Today is of the Cycle Of The Seventh Moon.
Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

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The Chasms

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NoOne
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Floating Rock Caves (CAVE Landscape) (4)

THE CHASMS 


Great crevices split the land here and the glow from below is much brighter. Towering pinnacles seem to drift freely through the bottomless chasms, often grinding against the walls and sides of the passage-riddled cliffs. Daring travellers may use these floating platforms to transit between the mazes of the shifting caverns. One should only attempt to travel this region in the company of an experienced guide, as getting to where yew are going takes bravery, skill, foreknowledge, and magick.


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Lassroyale
(@lassroyale)
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Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 746
 

 

TO Shaarn (Chasms Camp1) [D1S5 1A] wFrame

 Night #1: The Chasms

Campsite at the Cave of Glowing Pillars


The first campsite is located within a small cave directly adjoining the large, branching tunnel that feeds into the Natural Stone Bridge Ravine.  Aside from the narrow corridor linking it to the main artery that leads back to the Natural Stone Bridge Ravine and deeper into The Chasms, the cave connects to two other passageways: the first, is a shaft that abruptly dead ends at a craggy rock face with no apparent  exits.  The second, is a corridor with smooth, curved walls that winds back towards the main artery of The Chasms; it has narrow openings on both ends, which makes the offshoot passageway easy to miss upon first glance.

Both its location and layout makes the Cave of Glowing Pillars an ideal waypoint for a campsite, with an easily guarded entrance and an ostensibly “hidden” escape route, should one be needed.  The cozy cavern also makes a pretty campsite, with lichen-wrapped stone pillars that emit a soft, bioluminescent glow, and the clean, clear waters of an icy rivulet running through it.  The lichen climbs up the rocky pillars and clings to the ceiling of the small cave, bringing to mind the image of a blueish-green, aurora borealis–albeit a faint, faded reflection of the real thing.   Beds of cushioning moss dot the terraced floor here and there, though can mainly be found near the streamlet and at the bases of the pillars closer to the outer edges of the cave.

Behind one of the stone pillars, a formation of large, smooth, and flat stones have been carefully stacked and arranged into the shape of a horseshoe to form a makeshift fire pit.  Piled next to the pit at the base of the pillar, is a sizable stockpile of kindling, sticks, and thick, neatly hewn branches that look to have been collected from the surrounding caverns.  Although most of the wood found in the UnderNeath is necessarily slow-burning and difficult to light, nonetheless, a well-constructed and blazing campfire crackles merrily within the stone fire pit, its warm glow mostly hidden behind the thick rock pillar.

TOM-CAT: A Stab in the Dark - Pounce!(1/2) - Teleskela - Kiana Beach Battle(1/2/3) - My Prey - Botched Massacre(1/2) - Try Again - ★Powder Keg - Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - Sparring(1/2) - Kidney Punch - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - ☆Stolen Kiss - ☆Overwhelmed by Intimacy - Returning to Her - ★Bath Time Bonding - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories - ★Laughter & Kisses - Eros & Hormones -Cat-Tom: Rescue Kitty! - Cat-Tom vs. Skaven - ☆(Forced) Shift Back - 9-1 Lives - ★A Beast in the Darkness - ☆Bored Nihilism - Cat vs. Dragon - ★Emotionally Exhausted Bath - Catboy, Interrupted - All For Her - ☆Bellissimo Gato
───────────
DAETH: Breaking Callon - Pleasure w/Pain - Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate(1/2) - Precariously Balanced Nature - At Long Last, Eddellyn - Soul Searching - Into the Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - Heart of the Maze - Before the Storm - Thunder & Honey - ★Ripped Gowns - ★Sensual Poetry - Warding Sigils - Hedonistic Filth & House-Sized Party Crasher - Confronting Maarazaar(1/2/3) - Ash Bunny Irihi
───────────
RISQUÉ: Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte]Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor -Proposing the Race
──────────────────
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]


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Lassroyale
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TOM CAT

A Felonious Feline 

╺ ✽ ╸ 

 "I'm oxygen and he's dying to breathe."

– Tahereh Mafi

 

At exactly the same time that Miiya and the rest were fighting the kobolds, Tom-Cat had been dealing with his own vermin problem and therefore didn’t immediately recognize that the feel of blood-pumping adrenaline sparking through the bond wasn’t his own.  

The catling had already built the stone fire pit, collected a stockpile of wood, and had built, lit, and stoked the fire into a steadily burning blaze, when he’d picked up the subtle scritch-click of nimble, clawed feet running agilely across a hard stone floor, roughly three caves to the east.  It was the same noise he’d heard in faint, faded echoes earlier that day at the Waterfall Lake.  Now that he was closer to the source, he recognized it instantly: skaven.

