Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by YourSecretWeapon
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There are a lot of changes happening in the council that rules over the magical Odox. For decades it was led by Feandra Riverwing and her Elves but recently the Human called John Adams was elected as new president of Odox. As many Odoxians supported this change, John Adams replaced many Elvish council spots by Humans. Feandra remained on the council along with two other Elves but everyone knew that they would no longer have a big impact on it.

One of the most controverse debates in the council is wether or not they should remove the civil rights of the Orcs. The Humans have never trusted the Orcs and because of a few bad apples, public opinion turned against them. The Elves try their best to avoid this change as they feel that most of the Orcs are not savage anymore like they used to be. They also warn for a possible civil war of an entire race is taken their rights away.

Xul'Tchau, an Orc activist, wants to see the Humans taken out of the council before they can do any real harm but feels disappointed by the lack of rebellion of the Elves (who prefer dialogue over rebellion).

John Adams is working on a so-called "Dark Orc Law" which allows the exhile of Orcs that decend from the Dark Orcs. This is no coincidence, as Xul'Tchau is the great-grandson of a Dark Orc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kjolmar was making his way to the deepest parts of the tunnels. Everywhere the eyes of Werewolves glared at him. "What is an Elf doing down here?" they whispered. Despite being political neutral, the Werewolves were causious of the Elves. As Kjolmar went deeper underground, he came to a gigant area filled with Werewolves partying, dancing, drinking, having sexual interactions and even fighting. It was no place you would expect to see an Elf like Kjolmar.

A badass-looking Werewolf approached Kjolmar the second he saw him. "I knew you would be back. Came to escape the Human bullshit, did you?". Kjolmar looked him straight in the eyes. "You know why I'm here, Shadow."

Shadow grinned. "Shall we get on with it then?" After a nod from Kjolmar, Shadow placed his teeth in Kjolmar's arm.

Kjolmar had recently discovered that Werewolf venom, spread through their fangs, had a strange addictive effect on Elvish blood. It didn't turn them into fellow wolves but it sure wasn't healthy either. Like no addiction ever is. Kjolmar moaned as he felt the venom go through his veins. And just like last time, when it is over, he would go back to the Elves and pretend like he had never been there. As a lawyer, he would defend Orc cases by day and at night he came to the tunnels. Shadow was his main supplier.
Hidden 9 mos ago Post by jetipster
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jetipster Not all those that wander are lost

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Ambassador Ithnesi Rarrisa’s eyebrows rose at the sight of the elf entering the wolf pit. Whilst it was not uncommon to see other members of the ‘less desirable’ races reveling in the debauchery conducted down here, he had never known an elf to frequent such a place.

He wound his coils closer to himself, the nearby company relaxing slightly as his threatening bulk shrunk away from their warm-blooded pelts and skins. He was no threat, especially given his political position, but the many past transgressions of the venomous cultists had left a bloodied stain in the tapestry of Odox that the snake people were struggling to shed. As a constrictor, he wasn’t built as an assassin but his fellow pleasure seekers were under no illusion that his muscular lower body was just a scaly tail.

He watched the elf’s eyes roll as the werewolf venom coursed through his veins, taking another sip of his own poison of choice: Effens, a potent liquor made by his people containing milked venom and therefore illegal in the capital, shuffled through here on the black market. As the elf turned, Ithnesi was struck by his handsome features and smooth alabaster skin. The warming in his groin was soon replaced with horror as he recognised the face from earlier in the day’s proceedings. He had watched this lawyer with an impressive respect as he fought for the orc case against the human politicians. His naga contingent was now very interested in the developments as rumours had spread of the case being precedent for the persecution of other ‘less desirables’.

An elf being down here was one thing, but a governmental lawyer witnessing a royal ambassador revelling in countless illegal activities was an offense of which the consequences made him squirm. He quickly downed his glass, the burning sensation spreading from his throat and adding to the fuzziness in his head. Well, I’ve had too much… He excused himself from the knit of misfits, other none-werewolves, and crouching low to the ground silently slid his way through the crowd toward the exit. He gave the elf and Shadow a wide berth, and just hoped he could slip out unnoticed.
Hidden 9 mos ago Post by YourSecretWeapon
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Kjolmar felt himself being in the same trance that usually affected him while getting his Werewolf venom. As he looked around, his gaze turned to Ithnesi. Because of the venom, however, Kjolmar's eyesight was a bit blurry and he wasn't exactly sure who or what he saw. Was that a Naga fleeing the scene? The Werewolves and the Naga weren't exactly mainstream civilians but as far as Kjolmar figures, they wouldn't steal from each other.

