Hunters of Terra Dolor (Role Playing Section)

ZombieSplitter53

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#21
ZombieSplitter53 and DarkGemini24601: “Hammer and Hardback”

Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
The Armory/Forge
Jan. 18th, 3349
12:01 p.m.


“Make sure those swords are repaired as quickly as possible!” Edminfar shouted, his workers rushing back and forth. “No telling when they’ll come back asking fer them.” The head of the armory slowly fanned himself, age catching up to him. “I swear, hunters these days,” he muttered to himself. “No respect fer their own weapons. But in my day, the forgemaster would have yanked our ears fer bringing them in with so many chips and dents.” He sighed, and floated towards the front of the armory to make sure no one was waiting.

He found an armored knight scanning the room, taking in the equipment on the walls. “A fine collection you have here,” Solomon observed as he saw Edminfar approach out of the corner of his eye.

“Yeah, well, we try to stay well stocked with only the best.” The Netzi let out a hearty laugh. “You’d be surprised how often one’s weapon is worn down or broken in this business.” He slowly scanned Solomon. “Seems you know somethin’ about fine equipment.”

“I am a smith myself, good sir,” Solomon informed him. “The weapons and armor you can see in my possession are my own creations.”

“Very impressive.” Ed floated over the counter. “Where did you study? You have a master, or are you self taught?”

“My father taught me throughout my formative years,” Solomon elaborated, “and I’ve kept those skills honed ever since then. I didn’t wish that to be my only profession, of course… but ‘tis quite useful as a traveling warrior to be able to maintain my own equipment.”

“I bet.” The shorter individual offered a hand. “Edminfar. I run things around here. As best I can, anyway.”

“Solomon,” the Temporal Knight introduced himself in turn. “I would wager you do quite a good job at that, judging by the fine state of this forge.”

“Well, sir, flattery will… get you quite far with me, actually.” Ed went over to a shield and used his arm to wipe off a smudge. “So, can I interest you in a job down here?”

“I could offer my assistance between jobs, certainly,” Solomon agreed readily. “I could use the chance to improve my skills with whatever knowledge you have, and the access to your facility that would provide.”

“Between jobs, eh?” Ed shrugged. “I’ll take what I can get. Wouldn’t want to take a prospective hunter away from the boss. She would kick my furry butt if I tried.” He floated up to eye level. “You have a specialty? Weapons, armor, shields? What kind have weapons have you made?”

Solomon removed his spear and hammer from their respective holders on his back, placing them upon the table. “Polearms and the occasional blunt weapon. I’d argue I’m better of an armorer than a weaponsmith, though. My Immoradio Regalia and my squire’s…” Solomon shook his head, “...’Clockbreaker Armor’ are my proudest achievements. No shoddily-crafted weapon will pierce our plating.”

“Clockbreaker, huh? You kinds and yer fancy names.” Ed grinned. “Or does it do something cool?”

“Unfortunately, ‘tis not so enchanted as Sela’s colorful name might suggest,” Solomon clarified. “Although I’m sure she hopes it shall be someday.”

“Aye, all youths do. Though you seem to be a man who’s wisdom exceeds his years.” Ed floated down to examine the weapons closely. “Let me guess… well travelled?”

“Across anywhere in the shifting sands of the Duchy that you could hope to go,” Solomon replied with a sagely nod. “Although time spent at a monastery was responsible for much of my edification, even before my travels had truly begun.”

“Always good to see a warrior with a brain,” Ed muttered casually. “You’d wouldn’t believe how many people come in here wanting an excuse to kill things and don’t have enough brains to tie their bootstraps in less than five minutes. Hope yer friend is just as wise.”

A chuckle rumbled in Solomon’s throat. “I’m… working on it,” he said at last. “She’s as stubborn as I once was, and it may be awhile longer before the fire of her youth dims to a tolerable temperature. Until that time, though, she shall remain my apprentice - protected under my wing.”

“You sound like a good man.” Ed looked over and smiled. “She any good at blacksmithing?”

Solomon shrugged. “I’ve taught her the essentials of maintenance. She’s more skilled in combat - with her weapons and magic - than in any craft.”

“Is she cute?” Ed asked with a laugh.

Solomon raised an eyebrow. “She’s been termed beautiful by those we’ve worked with,” he responded evenly. “‘Tis not something I fixate on.”

“Mmm, even better.” Edminfar cleared his throat. “Anyway, I’ll tell the others to let you work in the forge. You’ll receive extra compensation, of course. No one gets anything fer nothing, but no one works fer free.”

“Appreciated, my new friend,” Solomon returned cordially. “For the moment, I have an immediate use of your forge in mind.” He gestured a gauntlet to a groove on his left leg plating. “The lady Titania managed to land quite the hit.”

Ed walked over and gave it a careful look. “Yes she did. You kids train too hard, I swear. But I doesn’t look too bad. I can have it fixed in less than a day.”

“Appreciated. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll enjoy some time to read. You have a library here, correct?”

“Yes, sir. Quite a sizeable one at that.” Ed scratched his chin. “Librarian is a bit eccentric, but you seem the patient type, so you should be okay.”

Solomon nodded. “I shall be cautious, but openminded.”

“Be sure that you are,” Ed said with a smirk.

*****

As many had before him, Solomon was struck with the grandeur of the Havenbrook library - the collections of several generations in one place. Once he had entered and started searching for something to read, it didn’t take long for him to notice someone following behind him, even if said blonde Light Elf pretended to be looking at the shelves whenever he looked back.

For awhile, Solomon played along; eventually, he spoke up. “Strange,” the Temporal Knight noted, “it seems my shadow has become pallid, and in the process of taking on a fairer tone has developed more exquisite ears.”

“You… think my ears are exquisite?” Esmeralda smiled brightly as she stroked them. “Thank you so… ahem, sorry. Didn’t mean to stalk you. I was…” She rubbed her chin. “Why was I acting all sneaky sneaky? Weird. Anyway, hi, new guy! I’m Esmeralda.”

“A pleasure to meet you, Esmeralda,” the unarmored knight responded with a smile. “My name is Solomon.”

“It is always nice to meet someone new and interested in a good read. My favorite place to meet someone is in the library… mostly because I’m always here, BUT also because they share my interest… if to a slightly smaller extent. Soooooo… watcha lookin’ for? Fiction? Non-fiction? Horror, biographies, epics, instructionals, cookbooks, poems?”

“I could be steered in any number of directions,” Solomon answered. “In particular, I am looking for literature created in Serasam. Perhaps more locally around this region, if possible.”

“Ah, yes. Getting to know the local flavor of literature is a window into the hearts of the local people. Come, come. Esmeralda will find you exactly what you need.” The fair skinned woman led him through the aisles. “I’ve met so many new men lately, all such gentlemen. Are you a new Hunter as well, Solomon?”

“A neonate to the guild, but well-versed in the trade,” Solomon elucidated.

“Oh, and well versed in language as well.” Esmeralda turned and walked backwards, somehow navigating through the aisles and around carts without seeing any of them. “Tell me, my new friend-slash-associate-slash-ally of justice, how much do you love the written word? Because if you spend a healthy time sharpening your mind in here, it will do wonders for you out there fighting imps and giants and bugs and all sorts of evil beings.”

“I would maintain there is not a direction connection between my work and my passion for reading, although obviously I enjoy both pursuits,” Solomon amended.

“Hmm… fair enough…” She jumped up, grabbing a ladder that slid a few feet as she climbed. “You want something more recent, or some older literature. I’ve got some nice books from before the vampire wars. Very different from more modern pieces.”

“That sounds wonderful. Thank you,” Solomon replied.

“Let’s see… ah! To Walk the Length of the Ice Continent. Very good epic of a journey through the Land of Ice to…” Esmeralda giggled. “Well, don’t want to spoil anything.” She dropped before him, holding it out with two hands. “You’ll love it, I am positive.”

“I’m sure I will,” Solomon agreed, gingerly taking the tome from her.

The Light Elf leaned uncomfortably close, stepping on her toes to bring their faces closer. “And if you happen to have any awesome books that we might not have, you’ll let me read them, right? It’s only fair for letting you read my books… which are actually Lady Havenbrook’s books, but I don’t sweat the details.”

“Provided I get them back - safely - I wouldn’t mind loaning you some of Kemar’s intellectual treasures,” Solomon conceded calmly but firmly.

Esmeralda was quick to bob her head up and down. “Yep, yep. I always return what I borrow. Why, to read the treasured literature of the land of sands… tee hee! I can’t wait!” She backed off, and clapped her hands together. “So exciting,” she whispered.

Such boundless energy… suddenly Sela doesn’t seem like so daunting a task, Solomon thought to himself. “I’ll bring you down one of my books soon. I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to it.”

“Oh, yes. Yes, indeed.” She stepped forward and patted him on the shoulder. “Until next time, Mr. Solomon, I bid you good day.” She practically pranced away, saying in a sing-song voice, “Don’t be a stranger.”
 

ZombieSplitter53

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#22
ZombieSplitter53 and DarkGemini24601:“Discrete Duo: Part One

Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Indoor Gymnasium
Jan. 18th, 3349
12:49 p.m.


Pop pop. A pair of eager airbursts emanated from Sela as she cracked her neck. She’d been waiting awhile to unwind with some exercise. Without an additional sound, she ran through her additional stretches. The chill of inactivity ebbed out of her right arm as she took that elbow in the crook of her other arm and pulled. A warm, invigorating flame spread into its place. While many of the other hunters were enjoying lunch, the elven squire had the opportunity to get a workout in by herself. Solomon was off touring more of the manor, leaving Sela to her own devices.

The elf glanced down at her attire. A short-sleeved crop-top that didn’t reach over her navel and a pair of light gray shorts was a little bolder than she might have liked, but it kept her from overheating. Granted, we aren’t in the desert anymore. So on second thought this might be unnecessary. As she was alone for the moment, Sela decided it didn’t matter. She swapped to her other arm, warming it up as well.

Unfortunately for Sela and her alone time, she wasn’t the only elf that used this time to work out. Eraqus stepped in wearing his own workout attire, black sweats and a white, form fitting A-shirt. He instinctively let out a small sneer at the sight someone else in the gym, but relaxed a bit when he saw it was a fellow Elf. Though the guild was diverse, it was still largely human, and he felt more comfortable with his own people. Still, he wasn’t one for conversation, and faced away as he did some stretches of his own.

Sela didn’t notice him at first, caught-up in the rhythm of her exercise routine. Balancing on one foot, she raised the opposite leg for a stretch, then swapped. Returning to a normal posture, she sat down in preparation for sit-ups, only to notice Eraqus’ presence for the first time. “Oh, hi!” she exclaimed, caught-off guard by his sudden appearance in her field of view.

Eraqus jumped, not expecting that. He turned to face her, and managed a small smile. “Uh, hey. Um…” He studied her face for a moment. “One of the new hires?”

Standing back up, Sela nodded. “Yeah. Got here a few days ago.”

For a moment, it looked like Eraqus would just go back to his exercises. Be nice. Not like she’s done anything to put you off yet. “My name is Eraqus. I’m in charge of the Hunters, especially the new recruits.”

“Sela Fay’thiel,” the squire returned. “Nice to meet you, sir.”

Eraqus nodded, and sat down on a bench, grabbing a dumbbell. “If you don’t mind me saying so, you look a bit young to join a Hunter’s Guild. Not that, um… anything wrong… you know…”

“I’ve been training to fight since I was a kid,” Sela replied with a shake of her head. “I don’t have anything better to be doing.”

“Fair enough.” The older Elf let out a grunt. “I guess I can relate to that. Didn’t have many prospects myself growing up. Guess I shouldn’t say anything when I was around the same age when I tried to be a Hunter.” Oddly enough, he seemed annoyed at his own words.

“Not a big deal. I tend to get that a lot.” Sela grinned. “Then they see me fight.”

Eraqus slowly smiled. “Yeah, I bet. I just hope you’re as strong as I thought I was when I was that age. This life kicked my proud and arrogant ass. My recommendation is to find someone you can rely on. They’ll help you show anyone who doubts you the price for underestimating you.”

“I’ve got my master to back me up. I’ll be fine,” Sela responded, unworried.

“A master, huh? I see.” Eraqus slowly started his reps, falling into an awkward silence. Despite his age, he wasn’t the greatest for casual conversation. Not much of a point in it anyway. I didn’t come here alone to talk. I doubt she did.

Sela sat back down, beginning the sit-ups that she’d neglected. Kinda aloof, isn’t he?

Minutes passed, and one coming in would think the pair had a problem with each other, especially the way Eraqus was keeping his eyes turned away. Finally, he suddenly asked, “So what can you do?” His eyes shifted about, realizing it was an odd question to blurt out. “I mean… do you… have a specialty?”

Sela almost jumped at the abrupt question. “I’m good with a halberd when it comes to weapons,” she answered after a moment. “In respect to magic, I can do some time manipulation like Solomon can - though I prefer to speed things up rather than slow everything down - and I’m quite precise when it comes to fire magic.”

“Oh… really.” Eraqus gave a genuine smile, if a barely noticeable one. He put the dumbbell down and opened his palm, a small flame sparking up. “I guess we have that in common. I have a few tricks I can do with my flames. Nothing as creative as time manipulation, but once I hit, all time stops for my opponent if you know what I mean.”

“Yeah? What specifically can you do with them?”

Eraqus seemed surprised she showed interest. “Well… hmm…” He walked over to the free weights and picked up the empty bar, lifting it with surprising ease despite its weight. Holding it with both hands and focusing, flames coated the rod for a few moments before concentrating on the tips. “By sending pure flames into the wound of an enemy I have struck and releasing them all in one moment, I can cook their insides. Great for enemies with thick skin or armor but soft insides.”

“Damn. How do you even conduct it like that? I can concentrate my flames to be pretty dense, but never enough so that they’d just slip through solid objects. I didn’t know that was even possible,” Sela muttered.

“Well… I got the idea…” Eraqus frowned and dispersed the flames, realizing he was risking melting the expensive equipment, and put the bar down. “I got the idea watching someone else do something similar many years ago. Though they concentrated the magic on their fist, and being a swordsman myself, I wasn’t keen on getting quite that close. Learning to imbue a weapon with fire magic was easy enough, but actually moving it along was the tricky part. The… best way I can describe it is… I push the flames along with waves of strong but fragile bursts of magic. It’s kinda like shoving sand along. You focus, and push and push, and as the sand closer to you goes down, it builds up away from you. As the flames near the hilt diminish, they build up closer to the tip. I’m probably making it sound simpler than it is. When I first developed it. It took me a solid minute just to get all the flames to the tip. But I’ve had fifty years to practice.”
 

ZombieSplitter53

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#23
ZombieSplitter53 and DarkGemini24601:“Discrete Duo: Part Two”

“Fifty, huh,” Sela echoed. “That’s disheartening… way more effort than even a cool ability like that seems worth.”

