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Jotnotes

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About Jotnotes

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  1. Zhot's glaive fell fast, and it fell hard. Under familiar circumstances, he was confident it would have done the job, gravity dragging the heavy blade down through his target, slicing through light armor and skin easily. Of course it would; he'd seen it happened, watched warm blood trickle across polished metal plating less than ten hours ago. He'd seen how the metal plates had steamed up as they were spattered with hot crimson. He remembered, distinctly, how his ears had rang following his target's shrill screams. Somehow, it had worked for him on the battlefront, but here, after the bloodlust had waned and in the light of the fire close by, his foe was quicker. She was bigger, and somehow faster than the heavily armored man-things he'd met on the battlefront. Her trophies rattled as she easily stepped around his attack, and Zhot quickly acknowledged that he was exposed. His weapon crashed into the ground, and the hyena-thing swung a---was that an arm? The greasy, bloodied thing struck him in the face. The glaive-rat could feel the wet slap as the gory bits matted the fur on his face. It missed his eye, thankfully, and while the rat attempted to recover from the blow, he had a good view of the hyena swinging her axe at him. It was heavy-looking, much like his axe, and with no means of deflecting it, he grew cold with impending terror. His tail stiffened, and his grip around the glaive in the ground loosened as his brain screamed at him to break formation and flee. He didn't have time to feel shame, or pride for that matter, and obeyed almost too quickly, and with a girly shriek the skaven scrambled backwards, stumbling over his own tail in the process. Yet, her axe swung low, aiming for his kneecaps, and he could see her already recovering from the swing. Before he'd even gotten out of range, she'd recognized that her swing wouldn't connect and stepped into it slightly to right herself, keeping the weapon from leaving her flat-footed. Zhot had barely recovered his footing by the time she'd finished her swing, and he could only blink at her in astonishment. Why hadn't he thought of that? He had a moment still to grab his weapon again, and he scrabbled for it, reaching underneath the shaft to scoop it up again. It took him some time to do, but he anticipated that much already, and brought it up above his head quickly, prepared to ward off a blow if it came. Keeping the weapon up bought the skaven time to find his footing again and adjust his grip. He swallowed his nerves, and took a sharp breath. "Just-practice, yes-yes?" He managed to utter, on guard again. Thril thought about the mate she didn't know, and the city she'd never seen. From what she was told, Skaven only had to hunt for food, once. Before then, they'd fought each other, but that was before King-King claimed the throne. She didn't know much about any of those times, or who those Skaven had been. Were they like here? Had they ever glanced up to see a sky full of stars, gleaming like needle points in the brilliant blue sky? Had they ever met a man-thing, or a fae-thing, in their life? She pondered these things, and wondered privately, if her kin would have gotten along if they'd seen the things she had. "Gutter-run is like breathing, this one think-says." She replied honestly, shrugging a bit. "Rats do not think over-much of gutting. Gutters are trained-taught to gut as little ones. Gutters grow-fast into big-rats, gutting all-times." She could see Vito doing his best to understand her, and hated herself for not being able to speak better common. Would the Seer help her improve if she asked nicely? She continued. "Sometimes, when little Thril is all-alone," She leaned in, as if whispering a haughty secret. "This one likes to spy-watch the tradetown-man. This one thinks man-things are...ah..." She scratched at her neck, thinking of a word. Was there a word? "Not like-rats. Busy-yes, but free-alltimes. Some-days, man-things feed little-clucking-birds. Other-times, man-things sleeps-late. And sometimes, this one wish-prays that she could do man-thing's-things." She recalled with great fondness the hours she'd stolen from the clan, that she'd wasted quickly on stalking different homes in Tradetown in secret. The lives they lived, the things they did when they could be working fascinated her. They talked and laughed and hugged and cried and cooed over their cubs and livestock. Not once, in her time creeping on their private lives, did she watch a single one lift up a weapon, or prepare to take a life. They were noticably fight-less, most of them. However, they were man-things and she was not. Thril had accepted it somewhat painfully at the time, but she'd accepted it