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Author Topic: [Terenis] Foreboding Forest  (Read 24203 times)

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Offline Shadoweagle

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« on: January 14, 2005, 07:45:48 PM »
I. A call for heroes!

The town of Cuedrim had never before seen such a large amount of tourists - especially from so far away. Usually, they may be graced by three, perhaps as much as ten foreigners a year. In the last three weeks there have been more than five years worth of people. The strange appearance of the great forest had turned the once quiet town of wood-crafters into a bustling centre of activity. At nights, the tavern was full of hardy adventurers, overindulging on ale, and sharing exponentially more ridiculous stories of granduer between themselves. Not all of the travellers were seen around town, however. Townsfolk have seen shadowy figures seated in the moonlight just outside the great forest, staring in as though attempting to divulge its hidden meanings. Some of these people are never even seen during the day, and don't have rooms rented at the local tavern. This sudden increase of people didnt bring all good things, however, and there have even been a few 'disappearances' of locals, whom the suspects are foreign. Nothing is proven, of course, and so life continues on. It has now been almost a month since the appearance of the forest. None of the locals have dared enter the trees, although several foreigners have. None have returned as of yet. The mayor of Cuedrim has decided it is time to act: for someone to enter that forest. Posters have been nailed throughout the town, and fliers sent out randomly, beseeching any would-be adventurers to meet with the mayor. The hope of the leader of the small town, is that some of the foreigners lurking in the night may glance across a flier on the ground or poster on the wall; or perhaps that one of the rowdy adventurers may be pressured by his peers to show how strong they truly are.


WOULD-BE HEROES!

I, the mayor of Cuedrim, ask any adventurers, travellers, or anyone who wishes to aid the town, or discover the mysteries of this unwelcome forest, seek me out at midday of day syx in the town hall.
Any aid will be welcome, and a fair sum of monetary compensation will be given in exchange for your time and effort.

Details will be shared on the day of meeting, though your help will be recognised throughout the entirety of Terenis.
Lazarus Lightward, Elite Diabolist of the Brotherhood - Level 3 Occultist
Deathpriest Noxx, Herald of Eternal Silence – Level 2 Necromancer
STR: 2 | END: 2 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 12 | INT: 13


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Offline ScorpionJinx

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2005, 04:10:57 PM »
Itascia balanced as best she could upon the wooden stool. Gritting her teeth as she could feel the coarse rope scratching her throat. She narrowed her eyes as the man who stood in front of her. She could smell the booze on his breath from where she stood.
   Choking back the mouthful of bitter saliva caused by the gag in her mouth. His mouth was moving, but Itascia could not make out what he was saying. The blood in her ears was pounding so loudly at this moment. Her arms bound behind her back tightly. She knew one thing for certain. This small group was going to hang her for a crime she didnt commit.
   Being a foreigner in this place automaticly made one a target. Especially for highway men. And suspect of any and all crimes. Itascia was no exception. She had been caught just outside the city limits by this group of would be law men.  Apparently trying to make a name for themselves as local heroes. What a joke. In the back of her mind she wondered how many foreigners had met their end like this within the past few days. No doubt their bodies barried in secret somewhere.

   "Well now Boy, what do you have to say in your defense?" The grizzled leader sneered at her. Completely unaware of the fact that his bound and gagged prisoner was not a boy.

   "MPhmmmphft!" The best that she could manage through the gag.

   "Come on lad. Speak up." Another one added.

   "Just hang him already so I can go home to my wife." A third added.

   "Perhaps this will loosen your tongue." The leader lifted his leg, placing his foot against the stool. He pushed hard. Sending the stool toppling over onto it's side.
   Itascia's eyes went wide as the stool vanished beneath her feet. She felt herself drop, praying for a miracle. There was a moment of weightlessness, and the the harsh jerk of the noose.

   "No!" The leader cursed. The boy's neck didnt break when he hit the end of the rope. But then he smirked. A quick death was too good for some of these foreigner. Content to watch this one kick and struggle as he slowly strangled to death.
   Itascia's legs kicked in the air. The blood pounding like a wild drum through her ears. The rope digging painfully into her skin. Struggling to breath.  Seeing little black dot and bits of colorful light dance into her vision. Itascia worked quickly to free her hands. Twisting her wrists quickly. That bit of pain was nothing to the one choking to life from her.

   "Did you hear that?"

   "Hear what?"

   "Shhh. Shut up both of you."

   "Someone's coming."

   "Let's get out of here."

   Itascia watched as the small band of vigilanties vanished backed towards town quickly. Her lungs burned with the need for air. Managing to free her left hand just enough to reach the dagger hidden beneath her vest, tucked into the waist band of her breeches. Holding it just right she cut through the ropes on her wrists. Dropping the dagger she reached up, clawing at the rope around her neck. Forcing it up over her head.
   She hit the ground gasping for air. Removing the gag quickly. Drawing in deep breathfuls of sweet oxygen. Coughing and wheezing some. She lay there a moment on her side.
   Neausea passed through her. She rolled over onto her knees and retched into the grass. The bitter bile burned her raw throat. Coughing a bit more. Sitting up, she gave a look around. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Wincing slight as she turned her attention to her raw and bleeding wrists. Maybe traveling here had been a bad idea.
   The breeze blew through the area. Bringing with it many things. One of those things was a bit of paper. Itascia caught it. Uncrumpling the piece. Pale green eyes studied what the paper said. That strange smile formed. At last...something to do. Rising to her feet slowly, she brushed off her clothes. Moving to a nearby bush. Pulling out the pack she had hidden there before that group of guys had caught up to her.
   She shouldered the pack. The piece of paper was folded up and placed into her pocket. Itascia  continued on down the road. Keeping an eye out for the band of vigilanties. Traveling in silence. She paused along the way to get cleaned up and to bandage her wrists. Not having enough gauze to conceal the ugly purple black bruise on her throat. Swallowing hurt despite the herbal drink she had fixed for herself.

