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The Hound

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  1. The Hound

    The Valucre Photo Album

    Ladies and gents, it is I. Your Houndsome bastard.
  2. The Hound

    Show and Tell - Rae's Gallery

    I am not retiring, for the record.
  3. The Hound

    Neon Stalker [Quest-Closed]

    Time, the wizard pondered to himself, was a funny concept. To some people, a lifetime passed in the blink of an eye. To some unfortunate people, life ended even before they got to blink their eyes. Time was the great equalizer; Whether one was born with a silver spoon up their rear or poor and fighting for scraps, time was the only thing that did not discriminate. Strong and weak, good and evil, big and small… Time forgot no one, and time passed in the same agonizingly steady pace for all. Rubbing the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger Leandros sighed deeply and allowed himself to reflect on the neckbreak speed with which his life had changed as he took a long gulp of his coffee and shuffled uneasily through the piles of paperwork. All in all, any observer would have remarked that the changes to his life had been largely positive. Six months ago, Leandros Kostikos had been a nigh on vagrant wizard who picked up any and every case he could as a private detective in order to stave off the never-ending line of debt collectors that seemed to follow him around with the rage of a spurned lover. He had his dinghy office in Hell’s Gate, his small apartment in the very same building, and his collection of vaguely threatening letters warning him that people would come and collect the money that was due. He would take a meal where he could find it, And then… He got hired to be someone’s private protector, had his debts paid… And never even got to do the job he was hired for. Instead, the wizard was thrust into a world of politics that moved so swiftly he thought he could file a medical suit against Red due to the crick she had left on his neck with the speed she had made his head spin. Leandros Kostikos, post his employment with the Queen, was no longer a wizard private detective. He was a wizard architect. He was a wizard babysitter (babysitting a bunch of baby wizards that had a penchant to blow things up more than he ever did.) He was a wizard paper-pusher. A wizard soldier. And not the least of all… He was someone’s boyfriend… And soon to be a father. How the hell was he going to fit all of that in a business card?! For a moment, his thoughts veered toward the raven-haired woman whose chamber he shared, and a fleeting.rare (nowadays) smile washed the vaguely distressed features away from his face. Lyra had become the one ray of sunshine in the never-ending cloudy days in which he had found himself. Recently he had overheard the whispers of his men in the Iron Legion, claiming that his eyes had all the nurturing comfort of a dental drill. And just like that, the wizard caught a glimpse of himself in the ornately polished mirror in his office at the school and shock washed over himself. He could hardly recognize the stranger that stared at him with hardened lavender eyes. Once described as all long limbs and borderline malnutrition, he was faced with a man who was made of lean muscle and a hard, lined face. His once lustrous shoulder-length black hair now bore tinges of gray that seemed to even streak the beard he had now taken to sporting. Gone were the comfortable jeans and faded out t-shirts. Instead, he wore tight-fighting, steel padded pants and the standard opaque armor of the Iron Legion, adorned with the shroud of the Grey Warden. The man who stared back at him was a stranger (albeit a very handsome, Leandros-like stranger.) And he wasn’t sure he liked him. Lost once more in a cloud of thoughts that more or less centered around the question of who he was, the wizard eyed the one drawer he kept locked. Almost impulsively, he brushed his fingers against the steel contraption and felt the familiar thrum of power that came along with his particular wardings. With a whisper of power and a couple of words, the wizard coaxed the drawer open and pulled out three objects. The first item was a well-worn photograph, taken at an old bar he was sure he still owed money at, that depicted the night of debauchery that had taken place after he had solved his first case. There was Lee, much younger and rosy cheeked from cheer and inebriation. There was Tetsuya, his mentor who had easily been thrice his age and trapped in the body of an eight year old boy scowling at the raucous bunch. Xieronis, his former lover and sometimes partner in crime slapping him on the shoulder… And then there was Thorn, the usually muted druid that stuck as far as possible from the spotlight, sporting an unusual expression of cheer as he embraced the wizard. From what he remembered of the morning after, the hangover had been absolutely horrendous, and the little money he had made on the case had mysteriously disappeared along with (most of) his bar tab. All in all, it had been one of the happiest moments of his life. Setting the picture back down with what could almost be described as reverence, Leandros turned his eyes toward the second object: It was a simple, cheap business card with his name embossed in navy blue along with the title of “Wizard P.I.” Sighing to himself moodily, he tossed card back into the drawer and once again wondered how he’d fit the never-ending string of titles that came along with his employment into a business card. The truth was, Leandros was not happy about his current situation (save for the woman he had somehow found and managed to knock up, and the frightening yet exciting prospect of fatherhood.) He had been used to nights of little sleep and stress, but this… This wasn’t what he wanted. The only thing he was sure of was that he had no idea what to do next… Which brought his eyes to the third object. Taking a hold of the thick, steel chain, the wizard brushed his thumb at the roughly hewn stone pendant he had carved so many years ago. Once again, a faint smile appeared on his lips as he thought of his pendant’s twin, wondering if the Druid had discarded it or if he had kept it. To his surprise, he felt the faint spark of power that had once lit the runic carvings alongside the stone. It was muted, almost gone… But his work had been good, and although the power battery that had linked the two stones was almost empty he was fairly certain that he could reactive his enchantments. Without a second thought, the wizard slipped the stone around his neck and closed his eyes, shutting the world around him out as he felt his magic within himself. “Vocis, Vociferes, Vocare. Vocis, Vociferes, Vocare.” He chanted under his breath, releasing the energy from inside of himself into the pendant. For a moment, an emerald glow shrouded his being as the magic was shaped into words, funneling itself into the stone. When he had made the set, he had made sure that he could remotely recharge the communication spells so that he and Thorn could find themselves once again. He had not made the stones for single use, as he had let his comrade believe… In fact, once upon a time he had a dream that they’d be partnering much more than once every odd decade. “Come on, Flowerpatch. Tell me you’re a sentimental old fool like I am and you kept trinkets.” He whispered into the stone, lavender eyes glimmering with a hint of their old impertinence. As he began to shape his thoughts, the wizard was abruptly brought out of his reverie as a sound akin to a cannonball permeated the quietude of his office, starling him straight out of his chair and onto the floor, followed by the familiar motor-mouth of the man he had hired to conduct research for him. “Damn it Issac, what do doctors have against the polite practice of knocking!” He admonished him without heat, forgetting that he had left the enchantments of the stone running. “Didn’t you read the sign posted outside?! Never interrupt a wizard while he’s wizarding! I could’ve been polishing my staff for all you kno-- WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT ACID EATING THROUGH THE FLOORS OF MY SCHOOL? And I thought I had a monopoly in causing public destruction.” The wizard berated him, lavender eyes alight with glee at the bantering about to ensue, bringing himself back up to his feet as he glared daggers at the doctor. “What brings you here to my lair?” Lair. So much more wizardly than paper-pushing jail cell. @carrionjackal @Grim Wolf @danzilla3
  4. The Hound

