Just watched Rise of Beasts. The reveal at the ending with Noah's job interview had me shouting. I really really hope it actually goes somewhere because I loved both movies beforehand.
4 mos ago
A small slit appeared on the creature, just below the great eye, and it spoke in a tongue she didn't know, with an accent she didn't recognize. The great eye closed, but she could tell it was moving beneath the lid. The creature remained more or less still for a moment, then it's eye opened once more and it spoke, this time in words she could understand.
"Oooh, he sounds funny."
Mergoux's lips thinned as he spoke, her permanent frown increasing. He was a small thing, but what kind of thing he was she had no idea. A great eye, a slit of a mouth, grey skin, no, she had never seen its like before. But then even a short a trip as this had been, there were a great many things here she had not yet seen. Creatures she'd never encountered before, and odd though they might be, they were all of them still people. Some good, some bad. This one before her, this Vorex who called itself a libraryman, was just another new sight on this strange, strange trip.
Mergoux's grip on the hilt of her blade loosened, as she stepped further from the shadow of the tree towards the creature. "Well met," she offered. Her words were welcoming enough, but her tone left much to be desired. "My name is... Isorn," she lied. There was a clucking of disapproval in her ear as she spoke, but she ignored it. She was far from lands where she was known, where a bounty might be offered, but still it paid to play it safely.
"A libraryman say you? Where is your library? How long have you been searching for new books?" she asked, taking another step closer. They were still then a few paces apart, but watching him, she felt her usual suspicions subside, at least for the moment.
It did not take long to free the cart. With the cutting of some vines and a good push, the woman was on her way again, waving the warrior off, her child joining her. Mergoux lifted a hand to acknowledge their farewell, then hefted her pack and was on her way again. On she trudged for a ways, ever on the outside of the pack, watchful of the woodland, wary of the forest and all hiding within.
The deeper they went into the woods, the less she liked them. As the forest grew denser still around them, she only felt her hackles rise further and further. Her ears were pricked, her muscles tense, waiting for the inevitable ambush, the attack that her mind told her had to come in a place like this. There was a presence here, and passing peacefully was not likely in a place such as this.
"Go have a look around," she said softly. There was a sound of acknowledgement, and she felt the cool tingle down her spine, her leg and out the bottom of her trousers. What shadow she had under the already thick foresttop grew darker for a moment, then back to normal with a soft woosh that even she could barely hear.
It was a few minutes later she heard the noise once more, and felt the creeping coolness of their return. "Tell me," she said, not breaking her stride, even as her hand reached for her weapon.
"I'm not sure." they said "There was a man, yet he was not a man, but something else."
"He had only the tools of a scribe, paper and ink and quills for writing. No weapons I felt."
Mergoux stepped to the side and stared out into the woods, her lips pursed. A scribe they said, perhaps a traveler lost then. Wandered from the road for whatever reason, and now unable to find their way back. "How far?"
"Southeast, not yet a mile."
"Alright. Good work."
They gave a happy trill as she set off into the woods, pushing her way past the thick brush and venturing off into the forest, guided by the voice inside her helmet.
She was not sure what she was looking at. She'd certainly never seen anything like it before, but then this caravan was full of bizarre creatures from lands unknown, this could just as easily be one of them. It was a short thing, barely above a Dwarf in height, and with a massive eye in places of a face. It wore clothes of a sort, though they were little more than canvas draped over the thing's body. It had an otherwise human frame, but with dark blue skin, almost grey she thought. As they had said, the creature, whatever it was, held no weapons, but that did not mean it was not dangerous. Still, perhaps it was a traveler lost as she'd suspected. Best not to frighten then.
"You lost?" She asked, stepping out from behind a tree. She kept her weapons sheathed, but her fingers drifted close to the hilts, ready should the worst occur.
The forest had a creeping aura about it, as if menacing the travelers passing under the branches overhead. The road stretched wide, yet the trees, the brush, the green verge hemmed them in, so thick as to be impassible at a glance. There was only one way through the forest, the road they took, and Mergoux was unsure if she liked that. She liked having options, so when the only two were forward, or back, it made her uncomfortable. Still, with woods so thick, it was unlikely they were being watched, by mortal eyes at least. "The Green Lord always watches," she muttered, and heard a murmur of assent in return.
"All the world is his garden, but this place..."
"Like a plot left to grow wild, with thistle and all manner of creeping thing."
"You're feeling poetic!"
Mergoux's lips thinned and the voice chuckled to themself inside her helmet.