   By early morning she reached Cuedrim. Noticing the look that the locals were giving her. Itascia kept her head low, but remained watchful of her surroundings. Making her way through town. Occassionaly bumping into a few people as she walked. Unaware of her growing pouches. A coin here, a button there. She finally reached the town hall. Removing the slip of paper from her pocket. Looking at the time....it was today. And midday was only a few hours away. Picking out a place on the steps of town hall. She was seated, leaning back against her pack. Eyes partially closed, feeling the warm early sun upon her skin. Absently she rubbed her bruised throat. Waiting to see who else would arrive.
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Offline EchoMirage

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2005, 06:21:12 AM »
A pat on the shoulder was all I recieved as a farewell, but I knew the full meaning behind it - they were with me, in their thoughts though not body. I didn't need more of a reassurance though. I lept on the broad back of Rowan,and patted her on her satin-soft neck, the mane tenderly curling around my fingers. She understood me well enough, carried me forth with a fluent stride.

The sun was a pale disk on the misty sky, much unlike the blazing brass punisher it is in the southlands, still I pulled the brim of my hat lower - I should give my eyes some rest, Rowan was more than able to follow a road we have agreed upon. Instead, I let my ears experience the surroundings... all of a hunter's senses must be sharp so that he might live another day.
Rowan's step was like a metronome dividing the ambient sounds into precisely defined parts, the whistle of wind in the treetops, the rustle of dancing leaves, the chitter of squirrels and bubbling of streams, love-songs of birds and the hypnotic hum of bees.

Chewing on a handful of nuts and dried fruits, I let myself be carried along. Nibbling on something was not that unusual for me... I tend to eat from dawn 'till dusk no pause, yet it does not show - much to my chagrin, and to the delight of my animal companions, who know that a snack is never far.

Timber, who was striding along my steed, suddenly became alerted - there must have been people ahead. Riding around a turn of the road, I saw them - several men, with suspiciously gleeful faces, one of them gesticulating wildly, and agitatedly speaking to his companions, apparently the center of their attention: "And I tell you, we'll hang them all, and make their ill-gained riches ours!" The rest cheered, while he continued: "And the wenches, them we..." that was the time they noticed me.
Instinctively, their hands slid down to their belts to the hilts of their weapons. I did not move - I still could draw my blade should the need arise before they'd be able to cover the distance between us. All I did was to raise my head slightly, and narrow my eyes, making my red irises into to two embers, while Timber snarled, his posture a threat.
I mustered them - unshaven, scarred, with battered yet serviceable gear, and I felt the aura that surrounded them - they were a pack of jackals ready to tear down a victim showing signs of weakness.
Muster me they did as well, their beady eyes considering the possibility of gaining a sword, and a horse cheaply. I rode by them, staring them down, locking my gaze with their leader. I saw the brute's temper in them, the desire to harm, and claim all he could get - if he was a pig, he would gorge himself to death, if he was a swamp he'd bubble up in an attempt to drown the fields and soil all who pass by. In his heart he was a coward though, fearing that somwhere out there might exist someone like him, yet stronger, who'd blow out his candle. After whatseemed to be an eternity, he averted his gaze and let me pass. Little did he know that I spent countless hours training my will with my mentors, whether it was trying to reach my talent, or to endure pain and a lack of sleep. Still more thanks go to Sunfire, whose unblinking gaze of a bird of prey I learnt to mimic to be closer to him ... instead of studying or training, I sometimes spent long hours with Timber learning how to howl, or matching Sunfire's keen cry full of longing.

Well did I memorize those savage faces of the brigands, for I felt it in the gut that I might stumble across them once more.

I still wondered what could have made them so merry, when I arrived at the hill's crest, and saw the valley beyond, with orchards, a few groves and the town of Cuedrim, my destination, beyond... on its edge, like an ocean throwing itself against cliffs, stood a dark brooding mass - the destination of my travel, a wood perilous and mysterious.
Yet something closer by far caught my attention - under the boughs of an old maple tree stood a small figure removing a cut noose from around its neck - probably a victim of the men I passes a moment ago, who must have left her in the tree after they have heard Rowan's iron-shod hooves approach. Apparently, she was more than able to fend for herself, and thus I kept my distance, and sought cover behind a few bushes, a hiss from me telling Rowan to lie down and be silent.

The young woman stood there, mustering her bruises, yet did not seem severely hurt. I saw no need to interfere now, but might do so if I stumbled across the brutes again.
A sheet of paper caught her attention, swept by the wind from the direction of Cuedrim, she picked it up swiftly - with a quickness like that, I wondered how the brigands might have caught her. I observed her reading, and compared the time she spent reading to the amount of text... it did not take too long. She might have some education ... I decided to remember this one too. I might need aid in my endeavour, and would have to choose wisely whom to trust.

I stood there unmoving until the stranger, after a brief moment of consideration, produced a few well-hidden bags from a bush, and strode forth, in the direction of Cuedrim. What might have been the sheet's contents? I was certain to lear it soon.