Eraqus chuckled. “Yeah, I can see that. Guess I had some selective patience.” Very selective, considering my lack of patience elsewhere. He cleared his throat. “Though… though you already seem to have a ‘cool ability’, right? You mentioned something about speeding up time. How exactly do you implement that? Running? Reflexes? Making your enemies age into nothingness?”

Sela rubbed the back of her neck. “Nothing so grandiose. Solomon’s not sure if large-scaled temporal tampering like that is even possible. I’ve got two ways I use my acceleration. The first is pretty simple. I surround myself or an ally in a field of energy - a malleable ‘bubble’ of sorts that restricts the range of my magic to something manageable - and then speed things up. To someone affected by my ‘Hasten’, everyone else seems a little slow. Pretty useful for both outmaneuvering and outsmarting an opponent.”

The squire took a breath. “The other use is that I can accelerate material.” Sela shook her head. “I don’t pretend to understand it, but we met a scientist back in the Duchy that had a theory that all matter ‘moves’ in some way that we can’t necessarily see. In order to prove it, he had me try to accelerate material on a tiny scale. And wouldn’t you know? It worked. I eventually figured out that by speeding up material that’s flammable or explosive, I can set it off via the heat that heightened ‘vibration’ creates. Any idiot that has dynamite or gunpower on their person near me will have it blow up in their face.”

“Interesting. Setting things aflame without the need for fire. We might not focus on them, but we do deal with bandits now and then. The number of applications for such an ability are vast. And to ‘Hasten’ not only yourself, but an ally as well… that is quite impressive for someone… seventeen? Eight… teen.” Idiot. Never ask a girl’s age. Even an uneducated dunce like me should be able to remember that!

“The former. Nice guess,” Sela noted with an eyebrow raised - having noticed his internal turmoil over the question.

“R-right… heh?” Eraqus shrugged. “I, uh… I’m good at those kinda things. Might as well be. Not really educated in much beyond reading people, fighting, and… more fighting.” He laughed awkwardly. “Not what you’d expect from a Fairaven Elf, I’m sure.”

Sela shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. I hardly know anything about the place, other than the subtitle they stylize themselves with. And I always thought it was an exaggeration that it was the ‘land of scholars’. If your entire population’s a bunch of bookworms, you’d have been invaded and destroyed millennia ago.”

“Yeah. In my youth, I figured a Hunter’s Guild in a land of ‘bookworms’ would be easy to get into, and I’d be running the place in a year. That didn’t even remotely happen.” Eraqus sighed. “No place can afford to be so weak that some upstart teen can be as big as he thinks he is. This world is too cruel. Monsters, creatures of darkness, and the dregs of civilization are always waiting for any sign of weakness to stomp it out. One can only hope that hunters like us can at least do a small part in helping those who can’t help themselves.”

“That’s a noble way to put it, I guess.” Sela sighed, looking up at the ceiling for a moment. “The way I see it, what we do is stem the tide. We keep things from getting worse, as they so certainly can. We seldom make anything better,” the young elf said with a startling amount of cynicism.

Eraqus looked over to her. He felt the urge to chastise her for such cryptic and pessimistic words from such a young person. But I don’t know you. You probably have your reasons. Sad thing is, with all I’ve seen… from the people I’ve met, in comparison, my childhood on the streets wasn’t so bad. What he did say was, “We’re strong. This Guild is strong. We have one of the lowest mortality rates in all of Terra Dolor, or at least among those willing to share their mortality rates. And our mission success rates are quite high. You’ll do well here as long as you rely on your allies, and they can rely on you.” He gave her an encouraging smile. “With the Blood Eclipse just over a year away, we have to be a model for all those willing to fight against a world that would see us waste away. I know we’ll make it. Trust me.”

“I’m not all that worried about myself. It’s the people that don’t have the ability to defend themselves that get shafted the most,” Sela replied with a sigh. “Nothing that can be done about it though, beyond what we already do. No point in dwelling.”

“Exactly. We do what we can, and that is all that we can expect from ourselves. To expect more is to set us up for disappointment.” Eraqus glanced at the old clock on the wall. He hadn’t done most of his exercises, but… “I’m going to head down to get some lunch. To tell you the truth, I come here when I did to exercise while the others eat, and go to eat right about now while the others get out of lunch and come down here to exercise.” He grabbed a towel and wiped off the small amount of sweat he had built up. You have about ten minutes though. I wouldn’t suggest being a loner like me, but if you like a quiet lunch, I wouldn’t mind sharing the mess hall with you.”

“I figured it would be quiet here when I came.” Sela shrugged. “You’d think after living half my life like a nomad I’d learn to adjust to new places quickly, but it’s the opposite. Takes me awhile to get comfortable being around a new group of people. Often didn’t when we were traveling around the most. I’ll probably get used to this place in a few weeks, but for now… I suppose I’ll mimic your pattern,” Sela decided. “Peace and quiet are rare things in a guild.”

Eraqus nodded. “See you when you finish your workout.” He headed for the door, and called back. “And if you want peace and quiet… try and avoid the library. Especially if you’re not keen on Light Elves that don’t know when to stop talking.”
 

Frostlich1228 (Alt)

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Oct 23, 2016
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#24
Frostlich1228 & BlackOut, "The Hunter and the Wolf"

Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Main Hall
Jan. 18th, 3349
2:44 PM

Titania wandered around the Manor's two floors, enamored by the architecture style, as well as the amazing fighters around her. "So cool..." She said quietly, Eventually, Titania found her way back towards the grand staircase and opted to take a seat. She wore her hood per the norm, and began to listen to the multiple conversations enfolding.

While overhearing these conversations, Titania could pick out a very distinct accent coming from a girl wearing goggles, being accompanied by a young Netzi. However, her attention was pulled towards a woman wearing a particularly expensive looking light green dress, balancing a spear on her foot as she walked towards the stairs. She had a simple thatch pack on her back and as she sat down next to the Thrope, she seemed to be studying the crowd as well. Curiously, she pulled out a notebook and began to skim through it, occasionally looking up now and again.

Taking interest, Titania turned towards spear wielder. "Whatcha' doing?" The wolf thrope aked, turning most of her attention towards the woman in front of her.

"Huh?" She replied, tilting her head. "Oh, I'm just observing behavior to see how well my father's notes on the outside world hold up."

"That's pretty cool. What does your father's notes say?" Titania asked, staring at the stranger's spear.

"It goes over figures of speech and common social etiquette as well as body language meanings." Sylvie explained, "Although, some of these I could've puzzled out myself. I mean, I did talk to our occasional visitors."

"I suppose that makes sense." Titania said, before realizing that she had forgotten her manners. "By the way, my name's Titania. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms...?"

"Sylvie..." The green-haired girl answered. "Ms uh... Titania, you are a thrope, correct?"

Pulling her hood down, Titania revealed her pointed ears. "Yep, I'm a thrope... you curious about us animal folk?"

"Why yes. Having traits from the creatures of the forest is incredible. As if you were blessed by Ahusirra herself..." Sylvie said reverently, looking at her ears. "I have only met one other of your kind in my village before."

""Well, now you've met two now! Although, I don't know if being born a thrope is exactly a blessing..." Titania replied, as she took out one of her daggers, examining the blade for any kind of battle damage.

"What do you mean? You even live longer than us. Why wouldn't it be a blessing?" Sylvie asked, scooting closer.

Titania studied Sylvie for a moment before sighing, "Well, not everyone likes thropes like you do. As a thrope, there's a chance to be enslaved, and we are... well, different than the other races. Being different is cool at times, but when a lot of people are afraid of change or of something different, that tends to make it a lot harder to exist in this world." The wolf thrope set her dagger down, remembering a few places she visited on the road.

"Could that not happen with all races?" Sylvie pointed out. "Though, no being deserves to be caged so."

"True, but being one of the more common races would mean that I would have a higher chance of not having anything horrible happen to me." Titania replied, pausing for a moment. "But that's a matter of opinion, I suppose. Why do you like Thopes so much anyways?"

"Well, I come from a place that greatly reveres nature, and Thropes inherit special gifts from the natural world. Imagine if I was I Thrope, I may have deer antlers or even hooves, I would be that much closer to nature and to Ahusirra." The village girl explained, "Although, she has already gifted me with my magic, I really shouldn't ask for more."

""I take it Ahusirra is your patron god?" Titania asked, picking up her dagger once more.

"She is our village's fertility deity, she's responsible for protecting us and the forest." Sylvie explained.

"Ah, I see. So... why'd you become a hunter? Your village sounded like a peaceful place live, unlike the hunter's lifestyle." Titania asked, sheathing her dagger.

"It used to be... but... something happened." Sylvie admitted, "For some reason, monsters are closing in on the village. It's unheard of, but it's happening nonetheless. I came here to help thin out the monsters and while doing so, hopefully find out what's going on..."

"A noble quest as any, but it does raise questions on how skilled you are with your pointy stick." The wolf Thrope replied, nodding at the balanced spear.

"I've been taught to hit a fruit from fifty feet." Sylvie responded, trying not to sound too arrogant. "Although, I'm sure some of the hunters here are much better than me."

"Don't be humble, 'cause I'm sure many of the hunters here would struggle to do what you can do." Titania said cheerfully, attempting to boost Sylvie's confidence in her self.

"Thank you. I trust in my skills against an animal, but I have little experience against monsters." The village woman stated.

"Well, how about a friendly spar, then? We both could potentially learn from each other and become better hunters." Titania offered, as she stood up.

"Just don't be surprised if I fight a little more ferociously than you expect." Sylvie said, standing up and pulling out her deer antler gauntlet.

"Not here. I mean we could fight in here, but I'm pretty sure the Guild Master would be pissed. So, let's practice outside." Titania replied, as she drew her longsword and started walking towards where the training field was located.

"Outside works for me." The green haired girl replied, briefly running a whetstone across her spear's blade.
 

Frostlich1228 (Alt)

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2016
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#25
"The Hunter and the Wolf." - Part 2



The two soon found themselves outside, and at the designated training area. Titania swung her sword a few times to warm up, briefly pausing to ask, "You ready?"

"This is the first time I've been in a serious fight with another person, but still, I'd be disappointed if you went easy on me." She said, removing her one piece dress to reveal the thatched leather armor underneath.

Titania paused, intrigued at the quick transformation from village girl, to warrior.

"Of course not! I wouldn't insult you like that. Although, let's try not to kill each other, okay?" Without waiting for a response, the Thrope Swordswoman charged, swiping at her opponent's weapon to either knock her off balance, or disarm her.

Instead of blocking the bull-like charging woman, Sylvie dodged to the side before the blow was struck. She then pushed her spear upward, trying to land a hit on her upper body.

The tactic proved to be successful, as Titania's armor was punctured as was her side. Grunting at the pain she felt, Titania swung at the spear, trying to knock it from the village fighter's hands.

Sylvie followed up with more offense, however, due to this, her spear was knocked out of her hands. This wasn't before she swiped upwards with her gauntlet, however.

Titania moved her buckler in the way of the blow, but was surprised to see it shredded against the attack. Taking a step back, Titania drew a dagger, preparing to parry whatever Sylvie had planned.

Sylvie retreated, the dagger striking her in the leg, but thankfully didn't pierce particularly deeply thanks to her armor. The hunter girl quickly ran over to grab her spear from the ground, feigning to check it for a moment, she suddenly tossed it up into the air. Grabbing it horizontally, Sylvie lined up a shot and threw, however with a quick application of magic, vines shot from the ground while it was in fight, attempting to wrap around and pin Titania's feet in place.

Crap... I have to- The spear passed through Titania's armor, through her lower abdomen, and out the other side. "G-Godsdammit..." The Thrope Swordswoman growled through clenched teeth.

Anger filled her vision for a moment, dissipating within a few seconds. "I thought I said ' let's try not to kill each other', Sylvie..." Titania growled again, unable to sound sweet with the pain she felt.

"Please, don't worry." Sylvie said, stepping forward and touching her wound. Suddenly, the vines that held her in place, along with some of the nearby grass, wilted. Titania could instantly feel her pain subsiding as the life energy from the plants was used to completely close her wound while also forcing the spear out. After only thirty seconds, her wound was completely closed and there was no evidence it had ever been there at all.

Titania poked at where her wound should've been, surprised to see that it wasn't bleeding. "Umm... well, this is new..." She started, slight concern in her voice, "I think I'm, uh, officially weirded out by this. Not to say that I'm not grateful for you healing me, but... are you like some priest who has a direct connection to the divine or something?"

"I am simply moving the energy from the plants, their life, into you. The more plants, the faster it works. I had already grown the vines, but still, I pulled some from the grass to help speed it up." Sylvie explained, wiping some of the blood off of her spear. "And, I want to apologize. I let the heat of the moment get the better of me, you can't afford to hesitate when on a hunt."

A hunt, huh..? Wait... Are you comparing me to a wild beast?! Titania eyes narrowed for a moment, and the angry look quickly passed, as soon as it appeared, turning into an innocent face. "Apology accepted. Just... please try not to kill me in the future, okay? My... friend I came with would try to kill you for that, and I don't want to have people fighting..."

"Yes, I'm so sorry. Like I said, I am not used to fighting people and I let my instincts get the better of me." The Village girl reiterated, putting her spear on her back. "To make amends the best I can, please ask any favor you wish of me, whenever you want. I just hope we can still be friends after this."

"Well, besides having a spear puncturing my body, I'm not really upset at you. So, of course we're still friends!" Titania replied cheerfully, internally suppressing her rage. I won't forget what you said, however. Accidents are accidents but words are planned.

"Thank you. Would you like to go eat?" She asked, moving some stray hairs back into place.

Titania shrugged,"Sure."
 

Frostlich1228 (Alt)

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2016
1,110
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#26
Frostlich1228 and ExoGrim, "Machinations of the Mind."

Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Main Hall
Jan. 18th, 3349
9:54 PM



Arlia made her way outside of the manor, it was later at night, so she wouldn’t be spotted. She sat in the garden, hoping that the aroma would help her think. She had nearly killed a man of great knowledge, a corrupted man but a man nevertheless. She wasn’t something she questioned often as it was the life of an assassin… but something had stop her that night and she wanted to know what.

“Arlia, right?” A voice asked from behind her. Sylvie was helping to grow the plants a few feet away, she was in her armor instead of her normal floral dress.

Arlia, from the sudden sound of the voice, pulled out a kunai and went to throw it in the voice’s direction. Just as she was about to swing her arm and release the weapon, her arm froze and and voice said. She not here to hurt you, you need to be more kind to those out to help you. Arlia began to breathe heavily and shake uncontrollably.

“You need to be calm, it’s just me…” The forest girl replied, trying to calm her.