    Dancing on Moonbeams!

    “I would thank you all to not touch Raveena, take your nice dress, and quite presently bugger. Bloody. Off.” A sharply accented voice seemed to cut through the tumultuous reverie that seemed to follow the newly minted Queen around like a besotted teenager. For a moment, the voice seemed to hang about them, disembodied… Until a tall, vaguely familiar figure with an carefully composed expression and piercing orange eyes that seemed to hide some hint of emotion as his eyes focused on Raveena, right hand gripped by his left behind his back as he stepped closer to the group. “Except for you, Grant. You needn’t bugger the fuck off. Although I’d recommend you learn to keep your hands to yourself and not let some clumsy soldier of Emperor Crossdress cut it off. Or do you go by Empress when dressing and acting like a wanker?” Rowan Knight had arrived. And yet… It had not been the same Rowan Knight that the newly minted Queen had known. Usually known for his immaculate choice of suit, and his well-kept ponytail, the chimera had chosen to embrace the role that had been thrust upon him when he realized he had fallen in love with the maddening, inconceivably naive woman he had been chosen to guard. No, he found that he could no longer only be that man and care for her in the way she needed. In many ways, by coming out to the party in the manner he had chosen, he was making a declaration: In the past, Rowan Knight had worn the stoles of bodyguard, assassin for hire, spy, and every shade of morally ambiguous character imaginable. Tonight, however, he wore the garments of the Alethean Queen’s Consort. Clad in a knee-length dark blue overcoat that had been embroidered with the Queen’s sigil in silver, Rowan had discarded his traditional suits for the night in favor of the traditional Matreyan ack’aan… Although he had not entirely foregone habits past. Tightly clad around his chest was his custom made Kevlar vest, nearly invisible beneath the heavy layers of cloth in his coat. Wearing a white leather belt that matched the same white tone of his pants, the chimera had taken full advantage of the ack’aan’s length, concealing a holster and a bevy of his usual weapons around his waist, including an array of firearms and explosives. But the biggest change, however, had not come from the change of outfit: It had come from the fact that his hair-- the shoulder-length ponytail he had worn for years-- was gone, cut down to a modestly mid-length style that had been combed to the side, emphasizing his wolfish features and the sharp angles of his cheeks. Brushing past Koji, the man made no attempt to move out of the way as he walked toward Raveena, throwing his shoulder against the Emperor’s own, eyes never wavering from the woman he had once called his paycheck and now had the fortune to call the other half of his heart. Bowing his head ever so slightly toward her while completely ignoring the others save for a brief tug of his lips and nod toward Grant, Rowan halfway bowed toward Raveena, unwinding his arms from around his back to place his hands at either side of her waist. “Grieevos daa zaii'ya." He said softly, allowing a small but honest smile to play on his lips before he pulled her body to his and brushed her lips with his own, orange eyes never once leaving the verdant pools that had burned his soul so. Ten seconds passed. Twenty. Thirty… And yet Rowan could not seem to find it within himself to give a damn as to what manners required of him. Finally pulling back from her and looping one arm around her, the chimera flashed a wolfish grin toward Grant and reached one hand to rest on his shoulder. “We shall debrief on this situation later, young Knight.” Rowan said quietly, surprising himself as he realized that part of his annoyance had not only been at Raveena being placed in danger, but rather at the fact that his young protege had found himself hurt. “Kodi, wasn’t it? You have a penchant for choosing the nicest dresses.” Rowan said nonchalantly, shifting his gaze from Grant and into the emperor before nodding with mock courtesy. Sparing a glance to Raveena as she commanded the swordsman to raise his arm, Rowan snorted softly and shook his head as he briefly felt his more animalistic urges compel him to rip it off and to protect the offspring. “First things first, I’ll thank you to keep your hands off of her Majesty unless you’ve been invited to touch her. And second…” Rowan leaned forward, orange eyes positively glowing with animalistic fury as he flashed his teeth at the man in the rictus of a smile. “If you or pet sword ever deign to raise a hand toward Raveena or my subordinate, I do believe I will be --in this particular order-- feeding him his sword after I remove your entrails with my bare hands.” Turning his eyes toward Raveena, Rowan pulled her body against his and began to dance to the soft music that played in the background. Casting a glance at Grant, the chimera tilted his lip upward toward Grant as he nodded to have him move off with them. “I do believe we’ll find you a Mrs. Grant yet, young Knight… But the bird in the dress may be a wee bit much for you to handle at your current skill level.” @Deus Ex Aizen @danzilla3 @Twitterpated @Etched in Stone
  5. The Hound

