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      Vote for Valucre [September]   09/01/2017

      Voting for the month of September is open on TopRPSites! Vote for Valucre daily and help new members searching for a place to roleplay discover the same joys you have in Valucre. You can vote daily, so make voting for Valucre a habit. Discussion thread

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(This thread details Jerek, Rhazagur, Anessa, and Hikage's journey through the Velhatien Desert, going from Telerian to Stormward)

Anessa sat at the dusty crossroads, watching the trail that led back to Telerian. There was nothing else around, other than the poorly carved path, and the dilapidated sign that she leaned her back against. "Meeting point" it read. Probably. Or maybe it said "Greeting Joint" or something along those lines. It's age and wear made it partially illegible.

The heat was stifling, and her arms groaned under the dryness and duress of the climate. She sat rooted in place, conserving energy and waiting with as much patience as she could muster as the desert sun beat down on her. A slight breeze fluttered the hood of her olive green cloak, and she quickly used one gloved hand to secure it in place against the gust.

The silence of her vigil gave her time to reflect back on her brief time in Telerian. The inhabitants hadn't been untrustworthy, or rude, but they were certainly guarded, especially after noting her Kaurilian accent. As much as she tried, she couldn't find a local willing to guide her through the desert. The best she'd been offered was a location. A place to sit, and wait, where those intending to traverse the sands could meet and prepare together. She'd arrived here three days ago, and had been camping out since. No one had arrived thus far, and Anessa was getting to the point where she was seriously considering setting out solo. It might be unwise, but urgency often drove her to rashness. Still, it would be best to travel in the coolness of night, so Anessa resolved herself to sitting here to the sun fell. She could wait at least that long.

Edited by Prestississimo

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Luck was all it was, all it honestly could be.

Rhazagur had spotted the unusually tall woman by chance some twenty minutes after he had been dropped from the Warp into this new world. He had wandered aimlessly in a random direction, the bleak landscape giving the Beastman little hope or survival without further knowledge of the world. So it could only be luck that said direction lead right to a desert crossing meeting point - but Rhazagur was an overly cautious creature, and so without delay he had found a secluded area behind some desert landscape and watched the woman carefully. She was tall, reminding him off handily of the Wood Elves of Athel Loren, giving off a sense of life that only those touched by nature commonly did. Rhazagur wondered inwardly if she was perhaps a dryad, sitting and waiting for prey by luring with her beauty.

Her lack of armaments added validity to that concept, but her skin did not look artificial nor could he smell the Winds of Magic on the air - though considering the world, that likely meant nothing at all. About an hour of simply watching, being sure to keep his stench upwind and his dull black armor away from the glare of the foreboding sun Rhazagur chose to take a risk or die of thirst without a chance. Rising from his hiding spot he stalked toward the woman, his cloven hooves and armor clacking and shaking as he did so. Rhazagur was an intimidating looking creature to be sure, his dull black armor covering his body and giving him the image of a mutated black knight, covered in jagged edges with a tall metal gorget covering the lower half of his bestial face. A shield was strapped to his left shoulder, with an elegant, almost Elven looking two handed sword strapped across his back - but it was clear his true weapon was the short, curved sword at his left hip. 

Yet it was his head that was most intimidating, long and snouted like a beast - almost goat like in its shape, yet with the forward facing eyes of a predator. He was furred, the color a light tan so close to beach sand it may as well have been the same color. A series of huge, forward curling horns jut from the sides of his head, the jagged, beaten tips stretching slightly past the end of his snout and working almost like a helmet would in placement. While his walk was unusual due to his cloven gait he did his best to look harmless as he approached, hands far from his weapons. As he got into ear shot, assuming she allowed him to, he spoke to the best of his ability in the language he most assumed the people of this plane of reality spoke.

Common, if not a bit broken and mixed with animal like grunts. "Hello...." He paused, thinking of the next word and as he did muttering the brays and grunts common to a herd animal like a goat. "Traveller, I'm Rhazagur. Mind if ey join ya?" His voice had an accent best described as a punk Scotsman, deep but almost amusing in its upbeat, cockney manner. After getting to about a sprints length for Rhazagur, roughly eighty feet he paused, keeping his posture disarming and hoping he didn't have to kill this woman and take whatever water she had, if she wasn't willing to share.

