Fable - Ask Fire on the Horizon

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
It all spiraled out of control.

Several elven towns near the Falwood Portal Stone banded together to push back against the encroaching grasp of influence from Vel Anir. There had been some resistance in the past--shadowed schemes and guerrilla fighting--but this was nothing short of meeting a contingent of the Anirian Guard on the field of battle. To this end, companies of mercenaries were hired.

And for the town of Elyr-Morath, this would spell disaster.

The company that the elves of Elyr-Morath hired were known as the Sons of Cortosi. Rough men and women, many of dubious character and backgrounds but fighters of incredible prowess all. But also a mercenary company possessed of a shrewdness that had kept them alive and prosperous for years. The Sons of Cortosi were "strategically" late to the battle between the elven resistance and the Anirian Guard contingent. Not that it would have mattered--the Guard won a decisive victory that the Sons would not have been able to overturn with their presence. So, rather than fulfill their contract like the other mercenaries who had been hired, the Sons of Cortosi turned around and marched all the way back to Elyr-Morath.

And then Captain Kaijo gave the order to sack the town.

* * * * *​

Hahnah smelled smoke.

She had been sleeping in a nest of giant spiders for most of the day. Exhausted from travel. The spiders did not bother her. Things which were called monsters never did. But in their company there was a measure of safety, allowing her to rest peacefully. If humans--Hunters--did come, she would know because the sounds of the monsters would wake her. Moreover, there was comfort in simply not being alone. As she had been when she locked inside of the Temple, years ago.

It was near the end of day. The wind had shifted. The giant spiders had grown agitated, chittering and crawling about anxiously. This roused Hahnah, and upon waking she smelled it.

Curiosity beset her. Something was on fire. Where? Why?

She rose from the ground of the spider den and walked past them as they wrapped a meekly struggling fawn in a web, saving it for later consumption. She emerged from the den and squinted her eyes at the evening sun and started walking through the thick forest of the Falwood.

It took an hour. Maybe more. Maybe less. An hour. And she saw through the trees a redness to rival the sky. Bright and flickering. Red. Red and orange. Red and orange and crowned by plumes of gray and black smoke. All this as she drew nearer to the town of Elyr-Morath.

Some one hundred meters removed from the periphery of the town and the plundering in progress therein, the true scope of what was happening struck her. Normally a town of this size--numbering a couple thousand--would frighten her. But in its current state, this was not so. She caught glimpses of people running. Other people running after them. People with torches and fire magic, intentionally setting fire to the buildings. She did not know what was going on.

But she knew it was chaos.

Hahnah suddenly dropped down to her knees, behind a twinned pair of trees and out of direct line of sight from the town. She clasped her hands together--left hand over her right fist--and held them at the level of her chest, arching her back slightly and her head more, peering directly up through the canopy of the forest and to the sunset sky.

"Will You watch over me?"

Her eyes wide and full of hope.

"Will You watch over me?"

Her solemn smile, wishing that perhaps this time she would hear a reply.

"Will You watch over me?"

Silence around her. The distant crackle of flames and a single sharp scream (which was abruptly cut short) from Elyr-Morath.

Hahnah stayed on her knees.

Praying.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
  • Thoughtful
Reactions: Smiling One
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
The tiefling had been minding his own business. Much like the spiders, he had hunted one of the local deer, and was waiting for it to cook over his campfire, using the spitroast it was impaled upon to turn it slowly. He had skinned the body, and put some seasonings on it to give it some flavor. The clearing he was currently sitting in had dense forest around it, thus he wasn't able to directly see the village. While roasting the deer, he took a sniff of the air. "Uh, seems a bit more....smellin of smoke than it should." He coughs a bit, quite bewildered. It's then that Alden turned about, and saw it. The sky red, and a curtain of smoke in the sky passed the trees. "The elven village...." The tiefling muttered. Normally, he wouldn't care too much. But he had just been there earlier that day. Gave an orphan some bread. The smile on that orphan's face brought him to his feet. "What am I doin...." He muttered to himself as he attached the longsword to his belt, and slung the large wooden buckler over his shoulder. Finally, he takes his bow and slings it over his shoulder as well, with the quiver having been latched on to his lower back by the belt. With that, he began hurrying into the trees.

Hahnah would experience quite the odd occurrence, that she could Identify as she pleased. After the last repeat of 'will you watch over me?', footsteps pressed upon the grass behind her. She'd sense something about whatever it was behind her. Something touched by a force that was old, ancient...eldritch. "This ain't the best place to be prayin, kiddo." Alden said, looking down upon the strange girl he'd come across while making his way to help whatever villagers he could. Was it coincidence? Was it the work of her god watching over her? Had the dying god, for once, responded to her plea and sent someone to her aid? Hard to tell considering the timing.

"You plannin on going into that village? I wouldn't recommend it, but stick with me if you have to go." Last thing he wanted was another death on his mind. He'd be able to protect this random...person thing, if she stayed with him.

Hahnah
 
  • shock
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
"Where is Lord Ifrendith?" Captain Kaijo asked the elven hostage.

"I-I told you! I don't know! We don't know!"

Kaijo gave a nod to his man who was standing behind the hostage, holding a sword to his throat. The mercenary slid the blade across the hostage's neck. Grabbed hold of the hostage's forehead and craned it back to open the wound more. A shower of red flowed down the hostage's neck and spread through his white shirt like a fierce high tide coming to claim a beach. Other elven hostages were lined in a row, and all of them shrieked or cowered or sobbed or succumbed to nausea as one of their own was executed. Soon the elf with his throat slit lay dead in the courtyard of Ifrendith's manor.

Kaijo, however, found cleaning his nails more interesting than the suffering of the hostages. With the tip of a small knife he carefully and meticulously picked out little build-ups of dirt and soot. He curled his fingers and turned his hand this way and that to examine his progress. Still some dirt left to pick. He went back to it.

Ifrendith's manor was not set on fire--yet. But two more of Kaijo's men, lieutenants, were standing by with torches. Others had the elven hostages who had been found inside the manor down on their knees and with their swords held menacingly to their necks. And the rest of the men of the company, oh they were having a spot of fun around town. Most of the fighting men and women of Elyr-Morath had gone north to that battle with the Anirian Guard. They weren't coming home anytime soon.

Captain Kaijo casually paced in front of the remaining hostages, his plate armor clanking lightly with each step. He didn't look at them. Paid the full of his attention to his diligent work with his nails and mused aloud, "This really didn't need to happen. I just wanted to have a gentlemanly talk with Lord Ifrendith. Renegotiate the terms of our contract in a civil way. But he's not available, is he? So now we have to do this. Now we have to take what's owed to us, plus a little extra for the inconvenience. See, I don't need to talk to Lord Ifrendith as it stands presently, but...ah, it's just the principle of the thing, isn't it?"

Kaijo stopped his pacing in front of a random hostage. Looked at her. Asked, "Where is Lord Ifrendith?"

* * * * *​

A quiver of hopeful excitement coursed through Hahnah. She felt something. Something that was close. Familiar. Much like the strum of the Dying God's presence in her heart. Was He watching over her, as she asked? Was He...going to answer her?

This ain't the best place to be prayin, kiddo.

Hahnah blinked. Craned her head around to see someone standing there, the like of whom she had not seen before. Gray skin, white hair, horns. Tall and scarred. He smelled different. And Hahnah regarded him initially with a small bit of wonder. What would her caretakers have thought of him?

You plannin on going into that village? I wouldn't recommend it, but stick with me if you have to go.

Hahnah unclasped her hands and stood up in a smooth, precise motion. Said, "Yes." She stretched out her arm and pointed a finger toward the town consumed in mayhem. "There are profane things in that place. It is good to slay profane things. I wish to do good."

Her accent, notably, was elven. Fal'Addasian.

Hahnah lowered her pointing finger and her hand. Turned to more directly face Alden. Her eyes drifted up to his horns. Those she had seen on some animals before. Not on a person. And he had the presence (the aura?) of something like the Dying God about him. Unlike people. Unlike elves and humans. He was strange. Like her.

So she asked him, "Why are you strange?"

Though perhaps confusing, her question did not have the tone of malice or accusation. It was one of genuine interest. Curiosity.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Last edited:
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden looks down upon the creature before him, confused. Some sort of sentient beast child? Either way, she didn't seem out to do wrong by anyone, and he'd hate to see the kid done in by bandits. Thus he decides, for now, that the kid is with him. It's then that she finally speaks. Those gray eyes of his follow her finger to rest on the village. She'd see those pupils of his dilate into reptilian slits when he sees those bandits in the distance. What is this man, exactly? Certainly very far from human. "Profane things indeed. Slaying the profane ones will help....but, our focus must be making sure the elves survive to get away from those bandits. We save who we can, and cut down whoever gets in our way."

Then she asked him. Asked him why he was strange. The question had a childish innocence about it, it was impossible for him to be mad. It actually drew a chuckle out of him instead, a wide grin on his face showing off long incisors in his mouth. "Why is anyone strange, eh?" He offers her his hand for her to shake...or sniff, or whatever animal kids do. Hell if he knows. "Name's Aldenaxk. I'm a tiefling. There's a very long explanation for why I look the way I do, but the short of it is that I have an elder god of some sort somewhere in my bloodline." He shrugs.

