Dark Skies, Shallow Graves (ConstructPylons and LVL1337N00B)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Voices of Nerat, Mar 28, 2014.

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    Clouds. Rain. Overcast skies. Dead trees, dying grass, old tombstones, a general feeling of unease in the air. Not the most upbeat of places, but there's a reason they called this place the 'Sorrow Fields'. Only a few centuries ago it had been the home of an entire race, but their neighbors saw fit to take their land and make it their own, slaughtering thousands and scattering the survivors to the wind. The conflict was long over however, the only remnants from the era being the mass graveyards that can be found throughout the area, casualties from both sides of the war. None of this was particularly relevant at the moment, however; it merely sets the stage for the story to come.

    In the small town of Memento, the capital of this sparsely populated place, a fresh faced man donning shining steel armor and a finely woven purple robe with gold trim, stood out like a store thumb among the cruddy stone huts and dirt covered peasants comprising this fair 'city'. Holding a great helm underneath his arm, he seemed to be speaking with the village elder, an ornery gent that always seemed to look as though he were displeased. At this very moment, he seemed even more agitated than usual.

    "They're terrorizin' us, don't you get it you whippersnapper?! We can't live like this!"

    "Calm down, sir, please. I am going to do what I can, but I would like to have all the information first. When did these attacks first start?"

    The old man tapped his cane impatiently on the ground, responding to the inquiry with more than a little bitterness in his voice. "Months ago... We sent for help back then, and your people are just now gettin' around to it... typical. Guess you church folks ain't as generous and helpful as you lead us 'commoners' on to be."

    Daron sighs, shaking his head. "I am sorry your pleas went unheeded until just now... But I promise I will do everything I can to help your people." The tone of his voice was so oddly sincere, a trait not many people possessed in this world. "But I need your cooperation, alright? Now please, just answer my questions..."
    #1 Voices of Nerat, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  2. Golden brown eyes stared out toward the dreary graveyard scene, the look in them near as empty as the scenery. He'd been still, so still for so long that the rare passerby would have seen him more than once, and would begin to wonder if the man was all there. Rain water rolled down the battered steel plate he wore and dampened his gold-lined white breechclout as well as the short, graying beard that his scarred face wore. It was cold, but he didn't mind it, harsh weather was something he had learned to endure long before, and this wasn't bad compared to some past settings.

    Somehow, his attention was called back into the real world by the displeased shouts of an old man. The platemail he wore shifted audibly as he turned toward the ruckus, and he caught sight of a familiar young man conversing with the elder of Memento. The corner of his lips twitched upward just slightly as he approached the two with the intent of finding out what business led one of the Holy Flame's most devout warriors to this little village. If Daron's task involved routing vile creatures, as often befitted a warrior of the cloth, he would offer his assistance in the matter.
    #2 LVL1337N00B, Mar 28, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
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  3. The elder sighed, deciding the most logical thing to do was relent and be helpful, putting aside his bitter feelings for the moment. "Fine sonny, fine... I'll tell you what I know." Daron nodded, graciously waiting for the elder to continue, who seemed to be taking a second to gather his thoughts.

    "It all began a few months ago, like I said. The fletcher's son, Timothy, must've seen a group of men coming into town. Being the friendly lad he was, he went out to greet the travelers... but they WEREN'T the friendly sort. They were the sort that liked to KILL nice boys like Timothy..." The elder paused a moment, hiding his face in his palm as he remembered the extensive details of the event.

    "If that wasn't enough, they slaughtered three more people before the guards killed 'em... Well, killed ain't the word, I think. You see, this wasn't just some band of marauding brigands, these men were DEAD. But at they same time, they weren't. Their skin was gray and blotchy, they had cold, lifeless eyes, and some of 'em were even missing limbs! But they were still walkin' like death itself hadn't worked up the courage to break the news to 'em."

    Daron's blue eyes went wide, this new development sending a chill running down his spine. "Necromancy..." he spoke, his voice a faint whisper.

    "Has ta' be! And yet the 'knight captain' over in Lorholme brushed us off as ignorant yokels! Said they were probably just bandits and it was nothin' the men here couldn't handle!"

    Daron shook his head, looking down at his feet in disdain. "I am sorry they did not believe you... but now that I'm here, I'm going to get to the bottom of this. Tell me, was this the only attack you've suffered from the unliving?"

    The elder stomped his foot in the dirt, quickly growing agitated again. "There's been one every week, sometimes two! And they're gettin' worse, too! It's not always human dead folk... sometimes they're gnolls, or lizardmen... a couple of 'em were even stitched together from different parts!"
  4. Just as he'd expected, the young cleric's mission was to deal with the restless dead. Vile abominations he'd encountered more times in his work than he'd share for worry of instilling fear into the mind of the common man. To men like Daron however, this was like to be a more common problem. That said, even the most experienced slayer of corrupt beasts and men faced great danger challenging these dark creatures on his own.

    "I'd thought that was the foul stench of decaying flesh what wafted into my nose..", Reynard finally spoke as he'd come but a few feet from where the other two men conversed, his voice low and clear, his hatred for the foul beings evident as his eyes briefly narrowed. "Forgive my intrusion. I could not but overhear the situation.. ", he said with a nod toward the irritated elder, then stepped a bit closer to offer Daron his hand, "Alent. I would aid you in solving Memento's problem. Normally I would ask for a share of your fee before joining you, but somehow I've a feeling you've not taken payment."
    #4 LVL1337N00B, Mar 29, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
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  5. Wiping stray droplets of the drizzling rain from his face, the young cleric's eyes widened yet again, this time his surprise was pleasant as his gaze landed on an old friend that he had just now noticed approaching. "Reynard Barton... how fortunate to run into you here!" A smile spread across his lips, ignoring the elder of the two's simple gesture in favor of a more friendly one, steel clapping against steel as the perhaps overly chummy holy warrior embraced the demon hunter who was easily more than a head taller than him. He didn't take long to pull away, looking at the towering man with a glint of admiration in those blue peepers.

    Daron laughed at the older gent's comment, shaking his head. The man's mind was still as sharp as the last time they'd met, it seemed. "You know me too well, my friend. Indeed, there was no reward offered for this mission... but I need no incentive to help my fellow man. That's how it was in the early days of the order, that's how things should be now, don't you agree?"

    He turned his grinning face to the elder, but the crotchety old bastard didn't seem to share his youthful jubilence, nor did he seem particularly riveted by Daron's rambling; one could only hazard a guess why. The cleric's smile waned somewhat in face of such disdain, his thoughts returning back to their current unpleasant situation. "Ah, er... I'm getting a little off topic, sorry..." grimacing, his focus returned to Reynard, giving the more veteran of the two a slight nod.

