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


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#41 Sareth

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 04:01 PM

Nefer was pondering her molten creation, when an unusually-loud squeak distracted her. She looked around, and saw the wimpy giant staring at her in horror; she wondered what his problem was —he'd already seen her use magic before.

 

It was a trick, but yer reaction to this mage’s display told me more about ye than any mind game I could play. Baldr’s twin is actually Hodr, that little twister was the best ah could come up with. We’ve already had to fight one giant today, ah figured it’d be wise to get yer measure while ye were lurking near mah kin. Trust is hard to come by in these lands.”

 

Oh. So that was what Sigmar was doing with his trivia question. It struck her as a little asinine; worshipping the same Gods never stopped men from turning on each other —why would it make any more of a difference for a giant?

 

​"What are you trying to accomplish over there? It looks quite interesting."

 

"Exactly what it looks like" she muttered a bit snappishly in reply, annoyed at the further distraction, not caring if the asker really heard her answer or not.

 

She then pondered her creation for a few more moments. She gave a slight wave of her hand, and the 'sword' swept through the air a bit in response. Hmm... it was interesting, if probably not very practical. Still, it was another skill in her repertoire, and that couldn't be a bad thing. Satisfied, she collapsed the flaming blade back into the nonexistence from whence she'd summoned it with a dismissive gesture.

 

A moment later, an elbow nudged her in the side. She reflexively shied away from the contact, and a loud, angry hiss issued from Wadjys' pouch —which Sigmar's elbow had bumped in his gesture.

 

Relax. He was just trying to get my attention, she thought at her familiar.

 

Well he ssshould be more careful about it, the cobra thought in reply, a touch indignant.

 

She couldn't help but agree, and the gesture did annoy her, too —not in the least, because it bothered Wadjys. She didn't like to be touched. Why couldn't he just say her name like a normal person if he wanted her attention? Maybe it was a dwarf thing...

 

Yer a bold one, lassie. That was a better test than I came up with, and now I’ve heard a giant squeak. Ye might just have what it takes ta survive the Edge.”

 

"It wasn't a test" she replied simply. "I was just experimenting."

 

As to the latter, she wasn't sure what to say, and so just shrugged.

 

“S-s-she melted Vragi’s f-face off, of c-course she has w-what it takes!”

 

... Why was the giant —not that he was much of one, really— stepping in for her? It was annoying.

 

"You know, it's rude to intrude on other people's conversations" she said pointedly, casting a quick glare in the giant's direction. She raised one hand and idly twiddled her fingers, as if considering doing magic. Maybe if she made a bigger blade he'd leave them alone...

 

Ah suppose I must apologize fer my hill-giant-sized distraction. Was there something else ye wanted to discuss?”

 

"What did you do that was so shameful?" she asked bluntly after a moment, lowering her voice a bit so the giant couldn't hear if he was still lurking. 

 

She didn't know how he'd react, but she'd take her chances. It was better to know what sort of person he was now, she figured, than possibly find out to her detriment at some later time.


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

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#42 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 04:07 PM

Katja continued creeping forward, along with Agethar, Bale, and - having to skirt around at Katja's feet - Maugrimm. Even trying to move stealthily, Katja couldn't exactly not kick up an incredible fuss, but moving forward, they heard something causing even more of a disturbance.

 

Just over a high ridge, they saw three large creatures flying overhead of a great herd of goats. The goats had been driven to the edge of the mountain and were now breaking up in wild stampedes in different directions, trying to escape, as the three flying monsters caused chaos overhead as one of them plucked up a goat in the large talons of one hind leg - but that clearly wasn't enough, as it dived to snatch another in the second leg as well.

 

Wyverns. Even for a creature her size, Katja knew not to tangle with these beasts, especially three at once. Wyverns were known to take down even dragons when in enough numbers, and if the dragon was young enough - one giantess and two humans, mage or not, would have incredible difficulty, to say the least. They could see the great, barbed, venomous stingers on the ends of the wyverns' tails as they swooped and snatched at the goats.

