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"You mean the chaos emeralds? I'm going to assume you mean the chaos emeralds, because if that's what you're concerned about, I've got one of them right here." - Barack Obama
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Pokemon rivals peaked when they had your neighbor with unmedicated ADHD violently slam into you and then threaten to sue you after every gym.
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Auberon stared quizzically at the door as Derec closed it, still unsure as to what his half-slumbering companion meant by that nod. Was it an acknowledgment? An agreement to his offer? Derec nodding off and catching himself midway? His Lions could get mad at him for his wake up knocks all they wanted, but they were clearly warranted if this was how they intended to stumble into the classroom. At least no one had slept through a class yet, or else he might have to start barging in when his knocks were left unanswered. Or find a female volunteer to barge in, in Lienna's case.

Upon Derec's return, Auberon still found himself without an answer as to what that nod meant.

"Why would I have offered if I didn't intend to stay?" Was he not a man of his word? Would a man of dubious character have even bothered to make such a stupid lie anyway? It was certainly an early morning, but that was hardly an excuse to be outright delirious. Unless Derec was pursuing a secret training regimen at night - and Auberon certainly hoped not, what with a kidnapper on the loose (and because he hadn't received even a single invitation to spar) - the redhead really had no excuse to be this tired. Maybe he needed to hydrate better.

"Not a morning person, I take it?" He asked rhetorically as he started toward the exit. That trait seemed like it should've been a rarity among the common folk, didn't they have farms to manage or something?

When they arrived at the Blue Lions' classroom, Auberon was met with a handful of unfamiliar faces, and what seemed to be a geography lesson taking shape on the board, judging by Professor Bartels' presence. One of the newcomers he recognized - vaguely, but enough to know she was Faerghian. The orange-haired boy's identity was lost on him, but Clarissa's conversation partner appeared almost too recognizable. Why, he could've been Count Galatea's son had Auberon not known any better. He definitely wasn't a cousin the blond had ever been introduced to, and surely a bastard would've been at least gossiped about. Maybe a distantly-related Fraldarius that got all of the Galatea and none of the Kellen in the looks department.

Whatever curiosity Auberon harbored over the lesson evaporated in the face of the familiar stranger, so much that he forgot to thank the Goddess for Her minor miracle of getting Lienna to class even before he had arrived. Then again, Derec had taken a while.

"Good morning," Auberon greeted with a respectful dip of his head as he approached the group, "Clarissa, I hope you'll introduce me to what look to be our classmates for this... exercise." His gaze trailed briefly over the trio, lingering on them in order of importance. He gave the fiery-haired male only enough of his attention to adequately size him up, offered a polite smile to his Housemate, and then set to work staring holes into his would-be relative's head as blatantly as he could get away with in polite company.


@Hero


Rudolf was agitated, to say the least. The disaster of a Crest class he'd been dragged to every day was bad enough, and at least he didn't have to wake up early for that. His Highness would lapse in his vigilance eventually, and there would be nothing to stop Rudolf from simply walking out of the classroom next time Professor Tomai broke into a tone-deaf tangent about invisible Hresvelg children like it was a neat case study with no consequence and not a living nightmare for that Saints-forsaken individual. For him.

He lingered outside the doorway to the classroom, first out of confusion - a couple of faces from his old unit led him to believe he'd simply wandered to the wrong place in his freshly-awakened stupor - then out of cowardice. If he was recognized even once, that insufferable cacophony of congratulations for his 'promotion' to the Rose Unit would follow, or perhaps jealous mutterings about how unfair it was that he of all people was put in the Archbishop's pet class. He could explain that the Rose Unit was looking more like a trial group for Professor Tomai's Crest research and less like a prestigious military academy unit every day, but then he'd be hounded for what made his Crest special. It wasn't; it sucked and he didn't want to talk about it. And all of that was before the grueling task the professors doubtlessly had planned for them today. Inter-class competition, surely, where the most spiteful of his former classmates could beat the crap out of him for his 'betrayal', and the nicer ones could do it just because that was their assigned objective. And then Rudolf would get a pity commendation because the rest of his class was superhuman and nobody bothered to look at him long enough to evaluate him. If they ended up marching the classes down to Gronder Field for a mock battle, he might just walk home and never come back.

Come to think of it, he didn't know why he hadn't marched back to his room already. What was the worst they could do? Kick him out of Garreg Mach? Have him return home disgraced and ashamed? He already didn't want to be here. But for some reason, his legs wouldn't move. He was such a coward.

