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Fantasy [Isekai Hell][Ciu'nan]Orson's Feast IV

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The fourth day of the feast dawned earlier for the scouts whose shift had come to watch the frogs. The early morning was pleasantly cool, but the wind, which had lost some of yesterday's intensity, blew warmer today carrying with it the humidity of the coming storm.

Crymaria, Boris, and their bearkin partner, Alexei, wandered out to the meadow, the path lit by the latter's hooded lantern. Moving beyond the amphitheater where the Contest of Strength had been held, they headed north where the meadow ended in a steep slope. Several hundreds of feet below them, the forested wetland sprawled out, only contained by rising slopes of neighboring foothills.

A loud rumbling noise echoed from below as Alexei stopped them to explain a few things before their scouting began.

"Alright, down yonder is the wetlands. If you give a listen, you'll hear 'em: those deep rumblings in the distance are their mouth sounds. Now, one thing I know is they don't hear so well, but let's not press our luck when we're down there. For now, we'll hang back a bit further until the sun's up. Getting too close in the dark is a death sentence, I'd reckon. After the sun is up, we can move in and try to get a lock on their location. Also, I highly suggest you keep tabs on your bear. If he gets ate, I'm not diving in after him, you hear? Now let's go. Quiet like."

Alexei led on, escorting Crymaria to a particular rut in the slope where traffic had come and gone. The bearkin made excellent use of his mass and claws, taking a stout stance as he went down and digging his claws into the earth when he began to slide. He stopped at a landing about halfway down the slope. Turning to Crymaria, he whispered ever so softly, "This here is the halfway point. We can chance a whisper if we have to, but this is the beginning of the danger zone. We'll wait here until the sun's up before getting closer. Just keep your ears open until then."
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria squinted her eyes as she tried to peer into the darkness of the morning. She recognized some buildings from the earlier days she was here as the group moved past them. However, she couldn't believe that four days had passed so far, and it only seemed like it was getting more complex. Now that they were on the hunt for the frogs or giant frogs that seemed to be possibly causing problems later. So here she was paired up with one of the bearkin and their job was to scout out the problem at hand.

As the group approached the wetlands, Crymaria could feel the change in the air. The dampness and the trees that rose toward the sky, as the rumbling in the distance was heard, she paused for a moment. As the swamp got closer and closer, she climbed on top of the large bear before the group moved further down the hill. As Alexei explained the frogs and then mentioned Comrade Boris, she let out a small sigh.
"Comrade Alexei, Comrade Boris is much stronger than he looks; I doubt this large bear would be taken out so easily by the frogs or most things here," She explained.

As they descended down the slope. He explained that they were now in the danger zone, and she simply nodded. The dampness in the air seemed to stick to the back of her neck; she wiped the wetness from the back of her neck with a slightly disgusted look. As they continued to push further in, she kept her eyes open as they waited for the sun to rise above. She was slightly eager to try and fight one of these frogs; no doubt if she brought a dead one back, it would be useful.
 
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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Hathaway was in the sparring room Akim had left him in after administering an [Incurable] wound on him the night before. This would be Hathaway's first test. He had been instructed not to heal himself and to simply exist with the pain until dawn. Akim had suggested the ordeal would give Hathaway valuable experience, as well as show Akim that he was ready for more training.

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Nearby, Daichi lay sprawled out on the floor where he had been left after Akim had knocked him out. He snored softly as a puddle of drool collected by his face. A rooster crowed somewhere outside, causing Daichi to stir slightly before rolling over.

Suddenly, the door to the room slid open as Sifu Akim entered. His eyes fixated on Hathaway as he strode up to the would-be monk. Akim opened his mouth to speak but was cut off by a sudden bout of gurgling snores from Daichi. Akim's eyes rolled as he turned back to Hathaway.

"So, young Hathaway, tell me of your evening." he stated.

As Hathaway recounted his experience, Akim would begin to hover his hand over the priest's abdomen where he had been struck. Promptly following this odd interaction, Akim began poking and twisting the soft tissue in various places around Hathaway abdomen and even his lower back. Though there were no lights or phenomena to indicate he was using magic, Hathaway would get immediate relief to the pain he had felt.
 
Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon
1702003665864.png

Agony. When Hathaway agreed to Akim's test, he was hesitant but thought it was necessary. Never did he think that he would feel this level of agony when he made this foolish choice. Throughout his time in this world, he had few chances to experience violence and pain. So perhaps he just didn't fully comprehend what pain was like anymore.

This lesson was a reality check to wipe away his naivety, Hathaway understood that now. Throughout the night's time, he rolled around in agony along the floor. Akim must had dealt quite the blow to Daichi for him to not wake up from the young man's groans. Throughout his turmoil, Hathaway prayed that the pain would subside, but it didn't. The injury gave off the exact same drilling sensation as when it first was given.

He breathed heavily and rapidly, with sweat pilling underneath him. Hathaway was going in and out of consciousness, both reasons simply for the pain. Constantly, his hand would hover over his wound to heal it. What would Akim notice if he healed it just a bit? Then he would stop himself everytime upon remembering just how week he was.

This process would repeat and eventually, he would just endure. That was his task and his focus. He realized that he would have to stop fighting it, and simply accept the pain for it what it was. The pain did not disappear but it became bearable .

By the time it became morning, Hathaway's breathing had become more regulated and his vision hazy. Yet he had not subsided in the temptation to heal his wound. Upon receiving Akim's healing, the priest sighed heavily and relaxed his body on the ground.

"I really, really don't want to experience that ever again!" he grunted in exhaustion. "It was incredibly painful. Not much else I can say besides that. However, I did manage through it. So I hope I managed to pass your test!" he spoke with some animosity in his tone. His patience had ran out for any pleasantry currently.
 
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Above the sky waxed hot as its dark tones were warmed from black to gray to pink by the coming sun. The coming light would gradually show more and more of what lay below them. From their perch halfway down the slope, they had come eye level with the tops of the trees, but the water and muck were still well below them. The puddles caught the sunlight more and more, distinguishing wet from dry and plant from animal.

Boris had faithfully carried Crymaria down the hill quite easily with all four of his paws digging their claws into the earth. Upon reaching the landing, the bear companion had been quite alert at first, his ears twisted this way and that. His snout sniffing lightly. As the waiting for daylight drug on, however, Boris began to get comfortable. It didn't help that Alexei had even popped a squat beside them, dangling his legs off the edge of the earthen shelf they waited on. Soon enough, Boris decided to get comfortable too as his frame lowered to the ground. He wasn't about to shake Crymaria off his back--her load was barely noticeable at all anyway--but he allowed himself to doze lightly as daylight took its time in coming.

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Alexei nodded his head to his chest now and then, but he never allowed himself to sink into sleep. The job they performed today was serious, but it had been a duty he performed before. As dawn was more visibly closer, he busied himself with checking his equipment. Pulling straps to make sure they were tight. Checking the edges of his blades. Rewrapping hilts. Taking a swig from his canteen. By the time the sun had finally breached the horizon, Alexei's equipment had been given an extremely thorough once over.

He stood, which caused Boris to rouse mid-snore. Shaking his muzzle, he stood up as well. Down below them, the far off rumblings still rang out periodically, announcing to all in the vicinity that massive, gaping maws were nearby ready to swallow the first unlucky passersby they found. Alexei maneuvered over to where he could whisper more directly at Crymaria's ear. She would notice his fur had a very clear earthen smell to it.

