Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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Rune_Alchemist Absolute Depravity

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A girl dressed in white, wearing fairly little considering the temperature, would quietly hurry past a few men only stopping when they’d shout. Strong looking men shoveled snow out from around the doorway of a completely buried house, just enough for someone to slip inside….a body had been found…

A quiet statement followed.

The men collectively fell silent.

Another one for Achel, then.

The man inside would climb back out, shaking his head, taking their shovels and moving to the next unchecked house. Even after a week not everyone had been fully recovered. If they were lucky, they’d find someone just on the verge of death…unlucky? Not even a body would have remained. The beasts kin, nasty little spirits that couldn’t be seen in the blizzard having run away with their fair share of residents.

The village girl would shake her head, run over, and give all the men a big hug before quickly continuing on her way. The chief had asked everyone to come to the old temple…and well, normally she herself might have shirked some sort of lesson or work…well, now wasn’t really the time for that, was it? She’d slowly shove open the large doors to the old stone hewn cathedral.

Oh good, she wasn’t late…

She’d pass the crowd of people…two, ten…thirty…fifty…sixty? Not counting those that were doing recovery…she didn’t want to think about it. She’d give friendly hellos but she’d move quickly into the back rooms…

“...chief?” She’d knock lightly on the door, slowly pushing it open…

He rubbed his weathered fingers against the bridge of his nose. A tired strain, cold weariness creeping into his bones. In all forty odd years he had been in charge of Dawn after inheriting it from his own grandfather, this was…well, it was unprecedented. The cold was nothing new. Dawn, sitting upon the shores of the Towren Coast, had survived such conditions before. A blizzard, had it been just a blizzard…would have survived.

“Chief?”

He leaned back in his chair, shoulders slumping as the voice went unheard. Poor Achel hadn’t slept in days, it feels like, even with Atzi’s help. Calra had been doing her best to heal those she could with magic and keep those that had survived fed and healthy with what little they had. Bolcha and his boys had been working tirelessly to clear out snow and find others that had hopefully survived. The fifteen odd hunters left had quickly checked food stores, only to find that much had been taken by the Elder Beast and its kin. Akala had been using her divine arts to heal those that she could and to keep spirits up, but…

“Enli!”

“Ah! O-oh. Lazhira…it’s you.” The young girl responded with a bright grin, who would release the old man from a tight hug.

“Ehe, sorry you weren’t responding and you were starting to look like you were gonna start spiraling.”

“Spiraling…?” He’d echo with a frown. “Oh, is it time already? Is everyone here?”

“Uhm, I think so. Bolcha, Akando…Achel is still in the catacombs, I think…I might bring her something later. Akala-”

“Right here.” The voice of the priestess would say, quietly entering the room. “Enli…I think its time we start. The people are getting a bit anxious.”

“Mhm. Lets get this over with then.” Enli would say, rising from his chair. “The sooner we do the sooner we can start rebuilding.”

“Mhm, okay…and hey…make sure you get some rest, okay?”

“When I can, Lazhira.” Lazhira would respond with a small pout, but would say nothing in return, leaving the room and heading back out into the main hall with them, Enli and Akala trailing behind as he’d make his way to the front reception hall. It was fitting, he supposed, a place most in the village had never given the time of day would be the safe haven during a disaster such as this.

As Enli approached the back of the hall, near a small podium the quiet murmurs of the gathered crowd would slowly die down, all turning their heads towards Enli.

“...Truthfully, I don’t know how to even start speaking.” He would say, a long, drawn out sigh. “Describing what has happened…trying to even talk about it feels like I couldn’t grasp the full scope of this tragedy. A week ago…Dawn was thriving. Nearly half a thousand people…and today there’s barely a hundred of us left.” Enli leaned on the Podium, shaking his head. “Our food stores are low. The sea, frozen over, making fishing difficult. Homes, shattered and buried under meters of snow. The kin of Elder Beast Azral Suralng took much. Our friends…family…I would not blame you for being angry, and for desiring revenge on such a beast…” He’d exhale, casting his eyes down towards the ground. “But I, I can only blame myself. I know, no one could have predicted this, but as the leader of Dawn, all of you…this land, this village…is my responsibility. And this tragedy happened on my watch.” He’d turn his head back towards the gathered crowd. A few silent murmurs. “As it stands…Dawn is hurting. We hardly have the manpower to feed ourselves, now, let alone defend ourselves if the Kyrnith or some other threat makes itself known…” He’d inhale sharply. “But…this, this is not the end for us. Legend says that Dawn was founded at the end of the Moonless Era, by humans, surviving the Goddess Wrath for our transgressions built it here. We survived the machinations of a plot by the God of Knowledge that would have led to our ruin. We survived the Kyrnith constantly at our doorstep. And we…those of us left…have survived still. And this, I promise…Dawn will continue to survive, no matter what. For that is what humans do - we will survive, and we will rebuild this village to even better than what it was before.”

It was really, a simple speech…but it seemed to work, if nothing else. The small crowd would give a determined affirmation, shouting in agreement.

“But…we will need to work together. We will need to put all of our efforts into ensuring that we do. Everyone, will need to do their part. I do not care how small it is or what…Akando, what is the status of the hunters?”

“Fifteen of us left…maybe fourteen.” The leader of the hunters would step forward, having been listening quietly from the side, arms folded against his chest. “We Haven’t seen Maira all week, and she lives by herself out in the forest.” He’d inform Enli, stoic as ever. “Hunting is good, though…as long as we don’t run into the Kyrnith and are careful not to antagonize it we should be fine.”

“Hm…we’ll need someone to check on Maira, then. Bolcha? Whats the villages resources look like?”

“Wood’s all frozen.” A gruff man would respond. He’d shake his head. “My boys are out in the village helping with diggin’ and clearin’ the main village out of snow. From what we can tell most peoples houses are good, but we’ll need more sturdy wood for construction.”

“I’ve got plenty of Iron, for now.” A short man…a dwarf? Would speak up. “My forge is as hot and ready to be used as ever.” He’d continue. “Little Rael’s takin’ stock of everything we’ve got now. Say the word chief - or anyone - and we’ll make whatever ye need to get things done.”

“Thank you, Asvar.” Enli would nod. “We’ll need to know how much we have to use.”

“We’ll probably need to buy more from Mie if she shows up,” Asvar would grunt. “Though…I guess we could always head to Sky’s Reach and barter with the Dwarves there if we have enough that interests them. I might know where there could be a good place to mine in the forest thanks to my stone-singin, but…that’ll be dangerous if the Kyrnith shows up.”

“...we’ll probably need to barter a lot from Mie supposing she does come. We’ll need proper money and goods to barter with her, with.” Enli held his hand to his chin, frowning deeply. “Have we made any headway with the ice on the sea, either?”

“A bit.” Bolcha would say. “Odd though - something’s been stealin’ our fish. Not much, mind ye. Just a few catches every day go missin…not bitin’ as much either, as if somethin’s getting them before we are.”

“If I may, Enli.” Akala would chime in. “While I’m able to heal many with my divine healing, Calra has mentioned that she’s running low on herbs to heal others with. I can only do so much myself.”

It seemed the meeting was mostly going off without a hitch. Enli was taking stock of resources, seeing what people needed and attempting to plan things accordingly, and likely more discussion about problems that were occurring were happening, and what could be done to solve them. Perhaps it was time for those chosen by the Moon to make an appearance?


Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Cu Chulainn
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Cu Chulainn black swordsman

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Dawn
of a New Day


A hooded man watched the proceedings silently, listening intently to the pleas of the villagers. He had stood there for quite a while, even before the proceedings began, looking on like a statue. Unmoving, unflinching, unspeaking. Even his breath was slowed to a halt. It seemed as if he blended to the background, a silent vigil of this otherwise bustling chapel. Still, to those who would bring themselves near to this living statue, they would almost hear the mere mentioning of "odds" and various numbers being thrown about. He seemed to be... whispering to himself?