With a whistle, I called my friends, and mounted Rowan again, patting her: "It is not far now, soon you will get a stable full of straw and I'll brush you like you like it most." I patted her again and placed a soft kiss on her neck.

The road was good, and soon, OI reached the hamlet, and could not fail to notice two facts - the amount of strangers crowding the streets, and leaflets hung on walls and pillars. Feeling their gazes, I shivered and drew my cloak closer to me. My eyes slid down to the paper, reading the mayor's request for assistance. "If I am to go into the wood anyway, I might as well get paid for it" I thought, and headed off towards the town square, buying a few rats on a stick at a stand, and chewing absent-mindedly.

In front of the mayor's dwelling, I saw a figure well known to me, a petit femme, toying around with a trinket. An adventurer - as I thought. I would wait and see who else showed up, and join the group most appealing to me.

I put on a professional face, and approached the mayor's manor. The first impression counts most - and I didn't want the major to offer me a few nickels just because he considered me an underfed kid.
I sat there in the saddle, and wondered what the future would bring.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2005, 04:21:09 PM »
Mirani stared at the dark forest.  She badly wanted to know what it hid, but she wasn't fool enough to go in by herself.  She had been in Cuedrim for over a week, and had not encountered any people that she would consider able to get very far in.  And the locals were just hopeless.  But she had stayed busy.  With all of the strangers in town, there was an invetiable increase in injuries; brawls and tavern fights, and rivalries flaring up.  The town doctor was rather overwhelmed, and had accepted her quiet offer of help.  She was good at healing, there was no doubt.  

Personally, she considered it rather ironic.  But there was the night life too, and that had kept her occupied as well.  Academically, she wondered how long it would take these simpletons to make the connection.  They were getting to it; she had heard some dire whispers about the foreigners and a need to do something about them.

She turned to look at the town.  It was overrun by bounty hunters, adventurers, and investigators of all kinds.  She half sneered at them unconsciously.  Did any of them have any idea what kind of potential lay behind those trees?  She doubted it.  But even if they did, Mirani wasn't going to allow them to deprive her.  I will have that forest's secrets.
She had spent far too much time and effort to allow someone else to have what might lie there.

A few people were staring at her.  Let them, it could hardly be avoided.  The locals had grown somewhat used to seeing her completely white clothes around town, but she was still rather odd looking.  Only startling blue eyes proved she wasn't an albino.  She started towards the center of town, and people moved out of her way instinctively.  She may be assisting the town doctor, she may not have given them any reason to mistrust her, but she still unsettled people.

Someone was posting a sign on the wall of a building.  She read it.  This was interesting.  A plea from the town mayor, asking for adventurers to go into the forest, and promising compensation.  At last, something productive.  Surely this would attract people able to find whatever the forest hid.  Well, she would see him about it.  See who else showed up, what they might be capable of.

A small predatory smile found its way onto her face.  Sleep well, brother.  It shan't last.
Sometimes angels fall from grace, and sometimes heroes die.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2005, 08:55:35 PM »
Let it build up and break down, came the echoes of Hashang's thoughts, rolling and bouncing through a mind otherwise devoid of thought. Hashang slowly allowed more and more- first, the stream grumbling softly over little stones, then the color of the sky, set in blotches of nothingness. No, he was not ready to let in the rest of the world. Hashang stepped out of himself into the Inner World, the inside dream, the inverted plane where all his thoughts lay open to his examination by his soul-senses.

"Dar?"

Leave me be, Hashang thought to himself. The man was a distraction to his meditations. He allowed his mind to recieve the sensation of being nudged.

"Dar, do you attend? Be you alright?" came the disturbance from outside his mind-dream, a gravelly voice speaking in the barbarian tongue of these northern people, and using a title of respect that was common in this area.

I do not attend; thusly, go away.

"Ai, there's a stranger here, an' I think there be sumpin' wrong with 'im!" the shout from the other world went off into unrecieved regions.

Fine. Since you shall not allow it...
Hashang allowed the realm of his sense to seep slowly back into him, taking in sights of the stream, sky, and trees waving in the slight breeze. Clouds slid lazily overhead, glowing with the sun shining through them, with their own topography of nebulous hills and valleys, and streams and seas of blue shining through.

"How beautiful the land of the living can be," Hashang said aloud, quite matter-of-factly, startling the rough-shaven man who stared wonderingly at the formerly-comatose southerner.

The peasant (for a peasant it obviously was; even in this land, where they were disgustingly nebulous about their castes, he could tell who the peasants were) recovered from his startlement and said: "Dar, are you in need?"

Hashang said: "What day is it?"

"Err... 'm not certain, Dar. There is a priest with our caravan; I shall fetch him to tell you," came the reply. As the peasant rose, Hashang said: "No, do not."

The southerner contemplated the man's rough face for a while, a behavior that gave him the air of hesitation and care, and often caused people to think him an artist or a priest, even. He said:
"Where is your caravan going?"

"Why, Cuedrim of course, Dar. Everyone be going there; they say that the Magic Forest sprung up there has gods in it, and the master-merchant of our caravan says that there'll be something profitable in it. He always lookin' out for profit, that'n. I guess all merchants are that way, what with..."

