Private Tales The Emerging Threat

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Raigryn Vayd

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They didn't regard him with enough care. They saw the old coat, but not the broad shoulders they rested upon. They saw the weathered hands, but not the signs of use on the bastard sword over his shoulder. Mostly they saw the The wind whispered through the trees. The group murmured amongst themselves.

“Did you not hear me?” The bandit raised both eyebrows and turned an ear towards Raigryn expectantly.

He didn't need this. There were miles and miles left of road and his reserves were low. Raigryn would need everything he had left for his destination. The raiding party was naga was supposedly small, but he was still only one man.

Please. Walk on.” It was worth a try.

“Your bags old man. Give them to us now or...in about two minutes when we’re done with you.”

The answer was the hiss of a long blade leaving its scabbard. There were no runes or inscriptions on the blade. No jewels set into the hilt. Perhaps something more impressive might have dissuaded them. Still, the sword was well balanced. Human steel of a quality only the smiths in the east could manage these days. They did not see that. They saw only his age. His age and his travel bags.

Should have used the old travellers trick of a false purse, he thought. Raigryn could have convinced them with just a little Empathy but he had set off in too much of a rush. Perhaps he had allowed his own emotions and nostalgia to rule his judgement. That was something he would have chastised any apprentice for. Preparation for a journey alone was always vital.

He knew these roads well. As a boy he had known them to be much safer, back when the Queen's men ventured this far from the walls. This has also become personal for him. The reward for bringing back the captives didn’t even matter. There were lives at stake, assuming the Naga hadn't executed their prisoners yet. Raigryn had been a friend of her family for three generations. He had even introduced her to the Baron's son who now formally courted her. He didn't do this for the Baron's reward. He would still take the coin; honest work was hard to come by for an Empath these days.

He dropped his weight a few inches. Raigryn tightened his grip on the hilt and watched them carefully. The sword would have felt half this weight thirty years ago. He appraised their weapons: basic but functional and used. They wore no armour but one of them carried a small buckler.

Four bandits. They didn't move with skill. That was apparent just from how they drew their weapons and moved to surround him. Four men was four men and out in the wilds there would be little chance to renew his strength. What little he even carried now. If he was careful he could draw a little from these men, but that took concentration and there wouldn’t be much of that to spare.

The first bandit gave a shrug and rushed him. They must have done this routine many times with lone travellers and probably never been given much of an issue; they weren’t the type to bother an armed group. The bandit raised both arms and chopped down clumsily with his heavy axe. Raigryn tapped into his stored Fury, stepped aside and swung his blade. The ache in his shoulders vanished, instead he felt heat radiate through his muscles.

The blade barely slowed as it cut through the man's side. It didn't quite carve him clean in two, but Raigryn hoped the feat of strength would bring an end to this. It didn't.

The mage drew from his Joy to weave away, parrying an attack and swinging again with far less venom in the strike just to give himself some space. The two now trying to bring him down were alone, their remaining friend cried out and fell to the ground, pawing at his own eyes. A simple parlour trick but small events could bring sweeping changes in the result. Raigryn had seen as much with his own eyes several times: from a change in conditions in a small magical experiments to a swing of luck in the smallest part of the greatest pitched battles of their time
 

Raigryn Vayd

Staff
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1,380
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He felt no shame in gathering their ill-gotten gains and filling his own purse. At the next town he would find a good cause for half of it. Everything in balance.

The issue was that he was no longer in balance. Ending the fight had required too much Fury. His hands trembled as he cleaned the dull blade of his sword. He felt to urge to lash out at the bodies for delaying him when time was so short. There was no one else around for miles and not enough time to centre himself.

He cheated. As he touched his store of Serenity and felt his hands stop trembling as they continued their task. His breathing slowed to a regular rhythm.

He would not have just chastised an apprentice for doing that, he would have sent them back to the first tier of learning. It was like an off-balance tightrope walker summoning a gale to right themself. It was far too easy to over correct and draw more. To end up doing permanent damage or even panicking, drawing from all directions and tearing one's psyche apart.
 

Raigryn Vayd

Staff
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“I was wondering when you were going to show up,” Raigryn muttered. The two wide saucers stared back at him through the ferns impassively. “Were the bandits not interesting enough to warn me or did you just cower up a tree when you saw them again?”