The crimson-eyed boy trudged in to the classroom at last, barely suppressing a sigh as a cursory examination of the chalkboard revealed they were definitely not bound for Gronder. So much for his escape plan. Maybe he could just hide until it was all over, not that he knew what it was yet. Announcing his presence to the professors seemed like a bad idea, Clarissa was friendly enough to entertain his questions but she was engaged with a crowd and the less eyes that landed on Rudolf today, the better. That just left... Leena, or whatever her name was. The girl was as icy as her magic without being as disdainful as Her Future Imperial Highness, so Rudolf figured that would be his best bet at avoiding needless talk while still sating his curiosity.

"What are we doing?" Rudolf asked quietly, hoping a pointed question would get him a pointed answer and not tedious pleasantries about how weird it was that she hadn't seem him approach.


@Obscene Symphony


Ceolfric's eyes followed Ermes along the path, half-lidded with dry annoyance. The boy hardly looked old enough to be conscripted into a throwaway peasant levy, let alone be hired as a professional mercenary, and yet he was already goading his competition. At least Freckles' sister was nursing a prior dislike for him before she started making comments. He almost woke the gatekeeper up on purpose just to spite them, but there were easier ways to handle a teenager and a masked jester that wouldn't end up a hinderance to Ceolfric himself.

Not that the old man would have any way of stopping him from just walking right past anyway.

His scarred brow shot up as Jenson jerked in his sleep, only reaching for Goredrinker's hilt when the tip of the guardsman's spear swung a bit too close to his arm for comfort. Only once the fit of equine paranoia passed and Jenson was sleeping comfortably again did Ceolfric's stance straighten out and his hand stray from his weapon. Good thing, too; dropping his severed head in the middle of the Bounty House floor would certainly be one way to make a memorable introduction, but not quite the one Ceolfric wanted to make. Maybe the senile senior citizen had sharper senses than Ceolfric had given him credit for, if he was startled by Freckles' ghostlike passage. Or maybe it was sheer coincidence. Either way, he wasn't going to dawdle and be forced to make good on his threats.

The bandit placed a steadying hand on his scabbard to ensure it wouldn't sway against his leg and generate unnecessary noise, then crept confidently past in deliberate, measured strides. Once past the gate, Ceolfric nearly stumbled at the sudden tingle of aether that loomed before him, barely having the courtesy to stand still while he collected himself rather than selfishly barrel ahead. There was a demon in there. There had to be. It didn't feel like the other demons he'd encountered, but it certainly couldn't have been a mortal. Even that thrice-damned rock mover wasn't this intense. What was wrong with this forest? Either it was a lodestone for every aether-rich creature in Othard, this was the norm and Dranir was remarkably dull compared to the rest of the continent, or there was something fishy going on. And honest, Ceolfric didn't particularly care to be patient any longer.

Once he felt he'd put enough distance between himself and Jensen to let his present company pass without blaming him for anymore of the codger's episodes, he broke into a determined march for the door past the Tainted siblings with hardly a glance their way. They'd served their purpose, now he wanted answers from the source - or at least to meet whatever creature was saturating the very air around the House with its aether.


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony@Hero@Trainerblue192


Auberon had no objections to an earlier class. He had to keep his bedside prayers brief and his breakfast briefer, but an earlier start might mean an earlier finish, and that meant he'd have more time to devote to training later in the day, or at least reviewing his performance if the class itself was particularly physically demanding. At least, under normal circumstances; with all the talk of abductions and conspiracies, changes in schedule boded ill, at least on the surface.

Goddess above, what if one of his classmates had gone missing? Would they have called such a somber meeting in a classroom, or hosted it in the cathedral under the watchful eye of the clergy? Professor Roland seemed to be in everyone's poor graces lately for... some reason, and Michail and Professor Malathice certainly didn't seem up to the task of comforting everyone.

Auberon strolled down the dormitory hallway, giving each of his Lions' doors that he passed a pensive glance and a light rap of his knuckles against the wood. Saints know, they probably needed the wake up call. Still, he lingered in front of each door for a moment after knocking, silent with the hopes that they would open the door and reassure him that they were indeed still alive with a morning greeting or at least a dismissive grumble. As to be expected from such an unenthusiastic knock, he didn't have much luck, at least until his last stop, where the door gave way underneath his gentle knocking to reveal a half-asleep Derec. The blond blinked a few times at the scene, stupefied, but quickly recovered his composed neutrality.

