The Great Ones Bhathairk: The Aftermath

Caliane Ruinë

Angel Nuke
Staff
Messages
360
Character Biography
Link
Hours rolled into days, days into weeks.

Steadily, the people of Bhathairk rebuilt.


Typical Street within Bhatharik
After the Rise of Neha and her Great Fall, the city was left torn like a piece of parchment. Rivers of lava which had laid dormant beneath the undercity had now risen above the surface and poured through the street. It took many days for the people to build bridges connecting the various parts of the city to make it once again whole. It was not just the scattered jagged shards of the city the people had had to try and mend. From beneath the depths, forced up with Neha's rise, had come other odd pieces of architecture that spoke of a long forgotten orcish time. The historians and shaman's puzzled over the old glyphs and tried to place these new buildings from their annuals. One such building had arisen from the previous Bald Mountain. Once the ash had cleared and the debris had begun to be cleared around the mountain that had been cracked like an egg to reveal the horrendous beast, from within the broken shell of Earth had emerged a Temple thought to be several centuries old. The Circle of Shaman's have dedicated most of their time since its discovery trying to uncover its secrets.

At the centre of the city now stands the Black Tree. It stands on its own island seemingly made entirely of its own roots which delve deep below the lava rivers to the realms below. Its red leaves are a stark contrast to the sleep black bark that twists and twines its way into the sky. Since its arrival it has not deemed anybody else worthy of one of its strange fruits, which it keeps hidden out of view and reach no matter how high someone climbs. The other 'gift' left by Neha is not so unreachable and frightening. The Mothers Meadow has become a small oasis in the middle of the chaos. Beautiful flowers sprout here and attract interesting new wildlife such as Lava Butterflies and Fire Moths. Whenever one is plucked three more grow in its place. The size of a small national park, it is easy to find a brief moment of peace here despite the destruction and hubbub of the rest of the city.

The famous Undercity faced the most destruction when Neha rose. The first level of its foundations were ripped either to the surface or destroyed entirely. However, the first few cautious adventures back below have revealed that a city that had once dwelt far deeper has now been revealed. The lava continues to flow down here and forms odd pools and waterfalls. For the more astute it would seem as though all of these currents were stemming from somewhere far deeper and further to the North...

Houses cluster on small islands, separated by rivers of lava which give off surprisingly little heat when stood next to, though falling in the rivers has proved to result in instant death. Successful attempts have been made to float some types of boats across the river when imbued with specific fire runes taught to the orcs by the Avariel scholar, Aleanor Ruinë. For many, the return of the Avariel has been more bewildering than the upheaval of the city...

* * *
"Extraordinary," Aleanor stood and peeled off the gloves she had been wearing to examine one of the corpses of the plague victim. Her green eyes, those of the same shocking intense hue as her daughter Caliane, narrowed now as she stood and thought over what it was she was seeing. It had transformed that now the dragon was dead the creatures were far easier to kill than they had been without a master to will them into life. But even so, to touch their corpses with your bare skin could result in the transference of the disease. There were only a few pockets of the green flame left behind by Neha and whilst the medics had worked hard over the last few weeks to use it to cure those who had begun to exhibit the Draconic Plague, they had lost a large amount of innocents. When the orcs had exhausted their own documents they had come to Caliane.

She had been dubious at first of her peoples response to the orcs plight. When she had set out for Thyasari she had expected to return empty handed. Not with both her mother and her dearest friend dogging her wing beats. If anyone would have been able to give the people answers it would have been the Head Scholar. At over three centuries old, Aleanor had memory of the Plague when it had been a common disease amongst the population. Her remedies had slowed down the spread but the only cure still seemed to be the Green Flame of the dragon herself.

Cali wondered whether its child would one day produce the same flame of life and death, but the egg had vanished with the Drow who had last held it.

"Extraordinary is not the word I would use," Zandeer muttered under his breath and Cali felt her lips twitch slightly at the corners. Her mother fixed them both with a look before turning and leaving the large hall that had been turned into a makeshift hospital. Healers bowed as she left and a few went as if to stroke the Avariel's peacock coloured wings. A quick look from Zandeer and they soon forgot such notions though.

"Is there anything else we can do for them?" Caliane felt a wave of guilt at the relief she felt as they stepped outside. Before them stretched a city trying to heal. The sun was high in the sky and it made the lava less angry looking but it was still a brutal reminder of what had happened here. What the city had lost. Aleanor turned and touched her daughters cheek tenderly with a slight shake of her head.

"I know nothing new to offer them," she sighed and ran her eyes over the city too then gave another sad shake of her head. "The most merciful thing to do is end their life whilst it is their own and they do not suffer."
 

Zathria At'Arel

Drow Commander
Member
Messages
74
Character Biography
Link
The destruction at Bhathairk had still been fresh in Zathria's mind when she returned to the surface of the world. Thousands of Drow were still rebuilding the city of Zar'Ahal, but the damage they had suffered still paled in comparison to what had happened at the epicenter of the dragon's destruction.

Zathria was not alone in having returned to Bhathairk. A large detachment of her fellow dark elves had returned as well. The initial deployment had been primarily about creating safe zones for survivors that would be free from attack by the infected creatures who preyed on those fortunate enough to survive the initial battle.

Drow soldiers stood guard at many of these safe zones over the days that had passed, and life had fallen into something of a familiar routine. Searches for survivors, hunting for food, and beginning to rebuild the most critical parts of the infrastructure were normal tasks.

By far the most bizarre thing that Zathria had seen, however, was the small garden-like area where the dragon's blood had spilled. She had seen it unfold during the battle, but at the time hadn't had time to ponder it. Not to mention she hadn't been convinced it wasn't an illusion of some sort, but now that she'd returned several times, there was no question that it was real. Amidst the rivers of lava, bodies, and husks of buildings, such a sight was odd and difficult to explain.

