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Gathering in Inns'th Our tale begins north of the gates, a misguided band of adventurers gathers to seek fortune in the dangers beyond the walls. They are sent in the smallest hope that they may recover something lost. An ill-fated doctor and his research crew fell silent and ceased reports, leaving his compatriots to assume the worst. Now they have hired a rescue crew, but the feel of this mission is more likely to recover a body, for the lands beyond the walls are dangerous beyond reason. A researcher stands about one hundred feet from the wall. He has an assistant who holds an umbrella and a lantern. The day is blackened by clouds over-head such that the sun may as well not exist. Sight is limited further by a thick fog, with a very slight sprinkling of rain. The researcher is a man who appears to be on in years, with his wispy white eyebrows and his long scratchy beard. He has, by his feet, a few small sacks of odds and ends to offer the people he has hired for this task. He holds a slate and a piece of vellum, upon which he writes small notes. They need only show up.
Most of the Aligorian contingent had departed for the base at the Furthest Point. Led by Frederick York, the Subversor commander in Yh'mi, and Ilene Cantu, his counterpart in the Shadow Guard, they had departed in the wake of Gormaric Warmoon. That knight wasn't officially part of Aligoria, but the Aligorian contingent deferred to him as their overall commander nonetheless. Those Aligorians that remained in Inns'th found themselves with little to do aside from fine-tuning the Uru coating Inns'th's wall. While the majority of the work was now done in that regard, a good handful of little nooks and crannies remained to be dealt with. A handful of Subversors. A handful of Shadow Guards. Five of Warpgolems, half of the ten that had arrived with the contingent. And finally, one war elephant, whose brother had accompanied the force that went to reinforce the Furthest Point. Of this force that had been left to guard Inns'th, three women had been selected to command it... "Stella! Are you still drinking that swill that they serve over at Purgatory?" A red-haired woman wearing light leather armor rolled her eyes at a white-haired woman clad in the black and gold armor of the Subversors. The white-haired woman, Stella smiled. "Ah, Umbra, you really can't afford that trademark Hillbrooke snobbery around here. You take what you can get, and besides... for the lack of resources here, the quality really isn't that bad!" The red-haired woman, Umbra, shook her head at Stella, but still had a small smile creep into her expression. "Whatever you say, I suppose. I'll stick with the stock at our encampment until it runs out, and hopefully Neque will be gracious enough to have another shipment of supplies en-route by then, if not more reinforcements." "Depends how many come back from the Furthest Point, I suppose. Speaking of... is that bit of gossip floating around true? About how enamored you are with Sir Gormaric?" Umbra blushed and mumbled for a moment before having a thought and looking at Stella defiantly. "I'm not saying either way, but what about you and Sir Frederick, hmm? I've heard some juicy rumors about how he's even taken his helm off for you!" Stella looked scandalized and sputtered for a few moments. "Who told you that? If I get my hands on them, I swear I'll..." She made an exaggerated motion as if she was strangling something. Umbra's train of thought shifted as she noticed a flyer clutched in Stella's hand, and her eyes narrowed for a moment. "Stella... what's that in your hand?" Stella shrugged and held the flyer out toward Umbra. "A flyer I picked off of the bulletin board in Purgatory. Says something about the order wanting a team to venture into the Whitewoods, and find some kind of vine." Umbra examined the flyer thoroughly, then looked back up at Stella with a knowing smile. "Considering the contents of that last shipment Neque sent to us, and how bloody boring it's been around here... we can kill two birds with one stone. It looks you're not useless after all, you arrogant tin can! Go find Tenebra, and then meet me at the gates leading into Yh'mi. I'm going to make some preparations." Stella nodded and jogged off to find Tenebra, while Umbra raised her fingers to her lips and let out a whistle. Three Shadow Guards stepped out of the shadows and bowed their heads slightly deference to Umbra. Her gaze swept over them. "Look throughout Inns'th. Find me anybody who wants to venture into the Whitewoods and is interested in testing that rumor about how the Saevions can be calmed by a certain type of vine, then bring them to the gates. While you're at it, get those gloves that the paladins said they would provide. We could probably make due with what we have, but there's no reason to turn down free stuff that will make our lives easier." The Shadow Guards nodded, before dispersing and jogging off in different directions. Umbra smiled to herself for a moment, before whistling a soft tune and striding off toward the gates.
