Tirmut 6th, 1022
His cautious footsteps carried Kirrnon in the wake of the men in black. A lifetime in the woodlands had gifted the cross-bred elf with an expert capacity to stalk and observe his quarry, be it beastial or human. In this case, it was the duo of men headed for the subterranean space beneath the ruin. With his bow in hand and an arrow already notched to the string, he glided across the gravelly stonework and took up position in the shadows nearby.
The pair vanished into the basement, out of sight of Kiirnon's keen eyes. He could still hear them, however, and though their exchanged words were muffled by the carved walls of the cellar, the guide could tell that they were moving further on. He counted off a few seconds before taking a step towards the hole, preparing to continue his approach, but a heavy smash from below caused him to veer around and take a low crouch. A second band followed, as did a third, accompanied by a string of curses. A thunk that sounded something similar to an axe being driven into a stump drifted up to his ears, and thus, the elf was becoming thoroughly confused by what was going on. Evidently, they'd been halted below, which meant a door was locked at the bottom of the stairs.
From the continued sounds of forced entry, it occurred to Kiirnon that this presented him an ideal opportunity to gain the upper hand on his war against the intruders into Scarwood's depths. Setting a careful foot onto the old stone steps, he fluidly descended into the darkness, his sharp eyes attuning to the gloom with ease. At the bottom of the end of the flight, a pair of corpses lay broken in a heap, which had evidently been bypassed by the live duo in their hurry to what lay beyond. But their progress had indeed been impeded by a heavy door, which was now being the victim of a furious assault of boots, fists, and sword blades in an attempt to batter it open. By the lack of lighting at the end of the twenty-foot walk to the door, Kiirnon could only assume that their familiarity with this place made the need for a torch unnecessary.
Silent as a ghost, the ranger lay his back against the wall in an effort to reduce his silhouette against the light entering from the trapdoor. Extending his bow-hand and slowly drawing back the string, he sighted down the shaft and took aim on the man on the left, who had just retrieved his sword from the heavy wood of the door, while his companion wound up for a swing against the barrier.
Holding his breath, the bowman released his fingers from the taut string, and loosed the arrow into the darkness. The missile streaked forth with a hiss, straight towards the back of his target, and the shaft impacted just above the left kidney. A potentially fatal shot, capable of inducing mass internal damage and a slow, painful demise, but for the arrow being foiled by a hidden coat of mail beneath the black cloak. A grunt of surprise issued forth, as did an involuntary spasm in response to the strike, but as one, the pair of humans whirled about, eyes scanning the dark for the shooter. It was only a moment before they lay eyes upon Kiirnon's slightly concealed form, and that moment was all he needed to draw another arrow. Continuing his assault on the same figure, this arrow fired carried more penetrating power as it lanced forth and drove into the right shoulder of his quarry.
A resonating clang erupted in the narrow hall as the man's sword dropped to the stone underfoot, the arrow causing him to loose his ability to hang onto it. Now fully aware of his presence, Kiirnon had to act quickly to take advantage of his ambush.
Whether his reflexes, or the mere advantage presented by his ability to see in the dimness, a breath passed before he a third arrow ready in the air, with a fourth ready to go in his bow-hand, already being maneuvered towards the string. The first of his two follow-up shots struck the wall as the man on the left tried clumsily to react to the shape of Kiirnon drawing his bow, but the fourth put him down as it broke through mail and breast to sink in just below the collarbone.
Even before the body of his companion fell, the second man in black had reacted with incredible celerity, and was on the move towards Kiirnon, sword raised for a strike. It was all the elf could do to try to evade, but the bodies crumpled at the base of the stairs impeded his efforts to outmaneuver the rushing swordsman. In a frantic twist, he found his luck dry as a boot caught on the limp form at his feet, and he toppled backwards. His head missing the stairs by inches, Kiirnon's keen eyes watched with gratitude as his stumble had inadvertently saved him from a sword to the head. But now, he found himself at a distinct disadvantage as he looked up at the swordsman, turned his blade towards the cross-breed's prone form.
(OOC: One mercenary down, but one in your face. Kiirnon is at full health, but prone, and with bow in hand. Good luck here!)
Tirmut 6th, 1022
The crimson currents that ran from Kresimir's ruined armour were sufficient enough to drive everybody into action. After a quick, and one-sided, debate about what to do with the big man, two definitive courses were taken; opening the cell door, and treating their fallen comrade.
Koriss, his housebreaking skills rising to the surface once more, began a quick inspection of the door separating themselves from the captives. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, he set to work on trying to pick the lock open, having quickly produced a pick and spoon from one of his pockets. Standing over him, the slender Mith'ganni performed a similar action, though her eyes searched for different sorts of anomalies. But her careful senses, tuned to seek out Ether deposits, also came up empty. Perhaps the most special aspect of the prison door was simply the fact that it was in relatively good shape from who-knew-when this place had been constructed. Or perhaps it was that it possessed a rather secure lock, much to the halfling's chagrin. Removing his tools from the keyhole, he flexed his fingers and prepared to try again, but was cut off by Kaimelle, who produced the keys Tobias had handed over to her.
Promising freedom to those within, she selected a key at random and inserted it into the lock. A turn was met without purchase, but she was not to be dissuaded. Trying another, this one twisted smoothly, and with a heavy click, she felt the bolt slam shut, and an eager push from inside the cell caused the door to slowly swing open.
Light from without flowed into the room, touching the grimy and timid features of a dozen worried looking peasants – as well as one trail-worn half elf, evidently the one who had been calling through the door.
