Call of the Cursed
Posted 21 June 2010 - 05:08 PM
Once one of the richest lands in the known world in terms of economy, resources, and war, the northern section of Verden was now cursed for eternity. All that entered it would be doomed to insanity for just as long. Cities that once flourished with thousands of people and activities like Van’Duras, Olimandias, and many others were degrading under the laws of entropy, their walls and streets covered in blood and other rotting substances. Animals now roamed the streets of the ruined cities, searching for whatever they could find left; water sources were plentiful, but all had to be wary of what they could be used for. The Lands still roamed with people of Verden that were unlucky enough to be stuck in the region when the Cataclysm occurred, and their savageness were one of the greatest fears of those that retained their sanity to the south. Those that had survived the Cataclysm had facts only from rumours they had heard from others. No known expedition from Calatia had ever been known to enter it, and those brave or stupid enough to try were never heard from again from their friends or families again.
As the group sent from Snowpeak Ruins traversed the Taj-Nar Mountains and made their way north, the land beneath them seemed to change the closer they got to the Cursed Lands. Forests that once flourished at the base of the volcanic mountains were rotting or dying. The land that had once been covered in rich grass was now a barren wasteland, similar to the domain of Ikana Canyon or the Innagos Desert. Nearly every species of creature wandered around, some of them animals with a great fear of humans, others former inhabitants of Verden that had been driven insane by the Curse.
As he made his way through the rocky terrain, armed with a bolt-action rifle, Leo Crimson was still unsure what Selena hoped the Calatians would achieve by entering the Cursed Lands. From Jordan’s information, he was sure that the whole trip could result in the death of everybody taking part in it. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find something anti-Koridai again. The trip to Korento was sure worth it. Pushing the matters of the past aside, the general glanced back at the Vikings traveling behind him. Many of them he was familiar with, while some were new. 10 Snakeheads and Huscarls had also been brought along, 5 from each group, to provide better security and a stronger overall fighting force. He had also been informed by a comrade that there could be new recruits traveling along. It should be interesting to see how they deal with this place; having some fresh blood is always good.
Stopping at a ridge that led down to the other side of the mountains, Leo got his first sight of the Cursed Lands; the region was still a mile or 2 away. Looks like just an ordinary wasteland to me. He assumed that the regions farther out from Olimandias, which was where Chikara had been when Lazu took over her, had less of an influence, and going further in was much tougher. It should be interesting. Raising a hand to stop the group, he turned around and moved towards a large rock. “Take a 15 minute break! Do what you need to do.” Luckily, they were in the middle of a large clearing, and many in the group
Sitting down, the dwarf opened the chamber of his weapon to check for ammunition. 8 rounds; good enough. Snapping in back into place and placing it in his left hand, he gestured to one of the Snakeheads. “Hand one out to everyone,” he said, producing a set of pamphlets with Jordan’s tips about the Cursed Lands on it. “Make sure they read it word for word if they want to live through the trip.”
“Got it, sir.”
Grabbing the man’s shirt, the general whispered one last order. “Set up a 10 metre perimeter around the area, and make sure we’re not being followed.”
Inhaling deeply as he tried to relax after the initial trip, Leo glanced back at his first sighting of what was once Verden, trying to imagine what it would have been like living there or being caught during the events of the Cataclysm. I feel sorry for Jordan and all of his friends that spent the past couple years on Windfall. Though he knew that those men were fighting to restore Verden to its former glory, Leo still felt that joining Calatia would have been a better way for Jordan to accomplish his goals. He and his friends would have had better supplies, more food, and a better place to live. Calatia could have benefited from having more people. Nevertheless, they had chosen their own decision, and the dwarf decided he would just have to respect that choice.
Yawning, Leo got to his feet and, shouldering his rifle, began to walk around the area, hoping to start up a conversation with an old friend or a new recruit. Being bored near the worst place in the world feels like shit.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 07:48 AM
A soldier passed him on his patrol, smiling at him briefly. Catt found himself smiling back, but paused warily. Those guys were like goldfish, you couldn't get too attached to them... he knew how the story ended for most of those lower-ranking soldiers, and it wasn't at a victory feast back at Snowpeak. More like a mutant's banquet, Catt thought, then immediately felt guilty. This time would be different. No-one would die, no-one would go mad, no-one would go mad then die. Yeah right.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:17 PM
"They made pamphlets?"
