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About Ghastardly

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  • Birthday 06/20/1996

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    I enjoy writing (obviously), and quite a few other things. Just ask me and I'm sure we'll find a common interest in something.

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  1. Of the Brotherhood of Charity Long before the Order of the White Hand had come to settle Inns’th, an assemblage of warriors and scholars from various walks of life had found their way to the accursed lands of Yh’mi. This uncanny gathering took to calling themselves the Brotherhood of Charity, and were of little renown in the brief period of their existence before suddenly disappearing from known history entirely. There are few records or accounts to illuminate who these men were exactly or the precise nature of what their order’s function was. At best it can be inferred that most of their numbers were dedicating to the hunting of monsters which often plagued villages and settlements across Terrenus, typically traveling in pairs of two to three from village to village to slay. However, there seem to be some accounts of scholarly pursuits by the Brotherhood as well, namely in the way of uncovering and preserving ancient traditions, texts, and folklore. This pursuit of secrets of a Terrenus long ago is likely what led their order to congregate at Yh’mi, which could have easily seemed a cornucopia of opportunity if not for its illusive and mysterious history, then for its land teeming with the unnatural and perverse creatures native to it. Regardless of why, according to the account of its last surviving member, the Order of Charity journeyed into the maw of Yh’mi, never to return, taking their secrets with them.
  2. Basic Information Name: Malus Galfaux Nicknames/pseudonyms: None Title(s): Knight Errant, Last member of the Brotherhood of Charity Age: Unknown Apparent Age: Looks to be about his mid 40s. Race: Terran (Human native to Terrenus) Gender: Male Sexuality: Celibate Marital Status: Celibate Birthplace: “Born in Tusknoir, small village West of Coconino Marsh. Probably naught but dust by now.” Alignment: True Neutral History A century ago a band of warriors and scholars known as the Brotherhood of Charity wandered into the maddening wastes of Yh’mi in pursuit of its secrets, now the last of them has returned to find the walls of Inns’th manned by a new order of Paladins, the Order of the White Hand. Who he was before he ventured within this vile land is of little import now, as the world beyond Yh’mi no longer has a place for him. Bound by his oaths to his fallen brethren, Malus remains within Yh’mi to unravel its many mysteries and strike at the veil of shadow surrounding it, or perhaps die upon the accursed wastes as his brothers before. Physical and Appearance Psychological Information Equipment Skillset
  3. Basic Information Name: Nicknames/pseudonyms: Title(s): Age: Apparent Age: Race: Gender: Sexuality: Marital Status: Birthplace: Alignment: Physical and Appearance Weight: Height: Physique: Eyes: Hair: Complexion: Voice: Tattoos/markings: Unique traits: Typical Attire: Psychological Information Demeanor: Strengths: Weaknesses: Quirks: Likes: Dislikes: Equipment Mundane: · Weapons: · Other: · Skills & Deficiencies Mundane: · + Skill – (ex: sewing, cooking, extremely handsome, etc.) · - Deficiency – (uneducated, sheltered, etc. It’s alright if you can’t come up with much for this one) Combat: · + Advantage/Skill – (ex: pain tolerance, expert training, battle hardened, anything that would present a general advantage in combat.) · - Deficiency – (ex: inexperienced, one-legged, blind, or anything relating to a specific disadvantage in combat etc.) Abilities Ability Class/Tree (ex: Fire magic, Vampiric Physiology, etc.) - Capabilities: · Active/Passive | Specific Ability – Weaknesses: Miscellaneous: (repeat for as many abilities as you have) History
  4. I am prepared for the shenanigans and the hunt, and unless I'm mistaken that means that Lucian is officially the bounty you're choosing to pursue. Looking forward to it. Just gonna tag @supernal so he knows, and then I guess we can settle on a location and when to perform the dice roll in dm, assuming that's fine with you of course.
  5. @zackrobbman Well if you do decide to pursue Lucian's bounty, then I'll look forward to it. Your characters seem to be really interesting and have likeable personalities to boot from what I can tell, so they should be fun interact with in a thread ? If I can help progress any of their stories in any meaningful way through Lucian and his bounty then I'd be more than happy to oblige, that said I also wouldn't mind just a simple bounty hunt roleplay if that's more your preference. Whatever your decision, I hope that we get to write together soon.
  6. @supernal Sorry about being so inactive and ghosting for the better part of a year. Unfortunately life has been a bit hectic for me as of late (plus in the midst of everything I somehow forgot I was on the bounty list). But to answer your question, I can nail out a short bounty thread no problem, especially if it means tying up some loose ends with characters that I left hanging.
  7. Thanks for the likes, and, welcome back!! :D

    1. Ghastardly


      I just realized that I was probably accidentally spamming your notifications with those, sorry about that ?

      And thanks, I'm looking to get started writing on Valucre again within the next few days, and I'm pretty sure Yh'mi will be where I start.

    2. jaistlyn


      Awesomeness! There are some quests available here! 

