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MelonHead

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  1. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    The Vampire had a knack for making himself small, barely worthy of a glance from the Dread Emperor as their paths briefly crossed. He cursed inwardly nonetheless. It did him no good at all for Koji to look upon him, for if the Emperor was as powerful as his infernal ability to control the dead suggested then Adrian knew he was marked. It would have been better to slink in the shadows like he preferred, giving him ample opportunity to break free of his bonds and disappear into the night if things went ill here. In a single glance Adrian felt the chains that bound him tighten, in his mind’s eye he found his escape route barred by padlock and key as the baying of hounds echoed ever closer on his tail. After so interesting a night such dissatisfaction and worrying premonition served to sour his mood. Was a little altercation so important that the Emperor felt the need to personally attend, with one of his harem no less? Adrian had only a passing interest in the Emperor’s sluts, and it seemed the one he ventured with hadn’t even spotted him, no doubt deficient in sensory capacity where Koji seemed to be especially proficient. Adrian wondered what abilities Koji had that allowed him to sniff out the conflict to reach it so quickly, before any conventional message was relayed. Tasty rumours were waiting for him back at the camp, the sort to take the sting out of the earlier misfortune. Some sort of hybrid creature had attacked one of the Harem and been slain personally by the Emperor after wounding one of his women. What an unfortunate breach of security that must have been, for some clumsy creature to just barge in and stab one of the nobles of the Empire. If nothing else it showed just how vulnerable the fledgling faction was right now, guarded by the fabric walls of tents with its people spread out and no real system of control in place. It survived solely through the fear of extreme reprisal, which Adrian had to admit he had contributed to earlier and could therefore not entirely discount. However, until walls of wood and stone were erected, and headcounts were made, this place would be an assassin’s dream. Shame he wasn’t here on work. Snatches of his conversation with the elder Vampire ran through his head as he aimlessly wandered the worksites. Alluring promises made, and the risks those promises held for him and his position in this fledgling empire. How much was freedom worth to him? So much that he would accept a different kind of servitude?
  2. Moving OOC chatter to this thread, feel free to ask story questions etc over there, I'll try to keep a quest log of sorts so people know what the current mission objectives are, and how they go.
  3. MelonHead

    The Solaris Inquisition (OOC)

    This'll be the new OOC hub for the Solaris Inquisition, expect quest logs here. A group of mercenaries and worried citizenry have joined the Sons of Solaris in investigating the activities of select outsiders in Predator's Keep, they have narrowed down their objectives to two major tasks. Acquiring a portion of Zine grain to be tested. Hunting down and destroying Ghouls in the Keep and an 'abomination' in the forest outside.
  4. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    The zombie drones slowly worked their way back to the man-made clearing, clumsily tying rope around fallen trees to heft them into waiting carts. Adrian watched them work with a feeling of abject hopelessness, what sort of Empire was to be founded on such grotesque beginnings, literally built by the rotting dead? The scene simply wasn’t right, long-buried memories of laughing lumberjacks clouded the Vampire’s vision, humble men from his homeland shifting timber and sharing anecdotes juxtaposed with the moans and groans of the mindless zombies working before him. How had it come to this? Some of this mournful wondering made its way into the Vampire’s expression as Nur posed another of his primitive questions, obviously curious like so many were of Adrian’s roundabout way of conversing. He had made any number of answers to that same question in the past, though it was usually more eloquently posed. Which would he choose today? “I have heard it said, Variety is the spice, Of a dead man’s life.” The drones were back to work, and Adrian’s job was done for the time being, so he turned to walk away from Nur. He doubted there would be two attacks in one night, such would be the height of foolishness, indeed he hardly expected any attacks in the near future once rumours of what had transpired here spread far and wide. In a sense, the thieves had simply made his work a lot easier by allowing him to make an example, he would leave it to other more motivated servants of the Dread Emperor to pursue them to the root of the trouble, if they so desired. It was not his responsibility, and he had no intention of making it such. He had a conversation with an elder to mull over, and the night was still young.
