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ZONE - Arrowfall ((OLD))


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 09:53 AM

Arrowfall was not unlike Rimegard in some respects, but on a much smaller and less grand level. The architecture was partially Imperial, but there were traces of the Northerner village that once use to lie underneath. Since walls were a necessity to an Achaean city in Northrim, Arrowfall had those - tall and sturdy - and the gates were watched by soldiers with eagle eyes ready to call out any signs of hostility from the Northmen.

 

A cool Northern wind often blew over the city, fluttering the banners bearing the city's stag emblem. Overall, the place looked rather humble: the buildings were mostly somewhat small and several looked somewhat poor, but scattered throughout the city rested several manors of rich Imperials, mostly younger sons looking to conquer themselves an area of land in Northrim and have their own small region to rule. Nearly all the buildings, however, were made of wood.

 

---

 

Approaching the open gates of the city were a trio of horses clad in black barding, each bearing an equally as black-clad rider. At the head of the group rode Galina Hatherton, a channeler, and flanking her on either side were two more Inquisitors: Benjamin Blackburn, an Ebonguard, and Durante Blackburn, also a channeler.

 

Beneath their barding, only Ben had a horse as black as all his void iron. His also carried the most equipment: two tomes in a heavy satchel, a steel sword, two canteens of water, and an item that stood out the most, a guitar. His stallion had a faceplate bearing a long horn like a unicorn.

 

Durante, on the other hand, traveled light. He had the weapons on his person, like Ben, but he had no extra armaments carried on his horse. His horse, however, had horns on either side of his faceplace, giving him a demonic appearance.

 

Neither of them lacked for showiness. And whereas Galina let gratuitous skin show, and Durante let even more skin show, Ben wore a suit of solid black armor and a hooded tabard, as if it was his second skin, completely concealing his face from view. His hood even shadowed his helmet, giving him an even more foreboding appearance.

 

Durante, on the other hand, currently wore no hood... which left his stark white hair revealed. Ben shot him a look, reaching over with a long arm - he had a vast height advantage over them all - and punched his little brother on the shoulder.

 

"Hey," he said. "Put on your hood. We'll be in Arrowfall in a second."

 

"Ah, who really cares?" said Durante, flashing him a grin. "If I put my hood up, how's anyone going to see my pretty face?"

 

"The same way they see mine," Ben said with a laugh.

 

"That's my point."

 

"Just put your hood on or you're gonna make us all regret it. We didn't come here to hear a bunch of people raise hell about you looking funny."

 

"They're just jealous."

 

Ben reached back and grabbed Durante's hood, pulling it up over his head. Durante didn't protest, at least not verbally: he smacked Ben's armored hand away and straightened the hood.

 

They had come here for one reason: rumors of a magical disturbance. The Empire wanted to strengthen the Inquisition's influence over the Northern Kingdom, and therefore the three of them had been sent to answer the call regarding some kind of supposed cult in Arrowfall. Whether or not it was true, they had to wonder - but, after all, that was why they were here: to figure out what was peasant hearsay and what was real, if anything even was.

 

"Three people ended up dead, and no one knows why," said Durante as they went. "Don't they think maybe it's just an old-fashioned plague?"

 

"One person said a dead guy came back to life and started trying to dig himself up from his grave," reminded Ben.

 

"Right..."

 

"Oho, the kid with white hair is skeptical."

 

Durante shrugged. "I'm not skeptical, and besides, you're barely even older than I am."

 

This was the sort of thing Galina had to put up with all up and down the roads, traveling with these two. Ben, always in his armor, and Durante, always fretting over having to wear a hood... and both of them constantly exchanging friendly barbs.

 

The trio entered into Arrowfall shortly thereafter, trotting their horses down the narrow streets. The sun was already setting, and Galina saw both brothers quietly looking around for the nearest sign of an inn.


