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  1. [The Church On The Hill : Monday Morning] It began as a day like any other. Cool, only slightly overcast, with the sun just now creeping over the treetops in the distance. Tirkas "awoke" like any other. Since the warband departed he had taken to living in the basement of the old Church ruins, just in case the closeness to the place of Constans' awakening afforded Tirkas some kind of vision from god. No such vision ever came. He heard the people approaching the church. He had instructed them to do so a few days prior. The people grew restless and Tirkas could not say that he didn't understand. He wanted answers as much as anyone else, so he formed his own warband, a Lance of forty men and women, craftsmen and warriors alike. He could not address them as he was now, a nude elf with funny green veins on his arms and legs. He whistled quietly in the murk of the old Church and along scampered his newest companion. A Page, a boy named Silus, who had lost both of his parents to the Lizardmen. Tirkas found him cowered in the corner of his family domicile with a kitchen knife clutched to his chest. The knife had blood on it, and not his own, but that of one of the lizardfolk that snatched the boy's father and killed his mother. He had fire in his heart, and Tirkas took to him because of it. The boy would learn the ways of Knighthood, and as such he started with the lowliest of tasks. In this case, he was to assist Tirkas in donning his arms and armor. The boy couldn't have been older than six winters. He was a small thing with raven black hair and brilliant blue eyes. Tirkas quite enjoyed looking at the boy's eyes as he carried over some freshly washed robes and Tirkas' faithful boots. The elf ruffled the boy's hair as he took his garments and got to his feet to dress himself. While he did, Silas ran off for the next thing. He wasn't yet strong enough to carry all of Tirkas' armor, but he could manage the sword and the dagger spear. He helped Tirkas tighten the various straps and latches of his armor, from the sides of his brigandine, so the latches of his greaves and sabatons. The boy was especially useful when it came to the vambraces since those were always a pain to buckle one handed. When he was all set to head out, he took some dried fruits and a bit of cheese from a table and shoved it into the boy's hands. "Eat, boy, we've a long day ahead of us." Tirkas demanded as he took up a small clay jug of water and took a big gulp from it. He then put that too in Silas's arms. On their way out of the basement, Tirkas collected a few small things. A pigeon that he had helped Silas kill last night with a sling and a wreath of lilies, blackened with charcoal. He carried these things up with him and entered the sunlight for the people he had requested to finally see him. He stood in silence for a few moments while his page toddled up behind him. It had been too long now since the town had heard from Constans. Not one of their number had returned, not even Lady Ioreth who had been so charmed with God's light that she had seemed an angel in the flesh. It wasn't just Tirkas who assumed the worst, and he wasn't the only one wearing armaments this day. Among the crowd gathered was a Lance to accompany him to the north. A group of forty or so, consisting of men at arms and craftsmen. Among their rank were riders as well as wagons, and they were set to depart the village for the northern reaches. Silas took the offerings that Tirkas held, placing the pigeon upon a small flat stone in front of the church ruins. Tirkas placed the lily wreath around it and as he did Silas set the offering ablaze. No one spoke while it burned. Everyone held their breath hoping the flames would turn green but they stayed orange, as one might expect. Tirkas sighed. "God gifts us with many things." He began to address the crowd as he walked to his horse. "He once brought us safety, and he empowers you all to rule your own lives. However." He paused as he mounted a white mare while his page climbed onto the back along with him. "He will not do everything for us. We have to make the most of today, in this world we are given. His holiness, Father Constans, rode into the north. You all heard the stories, about what a catastrophe occurred there. We go, today, to see for ourselves." The crowd didn't exactly cheer at this. Their task was somber to say the least. Only Silas, among their group, seemed to retain the wonder of his youth long enough to whisper at Tirkas' feet. "He's with daddy now, I bet. Watching over us." [North of Coth : Wednesday Dusk] The warband had traveled for two and a half days now, and as the sun was beginning to set over the western hills, they laid eyes on the rumored site. A battlefield where a great cataclysm was supposed to have happened, only the sight they saw this evening was wholly different from what they had expected. To the warriors of the band, the tell tale signs of battle formations were clearly present. The ground was torn up and while there were some corpses strewn about it was and eerily barren battlefield. There were weapons, there was armor, shields, pavise; everything that might lead one to believe that there were once people here and that they planned on fighting each other in vicious battle. But. . . "Sir Tirkas? Where is everyone?" Silas asked his master from the back of the horse. Tirkas wracked his brain for an answer but it kept coming back blank. He was silent as he let himself off his horse and looked into the boy's wondering eyes. "I. I don't know Silas. Wait here." He motioned for some of the trackers in the group to follow him into the field at the foothills of the mountain. He needed to know, he had to search. Constans wore very unique robes, and his traveling companions were also similarly unique. If they were here, like all of these clothes and arms, then theirs should be within as well. The elf went over it in his head repeatedly as he searched, well into the evening with the sun retreating wholly below the horizon. Most of the warband had taken to helping in the search, carrying torches and reflectors. Tirkas needed no such assistance, and his eyes glowed a bright green in the dark. It had been long enough that all of the scents in the field had mingled, so he couldn't rely on his bear-like sense of smell. He relied on his eyes alone. Hours of scouring, hours of deep thought, and Tirkas had formed a thesis in his mind of what took place here. He could tell how the troops moved based on how the ground was tamped. He could guess their formations based on how their armor and weapons lay. Their bodies had vanished, leaving behind all of their earthly possessions. Apart from those who had clearly been slain and who's bodies remained where they lay there wasn't a speck of blood to be seen anywhere. He was just about ready to give it up when he came upon a familiar sight. He recognized that helmet. It belonged to Viscerex. A man whom Tirkas detested, but who had also been blessed by god. Tirkas ran over to the object in question, and laying nearby as Tirkas had hoped it would, a dark and flowing robe. He froze in place for a moment. He had hoped against hope that he would not find those robes. His lip began to quiver for the first time since his first night in Coth village. He could feel the emotions within welling up to the surface and he scrambled over to it. He dropped to his knees beside the empty garment, his quacking hands scooping it up as his vision went blurry. He is with god now, he's gone to a better place. He thought to make himself feel better, but it didn't stop the tears flowing down his face. The sadness that took him would be lasting and heavy, and once the others noticed they too gathered around to mourn, for this seemed to all to be confirmation that Constans was truly gone forever from their lot. Tirkas gathered the Robes of Constans, the Helm of Viscerex, and the Gown of Ioreth. The wanted to make sure these things were preserved, so that the people would remember where they came from. "A chest. The best one we have." [Temple City: Thursday Afternoon] Tirkas and his Cothite warband decided to make way for Temple City the next morning. It was, after all, much closer than Coth and many had never been before, including Tirkas. They all knew of the road that lead from Coth to the Temple City though. In fact, among Tirkas' Lance were a few of the honored Knights who lived in Coth. The warband had high hopes for this excursion, but they would quickly find their dreams dashed upon reaching the city limits. Chaos had befallen the region, it seemed, and the streets were largely empty. Asking about to some of the locals, it seemed that the leadership of the Temple just up and vanished one day. The people, left to their own devices, devolved into a state of anarchy. While the populace eventually got themselves into a controlled state (controlled enough that it wasn't an open riot) there were still signs of the previous state of unrest. A church, in one of the blocks near the south edge of town, seemed to call out to Tirkas in his wandering about the streets. Even Silas noticed it, which was promising. A broken stained glass window which had previously depicted Gaia had been smashed out, leaving behind only what looked like a green pair of eyes that the light shone through. "This wont do. If we leave them like this for long they're bound to upset the whole region." Tirkas mused to his fellows. It was a lesser chapel compared to the grand stone temple carved into the side of the cliffs off in the distance, but it was large enough and in well enough condition that Tirkas thought it would serve as a nice hub. He hatched a plan in his head on how to utilize the place, and he set about searching through the town for any skilled workers he could find. Masons, glass workers, silversmiths, and tailors would all be needed to achieve what he wanted to achieve. "We'll be staying for a while, everyone, so go ahead in and get comfortable." After all, they aren't using it anymore. Tirkas, in the meantime, took to his search with Silas in tow. The boy, weary from the day's travel and being young as he was, rode atop Tirkas' shoulders. Their first stop was to be at a masonry, which lucky for them was only a few short minutes away. @Witches Brew @Better Than Gore
