Hidden 7 mos ago 7 mos ago Post by Ghost Shadow
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Damon Tardif



Rain. From the turbulent Eastern seas came torrents of it, casting storms on Warren that scarce could be found elsewhere. Few within the settlement would complain, however: the rain brought fertile fields, clean drinking water, and water for clothes-washing. Yet, for the Hunter, rain only muddied the tracks.

Damon Tardif's work saw him all across Candak, meeting - and hunting - men and women from all walks of life. Some prey were well-off, wealthy even; others had barely a coin to their name. Some acted out of desperation, while others relished in their wickedness. Motive mattered not to him, only the chase.

But now, he was close to home, the closest he'd been in months. Through all his travels, the work that had taken him halfway across the country into Aigeovarth, he couldn't forget home. The people, both old and young, could barely tolerate his presence. Even those who'd known him as a whelp had nothing for him but scorn and disdain. Warren had enough hunters, one Tardif wouldn't send the settlement into ruin.

The trail he followed, smeared as it was, led in pursuit of a murderer, a man named Caulfield. Farmhand-turned-fugitive after a quarrel over payment left the farmer dead in his own homestead. He had come from one of the smaller villages, several leagues north from Warren. Unwalled hamlets like that could spare only a few guards, making a skilled bounty hunter an invaluable asset in tracking down lawbreakers.

The surrounding forests past civilization were dense and uncharted, but familiar to Damon, who spent his earliest years tracking beast and creature alike through the maze of woods and trees. It was familiar land to him, and that was all the advantage he needed.

After walking at least an hour, crouched and cautious to avoid detection, Damon spotted a small clearing in the distance, marked by the sight and stench of smoke.

Approaching from the fringe of the treeline, Damon caught clearer sight of the pitiful campfire, doused by the rain, a wispy smoking mockery. And before it, his prey. Caulfield was broad and well-built, no doubt a result of his occupation. But his expression was anything but confident. Fearful, on-edge, like a deer caught scent of wolves. And indeed, the wolf had come.

On bended knee, Damon drew a light crossbow from his back, loading a single quarrel from his belt, and locking it into place with an ominous click. Mounting the crossbow on his shoulder, Damon zoned in on his target, pausing to wipe the droplets collecting on his helmet.

There was a lull - silence, preparation. Then he pulled the lever. The quarrel cut through the air like a well-aimed dart, landing its mark straight in the farmhand's upper thigh. With a choked cry, Caulfield sprawled to the ground, hands reflexively grabbing at his leg, mind still trying to process what had just happened.

Through grit teeth and agonized breath as the pain started to overwhelm him, pain quickly turned to panic as he realized someone was pursuing him. Adrenaline kicked in, and the runaway criminal attempted to desperately crawl away from his makeshift campsite. It was a futile but determined gesture, that even as his fight-or-flight instinct prodded him forward, Damon caught up to him in only a few strides.

Wordlessly, the Hunter grabbed the farmhand by the locks of his hair in a single gauntleted hand, forcefully lifting his head aloft. The last thing the farmhand saw was Damon's other hand, clenched in a fist and flying towards his face.

Caulfield awoke some minutes later, head pounding as he tried to take in his surroundings - all from an upside-down perspective. It took only seconds to realize that he had been tied by his feet around a low branch, hovering a foot-or-so off the forest floor. The next thing he saw was Damon seated before him upon a rock, sharpening a large deer-antler hunting knife against a whetstone. Through steel half-helm and navy-colored bandana, the Hunter's expression was utterly unreadable. But unmistakable was the slight motion as Damon looked up, seeing his prey conscious and confused.

"Hrrm, 'bout time you woke up." The Hunter's voice was gruff and menacing, slightly muffled through the fabric of his face-covering. Rising from his makeshift seat, Damon in long strides, moved towards his captive, who wriggled, terrified, in response, mouth flapping trying to conjure a cry, a call for help.

"No point in screaming. No one to hear you but the beasts that live here, and..." Pausing, Damon grabbed Caulfield by the arm, holding it in place as he suddenly slashed his dagger across it, leaving a crimson-red gash that immediately started bleeding. As the runaway cried out in pain, Damon roughly clamped a hand over his mouth. "And they know the smell of blood, the sound of wounded prey. So keep your mouth shut, or I'll leave you here for them to find." Waiting for what felt like an eternity, Damon freed the farmhand's mouth, disdainfully wiping his gauntlet against his leg.

"You know why I'm here, same reason you're on the run. The only question now, is whether I'm gonna flay you or scalp you." Letting his words hang in the air, the murderer coughed out a sob, flailing futilely against his bindings. At this, the Hunter started to laugh: a harsh, snorting laugh that boomed across the woods, quickly devolving into raspy, coughing chortles as he found amusement in his prey's fear. "Don't worry, I'm not that heartless. You'll be dead first." Surprisingly, the farmhand found little solace in this reassurance.