After preparing himself and his equipment, the mutant and his new traveling companion found themselves walking underneath the archway of Inns’th’s southern gate. The sole fortification that blocked off the large encampment from the rest of the nightmarish region of Yh’mi. As they stepped safely to the opposite side, the gate closed behind them with a mechanical clicking that filled Arthur with an odd sense of finality. It was the mage’s first time in Yh’mi proper, and his impressively muscled body was tingling with anxious excitement as the two of them were left alone with the vast stretches of cursed land to themselves. Under his vestments, the mutant was grinning roguishly even as his frame suffered from slight tremors of apprehension. “It’s seventy five kilometers south to Furthest Point. That should be two days worth of careful walking,” Arthur told the witch after they were totally alone. When the pink-haired woman hired the black mage, he had practically been rushed out of his pitched tarp and through the gate by Iona’s eager insistence. So it was well worth it to discuss logistics as they walked. ”We’ll walk about eight hours a day, not including when we stop for breakfast and lunch. When we stop for the evening...” Arthur paused as he began their trek, stepping carefully across the ground of the massive rock field. He pondered for a moment on the misnomer he’d just uttered, knowing that ‘evening’ didn’t offer a proper distinction for darkness always fell over Yh’mi. “At the end of our daily trek, we’ll cook at least fifty yards from where we’ll sleep, and we’ll sleep in shifts of four hours. I’ll stand guard first and you after me. We’ll be able to sleep as much as we’d like and replenish our supplies once we reach Bloodwatch base on Furthest Point..... ”But most importantly, we need to keep a light on at all times,” the alchemist finished speaking, walking around a large stone as he unlatched his wax canvas rucksack and placed it onto the boulder. It was a sturdy thing, made of tough material with a bedroll composed of several grey wool blankets and his canvas tarp lashed to the top of the rucksack. A large white crystal with a hollow center was strapped and hanging off the bottom of Arthur’s pack. It was a creation of the mutant’s efforts of transmutation, and hopefully would function as intended once they reached their destination. The mage produced a thick, waxy candle from a side compartment on the pack. He cast a cantrip with a quick gesture that lit the wick with a white and black flame, then placed the candle inside the rune-etched lantern. Strapping the rucksack to his back again, the mutant was off again, gesturing to Iona to continue. On his first foray into Yh’mi, Arthur was dressed for adventure and battle. The mage wore a dark blue padded aketon and chausses over his bulky torso and trunk-like limbs. The chausses were tucked into black boots that looked nearly new. Aside from the gambeson he was wearing, Arthur had a scant few pieces of armor. A black-colored jack-chain of steel sections were tied to the sleeves of his aketon. Meanwhile, a blackened bevor was strapped around his neck, protecting his neck and the lower half of his face. A kettle helm of black steel was plopped atop the mage’s head, creating a slight opening from which only Arthur’s nose and eyes could be seen. However, his animalistic eyes were covered in a pair of goggles, its lenses tinted a bright orange. The black mage’s outfit was rounded out by his black fur-lined robes that settled upon his broad shoulders and fell just past his hips. @Akako Akari
Inns'th was as it usually was, bustling with activity and the general sense of vigilance which promised that any falter or blunder could result in everyone's collective demise. Yh'mi was a desolate wasteland, full of strange creatures with lethal intent. Much of it had yet to be explored, and as part of her contribution to this new world, she sought to make her stand, albeit brief, in the land where there was no light, no hope, nothing. The mistake she made last time was bringing her husband. Throughout their trip, she feared for his life, feared for his body. He was formidable and she never doubted it, but as days passed on Valucre, the number of beings whom she came across that were able to not only match but surpass her combat prowess steadily grew. This time, she brought someone stronger. @Truthless Offering a courteous nod to Masuda, she straightened her artifact cowl, wrapped around her neck like a scarf. There were two more whom were supposed to meet them in the quiet tavern, which was all but empty save for a pair of men who were also on their break. A small party of adventurers had left that morning to do some scouting, they told her. It was a little reassuring that beyond the walls, another Terran group would be searching for new knowledge. @The North Wind @Djinn&Juice