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Fantasy (Closed) Retough IC

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. Historical
  4. Magical
  5. Mystery

The Jenkins Curse

Among the Stars

Port Hemmis, Praetum. Her Year, 970.

The salty air was peppered with the occasional whiff of fish, cooking in the massive market near the coast of the famed city. Terracotta walls, vibrantly red in the high sun with a splash of orange from the roof tiles assured anyone; this was a Praetian city. Truly a marvel of the modern world; Port Hemmis was one of the largest cities in the Primarchy, and even the lands of Retough as a whole. The magnificent Keep lying nestled into a lowly pitched hill stuck into the sky, obstructing the view of anyone in the city facing inland. Castle Wicker, they called it, aptly named for its tendency for its wooden hourdes to catch fire in the blazing summers. It was an impressive feat of architecture, sitting up on the hill which gave it the highest elevation in the immediate vicinity. No siege tower could dare try and match the impressive height of its walls, nor could any attacker face the elite soldiers garrisoned inside without a scratch. The keep itself wasn't anything special. A church nestled into one corner, a rather cramped courtyard with a few unsightly buildings of various purposes crammed in. There were a few impact craters along the outer walls of the keep from conflicts centuries past, where lucky Launceen forces managed to surround the city. That conflict was long ago, and the keep had not cracked open then, nor would it ever should you ask the Primarchy.

In the streets it was a usual rabble of city filth; even the prettiest of cities could not find ways to keep refuse and unsightly messes from littering the streets. Backroads and alleys were the worst offenders; you'd have no idea you were in the richest city this side of Brimwough had you taken a peek down one of these unfortunate masses of shanty housing and makeshift structures. The main roads, however, were ever vibrant in that crimson brick the city was ever so famous for. Permanent, respectable structures lined these areas and businesses of great repute lining the first floors of these buildings. Above them were rows and rows of residences, some as much as six or even seven stories high. The upper levels of particularly tall buildings, though, were hasty wooden additions done to accommodate the booming population. They were unsightly and quite frankly ruined the picturesque style of these structures, but no one could complain when it was time to seek shelter. Aesthetics were a secondary concern for Praetians.

The people were the sort you'd find in most major cities; horribly rude even to the nicest of gestures. Should you so much as think of lending a hand to a poor market dealer with a wheel caught in a ditch, you'd receive an earful of unsavory words with a mix of hand gestures just to keep things original. Maybe it wasn't all that bad, though; the vendors in the streets under their tarps hiding from the sun beckoned for any to browse their wears. Friends greeted each other merrily in the streets over games of Kraim. Taverns and bars were accompanied by the cheering of eager patrons at the mention of another round. All in all, life was humble here in Port Hemmis. It had its flaws, but who could deny the charm of an imperfect community?

Lera Heloys of the Tenth Griffin Battalion was not one who enjoyed the sentiments of a large city such as this. She far preferred the quiet, jovial life in a rural farm town, away from the busy life of everyone else. It made the soldier homesick for Greywillow, and the way the blooming orchids colored the surrounding fields of her home town. Her mind drifted to garlands with perfectly sized crowns, made special for each of the people in the community. Lera enjoyed knowing everyone. Strangers were nothing but an annoyance. However, if there was a city to attempt to enjoy the splendor of, she supposed Port Hemmis wasn't all that bad. The pastel red of the buildings contrasted beautifully on the deep cerulean of the Creviss Gulf. She peeked out from the ramparts of Castle Wicker at the bay, a mess of disoriented ships casting large nets for the schools of fish that live close to shore. The lighthouse, on a neglected and lithe strip of land sticking out into the bay by a few hundred meters looked as though it would swallow up the ships coming in to port had it been alive, from the way it curved ever slightly inwards.

Lera's mind then drifted to food. Gods, she was hungry. The breeze carried the crisp smell of baking fish from the markets to her nose, and she longed for when she'd see her next meal. Creviss cod was a delight to enjoy this close to the sea, something she'd never get to experience way back inland at her humble home. The Heloys girl was so caught up in her daydreaming that she nearly fell over the battlement when a particularly strong gust of wind pushed at her back. Lera gripped the rough stone edges of the parapet, halting her early death plans. She sighed from relief as she stood up straight, her focus renewed.

Lera was residing in Port Hemmis for the time being, awaiting, what she felt like, was nothing. Grand Primarch Aunslas II had stationed her unit here to supplement the garrison on the off chance an invading force would suddenly appear. Lera found the notion doubtful; after all, it was a clear day. They'd be able to see an incoming navy from kilometers away should they attempt to invade. There was no reason for her to be actively monitoring for aggressors from Castle Wicker. She'd take occasional glances every couple minutes, but besides that, let her imagination wander.

The presence of her commanding officer forced Lera into a ready stance, eyes dead ahead as he passed. Beside him, Lera caught the glimpse of an older gentleman wielding an ornate red robe. A golden sash covered his shoulders just beneath the greying hair he barely possessed on the top of his head. Lera knew the man from the holy incantations on his person the moment she laid eyes on him; Bishop Amanse Retten, one of the holiest priests in the Primarchy. Lera didn't dare crane her neck whatsoever at his passing; she feared what her commander may do if she showed such lack of discipline.

"Commander Verk," Retten spoke in a voice pitched too high for such a stout and feeble man. "I implore you. Visiting the holy temple of Ceremeus is mandatory for anyone who's arrived at our humble port. Please, it is but a few blocks away from the Keep. You've never been, correct?"

"I have not," Commander Finnick Verk nodded, the chainmail draped around his neck and chin clattering quietly as he did so. "But we cannot afford to let our highest priest out of the castle for now. I've been sent here on strict orders to protect this city and its top officiaries. That includes you, Bishop."

"I trust in your skills enough to bring me back to Castle Wicker should a sudden invasion begin, I assure you. I see no Ykrumic masts on the horizon, nor do I feel the thump of an army's footsteps. Surely we can react to such a force in just a few minutes; plenty of time to admire the work of our wonderful priestesses at the temple."

The two important figures passed by without paying Lera an eye. She was nigh invisible to them as a standard sentry posted to Castle Wicker. Once the voice of the Bishop died down and the clattering of Verk's armor subsided, Lera lowered her shoulder and slumped back against the wall. Her posting here was pointless. There was an active civil war going on in the south, and an invasion to the north. Both fronts needed every last soldier they could get; so why had Grand Primarch Aunslas II stationed her here, of all places, on the whisper of a potential threat?
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Viper Actual

Ask me about my tourniquet fetish.
Harbor cities such as Port Hemmis were usually quite beautiful- if not impressive. Maldorn found himself sitting atop a small stack of wooden crates where he could overlook both the vast docks, the equally vast array of ships moored inside and the sea itself.
There was something impressive about harbors and the very thought behind them, being an extension of the world's mercantile needs primarily they also served a military purpose and as a way to satisfy those with adventure in their hearts.

Maldorn smiled and took a big bite out of a very red and very ripe apple as he watched a large merchant vessel depart. Crewmen waved at both dockworkers and family members right before the captain's voice boomed across deck.
"If only I had been a sailor, right friend?" Maldorn said aloud as he looked to his left. A lone seagull watched him- or rather, the hand holding the apple- with great interest.

Maldorn shook his head and tore off a piece of the fruit and tossed it towards the bird. The gull cackled, tore into the juicy fruit and flew off in a very dramatic fashion.
"Birds..." He said, muttering silently before taking another bite.

A sudden gust of wind brought with it the smell of fish guts, vinegar and lute. Maldorn wrinkled his nose and frowned, glancing off into the direction of the smell which permeated most of the docks. All harbor cities had that one district notorious for its smell and Port Hemmis was no exception in that rule. Maldorn had however passed another district which was famed for its great fishing bakeries and he did his best to imagine the mouth-watering aroma instead of the vile smell that currently assailed him.

