Hidden 1 yr ago Post by OwO
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It was over. They only Argen being seriously injured. Still, they had a healer. As long as he was healed, he'd be fine. That's what Renauld told himself, anyways. For many people, injuries like that were the end of careers. The fear of being struck like that overtook them. Being the vanguard of a party was, for most, a death sentence for even the hardiest of folks. It consisted of eating as many blows as possible, getting up, and eating more. Renauld was not jealous of Argen's position.

With a great sigh of relief, he sunk his staff into the ground to use as a support. Using magic really took the wind out of you, especially as quickly as he did. Well, he was going to do his part in helping everyone pack up. Well, four hands were better than two. He'd go and help Oscar dismantle the apes. Unless, of course, they went further to help whatever was ahead.

Still, leaving those two apes to flee left him a touch worried. Monsters weren't dumb; if they thought they would die, they'd run. But to what? To hide or to get help?
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Skyswimsky
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What's done is done. The monsters had fallen, most of them anyway, and the group seemed relatively intact. Calming herself somewhat done, the blade dancer took a good look around.

For such an ambush, the group seemed relatively fine. Save. Except as particular sleepyhead. But likely nothing serious. It was in that moment, however, that the girl felt a certain unease in her face. It was still full of shit. Something she quickly intended to change. Clean her face. Clean her sword. She wasn't one to shower all that often, but right now, she truly regretted not being able to take one. Whatever.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Th3King0fChaos
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Argentum



Argen's eyes slowly open up as his eyes are shaking as he can hear his ears ringing and a small bit of blood in his mouth. He watches as the snow slowly disperses across the ground. As he watches as the blue haired priest slowly move in as she begins to speak. He can't make out what she is saying as he is slowly having the ringing in his ears to go away as he hears the small girl counting down as he slowly grouns out, "Uhhh....hey small one. What ya counting".

As he slowly pulls himself up and says, "I'm good. I just got hit a little hard. Other than that I'll be good". As he sits up straight and starts popping his back, and just act as if he's fine. Yet he knows that was a hit that will be a hit that will leave him a little weakened, he knows the healing would be better for a more grievous wound. His left ear is definitely be ringing for the next while.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by ERode
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Under Ettamri’s scrutiny, nothing seemed amiss with the wagon. The small boulder that had been hurled in its direction had slid to a halt right beside it, and though it would have to be moved before they continued onwards, the axle and wheels seemed undamaged for the time being. Underneath the tarp, the sacks of grain were thankfully untouched, no miniature monkeys having sneaked in and pilfered some during the chaos of the failed ambush. The horses remained spooked though, nervously stamping the ground and snorting loudly. Some animalistic discipline kept the pair from bolting, but it would take special attention before they could be calmed.

Oscar’s task with butchering the apes was a less pleasant affair. The hunter had experience with butchering animals, yes, but those were animals. No one ate goblins, slimes, or any of the other humanity-hating creatures that lurked near the walls of Andeave. The apes, despite their size, were disturbingly humanoid, and his lack of experience overall made the task far more bloody than it could have been. By the time he was finished with one of the apes, his machete was caked in gore and fat. Slitting open the belly would doubtless be another gruesome task, and the hardened, tough muscles of the monsters they felled, already cooling in the subzero temperatures, would make it all that much more annoying to cook afterwards, if it was even good eating to begin with. Regardless, it would be a time consuming task skinning all these creatures, and the prospect of eating what might be the best cut of their body, their relatively soft but firm buttocks, was also a bit gross.

It was curious though, how two of the creatures were missing their hearts, as if a wild animal had savagely torn past their ribcages to rip out the hearts.

Thankfully, Argen hadn’t died from a brain hemorrhage after all, and Katya was quick to help him up, shifting behind him to push him up by the back. If he was talking coherently, that had to count for something, right? But an injury was still an injury and the small priest moved to pop his helmet off anyways, just to check up on the state of his face.

Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

Half of Argen’s face was swelling, black and purple bruises bunching up over his once handsome features like balloons about to burst. Blood caked that side as well, blinding him in his left eye, and, now that he was up, he could feel one, maybe two of his back teeth being weirdly loose as well, the gums aflame. A bludgeoning blow from a two meter tall giant with limbs like whips was nothing to shrug off, and the pre-existing dents in Argen’s uncomfortable helmet may have done more harm than good. Katya let out a wince upon seeing all this, and she rolled up her sleeves soon enough.

“No, you stay put. No one else is injured but you, stupid Argen. Now let me do my work and buy me cake afterwards.”

With that bratty statement, she grasped the hexagram symbol that hung from her neck and brought it to her lips. Her other hand placed itself gingerly against the mass of bruises that half-blinded Argen, only the fingertips touching the damaged flesh.

“Oh Keeper of the Sun, Alri-Qua, grant this child the strength to fight another day. Heal.”