  5. Alright, everyone who's still with me is free to pick one of the two 'quests' to go on. Steal/purchase/acquire some grain from Zine suppliers and deduce if it's poisoned or plagued, or go on a damage control mission and hunt down the Ghouls that were allowed into the keep and the Abomination that lurks outside. The second task will be dangerous, none of you know what the abomination is, but I'll be playing it with the intent to kill and it may very well do so if people don't respect the threat it poses. I personally had no idea that there was some prior event where Ghouls were let into the city, but I'm rolling with it, because it sounds interesting. I am privy to the exact nature of Zine grain, so don't feel the need to invent anything for it. I'll reveal it's 'special properties' if the one party is successful in acquiring enough of it.
  6. MelonHead

    The Solaris Inquisition

    Tobias looked thoughtful, Akiris was indeed a good find for the Sons, an ear close to the ground who had a good idea of the current situation, and a realistic plan of action. He agreed with him. “We’ve heard of this grain that Zine hands out so freely, I believe you’re right in identifying it as the cornerstone of whatever their plan is in Predator’s Keep, certainly it would explain how they have somehow managed to obtain the blessings of the leadership here. An apparent act of altruism disguising an insidious purpose, such can only be expected of Outsiders.” Aethan nodded. “These ghouls you speak of, they also worry me. If we speak of the same manner of creature they are propagators of plague and disease, quick to create more of their kind. Such necromancy must be purged imminently.” The two priests looked at each other, and to the men in front of them. A merchant who had been contacted prior due to his specialist contacts, contacts that would allow him to obtain a sizeable portion of Zine’s grain, arrived at the perfect time for a mission statement of sorts. “This is what we’ll do.” Tobias said, nodding at Enk and gesturing for him to take a seat. “Akiris, if you do not object we will accompany this merchant gentleman and investigate the grain shipments, if we can acquire a sizeable amount we should be able to detect any magical agents contained therein, though we will need an alchemist or chemist if the pollutant is mundane in origin. However, Zine is careful to hand its grain out in small volumes to individuals which is promptly consumed by the populace. We may have difficulty acquiring enough to obtain reliable information, especially if their poison is subtle.” He judged Akiris and Enk’s expressions as Aethan leaned forward to speak. “I am of a mind to hunt down the ghouls that have apparently been allowed to roam free in the city, and to track down this so-called abomination that has plagued the small villages outside the city walls. It will likely be a dangerous task, but you seem to share my concern, James, may I count on your aid? You others are free to pick your own task, help me, or help my Brother in acquiring some grain. What will it be?”
  7. Enk, I'll let it lie, but technically speaking the exact nature of your introduction will be ret-conned. The meeting in the tavern is one made in secrecy, the tavern keeper may tell you the rooms are booked, but he wouldn't tell you one organisation booked them, or let you into the dining room. We'll assume you were present at an earlier meeting, or one of the Sons contacts asked you to come due to your specialist knowledge. Otherwise you wouldn't have any way of knowing about the meeting.
  8. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    The Vampire returned in time to see a wounded woman, the archer, fleeing into the forest. The droplets of blood that gushed from her arm and sprayed the foliage as she fled revealed themselves to the Vampire in awful clarity, and for a moment he was fixated on her retreat. Yet the thirst had dimmed to a dull ache, and for a while at least he was no slave to its whims, so he regretfully dragged his gaze away from the patches of claret and the promise of a quite delicious dessert in favour of the strange creature he had rescued. Though the Emperor’s influence was responsible for the gathering of all sorts of fine individuals, Adrian was quite confident that this one was unique. Then again, he had no substantial evidence that the furred man was even associated with the Emperor, save for the fact that he was entrapped at the logging site. It was entirely possible that the hunters had simply pursued him here and put up their little illusion to conceal themselves from prying eyes as they finished their kill. Yet, they had seemed far too interested in the felled timber for hunters, so Adrian had summarised two things. This beast had been cutting trees, and the others were thieves of some sort who had undertaken a rather risky mission for a common resource. That meant they were either idiots, or that specifically interfering with the logging operation here was a secondary or even primary objective of their thievery. Interesting thoughts, but mostly irrelevant now. He had no interest in reporting anything that had transpired here. But oh, the creature had spotted him, and it could talk? Primitive, surely, but there was a semblance of intelligence in its shrewd gaze, and it hardly seemed as bothered as it should have been by the arrow it was ripping from its flesh. Curious. “Just one more monster, Serving the dread Emperor, By gathering sticks.” This sardonic and self-deprecating response came from the Vampire in his lilting Eastern European accent as he sniffed the air. The stench of shed blood and death was heavy in the forest, but after quenching his thirst such aromas did not appeal to him quite as much, in fact, they were faintly nauseating. For a moment, a question danced on the tip of his tongue, his curiosity almost getting the best of him. Yet, it had been such an exciting night, it would have been a shame to ruin the mood with such a blunt question. The Vampire kept his silence, and awaited the return of his drones. Once they were safely back at work, he could depart.
