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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Guy0fV4lor
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Guy0fV4lor Retaker of The Holy Land

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@Rune_Alchemist@ERode

"W-wait I though- ach! Stop pushing! Hey-!"

Finn cried out in protest as Achel would begin shoving him down the catacomb halls. Though his complaints of being pushed along by the spider-thing instead of Atzi fell upon deaf ears, perhaps such an arrangement for the best...

It had been a long time since a fellow human last made Finnegan feel unwelcome.

Before long, the halls of the Crypt led into those of a small Cathedral; nowhere near as grandiose as the halls of Aventhrone, but well maintained. As the pair would pass several rooms housing the sick and wounded, Finnegan would suddenly find himself growing strangely restless; the tip of his severed finger stinging uncomfortably as he continued on. Rubbing the offending wound uncomfortably, the Apostle would find his right palm softly buzzing once more as it contacted the damaged flesh.

Finnegan's eyes widened.

Well was it known that Rheane could perform miracles of incredible healing, as related to the domain of renewal and rebirth. If he had been given revelation; and granted the ability to heal... Had he been sent to this village to help it's people heal from whatever disaster had struck them?

The Militiaman abruptly stopped in the hallway.

"Hold on-- can I see one of the wounded please? I... I think I'm supposed to help them."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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@Guy0fV4lor

“Hehe, don’t mind her too much. She’s more like a big cuddly bear and over protective big sister to all of us.” Achel said to Finnegan, pulling him along through the hallways, only stopping her incessant guidance when he asked his question.

“Hm?” Achel paused her shoving. They hadn’t quite made it to the main sermon hall where everyone typically gathered. A small hallway that at its end led to it, and was flanked on either side by two separate rooms, both filled with those sick from frostbite and other maladies that could not be so easily healed. “Really? You want to? Hmm…well, alright! I’m sure Akala wouldn’t mind someone making her work easier, hehe!”

Opening one of the doors to the room, Fin would be allowed to see the frostbitten and those that were at least, by Akala standards completely unhealable by her magic and waiting medical treatment by someone else.

“Do be a bit quiet, though.” Achel said, as she’d walk into the room behind him. “Some in a few rooms over…well, we don’t want to disturb them…” Achel shook her head, frowning though it didn’t last. “If you want, I’ll go get Enli and bring him here. Behave though! You never know when a little spider might be watching!~”

This…would just leave Finnegan in the room by himself and just the eight or so patients that had been made comfortable enough in what appeared to have once been a small storage room. The main culprit seemed to be frostbite, severe, enough that some of the patients arms were nothing but blackened, blistered lumps of flesh that certainly would need amputating. It was clear that they had spared no small expense in trying normal and more conventional methods of preventing this, judging from the countless alchemy implements laying about, bandages, half used herbs…

It seemed someone had set a small statuette of the death goddess at some point in the far corner of the room, along with a small lamp burning with a blue flame.

The only other curiosity was a door in the back of the room, cracked and half open where he could hear gentle splashing and ripples of water.





@ERode



The arm would be somewhat difficult to move, lacking the fine motor control her previous appendage had, but this would suffice for more basic movements, surely. Perhaps, there was a question as to why Achel had something like this on her so readily available, but that would also be a question for another time. After leaving the crypts, finding Maira would be easy enough. She’d be waiting by her cabin, having seemingly taken time to straighten the place a bit while she was waiting.

She’d meet Maira outside of her hut.

“Atzi,” She’d faintly smile as she’d see the larger woman, glancing at the odd prosthesis she now had, though she didn’t seem too surprised. “You’re here. Alright. Lets not waste time. This is going to take awhile.” Assuming there was nothing Atzi wished to speak about here, Maira would start walking towards the forest.

“I hid the orb pretty far deep inside the forest. It was the place that’d be the easiest to hide from them since its…dangerous and also easy to get lost if you don’t know where you’re going. Near the Sages Lake.” Walking and talking to their destination was easy to say, but getting their was another matter entirely. Sages Lake was deep in the forest, where a bunch of nasty critters liked to live. Like fully grown versions of the chameleon monster that attacked Nylah and the that traveling trader the other day.

As they walked through the forest, they would eventually reach it. A place where the forest and trees almost started to feel like they were twisted in on themselves, creating a cold, shadowy canopy that obscured light from the forest floor as the light from the distant sun did not reach here.

"Have you ever been to the lake before, Atzi?" Maira asked her friend. Most people didn't go so far into the forest.





@Click This@Crusader Lord



“Well, it seems you’ve made up your mind.” Sorcha said, finally finishing eating. “No need to worry about the house. We’ll take care of it since you so graciously offered us to stay here while you’re gone.” She’d smile heartily, apparently deciding that this home, was in fact, now hers in some fashion. Perhaps she was just eager that she’d not have to deal with prying eyes since it was clear despite the friendliness she still likely didn’t trust anyone here.

It was unlikely Akando or Soyala would want to help and leave the village since they had so few hunters to spare as it was. Enli was far too old to do such things, and there weren’t really any other good candidates among the notable residents…so after collecting a few supplies and food from Akala and Calra, getting a bit more of a solid heading from Haruno, the trio of Dwarf, a totally normal Human, and Mothraki would set off from the village.

The heading given? North east. She had told them there was a village of Yaga not too terribly far away from where they were defending. It would take a few days travel, across the snowfields, fending off a few Snow Wraiths, some sort of troll like creature that thought the Mothraki was apparently pretty, but otherwise the travel would be fairly uneventful.

At least, until they neared the village in question.

A camp, it looked like. Krysa had set up a camp with the help of the Yaga around the city. They could count the number of Krysa currently here on their hands, but if this was just a command center the main bulk of their forces were likely out there keeping an eye on Mie’s camp.

That just left the question on how to approach the village.





@crimson Paladin



It had been a hard few weeks for the caravan. Ambushed inside of a tight pass as they were coming up from the northern territories by Krysa archers and Yaga soldiers, it was a miracle they had managed to save most of their cargo and equipment. If it wasn’t for Mie’s planning and the tenacity and ferocity of the Oni, there had been no question - they’d all have been killed here.

After fleeing the ambush and managing to evade the main bulk of the foes forces for awhile, Mie led the caravan to what she claimed to be was an old ‘safehouse’ of hearse that she had used in the early days of her mercantile endeavors for rest and respite in the region, for people hadn’t always been so accepting or welcoming of her.

It wasn’t anything special. An old, ancient living house of the Krysa apparently where their ancestors lived that had long since been abandoned as the rat folk settled into their current place of living high on their city. Old ancient rusty pipes built into the side of a mountain that led into a series of tunnels of metal pipes and surprisingly cozy, albeit a bit small for the Oni living spaces. Mie and some of the Oni had managed to even get some of the old things here running, allowing steam to run through the ancient pipes again meaning they didn’t have to worry about heating so long as they had a steady supply of wood to burn when they needed it.

Since they had to break down a number of their wagons in an effort to make defensive structures at the entrance of the cavern, they for now at least, had plenty.

It was less of a secret now, but it had something they needed. Long term defensibility so long as they had supplies, and supplies, were starting to quickly run out. It also wasn’t terribly large, and much of the caravan had to be left outside in order to form a defensive line, enough room only for Mie, a handful of the Oni and supply storage that they didn’t want the Yaga or Krysa harming during their occasional raids. Food was being rationed and the cheapest of materials were being used to assist in making things comfortable, but unless they had someway to break the siege soon, things were going to get dire.

