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From Feasts of Flesh to Blossoming [M]eadows

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Offline EvilCopepod

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The forest was large and overgrown, the once busy paths that ran through it were now sprouting grass and fungi, only deer tracks remained on what was once marked with wagon wheels. In the center of the woods was what was once a small town, but it was long abandoned, many of its buildings crushed and broken, the rest with doors flung wide open, wildlife strolling in and out of them like it was part of the forest. Just beyond the village was a large property with a stone castle in the middle. It looked like the forest was trying to reclaim it as well, ivy creeping up the stone wall and iron gates, but it was clearly lived in as there was a light in one of the castle's upper windows, and there was livestock wandering about grazing what little grass still remained in their enclosed space.

The castle was covered in growth as well, moss and some ivy, though all in reach of the cattle had been eaten off the building, much of it creeping through the cracking and weathered bricks. The gate wasn't locked, only latched to keep the animals from leaving, and there was no one to stop Enzo from entering down the cobbled path which lead to the great wooden door, which was also left unlocked. The interior didn't look much better, although there wasn't the invasion of plants, there was plenty of dust and cobwebs, along with masses of deep gashes in the tile flooring, like it had been assaulted repeatedly with a blade.

As soon as the door was opened, three loud and sharp barks came from within the castle, which was soon followed by the sound of nails clicking upon the tiles as something came down the upper stairs. The bark didn't seem to match the beast, as a very small dog with oddly long and straight hair stood upon the landing, appearing more like a wig than a canine, but the area around its eyes was trimmed, so it spotted Enzo standing at the door and began to bark again with more ferocity. The lhasa apso didn't advance further down the stairs, only barking at the orc and strutting back and forth, its hair bouncing as it stepped.

There was a loud repetitive thumping that grew steadily louder, along with the sound of much larger claws striking the tiles this time, and the dog let out a final bark before growing quiet. Down from the stairs, a large, manlike creature jumped onto the landing as well, standing on all fours above the dog, his dark claws dug into the tile, and he sucked in a deep breath before roaring loudly at the intruder.


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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The forest seemed to go on forever. Not that that was in any way a bad thing for Mauahurûk-Bashimenz. The orcish shaman had always enjoyed the serenity and calmness of a wild and untamed world, carpeted with grass and moss, and enclosed with shimmering green leaves above. He felt attuned to every burbling brook, flighty deer and dapple of sunlight that made the forest.

He sang to himself as he adjusted his travelling pack, his voice deep and echoing in the trees that closed around the winding deer path his wandering feet had taken him along.

Oh! The grass goes green again!
The grass grows green again!
It will dance and sing, to the tune of spring!
The grass grows green again!


His voice was filled with youthful mirth, for he was not an aged shaman like those who travelled away from the orcish gangs of the Southlands. Instead, he was barely out of his teenage years, with green skin interrupted by deep black tattoos and long black hair had been styled into thick dreadlocks, hanging down a deeply muscled back and ending in a half dozen black beads. He was a rare breed, humanlike in mannerisms and construction of the face, while maintaining the wild and deep running strength and power of the orcs of the scrapyard.
Still, he sang on.
Mother spring she comes to sing!
Mother spring she runs to sing!
Mother spring will kiss and dance and twist!
Mother spring she comes to si – oh…”


His merry tune was cut short as the mossy trees broke. Not to a clearing as he had expected but to an edge. The edge of the grounds of a large, dilapidated castle – why, such a thing was marked on no maps that Enzo had in his possession! He peered at the windows, their stained glass broken, and the ivy that grew in a thick tangled mat over the walls of the ruins.

“Well,” Enzo asked himself, his yellow cat’s eyes widening at the prospect of such an adventure. “What is a like without some adventure? What could have swallowed such a place so completely? We will find out!” Indeed, if there was anything of note, the orc man knew he could get a pretty sum for bringing back any precious metals and jewels to the bazaars of Luthein, and he would be needing more practical supplies soon.