 

But at least their mayhem was breaking up the goat herd and causing enough confusion that they could surely snatch a few of the poor animals from the edges of the herd, without drawing attention from the already occupied wyverns.

 

---

 

"Well, I have always been the perceptive type..." D'naaku shrugged, "Sorta comes with the territory, though. And much as I do love a long story, I'm sure you'd rather not speak of anything too sensitive around all these unfamiliar ears, my own included, of course, I suppose."

 

Caiden merely shrugged, himself, and even that was subtle.

 

The old vulture pivoted and backed up to lean against the wall close to the Venator. "I'll help ya out here any way I can, though, owe'n ya my life and all. I'm not so strong as I used to be, but still a nimble flyer with sharp eyes, and in touch with the spirits of nature all around us, if you think that'd have any benefits."

 

The Venator seemed to consider that for a moment before replying, "Maybe."

 

His wise eyes scanned slowly over the room, finally taking stock of everyone that had been rescued from such a gruesome fate. "You sure did save a lot of people out there..." the avian commented quietly, "No matter who ya are or what you've done, can't fault ya for today's acts. I ain't got better to do, if you'd have an old buzzard travelin' with that after all this..."

 

"You might not want to travel with me," Voros replied, his tone honest - if rather dark. "If anyone here needs my help, I'll try to get them back out of the Edge. You included. But after one, maybe two, nights for everyone to get their bearings... I should go my own way. It's what I do now."


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#43 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 06:26 PM

Agethar looked on in awe at the Wyverns attacking the herd of wild goats. He had heard about these things, but never thought he would see them in person.

 

Bale looked on in silence.

 

"Put us down," the Venator said to Katja, not needing to whisper over the sound the Wyverns were making "we should be able tae gather some without 'em noticin'."

 

As the giant obliged, the two men began to try to get some of the goats away from the main group of them.

 

Maugrimm tried to heard several goats away from the group as well.



#44 Burger Warrior

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 02:23 AM

"The Legend is pretty simple, actually," Bale said "the female Achaean gods were squabbling about who was the fairest, and gave the role of judge to the Prince of an old Achaean Country named Troy. He chose Aphrodite, the god of love, who gave him, in exchange, Helen, the wife of another ruler named Menelaus. Needless to say, Menelaus was annoyed by this, and the two countries declared war on each other, with the gods choosing favorites on each side. It ended with the sacking of Troy, along with the deaths of most of everyone who participated in it. There's more to it than that, but that's the long and the short of it."

 

“...Oh.” Katja replied after a long moment. ...Aaaand that’s why we just follow Surtur. Both the only thing worth worshipping and a male.

 

And… he let my father get murdered and is letting uncle do what he pleases. Maybe these Achaean gods aren’t so bad.

 

Either way, she mentioned her intention to head into mortal, civilized lands. Naturally, Agethar looked amazed at this statement while Bale looked skeptical.

 

"Well," Agethar managed, "if ye'd wantae leave th' Jagged Edge, I suppose me an' Bale could tell ye more about th' human world. But what I can tell ye right now is that ye'd best watch out fer Endibraut Hall: that place was build tae keep th' giants and their servants inside th' Jagged Edge."

 

Katja frowned. “So that’s what-?” She began to ask, only to be interrupted by the sound of something barking. She froze, glancing down at the dog that had been weaving around her feet the whole time. She murmured a curse, seriously considering shutting the animal up one way or another. Did it have no idea what dangers the Edge posed for small, loud things?!

 

​"Somethin's close by," Agethar said, completely unnecessarily "somethin'...edible at least."

 

She gave him a look. “I would’ve never guessed…” The giantess murmured finally moving forward as carefully and quietly as she could. Fortunately her metal gear was sparse enough to keep that from being too much of a problem...

 

As Katja crept forward, along with Agethar, Bale, and - having to skirt around at Katja's feet - Maugrimm, they heard something causing even more of a disturbance than her own movement.

 

As she peered over a high ridge ever-so-cautiously, she saw them and groaned quietly. Wyverns.

