed. The fight was bright, intense and over as quickly as it began. The Vilden warrior taking another victory by the conceding of the noble Lightning Mage.

He assumed her performance had to have been satisfactory enough, and any party with that felt safer than most. While the Mage spoke to the Vilden announcer, Mardun threw his leg over the wooden fence and into the small makeshift ring. He placed his shield and pack by the edge, unbuckling his greaves and armour plate. His helmet dropped along with them, Mardun's medium skin tone, unwashed brown hair and deep, ocean blue eyes revealed to the world. His lean, muscular physique flowed beneath the loose rag shirt he wore beneath his chestplate, the collection of scars across his arms, chest, back and neck visible as the top flapped loosely in the morning breeze.

"I could go for a good scrap." Mardun spoke, turning to face his opponent.
"Our next challenger steps into the ring!" The announcer cried above the cheers and whoops of the crowd as the fighters prepared to scrap.
Mardun quickly sized up his opponent, taking his experience-worn fighting stance. The Vilden male was as tall as a horse and built like he could easily snap one in half. But his fight with the Madren made it clear he was no slouch. And right as the fight got underway the massive barbarian began quickly closing the gap.

The hairs on the back of Mardun's neck stood up as he took a quick step forward and threw out his foot, intent to kick the charging lion's foot out before it hit the ground. The contact was decent but only gave Mardun the chance to drive in one strike, a solid blow to the jaw. Unfortunately, this really only served to mildly annoy the champion of the ring, who squared Mardun in the chest with a punch that sent Mardun sliding back almost a solid two feet. He caught himself before he fell, grimacing from the pain but not allowing his stance to break. The Vilden was on him again, another wind-cracking blow that Mardun barely slid around, driving his fist into the solid chest of his opponent,

The Vilden deftly back-stepped Mardun's next two blows, ensuring he hit nothing but air. Mardun pushed the momentum, driving in another blow that was returned promptly by the Barbarian's hook to the side of Mardun's head. Mardun dropped to one knee, the world swirling, the dust from the ground stinging his eyes and his head throbbing. He cried out as he staved off surrender and drove himself back up into the Vilden who was ready to strike him back down if he looked to get back up.

Mardun had to be faster than that, he had to be stronger, the whisperers in the back of his mind drove him to square-tackle the Vilden fighter, his powerful legs gave a mighty push and the Vilden was unplanted from the ground. Admittedly, it wasn't particularly far. But for a fighter built like this Vilden, getting lifted from the ground likely didn't happen very often. Both fighters took to the ground, Mardun managing two more blows before the Vilden grabbed his arm, tearing him into the ground where the fight ended. Mardun flat on his back in the dirt, bright red blood seeped from a small gash on the side of his head. and bruises were already forming where the Barbarian had struck him.

"You're not bad... You're not bad." Mardun panted as he caught his breath.
"So... Coin and adventure?" He looked up at the announcer.
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Finland SSR
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Founded: May 17, 2014
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Finland SSR » Sun Mar 06, 2022 10:28 am

Tomia wrote:
The Fall Guy

Absolon-7 wrote:Artorius - The Fall Guy

Galnius wrote:
Puck, The Many Armed:The Fall Guy

Zarkenis Ultima wrote:
Inti Erdonai - The Fall Guy


The Fall Guy
Raggar of Tughlut


For some people, the dark foliage of the Erante Forest, the maze of trees and the shadows surrounding them were a concerning sight. Away from civilization and isolated from anyone who could help you if you come to trouble, all you could do is worry about whatever could be hiding somewhere in the dark. But you cannot fear the darkness unless there is something within it that makes those fears true. For every person staring into the darkness ever so present across the Abyssal Chain, there was someone who lived in that darkness and made it their home.

Raggar, the son of the Tughlut clan, made his trek through this darkness, advancing deeper and deeper into the forest. Like a hunter searching for any sign of his prey, he stopped after every other tree, listening in to the forest ambience and searching for any hint of where their adventurer party's designated meeting spot should be. The board post in Arboris did not specify the place, only stating that they should meet in the Erante on this day, and will be able to continue from there together. A measure of security, perhaps. The woman recruiting them, named Narill, clearly did so while suspicious of the intentions of someone in the city, and it was natural for her to avoid her possible opponents, be it the Illuma Guard or someone else, from tracking her down after reading the same board post. Raggar would have likely done the same had he ended up in her shoes.

He did not hear this "Narill" directly, but he did hear what sounded like someone splatting into the trunk of a tree, falling to the ground and yelping after doing so. That was probably not Narill herself, but chances are it could be someone else who signed up for the mission and was searching for the rally point, much like him. Sneaking through the trees and branches, Raggar quickly caught up with the person who had so carelessly tried to headbutt a tree earlier - though still staying out of sight and out of mind. It was a Dvar woman, with pink-ish hair and glasses on her nose, wandering through the forest, though clearly with a direction rather than just meandering about. Seemingly an engineer as well, if the mechanical arms springing from her backpack had anything to say about it. Following after her, Raggar reached the same clearing she did twenty minutes later - a tall apple tree, with an Alfar warrior and her sabretooth tiger pet laying underneath its vast branches and leaves. A heavily armored Sylf was standing besides them, and only after a second glance could Raggar tell that he was of the Spinose as well.

Right as Raggar stepped out of the shadows and approached the tree, another member of their party sprung pretty much out of nowhere - a blonde Feren boy, who introduced himself with great fanfare and music, yet refused to say his name, instead displaying it written on a piece of parchment. In fact, he said nothing at all, merely letting the visual do the talking.

During Inti's display and introduction, Raggar calmly walked up to the tree and knelt down in front of the fanged tiger, lying lazily on the grass.

"What a cute boy," the Shay spoke and petted him on the head and belly, with little if any hesitation. "I've sicced a few like you on poor adventurers like us back in the caverns. I'm not sure if they could say the same."

Of course, a Shay's summons were mere illusions, mirages, but Raggar never explicitly said so to anyone he met. It helped to maintain an air of mystique around his race, and make sure that no adventurers start getting too smart in their boots, thinking they've figured out how to fight the nomad clans.

"My name is Raggar, of the Tughlut tribe," he spoke as he rose back up to his feet. Compared to the two height extremes around him - the massive Sylf, and the tiny Dvar and Feren - he was decisively average. "At your service."
I have a severe case of addiction to writing. At least 3k words every day is my fix.

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The Republic of Atria
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Posts: 24390
Founded: Nov 12, 2013
Capitalist Paradise

Postby The Republic of Atria » Sun Mar 06, 2022 11:06 am

The Spirit of Vengeance Hunts a Great Monster

"Alright big guy, you heard the pretty lady we need to find a job." Sebastian had been in Aratosh for a few days, accompanied by the woman who helped get the both of them to at least come to a basic agreement. They were travel companions, but she had gone elsewhere in an attempt to find some work that paid more than simple house keeping. If he let the spirit go, it'd be content to just smash bandits to death and eat whatever animal he could find. The early days were like that, and he hated it, what influence he had over the brute was minimal.

He had a much greater influence now, but was still watching his own body through the eyes of someone or something else. "Head to the market, there's always someone who needs some extra muscle. That and we should use what little money we've got to get something to eat. I don't' want you swallowing rats whole, again."

"TASTES LIKE SQUIRMING." Came the gruff, almost a snarl and louder than it needed to be, response.

"I know, but this is my body too. And I'll be damned if I'm going to just let you eat rats for the rest of our life."

There was another annoyed grunt, but the body complied and headed towards Aratosh's Woodland District. He had the advantage of being much taller than average, so was it easier to see what there was commotion. And commotion there was around some Vilden in a ring. "Oh? Are they doing some sort of arena? Sounds perfect for us" He wandered on over, being less careful than one should when traversing through a crowded market, not that anyone gave him any more that a slightly annoyed, and then immediately looked away.

He stood outside the ring, watched and listened as the large Vilden warrior casually trounced some poor Madren and tossed him aside. "I get it. They're looking for people worth taking on an expedition, and using him as a barrier to entry."

"HAMMER THE FUR?"

"Fight. Fight the Vilden. Don't use our hammer."

The next applicant was another Madren, but she looked rather unimposing for a brief few moments until she erupted with a bolt of lightning that struck the Vilden. It didn't seem to do all the match other than make his fur puff up, and she even surrendered, but seemed to be accepted for the job. "HA. BIG FLUFFY."

"Alright, that's pretty funny. Let's get in there after this guy."

