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Hidden 10 days ago Post by Jojo
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ARLO


“The sun is setting soon. Curfew goes into effect in one hour. Light the street lanterns and make sure that there are no night owls about. Until we find a solution to the infestation of my city, no one leaves their home after dark unless they wish to meet a most unfortunate death.” the old king spoke in a soft but dry voice. The concern in his tired brown eyes was evident even across the court where Arlo knelt. “Once again, the young man you see before you is Arlo, the sole exception to the curfew, and he is not to be interrupted on his patrols. I assure you his research is paramount to our shadow sprite problem. Arlo, you may leave to your duty.”

“Thank you, your highness. Your confidence is well placed.” the man asserted as he rose from his knee. He then turned and exited the room through heavy wooden doors into the main castle interior. Arlo looked and felt out of place among the other men that visited the king. Here people were either royal family, wealthy nobles, or decorated soldiers. He was a penniless wanderer some weeks before he offered his help to the court; he wore simple clothes that were well worn and his hair was loose and unkempt.

On top of the clear class divide between him and the others, the inhabitants of this city did not normally invite a magic user like himself on royal ground, they distrusted magic and those associated with it. But Arlo was lucky to meet a king that had grown just as wise as he was old. The court needed him, and to some extent Arlo needed them. There was not often such a lucrative opportunity to earn money for a wizard in a human settlement, and food has it’s price even for a hungry traveler.

The sun had just begun to set when Arlo left the castle, and soldiers were herding civilians back home before sprites would start manifesting once again. He too would have to prepare for the night ahead, as the situation was indeed a nasty one.

Arlo first arrived at the city a few days ago, at dawn, where he witnessed the aftermath of the night before. A woman lay dead just a few short steps from her home. Her clothes were torn apart, her hair plucked from her head in small patches, bruises covered her skin and blood dripped from her lips. She died slowly in twisted agony, from what Arlo was shocked to be told was caused by a swarm of shadow sprites.

They were small pitch black creatures that were near invisible in the dark, about the size of a rat but humanoid in shape. They became rather aggressive at night but they were harmless and easily driven off by a strong enough light. Arlo had never seen or heard of a group swarming someone like this, and his curiosity would not be sated until he found what caused it.

Arlo kept his gear in the small housing provided to him by the king for use during his stay, traditional style Leveret mage robes that his mother had made for him as a parting gift. A black hooded outfit complete with a horned headpiece made from the skull of a beast his father claimed to have slain when he was younger. And one item he had crafted himself as a channel for his magic long ago, it too made of bone material from an unknown donor. Large and circular he wore it on his back secured by leather straps where it lay flat against him. He could cast magic without it, but his own style was easier with the enchanted device to help him focus. He slid the robe on over his clothes and tied the leather strap fixed to his headpiece around his neck so that it would hang on his back. This way should he need to he could pull it onto his head quickly along with his hood should he need to.

"Just one more thing," Arlo thought. On the bedside table there was a small sheet of paper, adorned on it was the king's seal. He grabbed it and rolled it up to place inside his robe. "just in case a soldier doesn't recognize me."

He left his housing and strolled down the road leading away from the castle, waiting for the sun to set. He planned tonight to see if there was an increase of sprite activity in certain parts of the city over others, hoping that it might lead him to the answer he was looking for.
Hidden 10 days ago Post by Valor
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"It is time for those who choose the way of the sword to suffer the consequences of their choice."




Alexander stared blankly at the horizon. The sun was creeping towards it at an ever increasing rate. However, Alexander knew that he wasn't going to be late. Not for what he had planned tonight. Grigori, his horse, walked at a slow pace towards Wanderneir. By all accounts of logic Alexander should've arrived in Wanderneir well after sundown, but Alexander was known to defy logic on occasion. Alexander slapped the reigns into Grigori's neck lightly, and the surrounding setting blurred as Grigori moved. When everything came back into focus Alexander was riding down the main pathway of Wanderneir castle with Grigori walking at a steady pace once more. Only, he was not riding towards the castle, he was riding away from it. Far in front of Alexander was a young man wearing what appeared to be magical robes and a mask made from bone. Alexander did not approach this man, as he did not yet have a reason to.

However, Alexander could sense something off about this young man. His instincts told him that this young man was destined to encounter something tonight. Alexander wanted to see what exactly that would be. Alexander knew that Kurata had known monsters of myth and magic for some time, but Alexander was also aware of the closeness of the realm between life and death. This closeness would inspire new beings to encroach upon Kurata. The old legends were changing, and word of mouth could no longer be trusted. What was once a peace offering could now be bait to lure something terrible. Alexander let out a slight hum as he considered the future implications of his return to Kurata. The world would be changing soon, and it would be changing in ways that seemed irrevocable.

Nothing to be done about that change. Alexander merely had to kill the effects of it. The shadow that followed such a change brought shelter to many new terrors. Alexander could not kill them all, but perhaps his example would inspire others to take up arms. If they didn't, Alexander hoped that their deaths were at least quick. They probably wouldn't be, from what Alexander remembered of the cruelty that was inflicted upon him during his time away from Kurata.