 

Even for a creature her size, Katja knew not to tangle with these beasts, especially three at once. Wyverns were known to take down even dragons when in enough numbers, and if the dragon was young enough - one giantess and two humans, mage or not, would have incredible difficulty, to say the least. They could see the great, barbed, venomous stingers on the ends of the wyverns' tails as they swooped and snatched at the goats. She’d seen other jotnar having to recover from wounds caused by those, and Skovgaard had no wish to suffer any herself.

 

But at least their mayhem was breaking up the goat herd and causing enough confusion that they could surely snatch a few of the poor animals from the edges of the herd, without drawing attention from the already occupied wyverns.

 

Realizing this, Katja glanced down at her passengers to see Bale staring in collected silence while, for a while, Agethar gawked.

 

"Put us down," he finally said to Katja, not needing to whisper over the sound the wyverns were making "we should be able tae gather some without 'em noticin'."

 

“Hopefully… but if you get caught, I can’t help much.” She told them frankly. “But I’ll hang back so that shouldn’t happen…” The giantess murmured, mostly to herself.

 

As she crouched to let the two men down, they began to try to get some of the goats away from the main group of them, followed by Maugrimm who also tried to heard several goats away from the group. Unconsciously holding her breath, Katja watched the wyverns closely… and slowly drew her smaller warhammer in case the worst came to pass.

 

-----

 

"You know, it's rude to intrude on other people's conversations" Nefer said pointedly, casting a quick glare in the giant's direction. She raised one hand and idly twiddled her fingers, as if considering doing magic. Hallvard flinched, but realized she was really just trying to make him go away.

 

Biting his lip, the giant silently scooted away from the cave, figuring there wasn’t much else for him to interact with in there. Which… left him an Alden alone just outside. For that matter, she seemed to want Alden to go away, too.

 

Maybe that’s what they ought to do…

 

“Hey… Alden?” Hallvard murmured. “...Maybe we should head off before, uh… I dunno.” Before you do something really stupid trying to get a pretty human’s attention. You’re a monster and a nuisance to her... “I’m… kind of a big target.” He pointed out sheepishly, trying to keep such thoughts to himself. “I-I don’t want to get these guys caught because of me… and we need to find out how to get out of the Edge sooner than later…” The jotunn muttered, turning his gaze away from the cave to scan the surrounding peaks.

 

And maybe figure out what’s up with… uh, Katja, right? Maybe she’ll come with us...


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#45 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 02:54 PM

"What did you do that was so shameful?" she asked bluntly after a moment, lowering her voice a bit so the giant couldn't hear if he was still lurking.

 

Sighing as if he knew the question was inevitable, the old dwarf stared at the ground for a beat, before meeting Nefer’s eyes. “I see ye can read Dwarven as well as speak it.  A fair question which I’ll do me best to answer, but keep in mind it’s been a few centuries since the incident.  Even a dwarf’s memories get clouded after that much time, especially if it’s something he’d rather not dwell on.”

 

Leaning back on his improvised seat, Sigmar scratched his abnormally short beard before reminiscing, “Long story short, I found myself having ta choose between the will of my god, and the edict of my chieftain.  The clan stood to gain a great deal at the expense of some long-time allies, and I refused to bless such action as just.  For daring to stand on conviction, I was branded a traitor by the greediest of my own kin, forbidden to even speak their names lest I dishonor them further.”

 

His fists clenched bitterly, his eyes wandered back down to the ground in shame as he continued, “They marred my ancestors’ shield, shaved my beard, and cast me out, never to return.  ‘If you love the gods more than us, let the gods sustain you.’  Those were the last words my own family ever spoke to me, before slamming the door, ah guess to find a priest who’d be easier ta bribe.”

 

As ye can see, that actually came true, in a way,” Sigmar added with a shrug.  “I’ve wandered the realms since then, picked fights with bigger an’ bigger foes, yet miraculously haven’t died, even when I started wanting to.  Eventually I figured this cruel joke my life has become would find its punch line here on the Jagged Edge.  Forseti willing or Thor merciful, I’ll find some worthy foe ta send me home in glory, where the avarice and injustice of my fellow mortals can plague me no longer.”