      Or, if you have a certain plot in mind, I'm open for discussions too! :)

    3. Ghastardly


      I'm actually planning on reintroducing a character of mine into Val after he's found in the uncharted parts of Yh'mi, after which I'll definitely do a quest or two with him for Inns'th. I just have to finish polishing his CS first haha

        Looking forward to writing there, I think the respective lore behind his character and that of Yh'mi should mesh quite nicely in how they interact.

  8. Basic Information Name: Bjarne son of Bjorn Nicknames: (none) Title(s): (N/A) Age: 153 Apparent Age: To a human he looks to be in his 50s Race: Pale Giant Gender: Male Sexuality: Heterosexual, prefers other giants. Marital Status: Unbonded (never married, single) Birthplace: On the shores of Hjem, or Shawnee Glacier as most know it. Alignment: True Neutral Physical and Appearance Weight: about 2,500 lbs (1133 kg) Height: about 15 feet (4.5 meters) Physique: Positively rippling with dense muscle, undoubtedly mighty but not exactly built for feats of agility whatsoever. Just like most any other Pale Giant, Bjarne's body type could be considered "stocky", their legs and arms as thick as the trunks of ancient trees and just as powerful as an ocean tempest. Eyes: A deep and dark blue, not unlike the surface of the cold ocean north of Shawnee Glacier. Gentle and mesmerizing. Hair: A Pale washed out brown akin to sand or dried out earth. His head is covered with a thick mop of chest-length hair kept in messy dreadlocks. A thick, wild beard covers his face and hangs down to his abdomen, its length held together by a simple braid held together at the end by what looks like the tooth of a massive shark. He is covered in thick body hair, similar in appearance to an especially hairy person. Complexion: As pale as the clouds of a Winter storm. Voice: Bjarne speaks with a deep rumbling voice that reverberates through the chest of those near. His enunciation is typically long and drawn out, almost lethargically. Tattoos/markings: a few shallow scars mark Bjarne's body, most bite and scratch wounds inflicted by what seem to be exceptionally large creatures, though there are a few scars that appear to have been left by the edge of a blade. A thick-lined winding black tattoo covers the length of his forearm. Typical Attire: A mammoth pelt cloak adorns Bjarne's massive frame and drapes down to his ankles, its fur clearly travel worn but no less a fine material for trekking across the tundra. The cloak is fastened around his chest and shoulders with what looks like a massive shark tooth about 6 inches wide and 8 long. Underneath the cloak the giant wears a light brown parka over a similarly colored jerkin and trousers all composed of whale hide. Covering his feet are mukluk boots similarly made of whale hide and lined with mammoth fur near the top, they go up to and cover his shins. A few leather straps are tied around his waist into a makeshift belt, each fitted with a sheath for his knife and a loop to hold his club, all of which are constructed from whale hide as well. A leather bag is slung around his torso and hangs tightly onto his back. Psychological Information Demeanor: Aloof and occasionally distant, easily distracted in busy environments, often finding typical Terran cities a bit overwhelming at times. Takes his time with most things that are not matters of extreme importance to him. Generally calm and not an excitable person. A gentle soul. Wary of any large fire, and quickly becomes panicked and/or extremely angry if faced with an opponent who uses fire against him. Often finds the "little ones", those being humans and most other humanoids, quite humorous in their rush and bustle, but most of all how many of them gape at his size when they first see him. Has little interest in the kings or politics among the little ones, but takes a keen interest in economics and trading. Quirks: Tries to trade goods with anyone he thinks he can. Likes: Frigid cold weather, rain, snow, most any fruit or vegetable that grows South of Shawnee Glacier, hunting monsters on the land and in the sea, making a good trade, exploring new places. Dislikes: Arid environments, fire, fighting sapient creatures (since it usually ruins the chance to trade), wastefulness, Frost Giants. Equipment Mundane: Whale Hide Bag - A simple bag constructed from whale hide slung around his torso and snugly hung across his back. It carries a wide variety of materials for trading, such as rare animal materials and Dlarun ore, as well as any provisions Bjarne requires. Ulu Bone Knife - whether it be for self defense or general utility, Bjarne's knife is an invaluable tool. It is constructed entirely from the vertebrae of a large whale and has been enchanted by Bjarne's village shaman so that it shall not break even when wielded with a giant's full strength. Due to the wielder's size the blade is just as massive, the width of its edge being about 3 feet long, while its length is about 2 feet long. Bjarne wields it with surprising dexterity. Weapons: Whale Bone Club - A club constructed from the bones of a whale, It has received blessing similar to that of his Ulu. It's length is lined with etchings detailing the hunt of some sort of sea monster, these runes emit a dim glow in darkness. Capable of being wielded with one or both of the giant's hands, the club is about 7 feet long. Other: Dlarun Pendant - A circular pendant hanging from a thick rope as a necklace around Bjarne's neck, it bears the Vegvisir. Grants Bjarne minor protection from fire. Skills & Deficiencies Mundane: + Expert Survivalist - Bjarne is more comfortable in the wilderness than in most towns or cities. He can hunt, mend his own clothes, and survive without difficulty in virtually any environment, barring those with extremely arid climates. + Multilingual - In addition to most common tongues, Bjarne is familiar with every Giant