t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 346/54 6053 Posts
Some Secrets are Best Left Buried...
18th Olemra (Thirkday), 452 E.R.
Forest, northwest of Lynx, Ertain
It was hot. Many things in life could be discussed, could be argued, but one thing was agreed upon by all: it was hot.
Evening had fallen, and with it came a slight drizzle. Unfortunately for anyone out and about, the drizzle did nothign to decrease the heat - instead, it only caused the humidity to grow, which led to clothing becoming damp and sticky. Soon, a mist rose in response to the drizzle, limiting visibility even further than the dying light and miserable precipitation.
A half dozen companions made their way along the worn dirt path that served as a road through the forest.
"Just a bit further," spoke a young man - one of only two males in the group, and the only such human. The young warrior casually wiped a shock of wet reddish hair off of his forehead and peered ahead into the falling darkness. "Filwood should be just around the next bend. It's a small place, but we should at least be able to get out of the rain."
The response from the rest of the group was less than enthusiastic - Isaac had been certain that the party would have made the village of Filwood by midday at the latest, but apparently, the young man did not fully recall exactly how long it took to make the journey. Even so, the prospect of getting our of the mist, rain, and humidity was a welcome one, and the party found themselves quickening their steps.
As they continued, visibility continued to drop more and more; so much so, that Shianna, the priestess of Kith-jora, began to feel a small gnawing sensation in the pit of her stomach. She had seen many odd manifestations of weather and nature, but this simply did not feel natural to her. the wolf padding at her side whimpered slightly, and she gave it a reassuring pat - the creature could feel it, as well.
Soon, all could feel the misgivings - the stifling air carried odd sounds from time to time. More than once, they can swear that they can see something moving just out of visible range, but nothing ever shows itself clearly.
Not long after the party made the aforementioned bend in the trail, they discovered that they were not alone on the path. Up ahead in the road can be seen another small band of travelers. These four are all on foot, and are heading away from the village, towards the party. Judging by their slow, shuffling gait, these pilgrims must either be elderly, injured, or quite tired. Due to the darkness and the mist, you cannot make out much detail yet, but it is clear that the other travelers have yet to notice you at all (or at least, to act as if they notice you).
Posted on 2008-11-03 at 03:23:10.
Edited on 2008-11-10 at 19:32:35 by t_catt11
Meera whines softly, a noise that easily shatters the relative quiet.
"Shh, I know." Shianna murmurs gently to her companion, patting it again on the head to reassure it.
Glancing toward the others, Shianna speaks up, but hesitates. Even after being with the others for a while, it still felt peculiar, breaching the separate worlds in which they lived. The world of the wild, and the world of civilization... alongside each other, yet separate and distinct. It is easy to see as well, especially in comparing her own untamed appearance to the silent Syana, or any of the others for that matter.
"There's something... wrong." Shianna finally says, "I don't know what it is, or where it is, but I can feel it in the air; Meera can smell it seeping out of the ground, and I hear it in the rain. This isn't by nature, whatever it is. I think... we should avoid that village, and..." Her eyes look toward the distant shapes in the mist, "The people from it."
Posted on 2008-11-10 at 20:11:28.
Edited on 2008-11-10 at 21:01:39 by Reralae
Syana continued to walk, but at noticing the other party in the distance she slowed her pace some. Pressing her lips tightly together she peered into the heavy mist trying to make out more detail about the others, but couldn’t. It was so quiet, and hot, and stifling, she didn’t like it. Her slow pace came to a stop.
Pausing on the edge of the path they took she felt the bags at her side as if making sure they were still attached and then slung the red bag carrying her mandolin off her shoulder. Pulling the drawstring tightly around the top she knotted the ties in a thick ball. The next moment her cloak flared around her and the red bag disappeared under it.
With the instrument hidden she let her fingers wander to the white pendants around her neck which she fingered intently as she hurried to catch back up with her group.