    "I could definitely use your help... I've grown quite a bit since we last met, but I'm still nowhere near your level of expertise when it comes to martial prowess." There was a hint of reverence in his tone, the lad thinking back on when the two had first met at the cathedral in Hyr Reim... he had just been a mere acolyte then when he'd witnessed the venerable Reynard Barton take down three of the order's mostly highly regarded templars in what was supposed to be a friendly spar. "Not to mention your knowledge in this particular area. I may have been tutored under the grand chaplain, but you have actual field experience whereas the sphere of my knowledge comes from my studies and training."

    "Wait, now hold on a damn second... you're sayin' you ain't never fought these demons before? They sent a bloody greenhorn out here?!" The elder was positively fuming now, his already scrunched eyes narrowing even further, his face turning red from rage as he gripped his cane so hard that one might think those frail fingers might snap it in half.

    "E-Er, w-well, that's not entirely true, I've dealt with occult magics like this before, just... nothing on this scale, er, eheh..." Daron waved his arms in front of the wrinkly ancient, trying to dissuade his anger to little avail. "I'm going to fight this threat with all I have, you need not worry about that." His attempt to be reassuring seemed to just anger the elder even more, the volatile senior's face contorting with such unbridled rage that one might mistake his discomfort for a heart attack at this point.
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  6. The corners of Reynard's own mouth rose a bit as well when his younger embraced him, the expression appearing fairly natural despite the infrequency of its use. The larger armored figure brought an open steel-clad palm down on the back of the smaller, returning his friendly gesture with one of his own before they parted. "Might be they should, but the common man don't much care for the well-being of none but him and his own", the heavily armored warrior stated plainly, resting an elbow atop the quiver of bolts latched to his belt and hanging horizontally at his lower back, "You're one of a dying breed, lad."

    Reynard held a certain fondness for Daron similar to his own toward him, admiring the young cleric's kind and generous nature. He'd never seen him turn away one in need, just as well he'd often wondered if the boy held any potential for wrong-doing at all. In all his years, each place his work would take him he'd never met one other quite the same as him, and that was a shame.

    "You're still young. You've plenty time to go where I've gone, beyond even", he assured with a nod. One of his gauntleted hands rose to scratch at his bearded chin, "I'm eager to see how you've grown, and how you'll continue to grow."

    Reynard held silent while the oldest man spoke with the youngest, a brow raising with the irritation evident in the elder's tone and expression. You would think a man might be a little more grateful to the one come to take care of his problem, rather than complain of his inexperience. Was it not enough that this young man cared enough to aid him at all? Without intention to voice his annoyance he did let slip a snort, his face however quite blank save a somewhat narrowed gaze fixed on the old man.

    The weathered hunter shook his head, gesturing toward the villager with an open palm facing skyward as he spoke up, "If you've the coin I'd be glad to fetch a mercenary or two from the capitol if you don't think this lad is up to the task. I'd wager most capable sellswords would run you several hundred gold, standard. Like to be quite a bit more unless you know where to look, seeing as most folk aren't accustomed to dealing with abominations of this sort."
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  7. "That won't be possible. What little gold we make here usually goes straight to the fine lords and ladies in the big city. Isn't that right, grandfather?"

    A voice spoke from behind the group, light footsteps trodding in the moistened earth as a hooded figure made its way towards the gathering of men. The newcomer was clearly female from her voice as well as her build, stocky and muscular as she was there little question of that. The yet unnamed woman seemed to be donning quite an unusual set of protective gear, a set of makeshift armor composed of various pieces of old rusted steel strapped with leather to protect vital areas such as the chest, back, elbows, knees and shoulders. Underneath that hodgepodge of shrapnel was a full set of copper chainmail, covering the simple tunic and leggings she must've worn during her off hours when she wasn't protecting the village with that weathered spear she was wielding or that shortsword held in the scabbard at her belt. Striking green eyes scanned over the two warriors curiously, having never seen these men before now.

    There was a long moment of silence while she sized the two of them up, but eventually she pulled back her hood to reveal a pretty, if not a tad dirt-stained freckled face behind that garment, long red hair tied back in a ponytail falling over her shoulder as she did so. Sticking the blunt end of her spear in the ground, she folded her arms, tilting her head at the two, giving a quick glance to the withered old bastard she had called grandfather, before looking back.

    "So the two of you are going to take care of our undead problem then? If you're short on hands, I'll be glad to help you. Only pay I'll need is knowin' my hometown will be safe again after we do this." She pounded a fist to her chest, bowing her head in the traditional salute of the Reim military... not that she was actually a part of the military, it seemed; she'd have a much more serviceable set of equipment if that were the case, at least.

    Daron had been watching her in silent awe this whole time, taken aback by someone of such natural beauty in such a desolate place. The romantic side of him wanted to hearken her to a single rose in a field of countless thorny weeds... but he shook his head, clearing his mind of such foolish thoughts. Not only did he swear certain oaths, but he didn't even know this woman... why did his mind jump so quickly to such things? He'd chalk it up to the folly of youth and leave it at that, sighing inwardly at himself before taking a step in the woman's direction with the intent of extending a hand in greeting... however, a certain ornery goat preempted such a gesture, finding himself between the two with his eyes firmly locked on the redhead.

    "Olfina! Gods damn it, do you have any sense in your mind? It's bad enough I let you carry around that spear all day, but now you want to purposefully go and get yourself killed? I thought I raised you to be smarter than that, girl!" The elder seemed to be getting worked up again, shocker, though perhaps less intensely than he was with Daron. Picking up his cane, he tapped her on the head a few times in a rather condescending manner. "You need to stay in town and keep safe until this all blows over."

    A brow twitching, Olfina very calmly pushed the cane to the side, shaking her head. "Grandfather, we've been over this. There's not going to BE much of a town if we don't have able bodies to defend it. You've seen how many good men we lost over the past few months... If there's a chance to stop this madness, I'm going to take it." She sighed, eyes glazing over for a brief second as she reflected back on all the casualties they've suffered, all the funerals they've had to attend... she took ahold of her speak once more and gripped it tightly, her already strengthened resolve emboldened just that much more.

    Intending to thank her for offering her aid, Daron went to raise a hand, his lips nearly open before she cut him off. "And before you even ask, yes I know how to fight, and yes I know how to handle a weapon. I'm the best fighter in this town, just ask anyone." She gave the cleric a hard stare, as if she had been expecting him to assume she was weak based on her gender.

    Daron blinked, briefly stunned. "Er... you have me all wrong, miss. I merely wanted to thank you for offering to assist us. Aside from your assuredly formidable fighting skills, we could use someone that knows this area well... right, Reynard?" he offered the demon hunter a bright, albeit strained smile, as if silently asking the man to help.
    #7 Voices of Nerat, Mar 29, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
  8. With another audible shift of plate, the burliest of the three men turned to face the new arrival. A nicely muscled young woman clad in bits and pieces of metal and leather, obviously an improvised set of armor. You worked with what you had, a concept Reynard was familiar with from his earlier days as a simple mercenary. In an odd way, looking at this girl reminded him a bit of himself during his youth. He was maybe a bit less of a looker, he noted as she removed her hood, but he was reminded of his own beginnings.

