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About Grimshar

  • Rank
    Immortal of Sithrak
  • Birthday 03/05/1993

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  • Location
    Washington State
  • Interests
    Gaming, Hiking, Hunting, Target Shooting, Electrical Engineering.
  • Occupation
    IT Support Specialist

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  1. Eriko strode deeper into the room, avoiding the roaring fires that adorned either side of the room. Who needed to warm their house in the dead of summer anyway? As she walked, one tapestry in particular caught her eye, a massive piece that spanned the entire height of the wall and then some. It was woven with the most vivid color she had ever seen, the background a blue so deep she felt as if she were staring into the ocean depths, yet tinged with a brightness of color that mesmerized her. She found herself lingering ever so briefly in front of it to let her eyes devour the sight of it, trying to decipher the story that it told. Each figure so contrasting to the blue background that they seemed to pop off the tapestry and come to life before her. A man with a chiseled jaw and dark hair throwing objects that glowed on the weave towards little, red, imp like creatures was the only image, and it was stunning to look at. She didn’t have time to get distracted, so she continued moving through the room, not noticing the multiple sets of eyes that peered out from underneath the furniture, tracking her through the room. How shadows had managed to stick to the bottoms of said furniture, was a magical miracle in and of itself. As she moved through the room to the opposite end, she passed the two doors that were adjacent to the entrance. They were made of the same dark wood as the tables, and hung seamlessly in the wall. They appeared to swing outward, which she thought made sense, they would be harder to break into that way. As she approached the wall, she noticed an alcove that was previously hidden by the dim light, it was filled with objects half hidden in shadows. She reached out tentatively, chewing on her lip as she did, grasping one of the objects gently and pulling it free of the darkness so she could inspect it. She cringed when she realized it was a dagger, one that looked old, really old. It was covered in rust and pitted all along the length of the blade. She hastily set it back on the stand she had plucked it from, not wanting to damage the item. Flakes dropped free of it when it settled back into its resting place, dusting the alcove and causing Eriko to cringe a second time. She backed slowly away from the alcove, turning to head back to one of the sitting areas closer to the center of the room. Perhaps if she waited for a short while, someone would arrive to greet her. She eyed each of the various chairs and couches, examining them for their potential comfort, before settling on an extremely plush looking leather armchair. As she lowered herself into the chair, a happy sigh slipped through her lips, this was one of the most comfortable chairs that she had ever had the pleasure to sit in. Even though it was still early in the day she found herself starting to nod off, the room was the perfect temperature for a nap, and the chair was just so damn comfortable. It wasn’t long before she gave in and allowed herself to slip into a rather pleasant dream about raspberry cream tarts. The sudden sensation of falling brought her abruptly back to wakefulness, a pang of annoyance rushing through her at the all too common nightmare interrupted the wonderful nap she had been having. It wasn’t until her face smashed into the floor that she realized she actually was falling. She sputtered indignantly and raised her hands to her face, clutching at the throbbing flesh there. Her indignance turned to icy fingers of terror when something, or someone, grabbed her ankles and yanked, hard. The legs of the leather armchair flashed past her, she yelped the threw her arms out, trying to catch a hold of something, anything. But it wasn’t meant to be, her fingers scrabbled over the legs of the chair and the hard, wooden floor beneath her before she felt that falling sensation again. The world turned dark for a brief moment before the lighting changed drastically, she couldn’t see much in the dim light, just hard stone flashing past her as she fell. Another hard jolt rattled her as she hit something hard beneath her, driving the breath from her lungs and knocking her out cold.
  2. There were many in the land of Terrenus who knew the ways and customs of Dougton, Eriko was not one of them. Despite being born in Casper and traveling all over the continent with her merchant father, she knew and understood very little about its different cultures. That was probably how she found herself in this situation. She had recently traveled to the town of Dougton from Casper, offloading large quantities of silk at such a low margin that she nearly wept. It was then that she heard of a man who was rather reclusive, and liked to collect antiquities. This alone wouldn’t have been enough to pique her interest, she didn’t have anything that would be of interest to the man, so an easy sale wasn’t her lure. It was the tales of debauchery and villainy that were spread by a doomsayer that preached from an overturned box in the market. This man wasn’t particularly exceptional, not by any means of the imagination. In fact, Eriko had seen thousands of them in her travels across Terrenus, there was always someone who thought the world was ending or that mole people were going to invade. But, as the man shuffled erratically back and forth on top of his box, thrusting a rusted and pitted iron cage to and fro and screaming about demons bringing about the end of Casper, she couldn’t help but feel a growing sense of excitement. Could demons really be coming? Could this man, Alban Moore, truly be able to summon creatures from another plane of existence? He wouldn’t be the first person in history to be able to summon beings from another plane, but the rarity of the ability was a draw that she couldn’t resist. Imagine, her, seeing a real, living, summoner! She tingled with excitement at the thought. She moved through the crowd, getting closer to the man and his cage, and was stunned to see a small lizard like creature with two small nubby horns protruding from its skull. The creature seemed to be upset about being swung round and round, and alternated between attacking the rusted iron bars and swiping at its captor. This was the real deal; she needed to find this man and speak with him. She rushed off to find her cart, spending no more time than necessary to wrap up the transfer of gold back to the banks of Casper and send a note to her father giving word of her delay. Then, she unhitched her horse from the caravan, asked a few people where to find Alban Moore, and raced off into the surrounding hillside. It was not a long trip, Dougton was a large city by every stretch of the imagination, but it was extremely dense. It was only once you reached the outer limits of the city proper and entered the farmlands that you stopped fighting the crowds. As she and her horsed cantered quietly across the rolling hills, she kept her eye out for the sign post indicating her ultimate destination. She muttered the instructions to herself as she rode, keeping them fresh in her mind. “Follow the main road out of town, turn on Moore Drive, then straight on until his manor.” The path down the main road had been quite pleasant, very flat, only curving slightly upward as it climbed out of the valley. Moore Drive, however, was less maintained, almost overrun with long grass and shrubs that made the entire road seem claustrophobic. As if a predator was hiding amongst the long grass, waiting for the perfect moment to strike; It was difficult to resist the urge to spur her horse forward at a gallop. Eventually though, the path opened up and she found herself mere yards from the front of the manor. Calling it a manor was probably too conservative, this was a full-blown compound. Tall fences lined the exterior of the compound, topped with razor wire. The building itself was a four-story monstrosity that loomed over her, and she couldn’t help but wonder why she hadn’t been able to see such a large building from afar, even with the tall grasses blocking her view. The building had two large wings, extending back away from the front entrance, creating that ever popular horseshoe style. The walls were made of dark stone, which was an odd choice of construction material in comparison to the rest of the buildings that had lined the streets of Dougton, which were mostly constructed from wood. Despite the imposing appearance that the building struck when she first lay her eyes on it, the front gate was propped open, as if inviting travelers to come inside. She nudged her horse forward, walking it inside the tall metal fence and into the front yard of the compound. There was a hitching post attached to the front porch of the manor so she tied the horse there and made her way up the front steps. Large wood doors loomed over the porch, twice her height and nearly as wide, they looked solid enough to stop a charging bull. She reached out and pounded the heel of her fist against the door. She had assumed that such a solid looking door would require a lot of effort to create a loud enough knock, but it boomed and the door actually creaked open a few inches. Was she just supposed to go in? Was there an attendant in the foyer that would be waiting for her? She assumed that such a place would lock the front entrance if they didn’t want people to just wander in. So, she pushed the door all the way open and stepped inside. As her eyes adjusted to the lower light of the room, she was able to take in the level of opulence laid before her. Thick rugs covered the floors, ornate pieces that were woven with golden threads, tapestries depicting all manner of scenery covered the walls, a crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, several low tables of dark wood were surrounded by thick leather armchairs. Two fireplaces with no apparent chimney’s flanked the room, fires roaring in their hearth. But, no one was present, the room was entirely empty and devoid of life. She couldn’t help but tenuously break the silence. “Hello?”
