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


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#1 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:49 PM

Caiden led everyone through tricky, rocky paths, often slipping in between crags that they were surprised he could fit in - crags they hadn't even noticed. The Venator always waited and kept everyone in sight before he kept moving.

 

Eventually, after a rather long trek, they finally approached a cave nestled away deep in the mountains. It was hard to reach, but everyone made it.

 

To the giants, he commented, "Sorry to leave you out in the cold. I never expected any giants."

 

Caiden then entered, stopping in the mouth of the cavern to turn around and regard them.

 

The cave was furnished surprisingly well for a simple cave hidden in the Jagged Edge: there were several bedrolls made of furs and other animal skins, clearly pre-prepared for them - somehow. There were also supplies lining one wall of the cave: a few kegs, some tankards of various shapes and sizes and materials, and some preserved meats. It looked like just enough food for all of them, if they ate sparingly and shared.

 

In the very far back, they saw a strange, natural passageway in the wall, and just beyond it, they could make out something in the dark.

 

"Make yourselves at home," said Caiden, nodding toward the bedrolls in the cave. "Help yourselves to anything here. Just don't go back there," he gestured with a thumb back at the narrow, ominous passage leading deeper into the cave. "Consider it my bedroom."

 

He gestured at the kegs and added, "Two of those are Dwarven ale. The third is some orcish brew that might even kill you. I don't recommend it unless you're desperate and we run out of the other.

 

"You're all welcome to stay one or two nights, depending on how much rest you need," here, he glanced at the human peasants, particularly the old lady and the woman with the baby, as well as the injured dwarf who was still holding onto life. "I'll keep watch at night. But I'm not staying longer than that. If you want the cave after I leave, you can have it."

 

As he finished, one of the human peasants - this one a young man - came forward, continually glancing at the centaur, who had also accompanied them all this way, though not without excessive difficulty and much complaining under his breath.

 

"Venator," the peasant said in a quiet voice, "do you really expect us to... sleep in the same cave as these--" he glanced at the centaur, and at D'naaku, "these monsters? As a Venator, I would've expected...!"

 

"As a Venator," Caiden replied coldly, and without lowering his voice to the same level, "I know those 'monsters' can hear you. And I know these beastfolk aren't your enemies. You're sharing the cave."

 

The centaur, however, gave a haughty laugh. "If I wanted to harm you, weakling, I would've trampled you back at that camp."

 

That sent the peasant into a shaking fit of pure fear, and Caiden scowled, narrowing his eye at the centaur - which quelled even the beastman's bravery. "Show some respect," ordered Caiden. "Threaten anyone, and you'll regret it. Any of you."

 

The centaur crossed his arms, his horse tail flicking. "I will not cross you after what I've seen you do, monster hunter," he growled, and though he looked like he desperately wanted to, he said nothing more.

 

Caiden fixed him with a stony glare for a moment before saying tersely, "Good."

 

With that, things began to die down a little. The humans made their way to a corner, grabbing some bedrolls and preparing to rest, as the centaur went to the opposite corner and settled down, looking far more tired than he had behaved. Meanwhile, the dwarves also picked their own corner - though they were far closer to the humans than the beastman, who stayed alone. One dwarf fetched some tankards of Dwarven ale for himself and his companions, but otherwise they seemed little interested in mingling.

 

Caiden made his way toward the back of the cave, standing near the passage leading to what he had described as being his personal quarters. He just stood there, arms crossed, watching everyone. It looked like he considered once or twice approaching someone and speaking, but then he thought better of it.


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#2 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:56 PM

Beneath them, Alden attempted to attack the giant's ankle, but the jotunn's armor deflected him completely. Sigmar set to work freeing Hallvard from his chains, which was quite a noisy affair and drew the black-bearded giant's attention...

But before the giant could react, Katja suddenly caught his axe on her hammer, twisting it free of his grip. The massive weapon sailed through the air and crashed into a nearby orc building that, luckily, wasn't the watchtower the other prisoners had hidden in.

Thor’s beard!,” Sigmar exclaimed as he paused only briefly from his task.  Whatever these apparently friendly giants were playing at, this one certainly meant business.  He was still curious as to their motives, but decided not to look the gift beetle in the mandibles for now.

Sigmar finished freeing Hallvard of his chains, but now, everyone was reluctant to move...

"We don't have long," he said, nodding back in the direction of Vragi's corpse fluids still seeping into the breeding pit. "Anyone who's coming with me, let's move. I'm gonna take the other prisoners someplace they can safely rest for the night."

 

A good plan, and anyone with sense should follow it, with haste! The gods have warned me that somethin’ worse than orcs and giants lurks in these mountains.  We’d best be off!,” Sigmar called as he gathered his belongings, not even bothering to don his armor but instead stacking on his arms whatever he could not fit in his pack, figuring he could fully re-equip himself once they’d reached safety.

 

Hallvard glanced between Alden and Sigmar. “...I-I wouldn’t mind.” He offered weakly, finally speaking in a tongue they could all understand. He did catch Alden’s eye and try to silently ask what he wanted. “...I-I do owe you, master dwarf.” He added, turning his attention to Sigmar and giving him a slight nod.

 

 Barely glancing up at the lanky, skittish excuse for a giant, Sigmar rumbled, “That’s what ah said, isn’t it?”  Scooping the last small bits of his armor into his upturned helmet, the dwarf took special care to clean and kiss his holy amulet, the axe of Forseti cast in precious deepgold, before placing the chain around his neck.  “Come on, we’ve still got people ta get to safety.  We can take care of small talk and recompense later, lofty one.”

 

---

 

Sigmar stayed near his fellow dwarves during their flight through the crags and crevices.  The mysterious Venator’s knowledge of the land was uncanny, and the warrior-priest could not help but be impressed.  Yet the sense of a demonic presence had never left his mind, and the dwarf inadvertently continued to look over his shoulder, hoping to pinpoint the source of the danger.

