Open Chronicles Blood and Wind

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Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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16
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"Not they. It. Some apparition, or something. I arrived, and cuts were forming on her body. As soon as I entered the room, it showed itself. Looked me over, and... It was gone."
"Fuck... Sounds like a demon alright... Powerful one too if it could visually manifest itself."
She looked to the spot where the axe was embedded into the wall.
She was about to reassure him when the growing audience called him out on his tattoo.
She'd noticed it but her eyes simply glazed over it without even registering what it was...

... Her mouth went dry... She couldn't say anything, nothing came to her mind to say in his defense.
Of course he wasn't the demon, that was silly, he was with her the entire time... A torturer...

"I'm getting my gear back on. Then, we're going hunting."
He pushed his way past the crowd and Sharon watched him go.
The title of torturer held power and fear in these parts, and even in the heart of the young adventuring girl.
But he didn't seem anything like that vicious sect of sadistic executioners... And given their recent moment together she was willing to grant him the benefit of the doubt.

"Hey, wait up!"
Sharon pulled his hatchet from the wall and went after him, sword still in hand so the villagers gave her a wide berth.
She caught up to him and flipped the hatchet around to offer him the handle.
"Don't listen to the peanut gallery. Common folks are quick to judge... And I'm sorry... I was quick to judge too."
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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"Not they. It. Some apparition, or something. I arrived, and cuts were forming on her body. As soon as I entered the room, it showed itself. Looked me over, and... It was gone."

Cauldwin maintained, his stance, but listened to the man's alibi. Convincing body language, and of lack of physical evidence... personally Cauldwin wanted to believe this man's word, but he had to look at the case objectively. Threats in this world were more than physical, their were shadowmancers, conjurers... hell he once saw one of his fellow guardsmen turn themselves inside out through the manipulation of a blood magi, or he could be a host to something horrific, a spirit, a were-creature, he could even be a shapeshifter able to transform and dispel his form and flesh at will.

"Wait... You bear the mark of a torturer!"

Cauldwin tensed up in horror, had these people figured out who he was? What he was? They were innocents more-or-less, so fighting his way out if they decided to fall upon him wasn't an option.

"You come to our inn, bearing a mark like that and carrying an assassin's blade, and you expect us to trust you!? For all we know, you're the demon!"

Okay, clearly not him. It seemed to be this, suspicious fellow. Though the longer this conversation droned on, the more obvious it was that the people's accusations were purely based in superstition than any evident/objective formulas. Cauldwin quickly realized with the sheer amount of people who had entered the room he would not be able to swing his fist or blade without any unacceptable casualties. That was unfortunate. Especially as his prime suspect had announced his hunting of the creature and began pushing through the crowd despite his command.

A Lagafréttamaður's command was not to be ignored lightly, he began to push through the crowd after the suspect, but as he did, his skull began to split in two again, the black acidic tarlike substance began to seep down over his face and leak out onto his breast plate, in combination with the exceptional pain... be it the skirting of taking recompense or loosing the suspect as not to cause any unacceptable casualties: the War-Father was punishing him, and at the most inopportune time.

Cualdwin began to more frantically push his way out from the crowd, trying his damnest not leak his blood on to the people and trying to conceal the hint of his true nature by keeping his head lowered. "D-Demon!" ,with that one shout he knew his decision to warm his soul in this place had been more trouble than it was worth. He quickly pushed through the last few people blocking his way to the door way and rushed down the stairs, before rushing out in the storm: he'd overstayed his welcome.

Out in the storm however, it was possible he could be more help, as whether it was the dark haired man as a host or a true demon... something had torn through the wildlife and the survivors of his brigand camp raids, "Embody the law..." ,he had said in an odd mix of reverence and annoyance, before picking up the scent, and following the carnage.

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

 
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Edderick knew it by the look of disgust on Flint's face, but when he went back to the victim she took the opportunity to avoid the conversation. With the relief of success will come the awkwardness of having to explain her actions. She sort of wanted to just take that disgust away, but it would only make it worse. It wasn't right of her to steal from others, she could have trusted mundane methods of keeping someone alive, but it all happened so fast and her youth demanded a sure bet. When Cauldwin left Edderick was almost relieved.

There was an excuse to leave before the magic got brought up. A part of her hoped she wouldn't come back alive from finding the demon so that she didn't have to go through that crushing moment. The anxiety and flighty despair really getting to her. She placed her crossbow near the Barber and almost stuttered a one-liner, but ended up just making some "Ah"s before leaving as quickly as she could to follow Cauldwin into the storm

Her blade was drawn and she cursed the rain under her breath, not knowing any spells to keep it from almost instantly drenching all of her equipment. She thanked the cap-stone's fortune that she left the only mechnism back in the tavern.

"I'm coming with you! Let's find this demon together!"

Edderick pulled out her longsword and casted a simple spell to try and get them a hooded lantern worth of light. A beam piercing the rain and darkness just as good as a light of it's kind could, only revealing a few details otherwise unseen. The oil in her flasks slowly disappearing with a hissing sound from their place on her belt.