  3. Ted had spent precious minutes retreating with the Mork’Outh and Renkor’s corpse. He didn’t know how long it had been, couldn’t know, there was no way of telling time in these damned caverns. It felt like hours, and at some point, he had run out of orbs to throw. The only upside to this whole situation, was the open tunnel that was at his back. He had a funnel for the bugs, and that worked greatly in his favor. He had recklessly jumped into the fray, with nothing but his fists, and began ineffectually beating on the hard carapaces. If it wasn’t for the Mork’Outh occasionally reaching out to block a weapon strike that would have otherwise severed something important. Somehow, somehow, he managed to steal a sword from one of the bugs. The details on just how he managed that, were hazy. A sharp pain had erupted in his skull, like cold knives stabbing his brain, fortunately that wasn’t actually happening, but it still hurt nonetheless. He fumbled the sword around, slashing almost negligently at the bugs, nearly cutting himself several times. Even with his new weapon the press of the bugs was too much, they began overwhelming him, his sword strikes unable to hold them back. One particularly large bug rushed forward, a deep roar emanating from its mandibles. No... Xer’Orians didn’t roar, the sound was coming from behind him. Something massive rammed into him from behind, flattening him to the ground, but leaving him unharmed. He didn’t feel the need to get up, his body was so heavy, he was so tired. He did manage to turn his head to watch the utter carnage unfolding before him. Grigori, Renkor’s mount, who had grown significantly since their last encounter, shredded the Xers’ like paper with his claws and tail. The havoc lasted only a few short moments before the bugs seemed to lose hope and ebbed away like the tide. The drake hopped over to Renkor’s corpse, stepping over Ted to get there, before sitting on his haunches and hovering protectively over the man. Aelyria appeared in the mouth of the cavern, from where he didn’t know, the light of some darkness shining in her eyes. His own bone deep weariness pressed him to the stone, he had no desire to fight it anymore. “What now Aelyria?”
  4. You would think that having someone decide not to kill you would be a great relief. Turns out, it was, but a great weight still pulled against Ted as Aelyria turned her wrath against the Xer’Orians that came pouring from the labyrinth of tunnels around them. She carved through the buglike creatures with no more care than a farmer reaping his wheat, her body wreathed in smoky black flames. He let his body sag even further into the hard stone, feeling the haze and murk of his head wound already starting to creep back in. He didn’t have time to relax though, Monsieur Frond strode over to him before breaking the bonds that kept him shackled. Hundreds of Xer’Orian soldiers had surrounded them, now there were half as many, and Aelyria didn’t look like she intended to slow down. If anything, her doggedness could only lead to... yep... there she went, running straight after the Queen and her Consorts. He winced as one of the soldiers slashed Aelyria’s side, but she didn’t seem overly bothered by it. Then she was gone, obscured by the even larger press of Xer’Orians that rushed forward to stop her. A dozen of the creatures zeroed in on them, presumably because the Queen wanted to be able to re-exert her control over their minds and the easiest way to do that was by killing them. He tried to act quickly, but the head injury that was quickly revealing itself to be a nasty concussion prevented him from doing so. His fingers fumbled over the usual spots that he tucked away weapons, feeling nothing, the Xer’s must have stripped him of anything sharp. His pack was still firmly strapped to his back though, and as he slipped his hand into the side flap, he felt the familiar orbs rolling around. He shuffled through the orbs, most of them were only marble sized, not big enough to do much damage. Some were even smaller, no more than little firecrackers he used to start fires when it was too cold to do it normally. The bugs were almost on top of him when he managed to grab a handful and whip them out, throwing them in a wide arc at the feet of the advancing mob. Four of the five marble-sized orbs struck the ground and erupted in flashes of fire and smoke, a sharp report followed, bits of stone shrapnel spraying out in every direction, peppering both him and the deeper ranks of the bugs. The orbs weren’t strong enough to kill, but they were loud and disorienting, on contact they could even blow off a hand or foot, maybe even a leg if you hit the knee. The distraction was all he needed, he bent and grabbed Renkor’s clothes by the back of the neck and started dragging him. He got a few feet away before the bugs recovered and he had to stop and pull out more orbs to throw. He grunted in frustration; it was so difficult to split his focus. He could barely manage to keep a hand on Renkor while he dug around in his pack, it kept wanting to loosen on its own. He tossed the orbs, a spike of satisfaction as he saw one of the bugs pitch over as an orb connected with what he assumed was their shin. He went back to dragging, hoping Aelyria would be able to kill the Queen and somehow save them as well.