 

While their host got those who could fit into the cave situated, Sigmar led the efforts to get Geirr somewhere he could safely continue his struggle to survive.  The surly priest muttered to the wounded dwarf, “Still not ready to take that valkyrie’s hand, Geirr?  Alright, lemme see about keeping you in the realm of the living, then, gods willing.”  The mention of real dwarven ale only momentarily distracted Sigmar, as he clutched his holy symbol in one hand while lightly pressing the other over Geirr’s wound, chanting prayers to the Aesir and healing incantations.  It would take a while for any effects to show on the wounded dwarf, but he had lasted this long despite Sigmar’s earlier diagnosis, and now he could completely focus his mind on healing this soldier, still bravely and stubbornly clinging to life like a good dwarf.  Unlike Sigmar himself.


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#3 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 07:35 PM

 "I've been in the Edge for a while now: this camp was next in my path. I'm surprised to see you around here, Agethar... Thought you were still working back in the Empire."

 

“Aye, I was,” Agethar said cheerfully, blissfully unaware of the fact that Caiden had apparently eaten his own shoulder “but I got sent up here on an assignment, but I got captured. If it weren’t for ye, me blood would be creatin’ some kind o’-”

 

Suddenly, a terrible sound not too far off caught everyone's attention - it sounded like a wail coming from the breeding pit.

 

"We can talk later," Caiden said, giving Agethar a nod. "There's shelter not far off."

 

“Aye,” Agethar said, striding back to the pile of possessions to retrieve the rest of his gear “I wouldnae want tae run into that wailin’ beastie on a dark night.”

 

After retrieving his things, the Northern Venator put his fingers in his mouth and let out a piercing whistle.

 

Soon, Maugrimm, his Bloodhound companion, came bounding through the Camp to join up with the group on their trip to whatever shelter Caiden was guiding them too.

 

---

 

Agethar stood inside the cave, marveling at what Caiden had been able to do for himself in his time in the Jagged Edge.

 

He was about to walk over to the Venator and continue his conversation with him, when he noticed that he was close to the two mages, particularly the Khemetian Sorceress. He chose instead to apologize to her for his foolishness earlier, making his way through the mob of peasants till he was close.

 

“I’m sorry about earlier,” Agethar said sheepishly “I honestly thought I could free ye both from those beat’n helmets. It was pure stupidity ta think I could break Void Iron Shackles.”

 

---

 

Bale glanced coolly around the cave.

 

It was not the worse place he had been in, considering the fact that he had spent half of his life living in ruined castles and houses, but that didn’t mean he had to like it.

 

As the idiotic Venator that had tried to free him and the Sorceress earlier made his way towards them, the Mage Assassin made his way to the other Venator.

 

When he was close to him, he asked him something that he was curious about:

 

“Unless that…loud Venator was mistaken, you are Caiden Voros, are you not?”

 

After the Venator gave his answer, the Mage Assassin continued.

 

“I’ve heard about you. You’ve suffered a great deal of grief – and caused a great deal of grief, might I add -  at the hands of mages in the past, especially during the…invasion of your hometown.”

 

“So why free me and the girl?”

 

---

 

Maugrimm, left to his own business by his well meaning but clumsy master, decided to wander the cave.

 

This, naturally, bothered several people, including the Beastfolk who had come with them.



#4 Sareth

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:56 PM

Nefer looked around as the black-bearded giant and his remaining orcs fled—yet another giant, this one a red-haired female, having confronted him on their behalf... apparently.

 

She practically rolled her eyes as the two 'good' giants offered to accompany them—utterly unconcerned, one way or the other—and headed over to the pile of gear to retrieve her things, idly wondering if things were always so unusual in the Jagged Edge.

 

Sifting her stuff out of the pile, she quickly slipped her armbands, and immediately felt a little better; it was only through them that she had been able to unsummon her familiar when the orcs caught her, and thus saved both of them the pain of his death. She hesitated a moment before putting on the rest of her gear, not wanting to get it soaked with the blood that still covered her, but she had no other way to carry it, and so slipped her armor on, securing her quiver at her left hip and her knife at her right. She could always clean it later.

 

As she turned to head over to the Venator who had released them from the cage—who was named Caiden, to judge from Agethar's overly-loud greeting—she found that the other mage who had been in the cage with her had come over.

 

"You're good. I'm surprised to encounter such a skilled mage outside of a cult or coven, especially in this place. Do you have a name?"

 

She tensed immediately—not that it would be possible to discern the difference from her typical demeanor—as the man mentioned cults, her suspicion of him increasing several-fold.

 

"Not for you" she replied brusquely.

 

"Bale Spellwinde, Psychic and Freelance Assassin. Maybe someday I'll be taking down a mark you've hired me to kill, if we ever get out of these god-forsaken mountains."

 

One of Nefer's eyebrows arched a practically-imperceptible amount, but she otherwise didn't react for a moment.

 

Thisss man talksss too much, came an irritated thought from Wadjys.

 

Indeed, she agreed. If the man—Bale—was a member of that damn cult, as she somewhat suspected, and he somehow thought he could befriend her—probably to try and catch her off guard—he was an idiot. If not, he was simply boastful, and quite possibly overconfident despite his oddly high skill with magic... which, to her way of thinking, made him an idiot. Either way...

 

"Stay away from me, or die" she said bluntly, accompanied by the hiss of an angry cobra coming from beneath her hair, where Wadjys was curled around her neck. She then turned and followed Caiden and the others out of the orcs' camp.

 

---

 

Nefer was thankful when they finally made it to the oddly well-equpped camp that Caiden had set up in a cave; her feet hurt, she was unused to walking so much, and especially over such rough terrain—Kemhet tended to be much flatter and easier on the feet... to say nothing of the fact that she typically rode anywhere that was more than a very short distance away.

 

She missed her horse. She had no idea what had become of the stallion when the orcs took her, and she had not seen him since; she feared the worst—especially as most of her travel supplies had been in the saddlebags. Well, hopefully if the animal was still alive it would find its way back to her.