And this is the reality, that Novak would awaken too after a somewhat odd dream. Or was it the feeling of fuzzy little paws pressing against his eyelids? Perhaps it was just that. As he’d stir to wakefulness, the familiar black muzzle of Ayumi, Mie’s resident vulpine pet was pressing her paws against his eyes and yipping lightly in an effort to rouse him.

“That’s enough, fox. I think he’s awake.” A voice, one familiar to Novak that he’d immediately be able to pin as Chohei, one of the rougher Oni in the caravan. “Novak, Lady Mie wants to see you…though there might be a time for a spar if you’re up for it. Need to keep the body sharp in case of a raid.”

Despite the wear and tear the Oni faced, and his own bandaged arms he seemed no worse for wear or temperament.


Hidden 5 mos ago Post by ERode
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"The Sage's Lake?" Atzi shook her head. "Naw, never had much reason to go that far. Anyways, Enli tells us not to go that direction anyways. Lotsa big lizard-types n all."

It was another question, of course, as to how those reptiles were able to go through the blizzard without freezing solid, but hey, at least that Raam girl brought in a fair buncha meat into the village due to that. As the canopy chased away the last bit of sunlight they could get, turning their surroundings into one covered in hardened, crusty snow, Atzi pulled her fur-lined cloak closer to her body, her breath coming out in opaque, white clouds. The snow dampened the surrounding sound, leaving a silence that was at once foreboding and tranquil.

In the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of the Goddess of the Moon once more, and spared a smile for the pitying deity. A finger extended surreptitiously to tap her on the head. It was nice that even the Storyteller would deign to feel sorry for her, but Atzi? Atzi was feeling as fine as a kite. Grab the orb, make it back, feed it to a fish, and voila, cultists seethe!

"Sounds sorta appropriate though," she continued, "to toss the illuminator-rock near the sage's lake, right? Matches so well!"
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Cu Chulainn
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Cu Chulainn JJ&E

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Dawn
get the fuck out of my room im playing minecraft


Gideon was completely dumbfounded by the child, so much so that it seemed as if time stood still for quite a while. He made sure to keep Raelzeth at arms length this entire time, his arms being held out to his sides in the shape of a 'T' as he pondered just how he would deal with this brat. On one hand, entertaining Raelzeth's questions may make her more open to listening to Gideon's requests. However, if Gideon played too much into the child's hand, she may get even bolder with her slacking off. Going down whatever rabbit hole lead by her may mean no work will be done at all today. Still, at the very least, Gideon should try and 'make friends' with the girl, especially given her talents and familial ties. Her stonesinging will prove useful to the formation of Gideon's army.

"... Very well. I did plan to do some surveying on my own if I couldn't find you, so I suppose I should get to doing that." Gideon spoke after pondering for what felt like forever. His arms were less stretched out than they previously were, although the Raam did continue to maintain some distance from Raelzeth. "You can tag along and tell me all about Naraheim if you wish." He would then make his way to the outskirts of Dawn, procuring a few empty metal vials from his pack. The Sage had some time in the few days he was in the area to get a feel for a land, but he never got to do any proper surveying yet. Perhaps now, especially with someone who knows a good deal of the land, it's a good time to start writing up that mental map of Dawn.

Hopefully Raelzeth does not get too much in Gideon's way.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Click This
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Lissa


Unfortunately, given the state of the village, having Nylah and Eirhild with her was about as much Lissa could ask for. She had asked anyway, but as expected, the hunters and the rest of the villagers had their hands full putting out the rest of the proverbial fires in the village before anything else could be seriously done outside of the village.

Thankfully, the village was not so resource-starved that it couldn’t spare a small amount of supplies and goods for the disguise and plan that Lissa had cooked up for the three of them. Given that the Raam-in-disguise had played at the merchant trade before arriving at Dawn and had about a lifetime’s experience on the road, if confronted by the Yaga or Kyrsa while investigating the situation, Lissa had a reasonably convincing explanation for hanging around their area. Lissa would be a traveling merchant, recently arrived from Dawn, with Eirhild as her escort, and Nylah as her traveling companion.

So when, after traveling northeast for some time, arriving at a village of Yaga some days later, she had her playbook to use. Avoiding any obvious subterfuge, she traveled along the main road, playing every part the smalltime traveling merchant running into an unexpected change in their traveling route. Naturally, if the situation went south, well, she had provisions to literally run back south with her companions.
The camp of the Kyrsa was an oddity, but otherwise, the small city didn’t strike out as being any different from most towns that she had come across. It was perhaps one of the more alert towns, with some obvious patrols and lookouts about the area, but nothing immediately problematic off the bat.

“Well, looks okay,” the white-haired girl commented to her companions as they neared the village on the main road. “Maybe one of you should hang back, but I’m going ahead.”

Sticking straight with her plan, she’d just boldly go straight into the village to ask questions and peddle the small amount of goods that she had with her.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Crimson Paladin "Progressive" Techpriest

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Novak

Novak sat up after being awoken by the fox's prodding, taking a moment to gain his bearings after the strange dream. The situation he found himself in the waking world was a rather poor one- they were still under siege, still hunkered down in an old Krysa domicile as their food supplies steadily shrunk. An attempt to break out and get help had left them short five warriors, with no clue as to whether they had made it through. Novak had no idea why the beastfolk had attacked them, or what they wanted.

It had been an eventful year- in fact, it was the only year Novak could remember. He had no idea who he originally was, or how he ended up waking up with no memory but a name. For someone as completely unprepared to face the world, he was very fortunate that Lady Mie's caravan had been passing by, or that the kitsune merchant would allow him to join them. In that year he had learned so much- he had been taught to fight in the manner of the Oni, he learned much about the world, and he even picked up some things about how not to be taken advantage of in business. All in all, things were going pretty well, right up until this siege.

Novak looked up at the Oni. Despite the gross injustices that they suffered at the hands of humans, they had taught him the ways of the warrior. Perhaps it was because he clearly wasn't a native of their home province.

"As much as I'd like a bit of sparring, I'd better not keep Mie waiting," he answered the horned warrior as he hurriedly put on his swordsman attire, armor, and weapons. "Perhaps afterwards." He didn't need to be armed and armored for his meeting with Mie, but with the siege going on, he needed to be prepared to jump into the battle at any moment if the dogs and rats opted to attack. Once he was fully geared, minus his helmet, faceguard, and straight sword, he would head to Lady Mie's quarters.

He didn't know too much about Mie's background. From what he did know of, she's a rather influential merchant from Chagawa. She was a Kitsune, but evidently wasn't on good terms with the rest of her people- she didn't do business with them, and according to some of the Oni, she was exiled from both of the Kitsune clans. As a caravaner, she was a decent person to work for, and despite her tendency to greatly overstate the quality and worth of some of her merchandise, she was for the most part a pretty fair businesswoman. He had no idea what would have whipped the Yaga and Krysa into a frenzy over her, because surely this was far too violent a reaction to be over a few overpriced trinkets.