nonetheless. Until Vito had arrived, she'd done what she could to be content with her lot in life. And now, he was forcing her to ask questions. Speaking of questions, she had more: "Vi-Toe has many-travels, yes-yes?" She asked eagerly. "Has this man-thing maybe-saw more...more rat-things, like--" She swallowed her enthusiasm, to better ask her question. "--like this one, maybe?" Near the great bonfire, various cheers and shouts had erupted from both the man-things and the Skaven. Thril didn't pay it much attention until she heard the ringing of weapons clashing, which startled her. She glanced up and in the direction of the sound, alarmed. "Should these ones look-see?" She looked to Vito for guidance. OOC Music The hall they presided in once would have looked quite welcoming. It had the architecture for diplomacy, one might find in its tall, vaulted ceilings and its effective use of space. The designer had known what he was doing in the moment, most assuredly and even now, bloodstained and broken, the ghost of formality still lingered in the rafters high overhead. Yet even this intelligent design faltered as the talk grew quiet and cold. The warm candlelight casted long shadows that in the right light may look akin to skulking figures and looming eavesdroppers. The high ceilings and acoustics became a compromise; exposing secrets to the world that had yet to be congested. This was the nature of the Skaven, after all. Despite their cruelty and cowardice, or their bravery and mercy, Skaven and Shkei, and anything betwixt, lived well in the eye of their ancient, forgotten god of conspirators. Whether he was there with Veron and Khrol then, however, would never be known for certain, but it was guaranteed that even then, his presence could be felt, by the sudden cold the shadows cast, and the way the light twisted and squirmed. Khrol shuddered, realizing he could see his breath for a moment. It troubled him, but Veron didn't appear to notice. The Seer glanced into his cup. It was pitifully, unrighteously empty. The world saw fit to deny him endless succor, it seemed, and yet the way Veron preached, he behaved as though he believed these two goblets bottomless. Irreverently, Khrol set his down on the pulpit, squinting at the shkei. Why was it so cold, now? "Your drink bloodies your tongue," Khrol replied plainly, still behind his pulpit. Yet despite his claim, there was no denying the venom in his own words. The Seer, admittedly, had nothing to gain from Skarr clan. No allegiance to the crown to keep, and no reason to be faithful. He was aware of this, embittered by it even. His castration had robbed him of the chance to propagate himself, and stolen any real chance of advancing in the world. Without the ability to take a mate, or leave a mark, his legacy was doomed to fail, and no amount of knowledge could change that for him. Whether by mistake or by malice, Khrol was wronged by his own kin. Furthermore, the experience had left him an empty person, a vessel for cruelty and calculating and little more. He understood his place. He was damned to it. So, he stepped out from behind the pulpit, and strode among the shadows. He was beginning to understand Veron's views, but not in any significant way. "We have no records of our kin, Blacktear, but the clan does not forget their history." He reminded the Shkei. "You live better than any Skaven has, but let me remind you that you only live as you do, because the Skarr would not keep you." Khrol did not know this to be true, but as Grey Seer, he knew a number of things. He knew, for one, that during King-King's campaign to unite the clans, not a single usurper had come close to harming him. He knew that eventually, the King even stopped slaying his assassins personally, instead electing to drive them away, into the dark. It wasn't a stretch to conclude that Veron, if not a former assailant, likely descended from failure himself. That was enough to remind Khrol, once again, that even as a eunuch he still held great dignity over the Shkei. But he wasn't content with simply pointing this out. He wanted answers. "Remind me of your 'noble' line, Blacktear." He requested mockingly, stroking at his chin slowly. "Did they oppose the clan? Did they maybe aim for the throne themselves? Why does their kin hide away overland now, consorting with sorcerers in dark places?" The shadows danced and flickered in the candle light. The dread spirits of conspiracy and intrigue watched with bated breath.
  2. Post should be up sometime tonight, if I don't get sidetracked. I'm doing my best to make this next post a bit longer, and a bit more involved, too. Just to keep things energetic.
  3. Posterino! @Die Shize feel free to interact with Zhot and his new hyena friend if you like, or just focus on Veron and Khrol, or any combination of the two. @Rabbit if you have no idea what Thril is saying, lemme know.
