OPEN SIGNUPS Rayan [Demon Arc]: Corruption of Champions IC

Phaedra

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The continent of Rayan lay quiet as the Moon made its slow descent upon the land. The sun’s warming rays trickled outwards as it rose. The Winter Solstice was upon them, cascading droplets of snow in the colder climates beyond the Mountains. A mist of ice covered the wispy grass of the Plains and Meadows,and droplets of rain sprinkled the Forests, all slowly coming to an end as night transitioned into dawn. Most of the inhabitants would be deep in slumber. The ones worked the early mornings slowly rose from their beds and the adventurers of the land would feel the sweet kiss of the sun's colourful light upon their skin as they’d witness a beautiful sunrise. The sounds of the Nocturnal would slowly come to rest. Nature breathed new life into the land as birds sang their morning songs. The dawn of a new day brought a sense of hope to the people of Rayan. It meant they were still alive and well.


————Somewhere in Malak’Tak————​

It was peaceful in the land of the North. Malak'Tak was calm. During this time, The father and son duo watched in amusement.Clearly, the forest accepted Jar'Rak's magical signature; it was one of sweet smelling earth. But would he be able to sway them into aiding his endeavours? Time would soon tell. The temperatures began to drop dramatically, a reaction to their presence. The forest blanched at the filth that remained on their lands. The north would not accept them. ‘Get them out. Get them out. GET OUT.’ The words would pierce the very cores of their minds. A terrible chill creeped in, like the spidery fingers of a wretched old Crone. One could say the Frozen Forest itself was somewhat alive, alive with the magic of old. Jar’Rak’s expression became one of almost excitement, despite his son’s little tantrum before, the sound of the winds speaking to his mere presence on their lands meant that they had recognised his strength. Soon, he would prove himself.

The Forest answered Jar’Rak’s raging bloodlust with creatures of old and might. Two Dire wolves had sniffed him out and they were hungry, saliva dripping through their crystalised canines, their blue eyes piercing through the build up of falling snow like beacons of light, the sounds of their snarls would have put the hairs on most travelers, but Jar’Rak wasn’t just anyone, he was the great High Elf who had mastered the very essence of Dark Magic and he would be recognised! His son’s body would be sent off towards a frozen boulder, his father moving him out of the way as his very body began to glow.
Jar’Rak’s skin was as white as snow, one of the physical alterations of excessive usage of Dark Magic, but he had found a way to harness its power with minimal effect on himself.

“You will hear me, and you will listen!” His voice boomed through the rolling clouds of fog, a barrage of sharp icicles shooting down from the sky as the snow froze over becoming a beautiful yet deadly execution. Jar’Rak’s Magic protected him from most of the impact, however there were a few slashes across his skin from a few sneaky ones, his blood oozing a sickening purple tar like substance. A grin immergered upon Jar’Rak’s usually composed features, his power rippling through his body as both Dire Wolves leaped forwards, lunging out from behind the deep cold fog, their teeth sinking into the flesh of both his arms, twisting his body awkwardly, falling into a heap. Silence befell the forest, the Direwolves still holding onto Jar’Rak’s arms, blood staining the snow floor, melting some of the snow away as it began to steam and almost bubble.

In just a few mere moments two things happened, Jar’Rak would slowly rise from his slumped position, completely unharmed, a smile upon his sharp, handsome features. And second, his ‘arms’ were now both twisting, pulsating masses of purple tainted flesh. With the snap of two fingers, the silence was broken as the abominations suddenly coiled around the wolves heads from across the jaws, snapping bone and crushing flesh, the wolves let out shrieks of pure agony before falling lifeless in a pile of snow, twitching every few seconds. The purple masses soon began to slithered into the very crushed mouths of the dead wolves, completely disappearing inside of their bodies before ruining them from the inside out.

Flesh and bone could be heard being cracked and squished, pulled, twisted, broken and put back together again until the wolves had become something out of a nightmare, they were no longer white, nor did they look physically right. “My magic completely devoured their physical forms with no effort whatsoever. I will be heard.” Silence fell once again, the winds whispering and wailing in anger, the utter disrespect.

‘YOU THINK YOU ARE WORTHY?’ ‘You disgust me.’ ‘Disgusting.‘ ‘Impure.’ ‘DIRTY!‘ ‘FILTHY!’

The wailing grew louder and louder, the winds tearing apart like paper before completely engulfing Jar’Rak and his new abominations, tossing them out with pure rage. Jar’Rak was able to protect himself and his son with the very wolves who once tried to kill him. They were now twisted around them like an armour of flesh. All the while his son was still unconscious. “I’d say that was a successful haul, right Master?” Jar’Rak rose from the ground, his monsters morphing together, shrinking, swirling until it was no more, his gaze returning to the human slave who held the most precious thing to him right now, in his very arms.

“Give it to me, now.” His voice was strong as the frail human man handed him the loose rags, which slowly fell away to reveal an Earthfolk child, stolen from her very home. His entire display was merely a show of his strength and his cunning. He knew they would never accept any deal he’d want from them, so instead he stole one of their future daughters. “Don’t worry, you’re going to help build a new world with me.” He gazed down at the young girl now in his arms, wrapped in rags, her white hair glistening under the moonlight. “We must leave now.” And with that, a vale of black smoke engulfed the small team, taking them back home.

———————​
"We found traces of Dark Magic." The council room turned silent. The young Etelarith squirmed under the eyes of the elders as they silently urged him to continue. He cleared his throat as he continued.
"We also found dead bodies. A couple Allesmae and Faewrn. And their child…" He trailed off, "Their child is missing."
Murmurs filled the room, voices raised as they discussed the situation. An unprecedented event occurred right under their noses. And they acted too late.
The Head Council banged his staff, calling for everyone's attention.
"Have the Shaman check on the site. If there are similar happenings across the land, we cannot delay. We must call the council."
—————
The next morning, it would feel like any other morning, apart from the call to arms with the Azurikan Council, where races of all kinds would gather to meet and discuss the ongoing events taking place around the continent, letters, couriers and word of mouth would reach those of importance or those who were able. The messages were simple.
CC


‘Come to Azuriko, the city of multi-cultures, to attend a meeting of utmost importance regarding some untimely advancements involving all races. Council members and their representatives are urged to make an appearance.

P.s. All adventurers and warriors are welcomed to offer their aid in our time of need.’
 
