SPRING

Angkar: Dry season. Often sunny, but precipitation is rare. Humidity is low, some bodies of water may have dried up, and bushfires can occur. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.

Ashoka: Desert: Cooler temperatures, although still relatively hot. Violent, heavy downpours following long dryspells. Jungle: Hot and humid with frequent, violent rainstorms.

Morrim: Calm and generally cool. Thunderstorms and heavy showers are not uncommon, and there is also a chance of snow until late in the season.

Soto: Trees begin to bud and the snow begins to melt, which may cause minor flooding. Although temperatures increase, snowfall early in the season is not uncommon. Low-lying plants grow while the tree cover isn't too dense.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

March 30th, 2018 As you might have noticed, Elenlond has changed hands and is now under new management! If you have any questions, please ask [b]DaringRaven]! As for the rest of the announcements including a season change, you can find them over here at this link!

January 16, 2018 As you might have noticed, Elenlond has a new skin, all thanks to Mel! Don't forget to check out the new OTMs as well!

December 2, 2017 Winter has settled on Elenlond, bringing sleep for some and new life for others.

September 26, 2017 With the belated arrival of autumn come some interesting developments: new OTMs, a Town Crier and the release of the Elly Awards winners!

July 14, 2017 After a bit of forum clean-up, Elly Awards season has arrived! Head on over to make your nominations!

May 31, 2017 Summer has arrived and so has activity check! That's not all though – we also have some new OTMs for you and some staff changes!


WHAT IS ELENLOND?

Elenlond is an original free-form medieval fantasy RPG set on the continent of Soare and the Scattered Isles, which are located to the south in the Sea of Diverging Waters. The four chief nations of the western side of the world—Ashoka in northern Soare, Soto in western Soare, Morrim in eastern Soare, and Angkar, the largest of the Scattered Isles—continue to experience growth and prosperity since the fall of the Mianorite gods, although power struggles within the countries—or outside of them—continue to ensue.


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  • CURRENT EVENTS

    Angkar: To honour the reinvigoration of the ancient city of Mondrágon, the majestic Queen Eulalia has permitted the opening of a Coliseum where people from around the world and all walks of life can test their combat skills against one another. Many have already done battle in search of honour, glory, prizes and money.

    Ashoka: In an otherwise peaceful times, Ashokans are beset with the relatively minor inconveniences of wandering undead and occasionally-aggressive giant rock worms. There has also been some controversy over the recent re-legalisation of human sacrifice.

    Morrim: Rumour has it that Emperor Leofric de Hollemark is mustering forces for a war. Though the threat from Soto’s forests has passed, the forces previously employed in watching the forest now linger at the border. Rumours also circulate of a small group that has been dispatched to make contact with the tribes of the Do’suul Mountains.

    Soto: The Sotoans have defeated the fey and liberated themselves from Méadaigh’s oppression! Preliminary efforts have been made at rebuilding the city of Madrid, which had been captured at the beginning of the war. However, the Sotoans are hindered from recovery famine. Méadaigh’s magic caused summer to persist in the Erth’netora Forest through the winter. Her power has been withdrawn and the plants die as if preparing for winter – even though it is now summer. The Sotoans must sustain off what food they can get, what creatures they can kill and what can be imported into the city from Morrim and Angkar.

    For a fuller description of our most recent events, check out our most recent edition of The Town Crier!

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    Welcome to our home, a world in which anything can happen. From sprawling deserts and vast forests to massive volcanoes and luscious hot springs, Soare and the Scattered Isles are beautiful places just waiting to be explored. For the brave and the bold or the cautious and the wary, creatures of all kinds roam the earth, looking for adventure or for a place to call their own. Species of all kinds - the well-known and the unknown - thrive here, though not always in harmony.

    Elenlond is an original medieval fantasy RPG with a world that's as broad as it is unique. Calling on characters of all kinds, the sky's the limit in a world where boundaries are blurred and the imagination runs rampant. Restrictions are limited and members are encouraged to embrace their creativity, to see where they can go and what they can do. It's no longer just text on a page - it becomes real.

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    An Untimely Frost; OPEN//Shiro//Eth
    Topic Started: Mar 24 2017, 06:36 AM (861 Views)
    Juul Shaepah
    Member Avatar


    ((TW - executions))

    The night was chill and moonless, the heavy blanket that was winter slowly sloughing off of the kingdom. Brightness entered the days, but at the midnight hours the frost crept in, catspaws in the night, gripping and squeezing the houses of the shifting city in a numbing grasp. The streets held a certain malaise – where through the summer and autumn men and women had thronged, now there only remained shuffling cloak-swathed shadows, cursing the harsh salt-wind that blew in off the waves. New warehouses, market squares and quays had been thrown up in short seasons, the grounds beyond the orchards stamped flat and fenced with short palisades, criss crossed with ditches and populated by shimmering pavilions and ramshackle tents; abodes of those promised pardons by the Emperor for past misdeeds.

    The Watch of Fairin had had their hands right full with this influx of brigands and hedge knights, not to mention the chaotic harvest markets and heaving ships from Angkar that spilled forth crafty merchants, drunken sailors, whores and cutpurses, and all the usual cast of cutthroat mercantile ventures. Disputes between the local knights and the council of burghers had progressed to near-furious altercations as none wanted to take the responsibility of the Law when the prevailing wind was Chaos. Justice was done, rarely fair, and always harsh.

    Beyond the rows of fragrant apple orchards yet before the sharp palisades, a gallows lay – thirteen gibbets in a single row, each with a single inhabitant. Their last words were roughly scrawled on wood hanging from their necks, horrific misdeeds their only communication. Epitaphs were for the noble, these were now naught but carcasses.

    The soldier sat, back against the trunk of a tree, facing the three freshest victims. In the morning their eyes had been wide and pleading, their voices stuttering unheard over the solemn baritones of the justiciar and the priest. She remembered pulling the rope, watching their legs thrash and kick in their wild attempts to subvert their fate. She remembered the dark stains about their crotches, and the spittle that flew from their lips.

    But now, in the dead of a chill night, their forms were still – natural almost, akin to the budding leaves on the boughs of the orchard trees. The soldier laughed, and swigged from a bottle, steam rising in twin plumes from her nostrils. At her feet lay her shield, and her free hand sprawled lazily over her upturned cabasset and discarded gorget. Her spear leaned with her against the tree, never far from hand. Silence was her only companion, though she could here murmurs from the camp over yonder. Her single eye roved not – fixed only on the swinging trio, her gaze interrupted only by the bringing of the bottle to her chapped lips.

    Boys, the three of ‘em, Vespasian’s will be done…

    The snap of the branch nearby caused her to rear and spring to her feet, her gaze swaying. Her hand went to her short-sword, as her voice hissed out into the cold.

    ”Who goes ‘ere? Speak fast or stand faster!"
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Mar 24 2017, 07:25 AM.
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    Shiro
    Member Avatar
    Valkoinen Metsästäjä

    // My word the rust is REAL.

    Sometimes being naturally sneaky has it's downsides.

    Shiro was traveling now, she had seen much and learned more. Her bow, sword, and daggers being companions all the while. The sword was still there however, and it was the reason she wasn't curled up in her warm comfy bed back in the little cottage in Soto. The daemon residing within being an ever present threat, and it was not a threat she would sit comfortably with. She was still looking for someone to rid this cursed thing from the bladed weapon.

    After several days worth of travel she ended up in a new and unfamiliar country. Morrim, as the locals called it. Shiro had been here once before, but the village she visited was closer to Soto than anything else. The town in respect was Fairin, a sea-port by any good measure. In the matter of just a few hours the little neko had seen more sailors hustle and bustle about than she cared to ever count. One could easily get lost traveling up and down the miles of boardwalk sections that seemed to stretch out as far as the eye could see in both directions.

    The local law enforcement, Shiro noted, were rushing about just as much as the rest of the populace. Everywhere they went, stern looks upon their faces. No funny business here was all the looks said. Surely one of them could point the neko in the right direction of some priest?

    Turns out it would be quite difficult for little Shiro. Being of such small stature, she usually was disregarded as unimportant and the person would be on with whatever task they were undertaking. This was, of course, if she could even get the person to stop at all. The longer this game dragged on, the more it ground upon Shiro's nerves and after about an hours worth of attempting to get directions she was almost fuming. Her tail flicking in frustration beneath her coat.

    She walked and walked, passing some dead men hanging upon their final perches. She paused, contemplating, resting. Life here was more or less the same as it was everywhere else. Lie, cheat, murder: all led to a gruesome humiliation and death. The swift arm of justice will clamp down upon those who wish to disrupt society and it's peaceful norm.

    There was even a gallows, upon which three fresh bodies hung like morbid Christmas tree decorations. The catgirl shuddered internally at the thought. The little neko wondered if those who commit such acts will ever learn by witnessing the bodies that occupy the cages before her. She drew a deep breath to steady herself, and turned to set off.

    -snik-

    "Kuso-"

    Just off to her side, hidden behind a tree. A shape lurched forth.

    "Who goes 'ere? Speak fast or stand faster!"

    All senses went to full DEFCON 1.

    Shiro swung about, sliding her foot across the ground and shifted into full battle stance. Her left thumb nudged Tsujigiri roughly half an inch out of it's onyx colored sheathe, just enough for an easy draw. The catgirls right hand square on the leather-bound suka. Her grey eyes peering out at the one whom just spoke, drinking in the situation before her.

    Sometimes being naturally sneaky has it's downsides.

