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In all eleven years of Khada Reis's relatively short career as a thief, he had not once wavered in his tasks. A fine challenge, that, seeing as he'd been stealing since he was ten. During that period of time, Reis had seen and heard many strange things, many of which the man had never been able to prove true or false. Being a thief, Reis had kept an ear to the sky for anything related to gold, rare artifacts, strange foreign delicacies, and anything else worth the thief's time. Occasionally, he heard things that begged further questioning. For instance, back on Earth, a lord in the far East that apparently owned a dragon egg, kept safe deep underground. That had been false; In actuality, the egg had just been a large, unpolished sapphire. Very valuable, but nothing in comparison to what a real dragon egg would have brought in. Another instance of this was an odd rumor involving magic amulets that were being transported from the sea, guarded by a couple dozen armed troops. It had been a half-truth. There were soldiers, but no amulets. The point was that Reis hardly ever backed down from challenges, or mysterious finds, even if it ended up being a waste of time. He had known that it could potentially be his undoing, but he hadn't thought much of it except for a select few occurrences. Like today, for instance It had started with a tip. Khada Reis had been a little busy worrying about his new predicament for a few weeks by then, unsure of what to do. Instead of a thin, dark-haired young man, he was now an even thinner, red, short bipedal lizard that people around him kept calling a "kobold". Reis didn't know what that meant yet, but based off of the thinly - veiled looks of annoyance and distrust, he guessed that they weren't the most noble of creatures. Instead of worrying about that, he'd just thrown a coat on and tried to ignore it all. Then had come the shock of the new world he'd found himself in, with it's. . . energy. And technology. And magic. The less said about that, the better. Still, Reis had begun to cope. He still had his own equipment. He'd simply begun to look for projects he could undertake, mainly anything that involved making money quick. He'd offered his skills to anyone who seemed like they knew what they wanted (to have stolen for them), which was how he'd come across the name of Terrenus. Specifically, a place they called “Bi'le'ah”. Reis hadn't read too much into the place, but it was apparently an old, ruined city known for it's destruction and its strange (and mostly dangerous) magic occurrences. It was more than halfway across the map of Valucre. A completely ridiculous expedition. The lizard couldn't help himself. After three trips by airship, and a long land trip, he'd found himself in Biazo Isle, ready to enter this ruined city full of danger and items. With the benefit of hindsight, Reis figured that he shouldn't have bypassed the large city of Aspyn in his excitement. If he hadn't, he might have known about the more specific dangers that awaited travelers there. For instance, giant, nightmarish spiders. Or flash storms of ice - or fire. The former was particularly terrifying to Reis, as one of them had chased the kobold for the majority of the day. It had only broken off when a sudden thunderstorm sprung up, allowing him to escape. Barely. Khada Reis was currently on the very outskirts of Bi'le'ah - or Biazo City, it was occasionally called - surveying the mess from afar. It truly was a wreck. From his position, partially hidden in the brush, he could just barely make out signs of a clear sky in the distance, choked out by dark clouds which continuously poured out rain, like a waterfall from the heavens. Reis didn’t know it could even rain that much. Off to the left, there were the remains of several large buildings, and the beginnings of a large tower, which had long since been toppled by the crush of greenery that was common in the area. Besides that, nothing much was obvious. Khada sighed, scratching the tip of his snout idly. This wasn’t what he’d been expecting. It was like a post-apocalyptic landscape, rather than the ruins he’d expected as a kid. A pity. But there was work to be done. With a grunt, the kobold got to his feet, joints clicking as he stretched. He’d been crouching there for around two hours by then, trying to remain hidden from anything that might have been in the area. During that time, he’d seen a few more odd creatures, all of which he couldn’t fully describe. Luckily, the group seemed to have lost interest in the area and left. It was now or never. Khada was certain that the city was fairly large, so he’d start with the smallest buildings, which were close to him. After that, it would be the arduous task of trying to navigate the alleys and ruined streets, trying to uncover anything useful that he could nab and sell. He’d make a more detailed plan on the fly. That was just his style. Hopefully nothing went wrong. . . A common occurrence in an area like this. Reis corrected himself. Hopefully he didn’t die. With a quick intake of breath, the kobold stepped out of his hiding spot, glancing around a couple times before beginning his slow crawl towards the closest building, which seemed to have been some sort of storehouse of sorts. Perhaps things were built in this area of the city. . . Reis didn't get too far before things began to take a turn for the worse once more. The wind was shifting. It was only a slight change, but noticeable enough to make the lizard dash the last hundred feet into the storehouse. It was still storming, but Reis feared that something else was brewing. It just didn't feel right. Perhaps Reis was just paranoid. Still, the wind was steadily picking up. . . And buckets were changing into tubs as the rain came down impossibly harder. The kobold glared upwards as droplets of water pounded down on the ceiling. With his luck so far, he wouldn't have been surprised if the ceiling collapsed. . . Of course, he'd survive, only to end up in a worse situation. That was just his sort of luck today.
