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Fantasy [Isekai Hell] Shadows Amidst the Snowstorm



Rusty from the Rain
Roleplay Availability
Roleplay Type(s)
This Roleplay is part of the Isekai Hell setting. More information regarding the world and its denizens can be found [here].

This Roleplay is a direct continuation of [A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing].

This Roleplay will follow Ceylan, Seth, and Ricti as they travel to Miller's Hollow hoping to end a curse plaguing the area.

Ceylan will be played by Elvario Elvario

Seth will be played by Tattletale Tattletale

Ricti will be played by SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

Narration will be provided by me, Vaudivolt Vaudivolt

Last Chance Ranch.jpgNorth of the Paizu Mountains lay a little ranch most peculiar. It is a place where the mountains' cold does not yet reach, but its long shadows recently did. This lonesome little ranch, nestled into the sparse hills near the mountains' base, offers a one-of-a-kind deal that earned it the nickname 'Last Chance Ranch'. It referred to the final chance for wandering souls to take shelter for the night before braving the Paizu Mountains. Free of charge. All expenses are paid for by the ranch's owner, a minotaur woman named Nona Stoutwalker. And she does so out of selfless kindness and a deep understanding of the Paizu Mountains' unforgiving nature. Still, only last night, those mountains released upon her a stark reminder that her charity work did not exempt her from becoming a target of its inhabitants.

However, the sun had risen since, and in the light of midday, any who wandered near the property would only be able to spot the aftermath of it all. The woodwork of the fences and the windmill appeared riddled with deep claw marks. The light scent of iron lingered in an otherwise pleasant breeze, carried from the streaks of red covering the swaying grasses. An airy tune of chirping birds peacefully coexisted with the occasional bleat of a nervous sheep. The only thing an onlooker could not discern was that the monstrous culprit had already gotten dealt with. Its cursed remains burned away by sunlight in the nearby woods while Cenric, the ex-host of the culprit, sat in the ranch's farmhouse. And he was enjoying a hearty lunch alongside the Wandering Saint, Ceylan, and the ranch's hostess, Nona Stoutwalker.

Nona Stoutwalker
tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgInside the farmhouse, the warm and cozy atmosphere almost made up for all that had happened that morning. It was a simple and rustic haven of hardwood furniture dressed up with wool carpets and rugs dyed in different hues. The only notable difference in the aesthetic was the brick fireplace used to combat the eventual chill of night. But, for the time being, it remained unlit as the warm sunlight shining through the windows sufficed. Still, even when surrounded by the warmth and comfort of her home, Nona grew more restless the longer her meal stared back at her. Shifting at the dining table, she could not get another bite down her throat as long as a nasty feeling of dread filled her gut.

Wolves are pack animals...” She appeared to mutter to the remainder of her meal before glancing up at Ceylan across the table. “I've got a bad feeling about it, bishop...

She glanced down at her meal once more and then scowled. Placing her hands loudly on the table's surface to draw attention and assist her in standing up. “I need some fresh air!” She proclaimed before distancing herself from the table. “Please, don't mind me and finish your meals.

I insist...” She added with a forced smile before leaving through the front door. Closing the door behind her, she leaned against it and took a deep breath of mountain air. Nona immediately regretted thinking it would give her any peace of mind. The hint of iron burrowed its way into her ringed nose and practically forced her to start assessing the damage done to her ranch. And as she began her inspection of the property, she also kept a watchful eye out for any movement outside her fences. After last night, she would not let herself get caught off-guard again.

After Nona excused herself to go outside, Cenric began feeling a sense of unease as though the minotaur woman had passed her lack of appetite onto him. Not only because he could feel the words of the shadow looming, but he also felt the silence creeping in on the table. Without Nona present to lead a conversation, he suddenly needed to stave off the silence in her stead. And his eyes began darting across the room. Carefully avoiding Ceylan's gaze as they searched for a topic. Anything other than that topic...

Say, bishop...” He began, hoping the words would naturally come if he started a sentence. “Actually, never mind...” No such luck. It almost felt like his mind was refusing to produce any topic other than those related to Miller's Hollow. Cenric sighed and eventually gave in.

Are you planning on leaving for Miller's Hollow, bishop?” He hesitantly asked but showed his commitment to the conversation topic by pushing his plate away from him. Focussing on the warning he was about to give Ceylan rather than his meal. “I understand it seems like you must, but I suggest you stay away...

There's no living there, only surviving.” He added with a sudden air of seriousness growing around his timid exterior. “If the wolves don't get to you first... lady Leontine might.


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Mentions: Vaudivolt Vaudivolt (The ranch in general)

After several days trudging through the wilderness of Ryke and the East of the Republic, Seth was just about ready to admit to himself that he was definitely a city boy. Oh, he could rough it out and sleep under the stars without issue, and he was fit enough to march for hours, but his sense of direction… Well, it had turned a few weeks of travel into almost a month. Still, from the small camp he set up last night, he could make out the Paizu Mountains, cutting a dark outline against the blue morning sky. He must have been close.

The mercenary rubbed his feet to relieve the numbness and put on his boots, ready to stamp out the remains of tonight's fire. With a satisfied grunt and a cursory check of his equipment, he departed and set a light pace towards the colossal mountain range. However, after not even ten minutes of walking, he crested a low hill and what he saw beyond stopped him cold. The ranch he had been looking for the last few days was just over there, barely a few minutes away from where he had camped! He could have arrived yesterday with ease, instead of spending a night out in the cold.

He sighed. “Well, at least I'm finally here. Maybe I can have a proper meal for a change.” Seth resumed his way towards the ranch, thinking about the luxury of not eating hardtack for the fourth day in a row, when he noticed that it was in pretty rough shape. First he saw the fences, then the windmill, though it was difficult to tell from afar what had caused the damage. “Maybe a storm? Or is it…?” Finally, the wind changed, bringing a scent that spoke to him of a battle fought and of blood spilled. “Oh, no.”

Muttering curses under his breath, Seth took off at full clip towards the ranch, ignoring his aches and hoping it wasn't too late to give help if it was needed.
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Ricti (#BD5C0F)

Character Sheet
Vaudivolt Vaudivolt Tattletale Tattletale
A lone stranger slowly descended from the mountains, his hands, ears and nose discoloured by frostbite. Even as the warming sunlight hit him, it only served to brighten the red and purplish stains wracking his fingers. Though he wore clothes not at all suited to the winter mountains, the thin branches of small, white winter flowers sprinkled throughout his hair was enough proof of where he had hailed from.