He was worried from the start, but there was something wrong about pamphlets that just made it seem worse. "Learn all this neat information from cover to back, memorize everything." Ah, but memorizing isn't learning, it's remembering something that was written down. You have to experience things to learn them properly. And these men will. Oh yes, they will. From the wastelands, to the ruins, in the forests, by the lakes they will learn or very likely DIE trying. From what Jordan attempted to remember, the wasteland he saw before them used to be a lot greener, more grass and growth. It may have been a side affect of the curse or the development of this area by nature. It was hard to tell what was supposed to happen between the things that were tampered and altered. Some places changed, some places didn't, either way it was nature that would take back the land long before he or anyone else did.
They were close to the actual cursed lands, they were on the verge of entering and after that it was the real show. As these vikings took their things out and rested up, he felt as though no one here was taking this seriously.
"Enjoy the break while you can, because we won't be stopping again for a long time at best."
He looked over to Leo.
"You think you people will be able to handle this?"
Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:00 PM
Pressing the trigger of his rifle to make a clicking sound out of habit, the general glanced back at the sitting Calatians. “I also wasn’t able to bring in as many veterans as I wanted; a lot of my more experienced Snakeheads were already assigned to patrol missions, so most of the people you see behind you have had only 2-3 months combat experience.”
Sighing, Leo turned back to his friend. “Based on what I’ve just told you, what do you think our chances of survival are?” he asked grimly. “Will we make it out of this place alive?”
Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:19 PM
"Catt, you lazy slacker, I still wonder why you're still alive with that constitution of yours." Khallos called out mockingly.
"I can't help spending time helping the needy. What do you do all day, beat discipline into knuckleheads?"
"Bah, they aren't knuckleheads, but brave defenders of Calatia, just look at these brave lads and lasses"
"Then why are those ones wearing red?" Catt replied with a grim smirk.
"Hey, hey, you. Yes you bunch of idiots. I don't even know your names beyond what's written on the forlorn hope document with the exception of the good Lieutenant and Captain here." Khallos pointed at the two officers with bronze and silver torques and pendants appopriately. "And you go put on some red tunics! What, do you want to die!?"
Taking the heroically situationally blind vikings to one side for a rant, the rest of the camp stayed alert and rested.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:46 PM
As Turtlelot rode up onto to a nearby cliff, he spotted the group down below resting. Good, that messenger didn't find me too late afterall. They're still a good distance away, hopefully I can catch up to them soon. And with that Turtlelot, pulled Winston's reins, and turned back the other direction to find a way down the cliff to rejoin the others.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:31 PM
She couldn’tstop a soft smile from appearing on her face. A pamphlet? For this place? Advertisements for beautiful vacation spotshad pamphlets…not this place. A softlaugh bubbled from her and those around her shot her confused looks.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 12:01 AM
"But sir... At least take the pamphlet." Synile glared at the man. Upon further inspection, it was just a boy. He hardly looked old enough to drink. Synile stood straight up, and looked down at the kid. It was time to teach the whelp a lesson.
"I said no. If you want me to have it you'll have to force it on me." The boy just meekly withdrew his hand, and stumbled backwards before quickly leaving Synile. These kids aren't going to ever see Calatia again.
Synile peered around and saw, essentially, what he had expected to see. Although the Calatians were more numerous than he expected. Snowpeak is completely defenseless. Everyone is here!
"I don't like that one..."
Oh great. Two of you are feeling chatty today.
"What's wrong with Selena?"
"She's too full of herself."
"YOU AREN'T INVOLVED IN THIS!" The two voices screamed that one in unison. Synile grabbed his head and took a large swig from his flask. This trip was already a pain in the ass.
God damn it! My flask is nearly empty. I knew I should have filled the water skin with whiskey. Dealing with the voices was a usual occurrence for the the man. But when they got into arguments, it was never pretty. That was just a bad omen.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:37 AM
"If there is something, something you hold dear, something that drives you to the ends of the world and back then hold on to it. Hold on to it with everything you have because right now that is all any of us have."
Jordan began walking ahead.
"Calatians, get your things together and get ready to move. We are about to walk into the Cursed Lands. Don't worry too much about the others around you, no need to be paranoid. Focus on how you are and how you feel. If something feels wrong or strange you make sure to let us know in a calm fashion."
With that, Jordan began leading the viking troop into the barren wasteland that led to the Taj-Nor Mountains.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 07:52 AM
Wait, did I see something? he thought. It looked like an armoured man astride a bison, but the sun came out a moment later and blinded Catt's view. When he looked back the clifftop was deserted. Are we being followed?
Then he heard Jordan's words. Looks like we're moving.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 11:26 AM
Damn Turtlelot thought to himself. At this rate, by the time I catch them, Winston will be exhausted, and I can't afford to slow them down.
