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There are tales of ghouls and the dead rising along the Eastern Allir Reaches. The Templar chapter based of Allria has gone to investigate the matter... and perhaps bring to an end to whoever is at the root of this evil...

Interested? Find out more here.

OOC:
A necromancer seems to be ravaging the Eastern Allir Reaches(near the spine). Some of the Templars are trying to stop him/her. Feel free to join in as a survivor, a passerby, maybe the necromancers servant!

Tales Out of Place

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Hath Charosh, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. Scabhair

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    “Probably doesn’t grow here, but… well, it’s got yellow flowers, and the leaves are a spotted green. They sprout in rings of five from the stem, which is red…” she puffed her cheeks, eyes wandering skyward as she raked her memory for salient details. “It smells like fresh rains and its sap is the colour of dry human blood.”

    “What do you use to clean wounds?” It was a different world in the savannah; different beasts, different herbs. Orcs were a hardy people, but blood-rot could end even the mightiest warrior if it wasn’t caught and treated early.

    His incredulous realisation brought a bout of bright laughter out of Scabhair. It bubbled up from her chest and left her feeling lighter for the tension that had gathered in her shoulders and neck whilst they were in Elbion.

    The road and its honest companionship – this was her true home.

    “Barefoot’s all the same in the flatlands,” she said at length. “We can pick up a new pair in Bhathairk after we cross. No crazed mages there to chase us out.”
     
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  2. Hath Charosh

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    He chuckled along with her. When she laughed he found it tended to highlight the more elven aspects of her features, but he found he did not might. He wondered again if her fierce red hair was from her father or mother. After the oppressive city and the ambush that had nearly cost them dearly it was good to laugh.

    "At least he got paid. Would not like to think of him having two pairs of boots in his shop too large to sell."

    He turned his head back and forth, looking for something.

    "Know the plant. Never saw it this far north." Hath changed direction. He dropped onto his haunches by a small plant formed of thick, dark green leaves. He snapped one off and broke it in half. They were thicker than twigs and it broke clean in two like a biscuit. He squeezed a few drops of dark green gel out of it.

    "Stings though," he warned.
     
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  3. Scabhair

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    “Let it,” she replied, silver eyes focused on Hath as he applied the sap.

    It did sting, though not so much like fire as the sharp little peppers you could get in the south. Mantessa, Baleri and the rest of the maritime republics along the Cortosi traded plenty in exotic fruits. On the few occasions she’d been there, Scabhair had always spent plenty of coin just to sample new tastes.

    “What’s it called?” she asked after a beat or two, nodding towards the broken leaf in his hand. The gel had begun to dry swiftly in the sun, protecting the wound from road dust and insects. One more scar for the collection, and an interesting story to go with it.

    Could’ve done worse.

    Her gaze returned to the path ahead, a faint smile resting in the corners of her mouth.

    “Lead the way.”

    They were in his domain now – a sea of grass stretching far as the eye could see, gleaming like burnished gold in the midday light. A long journey already made lighter for the company.
     
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  4. Hath Charosh

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    #179 Hath Charosh, Nov 26, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
    The paptoa plant and its cleansing gel wasn't the only plant he would show Scabhair in the first week of travel. Once they turned south away from the cost the land became arid. The cool ocean breeze was left far behind. There were plants that held water if you were careful to pick off the spines. Hath knew where those that could provide shade in the middle of the day grew. Others had roots full of nutrition, waiting for the wet season to bloom. An orc needed meat, but in the savanna dry season one took the fluids and nutrients available.



    "You won't believe what this landscape looks like if we cross during the west season," Hath explained. "Everything will be green."

    The land wasn't green. The pair crouched in pale yellow brush, watching the oasis ahead. They could see far across the nearly flat landscape. Beige as far as the eye could see.

    "Nothing at the oasis." Hath said, but he remained still. "Ever hear of a crocodile? Like a floating log under the water. But a big one could drag Inodeirr under. Be careful when drinking."

    Events had been flipped. He was in familiar territory and teaching its ways and its dangers to Scabhair. Even with the long walks with the sun ahead and the heat reflecting up off the ground, the thirst between water sources, he preferred it to feeling like such an outsider within the walls of Elbion.
     