 

She got herself a tankard of the dwarven ale—she had drunk it occasionally growing up, as it was a common enough trade item with the desert dwarves that lived in Kemhet, although she typically preferred more refined beverages—and took a seat in a little corner of the cave by herself, stripping off all her armor.

 

Concentrating, she summoned up of fistful of fine, powdery sand—almost like flour in its consistency—and set to cleaning herself and her armor of the caked-on giant's blood, occasionally taking sips of her ale while she worked. The gore was entirely dry by this time, and came off in flakes under the sand's scraping. She herself cleaned up fairly quickly—though there were some things, like her clothes and her hair, that would never be properly clean until she found somewhere she could really bathe; her armor took rather longer, as some of the blood had gotten in between the rings of the mail, and took quite a bit of work to get out. Finally, she summoned up a fresh handful of sand, and set about carefully cleaning her Wadjys' scales of the blood that had got on him, to the cobra's relief.

 

Her hands were sore by the time she was done—it was work she was entirely unused to. Back home, she had had servants to do such things for her... She immediately chided herself for the slightly-longing thought. Those days were forever done; she had to take care of herself now.

 

She looked up as Agethar came over.

 

“I’m sorry about earlier. I honestly thought I could free ye both from those beat’n helmets. It was pure stupidity ta think I could break Void Iron Shackles.”

 

She thought for a moment. "True" she replied simply.

 

"Still," she added after a second, "for a moment there, I, too, held out hope that you might be able to succeed... I suppose I should revise my expectations" she said, though the latter was mostly for herself, uncaring at the implied insult.

 

"Excuse me a moment" she said, as the frantically-praying—at least, she assumed that was what he was doing—dwarf caught her eye.

 

She then stood, and made her way over to where the dwarf was praying over another, injured, one. She cast a glance at the bleeding injuries. "<I could cauterize the wounds shut, if you think that might help>" she offered flatly, in near-perfect, if desert-accented, dwarven.


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

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#5 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 10:10 PM

Caiden was still standing near the passage leading deeper into the cave, though he had since started leaning his back against the wall, staring off into space. As Bale neared, however, Voros turned to regard him.

 

“Unless that…loud Venator was mistaken, you are Caiden Voros, are you not?”

The Venator nodded silently.

“I’ve heard about you. You’ve suffered a great deal of grief – and caused a great deal of grief, might I add -  at the hands of mages in the past, especially during the…invasion of your hometown. So why free me and the girl?”

 

Caiden's face remained unchanged, despite any mention of his past. When he spoke, his voice was just as disciplined and unreadable.

 

"I don't assume," the Venator answered. And clearly that lack of assumptions extended to more than just mages, considering the beastfolk in the cave. "Even if some deserve the breeding pit, that'd spawn more Chaos monsters. The world doesn't need that."


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#6 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 02:01 PM

"True, still, for a moment there, I, too, held out hope that you might be able to succeed... I suppose I should revise my expectations."

 

Agethar raised an eyebrow at that.

 

"Umm...You're welcome, I think..."

 

"Excuse me a moment."

 

The Venator nodded, and watched the Sorceress walk off towards the group of Dwarves.

 

"She's odd," he thought to himself "she reminds me of somebody I know...but who exactly...?"

 

Agethar put that out of his mind, and decided to continue his converstion with Caiden, walking past Bale as he did so.

 

The Mage Assassin shot him a frosty glance before exiting the cave. The Venator shivered.

 

"I don't like th' look o' him," Agethar remarked to Caiden, "did ye see him usin' those swords o' his? I wouldn't want tae be me if we had tae fight 'im."

 

Turning to the Venator, he said apologetically "I heard about your quest against those mages from th'...what was it...oh, the Umbra Coven. I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it: I was on an assignment at the time, and by th' time I got tae Redfield, ye all had left. Some locals told me that ye all had gone tae Artorious, but when I got there, ye had been out at sea fer a while."

 

The Venator looked somewhat guilty as he said "If I had know sooner, I would 'ave gone. I hope my help wasn't necessary."

 

---

 

"I don't assume. Even if some deserve the breeding pit, that'd spawn more Chaos monsters. The world doesn't need that."

 

Bale smiled at this - a gesture that would have unnerved most people.

 

"True," the Assassin said "though it would be interesting to see what kind of spawn my blood would create."

 

On that ominous note, he turned and moved away from Caiden, brushing past Agethar on his way out of the cave.

 

Bale stood for a moment, looking at what he could of the night sky. The Jagged Edge was quite beautiful, once you got past the numerous things that were trying to kill you.

 

He then noticed the Giants who had accompanied them to the Cave.

 

"My Apologies," Bale said, making a polite bow "I hope I did not disturb you. May I know in whose presence I am now in?"

 

A little flattery never hurt, especially if the person you were flattering could crush you flat with a single step.



#7 Burger Warrior

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 04:38 PM

As both Hallvard and Katja indicated they would follow, both noticed Caiden arched a brow. His face otherwise betrayed absolutely nothing - at least, as far as they could tell.

 

All he said was, "Alright."

 

Katja was a tad surprised, but she did her damnedest not to let it show. Hallvard, meanwhile, just offered a sheepish smile and a scratch of his neck… which resulted in one of his chains bouncing off his back. Wincing, he gave it a frown. Now I need to get this off…

 

“That’s what ah said, isn’t it?” Sigmar replied to his earlier statement, scooping the last small bits of his armor into his upturned helmet.  “Come on, we’ve still got people ta get to safety.  We can take care of small talk and recompense later, lofty one.”

 

“R-right…!” The jotunn agreed, carefully getting to his feet. Oh gods it felt good to stretch his legs, and even with the awkwardness he felt towering over everyone present, Hallvard couldn’t help but close his eyes lightly to enjoy the feeling, a sigh of relief escaping from him. Katja gave him a brief, questioning look before getting up as well, glancing around to make sure they were in the clear.

