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Spurs for the Burro

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Class A: Help the military establish outposts for displaced refugees from Biazo City and protect them from raids

 

@Shiny @J. A. Horton @Die Shize @Thotification

“0800 is when the next caravan comes by. Tomorrow at 2000 is the one after. Scuzzballs haven’t sent any reinforcements yet, so it’s safe to say they won’t send anybody until a new deployment of soldiers comes to Aspyn next month.”

Dervish the half-man spoke to his comrades in a small den off the main path from Aspyn to its sister colonies on Biazo Isle. In the boroughs of Bi’le’ah, 12 Half-man gangsters belonging to notorious Half-man crimelord the Mule planned the assault of a produce caravan heading from Aspyn to an auxiliary settlement to the northeast. Armed with rusty knives and faulty guns, half-derelict armor constructed from metal sheets and a couple highly intelligent leaders with hidden magical powers, this dozen had relieved several supply caravans of their supplies and relayed them back to the Mule. Most Half-men of Bi’le’ah were busy picking up the pieces of their broken lives since the unnatural magical hurricane and the war in which it shrouded itself, and they reviled the Mule for the stereotypes his actions cast upon them. Nonetheless the Mule persisted with his unsavory means of acquiring means to survive and, in some twisted perspective, a degree of warped lavish.

“Alright.”

Extending from an orb in the center of a table was a hologram of Peacekeeper Michael Commager and regent of the budding Aspyn. The filaments fit together perfectly, except for when he moved and in the pixels around his mouth; the hologram’s live feed didn’t quite have perfect resolution. This room was full of soldiers and vigilantes dedicated to stopping the threat coming from the Mule’s men.

“The attacks on our caravans show all the signs of the Mule’s handiwork. We have dealt firsthand with the Mule and his men before. Escapees of his raids with tetanused scratches and bludgeoning injuries report roughshod groups of mutant-looking creatures attacking their wagons. The physical profiles are consistent with half-men, but it’s alleged that there are a couple powerful individuals among them. According to sources, they are the Mule’s left-hand men.

“You will depart with the 0800 group in the morning or the 20000 group in the evening tomorrow, your choice. You must disguise yourself as caravaners and merchants. You can either capture the perps and question them about the Mule or defeat them to send a message to his men.

“Afterward report back here, and we’ll take your analysis into consideration when establishing an outpost and division to deal with caravan theft. Questions, or can we begin planning specifics?”

Those who didn’t know Michael Commager shuffled their feet, wondering whether or not the hologram was actually a live feed, or a recording. That was when the quizzical image of the Major shifted, his eyes scanning this way and that, dispelling any notion that this was not in fact the real Peacekeeper.

“Well?”

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(OOC: (for the lack of one at this point) Sorry if there’s a designated posting order but this may be the only tine I’ll get time to do so for a few days.)

Craxus Farenhide had been summoned to the area on notice from one of the family scouts. A half man name mule was in the area causing trouble with some sort of small crime syndicate. The Farenhides were not too different, diving into shading dealings of all sorts, but basically unnoticeable. They were basically the equivalent of a small time deal in a city, but they were everywhere, when one added up all those small dealings over a big region it was big money. Mule wasn’t so discrete and the extra law enforcement he brought in was making it hard to do dealings in this area, he needed to be neutralized and quickly.   

He walked along but off of the main roads to avoid being spotted. A ten foot, 2000+ pound biped wolf covered in armor, screamed threat like no tomorrow. Speaking of witch he had recently enchanted it to be shock absorbing, allowing him to move more silently and withstand more kinetic energy, along with that he had a new weapon, an eight and three quarters foot chainsaw sword. 8 feet of shiny chrome like blade 7 inches wide, 1 inch serrated spikes, and about a quarter inch thick, leaving 9 inches of hilt and grip. The hilt was black and magnetic with two switches to move the magnetism to the grip to allow for better grip to move it to the hilt to allow it to be placed on his back. It had three enchantments; self repairing, act as if massless to its user allowing it to be used in one hand without throwing off one’s center of mass, and to constantly be coated in poison. The poison caused a slow painful death over three days, but it’s effects that weakened one’s senses and physical strength were noticed in about a minute, it was also flammable, and with a small ignition device hidden in the handle it was able to become a blade of rotating flames. The hilt could also become a vacuum allowing the flames to go out and preventing them from arising in the first place. It was a weapon of considerable quality capable of even cutting through metal. 