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  5. Scabhair

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    “I’ve read about it,” she said on a tone of voice that didn’t put much stock in the source of her information. If she had to place her life in someone’s hands, she’d always choose an orc over a human. And it wasn’t just instinct. In all her time spent around the latter, Scabhair had learned well just how easily they were swayed by temptation. Greed – for power, money, fame – it tugged on their strings as if orchestrated by a master puppeteer, bid them betray one another for a paltry sum of coin.

    When an orc wanted you dead, he did not smile and shake your hand like a friend. There was honor in that, and more trust to be found besides.

    “What do they look like?” she inquired as they stalked down the sandy bank, senses and muscles alert. Nothing disturbed the cloudy water, however, and after a few moments of silent observation the pair slaked their thirst.

    Inodeirr drank her fill as they replenished the reserves they carried in canteens and waterskins. It was not yet midday and the scorching heat had already begun, warming her bones as if she’d stepped into Pern’s furnace. Though they’d only been on the road a week, her skin had already burnt to the colour of ash. By the time they reached his tribe, Scabhair suspected she’d be indistinguishable from the dark elves of the far east.

    Ironic, that her heritage would bleed out in the sun.
     
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  6. Hath Charosh

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    #181 Hath Charosh, Nov 28, 2018
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    A pasqak drank from the far side of the oasis as they stepped back. It dropped into its front knees. Squat, muscular creatures with small necks, they could not reach the water standing. They were large and if frightened could do some damage. This one was alone. Remarkably brave given Inodeirr on the far side of the oasis. The thick-skinned foragers were tenacious creatures.

    "Out of the water they look..." Hath tried to think of something similar. If the humans hadn't covered their paper with words they might have left some room for pictures. "Think of a lizard then..."

    Splash

    Hath turned sharply, his hand already tugging the short sword free from his belt.

    "They look like that."

    A pasqak was a heavy, powerful creature. Smaller than a cow, larger than a big dog. Predators attacked them carefully or ended up getting kicked and trampled to death. Its struggle was pitiful again the raw power of the four metre long reptile that had launched out of the water and wrapped its jaws around the pasqak's neck. The pasqak squealed, but inch by inch it went into the water. Hath watched it thrash as the crocodile shook it apart.

    "Slow out of the water, don't worry." It didn't seem all that much of a reassurance given what they were witnessing. "Hippos are much, much more dangerous on land. We should perhaps stay in the shade of these trees until mid afternoon. Don't let Inodeirr go back to the water alone."
     
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  7. Scabhair

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    Scabhair, who had learned not to flinch throughout years of facing adversity with a pleasant smile, stood perfectly still.

    Inodeirr, who had learned to fight throughout years of facing adversity with bared teeth, arched her back and leapt for the kill.

    The fight didn’t last long; this was as true of beasts as it was of warriors. The muddy river bloomed with clouds of red. The lioness shook off speckles of water like a wet dog. Her saunter back to the bank exuded a quiet aura of self-satisfaction. The fact that she was dragging along a limp lizard didn’t seem to hinder her one bit.

    “I…” Scabhair shut up again, caught between a frown and a resigned sigh. “You don’t exactly let with a gathamhr. Best you can do is ask. Really, really nicely.”

    She crouched in front of the proud creature and ran her fingers through the matted fur to check for wounds. Inodeirr nuzzled into her hair as she worked, unperturbed by the tension in the shoulders of her companion.

    “Show-off,” she murmured, standing again. Then, to Hath, “So. How do you go about preserving a crocodile?”

    There was also the pasqak, of course. “Fancy a lunch?”
     
  8. Hath Charosh

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    #183 Hath Charosh, Dec 1, 2018
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    "Erm. I don't know. Haven't exactly killed one before. Tried to stab one with a spear once. Barely pierced its armour."

    The reptile was longer nose to tail than Inodeirr and had been in the shallows, but its jaws had been preoccupied and Inodeirr had found a soft spot. They were a little fortunate there hadn't been another lurking in the water to surprise the gathamhr. Hath wouldn't have relished leaping into the water to try and tackle one of them.

