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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #100 on: March 21, 2005, 09:09:04 AM »
Aurakh stared at the coin the mayor had entrusted to Greyson. It was unlike any of the magical fetishes and foci of the tribal Shaman of his people.

"Perhaps it is time we enter the forest? I don't know who was to be the leader and so, but I respect Greyson as a veteran and the mayor seems to do likewise. Perhaps we ought to travel as he suggest until an agreement is reached as for who among you shall be our decisionmaker. I can travel ahead and warn of impending danger."

Aurakh crouched down and dug his hands into the soil, feeling the earth between his hands. He took a fistful and smelt it, savouring the aroma. Among the Yarang it was believed that the soil nurtured all and was, in a sense, the mother of everything.

So it begins. I am ready mother
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #101 on: March 24, 2005, 12:12:15 AM »
"I'm sure Kirke's thoughts have merit - I will speak to him in detail about erecting a Palisade, later today. And Magic, Klanu? Well, I suppose you could say it is magic. But its story, i do not wish to disclose to you all at this time - my reasons are my own." Leyri closed the now empty case in his hand and twisted the latch to lock it once more. "And yes, Aurakh. Now would be a good time to enter. Hopefully the rest will not be too far behind, and they will catch up before long. Going at a steady pace, it will take a day and a half... perhaps two days to reach Falamir, and another three or so to find Uldama." The mayors voice trailed off for a time, as he turned to stare into the forest. His gaze seemed as though it pierced through the very trees to the center. He spoke once more, his voice neutral, "And take care. I feel something sinister about this forest..."

_______________
II. Enter the Green

Six figures stood in the shade of great leaves, just shy of the border of the large forest.
A slender, petite woman stood to the left; Itascia Jarnagua. Her pale complexion contrasting with her dark hair. The woman was idly rubbing her neck, as though soothing a small ache.
With a stoic calm a large man - tattooed head to toe in an intricate design of scarlet and black - stood. Hashang karKureshmu's eyes were closed as, even now, he was in a state of meditation. Hidden between a spike of red and a swirl of black on the back of his hand was a separate tattoo of a snake fang, a droplet of poison beaded at its tip.
Klanu's eyes were open, however. Peering deeply into that forest, as though it were another challenge to prove his worth and manhood. Though he was somewhat discouraged by the absense of his master, Bryce, he was intrigued by the adventure this phenomenon might bring.
There was another who was peering directly into that forest - but Coram Denavere was looking for any unusual signs that the trees may harbor. Bieng a hunter of evil, Coram knew more of the darker side of the world than the others in the party, and as such, knew what to look for. But interestingly, there was nothing to indicate that this forest was out of the ordinary. Apart, of course, from the fact that it was not there several weeks ago.
With bow on his back and grim features on his face, Aurakh stood. Constantly alert and looking all around him, the tracker studied for signs of animals. He saw and heard little, barring the chirping of exotic birds, and the droppings and signs of several varieties of rodent.
And finally, there was A. R. Greyson. The grizzled mercenary had seen much of life, and the hardened expression given showed that a bit of it left a bad taste in his mouth. In his left hand was a coin-like object. Greyson was the first to speak, "Well, no time like the present..." And forward he stepped, followed by the rest.

---

The first impression given from "The Forboding Forest" was... well, not quite that foreboding. Early morning sunlight filtered through the thick canopy above them, giving the forest beneath a lovely, luminescent jade light, not too hard on the eyes. The sound of foreign birds chirping filled the forest with music, and the soft 'crunch' of the parties boots upon the remains of the cobblestone path was rythmic and almost peaceful. For all the premonition of danger this forest brought out, it appeared to be quite a calming place. After a mere hundred meters, the smell of farmland and sounds of the waking town of Cuedrim faded into the distance. They were completely alone, in this forest.
Some hundred meters in Aurakh - and perhaps some of the more observant others - will begin to notice traces of animal activity. A small track in the thin grass here, a tuft of hare fur caught on a low branch there. A sound or two of scuffling of small forest creatures off the path once in a while.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #102 on: March 24, 2005, 08:25:45 AM »
I was ... uneasy. If the trees had been twisted, covered with runes seemingly burned into their bark, or had been lichen hanging like tentacles from their branches, I'd have known what to do... but so? There, a sappy squirrel, nibbling on a nut, playfully leaping from branch to branch. Sunfire looked in its direction, but was too satiated to give pursuit.