Hahnah
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Slaying the profane ones would help--it was her purpose. Hahnah had not given thought to purposefully saving the elves in the town, only to killing their human tormentors. This was her way. Her caretakers had saved her from the Temple. They were kind. But other elves were not so kind. They were generally wary of her presence if she tried to approach them. She did not know why. But the elves of Falwood at least were not like the humans to the north.

Saving the elves--like her caretakers had saved her. This she could try.

The Horned Man chuckled. Grinned. Asked her a question that baffled her. And then he extended out his hand toward her, as her caretakers had done when first they found her on the floor of the Temple. She reached out. Took hold of his hand. Didn't shake it. Just held it. To her there was nothing odd or awkward about the gesture at all.

"Alden...necks. Aldenakss...kuh. Aldenaxk," she said, figuring out aloud how to form the sound of his name herself. When she thought she had it, she shared her own, "My name is Hahnah. I am an elf." She seemed to ponder it for a moment. Corrected herself, "I am a strange elf."

Her ranger caretakers had told her the truth when she asked them: that they didn't know what she was or where she had come from. But they had adopted her nonetheless. And now, in the many years after their deaths and with no better knowledge or guidance, she had taken to simply calling herself an elf in the rare few occasions when she could say as much. It had never been a convincing answer to those who heard it. It wasn't to her. How could she be? Her blood was not the same as the blood of elves. Let alone not looking like them.

But Aldenaxk called himself a tiefling. This she had not heard before. This was something new. He had that aura of familiarity about him--was Hahnah herself a tiefling? Did she have an elder god somewhere in her bloodline? And what exactly did that mean, bloodline? She had some notions, but these were only guesses. She always had questions. Never answers. Part of it was not knowing where to look. She prayed to the Dying God for guidance, and did not ever receive it. But still she prayed.

"After we kill the profane and save the elves, will you tell me what a tiefling is?"

She was holding onto Alden's hand. Ignorant of what she ought to be doing in the gesture and when she should be letting go.

* * * * *​

The town of Elyr-Morath was beset by the Sons of Cortosi throughout.

The Southern quarter of town--closest to Hahnah and Alden--had the least amount of mercenaries running amok, the least amount of fires set. Many of the elves were hiding in their homes, afraid to be seen by daring to run into the streets and attempt escape.

The Eastern quarter of town was likewise residential, but many of the homes were built into the trees allowed to grow within the bounds of the town. The strongest resistance was here: the elves who lived in the trees venerated the wilds and the hunts, and bows were plentiful. They loosed arrows down at their mercenary assailants, harrying them as they pushed to ascend the winding stairs to their homes. But it was a losing battle for the elves.

The Western quarter of town featured theatres, places of art and craft and worship, some homes. The looting by the Sons was heavy here, the fires slow to spread as the spoils were great and time was needed to take and load the plunder onto carts.

The Northern quarter of town--where the Sons had first arrived--was almost entirely consumed in flame. Once a market, now a hellish firescape of choking smoke and violent orange light and once splendorous buildings emaciated to blackened skeletons. The Sons would not expect any trouble coming from here.

And in the center of town, Lord Ifrendith's manor. Where Captain Kaijo, the man whose iron leadership kept the Sons cohesive as a unit, resided.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
"Aye. I'll cook us some dinner, and then we can talk it over while we eat. That sound good to ye?" He asks, letting go of her hand to playfully ruffle her hair if she lets him. She reminds him of his younger days, when he would care for his fellow orphans on the street. It strikes a weak spot in his heart, to be certain. He makes no comment on the elf part. Who knows? She could really be an elf of some sort. He isn't one to judge.

With that conversation sorted, his eyes turned upon the village once again has he thought things through. The elves would likely mistake them both for opposition. It wasn't best to approach from that angle. There were too many looters concentrated in the western quarter, making that approach undesirable as well. That finally brought his eyes upon the Northern quarter. That got the gears in his head turning, for certain. A smirk formed on those pale grey lips. "I have a plan We're heading to the northern quarter, you need to avoid the flames, but for this plan to work, I need to be in them." Men were superstitious creatures, and most have yet to see a tiefling. This was a perfect storm in the making. His gaze looks to the girl beside him. "We shall strike fear into their hearts. With that fear, we will win the day." He takes out a small knife, and cuts the tip of his index finger. He's no mage, but he knows a few spells here and there. He proceeds to paint a circle with a triangle within it on his throat, in that crimson blood.

" Ľ̶͓͎͝é̸̡̝͘t̶̟̍ ̶̼̲̈́̂u̸̝͌̚s̵̲̄͝ͅ ̷̝͎̔̚m̴̺͗a̴̻͉͒̄k̸̼̄̈́e̶̙̬͘ ̵̱̉t̸̟̤̋h̷̗̗́͘e̶̝̬̿m̵̲̪̆̈ ̸̣͌ṱ̷̮̾͌r̴̝̪̕ȅ̵͍͔͊m̵͍̦̔͋ḅ̵͌̈́l̵͇̇̇e̶̥͇̊͑." The magic. It's done something to his voice. Deep and demonic, yet with a hint of sophistication, as if a dark god is speaking through him. With that, he unsheathes his sword, and begins toward the village. He makes sure to sneak along the outskirts, peeking around to see which bandits are where. He spots a few lingering in the northern quarter, making sure the houses are thoroughly burnt. This was perfect.

They could not see him through the flames as he went through a hole that was in the back of the house. Likely to Hahnah's amazement, the flames would not harm him, not even a little. He was completely immune to fire. While he could not manipulate it, it seemed to gather around him, desperate to burn him in to ash, but to no avail. It only added to the horned silhouette that the brigands would now see within the house they were burning, with white eyes that were glowing brighter than the flames themselves.

The demonic silhouette points it's sword at them, it's voice terrible and immaculate.

"Y̵͈̫͋ŏ̵͙͝u̴̧͈͠͝ ̶̰̰̓̽h̷̺̋̈ạ̷̿͗v̶͆͐ͅe̴̘̦̐ ̷̥̅͛a̴̤̚ ̵̝̻̈́̔c̸͕̗̔͝ḧ̶͕́o̴̫̣͘i̶̼̕͝c̸̰̘̋͠e̷͖̲͑.̷̮͉́ ̵̮͚̀͝Ẻ̵͖í̴͓̈́t̵̙͝h̶͇̋̎ę̸̊ͅr̸̠̄͘ ̴͓̈̈ĺ̵̦͆ę̷̈́ä̷̢̠́̚v̵̮͖̇e̸̙̟̍ ̵̨̱̌t̵̳̕ͅh̵̞̞̀i̴̬͝ś̸͎͆ ̶͖̉͝p̵̬͙̾̕l̵̺͑͑a̶͙͂͜c̵̝̀̓e̸̡̛,̷̱͇̌͑ ̷̺̚ö̶̟͇́̉r̴͔̼̋ ̵̨͔̑p̷̙͗̕ì̵̳̑c̴̥̅͜k̵̮̑ ̷̱̓̔a̷̢̍ ̶̝̑͜͝g̸̲̊o̵̧̒ď̸͈͜ ̴́ͅà̷̞̤n̴̩͑̋d̸̖̦̓ ̷̧̀p̸̨̳̌̚r̷̻͂̄a̷̢̹̾̕y̴͚̑̐ ̷̹͗f̴̛̼͠o̵̦̾́r̸͓̼͑̚ ̵̤͙̆̏m̸̬͛e̷̺̹͛̇r̷͖̎c̷͙͗͜͠y̸̥̾,̸̢̙̽̃ ̴̥͐̽b̷͓̜̆ė̸̠̜͂c̷͕̾á̷̠̯ű̶̮s̶̢̫͑̀e̵̩̤͋͆ ̴̹̂Ị̸̡̓ ̵̧̧̈́ḫ̴̝͊á̶̬v̴̡̓̑ḛ̶͙̈́͒ ̸̩̀̍ṇ̷̎̎o̴̼͐n̷̙̰̓͑e̶͚̎ ̶͍̈́t̷͖̞̓̕o̴̳̦̔̈́ ̴̠͌͘g̷̼͛̃ȉ̷̻͉̋v̷̧̈́͝ḙ̸̛͙ ̸͈̣͂̾t̵̬̉̀ȏ̶̹ ̷̣͛T̷̼̖̒H̵͎͛͠E̷̢̯̊ ̵͈̼̐́L̷͖̦̿I̷̪͗Ķ̸̀Ë̴̜̪́S̶̖̥̅͒ ̷̖͓̄O̷̝͍̽͒F̶̞͇̅͒ ̵̗̾̽Y̵͚͂O̷̥͂̆U̶̻̯̾." He booms. With that said, it begins trudging towards them through the flames, threatening to send their souls to the infernal plane.

Hahnah
 
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Hahnah nodded. "Yes. That sounds good to me."

She was hungry, and monsters were not ones to share their kills. Neither were animals. It was the way of things. Rest would also be good. Sound rest, like when she had a true home.

