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Zeroth Post
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Zeroth
Good day, dear reader. I hope this letter finds you well.

Worry not about how this message got to you; I am a mage, and have used my powers to ensure these letters only reach the intended recepients. I, like you and many others, am one the humans deem to be a threat, and have as a result of this had to go into hiding. I have since constructed a large home, one away from the prying eyes of humans, and have come up with an idea.

If many of us were to live in one place, we could easily protect ourselves against the humans. That is why you have received this letter. I am inviting you to come live within this manor, alongside others who have received it. Everything will be provided for, including food and other necessities.

On the back of this letter you will find the location of this manor. If you choose to come, you can rest assured a room will be available for you. If not, then I shall wish you the best.


This is the letter you found when you woke up one day, with no idea how it got there. There was nobody around, no sign of anybody having been around. It was just... there.

Whether it was out of curiosity, out of a desire to be safe, or something else entirely, you chose to follow the instructions on the back.

And now, here you are, at the front gate of a large manor secluded in some forest you've never heard of. What kind of new life will wait for you on the other side of those doors?

Only one way to find out.




Current Map of the Manor (to be updated as rooms are discovered and/or things change):







The area around the manor is mostly forest, the building itself being hidden within a large clearing. It lacks a front yard, but there seems to be a rather large garden behind the building. There's a short cobblestone wall, about waist-high, around the edge of the manor, seeming to mark the edge of the manor grounds.
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Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by RedXIII
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RedXIII Magnificent Bastard

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Location: Local Inn > Manor Entrance | Interactions: Open


"They're coming, Elise!" Marrok's heart was pointing in his chest. He could hear the hunters' footsteps growing louder with each passing second. "Run!" But she was petrified, hiding behind a wild oak, unable to move. "Elise, please!" Marrok pleaded. He could hear his own pulse within like war drums whose vibrato served to instill panic and it was working. Marrok was out of options. They couldn't run anymore. They couldn't embrace their fear. They had to fight.

His blood went from warm to fiery hot as he bared his teeth toward his approaching doom. Four dark silhouettes emerged just over the shady hill, their eyes glowing red as they peered down upon him. The evil fiends cackled like crows, laughing at the boy and his efforts to save his sister. Marrok could hear his bones crack, his musculature adjust and transform. His hands were no longer the home of his fingers but, instead, gnarled paws with razor sharp claws. His humanoid canines were replaced with long feral teeth that came to a point. His hate and anger rose up from his stomach and into his throat before exploading out of his mouth in a monstrous, defiant roar.

Knock, knock, knock!

And then it was gone. All of it.

Knock, knock, knock!

"Oy! You have some sort o' critter in there?! We were explicit about tha rules of this establishment! No pets or animals!"

Marrok sat up in his bed. Not his bed, just a bed. He quickly looked around the room to try and get his bearings. His satchel was hanging on the doorknob just across the way. The walls were very near to the bed with just a small chest in the corner of the room reserved for a guest's clothing. A guest's... He was in an Inn. Visions of his activities the night before were slow to return to his memory and once he looked at the night stand, he understood why. Upon it was a jug of ale or, rather, an empty jug where ale used to reside. It had found a new home within Marrok's stomach. Beside the jug sat a note.

Marrock brushed his long dark hair out of his face and furrowed his eyebrows. He didn't recall that note being there before. He quickly snatched it up and gave it a read. A refuge for the extraordinary, a haven from the vicious Normal. The perfect next spot to continue his quest to find his family...

"Ay, now, I'm not tellin' ya again! Open this door and get whatever wretched beast ya got outta this place! And you can go along with it after you settle up!" The voice behind the door sounded angry and deep. No doubt the innkeeper was a man of large stature. Marrok had no intention of finding out for sure. He leaped out of bed, allowing the blanket to fall to the floor, before darting across the room to his hanging satchel. With the flick of a wrist, he pulled it onto his arm and eventually around his shoulder as he made his way to the window. It was time to take his leave. If the innkeeper came into the room and didn't see any animals about, it wouldn't be long before he discovered the true source of the predatory roar and surely no good could come after that realization.

Unfortunately, the window was fixed to the walls and his room was on the second story. Marrok winced a bit. This was going to hurt. Like an athlete, Marrok hit his ready stance, preparing to dash forward and a second later he did just so, leaping into the air and tucking in like a cannon ball before crashing through the glass with a loud clash and falling to the earth far below. Another loud crash was soon to follow behind him. As he looked up from the dirt street he could see the furious innkeeper shouting down profanities from the ruined windowpane, no doubt having kicked through the room door just moments before.

It was time to leave that behind, though, and head forward to the next adventure. Onward to the Manor!

* * * * *


The trek took weeks but he found himself among the trees and couldn't help but take comfort in the scenery. A small blue bird sat atop his shoulder. A brave and curious fellow who decided to accompany him on his journey only moments ago. Eventually the duo found themselves at the edge of a clearing and just ahead they beheld the sanctuary Marrok had been seeking: The Manor.

Marrok stood for a moment and just looked on, trying to take it in.

"What do you think, little fellow? Could this be a trap?" he asked his new feathered friend. The bird seemed to huff as if expelling a nervous sigh. "No matter, though, right? Even if it is a trap, surely you are mighty enough to protect me, eh?" The blue bird whistled in response but immediately took flight, returning to the woods from which it came. "O-kay. Right, then. Solo it is."

