Private Tales Vultures

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Gaheris, May 13, 2019.

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  1. Gaheris

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    SOMEWHERE WEST OF VEL ANIR
    CORTOS


    Gaheris prodded the head of the corpse with his cane several times before he got it at the right point. He leveraged it slowly, tilting the corpse’s head this way and that as he examined it for damage. A soldier. Or a conscript, rather, judging from his clothes. Rough-spun. Looked basically like sack cloth – a far cry from the fanciful (yet ostensibly practical) uniform Gaheris had been issued.

    Other scavengers had already come through and relieved the conscript of whatever weapon he had been issued as well as his boots. More power to them. That was not what Gaheris had been sent to collect. Gaheris prodded the limbs, ensuring they were still attached.

    They were, in fact. An increasing rarity over here where the cavalry charge had initially hit.

    “This one,” he announced, and gave the corpse a decisive thwap on the chest.

    Two Red Guild armsmen trudged away from the waiting cart. Gaheris did not know their names. With their coifs on, they were virtually indistinguishable anyway. One had a mace clipped to his belt, and the other had a pair of long knives stuck under his belt.

    “Poor bastard,” muttered one of them, and took the corpse up under the arms.

    The other one scoffed and took the ankles. “Luckier than both of us, I reckon. He doesn’t have to work.”

    If that man knew what Gaheris did, he might have reconsidered that. It was not Gaheris’ place to educate them, anyway, so he merely moved to the next body. The armsmen trundled away, and hefted the conscript into the cart with the other corpses.

    Gaheris could not recall who was doing the fighting. Some petty Dukes squabbling in the shadow of Vel Anir, as usual. The battle had progressed quickly, one side pursuing the other with such vigor that they had not stopped to collect the dead. If Gaheris looked across the muddied and upturned earth, he could see the distant shapes of other scavengers picking their way through the dead.

    Pocket change, bad boots, and chipped weapons. What a miserable living that had to be. Gaheris did not sympathize. He had a salary. Gaheris prodded this new corpse in the chest, a weathered looking regular. No boots. Padded armor, empty scabbard, arm still hooked into his shield.

    The corpse sputtered suddenly, and groaned. Not a corpse after all. The soldier reached out weakly, muttered something, tried to grasp at the cane that had prodded him.

    Gaheris frowned, swatted the hand, and moved on.
     
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  2. Fieravene

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    #2 Fieravene, May 13, 2019
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    A low whistling sounded through the stench of death, interrupted by the dull staccato of hoofbeats. A simpering cry. A wheezing cough. From the west, riding along the lines of corpses, a dark figure on a dark horse, small shadows flickering about on ground level, shuffling men tethered like a parade of tired dogs behind it.

    The whistling grew louder, a sultry melody that commanded the little shades weaving through the bodies. Eventually one found its way to the groaning man most recently abandoned by what might've been his last hope. The shade tittered and promptly flew into the man's mouth in a puff of esoteric blackness.

    The man began to cough violently.

    "Ah," said the figure on the horse, drawing on the reins to steer it along a new path, and bringing it to a halt some several feet away. She dismounted, picking her way to close the distance and stooped by the man as he heaved and retched.

    "That's the spirit," she grabbed him by the front to haul him into a sitting position, "fight your hallow futures, give it all you've got."

    He coughed, he hacked, he spat up a wad of nasty, sticky, flegmy something. The woman gave him a solid slap on the back, "Good man. Who do you fight for?"
    "Duke Del-" more coughing.
    "Sorry, didn't get that."
    "Delany."
    "How fortunate for me. On your feet, then. Up, up, up you go."

    Up he went onto very unsteady feet.

    "Thank you ... another passed by, left me here to rot."
    "Ohh," a pitying croon from the woman, a tut as well, she lead him back to her horse, "well that was rude of them. Not to worry, you'll be off this miserable plane in a jiffy."

    And then, suddenly, he was bound by a dark rope to a dark horse by a dark woman.

    "Not ... to ... worry-" and she was back up on the horse and whistling again. Off again, to cross paths with the other passerby in his pursuit of ...

    "Afternoon," a friendly nod was given to the blond man, a short glance given next to his cart full of bodies, "quite a haul you got there."
     
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  3. Gaheris

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    Gaheris let the limb fall back into the mud. The hand had been chopped at the wrist and dangled uselessly. No good. He was about to pivot to the body not lying too far from it when he heard someone speaking to him. Gaheris turned to find a woman - a bleak looking Elf - staring down at him from a horse. A small caravan of sick looking men were tied up to the horse and trailed behind it.