    The Mountaintop

    Rubbing his face, Reinhard sighed tiredly as he felt the coarse beard that had grown in his face during his period of convalescence. Beneath the beard, the man could feel the wrinkles that now lined his face and he wondered for the first time what sort of sight he must be presenting himself as. Once upon a time, Catching his reflection in the transparent window pane, Reinhard found himself surprised at how… Old he looked. He remembered the man he had been. He remembered the fierce, sharp lines his face once had. The unwieldy, unmanageable mane of red hair that had once adorned his now bald pate. Where scars and a comfortable layer of padding had been in his gut, he once had hard muscle and clear definition. But time passed, and he had grown old. In his wrinkles, he saw the tapestry of his lifetime written in his skin. In his scars, the old knight saw reminders of victories and failures… Lessons. The old man eyed his metal hand for a moment, and sighed deeply as he forced himself to look at the young man before him once more as he spoke of the nature of his god. For nearly his whole life, he had found solace in the White God. After a youth of purposeless wandering, he had found solace in the pristine cloak of religion. His whole life, he had thrown himself arduously into his belief. He had missed namedays, laughter, and time with his family. Forsaken it all in the name of duty. Given the chance to redo his life? He’d have done no differently, but… Could it be that perhaps his duty was not done? That there was still a way he could serve? Sighing to himself, Reinhard forced his rust-colored eyes to meet the whorling pools of darkness that laid before him. “Don’t you think I wish I could live longer, Athyon?” The man rasped tiredly, sighing once more as he leaned against the cold stone walls of his infirmary. “Don’t you think I wish I could live long enough to right my wrongs? To fix all that I’ve left broken? Athyon, I am not a man. I am a knight. That is who I am, throughout. That’s all I have ever been or wanted to be. Men bend and break. Men allow their failures to weight them down and stop them. I do not have that luxury, young man… But what I do have, is a short amount of life left I’d like to do something right. Not because I wish to prostate myself in a cross for the God, but because the people in the world still need me… And I am not sure how much I can give them, or how long I will be alive in order to give them what I do have.” Lifting his head, the old warrior looked toward Athyon’s direction-- looked through Athyon-- as he saw the years of his youth. When he was younger, the Dragon of Patia had been another man altogether: He had never looked death in the eye and saw the possibility of it catching up with him. To the young, death often seemed like an abstract concept; death had been his enemy, something that try as it might he would always defy. In his youth, he had often proclaimed that the thread of his life had been made of steel. But now… Now that he felt a cold, creeping weight in his limbs he had not known. Now that he felt wounds he hadn’t even thought of in years... Now he knew a truth that once eluded him. Death wasn’t an enemy; Rather, death was an old friend, a lover whose shoulder you brushed but were not so eager to brush up against once more. And the thread of his life? It wasn’t made out of steel. It was a thread of gossamer. Shaking his head, the old warrior looked at his current self-- Really looked. The years had passed, and in the fervent urging of the White God what had he done? He had saved a great many deal of people-- But in the end, he had lost the people he had loved. He had served a man whom he had long known to be a vile, despicable creature-- And he had slaughtered his enemies without questioning. Like a good soldier… In his zealotry, he had lost his love, his family. In victory, he had failed much. Could it be that he had exchanged one drug for another, as he allowed the religious fervor to overtake his once drug addled heart. Reinhard had been a good soldier. But it was time for Reinhard Paendrag to be a good man. “I have… Weaved a tapestry of failures with my life. In the blind pursuit of a God that granted me power but not the wisdom to temper it with, I have served monsters and I have killed hundreds to protect thousands.” With rust colored eyes focused on Athyon, Reinhard pushed himself to his feet once more and began to walk, extending his hand toward the Imperator. Although clearly pained and tired, there was something else that had been growing behind the old man’s eyes: Determination. “I do not know how much of my candle yet burns, young man. I do not know how many times I will yet evade death. But if you insist there’s another path to walk, I will try to see it through your eyes. So help me see, Athyon. What lays beyond the White God? What do I have left?”
  6. True to form, the adage still held: Men plan, and God laughs. Moving through the crowds quietly, the Rowan struggled to keep himself even as thoughts furiously churned within his mind. Things were never simple when it came to his charge, it seemed. Not her plans, not her goals, not her ambitions. Months of careful planning, infiltration, and political manipulation had gone to waste because of one singular factor: Raveena’s need to play the bloody martyr. Even as he moved through the crowds, his ears were assailed by the cries of the crowd, the sharp cracking of the whip, the soft sounds of her cries. But all of this he could tune out. He had seen worse. He had done worse. What he couldn’t ignore, however, was the sickly-sweet scent of blood. Her blood. Almost contemptuously, he dodged and danced through the barrage of arcane and mundane warriors. Eyes facing forward, he felt the thrill of battle call to him-- And he ignored it completely. With a serpentine movement, the assassin dodged one of the beast’s clumsy attempts at a physical blow, swiftly striking at the beast’s throat with the barrel of his gun, and squeezing the trigger as it made contact with its’ chin. Warm blood splattered on his