Ricti was hungry. With the painful rumbles plaguing the pit of his stomach every now and then growing increasingly harder to bear. But at least, it wasn't the same ever-present & bottomless hunger he had once fought before.

Trudging closer to the building he had noticed further up the mountainside, it was only now he noticed both the pungent scent of blood, and the... cow-like? Humanoid lady standing guard at the door. Taking into account her relatively passive stance, Ricti focused more on his immediate environment as he slowly made his way towards her.

The bloodied grass was a familiar sight. If not for the fact that his body was falling apart and needed shelter, he wouldn't dare approach such a scene in his current state. The sight of the deep claw marks also stirred his caution, bringing forth unwanted flashbacks, but fortunately, it seemed whatever battle had taken place here was long over.

Now within talking distance, he realized why the woman's appearance seemed a little familiar. She seemed similar to a 'minotaur', that fabled creature of Greek mythology. He wasn't sure why mythology of all things was one of the memories he had retained from his academic days... but so be it.

"Is this... your home? Can I... come inside for a little bit?" His words were quiet. Hard to hear, even. But, that wasn't the focus of Ricti's attention. He... could finally speak again. His tone was foreign, gratingly hoarse from poor health and almost scarily monotone. But even then, it was his voice. His new voice.

A hand cautiously scratched his throat as he awaited the minotaur's answer. But, gazing past her tall figure, he noticed another approaching. Unlike him, the stranger seemed to come from the complete opposite side of the mountains. He seemed to be running. Sprinting even. Was something chasing him? But even after deeply staring at the horizon line, Ricti spotted no other sign of life.

Though he couldn't decipher what was going on, nor the stranger's intention, he remained alert. "Someone's approaching." Ricti thought he'd mention his findings aloud, to warn the stranger he was seeking shelter with.
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Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Nona/Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt

It seemed like Ceylan was the only one actually eating. Yet, well, he was used to wandering around a lot, so he didn't often sit down for a good meal. It also meant he was used to taking in his calories when he could, eating more than his looks and personality might suggest. This lunch was no exception, as the only factor limiting his appetite was the fact he was mostly eating alone.

He noticed Nona's nerves, then heard her words. It was similar as to what the curse had spoken off. “You're not alone, but worry not. I have faith that whomever or whatever we face next can be cleansed as well.” He said, speaking with confidence. He felt like his task wasn't finished here, which meant he was send out to complete it. If that's what the gods wanted of him, so be it. She didn't need to tell him to finish his meal, as he was already planning on doing so. For a moment, he debated calling something after her, but he decided against it. He'd give her some time alone.

That left him with Cenric, who seemed to be trying to start a conversation. For a moment, Ceylan wondered if he should try to help him out by offering a topic, yet the man seemed to be flowing naturally towards his actual topic of interest already. “Yes.” The answer was rather simple. Truthfully, though, Ceylan wasn't feeling all that comfortable with it. He still had bad memories from his last time in this area. “That sounds like that's where I'm needed, and my faith calls me to where I'm needed the most.” He spoke, displaying a gentle smile. He'd been to bad places before, this wouldn't be that much worse or new, right?

That said, the mention of a certain lady Leontine got his attention. “I'm not sure if I know whom or what you speak off. Could you tell me more about this lady?” He asked, his curiosity having peaked. He'd yet to notice the newcomers that had walked towards the ranch on the outside.
Nona Stoutwalker
tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgNona sighed, releasing some of her building frustration as her fingers traced over the deep claw marks scattered across the base of her windmill. Her property had never been the primary target of last night's assault, but based on the damage, it might as well have been. The minotaur shook her head and straightened her back before she began moving across her fields towards an axe embedded in a nearby stump. There was no other solution than to replace the wooden base with some fresh-cut logs. And while that would not be a huge ask, living near the woods, Nona could only think of it as another task that would eat up some of the time she would rather spend tending to her flock.

Oh, who knows, you cow. It might clear that stubborn head!” She said in an attempt to motivate herself. And the hint of a smile formed before she placed her hoof firmly onto the stump, dislodging the axe with both hands. If only it had been the neck of that monster beneath its blade instead of the thin air.

And while she would prefer to linger on that mental image, her attention was violently pulled in a different direction by a quiet voice. One that Nona initially wrote off as a figment of her imagination... until she was startled by a very real person standing beside her.

Who--!” Within a split second, Nona's hand grabbed the axe handle for dear life, ready to devote an entire rush of adrenaline into a single swing. But, she managed to resist the almost primal impulse and instead used her now clammy hand to rub her face for a moment. “Do you... know these parts, stranger? At all?

You really... shouldn't sneak up on people... like--” Nona quickly trailed off when she noticed the purple discoloration of the stranger's fingers as they scratched his throat.

Stop, stop! Don't use those!..” She insisted while already taking hold of the person's wrist. “Did you come from the mountains? Probably. It looks like it. How long were you up there? I think this can still be treated? We need to get you inside!” The minotaur's stream of questions only halted once the first reply she received was one notifying her of someone else approaching from behind. Without a moment's hesitation, Nona brandished the woodcutting axe and spun toward the direction of a man approaching fast.

Stay back, stranger...” She instructed her frostbitten friend before taking a defensive stance in front of him. “You as well, ...other stranger! If you're friendly, you'll stop rushing!

I know it looks bad, but there's no immediate danger here unless you're it!” Nona continued calling towards the approaching man. Her voice was loud enough to be heard even within the farmhouse, and none too pleased. “And if you are the danger, then there won't be any more danger very soon! Do I make myself clear?!

Meanwhile, within the farmhouse, Cenric silently lamented the confirmation that Ceylan would leave for Miller's Hollow. And while he had not expected the Wandering Saint to allow the remainder of a curse to roam free, there had been a sliver of hope that he would leave this particular curse alone.

I... understand.” He replied shortly and fell silent. His gaze pulled towards his hands, fidgeting with one another in an attempt to soothe some inner conflict. “Lady Leontine is a faithful of Miller's Hollow... And does not take too kindly to outsiders with... canine features...” Cenric explained, and as he did, the hesitation in his voice became more tangible when forced to refer to Ceylan's ears and tail in a negative light.