    Once more Reynard kept silent while others spoke, silently examining the girl and considering her as she argued with her grandfather. While her makeshift armor wasn't quite as attractive as his own mail, it looked capable of doing its job about as well. Again thinking on his own youth, he'd assume a certain determination of her, perhaps one more intense with the prospect of exacting vengeance for those her village had lost. That sort of drive would prove useful in quelling the threat they were up against, whereas a less resolute warrior might abandon their quest when faced with a foe as relentless as the undead.

    Even with that however, he doubted this girl had any more experience with this sort of thing than his devout companion. Despite the village bordering a forest home to a number of witch doctors very likely still bearing a grudge toward the humans who drove them from their home.. As were most races, actually.. Memento managed to remain a mostly peaceful village, the appearance of risen dead a fairly new occurance. He'd have to watch after his party to some extent and in all honesty he was confident he could take on this task by himself, but having a few extra hands would resolve this problem a bit more swiftly as well as allow him the opportunity to watch as a younger generation grows and perhaps to pass on some of his own knowledge to contribute to that growth.

    Reynard nodded in response to his young friend's silent plea. "A guide would indeed simplify the job some, one familiar with the area is a welcome addition by my reckoning", he agreed with the young man, maneuvering past the old man standing between Daron and the girl. "I'd advise caution if you do join us in combat, though", he'd meet her eyes, his tone deathly serious as he went on, "The undead are unlike any mortal man. They do not know fear and pain does not slow them. These creatures are abominations driven by an unending hunger, and though simple are able to overpower most with ease if allowed the opportunity. If you're not careful, might be you they're feasting on next."

    "This in mind, are you still so eager to join us, lass?", the seasoned demon hunter offered the chance to back out, though he offered his hand as though expecting she'd not be deterred by his warning.
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  9. Olfina's eyes glanced down to the burly hunter's gauntleted hand that had been outstretched to her, her gaze traveling upwards to lock with the stout man's eyes, undaunted by his warnings. "You don't have to tell me about the undead, old man. I've learned quite a lot about them these last few months." Despite her tone, the corners of her mouth curl into a thin smile, her comparatively small hand accepting Reynard's gesture with a brief shake, then pulling away. "I'm with you, both of you." She shot another glance over at Daron, who bore a bright smile of his own. Her face shifted, but she quickly turned her head away before the cleric could make a guess on what might've been going through her mind.

    Daron looked to his mentor, giving the seasoned hunter an appreciative nod before returning his focus to Olfina. He was about to speak up, but yet again, he was interrupted by the elder, who had seemingly grown to accept his kin's decision, having deflated quite visibly. "If you feel this is what must be done, my dear Olfina... there's no way I can stop ya. Gods know I've never been able to in the past." The shriveled ancient sighed, his breathing quite labored. He looked up to his beloved granddaughter, giving her a defeated nod of his balding head.

    The redhead bit her lip, her expression softening somewhat. Resting her hands on both of the geezer's shoulders, she pulled him in close for a tight hug. "You worry too much, grandpa. I can take care of myself. You know I'll still be kickin' until I'm as old and wrinkled as you, even longer."

    The elder chuckled, taking what most might consider an insult as a compliment. His frail arms returned the loving embrace, wrapping around her shoulders as tears formed in the corners of his eyes. "You're all I have left, my dear... how could I not worry about you?"

    The two didn't linger for long, perhaps deeming that this was starting to get a little too emotional for either of them. Wiping his eyes, the geezer let out a quick sigh and recomposed himself. "You'll do me proud, my dear I just know it. However... the three of you, as good as you might be, just might not be enough. If you lot insist on going on this crazy mission, then you should take at least another." The elder paused a moment, resting both hands on the top of his cane, then continued. "I have one lad in mind... he's a relative newcomer in these parts, though he's been here since before the attacks started."

    Daron tilted his head curiously, his plate armor shifting ever so slightly as he turned to look at the old man. "Who is this man you speak of?" Olfina, on the other hand, already seemed to know whom her father's father was referring to, hiding her face in her palm and shaking her head. "Oh gods no... I hope he's not thinking of that fool..." The cleric gave Olfina a sidelong glance, curiosity further piqued by her reaction, but his eyes quickly went back to the elder when he began speaking again.

    "His name's Nathaniel, been livin' at the Rickety Gallows Inn for near half a year now. He's a good lad, despite what Olfina might tell ya, just a bit clumsy... more than that though, he's special. I don't mean in the head, I mean he's got magic coming out of the wazoo. Must be why he wears those fancy robes and all..." the elder shrugged, clearly not one that was well versed in the realm of the supernatural. "Either way, you should give him a shot. Lad could prove useful."

    While Olfina just rolled her eyes, Daron looked to Reynard with a brow raised, scratching his chin in thought. "A mage? Hmm... not exactly a common sight in these parts. What do you think, Reynard? Should we look into it?" The cleric decided he'd defer to the demon hunter's judgement, what with him probably having dealt with a scenario like this a hundred times before. "If he could summon fire to burn these living corpses, or something like that... it might be useful, right?"
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  10. Hearing the concern in the old man's voice, he understood. Reynard's eyes briefly reflected the same sort of feeling that he'd heard in the elder when he'd given up on convincing Olfina to stay behind, soon after shifting to something closer to anger. A low growl rumbled in his throat as he was reminded of the reason his carreer shifted, why he turned from pursuing average bounties to focus solely on hunting the demonic, undead, and any that might dabble in the dark arts associated with them.

    His fist unclenched and he exhaled silently, one hand raising to brush cold gray fingers along the tiny bristles atop his head. By this time they were done with their sentimental display and the old man had mentioned another who might accompany them, a mage by the name of Nathaniel. From the sounds of it he might be a handful to watch after, but he could prove to be a valuable ally all the same. Reynard had tangled with necromancers in the past, they'd been some of the most formidable foes he'd ever faced. Having someone along who could essentially fight fire with fire.. Perhaps even in the literal sense.. Would likely be a great help.

    When Daron turned to him to ask his opinion on the matter, Reynard had already decided he was in favor of seeking out this other fellow. "Might be a good idea", he said with a nod, then turned toward the elder. He'd started to simply ask directions, but instead approached him. "I wont make any promises I can't keep, but I will do what I can to keep your granddaughter safe", he assured the man, offering him his hand, "You have my word."
    #10 LVL1337N00B, Apr 1, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  11. The elder took Reynard's hand and shook it with a surprisingly strong grip for such a frail little guy, giving the second most senior of the group a toothy, sincere grin. "Thank ya. I don't know ya, but I can just tell you're a man of your word. You got that look about ya." Old grandpa had a pensive look about him, mulling something over in his mind before reaching down and unclasping a small pouch from his belt, resting it in Reynard's outstretched hand. "Take this with ya, too. It's not much, but should be enough to buy some supplies from the innkeeper. Yeah, Bertran runs a little shop too... should be able to get a few potions, lantern oil, whatever ya need. Tell him I sent ya, he'll give ya a discount. Hell, he should really give ya the stuff for free, seeing as how there won't be many customers if everyone in town is dead.... and I don't know from experience, but I doubt a bunch of zombies would make good patrons."