Hashang cut off his rambling. "Inform your master-merchant that I shall be traveling with you," he said, with all the imperiousness of phrase and tone that a high-caste should show. "I am also traveling to," he stumbled over the foreign syllables of the name, "Ku-e-drahnm." This was, of course, the truth, for Hashang never lied without purpose; what was the point in it? But northerners did it all the time. The southerner rose, brushing leaves and soft turf from his kilt and adjusting his sword belt.

"Of course, Dar," said the peasant, leading Hashang towards the caravan. "It'll be... splendid having you along. I'm sure the master-merchant will be pleased." His voice had all the upfront warmth and subtle reserve of a person with an bad instinct. Hashang could hear it.

No matter. There was meaning in everything, and Hashang would find the meaning in the "Magic Forest".
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Offline ScorpionJinx

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2005, 06:25:09 PM »
Itascia remained sitting in silence. Glacing every so often at the gathering crowd. Many had come in hopes of riches and glory. Itascia was here merely for something to do.
At one point she caught a glimpse of two that stood out in the crowd.  Two so pale in color they were like ghosts. The one in white struck her as more ghost like. A slight shiver going through her.
She turned her attention to the rest of the crowd. Hoping to not see any of the lynch mob she had encountered earlier. Her throat ached.
Itascia reached into her pack and removed a leaf from the small pouch it was kept in. She chewed the leaf slowly. It's juices mixing with her saliva. It helped to ease her throat pain.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2005, 09:01:53 PM »
Some time after a greasy, cold noonmeal of footish cheese (and not the nice crumbly goat cheese of Hashang's land, but he had long ago reconciled himself to the fact that northern cheese was worthless), tooth-chipping bread, and sour wine, the caravan pulled, dusty and tired, into Cuedrim, and thence towards a hiring-stable.
Hashang departed from the caravan, leaving a coin or two recompense for the food, and stepped out into a sea of these hairy, white-skinned people. Northerners were like animals, Hashang reflected, living in their own filth, never shaving themselves (and some had the most hideous dirty beards), never mannered, never delicate or cultured. Their large round eyes and thin lips gave them a disturbingly-toadlike appearance, and they never took care of their physical health- how could personal energy flow through their bodies with so much fat and sickness in the way? No wonder they had plagues. In any case, they were disgusting. And so bloody pale! He even found himself repelled by the women, sometimes, them with not the modesty to wear veils.
Ah, well. Barbarians.
But there was a curiosity. Like silvery hrilshmu-ghosts amongst the crowded central square, two northerners (for no-one else could be so pale) flitted, white as milk.
Albinos? Possibly. Hashang had a feeling.
Somehow, he knew, they were to be remembered.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2005, 10:58:57 PM »
Mirani walked through the press of people, ignoring them all.  Either they would do something stupid, and need her attention, or she would meet them on her own initiative.  But for now, they were nothing to her.

Well, there was a familiar face.  She remembered him from a week ago when he had tried to jump her on the way in.  Xenophobic bully.  She had the idea that he was in charge of a lynch mob that had been formed from a bunch of drunken sots.  He saw her; it wasn't like she was hard to miss.  Come to think of it, she should probably instruct him as to why he shouldn't bother people.  Maybe she would.  She smiled slowly at him, and it wasn't a pleasant smile.  He quickly found something else to attract his attention.  Definitely could be promising, and she was fairly sure he wouldn't be missed.

But enough of that for right now.  She looked around at the newcomers, disinterested.  A trade caravan had just arrived, accompanied by a man she took to be a real foreigner, probably from the south.  A woman on horseback, and from what Mirani could see, probably a true albino.  She filed that away as potentially useful.  A boy, warily keeping an eye on the crowd.  At last, some people who sparked her interest.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2005, 03:00:25 PM »
I saw a crowd assembling, adventurers, mercenaries and the curious from far and wide, with merchants zipping back and forth peddling their goods, be they talismans, weapons, or travel rations.

The tension above the gathering was almost palpable, and everybody was cautious - not cautios enough though, for I noticed a pickpocket going through the belongings of several strangers. I had mine tucked away in my belt, and in pouches on the inside of the cloak, and took no further notice.

Truly, the assembled people were varied and many - Mablung from the far north, clad in wolfskin and bone. Meroni from the Wast, with hair woven into spirit-patterns and rings adorning their noses, eybrows, ears, even tongues. Cerumni from their temple-city, with prayers written on strips of cloth they tied to their weapons and equipment. Those of a peasant's manner, and some proud like nobles, some pleasant and some vile. I had to separate the chaff from the grain.

I found time to lead Rowan to the stables of a nearby inn, tossing a coin to the owner, the grin on his face soon swept away as I told him: "I'll know if she has been treated well, andit would be good if neither I nor she have a reason to complain."

Striding back to the mayor's dwelling, I kept Jared's words in mind: "Behave like the place belonged to you, and the other were guests, and so it will be." If I was to take any leading position in a group that would assemble, I had to have people join me, rather than me joining them. Resolve radiating from mysteps, I walked up to the mayor's door, and hammered at it soundly, this further reinforced by the metal studs on my gloves.
The door opened, its frame almost filled by a man in his late forties,with carrot-red hair and a bushy beard, with several braids woven ito it, this being complemented by broad shoulders, bulging muscles and a kingly belly. He was clad in leather trousers, and an adorned leather vest, grease around his mouth indicating thathe'd been contributing to his belly's well-being again. 'A fine figure to have as mayor' I thought, 'and by no means easy pickings.'
"Ye merc scum will wait until the mayor calls for yah, aye?" his voice rumbled, like a landslide thundering down a slope. It appeared this man was NOT the mayor. Perhaps it was his assistant.
"Sadly, my time is limited, and so is this towns" I said, closely observing him. "Or have the trees not stood father from your hamlet yesterday evening than they do today?"
"Nay, the trees have yet to grow further..."
"But thats not to say they won't! You don't want the mayor to be ruler over a few groves of twisted trees, correct?" He stared at me, then nodded. "I am a hunter. Yes, of that sort. You'll find me at the inn. You need me."
"Need you or not, I suggest ye be at the town hall by the time the sun reaches its peak. Wouldnt want someone of such calibre missing out, would we?"
Without another word, I turned around, and let him to his thoughts ... hoping that my soap bubble would not go *pop*. 'Time to put some more strain on it' I smiled, and stood before the crowd, my height allowing me to overlook most of them... and attract their attention.