Maldorn remained perched atop his crates, trying his best to ignore the stench as he continued to chew on his apple. Once finished he sighed, chuckled to himself and wandered off to seek something exciting within the city. Meanwhile, at the back of his mind, the words from a voice he thought lost echoed;

Port Hemmis. Port Hemmis. Port Hemmis.


Miss Medic
"Aye, two gold, alright," Daniel dropped the coins on the counter and grabbed the package of dried fruits from the merchant. Sure, most of his supplies consisted of flour to make hardtack bread with, some jerky, and whatever else he was able to scrounge up on the road, but he figured he deserved a treat. Especially since it wasn't like he didn't have money to spare after last night. He had gotten a decent bag of gold in exchange for a few new bruises from that illegal fighting ring down the way! So he could splurge on something sweet like dried fruits, surely.

Daniel continued through the marketplace, looking over new equipment and travelling gear. A new whetstone, lots of bandaging, a couple of bottles of mead, a bottle of oil for torches, some spices, the usual things yes, but they added up. Still, Daniel was content with the amount of gold he had left. That was the best thing about cities like this: yes, they were overcrowded and gross and often hives of villainy, but on the other hand, there were lots of new, interesting people to meet, new things to learn, fantastic markets, and of course illegal fighting rings! And when he couldn't get money from bounties, he definitely could get money from the rings, when they were open.

Speaking of bounty hunting, Daniel would have to make sure to stop by the bounty board. Another thing about cities... there was always work for him. Some way or another, there was always work. He rarely had to worry about an empty coinpurse. More often it was the concern that he would be pickpocketed, but he'd found that as long as he carried his many weapons and wore his armor, few people tried stealing from him. Sometimes he got hassled by the guard about barfights but he usually could talk his way out of that. He never lasted long in jail... usually because he'd find a way to break out.

Daniel paused as his eyes came to rest on a carpenter's stall. The woodworking was quite fine... clearly they used an oil that was too heavy for the fir would the pieces were carved from. Especially the more delicate pieces. What a shame. Daniel considered speaking to the carver, but was cut off by another person looking to buy the same wares Daniel was mentally critiquing. He sighed, smiled to himself, and continued on toward the bounty board. On his way he watched people go by, enjoying their happy little daily lives, talking and chit-chatting and trading and laughing. He thinks to himself that getting to see that made all the bad things about a city worth it.


Ooh ha ha
Port Hemmis was quite different than Eilonwyn had originally anticipated. Of course, she'd never been to a port before- let alone a city port. Were they always this big? The young fey could only stare in awe at the crowds ushering around her. The elders back home had warned her going out this far would be dangerous. A few even joked she wouldn't last an hour away from home before she gave up.

"To weak to handle myself out here, huh elders?" Eilonwyn smiled triumphantly to herself, "I'd like to see a ruffian or thug try to mess with me!" She waved a magic infused sapphire- a gift given to her by one of the elders- before a passerby nearly knocked it out of her hands. Winnie juggled the gem before safely catching it.

Maybe waving around precious items like that was not a smart idea...

With that thought in mind, Winnie tucked the gem securely back inside her bag, opting to pull out her journal instead. She couldn't forget one of the reasons for traveling so far, or she'd never hear the end of it.

"Port Hemmis..." She circled the name before dropping her focus to the list of names below. The only reason the elders had agreed on her traveling at all was because she had emphasized being able to sway the fey who had yet to join the courts onto their side. Had she ever advertised such a cause? No. In all honesty it was the last thing Winnie wanted to do, as a fey who wasn't sure she liked being a part of the Seelie Court herself. With this city being so big, it was no surprise how many fey who resided here, had yet to decide on a court- should they want to join one at all.

Eilonwyn would still talk to the lone fey when she could of course, to show she was putting in effort. For the now however, she had a list of people in Port Hemmis, who required remedies. Winnie turned the weathered pages until she found the names she needed. She only took a moment to look it over before placing the journal back into her bag. With her destination decided, Winnie once again walked up the brick path towards her first client.
She hadn't expected to re-route her journey to Port Hemmis until a few days ago. Nyota had once again ended up accepting a letter that, quite frankly, she had been too exhausted to take. There had been little to no stops from Mrs. Tebbit's farm to the bustling city port, but after bearing witness to the woman's desperate sobs it was near impossible to tell her that, realistically, she was too low on rations to make the trip. Nona, who had been traveling so bravely just yesterday, was laying exhausted in Priestly's cradled arms.

Now dropped in the middle of a crowded street, she was not so worried at admiring the surroundings as she was finding food. The constant drone of conversation buzzed around her, the masses of congregated people becoming suffocating.

"Pardon?" Nyota had managed to tip toe her way around the main path to a cozy pocket of empty space. There was one woman there, leaning against the side of a wooden door of an unmarked building. At her call, the lady spared nothing but a lazy side eye and quirked eyebrow.

"I apologize for the bother. You are from here, yes? I have not had the chance of a meal and-"

"Pull your hood down girl, I can't see who I'm talkin' to." Her voice was gruff, and hardly filled with whatever patience Nyota had been hoping would be spared for her. With a huff she awkwardly shifted Nona into one arm and did as she was asked.

"I am not here for trouble. You see, I have had the longest of journeys and-"

"Try the vendor on the next street over sweetheart. Best place for visitors like you." The comment made no sense in Nyota's mind, but it was clear that was the best advice she would be given. With an appreciative nod the messenger turned her back and continued on.

"Nona, do not make me talk to such people again. I have been tired and grumpy. We do not like tired and grumpy Nyota, no? No." She knew the owl had no involvement in the quick conversation, but talking made her feel better- even if it was to a sleeping bird. Her mumbling was greeted with odd glances, but she paid them no mind. Instead, her gaze wondered until it fell on what could only be the vendor that woman had pointed her to. Signs outside suggested the food was cheap, and suddenly that snide remark made sense.

"She believes me poor!" If it wasn't for the stark reminder that the two of them were practically starving, Nyota would have headed back to give the lady a piece of her mind. Thankfully her feet were in support of her stomach, not her brain. Within five minutes she was breaking off little pieces of bread for the both of them, sitting not so comfortably on a little wooden bench just sheltered enough from the passerby. In between feeding Nona and herself, her wandering hands traveled to a small lily flower necklace carved from birch wood.

"Let us hope mister Tebbit is close. The sun is melting."


Perpetually Cold
"Sorry, how many storms does that makes this?"

The sailor paused mid-story, his expression betraying annoyance at being interrupted. But what was Dahlia supposed to do? This man spoke so quickly and so animatedly — a storytelling style that no doubt enthralled most of the tavern guests who'd turned their ears toward him, but which did not lend itself toward inclusion of details. Someone had to call out the inconsistencies.

Besides, narratives were only as reliable as their narrator. And between the mention of not one but two Kraken, a geography that defied any known map, and the odd claim that the surly, late-middle-aged man with what appeared to be a severe case of gout had been assigned a top-secret mission from the Grand Primarch himself, Dahlia figured this source was about as reliable as armor looted from a battlefield.

"Sssseven," the man replied, stretching out the word as if sounding it out for the first time. "Fer sure, seven!"

Dal nodded, which the sailor seemed to take as a sign he could continue his wholesale lying. She glanced down at her journal, which sat next to a plate of largely untouched baked fish and potatoes. By her tally, the man had mentioned six storms.