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Esmeralda Blackheart

KitKat
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Durandal

Fatum Iustum Stultorum
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Drip drop...

The sounds of water flowing, dripping and occasionally splashing were a constant ambience to where the ratfolk of Azuriko lived. Ostensibly they lived in the sewers of Azuriko, but in reality they preferred to dig tunnels connected to the sewers, no civilized species wants to live where the leavings of living beings are channeled after all, especially when your noses are highly attuned to detecting all manner of things.

There wasn't really room for a civilization to live in a sewer either, it simply wasn't designed for it, and it had been quickly determined that trying to do so would be not only disgusting, but impractical. So many caverns had been dug into the stone beneath the city with great care. Though the walls of these caverns would never be as smooth or precise as dwarven work, the dwarves would at least be able to appreciate that they were dug with great care to avoid cave ins and the like.

One of these many caverns was where a council had convened. Six in total, considered the most wise of all ratfolk of the clan, they gathered regularly to deal with the general day to day requirements of governing a community, but today were gathered for a more important purpose than that. A message had been sent, left in a dead drop that had been put together specifically if those above ground needed to communicate. The purpose of which was to avoid asking surface dwellers to have to come through the stinky sewers of course.

It had been a simple and short message, but rich with meaning and importance. A council had been called of all races to send representatives. This was notable and important because of how rarely it happened, it meant something serious was happening.

For now, the council worked to decide on who to send. There was much debate on whether or not to send a representative, or an actual member of the clan council.

"I say we send send Skrolk!" One of the council suggested, Skrolk being one of the most senior council members. He was an aging rat who was considered frail, which of course led to instant debate on the wisdom of sending one of their weakest but most wise member on a trip to the surface.

The old rat himself said nothing, and merely watched the proceedings, leaning back in his chair, gaze inscrutable hidden beneath his hood. Letting them argue it out a bit, the ratfolk enjoyed a good argument every now and then, so why cut them off? After a bit of back and forth he cleared his throat, causing the others to cease and turn towards him in interest.

Coughing a bit for a moment the old rat spoke then, the others leaning closer and straining to hear his words. He did not speak quietly to be rude but because raising his voice got more and more difficult with age, he was sixty four, reaching the end of natural ratman lifespan. "I am frail-old, young rats must carry-lift me to these meetings or I get too weak-tired to attend them, I wish us to send a representative in our stead, send a gutter runner to represent us on this council."

After a moment one asked "But why send in in a gutter runner?"

"The message calls for fighters, warriors, we shall...how do the man things say it? 'Knock out two birds with one stone?' I believe think yes yes?" Skrolk paused in thought before continuing "We shall both send to them one of their called for adventurer's, and represent ourselves on this council, it will not be difficult for one the younger ones to do this this, we will of course help with whatever has called for this message yes yes..."

He then explained further "Azuriko would not have called for a meeting-gathering of all races if it was not a serious issue, an issue-problem that threatens all of us, so it is up to us to offer our aid, and we shall do so."

As for who to send Skrolk leaned forward, smiling in a manner that showed his teeth, and he chittered eagerly "Send in Vulk, he is young but talented-skilled, he shows great promise, and has wanted to leave for some time to explore the world."

A vote was called for, and one by one the council reached consensus, they would call for Vulk, a young but promising Gutter Runner. As for what he would be referred to, a title was called for, to give to any Gutter Runner that would leave for the outside world entirely on their own for an indetermined period of time.

Skrolk smiled again and said "We shall call call him...Skitterleap, a fitting name for one of our kind yes yes, don't you think?"

__________________________________________

Vulk was busy in the vivarium, which was one of the more important locations in any ratfolk clan.

Here, they kept many different species of plant and animal, for the specific purposes of gathering poisons. There were spiders and snakes primarily, along with plants such as deadly nightshade, wolfsbane, and various other plants that had been painstakingly gathered from around the world, and were carefully tended to.

Both were able to be kept healthy by the sunstones the ratfolk had placed in this chamber, and only this chamber. Everywhere else they made do with their own eyesight or torches, but the vivarium was incredibly important for the Gutter Runner's to be able to do the work they did. For magical components were very difficult to acquire, either requiring personal risk in getting a hold of them, or lots of gold.

So, for fending off anyone that might threaten the interests of the ratfolk, natural toxins were relied on, and magical toxins only used for truly dangerous opponents. Such as possibly a demon, though Vulk had never heard of any Gutter Runner's encountering any of those. That or they had and simply kept that quiet...or none of them had ever reported back because they were dead.

A sobering thought.

Caring for the vivarium was a lot of work. Plants had to be regularly watered, animals fed, enclosures cleaned, and more. Then every night the sunstones had to be taken down and put away to allow for 'night time' to occur, which was required for the health of every single living thing in the vivarium.

Fortunately for the ratfolk however, the risk in taking care of any of these was almost entirely mitigated by ratfolk physiology, given that ratfolk regularly ingested toxic plants as a matter of course for keeping their bodies healthy. Being tagged by a venomous reptile or arachnid of any kind was at most an annoyance as a result.

Provided they weren't magical, anyways. It also didn't mean any of the keepers like Vulk treated the animals with cavalier disregard, each animal was given the respect it deserved, that a bite could mean death, even if that was unlikely. Vulk definitely for example, didn't want to test his immune system against anything like a giant spider, or anything else magical related. Ratfolk physiology would help, but not as much as it would against your garden variety toxins.

Currently he was carefully milking a serpent for it's precious payload of toxins, it hissed repeatedly at him as he did this. "It is unpleasant I know yes yes, bear with me for a bit longer okay?" He said soothingly, knowing full well the snake couldn't understand him regardless, talking soothingly to the animals seemed to work regardless, even for those like the spiders.

Then he was done and ferried the irate animal back into it's enclosure, which hissed sullenly at him a few times and made motions as if it was going to attempt to strike Vulk(which now that it had just been milked was an entirely useless gesture), but otherwise cooperated. These animals were well cared for and were used to this routine.

Then he took the vial of venom he'd just produced and put it into the box for transportation to storage, he had just filled it, where it would be put away until either an alchemist or Gutter Runner required it. The alchemists, Vulk included, were constantly experimenting with the various toxins to create new ones that were more potent.