"That's enough for now." Shadow said and ended the ritual. One of the other Werewolves chuckled and let his hairy hand glide over Kjolmar's cheek. "Why don't you let me have a turn next?" Kjolmar wasn't sure what to make out of the not very subtle suggestions but Shadow gently pushed the other Werewolf away. "Too much will endanger him. Back off, Kain." Kjolmar noticed how Kain seemed to be very less trustworthy than Shadow and tool a step backwards. "I should get back." He shook Shadow's hand and a small blue glow could be seen for a split second. Payment was Elvish magic. Kjolmar wasn't sure what Shadow used it for but he decided to not ask questions.

On his way out of the tunnels, Kjolmar's physical appearance changed. Instead of the hooded black robes, a sapphire outfit with Elvish design poppers up around him. Right before going above ground he found himself eye to eye with a Naga again. Was it the same one? "Don't I know you from somewhere?" he asked, immediately regretting his question as he realized he shouldnt be there, soecially with his main outfit on - easy recognized.
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Ithy cursed himself as the elf spoke. Distractedly he’d made a wrong turn whilst leaving the underground den and had to double back… straight into the elf.

He paused, unsure how to respond, a mixture of emotions overwhelming his senses. If the elf reported him, he was outcast. Silencing the figure before him wasn’t an option either, as whilst certainly physically stronger, his own magic was no match for an elf’s. Yet he realised the elf was in the same position as he. Dealing illegally. That was enough to get him disbarred as a lawyer and posted to some godforsaken outpost. But he was also confused as to why the elf had already glimmered back into his normal elegant outfit. The naga quickly took in the tight figure and perfect fit of the clothes, the sapphire colour radiant, even in the gloom. Elvish magic and too many gemstones. These tunnels were no fit place to flaunt one’s wealth and therefore naivety.

He shook himself from his revery and straighten up, using his tail to present himself at least a head taller than the elf… “I’d have thought an intelligent lawyer like yourself would have remembered my face, I did spend the day observing your work after all.” He smirked, appraising the pale face for any hint of recognition before him. “Now if you’ll excuse me, you’re going to draw far too much attention to the both of us…” and with a flick of his forked tongue, went to slide past the elf.

Hidden 9 mos ago Post by PaperGroove
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The chills were making it hard to stand as Dagny Finnur made her way through the underground. Cold sweat made her hair stick to her face in an increasingly distracting manner, forcing her to stop every few steps to push it out of her eyes - she could barely see without the distraction, she did not need the extra challenge.
At least for now it sounded like her assailants had given up on the chase - she did not know whether they had decided she was no longer interesting prey or if they had simply lost her (although judging by the blood trail indicating where she had come from, that was likely not the case) - but she was glad to still be able to draw breath.

The sets of teeth on her throat made her feel dirty in a way she'd never thought imaginable and the gash the vampires had torn into her leg was sure to do her in, lest she found help before she passed out. Served her right for deciding to go to a party in the middle of nowhere when she really should have been staying in, trying to make up for all the deadlines she had missed and the lectures she denied to attend. Her degree had never seemed further away, although right at that moment, she considered it the least of her problems.

She blamed it on the blood loss, but it did take her a while to realise that she was in the tunnels most frequented by werewolves. Dagny almost groaned in frustration at missing that very obvious fact - her pursuers had neither lost her track nor decided to let her go, they merely wanted to avoid a clash by infringing on werewolf territory. Or they had chased her down here on purpose so someone else could finish what they started.

Dagny had never learned who had a better sense of smell of the two factions - vampires or werewolves - but she was convinced that it would not take long before someone picked up the smell of fresh human blood. With political tensions being what they were, the tunnels were the last place on earth a human should be finding themselves in.
Inhaling deeply and with some modicum of newfound purpose, Dagny tried to limp away faster and it was not long before she heard the voices.

Her blood froze in her veins and for a few moments it felt as though she had forgotten how to breathe. Dagny expected to hear growling or some other type of obscene or threatening sound - she expected to hear taunts and mockery, but that was not the case at all. In fact, the voices she heard were perfectly calm, almost unnaturally so, given the circumstances, but they gave her enough courage to progress further, until two figures came into view.
A naga and an elf.

With a sharp inahle, Dagny propelled herself forward, arms outstretched as though she was reaching for the two. "P-please..." was all she could mutter before her vision went dark and her body hit the floor, exhaustion and blood loss finally claiming her consciousness.
Hidden 9 mos ago Post by YourSecretWeapon
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While the naga was eager to leave in a rush, the sight of a fainting human startled both of them. Not always a very big fan of the humans, Kjolmar wasn't sure what to make out of this scene. However, his inner instincts made him bend over her to see if she was okay. Even humans were Odoxians after all. He might not always agree with them but he shouldn't ignore someone who is clearly in some sort of trouble. "Miss?" he asked while gently poking her cheek with the back of his fingers. He looked at the naga as if looking for answers on what was going on. While he turned the girl's head to check her pulse, he noticed a bite mark. Two fangs. Sharp ones, not thick like a werewolf's. It could only mean one thing: bitten by a vampire.

