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Artificer

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Everything posted by Artificer

  1. Hyperlight Drifter?

    Good Choice.

    I love the artwork from Heart Machine.

    The icon I made was actually inspired by them ~

  2. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    DANGEROUS GAME: ACT II █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ WHEN SNOW FALLS █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ ◆◈◆ █▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒▒█ KNOX "FROST" HADLEY Tick- tick- tick, wrapped the branch on the window, sullen twigs swaying back and forth in the winter winds. Fire crackled in the corner as festive spirit permeated the air. The bar was full and lively, and Frost appreciated the noise, but his company was clearly anxious about something. Without fail, every minute, the man would look over his shoulder at burly men sitting behind. Clearly, closed spaces did not bode well with this one. At the note, he turned to his partner sitting beside — a man swathed in the tans, grays, browns, and the azures of a battalion that was no more. "Snipe," Frost whispered carefully, timed at moments when they teen was not looking. "Maybe it would... be better if we continue our conversation outside," he continued, motioning towards the boy-skeptic to the left. "I'm sure the others will find us." "Agreed," Snipe responded, catlike yellow eyes flickering in the firelight. While Snipe had the shape of his original human form, it was temporary, and Knox knew just how comfortable the man felt around these townspeople — his kind was less than welcome. Turning back, Hadley tapped the zephyr on the shoulder, half expecting him to jump at the touch. "Let's get some fresh air and finish talking outside," he said, getting up from the bar stool and walking towards the front door. When he reached to turn the knob, he felt a chill emanating from the metal, and with a moment's hesitation, he turned it, cracking open the semi-frosted door. The sense warmth and festive feelings seemed to be sucked out as a cold wall of air rushed in and blasted him in the face. He knew that the Valjer City was renowned for its cold, but the difference in climate was always a shock to his system. The sayings were true: Northerners just weren't made for the South. He hated the South, not just for its climate, but for what it had done to him — to his friends — to Snipe. It had only been a few months since the incident, but the events were still fresh in his mind. The betrayal of the second caravan — the ambush at night — the loss, the bite — all still salted wounds that wouldn't close. Aron, Wren, Berin, Dan, and Khakina were just lucky that they didn't have to suffer the same way. While they didn't save everyone from the third caravan, at least Knox was able to save a few. The battle in the sewers was particularly hard-fought, the alpha having almost torn the group to pieces. If Dan had not collapsed the sewers tunnels on the damn mongrel, they probably would not have gotten out alive. If only the had killed that one-eyed monstrosity as well.... The group barely scratched their numbers. Yes, the group was lucky to leave with their lives, but still, escaping the pack was not the same as revenge. Revenge would be the only thing that would free him now. "Close th'damn door, y'idiot!" yelled an angry voice from inside, waking Hadley from his momentary daze. Despite everything that Dan had done for the group, it did not change the fact that Knox hated the cold, and going outside to satiate the boy was less than favorable. He did not want to go out, but situation deemed it necessary, so with a curse under his breath, Frost cast himself out into the snow, Snipe following close behind. These parts weren't like the temperate homes he knew in Kethlerin. These parts were a freezing hell that deserved scorn and spite. It would always be a mystery to Frost as to why any people would settle in these frozen wastelands. Outside, the town lights lit the dark night, a light snow falling. Holding his hand out, Frost let a flake of ice fall onto his skin, watching the curious crystalline fractal melt in hand. Soon, the rest of the party would be arriving soon, and with their arrival, the journey back to Cobran would begin.
  3. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARGOT AMRANTE LOUVIER KNOX FROST HADLEY The soggy parchment was held high in the air for all to see. "Are you the one who posted this on the town bulletin?" Lowering his hand, he couldn't help be on edge. There was no use in being polite to this officer as she clearly had her own agenda to attend to. Was she really asking about the posted quest, or was there some ulterior motive? "Yes. Yes I am. What about it?" "How many people do you have so far?" " So far we have a group of Eleven, but I-." "Eleven?" This man was either foolish or had never been to the Cold South. ... or both. "Do you not think that is a bit small for a journey to Cobran?" "We Valjerans usually take thirty to fifty men when venturing out into the wastes — extra ten if we go to those ruins." "Your point?" "You're going to need all the help you can get unless you want to be wolf-meat." "Wolfsbane and the Delvers would usually send men to escort small parties like your's; however, we have our own issues to attend to." "It is the middle of winter, and you might not know this, but the wolves are especially active around this time." "You honestly don't want to get eaten do you?" "They'll tear your group to shreds." Foolish woman — of course he knew that. He knew that better than anyone in the room what the risks were, but his quest was not one to be delayed. Every minute wasted on waiting for ideal conditions would lengthen the duration that Marcel would have to bear his curse. Knox would not have that, but he also would not disrespect the woman in front of him. The less they dealt with the Rangers, the better. Calming himself, Knox reminded himself that it was for Marcel. He bit his tongue. "I'm aware." "You should have probably held this quest sometime in the summer." It was common knowledge that most adventuring groups traveled to Cobran during the summer. All military expeditions happened during that season — from both the capital and from Shrine City. If Knox didn't know that, then how could he be a competent leader? "And your party — do they know the risks?" "Are they informed about Cobran? No sane person would trek out into the open at this time, and it seems like they no nothing about what is ahead of them." "You'd have to be a fool for wanting to go out on your own." She smirked. Asserting herself as the more knowledgeable individual and as a person from a position of authority was a surefire way to get the man to take her. There was no way he could deny her position on the quest now. She'd wait for him to beg her for assistance. Louvier could feel him cracking under the pressure now. This quest was hers to lead. "..." "I think we're done here." That last comment grated the last nerve he had, so he stopped the conversation short before he hurt someone. He just killed a man... couldn't anyone just give him some slack? No sleep.... Endless, degrading questions.... Knox would have no more of it. Turning to the side, Knox prepared to leave..., ... but Margot stopped Knox, grabbing his hand before the man walked away from her. "W-wait!" she stammered. Taking a few seconds to regain her composure, she brushed the hair from her face. Apparently trying to impress the man by showing off her leadership and knowledge would not help. "I-I want to join your quest!" Knox raised an eyebrow. "I'm serious!" Margot said, cheeks glowing a flowery shade of rose. Stopping to consider the woman's request, Hadley weighed his anger against his objectivity. He really didn't want to take the woman — not just because she was rude, but because her brazen attitude would most likely get the group killed. Additionally, she was also a member of the Deepdelve Rangers, and if Knox was to reveal Marcel's affliction, there would be complications. Looking to his partner, he thought long and hard what would be for the best. Marcel was smiling at the moment, but those tired eyes said another story entirely. Knox made his decision, and with it, he sighed. Hopefully he made the right choice. "No questions." "Alright." "You'll have to listen to everything I have to say." "Fine! I can do that." Hand extended once more, he asked the most important question: "Your name?" "Margot." Taking his hand, she shook it. "Margot Amrante Louvier." She was in. Goodbye Valjer City, Hello World.
  4. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    KNOX "FROST" HADLEY A bead of cold sweat formed and ran. The woman who barged in was a member of the Deepdelve Rangers. Was it possible that they had found the corpse underneath the burnt-down shack — were they able to scry the identities of the two intruders the night before? Every fiber of his body screamed, 'Run,' but his feet would not move. He knew better than to raise suspicions. With Samuel right behind him, Knox needed to think rationally for Marcel's sake. The woman was heavily armed; however, she was only one there. If a werewolf had been discovered in Valjer City, at least a dozen armed soldiers would have been in her company. Additionally, they would never be as pleasant as to give wolf-sympathizers a chance at explaining or introducing themselves. Knox knew first hand that the law here was act first, questions later. Given that this city was famed as the capital of wolf evisceration and extermination, it was likely she was here for a different reason. Ardís beckoned the woman closer while Sikko conversely drew his blade in a panic. Hadley raised his hand to stop the young man. "Sikkoran was it? No need to draw your blade so hastily. She's military, not mercenary." He made a mental note at how jumpy this one was. Such behavior would not be advisable when surrounded by the ruined monoliths of Cobran. One wrong move — one wrong action —, and the wolves would be on them like flies to honey. Slowly, with assured stride, he approached the blue-eyed, golden-haired woman. As formality dictated, he extended his hand out. "I am Knox Hadley. How can I help you?" @TheElementHunter
  5. * wiggle wiggle wiggle *