  9. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    Things went as well as he could have hoped. The interlopers revealed themselves to be little more than opportunists, perhaps with a degree of talent but ultimately no heart for a fight. It suited Adrian just fine that they’d rather run, he always enjoyed a good chase far more than an honest battle anyway. He’d leave the furred man in good company with what zombies remained, to live or die as fate would have it, while he jumped to the chase. Their panicked flight made pursuit entirely too easy, but the real problem that confronted the Vampire was that he was rather spoiled for choice. Realistically, chasing down the illusionist would be the smartest option, the one likely to earn him some favour if he caught him and dragged him kicking and screaming back to the agents of the Emperor. But Adrian was awfully choosy when he could be, and his mind was not on thoughts of furthering his position in the fledgling kingdom, oh no. Baser desires clung to him, demanding attention, the need to feed was too strong for him to resist. The illusionist would be an excellent prize, but Adrian hardly needed a sensitive nose to detect that his body was repugnant, dirty, and so Abraham was unwittingly saved a gruesome fate solely because he had awful hygiene. Quite the lucky break! Unfortunately, that also meant someone else was on the menu. But who? The light skinned man with the curly red hair took his fancy, he looked clean enough considering the circumstances, and he still had his youth. The elderly tended to provide a pathetic meal, quickly succumbing to shock, and ruining the taste completely. So, redhead it was. Adrian’s eyes pierced through the forest, catching a glimpse of his chosen victim. He was quite fast, for a human, that made things a little more interesting. Not fast enough though. A forgone conclusion really, like a wolf bearing down on a limping stag Adrian simply ran the man down, savouring his ragged breaths and the fearful little whimpering sounds he made right up until the moment the screaming started. It almost made up for the pitiful sport the man had made in the end, almost. He kicked one of the man’s legs mid step, causing him to stumble and fall into the leaves, wailing like a child all the while. The Vampire’s hand clamped around the redhead’s mouth from behind, tutting, shushing him like a naughty infant. He struggled of course, but even with strength borne of desperation pumping through his limbs, the fight went ill for the human. At the last moment, he somehow managed to overcome his natural instincts to rid himself of the hand and reached for his knife, and Adrian admired him all the more for it. The Vampire’s own freehand caught the weapon, literally, two fingers pinching the tip of the blade and flicking it from the man’s grasp. “An excellent hunt, This one thanks you for the life, It intends to take.” Wiping blood from his mouth a few minutes later, Adrian peeked his head into the clearing in which the battle had raged, curious to see what had transpired in his absence. He would not regret it should Nur have fallen while he chased a simple meal through the forest. It would be as nature decreed it, one way or another.
