PM to join A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

An unfortunate accident leaves a group of hunters trapped and in need of rescue.

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The westernmost tip of Kalea, Wind Reach is home to an amazing group of people and their giant eagle mounts. [Lore]

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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Mirage on June 3rd, 2015, 3:28 am

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Dark robes rustled against the cave floor as the stooped figure shuffled back and forth, rubbing his hands impatiently as he chuckled a deep rasping chuckle that gurgled at the back of his throat. His face was split with a grin as he picked at a piece of dead skin that hung from his nose, flicking it away as he looked back at the bubbling pool of mud, growing more excited by the moment. He was certain that the little pests were dead now. His creation had killed all the others and caved the opening in so they would not be disturbed. It could easily take care of this little 'rescue' party and bring them back for him to play with. So, when the earth shook with the monster's fall that smile slipped and faded to a fierce scowl, a grown replacing the cackle in his throat as she stomped over to the still swaying Endal and gave him a swift kick in the stomach, the pained gasp easing the frustration only slightly.

"The pests are truly pests after all. Ridiculous things don't want to be killed, how annoying..." He whispered to himself, hands now rubbing together more furiously as his pacing increased in speed, "What to do what to do..."

Pausing the figure bent and picked up an old and yellowing skull, human in shape, and slammed it against the wall, shattering it to pieces. Kneeling down once more he selected one piece that was bigger than the rest, a part of the cranium that was sloped like a jagged bowl and stood, "Oh my pretties, I know I know. You are not ready yet are you."

Shuffling toward the Endal once more the figure plucked a few bits of moss that grew on the wall, as well as a single mushroom with a brown cap and popped them all into his mouth, chewing furiously as he walked. At another pile of bones he knelt and began to rummage through them, still chewing and mixing the ingredients between his blackened teeth as he selected a small bone from the hand, and two others that looked like toe joints. Gargling deep in his throat he vomited out the mixture of moss and mushroom, now permeated with what looked like a white paste, into the makeshift skull bowl and set it on the ground. The three bones he held in one palm, clasping his other hand and rubbing them together. A fine powder began to pour from between his fingers, falling into the bowl where he then mixed it all together with his fingers. Finally he picked up the mixture and walked back to the Endal, the blade once more in his hand as he made a clean slice across the man's collar bone, no response at all coming from the now unconscious man even as the blood was collected in the bowl as well. This, too, was mixed in with the creatures fingers as he shuffled back toward the mud pool, whispering under his breath as he did.

"Shh shh I know." He whispered almost lovingly as he began tearing off chunks of the paste and throwing it into the mud, where it touched a bubbling patch of steam erupting, You are not ready yet, yes yes I know, but that is OK... Hush now you just have to kill one or two of them. Do that, and I will collec the rest myself." He laughed as he threw the last of the substance into the mud, the whole vat now coming to a roiling bubble. Near the edge the muck began to rise, and from it a hand reached out and clawed at the ground. its fingers blacked and nails like daggers, pulling something more from the depths of the mud. A surprise for the rescuers, one that this figure was very eager to give them.

*****


The cave where the rescuers entered was wide but not very tall, forcing the tallest of them to bend ever so slightly to make it under the opening until they reached a deeper and wider cavern area where all of them could stand straight. It was all barren and empty, as one might expect a cave to be. it was cold, and wet where water dripped from the ceiling to form large puddles and slick surfaces everywhere. It was several yards into the cavern before the cave turned into a tunnel, growing smaller by the step until they reached a crossroads. The path path ahead kept on a straight course, a trickle of water coming from it to collect in a larger dip at the center of this crossroads. The right branched off close to the one in the middle, where as the left curved so that they could not see how far back it went, and was larger than the other two.

Sira's light would illuminate their path, the darkness fleeing from them and with it the fear taht most dark and cramped spaced brought with them. Now they had a choice. Which path would they take?
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Azira on June 16th, 2015, 9:00 pm

Everyone looked shaken and Azira could feel her own body trembling from the adrenaline that was no longer in use. Khara and Zhol seemed to be having a moment and so the huntress ignored them, more concerned with Sira.

The Kelvic had dropped to her knees with what appeared to be exhaustion. Her naked body didn't draw the Avora's appreciation this time, the girl more absorbed by the many injuries the Endal had sustained. She'd taken quite a beating. The rest of them had merely been knocked about a bit, whereas Sira had engaged in combat with that monster and it had made every effort to try to kill her. By the looks of things, injuries sustained in her Wind Eagle form carried over to her human form. She could have been that scratched up before but the huntress didn't think that she had been. She wanted to ask if she was okay, if she'd been injured in any way that wasn't readily visible, but looking at the woman with that strange look in her eye, the teen found it difficult to voice her concern. The sword was handed over mutely, Azira forced to simply look for signs of worse injuries like reddish bruising but it still wasn't a sure thing.