"Comrades. Warriors! Sages!" I called to them. Quite many of them looked in my direction, surpised by a stranger addressing them. "I understand that you have come in the noble pursuit of aiding this innocent hamlet against the horrors that stalk the forest." I gathered a few smiles at the words 'noble' and 'innocent', yet I continued: "And indeed, I must compliment your bravery, for have not already many ventured under the shadowy boughs, yet none returned? I envy your courage and selflessness at risking your life and very soul for people you don't even know, and recieve a few meager coppers in return. Only true heroes dare to challenge the unseen horrors that lurk in those shadows, unseen until they strike! You, all, have my respect!'

With that, I strode off, letting my words sicker in, and a low murmur was proof of that at least some of them were walking the path of thought I wanted them to. Let them become aware of their mortality, and plant a few seeds of fear...

I was sure that the crowd would thin a bit soon... which might leave those who might have the courage to back me up. "Please, soap bubble, hold a little bit more!" These words passes as a whispered prayer between my lips.

I had no way to evaluate my success or failure yet, as I took a seat in the inn, and ordered some pork ribs and potatoes - it was almost noon, and I was becoming hungry!
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Offline Alec_Shadowkin

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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2005, 06:21:17 PM »
"Haha, Snake eyes! If you all don't mind me I think that this is all mine." Bryce smiled as he swept his hands over the alcohol stained table-top, gathering up all the coins he had just won. He stood up, pocketing the money and tossed back the last of his mildy nauseating ale. He couldn't understand why the locals would put up with drinking this filth, it tasted like wagon tar and stinkweed. He nodded to Klanu and started to walk away when he heard a chair scrape against the floor.

"I want my money back you dirty cheat!" Bryce turned around to look straight at the speaker's chest. He tilted his head back so he could lock eyes with him.

"Friend, I don't know what you're talking about. I got one lucky roll is all. Now, if you don't mind, I have places to be going." He turned again to walk away and felt a hand on his shoulder. The hand forced him around and Bryce found himself looking uncomfortably close at a rather large fist.
"I don't  think you heard me, I want my bloody money back, you !" He pulled back his arm and let it fly. Bryce spun to the right, pulling himself out the attacker's grip and stuck his foot out, letting the larger man trip over his own foot and sail into the next table. As the attacker knocked the table over, sending aleglasses, food, and people flying, the room exploded. Men started throwing punches and tossing each other around the room. The man's friends lept toward Bryce, a few even pulling out weapons, mostly hunting knives. Bryce flashed into movement, his brightly colored sashes and loose clothing all but dazzling in their intensity. A long curved blade appeared in his hand and he spun around, holding his attackers at bay. Klanu flew in from the side, picking up one of them and tossing him across the room, sending him smashing into the wooden bar before three other tavern patrons jumped the barbarian and he was forced back and out of Bryce's field of view.

None of the attackers seemed to want to get within range of Bryce's whirling blade, so he began slowing making his way toward the doorway, seeming to dance across the floor as he shifted to sword form, to sword form. The tavern was in utter chaos. Food, chairs, mugs and more were flying through the air, smashing into walls, people and the floor. The entire room was filled with men throwing themselves at one another. One of the dice player's friends got too close to Bryce and a line appeared on his cheek, bright red. He yelled and clutched it with a hand, backing away from the dancing swordsman.