She caught up in time to overhear Shianna speaking to the wolf. Some might say ‘her’ wolf, but from what Syana had seen it was not like that. The wolf wasn’t a pet, but a companion and neither owned the other, but belonged together. For a moment Syana watched the wild woman and the wolf and felt a pang of envy at that, remembering what it was like to have such a companion in your life. But the words she spoke broke through the jealousy and brought her back to the situation immediately.
Padding silently behind Shianna she nodded her head in agreement, perhaps the people did not mean them harm, but if they did… now certainly would not be the best time for such a confrontation. As usual, her fellow companions had not heard her small tentative voice since she introduced herself to them, she kept quiet though and looked up toward Isaac and waited to see what he would do. He seemed to be the one in charge at the moment, and certainly making a decision for the group was something Syana was loathe to do herself.
Aryan listened as Shianna told the group of her feelings. She sighed slightly. Kiar shifted on her shoulder and looked in her face. Aryan had wanted to see if there was any way to escape this heat. Maybe a nice, cool room in a quiet inn with a saucer of milk for her cat... Aryan blinked and looked at the town. She sighed again and made up her mind to explore it. Kiar rubbed slightly against her face, as if sensing her master's decision.
She looked from Isaac to the others. She twisted a hand in the loose black skirt and used the other to stroke her familiar's back before sighing and speaking up. "I don't know about you, but I'd rather like a bit of suspense. Even if no one will follow, I'm going to investigate." She said confidently. She shook her dark brown hair over her eyes, a nervous habit she'd adapted after leave the Plains. The cat shook it's head free and hissed.
Aryan took a step from the group and then another. She turned and cast a look over her shoulder. "Whoever is brave enough, follow." She said in a cool voice. Aryan stood still to allow the few, if any, that would come. Kiar twisted her tail around her neck and stared, waiting for what would happen next.
Posted on 2008-11-10 at 23:53:55.
Edited on 2008-11-11 at 01:21:19 by PrincessAli
Isaac wasn't sure himself what was going on. Hot usually meant a drier season in Filwood, and rain came usually during the cooler months. Seldom -- VERY seldom -- did the two converge in this manner. Just strange. And Isaac was feeling a little guilt that his estimate of the time it would take to get to Filwood had long since passed. The heat, drizzle, mist, and the ccompanying humidity made for miserable travel as far as he was concerned. But there was no cover save the nearby trees, and they themselves were soaked to dripping saturation by the seemingly-unending drizzle of rain and the heavy mist.
He was as certain as he could be that he had not taken a wrong turn. He knew this area, had grown up here. He had patrolled oirtions of it while serving as the local sheriff. While he had seen nothing to indicate that he and the party were on the wrong path to the village, the dimming light and the hanging mist that was soaking everything it could seep into was now casting doubts in his own mind as to their actual whereabouts.
Shianna's statement brought Isacc's doubts to crystal-clear certainty. Now that he knew that at least one other sensed his misgivings, he not longer felt guilty, he felt alert and wary. The small group ahead of them, dimly seen, could now be looked at with a new mindset. If a village were as near as Isaac had suspected, why would these others have ventured out into a drizzling mist instead of waiting it out in relative comfort at the Fin and Feather tavern? And their movement showed either weariness, weakness, injury, or illness. All the more reason for them not to be on the road in these conditions. Isaac feared now that Filwood was not where the party currently was. It was also very possible, in Isaac's mind, that these others had not passed through, or by, a town recently.
After a momentary pause, Aryan was the first to move. Not surprising, knowing her. She didn't seem to fit the image Isaac had of a cautiously careful wielder of magic. She seemed to have more of a warrior's attitude. Whether it was foolhardiness or simply a willingness to accept whatever came as a result of her actions, Isaac didn't know. But he hoped to find out before something dire happened to her -- or to the others -- as a result of her tendency toward "darting out". That hadn't happened -- yet. Isaac shook his head, smiling half at Aryan and half at his own musings. Why was he suddenly judging caution? His very profession was one where caution was prudent, but not the main concern, unless it applied to those he defended,
For his own part, Isaac hesitated only a moment before stepping out after her. As he did so, he unfastened the peace-tie on his sword but kept his hand on the hilt to hide the unfastened knot. His intention was to at least ask the others approaching them if they had indeed passed or seen a villiage nearby.