Arlia dropped the blade and hugged herself. She couldn’t stop shaking, nor could she slow her breathing. “What’s… happening… to me?” She barely managed to mutter. The voice replied, somehow knowing what she said. You’re becoming aware of your sins, this will take time.

Sylvie formed a bed of interwoven vines a few feet off the ground under her, picking her up and giving her a place to lay as she tried to figure out what was wrong. Looking over her, Sylvie could spot a number of cuts and bruises, which she first began to heal using her magic.

Arlia’s shaking turned into a mere shiver. Her forehead began to burn up, suggesting a possible fever. You can do this, you just need to be brave. The voice said. Arlia muttered, “Who are you…” in which the voice replied with. I’m you silly.

Unable to hear this, the leather-clad woman responded, “I’m Sylvie, don’t you remember?”

Arlia looked at Sylvie, fear consuming the assassin’s face. “Please… make her stop…”

I’m not doing anything, I’m just a messenger.

“Arlia, who is this ‘her’?” The green haired girl asked, keeping her calm.

“I… I don’t know…” Arlia breathed, before letting out a scream of agony. “GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”

Thinking quickly, Sylvie identified some herbs from the garden, picking them with her spear and grinding them on the bed of vines with her gauntlet. After the collection of flowers was a thick paste, she scooped it up in her hand and gently rubbed it on the assassin’s forehead. “Here, this should bring down your fever.”

The fever lessened and Arlia began to calm down. She was unconscious now, but stable. Taking a second to catch her breath, Sylvie began to use her healing on Arlia’s head. Having never tried something like this before, it was a crapshoot at best, but it was all she had to try and fix the problem.

After a few minutes, Arlia’s eye fluttered open. “Where… am I?” The assassin asked, confused.

“You’re still in the garden. I was healing you.” She replied, softly panting.

“The Garden…” Arlia examined her surroundings. “That’s right… I came here to think, then you showed up… Sylvie. You seem familiar.”

“We met on my first day here, you said you hadn’t joined yet.” The forest girl continued.

“Right, sorry… my memory’s a bit fuzzy.” Arlia looked at the forest girl briefly before speaking further. “Can you promise to keep a secret?”

“Of course, I swear on Ahusirra that your secret's safe.” Sylvie nodded, kneeling down.

Arlai paused. She did not know why she trusted this person so much, but she did. “I am Lady Arlia Stormrend, Princess of the Kingdom of Stormrend.”

“A princess? Well, have no worry, such titles mean little to me.” The Healer responded, pushing herself up using her spear. “I have no reason to give your identity away.”

“Good,” Arlia smiled briefly. “I should get some sleep, it’s been awhile since I’ve done that.” The princess got up from the vine bed. “Until we meet again.”

“Of course. Come see me any time you need, you owe me no favors for this.” The Earth mage replied as the vine bed retracted back into the ground and Arlia walked away.
 

Dahlexpert

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2013
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#27
Dhalexpert & Zombiespliter53 Meeting a librarian
Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Library
jan 19 3349
11:25 AM

Charter looked at his dire wolf and rubbed his head. "Look Slone, I'm just going to be gone for a little bit, alright? I'm just going to go to the library. There are some books I want to check out." Slone walked near Charter's bed and laid down next to it. "That a boy." Charter put on some pants as well as a shirt. "Now then, I've never seen the library here. Hopefully it's good."

Charter left his room, and trailed around the manor. After a good few minutes of walking around, he finally did find the library. "Oh, here we are. Wow, this place is quiet impressive. Well then, let's see if they have any good books."

Suddenly, the quite of the room was broken by the shrill cry of a woman. "No! Get back! Help!" she cried from the corner of the room, somewhere beyond the bookshelves.

Charter rushed to the sound of the noise, wondering where the person was. "Hello!? Where are you? Can you please keep making noise so I can find you!?"

A Light Elf with blonde hair came running from around one of the corner, and practically jumped into Charter's arms. "Oh... hi." She shook her head. "Please, it's over there. Please, get rid of it!"

Charter pulled out his sword and slowly made his way to the corner of the room, when we turned around he saw a cockroach on one of the books. "A..Ar...Are you serious?"

"Ew, ew, EW!" The woman tugged at his shoulder. "Get it away from my books! Why won't anyone help me or my books!?"

Charter rolled his eyes. "Oh by the gods. This is a shame, but my duty is to help the innocent no matter how ridiculous." Charter used the tip of his sword and put it on the book, making sure not to damage any pages. The bug got on his sword. When it starts to crawl up it's sword, Charter put his sword back in it's sheathe.

"Alright it's dead, you can come out now."

The woman peaked out from behind him, and let out a long sigh of relief. "Thank you, mister. I know it's ridiculous, but when I see one of those... those vile, nasty, hideousthings, I..." She blushed, and lowered her eyes. "Well, I... thank you."

Charter put his hand on his head. "It's no problem at all. It's the duty of every knight to help the innocent. No matter how ridiculous. My name Charter. And who are you?"

"A knight, huh? Well I, dear sir, am called Esmeralda." She did a showy twirl and flashed him a big smile. "And I thank you for your valiant effort. If ever a humble librarian can pay you back, please let me know."

"My reward is my duty done, nothing more, but I was coming here to see if there were any books I can study for other tactic, and mostly to read."

Esmeralda giggled. "Well you've come to the right place!" A string of 'ssssh!'s rang out, and softer Esmeralda said, "Sorry, um... tactics, yes? I know where you can find what you need. Evermen'sArt of the Sword.Brilliant Tactics for the Not-So-Bright. Melando'sVictory from Adversity." She grabbed his arm and pulled. "Come, come. Follow me."

"Right, well thank you." Charter started to follow Esmeralda. "So question. Why are you scared of cockroaches? I mean, I'm aware that people have there own fear, but why those?"

"Why? Well, because they're icky, and slimy, and... and..." She said something more, but trailed off.

Charter couldn't help but chuckle at the woman. "You know it's kinda cute seeing someone panic like this. It makes for some interesting... well, development. Helps that you're cute too."

"Really? Wow, that's the second new guy to call me cute." Esmeralda looked around. "Want to know the real reason bugs like that scare me? But you have to keep it a secret."

"Sure, why not? Helps me get closer to others. I'm guessing it's some childhood thing?"

"No. If it was, it wouldn't be so silly. I developed it as an adult. Silly, huh?" Esmeralda sighed, and leaned against a bookshelf. "A few years ago, I was heading for one of the port towns south of here when I was nabbed but a bunch of bandits. They locked me in a cage like an animal. After I was rescued, I was told they were planning to sell me as a slave in a country where it is legal." She closed her eyes. "We don't have roaches in the country I'm from, and the school I attended after that was too clean for them. My first exposure to them was in that cage. I... I remember waking up one night to find them all over me. There must have been hundreds! I barely slept after that. Then, I... after biting into so of the slop they feed me..." She shuddered. "After that, I barely ate. I-I... I still have nightmares that I'm back in that cage, and it's filled with bugs. And I cry for help, but the people holding me are giant roaches! I scream... and they crawl into my mouth!"

Charter shuddered himself. "Okay, yeah, that's a legit fear. Slavers huh? Killed a few of those in my travels and freed their slaves. Makes me a bit happier if that was to be there fate." Charter rubbed Esmeralda's head. “Don’t worry, if you need help with those bugs again, just come and find me. I'm probably the only one that won't laugh about it."

She smiled at him. "Thanks, sir knight. I appreciate that." She suddenly jumped up, grabbing a rolling ladder and scanning the books on the second to top shelf. "And you're right about that. People do laugh at me. But then, they often laugh at my kind. I've started to get used to it. Probably would have been easier if I grew up with it, but my people were equal in the eyes of the others back home."

"People arecruel to light Elves, for stupid reasons. Well, you don't have to worry about that from me."

"I know. There are quite a few here that are so understanding. Though... there are a few that I'm a little weird." She flipped back, looking at Charter upside down with her legs keeping her from falling. "But weird is subjective, right? And not always bad. That's what I think anyway."

"That it is. I mean, I'm a former mercenary that took no money and who has a pet dire wolf."

Esmeralda laughed. "Yeah, that is weird in a great way!" She flipped back up. "So what is your weapon of choice, sir knight?"

"A sword and shield, though I can use other weapons. Such as a mace, long swords, battle axes, bows and arrows. Most weapons I'm good with." Charter pull his sword half way out so Esmeralda didsn't freak out. "But my sword and shield is my bread and butter."
 

Dahlexpert

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2013
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#28
Part 2

"Okay... here you go!" Esmeralda slid down. "This isSword and Board: The Art of Offense and Defense Combined, by Ailaeth Shadowscribe. I think you'll like it. Shadowscribe was a big name during the Nocturum War 300 years ago."

"Great, thank you for this." Charter took the book and taped the edge of it. "Hey, you wouldn't happen to have any magic books will you? And know I don't know any magic, I just like reading the books."

Esmeralda let out a happy sigh as she led him to another section of the library. "Yeah, books are great, huh? They entertain, they educate, they keep your mind sharp. I can get lost in the worlds my precious books provide me with. They're magical all in their own right."

"Indeed they are, but for a non-magic user such as me, reading about people that can use magic is just amazing, and seeing their work is incredible to."

Esmeralda giggled, forming a swirl of wind underneath her a ridding it. "I can understand that. I have some good books you might like if you're up for suggestions."

"Oh,u you're a magic user yourself. Good thing those slavers didn't sell you off. Would have been a waste of your talents."

Esmeralda laughed. "Yeah, I guess so. You have a very optimistic way of looking at things, sir knight. It is very refreshing considering how a lot of people call my optimism childish." They stopped in the far corner of the room, which the Light Elf had apparently turned into a makeshift bedroom. She quickly started combing through the dozens and dozens of books there. "Where are you from, by the way?"

"I'm from Miranda, one of the more progressive places around. Parents taught me to be nice to all the other races. Or at least give them a chance."

"That does explain some things. I guess I owe at least some of your charm to your parents then." She walked over to Charter with a pair of books. "Here you go. Two of my personal favorites. I've read them both half a dozen times. For some known fiction, this one is about clever uses of magic enhancing items and how to make them, while this one is a wonderful story of two brothers using their magic and facing difficult challenges in a quest to save their little sister. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did."

"Hmm, I'm sure I will, thank you." Charter reached into his bag, and offered some books to Esmeralda. "Here, this book is about making potions for healing and for poison, and this one is about a man who actually studied dragons. I hope they're useful to you."

Esmeralda and held them tightly against her bosom, practically cradling them. "I shall treat them better them the finest, most expensive jewelry, and read them cover to cover, and study them down to the punctuation marks. Thank you, sir knight. I... I hope this means we are good friends now. Where I come from, an exchange of books means as much."

"Of course, after all I did, like saving a lovely maiden from a cockroach, the very thing she fears." Charter walked up to Esmeralda and held her hand. "And if you ever need me again, all you have to do is ask."

"Thank you... sir knight." The young light Elf bowed her head. "Well, um... I should get back to work before the boss accuses me of slaking again." She smiled up at Charter for a few silent seconds before rushing off, calling back, "see you again soon."

"Right, sure thing." Charter exited the library, once out he unshethed this sword and saw the cockroach is still alive. Charter picked up the bug, put it on the ground and stomped on it. "Hmm, interesting girl, it would seem me joining the guild was the best idea after all."
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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#29
Unforeseen Spectral Strife

Venakin Castle
South of Havenbrook Manor
Jan. 19, 3349
1:44 pm


The door to the old castle opened with quite a bit of resistance, the hinges rusted and stubborn after years of neglect. The squeal they let out reverberated and echoed throughout the hall beyond, seeming to get louder and louder until it finally died down. Crizden entered, looking a bit pale as he scanned the entrance hall, so large it made the entrance to the Guildhouse look like the entrance to a Stormrend apartment.

His eyes nervously darted about as he kept his hands near his daggers, fidgety as a chipmunk surrounded by cats. "Why did I volunteer for this scouting mission again?" he asked himself. "O-oh yeah... because it was easy money." Still, he couldn't help but regret insisting he go alone, his greed for a lone payment overriding his sense of self-preservation. Still, as long as he didn't anger the residents on the roof, it was a quick, easy job, right? Pop in, make sure the target was still here, and go home.

Crizden didn't notice the slight disturbance in the space before him before he reached it. Taking human shape, the nearly invisible being turned to face him, becoming quite more solid looking as it did. For once, Crizden was happy to be alone, as there was no one to laugh at his rather feminine scream of fear. The being before him had the visage of a young maiden, her dress of an older style, her skin pale white, ethereal blood leaking from the gash across her neck.

With an annoyed sneer, Crizden drew a dagger and slashed at it. Dust flew out of the 'wound', and it backed away. "Stupid spooks. Back off." He walked around it, trying to pay it no mind. He did the same for another he passed. Then another. As he reached the stairs, a chill ran down his spine, and he turned. Four of them were behind him, and they were slowly approaching. "What do you want?!" he snapped, stepping down and walking up to them. "If you think you can scare me with this creep show, I've got news f-"

He grunted in pain, and looked down. They all held knives he hadn't noticed, or they had somehow hidden. One of them slowly pressed its knife into Crizden's side. Adrenaline kicked in. He slashed his attackers hand, doing no real damage but forcing it to release the knife. He darted to the side, hold the knife steady to avoid spilling too much blood. "Gotta... get out..." He rushed for the door. More and more of them came into view, each armed. The door was in view. Only a few more seconds.

Four appeared between him and the door. One stepped forward, holding its severed head out. It let out a shrill, soul shaking scream that made Crizden's heart skip a beat and his head pound in agony. He retreated, quickly making his way to the other set of stairs and to the second floor. Pain and blood loss was starting to catch up with him. He held a hand over a dagger, trying to infuse it with magic, but couldn't concentrate. "Have to... escape. Have to... warn the others."

Suddenly, salvation. A gust of wind slammed into a large window, throwing it open. He could escape out the window! He could climb along the outside, and find somewhere to climb down. He dashed for the provided exit, a smile crossing his face. A hopeful smile.

Then, just as he reached it, he had a split second to see that hope dash before the large scythe from the hovering figure slashed forward. Crizden's body flopped to the floor, his head rolling to a stop next to it. His dead ears could no longer hear the sound of the large door downstairs creaking as it closed.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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#30
Frostlich & ZombieSplitter53
A Question of Beliefs


Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
The Library

Jan. 19, 3349
2:00 pm


Stepping into the humongous library for the first time, Sylvie was understandably blown away. Her old home had nary a small shack dedicated to the keeping of the books that had been sold to the village over the years. The collection was far more extensive than anything that she had ever seen in a single place.

The huntress quickly fluffed out her flowing dress and she began to scan the titles top to bottom, despite how long it would obvious take.

“Well, well. The flower princess finally left the garden,” a female voice said, approaching from behind. “I am surprised. Not looking for a book on nature, are you?”