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#2 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 10:12 AM

As the trio entered Arrowfall, Galina turned in her saddle to glare sternly at Ben and then Durante. "Alright, you two," she addressed the Blackburn brothers, "Pipe down. Assuming the villagers really do have a magic problem in this town, they're going to be afraid. They want to know the empire cares about them, and we're here to reinforce that in their minds. So please, let's all try to look the part and be as professional as is expected of us."

 

Galina then straightened her back so that her figure was more regal. "And for the record, I like Durante's hair. Now, what else do either of you know about these rumors?"


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#3 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 10:27 AM

"Alright, you two," Galina addressed the Blackburn brothers, "Pipe down. Assuming the villagers really do have a magic problem in this town, they're going to be afraid. They want to know the empire cares about them, and we're here to reinforce that in their minds. So please, let's all try to look the part and be as professional as is expected of us."

 

Ben cleared his throat and Durante rolled his shoulders. "Yes, ma'am," said Durante, taking up a grim stare. He and Ben exchanged glances, and she thought she heard Ben trying his best to subdue snickering from under his helmet. Durante's dark and brooding stare threatened to break.

 

Galina then straightened her back so that her figure was more regal. "And for the record, I like Durante's hair."

 

"Of course you do," said Ben. Durante snorted and managed to fight down a grin.

 

"Now, what else do either of you know about these rumors?"

 

Durante answered this time. "Not much. Just that people have been getting sick and dying a lot, and there's been rumors of undead. I almost wonder if the Templar should be here, not us. Anyway, someone claimed they saw weird flashes of light and then people turned up dead. One person said they saw a guy disappear in a flash of light, too. It always happened at night, which is any mage cult's favorite time of day."

 

"Time of night. If it's night, it isn't day."

 

"Stop being pedantic, Ben."


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#4 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 12:29 PM

Durante answered, "Not much. Just that people have been getting sick and dying a lot, and there's been rumors of undead. I almost wonder if the Templar should be here, not us. Anyway, someone claimed they saw weird flashes of light and then people turned up dead. One person said they saw a guy disappear in a flash of light, too. It always happened at night, which is any mage cult's favorite time of day."

 

Galina nodded slowly. "Of course, the witching hour," she said quietly and in an incredulous tone, but loud enough that either Ben or Durante could hear her. "So the reason we're here, at this particular village, at the edge of the empire... is because of wives' tales and rumor? That's not much to go on. Hopefully While spending the night in town we'll see or hearing something. We can speak with the townsfolk tomorrow morning and can find out if they heard any spooks in the night also. Maybe do a little digging also, find out the town history and that kind of thing. Unless either of your had a suggestion?"

 

Galina sighed and drew a pair of fingers to her right temple. "Right now, all I can really think about is a drop of strong drink and some sleep. Where's this town's bloody tavern anyway?"


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#5 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 12:35 PM

"Of course, the witching hour," she said quietly and in an incredulous tone, but loud enough that either Ben or Durante could hear her. "So the reason we're here, at this particular village, at the edge of the empire... is because of wives' tales and rumor? That's not much to go on. Hopefully While spending the night in town we'll see or hearing something. We can speak with the townsfolk tomorrow morning and can find out if they heard any spooks in the night also. Maybe do a little digging also, find out the town history and that kind of thing. Unless either of your had a suggestion?"

 

"Mostly talking to people, I think," said Durante. "Not sure the town history has anything to do with it. This place just cropped up not too long ago, after all."

 

"Maybe looking around in the slummier parts of town, too," Ben put in.

 

Durante glanced at him. "I'll let you do that part."

Galina sighed and drew a pair of fingers to her right temple. "Right now, all I can really think about is a drop of strong drink and some sleep. Where's this town's bloody tavern anyway?"

 

"Looks like it's that way," said Ben, pointing down a street to their right. The lot of them trotted their horses along, watching the streets clear out - or, at least, the decent people clear out - into their homes as night began to fall. The windows of the tavern were bright, and they could hear some chatter from within, but not much music or liveliness. Apparently the rumors of magic had fallen heavy upon the town.