Bryce finally made it to the door and dove through it, leaving the brawl behind. A few seconds later, Klanu smashed through a window, landing in the street next to his master. The two of them started down the road, looking for a different inn to stay the night. As they walked, a flyer caught Bryce's eye and he picked it up. A meeting with the mayor, followed by a trip into the forest to discover its secrets. Sounded like something to keep them out of trouble. Bryce smiled to himself and pocketed it. He looked up at the huge barbarian and the two of them nodded to one another, then continued walking, looking for a room for the night. Tomorrow they'd go see what the mayor had to say.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2005, 06:59:09 PM »
Well, that had been a surprise.
The paleskin had addressed the entire crowd, shouting tones of flattery and veiled insousiance, and Northerners, being Northerners, lapped it up like dogs, basking in underhanded praise like fan-lizards on a rock.
This albino had balls.
In Hashang's country, that sort of talk and flattery could be interpreted only one way- it was a challenge of sorts, an open invitation for those who could slice through his swarm of obfuscations. Hashang made straightaway surreptitiously for the inn which the man had entered, ignoring the stares of bigots and fear-mongers amongst the crowd, nose in the air in the manner of a true Southern noble.
The crowd parted unthinkingly for him.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2005, 07:13:51 PM »
Itascia glanced up, seeing the leader of the lynch mob. Her mouth and throat went dry. Gathering up her pack, she moved through the crowd...away from the man. Keeping her head down, hoping that she would lose him in the crowd.
Luck would have it, Itascia soon found herself passing by the woman in white. An overly eager adventurer moved forward, accidently knocking Itascia into the stranger. Itascia caught her balance quickly. Her pack lightly brushing the woman's sleeve. "Many apologies."
Not wanting to offend anyone today. Luckily nothing new found it's way into Itascia's pouches or pockets. She paused and glanced back towards the lynch mob leader, who now stood at the steps looking around. Looking for her. She was close enough for the woman in white to see the fresh bruising on her throat...no doubt caused by a noose. The skin was raw in a few places. Marred by dark bruising and reddish purple blotches. Not a pretty sight. At least Itascia got most , if not all, of the rope fiber out of the spots where it had dug in the deepest. Her eyes bore the markings of someone who had been hanged..even briefly. The whites of her eyes were more red. Caused by the tiny capillaries in her eyes rupturing slightly do to the tightness of the noose cutting off circulation as well as oxygen.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2005, 10:59:01 PM »
Mirani laughed quietly to herself as the albino addressed the crowd.  So, that was the one who would be the leader.  Interesting.  Well, at the very least she would liven things up.
Someone bumped into her.  The boy, the one she had seen earlier.  A closer look showed the ugly bruises around his throat.  So, this one had been a victim of the lynch mob, if only temporarily.  "Many apologies."
"I have some things that should help with that, if you would like it."  She was always soft spoken, and anyone else wouldn't be heard over the crowd, but she had a knack of making herself heard.
There was that unpleasant fellow with the lynch mob again, scanning the crowd.  His gaze passed over her twice before he noticed the boy.  Then he saw him, and Mirani could tell he was furious.  He took two steps towards them.  Then Mirani put her arm around the boy, and looked up at the man, with no visible change of expression.  It was most amusing.  All of the color went totally out of his face, and he turned around quickly and went the other direction.
Oh yes, she would definitely have to see to him.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2005, 01:18:28 PM »
Itascia's eyes went wide as she saw the lynch mob leader spot her again. Even more surprised when she felt the woman's arm around her and watching the mob leader's skin pale.
Her throat a bit coarse and raspy still. "Th..thank you." Glancing to the woman. The rasp made her sound like a male, and the occasionly cracking in it suggested a teenaged boy. Not a full grown woman.
She waited til the mob leader was gone from sight. Absently she reached up to rub her throat. Slender fingers feeling the roughed skin. Wincing slightly. The herbs she had werent really helping. "Some relief would be welcomed."
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2005, 10:05:32 AM »
The dove caught flight, startled by a rock which came crashing through the bushes in which it fed. With frantic intensity the bird flapped its wings, its instincts guiding it away from potential predators, past the branches of the pines and over a huge moss covered boulder. Skyward it rose and sensed naught of the lone figure hiding behind the boulder it had just passed. Crouching behind the boulder, Aurakh took aim, firmly gripping his composite bow in his left palm and holding a flight arrow notched with his right. Just as the dove reached the top of the pine, Aurakh released the arrow; moments later the skewered bird fell to the ground.

Aurakh plucked the bird with practiced ease. It was the third dove he had killed today; between the doves and the berries and roots he had foraged, he would eat well tonight. He hummed a tune while he plucked the feathers; he was happy here, in the coniferous forest south of Cuedrim.

Alas it shan’t last. For the Mayor has issued a call to would be heroes and I must return to the filth they call civilization.

The meal had tasted well; fowl was his personal favourite. He quickly covered the fireplace with dirt and hung the remaining two doves from his belt. The pouches with berries and roots were tucked into the sling bag and he arose, ready to return to where he currently lived; a place he would never call home.

******
Aurakh stood motionless in the shadows cast by the mayor’s building, watching the teeming masses of humanity. The plainsmen liked being herded into mud-pits such as this; it was what they called civilization; sick whores coughing and reeking of the wasting disease, greedy merchants hawking their over priced and low quality wares, street urchins pick-pocketing the unawares. Aurakh laughed without sound. Not at the masses, he laughed derisively at himself; for during the last 15 years he had slept with sickened whores such as these, eaten the filth they called food and fought to preserve what they so desperately clung to; each and every acre of this pigsty had been protected by his efforts and by his friends, now slain and forgotten. He was every bit a part of these lands now, as were those he despised; for he had been forbidden from returning to the forest of Yarang, by decree of his father; he was outcast.

As I have been for the last decade and a half! I have deserved the exile, for my actions are against everything the Yarang believe in. Still if I can redeem myself, prove my worth and carve myself a place in the legends…

Then came the rain and Aurakh looked skyward, letting it run down his face. He knew it couldn’t cleanse him, but he liked the thought. Liked how the cold water soaked his clothing and how it chased the townsfolk into their buildings, leaving the outdoors for him alone.

Soon I will enter the forest. Albeit with a group of warriors and mercenaries, but those I have fought alongside before, if not in person, then with those of the same spirit. It is another thing entirely, an honourable existence, unlike this depraved way of being. The forest is a sanctum, a sacred place. I will rather face it's beasts and perils, than waste away in this place.