A soft light, warm as spring, shone from her open palm, and like a wax sculpture being molded into place, Argen’s face began to return to normal. His headache persisted, his eye wasn’t sealed shut anymore, and there was probably nothing outside of a Sacrament that could regenerate the two teeth he lost, but everything else…should be fine.

The blood was still there though. Soon, he’d probably have to be like Muu, trying to scrub his face clean of blood without dirtying any other part of his body in the process.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by GreenGoat
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Ettamri Belarence


Nodding to herself, she gave the wagon another look over before being satisfied with its conditions. If the axle broke...

"The wagon is relatively unscathed. Oscar, once you finish, you drive the wagon forwards on the planned path and meet us where the caravan was. The rest should prepare to move as well. Get on the wagon if you're too weak to walk, knight."

With that, she moved after Siwon, going to the site of the supposed ransacked caravan. Ettamri was fairly sure there would be no survivor, if what the ranger said was true. Either they too was ambushed by frenetic apes, or they suffered a catastrophic mishap along the way. Perhaps they would at least find something useable in the wreckage.

"Or some preserved humans. They're better fresh, but these will do as well."

She ignored the red child, ignored her mocking laughter as she made her way to the site with Siwon.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Searat
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A few minutes into the butchering, the ranger knew that this was going to be quite a difficult task. He was used to butchering and skinning animals and the fact is these things were not animals. If anything they were more akin to twisted parodies of humans. None the less they may need more than a pounds of extra food considering that a large woman like Ettamri seemed to have just as big an appetite. And if they couldn't eat the meat, he had at least gained some experience in butchering a human-like body. Oscar paused as he realized that, they were fighting for humanity. Why would experience in cutting up and preparing a humanoid corpse be something to look forward to? He wasn't some kind of psycho killer that lives in the woods like in the movies in the old world...well he did live in the woods and he does kill for a living, but at least he is not a psycho. The knightess would then talk to him. "Understood, Ettamri. Watch each other's backs and make sure to keep safe." And with a quick wave he saw them off before going back to butchering the giant ape.

A particularly badly positioned cut from his kukri machete caused a small geyser of rapidly cooling blood to squirt onto his chest and face. The ranger barely reacted to it, for the little one's sake, but he internally sang a string curse words as the blood froze all too quickly on his person and would be a bitch to clean. "Quite the squirter aren't you?" Oscar playfully said with a hint of malice as he uses the back of his machete to tap the head of the unresponsive Abom corpse. Though after thirty minutes passed, he finally managed to finish up with the first. The meat and organs he deemed relatively safe to eat were kept in a bundle made from its skin. The organs he didn't deem safe to eat and the bones were set aside and left as an offering to Kur-Innus...if the god even accepted monster parts as offerings. Oscar then repeated the process again with the remaining Abom corpses, though with more and more difficulty as the bodies were getting more and more frozen as the minutes passed. But after an hour and a half had passed, Oscar had three bundles of edible[?] meat and three separate piles of offerings to his patron. While setting the meat atop the cart's cargo, he turns his head to talk to the priestess. "Yo, Katya. How'd you like the idea of having monkey butt steak for dinner tonight?" The ranger chuckled soon after as the idea in itself was a silly one.

Heh, monkey butt.

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Skyswimsky
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Getting relatively clean, things were slowly put into motion again as the wagon seemed relatively undamaged and Oscar secured even more food. Even Katya used her amazing healing magic to take care of the worst damage the group had taken. Muu herself seemed to be somewhat in thought for a second before, finally, sighing and shaking her head. Instead trying to make herself useful and somewhat helping Oscar.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Th3King0fChaos
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Argentum



Argen just sits there as katya works her magic. He sighs out in relief as he feels his faces swelling slowly fade away. He slowly feels his face come back to a normal state. His eye sight came back, strange he wasn't thinking about that, yet it definitely feels like a weight was taken off of his jaw as could now feel he lost some teeth. Argen was always told that the helmet was more pain than what it was worth. He can see what they mean by that, the dents might be a big bad thing as now he really can't wear the helmet as the dents are getting too severe.

He takes the helmet in his hands an just ribs it slightly as he sets it down and nods his head towards Katya and says, "Thank you. I appreciate it. When we make it back I'll get you plenty of cake". As Argen now begins his very thorough process of cleaning his face and gear, this is gonna take a bit of time to not get the rest of his body dirty, yet it would be nice to cool of his face from the rushing blood that used to be there.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by OwO
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The act of cleaning prey was always messy. Still, eating something so... human like made him feel a bit gross. Monkeys and humans were pretty close, weren't they? Still, this was for survival. Survival survival survival. Fighting an ape was one thing, but cutting one up and dismantling it? Eurgh.

Oscar briefly spoke to Ettamri and then began his work on cutting up the ape. Guh. It wasn't very pretty. Splatters of blood covered Oscar. Thankfully, they missed Renauld, who had been standing a further away. As the beast's torso was torn into, Renauld was afflicted with a sudden case of the gags. He wasn't a very squeamish person, but he wasn't the type to look into the guts of a man-ape and be unaffected. He tilted his head down, closing off his throat in efforts of not gagging. It was a good thing his stomach was on a constant state of empty.

