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(OOC thread here.)

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One day, during a lush and pleasant spring, a man holding a cane washed up on the riverside near Dragofrid. The town, secluded as it was within a massive expanse of woodland, welcomed the injured man with reluctance. Their local healers were occupied at the time of his arrival, so he was taken in by a small family and nursed back to health. But a degree of unfamiliarity remained, even between the stranger and his saviors. To the present day, not one of the townsfolk yet know why he was so badly hurt.

Eventually the stranger set up shop near the local blacksmith, working tirelessly to produce firearms and parts for the town to utilize. Though there was no substantial demand for such a shop, the man found some success between running the shop and hunting in the vast forests surrounding his home.

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Dorian sat in a rocking chair on his humble shop's front porch. His boots pressed against the wood beneath them to rock the man gently back and forth while he stared into the distance. Holding his cane in his hands, Estienne plucked at the edges of the brass brimming its top. Today was meant to be a day to relax, something that he hadn't done in a long time. Many of the other townsfolk were already out at work, despite the fact that the sun had only recently risen and the morning mist was thick, far from dissipating.

Breathing the fresh air was a refreshing change from what he usually did, spending hours toiling over his work in his dusty old cabin home. It clearly wasn't enough to get him to relax, however. In a moment the man went from staring, to scowling, to glaring off at the misty air. He squeezed his cane until his knuckles whitened and his fingertips flushed. Then, as soon as the inexplicable tension came over him, it stopped with a gasp. He looked up, then around, finding the world unchanged.

With a groan, Dorian rose from his rocking chair and started to hobble down from his porch. He slowly hobbled from his home downtown, eyes glued to the grass laden path beneath him. A few steps down and the man paused, rummaging through his coat to procure a cigar as well as a primitive, handcrafted lighter. After lighting the cigar Estienne continued his trek.

Janella preferred the comfort that a city could provide, but she spent a fair amount of time traveling because she was banned from most of the cities she stayed in. At the moment, she was coming upon a smaller town. The mixed elf was only half-drow, but few on the surface could distinguish such and she was treated as any dark elf would be. And with good reason. As she got closer, she began to wonder if she shouldn't use a spell to disguise herself as human. It was a convincing illusion, unless they had some talented mage or a paladin she should be fine.

As she skulked about in the woods and thought over her options, she saw a man that was walking down the trail. Hiding behind a tree and peeking out between branches, she observed him for a time. He had a cane, and a nice looking one at that. Was he some kind of wealthy cripple? she wondered to herself. Predatory habits rose up, and she found herself stalking about the man without even realizing it. It might be fun to mess with him, even if he wasn't carrying a coin purse.

The rogue crawled up into the trees like a spider, picking her way among the branches. She waited until one crossed over the path before dropping down in front of him. The elf landed with hardly a sound, and something about her descent was unnaturally slow. Very little of her ashen skin could be seen due to her mask and hood. Her cloak didn't entirely hide the dark leather armor beneath. Soft boots encased her feet, which carried her a couple steps closer to him. The various blades on her body remained sheathed. "Dangerous to be out here on your own, been hearing about people being injured," her voice was low but feminine, carrying the melodic tones of any elf. Her accent had a harsh quality.

Dorian's walk took him a ways into the woods, taking the better part of an hour before anything remarkable took place. The fact was further concealed by the persistent fog and clouds hanging over the woods that day. Though the town's forester had done well to tame the local woodland paths the man walked, there were still small obstacles that Estienne found somewhat more frustrating than the average traveler. He took extra time to step over stones, or walk around small streams or plants. It took most of his attention, drawing his eyes downward more often than not and making him an even easier person to sneak up on.

That was, until he stumbled upon a curious sight. Some sort of ancient stone marker? It stood lonesome in the bleak forest. The lone man hobbled toward it, his eyes catching on a smaller, red-and-black stone which sat on its top. He approached the pedestal, eyes trailing over the smooth stone atop it.

The gunsmith hadn't heard Silenthread's approach, but when she spoke to him he only lifted his head somewhat. He withdrew his cigar from between his lips and slowly blew out a cloud of smoke, grumbling, "Indeed?" He inquired, voice thickly accented. He adjusted his cane, pressing it once more against the ground as the man steadily turned toward the newcomer. Upon seeing her, he squinted. "Don't suppose you would have anything to do with that, girl...?" The man's grip of his cane adjusted; where at first his hand held it from the top, afterwards it slid down the cane's mechanism somewhat, his fingers drawing close to its small trigger.