Ras Sorane
Flint
Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
Sharon Trask
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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As Sharon followed him and spoke up, he slowly turned to her with a soft sigh. Taking the weapon from her hand, he examined the axe head silently, shaking his head. "I don't worry too much about the opinions of idiots. Small-minded men tend to fear things they don't understand." He said quietly. Glancing at the grim tattoo on his forearm, he felt a pain in his chest. Why did he have it done? Was he really proud of those days?

He shot a look towards Cauldwin and Edderick as they descended the stairs of the inn. Where were they leaving off to in such a rush? Well, he couldn't blame either if they'd had their fill of chaos for the night and wanted to find another place to sleep. That, or they took his hunting comment in a literal sense. Though, he wasn't sure how likely it was that they could find the creature out in the wilds somewhere.

Looking back towards Sharon, he gave a nod before moving for his room, rifling through the drawers to don his armor and gear once again. He didn't want to reveal everything about his awful past to her. It tended to leave a permanent stain on his reputation to people he told, and that was a reputation he didn't want or need right now.

Once he was ready to go, he left the room and found her again, unable to maintain much eye-contact. "I've done things I'm not proud of. I've been an evil man, and I'm making my amends in any way that I can. If you want context, I'll give as much as I can once we're safe." He promised, running a hand through his hair. "I'll warn you... None of it is pleasant."

Reentering the room where Flint tended to the wounded lady, he crossed his arms, looking again at the corner of the room. "I don't get it... If you were a creature that could kill people in their dreams and disappear on a whim... Why would you show yourself?" He couldn't help but question aloud. "As if... It was luring me, or all of us here..." A brave hypothesis, but it was what he had.
 

Flint

The Barber
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Placing the bottle back down, Flint stood, rolling his bloodied shirt sleeves up to the elbow. He turned to the crowd, his eyes darting between them as he spoke. "This demon rumour might be true. If that's the case, others might also be injured. I need one of you to stay with this young lady, and to give me a shout if her situation worsens". The barber moved to the door of the room's lavatory, turning to address the group once more. They were a nasty bunch, but they were crucial in ensuring that no one died tonight.
"The rest of you, check all the bedrooms. Wake anyone who's asleep, but be gentle about it, yeah?".

As soon as the door closed behind him, and he was out of earshot, the barber swore. He wasn't cut out for this. He'd always specialised as a barber, his healing abilities always being held in secondary. He was by no means an expert, and had only learned from what few surgeons and physicians he could. Had that girl from the bar not intervened... well, the wounded woman would have had less a chance at survival, that was sure. He knelt by the basin, which was thankfully filled with what looked to be clean water. The barber dunked his bloody hands in, doing what he could to clean his hands. His once crisp white shirt was now bloodily stained with flecks of red that matched his red waistcoat. When he finished, he splashed some water in his face, standing to re-enter the room.

When he had, Ras and Sharon had returned. It was good to see them in one piece. Most of the crowd had dispersed now, tending to those who slept. A boy and his mother knelt by the woman's bed, the mother checking the girl's temperature with a hand to the forehead. Flint approached Sharon and Ras, trying for a smile, though doubting it was very convincing.
"So... Any plans?"

Ras Sorane Sharon Trask Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr Edderick Stormbane
 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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"I don't worry too much about the opinions of idiots. Small-minded men tend to fear things they don't understand."
She understood that, and really she didn't care about those people either... She really just wanted to apologize for herself, because not only did she understand harsh judgement but she didn't want to become one of those ignorant people... Especially if she wanted him to sleep with her, but right now those thoughts were miles away.

She watched the big knight and the other lady rush downstairs and burst out into the storm... Sort of odd, they didn't seem to be in much of a hurry before.
Ras went into his room to change and she considered going to her room to do the same, but she had no intention of going outside again and she already had her sword with her, so she just waited for Ras to emerge.

When he did he was armed and armored, Sharon didn't know what armor would do against a demon that could get inside of your head, but then again what good were swords against the same?
"I've done things I'm not proud of. I've been an evil man, and I'm making my amends in any way that I can. If you want context, I'll give as much as I can once we're safe." He promised, running a hand through his hair. "I'll warn you... None of it is pleasant."
Sharon shrugged, "Hell, I believe you if you're willing to help people that just cussed you out..."
Her attempt at light banter fell flat even for her.
"I'm ready for one hell of a story, Ras... Just save a spot for me in your bed when you get around to telling it, yeah?
In the meantime, what's our first move to find this dream demon?"