Lady Mie?" he asked as he stepped into his employer's quarters. Upon seeing her, he bowed respectfully. "I was told you wanted to see me."
Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Crusader Lord
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Crusader Lord A professional, anxiety-riddled, part-time worker

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Nylah





Snow Wraiths, why'd it have to be Snow Wraiths! At least she'd had her magic to use for the occasion, if naught else, but she didn't like them one bit! She'd somewhat preferred their odd encounter with the troll-like creature in the end. At least it was kind enough to them continue on when she'd asked nicely (and a little sternly), and just seemed to find her pretty. Otherwise things hadn't been very eventful, save she had told her mother she'd be gone for a few days before they'd all left the village...though truthfully it still worried her just to leave her mother back there without those daily visits and bringing a bowl of hot food to her bedside for moral support. Akala had assured her well enough too, but she'd had to tell Lazhira about the change of events after promising they'd catch up at their usual spot when she got back! Yes. It was something, alongside seeing her mother again after all of this, that Nylah felt she was looking forward to.

They could see the Krysa camp set around the Yaga village proper, but all the same the Mothraki took some pause rather than just barge forward. It all seemed benign enough, yet at the same time she had no idea how-

“Well, looks okay.”

"Maybe one of you should hang back, but I’m going ahead.”
Still Totally A Normal Human, Totally


Wait, what?!

Nylah reached out and grabbed Lissa's closest arm and tried to pull her back. It was a relatively sad attempt given the Mothraki's upper body strength, but all the same she did her best. That was all she could do without using magic and potentially drawing attention to them.

"W-W-Wait! If you go in as a merchant, and they've already against Mie and her people, t-then you could be in danger too!"

What if they wanted to just take all the supplies they could? Or what if this thing with Mie made this more wary? They had to have some idea of things in case it went sideways! They had to think of something! And yet, her compatriot seemed rather determined to head in. Indeed, in the end the boldness of the other girl would win out in the end as Lissa did her thing and Nylah stood back with Eirhild. It would elicit a defeated sigh from the Mothraki girl in general, epseically after the other's insistance that a small traveling merchants with little would be 'less of a target and wouldn't register as a good target'. Or something like that.

Shaking her head slightly, Nylah looked to her other compatriot who was still there for the time being (at least).

Perhaps she could suggest they wait back, in case anything happened to Lissa? Or perhaps they could tail her and play up being visitors from afar or such. She was a Mothraki, not exactly common around here. Plus Eirhild was a dwarf! Maybe that'd work? Or...ah...hmm...

...darn it. She couldn't leave her to just go in alone, could she? That'd be as good as treating Lissa as 'bait', even if it was perhaps safer in her own mind to hang back until Lissa returned.

"As much as part of me wishes for us to stay until she returns, in case anything should go awry...shall we go in with her to assist instead?"

If Eirhild agreed to go along with her, then Nylah would move with her to catch up with and tag alongside Lissa to head into the village. All to keep them together, so at least if something did go wrong they'd have each other in such a case. Otherwise she'd run up to Lissa to catch up and go in anyways.

Nylah would even pose herself alongside Lissa as not just a traveling companion, but a young a traveling apprentice herbalist born far from her homeland who wanted to travel the world and learn the craft alongside assisting her traveling companion! Yeah. That'd work, she hoped, since it wasn't a total lie either. Was something she could confidently say for sure. Plus if things weren't hostile, somehow, then she would also be there with Lissa and peddle her herbalism skills at a rather basic level to help sell the act. Not saying anything she couldn't do, but all to help them out in such a case as they got questioned rather than just being nabbed up somehow.

Albeit if it went sour they'd all be captives potentially. But it was the risk that she felt she was taking now by jumping into the heart of things with Lissa in this case.

@Rune_Alchemist@Click This

((A mini-plushie of the mini-goddess herself now drops down onto the mini-goddess' head. What will she do? No one but her really knows.))

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Guy0fV4lor
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Guy0fV4lor Retaker of The Holy Land

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@Rune_Alchemist

"Y- yeah, I'll be sure not to disturb them. Finnegan replied nervously to the spider-priestess; her inhuman appearance still causing the young Apostle clear discomfort.

Finnegan watched the creature closely as it continued down the hallway beyond, only daring to breathe a sigh of relief after Achel rounded another corner out of sight.

As Finn turned his attention back to the sick and injured, whatever lingering fears quickly being replaced with a solemn sense of pity and a lingering dread that coiled loosely in the pit of his gut.

Without the smell of Funerary incense that seemed to cling to the gravekeeper-- the stench of sickness and blood hit Finnegan full force, nearly causing him to gag. Only the quiet splash of water in the next room broke the barely audible chorus of pained moans and shallow breathing. And with the lack of natural light... It felt more like a room of people just waiting to die than anything else.

In which case the small statuette of Rifelshka would be rather fitting, Finnegan supposed.

Neatly folding his blood-soaked soaked tabard in an empty corner of the room, and washing his hands and arms in a nearby basin of water before making his rounds; carefully examining each patient. With each one Finn passed, his heart sank ever further into the pit that had firmly anchored itself in Finn's stomach. Whoever had been treating these people clearly knew what they were doing, their skills easily eclipsing the basic aid techniques he had learned during baseline training.

Even more demoralizing was the vaguest sensation that someone else had already tried healing these people with magic. Whether it was true? Finnegan wasn't sure-- but the thought still nagged at him.

He stopped beside the bed of a frail, malnourished child; their entire left arm blackened with frostbite... and seemingly prepped for an amputation.

Finnegan's eyes stung as he stared down at child, his thumb tracing nervously around the edge of his cog-shaped scar. What if he couldn't help these people? Only the Prophet heself could wield God's blessing of renewal... If such was a power only held by the very child of God-- why would it be granted to an underachieving footsoldier? Why not one of the Paladins like Commander Railey or Captain Morgan? Why not a member of the Clergy? If he tried to help these people-- would he fail? Be laughed at? Be blamed when they didn't get better? Driven away for being a burden again?

Finnegan's gaze alternated between his palm and the Child before at last setting his jaw, and steeling his resolve.

His dream meant something. It had to. And even if the revelation he'd received was only meant to save his own life...

What kind of person would he be if he didn't at least try to help others with it?


Tentatively, Finn extended his hand; his buzzing palm growing almost warm as it drew closer to the Frostbitten flesh of the child's arm. Closing his eyes, the Apostle would focus with all of his might-- listening for the voices...

And he heard them, more clearly this time... Their dissonant echoes guiding him in an almost familiar prayer-- "Endless is the turning of the wheel-" he repeated after the voices' guidance; the dull warmth beginning to pulsate from his hand and up his arm, "That which begins, will one day end. And that which ends begins again."

The sensation of heat slowly intensified, the rhythmic pulsations trailing all the way from Finn's palm to the core of his chest.

"We the Children of the the shattered cycles; born from the ends of beginnings, your humble servants, your loving sons and daughters call upon you O Holy Father."

The sensation grew hotter, the pulsations gradually intensifying in tempo until it felt almost like bolts of lightning running in and out of his body.

"Blessed Father, mine Silver Lord--"

Sweat built upon Finnegans brow as his eyes clenched tightly shut; fighting to continue the prayer regardless of how much it hurt.

"Let thine mercy kiss shut our wounds. Thy benevolence return us to beginning. Thy love shield us from the jealousy of the shunned."

"Make us whole once more."

