Private Tales Human Cargo

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Cassidy Ackerson

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Gods be right damned, this stung like nobody's business.


He musta been in the rusty metal cage for at least a week now, his hands and legs bound with some seriously hardy rope and his body curled up on the rocky floor of the cave he was imprisoned in. He'd been trekking through a snug little valley at the base of a mountain, not really headed towards anywhere in particular. That's the kind of person Cassidy Ackerson was, after all; He didn't like living with a destination. Maybe that's why he wasn't too torn up with a band of raiders that had been camping up on the slopes started beelining towards him.

Granted, he coulda fought em'. He'd probably have busted a few heads too, but there were too many of the guys for him to handle, and he had come quietly. They'd bound him and tossed him in this cage, tucked neatly into the back of the cave they used for storage. At least, that's what the barrels and crates told him. At least they'd had the decency to feed him, if you could consider bread scraps and a half-cup of water a meal. He wasn't worried about himself though. He was worried about the rest of his things; They'd taken the only valuable he had: His sword, Damascus. It was all he had left of his home, and he'd be damned if he was going to rot in here and let them sell it off to some collector.

On a brighter note, his cat Mar had gotten away. She'd been a stray that Cassidy had picked up about half a year ago, and he was awfully fond of the black tabby now. Of course, the raiders had no interest in a feline anyways.

A rustling at the mouth of the cave broke him out of his thoughts.

One of the raiders, his body coated with a thin layer of dirt and his outfit composed of poached furs, hobbled into the cave with a small wooden plate of bread scraps and a cup of water. Ah 'twas Olaf, as he'd taken to calling the gent, his personal steward.

"Olaf! Wonderful to see you in good spirits today! Yesterday you tripped on the incline into the cave didn't you? Did that boo-boo heal up?"

"Olaf" opened the cage he was tied in, and wasted no time in delivering a swift kick to Cassidy's ribs, forcing all of the air out of his lungs and making him curl up tighter. "Oof-uck! Okay... point made." He coughed. The plate of scraps was placed where his face rested, so that he would have to eat without his hands. The cup of water was a similar story; He had to be creative with it.

It didn't look like Olaf was done with him though; He was already drawing his foot back for another kick when a loud sound rang out from outside. Olaf turned, and Cassidy stretched his body to try and peek out of the cave mouth. Gods, this floor was wet. He could feel it seeping through his jacket and shirt. He was sure he had dirt in his fire red hair as well.

"Olaf." Cassidy muttered, "Aren't you gonna go help your buddies out?"

Olaf raced out of the cave to investigate, not bothering to close the cage, which Cassidy now made an attempt to squirm out of. What on earth was going on out there? it sounded like a fight...

Gahesznem
 
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Gahesznem

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Gnolls were often seen as a people of 'uncivilised' culture. Savage as animals, yet 'intelligent' enough to at least use rudimentary, crude tools for butchering people.
For they, the gnolls; were not builders of culture, nor could they sustain themselves.
They were pests, robbers, raiders, bandits and many things far worse than these.

Awful falsehoods.
---

As a handmaid, Gahesznem preferred to work with delicate tasks like infusing hibiscus petals in bathing water for her pharaoh's delicate star-speckled, dark fur. However, such work on luxury was incredibly shortlived.
The moment word spread that the gnolls settled in the many-stringed river, life-giver of all on the western side of the Seret mountains; bandit activity rose.
Was it from the idea that the gnolls would ransack the villages of the fertile valley to such an extent that none would be left behind for them?
Likely.
Though one key of information was missing. Select villages of the fertile valley were under the protection of the gnoll kingdom.
And since all its thin-stretched general-matriarchs were busy quelling the banditry, the rest of the workers of the kingdom had to pick up pace as well.

