Open Chronicles What Lies Beneath

Nayella

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Bayou Garramarisma

Nayella felt sweat running down her brow. She was not used to this weather, heat and humidity that made your skin feel as though it never quite ended.

The Witch did not like it.

So why was she here then? In this gods forsaken swamp where even the most experienced of sailors failed to tread. It was the crown of course. The artifact that had so long ago drilled into her skull and pierced her thoughts. The thing had brought her here, forced her to take passage on a ship that had long since crashed on the rocks.

She'd been stuck here for nearly two weeks now, and though she had managed to survive well enough on her own she had still not managed to find what she was looking for.

There was a tomb within these isles, hidden among the rocks and squirreled away in the darkest corners. It was said to be filled with treasure. Gold, silver, and riches that could only be imagined. None of that was important to her of course, no, she sought something hidden among the treasure itself.

Yet the tomb alluded her.

She did not know where else to look, and thus she had no choice but to wait. Nayella had known that eventually someone else would come. A smuggler, a pirate, or an adventurer. They would come for the treasure, either for the riches or looking for the same thing she did.

It was why she sat perched upon a cliff-top, watching as a galleon sailed into the very same cove she had weeks ago.

She wondered if it too would sink.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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The captain of the galleon was an exceptionally cautious man. It was why the sudden thud and creak and chorus of shouting heralded the ship being run aground, but not necessarily sinking. At least not yet.

Eventually, whilst sailors still scurried across the deck and down the hull on ropes to try and investigate the problem, a small rowing boat set out for shore. Or at least for some ground that might be firm enough to take the weight of a grown man.

Impatient to see what might be in this fabled swamp, Raigryn stood at the head of the small boat. As his silhouette came into view two things stood out. Over his right shoulder stuck up the long handle of a hand and a half sword. On his left the head of a small creature rose. The lunasloth clung tight to his back. It was a creature used to the humid jungles of the ixchel wilds. Raigryn was hoping, possibly in vain, that Jocelyn could scout the swamps for danger.
 
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Nayella

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Nayella watched quietly from her perch atop the cliff, her lips thinning as she watched the Galleon run aground.

She could not see much from where she was, not even the silhouettes of the people on the ship. From here they looked like little more than ants. It took difficulty to spot the rowboat being lowered, more to see men boarding it and eventually debarking. A frown creased her lips, followed by a slow shake of her head.

Who where these new ones?

Adventurers?

It seemed the most likely given the island, but...the Galleon was a large one. Perhaps a military force? They flew no flag, but that didn't mean much in these parts.

With another frown the Blight Witch slowly pulled herself back, moving into the jungle. She needed to be closer when they landed.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"So what's the job?" Raigryn called out cheerfully. "Scout the area?"

The sailors seemed fairly indifferent to his attitude. Men with the luxury of a sense of humour didn't get pressed into private expeditions to explore new lands. They didn't understand why an adventurer would want to come along without payment.

"Something like that'," came the curt reply.

In Raigryn's view not being paid meant leaving the rowing to the younger men who were being paid. Their oars were struggling against the plant life that had claimed these shallows. The boat rocked and bobbed until it squelched to a stop.

Raigryn decided to let one of the sailors find out how firm the ground was.
 
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Nayella

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The ground was not firm.

Almost as soon as the man stepped into the swamps he fell a foot deep, the mud claiming his boot as he tried to pull himself back onto the boat.

"Fuck!"

He shouted, just loud enough for the Blight Witch to hear him. Nayella had made good time getting down the cliff, using a small path she had found days before in order to perch herself within the treeline just beyond the swampy ground the boat had found its landing upon.

A bemused smile touched her lips as she saw the sailor get stuck, her fingers drumming on her knee for a second before she slowly stood up. "Step on the roots."

The Witch called out as she moved beyond the trees, a plan already forming.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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A soft schlick of weapons being drawn. Raigryn was still at the head of the grounded boat. His large sword was still slung across his back and he had made no move to reach for it.

The boy who had jumped off first fell onto his rear trying to draw his own sword. He had to reach for the side of the boat and sent it squelching from side to side as he tried to pull himself free of the mud.

