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Forums » Fantasy Roleplay » Chronicles of Obelus: Journey to the North (Full)

As they had traveled, Elvira could not tear herself away from the ghosts of the past. All of that time, all of these centuries that she had defended Dezus from the general ire of the elven nobility and the elitist culture of the Elvatian in general, all of the criticism, disgust, and disdain against her rule that she had endured…in the wake of the drow’s betrayal, all of that had crumbled to ash like the dead crisped by an Ivory ore blade.

Her father had been the one to take in the young drow all those annums ago and it had been his dying wish that Dezus not be cast away after his passing. And as his eldest, Elvira had taken that wish upon herself, taking responsibility for both her kingdom and her now-wayward brother…if she could even call Dezus that anymore…

She retained just enough awareness to be able to get the group to their destination, however, for its entire duration she was silent. At one point she had glanced around to assure that all of her companions still remained at her sides and flanks, and those amethyst hues met Dalitso’s for a few moments before she pulled her gaze away. Her pain was hers and her alone. These travelers had already seen their share of death and burden, and had already seemingly pledged themselves to her cause, and so she did not wish to unload unnecessary pain upon their hearts. They would need whatever strength they had left to embark and travel still to the Mountains of Creation.

The army camp in the Deepwood was a welcome sight. The gentle afternoon light was a warm contrast against the cool shadow of the glades, where tents and small outposts littered the spaces among the trees. She knew that her men would lead the rest of Delilah’s army and the rest of the Caravan to this place as well where they would all be able to rest and recover if only for this time. As she steered her mount closer she would see that they neared an elven soldier waiting patiently before them at the point of entry, and she was comforted by the familiar face.

“Colonel Aelena,” she acknowledged in the common tongue for the benefit of the Zephians accompanying her. She looked weary and certainly battle-worn. “They are of a caravan traveling with Delilah’s contingent. The rest of the men will be arriving shortly. We’ve suffered severe and crushing losses…the healers will not be busy.” For a moment, she averted her eyes, the words seemingly unwilling to leave her mouth. But after another breath of a moment she forced herself to speak.

“…Delilah’s contingent is all but gone. Undead have spawned upon these shores, and we are the few remaining survivors. The rest of the men will arrive shortly. The rest of my guard with them know their way back here, and now guides them. Please, see to them, and that the warriors with me have their own lodging. I must…retire to my tent.” She cast a final, warm glance to Dalitso and the rest of the women with them. “Find your time to rest here. Should you go to the Mountains of Creation, you will need your strength.” Then she dismounted herself and left Alicia in the saddle—the smile burdened yet warm nonetheless—before unbuckling her own saddlebags.
Gregory Holt (played by KahnMan)

While marching, a man-at-arms; a small bodied young man, worked up the courage and meet with the steel-clad undead.

"M'lord?" he calls out, not foolish enough to expect a response nor foolish enough to get too close. Gregory ignores him and keep walking. The young man-at-arms was persistent, his pace quicken to match the undead's, and with a weak voice that stutters, he says, "Me da' served footman in yer ranks, went to the North, with ye, 'e did. Florents, 'is name Sargent Florents, was yer best soldier, served in the van' often from what I 'ear. I-..Is there a way, maybe write down on paper what 'append to 'im? Not that I could read, mum and sister can, and was hopin'-"

"Enough," says the old man, eyes still ahead, not even giving the young soldier a look, "All them lads that march wit' 'im up North all fell. 'Ave no doubt yer father shared his 'Lordship' 'ere's ill fate. 'Sides, 'e remembers naught of what 'e was, I bet"

"A-...Aye..Yer right, Robert.." His voice, choking back his dejection. His shoulders slump in defeat as he fell behind, and march at the most back of the column.

Times passes by, and the soldiers soon grew in bravery. Seems like nothing's out to get them after all, not with the elves here. Chatters were made between them, though, still in hushed tones. The old man look back over his shoulder at this sorry excuse of a warband. Hjaernan Wikstroem is the most notable out of them, since he stood taller than all of them, no, taller than everyone here, assures the old man. He spies him, conversing with Sanze. Talking shite behind me back, the old man thoughts with certainty, but rectify it not. As he turn to look ahead, he heared "Aceban bitch.." Hissed one of the men from behind him. The old man shouldn't allow such insult to be so brazen spat at their allies, but in honesty? He is starting to hate the desert-dwellers for their tongue.
Aceban? The lone giant blinked confusedly before glancing briefly into the direction the dark-skinned woman had ridden off to. He was not very well versed in the geography of the continent and knew nothing but the mere name of the country, more a conglomerate of tribes than anything. In a sense, their people were not too different from his, though one controlled the seas while other the dunes in the oceans of sand. The woman had not paid much attention to the men around him leading him to believe their mild interest in each other was much alike to seeing an exotic animal in the wild. Hjaernan had only briefly caught a glimpse of their leader but it was enough to assess their similarity in build even though he thought some of the man to be useless muscle rather than anything. Though of presumably comparable strength, his own was protected by thick skin and hair akin to the hide of a wild beast and capable of shrugging off a dull blade without much difficulty. That did not mean that he thought less of the stranger by any means but rather deemed it a welcome surprise to see a people so different yet so alike to his own.