  5. Steel sang as it was pulled free from all manner of sheathes and binds, a Ranger was always prepared. It was impossible for anyone to react perfectly in an ambush, Rangers were drilled to understand this and mitigate their own mistakes with rapid action. It sometimes almost seemed as if the Rangers took the motto: ‘A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.’ and embraced it with almost suicidal fervor. Britt let out a war whoop that sounded suspiciously overjoyed before leaping at the nearest werewolf, which was still in midair, and swiping at it with a ridiculous looking horizontal attack. Jorge and Svein raced for each other, probably planning on using a complementing long-short spear combo that would enable them to harry the larger creatures. A pair of arrows hissed as they cut through the air and punched into a werewolf. A monstrously large werewolf landed in front of him and the fight was on. His opponent was twice his height and probably triple his body mass, a shiver of anticipation and fear ran up his spine as he squared himself against the creature. It must have been the pack leader, perhaps seeing his command over the rest of the squad and determining early on that they would face each other. It moved without preamble or fanfare, simply raising a massive arm and bringing a hammer fist down to smash him into the ground. He barely managed to sidestep and bring his sword up to counter the move, slashing upwards to sever the beast’s hand. He felt the blow connect and was startled when the beast’s flesh and skin held firm. He was even more surprised when the momentum from the hammer-blow pulled his sword towards the ground, wrenching his forearms and shoulders in a painful way. As his sword tip scraped along the ground the werewolf finished its blow, its fist smashing a spiderweb of cracks into the thick ice the covered the side of the pathway. It left Kjell in a bad position, but for the werewolf it was worse. The blow had pushed Kjell to the werewolf’s left side, and with the creature hunched over and overextended from its attack he had a clear opening. He pulled the sword in close to his sternum and stepped forward in a piercing lunge, driving his shoulders forward with his attack for maximum force. The tip of his sword found the perfect little notch in between the thing's ribs, slipping only slightly before catching and putting all of his force into the tip of the sword. It shattered, exploding in a thousand jagged, frozen pieces of steel and falling to the ground, leaving him holding just the hilt of a sword. He practically gaped, he’d been hunting wolves for the better part of two decades, and he’d never before broken a sword. A deep, screeching rumble emanated from the beast, which he absently realized was a chuckle before it backhanded him across the face. The metal cap he wore crumpled like a cheap piece of pot metal, digging painfully into his head as he was lifted bodily from the ground and tossed backwards. His neck screamed in agony, a blessing in disguise, at least it wasn’t broken. From his supine position he was able to see the rest of his squad had faced similar fates, downed and broken, but alive. A massive, hairy hand closed around the lower part of his face, turning his head to look into the too-close eyes of the werewolf. “Submit to Hati, Pure of Blood, I hunt not for you or your kin.” It must have meant his squad, by the way it gestured to the others. “My pack cleanses this place; we will stop the invaders from harming you.” Kjell could only stare up into the eyes of the massive werewolf and try not to gag on the fetid scent of its breath. Every time it spoke, it seemed to give away more clues as to what it was doing here. Without another word it stood, jumping back to the rooftops along with the remaining pack members and disappearing into the snow again.
  6. Ted wove in and out of consciousness for what felt like eons, as if worlds rose and fell around him during his haze. Moments of intense clarity burst through the fog of his mind, images of dark tunnels and chitinous monsters that haunted him. For the briefest of moments, he could have sworn that he caught a glimpse of Renkor, but not the Renkor he was familiar with, that he had traveled through Taen with. This one stared lifelessly back at him, his body crusted with dried blood and mucus, his hair long, a gaunt look on his face. He was glad that whatever was happening he was at least unconscious for most of it, the pressure and pain in his head was excruciating. The few times he was able to form a coherent train of thought brought the realization that bile stained the front of his clothing. A soft pop, like the sound his knees made when he knelt on a hard floor, brought him back to a state of lucidity. Everything hurt, everything. It was like someone had worked him over with a tenderizing mallet. Worst of all were his eyes, so much pressure, if felt as if they might explode out of his skull. As he opened his eyes he was greeted by an odd sight, Aelyria - whom he thought was dead - was standing directly over him holding an oddly luminescent blade. The rough feeling of hempen rope digging into his wrists alerted him to the possible danger of the situation, his sixth sense for danger tickling the back of his skull. There was an odd look on her face, like she was battling an inner demon long forgotten. He was hesitant to take his eyes off of her, but he needed to know what the hell was going on. A quick glance around the area revealed they were in a large cavern of carved stone that spiraled up and out of sight. Several of the insectoid Xer’Orians stood around them as if waiting for Aelyria to act. The man he had seen in his haze, the man who he instinctively knew to be Renkor despite his lifelessness, lie sprawled next to him. It was in that moment everything clicked together and he realized the deceit. A huff escaped him as he relaxed onto the cold stone floor, he should have figured this would happen once they lost their guide. Perhaps he should have been more forthcoming with information, in hindsight it was obvious, but at the time how could he have known they would have been so resistant to following his simplest of requests? He didn’t know what Aelyria was seeing now, but he knew it wasn’t any version of himself that she would care for. Monsieur Frond had divulged much information regarding Taen, about the Xer’Orian Queens and their ability to influence the mind. Of course Aelyria and Caliben would assume he was insane... talking to a lizard. He just couldn’t bring himself to reveal the truth to them, that Monsieur Frond was just a lizard possessed by one of the Mork’Outh. That with that possession came protection from the Xer’Orian mind games. He could only wonder why the Queen had relinquished her hold on him. Perhaps she was so focused on trying to bend Aelyria to her will that she didn’t have the capacity to bother with him, injured as he was. Aelyria shifted above him, her nearly skintight clothing betraying only the slightest of a whisper. She raised the blade above her head, hesitating there as he lay resigned to his fate. She didn’t have a chance to make up her mind. A wave of orange mist swept through the room in a silent wave, tousling his hair and clothes as it passed. A shocked look appeared in Aelyria’s eyes, so he turned his head to look towards the origin of the mist and saw someone he never thought he would see again. A mad cackle erupted from his lips, okay it was probably more of a hysterical wheeze. Monsier Frond had returned, not as a lizard, but in his natural Mork’Outh form. He was an impressive sight, nearly ten feet of solid power and curved horns that exuded confidence. The Mork’Outh’s eyes locked onto Aelyra’s form, “Quickly child, destroy these invaders before I can no longer prevent her from influencing you.”