The chronicler sighed and set down her pen, replacing it with a fork. Chewing on her now-cold meal, she looked over her notes — a set of hastily but carefully scribbled shorthand. Most of it wouldn't be worth taking the time to write out in full. Local legends were fine content to record, but she'd hoped for something more substantial than a single man's hollow boasts. Sure, it was sort of her fault that he'd gotten on this tangent anyway. She'd approached him with her hood lowered and a dazzling smile on her face, thinking he could have some decent information on the local gossip. For the first 15 minutes or so, it'd been just the two of them. The sailor waxed poetic about the importance of the sea and her riches to Port Hemmis, and Dal played the attentive listener, interjecting only to ask a clarifying question. She'd even paid for the man's drink with some of the few coins she carried on her person.

Unfortunately, the sailor — Gaunt, he called himself, though Dal suspected it was a self-given name — seemed to have the wrong idea about the nature of her interest, even after she explained that she was on a research tour with an Ykrum academy. And though he was happy to answer her questions, it quickly became clear that he was more focused on weaving an entertaining story than providing an accurate perspective. And the stories he told provided little insight into the mentality or behavior of anyone who wasn't himself.

Gaunt was midway through explaining that he'd spent so much time at sea that the gulf felt more like home than the port it fed when Dal, feeling by then that she'd entirely wasted her time, snapped. "Your experiences with the ocean are fascinating," she said in a voice that still carried a practiced politeness. "But are you by any chance about to say something the slightest bit worthwhile?"

The sailor had stopped short, but — noticing a small crowd had gathered to hear about his exploits — quickly laughed off the comment and continued his story, though he did turn slightly in his seat so he was only partially facing Dal. She was more frustrated than she should be, admittedly. Still, she reminded herself, she couldn't expect too much. She'd only just arrived at Port Hemmis just two days earlier. It'd taken her some time to get used to the ever-present smell of saltwater and the constant humidity that made her robes stick to her skin. How did people here deal with the sensation of feeling wet all the time?

The day so far hadn't been completely wasted. There'd been a few leads in the sailor's tall tales. Mentions of conflict to the south that'd affected trade lines. Oblique references to an unsettled atmosphere among the dock workers. But Dahlia needed more. People were dying in wars across the continent. Writing histories about mere concerns from people relatively removed from those deaths wasn't just pointless — it was insulting.

Dahlia pushed herself from her seat and grabbed her notes, her already waning appetite replaced with a familiar restlessness. If she heard one more story that ended with "and the catch that day was huge!" she was going to vomit.


Odette awoke with a stiff neck and a chill, as she had many a morning in her life. She sat up slowly, painfully aware of the cold cobblestones beneath her thin bedroll. Her mind was quiet, as there had been no dreams.

She had arrived in Port Hemmis late the night before, when the streets were nearly pitch black, the stars obscured by clouds. Then, her strongest impression had been the smell – a putrid combination of sewage and fish and salt, hanging thick in the air like fog. Now, as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, Odette tried to get a better sense of her surroundings.

The cobblestones on which she slept made up a small alleyway, a thin space between two questionably constructed buildings. There were some others who had slept the night here as well, a small group of children – orphans, Odette assumed. Like her. They paid no mind to the spindly redhead in tattered clothes as they went about their business, joking and giggling and bickering amongst themselves.

The wall beside her, Odette realized, was crooked, leaning precariously into the alleyway. As she gathered up her few belongings, she made a mental note to find somewhere new to sleep, lest the stones come crashing down in the night.

The Stars had guided her to this city, though she did not yet know why. They spoke to her in a dream two fortnights past, and had been strangely silent since. In the dream, the Stars revealed to her a vast body of water; waves rising and falling, pulsing like breath, and upon those waves, ships, with sails large enough to smother a village, billowing in the wind. Under it all, a chorus of voices chanting, follow, follow, follow, follow, beginning as a whisper and gradually rising to a cacophony, startling her from sleep.

With nothing else to guide her, Odette set off to find the docks. Maybe the Stars would show her another sign if she slept closer to the sea, or maybe they would lead her to a ship. She wandered the winding streets, hoping her destination would reveal itself to her.

As she made her way further and further from the ramshackle houses and beggar-lined alleys, the piss-stained cobblestones gave way to crimson bricks. The putrid stench that had greeted her began to subside, and the buildings rose up around her, taller than she had ever seen, stretching toward the sky like bonfires.

The streets grew more crowded here too, with merchants calling out their wares and the smell of cooking fish filling the air. Odette found herself in a veritable sea of people, faces bobbing in the waves. She had never seen so many people in her life, and all of them so different. Here, an old sailor tanned by a life in the Sun; there, a young woman with freckles, tugging a child along by his hand. An aristocrat in expensive garb, a laborer shining with sweat and pushing a wheelbarrow, a monk with long dark hair and brown skin, his kind eyes squinting in the daylight – Odette froze. No, not him, not here, it can’t be. As soon as she had seen him he was gone again, lost in the crowd.

Odette shook the image from her mind. It was merely her imagination, a trick of the light. The Stars would not have guided her straight into his path, not after they had delivered her from him all those years ago.

In the distance, she thought she could hear the faint crash of waves and the call of gulls. She pushed on toward the sound, leaving the disruptive memory behind.


"G-.. gah, fuck," Hazm groaned, finally waking up around midday. The Sun, just now high enough in the sky to burn its way into the oft-shaded alleyways of the city, rudely awoke Hazm following an evening of less-than-monkly activities in one of the many backwater taverns in the city he couldn't be bothered to learn the name of. The fierceness of the burning light in his dark red eyes was an unfortunate confirmation that he spent the evening getting very well acquainted with a tall bottle. Doing his best to push the sleep - and hangover - away, Hazm massaged his bruised face and rubbed his eyes. He hoped that the crack in his jaw was simply relocating it, but if not, he figured he could convince one of the heathenous healers in the area to assist him as charity.

When he finally finished loosening up his injured face, he was unceremoniously greeted with the sight of mostly-dried blood caked onto his palms. His knuckles were split in a few places, but not nearly enough to explain the sheer volume of blood on the other side of his hands.... or the skin underneath his fingernails.

A less-than-monkly night indeed.

It was not the first - and almost certainly would not be the last - time that Hazm had to piece together a night of violent debauchery from the perspective of one blissfully ignorant, though battered, man the next morning. Though truthfully, with the light-headache, the blood, and the stiffness, it was not very difficult for Hazm to guess what had transpired. Another unholy evening in a city near-untouched by the Stars; it seemed only fitting.

The whispers of an incoming Ykrumian invasion were hard to avoid, especially as a Ykrumian monk in this unfriendly land. It felt as though even before the rumors really started swirling around, Hazm would hear passing remarks about his presence being "espionage" or his religious devotion "propaganda." Of course, Hazm had no political authority and was even somewhat-estranged from his home Temple. Even volunteer espionage would be laughed out of any self-respecting Ykrumian court or institution - as it should. Still, he couldn't help but hope the rumors were true; perhaps the heartens could finally be educated.

Hazm finally sat up from his surprisingly comfortable pile of trash in the alley as a nosy looking merchant passed by on the street. He could tell before even making eye contact that the young man would be snide, and Hazm was far past the point of entertaining such a creature.

"Is that a monk I see?" The man called, grinning in the exact manner Hazm expected; they were all the same. Those that could look down at another would - always. It was never a surprise when he was shunned or dismissed and neither was the fear in their eyes when he decided to correct their misgivings. "A foreign monk, wallowing in the dirges," the rude man continued. "How apt for your kind, Ykrumian."

Hazm slowly moved to permanently shut the man up, but his screaming muscles and almost certainly broken ribs were too loud to ignore. Fool got lucky, he cursed to himself. Instead, Hazm opted for plan B and smiled. "You know what they say, friend," he jovially called out, "if you'd like to learn a culture," he gestured to the trash heaps in the disgusting alley, "live in it."