Though no doubt eager to be free from the confines of the cramped and gloomy room, he wasted no time in upholding his claim to aid, and strode rapidly across the short distance to where Tobias and Nicholas were attempting to tend to Kresimir's downed form.
Having exhausted his divine gifts, Nicholas was resorting to other measures to prevent their companion from bleeding out. At Tobias' inquiry of how to assist, the priest directed him to get his hands over the wound, while he began to dig around in his belongings, trying to find some of the makeshift first-aid items he had brought along. At the very least, a shred of cloth or something would work to slow the bleeding, but without proper stitching or a healer's pack, it was going to be a difficult process.
The blow had punched straight through the Gano's armour, rending the metal into a yawning maw of sharp edges that forced the wound open, leaving Tobias at a loss for how to properly tend to him. His palm coated in his battle companion's blood, he tried to keep the pressure on with one hand while the other picked around at the buckles and clasps that kept the mangled breastplate in place. Removing it would take time, but would at least make the injury accessible for Nicholas to get at.
It was then that he noticed a group of people he'd never seen before, creeping forth from the cell's doorway. The pack was headed by a tanned individual, who made his way straight for Kresimir's unconscious form. A low chant was flowing from the stranger's lips, almost inaudible over Grimm's laboured breaths. But then, a curious thing began to happen. The former captive stepped right up to the pair of warriors, and lay a hand across Kresimir's brow. His chant unceasing, a faint trail of glowing lines ran downwards from the head, spreading out through his limbs and beneath the beaten armour. A tingling sensation ran beneath Tobias' bloodied hand, and he pulled it away to see what was happening.
Something the newcomer had done was causing Kresimir's wound to begin to close. Slowly, but the great gash that split both flesh and breastplate was indeed beginning to come together and seal back up. His magic had a different feel, a different appearance, than that wielded by Nicholas, but it seemed to be effective on the same level. Though he still appeared to be out cold, the big man's breathing began to even out, and the tension around his body softened just a bit.
The crisis temporarily averted, the captive rose to his feet, standing up straight as the others from the cell crept out to take a huddled position behind him.
“Are the bad men gone...?”
“Is it safe to leave?”
Murmurs of uncertainty were voiced from within the group, indicating that more than a few of them clearly couldn't believe that they were being let loose from here. Likely, not a one of them had any idea as to what to do from this point on, and several pairs of eyes were turned upon the tanned half-elf, who obviously served as their spokesman.
The concerned questions slowly came to silence as an especially calm feeling washed over those present, quelling their fears and doubts. It would be easy enough for one to suspect another magic trick performed by the rugged fellow before them, but a careful thought on it tracked the source of this peculiar aura to a young girl, her mid-length black hair messy and her features grimy. Not more than five feet tall, her delicate features and structure made her appear reminiscent of a doll somebody had left in the dirt.
This girl was where the sense of calm emanated from. An obvious boon, given she were locked in a cell with a number of peasants; likely from her own home. Considering the slightly agitated state in which the captives had exited their confines, it was a wonder what would have happened among them had this strange girl's presence not been among them.
But, if the promises made by the young boy Asten, back in the refugee camp, were of any indication, then the special air cast about by this girl suggested her identity. Though she may have chosen to remain silent in the face of newcomers, a voice seemed unnecessary to supply her identity.
Rain had been found.
(OOC: Hope this all makes sense. Written very last at night.
Kresimir: 3/38 – Bandaged left flank, injured left calf, sliced right bicep, wounded right flank, severally bruised breastbone.
The big man is back in action, albeit still unconscious. Can wake up at any given time (When posting) He'll be hurting, but no longer bleeding to death.
An arrow in. A shot to the kidney was always a fatal blow. Kiirnon was only mildly surprised to see the man on the left merely shudder before turning around. Of course he would have some sort of armor under his cloak. Probably studded leather, or possibly chain mail. He loosed another arrow as quick as he could. It landed a bit higher than he liked, but the result was the same: namely, the left man was now disarmed.
Kiirnon spent a fraction of a second debating with himself. Should he switch to the man on the right? If he could disarm them both, he would be at an extreme advantage while they tried to collect themselves.... He would have shaken his head if he had time, as he fired the third arrow. No. Better to concentrate on the first one, while he was still in pain over the first shots, and disoriented witht he loss of his sword. The mental aerobics distracted Kiirnon, and that third shot went both high and wide. Making a mental note to beat himself up later, he fired one last arrow at the man, and was rewarded with the sight of him falling, arrow buried deep in his chest, a little lower than the neck where he had been aiming.
Missing that third shot had cost him though. The man on the right had taken no pause as Kiirnon stuck arrow after arrow into his companion, closing the distance, sword already moving through the air, seeking a place in Kiirnon's skull. Kiirnon frantically backpedaled, attemting to twist out of the way at the same time. He accomplished dodgeing the sword, but only by tripping over one of the bodies he'd passed earlier. Idiot! Always mind the terrain!
The man thew a cruel grin down at what he assumed to be the elf's helpless form. And therein, Kiirnon hoped, would be his salvation. For down though he was, Kiirnon was far from helpless. He reached down to his thigh for the dagger he kept there, took deadly aim, and threw it swiftly at the man's throat.
(((OOC: Ok, this may not be the smartest thing I've ever done, but I consider it to be my best option. Kiirnon is going to assume the dagger doesn't hit, and, taking advantage of the distraction, he will attempt to kick the man's legs out from under him, and if he has good advantage, try and disarm him, and Take Him Alive. If he doesnt, he will simply try and stab him in the throat with an arrow. If that fails..... I'll come up with something else.