Kjolmar knew this would change the girl's entire world. She would go from the 'upworld' to the 'downworld', filled with vampires, werewolves and naga. Races that all had one thing in common: they were generally distrusted by the humans. They didn't suffer as much as the orcs though. While the humans despised everything about the orcs, they usually tolerated the downworld races. Mostly thanks to the openness of the elves. Kjolmar always thought the humans despise the orcs the most because they live in the upworld like them and it's more confronting to them than races who are not in immediate sight.

The difference among the downworld races were complex.

In general the naga don't have too many problems with the humans as they most likely see them as 'just another race', not necessarily better or worse than any other. They don't have much contact with them anyway so there is little room for confrontation. When they do make contact, they keep it brief. They aren't very high on the human's agenda because of the lack of encounters.

The werewolves don't dislike the humans in particular either but they can blend it rather well because of their human shapeshift form. When they have to change back to their wolf form because of a full moon, for example, they wisely choose to go to the underworld.

Vampires on the other hand are very distrusted by some of the humans, probably because they can't fit in as well as the wolves and they don't avoid contact like the naga. However, the recent politics have largely changes the dynamics between these races. Vampires have been attacked by orcs in the past and this makes them more interested in the "Dark Orc Law" that John Adams is trying to push through. While a small group of vamps tries to see beyond their troubled past with the orcs, most of them are very cautious when it comes to orcs. Something the humans happily take advantage of. Despite distrusting the vampires as well, humans like John Adams have started to speech how he feels like the humans and the vampires should work together to face 'the orc problem'.


As a group of who-knows-who approached in the distance, Kjolmar levitated the fainted girl from the ground. "We need to take her out of here. She's the most vulnerable right now and about to change. In this phase she's not safe in the upworld nor the downworld. Could you please help me get her out of sight?" Kjolmar asked the naga. He needed some backup. When he noticed some sort of doubt in the stranger's eyes, he gave the naga his most sincere and begging look. "Haven't we all been in a vulnerable position once, grateful that we weren't left behind?" It were words you wouldn't expect from an elf, who generally hadn't seen darkness in their lives, but they sounded very sincere. Kjolmar was no average elf, that was obvious now.
Hidden 9 mos ago Post by jetipster
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The snake bodied man suddenly stopped his attempt to flee as he sensed something approaching along the tunnel behind them. His forked tongue flickered over his vomeronasal organ located in the roof of his mouth, the bloody scent a curious combination that he had let to encounter and log in his memory. He whipped his head around and his suspicion was confirmed as his ability to detect heat, incredibly useful in the ‘downworld’, showed a warmer shape moving rapidly toward them. He attempting to swing his bulk around to face the on comer but in the cramped space of the tunnel that also contained and elf, he could only hope it was another lost soul like them.

With a plea the female human dropped to the floor the scent of her blood overpowering her natural human scent. The elf knelt before he could respond and the bite marks became visible. He’d seen many a mark like that before. The similarities between vampiric and naga bite scars were few but clear to those that learnt to detect them. Many a previous conflict between naga and vampire and othe species had erupted over a misread, or intentionally misidentified, bite mark. All naga were trained to identify their various cultural bite marks and those of vampires as proof of evidence in court, many of his kinsmen carrying an imprint of their own bite to ensure innocence in the face of false accusation. Ithnesi did not have such an issue as a constrictor, having no fangs but just rows of smaller razor-sharp teeth in the back of his mouth.

He looked back at the figure with a sense of sadness. The poor girl. She was obviously just dinner but decided to fight back. Her transformation already beginning explained why he hadn’t known her scent – he’d never met a newly transforming vampire before. And for good reason. Now with the venom inside her but not drained she was destined to become of the dark. Thrust into another world and unable to return fully to everything she’d known. He knew the troubled history of his peoples but couldn’t imagine the immediate future for this poor warm-blood. Either a swift death at the hands of her captors, a lingering painful one as her body failed to adjust to the biological conversion or a severe psychological shock and adjustment as she was reborn into the downworld. But she was about to find out which, as his sharpened senses picked up vampiric scents, along with a slight increase in temperature accompanying the vibrations of numerous footsteps. He turned to flee when the unconscious body suddenly levitated! What was the elf thinking?
He stared wide eyed at the ridiculous elf. How on Odox could such a successful and handsome elf be down here biting up on wolf saliva, talking to a naga and now using magic openly on a fresh vampire recruit.

"We need to take her out of here. She's the most vulnerable right now and about to change. In this phase she's not safe in the upworld nor the downworld. Could you please help me get her out of sight?"

Ithnesi replied by merely widening his eyes further. What was this crazy elf thinking? A political elf lawyer and a naga ambassador abducting a vampiric recruit for her own safety. The legal and political implications were disastrous.