"Alrighty, little lady. It's time to move out. Now our first order of business is the messiest but trust me when I say it's completely necessary. We're going to follow this rut down the slope directly to the waterline down yonder. Those there are what we call the 'Outer Ponds'. They're shallower and not as connected as the waters deeper into the wetlands. Once there, we'll be quietly digging into the muck and coating ourselves in it nice and generous. It'll keep the varmints and the bugs off us while we're scouting. And it helps keep me cool as a cucumber.
"Once that's done, we'll follow the shore 'round to the right until we find a sort of land bridge that will take us further into the inner area we call the 'Watering Hole'. The water there is deep and the bottom is rigged to suck you in, so we avoid the ground at all costs while in the Watering Hole. Problem is that area is mostly all water. So when we have to scout there, we've learned to use the trees to get around, you see. Oh...."
Alexei suddenly fell silent as he looked down at Boris. "...can...can he climb...?" he asked uncertainly.

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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Akim's manipulations were quick and precise as he adjusted Hathaway's injured parts. Once he had finished, his hand formed a fist as it rested against his waist. He stared into Hathaway's face as he explained what should have been obvious to anyone: pain sucks, he's glad it's gone, and he hopes to never feel anything like it ever again. Akim's teeth peeked through his lips as he smirked at the priest's answer.

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"A very concise answer. I had my doubts, but, yes, you did pass. For a human, especially a priest, you're not as frail as you look. Allow me to show you to your bed as a sort of 'graduation' gift." Akim turned and left the sparring room without addressing Daichi at all. He would lead Hathaway out of the dojo across the courtyard to a long building that turned out to be a barracks of sorts. As he went, he elaborated some on what Hathaway could expect. "You have had a rough night, and so you will be allowed to rest for a while. It will not be enough to satisfy you. Upon waking, you will be brought to the kitchen to learn how to prepare your own food and the food of the others in this monastery. Only after making your meal yourself will you eat. All of the members of this dojo are expected to function in every capacity to maintain it, which includes cooking, cleaning, maintenance, and, eventually, guarding it. My advice to you: use each station as a learning opportunity. Not everything in life is resolved with your ability to fight. That said, should you continue to humor me, you will indeed learn how to fight." The barracks was a large single room building filled with beds. Akim walked down the central aisle to an empty bed and gestured to it. "Someone will be by to wake you. Make the most of your time."
 
Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon
1702631183249.png

Upon his injuries being mended by the monk, Hathaway grunted while riding to his feet. After rubbing his healed injury for a bit, the priest got a clear look at it. "That's impressive. What sort of technique is that?" He questioned, trying to exam the cause of healing. From his point of view, it was nothing that he was familiar with.

If he could, he'd like to be able to learn how to preform whatever this technique was, but he doubted it would be anytime soon. Hathaway looked around his environment while walking behind Akim. Just like he suspected, it seem like the area primed for training martial artists in a secluded facility.

"A bed as a 'graduation gift'? I believe I'm beginning to understand your mindset, Sifu Akim. Trials and tests before acceptance and comfort can be gained. I'll admit, where I was taught, acceptance and comfort should be something deserving to everyone. I truly believe that, but I can't deny that your methods do have their merits." Hathaway made his comment upon reflection and after hearing the master's demands. He could have probably been more respectable in his words but he was still very groggy after last night's battle against his injury.

Hathaway made his way to the bed, which looked so desirable to his tired mind and sat on it. "I understand, not too different from my staying at the the church. I can accomplish those tasks without issue. As for learning how to fight, well.... I should be able to manage that as well." The young priest spoke his last words with a hint of uncertainty before laying down on the bed. Once he made himself comfortable and was finally able to attain some relaxation, he quickly fell to sleep.
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria scanned the area as the other two started to get comfortable, glancing around to see if there was anything of note. However, this was cut off when Alexei stood up and moved closer to the two of them. The rumblings still present caused her to wonder how big these frogs were, but she figured she would find that out soon enough. She did note the bearkins earthy smell, which she figured he spent much of his time in the swamp or in some wetland area.

When Alexei explained the next part of the plan she rolled her eyes slightly,
"Comrade Alexei, such things must be done; you won't find me disgusted if I have to cover myself in mud." As the rest of the plan was explained to her, she looked down at Comrade Boris for a moment. She wasn't even sure she had ever seen the bear climb before. "I haven't seen Comrade Boris climb before, not to mention I doubt unless the trees were large they would be able to hold him due to his large size anyway," She explained with a shrug of her shoulders. Though it still seemed like there was a long way to go before they reached their destination.
 
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Alexei stared at Boris a moment longer before also shrugging. He turned and waved for them to follow him down to the water. As before, the bearkin took a stout stance while traversing down, catching his claws in the earth as necessary to slow or steady himself along the way.

In the early morning gray, the greenery of the lowlands before them was slowly becoming apparent. The slope they traversed was mostly dirt. Heartier types of grasses attempted to sprout more and more frequently as they approached the bottom, where rich greenery exploded in all directions. Girthy trees rose out of the ponds, thriving in the moist environment. Even so, the carcasses of fallen trees could be seen jutting out of the water and earth in various places.

As Alexei reached the water's edge, a lizard could be seen scurrying away. Overhead a bird took flight heading deeper into the wetlands away from the newcomers. The bearkin waded into the water a few feet from shore, sinking halfway up his shins in the dark liquid. Stooping down, he began to pull the muck up his legs and slathering his arms with it. There was no hesitance in his application as he moved up his body, covering himself from feet to head.

Once satisfied with his own appearance, Alexei would turn his attention to Boris as Crymaria was finishing her own coating. The bear huffed and backed away towards Crymaria as the bearkin began matting his fur. Boris would press his head into Crymaria as though begging for her to save him from this indignation. Alexei would persistently chase Boris with pawfuls of muck to smear even more on him. After several moments of this cat and mouse game, Alexei shook his head and relented, slapping a final handful of muck on a bare spot on his belly. He gave everyone a final look to make sure they had enough coverage, then turned to leave before stopping abruptly and reaching for a bag at his side.

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Spinning back around, he reached the bag to Crymaria. Inside she would find a sort of whistle. Alexei moved closer to whisper an explanation.

"While scouting we'll be separated by a short ways. If you need my attention, you can blow on that there whistle. It mimicks the sound of a bird. Go ahead and try it out. Get a feel for it."

[The wooden whistle is slightly longer than the width of a hand and about the thickness of a finger. Blowing into it creates a whistling sound while rattling something within that gives it a warbling quality. Blowing harder makes the sound more shrill.]

"You won't have to play it too loud. It's sound works well down here--cuts through the air like an arrow. Well, let's head out."

Moving back to shore, Alexei took the lead, guiding them around the outskirts of the puddles. It wasn't long before they came across a rise that followed the edge of the water like the edge of a bowl. Jutting out into the midst of the ponds, the land bridge took them as far as it could, ending where a tree had fallen across it at an angle. The end propped up on the bridge was dry enough, but the opposite end sank beneath the surface of the water.

Climbing up on the tree, Alexei maneuvered down its length til his feet just touched the water lapping at the submerged end. From their he jumped a short ways to a stump jutting out of the water. Another hop and he had made it back to where the landbridge continued. He turned back to make sure Crymaria and Boris were following along.

The croaks of frogs could be heard louder than ever. The Watering Hole must be close.







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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Akim considered Hathaway a moment before answering him.