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#46 Sareth

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Posted 26 February 2017 - 02:39 PM

Nefer listened as Sigmar told his tale. It did much to reassure her as to his character; it was, in some ways, not too different a tale from her own.

 

"Nothing hurts like betrayal" she said simply, with a slight nod —but there was plenty of meaning hiding in the statement.

 

"But" she added after a moment "I wonder: why do you leave that mark —why bear that shame? You believe firmly in your God —a God of justice, no less; why concern yourself with such lesser, petty judgement —especially when you know it to be false?" she asked.


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

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#47 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 12:21 PM

"Nothing hurts like betrayal" she said simply, with a slight nod —but there was plenty of meaning hiding in the statement.

 

Sigmar wondered if she was speaking from experience, but did not have the chance to comment.

 

"But" she added after a moment "I wonder: why do you leave that mark —why bear that shame? You believe firmly in your God —a God of justice, no less; why concern yourself with such lesser, petty judgement —especially when you know it to be false?" she asked.

 

Hah, I’ve got three answers for ye there, again based on time,” the old dwarf snorted, laughing bitterly.  “First, it was laid out in my sentence that the mark must go where I go.  The chieftain didn’t want me just scuttllin’ over to our ally or some distant clan, my banishment would be from all dwarf realms, period.”

 

“Second, while I considered just defying him again and throwing tha bloody thing away when I got tha chance, it was a piece of home, of family, my heritage, marred as it was.  I earned it with blood and steel as mah father and grandfather proudly bore witness, and my foolish younger self thought I could one day redeem it.  The one time I did work up the nerve to finally toss it down a mountain, I just ended up tripping over the blasted board when I hiked down two days later.”

 

Fiddling with his empty tankard before setting it down beside him, “Lastly, I came to view this burden as my penance, for letting my kin fall into such darkness.  I still don’t know when I went from being their spiritual leader to the enabling seal on their greed, but I failed them somehow, somewhere.  I didn’t see what they were becoming until it was too late.  I may have done the right thing, but I still deserved punishment fer my complacency.  Only took a few centuries to realize it, I guess.”  

 

Another bitter, coarse laugh erupted, then the dwarf sighed at his empty mug and looked at Nefer again.  “Any more questions will cost ye a refill.  Or ye could take a turn at talking.  Ye’ve heard my own story in a nutshell, but I’m wondering what brought you out here to the Edge?  There’s plenty of friendlier places fer a mage to seek refuge, though you don’t strike me as the ‘hiding” kind.”


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#48 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 02:53 PM

Luckily for Agethar, Bale, and even Maugrimm, the wyverns took no interest in them. The goats, however, weren't easy to catch. Maugrimm was the only effective tool they were putting to use, as he managed to herd a few of the goats over to Katja's direction - three altogether, one old and a bit sickly. To try to get more, however, seemed increasingly risky, as two more wyverns now descended upon the goats, apparently drawn to the commotion.


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#49 Sareth

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:58 PM

"Hmm" was the only response Nefer made when the dwarf finished answering. His internal logic seemed... tenuous, at best, to her.

 

Any more questions will cost ye a refill. Or ye could take a turn at talking. Ye’ve heard my own story in a nutshell, but I’m wondering what brought you out here to the Edge? There’s plenty of friendlier places fer a mage to seek refuge, though you don’t strike me as the ‘hiding'” kind.”

 

She considered it for a moment. While he seemed somewhat foolish, he did, at least, seem to be an honest fool.

 

I sssupose there isssn't any harm in it, Wadjys chimed in, mirroring her own thoughts. And maybe —maybe— he might even aid her...

 

"My father tried to sell me to a demonic cult to save his own skin" she said simply, her voice flat. "I objected." She paused for a moment and shrugged slightly, as if that was really all it came down to, taking a sip of her drink.

