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Better Than Gore

Curse Of The Ursa

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Nyra’s adventure was a long one, however, it could have been longer. Traveling by horseback was ideal; hopefully, her newfound barbaric colleagues didn’t worry too much about her seizing one of their ponies. The stolen steed made her travel that much shorter. Save for an overnight camp, which wasn’t out of the ordinary, making that long of a trek in a day was unthinkable. Nyra’s arrival was anticlimactic; drawing unnecessary attention onto herself was the last thing on her to-do list.

Her clothing consisted of mostly leather and linen, tight-fitted to the shape of her body, pauldrons appended with fur, gauntlets, greaves, and sabatons were the main bit of her attire that was metal in nature. Other than her sword, which was joined at her left hip and sheathed. Nyra was short in stature; give or take 5’6”, and very petite. Her small frame bolstered an astounding 165lb, consisting of conditioned muscle that was aesthetically pleasing. Her hair was dark and dreaded, styled into a braid and decorated with what looked to be beads, and a variety of teeth/claws. Nyra’s complexion was an exotic shade of tan and her eyes were a brilliant emerald green. Her facial highlights were delicate.

After touching base into town, she guided her mount to what she thought to be a stable of sorts, tying it off and giving it a pat before advancing further into town. Rumor has it there was a woman residing in Blairsville that could possibly help her overcome the monster within her. Her townsfolk would sit back and relax knowing there was certifiably no way of it getting away and butchering whoever crossed paths with it. But where was the best place to follow-up on rumors? A tavern. Exploring for a bit, Nyra would eventually discover an establishment that was exactly that. Upon entering, each inhabitant would get a once-over before she advanced to an empty table. Taking a seat, she’d trust that someone would inevitably take notice of her and fetch a beverage.

@Sleepy Seal

Edited by Better Than Gore

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If only Nyra had known that the empty table where she sat was only three tables away from the one she was looking for. 

Dressed in commoners clothing, Reyna had her blonde hair tied up behind her head, a pair of false spectacles resting on her nose. If she were thrown into a crowd, no one would suspect that she was any more than just another one of Blairville's working-class citizens. She sipped from a cup of coffee, one of the few drinks that she enjoyed in this foreign land. 

A waitress came up to Nyra shortly after. 

“Hello, Miss. What could I get you?”

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Nyra greeted the waitress with a smile. "Steak if you have it, preferably rare." She considered ordering a drink, but this wasn't a vacation by any means, so it was business as usual. "A water would also be appreciated." Was added in before the waitress was out of earreach. Locating her target may have been harder than she originally predicted, after all, she wasn't about to start interrogating townsfolk for information. But maybe that would have been easier than waiting for the information to fall onto her lap. Once her food and beverage had arrived, she didn't hesitate. Taking hold of her fork and knife only to cut into the steak, shoveling into her mouth and chewing with a satisfying sigh. Typically she preferred her steak raw, however, that may have made her stick out more than necessary. So rare it was, unfortunately.

Taking a look around the room, a couple patrons were taken notice of. There was a mysterious looking man sitting at the bar, sporting a hat of sorts, drinking alone. Granted, she was eating alone, so maybe it wasn't so out of the ordinary. One other piqued Nyra's curiosity, a woman, about three tables down. She was drinking what appeared to be coffee, Nyra could see the steam steadily rising from the cup. Taking a quick whiff, it was certainly coffee, Nyra's sense of smell was spot-on. "Care to join me?" Nyra inquired, speaking loud enough to reach the woman.

@Sleepy Seal

 

Edited by Better Than Gore

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Reyna glanced over briefly at the woman. It was unfortunate that the coffee only lasted her so long. It was time to get back to work. Shaking her head apologetically, she got up and pushed the chair in as she did. She made her way to the cashier in a hurry.

“Thank you, Jane,” she said, squeezing a handful of coins into the cashier's palm. Then, she left.

Soon after, the waitress returned with Nyra’s water. 

“The steak will be ready in ten minutes, Miss,” she said, setting the cup down on the table.

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Reyna's sudden leave hadn't risen any suspicion; when one was done with their meal they normally departed, unless there was an obligation to stay. A complete stranger offering them a seat at their table didn't necessarily fit that particular category. Nor had the fact that she knew the cashier by a first name basis alert her, for all Nyra knew, she could have been wearing a name-tag. She hadn't bothered to look. "Ah, thank you." Nyra's attention was brought back to the waitress. Nodding in appreciation of the delivery and acknowledgment of her comment. Once her steak had finally been brought to her table, she'd question the waitress, maybe she had encountered Reyna before. It wouldn't hurt to ask.

@Sleepy Seal

Edited by Better Than Gore

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Exactly eight minutes later, the waitress returned with a plate. 

“Your steak, Miss,” she set the plate down on the table with a smile. “Is there anything else I could get for you?” 