"Suffice to say, it's a technique from Kuridan known as 'tui na' (twee-NA). It's useful for injuries that don't break the skin or rupture the organs. A modality that--in the most simplest of terms--focuses on realigning that which has shifted out of alignment. Now get some rest. We can talk more when you wake."

Akim left the barracks as Hathaway settled into his bed. A few beds away from him, another individual, a human male, slept soundly.

Hathaway would be awakened four hours later by none other than Daichi. His left eye was swollen shut and his lip was broken open. He did not meet Hathaway's gaze.

"It's time to get up, Hathaway." he said in a strained voice. "Follow me to the kitchen." Daichi moved to the door of the barracks. He had a noticeable limp.

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As Hathaway left he would notice the bed that had been occupied when he arrived was now empty. Outside, a group of students were performing drills in the courtyard underneath a brooding sky. The rain was now at hand, ready to fall at any moment.

Daichi fought against his limp as he crossed to a building opposite the barracks. Smoke billowed out of the chimney as they approached. Daichi opened the door and allowed Hathaway to enter first. Inside was a hall made for eating with two rows of tables stretching the length of the hall. Daichi led him through a doorway to the right that led to the kitchen.

Inside two bearkin were preparing food, while taking turns instructing a third individual, who turned out to be the human Hathaway had seen earlier in the barracks.
 
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Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon


After thinking himself to sleep upon contemplating Akim's explanation of the 'Tui Na', Hathaway awoke groggily from his nap. The grueling night he had prior couldn't be amended with just 4 hours of sleep, but he was content with following the rules of this place. While taking his care of his clothes and hair, the priest to fully notice the person that awoke him. It was Daichi, and it didn't seem like the bearkin was doing well both emotionally and physically. "Sifu Daichi, are you okay? You don't seem to be your usual energetic self." he asked the fellow pupil in concern for his health.

Following behind Daichi, Hathaway felt awkward at having to pace himself to the noticeably limping and injured individual. He knew well enough by now, that asking if he wanted to be healed would be fruitless. Therefor he stifled his feelings and focused his attention on the courtyard that had students such as themselves, training. While watching the students preform their drills, Hathaway felt nervous at the prospect of having even to remotely keep up with them. "How long do they even do those drills for?" he questioned absent-mindedly.

Once he entered the kitchen, he scanned the room and noticed the people inside. Of course the first thing that caught his attention was the smell of the food. Having been so much and with little food, his stomach grumbled. Trying to hid his embarrassment, he turned to the other human here and spoke, "Greetings. I think I saw you earlier. Rare to see another human around here. I'm Hathaway Peacecraft. I'll be joining alongside you all in training."
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria looked over at Boris as she finished coating herself, while she wasn't entirely disgusted by the situation. She wasn't exactly thrilled about the whole matter either, letting out a small sigh of defeat as she felt Boris nudge her and then get chased around the area by Alexei. She shook her head momentarily as Boris was doing whatever he could to not get covered in muck. Then eventually, it seemed like Alexei gave up on that thought as he slapped it on his belly.

When she looked back over at the other companion, he was explaining the whistle.
"Seems simple enough, comrade, I will keep it close, though the fact that I haven't really seen anything else here is slightly concerning," She replied back as she tucked the whistle away. She hoped the smell would wash out of her clothes later or else she would have to go and procure some new ones. But at least for the time being there was much to do.

When it was time to move out, Crymaria followed closely behind Alexei as they went further and further into the swamp. As they reached the land bridge, she watched the bearkin go first before attempting to follow his example of how he got across.
 
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Crymaria followed in Alexei's wake. The log was sturdy but its bark and wood were slightly slick. Even so, the girth of the log was such that a slip here and there did not turn into a critical imbalance. When she edged down to the submerged portion, she had to wade further out in order to make the jump from log to stump. As she made the first jump, her foot slipped slightly causing her launch to be imperfect. Her reflexes allowed her to awkwardly catch onto the side of the stump while her legs dangled into the water. Pulling herself up, the jump from stump to the next portion of landbridge was much easier due to Alexei holding a paw out to catch her as she crossed the gap. Boris cautiously lumbered after his master. His overall length enabled him to cross with relative ease, his claws cutting into the wood and earth to stabilize him.

Alexei nodded once they had all crossed and began to lead on. The landbridge continued, splitting off occasionally into tangent trails that led nowhere safe amidst the growing patches of water. As the puddles surrounding them expanded and merged, the trees seemed to change as well. These were old, thick trees that bulged at their bases as their roots engorged themselves to take in nutrients. That said, many of the trees had patches of branches broken off in mostly straight lines. As if taking ownership of these modifications, the rumbling croaks rang heavy and rhythmic in the air.

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Alexei suddenly stopped and held a paw up to halt his companions. He looked around a bit before turning to Crymaria. Pointing a claw at her, he then gestured to the upper boughs of a tree growing out of the side of the landbridge. Using his paws he mimed to her to climb the tree and look around.

Time: 7:00am






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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Daichi licked his broken lip before pressing his lips together in a grimace. With his back to the priest, he said over his shoulder in a weak voice, "Don't...don't call me 'sifu' here. Please, Hathaway."

Once in the kitchen, the cooks looked to Daichi, who informed them, "This one is a student." The pair of bearkin nodded before returning to what they were doing. Daichi hesitated a moment before turning to Hathaway. "Hathaway...do your best." He tried to muster a weak smile before turning and leaving.

The human grunted in response to Hathaway's introduction. He was peeling some potatoes as he introduced himself. "Hello. I'm Karsh, artist extraordinaire and apparent chef-in-training here at this prison camp. Hope you like pruned hands and mistreatment wrought by the paws of rude beastkin."

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After Daichi was gone, one of the bearkin looked to Hathaway and impatiently motioned for him to come over.

"Well, don't just stand there. We have a lot of hungry brothers to feed as well as ourselves. Uh, Karsh, go help Bolin on soup. Hathaway, was it? You're helping me with the vegetables. I'm Bai." The bearkin stooped down behind his counter and emerged with a bundle of carrots in his paws. Spreading them out on the counter, he grabbed a paring knife and set it beside the vegetables. "I'll handle the chopping. All you have to do is peel. Also, this station and its duties are just as much a part of your training as any other. While preparing the food, you'll be practicing blocking. To start, we'll focus on blocking your right side. You'll stand there peeling the carrots, and I'll be here on your right, chopping. Occasionally, I'll strike you and all you have to do is block. Don't worry: I won't be swinging a knife at you. Just paw strikes for now. Let's have a few practice strikes to start."

Bai stood beside Hathaway facing the counter. Suddenly, his paw shot towards Hathaway's arm. He returned to his neutral position, giving the vegetables before him a few chops before his paw once again jabbed towards Hathaway, aiming at his face this time. The blows were firm, but lacking force that might otherwise grievously wound Hathaway and render him unable to continue working. Bai chuckled as he more earnestly went about his chopping.

"Seems like you get the idea. We'll practice like this for awhile, then you'll come chop while I peel and we can train your left side how to block." Bai said, finishing with a whimsical elbow jab to Hathaway's ribs. Bai periodically restocked their stations with different vegetables as the recipe required. This went on for approximately twenty minutes before the pair switched sides and started again on Hathaway's left.

Meanwhile, Bolin had Karsh keeping the stew stirred, while he prepared some meat. Karsh could be heard complaining of the heat of the fire, making such comments as, "You might as well boil me while you're at it!" and "Hell's Bells, that ladle is hot!"

