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Author Topic: Back in the Day (Chapter I)  (Read 46476 times)

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Offline Dozus

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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #75 on: September 26, 2006, 09:19:33 PM »
"Not so fast, brother," Aerex said, sheating his rapier.  "We don't know for sure what kind of defenses they have.  This almanac was issued over a year ago, anything could have happened between now and then."  He rubbed the wide brim of his hat between his thumb and forefinger.  "Hm.  Maybe we need some more cover.  If this rain keeps up, there shouldn't be much of a moon out tonight.  Darkness would provide excellent cover.  Anyone object to a night strike?"

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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #76 on: September 26, 2006, 09:46:50 PM »
Looking up from the dirt, where he had been scribbling some figures, Dujek said, "I don't think the priest was suggesting that we attack them, only that we look at what's on the other side of that hillock, which I think is a extremely good idea.  You see, which night and the storm coming we're going to be at as much of a disadvantage as them, and right now we're in between two small mountains.  The king and his calvary could probably sneak up on us without us being any the wiser."  Grabbing his bag and cane Dujek jogged over to the overly zealous one, "I'm gonna go with him, if you guys want to wait here it's your choice."
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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #77 on: September 27, 2006, 12:13:59 AM »
Talia hadn't said much as she'd watched the others talk amongst themselves, merely waited until a few of the others had decided to investigate beyond the hillock.  Already she was forming opinions of them: the outlander, Muroz, he seemed like a dependable type.  The priest seemed a bit of a flake, but he wouldn't turn on them.  She wasn't too sure about the others yet.  It didn't matter all that much.

"If you're coming along, hush."  She eyed the hillock as they started towards it.  It was probably just paranoia.  But she had been ambushed enough recently, and she'd like to be on the giving end for a change.  She started looking for a way around the other side of the hill with some cover.
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Offline Dozus

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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #78 on: September 27, 2006, 12:22:05 AM »
Aerex furrowed his brow as he followed the small group.  "I've got a bad feeling about this," he muttered.  He pulled the bow from his backpack, stringed it with relative ease, and notched an arrow.  He treaded carefully over the brush, keeping an eye out for anything unusual.

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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #79 on: September 27, 2006, 12:28:12 AM »
Moruz pushed himself up to a stand using his Ouzala, and snatched the dagger out from the earth, shaking off the dirt stuck to it. As the rain got heavier, Moruz felt more restless. "I will come." He had waited long enough, and wanted to get into action. He felt naked without that circlet about his head. The warrior slung his Ouzala across his back and moved quickly but silently with the group.
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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #80 on: September 27, 2006, 12:07:20 PM »
Although the gully Aethelstan had spotted allowed them to draw nearer to the hillock without being obvious, the falling rain had filled it with nearly a foot of running water.  It was still the obvious choice for a stealthy approach, as the streamlet’s noise would mask any sounds the party made, so Aethelstan scrambled down the bank and into the storm’s runoff.  As he carefully picked his footing among the slick stones, he reflected that his sandals were largely ruined already, anyway.
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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #81 on: September 28, 2006, 12:25:45 PM »
In Nimz, it was dry. In places there was mud that some of the scholars said had been dry so long that it had turned to stone. He shook his hat again, trying to get some of the rain out of the fibres. It seemed futile, but after a few shakes, the shapeless louch hat did provide some better protection. It would have been better if he could wrap the piece of oilcloth he had around his head, but he saved that to keep his crossbow dry. Wet strings don't sing, or so the saying went.

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Being rather surefooted and stealthy, Vee found himself near the front of the line of people moving up the gulley. The footing would have been fine, but the foot of water running in the gulley made it all the more fun. He could feel the weight of his daggers, confortable against his side and his forearm, and the weight of the crossbow, the string pulled tight, all the more so. THe sound of the water made it impossible to tell if they were moving in on someone, but he strained his ears to listen for anything he could, and kept his eyes open for the faint flicker of fire's reflection in on the water.