  4. Vee-Toe seems restful-easy," Thril noted from her space close by. Even after the battle had ended, and the inhabitants were conquered, the Gutter-Rat had seen no reason to abandon Vito. His warm cloak--a true sign of his camaraderie--still hung from her frame, warm and pleasant to the touch, if a bit blood-spattered. In fact, the skaven herself was somewhat bloodied from the events of their raid; her fur and attire were dampened with ichor; drawing close enough to her, one could smell iron and sweat: the smells of a most hard-fought victory. Her weapons were still close by, of course, but she didn't wield them currently. The various jewelry and baubles they'd collected still hung off her body, making her glint in the muted light. She stepped out of her stalking place, climbing down from a nearby roof. As she entered the fire's red glare, she straightened up, somewhat. It was noticably difficult for her to do, trying to stand upright. Her tail swished around her ankles and her arms were wrapped around her torso, as if shielding her exposed guts. She fixed a soft stare on him, ears twitching from beneath her hood. She didn't waste any words, of course. She had things to ask. Things to learn. Of course she did, she'd later tell herself when thinking about this moment in the dark of night. She needed to know about the world, about these people, these man-things. She needed to know if there was a place out there for rats like her. More specifically, she kind of hoped to hear that there might be a place in the world for her, especially. She sat next to him. So many questions went through her mind, but she figured it was for the best to finish asking her first question; "This rat is fighting-raised." She told him earnestly, gesturing to herself. "When I was little-creature, shkei-things wanted little Thril all to their-selves, yes-yes. But," She shrugged. "Shkei-things die-died, and little-Thril was alone-abandoned. Never-mother, now." She had so many things to tell him about herself, but she wanted answers first. So she asked a question instead. "Man-things in Tradetown do not fight-lots." She said. "Maybe man-things in here-place did not fight-lots, as well. Maybe Vee-Toe, Vee-Toe-family does not fight-much, as well? Do man-things fight-fight? Does a man-thing need to kill-kill all-times?" Not far away, the glare of the bonfire enraptured the weary warrior. Zhot, remained in place, and next to him, Skarr Clan's colors did, too. They billowed in the gentle wind, still tall and ever proud. The skaven glanced up at the flag frequently and yet every time he did, he never really experienced the pride in the object he supposed he was meant to. It wasn't there on the battlefield either, was it? In the moment, he'd only cared about the way his glaive had felt in his hand, Zhot noted. He wrapped his hands around the grip in the weapon, feeling just how natural, how good it felt to wield, like an extension of his body. In a way, it kind of was. It was a heavy metal limb, that made the rat into a killer with a mere touch. It was brutality, it was cunning. Now that he was at rest, his memories of wielding it felt almost nostalgic. He sort of pined for slaughter, in a perverse sense. He sat alone, for the most part. His belly was full of food, and his responsibility was to the glaive before him. His peace wouldn't last, however. He almost hadn't heard the hyena-thing speaking to him. The crackling of the fire threatened to devour her words entirely, leaving him with nothing. Yet he'd snagged a few of the words easy enough. "Your glaive looks dirtier than when you last held it, rat." He looked up and saw her grin. Ferocious and wide. Warfare was currency to her, he supposed. "How many did you get?" He didn't really know how to answer. How many? Was he meant to count? "Fighting blends-together quick-like." He replied with a shrug. "Maybe-two? Five? One?" The end of his tail curled around the end of his weapon protectively, lest she try to touch it. She didn't, but she did go for her own. "Well, you didn't die, did you? That must mean you improved a little." She paused, and gestured at his weapon. "Show me." He didn't quite understand, but eventually realized by her body language that she was mimicking him. The way he'd approached her, weapon ready and eager for practice. Eager for a fight. Zhot, almost defensively, snatched up his glaive and retreated around the far end of the log he'd sat upon, gripping his weapon tightly. He reached for the colors, and when he did, she shook her head. "Nope. Leave the banner behind. This is just practice." Ah. Okay. He reluctantly abandoned the banner, and joined her a good ten feet or so away from the bonfire. Around them, those with their wits about them gave them a wide berth, and a few decided to watch. He took a deep breath, and gripped the glaive tightly. It felt comfortable and natural in his hands. The edge of it seemed thirsty; desperate for him to generate results. With a shrill warcry, the Skaven hurled himself forward, lifting the blade over his head and crashing down on his foe, surrendering to his bloodlust. Khrol glanced up from his reading. The pulpit was crowded, densely piled up with several books of varying sizes and shapes. Now, he thumbed through a thick volume bound in red leather. Gold embroidered letters once marked the front of it, scratched off and scruffed through the years. Veron approached him, carrying two cups, both of which looked as if they'd fallen off the treasure wagon. They sparkled in the glow of candlelight, showing off their glamorous fittings and darkened engravings. They were fancy, though Khrol failed to understand the value of making expensive cups to drink of. He saw no reason to hide his intent as Blacktear approached. He nodded his acknowledgement of the shkei first before gesturing to his books. "Anything and everything." He spoke plainly. "Our kin do not keep books, or written records. Only through the other seers, and through our great King-King, am I fortunate enough to know man-speak." He tapped one of the books slowly. "However, I do not know much about reading. It is my hope to read these texts, and learn the words. Then, perhaps, someday I will write as well." He accepted his cup, and sniffed it suspiciously, his nose twitching. It smelled like food, he supposed, and Veron had no particular issue drinking it. He took a small drink of it, and was taken aback by the taste of it. The seer lolled his tongue around in his mouth in surprise, tasting the beverage. It tasted borderline sweet, but certainly quite a great deal more acrid than fruity. It wasn't unpleasant, and didn't overpower the senses. He drank the rest of it, and glanced at the cup, befuddled. "So much for water and mother's milk." He mused mildly. "It would appear Man was not satisfied with mere survival. How self-indulgent of them." "Hm." The word 'warlock' interested him more and more. He'd heard Veron say it before, but didn't commit the comment to memory. Now, hearing that this drink was something borderline mystical, belonging to said people, he had his questions. "What is a warlock, then?" He asked. "You make it seem like a warlock is a king; but a king doesn't let common mercenary folk cut them down. Why do they have such riches? Such drinks, and fabrics and luxuries." That's what he said, but what he meant was: Why do you want me to know this?