  2. This day had already been long enough, and too many things have happened already. This was supposed to be a simple day, weeding Dale Thimmick's garden and having lunch, then going home to take care of her animals. That was supposed to be it, but apparently the Gods had other plans for Mythandriel today. Instead of her simple, non-exciting day, she helped some random child, murdered some horses with a flaming carriage attached, and helped some stranger kill some lizard-folk. Now, instead of going to get her wounds looked at, Mythandriel was hopping onto Dorian's back, and gripping her neck fur tightly. The elf was exhausted, and in pain, but that Magician or whatever he was, he mentioned something Myth couldn't get out of her head. Grayboy. She could be completely wrong, it could be someone entirely different. Her hopes were high, and her heart was pounding. All this adrenaline coursing through her veins was keeping her from feeling the pain in her burns. She clicked her tongue, and Dorian took off. As Dorian ran, Myth's mind raced. What if it was Zanzarog? Was he teaming up with these Lizardmen? Why? Why did he leave home, after everything they've shared together? Why would he leave her? Leave her here all alone? Tears welled up in her eyes, and she blinked them away. She was all alone yet again, everyone she loved seemed to leave her, in one way or another. Her parents, then Ioreth, and now Zanzarog. She leaned forward, urging Dorian to run faster. The elk bleeted as she pushed her legs to push harder, sending them faster towards her home. As they got closer and closer, she could hear Tamlen barking from inside the house, he must've been at the front door. Someone was there, Tamlen wouldn't be barking otherwise. Myth narrowed her eyes, moving her bangs out of her face as Dorian got closer and closer to the house. "Hey! Stop!" She shouted, upon approaching the house, seeing a large armoured figure standing next to Black Philip. Though that Springjack hated her, that was one of the few things she had left of Zanzarog's. She yanked hard on Dorian's fur, and she looked at the faceless figure, glaring down at him. "What are you doing on my property?" She hissed, her brows furrowed. Dorian paced around the figure and Black Philip, huffing angrily. What if he had something to do with Zan's disappearance? If this man hurt her beloved, then he would face her wrath, or what little was left after that mini battle she was just in. @Better Than Gore
  3. Vice trudged through the darkening streets of Coth with some irritation on his features. He'd made the trip into town after one of the soldiers who remembered him from the plagued village a week or so earlier had come insisting that his child was on death's door, and must have caught the illness that had caused such trouble before from her father's proximity to it. He'd been dubious, but the soldier seemed so panicked that he'd agreed to come have a look at his daughter. After all, if it was the plague again, better to nip it in the bud now. So you might imagine that he was not best pleased to discover that this child who was supposedly deathly ill child was just a colicky four-month-old with a bit of a cold. And very nervous new parents. He'd given them a decongestant and a gentle telling-off about making him tromp all the way out here for a runny nose, then left them looking embarrassed but relieved. However, it seemed a shame to put the whole trip to waste. And while he did have some apple wine fermenting back at his tree, it would be months before it was fit to drink. So a stop at the tavern then. Wouldn't hurt to get some idea of the sort of people he was dealing with, since his only dealings with these Cothites thus far had been twitchy and over-worked guards and some despairing villagers on the outskirts. Korben, of course, was trotting happily at his side, either oblivious to his master's poor mood or simply used to his grump. However, once they were at the door of the Laughing Springjack, as the tavern was apparently named, Vice waved him over to the stable they kept for more conventional steeds. Korben gave a whine and made a few indignant grumbles, but Vice just rolled his eyes. "If you were still a pup we might swing it - but unless the owners are amenable to horses being brought into their barroom, you are just a mite too big." He scolded the huge dog. Korben made more unhappy sounds, as if he'd actually understood all of that, but plodded over to the little stable and flopped into a mound of hay before letting out a long-suffering huff. "I will see if they have any beef bones for you." Vice promised, before turned back to the door and stepping inside. The streets of Coth were relatively empty past sundown, but the tavern was still fairly lively, likely with laborers in from their day's work grabbing a pint or two before heading back home. Truly, he was glad for the bustle - it made him stand out less. And elves weren't a strange sight in these parts, so even when he removed his hood and revealed his pointed ears, it didn't garner so much as a blink from most of the occupants. Hell, he even had the right color eyes for the town, though his didn't have the faint glow that many of the natives sported. He approached the counter and quietly put in an order for some ale, which was placed in front of him swiftly in exchange for a few coins. And with that he retreated to an empty table to enjoy his drink in peace... hopefully. @Opaquely Translucent
  4. Zanzarog had been saving for quite some time, he had even purposely avoided his favorite food stand in town just to ensure he had enough to fork over for the materials. What materials you might ask? Everything that was a necessity for building a house. Not only that, but the cost of labor to hire on the townsfolk to assist him. It would have taken him months to do it himself. They had been working for weeks and finally had the house in a livable condition. In just a few more days it would be complete, the Cothites would be in and out of the house periodically to finish up the interior and whatever else they initially missed. Until then, Zanzarog would focus on the exterior, mostly the additions and more specifically Mythandriel's garden. Currently, he was shoveling manure that Dale Thimmick so kindly provided, he had spent a majority of the day going back and forth between Dale's and their house. It would have been easier had Black Phillip agreed to help him with the transportation, but that damned beast was just as stubborn as he was, instead the Springjack stood just outside the house and silently judged him. His red beady eyes were filled with amusement every time he watched his master toil. “Yeah yeah, keep laughing you arse.” --- "BAHHHHH!" This hadn't been the first time they exchanged words today, that was just the tamest of words. “I'm trying to get this done before Myth shows up, it would have been finished---ah, what's the use.” Zanzarog sighed heavily as he shovelled the manure into an ever growing pile. Before too long, he emptied the last wheelbarrow and finally began spreading it evenly in the rather large space they designated for Mythandriel's garden. Sweat beaded from his forehead and places he wasn't aware he could sweat from, needless to say, he needed to bathe. Maybe Mythandriel would join him later. "BAAAAAH!" --- “What now damnit?” Zan looked over his shoulder at the Springjack, trying to figure out what was disturbing him. He had already tried to gore a couple of the Cothites, they finally learned to keep their distance, so it obviously wasn't them approaching. Then he saw her and couldn't help but grin. Mythandriel was nearly here, but she wasn't alone, Dorian was there as well, but another figure walked alongside her. “Afternoon love!” He shouted, waving his arm about. @Witches Brew
  5. Dale Thimmick loaned Zanzarog a horse to enjoy for the afternoon as compensation for helping out around the farm. Dale offered him coinage for his hard work but the Half Orc respectively declined, this was the next best thing. Riding was one of the greatest feelings in the World, there was so much to explore and discover, and it sure as hell beat walking. There was a trail he normally chose to trot down, but today was different. The townsfolk spread rumors of mythical creatures and monsters that prowled the forest and he was on a mission to find them. Did he believe them? Hardly. He was probably the only monster they had ever seen. Zan had nothing better to do today, save for spending time with Mythandriel, but she had to tend to her garden. So off he went, riding until he came to a split in the path, the townsfolk said to take a right and keep on going until the trees were plentiful. Just beyond that was a grassy hillside and there, that’s where the so-called creatures would be. So far he had only seen a couple of deer and a fox, he’d have to come back here with a bow one of these days and bring some pelts to Myth. Bringing the horse to a gallop, he’d eventually reach said hillside, it was riddled with colorful flowers. Nothing but flowers and bees. God damn did he hate bees, little bastards did nothing but buzz in his ear and sting him. ‘Don’t swat at them, you’ll only make them angrier’, Myth always warned him, but did he listen? Nope. Zan would let the horse rest, for the time being, it seemed pretty happy with the assortment of flowers and grass to graze on. It would nibble and cut the tops off the fresh grass, chewing relentlessly and nay every once in a while. He would simply enjoy the view, not a hobble or street merchant in sight. Today was a good day. @Spooky Mittens
