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Pri(M)ordial Resurgence (Axl X Jabba)

Axl · 22 · 969

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Offline Jabbathejack

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"Aye, that you did." Zaiah breathed the words as he stared at his guest, his own bowl all but forgotten. If the gnome had expected him to be angry, he was clearly mistaken; Zaiah was more surprised than anything else, yet it made sense, considering how he had found him.

"So you're an ice mage, eh?" He spoke half to himself, knowing damn well that the gnome had only the barest grasp of his language.

Zaiah knew very little about ice elemental magic; he had been driven to the more subtle spells, ones that helped him to hide and survive. He kept that hidden, for the most part; around these parts, if you didn't know how to control your abilities, then you had a high chance at being hounded out of the city, at the very least.

The gnome's lack of self control was perhaps something to worry about. Zaiah wondered if he would find himself frozen in his sleep if the gnome had a nightmare.

With a casual flick of his fingers, Zaiah released the wards that he'd placed on the door. Of course, it revealed more about himself than he was generally comfortable with sharing with strangers, but after what he had seen, it could not be helped.

Zaiah grimaced, upending his stew bowl over his mouth to catch the last dregs before he stood and set it down on the table.

"Free." He repeated, gesturing to the door. He paused, frowning at the gnome. With any luck, the bastard would make himself scarce on his own accord, but for now, Zaiah had to assume that he was there to stay.

"I'll be back." He muttered as he plucked his coat from the back of the chair and pulled it on, heading for the door. He let it close behind him, but he did not put the wards back in place, knowing that he had to give the gnome a chance to leave should he so wish.

The rain was cold and persistent and Zaiah turned the collar on his coat up in an attempt to resist it. Head down, he made his way through the market, although he did not stop at any of the stalls that sold fruit and vegetables. Instead, he wound his way through to the back streets, stepping over beggars and drunks, not bothering to pause until he reached a small shop, half hidden.

It was the sort of place that you could easily have walked past without noticing. For the most part, it sold trinkets and baubles, potions and mild hallucinogens. Yet, beyond all the fakery, there were some decent things to be had.

The shopkeeper looked up, his eyes immediately narrowing.
"The usual?"
"Yes, thank you."

Zaiah smiled thinly as he approached, laying his palms on the counter. He watched as the shopkeeper turned his back, filling the standard order of dried herbs that Zaiah found assisted his concentration when smoked.

"Some of the Northern marsh weed as well, if you please."

The shopkeeper raised an eyebrow, then turned away, reaching for the small measuring scales. His faint sneer was not lost on Zaiah, but he ignored the sentiment, focusing instead on the grimy glass counter in front of him. In the face of his concentration, it felt as if time itself had slowed down and he reached out, ignoring the faint slow rumble of the shopkeeper's voice.

Reaching through the glass, his fingers closed upon a small amulet, made from dull silver with a faded, murky green gem. He snapped his hand back by his side, using the magic of slight of hand more than anything else as the shopkeeper turned around, perhaps sensing the use of magic so close by.

Zaiah smiled, setting out the coin on the counter top, reaching out with a now empty hand to receive his purchase.

"Be careful, lad." The shopkeeper kept a hold of the package so firmly, Zaiah wondered if his theft had been noticed. "This stuff will rot your brain."
"It's rotten already." Zaiah grinned as the shopkeeper released him and he turned away, heading back outside.

By now, the rain was pelting down. Head down, Zaiah ran home, but within minutes, he was soaked to the skin. Once inside, he shook the rain out of his hair, much like a dog did. To his dismay, the gnome was still there, but it wasn't as if the bugger had anywhere else to go right now.

Zaiah paused, frowning.
"Well fucking say something then." With the stolen amulet in his hand, Zaiah knew that, if it worked, it would sound as if he was a gnome born and bred. If it worked.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2020, 05:26:11 PM by Jabbathejack »


Offline Axl

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Vjeko watched as the human gestured with his hand before downing the last remnants of stew from his bowl and stood up. “Free” the words hung in the air as the human departed the small building just as the sky began to weep emotionless tears. The gnome watched through the water streaked window as the human weaved through the crowd of people fleeing from the sudden downpour. The raving dwarf huddled against a wall in hopes of staving off some of the rain. Vjeko felt a twang of guilt, being warm and dry inside while someone and their clothing drowned.

Uncaring about the home owner’s opinion on the matter, the young gnome opened up the wooden door and took his first step into the rain. Clean water turned dirty pooled at his feet as he stood and faced the sky, the feeling of rain on his skin such a new sensation that he forgot himself. It wasn’t until someone walking by pushing him out of the way with a sneer and a rude gesture that Vjeko remembered where he was and why he had left the safety of the shack. The now soaked gnome walked over towards the mad dwarf and called out “Ho! Calass, com samman runedar. Samryn, thalorn. Ni, hurnden if ni beldarak.” Vjeko gestured for the soggy dwarf to follow him as he spoke and headed back to the shack.