 

The three Inquisitors dismounted and strode inside. Durante wasted no time ordering them some drinks, while Ben stood there and glanced around at the patrons. All of them eyed the Inquisitors with awe, suspicion, or both.

 

"This place is a real party," Ben muttered. Everything was dead silent except for a few whispers.


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#6 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 12:50 PM

Galina picked up the glass and took a whiff with her nose. It smelt a little weaker than what she was used to, but it would certainly do. She raised it to the ceiling slightly, before tipping her head back and downing the hard liquid in a flash. To you, father. Sleep well. It was her custom to toast her father's soul with her first drink of the night. Something she'd started well before she'd enlisted in the Inquisition. If only he saw me now. How far the mighty have fallen.

 

Galina ordered another drink before turning away from the bar and leaning against it casually. She swept the hood from her head, letting the long locks of her red hair fall about her shoulders.

 

"This place is a real party," Ben muttered. Everything was dead silent except for a few whispers.

 

"Well why don't you liven it up then," Galina joked and turned to him. A grin tugged at her lips. "Hi, I'm Ben, I'm an Inquisitor! I'm here to put all your worries at ease!"  She said intentionally deepening her voice, more for comedy than really in an attempt to match his. She laughed at her own joke before she downed her second drink. "Or, you could play a little. Don't you have a guitar somewhere?"


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#7 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 04:07 PM

"Well why don't you liven it up then," Galina joked and turned to him. A grin tugged at her lips. "Hi, I'm Ben, I'm an Inquisitor! I'm here to put all your worries at ease!"  She said intentionally deepening her voice, more for comedy than really in an attempt to match his. She laughed at her own joke before she downed her second drink.

 

Ben's expression was unreadable under his helmet, but he sounded rather amused as he commented, "You sound like you're about half drunk already. Somebody oughta cut you off."

 

"You don't even drink, what would you know?" said Durante.

 

"Oh, I know, trust me."

 

"Or, you could play a little. Don't you have a guitar somewhere?"

 

She didn't have to see Ben's face to know he grinned. She could practically sense it. He turned and walked right out of the inn, apparently going back to his horse, because when he came back inside he carried the guitar with him. It was made of a fine, dark wood that shone in the light of the inn's wooden chandelier. He kicked a stool over to a more convenient location and then took a seat on it, shifting around to get comfortable.

 

"You really made his night," Durante commented to Galina under his breath while Ben took off his hood and helm.

 

"Heads-up," Ben suddenly said, getting Durante's attention as he tossed Durante his helm, which his brother caught and rolled his eyes at. He shot Durante a grin before he returned his attention to the guitar.

 

Then he started to play, starting out instrumental before he began to lend his voice to it as well. He quickly had the whole tavern captivated. Durante crossed his arms and listened, though he occasionally piped in for backup vocals.

 

Quietly, he again address Galina and said, "I don't think he does happy songs. Way to lighten the mood."


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#8 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 06:07 PM

Ben's expression was unreadable under his helmet, but he sounded rather amused as he commented, "You sound like you're about half drunk already. Somebody oughta cut you off."

 

"You don't even drink, what would you know?" said Durante.

 

"Oh, I know, trust me."

 

Galina laughed. "Trust me when I tell you guys I'm a much nicer person to deal with when I'm drunk," she said. "And I'm positivity awful sober." She called for a refill which she sipped a little more slowly. If she kept drinking at this rate she'd run up quite the tab.

 

As Galina nursed her drink Ben left briefly and returned with his instrument. He settled himself on a stool with the guitar and threw his helm to Durante, who only rolled his eyes. It struck Galina funny that it was only now, in this tavern, at the edge of the empire, that she was finally able to get a good look at Ben's face. He was really rather handsome, surprisingly so for someone who seemed to do his very best to keep his face hidden. His features were strong, especially his chin, and his copper-brown eyes were captivating. Galina's cheeks warmed as she realized that she was looking him over and she quickly took another sip of her liquor. She stared at what was left in the glass and shrugged. Perhaps this stuff was stronger than she'd thought.