As he walked, didn’t take long for his canine ears to pickup on a nearby conversation. There was a group of some sort of military like personnel, they were going to be leaving to find mule. This would work out for Craxus he could just follow a group to one of the goons, kidnap the target and interrogate them. Craxus debated to himself if he should sneak in and he could have very easily disguised himself as human and join them, but he didn’t want to lower himself to being as lowly as a human. So he just sat cross legged near the enterance and waited for a group to leave. He would be hard to miss, but he had little to fear the enforcers would be more logical then mob mentality and thus had very little reason to attack him, nor would most be foolish enough to mess with a beast of his stature. 

“I probably should have checked the time, I don’t know what time it Is.”

But his communications device was under his armor. So he had no choice but to sit and wait for someone to leave the cave.

Edited by Neondragon7

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The Den

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Sound Presence: OOC

 

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Yintor Trenislan

The Halfman

Half-Men. A messy mishmash of mutants and monsters. Messy. Mishmash. Mutants. Monsters. That’s as redundant as using “schemes" and "plots" in the same sentence. What else was rather redundant was meeting up with a group of no-good bad-doers as bad as he was and as up to no good as those who were good at doing bad. This wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last, particularly where his own kind were concerned. My own kind. Were they though?

These Half-Men who flanked the Halfman were up to eleven on the trope scale of doing bad things, and eleven there were of them where he was number twelve. Or number one, if I have anything to say about it. Or is it one and a half? Half of one? He tended to forget. Where these Half-Men mostly sat or stood shoulder to shoulder with one another and the full-men outside these walls, their shoulders were a little too high up for the Halfman to reach. After all, among such Half-Men, Yintor Trenislan was known as "the Halfman" for a reason. Indeed, amid Half-Men, Yintor was the Halfman. Not because of authority, of which his came from the shadows, but because he was at a paltry 4'4" in height and was often locked in the pantry by his brothers as a result. May their heads be put to rest.

Still, when one was as a short as a stump one tended to find certain avenues of which to navigate one's skills along that went beyond chopping off intromittent organs and feeding them to goats. Yintor would leave the beating and the bludgeoning to his fellow kinsmen within this dirty dozen of a gang. For his part, his battle prowess rested with his wits. A short Half-Man he might have been, with an ugly face that could yet betray him for just a full-man midget than less than a man and a half, but a big brain was broadly better than big brawn on a body. If it hadn't been, then Yintor would probably have already been stepped on by any one or all of these eleven souls remaining erect before him. Whilst I remain here erect before the thought of a naked Shade to lie down with in the evening.

Whatever the truth of that thought, only the grace of Yintor's dazzlingly dashing head could be seen atop the table above his shoulders. He had to sit on a stack of belted books to achieve this feat. Of course, most people would pay one glance to the face of this half-a-man's-height of a mutant man and would conjure words as colorful as they would upon any Half-Man. Yellow of head with a goatee that giggled at cock-fed goats, Yintor was neither a dumb blond nor a handsome one. He was gnarled and creased of countenance, he barely had a nose and his eyes betrayed a soul where one was green and one was black. For all of his physical ailments, however, he fit right at home with such a sorry lot that was gathered around him. Whilst a green gaze went to his left, a black gaze went to his right, though a person might confuse oneself into believing that the strange eyes had gone two ways at the same time. Or had they?

"Why is it always 0800?" Yintor queried with a roll of his eyes, not actually expecting an answer. His eloquently accented voice was measured, as was typical, albeit with a hint of snark. That was typical too. "At 0800, the commandos will breach the compound. At 0800, the terrorists blew up the airship. At 0800, my grandmother pissed herself in her rocking chair." He looked left, looked right, definitely in sequence this time. At least mildly aware of himself, Yintor drummed his fingertips upon the tabletop. "Sorry, droll fellow that I am, my musings escape me sometimes." He cleared his throat, both to excuse himself and hold the floor for a moment more. "In any case, this would be our number-what caravan now? Soldiers or no, my friends, isn't it safe to say that this time they may send a cruel boy with a slingshot...at the very least?" He swept his gaze across the den, looking at no one and everyone at the same time.