The snobby man scoffed. "Your time will come, scum," he added bitterly, scurrying away in the exact manner they always do when Hazm doesn't just sit and take their derision. They were all the same.

"Ami S'i'i!" Hazm called out, spitefully blessing the man. Fighting through the screeching pain across his body, Hazm threw himself onto his feet and wiped the bigger pieces of garbage and dirt from his off-white robes. A cursory check confirmed that his possessions were all accounted for, and so he decided to get his day started. First order of business: get cleaned off.

The Jenkins Curse

Among the Stars
The high sun warming the inhabitants of Port Hemmis was unyielding and magnificent, rays of light permeating even the darkest of dungeons on a day like this. The day was warm but the breeze was cool, ushering in the coming autumn in a few week's time. The final days of bright, sunny afternoons was to come to a close soon, and the harsh winters of Retough will soon take hold. In the coming months, visitors and travelers would need to decide where they wished to winter at; merchants counted their coin in anticipation of the months of no work and high expense, while farmers tallied their grain stores to ensure they had enough to survive the coming frost. But even still, the days were long and the air warm - enjoying this weather was on everyone's minds, even given the coming struggles at the end of the year.

It was painfully normal, this day. Not unlike the last months, and not unlike the coming weeks. Merchants would barter, taverns would be jolly with song and drink, children would play in the streets jovially. The breeze was constant and the sea gave a hearty, comforting embrace to the whole city. Ships lazily sailed through the open port as they pleased. Even the lighthouse workers clearly payed little attention to their job; it was just after midday and the peak was ablaze with the pyre engulfed in flame. Had they been so haphazardly performing their job that they had no idea it was still day? And what were those fools doing, waving their arms frantically as if dancing to the most bewitching of sorceresses? They'd give off the wrong impression, doing things like that. One may even believe they were trying to signal something.

A flash of light pierced the eyes of anyone looking even remotely in the direction of the bay. A swell of the ocean rising far past what high tide could ever hope to achieve knocked over any unprepared citizens residing on the murky beaches. This new surge of oceanwater managed to rise past the piers and the initial stone platform that held the city above sea level. Water, ankle deep in some spots and waist high in others trampled through crowds and markets alike. Anything not bolted down was carried a few meters back in a violent torrent. This remained so only for a few moments, before the water rescinded back to where it came from. Children were helped up from the ground by equally confused and soaked parents, shopkeepers in awe at their wares destroyed by the sudden onset flood. What could've caused such a reaction from the bay?

Where there had once been lazy fishing ships milling about in the bay, they were replaced by a naval force so grossly expansive, that the ocean's horizon was not visible entirely around the port. Those within the city would see masts as tall as castle keeps, barges as wide as palaces. Wood in design, true, but ornately crafted in such a way that onlookers would feel the gods themselves had descended from the sky and were preparing to besiege the humanly races for their insolence. At their sudden arrival, three horns blew; variously pitched, for nearly a minute each, slightly offset from one another. While the sails themselves were uniquely blank and off-white, the flagship of the force possessed a kingly red and yellow swatch. Flags draped from the side of the ship like round shields on a Dwarf barge. Lanterns were strewn all across the ships decks, each and every one. However, as the imposing navy drew closer and closer, it was clear they were not lanterns - but instead archers, with arrow tips lit with the fires of war.

With one last, short burst from a horn, a volley was launched into the sky, piercing through the air as fire whistled in the wind. It seemed as though every soul in Port Hemmis halted, not daring to let out a breath should misfortune strike them. Only a handful of seconds passed by the time the arrows met their marks in the city; all around, emblazoned arrows clattered along the stone roads or imbedded themselves in walls and people alike. The rhythmic thump of thousands of arrows all around would've surely been an unforgettable sound. Though many dropped from the arrows striking the unsuspecting civilians, the true nature of this barrage was apparent just moments later.

Houses, wooden out of necessity, caught alight quickly from the sheer number of small fires launched at the city. Whether it be the shanty villages residing between the stone walls by the coast, or market stalls, or even wagons; anything apt to light within archer's reach of the shore was struck with a fierce inferno.

A few more, seemingly random bouts of the horror horns signaled the ships to lurch forward and close the distance between them and the shore. The great behemoths that were naval vessels treaded into the sand like a sword through unprotected skin. Only after a few meters did the ships grind to a halt. The flat front of the ships, clearly unsuited for ship design, had its purpose revealed soon after the docking. The front wall, now obviously a ramp, collapsed from the ship and stuck itself into the beach. On the other side of the massive makeshift drawbridge was a force rearing for battle and carnage; soldiers, suited up in lamellar from head to toe, wielding round shields and curved swords atop comedically small horses reared in their place until the drop was secured. After a moment filled with war cries and chants, the cavalry spurred forth and rode down the ship's plank until unsteady feet met solid ground. It was clear a few of these horses and soldiers hadn't gotten used to solid ground yet, but they charged forth anyway.

Civilians and guards alike were cut down as a horde of mounted melee cavalry descended into the streets, swinging wildly at all who crossed their paths. The streets quickly became overran with these foreign soldiers, wearing armor unique to them, albeit resembling that of an Ykrumic warband. Cavalry ruled the streets, progressing further into the city by each passing second. Infantry barged into homes and businesses alike to terrorize, kill and pillage those hiding inside. Missile fire seemed absent after the initial landing, most likely in an attempt to keep from hitting their own units.

Lera was nowhere near the point of invasion; she was nestled in the keep, on the other side of Port Hemmis when the invasion broke out. From her perch, the Heloys girl watched in horror as the air filled with smoke, the horizon with invading ships, and the castle with buzzing soldiers. A large force amassed in the courtyard beneath her on the rampart tower, clearly preparing for a sally out. Lera, while on guard duty, would not rest idly while forces pillaged the city below. She abandoned her guard post with not but a single moment of hesitation. She strolled down the stairs, nearly tripping over herself in such a rush.

Foreign howls and chants filled the city as their voices traveled on the wind. Meanwhile, Commander Verk stood on a slightly raised patch of ground in front of the amassing force of Praetian soldiers in the courtyard, where he himself was giving a rallying speech. "Ykrum wants a war!" Verk spoke out loud, not a single spot of fear on his complexion. "We've been sent to pacify this province, and we'll ensure those desert beetles get buried in the sand where they belong." Verk awaited the end of the men's war cries, signaling their agreement. Many of these soldiers were green, rightfully frightened of the forces outside the walls, and nervously psyching themselves up for the battle ahead. "Our goal is not to drive them from the city, but to receive Bishop Retten from the temple in the lower square. Once we secure the priest, we fall back to the keep. Kill every last Ykrumic soldier you find, and secure any civilians possible. Either send them on their way out of the city safely, or bring them back to the keep if that isn't an option. Men!" Verk raised his sword, signaling the soldiers on the wall above him to begin raising the gate. "Let's give them a fight!"

A final war cry sounded throughout the city, momentarily drowning out the invader's chants. As the gate rose fully above the heads of the eager soldiers, Lera included, they filed out in a disorganized sprint down the path into the city. Nothing spurned defenders for a hearty sally out like a chance to get revenge on those who wish harm upon their people.


Perpetually Cold
Dal was out the door twenty-seven seconds before the screaming started.

The shouts were coming from everywhere at once, and though they seemed most concentrated closer to the coast, the rising plumes of smoke scattered across the port accompanied wails, as if each was a funeral pyre to the Stars. They might as well have been.