The next fight was a skilled warrior who gave Braddock quite a good fight, and was probably good enough that he would make it into the hunt. "If that's all it takes, we can do this. Just try not to go overboard, we're here to impress him, not kill him."

Sebastian jumped into the arena after the previous warrior made his attempt. Braddock turned his gaze to the new applicant: Another madir, but this one was different. Covered in scars that had healed long ago, a metal mask and some basic leathers was the only real bit of protection he had. There was an intensity in the man, he'd been in harsh battles before. His skin looked rough and closer to leather than skin. He'd heard some of the noises the madir made and it was closer to that of an animal, and he smelled not too different from one. A brute, for certain, but a particularly capable brute. His body was evidence enough that he had the experience necessary.

But rules were rules. He braced himself and the man charged at him.

Sebastian's charge was wild, and Braddock met the charge. However, he didn't expect the madir's unusual strength. Madir were strong, but this one was terrifyingly strong. Braddock felt his feet leave the ground as the man wrapped his arms around his waist and throw him to the other side of the ring. Braddock hit the ground, rolled and was back on his feet before he stopped moving. This time he charged at Sebastian, but instead of grappling him, swiped the man with his claws across Sebastian's chest. The man's skin was as leathery as it looked, and the claws were deep enough that he drew blood.

Sebastian didn't even seem to notice the wound as he swung at Braddock, who brought both of his hands up to catch the fist, and even having prepared, he felt the power of the blow through his entire body such that he staggered several steps back to disperse the force. "...I think that's enough. You're more than capable." Braddock watched as the slash wounds on Sebastian's chest had already clotted and scabbed over. The parts where his claws had not cut as deep had already healed over, only having a little red around the area.

"HAHA! YES!" Sebastian roared.

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Ceystile
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Founded: Jan 29, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ceystile » Sun Mar 06, 2022 1:21 pm

Tarquin Ragsdill
The Great Monster Hunt


The cheers of the crowd surrounding the ring were deafening, so much so that most would perhaps complain of the noise. However, the noise didn't seem to bother Tarquin Ragsdill one bit as he sat in the front row of the crowd that he couldn't have looked more out of place in if he had tried. Amongst the group of beefed-up warriors, weasly mercenaries and grizzled veterans he stuck out like a sore thumb. A sapphire-skinned Shay with an untamed mane of red hair, dressed in a coat of eye-wateringly bright red and yellow harlequin shot through with silver thread that glinted every time he moved. He was used to similar noises at his concerts...the applause meant that he was doing something right.
And the big cat that strutted around like the king of the beasts certainly was doing something right, that recent challenger was made up of just as much brawn and armed to boot; yet still the Vilden tore through him like wet paper.

“Tor would’ve loved this.” He muttered, a small frown tucking itself into the side of his mouth as he remembered the reason he’d come to join this expedition in the first place. Torquil, his younger twin was fond of physical combat situations such as this, often to Tarquin’s chagrin. He often found such events dirty and inelegant, but what he wouldn’t have given to have his boisterous brother screaming encouragements or insults at the competitors ringside with him right now. He was snapped out of his thoughts when he heard the female Vilden mention adventure and coin, his ears immediately perked up. So they must be the ones planning the adventure…and the way to join their little group is to beat the big guy over there. His blazing yellow eyes followed a young wizardess fight quite valiantly with her storm magic, but she too was easily overpowered. Well. He rose slowly to his feet, fingering the flute at his side as a mischievous grin broke out on his face. Then there was a scarred man in a metal mask, he put up a hell of a fight. Still didn't really manage to win, but Tarquin wouldn't be surprised if he was chosen...the potential adventurers had a LOT of mettle. But then again, so did he. Let’s see if music truly does soothe the savage beast.

"Good sirs...and madam, I'd like to throw my hat in the ring as well." He hopped into the ring light as air, and he felt surprised eyes boring into his back. He knew what they were thinking: he'll be dead in seconds, he won't last at all! Who's the kid fooling, is he stupid?! There are quicker and easier ways! He had his fencing sword tucked among his belongings, as "no weapons" were a part of the rules. Not that his people were particularly known for following the rules, but even a Shay can play along when it suits them. Braddock smirked to himself, this one should be easy enough. "Prepare yourself." the Vilden said coolly before he began the charge. Tarquin flashed a dazzling smile. "I already have."
Pulling out a flute made of coppery gold, Tarquin dodged the hulk of a beastman's strike, but barely, the cuff of his pants tearing when the Vilden's claws grazed him. Damn it all, he's fast. Hurriedly regaining his footing and ignoring the sting of his now bleeding ankle, Tarquin began to play a song on his flute that drifted out from the ring into the crowd, some of the cheers and laughs beginning to die down. It's as if there was a spell cast over the whole party, only the Shay seemed to remain completely unaffected. Braddock of course was no less strong or fast and so began another attack, ignoring his confusion at this new opponent's style. What is he playing at, does he think he's giving a concert? Being injured already, it was difficult for Tarquin to nimbly dodge as he had the first time but he did manage to dodge the second attack, although somewhat clumsily. However, the impressive thing was that he continued to play as if nothing happened and as Braddock prepared for the third strike, he felt...slower? Heavier? His eyelids and limbs were starting to become an enormous weight, a prickling numbness beginning in his body as he fought the sudden urge to lie down and sleep. Looking out upon the crowd, he noticed that a handful of them were either fighting sleep themselves or have already succumbed.

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The Republic of Atria
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 24390
Founded: Nov 12, 2013
Capitalist Paradise

Postby The Republic of Atria » Sun Mar 06, 2022 4:42 pm

Zarkenis Ultima wrote:
Aleish of Velshamir - The Blade of Amaranth



The Custodian Searches for The Blade of Amaranth

It'd been about a blank since she and Sebastian had arrived to Aratosh. The plan wasn't to stay there, but the both of them wound up finding work and enjoying the city. Ultimately they decided to stay, but if they wanted to purchase property they would need more money, which meant they'd need to earn a fair sum. She had some, enough to get them rooms for a blank. The city was full of potential work, but most of it wasn't paying as much as she would have preferred. Sveta sighed as she looked at a nearby bulletin board with various different jobs all posted.

She was hardly above menial or manual labor, the Queen often had Custodians traveling Amalur specifically to assist people with things they may be falling behind on. It made the pain of collecting taxes slightly less painful on the citizens at least. They often at least felt protected and loved by their once great queen. It was a thought that saddened her. A barmaid was something she could easily do. She was probably capable of doing the work of three or four of them, and was fine with some heckling, she had gotten it before. The pay... Wasn't horrible, and she might be able to swindle some of the poor drunkards into giving her more money, but she did still have too much dignity for that. She was a Custodian and she needed to remember that.

Even if the Queen who gave her purpose and knowledge had long passed. Sveta sighed again and was about to leave when she saw a strange offer. One hundred gold Royals, as well as a request for reckless and skilled adventurers. Her first thought was that it was some sort of trick, but she did remember seeing a very similar offer prior to arriving in Aratosh. Reading a bit more, it said to "meet the swordsman with the serpant brand under the statue of the Thrice-Blessed Queen." That was a decent walk from where she was. Still, it was definitely worth a look.

She began to make her way towards the large statue, stopping only to grab some bread for the morning. There was no idea what to expect, but the idea of being mugged crossed her mind. "But why would someone attempt a robbery in plain sight, by the statue of the Thrice-Blessed Queen no less?" She wondered quietly and then took another bite of the surprisingly well cooked bread. Still, if it wound up being a scam, her next plan was to head to the wealthier district and see if she could get herself hired by some nobles who had little idea how much money was worth. It wouldn't be too hard to impress them, she knew more than enough magical parlor tricks to set herself above the usual level of help offered, and even more to actually assist her in her duties.