The forest seemed almost sleepy, a place cut out of the dreaming, with lines blurred by soft sunlight seeping through the canopy.

To save Rowan's strength, I slid down from the saddle ... we were not all mounted, anyway...

The feeling of distrust to my surroundings grew even stronger in me.

Turning around to my companions, I spoke, or rather whispered, for a loud voice seemed so out of place here: "Does anybody of you see anything anusual?"
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #103 on: March 24, 2005, 08:35:22 AM »
Klanu shrugged. ''Apart from the fact that this place is not quite what I imagined it to be? No. I suppose I should feel grateful for that. The absence of woodland spirits and demonic beasts agrees with me. ''

 ''But'',he continued with a sly little smile tugging at the edges of his lips,''it makes you feel unneeded,no?''
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #104 on: March 24, 2005, 03:26:31 PM »
"Doesnt look all that intimidating to me." Greyson said, rubbing Amie's neck. The black and white horse rubbed her head against his leg, scratching her forelock against the scabbard of his sword. "And at least we can assume that there will be fresh game to be had. Might be better to let the hunters snare us some food rather than eat our preserved food first."

He surveyed the forest with his soldier's eyes, looking for the ambush, or the chokepoint. Where the archers might be hidden. He had been involved in two ambushes, and had nearly died in both of them, and carried scars from both as well. "Everyone seems to be expecting demons, or some sort of freakish monster to come hopping out of the woods. I dont think this is the Jaberwocky, I think our instigator is of the human variety."

Even though not a superstitious man, Greyson made a warding gesture with his fist. Soldiers were generally a superstitious lot and they referred to monsters and the minioons of evil magics as Joberwockies from some archaic poem that no one quite remembered save for it having a powerful beast that was slain with a magical sword and alot of nonsense words. "With deferrence to the demon hunter in our midsts, I have never seen a demon. Humans seem to be capable of evil and malice without them." He said with a note of humor. Soldiers and mercenaries could be an odd lot when they were alone.


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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #105 on: March 24, 2005, 07:57:24 PM »
Itascia wasnt sure on what to make of this. So she chose to remain silent for the time being. Keeping an eye out for predators..including those of the human variety. Never judge a book by it's covers. True, they all had been expecting something dark and more sinister. Not the peaceful woodland surroundings that they now found themselves in.

Dont be decieved by the written word. You dont judge a book by it's cover, but dont let it's pages fool you either. This place may have been calm and peaceful. That was true. But things had a habit of changing at a moments notice. She already knew that from experience. As far as they knew, some unseen enemy could be laying a trap for them.

Or this was all just going to be some weird peaceful trip through the woods. Not that she would complain. Many things were often made out to be worse than they actually were. Only time would tell. Perhaps when night would come..things would be very different here.

Thinking about the unknowns was enough to drive a person mad. Itascia sighed, re-adjusting her pack as she walked. Hearing Greyson mention fresh game. Good idea. At least it sounded like one. ~Would the game caught here be safe to eat? Stop it, your just being paranoid~ Itascia silently scolded herself. At the moment, this paranoia she was feeling, however slight, just seemed silly. Glancing briefly at a squirrel as she passed by it. Seemed perfectly normal to her.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #106 on: March 25, 2005, 04:48:40 AM »
"No, Klanu, I do not feel unneeded... but, tell me... if you knew someone is out to kill you, would you prefer if he came waving a dagger at you, or have to find him in a celebration full of smiling guests?"
I shook my head.
"Uncertainty is the worst thing... with nothing to do, the unknown danger nibbles at one's sanity, slowly eroding it. Not that most people have much to spare."