[Mechanical Note: The attacks in this exercise only contain Item and Stat components, rendering them at a more beginner-friendly effectiveness level. Any damage received is narratively assumed to be brushed off.]

Time: 10:45am
 
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Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon
“Uh…alright then”, Hathaway commented hesitantly upon Daichi's request and rough demeanor. The priest was unsure just what had become of him, but he made a mental note to ask later. In any case, it seemed more than just some rough training. After staring soberly at Daichi’s back, he returned his focus to the others in the kitchen.


Once he greeted both Bai, Bolin and Karsh, he followed the instructions he was given and assumed his position behind the counter. “I’m not surprised, I did similar jobs within the church.” he smiled and rolled up his sleeves. He cleaned his hands and returned to the counter. Hathaway was even excited to finally get to do something he was used to doing. Well that was before he found out about this ‘training’.


“I shouldn't even be surprised by now, but this is a completely new level,” Hathaway tensed up, and before he knew it he was already struck in the face. He did everything he could to not drop all he was doing and hold his face in pain. The priest returned to peeling the carrots, however his peeling was incredibly sloppy from diverting his focus against Bai’s attack. However his timing was off, and that led to him getting hit again.


“This really isn't pleasant, but I'll try my best” he grunted in both pain and annoyance from the blow to his ribs. Hathaway continued with his efforts, slowly trying to become accustomed to light attacks coming his way. His forearm doing whatever it could to block the strikes that landed more often than not. While his frustration was mounting, he let the training from his time as a priest take over. He wouldn't let himself be taken over by violent outburst, instead he tried to focus his mind on vegetables, from both peeling them and then cutting. Hathaway did what he could to keep his eyes on the task at hand, while also keeping his senses keen enough to the slight movements of Bai.
 
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Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria continued to follower their guide, though she was less than thrilled when she dripped her feet into the water due to her jump. Normally she would have clicked her tongue in this situation but she knew that silence was key here. So she simply rolled her eyes as she pulled herself back up on the log and eventually made it over to the far end as Alexei held out his paw to help her the last bit. Turning around she watched Boris move across with less trouble than she had.

As they continued further into the swamp, she made sure to avoid any of the pools of water. She didn't feel like taking a swim or ending up in the frogs stomach because she disturbed the water. Kind of reminded her of a play instead of don't drink the water its don't touch the water. Continuing along the path she noticed the branches and how they were broken into a straight line.
Must be from the frogs marking their territory maybe? She thought to herself as they eventually stopped.

Crymaria nodded at the gesture and then started to attempted to climb up to a tree to see if she could see anything of note.
 
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Crymaria approaches the tree. It is broad and easy for her to stand on the trunk as it grows in a slight crescent out and up from the landbridge. She runs into difficulty, however. The next branches are out of her reach. Here in the heart of the wetlands, the humidity makes the trees slick with moss and moisture preventing her from free climbing.

She'll need to figure out a way up the tree in order to scout for Alexei.

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Time: 7:05am






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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Though Bai was holding back, his strikes were still enough to stagger the priest. Realizing he was inflicting more damage than he intended on the priest, he gave Hathaway a reprieve for a moment as he took his time in relocating a batch of chopped veggies to the pot Karsh was still stirring. Bolin silently moved Karsh aside with his mass, pointing to the wash basin full of dirty dishes. Karsh grumbled as he rolled up his sleeves and moved to the sink.

When Bai returned to Hathaway's station, he motioned for the priest to take the chopping station. "Alright, Hathaway, let's switch. You'll chop and I'll peel. Chopping doesn't have to be pretty, so it should be easier for you to multitask here. You blocked some of my attacks at least, so I wouldn't say you're hopeless. Admittedly, the way I was testing you was a bit advanced, so I apologize for roughing you up. How about this time we do it right, ok?" Bai moved up to the counter and took the paring knife in his left hand. "Alright, this time, I'll call out where I'm striking, so you have a better chance of guarding. While we're at it, let's talk about guarding: since my unarmed strikes are blunt, you can use your arm to block them. If I were wielding something sharp, you wouldn't want to block these attacks with just your arm. Obvious, right? Anyway, you can block my blunt attacks with your arm, specifically, your forearm." Bai holds his own forearm up for Hathaway to see. "This time around all my attacks will come at you horizontally, or flat, so you can block just by holding your arm up straight like this to intercept them, adjusting for height as necessary. Don't use your wrist joint to block. Always try to make the hits land somewhere in this sturdier part of your forearm." He rubs his opposite hand on the flat side of his forearm that's facing out towards Hathaway. "It's bony up here at the wrist, and taking hits anywhere is rough when you're not used it, but if you keep up with your training, you'll toughen up. Alright, then. Ready...? Head!" Bai's chop swings out horizontally towards Hathaway's head.

Another twenty minutes passed in this manner. Bai's attacks were all called in advanced, and his swings came a tad slower. They ranged from Hathaway's head to his stomach.

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[Mechanical Note: The attacks in this exercise only contain Item and Stat components, rendering them at a more beginner-friendly effectiveness level. Any damage received is narratively assumed to be brushed off.]

Time: 11:05am
























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Ciu'nan
| Fae | Merry |
Merry - character is frequently overcome with fae like merriment. While more respectable individuals may try to hide their amusement at improper times, character freely displays their amusement. It is often contagious.
 
Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon
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This certainly wasn't anything like his cooking efforts in the church. Never in his dreams did he think that being struck while trying to prepare food. Yet here he was. It was truly an odd moment in his life that he didn't think he would come to. However, that only further proved just how little he understood what it meant to become strong. Was it consistently going through such outlandish situations? Only by conquering this trial could that question be answered.

In listening to Bai's instructions, Hathaway rubbed his sore stomach, wrist and face. The blows had apparently not been too hard, but the amount would certainly add up to a bit of pain that irritated him. "Don't use my wrist to block, eh? Wish i would have known that sooner. Better late than never though. It's a brutal way to look at it, but the pain is a good reminder," he spoke regrettably while also keeping in mind what Akim's though process would be. Once he understood the assignment, the priest moved to chop the vegetables while keeping his awareness of Bai's attacks.

Systematically, he chopped the vegetables and slid them across the counter with the knife. When the call and the blows inevitably came, he did what he could to block them with the flat the side of his forearm. Still he would occasionally miss his timing by either missing the blow entirely or blocking on the wrong side of the forearm. "Then that generally means, having tougher arms helps with defense for blocking, yes? I didn't think about it in that aspect before.... Well that's the case for blunt strikes anyways. For blades, would it be speed for evasion?" he pondered while in the midst of his rhythm of cutting and blocking. His concentration and form was becoming better, but in the haze of his questioning he started to become anxious of the potential of having to evade slashes from blades as apart of training.

The momentary horror caused a distraction that was enough to comedically land him a blow to the head. "Agh!.....That one...didn't count."
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria having slid back down to the crescent, let out a small sigh. Pondering for a few moments, she then decides to attempt to punch the tree to make places to grab onto and to place her feet as she once again tries to climb. Though she hoped the idea wouldn't make too much noise that it would alert anything nearby.
 
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Alexei had stalked a few yards further along the landbridge while waiting for Crymaria to climb the tree. He suddenly turned back at sudden crunching sounds emanating from the tree. Crymaria's fists easily removed chunks of the tree with each impact. The bearkin's eyes widened as a grimace curled his jowls. He returned to scouting around them while silently mouthing the word 'humans' while shaking his head.