Gahesznem was now among them, leading a troop of 15 lesser striped warriors, with their war-mohawks proudly erect and 5 greater spotted hyenas, who cackled in anticipation of battle.
A few hours trek up the slopes would soon bring fruit. A scout appeared before Gahesznem, pointing behind a mountain turn.
»There, a cave with light. I've seen them ferry in people in binds.«

Gahesznem pursed her lips. »O my warriors, pray to Mighty Djeru so that our battle in fervour will entertain the gods. May our victory be blessed, may our charge in auspice be freed. «

The troop began to creep towards the hideout. On the way, twisting the neck of one such bandit set to overwatch.
Cassidy Ackerson
 
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Cassidy Ackerson

Migratory Bird
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Cassidy had managed to squirm out of the cage, still bound at his wrists and ankles. Whatever this gang was off looking at, he had to make his escape quickly, before they decided to come check on him. Even so, there wasn't much that he could manage with his bindings still on, so he'd need to think quickly...

The latch to the open cage door was rather sharp, and if nothing else could cut this rope, he'd be willing to bet metal might be able to pull that trick off. Tucking his legs in, he rolls onto his knees, he uses the cave wall for leverage and hoists himself carefully up onto his knees. The latch was within reach now, but he'd need to lurch backwards into it if he wanted to snag his bindings on it.

Thrusting his back towards the metal latch, he feels the cold edge catch on the rope that held his wrists together, and the jagged edges scraping roughly against his skin. He winces, the idea of cutting his arms up in the process wasn't appealing; He'd need to be careful. Slowly, he moves himself up and down, bouncing off of his knees to saw the latch against his bindings until they finally snapped, freeing his arms.

He takes a moment to rub at both of his wrists, skin angry and red with the abrasive material used on it. "Next time, I'll ask for silk bindings."

Reaching down and unbinding his ankles with his now free arms, he springs to his feet with a sigh of relief. No, he wasn't out of the woods yet, he thought to himself as he picked up his jacket that they'd tossed aside when they brought him in and slid it back over his shoulders. He needed to find Damascus, and Mar.

He rushed out of the cave with these goals in mind, now increasingly curious as to what was keeping his captors so busy.

Gahesznem
 
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Gahesznem

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Slowly, closer...closer and closer the gnolls marched onward. And a sudden silence went into a fray of battle within a heartbeat.

Were they confused? As brutes hailed down on them with maces and axes? Each hit pounding down shields and denting armour as if they were brittle nature neath an avalanche?
Mighty Djeru witness us!
As the striped mohawk-bearers moved like water-bearing sickles in their dance of destruction?
Their curved blades slicing cloth and tendons alike.
Mighty Djeru see us!
And for when a weapon did not suffice, a bite was just as deadly.
Reinforcements came to no avail as if a meatgrinder stood before the cave entrance, and when body piled over another, the rest of the raiders deemed their life more sacred than their despoiled and pilfered prey.

Gahesznem stood pleased over the carnage. Even though they were ruthless in battle, there was still a delicate nature to her movement as she closed the eyes of one of the fallen raiders.
»Lie you now, rest in the land of the forbidden one, may your soul once find redemption. May it guide your way back to Basaph, gentle mother of us all.«

As further steps echoed out of the cave, the gnolls paid him no mind, for only a single man came out, bearing no arms but the ones gifted to him by his mother.

»Are you here to join them? « Quearied Gahesznem, as she eyed the man.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

Migratory Bird
Member
Messages
18
Character Biography
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Cassidy had been worried about the idea of fighting without Damascus at his side. His blade was an extension of himself, and he wasn't comfortable without that shining steel close at his side. If he was being honest, he wasn't much of a fighter if he didn't have the blade he'd trained with since his youth, and he doubted he'd be doing much of anything but being thrown back into his cage if he walked out in a crowd of raiders.

He could never have guessed what he'd see when the light of day met his eyes.

He wasn't sure what they were at first, the dog like creatures that stood tall over the bodies of his captors. The bore armor and shields, and wielded their weapons as well as any military he'd seen in the wealthy cities of Arethil, and the long stripes of hair atop their heads gave them the appearance of a force almost tribal in nature. He steps out further, raising his feet to stride over the bodies that littered the mountain side in the wake of their campaign. He'd only heard of these creatures, and the stories he'd been told... they didn't match what he was seeing.

He'd always been told that gnolls were ferocious wild animals, simple and incapable of higher thought beyond their next meal. Indeed, most accounts would call them a nuisance on par with any other infestation.