  6. With a startled gasp and with his hand grasping tightly around the handle of his weapon, Arturo sat up from where he had been laying crumpled on the ground like a sack of wheat. His eyes were wild, almost feral as they darted around as he brought the wood cutting axe closer to his chest in a defensive posture. It didn't take him very long to spring up from his sitting position as his clouded mind assessed the situation he was currently in, though he kept himself lower to the ground, giving him the appearance of a wild animal that was all too ready to strike if provoked. He did not remember succumbing to fatigue, he did not even recall feeling particularly tired; last he remembered, he was walking a woodland path in an attempt to answer the call to arms sent out by Myrrheim, but this seemed to be nowhere near his destination, not that he could tell at any rate. Still, a full two minutes of standing still produced no tangible answers for Arturo, so slowly he rose from his stance with a low exhalation of breath and began to take in the sights and sounds of his environment, rather than simply scanning it for threats. As far as he could tell, he was in some sort of swampland, it certainly had the smell of one at least. Arturo considered this only in so far as it took him to reach for the rope strapped to his pack and to cut off two pieces of length from it, just enough that he could securely fasten them around his ankles in an attempt to ensure the terrain would not claim his boots. After that, Arturo noticed his current shield lying nearby and picked it up; it was a rather simply constructed targe that was battered and scarred extensively, a relic of a foe who's face he could no longer remember, nothing more than another mismatched piece of cloth stitched into the patchwork quilt that made up the whole of his equipment. One breath...two breaths...three. Arturo closed his eyes briefly and focused on the sound of his breathing to focus himself, just like father had taught him. In...out...count the seconds until hesitation leaves you, then move forward. With a nod, the grizzled man tightened his grip around his axe just a little harder and began to move forward on this new path. Moving forward wasn't just the best idea he had, it was the only one he knew at this point. @Better Than Gore & @Spooky Mittens
  7. “Cersei—what are you doing?” Ograh, a tall and statuesque half orc stared daggers down at the petite bird folk who was happily bouncing to and fro, retrieving small sticks and twigs and piling them at the center of the make shift camp the Ranger had cobbled together for them. The group had been on the road for some time now, drifting from town to town. The last place they had stopped for supplies had been Blairville but that was many miles back. Now with their journey reaching its furthest point, they found their small caravan short on much needed supplies. Mateja, the group’s closest thing to a quarter master, had scouted ahead for them. The sorceress had meant to return with news once she had a good look at the prospective town they were heading to, but had yet to return. The group of retired mercenaries had been looking for a long time now for a place to start their new venture, and hopefully, it would be a profitable one. Most large towns and cities had their own guilds, and adventurer networks that soaked up jobs quicker than the hunter could pin them down. It made life living in the major cities rough for hired swords. –But this new place held some promise. From the rumors, the upstart village was a bit of a miracle; though recently they seemed to be having a lot of trouble with growth due to marauders, bandits and the occasional wild animals running amok. It sounded like the perfect place to start a new guild, and with out much argument from the warrior women, Isaac the ranger had led them on a march into the wilderness. They had stopped temporarily to allow for rest, while Isaac, the man himself, had disappeared into the surrounding woods; no doubt doing his own scouting. Ograh the towering orcess hoped he remembered to bring back some food before her hunger drove her mad. She was already beginning to lose patience with the absent minded harpy who was happily littering the ground with twigs. “These are for our nest!” Cersei chimed, her soft peachy pink plumage ruffling excitedly. She was so happy to be at the end of this journey. She hopped about on her taloned toes and inspected the ground carefully for any stray twigs she had missed. “Chi—we’re not staying here, Isaac has to plot out where we’ll be building the shack. He isn’t back yet—besides twigs are not going to cut it for a log cabin. How many times do I have to tell you not every one builds nests?” Ograh rubbed her temples and groaned. The sudden sound of branches cracking and soft ground being shuffled pulled the orc’s attention away. Her sharp blue eyes trailed over to the source finding Senko—the red ogress, hugging a large tree whose thickness was the size of her own body. She had tugged it violently out of the ground, and held it aloft easily. Senko’s dark eyes lingered on Ograh with a triumphant twinkle. “No! Sen! Put it back—we’re not staying here. We don’t need logs yet!” Og huffed again, a steady migraine wearing on the large woman’s nerves. Senko unfortunately only spoke infernal, her native tongue, and understood only some common languages. Enough to get by atleast—but in this case, Og's dismay went over her head, and the red oni went on tugging full sized trees out of the ground and tossing them into a pile, though a much larger and less cute pile than her harpy counter part. “Please let them get back soon…” Og relented and took a seat on a stump, watching in silent frustration as the two went about building their individual mounds of building materials. @ianthine @SoulOfTerra
  8. Solar Waltz Xildara sat at the top of the grassy knoll, near the walls of the ruined church she had been calling home for a few weeks now. The longer she remained here, the more she began to feel herself. She had met so many new faces in the short span of time she had been here, and yet each of them had been so kind and friendly to her it made her a little uneasy. A part of her wildness was refusing to become tame and accept the confines of the village life as her new path; but there was no longer a reason to run anymore. Now she watched. Watched the people in the village work, and play. Watched the streets fill and empty each morning and noon. Watched the fields bloom and fade away in the sunset. –Watched the moonlit clouds lazily glide over the rolling hills that were newly sewn with the hopeful crops of spring and summer. It was all so mundane and yet fascinating to someone so new to the feeling of tranquility. Xildara hardly knew what to do with herself anymore. Her one purpose this entire time had been to survive in a world that scorned her existence and yet here--things were different. She wasn’t met with suspicion or malice, but she attributed that to the human mask she had grown accustom to wearing during the day, choosing to retreat to the sanctuary of the church at night when her hair and skin would mottle with scales. The aimlessness seemed to be getting to her, though. She fidgeted in her seat, recalling the faces of her new acquaintances. They all seemed so confident in what they were doing. She wondered how she could become like that too one day. What was their secret? Just then a wagon rolled by the foot of the hill, bumping a large stone lodged deep within the path. A wheel of cheese shook loose after the cart violently jolted over it. It rolled down the cobbled path, but the cart puller didn’t seem to notice. Xildara felt a little bad for him and quietly scurried down the hill to retrieve his hard-earned merchandise. Luckily the wax dipped fermentation had rolled into a small outcrop of grass—nary a bruise or dent. She hefted it up and trotted down the path briskly to return it. The cart puller was happy to have his food back and offered Xildara a quarter of it in gratitude. Shyly Xildara protested and left the merchant to his devices. Her reward was his glad expression when she had returned it to him, the gratitude felt good—no one had ever been thankful to her before, and it was a somewhat addictive feeling. The gorgon wondered if this is what it felt like having a real purpose? –But was it just gratitude alone that made one’s purpose worthwhile? It was an unexplored idea; one that she pondered as she let her feet wander the paths through town. Everything moved so briskly here, constantly changing. It made it hard for her to think, and the crowds made her anxious—therefore, her thoughts took her down a quieted farmland road, flanked sparsely by modest barns and newborn crops. The landscape began to give way to rolling plains for grazing fields the farther she let herself wander from the heart of the town, and here she finally found enough solitude to hear her own thoughts again. Posting up on a small wooden fence that lined the major fields, Xildara’s pearlesque eyes scanned the sprawling stretches of grass, appreciating the fresh smell of the open field. The clatter of copper bells drew her attention and not so far away, Xildara spotted a herd of meandering sheep--bleating, and lazily trailing after a hunched old man with a long white beard that nearly touched his knees. His head had gone bear with age, though his eyebrows looked as if they’d get bushier with each passing year. She could barely see his eyes from beneath his brows, but from the way he swung his crook and walked slowly and deliberately, it was evident his eyes weren’t of much use to him anymore. He nearly stumbled over, feeling for the latch of the gate that would allow him to exit the fields. A concerned onlooker as always, Xildara quietly made her way over, unlatched the gate, and led the man through, shutting the fence behind him to keep his livestock corralled. The old man said nothing and barely registered her presence as he began to retrieve a hefty burlap sack of field tools from where it had been hung on the gate. He struggled a bit, making Xildara cringe with worry, only spurring her into taking the sack from him, which again was met with no argument from the sagely silent elder. He turned and began to trudge down the road to a nearby farmhouse, and Xildara, at a loss, simply stared around helplessly but then followed him.