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@Pyromania99





@Guy0fV4lor

tick

tick

tick

As Finn began speaking, the ticking began. A clock, far away. The passage of time, beginning to slow, each tick further away than the last…until it pause for what seemed like an eternity, and then, would begin again, but it was as if he was hearing it in reverse. The heat in his hand grew worse.The gear ticking and seemingly turning within his flesh. Burning. Searing. Agonizingly twisting the flesh around his hand.

His legs weakened, his body heaved. His breath left his lungs.

His vision, clouded behind exertion and darkness as overexertion took him.

He’d stumbled backwards through the door, falling over onto the floor in the room beyond. It was hard to tell whether the prayer worked. If he looked back at the body it did not seem to different, but…perhaps the child's breathing seemed a little more even.

More importantly though, was the room he found himself in now.

It seemed to be a large reflecting pool, windows being the only illumination in the chamber. It smelled of salt and fresh water. Against the wall was a statue of Delpithi, water flowing from her cistern into the pool below.

And in the pool?

A woman, laying face down in the water. She was fully clothed, though unmoving.




@ERode



“...I suppose. It was just convenient at the time.” Maira responded with a small smile at Atzi exciteableness. “I’ve been there a few times. Its a pretty place. Sometimes I end up falling asleep there on Tallen.” More small talk as the two traveled, the forest growing more dense and difficult to traverse for the unprepared as they did so. True to her nature though, Maira spared no effort in overly helping Atzi unless it was clear she couldn’t do something with her handicap.

As the day wore on, though, and they neared their destination they were lucky to only run into wolves and a few number of mostly easily dispatched creatures…at least until the lake finally came into view.

“...Shh.” Maira would abruptly stop, and the two women could hear the loud, guttural snoring of some beast close by. It was faint, but just close enough to cause concern. “...Careful. Quiet. I think it sounds like a Grove Bear. You know what those are?”

A type of bear that lived deep in the forest, though none were quite sure where they came from. Big, angry, powerful, and could roar loud enough make the wind bend to their wills. Perhaps, a connection to the Kyrnith. Either way…

“We’ll need to quietly take it out. We won’t be able to get the key if its attacking us.” It wasn’t hard to find. Apparently it had fallen asleep close to the lakes edge.





@Click This@Crusader Lord



So, with three companions, Lissa would decide to simply go boldly where only a few Raam had gone before. Protests from Nylah aside, Eirhild seemed fine with this arrangement, walking along behind the Raam with a quick step.

“Aye, we shall lass. More of a chance for us to make it out in case something happens, aye?” Eirhild responded to Nylah as she’d run after the two of them. Thankfully, they’d not be interrupted terribly much on their way inside the village. A few patrol of Krysa marksmen spotted them, but they didn’t seem too interested in a Human, Mothraki, and a dwarf, at least until they actually got into the village.

“Halt.” A patrol of Krysa approached the three, flagging them down. If the six rat men weren’t so short, perhaps, they’d be intimidating clad in tough looking winter armor of metal and fur and bows and daggers. “What business do you have here?” They’d question the newcomers. “You do not appear to be part of that conniving foxes entourage.”

A particularly rough looking Yaga with many scars on her body wearing a simple white dress was watching them in a seeming half interested manner from some distance away. She seemed particularly fixated on Lissa, amber eyes staring at her curiously.





@crimson Paladin



“Suit yourself.” Choehi replied with a dismissive tone, leaving Novak to his devices, walking towards where the perimeter was. It was dangerous to be a look out here - there was no telling where a Krysa archer might be. It wasn’t unusual for one to take potshots in their directions with deadly accuracy.

Thankfully for Novak, he was heading to the interior. Ayumi trotted along behind him, yipping playfully at his heels as he’d travel through the interior of the old ruins, easily finding Mie inside a small command center she had set up out of the remains of her own rather luxurious wagon. She was smoking her usual pipe, a bowl of alcohol sitting not far away and on a table a small map of the surrounding area along with a box of coin and some half eaten fruit.

“Ah, Novak, you’re here.” She’d look up from counting some coins, the familiar face of the Merchant greeting him with her usual carefree expression as she’d place the kiseru on a tray. “I was worried I was going to have to come look for you. Good to see you're still as reliable as ever.” She’d sit at the low table, reaching for a teapot and pouring a drink for the both of them. Ayumi would soon hop onto the table, curling up next to Mie.

“Have a seat.” Mie ordered, placing the cup at his end of the table. “I won’t waste time, nor will I sugarcoat anything. I’m going to be asking you to do something a bit unreasonable. I’m going to need you to somehow get to the nearby village. By yourself. We need to at least somehow find out if Haruno’s message made it to Dawn and whether or not we have potential help coming. If not…if you can get out, I need you to travel all the way back to Chagawa and bring the rest of the Oni here.”



@Cu Chulainn



“Neat.” Raelzeth brightly replied, following along behind Gideon with a mischievous grin. “Now I can’t get in trouble for not helping dad!” Thankfully, it seemed like her sticky fingers were being kept to herself for now, in no small part thanks to Gideon keeping himself at arms length from her. Surveying the land would prove simple enough for the Sage. The vials didn’t show anything out of the ordinary for a coastal town. Sandy earth near the beaches, soil with oddly high salt deposits but otherwise it was mostly unremarkable.

“So, what do you know about demons? The five clans? Anything about the Primarchs? You ever see a demon before?” Raelzeth was peppering him with questions, though, which was probably just a bit irritating and she was doing very little in regards to Naraheim. The mental map though, was coming easier.

The village, at one point, had been much larger that was certain. Many of the buildings had seemingly been buried under snow, destroyed, and he could see a few waterlogged ruins that had fallen into the sea from the blizzard. It roughly extended along the coast to the old black obelisk that jutted out of the cliff some distance towards the south, to the Icewind river to the north. Enli’s longhouse was roughly on the northern edge of the village, with the church being a central fixture. A hunters lodge was near the eastern edge of the village, near the forest, with a number of workshops and fishery related buildings dotting the area near the sea.

“...you ever mine stuff before?” Raelzeth ended up asking after a few other questions. She seemed nervous.

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get the fuck out of my room im playing minecraft


As Gideon worked on his survey, he did his best to tune out Raelzeth's musings. He wasn't super interested in learning about demons at this time as any encounter with them is likely to be lethal to a Raam. Perhaps asking a true expert on demonology would be in Gideon's best interest if only to learn of what his people could do against them should they become a threat. As of now, however, the Sage of Steel has little interest in raising his iron hands against a Primarch or anything else of that nature. And besides, it seems like Raelzeth only has surface-level information on Naraheim.

Surveying the village was a much more fruitful endeavor. It could take a bit to rebuild, but perhaps it may be in Gideon's best interest to salvage what he can from the ruined buildings. Especially now that the villagers' attentions are pointed towards other pursuits, salvaging their ruined homes for material he could use may be a much easier endeavor. Something that would be seen as theft could be turned a blind eye, and it's not like these villagers would know exactly what to do with the resources they may have. The guidance of a sage is necessary in this regard.

Still, there could be a lot done to prevent destruction of this scale, or at least mitigate its damage. One thing on Gideon's mind is focusing building efforts on areas where the soil is more fortuitous, at least with the material they currently have on hand. With time and study, Gideon is sure he could figure out a proper foundation for the more coastal parts of the village, creating structures that won't simply sink into the sand. Without a proper lab, however, these ventures would once more be something to look into with time.

