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ZONE - Camp of The Accursed


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 08:05 AM

Across from the fen near Endibraut, almost in the shadow of the Jagged Edge, there rested a relatively small encampment near some steaming hot springs. The tents were few and far-between, most very large to accommodate for their inhabitants. Several fires burned here and there, all of them roasting huge portions of meat. The sounds of music and laughter rang throughout the cliffs... a very unusual sound for the wild and uninhabited region.

 

But very different from the encampment itself were its inhabitants. The variety of creatures coexisting in that single little settlement would have been alarming to anyone who saw it and didn't know that, once, all of them had shared the common bond of humanity.

 

Nearly all of them were beastfolk: humanoid bears, rams, ravens, boars, stags, and more. Some still appeared human, but under their guise hid the curse of lycanthropy.

 

Yet all of them sat together, wrestled together, told each other stories, played instruments, drank, ate, cooked, and shared merriment. The werewolves in human form wrestled some of the other beastfolk just to prove their strength no matter what time of day or night it was, everyone roaring, growling, howling and laughing as they watched the friendly competitions. These berserkers may have lost their humanity, homes, families, and old friends, but truly they had found a new home.

 

---

 

Nick Wolfe led Nulgus, Mirkov, Kathrine, Ærik, Elsa, Ridgeback, Grimhild, Gunnarr, and some of the other berserkers from Endibraut into the encampment. Night was starting to fall by this time, yet no one seemed at all disturbed to be in the company of werewolves.

 

A huge, black-furred boar-man approached as they neared, clasping wrists with Nick and giving a big, toothy smile through his jutting tusks. He looked over them all with beady red eyes, yet he seemed as friendly as anyone back at Endibraut.

 

"Nick!" he said. "You've brought some companions, I see."

 

"Indeed, Dragu," said Wolfe, glancing back at those who followed him. "I've promised to show them our hospitality."

 

"You have!" the boar-man said with another huge grin. He motioned with a huge, muscular arm toward the encampment. "You're welcome among us, friends!"

 

"And," added Nick, motioning Gunnarr forward, "we have a newcomer."

 

Gunnarr hesitantly lumbered forward, still looking somewhat awkward and unused to what he had become. His eyes were lit up at the sight of so many like him, but he still seemed cautious and unsure.

 

Dragu, the boar-man, faded to a serious expression as he took a step forward on his hoofed hind legs, giving a bow. "I am Dragu, former berserker of the Freylings," he said. "Let me be the second," he shot a look at Nick, who smirked, "to welcome you to the Accursed."

 

"Gunnarr Adalbjorn," the bear-man answered hesitantly. Dragu suddenly smiled again and grabbed his hand, giving it a huge shake.

 

"I've heard of you!" he said. "Surely we will sing songs of you tonight!"

 

That seemed to brighten Gunnarr's mood, and he grinned right back as he was motioned into the camp. Dragu, however, turned back to the others, as did Nick.

 

"Their appearances - and the curses of some, such as myself - may take some getting used to," said Nick, "but remember: we were all once brothers and sisters of the North. All across the camp, you'll find food, drink, songs, and games. We celebrate when we can, and it's rare we get to celebrate at night. But, during the coming of the new moon, we have all our festivities.

 

"I'll be at my tent on the northmost end of the camp," said Wolfe. "Come to me if any of you have questions or require anything. I can assure you I'll be safe for the duration of the night," he added with a smile. Giving a nod, he then turned and left.

 

"And the hot springs are this way," said Dragu, gesturing with a thumb, "if any of you were interested. I was just heading there, myself."


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#2 Ambad

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 05:14 PM

The short journey over, and welcomes out of the way, Nulgus was really starting to get desperate for that hot spring bath. And as if reading his mind, the warthog man who'd greeted them, Dragu, brought up just that subject.

 

"And the hot springs are this way," said Dragu, gesturing with a thumb, "if any of you were interested. I was just heading there, myself."

 

"Oi!" the dwarf grunted, "Ah've been headed towards hot springs all day, it'll be nice ta get ta soak finally!"

 

He looked around at the rest of the group he'd come with. He was wary of going completely alone, despite his trust and respect for all the folks he'd met today. Simply having a more familiar ally, or a few, would be nice. Of course, Nulgus was far to proud to admit his insecurity and ask for someone to go with him because of his own fear. Instead he'd play it off on their own sense of decency.