He re-latched the gate as he entered, at first unsure if the animals were feral and making do with the space, or actually owned. Regardless, it seemed a good measure. Entering the castle itself was eerie, laden with foreboding. Enzo wondered briefly if he should leave, for it seemed there had been some activity within its walls recently – violent activity, if the gouges in the floor nad ceiling, and tattered plants were to be believed.

“How curious…” Enzo mumbled to himself, only for the clicking of the small dog’s nails to shake him from his reverie. “Even more curious!” He knelt to extend a hand to the dog, clicking his tongue to call it over, only to be met with the sharp yaps of the little dog.
Then, movement, and Enzo felt his chest twist.

“Oh … I see such a place is … occupied,” He breathed to himself, quickly stepping backward and reaching behind him for his lantern. “I …  I will be going now.” Enzo turned tail to leave, only to see that the huge doors he had wandered through had closed behind him, and his worse fears were confirmed when the orc – huge in stature and strength, could not budge it. He could hear the man – beast? – behind him, advancing, and he had no choice but to turn and face it, brandishing his lantern, the shaggy hair spilling from it dragging on the floor.
“Stay back, if you can!” He called to the slowly advancing man. “I mean no harm! I … I will leave.”


Offline EvilCopepod

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The dog's part of the job was done now, so the creature remained in place as Rikerg skulked down the stairs on all fours toward the orc that was trying to open the door to leave. By now, he usually would have lunged and attacked, not caring if the intruder's back was turned, but despite initially appearing to be a human, Rikerg had his doubts now.

He was much larger than most humans were, he didn't notice the green tinge of his skin yet as his eyes were sharp in the dark but not at picking out colors, but the most telling was his scent. His sense of smell was his most advanced form of interpreting the world, and as Enzo turned around again to hold up his lantern, he would not only hear but see his nostrils flaring as he took in his scent. There was human there, but it was faint, meaning he communed with humans, touched them or possibly only took items from them, but overall he was some other creature which Rikerg had never met.

The snarl fell away from his face as he stood up at his full height of well over three meters. Despite his behavior and beastly movements from before, he was well dressed, he wore a black tunic with a white undershirt that had puffed sleeves as well as black breeches, though he wore no stockings or shoes on account of the blackened substance and claws that would surely shred them. The strangest thing seemed to be that they were perfectly tailored despite his size and proportions even though he lived in what was such a desolate area.

"Apologies." he spoke, his voice deep and gravelly, as if the black substance spreading along his body coated his throat, and given the blackness of his teeth that was not an unreasonable assumption to make. He reached into a sewn pocket on his tunic, delicately extracting a kerchief between two claws and using it to wipe froth from his mouth.

"I mistook you for an intruder." He clearly had a different definition of 'intruder', as that was exactly what Enzo was. "You are not unwelcome here." Then, without thinking if it was polite or not to ask, he continued. "What sort of creature are you?"


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Enzo’s shaking stilled. The lantern was still held like a barrier between them, but it no longer quivered. The clicking of various beads, carved pieces of wood, bones, teeth and tusks woven into its thick black length subsided. He was thoroughly confused – somehow, he was not an intruder, despite having no invitation and entering without permission.

His eyes narrowed. “An … intruder? Were you expecting … a hostile guest…?” He allowed himself to ask a question he too had to ponder if it was a rude question or not. But he had realised quickly the creature was no longer hostile. Indeed, the whole appearance of him was congruous with a beast that would tear him limb from limb – but the details, the details described a character that was not as simple as a beast.


Firstly, the little dog, now standing behind its master, silent but alert – well groomed and seemingly well fed. The impeccable tailoring and care in his clothing. Enzo hesitantly lowered his lantern. “I … I am glad to hear,” He said quietly. How should he even respond? There was little that could remedy the shock and fear that had been instilled in him, and he turned to try the door again, hoping it was unlocked.
It wasn’t, and Enzo leaned against it, hearing the almost curious query from the  - man? Beast? Behind him.