tongue and dialect as well as Aquan, the language of sentient sea-creatures. Combat: + Pale Warrior - His strength and skill with his weapons make him a formidable foe. - Lumbering Giant - Bjarne isn't exactly agile nor as dexterous as most smaller counterparts - Aversion to Fire - Large amounts of fire tend to put the giant on edge, and sudden burst of it can easily startle him. Abilities: Pale Giant: like many other types of giants, Pale Giants have several resistances natural to their physiology, along with incredible strength and durability. Strengths: Passive, A Giant's Strength - A Pale Giant's strength is beyond that of any normal man, and is twice as great as any Frost Giant. Bjarne is capable of lifting around 8 tons. Passive, Hardy - The constitution of a Pale Giant is considerable indeed. Bjarne is extremely resistant to poison and has the stamina to run for a hundred miles without tiring. Passive, Giant Stride - Bjarne can run down and catch a horse. Passive, Native of the Glacier - the shores of Hjem are the ancestral lands of the Pale Giants, and it has influenced their bodies in kind. Pale Giants are immune to the cold and any freezing magic or similar supernatural arts. Additionally, the genus loci has saturated them in focused arcane energies for thousands of years, making them resistant to arcane arts in general with notable exceptions. Passive, Descendants of the Sea - The ancestors of the Pale Giants are believed to have been Sea Giants, a claim that seems to be corroborated by their affinity for all types of water. Whether or not it is true, all Pale Giants are extremely fast swimmers, making up for their lack of agility on land with their dexterity within the sea. Pale Giants are also capable of holding their breath for days on end, and can withstand the depths of the ocean floor. Weaknesses: Pale Giants are extremely weak to fire, so much so that their resistance to magic does not protect them from fire magic. Their resistance to magic does not protect them against illusions or attacks on the mind. Pale Giants can not survive in arid environments for too long. History: There are myths which speak of a reclusive giants living along the Northern shores of Shawnee Glacier, pale hulking slabs of muscle who wrestle sea monsters into exhaustion and corral the behemoth mammoths as if they were cattle. Most believed that these tales spoke of the ancient Frost Giants native to the region, but now that the glacier has consumed the arid wastes and opened a path into the heart of Terrenus, a Pale Giant strides across the frozen plain and into the unexplored lands of the South for the first time in thousands of years. Among his people, Bjarne is an accomplished warrior, having defended his tribe against the brutish Frost Giants for many years. Now they send him as an explorer and emissary into the bountiful South bearing the goods and commodities of his people for trade. How long Bjarne plans to stay in the Southern lands is unknown, but what he brings with him may determine if more of his people are to follow into South or if they will vanish into the icy expanse of the glacier forever.
  9. I was unaware that there was a dark theme this entire time. Also, welcome back.
  10. The stranger's brow furrowed; something that Avvercus had said had piqued some level of interest from the man standing opposite him. What exactly had caught the attention of this man who had fallen from the stars was, of course, another mystery for the swordmage to unravel. Avvercus, however, had incidentally revealed that he had at least a modicum of pride invested in his ability in the martial arts. An unlikely truth to be used in a friendly sparring-match, one that may have even gone unnoticed by his would-be opponent but perhaps still worth noting for the future. What wouldn't be was the confidence that this jade-eyed man seemed to have, perhaps a result of that very same pride, evinced in the smile that had been etched upon his expression from the beginning of this bout. Brimming with such brazen aplomb, perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise when Avvercus suddenly lowered his guard, and if the still nameless vagabond's unwavering demeanor wasn't simply a facade, it hadn't. But if Avvercus' assumption of this man's abilities were even remotely correct though, then from this stranger's perspective there was no way of discerning if this swordmage's boldness was justified or simply bravado. Just as a smith tests a blade through stress, the only way to precisely gauge the skill of this Acolyte of Fate was to put him under pressure, and contrary to what Avvercus may have believed, this stranger did not intend to allow him to dictate the flow of this confrontation. The vagabond maintained his stance even as the swordmage began to stride towards him, like a cornered feral beast poised to lash out. Each step seemed to magnify the anticipation of conflict as the tension between them mounted, until finally it was released. Avvercus had no opportunity to set his stance or even align his feet with his opponents, as he was greeted with the snap of the stranger's right fist that had been coiled at his abdomen as soon as his head crossed into the threshold of the arm's range. The stranger might as well have been trying to decapitate his jade-eyed acquaintance as his fist audibly cut through the air with a hand speed and power that far exceeded the limitations of any typical brawler. Even so, this strike was only the first of a barrage aimed at the nose and jaw, the metal-plated arm of this unnamed warrior flickering outward like a whip before recoiling back to its original position. This stranger seemed to only be probing for now, smothering his agile adversary with a plethora of strikes without overextending himself, and yet each jab carried enough destructive power to potentially bring this bout to an abrupt end if Avvercus was careless...