Grigori plodded along steadily as Alexander paced about his own mind. Even if Alexander was unfocused Grigori knew what Alexander sensed. The horse would follow the young man until what Alexander anticipated happened, or until Alexander was proven wrong. Focusing on the task at hand once more, Grigori wondered what exactly the young man he was following could do. Grigori's profession was rather obvious: Grigori fought. Magical robes were something else. Was the man simply a medium, or a true mage? What kind of magic did he use? How much magic did he use? Or was the whole thing a farce? Alexander was not eager to know, given his history with mages. But at least now he was better suited to his chosen role in life.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by restless
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Morrigan Wren Asherah | Wandering in Wanderneir

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Morrigan eyed the room. She was in a local tavern, more secluded than the rest. Only a few men remained, drinking quietly at their own tables. Ever since the recent attacks and deaths, things had turned gloomy and the air always held fear. Morrigan's wandering thoughts were interrupted by the middle-aged human tavern keeper, Young lady, I would be on your way." His accent was thick, one she identified closely with dwarfs. "There has been a rise of monsters takin' lives once it gets dark. A woman like you wouldn't survive." Morrigan glared at him, but quickly covered it with a smile. She stood and nodded her head. Wearing a light grey, almost brown, tunic and a black corset, Morrigan had disguised herself as a typical peasant woman. It was only typical for a human to believe she wasn't a magic wielder and just a poor girl. She tugged her dark green wool cloak further over her face, hiding the tattoos.

"I thank you for the hospitality and the information. It will be of great help to me." She grabbed her bow from where it had rested on the table and slung it over her shoulder. As she left, the tavern keeper gave her a slight wave before going back to his work. Once the door had closed behind her, Morrigan's smile dropped and she became fully focused of her surroundings. She could hear a group of guards speaking loudly, probably at a different home or shop. Stepping her way onto the cobblestone path, she made her way towards the gates of the city. She intended to leave in the cover of night, before guards caught her lurking about. Whispering a short incantation, her eyes gently glowed. Now she could see more clearly, much like ally cats. Her ability to sense other's 'mana' was lowered, and she relied on herself to hopefully not run into trouble.

Just as the thought crossed her mind a hollow chorus of gasps and a few clicks suddenly overwhelmed her. About five small humanoid shadows surged from the shadows. If not for her sight, Morrigan would not have even seen the sprites coming. "Shit!" Hissing, she quickly pulled her bow out. The sprites were already on her. One was already chewing down on her arm. Taking her bow, Morrigan slammed the blunt end into the next closest sprite. It wailed in pain, shrinking back a bit. Blood was dripping from her arm, ruining her cloak. Morrigan tried to calm herself, using magic now would be a death wish. There was only one thing she could do. "Someone please help!" She cried, trying to draw the attention of the guards or someone. Ripping the sprite from her arm, she thew it to the ground. "Dammit!" She yelled again. There goes leaving quietly.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by Jojo
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Arlo


The man on horseback caught his eye, he stuck out like a sore thumb in the crowd of people. A suit, like a knight, but he hadn't seen him before in Wanderneir. And something about his horse--

The sun had not even dipped below the horizon when he heard the commotion, at first he thought it might just be a scuffle between some rowdy townsfolk and the guards trying to send them home. But then he distinctly hear the words "someone please help", and it was decided he had to investigate. He instinctively throw his hood and headpiece on over his head and took off running in the direction of the noise. The cobblestone road made his feet ache as they fell, as he was more used to the soft soil under his feet. Arlo was as fast on his legs as his father, in comparison to the average human Arlo was lightning quick. He turned a corner where he noticed people fleeing from and then he saw it ahead. A woman, already set upon by some sprites, and the sun hadn't even set yet. The issue was getting much worse as time went on, and he had to act fast to save not only her but to find the source of the infestation.

The low light in the shade of the buildings must have caused an early rising from this particular group, but that wouldn't change their aversion to bright light. Knowing what spell exactly to cast, he charged towards the woman and called out to her.

"Cover your eyes!" He shouted, just before stopping his trot and held out out his palms. The bone gear he wore shown brightly as he murmured an incantation to himself and a ball of shimmering white light metabolized from his hands, quickly expanding outwards and eviscerating the sprites that had attacked. The flash might have nearly blinded Arlo himself, had it not been for the enchanted skull headgear protecting him from any misfires. Winded from the excitement, he approached the woman and removed his hood.

"Are you okay?"
Hidden 9 days ago Post by Valor
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"And now comes the dawn of a changed day. Let us hope the world is prepared."




Alexander knew that the young man had seen him. The quick glances to hide his attention, the shifted gait to try and get a better view. Signs that were telltale that the young man was now interested in him. However, Alexander did not return this interest. It was not up to Alexander to force the hand of fate more than he needed to, and thus the young man would receive no signal, nor a greeting. It was merely a few moments later when a woman cried out for help, and off the young man went. If Alexander still had a mouth, he would've smirked. Once again the clock of fate was ticking forward.

Alexander pulled back on the reigns of Grigori for a moment. The horse was brought to a standstill for just a moment while Alexander watched the buildings. Waiting. A subtle flash was the signal he was waiting for. Alexander tapped Grigori lightly with his heels, and the horse took a single step forward. As Grigori took a step forward, the surroundings shifted and blurred, and soon thereafter Alexander and Grigori were upon the same street that the young man from before had encountered the woman being attacked by shadow sprites. Grigori emerged silently from a long shadow cast by a building, carrying Alexander slowly into view within one of the rays of light allowed by the building.

