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ZONE - Imperial ship at sea ((Chasing Shadows - Chapter I))


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#21 Burger Warrior

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 11:20 PM

As Kye and the woman continued speaking, Rosette finally managed to get used to the cacophony and slip into something of a meditative trance. It certainly wasn’t anything like she usually managed, but this was meant to just pass the time and clear her head a little. However, it allowed her to finally hear about the incoming viking ship, and as she peered into the spirit realm she could see the rescue made… and hear what could happen with the vikings.

 

Wondering just how bad things might turn, Saffron decided to look for some animal - a seagull or some sort of similar bird that might be hanging around the ship, preferably - to borrow for a few moments. Perhaps she could discover the intent of these other sailors before they hit.

...Not that she could do much with that information. Or could she?


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#22 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 08:22 AM

"Um, I'm sorry? Did I say something rude? I did, didn't I? But how was it rude? It was naught but the truth, I did not mean any insult, I assure you. So don't be stupid and take offence for nothing, people always do that and I find to be quite idiotic.

 

The Weeping Mage briefly pondered throwing the Templar Scribe overboard, but his thoughts were interrupted when apparently the crew found a survivor in the water.

 

As several Sailors and the Templar Captain carried the man below, Charon wondered aloud "I wonder how he got there...was it those Vikings, or was it something else...?"

 

---

 

"My dear, this sort of thing is my entire life, and Caiden's, as well, essentially, though he does more of the monster hunting, and I just do the sailing. Perhaps you could be a bit more specific as to what kind of situation you mean?"

 

"Facing down Pirates or Northerners and stuff like that," Katrina said, striking a pose.

 

However, the Captain was distracted from answering when the Ship came across wreckage, and, miraculously, a survivor.

 

As the man was carried below decks, Katrina turned to the Captain and a Venator and asked "So, um, have either of you encountered a...Sea Serpent? Do you know if that could have destroyed the ship?"



#23 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 01:06 PM

Plexaura turned to look at Marcus for a moment before giving a light shrug. "I'm concerned about this entire situation, honestly. Last time I fought against the Umbra Coven, I was with a little group of people I knew I could trust." She gave a rather wry smile. "No offense - I don't mean you, especially, I mean some of these other people."

 

Reciprocating with his smile and a slight shrug, Marcus responded, “None taken.  I’ve already met one poor, gullible newcomer, but have yet to speak to some of the others and thus can’t vouch for their character.  Still, we fight with the army we have, not the one we want, as the saying goes.”

 

She leaned forward on the railing, sighing. "Anyway, I'm not too big on sailing. I don't like all this water. That, and I'm worried about my brother." After a second, she looked at Marcus again, suddenly even more serious than before. "Has he ever talked to you about the Coven much?" Plexaura asked, sounding almost cautious.

 

Turning to face her, with his back now to the sturdy mast, he admitted, “In all honesty, that meeting back at the manor was the first time I’d heard him mention them by name; though that poltroon ‘Lysander’ has come up in a few conversations, and when I told your brother of my own experience with magic and undead threatening my hometown, he mentioned we had common ground there.  Caiden ended up recounting in brief your first struggle against the coven back in Redfield.”

 

The Inquisitor shook his head slowly and sternly.  “I knew mages could be ruthless, but hoped the attempted destruction of my home was an isolated case.  For that despicable vampire to murder his own uncle, consort with the Hidden, and cause so much death and desecration just to gain power makes me seethe with rage.  Scum like that are exactly what our order was founded to destroy, and rest assured you and your brother will have my full support in bringing them to justice.”

 

---

There was some commotion when the crew brought on an apparent shipwreck survivor, taking him below the deck for treatment.  Marcus was wary now, for a Viking ship to be in the area and then for them to stumble upon another vessel’s wreckage seemed like more than a coincidence.  Even if the Vikings were not the threat, he doubted that ship sank on its own accord.  Asking Plexaura, “Excuse me for a moment, please,”  he turned his parade-ground voice in the direction of the...crow’s nest?...he was pretty sure that was the term.  “Neitha?  Master lookout?  What are you seeing out there?”  


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#24 Sareth

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 03:08 PM

Be careful!”

 

"Always am!" Neitha called back to Marcus, already a fair way up the rigging.

 

When she reached the top, she silently returned the lookout's wave and smile, and took up a perch —a somewhat more stable one than the lookout's— in the crow's nest.

 

She took a brief look back down at the deck of the ship. Everyone looked rather small from up here... though she did notice Marcus talking with Caiden's sister. Well, she was a colleague of his...

 

She turned her gaze back to the Viking ship, which was growing closer by the minute, until she could start to pick out some details.

 

There was a brief bit of excitement as the lookout noticed some wreckage in the water which they had to avoid, and the people down on the deck scrambled to recover a survivor, but she didn't watch most of it; her gaze was cast farther out, looking for what might have sunk the wrecked vessel. Unless, of course, it was the Viking ship that was still sailing towards them...

 

Neitha? Master lookout? What are you seeing out there?”