Once more stepping closer to his captive, Damon drew from his hip a menacing war-axe, chipped and scarred from use, but still as sharp and deadly as when he first bought it. "It's only nature. The strength..." Damon readied his axe, ignoring the pleas of his prey. "To survive."

And the Hunt was complete.
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Edric Beaumont



Candak was no stranger to travelers. The war's end had opened up pathways once unheard of between Men, Elves, and Dwarves, prompting members from all races and backgrounds to travel the roads. Wandering bards finding inspiration for their songs and poetry in the simplistic, imaginative beauty of nature; traveling merchants hauling horse-and-wagon filled to the brim with goods to be sold; and brave adventurers, mercenaries seeking rest in roadside inns and taverns, regaling patrons with embellished, half-drunken tales of harrowing battles and daring rescues. Though Warren was considered the primary travelers hub for those on the road to Aigeovarth, every village and settlement, whether large or small, could anticipate the arrival of some unfamiliar face every now and then.

But Edric Beaumont remained one of the few strange exceptions, a description he had come to all-but-embrace in recent years. Since Brevyon's near-destruction, the persecution of mages became limited now to their own crumbling walls. Wizards and spell-weavers from Elf and Human alike could be found quite commonly in Aigeovarth, and rumor abounded that many of the tribes scattered across the country boasted a shaman or soothsayer. But the lives of men were short, and their grudges long. Superstition was steadfast in the villages, with many wizards still viewed with fear and distrust for their use of the arcane arts.

As a result, cautious mages traveling the roads attempted to hide their magic from the common people, refraining from spell-casting, and identifying themselves simply as wanderers needing a place to rest for the night. But not Edric.

The sole-surviving Beaumont Twin would enter each town bearing confidence born of indifference, garbed in heavy robes of waxed fabric and leather, branded with strange runes and symbols. Every villager felt that same feeling in his presence, a weirdness, so to speak. It was in his countenance, they surmised. The unnatural brightness of his eyes; the manner in which his fingers seemed to twitch constantly, nails tinted a sickly purple; his eerie, unflinching gaze that spoke of experiences no-one else could possibly understand. And the wolf: the ethereal creature that followed him like a loyal hound, seeming to fade in and out of corporeality with every step, like trying to see through smoke.

He was a quiet man, though strange in his mannerisms, polite enough to those who spoke with him. In taverns they found him seated in a table at the corner, drinking wine and flipping through some old tome, often written in a language forgotten by all but the Elves. Though often receiving aside glances and the occasional stare, he was generally left alone, with even the most paranoid thinking twice before attempting to provoke a mystic.

Though often a wayward soul, one who'd reside at the inn only a night before being on his way, something prompted him to stay. A small village, built near the border of Brevyon, Wayright, it was called. Though a modest bustle of life, it was surrounded by death - corpses of the war fought long ago. Abandoned forts, military camps, even one-or-two Minotaur fortresses all stood as macabre memorials to Brevyon's heartless ambition and cruelty. The closer one got to Brevyon's territory, the more danger magic-users were in. Though a generation later, the orphans of war did not forget their parents' hatred of magic, and the races that wielded it. To this day, Elves would mysteriously disappear near the border, with stories told of barbaric witch trials conducted to execute any accused of wielding magic.

But Edric felt no fear, rather, curiosity. What drove him here was the secrets the ruins held, the history within them: remnants of a time left behind.
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Sloan "Rowen" Warrington


Nothing would have been more pleasing than to wring the neck of the man who had given her advice. Realistically, she had no way of knowing that Warren would have been so far out of her way. Especially not from where she had been north of the capital. Rowen had been unable to afford a map, having left home with hardly enough to eat with. A lot of her money had come from failed plunder, and that she had been saving up to get help with.

After spending two weeks travelling she was finally in the rather meek but fortified Warren. The underground highway had been a straight shot through, and she had even been able to ride with a group of supply merchant after walking half way. There had been no real conversation, and despite her gratitude she had kept to herself. The tunnel itself was well constructed, relying on a natural cavern that ran under Grimlaw that the dwarves had used to their advantage while excavating and creating the highway. Large stone arches with intricate stonework supported the ceiling that disappeared into dark obscurity at some points. There was nothing like the handiwork of the dwarves. Even the castles of Brevyon were mere shacks compared to all that she had seen since her return to her homeland, a thought that still felt foreign to her.

Parting ways with the merchants at the end of the tunnel she was greeted with rain. In the tunnel it would have been impossible to tell what time it was had their not been elaborate clocks. She had expected it to be a lot lighter out when she left, but the downpour and darkened sky had dimmed the daylight. The lights of the town were welcoming through the gloom though, and after inquiring to one of the guards who was standing watch at the mouth of the tunnel she was told there was an inn where she would be able to get a place to stay just up the road a bit.