 

When Ben began to play, though, Galina was struck with how powerful his voice was. The lyrics of his song were laden with meaning and intent and Galina listened silently, her drink all but forgotten.

 

Durante quietly addressed Galina and said, "I don't think he does happy songs. Way to lighten the mood."

 

Galina smiled and smacked Durante's shoulder lightly with the back of her hand. "Oh stop it. I think it's beautiful!"


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#9 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 06:34 PM

Galina laughed. "Trust me when I tell you guys I'm a much nicer person to deal with when I'm drunk," she said. "And I'm positivity awful sober."

 

"I learned that on the way into town," Durante said sweetly, offering a grin.

He eyed her silently when she did the same to his brother, but he didn't comment.

Galina smiled and smacked Durante's shoulder lightly with the back of her hand at his comment on Ben's music. "Oh stop it. I think it's beautiful!"

 

"I wasn't denying that," Durante said with a smirk. "Are you sure you're even listening to the music, though?"

 

But Durante innocently sidled away before Galina could answer, letting Ben finish the song. He finished to a round of applause by rather stunned patrons who were still bewildered by an Inquisitor doing anything as ordinary and lighthearted as performing a song, no matter how dark the subject matter of said song was. Ben then got to his feet long enough to give a brief bow - he seemed used to performing - and rejoined Galina and Durante.

 

Durante was leaning with one elbow on the bar and watching him. "Good job, brother," he said..

 

"Thanks," said Ben, taking a seat and leaning forward on the bar, himself, at least as much as his guitar in the way would allow. "So what're we doing? Getting a room, or prowling around the streets at night?"


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#10 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 06:52 PM

"I wasn't denying that," Durante said with a smirk. "Are you sure you're even listening to the music, though?"

 

Galina would have responded, but Durante sidled away before she could. She wondered if he didn't want to know the answer, or was already decided he did know. Doesn't matter, She thought to herself as she placed her empty glass on the bar and pushed it towards the bartender. I haven't had nearly enough to drink for me to answer that question.

 

When Ben's little performance ended he bowed and returned to the bar, leaning against it oddly, thanks to his guitar. "So what're we doing? Getting a room, or prowling around the streets at night?" he asked.

 

Galina pulled a handful of coins from her pouch and stacked them in a single pile on the counter. "Well, I'm not the least bit tired right now," she said. "Maybe after some nightly prowling I'll be ready for bed but right now I think a walk would suite me well. Besides... maybe doing "the rounds" will ease the local community some before the long night. You guys up for it?"


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#11 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 07:08 PM

"Well, I'm not the least bit tired right now," she said. "Maybe after some nightly prowling I'll be ready for bed but right now I think a walk would suite me well. Besides... maybe doing "the rounds" will ease the local community some before the long night. You guys up for it?"

 

Ben shrugged, and Durante nodded with enthusiasm.

 

"Let's do it," said Durante.

 

"I'll put my stuff in my room and join you two in a little bit," Ben replied as he got to his feet.

 

---

 

Galina and Durante led the way out onto the streets, and Ben joined them soon thereafter. The three of them set off down the streets, with Ben carrying his helm under his arm. Durante took the liberty of removing his hood this time around - and leaving it down.

 

"Guess we keep an eye out for any 'weird flashes of light,'" Durante narrated wryly.

 

"Guess so," said Ben, looking around. The streets were all but empty. They saw a few people here and there, and most all of them fled when they approached. Ben narrowed his eyes at one, but the person fled just like all the others.

 

"I get the feeling all these guys are just scumbags, not mages," muttered Durante.

 

"Probably." Ben glanced back at the two of them. "Maybe we should split up and cover more ground. That way we'd be less obvious when we get near anyone, too."


