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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Lord Wyron
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Forced to center his focus back upon the tangible, Renault looked but did not see; his empty, unaware gaze meeting the Goliath's own. Or rather, from his height, her torso. Barely able to croak out a bewildered "Wh--" in response to her, Vah'lux's expression changed, her features twisting into a scowl not unlike that of an aggressive animal.

Immediately beset by rodent-like monstrosities as large as a mangy stray hound, Renault took a swift step back to avoid the two leaping at him, reaching for his shield beside him as he did so. But in his distraction, another rat struck from behind: foul-toothed fangs clamping around his shin, sending sharp, searing pain up his body. With a lone cry at the sudden attack, Renault lost his footing for a moment, forced to shift weight onto his uninjured leg.

Drawing his sword in one sweeping motion, Renault twisted his upper body to get as good a view as he could on the savage creature, swinging at it with all the grace of a butcher armed with meat cleaver. His inefficacy wasn't due to any fault of his own; even seven years out-of-practice, life spent training with a sword kept Renault a capable duelist - particularly when his opponent lacked hands to wield a sword. But his assailant knew where to strike on larger, bipedal foes, affecting his ability to properly fight on level field.

Though focused on his current predicament, Renault could hear his fellows engaged in battles of their own, and knew more than one had their eyes set on him as prey. He could only hope that they were easily-dispatched, lest he get overwhelmed by sheer numbers.


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The fight came on quickly, but as the dust and debris kicked up by the large rodents and members of the troupe began to subside, Vah'lux had noticed within a moment that only one of the creatures remained. It almost seemed confused as its companions were swiftly slain by the others, but dared not to retreat, only to fight to the bitter end if it had to survive. The Goliath wondered if all creatures were as bold in their efforts or would a flight response kick in when overwhelmed.

Either way, flipping the large, heavy glaive around until the blade pointed downward, Vah'lux gave herself a few moments in waiting as the dire rat scurried uncontrollably into the kill zone. And at that moment, the tall, muscular pseudo-giant slammed the point of the blade toward the ground, hoping to impale the creature, and end its miserable life.

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For how sudden and violent the exchange had been, man and beast wrestling for this little plot of land irrelevant in the greater scheme of things, it was an affair that was as wild as it could be until the end. As while the other rats were dispatched, having died with little more than a loud gasping squeak and shriek, the remaining survivor kept at its attack. It swept around their feet in the now far more flattened grass, avoiding the goliath's blade as it went for blood. This time, far more prepared, Renault saw his attacker coming and its foremost, yellow, worn teeth, and fearing another bite he shunted aside the creature with a turn of his body, using his shield to protect his flank the entire way.

The rat had failed, and as it rallied to bite again, it now had the attention of the entire group of invaders. All of their steely swords, their metal truncheons, their hardened staves, and their strengthened fists, there was no hope for such a pitiful creature but that did not mean it was soon to surrender. It would defend its lair like the rest or flee back to it soon enough, but for now its worn pink toes grasped the ground under it and it shrieked and snapped again. The crack of an arrow whipping through the air past the paladin put an end to that, the rat flopping over itself and into the dirt. It moved and writhed for a moment, thrashing very briefly, and then was done, no more.

Tracan lowered her bow and stepped silently over to the creature, collecting her arrow from it. The elf didn't say anything other than giving them all a look as she stood. They knew what she wanted to say, how this wasn't what she wanted to do and that these rats were defending their home as much as the people who had lived here before them did; until the banditry of the land slaughtered them just as they did these vermin. Wiping the arrow clean, flitting it between her fingers, she returned it to her quiver and simply let the atmosphere of what had happened settle in. Elves were not shy of words but they had a way of making their point with a simple look or shift of their lengthened ears, much like the beasts they were known to consort with.


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"It could have been mine..." The Goliath growled, watching as the Elf silently strolled to retrieve the arrow deeply embedded into the last of the dire rats. Vah'lux shook her head, but followed it up with a slight smile, while examining the large blade at the end of her weapon, dusting off the dirt and wiping the bit of blood and fur from it's cool surface.