“I … I am an orc, a war shaman from the Junklands,” he began carefully, sneaking a glance at the … the man? From the corner of his eye.

The sunlight trickling in from a window caught it, causing it to gleam green like animal eyeshine. “I have been travelling for some time.”
Enzo stood up, his tail twitching as he did so. He did not feel and coiling energy from the man, and it gave him a moment to furrow his brow, thinking of a way to get out of the situation, now he had been cornered. Finally, he turned, looking the creature in the face, taking in his frothing mouth and features. “My name is Enzo. Who are you? How did you come to live here?”


Offline EvilCopepod

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"Yes. I usually am." His last non-hostile guest was long ago, they were always by accident, but far more humans were becoming aware of the dangers of coming so deep into the woods, and even more knew not to approach the castle. The kind of purposely hostile humans that came varied, a knight or a group of them come to slay him, or sometimes even common men come to try and save the other villagers he had dragged from their homes on one of his raids.

The small animal was perplexed as well, as even when non-hostile humans stumbled upon the castle, Rikerg usually dispatched them quickly, or at least captured them. He had never talked to them civilly like this, and it was a change in the routine that the dog wasn't fond of, as she still saw Enzo as an intruder in the home. She let out a small huff of a bark, as if to remind her master that this was someone that didn't belong, but he didn't react to her warning.

Rikerg didn't notice that Enzo was attempting to leave, his attention was taken by the many strange details about the orc, especially the lantern. He had never seen one with hair, he could understand if it was simply decorated with a few strands but it appeared larger than many creatures. He tilted his head to the side as Enzo said what he was, examining the other again.

"You are not at all like what I have read about." From what he'd read, an orc would have readily accepted his challenge and fought with him, or more likely come in a horde to try and overtake his castle. This one was eager to retreat, and Rikerg considered him to be very polite and well-spoken, not at all like the grunts, snarls, and shouts they'd been written to speak like. "Are all orcs like you?" he asked, willing to disregard what he had read.

"You must be weary then." Rikerg still wasn't catching on to the other's unease, rather he thought that Enzo would like to stay and rest. He was used to others not wanting to look upon his features, so he took no offense to Enzo looking away from him and was somewhat surprised when he looked him in the eyes to speak with him.

"It is good to meet you, Enzo. I am Rikerg." He had to take a moment to recall how he had come to this place, "It was abandoned when I found it, I was traveling long as well without a home." There had been many homes he had come across, most occupied and most too small, but this empty castle had suited him fine despite the growth from the woods having already starting to turn it green. Without asking, he reached a claw out to run it through the hair from the lantern, too curious to resist touching the oddity.


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Enzo’s back stiffened, he expected a nasty remark, but instead was met with seemingly harmless curiosity. “No, they are not like me,” he turned to examine Rikerg’s face, the eyes and teeth. No a man, but somehow, Enzo would put nothing else to the features that Rikerg bore. “But they aren’t like the books either. They are … strategists, experts in war. Not … not beasts like the literate humans wished to portray us.”

Enzo still was not calming down; indeed he seemed to be getting more and more anxious as he was evaluated, both by the giant beast, and his tiny dog. Enzo had already decided he did not care much for the little creature, its breeding too impeccable and sought after – no, Enzi was a friend to vermin, creatures whose breeding was rough around the edges and survival of the fittest. Even now, his backpack housed a handful of small, fastidious little rats that found a small nook between his belongings most agreeable – and Enzo had merely let them stay.