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#12 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 07:58 PM

The streets of Arrowfall were mostly peaceful with the exception of the few people the trio came upon in the streets who quickly fled. The breeze that blew through the streets occasionally was exceptionally refreshing to Galina, who had been growing steadily warmer and less comfortable in the inn. She looked into the sky and saw the many constellations therein. She loved looking at the stars. Regrettably, most of her best opportunities arose when she was in the midst of her work. She decided she;d need to dedicate some of her next bit of 'off time' to some serious star gazing.

 

As they walked through the street Ben glanced back at the two of them. "Maybe we should split up and cover more ground. That way we'd be less obvious when we get near anyone, too."

 

Galina nodded. "Well, their are only three of us. We wouldn't be able to split up properly. Someone's going to be off on their own. I suppose we would cover more ground that way." She sighed and adjusted the strap to her quiver. "I'll go with you, Ben. Should we just all meet back at the inn when we've finished our sweep?"


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#13 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 08:05 PM

"Well, their are only three of us. We wouldn't be able to split up properly. Someone's going to be off on their own. I suppose we would cover more ground that way." She sighed and adjusted the strap to her quiver. "I'll go with you, Ben. Should we just all meet back at the inn when we've finished our sweep?"

 

Ben and Durante exchanged glances, and the latter shrugged.

 

"That sounds fine," he said, and Ben nodded in agreement. "I'll see you two back there in a little while. Have fun," Durante added with a smirk.

 

The other channeler then moved off, calm and confident as always. Ben watched him go before returning his gaze to Galina.

 

"Ladies first," he said with a smile, following beside her as they continued down the streets. She noticed him occasionally glance at her, but he seemed reluctant to start up any kind of conversation. And, most of the time, his eyes were on the streets and alleys around them. So far, they hadn't found anything interesting.


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#14 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 08:30 PM

If it was at all possible, the streets seemed even more empty with the Inquisitors small group broken up. Nothing out of the ordinary seemed to be happening at all. This hunt was proving to be terribly fruitless thus far, and Galina was beginning to wonder if their superiors had made a poor choice sending them to Arrowfall.

 

"Beautiful night, isn't it?" Galina asked. She didn't wait long before continuing though. "Whether these peoples' fears seem unfounded or not, at least the trip out here was pretty. Can't argue that the scenery made the journey worth it. It's kind of a nice little town, too." She cleared her throat and checked her daggers one by one. They all hung in their usual places.

 

"So, Ben, I'm curious, how long have you been a member of the Inquisition. I would have thought I'd have met you by now. I'm surprised I didn't know either you or Durante until we were all given this assignment." Galina kicked a pebble as they walked and it clattered as it bounced down the street.


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#15 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 08:38 PM

"Beautiful night, isn't it? Whether these peoples' fears seem unfounded or not, at least the trip out here was pretty. Can't argue that the scenery made the journey worth it. It's kind of a nice little town, too."

 

"Nice and relatively isolated," he agreed. "Sometimes I get tired of being in the Heartland."

"So, Ben, I'm curious, how long have you been a member of the Inquisition. I would have thought I'd have met you by now. I'm surprised I didn't know either you or Durante until we were all given this assignment." Galina kicked a pebble as they walked and it clattered as it bounced down the street.

 

"A good while now," said Ben. "It's kind of a family vocation. My family's been doing it for generations. I haven't been an Inquisitor for as long as some, though... I wanted to try other things, maybe do something different." He shrugged. "Didn't work out, so - just went the way of the rest of my family."


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#16 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 08:56 PM

"A good while now," said Ben. "It's kind of a family vocation. My family's been doing it for generations. I haven't been an Inquisitor for as long as some, though... I wanted to try other things, maybe do something different." He shrugged. "Didn't work out, so - just went the way of the rest of my family."

 

Galina nodded, her interest was piqued by Benjamin's mention of his past, but they hadn;t know one another long at all. She decided she would leave pressing him about his past until they'd grown more acquainted. Ben seemed like a nice buy, but Galina wanted to make sure she wasn't cramping in on him. "It's a noble cause, to be sure. I'm not at all surprised your family views the Inquisition with such high esteem. It really isn't that bad of a place to end up, if you know what I mean. Besides... it seems to suit you and Durante. If nothing else, you both look good in black!" She laughed and shrugged her shoulders. "If you decided it wasn't for you though, you could consider a musical career. You're very talented. I really liked your performance back at the inn tonight."

