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Thread: Death's End IC

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    Dusk. The last rays of the sun offer up their glare to the boughs of the pine trees and rocky outcrops that mark the Valerian landscape. The floor of the wagon bounces as it runs on the rough gravel road below you. Not long until Fiorne, and rest. Twelve days its been since you slept under a proper roof or had proper food and rest. Twelve days out in the wilderness under guild charter, playing bodyguard to the two guild surveyors in the wagon ahead of you. Twelve long and uneventful days. Your scouting mission has taken you all along the foothills of the Pillars of the Moon, all the way to the edge of the ice fields that mark the southern edge of the province. There was no unusual activity along the border, and as such you find yourselves returning back to the guild headquarters several days early. The waning moon, although not yet shining, is already high in the sky.

    "We've left a long road behind us. Cheer up, folks! We'll be home soon." Sitting across from the six of you, Marius stares out at the half-lit treeline. For the past twelve days the cleric has acted as the appointed leader of the expedition, as would be custom for your introductory mission in the Fiorne guild branch. His smile is soft and distant - it's clear that he is far away. As has been the norm for this so called adventure, Marius allows you to converse freely amongst yourselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
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    Cheer up? Seychelles sat near the back of the wagon, Soryn to her left and the road to her right. The coarseness of this sort of living was truly abhorrent. Fitting for a peasant, perhaps, or some inferior being. And I still haven't learned anything new.

    They'd wasted years of her life, having her go over the rote mantras and suffer along with the other learned arcanists. Then, under the auspices of learning new things, she'd be sent out to Fiorne. There had been nothing to learn in the wilderness, except that prestidigitation continued to be useful for cleaning clothing and skin. Other than reconfirming this fact, it had been a waste of nearly two weeks. And some bestial thing is probably going to come and try to mate with the wagon or something. Ugh.

    Sey watched the natural surroundings as they passed and considered what to do next. It was a difficult thing to consider. She hadn't needed to use any of the spells she had memorized that morning yet, and the thin metal rod that brought her out of her moments of absentmindedness rested across her upturned palm, ready to be used at an instant's notice.

    Her familiar Basil slept happily across her feet, his furry weasel body keeping her feet warm. Seychelles turned to look at Soryn and gave him a little smile. "Home soon," she murmured very softly. "Does that feel strange to you?"
    Last edited by Lucretia; 2012-12-06 at 04:29 PM.
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    Home, huh? Despite the twelve years Soryn had spent with the Adventurers' Guild in Valeria, he still did not feel as if he was coming back to anything. To him, there was no such thing as a home - that had disappeared with the capital, eighty one years ago. Even the wilderness didn't feel like home, and he had spent most of his life there, living off the land. Just one of the many reasons I need to find answers, he thought, years of frustration boiling back to the surface as he wearily scanned his surroundings for something, anything, that could help him, but to no avail - just trees and more trees, the Pillars of the Moon providing the backdrop. The jangle of the wagons along the bumpy road certainly didn't help - Soryn felt every rut the wheel hit, heard every creak in the wood.

    Amidst it all, the soft rustle of cloth caused him to look to his right, where Sey sat, shifting her weight. It couldn't have been comfortable, sitting in a wagon like this in robes. At least she's used to it by now, he mused. Twelve years isn't so much for me, but for humans like her... Without a word, he opened his backpack, checking that his belongings were there and intact for the umpteenth time - habits from his life alone.

    "Home soon," Sey said, "does that feel strange to you?" He looked over at her. She smiled at him, and her weasel familiar readjusted itself over her feet. "Not really," he replied, "I never really felt like I belong." He was never one to pretend, least of all with her.
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    "So there's some level of normality in the constant distance? That makes sense." Once the little weasel familiar was settled, di Serafi adjusted the hem of her dress so it covered Basil and her feet. "Were you happier in the wilderness these past few days?"

