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  #76  
Unread 24th of June, 2002, 18:42
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' I have been told that there is town to the North, should be one or two days from here. Dont know of any fallen Paladins though, what are they?' Asks Maeko, curious.

After a short pause she adds "I came here on quest for my monastery: Phoenix Song Nunnery on Jade Mountain, far to the East. Holy relic has been stolen, I must recover it.
Thieves were foreigners I followed them till a few days ago, then lost them."
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Unread 24th of June, 2002, 21:56
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She barely hears Cadrius as he asks what she sees, but that question resonates in her skull as the apparition advances relentlessly.

What do you see?

She stands, transfixed, as the putrid corpse lumbers forward. It's stench is nearly overwhelming and somewhere the thought comes to her that this is her doing. Without her, the dwarf would yet live. Perhaps he would be here in her place, travelling with these two men who cared enough to investigate his death.

This is my doing.

Perhaps a more worthy companion than herself. For a moment, the corpse wavered and she saw the dwarf as he was in life: the thick hair, the knotted muscle, the intense vitality. Yes, he was raw, elemental, almost pure. Almost. He had killed Lorrus, her mentor, friend, partner. Lorrus, the only true friend she'd had, and killed over pinching a few coins. Killed almost as casually as one would swat a fly, that great axe licking out like a lizard's tongue to swallow his soul.

What do you see?

And he had loved her; she'd never known until he gasped it out with the last of his life. Now they were both dead, and she was still alive. For how long? It looked like the dwarf was ready for some vengeance of his own.

This is my doing

She suddenly remembers Cadrius and his battle with the unseen. Could it be that there was nothing in front of her? It was almost within reach now and she could see the horrid evidence of her own blade, the oozing fluids from decomposition, the writhing nest of maggots feeding. So real that she was gagging on the stench.

What do you see?

The axe draws back and she lets her guard drop. The muffled squawking is louder now, as if the dwarf is cursing her despite his slit throat.

If I am wrong it is no less than I deserve.

The axe swings down and she stands motionless as it passes through her without harming her at all. The dwarf's head tilts back and the slit in his throat widens to a chasm. His severed head drops to the ground, his body still standing. The stump of the throat bulges obscenely and Shade watches, trasfixed. Something is struggling from the crusted blood and ooze, as if being birthed from the ruined flesh.

An enormous raven struggles free, blue black beneath a haze of slime and maggots. Shrieking, it launches forward and Shade ducks despite her resolve. The beast soars past Cadrius, it's claws raking his cheek as it disappears into the wood.
  #78  
Unread 24th of June, 2002, 23:29
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Laz looks at Maeko for a long while, untill the point where she starts to worry. With a sudden cry he leaps to his feet, once again, alomst into the fire.

"Theives, Quest, Holy Relic?" he crys, his face shining. "Your on an adventure. And i'm going to join you! We will get this relic, and return it. I will gain enough glory to ask for Lilly's hand in marriage. But first we need to find that town, i really need a bath"
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  #79  
Unread 25th of June, 2002, 00:18
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Cadrius looks around, an eddy of nervousness pools around the island of rage in the sea of agony. Shade tenses again and Cadrius becomes more worried that she will become as violent as he had been. He prays that she would not, the last thing he wanted to do was fight his only companion.

Suddenly she relaxes, her muscles are no longer tensed. He sighs in relief and his hand strays away from the hilt of his sword. Perhaps she was merely reliving a less physical nightmare, like his second one.

He glances around, making certain that there is no danger and then looks back at Shade. He pauses a moment as his eyes light upon her. Something is nagging at his consciousness, something insistent. He tries to grasp it but cannot, it slips away effortlessly yet it immediately worms its way back begging to be let in. He takes a couple steps closer and continues looking at her. The intangible thought still burns at the back of his mind, wanting to be heard but unwilling to be touched.

Then he realizes it. The way that she stands, he has seen it before. It was a different place and time, but there was no mistaking the upright posture, the defiant look on her face, it was the stance of someone resigned to their fate but who would not repent. He had seen it etched on the faces of men who were about to be hung in the gallows. Shade was about to be executed.