  5. M'yr continued to gasp and wheeze. His lungs burned. He clenched his fists by his sides, struggling to breathe. It felt as if the air had suddenly grown too thin to breathe. He managed to stay upright, turning his head upward as his eyes began to burn. The tears welling in his eyes streaked down his face behind the mask and down his chin. The edges of his vision blurred, his eyes throbbed in their sockets. He gasped. He gasped, again. It hurt to breathe. He needed...water. M'yr scratched at his neck, as if trying to make a whole in his neck to breathe through. And yet, he never got there, as Pallas was close by, and paying attention. His eyes cleared--as did his mind as, for a few precious moments M'yr was given clarity. He blinked--his face and chin were dry behind the mask, there were no tears. No scratches on his neck, nothing, again. He didn't expect anything different, by now; for a few moments at least, M'yr was well aware that his afflictions were all in his head and his head alone. He stooped and grabbed the clapper. It was smooth and worn in his hand, and comfortable, too. He slung it over his shoulder again, and nodded, gratefully, at Pallas. "Yeah, you'll need to excuse me, this isn't exactly..." He took a deep breath, grateful for oxygen, apparently. Overhead, thunder rumbled threateningly, yet there were no clouds to be seen. Beyond that, the lull of the festival continued droning onward, emitting a comforting background noise. M'yr was at ease, for at least a little while. He suspected it wouldn't last. "We aren't exactly meant to know this stuff, you know? We're like, glass bottles or orbs. We can hold just about anything we're shown, that we're given." He explained. For the first time in a short while, his voice was even and firm. He didn't hesitate, or stutter or falter for that matter. "You can put almost anything into a bottle, but only so much. What we're dealing with here is either too much information for us to deal with, or something that actively...cracks the glass, you know?" He pantomimed a glass bottle exploding outward, holding the clapper between his arm and his side. Somewhere, the waves surged forth again, and M'yr could hear it in his ears again. Behind the driftwood mask, his gaze dropped, and he stared at the earth instead of at Pallas. "I think that we're broken." He tried to explain. Was he asking for help? Pity? Maybe what he really wanted was a mercy killing. "I mean, I was, I was broken before, and I think I still am. That skull--it was the skull, I think! It! Made things a little less painful, like I was given a secret. The world was going to break, and I had a chance to help the people it would hurt. But I don't know what I'm doing anymore," He gestured uselessly to the clapper. "I don't know what this does, I don't know what the bell is going to do. It's all I've got, man." However, M'yr never said any of that. His ravings, his desperate attempts to explain himself and his actions never left his lips. Instead, he did...he didn't know what. Perhaps just stood there, having said "You can put almost anything into a bottle, but only so much." and nothing else. Why? Why hadn't he said anything then? M'yr didn't know. And now, with the tide so close to him again, he didn't have time to wonder, either. "Anyway," He straightened his shoulders, and stood upright, clutching the bell clapper tightly. M'yr nodded at Pallas before making his intentions plain. "It's about time to do this, right? Let's get going." M'yr, with little else to say, moved towards the stage. Overhead, the bell awaited him, grand and looming. Terrifying, towering. The acolyte stepped forward, and bent low, low enough to climb under the rim of the bell and within. The interior of the bell smelled strongly of saltwater and dried fish. Instead of the slow ringing of the bell, that dull resonance as it vibrated gently in the still air, the sound within was different, somehow. It sounded almost like shifting flesh, or scales, perhaps, like a massive serpent moving around. He reached up, ignoring the sound as best as he could, and affixed the clapper. M'yr stepped back, and bowed out of the bell. He nudged the bell only slightly, and it swayed slowly, creaking as it did. M'yr turned around. For some odd reason, people were paying attention to him. He stood uncertainly on the stage, unsure of himself for a moment. Then, he realized what he was doing. "Uh..." He sort of raised his hands in the air in greeting. "Hi." He got a few greetings, and a few cheers, somewhere. In the distance, flood warning sirens droned out of nowhere. "I hope you guys are having fun? If I'm being honest, this was kind of last minute," He said. "We weren't actually sure when the tide would come in again, so this was sprung on us out of nowhere." He paused, and added, almost dryly. "Imagine the ocean sneaking up on you, right?" A few laughs. It felt good. He swallowed his nerves, and steeled himself. "So anyway, the festivities are gonna keep going for a few more hours, but before we worry about all that, we have one important thing to do." He gestured at the bell behind him. Everybody watched, rapt. He understood completely. It was a massive, curious thing; everyone could see it, everyone had a chance to look at it, examine it, touch it, listen to it. Now, it was time to hear the bell ring. Of course the party goers were eager for it. He saw no reason to keep them waiting, then. M'yr reached for the rope close by, and gave it a slow, firm tug. As he did, the bell twisted and