The Sage of Steel had a habit for thinking out loud, after all.

"Resources are scarce, obtaining food is the top priority to maintain proper function. Assisting in hunting may prove the most fruitful of endeavors. Understanding the lay of the land and its inhabitants is paramount for continued survival in these frigid lands. A survey of the flora and fauna of the land may prove beneficial for later. It is also important to understand the dangers these lands entail. Among other threats, learning more of this "Kyrnith" may be wise.

"As for alternate forms of obtaining food, the spear should be a good weapon for fishing, but such a practice is ill-advised for this one to perform. In the case of the fish being stolen, perhaps it is Valtem? Improbable, they're more likely to just take one of the fisherman. Something to keep note of later, perhaps when hunting is complete. Potential of local fauna being responsible for the missing fish is more likely, especially given the recent blizzard."

Having ran these details down with himself (and whoever was close enough to listen to him,) Gideon lowered his hood and made his presence more apparent than it once was. Clearing his throat, he would speak up to those around him.

"Our food stores seemed to have been hit the hardest. What would be the best place to hunt in this village? I take it the woods would be too treacherous, given the dangers that this 'Kyrnith' entails? In any case, I believe it best to assist the hunters in restoring our food supplies before we get to anything else."

Giving advice and insights was something Gideon was quite used to, by now. Still, to help these villagers... there was a different feeling to it. A new sense of duty, perhaps? No, that couldn't quite be it. After all, Gideon did serve Grams as dutifully as he could, in his adventures. It wasn't too long since Gideon had first arrived to this village, after all... and not long after was he tasked with aiding those wayward souls lost on the confusion of the blizzard to the temple he had found himself in right now.

The more he pondered on such things, the more questions he had. Why did Grams send him to this backwater? Why did his arrival herald a coming storm? And why was he, a devoted creation of Grams, chosen by the fickle Moon Goddess to act as one of her champions? All these happenings were strange. Perhaps it is something to ponder more deeply when the more pressing matters were attended to.

For now, Gideon would look around the gathered mass of villagers, his empyrean eye doing its best to discern anyone else who would stand out among the rest. After all, it may be best to work alongside these chosen heroes, for what it's worth. She mentioned... four others, was it?
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Hammer met chisel. Over and over again, chipping at cold, round stone.

Atzi was functionally illiterate, but even she knew her letters. Knew them enough that she could copy them out from the scripts that Achel had written for her. Chains of letters to form names, names to remind one of those that had perished. Her shoulders heaved, tense, sweat beading upon her forehead even within the silent, damp catacombs. Hammer met chisel once more, and her fingers brushed the indentations in the stone, then reached to rub the corners of her eye.

A breath caught her throat and she swallowed hard. The physical labour was easy. The emotional toil was hard. But wasn’t it always?

Over four hundred dead, and a quarter of them didn’t even leave a trace behind, devoured by the Elder Beast’s kindred. Marked graves with nothing buried beneath. A lifetime of memories, reduced to the feces expelled by the sons and daughters of a natural disaster. The woman turned her face to the right, scarlet iris catching a glimpse of Achel. The Chiralta was knelt before yet another corpse that the village men have brought. Blackened flesh, hardened by hoarfrost, reduced a familiar face to a ghoulish mimicry, but Atzi recognized them too well. Dorovi, a young widow who had, just a couple months back, began looking as if she was moving on from the loss of her husband. Now, dead, and not even afforded the dignity to be buried at sea with him.

Tragedies continued, an avalanche that wiped away all thoughts of the future and suffocated one with the past. Achel had kept up her duties as Grave Keeper, had kept at the same pace as Atzi herself, even when she was so much weaker. The tears in her dress were evident, were ignored.

Above, the church’s bells rang and Atzi rose.

“The meeting,” she said, dumbly. “We should go.”

But Achel continued her work.



Enli’s speech was a speech. He spoke too much. It didn’t matter what he said. It didn’t matter who he blamed. The words continued on, echoing against the church’s walls. Maddening. Atzi sat on a pew at the back, eye burning a hole into the ground, hands clasped in a violent mockery of prayer. So many problems, so many concerns, so much scarcity. So much to do, that it was nothing more than a blessing that so many strangers arrived at Dawn. A blessing, but one that could only talk on and on and on and on.

Her body burned. Her memories replayed. Summer days, halcyon days. The dead still living, the village still intact. The sea filled with fish, the Kyrnith understanding. And then the scream of the storm, the blizzard battering homes and coating the world in deathly white, one that could not be removed no matter how industriously she wielded a shovel, then a plank of wood, then her bare hands.

She needed action. She needed to act. Move and go.

Partway through Gideon’s dissertation, Atzi stood up, abruptly. Her eye caught Akando’s, one bloodshot eye to match two measured ones. Her first words were a jumbled, incomprehensible mess. She swallowed hard, tried again. Knew what she was getting herself into, but knew that she’d have to do it anyways. Her voice thundered, strong even when hoarse from those nights where she could only scream in rage, wail in grief. There would be more to come.

Emotional labour.

“I’m looking for Maira. I know where she’d usually be.”

A pause. A nod, to herself more than anything else.

“And before that, I’m feeding Achel. Something hot.”

The Moon Goddess dozed in the corner of her eye upon a floating piece of translucent parchment. She ignored its scribbles, even as it expanded to greater and greater lengths. After all, Atzi could not read.
Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Pyromania99
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Pyromania99 Double-edged Austerity

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Vamessa made her rounds around town, or what was left of it at this point. The town got destroyed, in the best possible way of saying it. It was a little sad, but really, the people still treated her like a bit of an outsider so she wasn't amazingly close with most of them. They didn't actively treat her badly or call her names but they gave her some distance, likely related to her demonic presence. Whatever. They gave her a job to make sure there was enough heat going around the village, fair enough. That was definitely the one thing she was really good at and it helped reduce her destructive tendencies. Well, that and cooking, though people tended to avoid her cooking for some reason.

For the most part, she had stayed in the parts of the town that weren't just absolutely destroyed and made sure that there was enough of a fire going on in the places that were still occupied so the townsfolk didn't freeze to death during these unruly times. Such a thankless job. Still, someone told her there was a town meeting at the temple and she should make time for it. So she did. She walked through the doors of temple about the time the chief had started his speech. She took a seat near the back, far away from most of the townspeople. They'd probably get a little fidgety if she got in the crowd and, well, she didn't want to cause a scene at the moment. The chief's speech was about as one would expect. Inspirational to the townsfolk, maybe her a little more if she felt like she was one of them, but well, she wasn't a human either, even if she wasn't tainted by a demon's presence.

She listened in on the problems of the town at present. 15 hunters may or may not be enough for town right now, not that her hunting record was that good anyway. Not in any capacity to help. And that Maira girl... She sounded familiar... Oh! That was the girl that she met in the forest, back when that was her home, on multiple occasions. A bit of a bitch. She shot arrows at poor Vammy every time they met. She was missing? Well, that wouldn't do. Vammy would need her alive to take revenge on her for all those arrows.

Other than that... Frozen wood? Iron to purchase? Fish stealing? The wood she could handle later fairly easy. Iron... well, if it was dealings with dwarves she'd have nothing to do, though she'd enjoy a "meeting" with Mie. And the fish... Someone else could handle that. A cold, frozen sea? No thank you. Oh, and the healing herbs... She'd not want to risk accidently turning them to ash.

Content with her choice of option, the elf headed over to where the chief was, to offer her services in finding Maira. On her way, however, she heard Atzi saying something aloud about finding the huntress. Vammy licked her lips a small bit as she ran her fingers up the muscular woman's back. "My, I was going to offer to look for her too. I lived in those woods for some time, so I know them like the back of my hand. Hell, I've had some special encounters in there that you don't want to know the details of..." She didn't specify but they were actually a bit more dangerous than she was letting on. "You know you need me, but, if you need to feed that spider first, fine. Come find me, Atzi, when you're ready."