“I am fine – ver – very fine thank you – “ Enzo began, but was cut short as Rikerg told him how he had found such a place. “Well… I am glad that you have found such a place to retire to… if it so pleases you. I have … I am a traveler. I left the junklands to experience … the world. The experiences of people, places … women …” he almost sounded wistful.
Outside, Enzo could hear the patter of falling rain. It seemed that a storm had rolled in as he had explored the small castle, and he was torn between leaving, and waiting – and praying – the beast man would not become hostile. “I am going to the township of Swindmoor. I have heard there is a bounty on a great wolf that has been terrorising the village. I think it may be a … native, to the lands I am from. I should make haste … before sundown…”

He did not yank his lantern away as Rikerg reached out to souch it, instead the hair curled, and seemed to trail away from his hands, as if pushed by a brief breeze. Enzo offered a smile. “It is temperamental, I must apologise. This is my lantern, Aage. He is a channel for my … my power. Like a wand, but … but not.”


Offline EvilCopepod

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"That is typical. They put their fearful and false opinions into much of their writing." It was why he always took what he read with a grain of salt, and wished that there was other literature for him to go through. "Do you dislike war?" Rikerg had no experience with war, battles but not wars, and he wouldn't even call them that as they had been against humans. He had read of war, and it certainly sounded difficult, so any species that were masterful at war must be intelligent.

He was able to tell now that the other was getting anxious, the sharp scent of adrenaline hadn't dropped as it should have after the initial fright, it had increased into a steady odor that now surrounded the orc. Rikerg did not for an instant believe that it was him that Enzo was frightened of, for he was used to different reactions, the fearful attacked him, fled from him, shouted, screamed, and cried, as given his appearance and volatile reaction to man, he didn't give them any reason to think that he could be reasoned with. He didn't know that Enzo was trying not to offend or agitate him, he thought that the other was just being friendly, and that something else had him fearful.

"You do not seem fine." Rikerg said, looking the other over as he continued to speak, he didn't seem to be dressed well for the rain, and it would likely turn to a storm if the ozone in the air was any indication. He also knew there was no decent shelter nearby, and even with the lantern it would be difficult to navigate through the rain if it got any heavier. "I have been to Swindmoor." Rikerg recognized the name of it, as he had been there before to terrorize it himself. He didn't think that Enzo was doing this to help humans, but rather, to retrieve the wolf that came from his home.

"You should not go in this weather." He then had the thought that the orc was being polite in his attempt not to impose upon him and his home. He reached over his head, putting his hand on the door, there was a slight breeze coming from outside, but he pushed against the door and with a click the door closed entirely, cutting off the air's entry and Enzo's possible escape. "I insist that you stay for the night." He had tried to lower his voice to be more accommodating, but the effect made it so it sounded like he had growled it out to the other. He pulled his hand down the door, leaving slight claw marks as they audibly scraped down it.  His offer was not entirely for the sake of the other, he was intrigued by Enzo, and it had been so long since he'd had any sort of civil conversation that he'd feel bereaved if the other left so soon.

He was bewildered by the movement of the hair, before he could ask about it the other explained, and he withdrew his hand from it, placing it palm down on the ground with the other as he got back onto all fours to get a better look at the hair. He sniffed at it like he had Enzo, but didn't try to touch it again, as it was hair he could understand why it didn't like being touched by strangers.

"My mistake, Aage." He had never heard of such a thing, but he knew of wands. "You know magic? Astounding, you must show me some after you're settled."


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Enzo’s brow furrowed. What was the appropriate response to such a query? The stereotype of such a creature with Rikerg’s appearance was that of someone who hungered for war – found it deeply agreeable. A nasty character. Intrinsically, however, Enzo knew that this man was not so simple – indeed, no man was so simple. “I do not find going to war to be an advantage for either party,” he began carefully, unsure how much Rikerg knew of war and what it meant. “I also dislike diplomats, but I dislike death more.” He was reaching up to touch one of the beads braided into the ends of his long hair that hung in ropes down his back, there were a small handful red ones.