Suddenly, there were shouts coming from outside. The voices were impatient and moved quickly, like a protest trying to spread its word. Through the windows of the tavern, Nyra would’ve seen several Gaian priests leading the march, their fists pumping in the air as they shouted their slogan. 

“Death to the Lich Queen!”

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"No thank y---" Chanting could be heard from outside of the tavern; which immediately grabbed Nyra's attention, forcing her to tilt her head in curiosity. Which was only used in order to hide her excitement. She was in the right place after all. Their protesting confirmed that. Gazing back at the waitress, she'd offer her a genuine smile. "And what's that all about then?"  This probably wasn't the first time an event like this had taken place. Obviously, she knew exactly what and who they were after, but Nyra had to play dumb for the time being. Subtelty was an absolute must. "Who's this Lich Queen they speak of?" Another question followed; if the waitress cared to listen, perhaps Nyra would be able to get some information from her. It may not have been the information she required, but information none the less. While she waited to see if the waitress would bite, she too would bite, via grabbing her utensils and going to town on her steak.

@Sleepy Seal

Edited by Better Than Gore

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"Ha!” the waitress chuckled. “Just some fairytale made up by the Gaian churches. There’s a big tower in Blairville with a whole bunch of furniture in it. That’s what the first floor looks like, just endless rows of random furniture. They say that if you get lost in there, you might not be able to find your way back out! But that’s where they say that this ‘Lich Queen’ is hiding. Silly, right?”

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Interesting.

Nyra rolled her eyes. "They must really believe that." Or else they wouldn't have formed an angry mob; although, people have protested far less believable things. "Perhaps you could jot down some directions for me? Tourist attractions are always fun." Even if the waitress believed it to be that of a tall-tale, it was certainly worth investigating. At least now she had a slight idea on where to start looking, otherwise she'd spend all day questioning the locals, which didn't sound too appealing.

@Sleepy Seal

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"Oh certainly!” The Waitress proceeded to write down a list of steps to get to the Tower. 

 

After Nyra had finished eating her steak, the afternoon sun had only just begun to set. As she set out on her path to find this enigmatic tower, she would come across an inn. Inside, a grown man was arguing with a young boy who didn’t look older than 20. 

By then, she had only reached the halfway point of her journey to the tower. The sun was halfway down the horizon. She had to make a call.

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And make a call she did.

Nyra's curse came with many gifts; one of which was low light vision, much like her bear counterpart, she was capable of seeing nearly twice as far as your average human during the nighttime. Staying overnight in a nearby establishment just wasn't an option. Well, it was, but not one she wanted to choose. Nyra wanted to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible, so onward she went. Using her low light vision to her advantage to reach her destination safely and efficiently.

@Sleepy Seal

Edited by Better Than Gore

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Eventually, Nyra arrived at the tower after a rather uneventful journey. The sun was but a tiny spec of light in the distance, barely clinging on to the skyline as it was swallowed up by the horizon. All around her, the interior of the first zone matched the description that the waitress had provided her. Rows after rows of seemingly endless furniture, all fit into an area much too small to contain what she saw before her. 

And then, there were sounds. If Nyra had a superhuman sense of hearing, she might’ve heard the grinding of steel in the distance, and the soft footsteps of an individual in another direction. 

If however, she did not hear these sounds, it was likely because they were muffled by the footsteps and mumbles of a group of men – about half a dozen of them – sifting through the furniture for something.

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"She wasn't lying," Needless to say; Nyra was baffled, more so that sole purpose of this building was to house furniture. Or so it appeared. The probability of that was slim to none. There was definitely something going on here and she was determined to find out. But before she could get down to business, she had to address whoever else was occupying the building. Whether they posed a threat was up in the air, Nyra certainly came prepared if that were the case. "Make yourself known!" Nyra shouted, her right hand drifted toward the hilt of her sword stationed on her left hip. Just in case the group was hostile in nature.

@Sleepy Seal

[I apologize for the wait, in the middle of moving into our own house, so that process has kept me occupied.]

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There was a rapid shuffling of footsteps. Nyra would’ve suddenly found herself surrounded by men in brown robes. There were seven of them rapidly closing in on her. Some of them carried books and scripture, others were armed with spellswords. Their leader quickly rushed her, a stone tablet clutched between his fingers.

 

“Incantus!” he yelled, causing a burst of holy fire to engulf the stone tablet and his fist. The men around him clutched their weapons fearfully as he lowered the stone. When Nyra was touched by the holy fire, she might’ve felt a warm soothing sensation in her bones. It didn’t burn, and the group of men seemed to realise it too.

 

“You’re not one of them,” the leader signed in relief, signalling to his men to put their weapons away.

 

“I am Sir Stephen. I am a preacher for the Gaian church in Blairville,” he flourished his hands in an elaborate bow. “And why might a young lady like yourself be wandering the Tower at this time of the day?”

@Better Than Gore

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