It was then that another one of his fellow Gutter Runner's entered the cavern. It was Skritch, one of the veteran gutter runners, she nodded in his direction "Ah good good, there you are, Council told me to find you and tell you they want to see you...important thing they have for you to do yes yes!"

Vulk blinked in faint surprise, before simply nodding and thanking Skritch for the information, who nodded and told him "I will take-carry that to the storage for you, Council wants to see you now now and would not thank me for making them wait-sit longer." Vulk nodded and then thanked her again before scurrying away.

Quickly through the many tunnels he went, greeting others hurriedly as he passed by, some of his kin stared in confusion at his seeming haste before shrugging and moving on. Normally he would have socialized with his kin but there was no time for that, within a short time and a number of hurried apologies for anyone he bumped into on the way, he was in the council chamber.

There was only one council member there waiting for him, there sat Skrolk, dozing quietly in his chair. Upon spotting Vulk, Skrolk's attendent nudged the elderly rat gently who snorted before his eyes blinked rapidly as he came to, darting about the room before spotting the younger ratfolk. "Ah good good, you are here at last, young one...the Council has an important task-job for you."

Vulk looked confused and asked then "For me-me? I am not important." Skrolk smiled in faint amusement before chiding Vulk gently "Use not this misplaced humility-meekness young Vulk, you are one of our most-most talented Gutter-Runners, your master speaks highly-well of you." Vulk blinked in surprise, his master was extremely miserly with compliments, so to hear this was a revelation indeed.

"You are to go go and represent our Clan at a Council called for by the surface-worlders in Azuriko, I am too old-frail to do this, and the other councilors have duties to attend to here, we know-know of your desire to leave-adventure of the world outside, this is your chance chance to do so."

Vulk didn't know how to respond, he stared in utter flabbergasted surprise. Skrolk chuckled in amusement and waved the younger rat away "Go gather your things, you leave at once once, and...Vulk?" The old rat looked at him sternly and said in an authoritative tone "Do not die on this, or I will be most displeased-upset, understand me young one?"

The younger rat nodded, feeling dazed by everything happening, this was what he'd wanted but he hadn't expected it so soon!

"Your Gutter-Runner name young Vulk, has been decided to be Skitterleap." The old rat grinned "We hope you like-enjoy it, no time to choose another...now go!"

Vulk did exactly that!
 
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The Morrighan

Lady of Red Roses
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Nora

Viewing the forest from the canopy was an experience that never grew old. There was always something new to see, hear, or explore from the branches of the ancient trees - many of which stood as y’all as palaces. Nora has heard tale of castles as tall as the trees of her forest, but she couldn’t believe such a thing.

Her bare feet gripped the bark of the branch upon which she stood easily, her steps sure and steady as she moved across the long, thick arm of the tree. It was easily wider than some of the walking paths in her village, and the textured bark made it a simple task for her feet to hold her steady. From up in the canopy, she could see her village some distance away, as well as the vale further south. It was a breathtaking view.

“Ghost, come down here and look at the view!” She called, her voice rising into the higher branches. “We need to get home soon if we’re going to finish getting everything together before tomorrow!”

Then a deep, rumbling sound echoed through the air, somewhere between a hiss and a growl, and Nora smiled ruefully.

“I’ll give you the rest of that elk Viran gave us for breakfast. What do you say?”


Ghost dropped down onto her branch, the massive white reptile moving with such speed and grace that he seemed to just appear from the air. He was getting big, his body nearly as long as three Senches already. His white scales glistened in the morning light, adding to the effect that mad whim seem like a phantom. She’d chosen his name well.

Her wyvern lowered his horned head to let her run a hand across his smooth scales, and she smiled as she felt his satisfaction through their bond. She could practically feel the sensation of her own touch on his head, the warmth of the sun from high in the branches on his cool scales. He spent every morning soaking up as much sunlight as he could in the canopy to keep warm, and she always felt so relieved to see a clear sky because of it.

“We need to be getting back.” The elf gave her familiar one final stroke before swinging herself up onto the leather saddle situated at the base of his throat.

His only affirmation to her words was the short rumble he gave before leaping from the branch and plunging into the empty air.​
 
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RiddL

Tia mi aven vadin isainde Moridin.
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BRUHA (EXILE)
The days seemed to blend together in the guild headquarters for Bruha, his eye scanning the room for non existant danger and his hands caressing his spear, almost like a man to his lover rather than a weapon. It was peaceful, but peace often means that there would be trouble of the horizon and as his thoughts dragged around he heard his name, well, the name he went by anyhow.

"Commander Exile, were you listening to a thing I said?" Came words said in a joking tone, bringing the overbearingly large orcs attention back to the present, a short man, barrel chested and large, though he had a gentle and amiable aura, seemingly out of place in this room of mercenaries.

"Apologies Lord General Karazof." Came Exile's reply, his voice was loud but not overbearing, the sound of it could only be described as surly, as if he was permanently in a state of barely concealed anger.

"As I was saying, we've been sent an invitation to attend a meeting in Azuriko, as we are the largest guild in the region we've the duty to send one of our best out there, while you're not a sparkling conversationalist..." he paused as some of the others let out a chuckle, the orc merely grunting, "... your battle strength is the highest we have, so you'll be accompanying me to the meeting." The Lord General said.

Exile once again let out a grunt and turned and left the room, it would be a good two weeks journey to get there, so the sooner they left the better. He made his way down to his quarters, pulling all his armour off of an armour stand, a statue in the rough shape of himself, and donned it, his previously imposing stature becoming outright intimidation, almost radiating his will to battle.

He picked up his gear, 3 large bags filled with extra spear heads, sharpening tools and even sowing kits for if his leather armour is cut. Though these were not the only items, other than a varierty of maps and extra armour nothing else of note was present in his kit.

He left the guild headquarters, a large fortress filled with hundreds of young men and women being drilled by combat instructers, they were more of a private army than a mercenaries guild but that didn't matter much, they followed most laws and the kingdom that they were currently living in made little to no trouble for them.

He made his way our to a nearby canyon, the edge covered in webs nearly invisible to the eye, he let out a piercing whistle that echoed twice, silence responding to him as he waited patiently, his hands clasped behind his back.

Suddenly a giant, hairy leg creeped slowly over the edge of the cliff, followed by another, and another as a hulking spider the size of a small house crested and revealed its glorious and horrific form, its hairs the colour of copper and wood, blending into the canyons steep walls.