For now, they were on the march and even though they arrived after another gruelling hour or so, the speed of the men had slowed down more and more as time went on. Especially the wounded and those tending to them were prone to falling behind - a broken stretcher here, a slumped over, fully exhausted man there, the Northman and some of the more senior officers had soon found their hands full with trying to maintain some form of order and tempo until finally, the narrow forest road opened up, revealing the outer areas of their destination to the tired, weary soldiers. At least for now their troubles seemed to be over as mild cheers from the news arose from the rank, causing many around him to collapse onto the ground, sitting and lying in formation as they waited for the higher-ups to keep track of the situation. The fatigue of the march and prior campaign, the sustained wounds and the added stress of fearing another ambush had done in most of the men in his unit and their allies. Naturally even the hulking giant felt weary from the strain they had been under but he was unable to sit still now that they, the last troops from the battle (aside from a few eventual stragglers), had arrived. He needed to know more about the state of his commander. Would she be alright or was she beyond saving?
Amaranthine (played by Dndmama)

On the far side of the camp the camp the young woman in a mask watches with wary interest as the strange, wind swept horse appears beside on of the elven officers. She doesn't know the man's name but he's got the markings, the uniform and the bearing of someone with a high level of authority. Just the type of person she's most interested in avoiding. Probably why she hasn't had a chance to learn his name.

Of course, if she thought the man with his magical horse was the type of person that exudes innate power and sovereignty, it is nothing compared to the pale skinned woman that rides in with a girl with strange ears on a horse. She doesn't immediately recognize Alicia for what she is. It isn't until the rest of Delilah's contingent arrives, tired and battered, dragging their injured behind them, that she realizes they are all humans. This is the first time she's seen men from the south with her own eyes. The Northmen, of a similar appearance in some ways but very different in others, are the only type of human she's had any personal experience with up til now. In that a Northman among these southerns? How strange... Almost like seeing a drow among surface elves.

Despite herself, Amara finds herself intrigued. She hasn't had the chance to hear much of the language they speak in Jubilee nor see what these smaller humans are like at much of any distance. Doing her best to keep her distance from the woman she has deemed to be the most 'in charge' due largely to the sudden surge of interest and respect she is garnering from the waiting soldiers the girl begins to edge her way around the camp and closer to the newest arrivals. She has not yet noticed the strange abomination standing in their midst. For now it's just another armored figure among many armored figures.
Noah Ryan (played by Syaoran555)

No'ä's expression darkened again at the Queen's words. Indeed, with the news of the spawning of Undead upon their shores and the decimation of Delilah's contingent, he swore softly to himself in Elvish, bringing his right hand to his chin. The Colonel looked around at the other travelers accompanying Elvira, his gaze lingering upon Dalitso slightly longer than the others. He saw how weary they were and agreed with his liege that they most likely needed rest. Being checked out by the healers was most likely a necessity as well.

The officer looked over his shoulder at Tempest, who had meandered after him on his way over to the contact point and was now milling about behind him. "Tempest?" he said, speaking in the common tongue for the benefit of the Acebans; he had only the barest trace of an accent. "Please bring Her Majesty's traveling companions over to where the other soldiers are so that the healers may assess them." The Colonel returned his gaze to Dalitso. "After that, merely ask any of the officers here for assistance in finding lodging," he said, addressing the Aceban. "Any one of them will be happy to help." The Colonel again turned his attention to the Raiü. "Please stay with them so that those they ask will know that they would be acting on my orders."

No'ä then looked over at Elvira, who was just about finished unbuckling her saddlebags. He saw how disheartened she was in her body language and how burdened her smile was. He knew her well enough to tell when she was troubled, and the Colonel saw that this was the case here. "Amin Tari, lotesse amin quena yassen lle ed' amin?" he asked her, speaking in Elvish so that the others wouldn't understand him.
Tempest (played anonymously)

Tempest, in his curious gait, half-walked and half-drifted behind No'ä as they approached the returning Queen and her current envoy. Upon his master's slight unease and agitation he lifted his head, the ethereal presence silently padding perhaps a little closer upon instinct. And as it usually was, such instinct was well-founded. His ears flicked upward as the colonel caught his attention, and the soul then turned toward the newcomers a bit more fully, trotting lightly over.