He took a breath. Enzo was still on edge, but as Rikerg spoke, he began to calm. He could feel, in the crevices of his knapsack, the family of rats was calm after the sudden and frightful roar of Rikerg. If they sensed nothing to fear from him, he too felt calm enough. It did not mean he was eager to share Riekrg’s company, but he feared offence if he chose to decline. “Of course. I – we both, Aage and I, are very grateful for your generosity.”

He followed Riekrg meekly, and realised that what had been a slight twinge deep within his stomach – or the stomachs of his rat friends? He was uncertain - had grown into a great, gnawing chasm of hunger. It had been a long time since his afternoon meal, and it had been none too satisfying. The orcish kind lived off simple grains and plenty of bloodied flesh, but there was little of either in the forage of the woods, and Enzo had settled for tuberous roots. “If I may … request … from you, my kind host, I am very hungry, and the orcish have specific needs to remain healthy. If I may have access to the kitchens, I am happy to prepare food myself to spare you – or your cook – “ he paused, unsure if Rikerg had any serving staff in such a place – “the trouble of an uninvited guest.”

He allowed himself to be taken through the castle, admiring the old grandness, and new, wondrous appearance of the way nature had chosen to take over. The way vines snaked their way thorugh the rafters, how now the floor was littered with irregular stones, untouched by stonemasons to turn into wall and cobble. The windows let in a gloomy, pallid light that had diffused through clouds. Enzo held up his lantern, and gave it a shake. A warm almost-candlelight filtered through the filaments and hairs of Aage.

“How long have you been here, Master Rikerg?”


Offline EvilCopepod

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He thought on his answer, believing that it made quite a bit of sense, since he had read wars can go on for years, even surpassing lifetimes in some cases, and he couldn't think of any good reason to be fighting for such a long time. "So, you are not a diplomat yourself." He seemed to have the disposition of one, at least to Rikerg who had never actually conversed with one, he only knew that they needed to communicate peacefully with enemies. "What does a war shaman do?"

He looked back at him when he spoke, his face scrunching up a bit, not because he was upset with the other, but because he was concerned. "Of course, you are welcome to whatever you require. I should have asked." He did have serving staff, but he rarely interacted with them, they lived on the grounds and cared for the animals, and were allowed to plant what they needed to survive so long as they stayed out of Rikerg's way and did as he asked when he did need something.

"What are your specific needs?" he asked, since he didn't use the kitchen he wasn't sure what the humans kept in there, but hoped that they would have what the other needed.The dog followed them for a bit as they moved through the castle, looking pointedly at Enzo's knapsack, but when she realized that Rikerg wasn't going to attack this one, she left to survey the rest of the castle for any intruders.

Rikerg watched in wonder as the lantern suddenly glowed like flames through the hairs which should have been burnt by it, but he was thrown off when the other referred to him as 'Master Rikerg', not understanding that he was trying to be respectful, and instead of thinking that he should tell him not to refer to him as anything but the name he gave, he talked to him as if it hadn't confused him."I have lived here for seven years now, Master Enzo." He must have missed the social cue and failed to call the other by his proper title, so he amended that with his answer.

He brought the orc to a small door, so small that Enzo would have to duck to fit through it himself, there was a bit of noise on the other side of it, but that all ceased with the sound of a door closing. Rikerg knocked off the board that held the door shut and pushed it open, the creaking sound bringing the dog back and barking as she came to investigate. Unlike the rest of the castle, the kitchen looked well maintained and lived in, there were several candles lighting it along with a fire in the stove. There were ingredients strewn about, having been abandoned hastily by whomever was using them.

"Help yourself." he said to the other, the small dog running past them to search the kitchen, and after he'd gone in Rikerg put his head through the door. "And you may take what you need for your travels as well."


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Enzo found himself considering his response again. What did war shamans do? Did he know? He didn’t feel like a war shaman, no matter how much he had trained to be one. He was still considering as Rikerg led him through the narrow doorway to the kitchens.