He shakes his head, unable to comprehend what sort of memory this was. Clearly she could not have been killed before, or could she? No, she lives and breathes just like Cadrius does. Perhaps the woods do more than summon up the spectres of the past, perhaps they bring forth inner fears. It did not matter, he would not lose her to a phantom executioner.

He takes the last steps separating the two and attempts to touch her arm, to bring her back. Where they were was not ideal, but it likely beat facing down a man with a black mask and a large axe.

Just as his fingers close around her arm she ducks down. There is an unearthly shriek as some sort of black being, a bird, claws its way across his face and disappears into the darkness. Cadrius falls back a step and cries out in surprise, his hand going to his sword even though he knows it to be futile. The bird is long gone, only its haunting caw echoes throughout the woods.

He stands for a moment, transfixed by the event. He then looks down at Shade, lines of worry and concern upon his face. The same feeling is reflected in his eyes, but the anger still simmers in the background, ready to be called forth if necessary. He kneels down to her position and looks around before quietly asking, "What was that?"

His mind races for a moment, the bird seemed familiar. Hadn't Shade mentioned seeing a bird at some point? While they were in the orchard? Perhaps, but was it the same one? He certainly didn't want it to be. Then again, the prospect of having numerous ravens that size inhabiting the land wasn't very appealing either.

He looks down at the mud and almost as an afterthought he reaches up to his cheek where the bird had clawed him. It was hot to the touch and blood runs from the three scarlet lines left by the bird's passing.

He removes his hand and looks down at it a moment examining the blood upon it. He looks up again as if to say something, but the words catch in his throat. His blue eyes widen in surprise and horror. He reaches out and clutches her forearm with his other hand, still unable to say anything. He reaches forward and points behind her, the blood streaking down his finger.

If it still had a head, one might say it was laying face down. Unfortunately what lays in the mud seems to be missing that particular piece. It is a corpse, a maggot eaten dwarven corpse. Slime and something unidentifiable but very black oozes out from the neck.

"Let us go," he whispers hoarsely.
  #80  
Unread 25th of June, 2002, 00:46
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Originally posted by itches

"Theives, Quest, Holy Relic?" he crays, his face shining. "Your on an adventure. And i'm going to join you!!!. We will get this relic, and return it. I will gain enough glory to ask for Lilly's hand in marriage. But first we need to find that town, i really need a bath" [/b]
" Adventure? Yes, I think you can call it so" for a moment Maeko seems melancolic, almost lost in thought, then she comes back to the here and now.
" Do not misunderstand me, those people are dangerous and determined, I would not like to put you in danger; but if you really want to help me, I am deeply grateful".
She bows the best she can, vowing to herself she will do her best to protect Itches.
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Unread 25th of June, 2002, 02:08
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Itches is still standing when Maeko rises and bows. Looking slightly startled at it the action he returns it, only to de=discover that his shoes are smoking from their proximity to the campfire.

Giving a now familiar squeak, the half elf leaps into the nearest mud puddle, putting out his shows, but once again, wetting his feet. Maeko struggles to hold back a chuckle at the Half-Human as he looks miserably at his feet. Itches shrugs off the occurrence and returns his attention to The Bald One.

"Milady, my honour dictates that I warn you now. I do this not, for you, not for the relic, nor for myself. I will do this act for love. A Love so strong, that nothing can break it. Strong enough to survive the forced separation of its participants, who shall one day meet again, and will be wed."


Giving another bow, this one bearing no resemblance to his previous one, for it is graceful, and flawless in its execution. His voice likewise has shifted from the slightly higher pitched tone that usually issues from his mouth; to a lower more controlled one. His eye have born a similar transformation, less spectacular but not less important. From his eyes issues a strength that almost makes Maeko step back. Wondering whom this stranger really is, she tries to find words, but can’t seem to under the light of those eyes. Everting her eyes to the campfire, there is another long and silent moment, during which Maeko 's thoughts run ramped, from the relic she is after, to her home, left far behind.

"Now if you could please help, I could use some help, as I appear to be sinking."

The voice that Itches usually adopts cuts through her contemplation of the flames, and she looks up. Eyes widening in shock she witnesses, itches, still standing in the mud puddle, but now up to his knees, sinking steadily lower as the moment pass.

