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Fierach

[Patia] Hunting Grotesquerie

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True Believer? What a queer way to address someone, especially considering Miavaris was not sure that she believed in anything. Not in that way. The half-elf's brow furrowed quizzically, but she would not have a chance to work through a sensible reply. The slow theatre that rolled over the man’s face,—subtle, perhaps, in physical change but starkly different in the emotional tone behind his eyes--his expression shifting from one scene to the next without explanation, brought her pause. Was he alright

“Ah…” The ranger began, her hand twitching subconsciously toward the bow at her back. She made no move to loose her weapon, of course, but sometimes the brain sent signals to the fingers that couldn't be helped. Fortunately for Mia, first Ernest and then Torie interceded, nullifying any need for her to come up with the words for this disconcerting moment. 

“Hello! I’m Torie…”  The tiger’s voice rang like a bell, cheerful but projected with strength. Mia exhaled relief, content to let her colleague do the talking. She glanced to Torie and noticed that, despite the convincing friendliness in her voice, the fur at the back of the great beast’s neck stood a little thicker and stiffer than it had. Torie was wary of the newcomer as well. It was good, then, that the stranger seemed to respond to her with a kind of due respect. 

 “I am Severick.” He replied, “A vhersi, a creature of might and magic.  a one time servant of a sorcerer queen.”   There was much about the world outside Mia’s forest that she did not know. Vhersi? Sorceror Queen? This was, most assuredly, one of those things. 

 

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The abomination took notice of Dia. It had been commanded to scout the village, and see if it was ready for a larger raid. Away from the horde and the domineering effect of the abomination alpha however, the feral instinct was more present.

All it saw now was a lone target away from the herd. It salivated, and crept closer, as close as it could get without revealing itself. Its recklessness revealed a scattering murmur of a few others, five in total, more then that had attacked before but still understrength in the amount necessary to take on the adventurers.

They revealed themselves, snapping at each other in a display of infighting, undecided on whether to join or rein in the reckless one.

Just over fifty meters away now, the lone abomination broke out of cover snarling, loping across the ground to try to pounce upon Dia. It was vaguely humanoid, much mutated, and it was fast, many arms and legs working in unison to propel it quickly. 

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It was a decent gun. What Usher had originally assumed to be a .45 was in reality .454, so he wasn't that far off as the .454 was basically a lengthened and structurally improved .45 casing. While this would allow the weapon to fire .45 rounds as well, the .45 used pistol primer instead of primer intended for small rifles resulting in nearly five times the recoil of a .45. This allowed a 250 grain bullet to reach a muzzle velocity of over 1,900 feet per second and therefore deliver up to 2,000 ft-lb of energy. A little big for most indeed. Now what another worlds wiki wouldn't tell you is that the typical modern propellant for most firearms in Terrenus doesn't quite work properly. As in there's a small chance to blow your own face off when pulling the trigger kind of properly. Because of this, most Terrens saw modern firearms as a foolish last result.

But, if it was stupid and it worked.... then it wasn't stupid. Usher was a modern person and with a modern instrument of death in hand and enough magical know-how to make things perform in ways they definitely shouldn't, managed to get by was an understatement.

The creatures breaking cover to try to pick just one of them off? Either ignorance or arrogance, maybe both. The fact that they'd done so when Usher hadn't stopped paying attention to Dia suggested that at least the first believed that either he wouldn't be able to respond in time even if he wanted to or that Usher would freeze at its mere appearance and therefore be too slow to react. The latter was untrue. While ugly, he felt they lacked the personal affect that something like a radar fox would have. Those little bugger with their almost tacked on extra appendages were just flat out revolting. As for the former....

Usher didn't bother concealing the necromancy this time. With the handcannon as a focus, he killed the magical fluctuation native to Terrenus that would normally cause a magically induced instability in the propellant. Just because something may have originated in an environment that suppressed or even completely lacked magic did not mean that such materials were magically inert and would remain so when put into a different environment. In hindsight, it sounded like something that was difficult to not pick up on. In practice, properly triggered propellant became scary very very quickly. For example, in a mundane world muzzle velocity is just that. As the bullet travels the wind resistance will somewhat kill that velocity and slow the shot, hence the concept of bullet drop. Necromancy added a reanimation feature and induced a level of circular logic that magic seemed to love as the shot would not only pick up speed but actively track its target. Then, upon impact, the velocity would be killed a lot as the projectile transferred its energy into its target reanimate and hit the target again as the projectile itself did its level best to transfer its force and transmute the target into chunky salsa.