His answer was silence. The eyes didn’t even blink. Raigryn sighed. He hadn’t tarried at their camp in case there were more men around, but he had quickly helped himself to some food supplies. The moment he opened a satchel of dried meat the ferns started to part.

Almost impossibly slowly Jason VII emerged from the undergrowth and padded into the clearing. Every few steps the small creature would stop and remain still for a second before continuing. Eventually she came to rest next to his feet. A small arm reached upwards, six furred fingers with pink pads opened up and grasped at the air. Eyes framed in a small face covered in mottled grey fur fixed him with a stare. Jason was, in fact, a female Lunasloth. Every one before her had been a Jason and it was very difficult to tell with their species.

“Don’t know. Think you deserve this after that?” His shoulder still ached fiercely from where the mace had clipped it. These days every bruise blossomed and spread across his skin to last for weeks. He didn’t have the reserves to waste any Charity healing the damage now.

Impassive eyes looked back up at him. Fingers opened and closed once more in a smooth, excruciatingly slow movement.

“Oh go on then.” The ageing warrior-empath passed down a stick of dried meat. “It’s getting dark early now,” he reflected. Raigryn looked up at the gap in the canopy of trees overhead. The sky was a cool grey, but the dense forest made the evening seem to draw in quickly. He looked back down, but Jason VII was already gone. Looking around he followed the sound of chewing to spot the wide eyes in a tree not far away.

They weren’t true sloths. Not like the creatures to the south that hung from branches. Whenever they were being watched they moved slowly or not at all. Yet as soon as they were out of sight they could travel with an unnatural speed. Raigryn had never seen any of Jasons I-VII move like that directly. The best he had caught was a blur in his periphery. He suspected he would have to convince one that he was going to attack to see it. They were skittish and difficult enough to train as it was. Difficult to train and with a short lifespan, hence Jason (sometimes Jocelyn in his head) the seventh. This one was a particularly wilful example of the species. Raigryn liked to keep them for companionship on long journeys and to act as scouts in the night. It wasn’t going that well with number seven. The training was something to do during a tedious trip to keep his mind alert.

Testing the limits of a Lunasloth when not being observed was the kind of thing a College Magician would worry about in Raigryn’s view. He held such people in relatively low esteem is most respects. Though he did suspect himself that the creatures had some magical ability with the speed they could move through the shadows.

Raigryn leaned forwards over the pile of kindly he had already made with the sharp, curved blade he carried. His palm hovered over it as he mumbled quietly. “Agerrus, Infendus.”

The kindling burst into flames and he retracted his hand quickly. “Eleven magic is not so distasteful that I can afford to waste what Empathy I have left,” he said out loud, feeling the judgemental eyes in the tree above. Jason VII canted its head to one side and then finished chewing the stick of meat. Even chewing was a painfully slow motion.

There was a thought that pushed its way out of the back of his mind. A possibility that he didn't like to consider. Naga didn't often come this far west. He'd found their tracks so he believed they really had come this far and taken some captives from the town. But had they taken her? The Baron wasn't happy about his son marrying a commoner. If this had been used as an excuse to be rid of her then all the fatigue in the world would fail to stop Raigryn from doing something quite drastic.

Raigryn focused on eating and rubbing some life back into his arm. There was still a raiding party of naga camped ahead. Likely in amongst the stones of the old Hel Tor if he were to guess. Not that he was overly confident on any guess when it came to the serpentine species. No one understood them. They didn't even know why they took human captives. One problem at a time. He decided to sharpen his sword.
 

Raigryn Vayd

Staff
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1,380
Character Biography
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Approaching naga from downwind was necessary. It kept them from picking up his scent, but also brought the full stench of a naga camp to him. The creatures had a foul smell and must have been camped out at the top of the rocky hill for a few days.

Raigryn climbed the gentle slope on all fours. He kept his sword in hand, the scabbard still around the blade to keep it from reflecting the moonlight. The stones gave him some cover but he was approaching the summit.

From a distance he had seen the crude wooden cages, but not seen any prisoners directly. He hadn't been able to get a good sense of their numbers either. They had taken the tallest mound in the area and Jason VII couldn't count even if she was capable of sneaking in.

Raigryn wasn't overly familiar with the naga. He had never ever heard of them travelling this far east before. When they stood tall they could reach seven feet and were as aggressive as orcs. He knew they came in different colours but the ones he had seen were all sky blue with scarlet markings. Whether that meant a race of naga or a family group he didn't know. They could change the tone of their scales for all he knew.