Here in the woods, the morning mist seemed to grow more dense. Dorian returned the cigar to its place between his teeth, eyeing the half-drow warily.

It had felt like 386 years of travel for Isabella traversing the distance with only the sole companion beneath her, though likely days were more accurate. The sad truth was she really had no idea, simply it had felt like forever for the 9 year old.

So her condition wouldn't likely come as a surprise for an omniscient viewer who had seen her trek through the mighty Mori Forest, where she presumed she still was. Tired didn't even begin to say it, and exhausted only felt like the tip of the feeling.

Out of the fog and happenening quite accidently across the Drow and the gunslinger came a Siberian Husky, rather large for the breed in particular. The dog had clearly lost a battle long ago, with grey eyes staring silently forward, he walked on despite the hole on his side exposing portions of his innards, spikes of rib cage protruding not being the worst of the sight. It wasn't just this area damaged, and much of the animal was caked with combinations of blood and mud. Half the dogs face seemed carved off, and elements of the skull shone through.

Wrapped around his chest, but below his front legs, was a belt held tightly to him. Hanging off each side were two small bags of what appeared to be cloth, perhaps leather even. The most notable thing he carried however, lie on his back. A large ancient tome looking of great worth was sprawled on his back, held there only by a sleeping Isabella's upper half.

She lay on the animal haphazardly, in a way the couldn't appear comfortable. Her face crashlanded onto the book accompanied by not only a small amount of drool sticking her cheek to the book, but a light snore as well. Her arms outstretched on either side of the book and hung down, carelessly swinging about. Her legs were in a similar state of careless collapse on each side of the Huskies hindquarters, and if it weren't for the ends of Isabella's dress holding them taught in place from the unforgiving lack of fabric, they very well may have simply drug the ground as the dog walked.

Happening upon the scene, the clearly expired dog stopped and reacted not unlike how a normal dog might. His head shot up, and the left ear, the only one he seemed to have left on his battle damaged head, shot up at attention as he discovered the two.

With his neck pushing back, the book behind it moved, and Isabella stirred. A light groan came, and she grasped the ends of the book with each dirty little hand she hand and turned her head over and began an attempt to reach slumber once more.

Janella regarded the stone marker with only a passing interest, her attention riveted on Dorian the way a wolf might watch a rabbit. She had an easy confidence about her, even as she plotted about how she might best take him. Black eyes didn't miss the way his hand slid down toward the center of his cane, making her wonder if he had a blade hidden in there. She shrugged when he asked if she'd had anything to do with the injuries. "Sometimes. Gotta make a living." The elf didn't try to hide her occupation, since she was good enough at hiding herself most of the time. She only smiled whenever he called her 'girl.' She was far older than any human might hope to be.

Her attention was drawn from attacking Dorian when an undead wolf with a book and a passed out girl appeared from the woods. She had not yet brought a blade to hand, but she'd been pondering which one to use. Janella's eyes nearly popped out of her skull, even in all her decades she had never seen such a sight. "What in all the hells . . . " she muttered a few curses in both Common and Drow. The half-drow took out a shortsword out of reflex, not willing to remain unarmed in the present of such a beast. The behavior of the canine confused her even further. Janella glanced to the male to see if he recognized this thing at all.

Her attention did move to the book and the girl after several moments, seeing that the girl was sleeping. "So do you get these often around here?" she asked Dorian. Too leery of the undead wolf to try and get close to the girl, she noted that the child looked undead. Though she was breathing. Janella's eyes took on a red sheen for several moments, she could see heat radiating from the girl's body. "How very odd," she muttered. Taking in all the mud on the creature, she figured the pair had been traveling for some time. The half-drow wanted to try and wake up the girl, but she also didn't want to make the undead wolf angry.

Dorian kept his eyes locked on Janella as she shrugged, and he sighed quietly when she replied with confirmation to his suspicions. The gunsmith's fingers trailed a bit further down the cane, but did not move to act further until Silentread's attention was taken to the two unsettling newcomers. He himself did not immediately glance over, preferring to react to the drow's withdrawal of her short sword first. The man lifted the cane with the hand already holding it, bringing the other around its length and twisting. The majority of the tool seemed to turn with his other hand before he let it go; the wooden shaft of the cane fell away to reveal the half elf's suspicions, a well-crafted, narrow blade only slightly shorter than the rosewood it was encased in. With haste Estienne pointed the blade in her direction, his fingers still toying with the trigger on its grip.