    Sey continued to speak very softly, trying not to disturb any of the others in the wagon. Soryn had remarkable ears, after all -- there was no need to speak loudly.
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    "I suppose," he replied, closing his pack as he completed his inventory, "I just feel more comfortable when I'm not cloistered in a house with your kind so close." He spoke with candor - after all, she had learned his story years ago, and knew that in his eyes, she was an exception.

    He unslung the bow from his shoulders, and checked it for damage. Even though it was masterworked, it was always a good idea to regularly maintain ones weapon, lest he find himself bowless in the middle of a skirmish. "You alright?" he asked back.
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    She shook her head and looked out towards the lonesome road they'd already traveled. "I want to learn the arcanist's art. It's surprisingly difficult to do that in the wild. But most of all, I'm looking forward to those very walls you find so miserable. The wind shouldn't be so close."

    There had never been a time in Seychelles' life that she'd found herself able to hear or see with precision. It wasn't an error in her sight, but in her judgment -- so rarely did things seem important outside of her mind. Still, she attempted to identify the trees, the grasses, any natural thing that she could see and cross-reference with what she recalled from Thuul's Encyclopedia of Fauna, or Cogsproggler's Collection of Brelan Flora.
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    Sey had always made an interesting companion for Soryn. Despite all their differences, they had somehow stayed friends. Perhaps it was because they were both orphans of circumstance. Perhaps it was because they had saved each other's lives, his figuratively, hers literally. Whatever the case, Soryn felt a small smile creep across his face - to her, the wind was always something that ruffled the pages of her books, and messed with her hair. To him, the wind was little more than a factor - which direction it would carry his scent, how it would affect the flight of his arrows. Still, he thought to himself, might be nice to feel truly warm again. Even though the cleric had said soon, he wasn't sure how much farther they had to go. He itched to get up, to stretch his legs, to go on the hunt - and it wasn't because the voice told him to. "What are you looking to learn this time?" As far as small talk went it wasn't much, but it helped distract him.
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    The smile disappeared from Sey's face. "Anything. I learned the incantation for glitterdust three years ago. Since then, it's been practice, practice, more practice. No theory, no innovation, just perpetual reiteration of the same basic spells." Rubbing her face, the human glanced away from the landscape and back over at her elven friend.

    As her hand returned to her lap, Sey's face was one of righteous indignation. "One day, I'm going to have all the power in the world, Soryn. I'm going to go and reclaim my family's land, our title... I hope you'll be there to help me. To show those disgusting things what retribution looks like."
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    "What things?" Arran asks, speaking up for the first time in a while. He has kept to himself for the most part, listening and learning from and about his companions.
    Last edited by esorscher; 2012-12-07 at 08:36 AM.
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    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

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    Seychelles turned to look at the man, surprised he heard her. "Nothing. Just a little vermin infestation my grandfather told me about, back in Arva. Rats so large you couldn't skewer them with a spear, that sort of thing."
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    Soryn smirked. Twelve years in the company of others, and she was still as reserved as if she had spent her days like him, alone in the corner of the room, if he was ever there at all. "I will do what I can to help you reclaim your land," he said, turning to Sey, "but I will not aid you in wanton slaughter." Not that he felt any moral imperative to attempt to guide her or even himself down the path of the just, but he would never allow himself to fall to the whisperings of the voice which he had resisted for so long. I kill when I want to, he thought to himself. The voice never engaged him in conversation, so he had no real way of telling whether or not it heard him. Still, a small part of him hoped that it would hear the conviction in his tone, and either leave him be, or, if Phanine be kind, return to the helpful mentor it had been all those years ago.
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    A wave of a hand. "Wanton means cruel and unprovoked. In order to be considered wanton slaughter, it would have to be unprovoked. And cruel. Whether or not it's going to be cruel isn't something I can speculate on, but is it really unprovoked?" Sey gave him another little smile, speaking at a normal volume now that it seemed her murmuring could be overheard.
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    For all her power, it is very easy for Calia to ignore things. Even though she has spent the last twelve days surrounded by a sense of watchfulness, she seems more or less ignorant of the extended conversation being carried on less than a yard away from her. She smiles, just a little thing, and it is impossible to tell if her ignorance is willful or she is really just that oblivious.