Edited by Die Shize

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Related image“0800 is when the next caravan comes by. Tomorrow at 2000 is the one after. Scuzzballs haven’t sent any reinforcements yet, so it’s safe to say they won’t send anybody until a new deployment of soldiers comes to Aspyn next month.”

The woman watched Dervish address his group of gangster Halfmen from the sides of the Den. Clad in a three-piece suit and face covered with a cheap skull mask, which only covered the upper portion of her face. she sat languidly atop a bunch of crates. What she cannot hide however was her unnaturally platinum blonde har. Or the ever-present stick of cigar between her painted lips, one she was wont to breathe its smoke rather deeply. While her presence was noted by most of the half-men, but the woman was ultimately unwelcome within their territory. She was unlike the Half-men and was possibly one of the species these disfigured humans had hated. But she did not care.

She had introduced herself as these gangs benefactor but has yet to make a move. The woman and her so-called "mysterious organization" had met with Dervish, the day after their first caravan. What was she after? None of the Half-men knew but at Dervish seemed to favor the woman greatly that these gangsters dare not cross her.

Why is it always 0800? "At 0800, the commandos will breach the compound. At 0800, the terrorists blew up the airship. At 0800, my grandmother pissed herself in her rocking chair. "Sorry, droll fellow that I am, my musings escape me sometimes. In any case, this would be our number-what caravan now? Soldiers or no, my friends, isn't it safe to say that this time they may send a cruel boy with a slingshot...at the very least?"

Before Dervish could respond to the lad's queries, the woman chuckled. She took a short puff off her cigar before voicing her opinion. "At 8:00 I could have you killed, boy. For the fun of it mostly. And at 8:00 that caravan might be more than ready for all of you." @Die Shize

The woman blew a sultry cloud of smoke towards the Half-men. "You had your little fun my darlings. I commend you for your recent success especially-," she paused as her eyes shifted from one poorly equipped half-man to another, "-with your lacking armaments. Still, I give praise to those who need it and this would be your reward." She knocked on the crates she was sitting on. "It won't be long now before Aspyn starts pooling whatever meager forces it has to better defend its caravans."

Following the woman's lead, Dervish pointed at the noisy half-man, "What are you waiting for? You heard the lady. Start opening those crates and let's see our presents." @Die Shize

As the other half-men scuttled about in accordance with Dervish's command, they would be surprised to find what was inside those "presents" of the woman. There were arms and loads of them. Not like what these half-men were using but proper armor, serviceable firearms and lastly blade that haven't been touched by rust. How the woman came to be with such gear was still a mystery. A mystery everyone present would be better off not knowing.

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*at 0800 the next day; though it had almost been decided to be 1300 or 1325 o’clock.*

Michael was actually able to join the scant entourage assigned to protect the 0800 caravan. Perhaps it was because the entourage had been so scant that he was to appear. Ironically to the fact that he was about to be paired up with another were, the Bastion had recently completed a personal missive to rescue his bonny lass from a group beholden to the Mule. Once that was over, an old army buddy had been elected to head a progressive werewolf/wolf group to protect the city. Even a Peacekeeper— the lone wolf hero of lore—  had friends outside the ring of PKs, the wolf Roswell (from the Goodest Boy) being a member of Michael’s splinter cell squad years earlier. It was hard to remember he could have friends, when light ornamented one’s form in every capacity they appeared, that behind the position and the power was a semblance of someone normal.

That semblance now stood beside a carriage near the exit to Aspyn one morning. Michael was no outwardly imposing beast or giant man hulking with muscle. Perhaps his greatest attribute, the unassuming male of snowy hair maintained the ability to appear unthreatening when he needed to. Within the crystalline being, however, radiated the light of Gaia a hue unlike any holy being had ever born. A light tested, true, and searingly brilliant. Outwardly, however, he appeared a simple man. The goal was to blend in with merchants; so he sat on the driver’s bench at the front of the solidly built carriage dressed in brown slacks and a brown blazer. Underneath he wore a black vest and bowtie. Tori the gem nestled herself beneath his left ear like an earring, projecting schematics like surrounding heartrate and eye patterns— even those of nearby animals— into Michael’s ear.