    A woman, with such an accent that Shiro nearly said 'What?' out of instinct. The neko sized her up, emblazoned hair, soldier like tendencies. She knew these types, bold, brash, haughty. It wasn't disdain, just more like contempt. This woman appeared to possibly be drunk, that or her accent was so thick that she sounded drunk. The neko couldn't tell. Either way, Shiro wasn't going to let her guard down over someone with a bit of alcohol in them. Or not. Didn't matter.

    "I don't think threatening a stranger with your sword is a common greeting around these parts," Shiro commented at the situation.

    "It's dangerous for someone like you to be intoxicated in such a way. Who knows what kind of ruffians are about?"

    Out of all the people that this woman could have ran into, she should consider herself lucky that it was only Shiro. Not some band of drunken hooligans looking for some trouble. They could've easily overpowered her in such a drunken state and-

    Clamping down on all excess thoughts for the moment. Shiro focused back to the situation at hand. She waited for a response.

    "I think you are mistaken in my intentions. I have no qualms against you."
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    Etherone
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    What ever ya turn yer back to, will appear anew before ye sooner or later. Darn it.

    He had left so suddenly, taken Oska and other named things he owned and galloped off the fortress without a word, that a certain guilt inhabited him. Although that glorious time of Revolt was now in the past, objective completed and most of the bunch disbanded -or so he expected-, he still thought fondly of it, snickering at the memory of Callum's neverending stankface and his eventful duel against the fabled Hjälmjävel. And yet, what had been most striking in the entirety of the rebellion was it's leader, a ginger beast of a lady, one whose compelling roars still echoed within his head like remnants of demons, giving him a shiver no matter how friendly the two of them had ended up otherwise. At times, with much reluctance, he found himself wondering what all those people whom he left behind might've ended up in.

    Well, he found that one out with way less investigation than he had hoped. And quite unpleasantly.

    He hadn't thought the Revolt had been somehow wrong in their doings, not that such things had been even considered whilst enlisting, it all having happened purely in a whim and out of his twisted need for entertainment. Nor did it cross his mind that someone might ever even remember or recognize him having been part of the tiny skirmish, not until a row of posters jumped to his observance, nailed to a fence in what he thought must've been the most unsignificant village in all of mud-ridden Morrim. He didn't have to even read his name upon it to make up it was the entire rebellion, wanted for their crimes against the crown and whoever else unimportant must've been so terribly offended by having gotten crossed and beat up by a bunch of yokels and farmers. Hilarious.

    Should've staid in the wilderness, or even gone back to Do'Suul then, he thought retrospectively a few weeks later as a squad of guards held him down at Kinaldi, pushing his face into the slosh of the cityfloor. For he indeed had judged it a good idea to stray into the Capital, even holding the poster as evidence for the wrongness that had happened -- that being how his name had been misspelled hideously and the person in the picture looked not nearly as handsome as he truly was.

    - Mister Frej, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Leofric de Hollemark offers pardons to those involved in the Plains Revolt, if they take part in-

    " Someone ought to get punished and that isn't me, dammit! Ain't even me face på denna jävla anslaget! Eller mitt namn! "

    He woke up later at the watchtower dungeons and was made to swore that he wouldn't go anywhere near the town's scribery, taking how that is where they had caught him, intimidating some skinny person who thought themselves smart for having an ability to write poorly. Disgruntled and still insulted, he had agreed to their terms, among accepting the fact that he was being deported to Fairin. Oh, how it made hating that fishy smelling sea air way more justified.

    ***

    The spring had crept in, let a certain warmness promise a quick summer during the day only to backhand such assumptions come dark. He hadn't really thought of the possibility of a backstab winter, or a cold spell as they liked to call it around here, back when he was packing for this glorious location. Nor when he had gotten into a fight at the tavern just mere minutes ago.

    A crispy draft prickled on his skin as he stepped outside, or more like lunged, with another victory under his belt. Hah, they surely had felt that last one... As he leaned against the porch railing for a breather, he couldn't even remember how it all had started, probably with them having too many opinions about his beard and general good looks. With the adrenaline and a few too many tankards of strong ale keeping him warm, he was completely oblivious about the fact he had lost his shirt.

    He had been told that the Shaepah woman also haunted these parts, in some leaderly position no doubt, but so far his path hadn't crossed theirs, if only because he could turn extremely roguish and calculative in his moves if he really wished to avoid someone. Surely his exceptional stealth had nothing to do with their honourary person having compromised their keen eyesight by half.

    A certain level of intoxication at that moment made it pounce to his mind that maybe was time to break the silence, finally, and he passed it as a magnificent idea. They were probably to unite on a mission once more, after all, wasn't acceptable to have some bad blood when on a job. He jumped over the railing excitedly, beginning his reignited adventure to a rapid right. A helpless stalker as he was with nothing much to do, he had mapped the Shaepah's patterns and thus had a general picture of where he could find his former Captain, even at that moment. Fan, he could most likely find them easier than his own tent.

    Sooner than late, whilst glancing to a strange opening on his passing, a familiar backside slapped his observance. That red hair... He couldn't see whom they were scolding, or ordering vigorously, but for all he knew he was terrified from all the way his unseen spot. A shudder ran down his spine and it surely wasn't due the cold. He had experienced blizzards naked - by a trail of events which he wished to forget -and yet what faced him now felt way greater of a challenge.

    Wishing to postpone the encounter, he chose to take on spectating the exchange. However, he couldn't hear nothing of the actual conversation from back where he stood and thus his criminal curiousity resulted with him attempting to slink into hiding behind a nearby apple tree. For he felt all those shots must've only enhanced his stealthy abilities, if anything.

    Despite his immense confidence, he slipped, sliding on the tiny layer of snow that hid a quite the respectable amount of crystal clear ice. That tiny moment it took for him to hit the ground, in a collective of clinks and one major thud, his mind was able to scroll through all the curses known to his kin.

    " RAH! "
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The hand moved quickly from sword-hilt to the hard wrapped leather of her baton as she scanned the looming darkness for the shape of the stranger. The orchard trees stood in ordered rows, though they spread wide and disorderly their trunks were arrayed like pikes. Her eye darted hither and thither but she could discern not from whence the noise came from. The ears of the soldier were keen, and she listened for a tell-tale sound – a rustling cloak, the scrape of a boot, the rasp of steel being freed from leather.

    ”I don't think threatening a stranger with your sword is a common greeting around these parts … It's dangerous for someone like you to be intoxicated around these parts. Who knows what kind of ruffians are about?"

    The voice came at her gently, and there, between the trunks, stood the figure. She could not quite see who they were, although the tone betrayed certain things – a woman, and a foreigner. The grip tightened on the baton, and away from the belt it came – the stranger spoke true. She was militia, not a mercenary; and this was a city, not a battlefield. She gave a snort, followed by a derisive laugh.

    ”Hah! Thank ye f’ye concern, kind wayfarer. Sure, a wee one like me gettin’ lost, an’ pissed to boot!” the smile turned to a sneer, her single eye baleful as the grip on the iron turned white-knuckle under the leather of her gloves ”Yer talkin’ t’the captain o’th’watch, an’ I strung those three lads up at noon, so wise up. What about ye?”

    She stood, awaiting the stranger’s reply, her eye still darting though now from the figure to the surroundings. The stranger seemed just a wanderer, but they could be an outlier for a band of nearby scoundrels. She was drunk, yes, but the trees had yet to sway, and the ground seemed not a welcoming bosom for her tired head – she could take three or four half-starved blaggards should need be.

    An almighty crack and a cry that was somewhere between a yelp and a bellow caused her to round, and skip back a step, teeth bared and thighs bunched to leap into a thunderous counterattack. She saw an enormous shape sprawled beneath a nearby bough, hackles raised she spat.

    ”If it’s gold yer after I c’n pay ye only in blood, if it’s sport I’ll gladly relieve ye of ye members! Either way, stand an’ have at it!”
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    Shiro
    Member Avatar
    Valkoinen Metsästäjä

    The warning fell upon deaf ears as her counterpart scoffed at her. Shiro felt a twinge insulted being disregarded so brazenly. The woman began to mock her, with venom seeping from the words. The sting of the sheer mockery of her warning hurt the neko, if ever so slightly. She flinched at the verbal sting. The neko retained her posture and composure. Just words. Just words. Her tail betraying her feelings, she was still agitated at the whole dialogue.

    "Yer talkin' t'the captain o'th'watch, an' I strung those three lads up at noon, so wise up. What about ye?"

    Ah shit...

    The turns have tabled. Out of all the people Shiro could have run into, it was the Captain of the watch. But with the tense atmosphere about the expanse she didn't dare relax. Not with this woman still fired up as she was. If Shiro wasn't careful with her next few words and actions she'd be the next in line for the rope. Something told her that it would be quite an expedited process as well. That was not particularly interesting to the little neko in the slightest.

    The catgirl also enjoyed living too.

    "You are talking to a wanderer, formerly a huntress from Soto. Shiro Sogeki is the name," Shiro stated, not wanting to leave open any mysteries. She couldn't imagine any way that could be twisted into some amalgamation of robbery or criminal stature. Truth. To a Captain no less, she was not about to start trouble with the local law enforcement.

    "Apologies, just passi-"

    No sooner did Shiro speak her apology did some kind of ruffian attempted to gain access to this standoff.

    There was the telltale sound of feet scrambling, followed by a thunderous thud of a body hitting the ground. The neko's attention split to that of the fiery haired woman before her and the third player in this terse game of who makes the first mistake? The thud was accompanied by a gruff shout. No doubt an unintentional slip of the tongue with boot.