Those aware of the Goliath culture, would also know just how fond they are of competition, as most of their lifestyle revolves such things. Just about everything in their day-to-day comings and goings could be turned into some kind of a race, sparring match, or a myriad of other sporting events for no other reason than to satiate the adrenaline pumping through their veins. Still, for a mission that seemed more critical to survival and longevity of life, Vah'lux did not feel competition was necessarily the name of the long game.

"Well done everyone." She nodded toward the others, adjusting her chest armor, and turning to glance out into the distance, wondering if rats were really the worst of it.
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Quentin smiled behind his shield at the Goliath's remark. For his part he was simply glad to have come through the ordeal unscathed. Which was more than could be said for Renault. He sheathed his blade and turned to face his human counterpart. While his injury was hardly fatal, it could become infected, who knew what kind of vile illnesses teemed in the saliva of the monstrous rodents they'd just killed.

"You alright?" He said.

He strode over to the Paladin, slinging his shield once more and setting the polished steel of his hammer back at his best for the moment. They'd come through their first fight together victorious and his weapons were still close to hand. He doffed his helm and shook out of his shaggy hair. Even those brief, frenetic moments had been enough for him to work up a sweat.

He smiled briefly at his motely companions.

"Well … how about that? Our first clash of arms together … though some fared better than others." He grinned ruefully at the thought of how he'd missed the agile rat that had tried to come after him.
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Gorosk did not feel the regret Tracan clearly did. They had been attacked by these creatures and had defended themselves. Were they men perhaps their deaths could have been avoided, but they were not, they were angry base animals defending their territory. Defending their territory oddly fiercely.

"I don't go around hunting and killing rats," he said to the group as they gathered about in the aftermath of their first battles as a group, "But that was weird wasn't it? That's not normal behavior for a rat."

He looks around at the 5 bodies, in various states but all equally dead.
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The elf-woman silently nodded at first, paying no mind to the obvious pain that was likely now settling in upon the man who had got himself bit by one of the sizable rats. She did not remain quiet forever, answering the orc's question as he surveyed the handiwork of their group. And although she spoke up, she kept the remainder of what was running through her thoughts about how they brought this on themselves to herself, instead only noting what she knew.

"We disturbed them." At first that was all Tracan said although she continued after walking among the wild grasses and grains, looking over the bodies of the sizable, unusual vermin. The corner of her lip pulled as she thought deeper, accepting that the orc was somewhat right, although not for the reasons he likely knew or understood.

"All of nature is more hostile here too, just some parts of it more than others..." She conversationally changed from being more sobering to being more alert and to the point almost instantly, the tone of her voice adjusting, "If we've seen this many, there's more."

Her intense eyes fell on the rest of them, almost urging them to get moving with their green gaze. She was likely not wrong either, where one saw a rat, there were probably five more, and where one saw five rats and so of course the saying probably went from there. The size of the burrows in the field was a strong indication of such things too, although if these rats all lived communally or not was debatable despite it probably being no coincidence they attacked together. All it meant in the end was that said slain dire rats were likely not the last of their worries.


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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Lord Wyron
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With battle ended, at least for the moment, the party granted themselves a quick moment to collect themselves. Wiping his blade clean using the edge of his traveling cloak, Renault lifted his sword to the waning sunlight, inspecting it for any specks of crimson before returning it to his hip.

Shifting where he stood, Renault winced as the change in movement incensed the steady throbbing that was beginning to settle in his leg. His attention redirected by Quentin asking about his condition, Renault nodded with a simple, "Yes, I'm fine -- thank you." His tone was blunt, but not unkind, a side-effect of the solitude he'd been living under up until now. Even mundane questions asked by others had the potential to fluster him. For a man unused to explaining himself, this would be a difficult adjustment.

Realizing the possible rudeness of his voice, Renault let a soft smile spread across his features, hoping to wordlessly assure his gratitude. With the focus of conversation now shifting towards their recent victory, Renault nodded once in satisfaction, pleased with the results despite his surprise injury. He felt little concern of any real danger; Reddenbarrow was close by, and Marthan, himself declared that he would heal any injuries that befell the group. Though not all priests were taught the art of healing magic, for a village as small as Reddenbarrow, a permanent physician or even an alchemist wasn't always a guarantee. It was oftentimes up to the church to take over in medicinal matters.