    As Scabhair looked for wounds on her very damp Lion, Hath investigated the corpse. He tested his knife on the creature's back and was barely able to piece the tough hide. He grunted with the exertion of rolling it onto its back. It's belly was far more supple.

    "Wish we were closer to the tribe. Could have had this tanned." Hath decided to retrieve what was left of the pasqak, taking exceptional care near the edge of the water. Two limbs had been ripped free from its body.

    When he dragged it back Inodeirr decided that she would prefer the more supple meat of the pasqak and took it from him. Her soft growl was an entirely unnecessary warning after he had felt her weight and strength leaving Elbion and just been treated to a display of her raw power.

    "Butchering the crocodile then," he said to Scabhair with a shrug.
     
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  9. Scabhair

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    You didn’t argue over game with a lion. Not even if you were Scabhair, and the lion was yours.

    “Butchering the crocodile,” she agreed, and they got to work.

    Orc hunters learned many skills in the wilds, but one of the chief ones was field dressing a kill. Sometimes they ventured leagues ahead of the tribe in search of food, across rivers and ravines, through woods and plains. Dragging a corpse all the way back would be an impossible task.

    The blood they drained into one of the empty canteens; the entrails they kept as bait; the liver, the kidneys, the heart they all saved as delicacies; the lungs were claimed by Inodeirr, and the brain turned out too small to be much use.

    Even after leaving it to roast in the open sun, the meat was wiry and lean. There were no herbs to be found in the dry season, and so they ate it unseasoned, half-raw, in the shade of a sprawling acacia tree.

    Far as Scabhair was concerned, life was good.
     
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  10. Hath Charosh

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    "That...did not taste as I had expected it to," Hath murmured. Having eaten his fill he was half propped up on his elbows and enjoying the shade. There was barely a breeze disturbing the branches, but the grasshoppers chirped their insistent song. There was a distant laugh of a pack of canines. If they were hungry they would probably find the remains of what little the orcs left within a few hours.

    They were less dangerous than a pride of lions. Easily startled and they didn't hunt with the precise coordination of a pride. They hadn't seen any of the smaller, yellow lions of the savanna yet. Hath didn't know if they would stay clear of Inodeirr or make an effort to chase her away.

    "Tough like pork, or overcooked chicken. Not much flavour and a little fishy," he reflected. Still, it had been a lean creature with plenty of meat. He had bought a small back of preserving salts at Elbion market which would be useful for the remaining slabs of meat. With a content sigh he cast a sideways glance towards Scabhair.

    It felt good to be back in familiar territory and he was looking forward to seeing his tribe again. He had previously given up on the chance of returning to their southern home for winter. He reflected on how he had felt about Scabhair at first. He hadn't run away during the first few days of their trip north to Elbion because he had assumed that if he had murdered her the lion would have torn him apart and if he hadn't the beast would have dragged him back in a most indignant fashion. Now he believed that if he had asked she probabaly wouldn't have cared if he had left to return east. He realised, with mild surprise, that if she told him now that they were changing their plans and taking a new path he might actually follow her instead of the route south.

    Soft padding heralded Inodeirr strolling between the two of them. Her muzzle stained with the blood of her meal, a stark contrast against her pale fur. Hath had seen lions hunt from a distance. Had felt their roars reverberate through his gut. Up close it was startling how quietly they moved for their size.

    Without much warning Inodeirr also dropped to the ground and rolled onto her side. Legs against Scabhair but her back across his leg. Lions from the savanna knew the routine instinctively of sleeping in shade during the midday heat.

    "I had been planning on using that leg again," he murmured as it started to go numb. Hath didn't move from where he was. Inodeirr ignored him and began to clean her face.
     
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  11. Scabhair

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    The Aiforn weren’t so different from the lions they ran with, Scabhair realised as her head lolled against the rough bark and the song of the cicadas lulled her to sleep. After a good meal, little seemed more appealing than sprawling in the shade and dozing off for a few hours until the sun looked more kindly upon their journey southward.