rolled, creaking as it did. When M'yr released the rope, the bell swung backwards into its position again. The bell rang. Immediately, M'yr realized that they'd been standing in the rain this whole time. With the sudden clarity afforded him, he realized he was chilled to the bone, soaking wet and still on stage. The audience realized it too, and with a few soft cries of surprise, and some mild shouting and cursing, they all pulled up their hoods or ran for cover. Massive puddles flooded much of the streets and square, water rolled off the roofs in heavy streams. The sky was dark and inky--no light pierced through it. Thunder rumbled overhead, terrifying and loud and close. Behind him, the bell howled as wind swept around it, ringing constantly. It swung on its own now, ringing constantly as M'yr backed off of the stage. He stumbled and fell into a puddle, then struggled to his feet. The bell continued to ring, flood warning sirens grew louder and louder and louder until M'yr could no longer hear anything save for the droning of the rain. He clutched at his ears, and shut his eyes, howling into the abyss. Around him, other people began to do just the same. People pointed to the heavens, awestruck. Some screamed and fled from the rain. Others, obviously unwilling to remain in the rain in such wet clothes, stripped in the street and discarded their attire, before resuming their festivities. Firm hands on his body pulled him to his feet. M'yr stood up and saw himself, wearing their mask and hoodie. Relieved, M'yr clutched himself, cold and shivvering. "What the fuck did we do?" He whispered to himself. M'yr didn't answer because there was no M'yr. It was just himself again. The ringing of the ancient bell brings to mind terrifying vistas of rising water and crashing waves, pitch black skies and rolling thunder. A sickly yellow eye looms in the sky overhead in the place of a sun, basking the earth in a sickly green hue. Those that have heard the bell ring now perceive illusions of varying intensity, in addition to the constant rain and thunder at all times. The frequency and severity of these illusions is up to writer discretion, and are not constant across all listeners.
  6. That doesn't help, but thanks. M'yr thought ruefully to himself. The birds were real, then. Maybe not the seagulls, or that twisted, knotted sun or the rolling seas, but the birds were, which was concerning on it's own. The stranger clearly wasn't of the sea. The acolyte knew that much for certain. However, it was undeniable that he was alien, or non-real to some degree as well. M'yr had been willing to put up with his odd appearance, dismissing it as some sort of failure on his part to see somebody as they are, but he had been seeing him correctly, after all. He was a testament to the unknown; a guarantee that the things M'yr had been through, the things they'd prophesied, weren't necessarily unique, or novel. But did that make their goals noble or sinister? Futile, perhaps? M'yr didn't think so. In fact, he supposed it only made sense. Just until a few months ago, he'd been blind to the rain and rising water. To be exposed to more, ever stranger things wasn't that great a surprise. There were likely tonnes of things he didn't know of. The acolyte adjusted his mask, and his strange company introduced himself. A bird lit upon his hand, and M'yr watched. It was dry, despite the rain, which infused him with a twinge of envy. To fly above the waters would be nice, even if it only bought him a few seconds above the rising waters. He swallowed his jealously like a bitter pill, and moved on, walking down the road among the crowds. They were dispersed mostly, but M'yr followed them deeper into the center of town. There, the sounds of festivities and music continued strong, and the density of bodies grew thicker. A random passerby bumped into M'yr, immediately turning into a tidal wave of frigid water that crashed over him. M'yr only barely managed to remain upright, clutching the bell clapper for stability. When the water dissipated, flowing across the concrete beneath them, the man who had collided with him apologized and quickly staggered on, clearly drunk. M'yr reeked of alcohol, from the beer splashed over his torso. He chose to ignore it, for his own sake, and moved on, leading Pallas through the festival grounds. Around them, the majority of party goers had driftwood masks by now, all handed out by devoted acolytes trying to reach as many people as possible. It didn't do much to ease his shattered mind, but it was comforting, a sense of solidarity, if you will. "Just in the center of the festival," He answered, pointing ahead. Not far from them, a large stage had been set up, and beyond it, a massive bell awaited. The bell was larger than life, a colossal thing supported by two towering planks of wood, and suspended by a long length of rope. It was dull and dented, but where the barnacles and rust hadn't eaten it, there existed numerous etches and markings in its surface. The bell was beautifully crafted, and once, when it'd been molded, it was likely decorated with a number of ornate symbols and lettering. Now, it was a derelict from the bottom of the sea, a sea that didn't exist. A sea that might exist someday. M'yr swallowed hard. The clapper in his hand was heavy, suddenly, and he moved it off his shoulder, dragging it across the ground. The sound of it rattling and scraping as it went hurt his ears, but he didn't mind. "We just need to...ring the bell," He gasped. Why was he sort of breath?