With that, Vammy slipped behind the woman and disappeared into the crowd. Fine, she had some time to kill and what did she see? Her best little friend! She slinked over and snuck up on Lazhira. Her hand flew down and deliver a nice, firm but gentle slap to the girl's rear end before slipping to her side and wrapping an arm around Lazhira's waist. "Hey cutie, doing alright?" She asked, pulling the girl in close and giving her a little bit of warmth. "Warm enough?" She asked with a small teasing smile.
Hidden 8 mos ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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She had come here for the sake of understanding.

By the orders of her superiors, she had arrived to understand why Dawn had been attacked and its people slain. Why they had been reduced to this state.

And yet since she had arrived, she had been confronted with even more questions.

Seelay sighed, brushing her silvery hair back as she did, watching the proceedings in the town square. For some reason, the Goddess of the Moon had seen fit to speak with her. She hadn't the faintest idea why, and while an audience of sorts with the a deity was not exactly something to be shunned(in most cases at least) all it had done was make her even more confused about the events that had occurred here.

None of it made the slightest bit of sense to the elf. None of it was easily explained.

While puzzles could be fun, that wasn't the case when people's lives hung in the balance. Certainly these weren't her people, and she hadn't the slightest intention of remaining here once her duty was concluded. But at the same time, if she had to remain here for some time while conducting her investigation there would be no benefit in allowing the village to collapse even further. Additionally, such disregard for Dawn's plight would be callous.

Seelay was a proud hunter and guardian of the fey. She was not callous.

Besides, perhaps she could demonstrate the skills of a true hunter. Indeed, the thought of showing the fruits of her training made the elf's heart swell with pride.

The petite girl stepped forward, having been lingering outside of the crowd as she listened to the locals speak and discuss what needed to be done. She could at least commend them for having clear goals in mind. Only idiots would waffle about uncertainly as the situation grew more and more grim with every passing day.

"If you need help getting food, then you should look no further," she began, placing one hand to her chest, "There's no better hunter then I, Seelay of the Tamaln Forest."

Perhaps it was introducing herself by boasting as highly of her own capabilities as possible, but was it truly inappropriate? They needed all the help they could get, so wouldn't news that a skillful hunter had decided to directly assist them be a reason to rejoice?

@Cu Chulainn@Rune_Alchemist
Hidden 8 mos ago 8 mos ago Post by Click This
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Lissa


When she had come to this region, she had been merely passing by.

It was a sparsely populated region compared to the north. Nonetheless, she had to pay a visit to the largest city in the region, though it was more like a medium-sized town than anything. While such towns were not as lively or adventurous as some of the larger settlements that she visited, there was almost aways a certain sort of charm and hospitality to them that many other places of a larger size didn’t. This time around, she didn’t have anything with her to sell, but she certainly had enough coin to see if there was anything interesting for her to bring on the road or send back home.

What she hadn’t expected, though, was arriving to a village decimated by blizzard and an especially untimely elder beast attack.

Although she didn’t often stay in each place for too long, how could she not stop and assist a village in such a dire, precarious state? Lissa still did not know what to make of the visit of the Moon Goddess in her ‘dreams’ the other night, although the boon granted of her was interesting, to say the least. What she did know, though, was that she didn’t need Delpithi or any other divine being to tell her to go help save a village.

She would have done so anyway.

That was how she found herself at the town church, listening to the speech by the town’s elder, Enli. The gathering of the villagers only served to show just how unfortunate some had been. Many of those present were the healthiest survivors. While some remained strong, it was clear that the ordeals had taken a toll on many, and despite Enli’s determined words, the village of Dawn would remain vulnerable for a time to come, without outside intervention.

That was the key, though. Without intervention. Considering the context of her earlier encounter, as mysterious and fleeting as the memory had been, there had been no doubt that others would be involved. And others were involved. It was not difficult to see how some in the crowd stood out. Perhaps some were villagers themselves, yes, even if they seemed not to belong at first glance, but it was obvious there were others like her. Those arrived at the village only recently, and origins that were certainly unique. An elf, and a demon, for one—though the latter seemed almost familiar with the people around her. It was only because of that Lissa had refrained from directly confronting her as a threat.

It also hadn’t taken her long to notice that one of her people had also arrived at Dawn. With the Raam numbering in only the low hundreds, the odds of finding another here was outstanding. She would have to talk to him and find out who he was—though considering who she knew had left the temple before her time, she had a reasonable guess at who he was. She did wonder if she had been recognized herself, though. It was hard to distinguish her from human, after all.

Those thoughts were not that important, though. She would catch up with him later—immediate action was still needed. The white-haired girl stepped forward, once the elf had spoken.

“I’ve only just arrived, but please allow me to help! If you need more hands to aid the injured, I can assist. Herbs, preparation, or tending to the patients, or simply anything else please direct me where I’m needed.”
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Nylah





A figure silently came up from behind, ever so quiet and yet stealthy. A silent as the grave. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, from behind the demon-possessed elf's head came a blow as mighty as the thunder, a strike as swift as the winds, an attack as mighty as a great bonfi-

'BONK'

If she did't notice Nylah walk up, or didn't care otherwise amidst all the people around them, Vammy would get bonked hard on the head with a small hand-sized hammer made of solid light via magic. Hard. Not hitting with intent to brutally harm, and far from kill, but enough intent to make it hurt a nice bit and throb for a few minutes...or couple hours. Enough to hopefully get the lewd elf to let go of Lazhira! Hopefully. Lazhira, on the other hand, was in no danger of the almighty friend-saving bonk. In fact, the moth was more than a little pleased to see her...but not the situation she was in upon walking in. More than that, she seemed to be lightly fuming at the treatment of her good friend at the hands of the lewd newcomer.

"Please do keep your hands to yourself!" the Mothraki girl said to Vammy, pouting a bit with her hands on her own hips before letting out a small 'hmpfh' and turning to her friend and giving a small but happy wave.

However, she hadn't arrived too late to not hear Enli's words. That and the little screen with the tiny sleeping moon goddess on it was at lease informational, even if it seemed to just be something she saw. Yet in terms of her arrival? She'd been just a bit too far back to not get to Lazhira in time to try to 'save her' more quickly. Or at least try to save her. Perhaps it was a tad too silly of a moment...but she needed something to focus on. Someone to help in any way she could, anyone. Anyone that was left. Anyone that was alive.

She could even now almost still hear the roar of the winds, feel the deep freeze of the cold, and imagine the scene she had eventually walked out to after it all.

Then the desperation and panic had kicked in. Dug in the snow for hours with her hands until they felt like they were nearly frozen. Saw some of them. Faces, left in the last look of horror that had grasped them in those final moments. So much in such a little time, so many...the bodies. She'd seen them keep digging out bodies. So many bodies, and yet so many that were not there which should have been.

Tackle-hugging Lazhira and Akando and Atzi the first moment she could after all of that was the most she could do to try to let it out without losing her mind. She didn't care at that point how silly or childish it could seem. They were alive. Mother, for what condition she was in, was still alive. So many were still alive, at least, and it was one of the few things outside of her loved ones she latched onto after it all.

But the images of the dead were something she wasn't sure would ever leave her mind, at least for a long time. Mother had told her the honest truth of that. She'd also been told much more of another matter despite her mother's sickness at this time, and all of this right before tragedy had hit the village only six hours later. Yet her mother nor anyone else could be helped if she sat still. If she'd been taught one thing in her childhood, it was that she had to do her best to take action during serious times.

Beyond that, she couldn't imagine how Enli was feeling at the moment. She'd even gone and hugged him the first chance she got, happy to see him alive as well. Man was perhaps the father she'd never had growing up, and at the age of 21 she had not the slightest that things would get as bad as they had. Yet for now, she simply looked to Enli and gave a serious nod to the elder before speaking up to him and aloud where the others could hear.