Alden let go of her hand. Used that hand to ruffle her hair--Hahnah looking up as much as she could with her eyes as he did this, one of her eyes partially closing as strands of hair got close to it. He surveyed what he could see of Elyr-Morath once done. Then spoke to her again.

To the northern quarter. Avoid the flames. Yes, she could do that. He needed to be in them? Wouldn't they hurt him? Or was he like some of the monsters she had seen, resistant or immune? She was strange, he was strange--he could be immune. Maybe he would tell her about that. During dinner. Dinner was now sounding better than good.

We shall strike fear into their hearts. With that fear, we will win the day.

"The profane fear their own cleansing."

She watched him take out the knife. Watched further--with a hint of dismay--as he cut himself. Why did he do that? He was drawing a symbol on his neck now.

And then his voice. Its deepness resonated in the core of her chest, as if her heart vibrated in tune to the words. How did Alden do that? Change his voice? Was he still the same person? It was magic, that she knew, but it was magic of a kind new to her experience. Hahnah lightly reached out toward his neck, wanting to touch the blood and the symbol drawn with it.

But Alden drew his sword and set off before she could. Hahnah followed. Walking in the dissonantly refined and stately way that she did; this perhaps clashing with her overall fiendish appearance, yet she walked with the elven grace she had emulated from her caretakers nonetheless.

At the Northern Quarter, Hahnah covered her mouth with her hand as they approached. The wind was blowing the smoke from the fires in their direction, and while it was still well above their heads the ashy scent was powerful and unpleasant. Alden went directly into a burning building, neither his flesh nor his clothes consumed. Hahnah stood for a moment outside of the fire-wreathed hole Alden had gone in through, eyes wandering around in their sockets half in astonishment in seeing his words manifest in reality and half in searching for a way around to avoid the fire.

She had to go to an adjacent home--this one a steaming and smoldering ruin, dotted with glowing embers rather than swirling with an inferno of full-fledged flames. She crouched low, peeked out from around the collapsed and blackened woodwork and rubble, and saw the small gaggle of human bandits out in the street.

Alden's booming ultimatum caught the humans by surprise. Some swore, flinched. All of them rounded on their heels to face the threat--and their faces paled. Some swore more loudly, others lamented something about "Where are the mages!?", and the within seconds the gaggle lost their nerve. They abandoned their torches and even threw down their packs full of spoils to the ground and ran toward the center of town.

All except one of their number.

"Stand and fight, you cowards! This is elven trickery! Captain Kaijo will have your he--!"

Hahnah had manifested a floating Knife of Elemental Hatred above her right shoulder. Her magic hovered there as the brave one talked, as she reckoned her aim. Then with a twist of her hand the sorcerous Knife shot through the air and slid through the "T" opening of his helm. The brave one jerked. A splash of blood fell from the inside of his helm and coated his spaulders and breastplate. He toppled without grace to the ground, his helmed head coming to rest at an unnatural angle. The brave one's fellows, having stopped at his call and having considered regrouping and fighting, now gave sure flight to the town center after seeing his death.

Hahnah did not smile at the result of her work. Only a hard narrow of her brow and a thin set line of her mouth.

They would tremble. They would fear.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
"T̵̜̩̾e̴̺̫̊l̶̯̑l̷͖̓̆ ̷͈̻̾y̸͓͠o̸̳͔̔u̴͔͖̎̅ ̷̭͊ĺ̵͉ȇ̵͜ã̴̼̞d̴̘̪͝ë̷͈ȓ̸̹̈́ ̵̮̑t̴̙̔ȍ̶̯͠ ̸͖̉à̴̪̙b̵͍̚ͅa̷̗̍ǹ̵̡͉͂d̶̞͇͒̀o̴̥͗͝n̶̖̎ ̸͇̔t̴̡̲̀̈́h̴͓̙̒i̸̩͂́s̶̰̐ ̶͔̍̀p̶̡̗̑ļ̸͇̐a̶͎̠̓̌c̶͎̿ȅ̴̠,̵̭̊̒ ̵̟͙́f̴̭͊ȯ̶̦͓̀r̶͓̮͒̕ ̷̩̍̿t̵̰̂h̵̦̞͌̅ê̷̬r̸̡̊e̷̡̓͗͜ ̷̫̞͆į̸͇̆s̵̼͛̾ ̴̪̠̈́n̷̪͖̒o̶̥͆̕ ̸̲̝̃́g̶̮͐̓ö̶͉́͒d̷̜̳̚͝ ̴͚͙̐t̵̨͎͑͝h̵̟̓̈́a̶̱̐ṭ̶̕ ̵̹̭̐c̴̪̈a̸̳̒ņ̸̔̋ ̴͚͉͝p̴̫͕̋͝r̷͚̻͝e̴͍̍ŝ̶̭̿ê̵͙̫ř̸̥̘v̶͎̣̾̎e̴͚͈̋͆ ̷̹̀h̸̫͛ǐ̵͗͜m̵̬̒ ̸̙͎̏̈f̸̡͎̀r̶̥̞̾͌ṍ̴̯m̷̜͛ ̵̥̈͘h̶̺̓i̴̛̓ͅś̶̩̭̅ ̶̭̖̆͋f̵͔̯́͑a̶̱͉͋͆t̶͎̔e̵̱̜̾ ̵̧͔̽͋i̸͔͌̕f̶͇̊̔ ̶̧̪̈h̷̝̐̆ͅe̸͍̐͋ ̸̻̼́d̷̯͉́̈ơ̶̧͎͛ȅ̸̩͖̌s̷͖̆̈ ̴̯̏̋n̸̟͑͝o̵̼͖̊̈́t̷̥̐̌ ̷̼̃a̵͖̿̅b̸̠̘̊ầ̷̠n̶̠͔̎͛d̷͕̊̓ö̴͔́͂ǹ̴͔̫ ̶͎̩̏t̷͚͗h̶͎̑i̴̘̖͊̇s̸̨̩̾͐ ̷͕̤͌͗c̴̙̽a̸̧͋ŭ̸̯̥͝s̸͔͐ë̵̡͉͐.̶͙̈͛!" He howls in that terrible voice. Kaijo would hear it, that monstrous boom as Alden exits the flames. He no longer is on fire, and his clothes seem tattered. But he is covered in ash, black as night with those grey eyes seeming to glow in comparison. A black shadow, surrounded in flames, head horned and eyes aglow, was now closing in on the mercenaries. Mercy was lacking, for certain. With this next step, elven trickery was not an option. To them, it's a demon come from the infernal plane, here to consume their souls and exact vengeance.

"Ỹ̷̹̹̕o̵̯͛͒ư̸̟̲̚ ̶̦̀̈f̸̘̄̈́à̸̖̟͗č̴̪̍e̷̖̙̔ ̶̢̈́̓ͅt̴̗͘h̸͙̑ę̶̜̍ ̶̲͊͘i̶̪̱͘n̶̟̈f̶̛̲̏e̵̦̓r̴͔͓͂n̶̡͓͌͌a̴̬͚̕l̷̥͇̍͌ ̶̲̍b̴̞͗̓ũ̷̞͝t̴͕̺͂̕c̸̗̼̕h̷̨̘̐ȩ̸̖͠r̶͖̃.̶̛̪̘̂ ̸̝͖͂͠Ĩ̴ͅ ̷̖̏̌w̸̥̌̆͜i̵̤͖͒ḷ̵͕̂l̶̳͐ ̸̥͊̓r̶̼̩̿i̸̞͋̆p̸̛ͅ ̶̠͔̇ã̸̭̯n̸͕͖̐̀d̶̯͐ ̵̺͂͠t̷̫̀̂ȩ̶̥͐ȧ̸̘ŕ̷̯,̷͕̭̓ ̶̝̭͑u̸̻̔n̵̜̂ͅt̷̺̙̿ḯ̷͇͗l̸̛͇͘ ̷̝͔̽ǐ̸̢͈ṫ̴̘̓ ̸̙͒i̴͕͌͛s̵̪̓͋ ̵͔͐͌ḏ̶̤̀͝o̵̞͝n̷̥̋e̸̤͎͠.̴̨̀̊" As he speaks, one man runs from cover to charge him. He doesn't even stop speaking as he parries the man's blade aside with one swing of his sword, that extreme strength sending it flying aside while his left hand shoots out to grab the man by the throat, and lift him high in the air off the ground. If Kaijo has come out to watch, or if there are any other bandits watching this strange demon, Alden looks them directly in the eyes, and squeezes. They would hear a sickening crack over the flames as the body in his grasp goes limp. "Ḭ̸̯̿̅ ̵̪̱̐ḫ̵̆á̵̯v̸͔̼͗e̷̫͛̚ ̴̨͖͋t̶͍̞̓̚ḧ̷͎ẻ̸̳͕̏ ̷̯̺́̕r̸͇̀͘ī̴̠̈́g̶̗̙̒ḧ̵̡͙́t̶͍̯̐͗ ̷̤͗̋t̵͍̤̓͊i̵̻͊ ̸̻̖͑ḓ̶̥̏̀i̸͕͘s̸̥̪̎m̸̺̑ḙ̶̠̋m̴̫̝͘͘b̶̲̹͊ȩ̶̜͒ŕ̴̮̍,̸̗̭̏̎ ̷̣͓̇͛a̷͙̪̐n̷̳͌͝d̸̢͘ ̶̡̞̾͛y̵͉̲͠ó̴̼͑u̶̻͛͗ ̶̡͈̆ḣ̵̺a̶̛̯͓͘v̷̹̱̋e̸͙̓ ̶̥̟̔t̶̫̓͜h̶̪͂è̶̠̹ ̶͖̊r̶͉̫͌̿i̵͕͕͠g̴͍̝̏h̵̨̗̑̇t̶̥̑͆ ̵̲̒́t̴̮̙͛o̵̠̝̿̓ ̷̝̃s̶͉̊ũ̴̯̓f̶̣̄f̴̰̫̀ě̶͔͠r̴̠͛͊" He hisses as he tosses the body aside, into the ruins of the burning house. Blade still in hand, he attempts to state a bluff in order to keep himself protected.

