Quest The City That Can't Forget

Organization specific roleplay for governments, guilds, adventure groups, or anything similar

Douglas Haley

雷の神
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West of Vel Anir, heading towards the ruins of Valen...
Cirqa 369
____________________________

The sun stood high in the air, beading down on the caravan with little hope for reprieve. A dry wind swept perpendicular to their path, forcing those few outside the three carriage sleds to have tightly wound shemaghs to assure they didn’t breath in too much dust. Those few within were given at least the smallest amount of salvation from the elements, able to do much without the overwhelming urge to cough at the meer inhale; through to what degree was no longer a great deal, as the few weeks they’d spent traversing the dry environment had proven harsh, forcing many to regret their decision to ever come on the expedition, and many others to actually turn back.

Each on the expedition had been hired specifically by the infamous Agron Salim, The Plague Doctor of Elbion, to search the ruins of Valen and discover the reason for the massive disappearance of life. A task given to him by the a Maester of the Fifth Order, and standing member of The Merchants Council, Eimur Emisol, a widely known mage of aggrandized reputation, mostly for his eccentric practices and fringe magic theories. Still, the mission had been given a goal, and Agron used all he had to hire the outright best he could for the expedition; knowing that with unknown dangers, and an unknown endgame, it would be far better to be safe than sorry.

Those who had been hired knew all this, set out in a caravan through the harsh climates to the west of Vel Anir for the sake of discovery; with the mild promise of riches. Few had travelled to the city since its disappearance, as innumerable rumors had sprung that the ruins were haunted, that the god’s had forsaken whatever sins had taken place and left nothing but hell in its wake, even that it stood now as a mausoleum to mankind’s impudence, that all of this is a sign of what is to come. All of these things the well versed among them knew, but the truth was that nobody had truly attempted to reach the location in many years.

No notable caravans at least.

Each group had been separated accordingly, with three carriages carrying a total of eight a piece in relatively tight quarters, each horse drawn and slowly making it through the canyons of Valen’s surroundings. They were still an hour from the city, so as anxiety began to fill in the many a few began to speak, do whatever it was they could to pass the time that much faster. Time would only tell if the connections they made today would last.​
 

Kara Orin

Elbion College
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In one caravan, Kyver traveled with at least one of his regular party mates - Aepha.

"How far away do you think we are, now?" asked Aepha with a hushed voice.

For a few seconds, Kyver looked up to the sky from the open top carriage. The canyon walls surrounding the caravan blocked the horizon.

Then, Kyver shrugged and replied with, "Been a while. Probably far enough."

With a grimace, Kyver adjusted the way he sat in the carriage for the four hundredth time since they had left for Valen.

Then, Kyver spoke to the other 6 members of the carriage and asked, "Since this place is haunted, anyone got some good ghost stories?"

Sinnata Wynralei
 

Jason

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Jason sat up against the wall, squished between it and a blonde younger man who whispered to the woman on his right. He had been busying himself with looking out the back of the wagon at the desert landscape for the whole trip and hadn't said a word. Dawnbreaker rested in his hands by the bottom of the hilt while the tip rested on the floor between his feet. Jason thoughtfully rubbed the sword's grip with his thumb as he heard the woman to his right ask about time, wondering the same thing himself.

A bead of sweat rolled down the side of Jason's face as he counted the millionth cactus. It seemed unimaginable to be wearing a shirt or chest armor in this heat like all of the others were. He was thankful that he was currently only wearing his leggings, which prompted him to roll up the pant legs to his knees.

Jason lazily raised an eyebrow and eyed the rest of the group at the blonde man's question, wondering if he'd hear any good stories.
 
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Alona Hawse

Alona rode in the same wagon, right at the tailgate. She was dressed in her armor, and had her hand and a half blade leaning against her in it's scabbard. Her right leg was up, her foot resting on the bench opposite her along the tailgate. She had taken it upon herself to act as a sort of rearguard, keeping her eyes peeled behind them as the moved. In her right hand, she had a lit pipe, the sweet smell of dried, burning leaf slipping from her mouth with every exhale.