    Despite being rather reluctant, Olfina had already walked past the old fart and was beginning her way down the particular lifeless empty street they'd found themselves on, resting her lance over her shoulders casually as she walked. Either she was just impatient, or perhaps perhaps she just wanted to avoid anymore unbearably sappy moments between gramps and herself, it was unclear. "It's this way, I suppose. Come on, you two. Let's find that incompetent spellcaster and be on our merry way. This town ain't gonna save itself."

    Daron was all too eager to follow, shooting Reynard one last grin and the old man a respectful nod, then turning to go after her, fastening his great helm to a leather strap on his belt so as to be able to move his arms about more freely and trodding down the dirt road to catch up with the redhead. "She's right, there's no time to lose. No doubt Selros wants us to deal with this horrible undead matter posthaste. The Everlasting Light abhors such abominations, after all!"

    Olfina groaned, calling out back to Daron in a moderately irritated tone without actually turning back to face him. "I really hope you're not going to be giving sermons the whole time we're traveling together." His smile wavering, Daron let his grip on the prayer book in his bag loosen, sighing as he withdrew his hand. "Well... there goes that idea..."
    #11 Voices of Nerat, Apr 1, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
  12. "Appreciate it. This'll go a long way", he told the one person older than him in this little group, giving him a nod much the same as Daron before taking off after his youngers. They both seemed eager to begin this quest, which he reckoned was a good thing. He only hoped they weren't so overly excited about this job that they'd start making mistakes when the actual fighting started. Reynard had been that way fairly often in his youth, particularly after his first kill.

    A vampire, not a notably fearsome one, newly turned he'd guess. Rode that adrenaline high straight into a den of the bastards, barely made it out alive. Wound up having to get the sanguine curse purged and spent about a week laid up. Hated not doing anything for that long, still hates when he needs to even as he's starting to feel age catch up with him. Old bones could still be restless, it would seem.

    A low chuckle passed Reynard's lips as Olfina stopped his companion's preaching before it could really start. It had never really bothered him at all, but this amused him nonetheless. "If you aim to impress this lass, there's better ways to do it", he told the boy, clapping a hand down on his shoulder once he'd caught up with him, "Try complimenting her on skills in a bout once we start the fighting. Don't quote me on it, but I'm thinking she'll be the sort to enjoy the attention of a warrior more than the good word of a priest."
    #12 LVL1337N00B, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  13. His head hanging just a bit low, Daron took sidelong glance at his kind of mentor when the venerable demon hunter caught up to him. Without really thinking, he nodded at Reynard's suggestion, figuring he'd had more experience in this 'field' as well. "You really think so..?" A realization quickly dawned on the young cleric, eyes widening slightly he laughed nervously while avoiding eye contact. "W-Wait, what? Impress her, why would I want to do that? I, er, just always like having a chance to spread the good word, eh-eheh..." his chuckling didn't take long to morph into another sigh, knowing there was no way Reynard was going to believe him at this point, not after blundering out what he had.

    Could you blame him, though? The way things were back at the cathedral, he had very few chances to interact with the fairer sex; while most male acolytes became a part of the physical arm of the order, becoming clerics and templars that fight to rid the world of darkness and all that, the womenfolk were generally a part of the spiritual side, priestesses who spread the good word of Selros and taught the common people of his ways. Not to say there weren't men who became priests or women who became warriors of the light, but that's just how it had always been... and aside from mass the two sides never interacted much, the templars spending most of their time training in the courtyard while the priestesses learned what they could from the old texts.

    Having been lost in his thoughts for some time, Daron nearly walked straight into the stone hitching post outside the tavern. Startled by the sudden obstacle in his way, he halted with his face a few inches away from the cold slab. His gaze flew to the side just in time to see Olfina standing at the doorway and grinning at him, amused by his near blunder. Squinting his eyes, he returned the grin with reddened cheeks, embarrassed by his clumsiness. Shaking her head, her hand went to take ahold of the handle belonging to the heavy wooden door that barred their passage inwards.


    The interior of the Rickety Gallows Inn was less cheerful than one would hope from a tavern; dimly lit by hanging lanterns, the white stone (from which the building was crafted with) walls stained with dirt and what one would hope was ale, the wooden floors and counter top matching the unkempt decor of such. While the main room was mostly empty barring a few miserable looking patrons sitting at neglected oak tables, there was one particular corner where a group of grim looking soldiers sat in silence, idly sipping their mead.

    While they donned the standard light armor of the Reim military, (dome-shaped helmet, iron breastplate, leather boots, tabard and chainmail), their tabards, rather than being primarily blue and bearing the symbol of the crown, instead were dyed black and emblazoned with the sigil of Memento, a white tree with countless long winding branches that intertwined with one another.

    More noticeable than their armor were their various stages of injury, however, one bearing a bloody head bandage that covered his right eye while another seemed to have his arm in a sling, while the last was just covered head to toe in scars, some old and some new.

    The stillness of the tavern would swiftly be broken by the front door swinging open, bringing in what little light the overcast skies brought through, every patron looking up from their misery at the sudden commotion. Striding in confidently, Olfina let her spear rest on a nearby weapon rack, turning her attention to look around at the dismal setting, hands on her hips. "Well, you lot look as depressing as usual." There was a short moment of uncomfortable silence... then a sudden, unexpected uproar of laughter came from the people.

    "You're a sight for sore eyes, Olfina!" the heavily scarred soldier replied loudly, getting up from his seat and ambling his way on over. "Done tending to your grandpa's carrots and potatoes, then?" Grinning, the redhead closed the gap between herself and the guardsman, crossing her arms in feigned disapproval. "You know I haven't held a plow in months, Garent. Been too busy doin' the job you and your boys are supposed to be good at!" While a stranger might've taken that as an insult, the soldier laughed it off as a jest; it didn't take much to see that the two were good pals.

    "What brings you here then, love? Tired of waiting for me to pop the question so you're gonna do it instead?" Rolling her eyes, Olfina shook her head with a chuckle. "You would be so lucky. No, we're here for something else..." she motioned back to the doorway just as Daron walked through, looking about at his surroundings. Garent tilted his head to get a better look at the lad, still grinning he raised a brow. "Oh, I get it now. You like the pretty boys, eh? Well I'm glad you found yourself a man, at least." The grizzled soldier winked at Daron, who could only blink back at the accusation he'd cast, not realizing it was a joke. "W-What, no, we're not-"

    Cutting Daron off, Olfina scoffed, pushing on Garent's chest playfully, though the beaming smile never left her expression. "Well I'd consider any man who doesn't have a face like a butcher's block pretty when compared to you." Again, the insult only brought another roaring laugh from Garent, along with the two other soldiers who'd heard her. "But no, that's not why we're here. You seen that airhead of a mage around today? We need to talk with him."