(OOC - Mr. DM, Vee requests spot and listen checks)


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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #82 on: September 28, 2006, 04:14:22 PM »
Rain On Me...

OK,*some rolling involved* (some you requested, some you didn’t.)

--The rain came down in a merciless wall. Staying dry was no longer an option. The companions were all properly drenched, as they made their way cautiously, along the slowly filling gully. The mudwash cascaded down from both banks, and soon the footing became treacherous. Though they came at different angles, eventually all the companions reached a similar vantage point. The hillock itself proved a bit more daunting than it seemed from a distance, but the scene which greeted them on the other side of the hill, made them temporarily forget the difficult trek and pouring rain.

--Listening intently and taking in the scene around him, with his highly trained senses, Vee found it almost impossible to hear anything over the steady drone of the rain and splash of the gully. Suddenly, as Aethelstan stepped in and out of a watery patch ahead of him, Vee briefly spied something protruding from the gully floor. Extending his hand into the muck as he passed, he extracted what appeared to be a finger-thin, ten-inch long, ivory scroll-tube, sealed with wax at both ends. Though no mage, Vee had seen his share of scroll tubes in his profession. Scholars and Wizards were quite fond of them. Dujek noticed as well, and quickly made his way closer to Vee, as they sloshed on.

--Aethelstan was the first to gaze upon the scene, but within a few seconds everyone witnessed the same. Four naked human bodies, bloodless from the pouring rain, sprawled out within a dozen or so feet from one another, in the wet muck. It had looked like they were slain no longer than a few hours earlier, from the looks of their corpses. Two men, and two women, their bodies gashed and slashed by indeterminable weapons. A stench was in the air, not just one of death, but almost as if a smell of wet, dirty fur, permeated despite the cleansing downpour.

--Moruz did not yet look upon the dead bodies. Instead he focused on the lone standing figure, quite alive, among the corpses! A man, his back to the approaching companions, the rain cascading down his hood, was standing and staring at one of the corpses in silence. He was clad in drab, indistinguishable brown garb. A mace clung to his waist, and what appeared to be a crimson cape or robe was folded into a neat square and slung on his back. He slowly turned at the groups approach. The man was as surprised at the group, as they were at seeing him, and at first his expression was unreadable.

--As Talia looked on, the significance of the earlier crows murder did not escape her. The crows had not merely escaped the impending rain….they had been feeding. The telltale signs were there. All four corpses were missing their eyeballs and their plump lips were as well, torn off.

--Aerex cast an investigators eye upon the scene. He first confirmed to himself that the heinous murders must have been committed a mere hour ago at most. Secondly, the slaughter was complete. He could tell by the wounds, that the force used was needlessly excessive.

--Somewhat hidden, at the opposite end of a steep, rocky hillside was a dark hollow, an opening a dozen feet wide tapering to an equal height. Only thirty feet from the scene of the slaughter and the standing stranger, the granite walls of the cave mouth glistened in the rain. Gravel seemingly littered the entrance, and despite the downpour, additional dripping water could be heard within, as well as the sound of insects buzzing in the cave’s haven. A rough, tunnel descended from the surface into the darkness.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2006, 04:48:58 PM by Murometz »
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Offline Dozus

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Re: An Age of Heroes (Back In The Day)
« Reply #83 on: September 28, 2006, 04:33:24 PM »
Aerex gave a low, grim sigh.  Murder was not uncommon in the capitol, but the stench of fresh blood and the sight of mutilated bodies rarely got any easier.  He looked up at the cloaked figure, either the perpatrator or the only survivor.  Something about him leaned toward the latter, but he kept his grip on the bow and arrow anyway.  "What happened?" he asked simply.