Marrok's every step was slow and methodical as his eyes darted every which way, ready to spot some sign of trickery or deceit. By the time he got to the front doors, he was pleased that he encountered no such thing thus far. Who knew what could be waiting on the other side of this sanctuary's entrance. One thing was for sure: He wouldn't find out by standing out here. With that, he swallowed hard, placed a hand on the knob and opened it wide...
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by jasbraq
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jasbraq Professional Nibbler

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Adara
Location: A cave deep in the forest going to near the mansion
Interactions: Open



Adara had another sleepless night. "When will the people realize that I'm human?" The vampire became a bit melancholic. "At least was human I guess..." She misses the warm confines of a house which was only furthered by the cold wind from the outside that blew into the cave. "Oh how I miss the better times... how many years has it been since then? I think it might have been about three years." The vampire began thinking back on how or what happened in all that time, mostly thinking about her old office made her feel warm inside before realizing she may never get to that point in life ever again. Thinking back on things made her tired enough to finally fall asleep dreaming about a very familiar scene.

"Master the vampire has been confined but are you sure that using vampire blood in your experiments is a good idea?" the voice of a boy that was very familiar to her spoke out. "Nonsense boy, don't you see that we're so very close to achieving immortality. I've prepared for this day for more than a decade and now it's finally time to finish my magnum opus, my family will finally accept me as the family heir that I deserve to be!" A man's voice passionately spoke out before he waved him away and prepared for the experiment. Everything after that was a blur as she slowly woke up.

"Come out you demonspawn, we know you're hiding here!" The all familiar voice shouted as Adara quickly rose and prepared to escape the hunting party before noticing a weird note lying on her book, grabbing it as she swiftly took her leave. She would run a bit before she would open it and read it. "So I'm already such a monster that I'm invited to a manor full of them? She shrugged, chuckling all the while. "Guess that will get this guy and his party out of my hair, wanting to avenge his master's death by killing his master... He was a good kid although never the brightest." She said to herself while still holding a fondness for the kid.



She was surprised for how long the walk took but according to the note would be quite close to it. "It should be close by, the Manor should only be a bit farther." As the forest's end was in sight she gazed upon the place where she could finally live quietly again. The vampire finally regained some motivation and sprinted towards it, spotting someone at the door as she approached it. It wouldn't take long until she stood behind the man. "Hey kid, did you get invited to this place too?" She eyed the werewolf with some suspicion. "Are you sure you're not a human?... You look even more human than I do" She teased the man.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Cotton
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Cotton Full of Magic

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The trek took weeks but he found himself among the trees and couldn't help but take comfort in the scenery. A small blue bird sat atop his shoulder. A brave and curious fellow who decided to accompany him on his journey only moments ago. Eventually the duo found themselves at the edge of a clearing and just ahead they beheld the sanctuary Marrok had been seeking: The Manor.

Marrok stood for a moment and just looked on, trying to take it in.

"What do you think, little fellow? Could this be a trap?" he asked his new feathered friend. The bird seemed to huff as if expelling a nervous sigh. "No matter, though, right? Even if it is a trap, surely you are mighty enough to protect me, eh?" The blue bird whistled in response but immediately took flight, returning to the woods from which it came. "O-kay. Right, then. Solo it is."

Marrok's every step was slow and methodical as his eyes darted every which way, ready to spot some sign of trickery or deceit. By the time he got to the front doors, he was pleased that he encountered no such thing thus far. Who knew what could be waiting on the other side of this sanctuary's entrance. One thing was for sure: He wouldn't find out by standing out here. With that, he swallowed hard, placed a hand on the knob and opened it wide...


Towering over Marrok and his feathered companion, a large red-brick building stood alone within the clearing. It looked old, but well-kept; no signs of damage from age or any other signs of being in disrepair. From the outside, the building looked to have at least two floors, perhaps with an attic hidden under it's roof. The clearing seemed to almost perfectly fit the manor; as though the forest itself refused to grow closer to the short wall that seemed to mark the edge of the building's garden.

Despite the possible eeriness of the building standing tall and quiet within the clearing, it was not entirely silent around it. There were a lot of birds around, judging by the sounds they were making. Primarily crows and ravens, with many hopping around in the front garden - which wasn't anything particularly impressive to look at. Perhaps there was a more impressive rear garden? Either way, the birds paid Marrok no mind as he approached the door, hopping away only if he would otherwise collide with them, and paying no mind to anything he did to interact with them - they seemed to be very busy minding their own business.

Adara

She was surprised for how long the walk took but according to the note would be quite close to it. "It should be close by, the Manor should only be a bit farther." As the forest's end was in sight she gazed upon the place where she could finally live quietly again. The vampire finally regained some motivation and sprinted towards it, spotting someone at the door as she approached it. It wouldn't take long until she stood behind the man. "Hey kid, did you get invited to this place too?" She eyed the werewolf with some suspicion. "Are you sure you're not a human?... You look even more human than I do" She teased the man.


Even as a second person arrived at the scene, the birds did not look up from what they were doing - still hopping around and almost seeming to be noiselessly conversing with eachother. They seemed to be unimpressed by visitors, and would not react to anything that wouldn't put them in harm's way - at which point they would simply get out of the way.

As Marrok pushed open the door, a few of the birds took to the air, flying up to the roof and disappearing through a small hole in it. Perhaps they had made their nests in the attic?