  10. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    “Do visit again soon, Adrian, I long for civilised company.” With those parting words, the door to the manor was shut behind him and the cool of the night assailed his senses. Adrian gave Cecilia a little wave as she glanced at him out of the window, and with his powerful eyes detected a trace of white as she flashed a toothy grin at him in reply. Smiling faintly himself, he shifted the bow on his shoulder and began to walk away, his mind all a whir with new information and possibilities. Assuredly he had not expected to encounter such a powerful Vampire from Genesaris, an elder from a different strain of Vampirism from his own who had only recently left the court in Umbra. The religious capitol of Sauriel, the self-proclaimed Vampyr god, sounded like it would provide quite the experience in the future. Though Adrian in truth got on uneasily with his own kind, at least in this land the legacy of his diablerie did not plague his steps. Killing and devouring elder vampires was a heinous crime in most of the circles he tended to walk, so it would be best if no one was to ever hear of it. Still, it appeared Adrian had unwillingly got himself wrapped up with a rival of sorts to Sauriel, the Shadow Dragon Emperor, Koji, planned to encroach on his territory in the near future. With his powers over the undead he was a direct threat to Umbra and its Vampiric inhabitants. Adrian was interested to see which of the two would win out, should it come to blows. Perhaps if he waited for the right moment, he could plunge a knife into the back of one of them or the other, and stack the odds. That could well be the opportunity he sought, or perhaps not? The risk could be greater than any he had taken before now. Such were the thoughts which troubled him as he wandered the forests, returning to his nightly post to grimly oversee the zombies. Of course, imagine his surprise when his zombies came to him, meandering through the forest even more aimlessly than usual. Their grunts were alarmed, wheezing sounds emanating from their rotting voice boxes. Adrian sighed, like an owner returned to his home to find his dog had chewed up all the furniture, he fixed the lead zombie with an irritated stare. There was no point trying to verbally communicate with such creatures, so he simply used his presence to steer them back the way they were supposed to be going. The zombies marched diligently back the way they had come, and only a short while later Adrian understood why they were not at work. Illusions generally had tiny flaws that allowed some manner of truth to escape through an otherwise misleading surface. To a human, or a zombie, these flaws would be essentially undetectable. However, the slight murmuring of voices with no bodies, the faintest scent of many humans and the musk of something entirely different, these stimuli could not be wholly contained by anything but the most powerful illusionists. With his predatory senses, Adrian was alerted to something strange going on in his little patch of forest. “It would seem to me, That someone wishes to hide, Some dastardly deed.” The Vampire concentrated for a moment, deciding how best to disrupt the illusion. In the end, he decided upon the stratagem that posed the least risk to himself, besides, what were zombies for? He egged them on, forced them into some semblance of fury though it was pitiful to behold, and then sent them straight toward the figures he knew were hidden by illusion. Blindly, the undead charged into the clearing seemingly on the attack, and Abraham was tricked into abandoning his illusion, believing it already scuppered. The zombies were already being shot to pieces by arrows by then, but no matter, the Vampire could see quite clearly what was afoot. Men and women, of a like he had not seen amongst those who fought under the Shadow Emperor’s banner, had entrapped a bestial man in a net of some form. Adrian’s sharp eyes noted no fraying in the ‘rope’ or any sign of sinew, which led him to believe it was metallic in origin. That explained why their victim did not struggle, but the net was not weighted as far as he could tell. Instead, it was pinned down with arrows. Lurking beside a tree himself, he briefly exposed his body to let loose an obsidian arrow he had nocked to his recurved bow so quickly his hands were almost a blur. His target was not flesh. An arrow for an arrow, it would be, as the razor-sharp obsidian slammed into one of the shafts that bore the points which kept the net over Nur. He primed another, firing into a second arrow close to the first, they landed one after the another within a space of less than a second. The shafts bent, the second arrow being the better shot broke through the target completely, and one corner of the net loosened noticeably, enough perhaps so that Nur could rescue himself?