The passage was crowded with carts now, the road narrowing to a point, then widening again. A bottleneck where folks piled up and pushed past each other to get round the bend. A queue had formed of carts, but she was no rider. Hefting her pack, she shimmied through pressed wagons and tighter pressed people doing much the same as her. She moved deftly through the crowd, brushing nary a shoulder as she made her way through the bottleneck and past into where the road stretched wider again. It had a more built up look about it, stone underneath, old cobbles. Maybe once long ago some manner of building had stood here, but now it was mostly creeper and dirt, what few stones left coated in the thick green foliage as if the forest wanted to reclaim this land for itself.
"By the dead," she muttered, picking her way carefully through the vines. More than a few travelers had tripped, sprawling out over the cobbles, trying to pick up their fallen packs, some of which had burst open and scattered their possessions far, all whilst wagons trundled on.
Not far from the bottleneck, a young woman was struggling with her own cart, it's wheels entangled in creeper. Glancing about, it wasn't the only one stuck, but it was the only one not receiving any manner of aide.
Mergoux's eyes narrowed to slits under her helmet as she paused, taking in the woman and her cart. She looked ordinary, but that didn't mean anything. A quick glance revealed no obvious weapons either. A simple, modest dress. Perhaps too modest for the warm weather. Plain, simply dyed. Not a wealthy woman to be sure, certainly not by the state of her cart. She plainly not it's first owner, not unless she'd had it for some time, but the canvas over the top of it was newer. The yak pulling it huffed and grunted, straining along with the woman as they struggled to push the cart on.
"Well?!" They sounded exasperated at Mergoux's inaction.
"Fine," she said at last, shrugging off her pack and setting it down. That felt a bit better, a moment of relief. Her bag was none-too-light. She wished she still had her old lightbag, a pack that weighed the same miniscule amount no matter what was put in it, but she'd lost that over a decade ago.
"Look out," she said, stepping in beside the woman. "Take this, cut the creeper." She plucked a large knife from her belt, a heavy blade with a set of knuckle-dusters built into the handle. Setting her shoulder against the wagon, she waited until the young woman bent down and began hacking away at the vines, then heaved with all her might, a grunt of exertion escaping her mouth.
"There's a lot of Half-Elves here," they murmured to her from under her helmet, her eyes shifting back and forth. The Pilgrim's Caravan, the Roving Town, the Village of Wheels and a thousand other names besides. She'd heard stories to be sure, but having never seen it before, she'd not been prepared for what she was to find.
Comprised of dozens if not hundreds of wagons, twice as many animals and three times that number of people, had surprised her like little else did. She had been in cities the world over, traveled far and wide in her long years, but while many places could be described as a melting pot, none were quite like this place.
She'd only been with the Caravan a few short days but she was still seeing things that might inspire awe in someone more easily impressed than she. Wonderous wagons moving on their own, or else pulled by strange and exotic beasts. Enormous wagons big as houses, to carts so small that they barely held the single occupant, and more-often were filled to the brim with several. The people too were something else. Poor and rich and inbetween, young and old and some perhaps even dead if the smell was any indicator. Humans and Dwarves and Elves, Lizardmen and Catfolk and all manner of Beast-men. Just yesterday a large slug pulling a wagon had shouted at her to move aside while it inched forward, leaving a slimy trail on the ground behind it. But yes, there were above all things, far more half-elves than she'd ever seen before in one place, if indeed this counted as a place.
Seeing them felt... odd to her, not that she hadn't seen them before, or everytime she saw her own reflection, but to see them so unbothered by not just themselves, but those around them. It confused her. In her home, and indeed most places she had been to, half-breeds like her would have been run out of town or at the very least given the ugliest of glares. She'd long since moved past it bothering her, but it still made her frown to see others so open about it. Better counties they must have come from.
"Lots yes," the voice hissed in her ear. It was soft, like the sound of a summer breeze. "The white hair has magic, and the pirate-"
"Not a pirate, she reeks of ex-military. Navy probably."
"Talk of reeks?! There is a big cart that smells horrid, just behind!"
"I got a whiff. Cheese." There was a brief pause, then the Warrior's frown became one of confusion. "Wait, I didn't know you could smell."
"Of course I can smell! I can see and hear can't I?"
"Nevermind, it's not important. Anyways, I'm not here to make friends. As soon as things have died down at home, I'm off,"
"You mean us yes?"
"Of course," the warrior muttered. Just me and the voice in my helmet...