An unlit cigar stuck out of the side of Silver's mouth at an obtuse angle. He stopped smoking after giving up the pirate trade, now that he less of his time aboard a ship and more of it ducking madness bubbles and mutant bandits. So he chewed the cigar because he liked the taste of the flavored tobacco and the nicotine buzz kept him focused and helped him while the time away simultaneously. He knew their names, a rough description, and an even rougher grasp of their abilities. This presented what was hardly an ideal situation for Silver but he knew Ackerley wasn't likely to steer him wrong, so all that was left to do was practice drawing his six-shooter until the new recruits arrived. His final thought, that of the best direction to take when broaching Bi'le'ah's perimeter, was interrupted by the faint rustle of leaves. It could have been the wind or stray game for all Silver knew, but the pointed revolver made it clear he intended to come out on top either way. "Hark, who goes der?" OOC Bi'le'ah (Rewards: Silver, 34, favorable connection with merchant; Uldwar, 73, a permanent safe room; Iani, 60, weapon class Terran material)
He was doing it again, that nervous thing Godric did before going out into a mission. Every time he was about to venture out somewhere, he couldn't stop drumming his fingers against his leg. It was a short succession of thuds, each of his fingers on one or both hands lightly tapping at the leather armor used to protect his legs. Most times he wasn't even aware he was doing it, but now he was staring right at them while he sat in a wagon lazily rolling towards his least favorite place in the world. “Almost to Bi’le’ah, boy. Hope your ready for it cause I ain't stopping inside those ruins.” Godric missed the more sympathetic atmosphere his old guide gave him, but unfortunately Ioreth had been given an assignment elsewhere, and Godric was entrusted with handling this solo. At first he felt excited for the chance to prove himself, but now he just felt a little unsure of his abilities, especially since he was to return to the place he almost died. The bumpy road didn't help his nerves very much, but he knew he had to do this, if only to prove himself as an adventurer. However unlike last time he was in this oversized tomb, Godric was very much prepared for what may come. Wearing a small leather pack on his back, Godric was able to hold five health potions, a basic medical kit, tinderbox and a grappling hook. Secured to the side was a length of hempen rope at least fifty foot in length, and above the pack was a bedroll should Gaia forbid he have to stay overnight in that wretched place of horror. Instead of having two quivers of bolts for his crossbow, Godric decided to instead have a small back of smoke grenades, five in all, placed in a newly made pouch on his leather greaves. Doing this limited him to only having about ten bolts for his crossbow, but having an easy means of escape was sometimes better than fighting your way out most of the time. Last but not least was the short sword he kept in a sheath underneath his pack and secured with a couple of belts. Hopefully it would provide him with the protection he needed if someone got too close or he ran out of bolts. Looking over the various jungle life they passed by got Godric thinking of home. While Ursa Madeum wasn't so much a jungle, it was certainly vibrant with life, the parts that weren't destroyed in the war that is. It was downright depressing thinking about all the beautiful places in the world destroyed by war and chaos. What was even the point of doing something so awful it took away countless lives in the process? His pondering would have to wait for another time, as the wagon had stopped, and the driver instructed Godric to walk the rest of the way. Giving him a gold coin for his troubles, Godric would begin his journey into the dead city of Bi’le’ah. To say the ruined metropolis was unsettling would be an understatement. Bi’le’ah was downright terrifying. Roaming packs of Gaia knows what out for blood, random occurrences of chaos magic just lashing out at anyone at any time. It was enough to make a man more than a little reluctant to go adventuring inside this decrepit mausoleum. Of course he knew his father wouldn't be scared of this place, that much he knew for certain. Old Oscar Uldwar would charge in and kill everything in his path until he got what he wanted. Smaller, more scared for his well being Godric Uldwar however, would try to take a more cautious approach to navigating the inherent dangers of this death trap. While reaching into the space between his shirt and the leather armor he wore with an iron breastplate attached to take out his amulet of illusions, there was a strange buzzing in the air. Immediately Godric knew what it meant, and cursed his luck as he tried to go for cover, just barely getting out of the radius of a sudden