Rumors had reached Zathria about some winged people who had been seen helping others in the city, and she decided to go see them for herself. Now, this was coming from a woman who actually really disliked birds on principle, and had immediately classified any winged humanoid as a "bird person" but she at least made an attempt to curb her bias as she approached. They were certainly far different than anything she had seen in the underrealm, and once again - as often happened with surface things - she found her curiosity piqued. But more important than her curiosity, there was a question that needed asking.

Is it true that you can cure this plague? she asked a bit bluntly as she approached. They had just emerged from the hospital, and this was, unfortunately, Zathria's wont. She had foregone introductions or niceties in the hope that perhaps the answer would be a "yes." The rumors had reached her across the city that the bird people might be able to help. If that was true, she needed to know how. People were dying by the dozens in agony, and if it could be prevented, then the sooner they acted the better. Caliane Ruinë
 

Tarnakh

Khan
Member
Messages
18
Bhathairk was a strange place even before it was ruined by whatever apocalyptic events unfolded beyond the Naghoon clans' knowledge of the world. Tarnakh had never ventured to the city and had only ever ventured beyond the Taagi Baara once as a youth on a raid. Now, though, with his homeland unified and his power secure, he rode to aid his new allies, the Drow.

They and the coalition they led sought to rebuild the ancient Orc city and consolidate their own power in the region. Personally, Tarnakh had his doubts on reconstruction attempts and found it strange that the Naghoon, a nomadic people, would help to restore a permanent city, but the Drow had proven their worth to him and his warriors. They would offer what help they could as a gesture of good faith in a newly forged alliance.

The new Khagan lead two Dhyumin of warriors, each unit numbering nearly ten thousand Naghoon horsemen. He'd heard the city was still plagued by undead, Uhkhaghui in the Naghoon language, along with the usual problems of rebuilding much of anything after almost complete destruction. Many Naghoon shaman had come on the journey, determined to aid their Khagan and his warriors on their journey, though Tarnakh quietly suspected they were simply curious of these new outsiders.

The Naghoon column entered the outskirts of the ruined city and beheld the destruction for the first time. Tarnakh absorbed the desolation and shattered landscape while his warriors gazed on in awe. After a short rest to steel themselves for the last stretch into the city center, they rode on. To prevent confusion and panick, scouts rode ahead on Tarnakh's orders, each roll of parchment bearing missives of peace and aid to the Drow from their new allies, the Naghoon, in clearly written Common.

The Horde had arrived to help.

Vyx'aria Zathria At'Arel Caliane Ruinë
 

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
Messages
408
Character Biography
Link

Northern Bhathairk

Ruined Residential District


It had been weeks now.

Some meters ahead, several of the Turned stood. Mouths hung wide, devilish claws drawn up.

Many had gone feral, and were an ever present plight on the safety of any efforts moving forward.

His sword sang from its sheath as he charged forth, shining brightly as a star.

Though their master had perished, and left them without aim, there was another that stirred purpose in them.

Hunger.

With a crackling surge his sword drove through them, piercing them and leaving them in ruin.

There were more further on ahead, and behind him several armed men and elves and orcs and dwarves. And beyond them, workers, eager to be rid of these beasts. No. Not simply beasts. Once friends, family, lovers. All dear to those who had long made this place home. It had made them... apprehensive. How could one slay another who they had known so well, loved so long?

"Then I," Erën had said, "I will do what must be done."
And he would remember them, like others who had fallen mournfully by his blade.

Aidathin...Te'leis
 
  • Sad
Reactions: Zeri Rekani

Ashieron

Dragon Keeper Founder/“Leader”
Dragon Keepers
Messages
277
Character Biography
Link
Ash looks out of the ruins and the lava and the ash of the once standing city. He and his other keepers all look at eachother as they gathered around. The mother had chosen who had her egg, and it was her dying wish. They had to uphold that and let the drow take it from there.

But a part of him wished that they knew what they were getting into.

Still, they could probably do something for these people. These poor people, the elf’s heart sang for them, it truly did. For they all known what it was like to loose their home in such a way.

Alccarion had left for she and the other dragons knew that they would not be welcomed. But the elves and the few humans that made up their keeper group stayed behind to help remedy the city. He would walk up pasted Erën with the other keepers to those who were dead.

The old ancient elf does not speak to Erën, they attacked his dragon. But that was for another day.

“Never thought we’d stand beside a monster hunter.” He tells the others and elvish, a more ancient and beautiful form of it. Together they chuckle and all look out over those who had died from the disease. Or were once living but now consumed by the Draconic Plague.

”Let us do what we must,” One tells Ash and the others, “Then we can leave these people and continue our job here.” He spoke in draconic and they all nodded at the idea.

Each of them started to mutter something in a mixture of draconic and elvish and those that had been overcome or were undead started to have flowers grow on them as they stopped moving and went down to the earth. Their bodies were consumed by grass and new vegetation that would be supported by the ashes and terribly calamity that had occurred here.

Once they were don’t the Keepers each look towards Erën and walk away as Ash passes by he looks at the younger elf and stands next to him.

“You are so so young, much younger then me. I’ve heard many tales about you and your organization many years before when it was still a sprout. Yet you have seen so much good and bad, I can tell.” He smiles and looks over the crowd of those families armed to the teeth to do what they must. “Do not let past or today’s events blind you for they will drive you somewhere deep and dark if you hold onto it.”

“You have no need to kill the people who have fallen this day nor days already passed. Lay down your arms and focus on yourself and your families, for those that have been consumed by the plague or have been brought back are now resting peacefully under a blanket of grasses and new life.”
The ancient elf gives them a bow and then follows his companions over the lava.
 

Vyx'aria

Drow Queen
Member
Messages
144
Character Biography
Link
If there was one good thing that came out of Bhathairk, it was that she and her closest advisors managed to procure scales to forge armor. This came from the leg the drow had managed to take off the dragon. They were also in possession of the dragon egg, but Vyx hadn’t entirely decided what to do with it. She wanted to use it as a bartering chip, but that was for another time. For now, the egg was perfectly safe and taken care of in Zar'Ahal.

Vyx was leading with her a few of the orcs that came out to inspect the damage. During the disaster, the survivors had been allowed safe passage into the Underrealm. Many still sought refuge there while the battle hardened ones emerged.

