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Broken Muse

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  1. “Welcome, and sure. You were resting. We can settle on that.” She muttered as deft fingers slipped the last of her gripped arrows back into the quiver- He wasn’t an immediate threat, and clearly, a whole bigger situation to deal with at the moment. Sharp eyes surveyed the battle ground around, focusing on the pools that formed deep cut crevices of war; Not a drop of that black substance. It was like the essence of it knew to hide from the living unless… Infecting it…? Crouching, still paying attention to him fumbled around in her hip pouch for something. A demon inside? That’d probably, not in any profession capacity, explain the display. But with High Elven society, it could simply be that he was half blood. “I had notice the branding, but I figured like most things High Elven, it was a gross exaggeration of the truth. They were never the biggest fan of our kind, y’know, the less than pure blood.” Her voice sounded more interested than she appeared; Eyes focused to find a sample of the black substance as she pulled out a small alchemist vial. Plucking the cork from the mouth of the glass vial with her teeth, she scooped up a sample of blood from the pool to her side and quickly popped the cork back into place. She was clearly a woman who worked as she talked. “High Elves want to protect the forests, but god forbid they lower their standings and dirty themselves to do so. This is why the Wood Elves broke off and moved in deeper eons ago. Also, Wood Elves, the full bloods seem that they could care less of a half breeds existence; Respect the forest, and they’re good.” She left the demon speak for another time, if they spent more time than it took to get him back to Briaré, then they could delve into that then. There was the quickest rustle of brush that drew here attention before the elder dire wolf bound through into the clearing to come to rest at the side of Irlana… With Nitala on his back. IT took every inch of her willpower not to pinch the bridge of her nose in both disbelief and frustration. Send the wolf for help, which he clearly knows how to seek, and he brings Nitala here. “And here’s the reinforcements... “ Came in a soft sigh, pointedly ignoring her friend’s comment about the boy troubles, “Do me a favor and stay on Jaeger. I don’t know what kind of awful is in these puddles.” Noting Faust’s immediate discomfort and reached up to gently pat Jaeger’s neck and whispered a soft word in Elven; Ease. “Nitala, this is Faust Reinhart of the Hell Fire Company. The esteemed mayor of Briaré apparently hired him and his people to take out the Skullfort tribe,” A hand made a wide sweeping gesture to the widespread carnage. She let Faust explain the rest; All of which still didn’t make a lick of sense to Irlana. Goblins were a pain, but what he described? Never. Not even in mass. As he spoke, she slipped past him silently, to come before the Broodmother. Taking a sturdy grip on the shaft of the arrow, she pulled, the arrowhead letting loose from the surface that had pinned the broodmother, and pulled free of the corpse with a squelch. Pulling out another vial, bigger one this time, she opened it and snapped the coated arrow head from the shaft and placed it into the vial. “Faust, I can’t fix what happened to your men and my condolences will not bring you peace or them back. But I’m going to try and figure out what happened here.” Looking to Nitala, “I think we should take him back to town and then go to our village. I need to tell my father and the other Rangers about this and see what Druids may be available to… Try and shine some light on this.”