"I don't get it... If you were a creature that could kill people in their dreams and disappear on a whim... Why would you show yourself?" He couldn't help but question aloud. "As if... It was luring me, or all of us here..." A brave hypothesis, but it was what he had.
She tapped her temple, "Tactics... Manuvering. It might have been vulnerable while it was making a kill... or more likely it noticed something about you that drew it out of hiding... A bloody past might do that. And then it showed itself to start a chase, once it's got us moving around all it needs to do is pop up where we least expect him and before we know it we're dancing to his tune and he can move us around however he likes... Then we die."
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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Her blade was drawn and she cursed the rain under her breath, not knowing any spells to keep it from almost instantly drenching all of her equipment. She thanked the cap-stone's fortune that she left the only mechnism back in the tavern.

"I'm coming with you! Let's find this demon together!"

Edderick pulled out her longsword and casted a simple spell to try and get them a hooded lantern worth of light. A beam piercing the rain and darkness just as good as a light of it's kind could, only revealing a few details otherwise unseen. The oil in her flasks slowly disappearing with a hissing sound from their place on her belt.

Cauldwin turned his head hesitantly to look back at the lass who wanted to help, tar from his face now covered the front of his chest-plate , leaving it as black as when the iron was new. He continued to face more away from the light of the hooded lantern she carried, as he sized her up. She didn't seem poorly armed or trained, save maybe a lack of proper heavy armor, but she was a magi... he didn't exactly have a fondness for them given his experiences with the more wicked types.

She wasn't a watchwoman of any kind, and there was no guarantee of her safety should his plan for hunting this rumored 'dream demon' come to fruition. All the same, she seemed eager to help, and the extra light would be of great help: allowing him to hunt the dark of the storm with something other than his sense of smell and the flashes of lighting. He then yelled to her over the storm in a voice that was gnarled, deep, and distorted like talking to someone through a stone wall, "Only if you are willing to follow my lead, and your aware of the risks! ...this could get very dangerous, lass!"

Should the lass still decide to come with him, she could help him with his plan.

-Firstly, he needed to find an example carcass: wounds are a lot more straightforward than the word of mouth. The tensions, superstations, and biases of the people in this town made it hard to get a read on what this creature could be, and with the mending of the woman in the tavern (though a good thing), ensured he couldn't get a trustworthy idea of who/what the attacker was.


-Secondly, if this was something of a metaphysical/otherworldly nature, he would need to determine a method of binding and banishment, he was also hoping it doesn't turn out to be a fae, because fae were insufferable.

-Thirdly, all things in this world and (for the most part) the other-realms-just-beyond are still animals: and all animals need a certain meal at a certain time, meaning it can and would be baited.

-Finally, judge and sentence whoever is at fault.

Cauldwin could smell the scent of fresh death in the air, carried by the storm. His intuition told him where he had to go to get the information he needed for the judgement, he just waited a moment or two to hear the lass's answer.

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras stroked his chin as Sharon explained her thought process regarding the demon. So far, she had become the greatest ally of his so far. She hadn't yet begun to avoid him at the first sign of his dark past, and all that big talk from earlier in the night wasn't just for show. She genuinely seemed ready to investigate this supernatural case.

He didn't originally have plans of playing the hero and dealing with the demon... Then it became his problem. If it was true that they were being watched and toyed with, and its eyes were on them specifically, he had no choice but to take its bait, if for no other reason than to put an end to its hunt. "Well... I say we give it what it wants."

He looked up at them, looking as serious as ever. "The thing can hurt people in their dreams... It comes out of hiding only then, in their minds. I have a reason to think it works both ways." He reasoned, crossing his arms. "We sleep, and wait. If it wants all of us, it'll pull each of us into the dream together. It doesn't seem like it's fighting to kill mindlessly, or it wouldn't have shown itself. It wants a challenge. A proper game."

It was a bold idea, and he was sure Flint would have his reservations about putting himself in harm's way. Still, he refused to be a demon's plaything, and he was willing to put an end to its charade to keep his own dignity in tact. Looking around the inn, he narrowed his eyes. Hopefully they could convince the others in the inn to stay awake long enough for them to execute their plan.

"You think that giant and the girl that went after him could be of use?" Ras turned sharply, seeing the innkeeper standing in the doorway. "Perhaps... I have no intention of chasing them through the rain, though. Maybe the big guy will get drowsy and take a nap under a tree." He joked dryly. The innkeeper wasn't laughing. Why would he be?

Ras approached him. "You can be of use, though. Keep these people awake. Anyone sleeping here could be a death sentence." He was certain that at least someone would be unable to keep their eyes open. It didn't matter much to him who got caught in the crossfire, but he didn't want it interfering with the plan. Looking back towards Flint, he gave a nod.

"You wanted adventure, barber... Hope you're getting your fill."

Flint Sharon Trask
 
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Edderick nodded matter of factly, not noticing any of the grime and pus on his face. She was experienced in working in teams and it tended to be the warrior with the biggest weapon who led the charge on these sorts of expeditions.

"Aye, Aye cap'n"

The hint of sweet innocent sarcasm was as rancidly sweet as ever. A common trait in "experienced", torch-bearing apprentices.