As she came towards Tarnakh, she could sense some of the orcs near her bristling. Vyx turned to one of the elder orcs by her, “He does not come to do battle. We have come for one purpose - to rebuild this city and remove the plague upon it.”

Vyx gave Tarnakh a nod, sensing the tension between the Naghoon and the Bhathairk greenskins. She paid it no heed for now, looking around, “After clearing out the plagued beings, we need builders. We need to reconstruct this city and mold it around the fire surrounding it,Cities in the Underrealm were often forged upon rivers of lava.

“I have geomancers that can mold the earth” She looked to the Naghoon Khan, “Do you have mages that can help?”

Tarnakh
 

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
Messages
408
Character Biography
Link
Erën stood ready to continue his assault, twirling the sword in his hand around before preparing to once again leap forward. But then another Elf, followed by other strangers, strode up from behind him and took the forefront. He watched them, listened.

“Never thought we’d stand beside a monster hunter.” He tells the others and elvish, a more ancient and beautiful form of it.

The words were indeed old, but the collective memory of the Soul Forge - which he was indeed no longer a part of - but still, allowed him to remember. This dialect alone alerted him to the nature of this newcomer and his followers. The next words he did not know, words of a language more akin to scales and teeth. It caused the frown on his face to deepen, and he perceived their place. Dragon Keepers, he had heard of them. And true, Erën had taken up arms along the ranks of the Monster Hunters, but this was as of yet terribly informal. He was first and likely forever foremost, a Sword of the Order. For good or ill, that association was the greater.

This rang true when the mysterious elf even cited their existence, a fact that was largely unknown in the world today. What was more, still a sprout, he had said.

The Order of Sharyrdaes was an ancient caste. The claim to have been present in the days of its conception were quite grand. But Erën had heard tales of elves much longer lived than others. It had even been said that even the Aeraesarian Patriarch was also very long lived.

Still, Erën made no response, instead merely watched quietly as they worked their benevolent magic. He sheathed his sword as he saw the threat diminish, and stood up more properly. He did no react to Ashieron's words with the flesh, doing little more than watching him with his eyes. He looked at him through their corners as he came up alongside to speak, and when he began to address the crowd Erën started forward without remark. As interesting as it was to encounter this ancient elf, the recollection of his Order and his severance was brought to the forefront of his thought because of it.

He came to a halt where the pleasant growth now was, and he knelt down to look at it. Though they had perhaps been on opposite sides of the previous conflict, it was obvious that as far as their immediate concerns were, they were of similar accord. If they could end the plague of these people with such a level of mercy, then who was Erën to protest. It was only due to his inability to treat the sickness with anything other than his blade that had made him do so, and he was content to leave it rested in its sheath.

He cast a glance back to Ashieron and his followers as they departed, and then stood and turned to leave the area, and head back toward the center of town... or what was left of it.
 

Caliane Ruinë

Angel Nuke
Staff
Messages
360
Character Biography
Link
Caliane, Zandeer and Aleanor all turned to look at the Drow which approached with a mixture of expressions. For Zandeer and Aleanor this was the first of their Groundling Kin they had ever seen and their faces held looks of curiosity and awe. Caliane's expression was softer, the red headed Avariel had spent more time out of their sacred city in the sky and amongst other species, more than most others of her kind had in millennia. But even she had not spoken to the Drow aside from the odd word here and there during the clear up process. With her fire centric abilities she had been working had at re-routing rivers of lava as best as she could.

"No my child," Aleanor shook her head, eyes closing with pain and her lips turning down at the corners. "I was around when this Plague last touched these shores but they did not know the cure then either. I believe that Elbion had planned to send a group of scholars to find more answers but alas I never knew the end of that particular story. From what I can tell it is the special green fire the dragon produced that can cure it and nothing else, though I suspect the strange tree that grew from her body might also hold a clue."

Caliane rustled her wings and turned her green eyes to the Drow in front of her.

"Is it not true the tree gave willingly its fruit to one of yours?"
 

Arkhivom

That Which Makes Desolate
Member
Messages
19
Through the shimmering light he went...

...thrown from one side of the land to the other.

Heavy feet once again felt the ground beneath them as he materialized back into this realm. The portal stones were a useful tool, but not as useful as he would like. So from there, he set off for the place he felt compelled to investigate.

For he had felt their rise, and their fall.

Such was no trivial occurrence.



He came to the top of an abrupt ridge, and below him he beheld a beautiful sight. Bhathairk, scarred deeply and greviously undone. Wonderful. A deep chuckle resonated in his chest as he looked upon the destruction the Great Ones had wrought. A pity he'd not bothered to come sooner, but in truth it was their "demise" that had stirred his interest. And yea, there, amid the ruined city stood a great tree, dark and tall, stretching high overhead.

His mandibles hung wide as he let out a long, affirmative sigh. So, indeed, she had fallen and given birth to the looming shadow.

He remained still for a time, his terrible gaze cast out over the decimated place so many persisted to call home.

What pitiful creatures... even as the world breaks around them their foolishness knows no end.
 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
GATES


Zeri once again stood before the Gates of Bhathairk. Alone and hungry and exhausted. Her face marred with a forlorn weariness as she beheld now what had become of her home. The place she had been born in and grown up in and within whose now devastated walls there had existed everything she once loved.

And it was ugly.

During her journey back from the Steppe Portal Stone, she had held onto the tragic hope that it would not be so. That some miracle would have occurred in her absence. That Ma was not dead, that Pa and Rodon and Gurrash were all alive and well too, that her house was not destroyed, that her city and her people had in fact been saved as they had been when the Amalgamation attacked.

But no. None of that was true. There were no heroes this time. There were no warriors here whose triumph over evil would be legend. The Monster had won. And here Zeri's own eyes informed her of that victory.