Their celebration was short-lived, however, as Gorosk voiced his concerns over the nature of rats. Their aggression seemed to grow relative to their size. Whether naturally-occurring creatures or perversions of the natural order, they had ingrained themselves into the wildlife. The Elf-Woman spoke up at this, first arguing that their party had disturbed the rats' territory before warning that rats rarely kept broods of only five.

Renault's expression soured slightly as Tracan seemed to almost defend the rats' behavior, soured further by a fresh wave of pain shooting up his leg. Keeping any words he thought of in his own head, Renault took her advice in stead. "Well, then...we best not waste any more time."

With that, he moved towards the most obvious feature of the farmstead - the scorched building, looking for anything of note.

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Quentin nodded at Renault's brusque words. The man was in a fair bit of pain. After the man smiled, his own lips quirked in something that might have approached a friendly expression. He was used to the short and to the point comments of soldiers. Often it was nothing personal, you simply only had time to get your across and then be done with it. He turned his attention to the farmhouse and kept moving, staying the left of the Paladin.

He paused mid-stride, seeing the Paladin scrutinizing the area. It made sense that there might be something else lurking in the ruins. That would be in keeping with his luck so far. As if a dam had burst in his mind, a torrent of different thoughts cascaded through his brain. What if this was simply some trap? Would his bones go to join that of so many others before? Would all his bold talk to the priests be for nothing? Would he die, honor unavenged?

He swore bitterly and then turned to grin sourly at his motely compatriots. If this was his end, he'd have be such an end as to worthy of remembrance. Let this wild and cursed land know that there was still courage in the hearts of men. Courage enough to more than match its unremitting savagery.

He laughed softly at the unbidden thought of another soldier in his fallen lord's retinue. A half-crazed trooper by the name of LaRoye of Jeanquin. A man who'd always been at the front of any charge. He shrugged his armored shoulders. He was done trying to play games. If he survived it would be a sign he was to continue in his purpose. If not, well … the dead didn't care.

"Well then," he said to orc, goliath and elf alike, "let's do this."

Then with no warning at all, he surged forward in an explosion of motion, longsword gripped in both hands, cloak rippling in the bitter wind as he charged towards the ruined farmhouse.

Anyone listening in the distance would have heard a cry of, "LaRoye Jeanquin!"
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The Wild Elf certainly wasn't wrong. The group had trespassed into the unknown, and were beginning to reap what was being sown. Creatures great and small would rise up if need be, and the Goliath knew all too well the emotional turmoil of her lands being invaded by those who did not belong. Vah'lux couldn't help but turn slightly to glance at Gorosk, as momentary thoughts drifted to the Orc attack on her village several years back. But, her reverie was quickly snuffed by the human's urge to rush forward, his legs pushing toward the farmhouse in the distance, and the echo of words not quite understood.

"Humans..." The Goliath shook her head as she followed along the path toward the ruined structure.
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What would have been a cautious advance by the entourage assembled in their proceedings toward the charred farmhouse turned into a sudden charge spearheaded by the fallen soldier of the realm. Overtaking and passing by the paladin, who had been leading the approach despite the pain of his leg easing in and out varying on where his boot placed itself among the soft earth of the field, it was now de Brey who started the attack. For all intents and purposes, that was what his hurried dash to the front was, and it certainly did not go unanswered as the moment he rushed the mouth of the ruined house, he too was rushed back. With suddenness, four more of the sizable rats poured from the entrance, apparently startled and at first scattered in a number of directions. It was quite possible that had de Brey not made such a headlong charge, sword heft in both hands, shouting at the top of his lungs, that Beaumont would have met the worst of the rats than he had before.