Leaning against Rowan, I spoke to Greyson: "Yes indeed... most people do not need demons to guide them to evil, those being only a convenient excuse afterwards. But still, a human villain behind this would have to be a gardener without peer."
Considering my words, I added: "Thugh any agency behind this is likely to have human minions..."

With that, I turned my attention to the bacon again. There, there was a piece of something solid I knew what to do with.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #107 on: March 25, 2005, 11:59:38 AM »
She listened to the conversations as she walked. Looking to them. Remembering the bai zhu she had given to Klanu. Catching up to walk by him. "How are you feeling ?" She asked, looking to him.

It gave her something to focus on rather than the woods around them. Besides, alittle conversation might lighten up the uneasiness that she was feeling. Itascia truely hoped that the bai zhu had been helpful.

That was one herb that she had several pouches up. Bai zhu was excellent to have around. Good for easing stomach ailments and headaches. But it was best steeped as a nice tea with a bit of mint. Her preffered way of using it. Helped with the very rare migraines that she would get.

Itascia hoped that he wouldnt mind her talking to him. She was curious about those she was traveling with. Coram and Klanu were the only one's here that she had spoken to before. But she didnt know much about them.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #108 on: March 25, 2005, 09:28:50 PM »
Swaying on his brown horse,Klanu started a little in suprise when Itascia suddenly appeared by the side of his horse.  So Ithasica actually thinks me worthy of conversation,he couldn't help thinking. I guess that she isn't one of those annoying people who would judge me based on a misleading first impression. Good. It'll be nice to have an attractive woman to chat with as we trek through this forest.


''Oh,those herbs did the trick,in the process earning you my eternal gratitude'' he answered,quickly recovering. ''Gods,if you hadn't saved me with your herbs,I would have probally spilt my own skull open to put that awful headache to an end. But it's a tragedy that they didn't arrive before I callously scarred young Corram forever by drenching his boots with my bodily fluids.''
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #109 on: March 25, 2005, 11:08:42 PM »
"We waste time. The normality of the wood is clearly visible to all who can see," said Hashang tersely. "I do not believe that there are demons here. The priests of my land say that Hell has no half-measures. Demons rarely possess subtlety. If they had caused this," he indicated the verdant woodland with a sweep of his hand, "there would be horrors."
His word, horrors, seemed to reflect something within his experience, speaking more to the listeners than was said.
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« Reply #110 on: March 26, 2005, 01:53:25 AM »
"I think anytime you cut someone open in combat, he will spill more than the contents of his intestines over your shoes..."

"But, this aside... does anyone see any higher tree that could be climbed to gain an idea of our surroundings?"
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #111 on: March 26, 2005, 04:32:02 AM »
''I'd leave that job to Aurakh if I were you'' Klanu answered. ''The man is a capable scout and he'll know what to do to help us get our bearings. Meanwhile,you should go on looking for demons.''  Then he begun sniggering,unable to contain his urge to needle young Corram a little .''If there are any to find of course. Who knows,that adorable little squirrel yonder might just try to bite my arse off. You can have a chance to show off your prowess then.''
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« Reply #112 on: March 26, 2005, 09:28:49 AM »
I almost had to laugh, he reminded me so of the neighborhood kids from .. home ... so desperately trying to make me angry, just to get some response. So what, this large smelly man was more amiable than most, so he might as well get it.

I put on an inquisitive look, bordering on the paranoid, one eyebrow slightly raised: "And I might have found it, the demon you miss so, for it might have snuck into our midst, a demon of dissent... tell me, where is that brash swordsman Bryce? Oh, you will tell me that he's sleeping off his headache, right? Right? Who of us will have to go next, strangled or throat ripped out when the moon is high?"
Placing my hands upon the sword hilts, I raised my upper lip to fletch my teeth, then eased up and said: "Bulls**t. You don't have the stuff to be a demon. Now... will you please cut it out? Pretty please?"
I flashed him a set of pupppy eyes: "Pweeeze?"