Rrrats, he thought with a sneer.  “Verrrmin,” he hissed, as something instinctive and primal welled up within him.  He unsheathed his claws without thought, his tail lashing excitedly as his ears perked forward, automatically swiveling to hone in on a specific set of noises in the near-distance.  The catling’s pupils thinned out into feral slits as his kohl-rimmed eyes grew wide and unblinking, giving him a distinctly eerie, almost alien look when, all at once, he went utterly still.  The sharp points of his fangs dimpled his bottom lip in a frozen snarl as he stood, unmoving, ephemeral currents of the air eddying around him.  

Information was stored within the fabric of the underground atmosphere.  There was data stored within the motes of dust and statistics graphed in every minute temperature fluctuation–he tasted details settle into the groove of his tongue as he decoded the information swirling in the air with the cipher of his senses.  A grey-furred ear twitched, turning almost lazily as his hearing sharpened and focused on a muted coterie of sound that moved–scurried–from point-to-point, growing louder and fainter, in turns.  The tip of his tail began to rapidly flick back and forth.

A restless fervor skipped over his skin.  Excitement jolted through him.

The catboy was gone in an instant, loose-limbed and fleet-footed, his feline hindbrain fully engaged and the group, even his bondmate, were entirely forgotten as something primal and instinctual within his ancient core, called for him to hunt the skaven–the dirty jookan rats.

╺ ✽ ╸

It hadn’t taken Tom-Cat long to locate the group of skaven scouts.  They called them ‘Gutter Runners’ in Haven, but he supposed that ‘Tunnel Runners’ would be more accurate in the cave systems of the UnderNeath. The skaven stood between 4ft.–5ft., each wielding both a tekko kagi and a blight-infused dagger.  He’d followed along with the group of four scouts on a ridge high above their heads, listening as they spoke in crude Common to one another, which is how he learned that they were only four out of a party of eight. 

The catling hadn’t reached for the longer machete-length weapon affixed between his shoulder blades, but instead unsheathed a large, double-edged karambit with a 5.2” blade that resembled a wickedly curved tiger’s claw.  

He'd dropped directly down into the midst of the four bipedal rats like a reaper with furry cat ears and a furry cat's tail.  The felinoid assassin made short work of the scouts, even as slippery and underhanded as they were.  He'd quickly moved on and sought out the remaining four gutter runners–there was no way he could let any of the scouts return to their main group. 

╺ ✽ ╸

It’d taken roughly ten or fifteen minutes for Tom-Cat to locate, stalk, and chase down the remaining skaven, the four scouts split in pairs between two corridors, three or four caves over.  He'd kicked the rats' corpses into the dark opening of nearby crevasse, before returning to the original four he’d slain and disposing of their bodies in a similar fashion. 

The catling, now back at the campsite, was taking some time to thoroughly scrub the blood from his skin in the icy cold waters of the rivulet, when he noticed for the first time that his heart had been hammering in his chest with a rapid, drumroll beat.  It called back to the heartpounding adrenaline rush he'd felt the first time he'd laid eyes on  the Watcher of Kiana.  The rabbit thump beat had slowed considerably, but now that he was aware of it, he belatedly realized that his blood had just been roaring in his veins.  That would be strange enough, but his pulse also felt weirdly fast for what should, for all intents and purposes, be a resting heart rate. (The assassin's pulse was–usually–remarkably steady whenever he fought or killed, and his encounter with the skaven gutter runners had been a dozen or so minutes ago.)  On top of it all,  the catling noted that his senses felt somehow too-sharp and almost raw–he felt an abstract, nebulous twinge of pain, as if from a great distance. 

Tom-Cat paused with his hands still plunged into the cold waters of the streamlet, his eyes falling partially shut as he looked inwardly, seeking out the source of these strange, overwrought feelings… 

….And when realization dawned, it felt like No Picnic had brutally punched the breath out from his lungs.  Kwesh!  The bond.  His Teleskela. The assassin was instantly on his feet, his body tensing as concern and worry suddenly crashed over him like a tidal wave.  He clenched his teeth and forced himself to be present as he sorted through the emotions and sensations now streaming through the bond, clear and distinct, the strength of the feelings no longer diluted by his own distraction or intertwined with his ardency as he hunted (and killed) the skaven. 