"HEELLLLPPP"!!!!!!!!!!! Comes the cry from itches lips. A cry that echoes through out the forest, all the way to other figures. One a Tall man and a shorter woman, both with a look of horror on their faces.
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  #82  
Unread 25th of June, 2002, 03:45
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Forcing herself to move, Maeko comes as near as she dares to the qicksand patch, quickly she unties her sash and throws it to Itches.
At her second try he is able to catch it and hold on.
Maeko struggles, but his weight and the suction of the quicksand are too much for her, she can do little more than slow Itches' descent.

" Do not struggle" She gasps out " one can float in quicksand, like water...", It is true, she knows, she also hopes it will buy time for somebody to heed Hitches' scream for help.
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  #83  
Unread 26th of June, 2002, 22:10
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Her head is whirling with confusion. First among her thoughts is that she is still alive, followed closely by the knowledge that it really didn't matter. She'd hunted the dwarf hoping to find some comfort in his death and she'd found none. She'd faced his ghost hoping to slay the guilt he'd left behind or be slain in return; both were alive and well.

The impossibility of the entire sequence was muted by the blood running down the cheek of Cadrius. What was he saying? She tries to focus and becomes dimly aware of his hand on her arm. She pulls it free and feels a stab of pain at the wounded look that flickers in his eyes. The bird. He was asking about the bird.

"I'm not sure, but it was there just before you found me. It is connected to the visions in this place, though whether it is merely a harbinger or directly responsible I cannot guess."


She sees his eyes go wide and focus on a spot behind her. She spins gracefully, still crouched, and the twin swords go wide putting herself between the danger and Cadrius. In his present condition, though, the dwarf presents no danger. Her shoulders sag as she looks on the wrecked corpse. Her eyes are bleak and she glances briefly at Cadrius, for some reason feeling as though she has betrayed him.

"There is more to it than what you saw, I-"

She breaks off as a faint call for help echoes through the wood. She turns her head to isolate the direction, then glances at Cadrius before gazing once more on the corpse. She had thought to at least bury the body before they moved on, but it looked as though even that atonement would be denied. With another look at Cadrius she hardens her resolve and begins jogging in the direction of the shout.
  #84  
Unread 26th of June, 2002, 23:52
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Cadrius sighs and slowly comes to his feet. The momentary shock of seeing the dwarf's corpse laying in the mud had passed. He had seen worse before, although not much. He feels as if his body is merely floating along, as if in a dream, while his mind attacks the problem at hand.

The fact that the corpse had appeared seemed grimly appropriate. But what had happened? Was that the vision that Shade had faced down? Cadrius suspects so, but the reason eludes him. Was an assassin like her capable of carrying guilt? Did she feel remorse for each life that she took? Or was she an assassin at all? Perhaps the dwarf had wronger her somehow and she took vengence. Had she ever explained her reasoning? He could not remember.

Yet why had he seen it? Could it be that he also felt responsible for the dwarf's death? Yes, he does yet it all seems so long ago. He wonders how long they had been in the forest, it felt like years.

A light slowly dawns upon his mind. She had held herself ready to be punished, to be executed. If she had seen the dwarf, then the pain must still follow her. Cadrius remembers every man he has killed and he knows that taking another's life weighs heavily upon the killer. He felt the weight of each of them bearing down upon his soul. The more innocent the victim the greater the weight he felt. He wonders how much Shade carries on her shoulders. He looks back at her, a glimmer of sadness in his eyes, but for once it is not for his own woes. He knows much of guilt and pain and he understands its destructive nature. Clearly they were not as different as he thought.

She speaks a moment, a rushed almost apologetic response to his silent pointing. Then he hears it, as does she, a cry for help. Despite the cry he is temporarily relieved, at least it was something that they both had heard.

He runs to catch up to her and says, "Be careful, this may be another trap."

They run for several minutes, weaving around mud and through the trees. All that can be heard is their breath and their steps as they move as quickly as possible through the twisted forest. Again they hear a cry for help, closer now, to the right. Cadrius picks up his pace as he makes a direct line from where he thinks the sound is coming from.