She watched him closely, going to follow his lead and "try" to keep the light where cauldwin was looking. of course she would veer it off course occassionally to investigate small noises she thought she heard in the storm.
 

Flint

The Barber
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Flint was impressed by Ras' drive to take this demon down. Earlier, he'd almost felt sorry for the man, who described himself as something of a loner or hermit. It would be much easier to leave the tavern to never return, but the man was already formulating a plan to hunt the cruel creature down.

That plan was a risky one, and he wanted Flint involved. The dark-haired man hypothesized that they could only reach the demon whilst sleeping. Ras reckoned that the demon was toying with them, and was becoming more violent as a way to challenge the most powerful amongst the inn's tenants. It wanted to take care of them so that it could feast on in peace.

This posed plenty of questions. If Ras was right, then the demon felt more confident in its ability to fight them while sleeping. Why was that? Could it simply be that the demon could only manifest and inflict pain to those who slept? Or would this supposed dream realm leave them vulnerable in some way, like the girl who'd been cut up. If Flint was to sleep, he was definitely going to do so with a blade in hand.

Sharon made a good point about remaining awake. Perhaps the demon could attack in the real world, while it was invisible. If that was the case, they'd be in serious trouble. Either suggestion by Ras and Sharon didn't spell anything good for them, but the barber was inclined to trust their instinct that they had a better chance confronting the demon in their sleep.

"You wanted adventure, barber... Hope you're getting your fill."

"They'll be singing songs about us after this", he beamed, though Flint couldn't help but feel a nervous tightness in his chest. He hadn't fought a demon before, but it couldn't be worse than a group of asshole bandits, could it?

When they were ready, Flint would head back to his room, laying down after a final swig of wine (if not to cool is nerves, then to at least help him to sleep more quickly. As his eyes fall shut, Flint would grip a knife in hand, a belt fitted with four more spread out beside him. With all hope, he'd wake up with all five knives.
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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He kept his helm on tighter than usual, and avoided facing her, as even with his vissageless helm, the liquids seeping down the front of his armor didn't yet see a chance of stopping. He didn't want to jeopardize her willingness to co-operate with him by allowing a glimpse of his more unnatural functions. As they wandered though the wood, Cauldwin was bothered by the possibility he might be leading this woman to her death, or (however unlikely) his. He decided to ask a few personal questions to get an idea of last rites, kith and kin, and all that: should she die. She seemed somewhat chipper about the whole situation, even if she occasionally jumped at shadows. Nothing wrong with hypervigilance, he supposed. He finally spoke again as they waded through the storms torrent the rising muck, "So... I don't suppose my light sconce has a name?"

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

 
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Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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"Well... I say we give it what it wants."

He looked up at them, looking as serious as ever. "The thing can hurt people in their dreams... It comes out of hiding only then, in their minds. I have a reason to think it works both ways." He reasoned, crossing his arms. "We sleep, and wait. If it wants all of us, it'll pull each of us into the dream together. It doesn't seem like it's fighting to kill mindlessly, or it wouldn't have shown itself. It wants a challenge. A proper game."
Sharon listened and bit her lip thoughtfully, "I don't like fighting on my enemies home turf... We'll likely be at a complete disadvantage... I don't know much about dreams, but I imagine that a dream demon could make us dream whatever it wants us to dream... And once we're in its dream it could have us chained down, disarmed..." She glanced Ras and Flint up and down, "... Totally naked, or otherwise paralyzed and defenseless. What defenses do we have against tha-"
Before she could finish Flint was gone and she blinked in surprise... He was just going for it.

Another idea occurred to her which made her desperately call out after him.
"Are you sure sleeping in separate rooms is a good idea? What if the demon decides to only attack us one at a time?! Divide and kill?! Take us out one at a time while the others are asleep?!"
 

Arnor Skuldsson

The Axe of Knottington
Nordenfiir
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Demons.

He'd encountered them several times.

Yet, in the material plane, not in the metaphysical one. Or at least, by what the villagers and his investigation had determined... it seemed to feed off of fear, panic, and lured people in both dreams and in the physical world.

Which brought him to the inn- or at least, to the outside, storm be damned. Rhi, the King of Horses (in reality, a large pack horse that was somehow large enough and stubborn enough to endure the Nordenfiir), snuffed and protested in the rain.

The Nordenfiir- more specifically, the Axe of Knottington, a well known mercenary in the Summerlands to be specific, came inside. He sauntered in, standing great many heads and shoulders taller than the gathered party.

He smelled earthy, like all of his kind. His posture elegant and proud, and he carried two swords and a peculiar axe on his belt.

The source of light is what brought Arnor standing before the.... golem? And the mage, his hands in a relaxed position to show neutrality. He smiled, a wry, wolfish grin, trudging his horse closer, unfurling the hood of the cloak that covered him.

"Quite the party we make, don't you agree? I am Arnor, son of Skuld..." His accent carried the tell-tale mark of a man born on the Tundra. "And it would be a fair guess to say that we are hunting the same beast, no?"

