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Any thoughts of being caught in a lingering nightmare were soon dashed. From out of the corner of his eye, Ludolf saw the blood-drenched stranger turn and gesture inquiringly to his companion.

"Little men?"

The second man nodded and the first turned back, appearing to be more irritated than alarmed — a reaction that caused Ludolf to lower his boot back down to the floor. His eyes slid — not to Victor who began to speak — but over to Torquil who had thus far not said a word. Upon closer inspection, however, it appeared that this was more practical than unwilling; the man's jaw had a strange crookedness as if it had been impacted by some kind of blunt object. Everything else about the man appeared nondescript and plain. Even the man's eyes were just a calm, muddy brown. This was a "special" hunter?

Deciding to withhold his judgement for now, Ludolf focused his attention back upon Victor in time to hear him explain about a . . . contract. He racked his mind. Try as he might, however, he could remember very little that took place before he signed it, much less the specific conditions he had signed. But at the same time, it hardly even seemed to matter. In his heart of hearts, Ludolf knew he would have signed that document no matter the costs to his body, mind, or soul. He had only one goal left to him now and, as far as he knew, it lay deep within the beating heart of Yharnam's beast-ridden streets. If becoming a Hunter meant gaining the access to the tools and information that would allow him to survive for that long, then it was worth it. Plain and simple.

"Very well," he decided aloud. "I'll accompany you back to Cathedral — "

He didn't get to finish. The large stranger, who had been quiet since Victor's first introduction, suddenly spoke.

"Pardon my interruption but is that blood you're covered in?"

Ludolf glanced over at him. "It is," he confirmed. "You can smell it from here."

Along with something else.

He hadn't noticed the pungency before due to the appearance of the Hunters in the doorway, but he certainly did now that the topic had strayed to the blood congealing on Victor's robe. It was a foul scent akin to sweat, pus, fur, and rotting meat. For the first time since he had awoken, Ludolf began really paying attention to the clinic around them, his eyes darting quickly from the Hunters to the bodies strewn across the floor, to the little men from before, and finally to the doorway from which the three senior Hunters had emerged. Had there been an incident before he had awakened?
Just in case it's a concern, I'm assuming that you still want to post, Decimate, and wait for you before I write one of my own.

Yes. I do plan to post today. I was going to yesterday, but I had something come up and take a lot longer than expected. My post should be up sometime tonight.
Took the lack of objection as permission. Posted.

Nice! Definitely enjoyed Victor's perceptions here. I should have mine up around the weekend again.
“You're at a clinic for blood-ministration."

Ludolf's gaze snapped from the giant over towards the door. The speaker, he saw, was a tall man garbed in robes that might once have been ivory, but had been stained through with blood. So much blood, in fact, that the smell of it was almost dizzying in the confined space. There were two others with him though neither one of them spoke before the first piped up again.

"In Yharnam. You're probably Hunters now. So are we.”

The introduction was a simple one for what it was but it caused Ludolf to freeze and go still just the same.

Hunters . . .

Oh yes, though his mind still felt full of fog, the word brought with it memories — no, understanding of the term. Images appeared in the back of his thoughts. Strange spectors in black armed to the teeth with cleavers, swords, and axes. Corpses . . . of beasts mostly, but also of men. There were other memories, too. Ghosts and shadows. A courtyard drenched in blood. Fuzzy sketches akin to a Rorschach test penetrating in the darkest corners where he dared not tread.

He glanced over to Nigel, but when the tall stranger did not speak, Ludolf straightened and dusted off his frock.

"You say this rather casually," he drawled, making an effort to keep his tone light. "Yet, I've never known a gift to come for free. Not in Yharnam at any rate. What is it you want?"

But before Victor or anyone else could answer, something bubbled at his feet. Astonished, Ludolf stepped back, but just where he had been standing, creatures began to emerge. They were small and hideous, with grotesque mouths and empty eyes, but it was their hands that attracted his attention the most. They were straining for him, their palms turned upright in a position that bore a striking resemblance to the monsters from his dream. With a slight hiss, he leaped back, his expression flickering from guarded to outright disgust faster than a set of traffic lights. No one else had reacted, but even so, the appearance of the unsightly creatures immediately set his heart to his racing.

No worries! I've started on a post. Just haven't had much time to actually work on it thanks to some leftover irl stuff. It should probably be up tonight or tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!

Scratch that. It may be this weekend. We had something go bork at work and Im having to put in some time to fix. Its definitely still my to do since Ive started.
Yeah go ahead and post! Just a heads up, I've got most of my finals this week so I won't be able to post very much if at all. I'll try to squeeze something in the middle of studying but no promises.

No worries! I've started on a post. Just haven't had much time to actually work on it thanks to some leftover irl stuff. It should probably be up tonight or tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!
My main problem with it still being called Pthumeru would be that it would make it weird for the twisted semi-undead from the old labyrinth to be called "Pthumerians" if "Pthumerian" could actually refer to anyone from the country. It is strongly suggested in the game (if not downright stated, but I can't seem to find any references to such a statement) that "Pthumeru" fell long ago around the time of Queen Yharnam and the stillbirth of Mergo, which would make the current country more of a successor state.
Eh... the more I look into it and try to see patterns in naming, the less certain I feel that I could come up with something original that would fit. I'm thinking it may be best to call the country something derivative from Pthumeru, yet different enough that the people of Yharnam don't get confused. I was thinking "Pumeria".