Perhaps that traveling merchant may be selling the proper materials for Gideon to make a workstation he could research and study properly with.

"... Mine?" Gideon was caught a bit off-guard with Raelzeth's question and sudden change of demeanor. She seemed less relaxed than she normally was. "Mining is an important aspect of Raam society, gathering the sacred metals for the Forgefather to bless us with his creations and all. I've been privy to oversee a few of these miracles, but I can't say I've mined myself. Closest I've mined is traveling through the more cavernous regions of the world, although I haven't ventured down any significant depth for obvious reasons."

Gideon paid attention to the gremlin's reaction to his statement carefully, and made a quick intuition based off her nervousness.

"... You've never really mined before, have you?"
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For a split second, Atzi considered just waking it up and then distracting it while Maira did her thing. But that was a stupid idea. Not because she wasn’t confident in her ability to outrun one of those lumbering oafs, of course, but more because of how loud it would be. Grove Bears had voices like the storm; if they didn’t strike it down at once, its roar would be heard from leagues away, no matter the density of the foliage.

Still, Atzi wasn’t a hunter. She didn’t have any love for killing something in such a cold manner. So, at the very least.

“I’ll turn you into something beautiful.”

Just a quiet murmur, before Atzi hefted up her studded club. Against an unmoving target, even if using only one of her arms, she was confident she could cut deep into its flesh, slice past the fur and the fat to tear open its veins.

“Alright, Maira. I’ll go for the throat on the first, and see if I can break its neck on the second.”
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Lissa


Despite Nylah’s protests, Lissa continued on. She was adamant that her plan would work, and was by far the best option. Worst comes to worst, they’d have to fight their way out, and a fighting retreat was something that Lissa was uniquely suited to do, being a Raam-in-disguise. Nobody would expect the buffed human doing a bit of retreating tanking… What could go wrong?

It seemed Eirhild was of the same mind as her, and she gave a companionable nod as the dwarf came alongside. Together with her, they penetrated surprisingly deeply into Krysa and Yaga space, at least until they approached the village proper. There, they were stopped by a small patrol of six. Although she was tempted to respond to their remark on Mie, she schooled her face into that of a neutral merchant, if somewhat shocked by being accosted.

The patrol didn’t give her too much concern, although the gaze of a nearby Yaga woman nearby caught her attention. Something about her gave off the impression she would be someone to watch, if things came to a head here.

“I’m not familiar with these foxes you speak of,” she replied, canting her head to the side. “As for who we are, I am a humble traveling merchant… this is my assistant, Nylah, and our stout escort, Eirhild.” She gestured to her companions with a sweep of her hand, before turning back to the patrol. “We were hoping to enter the village to seek shelter for the next couple of nights to both trade and barter… also, to gather information ahead of the road. Now, more than ever. It seems the roads have been particularly dangerous this year.”
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@Rune_Alchemist

"Ugh..." Finnegan groaned as he blinked away black splotches from his vision.

Straining against his own fatigue, he lifted his head just enough to see the child that he'd pushed himself so hard to heal; seeing that their breathing had evened, if only slightly.

Finn's head fell back with a satisfied sigh. He stared at his mangled palm; turning it side to side as he flexed each finger before balling it into a fist. Even as the slow trickle of blood dripped down his arm Finn couldn't but smile with pride.

This wasn't just another posting. It wasn't just another skill somebody else could just do better. The power that had healed that child was his own... Even if it was a blessing from God--

It was his. And that was all that mattered.

Satisfied, Finnegan let himself go slack; content to nap off the exhaustion that had taken him on the cool stone floor. But as his eyes began to grow heavy-- motion on a small blue panel caught his attention.

The cartoonish depiction of the Woman he vaguely remembered from his dream seemed to be poking a motionless body that lay face down in the water.

"Huh?"

The Apostle tilted his head with squinted eyes, trying to make sense of why he was seeing such a thing.

Was it some kind of metaphor? A cryptic warning? A prophecy?

Or was it the fact he was less than ten feet from a woman that seemed to be drowning in an ornately decorated pool?

....

Finnegan's eyes nearly popped out of his head as the realization dawned on him; shoving himself onto his belly as he scrambled for the waters' edge. Wasting not a moment, and caring little for the bloodly trail his hand left behind-- he took hold of the Woman and heaved her from the drink with all his might!

Yanking the Woman onto the stone, Finnegan ran through protocol for rescuing drowners in his head. Laying the stranger onto her back-- he would lean his ear down to her face to first check if she was still breathing...
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Novak

Novak took a sip of tea as he pondered Mie's proposal, and to help mask his unease at her request. It would be a dangerous undertaking. They were surrounded by enemies, greatly outnumbered, and aside from an initial offer, the foe made no sign of willingness to parlay or negotiate. If something happened, nobody would come to Novak's rescue.

On the other hand, what other choice did they have? They couldn't stay like this forever. They had only a limited supply of food, and even with a defensive advantage the ratfolk and dogfolk would eventually outlast them. They were too few in number to break out, and the gamble to try and get help had left them short five warriors. With no clue as to whether Haruno and the other oni had gotten through, he suspected that Mie chose him because of the potential for getting out with guile rather than force. They had to get help, or they were all dead.

"I think I see where this is going. I might be able to get through if I don my original attire. They would not recognize me as one of your subordinates if I was not dressed like one." Novak suggested, placing the teacup down. "And...if I'm wrong, if I can't don't make it out, it's been an honor to serve you, Lady Mie. I don't know if I'll ever figure out who I was originally, but...this last year of working this caravan has been quite meaningful."

Novak suspected that was why Mie chose him for this- he was clearly not a human from Chagawa, nor was he one of its unique demi-humans. As long as he could avoid being seen with or near Mie's people, they should have no reason to suspect him if he wasn't dressed like one of the caravan guards. Of course, there were quite a lot of potential dangers out there like beasts and the weather, but at this point, his combat attire would only further the danger by marking him as an enemy to the besiegers.

Before trying to head out, Novak would see if Chohei was still up for a sparring match. He needed to be sharp for this mission...besides, he couldn't be sure if he was going to make it back. Afterwards, whether or not he had the opportunity to spar, Novak would change into his old attire, equip only his old sword, and, after ensuring he wasn't showing any sign of being seen, he'd try to slip out, trying to avoid any enemy patrols or encampments. He would not head in the direction of the village (which he assumed would be heavily guarded), but rather would endeavor to head in another direction as to not catch too much attention. If he managed to put enough distance from the besiegers and not run afoul of any traps, only then would he start to make his way towards the village.
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@Pyromania99

"Lazhy's dad!?" Vammy said excitedly twisting to look at the man before noticing his emblem and thinking for a second. "Hey, uhh, he's not gonna kill me, right. Demon besties with a divine's daughter? And… other things… of the like."

“Only if you annoy him, which uh, is easier than you think…” Lazhira frowned, glancing to the old man in the room. There was no doubt about it, for her. He was the illuminator, Iva’Krorh, though what he was doing here, well, she could guess. “What do you want?”

“Oh, how cold to your dear old dad, eh?” He’d laugh, making himself right at home. “Enough to make a man cry. We haven’t seen each other in, oh, how many years has it been? Since you helped those adventures with my little scheme all those years ago?”