Eventually, Crymaria's makeshift handholds got her up to the upper boughs of the tree. Her short stature complicated the climb in some spots, but her original tactic of punching the tree would similarly serve her in its upper limits as well. Finding a sturdy limb to maneuver out on, the Russian monk would have a good vantage point of their surroundings.

By now, daylight had illuminated the all encompassing gray cast by the overcast sky above the canopy. The light was dim, but it was enough to see by even for those without darkvision. A translucent layer of mist hung in the air level with Crymaria's position.

Their surroundings were a mixture of dark shadows against a distant backdrop of light gray. The taller, thinner shadows were the trees with their branches jutting out like arms raised towards the sky. Occasionally, the silhouette of a bird would fly between the silhouettes of the trees. Down below, the ground was a mixture of shadow and light. The solid shadows revealed where the ground was, but the overwhelming majority of the floor's surface was covered in water that reflected the light and shadow of those things above. Ripples suddenly appeared as various creature dove into or emerged from the water. As Crymaria watched, some kind of serpent actively glided along the water's surface heading away from her parallel to the landbridge.

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The air still reverberated with the droning of the large frogs. From her position in the tree, Crymaria would notice that the sound, which had seemed to fully envelope the space around her while on the ground, was now very much beneath her. Tracing its direction with her gaze would have her looking out over one of the expansive puddles to the right of the landbridge. Through the fog and gray light, the vaguest mound of a shadow could be seen far in the distance past the darkened trees.

Suddenly, the droning call of the frogs quieted momentarily as an unsettling silence overtook the wetland. The form moved, contracted almost, as Crymaria watched it. Then it shot upward accompanied by a cacophany of snapping sounds and subsequent splashing sounds. A moment later more snapping sounds echoed over the water followed by an impact. The creature's new location was somewhere several yards ahead and off to the left of the landbridge.

From her vantage point, Crymaria couldn't be sure how high it jumped, but the creature most certainly broke the canopy some 30 feet above ground level. Down below, Alexei had flattened himself to the ground when the snapping had started. He remained prone still even after the presumed landing. Boris waited anxiously at the base of the tree, huffing out his nose and looking in the direction of the impact. Alexei slowly began inching along the ground backwards towards the tree.

Time: 7:15am






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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Outside, the rain had arrived with the slightest hissing sound as the droplets made landfall on the monastery. The students drilling in the courtyard continued even as the precipitation fell, a testament to their discipline.

In the kitchen, Bolin had swung the arm that suspended the pot of soup over the fire out of the fireplace. Giving it a few final stirs, he withdrew the ladle, tapping it a few times on the pot's rim before hanging it on a hook over the fireplace. Moving a trolley underneath the pot, Bolin unlatched the pot from the fireplace arm, which he swung back over the fire. The ladle was then retrieved and hooked onto the cart. Bai swiped at Hathaway a few more times before handing him a final freshly peeled potato.

"Hope you're hungry." said the bearkin, while wiping his hands on his apron. "Chop that potato and toss it in the pot. Hey, Karsh, finish what you're doing and come help us. We're going to set the bowls out."

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A noise of impatience escaped the artist-turned-dishwasher. Next to him on the drying racks were a multitude of freshly washed bowls.

"Finally! About time my labor is rewarded! I'm famished. It's not like I signed up for the monastery life. I should be able to eat when I want!" This and other grumblings escaped in a cascading tirade as Karsh dried his hands. Bai rolled his eyes as he fetched a cart.

"Get those bowls out of the drying racks and stack them upside down on this cart." Bai instructed as he started grabbing up spoons.

Karsh would help Hathaway with the bowls, hurriedly stacking them in precarious columns. He rushed around Hathaway, not allowing the priest to slow their progress nor prolong the time until his next meal. Bolin had maneuvered the trolley with the pot to the door leading to the dining hall. Bai would beckon Karsh and Hathaway with his paw as he followed Bolin out.

Bolin would maneuver the steaming pot of soup to the head of the long table spanning the hall. Once the bowl cart had been brought out, Bai would give further direction.

"Wheel the cart down each side of the table and place twenty bowls on each side." Bai said.

He would follow after placing a spoon next to each bowl. As they were laying the last placements, the door to the dining hall opened. The bearkin that were training filed in out of the rain, a trail of water formed as it dripped from their clothing and fur. Maintaining their orderly line, the students filed around the table until each was in front of a placement, remaining standing once they had come to a stop. Bai motioned for Hathaway and Karsh to join him opposite to Bolin, who stood on the other side of the soup pot. Karsh grumbled something something about the fact that he STILL couldn't eat as he fell in line next to Bolin. Once everyone was in place, the hall was quiet as everyone stood, waiting for some cue that had not yet come.

Time: 11:20am









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Ciu'nan
| Fae | Merry |
Merry - character is frequently overcome with fae like merriment. While more respectable individuals may try to hide their amusement at improper times, character freely displays their amusement. It is often contagious.
Ciu'nan would awaken to a commotion at the tavern. Moaning could be heard from several rooms. Sounds of urgent voices and shuffling steps filled the hallways. At one point, she thought she heard one of the catkin calling for help. Chancing a peek, she cracked her door open and poked her head out. Gray was holding White as he hurriedly drug him down the hall.

"Hold on, my friend! We'll see Lady Bao. She'll know what to do!" Gray reassured his friend as they limped along.

Ciu'nan ducked back in her room as other doors were hurriedly opened elsewhere. She slowly walked back to her bed and slowly sat down. Retching sounds came from a room adjacent to hers. A sudden outbreak? The festival had been going on for three days now, but there were no signs of problems til now. Was this contagious? Was Ciu'nan in danger? She had a mission though....

Her hand rose and combed through her hair agitatedly. This was not good at all. She stood suddenly and paced to the door. Stopping abruptly she turned one way, then stopped and redirected again. What was right? What should she do? Then she turned to where her spear should be and only saw its holster. Her spear was at Beh'zig's still. If this is an outbreak of some kind, then she should grab her spear sooner than later. If this is an outbreak, though....

"I'll need a cure in case I'm infected as well." she mumbled to herself. "I have to go to Lady Bao too...but, first, my spear."

She quickly gathered her things. It was time to go. Grabbing her sling, Ciu'nan started to throw it around her shoulder but stopped herself. Sighing in disgust, she pulled the sling off and threw it on her bed. Pretend time was over. Collecting a few final things, she quickly exited her room.

Time: 7:50am
 
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Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
Clyvelle Clyvelle saxon saxon
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Hathaway continued his constant operations of preparing the food and shielding himself from his instructor's attacks. As his hands were becoming more accustomed to the movements, he caught notice of the rain starting to stir outside of the window. Thinking back on the students from earlier, it was a wonder if such conditions would even bother them. However there was something else of importance, he hoped that both Crymaria and Ciu'nan were doing well out there.

Oh course, such distraction yet again earned him a blow to the stomach. Grunting in both pain and annoyance, the priest regained his focus and proceeded to deal with the incoming strikes while finishing the meal. There wasn't even time for him to even be proud of himself, as the sudden urge of hunger assailed him. "Ah, that's right. I had been to focused on not getting hurt that I had forgotten my own hunger. Ignorance is truly bliss as they say," Hathaway bemoaned as he forced himself to turn away from the freshly prepared meals.

It seemed as if Karsh was also feeling the temptation of hunger. Though the man wasn't exactly keeping his patience under control. With a raised eyebrow, Hathaway had to wonder just what was going on with him. Seeing the flood of bear-kin enter the hall only further put a spotlight of them being the only two humans there. He wanted to ask Karsh how he had also been allowed in, considered Akim's nature. That question would have to be asked for another time however, as they assuming the positions they had been ordered to by Bai.