  7. Kjell rolled his shoulders as they exited the house, trying to relieve the stress that had bunched up in his shoulders. He belatedly realized that they had never asked the man whose home they were searching for his name. Oh well, at this point it wasn’t relevant. The rest of the hunting party still held their positions in the pathway outside the courtyard, vigilant and guarded. He waved them close as he, Jorge, and Britt approached. “It was definitely here, there’s a survivor inside that said that it attacked his wife, turned her and then they left.” He nodded towards Jorge, “Jorge says he has a theory about what’s going on.” Everyone turned expectant eyes to Jorge. “The man said his wife’s name was ‘Ashley’, it made me think, and the man confirmed, that she wasn’t a native to Valjer. He also claimed the Werewolf wasn’t interested in him at all and focused solely on his wife.” Kjell cut in, a light of understanding shining in his eyes. “The Werewolf spoke about the ‘Unclean’ and serving the ‘Heart of Valjer’. You think the Werewolf is hunting outsiders, foreigners, and turning them into Werewolves to assist it in, what? Culling the town of anyone who isn’t a native to Valjer? Who doesn’t have a bloodline?” Jorge gave a half-hearted shrug, either unsure of uncomfortable with the thought. To Kjell the thought was both chilling and absurd. Only a madman would have such an aspiration, someone who was willing to commit what amounted to cultural genocide. Only someone as crazy as… as crazy as… “Bailey Valmer…” He hadn’t intended to say the name out loud, but the heads of his hunting party turned to him with inquisitive stares. Kjell was one of the few who knew the truth about Bailey’s death, about his insanity, his desire for the supposed Scion of Valjer to return in the form of a dragon and protect them from outside influence. These Rangers had been present at the assassination, forcing away their scapegoats at Valerie’s behest. At the thought of that blood-soaked farmhouse an image flashed through his mind, a dark visage and shadowy claws. He shuddered, pushing those thoughts away. “Nevermind. I was just thinking about something Valerie was telling me. It’s not directly related.” He didn’t want to bring up the deeper issues of the Valmer family in front of the Rangers, they knew some of the story and reasoning behind Bailey’s death, but not all. Telling them all about Bailey’s deepest and darkest fantasies wouldn’t help them now. “We need to clear this street and meet up with the nearest Rangers, they should be just down the road, at the next intersection. We need to know if they’ve seen anything.” A deep sense of foreboding hung over him as he stared into the wall of white that obscured his view of the end of the road. With the amount of snowfall, you couldn’t see or hear anything happening twenty feet away. In these conditions, even the white wolves stayed inside, he couldn’t help but wonder if they were still the hunters, or if they had become the unwitting hunted. They continued down the road, finding much of the same, some houses untouched by the Werewolves, others telling similar stories. Some houses sat empty, the doors ajar, puddles of blood drying on the floors and walls, their occupants nowhere to be found. It was a grim tale, one that was told in the silence and gore. Each house, each story, drove the sense of urgency and fear deeper and deeper into Kjell’s gut. It was beginning to feel like an uncontrolled outbreak, how could they possibly move faster than the Werewolves? As they reached the final house in the row, it became apparent that they couldn’t. The intersection of the roads had turned into a bloodbath. Snow was beginning to cover the corpses of what looked to have been a bloody and vicious battle. Several City Guards were lying in the snow, their armor torn open, flesh shredded, it was obvious that they were dead. A burst of satisfaction washed over him as he saw at least three Werewolves lying there with them. The feeling quickly soured when he remembered that these were once proud citizens of Valjer, whether they had been born here or not. He didn’t see any of his Rangers as they crouched among the dead to check for any still living. He was sure one had been posted at this intersection, its proximity to the original sighting, the Regent’s Manor, and the old Farmhouse, made it a key position to place a sentry. He hoped the Ranger was able to escape, to make it back to the Ranger Headquarters and report the attack. Kjell had the hunting party cast about the intersection, trying to find clues among the dirty snow as to where the pack had gone. While the group was preoccupied, Kjell himself knelt next to one of the werewolves, inspecting its body. He had only ever seen depictions of werewolves in books, but he could immediately tell that these were different from the ones recorded in times past. Whereas the depictions he had seen showed humanlike facial structure, with only a mildly elongated ‘snout’, these werewolves had skeletal structures that were almost identical to that of a white wolf. Their backs were hunched slightly, their heads more horizontal with the ground, a trait that made them seem more predatory. Surprisingly, their musculature was focused on the upper body, with massively elongated arms along with bulging shoulders and back muscles. Jorge approached him, his expression unreadable behind the cloth mask that protected his face from the cold. “The tracks are unclear, there’s a lot of prints going and coming in the area, it’s muddied any sense of direction.” Kjell stood with a sigh, leaving the corpses behind, and turned his eyes upwards to the sky. The snow still fell like a curtain, blocking his view of the stars. The wind still blew harshly, causing the snow to on occasion hang in the air as if suspended by some unseen force. It was at the exact moment he looked up that the snow did this, hanging in the air all around them. It was almost as if some benevolent deity somewhere was taking pity on him, because as the snow hung completely still for only the briefest of moments he was able to see the movement it had been concealing. He barely had time to yell out as a dozen werewolves leapt from rooftops all around the intersection. “Ambush!”