Beyond the door laid a foyer. It was dimly lit, a large staircase providing access to two doors on the floor above, with two more doors on the ground floor, one to left and the other to the right. It was quiet within the building; there was no sign of any other inhabitants, though there were no signs of the place being abandoned. There was no dust, no cobwebs. No damage. It was as though it had been cleaned up recently, but there was no sign of whoever could have done that within the foyer. Perhaps they were elsewhere within the structure?
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Ypnosi
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Ypnosi

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A pair of eyes peered over the manor from the safety of the surrounding woods, Yus hiding herself in a bush as she watched two others approach the manor, squinting to try and get a good luck, though she was too far away to hear much, it seemed that the first who had arrived was talking to a small bird. Well... the letter had said that it was a place for her and others like her, shunned by society. Perhaps he could speak to animals or something similar? Whatever it was, the bird didn't seem to be having much of it, as it lifted off and retreated away, her attention on it only fleetingly before returning to eyeing the man, who seemed to be looking around nervously. Yus was careful not to move deeper into the woods and potentially give herself away. With the distance between them, she doubted he could see her, especially if she was still, hiding in the shade of the forest, seeing through the cover of a bush.

Her gaze flicked to another arrival, running to catch up with the first, and calling out to him. ...that was a very short child, actually seeming as short as she was. Perhaps the others kid or something? They seemed familiar, based on the cloaked kids distance to him, although Yus was too far away to hear either the words, or even the tone, of what they was saying. That cloak hid a lot from where she was, she couldn't even tell what gender the child was. Perhaps the cloak was what hid the features that caused humans to hunt the pair? Either way, her scouting was done for the time. It didn't seem to be a trap, or if it was, there was at least safety in numbers. She had been considering the possibility of this being an ambush by pure humans who wanted to round people like her up, and... handle them, by some court wizard or something. Whoever set it up must have been powerful, given the fact that the letter had just... appeared by her, it was able to accurately find and transport things to people like her, so why go to the trouble of offering a haven and making the risk of her simply not coming? If they could transport things, they could simply have transported soldiers, or- no, if they were powerful enough to transport people (whether the wizard was friendly or hostile), they simply could have transported her and explained later, so there must have been a limit. They still could have transported poison, or... she was running herself in circles here. Shaking her head, Yus frowned, and retreated deeper into the woods, carefully making her way around, holding her loose clothes close to herself so they didn't catch on anything.

She emerged from the forest into the road proper outside of the manor, taking a moment to take a deep breath, and take on a carefree, relaxed stance, as if there were no cares in the world for her to worry about as she approached the gate, stepping inside and glancing around at the crows, taking a moment to ensure her crystal was hidden, so it wouldn't attract any attention from any birds who wished to take it for themselves, slipping into the foyer after the pair, not saying anything, soft boots not making much noise on the wooden floor, but perhaps enough to clue the pair in to her presence. She glanced around the place, reaching up to brush hair out of her eyes, a cheerful grin on her face as she studied the foyer. There didn't seem to be anyone other than the three of them around, but strangely, it didn't seem like there wasn't anyone either, it seemed clean, and maintained...
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Raditz
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Raditz Sibling of the Strongest

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The restless bones of a fallen soldier pushed past the dense flora of the nearby woods, his lightly-armored frame carelessly bending against branches and brushing against trees as though he were an autonomous machine created solely to move forward. Bits of twigs and foliage clung to the skeleton's armor, and his boots bore a brown coat of earth that had dried and slowly flaked off as he trudged.
Consciousness seemed to snap into the undead warrior's mind; he felt small popping and snapping as he began to perceive his surroundings. He was in a forest, which contradicted the last thing he could recall. Gino puzzled how he could have ended up so far away without even noticing and scratched his head with a few spare fingers; that's when he noticed that his blade was drawn. His empty sockets seemed to fixate on his dagger for a moment. There was no fresh blood, which granted Gino a faint wave of relief. Still, he didn't remember drawing it in the first place and that distressed him.
Gino went to sheathe his blade but found its home at his waist occupied. His expressionless head tilted a little as he replaced a small, rolled up note with his dagger. The obvious course of action was to read it, and his boney fingers awkwardly unrolled the letter.



Gino might have panicked, were he not emotionally drained from his current state of existence. He calmed down as phantom eyes scanned the message once and then twice more. Many of us? Protect ourselves from humans? Gino was a human...
Gino was a human. He took in the sight of his exposed bones, and a faint sense of sorrow briefly washed over him. Even though, in his mind, he still believed himself to be human, nobody else would possibly see him that way. Perhaps such a place suited masterless bones like himself. A thought then seated itself in Gino's hollow skull.

A mage! A magic user might have the means to restore Gino's life, or perhaps grant him a peaceful death. Maybe, at least, magic could end the skeleton's unconscious wandering...
Resolved, Gino clutched the letter and pushed forward. He had no idea where he currently was, but his gut told him that he may have already been headed in the right direction before. Gino moved through the woods, now consciously avoiding obstacles in his surroundings, as a new energy showed in his movements.

----------------

Sometime later, boney fingers wrapped around the bark of a tree, as Gino's skull peeked past it's trunk and his empty eye sockets took in the scene. The building itself looked old, likely erected after his death, but still aged. There were too many birds, but, Gino admitted to himself, they weren't human, and were probably also welcome here.
His eyes surveilled down the building's walls until he barely noticed a few people entering the front door. He didn't get a good look, but his old scout's eyes noticed what seemed to be an adult and two children. The three looked human enough, but their features weren't clear from that distance. Still, Gino's shoulders relaxed. Children was a good sign that this place was peaceful. Gino hesitated for a moment longer, fearing his appearance might frighten children, but ultimately acknowledged the inevitable and marched towards the door with determination.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Aristocles
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Aristocles

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Ophion had been traveling for some time now. His life as an adventurer had proceeded well enough, but things had been going slowly lately. It had been almost five years since he had seen his homeland, and he expected that it would be at least another five more before he had the wherewithal to return home and use whatever assets he had acquired on his adventures to start an estate of his own. Not for the first time, he silently cursed his hatching order, that he should be denied the life his older brothers enjoyed simply because they happened to be born a few years before he was.