 

"The rest o' ya got a little funk comin' off ya too," he told them, jokingly, "from all o' that swamp-walkin', prolly. Ye may not smell it, but mah nose is a lot lower ta the ground..."


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#3 Burger Warrior

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Posted 26 May 2015 - 07:05 PM

Mirkov grinned at the warm welcome they received at the Camp of the Accursed. While he wasn’t as muddled as Nulgus was, he was dirty and smelly enough to be ready for a good bath. So, when Dragu the boarman pointed out where the hot springs were, the varg already started padding away.

 

"Oi!" Nulgus grunted, "Ah've been headed towards hot springs all day, it'll be nice ta get ta soak finally!"

 

“That you have.” The varg mage chuckled, glancing at him.

 

"The rest o' ya got a little funk comin' off ya too," he told them, jokingly, "from all o' that swamp-walkin', prolly. Ye may not smell it, but mah nose is a lot lower ta the ground..."

 

Mirkov snorted good-naturedly, padding back over to the dwarf. “Oh, I smell it.” He said, stepping up behind Nulgus. “And you’re certainly the strongest source of the stuff.” He added, with a chuckle. Before the dwarf could react, the varg caught the back of his collar between his large and surprisingly strong jaws, and lifted him clean off the ground. The perks of being a large, magical  wolf.

 

The dwarf presumably squirming in discomfort, Mirkov carefully loped toward the springs, trying not to shake his dwarven friend too badly. He’s lighter than I thought.


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#4 The Doctor

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 08:42 AM

Here Kathryn had thought that a Council Mage hideout full of arcane magic users hiding from Inquisitors was the strangest little mixed group of people that she would run across. This Camp was a stranger sight than even some of the magical displays the sorceress had seen since discovering her arcane nature, and certainly the first time she’d been among a gaggle of beastmen trying to do something other than brutally eviscerate her. If anything, these former beserkers looked to be awfully civilized.

 

Her ears had already perked up when the group had first heard the revelry of the little settlement, but they perked up so much further she thought they might suddenly become pointy elf ears when Wolfe mentioned one of the camp’s luxuries. Water and a fire mage didn’t usually mix, but a hot enough spring could make up for the wetness--not to mention she hadn’t bathed in easily a week or two. A little time soaking in there could be wondrous.

 

She nodded politely at their guide in thanks for his introduction before following right after Nulgus towards the springs. Mirkov was just ahead of her, responding to the dwarf’s comments about how they all more or less reeked with his own snarky comeback. This directly preceded his picking up the bearded little man by the collar and taking him to the spring at a pace preferred by the wolf. His jaw was a lot stronger than it looked; he didn’t seem to have any trouble hauling the dwarf around like a dog sauntering about with a bone.

 

“Well if he smells that bad,” Kathryn commented as she walked behind Mirkov and Nulgus, “then why do you want him in your mouth?”


It should also be noted I have pretty drunk.


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#5 Ambad

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 12:34 AM

"Oh, I smell it." Mirkov said. "And you’re certainly the strongest source of the stuff."

 

And with that, the massive varg picked Nulgus up from the back, and hoisted the dwarf well off the ground.

 

"Oi!" Nulgus shouted in frustration, "Put meh down, ye overgrown coyote!"

 

He wriggled and fought, but Mirkov's was a grip of steel.

 

"Well if he smells that bad," Kathryn commented as she walked behind them both, "then why do you want him in your mouth?"

 

"Aye, listen ta the wise Northwoman!" pleaded the dwarf, "Or do ye wanna be known as the Varg who likes the smell o' ripe Dwarf?!?"


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#6 Burger Warrior

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 03:46 PM

"Oi!" Nulgus shouted in frustration, "Put meh down, ye overgrown coyote!"

 

Okay, Mirkov hadn’t counted on a response like that.

 

"Well if he smells that bad," One of the northern women, Kathryn, commented as she walked behind them both, "then why do you want him in your mouth?"

 

"Aye, listen ta the wise northwoman!" pleaded the dwarf, "Or do ye wanna be known as the varg who likes the smell o' ripe dwarf?!?"

