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Roleplay: The Crypt of Hearts

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Bibliophael's picture
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"You can't possibly mean you're Guild," Therence said incredulously. "Mercenary?"

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"Nah, worked with 'em before. Lots of work in the Heartland and Colovia. Around the borders and down south, too,".

Stygies VIII's picture
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Cayliss was scanning the trees and the ground for anything suspicious, only finding birds so far. She did not talk, either, until Kiraya asked her a question. She looked at the Khajiit, noticing that now the odd characteristics were gone.

"Ah, yes, I have seen something. If that's what I'm thinking, I probably should not tell anyone" the Wood Elf said, quietly. "Is that a curse or a blessing for you?" According to Cayliss it was a valid question, because some people saw such "blessed ones" as powerful beings and even wanted to become them.

They could be dangerous, but this one seemed to not change completely at any moment of rage. The guide decided to keep an eye on the Ohmes-raht, but did not change the friendly attitude. It was just caution, not anything else, so far. She did not know how much she could trust someone like that, but hey, at least Kiraya could help with scouting.

When Cayliss passed a bunch of bushes, someone who was in the middle or end of the column could spot a hare (unseen by the Bosmer, yet). It just left its hiding, startled by the travelers. There was enough time to cast a spell, throw a knife, shot an arrow, if anyone wanted more meat for dinner, but good reflex was needed.

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"This one thinks of it more as a blessing. Ach, it sounds stupid when Kiraya says it out loud. It's the heightened senses, improved strength, and there's this feeling of power when this one is transformed, even if she can still hardly control it."

Kiraya looked ahead of her, shifting her gaze from Cayliss. "Do not worry. Kiraya will try to keep it on a short leash."

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"A blessing? Even if I would prefer to never have it, I can understand, if it gives you power. If I can do anything to help you control it, then let me know, both for your safety and mine", Cayliss replied. She preferred to be cautious, but Kiraya seemed to know what she was saying. The Wood Elf turned her head to see the source of noise near the bush, while others already saw the hare.

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"How could you understand? You do not feel hunting the same way this one does. You do not taste the rush of blood from a fresh kill the same way this one does."

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Kiraya's glower answered him before Ervesa's words. Omekh was immediately regretful; his eagerness had been inconsiderate.

"I see...I was thoughtless, forgive me."

The stirring of gravel beneath their feet buffered his shame as he spoke again.

"But hold fast to that fire, Ervesa. We'll need it yet, where we're going. It's mine that's brought me here..."

For a moment, the Redguard darkened there, amongst the green and the breezes and the bird songs. His blade was as hungry as his heart.

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Ervesa only nodded firmly at Omekh's advice.

Stygies VIII's picture
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After ignoring or killing the hare, the whole group continued the long walk through rising hills and valleys, getting closer and closer to the legendary destination. They talked, they had silent moments, they gave eachother advice and they argued. It is a fine group of heroes, just not forged in common cause and battle, yet, Cayliss thought.

When Azura has almost hidden the sun behind the horizon and the world was basking in the red light of the passing day, the guide has decided that they should stop and make camp. It was too dangerous to merrily travel during the dark night, no matter how brave they were. There was no hurry, there were no mortal enemies chasing them, so she asked everyone to gather some wood for a fire and start their evening meal.

Soon, they were eating and drinking whatever they had. If someone was curious what the Wood Elf had, she would explain that in Valenwood they traditionally make beverages out of milk and that she had it. If someone wanted to try, they probably found it awful, but it was certainly an interesting experience. 

It was dark when they finished. Each of them had to keep a watch during the night, one by one. At least Cayliss wanted it that way. They heard the rustling of leaves, howling of wolves from afar, some unknown animals scavenging for food in the night. Tiny mice and silent owls played their game of survival in the darkness. From time to time, in the middle of the night, the watchers could also hear stranger noises, sometimes a weird snap of a tiny branch being broken and they had an impression of being watched, but no foe has appeared at the camp and there was no answer if anyone called the enemy to show themselves.

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Kiraya was the first to stand watch. She didn't enjoy sleeping very much anyways, as her bestial wolf blood kept her from anything near a restful sleep. She didn't mind, though. She always preferred night to day. It was something about the dark silence that drew her to it. Of course, she had to sleep eventually, but it was never pleasant for her.