"Haven't we all been in a vulnerable position once, grateful that we weren't left behind?" Well those were words you wouldn't expect from an elf, who generally hadn't seen darkness in their lives, but they sounded very sincere. This was no average elf, that was obvious now.
He pointed down the tunnel, “GO!” I’ll make sure they won’t want to follow.” He quickly sourced a vial of white ink from his satchel, unique amongst the races for scribing in white ink on darkened surface. He splashed it in two spots on the wall of the tunnel swiping the blotches down with his hands into two large curves that resembled a pair of sharp fangs. He connected the base of the fangs with a large ‘V’ shape before pouring the remainder on the tip of his tail to swipe a zig zagging line across the musty floor. As a light appeared down the tunnel he smiled in reassurance. With a torch they wouldn’t miss his handiwork. And that meant they definitely wouldn’t follow. The symbolism was that of a nesting viper pit. No naga would venture into anywhere that contained a brace of female viperish nagas guarding their eggs.

He quickly caught up with the elf and figure floating serenely behind him at speed. When they emerged, it was going to be a strange sight. An elf, injured human and naga was going to draw all the wrong kind of attention even at this time of night. Yet he couldn’t help but muse that they would look like a motley heroic troop from the tales of old. Maybe this was fate.
Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by PaperGroove
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Perhaps it was the night air, cold and brisk even in warmer seasons, that forced her awake not incredibly long after fainting. Perhaps it was the levitation spell which made it hard for even the wounded to remain in a state of unconsciousness, but whatever the case, Dagny's eyes slowly opened, groggily, as though they were heavy from lack of sleep.
She focused on her surroundings, trying to make sense of the city lights, scattered all about her. The noise in her ears - chatter, cars passing by, honking - were all contributing to her confusion.

Was she outside? Of the tunnel?
Her heart skipped a beat and immediately after, panic took hold of her. Though wounded and weakened, adrenaline picked up the slack for her and she found herself struggling against the spell to the best of her ability.
"No, no!" She shouted as loudly and demandingly as she could muster: "Let go of me, let go of me right this goddamn instant! You can't!"

She kicked and shoved and tried her best to escape the grasp of the elf whom she hadn't even bothered to look at again in her frenzy and whom she did not remember seeing mere minutes before.
"They're here, they're out here, I won't let you take me back!"
Hidden 9 mos ago 9 mos ago Post by YourSecretWeapon
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While the naga caught up with them, Kjolmar looked at him differently than before. He had actually helped them escape rather than only saving his own ass. Perhaps there was some honor in the downworlders after all, he thought to himself.
Meanwhile the bitten human woke up and started to struggle. A normal reaction when you find yourself floating to an unknown location. "Miss, please stay calm. We are not here to hurt you."

While he tried to explain the situation, his mind was going everywhere at once. What would be a safe place for her right now? Definitely not the underworld but even in the upworld she would face threats once her transformation finishes. They had to keep her far away from the council. Ever since John Adams was elected, downworlders were heavily frowned upon when entering their domain. If only he could reach the former leader of Odox, Feandra Riverwing. She would know what to do. Kjolmar flipped out some sort of communication device out of his pocket. It looked a lot like a phone but the shape was more round. "Minister Feandra." he spoke to the device and it zoomed silently. Quickly afterwards a female voice replied with an elvish accent. "Kjolmar? I haven't heard from you in ages. How are you?" He quickled came to the point of the case. "We can chat later. I have a code grey. Do you know where I can go?" A few seconds of silence followed before Feandra replied. "Try Blind Hill. There are both humans and orcs living there in harmony to prove a point to the council. Neither of them are hostile towards other races so you should be able to stay there for a while. Tell the orc activist Xul'Tchau that I sent you."