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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #84 on: September 28, 2006, 05:10:18 PM »
“Holy Andur’s Teeth!” gasped the mud-encrusted cleric as he gaped in horror at the hellish scene before him.  His gorge rose as he witnessed the cruelly slain bodies, but he was able to force his stomach to calm by focusing on the ominous figure in their midst.  The man didn’t appear to be their killer, as he appeared to be carrying only a mace.  Aethelstan wanted to question him, but… the bodies, left for crows to pick at their eyes… 

He could tell that he was on the ragged edge of hysteria again, so, grasping his holy symbol, he began to softly chant the Requiescat Prayer he had learned as a boy, the familiar words of petition for the souls of the deceased, quietly reciting the familiar words of the archaic prayer until he was calm again.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #85 on: September 28, 2006, 06:38:29 PM »
Glancing at the bodies with an almost clinical eye Dujek decided that they're weren't the only thing causing the smells around here.  They weren't dead but three hours at the most, yet the air still stunk as if they'd been there for a while longer.  Cussing lightly under his breath Dujek started searching aound with his mind for any spells, recent or otherwise, that might have been cast by either this lot or their attackers.

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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #86 on: September 28, 2006, 10:00:31 PM »
Moruz remained unfazed by the sight of the corpses - he had seen complete fields of death, the aftermath of war - and four corpses had little effect.
He did not like this situation, however: The man before them had already seen the group, and if he were to run for reinforcements, he wasn't sure if any of the party could gain on him. Still, Moruz snatched the glass dagger from his side and tensed to charge forward.

"What happened?" Moruz heard the voice of Aerex through the rain - the glass warrior had not considered the newcomer's innocence: standing over freshly slain corpses. But now he relaxed his muscles and awaited the answer to the investigators question.
Now that he was more rational, he took in the scene in a new light. The excessive nature of the corpses wounds... The fact that one man armed with a mace should not be able to mutilate four people like this without wounds of his own... And that smell! It reminded him awfully of the fierce, predatory desert cats which prowled his homelands at night... Hmm.
Moruz slipped his dagger back to his side and instead unslung the Ouzala from his back. He was tense one again, but his focus was not on the man before them, anymore. His gaze peered around the scenery intensly, trying to study for any danger behind the rain. Finally, his eyes rested on that semi-hidden cave.
"Keep a sharp eye..." He uttered softly to the rest of the party - he had a nagging feeling that this scene was going to get uglier.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #87 on: September 28, 2006, 11:57:02 PM »
Talia closed her eyes briefly.  It was possible that someone else was to blame, but the carnage reminded her too much of what had happened to her caravan.  She dismissed the stranger as the killer after a glance; it was unlikely he could have done all of this.  In fact, it was unlikely that he'd had anything to do with this group; probably he'd seen the same crows she had and reached a similar conclusion.  But something had to have done this, and maybe the rain hadn't washed away all the traces just yet.  She estimated it would have taken a fair number of men to do this, and that smell...

She started looking around, hoping that the muddy ground would still hold traces. 

(OOC: Tracking check, please, Mr. DM.  And does Talia recognize the smell as perhaps wet gnoll?)
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #88 on: September 29, 2006, 12:38:30 AM »
A sigh broke the aura of silence hanging about Tristan, and his nose twitched at the memory of the rancid smell that came from the cave he had found after searching the area for signs of the perpetrators of this massacre. Quite obviously he had found what Brother Michael had asked him to find. Now all he had to do was handle it, not the easiest of tasks. Perhaps a group of others would be useful. A cry of shock and horror from an overlooking hillock snapped Tristan out of his contemplation, and he looked up to see who, or what, it was.

Responding to the first non-horrified words, an inquiry into what had happened, the Crimson Priest gave a simple answer. "Gnolls. I've been hunting them for ten days now." Thank Trigu! Perhaps now I can complete this task and find some shelter. This weather is getting worse and worse...
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #89 on: September 29, 2006, 10:15:42 AM »
Deftly sliding the scroll case into his vest, Vee held the crossbow on the stranger until he spoke, mentioning wet gnolls. "So that is what that aweful smell is," he said in an attempt to cover his discomfort. Killing alien looking xaren was one thing, but finding the bodies of dead people was something else. He refused to look down at the bodies, as he was sure that at least one of the women had been fairly nice to look at before her insides were hacked open.