Raigryn drew just a touch of Tranquility and stepped down off the boat lightly. He couldn't waste his store of Aspects. So far from a city it would take time to draw more power. In the interests of not falling into the mud and leaving diplomacy to the sailors he decided it was worth it.

The wide root had some give as it took his weight, but it kept him from sinking.

"Good tip," he replied. She spoke the common trade tongue and hadn't tried to eat them. He saw that as a positive sign.
 
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Nayella

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"The swamps are perilous." Nayella spoke the obvious, ice blue eyes wandering towards the sailor who had fallen into the muck.

The Man stared at her with fear in his eyes, and it was at that moment that Nayella wished she had disguised her appearance. To these men she must have looked ever the witch she was. Hiding out in the swamp, her hair stained, clothes ruined by weeks of muck and mud.

They likely thought her straight of the legends. "There's monsters."

Might as well have a little bit of fun with it.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Really?" Raigryn asked. He canted his head to one side. The lines etched by age accentuated the curiosity on his face.

The Lunasloth on his shoulder had very, very slowly turned its wide saucer eyes towards the witch. When Raigryn tilted his head the creature drew up its hand and gently pushed back at his cheek.

By contrast the sailors seemed to draw together. It wasn't a case of bravery versus cowardice, but curiosity against superstition.
 
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Nayella

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For a moment she stayed silent, watching the men gathered before she nodded her head. "Crocodiles touched by magic."

Twisted beasts, broken and wrought by some foul machination of a mage now long lost.

"A pirate seeking to protect his treasure." Nayella was not entirely sure if that was true, but she was attempting to craft a tale here. A lie or two wouldn't hurt, and the crocodiles were there. She just wasn't entirely sure whether or not they had been created to protect the ancient tomb.

"They have a taste for flesh." She glanced into the swamps. "And look like tree roots just beneath the water."

Some of the sailors stopped dead in their tracks.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn eyed the roots suspiciously. He'd seen a picture of a crocodile once. That had been back during the good times. Back when there had been schools teaching Empathy in half the major cities. Their libraries belonged to others now.

He had always wanted to see one of them, but from a safe distance. The picture had shown a creature covered with armoured spines lurking in the water.

"Did she mention the treasure? Ask her about the treasure!" The sailors were starting to get back to going about their business now. They pulled their colleague from the mud and looked for something to tie the boat to. They didn't venture far, watching the shapes in the swamps carefully.

"Are you looking for the treasure?" Raigryn asked.
 
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Nayella

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Nayella chuckled. "Treasure? No."

She cared little for gold and baubles.

"Not me." The Witch eyed the sailors. "But others have come. All of them seeking the riches left behind within these swamps."

She wondered how one suffered such fools with any length of time. "Three centuries ago the Captain of The Blackhawk left behind his vast horde on this island. That is what they say anyway."

"Gold, jewels." She mused. "Enough to fund a war."
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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That sounded distinctly like a veiled warning. Or a threat. Raigryn decided that it wasn't worth pushing to find out which might have been the case.

"I think it might be best to stay together, though of course it is your decision," Raigryn turned to say to the veteran sailor who was technically in charge of this landing party. Raigryn was merely a passenger at this point. Though he also wasn't about to start listening to young men stupid and unfortunate enough to end up press ganged into service on the oceans.

"And do you live here?" he asked the witch who was still watching the sailors carefully.
 
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Nayella

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"Live?" She frowned. "No."

Nayella would not have picked this place as her abode if it would earn her a mountain of gold. The swamps did not suite her, neither did the heat nor anything about this damned place. She hated everything about this bayou. "I was stranded here."

The Witch explained.

"Three weeks ago." It seemed longer. "My ships crashed upon the rocks, and my crew slaughtered."

She peered over. "Why are you here?"
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Exploration!" he declared. "Though I don't believe anyone would mind if we found the treasure."

One of the sailors hissed at him as if he was revealing some great secrets. The witch was frustrated, not as calm as she seemed on the surface. Raigryn didn't dare draw from that and potentially reveal his magic.

"You'll have to petition the captain for a journey home," Raigryn said. That assumed they could get the ship back into open waters.

His friendly demeanour stiffened as he took a step closer. The rest of the sailors were laying down planks to give then a way off the boat to join him.