Initial wave against Port barrage of arrows, cavalry, and foot soldiers following. assailants' aims not immdly clr cvlns klld nmbr unknwn

Dal's frantic writing cut off as she nearly stumbled over the corpse of an older woman laying facedown, a fletched arrow sticking from her back and blood pooling from her torso. A jolt of nausea tried to force its way through Dal's stomach, but she fought it down. It wasn't her first time seeing a body, and she'd doubtless see many more by the time the day was out. She stretched out her arm, wondering if she should turn the woman's crumbled form and try to memorize her face. Someone would be looking for her, a spouse or a child or —

No, the researcher told herself, pulling her arm back. There were greater matters that demanded her attention. Individualized attention was a luxury she could not afford the ... casualties of this attack. Clutching her notes in her right arm, she felt at her staff, making sure it was still securely strapped to her back. Official academy policy was to seek shelter in the presence of immediate danger. But what good would it be to wait until the battle was over, when the killing was done and officials had already prepared cleanly cut accounts of what had occurred? Dal just hoped she'd survive long enough to send her report to her supervisor.

Dal began walking, writing in an even more abbreviated version of her usual shorthand. Around her, Port Hemmis screamed like a beast that'd been wounded. A handful of townsfolk were fleeing into nearby shops, where customers and store owners alike ushered them in, preparing to board the entrances. Others ran deeper into the city, seeking to create some distance between themselves and the invaders. Some shot fearful glances at Dal, a few uttering curses under their breaths. She cringed, putting her head back up to obscure her Ykrumic features. A nervous feeling spread through her chest. Though her academy, like many in Ykrum, had long-running connections with the military, her presence was a neutral one. At least, that was the idea. In practice, histories varied from mostly truthful accounts to glorified espionage reports to outright propaganda.

Not that it mattered to those who were fleeing for their lives, Dal thought as she brushed her hand against her staff again. Or, for that matter, to the invaders who'd soon be upon her.

She hesitated. The invaders. Was that the right way to think about them? She hadn't confirmed the identity of the force, but ... well, she had her suspicions. Dal started writing again, a cold lethargy spreading through her arms like venom as she did, as if her limbs didn't want to evoke the words.

Ykrum likely responsible for the invasion.

Dal's pen floated above the paper, her vision going out of focus as the sound of weeping and the scent of burned homes assailed her mind. Gods, how many of these accursed reports would she have to write?

It was a foolish question. She knew the answer. It was in captains' maps and rulers' missives. Of resource estimates and garrison counts. Of homes, cities, nations left to plunder. Of screaming not yet started.

Dahlia started walking again, keeping to the edges of the street as she made her way deeper into the city. There was still much to see.
"We will need to purchase the salt before tonight. Otherwise we shall be considered dead before we even awaken." Nyota spoke absentmindedly to a now very alert Nona as she sorted through the items in her satchel. A half a vial of dirt, a quarter of cooking oil, and a full bottle of dandelion petals. That was all she had of her supplies- practically nothing for another few days journey back.

"Perhaps the grumpy woman was correct. We are to be stuck in the water city unless we can have mister Tebbit pay instead." The girl sighed dejectedly. Guilt fought with the ever growing anger and resentment towards herself at taking the job. Priestly knew she had done right morally- oh how grateful Mrs. Tebbit had been when Nyota had complied! But now she had left herself dry, with no way back to retrieve the rest of the money.

"Do you suppose the water jails are much like home jails?" As if the universe itself had seen that thievery was becoming a highly debated thought right now, screams suddenly erupted throughout the masses of people. Nyota and Nona both shot up, panicked, and watched as one, two, then dozens of people began running in a state of mass panic. One man tripped over his own feet in the middle of the road, and as Nyota made to help him back up, another stranger toppled into her. The pair fell roughly onto the pavement, and as she was trying to correct her swaying vision she managed to catch a few shouted words.

Something something, Ykrum invasion.

"Ykrum?" The question fell in an empty space, whoever had bumped into her already scrambling away. The only reply she received was from Nona, who had safely dodged the collision and was now screaming at her, nipping at her hands. A sudden realization finally hit Nyota, and without another thought she scooped the satchel and her companion off the ground and began running. To where, she hadn't a clue. This town was full of winding back alleys and unfamiliar buildings, so each turn that became visible through the billowing smoke was taken. The sounds of weeping could be heard just to the left, and on instinct Nyota swerved towards it, only to nearly stumble over a heap in the middle of the walkway. A younger man was hunched just beside it, and the messenger quickly realized he had been the source of the sound.

"Sir? You are crying? You do realize there is an invas- oh..." The heap, which she now recognized as a person, sat unmoving between them.

"S-sir? There is an invasion." Her unintentional insensitivity was met with louder cries of anguish.

"My wife!" Nyota felt the familiar pangs of heartbreak wash over her, fighting hard to keep the hot tears from spilling over with the man. Without a word, she reached into her satchel and picked out two vials- one of cooking oil, and one of petals. Dipping her index finger in the oil, she lifted the man's head gently to meet his gaze, wiping the condiment onto his forehead. He did not protest, presumably out of shock. Then, in another swift motion, Priestly gathered every petal she had available and sprinkled it over the body.

"She is to be protected. Let us find the safe spots, yes?" She held out her hand, but it was not taken. Instead he sat there, his hands covering his face which she could only imagine now held the deepest traces of loss.

"Over this way!" Someone shouted just at the alley's entrance.

"Please sir! Let me-"

"Leave me alone!"

Soldiers. They were the voices of soldiers. Their footsteps were quickening, the smoke was the only thing keeping the two out of sight. Nyota realized she could not fight them or the civilian. So she ran. For the thousandth time in her life, she simply ran away, hoping to catch a helping hand. She could not fight the grieving man, or the Ykrum soldiers, or even the tears now.

"In here!" Nyota had missed the whisper, but was thankfully caught by the arm. She almost screamed had the stranger not covered her mouth.

"We have a hidden storage just down this way. Keep quiet!" Without argument Nyota let herself be led by a pretty lady with dark hair down a staircase, all the while keeping her thoughts with the married couple.

I will not forget you.

Viper Actual

Ask me about my tourniquet fetish.
Maldorn rubbed his hands together and nodded towards the vendor. "Splendid! I'll take two bags- one of each leaf."
The shopkeeper nodded and produced two tiny cloth bags sealed shut by thin strips of leather with a wax seal on. "That will be ten coins," said the rat-faced man as he leaned against the counter.

Nodding, Maldorn dropped a small pouch fillled with coins on the counter. Once the shopkeeper had both collected and counted the payment he nodded towards the old man who in turn grabbed the two bags of smoking leaves.

"Thank you very much kind sir, have a pleasant day!" Said Maldorn, smiling. The man nodded and dismissed the old hermit with a wave.
With fresh supplies in his satchel Maldorn took out another apple which he was just about to bite down on when screams echoed from the port.

Turning around, Maldorn was yanked off his feet and into cover by another street vendor as a wave of water crashed over the docks and swept through the city outskirts. Protected by a wooden support beam outside a tavern, Maldorn and the shopkeeper watched in horror as men, women and children fall and tumble.
As the water drew back Maldorn limped out onto the street where he could witness the destruction in full.

Instinctively he reached for the pendant around his neck and massaged it between his thumb and fingers. "By Varaena..."

The pause would only be momentary however as people pointed into the sky and squinted their eyes. Maldorn too looked up, eyes filled with horror as a rain of flaming arrows came diving towards Port Hemmis.

"Get off the street!" He yelled. "Get off the street! Those are arrows!" Unfortunately only a few heeded Maldorn's warning and as he went back into cover dozens of people remained frozen out in the open. When the arrows met their marks Maldorn looked away, shook his head and uttered a silent prayer.
Once again however there was little to no time to react before the sound of battle echoed between the now burning buildings.

Realizing that he was in great peril, Maldorn began to limp towards the heart of the city. For a moment the chaos around him seemed to dull and mute, leaving only the sound of his panicked breathing and pulsating heart.