The carriage, lead by three gigantic horses with flowing manes, headed for the gates. That’s when they reached Craxus. He had been there, waiting, Michael saw. Although Craxus would have seen Michael’s military hologram addressing defendants only a day earlier, now Craxus would see Michael dressed in a simple man’s garb acting like a simple man.

“Hiya stranger,” he smiled as him and Craxus made eye contact. His commoner accent, him always having been a commoner himself, was flawless. “Can we hitch ye a ride somewhere?”

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“Damn can’t get to my communicator, it’s buzzing like crazy...” 

His hand glowed with an errie white light and he touched his helmet. A small circuit design of gold was implanted in the side, as well as a thin film of black over the eyes. An OLED was placed in the inner most layer and at the outer most were diamonds lenses with transitional elements to allow them to act like sunglasses in higher light. He had just added Bluetooth to his helmet. 

“Answer new message.” 

To what hardly anyone else could hear was now an audio recording sent to him by field agents in the area. 

“Master Craxus were under attack, some sort of mutant are taking our weapons shipment. We need help imm...” 

It cut out right then in there. His brother. Was going to kill him even if those were lower quality weapons his brother was going to have a his hide for his incompetence. Craxus had to bring back Dervish in order to make it up to him. 

Just then and there a man appeared before Craxus offering him a ride. He couldn’t recognize the face, but the voice... that seemed familiar. Then it struck him like a grand piano falling from a second story balcony. This was the man who addressed the troops in the cave. Not that Craxus could tell he never looked inside just overheard the conversation. Still that wasn’t important this man offered him a ride. Was he insane? Craxus moved with the grace of a mordibldy obese bear walking on its hindelegs, basically because that’s what he was, except replace bear with wolf. Add into factor he was wearing about a thousand pounds of armor and a 300 pound sword Craxus wasn’t exactly someone who was able to take most forms of transportations. He stood up towering above the tiny humanoid and very gently shook his hand with his thumb and index finger. He had to be careful not to harm the man with his large hands or claws. 

“If you’re capapable of making room for someone like me I’d appreciate it. I’m here to collect a bounty of sorts.” 

He bowed to the man in the best way that he could and took of his helmet revealing the head of a wolf. For a creature of his size he really didn’t exactly have a fat face or not as much as one as someone would expect for a creature of his size. His neck was a different story much of his mass had been pushed out due to the shape of his armor. 

“My name is Craxus. I’m here after someone called Mule.” 

Craxus didn’t want to say his last name, this man as a peacekeeper would know who he was if he did. Still even more than that Craxus had to be on his best behavior not to eat someone while working with this person. He’d haft to suppress his instincts and try to act nice by human standards. 

 

Edited by Neondragon7

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Music [Recurring]

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Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

Yintor kept his good green eye and his bad black eye on the not-quite-a-Half-Man woman, though whether his green eye was good at seeing and his black eye bad because it was evil was any man’s or Half-Man’s or half-a-woman’s guess. Whatever the case, he had made her laugh. It was always good to make others laugh. Well, perhaps not always. Mad men, whether half a man’s build or half his biology, usually had nothing good and everything bad in store for you when they laughed. Now it was Yintor’s turn to laugh, albeit a chuckle quieter than the one that the woman had givenjust before she had threatened his life. “Boy?” Either his dazzling looks somehow made him look younger or there was an old crone’s countenance beneath that skull mask.

 

“But that would make me the Zero Man.” He scrunched his face, if it were even possible with a face like his. “Just doesn’t have the same ring to it. I quite like being able to fraction myself, but not too much... After all, my friends around me can only ever be just Half-Men.” He looked at his friends. Few looked back. “On the other hand, I am the Halfman of Half-Men.” He smiled like it was the proudest position in all the world.

