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  #451  
Unread 7th of May, 2008, 23:16
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Aswad

Among the men of the south, patricide is one of the gravest sins. Those that are caught are stripped of their rank and status, becoming sheol, never to be given the right of horse again. Further, they are banished from Sarcosan lands upon pain of death. Aswad was never caught. The orcish battalion that swept down upon the Lion’s riders killed without mercy. Those that were not butchered on the scene were scattered to the winds, fleeing across the great open plains.

None had seen him that night. None had borne witness to the ignoble death of Osrick, Lion of the South, Scourge of the Shadow. It was only Aswad’s eyes, brimming with rage and then tears, that watched as the heavy rock rose and fell, coming away crimson. It was only Aswad’s ears that heard the sickening crunch of his father’s skull fracturing. It was only Aswad’s skin that felt the terrible rush that marked his father’s spirit spiraling out into the ether. Did his father make it to the Sorchef for the eternal heaven ride? Did he deserve it? Does Aswad?

The smell of cooked man-flesh fills his nose. It turns his stomach and yet reminds him he hasn’t had a good, hot meal since he left the south. The fell’s head snaps up, rage interrupted, and turns to face the Sarcosan kinslayer.

The staff sits in his hand, feeling as much an extension of his arm as a cavalry spear. Once upon a time, he had watched with primal glee as the spear point disappeared beneath the folds of orcish mail, sending a stream of blood spraying onto the swordgrass. There was satisfaction to be found in death, even if the world would not mourn the passing of one orc. This is one cub that is well acquainted with the hunt.

Aswad spins the staff with his hand, a flourish, and beckons the monster onward. Its mouth, a lecherous rictus, twists into a ghastly smile. Blistered skin cracks and it moves forward, full of intent.

The boy becomes a man. The cub becomes a lion.


Heulwen

The way is slow.

Cytaill does not limp, but the patches of his body where the fur was burned away are still angry and red. Through their spiritual connection Heulwen can feel his pain. His sides and haunches hurt, but the wet of the air feels good on his skin. Beneath that is an undercurrent of pride. He had saved a life.

But despite their intangible link the mind of a wogren is entirely unlike that of a halfling. There are emotions and thoughts that swirl beneath the surface that she cannot fathom. At times when Cytaill looks at her with his lucent eyes she can tell that there is part of him that is not of this world.

The Sarcosan’s trail is not hard to find. Where his feet do not blaze a path of trampled grass and dented earth his smell gives him away. The scent of rage and determination linger in the damp air. There’s something else there too; something sour. Fey. She hastens her pace. Cytaill does the same.

They pass back into the weald, the world around them darkening beneath the thick canopy.


Aswad

The fell lunches for him, its great arms sweeping through the air. Aswad displays a grace and speed that belies his ragged appearance. He pivots, ducking away from its grasp, and swings his staff in a wide arc. It hammers into the fell’s shins with a satisfying crack, but whether it was the wood or the undead bone that splintered is unknown.

It falls forward, hissing in anger as it crashes into the ground. Aswad wastes no time, swinging the staff again. There’s a dull whoosh as it rushes through the air and hammers down upon the fell’s head. The impact drive’s the creature’s face into the ground. It shoves against the ground and rolls away from Aswad. The Sarcosan follows it, continuing his frenzied assault. Yet death has not slowed the fell’s reflexes and it eludes the strike.

Aswad watches as it rises to its feet with a fluid grace. The monster’s chest shakes and hitches. It takes a moment for the realization to dawn on the Sarcosan, but it sends a chill through his veins even though the heat of battle is upon him.

It's laughing.
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  #452  
Unread 24th of May, 2008, 00:25
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Aleina

The world of spirits rests on her neck, sending chill thoughts through her living mind. This place was devoid of life yet still she felt uneasy. The slight channeler holds up a hand to halt the others and signals Aashya closer.

"As before, Aashya and I will approach and see what we may find. Stay wary, for we do not know what is near."

With that, she approaches cautiously, her pale eyes searching.
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  #453  
Unread 11th of June, 2008, 13:18
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Aswad

The two foes circle each other, step for step, searching for weakness. Aswadís dark eyes lock with the blazing fellís own. Life and death clash in the gap between them. The air is taught with the threat of violence. His breath comes both deep and quick and his blood sings with fear and exhilaration. The fellís breast moves not at all.

Aswad comes at the scorched man again, feinting at its face before sweeping the staff around low, aiming for the crook of its knee. But what worked once before does not work again. With preternatural speed it pivots as Aswad comes in and the staff slices through naught but air.

One night at the campfire with the riders of the south, Freid, the giant ugly Dorn, had gotten in his cups. He had stumbled about the camp, raging and cursing and challenging any and everyone to a duel. Aswad has stood up and attempted to calm Freid. He laid a single hand on the giantís arm, but the Dorn had been so besot with drink that he had cocked his fist and punched Aswad square in the jaw. Stars had rioted across his eyes and he collapsed in a heap much to the amusement of the rest of the riders.

When the fell punches him now, it reminds him of Freid. Its fist hammers into his side, sending jagged spears of pain shooting through him. He spins away, clutching his side and brandishing the staff.