    The whole cacophony made the woman before Shiro jump back and rear for battle. The woman shouting the whole while - warning, causing a nice ripple of fear straight down the catgirls spine. She shook off the feeling.

    Shiro herself started, but quickly retracted her movements. She shuffled back into her place. Whoever this third party was, it was an anomaly and Shiro stood ready for it. She thought quickly about the appearance that she would give if she moved. Her hands didn't move - one simple muscle retractment and Tsujigiri would be free to impose itself upon any who dare oppose it.

    This situation seemed to be at the brink of explosion. No one wanted to be left holding the flint that caused it.

    "Dare ga soko ni iku!*" Shiro shouted to the third person, not realizing she slipped back into her old tongue.

    In the back of her head, she could feel the itch. That little bite of the evil that manifests in her sword. It begged for release. It pleaded with her, telling her all kinds of evil things. Just let me have a go...it'll be over in 2 seconds, they wont know what happened. It spoke to her, it wanted their blood. To taste it again and again. Just like the last millennia. The feast the sword want, no, NEEDS. It willed itself on her.

    No.

    Shiro extinguished the voice hard. She wasn't having any of it.

    "Whoever you are, either come out surrendering or preparing for steel!" The words were foreign in her mouth but Shiro tried to form some kind of fragile alliance with the Captain.


    * "Who goes there!"
    // LOOKS LIKE WE GOT OURSELVES A GOOD OL FASHIONED GUADALAJARAMARAN STANDOFF BOYS
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    Etherone
    Member Avatar


    Ffffffffffffffffffffff---

    His ears were ringing and for a brief passing he thought he had cracked his skull and died, hadn't it been for the motionless swing of his world and insides that soon enough resumed to convince him otherwise. He staid still for an extended period of time, having forgotten entirely where he was, what he was and why he was in the first place. A reminder of that time he had gone rolling down a hill, sent flying by a dodge he performed against a ballista bolt, showered with arcane explosions. He felt quite similar to that, when he had lied at the root of that hill, listening to the screaming of his allies as they burnt in the conjured flame of some battlemage, howls that slowly reduced into a distant hum as he drifted away.

    Grunting, he cautiously opened only one of his eyes, vision floating in a rapid ellipse. Alright, either those were stars or he had landed on a cloud and they were the lights of cottages at Morrimian countryside.

    " Fan jävla helvete..." The Woodsman uttered, exhaling sharply, one hand stroking away the strands that hindered his view, smoothing them backwards. A crackle of ice resided under him as he hoisted his upper parts, into what must've been the biggest excuse for sitting, cold fingers trying the back of his head as he kept hissing.

    - ...Either way, stand an’ have at it!”

    A yell reached, from somewhere, nowhere and everywhere, grasping at his wandering thought with a determinate iron gauntlet. He wouldn't respond, burying the front of his everaching head into his palms, as if embarrassingly contemplative. In truth it was neither of childish defiance, nor the fact that he hadn't got it in his legs yet to stand, but the hideous feeling in his gut that wished itself out. Breathe.

    Soon later another voice, this time of questioning, yet in entire gibberish. Fine.

    He roared out, randomly and spontaneously, struggling to lever himself from the ground like some mountailtroll that had slept for so long it had forgotten how to move.

    What were feet... Why were they going the opposite directions. And what the hell were his arms doing.

    " Is it a ploughin' War everywhere ya go, Shaepah? " He directed a disappointed, half-lidded stare at them and kicked the snow markingly, nearly falling over once more, one hand grappling at the tree next to him for support. " Ya be wantin' a fight --- fine, I'll fight! "

    The axe was released from his belt, swung twice in his grip effortlessly, challenging glare fixed at the Captain. All that was about the third participant amongst them, was completely forgotten to him.

    " För Fäderneslandet, gå på, Hurraaaa! "

    He charged.
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The sprawled figure before her began to rouse, one foot first, then and arm, then the other foot. Her blood was up, and thumped through her ears. Though as the figure rose, thoughts of an immediate counterattack faded – the size of the man gave the soldier pause for thought. Her eye darted to the other part, who had seemed to skip back. Perhaps this man was a distraction, sought to keep her attention while the other put an arrow to their back. Strange curses erupted from both of them, both in foreign tongues, though somehow one of them was familiar…

    Her baton still clasped tightly, she half skipped, half bolted past two boughs, seeking to keep one assailant between her and the other. Only instinct ruled her now – that first figure she hadn’t had a good look at, but they were definitely slighter than the second. She would whip them to submission quickly, a quick smash of the rod to a warding arm then straight into a knee. From there, she could keep the trees between her and the huge man, circle back to her spear, then fence with him with a five-foot reach advantage. That would even the odds.

    As she skipped with light, loping half steps she twirled her baton in easy figure-eights. Her shoulders had become stiff with the cold and her slouched pose, and with every swing she felt the blood course back into the flesh, loosening it for the coming struggle.

    Something seemed awry, though, as her hears pricked up as the slight-figure spoke. They did not appear to be allies, as she had supposed. What surprised her more though, and nearly made her stop in the rhythm of her circling lope, was the reply of the larger man.

    ” Is it a ploughin' War everywhere ya go, Shaepah? "

    He knew her name, and that dialect too seemed familiar…

    Eth!!

    As the huge form of the mountain man bore down on her, she had little time to register the shock. He had always been erratic in behaviour, as soon to crack a smile as hurl a fist, and he seemed roused. She had last seen him galloping away from the camp at Skepia, their duty done, with nary a farewell. That had been before the priests had informed on them, before the wild but futile escapes into the plains. Perhaps he had smelled what was to come.

    But on he came, with a surprising alacrity. She had stood shoulder to shoulder with him on the battlefield, watched him hew men as though they were underbrush, though throughout she felt that only their common cause kept his chaos at bay. Now, it was unleashed, and barrelling towards her.

    ”Eth, I’ll hack ye from crotch t’gizzard if ye dare cross me!” she spat back, though for the ferocity of her words she still bounded desperately to keep a tree between them at all times ”Drawin’ steel on yer captain, is no less than what I expect from a blaggard like yeself!”
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Apr 5 2017, 12:14 AM.
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    Shiro
    Member Avatar
    Valkoinen Metsästäjä

    It was like a sloppy game of chess, and Shiro somehow was involved.

    She stood stock, taking in the scene before her, still unmoving from moments prior. By no small miracle, she wasn't rushed at the The catgirl peered out into the murk, watching the prone figure rise. First, he hoisted himself to a sitting position as her opponent, the hot-headed woman yelled at him.

    He rose.

    It was a height of a man that even Shiro could note as large even from a distance. Her thoughts quickly raced to fill her head with images of Artorias and that whole encounter. Shrugging off the past, she decided that with the scene developing as it was, a melee with this aggressor would be ultimately a bad idea. Nevermind the fact that this situation was a three way standoff. That threw all kinds of compounding variables into the equation, thus completely tossing out any real chance of a fair fight happening. Eventually it'll boil down to a two versus one situation. Process of elimination, with blood and life at stake.

    Something wasn't quite right, Shiro heard a brief exchange of words. From what she could gather, these two knew each other. Shiro was the outsider, again. Under other, less dubious circumstances, she could've easily broken the ice with a glass of booze or some fine food. Yet the ice was broken by a hulking bear of a man.

    For being such a large person, he was on his feet and moving very quickly. He bellowed the whole while, some dialect that the neko couldn't understand. Charging straight for the fiery haired woman. Seemingly he completely disregarded the catgirl. There was no way she was going to make an attempt to draw his attention.

    Shiro kept her focus upon the two. It was like clockwork, as soon as the man - Eth - began to charge, the woman - Shaepah - moved as well. Got. Damn. Soldiers.

    Shaepah began to move erratically, to which the neko picked up upon immediately. She was attempting to putting the catgirl between her and the third opponent, or at least trying to. Shiro noticed she was wielding a baton of some kind. Painful if swung hard enough, could break a bone. While a broken bone was not the gravest of injuries for the catgirl. It would hurt the whole damn time it would take to self-repair. At least a week. Hunting game would be an absolute bitch...

    The neko's eyes flicked upward, scanning. The trees. A silent nod, a gesture to her late father thanking him for the knowledge. She glanced about, sizing up the area and the placement of all the timber. She planned a nice movement patter that not only kept her hard to follow but also gave her the perfect vantage point.

    She didn't want to be part of a drunken brawl between friends, comrades or what-have-you.

    She sheathed the half-inch of blade that the neko had previously readied. The catgirl prepared herself for fast-scaling. A practice that, if preformed quickly, could get her into the tree near instantly.

    Her years of scaling and descending trees proved to be very helpful in this situation. Leaning slightly on one foot, she launched herself into a full tilt sprint off to her side, keeping her vision trained and her distance great. Within seconds she was among the tree branches. She leaped up a few, turned and crouched. Now with a birds eye view upon the impromptu battlefield. She waited to see what the course of action will happen next.

    For a safety measure, she drew her bow and an arrow. Just like hunting deer, except the hunted is a bit more violent.

    There, she removed herself from the situation. Well not entirely because now her curiosity had been piqued. She waited for the next piece to move.
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    Etherone
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    The Captain's mouth was moving, barking a warning along with a common insult, but he heeded none of it. His blood was rushing in a deafening manner.

    " Ya got me outlawed! And now am stuck in this arsel of a town, whorin' to some noble skitstövel! "

    In but a few thunderous leaps he had himself before them, hair swishing and leather of his adornments flapping furiously. Without pause Argsint went downwards and toward in a wide arch, missing hideously as the target sidestepped off the way like it all was some coordinated dance. Abaft him, burst a rapid sequence of the lightest footsteps upon frost, though as of their distancing manner he wouldn't even glance upon such an anomaly.