 

Galina smiled at Ben before turning back to the task at hand. "Jeez, it's quiet tonight. I'm not complaining, it's just as well we don't have to fight some crazy cultists. But... it's just dead out here."


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#17 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 09:09 PM

"It's a noble cause, to be sure. I'm not at all surprised your family views the Inquisition with such high esteem. It really isn't that bad of a place to end up, if you know what I mean. Besides... it seems to suit you and Durante. If nothing else, you both look good in black!" She laughed and shrugged her shoulders.

 

Ben grinned. "Thanks," he said. "Guess there's more than one reason it's my favorite color."

 

"If you decided it wasn't for you though, you could consider a musical career. You're very talented. I really liked your performance back at the inn tonight."

 

His grin faded just a little, his eyes turning somewhat reminiscent. "Yeah... that was what I tried." He gave her a brief look, forcing a smirk. "The family didn't much care for that, to go from raising eldest sons as Inquisitor Generals to raising some little upstart bard." Ben shrugged. "Thanks, though. Really. I appreciate it."

 

Galina smiled at Ben before turning back to the task at hand. "Jeez, it's quiet tonight. I'm not complaining, it's just as well we don't have to fight some crazy cultists. But... it's just dead out here."

 

Almost the same moment the words left Galina's mouth, both of them heard a shout. The two exchanged glances before they set off at a run toward the commotion.

 

Rounding a corner, they found two beggars in an alley. One lay with his back against the wall of a building, halfway curled up and with his hand clutching at his chest as he gasped raggedly for breath. His eyes were wide, bulging, and stared straight up at the night sky. His face looked drained of color.

 

The other stood several feet away, staring in horror. Galina and Ben came to a halt nearby, and the healthy peasant held up a hand in warning.

 

"Watch it!" he hissed. "He's got the plague, he does! He's cursed!"

 

"So you're just gonna stand there and watch him suffer," Ben observed flatly before he brushed past the beggar to reach the other man. He pulled off a gauntlet and felt of the man's face, frowning. "He's sick, alright, and I'm not even a healer."

 

"Get 'way from him, or you'll catch it, too! I've seen it happen!" the other beggar sputtered, wringing his hands.

 

Ben ignored him, getting back to his feet and looking at Galina - but she noticed he didn't approach her again yet, after having been so near the infected man.

 

"I'm almost afraid this guy's actually right..." Ben started, but another set of footsteps interrupted him. Durante came rushing down the street, nearly having to skid to a halt just to slow himself down.

 

"What's..." he started, but Ben cut him off.

 

"Good timing. Go get a healer. Or like five healers - I don't know."

 

Durante glanced at the ill beggar, back to Ben, to Galina, then to the other beggar, before he simply turned on his heel and ran off, bounding like the city's heraldic stag.

 

"I've never seen mages make diseases before," Ben muttered, halfway to himself. He looked back at Galina and added, "If it's contagious..."

 

"It is, sir, I've seen it!" said the other beggar.

 

"Seen what, exactly?"

 

"It's spreadin' through the streets like a fire - the disease! And them's that got it, they rise from their bloody graves!"


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#18 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 25 May 2015 - 10:04 PM

At the sound of the shout, Galina and Ben took off at a quick run. They reached the cause of the disturbance in no time: two beggars. One seemed healthy enough for a beggar, but the other was in a bad way. He looked incredibly miserable.

 

Ben Blackburn examined him briefly. Whatever the healthy beggar was spouting was true, the ill beggar had contracted some sort of plague and be the looks of itm it looked pretty bad.

 

Durante arrived to lend a hand, but lingered only briefly before Ben sent him off to find a healer. He left them as quickly as he'd come.

 

The healthy beggar said, "It's spreadin' through the streets like a fire - the disease! And them's that got it, they rise from their bloody graves!"