With an attempt at light humor he didn't really feel, "Fair enough, Aryan. Let's go see if I have been wasting our time chasing a non-existent home town that is intent on eluding us."
Posted on 2008-11-11 at 13:48:38.
Edited on 2008-11-11 at 13:50:51 by Kilmorrigan
‘Hold your grandmother’s bible to your breast,
Going to put it to the test,
You want it to be blessed…’
The soft words of the song rods melodiously around the warm, well-furnished room as she slipped from silken sheets to stand on the cool, naked floor. She was beautiful. Her body was lean, athletic, olive-skinned, and topped with long raven-black hair and immersive, expressive green eyes. Her features were delicate, lips full and wine red, breasts and hips in accord with a classical sculpture – a vision which, in Drannon, would have been called a paean to the age of the Anathari.
“I’d rather hold you to my breast, Neri” a voice behind her replied, and launched a gentle trail of kisses along her spine. The lips rose to her neck, but she eased her way out of reach, no longer allowing herself to enjoy that caress.
“There are others waiting for me, Marcus.”
“How…how can you be so cold? After our night together, after what we did?”
“It was just one night,” she responded calmly as she gathered the clothing that had been discarded so hurriedly the night before. “One night to share our warmth, to warm our souls in this dark world with each other’s love. And to ensure that you keep to the vow you made. Your wife needs you, and if I find out that you’ve left her, you won’t be using that thing between your legs for a while.”
‘You already knew how this would end,’ she threw over her shoulder as she left the room, a soft whimper accompanying the words.
‘I wonder if he ever did stay faithful,’ Neri mused into the warm, clammy air. She stared up at the sky for a moment, allowing the spiralling rain to fall upon her face and worm its way beneath the heavy chain of her armour. It did little to cool her down, though, just remind her of how much she wished to remove it and lie beneath silken sheets with someone by her side.
A warning from Shianna disturbed the train of her thoughts, and focused her attention on the here and now. Up ahead four tired looking figures were emerging from the mist, and both Shianna and Syana, her fellow Corian, seemed adamant that they and the village that were heading to ought to be avoided.
“I don’t know about you,” Neri chimed in after Isaac and Aryan had voiced their thoughts, “but I would rather spend the night somewhere where it’s dry and where it’s a little cooler. If you’re right and there is something strange in the air, then maybe there’s people in the village who need our help?”
The pretty Drannese woman wheeled in the saddle of her horse expertly, and landed on the earth with a sludgy thud. Her horse, Aurora, seemed relieved of the burden of carrying the armoured woman and nickered into the air gratefully.
“I don’t think you should go alone though,” Neri added, choosing to ignore the mare’s antics. “If there is danger ahead there’s no certainty we will find you in this mist, and the sound may not carry to us. No, we should go together.”
The woman threw her hood back, and loosened her cloak to give her more room to draw the huge five feet long sword strapped to her back. It also served to reveal the white tabard she wore displaying a heart above an unsheathed sword.
“Shall we go?”
[The words to the song come from Devotcha's 'How it Ends', so I can't claim credit for them ]
Shianna bows her head slightly. It is indeed brave to not falter in one's step, and to not give in to fear, yet... at the same time, where does bravery end and recklessness begin? Where does caution cross the line and become paranoia? It is a fine line, a very delicate boundary...
The silent voice within one's heart whispers the most profound wisdom. Shianna listens carefully, and her gaze wanders to a tree by the path. The trees! Shianna smiles; it would satisfy both sides, or so she hopes.
"If we continue forward, would it be better to at least stay off the path?" Shianna asks, "That way we'll be able to see ahead, while the trees can protect us from being seen, and still give us the choice to avoid the town if we must."
Aryan was impressed that Shianna, who had originally tried to stop the group from continuing, agreed as long as they stayed in the tress. It was a good strategy for one thing. And, Aryan thought, we're still going to the town.