Disoriented and confused initially, the mottled grey-brown creatures snapped out of their confusion. They immediately set about their own counterattack, if one could call their behavior organized at all any longer - it certainly wasn't. One rat happened to not be far from the man leading the attack, another kept at a flank toward the following paladin, and the other two on the furthest left before them, less than a few paces from where the stead's door once stood, were by themselves. The other three, elf, goliath, and orc, were now a brisk jog away from their leading compatriot at most; only a sprint to battle or their own headless charge would catch them up. Of course, for an athletic, towering creature like Vah'lux this was no issue at all as she could simply make use of the massive glaive she bore, as was this no issue for an elf with a bow, or certainly not for an orc who had a score to settle with these creatures.

The elf's bow audibly snapped with the sound of another arrow being fired from it, loosed through the air and whizzing past all those before her. She wisely aimed for the rats who were not right beside her dysfunctional compatriots at the forefront but still missed all the same. She cursed quietly to herself in frustration, her emotions starting to get the better of her.


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Gorosk fought and failed to retain the stoic contemplative expression and presence a Monk ought to project. His fellow Monks would not be pleased but they would also not be surprised in the slightest. This should not be a test of their abilities. It was no great hardship to endure nor did it require any creative thinking that might bring enlightenment, but Gorosk whooped just the same as he charged hard at the mottled brown dog sized beast beside Beaumont.

Gorosk opted for a not particularly expert move to hit the dire rat, aiming to just kick it square in the head and shoulders. His kicks connects, but not particularly well. He doesn't get that full thick feeling of a strike that properly seated itself into the target, but rather the unsatisfying slippery feel of a glancing blow.

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The rat, that which was just struck, bled badly from its nose. Much its face had deflected the blow rather than allowing the full force of the orcish man's strike to drive its skull in. For now, it lived, although quite possibly forever damaged by the hit should it not find its end here in moments. Regardless of its future, which the rat thought none of in this moment in particular even if it did somehow contemplate its fate, it clattered its sickly yellow teeth back at the monk with a wild bite. Gorosk moved his leg back as the jaws dared closer but the moment he felt pain he knew the sharp edge of its bite grazed him. It wasn't near as bad as the wound their conscripted ally in arms suffered just a few minutes prior but it was a reminder the rats, despite being little more than overgrown vermin, were dangerous. It was becoming ever clearer still in the stirring dust and ash outside the ruined building why the militia would need have been sent here.

Beside the two men dealing with the outlying rat to the right, the charging warrior found himself beset by two. The first, the one just at his foot, leapt up at him with a shrill cry and was checked only by the shunt of the man's shoulder turning it aside. Fighting off that creature, de Brey had the wherewithal from his prior experience in battles not long past to see the other foe coming at him; thankfully it dared not attack behind, it too feeble and simpleminded for that, and he stepped aside to avoid the gnashing jaws, keeping them both back at sword point. From a roundabout point, the last and furthest rat scurried behind the conflict, bounding with hops and leaps around the skirmish then bolting for the paladin, it was too little and too late - having wasted much of its time avoiding the fighter's sword and the orc's staff to get this far.


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Though intending a cautious approach, lest the Elf's claims of unseen enemies be true, Quentin was apparently filled with a righteous fervor that befitted only the most zealous knights back in the Order. Shouting a name that Renault recognized as Andallian in root, Quentin surged forth, bearing sword in both hands. At least three responses entered Renault's mind in that moment, but in the time he took deciding which one to say, he was left with nothing to say at all.

"Humans..." Vah'lux muttered under-breath, clearly exasperated at Quentin's recklessness. Renault chuckled, a sound that could have easily been mistaken for a raspy cough. Though Quentin's actions could easily warrant rebuke, Renault found himself amused, instead. That amusement was snuffed, however, as four more rats poured from the house's mouth like putrid vomit, scattering in any which way direction before coming to their collective senses and pouncing upon the intruding adventurers.

One went for Quentin, another taking the flank and eyeing Renault from his peripherals. The remaining two lurked on the outskirts, no doubt sizing up their mark and eyeing any point of weakness. A flash of pain in Renault's leg only reminded him of the nasty bite these vermin packed.