Tom-Cat felt the dwindling echoes of Miiya’s adrenaline-wrought excitement, like he might feel the dying reverberations of a war drum throb in his chest.  The feeling that lingered in the bond was a unique thrill that he knew as intimately as he knew the shape and texture of each one of the faded, circular scars pressed neatly into the once-soft crease of his inner arm.  It's a feeling that he was introduced to when he was criminally young: that sense of cooling heat and the slow-to-ebb rush of hyperactivity and stimuli, that languished in the aftermath of a real fight

He can almost smell  the acrid bite of adrenaline curling off of her skin, can nearly taste  the all too familiar, warm-copper tang of blood in the back of his throat, as physical memory bled together with borrowed sense.  The catling pushed out a quiet, shaky breath and attempted to ground himself as he consciously probed the bond and sorted through the tangled knot of sensations and feelings. 

It didn’t feel like Miiya was badly injured or in any serious distress–at least not currently.  Still, Tom-Cat felt something primitive and wild surge up from deep within him, at the thought that she–his bondmate–had been and could still be, in a dangerous, possibly life-threatening, situation.

And he hadn’t been there. 

He wasn’t there.  

With her. where he belongs

The thought made his ears flatten with guilt and self-loathing spike hotly through him, even as a furious growl vibrated in his chest and rumbled up his throat without his consent.  He was helpless to stop the deep, thrumming growl from slipping past bared teeth, his lips pulling back into an anxious, angry snarl as the sound rebounded off of the cave walls in an echoing cacophony.  He lashed his tail in furious agitation, but deep down the catling knew that it was really fear  that drove his protective anger.  Fear that she could have been gravely hurt, and there would have been nothing he could have done about it. because he hadn't been there  Fear that she could have–he swallowed past a  lump in his throat, his breathing suddenly tight–that she could have died, and he wouldn’t have been there.  

Tom-Cat took a few deep breaths.  With some effort, he consciously forced the tension from his spine, loosened the tautness in his shoulders, and unclenched his jaw.  He raised his ears and quieted his lashing tail, until just the tip occasionally flicked back and forth like an unreliable metronome.  The anger still simmered down in his bones, making him hot and irrational with contemptuous indignation.

He’d trusted them–dumb jookan kurves–with her safety.  Sure, he didn’t doesn’t trust them…at all much–and can you really blame him? They are the outright kopils who snickered and sneered when they’d thought that he was a jookan slave.  What wonderful people with such "kind" jookan hearts.  So no, Tom-Cat won’t can’t bring himself to trust them, but he knew that Miiya did for some reason.  And while he didn’t at all necessarily agree with her, he respected that she had a differing opinion than his.

He respected her, even if he won't ever may never respect them.

Tom-Cat reached out through the bond without really thinking about it, his instinct to comfort his bondmate stronger than his anger at that moment.  He reached out through the bond and attempted to convey the same warmth and protectiveness that he’d communicated when he wrapped her in his embrace in the cascading pool at Duskhill.  He hoped to impart a sense of confidence and tenacity into the bond, while at the same time letting her know that he was on his way.  

He was returning.

To her. 

I’m coming, Teleskela.

The catling exited the campsite and retraced his steps back towards the Natural Stone Bridge Ravine, intent on meeting the group somewhere within the Terraced Stalactite Cavern.   

TOM-CAT: A Stab in the Dark - Pounce!(1/2) - Teleskela - Kiana Beach Battle(1/2/3) - My Prey - Botched Massacre(1/2) - Try Again - ★Powder Keg - Soft,soft - ★Stupid Little Tom-Cat - ★Miiya & Cat-Tom - Sparring(1/2) - Kidney Punch - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - ☆Stolen Kiss - ☆Overwhelmed by Intimacy - Returning to Her - ★Bath Time Bonding - ☆Wings, Tails, & Love - ☆Cave Storms - Climbing the Walls - ★1st Kiss - ★Makeouts & Memories - ★Laughter & Kisses - Eros & Hormones -Cat-Tom: Rescue Kitty! - Cat-Tom vs. Skaven - ☆(Forced) Shift Back - 9-1 Lives - ★A Beast in the Darkness - ☆Bored Nihilism - Cat vs. Dragon - ★Emotionally Exhausted Bath - Catboy, Interrupted - All For Her - ☆Bellissimo Gato
───────────
DAETH: Breaking Callon - Pleasure w/Pain - Sensing Death - ★Kissing Fate(1/2) - Precariously Balanced Nature - At Long Last, Eddellyn - Soul Searching - Into the Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - Heart of the Maze - Before the Storm - Thunder & Honey - ★Ripped Gowns - ★Sensual Poetry - Warding Sigils - Hedonistic Filth & House-Sized Party Crasher - Confronting Maarazaar(1/2/3) - Ash Bunny Irihi
───────────
RISQUÉ: Fun with Fisticuffs!
[Chatte]Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor -Proposing the Race
──────────────────
[ ☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]