face, and the man barely noticed. Taking off in a sprint, the man moved through the crowd, not paying any mind to the blows that came his way as he danced death’s dance, not discriminating against those who stood in his way as he carved his crimson path toward his charge. For years, Rowan had lived under a simple creed: Control the beast within, or become no better than the animals he had dispatched. Like a dying man clinging to his last breath, he had held onto the singular shred of humanity that had kept him from losing control over his baser impulses. He had build up delusions of a code. Of civility. But today… Today, he didn’t care for any of it. Discarding the cape he had chosen to conceal his identity as he ran, a few things became readily apparent for those who knew the chimera. First, he had foregone his usual attire. In place of the immaculate suits he had prided himself on was an outfit made entirely of matted leather with heavy plating on his legs, chest, and arms. Subtlety was an assassin’s game… But he wasn’t going to be subtle. Strapped across his chest and arms were a plethora of firearms and ammunitions, grenades and knives. A single word decorated his left breastplate, naming the nightmare he had chosen to become once more: Preta. Every weapon had a purpose, and he knew all of them in his head and how to properly utilize them. But at the moment… At the moment, the second thing also became apparent: He no longer cared. Gun after gun, round after round, he emptied his ammunition at every available target.Friend, foe, innocent, guilty… It no longer mattered to the chimera. He dropped his guns as they emptied, forgotten and far from his mind. He could almost feel her. He tasted her blood in his mouth, almost felt her pain. The world disappeared from around him as the scent of gardenias, once a comfort that bespoke of her presence became cloying, maddening as it was tainted by the sharp scent of her suffering. Rowan was a man of control. A man who did nothing deliberately, and who weighed the consequences of his actions. For years, he had fought to choose man over beast. He had fought to keep the foreign presences in his mind at bay, and had even achieved a measure of peace and control over his emotions. Truth be told, Rowan hardly felt. As a rule, assassins did not form bonds. Wet works agents were trained to be able to fake emotion passably, but instructed that feeling was a failure. It took away from the control necessary to do their jobs. And as he approached his target, Rowan Knight felt something he could not control. Anger. Primal, burning anger that radiated from his chest and stopped him short. Orange eyes widened as the creature boasted of having killed her. Dead. She was dead. She. Was. Dead. Gripping his hands tightly, the chimera felt the shock take him. He fell to one knee as the noise inside of his head became deafening. He felt the insect DNA inside of him scream, aching to tear the beast limb from limb. And that’s when anger shifted to something far, far more sinister. A black hatred burned in his chest. She was dead. Raveena was dead. He felt tears, warm and wet fall from his eyes even as a bubbling, rasping laughter ripped itself from his throat. Carelessly, the man ripped his body armor off, revealing a lean but muscular chest as he forced himself to his feet, slouching as his orange eyes fixed themselves to the beast’s arm. His Raveena was dead…. And all of the bloody cunts that had helped cause her death were going to follow her. It was a conscious decision that led him to unleash all that he had been holding back. In a brief moment of clarity, he understood the chittering of the DNA inside of him. He welcomed their rage. He welcomed their strength. He welcomed the madness that numbed away the heart-wrenching grief her death had brought him-- He would have time to grieve later, after he killed every one of them. He felt the DNA take over his body, covering his torso in the black, chitinous carapace that served as his armor even as his mouth split open, revealing a second row of teeth as two insect-like mandible appeared on the side of his mouth. Dimly, he felt his skin split open as his wings appeared and two sets of spider-like limbs tore their way through his pants at his waist. Lazily, he lifted his fingertips toward the beast’s arms and he felt the stingers that grew beneath his fingers fire at it, piercing its’ skin. A slow, maniacal smile spread on his lips as he let out a deafening, chittering roar that seemed to stun the battlefield into a halt. In that moment, the beast that had been known as Rowan Knight leapt at the executioner, gripping his arm with the crushing strength he had once so hard to control. He felt the bones snap beneath his fingers, and with a jerking motion and a spray of hot, fetid blood, he ripped the creature’s arm off and tossed it to the side. Using his free hand to jerk the creature’s head back, Rowan let out yet another chittering cry as he opened his jaws and sunk his teeth against the creature’s neck. He felt its’ life-blood in his lips, dirty, foreign, and stricken by suffering and he felt a measure of… Happiness. Gripping its’ head tightly, Rowan willed his spider limbs to sink into the creature’s chest. He felt the squelching meat part for him, and with a simultaneous motion of limbs, he tore the creature into three parts: His torso, neatly sheared into two… And its’ head, still attached to the spine. With surprising gentleness, he laid the head of her assailant by Raveena’s corpse and turned around. “For you, my love.” He said quietly, his voice clear and human for a moment as Rowan turned himself around and wove a netting of webbing around her body in order to obscure it from view. The tumultuous sound of battle called to him once more. Turning his back toward her, Rowan allowed the beast within him to take rein once more. Without vacillation, the man jumped into the fray once more, punctuating the night with the cries of humans and beasts alike. Raveena was dead. And there were a lot more who were going to join her. @danzilla3 @Deus Ex Aizen
  7. The Hound