But regrets were pointless. The Dracon warmage had heard of a manor he could stay at for a while, or at least he had received instructions from a mysterious letter. Before his mage training, he would have regarded such a missive with suspicion or even fear, but he was no stranger to such magical oddities by now. Not sure if it was a trap or an opportunity, he decided to give the directions a shot. If it was a trap, it would at least give him someone to oppose and acquire treasures from, should he survive the trap. If it was an opportunity to find shelter and the aid of more adventurers, so much the better. If it was a bit of both, he'd deal with each situation as it arose. Supposedly, all would be provided for, including food and shelter. If nothing else, the savings on those things alone could cut down the time it would take for him to earn the money he'd require for his plans back home. Of course, even if his patron was completely honest about providing him with room and board, there would probably be a service expected from him in return.

Upon reaching the manor, Ophion saw a few people outside of it. He couldn't quite tell what race they were all supposed to be, but he got the impression that they weren't necessarily native to this land anymore than he was.

"Excuse me, but did you all receive the same letter that I did?" Ophion held out the mysterious note for emphasis. For a moment, he wondered if any of them even spoke his language. The dracon was fluent in his native draconic, common, and knew some words of elven. He spoke in common most days since leaving his homeland, but he had a draconic accent, making his speech seem "growly" when pronouncing R and S sounds.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Roundabout
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Roundabout

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Location: Poorly hidden on the outer side of the cobblestone wall, by the entrance, and easily spotted if someone were to look


Tova clutched the mysterious letter to her chest, the paper scrunched from the force of her grip.

What the…!? What!?

She sat with her back against the low cobblestone wall, just barely hidden by some bushes and curled into a tight ball, staring ahead with wide eyes from what she’d just seen.

What the actual ever living fuck!?

Gathered in front of the manor - the promised safe manor! - was not only a few human-looking people, but an actual skeleton followed by a giant freaking lizard had just walked right past her hiding place. She could hear her own heart beating rapidly in her chest, and she still had her hand covering her mouth from when she’d had to stop herself from screaming at the sight of the giant lizard. Oh, and had she mentioned the living skeleton!?

What in the ever green meadows was this place? The letter had promised a sanctuary, not a house filled with predators!

Or well, what she assumed to be predators. For all she knew this was all normal and the world was filled with such creatures, and she just didn’t know because of her sheltered upbringing. Gathering her courage, she turned and peeked over the wall. She would wait and see what happened, but if anything seemed even the slightest bit fishy she would be out of there as fast as her hooves could carry her. No sanctuary was worth becoming lizard dinner, thank you very much.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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Conscripts An Atom Trying to Understand Itself

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Goroth had various doubts as he approached this mysterious manor he was supposedly invited to. Like the fact that the letter just mysteriously appeared by him one morning, even though he should be in the middle of nowhere at the time, away from any inhabitants. And the fact that it promised pretty much everything that he himself had to work tirelessly for in the last 2 decades. For free as well apparently. It sounded too good to be true. But he also had to count the fact that it might not be those humans who delivered the letter to him, given he wasn't where they were supposed to be. It had already been over 10 years since he escaped that wretched place. Surely they wouldn't exert that much effort just to find a single orc. Regardless, he was curious enough to go there. If it actually was a trap, then so be it. He's not afraid of a fight. Or death.

Travels didn't take that long, as the orc was not afraid of any confrontation with any opposition, human or not, though he wasn't so arrogant to travel the main road in broad daylight. The greatsword hung on his waist while the guandao and the bag of tools and possessions firmly on his back as he gradually approached the manor. The sounds of chirping birds made it a lot less unsettling, but seeing that...whatever is curling up behind the cobblestone wall did. There were also various other creatures outside the manor as well, some of them human-like, but he knew some species just look like that. How envious he was of them, but that's just a fact of life.

Regardless, it still wasn't enough to trust this place just yet. Goroth decided not to approach the manor until he knew what is going on. He instead turned straight for the creature hiding behind that cobblestone wall, if he could call it that.

"You." The orc, towering over the small faun, in his ironclad armor and weapons right in his hand's reach, pointed at her as he neared. "The hell you up to? You part of this?"

His voice was growly and mildly threatening, yet if the faun paid attention, she would notice the same letter she had crumbled in his other hand.

@Roundabout
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Roundabout
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Tova had been so focused on the scene by the manor that she’d somehow missed the sound of approaching footsteps. So when there was a sudden gravely voice behind her, she was taken by surprise. She whirled around, ungracefully landing on her butt in the dirt, and looked up.

And up.

And up.

Sitting as she was, she barely reached the orcs' kneecaps, and had to tilt her head until her horns hit the wall behind her to see his face. His frowning, tusk clad, red eyed face.

Oh gods above, she was going to die.

Because she might not know much about whatever beings were gathered in front of the building, but she did know about orcs. Not personally, but there’d been stories aplenty. How they hunted fauns for sport and made their hooves and horns into necklaces, or skewered babies on sticks with cheese for appetizers, or flayed faun hides and made them into hats. Next to humans, there was nothing more dangerous than an orc, and seeing one now for herself she could easily believe it.