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NoOne
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Myrae

From: The Fern Field

Dropping back to where Rigel was, the drowess  walked beside him for a bit as they approached the campsite Tom-Cat had selected. “That was some nice Kobold mowing, Meat.” She observed of his quick dispatch of their numerous small enemies. “But I’m not a fan of our Goblin friends’ lack of discipline that brought ‘em down on us.” She whispered. “Wouldja mind setting them straight for me? I’m a little hoarse.” She said.

Myrae knew goblins, especially the tribe of goblins that were her estate’s caretakers, were a noisy bunch. They respected beratings, beatings, and bludgeonings (fatal ones), in that order. The drowess figured the elfy one wouldn’t be happy about the last two, and Myrae didn’t have the voice for the fomer. She wanted Rigel to inform the Goblins--probably through Grog (and possibly through bludgeoning Grog)--that breaking ranks and causing trouble would not be tolerated again. 

They’d been lucky that the undisciplined rabble Faan had hired to port her luggage had only run afoul of a nest of Kobolds. There were many nastier creatures in the underneath, and Myrae wanted the goblins set straight before they brought real trouble to the group. Letting them go on without consequence was only encouraging disaster, and the drowess had no confidence in Faan’s ability to control her hirelings. 


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NoOne
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Goblins

From: The Fern Field

 

Picnic

From: The Fern Field

Butterflies evolve and emerge from a chrysalis,” Picnic noted abruptly. Because of great golem’s lack of a face, it would not be immediately clear that it was talking to Pioloss. “as do Deathwyrms and Brainbleeders. What did your feelings evolve into?” The Golem, as though it were the most natural thing in the world, continued the thread of the conversation between itself and Pioloss from the morning, hours ago. 


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Irihi
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Faan

From: The Fern Field

Faan had garnered that the blood drying on Pioloss was not his own and that the man had suffered no injury. Miiya, however, was a different story. The elfmaid had heard the one with--Tom-Cat’s fretting over her, and approached Picnic and Picnic-mounted Aeros. “Miiya, Tom-Cat, I have bandages which speed healing and help to ward off infection.” So saying, she offered a length of the enchanted cloth to the pair. “Thank yew for coming to my aid.” Faan said to Miiya. She turned to Tom-Cat “Your--” Faan corrected herself, not meaning to make assumptions that would embarrass any present--despite the obvious relationship between the mismatched pair. “...she is quite the fighter. I think that the kobolds she beat will think twice before tangling with an Aeros again.”


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Irihi
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Miiya

From: The Fern Field

Faan’s arrival interrupted whatever Miiya had been about to blurt--she had nothing, really, besides maybe a frustrated nonverbal vocalization--at Tom, and the Elfmaid’s words proved the perfect segue to what Miiya had really wanted to talk about. “Yeah! I kicked the crap outta them!” She chirped, her pout transforming to a sunny smile, directed at the elfmaid. “Thanks!” She accepted the proffered roll of gauzy bandage. 

When Faan offered to help her wrap her forearm, Miiya tried unsuccessfully to keep her eyes from darting back to Tom as she declined. “Uh, maybe after we stop. It’s not bleeding anymore and it doesn’t really hurt.” The former was true. Her thick blood had clotted almost before she had finished beating the tar out of Spiderback. The latter, however, was a lie. The kobold’s claws had not cut to the bone, but the lacerations were hardly shallow, and they--like her bruised and knuckles crusted with blackened blood--were throbbing pretty good now. Miiya also had a decent headache going from where she had used her skull to dent Spiderback’s. 

Miiya liked fighting when she was doing it--and winning--but afterward not so much. What would make it soo much better, though, would be if it impressed Tom in the re-telling.

…and maybe if he could do something nice, like maybe not jump on, rattle around, or grab any of the parts of her that hurt now. That kinda left only her wings and maybe a little bit of the back of her right knee. Maybe everybody else in their group could fight a pitched hand-to-hand battle and then treat it like they had just been taking afternoon tea, but he Aeros girl was feeling pretty battered. 

Like we, ya know, just fought a battle or something.


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Irihi
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Miiya

And then Tom was there and he was putting Miiya back on Picnic and walking beside her all the way to yet another spectacular cave, this one full of glowing crystal pillars. The Underneath was pretty amazing.