Her ears perked as those in her wagon began to talk to one another. Alona glanced at the sky, judging the time from the position of the sun.

'Took longer than I thought it would.' Every caravan group was different, but people tended to be the same. They craved community, and sooner or later the caravan became that community for those that rode in it. She'd seen it happen on every caravan she'd ridden on, and in every mission she'd undertaken as part of the Blades when she was in Alliria.

She took a draw on her pipe, holding the smooth smoke in her mouth as she looked around the back of the wagon at her companions. She turned her head to let the smoke out towards the back of the wagon, out into the open air, then turned back.

"Since this place is haunted, anyone got some good ghost stories?"

Alona slipped the pipe back into her mouth and took another slow draw. She had stories, but she wasn't quite ready to share just yet.

 

Urberus

The Alchemist
Elbion College
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The wagon wheels rolled on, taking Galen farther from Elbion than he had ever been before. He sat in the canvas covered back, cradling a tome to his chest. His head tilted forward, letting his dark hair fall across his eyes. The constant jostling of the carriage made sleep difficult, but an orphan of the streets learned to sleep anywhere.

His eyelids flickered as he fell in and out of sleep, while across from him sat a dark elf. And to his left? A haughty noble with hair of spun gold.

Telemachus Dante di Inverno
 
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The air was too blasted dry.

Sighing, Dante settled deeper into the corner of the cart. The ever-present heat had been slowly sapping his abilities, and at this point, he wasn't certain there was enough moisture in the air to make even the smallest ice shard. Not that he'd tell any of the others in the caravan.

Fellow travelers they may be, but equals they were not. Nevertheless, even the lowest peasants could be good conversationalists. It wouldn't hurt to engage in their conversation.

"You want to hear a ghost story?" His voice rang out, thick with disdain.

"Have you heard the one about the white lady who walks the ruins each full moon?"

Telemachus | Galen | Alona Hawse | Kyver | Jason | Douglas Haley
 

Telemachus

Conjurer
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If Telemachus was at all offended by the sight of his wretched, dozing apprentice, Galen, he made no mention of it. He busied himself by reviewing his research, and the half-finished outline of his most recent summon: the Percussigant. Care had been taken to capture the unnatural contortions of its body as it sprang into its deadly dance. More care would be needed to finish it - and given the rickety nature of this carriage, it would have to wait.

Telemachus turned a few pages back and reviewed previous summons, only to be disturbed. The one called Kyver was easy enough to ignore, but the rattling voice of the thoroughbred incompetent that called itself Dante di Inverno was too much. Especially as it pertained to such superstitious prattle.

He glared distastefully at Dante, as if having witnessed him hurl instead of vocalize, and returned to his thoughts.

Dante di Inverno | Galen | Alona Hawse | Kyver | Jason | Douglas Haley
 

Khehe

The Wind in the Valley
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Sinnata had known what she was signing up for when she and the rest of Kyver's gang took on this mission, but reminding herself of that right now didn't seem to help. She despised sand; it always found a way into the layers she wore about herself to shield her fair complexion against the harsh desert elements. It was in every unholy nook and cranny of her body and clung to the moisture on her skin. And while the linen and leather armor she wore breathed in normal circumstances, being crammed into a cart with seven other bodies defeated that purpose. She was gritty and damp and had a mighty craving for a dry glass of red with which to ease the pinch in her temple.

She couldn't have feasibly packed enough wine to make this trip comfortable or pleasant.

But she was here and, from observations of her companions over the last few weeks, she wasn't the only person suffering. A small consolation. Sitting at the back of the cart, across from the woman with the sword and pipe -- Alona, was it? -- she had a comfortable vantage of the rest of its passengers.

Kyver and Aepha were speaking quietly to one another, breaking the silence that had been their companion most of this journey. Sinnata rolled her eyes and shook her head when Kyver finally piped up, but the corner of her mouth curled in a slight grin.

Someone would indulge him -- someone always did.
"You want to hear a ghost story?" His voice rang out, thick with disdain.