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Anessa eyed the stranger nervously, uprooting her left hand slowly and then rising to meet him. Even at a distance Anessa could tell that he was unlike anyone else she'd ever met. His appearance was bestial and he was clearly outfitted for battle. Anessa's first instinct was caution, but three days spent alone left her welcome for any kind of civilized company, and the beast-man's words were friendly enough.

Still, it couldn't hurt to show some restraint, since he seemed incline to do the same, standing at that distance "I'd like to ask your intentions first," she called. "Make sure you don't plan on murdering me or something, you know?" she said with some degree of forced levity." She was planning on elaborating, but the appearance of a figure on the path approaching the pair of them forestalled further conversation and drew her attention.

Edited by Prestississimo

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    The Velhatien Desert, one of the most inhospitable lands in Genesaris if not all of Valucre. Not that it mattered to Hikage. Harsh terrains become less dangerous when someone doesn’t need food, water, or even shelter. To her, very little is truly life-threatening.

What worries Hikage the most is the rolling, shifting sand. It will inevitably find its way into her hollow armor, and even if it doesn’t weigh her down, it will be a pain to shovel out.

    Hikage treks across the sand dunes, hoping to find that damnable meeting spot. She didn’t need any help crossing the desert, but if she’s lucky, a traveler might be nobility or have ties to someone who is.

    Finally, she sees two dots in the distance. People. It must be the meeting spot.

    She doesn’t hesitate to approach, even though she can clearly see weapons on the bestial one.

“Greetings. Are you travelers on this road as well?” She bows slightly, “I am Hikage. Kaede Hikage.”

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(OOC: One more post to get Jerek in here and then we can settle into a regular posting rotation. And please no April fool's shenanigans I can't handle that stuff over the internet ((too hard to judge sarcasm and intent))

The word 'traveler' drew a frown from Anessa. The pair of newcomers were both far stranger than she (in her own humble self-estimation), and yet both called attention to her status as a traveler, as some kind of outsider. The implications rankled her, and it was made worse because she was moderately certain that neither meant any harm in their words.

Anessa swallowed her resentment turned her attention to analyzing Hikage. The woman's armor and accent were unfamiliar, but her introduction was polite and gracefully executed, which meant it demanded a response in kind. "My name's Anessa," the young woman called out from beneath her hood. "Me and the big guy over there were just reassuring each other that neither of means to kill the other. A similar statement from you would be much appreciated," she joked, trying again to alleviate some of the tension generated by strangers meeting one another in unfamiliar places. "And also one from whoever your friend is, back over yonder." The last sentence was punctuated by a gloved finger, pointing out another humanoid figure coming into view from behind the armored woman.

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The humanoid figure approaching looked closer than he was because of his size... a minute and a half later, he was next to what seemed to be someone in a full suit of armor, but he didn't stop there, he walked to the middle of the triangle and stopped. The man himself wasn't a spectacle, he was muscular and big, but the real spectacle was his sword. A cleaver as big as him. 

"Greetings my fellow peasants! Shall we set off on an adventure?" 

If his size wasn't intimidating, maybe his sword was, but his mannerisms were friendly, aside the slight rudeness by the word peasants. Upon closer look, he was quite handsome and well built. The suit of armor didn't seem to phase him, although to him it was a bit impractical in the desert. The girl slightly shorter than him seemed well prepared, while the camel knight was quite... articulate. In all honesty he had never seen a camel before, so it could have been an alpaca as well. 

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Before Rhazagur could even jumble the words together into a coherent reply another had joined their mists, strolling confidently into the meeting site before bowing and introducing itself. By its voice alone it was female. Then came the meat mountain, a massive crude blade strapped to his body. He was a regal looking human, with the features Rhazagur had commonly seen on the 'Nobility' of Bretonnia. His manner of speaking was entirely different, however - lacking the 'French' flair of his home world. Rhazagur did not know the word 'adventure', but judging by the way the group interacted it was clear only he stood out - being far from the ground and the only clearly non-human, unable to see inside the womans armor. Though, Rhazagur had to admit - judging by her smell alone there was no flesh inside that suit, not that he much cared either way.