    Garent scratched his chin, thinking it over for a moment. "Nathaniel? Nah, can't say I have. Bertran would probably know, he's always bossin' the poor lad around." Olfina looked back, calling out to Daron (and Reynard if he was present).

    "You hear that? Go talk to the innkeeper. I'm gonna have me a pint before we hit the road." Not giving them a chance to respond, both soldier and farmer's daughter clapped their arms around eachother's shoulders, cheerily finding their way back to the table where the other guardsmen sat to partake in a bit of much needed mirth the tavern had previously lacked.
    #13 Voices of Nerat, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  14. Again Reynard grinned as Daron tried to cover up his intention. The expression appeared genuine, but a bit strained. As said before, he wasn't so used to his face shifting in that way, being as he spent most of his time hunting on his own. One might think slaying demons and their ilk a satisfying job that'd leave a man with a sort of prideful feeling, knowing he'd done the world some good in ridding it of these dark beings, but the truth of it was that it could be a rather depressing job. Reynard suspected few knew how it felt to recognise one of those shambling corpses they'd been sent to put back in the dirt, or to slay a child overtaken by demonic possession. Being around other people was always refreshing, and seeing his young friend become flustered was amusing.

    Following the two inside, Reynard looked around the room once as if checking for threats before turning his attention toward Olfina and her apparent guardsmen buddies. When they'd mentioned the Innkeep he gave a nod and made his way to the bar, glancing back at his companion on the way. There stood a fellow just a bit taller than Daron with a remarkably shiny bald head, tending to his mugs with an old rag and mumbling to himself about some idiot boy, back toward the rest of the inn. Given Olfina's earlier description, one could probably make a guess at who the man was referring to. Reynard tapped on the surface of the bar once to get the keep's attention.

    "What can I do you for, boys? Wantin' a drink? Place to stay the night?", the innkeeper Bertran offered from behind the bar and a thick brown mustache that appeared very clean in comparison to the man's surroundings, hands pressed down on the bartop. Giving both men a look over, the somewhat potbellied inkeep's brows raised and a wide smile spread across his face.

    "I'd know them robes anywhere!", he exclaimed and moved from behind the bar to approach Daron, taking one of his gauntleted hands between the both of his and shaking firmly, "It's a great relief to see the Order's finally sent help. Ahh, it's like ol' Selros himself is smilin' down on Memento for a change!"

    "We've come to buy some supplies, and to ask assistance from someone named Nathaniel", Reynard explained, the inkeeper turning to face him with Daron's hand still firmly clutched between his as he continued, "We're told he's a spellcaster, someone like that could prove to be a real help, especially if we come across a necromancer whats likely the source of your town's problem."

    "Nathaniel? You want him?", Bertran asked with a brow raised, as if he couldn't imagine how he could be of much use, mage or no. Finally releasing Daron's hand, the man moved toward a rear passage and pulled the door open. "You boys make yourselves comfortable, help yourselves to a drink while I fetch the lad", Bertran said, offering the pair a smile before heading out.


    A bit later the inkeep made his return through the same door he'd exited, a second coming in behind him, a much more lithe fellow donning a rather damp, dark red cloak that bore a few tears and stains. Under that were loose-fitting beige trousers and a simple short-sleeved shirt of the same color, as well as brown leather boots and gloves. "Sorry for the wait, this fool was off setting fire to his boots instead of cleaning up the shithouse", Bertran explained, giving Nathaniel an irritated look as he passed by him to greet the warriors offering their assistance to Memento.

    The young man's head was held a bit low, a half embarrassed half frustrated look on his face, cheeks just a few shades lighter than his cloak. "It was only because he distracted me", the young man lied, peeking back over his shoulder at the Innkeep and grumbling too low to hear. "Go on then boy, tell them what you told me", Bertran insisted. He nodded and turned back to them.

    "Right. I'd be happy to help you rid this town of those shambling monstrosities, in fact I'd already considered tackling the issue before you arrived", Nathaniel told them, his long golden braid shifting slightly as he tilted his head toward his shoulder some, "Though.. On my own, I realize I'd do little more than add to their ranks.. Or fill their bellies, perhaps?" He shook his head, his bright green eyes seeming to take on a new shine with the hopeful feeling that he could actually do some good for the town now with these two on his side. "But with you two watching my back, I can really do some damage!", Nathaniel said excitedly, a small flame sparking up in his upturned palm. This appeared to alarm some of the inn's patrons, the keep himself jumping a few paces back. Seeing this the mage closed his hand into a fist, causing the flame to disappear, other hand scratching the back of his head. "Heh.."

    "Welcome aboard then", Reynard said, standing up and setting a half empty mug down on the bartop to grab Nathaniel's considerably smaller hand. After a quick shake that nearly took the spellcaster off his feet, he turned toward where their last party member was catching up with her pals, "If you're both ready, let's go get Olfina and be on our way."

    "Oh, her", Nathaniel said, looking just a bit less excited now.
    #14 LVL1337N00B, Apr 4, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
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  15. Daron followed closely behind Reynard, his gaze lingering on Olfina and her guardsmen pals engaging in their merriment over in the corner, cracking a smirk at their comraderie. His attention was brought back to the fore at the sound of the inkeeper's voice, turning to look at the man who bore the most magnificently well kept moustache he'd seen, one that could put even a few dwarves to shame. Daron raised an eyebrow at the sight, but when the man recognized his attire and came over to shake hands with him, he couldn't help but return the gesture with a strong grip. He was a little surprised by the reaction, seeing as how this was the first time anyone had been positive towards seeing a member of his order since he arrived in town; the elder and his granddaughter had been less than friendly... though more the former than the latter.

    "Selros's glory shines on us all, my friend. I can only apologize that it took as long as it did to send help." The youthful holy warrior beamed at the man, flashing his set of pearly whites and offering a respectful nod. "But you no longer have to fear, for the heavenly light has come to banish the darkness that has befallen this land." After speaking that last thought, he realized his words might've been a little dramatic; but it always tends to lean that way when you're quoting passages from the prayer book.

    Before getting a chance to continue, Reynard was addressing the man in regards to obtaining supplies, but more importantly he asked about their prospective ally, this mage named Nathaniel. Bertran's response made Daron feel a little unsure, biting his lip at the inkeep's lukewarm reaction, enforcing Olfina's assertion that this man might not be the most competent of sorts. Still, he was going to reserve judgment until he actually met this Nathaniel; after all, Daron himself had once been deemed a futile effort by some of his order, but there were those like Reynard who saw potential in him and made him the man he was today. With a nod that was more to himself than the innkeeper who had just turned to leave, Daron turned his eyes up to Reynard with a glint of resolve in his eyes.