Should she run? Play dead? Beg for mercy? Oh gods, she was so dead, she was going to be killed she-

Okay, okay, hold up. Don’t panic. Think, not just feel. Tova managed one full, deep breath instead of hyperventilating. Focus. Maybe...Maybe the orc was here for the same reason she was. The letter had said ‘ones humans deemed a threat.’ Well, they’d be stupid not to consider the orc a threat. But what if she’d been invited as an orc snack?- No. Bad thoughts. Tova forced herself to tear her eyes away from the orc’s face, giving the rest of him a quick once-over and spotted the letter in his hand. The paper was an exact match to her own.

Slowly, Tova got to her feet, having to use the wall as support because her knees were shaking like leaves. She no longer cared about staying hidden, because either the orc made her into minced meat on the spot, or he was on her side and could defend her against the others.

“I’m - I’m surveying. S-see, we have the - the same letter.” She held out her letter, movements stiff and jerky, “So we’re both part of this. So - so don’t eat me, y-yeah? We can form a truce - an alliance." This was such a bad idea, “Against those others. You’d be the brawn, a-and I’d be the bra-...uh, artistic director. Sounds good?”

@Conscripts
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by LazyBoy
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LazyBoy

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Pike


"Can't we talk about this!?" Pike shouted as he burst from the forest foliage in a full sprint, a bolt flying merely inches away from his head and plunging into a trees trunk with a 'thunk'. An irritated groan escaped him as he continued to flee while trying to ignore the sounds of men and hounds alike howling for his blood as they gave chase. Through gritted teeth he continued to run deeper into the depth of the dark forest they had chased him into and cursed his own luck. It was no surprise people were after him with the bounty on his head, but Pike was sure he had gained some distance between himself and his hunters. Did he make a mistake and leave a trail behind for them to follow? The thought of making such a mistake annoyed the young half-demon, fueling his determination to escape with his life.

"Damn it all you useless twats, catch that damned hell spawn! I want his head on a bloody pike!" a booming voice cried out through the forest and making Pike wince at the thought of his bodiless head stuck on stick for all to see. Why can't humans ever try to kill him with kindness? It's always either burnt at the stake, hanged, decapitation, one man even wanted to throw him into a pit of hungry rats! Another bolt soon zoomed past his head and brought Pike out of his thoughts, quickly reminding him why exactly he was running in the first place. With a burst of energy he leapt over ditches and fallen trees, tore through foliage and swerved between the trees to avoid more incoming bolts. To his pleasure the angry voices and savage barking began to grow distant as he grew deeper into the forest. A small smile spread cross his face as he glanced behind him and let out a sigh of relief.

"Well that was easier than I- huh?" was all Pike managed to say as his next step lacked any earth for him to stand on. Instead Pike quickly found himself tumbling down a steep hill, tearing through several bushes and gritting his teeth as he tried to shield himself from the hard impacts against the ground. Finally Pike managed to stop his fall by slamming into a solid tree with his back, groaning in pain before slouching against tree with heavy breathing. The pain aching in Pike's spine was difficult to deal with, but luckily it wasn't the worst he's been through. For a long moment Pike remained still to listen to his own breathing, the world around him growing quite in the night as he sat alone in the wilderness with only his own thoughts.

A bitter smile came to his face as he stared down at his lap to examine his slightly cut up hands. He winced in pain as he rotated his bruised thumb and groaned in annoyance before glancing over to his right pocket with a frown. His expression soften a bit before reaching into his pocket and pulled out a folded letter. For a moment he simply stared at the piece of paper with a hopeful glint in his eyes, wondering if it was true, that there was actually a place people like him can rest in without worry. At first he simply thought it would be an interesting place to visit before he got back onto the road, but for the past few months things have been getting more dangerous. Not only has the bounty on his head grew slightly, but every encounter continues to become more and more too close for comfort for him. In the end it seems he'll have to choose between two options. Either finally settle down and take on whatever happens, or to keep running. Honestly the thought of anymore running made him want to vomit. Before he could linger on his thoughts anymore the distant sound of howling men and dogs began to slowly grow closer. Pike let out a long sigh before forcing himself up to his feet through gritted teeth, shoving the letter back into his pocket and continuing his escape into the night with a slight limp.
----
Two weeks later

Pike sat alone beside a running stream, the sun breaking through the trees and glinting off the water as it smoothly ran through the forest uninterrupted. The world around him remained calm and tranquil as his tired gaze remained on the clear flowing water, the sound of birds chirping away without fear mixed well with the gentle rush of the water. Taking in a deep breath and exhaling out his nose Pike looked up towards the trees with a small frown as he slowly began to sink into his thoughts once again. It's been a few weeks to get this far to his destination and honestly things have been running smoothly. His last close call with those hunters in the forest a few weeks back. Ever since then he's only had to avoid a few hunting parties from the shadows and interact with a few merchants with his illusionary magic concealing the many marks and symbols lining nearly every inch of his body. With a glance to the top of his hands he let his eyes scan the strange circular symbols with a familiar sense of curiosity he's had since discovering his magic. It always seemed like some type of puzzle, or at least a piece of puzzle that continues to taunt him.