Turtlelot looked over to see another path along more cliffs. Perhaps I can follow this and cut them off up ahead... If not, then I can merely follow and watch over them for awhile.
Once Turtlelot had reached his conclusion, he rode along the cliff path in order to try and catch up.
Let's just hope there's another slope downward.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:36 PM
Walking slowly up a rocky slope, Leo could see many of his companions on the mission as well; among them were Catterick, Khallos, and Synile. Their skills could be useful. He also recognized another Viking by the name of Celesta, whom he was unacquainted with. Maybe having some new faces could make Calatia stronger; people get older and weaker constantly in every generation. The general knew the same could said for himself.
Feeling a tap on his shoulder, he turned around. “What is it?”
Pointing back in opposite direction, the Snakehead spoke softly. “Sir, there’s somebody dressed with armour in a bison; he’s not there anymore, but he was watching us a minute ago.”
Turtlelot. Good. “If he approaches us, let him come. He’s a friend of ours.”
Chuckling as the soldier walked off in confusion at the order, Leo began whistling a familiar tune from his childhood as the Calatians and Jordan traveled back to their homeland. I wonder what the Lost Woods are like right now. Behind him, the Calatian squad continued to make good progress as they drew closer and closer to the northern side of the Taj-Nar’s.
Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:40 AM
Rova was technically one of the leaders of Calatia, but her duties were more related to public morale (and booze) than the military. As such, most of her efforts were devoted to talking to the others around her than strategizing. Rova had also been looking for a new skull to transform into her next headpiece. She'd found one soon enough, some sort of bird's, rather like the one Chik had broken. Her free time had then been spent hollowing it out and customizing it to her liking.
It took them a relatively short time to cover the distance they had, Rova felt like. It seemed like just yesterday Chikara had smashed her into that snowbank, or rather, her body was still sore enough for it to feel that way. Damn bitch. As Leo signaled for the group to take a quick break, Rova slid out of Bill's saddle and fed him some meat. As he ate, Rova wandered around, taking a pamphlet from one of Leo's men when it was offered to her and skimming through it. She resisted the urge to make some kind of smart comment to Synile when he threw a fit about being offered something as simple as a pamphlet.
After what seemed like only a few minutes, it was time to go, and once again Rova saddled up on top of her bear. Rather like Leo's pamphlet, Jordan's advice did not make her feel any better about where they were headed. She hadn't spent much time outside of the city on missions so her battle experience was limited, but despite any fears she had she was prepared to change that. Besides, Rova possessed way more than the usual amount of flasks a person should have (one). When one emptied, there was usually another to take its place.
Edited by RovaRova, 28 June 2010 - 06:53 PM.
Posted 24 June 2010 - 01:59 AM
Bob edged closer to the fire, rubbing his shoulders.
"It be gettin too cold for mah boones up heah."
He looked up to see Rova arriving, and his eyes glinted. He smiled, his white, filed teeth contrasting sharply with the chocolate color of his skin.
"Welll. Lookie heah. It be a Lady Rova."
Posted 27 June 2010 - 12:55 AM
Trying to blend in with the rest of the traveling squad, Dizzy did her absolute best to keep a low profile. She had never been on an expedition as perilous as this one, and from what she overheard through her fellow company, it was quite the dangerous road to travel.
What a bitch to break oneself into, as much as a newcomer must do to join the Valkyrie ranks.
However, to her relief, it was slightly comforting to see the face of the woman who had served drinks at the local ice bar journeying in the same party-- But why on Earth was she here?
Nervousness and uncertainty weighed heavy upon Dizzy's breast; she had arrived to the sobering conclusion that she barely recognized many of the people in this group. She thought that maybe she saw the guy with the gun and the other fellows who shared a chat back and forth around town but…
Her footfalls grew heavier with each step, and her breathing had deepened…
Exhausted and feeling slightly out of place, the blond woman lowered her head and fixed her tired gaze upon the sprawled and open pamphlet in her hands.
Memorizing was never a strong suit for her, and she lost her patience quickly with reading materials.
Despite this, she always humored herself and tried…
A soft song permeated the tired fog about her head and lifted Dizzy’s weary gaze beyond the borders of the confusing brochure. She followed it to the whistling mister ahead, and she hastened her speed to keep up with his brisk lead.
Posted 27 June 2010 - 06:10 AM
The sun beat down on the dry and desolate plain, barely a sign of life to be had anywhere. The vikings behind him showed little to no signs of change, they all appeared to be in command of their own senses. This was good, but it was far from wise to call him or anyone else for that matter 'safe'. The distance between themselves and the mountains was closing up, but there was still a ways to go.