"Have you heard the one about the white lady who walks the ruins each full moon?"
Sinnata's ears twitched under her hood and her pale eyes flicked from the man who had spoken to Kyver. A woman who glowed white under the full moon was fairly common in spooky stories, but it was one that always piqued Sinnata's interests.
 

Acillio Nazzaro

Swordsman
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Acillio walked behind the wagon that Alona sat from. His hand was draped casually over the pommel of his sheathed blade, in such a way that suggested it was habitual for him to do so. He was clothed in thin fabrics and cloth that wrapped around his neck and face, his squinting eyes peering out.

He hiked past with a motion of his head in greeting and pushed towards the front of the caravan. He was looking for Douglas but hadn't quite memorized which wagon he was on. With each passing wagon he greeted those on board with only the slightest hint of acknowledgement. He was far too miserable to speak and his throat was as dry as stone.
 

Douglas Haley

雷の神
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West of Vel Anir, heading towards the ruins of Valen...
Cirqa 369

Interacting With Acillio Nazzaro
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Douglas glanced to the book in his lap, every few moments sliding a hand across to wipe away the build up of sand and grime. It was a methodical, slowly growing annoyance as his mind fell back on the events of Alliria, the death’s he had witnessed, and the results of their expedition. It was tough to focus, in those moments, all things considered. The fact of the matter was that he hadn’t seen death so close to him, so personal, and yet it stood like an aggrandized monument in his mind; the peak of his attention at any given moment.

He simply wasn’t well suited to war yet, but in time he would become accustomed to it. It was likely Agron’s plan all along.

With a sigh, he closed the book and glanced through the caravans, sitting next to the driver of the one in the forefront; leading the pack. His face was covered, fully wrapped by thin layers of cloth soaked just slightly in a mixture of sweat and water from his supplies; enough to keep cool, while keeping the dust from his respiration. Douglas’s gaze moved towards the rear, watching as Acillio wandered through next to he majority with a slow gaunt, and Douglas motioned him with a hand, hoping to catch his attention with a secondary whistle.

With that done, he glanced to the drive, speaking just over the sound of the wind;

How close are we?

About forty-five minutes, then we can stretch our legs. Maybe celebrate a little… Still got that flask?”, the driver asked in his thick, Vel Anir accent.

Of course.”, Douglas responded with an unseen smile, patting to his side pocket.

We’ll settle down after we stop.”​
 
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An inelegant snort sounded from the blond's aristocratic nose, and he smiled as Telemachus shot him a glare.

The amusingly dour elf seemed to think his mere presence enough to deter Dante from doing what he wanted. As if he was any better than the dozens of tutors and nannies who had failed to do the same thing when Dante was a boy.

"'Tis a fairly common tale, I suppose," he continued, stretching his legs out so the tips of his boots came just shy of the dark elf's legs. "At least in topic. Countless cultures have tales of white specters and women in white. What many have wrong, however, is how she came to be. Too often the accompanying tales are ones of jilted lovers, crazed wives, or women whose children took their lives in the birthing bed.

This tale is nothing like those. Instead, it is one of treachery, adventure, and a simple misunderstanding.
"

Douglas Haley | Galen | Acillio Nazzaro | Sinnata Wynralei | Alona Hawse | Jason | Kyver
 

Tezio Gomst

Hedge Knight
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Uncomfortable slumber, ten thousand adjustments, and sand. Something something journey more meaningful than the destination. The half-orc rolled his eyes to himself, quickening his pace. Leather boots padded through the sea of sand, and it took more than enough effort to get a little blood flowing back into his legs. Tezio didn't like sand. It was coarse and rough, and irritating. He must've wiped pounds of the stuff out from the corners of his pale yellow eyes, and even more had found its way into regions he'd never expected.

He glanced down to hop a little, shaking his leg to watch a trickle of the stuff fall to the dusty ground. Unamused, he grunted in a vain attempt to clear his dry throat. What little saliva that generated did nothing more than cause the half-blood to hate the quest giver even more.

Fame and glory. It'll be fun, he said. A real adventure.

A stifling wave of heat made him reconsider the content of his daydreams. He shot a glance to Acillio Nazzaro before adventuring his ass back up to the caravan. One heave and Tezio deposited himself inside, squeezing back into his spot despite the muffled complaints of his return.