There was another bit of loot in his pocket, he was soaked to the bone, and the sight of the dead bodies would likely haunt him for a very long time. "How about we all take a bit of shelter in the cave. I've got a bottle of something red, maybe we could coax out a fire and try to get dry."


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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #90 on: September 29, 2006, 11:58:21 AM »
--gnolls...Talia knew before the stranger said the word, but now that the priest had announced it, the group took more notice of the awful stench. The rain was not abating, and worse, it was now getting dark. In a few more minutes, night would fall.

--Aethelstan's prayer seemed surreal, as he chanted over the dead bodies. Let them have the salvation in death, they did not have in life, he thought. The others stood around listening to the melancholy requiem in relative silence.

--Vee seemed disinterested in the dead, and was eyeing the cave entrance.

--Few heard Dujek's archaic whispers, as they listened to Aethelstan's sermon. The self-styled necromancer, muttered some words, in a language no one understood under his breath, and waved his bony fingers around casually. What transpired no one knew, but suddenly, Dujek was staring and approaching Vee, seemingly drawn to him for some reason. Keykold gave Dujek a strange look.

<<<<magic is coming off Vee Keykold, Dujek. Two items seem to generate a magical aura as you survey the scene, with your detect magic radius spell. Though both items are hidden on Vee's person.>>>>

--Talia inspected the bodies, quietly and efficiently. The only thing she noticed was that one of the naked corpses was covered in strange blue swirls and sigils. A wizard or witch she thought mayhaps. Tracks were not noticeable due to all the rain and mud, but she didnt need to see tracks to surmise what had happened, as she glanced menacingly toward the dark cave mouth.

--Aerex was speaking to the priest in hushed tones. He had identified himself as Tristan of Trigu, and Aerex soon realized this was a potential ally.

--Moruz stood silent, his eyes scanning the darkening scene. He threw a glance at the cave as well, and thought for a second he had heard something, despite the drone of the rain...something he couldnt identify. A guttural noise of sorts.

--In a few moments, as the group quietly debated their options, everyone could hear something coming from the cave mouth. It sounded if there was some conversation, punctuated by some low growls and almost imperceptible yelps. Whatever was coming was seemingly drawing closer. The smell of gnoll was stronger now.

--It was dark now. Night had fallen.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 12:10:27 PM by Murometz »
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #91 on: September 29, 2006, 12:38:35 PM »
One of the things that a rogue learns to survive is when someone is giving him the eye, and though Vee was still considered a neophyte adventurer-upon-return it wasnt hard for him to notice Dujek giving him a steady look. Vee was conscious of the newfound items he carried and was suddenly struck by a quite rational fear. sometimes there were magic items found in K'tonian caches, and many of them were unstable, weapons and such that defied K'tonian logic. They were cursed and every apprentice archeologist and artificer knew the stories about some master or luckless apprentice being hideously slain by some magic item, or disembowled by a K'tonian scythe device.

Vee looked back towards the cave, anxious to be away from the bodies. Tending the dead was something that the clerics and priests did, and something he avoided. Vee gestured for Dujek to follow him towards the mouth of the cave. It would be nice to get out of the downpour but he wasnt keen on galloping off into a black hole in the earth. There were plenty of stories about those as well back in Nimz. He took the blueish opal and the scroll case out of his vest and showed them to Dujek. "What do you think of these? The stone came off of a Xaran's corpse and I just found this scroll in the muck...I guess it belonged to one of them..."