Drawing his blade once more, Renault already felt tension starting to settle in his shoulder. The days spent loitering in jail coupled with years of relative inactivity had weakened him, and Renault wasn't looking forward to the soreness he would no doubt experience tomorrow.

Turning on his heel to face the rat encircling towards him, Renault set his shield out in front of him, adopting a defensive stance. With luck, the rat would rashly charge headfirst and be repelled by the shield, opening itself to a swift counterattack. But Renault hadn't forgotten the other two that hadn't chosen targets yet.

He heard the creak of a bow being drawn back, then quickly released as the arrow took flight, only to aimlessly bury itself in the fallow earth. The other had taken note of all four, and that's the assurance Renault needed. So long as eyes were kept on all four, this would be another simple fight, gods willing.

He watched Gorosk rush in out of the corner of his eye, aiming a powerful kick at the head of the rat that had gone after Quentin. Another joined its brother to attack Quentin, yet both repelled without incident. The last one, one that perhaps bore slightly more cunning than the others, took to the outskirts and rushed for Renault, who saw it sprinting and leaping with violent tenacity. Bloodlust has its advantages, but cannot compensate for a lack of stamina. The rat tired itself out in the chase and lacked the energy to attack Renault with any real strength. Seeing his chance, he took a lurching step forward and put his weight into a powerful thrust, hoping to skewer the vile beast between the ribs.


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β€œThavaal”. The woman cursed under her breath, watching as yet another group of rats -displaced by the reckless actions of the soldier- scurried out of hiding and attacked. The initial attack, an arrow from the Wild Elf, whizzed by at lightning speed, only to miss its mark.

β€œGoli lemna ah’le kae...”. She signed, running forward to catch up to where the fight took place and momentarily gazing towards the heavens as though to apologize to Kavaki and Manethak for such behavior from ignorant companions, before turning her attention to the oncoming threats, as the towering Goliath focuses her attack on one of the rats attacking the human, Quentin.

We reap what we sow…


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Quentin smiled grimly as yet more rats burst from cover, it seemed he'd startled the oversized vermin and he couldn't help but feel a certain amount of grim satisfaction. It seemed as though the only way to combat the savage world around them was to be even more brutal. Well, that was something he more than excelled at.

If the beasts of the north wished to meet him in blood and death, he was only too happy to oblige. He'd never flinched from ending the lives of any of the rebels or marauders he'd faced, why should this be any different? He stepped in to their attack and nodded his appreciation at the orc Gorosk as the massive monk aimed a kick at one of the two rats he currently faced.

The wiry creature dodged the blow, but Quentin still appreciated the effort, from the corner of his eye he glimpsed Vah'lux and Renault clashing with the foe and he was grateful for both the Paladin and the Goliath woman's aid. Especially with two of the vile rodents attempting to gnaw at his legs, their dirty yellow fangs flashing against the rim of his shield as he swiftly interposed it between his body and their gnashing teeth.

His blood burned hot in his limbs and the air in his lungs, once cool, was now warm. A hint of the fatigue that would surely follow. He needed to end this fight and now. He stepped forward yet again, using his shield to drive the vermin back and brought his longsword around in a vicious slash … that missed by a hairsbreadth as both beasts managed to dodge the cruel blow with only seconds to spare.

"Bastards!" He howled breathlessly.



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Another arrow cracked by in the chaos, parting the air with its deadly point. The rat it was destined for, unaware of the impending danger, only felt its back grazed by the length of the shot, right down to the fletching feathers brushing its dappled, ugly fur. It cried out in surprise and seemed kept off balance, having only just before avoided the armored man's sword. The arrow, in the meanwhile, planted itself almost at the foot of the partially collapsed doorway in a puff of soft, once rich earth.

Tracan's eyes shown with visible frustration, although she swallowed her building frustration as these were small, swift, and erratic foes. A man was comparatively easier to hit in this combat, let alone the closeness and chaos. She almost wished, almost dared her temper get the better of her, that she could just fire recklessly pull after pull of her bowstring and pummel the rats, not worrying about where each loosed shot landed. However, she had "allies" to concern herself with, rather fellow shackled souls to the will of whatever that god's name was, and it wasn't as though she wanted to kill them - although some could use some sense beat into them for sure but maybe these rats would help do that for her, she thought.