He helped Oscar where he could, lifting up meat, splaying bone, and washing out the blood with snow. It was definitely an experience. One that Renauld would never want to do ever again.
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Argen, Katya, Muu, Renauld
There may have been something to be said for only offering Kur-Inuus the inedible portions of one’s prey, but there were no devout there to chastise Oscar for his decisions. With Muu and Renauld’s help, the task was done much more swiftly, even if both his helpers were dirtied at the end as well: their gloves and arms definitely stank of blood now, the coppery tang exuding from the trio almost unbearable. Thankfully, humans adapted quickly, and after a while, it was only Argen, Katya, and the horses that were bothered by the stench. The priest indeed made a show of plugging her nose and, with a nasally tone, said, “Ew, we’re eating monkey butt? Isn’t that like, full of monkey poop?”

Her disgust at the prospects of eating butt-meat was enough that she didn’t even respond to Argen’s mention of free cake. Not that she would have accepted the offer, of course. She was the priest! If she got free cake every time she healed someone, she wouldn’t be Katya anymore, she’d be Fatya!

The horses, thankfully, could still bear the extra load of monkey meat, and soon enough, the wagon was on the move once more, trudging over the snowy hills once more. After a couple hills, they couldn’t even see the death they left in their wake. After a couple minutes, the viscera that still clung to them no longer bothered them. They continued on, gradually catching up with the two that had gone ahead.

Ettamri, Siwon
Nothing that Oscar had witnessed and described had changed when Ettamri and Siwon found the scene of the carnage. The Fiend Knight had arrived first, his larger companion’s speed flagging as they got closer and closer, and thus, he was able to get the first view of the area around them. It was an unremarkable spot to say the least: the hills surrounding were high and steep, while the wagon looked to be thoroughly destroyed. Yet, there were no clear signs of looting as well, nor any usage of primitive weaponry such as tree trunks or boulders. Sliding down the steep hill into the shallow valley, both Silver Moon recruits could see now, that the empty sacks had simply scattered their grains into the soft snow around, rather than being pillaged or carried away. Was it a beast that had rampaged there? Or was it something greater?

Yes, perhaps it was something greater. Neither of them were particularly perceptive individuals, but with all the time they had, more details became illuminated. The sacks of grain and casks of wine had not been torn apart by a beast’s claw or fang, rather, what scattered bits remained were tinged and charred at the edges. The deathblows dealt unto the fallen recruits too, were varied yet methodical. Some were bludgeoned to death, their limbs mangled and their skulls caved in, even through what helmets they wore. Others had met swifter, but no less bloody ends, their throats pierced by a sharp object before they subsequently bled out, dying their armor and clothing crimson. None of the fallen had their weapons stolen, however, each one of them dying with their chosen armaments grasped in their hands, and only the horses appeared to be eaten. Choice cuts looked to have been torn out of the fallen steeds, and the destroyed wagon was a blackened skeleton of its former self, good for nothing but firewood now.

At the very least, Ettamri and Siwon could thank themselves that none of these unlucky monster hunters had turned to undead yet. They had time yet, if they wished, to gather the effects of the fallen, identify them by the tags hanging from their necks, and then have Katya properly perform their funeral rites, absolving them from the eternal curse of the King of Corpses.

Or they could not, and get some extra money out of these dead fellows once they DID turn undead.

Soon enough, the rest of the party will join them. It would be Ettamri and Siwon’s decision what to reveal and what to hide, what to do and what to say.
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Ettamri Belarence


She wondered if it was bad or good that she did not feel nausea anymore when seeing scenes like this.

Blood, gore and death seemed to have become the norm. When she had left all that time ago from her home, and during her first arrival, this would have sickened her. But now, she felt nothing. Nothing at the sight of them, just another-

"Feast for the eyes... maybe for you too."

Ignoring the voice, Ettamri inhaled and went over the scene again. The wagon was a charred mess, and the cargo was flung everywhere with bits burnt off. The corpses were not burned or eaten, and nothing seemed to have been pillaged from it all, save for the horses.

Then from what she understood of the scene, the wagon was first exploded, whether through a spell or some other sort of explosive she did not know, and the contents was flung out. Just before the explosion, or during the brief moment of confusion after, some of them were quickly taken out with a knife in their throats, before the others were swiftly overwhelmed. A planned ambush? She could not imagine it to be anything less than an ambush considering the lack of collateral from what seemed to be their mage pair. They could have been impaired for some reason, or had less destructive spells, but the cuts on the neck of some, seemed to indicate either a person of prodigious skills in the blade, or a swift moving assassin.

Not animals, mindless undead, or bandits, but an organized force capable of overwhelming steel tagged soldiers. Seeing how far they were already towards the fort, and what she had fought there last time, these could be an orc attack.