Appearance: Six-foot and slender, Mergoux's muscled frame presents as a pillar of strength. Though nearing her nineties, she still resembles a woman in her late twenties. Her shoulder-length coal-black hair is usually worn with braids to keep it from her face but otherwise loose. Her face is plain and unremarkable, neither ugly nor pretty, its most memorable feature being a vicious scar that travels from immediately under her left eye to the edge of her jawline. She has numerous tattoos across her body. Most visible is the word "Vengeance" tattooed vertically down her chin and onto her throat. On her wrists, she has tattooed manacles, which attach to chains that coil up her arm to the elbow, where they shatter and turn into vines. The vines coil up her arms to her shoulders, where they encircle a flower with eight petals on her left shoulder and a stack of eight coins on her right. For clothes, she usually wears a form of leather jerkin or medium armor, prioritizing freedom of movement. She also wears an enormous amount of earrings in her ears, enough so that they'll clink and jingle if she turns her head to quickly. Finally, she is never seen without her helmet, a sleek metal piece that covers all of her face but for around her mouth and chin, and has two jutting metal spikes.
History: Born Thalia Coldstone, Mergoux was the child of a meadow elf Elaina, and a Nordic merchant Jared. Unfortunately in her home country, such couplings were seen with ill-disguised hatred by the majority, for though in that land Meadow Elves were known for peace, their cousins the High Elves were known for quite the opposite. Young Thalia faced such prejudice, that following an incident when she was eight, her father decided it was time for his family to leave. Bundling them into one of his trading caravans, they set off for greener pastures. They did not live to see that happy future.
Partway through their journey, their caravan was attacked by bandits, but this was no mere rabble. Unbeknownst to them, a great Shaman, proclaiming himself the Bandit King, had risen to power in the hinterlands, commanding a crime organization so vast it rivaled some smaller nation's own military might. Young Thalia's parents were killed, and she was captured as a slave, and brought back to the hidden fortress of the Bandit King. There, for the next thirteen years, she worked as a slave. First, as a kitchen wench, then as she grew older, bigger, stronger, they sent her to the mines, then finally to work as a logger to keep the fortress's fires burning bright. There, she finally managed to escape, traveling down the mountainside with no food, no water, and little to account for the bitter chill of a winter's storm. She would have frozen to death had it not been for a chance encounter with a band of mercenaries out for bounties on bandits.
They made their way down the mountain but only barely made it to the capital city, most of their party slain along the way by more marauding bandits, desperate to stop young Thalia from revealing the location of their hidden fortress. It was only by the hand of a god she was spared recapture and her new allies spared death.
When brought before the Queen, she revealed the location of the bandit stronghold and more information about both the mysterious Bandit King and his organization than had ever been known. In return, the Queen offered her whatever she might desire. Thalia asked for three things. A weapon, the training on how to use it, and to be allowed to be the one to kill the Bandit King. The Queen agreed, and Lord Horrus, god of heroes, further agreed to bring her to his training grounds, where the greatest heroes were taught under him.
However, all was not as it seemed, for while she was away learning to use the weapon she'd been granted, an ancient blade from the Kingdom's history, enchanted and powerful, the Bandit King was toppled, his organization obliterated, and his bandit hordes scattered. Of himself, however, there was no proof of his death. Thalia was furious at this betrayal, wanting to personally avenge her parents' deaths, but there was little else she could do.
Instead, she resigned to take on a role of a soldier in the Kingdom's army, for though the bandit threat was over, there were still many wars to be fought. For fourteen years, she was a soldier, promoted several times until she achieved the rank of Champion, a specialist in the army, promoted for their fighting prowess instead of their skill at command. However, when she was thirty-eight, a controversy occurred, and she was branded a scapegoat. Her time in the army had been hard, for many of her fellow soldiers harbored the same hate in their hearts that had forced her family from their home, but this was the final offense. Booted from the army, she sunk low, her life, her career, taken from her, those few she had found a sort of family in, lost from her again.
Little is known of what happened to Thalia Coldstone after that. Her record vanishes, but half a decade later, there arrived Mergoux. She was a servant of the god of death, now one of her sworn killers, and she was very good at what she did. A lifetime of abuse had turned her into a hateful, vengeful soul. She wanted death, to bring it, and have it brought to her, yet she could not bring herself to throw her life away. She had a new purpose. To slay every bandit, every criminal, every single being who might do to others what had been done to her. To harm them in any way was to earn a death sentence from her. For a time, this brought the mysterious helmeted mercenary a level of fame in her homeland, then a level of infamy, then after murdering a local mayor for unjustly evicting local farmers so that he might claim their land, she was finally branded an outlaw and a criminal herself. From there, she carved a bloody path South and vanished over the border, her stories fading into legend. Yet still, thirty years on, tales come back of a helmeted warrior woman butchering evil-doers. It is these tales that criminals use to scare their children into bed, lest Mergoux the Butcher come and lop off their feet, then make them walk home.