That's what was confusing him most now. These gnolls weren't eating their kills. Instead, they seemed satisfied with the knowledge of their victory, paying the red-headed man no mind as he looked around the chaotic remnants. He felt a tug at his pants, and looked down to see Mar climbing up his leg to hide in his jacket. Good, she was okay.

He heard one of the creatures speak to him, and he turned to face them with an understandably wary expression. This one was different; They spoke softly, and they kneeled beside one of the dead, as if paying respect.

"I don't think I want to be where they are now, thank you very much." He crosses his arms, leaning to one side and looking his savior over. "I was being held prisoner in one of the caves, managed to sneak away when you and your buddies caused a ruckus." He brushed some hair from his face and hummed. "You're gnolls, aren't you? You lot saved me from a tough spot. You deserve more than what your reputation offers you."

Gahesznem
 
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Gahesznem

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With a flick of her fingers, scouts entered the cave to scour either for loot or other prisoners. Some of the populace may have been taken by this group of bandits as well.
How much ransom could impoverished farmers with burned huts even pay? Still struck with grief over the loss of love and sustenance.
Such shame.

What a gaze most gracile, Gahesznem rose part of her skirt, stepping forward and offering Cassidy her furred paw. » Life is good to you, such luck is rare, so I hope you will cherish this day for many years. «

The ill reputation of gnolls was not unheard of to Gahesznem. And already some of her warriors picked up the fallen men to take them back home. So much should be proof of what would happen to the corpses later if anyone had any experience with gnolls most cruel. Perhaps some explaining of this unique situation will do?
» And indeed it is so, we gnoll are kin of man, as Basaph, the hyena mother of us all wed the father of mankind, Khotseti - we are kin. And those men who revere Basaph as their own mother are safe neath our claws and teeth. Do you accept the union most holy that binds us as sister and brother? «
 

Cassidy Ackerson

Migratory Bird
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Cassidy woulda been lying through his teeth if he claimed to understand much of what the gnoll said to him. It was odd; He'd been told that it was difficult to discern genders in gnolls, as both males and females looked similar. Contrarily, this one was unquestionably feminine in nature, from her dress to her cadence.

In response to her curtsy, he bows his head slightly and takes her hand in his own, shaking it gently. "Well, the day isn't over yet. I'll see what I think of my luck by the time it's all over." He offered back with a wry grin. Damascus was still missing, and that was a major issue. His new acquaintance was right though; best to be grateful with his own life first and foremost. Things coulda gone badly.

Obviously the drifter didn't know what a Basaph or a Khotseti were, but he nonetheless saw the picture she was painting. This particular group of gnolls were a deal more civilized than the ones you might hear about in a scary bedtime story. He had to give em' credit, faith was something you didn't see to often in Arethil anymore. To see somebody speak with such passion about their beliefs was almost exciting.

"If that's a way of asking if I'm a friend, then yes most definitely. Call me Cassidy. Cassidy Ackerson. It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss. Again, I offer you my thanks for giving me the distraction I needed to escape. I owe you a debt."

His gaze however, turns to the scouts entering the caves.

"Hate to ask, but those goons swiped a very precious sword from me. If they come across it, think there's a chance I can get it back?"

Gahesznem
 
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Gahesznem

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Gahesznem nodded her head, as the newly met Cassidy presented himself. »Well met, Cassidy. Call me Gahesznem, hide of the gazelle goddess, handmaid of the Pharaoh, and this is my troop. « Collectively, the gnolls in her presence nodded their heads, some spoke a short greeting as they briefly turned their head to him before diverting attention back to the bodies and loot.
Most would be busy gathering and fastening loot to corpses, then hauling them by the legs as if they were an impromptu sledge.

How many a single greater spotted gnoll could carry was indeed impressive.

»Their spoils make a... payment for our efforts, not enough to repay their damage, still... a single blade will not go unmissed, does it look unique?« Nodded her head Gahesznem, checking Cassidy for an answer.
»If you find it not here before we take our pick, you can search for it back at our homeland.«
 

Cassidy Ackerson

Migratory Bird
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He let out a whistle at the strength of the gnolls raw strength. They were certainly not the type of creatures he'd ever want to get in a fight with. Come to think of it, he was lucky that he hadn't gotten mixed up in the fight when he'd wandered out of the cave. If he'd had Damascus on him, they'd probably have assumed he was hostile. A soft mewl is heard beneath Gahesznem and Cassidy, and the red-headed man's head darts down. Sure enough, his feline companion had found her way back to him.