Eight eyes glistening with intelligence looked at the Orc before it, letting out low, questioning his calling to her. "We've a mission little Shak'thur." Bruha said as he walked up to the massive arachnid, his hand rubbing it affectionately as he let out a rare smile.

Shak'thur's large fangs clacked together as it lowered a leg for Bruha to use, the big man stepping up and onto the cephalothorax and lowered himself to sit crosslegged as they made their way back to the guild, picking up the geae that they would need, including a tent, food and water and a few unlucky bandits for Shak'thur to eat on the way, the spider paralyzing and then coccooning them in web before storing them on her abdomen.

The journey would no doubt be uneventful, a giant spider and an orc riding it were not something bandits were capable of handling.
 
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Phaedra

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Eraendril Riverwood POV


A shimmering light glistened over the pristine waters of the Pool of Reflection, a single delicate white petal disturbing the sombering water with ringlets of ripples. The source was a blooming white rose, carefully plucked of its thorns as to not cut a hand that held it, which outstretched from a small, elegant form crouched over the edge of the pool. A distorted face stared back up at the individual, a woman with golden green eyes, brown hair and porcelain skin, her facial structure much like that of a delicate doll. Just like her mother, her father always liked to remind her. The Elven woman plucked another petal from her rose, placing it against her lips as she whispered a small prayer before allowing it to glide down onto the water next to the first. With a soft sigh, the woman stood, leaving the rose resting beside the Pool of Reflection, looking up at the sparkling rooftop of the Living Tree’s trunk.

This was the very center of it, fireflies and glow worms littered the top, giving the illusion of a starlit night sky. It was honestly beautiful. The Pool was a place of rest and prayer, a place to deeply reflect, hence the name, Pool of Reflection. The young Elven woman, known as Eraendril, returned to the land of the living after having her moment to reflect on the past and her future endeavours. Standing at 5’5, the 75 year old Wood Elf stood shorter than most elves, but still taller than an average human female. She sometimes felt slightly self-conscious about her height, however she certainly made up for it in other ways. Eraendril strolled from the safety of the Living Tree’s core, making her way to the city’s marketplace, smiling gracefully at shopkeepers who offered many passersby to try their clothes and other trinkets.

Most Elven marketers got their goods from trusted outsider traveling merchants, so a lot of their products were strange and foreign, but beautiful in their uniqueness. The brown haired elf took out a few golden coins from her bear skinned pouch, pointing a slender finger towards a rolled travelers camping pack, which came complete with a bedroll and a pitched tent. Anything else would be provided by the nature around her. Eraendril’s last stop was back home, having to scale one of the taller trees beside the Living Tree, being from a founding family, she had the luxury of living beside the Living Tree, just like most founding families or ‘nobles’. A Noble in Wood Elf terms were much different from nobles of other races. They weren’t always rich and powerful families, sometimes a family was chosen for noble status because of the deeds of a member, or if the Living Tree selected them to be, other than that, you’d need to be from a founding family to live so close to the blessed tree.

Once reaching the Riverwood Tree House, Eraendril opened the door, greeted by the scent of a rabbit and vegetable stew cooking, the smell had overcome the entire estate with its welcoming aroma. Must be Trathal, their servant. Ever since her mother had died, Trathal had taken it upon herself to be a woman of the house, to keep it together whilst the family mourned and healed. She was a wonderful woman, very good to their family, and in return the family kept her in high regards, giving her her very own room, clothes and everything a young Elven girl could ever want. She was truly a part of their family.

“Eraendril, Is that you?” A sing song voice echoed through the quiet building, accompanied by the sound of cutlery clinking together. Eraendril walked through the front of the house, making her way to the kitchen. They didn’t have a big house, Wood Elves didn’t believe in wasting space, so their homes were formed according to what they needed. “Hello Trathal, supper smells divine as usual.” Eraendril smiled warmly as she entered the open kitchen, moving to offer a hand with cleaning up a few of the used pots that were finished with. “Is father home yet?” Trathal shook her head as she spun around with a ladle in her hand, hovering it in front of Eraendril’s mouth for her to taste. “Mm, it’s perfect Trathal.”

The taller woman smiled, closing the pot as she spoke. “He’s actually supposed to be home around about…. now.” She held off, saying the last part of her sentence just as the front door swung open rather loudly, the sound of cladded boots clunking on the wooden floor as her father made an appearance in the kitchen. “Smells wonderful Trathal, thank you.” He raised a hand, wiggling his index finger towards Eraendril, gesturing for her to follow as he left, walking to the family room. She followed after a look was shared between the two Elven women, her hands tucked behind her back as she walked to the next room, poking her head around the door.

“Father, you wished to see me?” He smiled up at her, a small box laid upon his lap which was wrapped in fern leaves and decorated with a floral vine. “I got you something for your travels. I figured it’s better to encourage and support your decision to branch out and see the world, rather than hold you back and risk resentment.” She felt her heart flutter, ever since she had suggested leaving the city, her father had been rather hesitant to agree, often coming up with excuses as to why she should wait. She didn’t blame him though, he was only trying to protect her. But she couldn’t be afraid of the outside world anymore, she needed to experience it, for herself, and her mother. “Come here, sit.” His voice was authoritative, yet sweet like silky honey.

Eraendril strolled over, sitting on a chair beside her father, taking the box as he handed it to her, watching her carefully with an old, and almost sad gaze. She slowly and carefully opened her gift, her eyes widening slightly at the beautiful mahogany box with carvings of the Living Tree symbol atop it. It was her mother's box, something that she thought was lost after her death. “Your mother made me promise to hide it and only give it to you when you were ready.” His voice was soft but heavy, filled with a mixture of sadness and joy for his daughter. She slowly lifted the lid of the box, her hands delving inside to take out the folded cloth, which slowly unraveled to reveal a beautiful cloak, it was green like the forest with golden links and patterning around the outskirts of the fabric. “Mother’s hunting cloak.” Her voice was soft as she hugged it to her chest before throwing it over her shoulders, draping the material over her light hunting armour. It still smelt like her.