The fell grins and advances on him.

((OOC: Aswad takes 7 VP))
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  #454  
Unread 18th of June, 2008, 14:03
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Aleina, Aashya

They approach the hovel with care, picking their way gingerly through the sodden brown leaves. Aashya’s heart beats hard enough to try and tear its way out of her breast. Aleina’s does not flicker. Her fear manifests in a different way. Where Aashya’s blood sings with the fire to live, Aleina’s fear works in placid conjunction with her mind. The terror does not rule her; it sharpens her; it grants her clarity.

The hut is in disrepair. Half of roof has caved in from a thick fallen branch and with the gaping door way and empty windows it bears entirely too much resemblance to a crushed skull for Aashya’s liking. Aleina observes it with a cool detachment, glancing upward at the tree to spot the jagged nub where the branch had once lived. Her cerulean eyes turn back to the hut. She takes a step forward, and then another, and then she is staring through the portal and into the dim remains within.

Aashya looks back to Rhotha’ah and Dun. Their blades have been freed from their sheaths, seeming of little use here in these dark and cursed woods. Yet the two men stand a little taller, reassured by the weight and threat of steel. Their confidence inspires the same within her. None show fear and Aashya resolves not to either.

Within the hut lies a cot, rotting and partly concealed by the fallen roof. The moldering rags in the near corner were once clothes. A small strongbox in the opposite corner is in a similar state of decay. It is closed. No soul has lived here in some time and when they left they did not pause to take their meager belongings.

Aashya peers around the side of the shack, her chestnut eyes taking in the entropy. The hut strikes her as sad. A home needs an owner like a body needs a soul. She stares at it with a sense of foreboding brushing the small of her back like chill fingers. Something bad happened here.

Her eye is caught by a flash of color amidst the browns and greens. Beyond the shack, a hundred paces distant, she saw it between the trees. Her eyes narrow and her eyes track back and forth across the forest. There! A flash of blue silk and a pale arm. Aashya blinks. It’s gone.

Last edited by Cadrius; 18th of June, 2008 at 14:05. Reason: I'm anal.
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  #455  
Unread 20th of June, 2008, 05:35
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Aleina

The emptiness within gives her pause; her delicate hands move with cool precision as she reaches up and lowers her hood. A step behind, she can feel Aashya's uncertainty. It would be easy to admit that she is no more sure of their course than any of the others. Easy, and deadly. For when one is lost it is best to strike out in a direction and follow it, lest you lose yourself further.

No, the way was forward. Into the hut she goes, oblivious to Aashya's sighting without. For her, the contents of this abandoned dwelling were of the utmost importance. Here there might be a clue that could shed light on this otherwise dark mystery.

<<OOC: Search everything inside, starting with the strongbox >>
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  #456  
Unread 4th of July, 2008, 10:59
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Aashya

A bit of blue. Aashya stares hard at the greens and browns of the forest until it all swims before her eyes. Where did it go? Had it really been there at all?

Yes, she is sure of what she saw. Blue silk. She is reluctant to look away for fear of missing it if it comes again. But she turns her head just long enough to find Soradur and signal to him that she had seen something out there, something not right. Then she gazes off into the distance again, and begins to creep carefully forward, eyes alert for any movement.

Aashya will move about 10 yards beyond the shack in the direction she'd seen the flash of blue silk. Spot = -1 (oh nuts).
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  #457  
Unread 17th of July, 2008, 08:19
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Aswad

His growl matches the fellís own, stride for stride, in both intensity and malice. The pain that had wracked his body is banished with an all-consuming wrath. His fire burns just as brightly as the malevolent heat that dwells within the undead monsterís breast. His blood, the lionís own crimson, is up and it will not rest until one of them is broken and shattered upon this forest floor. Here, with none to bear witness save the mute oaks, maples and birches, his fate will be decided.

The growl becomes a roar, a primal scream of defiance and rage. It is more than a desire to live; it is a refutation of the abomination before him. Fear does not touch his soul. He has no room for it. There is only the staff in his hands and the song his blood sings in his ears. His roar would chill an ordinary man to his core, freezing the blood in his veins. The fell merely watches him with ravenous eyes.

Aswad launches himself at it, coming in fast. The staff is a blur in his hands. The blows land once, twice, thrice. Here, it crushes the creatureís nose sending a burst of steaming blood spraying onto the ground. There, it pounds into its midsection. He brings it around and down, hammering it into the fellís knee and a crack resounds through the woods.

He holds his staff, now broken in twain, its twin laying fractured on the ground. The fell grins its horrible grin and seizes Aswad by the throat. But it isnít the crushing strength that makes his eyes go wide. Itís the heat. It feels as if the fell has a handful of coals pressing against his neck, scalding his flesh. The grip is just loose enough to allow the thinnest stream of air into his lungs, but no more. A moment later the sickening aroma of cooked skin begins to waft into his nose.

It drives him backward. Aswad clenches his fists and flails at it with his hands and feet. He strikes head, throat, and manhood with every ounce of his strength. The blows give the fell no pause or harm, and it crashes his head into the rough bark of a broad tree, sending an explosion of pain flooding his vision. His head aches. The blood thrums in his veins.