He slid off of Rhi, the storm not seeming to bother Arnor one bit.

"I've been hired by the locals to confront this monstrosity- and I have a good guess as to what it may be!"

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr l Edderick Stormbane l
 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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Ras listened to Sharon's rebuttals, and watched as Flint left. All of her concerns were fair, and he couldn't deny the fact that their theories could have been completely false. However, the only other option was to turn tail and let the bastard go about its massacre of the rest of the guests here at the inn. Either that, or it'd follow them, intent on claiming its prize. Truthfully, Ras wasn't too excited about entering its realm either, giving it that sort of control... What was he to do otherwise? The bastard disappeared right as his axe left his fingers.

Putting a hand on her shoulder as she shouted towards Flint, who retreated for his room, he spoke softly. "There's a good chance we may end up in a bad situation. I won't say that there isn't a possibility. Still, if it wanted us dead, it would've done so when we were fast-asleep. It's never been so careless according to these people, why now?" He asked inquisitively, eyes narrowed. "The thing's eyes were all over me. It didn't have to show itself, but it did. Like it was gazing into my soul."

He shook his head. "I didn't come to some backwater village in the middle of nowhere to have my sleep sullied by some sadistic dream killer. I will beat this creature at its own game, no matter the cost." He said in determination. Giving a soft smirk, he squeezed her shoulder a bit, thinking of some sly remark to ease her tension. "Have you forgotten? Death doesn't want me. For all I know, that rubbed off on you too. Especially during that kiss."

He glanced towards the door, thinking about her comments toward Flint. She had a point there... Better safe, than sorry. Heading past her, he walked down the hall where he saw Flint enter his room, stopping for a moment to look back at her. "Don your armor. I don't know if it's even practical, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'll see you in our dreams, Sharon." With that, he opened Flint's door slowly, seeing the man already asleep. Fortunately, no cuts on his person. So far, their theories were starting to become more and more like fact as time went on.

He grabbed a nearby cushion from the chair that sat at the desk, tossing it down against the wall before laying down and resting his head. Leathers and all. It wasn't comfortable at all, but at this point, the time well past midnight... His eyes still felt heavy. As much as he wanted to wait for Trask, he simply felt like getting this over with already. With that, his eyes fell closed, muscles relaxing as he let himself drift away.

Dreams were usually fragmentary... Uninvolved, a blur to most that woke from them. Nothing that involved the senses, either. You couldn't smell a dream. You couldn't taste one, feel one... Sights were limited, hearing was distorted and unnatural. However, as Ras snapped his eyes back open, standing to find himself in an ashen field, a heavy wind blowing the grey dust in thick, billowing clouds that obscured all things less than 20 feet from his eyes... He knew this was too lucid to be normal. He smelled the char in the air, felt the chill of the breeze on his exposed face. Feeling his armored body, he sighed in relief to find his weapons still there.

He shot a look behind him upon hearing a loud neigh, and the thunderous gallop of hooves. A silhouette of a rider. Then 2, then 3. All indistinguishable through the clouds of ash. Starting early, the demon was... One thing did strike Ras, however. Where the Hell was Flint...?

(OOC: At this point, I'm gonna leave a little creative freedom to you guys. Since this is a nightmare sequence, pretty much anything goes. You have full reign over what the characters experience in their nightmare, and if you want them to find Ras in it, go right ahead. No restrictions from me!)

Flint Sharon Trask
 
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Edderick chipped in with a sound of someone who forgot the oven on.
"Ohhh! I'm sorry. The name is Edderick, 15th in line for head of the Stormbane clan! But just call me Edderick, or Eddy."

It was a pretty masculine name for a woman to have, but in a glance it fit her better than one might guess from simply reading of her or hearing her description.

"What is yours again? I think I heard you say it. . . .Or was that the ba-"

Edderick stopped in her tracks when the hunter came forward and got a bit nervous at the fact she didn't notice him before he came into the light.

"Oh, uhhh, hello there!"

The man said his greetings and Edderick still seemed on edge.


((OOC Notes: I am sorry I have been slow at posting. Someone quit at work and I have been working double time to cover both shifts all week. Also, I am OOcly aware Cauldwin and Edderick are not looking in the right direction, but I feel it is her instincts to go hunting for something and she left before there was a proper explanation.))
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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Edderick chipped in with a sound of someone who forgot the oven on.
"Ohhh! I'm sorry. The name is Edderick, 15th in line for head of the Stormbane clan! But just call me Edderick, or Eddy."

It was a pretty masculine name for a woman to have, but in a glance it fit her better than one might guess from simply reading of her or hearing her description.

"What is yours again? I think I heard you say it. . . .Or was that the ba-"

He kept up his pace and listened intently, 'Eddy'... he liked it. Short, simple, to the point: though, not exactly a name to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies. He sensed something was a miss and he slowed his movement... catching the scent of a beast and one of his kinsman. He raised his left stub up in a gesture to Eddy to keep vigilant. Keeping his swords guard up, Cauldwin stepped ahead in the direction of whomever was with them in the storm.