 

"The Vikings are still heading right for us! The sails are white with red stripes, and the flags have an emblem: a boar and a sword!" She yelled back down, in her best 'seamanly' voice. Maybe someone else would know what tribe or group those indicated.

 

***

 

"I... have, I've seen - and fought - a lot of monsters... more than most people, I guess... I've mostly fought demons. Undead - not so much, really, and I don't really know much about mages except how powerful they are... And other monsters - I dunno. But I've fought demons, more than once. I... don't ever want to fight them again.... But, uh - I'm still alive, so that's something."

 

Sarael nodded approvingly, reassured. So he had a fair bit of experience —more than her, in fact— that was good...

 

"What about you? Ever fought - or, er, met - any monsters?"

 

She was quiet for a few moments before answering. "Yes. Two" she replied softly. "On my last mission —my first mission— we encountered a witch in the swamp. She wasn't human —not quite; she was big, hunched" she began; and as she spoke, all her normal cheer seemed to drain away, her expression and tone turning dull with unhappiness, despite a futile effort to maintain it. "She was... she had been... she'd been luring children from the nearby village; luring them with candy and then... eating them" she continued, her stomach —already discomfited by the ship's motion— roiling unpleasantly at the memory.

 

"We didn't even... We were looking for a powerful mage —I think, we never found out— and she'd given us a lead, and there wasn't time to take her back and do things properly, so we just... we just left her there. After what she'd done...!" Her gaze dipped in shame, but she couldn't seem to stop talking, the words just pouring out of her.

 

"Afterwards, we went deeper into the swamp... It seemed lifeless, but it wasn't. It was... There was... It...." she stuttered. Her mouth was dry as a bone, her skin turning ashen; one hand grasped at the side of her head —the fingers fisting into her hair, clenching and unclenching spasmodically. She couldn't go on... but it was too late to stop.

 

She was looking in Kye's direction again, but her eyes didn't seem to register him, fixed on something beyond him as the memories, the images that she tried so hard to forget surfaced unbidden, fresh as on that terrible day months ago —because they were; she relived them, and even more twisted versions of them, most every night.

 

"It... They..."

 

Watched again in her mind's eye as the thing... the creep —it was hard for her to even think the word— snatched her comrades to their deaths with such casual, horrific, ease.

 

"We couldn't...!"

 

Watched again as its slimy rotting puppets rose out of the ooze... Often in her dreams they would reach for her, grasping and clawing and, no matter how hard she fought, inevitably dragging her down into the green morass —drowning and burning in that gelatinous hell until at last she would awake, soaked in cold sweat...

 

She couldn't... she couldn't...!

 

All at once, the tension in her body snapped, and she made a panicked dive for a nearby bucket of water —probably used for swabbing the decks or somesuch— and threw up into it.


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

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#25 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 08:15 PM

Luckily for Rosette, she managed to find a bird to "control" for the time being. It was, she discovered, some kind of osprey, which was all the better for seeing. It also meant there was at least some kind of crags or a shoreline not too far from here, but that was beside the point...

 

Whatever the case, as she - or, rather, the bird - neared the Viking ship, Rosette saw mostly a lot of men rowing. One man shouted orders, and another gazed out at the Lady Amalia. All of them were armed, but none of their weapons were drawn.

 

"The ship is holding course," said the Viking lookout. "Should we assume they're hostile?"

 

"Assume nothing," answered the man in charge, apparently the captain, with a huge red beard done up in intricate braids. "We're not at war with the Empire, but they may damn well attack us anyway. Have you identified that wreckage?"

 

"No. There's not much I can do unless we get closer."

 

"Indeed... We'll keep our distance for now. Keep watching them - see what they do."

 

---

 

As the man was carried below decks, Katrina turned to the Captain and asked, "So, um, have you encountered a...Sea Serpent? Do you know if that could have destroyed the ship?"

 

Jane frowned. "Well, I've never encountered one personally, but I've heard stories. It could've very well been one, I suppose, if you believe in that sort of thing. Which, by the way, I do. But I doubt it was, since someone survived. I can't imagine a sea serpent being so reckless as to leave someone just floating there. They eat people, after all. I'll bet the man would've been eaten a long time ago, if it had been one of those."

 

She made a thoughtful face. "I'm going to bet it was either a very bad storm or, more likely, some other kind of monster," she said at length, giving a shrug.

 

---

 

Plexaura listened as Marcus finished, “I knew mages could be ruthless, but hoped the attempted destruction of my home was an isolated case.  For that despicable vampire to murder his own uncle, consort with the Hidden, and cause so much death and desecration just to gain power makes me seethe with rage.  Scum like that are exactly what our order was founded to destroy, and rest assured you and your brother will have my full support in bringing them to justice.”

 

She nodded. "I'm glad," she replied, perhaps a bit simply for all the lengths to which Marcus had spoken. "It's good to have you on our side."

 

Plexaura said little else before the wreckage interrupted them and Marcus excused himself to call up to Neitha in the crow's nest. The channeler took the opportunity to fall silent, though she didn't bother moving off somewhere else.