Alexander was now fairly close to the two of them, though he did not yet speak. Merely watching a shadowed alleyway for a moment, Alexander pondered what might lurk within. In due time, Alexander would finally speak, addressing the two of them. "So. It has indeed begun. It is time for those who have chosen to live by the sword to suffer the consequences of their choice."

Alexander finally turned his head to look down at the two of them, his glowing eye sockets standing out against the shadow cast by the setting sun, and spoke again. "Let us hope you are prepared. It will only get worse."

Alexander considered dismounting, but ultimately decided against it since something worse than a few meager shadow sprites could come at any moment. The agility provided by being on horseback, especially Grigori out of all horses, was quite impressive. Being able to reposition himself in a moments notice was a powerful tool in combat. The lesser minds of simple beasts were easily confused, and thus something as simple as a feint was often more than enough to seal their doom.

Alexander waited now. The new darkness that fell upon Kurata would not be so easily banished.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by restless
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Morrigan Wren Asherah | Wandering in Wanderneir

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Morrigan thrashed her bow at another sprite before a loud voice interjected. "Cover your eyes!" Without hesitation, she followed the command. Even with her eyes closed, the bright light that had been cast still hurt her eyes. She sensed a surge of energy radiating from this man, and it slightly frightened her. "Damn beasts..." Morrigan hissed under her breath and she stood up. Brushing dirt and other bits of sprite flesh from her tunic and cloak, she faced her savior. Morrigan's glowing eyes quickly faded back to the regular pale hazel. Now she was able to meet this newcomer. He was not a sight you see in this kingdom... And to use magic so freely? "You must have a death wish using magic here." Swinging her bow across her shoulder, all of the adrenaline rushed from her body and was replaced by fiery pain. Her left arm was dripping blood and a big gash, at least two inches long, was very noticeable.

Clearing her throat, she pulled her cloak closer around her face. What if this stranger was a new guard that could use magic so he can lure other magic wielders to show themselves? Fear began to prickle down her back at the pessimistic thoughts. "Thank you," She said softly, through gritted teeth, "I take it you..." Her thoughts were once again interrupted by a massive figure. How did that slip through her senses? This... creature also radiated a large sense of power. But it was very different from the one that had saved her. Instinct kicked in and Morrigan had her bow drawn back with two arrows in an instant. Her eyes squinted, was he following them? Who was he? What is he? "So. It has indeed begun. It is time for those who have chosen to live by the sword to suffer the consequences of their choice." Morrigan did not lower bow as he spoke, but gave him a confused look. Just as she opened her mouth to speak to them, he looked at them. His glowing eyes sent shivers down her back. But she finally had the courage to speak, "What are you talking about?" Her voice was cold, demanding. What did he know that she didn't?

Morrigan glared at him- Did he... know? It was impossible, she told herself. The one time she comes back into this hell-bent city and she is caught up in so much. Her hands tingled, wanting to release the arrows and to find her journal. Morrigan had hidden her regular clothing and bags nearby. Her breathing had become a bit ragged. She was trapped between these two men, so running was not an option. On top of that, she was too interested in the words of the monstrous looking man. It had been years since she last saw something of that size, and it did not end well for her or the creature.
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Hidden 9 days ago Post by Jojo
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Arlo

Arlo studied the woman's wounds from where he stood. He was no healer, but he had not yet seen an attack survivor since he began his work for the king. The attack lasted mere moments but yet they managed to cut her up pretty bad, Arlo shuttered to think about what larger groups might be capable of. Luckily, her wound was minor and would be healed with only bandages and time.

In a local like his hometown, shadow sprites would be only a nuisance and settled in an hour by the many casters that call it home; but here where magic was shunned and feared, they were defenseless. Magic would not be the savior of these people. They would not allow it. Arlo had to find the source directly, and get these creatures back to their usual scampy behavior.

Arlo thought that the woman was a native here, and that perhaps his method of saving her was unsettling. So when she asked him if he had a death wish, he took it as a threat until she finally thanked him. Relieved by this, he began to explain that he had the king's permission to use magic however needed, before suddenly the man on horseback he had spotted before had suddenly appeared before them and the stranger he had just saved had already knocked an arrow in her bow. At closer inspection, the knight had something otherworldly about him, as if the glowing eyes wouldn't give that away. Was that stylized armor he saw, or was that his body?

"H-hey, wait a minute now. No need to resort to this, people could get hurt." Arlo said, inhaling deeply to manually draw in more mana to his body. Arlo looked around, the rest of the townspeople had vacated the area during the attack. "Well, more hurt anyway. Please put your arrows away before someone sees you and locks you up."

The knight, or so Arlo had taken to calling him in his head, spoke to them in cryptic language. What had begun? What else was happening in Wanderneir that was worse than the crisis happening right in front of him? Arlo might have assumed that he was talking about a crime he was about to commit, had it not been for his last line.

"And you, you don't have anything to do with this, do you?" he asked the knight calmly.