  9. Previously... Nisnav walked through the smoking ruins of Mare’s Creek in much the same way he walked through the gilded art emporiums of Blairville. In leisurely fashion he inspected the torched body of a woman hanging from a rope off the precipice of a roof; further, he admired the smooth bone of a child’s leg and it’s jarring termination in a sharp break which protruded from its blackened skin. He picked up the dislodged eye of a dog and placed it in his pocket. He scooped a pile of human ash and rubbed it between his gloved thumb and forefinger. Behind him, his ruffians clubbed the last few survivors. Nisnav considered their final screams with a practiced ear. “Master, see what I have found.” an orc croaked at him. The wizard turned his half-scarred face toward the greenskin’s plunder: a young man with mottled skin and a brutal shelf of a brow. This unconscious prisoner wore the plain clothes of a villager, yet Nisnav knew immediately why the orc had brought the unconscious man to him. He was of mixed blood, between orc and human. “Ah. Well done. Leave him with me.” The orc obeyed, for Nisnav had long ago invaded its mind and reworked it into a state of total obedience. The wizard had done this to many, many orcs and it had resulted in a certain familiarity with the greenskin mind. Nisnav kneeled next to the half-orc’s inert body and placed his gloved hand on the creature’s bony temple. “Zanzarog.” He whispered, as he pulled the name forth. “Now, you are mine.” @Better Than Gore
  10. While the Church on the Hill and her people slumbered, a man walked out of the air. There was little grandeur to his supernatural action; a slight shiver in the atmosphere, perhaps, an insignificant twist of the space that separated the distance between Coth’s territory and the wilderness to the southwest of Terrenus and the glacier fields and the barren pines. There was nothing in the circle, and then there was Marl. Rhavoni by marital ties, Zvendan by blood, Aàrd-rìn by title, he moved as though he held dominion over the land. In truth, he owned next to nothing. His robes were cut simply and dyed a solid black, as were his trousers, worn in a similar fashion as the hakama from the Yanaihara in Genesaris. He had no shoes, no adornments, and carried only one weapon sheathed at his hip: a curved blade known to the Duendaic elves as a nagealaich. His white hair fell in a single sheet down his back. He kept a topknot tied away from his face, accentuating his sunken cheeks and the downward curve of his thin dark mouth. His eyes were silver. When he spoke, one could see that his tongue was black. The Cothites slept on. His own people did not. They had gathered several miles outside of Coth’s cattle fields where the river ran deep and the land was still by mankind’s interference. Open sky stretched above them, for they did not feel the need to hide within the sanctuary of the forest. Domed tents served as their shelter. They were warriors, not families, and they had no need for a caravan. White elk grazed alongside swift, warm blooded horses. The youngest of the elves were restless. Marl could see them when he walked from the forest to the Duendaic camp—sparring with each other in the moonlight with a deadly focus, filling their skins with water, pacing, speculating, counting their arrows. Their elders preferred stillness. Some sat together. Others stood apart and gazed at the stars. After Marl had awoken two weeks prior, he traveled to each anchor that connected with the clans he watched over and asked for thirty warriors to meet with him at this place and at this time. Thirty came. He was notoriously exact with his expectations for how those indebted to him would repay. The Aàrd-rìns served a necessary role in Duendaic society. They were guardians of ancient knowledge, they maintained communion with the ancestors, and they ferried the souls of the fallen to their final Path. They dealt primarily in death. It was a title earned, not inherited, and Marl carried his responsibilities with a subdued dignity. A huntress met him before he entered the camp. A wolfhound and her pup followed. The huntress bowed her head to Marl and held out her hand to gesture towards the other elves. “There are those that wish to provide tribute,” she said as she bent to pick up the young pup by his scruff. “Including myself. He is from Lir’atha’s line and his markings are that of Cuthlinon, which—“ Marl held up his hand. The pup, gray with bright blue eyes lined with black fur in a pattern similar to the Rhavoni clan markings, wriggled in the huntress’s grasp and let out an excited whine. “This will suffice. Inform the others I will return in two days’ time after I have attended to my kin. Should any outsider, human or otherwise, walk upon our Path, demonstrate the courtesy tradition dictates. I have no desire to quell any unnecessary conflict. Do you understand?” She nodded. He took the pup from her, tucked it under his arm, and raised an eyebrow. Marl held little sentimental feeling for dogs, yet this creature panting and waggling its tail at him in a most undignified fashion was intended for another. He took one step forward and vanished into the darkness. Unlike when he first materialized in the hushed realm of Coth’s forests, he was not alone. Another elf had met him. “She made this,” said Ioreth, failing to think of anything else to say to her father. Marl did not deem obvious observations worthy of conversation. He tilted his chin upwards, studied her in silence, and nearly smiled. They walked together and Ioreth filled the space between them with information—how Myth found her by coincidence, the visions, the magic, Constans, Viscerex—until they reached the little cabin that Mythandriel shared with Ioreth. Marl stopped at the door and picked up the pup with a reluctant touch. “I will speak to her alone,” he remarked. The pup yipped in glee. He silenced it with a sideways glance, opened the door, and stepped inside. @Witches Brew
  11. The metallic sounds of the forge echoed through the air, the sounds of hammering and fire accenting the occasional passing of breath as the woman within worked. She would occasionally pause to rest, to walk away from the fiery heat that filled the air and grab something to drink or snatch a slice of meat from the decently-sized hunk positioned over the open fire pit in the middle of the shed. She would place some meat over the fire at the beginning of the day and it would roast slowly, serving as her meals as the hours passed. Whatever her rest consisted of, it would only last for few seconds, enough to regain her strength before she set about working again. The building itself was situated at the edge of town, far enough away from local residences so that the sounds of metalwork wouldn't disturb the occupants but near enough that people could walk by and watch the dance of orange flames that flickered with green light. It was a small building with the largest part being the attached 'shed' that the noises echoed from. A sign listing the building as a blacksmith's workshop hung on the open door outside of the shed, swaying slowly in the gentle breeze. Demi had been around the forge and heat that accompanied it all her life. Raised by her father, Demi had begun learning the art of blacksmithing from an early age. She had always found a certain… beauty in the metal work, from the smelting of ingots, to the casting, to the forging of various equipment and had strove to be as skilled at it as her father. It hadn’t helped that, as a little girl, she’d been mesmerized by the flames that would spout from the forge whenever her father worked. Although it didn't do so now, the dance of orange flames tinged by green light had done wonders to excite the fantasies of her then child-like imagination, as if her father were taming a giant, metal dragon that spewed out green and orange flames... Blacksmithing wasn’t the only thing Demi had ever done in her life. It was a passion, to be sure, and one that she followed to honor the life and passion of her father, but it wasn’t the only thing she did. At one time she had been a soldier of another province’s army and her body showed it, from the tone of her arms and legs to the flat of her abdomen. While she was no longer a soldier her current ‘occupation’, along with her artistic talents, helped her maintain that same muscular tone. As a soldier, her hair had been once been cut short, shorn to a small buzz on her skull. Now however, the thick, jet-black tresses trailed down to just below her shoulders, typically styled into a low tail or a braid, as it was now. Her eyes were grey and her skin was pale and accented with scars, both from swords, teeth, and claws alike. Demi was a warrior and if the scars didn’t show it, it would be that her right arm ended at the elbow. Straightening from her hunched position over the anvil, Demi removed her glove and wiped the back of her hand across her brow, lips pursed slightly in a sigh of mild exhaustion. She’d been at the forge since early in the morning and had it not been for the fact that she had naught else to do that day, she might have stopped for the day. For Demi, it was either work or do nothing… and Demi had always had a rather hard time doing ‘nothing’. In this case, it wasn’t so much her making something just for the fun of it as it was something she’d had the mindset of making for a while now. Right now it was just a mess of leather straps, metal gears, screws, and other bits of miscellaneous metal bits but she hoped that soon she might see the piece in life as she saw it in her imagination.