The source of light is what brought Arnor standing before the.... golem? And the mage, his hands in a relaxed position to show neutrality. He smiled, a wry, wolfish grin, trudging his horse closer, unfurling the hood of the cloak that covered him.

"Quite the party we make, don't you agree? I am Arnor, son of Skuld..." His accent carried the tell-tale mark of a man born on the Tundra. "And it would be a fair guess to say that we are hunting the same beast, no?"

He slid off of Rhi, the storm not seeming to bother Arnor one bit.

"I've been hired by the locals to confront this monstrosity- and I have a good guess as to what it may be!"

Cauldwin's guard relaxed a bit, and he gave a simple nod to the man and his tremendous steed before replying with a mix of sarcasm and inquisitiveness, "Let me have a few guesses kinsman... A dream demon? Or a hymn?"

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

 
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Arnor Skuldsson

The Axe of Knottington
Nordenfiir
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A throaty chuckle came from Arnor as he shook off the wetness, shaking his head.

"A Demon, of course- my money is on a Griefeater, unfortunately. Or something new, and worse. And ugly."

He shook his head in solemn silence for a moment, touching his chest.

"I tracked it here- a great many other small villages have suffered, and this seems to be the new norm for such a place.. The world grows ever more dark, does it not?"

Arnor motioned over the great horse, petting Rhi with a mighty hand of his.

"Pray tell- you have a plan for it's disposal, it's demise, do you?"

Arnor spoke with a wry smile, as if he had a plan already. He did- he just wanted to hear theirs to see if it was any better than his.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr l Edderick Stormbane
 

Sharon Trask

Wandering Warrior
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"There's a good chance we may end up in a bad situation. I won't say that there isn't a possibility. Still, if it wanted us dead, it would've done so when we were fast-asleep. It's never been so careless according to these people, why now?" He asked inquisitively, eyes narrowed. "The thing's eyes were all over me. It didn't have to show itself, but it did. Like it was gazing into my soul."
As she had said, she suspected that it was something about him that attracted the dream demon, caused it to show itself and begin this wild chase.

He shook his head. "I didn't come to some backwater village in the middle of nowhere to have my sleep sullied by some sadistic dream killer. I will beat this creature at its own game, no matter the cost." He said in determination. Giving a soft smirk, he squeezed her shoulder a bit, thinking of some sly remark to ease her tension. "Have you forgotten? Death doesn't want me. For all I know, that rubbed off on you too. Especially during that kiss."
She smiled in spite of herself... It was a good kiss and she couldn't wait for more. His hand on her shoulder was reassuring and she laced her fingers with his.
"If it rubs off then we should make sure it sticks..."
She stood up on her toes and kissed him before she went back to business.

"Don your armor. I don't know if it's even practical, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I'll see you in our dreams, Sharon."
She went and followed his instructions, her clothes were still wet but her armor was fine so she put it on and grabbed her bow and quiver just in case.

Then she went back and found them in Flint's room.
She entered quietly to not disturb the sleeping men. Flint was on the bed obviously and Ras took the floor. And so she tiptoed over to Ras and gently laid down next to him. She knew he had a warriors reflexes so she was careful not to not trigger any instinctual reaction as she put her head on his chest and cuddled close.

She still had a sense of foreboding, but eventually the fatigue from the road put her to sleep...

_________________________________
As expected, she didn't awaken in the morning next to Ras, she awoke (in her dreams?) But it wasn't a purgatorial hellscape like she expected.
It was more like a purgatorial mansion.
She found herself in a well furnished bedroom with a royal bed and sheets. She still had her armor on and her weapons were with her, that was good... Or possibly bad...
She got up and drew her sword warily, examining her surroundings, a storm still raged outside and the room was lit only by flashes of lightning and the embers of a dying fire.

She moved to the door and listened, but aside from the rumble of the storm she could hear nothing.
Testing the doorknob she found it unlocked, taking a deep breath she opened it and stood in the entrance with sword at the ready... And stopped short...

On the other side of the door she saw Ras just now walking by but stopped when the door opened, he also had his armor and weapons on him.
She breathed a sigh of relief and he did the same,
"Good, I was worried that we'd be stuck in separate dreams to fend for ourselves. Have you seen the demon yet?"

Ras, or who she thought was Ras, shrugged his shoulders, "Not yet, I only just started exploring after waking up in one of these rooms."

She sheathed her sword and stepped out into the hallway with "Ras".
 
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Edderick tried her best to cover herself in the rain as they stood in the muck and mud.

"Grief-Eater?" She said with a curious and confusion tinged ring.

But ultimately she relied on Cauldwin to answer. It was his experienced whims she followed.

Her light keeping the conversation in a raging storm a little one sided as only Arnor was fully lit in the darkness and the torrential water.
 
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Flint

The Barber
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"You could have saved him!"