Arlo noticed the guards were absent during this whole situation, but knowing the nature of the people that lived here they probably ran off with the rest. They dared not mingle with the arcane.
Hidden 9 days ago Post by Sophrus
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Darius


"C'mon ya fat bastard" Darius said to the defender who held the poles of a human, or Golem, dawn cart that held the dwarf's team of servants and a small workshop that could manufacture a surprising array of items and alchemical concoctions. The Defender picked up its pace ever so slightly to fall in line with Darius as they came to the gate of Wanderneir just as the sun falls below the horizon. The guards admired the Dwarven machine as its like had very rarely been seen outside of the fortress mountains of the dwarves.

"Aye! 'e is a sight but oi wish to enter the City" said Darius annoyed that every town and city he had entered with Dark Steel, the Golem, had reacted by ogling at the metallic figure. "An' oi know that the city 'as some dark nasties at night, an' an old dwarf like me don' need you young lads slowin' me down" he said as he took a step forward prepared to walk right past if they keep standing slack jawed.

"Oh, of course sir." said one of the guards "There are shadow sprites at nig-"

"Pay attention lad!" roared the dwarf with a voice that could have been heard over the cacophony of a workshop. "Oi know about the terrible beasties" he said with a thick layer of sarcasm "An' i wan' to go anyways, The Fat Bastard 'ere can take care of this old bastard, so, canae be on my way?"

The soldier blinked slowly deciphering the dwarf's accent, "Ah, yes you should find an inn soon"

"Bah, yes yes" said the dwarf as he strides through the gate. He found himself in an empty street only a couple of minutes of walking with shadows darkening fast and the last rays of the sun fell below the horizon. Darius grumbled incoherently, more grunts than actual words, he dug around in his cart and produced a lantern holding a solid globe of glass rather than a wicked oil lamp. he dropped some glittering iridescent powder and a measure of viscous gel into the globe. The mixture quickly began foaming and producing a wisp of vapor, which produced a faint light. He stoppered the globe which quickly began to produce more light than a good torch.

Darius looks at the guardian who held both poles of the cart and he grimaced "Useless bastard... Copper! get out here!" At his command one of the servant golems stood and climbed out of the cart, it stood somewhat shorter than Darius and its tarnished steel body was only identifiable by a coin sized circle of copper inlaid into its head. "Carry this you git" he said to the small machine holding out the globe lantern. The servant shuffled a bit and held the globe over its head casting a large illuminated area around itself.

Darius wandered a while, turning randomly not worried about the shadows skulking just out of the circle of his alchemical light. Before long he happened upon a queer scene, a mounted knight, a robed man, an armed woman, and the distinct feel of magic in the air. The situation was just interesting enough to pique his interest. Darius and his golem entourage turned to approach the small group.

"Wots all this then?" he said in a voice that would carry to them, and probably several city blocks beyond. "Seems like you younglings should have brought some better light!" he laughed as he casually walked towards the group with the guardian behind and the lamp wielding servant beside the dwarf.




Grave Lord Mortan


The Grave lord set down his tools and inspected his work, an abomination laid on the table with freakish proportions of a human with bulging muscles and a network of stitches holding the flesh inside the creature. Hundreds of pounds of muscle fused into an impossible frame soon to be fueled by black magic. Mortan chuckles, pleased with his terrible creation, but it still needs to be raised. He turns and searches for one of his slaves, a skeleton stands at perfect attention by the door awaiting orders.

Mortan stares in confusion, where were all his minions? he was sure there where more. He glances down at his new beast, "ah" he says to himself, "there they are" once the mystery was solved he turns back to the lone skeleton "Fetch me a soul" he says waving a hand at the skeleton before turning back to the creature and begins carving a few eldritch runes into the flesh of the monster preparing for the final ritual to reanimate it.

a couple of minutes pass before the skeleton returns dragging a half starved man by the arm who cries out in fear and anger trying to resist the undead minion. His starved and weakened body lacks the strength to stall his fate. Once the skeleton comes near Mortan grabs the man by the scalp and pulls him up to eye level. With his other hand the Lich grabs the man by the face and begins quietly chanting a dark incantation. Once spoken tendrils of light snake from the humans eyes and Mortan begins to laugh amused by the cruelty. The man howls in terror and agony as his very essence is ripped from his body leaving a hollowed husk and a sphere glowing like a small star in the hand of the Lich.

Unceremoniously the corpse is dropped to the floor, "remove that" Mortan says to the skeleton now bored with the remains of the human. The skeleton reaches down and drags the husk away to a small pile of desiccated corpses just like the one it hauls. Mortan returns to his work chanting a new incantation using the fresh soul to fuel the terrible power of the beast. Within moments the glowing soul begins to dim and the creature jerks upon the table as unholy life is breathed into it.

"RISE!" commands The Mad Wizard and the creature obeys hauling its bulk off the table to stand before Mortan "Fetch me more souls" he says before the creature lumbers off with a speed that it should not possess in search of any living thing to bring back to its master.
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Hidden 8 days ago 8 days ago Post by Valor
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"It is natural for the old world to resist the coming of the new."