Kjolmar looked at the naga and nodded in confirmation, knowing he must have overheard the conversation. "Blind Hill is just a little to the south from here." His gaze then turned to the human/vampire and realized how confusing all of this must be for her. "Miss, my name is Kjolmar Delacroix and I'm a lawyer. Please trust me for now. If you promise to stay calm and follow us to Blind Hill, I will terminate my levitation spell so you can walk there on your own free will and on our way there I will explain everything. What do you say?"
His head turned to the naga, wondering how to explain to a human (or at least she thought she was still human probably) that a naga was here and he wasn't a threat to her. "And this is... I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

~~~~

Meanwhile at a bar near Spark (Spark is mostly the council's domain)

"It is simply ridiculous!" Phil Smith shouted while nearly knocking over his pint of beer. "John Adams claims he is on our side, the side of all humans, but the only thing he does is enjoy his power as president. What is taking his 'Dark Orc Law' so long then? Or should we face reality, that Feandra Riverwing is still calling the shots?" The other human men sitting with Phil agreed with his ranting. One of them even spitted on the floor in frustration and mumbled "You would make a much better president!" Phil let out a little sigh. "I'm afraid the other races will never see the truth like we do, they think orcs nowadays don't harm anyone. We know better than that! No, my friends, forget about presidency, we need to take matter in our own hands and force those orcs to leave - with or without that law!"

At that very same time in Alphastream (a populous city equal in size to Spark)

"Ekko Egg darg!" an Orc said with a certain growl in his tone. "If we strike the humans at their very core, they will realize what a powerful race they are dealing with here!" This orc was dressed in heavy armor, similar to that of his ancestors. He clearly did not want to 'blend in'.
One of the other orcs, wearing human clothes and looking far less threatening, seemed to hesitate in agreeing with their leader. "With all due respect, Zuxzut, will an attack not only make them fear us more and make things worse?"
Zuxzut grabbed the smaller orc by the throat and grinded his teeth. "They already fear us, fool! Let's give them a reason. Do you wish to be like that idiot Xul'Tchau and his followers who humiliate themselves? No, my comrades, Xul'Tchau may be a decendant of the last Dark Orc by blood but he has betrayed our kind and for that, he will suffer the consequences. If he wants to live side by side with the humans, he will die by their side too! We, the New Dark Clan, shall honor our ancestors of the original Dark Clan and take control over Odox!"
He let go of the smaller orc, which tried to vanish out of the room without being seen, clearly afraid. Zuxzut whispered to a third orc: "That tiny one is going to rattle us out to Xul'Tchau, I could see the fear in his eyes. Follow him and slit his throat." Merely seconds later, the order had been executed.

~~~~

List of characters so far

* Played by roleplayers

Kjolmar Delacroix (YourSecretWeapon): Elvish Lawyer
Ithnesi Rarrisa (jetipster): Naga Ambassador
Dagny Finnur (PaperGroove): Going from Human to Vampire

* Humans

John Adams: President of Odox with controversial ideas
Phil Smith: Aggressive radical who believes John Adams is too soft on the Orcs

* Elves

Feandra Riverwing: Ex-President, still has a passive position on the council

* Orcs

Xul'Tchau: Pacifist and activist, openly critising John Adams
Zuxzut: Aggressive radical who wants to control Odox with his New Dark Clan

* Naga

no NPC's so far

* Werewolves

Shadow: Unofficial leader of the Werewolves with respect for other races
Kain: Egocentric individualist