Douglas Haley / Galen / Acillio Nazzaro / Sinnata Wynralei / Alona Hawse / Jason / Kyver
 

Jason

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This time it was Jason that snorted. He spun the tip of his sword's sheathe on the floor and stared at the hilt as he spoke for the first time on the ride.

"A tale nothing like those, yet the same any other story." He then looked at the haughty noble for a moment thoughtfully before turning away.

Jason wiped more sweat from his face as he sat forward to look out the back of the wagon. Sargent, his faithful horse plodded on behind them without fail and the warrior considered moving out of the cramped cart to travel with his friend. He thought better of it when the half-ling hurried to re-enter the wagon, eager to escape the sun's harsh rays under the cover of the cart's roof.

Douglas Haley | Galen | Acillio Nazzaro | Sinnata Wynralei | Alona Hawse | Tezio Gomst | Kyver | Dante di Inverno
 
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Urberus

The Alchemist
Elbion College
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The carriage hit a rut and jostled Galen awake. Voices. He heard voices. Oh, di Inverno was talking. That might take while. Once he got going it was like a runaway ox cart down Cork street, no stopping it. Best to just get out of the way and hope no one got hurt. Not that the Vel Anirian had ever hurt anyone on purpose that Galen had seen, but he used his wit like a dagger and knew just how to twist the words to make you bleed.

Galen licked his lips. Dry, like the desert they traveled through, and chapped as rough as the road. He tugged at the pig's bladder at his hip, fishing the loops free and pulling the stopper before letting lukewarm water spill across his lips and into his mouth. A stray rivulet dribbled down his chin. He corked the bladder and wiped at his chin.

Green-brown eyes tracked up to meet Telemachus' pitiless stare.

"Master. . ." he opened his mouth, then closed it, then opened it again. "Is there any way to conjure water?"

And then he realized Dante was not finished with his story and that he had interrupted exactly the type of man who hates being interrupted most. He flicked a sidelong glance at the lord seated next to him.

Telemachus | Dante di Inverno
 
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Dante let out a derisive chuckle at the two males' comments.

"You would believe it the same story as all others, being mere sellswords. Understanding this tale requires a more--," he paused and waved his hand as if searching for the correct term. "--robust mental acuity. If you don't wish to hear it, all you must do is say so. I imagine it's likely too much for your peasant minds to handle, anyway.

As for you," he said, turning his attention to Galen. "Perhaps you would know the answer to your query were you not so incompetent as to have trouble reading even the simplest of words. The most elementary spell book would have the answer to it."


Telemachus | Jason | Kyver | Sinnata Wynralei | Alona Hawse | Tezio Gomst | Douglas Haley | Acillio Nazzaro
 
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Douglas Haley

雷の神
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West of Vel Anir,
among the ruins of Valen...
Cirqa 369

Dungeon Master Post - Dante di InvernoGalenTelemachusJasonKyverSinnata WynraleiAlona HawseTezio GomstAcillio Nazzaro
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Just as the bickering and malpractice of conversation began to take hold, a messenger would be sent through the caravan by Douglas; a man on foot going to each caravan and informing them of their proximity to the ruins. It seemed fortuitous in timing to interrupt, as the somewhat youthful courier offered each a simple knock on the door, followed by his mission statement;

Thirty minutes from camp. If you look outside, you’ll start to see the ruins.”, and with that said he’d move on to the third caravan, only to repeat the process.

With that said, any that looked outside would begin to be graced by the beauty that was ancient ruins; as the city of Valen seemed to be a somewhat populace town many years back. Winding through the canyon, the entire area was not yet visible, but the outskirts that they now witnessed involved up to three story buildings carved straight into the hard rock of the Canyon; built in such a way that likely helped them stay very cool in the midsummer afternoon. The architecture was beautiful and uniform between each building, though any color they once held was now faded to a subtle orange and light blue; some lacking a covering at all, it seemed.