Posted on 2011-09-03 at 17:19:59.
Edited on 2011-09-03 at 17:22:55 by Chessicfayth
The world was dark, bleak, and cold as the Gano slipped further and further into the encroaching blackness of eternal rest. As he drifted through a directionless void, he began to hear familiar music from his distant homeland. He began to see vague images of the caravan, from his gypsy kin, rearing celestial steeds to open the ring of their gathering, welcoming Kresimir home once more.
His mind reeled against the acceptance that his life was truly coming to an end, the proud warrior, while content to die in the heat of battle had left too many deaths unavenged, too many murderous dog's unpunished, and one oath unkept. No... he wasn't ready to join the dance of his forefathers just yet.
And so too did the God's agree, for Kresimir found himself pulled from the brink of death by a stranger's hand. The darkness of his fate was replaced by the blurred vision of pain once more, and that pain told the barbarian he still drew breath, though doing so elicited more than one grunt and vulgar remark as he opened heavy eyes.
Who they fell upon surprised the warrior, for he had expected Nick, but he would not begrudge the assistance, from any true natured source. Forcing himself to stand, aching and groaning the entire way till his large stature towered over the others once more. The large man ran rough fingers over the scar that would remind him just how close to death he had come. Turning to the man who had saved his life, he could find little to fully encompass his gratitude. Instead, he merely offered his hand in warm greeting.
"I am Kresimir, and I owe you my life. On the honor of my ancestry I will repay that debt."
(If anything is replied and carrying on... )
Feeling the wave of calm wash over him as people started exiting their imprisoned confines, his eyes fell upon the small girl, and they could feel it was here who was the source of such serentiy. Rain had been found.
Still humbled however, Kresimir kept quiet, merely observing the goings on, contemplating silently where he'd find a new suit of armor-one that preferrably fit-this time.
The lock clicked obediently for the right key, and the door swung inward. Kaimelle saw only captives. Captives, who in the same stroke of luck she had, had been locked up for who knows how long. The one who had been talking through the door was a half elf, and he immediately rushed to the Gano’s side. She cast her eyes upon the other haunted faces in the cell.
Are the bad men gone...?”
“Is it safe to leave?”
Murmurs ran around the room until they were suddenly hushed as though smothered by a blanket. The Mith’ganni’s gaze landed upon a girl no older than six or seven. Waves of calm rushed out of her body, and it was obvious that the Twilight Elf was not the only one affected.
"I am Kresimir, and I owe you my life. On the honor of my ancestry I will repay that debt." Kaimelle turned around to see the Gano standing up and speaking. So its Kresimir, then.
“Kresimir,” she said, looking up into the Gano’s face, “I am glad you’re alright, but we need to move,” she looked around at the rest of the group, “Now.”
…before it’s too late. Before we get rushed, she thought, finishing her statement in her mind. There was no need to get the rest of the freed prisoners in a fuss.
“I believe it will be better to retrace the rescuer’s steps. I’m not sure what lies further on, and I am in no hurry to find out. I am ready to breathe fresh air.”
Tobias barely heard the freed captive approach over the groans of Grimm. The ex-knight's mind was still fixed on get the big man's ill-fitted armour off so that the friar could work his skills in herblore and healing.
The tingling sensation that crept through his blood-soaked hand caught his attention though, and Tobias watched in amazement as the terrible rend across his companion's chest knit itself back together, the big Gano's breathing becoming more regular. "Thank you, sir," Tobias said finally to the stranger.
The warrior wiped his companion's blood on his cloak as he stood. "Tobias," the ex-knight pointed at himself as way of introduction. Pointing to the priest, he continued, "and Friar Nicholas. We're here to get you out. Though, I'm wondering if among you is a young lass na ..."
His voice trailed off as a wave of calming peace washed over him. He turned around, searching for the source, wondering what it could mean. His eyes finally fell on a young lass who emerged from within the crowd of released prisoners.
Noone needed to speak... Tobias knew deep in his heart that this girl was the one. Within her presence, the ex-knight almost found grace to wash away all his past sins... almost found peace for his weary soul... almost found hope for his future in this life...
The elf woman's voice brought him back to the present. Her suggestion to retrace their steps out seemed wise enough... while he knew there were Brigaders trying to hack into the other room, it seemed wise to try and fight through the enemy you knew, rather than wander through the halls none knew.
"I agree," stated the warior with renewed determination. "Let's leave this place behind." Turning to Korviss, "You still got that spear you ran in here with?"
[OOC:Assuming a "yes".]
"Think our friend here," indicating the bard, "might use it for the time being? Or," looking back towards Grimm's rescuer, "would you perfer this dagger?" Tobias offered his dagger to the man.
Tirmut 6th, 1022
Desperation drove the cross-bred elf to desperate tactics, and from his prone position at the feet of his attacker, he released his grip on his bow and managed to produce the dagger sheathed at his thigh. He would have only seconds to try to take down the brigand before a sword stroke fell upon his helpless form. Twisting his arm into a throwing position, Kiirnon released the blade with as much force as he could from the unusual angle, sending the thin blade racing through the dimly illuminated air.
Although the knife toss managed to strike the man in black, his aim was not as he'd intended, and the flickering shot drew a crimson line across the left side of the man's neck before slicing through the material of his hood. A short cry of surprise echoed off the stone walls as the unpredicted attack bought some purchase, but it seemed only to anger the warrior, who raised his sword high.