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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #92 on: September 29, 2006, 01:35:05 PM »
The only actions Moruz performed on the bodies was ritualistically placing a pair of small, mirrored coins upon each of the corpses now-empty eye sockets. One of the cadavers' face was completely caved in, so he deigned from placing his coins on that one. The Dremorix was steely calm in the face of the corpses, but at the sound of the yelping, growling conversation in the cave, Moruz stood quickly. Strangely the man with the crossbow was walking towards the cave and motioning the strange, arcane-whispering man with him. "You! Can you not hear that?" he voiced in a forceful whisper and listened for another second or two before smiling grimly and indicating to the entire group, "Like the chameleon... Unseen!" With that he made his way for the nearest place of cover - a rather large Laurel tree - and hoped that the others would follow suit and find a place to disappear. The fact that the foul smell was getting stronger suggested to Moruz that they were upwind - besides, the rain should cover some of the scent. Moruz considered the group lucky that they could smell the unwashed creatures at all!
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #93 on: September 29, 2006, 04:03:27 PM »
Looking over the scroll Dujek didn't notice the sounds coming from the cave, but the whishpers from the glass-man, from Moruz, drew him back to reality with a start.  Handing the scroll back to Vee he muttered, "I think what I think can wait for now."

Dujek looked around for cover, and finally decided that putting Moruz between himself and the cave would have to do.  Hiding himself in a crevise he waited, watching the entrence of the cave with with bated breathe.

Hide check bossman, and that is one of my skillz.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #94 on: September 29, 2006, 05:12:54 PM »
His prayers for the dead interrupted, Aethelstan looked up at the ominous mouth of the cave.  The guttural growling and yelping from within suggested that the murderous beasts responsible for the carnage before him might emerge at any moment. 

Acting quickly, Aethelstan grabbed his scarlet prayer beads and hung them on one of the thorny scrub plants, where they danced in the winds of the storm, impossible to overlook.  “With a little luck, that’ll distract them from our hiding place until we can ambush them,” he thought as he retreated nearer his companions.

A large plant presented itself fortuitously as a hiding place, so he ducked among the vibrant growth’s branches; only to discover the shrub’s formidable thorns poking him anywhere he wasn’t armored.  Recalling the herbal lore that had been pounded into his skull while he was at the monastery, he identified it as Kortan’s Thorn, used as a stimulant.  “Well, it’s certainly stimulating ME!” he thought, as the thorns savaged his unprotected limbs.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #95 on: September 29, 2006, 06:51:25 PM »
Talia scanned the area.  There were ample hiding places, but she would actually prefer not to be on the ground.  The mud was sticky and would slow her down.  Finally, she decided on a low tree near where Moruz was hiding.  She swung up into the branches and climbed a bit farther up, making sure she was more or less hidden by the leaves.  One fan she tucked into her belt, the other she kept closed in her hand.  The element of surprise was always desirable, and it had been her experience that potential targets seldom looked up.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #96 on: September 29, 2006, 07:02:27 PM »
The fierce growls eminating from the cave distracted Aerex's attention from the priest.  He glanced around quickly, then jerked his head in the direction of a moderately-sized boulder.  He moved quickly behind it, keeping a close grip on the bow and the notched arrow.  The constable peered through the darkness and rain toward the cave.  Investigating the murders seemed no longer necessary: the brutes were apparently on their way.

[ooc: Hide check, if you will.]

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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #97 on: September 29, 2006, 07:38:52 PM »
Having been in the area for a longer period of time, Tristan had had more than enough time to consider what his actions would be in relation to the bararious acts of the gnolls that were inhabiting the cave just yards away. Night had fallen, and those he hunted were preparing to emerge; the newcomers hadn't had time to consider anything more than the here and now, and thus had decided to hide at the threat of the approaching gnolls. Ambush was well and good against the unnatural servants of darkness, but gnolls, though barbarious and wicked by nature, still deserved the chance to know who was going to slaughter them. Only the undead and demons truly deserved nothing but death.

Tristan walked over to a small hollow in the laurel tree that the Glass Fighter was hiding behind and placed his pack inside it. Looking the warrior over, he nodded to himself. Though he used strange weapons and armor, the desert man would be very useful against a band of furry monstrosities. All of the desert fighters were dangerous in combat, that much he had picked up from his studies in the Monestary, though for the life of him, he couldn't remember what in the world the people were called. O-something D-something. Once we're through here I'll need to ask him. A strange religion theirs is. Nodding to himself, he turned and walked back to the bodies, drawing the Star of Trigu in the air above each of them, two triangles, one pointing up, one pointing down. After four 6-pointed stars had been traced in midair, the brown-clad priest drew his mace and closed his eyes, preparing himself to fight those who would not hesitate to tear him and the others apart.

