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 World of Illidia - IC

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RCMidas
Refugee
RCMidas

Posts : 77
Join date : 2011-10-01
Age : 30
Location : Designing the future with H.R. Giger

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PostSubject: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 7:32 pm

AHLAT and DUSI

Thembul's forge glows bright and hot in the early morning, banishing the mists. The dwarven smith takes one last deep breath and pumps the bellows furiously one last time, forming a geyser of sparks. One eye closed, muttering the passing seconds in rigid concentration, he withdraws a small carved bone and casts it into the flames, momentarily turning them a sickly green.

In that brief instant, he thrusts his hand into the forge and plucks a dagger-shaped mass of light from within, his face contorted into a grimace of expectant pain, that rapidly changes to mingled pride and relief when no harm is done to him. After a few seconds, the unnatural light subsides and the dagger he has crafted lies motionless in his hand, its blade tinged with an eerie green hue.

"And that, my most worthy apprentice," he pronounces solemnly to Ahlat. "Is how you imbue a weapon with the venom of a basilisk. Provided you have carved the necessary sigils into its jaw and thrown it to the flames at the right moment, you will suffer no harm when withdrawing the weapon."

Thembul inspects the dagger's edge carefully, then places it to one side with the rest of his finished commissions.

"Now the pair of you may have the workshop to yourselves," he says, gazing critically at Dusi's somewhat ragged appearance. "For the love of Verlang, Ahlat, do not embarrass me by failing, should you try to improve this man's equipment."

With that, the forgemaster removes himself from the room and leaves the two of you be. Presumably he is going to take some fresh air out on the valley overlook, then finish up the paperwork for the next set of contracts he has accepted. For someone of his calibre, even trying to live alone miles away from anywhere has failed to deter visitors of all stripes - Ahlat is as lucky to have been accepted as his apprentice as Dusi is for having gained access to Ahlat.

**********

HARKA

Seasickness is not something you'd experienced before and it certainly qualifies as something you never want to experience again - but, you remind yourself as you struggle to keep down your supper for the umpteenth time, your pay for this awful rain-soaked job will be more than worth it. Probably.

#Aye, and then there was 'arpoon Hardah!
She 'ad a face to make you shuddah!
Lips like fish-hooks...nose just like a ruddah!#

Although the ghastly sea-shanty currently being 'sung' by the first mate, already drinking away his end of the profits, makes you wonder exactly how much more worth it your share will be.

#Once I'd kissed her and held her tenderly
Weren't no sea monster big enough...to e'er frighten me!#

Finally, after three eternities too many on the water, the ship reaches port and you gratefully disembark, starting to the hold to begin offloading the cargo. Minotaurs such as yourself have always been prized workers aboard vessels such as these, not just because your strength lets you haul more stuff around, but also because it gives the crew an edge if any officials want to poke around looking for contraband.

Which, of course, most of the cargo is. Hence the whole operation being done at night in a storm, with at least two of the other smugglers - one elderly dwarf and one young-looking human, are both trying to get you involved in their own personal operation and drive the other out of business. Of course, there's always what the captain said...

"Anyone I catch skimming off the top will get fed to the fishes. Anyone who tells me of someone skimming off the top gets their share as well as a little extra bonus."

**********

KATYUSHA

For some reason, Dall is even colder on this one day of the year than even at midwinter. You idly ponder the possibilities behind this as you ready yourself for the Festival of the Frozen Heart - with the greatest stumbling block being that, despite the Festival falling on a different day each year, dependent upon factors known only to the Snow Mistresses of the Ice Sanctuary, the city's temperature invariably drops for the duration of the event despite any effort to counter it by the populace.

On the upside, by long-standing tradition the Festival of the Frozen Heart is also the day on which all debts may be forgotten, all grudges forgiven and all endeavours blessed with good fortune...or for the more romantic, all declarations of love and vows of troth made eternal and sanctified by the glorious magic that suffuses everyone within Dall at the climax of the Festival.

Only last year, for example, three of your own circle of friends - Barris, Savenie and Tovald - pledged themselves to each other, unable and unwilling both to make a more limiting choice; hardly the first time such an arrangement has been made, even that year alone! You had been wondering if Ardrureis was planning on a declaration of love for you, but a severe illness had kept him from attending - and he was always so nervous when not among a crowd! Still, there was always this year for him to pluck up his courage, if Nadzi didn't catch and keep his eye.

So many interplays of affection and rivalry are visible as you age and became wiser. So many ways the future could turn out - although for you, there is only one possibility in your mind. All the more reason to get the blessing of luck before you set out on your grand quest - even if it isn't actually true and is just some old superstition, it'll make your friends and family feel better about you heading off into the great unknown.

Except Urktan. Though one of your oldest and dearest friends, her single-mindedness regarding the dangers that lie outside of Dall and the obvious value of simply staying inside the city at all times can be quite frightening in its intensity. You know this year she will use the Festival to try and join the Ice Sanctuary as a novitiate Snow Maiden. You also know she is the only one who thinks she is ready to face the trials necessary.

**********

KO

"You do not find what you seek. Earth does not fly. You may fly in life though death makes you earth. Pose truth."

The command is met with silence as the assembled students consider the issue. A hamakei's mind is known to work on vastly higher principles of thought than the majority of mortals' - a thing of incredible complexity might be reduced to its barest simplicity through their insight, or equally, what was once thought simple revealed to have a supremely greater depth than imagination could reach. And Vulpa was one of the most respected of their kind, a paragon among geniuses.

One student attempts an answer: "Theory of Motion Requisite Life. Death prevents motion thus earth does not fly. Br'vruk are earth. Pose challenge."

It is a good answer with a bold conclusion - someone certainly did their research well. Among other things, the elemental entities known as br'vruk are well known for being wholly composed of stone, whilst still having the ability to grow and reproduce; therefore qualifying as being alive. The challenge presented here is that an elemental force derived from study of br'vruk is responsible for keeping the Celestus Plains afloat.

Vulpa's famous, sightless eyes fix upon the speaker as though they were the only two in the room and then the hamakei delivers the reply: "Counter. Theory of Exponentials."

