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Old 05-11-2016, 08:59 AM
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inknform inknform is offline
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Default A long overdue return to the once inhabited Realm

[OOC] Yes it has been many years since we've posted anything worth mentioning in this corner of the forums, but hopefully that will change in the near future...

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A cataclysmic event of unknown origin destroyed much of what we once new as the realm surrounding the great Dragon Tavern. Lives were lost forever in the chaos, and for some...memories of adventures, great wealth, heroes, villains, and a band of brothers (and sisters) were forgotten among the slow-burning embers of the past. Thick ebony smoke blanketed the sky, plummeting the realm into complete darkness for what seemed to be ages.

As hope continued to fall into the inevitable downward spiral, strong coastal winds from the East began to sweep across the land, pushing away the creeping smog, and allowing the forgotten sun to cast it's warm rays upon the desecration below it. As time was allowed to pass, the land began to restore itself, and the inhabitants who once kept hidden, resurfaced and began to rebuild that which was lost to time and the harsh elements.

Messenger birds were released into the sky again, allowing the winds to carry them throughout the land, delivering the news to any who would listen for their echoing call.

A single unfurled sheet of weathered parchment was found laying along the rocky path you are currently travelling...



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Old 05-17-2016, 05:15 PM
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QTChi QTChi is offline
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Blood dripped from the edge of her blade, but the girl paid no heed as she listlessly made her way through the carnage strewn about the ground. Heads were separated from torsos, holes punctured through their stomachs, and limbs bent in acute angles that made it seem as if the dead was reaching out for help.

It was silent, save for the cries of the crows circling overhead. The wind passed through swiftly, whirling the scent of rotten meat around the girl and stirring up the ribbons of torn cloth around her body. It fell back to reveal translucent skin, where blue veins were faint beneath it’s surface, unpulsing. The face was the same one she was born with, but only now it held large eyes that were heavy lidded with boredom. Qtchi bent to pick up a hefty bag of gold and tore some rings off the dead men, not bothering to remove the fingers. It was another good haul, but she felt as hollow as the empty eye sockets that stared blindly up at her.

It was then she stood on the road, staring east to where town was and debating whether she should simply sleep here for the night. Where once there was a hub to return to, it was no more then wooden boards and empty seats in crumbled place that was once a tavern. The lack of life was so depressing that even the necromancer found it hard to stay the day. Where she could once feed off the energy of the place, she now felt it was the opposite, where her energy felt depleted every time she returned...

Nonetheless, her latest kills had satiated her and her loot bag was full. If anything, it was time to make a quick stop to see what she could get. Perhaps there'd be familiar faces this time.
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:04 PM
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inknform inknform is offline
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Default Into the Deep

“How could anythin’ have thrived here, Gav?”

The tall, lean, dark-skinned woman stood at the edge of the jagged cliff, surveying the area below, as she yelled down to the figure sitting atop a light-brown colored horse, a slight huskiness in her voice reverberated off the neighboring hillsides.

“It all just seems like a cluster of shite if you ask me.” She shook her head, peering out across the scarred landscape that was once known as the thick forestry region of Stangwood, it’s tall, strong trees that covered the land in lush greenery were nothing more than charred and hollowed out memories. It had been mighty in its own right. A beacon of mysticism and intrigue for many and to others a journey of self-discovery, as though the hidden secrets of the great temples and enclaves would reveal to the curious traveler who they truly were. Above all, however, it’s beauty had been the most appealing and the strongest draw for many who sought refuge under its many boughs.

The reality, however, was much more sinister in nature, and those learned in defending against such darkness knew it's bloody and perverse history enough to forget it ever existed.

“Good riddance I say, Czi. That whole place was…stained, to say the least. A blight on the Realm.”

The man’s voice was low, yet smooth and confident with a twinge of anger in his response, and an unquenchable fire in his emerald eyes. A fire that burned ever since he initially joined with the Ajendra Witch Hunters many seasons ago. At first glance, the tall well-built Gavon appeared younger than the thirty-seven years he actually carried with him as a resident of the Steel Empire, and thirteen of those spent training under the tutelage of knowledgeable and skilled Inquisitors, refining his skills at diplomacy, local law and customs, armed and unarmed combat, and defense against supernatural creatures and magical attacks. As first impressions went, he came off as rather stoic at times, an “old soul” perhaps, attributed to his wisdom and essentially “learning from past mistakes”. Above all, however, Gavon was professional in his ways, as was customary within the realm of the Empire, and his mannerisms leaned toward being open, friendly and willing to help provided it aligned with the credo of the Steel Empire.