“Perhaps… I’m not looking for anything specific, besides, I’m not sure how I’d even find it in all this…” Her voice trailed off.

“Confusion? Mess? Over indulgence of an arrogant, rich family and an obsessive bibliophile?” The woman stepped next to her. “Yeah, I can see that being a problem. Though with you being from such small stocks, I’m sure a lot catches you by surprise.”

“Now, is that any way to introduce yourself,” said a male voice.”You searched her out, and the first thing you do is mock her, insult her boss, insult the librarian, and then insult her. Honestly, where are your manners?”

Finally turning around at the addition of the second voice, she cast her eyes on the two people talking to her. The woman had violet hair and a youthful smile, if a bit mischievous, and a brilliant purple dress. The man was tall and wore white armor made to not only protect, but to allow movement. He had a large shoulder guard like a metal wing, and the top half of his head was covered in a mask. The both appeared to be human. “I’m just opening things up with a few jokes. I didn’t insult you, did I Sylvie?”

“You know my name.” The healer responded simply, “Does that make you two fellow hunters?”

“Of sorts,” the man answered. “I certainly am a hunter. You could say the hunt defines me. Though my niece here is more about bringing life then taking it. That might be why she insisted you search you out.” He gave a graceful bow. “You can call me… Rent. And her name is Rin.”

“More of a great uncle then an uncle, though he doesn’t like to be reminded of that. Makes him feel old.” Rin ignored the look she was probably getting from him.

“Why? Age isn’t something to be frowned upon, it is something to be looked up to.” Sylvie stated, taking a closer look at their elaborate armor.

The woman’s armor didn’t look to be armor at all unless there was something unseen about it, though it could have just been that she was a long range fighter using magic. The man’s armor, on the other hand, was amazingly detailed and intricate, obviously made by a master. It had a hawk motif, the head guard like a hawk’s head, wing like guards on his left shoulder and right hip. A dagger was tied to his waist, but clearly his main weapon as the amazing longbow on his back. He seemed the stoic type, but gave a small smile. “I agree, Sylvie. Especially when I don’t plan on my years ever catching up on me.”

“Well, of course they won’t,” Rin said with a roll of the eyes. “So, Sylvie, is it true you’re from a super secret, hard to find, hush hush, down to earth forest village?”

“I suppose so, although we have never hidden our existence, it’s just how things… worked out?” The Green haired girl attempted to explain.

“I guess I get that.” Rin shrugged. “In the end, no one is hidden from the gods, and it’s them knowing where you are that really matters, right?”

“Those with foul intentions have a hard time finding their way to our home, sometimes it can even be lethal.” Sylvie explained, “Ahusirra makes sure to keep it that way, I don’t know if she has any connections to your various gods.”

“Ahusirra, huh?” Rent leaned against the bookshelf. “Another reason even I wished to meet you. What can you tell me about this patron goddess of your people?”

“Ahusirra is a goddess of fertility and protector of our lands. My father told me that she watches over all of us closely, kindly and gently, all without needing to reveal herself. However, she will also protect us ferociously from those she deems to be threats.” The Earth mage explained, “She does all of this because we are her children.”

“That’s sweet. It really is. But, um…” Rin scratched her chin. “If she never reveals herself, how do you know she even exists?”

Sylvie’s face turned a little more grim, “Because she leaves those most heinous defilers as warnings. We sometimes find them strung up in the trees, vines wrapped around them.”

“Grim.” Rent adjust his arm guards. “I don’t want to try and put down your beliefs, but is it possible some monster does that, and your people eventually incorporated that into the belief?” He smile. “Though I’m guessing a factor of faith is involved, yes?”

“There is more though, things less… unfortunate.” The hunter girl said, changing her tone. “Our crops for one, are plentiful almost all year around, even in the winter they are resilient. There are also these older trees in the woods that we venerate, called maiden trees. These trees take the form of women and are well maintained by the goddess herself, kept strong and healthy through even the most adverse weather.”

“Nice to hear she can be as pleasant as she is spiteful.” Rin laughed. “Guess even unknown goddesses can be like a typical mother.” She slinked over and wrapped her arm around Sylvie’s shoulder. “And where do you play into this? I’m sure it is no coincidence that a village supposedly protected by a nature goddess living apart from the gods of Ethereum happens to have a young woman from it with incredible Earth magic powers.”

“I suppose my family is truest proof of her existence.” The healer continued. “Me, my mother, and her mother before her, going back as long as anyone can really remember, have all been Earth Mages and all women. It is said that my bloodline is blessed by Ahusirra herself and that we are more in tune with nature. However, I don’t really know why, no one really does, still you cannot deny it.”

“I suppose not. It is quite the power indeed, and less the Ethereum god of Nature or goddess of Fertility claim responsibility, your power has to come from somewhere,” Rent agreed.

“Speaking of the other gods…” Rin twirled a strand of hair around her finger. “Do you, like… shun them? I guess you don’t need them when you have your own goddess, huh?”

“Are you asking me if we push them and their followers away? We do not, we acknowledge them, however, our patron deity of course comes first and foremost and is the only god we worship.” Sylvie added, leaning up against the shelf behind her.

“Mmm… so even if a god or goddess herself walked up to you, and was like…” Rin stepped back, pointing at Sylvie and putting on her best war face. “Sylvie, I am so-and-so, goddess of yummy food and parties and junk! You she bow to my and accept me as your true goddess, not whatever her name is!” She smiled. “You’d tell them to piss off?”

The Forest girl laughed before speaking, “I would decline yes, especially after my lady gifted me with these abilities, it would terrible to betray her. I would likely be shunned if I ever tried to return home after something like that.”

“Your loyalty is admirable… hypothetical or otherwise.” Rent stepped away from the shelf. “A shame for the Ethereum goddess of fertility. To have an ally like you in the mortal world would strengthen her and assist in her purpose.”

“The same could be said of the god of nature,” Rin added.

Rent nodded. “Indeed. Though considering your loyalty to Ahusirra, whether she be a goddess or not, and the work you do to bring life to this world is admirable. The gods would be smart to leave you be and let you do your own thing.”

“That’s certainly an open minded view, my father feared that as soon as people learned I worshipped a ‘false deity’ I would be shunned.” She said, standing up right once more and stretching.

“Well, some might shun you. In fact, some will shun you.” Rent smiled. “But you believe what you want to believe. You obviously don’t step on the twos of those who worship their gods, so don’t pay too much mind to those that step on yours.” He nudged his head. “Come on, Rin. I believe the young lady was looking for a good book to read.”

“Yeah, I’m coming.” Rin grasped Sylvie’s hands. “It was a pleasure to meet you.”

“The same… but…” The hunter stopped them, “How did you two know my name? And where I’m from?”

Rin giggled. “Let’s just say we took a liking to you and kept our ears open.” With that piece of crypticness, she ran past Rent and around the corner.

“Let’s share hunting tips sometime,” Rent said, following after his niece.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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#31
Gargoyle Bookends
Location: Venakin Castle, Serasam
Client: Havenbrook Organization
Target: Mature Gargoyle


Info:


A recent attack on the Havenbrook Manor during maintenance of the magical barrier was dealt with swiftly and efficiently, leading to minimal damage to the manor and some major injuries but no fatalities. Unfortunately, Lady Havenbrook lost two of her beloved gargoyles in the attack. Rather than replace them with two equally weak gargoyles, she wishes to get one strong one instead.

Sitting high above the manor's entrance is a rather large gargoyle, the strongest of the bunch. Looking at it, one might think it one of a kind, but Lady Havenbrook knows better. It has a double, possibly a brother or some other relative, located in Venakin Castle. During an expedition there years ago, her hunters were able to capture one gargoyle but not the other. Your job is to travel to Venakin Castle, climb to the top where the gargoyles nest, and capture it using a Gargoyle Charm. Under no circumstances are you to kill it.

Castle Venakin was once host to a series of gruesome murders. Peter Venakin, former lord of the castle, once invited unaware travelers into his home where he would murder them, often in their sleep. He was assaulted by a gang of enraged citizens from the nearby villages when the truth came out, and died when he leaped from a balcony, cackling madly as though he expected to survive the fall. The truth of his motivations died with him (and the servants he slaughtered before the villagers arrived), though considering his favorite method of murder seemed to be carefully slitting his victims' throats and draining their blood, some believe, in his madness, he thought he could escape death by drinking blood to become a vampire.

The castle has, over the decades, been cleared of all its belongings and valuables, but no one has wished to claim the residence itself. Many believe it to be cursed, and not helping that belief is the dozens of ghosts that haunt the halls. These ghosts have never been harmful, but they are naturally unsettling, and attempts to exorcise them have failed. The gargoyles should be the only danger in this mission, but be on your guard should anything else have taken residence in the castle.

*****

Near Venakin Castle
South of Havenbrook Manor
Jan. 21st, 3349
10:34 pm


After nearly a day and a half of travelling south, the Hunter’s of Havenbrook were approaching their target. Eraqus looked around the medium sized carriage at the five men and women accompanying him. The first was the corrupted Elf Zulik, who had a sinister countenance but his field performance was yet to be shown. Then there was the team of Solomon and Sela, whom Lady Havenbrook was eager to see in action together, and the Fly Thrope Betty, whose knowledge with tech would come in handy should something go wrong with the Gargoyle charm. Finally, the last member - named Ferron Evenook - was a youthful archer who came with high regards from a local lord… though had the green look of a man who had seen very little actual combat.

“We’ll be there in just a few minutes,” Eraqus stated. “Gargoyles are primarily nocturnal, so we’ll be going in at night. Otherwise, we would have a hell of a time finding where the target hides out to sleep. Should be fine though. Gargoyles are a nasty lot, but unless we let our guards down, the six of us should be more than enough to get the job down. Anyone have any questions or concerns before we arrive?”

“I’d still rather go hunting for statues during the day rather than skulk around a haunted castle at night, but…” Sela shrugged helplessly. “Not up to me. I’ll defer to your judgement.”

“I trust our senior hunter’s experience. We’ll just need to be wary,” Solomon spoke - both to reassure his pupil and reaffirm their commitment to the plan to Eraqus.

Eraqus nodded to him, and turned his head to Betty. “Have you ever dealt with Gargoyle charms?” he asked, pulling what appeared to be a slightly glowing bracelet out of his satchel.

The Thrope girl examined it as the carriage moved. Something was off about the girl’s image, clearly it was the lack of her usual companion, who had stayed behind at the manor. Nevertheless, she quickly handed it back, “Not…really. Although I’m zure I can figure it out if it breaks.”

“Good, because I sure as hell don’t know how it works…” The older Hunter next turned to Zulik. “With your… you know, being corrupted thing, you’re pretty good at detecting dark energies, right?”

“You could say that, but that unfortunately works both ways.” Zulik responded. “I’ve found that spells meant to track undead and evil can also be used to track me. But for the most part, I should be able find the creatures we are looking for - especially any corrupted ones.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Doubt a bunch of harmless ghosts will care to search you out.” The carriage slowed to a stop, and Eraqus held the door open while they piled out. “Well, we have someone to keep an eye out for trouble, someone to worry about the tech, two people with time magic…”

“And… me?” Ferron asked as he climbed out.

Eraqus slapped him on the back. “You’re an archer, right? Use those keen eyes once we’re on top and make sure nothing sneaks up on us.” He turned to the castle as the others climbed out. “We had a scout who was supposed to make sure the Gargoyle was still here, but we haven’t heard from him. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t. Really big. Broken left horn. Mean look. You can’t miss it.” He turned back to the others to make sure they were prepared. With everyone looking ready to go, he led them through the massive doors.

The castle was relatively small by castle standards, but still bigger than the Havenbrook Manor. The group gathered in the entrance hall, filled with fancy, somewhat tacky rugs and curtains. Suits of armor lined the walls, and large support pillars stood throughout. Oddly enough, there were a number of candles - attached to the pillars and separate stands - that were lit, giving the room an eerie glow. A musty scent was suffused through the air - a product of decades of abandonment. It was unsettlingly quiet, the stillness more unnerving than the thought of the fight ahead for several of the hunters.

“Alright…” Eraqus said after a few moments. “Everyone spread out. Our target location is the library upstairs, but first I want to make sure this room is secure. Wouldn’t do if a random beasty or bandit was here and it backstabbed us. But don’t leave this hall. I don’t want anyone getting lost. Meet me by the stairs up ahead in three minutes.”

Solomon took point, securing the swathe of the entrance hallway in front of the doors first. Sela followed behind him, her halberd resting on her shoulder – ready to be used at a moment’s notice. For his part, the elf’s master had his shield prepared for similarly-quick response time. He remained calmly vigilant, though as of yet had nothing to put him on high alert. The castle, while unsettlingly lit and eerily quiet, showed no immediate signs of danger. And as gargoyles preferred spaces high-up and open to the sky, it was unlikely one would come bursting through the door.

“Certainly doesn’t seem like the place a squatter would occupy,” the Temporal Knight remarked.

“But it’s the perfect place for spooks.” Sela shook her helmeted head, scanning back and forth for any sign of trouble. “Puts me on edge. You start thinking about the possibilities, you know? The lights could be put out by a gust of spectral wind–”

“And then you could reignite them,” Solomon offered.

“Hey… that’s a good point.” Sela relaxed slightly at those words. “Having a means to produce light makes enclosed spaces less scary.”

Solomon nodded. “It does indeed.”

Betty slowly split off to the right of the party, checking behind some dusty shelves. As she moved it, a cloud of particles rolled off, floating down to the floor like a thick fog. Seeing nothing, the Thrope was about to head back before she saw a glimmer catch her eye, under the dust behind the shelf was what looked to be a gold necklace that had long since lost its luster. Betty felt something compel her to look closer, however as her fingers wrapped around it, a chill suddenly shot through her spine. Reasonably unnerved, the engineer quickly decided it was best to leave the amulet where it lay as she quickly rejoined the group. “Zis place gives me goosebumps… It’s zo cold in here.”

Zulik wander the area, checking for any sign of spectral activity or gargoyle presence. He could feel the presence of the spirits with every step he made, though he could not see them just yet. He looked around the area he was in one more time before heading back to the group. “The ghosts are very much here, but they seem to be inactive right now… something seems wrong here…”

“Something wrong?” Ferron laughed grimly as he walked over. “What could possibly be wrong with a castle known to be full of g-” He noticed the distortion before him too late to stop, and walk though a ghost that appeared before him. A chill ran through his whole body, and he feared his heart would leap out of his chest. “C-c-c-can w-we get out o-of here?”