Posted 27 June 2010 - 06:50 PM
The Calatians continued to move across the barren plain, where the lack of vegetation made it impossible to hide from the rays of the sunlight. The faint outline of the Taj-Nar mountains could be seen in the distance, their peaks rising up towards the skyline. Putting his head between his knees for a moment, Leo glanced back at the group and decided to talk to a few new recruits in order to take his mind off the difficult journey. Any conversation would be nice, he grimaced, taking a long drink from his water pouch. Turning around, the dwarf slowly moved to the back of the convoy, looking for some new faces in the ranks.
A hand reached out to stop him. “Hey, mon,” said a familiar voice. “How ya doin?”
Turning around, Leo was surprised to see his former companion. “What do you know, it’s Bob,” he said cheerfully. Exchanging a handshake with the man, he took note of the inventory. “You didn’t bring anything?”
“Naw, jut a wepon,” replied Bob, indicating his sword. “I didn’t tink I’d ned anyting impotant.”
Nodding, the general clapped the man on the back and continued walking off. He noticed a blond female warrior nearby with one of the pamphlet instructions; it was obvious that she was extremely exhausted. However, Leo could tell that even her fast walking pace was forced. Maybe she could use some help. Thinking for a moment, he shook his head and moved on. They’re going to have to survive on their own out here with as little outside assistance as possible.
Stopping at a familiar looking female warrior, Leo stopped, bowed and stood back up. “It’s good to see you again, Lady Rova,” he said. “I assume Selena told you about this mission?”
Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:21 PM
In spite of that, he had left them.
"You will inevitably find 'Her', but whether or not you will have wanted to will become the greater question."
In spite of that, he still sought Her.
"You cannot avoid these things that fate has decided for you, wolf. But whether or not you plan to challenge the outcome set before you is another matter entirely."
And that was all the Witch had to say.
~ * ~ - ~ * ~
He had wandered.
He did not wish to follow them, the Calatians.
So he wandered, going where it seemed the wind wished to blow him.
He had no intention of following anyone.
The wolf drifted.
His legs carried him north, towards the mountains. He had no reason why. It did not feel like he would definitely find Her there, but he treaded on anyway.
As he went on, the wolf begun to think upon why it was so important to find Her. He remembered being born into his pack, his mind being that of an animal. But then, he discovered his abilities, those two swords. Then being frustrated for so long, until he met those Calatians, and and then remembering Her...
< < "I just want to..." > >
The wolf halted in his steps when he saw movement to the southwest. The Calatians... Fate truly did intend for him to follow them it seemed.
Figuring he might as well make himself known, the wolf let out a long, drawn-out howl.
Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:25 AM
This feeling... Could Selena have sensed it from Snowpeak? It's a sensation I have not felt before.
"Something is wrong. No one is watching our rear flank."
"Guys, pick up the pace. We're being followed." Some of the younger members seemed to take that news very seriously. Several panicked looks spread throughout the crowd. One of the younger Snakeskins could barely control the fear in his voice.
"Sir, how can you be certain. I don't see anyone.
"The people in these lands realize very few people would wander through the entirety of the landscape. But on the outskirts of the land, the chance for loot and supplies is greater. We're being followed. I have no doubt in my mind, because it's what I would do." Synile looked towards the rear. The land was just hilly enough. There were few open plains, and a raiding party of any number could be hidden.
The soldiers picked up the pace of the march. Synile raised the hood of his jet black cloak, and turned his head slightly, now addressing only Leo, "Whatever happens, get them to the other side of the mountain. I'll meet up with you when I can. Don't let them break march." Synile didn't wait for a response. Slowly Synile fell towards the back of the troops, where he maintained his speed.
The sun hung low in the sky. Twilight was several hours away, but the mountains were closer now, and the peaks were widespread enough to interfere with dusk. Synile slowed his pace slightly, and began to fall behind the crowd. Taking advantage of the surroundings, Synile hides himself in the shadow of a nearby tree. The tree is dead, gnarled, and rotten.
The sun slowly sinks lower into the mountainous horizon. It cast the entirety of the field into shadows, and yet still made enough light for everything to be visible. The wait was slightly longer than anticipated. The group slowly vanished amongst the rolling hills, and shortly there after, another group came into focus on the trail behind. Just as I thought. Synile remained concealed, and stealthily drew his nodachi before the brigands drew closer.
It was a rather large group, and they were already arguing over the spoils they have yet to win. All in all Synile counted thirty heads. Wait it out. They say patience is a virtue.