 

Mirkov winced, and set Nulgus, snorting to get some traces of bog-stuff off of his snout. “I meant to help you get there faster…” He mumbled, shifting rather sheepishly. It just went to show how bad he was at socializing with other races. “Sorry…”


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#7 Ambad

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Posted 28 May 2015 - 04:27 PM

The varg set him down, gently enough, and snorted.

 

“I meant to help you get there faster…” He mumbled, shifting rather sheepishly. “Sorry…”

 

"Eh, s'alright, friend." Nulgus shrugged, "Ye meant no harm, and Ah'm sure it was funneh to watch fer the others."

 

Then they were at the springs, lovely pools of hot water bubbling up from the ground below. To Nulgus, it was the most welcoming sight he'd seen in a long time. He found a nearby log to deposit his gear and clothing on, and not being shy, stripped there and then before wading into the spring.

 

The water was luxuriously hot, and immediately he could feel the build up sweat and dead skin beginning to loosen and slough off. He found a part deep enough to stand with the water level coming up to his neck, where he ducked his head under water and vigorously scrubbed his face. Surfacing to have his freshly cleaned face exposed to the cool evening air was exactly what he'd wanted all day. He worked his way back to one of the edges, where he could just sit and enjoy the hot bath.

 

Curious, he looked around to see how everyone else was getting on with the springs.


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#8 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 07:42 AM

While everyone headed for the hot springs, Dragu turned and joined them, stomping along quietly at the back of the group. He seemed just as outgoing as Nulgus, given he promptly tore off his loincloth and leather armor and dropped them aside. The boar-man then promptly slid down into the water, though the pool was hardly deep enough to cover much of him. He made an apparent effort to have it cover certain parts of him others might not be interested in viewing.

 

Dragu started scrubbing his fur out with his fingernails. "I used to have a very fine beard," he commented as he did, "and I kept it clean and fluffy as the fur of a Norse buhund. Now I have to try and do that with all these damned bristles," he said with a snort, shaking his head off and flinging hot water everywhere. His rather short tail occasionally flicked behind him, stirring the waters.

 

He looked at the others and beckoned them into the hot spring. "Come on, snails!" he beckoned with a toothy grin. "These hot springs put those in Endibraut to shame."


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#9 Sareth

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 11:12 AM

"All across the camp, you'll find food, drink, songs, and games. We celebrate when we can, and it's rare we get to celebrate at night. But, during the coming of the new moon, we have all our festivities. I'll be at my tent on the northmost end of the camp. Come to me if any of you have questions or require anything. I can assure you I'll be safe for the duration of the night."

 

"And the hot springs are this way, if any of you were interested. I was just heading there, myself."

 

The others, it seemed, were all for the hot springs. Ærik, however, had a different first priority, his stomach reminded him. "I'm going to get some food first" he called to the others. "Then I'll join you."

 

No sooner had he said such and turned around, than he heard the flapping of wings. Already knowing what he would find, he looked up into the branches of the nearest tree; Sitting there, hopping excitedly from one foot to the other, was Skygge.

 

'Figures' he thought to himself, glaring at the raven. 'I might get disemboweled by a rampaging verrbjorn? You're nowhere to be found. When there's the possibility of food? There you are.... Odin has Huginn and Muninn, and I get youhe thought grumpily.

 

But, feathered pestilence or not, he was still hungry, and so promptly set out to track down some food...


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

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#10 The Doctor

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 01:05 PM

Once they were at the springs, Kathryn’s equipment fell off her body with great haste. Her shield, axe, and armor were all laid in a pile in under a minute, the cloth undercoat worn beneath her steel plates soon joining them.

 

After finally stripping off her ragged cloth undergarments, her pale skin was exposed for all the world to see as she eased inside the water next to Nulgus. Covering decent-sized patches of her body were a half-dozen burn scars--the consequence of her youthful indiscretions with fire magic.

 

She sighed while slipping into the water up to her chest, enjoying the greatest bit of heat she’d felt in a month or two. Leaning back, she just managed to get all of her red hair soaking wet; almost immediately, she could feel weeks of grime and dirt practically melting out of the long auburn locks. She reached up to start scrubbing her scalp with both hands, working out the more stubborn debris and pulling apart entwined strands.