Kiirnon, lacking a sound means of defending himself from the world of hurt that was promised him, raised his arms up defensively across his face and sternum, hoping to at least buffer some of the impact and prevent it from damaging his vitals. While it was his boiled leather breastplate that carried the majority of the rivets that helped block incoming blows, the tough sleeves of the armour served to lessen some of the force. Despite their limited protection, the sword stroke cut through the material and sank into the outside edges of his crossed forearms. The elf grit his teeth against the pain, but was thankful that the cruel edge of the weapon didn't hit his face, as had seemed intended.
Refusing to let the flaring hurt blur his senses and reflexes, the fallen guidesman took advantage of the situation and delivered a swift, if slightly uncoordinated, kick at his attacker's feet. The heels of his boots collided against the insteps of the mercenary, sending his legs flying out and dropping him to the ground. The grip on the man's sword failed as he tried to keep his chin from bashing the stone underfoot, and the heavy steel weapon crashed with a loud clang that ripped through the close confines of the hallway. Still, this presented Kiirnon with an opportunity, and biting back the pain, he scrambled to get atop his opponent.
The maneuver was not without risk, as the now-disarmed swordsman had no intention of letting Kiirnon pin him to the ground. Throwing an elbow out at the mounting half-elf that took him solidly on the underside of the chin, he was able to turn himself supine as the blow snapped Kiirnon's head back.. The concussive effect in his head made him thankful that his tongue were inside his mouth, for the force with which his teeth smashed together would surely have cost him a lifetime of muteness. Shaking his head to clear the stars from it, the woodsman retaliated with a punch across the face, his fist connecting high on the cheekbone. Attempting a follow-up, his second hook was halted short by a hand catching his bicep and holding his arm fast.
Struggling for control, a sweat-slicked palm shot up and pressed against Kiirnon's chin, forcing his head back and trying to push him off of his dominant position. With pressure against his arm and head, his options were running out. Frantically, the half-elf attempted a similar maneuver, thrusting a hand beneath the tattered black hood. His fingers wove into the man's short-cropped hair, but desperation granted him a sufficient grip nonetheless. But rather than push his head back, Kiirnon instead pulled, raising it up before shoving it down hard against the floor. A heavy thud erupted from the impact, and the effect was obvious, as the brigand's efforts became temporarily lessened and his eyes unfocused for a moment. This chance would not be missed, though, and the ranger repeated the brutal tactic. The second slam lacked the impressive power of the first, but the results were as desired. The man's eyes glazed over, and his body went limp.
Breathing heavily, his head throbbing, and bleeding from both forearms, the half-elf allowed himself a moment's respite. The ambush had not gone as smoothly as he had hoped, but what would the cost have been if he hadn't carried the element of surprise? He may have instead been missing both his arms, or worse, his head. That prospect melted from his thoughts, as did the adrenaline rush, and a heated pain began to well up in his arms. But he'd succeeded in subduing his adversary, by more brutal means than he was used to employing. Still, though, he was alive, and he was one body up in his war against these intruders of the ancient depths of Scarwood Forest.
(OOC: Good little brawl. You hurt, but he's worse off.
Kiirnon: 16 (12)/22 – Minor slice on both forearms, near-migraine level of headache, jaw ache. 4 Subdual damage.
Opponent is out cold.
Also realized that character sheets for Kiirnon and Avellin are NOT up in the Q/A. Will fix this tomorrow. For now, I am sleep.)
Posted on 2011-09-08 at 08:42:26.
Edited on 2011-09-08 at 08:43:16 by Tek
Tirmut 6th, 1022
What had once been a near-fatal blow was now an itching scar upon Kresimir's broad chest, and though it no longer bled, it still left him weak and somewhat off-balance. But, the big man thanked the stranger who had restored him to stability, pledging a blood debt to the half-elf. The reply he received was somewhat unexpected, given the assistance he had provided.
"But it is I who am repaying you my friend. You have helped rescue me from this death sentance, and in return I have rescued you from yours. My name, is Avellin." The half-elf now had a name by which the others could identify him. The time for introductions rapidly disintegrated, however, as Kaimelle and Tobias vouched their mutual opinions on getting out of this place and being back on the road to the camp. Surely, these people would be eager to see loved ones and friends, or if they had none of those to return to, at least familiar faces of previous travel companions.
At Tobias' offer, Avellin took the dagger from the soldier, and beckoned that his fellow once-captives begin to move along. It was time to go. Time to get back up to the surface. Even though only two, perhaps three days had elapsed, they were more than overdue to see the sun and sky again. The rabble set into motion, taking up position behind Tobias and Kaimelle. Koriss, having reclaimed the spear he left at the mouth of the hall, carried himself at the Mith'ganni's flank. Kresimir and Avellin took the rear guard, as did Nicholas, bearing sturdily his recently acquired shield. As one, they mobilized, making for the storeroom that would lead them to the cellar entrance.
Upon entering the larger room, Avellin noticed a heap of belongings piled near the door. His rescuers carried on unconcerned, having seen it earlier, but these looked like a number of things that he had seen borne by the refugees before being attacked on the road. Perhaps his own things were here, as well. Surely a quick look couldn't hurt?
The bard peeled away, setting himself to rummage through the items heaped. As he'd hoped, his belongings were present among the mess, albeit lacking the coins he'd previously carried. A small cost to still be alive and free. He quickly began to re-equip himself when one of the others noticed, and before long, all of the prisoners were rushing to his side, hurriedly searching for their own possessions. While this was an irksome delay, it was not easy to deny them the opportunity to reclaim their things. It was unlikely that any had anything of value beyond that of sentimentality, but it gave the party members time to work at securing an exit.