  6. Artificer

    Custom user title raffle 19

    Congratulations @Hurttoto
  7. Artificer

    Custom user title raffle 19

    Who won owo?
  8. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA ELAEZAR RUETA Her gaze did not leave those grisly scars. Once revealed, it was as if she felt every sting, every slash of steel, shoot up in her own arms. The image was enough to bring the unimaginable into frightening clarity. Adira had seen maulings, she had seen gore, but those slender, snaking stripes of discolored tissue, jagged as they were deep into flesh, were crueler than any injury she had bare witness too. There was no doubt in her mind that death by quick strike was a mercy. Surviving after being so vilely disfigured had to be a worse fate entirely. As a physician, she knew that Seventeen — although healed — was in pain. Such injuries lasted a lifetime. Ears were submerged in her own thoughts, deafened to the man's own voice. Should she do it? Should she even dare? She had done it twice before, but her father had warned her never to do it again. Was it worth it? Did he deserve it? Before she knew it, she was next to the man. It was only natural to want to help. It was first instinct. Adira let the fingertips of her untainted hand glide across the rough, battle-hewn skin, losing herself in the eddies. She would take some of it — the man's suffering that was. If she was going to die anyways from whatever curse afflicted her, then there would be no harm taking another's suffering to the grave. No need to remember such things. Taking a deep breath, she would give her answer. It began with a whisper, and then a plead. Speaking in a language lost in time, her voice commanded the flow to yield to her will. She knew little of magic, but this much came to her before she learned how to speak. The desire, the yearning to help those who needed it. While she could not erase the scars, she could, at the very least, transfer the damage elsewhere... ... to herself. Eyes flashed with brighter hues as she let the magic seep into her. Garnet would not have time to pull away for she worked quickly as any master chirugeon would. The arcane rushed into her like those cool springs she once knew in the Velhatian Desert. Shocking as it was fresh, she was ready. It was time. This was the hard part. Gritting her teeth at the final word, the spell was finished, and no soon after was the toll taken. The pain hit her like a sucker punch, like liquid fire was being poured into her veins. It circulated up her arms, searching skin, muscle, and bone. Was this really what Garnet had gone through? She had no idea. Withdrawing back, she fell straight on her behind, clutching her shoulders as her body could not help but shiver madly. Snaking, snaking, the venom of her own wish coursed through both arms, seeking to destroy her. There was no choice. Adira would endure it as she had endured before for her father and the other.... ...The cripple who destroyed her. Still, despite all of the agony, she smiled in answer to Garnet's question. She was innocent. She was a physician. It was her job to heal, not to hurt. No matter the cost, no matter the person, if they needed it, Adira would answer. @The Hummingbird
  9. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR At one toe's touch, she pulled back from the water's edge, skin singed from but a moment's contact. She was unprepared for how hot the springs would actually be. Days worth of travel through the unforgiving winter wastes had conditioned her for the coldest of climates, but stumbling upon this hidden paradise for brief respite was far from what she had expected on her journey. "I can't...," she said softly, cheeks flush with the color of roses. "It's too hot." As tempting as the hot springs may have seemed, she would settle for the warm, steamy interior of the insulated cavern. Standing up on the wet slate floor, she looked up again in awe. The cave was no wider than the average home, but its ceilings reached far higher than the apothecary could make out. There was hardly any light, save for the dim illumination of scattered lightning bugs, bioluminescent blues and greens scattered across the dark expanse like stars in a surreal sky. Around the pool, there was a thin curtain of woody trees whose only support were roots that encircled the black stone. From their thin, delicate branches hung dangling vines of flowers that spanned the various shades of evening. Hand running over the gnarled branches, Adira could practically feel the raw, primordial life flowing through the ancient grotto. She could stay here forever, she thought, plucking a blue, fuzzy fruit, no larger than an apricot, from one tree's grasp. It was a stone fruit, she surmised, scrutinizing the soft curves and striated rind of the curious new species. Biting into it, she was surprised at just how tart the fruit was, accompanied only by a faint, pleasant sweetness. While it was nothing like the sweet, saccharine fruit she had expected from such an dreamlike environment, its flavor was mildly addicting. "Garnet, you have to try one of these," she said, turning back towards the cerulean waters as she looked towards her guide. @The Hummingbird
  10. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA ELAEZAR RUETA The man's words cut deep and true. With a shove and a final, cutting rebuke, her juvenile attitude was exposed to her own eyes. Tugging hard at her cloak, she pulled the thick cloth over herself, concealing herself for the embarrassment that she was. Cheeks were erubescent as they flushed bright cherry, in contrast to her pale, frostbitten face. It was difficult to acknowledge that he was right. Such a response was ingrained in human nature from the beginning. While she might have felt bitter as she would have with the flatterers and boasters of Raven's Landing, the situation was entirely different. To be honest, she was jaded from past experience. This man in front of her was not looking to take advantage of her frail heart like those before. Garnet was there only because he wished to help — at least he did before. There was no telling where her insecurities would have landed her now in terms of the man's favor. Trust was a fickle thing. It would last an eternity in the right hands, but when lost, even for a moment, it was gone forever. She needed to trust him. She needed to try. If she didn't, how would he be able to trust her? Being alone in the Genesar wilds was the last thing she wanted, especially with wolves prowling in every shadow, every haze of white. Walking in silence, she followed the man to the entrance of the small cave. The rocks outside were carved strangely by the winds, precipitation, and beatings from relentless magestorms. They had a curved, unnatural feel to them; however, one thing was certain: this area was dead. Unlike the precious grotto they had been in before, there was no life in those rocks. It was barren, cold, and full of sharp, jagged edges. Flecks of mica, quartz, and feldspar, along with fine lines of natural silver, were the only sights of interest, but in the end, it was still just a lifeless outcropping of igneous stone. Sitting down, she looked to Garnet. The man simply sat to the side with no words leaving his mouth. His eyes were elsewhere — angry and annoyed —, but there was something about those mysterious, wolf-like eyes that reminded her of solitude. She gave him some space, waiting minutes, maybe an hour. Perhaps it was time to finally apologize. Taking a deep breath, it took every ounce of bravery to say those magic three words: "I... am sorry." There. She said it. "I was acting like a child out there when really I shouldn't have." "You have to understand that... this past year has been... not good to me, alright?" "Prior to that, life wasn't really easy, you know? I don't expect you to understand..., but I find it hard to trust people like you — not because of anything you've done, of course. You've been a great guide so far, from the lakes near Umbra to now. I know I wouldn't have gotten far without you, and I am grateful for your concern and help." "It's just not... easy for me," she said emptily, looking back out to the whipped drifts of snow. @The Hummingbird
  11. Challenge: I'll give bonus points to whoever can translate the message in my banner.