 

Stifling a cough, Yintor cleared his throat, almost positive that the cigar’s cloud had been destined for him. Oh, but I do like a woman who blows. Keeping quiet, for now, he settled for gently drumming his fingers on the table while listening to Skullface’s speech. The irony wasn’t lost on him as her eyes roved about the gathered souls and their getup; a horned, dinged helmet, a leather coif, a necklace of ears. One sat twirling a rusty dagger, another had what was quite literally a sharpened stick resting against the table. Lacking armaments, indeed. For Yintor’s part, however, the irony was that, between just his head and shoulders sticking atop the table, there were no armaments to be found. He grinned at the thought. It’s my eyes. My beautiful visage, my charm and my wit. Sharper than any sword. Or stick, for that matter.

 

Yintor’s gaze bounced from the crate to Dervish as though the woman were knocking his eyes around. Rewards were always good, except the ones given by mad men. Those usually led to getting flayed alive or something-such. As Skullface spoke of defended caravans, Yintor was satisfied enough that at least someone in this dismal den was considering the opposition’s nudging up security. Still, while she spoke of next month’s, Yintor reserved his concerns for the present. One caravan. Two caravans. Three caravans. If anyone robbed me the first time, I sure as shandy wouldn’t wait to make sure that they couldn’t do it a second, never mind a third.

 

Alas, it was always Yintor’s way to ultimately be surrounded by fools and, if not fools, then those who just weren’t as well versed as him. A curse, but a gift all the same. On that note, according to Dervish, Yintor would have to work to receive this next gift. At the command, he could only lift two small hands and turn them before his mismatched eyes.

 

“I hate to admit it, but I’m not sure that these hands were made for opening crates so much as books… Aren’t Grizzly, Bumjo and Kwot-Kwat more suited to the task?”

 

He picked out a few other Half-Men with his gaze, hoping that any of them were named Grizzly, Bumjo and Kwot-Kwat.

 

“Don’t make me tell you again, imp…”
 

Dervish spat, biting his lip so hard that it looked like it might draw blood. Yintor could only look from the overseer back to his hands. Then he jumped upon his books as a loud crash took the table in front of him.

 

“For the Halfman!”

 

A taller Half-Man guffawed, joining his comrades in a bout of laughter. Even amid such horrendously ugly Half-Men, they always managed to find someone else to make fun of. It was the way of the world, Yintor would sometimes muse. Right now, he was only musing on how he would use such a gift placed before his tiny hands. There, draped across the table like some naked Shade, was a double-headed battleaxe. It couldn’t have been longer than two and a half feet in overall length; probably meant for a taller person to wield with a shield in the offhand. Though, physical combat was never really Yintor’s forte. For him, the weapon would have to be wielded with both hands—of which he caught himself looking at once more, and grinned. Hands of death.

Edited by Die Shize

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THE DEAD MISTRESS


"FOR THE HALF-MAN"

Their battle cry seemed like music to the woman's ears. Her yellow eyes seemed to peek from under her half mask as the pair shifted from one halfman to another. These creatures are quite interesting especially for an intellectual like the woman. Perhaps she could take a few corpses back to her lair and spend some quality time dissecting these poor disfigured specimen and see how they tick, see how they are able to cope up despite their crippling disabilities. The wonders she could do to them. Oh, such naughty kinky thoughts, plaguing every sense of her being. The thought was so alluring that the woman barely noticed her languid tongue sensually licking her full lips.

As she pulled herself out of her reverie, the whole group has now calmed down with Dervish once again taking the spotlight. There was always something quite charming with the man, even if he's just half a man. Or she was always a sucker for these leadership types. Bringing her second stick of cigar to her scrumptious lips, the woman took one long drag, filling her lungs with the intoxicating unfiltered nicotine.

"Now that we are fully equipped with better weapons and armor, I expect that the shiny new stuff had not gone up to all of your heads."

Now he's chiding his own brethren, making sure that hubris will not hamper their performance. The woman understood Dervish's thoughts. It would be best for their little gang that they approach the next caravan with more care.