Four little words. They may as well as been an Dweomer of the most forbidden magics, such was the crushing effect they had on the bold challenger. There was not a spellcaster in history who did not know how it became increasingly difficult to enlarge a spell's area of effect and maintain its functionality until at last the entire thing simply failed to work at all.

You understand this full well. As Vulpa's eyes leave the challenger's, they touch briefly upon yours. Then, a sudden insight - as if a veil is lifted from your sight. A spell, singular only, is the wording of that Theory. But what of the Theory of Resonant Sympathy? Multiple identical magics, cast in harmony by those with sufficient skill, could be vastly empowered within their sphere of influence - what if it was not the strength of the spell, but the size that was so affected?

**********

TASPAR

Although not the most pleasant place you've ever slept in, Whitewater Farm is at least run by pleasant enough people, happy enough to take payment for their hospitality through conversation and some chores rather than gold or greater service. Certainly over breakfast you get ample opportunity for a long exchange of stories and rumours, together with much-needed advice about the local region.

Farmer Crillo, a robust human who looks to have a bit of elf somewhere far back in his ancestry, his wife Saralti and their twin sons Folar and Ravdah - both of whom treat you with a little more indifference than their parents - seem more than willing to answer your questions as well as listen to your own unique perspective on life, as the first serachrin they have actually seen.

"After all," Crillo laughs at one point. "We are only isolated from the nearby villages by the rough ground, not by not ever have visitors. Being this close to Gunthartaz has some advantages, if you can abide the high taxes and the occasional mercenary band."

"And we can abide them!" Folar asserts at that point. "Unlike some, we aren't just going to up and leave this place. Our sweat and blood build it. It'll take our lives to bring it down. Besides, we've lived here all our lives, we know the land too well to abandon it. Go on, ask us anything."

**********

Uukov

You have encountered a fair few idiots in your time, but this particular one by far and away is the most persistently annoying. Both for reasons of staying within the law and staying out of an inferno that was formerly a market, you refrain from hurling a bolt of flame at the gigantic, indignantly-waggling backside in front of you and try to ignore the stupidity of the argument.

"With ears like those I don't understand why you can't hear me! I keep trying to tell you that I did apply the lotion exactly as you instructed! Which means that you sold me a lotion that fails to do what you promised. And I want my money back."

"My dear lady, I went to extreme pains to assure you that I sold nothing whatsoever capable of turning either yours or your...poor, beloved husband's ears into anything remotely resembling my own. Or anything else for that matter. Furthermore, what I sold you-"

"Does. Not. Work. It doesn't work."

"Madame Jadis, unless you have been attacked in the last few seconds by a swarm of umbeku lacking in both visibility and stingers, I can absolutely guarantee that my product works. However, as I was at, as ever, at great pains to point out, that lotion serves only to protect the ear against the predation of that voracious little pest. A pest which, as I explained with the assistance of two most helpful wizards, a bestiary, three living specimens - including my own assaulted ears - and two alchemic treatises, only feeds on elven ears. Elven ears, being the ears of elves, rather than humans such as your good self."

"Dunderwit!"

"Insults will not change the fa-"

"You think I am a fool?"

"...I would hesitate to think such a thing, Madame Jadis."

"Look at your shoulders, man! Their breadth! The obvious muscles of your chest and arms, which you have on display almost indecently! You are no more an elf than I am a hideous troll."

"A most false proposition as I am indeed of the elven peoples...and no troll would ever have your sense of fashion. Madame."

Several other people are already queuing up behind you, waiting for the fool ahead of you to leave, but all have the same look of resignation, knowing - as do you from your experience yesterday and the day before - that this could be a long wait. Tollah, the put-upon apothecary, herbalist and potion-master; shoots you a despairing and hugely apologetic glance whenever he can get away with it; motioning with his eyes that perhaps a different merchant in Towelen's great market square might be more helpful at this juncture. That implied, Tollah is also known as the only reliable source of especially rare goods, of which several are very useful to you.

**********

VOKKY

The early-morning chatter wakes you, once again well before you would wish it, as the makeshift camp begins to stir in preparation for a new day. The smell of freshly-spilled orc blood tells you that there has been another contest for the leadership of this pathetic, diminishing warband - and by the distinctly burnt tang in the air, you can already tell that it was Aharn who triumphed yet again.

Clever Aharn, who had devised every strategy that had ever worked for the tribe. Deceitful Aharn, who swore blind he had not learned so much as a single spell from the old shaman despite seven years of tuition. Treacherous Aharn, who had struck down more than one warchief with a poisoned thrust to the back. Corrupted Aharn, who would roast his enemies for food as if he were troll and not orc.

It was a sad fate for a goblin such as Vokky, to be cast out of the great tribe and wander in exile - not only for being goblin rather than orc, but for being clever and not anticipating Aharn's attempted coup, more than a few hints of which had been dropped over the preceding months. Still, perhaps it was better than death, especially since Aharn had taken Vokky's silence to mean he had come around to his way of thinking and was willing to be a part of his group.
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Snowy
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 8:14 pm

Ahlat bowed slightly and clasped his left fist against his right palm in a gesture of respect. "Do not worry, Master, you know I take this very seriously."

He watched the dwarf leave the room, then turned to the human. "So let's see what you've got currently, and we'll go from there. You do realize he just tells me not to screw up pretty much every time he leaves the room, right?"

Ahlat leaned against the wall as he waited for the human to either display his gear or explain what he wanted done. Smithing wasn't really a bad gig, and you generally met interesting people. Since he'd landed apprenticeship under Thrembul, he'd been spared the constant inflow of "fix the buckle on my bridle" or "make me a ridiculous amount of nails." Instead, he ended up doing those tasks for Thrembul, which he imagined to have a bit more meaning; instead of going away into mundanity, most of his early projects had become a part of something greater that went off and probably did great things. And now that he was getting more independent, he could work on bigger projects. He still made a disproportionate share of the buckles, but there were actual pieces out in the world with his name on them. And, once this contract was over, there'd be a few more.

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Admiral Ji
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 8:34 pm

Dusi nodded in understanding. This wasn’t his first time here, either, nor his first time hearing it. He didn’t mind though, Ahlat was one of the best smiths he could find, given his usual price range. His day job of entertaining the masses hardly put bread on the inn table, so having a decent blacksmith willing to work for the sums he could find in his travels was nice.