  12. The sun was setting over the town of Coth, swirls of red and oranges painted the sky, like their Green God himself was painting it across his massive canvas. And on that canvas, Mythandriel stood, rising out of the garden, wiping her dirtied hands on her apron. She adored the earth, the dirt, the way that the gritty soil felt in between her fingers, and the way her bare feet sunk into it. It made her feel connected to her surroundings, and it made her feel closer to her mother. Her mother was always covered in dirt, and it was her mother who taught her how to to care for even the most difficult plants, and turn them into something beautiful, and useful. She stood in the center of her garden, great-full that Ioreth didn't mind that she tore up her yard so that she could plant all the beautiful herbs. She'd have to show them to Zan when she saw him next. He didn't know much about herbs, or why she loved them, but he always tried to act interested when she talked about it, and she loved that he tried for her. Honestly, when asked, she'd gush about her massive orc companion, and her face would always flush red when she thought about him. Their first date was only a week ago, but it felt like they had been together for months, maybe even a year. They spent all their free time together, just a few nights ago they had been stargazing together, and he fell asleep outside, not used to being up all night. Tonight, she had plans for the both of them. It was going to rain tomorrow, and she and Ioreth were running out of meat, and with Ioreth up at the Church tonight with the Bald Priest working on, whatever it was they did up there, she had no clue. So, Mythandriel thought it would be a grand idea that she and Zan went hunting together tonight, while the weather was still favorable. While she waited for Zan to arrive, Myth went inside, and cleaned her hands and face, and changed into something more suitable for hunting. She sported tight leather leggings that wrapped around the soles of her feet, and a hooded long sleeved brown shirt that clung tightly to her person. She grabbed her bow, and her knife, and strapped that to her thigh. She braided her hair, and pulled it all back into a ponytail, keeping it out of her face. When he finally arrived, she ran to the door, and lept at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, and placing a kiss on his nose as she grinned widely. "Are you ready for this hunt, Ulaih?" She kissed his nose again. "The storms won't be here till later, so we should have plenty of time to hunt before it starts." @Better Than Gore
  13. "This is possibly the most dangerous out of all of them." Sir Redford stated, his nerves on end as they road their way to their destination. "Going out into the wilderness like this, we should have brought more knights." "Does the mighty Sir Redford fear some wolves or bandits?" She asked with a cheeky smile. "I think your fear is getting the best of you." He sighed, relaxing his muscles as he tried to release the tension he was holding onto. This is just another stop on their pilgrimage, he reminded himself. Whatever happened they could deal with, Gaia willing. "Do they know we are coming?" "Yes. I made sure to send a letter to them announcing our arrival. From what I understand they are doing fairly well for such a humble beginning." It felt good knowing that pockets of civilization was springing up in the wilds, offering safety and stability to those in need. With many of the mega cities being brought down to their knees by malevolent forces, others were rising up to meet the needs of the less fortunate. Illyana could certainly understand this, as Ursa Madeum was becoming one such similar place for those looking for safety and security. "Just remember to be careful, Your Grace. These zealots make me cautious. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, just let me know and I shall take you from this place." "Thank you, Sir Redford. I truly do appreciate it. Hopefully we will only benefit from such a visit to the Church on the Hill." Illyana said, looking out at the road passing before her, wondering just what they shall learn from this experience. @Witches Brew
  14. A small side story began by @ianthine and myself, Anyone is welcomed to pop in It had been atleast two nights since her fateful meeting with the priest. It was an uneasy feeling to the demi-gorgon having lingered so long in one place. She was used to constantly moving, --always escaping from imagined hunters she anticipated could be after her any day now. --but things were different now, --felt different now. Things had changed inside of her and thoughts of a deity that could watch over and protect her soothed her anxiousness. Still her wandering feet, scarred with miles of dirt road, had taken her to the outstretches of the farmland just at the base of the hill. Her mind and body were at odds, muscle memory compelling her down the long stretch of dirt road. --but she wasn't leaving... she just needed to stretch her legs, didn't she? It was a lie she was telling herself. A sore feeling panged in her chest. She was a coward-- Halting in her mindless walking, her grey eyes caught a speckling of blue in the lush green fields that flanked the road. She crouched near the edge, looking at the tiny cornflower colored buds. Five healthy green sepals held eye fetching blue petals aloft, --bright yellow nestled at the center of each flower like a precious jewel. Slender fingers outstretched to graze the soft foliage. It was simple things in nature that made her feel at home. The rural town she had been staying in was loud with life. People going about their days, hustling and bustling. Xildara felt out of place here, and not only for her startling appearance that overcame her at night. Daytime held some respite for the woman, luckily her features remained humanistic during the day, but there was still an odd animalistic air about her that seemed to draw attention. A soft chiming caught on the breeze drew her attention from the tiny flora. Xildara glanced down the road, intrigued by the soft tingle of metal upon metal. --what she saw made the woman blink in disbelief. Familiar bronzed features and long burgundy hair that fell in dark waves shivered memories to the forefront of Xildara's mind. "Teha...?" The name fell from her lips in a whisper. Down the road, coming towards her sauntered a figure she had seen once before in her life; when things had become their darkest. Golden eyes punctuated a stern yet stunningly beautiful face, which was supported by a strong and graceful frame. Her eyes held the same luster as the golden trinkets decorating the woman's wrists, neck, ears and bottom lip. The woman regarded Xildara with cold eyes and nodded her head in Xildara's direction politely but continued on without an ounce of recognition in her features. Xildara's eyes welled up, hurt at first, but she suddenly realized why Mateja had acted as a stranger. Mateja had never seen Xildara in her human form. --of course she wouldn't recognize her at first glance. Mateja seemed to be headed for the village of Coth, leaving Xildara with an uneasy decision. Staring back at the long lonely road and then towards Mateja's slowly shrinking form; Xildara decided this was a sign and turned to follow after the woman. She wasn't sure what she'd say to Mateja, or even if she should tell the nomadic woman the truth, but Xildara knew she had to meet her again, in some way--
  15. The sky was angry. Large, dark angry stormclouds loomed over Coth, swirling around the Temple. Eleanor stood on the steps, gazing up at the sky. These clouds worried her, but what did they mean? As she stared up at the clouds, she could hear the chatter of Acolytes insides, chattering about the storm that was to come. She felt something churning in her core, something was wrong. Someone in her beloved town was hurting, and these clouds represented that. She could feel the static in the air, and the hairs on her arms were starting to stand up. She walked down the steps of the temple, her bare feet feeling each crack in the stone. She kept her grassy eyes forward, not paying attention to the bustling activity going on behind her. The sky roared, and it felt as if God himself clapped in the Heavens above them all. Eleanor jumped, surprised by the sudden loudness surrounding her. Then, the sky filled with green, and the static in the air heightened, and God clapped once more, and a tendril of God's fire torpedoed down to his Earth. The Lightning struck the ground, mere feet away from where Eleanor herself stood, catching flame to a dead tree, causing it to erupt into a ball of green flame. Enraptured in the beauty of it, Eleanor walked closer to it, knowing it to be a sign. She looked deep into the flames, and she was surprised at what she saw. Inner turmoil, beaten down feelings, stress and fear. The face she saw inside the flames was one she recognized, but wasn't personally acquainted with. Father Constans knew her very well, and he felt a deep love for her. And any love he held for her, she felt as well. The images in the flames disappeared as quick as they had come, and alone she stood yet again. "Mother Eleanor?" A soft voice called out of her. The Priestess turned, and she saw one of her young Acolytes, a girl of about 13, standing at the doorway of the Temple, with a concerned look on her face. Eleanor smiled, and walked back towards the steps. "Avaline, I need you to send for the Lady Ioreth. Tell her that I request her presence her at the Temple for tea, please." The girl looked confused, but did not refuse the Priestess. She grabbed a cloak as the sky clapped again, and rushed off towards the far end of Coth, to go give the Lady Ioreth the Mother's message. Eleanor stood at the front steps for a moment longer after the child had departed, and looked up to the sky once more, before heading inside. Ioreth needed her help, God had told her so through his message, and now she just had to figure out why God had sent her this message. She headed inside, and went to prepare. She changed out of her plain white dress, and ran a comb through her thick, dark hair. She looked at her bare body in the mirror she had in her room, and sighed. She would have to ask Mythandriel for more of that powdered medicine she had been making, her illness was attacking her, and she could see the contour of her ribs against her skin. She ran her fingers against them, and turned away. She dressed quickly, grabbing something warmer, thicker. The dark velvet hugging her frame, but not smothering her. She tied her bangs back, and called for a tea set. The little she knew about the Lady Ioreth, was that she was quite fond of tea. Luckily, they had multiple arrays of teas here at the temple. She settled for an earl grey, rather than something more fruity. She didn't think Lady Ioreth to be a fruity tea kind of woman. While the tea steeped, she rushed to pick up any loose clothes, or any messes her sister had left behind. For a Priestess and a representative of Coth, she and her sister were still messy children who didn't know how to keep a room clean. She shoved clothes under her large bed, kicking them underneath while she frantically made her bed. When her room was satisfyingly clean enough, she sat on the loveseat, waiting for news of the Lady Ioreth's arrival, with the sound of God's thunder rolling in the background. @KittyvonCupcake