He was a fickle soul when meeting someone new, No'ä would know this well. He would canter over to the horses the Acebans rode, trotting in towards Zosa before backing and dancing away, meandering and easing towards the others before flitting back just out of arm's length and reach. The spirit seemed fairly interested despite, even a bit playful, nickering and blowing even as the lingering static charge within his entity might have lightly shocked a horse or two, causing them to shy away from him. There was a strange corona of bright blue energy that he exuded in his swifter movements, trailing from his form like fading, soft comet tails.

As the horses shied away for the third or fourth time, the Raiü perhaps noted that he could use such tactics to guide the horses over towards where No’ä wanted them. His dark and intelligent eyes, like black stone pools amongst the crackling grey-blues of his form, studied the Acebans, particularly Dalitso. Elvira he had already encountered before, and he sidled up next to her—much closer than she had with the rest—very briefly before prancing about in such curiosity about the others. Overall, he did not seem troubled.

Reminiscent of a sheepdog, he began to herd the Acebans' horses and the riders towards where the rest of where the remainder of Delilah’s men waited to see the elven healers.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

The Raiü Storm Spirit was an interesting display of celestial intelligence, Zosa thought, as she was greeted by Tempest. “Hello there.” The woman said. Nahita and Pela were very intrigued at how the elven breed horses flocked to him. The trio would follow and find the healers that Colonel No'ä had kindly offered.

Sanze rebelliously rode beside the Northman, even after she heard one of the soldiers call her a bitch. This would not sit well with Dalitso should he learn of their treatment and so she said to the Northman. “Do not tell my Lord that they spoke to me that way. After all, they are not smart enough to understand the danger that we are.” She giggled in her infantilism. She rode off to find her sisters and they embraced her.

Dalitso smiled to see that Sanze and the others had safely returned. Albeit, beneath his smile was a harsh pain within. Everyone who decided to come with him had not even made it this far. Lozita,Vikne, Varen now Zamora. Losing them affected and saddened him deeply. Perhaps he should have never come to this land, he thought. Elvira’s affectionate glance had brought him back from his moment of doubt. He kept his smile—a facade that ignored the savage beast that lived inside him. When you were a dangerous assassin peace is not something that one comfortably embraced. The bloodlust was always there. But he never thought he would join her war...

Sanze cunningly watched him from afar.

Dalitso did not get a chance to thank the Colonel for his hospitality and when he decided, the Elf had already began to speak to the Queen in Tel’Quessir.

Distractingly, Sanze snuck behind Daltso with a soft whisper.

“You like her.” Sanze said after sneaking away from the healers. The only soul that seemed not to be afraid to speak her mind in the moment.

“Shouldn’t you be getting rest with the others?” Dalitso grinned.

“I am not tired...but you.” She poked his muscular chest. “You, my Lord, are in love.” She teased him.

“Come here. What do you know about love anyway, Sanze? You must really want to see a healer tonight.” He jested.

Sanze ran off laughing before he could catch her. Alicia as broken as she was wanted to play also but could not find that same joy in her heart. Sanze had killed many before but by her own free will. Alicia was forced to kill. The two were the same age yet they had different up bringings. One who had companions and one who just wanted to be loved and find one.

Ecru hues continued to watch Elvira, foolishly. He did not know her customs or her traditions. He did not know her language, her desires, her attractions or her fears. But he trusted her. Not to be rude to her, he left her gaze while she spoke with the Colonel and noticed another female who wore a veil, watching the group as they came into the camp. She seemed like a survivor; perhaps one of the Colonel’s companions he thought. He bowed to her, letting his nappy dreads fall down his smooth face. Then he noticed the Northman and Gregory Holt, two warriors that seemed to look into his soul—both with unique purposes of being here. He decided to be transparent with them.

“I am a stranger here in this land. My intentions were selfish at first. I came to kill someone. But now...something changed in my heart. Killing Jovina is no longer my focus. Now I am going to save someone.” His eyes found Elvira again when he spoke more. “I will do everything in my soul to save Commander Delilah. And if the Drow speaks truth we have six days to do it. Who is still with me?”
Elvira methodically undid the straps of her saddlebags from the saddled mount that Alicia still rode upon, lost in thought. Oh, how she did grieve within even as she did her best to keep her own expression as little less than a neutral if not slightly pensive and troubled one. She looked up as the storm spirit came to playfully greet her, and its peculiarly impish behavior did manage to bring a very brief, fluttering smile to her face. A smile that faded all to easily into something more wistful.

Uma, mellon'amin,” the Queen replied, offering the colonel a small nod of acknowledgement. Through her brother Hiram’nyar, No’ä had been a longtime friend. And she already had a feeling that he knew what the colonel would ask her.

Before she departed, she turned her head to watch as Dalitso, Alicia and the Acebans that had accompanied her were escorted away by the spirit beast. She briefly met Dalitso’s eyes as he had turned back to glance at her, and she offered him as much of a reassuring smile as she could muster. Even as there was warmth in those amethyst hues, there was also sadness there. When he looked back once more, Elvira and No’ä had their backs turned as they walked towards the Queen’s tent.