  11. Sorry for not posting lately everyone. School work is really crunching down on me and on top of that I'm now sick. I'll try to get the posts I owe done as soon as I can, but atm I can only ask you to wait a bit longer! Apologies friendos

  12. Before that night the Temple of Gaia had stood amidst the bustling cityscape of Dougton as a symbol of peace and hope for all natural life. Before that night the name "Meryam" had been lost to time and forgotten by the world at large. Before that night the world made some semblance of sense and the people of Dougton could feel safe when the sun went down. Now... all of that had changed, and Meryam's insidious melody lingered in the air like a plague. The stage for her nocturne was set before the ruin of what used the Gaian Temple, her voice carried on an unnatural wind from the remnants of Dougton's faith, mingling with the chime of alarm bells, the rhythm of the city guard's march, and the clatter of their platemail as they moved to defend their city from this malevolent "goddess"; these sounds came together as a symphony of dread washing over a city steadily slipping into the thralls of fear. Certainly, It was an evening that would not soon be forgotten by the people of Dougton, nor the world. However, while history would remember that night as the beginning of Meryam's chapter in the story of Valucre, the role the Lords of Purgatory had in writing it would be forgotten, given time. That was by design, Lucian's design in whatever grand machination all of this madness was supposed to lead up to. Yet, despite all of his scheming, Lucian had managed to attract the ire of two men who would not so easily forget all that he and his pack of fiends had done that night. One was a stalwart Samurai, spurred on by conviction, and the other a wayward soldier, bound by oath; both were chasing the same devil through the same muddied alleyways winding further and further away from Meryam and her siren's song. The Shogun and his ally, Sage Athos, had been there since the beginning when Petros first arrived in Kaurilia City. There they would find the bodies of Lucian's first two victims, and later they would discover the carnage left in Casper only a week after that fiend and his Lords had slaughtered 40 more. It was on that night in Dougton where the trail of bloodshed finally culminated, and once again the swordsman and the soldier were too slow to prevent the Lords of Purgatory from adding to the growing list of souls they've butchered. Sage was tired of being too late, and the Lords of Purgatory had committed enough barbarism without consequence. The Philosopher was determined to rectify that, and he had no doubt that Shogun echoed his sentiment as the duo pursued their fleeing prey, both intent on bringing a close to a hunt that had spanned an ocean and a continent. Now more than ever any reservations either man may have harbored in turning their backs on the discord unraveling in the Temple square were kept silent, as doubt now went hand-in-hand with death and death was not an option for either of these warriors. Of course, that didn't mean they were foolish enough to be reckless in their pursuit either. Despite the Samurai being the swifter of the two, Athos and Shogun ran abreast to each other through the labyrinthine alleys, wary of any snares Lucian had undoubtedly left in wait as they followed the tracks Petros and his companions left in the softened dirt. However, there were no pitfalls or traps for them to spring as they chased after the Lords of Purgatory, and soon they began to wonder if they had been following a false trail until the pair rounded the next corner. It was then that they would lay eyes upon that venomous fiend that they had hunted so doggedly for what felt like an eternity, now standing at the end of the alley Sage and Shogun had come upon. Lucian's back was to his pursuers as he stood before an ebon carriage of seemingly regal design, turning to glance behind him upon hearing their footsteps as if he had expected someone to arrive all along. For a moment, the entire world seemed to stop in time as the crimson eyes of Petros met those of his would-be hunters, and as they did the corners of his lips began to curl into a wicked grin before he opened the passenger door of the carriage. The Philosopher's fists clenched, the alloy plating around his fist which coating the exterior of his limbs audibly struggling under the pressure of his immense strength as he saw the petite girl within, her body tightly restricted and her mouth firmly clasped by... something lurking within the cabin. There were no words that needed to be exchanged between Sage, Shogun, or Lucian as far as Athos was concerned, digging his heel into the earth before charging forward. However, while the Philosopher was determined to put an end to Lucian's madness, he would quickly discover that the Dread Revenant seemed just as resolved to escape. Athos found himself struggling to fight against his momentum and the slick mud underfoot as a solid stone slab erupted from the muck to block his path. Unable to stop in time, Sage instead twisted and led with his shoulder, that hard metal limb of his slamming against the rock and putting a sizeable split in its center, but even then he couldn't waste the valuable seconds it would take to shatter the monolith completely. Instead, the wayward soldier would elect to place his faith on the agility of his ally. Only a glance was exchanged between Shogun and the Philosopher as the latter looked back at his swiftly approaching companion, holding out his hand flatly at shoulder height as if he were preparing to hoist something. Evidently, the Samurai understood the unsaid plan clearly as his legs pushed him forward at an inhuman pace before suddenly leaping skyward off of the earth. The swordsman's sandal would find sure footing within the palm of Sage's hand for the briefest of moments before the Philosopher's hand shot upwards, hurling Shogun into the sky and over the earthen barrier to continue their pursuit after Lucian. In spite of his gungho blitz a second earlier, even Sage knew that having Shogun go ahead was the best course of action given that the stalwart samurai was the only one between them that had a chance to catch a carriage on footspeed alone. But that didn't mean Athos was content to stay put while Shogun fought Lucian on his lonesome, and he'd be damned if all it took was a wall to stop him now. It only took a few moments and a couple of thundering blows before the obstacle crumbled into a heap of pulverized gravel and Sage's imposing figure parted the cloud of dust left by the rubble. Shattering stone came easy for someone with strength like Sage's though, but catching up to Shogun with his natural speed alone was a different ordeal entirely. However, as he came to the end of the alley, the Philosopher didn't need to search very long for his friend as he looked right down the street. The swordsman was clinging tightly to the top of the carriage with Masamune plunged firmly into the vehicle's roof, ferrying Shogun further away with each passing moment. The Philosopher summoned every ounce of speed his legs could muster in pursuit, but it was evident that if he wanted to catch the runaway carriage and his friend he'd need to rely on his abilities as an Aster. But just as static energy began gathering under the soles of the soldier's boots, another sword burst through the canopy in response to the uninvited passenger, aimed directly at the Shogun's heart...