  16. She woke up with a feeling in her stomach, as if the muscles were spasming. She put a hand to her stomach, her eyes popped open and she looked around. She had no idea where she was, or how she came to be here. She could see nothing but trees and grass all around, and she could hear the sound of regular forest noises. Birds were chirping and there was a rustle in the leaves nearby. She looked over in the direction of the leaves in alarm, her hand still held tight against her stomach. The noise had been made by a curious squirrel, and after it checked her out for a moment it scurried away up the nearest tree. Her head was throbbing with a massive headache, which got worse every time she tried to move. After she sat up her hand went to her head, trying to hold in the parts that felt like they were going to fall out. She sniffed and the pain worsened. She brought her hand to her nose, and came away with smears of blood. Something had happened to her. Something... not... good. She wasn't sure what it was, and her mind was refusing to work at the moment. She felt very weak, like she had done something that had taken all the energy from her. She tried to stand, but it took more than one try. Her bones felt as if they were made of jelly. She looked down at what she was wearing, and saw a black cloak of some sort. There was tight pants, and a dark blouse. And there were weapons. Holsters with guns in them. She pulled one weapon out of the holster, knowing that it was a gun and that it could be used to kill. She didn't remember putting the gun on though, or using it. She didn't remember the clothes she was wearing either. She held her head again, a short burst of pain stabbing in her skull. Her hair was down, and she looked at the fiery red mass over her shoulder. She looked at it blankly. She stared for a moment or two more. It was at this moment that she realized that she didn't recognize her own hair. And when she tried to remember who she was, she came up with a blank. Her head really started hurting after that, and she crumbled in a ball back on the ground from the pain. It seemed the more she tried to remember things, the more she hurt. After a while the pain lessened. She just lay there, trying hard not to think. She knew that she would have to get up soon, and try to solve the mystery of who she was. She didn't think she could at this moment though, and she wasn't looking forward to trying. She was scared, and it was almost a blinding panic. She felt alone, abandoned, bereft, and confused. She wanted to moan out her pain and fear, but something was holding her back. She didn't know herself, but she had a strange feeling that it was wrong to show her pain. Her eyes were dry from tears, though she definitely wanted to shed them. Her eyes felt unused to crying, like it was a foreign thing. She sniffed again, and wondered if her nose was still bleeding. She didn't even try to see this time. She would just let it bleed. She took a deep breath through her mouth, and tried to muster up the courage to get back up. @Vansin
  17. What exactly was a date? Why was it so important? Everyone always stressed the importance of truly getting to know someone before committing to a relationship. Normally people could pickup on each other's true intentions within minutes of meeting one another, whether or not they were genuine, etcetera. A date was something far different, however. A date was what followed that initial unveiling of one's true colors, to explore deeper into their personality, their desires and even fears. Frankly, that scared Zanzarog half to death. Not that he wasn't outgoing or had nothing to bring to the table in regards to conversation, he was scared that Mythandriel might grow bored with him. There was only so much they could talk about, only so many war stories the Half Orc could describe to her before there was nothing leftover. Then what? Would they simply share the silence? This is all he could think about as he slowly approached the front door of her home and yet his stride never ceases or slowed. A picnic basket swayed loosely from his left hand and his right firmly held a cup, steam could be seen rising steadily from whatever was within it, likely coffee. Zanzarog would set the basket down beside him once he had reached her door, inhaling sharply as he casually knocked. He was dressed to impress today, well, kind of. Let's rephrase that, he was dressed far more appropriately than when they first met. His attire actually fit him and wasn't nearly as revealing, although that may have been what attracted Mythandriel to him in the first place, a second glance at least. He sported a white long sleeved shirt, the sleeves rolled just above the elbow, three buttons, three buttons were stationed at the chest, all of which were undone. Out of sheer laziness and he wasn't exactly lacking in the muscle department, so it only added to the appeal. His pants were just a shade darker than his complexion, loosely fitted, as loose as they could be without putting too much on display. Once again, his muscle definition was clearly evident. The bottoms of the legs were tucked into a pair of black boots, which weren't nearly as pristine as the rest of his attire, they had some wear to them. His hair was tied back and in a french braid, courtesy of the acolytes in exchange for riding lessons, thankfully there were no flowers included, at least to his knowledge. Stubble coated his face in all of the right places, had he of shaved he may have not arrived on time, and everyone stressed just how important that was. Which also didn't make sense, because they also said that it was perfectly fine and expected for women to be late. What a double standard--however, Mythandriel could take all the time in the World and he would have happily waited, she was worth every second. Upon answering the door, she would be greeted by a very happy Orc, smiling gleefully with the offering of a cup. “I.. uh.. made you some bean juice! It's probably not nearly as good as yours, you gotta tell me your secrets one of these days.” He chuckled. @Witches Brew
  18. The stones of the church were scattered around the top of the hill like the stunted tombstones of a dead era. Before Coth, before the vortex of fire which had anointed Constans as God's Prophet, the stones had raised the walls of the church high and supported an ancient tiled roof. Now, the roof was gone and those walls opened to the sky above. The church was a blasted shell of its former self. It was a sign of the bygone religion of old and the fiery religion of the one true God. Yet beneath the ground floor of the burned and ruined church, a library remained intact. This basement library was small and intimate with only a handful of tall book shelves, a writing desk, and a cot tucked away next to a small stone circle where fires could be made so that the smoke could escape from the basement's tiny solitary window. This library was the home of Constans. Among its shelves were the tomes and journals and holy texts of the Gaian religion, an ancient religion of Terrenus which had once been Constans' religion too. Once. Now he worshiped the new God, the God of Green Fire, the Cothic God. The Gaian religion had done nothing for him, the goddess Gaia had never spoken to him, never saved him in times of peril. The God of Coth was a vocal, strong, personal God. He lived. He worked his will upon the world. He listened. And tonight, Constans was listening back. He sat in a dark corner of the church basement in quiet reflection, his ears open and his eyes closed as he tried to reach out and touch the mind of his God. It was not the first time he had tried. Occasionally, he felt his mind brush against some of the vastness of God's will, but the consciousness of a God was not an easy thing to comprehend. Often when he felt close to God some of the visions from the fire, from the first night God ever communed with him, would resurface. Those visions were usually very confusing, but contemplating them was his sacred duty. Tonight, he was contemplating a strange vision of a woman wreathed in serpents whose eyes were made of stone. The more he concentrated on the thought of her face, the more of her he saw. He saw her weeping before a stone statue of a man, saw her playing with elven children, saw her guiding Cothites to an abandoned village, saw her staring at him from the other side of a bed, covered only in a thin sheet. He blinked, and shook his head. Were these visions of the future? Of a possible future? Constans wondered if the snakes around the woman's figure were significant. God's chosen beast was the serpent. Clearly a woman beloved by serpents would please God best. But what about the rest? And who was she? @Inked_Fox