Ajan’avar was another uniformed elf with braided, sandy-brown hair, with distinctive, pale blue markings upon half his face, a sign of one of the greater healers. He had been briefly checking on Amaranthine every so often after Mish’vel had taken her to the camp, before the latter had continued on to Welden’eve as had been instructed previously by Elvira. But upon the approach of the other folk, as well as the horses led by the Raiü, he moved to go greet them, as they all looked weary.

He approached Dalitso first, as the Aceban seemed to immediately take a leadership position over the entire group of strangers. “…you come on the colonel’s instruction,” he observed as he noted Tempest’s presence. “Welcome to the heart of Ivory, the Deepwood. My team will look over any wounded that you bring to us, although know that rest is the best medicine.”
Gregory Holt (played by KahnMan)

The old man's lined face did not know subtlety, and it showed vividly his bitter dislike of the Aceban girl's stinging words. His lips part, as if he had something to say in retort, but closed upon a pause and ponder. Saving himself and his fellows the strife with the Aceban... and the Northman.

Hjaernan Wikstroem, "strong as an ox" the old man would often say "Virile enough to make a bear his wife" he would joke. Praising his strength by toasts and laughter. But he knows northeners; of how they value strength above all, and knows that he aims to take lead of this small band soon—most probably with the authority of his axe.

Then sighs of reliefs and grateful blessings to the Gods as they found respite within the safe haven of elvitian camp afore them. He spied the colonel of the camp, meeting with Dalitso and Elvira. He didn't look much to the old man, same like any of the other elves. Tall, with a face that examplify arrogance; then again, all elves seem lile that to him, least those scars on his face show some hardships than any the pompous elves he seen.

But what really caught his eyes is the horse with him. It was translucent, and crackled lightning as if it brewed a small storm within it. The old man turned to Samwell, who was a stable boy from Hightowers, and even he was intrigued by such magicial steed. It led the horses, and them as well into the camp.

“Welcome to the heart of Ivory, the Deepwood." Greeted an elf, whom the old man assumes the quartermaster. "My team will look over any wounded that you bring to us, although know that rest is the best medicine.”

"Elves 'round us all, plenty in th' heart o' th' Deepswoods. Bodes ill, if ya' ask me." Whispered a man-of-arms.

"Aye, an' it'll bode ill-er if their knife-ears catch what ya' say; pelted by elvish arrows, we will, so careful what ya' say." Sternly the old man admonished.

It enters the camp, marching side by side with its fellow Jubileeans when it was once alive. If not for the rotted flesh of its face, the armor did it; stuck Gregory like a sore thumb.

For a while, it had its sight straighr forth, bur something caught the undead man's attention. The gaze of an elvan woman. It stopped abruptly, leaving it standing there on his lonesome. It looked towards a veiled elf, on the far sight of camp; noticing her.

Something about her soul resonated brightly that caught Gregory's attention, a soul smiled in favour of the Gods. But then again, Gods are unpredictable, and their favours never did ensure survival; just as the dragoness and just as the mage. Gregory continued to stare at her with empty sockets where its eyes were, only for it to leave moments later for the other Jubileean.

When Gregory reached them, they were already busy assigning themselves to any available spot for camp or to the physicians. Thus, it stood aside the northman, still and silent for it didn't need a camp nor physicians, it knows no fatigue nor hunger, nor pain, but emotion? It once thought it lacked that, and even thoughts it never expected to have; to think now, it is freed by raw anger and the lust for vengence itself.

Dalitso then went to him and the northman. “I am a stranger here in this land. My intentions were selfish at first. I came to kill someone. But now...something changed in my heart. Killing Jovina is no longer my focus. Now I am going to save someone.” It needn't know Dalitso's longing eyes towards Elvira to know; his very soul spoke volumes. That, and the sudden pause. “I will do everything in my soul to save Commander Delilah. And if the Drow speaks truth we have six days to do it. Who is still with me?”

The undead hasn't been very expressive ever since joining, not a sound nor movement in reply. But now, it shows. Gregory nodded once... in expression showed its allegiance.
Contrary to the old man's fears, his de facto subordinate had not really bothered with taking over his position. In a strange turn of events, his complete lack of interest in the squad would eventually spell a worse fate than simply being stripped of a rank. Hjaernan had lost his reason to stick around. He had not cared for the other men and if anyone cared to look closer, one would find hints of sadness in his eyes as he, alongside his new and rather silent companion, stood around somewhat aimlessly in the camp.