" What killed your crew?" he asked.
 
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Nayella

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"Crocodiles." She answered bluntly. "Traps."

She did not have to lie about these facts, something that would presumably help her here. The man had no reason to doubt her of course, save that she was a strange looking woman in a very strange land. "And...something else."

Nayella frowned for a brief moment.

She remembered the thing well. Large horns, fur covering half it's body and mangled flesh the rest. The Witch had never quite seen anything like it before, and although it had been terrifying, she couldn't help but feel somewhat fascinated at the same time.

Perhaps because it hadn't been trying to rip her apart.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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"Crocodiles are one thing," he said with all the weight of someone who had once seen one in a book. "Creatures like that can go weeks without eating."

He turned back to look at his sailors. They looked like just the kind of men who would trigger a thing but the most obvious of traps. Jocelyn, his Lunasloth, might go looking for the traps in their path. That depended if she was in the mood to be coerced into action.

"What kind of traps?" he asked. Raigryn took a few tentative steps closer. The roots did not make for stable footing.
 
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Nayella

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For a moment Nayella paused, glancing at the man now approaching her. "There are trip lines across the island."

One of them had taken the Captain.

"Spike pits." Many of those, though they were easy enough to spot if you knew what you were looking for. "Some others that I could not put into words."

It was a vague answer, but the best she could offer. "Someone did not want this island to be easily traversed."

More credence to the rumors of treasure.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn liked a good mystery. It was one of his most distinct character flaws. It was remarkable he had survived as long as he had. There was at least a difference between poking your head where it shouldn't have been and failing to take precautions.

He slowly lower Jocelyn down onto the branch. The Lunasloth wrapped her arms and tail around it and remained stock still. It wasn't obvious how putting the creature was going to help.

"Your men can tread lightly?" he asked the sailors. The look he received wasn't very reassuring. "Why don't I looked around this little part of the island?" he offered.

When he looked back towards Nayella Jocelyn had vanished.

"I am Raigryn Vayd," he finally introduced himself with a slight bow.
 
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Nayella

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"Nayella." There was no concern in giving her real name.

They were so far removed from Elbion that if this man was a magehunter he outright deserved to capture her and drag her back by the scruff of her neck.

Still, he didn't have that sort of air about him. Not zealous enough.

"I made it a mile into the island." She told him. "Before I was forced to turn back for lack of supplies."

It did not seem like a lot of progress, but with all the traps and monsters it might as well have been a thousand leagues.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Could you retrace your steps?" he asked. A mile felt like a good distance to walk with the advanced party. It would give them all an idea of what they were up against.

Nayella might have been the last survivor of her ship, but Raigryn suspected that their captain would willing sacrifice half his crew. Just as long as he was safe aboard the ship and there were enough men to sail them home. As long as there was a chance of increasing his renown as an explorer.

Raigryn thought the man looked a bit wide around the middle for a real explorer. That was probably down to the extravegent meals he was served whilst the crewmen ate biscuits and weavils.
 

Rebecca Fourtuna

The Bayou Bone Eater
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The Bayou Bone Eater had been hanging more bodies in the trees when she saw them. A galleon the largest she had ever seen. She licked her lips as her mouth watered at the thought of more food as she began to transform for combat.
She followed cloaked and watched them from the trees.
Her eyes glowing red and jaw unhinged as her teeth were already extended dripping venom. Trespassers. Defilers the lot of them. They all reeked of greed and stupidity. However, two stood out. The witch she knew by scent. After killing her fellow crew and eating the ones caught in her traps she had left her alone.
Mostly because she kept to herself. she also gave of an air of darkness her animal instinct said was bad news, and honestly that scared her. The other was the one speaking to her now. He had no evil scents about him beyond magic and regular human stink. He smelled of sloth and kindness. But he also looked intelligent. The leader obviously. How could he not be. As the most intelligent and well traveled looking it only made sense.
A spine grew from her tail as she lined up a shot on who she presumed was the leader. The venom dripping from it's tip dripped on the branch and it began to smoke and rot.