I turned to Itascia: "Now, I swear you, the next time I attend such a meeting, I'll say 'I'm just a kid with two swords and a bad attitude' and all will be fine and well."
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Offline ScorpionJinx

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #113 on: March 26, 2005, 01:01:33 PM »
Itascia watched the exchange between Klanu and Coram with light amusement. It was like being back with the preforming troupe. Looking to Coram at his last statement. She could not help but smile while shaking her head slowly. "Perhaps, sounds like an idea to me. But it is comforting to know that on this trip you are more than a boy with two blades and an attitude."

Her attention then went back to Klanu. "And I am glad the herbs helped you." She nodded her head. "And I am sure Coram will recover from this morning unfortunate event. So do not worry about it much. But should it help,"A mischievious and playful smile formed. "I could give him something as to where he may grace your shoes with his stomach contents. And then things would be even between you both."

She then paused, turning her attention to the trees. Hmm. There was pretty good one nearby, perhpas from the branches she would be able to spot a taller tree there. Itascia went about un-shouldering her pack. "Hold up a moment." She said to all of them. Setting her pack down. She headed to the one tree, reaching into her pockets for those half gloves that she owned. Pulling them on, the leather palms made it easier to maintain your grip. Gripping the lowest branch she could reach, holding it tight, a foot braced against the trunk a moment.

And then up she went, into the tree, clmbing quickly and carefully. Being cautious as to which branches she used. Not remaining long on the ones that creaked to much beneath her light weight. Ignoring the ocassional squirrel that chittered at her angrily.Keeping close to the trunk she reached a good height. Bracing herself she pushed a few brnches out of the way. From here she had a better view. And that view was branches and smaller tree tops. Deeper in the direction they were going she could make out a taller grove of trees. And they were already heading that way.

Okay, time to climb down. Working her way back slowly. Stopping at one point when she almost lost her footing when the brnach she had been holding cracked at the base. Not good. Letting it go carefully, scooting around away from it. "Guys, heads up, some of the branches are bad"  She didnt want any of them getting smacked by the branch when it decided to let go.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #114 on: March 26, 2005, 02:03:44 PM »
Greyson took the time to find himself a place to rest while Itascia climbed the tree. He would let the Serpent-Rider and the demon hunter quarrel all they wanted until the matter looked like it might come to blows. It wouldnt do any good for the rescue party to hack itself to bits over implied insults and threats. He hadnt meant to add wood to the fire with his earlier comment.While he had never seen a demon, or anything demonic for that matter, he had seen his share of atrocity.

The bodies lay in the field, quiet save the buzzing of the flies and growl of the carrion hounds as they fought over a particularly rank corpse. It was the irony there, in a field of dozens of dead, the two beasts fought over a single corpse. Men and women, all dead. Villagers for the most part, but it looked like there had been some resistance, perhaps an itenerant adventurer and perhaps some well armed locals had organized a defence. It didnt matter, outnumbered 20 to 1, they had all died.

The smell was horrible, their bodies bloating in the sun, some already torn open by the scavengers and carrion eaters. They had been hacked to pieces, limbs servered, heads decapitated. It was carnage that was followed by desecration of the dead. Eliza was among them, her long black hair matted with the blood of the head injury that took her life...


Greyson held his hand up to his face, covering his eyes. He busied himself with checking Amie's packs and making sure she had some water to sip while they paused. He wiped his face, the image still burned into his mind years after those events.

The funeral pyres had burned, and had burned for days. Their clouds of smoke laden with incense and funeral prayers written on strips of blessed paper. The priest spoke the words of benediction, and with that the hope that none of the dead would rise as a hungry ghost to haunt their place of death. He had refused, instead building her a caern of stone by the Shuddering Pools. He laid her body to rest there, and said the words of benediction himself as he buried her in stone. Flowers would bloom there, in the next year. He considered it a good sign, that from the bier of blossoms laid upon that cold stone, that her favorite flower should so spring.