He had been unable to wash his body or equipment so far as all the clean water and cloth had been reserved for the sick and wounded. A dirty rag and used water really only were able to take care of the worst but at least he had somewhat gotten rid of most of the stench from battle. Strangely enough, the walker that had been so insistent on following him around did not stink like the rest of them. Or at least not as bad. It could not talk and seemed to be somewhat sentient. Especially the former part was something the Northman really appreciated. Folks further south simply talked and talked, and talked, flapping their lips far, far too much for his liking. His new companion being effectively mute just made him that much more likeable - enough for him to look past the ghastly, ghoulish form he presented to others.

His commander had been put into intensive care immediately upon arrival and the healers had not allowed him to see her but their expressions were more than enough to go by. Hjaernan was not one to give up before he had tried anything in his power but judging by the way the medics treated the case, it seemed only sensible to at least consider having to mourn for his loss. At least he was telling himself that. In reality, he had long harboured feelings for the competent woman. Feelings that had gone beyond simple respect or admiration. Maybe they had been the reason he had hesitated to call her back home during all his time under her command.
It was during this silent time in which he attempted to sort out his feelings regarding his commander that he was approached by the southerner he had only briefly spotted before and immediately found an equal in.

Save? Had he heard correctly?
"Can Del... the commander be saved?", the mountain of muscle asked in an almost comical manner, switching from a tense and brooding expression to a hopeful one in mere seconds. Gone were the hesitance and sadness, replaced by a sense of eagerness and determination.
"You can count me in if there is still hope. I will not sit by idly as she awaits death. You truly bring good news if there is a remedy but do tell, what does she need?"
Noah Ryan (played by Syaoran555)

No'ä walked with Elvira in silence as the two of them made their way to their tent. All the while, his eyes were constantly moving, trying to see if anyone were attempting to follow or eavesdrop on them. Thankfully, as far as he could tell, no one was, and so he relaxed a very slight bit. It wasn't much, but to the trained eye it was just noticeable.

The Colonel then cut a quick glance at Elvira, wondering what was bothering her. Yes, there was the fact that the undead had spawned upon the shores of Urdu, but he felt that there was a high likelihood of there being much more to it than that. His longtime friend wouldn't be this despondent if there wasn't. He planned to try to get that out of her in the forthcoming conversation.

After a few minutes, the two of them were finally in the privacy of Elvira's tent. After taking a quick look outside just to make sure that there weren't any potential eavesdroppers, No'ä turned to her. "Alright, Vira, out with it," he said, speaking in Elvish. "I haven't seen you this despondent since your father died. What has happened?"
The Queen, aside from small, halfhearted flicks of her gaze to the sides, upon her own burdened wariness of caution, kept her violet gaze upon the ground as she waled to the tent with the Colonel. She had managed to school her face into something almost thoughtfully reminiscent before the falling of the tent flap and the frank confrontation tugged away insistently at that facade.

At intervals, her features fell. Elvira looked...lost, and she meandered over to a chair before nearly collapsing into it in disbelief. Her searching gaze only pored some void before her, heart heavy.

"...amin toror'. Dezus," she managed in a small murmur. The elven queen pressed her palms together as if in prayer, gently touching her fingertips to her lips as she pressed the latter into thin lines. "Ro..." she faltered for another moment or so, trying to compose herself enough to speak. "Ro naa y' dhaeraow." At the last word, her voice hitched, and she squeezed her eyes tight, grief spreading a shadow over her pristine features.

"...sut naa sina marta?” Her low voice trembled, and the words, although softly spoken, began to bubble from her chest just has the saline crept up at the corners of her amethyst hues. “Mani ume amin oio uma cael- sina umbar panya deno' amin? amin ume iluve ho quel. Oste ho, mele ho, ame ho de.” The first tear slipped, slipping down the elegant cave of her cheek. “Ar' ie' anna ro bela pelekt- deno' lye eska, ar' lye taure…

Even her hands now lightly shook, and the moment she noticed, she placed her hands down, tucking them beneath her thighs instead, willing them to still. “I' guina naa ie' ho talwi ar' ten' ho templa. Ro brien sina gorgorath deno' lye.” But as the tears continued to fall, one after the other, Elvira covered her face with both hands, turning away in her shame, posture lightly wilting and curling. “Amin uma il- dura sina. Amin ume il- elea ilya en' sina,” she wept, shoulders lightly shuddered from those near-silent sobs. “…mani naa amin uma?” Those last words were barely a whisper.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Ajan’avar was a skilled healer who was assigned to Dalitso and his Gypsy Warrior companions. Many of them were not aware of the damage they had received in the many battles since coming to this point. Zosa had torn her arm muscle on sea using the sword to cut down the merfolk invaders. Nahita was cut in the shin and Pela and Sanze were both injuried in areas they only felt once the intensity of surviving had settled down. Dalitso had a small gash in his shoulder from one of the undead that surprisingly found his weak side with a dulled blade.