It's nothing personal!” He quickly insisted. “See.., keeping the wolves from infiltrating Miller's Hollow rests, for the most part, on her shoulders. She takes her job... seriously, let's say--

Did you hear that as well?” Cenric suddenly asked in a panicked tone, then rushed to the window with a view of the ranch.

There are people out there! And it looks like Nona's surrounded!” Cenric hastily explained what he had seen as he fumbled with Nona's scythe, still propped up next to the front door. And let it slip from his jittery hands twice before he managed to rush out of the front door with it. She would need it to defend herself, after all.

Tattletale Tattletale SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Elvario Elvario
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Mentions: Vaudivolt Vaudivolt SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

As he got closer, Seth finally made out a couple of figures standing at the entrance of one of the ranch's buildings. A man and a [beast] woman, looked like, though it was difficult to tell from this distance. In his worry, he took a couple seconds to register the woman's words, but when he did, the mercenary stopped suddenly. That was a bad idea, as the lightly slopped hill and the speed he had built up did not agree with the weight of his armor and pack. He slipped, bowling over in a jumble of limbs and rolling a few meters down before his momentum died with him flat on the ground.

Looking up at the noon sky, Seth reflected that at least he didn't look a threat anymore, even at the cost of his wounded pride. A lot of that happening lately. A grunt and a shuffle late, he was back on his feet, and cupping his hands to call at them. “I mean no harm, miss! My name is Seth Leventis, and I am a travelling mercenary bound towards the Republic!” As he talked, he started advancing at a more sedated pace, praying that the woman, who seemed in charge of the place, would be okay with it. Hopefully his furious blush was not apparent from afar. “Is everyone okay? Do you need any help?”
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Ricti (#BD5C0F)

Ricti's gaze darted as he realized the minotaur seemed ready to smash an axe he hadn't yet seen into his face, flinching backwards instinctively. Fortunately however, she stopped herself, and he was instead greeted with an oddly puzzled gaze.

Her first question was one he hadn't quite expected as a greeting, but it certainly hit the nail on the head. "Not really-" He answered honestly, not exactly planning on elaborating, before the numbed hand he was subconsciously using to itch his throat was suddenly yanked away.

Blinking dumbfoundedly back at the minotaur, Ricti silently pondered if she was about to break his wrist or threaten him. On the contrary, he was instead attacked by an onslaught of questions, before his hand was released and her attention was fortunately diverted to the other stranger.

Breathing a mild sigh of relief, Ricti felt at ease, especially due to her last sentence of 'we need to get you inside'. Surely that meant, even if temporary, he had found a place of shelter. And that alone was a significant burden off his back, as he had no knowledge of how to survive in the wild. Perhaps he could also exchange labour for food and things as well? Looking at the carnage around him, it seemed there was some hope that an extra hand might be needed.

He felt a little hopeful for the future now. Being human again was nice and all, but it was a lot more demanding than being a zombie.

Focusing back on the situation at hand, Ricti found the minotaur's thrown threats a little amusing. He wasn't sure if it was due to the mix of ferocious words and polite tone, but it tickled and tugged at his cheekbones for some reason. Out of curiosity, he peeked out from the side of his new guardian, and just caught sight of the once-sprinting stranger turning into a leather and metal bowling ball, rolling down the gentle hill before falling splat at the bottom.

"..." Speechless, Ricti didn't quite know how to react to such a scene. But considering Seth's outward friendliness, he felt he should say something at least. "Are you okay? Your face is red." He asked without a change in expression, genuinely concerned for his wellbeing.

Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

A frown formed upon his face. A faithful being racist? Peculiar. Then again, with the werewolf curse, he could somewhat understand. Cenric was soon to back up that very suspicion. Even so, it was still a sin. Perhaps he'd need to prepare a sermon. Either way, that could wait. “Do you happen to know to what deities she's faithful to?” That was the type of information that would help him a lot, whenever he'd have to deal with her. He ignored the fact he himself fell into the category as well, for now at least.

He perked up at hearing Nona shout from outside. That wasn't something she was likely to do at her flock so... more strangers? Werewolves? Either wait, there might be trouble brewing, so he figured he'd check it out. That said, Cenric beat him to it, running out with Nona's scythe. He swallowed. It looked like he wasn't going to get time to properly digest his lunch at this rate...

Or perhaps he would. When he arrived, he could hardly see any danger in the current situation. One man had already been floored somehow and was scrambling to get back up. The other seemed like he'd been through a snowstorm or two. Considering the wolf's thread was still in his mind, he was rather safe than sorry. However, as he checked, his [Divine Senses C] didn't pick up on anything, so he figured things would be fine. “I don't sense anything bad from them.” He stated, hoping to get Nona to relax at least a bit. Then again, he had another tool for that at his disposal as well, as his [Soothing Aura D] would soon reach them to heal them up and calm everyone down a bit.

Well, with that done, perhaps he'd best introduce himself. “Good afternoon, I'm Ceylan, Bishop of the Syncretist Church. I arrived here a few hours ago myself. As you might see, this area was under attack recently, although the situation has been resolved for now. Still, we're a bit on edge, so please forgive the rude welcome.” He'd apologise for Nona and Cenric.

Divine Senses – Magic Affinity C, Magic Range D, Religion C, Sixth Sense C, Energised C – Characters connection to the gods allows them to sense Curses/Blessings/Danger/Spirits that might go unnoticed by others. - Grade C e – 2 Post Cooldown.

Soothing Aura – Magic Affinity D, Healing D, Magic Range E, Magic Targets E, Magic Duration E, Religion D, Empathy D, Energised D, Persuasion F – Character has a soothing aura that calms and heals those around them. - Grade D e – 1 Post Cooldown.
Nona Stoutwalker & Cenric
tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgDespite the man's intention to stop in order to prove himself an ally, he technically did not. In fact, he did not even slow down until moments later. The sudden halt in his movement - halfway down the hillside - served him no purpose other than shifting his weight forward, which forced him to continue moving in a rapid, rolling descent down the hillside. But, it had served its purpose. As Nona watched it unfold, her expression rapidly changed from suspicion to disbelief. And who could blame her? Even the most stubborn shred of doubt would melt away at the sight of a man dragging himself off the ground – only to continue walking as if nothing had happened.