"We should put aside out petty differences." Greyson said. He could imagine how they would look, their eyes glassed over from death. He could imagine the horrors that the wounded might be subjected to, the pains they might face before finally succumbing to death. He would not let it happen, not if he could help it. They might be experienced, but it seemed that all of their trials and adventures had been the solitary type.

"If we are too busy making jokes, and hints of threats, we are going to be blind when the evil truely arrives. This is a trap, it reeks of it. This is too easy, but we are just getting started. We keep together, we respect one another. Coram was right, we have to face down a demon in our midsts. Dissention, hostility, it cant continue..." Greyson said.


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« Reply #115 on: March 27, 2005, 03:52:47 AM »
''Sorry,Greyson'' Klanu mumbled somewhat sheepishly from the top of his horse. ''I  guess that must have been an unprovoked taunt on my part,but a part of me still has trouble accepting the kid with two swords and an attitude ,who must see the rest of us as people he has to save from the demons that lurk around every corner.''

 ''But if it will ensure that no hard feelings fester between us,I offer the hand of peace and friendship.'' This was said with a mock solemn voice,as he leaned across his saddle to extend his hand to Corram. Then more seriously,''An end to sniping between us,Corram? And my apologies about the boots. No man likes having his footwear covered with the puke of another.''
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« Reply #116 on: March 28, 2005, 06:07:11 AM »
"Boots are an item, Klanu, unliving and uncaring. I do not fly into fits of rage over items. No harm done."
I reached out and grasped his hand... and found myself liking it. Again. Why, Mother of Gods? I did not know. Perhaps I shook the hand longer than I should have.
"Trust and friendship, Klanu."
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« Reply #117 on: March 28, 2005, 08:57:32 AM »
''Yes,trust and friendship''. Klanu smiled warmly,touched by the sincereity in young Corram's voice.  He squeezed Corram's hand,but unlike the last time they had exchanged a handshake,the gesture was gentle and friendly. ''Maybe you might just change your mind about not wanting to save my ungrateful hide,after all.''  Then he flashed Corram a grin,one full of gentle amusement,to show him that he was not mocking the young hunter again.
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« Reply #118 on: March 29, 2005, 03:20:20 AM »
Aurak inhaled deeply, smelling the bark and the flowers, the grass and the aroma of summer. Behind him his companions clamoured and shouted. Someone, the small boyish woman probably, was climbing up a tree. Apparently they did not fear the forest or anything within it.

Sliding through the undergrowth, Aurakh took care to avoid the lethal Mossowen Thorns. While not instantly fatal, they were lethal in larger doses, causing a bloated belly, cramps and fever a few days before the victim died. A few hundred meters back, Aurakh had cut a soldier’s sign into the bark of a Shadowbirch tree as a warning to Greyson. It would make the mercenary alert. The sign, combined with the branch of Mossowen he had nailed to the trunk, would let the party know what to avoid.

There had been a cobbled road here before the forest rose, now the cobble stones were overgrown with thick grass and, in some places, trees had risen and disrupted the cobbled pattern. As Aurakh crouched to study a particularly smooth stone, he realized it was a mile marker stone; it’s inscription read “Cuedrim, 4 kilometers”.

If they continue to make such noise, I will have to let them know. They sound more like kids playing in the field, than professionals on a rescue mission.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #119 on: March 29, 2005, 10:54:16 AM »
Itascia managed to climb down the rest of the way without incident, though she did pick up some company on her way down. That one squirrle was determined to chase her out of it's tree. Chittering and sqeaking angrily until Itascia's feet touched the ground and she back away from the tree.
She found the squirrel to be amusing, watching it scamper back up once it was satified that she would not be bothering it or it's tree anymore.