* Vampires

No NPC's so far

~~~~

List of mentioned locations so far

* Upworld

Spark: the council's domain and its surrounding areas
Alphastream: the second biggest domain, usually avoided by humans
Blind Hill: a small town somewhere in between the two big domains, where humans and orcs live in harmony

* Downworld

Tunnels of Pleasure (usually refered to as simply 'Tunnels'): mostly werewolf territory but open to naga and vampires too, located underground near Alphastream
--> This is where we were in the beginning of the story
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Ithy shivered in the cold night air, he may have just slithered as fast as his scales could take him but was still cold-blooded. However, the appraising look of approval from the elf warmed the pit of his stomach. The exclamation of the woman quickly brought the realisation of their situation crashing back down upon him.

The naga watched in panic as the elf contacted no other than Minister Feandra! What was he thinking? Yet as the conversation unravelled it was obvious that they had a special relationship that suddenly was no longer a danger but could actually be a saviour. "Try Blind Hill..." The ambassador had a home there. Ideally located for many embassy staff as a show of impartiality. He nodded in response to the elf and realised he must speak to reassure the poor woman that along with her transformation, the magic of the elf he was quite an imposing figure, especially for those that had never spent any time with naga before. "And this is... I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

"Ambassador Ithnesi Rarrisa," he replied. "But can we wait to be somewhere more secure and private for formal introductions?" He tugged his collar up around his neck against the cold with a glance toward the horizon as it started to brighten. "I know somewhere safe in Blind Hill but we need to hurry", he demanded with a nod toward the woman, "because you won't want to be out at dawn and unfortunately for us all, we're the only people you can trust right now..."

He turned and slithered quickly down an alley. When you were a naga you needed to know the 'less-well-travelled' ways in and out of the city.

Optional - let me know if you want it in or out?
He quickly slid up the tree onto his balcony and unlocked the numerous bolts on his front door whilst he waited for his bipedal companions to climb the ladders.


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At Spark, John Adams was pacing around in the presidental chambers. "I just can't believe how Phil Smith is ridiculing me all over Odox. He called me an orc-lover for not finishing my Dark Orc Law fast enough. He doesn't understand that I don't hate the orcs as a species but that I want to keep my people safe from any Dark Orc worshippers. There's a big difference between a common orc and a dark orc."

Feandra Riverwing stood a little further in the room, watching him getting all worked up. "Sir, while Smith may call you a weakling, many other species see you as dangerous because of your controversial views. If I may so blunt, some people even compare the two of you. Unfair, I know, Smith is far more radical than you are. But perhaps it would be wise to make a peace offering to the orcs?"

John Adams chuckled. "Oh Feandra, this is exactly why the people wanted me to replace you. No one is waiting for a peace offering. The people want the orcs to prove themselves as pacifists. From there, trust can be earned. Years ago creatures like the naga and the werewolves proved their worth and despite living underground, they are generally accepted by all. Even the vampires are tolerated. Not exactly my favorite race but at least they are trying to co-exist with us."

After frowning heavily, Feandra sighed. "You know, John, sometimes I think you will only be satisfied when the orcs decided to go live in the downworld too." John chuckled softly. "Don't be ridiculous. You know they would shred the vampires to pieces. And that would leave us with one less ally."

All of a sudden an alarm went off and two heavily armed men came into the room. "President Adams, Minister Riverwing, we have a situation. Please let us escort you to safety." Seeing the confusion on their faces, one of the guardsmen elaborated. "Orcs, sir. And not the kind that is willing to talk." John's eyes widened in fear. "Zuxzut." he whispered. The guardsman nodded to confirm. "And sir, there is more. Phil Smith has been alerted and he gathered a group of men that wants to fight the orcs." Both John and Feandra sighed deeply. "I know he only wants to protect the people but that fool is going to make everything even worse. I bet he is live broadcasting this as we speak."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile at Blind Hill

Kjolmar walked up the ladders to follow Ithnesi, while keeping an eye on Dagny in case she should try to run.
"I recognize this neighbourhood. As a lawyer, I often have orcs as clients. One of them lived right here in Blind Hill. Unfortunately, she has passed away of old age recently."

Unknown to the group, they were being watched from a distance. A soft growl was followed by some saliva dripping on grey'ish fur. Kain had disobeyed Shadow's commands and followed the group in order to get his teeth into Kjolmar's neck. There wouldn't even be a struggle, considering that the elf had become addicted to the werewolf venom. Just when he wanted to step out of the shadows and approach the group, he was pulled back by Shadow. "What are you doing up here in your wolf form? You should know better! Listen, there's a live broadcast about an orc attack on Spark. We cannot be above the ground right now. Let's head back!"
Kain morphed into his human form and followed Shadow back towards the underground, frustrated that he couldn't get a little elf bite.

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, Kjolmar paused for a second. His gaze turned to the bushes where Kain used to be a few seconds before. Kjolmar didn't see anyone but he felt as if there had been something or someone he should have noticed, like a gut feeling drawing his attention to that spot. The feeling was similar to when he entered the tunnels. He quickly shook it off and focused back on his fellowship.

A lot of commotion started outside. Kjolmar peeked outside to see what it was about and noticed how some humans and orcs were gathering around some sort of screen. It was nice to see them all get along but he was also curious what was on the screen that got them so worked up. Having great hearing, he focused on the broadcast.

"...Spark... under siege ... massive battle ... unclear how many wounded or deaths ..."

Those where the words he picked up. Kjolmar quickly glared at Ithnesi and Dagny. "Something is going on." He rushed back out of the treehouse and towards the screen, motioning for his company to follow him.