gravity well. The buzzing continued, along with the sound of stone cracking, and various objects being pulled into it, only to be crushed by its massive power. Godric would have been swallowed up as well if he hadn't held onto a broken stone wall for dear life, feeling the weight of his pack alone nearly rip him away from his life line. Screaming out his frustrations at having to deal with the nonsense of Bi'le'ah once again, he finally felt himself drop to the ground as the buzzing stopped. Looking back at the epicenter of the magical event, Godric could see an odd assortment of destroyed materials sitting upon the cracked stone. There was broken pieces of lumber, steel bent and utterly ruined, as well as an assortment of glass that suggested some nice cups may have been inside a crate that was sucked into the gravity well. At the sight of a small pool of blood leaking out from one side, Godric decided he had seen enough, and so he continued on his way to where his target is believed to have been stashed. The book in question is called The Book of the Damned, written by a celebrated researcher of the occult, Sir Harkin. Supposedly the volume contains tremendous amounts of information on the undead. How to kill them, track them, their habits, strengths and weaknesses, all bound in a nice book that has been lost in the destruction of Bi'le'ah. Not exactly reading material Godric was familiar with, but apparently one group known as the Inquisition wanted it very badly, enough to put a hefty reward out for its return. Godric felt he understood the undead well enough to know how to kill them, so he definitely intended on handing it over so he can collect the gold. Even if he knew where it was exactly, that was no guarantee it was still there in the first place. Thieves could have made away with it, or it could have been destroyed by the chaotic forces at play in the city. Hell some mutated dog creature could have ran off with it with its pages set in its drooling jaws. The possibilities were as endless as they were saddening to think about. A distant sound brought Godric into full alert, a kind of scraping against stone that could only come from a sharp claw. Of course only a few blocks from the first thing to try and kill the adventurer would be yet another thing out to end his life. Out of the shadowy alleys came what looked to be a monstrous bear with bony growths jutting out of its back. From what he understood about wildlife, that had to mean it was a dire bear, a much more deadly variety of the ursine species. Thinking quickly, Godric reached for one of his smoke bombs when the city itself seemed willing to save him from this powerful predator. From the same alley the dire bear sauntered out of, came the orange glow of a building fire. Another of BI'le'ah’s maddening outbursts of magic had conjured up a tornado made entirely of fire. Surging out of the confined space into the streets, the dire bear was the first in its path, roaring in pain as its life was snuffed out by pure chance. Not wishing to join the creature in its fate, Godric started running as fast as he could, diving into an alley and waiting for the tornado to be over. After a few moments it had burned itself out, leaving behind scorched stone and the charred carcass of the dire bear. In a way Godric felt pity for the bear, knowing that it didn't intentionally come here to cause harm, it was likely just here looking for food or brought here by some careless handler that passed away suddenly. Pushing away the thoughts for later, Godric continued walking through the city, hoping to find the right building soon before another event happens. There had to be something fueling all this magic, it just couldn't be happening naturally, mostly because it just wasn't natural. Even if the magic would eventually run out, that could take decades or even centuries, likely long after this entire city is nothing but rubble. Thinking about magic so much made Godric stop and wonder if he had forgotten something. “The amulet, I forgot about the damned thing.” He must have forgotten when he nearly got killed by that gravity well. Luckily he knew now to use it, so he could be able to scout the area and search for the book without being detected. In the newly made guise of a fox, Godric renewed his search for the book he was hunting for, thankful he was not accosted by anymore strange happenings for a time. After a few hours of searching and eluding other perilous pitfalls of the city, the fox form of Godric came upon a deserted temple that fit the description given to him by his employer. It was a mess of a place, with vines hanging off the roof and moss creeping in at odd intervals. Past the crumbling steps of the former house of Gaia were voices, distinctly human, and quite possibly alive. Carefully making its way inside, Godric hoped to find out who those voices belonged to and