  11. MelonHead

    The Solaris Inquisition

    Food was laid before them, and when they had their fill of all the good things on the table it was time for a serious discussion. The Sons looked at the four assembled, a diverse cast if ever there was one. An Elf, an Outsider, a Mercenary, and a Priest… of sorts. They would have to do. Aethan placed two meaty hands on the table and cleared his plate, before fixing each man in the room with serious eyes. He wet his lips and said a single word. “Zine.” He gauged their reactions, who was familiar with the illusive people who came from beyond their world? Surely the Outsider would know of them, they all knew each other, almost as if they all slunk in from the very same place. “What is it? We know that Zine is an empire, but not one from Terrenus, or even Valucre. It’s red-coated warriors have come to this land, and at this moment lurk in the forests west of Predator’s Keep. Why? And is it really a coincidence that just a few months after their arrival rumours of fleshy monstrosities wandering those same forests have surfaced? Why is it that after many months of occupation, the local government here in the Keep has done absolutely nothing to put a stop to the activities of these people?” Aethan sat back in his chair. “It’s our job to answer these questions, and I have little doubt that in the pursuit of truth we will encounter hardship. Your jobs will be to ensure that those hardships do not overcome us.” Tobias chimed in. “However, now is the time for pooling our knowledge and resources, if you have anything to say, say it now.”
  12. Sounds like he is, he just didn't comment on what he did once he got there.
  13. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    Adrian Valdovsk “Come and meet my mother.” They approached the house together, the girl skipping ahead, nimbly darting past blades of light shining through the canopy. Adrian was close behind her, his mind working over what he was getting himself into. The child was powerful, her creator would be even more so. Perhaps even a second of her generation, like Adrian’s own sire. Just two steps removed from the original of her strain of Vampirism, she would likely be stronger than himself as he was but a third generation, even despite his age. Walking willingly into her haven if she bore him ill-will could see him embrace his final death, not a thought he relished. However, he was alone here as he was in his own land. He had cut ties with his people when he slew the children of his master and almost killed his own sire nigh on four centuries ago. This was an opportunity for a fresh start, one that he couldn’t pass up. Who knew what Genesarian vampires could teach him? Or how powerful an ally a second-generation Vampire in this land would be? Curiosity killed many cats, it would likely one day kill a certain Vampire as well. For now, the steely rasp of a rusty bolt being drawn back from the gate drew him out of his own mind and back into the real world. A loathsome figure was sluggishly opening the gate, a familiar or zombie of some kind in ragged clothes that seemed to serve the Vampire of the manor. It grunted and with a herculean effort threw open the heavy iron structure to permit access to the little lady of the house and her guest, not that the fence would have been that effective a barrier for one with Adrian’s skills. Still, it would have been rude to simply mist through the walls, nor was it wise to reveal to potential foes what one was capable of. The creature bowed deeply and the girl darted past him, always on the move she was, twirling up to the heavy iron-bound doors of the manor. Upon closer observation, Adrian realised that the scorched timbers were a façade of sorts, though the upper floors of the house had likely suffered deeply and the roof was in pieces, the lower floor seemed relatively intact. It wasn’t quite as spectacular as it might once have been, but it was no ruin either. Another of the zombies opened the front door for the pair of them and they walked through the threshold. Adrian’s suspicions were immediately confirmed, as he beheld an opulent greeting hall that was surprisingly clean. Portraits adorned the walls and gothic furniture lined the sides of the room, with a staircase leading up to a bricked up second floor. Two doors flanked the central staircase, one of which was slowly opened by a figure unlike the shuffling forms outside. Adorned in a modest dress not unlike that of the American pilgrims, a lithe woman walked into the guest room with a smile on her pale face. She seemed at first glance like a middle-aged homeowner, perhaps in her early fifties, with the remnants of a great beauty in youth still apparent on her face. However, her neatly tied brown hair was flecked with grey, and wrinkles marked the corners of her eyes. Adrian felt it immediately, she was far, far, older than she seemed. “Good morning, Adrian.” She smiled at him, fangs displayed in an almost formal fashion, there was no hiding what any of them were anymore. She knew his name. “Welcome to my humble home, allow me to introduce myself. I am Imogen Delcraus, owner of this small patch of land and all which resides therein. It seems you have met my daughter, Cecilia, I hope she has not caused you trouble?” “No trouble should come Between two that are kindred, Do you not think so?” Despite herself, Ms Delcraus smiled at Adrian’s roundabout way of speaking without saying much at all, raising an arm to rest her hand on her daughter’s shoulder as she approached. Cecilia for her part looked a little put out that her Mother had ruined her little game and told Adrian her name, because once told, it could not be untold. Still, she was happy to see her Mother speaking with another Vampire, and ferociously interested in what would happen next. “I do think so, Adrian. It was for that reason that I asked my daughter to bring you here, for you see, I am very interested in why so many of my kindred toil on the outskirts of my forest home, overseeing man and dead alike as they hew oak and elm with axes?” “One cloaked in shadows, With the soul of a dragon, Builds his new empire.” “Another Emperor? How quaint, has this land not had quite enough of their kind? The Blooded Sauriel would not brook such competition, surely? Perhaps his arm is not as long as he believes.” Imogen tapped her pallid lips with a single graceful finger as she spoke. “But I forget my manners entirely, you must be quite lost, so far from your home, Adrian.” He shrugged. “Come with me, we will sit by the fire and I will tell you of a thing or two about this land. Perhaps we will become fine friends, hmm?” Perhaps.