Eraqus paid him no mind, examining a stain on the carpet before the stairs. “Blood… relatively fresh. Hope this isn’t Crizden’s blood.” He stood up and looked around. He noticed a ghost that started to manifest nearby. Then another. Then another. “Zulik… scan the area for dark forces. And concentrate to see if you can cut through the natural darkness this place already has.”
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
Staff member
May 27, 2013
6,050
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
#32
Gargoyle Bookends
Part Two


Zulik began to concentrate his energy to see what darkness would lurk in the ghost and other possible ghosts. Having sensed the threat before them, he immediately throw a fireball at one of the ghosts. “Everyone on guard, these ghost aren’t as harmless as we were led to believe.”

One of them charged forward, more open in a silent scream, a knife pointed forward. As it became more solid, Eraqus swung his broadsword. The spectral being fell back, dust flying out of it in place of blood. “Damn! They’ve never been… watch all directions! Use magic if you can! If you can’t, wait until they are just about to attack to hit them!”

As the Hunters spread out a bit to avoid hitting each other, a particularly grisly looked spectre floated up, and attempted to hit Betty from above. The Thrope was able to spot this quickly however, giving her time to quickly hop backwards towards her group. The engineer quickly wound up a punch with her gauntlet, sending it forwards and expelling a gout of steam from behind it. The force would have broken every bone in the target’s chest if it had any bones. Instead, it sent the spirit flying into and through a wall.

“Oh, man! No one…” Ferron ducked. “No one said I’d be fighting ghosts on this job!” He shot an arrow into the face of one of the ghosts. He fired at another, but too soon, the arrow simply going through it. He had to fall onto his back to avoid getting a knife through the face. It continued its charge, but Eraqus slashed it through its waist, his sword glowing with a light red glow of magic infusion.

Zulik punched the ghost in front of him with his burning gauntlet. He saw a ghost attacking Betty from behind and swiftly wrapped a void chain around it’s neck. He tightened the chain and locked it. “You can stay there for a while.” He muttered as he placed the other end of the chain onto one of the pillars.

“Sela, clear the air around us,” Solomon instructed, maintaining a defensive stance at the moment.

“Got it.” The elf held her halberd forward, laid diagonally across her hands. A thin cord of flame spread out from either end, shooting forward and then drawing out a ring around the party. The circle of fire may not have been intensely hot or thick, but it was enough to sever any ghosts that tried to pass through it. Any that weren’t outright dissipated by being cut in half were too disoriented by the damage to defend themselves.

“Good, nice to have a moment to breath…” Eraqus’ eyes and head darted back and forth as he assessed the situation. “Too many between here and the exit. I’d lose at least one on the way out… maybe two…” He looked back. Nothing was on the stairs! “Sela, open a path behind us! Everyone, retreat up!”

The path opening behind them, the team made a break for the upper floor. The spectres were many, and were dangerous, but they were in no rush. Soon, the Hunters were able to get a breather. “This is crazy,” Ferron muttered. “Why I ever…” He slipped forward, and fell flat on his face. Reaching back to grab the thing he tripped on, he yelped at the sight of a severed head. He dropped it, and it slowly rolled to the body it once belonged to.

“Damn…” Eraqus slowly shook his head, and reached into his pack. “Crizden was a good man. Had so much potential. But he was always too reckless for his own good.” Glancing back, he said, “Betty, can you help me?” He extended his hand, offering her a large bag of what appeared to be salt.

Looking away from the grisly sight of the body, Betty picked the bag of salt out of his hand. “Ah! We’re making a barrier, no?”

The Elf hunter nodded. “Draw a line with it across the hall. It won’t stop anything from coming through the floor, but it’ll stop them from coming down the hall. Use what’s left on Crizden’s body so we can salt and burn it. I really don’t want to fight his ghost.” Trusting that to Betty, Eraqus walked over to his female Elf teammate. “You have a scattershot, right?”

Sela tapped the snubnose shotgun on her right hip. “I do… are you wanting to take a bunch of them out in one go?”

“Hoping to.” Eraqus pulled out three odd looking shells and handed them to her. “Rocksalt. Non-lethal to regular enemies, but they hurt like hell against supernatural beings. I only have the three though, so use them wisely.”

Sela put away her halberd - having no use for it at the moment anyway - and took the unique ammunition, swapping out what was currently in her shotgun for one of the rocksalt capsules. “Gotcha. I’ll keep this stuff at the ready.”

Eraqus nodded. “Zulik?” He walked over to the chaos Elf. “These ghost were not hostile before. Something is making them so. I’m gonna need you to find it. I know it isn’t going to be easy with all the darkness in this place, but find the place where the evil is the most concentrated.”

Zulik began channeling his energy to find that most powerful dark being in the area. He barely managed to pinpoint the origin, but it appeared to be stronger than the spirits. “In the center of this castile, there is a far stronger force that seems to be controlling the other ghosts. If it’s as corrupted as I think it is, than I should be able to drain it of its energy. That won’t kill the entity, but it will weaken it.”

“Alright… let’s get it before it does to us what it did to Crizden.” He motioned for the others to follow, tossing a fireball at his salted former ally to remove him from a place that would surely have left his soul cursed. Knowing the castle from the first time he was here years ago, he led the others to the library in the center of the building. It was actually smaller than the Havenbrook library, but still quite large. Books were thrown about with little care, in a way that would have broken Esmeralda's heart. As the stepped in, they noted a dozen vengeful spirits staring at them, but none moved at first. Eraqus pointed up, and everyone’s attention turn to the floating being in the center of the room. It was in a black cloak, so dark that it seemed to absorb the light around it. All that could be seen under the hood was a wicked smile, and the creature lifted a scythe as large as its body. It cackled and pointed its weapon forward, and the ghosts charged.

“This is going to sound like a stupid idea, but cluster together for a second,” Sela requested. “That’ll give me a clear shot when they converge on us.”

Eraqus nodded. “Good idea. Everyone, hold your ground.” Everyone stayed still, tense but trying to remain calm. Ferron fidgeted, ready to flee as the spectres closed in, but Eraqus placed a hand on his shoulder. “Steady. Trust your teammates.”

The ghosts got closer. And closer. The phantom above laughed loudly, ready to watch the group die horribly. And then, with a loud crack - thundering like a miniature bolt of lightning had gone off inside Sela’s scattergun - a spray of salty buckshot shredded the ghastly mob.

The phantom screeched in anger as all but a few of his ghosts either vanished into the aether or sunk below the floor. “Clean them up!” Eraqus shouted, and charged past the remaining ghost. He locked blades with the attacking phantom’s scythe, giving the others a chance to get rid of the rest of the ghosts and hopefully back him up.

Zulik, however, had other plans, which involved helping Eraqus. He rushed forward while the phantom was distracted by the Elf to attempt to grabbed the creature by its throat… and begin draining it of it’s power. It cried out in anger, not expecting something like this to happen. Around the room, the remaining ghosts seemed to lose interest, going about their own business again. Enraged, the phantom knocked Zulik away, and charged for the door. Betty stood in its way, and it brandished its weapon, ready to cut her down on the way out.

Betty kept her cool as it rushed towards her, waiting for just the right opportunity. When the wraith reached a candlestick on the ground about four feet away from her, the Thrope sprung her trap, quickly unlatching her pistol and firing at the reaper. However, instead of the normal lead shot, a spray of purifying salt blasted from the cannon - Betty having saved some of it earlier and packed it into her pistol for later.

The flames and salt danced about the being’s body, and it let out a soul crushing screech of pain as what little power it had left drained away. Desperate now, with only one option left to let it survive, it rushed Solomon, looking to possess his body. The Temporal Knight raised his shield in response, a bubbling cloak of water surrounding the metal slab.

The purifying effect of the water was the final nail in the coffin. Where it would have normally passed through the shield, it bounced off and slammed into the ground. A mist slowly rose off of it lost the strength to maintain its body. “Thank the gods,” Ferron muttered, pulling out a knife and stabbing at its head. It passed through it and slammed into the ground before the phantom disappeared, only its cloak left behind. “Oh, man,” Ferron mutter, looking over the knife he had chipped.

“Serves you right for trying to steal that kill.” Eraqus looked over everyone. “As for the rest of you, nice shooting Sela. Reckless but effective, Zulik. Quick thinking, Betty. Nice reflexes, Solomon.” He examined them to make sure they weren’t injured, and waved for them to follow, still having a target to find.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
Staff member
May 27, 2013
6,050
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
#33
Gargoyle Bookends
Part Three


Luckily, the library was where they need to go anyway, as a large window led outside to walkway, which led them right to the gargoyle territory. As the others looked around, Eraqus waved for Solomon to come over. “You ever deal with these things before?”

“Only once before,” the Temporal Knight replied. “And on that occasion I was not sent to capture one, merely kill. Although…” Solomon gazed over the outer walkway, and nodded. “I should be able to set up a rather easy capture, provided I can get close to the beast while ‘tis grounded.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.” Eraqus looked forward, and shouted, “Ferron, stop!”

Ferron stopped dead in his tracks. “W-what did… I do?” Looking back, he noted the team leader point. Following the direction of his finger, he noted what looked like a stone statue of a demon a few feet away. “What? I… oh…” He slowly took a few stepped back.

“Boy is going to get himself killed,” Eraqus muttered. “Alright, everyone. We are going to draw out our prey. The big boss will come out to defend its underlings. Betty? Mind taking a shot at that guy sitting on the ground?”

“Zimple enough.” She nodded, loading her pistol and, after thirty seconds, took aim, firing at it’s head. The beast flinched and screeched angrily. Crawling on all fours, it charged Betty, only for Eraqus to swing his sword under it and send it flying into the air.

“Wait for it,” he said, and smiled as it started letting out loud cries, ones that were echoed as more gargoyles took flight. “Alright, everyone. It’s hunting time. Take them out, but do not hit the big one if you see him!”

Noticing two Gargoyles in their solid state, Zulik decided to take advantage of his extra power. He shot a void chain at each of the gargoyles and pulled them towards each other in attempt to bash their heads together. In their stone state, the force was enough to bash their heads like a pair of rocks, the pair collapsing to the ground.

The Fly Thrope quickly moved up, catching the attention of one of the medium sized gargoyles. She paced to the side slowly as it glared at her, ready to pounce, “Come here little guy, I’m ready for you…”

After another brief pause, the stone monster lunged forward with its teeth bared. Betty quickly shoved her gauntlet in its mouth. Thanks to Ed’s upgrades, the new material held up well to the pressure of the beast’s jaw. Taking her pistol, Betty fired a shot point blank into the creature’s eye. It shrieked sharply, thrashing around without opening its mouth, causing the girl to be tossed around with it. Betty regained her footing quickly however, continuously slamming the butt of the pistol into the damaged eye, eventually dazing the creature and forcing it to let go. An opening now made, Betty put her all her weight behind two swift punches with her gauntlet: a haymaker from the right side that slammed into and cracked its head, then an uppercut to the jaw which obliterated the already-weakened stone.

Here, with a more open space to work with, and enemies that were much more conventional, the two Kemarian knights proved their mettle. Ever-eager in combat, Sela strode forward as one of the gargoyles touched down in front of her, the lesser guardian letting out an impish screech. In response to its challenge, the elven squire gripped her halberd in two hands, and lunged with a vicious downstroke. The gargoyle darted back with a buffet of its wings, trying to stagger her as it avoided the attack. The golden-armored warrior merely grinned, standing her ground.

“You aren’t a dragon. Try again,” Sela taunted, putting a hand on her hip.

The gargoyle let out a guttural growl, and its skin hardened and greyed further. Now able to take one of her halberd hits directly, but a bit slower due to its increased weight, the living statue charged forward again, swiping its claws wildly. Seeing that her weapon would now be of little use, Sela nimbly backpedaled, swinging around Solomon and letting him take point. The older knight blocked the rush of slashes from the gargoyle with his shield, waiting until it tired itself out from the volley. Once it had, he pushed the defensive implement forward to stagger it - giving him the opportunity to swap out to his hammer while it clutched its head in pain.

The gargoyle lowered its claws in time to see the blacksmith’s warhammer come crashing down towards it. Like a mason demolishing a derelict building, Solomon hit the beast with enough force that half of its head chipped away into chunks of stone and dusty powder. Dealt a lethal blow, it wobbled, and then tumbled off the side of the building. “Ha-ha!” Solomon called out victoriously, eyeing a newly-landed pair of gargoyles. “Come and try your luck.”

“But don’t expect Fortuna to smile upon you today,” Sela amended, thrusting her spear out from Solomon’s side as one of them charged. She impaled it, and tossed it off the side of the building. The other, not wanting to suffer the same fate as its two compatriots, backed off.

Ferron wasn’t the bravest of the bunch, but his archery was up to snuff. With the confidence that came from Eraqus watching his back, he let his arrows fly, striking one gargoyle after another. He reached back, and frowned as he grabbed his last arrow. “There,” Eraqus said, pointing at a particularly large gargoyle charging to join the fray. “Hit it between the eyes. You can do it, right?”

Ferron raised an eyebrow. “At this angle, maybe. But I thought we weren’t supposed to kill it.”

“Trust me,” the leader said, slashing at another Gargoyle.

Ferron frowned, and took steady aim. Taking in a deep breath and holding it, he launched the arrow, striking the largest best in the head… only for it to plink off its hardened head. “Um… Eraqus?” Ferron muttered as the Gargoyle leader swooped towards him. He looked back, but Eraqus was nowhere in sight. “Eraqus!?” The Gargoyle landed on the walkway, the other beasts backing off as it slowly stalked its prey. “I’m dead,” Ferron whispered, sure he was about to meet his makers.

And then, Solomon’s hammer hit the greater guardian - although ‘hit’ perhaps was too strong a word. The seasoned hunter merely needed to make the lightest of contact, a small tap on its forehead - and then he activated his stasis prism. A hexagonal prison encased the two, draining all the color from beast and hunter until the pair were frozen like statues, their time stopped.

“Sela!” Eraqus shouted, tossing the gargoyle charm to her. “Put it on its wrist or ankle before the spell ends!”

The elf took it. “Uh… I can’t actually do that. I can get ready to the minute the prism dissipates, but if I try and touch them now I’ll get frozen too,” she warned whilst approaching the suspended pair.

“Oh… um, yeah… do that.” Eraqus’s head sulked down, looking a bit embarrassed, each second that ticked by making him feel even more embarrassed.

Finally, color returned to the two combatants. Sela lunged for the Gargoyle’s ankle, throwing the charm around it. It flashed a bright blue for a moment before the color died down. The creature’s eyes flashed blue, and it relaxed. Despite its demonic countenance, it looked like a subdued pet. The other gargoyles circled above, unsure how to respond. Seeing their leader not doing anything, they took his example and flew off to their previous locations. Interestingly enough, this included the very first gargoyle, injured but alive as it returned to its resting spot on the walkway.

Eraqus gave Solomon a small smile. “That’s quite the attack. Glad I saw it without it being used on me. I’ll have to keep an eye on you and those time spells.”

Solomon shrugged. “I wouldn’t call it an attack, even. The stasis prism merely takes myself and a chosen enemy out of the fight for a time. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“More than I could do,” Ferron muttered, not very happy about being the bait.