"Name Rhazagur, from - " He paused, spreading his arms and shrugging as if suggesting he didn't know how to word or did not know at all where he was from. "Murder ya? Nah, pale one. If I wanted ya dun in, I'd donna it? Yeah?" Rhazagur ended his accented speech with a chuckle so similar to a goats bray it might as well have been much the same. Without further invitation he stamped forward on cloven hoof, turning to each of the group as he passed and nodding his horned head - mimicking to an extent what he had seen Hikage do. 

"This land new, any know way through? My skills warfare. Yours?" He asked, laying his gaze on each person slow as if asking their skills in turn. 

Edited by Rhazagur The Lost

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            Hikage was incensed at the newcomer’s words.

Peasant!? How dare he! Who does this man think he is, referring to an esteemed samurai with such blatant disrespect? The beast has better manners than him and he can barely speak properly.

She had no opportunity to face him and defend her honor before Rhazagur spoke and asked his question. She would deal the insolence later. Right now she must remain cordial with other, more polite, people.

Turning to Rhazagur, “This land is unfamiliar to me as well; however, I can lend my skills as a samurai.” Do foreigners even know what a samurai is? “That is to say, like a knight. A skilled swordswoman,” she added.

Then to Anessa, “But worry not, I will not turn my blades towards you unless you draw yours first.”

With that reassurance, she turns to face the unnamed arrival and coldly asks, “You did not introduce yourself. Who might you be?”

Edited by Wavum

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Anessa eyed the odd man up and down from beneath her hood. He was taller than her, a rarity in fellow humans, and wearing far too much armor for the desert heat. And that sword...

She had never seen a weapon that size. Frankly it seemed a bit excessive, and she found herself more impressed with Rhazagur's more practical-looking blades. Then again, the most experience she had with edged weapons was cooking knives, so perhaps that wasn't entirely fair to the unnamed and slightly rude stranger.

Hikage was starting up a conversation with the new arrival, and Anessa kept an ear listening, even as she turned to Rhazagur to answer the beast man's question. "I bought a map, back in Telerian. It's not the most precise, but we should be able to find our way by the landmarks it sets. And worse comes to worse, I know how to navigate by the stars. Not as effective on land, but it can keep us from wandering the desert in circles, especially with the help of my compass. Beyond that, I'm a half-decent tailor if I do say-so myself." Her last sentence, while perhaps the last conventionally impressive, was said with the most pride.

She hefted her travel pack and a multitude of waterskins. It was hard to notice until she was standing, but she was laden with a surprisingly large amount of supplies.

Edited by Prestississimo

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"I guess I did forget to introduce myself" he remarked, "My name is Jerek, and my skills include swordsmanship and heavy lifting." This last part he nodded toward Rhazagur. Jerek then turned to the samurai, "Hikage right? Or Anessa, no Hikage, the samurai. Being a samurai takes lots of discipline, it took me 3 months to learn your sword at a basic level, which I evidently do not use now, because it was so difficult. Maybe you and I can spar at a later date." He had half listened to the other girl, Anessa talking about stars and circles and being a tailor. "Well then"Jerek broke the silence, "Now that we have a brief hello, let's head out... if thats alright with you all?" 

He adjusted his leather armor and pulled his sword out which he had fit snugly in between the backplate of his leather armor. It was uncomfortable keeping it there, and it felt much better in his hand. Jerek stuck it in the sand and leaned against it waiting for an answer

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As the others spoke and introduced themselves Rhazagur began to unstrap his dull black armor, starting at the arms and moving toward the center. Straps fell and pieces dropped with a speed and trained practice only those who had spent years in the many layers that was plate armor could. Once all the plates were removed he tore at his padded dwarf hide leather gambeson underneath, wrapping each piece individually in the tattered leather before removing the light flesh colored under tunic that was underneath that leather gambeson, wrapping all the pieces as one in the loose shirt and tying it tight to the straps which held his two handed sword. 

What remained of his upper body clothing was nothing at all, the plate, chainmail, gambeson and under tunic all removed - this revealed a bizarrely human upper torso, devoid of the light sand colored fur that covered his animal like head and lower body. His lower body remained only lightly clothed, a thin pair of human hide pants making up the entirety of it, the sturdy dwarf leather belt still holding up his dusack sword. If Rhazagur thought at all about how a tailor would recognize that his under attire was made up almost entirely of some unknown, potentially humanoid tanned skin, he did not show it. Likely because he didn't know what the word 'tailor' meant. 