 

"Long way from Kemhet, but they're powerful, and he's powerful and desperate —they will never stop coming" she continued. "I thought by cutting through the foothills I could buy myself a few days' peace where I would not have to worry about anyone hunting me. It was not my brightest idea, I have to admit" she said dryly, and the barest hint of a wry grin pulled at the corner of her mouth for an instant.

 

"I think you can figure out the rest from there" she finished, taking another sip of her ale.


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

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#50 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:23 AM

No one noticed, especially since D'naaku had apparently gone into a semi comatose state and stood there doing absolutely nothing, but Caiden had now had enough time to go back into his little private chamber, apparently take a nap, come back out, and then leave the cavern again. Not much happened in his absence, except for the fact that Katja, Agethar, and Bale finally returned. They didn't have any goats, though, because they had stood there and done nothing with them after capturing them.

 

When Caiden returned, he was leading several horses behind him. A few of the humans came forward to claim their mounts, as Caiden explained that he'd found various horses wandering in assorted passes nearby. Somehow, they'd managed not to be killed. The centaur, however, crossed his arms and snorted in annoyance at it all.

 

Now that some of them had horses, many of the stragglers rescued from the camp prepared to set out. Within a few hours, after taking some supplies, the various humans and dwarves left on their own - traveling together, for the time being - to attempt to return to their own homeland. That left D'naaku, Katja, Hallvard, Nefer, Bale, Agethar, Alden, Sigmar, and the centaur, as well as Caiden himself (not to mention the unseen pixie who was also present).

 

It was morning when Caiden emerged once more from the back of the cavern. He said hardly a word to anyone as he went about his business eating some of the remaining rations and drinking a bit of ale.

 

Once he was fully prepared, he stopped at the mouth of the cavern and said over his shoulder to everyone, "Good luck." And that was all.

 

With that, he turned and left. Having nowhere else to go and having had no discussions about it, if anyone had plans to travel with someone who could clearly handle himself in the perilous Jagged Edge, they would have little choice but to follow.

 

 

((Working on another zone thread. Keep an eye out for it.))


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#51 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 01:05 PM

Agethar, Bale and Katja had little choice but to leave the goats they had collected.

 

It was either that or be eaten by the Wyverns, who had finally noticed their presence and had attempted to attack them.

 

---

 

They next day, as everybody was leaving, Caiden strode from the back of the cave, ate breakfast, and said one thing before walking out of the cave:

 

"Good luck."

 

As he left, 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?"



#52 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 08:11 PM

"My father tried to sell me to a demonic cult to save his own skin" she said simply, her voice flat. "I objected." She paused for a moment and shrugged slightly, as if that was really all it came down to, taking a sip of her drink.

 

His face twisting in disgust, Sigmar snarled, “Ach, demons.  Family bein’ selfish is one thing, but that’s a whole new level of vile.”

 

"Long way from Kemhet, but they're powerful, and he's powerful and desperate —they will never stop coming" she continued. "I thought by cutting through the foothills I could buy myself a few days' peace where I would not have to worry about anyone hunting me. It was not my brightest idea, I have to admit" she said dryly, and the barest hint of a wry grin pulled at the corner of her mouth for an instant.

 

Shrugging neutrally, Sigmar answered, “Perhaps, but the gods let ye live to learn from it.  That’s more comfort than most get out here.”

 

"I think you can figure out the rest from there" she finished, taking another sip of her ale.

 

Aye, that I can,” the old dwarf assented.  “Sure seems like a lot of trouble fer one mage, though, for any faction.  Even the Achaean Inquisitors don’t dare come out this far.  Why’d it ‘ave to be you?  Yer power, or yer family’s blood?  Did ye make it personal for them on your  way out, or did ye not get a chance to ask?”

 

-------------------

 

As the human and dwarven refugees began the long trek home, Sigmar made sure to see them off personally, praying for Forseti’s peace and solace upon them as they found their way out of the mountains.  Even after being hardened by centuries of wandering, he envied them a little, having someone actually worried about their well-being and homes to look forward to reaching.  Any sane being would miss such luxuries, after all, but that was all they were to Sigmar now.  He had lived this long without them, one day he would be free of such frivolous, fruitless longings.  His home was no longer on Midgard, his clan had seen to that and he would eventually accept it fully.  Gods, that was taking longer than he thought, though.