whether or not they were friendly. There was no telling what kind of unsavory individuals lurked within these deserted streets. What he did not wish to see were three men inside, chatting away around a bonfire as they cooked some lump of meat on a stick. They looked to be scavengers, wearing ratty black clothes and had scores of dirt on their faces and hands. From how excited they were, Godric guessed they had found something good, but his stomach dropped when he noticed just what was in one of their bags. Peaking out of the small opening in one of the burlap sacks was Sir Harkins Book of the Damned, just as sure as it was described to him. There was no way he would be able to buy it off them, the damn thing is too expensive, and he didn't want to get into a fight, so he had to be a little sneakier. Before they could take part in their supper, a small white ball rolled its way over to them from the shadows. They looked at it, confused, then concerned as a thick gray smoke began to shoot from one end of sphere, covering the area in a blinding fog. In the confusion, Godric charged in quietly, trying to stay inconspicuous as he grabbed the bag and ran for it. Everything would have went just fine if not for the meddling forces of Bi'le'ah. All Godric remembers is running for his life, then he felt the room get ice cold, time itself freezing from the power of the chaotic magic within Bi’le’ah. In only an instant later, he was free, running, and then blinding by the sun rising from the horizon. Later he would find out he had lost three whole days in that instant, but in the present he was feeling major jet lag from the sudden change in time. Fortunately the same went for the scavengers, who were frozen in place with him and now had to deal with the smoke still in the room and the sudden dizziness they likely felt from the stasis. Activating his amulet once again, he escaped into the streets in the form of a wild dog, The job was finally done, and Godric could say he performed much better than he thought he would. After several near death experiences he walked out of Bi'le'ah with only some minor bruises and burns. It felt good to be able to do something right, but not only that he had done it himself, with only his own wits and a little luck beside him. Maybe he was cut out to be an adventurer after all. After this day, Godric no longer drummed his fingers against his thighs anymore, feeling too confident to do such a thing. ______________________________ Basic Synopsis Godric journeys once more into Bi'le'ah, this time in search of Sir Harkin's Book of the damned. While there he narrowly escapes a gravity well, eludes a dire bear and fire tornado, then outwits a trio of scavengers to obtain his prize. Though he has acquired the book, Godric plans on turning in the tome to the Inquisition as they have requested, in order to obtain the fame and reward for the job. @KittyvonCupcake
The tent-settlement rested just outside of Aspyn, hidden from the naked eye by distance but still within the scope of a day's march. Aspyn was the newest settlement in the Isle, chaperoned by the youngest PeaceKeeper in the history of Terrenus's present regime (admittedly, not very long). The settlement was outside of Aspyn for that very reason – Michael Commager was a vigilant guardian anxious to prove he was worth the honor bestowed him, so the shadier aspects of society made it a point to avoid his attention. The armistice between these two parties was strained but viable, for the time being. The larger tents of the minor settlement were for the indulgence of vice. Gambling 'parlors'. Strip 'shows'. And, naturally, a 'bar', whose existence was the sum total of a secured row of metal lockers brimming over with hooch. Evelyn was in the bar tent now, occupying the body of one of its favorite hosts, the female Kharn cleric. Her leather armor was muted and pragmatic, purposefully failing to accentuate her feminine grace and obscuring the presence of her weapons until one was too close for it to matter. Evelyn held in Talice's hand an untouched drink, this being a mere nod of patronage to the bar owner so it could occupy space without rousing ire. The bar-tent had no tables, only cheap folding chairs. Talice was in one chair, and two empties in front of her formed a triangle of privacy. Evelyn had deliberately picked the point in space furthest from the bar, where the rowdy people were highest in number. The others should be arriving soon. Past experienced had informed Evelyn's trust in Handyman subcontractors. It wasn't possible for it to do everything itself and so it was nothing short of a delight to find adequately competent concierges to associate with. The two sellswords would be nothing less than competent and amenable to a fair deal, the only kind of deals in which Evelyn partook. OOC: https://www.valucre.com/topic/37817-are-you-a-mercenary-or-what/