"I can also try to help Miss Calra! I have only what herbs are left in my pouch, though once I hand them off to her I'll go look for some more! Anything that survived the weather at least."

She'd been learning under Calra for some time now, especially in magic, but not yet long enough to not be a novice in regards to her own herbalism capabilities. However, she felt she'd learned enough to at least try to pick out the generally good healing herbs. Enough of the basics to make some simple stuff to try to help the work somehow, even if it meant patching up people how little she could and continuing to learn from Calra along the way. Maybe even find something to help her mother. She had to find something to help her mother eventually as well.

@Click This@Pyromania99@Rune_Alchemist
Hidden 8 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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A hunting we go
@Cu Chulainn@VitaVitaAR



“...Ah. Gideon, was it?” Enli would walk down from the podium and greet the Sage of Steel with a warm smile. He was followed shortly by Akala, the priestess giving Gideon a sleepy smile in return. “Akala here told me she found you outside not long before the blizzard started. You have my thanks for staying and helping. I can’t give you anything in return for now, but rest assured your kindness will not go unrewarded.”

“You’re a…Raam, correct?” Akala questioned, sounding a bit tired...though who currently didn’t seem somewhat tired? “I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of your people here, but if you’re willing to help with the hunting and food shortage then I’m sure everyone will welcome you with open arms.” It seemed at least, the people of Dawn were as stout as ever. Aside from already having a somewhat clear set of goals to push forward, several people and villagers seemed ready to put in their fair share of work. It was, perhaps, somewhat inspiring and a show of determination.

“Hey! Don’t forget about us!” A voice, perhaps, unwelcome to Seelay would make itself known. Seemingly materializing out of thin air, right on top of Seelay’s head would appear a small fairy, only a few inches tall, white hair, pointed ears and wearing a simple single piece dress. “The Great Fairy Sionna and her servant Seelay!”

“An Elf and Fairy, huh.” Akando, ending a brief conversation with Atzi walked over. “I’ll handle it from here Enli. I know the forest better than anyone. If they want to help while the other hunters are busy, I’ll show them around the forest.”

“Right then. I should go make sure the others are fine. I’ll make Achel get some rest, if I have too.”

“Mhm, if any of you get hurt…please, come back as soon as you can. I can heal you…”

“Sorry you have to come to the village in such a dire time.” Akando would continue as the other two left. “I’m Akando. The others consider me the…leader of the hunters, I guess. With so few of us left I guess I am now.” He didn’t seem thrilled about that fact, though who would under these circumstances? If anything his fist at his side was clenched hard enough to make his knuckles white. “If you’re certain you want to help, anyways. The forest is home to an Elder beast known as Kyrnith - its hurt a lot of hunters in our time, so if your still sure…best to get started.”

“Hehe, not to worry! Seelay here is one of the best hunters in all of Tamaln! Some snooty Elder Beast isn’t a problem for us!”

“Really? I’d be interested in seeing how I compare…” He’d sigh. “...nows not the time for games, though. Have you two ever heard of the Kyrnith before?” The young man asked as he’d lead the two out of the old cathedral and out into the village proper. “And if you need weapons or gear we can stop by Bolcha’s place. He won’t mind if we take what we need s’long as we return it.”




The Missing huntress
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“Stay safe, Atzi.” Akando would say, turning his attention to the newcomer elf and Raam. “I don’t want to have to come pulling you and Maira both from the forest.”

Thankfully for Atzi, it seemed Achel would finally be coming to her. One of the doors in the back of the old church would open. The familiar sight of the pale skinned, oddly jointed Chiralta would come walking out. A slight unevenness in her step. Tiredness? Hard to tell - Achel had a reputation as a bit of an oddball in whatever it was she was doing, her appearance notwithstanding. It was an open secret that she was, well, not quite what she let on but she had been here for quite a long time, and always denied being anything other than a Chiralta.

“Achel!” Enli swiftly moved over. “You look terrible.” Her dress had certainly seen better days. The frills and black cloth had gained a layer of dirt from her constantly working, burying, embalming, laying to rest…what seemed to be tear stains…though it could have very well just been she spilled some preparation fluid on her dress.

“Oh, Enli. You seem worked up?” She replied with a smile, quickly moving past the chief. “Not as terrible as little Atzi! Thank you for the help these past few days. My poor little threads hurt so much from being used! Ah, I can’t wait for a bath…” The Gravekeeper moved over to Atzi. “Thank you for the help! You should go find Maira, though, and worry less about me! I’m safe in my little home, unlike you all.”

Cryptic. Though knowing Chiralta could give solid advice and direction…maybe it was a good idea to get going sooner rather than later.

“Still…if you have some warm bread or something, my little eight-legged heart would be very grateful!”





An eight legged herbalist
@Click This@Crusader Lord@Pyromania99



“Weh~?!” Vammy would be rewarded with a quiet squeal from Lazhira as she was accosted by the demon elf. The village girl turned to face her, frowning and giving her a decidedly unthreatening glare, puffing her cheeks out a bit. “Vammy! I told you next time you do that you’ll be sleeping outside!”

Not that Vammy would get a moment to reply. Only a few seconds later did Nylah’s hammer of light crashed down on the elves head.

“...Oh hey Nylah. I’m so glad your alright…how’s your mom doing?” Lazhira ran, over giving the moth girl a friendly hug.

“She’s currently in a private room in the chapel. Stable, as always…” Akala interrupted. “Sorry you had to see our resident imps…antics.” She’d say, looking over towards Lissa. “I’m Akala. That’s Nyla, Lazhira, and Vamessa…Yes, she’s a demon.”

“...mhm, if you two are going to be busy, I’ve got some stuff to take care of myself…” Lazhira would say. “So i’ll leave you guys to it. I’d probably only get in the way anyways…” A light chuckle followed. “Stay safe! I mean it! If any of you get hurt, you’ll regret it!” Assuming no one stopped her, Lazhira would head out the door.

“Stay safe, Lazhira.” Akala turned her attention back to the Mothraki and Lissa. “We have a resident healer and alchemist by the name of Calra. A Chiralta who moved here some years ago. She’s taking care of patients in Enli’s longhouse. I’ve done what I can here with my divine arts, but…” She’d yawn. “Nnhn, tiring…I don’t know exactly what she needs, but Nylah, you can take Lissa there. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to have the assistance.”


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Dawn
Preparations for the Hunt


Gideon was quick to discern those who would stick out from the villagers, some more than others. He didn't want to point fingers just yet, especially when there were more pressing matters to attend to. Still, it would be good to approach some of these... alleged chosen at some point in time. It would be good to speak to them in order to get a better grasp of their task at hand. They were all chosen for a reason, after all. At the very least, it was good that one of the more obvious of the chosen had also elected to help with hunting. An Elf huntress hailing from the Tamaln forest... Gideon could only recall fond memories of the Forest Elves there.

"Ah, the pleasure's mine, master Enli." Gideon bowed to the elder of the village humbly. "And yes. I've survived my share of bad weather in my travels, but if it wasn't for Akala's aid, you may as well be talking to an icicle." He then turned to the priestess. Perhaps she could provide guidance to his mission, as well? Nonetheless, he nodded to her question as he cleared his throat.

"That is correct, o gracious priestess of the Moon Goddess. My people believe in solidarity above all else. It is important to work together, especially since there's so little of us. To a Raam, every individual life is precious, as life to us is a gift seldom granted by the Forgefather's hands. If there's anywhere I can dedicate my skills to here in Dawn, then I shall do so to the best of my ability. I do have to inquire to you abo-"

Gideon's attention would then be grabbed once more by the proud elf, namely the much more boastful fairy that appeared over her shoulder. His pale face grew somewhat paler as he recalled the very few run-ins he had with the fey. He looked at his boots to ensure they weren't laced together, and stretched his fingers in case they were also intertwined. Sighing in relief at his free appendages, he would bow respectfully in acknowledgment of the duo.