    She puffed out a hum of amusement. “Clearly it’s best used as a pillow,” she said, nodding sagely. Still she leaned forward after a few lazy moments, murmuring something on a low voice into the dusty fur of the gathamhr.

    Nothing happened for a long, drawn-out spell. Water burbled, grass whispered, dogs bayed in the distance. Finally, Inodeirr deigned to roll off the other orc and flopped her head down on his thigh instead.

    “She’ll keep watch,” Scabhair added after what felt like half a candlemark. Orcs could keep running for a whole day if need be – didn’t mean they couldn’t enjoy a good rest after a proper meal, though.
     
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  12. Hath Charosh

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    That was welcome news. Hath had been psyching himself up to keep watch in case the pack was closer than he thought. Breathing in warm, familiar - other than a hint of wet gathamhr - air he drifted off.

    The sun seemed to linger high above, despite it technically approaching winter. When he woke the shadows had barely stretched out. In the savanna the daylight hours didn't change much through the year and neither did the temperature. They had extremes of dry and wet. Scabhair took a lot in her stride, even attempting to talk down the magic-wielding assassin. He hoped that at least the change of these lands might surprise her a little.

    When they were distance from the oasis he caught the looping silhouettes on the horizon of the pack of dogs following the scent of blood towards the oasis. He couldn't quite make out whether they were hyenas or striped dogs. Fortunately, despite everything else being dangerous in the dry season the savanna trolls tended to stick to the shade of rocky ravines until the rains came.

    He talked more than he had on the trip north to Elbion as they travelled, rested and hunted. The terrain to follow to find water, the recently etched rune that indicated an unfriendly tribe, the circling birds on the horizon that were a bad sign.



    "Did you see that?" he asked suddenly. The sun was low on the horizon. Over the weeks the terrain had changed. More clouds in the sky, even a brief shower. The soil less of a burnt copper, more green on the ground and more frequent copses of trees.

    He caught sight of another shadow in a line of trees in a hill to their left. Very little was quite so secretive, nor so dangerous. Hath would have preferred lions. This danger didn't normally stray so far north.

    "Elves."
     
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  13. Scabhair

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    #188 Scabhair, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
    Despite the lingering warmth on the air, cold settled into her gut. She followed his gaze, and the dread locked its teeth around her lungs. Inodeirr had gone still as a statue at her side, keen eyes combing the treeline for another sign of life.

    “How… aggressive are they?”

    She could make no assumptions. As many customs as orcish tribes shared, elven communities did the exact opposite. For all the elves she’d encountered on her travels, the only features them together were the long ears and longer lives.

    Just in case his answer was less than favorable, Scabhair inched her hand towards her quiver. With senses peeled and legs ready to spring, you could avoid an arrow. Could.

    It was a favorite contest during the Aiforn Rites, but she’d never done it herself; never felt the urge to participate just to gloat.

    Slowly, she was beginning to regret her decision.
     
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  14. Hath Charosh

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    "Wouldn't bother shooting at this distance," he said quietly. Whilst an orc could perhaps avoid an arrow at this distance, you could perhaps hit an elf in a skirmish group. Needed to be closer to stick one of the acrobatic little buggers.

    "And it depends. Not normally. Sometimes you see them out the corner of your eye when hunting. Sometimes they even come to trade. Once one of their fighters rushed us. Killed three of our best and she flowed round our weapons like water. Didn't land a blow. Then politely asked us to leave."

    Hath shook his head. He didn't understand elves. Humans were strange, but once you understood their motivations they were almost predictable in their ways. The truth of the matter was that his clan was well north of Falwood proper and they didn't overuse the land. Because of that the elves mostly left them to their own.

    "Normally get a warning. That might have been one. Should get an arrow at our feet if they want us to piss off."

    Despite his obvious uncertainty Hath started to walk forwards carefully. The elves would ignore them or they would not. He had as much control over that as the weather.
     
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  15. Scabhair

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    If worst came to worst, they could always hold onto Inodierr for dear life and leave the elves choking on their dust. There was some consolation in the thought, so she ordered the lion stay close to her at all times, and kept wary watch of the figures flitting tree to tree.