  19. Saskion carried a sack of stripped Jackalwere rump up the hill of Coth. The warrior and hunter of elven lineage had taken great pains to clean the worst bloodstains from his doublet and leather armor. He'd scrubbed the muck from his boots and bathed his body all in anticipation of meeting the famous Prophet of Coth. Constans was already waiting for him out in front of his ruined church, for a boy had been sent a few hours back to warn the town leader of Saskion's impending visit. The two men nodded at one another from a distance and, when he approached, Saskion inclined in a shallow bow to the priest and offered the sack of meat. "Lord, a gift from the Oiche Duende. I am Saskion of the Zvenda, sent here to greet your formally on behalf of our folk and to offer you the friendship of the elves." Constans took the sack and, courteously, refrained from looking into it. He nodded his head. "Be welcome Saskion. I hope you will communicate to your kinsman that their friendship is the will of all Cothites, and that our home is always ready to welcome you." Saskion blinked. "You..." Constans nodded enthusiastically. Saskion piqued his brow. The prophet looked as giddy as a boy who had just learned to ride a horse. "You understand me?" Saskion probed. "I understand you!" "Fascinating." It was more than just that Constans spoke elven. He spoke it perfectly. He flowed and crashed, halting and tumbling through the streams of enunciation like a poet. Saskion had cousins who couldn't speak half as beautifully. "I have been practicing with your kinswoman Ioreth, and more recently with a girl I assume must be a cousin, or a sister to you. Young Mythandriel, who shares your name." Comprehension dawned. Ah, Ioreth. He should have known who was responsible for the dissemination of their sacred tongue. Ioreth, whose love for knowledge had her spilling it in every human tavern across the face of Terrenus. And then there was the other name... Wait. What name had he spoken? "Did you say Mythandriel? Mythandriel Zvenda?" Constans nodded again, smiling ignorantly. "This girl is here? Alive?" "Oh! Oh yes, that's right, her parents met some unfortunate end, didn't they? Yes she is here. Not dead yet, though not for lack of trying, from what I hear." Saskion dipped his head in thought. The common knowledge was that a Mythandriel Zvenda had died alongside her parents years ago. Had Ioreth and her apostate brother scurried the child off to human lands? Why?! Why rob the Zvenda of a beloved daughter? Was this Draug's revenge for his exile? Was it some plot of his sister? "Forgive me, Prophet. I am moved to hear that my relative is alive. Would you permit me to resume this conversation with you at a later time? Further, could you direct me to this Mythandriel? It has been long since I have beheld her, and I greatly wish to check on her health." Constans walked forward and clasped Saskion by the shoulder, which proved that his intuition for elven language didn't give him any extra insight to their customs. But Saskion managed to resist twisting away from the hand of the priest and forced a smile. "Of course, she is living with Ioreth in a cabin low on the hill." Constans explained, "I'm sure you'll want to see them both." "Not really." Saskion said, and left the Prophet with a last quick bow. Constans watched the elf walk briskly away, nonplussed. He waited until he was sure Saskion wouldn't return, and looked in the bag. It was filled with smelly strips of meat. "Uhg." he recoiled from it, and pulled the bag closed tight. @Witches Brew @KittyvonCupcake
  20. Mythandriel woke before dawn, just like she had many mornings before. Her cousin Ioreth was letting her stay at her cabin until she could get her own housing figured out. Ioreth had been kind enough to make a cot of her in the living room to sleep on, since that one night she had fallen asleep with her elk, Dorian, in the living room. She rose quietly, careful not to wake her cousin as she wandered through the home, finding her way into the kitchen with ease. Just recently, Ioreth taught her how to make this drink made from beans. You ground up the little beans into a powder, and then added hot water to it, and let it drip slowly into a mug. It was bitter, but it made her bones vibrate, and it made her feel like her heart was dancing. She loves the stuff. As she boiled the water, she lit a candle on the dining table, and went to go rummage through her leather sack for a comb she had carved from a bear's femur bone. She let the comb slide through her hair, hacking away at knots that threatened to keep her silver locks anything but silky and smooth. She decided against braiding today, and just let her hair hang, most of it falling in front of her silvery cat-like eyes. She dressed simply, Ioreth had introduced her to a tailor, and had some new clothes made since her arrival. She wore a dark green tiered skirt, with dark brown leather leggings underneath, on top of that was a loose gray long sleeved shirt, with multiple dark green blouses tiered on top of that. She cinched some belts around her waist to keep them from flowing in the wind, or drooping in the mud. She had a bear fur laying around in that cart she dragged into town, and had it made into a shoulder fur, and the left over leather was made into a new pair of boots, not that she wore them often. By the time she finished getting ready, her hot bean drink was also ready. She blew on it gently before pouring the whole mug into her mouth, already feeling jittery before it had a chance to go down her throat. She giggled excitedly, and shook out her limbs. She wanted to check on a herb patch she had growing down by the woods, some strain of mint that would only grow in the snow. She shoved her feet into her boots, her toes wiggling inside the warm leather. She blew her cousin a kiss before she walked out the door, and she shut the door behind her. She walked in the darkness towards the edge of the woods, her shoulders bunched up so that the fur brushed against her face. She shivered as snow fell, the flakes falling into her silver hair as she hustled towards the patch with her tools in her hands. It took her about fifteen minutes to reach the patch, and once she found it, she removed the woven tarp off it, and brushed off the snow from their leaves. This mint was hard to come by, and it was excellent for curing migraines and minor joint pains. She tended to the patch, making sure to weed it before the sun rose, or the leaves would wilt and all her hard work would be for naught. She worked diligently, making sure each sprig was cared for when she heard a rustle behind her. She froze, her ears twitching as she stared straight ahead of her. "H-hey! Hey you!" A man's voice called out to her, and she slowly got to her feet, and turned around. A man was stumbling towards her, he was drunk, and as he got closer she could smell cheap mead on his breath. "Can I help you?" Mythandriel asked him, taking a step back from the drunken man, confusion written all over her face. She's never seen this man before, not even at the Inn where she and Ioreth would grab supper sometimes. He was tall, and he looked strong, with dark brown eyes and black hair that was cut short. His eyes were brown. He wasn't a resident here. Most Cothites had green eyes, like the Prophet Constans. He walked towards her, his breath hot, and Myth watched the steam rise towards the trees. "Yyou're very pretty." He said, his words slurring as he grabbed her arm. She shoved him off, her eyes narrowing. "Hey, back off!" She hissed, and she bared her teeth at him, like a cat defending her little patch of land. He didn't like that. "Hey! I'm just giving you a compliment, you should be grateful." He growled back at her, grabbing her again. She pushed him, but that made him angrier. A hand flew through the air, crashing against her cheek. Myth gasped, falling to the ground from the shock of it all, her rear hitting the white powder. The unknown man pounced on her, shoving her back into the snow. Mythandriel fought as he grabbed at her through her clothes, her fingers gripping his clothes as he fought to tear hers off. When his physical strength proved too much for her, she rolled under him, trying to reach her gardening scissors. Her fingertips reached for it, stretching as far as they could as he fought to pull her back. With one slip of his hands, she managed to grab hold of them, and she turned, and slashed at his face as tears pricked her eyes. He roared in anger, one hand holding her face, the other on her throat, and he squeezed it, hard. She gasped, tears rolling down her cheek as she fumbled to grasp the scissors again as he released his face, and balled his hand up into a fist, aiming a punch at her face. He hit her once, enjoying the cry she made as he hit her. He pulled back for a second one when the same pair of gardening scissors were slammed hard into his shoulder. He cried out, and rolled off of Myth, giving her time to slip out from under him, grab her gardening tools, and run towards the cabin. She stopped once to look back over at the mint patch, it was destroyed. That's what hurt her the most. Her mint, that rare strain of mint that she cared for for weeks was destroyed. Anger and sorrow welled up inside of her as she saw the trampled patch of mint, but she didn't have time to mourn her loss. The drunken bastard was trying to stand, and she had to flee. She ran as fast as she could, her arms crossed over her chest as she headed home. Tears fell down her cheeks as she slowed down to a brisk walk as she got closer, she noticed a large helmeted man nailing a deer's bloody head to her cousin's door. She froze, eyeing him with fear. Really? Another unknown man appearing in her space? This was getting ridiculous. She grabbed a tiny shovel from her bag, and held it out in front of her, her hands shaking. Her left eye was nearly swollen shut and full of tears, her bottom lip was busted, and her hair was hanging in front of her face, covered in the mint she so dearly loved, but she stood her ground, no matter how disheveled she looked. "Hey! Get away from the door, before I uh, before I scream for help!" She threatened, her stance not wavering. @Vansin
