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ZONE - Caiden's Encampment (cave in the Jagged Edge)


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#61 Dalton Kringle

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 12:56 PM

While waiting for Katja to respond to him, he overheard the conversation that the others were having with Caiden.

 

What in Hel…What are you?!?”

 

"Cursed, that's why I'm out here."

 

"Cursed with what?"

 

"I don't know. It seems at least somewhat demonic, but it isn't possession. It's... different."

 

True enough, I couldn’t sense anything else in control of yer mind, but I’m sure ye can understand how this’d make one...wary.” 

 

And ye’re not just a demonkin with reaally good concentration?  Because if yer as good and noble as yer actions, then I’m honorbound to repay you by helping as best I can...but if ye’re running some elaborate play on us, best I can give ye is an hour head start.”.

 

"I'm human - and I'm a Venator. I live by a code, this is why I'm out here. And why I travel alone."

 

Agethar silently groaned. What was it with him that he had to know people with these kinds of secrets? Why couldn't he just have normal friends? Did the gods hate him this much?

 

The Venator strode over to the group and said "Yer not alone. Remember th' Code? Venators never hunt alone. As long as I'm here, I'll fight by yer side."

 

Agethar glared at the Dwarf and said "An' if ye think that ye can take 'im on, then ye'll have tae go through me as well. I don't know if he is possessed, or is a 'alf demon, but he's me freind, and that's good enough fer me."



#62 Burger Warrior

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:08 PM

Katja was not in a good mood.

 

She knew she shouldn’t blame anyone else but herself for losing what few goats they’d managed to start grabbing just the other day, but it was difficult not to feel at least a little cross at the humans who had chosen to accompany her. The giantess was tempted to say that they were the reason the wyverns had so quickly gotten too close to easily evade, but still held her tongue as the day dawned when the party had to split. She’d managed to get something off of Hallvard to eat, at least, so she hadn’t starved…

 

At any rate, as Caiden began to take his leave, Agethar glanced at Bale and then at Katja before asking: "Well, do ye think we should go with 'im, or go on our own adventure?"

 

She rested a hand on her growling belly, frowning in the direction Caiden began to head. “Depends.” She murmured. However, before she could continue, a… fight of some sorts seemed to break out between Caiden and their local dwarf priest - and that molten sorceress. Skovgaard frowned, carefully following Agethar over… until she noticed Hallvard approach, as well. Not wanting to make things worse by crowding in on what could very quickly be a violent struggle - she was still far too used to dealing with chaos races rather than more civilized beings - Katja hung back, resting a hand on the pommel of her smaller warhammer.

 

“...Got any bright ideas?” She asked Bale with a sideways glance. “About where to go, and all that… I’m all ears, as long as it’s away from the Jagged Edge.”


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#63 Sareth

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 02:23 PM

"I don't know. It seems at least somewhat demonic, but it isn't possession. It's... different."

 

A slight chill ran through Nefer's blood at Caiden's response, and her suspicions flared up again. Another mage was imprisoned with her, and now their rescuer turned out to be demonically-tainted: it seemed highly unlikely, at best. And she especially did not like the incredibly vague nature of the venator's response. 

 

True enough, I couldn’t sense anything else in control of yer mind. But I’m sure ye can understand how this’d make one...wary. And ye’re not just a demonkin with reaally good concentration? Because if yer as good and noble as yer actions, then I’m honorbound to repay you by helping as best I can...but if ye’re running some elaborate play on us, best I can give ye is an hour head start.”

 

"I'm human - and I'm a Venator. I live by a code... This is why I'm out here. And why I travel alone."

 

"Yer not alone. Remember th' Code? Venators never hunt alone. As long as I'm here, I'll fight by yer side. An' if ye think that ye can take 'im on, then ye'll have tae go through me as well. I don't know if he is possessed, or is a 'alf demon, but he's me freind, and that's good enough fer me."

 

Nefer took a step closer to Sigmar, against the possibility that things did devolve into violence. "That might be good enough for you, but some of us can ill afford to be so blind in our faith" she replied to Agethar, a touch snidely.