 

---

 

Sarael was quiet for a few moments before answering. "Yes. Two" she replied softly. "On my last mission —my first mission— we encountered a witch in the swamp. She wasn't human —not quite; she was big, hunched" she began; and as she spoke, all her normal cheer seemed to drain away, her expression and tone turning dull with unhappiness, despite a futile effort to maintain it.

 

Kye swallowed so loudly that it was plainly audible. This was not going to end well - even he could tell that much.

 

"She was... she had been... she'd been luring children from the nearby village; luring them with candy and then... eating them."

 

He grimaced. "Oh," was all he said, his voice low.

 

"We didn't even... We were looking for a powerful mage —I think, we never found out— and she'd given us a lead, and there wasn't time to take her back and do things properly, so we just... we just left her there. After what she'd done...!"

 

Kye opened his mouth to say something and maybe even try to comfort her - even if he knew it'd do no good - but she kept talking. He shut his mouth again and listened, quietly rubbing the metal claws of his left gauntlet together in worry.

"Afterwards, we went deeper into the swamp... It seemed lifeless, but it wasn't. It was... There was... It...." she stuttered. Her mouth was dry as a bone, her skin turning ashen; one hand grasped at the side of her head —the fingers fisting into her hair, clenching and unclenching spasmodically. She couldn't go on... but it was too late to stop.

 

Kye went pale, himself. This poor girl was going insane right in front of him. What was he supposed to do? What did people do about this? He knew what demons did - laughed, mostly - but what would a human do? Probably try to comfort her somehow... but how, exactly?

 

"It... They... We couldn't...!"

While he sat there, dumbstruck, Sarael suddenly grabbed a nearby bucket and threw up into it. Kye felt his own stomach turn, but he swallowed again and bit at his lip, cursing mentally.

 

Despite having no clue what to do, he acted almost immediately. Getting to his feet, Kye forgot he was even addressing a Templar as he knelt down beside her. Now that she was done vomiting into the bucket, he gently pulled her away from it by putting an arm around her shoulders. It wasn't quite a hug, but it was halfway there, at least, and he kept his right shoulder available as a headrest if she wanted it.

 

Not that he actually had any idea what he was doing, he was just trying to do something, so he did the first thing his mind told him to do. Hopefully this wasn't all wrong.

 

"Hey..." he said quietly, "it's alright - you're fine. Just... breathe, okay? Don't - don't think about all that... stuff. It's over, and - and you're okay."

 

Kye hesitated a second before he added, his voice low, "You have nightmares, don't you? I can tell - I have nightmares, too. All the time-- every night - about all the things I've seen - and done, and... felt..."

 

He paused for half a second as he realized just how much his subconscious wanted to put a wing around her, like he was doing with his arm - and when that came into his conscious mind, it was only then that he remembered he was addressing a Templar. No, he was trying to comfort a Templar.

 

But, in spite of himself, he pushed the thought aside and swallowed again before finishing, "But there's good in this world, too. You know that - you're a Templar. You just have to focus on that." He somehow managed to force a very small and incredibly nervous little half-smile as he murmured apologetically, "I, um... don't think we should talk about monsters anymore."


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#26 Burger Warrior

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 07:56 AM

As Rosette returned to her own mind and body, she managed to catch Kye as he finished speaking. "I, um... don't think we should talk about monsters anymore."

 

Saffron frowned at that, wondering just what had happened, and she moved to peek out of the pouch she’d taken shelter in. It was then that she saw the demon-kin… half-hugging the woman he’d been speaking to, who looked significantly greener in cheek and paler in face than before. Rosette wondered just what kind of monsters they’d been talking about, and which kind made the lady react like that… that is, until she realized her mind was wandering, and there were more important things to convey.

 

Like how to get someone to know that those bearded guys seemed kind of nice.

 

Well, Kye and this woman were clearly pretty busy, too much so for Saffron to safely get the demon-kin’s attention. However, it was the perfect chance to slip away. Glancing around briefly to see if anyone else was watching them, Rosette scrambled out of the pouch and hurriedly dropped to the ground at their feet, landing in a crouch and making sure she wasn’t glowing. Assuming no one glanced down, the pixie ought to be fine.

 

At any rate, she now needed to get to someone… and there were precious few people that would react well to her sudden appearance. On the one hand, there was that one female human who had assaulted - well, been assaulted by, more accurately - Kye, but Rosette hadn’t really seen her around. Maybe she left? That was probably for the best.

 

The other choice… was to finally make a break for her sister and the human she spent most of her time with. Saffron still wasn’t entirely sure how well that would go, especially when she really needed to convey her message and… well…

 

The pixie sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. What other choice did she have, really? Everyone else was gone, busy with people that didn’t know her, or just didn’t know her.

 

So, taking a deep breath, Rosette Saffron made her way towards the cabin she’d noticed Percula’s soul inside… as well as her human friend’s.


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#27 DragonJedi

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 10:55 AM

Everything had happened so quickly. One minute, Errol had been walking up onto the deck from a very enjoyable time with a lady acquaintance, the next he was breathing in sea water. Whatever the hell had happened, Errol had no idea.