"Uh... what's going on?" Derec mumbled, clearly still groggy.

"Just, erm, making sure everyone's awake on time," He replied quietly, "I can wait if you'd like to walk to class together. Otherwise, good morning, I suppose." The offer came out almost as an afterthought. Derec didn't look like he'd be going anywhere in a timely manner, but Auberon wouldn't spurn the companionship if he could get it. It was small comfort, but it was comfort nonetheless. It beat internally praying for his friends' safety until class started, anyway.


@Hero


Ceolfric would never admit it, but he was almost thankful for the motley crew that had assembled itself around him. With every strange phenomenon he passed, safety in numbers seemed a prudent choice for travel in the Snakeburrow Woods. Not that any one of them were the visage of a reliable warrior, but their aether didn't lie; they had to be capable of something, especially if they thought themselves fearsome enough to take up a career in mercenary work. Plus, it'd give him an easy opportunity to question the two newcomers on what the hell was wrong with this place later. 'Ermes' had to know something, proximate as he was to Ceolfric when he awoke, and he would've assumed the elf had been beside him the whole time if not for the fact that she looked far too clean to have spent the night in the woods.

Perhaps she was the summoner, then.

He had little time to dwell on it with the Bounty House coming into view in the distance, and it would be pointless to accost her in the middle of the road when he could simply wait until she was inside and entrapped herself without infinite directions in which to escape. He wasn't liable to get any support from the rest of the group either, with the Tainted siblings likely still sour from their own confrontation and the strange-haired boy clearly engaged in some prior rapport with her. Besides, the snoring on the wind told him that they were fast approaching whatever variety of creature the orc woman had warned them about, and that meant he had to bite his tongue.

Once they arrived, however, Ceolfric was unimpressed. The thing that threatened to block their passage was just a man, and Ceolfric was not in the habit of fearing mere men. The bandit arched a brow at the masked girl as she posited her question, unsure whether it was meant to be inflammatory or a simple jest. The corners of his mouth quirked upward in dry amusement regardless - an argument would likely wake the gate guard up prematurely anyway, and the point would be moot - and Ceolfric turned his attention to the path before them. Did he do subtle? Not particularly, no. A geriatric doorkeeper was no slumbering bear to sneak past, nor was there any risk to him raising an alarm. Pestering questions and pointy sticks were no more threat to Ceolfric than any of his other would-be traveling companions, and he could have this 'Jenson' dancing a jig to whatever tune he wished if he needed to.

Still, no reason to agitate more people than necessary without something to gain from it, and he doubted casting a spell on an employee made him appear particularly upstanding in the eyes of the House brokers.

"I've been party to enough ambushes to avoid waking a doddering old man, if that's your concern," He mumbled in response, "Besides, if that monster of an orcess can make her way past without incident, I'd imagine I could stomp my way inside if I wanted to."


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony@Hero@Trainerblue192


Rudolf sucked in his first steady breath of the class period as Professor Malathice answered his question. He didn't have the Crest of Seiros, which meant his Crest couldn't fall into the horrible uncontrollable awful life-ruining category. But the Crest of Noa had never been studied extensively, right? What if he was another exception? No, then the professor would've said it occurred in people with the Crest of Macuil too. There was hope!

All he had to do was find this nebulous prompt that spurred his Crest into action. Which was easier said than done, admittedly. Still, it meant this would be the one course at Garreg Mach that didn't feel like a complete and utter waste of time. Plus, it was the Black Eagles' professor and head magic instructor teaching it, Rudolf would have innumerable chances to pick Tomai's brain for tips and guidance. It wasn't like he had anything else to accomplish during his tenure, if he mastered this skill alone, he'd be well on his way to-

"For some, you might never truly be able to turn it on or shut it off."

Oh.

Oh.

He was a fool. A naive idealist that tried to find succor in the bitter venom of hope, only to subject himself to a far more gruesome demise than had he just supped on fatalism like he deserved. There was no salvation for him in this church, as his uppity classmates seemed to have surmised for themselves. He had no idea what they were up in arms about, hollow as their words were around him, but he was inclined to agree regardless. Only Rudolf had no energy for impassioned pleas and grand spectacles of storming out of the room, just quiet despair. He probably should've been paying attention; if anyone was getting an exemption from the class, joining them was his top priority. No need to sit and watch everyone else focus their Goddess-given abilities while Rudolf himself just stumbled onto increasingly creative ways to make himself more invisible. That was surely want everyone wanted, ways to make their ability stronger; cursed rejects like him who wanted to weaken themselves weren't worth wasting class time on. Maybe next he could make his voice disappear too. And then they'd patronize him about how cool his Crest is, how masterfully he could employ it on the field of battle, but Saints forbid he wanted to be greeted in the hallway every once in a while.