    Enraged, he launched another attack, reaping a branch from some unfortunate apple tree, behind which his reluctant opponent had pounced. He pursued Juul around a bunch of trunks, like in a drunken game of cat and mouse, swinging and missing as they made sure to keep off his reach.

    Argsint hit bark once more, this time with greater fortitude and closer to the beloved Captain's head than it had ever been, them managing to dodge it by a mere inch. The blade went deep into the frozen wood, falling to immobility, unbudging as he yanked it time and time again. Hell, he even put his foot against the tree, well aware how embarrassing it looked, and still not even the most forcible pull and curse would move it. The nature was finally taking its revenge upon him.

    " Träjävel! " He withdrew, kicking the botanical abomination, panting.

    A deep inhale.

    He shifted, upon his heel and in person, letting the rabid wave wash over his features, from the tips of his fingers that erupted a set of claws to visage and hues that widened, lengthened and blackened. He towered upon hindlegs for but a second, baring his newfound fangs and releasing an ursine bellow as he landed upon fours, shaking the earth with an animalistic might. A glare renewed upon the Captain, determinate in the destructive madness within.

    " Draw yar sword, vårtbitare! "

    An acceleration, led by a set of canines, flashing white.
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The mountain man closed the distance between them aggressively, his bounding strides needing one where a normal man would need two or three. The shining steel in his hand swung wildly, glinting in the moonlight. The soldier continued to move, though the even lope became lurching whenever the huge man took a swing. With every attempt, he got closer, and Juul was forced to start bobbing and weaving her head like boxer – one wrong move and he would soon separate her head from her shoulders.

    “Yer quick fer a big man, but ye couldn’t hit fer a crown!” she goaded, her voice not betraying the terror in her heart “I guess ye been idle, drinkin’ tha’ Do’Suul brew, since I last saw ye!”

    Desperately, she took her eye from him for a half-heartbeat to see where the slight stranger had positioned themselves. Earlier, they had been spouting warnings and seemed ready to attack. If she could somehow get them between her and Eth she might be given an opportunity. The figure had remained where they were, bunched slightly. Juul broke her lope to leap towards them, tripping on a thick root.

    In that moment, the stranger disappeared with a whip of cloth against the cold air. The soldier stumbled and fell – which saved her life, as Eth had corrected his aim and swung with deadly intent. She felt the axe cut the air above her head before it thudded into the trunk. The soldier landed heavily on her shoulder, rolling supine she saw the cloaked figure scramble up the tree with ease. She scrambled back on heels and elbows as Eth struggled to free his weapon, before rolling and rising, single eye taking stock of what was at hand.

    Eth struggled for a heartbeat or two to free his axe before he abandoned the endeavour. Her heart sank as he cursed and kicked the tree, turning to her with a wildness in his eyes – she knew what was to come. Neither her sword nor her baton had the reach to deal with him, and she was not strong enough to wrestle a bear.

    ”Draw yar sword, vårtbitare!”

    “I’ve the tool t’deal w’ye!” she thundered, hurling her baton overarm at his ursine visage ”Yer not worth goin’ blade t’blade!”

    She sprinted the ten paces to where her spear leaned against a tree, grabbing the haft and couching it two handed. She immediately began to circle, desperately trying to keep a tree between her and the bearkin.
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Apr 6 2017, 08:59 PM.
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    Shiro
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    Shiro watched the scuffle unfold before her.

    Eth roared, almost bear like in his tone and volume. He raced at Shaepah with murderous force. If the captain didn't move, the hulking man would have split her into 2 pieces just by running through her. The catgirl, watching from her perch, didn't know who to root for. She knew enough about these two that anger and alcohol were playing factors into their deadly dance. Maybe this was their normal greeting, seeing as they know each other. Test of mettle with metal, possibly a standard greeting with soldiers of Morrim.

    He swung, she dodged, or more like fell-tripped. So, the little lady had some sense still about her. A small smirk crept up Shiro's face. That axe moved with blistering speed. The fiery haired woman taunted him in glorious fashion. The huge man buried his axe into a tree, swearing in his language. The lady scrabbled away from him while he was fighting with the tree. There was no way to tell where this fight would go.

    There was a pause. It was a nearly physically shocking break in the front row seat live action fight that Shiro was paying witness to. A loud exhale from Eth seemed foreboding. Horrifying.

    He bellowed at her. Shiro recoiled, her ears flattening into her head under her hood. Why does everyone have to SHOUT so damn much?! What in the world -

    Utterly stunned, the neko nearly fell out of the tree watching the man morph.

    BEAR

    Memories came flooding back to her once while scouting some back in Soto she encountered a bear. A close call with her life would be a massive understatement. She was nimble and small, the bear not so. The neko had hoped that was the first and last bear she would ever lay eyes upon. And here was another right below her, in a fit of rage that showed no signs of stopping. This was not good.

    "Yokunai-Kuso-Kuso-Kuso-Kuso-Kuso....." a string of curses whispered out of the catgirls mouth. The loud thundering of her heart as it smashed itself in her chest nearly deafening her. She looked up, still attempting to regain her composure.

    Shaepah had retrieved a deadly looking spear from somewhere. Not that it mattered where it came from, it was more vital in its current location than anything else. Shiro let out an internal cheer for the woman. The playing field had been leveled, as much as one could level against a bear.

    The neko needed to do something, time was a factor here. She drew taut her bow and arrow, aiming for the rampaging animal-man-thing. Something made her pause, maybe it was the thought that who she was aiming at was still a person. Sure they may be a murderous rampaging animal at the moment but who's going to explain to the guy how he got shot with an arrow in his spree? Not to mention that would technically be considered assault...well self defense.

    "Sh-Shaepah! I can put an arrow in 'im if you need help!" she shouted down from her perch. Once again her own voice almost startling her. She paused, calculating, thinking.

    The catgirl shifted about before deciding to jump to a different branch and situate herself. A subtle strategic move that may play out better in the near future. She then paused again, letting out a long but deliberately slow breath. Her heartbeat steadied, a rhythm she lived by. Her platinum irides glistening as they narrowed in focus to the intended purpose.

    She was ready.
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    Etherone
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    He went forth like a stagecoach, unable to stop in his excess momentum upon frozen earth as Juul launched their baton at him, or more specifically his face. It hit the top of his head like a hammer did a nail, disorienting and near planting him jaw first to the ground, dismissing some of his speed and none of the fury. Skull now aching he refreshed a roar to the air, colliding shoulder first with another tree like a battering ram gone rogue as the Captain slid off the way yet again.

    The branches above shook under thunderous force, dropping in weak protest a frozen apple upon his already punished crown. Sounding a grunt he shook his head, to rearrange whatever brain had gone awry, and retook the surrounding, spotting the pursued at the end of another weapon. Tenfold the point and four times lenght to the previous, he noticed himself staring at a spear.

    " Some tool, aye! What are ya now... Juul the Impaler? " Shit, someone should've done a painting of their current composition. There was something hideously sexually appealing and frighteningly attractive about a woman wielding a spear.

    He had already bolted, circling frantically after them, mutilating his way through bark and branch as the orchard kept getting in the way. He swore he would tear down every single tree, pull up every last bush, lift off each boulder from his way, until naugh remained for the Captain to scatter behind. He couldn't decide whether their avoidance was only due their wishes over not killing him, or because they thought they couldn't, neither in physical nor mental facet, hand held by some disgruntling sense of past comradeship. Either way, it insulted him, the holy entirety.

    Just as he thought no more rage could be stirred to surface from within him, a voice came from somewhere lightly above and beyond shoulder, ringing a timid yet true suggestion to his ear. Instinctually, he made the hastiest of turns and left Shaepah's vicinity, detaching from the situation without a word and leaping at the source of the latest sentence.

    " Then do it! " He glared upwards and hoisted to hinds, front paws upon the trunk of the Stranger's hiding spot, claws digging to the grooves of it in unreasonable anger. The upper of his being swung backwards in gathering of force, only to return at the tree like a maul.

    " Let me out! "

    Crystallized wood crackled, shaken, weak within as of old age. He charged another.

    " Jag... " Slam. Wood fractured, hollow in its moan. " -hatar..." Again. Timber cleaved, splitting unceremoniously at the middle where its major branches begun. "-bågskyttar! " *

    Unleashing all the momentum gathered by his consistent movement and the remainder of his strength, he gave at the tree once more. It let out a botanic howl, a sorrowful extended creak as the stem of it caved in, furrows like scars opening to wounds spitting shrapnel. Instead of taking a step back, he leaned upon it, helping its way as it fell, toppling over in slow motion like some ancient geezer.

    " Timberrrrrrrrrrrr! "


    --- * I - hate - archers!
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    Juul Shaepah
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    As soon as she hefted the haft, the bearskin was upon her, crashing through orchard boughs and lesser trees. She had no time to retort the bearkin’s taunt, for her mind now was only on movement. Her light skipping steps became flatfooted leaps as she struggled to avoid his huge paws and maw while taking care not to clatter the spear against the trees. What was her sanctuary now threatened to be her undoing. His teeth glinted in the moonlight, slick with slaver, and those fierce points could pierce her skull with little effort. Terror, edged with sadness, sat in her guts like a stone.