    His expression would quickly become less serious, however, letting out a bit of a chuckle at his own expense. "We'll just wait and see, hmm?" He spoke matter-of-factly, sliding a nearby ale flagon over to his demon hunting friend. He wasn't about to partake himself, what with his vows and all, but there was nothing barring his old friend from doing such.


    For a split second when the keep returned, Daron thought he'd come alone, until that thin cloaked figure came in behind him not a moment later, wet with rainwater. Daron couldn't help but feel a little less than confident when Bertran mentioned the mage boy setting himself ablaze, internally glad that his robe was flame resistant... though he couldn't say the same for his allies, and if the boy was going to be just as likely to set them on fire as much as the enemy, well... that'd make him just a bit of a liability, to say the least. Olfina had apparently heard the inkeep deride poor ol' Nathan from her table with the other guardsmen, unable to keep from chiming in. "We're just lucky the buildings here are mostly made of stone, eh? Otherwise there wouldn't be much of a town left for those walking corpses to terrorize!"

    His uncertain expression would soften, however, as he listened to the mage speak about how he had planned to take care of problem on his own, even if it was unlikely for him to succeed; there were few that would put their lives on the line for the sake of others like that these days. His mind wasn't brought back to his doubts until Nathaniel's little display, grimacing at the spellcaster's premature immolation. He could only hope that it was intentional.

    Still, despite his reservations, he got up from his barstool and shook hands with the mage right after Reynard had, offering a polite nod and a smile like he always did. "We're glad to have you, friend. I'm sure you will prove invaluable to our cause."

    When Reynard mentioned going to get Olfina, he turned just in time to see the redhead standing right behind him, downing one last mug and slamming it on the bar before wiping her mouth and clapping her hands together, giving a determined nod. "No need to fetch me old man, I'm here. Bertran! My drinks are on Garent's tab." With Garent exclaiming "OI!" at her in the background while the other men laughed, she pat Reynard on the back, motioning to the door.

    "Follow me, men. ..AND Nathaniel." She smirked at the mage, making her way towards the exit. "There are a few horses tied up at the stable on the edge of town. We've got three, so two of us will have to share. I guess since only two of us aren't head to toe in steel, the idiot's riding with me." There was very little doubt of whom she was referring to.
    #15 Voices of Nerat, Apr 4, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
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  16. When Olfina made chimed in Nathaniel's face took a more sour turn, narrowed eyes cutting toward the girl and arms crossing against his chest. It seemed to him that nearly every time she'd ever spoken to or of him it'd been to berate him. The young spellcaster was almost certain that it'd been her influence that left most of the Inn's patrons with a negative opinion of him. The tiniest smirk crossed his lips though, as he thought to himself that this would be his chance to change her mind about him, to show her and the town by extension that he wasn't totally useless. With that the determined look returned to his eyes, this new feeling overtaking the irritation he so often felt when Olfina insulted him. In fact, he hadn't even responded when she implied that he was less than a man.

    Instead he turned to head outside, taking the lead on the way to the stables he'd aparrently familiarized himself with already. Shortly after him followed Reynard, who'd grinned when the village sweetheart teased the boy. Just the same as Daron, he was a little skeptic about Nathaniel, but he was more than willing to give the boy a chance. Though quite sure he wouldn't be able to help him at all with his casting, he did enjoy the idea of imparting some of his knowledge onto the lad the same as he would the others. His eagerness to teach these young people was almost fatherly, as if he wanted to prepare them for the world. These young ones were obviously doing just fine right now, but whether he was right about it or not he figured these kids weren't completely independent yet. Olfina had a grandfather and friends here that he'd assume she relied on, Daron had his order and Nathaniel had this Innkeep putting him up in exchange for some good character-building work from the looks of it. Of course he'd only just met two of these three, but those were the impressions he got.

    "Good luck out there! Get back here alive and victorious!", the Innkeep called to the foursome of what he hoped would be Memento's saviors, most of the Inn's patrons giving a half-hearted cheer as they wandered back out into the rain.


    Upon arriving at the stables, Reynard wasted no time in hunting down a saddle and preparing a dark chocolate mare who he'd already decided was to be his travelling companion for the time. He'd had plenty of experience with the creatures and to him this one looked strong, gave him the impression that she'd be fine with carrying his heavy plated shell. Meanwhile Nathaniel was brushing his fingers through the mane of another horse, one he'd become fond of less for her physical appearance and more for her disposition. More than a few times he'd tended to these majestic beasts and it seemed as though the others had been wary of him, whereas this one in particular seemed to warm up to him almost immediately. Since his family's fall he'd been ill-recieved throughout Reim, both Hyr and Lor. The folk here in Memento hadn't completely shunned him as most places did with mages, but they didn't seem overly fond of him either. This animal's easy acceptance of him had been a nice change of pace.

    Regrettably Nathaniel wasn't much of a rider, so he figured he might as well wait on Olfina to get ready instead of going off to find a saddle of his own. He'd never done well with the lessons he was given back when his family was still powerful and respected within the capitol, it seemed like any time he'd ever tried to command a horse it ended with him on his back and crying for his favorite maid. The mage looked a bit put off by the idea of being Olfina's passenger, not because he thought it'd be emasculating like most men might but more because he just didn't like her attitude toward him. Again though, he was hopeful that he might change that soon.
    #16 LVL1337N00B, Apr 9, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  17. Our party was now at the old stables on the outskirts of dreary Memento. Like the rest of the town it was carved from stone, and had probably been there for centuries; it definitely looked like it had been. The desolate nature of the structure was exacerbated by the fact that is was almost entirely empty, nearly every countless stall occupied by nothingness, save for the last three on the far end; there weren't even any stable hands present when they arrived. It was eerily quiet, but the whole town had that listless, uneasy feeling, a feeling that was present even before the undead started killing off their citizens, but even moreso now.

    Daron watched his companions as they readied their steeds, Reynard choosing the sturdy mare while Nathaniel seemed rather taken with a less stocky, but much more affectionate sweetheart of a horse. His eyes found their way wondering down the center and all along the rows and rows of empty stalls, biting his lip with a frown. It wasn't until just now that he realized that there must have been more than just a human casualty toll inflicted by the undead; aside from the lack of horses, he couldn't for the life of him remember seeing a single animal, dog, cat, bird, anything. That must be why it was so quiet. There were no dogs barking in the distance, no sheep bleating, cows mooing... it sent a shiver down his spine, reminding him of just how vicious their foe was going to be and how important this mission was.

    "Wake up, daydreamer." A patched leather saddle was suddenly pushed against Daron's chest, interrupting his silent contemplation. Daron started, head swiveling to meet an impatient looking Olfina holding the riding equipment against him, raising an eyebrow. "You really need to pay more attention."

    "T-Terribly sorry, miss Olfina!" The cleric scrambled to respond, armored fingers quickly taking ahold of the saddle she'd offered him, cheeks tinged just the slightest bit of red in embarrassment. With a scoff, she just shook her head, walking off to ready her own horse with the spare saddle hung over her shoulder and leaving Daron to do the same with his.