 

"There's shelter not far off." Caiden called as he got away from the recently-freed Venator, and with that, everyone followed Caiden back to the watchtower, where they found the other prisoners barricaded inside. Hallvard sheepishly hung back as they were led out, with Katja taking up the rear mostly to make sure nothing crept up on them. She didn’t really trust a bunch of dazed, brutalized prisoners to have good senses, and their rescuer was on point.

 

-----

 

Caiden led everyone through tricky, rocky paths, often slipping in between crags that they were surprised he could fit in - crags they hadn't even noticed. The Venator always waited and kept everyone in sight before he kept moving. Whenever the path grew so narrow, Hallvard hesitated, and Katja would roll her eyes as she maneuvered around with him. The giantess proved to be agile enough to keep up with the party of smaller mortals, and with her in the lead, the jotunn prisoner was able to more-or-less keep pace, as well.

 

Eventually, after a rather long trek, they finally approached a cave nestled away deep in the mountains. It was hard to reach, but everyone made it.

 

Though the cave was… well, rather disappointingly small. Not that Katja was very surprised, but Hallvard felt a tad left out. Not to mention cold. He should’ve packed more blankets...

 

Caiden’s comment brought him back to the present. "Sorry to leave you out in the cold. I never expected any giants."

 

“I-it’s fine…!” Hallvard offered quickly, and Katja just shrugged.

 

The giantess took a seat a fair distance from the cave, beginning to remove plates of her armor and check them over… and she tried to ignore the growling of her empty belly. Looks like this was where the last of her supplies were going to run out. She didn’t bother asking for more, figuring the mortals wouldn’t have much to spare. One little man couldn’t gather much food, and there were quite a few mouths to feed, now.

 

Hallvard, meanwhile, carefully got down on his stomach to peer into the cave curiously. He was a little awestruck by the little folk interacting with each other, not to mention with the furniture Caiden had amassed. All this kept him distracted from the brief tussle between men and beastmen, especially as he noticed a fair-sized, fuzzy, four-legged thing sniffing around. It seemed as curious as him, and it looked awfully fluffy…

 

...And a little tasty, too. He could hear his fellow jotunn’s hunger, and figured no one would mind a single beast missing.

 

However, as he began to try reaching for Maugrimm - the dog having finally come within easy range - one of the human prisoners emerged from the cave, too. Hallvard blinked, remembering this was the guy who made his swords float, and stuff. So… he was a mage.

 

So he could probably kill him if he got angry. Suddenly the jotunn felt sweat begin to gather at his brow.

 

"My apologies," Bale said, making a polite bow. "I hope I did not disturb you. May I know in whose presence I am now in?"

 

Hallvard blinked, stunned for a moment. “Uh…”

After seeing that other mage casually melt Vragi’s face off, he’d anticipated… well, not this. Anything but respect, really. Hallvard’s gaze flickered to Katja, and he vaguely wondered if the flattery was mostly meant for her. Not that he would consider her a looker. Not as much as that little mage lady…

 

Who could melt your face off. Don’t forget that.

 

...Yeah I don’t need to tell myself that.

 

Needless to say, a long moment of awkward silence passed before Hallvard realized he hadn’t actually replied. His cheeks flushed and he shifted awkwardly, halfway getting up as he sputtered. “S-sorry, I, uh, I…” He drifted off, his face now thoroughly reddened from his embarrassment. He finally just laid back down, partly so he could see Bale better. “...Sorry.” He mumbled. “I just… kinda… y-y’know. Wasn’t expecting that.” Hallvard offered vaguely, before hastily clearing his throat. “I-I’m Hallvard. It’s… um… a pleasure to meet you?” He added uncertainly. That was what humans said when meeting… right?

 

Where’s Alden?! I can’t talk to people! Especially little people!

 

-----

 

Katja glanced over at Hallvard and Bale, both embarrassed for her fellow jotunn and uncertain about the mage. He hadn’t killed a jotunn, himself, but Surtur alone knew what he could do besides throw swords around like javelins. She shuddered slightly as she briefly considered how he might use such abilities to kill a jotunn.

 

Slowly and very, very painfully, no doubt.

 

When Hallvard finally finished, Katja sighed and carefully removed the last of her armor plating, making a neat stack of metal the size of a house beside her. “Katja.” She offered, keeping it short and to the point. She didn’t want to show any weakness before such a being… even if, admittedly, she could crush him under a finger or toe.

 

Walking was going to be painful from now on.

 

“Who are you, mage?” She asked, tilting her head slightly as she looked the little man over. Perhaps if he was remotely on her scale, she’d find his appearance somewhat intimidating… which left her thankful she was just around tiny people, now.

 

Well, for now.


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#8 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 05:20 PM

Bale smiled. Caiden was unmoved. "True," Bale said, "though it would be interesting to see what kind of spawn my blood would create."

 

"An orc," Caiden replied, very flatly. But Bale turned away afterward, leaving without another word. Voros couldn't help but roll his eye. After that, however, Agethar approached.

 

"I don't like th' look o' him," Agethar remarked to Caiden, "did ye see him usin' those swords o' his? I wouldn't want tae be me if we had tae fight 'im."

 

"He certainly thinks he's impressive," Caiden replied, but that was all.

 

Turning to the Venator, he said apologetically "I heard about your quest against those mages from th'...what was it...oh, the Umbra Coven. I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it: I was on an assignment at the time, and by th' time I got tae Redfield, ye all had left. Some locals told me that ye all had gone tae Artorious, but when I got there, ye had been out at sea fer a while." The Venator looked somewhat guilty as he said, "If I had know sooner, I would 'ave gone. I hope my help wasn't necessary."

 

"It's alright," answered Voros. "We're lucky we could meet when none of us had other missions... We found some cultists, killed a few, and slew a demon. It's not over, but we did some good."

 

Caiden's eye flicked toward Maugrimm and he added, "You should call your dog. That giant was eying it like a snack."


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#9 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 06:47 PM

"It's alright, we're lucky we could meet when none of us had other missions... We found some cultists, killed a few, and slew a demon. It's not over, but we did some good."