Around her, other travelers were making their way through the street, heading beyond Warren. Others were finding their buyers, or, like her, heading to the inn. It was not a hard place to find, being one of the biggest buildings in the whole town. This only made sense because they had to accommodate all the people travelling through. As she grew closer she could hear the boisterous people inside, many of whom just seemed like they were getting out of the rain for a drink. There was a large porch that stretched across the entire front of the inn, a lot of people loitering around under the cover and chatting.

It was so strange to see everyone so at ease with one another. Strangers and friends alike. Heading inside the warmth of a fire and from all the people hanging around inside began to ease the chill that being underground then in the rain had brought on.

Every day that passed only strengthened her need to find serious help in searching for her missing sister. That is what led her to Warren. The reputation of a certain man had gotten around, and from what she had heard there was no better person to track down the people who took her sister. That is, if she could find him first. Last that she was able to piece together was that he was off towards Warren, which was still no guarantee that she would find him there.

There wasn't much to go on though, so there she was.

Getting a room for a day to start out with, she ended up in a corner room upstairs. The noise from down below her was muffled, even more so when she thanked one of the innkeepers and discarded her things onto the floor. When she looked up her reflection in the small vanity mirror caught her attention. There were dark circles under her eyes that seemed almost a permanent feature as of the recent months. Her usually short cropped hair had grown out a bit, which she would need to take care of before it became the awkward length where it was too short to do much with, but too long to keep from her face. It was still damp from the rain, so she pushed it to the side.

There was no real reason for her to facade that she was a boy anymore. There were no repercussions of it, and in Aigeovarth it wouldn't make a difference. She was beginning to grow from the habit, but she didn't correct anyone if they were mistaken. Rowen also chose to go by Sloan. For years the only person to call her that was her sister. So she chose to keep only one part of her disguise. Things were far less personal that way, and that made everything easier.

Back downstairs she went for a drink, hoping to figure out where her tracker was if she could.
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Arendal Nevarth


Normally Arendal was not one to wander anywhere close to Brevyon. There were certain dangers associated with the area, and the closer that one got to the border, the less likely you were to find anyone but humans or those strong enough to handle whatever occasionally trickled out of Brevyon. It was not a welcoming environment, the shadow of death still having purchase over the land. He knew that it was foolish to really fear any of it. The dead would stay dead, and the living he was more than capable of handling. Above all, there wasn't much of a reason for him to be near Brevyon.

Except for this time. A small favor for a dwarven barkeep that he was fond of, and did odd jobs for whenever he passed through that way. While he had been rather reluctant to go in the first place he agreed. All he had to do was deliver a letter and a small sum of money to one of the dwarf's relatives that was working on opening a shop and needed the investment to get started. He had been paid in advanced, and he hadn't picked up any jobs while in the town, so he had decided to start off in another direction and not linger around.

It had been a while since he had stayed anywhere for longer than a week. In recent months all he had done was go from town to town running errands for people, or just travelling. There had been a desire to move. A restlessness had formed inside of him, and it was something that he still couldn't put a reason or name to. Being aware of it yet not understanding the reason was irritating. So he decided that he would go along with the urge. There was little else he could do.

For the most part the weather had held up, and he got a good ways from the village. When the clouds began to appear in the distance he knew that he was in for a storm. There wasn't time to turn around, and he really didn't want to gamble making it back in time. So he began to look for somewhere dry to stay as the clouds slowly crawled closer and closer across the sky.

It didn't take too long for him to spot a ruin in the distance, though he couldn't tell if it would make for decent shelter or not. Still, it was the closest thing around and he didn't have time to be picky if he wanted to avoid the soaking that a storm would give him.

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Damon Tardif



It was a slow walk back, bogged down by storm and wind that broke against him with every step. Yet there was a ritual calm, the stillness of a successful Hunt. And the mark of it: a bloody scalp held between Damon's fingers, staining his glove crimson. Should one travel back to that spot, they'd find Caulfield's corpse, maimed by Damon's handiwork, left to nature. A return to the fold.

Even from his vantage point in the woods, Damon could see the distant lights of Warren ahead of him, a welcome boon to the road-weary traveler: promise of safety and rest. But Damon felt no such comfort - rather the anxiousness of uncertainty. With growled muttering, he steeled himself and pushed forward. The people despised him; but he despised them right back. The cowards wouldn't dare muster more than a rumored whisper or wandering eye in his direction. None of them had tasted blood, felt the thrill of a true Hunt. They were like sheep: docile, complacent. And he a lion amongst them.

But this was once his home, its people his people. The community he had grown up in. But he had changed in all-but-name, and that's what they hated him for most.

Emerging from the border of trees into Warren proper, Damon saw a sea of faces both old-and-new. Travelers, merchants, seeking food, beds, other commodities the village offered. And its people more-than-willing to oblige. Damon carved through the modest bustle in a beeline towards the inn, that great fortress. It was no grand mead hall, certainly, but the inn was one of Warren's largest buildings, and, as some in town believed, one of its oldest. Built by Warren's first settlers, it was said: as hardy and strong as they were. The people of Warren prided themselves on that, their sturdy, simple nature.

