Visionary Tales

IC => Fantasy => Topic started by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 13, 2019, 06:43:12 AM

Title: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 13, 2019, 06:43:12 AM
Through deep, dark streets the moon cast an oily gleam on slimy cobblestones and dark leaves, weighed down by the water of recent rain. The only lantern, a shining beacon of somewhere warm, safe and importantly lit, was burning lowe over the Broken Gallows Inn.

Inside, a number of downtrodden travellers, looking hollow and unintersted in the world had congregated. It had been a boon for many industries in the hamlet of Great Wyrly, as travellers trickled into the town to find food and shelter after their previous way of life had been ripped from them so violently.

In the furtherest corner, at a large square table made from some unwieldly slab of ancient wood, sat a quiet, seemingly downtrodden motley of people. Each of them was staring into drink, bowl and pipe pensively, as if trying to avoid the thoughts of the day. Well, some of them were – it was hard to tell what was going on behind the biting iron mask of the giant slumped at the end of the table, propped up by a young boy who looked like he had only reached midway thorugh his teens.

“What do you think all these broken people are going to do?” The boy finally asked, raising a shaking flagon to his lips. He seemed distant, his clothes still stained with some kind of dark ichor. The giant behind him shifted, but said nothing, drumming his gloved fingers on the table. Niko, the giant’s name was. A huge, battered and diseased creature whose whole life was now two things – pain, and finding resources for his brat companion, Tarkis.

“I do not know, they look exhausted, and tired knowing they celebrated the doom of so many,” the voice, deep and grating, like gravel crunching under a cart’s hooves, issued from under the table. Silax, the creature’s name was.

A strikingly unusual creature, with horns and long, clawed hands and feet, he had previously dressed as a human. Now he had cast off his disguise, too exhausted and damaged from a literal face off with some giant, mind rending horror from beyond the human comprehension of the world. He was not sitting on a chair but rather curled at the feet of the warrior, the mysterious woman Nphepho who had fought with them. It seemed he was wasboth unwilling to sit at the table, the confirmation of his legs making it uncomfortable, and leave the healer who had saved his life.

“I for one, hope they can find a way to ease their minds, be it with flagellation, prayers, or funerals,” Silax was saying. He had taken no food, and was calming himself by holding a joss stick between his teeth, watching the smoke lazily curl up to the underside of the table, causing the smell of some warm exotic spice – cinnamon he had called it, as he had lit it. “The church and funeral parlour will do a roaring trade, for those lucky enough with people to remember them.”

It was only Niko, who seemed to not be doing something to take his mind off the day. He was still in pain, and they had yet to reap the spoils of their previous, hard won victory. Among which, was valuable medicines to keep his rotting body in fighting shape. Tarkis fussed that Niko wasn’t eating, in his drunken state, before finally asking Fosse, the huge brawler woman, to help him be convinced. It wold be a long nigh ona full stomach with a bed underneath them, much less hungry and sleeping in the barn, as it seemed the cold night was shaping up to be.

“So… “ Niko said after some time. “What happened in the … while you were gone...” Tarkis took a long drink of his flagon, as if even the thought were too much to bear. It was a small mercy that Niko could not see the distant look in his eyes, or what little colour drain from his face.

“Kinesia,” Tarkis said quietly. “Do you have the … the words to explain…?”

OOC: Hopefully this sets enough of a scene to start! I feel a bit rusty but these are old favourites :)
Title: Chapter II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 14, 2019, 02:23:47 AM
Those from the shattered cult that had no means of payment, even to buy a watered down beer just for the opportunity to have a roof over their head, were forced to look elsewhere for comfort. The church was filled beyond capacity with people that promised their faith for a bit of mercy, and all others had to try and find a place in which they could survive the night, as the ones who had returned from the other plane that weren't completely mad or already dead from shock wouldn't last in the cold, malnourished and weakened as they were.

Nphepho wished she had been able to help more, but the being had done nothing to physically injure the humans it took, and their wounds were caused by time, and she couldn't help with that anymore than she could reverse someone's age. She had offered her room to a woman that had taken on several of the now orphaned children so they could sort themselves out before her rent on it was up. She would either find another place or stay in the room that the others had kept if they were accommodating enough. She was the only one, it seemed, that recognized the smell of cinnamon, it brought back pleasant memories of home and helped her calm down a bit. She protested against Silax sitting on the ground like an animal, but speaking to an actual stone and expecting it to budge may have been a simpler feat. So she let him do as he chose to, if she hadn't been through such an ordeal she would have joined him on the floor, but the shoddily crafted chair felt as comfortable as any silk lined throne as she leaned back against it.

Kinesia was glad that they had left the two behind, otherwise they might have lost their room otherwise to the wailing masses that had struggled along the path to this town. She didn't like the idea of sleeping in an inn filled with so much despair, and the wailing children in the room above were getting on her nerves. She would rather sleep outside, keeping warm with the large cat that prowled the woods, but she didn't trust the desperate people to remain peaceful. They seemed harmless enough, but she didn't have it in her to try and fight them, especially after what they'd all seen. She had taken the orb from the being's hand after her cat tore it out, but didn't know what to do with it, it burned inside of her bag as if she'd set the thing on fire.

The cook was getting as much out of the cow that Fosse had brought as was possible, and had already begun stewing the bones, so in an attempt to get Niko to eat, Fosse had ordered a large bowl of beef broth in case his state was making it difficult to chew. She didn't understand what had happened with the others, she didn't remember exactly what the priest had asked them to do, but it had been an easy job, otherwise they wouldn't have taken so few. That creature, however, was not like anything she had seen, although the smell and sounds of the suffering humans was too familiar, but she didn't understand how they had suddenly appeared from nowhere in such a state. When Tarkis asked her to convince Niko to eat, she spoke bluntly:

"Eat, or you will be killed by weakness, not enemies. Boy has eaten and you cannot catch him if you do not eat too." She thought that Tarkis may attempt another solo mission, and she knew he could outpace the man easily if he didn't eat.

Kinesia didn't want to talk about the being, or even think of it, but she couldn't look weak in front of the others, she couldn't show them that she had been as frightened, if not more, than some of them. She had shown weakness in her hesitance to fight it, to get close to it as Silax and Nphepho had dared to, but she could make up a thousand false reasons as to why she kept her distance. None of those would be believed if she continued to show that the thought of it made her cower.

"There was a creature, an evil one, that preyed on humans." Kinesia began, pausing as she tried to think of how to explain exactly what had happened, the pieces all coming together now. 

"Like... evil creature we took egg from?" Fosse ventured, fully aware that this thing had been more dangerous given its size.

"No! Not like the spider at all!" Kinesia snapped, if the tavern had been as empty as it had been when they first arrived, she would have drawn attention from everyone, but she wasn't the first to have an outburst this night. "It... It spoke. The spider was like an animal, it killed to eat or when it was threatened." Until she had been pulled into the other realm, that had to be one of the most horrific things she had seen, but it was still a creature without sentience, something that they were smarter than.

"This... this thing spoke its own language... and ours." She thought of the Messiah, the marionette that had looked and acted as if he were one of them. "It made a puppet, that looked human, and spoke as we do,  it told lies to try and keep us near.  It lured humans to it as we lure game with food. It set a trap beneath the leaves and baited it with the scent of paradise."  Kinesia closed her eyes for a moment, taking in a deep breath before continuing.

"I have heard of such things. Of beings that know things that drive men mad. that are older than the forests and oceans. They live near us, but we do not see them. They can appear in a dream, a ritual gone wrong, with magic used unwisely, or... if they choose to show themselves. I never believed they were real, just stories to scare mages into making proper spells. But this thing... it had its own world right by ours." Kinesia still didn't understand how that was, how it could hide in such a way without leaving a physical trace, the amount of power it needed in order to maintain its own reality was impossible to fathom.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 14, 2019, 05:18:28 AM
For Niko, the feeling of the inn was oppressive. He could feel the change in his charge, the difference in Tarkis’s posture, how he sounded a little fainter, a little further away. It hurt his appetite, and he was unwilling to eat, however he was more unwilling to annoy Fosse by not eating. He picked up the spoon, stirring the bowl of broth. A few tables away someone was crying, sobbing into their elbows.

“That he might, Foss,” Niko said drily. That Tark could run away – would run away, even, weighed heavily on his mind. He sighed, lifting his mask to reveal his lower face, the skin having sloughed off to the inside of his mask, and began to eat, listening pensively to Kinesia’s voice.

What she did not know was her companions – in each of their own ways, were beyond caring if she showed fear. It was not in Silax’s nature to see fear as anything other than a natural response to situations that were unfamiliar, or unsafe. Tarkis had blatantly shown fear when faced with the creature – he had heard, through a tiny, magical earring that now sat deep in his pocket, the speech of the creature the clearest, and its words were a knife between his eyes, dulled only slightly by drink. And Niko, who could barely perceive her, was beyond perceiving the nuance of fear.

Tarkis met her eyes over his flagon, and felt a flash of guilt. He could have tolds Niko not to ask, but here they were, hearing the tremble in her voice as she tried to coalesce her thoughts and memories of that great, giant thing into a coherent sentence.

“It was great, and terrible,” Silax tried to describe it too, in words that would impress to Niko and Fosse the magnitude of the suffering they had seen, the way it had spoken, the fight that they had all thought would have been to the death. From under the table, he could see Niko’s leg start to jiggle, giving away the anxiety he began to feel as Kineia spoke. Above the table, he looked as calm and unmoving, considering Kinesia’s statement.

“So it preyed on us, drove people mad and then … did what? Ate them?” Niko was clearly trying to piece together a part of the story that no-one had answers to – why?

“We don’t know!” There was a puff of incense as silax spoke. “I do not wish to think on it. All the people you feel around you Niko … all of them, the ones crying, the ones jibbering, the change in Tarkis and Kinesia and Nphepho and myself. It’s because of it.”

Niko nodded. “You killed one. All of you. What does that make you?”

“Exhausted!” Tarkis snapped, clearly unhappy that Niko was upsetting their travelling companions. The giant fell silent, his mask placed firmly back over his face so they couldnt see the deep sadness in the downturn of the corners of his mouth. It was almost too hard, to live this life.

“Well, if it makes no sense to dwell on it … perhaps we should retire for the night...” Niko suggested tentatively, realising they were, above all, worn out from the events of the day. He went to stand, banging his knee on the underside of the table. “WATCH IT! YOU BIG OAF!” Tarkis snarled, his drink sloshing.

---

Unfortunately for the companions, the room was too small for six people to stay in, even though the innkeep had turned a blind eye to the idea of far more people than usual to a room. Tarkis had insisted Niko stay inside, scared he would pass away in the lashing cold that late autumn had brought into Great Wyrly. Silax had willingly relinquised the idea of sleeping within the confines of the inn, stating that he would be happy to guard a place in the hay loft of the barn.
“I feel we are best placed to return to the church toether,” He said, dropping to all fous and sizing up the window, clearly he had chosen not to exit thorugh the door. “They will hear us out, with more people to corroborate.” He disappeared through the window, his tail lashing the windowframe as his skittering claws struggled to find purchase on the slippery roof tiles. He disappeared over the side of the building, and all was silent.