A

Maze

Ing. 

But Miiya was having trouble being amazed. She was beat. She hadn’t done it for long, or as hard as she could, but she had danced. She felt like she did after doing the fire thing at the market.

Like twenty times, maybe. 

Miiya’s fire knack was gone--she thought--replaced by Storm Dancing, as far as she could tell. They felt different, but the results were the same. When she’d evoked fireballs, depending on how big and how often, her flight muscles got tired, then sore, then eventually they just wouldn’t work anymore (and they would still feel sore and tired), for a few hours or so. 

When she danced, everything got tired, everything got sore. Even if her wings were whole, Miiya didn’t think she would have much range, at the moment. She was having a little trouble staying mounted on Picnic, even though he was a pretty large and stable steed. The Aeros girl appreciated it when Tom noticed and hopped up to help stabilize her.  

Truth be told, Miiya’s exhaustion didn’t last as long as she pretended it did, by the time they reached the campsite, she was feeling better. But the way Tom pressed her into place, the way he brought her down, the way he cradled her and absorbed the impact of the not-small drop down from Picnic… Miiya’s headache had abated. Her arm didn’t throb so bad now. She could easily walk, skip, run, sing, and do normal Miiya stuff. 

But this was cool too. She never got this. Except on the exceedingly-rare occasions when Miiya had been deathly ill or severely injured, Sen had never been solicitous of her daughter’s hurts. Her shorn-winged mother had treated kindness like a drug; as if even a little would engender a lifelong debilitating dependency in her daughter. The woman had doled out a bare minimum of care, lest Miiya inadvertently overdose. 

Then there was Cah. Miiya loved being on the road with her libertine brother. He had been nearly the polar opposite of Sen in nearly all things. However, he must have inherited their mother’s sadistic streak. Miiya had not been seriously injured while traveling with him, but when she complained of anything, it was Cah’s habit to find the hurt and poke it really hard. “Hurts less now, right?” Had been one of his favorite sayings, followed by Miiya’s angry retort “Less than when you were poking it, yeah.”

Had been. 

Carried down from Picnic’s back and bundled against the too-hot skin of Tom-Cat’s (also-too-clothed, amirite?) chest, Miiya had gotten a little lost in her tiredness-blurred reminiscing. She had been thinking of her family rather than being present with Tom. She did not notice him casting about for a comfortable place to settle her. She had missed how his khoal-rimmed eyes had lingered for a moment on Pioloss and narrowed. 

Something in Tom, something Miiya had seen but not yet understood, demanded he take her away from the other, from the alien, from the predatory. When he thought about treating her near the cheery campfire with that one hanging about in the shadows, his hackles rose. No, he could not have her t--she could not be vulnerable here. 

There was a place, though. Not far.

Without so much as a by-your-leave, Tom-Cat spirited Miiya off down a side tunnel.

To: Some Secret Grotto


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Rigel
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Rigel walked along picking up the rear guard as the fire in his veins settled.  As the fire waned, regret emerged.  "is this really his calling?  Was this really how he could best serve Faran  Is this how he could best serve people, and the world?"  Rigel scanned the area for any additional danger but his mind was focused on the events ended only minutes ago.  So distracted was he that he almost failed to notice Myrae drifting back to walk beside him.

“That was some nice Kobold mowing, Meat.” Myrae spoke in a voice even more hoarse than her usual rasp.  "uh, Thank you."  It seemed odd to be complimented for killing but it was kind of his "function".  "Myrae, I want to apologize for what happened back there.  I tend to...uhm...lose myself in the heat of battle and sometimes take what I want without regard for others.  I meant no offense."

As Myrae spoke more of the goblins he found himself nodding in agreement as all of his training, instinctual at this point, guided his thoughts.  He too disliked their lack of discipline, and he was still a little butt sore toward Grog about the bridge incident.  But punishing Grog now would be like kicking the dog for stealing your meal a week later.

After a time, they arrived at a well-prepared campsite.  Tom-cat had obviously taken time and care in setting it up.  Rigel wanted to tell Tom-cat of his ever increasing respect for him.  He had proven his skills as a scout and protector, a true professional with admirable skills.  Rigel restrained himself though not seeing any real point in paying compliment to a creature convinced of his own superiority and dismissive of virtually everyone but himself and Miiya.   