Kiar mewed from her shoulder and Aryan put a hand on her familiar's arched back and scratched along her spine. The cat calmed a bit and Aryan wondered for the first time if maybe Shianna had been right. But now her curiosity about the town was fully aroused.
"Shianna has a point." Aryan said. "So does Neri. I say we go ahead, but in the trees." She concluded. Aryan turned towards the woods. Kiar made a hiss and Aryan looked at her. She wondered again if this was a good idea. But her opinions had been voiced. She walked towards the trees.
It was too soon for the dampness -- dampness? More like permeating WET! -- to deeply affect the clothing, leathers, and metals he and the others wore but, as soon as possible, they would all have to get out of the mist, drizzle, and heat to treat and care for their exposed belongings before a more permanent damage set in. The more Isaac questioned the situation he and his companions currently found themselves in, the less likely it seemed, to him, that there was indeed a village ahead. He began to wonder if they should look for a cave or depressession to seek shelter in. But the group before them took precedence. He could not shake the feeling that they held information he and his fellow adventurers needed, however little it might be.
Noting the movements of some of the others toward the trees after voicing necesary caution, Isaac smiled yet again. Now do they show prudence. But he himself, along with Neri, seemed to have chosen the more direct route to the weary-seeming travelers ahead of them. He hoped that the others moving off the trail and into the trees would have the good sense to keep silent, but trusted them to do the right thing. They did not get where they were by being foolish. And Neri herself voiced the same concern that Isaac felt, that these others might require aid, and/or so might any villiage ahead, if there was one ahead. Hoping that he had not misunderstood her words, Isaac shook a bit more of the wet out of his hair and smiled a visible thanks to Neri.
Speaking softly to her and hoping his low-pitched voice wouldn't carry far, "Thanks, Neri. Shall we go see if these folk ahead need help? They may also be able to tell us if there is a town ahead -- Filwood or not. I begin to question the circumstances we find ourselves in. But we can do nothing about that which we know nothing about. And two pairs of ears will hear more information than one pair."
The group seemed to be splitting into two groups. One in the trees, and one going directly toward the unknown others in the distance. Shuffling her feet and fidgeting with her cloak Syana paused for a moment to consider which of her companions she should follow.
The prospect of following Isaac and Neri toward the unknowns was troubling. Since leaving home she’d been robbed twice on the roads, especially at night, it wasn’t something she wanted to have repeated again.
Her eyes drifted toward the side of the road where the others had started to wander into the surrounding trees. Even from where she stood on the road she could see full drops of moisture clinging to the leaves. Already her clothing was damp and uncomfortable; moving further into the woods would only get her wetter. A situation that would be rather embarrassing if it turned out that the group ahead was only a few old peasants trying to make it to some other town with some rotting cabbages or the like.
A very soft sigh escaped from her pressed lips, just barely audible. After a moment she made up her mind. Under her cloak one hand went to the hilt of her short sword while the other curled around the rope to her mandolin bag protectively. Her feet steered her toward the edge of the road, there she would be out of the way and closer to those who sought the shelter of the trees, but she wouldn’t be bathing herself in the wet leaves. Each step she took was slow and watched, making sure she did not step on any debris that would make a great noise. As she walked her lips moved silently as if she were speaking or singing but no noise escaped from her lips.
At nightfall, the party had nearly reached the cleared fields outside the village when a fog settled around them, damp spider webs of air that shrouded the eyes and muffled the ears, confusing and hiding each traveler from the others. The rescue party would have been able to reach the village despite the fog, so close were they, but the orcs struck under the fog's cover...
The words of the familiar tale ran through her head as she watched, listened and anticipated…
((Tale taken from Audalis Legends: Aranthea's Heart))
Posted on 2008-11-12 at 15:20:41.
Edited on 2008-11-12 at 16:09:38 by Merideth
Volkmar Vanara of the Spiderguard kept his distance from the others as the drizzle dampened his coarse hooded cloak.