"What is going on?" he asked the crowd. They all had very troubled facial expressions. A human woman explained: "A gigantic assault on Spark by radical orcs. They say the president is murdered!"

An orcish woman shook her head and sighed: "I wasn't a big fan of him but no one here wished him dead. This is going to be bad for our kind too, those who already distrusted us will blame us for the work of these radicals. And Blind Hill is a symbolic place of coexistence. I'm afraid we'll not be safe here anymore."
Another orc replied to her: "This is the safest place we can be! Alphastream is dominated by radicals, they will hang us for living side by side with humans. No, we must stay here!"

While they debated on the outcome of the presidential assassination, some human troops -clearly armed- approached Blind Hill. It was just like the woman said, they would come for revenge. But no one expected it to be so soon. "Avoid human casualties if you can! They might be traitors but our prime target are those savages!" their leader yelled while the troops attacked.

Kjolmar was unsure what to do next. Do they run? Do they fight? Who was the real enemy? Next thing he knew, things were escalating: houses on fire, lots of wounded, chaos everywhere...
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Did she have any choice but to trust the two people who seemed less willing to harm her than anyone else so far? Dagny gradually relaxed, though the heart in her chest was...She placed a hand on her chest and held her breath, fear bursting throughout her entire body - her heart was in fact, barely beating despite the level of anxiety she was in. Was that normal? Was there something wrong with her? And why would she not want to be in the streets at dawn?
Happily, the elf's connection to Feandra distracted her enough and further interaction with the naga made her agree to their terms and so she followed, as best she could to Blind Hill while trying to put the idea that her little encounter with vampires may have cost her a lot more than just a lot of blood out of her head.

--

Following the elf into the crowd, Dagny expected the worst even before he got an answer to his question. She could almost taste the collective fear in the air and the expression on the orcish woman's face was not to be confused for anything else than bitter disappointment. Unwillingly, the vampire-to-be tensed and shivered, though this time not only due to the transformation.
It was bad - terribly so. If the orcs and humans had commenced fighting, there would be no turning back, no negotiation and no chance for diplomacy. It was exactly the excuse that aggressors on both sides had been waiting for.

And the humans were ready for retaliation, even here in Blind Hill, despite the fact that the orcs here meant no one any harm.
Savages?! They were the ones attacking in the first place.
Dagny looked at the elf and naga for assistance, but both seemed to be just as much at a loss as she was. Still, those humans would not be waiting around for long, certainly not long enough for the three of them to decide on a course of action.

"You have no business here!" She yelled back to the leader, stepping forward as the troops advanced. Her forehead was covered in sweat and her hair clung to her face, forcing her to push it out of the way with a trembling hand, but her eyes held that of the human as steadily as ever. There was a burning in her chest that was hard to ignore and the excitement she sensed from the human troops was almost... magnetic. She found it so distracting that she had to fight the urge to approach them.
"These people have nothing to do with what's happening in Spark. If you want fighting, you should be heading that direction instead."

With a groan she placed her hands on her knees, trying her best to steady a now out of order breath. Still, she looked behind her at the elf and managed to speak again: "Aren't you like...a man of the law? Isn't there some way you could use that to intimidate them a little?"

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Kjolmar's jaw dropped as Dagny asked her question. "Are you kidding me?" He paused for a second. "Those men are attacking civilians with weapons. In. Plain. Sight. Do you really think the law is going to stop them? Miss, make no mistake, those men will not be stopped by words. In fact-"

Before he could continue, a blunt object hit him on the head from behind. Kjolmar passed out instantly.
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Ithny threw a furtive glance behind him as he slipped through the tunnels. His scales ground against the stone floor as he manoeuvred his muscular form through each twist and turn. He was still in shock at the evening's events.

He'd transferred from jovial drinks with friends to watching his house burn within the hour. He wiped another tear at the loss of his home that held his life's memories and works. In between both of these moments he'd witnessed an elf get high off werewolf venom and helped a newly bitten vampire victim escape her killers. He was wondering how much his ambassadorship would protect him as the situation escalated. He'd spent the last few hours at the embassy helping to coordinate his people's response to the attack at Spark by the orcs and then Blind Hill, his home, by the humans. He'd been lucky to escape harm, his ambassador ID granting him safe passage through the barricade along with the handful of other naga that lived nearby. However, he could not stop thinking about that poor vampire victim and that damn elf.

Which had led to here. Him sneaking around the tunnels repeating the route they'd done last night in the blind stupid hope that he'd find one of them ok. He stopped and dropped his head. What was he thinking?! He wasn't going to bump into two random people in a maze of underground tunnels in the middle of social unrest. Such an idiot.

He sighed and turned, heading toward the one place that he knew would be unchanged by the chaos above. A place where he could forget what had transpired this evening and drown his soul. The place where it all started.
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When he woke up again, his vision was blurred. He couldn't hear any signs of a battle nor conversations for that matter. He felt restricted, tied up even. In his blurry gaze he saw a figure moving in front of him but he couldn't make out who it was. Whoever it was, he or she wasn't talking. Kjolmar felt different somehow. His body was aching as if he had been wounded, yet his muscles seemed to feel stronger than before. A voice that sounded rather electronic suddenly spoke: "Scanning. System reboot nearly complete. Vision offline. Regeneration malfunctioning. All other functions optimal." The voice made him panic a little. What had happened to him while he was unconscious?