Nicholas and Avellin assumed a watchful position on the corridor from which they had come, as there was yet one area of it that had been unexplored. The remaining branches from the storeroom, though, were confirmed clear of any mercenaries, and as such, work was set on clearing the furniture and barrels away from in front of the door. Due to Kresimir's weakened state, it largely fell upon the strenghth of Tobias to shove the heavier obstacles out of the way, although Kaimelle and Koriss helped where able.
Once the exit was clear, the rescuers prepared themselves for another potential conflict. With Avellin and Rain in their midst, the peasants huddled in the middle of the room, clutching their recovered belongings protectively. Getting out of here unnoticed would be tougher than it was to get in, but there wasn't much option, and it was still a good day and half trek back to the refugee camp. At an unhindered pace. These people were not combatants. They were farmers and artisans. Special care would need to be taken. And as such, with weapons drawn and ready, Tobias took hold of the doorhandle. Giving it a sharp pull and taking a step out ready to confront who may be on the other side, the bearded man nearly took in a sight that was quite unlike they had left it.
For starters, an body embedded with two arrows lay immediately beside the doorway. Wearing the black cloak and skull mask of the Death Corps, this meant that an outside party had slain the man. And though detail was not easily picked out due to the dimness of the corridor, it looked as though the shooter had not left the vicinity, for a figure dressed in the vestments of a woodsman knelt near the base of the stairs, near the prone form of another mercenary. From the distance, details of the mysterious figure could not be made out, but upon Tobias' appearance in the doorway, the stranger turned its head to look at him. Kaimelle and Koriss, who had joined the ex-templar's position, bore keener eyes than the human did, and even in the dim lighting emanating down from the trapdoor entrance, they were able to make out the features of a man of elven blood, though something about his appearance seemed somewhat off from any elf that the spellcrafter was aware of.
This single figure was all that was separating the escapists from the surface, although he did not appear threatening to them. Rather, he seemed to have inadvertently assisted them, though whether he was truly on their side or not... that was yet to be determined.
(OOC: I suppose REALLY, I could have done both updates at once, as this is a merging point for them.
Kneeling near the stairs is Kiirnon, directly in the path to the exit. Tobias, Kaimelle, and Koriss are in the doorway. The latter two identify him as an elf, but Kaimelle has noticed he is of a peculiar heritage.
Back in the storeroom, Avellin has recovered his belongings, as have the refugees (Amounts to approximately a backpack or large basket of things per person) Kresimir and Nicholas have eyes on the door leading down the cell block where Kaimelle was found, though there has been no sign of anybody coming that way. Coast is clear on the rearguard.)
[OCC: I know I said I wouldn’t be able to post, but I just got back from a work meeting that included 2 cups of coffee. Extravert (gain energy from people) + caffeine = me wired and ready to go! )
With Rain in his care, Tobias had only one singular purpose -- deliver her alive and in one piece back to camp. The ex-soldier had no desire to explore this place or clear out the Death Brigade. That could all wait for another day, another time.
But Tobias was not ignorant. The man knew that the task ahead was fraught with challenges. When the group of captives began rifling through the discarded possessions of the storeroom, the ex-templar met the first, and likely the greatest, challenge – how to keep this rag-tag group together and moving. He wanted to bark orders at them, to call them to attention, to demand some discipline... but pity won the day, and he bit his tongue, trusting that the gods who had favoured them thus far.
Instead, the stout man set his strength to moving a far more simple object – the variety of items they had stacked against the door that would lead to their freedom... Or death, Tobias reminded himself.
By the time he had move the furniture aside, the captives seemed ready to move on. In his mind, Tobias tried to envision what lay behind the door, tried to remember the how the tunnel was shaped and the likely places his foes would be positioned. He thought about Grimm, walking but still injured, and considered offering the barbarian his crossbow. He didn’t though... he knew the burly man well enough now to know Grimm liked his battles close up. Instead, Tobias sheathed his sword and loaded the crossbow as he prepared to open the door.
The scene on the other side was not what the soldier had expected. The Brigade man, embedded with two arrows, quickly brought Tobias’ eyes and crossbow up, scanning the hallway for someone, friend or foe. Indeed, the gods favour us this day.
Tobias’ eyes found what he was looking for, barely... a woodsman knelt near another prone Brigade member. The soldier thanked what gods might be still working on behalf of man that the shooter seemed not a foe, for if he had been, Tobias judged the woodsman would have likely been able to put to arrows in his chest long before he had been spotted.
Still, the bearded man kept his crossbow on the mysterious figure. Even as Koriss and Kaimelle joined Tobias, the ex-templar called out, “If you are the source of the arrows in my enemy here, I thank you. If you are looking for freedom, I welcome you to join us. If you are here to hinder us, I warn you to step aside, or you will join the present dead.
[OOC: I’m leaving it here, as I don’t want to assume any dialogue. However, I would love it if our next update was moving us forward towards the camp. That’s Tobias’ plan – Assuming that the woodsman joins us (or doesn’t), Tobias is looking to lead the captives back the refugee camp. If I had to suggest a walking order though, I’d put Koriss and the Woodsman upfront, leading and looking out for traps/enemies; followed by the Bard and Kaimelle leading the people; followed by the people and Nick (who I’d love to see sticking close to Rain); followed by Grimm and Tobias taking up the rear guard. That’s just my opinion... If you all have other ideas, lay them out here or on the Q/A board]
Kaimelle ~ Man, that Mith'ganni is pushy when she's tired
Kaimelle looked at the body on the ground. The fletching of the arrows were obviously well made, and of a vaguely familiar design. She gazed down the corridor, and was able to discern the male elf who had apparently killed this man. There was something unusual about him, but she couldn’t put her finger on it in the dark.