 

The boar-man who had greeted the group earlier soon joined them, fitting as much of himself as possible into the heated pool as he started to do a little grooming himself.  "I used to have a very fine beard," he commented as he did, "and I kept it clean and fluffy as the fur of a Norse buhund. Now I have to try and do that with all these damned bristles," he said with a snort, shaking his head off and flinging hot water everywhere. His rather short tail occasionally flicked behind him, stirring the waters.

He looked at the others and beckoned them into the hot spring. "Come on, snails!" he beckoned with a toothy grin. "These hot springs put those in Endibraut to shame."

 

“I’m not about to argue with that,” Kathryn mused as her hands fell away from her hair and into the water, quickly moving behind her back. “Can’t think of but one thing that could make this any more relaxing.”

 

That one thing was her speciality: more heat. Luckily, Kathryn could take care of that particular desire with ease. Her hands hidden away from prying eyes, she laid back and started calling on her arcane abilities to raise the temperature of the water further. Creation of some open flames in this much liquid wasn’t going to be possible, but surely heating up a pool couldn’t prove two difficult for someone who had been casting fire magic for over a decade.


It should also be noted I have pretty drunk.


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#11 Ambad

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Posted 30 May 2015 - 08:59 AM

"Come on, snails!" Dragu grinned, "These hot springs put those in Endibraut to shame."

Nulgus had to agree to an extent. The water was hotter, and clearer, and being open to the sky meant one got an excellent view of the stars. Also, the contrast between the hot water and cool air was a nice departure from the inescapable heat and humidity of the Endibraut springs. Both had their merits.

"Im not about to argue with that," Kathryn commented. "Cant think of but one thing that could make this any more relaxing."

"Oh, Ah can think of at least a couple..." the dwarf replied matter'o'factly.

"Err, well, Ah dinnae mean-" he tried to explain when he realized how that sounded sitting next to the pretty northwoman, "It'd be nice ta have a cold flaggon o' mead and a show, s'all Ah meant... A bite ta eat wouldn't go amiss either."

While she wasn't his particular cup of tea, Nulgus did have to admit that the northwoman was very atractive by most standards. She might have been considered a model beauty, if not for the burn scars that covered a goodly portion of he skin. Nulgus was curious what horrors she had endured to earn them, but was too polite to ask directly.

"So, what's yer story?" he asked instead, hoping to strike up a little conversation and learn more about his erstwhile company.

*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#12 The Doctor

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 04:38 PM

"So, what's yer story?"

 

“Oh, nothing special,” Kathryn replied, her focus still devoted primarily towards generating some heat. It was starting to feel a little bit warmer back there, at least. “Grew up in a nice village, ran off to a city when I was teenager, learned to hack things up. You’ve probably heard that one a dozen times, right?”

 

This wasn’t working, at all. Creating an open flame, she could do in her sleep, but trying to heat this spring up some more? Clearly, such a thing was beyond her talents. Frustrated, she pulled both hands out from behind her back, abandoning the endeavor for now. She instead reached up to brush her hands through her hair…

 

...and promptly felt the singe of red strands briefly igniting.


A few sniffs confirmed the sorceress’ suspicion: her hands had come out the water still just hot enough to spark up a tinge of arcane flame up near her head. That she was still conscious indicated that she had avoided causing cranial trauma, but the distinct odor of hair set alight conveyed that some cosmetic damage had at least been done. Slowly, her head turned towards the dwarf, an expression of flat surprise set between the now-charred hair flanking her northern features.

 

“Nulgus?” she asked calmly, “I still have hair, right?”


It should also be noted I have pretty drunk.


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#13 Dalton the Spider Suit Guy

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 05:17 PM

Agethar was lost.

 

Somehow, while crossing the Mountains bordering Northrim, he had completely lost his sense of direction, and had ended up near Endibraut Hall. Then, after skirting around it, he had accidentally found this place.

 

Now, as he looked down into the Encampment and the Hotsprings from higher ground, he wondered if Loki had some grudge or another against him: Many of the Men in the Camps were ones that he had either hunted or gotten into Barfights with, and they would not like to see the Burly Venator again.

 

Maugrimm whined as his Master began to edge away from the Camp, along the edge of the Higher Ground. He and his Master were exhausted from their trek back to their Homeland, and both were hungry. 