Stepping onto the porch of the inn with heavy step, the idle chatter and conversation around him seemed to slowly fall to silence. Even those inside could hear the sound of heavy mud-caked boots on old wood, and somehow, someway, they knew who had returned.

With wide motion, Damon swung open the door and stepped foot inside, bringing with him the chill of death from outside; its frigid, fearful wind. The loud and boisterous talkers stopped, some even mid-sentence, and turned to see their fear realized; the moment they laid eyes on his leather-scale armor and scarred helmet.

"You're not welcome here, Hunter! Blood sheds where you step!" A single voice arose from behind the bar, possessed by a fleshy, bosomy woman in a loose apron. Stepping out onto the floor, the woman raised a wooden spoon with the same ardor a knight would draw a sword, and though lacking in stature, she fearlessly craned her neck to stare Damon down.

There was silence first, a palpable tension that left all but the most drunken patrons at the edge of their stools as they wondered how the Hunter would react. After only a few seconds, Damon snorted abruptly, letting out a wry chuckle at the woman's expense. It could be seen in her face, a brief flash of confusion that this wasn't the reaction she was expecting.

"You've known me since I was at my mum's teat, Myrna. Least you could do is use my name." He finally said, moving past the doorway - and her - towards the seating area. "Besides," he stopped, "if I were here on work-related business: you'd know."

Myrna weakly raised her spoon, as if contemplating attacking him with it anyways, but she soon resolved against it, letting her flabby arm fall to her side. "Getting mud all over my floor." Was the last thing she grumbled before heading to the back for a broom.

"Easier to clean than blood." Damon replied, more to himself than anyone else, accompanied by another quick hoarse laugh as he spied out a table for himself. He avoided the mass of stares and glances towards him, from residents who already knew of his reputation, and newcomers wanting to find out.

What he did see that caught his eye, however, was a young woman who seemed to be looking right back at him. It was a different look from the others, as though she had been looking for him. He wasn't sure how much she could see past the eye-holes of his helmet, but they seemed to maintain that gaze for a few seconds longer than typical, perhaps trying to read the other's expression.

Finally, Damon simply nodded once at her, and walked away towards his own table.
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Edric Beaumont



Edric haunted the ruins like a specter, skulking around corners making barely a racket. But his presence, his energy could be felt. The magic that emanated from him. Some theorized that all living creatures were bound by magic in at least some way. The essence, the soul was their tie to the innate magical forces of the universe. The scholars in Brevyon were vocal opponents of such an idea, of course, quick to stamp out any mention of magic. To them it was perverse, unnatural, it's nature feared and misunderstood. Yet for all their ignorance and bigotry, there was at least a nugget of reasoning in their beliefs. Magic was certainly an eldritch force: difficult to control and quite capable of overpowering all but the strongest of sorcerers. It opened up avenues to darkness that could infect the mind and soul, warp the very essence of reality itself, and perhaps even elevate one to godhood.

Yet to those who could touch the Magicka within them, there was a calling, an intrinsic want and desire to commune with it, understand its nature, harness its energy - whether for good or ill.

For some wizards, the Call manifested a different way, with an obsessive thirst for enchanted weapons and relics. Indeed, Edric devoted many years to such a pursuit, plundering countless caves and ruins in search of even the smallest trinkets blessed with arcane energy. Such could be seen on his person, as each step was accompanied by the soft clinking of necklaces, brooches, and rings that adorned his clothes, often inscribed with strange engravings and messages written in languages outside the Common Tongue.

The sky had darkened over the hour-or-two he had been exploring, with smell of storm's approach on the horizon. Such didn't bother him, he'd weathered rain and hail before. But what caught his attention was the presence of another wandering into his discovery. He could sense the crackle on the air, the metallic sweetness of magic. The Wolf had sensed it first, uttering a low growl in its throat as a warning to its partner.

Edric nodded once, scratching the wolf's head in thanks, smoky wisps of fur coalescing around his discolored fingertips. Stepping out to see the stranger proper, Edric was, for a moment, taken aback. An Elf: or at least one who looked like an elf. A head taller than he and thin as a rail, with fair complexion and hair like melted gold.

"You look out of place, friend." Edric said aloud, in a tone that was, perhaps meant to be joking. "Brevyon's not particular for either of us-- certainly less-so for one of the Fair Folk."
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Sloan "Rowen" Warrington


Rowen had ordered a drink and sat herself down amidst a good many people, hoping to catch any information before she had to start digging for it herself. She was good at finding things out, and she was no stranger to inquiring about things that could be touchy. However there was a reluctance and weariness in her to have to coerce people into talking. Besides, it seemed as though her hunter had a reputation from all that she had heard, and the last thing that she wanted was to get herself into trouble by asking one wrong question.