Flint's eyes shot open, the barber bolting to sit upright in his bed. It was a raspy, cruel voice that had awoken him. He could only assume the demon was already toying with his mind, aiming to drive him to insanity before it clawed him to death. Looking around now, though, there was no demon in sight. He was alone in his room, though something wasn't right.

Thankfully, he'd woken with his knife in hand, and extras at his side. Beyond that, there was little that resembled the environment within which he'd fallen asleep. The walls were of a darker wood, the decor more drab and monotone than that of the inn's rooms. Most strangely, a natural bright light crept under the frame of his room's door, as though leading out into daylight. Flint frowned, standing as he slung the belt of knives over his shoulder. He walked slowly to the door, boots creaking as each step fell on rotten creaky planked floor. As he opened the door, his eyes widened in disbelief.

He stepped out into a field, looking out onto a forest that stood tall in the distance. The sun beamed down on the field, though its light seemed unnatural. A few sheep were scattered across the field, grazing. As he walked closer to one, he realised it wasn't moving. The animal, like the others in the field, stood frozen, as though time itself had halted. Flint's heart felt heavy in his chest, a feeling of anxiety creeping up on the man.

His eyes were drawn to the distant forest. Conversely to the field, it appeared devoid of light. He couldn't determine how, but the barber knew something awful awaited him amongst the trees. Did the demon lurk there? Regardless of his feelings, he'd have to head inside if that was the case. Ras and Sharon could be inside, in danger. Had they woken up in the same eerie field? He started into a light jog, quickly closing the distance between himself and the first of the trees. As he neared, the forest appeared no less dark. It was though all light was being swallowed by the forest. He quickened his pace, but instantly came to a halt as a horrible voice called out to him within the woods.

"YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HIM. He died so that you could live barber, but that sacrifice was futile!".

Flint clenched his jaw in anger. He'd been right in his suspicion; the demon had been speaking to him, mocking him. What was worse, Flint now knew what the demon was talking about. The forest, the talk of sacrifice... It all added up. Flint would have to confront something awful in the woods, something the demon had pryed from the darkest corners of his own memory. He was going to make this abomination pay for turning his mind against him. Flint took a second blade from his belt, gripping two blades now as he plunged into the darkness.
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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A Greifeater? Perhaps one of the categories corporeal peoples have given the Dark-Spawn? Or perhaps some more horrific abominations from darker realms? Shadowkin mayhaps, though if this 'demon' was to be one of the Shadowkin, it had far too much autonomy and (for lack of a better word) intelligence to be a mere lowly shade.

Cauldwin's thoughts brought him back to the current situation, this man looked like a seasoned manhunter, and was one of his kinsman no doubt... but this was all very convenient. He and Eddie had wandered off into the storm by themselves to search for evidence of this creature's true nature, and here was this stranger that stopped them in the storm: that was of the persuasion he would trust, AND he was also supposedly hired by the locals to hunt what they were hunting to boot?

Cauldwin's guard returned to form, keeping his sword over his shoulder in roof stance. Something about this whole situation was wrong, he then questioned the being in front of he and Eddie in a tone that was empirical, not unlike a guard commander addressing a civilian, and had a beastial growl, making him sound more like an agitated beastmen than a nordenfiir, "So, 'kinsman', how did you figure out the culprit was a Greifeater?"

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

Arnor Skuldsson

 

Ras Sorane

The Betrayer of Olwin
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The riders grew closer and closer to Ras, the man drawing two throwing knives as he got into a somewhat sturdy stance. Closer and closer they came, until he could see the gleam of their swords through the thick, billowing ash. They rode to either side of his body, swords positioned to properly take his head off. He couldn't outrun a horse. Even with a well-timed dodge, he still risjed being trampled. He had no choice but to stand his ground. Eyes narrowing, he waited until he could see an opening near their necks, and he let one of the knives fly.

The spinning blade met its target, burying itself into the throat of the rider. Dropping his sword, he clutched his throat, Ras hearing an audible gag as he fell backwards, hitting the ground in a small plume of ash. The second rider was on him too quickly. There was no time to launch his second knife. In desperation, he dodged to the side. The side of the rider's sword. A sharp pain cascaded over the left side of Ras' body, the man shutting his eyes tight as he grunted, falling over a bit as the rider passed, only to circle back around.

Ras saw the drops of blood that stained the ash, leading up to his assailant's horse. Looking down, he could clearly see the slice in his leather padding, as well as the cut that oozed crimson down to his thigh. It began to dawn on him. Here, mortality was real. Death was possible. Panting, he stood on shaky legs, drawing his hatchet as the horse drew near again. He waited once more, clutching the weapon tightly. He eyed the rider's sword, now coated with his lifeblood, waiting for a signal. He instinctively dodged left, just as the horse was only feet away once he saw the rider reel back his blade to his right side.