 

Errol blinked away the salt water, opening his eyes slowly. Two sailors, one male and one female were bandaging up a few small wounds. A man, clearly a Templar, was overseeing them.

 

Noticing Errol’s regained consciousness, the Templar said, "Easy. You're safe; we pulled you out of some wreckage, but you should be fine."

 

Errol pushed himself up, emitting a quiet groan of pain. “Whe-” More pain shot through his side. “Where am I?”

 



#28 Sareth

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 12:11 PM

An arm wrapped around her shoulders, pulling her up and away from the sucking depths of the swamp... —no, it was just a bucket, full of now even-more-dirty water, Sarael realized as reality reasserted itself.

 

"Hey... it's alright - you're fine. Just... breathe, okay? Don't - don't think about all that... stuff. It's over, and - and you're okay."

 

"S-sorry" she murmured, as the person —Kye— guided her away from the bucket.

 

Now that the episode had passed, she mostly felt embarrassed that someone had seen her like that. Embarrassed... and angry —at herself, at her treacherous memories and emotions; she was a Templar, she should have better control than that...

 

"You have nightmares, don't you?"

 

She simply nodded silently, not quite trusting herself to speak.

 

"I can tell - I have nightmares, too. All the time-- every night - about all the things I've seen - and done, and... felt..."

 

"I'm sorry" she replied sympathetically, reaching around and placing one of her gauntleted hands on his shoulder —instinctively trying to comfort him, despite that fact that she seemed to be the far worse off of the pair.

 

"Does it... ever get better?" she asked quietly after a moment or two.

 

"But there's good in this world, too. You know that - you're a Templar. You just have to focus on that."

 

"I know... I know" she said softly. "It's why I'm here —why I stayed, even after..."

 

"Please don't tell the others about this" she suddenly asked after a brief pause —for a moment her expression and tone resembling those of a pleading child. "I'm fine most of the time —as long as I don't think about it too hard, as long as I keep myself busy. I have to do this, have to keep going... or it all really was pointless" she said, her voice soft, but with a slight iron core of determination —fragile though it was.

 

"I, um... don't think we should talk about monsters anymore."

 

She giggled; she couldn't help it —in her current, somewhat strange, emotional state, the utterly logical statement just struck her as unreasonably funny.

 

"So, what should we talk about, then?" she asked, a smile —a pale ghost of her usual ones, but nonetheless a sign of life... as it were— pulling at the corners of her mouth.

 

"... What's your favorite color?" she asked a moment later.


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

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#29 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 01:49 PM

By a small miracle of luck - or perhaps just the fact that she was so small and unnoticeable - Rosette managed to make her way up to the main deck without being noticed. Everyone was occupied with either the wreckage or the Viking ship, and the little pixie scurried across the deck as fast as he legs could carry her. She nearly got stepped on once by a very large crewman stomping about his business, but she deftly avoided it.

 

Within moments, she slipped under the crack of the door to Captain Ritter's cabin, where she would find the people she searched for.

 

---

 

Errol pushed himself up, emitting a quiet groan of pain. “Whe-” More pain shot through his side. “Where am I?”

 

"You're on a ship called the Lady Amalia," Stevan answered. "We're an Imperial vessel bound for Artorius, though our reasons are personal rather than professional. We're fairly far out to sea now, so it looks like you'll be staying with us for a few more days, until we reach the island."

 

The Templar paused briefly before he asked, "Do you remember anything about what happened to your ship? The wreckage looked worse than just a pirate attack."

 

---

 

"I'm sorry" she replied sympathetically, reaching around and placing one of her gauntleted hands on his shoulder.

 

Kye nearly tensed, but he managed not to. Either way, the gesture surprised him. He just nodded a little in appreciation.

"Does it... ever get better?" she asked quietly after a moment or two.

 

At that, however, Kye made a slight face. "Iii... maybe it will for you," he replied, trying to sound hopeful.

"Please don't tell the others about this" she suddenly asked after a brief pause —for a moment her expression and tone resembling those of a pleading child. Kye blinked, taken aback, but he nodded before she'd even finished. "I'm fine most of the time —as long as I don't think about it too hard, as long as I keep myself busy. I have to do this, have to keep going... or it all really was pointless" she said, her voice soft, but with a slight iron core of determination —fragile though it was.

Kye just nodded again - sincerely, as he really did have no intention of telling on her - at least before offering his suggestion regarding a change in topic.

She giggled; she couldn't help it —in her current, somewhat strange, emotional state, the utterly logical statement just struck her as unreasonably funny. "So, what should we talk about, then?" she asked, a smile —a pale ghost of her usual ones, but nonetheless a sign of life... as it were— pulling at the corners of her mouth.

 

"Hm..." Kye murmured, trying to think of something. Thankfully, Sarael offered a different topic soon enough.

"... What's your favorite color?" she asked a moment later.

 

"I... haven't ever really thought about it," Kye admitted a tad sheepishly. "Green or blue, probably. Maybe pink. Or yellow, I really like yellow..."

 

He frowned for a moment before looking at her again and managing a crooked smile. "I think I like all colors, as long as they're bright, like the sky, or flowers, or..." he realized he probably sounded like an idiot and finished in a mutter, "or - er, something. Um - what about you?"