    It was an uneasy few candlemarks, and by the time the shadows had peeled off their heels, Scabhair’s nerves were thoroughly frayed. Keeping her sense on point and her muscles at the ready – she would’ve preferred an actual battle, something to snap the cord of tension that had woven knots into her shoulders by sundown.

    Ordinarily they stopped when dusk fell, but tonight they pushed through. In darkness they held the advantage – elven sight reached far only in daylight, and she was loathe to let the opportunity go to waste.

    “You lead the way,” she spoke low, silver eyes flicking about from sound to sound as the underbrush whispered and the trees creaked. “I’ll cover our tracks.”

    They couldn’t control the elves, perhaps, but they could control what they left behind for them to find.
     
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  16. Hath Charosh

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    #191 Hath Charosh, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
    His nerves held more than Scabhair's. Not for any innate bravery, but because being watched by elves near the hunting grounds south of Penteth Charosh was not uncommon. For all the dangers of the trip and damage to their nerves, they would make it in time for the Rites at this pace. Stories, smoke, good natured fighting, and fucking were all good for the soul.

    However, the elves were not the only threat in the region. A few hours from dawn and the sound of a horn rang out. Hath explained that he'd never heard such a noise from the elves and their exceptional night vision picked out lit torched in the distance. The pair picked a careful path closer as the sky started started to turn a deep red.

    They dropped low in the scrubs when they found a spot to observe from. It amused him, despite the situation, that Inodeirr dropped to the floor and crawled beside them. The gathahrm treated Scabhair as he had seen lions treat each other in the wild. They were a pride of two away from their tribe.

    "Humans," he muttered, catching sight of the collection of brown tents on a hill. There were armed sentries. A travelling war band. He snarled in annoyance at seeing their kind this far west. It was never good news for his tribe.



    "What tribe are you from orcs?" called a voice in crisp common human behind them.

    Weapons raised and orcish snarls didn't seem to faze the group of elves behind them. They didn't even reach for their swords, but then Hath had seen an elf draw a blade so quickly his eyes lost sight of the steel. The low warning growl from Inodeirr that sent shivers up his spine did at least send half the elves recoiling in surprise. It made Hath feel more confident in their chances, but he suspected he and Scabhair would be on the ground before Inodeirr evened the odds.

    Fuck, how had they got so close? They were within throwing distance. Despite their mottled grey-yellow-green travelling cloaks they were elves armed for war. He counted eleven. Half had strung bows at their sides, all had long, slender swords on their belts. Several had ornate armour mostly hidden beneath their tunics.

    "You evaded my northern scouts," the leader said in mild surprise. He had long pale hair pulled into a ponytail, but nothing beyond his attitude made him stand out as a leader. "What tribe?" the voice was calm, yet the elf managed that expression of disdain for a lower life form so easily.

    With his right hand tight around his axe and eyes never leaving the leader, Hath dropped onto his haunches slowly. He etched the symbol of his clan into the ground. The elves would at least recognise that if they knew of his people.

    "Oh. Them. They are just miles east of here orc. Go to them, tell them not to travel this way. I have a band of humans from Vel'anir to deal with and the last thing I need are your kind screaming chaos across my battlefield."
     
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  17. Scabhair

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    Tight-lipped and ready to run, Scabhair observed the exchange like one might observe a bowstring drawn well beyond its limits. You prepared for it to snap and prayed to the spirits it wouldn’t.

    And she’d meant to keep quiet – meant for Hath to deal with these elves, for he surely knew them better than she. Good intentions went up in smoke as the leader sneered again. Her hackles raised, Inodeirr shifting beside her as if she’d sensed the change on the wind.

    This was what her father talked about so often; what she’d stumbled across over and over again. Elves who thought they held the gods by the balls.

    So she straightened to her full height, orcish height, and levelled the pale elf with a steel gaze. When she opened her mouth it wasn’t Common that shaped her words, but the tongue of the Antikathri from the north. They perched upon sharp peaks like eagles, their keen eyes turned to the sky instead of the earth. Scabhair had long suspected the tribes of the Spine and the Sidereal elves had exchanged many a star-custom throughout millennia of coexistence.