The city was still dangerous, they said, those lucky tribesorcs who were camped just beyond the ruined Gates and the walls. Still in the process of having the Risen Dead slain (spirits, was the devastation not enough??). Still infested with the plague that Zeri was lucky enough to have remedied in that strange city of Thagretis. And Zeri had only her hunting bow, some crudely made arrows in her quiver, no armor to speak of, and a blanket wrapped up into a sack which she had used to carry some basic supplies for the trek back to Bhathairk. Bags lingered under her sunken eyes, and bandages were still wrapped her once wounded leg and around her forehead.

She lowered her head and looked into the ugliness of the city from the ruined Gates. Eyes glaring from underneath her brow. Her mouth curled down and pinched tight with fuming anger and determination. And she dropped her sack of supplies to the ground and took her bow into her hands.

So be it.

She wanted to see her home again. And nothing, no one, was going to stop her.

* * * * *

ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


Zeri had navigated as best she could the pathways of this hideous new Bhathairk. Walking through locales familiar and those wholly twisted into something foreign even to her, with strange new structures piercing up through the ground. Horrendous chasms filled lava replaced the simple earthen beauty Zeri had once known, these like gaping wounds upon the very flesh of Arethil. She had not encountered much of anyone save some orcish rebuilders hard at work and some strange Naghoon riders going in a direction different from her, toward the city center. But this first section of Bhathairk closest to the Gates and the walls proximate to them was of course the most secure.

At last, Zeri came around a familiar bend. Saw those ruins upon which she had last held her Ma's hand. Those ruins that were once her home. Nineteen years of life spent with her loving family within those walls, and now they were nothing more than a heap of jagged and broken debris. A chasm of lava had stolen the very ground that had once been the backyard, there where Zeri and her sister Paola went on make-believe adventures and Rodon and Gurrash wrestled and built little castles from the dirt.

She was not alone.

Crouched by the ruins of her house, one of the Risen Dead. An male orc, or had once been. He was as twisted by the Plague as the rest of the Risen Dead, both horrifying and pitiful to behold. The Risen looked over his shoulder. Saw Zeri. Slowly stood, one of his feet twisted and broken. And he started to limp toward her.

Zeri stood her ground. Her face set with a grim and stolid look that was perhaps the most stark sign of the death of her innocence. And she drew an arrow from her quiver. Nocked it. Took aim.

"Come on..." she said. And she thought of the last words she had spoken here upon this solemn ground.

Mama. I can get you to the shamans, Mama.

She loosed the arrow. Missed completely. The lumbering Risen kept advancing toward her, and Zeri drew another arrow and nocked it and took aim.

"Come on!"

To the medicine orcs, Mama.

She loosed the second arrow. Hit the Risen in the shoulder. Still he kept coming, undeterred. Zeri, her hands now quivering and tears gathering at the edges of her eyes, drew another arrow and nocked it and took aim. The bow in her hands shaking terribly.

"COME ON!"

They can make you better. I can do it. I can do it! I can do it!

She loosed the third arrow. Hit the Risen in the neck. And still he kept coming. Reaching out his arms. Closing in.
 

Zathria At'Arel

Drow Commander
Member
Messages
74
Character Biography
Link
Zathria put her hand up and rubbed her forehead as her fears were confirmed. The stories about the bird people being able to cure this plague weren't true so they were back to square one again of having no cure and needing to hunt down and kill those who had become crazed. She felt those familiar, invisibly walls closing in around her again. It didn't seem like there was any solution to the problems they were up against.

Very well, she said. She was about to turn and leave when one of them asked about the events of the battle.

She was hesitant to answer and give details about what had happened, but finally she decided to do so. Part of the problem was that she didn't entirely understand what had happened with the Drow mage.

Yes, she did, she said with a nod of her head. She was about to continue but was thankful that there was actually shouting a moment later that drew her attention away.

She frowned and whipped her head around. Her sword slipped free of its sheathe and she gave a momentary glance back to see if the two bird people were coming before darting off and around the corner regardless.

She was surprised to see a familiar face, but she didn't have time to pause and think about it. She moved forward and slashed with her sword at the back of the creature's leg to cripple it.

Go! she shouted, urging her to move away from the area and the creature's attack range. She had failed to notice the obvious distress that didn't have anything to do with the creature's attack.

Zeri Rekani Caliane Ruinë
 
Last edited:

Tarnakh

Khan
Member
Messages
18
Tarnakh waved his men onwards as he nudged his mount forward with his legs. He listened to his new ally and ignored the green-skinned orcs accompanying her. There was some animosity between the red and green orcs, but that often had less to do with their skin color and more to do with generations of Naghoon raids to the west of Bhathairk.

"Hmmm... Shaman make... Weh-therr," he rumbled, silently proud he was learning new words and using them correctly, though proper pronunciation was still a project. "Not make dirt move. Warriors fight Uhkhaghui... Not living. Maybe resting warriors help move dirt?"

The Naghoon ruler thought a moment and turned in his saddle. Behind came pack animals and other supplies as the column of warriors moved further into the city. Naghoon orcs were mobile and nomadic, rarely using wagons or carts that could fail or break. Instead, they preferred their ubiquitous Naghoon horses. Ponies to most cultures, the Naghoon bred smaller, but sturdier and durable horses capable of traversing the steppes and, more importantly, surviving in the inhospitable conditions.

"We bring... ec-straw. Yurt and fur. Food and drink. Many herb for sick. Heal hurts. Tarnakh bring wife. Buula great warrior. Greater healer."

Vyx'aria
 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


Zeri regarded the approaching Risen with fearful (yet welcoming) anticipation. Those teeth. Those claws. They were the vehicles by which she could see her again: Mama. Papa. Rodon and Gurrash. She didn't need to be here anymore, in this wretched place that was some deformed mockery of the Bhathairk she knew. Here in this lava-drenched and twisted place where her family no longer existed. She didn't need to be alone. She could be with them.

And in that moment her resolve broke. Her bow lowered, arrow pointing at an angle to the ground. And though she was utterly terrified, she welcomed it. She wanted it. She wanted to be done with this. In those teeth and those claws a promised end to the nightmare. A cessation of the anguish.

Zeri pinched her eyes shut--squeezing out the tears--and tilted her head back. And she whispered meekly, "Come on..."