Maldorn glanced backwards for a mere moment just as he was about to round a corner...

...only to be knocked off his feet by some lady with a notebook. Maldorn grimaced and fell backwards with a muffled oumph with his staff clattering to the ground.

Looking up while rubbing his head Maldorn spotted a woman of presumed Ykrumian lineage. He cleared his throat and spoke; "Lady, I too enjoy books but this really isn't the time."

Maldorn shrugged and added; "Unless it is a truly captivating story of course."

Mentioned: kaito9049 kaito9049


Odette turned a corner, and the horizon opened up before her. She had found the docks. Wooden piers and anchored ships stretched out along the coast, almost as far as she could see, and beyond them, nothing but open water. Busy sailors loaded and unloaded cargo, calling to each other over the sound of the gulls circling overhead. These ships were different from the ones in her dream; smaller, and somehow shaped differently. Odette frowned. Could this be the wrong port?

All would be revealed soon, Odette assured herself. The Stars required her trust.

Even with the harsh Sun beating down on her, Odette was overcome with a sense of serenity. A cool breeze danced in her hair as she stood at the edge of the road, leaning against the wooden barrier between the land and the sea. Far below her, gentle waves lapped at the stone wall supporting the ground she stood on, and before her, the salt water stretched out endlessly, as if reaching up to kiss the Sky. It seemed to be reaching higher and higher, Odette noticed blankly, a swell of water growing closer every second.

A hush fell over the sailors, but their silence lasted only a moment before it was replaced by a frenzy of panicked orders and desperate prayers. Screams rang out from the beaches, and the streets with a view of the water erupted into chaos.

Odette froze where she stood. Should she run? Would she be fast enough to escape? There was no time left to decide. A wall of water as high as her chest was upon her, and before she knew it she was knocked off her feet.

Odette had learned many skills in her life; her father had taught her how to properly and humanely butcher a pig; her mother had taught her which berries to eat and which to carefully collect and pocket for later, to serve to abusive husbands or meddlesome landlords; and Hazm, curse him, had taught her the most of anyone: how to read, how her mother’s wooden spoon could be used for magic, how to beg the gods to see her worth and grant her the use of their spells. But, Odette reflected with regret as she was pushed beneath the water, in all her nineteen years, no one had taught her how to swim.

The force of the wave ground her body against the brickwork as she tumbled over herself, water swirling around her, her eyes open yet seeing nothing but darkness, salt filling her mouth. She must have only been down for a matter of seconds, but to Odette it felt like hours. She felt outside of herself. Was it all a dream? The Stars are showing me a woman drowning, she thought calmly, and yet they are silent. What does it mean?

Suddenly Odette was back in her body, as strong arms caught her by the waist and pulled her back to her feet. She pushed the arms away reflexively, stumbling on unsteady legs as the now knee-deep water she stood in began to recede. The Sun stung in her eyes and her ears rang painfully, but she desperately tried to push those sensations down and get her bearings. Nothing was more dangerous than ignorance of her surroundings, who was it that taught her that one?

Hazm grunted as he yanked the woman from the tidal wave, barely holding her up by her back against the force of the receding water. When he finally felt stable on his feet, he looked down at the familiar face.

“Stars above, girl, this isn’t the best place for a swim.”


Ooh ha ha
"Just make sure your daughter takes this before bed, okay?" Eilonwyn placed a bottle of shimmering blue liquid on the table. "Her fever should be cleared up by tomorrow, if not, I will supply you with more." The mother of her patient nodded along to the instructions. Only after Eilonwyn rose from her seat did she finally speak.

"And if the potion doesn't work? What then?" The question wasn't surprising. If anything, Eilonwyn understood the hesitation. Her reputation of healing hadn't quite worked it's way this far yet. To this lady, she was a strange girl who had caught wind of the sick girl and simply appeared at their doorstep.

"It'll work," The young fey smiled at the woman as she packed her things up,"...have a little faith ma'am. I'll be back to check on her in the morning." Before the mother could argue, Winnie was out the door and down the road. She did a quick inventory of her bag while she walked: One sleep aid- a deep purple solution, Another fever reducer, and some headache reliefs. Bedsides that was various herbs she had grinded into paste for injuries such as cuts and rashes. Eilonwyn made a mental note to make more potions before the end of the day, on the off chance she ended up using the remaining potions, she didn't want to be caught out of stock so soon.

Had she been more aware, Eilonwyn would've heard the screams of terror and smelled the smoke. Had she been more aware, she would've seen the flaming arrows raining down in front of her before it was too late. Unfortunately, Eilonwyn was none of those things. Only when a scared child bumped her did she finally come out of her own fog.

Oh my gods...

Her lungs filled with the smoke instantly, causing bouts of coughing. Winnie ripped a strip of fabric from her skirt and quickly tied it around her nose and mouth. Her eyes were watering and she wanted nothing more than to run for cover as everyone else was trying so desperately to do. But everywhere she looked bodies plagued the very same brick paths she had walked not an hour before. She couldn't run away knowing she had the items to help some of these people.

A scream to her right launched Winnie into action. The scream belonged to a small child who had fallen trying to escape among the crowd. Winnie scanned the area for the child's mother, but to no avail.

"Hello sweetie, are you alright?" The child whimpered a reply, , burying his head in his hands. Winnie gently grabbed his hands in hers, giving them a quick lookover. Other than some minor scraps and burns, he would be okay. "Come with me okay? I'll get you somewhere safe." Winnie rose to her feet, gently scooping the child into her arms. She ran up the roads until she was able to find someone who promised her they would take the boy to safety.

"Please put this on his injuries," She handed the woman a small container of paste. The woman agreed before hurrying inside a cellar. Winnie pulled her makeshift mask down slightly to smile at the boy as he vanished down the stairs. She waited until the cellar doors shut and locked before running back out into the chaos.


Miss Medic
Danny raised a bottle of beer in the air, laughing, "If this is half as good as you say, I'll buy a keg." He had barely tipped the bottle back when he heard the screams. Glass shattered on cobblestones as Danny dropped the bottle to run to a main street that had view of the pier. He was just in time for water, knee-high for him, to drag through the streets. Thankfully he'd been in an elevated part of the city. Still, he grabbed onto the side of the nearby building as the water pulled back, toward the sea, and he braced himself as water pulled against his boots, dragging debris with it.

One bit of debris was a pile of rags... no, no that was a person. Daniel rushed over, the water splashing up with each step, "Come on, come on now, get to higher ground in case there's another wave," Daniel said, coaxing a woman to her feet. She was soaked through and clinging to his arm. He gently guided her to the same house he'd held onto a moment ago, "Use the cross-streets, the buildings should provide some protection if it happens again, go!"

More screams. He didn't even know why until he heard the thud of arrows on wood. Next thing he knew the houses were catching fire and there was even more screaming, more than there had been when the wave washed over the city. The buildings were burning like torches, but at least the lower levels had been soaked by the waves. The roads were littered with bodies, some still in their death throes, some only severely injured. He caught himself as he looked between the bodies in front of him. You can't save them all.

Had to get to the root of the problem. As he ran toward the shore, he shouted, "Go! Get out of the city, take the North route!" By now he had heard enough from the shouts of the people around him to know what had happened: an invasion. That meant soldiers, and soldiers bled, soldiers could be dealt with.

After he dealt with this. A house on fire, one of many, with people inside, screaming. He didn't know what they were saying, but he had to help. He had to. He pulled an axe off of his belt. So much for a day of peace. He slammed his shoulder into the door of a house, knocking it open. Through the smoke he could barely make out figures huddled in a corner, a wooden panel having fallen and blocking them in place. He pulled the axe off of his belt and hacked through a fallen panel. "Come on!" As the family ran out, he mumbled the only healing spell he knows - it's weak, but it'll keep them alive - and cast it on the mother. "Get the kids out, get out of the city," he coughed, trying to get the smoke out of his lungs.