“Tch, shut up. You didn’t come here without a purpose.”

“Daughter?! L-Lord illuminator?! You have a daughter?” Yuisa, who had been silent for a bit was now completely confused as she’d look at the old man, then to Lazhira.

“Oh, there’s a little dull witted lass here too…I didn’t take you for the kind to keep such boring company.”

“You know Lazhy, I was hoping I was just seeing things wrong when I saw that emblem. But he really is that one…” Vammy said, swallowing a bit before looking the man up and down. She wasn’t sure… If she should introduce herself. “He’s not going to kill me for grabbing your butt, right?” Vammy whispered to Lazhira, concerned.

“Nah, you’re safe. He doesn’t care about me a bit.” Lazhira huffed. “What do you want, Dad?” Lazhira asked with a frown.

“What indeed!” He laughed. “Nothing important, just a little offer! You see, this village of mine is quite in a bad way is’t it? And I don’t just mean bad like a bad case of unwilling laughter.”

“This village isn’t yours any more is it?” Lazhira replied curtly. “You should leave.”

Vammy stood there, unsure what she should add here. She wanted to support Lazhira, but she was pretty sure she would lose her head if she spoke up… But.. “Lazhy’s right though. Last I heard, all of your followers aren’t in the village anymore. Honestly, I’m slightly surprised they don’t just go up the coast a bit and make another village and make a giant temple.”

“Ahaha, that’d be the most dumb thing they could possibly do, though!” The old man replied, tone quickly switching from a more jovial and friendly one to that of a rougher, irritated one. “And let me tell you, I do not like fools that make stupid decisions.” He’d walk further into the abode, making himself right at home as he’d sit on a nearby chair.

“Just out with it already.” Lazhira demanded. “I don’t have the patience to deal with you.”

“Well, little Lazzhy.” He’d begin. “Auntie Delpithi has made quite the prediction - that beast friend of yours. Old beastie of ice cubes out there is going to be coming back sometime in the next few months!”

“Coming back?” Vammy put her hand to her head. “I’m not even sure if this village could survive a second round of that thing.” She wanted to say something bad about the god’s cultists but really, she didn’t have the option to even think about that at all. “Talk about a massive headache.” As of the moment, she didn’t have any reason to really think the god was lying… Though, she considered that was a possibility. Lazhy would be the one that would call him out on it if he was though.

“Don't’ believe me? Just ask that priestess of yours.” He’d chuckle. “Annnyways, I’m here to make ye an offer! Mum dearest left something of hers behind in an old workshop the village might like to have.”

“...and what, want us to go get it or something?” Lazhira replied. “Not interested.”

“Ah? No? Well that’s not surprising from you,” He’d turn his attention to Vammy. “But what about you, eh?”

Vammy was slightly surprised when the god asked her. “What about me?” The demon gave a small shrug. “I’m not as well versed in the stuff of legends as I used to be, but… It could be something useful, though I’m not exactly sure what it is. That said, I’m not exactly sure where this workshop could possibly be… And what you’d want for your part of this ‘deal’. I guess you could say I’m cautiously intrigued.”

“Me? What? Can’t just have a soft spot for this village of mine?” He replied with a chuckle.

“No, you can’t. You’re always scheming something.” The demi-goddess replied with a hostile glare.

“So angry! Angry like a bear, huh? Maybe I should turn you into one, Lazzhy, work off some of that aggression.”

“Do it and I’ll rip your eyes out first.”

“Eh, they don’t taste too good in that sense take it from me dear.” He’d stand up. “Regardless of what I’m planning, little demon, if you want this village to survive another encounter with that beastie you’ll need that device. From what I know its some sort of mechanical contraption similar to what those funny eared rat people up north have. Pains in the toes that they are. Always having to make sure they don’t reach too far.”

“Oh? Those rats? They’re fun when you convince one to…” The demon said before she cut her words off. There’s always a time a place, right. Now probably wasn’t that. “Anyhow… Lazhy, you don’t seem impressed with this idea then.” Well, less to say the idea and more anything to do with her father it would seem. Vammy had to hold back any inclination of laughter when she considered that Lazhira seemed to have some real daddy issues.

“I have my reasons.” Lazhira sternly replied. “I won’t stop or try and convince you not to, but I don’t want anything to do with that bastard.”

“Grudges are gonna make you grow old and wrinkly Lazhy! Like me!” He’d chuckle. “Or my other half, who by the way, is still missing.”

“Yeah well maybe she finally grew a brain and got tired of you too.”

“That’s not how that works you know!” he’d turn to Vammy. “Anyways, if you decide to look out for it! Go to that old Obelisk out there at night! Don’t miss it! Only chance you’ll get! Also maybe don’t go alone you might find something particularly ornery living there.”

“Old Obelisk at night… Don’t go alone… I don’t even know who would listen to me in the village besides you Lazhy. Especially not after that arm losing incident with that woman.” The demon said, sighing a little bit. She’d probably be run out of town if it wasn’t for her bestie. “I wanna say it’s worth checking out at least.” She knew it wouldn’t be the answer Lazhira wanted to hear, but… Vammy for her part, had no where else to go. Perhaps she could go back to Gloomhaven. Perhaps she could talk to her fellow elves… But that seemed highly improbable.

“Well do it, or not. Not my problem either way!” He’d chuckle. “Help the village…or not, and help it burn! Well, freeze in this case! I’m sure Lazhira would choose not to help either way.” He’d begin leaving, walking out the door. “Well I’ve given you information. What ye do with it is your business. Ta-ta now! I left some cheese over a fire and I don’t want it to melt.”

Vammy wasn’t sure what to say. “Uhh, yea. Goodbye Mr… Vammy’s Dad…? God of Knowledge?” What was the correct way to wave a god goodbye when he mentions leaving cheese over a fire…?

“...I’m gonna go for a bit.” Lazhira simply replied, not really bothering to comment much more on the situation as she’d proceed to leave, too.

“Ahh…” Vammy wasn’t sure… But… She wondered if she should leave Lazhira to her own devices or to try and get her mind off that situation for now. “Where are you going Lazhy?”

“Somewhere.” She shouted back in reply. “I’ll be back…whenever.”

“H-hey! Lazhy! Are you going to the same place you always disappear to…?” Vammy asked, wondering if she’d even get a reply out of her on that one. Lazhira always came back, safe and sound but it didn’t mean Vammy didn’t worry about it.

Lazhira, didn’t deign to answer, quickly running out the door and leaving Vammy alone, though it wouldn’t be hard to potentially follow.

And follow the demon did. “O-oi! Lazhy!” Vammy ran out the door after her friend ordering her new servant to stay in the building, worried about her best friend. “Grrrr…. Lazhy! That favor! Take me with you!” The demon said, mustering up all the concern she could from the remnants of her mortal being.





@Guy0fV4lor

Lifting the woman was easy, considering her short stature and light build and was dragged easily onto the stones. Thankfully for Finn, too, she was breathing and in fact, she’d seem completely fine.