Nona Stoutwalker!” She delightedly called back to the man and chopped her axe into the tree stump serving as its wooden hilt. “Everything is fine now! Just a bit banged up from last night!

Kind of like you, if you don't mind the comparison!” She teasingly added, unable to resist the opportunity. However, she did not expect her frostbitten friend to join in - albeit in a slightly flat tone.

He does seem a bit red.” Nona agreed but then glanced towards Ricti and his neutral expression. “But I think seeing purple is the bigger concern right now...

Please, both of you,” she took a moment to lock eyes with them, “Follow me inside so we can assess the injuries. Physical harm, hurt pride, or otherwise.

michael-david-antinucci-viking-slave-full-body-bright.jpgHaving instructed the two to follow her lead, Nona turned toward her farmhouse. Doing so just in time to see Cenric rushing at them with Ceylan hot on his tail. “Stay away from her!” Cenric cried out with faltering conviction and appeared to struggle to keep the scythe's blade lifted off the ground as he ran. On the other hand, Ceylan approached with the insistence that neither of the two people with her showed signs of bad intentions. A conflicting message indeed. Still, for Nona, there was only one response that came to mind.

What--?! NO! Stop!

"Stop?! Whoa--!!" The unexpected demand caught Cenric off guard, and the scythe's handle slipped from his grasp. The blade lowered just far enough to scrape the coarse earth before his feet. Creating a makeshift brake sending Cenric tumbling over the handle and face-first into the dirt. “...

I think... you and... Seth, was it? You and Seth have something in common.” Nona commented, unable to keep her grin to herself after witnessing the second mouthful of dirt occur in a surprisingly short time. “You'll be fine, though. This calming aura feels like our kind bishop is already assisting in mending wounds. We may not need to treat this frostbite or bruising the non-magical way after all.

And, I believe your assessment is right as well, bishop.” She continued, and her grin grew wider as she returned her gaze from Ceylan to the other three. “There's no evil intentions here.” Having spoken her mind, she took a step back. Letting the wandering saint do the honors of introduction as she took her trusty scythe from the dirt after helping Cenric onto his feet. Both Nona and Cenric shared an eagerness to learn more about the new arrivals - but for different reasons.

Tattletale Tattletale SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Elvario Elvario
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Mentions: Vaudivolt Vaudivolt Elvario Elvario SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

Seth arrived in the ranch to the chaos and confusion of two more men leaving the house, one of them shouting. Curiously, as he got closer to them, he gradually started feeling more rested and alert, and his sores and aches seemed to melt away slightly. The ruckus did end in a pratfall not unlike his own, so he went to the man who had fallen as he spoke. “Oh, no harm done, miss Stoutwalker. I apologize for my rushed entrance, I got worried when I saw the damage to your property. Well, I assume it is your property!” He smiled down at him, and offered a hand up, reassuring. “I assure you, sir, I mean no harm at all. It is an honorable thing to rush in defense of a friend, and even more so after the night you all must have gone through.”

Then, he bowed lightly at all present again and introduced himself again, this time without the need of shouting. “As I said, my name is Seth, and I am something of a mercenary. I come following the trail of my former company and bearing word for a miss Maya, who I am told lives in a nearby ranch.” He paused to look around, noting that one of the men seemed a newcomer too, and brushed a blade of grass from his hair. He ignored the embarrassment he felt over the fall. Hopefully one of these days he would stop making a fool of himself the second he met new people.

“I am, of course, more than willing to help in whatever I can! Could you tell me what happened here? No offense, but this place is in quite the bad shape! Not that my own accommodations these last few weeks have been any better…” Seth added with a chuckle, visibly eager to take up on the offer of the bovine rancher and enter the house. He wasn't too disheveled, and he kept clean as best as he could while he traveled, but the dust and dirt of the path had a way of clinging stubbornly to his clothes. He was itching for some decent food, too.
Ricti (#BD5C0F)

Being welcomed towards the farmhouse, Ricti turned just as Nona did, only to quickly meet two new strangers sprinting out. The growing crowd felt a little overwhelming all at once, but perhaps due to all the comedic entrances, despite the deadly weapons, he didn't feel too unnerved. Watching yet another person fall over themselves almost made Ricti ponder if people usually had poor balance around these parts, but before he could ponder further, his eyes couldn't help but snap onto the calmer stranger, the one with lively brown dog ears and a matching tail.

A bishop? Ricti thought carefully to himself, discreetly sizing Ceylan up whilst minutely shuffling away from him. Surely, an ex-undead and a holy being wouldn't mix well. His canine features didn't help ease his worries either, as he couldn't help but watch that idle, fuzzy tail with a wary eye.

Even with Nona's explicit words, Ricti remained unaware of the magic that had befallen him, instead remaining oblivious and finding her meaning cryptic. Talk of magic and the like was still very foreign to him after all. Even as the frostbite melted away from his fingertips and facial features, he merely felt that he was oddly calm amidst the current situation, one that would've otherwise sent him on high alert with fists and teeth bared.

As introductions were shared, and eyes slowly turned to him, Ricti slowly pulled his gaze away from Ceylan and realized he had to somehow introduce himself. He instinctively felt that saying he was from a different world was a bad idea. As well as that he was once a zombie. So he opted for the only explanation he could come up with that could help him out. "I'm Ricti. I woke up in the mountains in a temple. But I can't remember anything before that. I think I have... amnesia?" He posed tentatively, wondering if that was even a viable concept to speak of.

He pondered offering his help in exchange for a place to stay. But seeing Seth, this stalwart man of justice volunteering to help for absolutely nothing in return, Ricti felt he could only bite his tongue for the moment, and ponder up something better to offer later if he could.

Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

He watched as the mutual introductions of Cenric and Seth were off to a rolling start. Truthfully, he was glad neither of them had impaled themselves on the weapons they were carrying at this rate. That would've been a bit of an annoyance to try and heal. Either way, he just silently listened to the conversation, letting his Soothing Aura do the work otherwise. He also just nodded when Nona backed up his assessment. He was glad the minotaur was no longer assuming everyone was a werewolf out to get her sheep.