 

Galina looked at Ben sadly. This could very well be the work of a mage. Sicknesses weren't something usually a mage could just create, but this 'rising from the graves' business definitely sounded like a mage's devilry.

 

Galina approached the healthy beggar before addressing him. "Do you know how many have caught this plague? And after they've died and the corpses rise, where do they go then?"


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#19 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 26 May 2015 - 08:56 AM

Galina approached the healthy beggar before addressing him. "Do you know how many have caught this plague? And after they've died and the corpses rise, where do they go then?"

 

The beggar kept wringing his hands and balked to be addressed by an Inquisitor, let alone a beautiful one. "Well - um - miss - I... I dunno. I mean, I only ever seen 'em around the graveyard. They rise up an' then they leave."

 

Ben arched a brow at him. "You were just hanging around the graveyard?" he said dryly.

 

"Well, I work there, sir," the beggar said immediately. "But, uh... I ain't been doing much work there lately. I don't want to get killed by them undead."

 

Right on time again, Durante returned with several people in robes following along after him. He looked somewhat frustrated, but he didn't say anything at first. The healers gathered around the sick beggar and lifted him up.

 

"We'll take him to the temple," said one. "You'd best follow us, Inquisitors."

 

The trio took up the rear as the healers led the way back to the temple, which turned out to be a temple to Zeus. They headed straight for the house of healing attached to one side. Ben nudged Durante, who still looked disgruntled.

 

"They thought I was a demon because I have white hair," he explained flatly.

 

Ben bit his lip trying not to laugh, and he cleared his throat. "Well, they aren't too far off."

 

"Have you ever tried to explain to these priestly types that you aren't a demon? It's the worst."

 

The Inquisitors approached the house of healing. Durante kept eying the pretty temple, but Ben focused on following the healers and didn't give it so much as an interested glance.

 

When they entered the house of healing, however, a healer stopped them at the door. The others took the sick beggar inside, but an older gentleman with white hair and a matching beard stepped out of the building to speak with them. He wore a golden lightning bolt brooch on his toga.

 

"You shouldn't come inside," he said. "We have many sick in there." He crossed his arms and sighed. "Whatever this plague is, I have no doubt it's magical in nature. Dark magic. I can all but sense the evil coming off those infected... not their own evil, but the touch of something else."

 

The three Inquisitors stood listening, and Durante shifted his weight between his feet in impatience. Ben let his gaze wander elsewhere, and the healer's eyes locked onto him for several long seconds, as if outraged by the disrespect of not maintaining constant eye contact.

 

Durante cut in with, "How long has this been going on?"

 

The healer watched Ben for a few moments longer before turning to Durante and saying, "A few weeks, perhaps. So far it's only struck beggars and peasants in the streets. The rich have managed to avoid it, but I fear not for long."

 

"And after the person dies," Ben said, "they come back as an undead?"

 

The healer snorted. "That's the theory," he replied. "I'm not sure how true it is."

 

"What about these rumors of magic? Seeing flashes of light, someone teleporting around, all that stuff?"

 

"I have seen none of that," said the healer. "But from what I hear, all of it seems to occur around the graveyard."


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#20 Cutlass-Crocodile

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Posted 26 May 2015 - 10:08 AM

The trio followed the healers to the temple, but an elderly healer with a Zeus broach told them it'd be best of they didn't enter. Galina was at first put out by the priest's poor hospitality, but decided they were only looking out for her and her colleagues. Besides... the plague didn't look the least bit appealing. The affect it had on those who contracted it was positively brutal.

 

The Blackburn brothers and the old priest exchanged questions and answers for a short bit before the elderly healer finally said, "But from what I hear, all of it seems to occur around the graveyard."

 

Galina adjusted her quiver strap once again. "You've been very kind, sir." She told the old priest. Then she turned to her companions. "Well, I suppose we ought to head to the graveyard and have ourselves a look, eh? Come on, the night's still young."


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