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jaistlyn

Bloodwatch Base [Hub] [Furthest Point]

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In a corner of the camp, near a fire of her own, the uniformed Knightess Sheryl Wainwright sat, posed in meditation. Her possessions and pack were neatly organized next to her, and she had already eaten, partaking of a ration of traveller's bread she had brought with her in her own pack, lessening the toll on the supplies for the group as a whole. A slight contribution, but every little bit mattered at the moment.

A gentle breeze blew around her, her hair lifting lightly in the wind. Her hood was sacrificed to use as bindings for her injuries, and right now she rested, albeit with one eye open. She had the feeling that whatever unnatural forces there were at work, they were also taking the time to gather for another strike on the adventuring group, but that was no reason not to take basic precautions and post pickets and lookouts.

Hopefully the Order of the White Hand knight Fidelitas put out sentries and had a proper head count.

Edited by Fierach

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Aryssin reached the camp just as food was being passed out to the survivors of the previous battle. Hastening her footsteps, she rushed forward, snatching the bowl out of Fidelitas's hands and wolfing down its contents. The healing she had to do to recover had left her famished, and hunger was probably her worst impulse control. Licking the bowl clean, the tired girl looked around, hoping to find other scraps that the other adventurers had left behind. Noticing that one adventurer had not taken her share of the food, Aryssin bounded forward and planted herself at the foot of the Knightess's food, staring at it longingly before mustering the courage and asking, "Are you going to eat that?", drool practically dripping from her mouth. 

 

@Fierach

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Sheryl opened her eyes as the other woman approached, and then motioned forth for Aryssin. If she really needed it, Aryssin was welcome to her portion, and serene blue eyes looked upon her kindly. "Don't eat too much, and too fast. Your senses will dull, and your movements slow" the Force Majeure knightess advised softly. 

She shifted her pack. aside and began to reorganize some of her belongings. First to be reorganized were a pair of silvered steel bracers, a prize she picked out from the Chhitten Magnus's carcass. Within the pack were a few other items that could be immediately glimpsed. Healing potions, a book of some sort, and various other small packages. 

@sorainvoked

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The dark knight Gormaric sat besides a fire with the shield he had acquired from the guts of the slain Chhitten Magnus in hand. He stared into the fire as his hands moved almost mechanically over the shield's surface, leaving a polished surface behind on the shield as he went along. Eri, meanwhile, curled around the fire, her tail resting on Gormaric's lap and her vigilant gaze occasionally sweeping over the rest of the group and reaching as far as the darkness beyond the burgeoning encampment.

Gormaric's gaze only turned from the fire when the paladin Fidelitas sat down beside him. Eri looked at him for a moment as well, before turning away and eating from the bowl the ebon knight had slid over to her. Gormaric had only taken a few bites of the food he had been allotted, deciding to work off of lesser rations for the time being as he didn't believe it would hinder his performance overmuch. The paladin complimented the dark knight's fighting, then asked if he could see his blade. Gormaric's gaze settled on him for a few brief moments before he nodded and unsheathed Shadowfang, offering the blade to Fidelitas hilt first.

"I forged Shadowfang here myself in my younger days, before my master imbued it with power. Now, it acts on its own sometimes, and has acquired a taste for Magnus flesh, after I killed the one in the tunnels while pursuing Remissio. Granted, that one was a much smoother kill than the one here, but I had some particularly capable help at that time."
@jaistlyn

Edited by EpicRome23

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It's been a long while since Vlad ate a well-cooked stew. During his ventures across South-Eastern Terrenus he tasted nothing but a couple of dry rations he brought from Patia and Tia. It was satisfying to feel a warm nutritious mass rushing into the stomach again. The surrounding campfires and people gathered around them added up to the sense of comfort, which seemed outright unfitting in the midst of lifeless plains.

Indeed, Vlad's weary body was pleased, yet his mind... his mind was in a state of perpetual unrest. He was reflecting on his encounter with the creatures never before seen by him, for he was complete stranger in the lands of Yh'mi. There were those poisonous insects, overwhelming by sheer numbers. Some of expedition members were calling them "chhitten". The large beast went by the name of "Chhitten Magnus". Vlad also remembered the corpses of deer-like creatures called "Saevion" - probably the ones who had initiated the assault. All of those creatures were indeed a bizarre thing to behold, yet their general appearance (Magnus does not count) still was kept within Vlad's comprehension.