"Since when do you have any virtues?" The other voices thought that one to be particularly hilarious.
FINE! FUCK IT! Synile stepped out in front of the raiders. They were clad in a mismatched armor, and had weapons that had seen better days. Synile pointed his nodachi at the group; his eyes filled with a dangerous light that made the lunatics recoil.
A man with a flail addressed the crowd, "Well the fun starts early! We'll suck this one dry and move to his friends!" The group recoiled in horror as Synile dashed towards the man as he was speaking, and severed his head from his body shortly after the words left his mouth. A spearman charged forward at that point, and wildly thrust towards Synile's face. After having his attacks casually knocked aside, the spearman retreated into the group, and three swordsmen took his place. The crazed bandits displayed a daft style of swordsmanship that was quite easily defeated. With one swing of the nodachi all three men found themselves disemboweled upon the ground, and before Synile could resume his defense the spearman from earlier thrust his weapon once more. The metal blade cut the leather guarding Synile's right shoulder, and Synile responded in turn by left handedly tossing a throwing knife into the brigand's eye.
As the spearman fell dead to the ground, an arrow fired from the rear of the group pierced Synile's right thigh. Grunting in pain, Synile snaps the shaft of the arrow, in an attempt to minimize the damage it could cause. Suddenly he found himself surrounded. "You're all already dead!" Synile dashed left, swinging diagonally upward from bottom right to top left. The attack had caught two bandits off their guard, and left them gurgling messes upon the soil. Synile followed up with a jumping flip. While in the air, Synile stabs his nodachi into the ground, lands, and tosses two throwing knives into the crowd of people. An axeman falls dead, while the other knife buries its way into the shoulder of a man carrying a halberd, wounding him. Before Synile can react, a large wooden bat connects with the left side of his abdomen. As Synile tumbles over, he grabs for the hilt of his nodachi, only to have an arrow pierce his right hand.
Rolling upon the ground, Synile unsheathes the larger throwing knife from under his left armpit, and throws it nimbly at the archer that has wounded him twice. The blade of the knife cuts deep into the man's sternum, and the archer drops to the ground.
"Oh, well, look at this. You seem a mite bit injured." Synile stares into the brigand's eyes, and with his left hand draws his katana into the man's chest. The upper half of his body falls to the ground before the legs can topple over. The remainder of the would be looters seem to begin to hesitate. Synile casually pulls the arrow shaft from his hand, and grips his nodachi. The cursed sword seems to revel in the blood of it's master. "He's only one man!" The crowd charges at Synile with renewed vigor. Synile tosses his katana into the group, severing one man's fingers. Synile grips the nodachi with both hands and laughs at the crowd of men, fully embracing the power of the sword. The purple aura consumes both the nodachi and the one who wields it, consuming Synile with the unique brand of dark maliciousness contained within.
The colors of the world swirl and shift. The blood that flows upon the ground looks like water and the sky looks as if it is burning. The crowd of men now appears before Synile as one large beast that has many appendages, and the beast lets forth a fearsome roar. Synile rushes to meet the beast. One of the appendages swings wildly and high, Synile ducks and slashes, severing the legs. The beast recoils, and shrinks in mass. In reality three men lose their hearts and fled the battle.
The beast takes the form of a centipede, and surrounds the lone Calatian. Upon the ground, to his right, he can make out the form of his thrown katana. Synile makes a vertical cut into the beast and dives through the opening. Synile reclaims his thrown katana, and turns once more to face the beast. Now the mountains in the distance completely block the sun from view, and the flaming sky has been cooled, and has become water. The beast dispersed into thirteen remnants, and the appendages now wore the visage of his long dead father. Two of the zombies lurch forward, with spears thrashing out. Synile charges headlong into the attack, and one of the spear thrusts shreds through the chain mail protecting his ribs, and cuts into the flesh. Closing the distance quickly, Synile dismembers the men in a flash. No sooner than immediately after Synile's attack, a familiar bat connects with Synile's back, winding him and sending him face down on the ground. His would be assailant approaches the downed warrior like one would approach a wounded animal. The man prods Synile with the bat as if to inspect him. Content with his work, the man turns Synile over. Synile capitalizes on the situation by tossing his fifth knife into the man's throat.
Synile's head was pounding, and he looked onward towards his assailants. By Synile's count ten figures remain. Half the men present toss down their weapons and begin to retreat. Synile uses the distraction to charge the group. The first zombie held an axe and attempted to block Synile's downward strike. The nodachi easy cut halfway into the axe before the worn condition of the weapon caused the head to snap off. The force of the attack caused the creature to fall to the ground. Synile pulled his blade free in time to bury it into the chest of a man with a mace.