"Yes we are better equipped but there is a possibility the next caravan might be prepared for us as well. Even without reinforcements if the whole thing is nothing but a trap, a bunch of soldiers and warriors concealed inside the transport instead of produce then we might have a troublesome fight in our hands."

The woman lips curled upwards to an amused grin, the action baring her pearly whites for everyone to see. Smart. Just as I expected of Dervish. Now here's a man that would not disappoint me. As Dervish began detailing the others with their order of attack, the woman would lean back and enjoy her third stick of cigar, her mind wandering somewhere else. Aspyn. I'll be claiming that city next whether these men succeed or fail. Soon my influence will spread within Aspyn.

"HALFMEN, ARE YOU WITH ME?" Dervish roared at the end of his briefing. His fellow halfmen roared their responses, each beating their own chests and cheering. The halfmen are more than ready for battle. Now they can only hope that nothing would be amiss in that next set of supply transports.

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“Well met, Craxus.” Michael’s form was by no means diminutive, thin, or fat, but toned in a way that made him stockier than taller and bulkier. He had to angle his head up at the one ton wolf, the sun washing over his burned cheeks and a weathered hand cutting the light off before it got to his eyes. “Got a score to settle with the Mule, eh? Well then, come along.”

As the entourage left town, Mike explained to Craxus that he was somewhat unorthodox in his methods. His plans of attack were perverse and unpredictable, but terse and easy to understand when he laid them out.

“Since your stature would give us away immediately as something other than a normal caravan, you should travel 100-or-so meters off the trail to our west. Use your senses not to run into any of the Mule’s little friends.” Michael then grabbed the fabric of his merchant’s smock, pinching it away from his sweaty chest in the summer heat. “When you see us getting into trouble, see what you can do about a sneak attack on ‘em. Like I said in the briefing you overheard, there’s almost a 100 percent probability they’ll hit this group.”

Now Dervish and the Zero-man and the other losers would see the dust of the caravan rising over a hill nearby. Michael sat on the driver’s bench with a widebrimmed sun hat over his head and a stalk of wheat in between his lips. His shoes were placed on the floor beside his bare feet and he sang in a baleful, western accent.

'Hooooo, lo’ she left me low,

Took all I got and hit the road,

G’win git the hoe, g’win hit the ho,

G’win bring her right back and lit her know

Hooooo, lo’, she left me low...'

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Craxus knew it was too good to be true. He would not be catching a ride after all. One of the many disadvantages of being of his size was that most public transportation was taboo. He had half a mind to just eat the little creature, as penance for his rudeness. How dare he? The house of Farenhides were of divine blood. It was how they created matter out of mana. Real matter the type that wasn’t destroyed by any form of magic Negation and he was asked to walk.... Still he couldn’t do that, that wouldn’t exactly be playing nice. 

He walked along the road not with a rather bored look on his face. There really wasn’t much to do all alone. The sun beamed down on him and he his armor was as hot as it looked. He was baking alive in it. He then created a silver band with an onyx gemstone onto his left hand’s ring finger. It was enchanted to store his armor and larger weapons. The gemstone covered his body and shadows and within 3 seconds his armor and sword were now in the ring which had shrunk to fit over his finger and not his armor. In its place were clothes. A black robe like toga without sleeves, it went over his right shoulder with a gold ring and covered the entire right side of his body. From there it went diagonally from the right shoulder, both front and back to the left side of his waste and at that point interesected, leaving a decent proportion of the left side of the upper proportion of his body exposed. There at the waste the design stoped and merged into dark red, knee length, elastic shorts. He had no boots or shoes to pair with it leaving his bare feet exposed. This revealed much of his body to his white furred stomach and his muscular forearms. He really didn’t see the need for clothes. Unlike humans his species had fur to keep warm, and had no parts visible that needed hiding, but if he didn’t ware them it caused problems with the humans. While this might have scathed off the heat it did very little to ease his boredom.  Still as he followed along he saw someone at the back of the caravan that made him hungry. A rather inexperienced young lad who was had fallen behind, not used to the weight of his gear. His stomach growled and he licked his chops as he drooled inconspicuously. He snuck up behind the man in a non menacing maner and drooled onto his head. For a monster like him it wouldn’t be hard all he needed was just ten seconds. Still the better part of his mind stoped him from doing that or at least for now, but he’d keep this one in mind Incase he felt like he wanted a snack later. He looked at micheal with a slightly guilty look on his face that begged that he didn’t haft to continue off trail. He didn’t exactly want to continue along all alone on uneven ground for hours upon end. 