These were an unlikely band of adventurers, but then again, his time of apprenticeship with the Stalwart Warriors in service to Ghardan Aglar had put the Khord fighter alongside a variety of bizarre comrades in arms these past few years.
He had learned from past encounters that good, or at least trusted, friends with unique abilities were almost always a positive asset when going into expected, or unexpected battle against both known and unknown foes!
The Khord was comfortable enough wearing his black chain mail armor and he had long before learned how to protect himself from the harsher elements of the region by angling his medium shield in just the right direction to reduce the glare of the sun or the assault of inclement weather.
He kept an even pace as he continued to make himself a familiar figure near Meera the Wolf, expecting that in a matter of time Meera would become a trusted and friendly ally in the heat of battle should the need for such a trusted and friendly ally arise.
As for Shianna, he knew from past experience and tales around the campfires that befriending such a one with her special talents and abilities could go a long way in surviving the unexpected rigors and hazards of the adventuresome life.
At this point, if they were not considered friends, the Khord was determined to at least make sure that someone who could be trusted would watch her back, so who better to watch her back than Volkmar Vanara of the Spiderguard?
As they rounded the bend in the trail, it soon became apparent that they were not the only travellers on this particular road.
Volkmar studied the shambling figures off in the distance and made an extra effort to walk to the right side of Shianna and far enough behind so as not to be intrusive!
His Short Spear in his right hand was being used like a walking stick and thankfully the Khord had enough Dexterity so as not to slip and poke his good eye with the sharp pointy end.
He watched the drama unfold as Meera whines and Shianna intones that something is quite wrong with the atmosphere of their journey!
Syana had quietly commented and Volkmar continued his pace as if her soft voice had failed to reach deaf ears!
Aryan had become almost predictable in a comical sort of way as she was looking for a good reason to break the boredom of the journey! Kiar was an amusing contrast to the unfolding events, at least as far as the Khord Spiderguard was concerned when it came to the subtle dramas of everyday adventuring life!
Isaac was obviously troubled, but Volkmar had reasoned hours ago that it would be best to leave the Fighter to his own troubled thoughts!
There would be ample time to encourage Isaac when the situation truly warranted such action!
Neri was a stabilizing force that Volkmar was glad to have in his company! No matter that they were not conversing overly much on this journey! The Khord understood that his back was covered by the Paladin should the need arise!
He would gladly follow her into any battle against any foe!
The voice of Shianna cut through his reverie as she was able to reign in Aryan with her words of battle wisdom and stealthy approach, convincing the young Mage that proceeding under cover of the nearby trees would be the best course of action to take!
Volkmar stared at the shambling figures as they grew ever closer in the dreary distance, stroking his emerald studded braid thoughtfully as he matter of factly followed the course of direction set by Shianna!
"Yon travelers could be weary ... or elderly ... mayhap they could be injured ... or perhaps they are more than meets the eye ... minions of supernatural magics ... unexpected legions of undead ... no matter what the reason for their slow gait ... it is best to stay close to Shianna ... her abilities could turn them ... if unliving they be ... and if not ... my Short Spear is at the ready ... to protect her for when her abilities will be needed most ... for something strange is indeed in the air!"
Volkmar Vanara slowly lifts the eye patch that covers his injured left eye ... the eye scarred ... but spared ... sight intact ... thanks to the war god Ghardan Aglar ... as the lifting of the eye patch solemnly signals that Volkmar Vanara of the Spiderguard is ready for battle!
Posted on 2008-11-12 at 19:45:28.
Edited on 2008-11-12 at 19:56:23 by Hammer
t_catt11 Fun is Mandatory RDI Staff Karma: 346/54 6053 Posts
The majority of the group elects to move off of the path as they make their way towards the other party of travelers. Only Isaac stays on the road.
Cautiously, everyone in the party moves forward. If the others have noticed (or cared) about the majority of the party leaving the woods, they make no outer sign of it. Indeed, the four travelers continue to walk in their labored, shuffling pace, heads down, as if they are oblivious to any possible strategy that the party might be taking.