That, and her own ability with a blade was good, so could could double as a bodyguard as she did with Queen Baeta. She made her way to the statue where she spotted a rather gruff looking man who was carrying two swords, a dagger, with the brand of the serpent. That sounded like the swordsman the note referred to, and she approached. "Greetings. I saw the request that was posted. I possess both skills and recklessness, and the necessity of coin."
Last edited by The Republic of Atria on Sun Mar 06, 2022 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Segral
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Segral » Sun Mar 06, 2022 4:53 pm

The Half-Blind Seer:
Woodland District Outskirts // The High City of Aratosh // Valaran
Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 1 CE


"Big fellow, hrm?" came a grinning mutter from a tucked corner of the ring, a pair of words and a single affirmation that was immediately swallowed whole by the jeers, cries, boos, and delightful whoops of the assembled crowd. The Woodland markets were likely rife with customers; even from where Jorel was currently crushed against a strip of the ring's barrier, his unscrupulous nose could detect ales, roasted nuts, jerky meats, and a sweeter, riper smell, the fruit of human exertion. It was a perfect proposition. Set out to spend your afternoon in the warm embrace of the market, detect a sobbing man surrounded by cheers some way out, and stumble your way over to the ring, where a Vilden man either thrashed you or stopped just short if he found you wholly adequate. It was a clear-cut path that Jorel had found himself traveling down following a detour from his Striding walk. A few questions of his own, and he had found that the reward for being one of those who were spared from a thrashing was "adventure and coin", as proclaimed by the fair Vilden woman in the blue dress.

Furthermore, there was a visible pattern for those who were spared. They were not your traditional adventurer, a brute who could benefit from his brawn shifted to his brain, gripping an axe or polearm with a meaty fist and with elementary swings. The first he had seen was a woman with exceptional bend over the storms, likely through Arcana. The second was a bare-chested man with an axe who refused to pull his punches or slow himself. The third was the aforementioned "big fellow", a hulking brute who spoke with crudely-carved words, but bore massive strength and power, far beyond the dumb brutes that had easily been sent weeping in the past. The fourth, a blue-skinned Shayit with a flute whose song had been so sweet that Jorel had lost focus and missed the end of the fight. And even stranger; not one had actually defeated the Vilden man. He hadn't been able to observe the fourth. The third may have had the chance had the battle continued, but he was stopped before real bloodshed could occur. The second? A valiant fight, but a lost one. The first? She hadn't even committed, curtsying herself out of the ring before mere moments had passed. There was no need to be victorious, only to prove one's mettle, their specialty.

Perhaps it was Striding madness, perhaps it was blind courage. But either way, the mixture of adventure and coin's prospect, his relieving findings, and the invitation of public combat was too intoxicating to resist. Following the flautist's exit from the arena, Jorel watched with crippling indecision as two more challengers came and went, both lasting a brief flutter of time before their attempts were to be cut thin. The first one retained the ability to walk out on his own terms, clearly shaken by his swift loss. The second one did not even receive that choice, being so brutally tossed against a patch of fence not too far from Jorel's that he slumped without consciousness. As that man was cleared out, the Vilden woman returned, once again calling and beckoning out to the crowd for a worthwhile challenge. "Adventure and coin! Adventure and coin! Who is brave enough? Who will be Braddock's next challenger?"

"It will have to be me, fair Vilden sister." Jorel barked back in response, a wild grin overtaking his face as he leaped over the barrier and into the ring with feline grace. Surely the woman and his opponent would appreciate such a landing. It was a charming smile, only detracted from by the occasional gap in his rows of teeth, but it was lost on the surrounding crowd, who only jeered and taunted him on. His form had previously been enclosed in leather, a short-sleeved tunic with a clasped hood pulled over his roped hair and a matching set of loose-fitting pants. As he touched down on bare feet, his smooth, unblemished hands worked to wrench the tunic and hood over his head and off his frame to reveal two arresting sights. Firstly, a face that was likely once very handsome before a terrible accident had occurred, a set of dark brown eyes, long shoulder-length locks, and a formidable beard that were marred by broken teeth, scars across his cheek and his head, and one particularly long scar that extended from the top of his left brow down to his chin. He had no left eye, only a drooping lid where an eye should've been. Secondly, a torso that appeared even grislier than the axe-bearer from before. Body paint in the shape of various symbols and monsters, thick jagged scars, and several odd blade nicks fought and jostled for visibility across his chest and back, almost as if someone had practiced their etching skills with his flesh as a canvas. He was athletic, strong, one could see it in his arms and stomach, but you hardly noticed beneath his war paint.

He tossed the leather wraps to the side in a heap, leaving behind just his pants and a glittering yet sturdy belt circling his waist, one that had been previously obscured by his tunic. The two dagger sheaths were to be expected, but what was more perplexing was the presence of a brass compass cinched to a loop in the belt, as well as three transparent flasks filled to the brim with water. What his specialty, his skills, even his strategy would be, remained completely mysterious. That was good. It kept them interested.

"Be ready." Braddock cautioned with a grimace, steadying himself into position as he flexed his arms, grinding his fists together at the chest.

"Be ready yourself, Fluff-Ear." Jorel taunted in response, leading to some hisses and shouts from the crowd. Instead of lunging, he simply unsheathed his blades, letting his silvery daggers rest in his palms as he began to circle the outer edge of the arena in a prowling stance. Braddock copied his moves, perhaps slightly testy at his opponent's lack of initiative.

"Are you ready to strike?" the Vilden growled, his claws dragging through the ring with clouds of blue-lit dust in their wake.

"Whenever you are, sire." Jorel replied with a biting laugh, carelessly beginning to play with his daggers as he continued to follow his fenced path. One hand slipped around a small hole in a dagger's hilt, allowing the knife to swing and flip circles around his second finger. His other hand casually began to toss and spin the second blade, almost lazily pushing it around his hand. As he walked, he had begun drifting closer towards the center of the arena, allowing him and his opponent to draw within striking distance of one another. The time would come soon. After having made a half-circle around the arena, Jorel allowed his tossing hand to flip his dagger slightly higher than before, simultaneously swinging the dagger on his finger up high. Both blades landed in his hands in combat orientation, and within moments, he had shifted his weight and kicked off his back heel, allowing him to charge at a flighty sprint towards his mammoth opponent.

Jorel missed with a sharp lunge, Braddock quickly sidestepping his approach to allow only the mauling of thin air. However, he was far from the only agile one; an attempt to claw at the Menash's hand was met with ample resistance as the cocky swordsman pivoted and quickly ducked to the side. "Oh, keep up, kitty!" he simply cackled, seemingly enjoying himself and the crowd's attention as he dodged a second attempt to swipe down and claw him, this one aimed towards his lower torso. However, the cat-and-mouse was to be cut short. The Vilden grew smart, and planted his downward slash into the ground, allowing him to push off and headbutt Jorel in the center of his breastbone. The impact was hard, and it threw the Menash off his feet, scarcely even touching the ground before a hook painfully gnawed into his ankle and broke his fall. Braddock had clamped him by the foot and was likely preparing to toss him out, already beginning to drag him up in the hopes of throwing the arrogant man over his shoulder.

Strangely though, Jorel failed to resist, not even planting his daggers into the ground to resist the advance. Instead, as he flew up through Braddock's tug, he swung his arm out in a wild arc, leaving a bloody gash on Braddock's arm in his wake. The wound caused the fighter to grunt with pain, reflexively releasing the Menash's leg and allowing the man to freely sail over his shoulder. Jorel wasn't content to simply crash to the ground. Using Braddock's frame as a leaping point, he threw himself high into the air. As he flew, he jammed the now-crimson blade through the top of one of the water-filled flasks at his belt, piercing right through the cork and neck and down into the bottle's contents. When he hit the ground, his body folded into a roll to the side, allowing him to re-orient himself down onto his good knee, tear the bottle free from the belt's loop and fling it up between the two fighters before Braddock could close the distance.

The flask suddenly exploded into a cloud of glass shards, eliciting shouts of alarm from multiple audience members, but oddly enough, the water within did not follow the same path. Even as the bloodied dagger fell limply to the ring's sand, the water remained to hover mid-air with no container, a small globe of quickly reddening liquid that caught both Braddock's and his eye. This was the real test of his abilities.

"Behold, Vilden," he said with a smirk, bringing both of his hands to his face and tilting them so that the palms faced in opposite directions. Then, he pulled them apart as if he was parsing through a curtain, seemingly causing the now dark-red globe to begin rapidly expanding outwards until it was the size of Braddock's head. And them, with flicks of his fingers, the vague, rough sphere reshaped itself, transforming into an object that caused the audience to grow even more perturbed: the skull of a Menai or Menash.

"See your past," he commanded, a deep red hue beginning to overtake his remaining eye. His unarmed hand twisted out and snapped its fingers, causing the skull to break off into two flowing streams that flew through the air and rejoined itself around Braddock's head. The currents circled in a rapid ring before meeting to enclose over the top of his scalp and trap the beastly face in a hollow barrel of bloody water. At first, he fought valiantly, clawing and slashing at the water in an attempt to tear the screen apart, but the water merely flexed and resisted under his paws. In the meantime, the water was beginning to animate and display figures in front of the Vilden's eyes, composed of the impressions Jorel was able to gain from his blood. His readings were scarce and his translations scarcer, but Braddock would surely see pictures and animations that would fill him with unsettling remembrance. Waves of tall grass, the smudges of tents, the symbols of thick claws and blades and weapons, and countless others. That was, until he found his way out.