“Mhm…?” In fact, it’d be just as he’d check if she was breathing, that she’d lazily open her eyes and stare up at the stranger above her. “...I don’t recognize you.” She’d lazily, somewhat sleepily respond. “Wait, no…you’re that one Maira brought during the start of the blizzard…hm, so you’re awake? That’s good.” Her words and lazy demeanor were at odds with each other as she’d not bother to make any effort to get up. “Sorry for startling you, I was hoping to commune with the Goddess. I thought I had locked all the doors…”

The priestess glanced towards the door Finn had come out of.

“Hm…perhaps…did the Goddess send you here for a reason…? Maybe you can help me with something.” She’d inquire. "We have a fish problem...well, Valtem? I think they're called..."







@ERode



“Mhm,” Maira had already grabbed her bow and an arrow from her quiver. “I’ll get into position in case something happens.” The Huntress quickly moved away from the immediate vicinity, slinking through the underbrush and foliage closer towards the waters edge some distance away and quietly vanishing from sight, but no doubt still nearby, watching.

The bear was sound asleep, unmoving as Atzi would approach. The bear itself was at least twice her size, the sound of its snoring and blue speckled fur moving quietly as it slept, a gentle breeze coming from its maw, one of its paws moving across the ground sleepily in some dream that was soon to be interrupted conveniently for Atzi, its neck was exposed in an almost perfect manner.

With a heavy swing, she’d bring her weapon down right on it.

The beast woke near instantly, attempting to roar but finding its neck having been violently assaulted. Before Atzi could make a second swing and hopefully kill the beast in one swift motion it lunged forwards towards Atzi, trying to grab her with a claw while pushing itself forward with its hind legs.





@Click This@Crusader Lord



“A merchant, eh?” The apparent one leading the small squad responded. The others suspiciously peered at the Raam and her entourage from beneath their helmets. “We have no room for outsiders in the village. We’re dealing with a situation of great importance for our Tsarita here. The last merchant that came through here was harboring criminals and was involved in a conspiracy to harm our great city.”

“Hey, they could be with her!” One of the other rat men spoke up.

“I don’t remember any humans being among her camp…just those foreign demons.”

“Maybe Marushka will know what to do with them?”

“Lady Marushka is off investigating the snowfields and records the Tsarita sent. We can handle this rabble ourselves.” The Patrol of rat men started fanning out slightly, as if to try and appear some sort of intimidating despite the fact they only came up to Lissa’s stomach in terms of heights.

“We humbly request you follow us to be…interviewed by General Gershel so we can confirm your intentions.”

“That seems a little unfair, don’t ye think?” Eirhild piped up. “We just traveled a fair ways away and all we get is interrogated, eh?” The Yaga woman was clearly shaking her head no, in sight of Lissa to ensure the Raam in disguise could see. Of course, declining would likely lead to some manner of violence but that was up for the party to decide on.





@crimson Paladin



“Now, don’t talk like that!” Mie smiled. “I won’t be sending you totally alone, anyways. Ayumi?” The fox yipped brightly. “I’ll have Ayumi follow along not far behind you, and she’ll meet up with you later.” Not a particularly odd request Mie would make of Novak, as she’d often have Ayumi do some odd scouting jobs or otherwise let her run off on her own. The fox was sometimes uncannily intelligent in such regards.

The fox in question gave a complaining yip but would hop off the table and put herself by Novak.

“I’m not going to ask you to be back any time soon,” Mie leaned back, taking a long breath on the pipe in her hands before exhaling. “Just come back in one piece. Don’t worry about me and my Oni. We’ve gotten out of worse than this.”

She’d leave Novak to it then, allowing him to take whatever he needed for preparation. It wasn’t hard to find Chohei, either. He was training with a number of other Oni, sword clashing against sword, some other Oni wrestling barely clothed even in this cold weather. Well, whatever helped them keep their spirits up and ready to go and he’d eagerly agree to spar again. First to land a clearly incapacitating blow would win.

Despite the Oni’s impressive strength and size, Novak was able to hold his own and in the end he’d be able to use his smaller stature and more agile fighting style to be able to give the Oni one decisive blow…and once changed into his old attire, one of the Oni would pass Novak a flask of Sake for good luck and a small package of rice before showing him to a small pass in the back of the camp. No doubt the Krysa were watching from everywhere, but at least, it seemed like for the moment he’d slip out of the encampment unseen as he’d make his way away from the encampment and set a long, somewhat roundabout course to the village. If all went well, he’d be there by sunset.

Of course, nothing ever goes well. As he’d make his way towards his destination, he’d be walking by a small copse of trees out in the snowfields.

a Krysa woman wearing a warm looking dress, carrying a basket, and satchel full of what seemed to be important looking documents was traveling with a small retinue of soldiers, dressed from head to toe in armor near a treeline.

He had only a few seconds before they’d notice him, since they were traveling towards each other.



@Cu Chulainn



“I’m an elf.” Raelzeth replied with an offended scoff. “With a dwarf for a dad, sure, but, still an elf. Of course I wouldn’t mine.” She fell silent again, seeming to wrestle with some internal debate or question before finally seeming to swallow her pride.

“Hey you said you’re smart right?” The small elf asserted again. “So…you know Stone-singing is supposed to let us like, shape and feel the earth right? Dad wanted me to practice and see if I can find any ore deposits around that could help.” A frown, the small elf kneeling, placing a hand on the ground. “Well, I found one. And then I sorta…lost it.”

A long sigh with a troubled, confused expression as she’d slowly run her hand across the earth.

“As in, it moved. The ore deposit moved. Dad thinks I’m just slacking off again and just don’t remember where it was. The hunters don’t believe me either and Lazhira said she thinks its some sort of animal, but…” She looked somewhat expectantly up at Gideon, hoping that he might have an answer for this.

Well, that was a curious question to ask. Ore deposits just simply didn’t move, now did they?

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Its response was swift, perhaps even instinctual, and in the face of that primal, desperate fury, the fury of a beast that wished only for revenge rather than survival, Atzi allowed her toothed club to fall out of her hand on the first swing. The heavy weapon disappeared into the brush, and in the same move, she met the bear head-on, her shoulder tucking against the underside of its jaw as her arms, one of flesh and one of bone, wrapped around its chest. In a contest of strength, even Atzi couldn’t expect to go up favorably against such a mountain of muscle, but if all she had to do was survive?

The Grove Bear’s jaws were powerful, but she was too close for it to bite down at her, not with her shoulder forcing it up. The Grove Bear’s claws were long, but she was too close for it to get a full swing off, and her cloak was thick enough that the blunted tips could only snag against the treated leather. The Grove Bear’s strength was tremendous, but she was clinging to its underside, and no matter where it charged, it could not reach her.

So all it could do was fall, the blood flowing ever faster out of its mortal wound, the bear collapsing over Atzi moments later. And that too, she was prepared for. In smothering silence, in fading warmth, the woman waited until the heartbeat she felt had stopped, until the weight she felt had deadened, before she slowly pushed herself off the great beast, caked from head to toe in blood.

Not her blood.

Slicking her hair out of her eye, she rubbed the back of her shoulder and sniffed the already-congealing gore on her skin. “Think I can take a quick dip in the lake, Maira? Maybe finish bleeding out the bear too?”
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Lissa


Now Lissa was getting very tempted to give these guards –more like thugs—some lip. If this was how they treated every outsider then it was no wonder that people didn’t come here often. It would also explain why the entire place looked poor. “Eh, well hold up now. You can’t just go arresting every merchant or traveler that comes by just because one outsider was a bad egg.” Lissa placed her hands on her hips in a displeased manner, a pose that only slightly coincidentally placed her hands closer to the sidearm at her hip.