She heard the strange noises, but did not call out. If there was something out there watching them, she didn't want to potentially scare it into attacking. She remained as wide awake as she could throughout the night, and looked up at the twin moons Masser and Secunda when they first showed themselves, noting what phase they were in, and if she had to swap out with someone for... undisclosed reasons.

Bibliophael's picture
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As the campfire guttered, Therence pulled Yaalon aside into the shadow of a leaning dogwood. "Alright, 'Journeyman.' I think it's time you explained a thing or two."

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When they unpacked their food, drinks and blankets or whatever else they were going to sleep on or under, the night was still quite warm. Forest animals and vile creatures of the wild did not bother them, probably scared of the bright fire.

When Kiraya looked at the moons, she saw that both of them were waxing. It was the time when the Cathay-raht were born. She felt that Hircine's gift was more prominent and wanted to show itself a little more, because it was so dark and wild here... But Kiraya could control it. She could feel it, but still hide it, unless she preferred to leave and secretly hunt under the stars.

Something made of cloth scrathed against a tree, not too far away. Robes? Fur of an animal? If one was really good at listening, sounds of few beings trying to just quietly walk past the camp could be barely heard. They did not get closer, only moved past the camp (from the direction from which Cayliss' group came, to the direction where they'd go the next day) and were really good at hiding that fact. They certainly did not wake anyone up.

/let's finsh the camp dialogue and actions before continuing Kiraya's watch events/

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Before Kiraya went on watch, she found a nice grassy patch of earth to rest on. She set her pack down in it and sat down by her pack, crossing her legs over one another and just simply watching everything and everyone around her, unless somebody came over and struck up a conversation with her.

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Upon arriving at the camp site, Ervesa dropped her travelling backpack down as she took out her bedroll, unfolding it and spreading it on the floor - it would be her bed for a while.

She helped with the gathering of firewood for the campfire, somewhat concerned about what could lurk in the dark, although the Khajiit's night vision eased her. Afterwards, she enjoyed her dinner with everyone else, eating tradional food from High Rock, bought at Carrickdown, unfortunately - a good chunk of guar meat, kwama egg omelettes along with sujamma would make for a much preferrable meal, even if Dunmeri food is often considered weird, varied, and perhaps lacking some flavour.

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"Ah, of course," Yaalon replied "You want to know about the lack of a watermark spell on the Guild's writ for this mission."

The whole party had made camp at a spot of Cayliss' choosing and had went about their own business, eating supper and preparing their beds for the night. As the fire grew low, the Khajiit had volunteered to take first watch, and everyone began gradually leaving the fire. Yaalon himself was making his way to take a leak against a distant tree when Therence had pulled him beneath another and demanded answers.

"I wasn't aware of it initially - the missing enchantment, that is. I trust our Guild Steward. It was only a few days into my journey that I noticed that something was amiss."

Yaalon bit his lower lip in a concerned silence. He thought about the upcoming dangers of the Crypt of Hearts as he did so, knowing that real concern would weave a convincing lie. Pausing to glance over his shoulder back towards the encampment, he turned again to look Therence in the eye.

"I think someone is looking to get me banished from the Guild - or worse."

 

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Fiore1300 wrote:

"Ah, of course," Yaalon replied "You want to know about the lack of a watermark spell on the Guild's writ for this mission."

The whole party had made camp at a spot of Cayliss' choosing and had went about their own business, eating supper and preparing their beds for the night. As the fire grew low, the Khajiit had volunteered to take first watch, and everyone began gradually leaving the fire. Yaalon himself was making his way to take a leak against a distant tree when Therence had pulled him beneath another and demanded answers.

"I wasn't aware of it initially - the missing enchantment, that is. I trust our Guild Steward. It was only a few days into my journey that I noticed that something was amiss."

Yaalon bit his lower lip in a concerned silence. He thought about the upcoming dangers of the Crypt of Hearts as he did so, knowing that real concern would weave a convincing lie. Pausing to glance over his shoulder back towards the encampment, he turned again to look Therence in the eye.

"I think someone is looking to get me banished from the Guild - or worse."

"I see." Therence's half-shadowed face was unreadable. "Any idea why? Any idea who?"

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Yaalon nodded.

"I didn't need to think too hard about it, actually," he said, scratching the tip of his nose and sounding ponderous. "Mordywyr Bruis. Chantot Germain. Scelian Sertorius, maybe. They all hold grudges against me. And I them. You cannot be the youngest and most talented recruit in a generation and not incur the wrath of the old favorites and coddled noble-brats."