Aurakh crouched and picked up a stone from the soaked ground. He played with it, letting his fingers caress the smooth surface. It was as close to affection as he ever came these days. He had been in Cuedrim for only a couple of days, still nothing distinguished it from other villages and towns. They were always the same.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2005, 09:19:55 PM »
Mirani led the boy to the small inn where she was staying, then busied herself preparing various remedies.  This was for the sore throat, that was for the bruises and muscle aches, etc.  "It will take some time to truly heal.  But at least that should help."  At some point while she had been busy, it had started to rain.
"How did you come to run afoul of that idiot and his rope?  More to the point, why aren't you dead?"
Small talk.  She really didn't care either way.  And soon, it would be time to meet the mayor, to meet the people who might could help her conquer that forest.
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« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2005, 10:35:35 PM »
Itascia showed the woman her wrists. The bandages soaked through with crimson. "I was lucky the rope didnt snap my neck. He was pleased by the idea of watching me strangle to death. Someone came..scaring them away and I managed to get my hands free."
Itascia stopped. All that talking caused her throat to ache a bit more. As a doctor Mirani would notice something very important missing. The bruised and raw throat lacked the Adams Apple.
Itascia watched the woman prepare some remedies. "Thank you." Her attention shifting to the rain outside.
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2005, 07:08:45 PM »
Some ten minutes before midday, from out of the mayors quarters came the same, carrot-haired, large man which Coram addressed previously. The mayors assistant gave a faint glance upward to the sky, studying the dying shower from the puff of cloud above them - rain rarely came in large amounts in Cuedrim - let alone all of Terenis - and the sun could already be seen glinting through a patch. Finally, the man moved once more, walking down from the building and entering the small crowd of adventurers.
Still standing in the shadows, Aurakh would notice the greasy, carrot-topped man moving between each group of would-be adventurers, saying several words then moving onwards. After moving between several groups, the assistant glanced back to the mayors building, and widened his eyes at Aurakh, still half-concealed within those shadows. He had not seen the man, hidden there, and had almost missed him altogether. As such, the assistant headed back to him, offering a faint nod of idle acknowledgement before speaking in a rough voice, "The mayor would like any who are interested in his offer of entering the forest, to enter into his lodgings and wait in the first right-hand room. He will be in there to address you shortly." His duty done with Aurakh, the large man turns and continues on to the other groups. Aurakh notices that once the assistant had completed his rounds in the main square, he walked off to the first of the two main taverns in Cuedrim, to share the news with any other potential 'heros'.

The first to enter the waiting room of the Mayor will notice it to be faily large. Eighteen comfortable, cushioned seats are placed in a semicircular pattern around one side of a large, intricately designed rectangular table, made of a dark, foreign wood. Adorned upon the walls are several pictures - none are portraits of the mayor - suggesting a humble nature - and are instead landscapes of unhead-of places - Of deep chasms and rolling hills - even one image of the consumed mountain ranges of Ghak'thraul to the north of the continent.
On the other side of the table, a single chair is placed, obviously for use of the mayor to speak to everyone. Behind that chair, and facing the eighteen, is a most curious contraption, 'ticking' periodically in the silence of the room. The gadget is some two meters tall and made of wood. Near the top of the object is a circular, glass window, and just behind that window are two small 'arms', spearing out from the centre of a circle. The longer, thinner spear is pointing almost directly upwards at one of the five opaque dots imprinted on the glass, and the shorter, thicker spear is pointed somewhere inbetween the bottom-left and top-left two dots.
Several of the adventurers may know this object for what it is - called a 'clock', it is a method of accurately determining time. The longer shows what time in the day it is, and the shorter hand measures whereabouts within the five days they are - Days Thryn, Cairn, Murinaul, Syx, Faur. Such devices are quite rare, as it takes a skilled engineer to craft it and tune it correctly.

For all of the 'great adventurers' outside, nobody has yet entered, and those empty chairs await the first true brave person to arrive.



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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2005, 10:26:05 PM »
Hashang was the first to arrive. Expedience was necessary, especially in matters of importance.
Hashang was struck by the cluttered and dark appearance of the chambers of the Northerner buildings, not at all like the airy structures of his homeland. Even the mayor's dwelling was close and cluttered, and sweltering with trapped heat. Inefficient, unclean.
Oh well. There was nothing Hashang could do about it. He entered the audience chamber, but did not sit. Instead, he stood in the back of the chamber, and silently recorded the details in his mind. Particularly of interest was the contraption of wood and glass which sounded irritatingly in the back of the chamber. Hashang did not understand the purpose of it, nor could he discern the meaning of its "arms"; he would have to look into it.
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« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2005, 05:00:10 AM »
Having finished my early lunch, I washed my hands and face, and went to check up on Rowan before meeting with the mayor. I felt slightly guilty for eating first and making sure that my companion is safe later, but I was ravenous. Still, Rowan would understand that. She has been carrying me around for seven years, and knew me better than I do.

I surprised the stableboy, leaning against a broom, soundly asleep, the stables around him in a less than perfect state. I patted him on his shoulder, and told him, rather kindly: "You would not want to have a bedroll this dirty, would you? Then, don't let the horses languish in such filth, either."

Walking up to Rowan, I whickered silently to attract her attention. I nuzzled her tenderly and buried my fingers in her mane, so long and silken it was it made me almost envious. I'd give alot to have hair of such a wonderful steel-blue shade of black. Then, I explained her that soon, I would return. While she would not understand all words, the tone of my voice carried the message: delight in her company, sorrow because of the parting, joy in the future because of a new meeting, sincere care.
I placed a kiss on her nose, filled her manger with oat, for she would need a lot of strength in the days ahead, and parted with another whicker.