The evening wore on, Tarkis still shell shocked, shaking and trying to push flashbacks from his mind. He sat on the edge of the bed, using the last of his clean bandages and blackwood salve to clean and dress Niko’s joints. “So … should we draw lots for who goes to the barn?” He asked finally.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 20, 2019, 07:03:55 PM
Fosse had expected him to pour the soup right through the small holes in his mask, not that he would lift his mask and use the provided spoon. She stared underneath his mask, not because she was transfixed by the grotesque, but to make sure none of the flesh fell into his soup by accident.  Even if Fosse noticed Kinesia's fear, she would be easy to convince otherwise, and she could tell from all the others that something very bad had happened, whatever it was.

"There was no signs of it eating anyone." Kinesia had not seen a mouth of any kind, or any indication that it was devouring the humans, which had been very clear on the other creature that they fought.

"Not their bodies." Nphepho said, her voice cracking slightly, "But we do not know, and we will not know." It was possible that it devoured something that was invisible to humans, souls, emotions, or some other unnamed substance. It was just as possible that the creature had been doing it out of cruelty, or that it thought humanity deserved to be culled. "It makes us nothing, if only decent. If I had known what we were to face, I would have prepared more, but I would have still gone to end it."

"We only managed because it was already injured. We... we were not the first to fight it." Kinesia shuddered to think what had been able to cleave a section off of the creature and pierce the stone upon its head. She doubted it was human, perhaps another being stronger than it, or scars it had from defeating another of its kind if there were more.

Fosse looked to Tarkis when he snapped, not understanding why he was getting so agitated, but she knew it bothered Niko as he stopped eating. She didn't push him to eat again, only eyeing the boy and his drink, she considered telling him to stop drinking, it was making him unpleasantly noisy which she knew from experience was a common effect of alcohol.

She was going to agree with Niko, as even though she had not battled nor suffered as Niko had, his anxiety had spread to her as they searched, and it had put a strain that she wasn't often used to. At first, she thought that Tarkis was referring to her when he shouted, even though she had no idea what it was she had done this time. Fosse soon realized that he was talking about Niko getting up and bumping the table, and she disapproved of this deeply, he had already hurt the man enough today without so much as an apology.

"There is always much boisson, unruly enfant." She said, standing and taking Niko's unfinished soup, she drank it all down then put the bowl back on the table.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"We will meet you there." Kinesia said, she had no worries that the gargoyle would claim the prize without them, from what she'd seen at the church she doubted he'd be allowed in on his own.

Nphepho watched him go before looking back to the others, "This was not my room to begin with, I will take my leave as well." she said, "I recommend that you stay in here as well, Tarkis." Her voice was a bit sharper at this utterance, as she had insisted he stay before more gently yet he hadn't, which had endangered not only him but Niko as well. The barn was perfectly safe, but she knew that wouldn't keep Niko from worrying, and he had enough ailment to begin with. She then left herself, through the door rather than the window, to join Silax at the barn.

"I will draw lots against Fosse. If you go out, he'll follow you." Even if he didn't, Kinesia didn't want to be shut in a room with the anxious giant.

"What is 'drawlots'?" Fosse asked.

"Drawing lots is how we'll choose who gets to stay and who gets to go to the barn." Kinesia repeated more clearly, "It is you or me that will be going."

"I am staying here." Fosse said. She had slept in barns before, and normally would prefer it to this cramped room, but she wanted to stay here with Niko. She felt bad that Tarkis had left so easily before, and planned on preventing it this time around.

"That's not how it works." Kinesia bristled, "You might stay here, but if you aren't drawn then you have to leave." In response, Fosse sat upon the floor.

"I will not leave. You must move me." she replied, calmly, knowing very well that the smaller woman wouldn't be able to accomplish this.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 21, 2019, 04:01:44 AM
Tarkis watched Kinesia’s body relax - visibly relieved as Silax left. Despite the sombre mood, he couldn’t help but make a dig at his companion’s unease. “It’s ok Kinesia, I’m sure he dislikes your presence as much as you,” he joked, despite the fact while eccentric, Silax did not seem in any way hostile to the group - a sentiment reflected in the fact that Nphepho made her exit soon after, seemingly willing to leave the tense standoff between the remaining three.

“Well if you insist,” Tarkis said darkly to Nphepho’s receding back. He might well have followed the strange healer into the barn if he handn’t seemingly been the cause of much ire for his group. Instead, he watched Kinesia’s increasing frustration at Fosse, who seemed unable to grasp the concept of a random chance of staying in the room or in the barn.

Niko had taken his place on the bed, and had clearly ‘gone away’, as Tarkis described it, allowing his memories and thoughts to become distant, shutting down his senses from the world. Where previously it had seemed to be a way to distance himself of the pain of treatment, now it seemed to be in response to Tarkis’s hostility. Even insolent little pest noticed Niko seemed less inclined to respond or interact - even with Fosse, who he could tell they had forged some strange kinship in the short time they had been together.

It was this thought that made Tarkis choose to intervene. “Kinesia, I think she is saying she won’t leave him,” Tarkis ventured carefully. Fosse sat, defiantly on the ground, unmovable as a boulder - something Tarkis was glad he need not take up with her. “Whatever friendship she has forged with him apparently transcends comfortable sleeping, if she is willing to sleep on the floor for it...” It of course meant there would be three people piled on the floor, fighting for space and with only a few blankets between them, but Tarkis felt a strange sense of fairness. Should Fosse not move, it did not mean Kinesia should be forced to sleep out in the barn with the animals.

Tarkis was holding up Niko’s arm to bandage the last elbow. His skin had been very damaged from the siezure-like anxiety attack he had suffered early in the day, and he felt  pang. He was sobering now, and had recognised obnoxious behaviour downstairs. He nodded to Fosse. “Thankyou for caring for him.” He said finally.

-X-X-X-

The barn was a large, dark shape not far away from the inn. It had once been painted red, but the paint was now flaking off, revealing dark wood, rotting in places, underneath. There were plenty of loose boards, and birds and bats alike had taken to nesting in the rafters.

Inside, a few stalls were occupied by horses, goats, sheep and a single large bull at the very end, who now in the deep of the night was asleep, the sounds of its weight shifting breaking the scuffling in the roof. The hay loft itself was warm, having trapped some of the heat of the day, and when Nphepho entered seemed empty but for the sweet smell of hay undercut by manure.

Somewhere inside, a goat bleated in response to squeaking from the rickety ladder. It seemed Silax hear it too. As her head and shoulders appeared over the last rung of the ladder, he unfurled himself from on top of a stack of hay bales, slinking four-legged over to her. “A fine evening to sleep in a drafty barn, is it not?” He joked, stretching as he approached. He had done away with nearly all his clothing, and his slinky, coiling movements gave a catlight effect as he circled Nphepho. “Well you are in luck! I found a corner of the barn with no drafts! Have the others decided what they may do?I feel they will send one oth-” he was caught mid-sentence as he caught Nphepho out of the corner of her eye, realising she was wearing little more than a cloak over her shoulders. Where he had been from, and taught from the religions he followed so closely, there was a strict taboo around women’s exposed skin, and for a brief moment, he felt a deep, rolling sense of discomfort.

Never mind they had fought alongside each other in much the same state, SIlax had barely noticed given he so often scouted ahead, and had been so focused on Hrathungej.

He moved away, dropping onto his side in the corner, facing away from her. It was obvious he had been gravely injured in their fight from the twisting in his back, and further harmed through the splashing acid he had used to prevent the monster in the otherworld from regenerating. There were fist sized craters in his lower legs, burning away the stone like skin and revealing dark grey flesh beneath. “Are you well?” He asked finally, realising the silence had stretched long.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 26, 2019, 02:30:04 AM
Kinesia glared at Tarkis when he made his comment, more upset over him noticing her unease than what he actually said, "You should be more careful, boy, you shouldn't trust a thing like that because it acts harmless. A cur is more dangerous when it doesn't growl, you'll get no warning before the bite." 

When she realized that the other wasn't being responsive, the woman kept her few words meant for him to herself, though she believed he was like this because he was too tired to socialize, not that he was trying to separate himself from reality.

"Bed is... not hard." Fosse said about sleeping on the floor, Kinesia glanced at the bed, thinking that the hay in the barn would be more comfortable than what they filled their mattresses with. Even if it were a bed fit for royalty, she wouldn't sleep upon it, not with all that had leaked from the man into the fabric and its contents.

"He can damn well defend himself, and you can't keep him from fallin' apart." Kinesia said, she was going to make a jest herself about them being involved with one another, but imagining the union between the two of them was almost enough to make her shudder, so she didn't dare speak it as well. In truth, she thought it might be better to sleep with the animals, and she may very well have if Silax and likely a bunch of refugees weren't going to be staying there as well.

"I could get you on your way, you stubborn cow, but I'd risk burning the building down that way." If they'd been outside, she wouldn't have hesitated to set a little fire underneath Fosse. She also wouldn't be able to dodge any retaliation from the larger woman in such a tight space. She grabbed one of the blankets roughly, pulling it around herself.

Fosse heard the scrambling of claws upon the roof, and thought that Silax may be returning, though he sounded differently. Kinesia's large cat came in through the window, laying down on the ground like a tame housecat and allowing the woman to move up against it so she remained warm even where the blanket didn't cover her.

The other flopped down onto the floor herself, having taken off her armor and only having her wool underclothes on, she slept on her stomach directly in front of the door to keep Tarkis from sneaking out again. She made no attempt to acquire a blanket for herself despite the biting cold that was coming in through the opened window.

----------------------------------

The day had been long, filled with torments, pain, and the ever looming guilt of being unable to help with such a great deal of human suffering. Her shoulders had been slumped when she made it to the top of the ladder, and her face rather somber, but Silax's mood and manner caused a small smile to spread across her face, and instead of looking as if they carried a great weight, her shoulders seemed relaxed now. Her eyes smiled as well, and she even let out a small laugh at his comment on the draft. Nphepho didn't know what made him stop so suddenly, but she decided that his injuries must have caused a pang which made it difficult for him to continue his movements.

"The others are sleeping in the inn, though one may join us." She watched his back, remembering the feeling of his backbone snapping under her hands. She moved after him, "Is this the corner?" she asked before crouching down by him, she placed a hand upon his back gently.

"Allow me to heal you, it will not hurt this time." She had been forced to use more powerful healing during the fight, it was a hard and harsh magic, with no energy wasted on soothing the nerves as it healed. Unlike the blinding light that had come during the battle when she healed him, a dark, smokey-like substance flowed out of her palm and sunk into him, having an analgesic affect as it worked to heal the damage sustained from the fight at a much slower rate.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 27, 2019, 08:11:36 AM
Kinesia’s hostility left Tarkis quiet, sitting at the end of Niko’s bed as the night closed in around them. He thought, long and deep, on what it would mean for them to part ways – they were, after all, not far off that path, given it seemed the only thing that kept them together was convenience, and the sheer number of refugees crowding the inn. He was cold too, wrapped in a blanket and propped up against the rickety frame, but he dared not go and close the window, for fear Kinesia’s strange spell over the cat would be broken and they would have to kill it – or it killed them – or they killed each other in the process…

The performer boy’s mood was dark, clearly. He felt, for some reason he stubbornly refused to attribute to jealousy, that he and Niko were better off when they were not in Great Wyrly, even if here Niko had seen more treatment and medical supplies than elsewhere, so easy it was to trade for the necessary coin, bandages and salves.

He frowned at Fosse’s back on the floor “I could climb out the window, you great oaf,” he remarked savagely as he fell asleep. “Might even be better than being between you and your amoreux.” It seemed he too, was using Kinesia’s line of thinking as a weapon against the sleeping Fosse – ineffective as it was. Well, he would be rid of her, soon enough – or so he hoped.