“You played your part well,” Eraqus said encouragingly. “You all did. Whether it be experience shining through, unique abilities, or surprising innovation from our engineer here, I was impressed. I’ll have a lot of positive reports for Lady Havenbrook.” He patted the Gargoyle on the shoulder, and hit a small button on the charm. Linking it with a magical signal from the north, it took flight, heading off into the moonlight towards its new home.

As they watched it fly away, Betty smiled, an epiphany hitting her. “Ah! I zink I’ve got it! The metal on the bracelet absorbs and changes the flow of magic in the Gargoyle’s body, making it docile. Zhen, all one must do is create a zignal beacon for it to guard and protect!”

Eraqus blinked a few times, and smiled at her, scratching his cheek. “That is… a very clever assessment. You really are an engineering marvel, huh?” He laughed, hoping no one noticed that someone so much younger then him and less experienced him probably figured something out her had zero clue about embarrassed the hell out of him. “C-come on… let’s go home.”
 

ExoGrim

Active Member
Nov 13, 2015
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Washington state
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#34
ExoGrim and Lyte: The Newcomer


It was around mid-morning during the beginning of the week. The air was not too bitingly cold, not that it made much difference to the lone soul walking down the forested road alone. He was draped in a black cloak that was made of cheap wool, and bought not too long ago to look inconspicuous on his way to the famous Havenbrook Manor. What he didn’t realize was it had the opposite effect. Not being of the land, the strange looks and multiple attempts on his life gave Drayce a rather broad view of what to expect from the world. His first interactions with humans was interesting to say the least.


Beams of sunlight cut through the foliage of the dense trees around, the occasional breaks in the gloomy setting shining against the dense fabric of the dust trodden traveler. Looking up, Drayce’s nostrils moved subtly as he sniffed the air, picking up an unknown floral scent on it. It was a good a guess as any to assume a human, most likely a female one was nearby -he had never known a man to smell of anything other than grime or sweat. His fire colored irises scanned the trees passively, wide and wondering almost as a child would, which many assumed he was due to his young pre-teen looking body.


Arlia had been set to guard duty for the morning. She scanned the area briefly on occasion as she leaned against the stone wall near the gates to the manor. During one of her scans, she noticed the cloaked figure on the trail. She darted into the foliage and slowly creeped her way over to investigate. Seeing the young age on the figure, she relaxed slightly and approached it. “Hey, kid, what are you doing here?”


Glancing over at her, he leaned in closed and sniffed several times. “So it was your scent…”


Arlia took a step back when he began sniffing her. “Hold on, you can smell me?”


“Yyyyyes.” Drayce affirmed as if it was the most normal thing in the world. “Who are you?”


“Okay, first, what kind of being are you?” Arlia demanded, noticing the red eyes. “And second, what makes you so sure I’d just give my name out without a second thought?”


“Because I asked it. Are all mainlanders so reserved that they can not even introduce themselves in a normal fashion?” Drayce asked curiously, “Where I come from, there are no such inhibitions.”


“Well, a lot of time, we ‘mainlanders’ are looking for names of people to kill.” Arlia countered. “This is a world where your life is always on the line, no matter what you do.”

“That seems over dramatic. I sense no danger, and if I did, the danger would pass with me unharmed in one fashion or another. Passiveness tends to win the most wars.” The mystery young man quoted.


The assassin glared at the young man. “You’d be surprised at the things that happen here. You called me a ‘mainlander.’ Are you not from here?”


“Nothing surprises me. I call you a mainlander because that is what you are. In a certain point of view, I am not from here. Our place in time is always shifting in one form or another. You never breath the same twice in a given moment after all.” he stared at the girl with a blank expression, waiting politely for the rebuff.


“Are you implying that you’re a timewalker?” Arlia said, her look more of astonishment than disbelief.


“No such thing exists in my memory. But you asked if I am from here. From this spot that I am standing, no, I am not from this spot. I am from someplace far. I suppose if you need me to go slower, I may for you.” The strange boy informed her helpfully.


Arlia lowered her head in disappointed. “So you’re just from somewhere other than Serasam.” She turned away from the mystery boy and muttered. “Why did I get my hopes up?”


Drayce shrugged. “I can’t answer that for you. Why did you get your hopes up? Is time walking a prospect of yours you cannot obtain?”


The assassin looked over her shoulder, not sure what to make of the situation. “Guess you could call the idea of timewalking a legend among my people.”


“Zyak kraid…” the young man mumbled.


“Pardon me?” Arlia looked at the boy. “I don’t think I’ve heard that before.”


Drayce looked down at the dirt path and knelt, picking up a stone. “Wer myth wux ukris zahae. Coi ui kraid.”


Unknowing of what the young man was doing, Arlia got closer to him to make sure he was okay. “Is there something wrong? Can you hear me?”


Looking up, the young Thrope put a hand to his mouth slowly and nodded, “I am fine. Just an old habit to talk in my native language around humans.” Turning the rock over in his hand, he tossed it at a tree lazily. “Is the Havenbrook Manor near?”


“Yes, it’s just passed that gate.” Arlia answered, pointed towards the wall in the distance. “Are you looking to become a Hunter?”


Drayce tilted his head, “Hunter?”


“Yes, that’s what those who work for the Havenbrook Guild and other similar Guilds are called… Because we hunt monsters.” Arlia replied in response to the kid’s confusion.


“No, I suppose I am not here to be a Hunter. I am here to meet the mistress of the Manor. I need her to house me.” He responded openly.


“Okay, guess now would be a good time for introductions.” The assassin said, extending her hand. “The name is Arlia… I’m a Hunter working for Lady Havenbrook.”


The young man looked at her hand in confusion and sniffed it. “I am Drayce.”


Arlia couldn’t help but laugh. “You really know nothing of our land, don’t you?”


Drayce nodded and he reached up, pulling down the hood of his cloak, showing his face better. A sharp looking tooth hung out the right side of his mouth, almost looking like a snaggle. His hair was matted and dirty looking, like he hadn’t bathed properly in a long time. To Arlia’s eyes, there was just a small glimpse of red scaling on the top of his neck, the rest being hidden under the clothing.


Arlia ignored the scales. “Here, I’ll help you get in, then you can talk to Lady Havenbrook.” Arlia guided the young Thrope to the gate and opened it for him.


Not walking forward, Drayce looked up at the assassin, almost giving off a lost puppy vibe. “Where now?”


After taking the kid into the manor, she said. “If you go up the stairs and take a turn down the right hallway, she should be in the third door on the left. Also, it’s a common courtesy to knock before entering a room when someone is inside.”


That only seemed to confuse him more, but he shrugged and looked to the ceiling. Letting out a short yawn, he squatted down and jumped up, flying straight into the air as he grabbed hold of a beam and swiftly pulled himself up and huddled into as much of a ball as possible, pulling his cloak over himself and closing his eyes as he yawned again.


Arlia looked up at him. “I hope it’s okay to just leave him there…” She said, beginning to make her way back to the gate. “Because I have a job to do.”
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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May 27, 2013
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#35
Lyte & ZombieSplitter53
One of a Kind
Part One


Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Entrance Hall
Jan. 22nd, 3349
2:00 pm


Mina Havenbrook stood in the center of the entrance of her manor. She stared up at the small figure, huddled up in her rafters. “What is he doing?” she asked in annoyance.

The Hunter that had alerted her to the guest, a Thrope in her forties sporting large bat ears, scratched her chin. “Um… sleeping?”

“Well, get him down from there!” Mina snapped. “I will not house freeloaders, nor will tolerate bats in my belfry… um, present company excluded.”

The Hunter sighed, and jumped up. With a thrust of her arms, sporting the membrane of the animal she connected with, she get enough thrust to fly up and grab the beam. Holding on with one hand, she poked the sleeping figure with her free one. “Hey. Wake up.”

There was a bit of a shuffle, the young man with the body of a pre-teen looking at the woman with one eye barely open. The stranger reached out and poked back.

She shooed his hand away. “Knock it off. Who are you? What are you doing up here?”

“Bvecko aesthyri persvek vi bvecko thaczil. Filki... vdriy…” the young man muttered in a slightly annoyed tone. “Drayce.”

The Hunter blinked several times. “Come again?” She looked down. “He might not know Doloran?”

“He’s going to know the language of pain when I throw something at him and knock him down!” Mina yelled.

“So loud… and angry.” The Thrope looked down at the bat woman and pressed her forehead, “Go awaaaaaay…” Drayce told her tiredly, sticking out his lower lip.

Mina’s eye twitched slightly. “Who… the hell…”

“I don’t think he’s going to come down on his own, Lady Havenbrook,” the bat woman stated.

“Then he’ll come down the hard way.” Mina pulled out her Judge and aimed it a Drayce. “Get off the ceiling now, or else! Only warning!”

Looking over the edge, the young man glanced over the woman aiming a gun at him with an almost bored look. Suddenly, his gaze widened a bit and he rolled off the beam and fell to the floor. Landing in a kneeling position, he looked up at Lady Havenbrook, saying, “You own this… home?”

Mina looked him over, slowly holstering the weapon. “That’s right. I am Wilhelmina Alexandria Havenbrook, owner of this manor and head of this Hunter’s Guild.”

“Good. Then protect me.” the young Thrope told her plainly.

Mina let out a surprised laugh. “Um… okay. Maybe we should start from the beginning, like with you telling me who you are and where you came from.”

“I am Drayce. I am from the north. Very north.” He sat back on his rear and crossed his legs, looking up at her, looking as comfortable as if he was lounging on a sofa.

“Lady Havenbrook, should I…?” The Hunter started.

Mina held up a hand. “No… it’s fine. Just… can you get our guest something to drink.” She knelt down in front of the young man. “Alright, Drayce from up north. You wouldn’t be the first one to ask for protection, but they usually hire my people instead of coming right to me. Who do you need protection from?”

The young man scratched his head and then shrugged, “I do not know… Liandriana told me that I would need protection when going to the land of humans. That the world would not accept my kind.” When he spoke that unusual name, his face grew somber.

Mina annoyed expression soften a bit. “I see. You know, Thropes might not have as many freedoms would wide as Humans, but I don’t know about needing protection. Granted… I don’t think a young… lizard Thrope?... like you should be out on your own. Where is Lian… um… that person you said?”

“Kepesk kaden, ixen vur vyth marfedelom de svern, xurwka wer irlymi vataka slathalinir, vers vur ingowil marfedelom de svern, yth re vin reab di altiuiri.” Drayce mumbled in a small voice, saying it almost as a motivational phrase. “She is… I… I do not… remember exactly. Only in the north. She said her wings would not allow her to follow the path I had to discover. My mother said it was time to leave her cave and find my own.”

“Leave her… cave. I see.” The Bat Thrope woman returned, offering Drayce a small glass of water. Mina stood up again. “Why don’t we find you a room to rest in and talk in private. Much better than sitting in the middle of this room.”

Drayce tilted his head at the glass, poking it. “You hold water in windows?”

The Hunter leaned close to Mina and whispered, “What backwords part of the world is he from? Elluviana?”

“Just because it is an island country doesn’t mean they don’t have glasses.” Mina smiled at the young man. “Yes, in a manner of speaking. I’m not sure where you come from, but I’m sure there are a number of innovations that will surprise you.” Rubbing her chin, she mumbled, “I’m starting to see why you might need protection…”

Still staring at the glass, Dracye sniffed the air and quickly looked to the side, seeing a mouse scurry across the main hall. His eyes widened and he jumped up, knocking the Thrope woman and her glass to the ground. Scaled wings flew up from his black cloak as he flew forward, his hands becoming covered in scales as they now resembled more like claws then actual hands. The rodent ran faster towards a small hole, the young man just coming short of his target, he ran on all fours being propelled faster by the flapping wings. The mouse got into the hole just in time as Drayce’s face slammed into the wall and he slumped to the ground.

The two women stared at him in disbelief. “That is no lizard Thrope,” the hunter muttered.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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#36
One of a Kind
Part Two


Mina took a deep breath, and quickly walked over to him. “Have, um… someone clean this mess up, and make sure no body comes looking for me. I’ll be busy for a bit.” She knelt down next to the dragon-Thrope. “Are you okay?”

Drayce glanced up at the director of the Hunters, his pupil now being vertically slit like a lizard’s would be, his scales extending farther up his face but not entirely, his sharp teeth more pronounced. “Do not worry. I am used to the braneir tsil-garmthics. It is a game only. They play the best.” Lowering his head to the floor, he took a deep breath and let out a very minimal stream of fire into the hole that produced a frantic squeak. “Hehe… he knows about the deevdru di darastrixi now.” the young man stated proudly.

“Ooookay, you’re coming with me!” Mina frantically grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet. “Come on, to my office. And… a-and turn your dragon off!”

“Pothoc dask…” Drayce mumbled and let her pull him up without a struggle, standing close by her as his features slowly began to recede.

“I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that wasn’t some kind of slur. Come on. To my office.” She spoke with the sternness of a mother speaking to a child, seemingly appropriate in this situation, and quickly pulled him along, lest one of the staff or other Hunters come along and see what was either the luckiest find in Mina’s life or something she was a fool for not distancing herself from.

The previous leech looked around at all the decorated walls curiously, confused by all the ornate paintings and the occasional bits of pottery and busts. The only thing he knew about art was dragonsongs and the paints Talibrimagor had adorning his cave walls. Of course there was his sword- which was currently resting under his cloak undiscovered- but that was cheating as he made it himself under Smough’s guidance. The fact he still had some whole memories only made him more secretly frustrated that the more specific ones of his early journey and departure were fragmented and fuzzy.

Mina quickly spirited him away from the sight of the others, rushing him into her office and locking the door. “What the hell was that?!” she shouted. “You… your transformation, your wings, are… are you a dragon Thrope?!”

The young man looked a little confused by her questions. “I am. I thought you knew.”

“N-no!” Mina placed a hand over her forehead. “I need a drink…” She walked over to her desk. “No Thrope is a Dragon Thrope, young man. I… a Thrope needs to connect with an animal to take on its features. I… the only way for you to be like this is if the only contact you had with any animal ever was a picture of a dragon… o-or if you have actually seen a dragon! No… no, actually been around them. I…” She looked like she might start hyperventilating, and quickly downed a drink from a flask. “Gods… from the north indeed…”

“The old man says it was perfectly fitting with how I turned out.” Drayce commented off-handedly.

“What…” Mina took another quick swing. “What old man? Now is not a time to be cryptic, Drayce.”

“Grandpa Uladen. The old boatman who… I think brought me to my home… and away… I think. Gramps was fun to be around, but ever since coming south my memories of traveling have been really weird and fuzzy.”