And she stood there. Bitterly frightened and sweetly awaiting.

Only, it never came.

She heard rushing footsteps. Heard the slice of a sword across the Risen's flesh. Heard the Risen's animalistic grunt and his collapse down to his knees in the dirt before her. Zeri opened her eyes, breathless shock and surprise overcoming her as she saw the dark elf there (Who is she? I've seen her before). All at once the seductive grip of death loosed its cold grasp from about her mind, its only available purchase upon Zeri that which came in her moment of deepest and darkest weakness and desperate longing. Zathria. Zathria was her name, that was right. And seeing her, seeing the sword in her hand and the fighting spirit she displayed, Zeri recognized at once her own folly. Knew that she had been utterly wrong to welcome death in the manner she just had.

There were no heroes that saved Bhathairk from destruction. But there was one here, now, that saved Zeri from her own. I want to believe that things will get better for us, she had told Szesh. And she truly did. She couldn't lose sight of that.

Go!

Shock, surprise, and the sorrow behind them all gave way to a powerful rush of anger and renewed determination. She clenched and bared her teeth from it. Though she was too weak to live up to the tales she admired, the example of the legendary warriors she adored, there was one small thing she could do. One grim and tiny thing.

Zeri stepped forward and lifted up her foot and slammed the heel of her moccasin into the Risen's chest. Threw all of her meager strength into a (brutal) kick that laid the Risen down flat on the ground before her. And there the malformed creature lay, unable to get back up, reaching arms grasping nothing, his face a tragedy of what was and now is. He used to be a son, a brother, a father--

(like Papa)

--and now he was this. Made ugly like the very city which both he and Zeri once called home.

"I have to do this," Zeri said quietly. Not looking at Zathria.

She brought her bow back up. Took aim down at the pathetic creature before her. Terrible conflict now warring in her expression: anger at all that had happened, hatred for its malice, frustration at her inability to do nothing save weep, sadness for the orc twisted into the Risen Dead before her, horror at the prospect of ending him.

He used to be a person.

"I have to do this!" Zeri said again, this time with a trembling fervor.

I've never killed anyone.

The bow, like before, shaking terribly in her hands. Her aim mostly still down at the Risen's head.

Mama...is this what you would want?

Zeri let out a quiet, tortured, shivering sigh. Kept her aim as determination and hesitation fought a ceaseless and stalemating war across her expression.

Zathria At'Arel Eren'thiel Xyrdithas
 
  • Cry
Reactions: Smiling One

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
Messages
408
Character Biography
Link
For all his contempt for the orcs, it pained him to see Bhathairk like this. He had fought many times to preserve this city, from raids far in the past to the Amalgamation months ago... and now this, and now cutting down the hollowed husks of those he'd defended so fervently. A tragedy.

As he made his way through the city he examined what now had become of it with greater care. Ancient architecture had been forced up from below, and he began to understand that Bhathairk, like many of the greatest cities in Arethil, was but a recreation of an older self, built on top of the old. There were likely many secrets to be uncovered from this long lost time - many troubles, perhaps. And more: the Drow. It unsettled him to think that for all this time they had existed below the orcish city, and curiosity over whether or not these two peoples had come here to the Bald Mountain with full knowledge of the Great One's presence therein, and why they would have settled around it.

Or perhaps it was all much older, and much different than he realized.

"COME ON!"
His head snapped to the side.

Her voice came from far away, but from even much farther could his ears hear.

He bound around a bend, and grasped his sword. His cloak billowed roughly behind him as he moved.

At the end of a short street, the way became open. There was an abrupt ledge, where this portion of the city had been violently forced up. Below, across a narrow chasm of fire he leapt, and his feet came down and he rolled himself forward. Up and in full stride he continued on, drawing near now.

Around the corner, and there they were. The Turned reached out, seeking to grasp Zeri.

He would not make it in time.

Then an unexpected savior came, and the Drow, Zathria, hacking at the monster's leg. This allowed a moment of reprieve as the monster faltered due to its injury, and was subsequently kicked to the ground. And as he still approached it lay there, the orc girl taking aim. He continued. She hesitated. He drew close, and still... she refrained. And he imagined her likely a local... in fact as he came near he recognized her.

He would spare her the finality of this act.

It was swift.

As he slid by, his sword came down and across with a great cleave, shining brilliantly.

The force of his strike sent the severed head tumbling, and the creature's arms fell lifelessly at its sides.

Coming to a halt just there, Erën stood upright, and turned his head to watch the head roll away.

 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


A slash. And the Risen's head was loosed from its body as Zeri still stood in hesitation.

The elf that had done it, that had killed the Risen while Zeri struggled to find the conviction to back her words--he was impressive. He was a warrior. He was someone whom Zeri aspired to emulate. He was everything that she was not.

Zeri bared a tortured grimace, then allowed her bow and her arrow to fall away from being drawn and readied and to swing meekly back to her sides. She hung her head, as if in shame or reverence or sorrow or some mixture thereof.

Quietly, she said, "I want to be strong...I want to do good in the world...but how can I? How can I when I couldn't even do this?"

Her shoulders hitched.

She continued speaking. Seemingly to no one in particular. An agonized voicing, like a wretched confession. "Was I wrong? To think that I ever had a chance to help stop what happened?" Bhathairk. Her home in ruins. "That I could have made a difference?"

She fell down to her knees. Her downward gaze hollow and hidden under her brow and the dangling of her hair.

"I couldn't even save my Ma. I was...I was..."

Too weak.

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas Zathria At'Arel
 

Weylin Kyrel

Member
Messages
163
Character Biography
Link
News had traveled fast, very fast, of what had befallen Bhathairk. The orcs of the Spine spoke of it and so the Old Folk had overheard from the orcs. It was terrible news if true. And so had already spread amongst the Old Folk faster than gossip in a knitting circle.

This was how Weylin had come to learn of the events that had fallen upon his friend, Zeri Rekani, home. He had once told her he wished she never had to suffer what he had. That she never come to understand how he felt. Yet it seemed as if it might have. The Wise Ones had been telling him leaving the Spine would do him some good, yet he had always delayed his departure. In light of this he wouldn't any longer.