He followed them out and paused, hands on his knees as he got the last of the smoke out of him. Can't save them all, deal with the problem.

Again he meant to get to the shore, to find out what was going on with the invasion, to kill some invaders if needed. He meant to, he really did! Instead he ended up catching a young fey by her shoulders as she tried to rush past him, nearly bumping into him. "Whoa! Wrong direction, go the other way! You have to get out of the city! Trust me I've seen what's the other way you don't want to go there!"

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Þe wormes awnswers to þe body
Equipped with huge, worn leather gloves and breathing hard, Sohrab heaved a leather-lined crate up to his chest, then poured the sopping contents into a grinding barrel. The barrel was already half-filled with dirt, sprinkled with dark-hued salts, and what Sohrab was introducing was pounds of fish guts procured from the various seafood stalls in the marketplace. As vibrant in both colour and savoury fragrance Port Hemmis’ marketplace was, it had its own unseemly backside. And what do you do with filth, especially the filth present in a port town? You make fertilizer. And that was Sohrab’s current vocation, working for an ingenious old Praetian gentleman by the name of Saul Nyte. Admittedly, he was working for very little, but this job had a few upsides someone like Sohrab could quietly make use of. Firstly, he got a hot meal every day and got to sleep on a high shelf in the cramped production building, the latter of which was a luxury which none of Nyte’s other workers took up. Yes, the production house reeked, stunk and hummed with the miasma of rotting fish and compost, especially on a hot day, but Sohrab, sleeping beneath one of the small windows which looked out towards the bay, could stand it. The sea breeze sterilised his little pocket of existence well enough. Additionally, his skillset equipped him for the meaner jobs in cities, which in turn only strengthened his constitution and bore off his sense of smell.

The second luxury was that Sohrab was able to keep out of the way of the public. Nyte probably had this view of him as a right old recluse who shouldn’t be anywhere near the cobblestones of a city, let alone working every day mere walls away from the most populated area of Port Hemmis, but Sohrab wasn’t about to explain why he was content with this life. He needed to be separated from the public. Needed to for his own sake. Whenever he did step out with his leather-lined crate towards the market stall, he wore a leather mask over his mouth and nose. The fish stalls never questioned this: he was picking up dead fish from under the heat of the sun, of course he would want to avoid breathing the ammonia that came with it. His olfactory systems were protected. So was his identity.

To further protect his visage from view, Sohrab only ventured out at night. He had free reign to come and go from the production house whenever he pleased: Nyte knew there was nothing worth stealing in there, unless the diminutive frame of Sohrab was able to shoulder tens of sacks of fertilizer at once, so he left each night confident that, if Sohrab was getting up to something, it wasn’t affecting his business. Sohrab had never stolen from him, as far as Nyte was aware anyway. He was a strong, albeit short, half-orc that worked diligently and without complaint. He never complained about the smell of the work, the money he was paid, or the meals of inconsistent quality. He gave more than he took, which is all that mattered to Nyte.

And so Sohrab was carrying on his duties, tossing aside the crate and picking up the heavy wooden grinding stick, plunging its discoloured end deep into the barrel. He would grind, stir, worry and by all methods macerate the guts until the nutrient-rich rotting meat was integrated firmly into the soil. The salts, added in careful measurement, served to further break down and preserve the nutrients while the fertilizer was idle after grinding. His half-orcish strength served him well here, his subtly muscled arms working in rhythm to maintain his stamina.

Another of Nyte’s workers was here today, a complete airhead of a young boy, so oblivious to his surroundings that Sohrab didn’t even need to hide his face; there was no way in the Beyond that the boy would notice Sohrab’s bounty poster even if he walked past the city board. The boy was broad, gangly, and almost reduced the need for a ladder in the production house to nil. Manny the Mast, Nyte called him. Grinding fertilizer was a secondary job for him. His primary function in the business was transporting fertilizer around, whether that was within the city, to the family farms beyond the city walls, or to Nyte’s delivery cart on certain days.

He had been and gone twice today already, and exchanged pleasantries with Sohrab. This time, when he entered, the heavy door swinging closed behind him, he gave that dumb smile and said, ‘Bright out today, isn’t it?’

This merely drew a grunt from Sohrab in comparison, who didn’t want to speak lest he ruin his rhythm. He watched Manny airily as he went about his own work, retrieving two sacks of fertilizer and stacking them on his right shoulder, then tucking a third sack under his left arm. It was a wonder he didn’t try balancing several on his head. Moving a little slower now, Manny moved towards the door with a strained, ‘bye again,’ but when he heaved open the door, he was not greeted with the cool breeze that had set in these few weeks, but with cool water, which effectively leg-swept him on its destructive mission. Sohrab, seeing Manny fall, didn’t even try to comprehend the situation and instead leaped onto the barrel he was working at, balancing on its rim and crouching around the grinding stick for support. The water flooding in didn’t stand a chance to affect the heavy barrel, full to capacity with its vile contents, but the surge came up high, threatening to waterlog Sohrab’s good work.

Manny bubbled and gasped, surrounded on all sides by a cruel mixture of intense rushing water and stinking fertilizer which had leaked through the sacks in the sudden torrent. It showed no signs of stopping, and Sohrab couldn’t just squat there forever. Looking around for a few seconds, he became thankful that Nyte had picked such a cramped little place to fit so much stuff in. He could make his way round to the window he slept beneath without having to touch the water, without having to succumb to the same disgusting fate Manny was suffering.

Abandoning the barrel, Sohrab leaped from the large gnarled table to the stack of crates, and finally to the shelving system. In the meantime, Manny had struggled to the table and climbed atop it, stunned and confused. Sohrab gave him a glance before turning to look at the carnage out of the window. He was just in time to see the flaming arrows begin to fly.

‘Flaming arrows,’ he reported to Manny as he swept together his meagre belongings, saved from the waters only by the height of the shelving. Some of his belongings went into his tabard pocket, and others were wrapped in a bundle under his arm. He risked the fall, splashing into the water. ‘If those arrows hit the fertilizer, this place is going up.’

Manny blinked, then began to comprehend. If he cried out to Sohrab for help or instruction, Sohrab didn’t hear him: he was already out of the heavy door and into the flooded street, beginning to run against the dragging flow of the water away from the port. He’d only made it a few splashing steps before the thumping of arrows began, reminding him that being out in the open wasn’t the best choice. But still he moved, strong legs pushing him forwards as he abandoned the life that, as he predicted, was beginning to catch light behind him. He didn’t look back, he just ran.


Being a half-orc of diminutive stature had only brought him grief while he grew up, but he knew its advantages. Around here, he was about the height of the average woman, so he was able to use his strength to shoulder past them, and his agility to duck around the men. As he went, the water dragging back past his feet, he tried to consider where he’d go. Out of the city seemed the best option, considering the Ykrum forces had alighted. He knew all about the Ykrum forces, knew the slander the Amkaorians put out about them, and knew the Praetum-Ykrum war too. Though, it didn’t take a learned or travelled man to know this city was now a bad place to be. The percussion from hundreds of horse hooves could just be heard over the terror of hundreds of people, the sharp sounds echoing off the stone walls of numerous abodes.

As he had moved through the city, taking back-alley cut-throughs too narrow for horses and short cuts through gardens, he had equipped himself for battle. He had donned his ragged black cloak, stained and torn from years of use, situating the ram skull on his left shoulder. His mask wouldn’t go on. Not yet. That was tucked beneath the cloak, hidden from view lest someone decide they’d like to arrest a wanted man during an invasion. As for weaponry, he had donned his right forearm blade, tightening the worn leather band as he ran. He couldn’t risk donning the left one too: as much as that would increase his options for fighting, it also increased the risk of harming someone innocent and starting a fight that way, plus the blades made manipulating the world around him more difficult. If he needed a second weapon, he had his crowbar, heavy on his right hip. As he moved through the crowds, he kept his right arm down, the sharp point of the blade aimed at the ground.