"P̷̡̱̒́r̶͓̗͌̽ẹ̶̐̏s̶̭̙͊̐e̸̛̩̦͘r̵̲͊͒v̷͍͒ẻ̵̟ ̴͈͕̒ỷ̷̩̀ō̵̝u̵͓̦͋r̷̺͗͜ ̶̨͔͠a̴̛͍̚r̴̙̎̕ȑ̴̥̈́ọ̵̌w̸̨͛ś̸̻̀,̶̞̓ ̷̺̜͘͝t̵͈̚h̷͇̋è̷̖͔̕ỷ̶̦̞̈́ ̸̜̙̇̆ȁ̵͈r̴̹͇̾̈́e̶̟̎ ̶̢̥́̑w̴̻͗o̶̼̔ŗ̴̒t̷̨͖̿͠h̷̳͝ ̸̡̃̀l̸͕̂ĕ̴͓̌͜s̷̝͌s̶͇̾ ̵͔͙̐ẗ̴̰̤́ḥ̵͙̇å̴̼ǹ̶̡͇ ̸̫̲̇͠d̴̢̙̄̄í̶̗̚r̶̢̔ţ̶͍͑̕.̴͕̙́ ̶̛̗̐W̴͔̜̕ő̴̡̙o̴͖̦͂d̷̦̲̃́ ̸̩̬̓a̴͒ͅn̷̫̟̅d̵͈̐̊ ̵̨̨͠m̸̡̋̈́ḙ̷́͝ṱ̴̢̉̈́a̸̳͐̏l̶̛̩̖̏,̶̠͎̏ ̴̙̌f̷̻͆e̸̯͗è̵̱̮̿b̶̥͠l̶͎̾̌e̸̦̲̓,̸̼̦̒̈ ̵͈́y̸̤̲̓i̷̘͊e̷͉̞̍ḽ̸̓d̵̙̈́̐i̸̧̜̓̈ņ̴̤́g̷̟̓ ̷͍̐̒ȕ̷͖̤ṉ̸̹̀͘ḑ̶̢̂̈́ē̴̼͇ṙ̴͖̎ ̵̲͙́̕ẗ̶̻h̴͚͎̄͘e̷̼̾ ̸͖͊͠f̵̱̀l̸̯̎̎a̶̟͋m̶̭͆͝é̴͎s̶̟̽ ̴̦̘̀̊o̸̽̆ͅf̵͓̂ ̷̟̮͑̾r̴̩̱͂͌e̶͍̕͜ṫ̵̙r̸̩̓i̷̤͒͑b̷̳̋̃u̶͚̎ẗ̶͚́i̸͖̔o̶̹̿n̷̥̺̽̍.̶͍͈̎." If this fails, he'll block the arrows by unslinging the shield on his back and putting it between him and the threat. Hopefully, they will be so full of fear that either their aim will not be true, or they won't fire at all. Hahnah is getting quite the show. It's hard to believe this is actually the man she saw moments ago. Is it? Or has the elder god possessed him? What is this man? How does he do these things? Perhaps he could teach her.

Hahnah
 
  • Bless
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Hahnah darted from safe spot to safe spot, keeping off of the street as best she could and out of sight. Following loosely behind Alden's path. There were a lot of humans, that was clear. They were dangerous in large numbers, dangerous while armored, and dangerous when organized. Hahnah knew, and Aldenaxk knew it too. But they were not immune to fear. This Aldenaxk knew too. Hahnah adored his magic, but she did not know if he was powerful enough to slay this legion of humans in the town without mortal injury. Hahnah could not--not in so short a time. Her magic would take its toll on her body, causing her to bleed to death, before the task was done.

So Aldenaxk's plan she adored. It was clever. Make them fear. Make them think that you were more powerful than you were. They would not all be slain, the humans, but they would all be defeated. That was good. Their time would come later.

Hahnah played into it. His plan. Staying out of sight and moving only when there weren't any humans to see or when they weren't looking. She launched Orbs and Knives of Elemental Hatred from the smoke and ruins of the Northern Quarter's market buildings, trying her best to make it seem as though these were part of Alden's power.

The humans had coalesced some. Those in the Northern Quarter grouping together amidst this new commotion. They had archers. She hated human archers especially. It was like they were imitating her elven caretakers, trying to be rangers themselves, making a mockery of it.

P̷̡̱̒́r̶͓̗͌̽ẹ̶̐̏s̶̭̙͊̐e̸̛̩̦͘r̵̲͊͒v̷͍͒ẻ̵̟ ̴͈͕̒ỷ̷̩̀ō̵̝u̵͓̦͋r̷̺͗͜ ̶̨͔͠a̴̛͍̚r̴̙̎̕ȑ̴̥̈́ọ̵̌w̸̨͛ś̸̻̀,̶̞̓ ̷̺̜͘͝t̵͈̚h̷͇̋è̷̖͔̕ỷ̶̦̞̈́ ̸̜̙̇̆ȁ̵͈r̴̹͇̾̈́e̶̟̎ ̶̢̥́̑w̴̻͗o̶̼̔ŗ̴̒t̷̨͖̿͠h̷̳͝ ̸̡̃̀l̸͕̂ĕ̴͓̌͜s̷̝͌s̶͇̾ ̵͔͙̐ẗ̴̰̤́ḥ̵͙̇å̴̼ǹ̶̡͇ ̸̫̲̇͠d̴̢̙̄̄í̶̗̚r̶̢̔ţ̶͍͑̕.̴͕̙́ ̶̛̗̐W̴͔̜̕ő̴̡̙o̴͖̦͂d̷̦̲̃́ ̸̩̬̓a̴͒ͅn̷̫̟̅d̵͈̐̊ ̵̨̨͠m̸̡̋̈́ḙ̷́͝ṱ̴̢̉̈́a̸̳͐̏l̶̛̩̖̏,̶̠͎̏ ̴̙̌f̷̻͆e̸̯͗è̵̱̮̿b̶̥͠l̶͎̾̌e̸̦̲̓,̸̼̦̒̈ ̵͈́y̸̤̲̓i̷̘͊e̷͉̞̍ḽ̸̓d̵̙̈́̐i̸̧̜̓̈ņ̴̤́g̷̟̓ ̷͍̐̒ȕ̷͖̤ṉ̸̹̀͘ḑ̶̢̂̈́ē̴̼͇ṙ̴͖̎ ̵̲͙́̕ẗ̶̻h̴͚͎̄͘e̷̼̾ ̸͖͊͠f̵̱̀l̸̯̎̎a̶̟͋m̶̭͆͝é̴͎s̶̟̽ ̴̦̘̀̊o̸̽̆ͅf̵͓̂ ̷̟̮͑̾r̴̩̱͂͌e̶͍̕͜ṫ̵̙r̸̩̓i̷̤͒͑b̷̳̋̃u̶͚̎ẗ̶͚́i̸͖̔o̶̹̿n̷̥̺̽̍

The line of some half-dozen archers aimed as those other mercenaries without ranged weaponry stood behind them. The sergeant--emboldened by the sole fact that they need not approach in melee combat with Alden--yelled, "Loose!"

Six arrows sailed down the street. Some blocked by Alden's shield, some bouncing and skipping along the street or sticking into the burning skeletal frames of buildings. One of the archers, struck in both the hand and his exposed neck by thin Knives of Elemental Hatred, gurgled and grasped at his sudden wounds and fell. None had seen where the Knives had come from, what exactly happened to him, so focused were they on Alden's ash-covered and demonic presence.

"Fall back!" the sergeant ordered. "Fall back to the Captain! Hustle! Go!"

And the contingent of men all turned and ran. Their tactical retreat more akin to a rout. They were all running (some out of abject fear) toward the center of town. Toward the Lord's walled manor. Intent on regrouping with the Captain and bolstering their numbers against this unexpected threat.

Hahnah peeked out through the open doorway of a shop whose backside was alight with fire but whose frontside had yet to catch. Waiting for the humans down the street to be well and gone.

And she said, loud enough to be heard over the snapping and crackling of the fires, "Aldenaxk. There will be many of them. I will stay hidden. I will try to kill the brave ones."