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#30 Sareth

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 03:52 PM

"I... haven't ever really thought about it. Green or blue, probably. Maybe pink. Or yellow, I really like yellow... I think I like all colors, as long as they're bright, like the sky, or flowers, or... or - er, something. Um - what about you?"

 

Sarael couldn't help but smile at Kye's answer. "Mine's green" she replied. "But not light green —like plants or stuff; I like the deep, dark shades of green —like the color of emeralds." But certainly not the pale, sickly, shade of green like the —no! ... not even going there.

 

"... You know, for someone who likes bright colors, you don't wear a lot of them" she remarked lightly, with a slight grin, her eyes flitting again over Kye's somewhat odd —and very dark— outfit.


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

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#31 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 06:35 PM

Sarael couldn't help but smile at Kye's answer. "Mine's green" she replied. "But not light green —like plants or stuff; I like the deep, dark shades of green —like the color of emeralds."

 

Kye nodded. "I like that, too," he replied. He thought about mentioning that he liked all greens, as long as they aren't sickly like the putrid pits of Creep and the toxic, sickly shades of green like a belpheg's flesh - but he quickly thought better of mentioning anything like that.

"... You know, for someone who likes bright colors, you don't wear a lot of them" she remarked lightly, with a slight grin, her eyes flitting again over Kye's somewhat odd —and very dark— outfit.

 

Again Kye gave a lopsided smile, looking sheepish. "Yeah, well - I don't really... have access to them, I guess. I mean, I never have."

 

He paused before almost blurting, "I've always kind of wanted gold instead of silver stuff. I mean, gold and silver colored. This isn't silver, obviously," he held up his gauntlet, "but I think it'd be so much prettier if it was gold. That way, I could have yellow, and then I could have some other color to go with it. But," he shrugged, "I'm not rich or anything, and it's not really a combat advantage or something, so..."


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#32 Sareth

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 09:04 PM

"Yeah, well - I don't really... have access to them, I guess. I mean, I never have."

 

Sarael wondered a bit what Kye meant by that, before reasoning that he might have been from a poor family. Despite having been around at least moderate wealth almost all her life, she did understand that most people couldn't afford the same things.

 

"I've always kind of wanted gold instead of silver stuff. I mean, gold and silver colored. This isn't silver, obviously, but I think it'd be so much prettier if it was gold. That way, I could have yellow, and then I could have some other color to go with it. But, I'm not rich or anything, and it's not really a combat advantage or something, so..."

 

"Well, it would be a combat advantage if it were made out of deepgold, like my hammer" she said, knocking her knuckles lightly against the head of her warhammer, which was thrust through a loop in her belt, in demonstration —the impact produced a dull metallic thud. "That stuff's way stronger than steel. Pretty heavy though. But, yeah, it's really expensive, so... don't know why I brought it up..." she continued, before trailing off a bit sheepishly; she didn't want him to think she was flaunting her wealth or anything.

 

"But, if you can't afford fancy armor, you could get brighter clothing —that should be much cheaper" she said, changing tacks slightly. "Or, if you really like that outfit, you could always get a scarf to wear around your neck, or maybe a sash for your waist, to add a bit of color" she suggested. "Maybe in violet... or possibly lilac..." she continued, speaking to herself as much as to Kye, imagining how different colors would look with his outfit.


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

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#33 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 09:32 PM

"Well, it would be a combat advantage if it were made out of deepgold, like my hammer" she said, knocking her knuckles lightly against the head of her warhammer, which was thrust through a loop in her belt, in demonstration —the impact produced a dull metallic thud. "That stuff's way stronger than steel. Pretty heavy though. But, yeah, it's really expensive, so... don't know why I brought it up..." she continued, before trailing off a bit sheepishly.

 

Kye's first thought was how horrifying it would be if that hammer was coming at his ribs or his face after she found out the truth about him, which left him looking at it for a bit longer than he should have. He was only just realizing he should respond somehow when Sarael continued instead.

 
"But, if you can't afford fancy armor, you could get brighter clothing —that should be much cheaper" she said, changing tacks slightly. "Or, if you really like that outfit, you could always get a scarf to wear around your neck, or maybe a sash for your waist, to add a bit of color" she suggested. "Maybe in violet... or possibly lilac..."
 
When she mentioned violet, he murmured thoughtfully under his breath, "That'd match my..."
 
Kye choked, clearing his throat and forcing another little smile. "I mean, uh - that'd be cool. The sash, that is. The scarf, too. I actually used to wear one of those a lot - it was red, though. Kinda dark. I think I'd go more for violet if I got another one. Maybe they'll have something like that in Artorius."

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#34 Balder

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 12:28 PM

Unfortunately Charlon Shev's apology for misunderstanding Rutgers honest and helpful statement was interrupted by the sudden commotion of sailors rushing to save some poor sea-wreaked soul who'd managed to survive some untold disaster of the sea. 

As several Sailors and the Templar Captain carried the man below, Charon asked aloud "I wonder how he got there...was it those Vikings, or was it something else...?"

