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  #26  
Unread 5th of October, 2004, 04:13
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Shade's mouth twitches slightly at the implication that she isn't fit for guard duty but she holds her tongue. The fight with the giant and the subsequent scamble to the Citadel had taken a toll on her. She wasn't about to admit any weakness to anyone but she decides to avoid fighting over it now.

"I think that I trust him no more than I do one of those stinking wizards. Cadogan should have come with us."
  #27  
Unread 5th of October, 2004, 09:30
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"I do not like it," he says, folding his arms over his chest, "I intend to take my watch with Ben. That would leave you and Blarth for the other two. You, at the least, have enough suspicion to keep a watchful eye on Ben should he rise. Blarth...Blarth is too trusting."

Yet Cadrius cedes the bard's other point; the lack of a member from the citadel is disturbing. True, they were given some direction, but the least one would expect an apprentice to accompany them if for no other reason than to verify their success. Cadrius doesn't like the sound of this either.

"It is either too dangerous to risk their own...or they wish us to fail and die in the process."

He pauses for a moment and casts a gaze at Shade, "I am beginning to regret accepting this task."
  #28  
Unread 5th of October, 2004, 22:53
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Shade frowns.

"If they wanted us dead they could have done it at the Citadel. I think they want us to succeed. Or at least, Cadogan does. But there is something else going on, I just don't know what."

She shakes her head then rests a hand lightly on a sword hilt. Her eyes find Nicos.

"You take the second watch. I'll pull the last one with Blarth. That gives me a good unbroken sleep and it will give me some peace of mind, which is what I need."
  #29  
Unread 8th of October, 2004, 03:14
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Nodding at the plan, Nicos doesn't appear completely pleased with the plan, but he doesn't raise any further objections.

"Okay, then first watch is mine. Cadrius, I'll wake you before I wake Ben, in case you don't want him to know that you're awake."

Taking a look around at what little of the unremarkable terrain is visible in the starlight; the bard nods again and takes a step backwards.

"We'll Ill head back to camp and leave you two at it, don't stay out here too long or there would be little point in me taking first watch."

With out another word, Nicos turns and walks swiftly towards camp.
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  #30  
Unread 11th of October, 2004, 23:51
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Shade swallows the acid rejoinder that automatically perched on the tip of her tongue. She was fairly sure that the bard enjoyed her discomfiture and like with so many other things, she wasn't about to give him what he wanted. Her eyes stay on Cadrius, wondering if he really meant what he said or if it even mattered. She had a feeling that it didn't, and that even if he thought continuing was the worst idea ever spawned in heaven or hell he still wouldn't change his mind about it.

And I am beginning to regret ever going to the Citadel.

All for Cadogan, who's only thanks had been to send them on a dangerous quest and keep them in the dark. Cadogan hadn't seemed like that. Shade would have thought the blind man would have put himself in danger before his comrades. Maybe his bond with wizards was greater than his bond with them.

"Loyalty is a very damning mistress, isn't she? All manner of foolishness is performed for her; vows broken, morals cast aside . . . people killed. All for something so nebulous as her favor. It is the very best quality to have in someone else, and one of the very worst qualities to possess yourself."
  #31  
Unread 15th of October, 2004, 09:06
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Cadrius does what he does best when faced with Shade's acrid tongue: he frowns. It isn't quite an open scowl, no, but it might as well be for the dour man. Part of him ruefully acknowledges her words, hearing the truth and pragmatism in them. The other part, the smaller part, rails against it with every fiber. Outwardly he looks displeased by her remarks, inside he's a maelstrom of conflicting emotions.

"Right."

It's neither an acknowledgment nor a condemnation. In fact it's the only word he can think to use. He swallows hard and nods in the vague direction of their camp.

"We should return before Blarth comes looking for us."

Not waiting for a response, Cadrius cuts back through the dark, torch in hand, and toward the remnants of the fire. It's burned a little lower now with dinner over. The fallen paladin shivers a little; it'll be cold tonight. Ben sleeps, or looks to be, and Blarth is prodding the fire with a stick. Cadrius smiles and takes a seat next to the coals.