That was one shot fired into the grotesquerie charging at Dia. Then came the recoil that died and reanimated, resulting in the next shot ready to fire and the handcannon pointed at the grotesquerie pack. Rinse and repeat. Usher would fire on them until empty and with the intent that not only himself, but also that the bullets were also actively trying to kill them.

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She rarely listened to others in conversation. Not her business, not her problem. She'd grown up being ignored, and developed at a young age, a lack of desire to do anything she wasn't paid to. That included talking to people she didn't have much reason to. Or more accurately, if there didn't seem to be a significant place in the conversation from her. Besides... She knew how this played out... Poor innocent lost little girl, separated from her heard. Dumb enough to wander alone, surely she must be dumb enough to- and her she was leaving herself wide open. How ever could one resist such an easy and tempting meal. The sad part about that was as Dia contemplated that... she wasn't even thinking about the monsters. Highschool was a hell of a four years...

Dia couldn't help but smirk to herself. She could feel the clumsy monster barreling at her. She'd turn around, dropping the head phones and producing her second gun, unloading at the same one that broke cover first. "Someone pass me my sword!" She called back at the group. Of course it weighed damn near 50 pounds. Dia preferred that, she could wield it great, not being some squishy human, was seldom a benefit , but that sword was one of them. She emptied the gun, quickly loading another magazine in, firing away as she made her way towards Usher, she wanted her gun back now... "Sheesh..." She shrugged. "That was more painfully obvious than a pussy whipped simp trying to get himself a little love..." she said. "They even stalk you better than that..." she shrugged. "Don't ask me how I know that" she pointed at usher. "And give back Leather please..." She said. 

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Lots of loud bangs in short succession. Torie wasn’t used to guns. The sounds hurt her tiger ears and she flinched as if shot, whipping about, looking to the source of the sound as the source of danger.

Usher stood there with a determined look on his face, smoke rising from his pistol. Torie followed his gaze to Dia running back to them, something large and spider-like following close behind.

Again Torie’s head whipped around, checking back on this Severick. If there was any time for a monster in human form to strike at them, it was now.

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"Tell me, what will you be . . . . . . ?"  

A voice of the past whispered in Severick's mind as his eyes glanced at the figure emerging from the treeline.  Without speaking, he moved forward with purpose driven steps around those closest to him.  Instincts over intelligence guided his movements.  The vhersi's mind clouded with a thought of the past.  

A magnificicent flame of multiple colors and flourished against a strong thunderstorm as both raged against each other.   The storm a product of nature.  The fire a product of a mage battle.  One that had cost Severick everything.  

The young powerful Vhersi still remembered when he gazed into the fires of the master's castle.  The flames stretched into the heaves as a angry beast seeking to to engulf the world.   His grey eyes full of tears as he watched the flames devour all that he knew and all that he had.  Black soot floated down all about him as the flames raged unabated.  The rain of the weather could not douse the magic based flames as they ravaged the area.  There was nothing to save.  Nothing to do but watch.  

 A villager from the nearby town, a man that had supplied his master had come to see if the stories were true.  Was the sorcerer queen really no more.  There, he found Severick.  

 

"Tell me, what will you be. . . . . . . . ?"  The voice from Severick's past whispered again to him.   Its sound echoed with an eerie tone as the threat the creature poised neared.  as it came closer and closer to the group, Severick felt himself drawn forward.    

 

The creature neared the gathered group.   Severick's body broke forward.  Preternatural strength and speed thrust his body forward.  His booted feet dug into the earth as his body shot forward as an arrow.  He saw the reactions of the warrior souls with him.  He saw them raise their weapons to defend themselves.  He watched as they fired their weapons at the beast.  Their projectiles were powerful.  He knew this. 

 

". .  . what will you be. . . .. .when your master is gone?"  The voice of the past spoke. Its sound now louder than the sound of his own breathing.  Severick thought as his powerful legs pumped against the ground and launched him forward.  His breath hot in his chest.  His eyes wide with the desire to protect those that would protect others.  ". . .  a protector."  he whispered.