  13. Standing on the open air deck of the airship was surprisingly manageable despite the speed at which the vessel was moving, one could even describe it as pleasant. To Sage, it didn't really matter at the moment how this was achieved, for now, he was just satisfied with enjoying the cool wind coursing through his hair as he leaned upon one of the large rail posts and watched the waning embers of twilight in the sky. The weary soldier could certainly think of worse endings to what had been a long week as he gazed over the landscape below, the lingering soreness from his encounter with the Kaantus reminded him of that much. And it had been a long week, the longest he had been through since he had first left Terrenus and one that had been tiresome until the very end. Just thinking about it was enough to elicit a heavy sigh from Sage as he turned from the passing landscape below to the bustling crowd of people behind him, all struggling for room on the over-occupied deck. They were all here for the same reason that Athos was onboard a Genesaris bound ship instead of flying directly to Terrenus: every single airship scheduled to depart from the skyport had begun malfunctioning or fallen into disrepair, or simply never arrived in the first place, all of them... except for one. Sage wasn't a fool. Even in a world as tumultuous as Valucre, something as improbable as this happening was an oddity, which only made him even more apprehensive about setting foot on this vessel. In spite of that, waiting for a ship to arrive that might ferry him to Terrenus or, worse yet, sitting on his ass until one was repaired was an even less appealing prospect, especially when one considered all the harm Lucian and his Lords of Purgatory could do in that wasted time. Given those circumstances, the Philosopher didn't have much choice if he wanted to get where he was going in a timely manner, just like everyone else on board. But at least he was headed for Terrenus now, even if it was a roundabout path to get there. There was one boon in his presence on this ship though, at least as far as the passengers would be concerned; if the odd circumstances which put him on this ship were part of some nefarious plot, then Sage was the perfect wrench for that plan as far as he was concerned. But as his gaze shifted back towards the horizon, Athos hoped that, as unlikely as it seemed, it had all been a coincidence and the flight would proceed without hindrance, knowing full well that further delay would only allow Lucian's sinister machinations to continue unfettered that much longer. Sage's thoughts lingered on that wicked fiend, what he could be doing, and the memory of what he had done to so many, what he had done to Chinen. That came to a stop at the sound of splintering wood. Glancing towards the noise, the silver-eyed soldier could see that where his hand held the railing post his tightening grip had splintered the wood, and he wasn't the only one who had noticed. Athos didn't look to see how many eyes were on him, he simply placed his hands and leaned on the railing in front of him to take a deep breath. If he was so set on facing Lucian and the Lords again, then he knew that he'd need more composure and levelheadedness than when he fought the Kaantus, or he would pay with his life instead of a few aches and pains. For now, maybe that meant not thinking about Petros, maybe that meant not thinking about anything at all and just taking in the view while there were still glimmers of daylight left. Or maybe that meant almost toppling off the side of the ship after receiving an incidental shove from one of the more reckless passengers onboard. Luckily Sage hadn't completely pulverized the post he had grabbed onto earlier as he grasped onto it just before his feet left the floor. Athos turned to confront whoever it was who ran into him, but they seemed to have already disappeared into the chaos of the crowd before he could discern who it was. Deciding that the whole thing was more trouble than it was worth, Sage gave a low gravelly groan before leaning back onto the post, noting that the rails wouldn't stop someone of his stature from bowling over and wary of any other careless passersby. Yet even as he watched the crowd he neglected to notice the strange figure who approached him, and it wasn't until he was addressed that Athos looked towards the eccentric man now standing at his side... Oddly enough the goat legs were only the second thing that Sage noticed about the odd man who had approached to him, the first thing was the obscene amount of pink he was wearing. Conversely, Sage was wearing his usual black military trenchcoat in addition to his black leather gloves which covered his metal limbs, well-worn black boots, fatigue trousers, a simple gray shirt, and his olive green checkered shemagh scarf. Altogether this brightly colored individual made Athos look like he was either about to attend a funeral or make one, but after all the things Valucre had shown him since arriving, talking with something that looked as if it had sprung from the imagination of a child wasn't too surprising at this point. "Nothing too interesting, I assure you." Sage answered, the weight of the Rhodium in the parcel hanging from his belt reminding him otherwise. "I'm just heading back home after finishing up a little business is all." he said as his eyes strayed away from the stranger, evidently not eager to talk. Something told Sage that he was going to end up talking despite that though...