Braddock ducked down, breaking through the thin flow at the bottom of his cage and freeing himself from Jorel's waterborne trap. Before the Menash seer could even get to his feet, the legendary Bonebreaker had charged and slammed two knuckled fists into his torso. The solid block of water immediately collapsed and dissolved into a deep puddle in the arena's center, and Jorel was sent off his feet and into the nearby fence of the arena. The impact knocked the air out of his caverns with a sharp wheeze, and he collapsed sideways onto his back, his entire world growing blurred for a moment as his mind caught up to his body. When he found himself in a state of clarity again, he was staring at the upside-down figure of the announcing Vilden woman peering over him, causing another gap-toothed smile to come to his lips.

"Sister, it would seem as if you appear equally as fair from all points of view." Jorel groaned, bringing his forearm to his head to wipe away the hot moisture that had accumulated there. "Now, will that be all you require from me?"
yea bro idk

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Tomia
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Postby Tomia » Sun Mar 06, 2022 9:58 pm

Anlolar Ekkla, The Blade of Amaranth

Of the many ways you could describe the Lady of Mercy, non-descript is certainly not one of them. She very much stood out in a crowd and as she walked through the streets of Aratosh heads clearly turned to upon her. She was a tall woman with flowing dirty blonde hair whose gold armor shined in the dim coldlight. Not only did she give off the air of a warrior, the folded white wings on her back marked her clearly as an Enkala, a rarity in the city. Anlolar was used to the attention, though she would still prefer to be without it. As she entered Valdis Square, her thoughts were preoccupied with apprehension. Recently she had been serving as the protector of a nearby town of Jorasa, but she came to realize that simply protecting them from marauders and monsters wasn't enough. They needed supplies, particularly medicine as a disease was currently running rampant across their country side. Anlolar could heal, but not entire villages, and medicine requires coin. Because of this Anlolar found that to do good, and to spread the light of the eternal flame she would need to take up some mercenary work. If that was not distasteful enough, the most suitable job was being offered by a Vantyrae. The eternal enemies of her people and the flame, Anlolar feared she was betraying her oath just by taking such a contract.

She walked slowly and deliberately as she approached Valdis Square, the designated meeting spot for those interest in the search for this ancient sword. She first noticed a woman in a strange outfit that she wouldn't usually associate with a mercenary. It more looked like that which a servant to a high profile noble might wear. What type of people has this contract attracted exactly?. When she looked past the woman her eyes narrowed, a ragged looking Vantyrae stood next to her. He was armed to the teeth and bore the mark of the serpent that she was told to look out for.

As she approached she heard the other woman introduce herself, and before the one she was there to meet could respond, Anlolar spoke. "I am Anlolar Ekkla, Knight of the Eternal Flame. I take it you are the Vantyrae that placed out the contract to search for an ancient sword? I am interested, and more than skilled enough to be of use. But I warn you, I will not participate in violence against innocents. If your intentions are pure, then you shall have an ally in me." She said before turning to the other companion and bowing politely. "Hello, I take it you are looking to join this adventure as well? May I ask your name?"

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Theyra
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Postby Theyra » Mon Mar 07, 2022 1:18 pm

Aivaras Kvaselis - Last Watcher - The Fall Guy

"So this is Erante Forest", Aivaras said quietly to himself as he reached the entrance to the forest. He had never been here but had heard of this forest from other members of the Watchers. Just a normal forest, nothing of note in it, and generally safe. The only thing that concerned him was the fact that his contact this Narill was somewhere in it. For some reason, they did not say where in the forest they would be in. Just be here on the first day of the third blank at tempering. Not where in the forest to meet, and he wondered why. Maybe a test of some kind of laziness or something else. Well, either way as Aivaras peered into the forest and knowing that his soul tracking would be useless here. A small sense of anger started to form in him, this better be legitimate and not waste his time, Aivaras thought. He has his own things to do but, he needs the coin, and what better way to earn than by helping someone. Especially with something like this and this is what Watchers do, help people. So with only last long breath, Aivaras entered the forest and began his search for Narill.

Once in the forest, with his hood on. He spent some time walking and looking around for any sign of Narill. Scanning the forest for any clue when he started to hear the faint sound of people talking. Aivaras followed it to the source and then took cover behind a tree when he spotted the group. Making sure they could not see him and watch from afar. This could be Narill and the other mercs that accepted the job. Noting the eaten apple cores and the fanged tiger that was lazily laying on the ground. Someone has been waiting a while and certainly not expecting trouble. So this might be them and he has seen bandits before and they do not look like bandits. Either way, he is not going to find an answer here and from watching them. So Aivaras left his spot and calmly walked up to the group. Taking off his hood once he was close enough and greeted the group with a small wave.

'I trust that one of you is Narill and that you all are my teammates?"

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Zarkenis Ultima
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Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Mon Mar 07, 2022 2:32 pm

Aleish of Velshamir - The Blade of Amaranth


Standing under the shadow of the ever-watchful matriarch, the Vantyr swordsman glanced back at the Silver Swan as dark whispers began to echo within his head. Return to the tavern. Feast on the old man. It will be effortless. No one will see you. The curse spoke to him with his own voice, attempting to convince him to betray his own convictions and give in to the hunger. Naturally, he was no stranger to the insidious murmurs of the ancient curse, having grown well acquainted with them over the course of the years he had spent rebelling against it, though of course he could never quite get accustomed to them. His deep crimson eyes seemed to linger on the sight of the tavern for a moment before he averted them abruptly, forcing the thought from his head. Not only would such a betrayal constitute a heinous crime that he could not allow to come to pass - he also knew that the voice lied. The curse cared not for stealth or subtlety, not even for his well-being or survival. It cared only to override all thought and resolve and feed.

He pushed the whispers from his mind. Decades of fighting them had afforded him some prowess in dismissing them, and he had just feasted on some wild animals the previous waking - he'd be able to go another day or two without feeding. A convenient state of affairs, as he doubted he would be able to hold a proper conversation with his prospective adventuring partners if he was starved and constantly thinking of the blood running through their veins.

Speaking of prospective adventuring partners, it wasn't a long wait until he was no longer alone. A few people had already begun doing their usual rounds around Valdis Square, paying no mind to the swordsman or perhaps steering clear out of alarm at the armed Vantyr, but soon enough someone appeared that did not seem to share in their concerns, making a beeline towards him. Aleish turned to look at her just as she reached his side, keen blood red eyes appraising her. She was a young Madir woman with blue eyes and white hair, an unusual color. She was dressed much like the servants of the nobility and royalty of larger cities tended to be. There was clearly more to her than that however, as evidenced by her gauntlets and other small bits and pieces of metal armor that she wore over her uniform, some of them even showing signs of wear, though they were exquisitely maintained.

In spite of these signs, Aleish was skeptical at first. The woman's uniform seemed familiar, but there was no reason to think she was here for the journey. Perhaps she had mistaken him for a friend. Perhaps she was simply approaching because he had caught her attention somehow. But it became clear that this was not the case as soon as she spoke up, greeting him and explaining that she was here because of the announcement he had sent out, willing to embark on the search for the Blade of Amaranth and possessing both valuable skills and the requisite lack of self preservation impulse.

Before he was able to respond to the white-haired woman and inquire further, he noticed another figure approaching, one that would've been difficult not to notice. A tall figure clad in golden armor, with chalk white skin, pristine feathered wings, a halo of crystal on her head, and the beauty that set apart the Enkala from the other races of Anur. The new arrival was a female knight with dirty blonde hair and green eyes, who seemed to regard him with suspicion. No surprise there, he reasoned - with how his ancestors had hunted hers, and how they in turn had all but razed his entire species to the ground, there was no love between the Enkala and the Vantyrae. If anything, he was surprised to see someone like her approach.

The woman introduced herself as Anlolar Ekkla, a Knight of the Eternal Flame. He had heard of their order before, having spent many long years as a traveler, though he had never quite figured out what to make of them. Worshipers of that aberrant flame in the sky who, for some reason, had come here, to the end of the world where firelight was scarce. She seemed no different, another devout follower, but at least, judging by her words, she was willing to cooperate. The warning she put forth did not concern him - if he'd had any intention of harming innocents, he would've been taken by the hunger long ago.