Then again, it was all speculation from what she understands. It could just as well be a bandit attack that was scared away from their loot by something else. It would serve no purpose to reveal this to the others and potentially panicking them with what could be her wrong conclusions.

"Hmph. Unfortunate, maybe we should..."

"...bury them? Bring back their possessions for their loved ones? Do you think they would do the same for you?" The red child swung her feet nonchalantly on the burnt wagon, an infuriatingly smug expression on her face. "You know they would have left you for dead, then run off with everything you have. You, know, this."

She wanted to hit the child, break its bones, throw it over the mountain where it would bother her no longer, but it did not exist. It was but a figment of her own mind, her own demon, torturer, accursed reminder of her sin. But she cannot deny its words. It hit her like an arrow through her heart, a wrenching pain that came with a feeling of loneliness.

"We should gather what we can use from them, and have the priest do their last rites lest they join the ranks of the undead."
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Rondo of Blood
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Like his giant companion, Siwon also didn't hesitate to approach the wreckage despite the bodies hewn about. Instead, Siwon instinctively gathered the tags of the fallen, the bodies of his former party flashing before his own two eyes. The handling of bodies was a chore Siwon was all too familiar with, doubly so given his status as a Fiend Knight.

Hoohoohoo! Looks like someone really doesn't want those supplies delivered, huh? Looks too organized for a standard group of monsters... Maybe it's bandits? Or worse?

"No doubt about it, whoever attacked these unfortunate souls knew what they were doing... and to think they have a mage with them, too? This is starting to get too troublesome for a simple delivery."

Shaking his head as he collected the last tag, Siwon stood up once more. Two things caught his eye during his inspection, and they were both swords: a longsword, and a much longer sword. As much as the Fiend Knight thought of equipping himself with a bladed weapon however, he moved away from the bodies with a sense of urgency.

"I'll go on ahead and retrieve the brat. I'm more than capable of getting there fast, hopefully before these bodies are claimed by the dead. Stay and watch, or come with me if you wish. It matters not to me, though I'd stay wary if you choose to wait here..."

Siwon knew he didn't have to worry about Ettamri, but telling her to be careful sounded pretty cool in his head. Even then, the Fiend Knight knew well not to overestimate the strength of his most powerful ally either, for the Jaws do not discriminate on who they take...

Right as he turned around however, he saw the rest of the group catching up to the wreckage.

"... Aha, it seems my job at catching the others up was a success! Such is the speed of a Fiend Knight, after all!"
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The small one's comment garnered a significantly louder chuckle. Oscar then grabbed some fresh snow and washes away the blood and gore from his person before approaching the little priestess and gives her a couple gentle pats on her head and a warm smile to show appreciation for the humorous reply. "Don't worry about eating poop, Katya. I promise it doesn't have any. Just think of it as weird ham." The ranger then moved towards the driver's seat and took his position upon it. He then turns to their recently raised phalanx. "Argen, I know you're feeling better now, but you lost a substantial amount of blood earlier. I ain't forcing you to sit down and rest; I'm only suggesting that you take a little break for the time being." Oscar said with a concerned tone. Weather or not Argen acted on his suggestion, they would make their way to the site of the ransacked cart at a steady pace.




The fiend knight was the first to greet them as they and the cart managed to finally reach the site. His heart sank as he saw what the fiend knight held in one of his hands. It was a bundle of steel tags. The embers of hope was extinguished at the sight. It was made well aware that there were no survivors from this incident, and it was an undeniable fact. This was to be expected outside of the walls of the city. This was not some fairytale story where they get there in time and save them all and be big damned heroes. To make matters even worse than it already is, whatever or whoever did this to them was still out there. Oscar leaves the driver's seat and walks to the fiend knight and pats him on the shoulder and thanks him for collecting the tags. He wasn't sure what drove the fiend knight to collect the tags of the fallen, but he appreciated it none the less.

The tags were nameless, of course. Many soldiers considered placing one's name upon their tag to be a bad omen. Treating it similarly to writing one's last will and testament before going off to fight. Basically resigning themselves to death. His own tag rustling softly underneath his leather armor.

A constant reminder.

He then approached the bodies and inspected each before moving them aside for the priestess to bless and not be an obstacle for their cart. Who knows? Maybe Oscar and company would have recognized their faces, as they did not know their names. He saw the wounds and came to a similar conclusion as Siwon and Ettamri had. This was not an accident. News regarding party wipes were not uncommon in the walled city, but this was not just a wipe. It was a calculated and organized attack. Someone or something purposefully ambushed and killed the soldiers...but why?

If it were beasts, the motivation was to eat. But the grain or bodies would have been eaten to a degree and the horse had only certain parts cut off and eaten.

If it were bandits, the motivation was to get money and goods. But the equipment was left untouched and the goods were destroyed and not taken.

None of this situation made sense.