  14. With every syllable that the Acolyte of Fate uttered, it felt as if this wayward soldier was threatening to bore a hole through him with his intense stare. By the time Avvercus had finished what he was saying, the stranger hadn’t even bothered to blink, let alone move an inch from where he was standing. He stood like this for what must have been several moments of awkward silence between the soldier and Swordmage, until the grim visage of the stranger suddenly began to crack as the corners of his lips began to curl into the slightest of smiles. Then, the brooding expression suddenly shattered into a fit of laughter, evidently finding something the Acolyte quite funny. “I- I’m sorry.” The stranger managed to say as his laughter began to cease, waving a hand defensively as he continued, “You just… well, you remind me of someone I used to know is all.” Finally, Sage would fully regain his composure, though a slight smile still lightened his demeanor, making for a pleasant change from the dark and stoic expression he had worn up until now. “What made me laugh is after all that talk of fate, it seems like history is repeating itself. You see, I was in a situation similar to this long ago, at least similar in the sense that people were trying to kill me, and that man that you just reminded me of told me something almost identical to what you just said, and I’m not sure if I’d be here today if he hadn’t.” The stranger soldier closed his eyes as he let out a tired, heavy sigh that seemed to carry all of his life’s hardships and struggles upon it as he ran one of his hands through his black hair, “I myself have never taken the time to ponder the existence or nature of things such as fate or destiny, but perhaps if those forces do exist to guide the course of our lives then they must possess some sense of irony to have arranged a meeting such as ours.” “Fate is a fickle mistress with an askewed sense of humor. Or so my Goddess tells me,” the swordmage smiled, seeing the sour stranger break into laughter. It seemed he wasn’t completely dead inside. “We will survive this. I’m not allowed to die, or the one waiting for me back home will find me in the afterlife and kick my ass. My soulmate is far more terrifying than any army, I assure you,” he chuckled, adding some humor to things and giving a peek into his life. Meanwhile, Evangeline grumbled a bit, being left alone, and tottered off to gather more herbs for her apothecary. Magic alone wasn’t going to be enough, if her intuition about what was happening was correct. She’d need to give every ounce of support at her disposal. The wayward soldier would open his eyes once again, their sterling silver almost radiant with a newly adopted gleam they now held. It was as if this enigmatic individual had made a sudden decision within himself as he looked at Avvercus, and in the instant the choice was made the wanderer smiled at the youthful magus with a genuine warmth that seemed to cause his countenance to glow for the first time since he had met both Avvercus and Evangeline. One could say this vagabond appeared to have been given a new lease on life, but who’s to say what was going through his head as the two men would finally exchanged laughter together. The brief moment of levity in the midst of such a whirlwind of events must have felt like a breath of fresh air to these two, that much could at least be said in the case of the vagabond. He couldn’t remember the last time he was able to take a moment to laugh, but he was also silently grateful he hadn’t forgotten how to. A breath of fresh air indeed, one that seemed to brighten what had been a very grim morning thus far. However, one of these men was left a bit perplexed. God...dess? The word had bounced around inside of the stranger’s head ever since Avvercus had uttered it. Though it was admittedly an… interesting way to refer one’s loved one, the wayward soldier had simply assumed that this “goddess” was the same woman as this soul mate that Avvercus had mentioned. “Soulmate, hm?” Sage began with a small friendly laugh, “Well I’m certainly happy for you that you’ve managed to find someone who means that much to you.” The stranger ceased leaning on the sturdy tree behind him, straightening his posture as he spoke, “Someone like that is a rare treasure, and If she’s as tenacious as you make her out to be then she must be a good woman.” The stranger smiled at his own quip as he strode closer towards the magus and the edge of the treeline. Standing this close, it would have became apparent just how imposing the stature of this man was. At the same time, their was an aura of gentleness about him now as the soldier’s eyes lifted skyward towards the canopy of treetops overhead. Rays of morning sunlight shone through the leaves to kiss the skin of Avvercus and this still unnamed man as they stood there. The vagabond took a moment to take in the peaceful setting he had found himself within, basking in the warmth of the sun, listening to the sound of the wind pass through the foliage around them, and inhaling the fresh vibrant air of the forest around them. It was all a far cry from the mechanized cityscapes which covered entire planets where he had come from. It was certainly a welcome change that he wanted to savor, one that reminded him just how far away from home he now was. Yet, however much he wished he could enjoy this rare moment of peace that he had been afforded, he knew that their mirth would not be permitted to last very long. Knowing this, the stranger looked down at Avvercus once more, that same resolute gleam still evident amidst his silver gaze. His expression had sobered, like that of a man prepared to wage a war, and if the looming threat of what was to come was anything close to what this stranger had been making it out