  8. Almost immediately upon entering the outer courtyard of the home, Jorge could tell something was wrong. The front door was slightly ajar, a small snowdrift was building up on the visible part of the floor. Jorge stuck his spear butt-first into the snow and drew the short sword that hung at his waist, leaving the spear to stand on its own. A spear was good when there was room to maneuver and swing it, but in the close confines of a Valjerian home, nothing was better than a short sword. As Britt pulled free her own sword, Jorge crept forward, staring at the small open space behind the door that was visible. Firelight still flickered in the home, the shadows visible to Jorge jumped and danced in eerie and silent patterns. Each step that led up to the front door was a horrid crunching noise that echoed in Jorge’s ears like the crashing of glass on the floor. He placed his hand on the door, it swung open silently, the hinges were well greased. The interior of the foyer was lit by a small fire that burned in an equally small fireplace, no one tended to use the foyers for social events in Valjer, so keeping it warm was a waste of wood. The door that led beyond the foyer was a splintered mess, much the same as the furniture he could see. They advanced slowly, listening for the sound of anything unusual. As the reached the door, Jorge got a full glimpse of the room beyond for the first time. He stared at what was left of a common room, shredded and smashed chairs, a low table that was cracked in half and missing a leg, and a fire that still burned. Most disturbingly was the blood, it was splattered everywhere, on the walls and the floor, clumps of gore hung and dripped from the ceiling. It was as if the werewolf had savaged its victim, without doing anything more than superficial damage. A pair of legs poked out from behind one of the damaged chairs, clothed in the normal thick fur booties and pants worn inside during the winter. Other than that, there was no sign of anybody else in the room, man or beast. Jorge caught Britt’s attention with a wave, then signaled to her that he was going to check on whoever it was behind the chair, then retreat to the foyer, and that she should watch the door that led deeper into the home. She nodded and tightened her grip on her sword, stress displaying prominently on her face. With a quick, one, two, three count down, Jorge swept into the room and directly to the prone person, Britt’s footsteps followed him in. It was a man, on the young side, mid-twenties perhaps, with standard Valjerian features, white hair and pale skin. A quick visual inspection showed the man was passed out but not wounded in a way that would cause the amount of blood splatter, and a quick tap confirmed that he was unresponsive. Acting quickly, he grabbed the mans left pant leg, down near the ankle, and performed a neat shoulder roll while scooping his hamstring. As he completed the roll, the mans body came up with him, placing him squarely on his shoulders in what some might call a ‘fireman’s carry’. It didn’t feel pleasant for the recipient considering at one point all his weight was balanced over his shoulder, and if he miscalculated his roll it would drive into the man’s chest. Fortunately, the man wasn’t conscious, so he wouldn’t have felt it if he did mess up. With the man squarely draped over his shoulders he pushed himself to his feet using a lunge, grabbing his fallen sword as he did so. Now standing, with Britt covering his ass, he walked the man through the doorway and back into the foyer as fast as he could, dumping him to the floor as gently as possible. He would have preferred to remove the man from the building entirely, but he wasn’t confident the man would survive out in the harsh weather with only his under-furs. He propped the man up against the wall, adjusting him as his head lolled to the side. “Britt, go get Kjell, tell him to bring the smelling salts.” The woman rushed outside, leaving Kjell to stare anxiously at the interior doorway, expecting a slavering werewolf to appear around the corner and tear him to shreds. It never came, but Kjell did. The man nudged Jorge out of the way, snapping open a package of the smelling salts and waving it under the man’s nose. With a gasp he awoke, his eyes snapping wildly around the room, his limbs rocketing up and flailing as if to ward off his attacker. Kjell snagged his arms from the air, both to prevent the man from harming himself or them. “Relax! You’re safe!” The man was hyperventilating, his breath coming in short gasps as he stopped struggling. A pained whine escaped the man as he lay there, “Where’s Ashley?” Jorge shared a look with Britt and Kjell, shaking his head at them. There hadn’t been anyone else in the common room. Kjell grabbed the sides of the man’s head, forcing him to look him in the eyes. “What happened here?” The man twitched in Kjell’s hands, trying to look everywhere in the room at once. His words stumbled along, at times a rush that swept past almost impossible to understand, then slowing to a painful crawl as he tried to remember. “Something attacked us, it broke down the front door and was on us before we even knew what was happening. I… I remember her screams… her pleading with it as it tore her apart… It didn’t even care about me. It kept saying she was unclean… that she would be reborn to serve the Heart of Valjer. Then it bit her! Bit her… and she changed! She became one of them… a werewolf, her fur was so white… so beautiful… I tried to stop it, but it knocked me across the room. I don’t remember anything else.” Jorge’s mind turned over and over, trying to process the information he was receiving into useful, actionable intel. This was quickly becoming a worst-case scenario, a Werewolf running through the town attacking people… unclean people? Turning them into Werewolves as well? Why would it only care about this man’s wife, Ashley? A small thought, not even a conscious thought really, pressed against the back of his mind. Ashley wasn’t a common name in Valjer, no one he knew whose parents were born in Valjer, whose family line could be traced back to before the Deep Delve, was named Ashley. “Where was your wife born? Was she Valjerian?” The man shook free of Kjell’s arms. Sitting up straighter and turning his head to try and peer into the common room. “No, she was born out west, someplace called Lantern Way, I think? Her family wasn’t from here…” Jorge leaned into Kjell, “I think I’m beginning to get the big picture. Let’s finish clearing the house and then I’ll tell you my theory.” Kjell nodded his agreement, then stood to join them in clearing the house. Jorge steeled himself with an iron resolve, a grimness that could only be acquired from years of fighting for your life.