"It is going to get colder."
  #32  
Unread 15th of October, 2004, 21:52
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Her eyes ride above the horizon of her veil like silvery twin moons, shining in the reflected light of the torch. His obvious anger stabs her deeply, twisting painfully in the coiled mass of her emotions before it is burningly yanked out. Before she can sort out the reasons he is on his way back toward camp, the light from the torch quickly leaving her in darkness. Shade's head bows, slim hands press her forehead then run through her short black hair.

* * *

Shade saunters into camp a minute or two after Cadrius and unobtrusively settles down, as far from the others as the little ring of stones allows. Positioning her back to a rock and her feet toward the fire, she adjusts the heavy silk cloak to trap the heat. Beneath this canopy, she unbuckles her weapons and removes her boots. Resting her head on her pack she settles onto her side, one unscabbarded blade hidden beneath the makeshift pillow. She listens surreptiously to the sounds of her companions at the fire, her face turned away from them. Her clear grey eyes remain open for a long while.
  #33  
Unread 19th of October, 2004, 05:13
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The night passed slowly. The watches were long, cold, boring and the speculation of betrayal turned out to have been for naught.

Nicos spent his watch looking up at the clear sky's stars, thinking about the past, and making circles of the camp to ensure nothing was creeping up in the dark.

The others did similar things and it such it was when the sun finally rose above the horizon, bathing the lands in light and the promise that a new day holds.

Breakfast was quickly eaten, as the party shook off the last remnants of sleep. Kicking the fire out, packing up their gear, and settling into a marching order, they set out for the day's march before the sun has been up for more then an hour.
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Last edited by itches; 19th of October, 2004 at 05:27.
  #34  
Unread 19th of October, 2004, 06:48
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A night under the stars will do wonders for a body and the excess energy from being cooped up inside the citadel that Blarth had yesterday is gone. Today he sticks close to the group, letting Shade pull her regular scouting duties.

In fact, Blarth spends most of the morning hanging at the back of the group and looking over his shoulder. Unable to shake the feeling that he is being watched, Blarth keeps looking for the person doing the watching but can't seem to find them. Who ever is watching always seems to be dancing in his periphrial vision, but whenever Blarth turns to look, nothing is there. Unsure whether to believe his own gut, Blarth keeps quiet, merely stoping to look periodically before turning back to catch up with the others.
  #35  
Unread 20th of October, 2004, 22:43
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The sun is bright but even as the morning passes the air remains cold. The waste around them seems desolate, but Shade notes the fingers of life that scrabble for purchase despite the harsh conditions. The cold, stark land mirrors the emotions that fill her this morning.

As is her wont she scouts ahead, as much to keep an eye out for trouble as to familiarize herself with the land and it's inhabitants. It also grants her time alone, which is probably for the best. By the time midday rolls around, she is less volatile, feeling merely grim rather than angry. She calls a halt and breaks out some rations for lunch, taking a swallow of water and surveying the land ahead from a small rise.
  #36  
Unread 23rd of October, 2004, 16:34
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Ben had never been talkative, even during his days with the company. The time inbetween then and the present had made it so he was even less of a conversationalist. Besides, he seldom talked during travel, choosing instead to conserve his energy for the march ahead and anything that might happen requiring and instand response, such as an ambush.

That woman was in the lead now, with the half-orc, Blarth, back among the rest of them today. What was her name again? It had something do with darkness, Shadow or something like that. The half-orc had not spoken at all last night during their conversation.

Ben snorted at that thought. Conversation. Right, interrogation was a more accurate description of the talking done last night. He doubted they trusted him, and why should they?. No one else did, not even himself, so they had little reason too. But they hadn't left him sleeping at the camp that morning either, so maybe he was just being paranoid. Or they just needed another strong arm in this little quest of theirs. The latter was more likely, but the former was still a possibility.

Shadow woman called a halt to their little precession. Ben ate some of the rations in his own pack, taking a swig from his waterskin before sitting down for a brief rest. He wasn't tired, not nearly, but that didn't mean it would do him any good to go ahead and tire himself out.

Shadow moved onto a small hill nearby, and Ben decided to let her be. Of the whole lot, Ben figured from those cool grey eyes that she trusted him the least. Ben instead looked over at the other three members of the group, wondering why they had been at the Citadel. He looked down at his feet, his mind lost in thought as he mechanically ate his meager rations.