“I’m mostly here for some maintenance on my armor.” He said, placing his packed gear down, and fishing through it. “I got into a nasty scrap a week or two ago, lost my sword, broke some of the rings on the chain. For now… I’d just like to get the chain fixed. I can’t commission anything else at the present time.”

It was embarrassing to have to admit he’d trekked all this way for something a simple blacksmith in any town would do for the coin he had… but he was starting to appreciate Ahlat’s work a little too much. As he showed the hauberk to his… friend, acquaintance, whoever, he made careful note of where the breaks were. His fear was that something dangerous could slip through any of these new holes, and he was certainly not ready to die.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 8:44 pm

Tasper took a long sip of whatever hot liquid was in the glass she was given. She didn't even know what she was drinking but whatever it was, it wasn't half bad. This human food, it wasn't the best thing she had ever tasted but it was certainly better then nothing. Which would have been what she would have had to eat if these kind humans hadn't allowed her to take shelter in their home.

Stacked on the table space in front of her were two thing, two of the only thing she owns. On the bottom of the stack was a large notebook of plain white paper. On this paper was the start of a drawing. A very detailed picture of the human family that was keeping her from sleeping outside. With their permission she had begun to draw them so that she wouldn't forget their kindness.

On top of the drawing pad there was a slightly smaller notebook, this one with lined paper. This notebook was funny being filled with stories of her travels in her native writing. Maybe one day she would become famous and publish her travel journey. Just thinking about this made her feel slightly homesick. Tasper almost sighed, thinking of her family and friends high in the air.

Tasper snapped herself out of her daydreaming to focus back on the family. Such brave creatures, for humans that is. Tasper was almost out of questions to ask them. They had provided much information and help and soon enough she would have to bid farewell to the kind humans. "You all have been so kind to me, a total stranger. You have invited me into your home and even found the kindness to feed me." Tasper bowed her head slightly. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
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Mr Allen J
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 8:52 pm

Hai groaned.


Hai had wandered into a marketplace. His sole objective would be to find magical goods that would assist him, he been to several others in other town's marketplaces days before -he was going town to town, never spending more than a day in one place at a time- and hadn't gotten anything of use. Until he came upon this town--- he merely had that feeling that he would get something out of this visit... only to be held up by two idiots arguing about something; either something about lotion or he didn't know or care.

At this point it was ambiguous of how this conversation even started in front of him. But, he was resisting using his budding skill in the magical arts to end this - not kill anyone. Merely give them something to argue about. As entertaining and satisfying as it would be Hai choose to take a different route in handling this (this early in his quest to master the magical arts it would be detrimental to attack people with his magic).


Completely nonchalant he stepped forward to the elf directly in front of him and tapped him on the shoulder, "Can you two speed this up? Some of us have things that need to be done." There was a hint of sarcasm in Hai's voice.



Hai wasn't going to give up this easily, at least not before seeing what this man has to offer.


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Snowy
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 8:53 pm

Ahlat picked up the hauberk and held it up to the light, looking at the gaps. "Either you got in a hell of a scrap, or..." His expression turned from befuddlement, to curiosity, to disgust, to horror. "Where did you get this thing? I hope you didn't pay much for it. I can fix it, but you should seriously think about upgrading soon, as many scrapes as you seem to get into."

He removed a loose ring with his fingers and carried it over to a wall rack, which held several bags of leftover rings. He was pretty sure they had some remnants that were of the proper size.

"And you lost your sword, too. How are you not dead, if you don't mind my asking?"

A search of the bags revealed a decent stock of the common ring size, so Ahlat got out the box of rivets, two sets of pliers, a hammer, and his rivet-setting equipment and set to work.

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Patches
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 9:03 pm

That distinct smell of orcid blood and charred flesh was familiar sensation to the goblin Vokky at this point; the tenuous relationship of the orcoids within their own warband had lasted as long as the warchief before Aharn had taken over. The politics hasn't much changed after the perfidious orc had sieged the banner of the tribe after his power-hungry pursuit for the title of warchief, and the tribe still remains restless, inviting more blood and ash.

Frankly, the odor was becoming sickening.

"What would he want, that wretch, so badly that he'd kill off the tribe one by one?" Vokky groaned as he rose from his bedroll of hay, fur, and leather. "Power would mean nothing to the fool if he had not a soul to flaunt it to."

As Vokky rose, he saw the fellow rising members of the encampment. Here he lay with these outcasts, who'd be so happy as to live off the land on their own eating boar and tree roots, not knowing the honor and security an orcish hold could provide; nay, they knew once. But to lack the conviction to regain one's home? Who could truly claim to be honorable whilst lacking a driving conviction? Of course, the goblin had considered Aharn's leadership,and perhaps he may join him yet. But as of now? Vokky had half a mind to just up and go, to travel and explores lands outside the tribe borders, learn all he could from his school of magic, and come back to reclaim the tribe's banner after he killed Aharn slowly and painfully in every way he knew how.

But like any orc would say, what was honor to a goblin?

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Szemetlada
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 9:40 pm

Katyusha kept these thoughts close at hand as she continued about readying herself for the Festival, which she knew - by instinct rather than schedule - was due to begin in an hour or so without. She had already decorated her cave's exterior with the common array of sashes unique to the Festival of the Frozen Heart celebration. The thin strips of goat-rag, tossed about the torrentuous winds like insects, alternately cast and removed a fleeting shadow as they covered the window - peeking inside, perhaps, at the curious abode they guarded - and just as quickly found themselves swept away once more.

This year, the goat-rags were imbued with no expensive dyes, effectively rendering Katyusha's cave indistinguishable from the throngs of other, poorer, households that took no interest in over-decoration and made up the majority of Dall. The effort at camouflage had been made almost subconsciously, as Katyusha did not wish to be seen any more than necessary this Festival. The enormity of what she was preparing to undertake had been advancing upon Katyusha's mind for nigh three weeks, akin to a glacier in its sluggish refusal to be ignored, and Katyusha found that even the most basic tasks now required fanatical concentration.