  9. Kjell stomped furiously through the outer courtyard of the Ranger Headquarters, still fuming at the thought of the overweight Guard Captain and his absurd timelines. The snow was still falling thickly to the ground, the storm having continued for several days already and showing no sign of stopping. He pulled his cowl tighter around his throat, trying his best to ward away the shockingly cold air as he stepped closer to a group of Rangers huddled together around an iron brazier. Despite the frigid temperatures and constant snowfall, Kjell wasn’t overly bothered. Sure, the cold was an annoyance and if you didn’t respect it and it could be lethal, but to a veteran Ranger in full winter gear it was harmless. He was more worried about getting snowed into a drift if he sat still for too long. The group of Rangers were chatting amiably among themselves as he approached, keeping warm next to the fire that roared and crackled merrily in brazen defiance of the cold and the snow. Kjell scanned the courtyard as he entered the circle of Rangers, the six-foot stone wall wouldn’t stop a werewolf, it would barely give it pause. The thought was an uncomfortable one, the wolves they normally fought weren’t ever bigger than a horse, knowing that a beast of even larger stature and strength was roaming their town caused a chill deeper than the cold winter weather. Jorge, a well-known and respected spearman greeted him with a hearty shoulder clap. “Did you have fun playing with your toys then, Kjell? Are you ready to join us in the hunt?” Kjell bumped the man with his shoulder in response to the friendly ribbing. “Of course, Jorge, I see you’ve assembled your favorites.” He was secretly please with the man as he glanced at the group assembled before them. Jorge may have played favorites among the rank and file, but it was well deserved. In the proximity of the iron brazier everyone had pulled down their face masks, a socially polite gesture amongst friends, allowing everyone to see each other’s faces. He spotted Svein, another spearman that worked alongside Jorge to lance wolves and hold them in place, Britt, a bulldog of a woman who bandied about a bearded two-handed war axe like it was a plaything, and Reidar and Einar, accomplished archers. They were all proven wolf hunters, having taken part in many raids against the packs of White Wolves that roamed the lands around Valjer. “You all know the danger, more than anyone, but this is different. We’re dealing with the possibility of a sentient creature, far stronger than any white wolf we’ve encountered before, with unnatural ability. We stick together and fight together, no heroics, just a coordinated assault that will bring this monster to its knees.” The group nodded and pulled their masks up, they knew he wasn’t one for long and rousing speeches, nobody who joined the Rangers was interested in pomp and circumstance, that was what the Guard was for. Without any other words he turned and headed for the thick ironwood gate, pushing it open and stepping into the narrow road where the wind whipped past in a frenzied gale. He yelled over the noise of the wind as the others followed him, “We start at the origin point, just outside the Regent’s Manor, then proceed through the Farmhouse District, clearing house by house and tracking the beast as best we can. Fortunately, the Ranger Headquarters was only a few hundred yards away from the Regent’s Manor, it was one of the first buildings that had gone up during the exploratory years as the town emerged from the Deepdelve, so the trek through the pressing winds only took ten minutes. Even with the fresh snow that had fallen on top of the deep furrow left by the Werewolf’s passage it was obvious where the creatures had traveled. The furrow in the snow tracked sharply around the first intersection, following the downhill slope until it disappeared in the falling snow some thirty yards away. Kjell waved his hand at Jorge to get his attention and knife handed the first building in the row, closest to the Regent’s Manor and the furrow where the Werewolf had passed. “Jorge, check the first building, take Britt. I’ll hold the street with the rest of the group, if something is wrong don’t overstep.” Jorge nodded, and the pair hustled through the entrance to the outer courtyard.
  10. Tell me when two days have passed.


    1. Grimshar


      I'm going to "@" you.

  11. Kjell Bondevik was a patient man in the best of times. When a werewolf was currently loose in Valjer, however, he was not. So when the final vestiges of the city guard finally arrived he was just about ready to chain them together and leave them in the central plaza as bait. He had sent word over thirty minutes ago that they would meet in the Deep Delve Ranger headquarters for a quick brief before marching through the town on a hunt, he could only imagine what was happening with a creature so dangerous free to roam. Kjell let his gaze slide over the men assembled before him, the only hint of his displeasure a slight frown that marred his normally smiling face. The City Guard had long been seen as a group of drunken misfits in the eyes of the Rangers, unfit for anything more than warming a seat and giving the seldom few visitors directions. He guessed they were a product of their environment, the number of violent crimes in Valjer was low, lower than most towns; everyone knew the real threat lay in wait outside their walls, or fell from the sky. The Rangers were the true might of the town, when your job was to venture outside the walls and slay the innumerable threats that plagued the icy landscape, you tended to be a bit hardened. Picking the sculpted physique of the Rangers out amongst the crowded room was as easy as recognizing their grim stares as they silently awaited instructions. With the last of the expected visitors having arrived, Kjell motioned to the massive map of Valjer that was unrolled on the War Room table and separated him from the group. The map was one of two that they frequently used, the other being a map of the surrounding region. He took a small but intricately carved statue of a Queen and placed it over the Valmer Manor, raising his eyes to address the group. "Regent Valmer was attacked in her home this afternoon, the two guards assigned to her were killed. The Regent was able to confirm that her attacker was a White Werewolf." At this several members of both the Guard and the Rangers broke out into muttered exclamations. White Werewolves hadn't been encountered in Valjer since before the descent underground. Kjell raised his hand, earning silence from the Rangers instantly, followed shortly by the Guard. "I've instructed my Lieutenants to post Rangers at every major intersection and every notable building. But, there are only fifty of us in the city now, that's one Ranger for every one hundred citizens. If the Guard can call upon all ninety of its members, we could bolster the Rangers already deployed and hopefully have enough men on the ground to blanket the whole city." He picked up a handful of the small statues and placed them at the intersection just outside of the Valjer Manor, they were carved as wolves, representing the werewolf and the two regular white wolves that had been seen with it. "This is the last known location of the Werewolf. I am going to personally lead a search party through the Town, starting with the Farmhouse District, then into the Common District and the Industrial District. I imagine the Werewolf will be found in the Common District, it has the highest concentration of people and as such the most hosts for its plague." Kjell leaned against the table with his hands, looking at the Guard Captain that stood across from him, "Can I count on the Guard to reinforce my Rangers?" The man had been listening intently the entire time, but now stood staring at the map that lie between them. He seemed unsure of himself, taking almost a full minute to come up with a response. "Yes..." He seemed to hesitate after saying the word. "I will have them mustered and deployed to reinforce the critical positions within two hours." Kjell's jaw practically dropped, the quiet shuffling of the other Ranger's indicated that he wasn't the only one shocked. He only barely managed to keep himself from stuttering in rage like a fool. Instead, he smashed his hand against the table, rattling it and causing the statues to jump and clatter on its surface. "Two hours?!" He roared. "It shouldn't take you more than fifteen minutes to run across the whole town, let alone Muster everyone in a central location and then assign them their posts!" Kjell snarled in disgust at the man, whirling away from the table and stalking for the door. "Rangers, you have your assignments, serve your town with pride." With that he shoved open the front door and disappeared in a swirl of snow.