The hallucination begins to ease in complexity, and the surroundings begin to reclaim their true appearance. Two of the men turn and attempt to flee from the fight, but Synile is quick to throw his two remaining throwing knives. One finds a lethal spot of the back, and kills it's target instantly. The other knife merely removes an ear from the helmetless vagabond.
The final brigand approaches Synile from behind, and brandishing his metal gloves, delivers a hook to Synile's kidney. Synile doubles over in pain, and immediately is treated to a kick to the ribcage. Synile uses the momentum of the attack to quickly roll himself to the tree he took cover behind at the start of the fight. Synile slowly uses the tree to prop himself up. "Your friends aren't out of the woods just yet, you know. We aren't the only ones a group that large will attract. It's only a matter of time."
"You bore me." Synile dashes towards the hand to hand fighter, and slashes. The man manages to block Synile's nodachi using the metal on the gloves. Synile carries through with the momentum of the attack, and stomps on the brigands foot, and dashes, tackling the man to the ground. Before the man could manage any retalitory strikes, Synile pierced his chest with the nodachi.
With all the enemies either dead, brutally maimed, or retreating, Synile finally lets go his hold of the nodachi. The connection between blade and master is violently severed. All the pain that was inflicted during the battle comes rushing in all at once, causing Synile to vomit. Leo, get them to safe ground. Who knows how many more members the next group of raiders may have...
Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:24 AM
"You two mind picking him up? He's in no condition to walk."
The two men grabbed Synile and drag him up and over their shoulders. If this group was going to be smart, we would have tossed him aside like unwanted baggage. I suppose this proves we aren't monsters after all. He would have to keep his eyes on Synile, if anyone was going to break under the stress the Cursed Lands had he was either going to be the very first or the very last. His money was on the former.
"Everyone, please pick up the pace. I know you all aren't quite used to this strenuous pace but we don't have the luxury of choice right now."
That being said, he turned around and continued on, the vikings close behind.
Posted 28 June 2010 - 06:55 PM
They were still not in the Cursed Lands and the group had already fractured, Synile having wandered off to deal with some brigands. Catt frowned as he explained to a couple of soldiers that there was nothing to worry about. Keeping up morale is important, he thought, noticing how jittery one man in particular looked. He had almost jumped when the wolf howled, and hearing of the banditry in the area seemed even more nervous. Not wishing to stereotype poor Bob further by asking if he had anything to mellow the young Snakehead out, he instead opted for a pep-talk in his best calm voice.
"Why worry, eh? He can handle it"
The boy looked up, his face queasy. "I know, but..."
"You're surrounded by the baddest Calatians around!" Catt continued, completely forgetting his 'don't get attached to the easily killable ones' rule. "Tough nuts to crack, and I should know! You don't know it, but you're in safe hands - the safest hands in the world."
"What my colleague is trying to say" interrupted a second Snakehead, "is that we're only safe until you 'tough nuts' start feeling the effect of the curse, whereupon you'll start butchering anyone in a five mile radius. In my estimation, the katana wielder is already starting to crack."
"He didn't read the pamphlet! He didn't read the pamphlettt!!" wailed the first.
"Oh please" Catt said, not even bothering to rebuke their paranoia. "Listen, you Snakeheads are like the Turks of Calatia, right? I refuse to believe Leo would allow such cowardice or willful stupidity in his division. Its time for you two to man up and get used to this situation - since we've barely begun, there's still time for that at least."
The second Snakehead, who was a cunning looking man with a small moustache, seemed to straighten up at these words. "You will concede, of course, that we're marching into the jaws of Hell?" he said wryly.
"I don't deny it. And we must all stay united and play our part" Catt replied, intending his words mainly for the young soldier. "But handing out pieces of paper like we were back home isn't enough - sooner or later you'll be called upon to fight, as I know your outfit does so well."
The boy seemed to stop shaking quite so much after their conversation, while the other man practically puffed up with pride when he heard his unit praised in such terms. They pulled away as Jordan ordered them to see to Synile, who had returned hurt but still very much alive. Catt turned to a nearby Huscarl:
"What about you, mate? You're not afraid of going mad, are you?"
"Whatever do you mean, master?" the warrior replied. "I'm mad already, heh heh heh! Crazy as they come, HA!" Saying this he fell into some grotesque cackling that Catt was extremely glad the young Snakehead was not around to hear. Of course... there's always a crazy one, Catt moped. We got ten for the price of one on this mission.
Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:51 PM
Rova had barely started forward before two of their company had wandered over to talk to her. She smiled at them both, one being Leo and the other a man she didn't quite know yet but had heard plenty about. "Lady Rova, indeed. It's Bob, right?" She leaned down from her bear's saddle to shake his hand, then to pull Leo up from his bow. "C'mon man, you don't need to bow to me. Such gestures are best reserved for someone a little more formal than me." She grinned and stuck out her hand. "I can do handshakes, though."
Rova pulled out one of her many flasks with her other hand and sipped at it, making a face. She certainly loved her booze, but cheap vodka would always taste like butt to her. "Lena didn't tell me anything, no... We were, uh... separated before we could have a chat." Rova frowned and bit her lip, wondering if she should mention Chikara being there. She decided not to worry them with it. "Her assistant, that cute blonde one, what's her name? Eivor? She filled me in before I left."
As they had been talking, Synile had wandered off to go fight some people, as usual. Rova grimaced as two Snakeheads carried him back to the group. He didn't look good. She didn't know Synile very well, as he carried a bad reputation and the Calatians around him tended to give him a ten foot radius in case he randomly lost his temper with any of them. But psychotic jerk or not, he was one of them, and he needed help. She motioned for Celesta to come over. "Lesta? You've got some healing abilities, if I recall correctly. Can you see what you can do about Synile's injuries? We can't afford to have him bleeding all over the place... I can try to cauterize any wounds you can't handle, if there are any." She conjured a little ball of flames her hand as she said this, the corner of her mouth twitching into a little grin.
At Jordan's request, Rova squeezed Bill's sides with her legs, urging him to walk a little faster.
Posted 28 June 2010 - 09:53 PM
Moving backwards quickly towards the mountains, Leo’s jaw dropped as he watched Synile take on a group of foreigners that had appeared from behind one of the wasteland’s few hills. Giving an order to an officer to keep the vikings moving, he watched as the Loddie quickly tore apart the raiders in a solo fight. Wow…he’s quite the man with that sword. The general watched in amazement as Synile took out the entire group using an aggressive style of fighting that he had never seen before in either Calatia or the Lost Woods. What kind of education did those people get in the Labyrinth? No wonder they trashed Van’Duras so easily.
As the battle ended with Synile being carried back to the group, Leo remembered the actual mission he had, and his duty towards the rest of the Calatians. We’ve got to get to the mountains before another attack comes. Jogging hard in the direction of flow, he shouted words of encouragement. “Keep going, we’re almost there!” From the battle they had just seen, the majority of the Vikings obeyed without question, upping their running speed to a faster rate. The dwarf himself quickly returned to the front of the group, kicking debris aside as he headed straight for the Taj-Nar’s. Almost there; only about 300 metres left.
Suddenly, a loud, unearthly screech came from in front of them. Stopping in their tracks almost immediately, the Calatians looked around frantically for the sound of the noise. The more experienced warriors calmly drew their swords or readied their weapons and waited for the monster to show itself. Leo himself flicked off the safety on his rifle, knelt down on 1 knee in the dirt, and raised the weapon to his shoulder. Come on…let’s get this over with. He looked quickly towards the back of the group, wondering if Synile had recouped from his earlier battle; the man would be a good asset for whatever would be coming up.
All of a sudden, a massive figure glided down from the sky towards the Calatians. A soldier was grabbed up by its talons and hurled into the distance, his screams echoing across the land. Instinctively, Leo raised his weapon and fired it in the general direction of the attacker; relieved to hear that his shot had at least clipped the monster, he pulled the bolt out and locked it back in place, securing the next round in the chamber and making it ready for firing. “Come back here, you sonuvabitch,” he murmured.
At that precise moment, a strange birdlike creature landed in the middle of the group, scattering the Calatians apart as it flapped its wings. Straining to see through the flying dust, the dwarf could tell that the enemy they faced was likely a gryphon, though 2 boar-like horns protruded from its head. Its scales were a tan brown, though its eyes were a blank grey, as if it had been robbed of all emotion. Maybe this thing came from the Cursed Lands; we should probably kill it quickly.
Raising his gun to fire another shot, Leo gave one last order. “Engage the enemy.”
Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:45 PM
The beast landed not far from Catt and made the ground shake. The man next to him whooped with delight and started exchanging battlecalls with his fellow Huscarls - Catt could hear Khallos reply from somewhere, perhaps giving an order, but it was coming through garbled to him. The creature was beautiful but clearly deadly, and he knew they would have to engage it to avoid it targeting vulnerable members of the party, like the soldiers bearing up Synile.