 

Clearly the mercenary was sufficiently distracted to forget about his apology but Rutger, being ever gracious, took it in stride and went with the change in subject. "Oh I highly doubt they had anything to do with it, by the look of what's left of that wreckage it was thoroughly destroyed, I think. Nothing that the Viking would be capable of and besides, if it was they who did it I also doubt there would be any survivors. No, it's much more likely that the ship was destroyed in a storm and that poor lad had most likely been drifting for at least a day or two." He paused then added. "Or it could've been a sea-beast. The legendary Leviathan perhaps."  He hummed, looking as if he'd like to see Leviathan in person. Shrugging he finished; "Probably not, most likely a storm."

 

"I'm going to go check on my books and reserch, make sure they're properly secured and tucked away, wouldn't want them to get wet." With that the scribe started to make his way to the forecastle where he'd insisted to have his belongings stashed away in a crate and secured in place with ropes that was then triple checked before they left port. And triple checked again after they left port. And he now intended to have it triple checked again, much to the grievance of the sailor who was swiftly finding himself alone near the forecastle with the scholar heading his way.

 

"Oh and no need to apologize," Rutger added over his shoulder. "I forgive you."


Edited by Balder, 17 July 2016 - 12:28 PM.

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#35 Sareth

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 03:19 PM

"I mean, uh - that'd be cool. The sash, that is. The scarf, too. I actually used to wear one of those a lot - it was red, though. Kinda dark. I think I'd go more for violet if I got another one. Maybe they'll have something like that in Artorius."

 

"Yeah, maybe! I'll keep an eye out while we're there" Sarael replied with a smile —almost back to full brightness, now.

 

She then lapsed into a slightly awkward silence for a few moments, searching her mind desperately for something else to talk about. Although, the mention of Artorius did bring her mind back to the mission...

 

"Umm... So, Kye, do you think a book is really going to lead us to this 'Coven'?" she asked, somewhat curious to get his take on their task —and also just trying to keep the conversation going.


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

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#36 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 06:22 PM

"Umm... So, Kye, do you think a book is really going to lead us to this 'Coven'?" Sarael asked.

 

Kye made a thoughtful face and shrugged, answering after a moment, "I don't really know. I mean, I don't have much experience with this sort of thing, to be honest. But I've heard of mages using books to send messages, so it's not really too crazy of an idea, I guess..."

 

He hesitated. "This whole 'Umbra Coven' thing, though, I can definitely believe that. If they use demons to gain power and summon and bind them to do their bidding, then all the deceit and betrayal and everything they're doing is right up a demon's alley. To be honest, I'd be surprised if this whole thing wasn't bigger somehow, and it turns out there's a demon or demons behind it all."

 

After a second, he gave a brief, sheepish smile. "Although, uh... that sounds pretty crazy," he admitted quietly after giving it more thought, "given this is the mortal realm, and demons don't get here often, so..."

 

A shout from the hatch leading to the main deck rudely interrupted the conversation: "All hands on deck! The Vikings are approaching!"

 

---

 

The deckhands scrambled to assemble their crew and passengers alike to prepare for the longship that now moved to sail alongside them. Right on time, Caiden appeared from Jane's cabin and headed up to the quarterdeck, tapping Captain Ritter on the shoulder and murmuring something in her ear.

 

"Seriously?" Jane muttered, looking at him in surprise. Caiden just nodded. "Well," she said with a laugh, but she added nothing more.

 

The Lady Amalia made no hostile moves toward the Nordlings as they drew nearer. In fact, Jane ordered for a small party to be sent over in a dinghy. The passengers, now all assembled on the main deck, waited with bated breath to see how they would be met. The Vikings spoke with them briefly before two of their own men climbed into the dinghy with the crew from the Amalia, and the boat returned with the Vikings on board.

 

One was clearly the captain of the longship, as he wore a spectacle helmet and a scale mail shirt, with an axe in his belt and a round shield slung over his back. He had a large, red beard fixed in intricate braids, and his keen blue eyes quickly surveyed the many Imperials watching him, giving a respectful nod. His companion looked similar to him, though with slightly less intricate equipment, no helmet, and blond hair.

 

"I thank you for not assuming hostilities," said the Viking, turning to Captain Jane Ritter as she descended from the quarterdeck, giving her customary smile. The Viking arched a bushy brow and added, "And... you are the captain?"

 

"I am the captain," Jane said, stopping before the two Nordlings, Caiden standing by her side. "Captain Jane Ritter, at your service."

 

"I am Sten of Baldur's Fjord," answered the red-bearded Viking. "And this is Ketil," he gestured to his blond counterpart, who gave a brief bow. "We have sailed from Northrim, and though we are southern-bound, we saw your ship and wished to impart a warning. It would be amoral to do otherwise."

 

"Warning?" echoed Jane. "About what, praytell?"

 

"Most likely what caused that wreck you found," Sten said, glancing around at a few others present to make sure he had everyone's attention. "These waters are haunted. I know I might sound like some superstitious fishmonger at your Illikonian docks, but trust me when I say it's true. I don't know what curse lingers ahead, but I have lost friends to this region, and no one has passed through alive. We've survived only by sailing straight southward from Illikon, staying near the Moor."