    If you can tell me where it is from...

    Well you'll have my utmost respect 🙂

    Happy Hunting!

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Die Shize

      Die Shize

      Translation: “I’m an American”

      Origin: Seinfeld

    3. Artificer

      Artificer

      While I am an American, there are just too many letters for that to be true :c

    4. TheElementHunter

      TheElementHunter

      Which way does it read?

       

  12. I made a new profile picture!

    What do you guys think?

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. supernal

      supernal

      It’s super cool. I like it a lot! How long did it take to make and what did you use? 

    3. Artificer

      Artificer

      Just your standard GIMP editor. I was trying to sleep last night @ roughly 3:00 PST, but I saw @vielle's profile icon and wound up spending two hours coming up with the concept and creating it.

    4. vielle

      vielle

      let us all make lovely animated profile pictures~ 

  13. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARGOT AMRANTE LOUVIER She sat as snow fell, outside in the cold. Her skin was as pale as a snowdrop, and her eyes so crisp a blue that sapphires would shatter from sheer jealousy. Long, golden hair, save for the single band of of precious platinum from her father, both shimmered with dusted flakes of crystal diamond and draped her mantle in a luxurious, comfortable manner. The way she sat in the cold was like no other. She wore winter on her sleeves as if she was winter herself. Polishing the blade to a mirrorlike finish, Margot let herself sink in awe at the dagger's beauty. Icebane, is what her forefathers had named it. From parent to child, this heirloom was passed, serving to both kill the beasts that threaten the Cold South and protect the ones who are most important. Her own father always said that the blade had a voice — a song of ages passed by those who have held its handle —, but Louvier was never one for fairy-tales. It was the knowledge that her family had used the blade to give the final strike to countless monsters of unimaginable stature which made Margot feel warm. To know that the blade she held went through the hands of many capable warriors from the Cold South cut through any fear she had of the unknown. Now, she was the one who would wield it. Margot sheathed Icebane as first light broke. Her father had not returned from patrol the previous night, but she had no worry. He always came home. Opening her hand, she let a snowflake fall into her palm. It melted off her warm skin, and it slid down as smooth as the first-shed tear. When snow falls in Valjer, while her other friends would go inside for warmth, she would sit down and look up. It was always so beautiful. Then, the moment was interrupted. Above her, the window opened up, sending a mini avalanche upon her lithe frame. "Margot? Margot where are you!" came a young man's voice from inside. "Margot, I have something for you!" His red hair, ruddy face, and uncountable freckles belonged to a person she'd recognize anywhere. She saw him, but he looked onward like a buffoon. "René," she said coldly. "I am down here." "What is it?" "Oh... uh... sorry about that, Margot... I... had no idea... you were under..." "It is fine, honestly..." Brushing the white power from her face, she looked up once more. "What do you need?" "Well seeing how you hate patrol work, I have a surprise for you! Come inside!" "I do not see how you can save me from the god-given miracle of menial labor." Seriously. Patrolling the border of town was child's play. Still, she couldn't help but let her curiosity get the better of her. If it got her out of the repetitive work she was assigned by her overprotective father, she was in. Taking her jet-colored cloak, she donned it, wearing the sigil of the Deepdelve Rangers with pride. Opening the ancient, dense chestnut door, she entered the barracks and proceeded upstairs with a grin. If René was just tugging her leg..., there would be hell to pay. * * * Clutching the paper in hand, she tried her best to hold her excitement under wraps. A quest to Cobran was just the adventure she was searching for. Her father had talked about many fantastic stories of her ancestors; however, she herself would never get a chance to explore like they did if she stayed in Valjer City under lock and key. It was strange to think why her father was so protective. She had proven herself a capable warrior in the sieges of Whispernight. Margot could handle herself. Before she knew it, Margot was there standing in front of the multi-storied Tavern where her real quest would begin. The Ice Dragon was a fitting name for the setting of the beginning of her first adventure. Spear strapped to her pack, shortsword and dagger at side, she was prepared for anything. Taking a deep breath, Margot collected herself. There was no way she would let herself look like a childish fool in front of her soon-to-be traveling companions. Who was she kidding? She was getting out of Valjer! Nearly kicking down the door, Margot burst into the premises, startling many townspeople and guests in the process. She was donning the full uniform — Deepdelve Ranger's outfit, cloak and all. The quest-givers would have no choice but to take her. Who else would be more experienced in killing wolves, werewolves, and the like? "Who here is Knox Hadley and Marcel Lancaster...."
  14. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARCEL "SNIPE" LANCASTER The boy was earnest and honest. Marcel liked that. "Well, I — and my friend Knox of course who you should acquaint yourself with soon," he said gesturing towards his purple-eyed friend walking down the stairs, "—Are members of the Reconnaissance Corps of the Invictus Army." Teeth bit lip as he realized his error in speech. "Well actually, at least... we were at some point, in the past" he corrected himself. "They all... died. Our group that is...." Silence ensued for a few brief seconds as the forlorn man looked away. Marcel didn't like to think about what happened to them. Looking back towards Sikkoran, he saw hope in the group. Perhaps now both Marcel and Knox would have the closure they needed. Everyone in the room was strong, and killing the accursed beasts of Cobran could actually be a possibility this time. There was no need to stay tied down to past failures. "But..., aside from that, Knox and I are both from the same town, Kethlerin. You may have heard of the it for its horses, but I assure you there is a lot more to the city then just mounts and agrarian bullshit. Nice forests, nice people... it's a great town if you just want to get away from it all." Snipe smiled. A breeze wafted by. The Zephyr had no tact, and was still as blunt as ever. No discretion at all. With another breath sucked in, Marcel did not expect what happened next. "Hey Dan. Don't worry — just cut myself chopping firewood for the hearth last night," he explained, giving a brief nod towards the zephyr. "It's a lot less painful then what you did to my feet when you exploded the earth beneath me back on our last journey. That is, if you remember that at all." Slowly but surely, Marcel realized his voice had changed in pitch from a masculine tenor to a high, childish soprano. He was so absorbed in his own lie that he didn't recognize the enchantment on his speech. Another joke. "Is this your doing?" he laughed halfheartedly, knowing all to well that it was Dan who was responsible. The boy had an impish grin that gave everything away. The teenager was so carefree that it was hard for Lancaster to discern if the man took anything seriously. There was no choice but to wait it out. Everyone in the room was talking like pixies at that