Wasting no time, his hatchet dug into the horse's shoulder, a cloud of dark red filling the air as the animal whinnied, then tumbled forward, sending the rider flying into the ash. The impact knocked his helmet off, the rider quickly standing, turning to Ras, whose expression fell. Yes... He recognized him now. The coat of arms, the style of the pauldrons that rested overtop his chainmail, and that clean-shaven face and neat, red hair. One of the baron's trusted guards, and one that had been hunting him for years.

"Harron Dalsforth... Even in my dreams, I can't be rid of you." Ras grunted out, in pain. "Except in this dream, traitor... Your life is at stake. Your own little purgatory." He taunted, smirking, lip busted and bleeding a bit. "Now... Let's dance, torturer!" In a quick movement, Harron was on him, sword swinging to connect with Ras' dagger, which he desperately defended himself with. The steel echoed over the ashen plane, Ras almost stumbling onto his rear from the aggressive assault.

As he lost his footing, in a moment of sheer survival instinct, he dug his hatchet into the ash, flinging the powder up into his attacker's eyes. Harron dropped his sword, reaching up to clutch his face. Ras took the opportunity, dashing behind him and aiming the point of his dagger at Harron's exposed neck. No such luck. The dream decided to sway fate at the last second, Harron's form dispersing into black smoke. "You always did evade death, you proud piece of-" His agitated words were cut off as the smoke traveled off about 50 feet, expanding to form itself into the shape of... A keep. No... The keep.

Still losing blood, Ras sheathed his weapons to clutch his wound, slowly moving forward. He'd have to play the demon's game, it seemed. He figured that from the start, but without his allies, and while being assaulted by his past? It was a lot. The trek felt like it took ages, and as he reached the main gate, it creaked open on its own, inviting him within the walls. The demon created things that he thought his mind was too blurred to remember. And these things, they were stunningly real. At least they felt like they were. The courtyard was eerily quiet, and as he walked through, he realized that the sun now shone overhead, though it didn't look right. The ground wasn't covered with ash here, but lush, emerald-colored grass. Olwin... It was just like Olwin.

"Ras... You're hurt!" A voice exclaimed right behind him. Turning sharply, his expression softened. Sharon. He sighed, relaxing himself a bit. "Lucky me... I won't die here alone." He murmured sarcastically, watching as she ran over, completely unaware of the deadness in her eyes. Unaware of the façade.

Flint Sharon Trask
 

Arnor Skuldsson

The Axe of Knottington
Nordenfiir
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Kinsmen?

Arnor turned his head at the man- smelling the distinct smell of death about him. He half-reached for the particular axe on his belt, before stopping. He seemed harmless- though the word Kinsmen did not ring the same for Arnor as it did for the butcher before him. Arnor did not see him as a Nordenfiir- what he was in life, he was unable to be in perpetual death.

Arnor simply thought his speech was odd, and took no further note, not fully realizing the true nature of the creature under the armor.

"A theory, friend. Simply a theory. Hard to prove, but it is my running theory at the moment. The thought of something worse..."

A pause, and he glanced out into the dark and foreboding night- searching for someone, something else. Something that he wasn't sure was dead yet. Something- and someone specific.

"Worries me so."

He turned back to the pair, noting the oddity between them.

"Are their others that you know of, seeking the same monster- It's wreaked havoc, by my wager, across many villages thus far. It seems traveling to and fro to evade capture... this place seems perfect and ripe for it's hunting."

Another glance. Looking for that same monster, though he wasn't sure. It did seem... that it was more such a way for that thing to survive. Perhaps he did not kill him in it's fullest, perhaps it was something else.

Arnor prayed that it was anything else.

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
Edderick Stormbane
 
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Edderick's focus shifted to the places the man looked. By instinct of course. She didn't like the idea he knew more than he was telling them, even if they were allies at the moment. Her eyes tried to see something in the dark, but her light kept on Arnor.

"There are others, back in a tavern. We came hunting the demon in hopes we would find it in the woods. So far we have been unsuccessful. But this guy here is the expert! I bet you two together can figure it out! Perhaps we should move back to the tavern, it is doubtful the trail is still hot in the mud and rain. And if it's a grief "Eater" than we can bait it with something to eat right?"
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Butcher of Alliria
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(OOC: As a personal rule: when on a public thread that has had inactivity for multiple days from one or more Chroniclers without notice, it is best to abandon it or continue. I'm seeing to much potential intrigue to abandon the thread...)

Caudlwin's head shot back at Edderick before returning to the fellow in front of him. Welp, if this man was the alleged 'dream demon' he now knew very well where his potential prey would be. There was no way he would allow this man to take his leave unsupervised, he also couldn't prove he was this illusive creature and so couldn't simply interrogate and sentence him. It looked like they were going to be heading back to the tavern together. Cauldwins guard relaxed, his tone and voice returned to normal ,and he said to the man, "Yes... you should follow us back to the tavern. You might be of some help."

Flint

Ras Sorane

Sharon Trask

Edderick Stormbane

Arnor Skuldsson