    Home. It sounded nice, if a little off. After all, they came from all over the world, all except Fiorne. She knew this because they were on an introductory mission right now, and introductions were only for the new. This was a new land for them, and this was a small mission for the new people. Personally, Calia doesn't think it's so different from Aquinal, all trees and rocks and cold ice for miles. Hours blur into hours, and even if it is mystical and beautiful, it's all very samey. The same bumps in the road, the same trees on the horizon. She exhales slowly and watches the fog of her breath curl and drift away in the air.

    Behind her, the conversation drifts and stops. "Rats so large you couldn't skewer them with a spear, that sort of thing." Seychelles - she had been in the Aquinal branch since before Calia had arrived. They hadn't talked much, but now, there wasn't a whole lot else to do. "I don't think that counts as small," she comments, twisting to face Seychelles. "And I've been to Arva. I didn't see any giant rats there."

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    With a sigh, Seychelles placed a hand to her face. "And thus, a piece of my childhood is dead. No giant rats in Arva! What's the point!"
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    "Stories don't need to be true to be interesting," Calia says with a shrug. "But if I were telling it, I'd say it happened in a really far away land, so that people can't check if there really are giant rats there." She leans back and jams her freezing hands into her pockets as deep as they would go.

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    "I'm sorry," Arran says. "I didn't mean to ask about such a sensitive subject."
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

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    "Next time I see my dead grandfather, I'll let him know his stories were subpar," Seychelles said with a laugh. "Of course, it's quite possible there were giant rats in Arva. It's a rather large area of land, and who knows what my family got up to in the cellars? Perhaps my grandfather's grandfather had a prized warhorse sire a rodent, just for the sake of experimentation? Now they lurk through the grounds, nibbling on whatever scraps they might come across. Who knows?"

    Taking the wand and glancing over it, di Serafi turned her attention to the Arran. "It's not sensitive. I'm just being silly -- forgive my sense of humor."
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    Directly ahead of you, the second wagon in your little caravan begins to slow down. All together with the preliminary cart and your wagon taking up the rear, it makes three vehicles. The wagon slows down at the approach of what seems to be a bridge: one of the local landmarks of the area. Below, you can see in the fading light a chasm that spans for nearly a hundred feet, culminating in one of the great rivers that cuts through the region. This chasm marks the three mile radius of Fiorne, and if you look close enough, you can barely glimpse the towers in the blue distance.

    All of a sudden, the entire caravan seems to grind to a halt. The second wagon is still stuck in the middle of the bridge, sturdy imperial masonry being the only thing stopping it from plunging down to the river below. From the very first cart up ahead you can hear a whinny, and a very human cry rings out into the twilit sky.
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    "Calling it right now, something's trying to mate with the first caravan," Seychelles said as she patted her lap, calling Basil to it. Scooping him up with her free hand, the wizard disembarked from the wagon to let the others out.
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    Arran disembarks and draws his bow. He pulls out a handful of arrows from his quiver and gets ready to fire them should the need arise. "Maybe, but what?" He moves toward the front wagon.
    Last edited by esorscher; 2012-12-07 at 08:36 AM.
    "Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence"

    "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."

    "When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

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    Lirian, who's managed to keep quiet so far, perks her ears up at the sudden action. She sits up from where she's been lying near the end of the wagon, and looks around for her familiar, Frost. The small cat is curled up in a similar position to that which she herself was in seconds ago. She picks him up and dumps him in her backpack before he can really wake up enough to protest. Swinging the pack gently to her back, she strides swiftly to the wagon entrance and swings down into the shadows below it, crouching behind a wheel. Settling in, she keeps an eye on the others, and scans the shade with eyes keen to the darkness, looking for anything suspicious.
    This is her first mission, and success here could be vital to getting posted farther away, getting to travel. She can't afford to miss anything.
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    Bow already in hand, Soryn stands and steps onto the bench he had just been sitting on - the elevated vantage point gave him a better view of what was up ahead, and his low light vision meant that even though the sun was setting, the world around him was still as bright as day. Notching an arrow into his bow, Soryn squints into the distance, attempting to discern what it was that had caused their caravan to come to a halt, just a few miles outside of their destination. Time to kill something, the voice whispered into his mind. Soryn ignored it.