moment, and the sheer sound was as annoying as it was obnoxious. Still, Marcel found himself deeply amused. He was tired, but the joke was enough to lighten his mood. It was a long, tiring night before, so he appreciated a bit of tomfoolery before the storm. Sound magic, he reckoned it was. It was the only explanation, he thought, taking a sip of the bitter, black drink given to him by his patron. Once more, the door opened, welcoming another kindred spirit to their party. She was straight, to the point, and had a curious shade of eyes. Her ghost white hair couldn't help but remind Marcel of his time navigating through the barren drifts of snow which blanketed the Cold South in its entirety. "That would be me," Marcel responded, standing up and raising the scabbard of his blade, family crest emblazoned on the side. It was a worn, ragged thing, but it was an heirloom passed from generation to generation in the Lancaster family. From father to son as that was tradition. His blade beneath remained sheathed, and for good reason. The man didn't want to get cut again. He'd already been stabbed once that day, and if anyone was drunk, he would have liked not to quarrel. The bell at the entryway rang. Right after, yet another arrived. It was shocking, the resemblance. Amber eyes, dark hair — if she wasn't a woman, Marcel would have thought he was looking right at a doppelganger. "My name's Marcel Lancaster," he announced to both women. "The other person on the paper — Knox Hadley — is just over there," pointing to his friend. "Your names? Ladies?" @TheElementHunter @HollowCipher @vielle @Hani
  15. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    KNOX "FROST" HADLEY Ascending the steps, Hadley looked for a spot. The second floor had a bickering couple, so it definitely was not a good location for a private discussion. Thus, he went up another flight to the third. Upon seeing the empty hall, Knox led Samuel across to the end of it, standing next to a rather unimpressive window. If only the innkeeper had a better sense of interior design. Leaning in close to whisper, Knox stopped himself, and went back. He didn't trust the walls — no, he didn't trust anything. Who knew who was listening? It seemed that things that wanted to kill Marcel were everywhere now. A flash of the dead ranger's cold blue eyes came into view, and once more did an electrifying pain stab into his brain. Hand met forehead as Knox fell back, and only by some miracle did he not fall through the pane of glass behind. He grabbed Samuel by the wrist to keep himself upright. There was no balance in his body — no balance in his mind. He needed sleep, but before that, he needed to tell the Knight Alpha that everything was going to be okay. Steadying himself, he drew close to the man until their waists almost touched, eyes locked on the hall behind. Knox flipped open his satchel, grabbed the first scratch of parchment he could find, tore it out, and took a stick of charcoal. 'Everything is fine. No one saw our faces.' Slipping the paper to the man, the archer then walked away, and proceeded back to the rest of the group downstairs. Varda definitely had a point. They did indeed need to leave the town as soon as possible; however, they needed someone. 'Where's Cregsgy?' Knox thought. @danzilla3
  16. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    KNOX "FROST" HADLEY So much for a quiet start to the day. Slouched back in his seat, trying to close his eyes and relax was the leader of the expedition, Knox. Last night was hardly one of rest, and the lack of sleep was beginning to take its toll. As more and more came in, the small headache that Knox was experiencing had grown into a full blown migraine. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he did not have the patience nor the energy to deal with any nonsense. Pronounced footsteps stomped down the stairs, marking the terrible beginning he had expected to this already terrible day. Looking up, it was impossible for Frost to hide his annoyance at the man's barely concealed comment. Were the bags under his eyes not enough to signal that he and Marcel had a long night — or perhaps maybe the stark lack of angry townspeople with torches and pitchforks signal that everything was fine up to Samuel's ridiculous question? Word from Wolfsbane and the Deepdelve Rangers only gave a crude depiction of the "mangy werewolf" a "darkly cloaked figure" which killed a few mounts at the stables the night prior. No one saw their faces, and if they did, both Marcel and Knox would have had their heads on pikes by that point. It was that man who was drawing attention to the duo, not the duo themselves. This was going on far enough. He had to set everything straight — now. "Please, I insist you announce Marcel's little joyride last night with the blacksmith's daughter a little louder. I don't think the entire floor can hear you yet," he whispered angrily. "It's frankly embarrassing, Sir Samuel— I know that the blinds weren't closed, but... I would thought you'd have some sense not to discuss such matters in public. Not everyone saw, as you exaggerate, so could you not talk so loudly? We can discuss when there aren't so many gossipers around..." He sighed a sigh of exasperation — not for his fabricated story, but for the situation itself. Couldn't people just give Knox some space? He just killed a man. "With regards to everything, I'm glad that you came downstairs. I need to talk to you about a few things in private before we depart since this is your area of expertise." Putting his hand on Samuel, he intended to pull the man to the side and speak in some hallway upstairs. It was better to get away from the rest of the company and the other non-affiliated guests which were slowly starting to filter in for their lunch breaks. The less ears, the better. Rumor spreads fast, and Knox would like their departure from Valjer City to be a mundane one. @danzilla3
  17. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARCEL "SNIPE" LANCASTER Marcel frowned deeply. It seemed that felines no longer bode well with him, given his new affliction. It was a pity — he had always thought of himself as a cat person. Dogs were too energetic and boisterous for his tastes. During the short period of time Sikkoran was restraining his pet, Marcel's attention was arrested by the arrival of another from the stairwell. While the man presented himself somewhat clumsily with an accent not of this region, his hawklike gray eyes and weathered hands that spoke volumes about his character. This man was a capable fighter. "It's fine...," Hadley replied, somewhat detached as he examined the man from head to toe. Isaac was thin and somewhat wiry; however, the way he moved down the stairs was with grace, poise, elegance, and discipline. Marcel made a note to himself that while Genesaran was not this man's native tongue, the blade sheathed in ornate lacquer would sing death on the field of battle. Hadley knew a warrior when he saw one. Then came a breezy chill which brushed the air like dusted snow. Did someone open the door? Marcel looked back to Sikko, and then at the door — still closed. He walked around the man whose hand he had shaken, and looked back towards the fierce ocelot. It's fur was wet with ale, and for a moment, what Hadley thought to be ice. It hissed and shivered, but remained in place. "We'll... be discussing the details later when everyone arrives. Then after, we'll be departing immediately." "I'm sorry to be rude, but also- what did you do to your cat earlier?" Marcel never did get a good look as it happened all too quickly. The only two things that were clear was that the cat was soaked and was still agitated by him. @Fierach @TheElementHunter
  18. Artificer