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Gorosk's pupils dilated and his blood pressure soared as the mangy rodent survived what should have been a truly beautiful launch. The rodent rather than soaring through the air majestically before disappearing into the treeline simply turned, squealed, and bit him. Much as his kick didn't find purchase the rat didn't really manage to sink it's teeth into the Half-Orc's leg, but it drew blood just the same. As insubstantial as the dire rats seemed Gorosk now understood well how with surprisingly modest numbers they might overtake a town not accustomed to battle.

In his better moments Gorosk would take this all in and try to use it to formulate an idea of how they might tackle this foe without taking any more injuries. He would perhaps contemplate if this might mean there is a better way to handle this situation. In this moment however he remained very upset with the rat who had bit him. He drew his foot up once more and brought it down on the dire rat. Perhaps the rat was still a bit dazed from the glancing blow, or perhaps the damage Gorosk had just done to the rat had begun to affect it, but it did not dodge this blow. Gorosk's foot came down hard on the head and neck of the creature, killing it instantly with a distinct sharp cracking noise.

He lifted his foot once more, seemed to consider stomping the same rat again as needless as that would have been, and ultimately stomped on the second rat's back. It screeched and clawed at the air for a moment but then stirred no longer.

"Fucking Rats" Gorosk growled to De Brey.


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Two of the rats fell dead almost instantly in a matter of seconds, their still warm figures sprawled out across the ground in lifeless motion. They died in the heat of the moment and their bodies reflected that dynamic quality and last bit of effort they had exerted before being reduced to broken bones and soon dying flesh by the blows of the monastic orc. They were not the only of the beasts to fall, for just as soon as those two before them were slain, another joined them dead in the dirt. Only this time, Beaumont backhanded one of the creatures with a reverse swing of his sword, following it as it dared attempt to move outside his area of threat; the blade caught it at the spine and it went lifeless.

Vah'lux was just as successful too, having been focusing herself upon one of the monstrous vermin as it leapt and bit at the other human. Again it sprung forward, tooth and claw wild before suddenly as it landed on the bracer of de Brey's free arm, it vanished with the thrust of a tremendous blade. It hit the ground, pinned, and dead upon contact with the blade before it so much as struck the soil which now turned red with its blood. It hadn't even the time to call out in surprise before it was killed, its moment of near triumph at biting the intruding man interrupted in the very moment.

But that was not all, for the last rat, having shaken off the surprise off the first few moments of the charge hustled its way out of doorway and set about attacking as well. Composing himself, de Brey saw the rat just as soon as it saw him and he had the wherewithal to immediately protect himself with his shield as it plowed into his armor. With a metallic thud and weight pushed thrust upon the bulwark safeguarding him, he avoided an attack this time solely by his own doing.


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With hoarse cry, Renault twisted his upper body, using his momentum to sweep his blade backwards, cleaving into the rat and ending its wretched existence. Freeing his blade from the flesh of the creature with a sickening squelch, Renault's arm fell to his side, fingers loosening their grip on the hilt as his hand began to ache tremendously.

Fatigue washed over him as the adrenaline of battle subsided. His shield hung on his arm like a dead weight dragging him ever-downward, and the growing stiffness of his fingers threatened to send his sword flying should he attempt another swing. By Erithar, he was out-of-shape. The tired soreness of his muscles seemed to only aggravate the pain in his leg, turning his gait into a proper limp.

Their reprieve lasted only a moment, if that, as one more rat emerged from the farmhouse, incensed at the death of its brood-brothers and sisters. Lunging at the first person it saw - that person being Quentin - Renault began to slowly hobble his way closer to the building. He was in no state to sprint, and even if he were, this final foe didn't seem particularly worth the effort. Quentin had repelled its initial attack with ease, and it was likely the rat would be slain within seconds. If not, he would answer. But until then, his only course of action was slowly closing the distance separating them, keeping the rat contained, if nothing else.
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