As for Seth, he felt a tad bit paranoid towards that man at first. A mercenary offering his work for free was not really something you saw often. Even so, he felt no ill will in the man's tone or words, so he might just be an odd type of mercenary. He didn't know whom he spoke off, but this wasn't an ideal place to follow a company into. “It's a dangerous area for a mercenary company, as they might be called upon to defeat giants wandering down from the mountains.” He spoke, as he observed Seth. “That suggest your company must be rather accomplished to brave such a possible challenge.” Even though the man didn't seem evil, the story was still a bit odd to Ceylan. Either that, or his own bad memories of the Paizu Mountains had gotten him a tad bit more sceptical.

It was easy enough to explain what happened, however, so he did. “A werewolf attacked this place, nearly killing one of the sheep. I managed to heal it back, after which we managed to defeat the werewolf, although there might be more in the area. Hence we're on edge.” He figured there wasn't much need to mention that Cenric was said werewolf.

The other man, Ricti, didn't seem to be a man of many words. Oddly enough, Ceylan could sense the man to be a bit on edge around him, which he didn't exactly understand. Why would someone assume him, of all people, as a person to be weary off? He figured he'd keep it in mind, but he wouldn't let it judge his action too much. “In a mountain temple?” He was surprised. “Do you know which part of the mountains you are from? How far away was it from here?” Ceylan asked. Whilst the Cardinal's tower wasn't exactly a temple, perhaps it'd been mistaken for one? Was this person related to Cardinal Zoilus? It was certainly an option, as the odd owl had even confused Ceylan with his behaviour. Sadly enough, Ceylan couldn't do much against amnesia. “I'm afraid amnesia is one of the things my healing cannot deal with. I'm sorry.”
Cenric carefully watched as the first man introduced himself as Seth. He appeared friendly and reassured he had taken his actions as honorable. And for a moment, as he listened to the mercenary's search for a Miss Maya, Cenric felt at ease. Moreso than the bishop's aura had already provided. That was until a wave of dread suddenly attempted to wash away the calm. Seth had asked to know what had happened to the ranch. Cenric glanced toward Nona and Ceylan as his mind replayed the foggy memory. “...

His gaze jumped a few times between the two. The sense of guilt building steadily until the other newcomer took his moment at the center of attention. Cenric felt for him - enough to distract him from his own feelings. There had been mornings when he had woken up with little recollection of what had happened at night. Only the blood on his hands reminded him of the horrors committed. Cenric glanced down at his hands and curled his fingers slowly. “...

Only once Ceylan finally addressed the subject of the attack, Cenric interjected. “I did it!” He insisted, wanting to come clean to these people before his moment had fleeted. And then immediately realized he would have to explain himself, and fast. “I mean, the wolf inside me-- that was inside me-- did... I had no choice in it... It just--

tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgHis name is Cenric.” Nona interfered to prevent him from further self-incrimination. “He was cursed, unable to prevent it from happening. Our bishop here has since broken the curse.

The minotaur woman rubbed her face and then took a firmer stance. “Alright, it seems we are all allies here. Nice to meet you both!

And no offense taken on the state of the ranch.” She added with a kind smile in Seth's direction.

Nona then looked the man over entirely and did the same with Ricti. Almost immediately, Seth appeared more physically capable when comparing the two. He seemed built for the type of labor the ranch required, but at the same time, he already had commitments to a Miss Maya to uphold. The other, Ricti, seemed more educated than the mercenary - at least in appearance. But that was no reason for her eyes to narrow as she looked him over.

Oh, right! Don't mind me gawking, and let's head inside.” She said and turned towards the farmhouse, leading the group toward it.

It seems we have much to discuss. Mountain temples, mercenary work, perhaps you could even assist our bishop in his endeavors?” Nona explained as they walked, glancing towards Seth at the mention of assisting Ceylan. But, as lighthearted as she held open the door to her home and gestured for everyone to enter, she blocked the doorway with her arm when Ricti approached last.

I had amnesia once and woke up in an unfamiliar place...” She whispered, keeping a keen eye on the others gathered inside. “It made the world feel foreign if you know what I mean...” She then nudged her head, gesturing for Ricti to enter. It had been a gamble, but people never just woke up in mountain temples without memories. Especially not a temple in a place as hostile as the Paizu Mountains. And as she followed him into the cozy farmhouse, she had already convinced herself the gamble had been worth the risk of appearing like the Mad Cow some made her out to be.

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Ricti (#BD5C0F)
Hearing talk of mountain giants after Seth's introduction as a mercenary was quite something. There truly were many different types of beings in this fantasy world he had been dropped into. There must be cool sights as well? The thought of becoming a wanderer in this wide, unexplored world was quite enticing to him at this moment.

The mention of werewolves however, somewhat shattered that thought. More in the area? Would he relive his death again so soon? How frightening. As his lunisolar tattoo begin to gently glow and flicker erratically in response to his paranoia, he hovered his right hand over it, not wanting to alarm or distract the others.

Nodding at Ceylan's first rhetorical question directed at himself, he pondered a bit before answering his consequent ones. "No, sorry. But I think it was quite far. I walked for quite a few hours." In case the bishop was interested in searching for it however, Ricti thought he'd elaborate a little more. "I don't think I'd be able to find it again. After I stepped away, it sunk into the ground and disappeared." He stated plainly, somewhat cautiously gauging their reactions to see if that was a normal occurrence here or not.

Ceylan's consequent words of apology puzzled Ricti, as he cautiously turned to the canine-like bishop again. "It's alright, no need to apologize." He habitually scratched his throat with his frozen fingers as he pondered his mention of 'healing', only to realize said fingers were not frozen at all. Staring at them, the cogs in his mind turned as he recalled Nona's words, and he put the pieces of the puzzle together. "Thank you for healing me." He mentioned bluntly and nodded lightly again towards Ceylan. Though his face and tone remained as motionless as ever, it didn't mean he meant his words any less.

Cenric's subsequent outburst led Ricti to step away from the self-proclaimed wolf also, keeping closer to the side of Nona/Seth rather than the ones that put him unwillingly on edge. "Nice to meet you all." He nodded once more, finding it the best way to show politeness considering he knew very well how little his face moved. Nona's narrowed gaze as she looked him over puzzled Ricti. But shrugging it off, he was about to follow the rest inside when he was stopped by a strong arm.