    Books on the mind

    Fantastic choice! The life of a struggling college student in debt XD Read it. It is fantastic.
  19. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARCEL "SNIPE" HADLEY "Yes, yes we are," Marcel said. It only took a momentary glance to recognize his own penmanship. The battered, soaked, and torn flyer was indeed written by him as his family sigil was emblazoned in red wax on the letter crest. The bottom floor of the inn was relatively quiet, bar catering breakfast to only one or two. Marcel had expected more people to be there at that time, but he guessed that everyone was probably too busy working to have a good drink. It was midday after all. Revelry of all sorts, famed in the Cold South, mainly happened at devil's hour in the deepest fold of night. Regardless, he was glad of the little townsfolk present. Less noise meant more space to discuss important matters for the journey which was about to begin. Standing up to greet the man, he tugged the cloak even more tightly around himself, concealing the entirety of his right side. Underneath the faded blues of his cover was his thrice-bandaged shoulder. The thin strips of cloth were perfumed in lavender and fern to mask the slight odor of the dry blood which caked the skin beneath. If anyone asked, it was just a hunting accident. Nothing more, nothing less. Thankfully, by the graces of Samuel, the silver tonic worked wonders at preserving his form as a human. He didn't even feel the slightest antagonism towards the fiery feline perched on the man's back. Holding out his hand, the ebony-haired, amber-eyed man towering over Sikko extended his greetings. "My name is Marcel Hadley, but everyone calls me Snipe." "Are you perhaps Isaac, or one of the other members? Not everyone has arrived yet, so you'll have to forgive me if I mistake your name." @TheElementHunter
  20. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA ELAEZAR RUETA She was unprepared for the man's sudden inquiry. His eyes might as well have bored holes in hers with that piercing green stare, a look of intensity that Adira had not witnessed before. Thinking the question was just to burn time, Adira blew it off, and responded, "I honestly have no idea — that wolf back there probably smelled some of my rations." "Hell, maybe it smelled that strange fruit on me," she laughed. "The cave was probably its den from what I imagine. Its warm, shielded from the elements, comfortable. Everything that a pack of wolves would like for their kind, you know." The man was still looking back, clearly unconvinced. "Could you please stop giving me that look, please? I don't know." He must have been able to tell a lie when he saw one because he kept staring, only taking brief glances forward to see if he was walking straight. Minutes of pressing silence passed. They continued traversing through the static white screen of snow, but no matter how far they went, he kept looking back at her — not responding, eyes prying for an answer. She stopped. Did this man know? "Look, the wolves are clearly not on our tracks, alright? This snowstorm has turned into a blizzard, and no group of animals would follow us out here, so could you stop staring at me like I'm some sort of criminal?" Adira's cheeks were red as she was flustered. It was embarassing. Nothing was more humiliating to her than to know nothing about why these occurrences were happening. Beasts, misfortune, accidents — maybe even a falling anvil in her future given her terrible luck — they all came for her. It was as if death had a stake in her life in particular, marking her with his own brand of ownership. While she knew not what it was, she wasn't going to tell Garnet. It wasn't his business. Being interrogated was the last thing she wanted, and there were already had too many questions on her mind that needed answers. There was no room for her to conjure one for a stranger. While he saved her life, Adira made no mistake. Seventeen had taken her quest. She was the contractor, and he was just some adventurer. Did he pity her? Was that all it was? Pity? "Why would I lie to you?" she said, stopping. It dawned on the woman that perhaps the reason the man had taken her quest was for that. Anger welled in the pit of her stomach, warming her from within from the biting cold. Her trust was a hard thing to be earned. She wouldn't fall prey to the smiles of strangers or faux kindness again. Adira knew from experience what was in the hearts of men, and that was nothing. Bitter memories left a bad taste on her tongue. They cared for nothing but themselves. Then, as if to defy her, they came right on queue — the wolves that is. It started with one howl in the distance, followed by another coming from the left, and then another diagonally from in front — adding on and on until individuals were no longer distinguishable. In the end, the wide circle of eerie, lupine calls surrounded them in cacophonous harmony. While the voices were far away, it was clear that they were not resting. They were searching — searching for Adira. "Just... keep walking! We'll pass them!" she muttered lowly, pulling her cloak hard over her head as she walked ahead of her guide on the path. Adira didn't know the way if there was a fork, but perhaps her guide would do exactly what his position entailed — guide her. That's what she hired him for after all. @The Hummingbird