    But that was neither here nor there.

    “Anir humans are a problem for everyone. We help each other, we get rid of that problem faster. For everyone.”
     
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  18. Hath Charosh

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    Not even the warning of a giant lion had disturbed the placid expression of the elven leader. Scabhair shifting languages had his spidery eyebrows shoot upwards. He took a cautious step closer and appraised her in the pre-dawn light. Lessat still cast its blue light to match the blood red glow that came before the sun crested the horizon.

    "You have elven blood," he said slowly in his own language. Hath only caught 'you' and 'elven' from the sing-song speech. He assumed that meant 'you can speak elven'.

    "If they have taken one if our women I will burn their homes to the ground," one of the elven archers muttered.

    The leader clicked his tongue and silence fell. Hath's knuckles went white around the handle of his axe. He didn't know what the elf had said, but the tone had been aggressive.

    "Our plan is set," the leader explained. "We attack as they break camp. No help is required." There was a pause. His cheek twitched. "Though we appreciated the offer."
     
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  19. Scabhair

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    #194 Scabhair, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
    Her gaze burned hard enough to smelt ore. It took all self-control she had not to go for the throat of the insolent bastard. Instead she tamped down the urge to roar, wrangling her voice into the stillness before the peal of thunder.

    “My father could see beyond his own reflection.” Her fingers shifted and flexed on her belt, a hair’s breadth away from the haft of her axe. It could cleave a man in two, that; and two elves into four.

    “I’m sure,” she said, eyes flicking back to the leader of the band. “Linte roime, nur.” It was the one thing they had in common – happy hunting.

    Scabhair held the leader’s gaze for a moment longer than necessary, until he canted his head in grudging respect. In the blink of an eye the party dissolved back into the trees, gone as the pale specters they were.

    She released a breath she didn’t realise she’d been holding, fingers trembling more than she’d like as she let go of her axe. Orcish was like a sweet balm on her throat. “We need to go.”
     
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  20. Hath Charosh

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    Hath didn't know what had been said. He sensed the simmering emotions and decided not to ask. She would tell him if she wanted to. Instead he let his axe fall to his side and placed his left hand against her shoulder. Gesture and physical contact had always meant more to their people than words anyway. It lingered barely a second before he nodded his head.

    He caught sight of an elf rushing past off to their left, bow in one hand and a bundle of arrows in the other. They had probably already killed the human sentries. His time with Steelheart had given him a view of how they travelled. Cavalry were typically sent out as they started to break camp. They wanted to avoid them if the elves decided to simply stay hidden as they passed.

    As they turned and left the horns blared over and over. The screams greeted the rising sun.
     
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  21. Scabhair

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    They veered deeper into the thicket as they passed the camp – or what remained of it, at any rate. Elves, for all their aloofness, had cause for it. One-on-one, Scabhair wouldn’t bet on her strength against their speed. Even facing multiple opponents, they were sometimes too swift to stop. She’d often wondered if it was simply nature’s gifts that made them so quick, or if it was a result of lifelong training.

    After all, what could an orcish warrior hope to do against three hundred years of experience? What could any warrior hope to do in the face of that? Might as well get down on your knees and pray.

    “Have you ever fought one?” she asked at length, jerking her head back whence they came.
     
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  22. Hath Charosh

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    "Once," he said. Despite the pain of the memory he laughed. He fingered a pale scar just above his hip bone.

    "Saw that elf who cut down our best like wheat. From a distance. Didn't fight. It was another time. Sometimes we get the odd scrap in the woods. I think with the younger ones. Normally the odd arrow back and forth before backing off."

    Hath had a sense that the elf who had addressed him might have fought like that. Would have cut him to ribbons without the head of his axe ever getting too close.

    "Once came to blows. Stuck me good right here. Sword went right through and..." Hath laughed. "...got stuck. I crushed his neck."