 

"Are you suggesting we sail closer to the coast?" a deckhand asked.

 

"Indeed. Even if you near the swamps of the Moor, that would be safer than where you sail now. Your direct path to Artorius is fraught with danger. It's your path to take, but gods be with you if you face those waters."

 

"Well, the Moor's swampland is hardly free of its own curses and hauntings and other such superstitions," Jane added with a frown.

 

"Not all of them are false," Stevan Rolf said, his voice grave and the look in his eye enough to give one a chill.

 

"I don't doubt that, but regardless, perhaps they are less perilous than whatever sinks those ships," said Sten.

 

Jane chewed at her lip, contemplating. Silence fell upon the deck. Now that everyone was present, it was time to voice their opinions: would they dare to face the waters the Vikings claimed to be haunted by some unknown, ship-sinking horror, or would they choose to sail closer to the swamps of the Moor, which - as some of them knew far too well, though they knew not if that particular terror could reach them on the sea - could hold dangers of its own?


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#37 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 09:18 AM

"The Vikings are still heading right for us! The sails are white with red stripes, and the flags have an emblem: a boar and a sword!"

 

Marcus frowned, pondering these symbols that could have meant any number of things, but were an enigma to him.  The politics and culture of the North were quite foreign to him, and his studies in that area were solely focused on how to hunt casters in that wild, unforgiving region.  Still, not all the Northern tribes were hostile to the Empire, and a Nordling warrior had saved his and Caiden’s lives back in the Jagged Edge.  It would be equally unwise and dishonorable to start a war on the sea.

 

Fortunately, it seemed he would not have to.  Captain Ritter graciously sent the Viking crew transport for their envoys, and the opposite captain came on board to warn them of danger that awaited them in the waters ahead...one that could sink ships, like the one they’d just pulled that poor wretch from.  Even this stranger did not know the nature of the threat, but it seemed like an unnecessary amount of effort for someone planning to just raid them.  Plus, even with what little he knew about piracy, Marcus knew that there was little profit in destroying ships so completely, when you could ransom their contents and crew.  This man claimed to have lost friends to whatever lurked in the waters, and Marcus was inclined to believe him.

 

“Even if you near the swamps of the Moor, that would be safer than where you sail now. Your direct path to Artorius is fraught with danger. It's your path to take, but gods be with you if you face those waters."

 

"Well, the Moor's swampland is hardly free of its own curses and hauntings and other such superstitions," Jane added with a frown.

 

"Not all of them are false," Stevan Rolf said, his voice grave and the look in his eye enough to give one a chill.

 

Raising his hand to respectfully gain their attention, the Inquisitor added, “Be that as it may, sir, would whatever lurks in the Moor be able to reach us from the shore?  Because unless we have a deadline to keep, I would argue that it would be better to reach our destination slowly, rather than not at all.”

 

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#38 Sareth

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 10:28 AM

Neitha came down from the crow's nest to join the others on the deck as the vikings —who did not, it seemed, have hostile intentions after all... which left her a touch suspicious as to when the other shoe was going to drop, given the way things had typically gone since she joined this group— came aboard, moving to stand beside Marcus, as usual.

 

"I am Sten of Baldur's Fjord. And this is Ketil. We have sailed from Northrim, and though we are southern-bound, we saw your ship and wished to impart a warning. It would be amoral to do otherwise."

 

"Warning? About what, praytell?"

 

"Most likely what caused that wreck you found. These waters are haunted. I know I might sound like some superstitious fishmonger at your Illikonian docks, but trust me when I say it's true. I don't know what curse lingers ahead, but I have lost friends to this region, and no one has passed through alive. We've survived only by sailing straight southward from Illikon, staying near the Moor."

 

Ah, there went the other shoe... 

 

"See, you guys are cursed" she whispered to Marcus without too much mirth; why did she always have to be right about these things?

 

"Are you suggesting we sail closer to the coast?"

 

"Indeed. Even if you near the swamps of the Moor, that would be safer than where you sail now. Your direct path to Artorius is fraught with danger. It's your path to take, but gods be with you if you face those waters."

 

"Well, the Moor's swampland is hardly free of its own curses and hauntings and other such superstitions." 

 

"Not all of them are false."

 

She glanced over at the templar who had spoken, and for some reason a shiver ran down her spine at the look in his eyes.

 

They appeared to be between the proverbial rock and a hard place; or... between an open, possibly cursed or monster-infested ocean, and a swamp that evidently contained something that could put the fear of Gods into an experienced templar. Fantastic.

 

Conflicted, she remained silent for the moment.

 

***

 

"I don't really know. I mean, I don't have much experience with this sort of thing, to be honest. But I've heard of mages using books to send messages, so it's not really too crazy of an idea, I guess... This whole 'Umbra Coven' thing, though, I can definitely believe that. If they use demons to gain power and summon and bind them to do their bidding, then all the deceit and betrayal and everything they're doing is right up a demon's alley. To be honest, I'd be surprised if this whole thing wasn't bigger somehow, and it turns out there's a demon or demons behind it all... Although, uh... that sounds pretty crazy, given this is the mortal realm, and demons don't get here often, so..."