-X-X-X-

“Y – yes it is,” Silax could feel himself staring at the wall, looking at the stray pieces of straw trapped in a long forgotten cobweb. It was indeed warmer, and less chilly than the other spots in the barn – it seemed Silax had taken some time to build a wall of bales against one side, so any gaps in the wood couldn’t let through a chill. There were others sleeping there, of course, but none had ventured into the hay loft, seemingly Silax’s presence had scared the majority of them off. “I hope it is warm enough for you. At least, you will not catch a chill…”

Her footsteps ventured closer, and he visibly flinched. “No … it’s fine … no …” it looked as if he was anxious from the pain he had experienced previously, rather than the true cause - some internal turmoil. His breath caught as she touched him, and then relaxed as he felt the warmth of her magic coiling into his back, working the last of the break out of his spine again. He had felt perfectly strong previously, but now the stiffness that had pulled his shoulders tight eased, and he felt a brief flash of some unknown emotion in his stomach.

His chest expanded, and then contracted with deep breaths under her touch, his stony skin rising, seemingly to make as much contact with her palm as possible, and each breath out felt like he was exhaling out whatever had made him nervous previously. He sat up, still looking somewhere other than her. “Thankyou, it is a great kindness to be treated as a … a living being.” How strange a thing to say, given for all intents and purposes Silax was a living creature.

He could smell the smoke from her palms, and seemingly unconsciously, he leaned against her to breathe in the scent – an almost comical impression, since he was now so terrified of looking at her. He was heavy, as one would expect from a creature as large and heavily framed as he – however, he went well beyond the heaviness of flesh, and likely any further leaning would have pushed her over. “It is foreign magic to me, with a scent like charcoal,” Silax said; as if to explain why he was so fascinated. “It is not like that which … raised me, or that which is used by the wild witch in the inn. Or … or what torments the giant… how did you learn such magic? Where does it come from, within you?”

He curled against her leg, the impression akin to a pet sleeping next to its master on a cold night. In much the same way Silax’s voice rang clear as a bell when he walked, four legged alongside them when they travelled; he seemed to have no problems asking questions curled up on himself, either. “Who are you? How did you come to be here? What experiences have made you such an… accepting, person? I know you gave up your room to others in need…” His torrent of questions slowed, still having given little up about himself.

He grew tired, and his adherence to the human mannerisms grew less strict – so much so, as he began to drift off, a deep rumbling in his chest began, signalling the strange revelation a creature such as he was capable of purring.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 28, 2019, 10:11:43 PM
Even if Fosse had heard his jibe, she would not have been insulted, but rather very confused about how she would be able to have any sort of amoureux. She had not thought of the window as a means of escape either, as it wasn't a way she herself would be able to use to exit the inn. Kinesia could easily move out the window, even without the aid of the large feline, but she would not be made to do so because Fosse was blocking the door.

When the witch woke up, she tried to get the larger woman to wake up, giving her several kicks which hardly made her stir, it wasn't until she set the cat on her, to pounce on her with claws sheathed, batting at her face with its great paws. It growled as Fosse grabbed it, pulling it close like it was a stuffed toy, squirming enough to cause her to wake up and release it. The animal bounded out the window once it was free, and Kinesia tried pulling at the door.

"We need to get to the church before all the supplies are used up." Kinesia didn't know if the church would deny the refugees the medicine that was promised to Niko, or if they decided that they needed the gold in order to support the influx of humans.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It is perfect." she said about the warmth, Nphepho was good at gauging when it was too cold, as it often was in this new land. He seemed unimpressed by his own work, "Does the cold bother you?" It didn't seem like it would because what he was made of, but he was more than that as if he were only made of stone she wouldn't be able to heal him any more than she could rebuild a damaged column.

She tried to think of what was disturbing him so much, as she was certain it wasn't because the pain the healing had caused before, he had continued fighting well after he'd been broken, so he had a tolerance for injury greater than any human she had witnessed. Nphepho was pleased when he relaxed, the magic worked easier on a calm patient than an agitated one, his body accepting the magic more readily.

Even though it was strange he was refusing to look at her, she was glad for it, so he did not see the look of bereavement upon her face when he spoke next, she was able to change her expression back to a happier one before she spoke so it wouldn't alter her voice. "That is what you are, so there is no need to thank me for it." She didn't have to ask why people treated him as such, but he must rarely be treated as more than an inanimate being if he thought that this was so kind. It made more sense as to why he put on such elaborate makeup to make him appear to be human.

When he leaned over, she had nearly fallen, and if he had pushed a bit more she would have, but she didn't reject the new contact he was making, encouraged by it rather than bothered, as well as his questions. She had been asked about her magic before, but it was rarely as nicely as he did, having been accused of using dark magic, that she was poisoning rather than healing because of its color and consistency.

"It is not witchcraft." she started with, as that seemed to be the majority of what kind of magic was seen in this part of the world, "It comes from the Earth, from my ancestors, from their knowledge and powers. I had to learn how herbs and animals are able to heal, and how to use the abilities my family before me have mastered. It took much time, but it comes from my belief in them and their belief in me, these powers are not mine alone."

Him curling against her was a strange sensation, he was like a rock that had the sun beating down on it for hours despite the dampness of the night, but she welcomed the contact again. "I am... what you would call a priest in this land, or a doctor, something in between." She didn't like the comparison exactly, as there seemed to be much desire for monetary gain in both the religion and medicine of this land, but she refrained from commenting. "This land has much evil that is not challenged, there are the ones who raise the unwilling dead to serve them, to make slaves of strangers by pulling them from their rest." Her voice became sharper at this, filled with more conviction, but it turned soft again when she spoke again. "I am accepting because it is how I was taught to be. I do not have these abilities to take, but to give. My ancestors would not bless me otherwise."

When he began to purr like a large cat, she could not keep a quiet laugh from escaping her. She would have thought it disrespectful to stroke him like the animal that he now resembled, but from what he said before he was often treated less than an animal, so she thought he may appreciate the contact if not only in his dreams, she stroked gently down his now healed spine before falling asleep herself.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 29, 2019, 08:27:08 AM
There was a choking noise, then a cough and Niko stirred, surprisingly, before Tarkis. His momentary pain and confusion washing away quickly to realising that Kinesia was yelling at Fosse to get up. “What is it, what happened?!” He asked quickly, sitting up so quickly there was a strange, wet tearing noise as his mask adjusted on his face. “Ooooh!” he groaned, waking Tarkis from his slumber.

“Yes? What?” He immediately was on his feet, looking around for the danger. Instead, he saw Fosse holding a now terrified mountain cat in her sleeping grip. “The great oaf managed to cuddle Kinesia’s cat like it’s a kitten…”

“Don’t call her an oaf you fucking fool,” Niko snarled back as the cat made its hasty escape, before what he had said sunk in fully. “… Kinesia has a cat…?” Tarkis paled, not wanting to let on to him a predatory – and sometimes scavenging animal was so close to him in the night.

“She doesn’t any more, the damn thing just climbed out the window,” Tarkis said darkly, still pouting that he had been told off. He reached over to help Niko stand, but he waved him away, standing, and swaying dangerously, before he found his balance. The giant could still stand and walk, and for all intents and purposes seemed a lot stronger than he had the day before, with something akin to a decent meal in him and fresh bandages.

“I think you are right, Kinesia,” Tarkis agreed. She was above all else, pragmatic. “We must be hasty. The church will likely have realised we have brought an … influx of the unfortunate … with us, and may bear us some ill will for it. The sooner we give them the information, and got Niko’s medicine, the better." And, of course, the modest sum that –unknown to them, Silax had ‘bartered’ for the day previously, when he was trying to get information from them. “We should go to the church immediately. Nphepho and Silax have … have more information, than I ever could have gathered from the fight. We should bring them, as they will corroborate our story well.”

-X-X-X-

Silax had listened, rapt and suddenly feeling, for the first time, warm and comfortable with a human as an individual, instead of a population he was made to defend, and one day die for, thanklessly due to his horrific appearance. “There is much evil here,” he agreed, eyelids drooping. His voice had a strange lilt to it as he spoke over the deep thrum in his chest. “But if there are people such as yourself, surely much good too! Or … much capacity for it. I am optimistic, Nphepho. You are powerful, and surely much blessed by your ancestors.”

He knew he was overstepping the doctrine of a good creature of his faith – for there were teachings that the faiths of others were not to be accepted by them. Not shunned, necessarily, but not accepted, either. And here he was, fully believing that Nphepho was blessed – by her ancestors, to reach deep into the earth and heal with what power flowed through nature. He felt a stab of guilt that made him curl up tighter; only to relax as she touched him again, sleep descending on him in a warm haze.

Nphepho! Please, be awake!” Silax had woken early, and was circling her again in that same slinky movement, looking over his shoulder so as to avoid meeting her eyes. Any moment of tenderness in waking, still curled into her side, had dissolved into anxiety as the teachings of his priests rang in his ears. “I hear the others, they are waiting but I … I must …” atone “… attend to some unfinished business. I rarely care much for gold, however my supplies are running low. If you collect from the church in my stead, you may keep half of my earnings. I merely need enough for face paint.”

Outside, the sound of Tarkis’s impatient voice rose above squawking chickens and shuffling barn animals.WAKE UP YOU LAZY GITS. THE REWARD WILL NOT WAIT FOR US! Tarkis demanded, standing outside. A slice of threateningly overcast sky was visible through a crack in the barn door, as Silax beckoned her to go quickly.

“Maybe they aren’t in there?” Tarkis asked outside. He was unwilling to go in himself, particularly given he would leave Niko vulnerable. The giant had insisted on following the sound of Tarkis’ bells instead of being led as he had previously, and it would mean Tark would have him following him into the barn.

OOC: Feel free to move them to the church! I wanted to wrap up the overnight and have Silax make his hasty exit to atone, poor guy.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on May 07, 2019, 01:03:52 AM
Even if her cat had been less obedient, Kinesia doubted that it would try to feed on Niko, she was sure that the animal could smell whatever sickness plagued him and would not risk disease for a meal. She snorted when Niko said not to call Fosse what she clearly was, especially blocking the door as she was like a great useless lump.

"We best get paid for getting them what they asked for before they realize they don't want it." Some of the churches in larger towns would have rejoiced, with the influx of poor and ragged souls the rich that hoped to pay their way to paradise were always willing to throw a few coins at the priests. But as it was, the richest of the folk here were still barely getting by on what they received from travelers.

"Fosse will not go." The woman said when she stood up. "Must do... faire des courses."

"That's fine, there's hardly enough room in the church as is." And as far as Kinesia was concerned, the woman had done nothing in this quest so deserved no reward. "Come back here when you're finished, or don't." It wouldn't surprise her if Fosse simply wandered off, even with her apparent kinship with Niko.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His words meant a lot to her as well, for she had spoken to very few about her ancestors, less were willing to listen, and even less than that were not offended by it. When she healed, she had been thanked, but no matter how long she put her hands on them they were always at a distance from her that she could not hope to bridge.

She slept deeply, not waking even as he rose, it wasn't until he spoke that she sat up, looking alarmed for a moment before understanding what he said. She pulled a few pieces of hay out of her braid before standing up and brushing it off of her clothing as well, watching him as he again moved around oddly, not so much the catlike movements as his body seemed fit for it, but that he continued to look away from her.

"He is quite rude." she said as she heard his shouting, though she didn't sound upset or annoyed, more amused by it than anything. After what he had seen, she was glad he was still able to act as such, many of the children his age that had been taken were mad from what they had gone through, and the only shouting they did was incoherent.