Having completed the daily chores early, Katyusha was in the midst of her preparatory ablutions. She did the best to steady her hand as she drew the small razor over her ivory fingers. The blade hissed quietly along, nipping at the miniscule white hairs, and left Katyusha's hands with a tingling sensation almost indistinguishable from the nervous panic which lurked in the background of her consciousness like a hungry wolf. She cleared her throat and gritted her teeth, grating her tongue against their chisel-like backs, and started on the next and final finger. A slight tremor broke through her arm, and Katyusha received a slight nick, but the cut broke only the first three layers of skin and no blood came forth.

Doing her best to plan her actions for the Festival and yet, in doing so, think nothing of what she would ideally achieve of them, Katyusha strode through the simply-carven halls of her home to the washbasin which lay in an alcove. Dipping her hand into the glassy liquid, she splashed a few drops onto her face. The biting spring-water soothed her mind to a degree. She hummed a favorite folk song as she washed first her hands and then her feet, freshly shaved as well.

Katyusha chanced an excited glance at the dripping-clock in the foyer. The red-ice stalagmite had melted well beyond the eighth tick already; Soon, the Festival would begin. Blood pounding quietly in her ears, Katyusha dressed herself in an unremarkable brown outfit of mountain-yak fleece and retrieved a rough-spun hat and jacket from her wardrobe. She paused then, standing in the center of the foyer, desperately scouring her mind for anything to do before passing through the sturdy birchwood door that guarded against the outside world.

Directly, Katyusha's face brightened, and she strode to a remote corner of the cave. Here, an expensive carpet lay at the foot of a small pedestal, and a small figurine stood upon this. Katyusha gave a half-bow to the figurine, an intricate affair of the finest sun-ice, and mumbled a few time-removed proverbs as she stroked its outstretched arm. Turning away, Katyusha grinned from her predicament.

"What I have sunk to, then," her susurrous voice observed, "that I ask the Snow Maiden for luck in my endeavor to seek the blessing of luck from the Snow Mistresses. Ha-ha!" Grin still tugging at one corner of her pale face, Katyusha composed herself and wrapped a thick scarf about her neck. She gave the hardy door a gentle tug and stepped outside into the full force of the inclement winds.

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Admiral Ji
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 10:06 pm

“Aye, I’ve been meaning to replace it. But it was expensive enough buying grieves from you, for me to replace the chain at the moment.” Said Dusi with a chuckle, as he fished what he hoped would be appropriate payment from his pouch of money. He’d a little more, of course, but that was to get more food if his stock ran low, and he’d rather save it if it were possible. “Ah, but the story’s a bit long. If you really want to hear it, I guess I could tell it.”

He stood up straight, as he mulled over the best way to tell this tale. As a professional, he’d memorized how to tell the stories passed down through the ages, but not how to tell his own.

“I was walking between towns, just enjoying the country side. The mountains, the pastures, hills, forests and people, they all have a simple kind of beauty. I was distracted far too long to notice something had gone horrible wrong. Goblins had gone wrong. I don’t know how or why they were there, but I’d taken a wrong turn, and I was not along the main road as I should have been, but there I was, nobody around me, but goblins in the tree lines”

He paused, noting that that had come out horribly. He shook his head side to side, as he made a mental note to omit several… less savory parts.

“Basically, I got into a big fight. One of them disarmed me, and stole my weapon. I was thankfully able to acquire… anything, from a dead goblin.” He brandished a mostly rusted sickle from his belt, clearly well-worn and used. “And it at least let me defend myself long enough to run. It’s not a very interesting story, I’m sorry. We can’t all be classical heroes though.”
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Snowy
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 10:22 pm

He accepted the payment and counted it out; it was slightly under what he might have normally charged, but since Dusi was a repeat customer, Ahlat wasn't going to sweat the difference. "Goblins, eh? Those things are brutal if nobody's got your back. I can see how they got through your maille with the little pointy stuff. Catches in the rings, and if they're badly riveted, then zip!" Ahlat snapped his fingers to illustrate his point, then went back to patching.

"All these little rips will take some time, just a fair warning. If you want to come back tomorrow, or just hang around, either way. I could probably do a bit of grinding on your new treasure, if you'd like."

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Admiral Ji
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeSun 13 Jan 2013, 11:18 pm

With a shrug, Dusi shook his head. “I couldn't afford to pay you for it, and you've already got work to do. I couldn't rightfully ask you to grind it. Well… probably not…” he said thinking for a moment. He might have been by all accounts a wandering soldier passing as a common bard, but he was not unused to manual labor and odd jobs, for another day’s food. “Is there anything… non-specialized you need done here? No reason to leave if I’ll just have to trek back here… I might as well make myself useful, no?”

Dusi mostly wanted to be useful, yes. No one said no to cheap as free things, however, and a little manual labor now would be fine with him, if there was actually any that needed done. Non-specialized was the operant word though. He certainly had nothing in the way of a blacksmith’s training, or any training that pertained to much of a civilian’s life, once you got right down to it.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeMon 14 Jan 2013, 9:08 am

Working quickly to form both his response and his idea side by side, Ko speaks up. "Response. Theory of resonant sympathy. One feather does not fly, but two wings do. Pose challenge."

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 11:57 am

AHLAT and DUSI

From a considerable distance you immediately hear Thembul's bellowed warning: "If anyone but Ahlat touches the forge itself in my absence, there will be trouble!"

Instinctively you look around for anything that might have carried your words to him, but there is nothing which seems even vaguely likely - not that you expected there would be, as this is not the first time Thembul has responded in such a way to something Ahlat or Dusi have said when he wasn't in the room.

**********

ETSIJA

"Cold. Wet. Dry. Hot. Dull. Tired. Hungry. Thirsty."

The litany continues and you try, once again unsuccessfully, to shut your mind off from it. It has been like this for a week now, ever since your group showed up just in time to scare off the bandits. Aven, the lost elven peddlar this intervention saved, has since repaid this kindness by moaning incessantly about the way the weather seems to change just to spite him and make him miserable.

"Then the bugs. Worms. Spiders. Flitty things. Animals. Bird-dung in your hair. Twigs in your bedroll. Dirt. Mud. Smell. By Erillia the smell!"