At last they come around a bend and see the source of the commotion. A man, or rather the neck and head of a man can be seen sticking out of some mud. His hands breach the surface and seem to be clinging to a very muddy piece of clothing. At the other end of it is a bald woman.

Had the man not been in danger of drowning Cadrius would have stopped and marveled at the oddness of the situation. However as there was little time he rushes forward to the bald woman's side.

Quicksand! He had heard of it, but had little dealings with the deadly substance. On closer inspection she appears to be holding onto a sash.

He attempts to get a grip upon it, but the woman is already on the end of it. If he were to approach any closer he would be in danger of falling in himself.

"Hold on tight," he says to the both of them, urgency dominating his voice before muttering, "and pardon my action, lady," before wrapping his arms around her waist and heaving backward with all of his might.
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Unread 27th of June, 2002, 02:35
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I'm going to Die

I can feel it below me. Sucking me down. Lower. Lower. Oh god I’m going to Die.

"HEEEELLLP""

Screaming. I can’t die now. I can’t die now. I cant Lie here and do nothing.

"Do not struggle"

Fight it!! Fight it itches with every last bit of strength. You can make it. Almost there.

Sinking. Sinking. Pull on the rope. Get out. You’re Pulling Her in!! No she will let go!! Hurry, tug harder. Before she lets go.

I'm going to Die

Lower. Lower. Past my waist. Up to My Arms. Getting to my head. Fiery Tears bursts forth. A Sob

" I don’t want to die. Save me. Please"

He Heard my call. He came to save me. A Hero. Bursting forth, with the sun at his back. My Hero has come.

"Save me"

Lower. Lower. Lower no more. Up and out. With an in human pull born of a Hero's strength, I rise out. Re-born. Reborn is his presence. My Hero. My Saviour.

Mud clinging to me. I land at his feel. Embrace his legs. Fiery tears.

"You saved me"

fiery tears, and a coming blackness.

My Hero saved me

Sinking. Safe under his gaze. Darkness consumes.

Itches Faints.
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Last edited by itches; 27th of June, 2002 at 02:41.
  #86  
Unread 27th of June, 2002, 03:44
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Shade bursts into the clearing and witnesses a bizarre spectacle. An exotic bald woman is heaving desparately on a brightly colored sash; the man on the other end is floundering (and rapidly sinking) in a small patch of quicksand. Several options pass through her mind but before she can implement them Cadrius has saved the day, politely apologizing for his intrusion.

Ever the polite one.

She can't help but smile as the three go down unceremoniously in a heap. These two seemed real enough. Her eyes narrow as she glances around the clearing. It didn't seem nearly as twisted or dark as the wood through which they had been travelling. Something else was oddly different as well, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

She reaches down and offers a hand to the bald woman and the mud covered one, who are both pinning poor Cadrius to the ground. As they stand she eyes them warily; not figments of her imagination but possible enemies nevertheless.

"Greetings, I am Shade and your hero there is named Cadrius."

She nods in his direction, noting the bright green of leaves at his back. Her pupils widen slightly as she realizes what is different: the light has returned to normal, the blue haze is lifted.
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Unread 27th of June, 2002, 04:58
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Blessed be Lord Botahara! Just when Maeko thought she was going to lose her grip on the sash, a huge man, followed by a woman, bursted out of the trees.
“ Hold on tight!” he urged, then, muttering something she did not quite catch, he got hold of her and started pulling.
For a moment nothing happened, then she felt something give way ‘ Dear lord, let it not be the sash!’, then, with a sucking sound, she saw Itches come out of the mud a split second before landing
all in a heap. She felt a hand grasp her, the woman helped her on her feet with an amused smile, it becomed her, although she did not seem one who smiled much.
the stranger introduced herself and her companion, Maeko bowed deeply before going near the young half-elf. ‘Young… he must be my age, more or less’.
Terribly shaken, her companion was barely coherent, sobbing, babbling words of thanks and embracing the strangers’ legs, then he fainted again.
Maeko dampened a piece of cloth and, kneeling near him started to delicately wash his face from the mud.