"I will collect yours." She did not plan on keeping any portion of his gold, but she wasn't going to let him know that until she'd delivered it to keep him from protesting. She didn't ask about his business either, simply because it was his business, and she would let him choose to share it if he wanted. "I will see you  after." She climbed down the ladder, retying her large black robe so that she was decent for the church. It wasn't until then that she realized what had been bothering the gargoyle so much. Of course, it had to be their cultural and her nakedness compared to the others. She had thought at first it hadn't bothered him as he hadn't reacted during battle, but neither had Kinesia or Tarkis. Kinesia hadn't aimed any insults at her, and the boy was at the age in this land which instead of ignoring or looking away, would stare at her if she wasn't covered. That Silax didn't seem qualified as being one to fall for the temptations of the flesh for his flesh was of stone, she had overlooked it more.

She intended to apologize later for her thoughtfulness, stepping out to join the others before the whole of the barn patrons headed to the church for some aid. Kinesia glanced behind her, no doubt looking for Silax as well, she then looked up as if he'd come jumping down from the roof like he had at the inn.

"Where's the rock?" she asked.

"I did not know that I was supposed to be keeping track of a rock." Nphepho said, cooly. "But I am the only one coming, I will be collecting for Silax." She walked past her, not seeing the rude gesture the other woman threw her way. "How are you two this morning?" she asked of Niko and Tarkis as they went to the church. After such a harrowing experience, there were few people up yet to make demands on the church, there were only a handful outside, sleeping curled against the stone as an attempt to keep dry. Inside was much more crowded, but the sleeping masses weren't up to make a ruckus, to beg for food, clothing, and continued shelter as a group, the few that were awake staring into nothing or whispering quietly to one another.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on May 10, 2019, 09:12:34 AM
Tarkis took another deep breath ready, to yell again when Nphepho emerged from the barn, her purposeful stride carrying her right past him before so much as a peep could pass his lips. The boy deflated, letting the yell of YOU’D BETTER GET DOWN HERE! fade into a sigh.

The exchange between Kinesia and Nphepho was so cold even Niko noticed, his grip on Tarkis’s shoulder tightening. Tarkis squeezed his gloved hand as if to tell him things were OK. Indeed, Nphepho’s reserved stance seemed to lift ever so slightly to respond to Kinesia, and Tarkis wondered briefly if Silax had hurt her in the night, and she did not want to talk about it.

“Well, no matter,” he said, trying to look spritely despite the friction. “I am sure between the four of us we can provide more than enough information for the church. We are very well today Nphepho, look! Niko almost has his old strength back! I will be pleased to see him with more Blackwood Salve and another square meal in his belly.”

-x-x-x-

The church, however, immediately smothered what little good spirits Tarkis had valiantly tried to foster. They had to carefully pick their way between the people sleeping on the floor and slumped against one another, heads hanging hopelessly. Tarkis was careful to lead Niko around the restless forms, and he felt a twinge of sadness for them – they had devoted their existence to a false prophet, then had come to a world that had moved on so quickly.

There were a number of priests and nuns scampering amongst the rows of returned to tend to them as well as they could with such an influx of the unfortunate. The group approached the priest that had sent them on the quest. He was hastily scribbling in a record book up at the altar, clearly trying to record the event in a way that captured its greatness and terribleness. The approach was cautious, as Tarkis half expected him to conveniently forget about their deal, instead, he stood stiffly, looking at them with a venomous frown.

“I suppose you don’t know anything about this, do you?” He asked bitterly. Clearly, he had not been expecting the travellers to bring back such a large number of the missing.

“We will tell you everything after we see our reward,” Niko spoke. It was rare for him to speak up unprompted, particularly given that he had no clue what had happened but for the avoidant discussion with Tarkis and Kinesia. It was clear – to the group, at least – he was feeling the absence of the vital medicines. Tarkis nodded, and they stared, in a stony silence – the Priest wilting under the gazes of the three weary travellers, backed up by the faceless hulking expanse of Niko.

“Blackwood Salve. And gold,” Tarkis said crisply. He was polishing a bell on his shawl almost nonchalantly, trying not to belie the urgency of the request. The priest sucked in a breath, as if remembering how painful a bargain it had been, and asked them to wait, hobbling off. The record book left open on the altar. When Tarkis leaned forward to read the curling script, his nise crinkled in disgust to read a description of wretched creatures, described as a burden on the resources of the church. He decided the assessment the church was greedy and uncaring was, perhaps, a very accurate assessment.

The priest returned, six jars of the horrendous smelling salve Tarkis used so liberally on Niko’s skin tucked under his arms,  fresh bandages, and a fat sack of coin – at least twice they expected from the task. Tarkis averted his eyes to avoid staring, lest his greedy gaze clue the priest in to the fact that they knew not where the gargoyle had gone.
They picked up their supplies and gold, and made their way towards the heavy, wooden doors of the church. Tarkis noticed something fluttering on the door, its gleam suggesting it was pinned there by a dagger. From further away, he noted it as curious, but when they got close enough to see it fully, his jaw dropped.

There were six neat squares across the top of the page, each with a small, but expert ink drawing – a teenage boy with shoulder length black hair, a beaten up mask, the unmistakable scarred face of a wild mage, the face of another mage with golden scars, a cracked face with horns, and finally, a hulking woman with limp blonde hair. It was them, the only way someone who did not know the names of people of interest could get their attention. Tarkis, able to read quickly and without stuttering, quickly parsed the script.

To the people who have now faced otherworlds and survived it wrote. My consort will wait for you at the gates to Great Wyrly today. We can offer you food, medicine, gold, tutelage. For your services.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on May 19, 2019, 12:03:41 AM
Nphepho was glad to not only hear, but see that Niko was improved in both emotional and physical health. Even though she didn't possess the means to cure him, or even know who she could refer him to, she felt that she had failed him as a medical professional. His illness was unlike anything she had heard of, a creation of twisted magic and cruel science that was kept quiet by all who practiced it; she was certain that even they had no intention of making a cure for it. She did not ask where Fosse was, assuming that the others were going to do the same and collect the gold for her as well.

She was now glad that neither of them had come along, and thought it might have been best if only one of them had come to collect, as there was hardly room for them to step. It was admirable how Tarkis could lead his larger companion through the human obstacles when it was difficult enough to do it with her vision intact, she had to raise her robe slightly to keep it from being dragged over the people around her. Kinesia was less careful, though she didn't step on anyone outright she didn't care about brushing against them or stepping on their clothing, like they were stones or twigs on a forest floor she was avoiding rather than living creatures.

 The healer didn't read the ledger herself, but she could tell from the young man's expression that it was not written kindly, and she hoped that the priest didn't leave it unattended often, in case one of the literate refugees looked upon it. Her eyes went to the salve, as it was much more than she expected them to receive, and she didn't have to feign disinterest in the gold. Kinesia's eyes widened at the sight of the sack, but she quickly got her expression back to the somewhat sour expression she usually sported. Thankfully, Nphepho took up the storytelling this time, keeping a much calmer demeanor than Kinesia had been able to, as well as not giving any unnecessary details about what they had experienced. She kept her voice low, not wanting any of the people around them to become agitated by hearing the experience again.

"What the hell is this?" Kinesia sneered, after he had read it, she pulled the dagger from the door, looking it over before shoving it into her belt to keep. Nphepho picked up the now fallen notice, staring at it hard as if the paper would reveal more answers.

Perhaps if the illustrations had been of the original group alone, it would have been less alarming, there was much time between now and when they'd gone to fight the spider, and they had all been seen together at the inn before they had set off. But it included Silax and Nphepho, who had only fought with them less than twelve hours ago, and unlike the spider they hadn't known they were going off to battle some creature. Whoever had done this either had foresight, had known about the monster they had defeated before they did, or was watching them quite closely. Kinesia hadn't noticed anyone out of the ordinary, and this set her on edge, that someone could be tracking her and she was entirely unaware of it. And whoever had done this had either followed them and pinned the message to the door while their backs were turned, or knew they had planned to come to the church and stuck it in before they even arrived. She looked back at the huddled masses with suspicion, any of them could be the messenger, having slipped back into the crowd they had no hope to navigate.

"It is a very good drawing." Nphepho said, "But what they ask of us..." She could only imagine how their task had gotten their attention.

"I ain't interested if they want us to go after another creature like that." Kinesia snapped, spitting on the floor of the church like it was a dirt road, "But I'm goin' ta find out who tha fuck's been watching us."
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on May 20, 2019, 08:15:03 AM
Tarkis raised a hand, gently tugging the note out of Nphepho’s hands to give it a better look. The boy stiffened, his eyes scanning the page, flipping it to examine the creamy parchment’s other side, which was void of anything revealing – only some dark ink spots. The front’s neat and precise faces almost leered at him – a couple of errant strokes capturing the upturned quirk of Tarkis’s face when he was stirring trouble, another capturing the sombre reflection of the healer Nphepho, and the absence of any ink in the eyes of Fosse, so her eyes took on the distant, almost shell shocked blankness in her gaze.

“What is it?” Niko asked, hesitantly. Clearly, he did not want to draw attention to another shortcoming, however Tarkis seemed more than happy to tell him.

“We are being offered … a significant sum,” He began, carefully. He looked around; maybe one of the refugees would have seen who pinned the note to the door? But no, everyone was … dead to the world. Had he tried to speak to them, Tarkis was certain they would not have responded. Indeed, food, warmth and shelter barely brought them out of the disassociation. Tarkis felt a twinge, and returned to describing the unease of himself and his companions to Niko. “It is not just a sum of gold. It is offering us our needs. ’gold, medicine, tutelage’… it had all six of us. They did not just observe us taking down the spider. I am certain. Whoever wrote this knows where we brought the refugees back from.”

Niko nodded, pensively turning the words over in his mind, but he continued nodding as Kinesia spoke. It seemed he agreed with her. “We have enough gold, and medicine to … to decline, if it is work, like the task from previously,” He said confidently. “But first, we should find the others if they have … been sent for … and we should give fosse her part of the gold.”

“Who says she gats any?” Tarkis asked, puffing his cheeks out defiantly.

”I do, and your sense of moral justice, little brat,” Niko growled, and Tarkis cowered. It seemed unlikely Niko would strike him, but the ire of the giant was intimidating. That Nphepho too, seemed to be covering for Silax’s part of the coin, meant there was little wiggle room to argue they should leave the two strangest members of their party, and they set off to find them.

-X-X-X-X-

Upon exiting the church, and taking a twisting, cobbled street back to the town centre, the group almost literally stumbled upon Silax. They may have missed him, had a trail of gritty, greyish blood led to his hunched form in a narrow alleyway. In the dim light, the shine of his eyes was deeply unnerving, glassy with pain … or ecstasy.

“Ohhh…” he moaned, crawling forwards in huge, roiling strides. Tarkis’s gaze slid to Kinesia, knowing she found him unnerving, and his movements made him look deeply unnatural. The sunlight hit his skin, and Tarkis gasped. There were huge,. Massive welts and open gashes across his back and shoulders. There was even huge weals across his face and thighs.

“Ar – are you ok…?” Tarkis offered. Silax mumbled something, and sat back on his haunches, regarding them carefully, blinking a stray trickle of blood from his eyes.

“Very much so. What has happened, you look pale as a ghost. Looked so before I … I returned, also.” Silax listened attentively as they described the nature of the dozens – possibly hundreds of refugees holed up in the church, and nodded as they described the letter. He asked to see the portraits, and he sniffed the ink gingerly, noting no charms or spells had been cast on the paper – it was a plain message, to people the writer did not know the names of.