This was true. Well, true as far as Yaalon Wicksley was sure of it. He had entered the guild as an Associate at the tender age of 15, and had rapidly advanced as his innate talents for Destruction, Alteration, Mysticism, and, especially, Conjuration were recognized and fawned over by his teachers. It wasn't long before he made stalwart enemies within the Guild. In fact these rivalries had lead him, in part, to devising this risky mission he was now on. 

"I fucking hate the blue bloods," he said, unprompted. There was unmasked, genuine venom in his voice.

 

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After claiming a spot to reside for the night, the Redguard began to practice his Book of Circles just steps away. In his reverie, Omekh hummed low hymns of the sword, his cadence resonating throughout his body--from his throat into his chest, throughout his arms and into his wrist, into his scimitar; it flowed across the air like water, just as he did. The fire crackled as Maser and Secunda danced with him across his blade.

In this state, his mind was clear and his heart was steady. It was a reprieve from the torments of consciousness.

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From Kiraya's humble patch of grass, the Ohmes-raht saw Omekh practicing. She was entranced by his grace, the beauty of his movements made her almost envious of his skill. Soon enough she found herself staring at him, watching as Omekh danced a deadly dance in the subtle light of the embers that was their campfire.

He reminded her of her father, or what little she remembered of him. Before her father had abandoned her, Kiraya had witnessed him practicing as an assassin on more than one occasion. He was so very smooth in his movements, it was as if he bended the very air around him to guide his motions. He found her watching and started training her at a very young age, to become an assassin for the Empire, like her father and his father before him, and so on. That all changed when he abandoned her, she threw away her future of an assassin, and became the lowly thief that she is now instead.

She stopped thinking about her abandonment, as that conjured a mixture of anger and sorrow in her heart, and tears in her eyes. She looked away from Omekh, and stared into the dancing flames of the fire.

Already, she could feel the commands of Hircine. The wolf inside her was angry, hungry. It was howling and barking to be let free. To kill. It would have to wait for now, but she knew;

Tonight, it hunts.

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Fiore1300 wrote:

Yaalon nodded.

"I didn't need to think too hard about it, actually," he said, scratching the tip of his nose and sounding ponderous. "Mordywyr Bruis. Chantot Germain. Scelian Sertorius, maybe. They all hold grudges against me. And I them. You cannot be the youngest and most talented recruit in a generation and not incur the wrath of the old favorites and coddled noble-brats."

This was true. Well, true as far as Yaalon Wicksley was sure of it. He had entered the guild as an Associate at the tender age of 15, and had rapidly advanced as his innate talents for Destruction, Alteration, Mysticism, and, especially, Conjuration were recognized and fawned over by his teachers. It wasn't long before he made stalwart enemies within the Guild. In fact these rivalries had lead him, in part, to devising this risky mission he was now on. 

"I fucking hate the blue bloods," he said, unprompted. There was unmasked, genuine venom in his voice.

Therence grunted. "It's the same in Evermor. There was a time when talent was all that mattered, but these days it's just a matter of bloody patronage." He grimaced. "But I find that real talent still wins out in the end, as long as it's paired with the proper cunning and instinct for survival. As well as a willingness to do whatever is necessary."

He paused, turning toward the deeper shadows of the night. For many long years he had done what he had to do, killing whom he had to kill, sacrificing what needed to be cast aside. But then...

...Then, all for one good deed...

He turned back to Yaalon. "Know this, young man. The arena is filled with those who would destroy you, not just in the Mages Guild. If you wish to survive, you must learn to recognize your enemies before they recognize you, and to anticipate their downfall before they ever suspect your intentions. Do you understand?"

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"Yes. I understand."

The young Breton was silent for a few moments. He was really glad now that he had ran into Therence in tiny little Carrickdown. What had Therence been doing in that squalid backwater, anyway? He seemed to be a tough and experienced mercenary that the Guild would pay handsomely. Yet the nearest hall of any repute was in Shornhelm. And Therence didn't seem to be in the middle of a contract. What sort of work did he expect to find among fishmongers?

"So..." Yaalon began cautiously, "you're from Evermor?"