“ I thank you both, if not for you, my companion would have perished. I am in your debt”. As she said these words she felt a shiver in her spine, the unsettling certainty that this debt would have deep, serious consequences on her life.
The man and woman, both, seemed surprised by her appearance and demeanor, nothing new to her in this land. She appreciated their restraint, but some questions needed to be answered.
“ If I may inquire,” asked Maeko, “ where are we? And how come that you were here, able to help us in the cut of time?”
From their faces that wasn’t the correct colloquialism.

“ …Nick…” moans Itches, coming to. Who is he calling? A friend?

“ It’s ‘in the nick of time’, lady” he murmurs.
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Unread 29th of June, 2002, 17:23
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Getting a hold of himself, Itches gets up and looks around at the two new members of his friends..

"Well i too would like to thank you for your timely arrivel."

Looking down at his body, now totaly covered with mud up to his neck.

"I dont supose you know of a place near by that i can go clean up in??. I am badly in need a bath, and a change of clothes."

Looking doen at his mud encrusted nails.

"And i dont want to think what my manacrusit(i cant spell) will say when i get back"
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  #89  
Unread 30th of June, 2002, 12:04
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Cadrius grunts as the air is knocked out of him. He had not counted on having both of them land upon him. As Shade makes the introductions the man clears his throat and says, "Right."

Coming slowly to his feet he notices that the one he saved is still clinging to his calves, mumbling about Cadrius being his hero. Cadrius rolls his eyes at the mention and helps the man stand.

"On your feet sir," he says pulling him up.

The bald woman inquires as to their location. Cadrius merely shrugs and says, "Your guess is likely as good as our's."

At the mention of a bath Cadrius turns to the man and says, "Well, we did see a stream a little while back," but he does not finish the sentence as he notices Shade's sudden glare. Perhaps sending the man to the foul creek would not be a good idea.

He catches Shade's eye and tries to read her impression of the two before them. They seemed harmless enough, but the man was still wary of them.

"I only ask one thing in return for saving your life, introduce yourselves. I would enjoy knowing the names of those that I aided."
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Unread 30th of June, 2002, 14:44
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Itches straightens as the conversation begins to grow, the last horror from his near death experience.

Vainly attempting to fix himself up so he looks distinguished he stands in a dramatic pose. One leg forward, the other slightly bent, his right hand drawn to his chest and the left one extended out to the heavens.

"I am Itches. I am on a mission to find adventure so that I can return home and seek the love of my life -Lilly- hand in marriage. I happened to come across my Bald headed friend here, and as luck would have it she is also out on an adventure."

Dropping his voice and changing his stance, leaning in this time as if disclosing some great secret, itches is too engrossed in his won performance to notice to glances that Cadirius, and Shade at throwing at each other.

And I saved him!! came Cadirus's thought as Itches resumed his tirade.

"She is out searching for a holy relic that has been lost, and I am going to find her help it. I mean help her find it. I don’t remember what relic it was, but Maeko knows it. "

Looking up and finding Maeko not attending his story, itches glances around the camp fire and sees her standing on the other side gazing out into the now fast growing gloom, as day sets.
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  #91  
Unread 1st of July, 2002, 22:29
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Shade's lips compress to a thin line as Cadrius suggests heading back to that dark stream. Truly, the man's sense of humor was as rusty as his smile. However, she can't help but be amused with the account Itches gives of himself and Maeko.

Out for adventure and hoping to wed the love of his life! This one is very naive to be running about looking for trouble. The world has bitter lessons to remedy such fantasies.

She catches Cadrius looking her way and gives a barely perceptible shrug, a small crease appearing between her brows. They seemed to be no more than what they appeared. The other dangers they had faced had all been immediately apparent - the ill force of the wood had thus far been direct. Besides, if they were what they claimed to be they would need some looking after.

"Well, I wouldn't count on a bath anytime soon. Cadrius and I have just come from some danger, and I'd prefer to put a little distance between us and it before full dark."

The wood definitely seemed more normal and her feelings of dread had dampened considerably. She had a feeling that they wouldn't find the stream if they went looking for it - this seemed like an altogether different forest - but she didn't want to find out. There was something naggingly familiar about this place, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

"Would you two care to join us? I'd hate to leave you in possible danger, and four will make a stronger group than two."
  #92  
Unread 1st of July, 2002, 23:08
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Cadrius gives a slight not as Shade makes her barely noticible judgement. The two did seem harmless enough albiet very strange. The woman seemed dressed like a nun and the man like a lord. How they wound up out here was beyond Cadrius. At the mention of the man's name Cadrius shoots another glance at Shade, this time with one eyebrow raised in disbelief, as if he wasn't sure he had heard the name properly.