You wonder again why Aven hadn't simply been pointed in the right direction and then left to his own devices, rather than actually be offered an escort to the edge of the jungle, but of course the answer is obvious: Jimza, mother or aunt to most of you and sister to the rest, would not have allowed it. Even the thought of her angered condemnation of such abandoning sends a shiver down your spine.

"Tree. Strangleush. Tree. Sleeping Grass. Another tree. Trip-roots. Yet another tree. Tangleweed. More trees again."

On and on. At least you're old enough and trusted enough to be able to leave the group for a few hours, though you'd need to have a better excuse than 'not being able to stand his whining' or at least bring something back of use. Maybe Ge'irmun has an idea - he might even have one that doesn't land the pair of you in trouble this time.

**********

KATYUSHA

The streets of Dall were already teeming with its citizens, their breath not fading but pulled upwards to be woven into an intricate tapestry that blots out the unwelcome grey of today's sky - a nice touch by one of the weather mages or his apprentices, you suspect. The heat of all these bodies is tangible and welcome, helping to fight the chill in the air.

"Luck of the frosts be with you, Katyusha!" calls someone as they pass by, raising up a translucent ice-spear so you can see them.

You recognise Rhen Arnorath, newest protector of the Snow Maidens - and mated to two of them, you now remember, what a piece of gossip that had been for a few months - and a family friend. A strange one to be fair, Reachman born and bred, with all the expected rumours of having toa-suo blood in him, but a truer servant of Dall was hard to find.

"Will you try to get a blessing for your journey today?" he continues as he gets nearer.

Not for the first time, you wonder if there is anything going on in Dall that Rhen doesn't know - though you have said nothing to him about it, he seems to know full well you are ready to leave Dall on an adventure and head off into the great unknown. This sort of perceptiveness is a thing he exhibits often enough that many have begun wonder if he has some kind of spy network or just uses magic to scry on people a lot.

**********

KO

Shuffling and whispers at your suggestion. Your fellows seem unsure of how to take it - even the usual lecturer is visibly trying to work out the mechanics. But Vulpa continues to stand at the podium, serene and untroubled. His beak opens and you brace yourself...

"Challenge accepted."

Astonishment spreads the assembled, as they apply logic and understand the suggested principle. Some sounds of discontent - the occasional mutter of 'I might said that' - reach you from here and there, but for the most part negativity is relegated to only the disappointment of having had another reach the right conclusion first. Vulpa now addresses everyone again, concluding the session.

"Ten minds speak but one voice is heard. Theory of Resonant Sympathy is the truth sought. Recall - a truth alone may be a lie. Do not cease to seek for the kin of this truth. And do please tell us if you find them!"

Laughter at the last, as Vulpa breaks the formality and dismisses the group. He reminds in the hall as everyone starts to file out, in discussion with the usual lecturer, but still sparing a few words for any student who approaches - and, you see, a more gentle reproach coupled with an encouraging pat for the speaker he had put down earlier.

**********

TASPAR

"'Open your house to others and mine shall be open to you,'" Crillo says, in a tone that suggests he is quoting something. "You needed somewhere to stay, looked safe enough and we had a place and food to spare."

"Besides, it wouldn't feel right to let a weary traveler just carry on without at least offering something," Ravdah adds, though his brother shrugs.

"You talk as though you're planning to head off soon," Crillo notes. "Where do you think you'll go? Further west towards Tinidal or try your luck in Gunthartaz?"

**********

UUKOV

"I beg your pardon!" the woman splutters, astonished at the interruption. "Can you not see am I in the middle of dictating good business practice to this snake-oil salesman?"

Tollah frowns, almost imperceptibly, at the insult for a moment, before deep sympathy returns to his face - his hands all a-flutter as if in agitation at the scene unfolding before him. 'As if', because you notice his motions are drawing various powders and salts into a single bowl, mixing them together with all the rapidity he can muster. What, exactly, he is trying to put together you have no idea.

"I have never, in all my years, encountered such rudeness!" the woman continues to harangue you, ignoring your every word. "Even the most common of docksmen knows their manners - and their place! Why, if I was not a lady of distinction, of breeding, I would be hard pressed not to give you the corrective punishment you deserve for that insolence!"

"You are absolutely correct, Madame Jadis."

Both you and the ignorant snob turn to the elf in surprise at this turn of events and he promptly blows his concoction into her face. There is a moment of stillness, then a smile - vague, meaningless, empty - spreads over her face and she begins to walk away. Tollah breathes a huge sigh of relief.

"Thank you so much for distraction," he says to you. "I thought I'd never get the chance to send her off. Please, name what you are after and I'll mix you up a special brew to help with it, free of charge."

**********

VOKKY

A large, lumpy head pokes into your tent at this point. "You still sleep, Vokky? Cook has food on fire. Boars I kill in night. Good hunt. You come, eat with us?"

The speaker is Merkil, a troll of immense size and strength even compared to others of his kind...and even more stupid, having not even been able to use language until the old shaman had finally relented and arranged for magical intervention. Despite this and his predisposition for solving every problem by punching it, Merkil is a good enough person at heart.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 4:00 pm

"Me? Come? You invite me to eat with you and the rest after the exile of many by that orcish perversion?" Vokky grumbled. "My appetite has grown little since last night. But perhaps; if this indeed be my last day here, I should put myself in the company of those dear... stupid as you may be. You are kind."

Vokky accepted the troll's offer and climbed from his bedroll and out into the open. The morning sun had daunted him at first, but the smell of the camp fire and burning pine and the dripping juices of the boar that was spitted over the flames soon struck him. He hadn't realized how little he ate the previous day and his hunger seemed almost ravenous. Why he could just take the boar off the flames and hoard it for himself if it weren't for his common decency.

"Good morning," Vokky said to the rest of the homeless orcs.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 5:00 pm

Once Crillo finished quoting whoever Tasper began to write the quote down, near the bottom of the drawing she was making of the family. As she wrote the line down in her own native language she mouthed the words, as if helping her spell them. This was clearly an inspiration quote, one that seemed to fit the family very well. Making this the ideal quote to put on the drawing.

Tasper smiled and scratched a few more details into her drawing. She would likely have to leave before she finished, and wanted to remember all the important details. Humans were weird, Tasper couldn't imagine not being able to fly around. A humans lack of feathers, tails and wings however made them much easier to draw then that of other species.