Puzzled once more, he looked up at her questioningly. But the words she spoke shattered whatever expectations he could've had. His eyes visibly widened in shock for a moment, before gleaming behind his glasses with an expression of undisguised scrutiny. "You as well?" He posed plainly, lifting a hand to re-position his glasses. He was still processing the fact that he had found another like him so soon, but he managed to remain level-headed. "If possible, I'd like to speak privately with you later." He nodding politely in her direction as he entered, following after the crowd as if nothing spectacular had been spoken between them.
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Mentions: Vaudivolt Vaudivolt SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Elvario Elvario

Seth considered for a moment the words of the formerly accursed man, then he grew serious. Little was left of the goofy traveler in his face. In its place, there was a man who had seen the consequences of violence, and enough regret on his fellow mercenaries to recognize that kind of guilt. “I don't think you are responsible for whatever you did while under supernatural influences, mister Cenric. Do not torture yourself with what was or could have been.” His voice was gentle, but steady. “Just count your blessings that the good Bishop and miss Stoutwalker were able to help you, and that you are alive and well.” A bit of lightness returned to his expression. “Still, if you want to atone, I am sure that she won't be against an extra pair of hands to fix the damages, eh?” The moment passed, and he smiled, turning and nodding at Ritchi's greeting. “I am charmed, too. Say, aren't you cold? I don't mean to intrude, but those clothes are not what I'd recommend for the weather. Here.” He quickly unslung his pack and snatched the cloak attacked to it, offering it to the younger looking man with another encouraging nod.

He glanced over at all of them, again. Nona seemed as kind as she looked strong, and both Cenric and Ritchi appeared a bit lost. Ceylan, though, had a way of watching him that made Seth think little escaped the bishop's gaze. Certainly a perceptive one, but probably benevolent. And powerful, if his now non-existent sores were indicative of his abilities.

Turning to face the two beast folk, he cocked his head, affability recovered. His interest was piqued by Nona's comment, “Well, I am not against helping, but I still need to ply my trade. Still, what are these endeavors, um…” Seth hesitated for a second. “Your grace? I'm sorry, I am not familiar with your faith. How should I address you?” While he spoke, he listened with half an ear at the conversation taking place as everyone was ushered inside. Ritchi had amnesia? And both his tentative host and the young man had awoken in unfamiliar places, huh? That sounded familiar, but in a world filled as magic as this, better not to jump to conclusions. And anyway, their history was none of Seth's business, unless the bespectacled man or the rancher cared to share.

Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

There wasn't much for Ceylan to add to the conversation. Cenric admitted his involved just as easily and Nona smoothed it over. She was equally quick to make friends with the newly arrived men. At her suggestion of them helping him, he nodded. He'd not refuse such aid, even though he'd feel guilty about dragging others along with such risks. The only thing that made him raise an eyebrow was when Nona started to whisper. Whispering in public was generally rude, but he decided not to think too much on it.

It turned out Ricti was a man of few words, as Ceylan didn't learn much from his replies. Even so, what he did learn certainly raised some questions. “Sinking and disappearing?” He asked aloud, shaking his head. “That is even more peculiar than I feared it would be.” That said, he no longer suspected his faith's involvement, as he doubted the Cardinal and his tower would just vanish like that. Ceylan's tail gave a gentle wag at being thanked for healing Ricti. “Of course, you're welcome.” He'd speak with a tone as gentle as his tail was wagging. Even a blunt word of thanks was a word of thanks he'd accept.

Considering how he'd rolled into their conversation before, Ceylan was a bit surprised by the wisdom in Seth's words. It seemed like there was no need for Ceylan to try to cheer up Cenric, which has good, as Ceylan doubted he would be able to do so. His priestly demeanour made people assume he was forgiving in general and thus less likely to take his word for it. Either way, it worked out well enough. He merely gave an approving nod.

He was surprised when he got 'your graced' all of a sudden, taking him a bit off-guard. “In present company and situation, just Ceylan will do.” He was quick to state. This wasn't really the time and place to play the Bishop, as the Wandering Saint in him was more needed right now. “And your offer of aid is truly appreciated. I am hoping to travel to a village a bit away from here, where the werewolf curse might've originated from. I was warned by the curse I cleansed that its brethren would seek vengeance for its perishing, so it seems wisest to clear this curse in its entirety before they can do so.” He gave a brief explanation of the situation, hoping it was still enough to catch on to the basics.
Nona Stoutwalker
tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgNona nodded in silent confirmation, moving her arm back to allow Ricti through the doorway. It appeared her gamble had paid off. And now she knew there were more like her in this world. After everything that had happened, she had expected to feel more at peace by that development. Instead, only questions filled her mind. Perhaps Ricti's suggestion to have a private conversation would assist them both.

Soon, I will have to tend to my sheep...” Nona explained while following Ricti inside, closing the door behind her. “So, I appreciate the help. Just... come to the shed after we're done here, and thank you.

Confident that Ricti would understand the meaning behind her words, Nona joined the others at the dining table. Stepping up to the head of the table, she glanced over everyone present and placed her hands down on the wooden surface – leaning into it. “Before you say any more, bishop,” Nona interfered, her wandering glances locking onto Ceylan, “I cannot join you on your travels. I apologize, but I have a flock to shepherd, and Dotty is still recovering...

Meanwhile, Cenric had already seated himself at the dining table. Once more, he listened to Ceylan explain his reasoning behind cleansing his hometown's curse. But, no matter how many times he explained how noble the cause was, Cenric saw only the risks. And yet, when Nona declined to escort Ceylan on his travels, Cenric suddenly felt it too dangerous to let the Wandering Saint go by himself.

Then-- then I will join him!” He hastily stammered, preventing himself from second-guessing the impulsive decision. “I know better than anyone how to get there, and it shouldn't take long. A day or two, but--

But, I do have conditions...” Cenric admitted and glanced around the room. It was the same desperate expression Ceylan had seen on him in the woods. And to the others, it appeared no less pleading. “I will not-- cannot return to Miller's Hollow! I can guide you until we can see it from a distance, and then I will return to the ranch.

I need you to promise you will let me leave and go back...