And still there was something else that Vlad failed to comprehend. He remembered how he was bitten by a chhitten, yet what happened beyond that was out of his reach. The only reminder were seven onyx scars with their origin somehow tied to newfound cracks on his Spiral Spear. That and some unwanted attention from several people. There were two sorts of such people. Some of them would try to avoid him, not willing to enter the conversation for reason unknown and whispering "wicked" or "demon" behind his back. The other ones would annoy him with questions about how he had managed to survive a bullet barrage in the chest and how "that twistling scum" had stuff him with bullets and so on, and so on... Vlad left those questions unanswered - he could not recall the moment he was shot... yet his shirt, hidden under the chain mall and full of holes and blood would not say the same.

Vlad struggled to shake off those worrying thoughts - as a member of service personnel, he expected to receive the direct orders from the captain before bedtime, and that required a relatively clear mind. Perhaps, a conversation with some of familiar expedition members would help.

The engineer noticed Soryn among the other people having a meal. He had acknowledged that the reporter was a capable fighter. Perhaps it was a hard pill to swallow for him - to see the expedition go to hell like that and to realize this was only the beginning...

"May I?" - Vlad came to Soryn and sat near him, holding the bowl of stew.

@Dolor Aeternum

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Soryn had removed himself somehow from the group for a few minutes, jotting down notes and occasionally speaking in soft whispers to the portable device that now hovered in front of him. It was only for a matter of minutes but for those nosy enough to observe, they would see Soryn was quite engaged with his device before he patted the spherical companion and returned. Stretching and letting out a sigh of relief, he grabs some stew, sniffing at it a bit before he decided to brave the unknown by consuming it. Surprised by the flavor, he began to reminisce of times where he had to suffer worse meals on his journeys. The Daily Weekly had truly spoiled him with his new ability to expense such luxuries in the name of searching for the truth but that never meant he did not remember his humble beginnings.

 

Soryn had not noticed Vlad approach as he had lost himself in the past, shifting in his seat before suddenly hearing the man speak. A warmth emanated from the reporter that easily allowed one to see why someone may be disarmed enough to spill their truths despite his reporting label. “Of course.” Soryn moved slightly and motioned for Vlad to situate himself. Not long after the man did, Soryn began speaking yet again.

 

“Thank you for your assistance earlier. Yh’mi turned out to be as unforgiving as everyone says today.”

 

Soryn smiled and then continued to eat the rest of his stew.

@P.N.See

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Noah watched from high up, a perch, as he watched everyone.  He wasn't hidden though, could easily be seen as he was eating his own meal.  It was rationed, preserved, and dry.  Better meals could be found elsewhere, so anyone even remotely near Noah would not be surprised to see the young boy with a sour face at the meal and...

So...so good!  This is still way better then what my parents gave me!

...and so, everyone would be surprised to see him enjoying the meal.  In fact, a few people might imagine that expression to be surrounded by sunshine and rainbows.  Noah's taste buds, which were used to food from his abusive and neglectful parents, were able to find the food enjoyable.

And of course, if that did not stand out, what stood out even more was the fact he had a pair of rifles in front of him, as he was in the middle of cleaning them.  Rifles, which turned into swords, could shoot explosive sparks, and helped him call in storms.

It was extremely easy for anyone to take notice of the boy, and think of him at odd.  That said, even though he supposedly chose to be off on his own, a part of him looked lonely....as if he wanted some company, or someone to talk to.

That said, one had to question why someone his age was out here to begin with.  But the answer was simple.

He needed money, since living required money.

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“Shadowfang,” Fidelitas repeated the name of the sword as he accepted it, feeling its solid weight in his hand and admiring how the light from the fire glinted off its dark edges. He ran a finger lightly across the edge, feeling its sharpness. Sensing a latent power in it, the paladin silently and tentatively tried to call it forth, but it did not react to him. Only to its owner, he supposed. Nevertheless, even without unleashing the power, it was a fine blade - well balanced, and durable. “Very impressive. You are an excellent smith.”  Fidelitas returned Shadowfang to Gormaric.