While the more scholarly of the group could certainly identify the purpose of some buildings, their grandeur nature or statues outside giving hints to long dead gods and places of worship for example, the nature of most seemed to be nothing. Their purpose long gone, some stood collapsed or weather worn from a near eternity of winds, while others still seemed built only a few months prior, though hardly kept up with. The contrast was reasonable considering their purpose, but as the group moved deeper into the metropolis, they’d begin to witness just how large and grand some of the structures were.

For the more magically sensitive, a small ‘thrum’ or methodical vibration in the air seemed to carry itself carelessly through the ruins; bouncing off this structure, or centralizing our this figure for only a moment. It was hard to tell, exactly what this meant, but it was easy enough to assume that it was the latent echoes of magical energies used long before our society came to be known.

Even still, the city stood as a monument to a culture now gone from history; often scrubbed in certain accounts, but what stood here now was far beyond the limitations of any books description; but the magnificent city of Valen, that which stood steeped in sand, and the unknown blood of its inhabitants.

Summary -
  • Each caravan has been told the time until camp is set.
  • Those who look outside will begin to see the city, and the buildings slowly moving from farms to temples, to marketplaces and more.
  • Those with a very strong magical acuity will notice a vibration in the air first, while the closer the group moves into the city the more others will notice as its presence increases.
  • There are no obvious signs for abandonment yet.
 
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Alona Hawse

Alona turned her head and looked directly at Dante di Inverno while letting smoke out of her mouth. She took the pipe, and tapped out the ashes on the back of the wagon, spilling the burned leaf to the ground outside before stowing the pip.

"I will warn you once. Keep it civil." She spoke slowly, quite intentionally for Dante's benefit. "Just because you don't understand the method in which myths, legends, and stories traverse the continents, doesn't allow you to demean those trying to educate you. You should listen, learn, become less of a boor."

She paused then, keeping her eyes on him, her face otherwise impassive. Then she turned her head to look out the side of the wagon at the ruins they were approaching. Her eyes narrowed as she looked over the buildings, trying to see any damage from battles or fires, natural disasters or what have you. Nothing showed to her eye aside from the natural decay of masonry and buildings over time. She couldn't sense the magical emanations, but she had a bad feeling from the place.

 

Khehe

The Wind in the Valley
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Sinnata was content to watch this unravel with very little interest interrupting. Though her curiosity had been piqued, she wasn't about to make a fool of herself and beg this man to go on, when he already had such obvious low regard for his companions. The bickering was almost as good as the potential story might have been, and a smile was pulling more and more at Sinnata's mouth as each person contributed further.

It was refreshing, to say the least, to be entertained by some banter that wasn't her own party's.

Alas, all good things had to end, and there was a knock on the carriage door. Suddenly, being wedged into a corner had its benefits, as Sinnata turned to peer out the window and have a look at said ruins.

It was ruins, for sure. However, as they progressed further into the abandoned city, the fine hairs on her skin stood on end. There was a subtle hum that began at her feet and pulsed through her body to her fingertips, though she wouldn't have noticed it nearly as early as some of her companions. The feeling almost made Sinnata look away from the structures they passed, but there was something eerie and captivating about them.
 
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A frisson of energy made its way down Dante's spine as they drew closer to the ruins. The feeling was akin to a shiver induced by someone lightly running their fingers along your back. A slight tickle, but not unpleasant.

While he did not appreciate the courier's interruption, he did acknowledge that it had given him a few extra moments to craft a response for the waif with a sword.

"Well what do we have here," he said with a vicious purr. "It appears the lack of wits is present in yet another sellsword. The others, at least, knew their place. You seem to have forgotten yours, so let me remind you. Peasants such as yourself do not give orders to a Lord of Vel Anir and Mage of the College of Elbion. They follow them."

Dante lounged further into the corner, bringing the tips of his boots so close to Telemachus they were practically a dare for the dark elf to react. He then examined Alona Hawse, taking care to rest his gaze a bit too familiarly on some places.

"If you still have questions about your place, I would be happy to sneak off once we make camp and offer you a...demonstration. I imagine it would be a sweet respite from this infernal heat to feel the lash of your tongue in a different way."