Alexander would've squinted at the disguised elf is he still had eyelids to do that. Her question of what he was talking about was a very valid question, but Alexander had no reasonable means to answer that question. Thankfully, he didn't have to, as he was asked another question, one which had a much more reasonable answer. Alexander made a deliberate choice to not answer the disguised elfs question just yet, and instead answered the question of the young man first. "I have not directly had anything to do with your shadow sprite problem. A new day is coming for this world, and if you wish to survive you had best be ready to rise and meet it."

The latter half of Alexander's cryptic statement was directed to both of them, and was a sufficient answer, in Alexander's view, to the question asked previously by the elf. Alexander was pondering what exactly was taking the monsters so long to come again when another voice called to them. Alexander turned his horse around on the spot to face the newcomer. A dwarf with robotic servants was approaching them. Alexander regarded the robotic servants as peculiar, but reminded himself that he had been gone for some time.

Alexander, however, remained quiet and did not answer the approaching dwarf. Instead, he merely stared in his mysterious way. He had nothing to presently say to the dwarfs question, since he had no suitable answer for him. Alexander was extensively hesitant to explain anything that he knew about the realm between life and death, for he did not want to inspire anyone to seek it out. Especially with a mage standing just nearby. It would be inevitable that the mage's curiosity would drive him to seek answers, and those who sought answers more often than not found themselves wanting to try...

To Alexander, this was unacceptable. The realm between life and death was unstable enough already. The less people knew about it, the better. Alexander regarded the dwarfs robotic servants briefly. He could most likely destroy them in a fight if needed, though Alexander would certainly not seek to start one. The world he had returned to was far different than the one he had left, that was to be sure. Alexander pondered if there was anything left from the time before. The people would most certainly be long gone by now, but perhaps Alexander would be able to find the old castle of the lord who sent him on his fateful mission.

Perhaps not, as such things had habits of being destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again. Such was the nature of fortifications. Alexander put such thoughts to rest. Dwelling over what was and what could have been was a dangerous and wasteful pastime. Alexander found it better to focus on the here and now, especially on what was right in front of you. After all, what hope could you have of accomplishing a dream if you walked off a cliff while staring at the clouds on your way forward?

None. None at all.
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Hidden 8 days ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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~Miren~


Well today had just been wonderful.

Miren couldn't stand it. The city, that is. The people. The noise. The hustle and bustle of Wanderneir made her ears hurt and body tense. So many people, not like the ruins and old places she usually scurried about in. Not to mention their blatant distrust of magic and otherworldly creatures. Not that she had been on the receiving end of anything - they tried it, they learned quite quickly that her legs were her best asset - but it was still stressful, being among all these people. As soon as she gathered some money, materials, and wrote the last of her findings down she'd leave for another few years or so.

"Ooof~" Setting down a pile of books and research materials on a nearby desk, Miren stretched tiredly yawning. "Haa, spending all day writing and reading isn't good." She grabbed one of her feet, pulling it behind her. Perhaps a walk would do her some good. Maybe a evening jog? Would probably do her some good. Ease her mind and nerves a bit too. Perhaps offer some insight into the current problem of locating that old tomb.

Walking out of the Inn, Miren gave a brief, if quiet hello to the Innkeeper as she left, the friendly human warning her of night dangers. Haha, she had been in a few fights in her time. A few pixies weren't going to get the best of her - she might be be well versed in magic, but she knew how to not get dead when exploring monster infested ruins so she was confident in handling herself...yet, something caused her to pause. Walking down the street, something became increasingly clear.

There were no people around. No Guards, no nothing. It was silent. Far too silent. Silence was just as much of an indicator of danger as too much noise. Stopping in her tracks, the Leveret listened, as she so often did when observing her surroundings. She could hear talking some distance away. Something about magic? And the clamor of metal and what seemed to be mechanical parts. Some sort of machinery? Against better judgement, Miren walked towards the noise.

"...Oh goodness." Ducking behind a nearby building, what she saw certainly wasn't what she was expecting. A group of people gathered together, and one even seemed to be using magic! That was certainly not smart to do here. Not at all. And that skeleton soldier! Part of her was terrified simply because of the way he looked, but at the same time she got the distinct feeling she wasn't in any danger from him, immediately.

Unsure of what to do, Miren simply watched for now, content to hide herself from the group. Something was about to happen, she didn't know what, but experience told her she shouldn't move around carelessly if she was too stick around.
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Hidden 8 days ago Post by Lumiere
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Kaite

Light clicks of eyelids snapped close to the wriggling form of a shadow sprite, a dull blue glow reflecting off of the blankly pleasant expression of Kaite. Holding the creature up by its bottom jaw, the ceramisteel digit crushed down on its tiny teeth as it struggled and clawed in vain. Gnawing fangs and claws from various appendages finding little purchase against the smooth stone-like material. Slowly into view came the bulk of the construct's left hand, fingers pulling back against the wrist with the palm opened in a star-shaped section to expose a crimson light accented with a dull whirring which quickly picked up in pitch as it neared the panicking sprite.

The view snaps back as Kaite's head turns in the direction of the distant lights of the city as if having heard something to catch its attention.
A hooded wagon lay mostly sunk into the mud, likely having gone off the rough cobblestone path when the horse's throat had been slit by the beasts which had taken up residence in the wreck to wait out the day. Remnants of chewed limbs poked out of the mire, the occupants likely thrown from their cart before being set upon by the ilk of the audacious thing Kaite was in the process of tormenting. While his tattered attire was freshly ripped from an attack, most of the smarter sprites scattered when their would-be victim responded with a dark curiosity where they would have expected fear. As a result, the unsubmerged section of the cart had a hole blasted through it, the fabric of the hood having burned off and lay smoldering in the muck. An eviction notice.