  12. Valerie visited the wash bin located on the floor, scrubbing the blood from her neck and face with room temperature water. There was no getting around the stains it would leave on the towels, but she could always replace them. By the time she felt clean enough to be presentable, the bodies had been cleared from the hallway, likely by one of Kjell's men. The blood remained, she had to step carefully so as not to further stain the soft slippers that adorned her feet. For once, she was glad that she was only wearing her underfur and not her full compliment of winter clothing; moving so gingerly was nearly impossible in the thick hides. Having successfully navigated the blood soaked hallway and descended the stairs to the basement, she saw Ysgrid huddled in her chair, obviously terrified by the sounds that had emanated from the upper floors. Valerie felt a brief pang of remorse at the reminder that she was becoming ever more callous and forgetful toward her family as her duties as Regent consumed her time. She stepped over to her daughter and pulled her close, whispering assurances and comfort. They remained like that for a few minutes, just until Ysgrid calmed enough that Valerie felt confident leaving her alone again. As she started to pull away from her daughter, Ysgrid clamped down on her forearm, so Valerie gazed questioningly at her. Ysgrid picked up a neatly rolled piece of paper with her free hand and held it out for her to take. "This arrived for you while you were upstairs..." Valerie took the paper with a nod of thanks, confusion worming its way through her. Had Kjell given something for her to Ysgrid? That didn't make sense. The paper was sealed with wax, bearing the symbol of a Raven with it's wings spread wide, and tied with a silk ribbon. She popped the wax seal free and pulled the ribbon free, unrolling the sheet of paper and scanning the contents. Valerie Valmer Regent of Valjer We are aware of a possible Werewolf sighting in Valjer Town. 100 Legionnaires will arrive at Valjer Town in two days time via airship to assist in hunting this creature. After the threat has been dealt with, these 100 Legionnaires will remain in Valjer Town to bolster the garrison until further notice. The Imperial Legion How had they found out so fast? Or was this even the same event? Did they know of another attack that could be related to the very same creature that attacked her? No... she was sure that Bailey had done something before his death to cause all of this, that the Werewolf had appeared inside her home, so how had the distant Empire found out so fast? She grimaced as she read the missive again, two days was a long time when a White Werewolf was actively hunting inside their small town. She could only pray that they killed it or were able to contain it until the reinforcements arrived. @Alexei
  13. Eventually Valerie left the hallway and retreated upstairs, away from the cold winds forcing their way through the ragged hole that was once an entryway. Bile tickled the back of her throat as she stepped gingerly over the cooling corpses of the two valiant guards who had died trying to defend her. She tried to steel herself against the sight, but her body refused to comply and her throat tightened uncomfortably. These two had been stationed on the Mansion grounds since Bailey had died, they had shared a few companionable words before, talk of family and weather. She pushed through it, reaching out to her bed chamber door with a shaking hand. Fortunately the werewolf had not entered her bed chambers, so everything was exactly as she had left it. The small crystal rod she was looking for was resting on top of her nightstand. It was warm to the touch, and glowed dimly in the darkness, practically thrumming with power. She snapped it in half with a sharp crack, a wave of energy rolling over her as it erupted from the new flaws in the crystal. The crystal was one in a network that spanned key locations in Valjer, each crystal was attuned to the others and when one was broken they would all crack in response. It was an interesting piece of magic, and it was probably the most important, since it was used to alert the rest of the town in an emergency. Each guard station would be alerted, someone would send reinforcements to the mansion, she just needed to figure out what the hell was going on. She crossed through the hallway again, the gaping hole that was all that remained of a door frame that led to the study was the obvious clue as to where the werewolf had come from. She stepped into the study, expecting to find a broken window or some kind of forced entrance and was surprised to see that wasn't the case. In fact, the only thing that had been disturbed in the room was Bailey's desk. The top of the surface was scorched and burnt, as if someone had dropped a lit torch on it. Besides that, everything was exactly as she had left it mere hours ago. She stepped closer to the desk, intending to inspect the charred surface, but flinched away as she neared it. Her arms came up, as if to ward away blows that never fell, a gasp escaping her lips as an emotion she hadn't felt since Bailey's death coiled in her gut. For a moment, it had felt as if Bailey himself was standing in front of her, spittle frothing on his lips as he raged at her and struck her over and over with his cane. The presence of magic hung thick in the air, pressing against her senses like a physical obstacle. It was tainted with hatred and rage, it felt just like the magic Bailey had employed when he schemed. She pressed forward, ignoring the feeling of terror that had settled on her like a stone. The desk's surface was only superficially damaged, more a layer of soot than being truly burned through. She stepped around the desk, trailing her finger along the carvings of wolves and men locked in their eternal struggle. Bailey's chair was a monstrously heavy leather and ironwood thing, it took Valerie setting her shoulder against it to get it moving. With the chair out of the way she was able to pull the desk drawer open, a perfectly preserved white wolf pelt was the only contents of the drawer, and it absolutely oozed foul magic. She reached out to pick it up and halted when her fingertips started prickling. She drew them away and the feeling disappeared. She repeated the process, getting nearer this time, and the prickling grew stronger and began traveling up her palms. It was uncomfortable to say the least, so she left it where it was and bent over to examine it. Strange runes were sewn into the pelt, the thread was dark red and seemed to be flaking, as if they had been dyed with a substance that hadn't been fully removed during the dyeing process. She didn't recognize the language that was written, it wasn't anything modern. As her eyes roved over the pelt she got the disturbing feeling that the words were moving on the edges of her vision, but when she looked back they were unmoving. A sigh escaped her lips as she stood there, "Oh Bailey..." she murmured, "What have you done?" The sound of heavy footfalls echoing in the hallway broke her from her almost trance-like inspection of the pelt. A head poked through the wrecked doorway, one that she recognized immediately. Kjell Bondevik, Deepdelve Ranger and long time friend stepped into the room. His face was ashen, and he seemed to struggle on his words, "Valerie... are you alright? What happened?" He gripped the handle of his sword tightly. She gestured towards the hallway, where the two guards lay dead, "A werewolf was up here, they died fighting it." She could still smell the fresh scent of the blood. "Rouse the guard and the rangers, we must hunt this beast before it slaughters the whole town." Kjell nodded, then paused as if he wanted to say something, before exiting the room and tromping back down the stairs. She heard him yelling down below and belatedly realized that she should check in with her daughter. Perhaps she would clean herself up first...