Well, it depends on what you're envisioning. If we're still going with it being the capital of a country, Pumeria works fine to me. It would just mean that most of the original descendants spread out somewhere & the country is probably small given how closely they're hoarding their powers of blood ministration. If it's more of a city-state like @DrabberRogue described, then the land is probably called "Yharnam" as well with a few satellite bergs, hamlets, castles, and villages such as the fishing village where the atrocities took place. From there, players could name their own lands if they're coming from somewhere else and/or make use of the other countries mentioned in the game? (i.e. the place where Yamamura is from, the place where Cainhurst is acquiring their weapons, the probably mountainous place where the Hunters of Hunters are supposed to have originated from)

EDIT: Had time to properly read your post now, Decimate, and I must say that I'm both intrigued by Ludolf's dream and pleased with your writing. Well done.

Thanks! I had some fun writing that one!

As for the posts, are we posting in order or just whenever? I'd ideally like to give @rocketrobie2 some time to get a post together, but I'd also prefer getting my next post out by Sunday/Monday night when I'm not working.

EDIT: Just 2. I think this "Eastern" country might be the same place Cainhurst got their weapons from. I forgot Yamamura wields a Chikage.

Welp, my post is up. Sorry for the contrasting quality. I had some time at work so I tried to bang out most of it on my phone.

Anyways, I'm good with the land being called Pthumeru @Dark Jack. I'm kind of in agreement with @DrabberRogue that Yharnam's probably isolationist more than a capital or prominent city. They're not fond of "outsiders" and blood ministration doesn't seem to be practiced beyond Yharnam's limits much if people are traveling to Yharnam in search of blood healing.
Ludolf Reinhardt had never thought much of dreams. They were illusions, distractions of the mind that took place in the void between sleep and wake. Utterly meaningless in every sense of the word.

But the dreams that consumed him now were different. Like claws from the void, the foggy visions drug him down, deeper and deeper, and with a painful lucidity that resisted any rational thought or attempts to fight back. His skin simultaneously felt as though every pore had been set aflame and then dunked within a vat of frozen ice. Little by little, he struggled, feebly, to remember. To recall the circumstances that led him to this peculiar predicament. But try as he might he could remember nothing. Nothing but blood, fog, and snow.


Ludolf opened his eyes. The haze, thick as mussel soup, lingered for a few seconds, before finally giving way to reveal his surroundings — that of a desolate, empty field covered in drifts of freshly fallen snow and further surrounded by an almost impenetrable wall of mist. Overhead, the moon was shining bright, but there was something about it that appeared almost obscene to his eyes. Had it always been so ... oppressive?

"The Sky and the Cosmos are One!"

The sudden familiar voice piercing through the tranquility made him tense. He twisted, reaching for the blade in his coat but found that it was no longer there.


His voice came out as a hoarse grunt, the harsh sound of it echoing through the mist. No one answered, but he kept his hand inside his coat just the same. Though everything was quiet beneath the moonlit sky, the hair on the back of his neck slowly began to stand on end. The seconds began to pass in the stillness. One minute became another. Nothing moved, but he could feel something stirring beyond the wall of vapor ahead. And before long, the shadows began to shift, darkening into the veiled shapes of men, women, and children from a time most had forgotten.

Some were ravaged beyond recognition while others appeared almost living save for their opaque, sightless eyes and hideously gaping jaws. Some crawled like worms through the dead earth, their legs gone, their arms grasping and reaching through the banks. But whether this was meant as an attack or a plea for help, he did not know. In a sluggish mass, they moved towards him, their agonized cries growing ever louder.

With his heart leaping into his throat faster than a speeding bullet, Ludolf attempted to shrink back before the growing sea of ghosts but found that the strength in his legs had deserted him. He couldn't move! His veins turned to ice water. Any second they would be on top of him. He had to move, even if it was just a fraction of an inch. Ludolf writhed ... twisted ... and finally took one step, then another, and another before he lost power in his legs. He collapsed, gasping and soaked in sweat, onto all fours in the snow. Howls still rang out accusingly over his shoulder, but all his strength was gone, sapped by just that one move. But just before the calamity threatened to consume him, a new sound shattered the illusion. BOOOOONG! BOOOONG!

A beast?

No, said the dry, rational part of his mind that still worked. Bells.

And, indeed, there were bells. The noise was soft at first, nearly drowned by the cacophony, but it steadily grew louder and louder until the thunderous toll was all Ludolf could hear. The sound of it breathed new life into his veins — a fire that burned so hot that he wondered how it didn't sear him straight through to the marrow of his bones. Slowly, he found his feet and turned towards the darkness, his blood coursing with defiance. He opened his mouth in a roar, but just as he did something exploded from above, sending a massive wall of white-hot flames raining down upon his would-be spectors. They burned and writhed and shrieked, and the smoldering of ashes filled his nose. Yet even as the shades shrieked their last, the bells rang on, and on, and —

"Any of you lot awake?"

The vision faded.

But the sound of tolling bells did not.

Dizzy and with his mouth dry as dust, Ludolf Reinhardt slowly opened his eyes. Gone was the hellish, barren landscape he had viewed from his dreams, but in its place he found himself confronted by a new one that was equally as strange.

He was laying on his stomach with his cheek pressed against a wooden floor. From what little he could see in that position, there were makeshift cots lined in purposeful, orderly rows. The whole place reeked.

Maybe that dream hit a little closer to home than he'd thought.

Groaning softly, he pushed himself upwards, first onto his knees and finally all the way up to sag against one of the nearby cabinets.

"Unfortunately," he croaked in response to the voice from before — a voice which he could now see belonged to a large, apish-looking man who appeared as if he could knock the head off a wild beast with only his bare hands. A boon in these uncertain times . . . and yet —

Ludolf's eyes narrowed.

"Don't mean to be ill-mannered, friend," he said slowly, "But where . . . are we?"
I plan on working on an intro for mine after I get off work today. It might be up today or tomorrow at latest. Up to you if you want to post before then!
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