Seeing the other students around him, and their hardened manner, almost remained him of soldiers. Hathaway was smart enough to know to keep his lips shut and await orders.
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria upon reaching the top of the tree shielded her eyes form the sun as she looked out over the wilderness. While she tried to be as quiet as she could there was only so much that could be muffled. On top of that if the legends were true then the large frogs would be very acute, which was something she knew she was going to have to pay attention to. Though she could have done without the mist that hung in the air though it didn't seem to hinder her sight.

She shifted her gaze toward the water as she started to scan for any creatures or movement that was nearby. Watching the ripple spread across the water, she squinted her eyes attempting to get a better idea of what exactly it was. Though she had to admit that the serpent was a shock as she didn't expect to see something of that size, which made her being to wonder why the frogs were such a threat with that.

When the large shadow jumped up into the air and then landed back in the water her eyes went wide.
Well I suppose the legend about the jump isn't so much of a legend anymore. But that is still not something I want to get eaten by that is for sure. She thought to herself as she then started to make her way down the tree and back to the ground. Seeing the other two Crymaria pointed to the spot next to the land bridge where the creature landed in the water.
 
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From his place on the ground, Alexei gingerly waved a paw to tell Crymaria to get prone as he was. His shaggy fur with its green tint and mingled with the mud from earlier served to camouflage him well. The bearkin could be mistaken for a mossy patch from a distance. When Crymaria joined him on the ground, Alexei began muttering instructions to her.

"Awright, just stay low. This one's wandered a bit far afield. We'll keep an eye on 'im for a bit. Hopefully he moves on."

The silhouette of the frog sat motionless for several minutes where it had landed. Its sides inflated and contracted with its droning call. After some time, the frog began pushing its face into the water and forcefully lifting up, launching water and other debris. After a few moments of this, it paused its thrashing to raise a limb and rub its face. Then it sat for a moment seemingly content before turning to look a different direction. After a moment spent in contemplation, it began crawling away through the bog.

Alexei would wait til the splashing sounds of the frog's movement faded before standing and motioning for Crymaria to do the same. He was about to issue orders when there was a flash of movement on the ground. The scout was taken by surprise as a serpent, not unlike the one Crymaria had seen earlier, latched onto his lower leg. A low growl escaped Alexei as he tried to focus through the pain of the bite. While he knelt to try and pry the snake off his leg, Boris trundled over, chomped down on the snake's body and tugged him, much to Alexei's dismay as the teeth hadn't quite become dislodged.

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Through their combined effort, the snake was eventually removed. Alexei would then retrieve his blade and sever the serpent's head, allowing Boris to freely thrash the remaining body around. The bearkin slowly sank to the ground, panting as he examined his new trophy.

"Bog eels, I call 'em. Not like normal snakes. These beasties have too many teeth." He pried the mouth open for Crymaria to see rows upon rows of teeth inside. "Not too bright in that they usually strike only once hoping you bleed out afore you can remove 'em. Works just fine for smaller prey, I s'pose. Not for the likes o' me though, heh." Alexei tore a strip from his cloak and tied it around the wound, a sharp exhalation escaping him as he pulled the bandage taut. "They have a cousin around here that is a true snake. Very poisonous. Lucky that wasn't one of them with your bear chomping into it willy-nilly like that. Lucky for me too, I s'pose."

Alexei stuck his sword into the ground as he pulled himself to a kneeling position. He hobbled on his knees over to the water's edge, sheathing his blade as he did so, and dug a paw into the shallows by the landbridge. He brought up a handful of muck then cupped his paws together, allowing excess water to drip out. Once the dripping slowed, he applied the drier muck to the exterior of his bandage, panting occasionally as he did so.

Since Boris was within reach, pawing at the eel carcass still, Alexei threw an arm over his back and used him to stand up. Taking a moment to steady himself, he turned to Crymaria.

"We're still on the outskirts of the Watering Hole. That was just a wanderer. We still need to confirm where the main group is. Guarantee they aren't far now." Alexei said under his breathe.

Time: 8:00am






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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

They waited in silence for what seemed an eternity to the hungry and tired. While the bearkin held their peace and simply waited, Karsh was not so content. He began to fidget in the smothering quiet, until he had had enough. Throwing his hands up as he gave an agitated sigh, Karsh stepped away from Bolin and maneuvered over to the table where he snatched up a bowl.

"You all can wait if you like, but I'm not a monk, nor a bear, nor anything else that might qualify me to wait like this!" He exclaimed as he approached Bolin and the pot of soup. "Now you fill my bowl, bearkin!" Bolin was unfazed by Karsh's insistence, but his face was largely nonexpressive to begin with.

Before any further actions could be taken, the drapery hanging over an interior doorway was pulled aside as Daichi entered the hall followed by Akim. The latter stood at the head of the room behind the kitchen crew and the pot of soup. Daichi took his place beside him. Akim leveled his snout dangerously at Karsh's position. The artist knew he was no match for the challenge issued in Akim's stare, but hunger drives the most sensible creature mad. Since Bolin would not relinquish the ladle, Karsh defiantly dipped his bowl into the cauldron. Raising the savory broth to his lips, he drink deeply, offering a satisfied sigh when he finally lowered the bowl.

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The room was still. Only the rain outside provided a soundtrack for the tension now rising between Karsh and Akim, who had locked eyes after the former's act of defiance. Finally, Akim closed his eyes for a moment.

"Karsh I want you to look around you at the others in this room." Karsh immediately tried to backtalk, but Akim insisted with a deep growl, "LOOK AT THEM!" The artist recoiled from the sifu as he uncertainly began to look around at the students. Those who had come in from the rain were still dripping wet. It was apparent that some, like Hathaway, were tired. All of them still stood at attention where they had been standing since they came in. "Do you see this room full of 'animals', human? Most have not had a meal in as long or longer than you. Even so, there they stand, waiting. Waiting for me. Waiting for Daichi. And, yes, even waiting for you, so that we are all assembled and can share this meal together. Tell me, human, why can a pack of tired, hungry animals show more restraint than you?" Akim took a few steps over to stand behind Hathaway. "Perhaps my newest student can show me a better side to humanity than what you have displayed here today." Karsh's shoulders drooped as he cradled his bowl. "Now then, if you are finished with your little tantrum, how about you make it up to everyone by taking Bolin's place and serving us our soup?"

Bolin silently handed the ladle over to Karsh, while extending his free hand to receive Karsh's bowl from him. Karsh relented and awkwardly moved into Bolin's spot as the bearkin moved aside for him.

"May Orson and the Alpha Father Torben bless this meal that we share with our brethren and our friends. Let us eat." said Akim formally initiating the meal.

In order, one side of the table and then the other grabbed their bowls and filed up to the front to receive soup from Karsh. The kitchen staff were served after that. Finally, Akim came down and personally filled a bowl and handed it to Karsh. The artist bowed his head as he accepted it.

"A little dramatic, don't you think, Akim?" a small voice suddenly spoke up. There standing in the doorway through which the sifu had entered the feast hall was a short red panda.

"Master Jia, I thought you'd be bedridden for months after your...accident." said Akim grabbing a bowl and filling it for the newly arrived guest.

