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[Respite] - Factions

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Somewhere near the Gate

Darkness raised.  He tried to sit up, but found he could not move.  He was not paralyzed, but he was trapped inside something - something metal.  It felt like a suit of armor, but unarticulated - down to his fingertips.  He couldn't see much either, though apparently there were holes he could breath through, and a little flickering light filtered in through those holes.   
"Awake I see" said a disembodied voice.  "Just as well - I was growing tired of waiting. Now my friend, or perhaps fiend, you will tell me about yourself. Why you bear the taint, and why I should not have your torso cracked like a walnut?" At that, Jhoric felt pressure on his chest - cold and unyielding.  It relaxed almost as quickly as it started.
"Take care in your response - falsehoods will be ... unfortunate."

Ionus looked with suprise as the fear crossed Rajani's face. Perhaps he was wrong...
"I mean one of the Art, my Lady.  Nothing more.  Is there something you wish to share?" - a pause. "No matter - you are free of Demontaint, and that is all we care about.  The Diabolic arts we have decided to ban forever. We shall not allow for the fate of our worlds to follow us here, and so we must probe all who enter, and be vigilant against any such magics.  We dug no further then to satisfy this need." He looked at her for a moment, before proceeding.

"Could you share with me the last happy moment you had in your world? I hear too much grimness lately, and would like at least one moment to reflect upon before I hear another tale of woe - all with the same ending."

Jhoric's eyes widened, he should have known this was going to happen. He would have to chooe his words carefully if he wanted to live.

"Please, I am no fiend. Though I may have been once, I no longer serve the forces of evil. However, I do possess some of it's boons still. You will not regret letting me live, I will do everything within my power to bring light to the darkness in my own way. Be merciful on my soul, let me try to cleanse it before it is sent to the after-life. I do not want to rot in the Abyss! Is saving a soul from Hell not enough reason to let a man live? I will cause no trouble, and shall help out where I can. This is my only chance to change things. I will be quiet now, and let you consider my fate. Ask any other questions you must, I will answer honestly as I have been."

He said all this very quickly. He took in a deep breath and tried to relax. He knew he should die, but something  changed in him when the demons came. He was different now, and he had to prove that.

Since the barkeep was obviously busy with some drunk, Toboran decided to keep his nose clean for at least the first day here. So he simply sat down away from the site of the...disagreement, and waited.

Dimi stood, all the five foot six of him, considered short even among his own people.  Holding up his cup, as if to toast the barkeep, or maybe just so that the man could, in fact, see that there was being a cup held out.  An ugly smile skewed his face, a patchwork of scars and more recent cuts and, as if to anchor it, a nose that wasn't so much a hook as a flattened wreck.

"Ahh, my friend; I've been a poor guest, and likely even poorer custom.  It's unfortunate, you see, but I personally feel like a visit to the healer would be in your best interests.  But here my friend, drink. Min Fudlek.."

--- Quote from: Pieh ---<Gah - ALREADY a bar fight.... >
--- End quote ---


Kou'rha lay prostrate on the cool earthen floor of the carved stone temple as his uncle Tenrir prepared the sacrifice at the stone altar.  Chanting the Old Words, he cut the throat of the dead hare and poured its blood upon the granite.  Kou'rha was still, honoring the fearsome glory of the gods.

After a few minutes, Tenrir finally rose.  Kou'rha stood and faced him, avoiding eye contact out of respect for the shaman.  "What do the spirits say?"

Tenrir's already aged and lined face furrowed more.  "You can not know," he said simply.  He peered at his nephew's face.  "You are worried."

Kou'rha bowed his head in assent.  "The Council meets tonight.  The Others have come close to the forests again."  Tenrir nodded almost absentmindedly.  It only worried Kou'rha more.  "Will there be war, uncle?"

The shaman raised an arm in uncertainty.  "I think that they are afraid, too.  They come from far away to cut the trees.  I think they might be hiding."

A low rumble came from Kou'rha's throat.  "From what?  Are they hunted?"  He growled lower.  "Will their hunters come here?"  His hand closed into a fist.  "I will protect our village, uncle.  I am hard like stone."

Tenrir clapped a hand on Kou'rha's shoulder, a small and sad smile on his almost lipless Alun mouth.  "There are somethings, Kou'rha, that are bigger and stronger than you.  Have you seen the Others?"

Kou'rha bowed again.  "Yes.  I do not fear them.  They are tall, but not as strong as Alun.  I can break their spears."

Tenrir grunted and slapped Kou'rha's temple lightly.  "Do not be so quick to anger!" he warned, jabbing his gnarled finger at Kou'rha's face.  "Earth is patient, and stone waits.  Slow your spirit."

Kou'rha frowned.  "I am sorry, uncle.  I only wish to protect our people."

Tenrir's wizened face softened.  He put his hands on Kou'rha's head and pressed their foreheads together as a sign of kinship.  "I know, Kou'rha.  You do very well, and you make Uorlhan the Stone-One proud.  And you make your uncle proud."

Kou'rha worried a little less.  But thoughts of the Council meeting and the Others still lingered.


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