"Now, it acts on its own sometimes, and has acquired a taste for Magnus flesh, after I killed the one in the tunnels while pursuing Remissio. Granted, that one was a much smoother kill than the one here, but I had some particularly capable help at that time."

“Remissio…” Fidelitas paused and clasped his hands together, tapping his fingers as if he was considering something, then shook his head. “I thank you for your admirable service to the people of Inns’th. I’ve seen how you’ve led the rebuilding of the wall as well. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we’ve been so busy that our first chance to talk is now, when we are deep in the bowels of Yh’mi?”

Fidelitas took off his helm, revealing a man in his prime with dark hair, a stubble, deep-set eyes and a faint scar across his right eye. His helm was the only piece of armour that he would take off for tonight, as he planned to sleep in his full plate. It was far from comfortable, but comfort was a luxury he couldn’t afford this night, or many nights ahead.

“What do you think of the gathered group? We might have failed in protecting the wagons, but there are some of those who surprised me.” He turned, in particular, to look at the boy sitting on an outcrop not far away from them, then he turned his focus towards unwrapping the spear, and cleaning it. “We have less casualties than expected, though many of them seem to be disappointed. I can't blame them, but hopefully this failure serves as a wake-up call to them that Yh'mi is as bad as the rumours say. I see potential in the group, but we need to work together to fight the evils of this land."

@EpicRome23

 

Edited by jaistlyn

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Selena didn’t speak much as she looked around the hill. She noticed the food but decided against it for now. Selena did not feel tired or hungry per say. There was a strange feeling creeping up into her stomach. It felt as if something terrible was about to happen. Selena couldn’t shake the feeling either. She then realized that she had not dropped my magical shield yet, finally acknowledging the swirling magic that surrounded her body. She released her spell and watched as tiny shards of sand fell upon the ground soundlessly. Her mind seemed to find some clarity, no longer concentrating of protecting her body. Selena walked over to the side of the hill to a point where she could feel see down below and across the area. It wasn’t such a bad sight.

An image appeared before her which caused Selena to back away slightly. Selena’s eyes narrowed and when she realized who it was, her eyes softened a bit. A beautiful male stood before her, his eyes as red as a blood moon. A hood covered his face, but Selena knew this Drow very well. He was part of her family, and thus he served her.

“Matron Mother.” The Drow said softly.

Selena merely waved her hand and the Drow kept silent. “Nim’Ruin. What has happened in Tia?”

The Drow smiled but it wasn’t devilish. It was a smile that was lace with sadness, which was peculiar. Nim’Ruin was a man of jokes and very queer. However there wasn’t a time that Selena could register where he looked sad.

“Tia has been lost. The city is in flames, and Lady Kyra has begun leading survivors through the hidden tunnels. A dangerous disease or virus was unleashed upon the populace which turned them into violent creatures. However Kyra managed to hold them at bay. She is gathering miles to the west of the city and needs guidance.”

Selena, who was once the mayor of Tia merely shook her head. She looked deeply troubled but nodded silently. When she looked up she merely shook her head. “I cannot return now. Lady Kyra and Natalie are in charge. I will find you when I am done. That is all.” Selena’s voice spoke in finality as Nim’Ruin merely nodded and his image faded.

Selena sighed loudly as stood there on the hill, staring off into the horizon.

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“Thank you for your assistance earlier. Yh’mi turned out to be as unforgiving as everyone says today.”

Vlad looked down inside the bowl, which was almost empty. He recalled that Soryn had to practically defend that wagon for himself - and did that perfectly. Yet he couldn't hold off all of Yh'mi's assailants, so the engineer's assistance was more that welcome. Despite the fact that this act of heroism had cost him a mana gun (once found, it happened to be broken beyond repair) and a few growths on his chest...

"Don't mention it." - Vlad spoke casually. - "It's not like anyone would expect something else by coming here. It's more important that we've come this far and we're still alive."

For now, he added to himself.

Vlad finished his meal in silence, still seeking a solid reason for being here, away from the civilization's relative safety. Soryn's motivation was understandable: his duty was to shed light on anything unknown and controversial, so people of Terrenus would adequately comprehend this reality. And what Vlad's reason of being here? How could he even comprehend anything that happened with him for the past few years? Was is all happened because of some giant toothpick he stole from inside a giant black pillar?

"What can you tell me about the Spires?"