Not one to shun a friendly offering, let alone one in his own language. Adalwin followed the gnome to Zaiah’s home. Closing the door behind himself the dwarf sat next to Vjeko in front of the warm fire and opened his mouth to give voice to his appreciation. His politeness cut off by the sudden gnomish outburst from the human. The drenched gnome stood up and looked at Zaiah with shock and dismay. “That’s one way to say hello and to greet a guest” the gnome gestured to the sitting dwarf and watched for Zaiah’s reaction.

Adalwin Attwater stood up and bowed at a slight incline “Gnome friend is dangerous to be, city unsafe for kind” The dwarf’s gnomish was choppy but understandable. His drenched clothing was just a bit too nice for a beggar, his hair and beard shined cleanly even drenched. If the dwarf was in fact a beggar, he did well. If he wasn’t a beggar, why was he begging and spouting nonsense?


Offline Jabbathejack

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Zaiah frowned, following the gnome's gaze to rest on the newest occupant in his small hovel. He dimly recalled having seen the dwarf before, but he had always given the bastard a wide berth to avoid having to listen to his ravings. For a moment, Zaiah was speechless.

He turned to stare at Vjeko, barely comprehending the gnome's stupidity. Why would he invite a stranger into Zaiah's own home without asking permission first? A dwarf no less! Surely, anyone looking for a gnomish slave might seek out a dwarf for information, especially an insane beggar like this. The bastard might just sell his own mother for a coin.

Zaiah found a bad vibe emanating from the dwarf, even before he had opened his mouth. Aside from the distaste at his ramblings, there was the incongruous nature of his clothing; he was hardly covered in as much shit as most other beggars that inhabited the city. Zaiah's eyes narrowed in suspicion; just what was this man really?

Yet he could hardly throw the bastard out without so much as a warning. To do so would do nothing but invite even more suspicion; right now, Zaiah was in the business of avoiding acquiring any more enemies at all cost.

"Any more strangers you wish to invite into my home?"

Zaiah muttered sourly as he made his way over to the fire and squatted down, helping himself to more stew. He did not offer anything to either guest, bugger the both of them. At least the stolen amulet worked well enough; both dwarf and gnome would hear his words in their own language simultaneously.


Offline Axl

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Adalwin watched as Zaiah squatted and started eating before letting his gaze drift to the window. The downpour looking to disembark the city with mock haste. “Strangers in strange times. Hunters of flesh and magic. Ancient dead born anew.” Turning his back to Zaiah the dwarf reached into his pocket and produced a tarnished golden vial of murky liquid. “Home that you don’t own. Home, not self-grown. Home, yes. YES!” Adalwin roared the affirmative as he opened the vial and threw it into the fire.

Vjeko stared at the dwarf with confusion although Adalwin was speaking dwarvish the meaning of his words was as lost as the gnome was. The fire once timid and orange raged with an unnatural grey as it filled the house with soupy smoke. “What have you done?” Vjeko shouted at the dwarf in between coughs. The smoke felt like it was invading more than his lungs.

“Done? No. We’re not done. Just begun, on the run, oh, what fun” The dwarf giggled as he rhymed and spun in the ever-thickening smoke before collapsing. Vjeko soon followed the dwarf’s downward spill, his last conscious thoughts were of regret and guilt.


Zaiah’s home soon began to bleed the thick smoke onto the streets of Varn’aedil. The downpour threatening to stop at any moment was keeping any would-be gawkers from witnessing the sudden smoke. The shack was slowly engulfed in a dense grey smoke, a cloud of smoke that not only drifted into the air but seemed to take the house with it.

-------


Thaksin was a day’s walk from the bustling city and the first to arrive at the abandoned guard tower that would be his team's basecamp. It would be at least a week before they were all here, their quarry undoubtedly gone by then if it was smart. The guard tower didn’t require repair, it just simply wasn’t used. No one wanted Varn’aedil enough to invade it, after all, why would you invade a bathroom when you know the toilet doesn’t work.

The interior held all the trappings of a guard tower and one extra addition. The kitchen and fire pit were on the first floor, beds and personal chests on the second, the third and fourth were for sparring and reviewing maps of the land, the fifth and final floor held a scrying bowl and a ladder to the top of the tower for the lookouts. Thaksin made his way to the fifth floor to report his arrival to his master.

------

Shafir stood over their unfinished manuscript deep in thought and inches from breaking through their writer’s block when the Trorc’s untimely voice boomed from the scrying pool behind them.
“ ‘Ey, m ‘ere” Thaksin's sleep-deprived voice bounced off the stone tower’s walls and amplified his already powerful voice. The Gnome glared behind them at the pool as if the man could see their annoyance. “Finally, where are the others?” Shafir’s irritable tone is barely concealed by Raja echoing their words.

“ ‘Eek out, two at ‘ost” the scrying pool barely got out the last word as Shafir waved their hand and stilled the liquid. “Who do we have in Varn’aedil?” Shafir glanced at Raja before starting to pace. The bird tilted its head in thought as the question faded into silence. “No one master. We’ve never needed anyone there. It’d be like guarding a backwater cesspool” Raja jumped from one foot to the other. “Raja, go?” The bird looked at Shafir with one eye as quizzically as avian’s do.