    As she barely avoided the whirling dervish of destruction that bore down on her, her mind flew back to the days of the Revolt. Her, the woodsman and the knight-errant tearing through the brigands, the wild night-raids on horseback, the drinking plundered alcohol in sheltered copses. She remembered also the final battle, thick clouds moving ponderously across the sky – staring at them after being laid low by a blow, their peace juxtaposed by the clash and clatter of the tides of iron. The wound in her shoulder seared like hot iron – and then there was Eth. He charged into the fray, swinging wildly to ward off foes until she could get back on her feet.

    Sh-Shaepah!

    Through the chaos of the situation and the chaos of memory, came a commanding, if stuttering, voice. The stranger! An arrow would serve as a distraction, and would be unlikely to seriously hurt the bearskin. She opened her mouth to assent, but in a blink Eth was gone. His huge ursine form began to clamber the tree, presumably where the stranger had disappeared to.

    And then, he began to ram.

    ”Stranger! Hold fast t’yer guts an’ leap! He’s tryna-“

    With an almighty crack, and the sound of a splintering tear, the tree fell with a thunderous crash. She couldn’t see the stranger in the darkness, but she could still see Eth’s hulking form – his back was to her! She charged, spear gripped tightly underarm, and thrust at his armpit, behind his foreleg. She then wrenched herself backwards, and began to circle, teeth bared like an animal. She still could not see the stranger.

    ”Stranger! Get yer wits about ye!” she barked, eyes locked to the bearkin ”Eth, calm yerself! I’ve no wish t’kill ye!”
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Apr 20 2017, 06:42 PM.
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    Shiro
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    Valkoinen Metsästäjä

    The scenario was going one of two ways, just as Shiro predicted. One; this bear dude would turn and come up into the tree after her. Or two; he was going to keep after the fiery woman with the deadly spear.

    The former was the case.

    The branch that the little catgirl had moved to just seconds ago was chosen because it was one of the sturdiest in the tree she was hiding in. The instant that Eth turned, the arrow - once drawn taut - was now returned back into the quiver. The bow itself slung back upon the neko's back. She crouched, at the ready.

    In a flash Eth was upon the tree and wailing at it with thunderous force. Everything shook and stirred. He roared at Shiro, something that probably was obscenities. She waited for the perfect moment to jump. She exhaled slowly again.

    Shaepah shouted up at Shiro, warning her in a vain attempt to give her a heads up. It was far too late and the catgirl didn't need it in the slightest. A loud crack resonated from the tree, and it began to pitch sideways. Three quick and light steps up the branch and she sprung into the air. She leaned forward into a beautiful front-flip.

    The deciduous growth smashed into the ground with a resounding crash. Half a second later she landed into a crouch. Looking up, and back towards the former tree. The woman had taken advantage of the momentary gap in the bearman's defense and was upon him, making jabs and pokes at him. She circled him, keeping a sole focus on the opponent before her.

    The catgirl stood, sliding her foot into the dirt again, back into battle stance. Just like before, when this whole situation began its wild course. This time she wasn't going to draw her weapons. No, it was unnecessary, Shaepah was attempting to shout down the bear. It was hard to tell if any of her words were getting through to him. Then again it was difficult to judge how he is reacting to anything other than unbridled rage.

    "Eth! You damned fool! Trying to kill a stranger?" the shout from the little catgirl, in an attempt to imitate the captain. If this act keeps up, Shiro decided that she was going to use force. Things went from a nasty brawl to attempted murder. She had a witness too, Shaepah would serve to be best witness as well. Never mind the fact that she was already going at him with teeth bared and gritted.

    For the moment it was best to try to see if he'll see to reason. The catgirl didn't drink but after an encounter like this, she could use a nice tall glass to take the edge off her already completely frayed nerves. She would buy a drink for the captain as well, if she was willing. The way she was just chomping at the bit and jumping at every little provocation gave off the sense that she wasn't one for general camaraderie.

    "Now look at yourself! You've done and gotten stabbed!" Shiro chastised him loudly, this was it, her attempt to make him see reason.
    Edited by Shiro, Apr 20 2017, 02:11 AM.
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    Etherone
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    The tree laid still, branches snapping as the weight kept setteling, ground under crunching.
    For a tiny moment he felt like it was all a dream, himself floating in some astral plane, fighting old and new acquaintances, exhaling vapor. The numbness of overly stretched exhaustion crept to his every muscle, slow and viperous in its advance. It felt like a forever now -- like he had always chased after another, unstopping and unyielding, unremembering how it all started.

    A sudden sting obliged to bring him back, offering a recall. The bite of a blade caught him off guard, rapid and precise like an adder's strike, slashing cold steel through his skin. He swung around at rabid speed and let out a rumbling bellow in protest, shoulders wide and head held low in angled defense, despite the lot of him wishing to lay horizontal on the ground. The poignant and now reddened edge kept its target, wielder circling, addressing him like any other beast of the wild. Panting and growling he took slow steps backwards, umber hues monitoring the spearpoint and the Captain behind it, his entirety furiously bewildered like a cornered animal.

    Their suggestion and expression were responded with a similar sustained snarl, if only in adjusted magnitude.

    He lashed at the spear for a few times, attempting to grab it from the soldier's grasp, but remained by his fatigued state and their trained reflexes unsuccesful. As of his retreat he soon felt his broad behind come in contact with the solidity of a trunk.

    His three lettered nickname was shouted once more, followed by something about murder, words lost in the hollow echo of inhales and the pounding of his heart. He wanted to gather himself and leap, overhaul the serration within their mouth among with a certain appendix, unaccepting and intolerant of the Stranger's tone.

    None other would boss him. There could be only one.

    Each breath stung, heavy and deep, laborous and prickly with cold air. The wound at his axilla pulsated, reminding him of vulnerability, burning upon aspiration.

    No more.

    He diminished, false form unraveling and reversing at a decreased rate as if involuntarily, rehatching his authentic self to the frost. The chill flushed over him ruthlessly, sending a surge of invisible needles over his exposed torso, strangling the air out of his lungs. His unstable figure sought support of the tree behind him, planting his spine against it.

    " That name is not for ya to use, främling*. Never gave it to ya. " His hues shot at the outsider, piercing with an anger rediscovered by the sheer sight of them.

    - Now look at yourself!

    " Is but a fatwound, dumbom*. " Yar screamin' gives me a headache. He tried his oxter, fingertips mapping out the clean sliver, glance detaching. On the side of the tree he spotted Argsint's familiar form, gleaming in the pale sun's reflected light. Without warning his legs gave way as his hand went for the haft, resulting him arse first in the frozen earth and axe in hand as the tree surrendered, grumbling crisply when the blade came loose.

    The world was swinging, uncertain in which gravity to assign him, flipping his insides this way and that. His hands shook, both of cold and lassitude, and he tightened his grip on Argsint to dismiss such show of weakness.

    " Well... Come on at, Kapten. " He raised the axe at Juul, swinging it once in a drained yet defiant manner, unbothering of even trying to rise from his seated station. A thick swallow graced his throat, backhanding his will to chunder.

    Translations --- 1*stranger, 2*nincompoop
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The bear that was Eth wheeled, faster than the soldier would have thought possible, just as she skipped back. He responded to her snarl with one of his own, before lurching and grabbing at her stained spear – she had expected a furious grapple, allied to a wrenching grasp of tremendous strength – instead, the bearkin lashed weakly at it. Her wildness subsided, her eye becoming set cautiously. She circled – slowly, now – over to the Stranger. She gave half a glance at them, before speaking.

    “’mon now, Eth, I’ve no wish t’hurt ye,” she spoke, her tone softening but still retaining an authoritarian edge “Let’s cease th’madness. Ye startled me, is all.”

    She watched as he shifted back - bulk lessening, fur and teeth retracting – before he sat back on the ground. Still he taunted, swinging listlessly with Argsint, and her demeanor softened complete. She stood straight, lowering her spear, and sighed. Since her return to Morrim and the Revolt, she had always been too quick to anger, to browbeat. Only with that healer had she felt some degree of peace, but only Vespasian knew where she was now.

    “Vän, it’s been some years since I last saw ye. Our greetin’ shouldn’t be wi’ crossed steel. I’m... sorry I stabbed ye. I’ve a medicine for ye – f’r ye wound an’ f’r our rash reunion.”” she spoke, her tone conciliatory, before she turned and nodded at the stranger ”Yer welcome t’join us, stranger, should ye the mind f’r it.”


    She shifted, waiting a heartbeat or two, before she set off. As she walked the twenty or so paces to her previous resting place, she glanced at the destruction the trio had wrought – the frosted ground churned underfoot, boughs ripped and lopped from trees, and of course the rent arbor that now lay splayed amongst the trunks of its brethren. She fished around her helmet for her flask, looping it’s leather strap around her wrist, before gathering up her helmet, gorget and satchel and returning to the pair.


    ”Once it were apple-wine, but I know a man that sieves off the alcohol an’ mixes it wi’ fresher batches.” she grinned, dropping her armaments with a metallic clatter as she thrust it in presentation at her companions ”It’ll take ye head off! Come have a dram!”

    She flicked off the cap deftly with her thumb, before taking a draught. She gasped and smacked her lips, beckoning with the flask haphazardly between the two others.
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Apr 20 2017, 10:44 PM.
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    Shiro
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    Valkoinen Metsästäjä

    Tense moments dragged on. An eternity passed. Raspy breaths counting the time.

    Shiro's eyes focused, she was in a position to watch both of the contenders. Who was going to lash out next? The catgirl estimated that the bearman was going to get the drop on the springy Shaepah. If he managed to hit her once, it'd be bloody. Not an ending that she nor the captain would want to see.