  14. The term 'Spring Showers' has an entirely different meaning to the denizens of Valjer Town. To them, a spring shower was an unexpected blizzard that dumped several feet of snow over the course of a week. Such an event was deadly to the unprepared. One such 'Shower' was currently hammering Valjer Town with snow, having already brought two feet overnight. Normally the strong spring sunshine would offer the town a reprieve from such an unexpected storm, but this one was unnaturally powerful, near darkness reigned. It was on these sleepy days, where no sound but that of the Ironwood trees creaking in the wind echoed through the alleys of Valjer, that the townsfolk would feel most alone. In the chilling subzero temperatures it was suicidal to try and go to the market or visit a neighbor, everyone shuttered their doors and lit a roaring fire in their hearths to ward away the cold. Even the town guard was wary of the cold, staying inside the guard towers scattered along the walls, huddling around wood burning braziers and bundling up in their thickest furs. The standard patrols limited themselves to shorter routes and carried with them magical implements that provided warmth that warded away the freezing temperatures. Valerie Valmer stood on the second floor of her home, the mansion built for the Regent of Valjer, looking out the window over the sprawl of the town. She placed her hand against the frigid glass, enjoying the contrasting feeling of her warm home. It was impossible for her to see the entire town, but she could see a few buildings that weren't obscured by the haze of the thick snow and the darkness. It was rare for a building in Valjer to have windows, the glass was a poor insulator in a region so cold, maintaining the heat in the house took much more fuel and was a luxury for her family alone. She turned away from the window, intent on heading back downstairs and to the basement where the rest of her family was huddled. But, her eyes caught on the sole piece of furniture that adorned the study, a massive Ironwood desk, images of snarling wolves and stalwart defenders clad in chain-mail adorned its edges. She still half expected her husband to be sitting there, writing some zealous text about the Scion of Valjer and how it would cull the impure from their town before sheltering them from the outside world. A small sigh escaped her lips as she finally tore her eyes away, he wouldn't ever return, he had been slain of his own doing. His mind had failed him in the late stages of his illness, and he had been slowly destroying the town with his isolationist measures. She hardened herself as she left the study, as much as she had loved the man in his youth, he had done nothing to endear himself to his family before his death. He wouldn't return, couldn't return, and for that she was grateful. As she stepped quickly down the stairs and into the below ground basement, she saw her daughter Ysgrid chaffing her hands by the hearth. A smile played across her lips at the sight, thankful that she still had her daughter to keep her company on these lonely nights. The wind howled in the hearth's chimney, the sound eerily reminiscent of the White Wolves that still to this day plagued her people. A plush leather chair adorned with the pelts of many different animals called to her like a siren on the waves. She had no intention of resisting, and eased herself into the chair with a pleased sigh. The room was roasting, the hearth keeping the small area almost suffocatingly warm when combined with the heat that became trapped in the furs. She slipped into a contented mid-afternoon nap, happy to spend a day at home with Ysgrid rather than worrying over the future of the town. #### The sound of splintering wood dragged her from her sleep, the noise an explosion when compared to the relative peace of the crackling fire and the shuffling of pages being turned in Ysgrid's book. Her daughters worried eyes stared back at her as she sat upright, it was hard to tell exactly where the noise had come from, but it was almost assuredly inside the mansion. She stood, pulling a delicately wrought dagger from her belt, and started toward the stairs. Had someone gotten past the guards that were stationed at the front of the mansion? The sound of a door opening near the front of the building drew her attention as she ascended the stairs, a guard pushing his way inside. So they hadn't gotten past the guards. The man, stocky and full bearded, wearing thick ringed chain-mail and a conical helmet, gave her a questioning look. She shook her head and motioned him over. He poked his head back into the foyer where he and the other guard were stationed, saying something to them, before they both came tromping over in their thick clothing. A bright blue glow had begun to emanate from up the stairs, the sound of boards creaking and ragged breathing accompanied the light. Valerie gave the two guards an alarmed look and gestured up the stairs. To their credit, and her pride, they were well trained. Both guards grabbed the hilts of their swords, pulling them free from their sheaths with the ring of steel. They ran past her, running up the stairs with shouts of 'Town Guard! Identify yourselves!'. She followed them up after a moment, at a slower pace so as not to be in the way. She was halfway up when the first scream rippled through the air, followed shortly by a horrific screeching sound and a crashing thump. More shouting, frenzied, and the sickening sound of flesh tearing and bones cracking. She flew up the stairs then, coming upon a scene that chilled her blood more than the frigid temperatures of the 'Imperial' South. The guards were dead, of that she was sure. An enormous... thing stood on the corpse of one, and held the second in massive, clawed hands. It's maw was wrapped completely over the head and shoulders of the second, and Valerie could have sworn that its eyes were looking right into her soul as it bit down with a crunch that curled her stomach. Her throat clenched horribly at the sight, vomit erupting out of her lips at the sight of the now mangled lower body of the guard slumping to the floor. The beast in the hallway opened its maw, letting the bloody and shredded head and shoulders of the guard plop to the floor with a sickening noise that sounded like someone dropping a wet sack on the floor. It reared its head back and let out a deep and throaty howl, one of satisfaction and victory. The beast finished its howl and locked its eyes on her. She was finally able to get a good look at it, and she felt an even deeper surge of terror run through her as she realized she was looking at a White Werewolf. The beast was hunched in the hallway, not even able to stand to full height, its bulk filling it to capacity with rippling muscles and obscene mass. The White Werewolf leapt forward with astonishing speed, the corpse it stood on slipping down the hallway as the werewolf pushed off, its gigantic hand closing around her neck and lifting her free from the ground with ease. It pulled her close, drawing a deep breath in through his nose, smelling her. A blast of hot, fetid, sour smelling breath hit her as it exhaled, and her shock intensified as it spoke. "Ahhh.... pure.... Hati hunts the unclean for you." The words came out slightly garbled as it spoke through a slavering maw filled with razor sharp teeth and a long tongue. The beast, had it called itself Hati? It dropped her to the floor, her dagger clattering away, totally forgotten. The werewolf stepped past her, claws leaving deep gouges in the Ironwood as it entered the stairwell. Her senses began to return to her as it reached the floor below, and she moaned in horror before dragging herself after it. She stumbled down the last few stairs just in time to see the werewolf crash through both the interior and exterior doors of the mansions foyer. Baying to the moon loud enough to rattle the furniture in the house as it lowered itself to all fours and began loping through the deep snow. Two regular White Wolves materialized out of the flurry and flanked it as it disappeared around a building. She stared after it, unable to will herself into motion, what did it mean... 'hunt the unclean'?
  15. @Die Shize I've been noodling around trying to revive an idea that was tried back in 2015, the Barren Forest Orc Tribe. Essentially a sort of smarter but still kinda savage group of orcs trying to find a 'civilized' place in the world to call home. How would you feel about an Orc Stronghold (small numbers, similar to the last attempt of approx 300) being near this city and trying to peacefully coexist with it? Failing spectacularly of course... but trying. Thoughts? Linkz for reference: Barren Forest Tribe Recruitment/General Info Barren Forest Trible Stronghold (RP Thread)
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