With a gentle push of his mana the symbol atop his right hand began to glow a dull red before his whole hand was enveloped with dancing flames, the familiar heat feeling nice against his skin. The flames began to dim as Pike let out a slow calming breath until the fire around his hand was only rising a few inches from his skin. For a moment Pike simply stared into the weak fire with a distant look in his eyes. Memories, nightmares and regrets continue to plague the half-demons thoughts before he let out a defeated sigh and rose to his feet, waving around his right hand as he extinguished the flames with ease. Though he would prefer spending his day here to meditate and sleep, Pike knew he was close to his destination and didn't want to waste anymore time. Plus actual food and a bed sounded like heaven! With food and comfort on his mind Pike inhaled deeply through his nose, gave a few quick slaps to his cheeks and ignored his exhausted limbs screaming out to him as he began to finish the last leg of his journey.

After an hour of walking alone in silence Pike finally came to large clearing within the forest. For a moment he remained still, his eyes widening slightly in slight shock as he took in the impressive looking manor. A small smile spread to his face as he finally reached his goal and arched a brow as a few figures in the distance caught his interest. By the looks of it they were all just arriving like himself. Were they all in the same boat as him? How long has this place even been around? So many questions continued to fill his mind until he shook his head clear and took in a deep breath. A mixture of excitement and hesitation filled his chest before he finally took the first step forward. Out of caution though he flipped his hood over his head and cast an illusionary spell to hide the markings along his body, making him look like another human.

Like all new places he visits Pike decided to observe first then poke around afterwards. As he neared the entrance of the manor the figures he spotted earlier grew more clear for him to see. His brows arched upwards in surprise as he saw a few clearly non-humans standing outside the manor speaking to one another. He would like to speak with them later, the thought talking to another non-human sending a spark of excitement into his heart. For now though he wanted to explore the mason itself while he can. As Pike passed the new faces he gave them a casual wave and small smile if they looked his way, even giving a firm nod towards the the living skeleton, which he had to process for a moment before shrugging it off and continuing on. Before entering the manor itself Pike looked around the front garden, if you can even call this a garden, and saw several crows and ravens standing idly by. Pike watched them with curiosity, getting an odd feeling from the creatures before breakings his gaze as one of the crows snapped their head towards him. A small shudder ran up his spine before he pushed open the door and entered the building.

Upon entering he was welcomed with a rather pleasant sight of an excellently cleaned foyer, not a bit of dust or grime to be seen. Pike looked around the foyer with a thoughtful gaze, admiring the style and construction with a small smile before burying his hands into his pockets. "Huh, not bad," he admitted as he walked deeper into the foyer, spinning around as he continued to walk and take in his surroundings before stopping at the base of the staircase leading to the second floor. As he began to wonder what was on the second floor though he notice a few other new faces with him in the foyer. Honestly he doesn't know how he missed them, well the two smaller ones would be easy to miss, but the taller man should have stuck out like a sore thumb. He must have been more infatuated with the décor than he thought. Pike gives them a slight nod along with a small smile before looking back up the staircase with a curious look. "Who the hell owns this place?" Pike questioned aloud unintentionally.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Raditz
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Raditz Sibling of the Strongest

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Gino's advance slowed to a halt as more people gathered before the manor's front doors. A few had slipped in, but it seemed that more had began to accumulate outside. The skeleton took in the sight around him for a moment, surprised and a little uneasy. Plenty of the figures gathering here could reasonably pass for human, at least at first glance, but the red-scaled Dracon certainly stood out as he held up a letter, likely identical to the one Gino possessed. The skeleton was still in silent awe, but managed to respond to the dragon-kin by silently plucking his own invitation from its resting place at his side and holding it up for the Dracon to see.

Gino's head turned as he continued to scout out the other newcomers. A young, human-looking male seemed to acknowledge Gino as he slipped inside the curious manor, an event that granted Gino some mild relief. Nobody was running or screaming or brandishing weapons. A variety of different kinds of people assembled here, presumably all seeking refuge and acceptance like he had. It was kind of heartwarming but bittersweet to Gino, knowing that when he was alive, he would have been the very thing these people fled from.

Memories of ancient war crimes caused his empty-socketted gaze to fix itself upon a towering, armor-clad orc. Beyond him, much lower to the ground, was a shaking, almost cowering woman who was, at least partially, covered in fur. With everything going on, Gino couldn't hear them speak to understand the situation, and chose to silently watch the encounter play out. Even if the massive orc intended to hurt her, would he dare do so here? How would the others react? What about the mage that supposedly summoned them all here?

Moreover, what did he plan to do if things did get violent? In life, he wouldn't stand a chance against this behomoth humanoid alone. Now, with battered and misplaced gear, he certainly couldn't interfere in any significant capacity. Despite everything, Gino noticed a tension in his stance. His blade hand was still holding up the invitation, but he noticed his grip on his shield had tightened in suspense...
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Conscripts
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The sight of a shaking and bumbling faun would be a little funny if she hadn't been a faun. One of those creatures he viewed good when dead, since their meat was admittedly delicious, their furs made great coats and blanket, but after his departure from human settlement and became a wanderer, he gradually find less pleasure in the slaughter of these naturally cowardly creatures. Not even as warriors to warriors. So lucky for her, he had no intention of making her his snack. Given the letter she also showed him, this probably meant both of them were in on this offer, that they would live together in this manor, in peace, fending off humans if they show up. The orc too signed up for this deal, though more out of curiosity than anything, but that still meant he was bound to honor his end. What the actual purpose of this letter was also a matter of concern, though if he thought clearly about it, she probably is too much of a daisy to actually plan harm.