“Clean,” he said finally. “We keep the battlefield and our charges clean. We heal them, but mostly, they can heal themselves. So we just keep them clean.” The more he said it, the more he liked it. The shamans were a magical clean-up crew. Her nodded solemnly to Rikerg’s statement. Seven years was a long time to be alone … or driving whatever staff still served him in this wretched castle out of his way. It was not lost on Enzo that it seemed the Kitchen was vacated as soon as someone heard their master coming, and it did not bode well for the orc that such was the case.

“Thankyou,” was all Enzo could muster. He looked around, and noticed that the kitchen was well stocked with seasonal fruits, salted meat and many dired grains. He would eat well, and his stomach rumbled at the idea of finally having some nourishing food instead of what could be scavenged.

“If I may, it will be a disappointing time watching me cook, for I am neither proficient nor quick, Master Rikerg.” Enzo was cautious as he examined the tools on the kitchen bench, placing his knapsack down next to the counter, out of the way of any feet that might errantly trip over it. His lantern was also placed on a surface out of the way of cooktop flames, knives and any chance of a stray spill. The light in Aage dimmed, then receded entirely in the kitchen, well lit by a fire in the hearth. “Perhaps I may suggest I meet you in the … dining hall? And we may discuss further?”

Truthfully, Enzo was hoping for an opportunity to see who had hastily abandoned the chopped vegetables, as hopefully, he would be able to ask them about the strange and unusual place he had stumbled across. When Rikerg left, Enzo waited patiently for the skittering little dog to leave also, and went about his business preparing a stew with barley and pork hocks. He tried to find relatively … valueless offcuts to add, as an orc he was perfectly capable of eating bones, and felt taking a choice cut of meat might incur his strange host’s ire. The orc made sure his back was to the kitchen for the most part, listening to the sounds of someone – or something – timidly enter the kitchen and take up the knife to cut vegetables again, clearly terrified of him – but more terrified of if they didn’t finish the meal for Rikerg on time.

Finally, when Enzo’s stew was bubbling away on the hob, he crouched, poking at the flames, and decided to venture a question with the still unseen servant working tirelessly behind him. “Master Riekrg says he has been here for seven years. Did he bring you with him? I cannot fathom how people would come to live in a place like this, much less serve here.”


Offline EvilCopepod

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"That is an important job." Rikerg assessed, as he could see how battles could get bloody and leave behind many corpses fast. He had also heard of illnesses from untreated wounds, though he'd never experienced such a thing, humans seemed very likely to die later from wounds they had previously survived. It must also be useful, as he doubted there were always places to bathe oneself between battles.

"Very well, Master Enzo, I shall see you in the dining hall." After giving him directions to the room, Rikerg moved back and out of the room, having to prepare himself for dinner as well. It was a long while before the servant returned, and once she had, the first thing he did was close the door that led to the interior of the castle, then went back to chopping the vegetables in a hasty, almost dangerous manner.

When he was spoken to, the human started, dropping a couple of wooden bowls, which bounced noisily upon the ground. Enzo had refrained from looking, but he'd cast several glances at the guest, trying to figure out what he was. He didn't respond immediately, first picking up the bowls and putting them on the counter.

"It brought me here, but not from where it come from. I only been here for two years." He answered. "We don't live in here, but on the grounds. I only come in to do some cooking for us is all." He had finished filling up the pot with ingredients, but didn't move to start cooking it as Enzo was still close to the stove. "He bring you here?"
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 10:12:09 AM by EvilCopepod »


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Enzo stooped to catch the fallen bowl that had clattered noisily at his feet. Immediate panic and alarm rang in the back of his mind as his rat pack became terrified of the sudden noise. He put it on the counter, using the chance to turn to examine the human before him. Enzo was a sight to behold, towering well over any human – six ten with a bit more height just from the thickness of his long, black dreadlocks.  His skin was dark green, patterned with traditional black ink tattoos, undercut with pale ones.