Tasper looked over to the smaller humans. Another thing about humans, they are either very wise or very stupid. These little humans seemed smart, full of good judgement and ethnics, much like their parents.

Tasper turned towards the alpha of the house, Crillo. She laughed. "Well I will have to leave eventually." She scratched the back of her head in a nervous motion. "I'm a creature of the air, I'm not good at staying in one place for a long time." Tasper then responded to his question about where she was going. She laughed again, nervously. "I'm not quite sure yet! I don't know the land very well."

Tasper suddenly frowned, once of her hands flying to her face. "I'm sorry I have been so rude! You have answered all my questions but I haven't even asked you if you had any questions." Tasper wondered if these humans wanted to know about where she came from.


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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 5:32 pm

Hai just stood tall and emotionless, his eyes twitched as he was holding in a self-contained rage. There wasn't any reason for him to get violent though. In his travels all these talkative types have one thing in common; they are just that- Talk. Most (if not all) of what she was saying was of little has little to no value, all he did was raise an eyebrow and wait for her to stop her haughtiness, the thing that stopped Hai from just walking away was the merchant agreed.



In a moment Hai thought about doing just that-- walking away. But, the shock and disbelief of the statement caused his eyes to widen and just stare blankly at him.



He certainly wasn't expecting the merchant to blow that dust in her face--- there was much more he wasn't expecting, but at this point it was irrelevant. Now that wretched woman was gone the only thing that mattered was getting what he wanted; objects of magical significance. He had no clue what the merchant did nor did he care; he was quick and to the point, "You're welcome. I'll be quick; I hear around town that you have something I want--- but that's the thing; I hear. I want to know if you have any objects of magical significance?"

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 6:03 pm

With some difficulty, Etsija fought down the urge to maul Aven limb from limb and simply deal with Jimza's wrath, but no. That would get him nowhere.

Etsija was not bound to a code of honor, per se, but rather a code of fulfillment. Etsija had no qualms with morality or the ethical dilemma of merely killing someone. He was not a weakling human or elf: he was a Talmay, and damned proud of it. The world was nothing more than an extension of the natural order. Cities no more than anthills, ruled by queens and populated with mindless workers. The weak still succumbed to the strong. It was still a world where the sharpest eye and the swiftest claw reigned supreme, and in his mind, Etsija was the greatest predator.

Or, at least, he was going to be. It was a long and bloody path, one bound to end in a violent death. But, with a smirk, if he got to kill worthless sacks of flesh like Aven along the way, it would all be worth it.

However, Etsija restrained himself, keeping his claws from rending into the irritating merchant. The best hunters were the most patient.

Etsija maneuvered his way over to Geir'mun, evident displeasure on his face.

"I may go on a hunt soon. Bring back something of substance for these clawless guards to enjoy for dinner. And also to keep me from...Aven..." his words became strained, as if he was simply unable to find a verb violent enough to represent the rather satisfying scene of pouncing squarely onto the merchant's back and listen to him wail about "oh the terrible, terrible smell" in his final moments.

"Unless you have something better. More time-consuming. Anything away from him."


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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeTue 15 Jan 2013, 10:58 pm

"Forge-touching aside, obviously," Ahlat replied, making the nod to Thrembul almost as if he were there in the room, "We've got some scouring equipment over there on that bench and a couple of rusty breastplates that will need some fixing up. If you want to get some of the rust cleaned off 'em, that would be a help. Just don't go too overboard; better to leave a little for me to clean up than make a weak spot. Or if you're not comfortable with that, the place could always use a sweeping. Either way, really."

That was one of the smaller holes done, now Ahlat was on to the next one.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeWed 16 Jan 2013, 8:17 am

“Of course I wouldn't touch your forge… Sir.” Said Dusi, hastily attempting to cover for himself. Of course, he hadn't planned on touching it to begin with… simple tasks were what he’d asked for, and simple tasks he’d been given. “Doing some sweeping is fine. I've done that a lot recently, all things considered.”

With that, he set out to find a broom so as to sweep as instructed. Scrubbing the armor was something he could do, having been a squire once himself, but he didn't want to have to pay for anything if he messed up. There was not enough money on his person to cover a breastplate, likely even if he sold what he possessed in armor already. There were other tasks he could preform as well though, if the forgemaster or Ahlat thought to ask. One such as himself could seldom refuse a job.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeWed 16 Jan 2013, 7:16 pm

Though not completely unexpecting such perceptiveness from Rhen, Katyusha could not stop her eyebrows from rising momentarily in surprise, and she risked a brief glance behind to ensure that none of her acquaintances had overheard. Seeing no discernibly familiar faces, and recognizing the protective din of the amassed throngs, Katyusha allowed herself a wide grin and hailed Rhen's approach with an upraised right hand.

"Luck of the frosts, Rhen!" She clapped him merrily on one shoulder. "I am, of course, and should have known better than to try and keep secrets from the ears of Rhen Arnorath. But, here, I'd rather that two is enough for this one particularly, and a crowd simply cannot be trusted. And shame, we've not spoken in two fortnight, nearly! How do you fare, and your wives?"

Her eyes drifted upwards towards the awesome spires of the Ice Sanctuary, which dominated the Dall skyline. Another stab of panic sliced at hert, but somehow, the knowledge that a friend such as Rhen was aware of her imminent journey reduced her anticipation. He himself was so composed and relaxed; how could everything not turn out favorably? Katyusha smiled once more, briefly looking down in sheepishness at her own foolishness for blowing her problem out of proportion. When she raised her head, it was with proud eyes and a confident demeanor.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeThu 17 Jan 2013, 2:08 am

"Broom's on the east wall, then," Ahlat said, turning his full attention back to fixing Dusi's maille. Those particular spots would be stronger than they were before when Ahlat was done, but the rest of it? Ahlat had designs in his head for what he would do for Dusi's armor, if only Dusi could afford it. Meanwhile, he reminded himself, he'd have to make sure his current setup was the best it could be - there would be no point in armoring a dead man.