    "You'll be taking Ol' Chester, holy boy. Don't let the name fool ya, he may be getting up there in age, but he's still got the heart of a young stallion. He'll serve ya well." She motioned offhandedly as she walked, pointing to the one horse that hadn't already been claimed, a greying black horse with bright blue eyes. Walking past Reynard, she smirked at how the man had already taken to the chocolate colored horse, a good choice for a man his size, not to mention all that heavy armor and weaponry he was carrying. "I had a feeling you'd like Nimera, old man. She's a strong gal. Not used to lugging around a well-equipped warrior like you, but I think she won't have too much trouble all the same."

    She stopped dead upon arriving at the stall where Nathaniel was with his own horse, her smirk transforming into more of a grimace at the sight. With a sigh, she strode over to the two, rubbing the horse's neck in a gentle fashion before setting their saddle on her back and tying it in place. "Looks like Tessi likes you, mage boy. Some gals just have terrible taste in men, I suppose." Having already foisted herself up onto the beast's back, she slipped her boots into the stirrups and reluctantly held out a hand to the blonde mage, waggling her fingers impatiently. However he chose to respond, she'd grab Tessi's reigns and be quick to ride out of the stables, Daron not far behind her on his mount. The aged beast looked more than a little unhappy to be carrying a man clad in such heavy steel, snorting and shuffling side to side.

    "Easy now, Chester!" Daron pulled on the reigns of his steed, trying to calm the old guy down. Eventually he did seem to still, though he did occasionally let out an unamused snort. Sighing, Daron looked up to Olfina, realizing he had no idea where it was they were exactly headed. "Miss Olfina, where do you intend to take us? Do you have an idea of where we should start looking for the source of all these undead creatures?"

    "Aye, I do. Most think the attacks started with the fletcher's boy, poor Timothy..." she paused for a brief spell, head hanging low... but she grit her teeth and continued, trying to focus on the mission. "But I think it began before that. You see, there was this traveling merchant who came through our town in his wagon. He mentioned being chased by a group of madmen who came running after him when he passed by Tretcher's Watch. It was dark, so he didn't get a good look at him, but he remembered them having a surprising amount of stamina, chasing after his vehicle for over an hour... and also that they seemed more interested in his horses than the actual cargo he was carrying. Most just told him it was probably outlaws, but the story never sat well with me." Her grip on her horses reigns tightened. "Add that to the fact that we haven't heard from the Tretcher family in quite some time, well... sounds like as good'a place as any to start."

    Daron nodded, glad that their plan of action was a little more clear now. Closing his eyes, he prayed to Selros that the family Olfina had mentioned was unharmed, though there was a sinking feeling in the back of his mind that they'd find that not to be the case.

    They'd wait until Reynard finished up before departing, making their way down the lifeless main drag of macabre little Memento one last time, heading out towards the open road. "Tretcher's Stead is far to the north of here, boys. I hope you're ready for a long ride!" Olfina called out to the others while they rode on, her tied back ponytail flopping about in the breeze.
  18. "Nimera", Reynard repeated, eyes turning down to the back of the mare he'd climbed atop, resting a steely hand on the horse's head for a moment. He'd then take the reigns and nod toward Olfina, ready to ride as soon as she was. His eyes would narrow some however when she made her way to the young blond, inwardly sighing when he came to the realization that these two were like to be nasty to eachother the whole way. He wondered if they'd fight for eachother still, defend one another when they were faced with danger. If not one might die, and that would be very unfortunate. The plated hunter grunted low with the unpleasant thought, turning away from the pair and brushing a hand over his mount's neck.

    As per the usual, Nathaniel's face took a sour turn when Olfina insulted him. He stared at her hand for a moment when she'd mounted Tessi and offered it, debating on whether he should take it or just climb up the hard way. In all honesty, the mage was a small and rather physically weak man, and so.. With a bit of hesitation he grabbed her hand and worked with her to pull himself up, his bare fingers touching her hand and making him wish he'd worn full gloves instead of what he had, as if making direct contact with her was so horrible. "I'm sure you're just jealous of Tessi, because I actually -like- her", Nathaniel replied to the spear toting bully with a half smirk, brushing a gentle hand over the horse's side, "She's a sweet girl, unlike you."

    Reynard's gaze shifted toward Daron with his query, then back to Olfina and nodding when she answered. "Tretcher.. Name sounds familar", the older warrior noted, this like to being the closest to rambling they might hear from him in a long while, his mind shifting back to the job at hand just as suddenly however, "Lead on then, lass." Reynard gestured toward the open road, then returned his hands both to Nimera's reigns. He'd have his new bestial companion follow shortly after the more feminine riders took to the desolate road, the man's grip on his reigns firm but relaxed for the time being.

    While Reynard would fall silent and likely remain that way through the ride, Nathaniel would speak up very shortly after setting off. "So, I take it the two of you have a bit of experience with this sort of thing?", he asked, part out of need for a sense of security but mostly for curiosity's sake, "Save burning one that strayed from a pack in favor of going after Olfina's grandfather.." He made sure to keep his eyes turned away from the girl's back and toward the other men as he spoke of a very slightly heroic act he'd committed, adding in one more bit to make sure she didn't take it the wrong way, "Not that I care for how the loss would impact you, Olfina, I just don't like letting people die when it can be avoided."
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  19. As much as Olfina wanted to make a retort to the mage boy's little comment, she knew there were more pressing matters at hand... though in the back of her mind she made a mental note to knock the upstart in the back of the head after all was said and done. She glanced at Nathan with narrowed eyes for a brief moment before the band of adventurers took to the long path ahead.

    During the course of their travel along the desolate, lifeless roads that crossed through the neigh-barren and persistently overcast countryside, the inquisitive young mage had taken to asking the two newcomers about their experience with the undead. Olfina's eye twitched, grimacing when the boy made the inevitable mention of how he had so selfless protected her grandfather from the clutches of one of those vile abominations. She was tempted to rear her horse up just then and let Nathaniel take a violent fall off the back, but she was able to resist the urge, instead only making her displeasure known to Daron when the cleric's horse caught up to them, rolling her eyes for the brief moment that the two made eye contact.

    Daron tilted his head at her expression, curious as to the reason these two had such an antagonistic relationship. He wanted to ask, but he thought it rude to pry, so instead he turned to Nathaniel with a small smile, only taking his eyes off the road for a second to look over at the mage boy. "Well, my friend Reynard over there has quite the long resume when it comes to dealing with supernatural threats like this... he's been at it for years, and he's quite good at it, if I do say so myself. I can only hope to be half as good as him some day." Thinking back on when he'd personally seen his kinda-sorta mentor in action, the smile on his lips couldn't help but grow that much wider, eyes taking on a distant look while he reminisced.