 

"A Demon, eh?" Agethar said "Too bad I wasn't there. I've always wanted tae fight one of those things."

 

"You should call your dog. That giant was eying it like a snack."

 

The Venator looked over towards the entrance of the cave, and noticed Maugrimm, as well as the giant who was gazing at it the way that a cat gazes at a mouse. He whistled, and the dog bounded over.

 

"I never thought I would see a giant," Agethar said, gazing at the two as they conversed with Bale "the religion o' our people is full of 'em, but it's strange to see small ones, like those two."

 

---

 

. “S-sorry, I, uh, I…...Sorry...I just… kinda… y-y’know...Wasn’t expecting that...I-I’m Hallvard. It’s… um… a pleasure to meet you?"

 

 

"Greetings, Hallvard." Bale said simply.

 

He was amazed that such a huge being, even if he was one of the smaller kinds of giant, could be such a craven. It reminded him of one of his informants in the Umbra Coven, who, fortunately, had been recently captured the Inquisition.

 

Katja. Who are you, mage?

 

"I am Bale Spellwinde," the Mage said "I am a Telepath and Freelance-Assassin. I have recently taken to living in this mountain range, and was warmly welcomed here by Orcs serving that prophet Guldarnok."

 

He glanced briefly at craven and then back at the warrior "I've never heard of you, Hallvard, but I have heard of you, Katja, and of the trouble that you've had with your Uncle. From what I've heard of him, your Father seemed to be a kind person, and you have my condolences."

 

 

 

 



#10 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:56 PM

"A Demon, eh?" Agethar said. "Too bad I wasn't there. I've always wanted tae fight one of those things."

 

Caiden grunted. "It's not easy."

 

"I never thought I would see a giant," Agethar said, gazing at the two as they conversed with Bale after he called Maugrimm over, "the religion o' our people is full of 'em, but it's strange to see small ones, like those two."

 

Voros nodded. "I've met a few now," he replied. "I saw a Storm Jotunn from afar a few nights ago. At first, I thought it was a mountain. Makes these giants look almost like pixies do to us..." He uncrossed his arms then, briefly scratching his stomach, despite the leather armor he still wore. "Except Storm Jotnar are still bigger... Far bigger. I didn't know they ever descended to this realm."

 

After a moment, he went on, "Not that Hill Giants are easy. Last one I took down, it flooded the camp in blood." He arched a brow, glancing down at the dried blood still drenching his person. "Worse than this."

 

Maugrimm, for reasons Agethar couldn't place, seemed very uneasy as he rejoined his master. He almost didn't want to approach, and he stared at Caiden in what looked distinctly like fear.


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#11 Burger Warrior

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 02:46 AM

Hallvard shamefully noticed the two Venatori catching his eye before one of them called the dog over. Oh… I… I just wanted to pet it… He thought, though he tried to keep an ear and an eye on this Bale fellow.

 

"Greetings, Hallvard." Bale said simply in reply. That made the jotunn blush slightly. Gods dammit, I knew ‘a pleasure to meet you’ wasn’t the right phrase!

 

...However Skardisson did get the impression that the mage was awed. Somehow. Was it his impressive stature? The fact that he was talking to a giant? Who knew?

 

When Katja spoke, that brought Hallvard out of his reverie so he could hear Bale continue. "I am Bale Spellwinde," the Mage said. "I am a telekinetic and freelance assassin. I have recently taken to living in this mountain range, and was warmly welcomed here by Orcs serving that prophet Guldarnok."

 

Hallvard was slightly awed. “Y-you choose to live out here?” He asked… before pausing, going slightly paler. “A-and you speak jotnar?”

 

Bale glanced briefly at him and then back at his fellow jotunn. "I've never heard of you, Hallvard, but I have heard of you, Katja, and of the trouble that you've had with your uncle. From what I've heard of him, your father seemed to be a kind person, and you have my condolences."

 

The giant wasn’t sure whether he ought to be insulted or relieved the mage hadn’t heard of him, though he glanced with some awe at Katja at what Bale said. She had trouble? So… she was-

 

Hallvard squeaked when he saw she was going right for Bale, right there and then.

 

-----

 

“I am Bale Spellwinde," the Mage said. "I am a telekinetic and freelance assassin. I have recently taken to living in this mountain range, and was warmly welcomed here by Orcs serving that prophet Guldarnok."

 

Katja instantly was on guard. Freelance assassin who lived in the Jagged Edge? Sure, he’d been captured by the orcs… but… gods, was this some sick trap her uncle had lured her into? The giantess quickly grew paranoid, her gaze flickering to the assassin’s blades and then even to Hallvard. Albeit one glance at his perfectly innocent, awed expression banished any suspicions she had begun to form of him. He was just going to get caught in the-

 

"I've never heard of you, Hallvard, but I have heard of you, Katja, and of the trouble that you've had with your uncle. From what I've heard of him, your father seemed to be a kind person, and you have my condolences."

 

How did he…?!

 

Without a second thought, Katja suddenly lunged forward, her fingers aiming to wrap around Bale before he could move. Her grip could have been crushing. Her hands could have been stained by his blood and gore. However, the telekinetic simply found himself squeezed enough that moving his arms - not to mention his sheathed blades - would be more than a little difficult.

He would probably get the feeling the giantess could tighten her grip whenever he wanted to.

 

“How. Did. You. Know. That?” Katja hissed, bringing him close to her face so it filled his field of view. Her narrow eyes searched his face - and what little of his body was visible between her fingers - for any clue. Her mind was already putting things together, however. “A freelance, magical assassin just happens to live in the Jagged Edge of all the places in Midgard knows exactly why I’m running from my kin… before those at the camp did.” She grit her teeth. “This whole mess is a trap for me, isn’t it?!”

 

“You just give me one good reason not to just…” Her mind worked on overtime to think of something suitably threatening to a mage who could - potentially - melt her face in with a flick of his wrist. Much to her good fortune, her stomach chose the perfect time to growl like an enraged cave bear and provide some weight to her up-and-coming threat.Eat you right here and now.” Katja growled.