  21. [Outide CoTH : Tranquil Spot] The “Tranquil Spot” was little more than a simple clearing in the forests surrounding The Church On The Hill. It was small, only about thirty feet across, but it was distinct. In the center of this clearing was a rather large tree stump that had once belonged to an ancient and mighty oak. It had been cut down generations ago to build who-knows-what, and since that time the stump has remained. Various plants have overtaken the undergrowth, sprouting flowers and feathery foliage all about. This spot in particular was a favorite of fireflies, and the pleasant aroma was nothing to scoff at. It had become one of Tirkas’ favorite places to dream and he often made the trek through the woods to find it. The day was warm, and the sun was high, so the elf did not wear his armor. Instead he could be seen sporting robes of green, worn under a black jacket with a bright green sash tied about his waist. Hanging from his shoulder was a picnic of a sort, just some preserved fruits and dried meat that he planned on eating after his trance. He even brought his favorite meditation rug which was tucked neatly into the bag in a dense roll. However, today was to be something special. As Tirkas cleared the darkness of the wood and stepped into a shaft of sunlight he spotted something magnificent. There on the stump, it’s plumage spread wide and tall, was a peacock of considerable luster and size. The elf stood a moment, stunned by the bird’s beauty. @Vansin
  22. [♥️] [Coth] Inside the church on Coth's hill, in the basement library which had been untouched by god's cataclysmic fires, Constans sat across from the Brothers of Hedon and tried not to look dismissive. Yet his hand was holding his face up, and he was leaning in his chair like someone who desperately wanted to be asleep. That he hadn't slept for three days might have had something to do with it, but he'd managed to stay up through the previous meeting with Coth's farmers just fine. And he'd been alert when treating with the men petitioning for hunting rights before that. No, it was the Brothers of Hedon who had this effect on him, and it was getting harder and harder not to show it. They were repulsive. "-and the powerful Smeglord Dunkeen has also heard of your new pleasure temple," one of them cooed, smiling through rotten teeth. The rattling lust in his voice when he said 'pleasure' made Constans' stomach turn, "He is most...eager to visit your dominion and sample the delights you have opened to the world. Terrenus is in need of more whorehouses and fuc-" Constans jolted up in his seat, coughing loudly into his hand before the corpulent, pockmarked Brother could finish. "Hem-hem, excuse me," Constans started, after offering another few forced coughs, "Please convey my personal invitation to the Smeglord to visit Coth anytime it pleases him, however our priestesses serve faithful Cothites only, in accordance with god's law." He'd give up god's green fire before he'd let a Smeglord or any of the Brothers of Hedon defile one of god's handmaidens. The Hedons were a sect of philosophical pleasure seekers, but had long ago descended into a loose collection of slovenly sexual deviants. They possessed incredible resources, however, and they appreciated Constans' devout faith, to an extent. "Oh, my dear Patriarch, all this about god's laws. You are an educated man. Erudite, unlike these 'faithful Cothites' of yours, ho ho! They say you were a Gaian before your reawakening. We are extremely sympathetic to this more positive change in your religion, but you must understand that the only law is pleasure. The only good is the sound of flesh slapping against flesh. It is the taste of salt on a subjugated woman's skin. It is the groan of endless satisfaction. The secrets of life can be found only by splitting the flesh of the innocent and forcing yourself inside, diving into the wet, tender pus-" Constans summoned another coughing fit. "I have no doubt that pleasure has its benefits good brothers." Constans wasn't quite at his wits end, but he was careening towards it rapidly, "God himself has clearly chosen pleasure as a method of sharing his magic with us here in his worldly kingdom. But god's pleasure-- the priestesses' pleasure-- is a gift, not a service. And our priestesses do more than just comfort our citizens. They are our spiritual guardians, and they represent the feminine perspective which I so sorely lack. They complete Coth, and they are the sacred daughters of god, my friends. They are not common prostitutes." "All the more delicious." One of the brothers wheezed. Another quickly chimed in. "Yesss, are you sure we can't come to some financial arrangement to, say, sample one of these lovely girls in lieu of the Smeglord?" "I'm sorry, we cannot." Constans said mournfully, "But that ought not interrupt our other trading negotiations, nor sour your visit." The Brothers of Hedon agreed that it would not sour their visit, and further pleasantries accrued. Eventually, thankfully, they arrived at the real point of their visit, and spoke to Constans plainly. "Patriarch, we have recently come to something of a business dilemma with a denizen of your claimed territory. North and west of here there is a small tower, the home of an old knight who did not heed the call to leave these lands during the awful war. He is the basest sort of man, with no mind for pleasure beyond counting his riches and accumulating soldiers and thugs to do his bidding. He is called Warthog. Minor potentate though he is, we did not bring much by way of guards on our trip from the south, and he has used this fact to abuse us most heinously. Aside from visiting your earthly paradise, our trip north was also for the purpose of providing Warthog with four sumptuous virgin woman, for a modest price. Yet when he saw we had no guards, he took the virgins and refused to pay!" Constans' lips twitched, but he resisted his own disgust. Brothers of Hedon were not slavers, but only barely. Legally, the women they traded to their friends and associates gave themselves over by choice, usually as payment for egregious debts their families could not settle. To Constans, a woman without choices was a slave, and he felt abysmally for these stolen people. Oftentimes, however, he was powerless to stop their trafficking through god's lands. The Brothers of Hedon were depressingly influential and made for insidious enemies. Constans had no need for any more of those. But now they had come to him to settle a dispute. In this situation, there was something he could do to help these unfortunate women. For as bad as the virgins had it with the lecherous Hedons, the pleasure-seeking brothers took great pains to feed and care for their women, so as to increase their value. In the hands of a brute like Warthog, they would be heedlessly mistreated. It was a certainty. "I've heard of this Warthog, he is as despicable as you say. I am gladdened that you came to me to settle this dispute for you. Brothers, Coth will see to the liberation of these women. You have my word." His wording had been precise. Perhaps too precise. Yet the Brothers of Hedon accepted with gusto, their eyes now looking lustfully at Constans, as though he were a ripe virgin himself. He didn't like that look, the look of hunters who had just caught their prey, and he left wondering if he hadn't just made a huge mistake. It didn't matter. Four innocent girls were in the clutches of a rancid villain. It would not stand. Constans parted ways with the Brothers and headed down to the new Temple, Coth's second holy site wherein the priestesses of god conducted their discreet rituals. Before their door, he tarried for a moment. He always felt an odd sense of apprehension when he visited the priestesses. Despite that they seemed to look to him as the pinnacle of god's love, he had a hard time looking at them. They were...attractive women, to say the least, and he was unused to impressing such delicate and sensual creatures, even after knowing them for two months. Dispelling his apprehensions, Constans entered their temple foyer. His brow piqued at the sight of his massive green serpent taking residence on the floor of the temple, its glittering scales reflecting the colorful light of the building's stained glass windows. When it noticed Constans, it lazily picked up its hooded cobra head and flicked its tongue out in greeting. Then it laid back down again, utterly ignoring him. "At least one of us feels comfortable here." the patriarch muttered under his breath. @LikelyMissFortune @vielle @Minuet of the Nightingale @Witches Brew
  23. Something scary was passing through the tiny underground cabbage kingdom. There was a wild and baseless rumor of a dangerous recipie comming to destroy them all. The common folk laughed. They knew they tasted bad. They wanted their peaceful lives minding their own business. But the Elite and intelligence services of the cabbage kingdom knew better. They gathered to discuss what they had found. It was a good thing no children were here, they’d be in tears. With heavy hearts the Oligarchy decided the people shouldn’t know. But this terrible monster had to be stopped. They would send an army. An army of assorted Cabbages with assorted Skills whom they could afford to lose, to destroy the source of power this great terrible beast would be using. With their lives, homes, and people on the line, they set out to destroy this nightmare. They crawled from their homes one night wishing their families good bye. They knew they wouldn’t all make it back. They hoped that they could stop the threat. They ventured for Milies with helmets and little Spears and shields and axes. A few had a bow and arrows. They were an immortals crew illeqiuped for the task at hand. They finally found the library and a few rushed forward to attck the great stone BEAST! Before them. One stayed behind thinking about this. While the others spread out and went around to flank the library. They harassed anyone working there. ” Surrender your recipie and we won’t have to murder you horribly!” The one in the back calls out preparing to have a few folk bust down the door and ransacks the place.
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