    The redhead couldn't help but snort, giggling under her breath. She couldn't help but find Daron's childlike hero worship of the venerable demon hunter anything but amusing. Sure, he was more than likely formidable, but this guy was taking it a little too far, wasn't he? "I think someone has a little crush," she teased, perhaps a bit mockingly so, what with her laughter becoming a little less subdued. When she saw the confused look on Daron's face, her chuckling quickly died down, lapsing into more of a sigh towards the end. "Ugh... you people don't know how to have fun. Knew I shoulda brough some ale with us." Her attention returned to the road, while the cleric looked over to Nathaniel and shrugged his armored shoulders, deciding it best to just continue with what he had been saying previously.

    "Erm, anyways... I, myself, have only been fighting the good fight against the unholy forces for about a month now. Admittedly, I don't have much personal experience with the undead... well, unless you count that one ghost I was sent to exorcise from a farmhouse in Lor Reim." Covering his face in his palm, he shook his head and let out a little sigh of his own. "...Though that turned out to just be a pregnant cat who'd found its way underneath the floorboards. Yeah, that definitely doesn't count, does it..?" Daron looked more than a little embarrassed, realizing how pathetic that little story made him sound. "E-Er, but, I've done a great deal of studying in the cathedral... so perhaps I've never done it myself, but I know every way there is to banish the undead!" He was laughing nervously, rubbing the back of his neck and hoping that last bit would put any of their fears to rest.

    Olfina looked a little less than thrilled, but she just shrugged as well, not bothering to look back when she spoke. "Well, you can't be any worse than Nathaniel here. I suppose that's something, isn't it?" She smirked to herself, knowing full well that her jab was going to piss the blonde lad off. At least she could find some joy in his reactions, if nothing else.


    At a certain point in their travels the group would see a slanted signpost in the distance, barely visible now that the cloud-suffocated sun was receeding from view, leaving very little natural light to bleed through the thick blanket of grey above. Olfina had lit a torch to compensate for this, one hand holding the flickering flame up while the other gripped Tessi's reigns. The fiery woman squinted, jerking her head in the direction of the sign when she looked to the others. "Can't be sure, but I think this is the place up here. Hard to tell from this far away, but... looks familiar enough." She'd pull on her mounts reigns gently, instructing the horse to slow her pace while they rapidly approached their destination.

    As the group drew closer to the sign, they could see exactly why it was lopsided; the rather simple wooden marker that designated the dirt road that split off to the west as 'Tretcher's Stead' had been nearly torn in half by an unknown aggressor, dangling by a few tiny splinters.

    "Hmm... someone must've run into the sign on accident." Daron rode up next to it, scratching his chin as he examined the sign. Upon closer inspection, the words 'Tretchers Stead' appeared to have little claw marks scraped all along the front, the letters barely legible. "...Or perhaps a panther used it as a scratching post."

    Olfina jumped down from her saddle, striding over to the sign and giving it a quick glance over before shrugging, not particularly intimidated. A devious little smirk formed on her lips as she tied her horse's reigns to a nearby, non-vandalized hitching post, glancing over at Daron. Oh, she just couldn't help herself... "I suppose that'd be a second time a cat was responsible for a hoax you were sent to clean up, eh? Have to wonder if they've got something against you."

    "...Very funny." Daron, for once, was not smiling, instead a little frown forming on his lips as he too jumped down, looking over at Nathaniel with perhaps a look of newfound understanding. He lead ornery ol' Chester to the hitching post, making sure his mount was securely fastened to the thing then retrieving his equipment. With one last unamused glance at Olfina he slid his heavy great helm onto his head, looking down to double check that his circular steel buckler had been properly fastened to his left arm, then taking ahold of his steel mace with the other.

    "Oh, lighten up. You'd think that Selros would want you to have a sense of humor." Olfina sighed, realizing she wasn't going to be able to lighten the mood so easily with this lot. Resting her spear on her shoulder, the redhead motioned her torch towards the dirt path they'd been led to, the dark outline of a farmhouse and several other structures hard to make out in the distance. "This way, gentlemen."
    #19 Voices of Nerat, Apr 14, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  20. When Olfina looked back at him, Nathaniel's expression matched her own. Exchanging hateful looks was pretty common for the two it seemed like, and even if they never heard the two argue most people could tell they weren't fond of eachother the first time they'd catch them both in the same room together. If it needed to be said, the young mage had also been tempted to cause the woman to have an unfortunate accident or two as well. It was a wonder that they hadn't killed eachother by now.

    Asking about the pair of warriors had partly been to distract, but he was genuinely curious about their hunting. Just as he was about to speak, Olfina made a comment ahead of Nathaniel. Surprisingly the jest managed to get a little snicker out of the blonde, which he immediately stifled in hopes that she wouldn't have noticed. He didn't like her, he didn't want her to get the idea that he thought she was funny. Even if he did. The young man glanced at the woman in front of him and huffed, as if he was mad at her for making him laugh. "So..", he started, turning back toward the two armored men.

    "You've faced down quite a few of these things then, haven't you?", he asked, making an attempt at coaxing a story out of the older man. The subtle nudge seemed lost on the bearded hunter as he gave his short response, "I have." Nathaniel waited patiently for a while, watching Reynard intently and hoping he'd give him more than that. He didn't. Without turning his head back in her direction, the young man glanced back at Olfina and sighed. He hated to admit it, but he'd have to agree that she should have brought ale.

    Then the young holy warrior mentioned his experience with what was thought to be a dark force. Nathaniel had obviously found it a little more amusing than Olfina, grinning at the man closer to his own age. That expression didn't last long though, instead turning into more of a scowl as of course the redhead HAD to insult him once again. When the spellcaster thought he smelled something burning he took a deep breath and tried to relax, unclenching his fists to reveal tiny embers in each hand for a split second before they returned to the nothingness they seemed born of. One might think infuriating one who could conjure flames might be a bad idea, but Olfina didn't seem to give two shits about what Nathaniel was capable of. Lucky for her, he did have reservations about murder.


    While Reynard didn't actually possess any sort of magical ability to sense the supernatural, somehow he knew when the dark creatures he hunted were near. Maybe in all his years of slaying demons and undead he'd grown accustomed to their smell or the atmosphere that followed them, but he always got this gut feeling when abominations were lurking about. That feeling was there now as they rode up to Tretcher's Stead.

    The older man followed Olfina's lead, climbing down and hitching his mount in silence. After gathering his own gear, Reynard paused for a moment to survey his immediate surroundings, looking and listening for movement. He hadn't found anything, but he still drew the crossbow he carried with him before taking his first steps after the others.

    For all the hate he held for Olfina, Nathaniel couldn't help grinning when the woman teased Daron. When he glanced back toward the cleric's companion his expression became serious, if not a little nervous. He was alert, eyes scanning high and low as the party pushed on toward the farmhouse. The young mage knew how dangerous these things they were tracking could be and he knew he couldn't let his guard down, but seeing Reynard with his weapon readied instilled a nervous feeling within him that urged extreme caution.
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