Then a gust of wind blew past, carrying on it something that caught Ben's attention. He raised his head suddenly, alert awareness taking over, straining his ears to identify what it was that he had heard.

Throughout his years of training with Rocky and the others, he had lost interest with most of the skills he had learned as a street urchin, forgeting most of them over time. But Rocky had stressed that a warrior was always aware of his surroundings, that the best method available to humans to learn everything one could about events happening around yourself was simply to listen to those events.

So Ben had kept his hearing in practice, learning to analyze noises seperatly from each other, like he had as a child making sure no one followed him down the alleyway or to a certain secret hideaway. So it was now that he removed the noise of the wind rushing past his ear and heard...something that was out of place.

"Did anyone else hear that," Ben asked as he stood and looked around the group's impromptu resting spot, trying to find what had caused the noise. He couldn't tell what or where it had come from, but it had been carried on the breeze so it could be several dozen yards away or just a few feet away from him. But it had been something that alerted him, there was no doubt about that in Ben's mind.
  #37  
Unread 26th of October, 2004, 06:46
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His senses already on the alert because of the strange feeling he's been having all morning, Blarth hears clearly what Ben only catches a glimmer of: the sound of a small scree shifting under the weight of someone (or something) crossing it.

Nodding in answer to Ben's question, Blarth picks up a small stone and throws it at the ground near Shade. When she practically glares at him, Blarth merely points to his ear and then in the general direction of the sound.
  #38  
Unread 27th of October, 2004, 12:09
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At Ben's question, the Bard dropped the tune he had been humming to an almost inaudible level and glanced around searching for whatever had alerted the man, Nicos failed to see or hear anything hiding nearby not that this fact came as surprising, the one-armed-man had never been partially adapt in the wild.

His hand drifting towards the dagger on his belt, Nicos waited; content to let his companions take the initiative.
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  #39  
Unread 30th of October, 2004, 05:00
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She is looking without really seeing, mulling over the possibilities that the next few days will bring. Shade could tell Ben wasn't comfortable around them, the way he kept to himself, the way he looked at them. That was fine with her. Better he be wary, especially of her, then for him to think they were all as dense as Blarth.

A small stone skitters at her feet, tossed from the direction of the others. Her steel grey eyes sluice toward them, promising pain for someone. That someone happens to be Blarth, and as he points off to his left she freezes, much as most of the rest of the group seems to have done. After only a heartbeat she hears it: an unsteady crunching, as of someone lurching uphill across the loose earth. Moving as silently as an owl in flight, she makes her way across the small hill so she can peer down through the scree. What she sees sends adrenalaine ringing through her wiry frame.

The thing is tall, half again as tall as Cadrius, with gaunt limbs and huge clawed hands. Its shuffling gait is unsteady, but it is clearly moving towards their camp with purpose. She moves quickly to the others, her voice a harsh whisper.

"Troll, and it's coming for us."
  #40  
Unread 30th of October, 2004, 05:56
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Grimacing at the mention of a troll, Blarth regrets that they had elected to have a cold lunch.

There had been a gang of trolls in the mountians near his village as a child. Every family had the responsibility to always keep a fire burning in case of attack. He could still remember the time when he had let the fire go out. It had been one of his first overnight vigils to keep the fire burning alone. Rebellious to an extreme, he had ignored his father's advice to rest during the day and had fallen asleep during the night. When his father woke him in the morning there had been hell to pay for letting the fire die. It would be almost a year before he was trusted again to maintain the fire by himself.

Shaking his head clear of the memory, Blarth casts about for some wood, maybe there was still time... but no, the sounds of the approaching troll were no longer a faint whisper. There was no time to gather wood and light a fire. Loosing his club from his belt, Blarth prepares to face the troll the hard way.
  #41  
Unread 2nd of November, 2004, 02:48
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When he heard the word 'Troll', Nicos' mind immediately summoned up the tales he had heard of such creatures. All of the tales held one thing in common; trolls were exceedingly hard to kill.

As the bard opened his mouth to suggest abandoning the camp before the beast arrived, the troll burst forth through the shrubbery that had hidden its approach. Its beady eyes peered at the gathered companions, as if deciding contemptuously which one it would slay first. A growl rose from deep in its chest, removing beyond a shadow of a doubt whether it intended to attack or flee.