“Uladen?” Mina though for a moment, then shook her head. Couldn’t be… I think. “Well then, let me tell you that you are… eh, unique would be a good way of putting it.” She walked over to him and knelt so they were eye level. “As far as I know, no one has ever existed like you, and if they have, not for thousands of years. Dragons don’t live around here. They’ve been gone so long, some people don’t believe they ever really existed. You prove that they did, and they still do, and… and I can think of a number of different people who would love to get their hands on you, for that reason and many others.”

“That is what my mother was afraid of. She said the last she knew of humans, they were very savage about strange things.” the Dragon Thrope said accompanied by several nods.

“Savage… is a strong word,” Mina responded, mumbling, “but not entirely inaccurate.” She walked over to her couch and sat down. “You… don’t have any money, do you? You know, gold? Silver? Something expensive that’s worth a lot?”

Drayce thought long and hard, then slowly shook his head, “I don’t know what has value or not. Dragons do not use money.”

Lady Havenbrook huffed. “Damn. So if I do this, it’s for free, huh?” She shook her head. “Why me? Why the Havenbrook Organization? It must have been quite the trek to get here from up north.”
“Because this is the only place I heard worthwhile of staying. I tried a cave, but people found me and they got real scared. Chased me around a lot.” Drayce recounted with a smirk.

“I see.” Mina took another long, deep breath. “Alright… you can stay here. But there are a few rules you’ll have to follow.”

The young man nodded slowly, “I am good at following rules.” Sitting down on the floor, he waited patiently.

“First, don’t damage my valuables. Anything… shiny, any paintings, anything that makes you think, ‘oh, I wonder if she’ll get pissed off if I break this’, don’t touch it. Second, stay out of the basement unless someone is with you. That’s the… rooms under the floor where you came in. There is a lot of dangerous stuff down there and I don’t need you getting hurt. And third, and this is important… but try and avoid exposing your dragon side, alright? We don’t need people… you know, getting scared and chasing you.”

Drayce pouted but slowly nodded, “Fine… but I will still chase that mouse. It is of the utmost importance.”

Mina chuckled, and walked over, rubbing his head. “You can still chase the mouse.” She gave him a curious look. “Do you happen to remember how old are you?”

“Liandriana kept count. From the day she found me, seventeen years passed, so I guess that old.” he shrugged noncommittally, looking sad again.

“Still a kid, but older than I expected…” Mina nodded. “Come on. I’ll find you a room where you can rest in a bed… or the ceiling, if you really prefer it.”

“The ceiling is nice. It is comfortable.” he affirmed.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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#37
Frostlich1228 & ZombieSplitter53
The Eyes Have It
Part One


Havenbrook Manor/Guildhouse
Library
Jan. 23rd, 3349
7:00 pm


The library was relatively quiet, many of the residence’s occupants enjoying a meal. In the center reading area, only five people were there. There was Netzi Hunter, glancing through a book about enhancing a Construct, a human from the laboratory looking up research as assigned from Erin ‘post haste’, and a smaller individual in a brown cloak, slowly running their hands across the braille of a book.

Finally, the library’s keeper sat with a recently returned hunter, eagerly listening to his tale. Ferron ran the small pile of coins from one hand to another, a big, gleeful smile on his face. “You should have seen it. Eraqus was at a loss. How would we get this thing down to the ground and capture it, unharmed. And I said, ‘I got this’.”

Esmeralda smiled back, nodding her head. “Whoa, really? So, you took charge?”

Ferron shrugged. “In a manner of speaking. Of course, I would never try and step on the toes of my superiors. I simply came up with a brilliant plan, and we went with it. Simple, really. Get the Gargoyle to ground level so Mr. Time Knight could do his thing. But the hard part was getting it down. So I bravely stepped forth, and aimed my arrow true…”

“No way!” The librarian’s eyes lit up. “By yourself!?”

“That’s right.” Ferron gave a toothy grin. “I aimed my arrow, and PLINK! Right between its eye. Of course, I knew it wouldn’t hurt it. Only an amature wouldn’t have been able to see it was in its hardened state. Once it landed, all I had to do is distract it with my famous Cold-as Steel Glare, passed down through the Evenook family for six generations, and it didn’t even see Solomon coming.” Ferron rolled a gold piece along his fingers and sighed. “Not saying they couldn’t have done it without me… but I will say they couldn’t have done it so efficiently.”

Esmeralda laughed, and clapped her hands together. “That is amazing. You… are amazing.”

“Yeah…” Ferron nodded. “I know.”

Betty stepped out from behind one of the bookshelves, chuckling a little at the conversation they were having. “Ferron, I see you’re recovering well.”

Ferron jumped, and quickly looked back. “Oh… uh, Betty, right. Um… y-yeah, doing good. Um… how are you? How long… have you been there?”

“Ze whole time. I was trying to find something confirming or disproving my theory on the bracelet, but, no zuch luck I’m afraid.” The Thrope said, a few books under her arm.

“Oh, um… y-yeah. I… ahem.” Ferron quickly stood up. “I should head out.”

“Oh?” Esmerelda gave him a disappointed look. “She was on the mission with you, right? The two of you could talk about all your great exploits!”

Betty smiled, looking back towards him,“Oh yes, you zee, he was very brave. And quite skilled with his bow.”

“I was?” Ferron smiled awkwardly. “I mean, of course I was. And, um… and Betty here kicked ghostly butt. Um… she seems really smart, and you should have seen that weapon of hers.”

“Oh?” The librarian looked up at Betty. “We have two MVPs on that mission then?” She looked the Thrope up and down, trying to pin down what animal she was connected to.

“Vell, we were all a very good team. If I had to say, I’d tell you zat everyone was the MVP!” She responded lightheartedly, putting some books on the table.

“Right… I agree. Um…” Ferron chuckled. “Oh, man… getting really hungry. Um…” He backed up, then stepped forward again to grab a coin he forgot on the table. “Heheheh… see you ladies later.”

Esmeralda smiled as she watched him walk off. “What an interesting young man.”

“He was lying, you know?” a young voice said from behind Betty.

“Uh, huh?” She looked side to side, then turned around, trying to find the source of the voice.

It was the small hooded figure, sitting a few tables over. “You can tell by the way he hesitated. The slight flutter in voice. And how embarrassed he was when found out a teammate heard what he said.”

Esmeralda shrugged. “I know. But that’s okay. His story was very entertaining. And I’m sure he helped out in his own way.”

Betty seemed a little embarrassed, “I didn’t want to upzet him, but despite his lie, he was very helpful and quite good with his bow. Sadly a poor choice of weapon against the ghosts, but zhat was not what we had come to fight.”

“I do hope none of you got hurt,” Esmeralda stated. “Ferron mentioned you weren’t expecting the ghosts to be hostile. Sounds like an absolute fright fest.”

“Oh it vas.” The Engineer shuttered. “My theory is zhat the person who had killed those people came back as a more powerful spirit perhaps, then took control of them. Very unpleasant stuff, he could not even allow zhem to have a proper rest.”

“Well then, it is a good thing he was done away with.” The librarian again looked Betty up a down. “Can I ask what, um…” She turned her eyes to the books on the table. “W-what you’re ready up on?”

She laid the books out, revealing that most of them were in fact related to spirits in one way or another. “I came here looking for books on ze bracelet like I said, but… I may have gotten zidetracked.”

“Oh, ghost books.” Esmeralda scanned them,reading the titles and recalling the details of those she had read. “Trying to be prepared in case you ever have to fight them again? Or did they just peak your curiosity?”

“Mostly the latter, my interest can sometimes wander when I am not focused on my work.” The Thrope stated, “Although, zometimes it can lead me to some very interesting places indeed.”

“Only the most interesting when you explore the wonderful world of literature. Oh… I’m Esmeralda, by the way.”

“Betty.” She stated. “And who is your friend in ze corner?”

“Her? Oh, that’s Aemilia. She’s Lady Havenbrook’s cousin, I believe.”

The girl perked her head up at the sound of her name, lightly waving her hand in their general direction. “Hello.”

“Truly? I was not aware she had a cousin. Is she shy?” Betty asked, focusing on the robe.

Esmeralda shrugged. “A little bit. She tends to stay to herself. Though she is quite kind. Lady Havenbrook tends to be very protective of her, so most people tend to leave her alone.”

“Vell, I should not bother her zhen, I would hate to stress her out by taking her out of her comfort zone.” Betty nodded in understanding. “It would be nice to see her come out of her shell though, I’m zure she would be a delight to talk to.”

“Well… why not give it a try?” Esmeralda asked. “Everyone needs a friend, and she doesn’t really have many here. Why don’t you try and be one of them?”

“Hmm… Maybe you’re right…” Betty picked up one of the small books and slowly approached the table where Aemilia was sitting, clearly not intending to actually read it. About halfway, Betty looked back towards Esmeralda, then composed herself. As the Thrope sat down, she opened her book and played it casually, looking up at the girl every few moments, seeing if she could perhaps get her to open the window for conversation.

Aemilia didn’t pay her much mind at first. Despite the blindfold over her eyes, she was aware of Betty sitting near her, having lifted her head for a moment when she sat down. After a minute of silence, she lifted her head again. “You said… your name is Betty?”
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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May 27, 2013
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#38
The Eyes Have It
Part Two


Smiling from behind the book, Betty replied calmly. “Why yes, it is nice to meet you.”

Aemlila smiled softly. “You have a lovely accent. Enchanting, even. Where are you from?”

“Themosa, I got ze accent from my mother.” She answered.

“Well, she gave you a very nice present with that.” Aemilia quickly added. “That’s… just a joke. I know it wasn’t literally given to you.”

“It’s okay. I haven’t seen my mom in a long time, although I am zure you are not quite old enough to know anything about zhem. Ed, the forgemaster, has already been very helpful.” The engineer girl explained, casually putting the book down.

The blind girl nodded. “I’m afraid I’ve only been here as long as Billy… Mina… L-Lady Havenbrook has been here. If they were here before then, I wouldn’t know them. Not that… I really know that many people here.”

“Being a little shy is okay, I understand not everyone likes to socialize.” She said, finally noticing the blindfold she had covering her eyes but choosing to say nothing.

“Thank you, though… it is awkward for me, you know?” Aemilia slowly placed a hand against the blindfold. “People treat you differently when you’re like me. They think they have to treat me like… well, like I need some special treatment. I guess I do… but it still gets old, you know?”

“I know vhat you mean, I’m used to people treating me differently as well.” She said, putting her hands on the table. “Not just because I am a Thrope but also… Vell, my affinity is… less than normal.”

“Is that so?” Aemilia tilted her head slightly. “Like what? A turtle? A… gopher? One of those little things that are like mice but with the long, jumpy legs?”

“No no, none of zhat.” Betty said, putting a hand on the strap of her goggles and looking over to make sure Esmeralda wasn’t watching or listening in. “You showed me your secret, so it is only fair I show you mine.”

Aemilia nodded. “I’m pretty good at keeping secrets.”

Betty raised the strap of her goggles on the side facing away from the librarian, showing Aemilia a single one of her eyes.

Aemilia reached out, carefully placing a hand against Betty’s face. She traced around her exposed eye, careful not to actually poke it. “Whoa. It’s big. Are you some kind of insect Thrope?”

“Yes, a fly. I keep it hidden because there are some people who aren’t so fond of bugs.” She explained simply, tilting her head twice in the direction of the librarian.

Esmeralda had her nose firmly planted in one of the books Betty had brought over. “I think that is a common thing,” Aemilia said. “Some kind of… primal fear response. But insects are just another part of nature. Everything has it important place, including them. Even someone like me has a purpose, even if I’m still not sure what it is.”

“Why wouldn’t you have a purpose?” Betty asked, leaning forward.

Aemilia was silent for a few moments before finally saying, “I’m… it is hard to do much when you can’t see. At least… not without…”

“Magic?” She took a wild guess.

“In a manner of speaking…” Aemilia lowered her head. “I’m not supposed to talk about it. Besides… you’d probably avoid me if I did.”

“Why-” Betty stopped herself, shaking her head. “No, do not mind me, I would hate to pry… As much as I would like to know, I don’t want to make you tell me zomething you’re not comfortable with.”

“Well, I…” Aemilia turned her head about. “It’s just the two of us, right?”

“Of course friend, I zwear. Not a word.” The Thrope put a hand on her heart as she leaned in closer.

“It’s just…” The young girl sighed. “You’re not the only one who scares people because of their eyes. At least… at least yours don’t kill people.”

If Betty’s eyes could widen, they would’ve. “Truly? But how? Are you, like a gorgon or such?

“No, but… it works the same way.” Aemilia rubbed the front of her blindfold. “The truth is, I wear this to protect people. Anyone who looks into my eyes… is petrified. It isn’t something I control, I swear. But… I feel pain over the danger that I bring to everyone around me.”

“Is this, zomething natural? Were you born with it?” Betty asked, more and more interested. “Please, stop me if you feel uneasy.”

“I’m not entirely sure. I can’t remember when I was really young. But I know I’ve had it as long as I can remember.” The girl ‘looked’ up at Betty. “I’ve always believed that someone cursed me. It would explain such an odd ability, right?”

“Perhaps the opposite is true. Perhaps you were chosen? I don’t know why ze gods would curse you at birth in zuch a way. A child is innocent.” The Thrope replied, tossing an idea out.

“I… I suppose that could be true.” Aemilia sighed. “I just wish I could see what people look like without worrying about killing them. To not… hate my eyes. To be able to walk around the world with my eyes wide open, and contribute more than I can with this blindfold. If this truly is a gift from the gods… it is a very odd one.”

“Vell, I could… Describe things for you, if you would like. I like to think I can be very descriptive.” She offered with a gentle tone.

Aemilia looked over again. “Um… could you describe yourself for me then?”

“I have dark skin, zooty and blackish. I also have black hair, all done up in a bun, all messy though, I don’t keep it very tidy.” The Netzi-raised Thrope giggled. “I’m wearing these thick goggles to block out my eyes, and my eyes themselves all a glossy black with a hundred little lens covering every inch…”

Aemilia nodded. “Are you tall? It is hard for me to tell what is tall since I’m so short and everyone is taller than me. What do your close look?”

“I’m… Not quite tall, but not quite so short. I’m a little shorter than most people. As for my clothes, I’m just wearing my old tinkering apron, old and beaten up and brown and bland.” She listed off for the young girl.

“Tinkering apron, huh? So you’re an engineer in addition to being a Hunter.” Aemilia smiled. “That’s really cool.”

“You make a new friend?” Mina asked, standing behind Betty.

Almost jumping out of her skin, Betty turned around quickly, “Uh! Goodnight Ms. Havenbrook! I mean good evening!”

Mina gave her a small smile. “Ms. Vhemmina. Eraqus gave you high points for your work on the last mission.” She offered her a small bag of coins. “Never got a chance to give you your pay. Decided to give all of you a small bonus for the extra trouble. And I love the new Gargoyle.”