Oh Father, please give me the strength to do your will; not to seek revenge for these henious acts, but to protect those with me and those who will otherwise become their victims if I do nothing. His prayer finished, Tristan opened his eyes and steeled himself for what was to come.
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #98 on: September 29, 2006, 08:45:38 PM »
What emerged from the cave mouth was perhaps not what was expected by the 'Hidden' and by the bracing, vigilant Tristan. Nor did Vee, seeking to escape the rain, notice or hear before it was too late. He was positioned closest to the cave entrance now a mere twenty feet away.

"You were told not to slay travelers so close to the town." came the drum-like, monotonous voice of the first figure.

A dwarf, stout as a barrel, imposing though lacking in height, with a night-black beard, bare-chested, with twin, crossed hatchets tatooed in dark red across his torso, was addressing the creature behind him. As the dwarf emerged, two more identical hand-axes could be spotted etched on his back. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in each meaty hand he held steel throwing axes, and two more slightly larger hatchets could be seen slung on his waist. Even in the coming darkness his bearing was unmistakable. He looked like a merciless killer.

In responce to the dwarf's statement came a guttural, obscene sound, followed by a mewling, lamentable yelp, and the second and third figures emerged from the cave. The first was a monstrous, gangly gnoll, almost seven feet tall, despite its abnormal humpback. Covered in red fur, it clutched a bound smaller gnoll, in one muscular arm, and a wicked sickle in the other. The yelps came from this second gnoll, bound with rope like a mummy, and helpless, as the red gnoll dragged him out.

"Slay one of your own, and we shall return again as brothers." The dwarven baritone came again.

Without delay, the huge red gnoll disembowled the other, now screaming and still bound, gnoll in its grasp, with a cruelly curved sickle. The dying creature thrashed, spasming as it died, its dark blood mixing with the pouring rain. The gutted runt's awful shrieks suddenly began to subside, his maw filling with rainwater, gurgling his painful laments.

At this the taciturn, fearsome dwarf said. "It is done, Jervoe will--" He silenced himself and peered into the gloom. It was then he spotted the adventurer-upon-return and the justice-seeking Tristan, standing there in silent vigil.

The dwarf's face twisted into a cruel visage. He raised both axes, wordlessly, ready to throw. He was not one for 'parlay'.

The huge red-furred gnoll growled menacingly and extracted a bizarre weapon from its back. A tripartite rod, six feet long, seperated into three equal pieces, linked together by thin chain. Six feet of pliable iron and oak.

It was then Tristan realized it was no gnoll, but a rarer Flind, which now faced him down, its muzzle quivering and beginning to slaver, wielding its strange weapon of choice, the Flind Bar. Tristan had known a brother back in the abbey, who had taught the skill involved in wielding these rare weapon prizes.

Tristan also realized ruefully, that neither the fearsome dwarf nor the dangerous flind was bothered by the dark...and certainly not the rain. The stench grew greater in Tristan's nostrils. He hoped the smell of his own fear was not mingled with unmistakable odor of the flind and gnoll. He in fact had little time to 'fear', as the Flind bore down upon him.

--Axes flew from the dwarf's grasp and the Flind charged in rage. Vee was screwed and Tristan was next in line.

--waiting on Vee and the "Hidden". <<<<warning--Red Hatchet and the Flind are no joke--I did not anticipate Tristan simply confronting them  :P>>>>

« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 10:09:26 PM by Murometz »
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Re: Back in the Day (Chapter I)
« Reply #99 on: September 29, 2006, 09:15:44 PM »
Grasping a branch from the ground, Aethelstan quickly called forth light to illuminate the scene.  Throwing it at the dwarf, he called out in a stentorian tone, “Drop your weapons, brigand, ere my archers cut you down!”
"Nothing real can defeat us:  Nothing unreal exists."
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