Their little band settled into the campsite, and it seemed started to relax in as much as they could.  There were still dangers lurking about though Rigel was sure that Tom-cat had eliminated most if not all of them.  Pioloss settled in near Faan.  Tom-cat and Miiya seemed have at least temporarily taken leave of everyone’s company and the Goblins settled in a short distance away. 

Rigel thought to take a stroll.  In just a few moments Rigel found himself sitting next to Grog.  "I have been thinking much of the bridge and the xiples.  What was it you said?   You bad leader. No listen; all gonna die. You make Grog leader, nobody die.”   I didn’t think it was nice that you called the lady stupid.  I don’t mind that you called me that but I was told not to treat ladies like that. 

"I do have to disagree with one thing you said though  “Yep, Grog leadership material for sure. Good performance.”    A good leader keeps his charges in line.  Not allowing them to wander about and leaving the path, that could result in someone falling and breaking their leg or”  In a sudden move Rigel brought his fist down hard on Grogs thigh immediately raising a large and painful bump.  Those sitting close by may have heard a faint cracking sound as well.  Simultaneously he clapped his other hand over Grogs mouth to stifle any noise.  "getting caught in a trap.  Screaming draws attention,  noise draws enemies."  Rigel stood lifting Grog painfully by the hand gripping his jaw.  Stepping to the edge of the precipice Rigel held Grog out to enjoy the view.  Grog proceeded to do his best Wiley Cyote imitation pumping his legs to keep him from falling. 

"Nice view.  Especially with no bridge in the way."  Grogs eyes widened even more.  Until that moment Rigel wasn’t even sure that was possible.  Rigel's tone then became menacing “And you left him to die.”

With that Rigel threw Grog unceremoniously back into the midst of his crew.  “Further breaks in discipline will not be tolerated.  Do we have an understanding? Or is it time another leader was chosen?”  Pointing at the Goblin who looked most terrified Rigel said “Perhaps you should lead this little group huh?”   Pointing to another “You?”

Rigel began to stride away purposefully back toward the main camp breaking stride only long enough to slap Grog hard in the back of his head driving him to the ground.  “We will be departing early,  I expect you will be ready and stay together. We wouldn't want to put anyone in danger again would we?"

Before turning in Rigel would position himself so that none of the Goblins could sneak away in the” night” without passing by him should they have that less than brilliant idea.


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Pioloss
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A shame? Last peril we have to dodge? Stars above! What did that mean? Just what was he supposed to make of any of this?! Argh! Get. A. Grip man! Pioloss admonished himself. Why, anyone would think he was some trembling whelp, as green as they came, and who had never so much as looked at a woman before! Him! An accomplished Hunter of the Undead, a self raised survivalist of the wilds, who had seen more of the Worlde than most people even knew existed!

 

… So what was it about Faan that had him tied up in knots like this? OK so sure, she was beautiful. And kind. And as mysterious and unfathomable as the stars in the night sky. But that didn't mean he had to start acting like some lovestruck adolescent now did it!

 

Urgh…

 

He needed a distraction. A purpose. Some way to make himself useful and in doing so take his mind off of mind meltingly alluring Elfmaids, and off of this blasted, all consuming HUNGER!!!

 

Wait! Hunger! That was it!

 

Along the way Pioloss had scented several animals that smelled close enough to deer that they would surely make a decent meal. And prolonging their trial rations could only be a good thing! Right? 

 

Pioloss spent a short time at the campsite. Long enough to be seen, but not so long that the frenetic activity of setting up for the night had begun to die down. Then, with some muttered excuses he excused himself, stopping only to whisper to Picnic as he passed "What did my feelings evolve into? I wish I knew Picnic. I really do. Still, that's the thing with emotions. Sometimes they are akin to a survival instinct of sorts, and other times they are nothing short of a ruddy mess! You gotta take the rough with the smooth I guess… Anyway, I'll be back soon, just off to find us some dinner." He finished with a wink.

 

He couldn't wait to see the looks on everyone's faces when he returned with a feast of venison in tow! And who knew? Out there on his own, maybe the animal's blood could do something about his other hunger too!

 

 

 


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Goblins

Finally! Someone who spoke Grog’s language. Nursing his bruised face and leg, the goblin leader sat sulking and muttering to himself in goblinese how he’d fix that big stupid’s wagon. Of course, those were empty threats. He said the same when he received similar treatment from his usual Orcan handlers. The threats and display of power were plenty to bring Grog back into line, for now.