The hot, sticky night seems to draw even closer, the fog seems to thicken even more, to the point that the atmosphere is positively stifling and oppressive. A twig snaps loudly under Volkmar's boot, and the other travelers look up, fixing their gazes in his direction.
It is a scene from a nightmare.
Their flesh is a pale, greenish-gray - where it still remains whole. In many places, skin and flesh alike hang loose or are missing entirely, revealing bone underneath. The eyes are wide and empty, staring vacantly; yet somehow, you instinctively know that these abominations can see you quite clearly.
As one, the undead creatures groan and move to attack!
Posted on 2008-11-12 at 21:22:46.
Edited on 2008-11-12 at 21:23:58 by t_catt11
Aryan feels her heart stop for a second. Since she was close to the front of the group, the creatures are close to her. Aryan makes a sudden step backwards and stumbles behind everyone. As one without a weapon, she can do noting but cast spells. Meaning if one got close to her, she was dead.
Aryan took a few more steps from the group when she suddenly remembered Isaac. He had stayed on the road. Aryan wondered if she could reach him but decided not to chance it. "ISAAC! HELP!" She yelled, hoping he would hear.
Kiar made a sudden hiss. Aryan turned back to the attackers and sighed softly. She prepared to cast a spell. In an instant, Aryan made up her mind and cast Magic Missile. She smiled at her effort.
Posted on 2008-11-12 at 22:16:13.
Edited on 2008-11-12 at 22:31:30 by PrincessAli
Once the figures were close enough for Isaac to see them for what they were -- not a pleasant sight at all! -- he didn't hesitate to pull his sword from the scabbard, but had to pause as Aryan moved to the rear, suddenly passing by him and crying for help.
As he finished drawing the weapon and readied himself to meet-and-cleave these abominations, he thought, ' 'Falloes? Benevolent One? Is this how you taught J'hannik the error of arrogance over prudence? You could have chosen better circumstances, I think. Or maybe not.' '
Aloud, he said, mostly to himself, but loud enough for all to hear plainly, "So much for getting information from this lot."
As he moved to engage these shambling sticks of rotting flesh, he had no fear that his companions would do other than the best they could, for their survival had -- and did -- depend on cooperation.
For sheer fighting ability, the Khord Volkmar, for all his strangeness, was more than capable of making his skills effective. The Cleric, Shianna, and the Paladin, Neri, he also trusted to hold their own as well as he. Syana and Aryah, altough sometimes unpredictable, also knew their capabilities well enough to make the right choices of action or aid, as became necessary.
(( OOC: If all the walking-dead-meat-popsicles look alike, Isaac will attempt to separate the front one at the hip-bones. If there is one that differs from the others, he'll go after that one, moving around a (hopefully) slower-moving lesser threat to get to the different one.
His attack(s) will be the same in either case. A horizontal power-slice to follow through-and-up, then cleave downward ...
-next rnd, this target or next- cut back the other way ...
This should be interesting, since their slowness and the speed factor of Isaac's weapon makes things about even, sorta ... ))
Posted on 2008-11-13 at 04:30:00.
Edited on 2008-11-13 at 05:00:53 by Kilmorrigan
Out of the fog the faces of the dead loomed before her. The tale that had been running through her head stopped immediately. Orcs would have been preferable. Her feet fixed in place on the side of the damp road, eyes wide, stomach threatening to turn up her lunch. Facing undead was most unpleasant, unlike monsters they had once lived like her, human, kind, feeling, but now they were horrid bastardizations of their former selves. Face twisting with her disgust she swallowed hard, hoping to push the bile back down into her stomach.
Behind her she heard Ayran scream ‘ISAAC! HELP!”
The bile stayed down, for the moment, and she bit down on her lips, nodding slightly to herself as she decided she couldn’t cow down now.
Throwing her arm out her cloak fluttered in a wave of heavy black material, surely gaining attention from the opposition. An instant later she had her sword unsheathed and in front of her. Narrowing her eyes and planting her feet apart to provide added stability she prepared herself for attack.