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His grass poncho lay in the dirt by the fair, spread wide and flat to serve as Hoster's sleeping mat for the night. The few grasshoppers that were flung out of the woven mat were caught between his lightning-fast fingers and eaten. Behind him, facing the wilderness, his pack was disassembled, and his few belongings arrayed around him in a half-moon. Wrapped in cloth or in large, wide leaves, was some jerky, Breton cheese, and hard tack. In one clay pot, the Colovian had brought up some Bosmeri pemmican - a hundred years old. In front of him now hung a water skin stretched as a bowl over the fire on wooden stakes, boiling pine needle tea. The Colovian sat, in the lotus position but without meditating. A corn cigarette trembled from his lower lip as he quietly sang pieces of a song to himself, and he sank a wooden kuksa into the tea and let it from the fire to cool. 

"...please let the kindness of forgettin' set me free,

and I said O my Lord,

why am I not strong?

Like the branch that keeps,

hangman hangin' on..."

As the burned and carved wooden bowl cooled, he retrieved his flin, drinking and smoking the road-weariness out of his legs and he sank backwards against his pack. Mages Guild schemed together, Raga practiced sword-dance, and the cat smelled like a fucking dog.

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As the twin moons gradually and silently shifted through the night sky, Hircine's barking orders grew louder and bolder within Kiraya.

Hunt.

Kill.

Maim.

Feast.

Murder.

She was able to hold them back for a while longer, but there was no denying that beast. Not tonight. Her thoughts of killing and feasting put a wolfish grin on her face. Her body was already starting to change a bit. Her eyes had changed their colors again to those glowing orange and red colors, though they were fainter this time. Her fur grew slightly darker and longer. She tried not to show her eyes too much, so she pulled her hood further down her face, and looked down.

She would have to leave eventually, but not soon.

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Fiore1300 wrote:

"Yes. I understand."

The young Breton was silent for a few moments. He was really glad now that he had ran into Therence in tiny little Carrickdown. What had Therence been doing in that squalid backwater, anyway? He seemed to be a tough and experienced mercenary that the Guild would pay handsomely. Yet the nearest hall of any repute was in Shornhelm. And Therence didn't seem to be in the middle of a contract. What sort of work did he expect to find among fishmongers?

"So..." Yaalon began cautiously, "you're from Evermor?"

Therence's eyes glittered in the dark. "Evermor. That's right. And you want to know why I was taking jobs in a dung heap like that back there." The fire crackled in the silence for a moment, casting its deep shadows into the woods. Then Therence sighed. "For now... let's just say I forgot my own advice. All you need to know is that we're in a position to help each other. Go on, Journeyman, get some rest." He said as he turned away. "Sleep and I aren't presently on the best of terms."

As he parted from Yaalon, Therence used his teeth to jerk the cork from a small bottle, then spat it into the underbrush. He downed the potion and watched as the black wilderness shimmered with unearthly light. The fire at his back now blazed like a beacon, and he carefully averted his gaze. He drew his bow, notched an arrow, and strode silently into the night.

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[Ignore this post, I'm an idiot and made a new post instead of editing the already existing one! Sorry.]

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After finishing her meal, Ervesa walked over and took a seat near Omekh, watching as he gracefully practiced the Way of the Sword, admiring the Redguard's skills. She wanted to talk to him, but she could wait.

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The group was chatting, practicing, preparing themselves for the night or the next day. Cayliss already lie down next to the fire, staring at the sky and slowly falling asleep.

Therence left the camp and now the dark forest was all around him, filled with nocturnal life. Waxing moons and shining stars gave some light, but the trees were tall and the bushes were lush, so dark shadows crept everywhere.

He found some animals to hunt - birds, squirrels, rabbit and deer quietly tried to find some food without being seen by predators. Wolves could be heard, but they seemed to be far away. As Therence scouted the old wood, he also discovered traces of a big group of humans, mer or beastfolk, that has passed here a day or two ago. It looked like there could be fifteen or twenty members of the travelling assemble. It was around 400 meters from the main tract, like if the group tried to avoid travelling on the road, but still followed the road.  When he looked at the ground, a silver button shined in the moonlight, stomped into the ground but visible. It had a symbol of a hand holding a skull, well engraved and detailed. Then, he noticed that three shadows moved near the camp and another, bigger shadow of a beast following them. (he saw the shadows because light of the fire at the camp was well visible)

Kiraya's attention was drawn by the unknown characters that tried to sneak past the camp. She felt the urge of turning into Hircine's beast, too. She left the camp to hunt, finally, and smelled human flesh. Three victims were ahead of her, defenseless. They had fresh blood, young blood, and Kiraya could sense that too. Their scent was typical for Bretons living in the region. They wore dark red robes with silver ornaments and had hoods on their heads, so it was impossible to see their faces in current conditions.