  7. Priscilla grabbed a few bolts on her way in. She hadn't fired much, and the bolts she'd fired were mostly intact, save for a few that had missed. If she could find them at all, they were shattered, blasted to pieces upon impact with the walls close by. She gathered the bolt tips anyway, and followed behind. Her quiver rattled in a melancholy way, tragically less than full. Ahead of her, the kobolds surged behind Torie, flanking her as they charged deeper into the mine. Aaric and Priscilla followed at their own pace close by, following the tigress through the dark. But before he could sprint off, the sudden arrival of more Salamanders demanded their attention. Priscilla spun in the dark, hopefully in the direction of their intruders. She racked the bolt on her crossbow, aiming at the eyes lingering just out of vision. She only barely saw them this deep into the mine. It'd be difficult to make the shots on her own. Torie seemed frightened, which didn't help the runesmith at all. She reached for her quiver, and brushed her fingertips over the ends of them. "Oh! Yeah, totally. Plenty of bolts!" She lied. Aaric prepared to disembark, but not before handing her something. It felt cold and smooth in her hand. Priscilla glanced down. "What?" She hissed. "Why would you say that loud enough for them to hear?" But he was already off on his own mission. The runesmith groaned in frustration. At this rate, it wasn't likely they'd escape unscathed. Still, she had her knife, and she had her bow. That had to count for something, right? Runes floated menacingly into view, obscuring her vision for a second. Great. Out of annoyance, mostly, she pointed the crossbow towards where she thought the enemy was and let the bolt fly. It struck the wall above their heads instead, and clattered off into the dark. "I hate this." She announced. "I've decided I really hate this."
  8. You still have time, so feel free to try something new, and toy with a few ideas if you like. I've been meaning to return to a more prompt posting schedule, so I'll be able to reply quickly to new posts I think. You two have been very patient with my lax schedule, though, so I'm more than happy to give you guys the time you need.
  9. If you want a Veron/Khrol love-scene, just ask. ❤️
  10. Following Khrol's dispatch, the wagons were shuttled onward towards Nesthome, overburdened with loot. Nigh everything inedible made the route later that eve, once all the food had been transported, which gave the party--and both companies--a rare opportunity to go over the wagons again for anything they'd missed on a first glance. The meat wagons--overflowing with carcasses and blood--was sent back first, which left a handsome collection of dried bread and grain behind for the victors to pick over as well. Not that many did, mind. Once they'd settled in, the Skaven spared no time in organizing small hunting groups, who sprinted off into the fields and hills nearby in search of game. Others broke apart doors, stairs and fences for wood, and a massive, bonfire was erected in the center of town. This was a rare opportunity for the rats to revel, indeed, and the first opportunity for many to see the rats celebrate. The Skaven celebrated primarily through fighting, dancing and singing, a sort of belligerent, scratchy noise in an unspoken underlanguage of sorts. Around the roaring bonfire, rats tapped their weapons against whatever they could to produce a beat, and experimented blindly to produce percussive noises for them to stomp around to. The skaven didn't really seem to have any dancing in their culture. Instead, they sort of just bounced around, swinging their arms and swaying a bit. It might've looked like dancing, if one was drunk enough. In addition, a small number of kegs were collected from the tavern, which were burst apart and consumed greedily by rat and man alike. Skarr Clan kept the majority of its shares to itself, but still managed to squabble and quarrel over who got to drink. Most of the rats didn't get so much as a drop from the plundered kegs, as there was nobody there to dictate how they should consume it. Kinsmeet's bones were haunted by stumbling skaven, still scrabbling about looking for things to loot. Zhot received no liquor, but instead spent his evening walking about. He basked in the glow of the fire, Skarr's Banner still close at hand for a spell, then chose to go see how the folks on guard were doing. Skritch had found himself taking up a position as watch-rat, and spent his time fiddling with his weapon ever more. During their brief exchange, Zhot noticed a small flaw in the other rat's fur, a thin line up the side of his snout. Watching him tweak his crossbow carefully, he eventually deduced that it was likely a scar from one of the bow's strings snapping and recoiling into his face. Was that a consequence of not taking care of the weapon, or a consequence of tweaking it too much? He never found out. Moving along, Zhot eventually found himself back at the fire, banner close by and weapon in his lap. The heavy, brutal-looking edge of his glaive still glinted cruelly, the smooth steel surface interrupted by spatters of dried blood. He tried to rub the marks off with his wrist, but failed and gave up. Khrol, as he was, found a book that intrigued him enough that he chose to read it, using the pulpit in the Town Hall to rest the book where he could look down on it. He stood, almost regally in the emptied husk of a building, reading silently to himself by way of candle light.