"Rhazagur is ready!" He called, jovially stamping his hooved feet in excitement. Almost by instinct he strapped down his shield, tightening the straps against his forearm - for normally this excitement followed only battle for the goat headed beastman. Without waiting for a reply the eager Rhazagur began to stalk his way into the desert, his braying laughter the only sound in the eerie silence of the wastes. 

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Anessa looked between the three other people, Jerek, leaning on his sword, Hikage, standing stock still in the desert breeze, and Rhazagur, already heading off into the wasteland. She had wanted to wait until nightfall, but she did have plenty of energy from sitting in the sun all day. Maybe it was better to head off now.

With a look at Jerek and Hikage, she shrugged, made sure her load of supplies was well distributed, and set off to follow Rhazagur. She looked the beastman over, curious whether or not he had any water and food, and was a tad distressed to realize that it did not appear so. She busily set about to calculating how quickly the group would need to find an oasis.

On a reflex brought on by the heat she swept her hand across her brow, before realizing there was no sweat there to clear. That was some good news, at least, she probably retained water now better than before, so hopefully her intake would be less. Still, if Hikage and Jerek were similarly under-equipped...

Food as well. She hadn't brought any, seeing as how she didn't really eat anymore. Hopefully the other three could scrounge something up in the desert. She looked about. There had to be things out here to eat, right?

Concerned for her fellows, she pulled out her map and compass and began scouring it for the nearest oasis, her feet steadily plodding through the desert sands in Rhazagur's wake.

Edited by Prestississimo

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“I’m certain you meant well, but keep your flattery to yourself. Where I come from it is seen as what you would call “sucking up” and I doubt you wish to lower yourself to that cowardly strategy,” Hikage states.

“And my blades are not for sparring, nor is yours made for leaning,” she notes, nodding at his sword as it was stuck in the ground.

Is this how foreigners treat their weapons? With such disrespect? Although, between this and Jerek’s opening statement, it is possible that he was simply not raised properly.

Out of the side of her mask, she sees Rhazagur removing his clothing. For a horrified second she thinks he’s stripping lewdly before realizing that it is his way of preparing for the trek, as he would overheat otherwise. But it would be better to die of heatstroke than to expose so much of oneself to others, especially when there are woman present.

Foreigners truly have no modesty.

Watching him stalk off, she makes one last remark to Jerek. “There is the answer to your question. We are leaving now.”

With that, she follows Rhazagur and Anessa into the blazing desert.

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It had seemed that he had gotten off on the wrong foot with Hikage, and it would be a while before she warmed up to him. Jerek gave a little hands up and pulled his sword out of the sand, only to show that it was fine, and rested it on his shoulder. "Sorry for attempting to be diplomatic." He muttered. Just then the camel man started stripping, but hey, whatever paid the bills. It might have been a good idea for him to follow suit, but he could feel the bad vibes emanating from Hikage, and besides, going shirtless usually made women swoon. He checked the pockets of his cargo pants to make sure all his stuff was still there. 

The rest of his group was on their way, and he was lagging. Jerek hurried up to the rest of the group.

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Rhazagur's ears tossed and shifted, scanning the wasteland for any sign of life that his ears could pick up. There was movement, as there always ways - insects and other small creatures of the desert, fighting tooth and nail in their miniature world while Rhazagur and his new friends trudged along. The billowing smoke stacks of the Fire Plains far in the distant filled the sky, dulling some of oppressive heat if only just. 

Rhazagur was born and raised in a lush forest, he fled to the cold norths as an adult - the desert was not his home, and quickly his jovial braying and heavy footfalls vanished, his pace falling to match his companions and his humanoid upper torso sweating profusely. His tongue rolled from side to side, falling out of the sides of his bestial mouth as he softly panted to reduce some of his internal body heat. 

The desert was overwhelming, and the sad truth was - those who were unprepared, died. "Pale one, how big wastes? How long cross?" Rhazagur asked, trying to sound as friendly and jovial as he did upon their initial meeting despite the deserts harsh treatment of his body. His eyes never left the billowing smoke stacks beyond, for in his world the wastes - and by extension the plumes of smoke contained only one thing. The dreaded Chaos tainted Dwarves, a race of harsh slavers feared throughout the Old World - and even though Rhazagur knew such creatures were unlikely to exist in this new world, his natural instincts could not be over come. 

[OOC: Sorry for the delay.]

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