A small letter fluttered to the floor, revealing itself to the both of them. It was addressed to Eraendril, in her mother's cursive handwriting. She picked it up and turned it over to reveal a message on the back. ‘Do not open within the Living Forest.’ Seems her mother knew just how much Eraendril and herself were alike. Both adventurers at heart. She couldn’t help but laugh a little, looking at her father who sighed, shaking his head. “She must have known I wouldn’t have wanted you to leave, that sneaky woman. She was always too smart for her own good, you know.” Eraendril felt happy in that moment, happy for all the wonderful memories her mother had left with them, the morals she had instilled into them. For everything. Even now, her mother was helping them, watching over them through the spirit of the Living Tree. “I miss her.” Eraendril leant her head on her father’s shoulder, who wrapped an arm around her, holding her close.

“I know, I miss her too. Your mother would be so proud of the woman you’re becoming.” They stayed together in silence for a moment before her father broke the silence, standing up and taking Eraendril with him. “Alright, no crying. It’s time for you to go.” He offered a small smile, kissing her forehead. “I love you sweetheart, go see the world and put your mark on it.” Eraendril smiled, hugging her father tightly before she turned on her heel, heading to her room to collect the rest of her things. Once she was done, she was greeted by her father and Trathal at the front door, waiting for her with Sybil in her father’s arms. “Take her, she still needs training and she’s yours, her place is by your side.” Eraendril was hesitant, Sybil was a month old Senche cub, birthed from her mother’s Senche. Slowly she outstretched her hands, taking Sybil into her arms as the young cub yawned and stretched, she was such a sleepy little thing, normal for a cub, but it was still adorable. Hopefully she gets along with Midnight, her actual bonded Senche. He could be testy towards other Senches.

“Alright. Time to go I guess. I’ll keep off the backroads, and I’ll stay away from strangers.” Her father gave her one last embrace before handing her to Trathal, who hugged her tightly and whispered to her. “Don’t worry, your father’s in good hands. I won’t let him wither away.” She smiled once she pushed the girl at arms length, staring at her before letting her go. “Now off you go before your father changes his mind.” She laughed as she got given a look before Eraendril was allowed to pass the two. Once Eraendril was finally back on the forest floor, she made her way through the bustling city, elves young and old active and chatting away happily, Senche in their pens, some even roaming freely. Wood Elves didn’t have horses, they weren’t native to the Living Forest, no, they had Senche, similar to a Dire Wolf, but a wild cat, that was the simplest explanation. She made her way to the pen she was keeping Midnight in, clicking her tongue as he trotted out of his wooden pen, his sleek black fur glistening under the lights of the city.

Eraendril had placed Sybil onto the ground at her feet, allowing the young cub to follow her, getting distracted by a butterfly, which she chased around playfully, swiping at it. She never strayed too far from Eraendril though, she was also within eyesight. The wood elf finally reached the outskirts of the Elven city, taking a deep breath as she looked ahead, into the thicket of the forest. It got thicker and more wild outside the city, before it cleared up into the plains that laid before them. The Living Forest was also beside swamplands too, native to the Lamina, a rather primal race, but they had a special relationship with the Wood Elves. It’s how they’ve lived in peace for so long, so close together. With a final look over her shoulder, her eyes examining her home, she reminisced in the memories, and the fact that the Living Forest was the only thing she knew, this was her first time leaving, and she wouldn’t be back anytime soon. She smiled, slowly turning away and heading into the depths of the forest, leaving her home behind her, only for now.

———————————

Several hours had passed since Eraendril left her home in favour of adventure and exploration, the sun no longer visible through the cracks within the thick canopies, the forest floor much darker than before. Sybil was trotting alongside Midnight who carried the young wood elf with ease as they came across a small clearing, which hosted a beautiful little pond filled with an assortment of fish and water lilies. It was quiet, save for the chirping of crickets in the distance. “Alright, it looks like we found a nice place to camp.” She smiled towards the young Senche cub, who was currently preoccupied chasing a firefly. Eraendril shook her head lightly, stifling a small giggle as she proceeded to drop her bedroll onto the ground, beside a medium sized boulder, setting it out neatly along with a small campfire to keep the area lit and warm. Once this was done, she carefully constructed a small makeshift shelter with sticks and leaves so that they were protected overhead, it also doubled as good camouflage.

The wood elf placed her bow between her bed and the boulder, slowly slithering into the warm and fluffy bear skinned sleeping bag, getting comfortable as she laid back, map in hand as she examined the new markings that began to appear. As she checked where she would head next, Sybil crawled in beside the brown haired young woman, purring softly as she fell asleep beside her, Eraendril lightly stroking her soft little head. “Goodnight Sybil.” She said in a soft voice, followed by a yawn as she closed her map, sliding it back into her leather knapsack and turned onto her side. “Goodnight Midnight.” Eraendril mumbled towards the adult Senche sleeping at her feet. She listened to the night song of the forest before slowly drifting into a deep slumber, overcome with dreams of wanderlust.

Warmth swirled in the areas slowly exposed to the morning rays as the sun arose above the canopies, the dense leaves blocking the majority of the light, save for the dots that leaked through.
Eraendril’s features distorted slightly as she stirred in her slumber, slowly awakening to the sounds of chirping birds and other sounds of morning song. Slowly pushing herself up and out of her bedroll, Sybil was still asleep, Midnight was gazing at the fish within the pond. The elven woman smiled, careful to not disturb her furry companion as she took herself away from the campsite and towards the small pond of water, filled with an assortment of freshwater fish, sitting beside Midnight who chuffed at her approach. Her earthy coloured eyes stared into the rippling waters intensely, losing herself in her own reflection as memories of when she was young began to take over her mind temporarily.

She felt a warmth in her chest, her hand resting over her heart before letting out a deep sigh. A smile spread across her lips as she surfaced herself back into reality, giving Midnight a scratch upon his head as she slowly stood, beginning to pack up her things whilst snacking on a nutty honey treat from her pocket, they were small but packed thick, perfect for traveling light. Sybil had already awakened, pawing at Midnight’s tail, who did well to ignore her. Once Eraendril was finished and ready to go, they’d set off towards the very edges of the Living Forest, closing the distance between her and her mark.
 
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Esmeralda Blackheart

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I would like to dabble on all genres but my favourites are definitely Historical, Medieval, fantasy and Magical.
"Aglæca," Aglæca's head snapped up from the paperwork in front of her as the head Shaman called her name. Without lifting her head, Elethien continued,
"You will accompany me to Azuriko."
Aglæca had a huge grin upon her face at the statement. It was both an honour and a good chance. She hardly ventured away from the north land. She could count with one hand the times she'd travel away from home. She jumped from her seat, her eyes wide and shining as she hugged her mentor.