"I've only had pleasant experiences with the Cosain, and I'm glad to have the power of a fairy on our side." Gideon nodded just before Akando would interject. Gideon nodded once more to the de facto leader of the hunters as they would begin to set off, listening intently to his guidance.

"I see, I'm glad I had come across this village at the time I did, then." Gideon stated as Akando spoke of his grievances. "You may call me Gideon. I'm well-versed in the hunting of beasts, myself. It's an especially important skill for a wandering Raam to have, after all. I can't say I'm familiar with these woods, though, or this 'Kyrnith' that haunts them." He took a note of this hunter's clothing, as well as the others he was able to see. Wolves... they were something Gideon was quite familiar with hunting. Deer, as well, may not prove too much of an issue.

At the mentioning of weapons, Gideon looked over to the spear slung over his shoulder. He would grasp it, spinning it in his hands before resting the haft of it to the snow. It was quite an ugly thing, bearing no notable craftsman's marks, but having many scratches from years of battle.

"You won't have to worry about that. This spear of mine's been with me for twenty winters. It has not failed me yet, and I don't believe it will now." Gideon spoke with an uncharacteristic pride. His eyebrow would be raised at the mention of the Kyrnith once more, namely its status as an Elder Beast.

"While we are here, though... Please, tell me all you know of this Kyrnith. I've heard many a tale of their might and majesty. Even had a close call or two with their kin, as we all have had just recently. Would this being be of the same power to the one that had razed this village with the blizzard?"
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"..."

Seelay sighed, heavily, as she felt the slight weight of Sionna's tiny body resting atop her head.

"... I am a guardian of Tamaln, thank you very much," she corrected the fairy. Certainly, she was a guardian in service of both her people and the fey, but that by no means gave Sionna the right to refer to her as a servant! How irritating.

Still, a Raam joining her for the hunt was intriguing. There was certainly quite a mix of different peoples in the town, which Seelay found rather curious. Perhaps it was merely her upbringing in the Tamaln Forest, but such an eclectic mix of different races was a rather unfamiliar surrounding for the Cosain Elf.

"While I have never hunted alongside a Raam before, I've heard plenty," she commented to the man, nodding her head, "I am quite curious to see how you perform."

Not that anyone else was a better hunter then she was, of course. Given the Raam had already addressed the question of the Kyrinth, and how it could be avoided, Seelay could pursue a different matter. Still, she was rather curious about the Elder Beast. She had been unable to understand much of the creature since arriving. Simply that it was quite protective of the forest and its wildlife, without any other details beyond that.

Naturally, this could easily pose an obstacle to hunting.

"In any case, in order to display my skill as a hunter it's best to know what the wildlife around here is like. I would like to know anything you can tell me."

@Rune_Alchemist@Cu Chulainn
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Atzi felt the heat before she felt the touch, the warmth that exuded from the demon’s body so out-of-place in the frigid chill of Azral Suralng’s wake that it couldn’t have been anyone but Vamessa. Her presence had been important to Dawn’s survival, and her gift with flames had saw households through cold nights once the firewood ran out. For all the disdain that came with the demon’s origins, Atzi herself held no great grudge against her.

And honestly, it wasn’t as if Dawn was a sanctuary of prudes to begin with. So long as Vammy figured the time and place for her groping, she’d fit in just fine. Akala, after all, didn’t have any bad blood with her, and that priestess was the holiest individual present.
“That’s good,” she responded with a firm nod in her direction. “Thanks.”

Akando’s concern was also appreciated, though with a boy and a childhood friend at that, Atzi couldn’t help but put up a stronger front. Forcing a grin, she wrapped her hand around the back of his head and pulled him in, bumping foreheads. “Not like you could, anyhow. Last time we wrestled, you couldn’t toss me even when I stood straight up, remember?” Her teeth flashed. Happier days, warmer days. She released him, then smacked him on the back with a vigor that wasn’t completely fake. “Show that elf up, Akando.”

And with Achel looking like she was finally going to take a break, Atzi decided to get to work too now. For all the emotional labour, her body remained thrumming with energy, and she struck her bicep with the palm of her opposing hand. It was a meaty thwack that carried well throughout the echoing chambers of the church. “A moment then!”

Without anything else holding her back, Atzi ran off, her heart speeding up as her lungs pumped cold air through her burning blood. Crusted snow scattered as her mocassins smashed against the ground, and within moments, she reached Bolcha’s workshop and home. Though they were ostensibly family, a desire for independence had come with a desire for privacy, and Atzi had built her own little hut a couple meters away from the craftsman’s abode, where she could entertain her personal guests without bothering her foster family, as well as where she could experiment with her craft without disturbance.

This time, however, she was here only because she had a habit of keeping a warm oven, and to pick up her equipment. Pushing open the slab of wood that served as the door to her mudbrick hut, Atzi pulled an extra cloak that laid in a heap, rescued a loaf of bread from her stove, empty out her waterskin and replaced the contents with some wine, and finally strapped her wooden club to the loop in her belt. Maira’s own home wasn’t even a day’s walk away; if she kept a good pace, she should reach it expediently. Wouldn’t even take half a day if she tried. All she had to do was stay in motion.

Atzi stared at the embers and the ashes, breathed in the oils and fats, the acrid but tantalizing stench of scrambled brains and unscented soap. Her bed had been lonely for too long. She would invite Maira over tonight.

Right. That's a certainty.

Because she’s still alive.



Atzi returned, the sweat beading over her body already wicked away by the breath of winter. She placed the round loaf of bread, kept warm during her return by being wrapped up in a cloth and held beneath her armpit, firmly into the Chiralta gravekeeper’s hands, then swivelled about to locate Vamessa again. It looked as if the demon was nursing a bump on her head, but if it was just a bump, then it was fundamentally nothing.

“Let’s go. Can you run?”

If she couldn’t, that was no problem either. Atzi was just going to carry her there.

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Lissa


It didn’t take long after the speech for small groups to form to tackle some of the tasks that village chief Enli and the other villagers had needed to be done. Indeed, Lissa wasn’t alone in wanting to help some of the patients either. Though, she was greeted by the strange, but somewhat heartwarming scene of some of Dawn’s girls interacting… through a combination of hugging, mauling with a hammer, and more hugging… but mostly hugging. It was rather cute display of humanity in the aftermath of a disaster, even if there was still a demon amidst them. It was for things like this –demon aside— that she traveled and interacted so.

Lissa inclined her head towards the village priestess as she addressed her. She thought Akala looked a bit young for her role, but considering the village’s immediate history, she supposed it was lucky there was somebody to fill the position. “Not a problem at all. Again, thank you for having me, and I’m glad to help. I’m Lissa,” she responded, reintroducing herself, mostly for the benefit of the other three girls. So her guess had been right—the Mothraki was a villager, and a fellow helper, it seemed.

“A Chiralta, huh,” Lissa echoed, nodding as she memorized the name. “You’ve got a very diverse village here,” she noted, her eyes flicking off to glance at the lewd demon girl that remained off to the side, but not before giving a goodbye wave to the departing Lazhira. As far as questions went, she had a lot, and many of them in regards to Vamessa… but again, there were things that needed doing, so she turned to Nyla with another nod.

“I’m in your care, then. Let’s get Calra those herbs and anything else she might need for her patients, yeah?”