But when his potential foe's eyes lingered in a separate direction, the man seemingly couldn't help eventually give into curiosity. He glanced very briefly in the direction she stared, doing a double take to really take in just what was going on here. Dorian's brow knit and he looked back enough at the inquisitive Janella to shake his head. No, they did not get these often around here. He waited a few seconds further, if only to see if the wolf was going to act. Then he muttered towards Silentread, "Think they've any friends around here?"

Estienne spared a glance to and fro in the endeavor to answer his own question, but grimaced when he found nothing and stayed in place. After all, there were not one, but two potential threats the aged gunsmith had to keep his attention on.

A single bark emitted the dogs mouth, or what was once a bark. Now the raspy gurgling noise would barely resemble that of the once proud glory of the Huskies call. The sound shook Isabella awake suddenly, and surprised by the noise she reacted in an attempt to push herself up to see what the commotion was about.

She pushed her right hand against the outside edge of the book first in an attempt to raise her upper half enough to use her left hand, but the results were anything but successful. The weight shifted the book to the right and the left side raised up quickly, slapping Isabella on both the side of the arm and the side of the face at the same time. Simultaneously the book gave way on the right side, and her arm fell directly off it instantly.

The dog whipped his head around to the right as Isabella fell off his back, and as he returned a gaze towards the two strangers, he noticed weapons were drawn. The gurgling growl of the dog came next and he attempted to bear his teeth at them to show his displeasure.

Isabella crashed face first to the ground with a girlish shriek, instantly wide awake and whining at the pain now most notably in her face and chest. Her whole body had already ached from the nearly four century walk, but the painful fall seemed to dull that if only by intensifying the pain elsewhere. Her hands pulled up to her face as she lay there reeling a moment, with the booming having fallen and collapsed on her head like half of a make shift tee pee a child might create on their dest at school.

The growling ceased only a moment, and the husky made a circle around to the right, coming up beside Isabella in a canine U-turn and placing his upper body over hers. With his front paws placed on each side of her, one beside the book and the other the right shoulder, he lowered his head slightly over her in clear guard of the girl.

It was then Isabella's whining ceased and she realized they had run across....something. Pausing, she slowly looked up to see the feet, legs, and eventually sideways bodies of the drow and Dorian. In reaction she quickly pulled one arm up and pushed the dogs still growling face off to the right, and he retraced one leg to keep himself on one side completely. With her opposite hand she reached around trying to collect her book, first knocking it accidently off her head on the flat of its cover, then looking over as she pushed herself up to her knees and pulling the book in quickly with her free hand.

Quickly Isabella reached down and collected the book, pulling it to her chest tightly. The growling stopped and the dog simply stared, and after a quick glance at the husky, she slowly made her way to her feet with nervous eyes locked on the pair in front of her.

Janella did glance over with a grin of challenge whenever she saw there was a blade in his cane. The arrival of the girl on the undead beast had distracted her from trying to rob the human male at the moment, or perhaps just hurting him for fun. People rarely took their valuables when they were on a walk. The mixed elf glanced around after Dorian's questions, as if she expected to find an irate, seemingly dead mother storm out of the trees to protect her young. "Doubtful," she answered Dorian in a mystified tone. "Parents of any kind rarely let their children wander on their own, even with a . . . . guard dog. I've never seen anything quite like it. And I've seen a lot."

She tightened her grip on her shortsword, not about to remain unarmed around a beast she wasn't sure of. Janella did not recognize the undead animal as a husky, knowing little about dog breeds. She thought it was a wolf. Whenever the thing growled at her, she actually growled back. The half-drow had no desire to fight the beast, knowing it would likely maul her. Even escaping canines was difficult, as they could always sniff her out. Janella watched impassively as the girl slid off the husky and came awake from her fall. She had been glancing at the ground around her, wondering if she should throw a rock or a stick and try to wake her up.

"Who and what are you?" she asked of the girl. Her tone of voice was neutral now, and she had tried to better control her accent. The girl was human but with gray skin, she looked dead. But she was warm. The elf tilted her head in confusion, pulling down her hood and mask. Her white hair was tied back in a single braid, her facial features angular much like any elf's. There were races that had gray skin, one of them hers. Janella speculated she might simply be a half-breed of one of those races.