 

She then turned back to Caiden: "You said your 'curse' was different. Different how?—and please do be specific" she said coldly. The fingers of her right hand twitched slightly as she repressed the instinct to summon her magic; doing so would only make her situation worse. She would give the venator a chance —a chance— but he had better actually explain.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#64 Dalton Kringle

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 07:09 PM

"That might be good enough for you, but some of us can ill afford to be so blind in our faith."

 

Agethar was about to say something rude, but then he remembered that this was the Mage that melted a Giant's face off, and decided to phrase his next words carefully.

 

"I'm not so blind as to judge a person's actions 'afore they make 'em. Or else I'd 'ave jumped tae conclusions on ye, or the giants, or the Beast-folk fer that matter."

 

---

 

Bale looked on at the argument in amusement. Normal humans were incredibly fascinating to the Mage, and the development that one of them was some sort of Demon Creature made for an interesting dilemma.

 

...Got any bright ideas? About where to go, and all that… I’m all ears, as long as it’s away from the Jagged Edge.

 

Bale loooked up at the Giantess and then shrugged.

 

"I honestly don't know," he said, glancing at the group "maybe I'll travel with these idiots if they don't all kill each other first. Maybe I'll return to my ruined lair and wait to collect another bounty."

 

He looked at Katja again and asked "Tell me, do you have intentions of avenging your father?"

 

After waiting for a response, the Mage Assassin continued "It is fine if you do not. Most people wait to have a large amount of followers before staging a coup. I have some friends who might be able to help, if you're making plans..."

 

 

 

 



#65 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 08:36 PM

Caiden said nothing as everyone he'd just saved swooped down upon him to drop their opinions.

 

First Hallvard - then Agethar, whose words carried considerable weight, at least to Caiden. "Yer not alone. Remember th' Code? Venators never hunt alone. As long as I'm here, I'll fight by yer side." He then glared at Sigmar and said, "An' if ye think that ye can take 'im on, then ye'll have tae go through me as well. I don't know if he is possessed, or is a 'alf demon, but he's me freind, and that's good enough fer me."

 

Voros remained silent, though he did glance at Agethar, a significant look of gratitude in his eye. True, it only lasted about a second, and there was nothing else to go on about his reaction, but it was there.

 

Nefer, however, took a step closer to Sigmar, against the possibility that things did devolve into violence. "That might be good enough for you, but some of us can ill afford to be so blind in our faith," she replied to Agethar, a touch snidely. She then turned back to Caiden: "You said your 'curse' was different. Different how?—and please do be specific" she said coldly. The fingers of her right hand twitched slightly as she repressed the instinct to summon her magic... and Caiden noticed.

 

The Venator met her gaze but did not respond before Agethar retorted, "I'm not so blind as to judge a person's actions 'afore they make 'em. Or else I'd 'ave jumped tae conclusions on ye, or the giants, or the Beast-folk fer that matter."

 

"Thank you, Agethar," Caiden said.

 

It was good Agethar had spoken, for another moment passed before Caiden said anything more. Standing this close to him, Agethar felt sure he'd heard the faintest sound of a low, terrible growl reverberating deep in Caiden's chest, but he clearly was trying to subdue it - particularly since, to look at him, it would be impossible to tell he was even angry.

 

"I just risked my life for yours," Caiden replied, his voice controlled and calm as ever - but a bit lower and gruffer than usual, which was the only indication of emotion... except for a gleam in his eye that told he could sympathize with their situation, and that perhaps bothered him most.

 

"You're making poorly veiled threats. I've been in the Edge doing this for weeks. I don't need to tell you my damn life story."

 

Voros allowed a pause to make his point before he went on, "I already said I don't know what it is. I was cursed years ago. I started mutating. I took potions to suppress it, my friends in the Venatori, Templars, and the Inquisition tried to find ways to help me. No one could. While we were hunting dark mages, it got worse."