“Well,” He said finally, chewing on his lower lip. “I suppose we find the … the woman-giant, and go to ask how they know of us. If another evil has come, I must … obey. They rule to remove it…”
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on May 27, 2019, 01:48:42 AM
Nphepho had expected some arguing from Kinesia about Silax's payment, but the woman got the hint from her previous defense of him that she shouldn't try and withhold his payment. If he hadn't been such an asset to their battle, she might have chanced it, but she knew that she wouldn't have survived without him, and considered anything she owed him paid now that she didn't try and cheat him.

"If you didn't want to pay her, then you should have come here alone." she said to Tarkis, having figured that Niko would want to give the other woman payment now that they were so close, and if Niko had stayed behind she wouldn't have stood up for the absent giant.

Upon spotting Silax, Nphepho shouted out a curse, which to Kinesia was more of a sound than any actual word, and she hurried over to him, fretting over the wounds and examining them as the details were given to the gargoyle. "Ach! Stay still so I may heal it!"

Kinesia stepped away from the gargoyle like he was a snarling beast rather than a whimpering one. She couldn't figure out how he could have been attacked so ferociously, and in the town no less, without anyone seeing whatever great creature could do such damage to his hide. Then she recalled his production at the church when they'd first seen him, and she became more fearful, as he continued to elude her understanding.

"Who did this to you?" Nphepho demanded, "Who hurt you like this?"

"The daft bastard did it to himself." Kinesia said with obvious disgust in her voice, turning her face away from the sight of the wretched creature. "She won't be hard to spot." Kinesia said about Fosse, moving away quickly to look for Fosse, she wasn't going to wait for Silax, in fact she hoped that he would fall behind because of his injuries.

"Is this the truth?" Nphepho didn't think of Kinesia as someone who knew Silax well, but it was a far too preposterous claim to make if it were untrue.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on June 02, 2019, 01:55:01 AM
Silax, for the briefest moment, looked ashamed. Nphepho’s hands on his back stung the bruised and torn flesh, and he hung his head. He could see Tarkis tugging Niko away, cxlearly following in Kinesia’s wake as they went to look for Fosse. For a long moment, he simply allowed Nphepho to continue fussing, crouched beside him.

At least she seemed no less afraid, only confused. It made it harder for Silax to explain. “Yes, when I … when someone goes against the doctrine of my faith, we must make a sacrifice,” Silax began. He felt he owed her some small explanation for her help, and how kind she had been to listen to him. “I sacrifice my body, as punishment for … for believing in the power of other gods.”

Quiet and simple. Silax bluntly refused to explain further, his eyes fixed on a spot on the far wall of the alley as he was fixed up, still afraid to look at Nphepho, even if she was fully covered. “I must apologise, it is for my atonement.” He coiled, and stretched, feeling the strength return to his muscles and bones. Yes, she always did a good job. “I guess we should find the others. Whoever this person seeking us is, I doubt they will wait if only half of us show up.” He took his gold from Nphepho gratefully, not even arguing for her to keep some of his share, how spent his strength was.

The group found Fosse just outside of the bazaar, and it seemed only Niko had the patience – or interest - in explaining to her what had happened. He was crisp and quick with his description, and did not use shorter words speak slower for her. It seemed (wether misguided or not was yet to be seen), Niko did not think Fosse was in any way slow.

“We went to collect the reward,” Niko explained as Tarkis counted – then double counted – the coind for Fosse. He dropped it into her palm hesitantly, uncomfortable with her huge stature, knowing he was standing between the two giants. “And there was a note for us – all of us – saying we would be rewarded handsomely if we undertook some mission. Someone is waiting for us at the gates of Great Wyrly today, so we would like to investigate. AS you were summoned also, you should come too.”

Tarkis’s head cocked to the side, they need only take the cobbled path thorugh the city centre, past the long-dry fountain and down the cramped, winding streets, to get to the gates of Great Wyrly. He felt uncomfortable with the idea of going alone, however he also knew he would go with or without them – particularly with or without Niko, as much as it would stress him. The idea of being offered tutelage enticed him.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on June 07, 2019, 09:32:18 PM
"Can you not sacrifice something else?" she asked, there was no disgust or judgement in her voice at this revelation, though she very much so disagreed with him harming himself, she wasn't going to question his faith without knowing more about it, and hoped he could find another outlet for it. "Is it truly this wrong to believe in someone else's gods?" she asked, meaning how much damage he had done.

"If you must harm yourself for it, then do not believe in my gods and that I receive power from them. Believe that I get them from my ancestors, from the earth, and the emotions I have. These are much the same thing to me, and surely it is not wrong for you to believe in the earth, my blood, and my feelings, is it? You do not need to think of my gods."

After he took the gold, she took his arm and helped him off of the ground, though she was more of a guide than an actual force to shift him, "You are heavier than you look." she said to him with a small smile. "

Fosse listened quietly to his description, she understood him perfectly well, but she wasn't concerned about how much information on them the request had. Most people seemed very fast at getting information compared to her own pace, so she was unable to understand just how unnaturally fast their details had been taken and then used to recruit them. She was very interested in the large amount of gold, despite knowing that more gold often meant more trouble.

She had only glanced to Tarkis as he began to count before focusing on Niko as he spoke to her, even though she wasn't watching him count at all, she could hear that the clink of the gold was identical to the first time he had counted, so she accepted that it was the amount she was supposed to get. She slowly closed her fist around the gold before dropping it into her gunny sack. She didn't pull out her hand immediately, she instead pulled out a large square of folded fabric that was held together with a thin string.

"For Niko." She pushed it against the man's chest for him to take, "Put under armure." She had seen how his clothing had been destroyed not by battle, but by his own disease, and as she didn't wear any beneath her armor she knew of how it chafed, something which would likely rip off his easily removed skin. She had gotten some for herself, but while hers was thick wool, she had gotten some for him that was thinner so his skin could breath. Despite his large and odd stature, it would fit him perfectly, meaning that Fosse had been able to tell the tailor his exact proportions despite not ever having him measured.

Kinesia hadn't participated at all in the distribution of the gold or the explaining of the mysterious note to Fosse, she instead was studying the sheet more, especially her own picture, it was subtle but she swore they had drawn her eyes as vertical slits unlike all the others, but she couldn't be sure it wasn't just a mistake as they hurried to illustrate the image. When she heard that Fosse had something for Niko, she looked up curiously to see what she could possibly offer to him besides food and medicine.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on June 15, 2019, 01:33:07 AM
“Heavy … and unmoving… should I choose,” Silax had looked thoughtful as Nphepho offered potential solutions for his problem – indeed, sacrifices were never explicitly described in his scriptures. But he had known that whatever he must sacrifice, it must hurt him gravely for his transgressions. What even, would match physical pain? He did not know, but Nphepho’s wisdom had planted a growing seed of creativity in his interpretation of the brutal doctrines.

They caught up with the others fairly quickly, despite Silax requiring some aid of Nphepho to stand and walk straight. Silax watched Fosse present Niko with some cloth, and the young boy, Tarkis’s curious and suspicious inspection of the material.

“Hmm,” Tarkis said, taking the fabric between his fingers and rubbing it, inquisitively eyeing its weave. It was a tight weave with a slight amount of stretch, good for providing protection to Niko’s damaged skin, without irritating it. He nodded. “Thankyou fosse, this is perfect for Niko! I – we – are very appreciative of your thoughtfulness.”

The boy’s eyes did sparkle with a genuine thankfulness. While Niko and him had a great deal of tension over the course of their brief interactions, it was clear Tarkis cared for him and wanted to ease his suffering, however long it would last. They were quick to equip it, Niko quietly allowing his armour to be removed and the material put in place. “Thankyou,” he said quietly. “I am very grateful.” He did not know how he could express his gratitude to Fosse, when facial expressions were not available to him.

“Should we continue?” Silax asked, once they seemed relaxed enough to return their attention to the task at hand again. He had noticed Kinesia’s continuous examining of the paper, eyeing their portraits. For the gargoyle, he had felt there had been minimal defining detail. The unusual cut of his hair, shaved on the sides and braided to keep stray wisps away from his horns, and the crowning horns themselves, was enough. He had yet to realise the expert capture of detail had unnerved the others. “I do not feel comfortable, sending all of us. What if it is a trap? Perhaps one or two of us should remain hidden. Myself and Kinesia are the least conspicuous, perhaps we should stay back, and watch in case things go poorly?”

The plan set, they made their way down the streets to the edge of Great Wyrly. The cobbled streets turned to dirt, and grass began to venture out underfoot by the time they came to the stone wall. Tarkis looked into the forest beyond, searching for movement. He saw nothing, and they walked straight through the gates before someone noticed, sitting with their back against the wall, their legs swinging in the ditch beyond, was a small, dark figure.

“Took your time, blimey!” The voice was clear and chirpy, a female voice definitely. “I’ll be as old as me grandmamma if I waited any longer. Welcome to our meeting place! I have no doubt your tow friends are waiting out of sight?”
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on June 24, 2019, 09:01:36 PM
Kinesia guffawed when she saw what Fosse had given the man, thinking that clothing him was the least romantic thing possible for her to do if that's what she was getting at. Fosse didn't pay her any mind, thinking she must be laughing at something else, and waited to see if Niko would accept or reject her gift, it also seemed that Tarkis could reject it for him as the boy looked it over quite seriously.

She was surprised the amount of gratitude from the boy, who seemed to dislike her, having expected a curt thanks if he did think it would suit Niko. Because of this, she wasn't sure how to respond, glancing to the ground then nodding with a small grunt to him while she tried to commit his kind words to memory. The time it took for her to recover from the gratitude allowed her to respond just in time to Niko's own words of thanks, which she responded to verbally as she knew he needed that.

"Good that Niko likes." she replied, "It is no trouble."

"You? Inconspicuous?" Kinesia had planned on continuing to ignore the gargoyle, but she couldn't ignore the absurdity of his comment. She was able to keep her eyes on him long enough to study him before looking away again, "Aye, you'd fit in besides a bunch of water spouts as long as you keep that paint off you." He looked, she thought, even more garish when he tried to hide his stony skin. "Mind that you stay far from me, 'lest you get us both caught." The pronunciation of her last word made it sound like she'd said cut.

She did agree to stay back, but kept her word on having them be at a distance, as she didn't want the other close even if there was a spot that suited them both to hide in. She had sent the large cat into the woods nearby as well, as she'd known it was on the outskirts, but it wasn't watching, rather it was looking through the woods for any potential backup that their summoner had. As for herself, she had found some shrubbery nearby that allowed her to hear the conversation, but keep out of sight, her clothing helping her blend in with the plant.

Fosse had trouble following the female's figure of speech, but she understood her last question well enough. "Yes." she said about the two of them hiding out, as she didn't actually think there was a need to hide this, especially since they had all been invited.

"I apologize for our late arrival, but we were unsure if this was safe or wise." Nphepho spoke frankly as well, "I do hope that is not the case. What is this task that you believe we are fit for?" She did not care for the prize itself, it was what they were meant to do that interested her, to see if it was truly worth her time or if some other adventurers would do.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on June 30, 2019, 01:01:16 AM
Silax nodded, his teeth baring momentarily – had he been trying to smile? To leer? Of course she didn’t think he could be inconspicuous! How silly of him to assume her thoughts could follow what a creature such as himself would do to blend in. Well, now was the time to demonstrate! He even seemed to want to appear effective now that he had a friend in Nphepho, someone he wanted to make up to for terrifying her that last time.