    The Mountaintop

    For a moment, the old man wondered at the source of the voice that had addressed him even as his eyes adjusted to the artful umbrage that the lonesome candle provided in his rather generous confines. For all the years that the old man had carried his name, he had never once questioned what it might have meant. Dimly, the old man’s memories of a day so very long ago where he had been baptized under the Church of the White God’s light and had for the first time been given a name. A bitter chuckle escaped his lips as the man lauded him with praise, only serving to remind him of the dark blot of failures his life had been thus far. Shaking his head gently Reinhard attempted to clear his throat again as he swung his feet over the edge of the bed, feeling his bare soles meet the familiar feeling of cold stone. With a gasp, the man placed some of his weight against his legs and pushed himself into a tentative standing position…. Only to find himself sinking heavily once more against the bed with a grunt. “I wouldn’t know what Reinhard derives from, my lo-- Athyon.” Reinhard corrected himself, forcing himself to his feet once more with a gasp. He knew the weakness that beset his body, a bittersweet mix of the ravages of time, the collection of scars and wounds that peppered his body both old and new, and the curse that had beset him for the past few years and even now ate at his insides, hastening the inevitable truth that all men in time faced. Setting all of it aside with a contemptuous brush from his mind, the old knight gingerly took a shaking step forward, following by yet another, and another still. He had always found comfort in pacing when he spoke. “Reinhard was the name assigned to me by the Church of the White God after they took me in, branding me a new man and washing away the seventeen years I had spent as a street urchin. Paendrag did not come until much, much later when I was already a soldier. You see, a dragon and its’ servants had been terrorizing the town I was guarding… And they kidnapped my wife in order to lure me into a trap.” Turning his back toward the curious young man before him as if to hide the flash of pain that clouded his features as he lost himself into his past, Reinhard managed to keep his deep voice devoid of emotion as the secrets he had carried so long ripped themselves out of his chest. Gripping the stump from which his metallic hand attached to his wrist, the man continued his story even as the runes in the rough metallic began to bathe the room with their warm white light. “And lure me they did. I fought desperately through its’ lair… Only to be greeted by the unseeing blue eyes of the head of the woman I once loved. In a pique of youthful fervor, I jumped at the dragon. It bit off my hand, and I cut off its’ head.” He said in clipped tones, unable to keep the age-old rage from his tone as he recalled his battle with the Adversary. “From his body, I fashioned my armor and hammer, and from that day forth they legitimized me as a noble and called me Paendrag, which was both a title and a jest. He who is pained by dragons, and he who slew the dragon. It was the first time I was awarded for the tapestry of failures set in my path.” For a moment silence stretched as the man forced to take one step after the other and mulled the decisions that had brought him to his current predicament. He had given Patia over sixty years of his life. Sixty years of missing his family, of bloodshed, and of watching men he trained and worked with die before his eyes. Sixty years of serving the mad, cruel Black King in the name of duty and honor… Only to find that the Devil knew little of that when faced with love. Flashing a toothy smile as his rust colored eyes sought out the enshrouded figure, Reinhard shook his head. “I am neither of inhuman will or strength. I am a vessel of the White God, and I am living on borrowed time.” He said quietly, placing his metal hand over his heart. “I have been cursed, and in truth I should have died a while back. All of my organs are failing, and I knew I was not long for this world. After failing Lady Gabriela, for whose protection I indeed left that Devil’s service, I was a man without purpose… Until I had heard of the event you all have called Whispernight. I am seventy-seven years old, Athyon. I have known nothing but a life of blood and failure.” He said raggedly, returning to his cot and sinking heavily against the soft plumage of his covers as he leaned forward and rested his forehead against the palm of his remaining hand. “I am no hero. But great men are forged in fire, and it is the privilege of lesser men like me to light the flame.” He said softly, eyes bright with unshed tears as a ragged breath ripped his way out of his chest. “For the last few months, I have traveled from town to town, and I have vanquished as much of the plague that beset these lands as I could as I searched for an honorable death. I do not know how much time I have left-- Most men aren’t afforded that luxury. But so long as I draw breath, I will fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I have not led a worthwhile life. I have not been a good man. But I will end my life doing something worthwhile as soon as you give me leave.”
  8. The Hound