 

Caiden's eye lost focus for a moment, as he clearly second-guessed himself about saying all of this. However, he said, "I... changed. We... found a way to control it, to a degree. I still change sometimes without wanting to. But I haven't fully lost control. Even when I change, I'm myself. I use it to help victims of the Chaos races. People like all of you.

 

"This curse was tailored for me by an old enemy. This is personal."

 

The Venator furrowed his brow. This was far more than he usually talked, and he wasn't comfortable with it at all.

 

So he finished tersely, "I haven't hurt anyone. Still, I didn't want to take the risk. So until I find a cure or a way to fully control when I change, I'm out here."


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#66 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 09:54 AM

Sigmar began to guffaw in disbelief at Agethar's speech.  "What are ye, some kinda dwarf fanboy?  Nefer here actually speaks Dwarven, and her accent's not nearly as thick as yours, ye numpty.  Now go sit in the corner, I’m trying to listen."

 

While Nefer and various others offered various perspectives and input, Sigmar only briefly processed what they were saying.  His eyes shut hard in focus, the warrior-priest clutched his shield hand around his amulet, quietly calling upon Forseti’s power to sense if the Venator was lying.

 

Voros allowed a pause to make his point before he went on, "I already said I don't know what it is. I was cursed years ago. I started mutating. I took potions to suppress it, my friends in the Venatori, Templars, and the Inquisition tried to find ways to help me. No one could. While we were hunting dark mages, it got worse."

 

Caiden's eye lost focus for a moment, as he clearly second-guessed himself about saying all of this. However, he said, "I... changed. We... found a way to control it, to a degree. I still change sometimes without wanting to. But I haven't fully lost control. Even when I change, I'm myself. I use it to help victims of the Chaos races. People like all of you.

 

"This curse was tailored for me by an old enemy. This is personal."

 

The Venator furrowed his brow. This was far more than he usually talked, and he wasn't comfortable with it at all.

 

So he finished tersely, "I haven't hurt anyone. Still, I didn't want to take the risk. So until I find a cure or a way to fully control when I change, I'm out here."

 

It was the truth.

 

It may not have been everything in Caiden’s story, but it was enough.  Like he had said, he had saved their lives and did not owe them every detail of his upbringing or career.  But Forseti told Sigmar that the manling spoke truly, his demonic mutation was through no fault or choice of his own.  Better still, he genuinely wanted to help, but his noble desire to avoid hurting others was why he was out here, mostly alone.  Sigmar could not help but wonder what part the pixie played and why Caiden felt she was an exception to this protection, but those facts were so much gravy on the meat of the problem.

 

Thumping a gauntlet on his breastplate for silence, Sigmar bellowed, “I’ve heard enough!”

 

When he was satisfied that he had everyone’s attention, he added, “And not just from you, but the God of Justice.  Forseti tells me that Caiden, cursed as he is, has told the truth.  My gut tells me that it may not be the whole truth, but like the Venator said, he saved our lives, and he doesn’t owe us everything.”

 

The dwarf drew his warhammer, but with his hand uselessly tucked under its head, drawing the weapon over his heart in salute as he locked eyes...well, gaze, with Caiden once more.  “Cursed or no, demon or no, ye’re right.  Something’s wrong with ye, but ye’re trying to fix it and keep from hurting others while doing so.  Can’t get more just than that.  Better still, as ye reminded us, you saved our lives.  For doubting yer motives and threatening you, ye have this old dwarf’s apologies.”

 

Eyeing the others around him, Sigmar concluded, “Though judging from yer friends, old and new, ye won’t be alone much longer.”


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#67 Sareth

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 11:29 AM

"I just risked my life for yours," Caiden replied, his voice controlled and calm as ever - but a bit lower and gruffer than usual, which was the only indication of emotion... except for a gleam in his eye that told he could sympathize with their situation, and that perhaps bothered him most.

 

"You're making poorly veiled threats. I've been in the Edge doing this for weeks. I don't need to tell you my damn life story... I already said I don't know what it is. I was cursed years ago.... This curse was tailored for me by an old enemy. This is personal... I haven't hurt anyone. Still, I didn't want to take the risk. So until I find a cure or a way to fully control when I change, I'm out here."