 

...Besides the fact squishing you is way easier and safer, anyway.

 

-----

 

Hallvard glanced nervously between her and those little folk in the cave, weighing his options. If she was going after one human, what would stop a cornered jotunn from trying to kill everyone else?

Hell, including him?!

 

Ideas raced through his head, but for the moment the jotunn was frozen in indecision.


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#12 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 12:24 PM

As Sigmar continued his chanting, he faintly heard footsteps.  Normally that would not be much of a concern given the sheer number of beings walking around, but these were getting much, much closer.  The dwarven priest wondered who was approaching, but focused on his incantations.  Then, to his surprise, her heard a female voice offer flatly in near-perfect, if desert-accented, dwarven, "<I could cauterize the wounds shut, if you think that might help>".

 

His eyes were still shut, but the sudden, unexpected offer certainly raised their brows.  Unfortunately, whoever this lady was, she had caught him mid-chant.  He did not want to lessen the effects of the healing magic, but he didn’t want to risk one of his kinswomen getting snippy with him for apparently ignoring her.  “Hel hath no fury” and all that.  Raising his index finger on the hand that held his holy symbol to acknowledge that he had heard her, Sigmar finished his prayer in a more rushed tone before winding down.

 

It only took a moment before the dwarf stopped, exhaling slowly before folding both hands over his amulet, head bowed in reverence.  Then, he said, “<Sorry to keep you waiting, sist…”  As he opened his eyes, he trailed off to realize that he had not been approached by a dwarfess, but one of those dusky humans of the Southron variety.  That explained the desert accent, though she did not look like any merchant he had ever seen.  Who had taught her the dwarvish tongue?

 

“<...I mean, madam.  Never expected a human to know our tongue so well.>” he harrumphed in slight consternation.  “<That might actually help.  The gods’ power can heal much, but it takes time, and Geirr here has lost a lot of blood already.>”

Absentmindedly scratching his head with his clean hand, he added, “< Are ye proposing to help build a fire, or were you the one who melted that giant’s face?  If the latter, I hope ye’ve been taught proper scale and control.  Most of yer kind don’t get that luxury. >”


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#13 Sareth

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 12:46 PM

Nefer's felt a tiny twinge of annoyance as the dwarf held up a finger, indicating for her to wait as he continued chanting unabated. As much as she sometimes wished certain people would ignore her, she was not used to such treatment.

 

<Sorry to keep you waiting, sist… I mean, madam. Never expected a human to know our tongue so well... That might actually help. The gods’ power can heal much, but it takes time, and Geirr here has lost a lot of blood already...>"

 

She blinked. So the dwarf was a priest. Interesting...

 

She respected the Gods, of course, but she had always wondered a bit about those who went so far as to dedicate their entire lives to them.

 

"<Are ye proposing to help build a fire, or were you the one who melted that giant’s face? If the latter, I hope ye’ve been taught proper scale and control. Most of yer kind don’t get that luxury. >”

 

In response, she made a quick, casual gesture with the first three fingers of her right hand, causing a tiny flame —not longer than a single joint of a finger— to flare into existence above her index and middle fingers. She then quashed it a moment later with another causal gesture.

 

"<Fear not. I have had the luxury>" she said; despite the deadpan nature of her tone, it would be almost impossible to miss the spiteful emphasis with which she pronounced the word 'luxury', which made it clear she considered it anything but.

 

"<So, shall I proceed before your friend loses even more blood?>" she asked flatly after a moment.

 

 


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

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#14 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 01:11 PM

"<Fear not. I have had the luxury>" she said; despite the deadpan nature of her tone, it would be almost impossible to miss the spiteful emphasis with which she pronounced the word 'luxury', which made it clear she considered it anything but.

 

"<So, shall I proceed before your friend loses even more blood?>" she asked flatly after a moment.

 

Narrowing his gaze, Sigmar decided he didn’t like this human’s tone.  Haughty and impatient, like many of her race.  Still, he could not blame them for the latter, short-lived as they were, and she was offering to help.

 

<Aye, fine, let’s get this done.>” Grabbing one of his leather gloves from his pile of arms and armor beside him, Sigmar folded it into a wad that would fit in Geirr’s mouth.  “<If yer’ still conscious, brother, bite down on this.  Ye’ll thank me later.>”  Then, the priest placed the improvised gag before holding down the dwarf’s wounded arms, in case he reacted to the impending pain.  Spasming violently tended to be less than conducive to such a process, especially if magical fire was involved.

 

He also barked in Arni, the other soldier's direction, "<Oy, Arni! Hold his legs, will ye?  The magma mage's goin' ta try and stop the bleeding.  Mind yer beard.>"


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#15 Sareth

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:28 PM

<Aye, fine, let’s get this done.>”

 

Nefer gave a terse nod in reply, and then waited a moment for the dwarves to restrain their comrade.

 

Once they had, she knelt by the injured dwarf's side, and delicately peeled away the impromptu bandages to expose his injuries. She then summoned the little flame once more; it hovered over the tips of her fingers. She then slowly drew her hand down the length of each of the dwarf's wounds, the little blue-red length of flame searing the exposed flesh as it passed, and she very deliberately began to breathe through her mouth as the stench of cooking meat filled the air, though she otherwise buried her discomfort in focusing on her work. She was, however, careful not to go too slow, lest the dwarf's flesh begin to char or burn.

 

Of course, it was, undoubtably, still horribly painful for the wounded dwarf, if he was conscious.


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

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#16 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 06:09 PM

"I've met a few now, I saw a Storm Jotunn from afar a few nights ago. At first, I thought it was a mountain. Makes these giants look almost like pixies do to us...Except Storm Jotnar are still bigger... Far bigger. I didn't know they ever descended to this realm. Not that Hill Giants are easy. Last one I took down, it flooded the camp in blood. Worse than this."

 

“I can imagine tha’,” Agethar said “we’re lucky that tha’ one fell into th’ Breedin’ Pit, or else we would ‘ave been swamped.”