He patted the horse on the neck before dismounting and made the trek up to the edge of the cliff, immediately turning his focus toward the distant sky, taking note of a large group of black flying creatures circling above a mound of debris.

“Do you see that?” The Inquisitor pointed toward the direction of the winged scavengers, pulling out a brass spyglass from his belt pouch, carefully adjusted the lens, and passed it over to her.

“Aye...but vultures aren't uncommon here.” The woman’s response sounded more like a question as she raised a quizzical brow and lifted the spyglass to her eye.

“Shite.”

“Exactly. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill hookbill vultures, eh? Carrion nightstalker crows if I'm not mistaken. ‘Eaters of the dead’, as they are generally known. And not the ones that stay dead either.”

The Inquisitor started back down the rocky incline toward his horse. “Let’s head out to that spot then while we still have a few hours of daylight.”

“Aye, we wouldn’t want you falling down a random spider hole” She smirked, collapsing the telescopic spyglass, and following behind.

“That happened once!” He retorted, pulling himself up onto the saddle. “And if I’m not mistaken, it was I who saved your sorry ass”

She shot him a look of disgust and held it momentarily until she quickly broke out in a chuckle. “Well...it’s this ‘arse’, sir, that keeps ye warm at night, so don’t forget it, yeah?” She said, giving him a quick wink before nudging her horse forward.

Gavon half-smiled, watching as she rode off down the path, the incredibly stubborn yet admirable woman with the deep bronze skin tone, short-cut auburn hair, and the bluest of eyes who had become his wife going on only a few years. A marriage, that for many superstitious folk within the Steel Empire, was thought to have been a bad omen considering his bride was unable to bear any children.

Czigani, or “Czi” (as she was affectionately referred to by those closest to her) seemed a bit more obscure than many of the women within the Empire, and conforming to typical customs and traditions was not in her line of thinking. She was, for all intents and purposes, a free spirit, cherishing life and all it’s beauty, as well as harboring a deep-seeded intrigue for the magical planes of existence. Leaving little room for the way of combat, it was this very interest in magic, however, that not only set her apart from her peers, but also solidified her position as an alchemist of the Steel Empire. Her practice of witchcraft, however, continued to be a cause for concern within a kingdom that essentially shunned the magical arts, but had been tolerated nonetheless for the sake of “knowing thy enemies in order to smite them”.

With that said, the Emperor would have no problem eradicating her existence if she became a threat to the realm, and there was nothing her husband could do about it...


-------------------------------------------------------


“Czi, toss me a flare”

The duo could feel a sudden chill breeze emitting from the partially obstructed entryway to what had once been a crypt used by the local tribes for ceremonial purposes. As time passed, many magical creatures, namely witches & warlocks, ripped these sacred places from the tribes and turned their ancient dead against them, resulting in a massive genocide. Demons replaced the once peaceful people of the land, guarding their masters from prying eyes, and serving them with eternal loyalty.

Gavon held up the iron flare casing, and struck it against one of the fallen stone pillars, igniting the chemicals that formed a bright bluish flame. This had been one of the many useful tools and gadgets fashioned by Empire engineers that Czigani was able to customize and infuse with alchemical qualities, thereby enhancing their potency and creating a practical means of warding off supernatural entities. The blue flame, for instance, was not only a source of light, but also a weapon against the undead.

“Yeh’re welcome, m’love” She said in a matter-of-fact tone, a certain prideful grin forming across her face as she mocked a curtsy, allowing the tails on her burgundy-tanned leather long coat to sweep across the floor.