  21. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    KNOX "FROST" HADLEY It was absolutely disgusting. The slick, oily residue of horse carcass covered his hands every time he tried to get a better grip on the werewolf's mane. It was a bumpy, uneven, swerving ride, but there was no choice. Frost was holding onto Snipe for dear life as the man bolted through the tundra, Deepdelve Rangers right on their tracks. Looking back, Frost could see the bouncing lights of the mens' lanterns in the distance. It was a group of roughly five — maybe seven — individuals in hot pursuit, but it was hard to tell. He could not see their faces through the sudden snowstorm — a good sign that they could not see his. Still, with arrows flying, it was only a matter of time until one of them would tag Knox or Marcel with an all-to-obvious wound. Arrow narrowly missing Marcel, the man could feel the fletchings of the arrow brisk his hair ever so slightly. "Quickly!" Frost yelled at his partner, iced winds burning his lungs. Another arrow landed right in front of them. "I'm trying," his partner growled, now sprinting even faster on all fours. "You're a bit heavy you know!" "Can't help it — just run!" * * * The shack door creaked loudly, swung open as the both the man and the werewolf entered. After about an hour of being chased, the duo had finally lost them in the flurry. Knox moved some dry hay onto the floor before plopping down onto the cold, stone flooring. His legs felt like they were about to fall off, no thanks to Marcel. Holding onto the beast was far more difficult than riding the most rebellious of the young, fiery mares of Kethlerin. Knox turned to his side, rear awfully sore. Unstrapping his ice pick, he removed his cloak and took the brief moment to relax. "My god... those bastards chased us for a long time, right?" he sighed, turning back to look with a weary smile. The werewolf was sitting cross-legged, hands folded and looking away from his partner. Hadley's lips flattened at the sight. He knew it wasn't Marcel's fault — the hunger, the ravages —, and seeing what was left of the man's humanity in that form, clearly soaked in guilt, made his heart break. "Marcel, are you alright?" he asked, crawling closer. "I'll be fine," the wolf responded, voice somewhat empty, somewhat hollow. Knox put his hand on his friend, but Marcel just shied away and moved to the corner of the shed. Biting his lip, Knox could only watch. To see his one and only friend be torn up by some curse was unbearable. Snipe had always been there for him when he needed them, and the one time Marcel-the-Infallible was suffering, he couldn't do anything. It was as if there was a tower sitting on his chest preventing him from reaching out and helping Snipe. There was nothing he could do. He was powerless in the realm of the eldritch. He couldn't take away the man's curse. All he could do was provide comfort. "I'll get some firewood from the cellar," he said. Standing up, his legs wobbled, but Knox forced them to stay up. Looking side to side, he shoveled through barrels of old tools, clearly unused for years by the crystallized rust caking the surface of every one. Plucking a stout axe from the bottom, he held it up to examine it if it would be viable for the job. Other than the blade being composed of a strange, repurposed metal, the rusty, green-steeled axe was nothing special at all. "This will have to do." Grabbing his cloak, Knox went outside and closed the door softly, making sure that no intruders would see the werewolf hidden inside. He circled around the back, and with a hard swing, broke the lock on the cellar doors. There had to be wood underground, he thought. Descending into the darkness, he confirmed his intuition with a flick of flint on the oil lantern's wick. It was a firewood cellar, much like the other ones he had seen under other Valjerian houses — the ones where military were quartered of course. "This won't take too long," he said to himself before taking the topmost log and chopping it in two. He yawned. The task was painstakingly simple. One log became two, and two became four. In the end, he was mindlessly chopping logs underneath the cellar, letting out his frustrations by cracking timber in two. It wasn't fair what was happening to Marcel. After all, it should have been Knox who was bitten, not Marcel. Fatigue crept in, and without realizing it Knox sat down, dejected and utterly tired from the entire ordeal. It had been months already. He just wanted it all to be over. Closing his eyes, he thought to take a brief rest. "One minute won't hurt," he thought. As soon as his eyes fluttered, the ragged breaths of a frustrated man became the sweets sighs of a sound sleeper. * * * A loud, banging sound of the floorboards above shocked Knox awake. His lantern had gone out long ago, and the bitter chill permeating his body became all to apparent as he tried to move. How long had he been asleep? CRASH, and then a roar exploded from above. After he picked up the green axe at his side, Knox ran up through the open cellar and around, seeing a horse parked a few meters away from the shack. His mind exploded with the scenario going on inside, but there was no time to think as something slammed into the wall on the side. The entrance to the shack was swinging in the wind, and without hesitation, the hunter dived in. Sitting atop the werewolf with knife raised was another man who turned immediately at the creak of the door hinges. The man's face was wrinkled, red hair peppered with strands of gray, eyes a vivid blue and full of concern. "GET AWAY FROM HERE BOY, IT'S DANGEROUS HERE!" he yelled on the top of his lungs. "RUN!" the man yelled before being flipped on his side by Marcel, Deepdelve Ranger's silver crest flashing in the moonlight before being hidden by the fur of the wolf on top. Marcel gave Knox a fierce look, as if to agree with the man beneath him. Run, is what those eyes screamed. However, the ranger would not take the momentary distraction for granted. In an instant, the man unsheathed a knife, and drove its blade into the werewolf's shoulder before twisting it with his other hand. Marcel's pupils constricted as silver tore straight through, tip hitting the bone. Down the beast went, howling in sheer pain before it was the ranger again who had the advantage. Wrapping his legs around the beasts torso, the red-haired veteran gave a twist