 

So it was no surprise when Agethar lost his footing and fell into one of the Hotspring Pools with a Loud SPLASH!

 

His Dog, thinking it some huge game, jumped in after him.



#14 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 06:15 PM

As Ærik entered the camp, he smelled food all around him. Whom he wanted to eat with, and what he wanted to eat, might be a difficult choice. Almost everything he smelled was meat, but he noticed almost everyone had either dried or fresh fruits to accompany their meal, and all of them had bread. Meat, however, was very much the main course... and all the berserkers ate it with enthusiasm.

 

Perhaps the most welcoming bunch that Ærik saw was one campfire that seemed less occupied than the rest. He saw a man and a woman - both werewolves, presumably - a female verrbjorn, and a ram-beastman sitting around the fire. The ram-man looked up to regard him, offering a grin.

 

"You are either new or you're one of the Men who helped bring Gunnarr into our midst." He gestured at the huge chunk of venison roasting over the fire. "Care for some food? We have mead, as well - straight from Endibraut. Thank the gods we aren't without allies in society that can sneak us some good drinks."

 

---

 

Dragu looked around as he smelled something burning, and he turned his red eyes to Kathryn. He just blinked in surprise, unsure what to say...

 

Before he could, something suddenly dropped into the pool. Well, two things. A Northerner wearing a deep blue cloak, followed by a dog.

 

The cursed berserker snorted in surprise, violently shaking some of the water from the upper half of his hulking, bristly form. He barely even gave Agethar time to realize that he'd fallen into the pool before he reached for him. Dragu's hand clamped down hard on the back of Agethar's neck, lifting him up and completely out of the water.

 

Dragu stood as he lifted Agethar, in spite of the fact that he was still naked as the day he was born. Well, except for the fur, which he was definitely not born with. Thankfully, it actually did a very good job concealing things that were better left unseen.

 

The black-furred boar-man gave a guttural growl as he stared Agethar in the face. His eyes briefly darted to the silver Venator brooch he wore on his dark blue cloak.

 

"Monster hunter!" he barked, his voice carrying over the camp. Some of the revelry quieted down and several of the former-humans - all the assorted beastfolk, or else werewolves who still seemed human on the outside - turned their heads to look. Several of them got to their feet, approaching the hot springs.

 

Maugrimm bristled immediately at the sight of so many would-be monsters. He whined and climbed out of the hot spring, baring his teeth at Dragu while he held his master aloft. Dragu bared his teeth right back, his eyes flashing. A raven-woman swooped down to land on a rock nearby, screeching at Maugrimm and helping to discourage the dog from trying anything. She was quickly joined by several other bird-folk former berserkers, a handful of ravens and a few eagles.

 

Dragu still looked more than a little enraged, snorting, his breath hot on Agethar's face as he hauled him away from the hot springs and threw him on the stones nearby.

 

"We are not the monsters you seek," Dragu growled. "Hunt somewhere else! We were Men once, like you, though you can't recognize it!"

 

"Go easy on him, Dragu," said the raven-woman as she watched from a perch. "Perhaps..."

 

"He is a Northman who joined the blasted Imperials to live by their ideals!" Dragu growled. "He would never understand! He probably thinks we are beastfolk! Beastfolk!"

 

"We are now," the raven-woman answered calmly.

 

"I am no beastman!" roared the boar-man, his voice sounding all the more bestial as he raised it in anger.

 

"You have not made peace with your fate, Dragu. Be calm. Your anger is what led you here in the first place."

 

"My anger doesn't matter!" Dragu whirled on Agethar again, placing a heavy hoof on the Venator's chest - though he didn't put all his weight down, or Agethar would be crushed - and pointing a finger down into Agethar's face. "Where is your partner!? The Venators work in pairs - why are you hunting us!?"


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#15 Ambad

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 08:28 PM

“Oh, nothing special,” Kathryn replied, her focus seemingly elsewhere. And did he imagine the water grow slightly warmer? Wait... was she taking a leak in the springs? “Grew up in a nice village, ran off to a city when I was teenager, learned to hack things up. You’ve probably heard that one a dozen times, right?”

 

"Uh, yeah...often enough," he said, suspicious that her story could be so simple. People were complex, especially someone as seasoned as she appeared by her scars. He decided not to push the question, figuring if they became better acquainted she'd offer more of the story. "Sounds about right. Ah'm none too special meself, just a silly dwarf who became a travelin' negotiator with the Iron Gauntlet rather than the warrior his clan would have wanted..."