The question came out from Vlad's mouth unintentionally. He didn't want to ask unnecessary questions about certain landmarks of Yh'mi until the outpost is established, yet his mind required a justification for his own presence. A proof that his searching was not in vain.

"I mean..." - Vlad corrected himself. - "They were all around the news for a while. You know, about the Spires and the Mist. But, given your experience, I thought you might know more about that. Off the record, of course."

@Dolor Aeternum

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The sight of a young boy perched above while cleaning rifles distracted Soryn a bit as it was jarring and…well…odd. Soryn had almost forgotten that there were at least three children who had joined them in this expedition and while he was not ageist in any sense, he did question why the Order allowed them to take part. The weary reporter was no babysitter, however, and it was clear that they survived this last ordeal well enough to warrant their positions here.

 

“Hmm.”

 

That was all that was said under his breath in between gulps of this tasty soup. The floating device that he had been talking to earlier slowly made its way to capture the kid and then moved over to Fidelitas just as the knight removed his helm. Throughout the chaos, it was unclear how much Fidelitas actually contributed to their defenses. He made a mental note to witness how well the knight could hold his own when they encounter their next inevitable challenge. The silence that Vlad offered was more than enough for Soryn, Celeste, and his trusty floating utility device to pick up on several other things such as the shadowy figure that appeared before Selena and the troubled stance she held afterward. All of these things would likely be reviewed before he decided to tuck himself in for the night and would inform his future interactions with all involved.

 

“What can you tell me about the Spires?”

 

Vlad’s question caught him just after he had finished gulping down some water. Eyes shot over to Fidelitas soon after before motioned for Vlad to shift himself so that the knight could not make out what was being said lest he have superhuman hearing. “You need to be careful with questions like that around here.” Soryn would shift himself a bit closer and lean in so he didn’t have to project his voice too much. “I know only what little has been recorded and a whole litany of rumors but I will try to inform as best as I can.” A glint in his eyes denoted that Celeste was sifting through data and the minute of silence that followed was Soryn trying to make sense of what he could. “That area lies to the southwest and is home to a being called Lun’silth that has been rumored to be behind some of Yh’mi’s most horrible events in the past years. The spires and mists are rumored to have been catalyzed by some mysterious entity with even more mysterious motives. Knights such as the one over there will tell you to steer clear of them and try to actively prevent any expeditions there.”

 

Soryn moved to take some water and take a large gulp before continuing.

 

“All I know about the mists are that few have ever returned alive and those who have endured hardships that I am still trying to uncover more info on. There was a scientist named Buford Atwater that catalyzed a large scale phenomenon that saw spires and mists all across the continent before it was resolved by some brave souls. He somehow was gifted with the ability to create portals and use the mists to his advantage. Who or what equipped him with those abilities is still up to question apparently."

 

Soryn caught himself then and seemed to decide to end his information transfer to Vlad then...at least for now.

 

"Such impactful events are par for the course when it comes to Yh’mi. I personally believe there is just far too much mystery throughout that area and the unexplored to take the one-sided approaches that the Order has taken but if you plan on uncovering any of it then make sure you are adequately prepared. You’ve just seen what a whole group of us had to endure. I’d imagine you’d face much more harrowing circumstances alone.”

 

Soryn’s face attempted to evince warning but that did not mean he thought Vlad incapable. Terrenus was full of people defying odds from all of his experience reporting for the Daily Weekly so he would never believe someone incapable without good reason. Of course, that did not make anyone impervious to the truth of their own abilities nor the bitter truth he now saw in Yh’mi. He who traverses Yh’mi courts death or travail.

@P.N.See

Edited by Dolor Aeternum
Added some extra info about mists and spires

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Aryssin grabbed the food and started to wolf it down quickly, before a pang of guilt hit her. Slowly she put down the bowl, smiled sheepishly at the Knightess and asked, "What's your name?" Realising that it was rude that she had not given her own, she quickly muttered, "I'm Aryssin," and turned to allow her beet red face to cool off. Turning back, she noticed that the Knightess was now examining a pair of silvered steel braces, and a quick glance at them revealed a small detail to her; a tiny sigil.