    He spared a glare to the two armsmen. Had they seriously just let this woman sneak up on him? No, sneak was probably the wrong word. She was on a horse. Whistling. And there were at least half a dozen groaning men tramping in the mud after her. He had not been paying attention. One of the armsmen shrugged uselessly. Apparently as long as she wasn't riding full tilt and swinging a scimitar, it was nothing to worry about.

    As close as she was, she'd smell cinnamon. Everyone did.

    Maybe everyone else in his line of work wanted to smell as bad as they looked, but Gaheris had higher standards.

    "I could say the same for you," he said, frowning at her tethered men, the shades fluttering about under the horse, and finally at her. "Is there something you need?"
     
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  4. Fieravene

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    "Tit for tat," replied the elf, pointed brows curved over an expeditious look, "your quarry doesn't groan at all, mine groans too much - miserable lot," she gestured dismissively at them behind her, they groaned in unison back. Weird.

    "What say you to doubling up. Two sets of keen eyes and a few little shades aught to clean us both up to get home in time for supper. If it's no skin off your teeth then it's no point off my ears."
     
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  5. Gaheris

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    Gaheris' brows knit together, and he couldn't help but glance at the groaning choir. "Miserable indeed." Unbecoming habit, to have his attention stolen so easily. But it wasn't every day you found a parade of shambling half-dead men following after an Elf. Rarer still that they groaned in unison.

    Unseemly business, even by his standards. He'd had plenty need to round up shades of his own in the past, sure, but never this many. Not all at once. Not in the wide open. Not where a few extra hands from the Red Guild of Cortos would do.

    So unseemly.

    "I'm not sure I follow. What is it you would like us to do?"

    Shuffling about, feeding someone else's shades to the wounded was not the sort of thing Gaheris involved himself in.

    Not for free, anyway.
     
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  6. Fieravene

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    Hm, not very quick on the uptake. The elf watched him for a moment, considering her inherent and racial egotism that placed humans on a lower echelon of intelligence than her kind, and promptly discarded it as one might a cleaned ribeye bone. He didn't look doltish, but she'd been fooled before.

    "Let us-" a pause to choose phrasing as mono-syllabic as possible, "work as a team."

    There, that should do it.

    "I need viable groaners, you need-" she gestured vaguely towards him and his cart, "whatever it is you need. As you search, if you find able and beating hearts, you alert me. While I search I'll keep my eyes out for your -" she narrowed her eyes in mild perplexion, "what is it, exactly, that you're searching for?"
     
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  7. Gaheris

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    Slowly, he looked over to the cart. The bodies had not exactly been piled in with any sense of order in mind. It was a tangle of dirty, bloody limbs. He wondered, briefly, if it looked like they could be after anything else. "Intact bodies. No broken bones, no severed... Appendages."

    Both armies were fond of war-scythes and other hacking, slashing weapons, so naturally the state of the cadavers would usually not be to the liking of their client. Unsupervised armsmen would just toss any old body in there, and bodies with damaged bones, or missing hands and heads and limbs, were very limited in their use.

    He gestured to the rest of the battlefield. "You might guess we need little help in finding any. What are your groaners for?"
     
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  8. Fieravene

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    That was strangely specific. The elf propped a brow of intrigue.

    "What are you, some sort of Mortician?" a wry smirk plied at her lips, red eyes filled with a curious mirth. She always met the most interesting people in these sorts of places. At his question the elf eased back in the saddle, "This dandy bunch? The highest bidder, of course. Sometimes they get lucky and it's their own people."
     
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  9. Gaheris

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    Gaheris ran his tongue over his teeth. A mortician. At one point, yes. And at several points afterwards, as it happened. "Nominally."

    His work history was a strange and splendorous thing all at once. He tried not to dwell on it, tried less to talk about it. This was polite company, after all. Him with his thugs and corpse cart, her with her monstrous spirits and possessed retinue. What company could be more polite?

    "How charming. We may be able to help. For a paltry fee, of course."

    If she stood to make a killing off the slave trade, it was only fair Gaheris should stand to shave a few coins for himself. And those two thugs, if they earned it.
     
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  10. Fieravene

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    Nominally. Paltry.

    Well, well, well.

    Fieravene gave a small bark of laughter, lips pressing into a sanguine smirk, "But of course, pidgin. Nothing on this cheerful slab of rock comes free." Dropping the reins of her dark steed, she swung fluidly from the saddle to plant her boots back on the ground. Small, black shades bobbled about her feet like curious kittens, wincing and beady red eyes blinking weirdly from their amorphous forms.

    "Let's get started then. I have a schedule to keep and an orc to see about a dragon before the night is through."
     
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