The ranger gently shook his head side to side as he finally lays the last body. "Katya, would you kindly give them their last rites?" They had little room in their cart and it was an unrealistic idea to bring their bodies back to the city. So at the very least, they could absolve them from the curse of undeath. It was the least they could do.

Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Th3King0fChaos
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Argentum



After cleaning his face with some delicate maneuvers so he doesn't spring up more pain, Argen quickly dries his hair with some of his cloth so he doesn't get cold too quickly from the loss of heat, he begins to set his gear back in order. As he sets his helmet back into his bag as it will most likely lead to more pain, as it might make hits he will take become near fatal, like that last one.

Argen gets ready to set off as Oscar began to talk about him taking it easy Argen sighed out with a forced half smile, "I'll be alright, I won't be pushing myself too hard. I just think sitting for a few minutes will do me no real good". As Argen takes side positions again when they begin to head out to meet up with their scouts. Argen was quiet as he did need some time acclimating to his headache and the stiffness, but he did keep good spirits as it seems he was the only person to have been wounded, it ain't that bad, as its better than having Siwon or Muu who both would have probably taken that hit and might have not lived, so it could have been worst.

Argen does know one thing now though hand to hand is the worst situation to be in, never get into that situation if you can help it.

Argen wasn't fazed by the bodies, as death was a norm. Still seeing the dead always left a bad taste in his mouth as it does always show him that death looms over all. Even those who are devout in their faith.
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"Butt's pretty edible," Renauld told Katya, "you can get ham and beef round from animal butts. The poo goes down a tube that's completely separate from all of the meat." His tone was that of a teacher trying to explain a concept as nicely as they could. A mild smile on his face accented his words to the young priest. "It's good of you to worry about those types of things." He realized during his explanation that, above all else, Katya was a child. She was more steeled than the average kid at her age, but a child was a child. It was better to praise than simply correct and forget.

After assisting with packing on the meat, he walked with walked with the others who stayed behind forwards. The scene unfurled ahead was brutal and bizarre. Fire and death. A pity, really. Death was a cold reality for those who joined the Silver Moon. It was something everyone had to accept. Still, it even though it felt wrong, the dead had no need for earthly possessions. It was better to pluck what was useful like a carrion and live instead of dying a moral man.

After he took a deep breath, Renauld pushed on. Cautiously, he moved around the smoldering cart, trying to find anything either useful or hidden by snowfall.
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Katya made a face at Renauld’s little lesson. Someone more interested in the anatomy of meat may have listened more closely, but as far as she was aware, the mage just outted himself as a butt-eater, and the young girl definitely wasn’t going to let him forget that. “Ew,” she squealed, delighted and repulsed, “Renauld’s a butt-eater!” Siwon was in the distance too now, his skinny figure standing up like a wimpy tree atop the hill. “Hey Siwon,” Katya waved, “Renauld eats butts!”

Hopping off the wagon, the priest ran up the rest of the way, eager to share all the spicy gross details of Renauld Poop-Guzzler with the one member in the party that was on the same level as herself, but stopped dead in her tracks at the sight before her. The carnage was enough to steal her breath away, for just a moment, before she swallowed tightly. Good thing her stomach was empty. It wouldn’t be very nice if she ended up vomiting on any of the people here.

An acidic bite reached the back of her teeth. Katya drew the back of her hand against her mouth, before nodding once at Ettamri, then twice at Oscar, then thrice just to do something. Part of the training that Priests went through was the cremation of the dead, and for better or worse, she had dealt with dead bodies before all this. Some had been old men, reaching the natural end of their lives. Others had been adults and children, succumbing to something as innocuous as a bad cough. They received, sometimes, a few corpses in less stellar condition, but the Father at the Church of First Light, or one of the senior disciples, dealt with those.

And now she had to do five of them, all in such terrible condition.

Katya breathed out, shaking the fuzziness out of her head. Fine, she would do it then! She was twelve years old, after all! And it wasn’t like these people were flailing, monstrous undead either! There was no danger at all, really. So it was fine.



It was fine.

She rolled up her sleeves, exposing her thin, pale arms to the bite of winter, made a face at how the blue sky and bright sun so clearly illuminated the motley brutality visited upon her fellow soldiers, and began to prepare their bodies, using the snow to scrub away what blood she could, pulling metal armor where she could. It was gross most of the time. The blood had congealed and hardened in the cold weather, and Katya called Ettamri over to assist with it, her eyes squeezing shut when the masked knight had to employ creative methods in order to pry off twisted and dented plates. With all that done, Katya laid them all side by side in the snow, before templing her fingers over the hexagram sun that served as Alri-Qua’s symbol. It was a bright day; the efficacy of the consecration would be greater than it otherwise would be. She let white breath hiss between her teeth, and then spoke her prayers.