"Yes! Yes! Thank youuu. I'll pack. I honestly thought you wouldn't ask." Laughter ensued as she rushed out and Elethien could only shake her head, a small smile upon her face as she watched Aglæca, before she returned to her papers.

She could not contain her excitement. As soon as she reached home, she burst into the living room and informed her family of the news, then headed off to pack. Whilst she knew the gravity of the situation, and the reason for their travel, it was still a rare opportunity for her. And she was eager if for the experience.

•❅──────✧❅✦❅✧──────❅•

It had been 15 days since they left Vymen. The council officially commenced two days ago, and it would only end in a few more days. The incident would be discussed and debates would ensue. They won't reach a decision anytime soon.

Aglæca only attended the first day. She was lucky enough. The meetings was not obligatory for her to attend. Elethien was there in the stead of her father to lead the meeting.

Thus, when she was not practicing her magic, or helping Elethien with hers, Aglæca took the time to explore Azuriko. She bought trinkets of many kinds, tried different food, and drank a variety of mead and beer at night.

A cultural education, she would claim. She couldn't have travelled so far without experiencing the life of the locals after all. Like a child, she'd run around the kingdom, and tried whatever she could.
 
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RiddL

Tia mi aven vadin isainde Moridin.
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BRUHA (EXILE)
Two weeks, thats how long Bruha, Shak'thur and the Lord General had travelled on their way to Azuriko, the journey uneventful as any bandits took one look at them and decided it not worth their time to try something that even the most foolish of bandits would think stupid.

They arrived a day before the meeting, guards nearly drawing swords as Bruha and Shak'thur became visible, only calming down when the Lord General revealed the letter of invitation to the meeting, though they remained weary and cautious as Orcs were near infamous for their brutality and nigh evil ways.

"Commander Exile, explore the City. Until the meeting truly begins with all of us present there is little point in you joining us." The Lord General said as they entered the city, Shak'thur leaving Bruha and wandering out to search for a place to spin its web, the peasants, guard and nobility alike all fearful of the massive Arachnid.

As for Bruha himself, he wandered the city, entering the markets armed only with a dagger as his spear was left with his spider, along with the majority of his gear, bar his armour that never left his body unless he was somewhere he could consider safe.

The eyes of the locals followed him as they unconsciously backed away from him, despite being followed by two guardsmen to ensure he didn't cause trouble. The merchants on the other hand, were all but crawling up to him, the coin purse visible under his armour making their eyes shine with unconcealed greed. Their wares may have been considered quite high quality, though the Orc showed little interest in what they had though, his eyes seeking out the food vendors, his curiosity for different foods being satiated as he went from stall to stall and enjoyed the flavours, some were spicy, others sour but most savoury.

His curiosity sated, Bruha made his way back to their accomodations that were prepared beforehand.
 
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Phaedra

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Eraendril POV

It had been several days since Eraendril had left her home, Ashendale, in pursuit of the adventure her mother had once wanted to share with her. Alongside her walked her young Senche as well as Midnight, Sybil was still too young to really fight properly, but she had a strong spirit and training proved successful, so it wouldn’t be long until Sybil was a true hunter, she was beginning to take up after Midnight a little, just without the grump. They really only needed only each other to survive in the wild, however somebody to talk to would be nice on occasion, Eraendril wasn’t exactly the loner type, she enjoyed the company of people as well as the wildlife. The group had eventually reached a large settlement just outside the reach of the multicultural city, Azuriko. Eraendril was cautious, keeping to herself and out of sight for the most part, only knowing what other elves had told her about humans. Apparently they weren’t the nicest folk, she really hoped that they were just having bad days or something.

The young wood elf slinked through the settlement with ease, keeping her ears covered under her hood, her companions gaining a bit of attention and a few stares. Senche’s werent common amongst this area or these people, so they were a spectacle to the majority. Eraendril was so distracted by all of the strange and wonderful things she was seeing, she was only stopped once to have her ‘companions’ addressed. Obviously Midnight would need to be situated with the other mounts that we’re comfortably looked after at a stable just outside of the city walls, Sybil was the exception due to her small size, other than that, she was free to access the inner city with relative ease. Seemed the humans welcomed travelers into their walls, unlike the elves, who preferred to keep outsiders at bay. It was much different from her home. Her eyes were wide and filled with curiosity and a childlike wonder, her lips curling into a smile as she quickened her pace to see what the commotion up ahead was. She rushed through the street until she reached the opening of a lower class town square.

Everything was run down, even the people themselves seemed run down, but they kept going, that was humanity’s strength. She gently shuffled through a few people until she was able to see what everyone was yelling and cheering about. Sybil was off somewhere on the roofs, probably distracted by a bird or something. In the middle of the ring were two human men, stripped to their bottom rags, covered in blood and mud, their bodies clashing as a fight had broken out, outside a tavern. She watched curiously until two guards broke up the fight and proceeded to drag the two off somewhere, probably to sober them up.

Eraendril broke away from the rest of the crowd, which seemed to be dissipating as well, going on with their lives once again, a few remarks at ‘spoilt fun’, some heading to the tavern, others going on with their daily activities, whatever they may be. Perhaps she could get some information on any jobs or adventures, a Tarven was generally the place to go, something all races had in common. She was completely taken aback upon entering the tavern, being rather different than she’d been led to believe. “Oh.” Was all she said as she slinked away into a corner booth by herself, watching as more customers began to come in as time went by, perhaps she’d see someone interesting by waiting here and listening to everyone, but she wouldn’t get much information out of the bartender, he was gruff and didn’t seem interested in conversation.

The young elven woman remained relatively quiet and kept to herself, speaking softly when one of the lovely tavern waitresses took her order; an ale and grilled veal meal, rare. Her ears twitched to the sounds of laughter, talking, jugs of ale smashing together, the bard playing a nice tune on his lute, singing a tale about an old hero. The lingering odor of booze and sweat could be smelt under the sweet aroma of food. Eraendril leaned forwards on her elbows, eyes closed as she allowed herself to be swept away in the moment for a few seconds before being broken out of her daze by the waitress from before, her blond hair tied up in a messy bun, a few strands of hair loosely swayed over her face as she placed down a plate of food and a mug of ale, just as Eraendril dropped a few coins onto the table as payment before she grabbed her fork and stabbed it into the large slice of Venison.