Kaite abruptly flicked his wrist with dismissal, earning a faint squeak from the creature before the crunch of its snapping neck and spine from the whiplash silenced it. The glowing arm swiftly reset itself as he tossed the limp monster to the side to crumple in the middle of the road without so much as a glance. His head smoothly panned along an X-axis rotation before reaching a signpost where he then looked down to read 'Wanderneir'. The sign having been knocked over from the wreck, he was left to assume it was in reference to the nearby settlement. Judging how the sign had been broken, Kaite quickly discerned the correct way to walk down the road which curved into the swamp to reach the main road.
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Hidden 8 days ago Post by Jojo
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Cider


The shallow stagnant waters of the swamp were a comfortable home for any slime, the water was a relaxing and safe place to rest. When Cider slept, he could not maintain his normal humanoid shape and he became a puddle almost indistinguishable from the swamp water in the moonlight. Sometimes his next meal would even stumble right into him trying foolishly to cross the swamp water in low light conditions. Other slimes shared his home but they were much simpler than him, even Cider could tell he was out of place among them. He could not remember where he came from, but he recalled a friendly face, a human face.

It was sufficiently dark now that some of the small glowing creatures would begin their flight, and the leaves of the plants in the water too began to shine a deep blue. In an otherwise exceedingly dark place they provided some beauty, and Cider appreciated them even if he couldn't think of the words to call them.
Hidden 8 days ago 8 days ago Post by restless
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Morrigan Wren Asherah | Wandering in Wanderneir

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"I have not directly had anything to do with your shadow sprite problem. A new day is coming for this world, and if you wish to survive you had best be ready to rise and meet it." Morrigan continued to glare at him. He dodged her question. Or decided not to answer the way she intended. There was no point in her trying to get information from this thing. Sighing heavily, she began to drop her bow as a newcomer approached. Heavy and loud, a dwarf butted into the group. What the hell was happening? Where are these people coming from? She had to think very carefully about her next few words if she was to escape this... predicament. Morrigan cursed at herself mentally, why would she ever call for help? "Well, if you excuse me... My husband is probably worried sick that I haven't returned." Morrigan slung the bow over her shoulder and began backing away, more towards where the entry of the tavern. With a slight turn, "-Ah, thank you again... I never caught your name?" Morrigan hurriedly asked. She did not trust that mounted man, and his presence caused her uneasiness. And that damn dwarf would draw so much attention! At this rate, Morrigan was bound to be hanged by morning. The only thing that could get her out of this situation was her magic, or hopefully this man that saved her. His robes were nice, and he had openly used magic in this kingdom that is so against it.

Morrigan was becoming more antsy by the second. She needed to get back to her journal and her regular, comfortable armor. Darkness flickered over her eyes for a moment before she set her gaze onto the young man once more. Now that her hands were not occupied with bow and arrow, she put her hand over her open wound. It had ruined her peasant tunic and handmade corset with blood stains. As she awaited a reply from the mage, her eyes wandered towards the golem that seemed to be under the dwarfs control. It was a weird creation she hoped never to dip her fingers into. It seemed too machine-like to have a will.
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Arlo


Somehow, Arlo believed the knight. Strange appearances aside, he could tell that he wasn't capable of such a thing. He didn't seem to be a caster, and if he was so outwardly aggressive as to beset someone with shadow sprites he would have already attacked them.

He owed his level-headed reaction to the scenario before him to his already bizarre adventure since he left home. Running into interesting characters and strange happenings was just part of the experience to him. However, the dwarf was something of a sight he had never seen before. Machinations of the sort were exceedingly rare, and had he not already been preoccupied he might have flocked to the dwarf asking to study his creations. His eyes lit up with excitement towards the dwarf, but he quickly remembered the situation. Turning his head to see the dwarf also allowed him a glimpse of something else, movement rushing behind a building. He stared off towards it for a moment and tried to determine what it might have been. A villager rushing home perhaps? No, this was more familiar to him. He could swear he saw a leveret. But in Wanderneir? No, his mind must be playing tricks on him.

Arlo's attention was gained again by the elf he had saved as she spoke. His name? He realized in the confusion that he had not introduced himself.

"Listen, everyone. My name is Arlo, and I'm the acting court wizard under King Lancaster. I've been hired to seek out the source of the shadow sprite crisis, and have express permission to use whatever at my disposal to do so. While it seems all of you are capable people, I must advise that you seek shelter until dawn. If the guards of this city see you out at night you wont be charged with a crime but you might be placed in a cell until daylight for your own safety."

Arlo turned towards the dwarf, one of his creations held a strange light that seemed bright enough to travel safely.