 

Kathryn proceeded to pull her hands out from behind her, and ran them through her hair. Which spontaneously ignited, the locks on either side of her head vanishing in a puff of acrid smoke and a little ash.

 

“Nulgus?” she asked calmly, “I still have hair, right?”

 

"Uuuhhhaaaahhh...." he breathed in surprise, "...Uh, on the top? Yes. On the sides? Nae so much..."

 

But any further talk was interrupted by a nearby splash, followed by a smaller splash. It was a Venator and his dog, which the former berserkers reacted to quite quickly. Dragu seemed intent on hurting the man, and frankly Nulgus couldn't blame him. He did, however, want to know why the man would be at such a place as this, where he clearly did not have any friends. The dwarf could think of no other reason than the man being a scout for an attack.

 

"Careful, Dragu!" Nulgus called, as he waded over, "He may not be alone. More than just a partner, even..."


*insert meaningless song lyrics and/or hilarious gif here*


#16 Burger Warrior

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 12:05 AM

At first, everything seemed fine. Nulgus accepted Mirkov’s apology, and they headed to the hot springs along with Dragu and Kathryn. As they began to wash themselves off, Mirkov began to unexpectedly wish he had hands… until he used his Gift to use some convenient rocks to scrub himself off. The varg looked somewhat smug as he carefully cleaned and groomed himself with comb-shaped stones that he formed with his magic. As he worked, though, he listened to the others idly. Nulgus questioned the northern woman about her past, possibly because he noticed the burn scars she bore, and got a fairly non-committal and vague answer. Which is to be expected by someone who has to keep their true identity a secret, Mirkov thought, frowning. I wish I could-

 

Her hair caught on fire.

 

She must have been trying to heat the water, or something, because the moment Kathryn’s hands emerged they combusted. Without seeming to notice, she tried brushing her hands through her hair, and naturally the stuff caught. Before Mirkov could do anything, though, the fire cut out, though Nulgus could clearly see it. Thankfully, he seemed to take it better than Mirkov would have expected - then again, he was a dwarf, anti-magic shield or no - but before the varg could witness the rest of the dwarf’s reply, a thing tumbled into the spring. Followed by another thing.

 

Dragu pulled one of the flailing figures out of the water. It was a Venator.

 

The other shape was just a dog, who quickly backed down as several berserkers gathered. Dragu, meanwhile, began to threaten, question, and pin the Venator down. Mirkov had half a mind to come over and tear the Venator apart. While he was usually a peaceful being who tried to evade humans, being subject to what seemed to be a Venatori assault changed things drastically. He remembered every gruesome detail his mother had told him about how the ‘monster hunters’ had slaughtered her pack in a concerted attack. He wasn’t about to let the same thing happen here.

 

He was glad that even Nulgus was on his side.

 

"Careful, Dragu!" Nulgus called, as he waded over, "He may not be alone. More than just a partner, even..."

 

The varg nodded, wading out of the water. He passed close to Maugrimm, giving the dog a warning growl. Considering Mirkov’s greater stature but similar appearance to the pup, he expected the lesser quadruped to back down at that. “Indeed. I’ll go check.” He growled, reining in his sudden, growing anger. A chance to avenge his mother’s family was not one he was going to let slip… and that meant keeping his rage against the Venatori in check as he figured out how many were now waiting in ambush around them.


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#17 Dalton the Spider Suit Guy

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 05:12 PM

Loki was rolling around the streets of Valhalla with Laughter.

 

Agethar started into the hate-filled face of the Boar-Man in front of him, and the Varg looking for his non-existent partner, and wondered what he had done to deserve this. What had he done? I mean, sure, he had hunted Beastfolk and Lycanthropes before, but still...

 

"Where is your partner!? The Venators work in pairs - why are you hunting us!?"

 

"I ain't huntin' you, ye stupid oaf!" Agethar growled as he squirmed under the Bezerker's Foot "Or else I would been mare caefull an' wouldnae fallen into yon pool over there!"

 

"Careful, Dragu He may not be alone. More than just a partner, even..."