The Endal must have been all right though considering that she approached the cave immediately and without hesitation. She was clearly determined to find the survivors that they had come for, the survivors that the horse boy had so kindly reminded them about.

The horse!

She found herself looking around for the beast. It had been with them during the fight but none of them had taken any notice of it; they'd been too busy fighting for their own lives to pay attention to the creature. Had it bolted in the excitement? She glanced around for it, not seeing its unique silhouette anywhere. It wasn't her concern anyway.

"Where's your beast gone, Zhol? Aren't you supposed to be looking out for it?" she called, looking around to find that Sira had vanished, apparently already in the cave. A brief look skywards didn't turn up any sign of Zika. The bird could have moved elsewhere in the confusion or Sira might have sent him somewhere. The raptor would have given the Kelvic any information he knew but it was still up to them to go and explore the reopened cave.

Clambering over the remains of the debris, Azira slid down into the entrance beside Sira. Straightening and dusting herself off, she tried to see into the cave's depths but everything after a few feet in was engulfed in shadow. As the others joined them, she opened her mouth to suggest creating fire brands when a light came from Sira's palm. Her gnosis lit the way, banishing the shadows wherever its magical glow fell. They'd have no problem navigating in here it seemed, unless they encountered more rubble in their way. Wherever that monster had come from, it'd probably left them a fairly clear path. Quickly following Sira, she voiced a worrying thought in a hushed tone, "That thing was trapped in here too and we know it was murderous. Do you think it found the hunters? Do you think they're still... alive?"

Those they'd been meant to rescue might not have survived such an encounter. They'd barely escaped alive and they'd had space to move around in. Maybe the hunters had tried to fight too, maybe that had led to the cave in to begin with. She couldn't even understand why they'd come in here in the first place. A cave usually held predators, angry ones, so why come in at all?

Stop speculating and focus on finding them! Never mind what condition they're in for the moment.

The ceiling was low, far too low for Zhol who would have to double over to enter. For once her short stature was coming in useful although she was uncomfortably close to the dank ceiling and could feel chilly droplets pattering down on her head. It was far from pleasant and she couldn't imagine being trapped in here. It was a relief when the space opened up into a higher tunnel. The ground of the passage remained slippery but it was easier to move on when she didn't feel like the ceiling was encroaching on her head.

They continued down the passage, their splashing steps echoing around them until they reached a point where the tunnel branched off in three different directions. One passage continued straight on and another went off to the right, Sira's light illuminating a few feet down each. The left passage curved in such a way that the light from the gnosis couldn't travel down it at all.

"I'd suggest splitting up but if there was another cave in... probably best if we aren't separated, even if it's only to be trapped together," she told Sira as she considered the paths before them.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Zhol on June 23rd, 2015, 3:08 pm

.
.
..
.
Aren't you supposed to be looking out for it?

It was hard enough maintaining his calm, hard enough keeping himself under control when every urge and whispering thought willed Zhol to do more, to tear out more of his soul and let it combust into more glorious, beautiful, wondrous fire. It was already hard enough to keep the res buried inside instead of flowing freely through his skin. So of course, trust Azira to agitate him on purpose, to utter her usual abrasive condescension. Was her arrogance so all consuming that even now she could not appreciate the efforts that Zhol had made? Was that creature, erupted in flames, not enough to stop her from talking down to him as if he were less than nothing? How dare she! Every whispering voice in his mind agreed, urging him to make an example of her, to show her just how foolhardy her unchanging attitude was. He had made every effort, and she spat in his face just the same. So if she wanted to kick a hornet's nest, then fine. Zhol would make a point of ensuring she got stung. All it would take was one thought, one effort, one last gasp of soul -

Azira's saving grace and Zhol's were both one and the same: the gentle, soothing presence of Khara. His heart spoke louder than the whispers in his head, a shout that demanded they be silent. No more magic, Khara's voice repeated in his head, twisted into a demand, a command, an order that Zho utterly had to obey. The last word was the coup de grace, the killing blow that turned the whispers into ignorable mumbling. Please.

He mustered enough effort to tighten his grip around the hands that were holding his, just a little; just enough to bring Khara's gaze back to him for a moment. "No more magic for now," he agreed, even managing to muster a faint smile.

His thoughts strayed to Asfodel. She had been frightened when she'd fled, terrified; and obnoxious as Azira had been, she hadn't been wrong. Zhol was responsible for her safety. Were it only Azira venturing into the cave, he might have turned around and abandoned her out of spite, gone off seeking she who was far more deserving of his attention and protection. But there was Sira; Zhol hadn't been so consumed by rage and fire that he hadn't noticed how badly injured the Endal had been. More importantly, there was Khara: whether or not she would choose to stay with him or with the Inarta, he rightly didn't know; but he had no desire to put her in the uncomfortable position of having to choose, and wasn't sure his heart could survive if she didn't choose him; not in this state. Asfodel would have to fend for herself for a little longer; Zhol only hoped she was capable, and uttered a silent prayer to whatever gods were listening, hoping that the Unforgiving would not live up to it's name, for once.