The longer she sat the more she heard. None of it seemed to be what she needed though. There was enough to keep her mildly entertained and stall her from her inquisition. There was a lot of talk about the wall, the things that people had seen on the other side, and stories of things that had gotten through before. Creatures she had only heard of before were mentioned, described in exaggerated ways, and there were things that she had never heard of before that she could only take the word of the people for.

She had gotten another drink and just started on it when the place seemed to die. Looking up she saw that a man had walked in. Immediately she knew that this was who she had been searching for. The silence was broken by the woman doing her best to get him to leave, only affirming what she knew already by calling him 'hunter'. She must have been staring, because when he began to walk towards a table he nodded in her direction. Even after realizing she still couldn't look away. For the first time in a while it felt like she was potentially getting closer to finding her sister, even if it was just a fleeting feeling.

The atmosphere of the place had shifted drastically, some people leaving, others sharing whispers or beginning to drunkenly carry on their conversations. Finishing her second drink she built up the nerve to get up and go over to him. The only thing she feared was him saying no, not the glances that seemed to bore into her back with every step that brought her closer to where he was sitting.

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Arendal Nevarth


The ruins grew closer and closer, and he continued on at a fair pace. The wind had picked up at his back, speeding him along. A low rumble of distant and rolling thunder made it clear that he wouldn't have made it back to the village in time. He only hoped that the ruins would provide decent enough shelter for him to avoid being soaked. Since it was so close to the border he hoped that he wouldn't have to contend with anything else. Just because Brevyon detested magic didn't mean it didn't exist. There were plenty of things that like the type of energy that places like that; none of which he cared to encounter on a good day, let alone when a storm was coming.

The ruins were now upon him, and he could tell that it was a lot more intact that it had seemed from a distance. A lot of overgrowth had obscured parts that were still standing, and he knew that it would be sufficient enough.

Out of the shadow of an opening a figure seemed to melt out, taking him by surprise. His hand gripped his staff a bit tighter as he assessed the situation that he just walked into. A man stood there, his bright eyes surveying Arendal. Behind him an ethereal wolf watched as well. He was momentarily put off by the man's appearance, but his tone wasn't exactly threatening though.

If he had wanted to harm him he probably could have done it while he wasn't paying attention instead of surprising him like he did. Still, Arendal didn't fully let his guard down. "That is why my kind avoid coming near the border," he said, regaining his composure. "I was under the impression that I would find this place empty. I made the mistake of misjudging the weather when I set out this morning. I was hoping to stay out of the storm."

He still hoped to do so, but didn't want to start something if the man was doing something in the ruins that he was trying to hide.
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Damon Tardif



Glares bored into the back of his skull, Damon could feel them sharp as any dagger. In his earlier years, it was an agonizing sensation, the feeling of ostracizing from one's own tribe, community. Old friends, neighbors, even family members saw him as a disgrace, a traitor. But now, after years of enduring such looks whenever he returned, Damon only saw it with spite. A glare stung a hell of a lot less than a knife in the gut, and he had weathered both without complaint.

Taking a seat at one of the few empty tables left in the tavern, Damon made no sound other than the ominous creak of the old wooden stool. It was usually a comforting sound, the sound of one's dwelling in the tavern. For Myrna, it meant coins in her coffer; for travelers, it usually meant another wayward hero to entertain them with tall tales and stories. But with Damon, it signified presence, the weight of his armor and weapons denoting the danger of his profession.

With a hand half-raised, Damon spoke only one word: "Agnes." Through the tense, quieter atmosphere of the tavern, he didn't have to raise his voice, yet it still carried deliberation, intent, as though prompting others to stop and listen. The individual in question was a young woman, slender and stringy-haired, frozen-in-place as if she'd been caught where she wasn't supposed to be.

He'd been sweet on her once - half the men in town were at one point or another. They'd known each other as teens, when Damon reserved his blade for the denizens of the forests. The traits that he found so attractive in her then; her sweet demeanor and doe-eyed expression, now filled him with nothing but resentment now. Those were the attributes of prey, existing to chew on plants until something smarter, stronger brought it down. Born to die so the hunter could live.

Slowly, she approached, wavering with every step, like moving towards a viper waiting to strike at exposed flesh. Turning his head to meet her gaze, Damon pulled down the covering that masked the lower half of his face, revealing features hard as bone, blanketed with a layer of scruff. "Been awhile. I'll have mead. Fresh, if you will." With meek answer of "Yes, m'ilord" the girl turned tail and scampered off towards the kitchen, eager to leave his imposing stature, even while seated.

Returning the cloth to once more cover his face, Damon sat quietly, adjusting the fit of his gauntlet with fist clenched, or examining his dagger for any stains of blood or chips in the metal.