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Mentions Elvario Elvario Vaudivolt Vaudivolt SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

“Very well, Bishop Ceylan. And again, it is nice to meet you” Seth replied with apparent relief. Manners were important, but he wasn't familiar with religious etiquette. After considering the beast kin words and hearing Cenric's, he nodded without hesitation. “Your cause is more than worthy, and I will help you however I can. I am useful enough in a scrap, Mister Cenric, do not force yourself to go further than it is safe.” He tapped his breastplate as if to emphasize the last point. “Still, if you can break the curse with as little bloodshed as possible, that would be for the best.”

Seth scratched his chin in thought and addressed the priest once more. “If you would indulge my curiosity a bit, Bishop. What brings you here? Do you travel a lot, or did you hear of the curse and decided to come help?” He didn't know too much about this world's religions, but back home, priests didn't usually go around fighting and adventuring. Then again, not like there were any monsters or magic to fight them in good old Earth. Still, he could respect anyone with the will to do right by others.

The mercenary eyed the table, where a few half-eaten meals sat, and his stomach growled. He glanced at Nona, who was speaking to Ritchi, and suddenly felt a bit bashful. “Say, miss Nona… I've been eating hardtack and stale jerky for more than a week. Is there any chance I could have a bit of whatever you have in the pot? I don't have much coin on me, but maybe I could help with the ranch repairs as payment?” He tried to keep the eagerness out of his voice. And failed.

Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

He shook his head. “I wouldn't have even dared ask you, I understand.” It was true. He'd not imagined Nona to join them from the beginning. Knowing how much she cared for her sheep, asking her to abandon them would be too brutal.

Cenrics answer was more promising. “That would be highly useful, thank you.” He was glad to hear the chances of getting lost near the Paizu Mountains reducing. As for staying at a safe distance... Ceylan understood that part as well. “You'd already do me a great favour to show me the way. I'd not dare ask you to go up against the curse that once caught you, nor do I expect you'd be welcomed by the remaining villagers were you to be spotted, so I understand.” From what he gathered, the man might just get himself arrested or worse, as folk might assume him to still carry the curse.

As he was asked to promise, he smiled. “I would not have any ability to keep you, should I want to. Even so, I promise you I won't force you to join us into the village itself.” That said, if the situation were to end up demanding it, he figured he might try to convince Cenric regardless. It wasn't likely, so it didn't need to be brought up, but he did keep it in the back of his mind.

That left him to reply to Seth, with a smile to start with. The man taking the simple name, but leaving the 'Bishop' was a good enough compromise. It was also good to hear his cause got the man motivated to join him. “Your aid is greatly appreciated.” He said, giving a polite short bow as a manner of thanks.

On the topic of bloodshed, he gave a light chuckle. “Worry not, for my faith is one that strives to increase the good in the world. Bloodshed would be the worst possible approach to any problem and the very last option in any circumstance.”

He was surprised when Seth suddenly addressed him. “I was on my way to the Holy City of Vegard, but decided to walk this part of the journey. I... had previous experiences in these mountains. Rather bad ones. I figured it would be best to return here, to ensure I won't let my fears grow the longer I avoid them.” He hadn't admitted this yet, but he figured it'd be best to be open about it, if these strangers were to join him in a potentially life-threatening mission. “I only learned of the curse after finding this ranch, although I did learn of the ranch itself beforehand.”

That said, he had a question in turn. “So, mister Seth, how come you do not negotiate? Isn't a mercenary always looking to earn money for his craft? You do not seem the type to try extort me when I need you most, yet you don't seem to wish to set up an arrangement beforehand either.” He had a feeling he knew the answer, but he wanted to provoke Seth a bit in order to be safe and figure out more of whom he was dealing with.
Are you certain, bishop?” Cenric answered surprised, needing a moment to compose himself. He had not expected to receive such an immediate accord on his conditions. Still, he would be a fool to challenge the bishop's word. Cenric breathed a sigh of relief and felt his anxiety fade away. Now able to open up further, he began to share his suggestions.

I think it would be best to avoid the mountains and instead travel around its base,” He explained, using his finger to draw an imaginary curve on the table for emphasis, “because Miller's Hollow has a climbing path leading from the mountain base to the edge of town.

Oh, but--” His eyes traced the imaginary line, and the assertive tone faded. Disappearing as quickly as it had surfaced. “If we travel on foot, it will take more than two days... Perhaps-- we do need to cut through the mountains after all?” He clearly disliked his own suggestion.

Nona Stoutwalker
Nona instinctively shook her head at the suggestion. “You use too much energy if you travel on foot.” She plainly explained as she tended to Seth's request for a meal. Lifting the lid from a pot centered on the table, Nona allowed the aromatic steam to escape while she filled a bowl with hot mutton stew. “Energy that is especially valuable when traveling into dangerous territory.

Instead, allow me to lend you a cart to ride.” Nona kindly suggested before turning to Seth. Placing the bowl down in front of him. “Free of charge, just like this meal.” She added with a smile towards Seth and gestured for him to eat. “I appreciate the offer to help, but I don't take payment from the few visitors that actually end up here. Their company and a good story or two are enough for me.

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Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

He was rather surprised to be asked if he was certain. “It simply wouldn't be right to try to force or coerce you to return. Not unless it is absolutely necessary for the greater good, which at the moment, does not seem to be the case.” He figured he'd be honest. That said... “I would, however, like for you to tell me more about the place and the people living in, during our journey there.” There more he'd know, the better.

As for avoid the mountains, he wholeheartedly nodded. “Even the strongest and bravest adventurers are at risk if they venture too deep into the mountains, so going straight through them would be a death's sentence.” Hiking for two days would still be preferable. That said, the offer a cart was a great solution. “That would be great, thank you.” He spoke, as his tail wagged in equal approval.
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Mentions: Vaudivolt Vaudivolt SilverFeathers SilverFeathers Elvario Elvario

Seth grimaced a bit at the Bishop's question. “I suppose I make for a pretty shoddy mercenary, don't I? My Captain would bite my head off: I used to give her conniptions about this kind of stuff.” He chuckled despite himself. “ Still, I don't think now is the time or place to ask for coin. I'll be the first to pluck a noble who wants one more sword for their petty wars, but this is different. Innocent people are in danger. You are a man of the cloth, I am sure you understand why sometimes one has to do what is right, profits be damned.”