Finishing the rest of the repairs took a bit over an hour, which Ahlat counted as generally good speed for that sort of job. When it was done, he took a rag and applied a light coat of oil to the whole thing before presenting it to Dusi. "Good as new," he said. "And since you've spared me a chore, I can give your sickle a bit of sharpening free of charge. Should only take me a minute or two."

His gaze drifted to the study ashen pole on the rack and the axe-head on the workbench. With the time Dusi had saved him, he'd probably have time to work on his pollaxe; he'd been shown how to use one, and now he was making his own. The quillions had been fitted to the pole, the buttspike was attached, and now all that remained was the head; he was in the process of detailing it properly before attaching it to the shaft -- mostly filing and lightening the head appropriately before giving it a proper sharpening, completing the inlay, and putting it on the shaft.

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeThu 17 Jan 2013, 9:04 am

AHLAT and DUSI

Your work progresses steadily, without interruption, until most of the outstanding little jobs have been completed. After a few hours, with the growing rumble of hunger in your stomachs, you become aware of the passage of time - and then wonder at the absence of Thembul, who is rarely gone for so long.

For a brief moment, you wonder if something might have befallen him, but a quick glance at the great shield hanging above the forge puts that fear to rest - one of the few outright magic items Thembul owns (in fact purchased specifically when Ahlat moved in), its enchantment was to start glowing if the dwarf became ill or injured, thus alerting his apprentice to the situation. With its surface still dark, clearly that is not the case.

Then you notice that more than just the shield is dark - the room itself seems less brightly lit than before. The dagger that Thembul completely before he left no longer has its strange green shine, and other similar items also lack the telltale signs of their endowments. Even the fires of the forge are starting to die down, though that is something else that should not happen for months or even years without attendance...

**********

ETSIJA

"Naturally I have something better planned," Geir'mun chuckles, almost maliciously. "Food is all well and good, but trophies are better for morale, especially with that babbling fool among us. And I saw signs of a xoroa scout yesterday..."

Xoroa, minds of the Myrmicon Collectives. Normally these stray above ground only when seeking to establish a new hive or during times of famine and similar catastrophe. This means that if Geir'mun is telling the truth - which he is more likely to be the more implausible his claim - there is a chance of finding one of the legendary Xoroa Horns.

Such a prize could elevate the group to new heights, maybe even give them the coveted precedence of First Speakers at any future assembly of the talmay - more than a few of the upcoming years have important ceremonies, although the next Veneration won't be for at least another decade.

Mind you, it would be a very risky enterprise...only Geir'mun would have the guts to put the idea in anyone's head.

**********

HAI

"Things possessed of inherently magical properties, certainly," Tollah says with a knowing smile. "Things that project magical auras upon examination, most certainly not! However, I have everything necessary to brew up almost any 'common' specialist potion you might require."

With a proud flourish, he withdraws a hefty tome from somewhere behind his stand, opening it up apparently at random. After a moment, he turns it to the side so that you can take a look at it yourself as he points out items of interest.

"See here: a Mnemonic Unguent, so you can pick up even the most troublesome spell in minutes. Or perhaps a Chattermatter's Liqueur, lets you converse in the native tongue of any race for the next three months, so very useful for getting on their good side."

He pauses there, peering closely at the list of ingredients. "Damnations, that'll cost me if I need to restock that one. Ahem, in any case, I still have enough to prepare it. Or do you have something rather more general within the arcanic fields to inquire about?"

**********

KATYUSHA

"Talik is doing well, although I think she is getting a little too caught up in all the renovating and redecoration," Rhen smiles at the thought. "Mael, however...I think she is either pregnant or considering the trials to become a fully-fledged Snow Mistress. A terrifying prospect. Talik will be unbearable if she thinks she needs to redesign one of the rooms for a litter!"

That certainly is true - although one of the most generous and polite people in all Dall, Talik's propensity for overreacting and going berserk is equally legendary. Fortunately, Rhen has proven something of a calming influence on her, something again attributed to his being a Reachman.

"But they are petty concerns in truth," he acknowledges to you. "After all, all in the plateau is safe, familiar. Help is never more than a fist pounding on the wall away. But out there, beyond Dall...did I ever tell you that I once left?"

He sees your expression and clarifies: "No, I don't mean went back to the Reach. I mean I left the plateau altogether. Yes, I, the clear-headed homebody. Believe me, Katyusha, when I say I know exactly what you will find out there. I cannot say the same for any other in this entire city. You...you are changed. The way you see things. The way you think of them."

A long pause. You are about to speak again when he concludes: "It is no influence of the Reach that makes me so perceptive. By comparison I was a dullard before I left the plateau."

**********

SYRRYNON

Daybreak comes at exactly the predicted time, though you are hardly surprised. Prostrator S'rylvis has spent three years of her life collating relevant data and cross-referencing with her own findings - it would be horrifically embarrassing if failure was reported, a thing that has not happened to the scholars of Krrstal for nearly a thousand years.

A pleasant chirruping signals the waking of the koalit nesting outside your window, whilst the invigorating smell of the burning dunes soon drifts inside. Looking out onto the city as it stirs in readiness for a new day, you are once more overcome by a sense of pride and purpose that fills your entire being.

"This unworthy one craves your pardon, my lord," hisses today's attendant as it slides, eyes downcast respectfully, into your chamber. "Might a meal be fetched for you, sirrah?"

Not for the first time, you wonder at the wisdom of using the justrali as personal aides rather than grunt soldiers and labourers - certainly their minds were cultivated properly so that any training they were given would stay for life, but their overall intelligence was far below that of even the mammalian slaves. At least the kassistra were able to innovate, no matter how discourteous and rude they could be...

**********

TASPAR

"Well, um, we're really just simple folk..." begins Crillo, but doesn't get to finish.

"To the Hells with that!" Ravdah snorts, a little rudely. "Farmers we are, but that don't mean we're all happy to scratch out a living on the edge of nowhere. Especially if those rumours about mako are true and they're snapping at Gunthartaz's flanks again."

His brother is in clear agreement: "Some of us like hearing about other, more exciting places. Like your homeland, serachrin. Is is really true that it just floats above the ocean? Or is that just more rumours getting twisted by retellings and time?"