    The man lurched, casting about. There was a melee with spear and fist-paw. Shiro watched, she saw the signs of weariness growing about his character. It was only a matter of time...or a matter of his intellect. He spat, words of insult towards the catgirl. A pang of aggression passed through her psyche. She batted it away mentally, not falling for the words he spoke. It was only a trap to be set just to get a rise out of her.

    He turned and tilted, going after the axe he left buried in a tree not a minute before. Just as he arrived at his position, the last of his strength gave way, and fell into a sitting position. At the least he managed to free his weapon, but made nary an attempt to stand upon his feet. Still he swung, in some vain way to show that he still wanted to fight.

    Shaepah switched tact, softening her tone. Speaking with familiarity, trying to get him to calm himself. The woman offered to fix up his wound and even invited Shiro to join them.

    How quickly the turns tabled.

    The catgirl didn't completely comprehend the situation fully. She remained locked in her stance, watching as the pair collapsed down into rest. She was baffled.

    Only then did the adrenaline that was rushing through Shiro's veins wear off. Almost everything came to a screeching halt. Her senses flooded back with tons of information. A introspecting probe came back with all kinds of errors. Then the physical feeling of the problems hit her. That landing that she made from jumping off the tree did a number on her ankles. Testing their integrity, she shifted her weight and a searing pain shot up her leg.

    Oh boy, sprained.

    The neko dropped to a knee, gritting her teeth. The captain had returned to where she originally was sitting, drawing a flask about and taking a mighty swig. Discussing alcohol and making merry. It did sound plenty enticing, if Shiro could move that is. The catgirl glanced about her person, the bandages hiding the snowy hair that encased her entire arm were all but tatters at the moment as the muscles beneath it looked completely extraordinary. Odd. They were bulging, flexing...something wasn't right. Panic. The catgirl focused her thoughts and feelings to her appendage.

    Nothing.

    There was no feelings, stopping just short of her shoulder. Panic. Faintly, whispers encircled her. Nothing that she could make out. Everything was cause for alarm. Forcing her willpower to her arm, she clenched her furred fist. The muscles retracted, and the arm settled back into it's normal shape. Shiro could feel a power, just like that ill-fated day back when she first got Tsujigiri, coursing through her. PANIC.

    She stood.

    Taking a few uneasy steps. There was no pain. Only strength. She looked straight forward, stumbling over to a nearby tree, she collapsed against the botanical guardian. Sliding down upon it, the bark coarse against her hands. She sat.

    Like a wave the power ebbed and flowed from her. Shiro leaned against the tree, looking into the night sky, resting her head back upon the growth. After a pause, something that felt like a forever to pass. She exhaled.

    Sooner rather than later, reality smashed its way back into her little reverie and dragged her back into the world of now. A single bead of sweat glided slowly down the side of her face.

    "I will have to decline. Thank you...I don't drink the heavy stuff," she tried to sound as casual as possible, it was a bit hard considering she just fought down some unknown force akin to that of a lighting strike. The catgirl fished out a small deerskin, she was parched. The rush of water made the back of her throat no longer feel like 50 grit sandpaper. A wave of relief washed over her as she downed the water.

    "I believe introductions are in order..." the neko's voice trailed off a small respite before continuing, "...from what I have gathered, you two know each other. That makes me the unknown, I do apologize."

    "Shiro Sogeki, huntress from Soto," she introduced herself, her voice sounding meekly cheery. She, too, was tired.

    The fighting was over. What a spectacular mess that was.
    Edited by Shiro, Apr 26 2017, 08:38 AM.
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    Etherone
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    The Captain's response hit him like a speeding chariot, running over and unaddressing his taunt. He grit his teeth, utterly indignant, hissing a curse under his breath. He didn't want to calm down, wishing to refuse the truce and scream a yet another set of profanities, to aggravate them all into a rematch, outraged.

    But the kettle had boiled dry, leaving him no other choice than to comply, forced to dismiss the anger that had begun budding once more. In him resided not enough fortitude to even keep his axe hoisted, he realized, arm slumping rejectedly as Juul kept uttering conversationally, tone softened to a point that only irritated.

    " Rraaaaah! " He roared out, exasperated and powerless, the entirety of him naught but a forceful howl against the mountainface that was his Captain. He managed to hurl the axe a few feet forth, restrainedly aggressive like a child that had just gotten a scolding, letting it slide away from him in a metallic scrape. He leaned heavily, near slouched, against the bark behind him, letting his head hang in defeat. His light wisps gathered front to curtain his face, hiding his frown that deepened.

    Although he wished to make them take back the apology, unaccepting remorse over his injured person and bruised pride, he remained unresponsive, listening as the Captain's footsteps distanced. From another direction simultaneously resonated a sudden shift, rustle of garments and forceful crunch of earth splitting his dimmed attention, resulting him to raise his shadowed glare a tad, inert hues searching out the Stranger sluggishly.

    Their before perfect posture had collapsed, temperate composition given up in what seemed to be an adruptly surfaced setback. In the pale moonlight he observed an afeared immobility, whites of aghast eyes flashing, indecisive and stifled shuffle of prey that knew not how to escape. He half expected them to scream, though missing context and better knowledge of their person he knew not why, maintaining his stare as if they were a deer about to jolt. What the hell were they doing...? Having a seizure?

    It took him by some surprise to see them stand up then, straighten in newfound confidence, although a stumble was scripted shortly in its wake. He watched as they settled, royally weirded out by the lot of it.

    By Vespasian's breeches...

    The briefest of obscure episodes had nearly made him forget about that of his own, dismissing most of his rage and replacing it with unease, giving him reason to address Juul's return with an amount of gratefulness. His gaze, now bereft of the prior edge, shot to the woman as they took stand and spoke, extending an offering. The Stranger was fast to reject, igniting his smolder.

    " Ey, is not nice to ref- " He begun, soon enough interrupted by the Shaepah, their gauntlet seeking out the back of his head in a meaningful yet gentle enough slap, a soundless suggestion.

    And he would think nothing of it. His hues slid to them, one brow afloat in feigned questioning. Was no dodging their cheeriness really, but a glance at their wolfish grin smoothing the remainder of severity off his visage like it was an order he couldn't refuse. If anything they made him feel jovially mischievous for the moment. In succession that was on the verge of impolite by rapidness, he snickered moodily and accepted the flask.

    One prolonged and way liberal swig later he slinged the fine spirit back to the Captains hands, erupting a hiss from the burn of it, inhaling through bared teeth.

    " Damn, Juul..." Half a laugh escaped him, dulled some by his scattered attempt at rising. " ... Good stuff. " Nearly upright, he slapped a hand on their shoulder for the rest of the way, smiling like an indecent biscuit.

    - ...you two know each other.

    " Aye. She is my Captain. " He announced with a smirk, nodding at the redhead markingly, arms folded. Their introduction spoke of outlandish heritage, and further than that was unknown to him, forms and meanings unlike anything he had heard before, though in his mind theirs wasn't a name of traditional Sotoan type.

    Not that he knew that much about them, or cared. For all he imagined those lecherous bastards could just name and call themselves the heck they wished.

    " Aye, aye. " He took a few steps towards this... Sogeki, waving a hand whilst picking up Argsint from the ground with his other, reuniting it with the loop on his belt.

    " Yar formality and properness makes me seem like a droppin' from the worst arse. " Continuing on his way, he made it to stand just before them, inspectorial in a way that sized another up, immersed in a calculation rather than pondering upon their deeper character. An exhale, white with steam.

    " Ya know... " He glanced over his shoulder at Juul. " Is a bit cold out here, eh? -Because I lost my shirt- Ya got some place? "
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    Juul Shaepah
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    Hearing the refusal of the stranger, the soldier shifted onto her back foot as the mountain man swiped the flask from her hand - for a moment, she thought he'd lurch into a fierce melee once more. Her single eye never left his gaze, and she saw that the fire of battle had dimmed, somewhat. She exhaled as he took a draught, relief coursing through her veins, as if she had dipped into a pool at the height of summer. He returned it, and she took another, smaller, sip, feeling the sweetness of the fruit dancing with the sour fire of the alcohol. The stranger had introduced themselves, and Etherone had taken the liberty of introducing her. She swallowed, and spoke.

    "Aye, I was a captain o' his. We got ourselves mixed up i'th' Plains Revolt a couple year ago, s'how we forged the close bond y'see here." she grinned at the stranger, who Eth seemed a little discomfited by "Good t'meet ye, Shiro. It en't often I see Sotoans 'round here, wha' wi'th' Fae War an' all. Word tells me th'Emperor has th'southern border locked tighter than Eth's ma's drawers"

    Footsteps thumped against the churned ground, as the soldier took a few steps closer to the huntress, the darkness having obscured most of their features. Her eye roved their slumped figure, seeing their fatigue, and perhaps a little pain. Oddly, she seemed to have furred ears intermingling with the white hair atop her head - probably some ornament, or ear muffs to ward off the cold of winter. Sotoans certainly were strange.

    "Juul Shaepah's th'name, former traitor t'the throne, now a captain o'th' Fairin Militia." she thought to thrust out her hand and grasp the stranger the warrior's way, wrist to wrist, but the state of the stranger made her think better of it "Are ye alright? Did th'fall knock the wind out o'ye? Ye look as if ye done ten turns o'th'glass."

    Etherone's words floated to her, seemingly on the breeze, and she cackled at his nudity. Whenever the big man got drunk, his shirt always seemed to conveniently disappear - the soldier presumed that he was somehow proud of his physique. She craned her neck, giving a sly grin, before answering.