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
In truth, Alden had incredible strength. Not superhuman, but he could easily wield a greatsword one handed as if it were an average one handed sword, which made the use of a one handed sword in his hands look superhuman. Certainly superhuman enough to scare the bandits, which is exactly what was about to happen. There were some men here and there hidden around corners to ambush the strange demon. Unwise, but so was killing innocent people and not expecting repercussions. A man rounded the corner of a burnt building to charge Alden. Before the brigand could finish his swing, his companions would bear witness to his terrible slaughter. Alden's blade is a blur as it comes down, a sickening sound of flesh and bone tearing audible as the man's sword arm flies off along with his entire shoulder before Alden roundhouses the fellow into the nearby pile of burning wood.

"S̶̟̔h̵͉͑̅ò̵̘͔̊w̷͇̓ ̷̧̍͜y̶͍̜͘o̵͚͇̅̚ǔ̸̼͒ͅr̷̡̂̈́ ̵̝̇̍ĺ̴̥̀ë̷̯͖́ȧ̷͔̋d̵͎͒̾e̸̬͖̐̾r̶͋̕͜ͅ ̴̞̙͋s̵̢͋o̸̜̗͌̎ ̴͙̅͌ț̶͛ḣ̵̘́a̸̳̒̌ṫ̶̨ ̴̱̃͊h̵̙͎͑ē̷͓͈ ̴̜̕m̶̳̃ả̵͖̣y̵̺̍ ̸̗̜̊̇t̶̯̝͛r̶͙̽̌e̵̻̍m̵̛̫̩͐b̵̝̈́̃l̶̙͗̚e̷̦͌̕ ̶͍͕̂͝ȋ̷̮̉ņ̶͖̃̊ ̵̧̍f̴̖̣̊e̸͕͋̀ȁ̷̘r̷̗͐!̸̕" Alden howls in that terrible heart rending voice as he closes in on the mansion. any foolish opposition cut down in his wake. In reality, Alden's arm was tired as all hell. Cutting off limbs was no easy task, but it was part of the show. To them, it seemed a demon was effortlessly butchering their compatriots, with no signs of slowing down. The second man swings a greatsword at Alden, which he leans under, blade going out in an arc to chop off the man's right leg with a sickening crack so that he falls on his side. Alden then brings down his shield on the side of the man's head to cause another sickening crack, splitting the head like a melon. Each action is done as brutally as possible, to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. For this to work, they needed to be straight up pissing their pants.

Hahnah
 
  • Bless
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Aldenaxk was an accomplished human slayer. They tried to ambush him. It didn't work. He held a large sword that humans usually held with both hands in one. Used that large weapon to cut through armor and bone alike. The fleeing humans heavily outnumbered those who tried to fight. Hahnah did not need to use her magic. Even when some of the brave ones got close, Alden had the agility to keep himself unharmed and to kill them.

Hahnah followed in his wake. She could not be so direct at times because of the fires; sometimes she would need to cross the street to a lesser devastated source of cover. She fell behind a little at times and she got maybe too close at times. The fires in the Northern Quarter were intense. They left scarce options.

This burning...it did not make sense to Hahnah. These humans hated the elves. But why did they destroy the things the elves built. Hahnah hated humans, but she felt no impulse to destroy the things that they built. Taking their lives was enough. The homes they built, the armor they forged, the weapons they made, those things were made by human hands but they were not human themselves. They were things of wood and iron and stone.

Ahead, a larger building. A house. A mansion. Elegant curving roofs built in the elven style. Pleasing to Hahnah's eyes. And it was not yet set aflame. This was where the humans were retreating to.

Hahnah darted from one source of cover to the next. From a shop that collapsed from its weakened structure once she ran from it to another that had only a torch thrown in through the open front door, its flame not catching on the slick tile inside.

And she covertly kept trailing after Alden.

* * * * *​

"Where is Lord Ifrendith?" Captain Kaijo asked the final hostage in the manor's courtyard. A younger elven man, whose age was still well within a human lifespan.

Before the hostage could answer, the wave of retreating men--somewhere between a dozen and two dozen of them--hurried into the courtyard through the open gates and joined the Captain and the men already gathered there. The sergeant called to him.

Kaijo turned from the hostage. Regarded the sergeant and the looks on the faces of the men accompanying him. Said, "What is it?"

"Trouble," said the sergeant. "Not the elves. Some kind of--"

"Demon!" said one of the men, a superstitious old pirate. Murmurs of concurrence seemed to confirm his superstitions has having at least some merit.

The sergeant described as best he could what he'd seen and what his men had seen. Kaijo listened. Got them arranged into a formation, since the demon or whatever it was seemed to be heading their way. These were all hard men who'd survived the rigors of combat, and even they were spooked. He needed to lead them up front or they'd fall apart. He didn't think he'd need to rally the entire company spread throughout Elyr-Morath to deal with one enemy though.

To the two mages in his company, he instructed them to go inside the manor and take up positions at the windows with the archers. Even the mage who solely had fire magic could pick up a bow and use it. Magic-users of the right demeanor for the company were hard to come by, and Kaijo didn't want one of them to die unnecessarily.

Sometime during this preparation he heard the howl of something with a twisted voice. Saying something about leader and tremble in fear.

Kaijo had his gauntlets donned again and his shield and dwarven waraxe (damn did the dwarves make some fine weapons of war) in hand. He stepped out to the head of the formation of his men. Archers positioned in the windows of the manor had their arrows ready to pull back.

Captain Kaijo clapped the side of his waraxe against his shield. Once. Twice. Three times. More.

His men behind all started to do the same with their weapons. It was the most primeval drumbeat of war, and Kaijo absolutely loved that thunderous sound.

And they awaited the approach of this so-called demon.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
What they would all see next would only cement the fear that this being was a demon. When they had turned to run, Alden had paused his slow and dreadful approach. He instead went towards the arm he had lopped off the man earlier, and picked it up. Sheathing his blade, he did the same with the lone leg as well. Using the blood they were covered in, he proceeded to draw insiginias upon them. Squares with triangles in them to be exact, all over the severed limbs.

They would see the demon approach their front lines, holding these limbs. Instead of charging them, it stopped, standing before them, eyes locked on to Kaijo. The demon tossed the leg and arm before them. He gives them time to realize the fact that these are covered in runes before he hisses in a voice that could make the gods tremble.

"Į̸͎̋ṅ̷ͅ ̶̣̐̂d̴̬̄ē̷̡͙a̷͍̾t̸͇̃h̶͙͂ͅ,̷̠̖͂ ̵̪̟̎y̵̦̗̾̈ó̴̻̬u̸͉̥͒r̶̯̽̉ ̵͇̎m̸͉͈͂͐e̶̼̟̾n̷̜̩͠ ̷̨̈́b̷̖̎̀ȅ̷̜͘t̶͓͠r̴̦̞̈́ạ̷̘͂̔y̴̘̙̏ ̷̠͑̉y̷̻̖͆͝ȏ̴̼u̴̫̔" He says with a dark chuckle, before clapping his hands. What came next was blood curdling. There was no fire, no actual explosion. The runes activated on the limbs, causing them to explode into blood splatters and shards of bone, with waves of magic kinetic force strong enough to send men flying off their feet. With the use of blood, he had created grenades. There is no doubt, this was a demon, and they were at it's mercy.

Hahnah
 
  • Cheer
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Captain Kaijo watched the approach of the demon. Yes, the damn thing did look demonic enough, his men hadn't been exaggerating that part. Where in the hell did it come from? Did the elves summon it? Pah, were they that desperate?

The Sons of Cortosi would give that monster a welcome to Arethil, alright. Make its stay short-lived.

Kaijo stopped beating his weapon against his shield when the demon threw the dismembered limbs at the feet of the formation. And he did indeed see that they were covered with strange and fiendish runes.

Į̸͎̋ṅ̷ͅ ̶̣̐̂d̴̬̄ē̷̡͙a̷͍̾t̸͇̃h̶͙͂ͅ,̷̠̖͂ ̵̪̟̎y̵̦̗̾̈ó̴̻̬u̸͉̥͒r̶̯̽̉ ̵͇̎m̸͉͈͂͐e̶̼̟̾n̷̜̩͠ ̷̨̈́b̷̖̎̀ȅ̷̜͘t̶͓͠r̴̦̞̈́ạ̷̘͂̔y̴̘̙̏ ̷̠͑̉y̷̻̖͆͝ȏ̴̼u̴̫̔

He didn't have any time to issue the order; he just raised his own shield up and all the men behind him had better do the same. It helped partially. Shards of bone pelted Kaijo's shield and against his plate armor, and one man behind him gave a sharp yelp of pain. But against the kinetic force they'd no defense, and the formation was disrupted as Kaijo and his men were thrown off of their feet. At least one man was dead, victim to foul luck and a shard of bone with the right trajectory; when he was thrown off of his feet he no longer moved.

Kaijo, down on the ground, snarled in anger. Called out, "Reform!" And then to the archers in the windows of the manor, "Archers, loose!"

Captain Kaijo and his men on the ground were all getting back onto their feet while the archers let loose a solid volley down at Alden. The sole mage with magic other than fire--visible from a third floor window--began to summon a guillotine of ice some distance above Alden's head. It would take him a few seconds to complete his spell, and for the guillotine to plunge downward.