 

When the Venator bid them all good luck and began to make his own exit, Sigmar thoughtfully twiddled with the end of his beard, wondering what to do next.  Someone that mighty would undoubtedly attract attention, and if he intended to so bravely raid the Chaos Races again, perhaps Sigmar would find the honorable death he sought at the man’s side.  Then again, he did not seem to be particularly sociable outside of saving them all, and Sigmar understood all too well how someone hard enough to survive the Edge would be...different...from others.  Well, he could at least thank the human, if nothing else.

 

Trudging over to walk beside the burly Venator, Sigmar inclined his helmeted head slightly in respect.  “Before you go, I never got the chance to thank ye properly for saving all our hides there.” he said somewhat gruffly, though he tried to soften or at least flatten his tone.

 

As they walked, the priest extended a friendly hand, “The name’s Sigmar Oathbreaker, priest of Forseti.  Seems I owe you and yer pixie friend, wherever he or she flittered off to.”

 
 

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#53 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 10:28 PM

Caiden was already a few paces out the cave when Sigmar approached him, prompting the Venator to turn around.

 

Before you go, I never got the chance to thank ye properly for saving all our hides there.” Sigmar said somewhat gruffly, though he tried to soften or at least flatten his tone.

 

The Venator merely gave a nod.

 

As they walked, the priest extended a friendly hand, “The name’s Sigmar Oathbreaker, priest of Forseti.  Seems I owe you and yer pixie friend, wherever he or she flittered off to.”

 

Caiden stopped then, just a short ways off from the cavern entrance. He glanced at his hand for half a second as he replied, "She. And she's close enough to hear your thanks."

 

He then gave Sigmar's hand a firm shake and finished, "Caiden Voros, Venator... You're welcome about the rescue, but I'm just doing my duty."


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#54 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 10:53 AM

Caiden stopped then, just a short ways off from the cavern entrance. He glanced at his hand for half a second as he replied, "She. And she's close enough to hear your thanks."

 

This elicited a quick glance around and a raised eyebrow from the old dwarf, who wondered to himself, I know it’s daytime, but you’d think I’d still see her.  Is she in his pocket or something?

 

He then gave Sigmar's hand a firm shake and finished, "Caiden Voros, Venator... You're welcome about the rescue, but I'm just doing my duty."

 

The man’s grip was notably strong, but this fact was rapidly overshadowed by a powerful sense of something... wrong.  The guilt and deceit he had felt back in the cages, they were as clear in his senses as the man standing before him. Caiden even seemed to grimace, for at least a moment, and something seemed to be...moving...beneath his skin.  Sigmar quickly withdrew his own hand, grasping his own wrist as if he was subconsciously considering amputating it.

 

What in Hel…” he exclaimed in shock and revulsion as he gave the Venator a horrified expression.  Something was clearly wrong with the man, and it had the stench of demons about it, yet this was no possession.  Now that he had isolated the source of the warning signs, he could sense no other entities, and if the man was half-demon, like some he had fought, touching him would have disrupted his disguise even more, and burned Sigmar’s own hand, as well.  The priest saw none of these usual demonic symptoms, and it only bewildered him more.

 

After unwittingly glancing at his hand to see if it was on fire or melting off, the dwarf looked up once more at Caiden, spurting, “...What are you?!?”

 

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#55 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 11:24 AM

What in Hel…” he exclaimed in shock and revulsion as he gave the Venator a horrified expression. Caiden hardly reacted, though Sigmar did notice a very slight tension rise in the Venator's enormous muscles.

 

After unwittingly glancing at his hand to see if it was on fire or melting off, the dwarf looked up once more at Caiden, spurting, “...What are you?!?”

 

Caiden finally glanced away from the dwarf, for once seeming hesitant to meet his gaze - but he didn't recoil or otherwise react defensively. All he did was cross his huge arms.

 

"Cursed," he replied darkly, meeting Sigmar's gaze again. "That's why I'm out here."