"Mar!" He exclaimed with a grin, squatting down to scoop the black tabby cat up. The creature mewled once more, climbing up onto his shoulders with a contented purr. He runs his hands along her head, then scratches her chin. "Good job getting out of dodge there, buddy."

The feline curled around his neck, narrow eyes settling on the rather elegant looking gnoll in front of them.

"The title suits you, Gahesznem. Forgive my arrogance on your kind, but I never thought I'd get saved by a gnoll, or that it would actually be a rather elegant looking creature. If I may be so bold." He smiles and crosses his arms. "My sword is known as Damascus. It's hard to miss: It's blade is made of a metal as blue as the sky, and it had long silver tendrils that run up it's length."

He had to admit, the prospect of maybe learning more about these creatures was an interesting one. That and he hadn't been able to have a hot bath in what seemed like ages. He was sick washing himself in cold water. Cassidy Ackerson had a certain way he looked at the world: It was a wide open field, open for him to spread his wings and fly to wherever he pleased. Now, fate had laid a path in front of him, daring him to take it.

He was feeling adventerous.

"It'd be a right honor to accompany you and your kin home. I'm a bit of a nomad myself, so I've nowhere to return to."

Gahesznem
 
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Gahesznem

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»Ah, a good-beast. « Gahesznem explained as the furry friend came to view. Didn't they tend to be skittish? What a brave tabby.

»Appearances elude many, now come if you think there is no business to be done here. I believe we are finished gathering. And if you wish to stay and search, the many streams of the mountains conjoin into a river most grand and fertile. Follow it to find us.«
The gnoll then lifted the leg of one of the deceased brigands she treated tenderly just a moment before in his departure from this world. Turning around, she began to drag him down the slope in some weird idiosyncratic nature.
...
Weren't gnolls known man-eaters?

The many brigands carried by the many soldiers and their possessions clearly didn't paint the picture of gleaming elegance that Gahesznem portrayed.
 

Cassidy Ackerson

Migratory Bird
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Cassidy had seen the way that her companions had been scouring the caves. If these brigands had taken Damascus, the gnolls wouldn't miss a sword as brilliant and beautiful as his. He scratches the feline's chin, smiling at Gahesznem. "Found her wandering around the base of the spine. She was as cold as stone and you could barely tell what color she was under all the dirt in her fur. I took her with me, she's been all the company I've had these last few lonely years." The cat mewled, before burrowing down into Cassidy's coat.

Figuring his best chance at getting Damascus back was following the gnolls, and eager for a bit of warmth and perhaps a nap he patted the lump of tabby in his coat and followed Gahesznem closely. as she set off. Ackerson's nature was one of flexibility; It didn't take him long to discard his previous preconceptions about gnolls in the face of new information. On the contrary, he was quite interested in these creatures. It was true that not all of the gnoll warriors exuded the same gentle energy that his new acquaintance seemed to, but then he wasn't exactly any brighter than an average human himself.

He stretched his arms up, keeping pace with his rescuer as she headed down the slope. The majority of the trip he spent calming the still slightly shaken cat in his coat. His little disappearing act had frightened Mar, but she'd be okay. Farther down the mountain, he could definitely smell the water in the air. Sure enough, they'd made it to quite a sizable river. Just follow it huh? Seemed easy enough to find... "You called yourself "Handmaid of The Pharaoh" earlier. I'm guessing that's your leader? How long have you been tucked away up here? I've passed this area a few dozen times, and I don't think I ever saw any gnolls. Then again, I didn't get kidnapped any of those other times either."

If the gnolls were going to slaughter and loot anybody, he supposed he was at least glad it was brigands and goons. The whole of Arethil could stand to do with less of those. If anything, they should be getting rewarded for the work they did back there. He had a feeling that not everybody would be so keen to accept a race with such a reputation though...

Gahesznem