* * * * *​

Hahnah hid, crouching between the statue of an old elven hero and a circle of several vendor stalls arranged around it--this statue in the town square at the foot of the open gates to the Lord's manor. Her vantage gave her a good view of Alden as he strode in through the gates and issued his decree. Not too close, not too far.

Maybe there was a way to sneak around. Get behind those men assembled inside the courtyard. Get inside the manor with the bowmen inside. From here she could see Alden well but she had no good trajectories for her Elemental Hatred.

If she could find a way up the side or rear walls. That could do. Or perhaps there was another gate or door around the back? There sometimes was more than one door for buildings and walls. This she knew.

There were two loud sounds. The men in the courtyard weren't standing anymore. Alden's work! Now she could move unseen. Get closer to the walls. Find another way in--

She stood.

And a hand grabbed her by the hair. Pulled her down roughly onto her back. A leather armor-clad mercenary was over her with a dagger--an Assassin. He plunged it down toward her neck--

Strands of Living Armor around her neck stretched and swatted the dagger off course. The tip of the weapon scraped against the paved stone of the street. Hahnah manifested a Tendril of Elemental Hatred in her palm. Lashed it at the Assassin's head like a small whip. The Assassin, in instinctual self-defense, swatted at the Tendril with the buckler on his left arm, dispelling most of it (somewhat surprised that this worked). Hahnah grabbed his knife-hand by the wrist. Bit down hard onto his gloved fingers. The Assassin gave a restrained cry of pain, losing his grip on the dagger but bashing Hahnah on the top of her head with his buckler. Hahnah as well loosened her bite and, holding still onto his wrist, rolled to avoid another bash. The Assassin, off-balance, lost his footing and fell on top of her.

They struggled in a frenzy on the ground, each catching knees and elbows from the other and their legs and arms smacking against the vendor stalls. Hahnah's Living Armor bristled and writhed with the violent movements of the Assassin so close, as if she wore a coat of agitated snakes. The Assassin was clothed and armored, leaving nothing but the flesh above his nose vulnerable to her magic. But if she could get eye contact with him, that would work well.

The dagger was still somewhere beneath their wrestling and grappling.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Last edited:
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden's mind goes into overdrive as he plans a way through this within the span of a few seconds. If he was going to survive this, he had to be accurate in his planning. He couldn't let down Hahnah. He holds up his shield as the arrows fall, letting them hit the shield while he takes a moment to paint a rune on the inside of his forearm with his blood covered fingers. He took the window of time that the men were still getting up, after the arrows had hit his shield, to spin in a circle, letting the shield go at the end of the spin. If the throw works, it should fly like a frisbee to strike the mage who's trying to focus on the spell straight in the forehead, possibly cracking his skull. By now the other troops had gotten up, so he taps the rune he painted on his arm, which causes an explosion of smoke that envelops the group. Alden, covered in ash, blended in, practically a part of the smoke. A few screams could be heard as he cut his way through a few men, stabbing one of them in the chest and grabbing their shield as he kicks them away so that he can take it for himself. The smoke is almost cleared now. He takes these last few seconds to paint more blood runes on the shield, and throws it through the window where the archers are located. The second it lands, it would explode, sending kinetic forces outward in all directions along with metal and wooden shards.

Finally, the smoke clears. Kaijo would find Alden standing amongst two dead bodies, sword in hand. Meanwhile, all his archers and his mage are hopefully down, dead or injured. With the smoke, they wouldn't be able to tell how he did it, it would seem like a force of the gods had struck them down.

Alden points at Kaijo and his remaining men with his sword. "Leave with what men of yours remain." He states in that horrid voice. Hopefully Kaijo is wise enough to heed the warning. If not, he had to understand, he would die here.

Hahnah
 
  • Cheer
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
It was nothing short of disorienting. The demon's assault was loud, fast, and violent, comprised of things that went beyond the realm of conventional martial prowess. Swallowing smoke, movements unseen, more explosions of kinetic force, pelting shrapnel. Captain Kaijo and his men on the ground had tried their best, but none could land so much as an effective hit on the demon.

The smoke cleared, and once again Kaijo had to find his feet and stand. More of his dead men on the courtyard ground. One of his godsdamned mages, slumped over at the waist in a window sill of the manor with his skull caved in.

So, as much as Captain Kaijo wanted to end the fiend, exact a blood vengeance for his fallen men, he was halted by his consideration of what the demon said. That selfsame shrewdness that had kept the Sons of Cortosi out of the losing battle against the Anirian Guard only days ago came howling back to the Captain. They weren't getting paid to fight the thing, they'd surely plundered enough spoils already to go 'round, and this was more a job for Templars or Monsters Hunters anyway. The friends of the fallen would be sore, but they would just have to suck it up and be glad they hadn't joined their buddies.

"Hold!" Captain Kaijo ordered his men, both those on the ground and those archers in the manor. Warily he regarded Aldenaxk as he instructed further, "Gather the men in the other quarters and rendezvous outside of town. We're moving out."

"Captain--" started one of his lieutenants.

"Make it happen."

Kaijo gave a small jerk of his head in the direction of the rear wall of the manor grounds. Never taking his eyes off of Alden, Kaijo and his men started to slowly and apprehensively back away in retreat. Walking backward around the side of the manor and eventually to the servant's door located at the rear wall.

* * * * *​

Hahnah and the Assassin struggled on the ground, tucked into that space between the statue and the vendor stalls arranged in the circle around it. But eventually the Assassin inadvertently kicked out the wooden leg of one of the stalls and it collapsed adjacent to them and spilled apples all across the paved stone.

Hahnah had tried ripping away some of the leather armor. Bit the Assassin in his legs a few more times before being forced to let go. Then the Assassin had managed to turn himself around on top of her, facing her properly to straddle and gain better control over her. But he made a mistake. His hand had come down on her stomach and her Living Armor seized upon it, coiling around his fingers and trapping the whole of his hand. It limited him.

He saw the knife. Reached for it with his free hand. Grabbed it. Plunged it sideways toward Hahnah's left temple. She grabbed at his wrist, caught it and stopped the knife from penetrating her skull, but the blade had slid over the skin between her middle and ring fingers, slicing a small bloody trench into it. Hahnah gasped. But did not let it stop her.

Her other hand slapped down behind the Assassin's head. Fingers digging into his leather cap. And she forced him to look at her. Look into her eyes.

And the Cascade began. Hahnah's red-orange eyes boring deeply into his, stirring within him a brewing storm of destructive negative emotions: hatred of his mother, fear of his father, wrath against the wife he himself had murdered, and even the malice he had upon seeing Hahnah and sneaking up behind her and seeking to slit her throat. All of these emotions became evident upon his face, and he couldn't look away.

Hahnah made a motion with her right hand--the hand that had been holding the back of his head--and the stress culminated inside of him. His body spasmed harshly and even unnaturally; veins and arteries burst violently under his skin and even fissured portions of the flesh above. Indeed, blood dribbled like juice from a squeezed fruit down from his face and onto Hahnah's. Onto her skin and into her hair.

He collapsed down on her--dead--knocking the wind from her lungs. The knife slipped out of his grasp.

Hahnah breathed, quick and shallow, exhausted from the intense struggle. Her chest had to push up against his weight for each breath.

"I am the proof...of your iniquities," she said to his corpse. Panting as she did. "Our paths crossing...is the reckoning thereof."

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden stood there silently, acting the part of intimidation while the men wisely fled. Internally, he was relieved. he wasn't sure if he could keep up this damned charade. He watches them, waiting for them to flee the village. It is only when they are gone completely, that he takes out the metal water jug that's at his side, and pours whatever's left that hasn't evaporated onto his face to cleanse away the ashes, revealing his regular gray skin. "Gonna need a bath..." He mutters, using a half burnt rag to wipe the blood from his hands. He looks tired, all that magic wasn't easy. With the main threat gone, he could call out. "Kid, you alright? Are you ok?" It's then that he hears muffled talking, a familiar accent to be certain, and he hurries in that direction.

Soon enough, Hahnah would feel the weight of the dead man on top of her be pulled aside, a horned shadow standing above her. Alden crouches down after tossing aside the dead body, and ruffles her hair playfully once again. "I see ye handled yerself just fine, eh? Good job." He praises, a wide and friendly grin on his face. Taking her hand as he stands upright, he'll help pull her to her feet. He's wiped the rune from his neck, so his voice is once again normal. Once she's on her feet again, Alden gestures for her to follow. Judging by the direction, they were heading to the last holdout of the elven village, where people were still fighting before.

Once they get close to the holdout, Alden holds up his arms, and looks at Hahnah as if telling her to do the same. They likely heard the commotion, and saw glimpses of the supposed demon. Hopefully speaking in his normal voice as he tells the truth would calm them down. "Evenin to ye all. Don't you worry, I'm not actually a demon, I'm what's called a tiefling, if you folk have ever seen one of those before. Point is, I used some magic and illusions. The demon part? It was a bluff to get those brigands out of here. You are safe, and I am sorry for what you have lost." He does look genuinely sad for them. He'd make a note to talk to Alexandria, see about letting these villagers use her farmlands.