His crimson gaze drifted downward toward his fidgeting hands, picking at the cuffs of his uniform jacket in an idle attempt to keep himself from doing something stupid like sob. Not that it would've mattered if no one could even see him. The advent of voices closer to him didn't rouse him from his stupor, even though it surely meant Veronica and Kayden were discussing something and he was possibly included. When he raised his head to find Kayden seemingly waiting for a response, Rudolf gave a noncommittal hum that could've been construed any number of ways.

"Did he ever answer whether we could opt out or not?" He inquired wearily. Not that the answer mattered, his attendance wouldn't be noted whether he was present or not. He could even call it Crest training, if pressed.


@POOHEAD189


The walk was a terse affair, much to Ceolfric's consternation. Judging by how on edge the Tainted siblings were, he was confident he'd established himself as dominant in their tenuous engagement, that they were holding their tongues not out of guilt but of simple wariness. It brought him a small measure of peace that he was unlikely to be walking into a gang of horned highwaymen working in tandem with the duo, but such relief was overshadowed by the frustrating realization that he'd receive no answers from their lips.

How he yearned to unravel all their little secrets with but a snap of his fingers, but he'd surely face retaliation from the Tainted not enthralled while he was still sorting through the thoughts of his target. Freckles, to his credit, gave an answer, but not to the question Ceolfric had asked. Even with the inn out of the question, who would choose to sleep among the dead when given a better option? The crannies beneath the walls' battlements would surely provide ample cover to rest under, should the forest itself be too untamed for their liking. It seemed he misunderstood just about everything Ceolfric said, with his dismissal of nebulous 'entities'; perhaps pegging him for a demon hunter speaking in technical terms instead of a curious and slightly irritated traveller.

"You already have. Twice. You slept next to one," Ceolfric elaborated with a loose gesture toward the girl, "I'm not idly musing about wraiths and forest spirits; your essences stand out like bonfires in a sea of candleflames, it's what led me to your camp in search of the creature."

The sister was little better; whatever smug assurance she felt she had over Ceolfric that had animated her tongue earlier apparently laid dead back in the graveyard before the bandit even had a chance to kill it. Not that he could really blame her, it sounded as if a bard on the road ahead had struck up a tune, yet he seemed to play in every direction at once. Of course, that was under the assumption that they heard it too and he hadn't fallen victim to sensory altering magic cooked up by one of Freckles' imagined spectral entities. Or Freckles himself, for that matter. Ceolfric could only hope he'd have sensed it when it was casted if it truly did come from one of the Tainted.

Thankfully, the music was broken by a passing cart, and the murmurs of a distant woman's conversation seemed to spook the girl enough to attempt to mask her face. Ceolfric himself rested a hand on the pommel of his sword, though he refrained from bursting out onto the road with Goredrinker already swinging like he wanted to. When he broke the treeline, he almost regretted it. Some behemoth of a creature stood before them, a beast that looked like an orc but loomed like a giant. For a moment, it seemed he had found the one who had disturbed his slumber, yet he saw no claws that could rend the earth asunder and felt no aetheric pressure that would accompany a glamoured demon. No, she was but a woman, but one more fitting in the tall tales of a Dranirian traveller than casually walking down a path in Soft Haven.

The two with her, though shining as brightly as the Tainted siblings, appeared equally free of guilt. The presence he'd thought to chase earlier scintillated along the edge of his awareness again, emanating from a waifish boy that barely warranted a second glance if not for the odd way his hair waved in the nonexistent breeze. It would seem Ceolfric was not unique or even rare among those seeking the Bounty House, and that aether gathered plentifully in those that were drawn to Soft Haven. All the more reason to be on his best behavior, tedious as it was. Gods only knew what bizarre characters awaited him once he was actually inside.

"This way to the Bounty House, I take it," Ceolfric greeted the group casually as he passed, more concerned with announcing his presence than actually getting directions. He was tempted to halt and try to pry information from the trio about the mystery creature, given his lack of success with the Tainted, but his would-be travelling companions seemed to be in quite the hurry and he figured it would be more productive to start his inquiries at a proper institution that would reasonably be contracted to deal with such matters over the hearsay of oversized wanderers, lost elven maidens, and sickly teenagers.