"Hmph. Artistic director." Goroth scoffed at the euphemism. If she meant being the boss that told him what to do, she'd be better off outright saying so. He had been a slave for almost a decade, then a mercenary to be bossed around for over one. He knew the hierarchy. "If that's all you're good for, then so be it." Though he didn't have much intention on actually following her advice if she said anything. He wasn't going to snoop around looking dumb. He'd approach the manor directly. If these people had no intention of upholding their end of the deal, then he'd have the honor of having their head. And oh boy, someone was already down for the test.

This skeleton, having clearly been under the earth for too long, with his rusted armor and battered targe, was observing Goroth from afar. The orc didn't need to look him in the eye to know he was tensed up. Every minor detail in his body screamed that. In turn, as the orc neared the skeleton and the group of creatures gathering outside the manor, his walking stance shifted from normal walk to a slow forward leg shuffling along the ground. His red eyes stared locked at where the skeleton's eyes would have been, while the letter was held out for everybody close by.

"Who's the mage who sent this?" He curtly asked, assuming they knew the details.

@Raditz@Roundabout
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by Roundabout
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Tova's chin dropped when the orc said he agreed to her deal, fear momentarily forgotten, "What, really? I mean, good, good. Then - hey, 'all I'm good for'? Now let me tell you something, you big - Wait!" The orc ignored her - or didn't hear her - and had started walking towards the manor, "Hey, wait for me!"

As he took one step to her four, she had to trot to keep up with him. The manor towered before them. She'd never been near a structure like it. Her village had consisted of mostly huts and tents, and even if she knew other races - humans in particular - liked to build big, sturdy stone houses, she'd only ever seen human settlements from afar. Looking at it almost made her feel the opposite of claustrophobia, but at the same time also made her wonder with some anticipation if she'd be able to scale the exterior all the way to the roof. The view from up there had to be amazing.

Once the orc came to a stop, she made sure to stay mostly hidden behind him, peeking out around his massive frame. She eyed the others suspiciously, waiting to see how they'd react to the orc's question.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by RedXIII
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"Are you sure you're not a human?... You look even more human than I do."

It was an informative question from a beautiful stranger. The nymphic mutt looked into the pupils of her red eyes, feeling himself being drawn to them as if he were beholding twin abysses that were sucking him in.

"It depends on my mood," finally came the answer. His tone wasn't cheeky, it was a matter of fact. His eyes then unfocused and refocused behind her as he gradually saw several other lost souls begin to approach. Marrok, a man of manners, pulled open the door wider and held it, allowing passage to anyone willing to take the next step inside.

He would be lying if he said he wasn't taken a bit aback by some of the individuals who approached. It should have been of little surprise, though, given the contents of the letter. Even still, he couldn't help but furrow his eyebrows when he took in some of their appearances.

Once within the Manor himself, he immediately looked up and gave a slow spin, taking in all the decor and attempting to piece together how many people already lived here, how old the manor was and who could possibly be the owner that summoned them all. This was going to be a very interesting exercise in confidence. This establishment was aiming to be a house of strange monsters. Going to sleep and letting your guard down in a home full of untested, potentially dangerous societal rejects was going to prove to be difficult. His eyes fell back to the self described inhuman woman.

"I'll make you a deal," he said casually, his voice slightly lower as to escape the earshot of the others. "Until we... get to know everyone, lets just say if you hollar, I'll come running to help deal with whichever one of these 'new friends' is misbehaving and perhaps you could do the same on my behalf." An informal buddy system. A catalyst for trust. Perhaps knowing that they had an ally by obligation, it would aid in being able to relax a bit in a house full of potentially deadly strangers.
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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by jasbraq
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Adara
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"Depends on your mood? I know some people can be cranky when they've woken up on the wrong side of the bed, but becoming less human is not something I've heard before." Her tone being quite sarcastic from hearing his response. She became intrigued with what made him inhuman like her as to her he just looked like a normal young man to her, just like her old apprentice. She would walk in with him as he opened the door.

The small vampire would walk after the young man as they entered the manor. She was looking around the manor in a happy twirl, taking in the view of misfits that were outside. Seeing the ensemble made her let out a nervous smile as she thought to herself 'I guess this really is a monster manor, hopefully they won't notice my human nature and get aggressive' saying before letting out a nervous sigh. The manor however called her nerves a bit as it was very cozy and weirdly enough made her think of her old school. She would let out a couple tears as she recollected about her previous life again, holding her medallion that held her cloak.

"A deal, huh? You have guts kid, I like that~" She smiled smugly as he offered her a deal, thinking about her possibilities in this manor to give her the most relaxed life her. "And I assume you want something in return for helping little old me, come out with it and I might agree to it." Saying as she didn't fully trust him but thought he was the most normal person among them and would be a shame to not use this opportunity to have at least one ally in this manor.

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Hidden 3 mos ago 3 mos ago Post by RedXIII
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Marrok opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted with an inquiry from a particularly curious specimen.

"Who the hell owns this place?" he asked at the foot of the staircase. Quickly, Marrok sized him up. While he could identify points of peculiarity, he could not surmise precisely what this man's quirk was. Disappointed in that fact, his gaze returned to his new associate. He gave her a subtle nod and a wink as if to wordlessly say 'we'll finish this later'. His attention then drifted once more back toward the man with the question.