Hahnah
 
  • Bless
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
The Sons of Cortosi company busied themselves spreading the word of the Captain's orders and getting out of town, falling back to the pre-established rendezvous. Some in the Eastern quarter had to withdraw from active engagements, but retreat they did once they heard the order. No one wanted to be the fool left behind. Especially not if the Anirian Guard decided to make their way south.

So the men and women of the company fled from the town as the order was disseminated and began to gather in the forest to the northeast.

* * * * *​

The Assassin's weight slid off of her. Pulled off by Aldenaxk. She looked up at him, Alden, with wide eyes of wonder, of cementing trust. He ruffled her hair again, spreading some of the Assassin's blood a bit. She kept her injured left hand to the side. Let him pull her up by her right.

His voice had changed. Gone back to normal without the blood rune. That magic intrigued her--she had but the things which came to her innately. His magic was versatile. Effective. Clever magic for clever ways. She had an affinity for magic, and just felt naturally drawn to others who likewise possessed it. There were certain types as well that she regarded with deeper interest.

Alden gestured for her to follow. She did. Towards the mansion and the open gates she looked as they set out, noting some human corpses there (and some elven ones) but not enough to match the force of men who had been present.

"They fled," Hahnah said. More a stated observation than anything. She would have liked to pursue them, but their numbers were great. She need not worry. The sins of those men would inevitably lead them to her again. She believed this. Believed it with all her heart.

* * * * *​

Hahnah and Alden approached the Eastern quarter. Some of the homes on the ground were set on fire, some flames catching on the winding staircases which rounded about the large trees and led up to other homes constructed high above the ground. And there was movement in those high homes. Heads and arms and upper bodies peeking out of windows and through doorways and around corners. No arrows were loosed.

Alden held up his arms. He looked at Hahnah. She was visibly puzzled. What did he want? It was an expectant look, of those she was familiar. He kept his arms and hands held up. Imitate him? Like when he extended his hand and she grasped it? Should she imitate him?

She settled on that, and so held up her arms and her hands in the same fashion as Alden. Her own blood ran down her cut hand and streaked down her palm.

Alden called out to the elves in the treetop homes. And though they were distant, looks of welcome relief spread among their number. They wasted no time, emerging from the cover of their homes and hurrying down the various staircases (some forced to jump due to the spread of fire) and they began calling out to one another, coordinating, trying to get the word spread that the mercenaries had indeed gone and mobilizing the effort to put out the fires and save what they could of their town. The once still and mostly deserted streets of the Eastern quarter (and as well the Southern quarter, once word reached) erupted with hustling activity; elves hurrying to secure water from the wells and as many pails and buckets as possible, those with helpful magic setting to work to smother what flames they could.

Many who had heard Alden's initial announcement thanked him as they set about in their pressing tasks. Some sparing glances ranging from curious to indifferent to somewhat apprehensive as they ran past Hahnah.

Hahnah's eyes were constantly flickering to the closest person passing by, whether they had come from her front or from behind her. She was unaccustomed to large crowds. Perhaps this hardly counted as "large" to some, but it did to Hahnah. Approaching even a small gathering of people--able to be counted with the fingers of one hand--was often fraught with uncertainty.

"There are so many," Hahnah said to Alden. Keeping her eyes darting between all of the passersby as they worked to put out the fires. Still, she had her arms and hands held up.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden seems to relax and put his arms down when they don't decide to threaten he and Hahnah with arrows. He gives her a nod of respect. "Aye, there are a lot. We should head back to my camp soon. But first...Gotta make some profit. Ain't a pretty business, but I need to have money for food y'know." He states, making his way over to the dead bodies. He leaves the dead villagers be, respectfully. However, he begins picking up weapons and articles of armor from the dead bodies. Though it's a bit tattered and covered in ashes, he's got a massive blanket just for this occasion. He also pats down the bodies, searching for spare gold coins and trinkets. He's right, it's not pretty, not exactly honorable, but a man has to eat.

"You don't have to help if you find lootin gross. But this is a bit necessary for my survival," He states, pulling the ring off the finger of a dead man to observe it closely, before storing it away in his pocket. The larger pieces of armor, like helmets, and pauldrons, along with swords, were thrown into a pile on top of the blanket. "You can go ahead and start askin questions about tieflings if you want." He adds, while using a rag to idly wipe the blood off of a helmet.

Hahnah
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Hahnah put her arms down when Aldenaxk put his own down. The gesture was a useful one, if it indeed aided in convincing the elves of the town that neither Alden nor Hahnah were a threat. Would it have helped her before? There had been times when she startled travelers alongside a road or the denizen of a village that had walked too far from its edges. Fear was a good tool, but it was like fire: it could burn you too. And it burned Hahnah each time she approached elves with nothing more than genuine curiosity or longing for company, only for tension to rise. Saying that she, too, was an elf did not help. Perhaps this gesture would where such a declaration did not.

A profit. Oh. Money. It was a thing related to money, and money was a peculiar concept to Hahnah. To elves as well as humans (and tieflings too, it now seemed), money equaled goods and goods equaled money. It was complicated beyond her base and simplistic understanding of it. But why did those funny little coins have value to begin with? They were shiny and did nothing.

She did not dwell on it. Alden knew what he needed, and she followed after him--certainly loathe to be left alone in the now bustling town, no matter how bad the loneliness that had driven her to the company of the giant spiders.

You don't have to help if you find lootin gross. But this is a bit necessary for my survival.

"Then I will help you."

Hahnah observed the things he was collecting from the bodies of the dead men. Mostly things of metal. She looked around and spotted another dead man, felled by a lucky arrow. She crossed the few paces' distance to the body and crouched. He had a shortsword. There was another part that went with swords: the sheathe. Where was the sheath? Ah. The other side of his body. She circled around and tugged at the sheath and it did not come off of his belt. But a pouch on his belt gave a metallic jingle. Hahnah leaned toward the pouch, pointing her ear toward it, and tugged the sheath attached to the belt again. Another jingle. She seized the pouch from the belt and looked inside. Coins! Exactly what Alden needed. Hahnah grinned with a satisfactory triumph and held the pouch of coins delicately--as if it were the most fragile thing in the world--and walked to the blanket of spoils and crouched and gently set the pouch down with both of her hands. She winced, her upper lip arching, as sting of pain shot through her left hand--she would need to tend the wound, as she had been shown.

You can go ahead and start askin questions about tieflings if you want.

Still she was crouched by the blanket of spoils. She pondered.

Then asked: "Do all tieflings have horns?"

Pertinent. Hahnah knew that she was not an elf, but, if all tieflings did not have horns...was there a chance that she was a tiefling? Other questions would need to be asked, but...

Yes. It was possible.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden idly polishes some blood off of a blade, and looks back at Hahnah, frowning as she winces in pain due to that wound on her hand. "I'll get ya some bandages for that hand once we get back to my camp, and some food as well." He reassures as he makes his way over to the blanket. With all the loot they're going to find secured, Alden pulls the corners of the blanket up to tie it into a bag. He hoists the bag over his shoulder, and looks at Hahnah with raised brow. "Oh, aye, all tieflings have horns. They come in many shapes and sizes, really. Infernal tieflings, those related to demons, tend to have bigger horns than my sort, elder tieflings."

Hunching over slightly so that he can carry the bag, he gestures for Hahnah to follow him. They were headed out of the village, back to his camp. They hadn't taken too long. If all was well, the deer should be finished cooking. Maybe a bit burnt on one side, but it's food nonetheless. "I should probably explain. Being a tiefling means you have something of either eldritch, or infernal nature in your bloodline. Tieflings can be born from any race. Humans, elves, dwarves, other tieflings, if there is demonic or eldritch ancestry anywhere in their bloodline, there's a chance they can give birth to a tiefling. I don't know what my parents were, I was abandoned at the door of a church, which promptly dumped me with the alley gangs cause they didn't want to raise an elderspawn."

Hahnah
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
"Thank you," Hahnah said, in reference to Alden's offer of bandages for her hand and food for her hunger once they had retreated to his camp. The company of monsters was peaceful, but it was not the same as the company of her late caretakers, of Alden, of too few others. Monsters abided her presence, but nothing more than that. No friendly offers. No sharing. A cold separateness persisted in their company. With, but not a part of--the best way to define it.

He answered her question about tieflings. They all had horns. Like humans had stubby and rounded ears. And there were two kinds of tiefling--infernal and elder--of which Hahnah was clearly neither. It was mildly disappointing to hear, but ultimately good to know. She was not an elf, not a tiefling, and definitely not a human. She knew little of the world other than Falwood, but perhaps answers to driving questions lay out there, in kinds of people she had yet to see.

Alden secured his loot and started walking. Gestured for Hahnah to follow, and so she did. The elves of Elyr-Morath and the fires that still burned and the hissing of fires being quenched they would leave behind. They had killed some humans, but saved the elves that lived--that their primary purpose in the town. It felt different. Yes...different. Hahnah would pray later. Seek guidance or validation. Even if silence greeted her yet again, the simple act of it--praying--was fulfilling. Especially in times of uncertainty.