    "I've a cot in a barrack o'fifty, farmhands an' dockworkers all. They can't march straight or get 'emselves in a schiltrom in under ten minutes, so I'm sure we'd be able t'turf 'em out wi'out breakin' a sweat. On th'other hand, I got silver an' I know a fine tavern." She turned her head back to the stranger, eye glinting with mischief "What say ye, huntress? Can ye walk?"
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, Apr 28 2017, 05:00 AM.
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    Shiro
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    Shiro's focus split, shifting to keep up with the conversation and trying to attend to her own needs. It was proving to be a lot more difficult than she had anticipated. She didn't move, but there was movement around her. The neko watched as the large man gulped down a sizable drink of whatever was being kept in that flask. Shiro herself just nursed the water-skin she had.

    Sitting upright, she proceeded to retrieve some fresh bandages to replace the former sleeve that now lie upon the dirt and snow. The catgirl, quickly and efficiently, re-wrapped her furred arm once more and things began to settle internally. She looked over to see if the two compatriots in arms had noticed the deformity that plagued her, luckily they were distracted with something else. What luck.

    Just as she finished tying off the concealment. Her senses went to full alert mode as Eth approached her. This time it wasn't for battle, but she remained tense nonetheless. The guy did punch a tree down with his own paw-hand whatever. Shiro wasn't quite ready to spent any time within arms reach of this person just yet. Lucky for her, he was just drawing up a curious inspection of herself. She wasn't going to hide anything, save for the spare dagger that she did keep hidden at all times. It was always good for a little surprise.

    "Tsk, apologies. It's my upbringing..." her voice trailed off. Shiro's parents did teach her proper manners and all that hoity toity stuff. You never know when you'll encounter someone official, it wont hurt. The words from her guardians resonated still to this day. It still didn't change her opinion of royalty and all that.

    Eth looked back and asked his former Captain for some clothing as he had lost his shirt.

    "Should be good," she answered the question directed at her from the woman.

    Juul on the other hand was the talkative one, to Shiro's relief. The fiery woman mentioned the curious event that was sweeping the nation of Soto. The neko perked up at the mention of it. She could use some information about it, nearly everyone that she tried to ask only had rumors and gossip to give her. Shiro needed to ask without giving away to much information about her reasoning for traveling. One wrong word and she'd probably end up in jail or worse.

    "...due to some unforeseen events I seemed to have missed all of it by a week or two. All of the information that I have is nothing but lies and hearsay. What do you know about it?" She walked her way through the conversation, it was pretty convincing, as close to the truth as possible without showing her entire proverbial hand.

    Shiro stood, adjusting her clothing and personal effects. Rearranging them to offset her femininity and obviously hide her ears. These two characters are a heart attack to deal with but holy hell did they get her adrenaline going. Was she becoming a junkie for that rush? She had to nip that in the bud right quick, filing that away internally. That was a battle for a different day.

    She stretched, raising her arms into the air with a small, cute 'Nya~' escaping her lips almost as an unavoidable force of habit.

    "Anyway, yes, it is nice to meet you two. Should I be expecting more of the swordplay and screaming or is that done and over with?" Making light of the situation the three had locked themselves into just moments prior to the engagement of parley. Parlay.

    "I'm a huntress, more for livelihood than profession. It is getting late. Let us away!" She said, cheerily.
    Edited by Shiro, May 2 2017, 03:12 AM.
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    Etherone
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    They were right about ma's drawers, for one.

    He spat at the mention of the Emperor. Skitstövels, the lot of them. Was not like he had ever met them or anything, but in his mind there remained no respect for those whom could seize his merrymaking - such as a minor rebellion, public nudity and a decade of bootlegging - with a piece of paper from afar, as in an office or some other pretentious establishment. It was all too... official, detached from violence and a real thrill of a chase, taking how sometimes the one being pursued had no idea they actually were wanted for a crime.

    In where he was from they just hunted down, went and kicked a guy off the steep side of the mountain if caught in wrong-making, and however many versts' distance they were found at would measure the rest of their punishment. Requiring they were alive, of course, but mostly such was the case. Wasn't like his village's private customs were barbaric or something.

    At Do'Suul people knew good fun and reasonability. Around here the it was all rigged, judgement delivered by documents and records deciphered by some pergamentaceous scholar, conclusion freedom by bribery or jail. Mostly the latter, for the western folk seemed to him as quite attached to their sense of governmental justice and integrity.

    Good thing he didn't have to go behind bars, forced to rest on his laurels, but he would be sent with the rest of the happy-go-lucky troupe to solve problems as the emperor's private and most reluctant delegate. Perhaps they would even gain the chance to get scitzophrenically claustrophobic and hilariously murderous on some swamp together. Oh. goodie.

    Guess it was better than being hung, but only just.

    The exchange kept up, words bouncing from one lady to another, his gaze hovering on the foreigner, monitoring as if expecting to catch their sorry person in a lie. His frown had dissolved entirely, brows keeping a neutral stance of mild indifference above hues that glittered a curiousity and questioning, watchful. Thought the completion seemed fine and good by nature, well-mannered and of extensive politess, he couldn't shrug away his suspicion, it nagging at the back of his head ever so slightly.

    Bandages, hoods and dark colours. What next, an assassination?

    His visage shifted targets as the Captain graced him with a response, inspiring a yet another smile and snicker in him, expression wide enough to flash some teeth.

    " Hope that fine tavern of yars wasn't the one I already went to earlier. Had a smashin' disagreement with the barkeep's son. Den där tjockskalle hade för mycket att säga om... får. Och min syster. "

    The strange squeal from the Sogeki near startled him, recapturing his attention, eyebrows afloat as he traveled their now standing figure up and down. Well, that answered his prior questionnaire -- indescribable sounds and stretching. How very unnerving. He shook his head.

    " Was not screamin', but yellin' and roarin'. Lilla ljushåriga maidens scream. " Satisfied with his correction, he sprinkled a little smirk on top, tone keeling from severe to the side of banter. He felt mildly affected by their joyfulness, watching with a wonky smile as they spoke and gestured, spreading to view a newfound facet of themselves. Maybe they weren't as stuck in sparespokenuptightmysterioustown as he had first thought.

    " And am a moonshiner for likew- " A sudden, aghast and most exaggerated gasp from the edge of the orchard interrupted him, and to his observance presented an elderly, finely dressed man.

    - By Vespasian! My beautiful trees!

    Trying to make up what witty to yell in response, he squinted.

    They had a crossbow.

    He flashed his dirtiest conspiratorial grin yet at the Captain.

    " Raaaah! KIDNAP! " He roared out, bursting forth in a swish of wisps, slinging the foreigner over his shoulder like one did a damsel in distress, wrapping his arm around their calves to secure them in place as he leaped into a sprint. A bolt barely missed his honourary person, digging coarsely at the earth.

    - Get the hell outta my garden!

    He couldn't help a manic cackle, with some effort managing to scream a few words over his shoulder at Juul as he distanced to exit the rows of demolished trees.

    " Ny far vi! Lägg benen på ryggen! Ya got silver and am thirsty as a sculpin! "


    * That thickskull had too much to say about... sheep. And my sister.
    *2 Small fair haired...
    *3 We go! Feet to back/Run for it!
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The soldier kept her eye trained on the huntress, though affected nonchalance. Taking a slow sip from the flask, she watched as the figure seemed to tend to some wound on their arm – her hands quick and furtive as they wrapped it; a well-practiced movement. The Sotoan hadn’t seemed to injure themselves badly enough to necessitate such ministrations; internally the soldier raised an eyebrow. A plague-bearer? Or was she deformed? Perhaps she was a huntress by night and a beggar by day. The soldier winced as she swallowed the sour brew, smacking her lips before she answered Shiro’s question.

    ”I’ve no’ heard much but hearsay – th’forest gone queer an’ wild, fae beasts overrunin’ Madrid. I hear th’leaders a tree wi’ tits an’ she’s makin’ a bigger tree wi’ bigger tits grow where th’aul Guildhall used t’stand.” she drawled, chin upturned ”I’ve no’ much care f’rit, mind, here in Morrim we know tha’ land is f’tillin’. We drove out all th’elves an’ boggarts an’ dryads centuries ago. If they came at us on open fields they’d be ridden down quick as ye like.”

    Her eye broke from its searching gaze to flick back at Etherone who, still shirtless, was muttering half in the Common Tongue and half in his northern dialect. She was only passingly familiar with the language, but she heard some mention of a skull and a sister. She took what she understood, and ran with it – that was usually best with the northerners, since they tended to reciprocate excitement, and the conversation would soon turn from what they were actually talking about to what you thought they were talking about. Provided one had brought enough booze, of course.

    ”Hah! Ye never tol’ me ye had a sister! We’ll go an find yer tavern, Eth, an ye be sure t’tell me all about her. I like th’mountain lasses, the thighs on ‘em a-“

    The world seemed to change in a blink. Eth was roaring, the sound clashing with loud protestations with another, and had bundled the huntress over a shoulder. In another blink, he had hotfooted it ten feet. Sluggishly, the soldier turned to the source of the other voice, and was greeted by a crossbor bolt singing past her shoulder to thud into a tree. Aghast, the soldier dived to her gear, gathering her spear, helm, gorget and satchel, before following suit. All the while she could hear the grunt of exertions and the wind of the drawstring.

    ”I’ll to the burghers with this! Vespasian take you brigands, and your whole shanty-camp too!”

    The soldier ran, spear held underarm, careful not to get it caught up in the reaching boughs and the looming trunks. The chain of her coif jingled like tiny bells, while the segmented pieces of her gorget clattered with every step. Another bolt whirred past her. She could just see the bare back of the woodsman, the shape of the huntress astride his shoulders, and she cried out.