 

"I have nae partner!" the Northern Venator said "I found this place by accident! By Odin's Bear I did!"

 

Indeed. I’ll go check.

 

"Oh fer bloody-." Agethar growled and then shouted "I donnae have a partner! Ye who are half-dog or Wolf or whatever can surely sense that with ye bloody hooters?!" 

 

Maugrimm was thoroughly cowed by the Varg's show of superiority, stopped growling and put his tail between his legs. 



#18 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 09:15 AM

"I ain't huntin' you, ye stupid oaf!" Agethar growled, squirming. "Or else I would been mare caefull an' wouldnae fallen into yon pool over there!"

 

"One would imagine you'd be careful, anyway, fool," Dragu spat. "Particularly since you're a monster hunter. Didn't they teach you anything about caution in the wilderness? You stumble into this camp and then start insulting me? You must be the stupidest Venatori I've ever heard of. Did they send you forward as bait to distract us while they strike?"

 

"Careful, Dragu!" Nulgus called, as he waded over, "He may not be alone. More than just a partner, even..."

 

"I have nae partner!" the Northerner Venator said. "I found this place by accident! By Odin's Bear I did!"

 

"And we fear them?" said the raven-woman with a cold laugh. "We have no reason to fear a few silver arrows fired by petty Imperials. Perhaps all of us need to calm down."

 

"You have not seen the Venatori hunt, sister," said another raven, this one male, who landed alongside the woman. "Even the mightiest beastfolk tribes fear them."

“Indeed. I’ll go check.” Mirkov growled.

 

Mirkov then padded off to search the surrounding area for Venatori, and he was joined by the male raven-berserker, who flew overhead and kept watch over Mirkov in case any Venatori tried to ambush him. However, neither of them found any sign of more monster hunters... it seemed Agethar was indeed alone.

"Oh fer bloody-." Agethar growled and then shouted. "I donnae have a partner! Ye who are half-dog or Wolf or whatever can surely sense that with ye bloody hooters?!"

 

"Allow me, Dragu," said a huge, burly man, almost as big as Dragu himself - but still very human... or so it seemed on the outside.

 

As Dragu stepped back in apparent respect, the man reached down and grabbed Agethar's throat, hauling him clean off his feet. The man's face was scarred, his entire head was bald, and his actually rather handsome face was remarkably clean-shaven. But his Northern blood was all too apparent in his almost inhuman stature, his enormous muscles, and his strong features. That, and half his entire body was covered in horrible burn scars. His cold blue eyes glared into Agethar's as he gave a twisted smile.

 

"Half dog, am I?" said the former wolf berserker, his voice deep as thunder and with a strong far Northern accent. "Tell me, little man... which one of us here smells like dog?"

 

The berserkers all laughed.

 

"Now... would you like to call me a 'dog' one more time before I snap your neck like a tiny little twig?"

 

"Enough, Zoran!" shouted another voice, one that made all the other berserkers part and allow their leader to pass through. The huge, bald berserker turned his head to regard him - but he didn't put Agethar down.

 

Nick Wolfe looked among the three berserkers nearest to Agethar: the raven woman, Zoran, and Dragu. "What's going on here?" he demanded - but his eyes caught the gleam of the silver brooch on Agethar's cloak.

 

"This puny, pathetic little man," said Zoran, nodding toward Agethar, "insulted Dragu and called us dogs. He is a fool monster hunter whose order clearly threw him out for his stupidity."

 

"Indeed," snorted Dragu. "He and his whimpering mutt fell into the camp. Brynja said we shouldn't treat him so harshly, but he started throwing insults like an insolent whelp! He says he has no partner, though he is a Venator. Why he is this far North from his precious Empire, the traitor, I have no idea."

 

"I see," said Wolfe, stroking his blonde beard. He turned to Dragu and said, "Remove all his weapons. Then, Zoran, set him down."

 

The berserkers nodded. Dragu stepped forward and very roughly jerked all of Agethar's weapons from his person, tossing them aside in a pile watched over by Brynja, the raven-woman. Dragu also pulled off Agethar's cloak with its silver brooch, throwing it aside as well.

 

Zoran then let Agethar drop in a heap. The huge, shirtless Zoran stayed close while Nick approached, but he didn't offer Agethar a hand up. Instead, he pointedly put his hands on his hips and narrowed his green eyes.