The elf stitched the females up first since their injuries were most critical. Next, the elf worked on sealing the gash, while Dalitso had given his brief speech. Holt for the first time had seemed to come alive. He offered a deftly nod that Dalitso could surely recognize as one of allegiance. Delilah’s soldiers on the other hand shared less passion. If any lived in them he took no notice of it thus far; albeit there was one who showed a true concern and love for his commander. His accent was much different than his Jubileeian companions as was his size.

Dalitso responded...

“The drow mentioned something of an unnatural redroot and us having seven days to reverse it from another source in the Mountains of Creation. Of course this was all said before Dezus weaseled himself into an unknown portal.” He explained to the Norseman. “I am not sure if his words were a trap or sincerity and after the chaos he brought to the elves it would be suicide to trust him...unfortunately, suicide is our only option. I will investigate and study this redroot before I decide to travel. Lo and behold, my closest companion Chi, has your Commander safe in the demon realm until we obtain the cure.”

After his words, Ajan’avar had finished mending his wound. Dalitso was weary. Exhaustion was ready to snatch him and he lost focus of the discussion but truly wanted to put this information in Hjaernan‘s and Gregory Holt’s hearts so they could be aware of what the Aceban had planned for this broken band of travelers. The elf with the veil, whom he had previously bowed to, he hoped that she had heard his words as well; as everyone here was now a trusted part of this fellowship—whether by ill-willed fate or unlucky chance. “Excuse me for one moment.” He said to test out the strength of his revived limbs.

He moved swift like a beast of the desert; an agile foot with light steps. His ebony linen wrapped leggings fitted tightly, allowing a more acrobatic movement. His lion cloak offered warmth and protection, thus underneath that barrier he relied on his own ability to evade and move freely up a tree—like a black panther, until he was out of sight from everyone.

As the sun began to sat, darkness would fully come upon the Deepwoods. Dalitso needed this time to grieve—for the first time since that travesty in the mer sea. He lowered his eyes and wept silently...Lozita was gone and he despised himself for failing to protect his own.
"An unnatural Redroot?", the burly Northman repeated with his eyebrows raised. It certainly did not sound as bad as it was though people that dealt with poison always seemed to have their own humour when it came to naming them. From what he was told by this stranger, things were dire but not hopeless. In other words, this was a test - a test for his commander and the ragtag group that was willing to go and do what they needed to do to save her. Very well. He was not one to back down from a challenge, especially not if it was called out so openly. If anything, he had to give at least some respect to the one that had poisoned her. To set up a perilous journey for him to venture on - that was almost the noblest thing a villain could do for those seeking to best him.

"Very well. Do tell once you have confirmation. I will keep myself travel ready. The not-so-undead can stick with me. He has a strange gusto that I appreciate."
Hjearnan laughed and slapped his meaty paw onto the back of the nearby Holt. "My man needs a better weapon than that brittle stick he carries. I will see to get him a nice axe like mine."
Another hearty chuckle followed his statement as he turned around, leading Holt away in search of a proper axe and grindstone for his undead buddy unless he struggled against it.
Gregory Holt (played by KahnMan)

Gregory Holt stumbled forward when the large northman slapped it upon its plates, nigh falling flat on its own rotten face. Regaining its balance, the undead stared at the northener, not with any malice nor joy, but still that silent expressionless look plastered over blackened skeletal visage.

It looked to the haft of its hammer, then to its cruel head when the man claimed it brittle. At the least, it confirms to some extent it comprehends the tongue of the living.

It walked away, a silent farewell to Dalitso as it followed behind Hjaernan, leading him for a better weapon.

A burly northman and an undead, walking together. Eyes trained unto them with animosity, even silent curses, especially those of the elves. After all, who'd welcome a barbarian born of the north and a rotting, walking horror with open arms?
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

It was a long night. A night that felt like several months—this is how good he’d slept. Dalitso woke to the sounds of birds chirping, such a splendid song. The tree house was comfortable. High above where the undead could not reach them. There was a hot water basin, left steaming, next to his bed rest, courtesy of the Elvatians. He had never seen anything like it before. Enchantedly, he ran his calloused fingers through the bowl that glowed turquoise. He took his hand out and observed—his fingers were cleaner than he’d ever seen them. He washed his face next and whatever was in the water revitalized him fully. He felt good. He felt strong. Elvira had given him the best hospitality. He was grateful.

Sadly, it was only day two, since General Delilah was poisoned by the Drow necromancer. He knew they could not remain in this hidden outpost forever, but rest was surely needed. They had been through much conflict. Lives were lost. Objectives had changed. Dalitso felt so overwhelmed. But he had to fight on. He was relentless.

The night before he had requested a book on understanding redroot. Luckily, he learned that one of the elders in Urdu had an ancient parchment on its origins. The Elder was in Essellé. He would need to speak with the Queen on how to get there, indeed that was their next destination.