to be, all three of them may very well have been treading on a warpath. For a moment it seemed as if the stranger was trying to stare a hole through Avvercus once again before he broke his silence with an annoyed groan, “Good grief, you might just be as stubborn as I am. I guess I understand how everyone else felt back then. But if you’re determined to ignore my advice, well then...” A heavy hand suddenly rested on the shoulder of Avvercus, “Like I said, I took an oath too, and unfortunately for you it won’t let me stand by and let two idiots throw their lives away for the sake washed up soldier like me.” The corners of his mouth curled into the faintest of smiles, “I will fight with you.” ~ Heavy It was so very heavy. A weight that constantly threatened to crush the man beneath it’s daunting oppression. The responsibility of another’s life and their destiny that went beyond the simple act of breathing. The impacts it had on so many besides the self. Avvercus’ own life held more weight to it on his conscious than just the usual self-preservation most felt. He had a master and lover to return to, a goddess to faithfully serve, and the effect on fate his scattered soul shards had all across existence. It was heavy, the stranger’s hand, and the reminders that pressure on his shoulder brought along with it. Avvercus smiled back up at his ally. “Glad to hear it,” his voice was bright, in stark contrast to the deeper feelings that were bubbling in the back of his mind just a moment ago. He took his left hand and placed it on the Soldier’s right wrist, which was settled on his left shoulder. A light, gentle touch that might not have even been noticed. An almost sensual gesture one might think. Then, the word turned upside down for the much taller man. He suddenly saw his boots pointed to the sky, and felt the rushing lurch of gravity on his innards before his back met the mossy earth. Avvercus had grabbed his wrist and twisted it outward towards his thumb while sliding a foot forward, knocking the one the giant has most of his weight on out from under him while another hand pushed against the shoulder of the same arm Avvercus was holding by the wrist. The result? A 5’9 man was tossing someone far larger in stature than himself around like a ragdoll. He grinned down at the now prone stranger, still holding his gloved hand with a gentle pressure one would expect from a lover. “You’ll fight with me, right? Well, let’s see what you can do,” he chuckled before letting the hand go and taking a hop and a fews steps back, separating them by ten feet. The quarters were close and clustered due to the trees, a fact he’d long ago taken in and kept in mind as he settled into Onyx, the neutral stance for the Emerald Order’s hand to hand system of combat. “If I win, you’re going to tell me your name,” he said, setting a condition without room for an argument. ~ Whether the stranger was shocked, angered, or otherwise by what had occurred wasn’t clear as he laid limply on his back staring up at the rustling foliage above. His expression was flat, almost vaguely annoyed by what had happened, as if he had encountered a minor inconvenience in his day by being firmly planted by the Acolyte of Fate. Yet, regardless of what was going through the vagabond’s head, Avvercus’ challenge still hung unanswered in the air like a grievous albatross looming over the prostrate form of the still unknown individual. However, there was something else that lingered over the atmosphere of the scene, a mystery which had remained unsolved since Evangeline had pulled his unconscious body from the river hours earlier. What was the identity of this man? Where was he from? What was his story and why is he being hunted? The first key to discovering finding these answers and more was what Avvercus sought to win from this wayward soldier: the man’s name. The vagabond lifted his eyes to glance at the swordmage, but he didn’t need to see the jade eyed mage standing only ten feet away in stance to know that the Acolyte of Fate had no intention of allowing the stranger the luxury of choice in this matter, despite how friendly he was attempting to act. Closing his eyes and taking a short mildly irritated breath, the soldier seemed to come to terms with the situation he had been presented before finally rising from his bed of moss. The stranger had not responded to Avvercus’ provocation verbally, but as he began to remove select articles of clothing his answer became clear. He would do so meticulously and at a leisurely pace, removing his gloves first, one finger at a time; then the heavy leather coat hanging from his broad shoulders; and finally his boots, before folding and placing them neatly to the side of the small clearing he and Avvercus had found themselves in. At first it might have seemed as if his stratagem was to test the patience of the swordmage, but just as suddenly as Avvercus had flipped the vagabond onto his back the atmosphere underwent an unforeseen shift. The stranger had begun his stretches, and as he did he seemed to radiate an aura of menace unlike anything Evangeline or Avvercus may have felt from him thus far. The tension in the air continued to build, silencing the nearby insects and birds until the sense of foreboding almost became palpable, and then the stranger turned around. Then, as if a sunbeam had suddenly cut through the shroud of a mire, the apprehension stagnating the air dissipated upon the sight of the welcoming smile gracing this stranger’s visage. “I suppose working up a sweat and an appetite before we fetch some breakfast would make it taste even better, so I don’t have any problems with a friendly spar, although I’ll admit I haven’t done this in quite some time.” the stranger said with a chuckle. His voice was just a little higher now, as