“Oh Keeper of the Sun, Alri-Qua, I beseech you. Free these souls from their mortal chains.
Oh Lighter of the Torch, Alri-Qua, I beseech you. Guide these souls to their place of repose.
Oh Guardian of the Hearth, Alri-Qua, I beseech you. Ward these souls from the clutch of unlife.
Children of Flame, Return to Ash.
Aeterrno Amora.”


Light, warm as a summer day, undulated from Katya’s hands, as she moved from one corpse to the next, placing her hands on the sides of their face. In one moment, their cold flesh shone incandescently. In the next, they collapsed into white ash, leaving nothing of the humans they once were. She quietly folded their vestiges in the clothes that they left, tying them in compact bundles, before slipping each bundle in the wagon. Hopefully the horses were alright with that. Katya looked at her hands briefly, before sticking them in her pockets and hopping onto the back of the wagon again, looking a bit sullen.

Meanwhile, Renauld’s stint at looting had uncovered a few things of importance. The twin mages, compared to their warrior frontline, were more or less not brutalized at all, and they both had better-looking robes than he did, never mind the blood that spilled near the collar. Their staves too were made of a good, hearty oak, lacquered and hefty, each inset with a small gem, valuable as a catalyst for magic or simply as something to sell to a jeweler. He also tripped over a wheel of the wagon that didn’t seem so badly damaged compared to the rest of the vehicle, which may or may not come in handy.

While the armor that all the fighters had were more or less turned to scrap metal, scrap metal still had some value to the blacksmiths back at Andeave. Though the paladin’s kite shield was functionally useless now, the longsword was a well-balanced weapon, undamaged beyond a couple of superficial nicks in the blade. The thief’s crossbow had a snapped string, but the bolts in the quiver was still fine. His swordbreaker hadn’t even been drawn out, and a weapon like that, though it’d require some special skill to use to its fullest potential, was in perfect condition. The warrior’s greatsword was of a poorer quality compared to that of his compatriots, but it was also definitely usable, though the weight and size may prove cumbersome to most members of the party.

If anything else, it was clear to Renauld that the death of the party had hardly been the fault of their equipment. The weapons the frontline possessed were certainly worth more than all his possession combined, all things considered. Whether the Mage decided to bring it all aboard their increasingly burdened wagon was up to him…and probably to Ettamri too.

By the time Katya finished her rites, the rest of the party was ready to go, Ettamri driving them all onwards through the hill. Oscar guided the pair of horses, Katya sat on the wagon, and the rest were variously behind or beside the wagon. As the sun made its arc over the sky, the hills grew steeper and more cumbersome. Many times, everyone had to push the wagon up sections of terrain too steep for the horses to handle themselves, and there were more than a couple instances where a wheel broke through the layer of ice beneath, causing thoughts of a broken wagon to spring in everyone’s minds. Tragedies in navigation, where the party was faced with hills too steep to ascend upon, ate up time, energy, and morale, and fatigue clung to everyone’s bodies. Ettamri had now dropped to the back of the party, either being the slave driver who pushed everyone onwards from behind, or simply being so fatigued from the distances they’ve travelled and the weight she carried that she could no longer keep up with the pace that she declared herself. Argen was nursing a headache too, the aftermath of his injuries making themselves clear, while Siwon’s legs, trained for bursts of speed, groaned and creaked with each continuous step, his little demon berating him all the while. Oscar’s butt received a good beating from the bumpy terrain they travelled; Renauld’s robes were definitely soaked; Muu had frost building over her leather clothes.

As the terrain shifted from hilly to mountainous, trees began to pop up with greater density, their skeletal frames sporting horizontal spikes of ice and snow where powerful blizzards from days or weeks past have made their mark. The sky was ablaze now, and the party travelled in the miserably cold shadow of the mountain they ascended upon. Moist breath burst from the nostrils of the exhausted horses, the pace slowing down. Was there even a spring at the end of the day’s journey? How old was Ettamri’s map anyways, and how accurate? How much longer could they even go on for, with underfed stomachs and spent legs? If there was a guarantee of warmth and comfort, that’d be great and all, but there was only a chance of it.

No one in the party was talking now, the dour atmosphere from the morning coming back with vengeful force. It’d suck if they all caught a cold from this, wouldn’t it? Overhead, the first stars of the night shone through the deep azure, as the wind howled, its bitter admonishments pushing against them, scattering loose snow over all.

All this, for a maximum of 10 Gold? And 10 Gold over the course of 6 days, assuming they didn’t even bother to take a break once they reach Fort Stalwart, split between 7 people. Was it really worth it? Really?

As thoughts took a dark turn though, a surprising boon was carried down to them by that cruel wind.

The stench of something rotten. The warmth of something moist. It drew memories from Muu, scattered remnants of something indistinct. Their destination existed. They were on the right path. The horses didn’t care for hot springs, but the party certainly did, and slowly, willpower, the promise of a reward at the end of the day’s journey, drove them faster once more. A hot bath, and a monkey butt steak! What luxuries awaited them, if only they could reach it!