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#56 Sareth

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 01:57 PM

Sure seems like a lot of trouble fer one mage, though, for any faction. Even the Achaean Inquisitors don’t dare come out this far. Why’d it ‘ave to be you? Yer power, or yer family’s blood? Did ye make it personal for them on your way out, or did ye not get a chance to ask?”

 

Nefer shrugged. "Who can say what goes on in the mind of a cultist?" she said. "As to power... Well, I haven't exactly met many other mages to compare to —save the man who taught me, and in the end I was certainly more powerful than him— but... I suppose I am powerful. I can feel it sometimes, like fire in my veins..." She drifted off into silence for a second.

 

"I did wreck a decent bit of my home when I fled, but that was incidental" she said, with a hint of wry amusement, returning to Sigmar's question. "That's not why my father is after me, though. He got his position as Nomarch through murder; the cult killed his older brother for him, but in return he was bound by some magical contract to serve them —with a penalty of death for breaking it. He gives them me, and they'll release him" she explained.

 

"... I doubt he's really thought it through, though. If they ever get me under their thrall, they'll release him, yes, and probably kill him in the very next instant, leaving me to take his place: a powerful mage and a Nomarch in one —far more valuable an asset" she added after a moment with a hint of spite, even as she shook her head slightly at her father's foolishness.

 

"I'll have to deal with him, and the cult, sooner or later. But, for all my power, that isn't the sort of thing that can be done alone. Until then, well... stay around me long enough, and you might encounter some more powerful mages, or maybe even a demon" she said, remembering what the dwarf had said about seeking worthy opponents. It wasn't quite a straightforward offer or request, but the implication was clear. It certainly couldn't hurt, having a fairly capable fighter like the dwarf around her.

 

---

 

Later, Caiden left the cave and, to Nefer's surprise and gratitude, returned with several horses —including, most importantly, her own Deshretian stallion, on whose survival she had almost given up hope. Giving Caiden a brief word of thanks, she collected her horse —who seemed a little worse the wear for his time alone, but still in pretty good health. Checking the saddlebags, she was gratified to find all of her belongings still there.

 

The next morning, Caiden got up and headed out of the cave with a simple "Good luck." Nefer quickly gathered her things to follow; the venator was the only one who seemed to know his way around these parts, and she could use a guide. Besides, Sigmar seemed inclined to follow Caiden as well.

 

But, as she headed out of the cave leading her horse, she was close enough to see the dwarf suddenly yank his hand from the venator's grip like it was on fire, and to catch what he sputtered after: ...What are you?!?”

 

"Cursed. That's why I'm out here."

 

"Cursed with what?" she asked tensely, interjecting, as her mind made a leap: Sigmar was a priest, and the only thing she could think of that might perturb a priest that much was... a demon.

 

 

 

 

((Sorry to barge in, but it's the only game in town ATM.  :D ))


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

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#57 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 02:51 PM

Caiden glanced at Nefer as she approached. He gave no outward indication of a reaction... as usual.

 

"Cursed with what?" she asked tensely, interjecting.

 

"I don't know," Caiden replied, calm and stoic as ever, his face the same disciplined mask... though the tension in his muscles was a little plainer now, at least to a highly observant eye. This was far from his favorite topic. "It seems at least somewhat demonic, but it isn't possession. It's... different."


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#58 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 03:06 PM

As Nefer related the rest of her story and answered Sigmar’s questions, the justice-seeking dwarf could not help but feel righteous fury at the thought of her father’s short-sighted grab for power, at the expense of his own family.  His clan had only tried to swindle some friends, and banished him for refusing to toe the line, but they hadn’t tried to kill him, at least.  

 

"I'll have to deal with him, and the cult, sooner or later. But, for all my power, that isn't the sort of thing that can be done alone. Until then, well... stay around me long enough, and you might encounter some more powerful mages, or maybe even a demon" she said, remembering what the dwarf had said about seeking worthy opponents.