Or is it the exhaustion? Oh to see the stars.
She had to bite her lip to keep her from speaking. The Mith’ganni was so close to the surface she could smell the fresh air, and it took almost all of her remaining strength not to go barreling down the passageway to true freedom. Kaimelle was so close to her own madness that she wondered if she would ever regain composure.
Tobias had kept his crossbow on the figure, “If you are the source of the arrows in my enemy here, I thank you. If you are looking for freedom, I welcome you to join us. If you are here to hinder us, I warn you to step aside, or you will join the present dead.”
…join us…. hinder us…
“Agreed,” Kaimelle said to Tobias, though she was sure the unknown elf could probably hear her, “We are indebted, but it’s time for us to gain our own freedom. Immediately.”
Kiirnon bowed his head a moment, resting. That hadn't gone as well as he'd hoped, but it had gone better than could be expected. If only that third shot had hit....
Kiirnon's whirled to face the door as he heard noise on the otherside. Loud scrapings and a few thuds. He reached for his bow, knowing that he had no time. The door open, and he prepared to retreat up the stairs, firing to give himself time.
It turned out to be largely unneccessary. A man came through the door, dressed not the garb of these strange intruders, but in soldier's armor, wielding a crossbow. He found said weapon leveld at him, and the figure called out, "If you are the source of the arrows in my enemy here, I thank you. If you are looking for freedom, I welcome you to join us. If you are here to hinder us, I warn you to step aside, or you will join the present dead."
Freedom. So they had liberated some of the prisoners. This group might truly be the solution to the threat posed to his forest by the Black-Skulls, as he had taken to calling them.
He was about to reply, when another of the group (for they had slowly begun filling the corridor) interjected. "Agreed. We are indebted, but it’s time for us to gain our own freedom. Immediately.”
So this slight elven woman had been among the imprisoned. Kiirnon sensed a strong will from her, far different from the rest of the captives. He wondered about it, then put it from his mind. There were things to be done. His arms throbbed, and pressed the cloth of his cloak against them, attempting to stop the bit of bleeding.
"I am not your enemy. Quite the contrary, you are the allies I have been waiting for." Kiirnon looked around. "I will indeed head with you to the surface. We should speak more there." Kiirnon retrieved his dagger, being careful to sheathe it without looking threatening. He looked at the man he had knocked out. "Would someone help me with him? He is only unconcious, and will provide valuable information."
(((OOC: Ok, so I'm joining the group for now. If someone wants to lend a hand, I'll join them in carrying the guy, if not, I'll do it myself. However, should something happen, he will most likely be dropped. Kiirnon wants the information, but not badly enough to risk himself or the others for it.)))
Posted on 2011-09-21 at 16:38:42.
Edited on 2011-09-22 at 15:14:30 by Chessicfayth
Tirmut 6th, 1022
With the way to the surface so clearly in sight, and the motives of the strange elf before them to be in their own favour, it took little push for the companionship – and their tow of refugees – to rush for the stairs to freedom. Kiirnon stood aside to allow the others passage before himself, as he still wished to haul the unconscious form of the brigand up to the surface with them. Kaimelle, however, wasted no time in rushing up the stairs and out into the evening light. It would still be a few hours before the sun truly began to set, but this was like a gulp of cool water to her parched soul. Beloved sky... How very dear to her peoples. Behind her, Tobias led the refugees up the stairs in a single-file column, making sure none stumbled as they stepped forth from the cellar depths.
Counting them off, the Mith'ganni took stock of Nicholas, Koriss and Avellin among the uneasy peasants, but Grimm and the young girl among the crowd were both still below ground. That was secondary to the immediate relief she felt from being in the open air once more. The big man would be fine.
Below, in the shadows of the underground hall, Kresimir made himself helpful to the noticeably injured bowman, and put his great strength to use by scooping up the limp form of the mercenary from the floor. Stepping past the elf, he noticed that Rain had stayed behind, and was walking towards Kiirnon, unafraid of the mysterious elf whom they had met just moments prior.
Kresimir halted his ascent, and instead watched curiously to see what the young woman planned. Kiirnon, pressing down on his slashed arms in an effort to clot them, felt the flaring pain lessen, even if just for a moment, though it was not from his touch.
“May I see?” The girl asked him, her voice as soft and smooth as velvet. Kiirnon felt compelled to cooperate, and moved his hands away, the rugged material of his cloak pulling slightly as the stickiness of the blood seperated.
Gingerly, her small, slender hands reached forth, fingers prodding about the wound to inspect it and check the severity. After a few moments of this, she finally spoke again. “A bandage should be sufficient. You will have to take care not to strain the healing process.” Looking up at the woodsman, her green eyes, clashing with her raven coloured hair, created a most mesmerizing feeling in his head. “Do you have healing supplies?”
He nodded, shuffling through his possessions for a moment before producing a folded cloth bundle. Contained within it were several natural agents to assist in healing, and the young woman took it in her hands before nodding towards the stairs. Naturally, her human eyes were inferior in the darkened hallway, and the natural light above would make the process much simpler. With her leading the way, Kiirnon, and finally Kresimir, ascended the stone steps and stepped out into the evening sunlight.