 

Severick ran with an beastly stride to the creature and leaped at it as it leaped at Dia.  His hands lengthened.  His fingers sharpened.  Hands and forearms thickened and darkened to a deep lavender color.  His smile widened as sought seize the creature from an attack at its flank with his transformed grip. and he attempted to tackle it away from Dia  with the momentum of  his leap.  If he could throw it off course or slow it down for others to attack it that would mean he was successful.   

 

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Shit, Miavaris swore to herself in a burst of surprised irritation, the air around her exploding into gunfire as her companions leapt into response. The elven scout pivoted sharply and took fractions of a second to register the situation. 

A lone creature--no, that was too kind--an abject monster of some species that Mia didn’t recognize had revealed itself from the edge of the woods and was sprinting towards the leather-clad woman, Dia, with the wild, single-minded look of feral hunger. It had the body of a large arachnid: a glut of claw-tipped arms and legs, some with humanoid musculature, others forming chitinous spears, and a bulbous, tear-shaped abdomen rising up from its rear. Four black, beady eyes on its long face and mandibles that pulled back to reveal distended, fanged jaws. 

Recalling that these beasts had previously attacked in groups, Miavaris left this one to the fate her colleagues had in store for it and snapped her gaze to the treeline, instead. The swathe of shadows blurred momentarily in Mia’s vision; instead of peering with her eyes, the hunter reached out from behind her irises with innate sight. If any living things were lurking, hidden, in those trees, she would see them by the pulse of their heart, by the blood and bile that pumped throughout their bodies, no matter how foreign.  The ranger grasped and raised her longbow, nocked an arrow almost immediately while her sight focused. She could fire three times in rapid succession; If the monster had kin nearby, she would loose her arrows straight into their heart, and call out their positions to the attention of her comrades. 
 

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The villagers cried out in terror at the bark of the firearms. Instinctively, the Houseguard drew his weapon and looked outside against external threats. His first reaction was defensive, holding his ground.

The abomination simply died. The first shot wounded it badly, missing being fatal on account of the creature's strange morphology, with some slight credit to its agility as well. Dia's shots finished it as she riddled it completely with holes, the monster falling into a slide that ended scant meters away as Severick arrived.

The response was overwhelming, too much for this scouting party to handle. With cries of defiance the grotesquerie group pulled away to retreat, scampering through the forest even as more gunfire and arrows nipped at their heels. Many shots missed, or thudded harmlessly into the thickets. Many more found their mark, evidence of fresh wounds left in a messy trail.

At least one more of them was dead, laying unmoving with an arrow sticking out of its spine and with flesh already decomposing from the necrotic bullets.

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Well, that answered the question of whether these things had seen guns here before. Or just a volley of ranged weaponry. They knew that running into the teeth of a volley was a bad idea, but they had been bold enough to suggest that the concept being a threat hadn't been the case up until a moment ago. Usher was just happy Dia's weapon didn't blow his face off and.... It had a name? Okay. With the creatures routed it was somewhat trivial to return Dia's sword along with her gun. He wasn't exactly a stranger to non-standard armaments.

Part one had gone by without issue if one discounted the reactions of the villagers. Usher felt he had to. It may have been to their credit that when faced with the concept of kill on sight they recoiled, but an extermination didn't require decent people. Only the capacity to be more capable of their quarry. Now it was time to address the group and shift to part two.

"With that, I believe it's safe to say we've driven of the quarry we suspected was lurking about the village and as it seems the survivors were kind enough to leave trail markers we should be able to follow at a decent clip. I can only assume they're seeking safety in numbers as we speak. They're next."

All they had to do was apply Rule One Cardio and with a little effort the group would be able to punctuate whatever pseudo-charades these things used for warning each other by tearing into them. If they didn't do that, then why were they here? Let's go and kill them wasn't exactly a complex plan, but it really didn't get more complex than kill them all and be mindful to pick off the runners who realized they made a mistake.

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Dia would stand over the decomposing monster. Firing a round, two actually, into its head. She would turn to the group, and flip her hair. "I told that preacher I was irresistible" She said. "I'll take that" she took her gun back. She dropped the empty mags, and slid a new one in for each, then finally holstered them. "We should follow them right away..." She suggested. "I've never dealt with a monster that can't take a few shots and come back after a nap" She said with a shrug as she took her sword up, dropping it pointy end in the neck of the overkilled monster. A bolt of energy sparked from the sword as its demonic nature flared for only a short moment. "I'm also feelin' a little frisky..." She smiled with a tinge of demonic nature herself. She figured she could give them time to ponder things. Or...