**********

VARN

Little lost human, so small and alone
Walking the wild lands, far away from home
No more walls, no shield for the hate it holds
Armies all gone, no sword to make it bold


The voice in your head wakes you for the fifth night in a row. Once again there is no sign of anyone nearby and you checked to make sure that you bedded down somewhere that could not be approached undetected - quite aside from the death-dripper plants along the 'path', loose stones would shift under even a kobold's weight and the thick foliage overhead would prevent any sort of flight.

Sleep is disturbed, no rest is here allowed
Watching you struggle on, with head unbowed
Now soon enough, we end this little war
Time comes with haste, to lie forevermore


There is a lyrical quality to these taunts, which have dogged you incessantly since you were cast out of Gunthartaz, only serving to increase your frustration with them. At first, you wondered if perhaps they were some kind of curse sent down by the vizier, but the gradual change in the words, mocking you more according to your situation than your own self, begins to suggest an outside agency.

A few possibilities present themselves to you, but to your mind there is only one which has any real likelihood supporting it: the mako, demon-worshipers and corrupted descendants of the first makay tribes to drift south of the Endless Plains. It has been years since any real engagement has taken place between them and Gunthartaz, but the war has never actually been called off by either side.

To judge from the increasing hostility of the lands through which you are walking, you are probably headed deeper into their territory with each passing hour.

**********

VOKKY

"Good food, no?" Merkil beams as he tears off an entire leg and hands it to you. "I go out for more later. You go hunting one day, Vokky?"

"He never goes out hunting, dung-brain!" a nearby orc sneers, somehow managing to look down his nose at the gigantic troll as well as you. "Vokky is a goblin, remember? They don't hunt what they can't scavenge. They even hang back when they've got garks in their dens!"

Merkil blinks in slow confusion, visibly trying to follow this little outburst and failing. "What 'sca-ven-ge' mean, Vokky? What have garks do with it?"

You can't help but feel a little relieved, in some way. It took longer than you expected, but the old jibes have finally shown their face - for whatever reason, orcs in particular seem affronted by the garks, although given the number of true-breeding races they've helped to sire, the hypocrisy is staggering. Maybe it's because fewer of the orcs' descendants are quite so obviously different.
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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeThu 17 Jan 2013, 11:07 am



The ex-knight had rubbed his temples wearily as the whispers carried on. These voices, wherever they came from, were persistent. The mako seemed to be the only logical conclusion, but it had been ages since there has been any reports of contact with them. The demon worshipers had lived long without disturbance, but if they disturb his quest he'd may have to end that streak. His quest...

Be damned goblins, be damned orcs! Damn the trolls and the kobolds! The lot of them! Had he the power to do so, he'd walk through those bloodstained lands himself and slaughter each one without mercy. He wouldn't be in this god's forsaken land as a god's forsaken man had it not been for... those wretches. They had ripped apart Mary as they would pig or chicken. And then... and then there was the very king of Gunthartaz who had left him with nothing! All he needed was an army...

He would deal with Gunthartaz after his genocide upon the orcoids. These mako were just another obstacle in his way; an obstacle he would cut down if they dare continue, another sheathe for his sword. Unless of course... they had something to provide...

It would be best if he were to pack up now; he wouldn't be getting any more sleep this night. He rose from a bed a leaves he had scrounged together earlier this night and checked his armor and stretched his limbs. The armor's rivets were in working order. He grabbed his sheathed sword which lay against the tree he slept against and made the proper adjustments to mount it on his back.

Varn looked down to track his own footprints to see from whence he came before, and started heading off in the opposite direction with wearied vigor, however cautious of the environment he was in.

***



The goblin had silently nodded in response to the troll's seek of approval as he sunk his teeth into the delicious pork which had marinated in its own juices. He appreciated his offer to join him on the hunt, but frankly, he wasn't in proper shape for that type of activity nor did he have the skills to hunt. He wondered what it would have been like being a warrior or a hunter rather than pursuing more arcane powers.
The orc had spouted some generally obnoxious and prejudicial nonsense. He made a low, aggressive growl in mere response. "What it means, dear Merkil," said Vokky slyly, "is to use gullible, imbecilic orcs like our friend here whom I doubt even knows the meaning of "malleable"."

Vokky turned to the Merkil to translate. "Means he's not smart."

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Mr Allen J
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Mr Allen J

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeThu 17 Jan 2013, 11:31 am

Interesting, interesting indeed. What the merchant had was exactly what Hai was looking for, he bent over and stared at the tome for a few moments not opening it. He could already tell it was a tome of the magical arts just by one quick look. It was exactly what Hai needed on his quest of becoming a Mage since he didn't have a solid book on the magical arts at the moment. The merchant Tollah had two other items that are of interest of Hai: The Mnemonic Unguent and the Chattermatter's Liqueur. Both would be of major use to Hai. Unfortunately Hai was being conserative with his fundings. What that means is that he still needs to eat and he needs a place to sleep, and buying all of these would put him back quite. So, he needed to choose one (he was going to buy the tome no matter what).



At this point it would seem that the Chattermatter's Liqeur would be helpful if he goes to foreign lands to learn their magic if it wasn't strictly limited to their race.


"... Nice, good... how much do these cost?"

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PostSubject: Re: World of Illidia - IC   World of Illidia - IC I_icon_minitimeThu 17 Jan 2013, 5:58 pm

Etsija's teeth were near instantly bared into a wide smile. Or perhaps it was a snarl. Really, the two were interchangeable when it came to Etsija.

He could almost tolerate the merchant, when Geir'mun gave out great news like that.

"Well, you can't just tempt me like that. Details, Geir'mun. A Xoroa horn? Out with it. Which direction, I'll be off by sundown."

And sundown was stretching it. Etsija traveled light: he had very little need for cumbersome tools and weapons, relying on his claws and fangs or simply avoiding confrontation. Being a more bestial Talmay, rather than a more humanoid one, he was confident in his ability to outrun, outhide, or outmaneuver most wild beasts. He got food and water on the way, and sleeping without bedding was not a severe inconvenience to him. He couldn't quite curl up comfortably on a bedroll, anyways.

Besides, a large divergence from the party would only slow them down, make it harder to get his claws on a Xoroa. "This is the kind of opportunity I've been waiting for for years. Out with it!"

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