"You have my greetings, lady Ekkla. My name is Aleish." The Vantyr swordsman stated in a polite tone that seemed quite at odds with his rugged appearance, bowing his head for a moment. He might've been an outcast for a long time now, but he hadn't forgotten the manners his elders had taught him. "Rest assured, neither I nor my client have any intention of causing innocent men and women any harm. Were it up to me, we would not have to fight at all during this journey, but I suspect we will have to defend ourselves quite a bit." He explained. "At any rate, it is good to have you on board."

As the Enkal woman turned to the young Madir, Aleish turned to look at her as well. Anlolar was already asking the woman's name, so instead, he opted to ask a different question, one that might reveal what she had to offer in the way of skills. Her uniform had seemed familiar to him, and he now realized why. "Greetings to you as well, milady. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you... or I suppose, were you, one of the Custodians of the Kingdom of Amalur?"
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Woodstovia
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Postby Woodstovia » Mon Mar 07, 2022 4:22 pm

    Valarr - The Blade of Amaranth
    Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 1 CE

    The sabercat let out one last cry for help as his sword crunched through its head and silenced it forever. Valarr was clad in ancient plate as dark as the night but beneath his armour his skin was pale and sweaty. His hands hurriedly got to work, pulling the corpse around in desperate, frenzied motions. He pulled his sword from its skull and made a small cut along the left-hand side of its neck, nicking an artery. His sword was flung to the floor and he pulled the corpse forward with such desperation that he heard a hard crunch as the thing's spine gave out. His lips wrapped around the cut and suckled at the warm blood that flowed forth. The lifeblood ran down his tongue and throat with each long gulp. He could feel the warmth spread deep within him, and relief piercing through his clouded mind like rays of light through a cloud. But the hunger was still there. And it was too deep to satisfy.

    Anger came over him now. A hand lashed down in anger and dug into the corpse. It ripped out chunks of meat and fat and skin, thick with blood and fur. He shoved it inside his mouth, felt the wet lump wriggle down his gullet, and felt momentary satisfaction. But it was still not enough. His mouth grew wide and clamped down on the neck and artery. This time he pulled away and ripped the throat out. When that was gone he shoved the head back and licked greedily at the ruined mess he'd created: the back of the throat and down towards its chest. After 10 minutes there was no corpse left.

    When he returned to civilization Valarr was satisfied. His helmet was removed, showing an attractive regal face and long white mane of hair that framed his deep red eyes. It was clear to any who looked that he was a Vantyr. This wasn't exactly a positive, but he preferred making it somewhat clear what he was to people. If they were frightened by that he'd rather give them ample warning. On the other hand, his dark, leathery wings were sometimes too much and he kept them swaddled in a flowing crimson cloak. He stood tall and straight as an aristocrat or warrior should and walked with an easy confidence. But he was not arrogant or impolite. He saluted the guards as he entered Aratosh and smiled at those who looked his way, even if they were hurriedly moving to the other side of the street. Even in cities as large as this Vantyr were few, and their friends fewer. And those willing to be friends of Vantyr who were wearing heavy plate and walking towards them were even fewer.

    There was one place where Valarr would always be welcomed, however, adventures. While few liked Vantyr, being brought up on stories of them stealing away children to feast on their blood; none doubted their skill at arms. Simply seeing he was a Vantyr - and one with armour was enough for Valarr to receive very healthy payouts. In addition to this, only the lowliest of scoundrels would knowingly try to cheat a Vantyr so money was all but guaranteed. There was something different however about the latest advertisements Valarr had seen. Some local had declared that they would be hiring those willing to help them find an artifact from the Kingdom of Valroc. Formerly the jewel of Teraden, the old Vantyr kingdom had fallen prey to squabbling, backstabbing, and infighting. His heart quickened at the thought of his people, the blood of Vanna Tyrash Anur bleeding, suffering, dying. But they were beyond his help.

    Valdis Square, first waking of the third blank, under the gaze of the statue of the Thrice-Blessed; swordsman with the brand of the serpent. Valarr ran through the instructions in his mind and they drew him naturally towards a dark Vantyr with a tattoo of a writhing serpent across his right arm. Valarr looked the Vantyr up and down from afar, trying to get the measure of this man. Valarr concluded that he'd probably never met him before and that the man was unlikely to be a noble or of any importance. Plain clothing, plain weapons, dusty boots, no wings. Valarr's interest diminished by the second. But when a voice, subtle and quiet which lingered at the back of his conscience, a voice that was simultaneously him and not him at the same time suggested that Valarr simply run him through and feast on the carcass; Valarr resolved to treat the Vantyr with the utmost politeness. if only to make a point to himself that HE was still in charge and not the voice.

    Valarr had not looked at the others gathering around the Vantyr when he strode forward and bowed his head, speaking in a loud, clear voice, with a slight noble twinge. "My name is Valarr, and I would be honoured if you would bid me the pleasure of allowing me to accompany you on your quest, to find that of Valroc which has now been lost."

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    Segral
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    Postby Segral » Mon Mar 07, 2022 7:27 pm

    The High Flyer:
    Valdis Square // The High City of Aratosh // Valaran
    Harvest 819, Blank 3, Ley 1 CE


    Those who had emerged into Valdis Square that ley were to find themselves glowered upon by two distinct shadows. The first, the statute of the Thrice-Blessed Queen that forever toiled in reigning majesty. The second, a distant, wavering smudge in the sky, a winged silhouette that made lazy laps around the expansive, extravagant public forum and some edges beyond. Whether it was a natural hue or coldlight that had blessed it with such a magnificent blue, that was a mystery to all but a select few. Either way, it remained untethered and free, given a fully independent roam of the skies with not a single adventurer to mark territory with. There was a sense of joy and euphoria you gained just from staring at the wondrous figure, a slight beckoning hope that you too may one day take flight and be as boundless as that glowing blue bird. Boundless, and in life without a master.

    Because while the mighty Bainne flew with poised grace, Teriani Roran remained locked on the ground, wobbling with each and every heavy step. She felt herself growing sick to her belly with anticipation, not helped by the queasiness of solid ground after spending so many leys in the skies. It was betrayed by her big amber eyes, flicking from Menash to Milden with haste and nervous gait as she rubbed a hand through her shortened roots. All of her preparations had been adequate. She had checked the notice as many times as Valdis was blessed, confirming the moment and location of her summoning until she could relay it with perfect detail. She had sent Bainne to the skies for the day, singing a song that allowed the two to part and for Bainne to fly above the square until he was needed. She had dressed for the occasion, donning the supple, strong leather jacket and trousers that made up her flying suit, complete with an unclasped hood at the neck and well-worn boots at the feet. She had armed for the occasion, strapping two throwing knives to her waist, along with her blowdart and quiver. She had set out from her lodge at the perfect time, just at the rise of Waking so that she would appear neither overeager and early nor foolish and late. She had even downed a shot of spirit before doing so to settle her worries.

    And yet, despite her endless preparation, she had forgotten to prepare the most crucial aspect of all; her eye. She could not find the man with the brand of the serpent! It was so utterly stupid. How many swordsmen with a serpent on their arm could their possibly be in Valdis Square's Waking? But there were so many in Valdis Square, enough of them with swords at their belts and not a single one with a serpent branding on their arm. And what did the gaze of Valdis truly mean? Her gaze practically extended across half the place! Perhaps it was a test, a trial to weed out the unworthy...was she failing?! She would have to steel herself. Search for clues. But nothing yielded itself. Average Madir man, average Menash woman, a brightly-topped Dvard, and...a woman of gold.

    Allow her to rephrase; an Enkal. It was apparent from the halo above her head, and the wings across her back. Her path was purposeful, poised, a straight stride that cut right through a throng of crowd and towards an obscured location at the very base of the Thrice-Blessed Queen. Not far behind her, a haughty-looking Vantyr, with flowing white hair and red eyes decorating his noble face. He too followed the same path, moving with interest towards an identical point at Valdis' feet. Perhaps that was the key. They stood out, stood taller and greater than any passing stroller in the Square. And they had been summoned to the same location. It was either fate or the beckoning of a coin. She was desperate enough to believe the latter proposition.