 

“Though I bet that it did us more bad than good,” he added quickly “who knows what kind o’ things ‘is blood’ll make. Did you see that Orc Cheiftan? Th’ one that was the size o’ an Ogre? I wonder if that was ‘ow he was made…”

 

The Venator’s voice trailed off, as he noticed that Maugrimm was looking at Caiden the same way that most people would look at…well, anything that could seriously harm them.

 

“What’s wrong, boy,” Agethar asked, squatting so he could be on eye-level with his dog “It’s just Caiden; ye know him…!”

 

---

 

 Y-you choose to live out here? A-and you speak jotnar?

 

“Enough to get by,” Bale said “my pursuit of targets, as well as some arcane knowledge, I’ve had to learn the basics of several different languages, including-.”

 

But he never got to finish as Katja, the female giant, grabbed him and raised him up so that he was staring into her enormous eyes.

 

How. Did. You. Know. That. A freelance, magical assassin just happens to live in the Jagged Edge of all the places in Midgard knows exactly why I’m running from my kin… before those at the camp did. This whole mess is a trap for me, isn’t it?!

 

You just give me one good reason not to just...eat you right here and now.

 

 

Most people would be terrified in such situations.

 

Bale was not one of them.

 

He had faced much worse during his training, one such thing being forced to infiltrate a cult’s lair, and steal a certain book without being discovered, all the while without killing a single cultist.

 

So he replied calmly, if a bit strained, as he was gripped somewhat tightly by her:

 

“Because, don’t you think, that if your kin was setting a trap for you, they would send someone a bit…larger? I’d think that your kin would be pretty desperate if they asked a human, freelance, magical assassin who happened to be living in the Jagged Edge to kill you. If you put me down, I can explain myself better.”

 

If Katja chose to comply, Bale began his story:

 

“Before I was captured, I was on an assignment. I would tell you what it was, but its private business that stays between the customer and myself. In any case, before I left, I encountered a band of Chaos Race Soldiers, mostly orcs, who had stumbled upon my abode. After dealing with almost all of them, one of them, a goblin, gave away why they were there before I spilled his guts.”

 

“He claimed that they were searching for a giant who matched your description, who had reportedly killed her own father, and her uncle was looking to avenge him.”

 

Bale looked up at Katja and said “His story was too full of holes to be true; If you truly had killed your father, I would think that you’d have taken his place as leader of your clan, and would not be on the run from his brother, who is now conveniently the ruler. Making a deal with such scum would tarnish my reputation, no matter how questionable it was in the first place.”



#17 Burger Warrior

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 06:55 PM

Bale looked… almost disappointingly unimpressed by Katja’s threats. She went a little red in the face as he gave her a reason to reconsider harming him.

 

Though… ugh it was tempting just to spite the little man.

 

“Because, don’t you think, that if your kin was setting a trap for you, they would send someone a bit…larger? I’d think that your kin would be pretty desperate if they asked a human, freelance, magical assassin who happened to be living in the Jagged Edge to kill you. If you put me down, I can explain myself better.”

 

She gave him a hard, untrusting look, gritting her teeth… but the giantess loosened her grip noticeable, before finally setting the mage down with a small ‘hmph’. Katja noticed Hallvard loosen up a little as she did so.

 

“Before I was captured, I was on an assignment. I would tell you what it was, but its private business that stays between the customer and myself. In any case, before I left, I encountered a band of Chaos Race Soldiers, mostly orcs, who had stumbled upon my abode. After dealing with almost all of them, one of them, a goblin, gave away why they were there before I spilled his guts.”

 

The jotunn cocked an eyebrow, clearly looking reluctant to believe him. ...It’s about as unlikely as him getting hired by uncle, I suppose...

 

“He claimed that they were searching for a giant who matched your description, who had reportedly killed her own father, and her uncle was looking to avenge him.”

 

“Mh.” Was Katja’s tight-lipped reply. Bale could almost hear her teeth grind together a little. That damned…!

 

Bale looked up at Katja and said “His story was too full of holes to be true; If you truly had killed your father, I would think that you’d have taken his place as leader of your clan, and would not be on the run from his brother, who is now conveniently the ruler. Making a deal with such scum would tarnish my reputation, no matter how questionable it was in the first place.”

 

She would’ve snorted derisively at that last comment, but she was more than a little distracted by her renewed hatred of her uncle and his pathetic actions. The giantess’s fist clenched and unclenched for a few moments as she tried to let it out without crushing Bale or scaring Hallvard further. Katja finally closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm down.

 

“...I see.” She eventually said, her attention returning to Bale. “...I’ll be frank, your story’s more than a little flimsy,” Katja added with a threatening edge to her tone, “...but you’re right. Even uncle wouldn’t hire a human.” The jotunn agreed with his earlier excuse, finally sitting up and rubbing her face.

 

After a long moment, she moved to get to her feet. “I’m gonna… go find something to eat.” The giantess decided, glancing at Hallvard - who quickly avoided her gaze with a bout of innocent whistling - and then at Bale. “...Do you want to come?”

-----

 

With things finally settling down outside, Hallvard let out a small sigh of relief as he peered back into the cave. His eyes briefly glanced over the Venatori and their dog - he gave them a small, apologetic smile, though he had the feeling they’d have some reason to not forgive him - before settling on the dwarves and the human now helping them cared for a wounded of their number. Skardisson frowned slightly, scooting a little closer to try seeing better, before he realized the human was the mage from earlier - as startlingly attractive as she was incredibly deadly. And she was burning up a wounded dwarf’s wounds like it was nothing.

 

Wincing as the stench reached his own nose, Hallvard briefly averted his gaze… but curiosity in both the woman and a more grotesque sort in her work brought his attention back as he helplessly watched the operation.


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#18 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 07:33 PM

Geirr was only semiconscious as Sigmar blessed his wound, but Arni gave a nod and grunted something in thanks, watching grimly. He listened in silence as Sigmar and Nefer spoke, not commenting as he deferred to Sigmar's judgment regarding the wound.