By way of the strange stones that allowed people to travel across the world Weylin had left with one of the Wise Ones. It was the Owl Mother. She was aged and experienced having been around many parts of the world already. She knew how to work the stone and how to get to Bhathairk. He didn't know either of these things. So he did his best to learn, but the trick to the stone was beyond him for now.

It took some time but eventually the hunter, the wise woman, and the mountain dog reached Bhathairk.

Weylin stood mesmerized at the sight..... This was a city? A true one. Great walls rose high and stretched far to either side. More people were gathered in places than lived in some villages he knew outside the walls in tents.

But before the human could say a thing the wise woman frowned deeply, revealing the true extent to her wrinkles. "I do not know this place...."

The hunter looked over at her confused. "Is this not Bhathairk?"

"Yes.... But not as I remember it...."

After a moment the woman seemed to straighten herself out and began to smooth out her clothes like a bird preening her feathers. "Find your friend Pup and be safe. Something vile happened here...."

And like that the wise old owl took flight into the air. She headed into the city determined to witness the destruction and rebuilding.

Weylin petted White for a bit. His legs felt frozen. The idea of entering the place.... It wasn't the walls or the smell of sulfur or the smoke of flames. It was the people. So many people.... He pulled his hood to cover more of his face and shield him from the sea of strangers. Then the pair took off into the city in search of a certain orcess.

Zeri Rekani Eren'thiel Xyrdithas Zathria At'Arel
 

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
Messages
408
Character Biography
Link
Erën was still for a time.

A warm wind swept through the street, carrying remnants of smoke and ash.

He drew in a quiet breath, and silently led the sword to rest again.

And he listened. The quiet rolling of the molten rivers, the crackling of of small and distant fires. The wind. And over it, tge sound of a small voice. The orc girl, Zeri.

"I couldn't even save my Ma. I was...I was..."

He turned, and looked at her now knelt in defeat. While his face showed little, inside he too felt a kindred turmoil.

I couldn't save my daughter...

And he stepped closer to her, and knelt.

"True strength comes not only in victory, but in carrying on even after defeat."

He looked around, "for all our efforts, this place has suffered defeat. And yet..." he looked to those who were eager to rebuild, eager to stay and remake what had been broken, "...and yet there is hope for those who remain, and those yet to come."

 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


The elf knelt down. Spoke to her. Showed Zeri some compassion when she needed it the most. Again, the very words she herself had spoken to Szesh occurred to her again. Yes, she did want to believe that things could get better. And she could believe that. She truly could.

She looked up to Erën--the elf taller than her even while kneeling. She smiled weakly. Challenging her own despair with the hope he had spoken of.

"Your words are wise," she said.

Her breath caught in her throat for a moment. Then she collected her bow, placed the crude arrow back in the quiver on her hip, and she stood.

"Thank you." She looked to the ruins of her home. She was hungry and tired from her travel, but...

"I just want to stay here. For a little while."

She returned her gaze to Erën. Said to him, "My name is Zeri Rekani. And I wish you well, elf. May the Spirits guide your journeys."

Zeri walked past Erën and Zathria and the slain Risen on the ground. Walked to the rubble of her home and found a suitable place to sit. She rested her elbows on her knees and bowed her head and sat in quiet contemplation. Thinking not of what Bhathairk had become, the fate of her Ma and Pa and her brothers, but of the better times. The times that made her smile and warmed her heart. The times when everything was all right in her world.

Her thoughts eventually came to her elder sister, Paola. Out in the world on her own. That she might not even know what happened yet, and if she had, that Zeri was still alive.

And within Zeri a new purpose, a new quest, began to manifest.

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas Weylin Kyrel Zathria At'Arel
 

Weylin Kyrel

Member
Messages
163
Character Biography
Link
Thud. Thud. Thud.

The hunter could feel his heart racing. So many faces were gathered so tightly packed into such small spaces. They were practically touching. Was that common? There was just so many people. So many strangers. Was that normal? He wasn't enjoying cities so far, even if this was the first one. It was making him extremely nervous. It was made all the worse when things that looked like strangers would suddenly attack anyone and anything that moved. It reminded him too much of that time he had to deal with the dead roaming the Spine that one time.

Weylin stuck to the shadows and hidden places. Actively he avoided everything. People. Fires. The Risen. All were equally a threat to him right now in his mind. The last time he had felt this nervous was when he had first met those giants. How did he find himself in these situations?

After what felt like hours but wasn't even one, White stopped and crouched low. It was the signal that their prey was near. Keeping himself low, he crawled up next to her in some rubble and spotted Zeri. She was by one of the risen. He couldn't make out what she was doing, but her body language showed it wasn't pleasant. Then a female with pointy ears approached her. Words were exchanged and it seemed to help out the orcess. Then the two parted.

Weylin patted White and got himself moving after Zeri.

The first of the two to reach Zeri was White. She had taken off ahead of her human. The female might be dangerous right now. She had to protect her human. She didn't want to get petted by her and not be seen getting petted by her human. Not at all. So as soon as the dog made it to the orcess she began to lick her face while wiggling around from side to side.

It was a few moments later Weylin showed up. He nervously was glancing around. His cloak and hood were pulled even closer around him even though still wearing them was only causing him to sweat from the heat. As he got closer he didn't say anything. He just found a spot to sit down in the rubble near her with his hand on his hatchet.

White abandoned Zeri as soon as her human was sat down and had gone over to him for pets. He began to pet her and started by shaking her ears a bit. Once he was done and just petting her normally he looked over to the orcess.

"Any injuries? Hungry? Thirsty?"

Zeri Rekani Eren'thiel Xyrdithas Zathria At'Arel
 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


"Paola?" Zeri said to her elder sister.

"Yes?"

The two of them were sat on the ramparts of the Bhathairk walls. They shouldn't be up there, but they had sneaked up there anyway. Their legs dangled over the edge, rocking back and forth with the restlessness of childhood excitement. The full moon was clear tonight, and it had bathed all of the Bhathairk in a beautiful silver glow, and they could see it all from up here.