She glanced over her companions, and leaned into them with a hush voice for their opinions. “Thoughts? They’re more aggressive than I’d thought… might be best to cut our losses here.” Lissa was willing to march right up inside if the cues they gave were right, but she wasn’t willing to march right up into actively hostile territory and be immediately taken prisoner, either. If her companions didn’t have any objection to what she was about to do, then she would continue on. The lady shaking her head at her made it all the more prudent to her, even if she couldn’t quite tell if she was shaking her head no to leaving, or shaking her head no as in ‘don’t go in there, it’s dangerous.’

Lissa gave an indignant protest. “We came here to offer some wares and to see if there were any dangers on the road ahead. Most villages I know of pride themselves on their hospitality and good business sense, but if you insist on breaking the established rules of hospitality and being that danger, then I think we will be taking our leave. Thank you, and good day. And leaving a bad review of the town everywhere else, but that was an obvious statement best left unsaid, as was the fact that they would give the patrol a pretty good match for a fight, with escorts and heavily armed weapons and all.
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Nylah





Movement caught Nylah's eye on the edge of her vision, movement which seemed to be a Yaga woman in a tree....and shaking her head? Yeah. But who was she shaking it at? Lissa? All of them? Hmm. Was she discouraging them from entering, or...hmm...blargh. Still, whilst the Mothraki kept properly subtle about things to avoid bringing attention to the Yaga woman in her peripherals, she did listen as Lissa seemed to pipe in about leaving. Not to mention having heard Eirhild's comments prior. The ratmen had just told them to come with them, and this area was full of soldiers and the whole Mie situation. It would be a perfect way to see the inside of things, but if they were being seen as suspicious would just walking off (or trying too) be a good idea? Now that made sense, at least within Nylah's own mind.

Rock the boat and it would bring trouble to them perhaps.

She then would butt in, or at least try to as best as she could directly assert herself, to try to seriously cut off Lissa after the secret Raam had the bit about how it: "[M]ight be best to cut our losses here.” (and hopefully before she said any more than that).

"Nonsense! We'd be happy to accept your humble invitation, kind sirs," Nylah said, doing her best to be polite as she addressed the ratmen in a respectful tone, giving a small humble nod to them before continuing, "Please forgive my friends here, the road has been long as we've sought somewhere to do business for many days now. We've no idea of what is going on here, really, but if someone was harboring criminals then I am glad brave soldiers such as yourself are here to keep an eye on things!"

The Mothraki smiled back at the ratmen, putting a hand to her chest and giving a humble nod to them before continuing.

"I am but a humble apprentice herbalist myself, traveling with my companions here to offer my aid to those who need it with what supplies I have collected along the way. A safer method to travel, but the road is fraught with perils in this area it seems.

If it would help us avoid more trouble and prove our intentions genuine, and to avoid causing any more trouble ourselves here, then we'd be happy to come along!"


Which also wasn't a lie, as they'd go through with the act if it meant keeping a lower profile or at least not getting in direct trouble. She had her skills, Lissa was a merchant, and Eirhild was hired protection. Right? Right. Hadn't that been Lissa's plan proper to get a foot in the door anyway?

It was almost exasperating to the core to be switching gears to join along, and now this! But as much as she was admittedly anxious about things, she did her best with her words and tone and such. The best she could do anyway.

She just hoped the other two would...ah...follow suit in this case as she tried to put herself out there as the 'voice of reason' speaking nervously on behalf of 'weary travelling merchants who had been grumpy due to the trip there' for reasons of not wanting to offend. Or something like that. Hopefully. She mostly feared what could happen if they pushed their luck here on the border, especially with an 'invitation' inside having been so 'graciously extended' to them. By armed guards. On the border of a crappy situation they were trying to figure out the workings and issues of somehow in the end.

...They were going to die at this rate, weren't they? They were totally going to die. She really didn't want to die. Or her Mother to die. To Lissa and Eirhild to die either really. Yeah. Death not good.

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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Guy0fV4lor
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Guy0fV4lor Retaker of The Holy Land

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Finnegan heaved a sigh of relief as the Woman spoke; finally letting himself go limp with exhaustion as he flopped down beside the strange Priestess.

"Haah-- I thought you were drowning... But it's a relief to hear otherwise."

Closing his eyes for a long moment, the Apostle listened to the stranger's words; mulling them over in quiet thought before offering response.

"Goddess? You mean Delphiti? Hmmm..."

Finnegan's eyes peeked open just enough compare the cartoonish figure on the screens to one of the nearby statues in the room; noting their strong resemblance. In fact he could vaguely remember seeing a woman that looked similar to both after.̵̱̰̙͛.̵̡͗̇̀.̶̖̬͓̇͗̓.̶͕̈́͠.̴͈̳̾̌.̷̫̓͆̑

A splitting headache ravaged Finnegan's skull as he tried to recall what happened before the dream.

"Ach-- I... I think she may have played a part in me running into you."

Finn grunted as he sat himself up groggily, "Attacking a coastal Village right after a blizzard is an age old strategy of the Valtem-- but it's wierd for them to be this far North..."

Finn shook his head as he rubbed his eyes, it seemed that healing the sick and injured wouldn't be the only task God had in store for him-- but nonetheless he answered the request with a smile, "Akala right? My name's Finn. Give me my backpack, some bandages for my hand, and point me toward where I can get a decent spear... I'll see what I can do about those fish freaks."
Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Crimson Paladin "Progressive" Techpriest

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Novak

Novak noted the woman leading the Krysa procession. Judging by her escort, she must be important, and if she was important, those papers might have some rather enlightening information written on them. Unfortunately, he'd be no match for them all by himself. Krysa weren't known for being great close-range fighters, and males in particular were quite devoid of stature, but they were still well-equipped and greatly outnumbered him.

Perhaps, however, Ayumi could retrieve some of those papers.

If only I had some of the others with me, we'd be able to capture her and give Mie a bargaining position, Novak noted. He had only a few moments to react: if he attempted to hide, it'd appear suspicious. More worryingly was the fact that because of the snow on the ground, they'd probably see his tracks. He'd probably cast a less dubious impression of he approached them directly or otherwise made no attempts to hide, but he couldn't be sure that they would be friendly to him. Without knowing why they were attacking Mie's party to begin with, he couldn't be sure how they'd react to a stranger.

Perhaps, however, he could keep out of sight without actually looking like he's trying to keep out of sight. Novak figured that's what Mie would do if she was in this situation. Using what little time he had, he shuffled towards a tree, sat down on the side faced away from the procession, then as if attempting to further emulate Lady Mie, opened his flask of sake and took a swig. If they didn't notice him, he might hear something relevant to what was going on. If they did notice him, he'd hopefully just cast the impression of being nothing more than a traveling sellsword, resting in the copse and enjoying breakfast and definitely not trying to stay out of sight.

Novak wasn't alone in this, though. He had Ayumi at his side, and the fox's penchant for thievery and mischief might provide him some interesting opportunities here.

"I wonder what's in that basket of hers," he whispered to Ayumi, not entirely sure how well she'd understood what he was saying. "Judging by those guards, she doesn't look like she's out here for a picnic."

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