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  #26  
Unread 15th of February, 2010, 00:33
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Bodak

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In a bestial tongue Ghostface croaks loudly over the fallen bodies, "Come quickly, Magpie! Here are the eyes I promised you! Be first to the feast! With your belly full thank Ghostface! Quick! Quick! The first morsels!"

He turns to the first Child of Hourad he has seen and drops his club. After a few heavy breaths his huge calloused hands slowly circle and touch the center of his chest. Slowly they rise again and rest lip to palm between the mighty orc's tusks. Again the hands move slowly outward toward Thorik ending arms spread wide. Ghostface then closes his arms pantomiming an embrace complete with hearty backslapping.

Thorik's charge slows to a halt as he approaches the great tusked Heshenai, breathing heavy beneath the tidal anger within. Thick fingers tighten on the haft of his axe to the pounding beat of blood within his ears. No more to kill, those explosive flames having taken his foemen. Sorcery. It stirred his rage as he eyed the scrawny witch who'd spawned it.

Before him the mighty figure dropped his club and gestured in what could only be an indication of thanks. The dwarf sways slightly, feeling the nascent tingling of thunder in his hands. Enemy of an enemy. He shakes his great head, trying to clear the blackness from the edges of his vision. He feels the burning in his chest where the arrow had pierced his mail, sees the blood leaking from the man and woman on the ground, the crimson running down the pale thigh of the Heshenai before him.

His own axe clatters to the ground as he steps forward. Warrior to warrior, he holds his brawny arm out to grip forearms with the great orc.

"Khaurud ai mandarr," he intones in a thick voice.

The pale Heshenai grunts approval and returns the dwarf's flinty grasp. Ghostface keeps his gaze locked on the fearsome Beori but relaxes after they clasp forearms. He listens intently as the warrior tries phrases in several languages to no avail though the orc grinds several sounds of the Derbolg greeting between his tusks. As the cascade of strange words ends the Heshenaishrugs and points to his companions then Thorik and himself, clasps his hands together and pushes them away from his body as his gaze turns down the river the way he and his companions had been running.

Thorik shakes his head slowly and points to the westward hills, then gestures to indicate Ghostface's wounded companions and points to the wound on his thigh. He brings his hands up above his head and then slowly out to the sides as though forming a semi-circle in the air, then holds them out as though warming them by a fire. His cave could hold them.

"Haru netang," Ghostface says definitively in Eisic. He looks over Gorm and Piletre. Neither would die of their wounds though a lesser man would have fallen to the spear Gorm took. The orc seems hesitant to touch Rowan at first. His voice murmurs low throaty singsong. His hands fluidly trace currents in the air. His hips sway poised as at the moment before dance. Somehow satisfied with his measure of the flows around this human, he places his pale left hand almost reverantly on the firebringer's chest and holds it there. Then as efficiently as the magpies gather the eyes of the slain, the albino Heshenai scrounges among the Dubhabhainn gathering their spears, axes, bows and some arrows. Heedless of the wound in his thigh Ghostface hefts Rowan over his right shoulder and rouses Piletre from her exhaustion. As she uses one of the Dubhabhainn spears for a crutch he says in his accented Mirriandor he says, "We follow the Beori. He has a place with a fire."

Thorik motions toward Gorm's unconscious form. Ghostface nods as the Beori puts the bloody headed Cyleni over his doughty shoulder, he places his hand on Piletre's shoulder and in a pidgin Derbolg stutters, "We foughts Black River. Grow bigger number. It is good day."

The rock brother's head turns at the Heshenai's deep voice, and he knew the words. The woman's features were too fine for her to be Derbolg born - there was elvish in her to be sure - but her clothing and her bearing told him all he needed to know. He speaks fluently in that same tongue, his gravelly voice well suited to its cadence.

"My cave is in the foothills - there's food and fire. You can rest there 'til you've healed."


G, J and E
  #27  
Unread 27th of March, 2010, 00:05
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Cadrius
Refusing to Sow [Epic GM]

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Chapter three : In The Dark

Rowan awakens to the same sound that had seen him off into oblivion’s dark embrace. Flames crackle and burn, joking merrily as they consume all that they touch. Be it wood or barbarian flesh, there are few that can stand with fire and resist its pull. Water, certainly, as they are ever foes and opposites. Stone tries to, trusting to its strength to see it through, and it works to a point—but if you stoke the fire hot enough anything will burn.

Anything.

His eyes open, lids thick, and close again for a few moments before he commands the lethargy to flee his body. Eyes open once more finding shadows playing against a cave wall ahead of him. Behind, he can feel the warmth of the fire caressing his back and backside. He is naked and the stone is smooth against him.

Memories of the Black River savages wash over him and his hands frantically feel his side, searching for where the wretch had tried to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. Sliding along his side, he finds it now. His skin is still sticky with his own blood. Too afraid to look at the wound he looks to his hand instead. It comes away with touches of scarlet.

“Be mindful of that,” a woman’s voice says.