  11. The runesmith loosed a few bolts of her own overhead, but the line of sight made things difficult for her. Without the advantage of standing overhead, each of her companions in the middle of the fray became a liability. It was difficult, to guarantee her shots would go where she needed them without some kind of elevation. Without anything available to her, she held her aim steady, and waited for opportunities to arrive. Before her, Torie lunged into battle with the grace of a bear, charging past and slashing at the salamanders before turning on a dime to get into the thick of things. Priscilla watched her pounce on just one of them, and bite and claw at it with fury. Aaric leapt out of the cover of dark nearest her and went to work, confronting and slicing at the two lizards their tigress friend passed by. He was quick, and efficient, and Priscilla elected to focus on other targets. The kobolds made their move behind the tigress, and rushed into the fray, spears at the ready. They were met, in turn, by the salamanders, equally prepared for combat. They were more numerous, and thrashed about in the throes of combat equally quickly. It was hard there to make a shot as well. She envied Aaric, somewhat, who had all the space he needed to shoot his wrist bolts at whomever he pleased. Were her arbalest any lighter, and easier to use, she'd seriously consider using it in close range. Not today, though. She did notice that despite his ferocity, Aaric just as quickly as he'd leapt into it. From her place behind the combat, she could see the pained expression on his face as he stumbled for a second. Strange, she frowned. He wasn't bleeding, anywhere she could see. Was he hurt? Having a heart attack, perhaps? Or maybe it was gas. Regardless, his temporary exit from combat gave her an opening. As he jumped back into battle, she was able to loose a bolt on the target he leapt to first, nailing it in the ribs. The salamander hissed in pain, doubling over briefly, just in time for Aaric to deliver a punishing blow to it. It didn't appear to be that difficult for him to clean up any targets she shot at first, and elected to try and make his job a bit easier. Priscilla followed Aaric around with her weapon, taking shots whenever available to try and soften up targets for him. Close by the kobolds proved their worth by making effective use of their short stature and long reach to gang up on targets whenever possible. Instead of confronting most of their foes head-on, they circled around, jabbing under the salamander's guard or keeping others at bay, all while keeping their face towards the enemy. More than once, the salamanders grew impatient and made a stupid move, trying to rush a kobold, only to get prodded quite painfully by another kobold. Shank was there as well, of course, doing what he could to keep the others safe, mostly by being loud. The kobold snarled and yipped and shouted obscenities at the salamanders, pulled on their tails when he could. Eventually, he even found his mark as one of them tried to swing for one of the kobolds, and he lurched in, around the spear and stuck the salamander with his shank. It went in deep, to the hilt, before he pulled sideways, opening an ugly hole in the creature's gut. He turned away as blood pulsed out of the wound, and wiped his knife on his arm, focusing on other targets instead. That didn't mean they were untouchable. The kobolds, as coordinated as they were, still lacked in terms of reaction speed and combat effectiveness. Before long, little nicks and pockmarks mottled their arms and shoulders. None of them appeared to be fatigued, but they clutched their weapons grimly, anticipating the worst.
  12. Part 2 of post sometime tomorrow. I've been struggling to figure out what to do next, so I'm just splitting it into two parts; one where Khrol dictates what the rats get up to next, and perhaps another where the rats all settle in for the night. It seems to me that Skarr clan is going to shack up inside of the skeletons of Kinsmeet for the night, no idea what Veron or his company plans on doing. We can either spend the 'night' writing up the revelry and so forth that the characters get up to, or skip it for the most part. If you have a preference, be sure to tell me!
  13. The Seer glanced away from the thronging masses, squinting from beneath his hood in Vito's direction, before glancing back at their haul. By his count, they'd hauled away enough food from this trip alone to easily feed the majority of Nesthome for several days, if they refused to share. The sacks of grain and hauls of bread and dried meat alone were plentiful, to the point where they filled the majority of the raiding wagons. They hadn't stopped at food, of course, and dragged back everything worth having, from building supplies to tools, to clothes and weapons and everything in between. That wasn't even counting the bodies. By his own estimate, Khrol considered that they must have slain easily a hundred man-things--if not more. They were vast, if not quite as infinite as the Skaven hordes. More importantly, they were slain, and their carcasses made for fine meat, as far as the Skaven could tell. Most human flesh was akin to pork--mottled with fat throughout, and their long, healthy bodies meant there would be enough to go around, surely. He didn't truly know if it would be enough to feed all of them, or even for very long. He also didn't care. "Where we are from, Skaven hunting parties work tirelessly to drag game back into the cities," He replied blithely. "Hundreds of rats--thousands of rats--slaying everything big and small, to feed our growing numbers. Now, we do not have these numbers. But we will, soon." He turned to the raider and gave a hapless shrug. "It is a good start." Then, he spoke to the rats at large. "Skarr Clan! Your blood and teeth have fed your fellow rats for the night." He shouted. There were some small cheers, and a few gnatterings of teeth here and there. Somebody clanked a shield against the ground. "The food and supplies make their way back to Nesthome this night," He continued. "If you are not on guard duty--you may rest easy! Tomorrow, the greater work begins." A pause, and then a final hand wave at the gathered lot. "Away with you."