in his body, arms out and pushing out from the floor, throwing Marcel off. Jumping on top of the beast, the man screamed wildly as he held his knife up, ready to stab it straight into Marcel. Knox's heart quickened as the blade descended. Vision narrowed on the one weapon which would end it all. His grip on the axe tightened as he rushed inside. Before he knew it, he had swung the axe, ranger dropping onto the ground with a thud. Knox dropped to his knees, warm blood soaking into the cheap fabric of his pants from the growing pool. The ranger was clenching his neck, mouth sputtering out blood. The wound was anything but covered, and definitely not concealed, crossing a third of the way in. It had missed the spine, but it was most definitely a jagged, unclean, grisly cut. The man's shockingly blue eyes looked to Knox, expression filled with the look of the betrayed. "How could you," he seemed to mouth. With a final spurt of blood, the man's eyes glossed over, and arms went limp. The ranger was dead. Marcel ran over to Knox, but the man was frozen still. The werewolf hugged Knox tightly, whispering things like "It's okay" and "I'm sorry" a thousand times over, but Knox didn't respond. His eyes were transfixed on the corpse in front of him. "We need to burn it all." * * * When first light broke at noon, all there was left of the shack was smoldering ashes alongside half-burnt pieces of timber and stone. Before this, here is what happened: Frost had led the horse down into the cellar before slaughtering it underneath so no blood would be found outside. After moving the ranger's corpse down into the cellar to be with his horse, Knox lit it all on fire. All of the fuel that was underneath turned everything into a raging pyre, causing the entire shack to collapse down in on itself, burying all evidence of the altercation underneath a pile of stone rubble, beams of pine, and loads of other things. The flames were so hot, it might as well have turned the bone to ash. Knox suspected alchemical fuel hidden somewhere beneath in a lockbox as was common in the Imperial South for fire-starting, but he didn't question why the inferno had raged as it did. He reckoned it was simply the ranger's restless soul, screaming out in betrayal. After the ordeal, both he and Marcel sneaked in and cleaned up at a vacated home on the outskirts of Valjer. Knox had told Samuel to tell the others to meet North at the cabin, but Knox slipped a letter under the doors of those whose residence he had uncovered from the innkeepers around town. 'Change of plans. Meet at the inn at the center of town, - Frost' it would say to those who had arrived already. It was shocking what innkeepers would say if you told them 'it's for a quest' and gave them a few coins for their troubles... quite shocking indeed. Now, the two were sitting at the bottom of the inn, in clean clothes with clean wares, waiting in silence on the companions they had enlisted to either come down from their resting places or arrive in Valjer from their travels. They had scarcely gotten an hour of sleep, sun rising at a time which would normally be considered noon by most parts. They would have to catch up on their rest when they traveled to Cobran — the first member arrived. @HollowCipher @Thotification @Hani @Sleepy Seal @vielle @danzilla3 @Fierach @TheElementHunter
  22. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR Easier said than done. Seventeen was far more nimble than she, scaling up to the exit with ease; however, while he bobbed and weaved through with ease, Adira was still making her way through the thick vegetation, nearly tripping on the thick tangle of gnarled roots. It was somewhat frustrating. While she was not weak, she wasn't used to this kind of gymnastic work in the slightest. Deeper and deeper she went, navigating through the thick shield of vines which had sheltered the duo and grotto from the elements. How was Garnet able to make getting through look so easy? When she had finally reached the fissure, she saw the man waiting. Grabbing onto the edge of the crack, Adira could feel the ice biting straight through the black moleskin of her gloves. Looking up, she saw her guide's extended hand and grabbed it. His grip was strong and firm like an elm branch, much to her surprise. He was steady as stone. The sound of padded feet splashing at the other entrance echoed. They had to go. "Alright, I'm ready, okay... one, two, three!" She hoisted herself up with Garnet's assistance, seconds before the cacophony of wolves shattered the silence in the cavern. Based on the beat, there were definitely more than two. If it was what she thought it was, this wasn't a miniature rag tag group of mongrels. If it was what she thought it was, this was a war pack. "Garnet... Do you hear that?" she said looking back to the mouth of the cave. "I don't think that the wolf we met was the only one." There was a lump in her throat. There was no turning back now. With all that was at stake, Adira was taking a leap of faith putting her trust in her guide. These mountains were unfamiliar to her which meant that her best chance of survival was Seventeen. Thinking back to the encounter with one wolf, she wondered why the man had decided to help her. With the clear dangers of traversing the Cold Mountains, it was a miracle that anyone responded to her petition. He was the only one who responded. It was a beggar's quest. She had little money to offer, and the risks were far greater than the rewards. What drove Garnet? The sudden rush of cold air was a slap in the face — a reminder of the frosted hell which was in front of them. There was no time for extraneous questions. The hounds were right on their tail. "Which way is the trail," she said, voice muffled as she wrapped a worn scarf around face and mouth, walking beside the man through the ever-deepening snow. @The Hummingbird
  23. Artificer