if he were attempting to force himself to somehow sound nicer, and that wide smile of his that seemed so innocent must have been fake. What’s more, his stance was wide, his guard low, his chin up and exposed, and it seemed as if he had no concept of where to put his feet. It had to be trap, and yet the sunbeam that was his expression seemed so genuine and inviting. “Oh I know, why you don’t you take the offensive first! Really let me have it okay? That should get me in the swing of things.” This was undoubtedly a trap… right? Avvercus was surprised. Not by the obvious deception, nor the unnervingly bright smile the stranger wore. That this man was able to make such a thick, murderous aura simply disappear without a trace so perfectly was a mark of a professional. What also surprised him was that the stranger had chosen to fight defensively. He’d expected heavy aggression. Well, Avvercus was a flexible fighter and could fill the role of attacker or defender just as easily. “Haha, well if you insist.” He felt a familiar rush as ki began to flow through his veins, traveling along the meridians and seeping into muscle. The strength and speed that would be necessary given his opponents massive weight and height advantage flowed through him, and without warning he was suddenly on the move. His footfalls were fleeting, a graceful dance on his toes as the martial artist closed the gap. With perfect spacing, he lunged forward on one foot, stretching his arm out to it’s maximum length in a fairly swift, solid strike towards the face. As he did so, his chin tucked into his shoulder for protection, while his free arm clung tightly to his side, palm out and ready to defend against attacks to the midriff. A simple, direct attack with no feints. Let’s see what you’ve got The years of training, improving, and mastering his technique seethed from every subtle tightening of muscle and tendon as Avvercus glided towards his opponent with a finesse only a lifetime of dedication could ever afford. Every fiber of the Swordmage’s being seemed to radiate the pride and dedication he poured into achieving mastery of his martial arts, a stark contrast to the stranger who had become the focus of the silver haired warrior’s combat artistry. Yet in spite of outward appearance, there was no doubt in the mind of Avvercus when he discerned that his unguarded appearance was merely a tawdry deception, and subsequently there was no hesitation when the youthful looking Magus moved forward to spring the trap and go on the offensive. But then, something unexpected occurred. The mage’s punch connected flawlessly, his knuckles pressing into the clenched cheek of his would-be sparring partner as the muscles of Avvercus pushed to follow through with the strike. But even as the muscles tightened and flexed to push forward through the stranger’s jaw, the momentum of the Acolyte’s fist would quickly slow and finally be halted completely. For a seasoned combatant such as Avvercus, it would have likely taken only a moment to realize what had just occurred as his gaze met the steely eyes of the man who he had just struck, eyes which were now fixated upon Mage. Whatever sense of jovial fun and friendly competition there may have been in the air had been quickly dispelled by the ominous glare this till unnamed individual now cast upon Avvercus, not unlike that of a starved predator taking in the sight of it’s captured quarry. It was an exchange which had occurred within an instant, and in that same instant the cyborg combatant had rested his metallic digits on the chest of the Magus, the only warning the Acolyte of Fate would receive before the stranger’s cybernetic arm thrusted forth like a piston. Though the action itself was only a shove, the seemingly supernatural force behind it had sent Avvercus skidding backwards across the earth, right back to where he had begun while his opponent remained unmoved. With the distance between them well reestablished, the metal-armed soldier lifted his hand to wipe away a speck of blood trickling from the corner of his mouth; faint, but an indication that the force of Avvercus’ strike hadn’t gone unnoticed. The mystery soldier’s fierce gaze finally diverted from the martial artist as he inspected the droplet of his own blood smeared across his thumb, “Tch. A bit more snap behind that punch than I had anticipated.” This odd stranger remarked before his silver eyes set upon the Acolyte once more, “Then again, if I had known you could manipulate your chi so effectively I’d like to think I wouldn’t have elected to let you slug me like that. Definitely enough to make any normal man of my stature and build weak at the knees. Even so...” The Vagabond’s voice trailed off and his stance began to change, “... Even so that isn’t going to be nearly enough to knock someone like me down. But I think you’ve put that together by now, right?” The stranger’s right side would be put forward, the corresponding foot and arm taking the lead over their left counterparts as his right fist lowered to seemingly guard his midsection. Slowly his right arm began to rock back and forth rhythmically, and his feet followed suit as the soldier began bouncing on the balls of his feet, betraying just how spry his imposing figure may be. “Now that I’m in the ‘swing’ of things, we’d best get started before we waste the morning. You’re free to use your chi and ‘other talents’ however you please, but I suggest that you decide whether you want to punch or protect yourself with it.” The mystery man said as his lips curled into a sly smile, “Start whenever you’re ready, I’ll be interested to see what you decide.” The unnamed soldier’s left fist came to hover next to his jaw as he prepared to receive Avvercus’ next assault.
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