She suddenly sat up straight, letting it drop on the floor at her feet for the young Senche that now sat at her feet under the table, shielded by some of her cloak. The meat was swiped and gnawed on by the feline as Eraendril proceeded to eat the vegetables left on her plate, her green-gold eyes scanning the room before gazing down at her feet. “What shall we do first, Sybil?”
 
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Esmeralda Blackheart

KitKat
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1-3 posts per day, One post per day, 1-3 posts per week, Slow As Molasses
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I would like to dabble on all genres but my favourites are definitely Historical, Medieval, fantasy and Magical.

A GM's Post

"I will feed you soon. Be quiet." Jar'Rak forced out the words through gritted teeth, his face contorted in pain at the skull splitting headache he was currently facing. The Master was ravenous and it was punishing him for not feeding him soon enough.
Jar'Rak cursed under his breath. Just a while longer, he told himself. Just two more before he had control. And when he did, he would make sure to teach the bitch inside him a lesson.
The air around him rippled. Candles began to flicker and dance around the shadows of the dark cave. His emotions affected his surroundings. The more extreme his emotions were, the more unstable he was at controlling the power he gained through abominable means.

"I-it is d-done, Master."
The soft and squeaky voice that interrupted his thoughts made Jar'Rak curse as he looked up from his throne. A frown settled upon his forehead as it creased. His eyes flickered from the useless runt of a human towards the altar. The earthborn child was asleep soundly in the middle, surrounded by candles that swayed and flickered. He dismissed the skittish slave with a wave of his hand and stood up, taking long strides to reach the altar.
The High Elf stared down at the young Earthfolk upon reaching the altar, his blackened eyes completely soulless as if Jar’Rak were no longer himself.

He began to hum a soft tune as the Earthfolk babe awoke from her sleep, her beautiful icy blue eyes pierced through his colourless orbs, as if they connected for a moment before the High Elf raised his hand to his hip, unsheathing a ritualistic blade, one that didn’t look of this world. It was said to be forged by a High-Demon, a much higher status than an Arch-Demon. Most don’t even believe they even exist, let alone an Arch-Demon.
“Your blood, my blood. Your body, my body.” His words came through physically and mentally to anyone around him, the voice piercing the skulls of his followers who were too close to his private quarters. Each word rattled the walls of the deep cave like a chant, some dirt and flaking rock drizzling from the roof and to the floor like dry rain, as if responding to his words.

The altar began to hum as he raised his blade, the child staring up at him before he plunged the blade into the innocent Earthfolk child, stealing her life for his own. The price of power was large, and soon enough he too would become a sacrifice, but Jar’Rak was smart and old, he had lived well over 300, having seen the rise and fall of many kingdoms, and many wars.
The altar began to glow, as if feeding on the blood trickling down their corners and into etched stone which carved a summoning circle around it. It was nearly completed, only a Mermaid remained before he would have complete control over his power, and it thrilled him beyond words. This is what his life led him to, this was his purpose. Once the blood had made its course through stone and earth, he clicked his fingers and the fluid began to flow upwards and straight into a Golden Chalice, filling to the brim.

In order to complete his ritual, he must first consume the flesh and blood of the Earthfolk’s corpse, drinking the thick, slightly metallic fluid until it was gone before ordering his slave to come and collect the body in preparation for his meal.

Slight Time Skip

With the blood and flesh of the Earthfolk in him, Jar'Rak couldn't help but to laugh. The power of old magic that ran through his veins was electrifying. Quite an orgasmic experience. He was close and he could feel it. Before long, he would have full control of the powers of the demon.
He emitted strong pulses of energy as his body adjusted and adapted to his newly gained life force.

The vibrations of the pulses ruptured the air. In the distant lands of Rayan, the earth began to rumble. The ground cracked. Lightning and thunder rolled in like a tsunami, the striking purple colour lighting up the blackening skies like a display of fireworks for Giants. Gravity itself began to distort in highly affected areas, which caused two massive bursts of power to send continuous shockwaves, flattening the earth in a full 10 meter radius around each Rift.

•❅──────✧❅✦❅✧────
In the middle of the council, tremors could be felt, even in the room devoid of magic.
When they peered out the window, they were greeted by the sight of a huge rift in the very center of Azuriko. The loss of life in a split second would be devastating to the City’s human population, the entire city square and a whole block of stores reduced to rubble in the blink of an eye.

Anyone caught within the blast would be obliterated, their bodies burning up like paper before being sucked into the large, fluid moving Rift that glistened in an unearthly beauty that couldn’t be explained simply. Those who were just outside of the blast would arise to see their own in tatters, loved ones vanished, the screams of innocence echoing around the Rift, as if time moved differently, the laws of physics failing the brightest of minds as there was no logical explanation. The shock settled first, then the crippling fear overwhelmed most. The air was thick like an invisible smog, unleashing potential in those who harboured it, but so rapidly that it would consume them in an instant, twisting their forms painfully until their screams of agony settled into the growls of a Demon.

Possession. Weaker demons had no forms so they resulted in possession, which would eventually kill their host if they weren’t ready for such power to enter their forms. The longer they remained inside of a host, the less likely a host could be brought back from such an ordeal. Suddenly man turned on man, woman on woman, child on child, a complete slaughter as nobody was spared. The one pure thing about Demons. They saw everything the same, their desire for destruction blinding them to outside influence. However Arch-Demons were at a completely different level, nothing pure about them. Nobody ever saw an Arch-Demon and lived to tell about it, thus they became a myth. They were also incredibly rare, you’d pray to all the religions in Rayan that you’d never have the misfortune of coming face to face with such a being of pure terror and agony. The very sight could drive most mortals mad.

The Rift within Azuriko was aggressive, but only half opened, a blessing in disguise to its citizens. Demons could have come in droves, but they were limited to what managed to come out during the blast. However, as long as a Demon dies within the radius of its Rift, it will always return.

As for the council members, whilst they scrambled to leave the room to help fight the demons, they found themselves to be locked in the room, the door guarded by magic that was so sinister, everyone shuddered. Murmurs filled the room. What could not happen had happened. Magic was casted in the room. Yet none of them could access theirs.