  14. M'yr talked, and the stranger listened, to his thanks. He let M'yr explain himself fully, despite his failure to keep things short and sweet. He asked no questions, thankfully, as M'yr had no more answers to give. Most importantly, however, the man slid the clapper back over to him without a fuss, and M'yr was able to take hold of it again. When he laid his hands upon it, he flinched and let go once again as his fingers turned blue, then black, and for a few seconds the acolyte had to watch in shock as his arm grew cold and frostbitten rapidly. Pain shot up his hand before the cold obliterated his nerves entirely. His lungs and throat felt as though they'd frozen over as well, stopping him from screaming in terror. A few more moments past that moment, and all was normal again. His fingers turned pink, his nerves tingled as if he'd sat on his arm and made it fall asleep, and it hurt to breathe for a second. He exhaled, and a long, slow plume of condensation escaped from his lips, as if he were outdoors. Nobody appeared to notice, or care. The stranger stood, as if nothing had happened, and adjusted his jacket. M'yr got to his feet carefully, in case his legs had gone numb. They hadn't, and he stood steadily, resting the clapper on his shoulder like a heavy club. Had he taken off his mask? It was on his face, so he probably didn't. He didn't think about telling the stranger 'no.' It was pretty standard stuff, even. Wherever the Acolytes--wherever M'yr--went, wherever they practiced, or worked, people inexplicably found their way over to them, and eventually learned what they wanted to about the Coiled Serpent. They were happy to share what they could, of course, but M'yr didn't really have time to induct the stranger. Not today. However, he seemed to sense M'yr's hesitation, and explained himself. The sound of flapping invaded the room with them, and M'yr glanced away--eyes only, his face never looked away from the stranger--and caught a glimpse of seagulls, swarming overhead. Overhead, there was no roof to the bar, but an empty, grey sky. The restaurant pitched back and forth on heavy, ink-back waves. A sickly yellow sun gleamed on them from beyond the cloud cover, casting diseased, filthy light all over everything it could in a small controlled beam. It was too much for M'yr to ignore, and he stopped and turned, looking towards it. The beam swept across the sea, bathing indisciminate spots on its rocky, wavy surface at random, like a guard tower sweeping for escapees, or a lighthouse, guiding the way ashore. The wind howled in M'yr's ears as he gripped the edge of the vessel, bracing himself as they struck a wave that cascaded over their ship, soaking him to the bone. The seagulls overboard cried faithlessly, as if trying to rat out M'yr's vessel. He didn't know, and couldn't care. He stared up at the sky, until at long last that ugly yoke-yellow marble in the sky bathed their vessel in light. Then, and only then he realized that among the sounds of the crashing waves and rolling thunder, among the crying gulls and spray of water and creak of wood; the sun was making noise. Bathed now in its ugly light, he could hear it clearly--a long, slow scream of--fury? terror? pain?--that invaded his senses and drove him to his knees. Bathed in the fires of the sun, he could do nothing fall prone, clutching at his head, trying desperately to plumb his thumbs into his ears, deep into them, to mash his eardrums into fine paste and silence the Sun forever. The screams never stopped, and neither did the blinding, ugly light of the insipid star. M'yr blinked, and realized that nothing had actually happened. The sun wasn't there, and neither was the sea. They were in a tavern, and everything was okay. That didn't stop M'yr from tearing the mask from his face for a second and coughing painfully, repeatedly, before standing upright again. He felt as though he'd come down with a fever; that his skin was boiling. Beads of sweat poured down his face. soaking into his garb as he struggled for breath. His pale features looked almost gaunt as he struggled to catch his breath. But perhaps none of this was happening either, as the stranger didn't seem to notice. The sound of wings was still present, The stranger nodded at M'yr, and M'yr managed to put his mask back on again. The inside of it reeked of the sea, even still. "Hah..." M'yr half-gasped, half-laughed. He ensured his grip on the clapper was still tight as he sat up straight. "You don't know my god? That makes two of us." He shook his head, and gestured for the door. The two of them made their way for it as they spoke. Rather, the stranger spoke more than M'yr did. M'yr huffed in exertion, propping the door open for the two of them. Outside, it wasn't raining. Well, it was, but it wasn't. M'yr just happened to be dry for a spell. "M'yr," He introduced himself. "If it's all the same to you, I'd rather not talk much about myself. I'm just out here, same as anybody else." He paused, and added. "Nobody special, really."
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