Heís jerked forward until he can feel the raw heat waving off of the monsterís face. His vision focuses. Itís staring at him with eyes that are not dead at all, but instead blaze with a wrath that knows no reason or recourse other than to kill. He can feel the hatred intermingling with the foul magic that has cursed it with a purpose after death.

The fell smashes Aswad back into the tree again. And again. And again. The Sarcosanís blows become weaker and weaker until they are no more effective than a gentle breeze. A fleeting memory of her, dark hair flowing over her shoulders, conjures into his mind. Itís the last comfort before the final ride.

The darkness steals over him.
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  #458  
Unread 14th of August, 2008, 10:43
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Aleina, Aashya

Aashya creeps forward, her feet noiselessly brushing through the sodden mat of leaves blanketing the ground. She squints, peering, searching for that bright flash of azure standing in stark contrast against the brown of the woods. Her slim figure weaves between the trees, uncertain if she should be silent or if she should call out.

She cannot find the blue anywhere. Aashya scouts up and down, left and right, and finds nothing. Thereís no scrap of dress, no mark of foot. She realizes soon that the more she looks, the further she wanders away from the hut.

Aleina reaches out a hand, not gingerly, but cautiously, and brushes it against the side of the rotting strong box. Part of the wood gives at her touch, sluicing away at the slightest contact. It feels wet. Everything in the ruined hovel feels ravaged by time and tide. She takes care as she grips the strongbox, but it comes apart like so much mush. There is nothing inside. The former residents took what meager possessions they had before they left.

The tracks by the hermitís shack lead here, but there is nothing that dwells here save the ghosts of the past.
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  #459  
Unread 14th of August, 2008, 10:44
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Heulwen

The blade slides into the fell with ease. Its steel path takes it underneath the back of its skull and up into its brain. It twitches, blazing eyes going wide in surprise, and then collapses, slumped over the fallen form of Aswad. Its limbs spasm, death throes not limited to those that have already died. Its blood, hot and clear like boiling water, sizzles on the wet leaves. Cytaill trots over, his flinty gaze watching the fell warily, but a few sniffs and he seems satisfied that the monstrosity will not trouble them any longer.

Killing it was the easy part. Rolling it off Aswad is hard. Yet the wogren bends his strength to the task and eventually they slide it off onto the ground. Within moments, the earth beneath it begins to churn and roil and the corpse begins to slide beneath the ground.

She bends to Aswad, placing her ear above his mouth, searching for life, but preparing for the grim task of making certain her brief companion does not rise again. His body is battered and bloody. Crimson marks the bark of the tree behind him. Ugly dark bruises mar his face. His clothing, already threadbare, is torn. Nearby, his staff lies shattered.

He lives, but barely.

His breath is faint and shallow, so much that his breast does not appear to move. Yet his spirit is tenacious, clinging desperately. Better to stay in this dark coil than shuffle off to the howling abyss of the beyond. His eyes open, awash with pain and confusion, and a soft groan escapes his lips.
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  #460  
Unread 15th of August, 2008, 04:15
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Heulwen

"Spit in the Forsaken One's eye! He still lives."

The bright red shirt Feyd had procured for her in Kingscross rapidly becomes strips to bind Aswad's wounds.

"These won't show the blood well," Heulwen tells him as he rouses, "but they'll keep your wounds clean. You'll just have to keep track of how blood soaked they are yourself."

Once his wounds are bound, Heulwen slaps the human, scolding him, "What were you thinking, taking on that Fell all by yourself? We have others to meet up with who could have helped and led to a much more favorable outcome."
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  #461  
Unread 17th of August, 2008, 03:25
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Aswad

Damn Fell…can’t do anything right…

Heulwen’s tone stings more than her hand as she reprimands him. She is right, of course. He shouldn’t have gone off alone. He should have waited for the others. He struggles to his knees, his bruised and burned body a mutiny of pain. Bits and pieces of the last few minutes begin to filter their way back into his mind - the hot panic of melee, the searing agony of the Fell’s grip...

…the peace of release.

Half kneeling, half sitting, he tries to thank his savior, but the cooked meat of his throat could manage nothing more than a ragged, guttural cough. Tears burn down the ravaged flesh of his cheek.

I’m…mute!?

Despair washes over him. He spies the broken splinters of his staff lying in the still steaming grass. Fayed had carved that staff for him from the when he turned 13. In the dim light of forest undergrowth he can still make out the faint tick marks he had carved into it denoting his victories. He wanted to take them in his hand again. He wanted to bear his proud badges of honor into the field one more time and die with them, as he should have moments ago.

But such fantasies were no longer possible.

Struggling to compose himself, he lowers his head until it touches Heulwen’s feet, trying to explain to her with a simple gesture what he could not with his broken throat.

She had saved him.

She was a child in a world of giants, and still she had thrown herself against a foe that would freeze the blood of men ten times her size.

What ever he was, what ever he would have been was meaningless.

His life belonged to her now.
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