    ”Eth, Shiro! I’ve dropped m’drink!”
    Edited by Juul Shaepah, May 3 2017, 09:26 AM.
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    Shiro
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    A sense of unease washed over Shiro as she tended to herself, this Eth fellow was getting far to curious for her liking. She was beginning to suspect that he was trying to pull something. Or the other way around. No matter how it was cut, it didn't matter.

    The huge man turned and spoke to Juul. Half in his own dialect and the other that the neko could understand. Her curiosity peeked it's ugly head up and took a few glances about. She'd have to inquire about the language at a later time maybe. Each day, to Shiro's surprise, the world grew ever outward with no signs of stopping. Her tail curled in displeasure.

    Shaepah answered her question about the goings on in Soto. Finally a solid and good answer. Beasts overran Madrid? Growing huge stonking tits trees where the old guildhall was? It all sounded like a whole barrel of nope. The little neko needed to return home and soon. She was increasingly more worried by the day passing. Maybe it was time, after all she did make one huge round trip around the continent. The only place she needed to tick off her tourist list was Angkar.

    But that required passing over water. Shiro didn't do well with water. She didn't despise swimming, rather, it was relatively low on the list of things she'd be willing to do. Just below tracking game by the scent of it's droppings. The captain was going on about a supposed sister that Eth just claimed he had.

    Her senses were half right. Something was definitely off, but it wasn't Eth that was the cause. He was cutoff by a audible scream and some cursing about the orchard the three had recently contested in. Before the catgirl could even blink, she was slung over the giant's shoulder. Her whole body tensed.

    FULL PANIC
    The wind was knocked clean out of her. She gasped loudly. "Anata wa nanimonodesu ka-!"* she hollered as he held fast onto her and broke off into a run. "Watashi o nekasete kudasai! Watashi mo ashi o motte iru!"** this time she didn't yell at him, still in a full panic, she spoke in an anxious tone. The neko didn't know how to act, being lifted over someone's shoulders for the first time ever was...uncomfortable. Everything on her person jingled and jostled around and it just hurt. Her tail drooped over Eth's shoulder between her legs, no doubt rubbing against his arms that were holding her fast.

    Juul ran behind them with all of her gear loosely held in her hands. She was yelling about her alcohol that she had left behind. What a silly thought to have in such pressing times? Didn't the group just agree to go to the tavern and continue the merrymaking and booze consuming there? The neko's face scrunched up in thought for a second.

    "J-JuUl! DaMMiT ForGEt YouR DRiNK! We ARe GEtting moRE at thE TAVern," Shiro's voice fluttering in time with each stride that Eth took. It was getting really hard to keep a good grasp on things. At least her hood stayed up, mostly thanks in part that she was currently watching a flustered Shaepah keep up with Eth upside down. The neko's hands grasped her sword, still there. No surprise. She started to learn the rhythm of each of Eth's strides and quickly adapted to it so that she no longer felt as uncomfortable as she did when this whole debacle started.

    After quite some distance and time.The gigantic bear-man finally slowed to heavy stop, breathing hard. The sudden change drew the catgirl out of her reverie and she looked around, they had hoofed it quite a ways. She turned and tapped on the back of Eth's head. "Hey, I know I look cute and all wrapped like a fur around your neck...can I please get down now?" She asked in the most gently sarcastic tone she could muster.

    It seemed like eons since her own feet touched the ground and the catgirl instantly felt much better being on her own two feet. Taking a few cautionary steps, her legs felt a little like jelly from all that jostling around.

    "Well that was something, to the tavern was it?" She asked.


    * 'What are you-!'
    ** 'Please set me down! I have feet too!'
    Edited by Shiro, May 6 2017, 11:43 AM.
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    Etherone
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    For such a small girl, the Sogeki was darn heavy. Maybe it was all that emotional baggage, adding to the total. Or then he had just slacked off with his running-after-things-and-climbing-trees-routine a tad too much.

    " Blargh! " He spat and swung their cloak off his face, the swishy fabric having flapped at his visage upon gathering of momentum. As of such, trying to get their aggressive and highly unpractical garment to stay off from hindering him, he noted the strangest of details tickling his arm, if only by a sliver betwixt layers of evermoving clothing. Was that, a tail?

    Nice. Wonder if they could grab stuff with it. Or hang from trees.

    Some more gibberish sprouted, by the tongue of the foreigner, at an intensity that belonged not to the vicinity of his ear. Their tone calmed for the other sentence, but still it rung meaningless, sporting too many syllables and none of the sense. He failed to understand that this must've been what they -and many other outsiders- felt in turn when he spoke his own native, instead taking it like they were fucking with him on purpose.

    " Mjege-gege njaga-gaga! " He yelled a spontaneous retaliation to their fast blabber, bettering his grasp on the stems of their boots as he glanced over his unoccupied shoulder. Somewhat abaft, the Shaepah woman had managed to scramble in followance, clattering and clinking like a minor platoon going to war. A holler reached from their distressed person, amidst a struggle to keep both their person intact and belongings undropped.

    An approving rumble of a laugh escaped him in the wake of the foreigners words -those thankfully this time in more decipherable form, though shakey-, their thoughts quite close to whatever he would've voiced in regards to the Captain's dilemma. Had he not been legging it like a beetle smelling fresh dung, he might've shouted 'vad hon sade' to further his submission.

    Fair wisps whipping he turned a corner, swiftly and with respectable poise considering his intoxication, the frozen ground and the amount of hurriment in his step. Finally released from the orchard and out of range for a crossbow, his pace slowed if only in the slightest of unnoticeable measure. Something kept him from stopping -- maybe his legs that wished to zoom forth like those of a bandit with bounty, advance uncontrollable akin to an engine, or perhaps it was just his head that wished to break free, finding a certain satisfaction in the chase and a most welcome distraction in dodging passing bodies, no matter how little of them this time and weather allowed in his way.

    He didn't know if he had lost Shaepah, taking how they had been at the edge of their carrying capacity, if only by the lenghts of their arms, for they had once even swung him over a set of tables during some furious liquour inspired brawl. Certainly they could, as the captain of the darn guard, find their way in this arse of a town in their sleep.

    In due time, a familiar set of lights loomed in the distance.

    Best regroup. Maybe adjust some ties and dresses.

    He halted, so forcefully he near sent himself and his bearings flying. Only when he now stopped did the exhaustion remind of itself anew. Catching a breath had never been this painful.
    An interraction, a tap and a thought, was extended by the stranger, in a request which he didn't really have the strenght to object. He released them, tilting forth to slide them off himself, palms on his knees as he attempted to gather himself one steaming inhale at a time.

    They questioned and his hues lifted, peering at them conspiratorially.

    " Aye... Nice tail, by the way. " A slice of a grin flew across his features and he straightened, stretching an arm to correct the hood on their head, so it sat a bit deeper. He winked.

    A thunderous chime and thud was nearing. He tried to stifle a snicker.

    - Frej, You son of a bitch!

    From the other way, a set of footsteps neared, along with a face he had kneaded a few too many moments prior. He smiled, widely and mischievously, like he had just spotted a long lost friend.

    " Ey, Tjockskalle! Got the Captain of the guard here with and she goin' to arrest you. "

    - Bullshit! For what?

    " For bein' so ugly. And insultin' me. "

    Successfully aggravated, by both him and an excessive alcohol consumption, the man resumed towards, fists clenched, about to throw a punch.


    *1 what she said.
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    Juul Shaepah
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    The soldier continued her vain sprint after the woodsman and the carried huntress, legs pumping under her. Her breath became hot in her lungs, her mouth dry, as she skipped and bounded over gnarled roots and ducked under looming boughs. With the load born in her arms and hands proving cumbersome and the omnipresent darkness, the bare back of the mountain man quickly disappeared – instead of sight, she followed the cries and yells of the pair.

    There was a whirr, as another crossbow bolt cut through the air, to embed itself in a trunk directly to Juul’s left. She swore between ragged breaths, and redoubled her efforts to escape. Within two turns of the glass, she was clear of the orchard, emerging out onto the flat field that circled the town of Fairin. Shiro and Etherone were nowhere to be seen.

    The soldier paused, trying to steady her breath and calm her wildly beating heart. Her eyes scanned her surroundings, though she could see very little. They raked the wooden stockade atop the motte, and looked to the gate, which was open and unmanned. The lackadaisical Easterners rarely manned it – either through laziness or complicity with smugglers and pirates – so she surmised that that was where they had gone. Etherone was ludicrous, but she doubted her had the ability to leap a whole palisade.

    She dropped her spear, affixed her gorget and set her cabasset atop her head. Stooping, she retrieved her weapon and slung it over her soldier. Then she began a march, legs striding, with her left arm swinging perfectly in time. Old habits die hard – half the reason she reckoned she had yet to be dismissed for drunkenness or violence was that she soldiered well. Her pace slowed as she paced up the motte and through the gate, and into the town proper.

    The streets were populated sparsely, with only staggering drunkards or groups of nefarious-looking types. As she walked she craned her neck, peering into the avenues and alleys that snaked away from the main track. Of the pair there was yet any sign. Still she continued – it would not be hard to find a shirtless giant and a queer foreign huntress in a town populated by sailors and farmhands. She fixed to a purpose: a fool and his drink are not long separated. She had no idea which tavern they might have headed to, but she would check the closest – and seediest – one.

    As she neared it, she could hear gruff shouts emanating from it. She sighed, but did not change her speed – her night had been melancholic, certainly, but peaceful nontheless. How many blows would the group trade that night?
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