    She quickly prowled in the Vantyr's wake, slipping through the crowd to see a sight that was both welcoming and dismaying in one stroke. Welcoming, because it was the swordsman with the serpent branding across his arm! He was Vantyr too, dark-haired, displaying the mark of a hardened fighter. The second Vantyr and the Enkal, along with a well-dressed Madir woman, were circling the man, finding themselves locked in animated chatter with obliviousness to Teriani's intrusive sight. That was the dismaying part. Firstly, that she had found herself late as a result of her dull eyes. Secondly, that the second Vantyr was bowing and speaking to the serpent-branded man with a regal air, with a formal air. There was no way to bring herself to the growing party without rude interruption.

    Or maybe there was? Perhaps the serpent-branded man would admire her nerve and courage? Or perhaps he would find it insolent? Or perhaps he would find her foolish for her lack of decisiveness? There were too many options to weigh. So dense were her thoughts that she forgot to move, remaining locked in place with her hand rubbing her chin as she stared at and contemplated the nature of the meeting before her. Perhaps in some blanks, she would finally come to a decision. Or, perhaps someone would grow impatient and finally pull her in. Whatever happened to come first.
    yea bro idk

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    Ceystile
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    Postby Ceystile » Mon Mar 07, 2022 8:00 pm

    Saffron Cindermaw
    The Blade of Amaranth


    The hustle and bustle of Valdis Square seemed almost deafening to one Saffron Cindermaw as she made her way among the busy crowds and brightly colored stalls of the place. Sure, she was used to cosmopolitan areas but all of them seemed considerably smaller and quieter by comparison, even in that brief time she spent in a royal court. Drawing her dark brown cloak, mottled with stone dust around her shoulders, she turned to look up at the large bird that was the figurehead of the Silver Swan and debated about going inside. Adventurers typically met in taverns, right? It would make sense, but at the same time this was supposed to be an operation that's going to be carried out with a great deal of secrecy, something you wouldn't get much in a tavern. So it was the shadowy places she should look to then.

    Fishing into her cloak pocket, she pulled out a small stone figurine of a bird, which she squeezed in her hand and muttering an incantation under her breath, the figurine started softly chirping, fluttering in her now open hand. "Find them." Following the bird, which kept at eye level, it flew a slowly gathering crowd, circling past a golden-armored winged figure an Enkala, you don't see too many of those around these days. and a tall, white-haired man with blazing red eyes that clearly marked him as a Vantyr before returning to her outstretched palm, once again becoming marble. Looks like I found my people.
    "Well, this seems to be quite the party!" was all she said in a cheerful voice, approaching the crowd. Being well over six feet in height as was typical for women of her species, the Enkala woman seemed to be about the same height so it wasn't very unusual in their little collection of oddities. "Tall girls club, am I right?" she joked to the woman before lifting her own hood to reveal a beautiful Shay with skin as golden as a newly-minted coin and a mane of light blonde hair that curled around her face. Being in her mid-thirties, she was probably the oldest of anyone here, except perhaps those two Vantyr fellows...lucky bastards were beneath concepts like "aging". "The name's Saffron, Saffron Cindermaw. Lovely to meet you chaps and all that." Her eyes flickered just behind one of the Vantyr to see large amber eyes, eyes a lot like her own except without the twinkle of mischief. Saffron said nothing but instead threw a wink the new girl's way, sensing that she probably wanted to stay hidden for her own reasons.

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    Tomia
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    Postby Tomia » Mon Mar 07, 2022 8:27 pm

    The Fall Guy

    It wasn't long until individuals began arriving at the tree where Narill was waiting. The first to arrive was a massive tree like individual, wearing a distinctive set of armor. She didn't recognize the individual but given where she was raised she was fairly familiar with Sylf society. She hadn't been expecting many locals to join, since most considered the case to be closed and shut. Still, she appreciated the presence of someone who would surely take the situation seriously.

    "Greetings, Spinose", She said respectfully as she stood. "I am Narill, and yes you managed to arrive on time. Not that I would expect any less from a Sylf warrior. May I ask your name?" Moments later a small Dvar came charging forward with an eager vibe. Narill looked her over, the enthusiasm seemed genuine, which was refreshing to some extent but hopefully it wouldn't get in the way of the mission. "Hello Puck, yes, I am Narill. It is nice to meet you." The Alfari told her. Her voice was calm and level compared to the excitement of Puck.

    It was then that the sounds of a flute and approaching footsteps filled the air and Narill found herself instinctually reaching for the blade at her side. It was then that a Feren appeared out of nowhere, bowing to her. Narill relaxed, though was not particularly pleased about the surprise. She recognized her bulletin post in his hand, and squinted to read the stylized name, "Inti Erdonai".

    "So you're here to join us then? I am Narill, I take it your skills are in illusions?" She asked, her eye brow raised as she wondered why he had yet to say a word to them.

    "Prrr" the sounds of lazy purring from Taruk behind her caught her attention as a Shayit made themselves known. "What makes people think I like surprises", Narill muttered under her breath. "Well Raggar, Taruk seems to like you so that is good enough for me." She told him, managing a small smile.

    Finally a ragged looking Madren approached them, dropping his hood as he approached. They would certainly be a diverse group, though fortunately it didn't seem like they would have anyone who would draw horribly unnecessary attention as long as no one did anything stupid. "Yes I am Narill, and you are?" She asked, before turning the group as a whole. "You've all managed to make it here on time, that is a start. I want to make clear that this... task of ours is going to require a bit of discretion and tact. It is something that is very important to me and so I would kindly ask you to leave if you think either of those qualities are impossible for you." Her tone was formal and serious, it would be clear to an on-looker that this was very much not a causal adventure for her.

    Anlolar Ekkla, The Blade of Amaranth

    Anlolar was a bit surprised by the manners that the Vantyr named Aleish showed and it disarmed her a bit. "Very well, I shall trust that until you give me a reason not to." She told him before noticing another Vantyr join them. Her eyebrows wrinkled at displeasure, she was unused to being around one of their kind let alone two. This one seemed far more haughty with an air of nobility, it made Anlolar not trust him. For Vantyr, nobility and cruelty tended to go hand in hand. It was then that a Shayit woman approached, bold and confident in her demeanor as she remarked to Anlolar about their mutual height. Anlolar didn't see many Shayit on her journeys as they did not often appreciate or request the aid of a knight such as her. However Anlolar noticed that the woman was quite beautiful and had an air of confidence and wisdom about her. Still, she was a Shayit and so there would be a need for caution regardless of how charming she proved to be. "I am Anlolar, it is nice to meet you Saffron." She greeted the friendly trickster. The Enkala then got a feeling running down her spin as if there were eyes on her. She subtly turned her head to notice and Alfari who was watching them and this act she was not doing subtly at all. Anlolar took a step towards Aleish, speaking quietly towards him. "We are being watched, an Alfari nearby. One of the enemies you fear, or just an onlooker?"
    Last edited by Tomia on Mon Mar 07, 2022 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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    Indo-pasif archipelago
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    Democratic Socialists

    Postby Indo-pasif archipelago » Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:19 pm

    The Howler and The Blade

    The antlered Vilde walked among the motley crowds of Arathen ridge. Madren traders and Sylven scholars, Vantyr diplomats and Dvarda engineers, all kinds of people from all kinds of life seemed to mix and mingle in the steps towards the High City. Even his kind with all their feral and basic traits did not look out of place in Aratosh. That said, Maka still hid most of his features under his hood, showing nothing much beyond his green, glinting eyes.

    The vagabond Vilden did not usually travel to cities like this one. He had always preferred somewhere rural and sparse, something that reminded him of home. After his curse had befallen him, the urge became stronger, partly out of fear of himself. But Maka had to travel to feed himself and to pay for a roof. With his urge to find a living became stronger than the urge to isolate himself, he found himself here, at the capital of the entire isles, looking for petty jobs and menial tasks.

    He had heard of a certain offer for adventurers and vagabonds. A hefty sum of gold in exchange for their service in looking for a mystical weapon. Maka was not keen on magical artefacts. Vilden required no magical weapons, and the only magical weapons he knew were ones held by those who were against his kind. He was not here for bad blood however, and he could not care less about some random artefacts, laying hidden somewhere in the dark.