Shouldering his way through a clump of people, Sohrab broke into a run again, having to leap over a gaggle of people who had fallen due to their own panic. He pivoted, deciding to aim towards another back alley he was familiar with. Whatever cavalry was making its way through the street he had left behind wouldn’t be able to follow him down that narrow street. As he ran, he saw ahead a young woman, a little shorter than him, running his way. She was evidently going the wrong way. Someone else clearly thought so too, and was stopping her - a much taller man. The crowds ahead of Sohrab were heading roughly forwards, yet she was stopped in her place. And, in stopping the young woman, he wasn't moving either. Warning them wouldn’t do him any harm: just as he’d warned Manny to get out, he could warn them to move.

He jabbed out a finger towards the two, spinning his wrist, ‘Hey, hey, other way, sir and madam, unless your duty is death at the end of a Ykrum spear,’ he ran past the two at this point, bumping the lady slightly with his shoulder, then span so he was jogging backwards. He caught the man's eye, noticing how armoured he was. He might stand a few minutes out in that street. He seemed fairly calm despite the circumstances. ‘Cavalry’s moving up that road, hurry to a narrow alley. Follow me if you want, I know this city even in the dark. Your choice!’

He shrugged at both with a grin, a jovial action in the midst of this fiasco, then twisted on his toes and headed off towards the narrow street. While he wasn’t going to expend his time or energy saving someone else, he knew he had to warn someone going the wrong way. No one here deserved the fate they might meet, but no one should walk unknowingly into it. He’d warned Manny of the fire, he’d warned her she was going the wrong way, he'd warned him of the cavalry. He’d perhaps saved at least one life.

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Perpetually Cold
Dahlia cursed lowly as she scooped up her notebook with a fluid motion, a thin black line streaked across the page. She was lucky that the text was still legible. What were people thinking, running around while she was trying to work? Dal looked at the man who'd collided with her, about ready to throw her pen at his head. "Why don't you watch where—"

She stopped, taking a second to look around her. Bodies. Lots of them, filled with arrows like flowers sprouting from a plant bed.

Dal added the number to her tally, shielding her line of sight of the corpses' faces with her notebook. "My apologies," she said to the man, seemingly an older gent — for a human, at least, though it was always hard to tell. "It's somewhat difficult to navigate the city, considering the circumstances."

She finished her scribbling and tucked the notebook into her cloak before extending a hand to the man, feeling a tinge of guilt upon feeling the leathery texture of his palm. She hoped she didn't harm the poor gent. It certainly wasn't his fault she'd turned the corner so quickly. And people of his age often had ... difficulty surviving invasions, as her own research into the northern skirmishes had indicated.

"Captivating?" Dal continued, pulling the man to his feet. "I should hope not. I would prefer that my writing refrain from taking anyone captive. I suspect there'll be enough of that today."

She looked behind her, hoping the man didn't take offense to her dry comment. The townsfolk were stampeding, practically trampling each other in their mad dash to higher ground, fleeing the din of clashing steel and choked screams that grew nearer with each passing second. Should she do the same? It was foolishness to stroll into the center of a battle like a child wading into a lake, but she couldn't help but feel she didn't quite have everything she needed.

It was not an unfamiliar sensation.

"Can you walk?" Dal asked the man. "I recommend staying away from businesses and homes. Our troo—the invaders will target those for plunder. Slip into alleyways, places that will be difficult for their horses to maneuver in."

(mentioned: Viper Actual Viper Actual )

Viper Actual

Ask me about my tourniquet fetish.
"It's somewhat difficult to navigate the city, considering the circumstances."

"Oh yes," replied Maldorn, accepting the woman's hand as she pulled him up from the half watery, half blood-stained street. "Foreign naval invasions tend to interfere with the safety of pedestrians." He grabbed his staff and shrugged, waving his hand in a 'Don't lie to me'-fashion. "Nonsense!" He said, stretching his neck as if he was trying to glance into the book held by this newfound acquaintance. "There are great many books that one cannot afford to pass up on. Especially those of the history genre, though they do tend to get a great many details wrong."

Maldorn paused, watching as a pair of guardsmen from the Port Hemmis city watch rushed past the two of them. Refocusing, Maldorn smiled as if only just now catching the meaning of Dal's dry comment. "You're quite funny."

When the woman suggested slipping into an alleyway Maldorn nodded. "Good idea, though if you think either of us have a chance of outrunning some of the finest cavalry on the continent you're even funnier than I thought." He nodded past her, gesturing towards a tower in the distance. "If we make for the temple we could get a bit of a height advantage. That way I don't have to run and you can keep on doing what you were doing before with that book."

Maldorn tilted his head. "Unless, of course, you have some other plan in which case I will gladly follow you." The old man chuckled. "It's been a while since I was last here and a great many streets suddenly look far more different than they used to. That or my mind finally caught up with my body."

kaito9049 kaito9049


Ooh ha ha
Eilonwyn knew not everyone could be saved. She knew the majority of those laying on the ground would never get up again. But she had to try at least- that was the sole reason she had traveled so far in the first place. It would feel wrong to run away now. She had to try.

Winnie had been so caught up in her own thoughts she hadn’t noticed the heavily armored man until he was grabbing her by the shoulders. She looked back at him, dumbfounded as he told her she was going the wrong way.

“But there are still people down there!” She argued, trying her best to wiggle out of his grasp.

Winnie was less thrilled when another man running away from the havoc paused long enough to inform the two of the dangers behind him. She was well aware of the dangers, could see the arrows and smell the smoke. That wasn’t going to stop her from at least trying to get people to safety.

“Please sir,” She turned back to the man holding her still,”I have to save them.”

Daniel knew exactly what she meant - he wanted to go back too. Despite the screams and the blood and the coming dangers, he wanted to go back. It wasn't fair that none of the invader's blood was being shed in this absolute massacre. But going wouldn't help anyone, and maybe being blunt with her would shock her into realizing the reality of the situation. "There's soldiers coming, you can't help someone if you're dead. You'll be more useful to the survivors that make it out. I promise you will be."

Daniel had no clue who the man talking to them was, but he certainly wasn't a stranger to this city. He did look familiar though… but Danny could figure that out later. Daniel was certainly not going to know any shortcuts in this big place. "We need to follow him."

Eilonwyn wanted to keep arguing. He wasn’t understanding just how important it was to her to help the people down there. The longer they stood there though, the more the reality really sunk in for the fey. She remained quiet, simply staring at the chaos in front of her. Under the screams she could make out the steady footsteps of soldiers and, if they remained there they could very well join the lifeless bodies around them.

“Okay..” She stopped trying to fight back- it was useless anyway- and turned to the man. “...let’s follow him.”

"Okay. You go in front of me, I have the shield on my back, it'll cover us." That was the best plan also because he could make sure she didn't double back to try to save someone… also he was very certain she would be faster than him. Armor, even patch worked like his, could definitely slow someone down. And that shield wouldn't protect him from a well aimed arrow, but it was at least something.

“Mhmm,” Eilonwyn hesitated for only a moment before moving to follow the stranger. Was following this man the smartest idea? Probably not. But with soldiers quickly approaching the two didn’t have much of a choice.

"...you can’t help someone if you’re dead." The armored strangers' words echoed in her head , giving the tiniest amount of motivation to continue forwards.

0stinato 0stinato Dragongal Dragongal

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