Sinnata Wynralei | Douglas Haley | Galen | Jason | Kyver | Tezio Gomst | Acillio Nazzaro
 
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Alona Hawse

Alona's eyes brightened at the mention of the mage college of Elbion, though her smile became more predatory.

"The troglodytes that refer to themselves as nobility in Vel Anir may encourage you to be an ass, but I know for a fact that the Council that oversees the College in Elbion would be quite unhappy with your comportment." Her own parents were both Senior Professors in their fields at the very same school. Not that she was one to drop names or run to her parents for help, but it gave her knowledge of a subject matter. "And I assure you, I've had enough lovers disappoint me that I don't need someone with such obvious..." she let her eyes glance pointedly at Dante di Inverno's crotch, "...compensation issues pawing after me."

Her eyes went back to Dante's for a moment, and she snorted in derision at the thought of him chasing her. Then her eyes went back to the ruins, trying to see into their own future, and the cities past.

Sinnata Wynralei | Douglas Haley | Galen | Jason | Kyver | Tezio Gomst | Acillio Nazzaro
 

Raziel Shirai

Wandering Angel
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Raziel had been wandering the world for enough time now that he was used to coming across groups of travelers on the roads, but the sheer size of this group took him by surprise at first as he saw them on the horizon. The nudge of curiosity got the better of him, overpowering any trepidation he might have had in approaching a large group of unknown persons, and he approached from the distance.
Whether or not the group noticed him before he got close would depend on not only their powers of perception but also on the cooperation (or lack thereof) from the desert weather and its quirks. Any amount of dust in the air would not necessarily be enough to obscure him, though, since he had a strange radiance that could shine through light dust clouds (though likely not heavier ones).
The most obvious feature that stood out about him was the fact that he had wings. Three pairs of them, in fact. They were visible at his back even in the distance, though he was already getting fairly close to the caravans. He was making no effort to hide himself, but he approached nobody in particular. If they moved toward him, which was unlikely, he would not shy away, however. Either way, he was still at fair enough distance that the caravan would have time to respond to his appearance before he got within talking distance.
Dante di InvernoGalenTelemachusJasonKyverSinnata WynraleiAlona HawseTezio GomstAcillio Nazzaro | Douglas Haley
 

Tezio Gomst

Hedge Knight
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Three caravans, with eight souls a piece: twenty four bodies total. Tezio couldn't help but wonder how the other ones were faring, especially considering their tightly packed quarters and a long, hard journey here. Thankfully, his own had been godly quiet save for minor conversation and the occasional plea for adjustment. Sellswords and student-mages comprised the entirety of his, seemingly acting as if this were but a mere field trip with an armed guard.

A whistle rang out before someone rapped their knuckles against the side of the wagon, no doubt signaling their arrival. Tezio raised the flap of it, presenting a awe-inspiring view of the sand-caked ruins they slowly passed. A few of the students shivered at the sight, the blades for hire simply grunted with the anticipation of a finished job and a bag of coin.

The half-blood couldn't help but relate. A hot meal and a wash sounded heavenly right about now.
 

Jason

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Jason smirked at the defeat of the arrogant noble at the hands of a "common peasant" and a woman no less. But he grew tired of hearing the haughty voice of Dante di Inverno, so he decided it was time to leave the cart. In passing, he "accidentally" let Dawnbreaker's sheathe hit the noble's side, but continued on before anything could be done about it. The view from outside was even more spectacular. The buildings were grand and Jason saw no reason to abandon them other than the heat... and that slight uneasiness he felt when they arrived.

He patted Sargent's flank as he mounted his friend's bare back. "How's the view been old boy? I'll get you some water as soon as we stop."

He grabbed his bow and quiver from one of the bags on Sargent's side and replaced them on his back. With a small flex of his thighs, Jason urged his mount toward the front of the caravan as he wrapped a piece of cloth around his nose and mouth. As he arrived at the front, a small glint caught the corner of his eye in the sky, causing him to squint up at it. A glow small glow radiated around a large figure in the dust.

It took him a moment to remember the organizer's name. "Douglas, look up there," Jason said, pointing. "What is that?"

Douglas Haley