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    Calia smiles, though she doesn't laugh along - something about laughing at the dead felt inappropriate. She watches as they approach the bridge, then grind to a halt. She gets to her knees and peers forward, trying to see what's going on. At the sound of a whinny and a cry too loud to ignore, she jumps out of the wagon and runs forward, worry for the people in front overriding her limited common sense.

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    As Calia hurries past her hiding spot, Lirian tries to grab her attention.
    "Pst! Get down here! No sense in getting yourself killed before we even know what's going on."
    Of the adventurers, Lirian certainly liked Calia most. She seemed more... reasonable, thoughtful certainly. It would be a shame for her to get herself hurt in a stupid way, and not knowing how much combat experience Calia had, it was better to play things safe.
    Last edited by Sen isSaqqara; 2012-12-06 at 07:48 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by 3SecondCultist View Post
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    Soryn: Due to your point of reference and keen elven senses, you can clearly see that the first wagon across the bridge has stopped - the horse that was pulling it is lying on the cold earth, a dark pool spreading from fresh wounds. Moreover, the body of the driver is sprawled across his vehicle, his sightless eyes directed up towards the darkening sky. Further ahead, you can see a modest number of what seem to be humanoid figures detach from the shadows of the trees and approach the first cart. Their figures are blurred, but you can still make out some details of physical character. For instance, they are small and they have pointed ears. The figures walk upright, but their arms hang down almost to their knees. However, these figures are not alone. There is another, larger form in the shadows of the trees. You will need to get closer in order to see any more. Meanwhile, the voice in your head whispers incessantly, its insidious leitmotif like a drum in your skull.
    Kill them. All of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeno Desaqqara View Post
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    Goblins... Sey is going to enjoy this. Ignoring the pounding of the voice, Soryn jumps from the wagon and quietly moves up to the second wagon, bow half drawn as he focuses on the approaching group in the fading light - soon it'll be dark for the others, and he will need some solid figures before they blindly charge into a fight they can't handle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhMyGodImOnFire View Post
    Goblins... Sey is going to enjoy this. Ignoring the pounding of the voice, Soryn jumps from the wagon and quietly moves up to the second wagon, bow half drawn as he focuses on the approaching group in the fading light - soon it'll be dark for the others, and he will need some solid figures before they blindly charge into a fight they can't handle.

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    Goblins? then I will enjoy this too. Ben pulls out his lightmace and his hand crossbow and gets ready to advance
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    ...

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    A whisper brings Calia skidding to a stop. "There's people up there hurt now," she says to the wagon wheel. And really, what else was there to say? She takes off again, drawing her sword as she does so - there was no point in charging in unprepared.

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    Hmph thought Lirian to herself, slightly disappointed. She felt the shivering sensation of Frost purring to himself in her pack. What? It's not that funny. I just expected... I don't know, a bit of sense. Ah well. Let's see what we can do to help. Nothing too dangerous, though.

    Giving one last look to make sure nothing was sneaking up on them from behind, she darted out of the light of the caravan, into the open space past the edge of the road. She sneaks towards the edge of the chasm, where the bridge meets the cliff, rolling a snowball from the thin layer of snow on her way.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Inside a violin
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Death's End IC

    "What're we looking at?" Sey asked Soryn, keeping back. She could produce a glitterdust explosion from roughly one hundred thirty feet, so rushing forward wasn't necessary.
    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

    Avatar from the NSFW webcomic, Go Get a Roomie.

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