Taking advantage of the momentary lull before combat, Nicos' hand grasped the haft of the dagger on his belt, with a speed and surety that only comes from experience, drew it and sent it spinning toward the towering monster. The dagger buried itself in the troll's belly, but the creature merely grunted and pulled the offending weapon out, casting it aside as if it were merely an annoying twig. The wound the blade created had already started to knit close.

"Ah crap."
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Last edited by itches; 2nd of November, 2004 at 07:09.
  #42  
Unread 7th of November, 2004, 07:12
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Trolls. He'd learned something about them as a page, and later a squire, but any knowledge of tactics has fled his mind. His cheeks flush with heat as his body anticipates the fight. The bastard sword rings as it's freed from its prison on his back. Cadrius readies his shield and hopes that the smith in Karkas knew was he was doing. The long nails and fangs of the troll could rend flesh as easily as any knife.

Nicos reacts quickly, hurling a blade into the troll's midsection. On a normal man it would be a serious, if not mortal, wound, but the troll pulls the dagger out as easily as a Cadrius would a thorn. The blood flows but a few seconds before staunching. By the time Cadrius moves, the wound has closed. The fallen paladin sidesteps his way so that he's between the troll and his companions.

"Come on, then," he calls to the beast, waving his sword ever so slightly. It offers a toothy grimace, but Cadrius figures it must pass for a grin in the troll world.
  #43  
Unread 10th of November, 2004, 15:18
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Troll. Ben frowned at the word, recognizing it but not really able to attribute it to anything about the creature. He did remember something about nasty claws but nothing else came to mind.

Still, Ben didn't think it had come to share lunch with them. Well, maybe it did, but that was hardly comforting when Ben pictured what was on the menu. Quick as the blink of an eye, Ben reached down to his side and grabbing the hilt of his sword. Giving a quick jerk, the leather strap holding it to his belt snapped open and the sword was in his hand. But even as he grabbed his sword, his other hand reached behind him for his shield, which obviously wasn't there since it was on the back of his pack that was lying on the ground next to him.

Cursing himself for not grabbing it when he heard the noise, he bent down to grabb his shield just as a dagger from Nicos flew over him into the stomach of the monster. Grabbing the handle for the shield, Ben pulled it off his pack and looked up in time to see the wound knit shut on the troll's stomach.

Realizing this wasn't going to be easy, Ben moved forward, coming up beside Cadrius just as he threw his taunt at the much larger creature. Ben swallowed, gulping down a retort concerning the wisdom of such a move along with his apprehension at facing such a being.

The awful creature grinned at the taunt. Even if it couldn't understand what it's meal was saying, the movement of his sword made it all to clear. That grin, full of teeth and malice, held the scene still for a brief second, freezing everything in the minds of those present in a perfect, clear picture of the calm before the storm.

Then the creature rushed forward with its shuffling gait, letting out a growling roar before he came to the two warriors. The large and apparently ungainly beast moved deceptively fast, and Ben barely had time to duck behind his shield after seeing a claw heading for him. But the attack to him was a feint. He wasn't the real target.

Trolls weren't exactly known for their intelligence, but they had enough sense to recognize someone clad in a lot of armor and someone who wasn't. That didn't necessarily mean they realized that attacking them first with others around wasn't the best of moves, but the trolls claws made the point moot.

The claw Ben had thought would be heading for him rushed instead for Cadrius. The fallen paladin put his shield up just in time, blocking the apparent attack with the edge of his shield, only to see the troll's other arm come in toward his torso. He twisted to dodge the attack, but it had the opposite affect of making the damage far worse worse. Instead of simply clawing down his shoulder, the beast tore down the man's chest, even reaching his stomach.

Three long, jagged lines now appeared on Cadrius' once immaculate armor. Three long lines, only starting to turn a crimson red, now appeared on the man's chest and stomach.

[OOC: 20 points of damage to Cadrius]
  #44  
Unread 11th of November, 2004, 05:28
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Blarth moves in to take the heat off Cadrius. No one person could hope to take the heat of the trolls claws for long and Blarth wasn't about to let it aim another blow like the first in Cadrius' direction.

Lining himself up oppisite Ben, Blarth pounds the troll with his club, putting every ounce of strength in his being behind the blow. An effort which pays off in at least one way, he certianly got the troll's attention. The beast's shoulder, however, rapidly pops back into place, as the signs of the blows damage fade to mere bruises.