Soon, a white mist sucked them in, warm vapours tickling their noses and dampening their hair. Soon, they could hear the bubbling of subterranean water rushing up from the earth. Katya hopped off the wagon and ran up after them, gleeful at the prospect of simply being able to stay still somewhere. It was definitely going to be a good break now!

Splash!

Someone, something, entered the spring waters, their silhouette distant, barely visible through the white fog that obscured so much of everything.

An enemy? A friend?

The party stopped.

This was still the wilderness of Altera, no matter how much of a place of rest and recovery it may appear. Monsters were still abound, warm-blooded monsters that may be just as interested in resting in a hot springs as they.

What will they do?
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Searat
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Searat The Aqueous Rodent

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The ranger openly frowned at the sight of his party mates savenging their fellow Silver Moon soldiers. The act itself was necessary, Oscar knew full well that weapons and equipment would be better utilized by the living rather than the dead and may full well help save a life, but the act in itself did not sit well with him. He did not voice his discontent with the actions done, but simply walked back to the carriage and leaned upon its side while he awaited his companions to finish their grim task before they, once again, set off into the cold and unforgiving wilderness.

The small priestess was the first to return to the carriage, quiet and a sullen look on her face. One didn't need to be a psychologist to recognize that what transpired would have a lasting effect on the young girl. Oscar approaches her and takes a seat beside her. There was a few moments of silence shared between the two. But after thinking for a brief moment, the ranger decides to talk to the crestfallen priestess. Hoping, that in a way, he could relieve the burden that was never meant to be carried by a child. "You did a fine job back there, Katya. If I hadn't known better, I'd say you were an experienced priest." Oscar tried to smile but couldn't manage to even give a smirk; he knew it would come out forced. None of them were happy about this occurrence, most especially Katya considering her age and this being her first-ever adventure. "I...I know that you feel sad, but what you did for them? They're grateful for it." Oscar gestures to the ash, gently being blown away by the wind. "They're free now. They don't have to suffer anymore...and that's because of you, Katya. You helped them find rest. You helped them find peace." The thought garners a genuine smile from the ranger. "As expected from the bestest priestess the party has." Oscar hops off from his seat beside Katya and asks her to look at him in the eyes. "Katya, just remember. Things may seem hard now, but it gets easier." He echoed the words of his mentor when he just began training to become a ranger. "Everyday it gets a little easier, but you gotta believe that it gets easier everyday. That's the hard part." Oscar takes off his favorite wide-brimmed hat and sets it upon her head before giving her an award-winning grin. "But it does get easier."

And with that, the ranger returned to his position beside the priestess and regales her the tales of his adventures. Some when he went solo, some when he joined Renauld's old party, and others when he joined other parties...well...modified stories he found appropriate to share with the priestess where he left out the more tragic or gory parts of the story. This regaling lasted until they needed to go.


The whole trip was terrible. From what Oscar could surmise, everyone was having an absolutely horrid time. His arse felt every little pebble the snow-covered road had. And to make matters even worse, the carriage nearly lost a wheel when the load proved too great a burden for the ice they traversed. He could still feel his pulse race when he thought about it. The night was creeping in, and the frost slowly building up on his facial hair was signs that the temperature would soon be an issue if they don't find a place covered enough to camp again without risk of freezing to death.

This wasn't about the money anymore. This was simply trying to survive long enough to get back to the city alive. To make matters worse, something smelled terrible. Oscar thought that his party mates affected by the fecal matter flinging aboms had long washed themselves of the foul-smelling substance. It was so bad that even the frost accumulating on his facial hair started to melt. Wait. What? It was then the ranger was sent back to reality and soon realized that the stench was coming from a warm and misty place. It was the hot springs the knightess had mentioned! They were close, they could literally feel and smell it. Soon they could hear the bubbling sounds and felt the humidity dampening their hair. Katya had hopped off and ran towards the hot spring. It was refreshing to see that the little priestess had returned to her more jovial state.

Splash!

Then something entered the spring waters. The whole party froze in their tracks as they did not expect this to happen. This was supposed to be their break. But there was something or someone in the spring and they could not visually identify from this distance. The mist from the spring made it even more difficult to discern if this was a friend or a foe. Oscar let go of the reigns and slowly brought out his bow and nocked an arrow ready to be let loose to the silhouette. Katya was still a significant distance ahead of them when they had stopped. This will turn into a difficult situation if the mystery figure proved itself to be a threat. "Someone get Katya out of there." The ranger whispered to whoever could hear him. His eyes never leaving the silhouette and his body ready to shoot.

Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Th3King0fChaos
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Th3King0fChaos The Weird

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Argentum



Argen watched as his teammates took the gear of the fallen. Argen understood this as he has been doing this with every time as it has made it easy for him to cover the costs of gear and made his life easier.