When the lycanthrope stepped closer to the young men, one of them turned around.

"But-- Uthyn, you will let them see us! You were supposed to stay in your human form." he whispered nervously. He did not see the creature clearly, because it was dark, he could only see the outline of a werewolf and its eyes.

The rest of the camp was asleep at the moment. However, it was not a deep sleep, because they did not feel safe like at home. Noise (but not whispers) could wake them up.

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Kiraya stepped even closer, snarling viciously. In an instant, her jaws were around his neck and she was on top of him, tearing his throat out with her bestial jaws. She tore into his chest, ripping it apart, and devoured what she could from it. Her mouth dripping with blood and her mind full of killing, she looked towards the other two young men who have undoubtedly turned around to see what that noise was. She pounced on the one closest to her and tore him apart limb from limb, literally. First she whipped off the arms, then lopped off a leg and devoured the other one. His screams echoed through the night sky.

The third started running, and she gave chase. She was on him in a matter of seconds, tearing out his back with her long, sharp claws. Her teeth dug into his flesh even as he screamed in agony, but were cut short from long teeth tearing out his heart from behind. She did not stop consuming the corpse until it was hardly anything less than a bloody skeleton.

After her kills and her feast, she howled at the moons, a loud terrifying call. The other wolves answered her.

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A scream, and then a howl caught Therence's attention from where he sat under a gnarled tree. He looked up, sniffed instinctively. No scent from this far, but he knew the call to be a werewolf's. The scream? No one he knew, but too close to the camp for comfort.

As he got to his feet, the lesser wolves of the forest picked up the chant. Their chorus seemed to stretch for miles. As he walked softly in the direction of the first cry, he hoped it wasn't who he thought it was.

But if it is?

Visions of a half-dozen dead and dying pups flashed through his head, their soft fur matted with blood, their faces all-too-human. Even as he hunched his shoulders against the gale of memories, their frightened whimpers echoed across the years.

He shook his head violently. Not now. Not now, damn it! I cannot falter, not again! Not when I'm so close!

He drew his bow and broke open another bottle to ensure his night vision would carry him through the fight.

They won't blame me if I have to kill her. They couldn't blame me. A werewolf isn't something you want at your back. And if she kills the kid...!

His bony hands clenched the bow. A little girl's face, tears running streaks in her own blood, stared up at him as he splashed through a puddle. She reached out with a hand that was almost a paw. Her mouth gasped wordlessly, and he turned sharply away. I did what I had to do! And I'll do the same tonight! This is my CHANCE.

But as he drew closer and the unmistakable scent hit his nostrils, as the snorts and snarls of the lycanthrope grew louder, he felt the familiar churn of uncertainty in his gut.

He let out a long and tired sigh. "Whatever happened to me?" he muttered softly.

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A chorus of howls shattered the pines and stirred the Colovian from his needle tea and his flin. Hoster stood, turning on his bare heels towards the wolfsong and the pitchdark. Instinctively he threw the gear he had arrayed about his poncho bedroll into the hide traveling pack in an instant, planting his feet and arranging his arms into fighting form. 

"Pack your shit needin' we take flight! Moriche behind me, Raga and Boiche - triangle 'round the fucking fire, set another wood stack alight for perimeter and bring your fuckin' arms to bear. Weren't just pups screamin' Hircine's glory in the pines,".

He quickly assembled a second small tipi of twigs and kindling some ways from the central campfire and it sprung to life, creating a stretch of lit forest floor. If someone or somebeast stepped into the ring around the camp, they might see it. He stepped back to his planned sleeping space, and regained his posture. Head dipped forward and controlled breathing took over. That eastern devil had taught him Red Mazte form. Derivative of Golden Reed and made for fightin' something you don't want flesh-cursin' you. 

"Zanat Pash. You sorry cunt,".

He raised his head and bit down a swig of flin. His right fist turned to stone and curled close to his chin while his left fore and middle fingers pointed into the black. His grey-haired head began bobbing as if in the cadence of Raga drums, and he rolled his shoulders unevenly in his roughspun wool shirt. Barefeet lightly flung sand as he bounced and staggered in place. He was fucking drunk, and internally composed. Although it was difficult, he managed to banish the feelings of a small ampunt of excitement in putting his fists through one of Hircine's beasts. Never done that one before.