  2. It had been so deathly quiet; No insects, no animals, not even the wind dared to tread here now. Something unnatural happened in this place. A bead of sweat trickled down from her hairline, just above her temple. Verdant eyes stared down the shaft of the arrow to take in the gore slicked features of the man before her, and to her surprise, Irlana realized he was a half elf like her. Though, her features tended towards her elven brethren, they were softened by her lovely human mother’s features and crown of thick, ebony locks that Wood Elves just didn’t have. But Elves or Half breeds did not have roar like that. And they did not have monstrous aura either, nor the mages. The fine hairs along her arms and neck prickled in warning. Subtly, there was the soft creak of a bowstring, masked by the winds of his unnatural aura, as she drew the notched projectile further. The tension was near max as the horn of the composite bow nearly bent in half in her strong hands. Yet, she did not loose the arrow. Once freed, an arrow would hit it’s mark; There would be no take backs, no way to go back and find out the true. It would destroy and take life. Ellunan Liadon, her father, had instilled that very importance of keeping a cool head amid chaos and danger because misunderstandings such situations have ended too many lives in the past. But he had not raised a fool either; Carefully, she sided stepped her way, beaten leather boots moving near soundlessly through the blood soaked mud, to position herself more behind him. He’d have to turn and rush her if he wanted, and with the arrow notched, as well as the two gripped in the hand that drew, he’d be at least two arrows heavier, slower and she’d greet him with the twin elven short blades drawn from her back harness. And as soon as she had positioned herself to start, planned and readied with in seconds for a possible battle, it was over. The feeling of foreboding washed away leaving just the two of them alone in a blood soaked Goblin encampment where nothing living dared to tread once more. He was once more was the worn Half Elven man, with a look that was somewhere between exhaustion and ready to fight again, even if he fell over before taking a step towards her. She remained aimed and unblinking. "I was hired and paid to kill the Skullfort Tribe of goblins; that's what happened. My name... My name is Faust Reinhart, Commander of Hell Fighter Company. Do we... have a problem here...?" His weary words broke the stillness. She had heard of the Hell Fighter Company and their commander in passing from the adventurers that passed through the forests. As the realization of his words hit, the visions of the slaughter around them… There was a very subtle twitch to her right eye; That light-forsaken, trash of a mayor had went behind her and the other rangers backs to go after the goblins. Sure, there had clearly been something horrific going on here, but the Mayor had not known it, or he would have informed her father. The Rangers would have scouted, planned and ended the tribe if there proof it was needed. But now… All these lives… A blood curdling screech ripped through the silence painfully, as her Elven ears placed the oncoming attack from the other side of him. Disregarding the man, the tip of the arrow adjusted just a touch as her lips murmured soft Elven, engulfing the notch arrow in a light the color of new leaves as the perpetrator of the screech made her presence known; A large, bulbous goblin, with only the barest features of something akin to feminine. Aching fingers released the glowing bolt. It streaked past’s Faust’s vision, a soft shift of air, as it struck the charging Goblin with enough force center mass, the shaft of the arrow struck the wooden structure behind it and pinned the raging creature. It opened it’s maul with horrific, jagged teeth to roar at Irlana, when it was meet with the silencing strike of another arrow less than a heartbeat later. Striking and pinning the snarling face to the same structure with a loud THUNK! as the creature spasmed and viscous black liquid oozed forth from all openings of the creature. Calmly, Irlana stood there, the last of her drawn arrows notched as she looked at Faust Reinhart with a touch of mild annoyance. “Yes, we do…” Her gaze held his, “ You forgot the goblin Broodmother.” Tilting her chin towards the death rattling creature, “I’m willing to chalk up that prior display of yours to magic because whatever happened to here… to these goblins and your people needs to be addressed.” ...And she just hoped Jaeger had found enough help to deal with this.
  3. Light green eyes the half elven Ranger scanned the darkened path ahead of her, only a few spot of light dappled the well beaten Ranger path through the thick canopy of the forest. There was the softest rustling of underbrush to her right and those eyes of her pinpointed on the stirring of leaves that fell near chest level; Sneaky, he was not. Holding her position still, breathing softer than flight of a feather much like the movements of her hand as she pulled a piece of well-worn parchment from her scarred and weather beaten leather armor. A smirk toyed her lips as she felt the wind shift, putting her downwind of the rustling. Perfect. Holding the folded parchment away from her body between two fingers, letting the scent carry on the breeze. The smirk toying at her lips turn on full as the rustling grew into a scramble and the mammoth of wolf burst out from the thick underbrush in an explosion of leaves, twigs and flower petals. The tan, grey and brown wolf with is sharp markings came forth with no teeth bared, but rather a near romp to his step as he stiffed the air. Irlana Liadon, Ranger to the Liadon Village of Wood elves, strolled casually up the beast that nearly