"Those are from the Kingdom of Lefel, off in the Cold South of Genesaris," she said in a matter-of-factly tone. Pulling out the dagger she had herself picked up from the belly of the fallen Chhitten Magnus, she pointed the lower crossguard at the Knightess, showing off the same emblem. "Probably from the Royal Guard too." Choosing to withhold the information as to why they would be there, the lithe girl slumped down toward the fire, picking up a nearby branch to poke and prod at the fuel, shifting them around so that the fire could consume the remnants that were hiding under the ash.

"I used to work for them too, the Lefellian Kingdom. Was one of their.. uh.." Aryssin stumbled around her head looking for the right word to use. Killer? No, that would probably scare her new friend away. Assassin? That would be worse. Fixer... Yeah, fixer. "Fixers," she uttered cautiously. She looked searchingly at the Knightess for any sort of response from the word she used, hoping that there would not be a bad or nasty one; she had, after all, left that life behind. Hopefully this was not the place where her past would catch up to her, not in the acrid wilds of Yh'mi. 

"So, um, what is it you do?" asked Aryssin quietly, wanting eagerly to start a conversation with the lady.

@Fierach

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"Sheryl Wainwright, at your service" the Knightess responded in kind, with a small incline of her head, acknowledging Aryssin's manners. Not that she expected such, they were out in the wild, deep in hostile ground, but she appreciated it. It was the small things after all. Her gaze gave Aryssin the once over, picking out details of note. The other woman appeared quite young, well, younger then herself at any rate. She was possessed of strange yellow eyes, slender build, and there was the faint hint of magic about her. A rogue then, or a mage. Sheryl had not been too focused on her fellows during the battle, more so on the objective and later on, the powerful Magnus. 

"You are familiar with these Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Lefel then? I've heard many expeditions have been mounted into Yh'mi before, although, I also heard of few returning." If she suspected anything of Aryssin withholding data, it didn't seem like she suspected it, although the way she maintained her polite smile whilst pointing out their morbid chances might be a little bit... unsettling. The woman proceeded to stretch herself out a little and shifted her sitting stance to be more comfortable before inquiring further. "You said you fixed things for them. Practical matters, or philosophical?" she smiled, almost as if she knew what the other woman was trying to skirt around. It wasn't such a hard jump of logic. Everybody who came on this little venture seemed combat capable, and her unease before settling on such a relatively innocuous word (making it all the more suspect in the process), was a clear giveaway. In truth, Sheryl likely wouldn't mind whatever her new companion's previous occupation was. They were all facing the threat of Yh'mi together.

And very few were a threat to a Knight of the Order of Force Majeure anyway.

@sorainvoked

 

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Vlad was listening attentively to everything Soryn was talking about: the location of the Spires, the culprit of the nation-wide mist crisis... The information was sufficient enough for Vlad to picture a perspective for himself, should the things settle successfully. Ever since the incident in Tia, Vlad had being mesmerized by the origin of those colossal spiral structures. And those onyx scars and the cracks on Spiral Spear fueled that interest even more - despite of amnesia and the vile sense of danger ahead.

However, some thoughts about the Order of the White Hand made the engineer hold his gratitude to the reporter for a while. While having a talk with the expedition members, he learned that the knights, such as captain Fidelitas, were the head of Terrenus' entire operation here in Yh'mi. Their point of view could be described as... protectionistic. Truth be told, it was impossible to deny the Order's contribution to the expedition's organization and protection. But in long term, should Vlad decide to venture to the Spires, the knights would be rather an obstacle than a helping hand. Their apparent desire to isolate or even "purify" this land did not connect with Vlad's own intentions to uncover its secrets.

And yet, Vlad had little to no influence on the expedition and was still dependent from the Order. Until the outpost is established and right connections are made, he had to play by rules for the time being - like he always did.

"...Thanks." - He spoke, as Soryn stopped talking. - "That's... a good thing to know. Really." He decided not to boggle the reporter with questions anymore and left him alone.

Vlad walked aimlessly around the camp, making circular movements with a hand holding an empty bowl. A wooden spoon rolled obediently inside the ball with a subtle scrambling noise. The events of a day passed had left Vlad with worrisome thoughts. Yh'mi had proven to be dangerous enough, but the sense that it would be much, much worse was terrifyingly prominent. And the worst thing possible that he was approaching that moment - the moment when everything would go to hell - with no iron on his hip.

Damn, I wish I could snatch some piece of gunpower, he though to himself.

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