Alden spoke more. Explained. Elaborated. Certain words she did not truly understand: bloodline, born, birth, parents. Similar things shared similar blood, that she knew. Bloodline could be a passing of blood, birth the process of this passing. Kylindrielle--her female caretaker--sometimes called Hahnah her "child" (never in the presence of Elurdrith, her male caretaker). There were other small versions of things, "children," in the world--small like Hahnah herself had been small once. A "parent" could be a counterpart to a child; they who performed the ritual of passing the blood of a bloodline. These things had not been addressed before with either Kylindrielle nor Elurdrith--did they qualify as her parents? Regardless, Hahnah thought she better understood now.

What captured Hahnah's attention specifically was Alden's mention of having been abandoned. Church and gangs were strange words, but she knew and deeply related to the core of what he meant.

Hahnah walked a bit closer beside Alden. Put a hand--balled into an earnest fist--over her heart, and said, "I was abandoned as well. My earliest memory is being alone in a great structure--it was called the Temple. I did not know that then, but I was still locked inside of it. It was dark. I was small. There were dead humans, but I did not know what they were then. I did not know anything. But I was hungry. I ate them until there were no more of them. I almost starved. Then I was rescued."

She thought of this time. Of the darkness of the Temple. The mysterious nature of simply coming to be, of consciousness emerging from a much darker and more infinite black than that of the Temple or anything of the world.

"I do not know where I come from. I do not know why I was in the Temple. I do not know why I am not an elf."

Hahnah looked up to Alden.

"At this church, at these gangs, were you told what you are? Were you told that you were a tiefling of the elder kind?"

Or did he discover it on his own?

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
Alden listens to the kid as she explains her situation, how her life has been lived. He's not really sure how to give a response. How does one respond to that? Is there really any way to? Alden frowns a bit. "You had a rough start, lass. That's certain. But beginnings ain't what matter. It's what you do after the beginning that's the deciding factor." He says, a hand reaching to pat her shoulder.

Then she poses a question. "I knew I was a tiefling from the beginning. The gangs told me I was a tiefling, but they didn't know anymore than that. I just knew that I was a tiefling, and people don't like tieflings much. Wasn't till I was around 18 or so that I joined a pirate hunting crew. A human fellow, by the name of Alcriztoc, told me my true nature, that I was a tiefling, and the sort of tiefling I was. He taught me that i was related to the elder gods. He also taught me that due to the blood in my veins, I have a high potential for the arcane. He taught me how to use this magic. The art of blood magic. Fumilly enough, most of the crew I worked with was human. Yet they accepted me like family, raised me as such, taught me everything I know. How to cook, how to fight, how to create, the arcane. Life was good with them until...A few months ago...something happened at sea. I was the only survivor. I lost'em...my family." It would be odd to her, the concept of humans doing good, being accepting, being kind. yet it seems this man experienced it. Had human friends. "I've....seen the my elder being relative...a few times. In my dreams, he speaks. He's kind of an ass."

Hahnah
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
A rough start. Rough not as in coarse, but as in difficult. She did not know how to think about that. It was what it was--a statement which seemed pointless but it was true. Yet, before Alden, she had not considered the starts of others. She had not even inquired of her caretakers about theirs. And now Alden was telling of his start and in it there was a familiarity. Perhaps a familiar roughness.

He patted her shoulder. The strands of Living Armor upon it not quite as soft as the fur it appeared to be. Much like Alden's observation of her start in life, a certain roughness. Coarseness. Toughness. The strands more akin to the feel of ropes or burlap than fur.

They walked. She listened.

He knew he was a tiefling from the beginning. That was nice. She would like to have such an intuition of herself as well. People did not like tieflings much, he said. Yes, Hahnah was not a tiefling but in this they were the same. A pirate hunting crew--she was unfamiliar with the word "pirate." Maybe it was a kind of monster or an animal; it made sense, given that they were hunted.

Hahnah balked when Alden mentioned the human fellow, Alcriztoc. She was fearful for Alden. Afraid that he may have been lied to. But she listened further without interruption.

Blood magic. That was what his magic was called. And he was taught it, this art of magic. Hahnah had not been taught. She discovered some of the things she could do at an awful moment in her life; this discovery was like hearing whispers, not understanding the words spoken, and then suddenly hearing these former whispers in stark clarity.

Hahnah did not balk again, but her eyes rapidly searched the ground upon which they walked when he mentioned that most of the crew with whom he worked had been human. She was uncertain. She did not like hearing that. Humans were violent and aggressive, but they were also cunning, and that made them far more dangerous than wild animals. They did not always immediately kill things that were not of their own kind.

But Alden's story had a happy end. The crew of mostly humans died at sea--one of the big lakes at the end of land that Hahnah had yet to see for herself. That was good. He did not say how many elves were part of his crew (or dwarves? what were dwarves?). Those that were not human yet also died at sea dampened the happiness. But Alden was no longer in danger from the humans of the crew, and that was overall good.

He had seen his elder being relative. Relative to what? He did not specify. He specified that he saw him in dreams though. His elder being was also an "ass." Her caretakers had not taught her that word, but she had overheard it from others when she would on occasion chance across a camp and listen surreptitiously in the dark. It was another word for hindquarters. What happened to the rest of the elder being's body?

Regardless, a fascination with Alden being spoken to by the elder being in his bloodline took hold.

"Do you feel his presence in your heart, Aldenaxk? Do you pray to him? Do you think he answers when it suits him, or only if you have done enough good to please him?"

Hahnah walked beside Alden. Her bare feet softly pattering on the dirt and grass of the forest floor and crunching a small twig here, a dead leaf there.

And she was eager to hear what he had to say.

Aldenaxk Drazukel
 
Messages
30
Character Biography
Link
He notices a look of confusion about her when he mentions pirates. Perhaps she doesn't know? She does seem to be just a child. "Pirates are seafaring raiders. They are similar to the men we just fought. Raiding and slaughtering innocent ships of people on the sea. My crew and I were in the business of hunting them down and putting an end to their crimes. Humans, dwarves, elves. All sorts turn to becoming pirates. My group and I dedicated ourselves to protecting people from them." Even weirder, humans working for good? Protecting people? Races other than humans committing terrible crimes? What a weird world Alden lived in.

She asks him that question, and he pauses for a long time as they come upon his camp. He sets down the bag of loot beside where his horse is resting, and then moves to sit outside of his tent, legs crossed, on a blanket he's placed there. He pats the spot beside him, as if telling her to sit. She'd get the pleasant smell of seasoned deer cooking over the fire. Once she sits, Alden looks up at the sky. "You're young, or at least inexperienced. I'm going to tell you something so that hopefully you don't have to learn it." He takes a deep breath.

"Not everyone wants to help you. That part is obvious...the hard part is coming to terms with the fact that the people who you thought wanted to help you, or the ones that should help you, are not helping at all. Sometimes, you're on your lonesome. Left to stumble around in the darkness. I feel his presence in my dreams sometimes. He speaks. Mocks me. Tells me how puny I am. He's family, right? He of all people should be there for me, but he spits on me instead. I don't know how he's related to me, I just know he is. The men and women who died on that ship? They raised me, they were there for me. I remember a group of pirates kidnapped me, planned to sell me off into slavery. My crew searched for me for a month, scoured the seas. Once they found those pirates, they killed them all. My captain, closest thing I had to a mom, pulled me into a hug, and cried. Cried for me, cried because she was afraid she had lost me. Those are the sort of people you should depend on, the sort that are there for you. Not the ones who leave you to stumble in the dark. My eldritch family family member never did a damn thing for me. I don't even know his name. Why should I pray to him or worship someone who doesn't give me a second thought, no actually, considers my existence insignificant?"

Hahnah
 
  • Cthuloo
Reactions: Hahnah

Hahnah

Human Slayer
Member
Messages
21
Character Biography
Link
Alden took the time to explain pirates. Like brigands and bandits, but of the sea--it made sense that she had no occasion to know of them now. Humans being pirates made easy sense; they were fractious among themselves, despite the strong preference they had for their own kind. It was sad to hear that elves were also pirates. Sadder, that such a thing was not wholly unheard of for Hahnah.

Alden's camp. He had a small fire going already--meat cooking above it on a spit. He had his own horse. Then Alden took a seat on a blanket. A blanket. Hahnah had not slept on a bed or so much as felt a blanket in years. She stepped onto the blanket and bent her knees and gracefully descended down into sitting on her heels. This, perhaps too close to Alden; close enough that her right arm was brushed up against his left, as was her right leg with his left.

You're young, or at least inexperienced. I'm going to tell you something so that hopefully you don't have to learn it.

She had counted her years ever since her caretakers showed her how. She knew that she was young by elven standards. And she likewise knew that there were many things about the world that she had yet to know and understand.

So she looked up to him. Listened to him as he said what he wanted to say. And she did listen, yet some of it was beyond her. A certain placidity in her eyes, as if the thought of betrayal, having her trust shattered, was inconceivable to her. Alden's elder being was not like her caretakers. Could never be. Hahnah did not know why Alden thought the elder being should care for him. The captain Alden mentioned (she had to be an elf) sounded like Kylindrielle. And that was good. Conversely...

"This elder being of your bloodline," Hahnah said, "is like the gods of the humans. He is cruel."

She looked away for a second. Then back up to Alden.

Smiled and said something she thought he would like to hear: "I would kill him for you if I could."

Aldenaxk Drazukel