    As Maka passed through the gate of Aratosh, his eyes quickly scanned for the statue of the Thrice-Blessed, where the contractor was waiting for him and anyone else looking to make a fortune. He quickly found the person he was looking for, a pale humanoid with the sign of a snake in his arm. Around him were already several other adventurers, a random motley of crew as varied as the crowds of Aratosh. He scanned each one of them out of instinct. An Enkal, clad in armour as intricate as the feathers on her wings. Another pale man, probably a Vantyr, also clad in heavy plates and armour. A shayit, with an expression of mischief typical of any shayit. And the last one was a… a maid? It was clearly a woman, with clothes not out of place in Aratosh where noble servants were plenty but certainly not among ragtag adventurers. A thought intruded his mind, a simple, basic instinct of deciding that the woman in maid clothing would be easiest to hunt. Maka quickly snuffed that thought out. Not now, not here, not the target.

    He noticed as he walked closer that the maid was as armoured as the enkal and the vantyr. A small smile touched him. Never ever underestimate another person, Maka, he thought to himself. The group seemed to be talking among each other, so he came straight to the Snake-signed swordsman. Lifting his hood, he gestured at the vantyr and introduced himself.

    “Greetings, I am looking for the person promising a hundred gold for the job. Are you that person?”
    I picked the Anarchist Hog

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    The Republic of Atria
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    Postby The Republic of Atria » Mon Mar 07, 2022 9:23 pm

    Zarkenis Ultima wrote:
    Aleish of Velshamir - The Blade of Amaranth


    Tomia wrote:
    Anlolar Ekkla, The Blade of Amaranth


    Sveta was eager to hear the Vantyr's reply, but before he could get the reply out, they were approached by the winged, golden armored Enkala. There was a certain soft spot that she had for the Enkala, the wings and halo were truly a thing of beauty to see in person. It was everything Queen Baeta would have wanted. She introduced herself as Anlolar. "Greetings." Sveta said and gave a small bow. "My name is Sveta, and yes, I am here to join the adventure."

    The Vantry who introduced himself as Aleish was far more polite than she expected, and mentally kicked herself for judging him based off of his more ragged appearance. "The pleasure is mine, good sir. And it is good to hear that we will not be harming anyone if we are not forced." She had no qualms with violence and had defended herself on numerous occasions, but it was only when strictly necessary. A tool. Nothing more. Skill with a weapon was not only expected, but required for almost any Madren.

    There was the smallest bit of surprise on her face when Aleish guessed that she was a Custodian from Amalur. She did know he was a Vantyr and was probably long lived as a result. It wasn't unlikely he passed through Tregal at some point or heard the stories of them. Baeta took every opportunity she could to show them off. "I-Yes. Or, like you said. I was. Officially, we were disbanded by the new Queen Amelia, as she didn't wished to spend the coin required to train and equip us, but the majority decided to spend our time helping people, as it was what Queen Baeta would have wished." It was nice to be recognized, and it was quite rare for someone to see her as something more than a common servant. "Did you pass through Tregal at some time, or are you just learned of the world?" She asked.

    She gave the Vantyr a small curtsy, and straightened her bow with a bit of a more playful smile. It was a little silly, but it would foster a more relaxed atmosphere. At least she hoped it would. "It's wonderful to meet you both Aleish and Anlolar. Yes, my way of dressing is unique, but, I have made it all the way here from Tregal dressed like this the whole time, so you needn't worry about my ability to defend myself. I've had a blade in my hands since I was a mere six harvests." She was twenty six harvests in age, though she looked a little younger than that.

    As if on cue, another approached the group. A man who also spoke with politeness and nobility, but it was laced with just the bit of blue-blooded haughtiness she'd known for so long. She know of their hunger and plight and had genuine sympathy for them. She also admired the strength of will it must take to keep the hunger in check. "Greetings Valarr." Sveta said in a welcoming tone.

    Anlolar seemed to have a mild distaste for the Vantyr. Sveta understood why, as there were many stories of those who lost their minds to the hunger which only soured their reputation. It didn't bother her, if they were capable of living as long as they did and could keep it in check, it served to show that they were just decent people with a curse.

    The next adventurer showed up A shayit by the name of Saffron. A colorful name for a color girl. Sveta had been around a few, and she could see the mischievousness in her eyes. It wasn't unlike a hyperactive child, though a grown Shayit was probably a bit craftier. "A pleasure to meet you as well Saffron. I am Sveta, and welcome to the group." She gave everyone a quick glance. "This is a very strange adventuring party, but I guess the promise of coin will attract anyone."
    Last edited by The Republic of Atria on Mon Mar 07, 2022 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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    Hinzland
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    Civil Rights Lovefest

    Postby Hinzland » Tue Mar 08, 2022 12:56 am

    The Fall Guy
    The Vagrant King

    Safa-Dir Evarandil (Male Fereni) and his companion, Ashalla Verdun (Female Madren)


    "We're lost!"

    "We are never lost, Ashalla. Simply, we are not found yet."

    Deep in the Erante Forest, a dense thicket is slashed aside by a curved sword resembling a khopesh, most likely of Menash make. The wielder is revealed to be a towering Madren woman, thickly muscled and clad in the clothing of a sailor, complete with gold earrings and a sash. "I believe, master, that is the VERY definition of lost!"

    Stopping, she turned around and faced Safa-Dir. "Y'know, when I agreed to accompany you, I assumed that we would be doing the same as I was with Nurglien: Fighting monsters, facing down evil, exposing corrupt nobles!" She threw her hands up in exasperation. "Since I've been travelling with you the half a ley, following the direct footsteps of the LEGENDERY VAGRANT KING!" - she added finger quotes - "We've done nothing but wander around doing odd jobs, mucking horse stables, fucking FARMING! This is ridiculous, and beneath me!"

    She stopped, her chest heaving in indignance.

    Safa-Dir was frozen, betraying no emotion on his face. "Ashalla, I help," sighed, taking a seat on the ground, "I give my assistance where it is most needed. I'm no soldier. I never was. I'm not a mage. Killing monsters, engaging in the complexities of court, facing evil head on, has never been my path. My path has been the one of helping those that are forgotten. A monster will be killed, and replaced with a new one. Another power hungry politician is always waiting in the wings to take the beheaded one's place. And evil is permanent, because we are permanent. Evil is no outside force, it comes from within us. It cannot be defeated, or contained, merely countered by an equal number of good deeds. For every great peril the world must face, there is always going to be an extra hand in building that barn, or bringing in the harvest for next year. The missions of sword and steel are for others to carry out. My path lies with those needing food in their bellies, and a shoulder to lean on."

    Safa-Dir stood, and began marching into the thicket, nimbly evading branch and thorn, despite his old age.

    "Master," Ashalla whispered.

    "Don't call me that. It's beneath me."

    ---

    Ashalla held up her hand. "Voices."

    Safa-Dir halted behind her. They hadn't spoken since their argument several hours before. "Yes, I hear it too."

    Peaking into the clearing with a single apple tree, they saw a somber group of fellows. A Feren, a Madren, perhaps a Shayit? They couldn't be for sure.

    "We need to be careful, they could be bandits or-"

    Ashalla was promptly cut off as Safa-Dir hushed her, motioning for her to wait in the brush. He wandered out into the clearing, not attempting to hide, nor attempting to make himself known. He saw the woman speaking, and instantly knew she was a woman of great purpose, determination.

    He had always been driven forward by his own purpose. His own Path. A feeling in his gut, forcing him to move from his home long ago, setting out into the world to help. He has been a medic, a jester, an arbiter of disputes, a field hand. Anywhere his gut, and heart, told him to go. The truth is, Ashalla had been right: They were lost. He had no idea where he was, and how to get back. But the feeling remained, he was supposed be here, right now, at this moment, under the apple tree.

    He was going to listen to this woman's tale.
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    Zarkenis Ultima
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    Democratic Socialists

    Postby Zarkenis Ultima » Tue Mar 08, 2022 2:15 am

    Aleish of Velshamir - The Blade of Amaranth


    Aleish was content to see that his words had caused the guarded Enkal woman to relax somewhat. He knew that the chances of truly getting along were slim, but as long as he was able to build some rapport with the radiant knight and avoid any infighting, he believed she could be a useful companion. Her armor and bearing certainly seemed to suggest so. In any case, he simply nodded at her and then turned her attention back to the white-haired Madir, who introduced herself as Sveta. She seemed far less apprehensive about working with a Vantyr, let alone technically under the command of one, and her manners were impeccable. This was to be expected, as she soon confirmed his earlier suspicions: that she was one of the Custodians, heralds of the late Queen Baeta of Amalur. At the question that followed, about whether he had ever visited or simply knew of it from hearsay, he let out a faint smile.