 

In Nefer's mind, a brief conversation ensued, taking only a second or two to an outside observer.

 

Do you think he'sss telling the truth? came Wadjys' questioning thought.

 

He's a hell of a liar if he isn't, she thought back.

 

We've been wrong about people before, her familiar reminded her.

 

She thought about that for a moment before replying: No. If she was honest with herself, her father, and the sorcerer who taught her, had never really lied about their nature —who they were— only their motivations... and that had been more of an omission than a flat-out lie. No... the emotion in Caiden's voice —nigh-undetectable though it was— was real. He was telling the truth.

 

I’ve heard enough! And not just from you, but the God of Justice. Forseti tells me that Caiden, cursed as he is, has told the truth. My gut tells me that it may not be the whole truth, but like the Venator said, he saved our lives, and he doesn’t owe us everything.”

 

She gave the dwarf a brief nod of acknowledgement. Sigmar's words only reinforced the conclusion that she had already come to. And, while she was slightly surprised by the timing of it, the dwarf took things so seriously that she couldn't imagine he would lie about a communication from his god, even if he'd had some ulterior motive to do so.

 

"I apologize" she said to Caiden, her voice flat as ever, but her words no less sincere for it. "I sometimes forget my social graces, and my blunt manner of speaking can be off-putting to some. I did not intend to convey any threat, if that is what you heard; I asked simply because I needed to know. I have had some... problems with those who follow demons; I needed to know what kind of man you are. And now I do: I believe you are honorable."

 

She paused for a moment, feeling oddly self-conscious for a fleeting instant. "... I do not know this area, and could use a guide. I would travel with you for a time —if I may?" she asked.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#68 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 01:05 PM

Caiden waited silently for their judgment - until Sigmar declared he'd heard enough. There was no visible relief on the Venator's face, but the tension in the bulging muscles in his arms did relax somewhat.

 

And not just from you, but the God of Justice.  Forseti tells me that Caiden, cursed as he is, has told the truth.  My gut tells me that it may not be the whole truth, but like the Venator said, he saved our lives, and he doesn’t owe us everything.” The dwarf drew his warhammer, but with his hand uselessly tucked under its head, drawing the weapon over his heart in salute as he locked eyes...well, gaze, with Caiden once more.  “Cursed or no, demon or no, ye’re right.  Something’s wrong with ye, but ye’re trying to fix it and keep from hurting others while doing so.  Can’t get more just than that.  Better still, as ye reminded us, you saved our lives.  For doubting yer motives and threatening you, ye have this old dwarf’s apologies.”

 

Caiden simply gave a nod, but he clearly appreciated the apology.

 

Eyeing the others around him, Sigmar concluded, “Though judging from yer friends, old and new, ye won’t be alone much longer.”

 

"Looks like," said Voros. His tone was unreadable, but he at least didn't sound annoyed or hostile.

 

Nefer spoke next. "I apologize" she said to Caiden, her voice flat as ever, but her words no less sincere for it. "I sometimes forget my social graces, and my blunt manner of speaking can be off-putting to some. I did not intend to convey any threat, if that is what you heard; I asked simply because I needed to know. I have had some... problems with those who follow demons; I needed to know what kind of man you are. And now I do: I believe you are honorable."

 

"I can understand," replied Caiden. Such a response rather served to highlight his own blunt manner, as well.

 

She paused for a moment, feeling oddly self-conscious for a fleeting instant. "... I do not know this area, and could use a guide. I would travel with you for a time —if I may?" she asked.

 

Caiden hesitated, but only just long enough to glance around at all those present.

 

"You're all welcome to travel with me... understanding that you'll be traveling with someone cursed," he said, before his gaze returned to Nefer. "But I don't have anywhere I'm going. I just wander. Usually, I move between Chaos race camps, freeing prisoners and killing warlords... and avoiding dragons. If there's anywhere you're trying to go, I can get you there instead."