Looking up caught the same woman from earlier, now approaching his table. That was new. She had the look of a traveler, albeit a tired one, one who likely hadn't had a restful night's sleep in weeks. Her gait and stature was like that of a man, trained for battle. A mercenary, maybe? Soldier of fortune? Damon supposed he'd figure out soon enough, assuming the woman was looking for conversation.

Sheathing his dagger with one deft motion, Damon tilted his head slightly to the side as he engaged the woman, looking up at her. "Is there something I can do for you?" His tone was blunt, but not rude, like a tradesman wanting to get straight to business, avoiding the niceties and ceremony that a more enterprising businessman would perform.
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Edric Beaumont



"Empty? Yess. Uninhabited...? Not likely. Brevyon tried to destroy magic, or maybe suppress it. But it exists in all who live - and all who've died. Things may yet dwell here." Edric's tone trailed off, as though he were wanting to say more but lost the words.

A distant clap of thunder seemed to finally draw Edric's attention, eyes flicking towards the heavens, confirming the suspicion of his ears. "If it's shelter you seek, this place'll do. Some of the roofs have only a few holes." Edric emphasized with a vague wave of his arm, motioning to the ruins around him.

"Inside will keep you dry, but there's no telling what--who's there. Maybe nothing, probably something. Can't you feel it in the air? The energy? It gets stronger..." Edric trailed off once more, moving towards one of the more-structurally sound ruins, this one distinguished by a set of heavy oak doors. "Here. The people here, they feel it too. General unease, an odd feeling in the belly. The ghost stories they tell children reflect that. Superstition is merely that echo. Find the source, ease the people, and see what treasures lay within. Reach out for it, my Elven friend, tell me if you can feel it." Edric now looked intently at Arendal, imploring him to to close his eyes and listen.
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Sloan "Rowen" Warrington


Rowen was not one to blanch at much, but she couldn’t help but almost hesitate when he spoke. It was nothing on his part though. It was more of a sudden realization that this was really her last hope, and without him she would have no hope of finding her sister. “I need your help finding my sister. I have spent a lot of time trying to track you down. Multiple sources pointed me to you, so I have a feeling if you can’t help me, then no one can.

As many people as she had spoken to, everyone was assuring her that it was a lost cause. All the pity stares, all the meaningless and empty words of encouragement. It meant nothing. She wanted help. “Before I waste any of my time or yours, I am going to tell you that everyone else that I have spoken to has told me that she has long been dead and I am chasing nothing but a lost hope. My sister has been gone for months. She was taken by what I can only assume was a bandit clan. One that had more than one dengore rider in its company.” There was an angry light in her eyes as she thought back to that night, her sister’s screams piercing through all of the other chaos. “I am willing to pay all that I have and then some. Whether or not she is dead or alive.

She was aware that some of the people at surrounding tables had grew quiet trying to listen to the foolish person speaking to the hunter. Nothing but an answer could make her feel any worse than she already did, so she ignored the not so subtle stares and whispers.
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Arendal Nevarth


Arendal was a bit put off by the man. He wasn’t scared, but he wasn’t exactly comfortable either. He couldn’t help but wonder if it was worth it to stay or not. Another crash of thunder made him grimace. The choice had been made, so he was just going to go along with it all.

Following the man further he listened to him intently. There were not many humans that he encountered who were really attuned to the magics of the land. Most of the time he tried to close himself off from anything outside his own creation. Outside magic had occasional effects over him, resulting in things that he was not keen on people seeing.

He could feel a weird energy about the place, but without really searching it was like a distant hum. Something lost if he was not looking for it. That was how accustomed to shutting out everything else that he had become. When the man told him to reach out, he was hesitant. For one, he was still unsure about the man. He also didn’t know what he would find if he let himself reach out. Hesitant, he closed his eyes, letting the inner curtain of his mind open a bit as he tentatively reached out.
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Damon Tardif



There was a pause, long enough to sow somehow more tension in an already tense atmosphere. It was as if the woman were hesitating, though Damon was uncertain as to what. She had been brave enough to approach, speak to him alone; surely that fire had not faded yet. But then she spoke, renewing confidence in her voice as each word passed her lips. A missing persons case. The idea caught him by surprise, if only briefly, a quirk of the eyebrow, a twitch at the corner of his lips hidden by his concealment. In a way, he found it oddly amusing. Indeed, one could say he specialized in missing persons cases. But only insofar as what to do when the missing person was found. A rescue, that was new.

But then came the caveat, the reason the woman was desperate enough to track him down at the last hamlet of civilization before the deep, dark wilds. Taken by bandits, not seen in months. Gods above, she wasn't tracking her sister, she was chasing a memory. Part of him wanted to laugh in her face, out of inn and out of town. But the woman offered coin, and he'd sooner blast himself for a fool than refuse paying work. The woman was at least sensible enough to understand that the chances of her sister being alive were slim, and was willing to accept even a corpse, long as it meant closure - and vengeance. Damon could see as much in her eyes that seemed to glow bright in the warm orange firelight. That kind of anger was one he understood. Went beyond the civilized mind, into man's own nature. Whether it was the time he lost his favorite hound to a pack of wolves; or the hunt for a man--no, monster--who butchered and ate children in one of the nearby villages. Retribution, he understood it.