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony@Hero@Trainerblue192


Ceolfric briefly let his eyes wander to the commotion across the cemetary, confident the diminutive woman before him was less of a threat than the newly arrived interlopers. It seemed he guessed wrong, once he got a look at them. Local gravetenders, performing their consecrations over the dead in the name of whatever woeful deity that bade them wear those garish robes. The Tainted clearly wanted nothing to do with them, and while Ceolfric might've been inclined to ask these locals whether the marks in the ground were a common occurance, his options were limited if the halflings believed him one of the perpetrators. If this were Dranir, he'd have made hacksilver out of their sacred icons and drinking goblets out of their skulls for such an accusation, but this wasn't Dranir, and he'd win no friends butting heads with the local priesthood.

"As you wish," The man responded quietly as he returned his sword to its scabbard. If they had the decency - or naivete - to turn their backs to him so easily, he doubted they had any plans of turning on him in the near future. He followed dutifully, always positioned behind the other two to watch for foul play on their parts. Once they were well out of earshot of the priests, he spoke up again.

"So what were you doing, sleeping in that graveyard?" It seemed an odd place to find refuge, and their skittishness in the face of being witnessed suggested that they weren't there in any sort of official investigatory capacity. Plus, Freckles didn't seem the type to offer to sleep where monsters were known to roam. Which meant they likely weren't lying about being just as clueless as Ceolfric was. He really did make an unlucky pick.

"There's quite a few highly aetheric-" He paused for want of a word, "entities in the woods around Soft Haven today. If it's not related to our mystery monster, I hope there's a different reason beyond simple entanglement in the gnarled skeins of fate." If that was even what he could call it; perhaps aether simply called to aether. Such a principle sounded ripe for catastrophe, if his last encounter with an aetherborn was anything to go off of, but in that mage's defense, he was attacked unprovoked.

Perhaps his approach with the probable-siblings was a bit gruff in retrospect, if the people of the southern lands truly were as soft as he'd been led to believe. It was literally in the name, after all.


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony


That was certainly... not what Ceolfric expected. On any level, really. There was no short engagement where he handedly slaughtered two wayward drow, nor shaky accord with fellow servants of the fell powers. His drow weren't even drow, judging by their strange eyes and the fact that one of them was glowing. The fact that the glowing one had chosen to grovel wasn't too outlandish, but Ceolfric expected appeals for mercy well before an offer of money after a plea of innocence. Was that how bribery worked around here? Freckles seemed genuine, but the spineless were often decent liars. It'd be safer to just force an answer out of him, but that might not be possible if a man of his aetheric density actively resisted.

And then there was the matter of the woman. Ceolfric didn't miss her subtly protective step forward - probably her little brother blubbering behind her, then. He'd make a good hostage if she got too uppity. Unlike Freckles, though, she was too calm. Not dismissively enough for him to assume she did indeed have a hand in whatever had occurred last night, but enough that she had to be either completely assured of her innocence or confident that she knew something he didn't and that whatever aetheric gift she had would prevent him from prying it out of her. Ceolfric narrowed his eyes at her suspiciously, internally debating whether he should try his luck with a spell or take her words at face value. Neither of them looked particularly threatening, but there were still two of them and one of him. If anything was amiss, he'd break her face first.

Unfortunately, a cursory sweep of his eyes over the cemetary revealed nothing that suggested infernalist activity. No half-destroyed summoning circles, no grimoires bound in human flesh, not even a damn candle. Unless their pet had made such a mess that all the evidence had been immediately destroyed, they looked to be telling at least a partial truth. How convenient, then, that she mentioned their destination.

"The Bounty House," Ceolfric repeated flatly as he lowered his sword, "I presume that means you also aren't from around here." That and the part where they evidently slept on the ground. In a graveyard, no less. There was definitely something suspicious going on with these two, but the question was whether he really wanted to get involved in the first place. They could tear up dirt all they wanted, he just didn't appreciate threats.

"Either way, that's coincidentally the exact same place I was headed before I woke up to some monster's poor attempt at intimidation. You two wouldn't mind showing me the way, would you?" Ceolfric made no effort to hide his contempt as he spoke. He fully expected them to make up some trifling excuse and expose themselves as liars that weren't bound for the Bounty House at all, but if they didn't, he'd at least have more witnesses to validate his story when he mentioned the incident from the night prior.