 

When Sigmar gave Geirr something to bite down on, the dwarf accepted, though he didn't make a sound. Arni silently held down Geirr's legs as Nefer cauterized the wound with her magic - and Geirr let out a long, ragged groan, squirming weakly, but the dwarves easily restrained him.

 

Nefer finished quickly enough, but Geirr had fallen unconscious. Still, he was breathing, if pale as death itself.

 

Arni sighed and scratched his head. "<Thank ye - both o' ye,>" he said, bowing his head slightly to Sigmar and Nefer in turn. He withheld no courtesy from Nefer, even if she was a human - he had seen her do more than enough things now to earn his respect.

 

Glancing one more time at the unconscious Geirr, Arni offered both Sigmar and Nefer a tankard of Dwarven ale. "<Got this from the supplies over there,>" he grunted. "<Looks like people aren't drinkin' it quite as fast as that Venator expected. It's plenty fer all o' ya.>" He nodded toward his companion and added, "<I'll watch over 'im now... Not much more we can do.>"

 

---

 

“I can imagine tha’,” Agethar said “we’re lucky that tha’ one fell into th’ Breedin’ Pit, or else we would ‘ave been swamped. Though I bet that it did us more bad than good,” he added quickly “who knows what kind o’ things ‘is blood’ll make. Did you see that Orc Cheiftan? Th’ one that was the size o’ an Ogre? I wonder if that was ‘ow he was made…”

 

"Not sure," Caiden replied. "I wish we understood those breeding pits better than we do..."

 

He glanced at Maugrimm as Agethar's attention slipped to the dog instead. Voros said nothing, though he did set his jaw as Agethar spoke to the dog.

“What’s wrong, boy,” Agethar asked, squatting so he could be on eye-level with his dog. “It’s just Caiden; ye know him…!”

 

But Maugrimm was having none of it. He just stared at Agethar for a moment before he looked at Caiden and let out a small whimper, backing away behind Agethar as if for cover, starting to quiver in fear. If anything, Agethar was surprised the dog wasn't reacting with hostility, if he was sensing danger. Instead, whatever he sensed was scaring the sense out of him.

 

Caiden's expression betrayed nothing, though he did arch a brow. "Must be the giant's blood," he said. "I'll wash it off when I can."


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#19 Lord_Capulet

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 11:42 AM

Nefer finished quickly enough, but Geirr had fallen unconscious. Still, he was breathing, if pale as death itself.

 

Sigmar exhaled slowly, more wound up from trepidation than exertion.  Nodding at the human female, he said laconically, “<Nicely done.>”  He then laid Geirr back down before wiping his hands in some dirt from the cave floor.

 

Arni sighed and scratched his head. "<Thank ye - both o' ye,>" he said, bowing his head slightly to Sigmar and Nefer in turn. He withheld no courtesy from Nefer, even if she was a human - he had seen her do more than enough things now to earn his respect.

 

Glancing one more time at the unconscious Geirr, Arni offered both Sigmar and Nefer a tankard of Dwarven ale. "<Got this from the supplies over there,>" he grunted. "<Looks like people aren't drinkin' it quite as fast as that Venator expected. It's plenty fer all o' ya.>" He nodded toward his companion and added, "<I'll watch over 'im now... Not much more we can do.>"

 

Accepting the tankard with only a hint of visible gladness despite how elated he was inside, Sigmar intoned, “<Much obliged.  Summon me if he needs, brother.”  The dwarf priest then politely tapped his cup against Nefer’s with another quiet nod before picking up his belongings and motioning with his head deeper into the cave.  “<If ye’d like proper introductions and such, I’ll be putting me armor back on where I won’t disturb Geirr’s rest.  If not, thanks anyways.>”  

 

He honestly did not care what the woman chose, he was accustomed to being shunned and alone, only the object of brief curiosity and the occasional need, like Geirr’s.  He would thank their rescuer, ensure his people were safe, and once it appeared no one else needed him, be on his way.  It was usually safer for them, or at least less unpleasant.  Choosing a spot against a nearby wall of the cave, the warrior-priest looked at his old arming clothes, then the rags he was wearing.  After so much time, wear, and tear, the only real difference was the thickness of the material, by this point.  He sighed as he just put the old garments on over his rags.  They would offer another layer against the cold.  

 

Sigmar then proceeded to buckle and strap on his armor, the last pieces of a heritage he was forbidden to speak of and that time had long ago begun to sap from his memory. In his youth, such a ritual had been one of excitement and adrenaline.  After his exile, each piece of dwarven steel was a bittersweet memory, a piece of the home he could not return to that he clung to fiercely.  Now, it was drudgery, just another piece of his past that he would like to be rid of, yet still could not bring himself to.  He paused in buckling his cuirass and took a long quaff of the dwarven ale.  Gods, he had missed that taste.


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#20 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 05:29 PM

"Must be the giant's blood, I'll wash it off when I can."

 

"Aye, I guess so," Agethar said "though he's never reacted to blood like this before. I wonder..."

 

Fortunately, the conversation was interrupted by the growling of the Venator's stomach.

 

"Excuse me, but I need to grab somethin' tae eat. I think I'll go huntin'. It was nice catchin' but with ye!"

 

Agethar clapped the other Venator on the shoulder and moved away, retreaving his crossbow and quiver before heading out of the cave.

 

---

 

...I see...I’ll be frank, your story’s more than a little flimsy...but you’re right. Even uncle wouldn’t hire a human.

 

The Mage Assassin said nothing, as the giant might definitively squish him then.

 

I’m gonna… go find something to eat...Do you want to come?

 

Bale was about to say something, when Agethar strode out of the cave, slung an arm around his neck and boomed:

 

"Did somebody say somethin' about findin' somethin' tae eat? Well, count me an' me dog, Maugrimm, in!"

 

The Mage Assassin simply coughed out a strained "I guess I'll come along too."

 

 





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