[OOC: 42 damage to the Troll.]
  #45  
Unread 13th of November, 2004, 06:46
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A body in motion tends to stay in motion . . .

Shade stood frozen as the troll approached, the horror something like fascination as it shrugged off wounds that should have killed it, the rubbery skin already beginning to mend. As Cadrius is struck she feels a part of herself sink in his pain, fear gripping her heart with the crushing weight of death. Blarth's staggering blow finally snaps the bonds that hold her motionless.

She rushes forward in a swirl of silk and steel, dodging the beasts long reach with reckless grace, never slowing her approach. Her first thrust is true, the blade driving deep into it's hide. The backhand she launches is intercepted as the thing twists towards her, and the sword glances off without drawing blood.

<OOC: Move to flank the beast, one hit for 14 damage.>
  #46  
Unread 17th of November, 2004, 01:46
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Seeing his companions engage the beast, Nicos sets himself to finding a permanent solution. The same tales which tell how hard it is to kill a troll, also say it is possible. Two weapons are prescribed to battle them, acid or fire.

Rushing to small patch of dead leaves, in a tiny furrow, Nicos's hands are already making arcane movements, as he softly chants something in elvish. Kneeling beside the leaves, the bard holds out his hand and begins to light a fire.
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  #47  
Unread 19th of November, 2004, 05:17
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The troll's claws, sharp as any dagger, tear into a weak spot in Cadrius's armor. Finding purchase in the chain and leather at the shoulder, they curl underneath the protective steel and rip into the fallen paladin's flesh. Cadrius emits a half-scream, half-groan, and wrenches his torso away. Battlelust is upon him, dulling the pain, but the wound still burns fiercely.

He retaliates, bringing his guard back into line and scores a minor gash on the beast's thick hide.

((OOC: 8 damage))
  #48  
Unread 19th of November, 2004, 13:30
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Ben wondered at the troll's reasons for attacking. It had never really stood a chance of defeating them, five versus one were hardly fair odds. It might have been able to get one of them, but the rest would still pummel it into a pulp. He couldn't believe the stupidity the creature had shown, attacking them by itself.

Even as the thought entered his brain though, he thrust his sword at the beast. The blade almost seemed to hum as it sliced through the air, the blade digging into the creature's chest with a hunger it felt like. As soon as he pulled the sword out though, the wound was healing. Apparently it had been enough though, for as it slid out the thing gave out a terrible moan and fell forward. The heavy body hit the ground with a loud thud, its just barely missing Ben.

He grimaced as the creature's awful smell hit him full blast. Interesting how you could ignore such things even when you were face-to-face but fighting for your life. He noted that the creature's shoulder still made some popping sounds from where that half-orc had hit it. And how the troll had spilt no blood on the ground from its wounds.

"Is it dead," Ben asked, unsure if the creature's odd regeneration would continue even though it had been subdued. He hoped it was, glancing over at Cadrius who had taken the only blow from the creature's horrible claws.
  #49  
Unread 20th of November, 2004, 01:15
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As the creature falls to the ground, Blarth continues to pound it with his club, raining blow after blow on the still form.

"Its not dead," he says between blows, "only unconcious... It can't be killed... through sheer force.... Light a fire... It needs to be burned..."
  #50  
Unread 20th of November, 2004, 01:30
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Shade dances away nimbly as the troll topples earthward, fists white on the hilts of her blades as Ben steps back. Her steely eyes rake over Nicos, the bard busily kindling exactly what the half-orc ordered. Blood pounded through her body in time with the blows from Blarth's club, the adrenalaine from the fight still surging through her.

Death

It was her only thought. She rotates, eyes like slits, scanning the surroundings for something else to fight, to kill. There is nothing. Muscles taut like a loaded crossbow, her body howls for a reason to pull the trigger. A slight tremor runs down her arm from the strain, and then she slams the blades back in their sheaths.

She spins on her heel and stalks to the top of the rise, looking for any others. As she turns back, she sees Cadrius, obviously in serious pain. Had she forgotten? For a moment, the thought stabs at her heart and then she steels it against the onslaught. She moves towards Nicos, breaking off branches as she goes.

"Go. Cadrius is hurt. I'll finish this."
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