Which is why, instead of laughing, he replied as coolly and professionally as ever: "Five-hundred gold. Two-fifty up front, two-fifty when we find your sister." At that moment, Agnes returned, bearing a tankard full of mead, which she placed at the table. Dismissing her with a blunt wave of his hand, Damon once more removed the fabric covering his face, taking a deep swig from the tankard before returning it to he table. "We leave at dawn. Fresh eyes on a fresh trail. Bandit gangs are as common as rats in a sewer. But Dengores aren't. Finish any business you have tonight. Doubt it'll be a short journey ahead of us."
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Edric Beaumont



"You feel it. A calling." Edric proclaimed, even the phrasing of his words uncertain as to whether he were asking or declaring it. "And what else to do but answer?" With that, Edric slowly opened the set of doors, prompting an almost violent screech of old wood against rusted metal hinges, moss-covered stone. Inside there was only blackness, a dark cavernous maw ready to swallow up the all-too-eager and curious. But Edric, for all his eccentricity, merely stepped inside, his form soon encompassed by the darkness. Dutifully, the Wolf followed behind, wispy shape dissipating like a cloud of smoke as its vaguely translucent form turned nearly invisible.

Edric did not stop to wait for Arendal, either confidently assuming he would follow, or uncaring as to what path he chose to take. Edric would wander the ruins regardless, though a part of him couldn't help but like the idea of extra company. The first step inside the ruins was a dour, musky place; filled with the stench of rotten wood and stone, caked with dust that seemed to clog and poison the very air they breathed.

This place, whatever foul thing infested it, had anticipated visitors. Edric could sense it in the air, the darkness reawoken as life once more teemed in its halls. Rubbing his hands together with the same fervency one would try and strike a flint, an orb of bright light manifested between Edric's palms, floating into the air as he outstretched an open hand to release it. The orb hovered close to his head, illuminating the room in a white glow, likely disturbing anything that dwell within. "Curse these eyes. Rely on them too much, can see everything except what's right in front of you in the dark."
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Sloan "Rowen" Warrington


Her gut wrenched, in shock and relief. She had finally found the help that she desperately needed. Even if it was far too late. If she had been looking at the situation from the outside, she would have thought it was foolish. Completely foolish. She abandoned everything she had made for herself, left behind the stability that she had fought to gain. Now she was giving up all the money that she had. All for what she knew was probably a lost cause.

The difference was she wasn't ready to accept the fact that her sister was dead. Rowen had no one left. She had already given her world to her sister, so she may as well give it up to search for her. There was nothing left to lose.

There was no smile, no tears of joy or outcry. She only nodded. "Alright," she said, extending her hand and meeting his gaze with a determined look. "We have a deal then."

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Arendal Nevarth


Arendal could have named thousands of more reasonable things to do than go any deeper into the ruins. Yet, that did not stop him from following after the man, a morbid curiosity beginning to grow inside of him. Hand clutching tightly onto his staff he ventured into the dimness.

It felt like he was walking into a tomb, the old air drying out his throat. A look of disgust was lost in the dark, only to be illuminated by a light of the man's own creation. Arendal wasn't as lost in the darkness, but they were far better off seeing what was coming, even if that meant something would equally see them coming as well. "I suppose it will be a lot better than stumbling onto something and all of us being surprised. Or, falling into a hole," he trailed off, pointing to a gaping area that had been obscured. Walking over to it he peered over the side. It wouldn't have been a pleasant fall, but the floor was visible below, covered in the fallen debris. Backing away from the hole he hoped that it was age that made it cave in.

From the outside, the structure really didn't look like much. Being on the inside really showed that there was more to it than he had anticipated.

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Damon Tardif



Damon was pleased to see the seriousness with which the woman accepted his conditions. No haggling, no inane questioning, simply resolve. It was a refreshing experience, particularly in an occupation where dealing with anyone for more than a few moments was uncommon at best. Group work wasn't particularly Damon's cup of ale, though he'd seen the effectiveness of hunters who partnered up to take on bigger scores. Another set of feet would just get in the way, he decided.

But in this instance, it seemed that Damon had little choice in that decision. Whatever the case, five-hundred gold pieces in his pocket was nothing to scoff at, especially for finding a corpse. Whether the woman was truly aware of the odds stacked against her or not, there was something to be said for determination: something admirable.

"We do." Damon replied, meeting her hand with coarse leather gauntlet, giving a firm shake that sealed their agreement good as blood. He would leave the word games and double-dealing to the clever nobles and cunning princes that hunted different prey. Here in Warren, a man's handshake wasn't just his word, but his name and honor. Word travels fast in small settlements like these; those who'd dare commit a sin of bad faith would feel the sting of retribution for years to come.