This caused the branch to weaken and snap slightly throwing off her shot as it tilted. It struck a man further to the right in the neck. He screamed as his skin and insides began to turn to mush from the neck down. Soon he was just a head quickly turning into a skull in a pool of melting guts and boiling blood. Rebecca then began to leap from tree to tree staying cloaked as she let out a screeching howl like a mix between a lion and a panther.This call seemed to rouse some of her woodland friends to the area close by the new arrivals.
The massive Alligators slid through the water underneath her trees as she kept moving. Intelligent and the smallest of them being 13 to 14 feet long they were real man eaters. Who had placed them there or granted them intelligence was beyond Rebecca.
They had been here much longer than her or even old Philip. She kept them well fed, and they seemed to understand that her call meant din din.
There were much to many to take on all at once. Her friends would thin the herd. The traps even more so. Then she would strike, and if the witch was in the way so be it.
For now she would remain watching. And waiting... She checked her traps on the way to her cabin before landing softly on all fours at it's door. She moved inside and smiled. There next to her bed was a beautiful crown.
"Fit for a queen like you Becca..."
Philip had said. He had found it while exploring an old tomb on the island, and had given it to her as a gift. Old Philip had lived on the Bayou his entire life. Taught her everything..and she was about to put it all to use. She pulled of the arm of one of the crew she had caught during the witches stranding. She had hung him upside down to cure like a slab of meat. She munched the arm thoughtfully.
"Ill ki-kill all o-of them P-Philip. I-I really w-will.."
She muttered to herself cradling the crown.
 
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Nayella

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"I could." She confirmed.

It would be a simple enough task. She remembered the steps well enough, though that didn't necessarily mean that they could get through the same way.

This place was...confusing.

"There will b-" Nayella suddenly found her words interrupted by the sound of one of the sailors grasping his neck and beginning to scream. Her eyes popped open, and in an instant she whirled around to face the swamp that had laid behind her.
 
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Rebecca Fourtuna

The Bayou Bone Eater
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What visitors to the Bayou will now see on approach.....



The shore is covered with pirate swords sunk blade down and different pieces of discarded armor along with empty chests turned upside down.
Upon entering any major water ways they will be greeted by the sound of clinking bones hung in the trees like chimes. Some are strung to string just above or even slightly under the water line to signal entrance without upsetting the craft. The ones hung in the trees are meant to unsettle but also to mask the true warning system.
Bodies will begin to appear hung in the trees in various states of decay with more and more frequency the closer you get to Rebecca's territory with signs around their necks. messages stem from "Pirate." To "Turn back." with others bearing various insults and hateful comments.
Further exploration down the waterways and any boat will come into contact with wooden and bone spikes aimed at an angle under the waters surface to punch holes in the hull. When the spikes sink back from the impact they trigger traps firing crossbow like bolts made of bone and wood. Various pungi spike pits covered in grass, snares that will snap you up and leave you hanging upside down while a sharpened tree trunk will swing from the trees and obliterate any who are hung there., and traps consisting of pulled back branches with spikes on the ends. Ready to snap into place when the trip wire is triggered.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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Raigryn could only watch in horror as the sailor fell back into their small boat. His sword was in his hands as he drew a little on some Joy.

He had prepared to charge at the swank witch, suspecting an ambush. Yet she had turned her back on the sailors to face the danger.

Raigryn climbed back into the boat. There was nothing that could be done for the man. He drew his very last breaths with a wet gurgle. With great care he pulled the spine from his neck.

"Aligators don't shoot poison darts!" he called out to the witch.

There was an anger lingering in this place. Raigryn couldn't sense whatever people had launched that poison tipped spine, but any search would have to wait. A snort and a hiss heralded the arrival of several Aligators. They hadn't launched the missile either, but they were going to have to be driven away first.
 

Nayella

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In an instant Nayella's palms began to glow a sickly green color.

She crouched down and pressed both hands into the much on either side of her, the pale aura spreading quickly through the earth and the roots around her.

In an instant the ground began to wiggle and squirm, something underneath it shifting and moving. The roots of the bare trees in the swamps began to pull themselves free. Rotten and near broken limbs pulled from the earth just as one of the Alligators pounced from the swamp in an attempt to snatch it's next meal.

A reward of wood and moss entered it's maw, stopping the creature just short of biting Nayella in half.