Even warrior goblins were not foolish enough to go up against someone of Rigel’s size--and violence--with just the nine-or-so goblins he had left alive. Grog was far to cowardly to even risk a sneak attack when the man was sleeping and, besides, the goblin wanted to be paid more than slayed. Sure, he’d had fun running riot (and his mouth) under that wimpy Elf lady, but always with an eye on Pioloss, to see just how much he could get away with. Having Rigel threaten him with death had been a bit of a surprise, but Grog did not have much motivation to argue semantics with any but the rising knot on his thigh.

The crew of goblins unpacked food from their own supply, none of it particularly palatable to their larger travelmates. They took their repast and then occupied themselves with various goblinoid pastimes, like Steal the Rock, Throw the Rock (at each other), Gnaw the Rock, and Argue about the Rock’s Opinion on Renormalization and Asymptotic Safety in Quantum Gravity 

 

Myrae

The drowess raised her chin and regarded Rigel with heavy-lidded eyes as he returned from putting the goblin porter in his place. She found she was very much enjoying the man’s company, moreso for him being a huge walking anachronism. One moment he was apologizing for affronting her with a gesture that had been emphatically mutual--once she got over her surprise--and the next he was beating underlings into submission in a manner that would do a Glare Orc proud. Myrae saw the tension and volatility…

…and shame, lust, rage, and a whole dangerously unstable stew of toxic emotions…

…seething in Rigel, and she wanted it. Wanted it to wash over and subsume her with the same teeth-grit impatience that… woa, easy girl. It hasn’t even been a full day. Slow down. You’re tired, remember? He might be too. Myrae counseled herself. This trip was not going to be a cakewalk, and she could have Rigel’s more fun with Rigel in Shaarn if she buckled down now and got them there alive.

“Hey, where yew goin, Ichabod?” Myrae hissed after Pioloss as the jacketed Uman wandered off. 

Picnic

“He is hunting dinner.” The golem thundered, its mind, currently engaged in a conversational tack, acted like a bent pipe repeater, relaying unfiltered information to Myrae. 

 

Myrae

Does sticks even know what’s edible down here?” Myrae wondered aloud to herself. She shrugged. Myrae could cook like a stone could float, so she was not about to trouble herself over victuals. She carried a supply of hardtack and paste for herself if the others decided to starve themselves or Pioloss’s expedition failed. Feathers was the cook, as far as the drowess was concerned. 


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Irihi
(@irihi)
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Faan

Faan watched Pioloss depart with a slightly perturbed expression. She did not seem to have set the man at ease, despite her intentions, and she guessed that he might be taking his leave of her as much as their campsite. 

The elfmaid was distracted by the commotion of Rigel beating and threatening Grog. She wanted to protest that the little goblin’s affront to her had been inconsequential, but was too intimidated by the angry monk to interfere. Instead, Faan watched the scene play out with horrified expression. She did not share most elves’ hatred of goblinoids. The seamstress found them distasteful and sneaky, true, but she certainly took no pleasure in seeing Grog abased and her crew of porters baldly threatened. 

However, as Rigel stomped away from the goblins leaving none of them with worse than bruises, Faan reflected on what she had seen of first Orcs’, then Pioloss’s, and now Rigel’s dealings with them. Perhaps this was just how you had to treat goblins to keep them in line, she thought, and found herself glad to have escorts with the stomach for it. Faan, herself, had threatened Grog--after his crew had abandoned them to the Xiples--to apparently little lasting effect. Maybe Rigel’s warnings--and imposing presence--would help to control them better.

I do not think I shall opt for goblin porters again. Even the most reluctant mule is less trouble. She thought, wishing for both mule and cart. Despite their late start, it had been a good day’s walk today with the Kobold cavern only the last hour or so of it. Faan was not unused to long days afoot on the Lorimar, but she had been traveling by boat of late, and merely keeping her shoppe before that, so she was less conditioned for the journey as she might otherwise have been. To make her companions more comfortable she was staying present and more umanesque. That meant no meditative displacement from tired legs or aching feet. 

Or duties to companions.

The elfmaid sighed and made her way over to the monk. “Rigel, thank you for helping me keep my porters under control. I am sorry that they have caused us trouble.”

...

Myrae, who had decided to occupy herself cleaning and sharpening the blades she had used against the Kobolds, grunted a response. “Yew should be.” Fighting kobolds was quite annoying. They were little trash creatures with no glory in their dispatch. What bits and bobs of arms and armor they carried were worthless as prizes but they did a bang-up job of nicking and scoring your own weapons.

...

Faan ignored the drowess and continued speaking to Rigel. “If possible, please try not to hurt them; I feel responsible for their well-being.” Faan said. Of course, better beaten than dead. The elfmaid reflected. If she had kept better control of them, herself, then perhaps they would not have lost one of her porters to the Kobolds.