Releasing the woman's grip, Damon moved to stand, making way towards the counter to secure lodging for the night. That, in and of itself, would be a fight even he wasn't looking forward to having. Though general order had returned to the tavern following Damon's dramatic entrance, the discord was far from settled.

"HAVE YOUR FILTHY HIDE IN MY GOOD BED!?" Damon was unsure if he believed in the old tales of phantoms, but if he did, he'd bet a year's wages that Myrna had banshee blood in her. Choosing not to speak in the midst of her rant, Damon stood still-as-stone waiting for her to get it out of her system.

"Last I checked, if you'll be pardoning me, dogs slept outside! ... You drink my mead, frighten my fine payin' customers, make poor Agnes white as a ghost, I've half a mind to tan your backside like your Pa should've!" Damon placed a single pouch of coins on the counter.

"Now who do you take me for?! Some brainless floozy you can just toss coins at until you get your liking? If you think I'm going to--" Damon dropped a second pouch onto the counter, almost immediately drawing Myrna's lips shut as she realized that this much gold being offered for one night's stay was practically a steal.

"One night, Hunter, one night. If I hear any commotion before daybreak, I'll--"

"All I need." Damon finally said, rapping the counter with his knuckles before heading towards the stairwell, not bothering to look back at his new partner.
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Edric Beaumont



"Military structures: secure, strong, fortified. Easy housing for ghosts...Maybe just one." Whether there were ghosts that truly inhabited the place or not, the air around them was discomforting, compounded by an eerie silence as the light cast by Edric's spell created dancing shadows across the walls. The front door had led them to an entrance hall: wide and gaping, creaking and groaning like a titan still-sleeping. A short straight path led to a fork that split off into three separate directions, areas to wander. The presence, however, was felt all around. By going in deeper, Edric was certain he could hone in on it, track it down to its source; put a stop to whatever-it-was. All the while deciphering what had caused it.

"Holes would be problematic, my Elven friend, yes. Levitation isn't my forte." Whether this was a wry comment or genuine note, even Edric seemed uncertain.

"What say you, then? Do you believe in ghosts? Foul things inhibiting old crypts like these? Military forts teem with negative energy, the kind they'd thrive on. You Elves...you've been around sometime. What do you remember of the war?" Edric seemed to have grown bored with the first question by the time the second left his lips. His brain was rapid-firing now, trying to make sense of each individual fragment floating, making a more complex maze.

But more than anything else: he was curious, curious over these circumstances, his new friend. Elves were an uncommon sight back home even before the law made them abhorrent to the gods of men. Tales of their magical prowess, cultural achievements, and historical contributions were nevertheless still whispered with a hushed reverence. And Edric was speaking to one. Perhaps one who could shed more light here than even he.
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Sloan "Rowen" Warrington


After watching the spectacle that was the hunter trying to procure a place to sleep she ordered another drink, sitting down at the table that he had been at and ignoring the occasional odd glance in her direction. It was a new sort of attention, but one that she really didn't care about considering she was now so much closer than she had been in a very long time. Her mind lingered on the possibility of what they may or may not find. As dark as her thoughts grew, she couldn't shake the foolish hope that had been rekindled. Rowen wasn't expecting to find her sister alive. But the small portion of her still wanted to believe that she was still alive.

When her drink was finished she headed off to bed. Doing her best to stifle all of the thoughts inside her head she tried to fall asleep. Thankfully, it came quicker than it had in a long time.

The next morning she woke early and put all her armor back on and making sure that her sword was securely strapped on. When everything was packed neatly she went downstairs, a bit more apprehensive than she had been the night before.
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Arendal Nevarth


The man seemed rather intrigued by his own sporadic train of thought, but it was proving to be a decent enough distraction for Arendal, so he humored the questions to the best of his ability.

"I was born after the war was over. I am young for an elf. Older for a human," he answered, eyes still scanning everything. It was unnerving to feel like one was walking around in a tomb. Especially when the air itself seemed off. "For most of the elves that fought in the war, it is still a bit of an open wound. There is still a lot of resentment for your kind in some respect, though its mainly for the ones who live outside of Aigeovarth. I have heard of the many atrocities though. Many times over." Since he was born after the war, he had only really experienced the unity and rebirth that existed, never living through what his parents did. It was not something that was shoved to the side and ignored though. He was not shielded from the bloody truth that came right before his own time.

A small sound caught his attention from somewhere in the distance. Straining his ears he listened for anything to happen again, but only the sound of their footsteps could be heard. "As for ghosts... I believe in the possibility." Lifting his staff so it no longer clicked as they walked he reduced some of the noise. He knew that he heard something. It could have been anything though. A shifting stone, a rat... Being in dark ruins left a lot of room for imagination.

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