He walked down the winding pathway, that led to other trails and more crafted tree houses. He did not notice how massive this settlement was last night. The trees were alive here and they served the elves. They listened. He sought to learn. Thus he was stunned to see them watching him from afar, with their unnatural yellow hues. He swallowed and hoped that he could find Elvira, so they could talk. He was lost and confused on where to go—such magicka, he was not used to.

This place...this fortress. Everything seemed alive. He did not recognize anyone familiar; only the guards who stood like mantels in the distance. Perhaps he woke up too early. Zosa, Nahita and Sanze were probably still sleeping—no he knew them, they were snoring now. But the others, those who joined them on the coastal fight, he wondered if they were still with him, or will it just be he and Elvira to lead this band.

“I gave you my word. Even if the others have abandoned you...I am honorable. I am still here.” He said to himself, softly, not expecting anyone to hear him. “And I am sorry for your loss. I seen the way you looked at him. This Dezus. He had to have meant a lot to you. It is unfortunate that he has betrayed you.” He lowered his head and listened to the birds who seemed to listen. “Teach me. I seek to learn. I seek to learn the way of the Tel’Quessir. I seek to learn the way of the forest.”
To think that they at last needed to take such refuge here, in the arms of the Deep Forest—the ancestral origin of Urdu and the sanctuary of the dryads and their spirit kin—some of the Council would blame her incompetence in allowing such trespassing on sacred ground for a purpose as unholy as war. However, the Queen would see it otherwise. The souls of the Great Tree and the eldritch forces that thrummed through this paradise had granted them protection in their own home, and that gave her comfort, as if Oberon himself was on their side.

“Vanima talar’, vanima eska, amin ama lle taurn.”

As Elvira stood before the ornate shrine, the glade in her immediate vicinity seemed to hum, but just as it barely crossed a noticeable threshold, the sensation was just gone. She pressed her lips together in silent contemplation. Even in gratefulness she was troubled, and could not recite the chanting prayer in full. Oh, how Vera would be disappointed... If there was any place where the forest should be lauded, it was here in its heart. But she could not reach the meditative nirvana that allowed her as the reigning monarch to branch and reach through the spiritual channels, as the weight of the previous events were still so heavy upon her heart. How could she have allowed this to happen to them all? There must’ve possibly been something more that she had failed to do that had allowed Dezus to fester to this point...

There was a small wave of light that darted into the air and was no more in the next instant, like a mirage, as the Queen dispelled the magic. She couldn’t help the sigh that escaped her lips. There was determination, of course. It was not a question that she and all the Elvatian around her would defend this forest with their lives. The circulation of generosity was something so deeply engrained in their culture: to give just as this forest so freely gave for them all to live and thrive. And in turn, they would care for it, honor it, and defend it.

Her violet gaze caressed the ornate shrine before her—a living monument of white braided trees and honeycombing trunks, painted with the finest silk tassels and talismans. Such beauty was only the tip of this utopia, offered to them all as sanctuary. It saddened her to know that if she could not succeed in fending off the usurpers, this place would be so harshly wrung for resources by those who would never respect the balance of what they had taken. And such beauty would be long gone.

She knelt upon the bountiful carpet of lush grass and bright wildflowers, placing her hands upon the smooth woods shrine. As she closed her eyes, there would be a golden glow emanating from beneath her palms.

“Saesa, ona amin y' tehta,” she whispered, hoping for any of the great forces to take heed of her fragile plea, oblivious to the Zephian warrior approaching the rear of the shrine’s clearing.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

The Zephian was abruptly distracted from his thoughtless words. Ecru hues softened as he heard a familiar voice chant elven from the near distance. Afterwards a humming disturbance made the ground shake and roar beneath him. It ended quicker than it begun.

Silence came once again. So did his moment of confusion. He was so eager to understand the way. His heart beat faster, in anticipation. He always wanted to use his talents for a purpose. No longer would he solicit spice to the six realms—but he would join her war. He was nervous about this; terrified that death might surely come to many of those around him. Those whom he loved—even himself. Death was a cruel mistress and war was her devious companion.

“I must find her.” He braced himself.

The Elvatian guards did not bother him, as if they were commanded to specifically watch his every move. He could feel that he was not alone anymore. Dalitso tracked where he heard her voice come from only to see a small wave of light dash into the morning sky. This amazed him. He swiftly moved in that direction only to see Elvira kneeled deeply next to a wooden shrine. Her gentle fingers faced the sun, helplessly. In his heart he wanted to hold them, thus his mind told him to stay back. The relationship between Elf and Human had been complicated for centuries. The human mind was often ignorant and lacked humility. Had no human tried to truly learn? He wondered. He was not a traditional human. But he was from Zephia on the continent of Aceba.

Dalitso would attempt the unthinkable.