    "Hmm... well, both I suppose. Live long enough and you will learn something of the world around you, my father used to say. I heard some things about you and your brethren during my travels, mostly good things of course. I have indeed been to the Serene Isle on occasion as well, and even to Amalur once, though unfortunately that was after your liege had passed and your people were disbanded. Still, the locals had nothing to say but praise for you and yours."

    The young woman curtseyed and smiled at him and Anlolar, restating the pleasure that it was to meet them, before assuring them that she was more than skilled enough to pull her weight on an adventure. Knowing what the Custodians were capable of from the stories he had heard, Aleish had no reason to doubt Sveta's claims and simply offered her a nod and a smile to reassure her. She did not, perhaps, look like much, but looks could be deceiving.

    Some time had passed since the beginning of the waking by now, and larger crowds were starting to gather in Valdis Square, making their little group less out of place but no less eye-catching, owing mostly to the heavily armored Enkal that currently stood next to Aleish. Adding to that, people were continuing to arrive, some of them figures that clearly stood out from the crowd. First of them was, surprisingly, another Vantyr, a white-haired man with an aristocratic bearing. The swordsman couldn't help but narrow his eyes, barely keeping himself from recoiling at the man - the stench of blood surrounded him, subtle to anyone else, but very nearly overpowering to one of his kind, though he was fortunately adept at maintaining control of himself.

    "Greetings, Valarr. All who are able and willing are free to join this quest that the Collector has funded. Welcome to the group." He spoke politely with a bow of his head. As he did so, he wondered who this man might be to have such bearing. He did recognize him, nor know of or remember anyone by his name, though the truth was he had not been home for a long time. New aristocracy? Or perhaps someone from one of the other, lesser, Vantyr kingdoms of the Far Land. Not that it terribly mattered, he supposed. Any assistance was welcome, considering the difficulty that this adventure would pose.

    From the crowds, another figure emerged, this time another woman, and a large one as well, about Anlolar's height, albeit rather than another Enkal it was a Shay woman with golden skin and hair, almost like a statue - the irony of such a thought was lost on Aleish. In any case, he could at least appreciate her friendly disposition. Perhaps with her and Sveta around the journey would not be as somber as he was beginning to suspect it might be. "Good to meet you, Saffron. My name is Aleish, and I welcome you to our group." He told her, Anlolar and Sveta quickly following suit and introducing themselves afterwards. Hearing the latter's remark about the strange adventuring party that the promise of a hundred gold royals had attracted, he chuckled.

    "People will do strange things for coin, indeed. There is a reason it is such an effective incentive. There are many who are motivated by other things, like an adventurous spirit, or the goodwill of their hearts, but I cannot imagine such things would have attracted as many people as a hundred gold royals have."

    As he finished speaking, he noticed Anlolar take a step towards him and inform him of someone observing them, an Alfar woman. Looking in the direction that the Enkal indicated, he quickly noticed the young woman with short white hair - that was the third one now - who observed them with an air of fear and indecisiveness about her. Hearing Anlolar's question, he simply chuckled. "If that is an enemy, it is not one we should fear. I could be wrong, of course, but she does not have the bearing of a killer." He replied. While he did believe that, he also noticed that the young Alfar was armored, and well-armed as well, which meant that she must have been an adventurer of some sort. Before he could move to address her, however, he noticed another arrival, a hooded Vilden with the visage of a moose who made a beeline straight towards him, inquiring about the quest and, more specifically, the pay associated with it.

    "Indeed, I am the one leading this expedition on the Collector's behalf. If you're here to join us, then I welcome you to the group." He nodded, before excusing himself and taking a few steps towards the young woman that observed them from afar, approaching enough to be within earshot. "Hello, young lady. Do you have business with us?" He inquired, taking care to keep his tone soft and polite. If his hunch was right and this woman was indeed here to join the expedition, he didn't want to frighten her - even if she wasn't good with people, perhaps she could pull her weight in combat.
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    Finland SSR
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    Founded: May 17, 2014
    Psychotic Dictatorship

    Postby Finland SSR » Tue Mar 08, 2022 2:43 am

    Theyra wrote:Aivaras Kvaselis - Last Watcher - The Fall Guy

    Tomia wrote:
    The Fall Guy

    Hinzland wrote:
    The Fall Guy
    The Vagrant King

    Safa-Dir Evarandil (Male Fereni) and his companion, Ashalla Verdun (Female Madren)


    The Fall Guy
    Raggar of Tughlut


    Two more adventurers arrived to the meadow beneath the apple tree after Raggar's introduction. One was a ragged, hooded Madren warrior, who approached them and asked about whether they are Narill's crew - which the Alfar lady confirmed. Raggar merely glanced towards him, awaiting his introduction much like Narill. The other was a Feren who approached them from the bushes, confident enough in his stride that he could be one of their own - however, he was not alone. The Shay narrowed his eyes. She may have been well hidden, but an experienced hunter like himself could tell that the Feren had a companion watching from behind the bushes he came from.

    Who she was and what that meant, that was a mystery, but Raggar was not particularly bothered to confront the Feren over it. It would have hardly been possible that he planned an ambush with just two people, against five and a tiger.

    So, the Shay nomad turned his attention to Narill, who explained the risky nature of their quest. It was not a brawler's expedition, they are going to have to be tactful and clever if they wish to succeed - and she was very clearly serious with her warning. Raggar initially remained silent, taking in the request, before finally speaking up:

    "You do not have to worry about me, if that is what you request. My... career is as much of a matter of stealth and deception as it is of brute force," he then smirked and glanced towards one of his peers in particular. "I'm sure that as long as none of us slam head-first into trees again, we could do this job beneath any suspicion."
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    New Neros
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    Posts: 7670
    Founded: Mar 14, 2015
    Left-wing Utopia

    Postby New Neros » Tue Mar 08, 2022 6:06 pm

    Zarkenis Ultima wrote:Aleish of Velshamir


    Ozella
    The Blade of Amaranth


    A familiar stench drifted through the market as a the young woman made her way down the stalls. None would stand too close to her, and would move noticeably out of the way as she lazily on ahead, munching on found-bread with an audible crunch that could be heard over the shouts and discourse around her. Bags of sleeplessness clung below her eyes, which seemed blank and empty as Ozella continued to trug along. She had arrived in the High City a little while ago and lived more or less as a hermit, bar brawler, and trash digger to subsist, framing all of her exploits and debauchery as some grand adventure to the vicarious sea monster living within her.

    Fourteen ley prior, she had found the pamphlet inquiring for adventurers to meet at Valdis Square and kept it tucked in her belt line, allowing it to accumulate dirt and grime as the leys wore on. She would have slept through the meeting by accident had Ozma not stirred her from slumber. "It sounds so promising, Ozella." The monster within spoke, "Money and adventure, something for both of us. Maybe it'll get you out of your current slump."

    "Slump is an understatement." Ozella replied aloud, uncaring at the craning necks who turned to watch the crazy lady speak to herself. "Ever since I lost my captain and got betrayed by my former friends, only to meet a wormy sea monster who wanted to inhabit my body and then kill my old crewmates, I've been a bit mopey. I hope this Collector pays well, and lets me be lazy about getting whatever it is they want because I want to go back to sleep." She continued to eat her old, moldy bread as she entered the crowded square, extremely late by any measure, but hoping that whatever assembly of misfits had already cleared out and decided to make headway without her - She'd rather sit and wallow in depression for another month at least.

    "Aww, fuck..." She said with a sigh, Ozma opposing with "Aw yes!" There under the statue of the Queen was a decent gathering of people speaking with each other with a pale-faced snake-armed Vantyr occupying the central role of the assembly. She greedily devoured the last remnants of her found-bread and wiped the crumbs away, dusting herself off as well as if that would somehow help in her presentation. The matted hair swordswoman approached the group directly, wondering if she should speak directly to handsome pale-face or hang around the outer edges a bit and converse with the other arrivals. Ozma was pretty shit at social interactions as well, so provided no help in making a choice. So, Ozella simply stopped in front of the group and yawned, scratching her belly a bit as she made a half-assed introduction.

    "Hail, fellow mercenaries. How do you do?" She rested her hand on the hilt of her saber that was strapped across her lower back and leaned to the side as she continued. "I am Ozella," She picked her inner ear with her off hand and flicked away the reward she earned by doing so, "I am a Madren of low birth and I come from Tregal. I have made my name by blade and will continue to do so until I am the Queen of Swords. Do I have a place in this journey, or shall I return to my giant urn behind the exalted noodle vendor in the market?"
    Last edited by New Neros on Tue Mar 08, 2022 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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