She then began walking in their direction, sword over her shoulder, with her red magnum in her other hand. She examined it briefly, frowning. "I didn't know this would be so under powered against these freaks... guess I need something with more punch." She said to herself. "Hey spider fucks" she called. "Lets play hide and seek..." she kept her walk casual. "I'll count to 10" she called to them before stopping briefly. "Ten!" She called louder. "Ready or not, and I hope you freaks fuckin' are, here I come" She said, but it was barely at normal speech level. As she walked toward the trail of blood, she'd whistle a tune. No one here would likely get it. It was kind of friendly and happy, not exactly what you sing on a monster hunt. It was the Mickey Mouse March... That was what she went with.

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Standing over the corpse of the defeated creature, Severick stood with a calm breeze passing over him.  Cautious steps brought the beastly young man over to downed creature.  Its body pressed against the earth,.  The air already thick with the creature's body fluids.  The mix of magic and malice left a sense of unease in the vhersi's nose.  A steadying breath came and fell from his and with it his body calmed and his features softened.  

The feral nature gave way to the calmness of Severick's regular features.  His hands resumed their soft tanned color and shrank to their normal size as his nails softened from their metal like sharpness and became soft and human.  He flexed the feeling of anger and hunger from them as his moved the fingers around.  His actions banishing the presence of the more wild elements he felt.  Severick took another deepened breath as his hair shortened and face softened. His body while muscular was far more natural and athletic than the brutish brute that had stood there a moment ago.  

Snickering laughter was heard in the dark shadow of the would be protector.  Severick found the need to keep his patience with the creatures serving him as much a challenge as his transforming back to calmness from no action during this encounter.  The creatures within his shadow thought there would be much more of a fight and he did as well.   He could not help but smile at his rushing over to a defeated creature.  "They say its the thought that counts."  A tone of a joke was in his voice as he was making light of his own actions.   Severick said as he looked up from the fallen beast and turned toward the tiger in their midst.  He watched her as she stood for the moment.  There were many questions about the situation and still many questions about him too, but there was work to do.   Before, they had testimony and story.  Now, they had a corpse.    

 

From a darker part of the shadow, a voice rose  within Severick.  "This one is awake.  Violence, death.  This one volunteers."  The voice rose. It was separate from the laughter of the others.  It had the quality of an intimate whisper.   MoMo was awake.   The shapeshifting cat creature was awake and watchful.  And it wanted to interact.  

A man speaking about hunting the creatures caught Severick's attention.    The vhersi agreed with a nod.  He turned to see the warrior woman with guns and blade near the downed creature.  She was a trained killer and made sure of the kill.   He appreciated her work and did not interfere.  He sought to help.  Severick turned to look at the creature and noticed Dia around the beast.  He noticed her weapons drawn.  As he walked around the corpse and watched Dia and her movements with he blade he was impressed.  ". . ... . . super effective."  He stated in a quiet tone.  "Good job on the creature."  He said. 

Suddenly, Severick felt a pull within his presence.  The motion  resonated within him.  It was MoMo.   "This one, insists."  The whisper had returned with more insistence.   Severick glanced at the others and went to the far edge of the creature.  He turned from the others and spoke softly as if whispering to himself.   "You may emerge.  Track and study the creature.  These are good people here.  Be nice."  

"This one,  always. . . . . nice."  MoMo's whispery voice floated with satisfaction. 

Severick gazed down to look at the creature before him.   The shadow behind him flared.  Its contours moved as if a living flame.  Its core darkened  as two points of gold emerged from its depths.  A soft purr rose into the air.  A large black panther cat emerged from the shadow.  Its fur was the color of darkest night.  Its eyes bright gold that burned with intelligence.  Its paws stretched as its paws came in contact with the ground. Its long black tail appeared to hover before descending to the ground.  Its body long with a runner's lithe form emerged.   "This  one serves."  MoMo's whispery voice tickled Severick's senses.  Anyone around the area could hear the unhidden speech as well.  It was part of the 'being nice'. 

"Good." Severick said.  His eyes moved to the monster's features.  "Take samples. Get the scent."  

The large panther moved quickly to the downed beast.  Its large nose went to sniffing it and the area around it. 