She removed her gloves and placed them in her pocket once more. Glancing to all of them. Itascia went over to where Greyson was, seeings how he had apparently taken on the role of leader in this mission. "Greyson, I could not see too much from that tree, but I did see a grove of taller trees further up in the direction we are heading. From there I should be able to get a better view of things. Maybe from there I might be able to get a better lay out of this place"

Thinking it over a few minutes. Realizing that Aurak had continued on a bit further, most likely doing some scouting. Her attention went back to Greyson. "Should we continue on, or do we wait for Aurak to return?"
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #120 on: March 29, 2005, 12:33:36 PM »
Hashang, though not a terribly capable forester, felt confident enough that he pressed ahead. If Northerners were to be made to do anything, they had to be led like dogs, he reflected.

The trees were gnarled, with thick, ridged bark, ancient trees, as if they had grown for a thousand years. The grass was thick and waving, golden, and blossoms crept up the stones and trunks on thin green vines.
A road of heavy stone pavers had been thrown in disarray, split apart by great roots and studded with thick crops of wild wheat.

He came upon a hollow, like a ditch or dip in the land, filled with flowers and grass. But as he looked closer, he could see- sharp spines and thorns, concealed almost carefully through the foliage. He looked to the side- on a tree was carved a curious sigil, and a length of thorny creeper was tacked to the trunk.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #121 on: March 29, 2005, 03:31:50 PM »
"We should press on. Aurahk is a skilled ranger, and he is being a picket for us. We are making enough noise to let anyone within half a league hear us. If they had sharp ears they might be able to make out our numbers." He lead Amie on, pausing at the sigil carved in the bark of the tree. "Looks like our first sign."

The mercenary examined the small vine tacked to the trunk of the tree. The sigil was quite simple, a warning. The vine was dangerous in some fashion. He had experiences with a fuzzy plant that raised welts on the flesh with the brush of its leaves, so he was mildly cautious. The thorns seemed to be a good bet, poisonous was his guess. He passed the cutting to Itascia.

"You seem to be quite knowledgeable of such things. What do you know about this?"


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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #122 on: March 29, 2005, 06:28:23 PM »
Itascia slipped on her gloves quickly, then took the cutting. Examining it. Being careful of the thorns. She nodded her head. "It's Mossowen. Fall into a bush of this and it is more than just unpleasant." Still examining it, letting it jog her memories.

"Large exposure leads to bloating of the abdomen. Symptoms including fever and cramps, then eventual painful death." She sighed. Looking around. "Everyone needs to be careful. Including the horses."

She walked over to show the plant to Klanu and Coram. "Watch for this. It seems to be plentiful around here. It can kill you." She wasnt sure if they knew about it before, but they did now.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #123 on: March 29, 2005, 11:00:11 PM »
Klanu gave a mirthless little smile.  ''Funny that the first deadly thing we come across in this forest,happens to be an innocous looking vine and not an enraged woodland spirit or demon.'' Then his face took on a thoughtful look. ''Unless of course,the dangers here are all subtle,unseen and unheard,but all the more deadly for that.''
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #124 on: March 30, 2005, 09:34:57 AM »
By the forest spirits, what is this?

Aurakh crouched as he was studying the exotic fern in front of him. He had never seen its like, ever, and he had been a forester all of his life. He knew well to be careful around such things, especially in a place like this. Shrugging he rose and carved a sign into the bark of a tree. A road marker, that was all, letting the party know which route he was taking.

He had walked no longer than 500 meters, when he suddenly was faced with yet another weird plant. It was a strange shaped fruit-bearing tree, its branches bent with the weight of the clustered fruit. How strange it was, the leaves were jagged and the fruit itself was round. The surface was white with a glazed shine, it had a dark crimson tinge to it. A sweet smell emanated from the fruit, tempting him to taste it.

Reminds me of something. Something my Shaman used to tell me about. Oh no... Not that.

Aurakh hastily stepped back and studied the tree. It was different, yet similar. Not similar enough though. Relaxing he let his shoulders down and began travelling, once again leaving a sign for the party. His left hand held the bow clenched tightly as he continued further into the idyllic forest.

The woman can take care of this. I am at a loss. This is something I have never seen. All my years in the forest are starting to look more and more worthless.
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