The rest of the group was assembled and trying to ready themselves for the approaching trek. And given the scope of the distance, the organization, the danger at hand, and the athleticism – or lack thereof – of the refugees, this was not going to be a one-night event. A plan would need to be devised, and Tobias was the first to begin making plans for their exit. His military training had his mind working on formations in which to escort the group safely, while also taking advantage of the strengths of each member.
While he drew up plans, Rain took the opportunity to open Kiirnon's medical supply bundle, and quickly extracted from it a pair of strips of some sort of blade-shaped leaf. Asking the elf to roll back his sleeves to expose the injury, she licked across the flat of the leaf, spitting a few times afterwards in an effort to remove the taste from her tongue. Proceeding to wrap the strip around the slice on his forearm, she pressed the area she had licked against the backing of the other end, and after a second of holding it in place, smiled to see that it had bonded itself in an effective wrapping. As she worked on the other arm, Kresimir and Kaimelle watched her work. For the Mith'ganni, it was moreso of the fact that Rain was standing almost immediately beside her, but for Grimm, it was a different matter altogether. He recognized her skill with natural agents, and it took him back to his time spent with his adoptive family. Girls on the cavaarii were trained in herblore at an early age. Rain, being from a Kirvass clan, would be no different.
It was time to get a move on back to the camp, but for a snag in the operation. They were no longer a group of four passing through the woods. This was now a small mob, numbering nineteen heads, less than half of which were suited for protective duties here. Night would be upon them in three or four hours, and the remaining count of mercenaries – if any – was unknown. Nothing about this would be easy, but this would be a rescue worthy of stories if it was finally able to reach the final steps.
(OOC: I tried to reach a happy medium here in which all we really need is a series of votes to decide on what to do. But since we're beginning to lose players... (three now) it would be nice to try to hit the end zone here as quickly as possible. But, regrouping and reorganizing seemed an ideal spot to get things set to where we can push off and go with a big update.
Kiirnon has been bandaged, but no HP recovered. Kresimir brought the body up and deposited it on the ground near himself. Kaimelle can finally breathe properly again, bring free from the stony confines.)
As Tobias helped the released captives out into the open again, his attention was divided between counting the refugees and scanning the surrounding areas, searching for any remaining Death Brigade. His crossbow remained loaded and ready.
When everyone was accounted for, Tobias’ mind shifted into devising a plan. He called his companions together, including the recent additions of Kaimelle, Avellin, and Kiirnon. “All right. I want to stay here for as little time as possible. The further away from this place, the better. Agreed?”
[OOC: Assuming everyone agrees...]
With his companions all in agreement, Tobias laid out his plan. “Korviss, you and Kiirnon provide us with cover as we organize the people.
“Friar, take Kaimelle, Avellin, and Rain with you and go through the refugees. Pair them up and line them up in a column to travel through. If they have any injuries you can care for quickly, do so. And get us an accurate count. I don’t want to lose any.
Kresimir, see if you can get that death brigade soldier to talk. I want to know how many of them they’ve got posted here, what’s their mission, who’s their leader, and if there’s more prisoners below. If he’s not willing to talk, take care of him. I suggest you take him just inside the doorway again, out of sight of the captives.
“As soon as that column is put together, I want to move out.”
[OOC: Assuming everyone is good with their assignments... or at least seems to be going about them...]
Tobias turned his attention back to their surroundings as the others moved off. His crossbow eagerly anticipated a mark, as he ran through his plan.
[OOC: Assuming there are no hiccups to us getting organized and that the DB soldier tells us little of interest...]
When the group was ready to move, Tobias laid out the rest of his plan. “Korviss and Kiirnon take the lead. Make sure you take care of any traps along the way. Just before sun-down, we’ll need a place to bed down for the night too, so keep that in mind.
“Friar, you stand in front of the procession and keep order at the head.
“Kaimelle, you and I will travel in the middle of the column with Rain,” Turning to Rain, he continued softly, “You’ve got a way with these people, an aura of calm that seems to keep the rest peaceable. And you’re the reason we’re here to begin with. I promised your brother I’d get you back alive and well. My life is your life.”
Turning his attention to the large gano, “Kresimir, you take Avellin with you as rear guard, and watch our backs. You have a bow, Avellin?”
[OOC: If Avellin does not have a bow, Tobias will give him his crossbow and the bolts to go with it. If another crossbow (and set of bolts) from the fallen Death Brigade soldiers is lying around, all handy like, Tobias will scoop them up for his own.]
With everyone ready to move out, Tobias settled into the middle of the group, just in front of Kaimelle and Rain. He brought out his longbow and nocked an arrow as his eyes continued to scan the area for signs of trouble. His mind prayed to the gods to have pity on these common folk.
Tirmut 9th, 1022
It had been four anxious days since the expedition east from Scarwood camp began, a daring quest of rescue, undertaken by four brave volunteers from the camp's own members, three of which had been residents for some time before, whilst the fourth had rode in garbed in a Templar's raiments, yet sought to prove his loyalty lay in the exact opposite direction of what would be inferred by his trappings. Striking out to the depths of the ancient forest in search of captives taken from a recent influx of refugees, the party had willingly thrown themselves into danger on the behalf of others. And though they had not yet returned, they were already spoken of as heroes by the voices of the hopeful.
The sun rose that day behind a veil of clouds, providing only a dull, grey illumination to the morning to complement the gentle rain that kissed the land. Fragrant smells of the forest rose upon the air, enhanced by the refreshing drink that the thirsty vegetation savoured, left a feeling of peace throughout the camp, though few actually ventured outside of their tents and shanties. For most, staying indoors on a day like today brought a comforting reminiscence of being home, and made the oppressive feeling of being driven away from all that they had known by these hard times.