He had scuttled off, pressing himself against the rough, cobblestone wall and blending in with the greys of the rocks. Their jagged edges and unusual planes broke his outline, turning him into little more than an irregular shape amongst the many irregular shapes as he stalked the group to the gates of Great Wyrly. For the others, no doubt his presence was at most an afterthought, but he didn’t doubt Kinesia, with her discomfort, would feel stuck between a rock, and a hard place.

The figure stood. It seemed whatever robe she was wearing was far too large for its short stature, pooling at her feet. Why she was even smaller than Tarkis! Who had only recently gained height and stretched, becoming lanky, but still smaller than one would expect from an adult.

“Cor look at you lot!” The figure was peering at Nphepho, or at least its hood was directed towards her; the person underneath had yet to reveal a face, and didn’t seem intent upon doing so. “So me boss tells me I’m gonna be waiting for a frightening lot – didn’t say how you’d be frightening mind – and I’m sitting her expecting some burley chaps to be preppin to knock my block off and here you are! A bab, a giant, and two women who look like ye crawled up from the depths of hell yer so ugly – “

Niko made a sound and grabbed for the voice, only to be cut off by Tarkis. The boy grabbed his arm and pulled him back wordlessly.

“Steady on. Fine, they’re unlikely specimens how does that sound, ya knicker-twisted brute,” the messenger stepped back gracefully, staying well out of Niko’s reach. “Well, here’s the thing. I don’t know who is payin’, but I seen the pay and it’s lookin miiighty fine. A pretty penny all right. Enough they be doing their own research and come up with you ghastly fuckers to do the job. They like yer skills, you managed to pull something real bad out of the otherworld and kill it. So yeh, methinks you’re more than capable of the job. Here …”

From within the vast robes, a hand extended a map, showing a monument – Tarkis did not recognise it, but to the others it was immediately visible as a cathedral, sitting in the middle of a much larger city to the West.

“So the underparts of this ruddy thing – the Cathedral of St Klemens - has been infested with beasts of yore for centuries, and people just … well, they let it be an’ it let them be, it seems. Or it were dormant, who knows,” they began, speaking so fast and in such a strange tone Tarkis and Niko had trouble keeping up. “But now, right. Different things be happening. City folk going missing. Animals. Just plucked right out of the air. Sometimes we aint never see them again. Sometimes we do and they … they aint right, you know?” The messenger sucked in a breath. “They aint right. They aint as smart as they be before. And they aint as kind to us, they real beastly, but don’t breathe. No heartbeat. They just shells that get up an keep going. And whatever the boss be thinking, it be something like whatever is that unholy? Well ye can likely clean it out.”

It was clear this person had not written the note, in fact the wholly pictorial nature of the map indicated they could not read or write at all. But they had the information to make a choice, and it was that which Tarkis and Niko considered, while Silax champed at the bit, already eager to destroy whatever had corrupted a holy place.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on July 11, 2019, 03:09:34 AM
Neither Fosse or Nphepho had tried too hard to look for Silax, as he either had hidden well enough while being close or hadn't gotten close enough, it didn't bother them either way. But it was unnerving Kinesia, as she couldn't see the gargoyle at all, and even if she had the big cat with her its eyes wouldn't be able to pick him out among the shapes any better. She had to stop looking for him, instead she tried to focus on listening for him, as if she was expecting him to sneak up and attack her. She was used to listening for animals moving around her, and a creature made of stone may blend in better, but it certainly wouldn't be stealthier.

Nphepho thought that the stranger's lack of knowledge on their looks meant that someone else had hung the notice, and she wasn't insulted upon being called ugly, as she had received such an insult many times in this land, and she took it as them not liking how different she appeared in comparison to them. Fosse was unaffected by the insult as well, not only because she had been called it many times before, but because she simply didn't care what names she was called. However, when Niko got agitated, she did too, thinking that he had picked up on something that she hadn't, and if he had attacked she would have followed his lead.

The healer followed the words well enough, missing a few but she could hear the most important part, that undead were involved. It didn't matter to her what the rest of the risk or danger was, it was her duty to stop such evils. She knew that it was likely that she would need help for this, as it sounded like more than a simple necromancer to her, especially the mention of them being plucked from the air, something that she had only seen with the monster they had recently faced.

"I will end this evil." she stated, for even if the others wouldn't join her she wasn't going to turn her back on these people.

"Gold... is good." Was all Fosse had to contribute, she hadn't been able to keep up with the other's speed in talking along with the way they spoke, she only knew of the large sum being offered on account of the others having relayed the details of the poster to her. "Worth the gold?" Was the only question she thought to ask, as she knew of people that offered less than what the job was worth, and she wasn't able to tell if they would truly be paid well enough for what they were doing. From what she had heard and seen, the amount that they received from the church, even though it was more than promised, didn't seem like it was enough for what the rest of the group had done.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on July 28, 2019, 01:23:54 AM
It seemed Tarkis had also been long since used to being called a baby. He didn’t respond, and instead eyed the bratty little consort – then his own travelling companions – with suspicion. “You would soon as march blind into this?!” His voice was incredulous as Nphepho offered to do the job almost immediately – it was not lost on the young boy that the brevity of her response indicated a different drive than gold to undertake such a task.

 “Ridiculous!” Tarkis snarled, squaring off with the messenger. She was so small neither looked intimidating. Indeed, if they had come to blows the impression would have been that of a childhood scuffle over a toy instead of what amounted to a large business deal. Tarkis was hostile to this agreement, and at first it seemed uncertain why until he spoke again. “She has told us nothing of our reward! What isd ‘a lot’ to a mangy street rat is probably nothing!”

It was the messenger’s turn to squeak indignantly and wave a finger in his face. “You watch yer mouth you little gobshite,” she snarled back, savagely. “If you want a number, there was at least five hundred gold pieces being counted out. When I was there, they hadn’t finished counting. Does it light up your eyes now you greedy little savage? Get out of my sight before I shank you!”

She swept off, and the companions were left watching her stalking retreat until she had disappeared amongst the buildings.

Tarkis was left swallowing a lump in his throat. Upwards of five hundred gold pieces! The words of the note rang in his mind. Gold, medicine, tutelage. Even if the other things had been some kind of over inflated promise, that was enough to keep him and Niko comfortable for a long while. Until Niko passed, definitely, with some left over for the young performer to build his own life out of those ashes again.

“It … it is enough, Fosse,” he said finally, as part of the wall shifted, and broke, and Silax padded towards them, his long, roiling movements becoming more fluid now the pain of his flagellation had dulled to an ache. The gargoyle thing took his place crouched beside Nphepho, head cocked and considering, carefully and measured.

“I don’t think Niko and I have an option,” Tarkis continued. “It is good. For us. We will never worry about feed, shelter, salve and bandages again.”

“It is much coin, very much. They don’t expect us to return for it,” Silax observed drily. But clearly, he had made his choice already – even if the nature of such creatures was not unholy, there were people he would follow into very dark places, and somehow the mysterious healer had become one of them. “But I will go anyway. This is a mission to cleanse the world of the unholy, and I will go. To this cathedral. And if I do not return, I have died doing what I was … made for.”
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on July 30, 2019, 03:56:06 PM
Fosse thought it was rude for Tarkis to say that Niko would be marching blindly into this, as the man had to march blind into everything and she didn't think bringing it up was necessary. So she didn't do anything to stop the possible fight between the two, although Nphepho was ready to step in if it truly came to blows. When she heard the number that the messenger gave, she was immediately set on doing the task; she had never taken a job that had offered five hundred gold, and it seemed foolish to her not to accept the highest paying job in her life no matter what it was. She would get any medicine she received to Niko, still not knowing what tutelage was, she decided that she would take it and sell it to someone that did want it.

"Fosse will go with Niko."

If they hadn't been shouting at one another, Kinesia wouldn't have caught the amount of gold they were being offered, and when she heard it she was immediately suspicious herself. She half-shouted a swear herself when Silax seemed to materialize from the wall, she had no idea he had gotten that close to the group despite having been looking right at them herself. She walked over to them after she'd regained her composure, but kept her distance from the stone being.

"You can reflect on your fate after it has come to pass, Silax. It does well to think of your victory, not failure, when facing the unknown." Nphepho said to his acceptance of death.

"It sounds like a trap." Kinesia said, "They know so much about us, put us on what looks like a damned wanted poster, and offer more'n the job's probably worth. Contrary to what she just said, she continued. "I'm comin' too."
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on August 05, 2019, 05:08:23 AM
“Of course you would go with him!” Tarkis growled at Fosse. There had been no question – and no-one had challenged her. No-one challenged Nphepho or Silax, either. It seemed that, regardless of how they had tried to split themselves, their paths would eventually reconverge. Even though Tarkis’s voice was hostile again to Fosse, he felt some comfort in knowing another person who could take hits would be there. It was a fate Niko could not bear another sustained beating.

“You, coming?” Silax eyed Kinesia suspiciously. He cocked his head to the side, staring at her, his eyes glassy. It was impossible to tell what lay behind them – it could be something as simple as an automaton with a puppeteer pulling strings from miles away, to a deeply complex and intelligent being – fully capable of thought, of emotional, and of dominating another creature in a battle of wills. There was no way of knowing. “All the poster tells us is someone was at the inn with us, as it is the only place we have been together, openly discussing the thing we brought back. We are wanted. For a job. And if that scares you, you are welcome to leave at any time. More gold for us … after all.”

Niko angled his head to Kinesia as she spoke - then it stayed there. It was hard to tell what he was doing, for he did not move it to acknowledge he was listening to Silax. “Whatever is out there,” he began slowly. His voice was thick and wet, moreso than before, and there was a wet sound as he 'faced' the others. “We will not fare well to face it suspicious of one another – or fighting. Tarkis, if you say anything so hostile to Fosse again I will happily see that you don’t have a tongue to say anything again.”

Tark snarled in response. He squared up with the giant in just the same way he had the consort – although now it looked much scarier for the little noble. “Well if you’ve got those words to say to me you great oaf, then you had better not let your feelings about her get in the way of the job. And tell Kinesia to stop acting like one of our number will turn on us at any moment. She’s the one that will make us kill each other long before me telling you to stay focused on our money!”

Niko made a jerky movement, as if he was suddenly seized by anger, only to control himself a fraction of a second later. He stood, his hands clasped behind his back in a strange, formal gesture. “As you wish. Unless any of us have objections, we set off tonight.” The echoing silence – silence that heralded the faltering around the edges of the group – told him there were no objections. He shouldered his claymore; Tarkis pulled his heavy blue cloak aside to count his bombs and flasks; and Silax twisted, stretching the last of his healed muscles.

-X-X-X-

The road was a long one. They had found the winding path to the city where the Cathedral of St Klemens lay, dormant, dark and shadowy as a tomb, through Silax and the church officials in Great Wyrly. The companions marched, single file, scaling the flanking mountains the hamlet sheltered in and skirting the cliffs on the other side, made of some glassy rock that jutted out into the air like knives.

The mountains opened out into lush meadows, stretching across the landscape. Silax and Tarkis found playful sides to themselves, running ahead, playing hide-and-seek in the long grass while the others stuck to the well beaten paths. There was a sense of adventure out in the wilderness. Freedom following the wild and brave, releasing them from the constrains of whatever brooding darkness had encapsulated Great Wyrly. The slow march was punctuated by nights camping and shared watches. The first night on the open plain, Silax had caught a handful of beautiful shining lightning bugs and, hands clasped so none of the light escaped, had showed Nphepho by releasing them in front of her. “Is this what makes us – the nature that makes you - powerful?” He had asked, knowing it was dangerous ground to tread. “The many thousands of ways the world makes us wonder? The anger in a raging forest fire? The warmth and comfort in a firefly… lighting the way for us?”