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Rigel
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 “Rigel, thank you for helping me keep my porters under control. I am sorry that they have caused us trouble.”

Rigel cracked a short, tight smile at Faan, she was truly a lovely creature.  "Grog disrespected you greatly.  Unacceptable behavior to you as a person or as an employer. 

Goblins are survivalists above all.  Their thoughts are always about themselves. They show no consideration for others including their companions or even families.  They understand power,  control, and self preservation above all. 

I have no desire to seriously hurt them or cause their death.  I am not angry with them, anger dulls the senses, but they need to understand their actions have consequences for others.  Now they understand, at least I hope they understand, that there will be consequences.  I fully expect any significant trouble with them is over. 

They understand and respect force and position.  Don't forget how Grog spoke to you after the bridge.  He suffered no consequence and that gave him power...until now."   

Rigel paused for several seconds. 

"I am sorry you to had to witness that.  I know that was not how you would have handled it, but I do not wish to see another incident like todays because of their carelessness.  I beg our forgiveness" 

Rigel was terrified that he had offended his friend and she may not wish him around anymore so he moved away.  He approached Myrae.  "May I?"  He would sit with her for a while if she would allow.

This post was modified 3 months ago 2 times by Rigel

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Pioloss
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Pioloss made no response to Myrae's inquiry. He’d heard her. He just didn't care, nor did he care for the name Ichabod. Not that he got the reference to who Ichabod was, but it wasn't exactly a leap to assume that it was something highly unflattering. 

Though judging by what she called Rigel, maybe it was actually some twisted form of Drow flirting?! Pioloss thought with a wry half smile as he wondered if his friend knew just what he had gotten himself into! Myrae would likely eat Rigel alive, and by no means was it certain that the Paladin would even complain whilst she was doing it! But he seemed happy, and that was the main thing. It was odd to Pioloss that he now found himself caring for the happiness of others. It wasn’t that he’d ever been uncaring as such before, just that until recently he’d never known anyone well enough to consider their wellbeing much one way or the other! 

Then he was out, alone in the underground "forest". With the campsite and its inhabitants now behind him it was just Pioloss. Though he loved his new found social circle, he felt a certain rightness at being once more alone. Now it was just him, and the animal he intended to hunt. Clean. Simple. Uncomplicated! 

It took him only a moment to find the trail left by the deer he had scented before. He had been an accomplished Hunter as an Uman. But now? The slightest bent leaf fairly glowed to his enhanced eyesight, and even the faintest tracks might as well have been painted onto the floor! Add that to his ability to track by scent alone and it seemed positively unfair how easily Pioloss now hunted his prey!

He crept silently through the caves, neither sight nor sound betraying his presence as he stalked closer with a preternatural ease. The musky scent of the animal began to grow thick in his nostrils, and he knew he was getting close. He caught the underlying tang of fear in the odour, which was only to be expected. All prey animals lived, ate, and breathed fear. Or they ceased breathing at all! But all it would take was one false move, one broken twig, and he would send the animal fleeing deeper into the Underneath. 

Pioloss relaxed into the darkness, allowing himself to melt into the shadows until his already covert presence became little more than just one more shadow within the shadows. He flowed forwards, gliding over rock and stone to peer out between two jagged stalagmites. There he caught his first real look at his target.


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Irihi
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Faan

The elfmaid listened to Rigel explain himself and then apologize. Being sent back into the Sunstealer’s cave and burying the remains of their companions had seemed like consequence to Faan, but she clearly did not know goblins as well as did her uman companions. “I’m not…” Faan began, but then stilled her voice. She had been about to tell Rigel she was no wilting violet, but was that really true? Maybe compared to a warrior who clove his enemies in twain and beat his underlings she was. Was there any reason to argue the point? Faan decided there was not. “There is no need to apologize, Rigel. Please do as you feel you must.” Faan replied. 

Pioloss had gone off to hunt, and the seamstress was stricken by this new similarity between the man and a Sylvan ranger she had known. Was that part of what she liked about the rangy uman? She did not think so. Pioloss might seem comfortable outside the settled parts of the worlde, but his similarities to Gillen ended there. No, it was something else about him that attracted Faan’s interest. Thinking on this and other things, the seamstress set about preparing a meal for all from their supplies in case Pioloss was unsuccessful, and to supplement his kill if he was. She made sure that what she prepared could be returned to their stores and used on the following days, though--considering Miiya’s appetite--she expected few leftovers. 


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