    Greets :)

    Welcome to Val. If you’ve got any questions ask.
  9. The Hound

    Hard as Stone and Cold as Ice

    “You know, lad. You’re not bad company. Silent. A good listener. It’s just a pity that things had to end this way.” The raven-haired man whispered, sparing a glance toward his silent ‘partner’. Fair-skinned and blonde the man had boasted about how fair a shot he was, and had been more than interested upon given an opportunity (and gold) with which he could prove himself. The contract was simple: Single target, unsuspecting, and full of pride. Allowing himself a chuckle, Rowan looked at the twin bullet wounds that had extinguished the spark of the young man’s life. As a general rule, Rowan Knight was entirely against leaving bodies: Bodies led to questions. They led to evidence. And they created an entire host of problems he did not have the inclination to deal with… But for once, the body was a part of his plan. Since coming to Valucre, the wetworks asset had made a small fortune taking different contracts. He was no stranger to infiltration, information gathering, torture, kidnapping, and even the occasional assassination. This, however, was a bloody first. Rowan Knight, former MI6 agent, wetworks specialist, and hired bodyguard had been hired to shoot the woman he had just began to suspect he loved and the fanger she was encountering as per the bloody fanger’s husband. All because her husband loved her. It was like the stories his wi-- Taking a grip of the side of his head, Rowan’s orange eyes winced as the little whisper of a memory escaped him once more. Lately, these little fragmentary passages seemed to come to him, tickling the edges of his mind but never remaining long enough for him to truly process what they meant. Ever since the Himmelfestung Affair and his subsequent actions, Rowan had found himself getting more and more of these flashes… He was not even safe in the few fleeting moments where he could sleep. Dreams had began to plague him, dreams he could hardly remember nor had cared to attempt. Dreams of a human Rowan Knight. Shaking his head and sighing to himself, Rowan pushed the troublesome thoughts of the past and decided to place emphasis on the troublesome tasks of the present. He watched as the little raven-haired woman walked through the gardens, face lit up with relaxed happiness after last’ night’s events. For a moment, Rowan leaned against the parapets of stone and could not help but smile to himself as the heart he had once sworn did not exist jumped as she sashayed her way into the little private area. She had been so shocked the night before when he took her hand into the crook of his arm and accompanied her to meet the Lord and Lady of the house. She hadn’t said it, but the look of incredulity in her face told him that she had expected him to leave. Not to act as her official escort. Not for him to smile and nod politely as they shook hands with Corvinus and Leoa. And certainly not for him to escort her back to her chambers and hold her while they both fell into the comforting lull of slumber. Slipping out of the bed they had shared early in the morning, Rowan had found himself amused with thoughts of leaving her vexed with how he had managed to leave the room so quietly. Casting a longing look toward the kettle, Rowan could not resist brewing them both a fresh pot of tea as he internally chided the lot of Valucretins and their inability to brew a proper cuppa. He readied himself to leave, Rowan stopped himself and scribbled her a note assuring that he would in fact return, but he had meetings with Corvinus and a certain set of affairs to take care of. Successfully he had established his own alibi and set himself to meet with his partner in crime, Efrideet, to make sure that the final details of their plan had been properly put in motion. As it turned out, a good murder attempt required three things: Preparation, location, and causation. Pulling off a successful murder was easy. Pulling off a successful failed murder attempt in which the would-be assassin would be killed and neither you nor the others involved would be suspected? A rather different endeavor. Sparing another glance at the body beside him, Rowan took a deep breath and ridded himself of his thoughts and emotions as his target and the collateral damage took place of the two women he had been watching. Bringing out the gun his accomplice had pilfered from a Kadian soldier, Rowan adjusted the scope and took aim. Ba-dum. He felt his heart beating and time slowing down as he took aim at the psion. That was the primary threat, and perhaps the only current foil to his plan. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. “Sorry, Raveena.” He muttered in a monotone voice to himself no one in particular as his finger found the trigger, squeezing once and feeling the light recoil of the rifle’s butt against his shoulder even as he squeezed the triggered once more. Turning his attention away from the collateral damage, the man moved the rifle toward the primary target as he cogitated his options even as the bullets impacted against his lady love’s left shoulder. That left him with the biggest issue of them all: How to properly execute his assignment. The difficulty with this was the restrictions he had been placed with. Fatally wound her, but not so fatally that she could not come back. That had left him with the obvious choice: A gut shot, which was not viable due to the growing child and the condition that the man who hired him had made that the child be unscathed. With that in mind, the chimera brought up the muzzle of the rifle and took a deep breath as he aimed toward the side of her neck before squeezing the trigger and repeating the process as he aimed at Gabriela’s thigh, hoping to nick the femoral artery. Setting the rifle upon the nearby tripod, the assassin hefted his ‘silent partner’ over his shoulder, placing his hand over the trigger and arranging his body so that it looked as if he were still attempting to take shots. He heard the commotion below as people began to make their ways into the garden, climbing his way down the walls directly behind them. He dropped to the ground and shook his head, his facial expression a mix of anger and grief that was only partially feigned as he pushed his way through to Raveena. Pale faced displaying horror, Rowan pulled up his sleeves as he appeared to check her wounds before placing his right wrist inches from it and pushing his webbing into a makeshift compress to try and stop the bleeding. “Efrideet, find the killer!” The other one, not me. Rowan said quietly as he lifted Raveena in his arms as if she weighed nothing. He began to stalk his way out of the the garden, taking a moment to look over his shoulder at the pregnant, bleeding figure, blinking, and staring at his friend once more. “I have to make sure Raveena is okay.” Since I already bloody hurt her.
  10. The Hound