"I think it's an answer we'd all like to know," Marrok stated agreeably. "While we wait for that one, I suppose we should ask the questions that we know the answers to... I'm Marrok." He held his hand to his chest as he introduced himself. Marrok, a dark haired man, had dressed equally dark that day, adorned in a black long-sleeved shirt and similarly colored trousers. The state of his shoes had told the story of a man who had been traveling for quite some time. Marrok's hand left his chest and slowly gestured toward everyone else in the vicinity. "Who are you?"
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Ypnosi
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Glancing around at the others who seemed to be entering the building, Yus' eyes widened at what appeared to be a lizard-person (A dragon, or something? Half-dragon? Nothing she had seen before) rather aggressively waving about the letter. Well, that was... sort of good news? She wasn't the only recipient, at least. After him came what looked to be a human, from what she could tell, but something about him seemed... off, not that she could place exactly what it was.

...damnit, she was trying to listen in on those two talking to each other, but between the lizard and the other guy, they were being loud enough that she couldn't pick up what they were saying. Grimacing internally, Yus' gaze flicked between the... everyone entering. Too many people here. And not enough, at the same time. Too many for her to be comfortable, but not enough for her to safely hide in. And as such, it was time for her to make her exit. ...well, from this room, anyways. As much as she'd like safety in numbers, she wasn't sure how much she really trusted anyone nearby, nor was she interested in socializing with her... peers at this point in time. Were they her peers? Perhaps they were similar in their pasts, if not appearances, but peers also implied a semblance of... familiarity, which didn't exist.

And so, hoping, praying she wasn't noticed, that no one tried to follow her, Yus slipped out of the West door near the stairs, aiming to explore the ground floors a bit.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by LazyBoy
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Pike

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Pike arched a brow as a voice acknowledged his question and turned to face one of the other strangers in the foyer. Out of habit he sized up the man with a curious eye as he spoke, noting his travel worn shoes with interest. Pike himself has been on the road for six to seven years by now, but he's run into wanderers who've traveled for decades more than him and has always found their stories fascinating to hear. A small smile came to his lips as the man introduced himself as Marrok and slightly dipped his head forward in greeting before rising to meet his gaze with calm yet tired dull grey eyes as he gestured to everyone. Pike's smile grew slightly before pulling his hands from his baggy pockets and placing his right hand to his chest, not bothering to hide the many scars around his wrist and fingers as they covered the golden locket hanging from his neck. "Pike," he said before crossing his arms with a firm nod. "Nice to meet you," he finished and glanced over to the small girl with a friendly smile as he awaited for an introduction.

Though as he waited he began to wonder just what these two were exactly. Perhaps they were like him, hiding what they are with an illusionary spell, or by some other means. He finds it hard to think that they could be human given where they are, but Pike didn't want to jump to any conclusion even if they were human or not. He would keep the spell up for however long he needed to until he's for certain its safe. Even though his body was already exhausted from his trip here and keeping the spell up strains him even further, Pike would keep a calm face and enjoy meeting new faces. Besides, he'll be able to find a nice place to nap once he gets settled in.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by jasbraq
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Adara
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Adara looked rather confused as she eyed the stranger who adressed himself as Pike, he looked human too although didn’t really feel completely human, perhaps a halfbreed of Some sort. She did enjoy the view of the rather human-like people around her now and thought it would only be appropriate to introduce herself to the boy. “The name’s Adara Kraith. The pleasure is all mine young man” The girl responded in kind with a bow before eyeing the boy once again to see if she could find a clue to his inhuman nature.

She pulled out her book and went looking for clues on what the boy might be, only to find nothing in her notes matching with what she’s looking at. “Boy, mind telling me what you are exactly?" The small vampire asked with a soft but rather demanding tone, annoyed that she didn’t have his race documented.
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Hidden 3 mos ago Post by LazyBoy
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Pike

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Pike bowed his head slightly out of respect as Adara introduced herself and held back an amused chuckle upon being called a young man. She seemed a bit young herself, but Pike decided to take it as a compliment and move on. He noticed her curious eye examine him briefly and couldn't help but give a quick glance at his appearance to ensure nothing was out of the ordinary, more specifically to make sure his illusion was still active. Pike stifled a sigh of relief before returning his attention to Adara, his attention drifting to the book now in her hands. Before he could speak she addressed him and questioned what he was, Pike noting the polite yet firm tone in her voice. Pike's smile slightly dropped at the question, a question he knew would be asked at some point, but still catching him off guard enough to remain silent for a moment to form a reply.

Every fiber of himself wanted to be honest and answer her questions, but after years of hiding and especially with a slowly growing bounty, Pike has made it an iron clad rule to never reveal his true nature to others until he was certain it was safe. Marrok and Adara may be a non-human like him, but humans weren't the only threat Pike's met on the road. A small sigh escaped him as his smile grew bitter sweet and gave her a tired gaze. "That is a rather dangerous question to ask these days ya know?" he stated with a serious glint in his eye before holding up his right hand to reveal his scarred appendage. Across his palm, fingers and around his wrist were a mixture of old and new wounds from his travels. "It is an even more dangerous question to answer," he said with a low tone, his smile still present on his face, but a sorrowful gaze.

Pike quickly cleared his thoughts and lowered his hand with an apologetic smile. "Forgive me, but I prefer to keep my origins to myself. For now at least," he assured her as he glanced around the foyer. "If this place is truly what I was told and I settle in without issue then I may reveal my secrets to you," he said with a small smirk and chuckled lightly before stretching his limbs with sigh. "That is if we ever meet our mysterious host," he muttered as he glanced up the stairs with a curious eye and looked between Marrok and Adara. "Have either of you even seen an employee walking around?" he questioned as he buried his hands into his pockets.
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