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#69 Burger Warrior

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 01:20 AM

Well, things finally seemed to ease out. Hallvard let out a small, relieved sigh as apologies were given and everyone seemed inclined to follow Caiden… wherever. He himself didn’t have much of an idea of where to go.

 

"You're all welcome to travel with me... understanding that you'll be traveling with someone cursed," he said, before his gaze returned to Nefer. "But I don't have anywhere I'm going. I just wander. Usually, I move between Chaos race camps, freeing prisoners and killing warlords... and avoiding dragons. If there's anywhere you're trying to go, I can get you there instead."

 

Hallvard chewed his lip. “...I-it’d be unfair for me - f-for us, I think - to interrupt such a noble quest j-just to get out of here…” He offered after a moment, starting to rise to his full height. “B-but if you’ll let me, I’d like to follow anyone leaving the Jagged Edge.” The giant admitted, scratching his neck. “A-as foolhardy as that might be…” He mumbled, glancing around at the assembled mortals.

 

Just being able to doze off in a field of grass, or maybe watching a human village from afar, or… something nice like that. More than snowy peaks and… more snow… and more peaks...

 

-----

 

"I honestly don't know," Bale said, glancing at the group "maybe I'll travel with these idiots if they don't all kill each other first. Maybe I'll return to my ruined lair and wait to collect another bounty."

 

Katja tried not to make a face at that latter, seemingly casual remark. “...Well, they’re not asking for your company.” She murmured, almost to herself. I doubt anyone wants to be around an assassin for hire, even if you might be useful… if I had anything to hire you with...

 

He looked at Katja again and asked "Tell me, do you have intentions of avenging your father?"

 

She blinked, looking vaguely offended - but also caught off-guard. She’d almost forgotten this human had found out the reason she was on the move. The idea he brought up was also tempting… for a very, very brief moment.

 

But it was only a moment, and Katja quickly shook her head, looking vaguely dejected. “I… I don’t think that’s possible.” She hesitated, tempted to admit she thought that gaining the friendship of three mages would make it a reasonable idea… but only Bale seemed willing to talk to her. And he wasn’t the one who did anything particularly amazing during the prison break.

 

Mage Assassin continued "It is fine that you do not. Most people wait to have a large amount of followers before staging a coup. I have some friends who might be able to help, if you're making plans..."

 

She raised a brow at that. “...You have friends?” She asked, before realizing how that might sound and clearing her throat. “I mean, yes, of course. You have friends.”

An awkward moment passed.

 

“...What kind of friends would want to take on the armies of chaos and giants?”

 

Then again, what kind of friends does a magical assassin have in the first place?


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#70 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:38 PM

Hallvard chewed his lip. “...I-it’d be unfair for me - f-for us, I think - to interrupt such a noble quest j-just to get out of here…” He offered after a moment, starting to rise to his full height. “B-but if you’ll let me, I’d like to follow anyone leaving the Jagged Edge.” The giant admitted, scratching his neck. “A-as foolhardy as that might be…” He mumbled, glancing around at the assembled mortals.

 

Caiden arched a brow. "That's your choice," he said. "But don't expect a welcome from anyone outside these mountains."

 

He glanced around at the others one more time before he said, "I have an orc warlord to hunt... It's his encampments I've been attacking. Anyone who wants to follow me, fall in."

 

With that, Caiden turned and led the way down a passage in the mountains. He stopped now and then to glance behind him and make sure everyone was present, but he did not wait long before continuing to move.

He led them back through the jagged stones and the narrow ravines, back onto what looked like some kind of path… Katja, if no one else, would recognize it as a path often taken by war parties of the Armies of Chaos.

Here, Caiden knelt, examining tracks that were all but invisible to everyone else. Even those who could make them out saw little more than a good deal of well-trodden dirt cutting through the otherwise sheer ravine.

“This way,” Caiden said, stoic as ever, as he stood once more and continued in a direction opposite from the camp in which they had all previously been held prisoner.


((Area transition: ZONE - Somewhere in the Northern Jagged Edge.))


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