    roboblu's AFV

    Good luck, Blu. We will miss you, and I hope we get to see each other again!
  11. The Hound

    Hey! (A rather simplistic thread title)

    Hey, as a non native speaker myself I’m glad to help.
  12. The Hound

    The Mountaintop

    Sleep, over many years and many wars fought, had become the one form of respite that the old knight had known. Relieved of the aches and pains that had come with age, of the memories that bespoke of his past failures and and the cost of success, and momentarily able to forget the life of battle that had led him to where he was, the old knight had long learned to block out dreams in favor of the shapeless black void that allowed him rest. For a few brief hours, nearly sixty years of battle ceased to be; sixty years of wounds, of heartaches and pains; for a brief few hours, Reinhard Paendrag, formerly known as the Dragon of Patia, ceased to be. All that existed was the comforting darkness. Or so it had been until the Whispernight. Now, the old man could no longer escape the dreams or the horrors he had seen. And in these dreams, Reinhard fought. Tasting the blood in his mouth, Reinhard felt his arms grow heavier as the scorched scent of unholy filth filled his nostrils. It had been days since he had slept, and black blood bathed the man from his head to his toes, obscuring the once pristine armor he wore. Bathed in the White God’s energy the Knight moved forward despite his exhaustion, carving a path through the horde that had beset the small village in which he had come to rest. Besaid, the locals had called it. Besieged, he had noticed. Swinging his hammer to the side, Reinhard caught another hellhound in the jaw, smelling the sickly scent of cooked flesh as the White God’s light burned its’ way through the beast. Looking at the small fist of citizens following close behind him, the old knight took a step forward… Only to be knocked off his feet as another of the creatures pounced at him. With a roar of challenge, Reinhard let go of his hammer and closed his fist, striking at the side of the creature’s face as it attempted to close its’ jaw around his head. Connecting with a satisfying crunch, the knight’s fist ached as it impacted the creature’s leathery flesh. Grabbing at its’ neck with his gauntleted hand, the old knight began to chant the White God’s prayers even as claws raked at his neck and at his armor, tearing pieces of it away. Raising the metallic hand that had so long ago replaced the one he lost, the old man began to gather the light of the White God with it as its’ focus, causing the dormant runes that usually remained dark to light with holy fire. With a grunt the man shoved the metal hand into the beast’s stomach, hearing the sizzling scorch as the metal hand tore its’ way through demonic flash. Chanting louder, the air around the old knight shimmered in response until a shaft of blindingly white, fire-like substance speared the creature, quickly consuming its’ demonic flesh and illuminating the otherwise starless night. Breathing deeply, Reinhard’s eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness once more as the last of the holy energy cascaded through his metallic hand. Sparing a glance at the last survivors of Besaid to be escorted out, the old man offered them a small smile and made as if to get up… Only to be wracked by by the pains that had begun taking him since the curse. With a gasp, the man arched his back as he began to seize and his insides began to burn. With a look at the women and children, the man forced himself to sit up with a gasp even as the pain threatened to overtake him. Steeling himself, the man pushed the pain back as the frightened faces of Besaid’s refugees crowded his mind. With a deep breath, the man gripped the handle of his hammer and slowly propped himself to his feet. He knew he could not fight the curse much longer. Death was inevitable, and his was coming soon. But not that day. Pushing himself to his feet, the old man fought to keep the pain from his face as he herded the women and children out toward the exit. He knew that the curse would overtake him. He knew that soon he would not be able to push through it. Every physiker and medic, magical and otherwise that he had visited, seemed astounded that he had not died half a decade ago… But none of them understood. His life was no longer his to give. Every scar, every wound he bore. Every time he spilled blood and protected life, he did so at the behest of the White God. His body, his every breath belonged to the being who had given him the strength to journey on after the loss of Elayne. The truth was, Reinhard hated the man that had failed his family for the sake of his nation. He hated that his zeal had lost him his family. But the White God had provided him hope when hope was gone. And in his name, no human soul would be lost that night. Gripping his hammer tightly in his hand and