Niko had taken time to train, his strength returning over the days they travelled. He had challenged Fosse to may wrestling matches and training sessions, quietly accepting victories and laughing when he lost. It warmed Tarkis’s heart to see him happy, and he wished that the time travelling was longer than it would be – the road stretched long yes, but not endlessly.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on August 06, 2019, 04:10:24 AM
Fosse hadn't said anything when Tarkis snapped at her nor when Niko told the boy off, she only stared blankly at the interaction, but she disliked it. She wasn't worth  causing a rift between the two, but she didn't know what she had done wrong to make them disagree so she couldn't fix it. She would try to figure it out on her own while they journeyed and make amends somehow. Kinesia didn't respond to either Silax or Tarkis either, so furious at their words that she didn't trust herself to do anything but swear at them.

-------------------------------------

During their journey, even Kinesia loosened up, glad to be back in the wilderness and away from the desperation that hung over the town like a cloud. She soon had a menagerie, as they came upon many creatures, and Kinesia even more as she strayed from the group and returned with a wolf or a ram, and soon she was covered in symbols burnt into her skin. Her mind felt free, no longer cramped in one creature that was forced to walk upon man's road but able to run through the grass and climb the many trees. She still mistrusted Silax, but it was far less obvious now, and she even forgave Tarkis for his own harsh words, instead appreciating their boldness, and found joy in having her creatures play with him, giving chase and being chased.

Nphepho had laughed as the fireflies were released, taking his open hands in hers, "Yes, Silax. The emotions are more powerful than what you can see, and it comes from those that are no longer at our side as well. There are so many that grow to lose interest in these wonders and then that power is lost. There is duality in nature, the anger of forest fires allows for new life, the brightness of these flies that warm us brings the flies that pierce human flesh to drink blood. It is how one looks at things that determines the magic."

Fosse couldn't recall having a more pleasant journey, Niko was the first person to ever spar with her, and she learned quickly not to hit too hard when he explained that it wasn't a true fight. She had always enjoyed fighting, but didn't realize that it could be done without someone being hurt or at the least losing bitterly. While she didn't laugh or smile, her movements were less sluggish, she woke from sleep much earlier and faster, spoke more with Niko than she had previously, and even attempted to hold up conversations with the others in their group.

Given the description of the messenger, it was fair to expect that the town would look as poor as the last one they were in, and the villagers filled with as much distrust, but that wasn't the case. It looked like a standard town, there was a market out already busy, the windows on the buildings were not shuttered, some even wide open as well as doors. There were children playing in the streets without supervision, their shouting mixing with the crowds of people, who did give the travelers suspicious looks, but only because of their strangeness. The cathedral in the distance almost appeared to have its own atmosphere, it stood tall and dark among the bright town, the gargoyles that hung off of it were only identifiable by their limbs as all their faces had been smashed off. The great bell upon the church was fallen and left as it was, beginning to rust.

Despite everyone's mood, there were remnants of disaster, people were bandaged with fresh blood seeping through the white cloth, there were many visible repairs to buildings where wood different than the rest of the home was used or in one case it was still smashed in with something dark coating the splintered wood, the children jumped over the marks of a struggle on the dusty ground which was quickly being hidden by shuffling feet.

Fosse didn't notice anything wrong besides the unusually strong smell of old blood and the look of the church,  Nphepho was looking at the different injured people, trying to spot any signs of infection, biological or mystical, and Kinesia stroked the one creature she had brought visibly into the town, a raven upon her shoulder, as she noted that she could name no creature that made the gash marks in the building with what appeared to be more than six claws upon one hand.

"We need to learn what we can from these people." Kinesia said, not wanting to go in blindly, but these people looked blind themselves.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on August 07, 2019, 06:59:00 AM
The plains seemed to disappear all too soon for Tarkis, replaced by fenced off pastures that marked the outskirts of the City of Saints. Maybe once it had been proud, but now as the motley group approached, the dark smudge on the horizon seemed to grow, take shape, and close in around them. It felt more alive than Great Wyrly, surely, however it still felt uncomfortable. The group entered, walking two by two thorugh the market streets – Tarkis and Kinesia at the front, Niko and Fosse in the middle and Silax and Nphepho at the back, as if to obscure the two. They approached the city centre, where the Cathedral of St Klemens stood, opening onto the city square.

Silax had dressed himself up again, and next to Tarkis they looked like two performers backed by a supporting troupe. The distrust for them was one of general distrust for outsiders, and not yet the deep, malicious fear of the monstrously unknown that so many of their party were used to. However, a pit had opened in Silax’s stomach when he had seen the damage done to the stone gargoyles – rendered ineffective with head and limb ground to rubble. He had no doubt that the villagers had sufficient reason to do so – for the frantic marks of chisel and hammer were visible on some, and it implied to him the original purpose of such gargoyles – to protect and defend – was not how the villagers viewed them anymore.

“I do not like this, Nphepho,” he said quietly, as if confiding. He edged closer to her, feeling discomfort catpaw its way up his spine. “I am fearful to speak to these people.”

Tarkis held the gaze of some other children who sat in the shadows of alleyways – they seemed to be around his age, or a few years younger. They looked hungry and downtrodden, however Tarkis knew they would be the eyes and ears of the town, and should little information trickle in through the usual channels, he could no doubt talk his way into some information from the street rats he had so decried when facing off with the consort. “I dislike the idea of going to the noticeboards for information, as we had done previously,” he whispered to Kinesia. “Our reputation may well precede us … I say we listen for the crier first. For he will have news first, before we go looking …”

Indeed, the crier had some information – although little that shed light on the nature of what had descended upon (or risen from beneath) the town. There was news of trade, of royal decrees, of important deaths and marriages, of regular robberies on the roads into and out of town. Niko found himself believing they had a shred of luck, to not have been attacked on their way here, for ir would have depleted his strength. However before he could voice this, the crier had moved onto pertinent news.

“Effective immediately! By order of Lord Mayor Innisse Greyson, a curfew from sundown to sunup has been placed upon the city until further notice,” the crier’s voice was becoming slightly strained, however he need not have yelled or rang his bell, for it seemed this was news many in the bustling square had stopped to listen for. ”The scourge of the mindless has grown more numerous in recent weeks! The night has seen two score dead! One – Abigail Freya Henness … “ he went on to list the morbid tally “… twenty three, Jason Whitehill. All remaining unidentified! The Scourge was last seen after sundown in the Benson Quarter! Be safe, my friends and family… “

Tarkis took a breath. “It is a start. We should find a place to base ourselves, and ask the people around Benson Quarter… wherever that is…” Niko nodded pensively, but Silax looked to the others for further guidance. 
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on August 11, 2019, 07:14:50 PM
Nphepho might have not noticed the damage to the gargoyles if it weren't for how fresh the marks were, the broken parts stood out against the rest of the weathered and aged stone of the cathedral. Nphepho wasn't certain who could have done that, it was no easy task for a malicious being to pass the threshold guarded by such idols, but it would have to be exceptionally powerful if it were actually to destroy them or possibly compel the villagers themselves to destroy the statues.

"Then you need not speak to them." she replied, placing a hand upon his shoulder, being careful not to smudge his makeup. She didn't think him cowardly, as he had shown bravery in front of the great monster they had faced, and she knew that it took a different kind of courage to converse with the untrusting, yet innocent, masses.

"Board won't tell us what we need to know." she agreed with Tarkis. The information they were looking for was likely to cause panic, and since these people were far from panicking, she doubted the public notice board would have any details on the horrors they were supposed to face. The news from the crier was worse than she expected, and she eyed the villagers with new suspicion. Though none of them looked happy, none were running home to pack their things and leave immediately.

Unlike Kinesia, Nphepho understood why the people didn't simply just leave, she was certain that only the rich would be able to afford to abandon their homes, but it was also likely that the rich would be able to fortify themselves more against the undead. Her own frown deepened at the confirmation of there being undead, and her grip on Silax's shoulder tightened before she let go.

"What is... scourge of the mindless?" Fosse asked Niko, not having ever heard of such a thing. Mindless creatures were certainly easier to fight than clever ones, and she hoped that their enemy would be most of those creatures. She did know that so many dead in one night was terrible unnatural, especially in what seemed to be a peaceful town.

"I agree that we should find a place in which we all stay and meet." Nphepho said to Tarkis, "But I will be no help in gathering information." She was met with too much distrust, and besides, all she thought she needed to know was that they were indeed fighting the undead and their master, and she had learned that much. "I must gather supplies to prepare for the battle, if you do not mind, I will meet you before night falls." She then looked to Silax, "If you would join me, I would appreciate it." In truth, she didn't need him, but it wasn't a lie that she would appreciate having him come along with her, and it gave him a reason to keep from speaking with the humans here.

"Don't be late." Kinesia said, glad to not only be rid of Silax, but of Nphepho as well, who seemed too honest and strange looking to be adept at getting information from the villagers.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on November 15, 2019, 06:06:22 AM
Niko’s battered mask tilted towards Fosse’s voice. He had long since stopped moving his body to face her when she spoke or queried with him. It was like the training of an animal – the more Fosse spoke and interacted, the smaller and smaller his tells became – a sign of comfort, of relaxation and trust with her. It was not lost on Tarkis, who watched them from the corner of his eye as he spoke with the others.

“”Well Fosse … I don’t know,” Niko said, mulling over it. It was a good question, for without her they may not have actually stopped to reflect on what such a title actually meant. It was not described as a plague, the creatures not beasts. They were creatures of the was. “I guess … whatever they are, are not … they do not think.” He didn’t dare say people. He didn’t want to think of people – somewhere deep inside the rotten giant, he still did not like ending the lives of those that were sentient. Maybe it was why he was so accepting of the presence of Silax, whose voice was clearly inhuman in tone.

Tarkis edged closer to Niko as they spoke, he seemed uncomfortable about the idea of splitting from him, even though previously he had up and left the poor giant. Posessive for convenience, it seemed, or simply because Niko was finding independence when allied with the strange, eerie giant that Fosse was. “So it will be us for information?” The crew of four. “Or can I trust you to keep him safe, Fosse? I feel I can get information from … my kind, should you feel comfortable to release me of my … caring duties.” The words themselves were stark and perhaps a little insensitive, a clash with a tone that sounded wry and uncertain, shot through with worry.

Kinesia and Fosse watched Tarkis go once he was granted leave, sauntering away with a cigarette between his teeth. They watched the set of his shoulders hunch, then their roll became almost animal as he approached the wall two skinny street rats had disappeared over. At the bottom, a red-faced baker was staring up at the top of the wall, clearly having been robbed of some of his wares. A couple of words, quiet, between them, saw the boy placed on a short quest, possibly for coin or information, or food. Perhaps all three.

It was Silax who seemed much happier with his assignment. His excitement and all too eager acceptance of Nphepho’s offer almost seemed uncharacteristic, had it not been plain previously he had found some watchdog-like connection with her. The way he padded after her left the other uneasy in their wake.

“Will he not … harm her?” Niko finally cracked and let on he had some understanding that Silax was pegged by the others to likely be dangerous. “I guess she can handle herself … to the Benson Quarter. For what little daylight we have left.”