"When will I get to go on my first journey?"

Paola smiled and cocked her head. "Soon, Zeri. Be patient."

"That's what Ma and Pa always tell me..."

"Yes, but I'm serious. Soon. I earned my right leg tattoo when I was ten."

"I'm eleven."

"Yeah, I know."

"I want my tattoo..." Zeri said, this statement drawn out and lamenting.

"You'll get it. Don't worry. You'll earn all four before you know it."

Zeri thought for a while. Brightened up. Asked with a renewed vigor and curiosity, "Paola, how did you feel when you got back from your first journey? You told me about the journey itself, but how did you feel?"

Paola let her gaze slide away in delightful reminiscence. "When I got back home, I knew something I did not know when first I left."

"What was it? What did you learn?" Zeri. Eager to hear.

Paola smiled. And Zeri knew, in her sister's mind, she was no longer in Bhathairk: Paola was out in the great open expanse of Arethil. Paola said, "That it was what I truly desired to do in life. To walk the land. To dream far...and roam farther."

And Zeri's look of wonder glowed silver in the moonlight.


* * * * *​

A tongue. Licking her. Bringing her back from the beautiful Bhathairk of her memory to the scorched and scarred Bhathairk of the present. Zeri pinched her eyes shut and tried to lightly fend off what was doing the licking. The words Hey, quit it didn't come out of her mouth, only a few startled gasps as she sat up straight to pull her face up and away from what was licking her.

She got a look at the licker in question. A dog. A...very familiar looking dog. And the dog went away from her and over to--

Zeri's eyes went wide and she clapped her left hand over her chest, as if trying to catch her heart from jumping out of it in its surprise. Weylin! It was Weylin. Out of the Spine. And here in her...her...her hometown. It pained her that he should see it like this, that he should find her after all of this had happened. That he would never have the chance to meet her Ma, as so many of her other friends and travelers to Bhathairk had.

There really was nothing to say. All that could be said was clearly evident all around them, the Black Dragon's evildoing a stain upon Arethil and upon Bhathairk in particular, this marring one of split earth and flows of lava and the sea of ruins that was once the Great Orcish Stronghold.

Nothing to say. But nothing need be said.

Zeri stood up and went to him where he sat and sat next to him and just wrapped her arms around him. Held on to and hugged the familiar--it was all she wanted in the moment. She rested her chin on his shoulder and tried to smile but it didn't come and from her closed eyes quiet tears found their way out.

Weylin had asked his questions, and while Zeri had not said anything herself, her stomach growled in response.

Weylin Kyrel Eren'thiel Xyrdithas
 

Eren'thiel Xyrdithas

The Broken Sword
Monster Hunters
Messages
408
Character Biography
Link
He rose to standvas Zeri did, and nodded his respect to her and replied, "Erën'thiel." With that, they parted ways, and Erën too sought an opportunity to recollect. So... he left from there.

* * *

By the time night had fallen, Erën had found himself in the midst of yet more of the remaining living dead. A small horde of them had collected on the eastern reaches of the city, and luckily had yet to cause any harm to any of those in the safe zones.

He dispatched them, using the last light of the day to his advantage, but even as the dark overcame his eyes were clear.

It was not long until he had finished them off, and stood above the number of fallen foes. He looked down at them. It was a bittersweet victory.

Then...

Ungh...!
Something like a great weight surrounded his head, causing his eyes to shut and his hand reach to his temple.

He fell down to one knee, and his eyes beheld a flash of light that only he could see...


And he saw Bhathairk, some time from now...

...and once more it burned, only this time, there was no fighting. Only fear. Only death.





Ḭ̴̛̛̤̙̄́̈̌́͋̎͗͒̉̅̊̈́̓̌͊̈́͒́̈́͒͂̂͌́͐͋̐̊̚̚͠.̴̳̝̼̯͉̣̩̻͉̙͐̇̐ͅ.̸̢̱̺̰͖͎͇̣̫̗͔̖̘͕͈̻̤̞͕͋̏̃̿̓̾̒͋̅͊̃̉͛̾̇̄̒̂̀̈́̀̋͗͘͘͜͜͝͝͝͠ ̵̰̿̏́̈̂̉̀͆͋̿̂̅̉̉W̷͙͇̲̼͖̪͈͉̰͎̜̤̠̠̬̣̒͜Į̶̧̨̢̖̣̘͇̤͕̠͎̣̮̳͖̣̲̳̪̲̮̻̬̳͓̱̘̜͇͇͎̤͎̰̦̦́́̌̈́͐͊̅̒͋̐̂͒͌͑̇̒̈́̓͐̿̿̎́̉́̐̐̉̈́̌̌͘͜͝ͅͅĽ̷̢̧̢̼̪̣̲̥͕̮̼̯̩̭̲͕͇̜̺̼͉͖͇̞̙͓̹̬̺͚͉̜̯̤̭̎̽͆̌̃̕̕͜L̷̢̧̢̡̨̡̨͓͈͔̮̼͚̭̩̦̝̪͚̲̱̫̯̠̱͍͒͆̈̈́͛͜.̴̢̛͕̰͔̠̼͇̬̭̪̭̤̫̎̽͆͗̐̊̈́͗̍̏̅̔͒͋̚.̷̨̡̛̛̦͖̪͓̤͚͇̖̲̪͈̪̥̻̰̺̮̬̜̳̻͉̮̞̟͋̈́̊̽̎̐͑͐̇̈̿̄̉̑́̿͒̔́͐́́̓̋͑̂̅̒̎̈́̃̽̾̈͘͘͘͝͝͠ͅ ̸̨̨͓̺̬̮͎̺͉̳͉̟̺̭͈̜̺̖̹̯̳̻͚̃̆͑͋͛̋͊́̒̀͗̒͘͜͜͝C̸̡̨̠̖̼̱̝̍ͅͅȐ̷̨̛̳͍͇̱̈́̓̑̆̅͐̎̆̄̓̍̾̈́̐̎̈́͆͑͛̆̓̾̃́̍͊͋̈̽̅̂̌̉̐̂͘̚̕͘Ů̸̧̢̡̪̼̦̮͚͙̮̦̟͙̥̱͔̣̥̺̜̺̗͖͍̱̬͚̏͒̒̈͛̇̔̀͜͝͠ͅŞ̶̦̼̪͙̳̠̜̬̦̟̟̠̗͎̰̥̤̠͚̝͚̘͉̝̳̮̠̜͔͍̯̤̜͇̞͓̪͉͇̈́̔́͆̾̄̍̔̓̅͊͂̌̂̋̔̈́́̏̎̄͊̉͑̏̂̈̀̌̎̾̃̏̕̚͠H̴̢̨̨̖̫͙̮̣̼̩̙̩̤͔̭̥̱͍͍͎̖̹̪͚̯͕̮̹͍̹̲͕́̂̈́̌͑̊͂̿͗͒̈̀̈́̃͂́̌̄̊͂̋̒̂͑͊̇̚.̴̛̛̼̤̮͙̝̦̩̆̐͆̇͋̐͌̑́́̔̀͌̈̐̈͑̉̎̓̆̈́͌̍̆̈́͗́̃̈̕͠͝͝.̶̡̩̞̣̮̥͙̗͚͚͕̱̤̞̮̪̤̤̭͍̟̜͉̝̪͎̩̰̪̓̂̇̄̑͗ͅͅ ̷̞̙̳̜͙̦̟̗̲̯̒̄̀͌̓̈́͛̋̆͐̆̑͆̕͘͠Ỳ̵̧̭͕̪̟̱̯͔̩͇̤̜̮̖̩̫͚̙͓̱͑̅͌͜O̷̢̱̮͉̥̻̦̮̪̻̞͚͍͔̮͊͛̅̉͆̃̓͂̾̈̍́͜͜͝͝͝ͅU̵̡̧̢̩̲̲̥̹̞̩͉͉͓̲̳͖̗͉͉͔̟̫̦͖̬͎̔̉̒͐̉̽̚͠