    Inodeirrs ears went up first. Hath's gaze twitched towards the sound a moment later. Hooves. A human force on the move would usually have cavalry ranging around the main force. Had the elves missed on? The forests were too thick for horses where the elves seemed to live. Hath didn't know for sure; they weren't stupid enough to venture so deep. He swung his back around and pulled his bow free. He placed one tip against his boot and stretched the bow with both hands to string it.
     
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  23. Scabhair

    Member
    Scabhair Bestriding beastrider

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2018
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    212
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Though her eyes were on the foliage ahead, Scabhair listened raptly to Hath as he relayed what he knew of the elves and their approach to combat. So far in her life she’d managed to avoid fighting one, and ought to count herself lucky by the sound of it.

    There were more questions on the tip of her tongue when Inodeirr went stiff beside her. It was instinct – Hath hastened to string his bow, and she unsheathed hers from the quiver, arrows in her hand before she’d fully realised where the hoofbeats were even coming from.

    “Trees,” she said quietly, gesturing to the old beeches surrounding them. The branches were low enough to reach – for an orc, anyway – and Scabhair quickly swung herself up into the canopy.

    Just the three of them against a contingent of riders? The best strategy was avoidance.
     
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  24. Hath Charosh

    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2018
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    162
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    It was his uncle that had taught him that being cautious wasn't the same as being afraid. Alone in the savanna, every choice was a balance of risk. An orc had to learn to quickly weigh up the risks and rewards. Nearly every risk had a chance of death in the dangerous terrain, it was a case of how likely it was.

    In a moment he weighed up the chance of being spotted against getting sight of their surroundings and climbed a little higher. He wrapped his large hands around the thick branch and braced his feet against it to climb. He found a spot where he could see through the pale yellow foliage without much chance of being seen in return.

    Eight riders, lightly armed. A patrol to scout the terrain before the main party broke camp and started to march. Whatever they had been looking for they had entirely missed the elves drawing the noose tight. They weren't the enormous warhorses he had seen up close within the Steelheart camps but a lucky kick from one could still do some damage. He'd once seen a lioness take a kick to the head from a panicked wild horse. The lion had never got back up. Admittedly Hath hadn't lingered in the area. To a pride a lone orc was much easier quarry than a group of wild horses.

    Hath saw movement in a corpse of trees opposite the clear ground the patrol rode across. The humans didn't. He didn't see the first arrow, just heard to cry of the horse at the front of the formation going down. As it tumbled it threw two more riders from their saddles.

    "The elves have them," he called back to Scabhair, but his eyes stayed on the scene. The riders had stopped their run, drawn weapons and rode in a defensive circle. Hath saw the next volley fly. Light cavalry was one of the greatest threats to a block of archers, but in this situation they were nothing more than large targets.

    When there were just two of the men left, hiding behind the arrow-filled corpses of their horses, did the elves stalk out into the open. They didn't rush, they just walked slowly towards them men with swords drawn. Hath had a feeling no quarter was about to be given.

    "Lets get back to getting far away from here."
     
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  25. Scabhair

    Member
    Scabhair Bestriding beastrider

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2018
    Messages:
    212
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    Scabhair didn’t need to be told twice. She slipped down the the trunk and into the underbrush without another word, keeping low and on the haunches of the best stalker she knew. Inodeirr led them both through the thicket, away from the gurgling noises of men being slaughtered like animals.

    “Elder race my ass,” she muttered under her breath once they were out of earshot and out of sight. The trees had grown sparse, then receded completely as they emerged into the bright day again. On the western horizon plumes of smoke curled into the sky, signalling to any human left alive in the region they were not to return.

    The fate they would meet was clear.

    They broke into a swift jog by implicit understanding, leaving behind the dust and the blood and the elves who spilled it so gladly.

    It wasn’t until the sun was glaring heavy at their backs that they eased up the pace. Hath rose his fist and they slowed as he inspected a few markings on a nearby downed tree. They changed direction like this a few times more, meandering through the high grass, past a large boulder, and finally into a clearing in the middle of a solitary grove.

    Tents and palisades marked the edge of the camp, covered campfires flickering with fresh life to greet the coming night. The sight was familiar enough to elicit a deep pang in her chest – the smells and sounds that filled the air spoke of one thing only.

    home.
     
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