"Sir, I know you don't know any of us, but would you be kind enough to escort these people to their homes should they need it? I still wish to talk more with each of you, you can all find me tomorrow morning in my housing near the castle, third house on the right."
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Gerard Voss | Approaching Wanderneir


"Go to Wanderneir they said. Stop irritating the dwarf traders, again, they said. Stop coming back after every expedition, they said. The main road being through a swamp was hardly mentioned. And not even an interesting ruin in sight..." The blue coat and dark silver trims of the long coat that was being worn by the human would normally be fairly decent at not standing out in low light situations. Of course, the shock of pure white hair did not help in that matter at all, nor did the fact he was keeping his surroundings well lit. A small crystal was hanging from his belt, having been resting in a pouch before needed, and trapping a small amount of agitated mana inside of it and letting it refract, thus producing light. He knew full well that swamps hid all sorts of things, from Slimes to other beasts, so the last thing he needed was to stumble into something blind. It wouldn't be fun for anyone involved then, realy.

With his surroundings lit, Gerard was keeping to the dry patches as best he could. Swamps held all sorts of nasty, tricky things for those unaware. Last thing he needed was for his gadgets and experimental pieces of equipment to get lost in some swamp and rust into nothing. Considering the state of the roads, such as they were, he was mostly working off the clear spots he could see Wanderneir in the distance, plus the odd sign that was either damaged or otherwise present to some degree. At one point he had caught the sound of something moving through the brush and low lying swampland, and he had produced his Shortcaster, the six barreled contraption, and was moving through the area with it in hand just in case. The bioluminescence was a boon to a degree, but it only lit some areas. The problem was the areas that were not lit, which meant he produced his own light, though nowhere as potent as a proper torch or lantern, it took up far less space and mana to use.

"Last time I was in a swamp, nearly stumbled into a Slime den, near enough for them to wake up. Took nearly a week to clean the goop off my boots..." Such was a habit of his, constantly muttering or talking to himself, it kept him focused and alert instead of constantly trudging on in silence. He had to constantly sweep and search the area as he moved forward, sometimes angling the light from his crystalline replacement for a lantern to light up suspicious deep spots. Again, he had no interest of stumbling into a Slime bathing pool and having to try and fight his way out. Sure, he had no doubts he could manage, but that didn't mean he wanted to. "Should have left earlier, then again, would have been leaving at night to get through this swamp by nightfall. At least on foot..."
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Sir Kay


Dusk went past. Light gave unto darkness, as a small spectacle of beautiful eerie light set ablaze. The night was alive in the swamp, that was beyond doubt. But Sir Kay knew that looking into that enrapturing spectacle could prove fatal to the unskilled. He pressed the fresh mud with his finger as he knelt by one of the swamp many ponds. It certainly was soft, and imprints and tracks left on that mud were clear as a day... if they were recent.

Those tracks he had found earlier, and had justified a more throughout inspection of the swamp, were actually not remnants of an ages long past, but they were quite recent. Given the nature of those, it was an alarming finding. Were them hoofprints or trails, he would not have given them a second thought. He could have accepted normal human footprints, but those... A shallow depression with the shape of a foot... were it to be stripped completely out of the flesh. Something unnatural. A skeleton footprint. As if the beasts and slimes weren't enough, the swamp had the telltale signs of undead.

The nature here is warped. It's not readily apparent, but it is warped. He added mentally as he strained his sight to see in the shadows to see where the trail ended. It disappeared in a puddle of some sorts. Apprehensively, Kay grabbed a pebble, and tossed it to the apparent puddle. It writhed and reacted to it.

Damn slimes, they had erased a vital clue that was most needed.

Kay felt defeated, but there was so much he could do in the night in the particular swamp. He stood upright and tried to get his mare's reins, when his mount turned to a side. She had heard, or seen something. Kay knew that horses could see much better than humans at night, so he stood silent. The ramblings of a man could be heard, in harsh whispers. A intermittent source of light was shown at times. A bandit? No, he did not move like someone trying to be stealthy. He... seemed incovenienced. A traveller, and probably a highborn, given his overall shape and the glimpses he could get out of clothes. He didn't look to be a necromancer either.

Damn...fool. Kay resisted the temptation to facepalm as he swiftly grabbed his mare's reins and caressed her nose. "Easy, girl. We need to do a last stretch of travelling and then I will let you rest." He whispered into her ear as he moved to appear in front of the stranger, his mare behind her.

"Hail traveller." He said curtly. "I do not comprehend what would push someone like you..." He paused for a second, eyeing the strange contraptions the man seemed to have"...of noble repute to prowl a swamp like this at this time of the hour, but you should make haste to reach town." That man seemed familiar? Maybe one of those arrogant faces of his youth? Who could've known.

He inhaled, as he finally realized the man had been zigzagging through the dry spots. He would never reach town at this rate. "Actually, it's better if you hop on my mare's rump. We may have to wade through if we want to make haste."

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Darius

When the boy said the guards would 'arrest' people at night for their own protection Darius nearly burst out laughing and managed to keep himself down to a, rather loud, snort. He thought how funny it would be for a guard to try and arrest himself and the golem, mostly because of the stunned expression on the guards at the gate when they observed his golem much less if they tried to arrest it. Part of him wondered how long it would take for a few guards to find him and work up the courage to try... He decided that it would take too long and his old dwarf bones where too tired to wait for a good chuckle.