Catt unsheathed his sword, which suprisingly burst with flame as he unconsciously cast a fire spell on it, something he had not been able to achieve since before the Cataclysm. Maybe magic is easier here. Making sure to keep his wooden shield away from the enchanted metal, he cautiously advanced on the beast, creeping forward with the mad Huscarl next to him.
Posted 29 June 2010 - 12:12 AM
Jordan took a good look at the beast, studying its features attentively as the lesser vikings began to do battle with it. The spearman had a good amount of knowledge on beasts and creatures, a talent he learned several years ago when he was young after studying a bestiary as a younger boy. The basic biological form of the beast appeared to be that of a gryphon, however the horns and eyes were strange since the creatures did not bear such physical marks. If this creature was, or perhaps was at one point, a gryphon, then what could have caused this mutation?
The creature opened it's mouth, letting loose a terrible shriek that left many of the vikings dropping their weapons and holding their heads for dear life, Jordan was among the pained warriors. As they writhed in pain, the creature swooped down and attacked Jordan, who was closer to it than most of the others. Within its talons in grabbed the green clad warrior and rose him far above the dusty earth, carrying him away from the Calatians who watched helplessly as it all unraveled. Jordan quickly regained his senses, though his head ached from the shrieking and began to struggle for dear life. However, his fight came to no avail, the winged beast carried on with its prize. He reached across the talons that dug into his body and bound him to grab an old dull carving knife from a small pouch that he kept by his belt, opening the sack and unfortunately knocking some of it's contents out in midair. To his success, he grabbed the tired steel and swung it towards the beast's legs. Using his mastery over wind, he used the force of the air pressure around the blade to sharpen the strike.
As it stuck the talons that bound him, the blade shattered as the monster's blood fell from its fresh wound. In pain, it released Jordan in midair, the spearman free falling back to the cold earth. However, his mastery of wind was not all for show as he grabbed his spear that rested comfortably in the sling on his back and swung it towards the ground. The resulting gust of wind acted as a cushion to the fall, allowing him to slow down just enough for a safe landing. He turned around quickly to see the beast returning to reclaim him. The Calatians aimed their rifles at the beast and fired a volley, their shots staying true to their targets as the winged fiend when down in a mess of blood.
Jordan walked back to the vikings, a little tired from the previous encounter with the fiend.
Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:39 AM
Posted 29 June 2010 - 01:42 AM
Posted 29 June 2010 - 08:14 AM
OOC: Oh man. I was trying to separate Synile from the group. Jordan, you completely threw off anything I was attempting. XD
OoC: Sorry, my bad.
Edited by JRPomazon, 29 June 2010 - 08:16 AM.
Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:32 PM
Continuing to move at an efficient pace, the Vikings were starting to become rather wary, with many of them helping to create a rifle perimeter around those armed only with melee weapons. Only a few yards behind the blond female warrior, Leo ejected the shell casing from his gun and relocked the bolt, effectively making it ready again. He was still rather shaken from the loud screech of the beast, as the second had a much more fear-inducing effect. I’m gonna nightmares again. On the other hand, the dwarf was also impressed by Jordan’s ability to manipulate the wind using his weapons to bring down the gryphon while suffering minor or no injuries during the intense fight. He also noticed that only Jordan was willing to take on the gryphon, while the others provided back support from a safe range. The man’s either brave, crazy, or just….Jordan-like. No matter what, Leo was glad to have him on the side of the Kingdom.
Due to their quickened speed and effort, the Calatian troops reached the base of the Taj-Nar Mountains within 40 minutes of the encounter with the gryphon. Staring up at the structures, Leo was surprised to see that the landforms had not suffered much change since the migration 2 years ago. Most of them have been ripped apart, but that seems like just about it. A few peaks were also eroded down to make the mountains mere rocky stumps rising from the ground. Is that what the Curse does, just make entropy go faster? The general was not eager to find out, but it looked like he had no choice.
Looking directly at the mountains, he tapped a nearby Viking on the shoulder and pointed. “Sergeant, do you see a path there? I’m feeling rather tired right now, so my vision’s sort of blurry.”
Squinting, the Calatian nodded. “Yes, sir. It looks wide enough to fit…at least 10 people side by side.”
“Good. Let’s move everyone through there; it shouldn’t take long until we make it to the other side.”
Bringing up the rear of the group as they entered the road cautiously, Leo glanced back to the south and wondered if it would be the last time he would see the untouched regions of Verden. Put it aside, he told himself. Get on with it. Sighing in resignation, the dwarf gripped his rifle tightly and followed his companions into the darkness.