Dorian continued to frown while his eyes darted periodically between his potential half-drow assailant and the mysterious child and undead dog. He made no move to run away, though he shifted his footing somewhat to steady himself without the passive support of his cane-weapon. The gunsmith just barely caught the glance from the drow, uncertain but suspecting that the masked woman was grinning when she saw it. When her attention returned to the child, he took the opportunity to slowly lift his free hand and pluck the cigar from his teeth. The man blew out a cloud of smoke as he listened to Janella's inquiry.

When he pulled the cigar from his lips Estienne unconsciously pulled his arm back, tucking it into an 'L' position close to his chest. Without realizing, the man knocked the black and red stone from its pedestal, sending it thudding to the floor. Dorian was slow to investigate this but managed a quick glance back towards the object he'd dislocated, hoping that the child's presence would further keep Silentread's attention away from him.

Just as he was going to turn forward again, something caught his eye. Under a thick litter of moss, dirt and fallen leaves there were markings on the ground. The stone had landed somewhere near the center of... some sort of circular shape? The gunsmith supposed that it was some kind of ruin, left behind by some civilization long dead. He paid little heed to it but idly hoped that the situation would end peaceably, or well enough that he might inspect the shape further.

As Isabella rose she stared at Janella in particular. Most of the womans skin had been covered, but with the reveal of her face in particular the girl noticed one thing.....the skin color. She had never met a drow before, in fact never even any form of elf, and so she was left to draw the one conclusion that seemed obvious to her.

'she's like me...'

It wasn't anything she had discovered before, mind you coming from a small village of only humans her perception was not only ignorant, but wrong as well.

Dorian tipped the stone tablet, and Isabella's eyes shot to him, and as they reached back towards Janella, she couldn't help but to notice everyone was armed....and she felt like the target the way they looked at her.

"Isabella," she claimed simply. The dog turned and pressed into the front of Isabella's dress while watching Janella and Dorian. He landed perpendicular to the girl watching them, holding his body in front of her defensively.

"I'm....like you I think," she claimed with a small nervous smile, clearly overlooking a couple features and eyeing the blade in each of their hands openly. If they both decided to attack her, she figured her hound could stall one of them at least, but she was pretty sure the other was going to be able to reach her before she could open her book and make any kind of defensive save.

Still the thought of having something similar to her was compelling, "Are you.....dead? Or alive?" she returned the question to Janella.

As the stone was knocked into the middle of the circle, it began to glow with blinding light, and a voice echoed out. "So someone finally summoned me, eh?" a woman called out as the body began to form, the stone rising to where her heart would be. Her figure would soon form, her clothing coming after as she holds her sword in her right hand by the sheath, a smug grin on her face.

She looks to the man and examines him, before looking over the situation. Soon enough a crest would be burned into the hand of the man that knocked her stone into the middle, and the two were bound by the soul. "Master, please direct me to the slaughter." she spoke with confidence, putting her free hand to the hilt her her blade. "I'm ready to serve you in the great war!"

The elf only glanced over when she saw that Dorian had knocked a piece of the monument over, thinking to herself that humans were clumsy. Whenever the seemingly undead girl caught sight of Janella's skin and began to think they were alike, the half-drow's gaze slid to Isabella's ears, facial features and overall appearance. "You are human, or partly at least. I am a mix of drow and moon elf. I am alive. You look dead, though you create heat." Janella's eyes took on a red glow for several moments before it gradually faded away. The temporary shift to infravision had revealed the mix of yellows, oranges and reds that living creatures were always composed of.

The hue to Isabella's skin reminded her of corpses she had seen, and there was also a certain vacancy to her gaze along with the apprehension. The elf flipped her blade over with a deft, almost careless motion and sheathed it. Her attention moved to the book, her first thought that it looked like it was worth a lot of money. She looked to the dog and resisted her schemes. For now. "How did you come to be here?" she asked Isabella. Her focus was soon snatched away by the appearance of an apparently demonic woman.

The voice made her look about before she realized it was the stone. The woman appearing without her clothes didn't bother her in the least, she was accustomed to nudity. She drew her shortsword again, looking toward Dorian to gauge his reaction. The mixed elf regarded the crest burning into his hand impassively, though she wondered just how he was going to direct this new servant of his. She felt suddenly awkward, since she had been wanting to mug him or at least beat up on him only minutes before. "L'vith," things just kept getting stranger.