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony


So far, the venture to Soft Haven had been a terrible experience. The moment Ceolfric stepped into Soft Haven, he was assaulted at every angle by the prickling emanations of every being's aether, all crammed together in the confines of the walls. Every moment he spent wandering the streets was a moment he had to kill his instinct to turn and lash out at the potential opponents surrounding him. Even when he fled out into the woods, Ceolfric could still feel the buzzing.

Worse, it felt as if the aether was playing tricks on him all night. Some malevolent presence had startled him awake at some point in the night, though it disappeared the moment he tried to trace its source. From then on, every nocturnal critter that strayed too close had him up and on full alert.

It seemed the journey was nearly for naught, too. It was hard to believe this was the great and illustrious Soft Haven that Ceolfric had heard stories of. It was obvious the tales were true at one point; rather than ramshackle peasant hovels, the crumbling veneer of the town evoked the thought of once-mighty ruins or the broken remains of a wealthy temple rebuilt after a raid. If he'd have known the city was on the decline, he would've made for a Bounty House in greener pastures. Still, the red fern capital of Othard had to have some wealthy patrons in need of a mercenary, or they wouldn't have bothered opening the institution to begin with.

Ceolfric woke groggily from his restless sleep, unfurling from his sword that he'd been wrapped around all night. He had barely stretched the stiffness out of his limbs before he returned to said weapon, drawing it reflexively and brandishing it outward like a posturing hedgehog upon noticing the claw marks scored into the dirt. Once his brain caught up with his body, he let the sword drop and sat up properly. They had to be hours old, judging by how dark it was when that presence had woken him up. If it was a threat, whatever left the marks did a piss-poor job of it. Should've gotten him when he was sleeping.

Though that did beg the question of what did leave them, and why it had left him alone. Had it smelled the Lord of Slaughter's taint on him and left him alone? The sheer malice he felt could've easily been demonic in origin. Still, it left no tracks, so the gouges in the ground were definitely deliberate. If it had felt some sort of kinship to him, it made little sense to leave behind threatening messages.

Stretching his awareness outward, Ceolfric felt nothing akin to the presence of the previous night underneath the dull thrum of Soft Haven's aether and the scattered creatures of the forest. However, two points stood out to him over the chorus of beings around him, veritable beacons in the astral sea of the aether. If his culprit was still close, it had to be one of them; normal souls didn't burn that brightly. The would-be adventurer gathered his things hastily, ensuring that none of his meager belongings had been pilfered during the night and that all of the buckles on his armor were well-affixed. After strapping his shield to his arm, Ceolfric fearlessly set off in the direction of the larger of the two aetheric presences. If the creature was so bold as to flaunt itself to every sleeping traveller, he doubted it was anything less than the strongest entity in the area. He'd have its head by noon, Gods willing.

Unfortunately, as Ceolfric grew nearer to his destination - a graveyard, of all things - he realized the bonfire of aether he'd felt was not one soul but two, their essences mingling in close proximity. The bandit stayed low on his approach, taking advantage of the cover that the surrounding woodlands provided before the open expanse of the graveyard forced him to reveal himself. Two drow milled about, probably visiting a dead relative or something equally inane. Worse still, the other presence he'd sensed was on the move now. Maybe it was smart enough to use the oddly radiant elves as a red herring to cover its escape. No, it would've fled hours ago if it truly meant to evade him.

Ceolfric turned away to head for the gates - someone in town had to know about the creature, even if through superstitious wives' tales with only a kernel of truth to them - though when he shifted, he saw the ground ripped apart around the duo before him, not with the typical desecration of a common grave robber, but bestial scores like those that his greated Ceolfric on his awakening. They knew something.

Ever a man of action, he emerged from the brush, sliding Goredrinker from its scabbard preempitively as he advanced on the two drow. Instinctively, the hand hidden beneath his targe curled inward, middle finger and thumb twitching ever closer together. The woman looked to be in a hurry to leave, and he wasn't going to give her that opportunity without answers.

"If this is supposed to look like a funerary vigil, you did a terrible job," Ceolfric mused as he leveled the point of his blade at the two gray skinned suspects, "Did you two summon the thing that left those marks?" They certainly had the aether for it, and where better than a graveyard to attract infernal powers with the stench of death?


@McMolly@Obscene Symphony
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