-X-X-X-

Silax found himself falling into step with Nphepho easily. He had an unusual gait when standing upright, he had learned a strange heel-and-toe patters that mimicked the sound of human footsteps with his cloven hooves. He eyes the streets, gradually widening again as their path took them away from the most densely populated areas.

“You believe we will battle?” He asked finally, wondering if he would do well to sharpen knives and sickles – of course, it seemed likely, given the Mindless (as he now called them) seemed to be hostile if they were directly responsible for such death.

OOC: Sorry to have been so slow Cope! Don’t feel any pressure to drop a reply in, I just wanted to go back to my writing.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 01, 2020, 04:45:44 PM
"It means they cannot be saved. They'd be dead'r be vegetables." Kinesia was trying to convince herself as well, so her words came out as more authoritative than usual. Fosse thought that the spell on them must be very powerful if it was able to transmute them into plants once it was broken.

"They will be strong as mindless." Fosse had found that the less wisdom a thing had, the more likely it was to fight to the death, even with mortal wounds. Which meant they would have to be careful about how they fought them. Unlike Niko, she had no reservations about ending the lives of sentient beings, so was neither comforted or discouraged by the attempts of the two to mark their enemies as non-sentient.

"Yes." Fosse answered, the insult of his words not registering to her, and it wasn't until he had left that she asked for clarification from Niko. "What do I keep you safe from? If there is a fight then we shall face it together." Which meant he would be keeping her safe as well, so she didn't understand why the boy acted like she was agreeing to be a caretaker.

"We'll find a decent place. I will, at least." Kinesia said, since Niko was blind and Fosse was likely to lead him into any disreputable shack. She'd rather go looking on her own, but if there was any trouble she would rather have the two warriors to back her up. When the woman moved to survey the area and the buildings, Fosse took Niko's gloved hand and pulled him along after her.

"He will harm her?" Fosse repeated his question in a different way, not having thought of the stone creature as dangerous simply because he had shown no aggression toward them.

"If she can't handle herself, it was her fuckin' choice to trust that thing." Kinesia didn't like the way Silax looked at any of them, but especially not the way he looked at Nphepho.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On their way out of the town, she bought a goat, some herbs, and a tent with some of the money that had been gained from their previous battle, leading it along until they had made it to an area without any visible settlements. She tied the animal to a tree and began to set up the tent.

"I know that we will." she answered him, "There is evil in this town. It is devouring and enslaving the souls of the dead and poisoning the ones of the living. I do not know all of the truth, but it is not a battle we can fight with words." The false messiah had come as a surprise, as she had never intended to fight, but with this she had no intention of trying to reason with whatever was behind such a scourge.

"You may join me as I prepare, or you may stay out here. Either way, I ask that you do not interrupt me." She led the goat inside of the tent once it was set up with a small fire in the center, waiting to see the gargoyles choice before shutting the flap.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 18, 2020, 06:35:32 AM
From behind his stinging iron mask, Niko felt his lips curl up into a painful smile. His stoicism came from a knowledge any movement under the metal slab was painful. The less movement the better. But somehow, Fosse’s words were reassuring and charming enough he wanted to smile to them anyway.

“I am certain he thinks of it as a chore, to have me follow one around,” Niko sounded weary at the idea. He thought little of the usefulness of his own great strength without the inventive system Tarkis used to point him in the direction of enemies, and so he felt the weight of his claymore on his back as a crushing, Sisyphean boulder rather than a tool of combat. “But I guess, for now, it will have to do…” he continued quietly, as if resigning himself to it.

A heavy, gloved hand rested on Fosse’s shoulder, then slid down to her forearm. Niko had never used the system of holding onto a forearm while being led with Tarkis, both to assure the boy he was not tethered to the giant, and because, like a well-trained attack dog, Niko had learned to follow sound and scent very easily. Fosse, possessing no distinguishing scent, and clearly a much quieter type, needed to be touched to be located easily. He followed her mutely, occasionally bumping an unwary person sharing the tight cobbled streets.

The first inn they found seemed fine. The few that were still open and nor boarded up with written and pictorial signage threatening execution (or worse) should someone enter were primarily in the Benson Quarter. Indeed, they had been partway through negotiating a price for a room with two rickety bunks when a screaming brawl broke out between two of the haggard patrons. Niko and fosse would up needing to intervene, using all their combined strength to stop a burly blacksmith from using his hammer and tongs to inflict some serious damage on a much smaller man.

The act was thankless, and they found themselves asked to leave. Niko followed meekly back into the now rapidly failing light of the Benson Quarter. The streets were now lit intermittently by torches of the open establishments, and the next inn they found, Niko resolved, they would do well to make sure at the very least there was some kind of lock on the doors.

---

Silax felt a deep roll of discomfort again in his stomach when he saw her purchase the old nanny-goat. He had heard of the significance, and use, of goats in other cultures. Indeed, in his own, the form of a goat had been synonymous with the grat antagonist of the cosmos, the father of demons and king of great evils had been said to burn great goat hoof prints into the land. The image of a goat had been melded in with Silax’s making and unmaking as well, seemingly to remind him that he was not above the evils of devil men, either.

It made him feel, deep down, both a kinship with the goat, and a disturbance at the question of what Nphepho was going to do with it. But still, he followed her. Now much more subdued, with no questions to ask. The scattered farmhouses disappeared, and when Nphepho busied herself with setting up a camp, he did not doubt she could see the discomfort etched on his face, in how he passed and twittered and rumbled, the inescapable energy of his anxiety leeching into the air.

But still, he followed her, with some hesitance, and took his place opposite the fire. “Please,” he almost pleaded as he began to watch her prepare for her ritual sacrifice. “Be kind to her. She is part of me.”
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: EvilCopepod on April 21, 2020, 01:27:46 AM
"You would last longer in a fight alone than him." Fosse said, not meaning to insult the boy, but just stating the fact. Even if Niko was only considered a weapon to be used, it was foolish to complain of a weapon's weight and maintenance if it was a great asset in combat.

Because of their size, most people only shot dirty looks or hurried along, and the one man who started swearing and shouting at Niko for being clumsy got purposely shoved to the ground by Fosse. Besides some muttered curses, he didn't engage the two again.

Kinesia had been mostly ignoring the two of them, only making sure to go at a slow enough pace that they wouldn't fall behind. But when they'd found a half-decent place and the two of them messed it up by stopping a fight, she admonished the both of them.

"We ain't here ta keep the peace between people. This isn't a fuckin' hinterland, actin' noble will get you trouble at best. If they want help, they'll pay for it upfront or they'll get suspicious." She spat on the ground, "And if they got told to leave instead fer fightin', we woulda got their rooms."

She made the two of them stay outside at the next place, the room had only one bed and no lock, but the door opened inward, so they just needed to get something to block it with. She was able to get several extra blankets from the innkeeper free of charge by saying she could bring in a few stinking pelts to keep warm instead.

"We're not paying a hair more fer this, so neither of you think about gettin' on the bed and breakin' it." she told the two. "Who's gonna wait out here for Tarkis?" 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nphepho had recognized his discomfort, which was why she had offered to let him stay outside. She thought that, despite his anxiety, he wanted to watch it anyway. Still, when he sat and nearly pleaded with her, it nearly broke her heart and she offered him a way out again.

"I do not need you for this. You may leave if it will harm you to watch. I only ask that you might help me distribute the meat when I am finished. I can do that alone as well if this is all too much for you." But he told her that he wanted to stay, and she took his word to match his feelings of wanting to conquer his trepidation.

She took off the rope on the goat, chanting quietly as she rubbed herbs on her hide before placing the dark wood shield she kept on her back underneath the front of the animal. She took a knife, testing its sharpness by sliding it across her own hand before she slit the goat's throat. She severed the jugular, windpipe, and artery with one deep cut, and she supported the goat as she bled out, lowering her to the ground slowly, keeping her head over the rim of the shield so the blood drained into it.

Her chanting got louder, and when she stood up she started to dance in place, purposely shaking the cowry shells on her ankles to produce sound and her singing grew even louder, she banged on a small hand drum and vocalized as well. After several minutes of this, she stopped and crouched down by the goat and started to skin and carve up the meat for consumption.
Title: Re: Chaper II: All Cos[m]ic Revelations [Cope & Rabbit]
Post by: the_rabid_rabbit_bites on April 25, 2020, 12:32:43 AM
Niko feebly defended himself from Kinesia’s fury – fury he privately felt was just as self-righteous as whatever the blacksmith had been screaming about when they had stopped him adding to the body count the city already commandeered this season. “Someoen would have died. I’ll take having some extra sleeping space having done the right thing.”

It didn’t do much to assuage Kinesia, and in the next tavern, they had much less negotiation power given the light was failing, and there were few inns that had not shut up shop tightly coming into the evening. Niko sensed, from Kinesia’s irritation and slightly trepid tone, that she was saying it as one of them as opposed to her should wait for the boy. Niko resigned himself to his fate. “I’ll wait for him, he is my charge, after all.” He breathed a sigh, and quietly requested Fosse guide him back outside to wait for the boy.

Outside, he took a seat on the cold, dank cobblestones, hic back leaning against the wall. He suddenly wished he had some of the leaf Tarkis so often smoked to keep his nerves calm. Not for anxiety, really. This kind of leaving of his small charge was … well, not unusual. To say he was simply going, and it did not invoke the incredible primal fear he hajd previously displayed. But still he was nervous.

Instinctively, he felt Fosse was close to him somewhere, and re reached over to touch her forearm again. Niko found himself, maybe mistakenly, seeking her physical contact more and more as he felt Tarkis disengage from the protection the giant could offer. She was not a replacement, but offered her own sense of comfort and belonging to the rotten giant. “He will be back. Whatever he is doing he will return.” He hoped.

-------------

She could see something deep and primal cross between Silax’s eyes, a constricting of his watery yellow gaze that told a story of a surge of fear through his body. The act of self-harm was so ingrained in him the mere suggestion of doing something ‘wrong’ caused his body to prepare for savage and lashing pain. But it was also what steeled him, what made him decide that the pain was already coming.

And somewhere deep down, he valued seeing Nphepho and what she, as a powerful person of a whole different world, would do to offer strength to fight. “It’s not too much.” His gravelly whisper was choked. He knew what was coming, and he seemed rooted to the spot as he watched her solemn ritual.

Indeed, he questioned in himself. What was a good death? The nanny goat had lived long for livestock, she had died quickly and been put to use even in death. Perhaps this was a good death, before illness and neglect robbed her of what comfort she had. The dissonance was written over Silax’s face as he watched.

When Nphepho began carving the meat, he helped her skin the goat so its pelt was a singular piece and divide the carcass into portions. It was this action of helping that pushed his acceptance of her and her customs further and further from the teachings of his church. He understood the goat would return to the earth through the mechanism of consumption of the poor. Silax found himself leaning closer to her, to ask questions. “Who has taught you this ritual? No – I want to hear the answers, I don’t mind …” He questioned who, why, what would prompt such a ritual in her hometown, who would get the meat… Finally, he asked a very timid question. “What should I take away from knowing this ritual this … part of who you are?”

When they had finished the gruesome task, Silax had realised he was leaning very close to hear her, and that he was once again encroaching on her space. It seemed something he did naturally, as he felt comfort in her powerful presence. His hands and claws were gleaming with blood, but it was almost disguised on her skin. She would make the most fearless war medic, he had decided. No-one could count how many she had sustained simply by viewing her or her clothes.

When he offered her a smile, it creased around the cracks in his face. No, no matter how much he tried he still wasn’t human.