Dorian listened idly as the other two started to converse, slowly drawing the cigar back to his mouth. Once it was back in place he felt a sudden, white-hot pain emanate from his palm. The man couldn't help but shudder and groan, dropping his cane-weapon to the floor as he clutched his wrist with his other hand. "--What...?" Was all that the pained, bewildered man could muster to say immediately after the accidental summoning. With eyes still wide, he looked back at yet another newcomer; the woman he'd unknowingly brought to this realm.

He took a few seconds to register what the demonic woman had to say before his confusion was superseded by frustration. "Great war? Master?" He growled, flexing his fingers to distract himself from the pain of the crest he bore. "By the gods, I'm just trying to take a walk!" His gaze traveled back towards Silentread, still hard with anger while he addressed her. "For all our sakes, lets forget this squabble. Hard enough to keep track of all of you." With some difficulty- another grunt and baring of teeth as the gunsmith bent forward- he collected his blade from the ground and held it in a shaking, tenuous grip.

Estienne had nearly forgotten about Isabella during the summoning process but as soon as he'd glanced her way again he seemed to remember her earlier introductions. Though still gruff, the older man made an aside her way. "Isabella. Good to meet you." He brought his free hand to his heart, adding, "Name's Dorian. Why... are you out here alone...?"

"Oh..." the response came to Janella's revelation, sounding rather disappointed to hear the woman was indeed alive, and certainly in no way bore the nature Isabella was born with. She eyed the woman tentatively, yet curiously as she proceeded talking. With eyes still fixed on Janella, she responded. "I walked," she claimed matter-of-factly, then glancing to her undead dog a moment before looking back to her, "But sometimes I rode Lucas too."

The moment was shattered by the summoning of a strange woman speaking about some war. Isabella hadn't heard about any wars while at home, though many things outside of Mori forest had simply passed Solum by as if it weren't there anyway. She had read about wars, though, factually and fictionally. Regardless, witnessing a being summoned from a stone was nothing that surprised her, in fact she was quite familiar with it.

She simply stood regarding the situation with a cautious eye, the dog Lucas now eyeing the newcomer with obvious slow pants from an open jaw sounding more what a person might make than a dog. It was likely the entire function had purpose, seeing as how unnecessary as breathing was for the long dead creature.

Then Dorian became angry, turning to talk to Janella and seeming to confirm Isabella's first presumptions about the relationship between the two, at least in her perspective. He turned to approach her, and despite his calmer tone with her than with Janella, Isabella still backed up as many steps as Dorian used to approach her, with Lucas remaining where he was and changing his focus to Dorian. While the stare was obviously defensive and analytical of Dorions movements, the dog made no aggressive movements or noises.

He resembled those who had cast her family into persecution, the casual living folks, and while she tried not presume his intentions with her right away, experience told her someone like him likely had bad intentions for someone like Isabella.

Her eyes remained on Dorian while he approached, fixed on his eyes with a hint of fear in them. Once stopped she turned her head , looking away from him and down towards the ground. It would be easier to talk to him if she wasn't looking right at him.

Isabella shrugged slowly in response to his question, still staring at the grass beside Janella. "I had to leave home, there's no one there anymore," she said quietly, then looked back to Dorian. She stared a moment before exchanging her glance between him and Janella, as well as the apparent demon servant who had only just arrived.

With her eyes falling on Aun now, she wondered what exactly it was that she walked in on, or more accurately, woke up to. Whatever it was she was a little sorry she had missed it, or at least what she figured were the important parts. She had never summoned a demon before, and if there was indeed a war going on outside of her forest, she wondered upon the possibilities of summoning her own demon servant, particularly a rather well armed one like Aun seemed to be.

She was unsure of just how sentient Aun might be as her own summons bore most of the sentience of a potato with few instructional exceptions which simulated sentience. Of course that kind of ruined the idea of summoning new friends outside of using her imagination, and while that was still fun, she thought conjuring a real friend as an attractive thought.

Her eyes moved to Janella, solely because between her and Dorian, Isabella was less nervous around her thus far as irony would have it. "Did you and your husband summon her because of a war?" she asked Janella, eyes moving towards Dorian on the word husband before moving back to Janella.

Aun would simply look upon the scene, listening, not speaking unless told to in the moment as she gripped her left hand as it seemed to turn the shade of her stone, an aura of red surrounding her blackened hand, the veins seeming to glow Crimson. It soon receded to the shade of the rest of her pigment, as if she could control this at will, her other hand surrounded by a white and green aura, one more mystical and like an illusion as it danced around slowly, like two maidens in a dance. The girl was tall and toned, stretching as she looked around, her twin tails flickering not too far from her.

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