 

Sigmar definitely took notice of this, an eager smile showing beneath his short beard.  “That sounds like just my kind of challenge,” he said almost gleefully.  “Be forewarned, though, I’m not accustomed to hiding or much subtlety.  If ye’re just looking for a strong shield arm, you have my interest.  But if it’s true shelter you seek, our Venator host might be worth bringing along, if ye can convince him.”

 

With a yawn, Sigmar slid down to settle his back against the rock.  “I suppose we can ask him in the morning.  We do still owe him our lives and freedom, too.  Justice demands that we thank him, at least.”

 

---------------

 

Now, however, Sigmar was feeling less grateful than fearful.  Demonic influences he did not understand were already worrisome, especially from a man who had saved their lives and earned their trust.

 

"Cursed," he replied darkly, meeting Sigmar's gaze again. "That's why I'm out here."

 

"Cursed with what?" Nefer asked tensely, interjecting.

 

"I don't know," Caiden replied, calm and stoic as ever, his face the same disciplined mask... though the tension in his muscles was a little plainer now, at least to a highly observant eye. This was far from his favorite topic. "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,” Sigmar acquiesced.  “But I’m sure ye can understand how this’d make one...wary.”  His hand was resting casually near his slung warhammer, but he had not drawn steel yet.  “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.”  The warrior priest planted his feet to highlight his point.


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#59 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 04:37 PM

True enough, I couldn’t sense anything else in control of yer mind,” Sigmar acquiesced. “But I’m sure ye can understand how this’d make one...wary.” His hand was resting casually near his slung warhammer, but he had not drawn steel yet.

 

"Yeah," Voros replied, but that was all. He didn't seem annoyed or offended by Sigmar's hand on his weapon, but he was at least aware of it.

 

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.” The warrior priest planted his feet to highlight his point.

 

"I'm human - and I'm a Venator. I live by a code," Caiden said firmly, and for the first time yet the slightest tinge of anger showed in his tone and on his face, even if it was subtle, but even that much made him seem about twice his size. He clearly found that was all that needed to be said, as he didn't expand upon it.

 

Instead, he added a bit flatly, "This is why I'm out here. And why I travel alone."


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#60 Burger Warrior

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 11:24 PM

Regardless of what Alden had had to offer previously, the morning everyone seemed ready to split up saw Hallvard still among the group’s number… and still rather awkwardly sitting off to one side, watching as things seemed to continue to grow tense between the various ‘monsters’ and more civilized beings. Hell, even the dwarves didn’t seem to like the humans, much…

 

So when things finally seemed to burst as Caiden and the dwarf Hallvard still felt he owed… something or other, the giant was quick to make his way over. Well, quick was a relative term, especially as he tried not to make a great deal of racket as he stepped towards them, which resulted in his walk being rather slow and laborious to look upon. Fortunately, everyone seemed more-or-less occupied by the situation at hand, so hopefully none of them felt inclined to watch.

 

At any rate, by the time Hallvard crouched by the trio who were currently talking - for once his attention diverted from the sorceress in their company - as they continued their… argument? There was definitely some anger, but… mostly it was shock and questions.

 

Like when Alden had revealed himself to Hallvard’s family and friends, he realized…

 

“But I’m sure ye can understand how this’d make one...wary.”  His hand was resting casually near his slung warhammer, but he had not drawn steel yet.  “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.”  The warrior priest planted his feet to highlight his point.

 

"I'm human - and I'm a Venator. I live by a code," Caiden said firmly, the slightest tinge of anger showed in his tone, even if it was subtle, but even that much made him seem about twice his size. He clearly found that was all that needed to be said, as he didn't expand upon it.

 

Instead, he added a bit flatly, "This is why I'm out here. And why I travel alone."

 

“...I-I understand.” Hallvard offered, breaking the brief silence before falling back into it, biting his lip. “B-but, um… I-I still wouldn’t mind t-traveling with you.” He added a tad weakly, his gaze flickering to the dwarf. “W-whatever your verdict might be…”

 

I mean, Alden’s apparently a half-demon or whatever and he’s nice… apparently this guy isn’t even that! And he saved my skin…


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