    LBS+ Testing w/ Artificer

    Welfrick Erhard Jagdhund — The Shadowbeast [FINAL SCENE] And there he was — standing triumphantly with his bloody trophy in mouth was the shadowbeast, Welfrick Erhard Jagdhund. While the elf had ran, he had not escaped unscathed. Clenched tightly between the beast's two rows of fine, ivory teeth was Dionysus's severed arm — a gory lesson to those who would hunt the one and only Beast of the Pines. While Welfrick would have liked to have chased the hunter across the woods to claim the rest of the man's limbs, he could not. The one lucky blow the elf had landed was enough to leave the indomitable staggering. The elf had struck him well. It was then he sat down in the middle of the glade. The shadowbeast took his time with the hunk of flesh. It was not everyday he had a meal that fought back. The defeat of his adversary was enough to sate his appetite for that night. He wondered.... CRACK. He was right: the bones crushed like candy, sweet marrow sliding down his throat. He couldn't wait to meet Dionysus once again, he thought, licking his lips in eager anticipation for the near future. The rare, refined taste of elves was such a treat. He would be waiting. Yes, he would be waiting.... .
  24. Artificer

    When Snow Falls

    MARCEL "SNIPE" LANCASTER The vial landed in front of Hadley, but it rolled away and hit Lancaster's padded foot. Picking it up, the lycanthrope held the strange phial in a thin moonbeam which filtered through a small crack in the barn wall. The liquid looked like quicksilver with its curious sheen, but it flowed and coalesced much like water instead of molten metal. The knight seemed genuine enough, but would he really be able to trust this strange man? The question would have to be for another time. A sudden creaking of wood seized his attention, and with his ear perked up, Marcel's muzzled face turned to the noise's origin. The backdoor to the farm was slightly ajar, a yellow light entering and purging the room of its shadows. The source of the light was a petite, brass lantern, held tightly in the unsteady hands of a short, brunette, girl. Marcel's eyes widened. The child stood their petrified, emerald eyes transfixed on his monstrous form. He held out his clawed hand to the girl to calm her, but it was too late. "W-WEREWOLF!" the little mistress screamed, dropping the oil light onto the snow before disappearing back into the night. Within moments, a horn was blown far in the distance, and with a brief glace at his partner, Marcel confirmed that they were both thinking the same thing: they had to hide quickly. Frost instantly turned to the knight. "Meet us at the gray shack due north of here. It is half a mile away, but at the break of first light, we must depart. Gather everyone. We will only have three hours of daylight, so we need to make it count." Snipe's tipped ears caught the faint sound of horse trots in the deep snow, and at the noise, he grimaced. The perks of being a wolf-man in Valjer. "We need to go!" he growled to both men, grabbing his partner by the wrist. @danzilla3
  25. Artificer

    Ruzahl's Spire

    ADIRA RUETA ELAEZAR As soon as the great wolf was knocked away, Adira greedily gasped in as much air as she could. Those few seconds where she was underneath the great weight of the beast felt like an eternity in her adrenaline-drugged state. With the oxygen, her vision cleared, catching the dull outline of her sole instrument of protection. Quickly, she scrambled towards the ice pick, springing up from the floor with weapon in hand, poised for the next attack. Eyes darting towards the sound of the fray, she glimpsed the final arc of the silvered sword as it sundered the foul wolf in two. With a wet thud, the wolf was downed. Walking closer to the body, she thought it was dead. To her surprise, as soon as she came a step closer, the wolf's wild eyes opened as jaws snapped madly in her direction, a gaze full of hate, anger, and blood lust. She stepped away in shock. The beast had undying tenacity and a furious drive to tear out her throat. Only when Garnet plunged his blade straight into the creature's skull did the beast quiet. With a twist, the last shudders of severed nerves marked the end of the wolf's life. Shivers ran down Adira's spine. Whether it was the cold, spiteful look in that beast's lifeless eyes or the chill of outside coming in, the woman felt uneasy. Walking forward, she knelt down and held her hand out to the corpse, drawing her fingers back at the first touch before finally skimming over its ebony fur. Her lips flattened. The rough hair was slicked with blood, body still warm. For a moment, the woman felt sympathy towards the monster. It was pitiful, what happened. No doubt the wolf was simply trying to survive out in the harsh, unforgiving crags. She sighed. Death never had bode well for her. The coppery scent of blood was something she would never be comfortable with. A chorus of howls rang from the mouth of the cave as Adira closed its eye. With a loop back towards Seventeen, she silently nodded her head. It was time for them to go. Hurrying over to the bag, she knew she would have to leave her rucksack. The main pocket was now permanently hanging open, contents spilled all over the floor along with scraps of fine canvas. It looked like she could only bring the bare essentials. Food would be a worry for a later time. Rummaging through the items strewn across the floor, she grabbed only what she thought was necessary. Clipped to her belt were again the two ice picks, curved at each handle, both sanded to a rough, matte finish, and one imprinted with new, teeth-marked dents. On her hip, there was a large, circular flask, sloshing with melted snow. When that was secured, Adira pocketed the few salves and tonics whose containers weren't savaged by the beast; however, it was only enough to be useful for a few minor injuries. The medicine would barely be enough to treat anything larger than a decent laceration, so the duo would have to be careful on their ascent. Any injuries left untreated would serve as deadly crutches to their journey. Gangrenous infestations were an all-too-common reality in these colder parts, and infection was no laughing matter. Throwing on her olive parka, she grabbed her cloak and boots. The front side of the jacket had many pockets, and the interior was lined with thick scraps of fur. Hardly anything stylish, but the menagerie of animal skins would stave off the cold. Her pants were simple, rugged khakis, the kind used by mountaineers on their journey, and they were tucked snugly into her newly-bought leather climbing boots. With everything in order, she enshrouded her form in the weathered teal cloak of her father. It would protect her. Her father promised her it would. "We need to go." "Do you still have any food packed in your bag? The wolf ruined all of my provisions." @The Hummingbird
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