Argen looks around and begins to rub the side of his head as he feels a sharp pain spark up as his headache worsened for a moment then slowly subsided as he stops his wincing and sighs as he continues looking around and watched for any unwanted guests as he listens into Oscar comforting Katya. Argen is thankful that someone could do that as Argen finds it hard to do such a thing as he wouldn't know where to begin if he was to even try. He just doesn't know what to say to the small one, he is just happy some does know what to say. She has a spark that his friend had, and he wants that spark to shine for as long as it can. Even just for a but longer.




This trip has been doing better than he expected, but he is in a worst position than he would like. He can feel his head just pounding this entire time, as they walked through harder conditions his head began to pound more and made it hard to focus on smaller tasks. It made it for multiple times he broke concentration and spent multiple moments just taking snow to the side of his temples in hopes it helps.

This trip is worth the 10 gold, so far. Sure that is quite a bit of money, dividing that among everyone who is here that is 7 people, that is a gold piece plus some left over, what is like that 120+ silver. That will be nice for the winter, if he didn't have a debt he needs to pay it would be a lot better. He'd want to get more money if he was to keep up with not only the debt, but also expenses just to live and get stronger. This definitely blows, but what else can be done? Some extra work, but it would still be good for the better part of the winter.

To make his headache any worst an intense smell assaulted his nose he winced once again as his head felt as it was just stabbed. He took a moment to have his senses come back as he readied himself as he prepares for the worst. He cautiously looks around as he starts to noticed his skin feel warmer and there seems to be mist starting to form. As he begins to realize this is a hot spring. Good for the bodies recovery, or so he was told. But still this could be nice to get everyone back in spirits, if not just a place to warm their bones for a bit.

Splash

Argen immediately takes grip of his weapons as he goes to Katya and bring her back they don't know what is here. With there being a hot spring it would be enticing to any creature out in this cold as it would make their life nicer being warm. Argen goes to try and get Katya in behind his shield so he can pulls himself and her back to the cart with his spear ready to stab whatever comes at them. 'Of course there has to be some complication. Nothing ever comes easily'.
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Ettamri Belarence


The shield... well, the shield looks battered enough to support her theory. Orcs were strong after all, and she was surprised the paladin's arms was still attached to his body considering the force it would take to warp a metal shield like that. Taking whatever they could, they continued on their travels.

She was tired, apprehensive, and not more than a little paranoid about ambushes as the caravan moved forwards. The backbreaking pace she set was taking its toll on her too, but it was all for the best. Reaching the spring now would mean they get to have a much better rest, in a hopefully much warmer area. Considering the terrain, she could probably move a few rocks to make a nice barrier against wind as well. It was all taking a toll on her mind, not helped by the capering red demon whispering sweet words in her ears, nor the stress of a rigid march. The mask, once again, was a great boon to her, betraying none of her current emotions.

The strange smell of the spring came to her first, as well as the splash in the spring. Was it an enemy? There was no sign of an attack, but still, she could not be sure.

Tired as she was, exhausted as she was, Ettamri still strode forwards first, hefting the metal club around her shoulders, trying to see what it was.

"Who goes there?" She challenged, attempting to see if it was sentient or not.
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Rondo of Blood a horrible night to have a curse

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Another day, another pair of sore legs. Traveling through the snow was both cold and tiring. Despite this, Siwon tried looking at it in a more optimistic matter. They only had the rest of the day and all of tomorrow left to deliver the goods, already. After that, the stronghold may be a suitable place to rest up... that is, before they have to spend another three days returning back to Andeave. Such thoughts reminded Siwon of why he stopped looking on the bright side of things.

Soon, Siwon found himself much warmer than he was just moments ago. The smell of brimstone filled his nostrils, bringing thoughts of rest and relaxation to the Fiend Knight's mind. The gods have decided to award the party for their efforts, it seems. Some were more enthusiastic about this well-deserved rest than the others. Siwon, on the other hand, almost smirked at their chance of reprieve.

Almost.

The sudden splash of water caused Siwon's hand to quickly jerk towards the handle of his newly looted longsword. What followed, however, wiped whatever sense of relief Siwon had away. A mix of annoyance, fear, and a bit of disappointment washed over the Fiend Knight's face as he slowly clutched the handle of his sword, watching the mists- and whatever lies beneath it- with caution. At least his allies seemed to be keeping their guard up, even going so far as to retrieve their overly eager priestess from rushing into doom. Still, something else had to be done...

"... We're leaving. Whatever's in that mist isn't worth it, and I'm not arguing with anyone about it." Siwon stated as a matter of fact before making his way to the front of the wagon. Whatever was within that mist was of no concern to the Fiend Knight, no matter if it was bloodthirsty or open to reason. To Siwon, the correct choice was simple: to continue their quest to the fort. If his allies disagreed with him, then so be it. But Siwon knows their job wasn't to poke around hot springs. If they decided to stay despite knowing this, then they're the fools. They were too far from Andeave for Siwon to safely make his way back home, which meant he'd have to take drastic measures...

Siwon eyed the driver's seat of the wagon with a hint of desperation.
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