“No, no” Shafir waved their hand dismissively and stared back at their unfinished manuscript.


Offline Jabbathejack

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"Don't you ever shut up?" Zaiah growled angrily, throwing his bowl down beside the hearth as he climbed back to his feet.

Yet before he could even take a step, the dwarf had thrown something into the fire and to Zaiah, it felt as if all hell had broken loose. Within seconds, the small room was filled with smoke, so much that Zaiah was coughing, his lungs burning as he fought for air.

He stumbled towards the door, shielding his face with his arm. He thought about casting a spell, but right now, his mind felt so foggy and sluggish that he simply could not even gather together the thoughts to do anything. Just as his fingers closed on the door handle, the room seemed to be getting dark and he faded into unconsciousness.

***

"Bastards." Herral muttered under his breath as he pulled off his boot. He reached inside for the offending stone that had wormed its way inside, scowling at the tiny piece of grit as he flicked it away into the undergrowth.

"When we get there, reckon they'll put up a fight?"

He looked up at his companion and grinned, although he didn't necessarily expect an answer. Virag was sporadic like that, interacting whenever it suited them, but even so, Herral found that he got on with them better than he did any of his other companions. At the moment, he talked just for the sake of it, breaking the monotony of their journey.

"I guess it might be fun if they did. You know? A bit more of a challenge than the last one."


Offline Axl

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Their journey from the forest was mostly uneventful. A few would-be bandits easily persuaded that their time and effort would be wasted on them. Hunters, farmers, fishers and other travellers looking for sustenance and work. All as unremarkable as the craggy plains Virag and Herral found themselves currently traversing. Virag watched as their companion fought with his boot and its hitchhiker.

They were a few days march from the designated meeting spot and their companions. Herral’s question and accompanying statement hung in the air like seeds on the wind. “ Only threat is the Gnome,” Virag replied flatly, “Uncontrolled magic usually is” looking at their companion the elf gestured forward. Non-verbally asking if they could continue moving. They may be further behind their query than any of them knew.

--------

Blodeuyn’s journey from Jag’Kul Grotto had the makings to be slow going and boring. Overgrown farmland and naturally reclaimed buildings adorned the once frequently traversed road. For a week her routine was much the same, walk during the day and sleep during the night, with a bit of self-injury to keep her axe satisfied. During the morning of her eighth day of walking, she was greeted by the sound of wagon wheels and horse hooves approaching her camp from the road.

A figure wearing a grey cloak and brown travelling attire sat upon the wagon and commanded the horse to stop as Blodeuyn stood up and grabbed her axe from the ground beside her. She watched as the figure dismounted and lifted their palms towards her as a way to show they were unarmed. Whether or not the figure was armed or had a gender mattered not. The wagon and horse would speed up the travel time by half. Allowing Blodeuyn to meet up with her team in a more timely fashion.

Before the figure could pull their hood down and introduce themselves. Blodeuyn had closed the distance between them and swung her ever thirsty axe through the figure’s neck. Its head and hands floated in the air a half-second as the body collapsed to the ground lifelessly. The head and hands landed in a pool of the figure’s warm life essence as she cleaned her axe’s edge with the figure’s cloak.

Blodeuyn jumped on the wagon, commanded the horse to go back to the road and her destination.


Offline Jabbathejack

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Herral stretched out his toes, a grubby broken nail peeking through a hole in his sock. His lip curled a little at Virag's response, but he did not pose any argument to their sentiment.

"Bastard bloody mages." Herral spat into the dust as he pulled his boot back on, lacing it up tightly. Uncontrolled though could be a concern, depending on the strength. He imagined it was a bit like anger, in a way, it needed an outlet and if you were foolish enough to deny it, then it had a habit of finding its own cracks.

"I dunno." Herral looked up with a grin as he straightened up. "The human might be a tough old git like me."

He shouldered his pack, adjusting the straps with a brief tug before he was ready to carry on their journey.

"Whether the bugger is tough or not is anyone's guess, but if he's hanging with an untrained gnome mage then he's a fool for sure. Ain't no debate about that."

***

Zaiah groaned, his eyes fluttering open. His head was pounding with what felt like the mother of all hangovers. He grimaced; it was a hangover only without any of the enjoyment gained from getting drunk. Bastards.

His vision was beginning to clear. To his surprise, he realised he was still in his home, lying on the floor. Only, he realised, it felt wrong somehow. It was dark outside; there was precious little light coming in through the small window. There was no sign of the perpetual street fire that burned just along the street from his house, where a few of the locals gathered to discuss their business. There was just darkness and a silence that was almost disturbing. His fire had completely died, leaving the single room cold and unforgiving.

Slowly, Zaiah sat up, resisting the urge to retch.
"You buggers alive?"

He directed the question to his two unwanted guests, hoping that they had run when he was out cold. Certainly, he had very little of value here, even if one or both did decide to rob him blind.