The mentioning of wedding his love brings a sad smile to Cadrius' face. The memories of what transpired while in the forest washes back over him, yet this time there is no threat of drowning. There is a subtle difference about the man that only Shade could notice for it one that had been lacking before, a will to live.

"I am honored to meet you," he says as he bows, remembering to be courteous. Absent-mindedly he brushes the mud and leaves from his armor. He shivers a bit, the mud had chilled him more than he had realized.

He nods as Shade extends the offer, it would be good to have them along although there was still something odd about the both of them. But he will not give his doubts a second thought as he is overwhelmed with relief to be free of the haunted forest.

"Shall we go then? We can make camp in an hour, provided that the two of you are fit for travel."
  #93  
Unread 1st of July, 2002, 23:25
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Feeling somebody's eyes on her, Maeko turns back to the others, shaking away the memories of her last day at Phoenix's Song and how peaceful Jade Mountain had looked, that dawn, months ago.

What is, is. She reminds herself. And no amount of whishing can bring spilled tea back in the bowl.

She hears the woman's offer as if she had been expecting it, the proposal strenghtening her feeling that their fates have come together in this wood, strands being vowen into a single rope.

She bows to them again: " I, Maeko of Phoenix's song" Really? Have I the right to that name anymore? " thank you and accept".
She glances to Itches, reassured to see him on his feet, if a bit unsteady, " I believe we both can manage to travel that far".
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Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 00:14
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Itches looks disappointed when he is informed that he won’t be having a bath anytime soon. His disposition decreases even more as the others talk of moving on this night. Shivering slightly and still wet he looks at the fire and gives a loud sigh.

"That’s what adventures are I suppose, travelling from place to place, righting wrongs, and singing songs, all the while trying not to set fire to our selves [Band of Bumbling Bards PLUG!! PLUG!! PLUG!!]

"Still it would be nice if adventures would come to you, it would make it all a lot easier, but off we go. "

Shivering, Itches picks up his backpack and lingers by the fire, vainly trying to dry off.

"Hang on a minute, I just had a thought!" he says, brightening considerably. "If all 4 of us are going out on an adventure, doesn’t that make us an adventure group?!. We really are going to be famous then. But we needs a name to call our selves."
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Last edited by itches; 2nd of July, 2002 at 03:06.
  #95  
Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 00:46
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She can't help but smile as Itches chatters on, but her smile fades as he wishes adventure would find them. She unconcsiously glances over at Cadrius, the recent events that they had shared all too fresh in her mind. Her thoughts darken as she thought once more of the dwarf's corpse, lying who knew where now.

Be afraid of what you wish for, lest you are granted that wish.

Her eyes linger a moment on Cadrius; he seemed different somehow, more alive than before. Perhaps he had managed to put some of his pain behind him. Shade wraps her cloak tighter about her body and looks away, wishing she could do the same. She suddenly wonders what he was doing in that wood to begin with; had he come looking for her?

"A name? If you must, you may think while we walk but I say there are better things to be worrying about right now."

She snaps the words off brusquely with more heat than she intended. She spins on her heel and stalks off without saying another word, not bothering to see if the others follow.
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Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 01:16
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Cadrius glances at Shade as the man known as "Itches" wishes for adventure to seek them out. He had found that "adventure," frequently going by the name of "trouble," never had difficulty finding him. Moreover, it wasn't exciting or glamorous despite what the bards might sing.

Adventuring was much like being a soldier in an army: you slept in the mud, fought despite pain, and had to trust your comrades with your life. It was a cold and bitter endeavour and usually it led to an early end.

Yet there are times where the companionship and the sense of purpose, the feeling that one has a goal and one is driving toward it one sword swing at a time can be very satisfying. So he does not rebuke Itches for acting like a fool when suggesting an adventuring name. He smiles slightly, a facial expression he is not used to, and Shade reprimands Itches for him.