Personality: Outwardly, Mergoux appears more than an empty shell of a person. She finds no personal joy in the world, yet is granted a deep satisfaction by her actions, and what little enjoyment she has in the world she finds most often with a blade in her hands. Yet behind that exterior, she is a broken woman, robbed of family and friends time and time again. Those who did not die by the sword, she was forced to watch grow old while she remained young. She puts all she has into her task, viewing it as the only positive thing she has left that she can do, for all through her life she has buried most of her emotions so deep, she's unsure if she could ever dig them out again. All manner of hope, peace, love are gone, left by a bitterness that leaves her off-putting at best. She is Mergoux, and she is hate.
Motivation: Once again on the run from the law, Mergoux joins the caravan as an escape, and to perhaps further her goals of slaying wicked men on the road. Bandits are those she hates most, and bandits are always on the roads.
Skills, Strengths and Weaknesses, and Tools: Skills/Strengths: Mergoux is a skilled warrior, trained initially under the god of heroes for five years, then further improving her own skills through a long life as a warrior. She is an unmatched master with her enchanted greatsword and to a lesser degree, a master of very nearly every other style of swordswomanship. She is further adept with most weapons and is noted as a proficient markswoman with a crossbow. Through her long life she has also become adept at hunting and tracking. She also possess a keen eye and a cunning mind, often allowing her to outwit her foes, though she's no great intellect. Finally, when she wants to be, she can be highly intimidating, and interrogation was a specialty of hers in the army. She also possesses rudimentary medical knowledge, as she's often forced to patch herself up rather than attend any healers nearby. As a half-elf, Mergoux possesses both a speed both of mind or of movement faster than any human could attain. She also possesses an incredible sense of hearing. Finally, she is talented in the art of 'light stepping' which allows her to do all manner of things from move swiftly without making a sound, to walking atop snowdrifts to falling large distances and landing without injury.
Tools: Mergoux's armory and personal possessions are limited by what she can carry, but she always takes with her two magic items. Her sword, gifted to her by order of the Queen. Vainoth's Bane is a two-handed greatsword nearly as tall as she is. It is indestructible bar for perhaps melting it in magma, and is enchanted so that to the wielder, it weighs near nothing, allowing her to move faster and strike harder with the otherwise extremely heavy blade. The second is her helmet. It covers all of her face and head, except for the eyeholes and the area around her mouth and chin. It is enchanted that it nullifies any force that strikes its exterior. A giant could smash a tree on her head and it would connect as little more than the lightest of taps.
Weaknesses: Social skills. Mergoux is unlikeable, and has a hard time forming bonds outside of those formed in combat. Her elven ears often also present the problem of being overly sensitive to sudden loud noises, occasionally even leaving her disorientated briefly if the din is deafening enough. She also has extreme motion sickness and cannot ride a horse, a wagon, or a boat without extreme discomfort and nausea. Finally, Mergoux received little to know formal education before her 20s. While she'd picked up a lot, including the skills needed to read and write, she lacks a lot of more basic knowledge that someone might acquire through a more standardized education.
What They Most Want: What Mergoux wants most is something she knows is unattainable. True peace. An end to violence and bloodshed and the harm done to those she sees as innocent. But she knows this will never happen, and so merely does what she can to mitigate such occurings.
If They Had a DnD Alignment, It Would Be: I'd say Chaotic Good, but it's up for interpretation.
Three Likes: Her sword, her helmet, and hurting other people.
Three Dislikes: Seeing those she considers innocent hurt, bandits, greed.
Do They Follow Their Heart or Their Mind?: Mergoux follows her heart, using her mind. She's unlikely to act rashly, but she will act decisively.
Worst Fear: Ever being imprisoned or worse yet, enslaved again. Nothing is worse than having one's freedom taken away by others.
Favorite Color: Blue, like her mother's eyes.
Most Like The Animal: A fox.
Favorite Time of Day: Night, dark.
How They Dress: Typically in pants, heavy boots and a sleeveless leather jerkin. In colder weather with a heavy cloak and thick padded gambeson. Her armor is medium, greaves, breastplate, bracers, a pauldron or two, prioritizing movement for her fighting style.
Favorite Season: Summer.
What Gods/Spirits/Whatevers They Worship (If Any): They worship none, but respect all. Having trained under the god of heroes, and later serving under the goddess of death, she knows it is far better to respect them than anything else.
1: No, absolutely not. If you have played the first game there'll be a few returning characters and easter egg type scenarios, but I think of it sort of like Arcane. If you have played the game(s) before, it will add to the experience, but if you haven't it won't detract.
2: Oh absolutely. It uses the 5th Edition ruleset as the game's ruleset, but you need absolutely zero knowledge of how D&D works to play the game. Again I'd say it might add to the experience if you do, but if you don't it won't subtract anything effectively.
3: Nope. Once you download it you're all good, unless of course you want to play a co-op run with a friend.