“Brought you here? Like he took you from the slave sale yards…?” Enzo had heard little of the sale yards – only that even his orcish bretheren went to them to sell product (although the orcs worked in scrapyards, and sold metal, not flesh). Humans colloquially called them the ‘salt markets’ – and that while there were many buyers, the biggest buyer was a dread necromancer, who bought many people for the purposes of harvesting souls. Enzo hoped, for the sake of the man before him, that this was not the case, for escaping such a death to be here, a mouse terrified by the shadow of some giant tyrant, seemed like a cruel twist of fate.

“He did not bring me here,” Enzo answered finally. “I thought the place was abandoned, and so I came to explore. I am free to leave when I wish, it seems. Although I am certain … with how scared you are, it is not a privilege offered to you…” Enzo did not offer any more wisdom, feeling morose at the thought of the servant – or slave? – being trapped, terrified. He noticed the pot of stew.

“Go to your quarters nad enjoy some time, I will watch both pots, should it help your nervous condition.” He offered, and placed the pot over the hearth, stoking it expertly as he had learned when staying with a family in the Blackwoods. As he waited for the food to cook, he thought back to that family. They had had a daughter who was to be married once a suitor could be found, although it seemed she had felt more connected to Enzo than any man from the town. There had been many people who felt the same way, and Enzo wondered why the humans here were so afraid, for the many he had met, even the servants of tyrants, still had some presence of mind to feel anger and not fear towards their oppressors. Rikerg must have been something truly great and terrible all at once to elicit such a response from his serving staff.

When the food was done, Enzo served it, and placed both bowl on a tarnished silver tray. He did not bother to go to find the skittish young man he had spoken with, and instead made his way to the dining hall. Aage was slung over his back, ever watchful and distrusting, the little fetish was. For some reason, anxiety twisted through Enzo’s stomach as he entered, fearful of sudden anger from his unusual host.


Offline EvilCopepod

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The man was slight and somewhat dirty, but looked better dressed than the average commoner, he avoided looking at Enzo, even if he weren't in such a position the orc was still terrifying to look upon.

"Nay, from the village down East." he responded, quiet, "He gets most of us there." He'd done his best to keep his emotions in check, but he couldn't keep the surprise and confusion out of his voice when the other said he wasn't brought here. "I never seen him welcome a guest in here, he always kills 'em or worst." He didn't think to say that there had been no deception on Rikerg's part, the monster had never strung anyone along to turn on them later, but attacked immediately.

"Not for more'n a day." The closest village was over half a day's worth of travel, so it was to make sure that they never went there to do anything. He was glad to leave the other with the food, and didn't plan to come back to the kitchen until well after it had cooled and the inhabitants of the castle were all asleep.

Despite the amount of time it had taken for Enzo to prepare the dinner, Rikerg had been busy for the most of it. The dining hall was lit well with candles, which he had managed with some difficulty as he was used to eating in the dark himself, and for as many lit candles there were more broken or knocked over unlit. There was a large slab of stone that had been carved somewhat in the shape of a giant table, and was supported by thick logs underneath it. It was the regular height of a table despite its size, and there were various mismatched chairs set around the table.

The room looked as unkempt as the rest of the place, and there was even a large swine grazing some of the vines that had crept into the wall, remaining undisturbed even as Enzo came in. Rikerg was crouched on the ground with the small dog, which was leaping through his claws as he formed a circular hoop with them. But as soon as the orc entered, the dog resumed her barking, running toward him but still keeping her distance, running back to Rikerg when she thought he had been sufficiently warned.

"I hope you found the stores adequate." Rikerg said as he stood up, he had changed his clothing to darker colors, brown and black, for dining. He went to one end of the table that was free of any chairs, sitting down on the floor and waiting for the other to take his own seat.


Offline the_rabid_rabbit_bites

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Enzo mulled over the servant’s responses, trying to understand what it implied for the people here – they were clearly captive, and the idea that they were not allowed to return made Enzo uncomfortable. It was slavery, he felt, even if there were some unspoken exchange of coin. It set the tone of caution for his dinner with the strange man Rikerg.