Then she paused. “Will the de—ah, Vamessa… be joining us?”
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Vammy was happy to get a little cute noise out of Lazhira, even with that threat of throwing her out of the house that she didn't really expect her to fulfill. After all, she was like a furnace that kept the house warm at night... Even if she tossed and turned in bed the nights where she managed to make herself actually fall asleep. Then, came the hit to the head! A wonderful blow that made her arms go straight to the back of her head to try and dull the pain a bit. "Oooooucccch!" She groaned, looking towards the moth after she recovered. "Damn moth, I'll get your butt for this." Vammy said, though knowing her, one couldn't tell just how literal she was being with that statement.

She quickly moved over to where the Mothraki was standing and threw her arms around her shoulders, opened her mouth wide.... And started to lightly nibble on Nylah's ear, as if to show off her "impish attitude". After a few seconds of this, "Yes, yes. Demon this and that. Just call me Vammy. I'm a really nice girl if you get to know me~" She said before lightly nibbling on Nylah's ear again and then releasing her fully. "I won't be joining you though, I have another job to go do. Maybe some other time though, new girl~"

That was when Lazhira walked off, saying she had something to go do. "Oi, Lazhira!" Vammy said just as the girl was out of earshot. "Geh, that girl. She always disappears. From right in front of me..." Grumbling about following her fully one of these days, she rubbed her head again, feeling the pain from it a bit still. That was when Atzi showed up behind her, asking if she could run. So of course, Vammy had the perfect answer to that. "Oh... I could probably run, but I'm worried I might fall over because a certain moth smacked me square in the back of the head. I would hope very much that a strong, muscular woman would be able to carry me in her arms as we go~"
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Crusader Lord A professional, anxiety-riddled, part-time worker

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Nylah





Whilst the hug from her friend was more than appreciated after having tried to save her from the local "Butt Bandit", though the Mothraki would soon be cut off by 's face turned beet red as Vammy put her arms around her and nibbled on her ear. Her arms squirmed underneath to try to break the grip of the impish demonette, but ultimately to no avail. Only after being released did the utterly awkward embarrassment of the situation start to fade, her attention turning away from the elf who had threatened further lewd treatment of the moth-like girl herself and now shifting back to the curious girl. As the other girl made her demand of staying safe, the female mothraki felt a wide but soft smile come to her face as she waved goodbye to the ever-moving Lazhira.

"Be safe too!" Nylah shouted after the other girl, albeit not long after letting out a tired sigh as Vammy ran after her. Was almost tempting to send another light hammer that direction for safety's sake...but the chance for collateral damage was a bit too much. She would need to find out how to make a homing light hammer for this sort of occasion, once the chance came to figure out such a thing...if it was possible using her magic.

But for now, there was work to do! Calra needed some herbs and such to help, and she by now the Chiralta's apprentice in more than one subject by this point anyway. Still, the priestess did bring her some somewhat comforting words.

"...Thank you, Miss Akala."

Mother was still stable. Good. Far better than some of the alternatives, but far from out of the woods by any means. Still, the Mothraki girl's tone of voice took a notable drop into a more serious and distinctively anxious form as she responded to the priestess. Like she was trying to keep up a strong face despite the matter.

Yet as she was asked to escort Lissa to also help Calra, the Mothraki gave a nod and seemed to brighten up some.

"No problem!" the Mothraki said to the rather sleepy-looking priestess, almost wondering for a second if Akala had any idea of what the goddess has affected on her, before turning to look at the other newcomer who had seemingly stopped by to help the village.

The other girl's clothing was indeed nice-looking, but she seemed more well-grounded and charitable than some to stop by and want to help like this. It made Nylah herself feel a bit of relief to have more help in what needed to be done, though her mother's usual warnings about strangers did keep some small part of her mind alert and on-guard despite it all, "...and thankfully no, Vammy doesn't seem to be joining us. But it's good to meet you, Lissa! Sorry you had to, ah, see some of that...but I'm hoping we can make good use of the daylight to find some useful herbs, at least after getting you and what herbs I have left to Miss Calra first."

She then motioned in a friendly manner for the secretly-a-Raam girl to follow, before beginning to walk off at an oddly but somewhat brisk pace. Still, she would try to talk a little along the way if the other girl was willing and following along with her.

"We'll have to head into the forest to find any herbs around the area. I'm Miss Calra's apprentice, so she's been teaching me more about herbs and nonmagical medicine and such...but I've got a long ways to go yet. I know a couple of areas she's brought me to for practice at the start of the winter, though, so I'm hoping we can find something there."

@Pyromania99@Click This@Rune_Alchemist
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A hunting we go
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“The Kyrnith…” Akando would begin. “A beast of wind and forest. Its been here since the village of Dawn has been here. Probably before. I don’t know its power compared to the Rimebeast that caused this blizzard, I’ve seen its power first hand many times. It can command the winds as easily as it breathes, powerful gusts that can cut even rock in two, but…” He’d pause, a gentle cold wind blowing past as he’d glance to the now nearby treeline. “I’ve only seen the full extent of its power once, when I was a child. I have no doubt if it wanted to, it could raze the entire village in the blink of an eye.” He’d start walking again, heading for a nearby building at the edge of the village. A small storage house the hunters used to keep tools, weapons, and a few other things used in hunting.

“As for the wildlife…Wolves.” He’d say, grabbing a few healing salves and a few bandages from the stash and stuffing them into his belt. “Lot of wolves. Big, too. Normally they don’t give us too much trouble. Riplings, Small flightless birds, too. Nasty pack creatures that like to ambush people from the treetops. Quick and vicious. Watch the tree tops when we go in. Occasionally some Swordbills will find their way here from the shore - watch out for those. Their beaks are as sharp as a blade and make for good daggers. Timid though, usually flees if you manage to kill one of their own. Just watch out for their call. It can temporarily deafen someone.” He’d grab a spear from a rack, along with a bow and arrows and stuff them into a quiver. “Deer, too. Do not hunt any deer with blue fur - those are the Kyrnith’s Kin, and it will know if one is killed. The only other thing to watch out for are the Pandillos. Large creatures about twice the size of a man, but their entire body is covered in tough scales and armor. Herbivores, but extremely territorial. If one charges you, you’re gonna break something. Their underside is weak and fleshy, but its not exactly easy getting to it.”

Seemingly done preparing, he’d turn towards the two again.

“I wouldn’t recommend going past the river deeper into it. Things that live there - they’re not good things. Typically we hunt deer, wolves and the Riplings. Pandillos are too dangerous, usually…but if we can get one…well, it’d feed a lot of people.” Assuming there was nothing else to ask the young hunter, he’d lead the two away from the village and towards the forest. For the most part, Sionna was content to listen and use Seelay’s head as her personal throne, though she was definitely decided how best to mess with the Raam.

It was only a short walk to the forest from the supply shed. Tall evergreen trees rose high into the air, blocking the sun and most of the cold wind from bothering the trio. Not even a few seconds after the village would fade from sight, they could hear the howl of a wolf in the distance. Few large billed birds with silver beaks sitting upon some branches nearby where they had entered. Animal tracks were easily seen against the snowy ground.

“Wolves and deer.” He’d say, kneeling next to the ground. “Swordbills on the tree up there if we wanted to chance it with them. Don’t see any Ripling or Pandillo tracks, but we might have to go further in for those.”

Gideon would be aware that hunting the Swordbills would probably be low risk, low reward. Wolves and Deer would likely yield good results, with only a bit of risk involved. Riplings were a bit of an unknown. They were small, but if they could hunt a lot of them then maybe they wouldn’t be too difficult? Pandillos were the biggest though, if what Akando said was accurate. Probably the most dangerous, too.

If he wanted to, the thought of splitting up could be viable. Much more reward, for more risk, too if they all succeeded.

“...hm...” Akando glanced out into the forest. “If you three are as skilled as you say, then we could hunt for a Pandillo.”

“Eeeh, isn’t that the thing you said was super aggressive?” Sionna would say from atop her elvish throne. “I’m not putting my or Seelay’s cute butt on the line. I wouldn’t have anything to sleep on, then!”