He would humble himself and come as a listener. There was a great power in the one who understood the forest. Dalitso had pleaded to learn, to understand her true lifestyle. And while he came closer to the Queen’s position he felt in his heart and mind that the forest had heard him—it may have even led him here.

“The light that went into the air. It was...beautiful.” He whispered in common. “Again, I thank you for your hospitality, your grace. The water in the basin. It cleaned my body like never before. What of the food here?” He wondered aloud.

Elvira would tell from the muscular rocks in his hard stomach that he was famished. His body was trained to go long without, but he was no god. Like any human mortal, the man and his female gypsy companions needed nourishment.
At his voice, Elvira's ears twitched lightly at the register of a new sound in the quiet morning. It was still quite early in the morning--the sun always awoke early, of that there was no doubt, but she had expected none other to be awake at this hour. The Queen idly brushed some of the dust off her dress as she stood to her feet. Upon sight of Dalitso, mild surprise flitted across her expression. Of course the stationed guards would be awake. However... after the ordeal they had gone through, she had expected the Aceban to rest longer.

The compliment made her startled countenance soften. Through her studies, she knew that outside this forest, magics were heavily guarded and shrouded from and amongst other cultures. It must be a surprise, then, for him to see her using magic out in the open. Of course, magic had been a factor in battle, but with the focus that combat required, there was no time for one to acknowledge such sorcery with wonder.

On the other hand, the queen too could not imagine a world where the thrum of life and the aether about them was something nonexistent, or at least so far out of her reach. Their worlds, hers and his, were so far apart. While their goals and ideals may have coincided in the moment, could they truly join as genuine and lasting allies? Her life, the lives of her people, and the life of the great and beautiful amalgamation that was this forest. All such depended on her, could she truly allow herself to reach farther from her all-encompassing world?

Nevertheless, she offered him a small smile of warmth. The healing waters of Aph were only one of the many blessings amongst Urdu's treasures. The food, with care and love and proper preparation, could be just as divine. "Come then," she invited him as she smoothed out the fabric of her dress. "Let us share in the forest's bounty."

She exited the shrine's clearing through a thinning in the copse of twining trees. The wildflowers lined the sides of the path of treaded grass, clear trails that idled through the Deepwood between the trees and treehouses. Although the wind was little, the sounds of the forest were alive. The whisper of leaves, the song of the birds, the breath of soft padding in the grass that just might be a trick of the ear or a subconscious fantasy of some unseen animal.

Eventually, the path opened up to a collection of ancient stone structures. Tables and chairs, one might realize after studying them for long enough. They were so worn with the winds of time that one would not There was a soft murmur that seemed to sweep through the trees at their entry, and raised an arm to stop Dalitso from advancing any further.

"When you hear them, close your eyes a moment and count to thirty before they open. A stranger builds trust with the spirits of the Deep with his respect. As they slowly begin to trust you in the future, you will be blessed with the gift of sighting their presence with your own eyes."

"Until then you must prove that you trust them not to harm you, with this method."
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

For a moment, he felt uncomfortable when she gazed upon him. As if he had disturbed her moment of peace. He did not understand peace. Since a child all he knew was chaos. Nor did he see value in her shrine or understand her magic. As impressive as it was, such art was forbidden in Aceba. His own people called him evil for befriending a cat demon; they called his gypsy companions sorceresses for wielding swords of fire. It was obvious that Daliso embraced the things that normal humans feared. He loved the people that humans hated.

When Elvira offered him a smile, his ecru hues softened and he no longer felt like a stranger in her world. Indeed he took her smile as an invitation. Albeit when she said to come, his strong legs struggled to keep pace. Perhaps he should have rested longer. After the journey this far his legs felt weak. Elvira had been conditioned for this war. Dalitso on the other hand, was no soldier. He was a warrior that was used to drinking wine daily and eating in local taverns. Why did he think that his life would not change in the north.

As they pressed on, he felt uneasy again, thus he trusted the one who led him. Maybe she was evil like the Dark Elves he heard of in fabled legend; Matriarch Queen’s who worshipped spiders and cut the heads off men and ate them. He grinned in his thoughts, not even acknowledging the wildflowers and the endless fibers of idled beauty. Losing focus, he felt the murmur come swift as the path to the ancient stone area was blocked off from him. He heard Elvira’s instructions and closed his eyes.

Thirty seconds later, he opened them and followed Elvira through the trail. It happened again, the closer he came to the stone dining area. He closed his eyes again and waited in the intense mental count. He felt the murmuring seize and the path was again opened for him.

“How did you become Queen of this land? Are you the eldest in your family or was there some kind of trial you had to overcome? You have already shown me that you are no stranger to the sword, that is something an Aceban Warrior can respect.” He expressed. “In our culture the sword is our way of life, it is our sole trial and to use it will determine our renown in history. Many in our society die young because of it.”

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