 

"Let me explain our situation, monster hunter," said Nick. "I have no wish to kill you and anger the Venatori, as our goals are one and the same. But if you're this far north, they may not know the difference. Insult me and my kin again, and I'll have your head on a pike. Understood?"

 

Allowing a pause, Nick went on, "Now, if you're alone and you supposedly fell into our camp by accident, then tell me: what're you doing this far into Northrim wilderness? We're far from the jurisdiction of the Achaean Empire."

 

Meanwhile, Dragu snorted and turned his back on them, stomping back towards the hot springs. "If you kill him, Wolfe," he called back, "please let me watch."


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#19 Burger Warrior

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:16 AM

He was alone.

 

Mirkov didn’t understand why as he padded back toward the fount, and where Agethar was. Venatori always traveled in pairs; or, in the case of a raid like this, in larger groups. But here was a lonely yet well-armed monster-hunter far north of the Empire where his kind typically stayed. Could he have been thrown out of his order, and if so, for what reasons? And, whether or not that was the case, why was he here?

 

"Let me explain our situation, monster hunter," said Nick. "I have no wish to kill you and anger the Venatori, as our goals are one and the same. But if you're this far north, they may not know the difference. Insult me and my kin again, and I'll have your head on a pike. Understood?"

 

Allowing a pause, Nick went on, "Now, if you're alone and you supposedly fell into our camp by accident, then tell me: what're you doing this far into Northrim wilderness? We're far from the jurisdiction of the Achaean Empire."

 

“He is alone.” Mirkov confirmed, eyeing Agethar distrustfully. “And… as much as I hate to admit it, he seemed to fall in by accident. Otherwise we might’ve had more trouble subduing him…” He added, almost under his breath.


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#20 Sareth

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 11:23 AM

"You are either new or you're one of the Men who helped bring Gunnarr into our midst."

 

"The latter" Ærik replied to the ram-man, matching his grin. "I'm Ærik" he introduced himself.

 

"Care for some food? We have mead, as well - straight from Endibraut. Thank the gods we aren't without allies in society that can sneak us some good drinks."

 

"Much obliged" he replied, taking a seat by the fire. "I haven't eaten since... uh, yesterday" he continued, his stomach choosing that moment to once more complain about that fact. So, he drew his boot-knife and leaned forwards a cut a slice from the cooking meat.

 

However, just as he was about to take a bite of the delectable-smelling venison, the rush of wings caught his ears, and years of conditioned reflexes made him sweep his other hand up over his shoulder; There was a brief brush of feathers and sharp little talons against his fingers and a very peeved-sounding 'caw', and then Skygge —thwarted in his goal to land on Ærik's shoulder and grab at the meat in his hand— glided to the ground a few feet away. The raven proceeded to hop about in a most comical aggrieved manner —making little false charges towards him, and cawing angrily.

 

"Oh, no you don't" he said, casting a little glare at the bird. But, as he once more attempted to take a bite of the meat, Skygge once more launched himself towards it, forcing him to wave the raven off once more. "Hey! No. We've talked about this: people food is for people —if there is anything, you can have what's left over" he said, addressing the impertinent bird in the way a stern parent might address a misbehaving child. "If not, you can go forage for yourself —you're a wild animal for Gods' sakes, where's your sense of dignity?"

 

Never breaking eye-contact with the raven, he took a bite of the meat, grinning smugly at the bird —who, for its part, adopted a 'forlorn' posture, as if trying to guilt him into giving up some of his food. For some reason, attacking the spit over the fire directly never seemed to occur to Skygge —or maybe it was just his food the bird wanted. He took another bite of the meat, which was just as delicious as it had smelled, never letting his gaze stray from the raven lest it try again.

 

Apparently deciding that its guilt-tripping attempt wasn't working, the bird changed tactics once more. "Hey! Food" came the words from Skygge's black beak —the raven picking and choosing words from his previous statements to mimic. "Hey! Food" came the words again a few seconds later. Ærik felt a strong desire to bury his face in his hands; wherever he was, Loki must be laughing his ass off right now.

 

During all this, he seemed to have completely forgotten that he was amongst company, to whom the sight of a man having a mostly-one-sided argument with a bird might or might not seem rather strange....


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

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