He moves to rise, pushing against the stone floor with his arm but warm hands, too warm, hold him still. Her face is wreathed in shadow but the corona of copper hair tells him everything he needs to know about where he is.

“Sacrificing the Dubhabhain for me? Well, they are a filthy lot but they know power when they see it.”

“They tried to eat me,” he says, hating himself for hearing his voice quaver.

“It is their nature, sweet boy,” she says, running a finger along his skin. She does not stop when she gets to the wound, drawing it through the blood. She looks at it and for one horrifying moment Rowan believes she too will drink of his blood. But she simply watches it for a moment as the crimson begins to wisp and evaporate from her finger. Soon there is but a faint red smudge.

“I am pleased, but you will need to do better than this,” she says. “Any witch that makes a dark pact can sacrifice. But you, you have potential, and I expect great things.”

“What things?”

But she only smiles and lays her hands upon his wound. Heat fills him, warms him, burns him, scalds him, and sets him ablaze.

It hurts.

*

He jerks awake, gasping and clawing at his side. Rowan’s eyes flutter, heralding his return to his body. He lies on the floor of a cave as before, but the Red Lady, as he has come to know her, is not there. No, it is the same motley collection of sailors and fiends as before. Piletre places her small hand on his chest, and Rowan lacks the strength to fight even that weight.

“You’re awake,” Piletre says. As before, her hair has picked up the color of the fire but it reflects the light less than it appears to be luminary on its own.

The realm of dreams is a harrowing place, full of spirits waiting to take hold of the unwary traveler whose soul drifts through the ether at night while the sun sleeps. Rowan considers it lucky it was her and not some malevolent demon or mad spirit looking for a gateway into the world of the flesh.

“We were worried you wouldn’t make it,” Gorm says, squatting on his haunches across the fire.

Ghostface says something but Rowan cannot understand it. The man’s distrust of the orc flares up once more, but he quashes it. Like as not, it was this giant that had brought him back to the cave. Ghostface had valiantly defended them when the Black River Tribe had closed in. Rowan owes him better than base suspicion, if nothing else.

Memories of the savages flood back again and Rowan frantically pulls at his shirt to see his side. He finds a bandage there, strips from rags used to staunch the bleeding and apply a poultice. Slender fingers tear at them.

“Easy,” Gorm says, rising to his feet.

“It is well enough, Gorm,” Piletre says. “The bandage was due for changing.”

The last bit of rags fall away revealing naught but warm skin with the merest tints of pink. Gorm cocks an eyebrow. Rowan is well. But when he closes his eyes he can still see, can still feel, the savage biting into his own flesh. He can feel the anger, the defiant fury, boiling again. He can feel the call of fire, and can name it as it was once was in ages past when demons and spirits walked the land in their own bodies. A log in the fire pops and crackles sending a small shower of sparks are sent the air, their lives lasting but a heartbeat.

No, he thinks. No.

Piletre exchanges a look with Ghostface. One of Rowan’s hands, resting on the floor next to him, curls into a fist. They will try and take it from him, and when that fails they will take his life instead.

But we will be ready. Won’t we, love?

“You’re safe now, Rowan,” Gorm says.

“Yes,” he says.

Piletre nods. “And we have our host Thorik to thank for it,” she says.

Rowan’s eyes turn and look upon the stout man for the first time. Thick of limb and shoulder earn his people their title as brothers of the earth. To Rowan he appears to exist in a state of waiting, but for what the son of Callum knows not. The flames in his heart die down, but only reluctantly.

“Then I have you to thank, Thorik,” he says. His gaze slide to the others. “I have all of you to thank. It would appear I am in your debt again.”
  #28  
Unread 31st of May, 2010, 10:11
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Dread Lord on High [Epic GM]

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“We all are in your debt Thorik,” Piletre says slowly, “we all are.” Thorik nods and makes a deep rumbling sound that passed as the dwarven equivalent of “you’re welcome”. It also seemed to work for yes and no, and as a general indicator of moods ranging from happy, to pensive, to tired.

A faint smile drifts across her face as she climbs out of the cramped cave and into the late afternoon sun. Glancing back she takes stock of her new crew -battered, bloodied but unbowed. Not quite the sons of Igvar, but greatness demanded only audacity not breeding.

A soft breeze rustles through the treetops and for a moment she can hear the crack of canvas against mast, feel the rolling planks of a longboat beneath her feet and taste the salt from Narjul’s bosom. Tears fill her eyes as she looks out across the forest. Far beyond across the sea of oaks and aspen the ocean sang the songs of her people - tales of blood and fire, tales of love and vengeance and of sacrifice and regret.

Tears slide easily down her tanned cheek as she lifts her voice and sings with the distant sea.

She sings of Hrafnir, brother to Ole stood like a tree and gazed into the fury of a goddess.

She sings of Ole, son of Gardar who faced a score of Manfeg alone so that his crew could escape.

She sings of Svein, Geir and Njal and all the others who poured the last of their lives into hungry brine.

She sings to the distant sea hoping that she is hear, for only those worthy of song will be remembered.
 

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