stood to her five foot five stature. As she went to pass the wolf, she bopped him lightly on his dark nose, above his graying muzzle. “Tag. You’re it Jaeger.” The wolf gave a slight huff before nuzzling the hand that contained the letter from Nitala, heralding her return to the region, and Jaeger couldn’t be more excited than to see their old friend. “Come on ya goof. The weather was fair and that means she should have arrived yesterday or today.” The old wolf took to trotting next her; Looking the part of intimidating but really, nothing but a big sweetpea. It had been both of the girls that had found the adorable wolf pup abandoned in the forest, and it hadn’t taken more than the little furball to toddle after them for more than ten feet before they decided he was theirs. Of course, Irlana trained him and Nitala gave him all the treats. They had thought he was a regular wolf pup, until he kept growing. And growing. It was then they realized they had found a rare Dire Wolf pup. And the rest is thirty years of history. Even though he stayed with Irlana; Hunting, ranging, patrolling and grumpy old wolf napping, he was as much Nitala’s friend as hers. The day was warm, near too warm when adorned with armor and weapons, but there were rules to traversing the forest; Never unprepared, never unarmed. The forest gave life and took it just as fast. The Light occasionally fit to treat them to a breeze would drift by the pair, cooling the beads of sweat on her sun-bronzed skin and lifting the thick black braid so the back of her neck could enjoy the effect. But it was one of those breeze shifts that put her and Jaeger downwind of something foul. Jaeger picked up first and just as his hackles began to rise, she picked up the non-too subtle metallic scent of blood. It was like a wall of decay and horror that caused her to be taken aback for a moment as her gentle Jaeger snarled fiercely in the direction it came from… Skullfort. “What did Briaré do…” She murmured with a bit of horror as she grabbed onto Jaeger and swung herself on to the wolf with ease and no saddle. He didn’t even have to be told where he was going, the wolf knew as he tore off the beaten path and through the forest with a speed that could near rival the forest cats. And as they drew closer and closer, the scent could now be felt as much as smelled. It clung to the air, and worse, it drew no scavengers. Then when Skullfort came in sight, she gasped. What did they do…? The Mayor of Briaré had made the suggestion that the Elven Rangers ought to get rid of the Skullfort Goblins, but it had been Irlana and her father, Ellunan’s, opinion to leave well enough alone and if the human town stopped expansion, the Goblins would calm their attacks. Goblins were vile creatures, but had a purpose. And Briaré could expand the other way because the Wood Elves were not going to take to kindly to expanding into the forest either. But it appeared the Mayor went against that advice, and the heads of the people lining Skullfort proved it as the pair came a stop before the essence of death itself. “Jaeger. I’m going in. You need to get to Briaré.” Pulling a ribbon of red from her pouch, she tied it into the coarse fur, a signal to Briaré and other rangers that something was terribly wrong. They’d follow the wolf back to Irlana. Jaeger growled as she slid off his back in one motion, drawing the elkhorn long bow and three arrows, before her leather boots squelched into the blood soaked mud that seemed to leak entrance. There was a hesitation to Jaeger, not a trait that her companion had, as her word or order was law. “Jaeger. Now.” She hissed. As much as she wanted him with her, people needed to know. His light grey eyes held hers before he dashed off as she ordered him. Good boy. Nocking one arrow, the others laced between her fingers for ease of reload, she entered the tribes grounds and felt the bile rise in her throat. She had dressed animals for butchering, had even done so herself, but this… The dismemberment, the blood and something that smelled just… Wrong. Unnatural. Swallowing painfully, she moved forward training the point of the arrow everywhere her sharp eyes fell. This wasn’t normal. Goblins, even with overwhelming numbers, simply did not do this. They killed small animals in frenzy, pissed off humans and elves alike with their angry antics, but they couldn’t take on trained soldiers. The weapons and armor, too big for the goblins, told her that much. It was her focus on one of those weapons that drew her attention to the dot of black ichor that floated in the middle of a puddle of scarlet. It was darker than night. And then it seemed to be sucked down into the small pool and disappear, causing her jump back. “What in the name of-” She mouthed the words but stopped as the sound of living movement drew her attention. Carefully, and as quietly as the mud covered ground allowed, she moved to the noise until she saw a man, kneeling and back to her. Covered as he was in mud and viscera, she could hardly discern any details of his race, origin or sigil. But she did know one thing; He was breathing, and by quick judge of her path in, the only survivor. “Hold still stranger,” came her elven accented common from behind him, the bowstring creaked as it was pulled taunt, “I am Ranger Liadon, one of the protectors of this forest, and I demand to know who you are and what has happened here.” Her voice was stern, holding the hint of authority that all rangers possessed. The draw of the arrow was for safety. If this were a mad man, she didn’t have Jaeger for back up. … And as she descended into the chaos that was Skullfort, Jaeger was tearing up the distance between him and the one person he knew always helped Irlana...
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