Some other voices sounded from nearby, whispering to each other. "His vision will return shortly. Not sure why we can't get the regeneration cells working. The lab results show that he has underworld venom in his blood, perhaps that could have something to do with it?" The other figure replied: "Well, well, an elf with a venom addiction. That's quite the unexpected twist. Should we pump it out of his system before we continue?" The first voice sighed. "Or we should find someone who possesses knowledge of voodoo and make the fullest of the venom."

An uneasy feeling overwhelmed Kjolmar. He wasn't some sort of rab lat! He pulled loose both of his arms and legs with a relative ease and while the mysterious figures panicked, Kjolmar was determined to escape whatever his hostage place was. "Stop him!" he heard while he started to run. "Warning: hostile projectile incoming." a voice said. Instinctively, he ducked and a huge explosion knocked him backwards.

His sight returned and he noticed the room utterly destroyed. He no longer saw his chasers and had no idea if they were dead or if they had run away. He looked at his body and wondered what they had done to him. What did those mysterious people say earlier? They wanted to find someone who knows voodoo in order to fix his regeneration cells? Kjolmar tried to think quickly. If anyone would know voodoo, it were the downworlders. Trying to keep it together, he made his way to the tunnels.

Kjolmar had made his way to the Triad, some sort of council of the downworld consisting of the leaders of each downworld race. He had asked them for help, wether it'd be voodoo or otherwise. The naga leader wasn't very interested in helping Kjolmar with his 'malfuctioning' and claimed to know very little about voodoo. The vampire leader knew exactly how to help but simply refused, having pleasure in Kjolmar's troubles. Kjolmar wasn't one to beg and knew it would be pointless considering the vampires could be quite cruel. The only thing in his favor was that Shadow, his werewolf venom supplier, was also on the Triad. Shadow tried to convince the vampire leader to share any knowledge about voodoo with Kjolmar but they didn't get very far.

A defeated Kjolmar was ready to leave again when Shadow approached him once more. "Kjolmar, I can't pressure the vampire leader to spill the beans but I do know someone else who might have this knowledge. You remember the werewolf you met during your last fix, Kain? He tends to know all about such unspoken magic."

Kjolmar sighed deeply. "Great. The only guy who can help is just as selfish as those vampires. I might aswell give up now. At least the naga admits he just doesn't care."

Shadow frowned and looked deep into Kjolmar's eyes. "Kain might come across a bit harsh but he's not a bad guy. If he sees it's really important to you, he will help you where he can."

Clearly not very convinced, Kjolmar rolled his eyes. "Fine, I'll go find him at the usual spot. It sure beats the upworld right now, the orcs would burn me alive for trying to find a voodoo master and those humans aren't much better to be honest."
Voodoo was considered unethical with modern orc tribes and human species. It was also frowned upon by the naga from what he had heard.

Upon arrival, he searched for Kain and explained his situation. Kain was clearly hesitant but hearing that Shadow had sent him, convinced him. With a soft growl, he mumbled "Not here. Follow me." They went even deeper in the tunnels and the little light that iluminated the tunnels started to fade. Kjolmar got a bad feeling about his decision but he kept walking. When they came to what seemed to be a dead end, Kain howled in a very specific way. The wall in front of them shook a little. "It's Kain." he said, and immediatly the wall started to crumble. Kain and Kjolmar continued and got to some sort of underground swamp. "This is as far as I can bring you. If you truly wish to seek the voodoo master, you must face the creature in the swamp. But be warned, young elf... Or well, whatever you have become... The creature is nothing like you've ever encountered."

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Kjolmar hesitated but walked towards the swamp while Kain left. The swamp was quiet, almost too quiet. "Hello?" Kjolmar tried but nothing replied. "I came here for help." he continued. His voice echoed through the cave-like area. "I was experimented on and my regeneration cells are damaged, causing me to feel like merely a fraction of my usual self. I was told voodoo might help me become whole again." The swamp became restless and a creature surfaced, looking like it consisted mostly of bones and rotten flesh. Kjolmar gasped. What had he gotten himself into?

"I can help you." the creature said with a voice that sounded like it came directly from the grave. It gave Kjolmar goosebumps. "For a price, ofcourse." the creature added.

Kjolmar nodded. "I had expected that. Name your price, voodoo master."

It chuckled. "Straight to the point, I see. You are nothing like the previous clients that visited me. Very well... Payment involves three drops of blood. The first drop is from yourself, elven but poisoned with the werewolf venom. The second and third drop of blood have to come from a naga and a newborn vampire."

It was like the creature knew that he had met these kind of people recently. But would he be able to get their blood somehow? "I know where to find those." he admitted. "But if I give you the first one now, you will have to perform your ritual on me. The other two will be payed afterwards."

The creature chuckled again. "Ah, elves and their urge to negotiate, even when they're not in a position to demand anything. Still, I will accept that offer. Step into the lake."

Kjolmar slowly entered the swamp lake and felt a sting in his finger. He noticed a drop of blood flowing through the waters from himself towards the creature. As he dived underwater, he felt himself losing conscience. It was a very similar feeling to being knocked out by the humans earlier. Perhaps all of this was planned somehow? Was someone or something using him as a pawn? "Stop!" he shouted but it was too late. He felt dizzy and passed out.

Not much later he woke up on the ground. The swamp was quiet again, the creature nowhere to be seen. However, he felt completely healed again. The voodoo had worked. Now he had to continue the payment... With a heavy heart, he made his way back to the underworld gathering place and walked up to Kain once more. Kain stared at him. "I'm glad to see you made it out alive. Did you get what you needed?" Kjolmar just nodded without saying anything. Kain frowned and tried to smile. "Good. Now never go there again." Kjolmar didn't even nod this time. Ofcourse he had to go there again, he had to deliver the naga and vampire blood somehow.
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