He entered the dining room trying not to let the shaking of his hands rattle the tarnished silverware. He did admire the use of nature in the space – well, how much was use and how much was nature taking back what was it was left for debate – especially the pig valiantly keeping the creeping vines down. Enzo wondered briefly if there was some shamanic magic within the castle, for such rampant growth would require centuries. However, the idea of thep lace being abandoned for centuries seemed just as likely.

The dog yapped, and Enzo eyed it warily, almost with some dislike. He did not like its high pitched bark, or silky fur. He had long preferred the wolfdogs of the North Allied Kingdoms, which would be aggressive until they observed acceptance from their masters. Did this little creature observe nothing? Rikerg was no longer hostile, would it not follow his lead? He wondered if Rikerg treated the little dog like a dog at all, it was so small and removed from its ancestors.

“The stores were excellent, good sir,” Enzo began carefully. He set the places, and put down the food. In orcish culture, as soon as food was served it was to be eaten – to wait was seen as a slight against the cook, for it meant the food was not appetizing. He watched Rikerg’s response, to know if he, in the presence of the man, should wait for everyone to have a seat and be served, or begin eating. It was not lost on the orc that Riekrg had dressed for the occasion, as strange as the formality felt in the dank castle. Enzo felt uncomfortable, out of place in his travelling clothes that had been reduced to tatters by many travels through dense forest, beating winds and scurrying rats.

Enzo took a breath and, once certain he was allowed to eat, took a spoonful of his broth. It was rich and meaty, undercut with a mealy texture of the grains. He was happy for a fairly robust meal for his kind, and privately hoped the stew would be fine for Riekrg’s taste, lest the unknowing servant be punished.

The silence stretched for a few long moment, before Enzo broke it. “I spoke with a servant in the kitchen, he says he is not able to return to the village he came from. Is he trapped here?”


Offline EvilCopepod

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When the bowl was placed before him, Rikerg was deeply confused, and not for a moment did he think that the human in the kitchen had made it for him. He did not know of the table manners of orcs, and even if he had it wouldn't have prevented him from hesitating, because he did find it unappetizing. It smelled good, like meat, but it wasn't newly killed, and it was fluid instead of solid. He knew what soup was, but had never been presented with any, as far as he knew it was made mostly of water, and he didn't understand how it could be a meal for anyone.

He took the spoon carefully between two claws, and managed to dip it into the soup before it slipped from his precarious grip and disappeared into the soup. He stared at it a moment, despite his seemingly formal change in attire, was unable to use silverware even in the most informal manner. Still, he was going to attempt to try the strange concoction, and instead hunched over to try and drink it directly from the bowl, but only succeeded in knocking it over and spilling the contents on the table as a tusk got in the way. Instead of addressing this, he folded his hands in front of him on the table, which blocked the sight of the spilled food from Enzo, as if he thought the orc might not notice what had happened.

"As I said, you are welcome to as much of it as you need." Since it didn't look like Enzo had packed up any food for later, and he thought it might be on account of the orc thinking he should only take a little. He remained silent himself, the only sound from his side of the table being the dripping of the soup onto the floor and the small dog lapping it up off of the ground, Rikerg might have joined the creature if he knew that he liked the substance. When he spoke again, it was of one of the humans, and he scowled a bit, having thought they would have been smart enough not to disturb his guest, but they clearly needed direct orders to refrain from doing so.

"I apologize, I should have made certain you wouldn't be disturbed." he said, not having to ask which human had bothered him, as he would be able to know him by scent. "None of them are allowed to return any longer." He considered the last part of his question, "No, he is not trapped, but I will kill him if he stays away too long." If he wanted to trap the humans, he would lock them away, though they had no use in such a way, and he considered the fact that they had the option to leave and be slain for it to mean they were not truly trapped.