“Czi, let’s stay focused. We only have about an hour of sunlight before it dips behind the mountains and we probably aren’t going to want to be here after that”

“Yeah, yeah...lead on…”

Her voice trailed off as they both stepped carefully down the stairway leading into the underground structure, the bluish light guiding their path, and their hands poised on sword and crossbow. The loose rock beneath their feet slowed their travels, but eventually they arrived into the wide main chamber, which was the hub for various hallways that reached further out into different directions. Dust from bits of broken and brittle pottery, sculptures, rock, and bone swirled about as they moved along the stone floor, but otherwise a fairly large empty room.

“This place must have been picked through a hell of a lot over the years, as I can imagine there would hav-”

Gavon stopped and held the flame up to the wall, revealing smudged hand prints in dried blood, stamped and smeared every couple of feet along the wall that lead into another chamber. The Inquisitor slowly pulled the silver longsword strapped to his belt and held it at the ready.

“Dammit man, what are yeh gettin’ me into?” The other whispered, as she unstrapped the crossbow from her back, and loaded an incendiary bolt into the slot, it’s glass tip glowing a faint orange.

“You mean ‘us’. What am I getting ‘us’ into?” He kept his eyes fixed on the darkened hallway up ahead, noting the temperature drop as they traversed closer to the next chamber.

“Eh…yeah. I meant ‘us’” She snorted, watching their flank. “Not that I don’t appreciate these romantic excursions and all…”

Gavon peered around the corner and into the dark chamber.

“Looks like those hand prints lead into there, but we’re going to need another flare to toss into the center of the room”

“No we won’t. Watch and learn big guy.” Czigani grabbed the flare from his hand and lightly stepped over to the mouth of the chamber, feeling along the wall, until she came to an a small square opening.

“Ah hah” She exclaimed, her voice echoing a bit louder than she’d hoped, and quickly inserted the blue flame into the opening, which caused a dozen small insects to scatter, and after a few moments, a spark came to life giving birth to a flame that lit a trail of fire around the entire chamber, illuminating the room in a warm orange glow.

“Tell me you love me” She said with a wink, replacing the flare into her shoulder bag, and rearming the crossbow.

“Once we get out of here, I’ll do more than-” Gavon’s eyes suddenly widened, his expression turned almost fearful as his vision adjusted to the brightened room and what lay on the other side.

“It can’t be…”

He rushed to the opposite end of the room where the body of a man clothed in dark leather and cloth armor sat propped up against the stone wall, a long bloodied sword still gripped in his hand laid across his lap. Gavon knelt down next to the man, whose long strands of hair dangled covering part of the cuts and bruises on his face, and eyes opened but void of any life.

“The sword he holds carries the emblem of the Steel Empire on the pommel” Czigani said, scanning her eyes across the floor surrounding them. “And that pistol lying over there is standard issue within your Cabal, yeah? I assume you know him, Gav?”

Gavon reached out and cupped the man’s chin, lifting his head to get a better view.

“I do”

The man appeared to be well into his fifties, his short beard and long hair showing more gray than the original brown, and his eyes, which stared blankly straight ahead, had a translucent milky overlay that muted his once green pupils.

“His name is Crae Adeimar, a senior-level Inquisitor of the Ajendra Witch Hunters, the Order I belong to. He was once my mentor when I joined the Inquisition, but then went missing for a few years on some expedition. Something about a city named ‘Telathos’. I don’t fully remember, but before the destruction came, he was appointed by the Emperor to seek out witch covens and demon spawning rifts that had begun to spread like wildfires. At that point, my time with him was over and I was passed on to a new trainer, and Crae was never seen again.”

“I’m sorry love” She said, putting a gloved hand on Gavon’s shoulder.

“No matter. What’s done is done. However, we need to do this by the book, Czi. Based on the residue collecting in his eyes, he is in the beginning stages of turning, which means we need to burn the body.”

“What?” Czigani gave him a bewildered look.

“It’s necessary if we’re to control any further outcome. Crae...he would have done the same without hesitation.”

Gavon checked around the the old Inquisitor’s body, securing a few trinkets, small relics, and a leather bound journal. “Hopefully this will answer some questions, but for a later time.”

He reached down to grip the bloodied longsword, when the Inquisitor’s lifeless body twitched, his hand held tightly onto the hilt, and grabbed Gavon’s arm before uttering words in a whispered but raspy voice.

“Run you fools...”
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