“Thank you! He looks quite lovely up there!” She responded quickly, rubbing her neck.

“He does, doesn’t he?” Mina walked over to Aemilia and placed a hand on her shoulders. “Getting to know someone new?”

Aemilia nodded. “Betty is a very kind, understanding woman. She was describing herself, and telling me that everyone has a purpose.”

“Really.” Lady Havenbrook gave Betty an odd look, some weird mix between gratitude and suspicion. “Well, it is always nice to get some encouragement.”

“Aemilia is very zweet with a really kind heart. I’m happy to have her as a friend!” The Thrope exclaimed. “I do zo hope we can hang out more after zis.”

After a moment of uncomfortable silence, Mina nodded. “I’m sure she would like that very much. We’ll have to make sure that happens.” She stepped to the side. “Time to get some dinner.”

Aemilia nodded, and stood up. She held her hand out in Betty’s direction. “Until next time… friend.”

“See you later friend!” She responded in kind, shaking it gently.

Aemilia nodded, giving as firm a handshake as her little hand could, and departed with the lady of the house.
 

Dahlexpert

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2013
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#39
The following is a colabe between Dhalexpert&Zombiesplitter53

After several days of travel intercut with dangerous fighting, the Hunters that accompanied Eraqus on the hunt for the Gargoyle all went off to collect their fees and relax. Eraqus himself went to spend some time with his two best friends. Sitting in the garden, his husky watched as her master wrestled with his mastiff, a large steak caught between the canine's jaws and Eraqus' grip.

"Gotta do better then that!" The Elf said, responding to his dog's snarling with a snarl of his own.

On the other side of the garden, Charter was practicing his archery, aiming at multiple targets. After that, he put his weapon down, and read one of the books Esmeralda gave him.

After a for moments alone, Charter felt a set of eyes on him, Eraqus’s Husky having come over to Charter looked at the Husky and rubbed her head." Hey little guy. I'm guessing that your master is somewhere nearby?"

Charter looked across from him and saw Eraqus on the other side of the garden. "Yep." He closed the book and waved his hand at Eraqus. "Good to see you Eraqus. I'm guessing that your mission was successful? “Stare at him.

"Oh, Charter." Eraqus released the meet, the grateful mastiff chowing down. "So to speak. Unfortunately, I lost a man. The scout that went in ahead of time. Nothing I could do about it, but I still hate losing anyone."

"Hmm, you figure that after the years you've been around, you would be used to it. But even I know that you never get used to losing people under your command." Charter shook his head at the thought. "Anyway, we have a new gargoyle, that's good for our leader. Me, I can't wait for my first mission. Can't wait for me and Slone to get out." Charter looked at the book he was reading and looked back at Eraqus. "I also met your librarian. She's a very interesting person. In a good way I mean."

Eraqus grunted. "If you say so. Honestly, I try to avoid her as much as possible. And not because she's... you know."

"What, energetic? A bit weird, too cheery for your normal person.? Her love of books to a drug-like degree, her charm? What?"

"That and..." Eraqus looked away. "You know... Light Elf and... all..."

Charter raised his eyebrow. "Is this a problem?" Charter stood up and looked at Eraqus. "Didn't think you would have a problem with your own kind."

Eraqus shook his head. "They're notmykind. And... and I don't. I just... you know, growing up, you are taught things, things that are hard for you to think differently about. Light Elves are one of those things."

"Do I need to but you in the ground, and teach you a lesson that being a racist is wrong. Especially to someone that is related to your own kind?" Charter rubbed his head. "Seriously Eraqus, Esmeralda... she's a good person, if a little energetic. You should try talking to her. She won't kill you."

"Alright, alright. I'm sorry." Eraqus sighed. "I know. And trust me, Lady Havenbrook has put me in the ground a couple times herself. She is surprisingly strong."

"I might have to train with her later when we're both available. But come on man, there's nothing wrong with light elves. Seriously what is your problem with them?"

"Well, don't come down on me for answering the question." Eraqus folded his arms. "Basically, as a child, I was taught that the Light Elves were a symbol of weakness. Their light nature makes them unfit to survive in this world, and as such they are a risk to those around them.”

"Um, hmm... well from my personal experience, that's some bullshit. I have worked with light elves during my earlier mercenary days. They can fight. But don't all races have weak ones around them? There are just people that are weaker then others. Kinda wrong to say a whole race is weak, don't you think?"

"I know." Eraqus smiled softly. "Hey, I'm trying, okay? At least give me some credit for not getting mad when you said we are the same race like others would."

"A fair point, so you're doing better then the rest of your kind." Charter went back to his chair and continued to read the book he was reading earlier. "So outside the one person dying, what happen with the ghosts? I mean, they we're just ghosts. They couldn't be that hostile, right?"

Charter chuckled, and sat down, petting his husky. "They shouldn't have been. Unfortunately, a phantom decided to show up and antagonize the bunch. Maybe he was the former master, come back to add to his numbers again, or maybe he was just some other ass coming to cause trouble. Either way, until we took care of him, the spirits in the castle spent most of the time trying to stab us to death."

"Ugh, well then, a phantom. That's very interesting. Yeah, must have been the former owner of the place. After all he did, falling out the window and laughing, thinking he would survive the fall. But regardless, the mission was a success. The first of many. Hey, I was thinking about visiting the library. Want to join me?"

"The library?" Eraqus raised an eyebrow, wondering about his motive, but nodded. "Alright."

"Great, come on then." Charter and Eraqus made their way to the library. On there way, Charter finished reading the book he was reading earlier. He also made sure to have his sword on him just in case Esmeralda ran into another cockroach. Charter entered the library with his Eraqus. "Hey Eraqus, do read much. Sorry to ask, but you and I never really talked since our first meeting."

"Well, I'm afraid my work is largely responsible for that. As for reading... um, not a lot." Eraqus cleared his throat, looking a bit embarrassed. "I-I mean, I know how to read, of course. It would be pretty sad if I didn't. I'm just... not the best at it. Besides, I'd... I'd rather spend my time training."

"Trust me, I understand. While training is very important, especially in our line of work, every so often, a good book is nice to have around. Keeps you from being bored, outside of sleeping and all that."

Eraqus shrugged. "I've done okay without it so far. Why change now?"

"Well, you might as well give it a shot, I know me talking to a seventy year old elf might be a waste of time. But I'm trying here. Now, where is the librarian? Hopefully, she's not buried in a mountain of books, and since she's not screaming yet, I guess there are no cockroaches around."

"Nope. Please is bug free." Charter looked to his side to see her smiling up at him. "That was a one time thing, Sir Knight. At least it should be. I normally keep things nice and clean around here, you know. Bugs are exactly why I don't like people eating in this place."

"'Sir Knight?" Eraqus mumbled.

"It's what she calls me, even though I told her my name. I don't mind it." Charter rubbed Esmeralda's head. "By the way, I do love the books you gave me. Read them three times already, and I do hope you're enjoying the books I gave you."

"Oh, yes. I have enjoyed them oh so much," the Librarian stated. "Have you really read them three times? Because then you are both an even more dedicated reader then I had hoped!"
 

Dahlexpert

Well-Known Member
Jun 23, 2013
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527
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#40
Part 2

"That I am. I love books, always have. Dad gave me plenty of books to read when I was a child. And so did my mom. Reading was a way for me to learn about, not just the other races, but for me to explore my mind and see what I can envision what I was reading."

"Oh, you're love reading so much, you've read my mind!" She tilted her head past him and smiled at Charter. "Hello, Boss Man."

Eraqus took a deep breath. "Hello, Esmeralda."

The young Light Elf pouted. "Come now, smile." She nudged Charter. "He is always so serious." In a loud whisper, she said, "I think he needs a girlfriend to show him a good time." This only seemed to fluster the Elf man.

"Come on now, don't tease your boss. He's... an aged man, I'm sure he's doing fine. Hell, you could find yourself a boyfriend to get you out of the library once and a while."

Eraqus narrowed his eyes at him. "I am not aged. Elves don't die as quickly as you humans."

Esmeralda narrowed her eyes too. "Who said I needed a boyfriend?"

"Ok. Eraqus I called you aged because youre not a young man... nor are you an old man. So I called you aged, and to say Elves don't die as quickly as us humans? I've killed Elvin bandits, you die just the same with a sword in your gut. And being mauled by a dire wolf."

Charter then looked at Esmeralda. "Esmeralda, I was joking, just ruffling your feathers. Not that you’re not a beautiful woman. I'm just having some fun."

Esmeralda giggled. "Thanks. You're not so bad looking yourself."

Eraqus cleared his throat. "Um.. Speaking of Sloan, where is he?"

"Who is Sloan?" The librarian asked

"Slone is my dire wolf, my partner and friend. And he's around, doing his own thing. Hold on." Charter whistled, and a few minutes later a dire wolf came into the library, breaking the door in the process. Charter could see that Slone's mouth was bloody. "I see you've been busy hunting." Charter rubbed Slone's head, and his tail started to his whack some of the bookcases.

"Oh, dare." Esmeralda jumped behind Eraqus. "Please, sir knight! He... he..."

"Don't worry," Eraqus said. "He's under Charter's control. He won't hurt..."

"He's going to damage the books! And get blood on them! That doesn't come out, you know!"

Charter looked at Slone and pointed him towards the exit. Once outside, Slone shoom, gettting his blood slobber everywhere. Charter looked at his hand an dsaw that some of Slone's fur was on it. "Ugh, you're shedding huh? Well at least most of it is gone." Charter looked at Esmeralda. "Right. Um, Es, this is Slone, my friend and companion."

Slone walked to the librarian and looked at her, blood still on his bottom lip. He decided to lay down on the ground.

"Um... hi, Sloan." Esmeralda looked at Charter. "If I touch him, will he bite my hand off?"

"No, he won't. You won't be the first person to ask me that, nor the first to pet him. Slone is more of a military dog. He won't attack unless ordered."

Es knelt down and slowly ran her hand through his fur. "Well... you're kind of cute when you're not threatening to destroy my library."

Eraqus look over at the damaged doors and chuckled lightly.

"Right, I'll help with the cleanup of that. Sorry. See, I don't typically bring him inside buildings."

"I can see why," Eraqus said with an amused smile.

Esmeralda used one hand to pet Sloan's back and the other to scratch his chest. "You remind me of the puppies. Just a really big version of them."

"Well, that's no surprise. He's very well behaved. I trained him to be. Though he is seven years old, so he's used to people by now."

"Back home, I used to have a close friend that bred Huskies. I used to play with them all the time. Some of my favorite childhood memories are with those dogs."

Eraqus' eyes perked up. "Really? So... you're a dog fan then?"

"Well... yeah, I would say sat." Esmeralda expertly scratched behind Sloan's ears.

Slone started to wag his tail, and his back leg began to tap. He then stood up and wrapped himself around Esmeralda, as if she was a puppy. "Well, guess he likes you. I've never seen him do that before."

Esmeralda giggled, and leaned against him, closing her eyes. "So soft."

Eraqus caught himself smiling at the pair, surprising himself. With a cough, he said, "I, uh... I better go get someone to fix this door before Lady Havenbrook finds out." He placed a hand on Charter's shoulder. "Thanks... for asking me to come here. Let's meet up for dinner later."

"Yeah, that sounds nice." Charter looked at Slone and at Esmeralda. "I have to say, this is impressive. I've never see Slone act this way with anyone."

"Well, whether he's a dog, wolf, or dire wolf, they're all puppies at heart." Esmeralda watched as Eraqus walked out and asked Charter, "Did I do okay? You think... he hates me a little less now?"

"I think you did pretty good. It's a start at least." Charter also laid down on Slone and listened to him breath. "You impressed me as well. Mmost people, for good reasons, are afraid of Slone."

Esmeralda laughed. "What possible reason could you have for being scared of Sloan? What, just because he's a big, scary wolfy that comes charging in with a jowl full of blood?" She snuggled a bit. "I guess I would have been scared if not for the big, scary huskies I grew up with."

Slone yawned, showing his bloody fangs. "Moment has passed for you to be all scary, big guy." Slone shook his head, and stood up and went back outside. "Guess he's going back to his food, before a scavenger gets to it."

Esmeralda stood up and brushed herself off. "You know... I'm not mad at Eraqus or anything." She walked into one of the aisles, motioning for Charter to follow. "I mean... I don't like it... but I understand."

"Yeah, he's an old man set in his way, but we count today as a start for him liking you. It's small, but it works." Charter chuckled to himself. "Ah, it seems the gods have doomed me to a life of helping others, even when I don't expect to. It's something I have no problem doing."

"Then don't call it being doomed, silly." Es slowly scanned the shelves. "Do you worship them? The gods, I mean. You have a favorite?"

"I worship quiet a few. The gods of justice, creaction, and destruction. The gods of the sun and moon, harmony and light. Long story short, the ones that give meaning to the world and are kind. So I have a lot that I worship."

"That's cool. Oh, but..." Esmeralda looked back. "From what I've read, the Goddess of Justice is kinda ruthless. I mean... I guess that isn't the same as being mean, but it is hard to call Nemesis kind when her appearing before you is so scary."

"Hmm, in a way that's true, however justice comes in many forms. To those that have done wrong, they will be shown the same mercy they showed the ones they wronged. Hence why she may come off as scary. At least that's how I see it anyway."

"I guess that makes sense." Es gave him a big smile. "I bet if you saw her, you wouldn't be sacred at all. A noble man like you knows he has nothing to fear, right?"

"True, I wouldn't fear her if she graced me with her presence. But I'm mortal after all, and I do fear many things, but if I did face the goddess of justice, I would see it as a blessing."

Esmeralda chuckled, an almost evil sounding chuckle. "Want me to see if I can find a spell to summon a goddess? I'm sure there is one in here somewhere."

"Please don't. While I have nothing to fear from her, she may find some injustice with me, and I would rather not face a god today."

Esmeralda giggled. "I agree. However..." She offered him two books. "How about a book about the gods and Year Zero, and an epic tale about the last Blood Eclipse. The former might give you more insight on the gods, and the latter might give you some preparation for next year's Blood Eclipse."

Charter took the two books, and looked at Esmeralda. "I very much appreciate it. I just wish there was something I could give you."

The Light Elf waved her hand dismissively. "Every time you come back in here, singing praises of the books, you make me happy. Just, uh... make sure Mr. Wolfy doesn't use one as a chew toy, and you and I will be as square as a box."

"Well I appreciate it, and don't worry. Slone doesn't chew on books. They have no taste to them. But thank you for this. I can't wait to read these."

"Gotta get back to work." Esmeralda slapped him in the arm. "Have fun in your man date," she said, and skipped away.

"It's not a date, damn it!" Charter looked at the books and pondered giving one to Slone,. "No, that would be mean, though I would rather have a date with Esmeralda just to mess with her. Oh well. I better get to reading these books."