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Music

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Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

Yintor's Armor

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Yintor's Axe

 

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By the time that Yintor had looked up from his hands, they were a few feet above the ground where once there had been a table. Hands of death they might yet prove to be, but for now they were merely the hands of a dwarf (if not quite a dwarf of a dwarf that dwarfs dwarf dwarf dwarf). He lowered his little limbs, and in turn his gaze as he squinted yonder beneath the beating sun. Whatever had taken the Halfman from Point A to Point B was a metaphysical query best left for copious cups of wine. As he stood erect, if not quite erect, garbed in red and gold armor in the open heat of the day at 0832-0973-something-o’clock, his hideous visage a sweaty sculpture to behold, all he could really recall was how he had been the first one to suggest that just maybe this caravan would not be so easy a picking. But, no, leave it to Dervish to get all the credit. He had to remind himself of what company he was keeping. Fools.

 

Back in the cave and at Dervish’s inspiring speech, the Half-Men had cheered and beaten their breasts like a bunch of mountain clansmen on the hunt for ear necklaces, burnt faces and crushed bones to pick their teeth with. At that notion, Yintor looked left, looked right, realized that the company he was keeping did indeed compare quite convincingly with some wildlings from Mount This That Or The Other. Fools. Wild fools. Still, it was about this time that the Cigar Smoking Woman could have had him killed as previously pondered upon, and yet there he stood, alive and well enough, so there was that.

 

“Tell me, O Mysterious Skull Lady,” Yintor started to speak with a glance at the gang’s benefactor before his black and green gaze crawled back over toward the distant hills. “How many battles have you been in?”

 

There was a grin on the little man’s face that begged to be tugged, though after asking the question Yintor knew all too well that it could just as well be reversed, and he might not have been able to conjure so bold a reply of his own. As he waited for hers, his hands came back up, and with them came the haft of a two-handed battleaxe that his fellow Half-Men had gifted him—if in a tease at his own expense. Every one of them might have wielded the weapon in one hand and called it a handaxe. Yet it is my weapon now, no more or less than my mind, and the mockery of even Half-Men cannot pierce the armor of the Halfman.

 

Without divulging his own history, Yintor looked up into the distance once more and the moment had felt poetic. Now he was smiling for a whole new reason. Cresting over a nearby hill beneath the marble blue skies was a cloud closer to the ground. Nature, however, was clearly not the only one responsible for such a dirty haze. He had seen it before. To create that kind of a dust cloud, it took the machinations of man—half, full, male, female, or any one in a number of Valucrean creatures beyond a human.

 

“Death is so final, don’t you think? Yet life so full of possibilities! Just like the fruits of a caravan waiting to spill out beside an entrail or two.”

 

Just in case Skullface or Dervish or Grizzly or Bumbjo or Kwat-Kwot or any other Half-Man hadn’t followed the Halfman’s gaze, Yintor nodded toward the hill before promptly propping the haft of his axe over a shoulder.

 

“This may not be a battle per se, but I’ve a droll feeling that our foe has chosen violence this morning.”

 

And my feelings are usually as accurate as an archer in an orgy. It was a fitting illustration. As Yintor waited for the gang’s fearless commander to bark her commands, he knew that this showdown could go only one of two ways.

Edited by Die Shize

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e8ao9Vs.jpgTHE DEAD MISTRESS


The skull-masked woman patiently waited for the intriguing halfman to finish his babbling. Although the woman had always found strong men rather beguiling, a man who's barker is bigger than his bite was definitely not. The halfman Yintor had proven himself in battle and the woman gave the man her unwarranted respect. But she did consider the halfman's words. Perhaps indulging this man with his requests would help in further increasing the gang's morale.

She inhaled another lungful of nicotine then, before exhaling a languid smoke towards Yintor's general direction. "Battle I once fought? I guess you boys have earned it."