With every ounce of effort he could muster, he began to place one foot in front of the other, setting off at a tentative pace in the wake of the two Inarta who, for all their talk of sticking together, hadn't had the patience or empathy to even investigate if their reimancer was capable of following. Despite his determination to catch up though, Zhol's hand didn't stray from Khara's, his fingers interlacing with hers so that he couldn't lose anything else he was responsible for protecting.
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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Khara on July 10th, 2015, 4:15 am

oocI'm so sorry! I completely spaced on the fact this was waiting on me! Sorry again, everyone!

Khara followed the others slowly into the cave, every instinct telling her to run in the other direction despite duty's obligation pressing her ever forward. As much as it was a hamper if she needed to use her bow again quickly, the gentle hold that Zhol had on her hand was appreciated far more than he probably realized. It, combined with the light emanating from Sira granted the scout enough feeling of courage to force a deep breath and continue on.

She frowned a bit as they came to the fork in the paths, the feeling tugging at her brow further as Azira briefly mentioned splitting up. The four of them had barely managed to take down the creature that had come from this very cave, if there was another - even just the possibility of it - splitting up sounded like the last thing that Khara would want to do. Thankfully, before she finished talking it seemed the huntress came to her own similar conclusion, opting to suggest they stick together instead.

"That's probably for the best, who knows what else is waiting for us in here..." Despite the softness of her voice, Khara became overly aware of just how far it seemed to carry within the tunnels beyond - or maybe it was just her imagination running away with her. She could hardly be blamed with the memory of the creature outside still so fresh in her mind.

The light coming from the Endal was another thing that Khara had no plans on leaving, even if it took away what stealth the small group could gain, there was no way that the scout figured she'd be able to see much of anything without it. As if remembering suddenly why they were actually here, the scout's gaze fell to the cave floor, studying the puddles and cave floor as best as possible to try and see any imprints from the hunters' boots. The ground was mostly stone, though, with unremarkable sludge in sparse patches.

A slight shudder ran through her as Khara's eyes passed over a particular spot that she could only guess was where the monstrosity that had attacked them had stepped through a patch of mud. A vision of those many eyes haunted her and she stepped inadvertently closer to Zhol. Her gaze, however, raised and looked to Sira.

Her head shook before she managed to find her voice and spoke to the Endal, "I don't know much in the way of boot prints there will be, I can't see anything either way here."

There was unspoken deferment, though not of the usual kind expected of her caste. Sira's stalking off towards the cave without clothing or her bow had spoken of her determination to see something through, survivors or no. Given their overall rattled nature, it was the kind of leadership they all needed right then; or so Khara felt.


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A Winter Rescue (Zhol, pm to join)

Postby Sira on August 23rd, 2015, 3:15 pm

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Every step sent a shoot of pain through her ribs, and every breath was a challenge. Were they broken, or just bruised? It was difficult to tell with ribs. Aidara told her there was little that could be done with injuries such as that. Even wrapping them was usually more of a hindrance than helpful. Sira could walk, she could fight through the pain, and the adrenaline rushing through her kept her going. Things might be different once they were finally free of the horrible situation they were in, but for now, Sira's adrenaline kept her going.

Sira glanced over at Azira, a hint of a smile coming over her face, though Azira's words chased that smile away. She was grateful that the huntress was there with her, and hearing the steps of the others catching up from behind bolstered her nerve more. But she had little hope when it came to the hunters they were looking for. Sira frowned then turned her eyes forward.

"I doubt it. But.. we should still look for them, just in case."

The trickle of water running over her feet felt good. Sira hoped it was water, anyway, and not blood or something. It looked clear, but her light wasn't that bright, it might be something else. Don't think about that. Just keep moving.

When they reached the branch in the tunnels Sira stopped. Instinctively, she wanted to go down the tunnel that was straight ahead. The other tunnels seemed less likely to her. If she were hunting an animal in the tunnel, she would have gone down the straight path, because that is probably what an animal would have done. Simple. Direct. It made sense.. but, they weren't searching for animals. And if the hunters had been running, they might have chosen a side path over the direct one. Maybe the path that turned?

"I don't think we should split up. Too dangerous."

Sira felt the wet stone under her feet, flexing her toes slightly as she looked down. It was smooth and cold, but there was no mud, and the trickling water would wash away any dust.

"I agree. We probably won't find any tracks in here." Sira glanced at the others, and then down the middle path. "I don't know which way we should go. But standing here talking about it isn't going to help. We'll take the middle path. If there is nothing down there, we'll try one of the others. I don't want to get lost in here though, so for now, we take the direct route. Let's go."

Decision made, Sira didn't wait for objections. She was the endal, it was her decision, and there didn't appear to be any reason to choose the other options. Straight and direct. Hopefully they wouldn't all die.

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