Another flash, and he saw his home, and there in the cursed land was a great host of his own people...

...they marched forth into the land, and laid waste to all that stood before them...

...and at their head, a terrible serpent, and, Him.

The demon Anur had warned. The harbinger of their doom.

He saw another flash...

...it persisted...

There is still... hope.


The light faded, and the weight that had beleagured him lifted. He rubbed his head, and blinked as he came to. Having recovered, he shot back up to his feet and took in his surround.

Only a moment or two had transpired it seemed.

Then, he began to ponder what had just occurred. As he did, those distant and soft whispers returned, beckoning him eastward. And he was compelled to go - content that whatever else was in store for this city, that for now, they could manage well enough without him.
 

Weylin Kyrel

Member
Messages
163
Character Biography
Link
The hunter had begun to look around nervously as soon as the words had left his lips. He still petted the dog with one hand while he pulled his hood and cloak tighter around him with the one once on his hatchet. He didn't like how exposed and cramped he felt right now. They were relatively isolated, but he didn't feel hidden and safe like he did in the trees and stones. This place was ju-

Weylin was caught completely off guard when Zeri suddenly was next to him and had her arms around him as she cried on his shoulder. He blinked. Where before he was a wild animal trapped in a house now he looked like a deer suddenly caught in the torch light. It was unexpected.

The human only sat there for a couple of seconds before he wrapped his arms around her and rubbed her back gently. His questions were met with silence, but he didn't care. Now wasn't the time for words. It was the time for emotions. It was the time to grieve.

Then he heard her stomach growl.

He got into his bag with one hand and rummaged around it. Eventually he produced some elk jerky he had made himself. Softly he said, "Meat?" He held the food up so she could see it and just waited. When she was ready to eat she would take it. Trying to force it on her right now wouldn't help. He didn't want food or water when his parents died. Surely it would be the same for her as well.

Zeri Rekani Eren'thiel Xyrdithas
 

Zeri Rekani

Novice
Member
Messages
154
Character Biography
Link
ZERI'S RUINED HOUSE


The worst of it had since passed; the raw emotional shock of watching her home be destroyed, of holding her dying mother's hand.

But now, in the weeks that had passed, in the return to Bhathairk and the return to her ruined family home, in seeing it and facing it and accepting it...now came the next part. The part of letting go. Like when Ma's Grandpa died of his old age when Zeri was but five years old. She liked Grandpa. She liked the way he would spin her around and let her climb onto his arm and lift her up and down, up and down off of the ground. But he passed and became one with the Spirits and eventually, at his funeral where the Spirit of Fire claimed his body and his smoke rose to be greeted by the Spirit of Air, Zeri had to let him go.

So it was with Bhathairk. With her home. With Ma. There was no ceremony for this funeral, but still...she would need to let them all go.

Hugging a friend helped with that. The tears helped with that. And spending some time in the city she loved, in (or rather, on) the home she had grown up in, helped with that. She needed this. But then, once it was done, she would also need to move on. Her elder sister was out in the world somewhere; Pa, Gurrash, and Rodon could have made it out of the city just in time. There was still hope, and it was precious and delicate, cradled wonderfully in her heart.

Zeri pulled back from Weylin. Wiped at her eyes with her forearm and the back of her hand. Cleared her throat. Then, to his offer of dried meat, smiled and said, "Yes, please. Thank you, Weylin."

She accepted it in both hands. Took nibbles of it at first. Then allowed herself larger bites, famished bites, bites and mouthfuls her stomach not only craved but demanded since her exhausting travel back to Bhathairk from the Steppe Portal Stone.

She had already eaten half of it when she stopped for a moment to ask, "W-What are you doing here? Gosh, Weylin, I didn't expect to see you here at all. I'm surprised you left the Spine. This has...this has got to be unpleasant for you, even if Bhathairk wasn't all...like this."

Weylin Kyrel Eren'thiel Xyrdithas
 
  • Love
Reactions: Smiling One