He meant his words, even if the effect was a bit spoiled by his starved expression at Nona's offering. “Thank you kindly, Miss!” he said as he reached for a bowl and a ladle. “Still, I assure you I don't mind lending a hand once we're back. I insist, in fact.” As soon as he finished talking, he started scarfing down his meal. His eyes lit up at the first bite. “Oh dear. This is delicious.” Seth muttered between slightly too-fast mouthfuls. He still had the presence of mind to listen attentively to Cenric's advice, and nodded appreciatively at Ceylan's reassurances to the man. Nona's offer to give them a lift was more than welcome too, he was well and sick of trudging to snow and mud, and conserving strength for whatever might await them was indeed important.

However, something worried him, “Speaking of the danger, will there be any problem with the giants? I was told by Miss Berger that they are extremely powerful and that they do not take kindly to visitors. Do they live further up than our destination, or do we have some way of avoiding their attention?”
Ricti (#BD5C0F)

Ricti merely nodded in acknowledgement at Nona's hint towards the meeting location, before turning back to the others and being abruptly met face to face with a pile of cloth.

Blankly, he stared at the outstretched cloak as if Seth had just passed him the most absurd thing in the world. It took him a moment to accept it, but by then, Seth had already walked off, casually continuing to discuss matters with Ceylan and Cenric as if it was the most normal thing to do. Slowly, Ricti robotically wrapped the cloak around his shoulders as he became lost in thought, trailing quietly behind the others.

When was the last time he had been given something? Thinking about it, since the winter flowers in his hair would likely wither and die soon anyway, this was actually his first new real possession, if temporary, in this strange world. Subconsciously, that thought couldn't help but make him appreciate it a little more, worried about getting it torn on the wooden walls or stained by dust and dirt on the way in. It wouldn't do to return damaged goods back to the owner after all.

Listening in quietly to the conversation, Ricti found himself a little lost, surprised by how kind and righteous the people here were. Everyone seemed so eager to do their part in laying this dreadful werewolf curse down for good, even with the brutal aftermath of the danger apparent just outside this house. Although he pondered the matter as a bystander, in the end, Ricti felt that this whole thing had nothing to do with him. He was not a hero, or even a good person, and especially after his experiences after the end of the world, he would never claim to be.

Slowly however, his attention was diverted by the painfully tempting aromas wafting in front of him. His eyes twinkled as Seth's request was positively received, quickly following up as soon as the bowl was served. "Nona, could I have some as well? I don't think I have any good stories to tell since I've lost my memory, but I could make up something." He bargained wholeheartedly, folding his hands together and looking Nona dead in the eye. Perhaps, he had inadvertently taken her words a little bit too seriously. But, this human body really needed some food. And if babbling on about his past in the guise of 'something made up' was what it took, he was more than happy to oblige.
As the good bishop explained his previous answer, Cenric noted some possible exceptions to their accord after all. And, in truth, he had hoped for a guarantee. “I see...” He replied with some reservations. “Still-- I would prefer to guide you there.” But, it had not changed his mind or his offer. The added genuineness felt more reassuring than the accord he had already considered too good to be true.

And, while I do that, I will try my best to share anything important.” He added before his hand slowly moved to his chin. What would be considered 'important' for the bishop's cause? Cenric sifted through his memories, searching for those elusive, 'important' details. And he came up short, at least for now. Luckily, he did not have to remain silent, as Seth provided a question he could answer instead. “I've never seen a giant near Miller's Hollow...” Cenric said, turning his eyes toward Seth. “Does that reassure you-- at all?

Nona Stoutwalker
tumblr_1845b946ed9dd3c51c488a169cc6ec63_f5c14a44_1280.jpgMeanwhile, Nona had just finished responding to Seth's insistence with another kind smile. “Well, if you insist... Who am I to turn you down, right? I could always use another pair of strong arms when all is said and done!” Even while she spoke, Nona took her role of hostess most seriously. She watched Seth take a bite of his meal to see if he enjoyed it, and then her attention diverted to Ricti. Who was also requesting a meal, and his suggestion to make up a story due to not remembering one amused her greatly.

I think the table would agree that waking up in a temple – without memories – is a story in itself, right?” She chuckled and glanced around the table, her hands quickly preparing another bowl of stew. “And just to be clear,” Nona added as she placed the meal before him, “a good story is nice, but I won't deny anyone a meal for lacking one.

That being said!” She lightly raised her voice to draw the attention of the table. “I won't deny anyone seconds either, please help yourselves.” Her hand gestured toward the steaming pot on the table. The contents still spread rich aromas through the room.

And while you fill your energy reserves, I will collect some supplies from the shed and ready the cart for a long haul through the mountains.” She explained with a glance towards Ricti before attempting to leave through the front door – her preparations allowing the group some time to enjoy their meal and further discuss their plans.

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Languages: Common | <Beastial>
Mentions: Cenric Vaudivolt Vaudivolt | Seth Tattletale Tattletale | Ricti SilverFeathers SilverFeathers

“Indeed.” Ceylan agreed with Seth. He made for a very shoddy mercenary. Not negotiation a price before accepting an offer was shady and claiming he wouldn't do so on a later date either was a rather horrible business model for mercenary work. Rather, it wasn't one at all. “Although you do make for an outstanding knight.” He added, as a through occurred to him. “If you'd like, our churches' paladin order, the Order of Virtus, would likely welcome you in their ranks. Especially if I recommend you.”

As for the giants, he shook his head. “I know of only a few paths through valleys too small and across bridges too thin for giants to find us, but I doubt any of those lead to Miller's Hollow. From what I gathered, they don't often descend though, so if we take the long way around, we should be safe. Considering Miller's Hollow exists to begin with, I'm assuming there must be some means there to ward them from descending Giants, otherwise it would have been wrecked before it was even built.” He reasoned, figuring Giants would be eager to crush a village being built at its doorstep and more eager to eat those trying to come live there.

When Cenric added that he'd never seen a Giant near there, Ceylan nodded. “Are there any geographical features, like ravines or narrow valleys, that make it difficult for giants to reach? Or is there something or someone that might be warding Miller's Hollow from them?” Although he was somewhat reassured, he'd also gotten more curious.

Considering he'd already eaten, when Nona said she'd go prepare, he stood up as well. “Allow me to help you.” He'd offer. He could hardly let her do all the work when she was doing them a favour, after all.

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