The time of my meeting with the mayor drawing near, I bought a chunk of cheese as not to starve, and noticed the mayor's bouncer (assistant) amongst the assembled adventurers, most probably inviting them in. I'd not waste time - as I heard him say: "...first right-hand room..." I did not hesitate any longer, and entered the mayor's dwelling. On the way there, I wondered how many of the would-be adventurers would end up in the room opposite to the chamber intended for the meeting, not knowing which of their hands was the right.

As I entered the well-furnished room, I noticed another colleague already there - to be honest, he was hard to overlook, a large man with a commanding presence, certainly not used to take orders, brooding, with a tempestuous spirit behind his equally stormy eyes. The shining breastplate did not make him any more inconspicious, and neither did his bronzed skin tone.

I sat down, leaving a chair between us, and proceeded to cut off pieces of my smoked cheese, and chewed at them absent-mindedly.
Then, I turned to him, a hint of a smile in my face, cutting off a slice of the cheese-loaf. "Care for some greasy cheese while we wait?"
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[Terenis] Foreboding Forest
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2005, 12:41:50 PM »
Hashang considered the man closely, looking hawk-like in nose and eye. It was the very pale one who had offered the crowd that bold challenge. He once again repeated his habit, examining the white face's details closely, seeming careful and hesitant.
"Ah, no. I have had- what is the word... many? No, enough cheese for this day. Those who I traveled with were liberal in their dispensation of such. But I thank you for the offering. As we say in my land, 'the timid offer complements, the bold offer gifts'."
There was a momentary pause.
"If I may, ah, enquire- what do you intend to discover within this forest?"
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« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2005, 05:38:42 PM »
Aurakh stood silent, letting the last drops of rain fall on his face. The mayor’s assistant had addressed him, yet he was in no hurry. He saw several among the crowd discuss the assistant’s offer and two had already entered the mansion. Absent minded he let the smooth stone fall to the ground and used his wet hands to roughly comb his hair. Then he proceeded to spit in his palms and wipe his face clean of grime and mud. He used his trousers as a towel to wipe his hands and repeated the procedure until his face was nearly mud free.

Time has come for me to enter the building and lend my services to the group gathering therein. The forest of darkness has challenged us all and we must reply, or else the spirits will think us weak. No man of Yarang is afraid of the forest spirits, yet I am alone. I need these men, so I can find the Kaghora tree and carve from its wood a Kaghora Spirit Medallion. How I long to watch my father’s face when I return with the Kaghora of the dark wood, they have to respect the ancient traditions, they cannot deny me that. No one can be denied that, not even I.

 He entered the Mayor’s building and turned right; entering the meeting hall. Another plainsman contraption stood behind the lone chair that undoubtedly belonged to the mayor of Cuedrim. The two men he saw entering earlier was here, discussing cheese and the forest. With a nod of acknowledgement he strode towards a chair and sat down. He gave the men a cursory glance, and did not study their faces, as it was considered rude among the Yarang.

So a perfumed southerner and a pale boy will be my companions. If their skills are as exotic as their looks, I am sure this will prove to be an interesting journey.

“I am Aurakh of the Yarang; a forester and a tracker” he said with a raw voice. It had been long since he last spoke, so he coughed several times after he spoke. He had to clear his throat.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2005, 12:08:01 AM »
Mirani was intrigued.  Clearly something was odd about this... boy, if boy it was.  But it could wait.  It was time to meet the mayor, and the others who might brave the forest.
"I must go to the mayor's gathering.  If you are going to dare the forest, then I suggest you come as well."
Without staying to see if the "boy" would follow, she started for the mayor's residence.  Some were there already, and she found the room with a minimum of trouble.  She drifted in and silently took a seat, looking at the others.  Three thus far.  Well, there was some time.  Maybe there would be more.
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2005, 01:31:35 AM »
Itascia headed to the gathering shortly after the woman in white left. The herbs she had been given were doing well to sooth her throat.

She found a seat once she was inside. A nod being given to Mirani. Itascia leaned back in her seat. Not knowing how long they would have to wait before the Mayor would come and speak with them. The forest intrigued her.
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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2005, 08:54:35 AM »
I nodded to the newcomers, and then turned to the southerner. I had two reasons to be happy, first and foremost, he did not regard me as a kid, and let me tell you, it is a lot easier to deal with people if they at least consider what you say instead of brushing it aside as a teen's chatter. Second, as he denied my cheese, there was more left for me.
Then i replied to him: "Of course you may inquire - I am here to investigate the woods, judge the danger they pose, and take appropriate actions. This is my hunt." I examined his features, looking for a response, and, uncertain if he was familiar with Hunters, I continued: "Think of me as an idealist - I brave the darkness, so that these simpletons may stand in the light, I keep them from the truth out there so that they may pursue their simple and innocent goals."
Oh Gods, how experienced and world-weary my speech sounded. Good so. I might as well leave the impression that I've been through something. Except for my training, that is.
Slightly nervous, I fastened the belts on my clothes, as if they could ward off the eyes of the adventurers in the room with me. I chastised myself for this, and forced myself to look at the southerner again. "As many people there are, so many motives exist: what do you hope to find in the woods?" Then, I decided to make the first step to get acquaitaned - for, comparing him to the crowd out there, the stranger stood out as more cultivated and able... good company. Perhaps. Certainly, he seemed too proud to stab me in the back. "They call me Coram. A pleasure to meet you."
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