As they panicked, deep laughter filled the room, drawing their eyes to the one hidden under the cloak at the corner of the room. As his hood slid back, revealing his face, loud gasps could be heard. His lips curled into a smile, revealing his sharp teeth, "Father sends his regards."
And before anyone could anticipate his actions, he plunged a knife into his heart, and began to chant, calling forth a demon; its fingers crooked and bent with hardened talons for nails. Its head came afterwards, then its torso, revealing itself bit by bit. Sharp bones protruded from its arms and shoulders. The end of its tail was covered in spikes. It's body was bent in a crouch, lowering its height to a mere seven feet and five inches.
As soon as it has fully emerged, the demon roared. Its eyes began to search, head tilted upwards as it sniffed around before it swung its claws towards the council members, to eliminate them. The council members were helpless, for they had no weapons nor magic to aid them. It was a massacre, a blood bath, and he laughed as blood sprayed all over him, whilst his heart mended.
——End——
TL:DR;
1 Demon in the middle of Azuriko.
1 Demon in the council room.

 

Durandal

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Medieval Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, horror.
The sights and smells that greeted Vulk as he'd explored the city had been everything he'd hoped for and more.

It wasn't that he'd never been on the surface world before, but that he was allowed to...just...explore, there was no 'mission' he had to adhere tightly too, he'd basically been given free reign to do what he wanted as long as he was helping with whatever the council had called the races together for. So he meandered through the streets of Azuriko, darting to and fro underfoot the feet of humans, dwarves, elves, and more. His presence was barely noticed, for he was small and nimble.

So many voices, so many sounds, and the scents! Oh God's above the smells! That might be a strange thing to be excited by to a surface worlder, but to a young ratfolk who had lived below ground, close to a sewer, being able to smell so many different things was an exciting thing in of itself! So many spices, foods, people, and more that he had no words for, he was thrilled.

He wandered primarily in the market, from stall to stall, sniffing here and there. Mainly around where vendors were hawking wares of food and spices, Vulk found himself more often than not, crouched behind one of them unbeknownst to them and breathing in the aromas, it was intoxicating in a way only a ratfolk like himself could appreciate.

It would have been difficult to explain to someone else, if they had asked, he experienced scent on such a different level from most other races, how could you explain to someone how to imagine something they couldn't even perceive? The best he'd be able to explain is perhaps to 'imagine a color you've never seen, that you are incapable of seeing.'

The next three hours or so, he found himself buying some spices, foods and the like, and promptly finding somewhere he could experiment. He'd eagerly approached an innkeeper and excitedly explained what he'd wanted. The man was mostly amused, but since none of it was coming out of his pocket, he'd been alright with Vulk using his kitchen.

Cooking was a lot like alchemy, before long delicious smells began to waft through the kitchen as Vulk stirred a pot, humming happily to himself, he couldn't wait to try this soup, new ingredients, new foods! Vegetables he'd never worked with before! He knew what they were before but generally...ratfolk subsisted off of fungi, cave fish, and other spartan types of food.

Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, pork, and oh heavens above the cheeses, he mixed them in and spiced carefully, sniffing here and about at his dish to gauge what was needed.

Then it was done, and he carefully tasted and beamed with utter delight "Oh very good-best tasting, yes yes!" The innkeeper and some of his staff had been curiously watching, drawn in by the scent and the man asked if they could have a taste, Vulk nodded and gestured "Take all you want, I wanted to test-learn more than anything, yes yes."

Taking a bowl for himself he supped eagerly, and listened to the sounds of the innkeeper and his staff exclaim delight at the soup, digging in themselves, the innkeeper looked up from his food after a moment with surprise and then a calculating look "You know...I could offer you a well paying job if you'd be willing to work as cook here."

Vulk smiled in faint amusement "No, I must politely decline-reject your request, I have been called as a representative to the council, but I thank you for the offer, work to be done-achieved."

The man was disappointed but stated his understanding and waved the ratman goodbye as Vulk excused himself, leaving the rest of the soup for them to enjoy.

____________________________________________

Vulk had been approaching the council chamber, or more accurately twiddling his thumbs and waiting to be admitted, other representatives were there as well of course, but then...

Suddenly the room shook and he squawked in surprise as the chair he was sitting in was thrown backwards, a roaring sound filling his ears as something exploded, or at least that's sort of what it sounded like. Getting to his feet nimbly his gaze darted around rapidly as his training took over, crossbow already drawn as he skittishly got ready to fight, especially once he heard sounds of screaming and a roaring of some kind of monster, Vulk ran towards the source, something that was unquestionably foolish but his mission was to meet with the council, if they were dead he couldn't do that.

He pulled and yanked desperately at the door, having got there before anyone else, before shouting desperately "Someone help-assist me!"
 
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RiddL

Tia mi aven vadin isainde Moridin.
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BRUHA
Bruha returned to his explorations of the markets after his rest, though many of the people avoided him and constantly gave him stares that could curdle milk, ignoring the looks given to him he enjoyed the feeling that the city gave him. The mixture of cultures, the scents of the food and the cacophony of noises brought a real feeling of life here, causing him to sigh lightly, though coming from him it sounded closer to a growl.

Suddenly screams sounded nearby, followed by the sounds of combat and the smell of death that accompanied it, Bruha charged towards the mayhem, cursing himself for leaving his spear behind as he was asked to, he should have fought harder to be allowed to arm himself, but as he was an Orc, it made people far too nervous. He drew his dagger, the guards that were accompanying him were slowly dropping behind him, whether they were slow or cowards bothered him little, his blood growing hotter in his veins at the thought of battle.

The sight that he met as he arrived surpassed his imagination, the people fought like they were possessed, using anything they could reach and failing that, using their hands and teeth to rip each other apart.

One of these possessed rushed at Bruha, swinging his fist at Bruha, flesh met flesh as he moved his head to connect with the fist, his forehead catching the blow. The fist gave a sickening crunch as he fingers and knuckles shattered against the thick bone of Bruha's skull, though it didnt seem to stop the man from throwing more hits. The Orc felt the pain but it only seemed to fuel Bruha more, he gave a roar, almost drowning out the chaos as he grabbed the man by his face, ignoring the attempts to bite through his hand he began lifting him up, the feet rising an inch above the ground before plunging the dagger onto the chest and twisting it, dropping the body to the ground as he pulled the knife back out.

With the battle madness set in he threw himself forwards.
 
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