The Missing huntress
@ERode@Pyromania99



Atzi would run off, collecting some warm bread without too much of an issue and leaving Vammy and Achel here in the church. In the meantime, the spider would converse quietly with Enli and Akala. For as much work as she was doing, she didn’t act tired despite what she was saying. The Chiralta would take a moment to visit everyone, too. Offering both condolences to surviving family members, as well as asking about burials - once the sea thawed enough, she was certainly going to give those she could a burial at sea like they desired.

The only perhaps, truly odd thing was Achels gaze lingering on Vammy for more than a few seconds as she spoke with Lissa and Nylah. A subtle twitch of one of her fingers. The demon, at least nothing else, could feel quite an intoxicating flurry of emotions coming from the gravekeeper. Something intoxicating to every single demon such as her.

Hate.

Atzi returned swiftly, pressing a warm loaf of bred into her hands.

“Ah. Atzi, always so kind, to a little spider, eheheh.” Achel responded with a grin. “I should get back to work, though…and Atzi. You may be young and healthy, but overwork can kill the strongest of physiques.” The spider, would in turn give Atzi a brief hug before she’d run off back to the catacombs beneath the church.

“Hmm…someone really doesn’t like us? Is it that dumb little arachnid? Maybe we should show her just how fun being a demon could be?” A demonic voice inside of Vammy’s head would drone on, though it would quickly fall silent after she made her reply.

Once they had set off from the church, it wasn’t hard locating Maira’s cabin. A short walk into the forest, close to Icewind river. The path was mostly snowed over, with a few animal tracks going back and forth across the path. It was odd that she had not even said anything in the week since the blizzard ended. She might have always been a bit spacey and distant, but she had never once let others worry about her.

Approaching the wooden cabin all seemed normal. Snow was piled high against its walls, submerging it deep within the snow. The windows were tightly bound shut to prevent snow from falling inside, but there was no light from within that one could see. No sign of her from outside, nor her companion, Tallen.

…the door to the cabin was ajar. It seemed at some point someone had dug out enough snow to make a small slope to allow one to have a somewhat easy time to allow mostly easy entry and exit.

Heading inside if they immediately looked, would find a simple three room cabin. The main living area had a table as its centerpiece with three chairs - for Maira and two guests, likely. A fur carpet made of deer pelts under it, while a few hunting trophies hung on the wall. A counter against the wall opposite the door full of what seemed to be craftsman tools. Nothing fancy, just things one could use to make arrows and maintain weaponry. A fireplace was against the wall to their right. It doesn’t seem to have been used recently.

A door to the room to the left led to her bedroom. A door to the back led to what seemed to be a kitchen…with a window that looked to be smashed open? Almost as if someone had hurriedly broken it open. Snow had piled up under it, indicating it had likely been there for a while, but the dim lighting made it a bit difficult to see into the room from here.

It was also noticeably colder in here than it even was outside.





An eight legged herbalist
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Akala watched the groups of people leave, and the rest of the villagers slowly dispersing from the chapel. A tired yawn, and she would soon find herself back in the backroom where most of the still living patients were being treated as best as she could.

The trip through the village was…well, it would have been peaceful had it not been such unusually dire circumstances that brought them all here. Many of the workers under Bolcha had already cleared the streets as best they could from the snow, piling it up on the sides by the houses. They’d melt, once the warmer months came around, or a windstorm came and blew everything away.

A few of the workers would give Nylah and Lyssa a friendly greeting. One would pass Nylah a small bag of freshly made bread - probably for both her and her mother. It wasn’t a secret much, but the moth girl was relatively popular among the locales for a number of reasons. Soon though, they would find themselves at the northern side of the village at Enlis’ longhouse where Calra was taking care of some patients with more alchemical and more magical means.

The inside of the large abode was warm, kept comfortable by the large fire pit in the center of it that served as both a heating source, and a bit of a common room that Enli allowed most other villagers to come in and warm themselves usually…though now the tables had been removed from the room, and on the ground were makeshift cots of those injured by the Rimebeasts kin, as well as those suffering from severe frostbite.

Calra, was at the opposite end where Enli’s desk was, looking over what seemed to be a few books and materials.

“Kyr Reed…Wind-leaf…haaa…already out, ugh.” She’d quickly move her hands over some glass vials and jars, grabbing a mortar and pestle, starting to mix some herbs together slowly. “Maybe I could use…no, that would cause…hhnnng…gaaah! I’m too cute to have to work this haaaard!” She’d fall into her stomach, rolling a bit comically back and forth…at least, until she noticed Nylah and Lissa.

“...Oh, ahem, hello~!” She’d give a friendly, cheery greeting as she’d get back to her feet. “Nylah! I’m glad you’re okay…” Her head would turn towards Lissa. “Hmm? A traveler? I don’t recognize you. Welcome, I’m Calra. Just a little spider that helps out around here occasionally. Did Akala send you, Nylah? I’m grateful for the help if she did.” Her cheery demeanor fell slightly, as she’d continue. “...I’m about out of everything. I have enough to make simple things, and I think mostly everyone here is stable, but…” She’d shake her head. “I think Wind Leaf, Shallow-water sea-slug mucus, coral moss, and Kyr reed would be the most important. You can find Kyr Reed and Wind Leaf easily in the forest…the Slug Mucus and Coral moss, not so easily with the sea frozen over like this.”

These were all materials Nylah would be familiar with. Kyr Reed acted as a sort of coagulant as well as sedative. Made people calmer…not particularly useful for treating frostbite on its own, but it was useful for staunching bleeding or injuries. Could be crushed into a paste with a variety of other things to achieve various effects. Wind-Leaf acted as more of a stimulant. When properly mixed with Kyr Reed it made salves and healing poultices good for bolstering the immune system and promoting natural healing. Coral Moss and Slug mucus were a bit harder to find, since the slugs only could be found in shallow water during the day, with Coral Moss being found in damp sea caves off the coast near the Goddess Spear. Slug Mucus was good for making topical salves for alleviating pain, while Coral Moss, when exposed to certain other substances actually heated itself to temperatures good for gentle rewarming of frost-bitten areas.

Lissa would have heard of the Coral Moss and Slug mucus, though the plants were much more local.

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After being carried there in either her preferred or... perhaps, non-preferred fashion, Vammy was looking forward to finding this huntress girl alive. Or something of the sort. She definitely needed to make sure she could give her payback for all the arrows fired at her. So she was prepared to be shot at when her and Atzi arrived but the place was dead looking. A lot more dead than Vammy had actually expected. It looked like someone had dug a little path through the snow at the door, perhaps to get in and out. That wasn't surprising. "I guess she made it so she could get in and out? Door being ajar is weird." The demon said before using her magic to melt the snow around the door so they could open and close the door easily as well as easy access to the house.

Vammy peaked inside the house, wondering if a couple of arrows would fly out to meet her face but it didn't seem to be so. "Looks abandoned. And it's... Cold? Colder than outside." She said as she made herself inside and made a flame appear in her hand so the two of them could see well in the darker places. Noticing the fireplace, Vammy tossed a little bit of fire there to brighten the place up a bit. The next thing to catch her attention was the dim kitchen. Particularly, the broken window. It seemed to have been broken from the inside to the outside so Vammy wondered if that's how the huntress got out from the house. "Huh. I wonder what her food stores are looking like." The demon said, looking around the kitchen from such a thing. "I wonder if she left when the attack happened and never came back. Wouldn't explain the door being ajar. My, my. I wonder if we have a little squatter here~" The demon teased in a slightly threatening tone.

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With her consent, Atzi knelt down, allowing the skinny but warm demon to wrap her arms around her neck, before hitching one hand beneath her butt to provide some support. Vammy was definitely light enough, the sort of girl that Atzi could imagine herself flinging a good couple meters into the sky, the sort of girl that she could run with while carrying. So she did, waving at those that remained in the church before running off.