His smile widens a bit more despite Itches' crestfallen face. Itches was still young and unjaded by the world, and Cadrius respects that sort of purity. The smile falters as he realizes that sooner or later this mud-soaked innocent must come to realize the nature of the world. Because of his sorrow for what must eventually come to pass Cadrius says gruffly, but gently, "Come lad, we have a little way to travel before we can rest."

With that he sets off quickly to catch up with Shade.

Last edited by Cadrius; 2nd of July, 2002 at 02:56.
  #97  
Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 02:02
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Maeko listens to the exchange without commenting, Shade's change in mood surprises her slightly, although the woman's eyes seems troubled, and her worry probably has very little to do with the mud-covered youngster.
Cadrius' face is open and revealing, it's almost like he saw a part of himself in Itches, a long lost one.
As he turns too, Maeko moves to follow, ready to steady her muddy companion should he need it.
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Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 02:38
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Feeling the high inside of him turn into a small depression itches trudges off after the rest of the group. After a few minutes of trudging through this half gloom, the rest of the group hears him murmuring. Maeko, who is walking next to him leans in to hear what he is saying and is slightly amused by what she hears. Coming from Itches are a stream on what sounds like group names.

"The Fantastic Four . . no . . Magnificent Seven . . .no . . . Fredo Frog and The Tadpoles . . .no . . . "

Looking up and seeing Maeko smiling at him he asks, loud enough for the rest of the company to hear.

"What do you think of the Fellowship of Mud?"
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Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 03:30
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Cadrius, while mildly annoyed with Itches, still has to supress a smile at the suggestion for a group name. At the moment it would be a very fitting title. He makes a mental note to give his arms and armor a thorough cleaning once they find a suitable spot. Yet there is a touch of mirth in his eyes and he tries to share it with Shade despite her scowl.

By first impressions alone Itches seemed to be a fool, pure and simple. Yet he was an innocent fool, and one in love to boot. Because of those characteristics Cadrius found himself pitying the poor fellow. Life was not easy for a lovestruck fool, and it would likely become much more difficult before he would see his beloved again. So out of guilt and remorse over his own life Cadrius finds himself becoming more amiable. Or rather, he is more amiable with them than he is with a pack of rampaging ogres.

They walk in silence for a time and the ground has begun to dry as they walk up a gentle incline. Before they were on the verge of a swamp, but now they seem to near a temperate forest. Some hardy shrubs can be seen, surviving despite the nearness of winter. What was simply open ground slowly evolves into a rough game trail.

As the day's fading rays caress and glint off of the metal that they carry the four come across a great pine tree. Cadrius reaches in and brushes some of the branches to reveal a rather large area beneath the tree. He turns to Shade to consult her thoughts on the potential campsite.

"This might not be a bad place to stop for the evening. We could build a fire and still have some cover from these branches. What do you say?"

He unslings his backpack and rubs his arm. The mud coupled with the rather cold weather had sunk a chill into his bones and he longed for a fire to sit by.
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Unread 2nd of July, 2002, 04:17
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Shade glides throught the forest, silent despite her anger, her breath steaming in the cooling air. There might well be frost tonight, if she were any judge of weather. Her eyes are like chips of granite, and she finds that she is warm despite the chill. She returns Cadrius's mirthful gaze with a hot glare of her own.

This is no joke.

By the time they come to an unspoken halt at the top of a steep rise she is breathing heavily, finally feeling the weight of the day's activity. Her anger has cooled somewhat, leaving her once again uncomfortably aware of the frigid breeze. A fire would be a welcome diversion.

She takes stock of the others: she knows well what Cadrius has been through, and he seems as tired as she. Probably more so; he'd kept up despite her relentless pace and the weight of that ridiculously loud armor he insisted on wearing. Itches looked ready to collapse into a semi-dry muddy heap while Maeko didn't even seem to be breathing heavily.

"Yes, this seems to be the best spot we are likely to find. At least we command the high ground."

Her anger is gone, leaving only ashes, and her voice sounds distant. She scans a full circle around them, though anything could be hiding in the thickening gloom.

"I'm going to scout around just to be certain there isn't anything unusual nearby. See that you stay together until I return."
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