The woman cocked her head as if collecting her thoughts. Her story, after all, is quite the long one and cannot be fully told in a single day. Although she can at least divulge a few highlights. "Before my untimely death, I was once known as the Mistress." She paused for effect, hoping no one would actually know who the Mistress is. "Back then, one can call em a warrior, perhaps a mercenary even. I've been to many battles, terrorized the homes of people in this land and the lands beyond. I've fought multitudes of enemies. Soldiers. Beasts. Demons. Even dragons. Oh and even a god. But that was in the past."

She leaned back now, her eyes focused above. "I've all but retired from all this fighting. Perhaps I'm just getting old."

The woman gave one tired sigh before Dervish began raised a closed fist for attention.

"HALFMEN, TO YOUR POSITIONS! TODAY WE FIGHT!"

At his orders, the other halfmen scrambled to various key locations on either side of the path the caravan was supposed to take. This would be quite the short ambush. The skull-masked woman merely shrugged and took her position beside Dervish's side. If anything unexpected happens, she will be here are insurance.

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Luckily Craxus wouldn't have to hold off his hunger for long. Although the large wolf was far enough off to the side not to be visible from about a hundred meters down the path when the half-men looked at the caravan, Craxus would see the dispersing groups of half-men led by Dervish up ahead. When Craxus looked at Michael wishing not to do this for much longer, the straw-hatted Michael cocked his head toward the half-men up ahead. Undoubtedly they thought they were about to ambush a caravan of average looking folk. Undoubtedly they thought it would be a short raid.

That was before Craxus saw them.

For now, Micheal kept his disguise as the rider, pretending he couldn't see the hidden groups that Craxus could hopefully smell or sense.

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Craxus looked at Micheal not really certain as what to expect. He did not understand these human gestures very well, not because there were cultural differences, but becuase his brain was designed to understand expressions of his own species. He really didn’t interact with humans in a way that let him understand their social behavior. However luckily for Craxus he did have amazing senses. His hackels raised as he both smelled and heard the upcoming threat. He didn’t have enough time to enchant himself invisible or climb back to higher ground to hide. He would haft to act fast if he wanted some element of surprise. At the same time a bright light formed in the barrel of his gun producing an a poison gas bullet and he was covered in shadows as his clothing was now stored in his ring. He then quickly placed his gun in his mouth and used his body control magic to camouflage his fur as he leaned against the the hillside that ran parallel to the road. It was pretty decent camouflage too it could fool someone close up as long as they weren’t already looking for him and were not vieiwing him from  an angle. Once the chaos began he would, fire his bullet and use the opertunity to reapply his armor. He was curious as to what halfmen tasted like. Well it appeared today he would get an opportunity to find out. 

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THE DEAD MISTRESS 9Rv1h7G.png


 It was a paltry thing but the skull-masked woman was always sensitive to the changes in her surroundings. Unlike the other halfmen, her senses were honed to the limit, one that not even the gods can escape. However, she was nothing more than a shell of her former self, a shadowy remnant of the once glorious version of her in the past. Her full lips curled upwards, twisting into an excited smile.

This raid is going to be fun. Oh how miss these moments.

Power blossomed within her then as she channeled sorcery into her palm. The energy converged until it formed into a simple ball of condensed light, one that would mark the beginning of this fight. She was half-ecstatic, half-curious. But what she was fully sure was that the imminent skirmish would be bloody. 

She glanced at Dervish and gave the man a slight nod.

It was time. Time for slaughter perhaps because Dervish is in for a surprise. 

Then she lobbed that innocent ball of light. As the magical glob arced in the air, the woman took a deep breath. 

Now! 

As soon as the ball was within a foot above the caravan it exploded in a brilliant flash of light, one similar to a flashbang. Anyone caught within would be blinded temporarily for a short while. It would be a brief window of opportunity but it was enough for the halfmen to charge at their disoriented targets.

Dervish was at the front, screaming at the top of his lungs as other halfmen scurried out of their hiding points and all of them converged on the poor caravan.

On the other hand, I'll lay low for now until a certain someone acts and things get complicated.


 

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