Her feet kicked off the snow, and her muscles flexed like the coils of a metal spring, but Atzi's piggyback ride, while a bit puerile compared to what Vammy imagined, was certainly smooth and swift, the brawn of her back providing a reliable foundation for the demon to lay against. With haste, they pounded through the snowed-over forest, their approach marked by the cold clumps that fell off tree branches as Atzi ran, taking only a couple of minutes to reach the cabin of the huntress. She knelt down again, letting Vammy slide off, before looking about herself. A window smashed from inside-out. Firewood low, but possessions left largely untouched. The door was dug into, and snow almost entirely submerged the place. Cold too, but it was easy to understand why: cold air flowed down, hot air rose up. And creating a slope like that in order to reach the door would mean, quite simply, that cold air would flow directly into the cabin.

Atzi shot a smile of gratitude towards Vammy as she lit a flame within the cabin. She tossed a couple of near-frozen logs into the fireplace as well, allowing smoke to rise up from the chimney and serve as a signal. The talk of squatters and such went totally over her head though. Maira was a hunter and had a wolf as a pet. If a squatter was there, she could've scared them off. If a squatter was too scary, she had no reason not to seek help from the village. What really was the situation here?

Hrm...

Her gaze flicked down towards the little Goddess and the scribbles upon the indecipherable scroll of information, before tapping the deity on the head lightly for her final bit of graffiti. That decided it though. If the Moon Goddess came up with the same conclusion, what need was there for Atzi to question it? "I'm heading up," she said, draping her own cloak over Vammy's shoulders. Just a gesture, really, considering the demon's nature. "Put your hands over your ears for a bit."

She headed outside again, then leaped up onto the cabin's peaked roofed, scaling up to the highest point.

A deep breath, and then...

"MAIRA! I'M LOOKING FOR YOU! SIGNAL ME!!!"

...a thunderous voice bellowed out, shaking the trees and startling the wildlife. Rabbits hunkered back into their holes, flocks of birds flew up into the sky, deer leapt into deeper groves, but as for the elusive huntress...
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Lissa


Despite the tragedy that had happened here, this village seemed to have a rather unique dynamic. Not in a bad way by any means, but certainly unusual, going by the carefree way some of the villagers acted in the face of disaster. She liked their conviction. Yet still, there were some other strange things that she had yet to form an opinion on. The lewd demoness that was being treated as a village nuisance rather than a threat was one of them.

She really would have to ask about that when there was a better time for it…

“Likewise, Nylah.” Lissa returned the Mothraki’s greeting. She had only nodded at Vammy, though, as she wasn’t entirely sure how to approach her yet. Not without getting molested, it seemed. “Ahahah… It’s not a problem. I’ve seen weirder. Though, I’d like to ask about what her story is when we’ve got some time.” She was just dying to know that story.

The secret Raam matched Nylah’s brisk pace, nodding along at her words. “Ah, the apprentice healer, then! Or was it alchemist? I’m neither, but I know my way around first aid,” she offered up. Since human lives were still in the balance, she needed to be forthcoming about what she could help with.

Their brisk walk took the two of them to the chiralta in question. Well, she certainly was a chiralta, but she didn’t dress like any she’d seen before. It was cute, though Lissa still had some difficulty reconciling the fact some races had more than two legs, even after all this time on the road. “Hello! I’m Lissa, and I’m here to help. I know my way around treating basic injuries if you need the extra help, but I hear you also need more herbs,” she replied, with a small wave of her own. Her own face hardened as Calra cut right to the chase on the state of her medicine. That turned into a small frown when she realized that she didn’t recognize most of the required herbs and reagents. They were probably local. At least she recognized Coral Moss and slug mucus, but as the alchemist had said, that would be troublesome to get at the moment.

“Geh… Half those names mean nothing to me. I’m sure I can find them with a quick description, though!” She rallied, pumping her fists.

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Dawn
Preparations for the Hunt


"The Kyrnith..." The name itself sounded familiar, but the description of this Elder Beast's power had only confirmed Gideon's suspicions. "I believe I may have come across one of its... siblings, I believe is the correct word, in my travels. However, instead of commanding the wind, it called the very earth with its footfalls. Perhaps this is a story for another time, though." Gideon stated, as a matter of fact. Indeed, it is quite interesting that he may encounter another one of the Four Deer in his lifetime. Still, he wondered just how different this Kyrnith is to the Kvallin...

As far as what the targets of their hunt entail, it was a topic Gideon had pondered only briefly. It seemed that each beast had their own advantages and disadvantages to hunting. It was also clear that hunting for this Pandillo may as well resolve the immediate issue of hunter in the village. However, this was still unfamiliar terrain to Gideon. He needed more experience hunting here before he could be sure of his and his allies' capabilities in hunting such dangerous game. And while he had spent some of the time travelling testing bits of the soil with his spear, he is sure that he will need to collect samples of this land's soil to study, as well.

Another factor Gideon considered was the extent of his abilities, as well as his hunting companions. He had no doubt that both Akando and Seelay were formidable hunters in their own right. This did not mean that there was still more data to collect regarding their skills and prowess, to properly strategize a plan to hunt something like a Pandillo. Despite his lone wanderings, the importance of teamwork was very much drilled in to the Raam's mind during the first ten years after his creation. And to properly work as a team, one must understand their strengths and weaknesses in action.

Finally, they needed to work efficiently, now more than ever. Village resources are dry, which meant the more they could hunt, the better off everyone would be. Recovering from such destruction would take more than a day, but that didn't mean they could make a most of those days, down to the very seconds spent.

"While I have no doubts in either of your capabilities in hunting something as ferocious as a Pandillo," Gideon began, lying as naturally as he breathed, "we should try and hunt what we know is nearby. What we know is that we can easily hunt wolves, deer, and swordbills. We also know that out of the three, the wolves and deer give a better yield of meat. Finally, of those two, each poses their own risks. The wolves are natural predators and pack animals, so it is more than likely we will be outnumbered in hunting them, but hunting the deer may pose the risks of incurring the wrath of another Elder Beast, one that we cannot risk incurring on the village at this time.

"So while I believe we should work our way towards hunting a Pandillo, it would not be unwise of us to also try and hunt some 'lesser' beasts on the way to our true quarry. While both pose their risks, we will have to cross those bridges when we get there. For now, we must decide if we desire to hunt the wolves or the deer."
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"If that's the case, then deer are by far the superior option," responded Seelay, cocking her head skywards slightly. Indeed, the Pandilo was the target that the elf favored above all. Meat, scales, and a worthy hunt for someone of her level of skill. But when it came to other animals, the superior option was always the herbivore.

"Unless you are pressed, predator meats are much less suitable for consumption," she continued, regarding their chilly, evergreen surroundings carefully as she did, "While I understand that the townsfolk need to eat everything they can get, if they've got a choice I think most would prefer deer to wolf."

Predator meat was often tough and foul-tasting. This made the choice obvious in the silvery-haired archer's eyes. With that being said, there was the matter of the Kyrinth's kin being deer. She hadn't seen any of the deer under the Elder Beast's care on the way here, but she felt confident she could identify them easily if she needed to. Her eyes were very keen, even the slightest hint of blue in the deer's fur would signal it was not to be targeted.

"It's not just that, though," Seelay continued, "Wolves are vital to the health of this forest, and there's far less of them then there are deer. Kill too many, and the deer will go out of control until they eat too much of the resources and starve themselves. Kill the wolves who lead their packs, and new pups will not understand how to be wolves and may prove to be a threat as they grow."

Not only that, but wolves were sometimes prone to acts of revenge. Not that Seelay believed she would be in any danger from an attack by virtually any animal, but she couldn't say the same for the townsfolk.

"The deer, at least the ones not under the care of an Elder Beast, are much more capable of adjusting to the loss of their numbers."

@Rune_Alchemist@Cu Chulainn
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