Severick ignored MoMo and watched the group.  He stopped suddenly and said to Dia.  "This is MoMo. MoMo is with me.  A soul seeking to help."  Realizing a creature from nowhere may be a bit of a sore spot with things as it were.    

 

 

 

 

Edited by Dreamer-Noir

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Ernest drew his sword but the engagement was over as quickly as it had began. He was at least glad to see the members of his party were more then able to handle the threat.

Before the party moved on, he took a moment to calm the townsfolk and advise them to stay cloistered. They were going to go hunt the beasts. The houseguard nodded at the others. "Lead the way then"

Along the path however, he kept an eye on one of them in particular. Eventually pulling level with Severick, he'd ask him...

"Are you a warlock?" Ernest asked the other man with no small amount of suspicion in his voice. Not that he was overtly hostile to him, but these were a rustic people, and the man's abilities frightened the villagers almost as much as the monsters did. The others had their... eccentricities but his was pushing Ernest's sensibilities. Still sometimes one would need monsters to hunt monsters he supposed.

Before Severick might be able to answer however, the party would come across the body of one of the wounded grotesques. It didn't expire of blood loss, rather it looked more like it was torn apart, body parts strewn in different directions as if to throw off trackers.

Edited by Fierach

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“Well, that’s one less loose end.”

A gory scene lost much of its impact when it was one you’d intended to create yourself. And it really was a mess. By the amount of ichor splattered about Usher would guess that there was something of a struggle as its ilk tore it apart the moment it was too weak to properly resist the rest of the group combined. For what? They’d just coat themselves in more ichor that would rub off and highlight their trail. 
 

“Not really sure what the point of this was.  We’ll just pick up the trail faster than they can kill and scatter each other.”

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As Severick spoke, defining MoMos purpose there Dia shrugged. "Long as it behaves we're cool. I still know vets that declaw cats" She said as she kept pace. Anyone with even the slightest magical affinity could feel the wicked sword she carried letting its own nature show. It was a demon blade. Something out of a videogame in it's edginess. Of course you could make fun of overly edgy things all you wanted. Be it a normal claymore, or an oversized goofy named ripoff of a blade, a sharp blade was a sharp blade. This one just so happened to embrace the purpose of a sword. He who said 'the pen is mightier' probably didn't have a magnum, or a demonic blade capable of such travesty as Holy Caliber. In truth, the blade was angelic in origin. But it was tainted by demonic smithing and blood. "If it was that weak it was a like a strand of manilla rope on a ship using decking nylon... nothing but a liability that they needed to get rid of." She said. "I'm no tracker... someone else lead the way... I'll handle the ugly part" She added looking back, "I'd much prefer to do things this way more often... diplomacy aint my deal" she shrugged.

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"Hm." Miavaris' directed a kind of grunt at Usher and stepped closer to him, hands drawing to her hips, brow furrowing. She agreed with his assessment... and that raised more questions. The half-elf weighed something in her mind for a moment, then slung her bow back into the wedge-shaped, leather harness on her back and glanced above them, to the lowest-hanging branches over their heads. 

"I want a better look," she said. Mia took two bouncing half-steps backward and then turned and jogged to the largest of these nearby trees. It was easy enough to push herself up and onto a sturdy limb. From this vantage point, the ranger was able to study the odd placement of body parts in the clearing, and you could just see her nodding as she crossed her arms over her chest. 

Randomness in nature was rarely even; but people---well---beings, she supposed, trying to appear random had a way of trying not to arrange anything too close together, and it usually resulted in the pieces having too consistent a distance between them. Like the eye would judge three feet to be too close, but four feet 'just right.'  Sure enough, from this height she could see that subtle pattern in the spacing. 

Mia swung and tumbled nimbly back down and shook her head, "These things are unnatural." She didn't just mean their appearance, which was obviously aberrant to this world. "They must be created by some... one, some magic perhaps. But they have intelligence like a human's. Attempts to stage trickery... and, in the wild, when a beast is sacrificed for the good of the pack, they simply leave it behind. They don't murder it."

Contrary to the brash demoness, Miavaris was a tracker, and she had little doubt she could have picked up the creatures' trail. But there was no reason to waste the time. The vhersi's summon would be able to follow their scent. "Lead us, then," she spoke to the panther with the ease of someone with more fondness for forest beasts than town ones. "Everyone else, keep your eyes open around us. There may be traps, or an ambush." 

 

Edited by Ace

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