Time: 11:30am

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Ciu'nan
| Fae | Merry |
Merry - character is frequently overcome with fae like merriment. While more respectable individuals may try to hide their amusement at improper times, character freely displays their amusement. It is often contagious.
Ciu'nan stalked through the hallways of the inn, cautious to avoid places where the sick were. She would quicken her pace whenever someone was approaching their door as she passed. When she arrived at the tavern lobby, she breathed a sigh of relief. Looking over the banister, the room was fairly empty. It was still early, but there would usually be someone up. The barkeep noticed her as she descended the stairs to the ground floor.

"Are you well?" he called to her, concerned but not wanting to draw any closer.

"For now, at least." Ciu'nan replied.

"Please don't go spreading rumors that my inn poisoned folk, would ya? It's the honest truth that this is the first time anything like this has happened here--especially during the feast!"

"If it's food poisoning, it's not like anyone will die, right? You only really need to panic when people start dying, I'd imagine."
Ciu'nan said as she pulled her cloak tighter about her person and exited the building.

The town of Kruhrin was strangely peaceful despite the pandemonium in the tavern. Ciu'nan did take note that there seemed to be a few more individuals moving along the main road up to the administration terrace. Even as she was walking, doors would open as creatures emerged in a rush all flowing the same way to the Town Hall.

Ciu'nan put space between herself and everyone else, which was made easier when their paths diverged at the top. Everyone seeking medical treatment went left towards the town hall. Ciu'nan would exit stage right where Beh'zig's cottage sat not far from the caves. No lights were on as she walked up to the front door. Ciu'nan raised a hand to knock, but hesitated after remembering how her previous encounter with Anasi went. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she was about to knock when she heard a voice inside. It sounded a bit concerned. Steeling herself, Ciu'nan rapped the door with her knuckles.

"B...Beh'zig? It's Ciu'nan. I was wondering if my spear was"--the door suddenly flew open--"done...?"

What stood before Ciu'nan was the bearkin known as Beh'zig, but he looked nothing like how he did on previous encounters. Much of his fur was missing. The flesh left bare was yellowish and splotchy. One of his eyes had even been tinged a sickly pink. Ciu'nan recoiled in surprise.

"I-It's Anasi! She woke up suddenly, vomited a few times, and passed out. Sh-She was fine last night!" Beh'zig stammered nervously. He noticed Ciu'nan's look of horror, and then looked down at himself. "Oh, right, uh...come in." Beh'zig went back inside, leaving the door open for Ciu'nan. The fae hesitantly stepped onto the threshold to see Beh'zig rummaging through the contents on a table. Plucking up a ring, he hurriedly slid it over his finger. Immediately, his appearance changed back to normal. "An illusion ring so I'm less...off-putting for others."

Ciu'nan chanced a few more steps into his dwelling.

"Beh'zig...are you ok...?" she asked.

The bearkin shook his head.

"No, no. I'm not important. I-I have to worry about Anasi. She's in trouble! Uh, Your spear is over there on my work table. I was nearly done with the leather wrappings. Oh, Anasi...!" He went into a back room, while Ciu'nan went to inspect her spear. He had fixed the blade and even touched up the bindings and leather in such a short amount of time. Ciu'nan finished wrapping the leather and secured it as best she could. Sounds of Beh'zig protesting, could be heard from the back as Anasi staggered into the doorway.

"You...." she said without the fire she showed yesterday. "...you have...your spear...now...get out...." She slid down the doorframe she was leaning against. Beh'zig was immediately behind her trying to scoop her up when her mouth lolled open and dark ichor spewed out. Ciu'nan gasped as Beh'zig turned away, seemingly trying not to puke as well. "C-Come on, Anasi. Let's get back to bed."

"I-I'm going to see Lady Bao. Beh'zig Anasi isn't the only one sick. You should bring her there to get looked at before she gets any worse."
Ciu'nan said crossing halfway to the back room. There was no answer. Ciu'nan hesitantly turned and exited their home.

Time: 8:15am
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria, now safely back on the ground, was about to walk toward her companions when Alexei motioned for her to get down on the ground. Having gotten on the ground she made her way over toward one of her companions on this mission. "Comrade Alexei, there are snake-like creatures in the area as well, though apparently, the frogs can jump quite high." She explained as she continued to watch the frog they were observing. Though she had to admit that the frogs didn't look all that big of a threat, though looks could be deceiving and she knew that for a fact. But she couldn't help but wonder why there weren't any traps or anything to keep the frogs away set up.

As the frog thrashed about, she shielded her eyes as water and debris were kicked up. Crymaria kept her eyes on the direction the frog had moved off toward, and she didn't see the serpent that was coming up either. She didn't even notice anything was wrong until Alexei let out a low growl, and when she looked over, Boris had already clamped down on the serpent, and then Alexei finished it off. She nodded her head as he explained the creature. Though it seemed like the bearkin had chosen a place of relative danger close to the city.

"As I stated earlier Comrade, I saw more of them further in the bog. Though I didn't see that many frogs I only saw the one close by. But if we follow the sounds it should lead us to them no?" She replied as she watched him apply the bandage and then get back up slowly. Though that concerned her a bit, if he was slower now then if there was any trouble that significantly lowered their odds of getting away without fighting.

Looking over to Boris Crymaria patted the bears head as he continued to play with the dead eel. "Well then, I suppose we should continue on; the sooner we find what we are looking for, the sooner Comrade Bao can look at your makeshift dressing," She smirked as he waited for her guide to once again lead the way further into the bog. The whole situation seemed like it was only going to get far more interesting.
 
Hathaway
Titles: [Human], [Priest], [Landless Lord]
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Hathaway was watching closely at the interaction between the man and Akim. Considering the way the two of them had acted prior, he wasn't surprised the way they clashed against one another. There was also the fact that as usual, Akim gave off a heavy aura that made the air itself heavy.


Still, there was something that nagged at Hathaway's mind once Akim said Karsh's name. 'Karsh...Karsh...oh yes, him!! That's the artist we wanted to question about Jia's incident!' The priest had been so consumed with his training that his mind was off the accident that they were investigating. 'When I get the chance, I need to speak with him' he thought to himself, making sure to keep track of where Karsh was.


Once it was time for the meal, Hathaway didn't waste any time and proceeded to maul the meal. He was so hungry that his manners were thrown out the window. Despite how bad he felt about it, no one around him seemed to care. The next surprise was Jia himself entering into the hall. The priest proceeded to stand from his seat and hurried to meet Jia.


"Mr. Jia!-" Hathaway spoke worriedly but once he saw Akim near, he bowed in respect before continuing. "Are you already healed up?! I'm glad to see you're able to move around!"
 
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Alexei led the way forward. He limped on the leg that had been bitten, but it did not seem to hamper his mobility by much. That said, his gait generally became more methodical, each step purposeful, as he maneuvered along the landbridge.

The ambient light of daytime was strong enough now despite the storm clouds far overhead to light the sunken wetland decently. Gray light filtered down through the canopy, illuminating the hazy air of the bog. Distant objects were reduced to dark silhouettes against the fog.

The trio followed after the frog, using the landbridge as a guide to lead them into the Watering Hole. Even an outsider like Crymaria might discern where the boundary lie between the outskirts and the inner Watering Hole. The landbridge rose up higher so that its surface was about 18 inches above the water surface and for a brief span, it stretched out to either side creating a large swath of dry, high ground that divided what was behind them from what lay before them. Additionally, the ground became increasingly more littered with broken limbs--some of considerable size. In some areas, whole upper halves of trees could be seen floating in the water or propped up on neighboring trees and other structures that caught them as they fell.