  14. MelonHead

    Ruto o Torimasu | Taking Root - Laying the Foundation

    Adrian Valdovsk “Do not look so sad, Mr Poet, would you like to see something great?” “I will follow you, but first I would know your name, I, am Adrian.” “Do you always speak like that, Adrian?” The girl stifled a giggle and turned around, her pretty little dress fluttering in the light breeze. “Well, it would be rude not to tell you wouldn’t it? So I think I’ll tell you… later!” She turned around and poked her tongue out at him, an infantile expression that startled the Vampire, for he knew what she was. Nevertheless, he dismissed the fluttering of frustration that threatened to surface on his pallid face, in favour of a mute smile in return, showing the hint of the sharp fangs protruding from his upper gum. With a tittering of laughter, the girl suddenly ran from him. Not all that quickly it seemed to him, as he immediately sped after her at what was a leisurely stroll by his standards. To an outsider, they were like blurs, indistinct shapes cutting through the undergrowth with nary a sound of snapping twigs or brushing leaves. Two wild animals, each enjoying the thrill of the chase from their respective sides, their brains flooded with primal emotions. Adrian prided himself on his speed, even in comparison to other Vampires he was exceptionally fast, famed for once outrunning a pack of lycanthropes who tracked him to his forest home. The girl was not far from his match, but she fell short, perhaps forever stunted by her short legs. Still, what she lacked in raw speed she made up for and more some in agility, darting this way and that between the boughs of trees and occasionally jumping high up onto the lower branches to hop above the ground and avoid the obstruction of root and bush entirely. The elder Vampire was forced to employ skills he had perfected over many generations to keep her in sight, often having to resort to drawing every ounce of power from his muscles to power after the more nimble child. Still, frustrating as it might have been, he found himself enjoying the exercise. Then, just a few minutes after it began, the chase ended. A splash of light from the early morning sun cut through the branches above him and scorched his face, momentarily blinding him. He let out a pained grunt and slowed down, his shoulder crashing into a nearby tree and parting a fair chunk of bark from the trunk in the process. As his vision cleared and the singed flesh of his face began to reknit and renew itself, he saw the girl approaching him with a concerned expression. “Are you okay Adrian? Did the sun burn you?” Something about her words seemed off, almost as if she were mocking him. He suspected she was. “Though the light may burn, I say it troubles me naught, It’s but a feeling.” “You really do make everything into a poem don’t you? Come on silly man, the thing I want to show you is just up ahead!” She turned again, and he looked over her head. His eyes were a hawks. Through trunk and branch he perceived it, ruining what she obviously wished to be a surprise. Black scorched timbers surrounded by shuffling forms. The ruins of a manor house, sequestered in the forest and shaded by tall oaks, bordered by a dilapidated iron fence. “You said you wanted to know who embraced me, didn’t you Adrian?” She was looking right at him, aware that he saw what awaited them. “Then come and meet my mother.”
  15. Technically yes, but story-wise it'd be harder to introduce yourself. There's nothing stopping one of the others running into you when they start investigating though.
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