The robed human asked for Darius to escort these two back to somewhere safe. "You wot boy?" he said, while certainly sounding grumpy at the request there was no malice behind his words. "You want me tah escort this..." Darius said 'escort' sarcastically but trailed off when he glanced at the knight before grunting. "hrmpf, Creepy bastard and this ah, wee lass eh? Oi reckon the creepy bastard can handle a quarrel wit one o' the shadow beasties, maybe two." He says with a laugh knowing full well that the knight would probably put up a good fight for his Defender or scores of the shadow monsters. "As for askin questions.. if oi don' have anything else to do when you find me lad ill answer what you wish, but you will owe me an ale for each question alright boy?" and strategically not awaiting a reply to make a negative answer impossible "Thats a good lad"

Darius pondered a moment before actually answering the question "Oi suppose if you younglings care to follow oi won't try to stop ye, but oi want one of these shadow beasties if we can catch one of em." He smirked "Might get some shadow essence, or skewer one up some cooking" He laughed again finding himself hilarious, and knowing full well that probably none of the others would agree. "Oi will need tah know where a good tavern is, has tah be one with good ale" he said with a wink towards the group in general.

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Gerard Voss


While horses were certainly sharp in their senses, sharper than your average human, Gerard did hear the shifting of brush, armor, and movement approaching him all the same. Sure enough, as he turned the small light onto the approaching figure and his horse. Once the pale, clearly artificial, light was cast onto horse and rider, several facts were made readily clear. Firstly, this fellow was either stupidly rich, or well beyond his concern to be picking fights with, if he were that sort. Even on horse back, he estimated the man to be at least six foot, if not taller, and clad in what appeared to be dragon scale, or appeared as such. He had never seen dragon scale first hand, but descriptions from dwarven smiths that had worked on such materials matched what this knight was clad in. The sword reeked of enchantment, for those with the senses for it, muted as they were from this distance. The rest of his considerable kit was taken into stock, well forged shield and lance, though the bow was hidden out of sight for now. The man broached a curt greeting, as to why a noble born would be out in the swamps at night, and should make his way to the nearby town. Yes, well, that had been the plan all along, thank you very much.

"Hardly noble birth, can't say the same for the last owner of this coat though. Shame the necromancer got to him before I did though..." That was an old story, where he had gotten his hands on the coat that was well above what he would be paying for traveling attire, at least typically. Adjusting his glasses, he holstered the Shortcaster as he spoke to this knight, considering he need not be armed while staring down a mounted knight in dragon scale. Upon recommendation that he make his way to town, he cocked an eyebrow at the knight before shrugging idly. "Really? Well, and here I thought it would be easier to find a slime to cozy up with for the evening. What a shame."

The tone of voice that Gerard had was, all the same, dripping with sarcasm since he had already been making his way towards where Wanderneir had been located. He had been making steady progress during the day, though the night had slowed him down, he should have been able to reach the town in the next few hours at this pace, given the likely location of the town itself. When it was mentioned he would be better off hopping onto the horse's rump and ride the rest of the way, he shook his head in a negative fashion. "And be indebted to someone who can afford those kinds of arms and armor? Funny. I would likely be better off casting myself into a slime pit at that rate." From the sounds of it, Gerard was certainly wary of the offer of charity, and given his response, it was likely he had, in his younger years, taken up such an offer and been left worse for wear in the long run.

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"Forward into the darkness of the unknown."




Alexander merely stood idle as the group around him made small talk. Thus far he had nothing important to say in response to anyone. The injured woman seemed eager to leave, and Arlo seemed eager to talk. The dwarven mechanist found the whole situation amusing, and if Alexander had not been hardened he might've found humor in it too. His old band of mercenaries found humor in most things, it was one of their ways to cope with the stress of the battlefield.

As the group gradually drew to silence, Alexander took the moment to speak. "I would advise seeking shelter for tonight. There is something more going on here than meets the eye. Be mindful of what is around you." With that, Alexander would turn his horse around and urge Grigori forward. Soft hoofbeats echoed momentarily until Alexander would vanish into a shadow. A soft tap of the heels and the two of them vanished, which the group arranged would only be able to notice as a sudden vanishing of Grigori's hoofbeats.

Where Alexander went to was unknown, but he would return later for sure.
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Sir Kay


Kay eyed his interlocutor, his heroic willpower being tested to not leave a deep and long sigh. Of course, of all stranded travellers he had to come and try to assist, it had to be the one who thinks he's smarter and skilled above anyone else. And with horrible sarcasm, he must add. Still, he kept his composture as he cleared his throat.

"Beg you pardon, my good fellow. I was unaware that a fine man like you had such... exotic tastes." He decided instead to run with it. Frankly speaking, the smarm this man was giving was quite noticeable. Plus there was to note the contraption he held. Maybe he was a tinkerer of some sort, emboldened by some success in his craft? He also felt somewhat insulted by his words. Debt? He was not going to extort any kind of favour from his goodwill. He was doing the right thing to do, without expecting a reward, like a good errant knight should do.

"However, before you resume your appreciation for the humid embrace of the slime-folk I must insist in my offer, for I have seen proof that the dead walk in this swamp." He paused. "And I must clarify that I do not do this to be owed in any manner, I am a man of honour and I will not let the innocent be in danger if I can help it." Sir Kay finished, expecting a reply.

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