Beyond the stretch of high ground, land did indeed become more sparse. That said, there was a path constructed with the broken branches and chunks of tree that allowed one to traverse above the water. These wooden paths were laid out all over the place and appeared to be a mixture of both accidental and purposeful construction. Moss had grown over sections of these manufactured paths, showing the discerning individual which paths had been in place longer.

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The familiar drone could be heard in the air, chorused by many other voices now. When they harmonized at the right frequency, the very water here vibrated. The air in one's lungs likewise reverberated with the volume of the croaking. Indeed, the entirety of the Watering Hole stretching out around them seem to tremor with the call of these creatures.

Alexei sidled up behind a tree, peeking around it at the area ahead of them before turning back to Crymaria and Boris.

"Awright, this is it. All we have to do is pin down where they are at within the Watering Hole. We roughly have the area divided into fourths, so we'll see which part they're congregated in and then our job is mostly done. Usually the scouting team would split up to make this part faster, but since you're new and I'm gimped, let's stick together this time." Alexei turned back to the Watering Hole before them, listening. He turned his head this way and that, then poked around the other side of the tree and did the same. "Sounds like they might be close to the center, favoring the southeast quadrant. Let's head off to the right and work our way around. Heading straight there is just asking for trouble."

Following his plan, the moss-colored scout stalked over to a fallen tree that had landed in the crook of a neighboring tree, creating a ramp upward. Bending his knees slightly, he easily walked up the tree to its neighbor. Boris would find this particular tree too narrow for him to comfortably walk on. He would opt to cross through the watery ground below unless told otherwise.

Time: 8:28am






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On the southwestern corner of the meadow nestled at the top of a mountain, sits the monastery of Kruhrin. Disguised as a mundane mountain village, the monastery houses the bearkin monks dedicated to Orson. As ordinary in appearance as the town itself, the monks look no different from farmers and simple folk.

The main building served as the dojo where the bearkin honed their bodies and martial arts. Dummies of wood and stone were arranged in various chambers for different levels of practice. One room had weapons lining the wall, while another was set up like a tea room. Whether they were simply disciplined or secretly preparing for something was anyone's guess.

Jia took the bowl from Akim and joined him and Daichi at a table off to the side of the hall. Akim grabbed an extra spoon for the new guest and sat opposite him. After handing off the spoon, Akim took a few bites of his soup, savoring each, while Jia did the same, neither one saying a word. Upon Hathaway coming over, Jia looked up at him with a contemplative look.

"Yes, lad, I'm back up and moving again." replied Jia, then to Akim, "The monastery accepts human priests now? You've become quite progressive, Akim."

"His presence here is a whim. Nothing more. I found him calling young Daichi 'master' yesterday."
Akim glanced to Daichi beside him. "An oversight that has since been addressed."

Jia looked at Daichi's bruised face. The master's expression remained placid.

"So it would seem." said Jia simply before returning to his soup.

The table was quiet for a short while.

"I am sure you did not come here to share a bowl of soup with me, Jia. What is it you want?" Akim asked finally.

Jia took another bite of soup, then used his spoon to point at Hathaway.

"That one, for starters."

Akim turned to Hathaway then back to Jia. His brow furrowed slightly.

"You would remove my student on his first day of training?" Akim asked.

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"I would." came Jia's flat reply as he slurped another spoonful of soup.

"By what authority?" Akim challenged.

Jia had picked up his bowl and was about to drink the remainder of his soup down, but lowered it long enough to reply to his fellow bearkin, "Akim, we aren't in Kuridan anymore. We don't answer to each other's authority here. I come as one of the Three Bears to safely reclaim one who was up until recently our guest. That is all."

Akim watched Jia finish his bowl of soup.

"You do not think I can protect him here? Why did you send the noisy artist here then?"

"As a joke, mostly. I like teasing him."
Jia said as a playful grin broke out on his face.

Akim struck the table.

"What are you not telling me, Jia?" demanded the sifu.

Jia's grin slowly dropped off his face. He cleared his throat as he sat up a bit straighter in his chair and turned to Hathaway.

"Boy, I believe you and your compatriots were investigating a matter for the council, yes? Can you tell Akim what you were investigating and why?"



Time:
11:40am

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Ciu'nan
| Fae | Merry |
Merry - character is frequently overcome with fae like merriment. While more respectable individuals may try to hide their amusement at improper times, character freely displays their amusement. It is often contagious.
Outside of Beh'zig's cabin, Ciu'nan lingered by the door, hoping he'd come to his senses. She was also curious about his apparent disfigurement and desired to know what happened to him. After waiting several moments, however, Beh'zig did not appear.

Ciu'nan sighed. Anasi...The giantess made her stance pretty clear. Even now in her current state, she still had the gall to tell Ciu'nan off. The fae's hands raised to anxiously tug on a dark strand of hair as her legs began moving to the town hall. Hating Anasi would be justified, but Ciu'nan found herself agreeing with the woman's protective stance. Isn't what Anasi was doing the same as what Ciu'nan was doing here in Kruhrin? The same as what she had done in that other life for her children? No, hate was not an option here, but Ciu'nan could afford some pity for Anasi. Being a protector and defender was not easy. Pity for Anasi and Beh'zig both. He obviously had endured something rather awful as well. Now he had to see his mate go through this awful sickness....

Ciu'nan's hands slowed to a more methodical pace as they pulled on her hair. On the note of her sickness, what Anasi vomited just then had been dark. And that was after allegedly vomiting "a few times" prior. Food poisoning could make her sick once, maybe twice, but this seems to be beyond the scope of simple food poisoning. Ciu'nan recalled that she had heard others retching at the inn as well. Was their ichor just as dark? Did they vomit as much as Anasi supposedly had?

Maybe Lady Bao had seen something like this before. Maybe she would have an answer. Ciu'nan picked up her pace and began jogging to the town hall.

Time: 8:30am
 

Character Grade - E

Titles: Human, Martial Artist, West Empire Adventurer, Do-Gooder, Loyal

mentions: Clyvelle Clyvelle Kenju Law Kenju Law

Actions/Cooldown

Crymaria, wiped some sweat from the back of her neck as her hair had gotten stuck too. Letting out a small sigh she lifted her ushanka and pushed her hair into the hat before pressing it down. With her hair now up and away from the back of her neck she continued to follow their guide deeper into the swamp. As the branches of fallen trees became more evident, she was curious as to if there was always this many branches likes this or if there was something else going on. "Comrade Alexei, is there usually this many branches and trees uprooted in this part of the swamp?" She inquired keeping her voice down so that only the bear could hear it.

As the drone returned, Crymaria glanced around with her eyes; it didn't sound close, but one could never be too careful. Not to mention the thought of attempting to freeze a frog from the inside out might not be the thing at the top of her list to do. As they took a tactical pause and Alexei explained the next part of the plan. She simply nodded her head as it seemed to be the most efficient way of doing so. "Seems like that is the best way to get around this, though that tree does look pretty narrow," She pointed out as she started to follow Alexei up the tree to cross to the next part, stopping mid-way to look back over her shoulder.

"Comrade Boris, you can cross the water, I'll watch overhead, but with your size I doubt many things would attempt to sneak up on you," She pointed out as she waited midway on the tree until Boris made it across or he ran into trouble before continuing to the other side of the water. Though she was at least from the immediate area, there didn't seem to be any threats. But there could always be something lurking around which was why she was watching Boris cross before moving ahead.
 

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