picturing the tapestry of people whom he had failed in life, the man began to mutter once more… But not religious chants. Names this time. Elayne. Markus. Ilyssa. Ceol. Severin. Reinier. Zig. Marissia. Gaven. Lady Gabriela. Elayne. Markus. Ilyssa. Ceol. Severin. Reinier. Zig. Marissia. Gaven. Lady Gabriela. Like a frantic plea, the names of the friends and family members he had failed ripped themselves off his lips as tears dripped down his face, creating clear paths through his blood soaked skin. What was physical pain compared to the heart-rending sorrow that his failures had caused. He pushed the physical pain away, brushing it aside with contempt as as he spared a glance at the scared women and children standing behind him. He could die another day. Lifting his hammer over his head, Reinhard let out a bloodcurling scream as the holy light of his God engulfed his body. He had nothing left to give. Nothing left to live for. Great men were forged in fire… And it was the privilege of lesser men like him to light the flames. “Stand back.” He said to the people behind him, not taking his eyes off of his target. Turning his eyes to the horde ahead of himself, the man began to move forward with a limping gait, then to steady steps, and finally to a sprint as he charged the horde of evil beings that Whispernight had wrought upon the world. Pain faded away to an after thought, even as he felt tendrils, barbed tongues, talons and teeth tore away at his armor and flesh. Consciously, he knew what was happening to him. But he no longer cared. Not when demons tore at him, or when even his trusted hammer cracked. His body was broken, but the old man would not allow it to deter him. Reaching deeper inside of himself than ever before, Reinhard Paendrag opened his soul to the Holy Flame and unleashed salvation upon the damned lands. With a blast like a cannon wave upon wave of Holy Light left his body, striking both friend and foe alike. Moments passed in the now silent battlefield, and the man dropped to one knee. As the light left him, and consciousness threatened to follow, he looked around himself in horror of what he had done. Had his efforts been another failure. Was he just another monst- His thoughts were interrupted as tiny hands gripped his sides, soft hands touched his face and attempted to pull him to his feet, and the voices of those he had sworn to save called out to him and urged him to his feet. Half-consciously, the man’s rust colored eyes surveyed the damage he had wrought to his enemies. Blinking blearily he noted himself to be surrounded by statues, but it hardly mattered. After a lifetime of failure, he had done one thing right. He had done one thing right at last… Shaking his head, the man felt the dryness in his throat as the aches and pains of his body threatened to overtake him. For a moment, Reinhard was confused as he shifted restlessly in bed, trying to remember where he was or how he had come to be there. The last thing he remembered was leaving the outpost in search of any other villages that needed help despite the protests made by the surgeons. He remembered the biting cold of the snowstorm that had taken him, barely protected by the broken plates of his armor and all that remained of his hammer. He remembered his limbs, heavy with exhaustion, refusing to work, and he remembered Death finally coming for him… Only to be forestalled by something. Someone. Blinking again, Reinhard forced himself to focus on his surroundings. Although small, the place was properly furnished and smelled of cleanliness. He could feel the fine bandages wrapped over his body, not coarse like the battlefield bandages he had grown accustomed to due to years of injuries… And he could hear the scratching of quill to parchment, soft and pensive. For a moment, the old knight considered that he may not necessarily be in friendly grounds. But if that were so, why care for his wounds. Twitching slightly, he was almost startled by the gentle tone of the man addressing him. His eyes rounded as the man spoke, his mind reeling with the information presented to him. He had been out for a month? “Good evening, my… Lord.” Reinhard croaked, wincing inwardly at how hoarse he sounded. Pushing the pain aside the old man forced himself into a sitting position, taking note of the aches and pains both old and new that beset his frame. The old man squinted, eyes focusing on the voice’s source as he bowed his head in lieu of the formal bow that a man so finely dressed might’ve commanded otherwise. “It seems like it would be poor manners of me to refuse to after your hospitality. I am Reinhard Paendrag. At your service.” He said, clearing his throat in an attempt to rid himself of the roughened tone.
  13. The Hound

    Hey! (A rather simplistic thread title)

    You're welcome! If you've got any questions, concerns, comments please feel free to send a message! Happy to help fellow writers!