Still, be it from restless energy or the simple need to keep busy, a few individuals did carry on with day to day process, despite the rain. Gathering firewood, trying to hunt for game, or even plying one's skills to maintain belongings brought their way, the camp slowly came to life, as it always did. Cookfires hissed softly against the drizzle, dancing erratically, but never sputtering out, and the smells of foraged and hunted food gradually began to fill the misty air.
An awning had been drawn out near the tent of Sister Adriss Avairiss, providing a dry space for the faithful to kneel and receive the comfort of her sermons, delivered as she did every morning. Although now, an additional verse was added to the end of it, to provide the blessings of Liris to four intrepid souls for a safe return home. Whether one or one hundred attended her preachings, the dedicated Sister spoke the sacred verses, but for the past few days, the numbers had soared in the hopes that all of their combined voices would deliver the their friends and family back to them.
Jauris Kand probed the contents of his tabac pouch with seeking fingers, digging into the corners of the cloth bag to extract whatever trace amounts of the dried pipeweed might be hidden. He frowned as he removed less than an adequate bowlful, but nonetheless thumbed it into his carved applewood pipe and lit it from a small piece of tinder he picked from one of the campfires. Drawing a thoughtful puff, the grizzled camp leader walked to the eastern edge of camp and sat himself on a large rock that protruded from the earth. Commodities were becoming scarce. Even his own personal supplies of the things he enjoyed were beginning to run thin these days. He didn't know the next time somebody might arrive bearing this that could be bartered for, or the rare chance that a travelling merchant took one of the northern roads and happened to pass this way.
He heaved a sigh and looked out to the dimly lit countryside, almost hopefully. It would almost be time to tighten up on rations once more, based on the numbers of people now resident here, and the dwindling amounts of provisions. Tabac could be sacrificed, but food could not be.
The drizzle felt good against his brow, and reminded him that even though times were challenging, this gift from nature would at least help the plants of the woodlands and fields to grow, meaning that there would be new food to forage. The attempts at farming in some nearby clearings would be aided further, as well, which took a slight strain off his mind in terms of food. That was long-term, however. It was the immediate needs that caused him stress.
Jauris scratched his beard and tapped out the ashes from his pipe, returning it to its pouch and tucking it away into a pocket of his cloak before rising to his feet. Perhaps somebody in the camp would know of a nearby town that still had sufficient food stores. It was possible that one had been abandoned without emptying the silos and cellars. He'd have to ask around.
Motion on the road caught his attention, though the raindrops, gentle as they may be, made it difficult to focus his gaze. He flipped up the hood of his cloak to shield his eyes from the rain, and looked eastward once more.
What had initially looked to be one shape was gradually moving closer, coming into clarity as many. A travelling group of people. At first he thought more refugees, almost a bane to his just-dismissed line of thought, but a more careful inspection revealed it to be much more orderly than a group of evacuated wanderers. Two columns of people, moving in close order. Somebody with discipline had ordered this troupe.
Then, a shot of hope struck him in the chest. One of the forefront members of the column was obviously a halfling, based on the small size. Jauris' boots thudded softly on the moist earth as he began striding towards them, eagerness to know fuelling his movement. He'd covered not more than twenty steps when the great height of Tobias and Kresimir became obvious among the numbers.
“They did it...” Jauris murmured to himself as the group continued to near. He could now see Nicholas among them, as well as a few other members who seemed suited for battle and hard times. The rest were obviously the captives taken in the raid from four days prior.
The camp leader halted his pace, standing in the middle of the hard-packed pathway to await the arrivers. Though that hardly took time at all, for upon seeing his presence, the procession began to dissolve its ranks, the individuals starting to pick up their pace to reach the safe haven of Scarwood camp.
“Welcome back.” Jauris called to the fellowship. It was the only thing he could think of at the moment. “Your friends and dear ones are awaiting you. They will no doubt be relieved beyond words to see you all.”
At his greeting, the freed captives, relief gained from knowing their close ones had survived the rest of the journey, began to run towards the camp, many of them reciting thanks to the gods, or whatever supernatural forces an individual believed in. Tobias, Koriss, Kresimir, and Nicholas, however, remained behind with Jauris, as did three others whom he did not recognize. All of elven blood, obviously, though one only was of half-descent.
“I'm not normally one to put much faith in religion. That's the Sister's work.” Jauris said with a smile, extending a hand to Tobias. “But your names were in her prayers every day that you were away. Her voice, and those of the flock she tends to here, bade you safe return. And here you are.”
Jauris stepped back, eyeing the seven before him. They had left camp as four, and returned a stronger group. Even he had his doubts that they would all come back. And though the signs of wear and tear and sweat and blood were obvious, they had proved him wrong.
“I would think you're in need of hot food and rest, not to mention a bath. We can get down to business when you're ready. I would imagine there is a lot you have to say. But if you're expecting a parade when you get in there...well, you might not be far off.” The leader beckoned to them with an open hand and made for the camp. “Folks need heroes. Gives them hope.”
Jauris, at the head of the seven trail-worn travellers, each from their own walks of life, yet gathered here to see their efforts rewarded with the return of the captives to their loved ones, began the walk to the shanties and tents that made up Scarwood camp. Even in dark days, not all was assured to be lost. Somebody could always make a difference. Sister Adriss was right in her teachings; Hope is the one crop that can grow in any climate.
Posted on 2011-10-25 at 04:19:29.
Edited on 2011-10-25 at 04:20:08 by Tek