 

Sarael simply nodded thoughtfully in reply, pondering Kye's words. Although, something struck her as a touch off about what he'd said; she couldn't quite place it but... it almost seemed like he was more familiar with demons that he was with the 'mortal world' as he put it.... But, before the thought could even start going anywhere, it was interrupted by a call for them to come up to the deck, and she promptly forgot all about it.

 

She followed Kye up to the deck, standing beside him and listening as the vikings spoke.

 

"I am Sten of Baldur's Fjord. And this is Ketil. We have sailed from Northrim, and though we are southern-bound, we saw your ship and wished to impart a warning. It would be amoral to do otherwise."

 

"Warning? About what, praytell?"

 

"Most likely what caused that wreck you found. These waters are haunted. I know I might sound like some superstitious fishmonger at your Illikonian docks, but trust me when I say it's true. I don't know what curse lingers ahead, but I have lost friends to this region, and no one has passed through alive. We've survived only by sailing straight southward from Illikon, staying near the Moor."

 

"Are you suggesting we sail closer to the coast?"

 

At those nine little words —that seemingly-innocent question— the blood drained from her face. 

 

"No, no, nonononono..." she muttered under her breath, as a rising swell of panic threatened to claim her —though likely only those very close by could hear her.

 

"Indeed. Even if you near the swamps of the Moor, that would be safer than where you sail now. Your direct path to Artorius is fraught with danger. It's your path to take, but gods be with you if you face those waters."

 

"Well, the Moor's swampland is hardly free of its own curses and hauntings and other such superstitions."

 

"Not all of them are false."

 

She felt a brief sliver of relief at Stevan's words. He was there, he knew... surely he wouldn't let them go back there!

 

"I don't doubt that, but regardless, perhaps they are less perilous than whatever sinks those ships."

 

But her relief was short-lived, as the viking captain kept pushing his side, and then, far worse still, one of her comrades —an Inquisitor with a mustache— agreed with him!

 

Be that as it may, sir, would whatever lurks in the Moor be able to reach us from the shore? Because unless we have a deadline to keep, I would argue that it would be better to reach our destination slowly, rather than not at all.”

 

The Inquisitors words fell on her ears like the slamming lids of lead coffins. He couldn't convince them, he couldn't!

 

She didn't even know if... it could come out to sea or not, but in her heart she didn't doubt it —she didn't doubt anything when it came to that thing. The only way to have even a hope of safety was to stay as far away from its lair as possible.

 

She could feel her throat clenching up from the fear, but she had to speak —she had to stop them... or it would happen all over again....

 

"We should stay out to sea!" she finally managed to say, raising her voice to be heard —managing to keep her tone more-or-less level... -ish, despite the hysteria that threatened to claim her, by only the sheerest force of will. "That swamp —it's death to go there!"


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

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#39 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 11:16 AM

"See, you guys are cursed" Neitha whispered to Marcus mirthlessly.  With a sigh, Marcus retorted quietly, “I’m becoming more inclined to agree with you there.”

 

After he had stated his initial case, a tall lady of the Templar that Marcus had not met yet cried out with a slight strain to her voice, "We should stay out to sea! That swamp —it's death to go there!"  For someone so young and heavily-armed, the hint of fear Marcus could sense in her voice seemed rather out of place.

 

His voice firm but reassuring, with the confidence born of years of experience, Marcus calmly answered, “Please, madam, no one’s suggesting sailing into the swamp.  Our captain knows her craft, and if my geography is correct, I doubt we’ll even be in bowshot of The Moor.  Whatever horrors you’ve heard of in that region, surely you can summon the courage to briefly sail past it, rather than straight toward an unknown danger that we KNOW can sink ships?  I can’t speak for everyone else here, but as a half-Southron in full void iron, I can tell you that I swim like a rock: very, very badly.”


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#40 Sareth

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 12:33 PM

Please, madam, no one’s suggesting sailing into the swamp. Our captain knows her craft, and if my geography is correct, I doubt we’ll even be in bowshot of The Moor. Whatever horrors you’ve heard of in that region, surely you can summon the courage to briefly sail past it, rather than straight toward an unknown danger that we KNOW can sink ships? I can’t speak for everyone else here, but as a half-Southron in full void iron, I can tell you that I swim like a rock: very, very badly.”

 

"And how do you feel about being digested alive!?" Sarael snapped in reply, with an utterly uncharacteristic flash of hot anger, as she felt a previously unknown sensation —that of being patronized.

 

"And, it's not. A. Rumor." she continued, unintentionally biting off her words between gritted teeth in a not-entirely-successful effort to keep her speech calm. "I've seen it; the thing in that swamp doesn't have to sink this ship, it could simply dissolve it! And I wouldn't trust one bowshot's length —or ten— of water to impede it in the slightest."

 

"Any unknown danger —which might not even exist— is better than that" she declared adamantly. 


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

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