Closed Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

An accidental party tries to free a cargo of slaves

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Colt on August 30th, 2015, 6:55 pm

Merevaika didn’t need to be told. She sheathed her knife, took her bow and plunged into the darkness with Shahar hot on her heels. The swordsman shouted something to his comrades and charged after them, although the fact that he had his sword drawn slowed him down.

The light of the fire fell behind them, and the world was veiled in darkness. Shahar yanked on his djed to see the strands of the Web––an act that left him with a sudden headache––and looked to where Merevaika was running. Behind her tromped the swordsman.

Shahar slowed enough to bring himself just behind with the swordsman, who the could not use the Web as the Drykas could. He likely heard the motion, but Shahar didn’t want to engage; he just reached out and grabbed the swordsman’s tunic and yanked to the side. It wasn’t much, and the swordsman didn’t fall, but it did force him to slow down and give Merevaika more time to lengthen the distance between them.

With a new foe made clear, however, the swordsman turned instead to Shahar, slowing suddenly and cutting off the hunter’s path. Shahar had to swerve to avoid him, which allowed the swordsman to lash out and de exactly what Shahar had done––only this time the swordsman was slow enough that he could actually pull on Shahar’s quiver, which sent them both tumbling to the ground.

In the distance, there was more shouting; the other slavers were aware of the two Drykas, and they were coming to join their comrade.

Shahar rolled to his knees and grabbed a javelin, just in time to avoid an aggressive slash from the swordsman, who had also managed to scramble to his knees. Shahar twisted back to put some space between them, but the swordsman moved forward to prevent it from happening and slashed again. Shahar managed to get his spear in between them; the sword glanced away, shaving a hefty shard of wood off the weapon.
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Merevaika on August 30th, 2015, 7:24 pm

And she was safe once more. Shahar had attacked the swordsman, pulling him to the ground where they tumbled to the ground and started to fight, one with a spear, the other a sword. Merevaika stopped, taking the moment to catch her breath as she watched horrified at the fight, unable to do anything. Her arm stung too much to be able to hold and use a bow, and even if she could, the two were too close to not have the fear of hitting her ally instead of her enemy.

Shouts alerted her that she had to run, but Merevaika could no longer ignore the wound on her arm, which soaked her shirt a scarlet colour. Merevaika ripped off the sleeve, binding it as tightly as she could around the wound, which was large and deep, enough to be certain that it would scar. At least with the tightly wrapped makeshift bandage, she wouldn't have to worry too much about loss of blood. That would help stop it.

With her other hand, she took the knife, before slinking lower to the ground and approaching the two men fighting on the ground. The swordsman was preoccupied with fighting Shahar, who had just blocked a blow with his spear, to notice the woman sneak up slowly, treading only on the smallest patches of grass that she could make out in the darkness. It wouldn't matter if she made too much noise anyway - fighting and distant shouts would cover light footsteps.

She stopped a footstep away, preparing to stab. She inhaled, and with the exhale rushed forward, lodging the knife in the slaver's back as he just realized that he had another assailant behind him. He sunk to the ground, the wound near enough fatal, and Merevaika reached out to pull Shahar up, thankful that she had had the luck to strike so well without being noticed.

The other slavers were nearing, almost upon them as far as she could tell. The drykas pulled out her knife, foot resting upon the slaver as she did so, before slitting his throat just to be sure, scowling a little at the blood. WIth hurried movements, she took the sword, before scanning for any additional weapons she could use. Nothing.

"Run?" she asked her companion, debating whether to hand him the sword. It was near useless to her, and she did have two other weapons to carry, but they were both near useless as well, having no skill with the knife and arm hurting too much to use the bow. She looked at him, speaking quieter to hopefully hide them from the slavers longer. "The sword, what should I do with it? Keep it, or give it to you?" Discarding it wasn't an option.
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Colt on November 18th, 2015, 6:58 pm

ImageIn a brief moment, there was separation. Both hunter and slaver pulled back to eye their opponent, gauging opportunities and advantages; while Shahar had the advantage of light if he chose to draw upon the Web again, he didn’t want to do so unless necessary. Even the brief flicker of a few moments ago had settled in to stay, and his head was pounding with the sudden expense of djed; who knew what using more could do?

But the slaver had his own advantage in that he possessed a sword, which had longer reach that Shahar’s javelins and was entirely capable of cleaving into them. While the swordsman was certainly not strong enough to cleave through a shaft with one swipe, he was well able to inflict irreparable damage on the only weapons Shahar had at his disposal––save, perhaps, for his axe, but that was a weapon Shahar did not trust enough to take up, not for this fight. In this fight, the swordsman had the clear advantage, and the Drykas needed every ounce of certainty that he could get.

The moment passed, and then the two rejoined.

Shahar led the first strike; with the shorter weapon, he needed to get into close quarters. His sent the tip of his javelin sailing towards his opponent’s chest, but the swordsman knocked it to the side, nearly knocking it out of the fight entirely. But now the two of them were close, shoulder to shoulder with both weapons stretched out to the side––Shahar took advantage of the closeness and the lack of weaponry and brought his forehead crashing down on the man’s nose.

The slaver let out a wet yelp as blood began to pour over his lips, and Shahar tore himself away and reclaimed a few paces of space; while the man’s nose was undoubtedly softer than, say, his cheek or his scalp, it was still harder than he had expected and Shahar was suddenly a bit dizzy. He was losing his footing, but he managed to sink to one knee before falling down completely, doing his best to summon up a defensive stance as he worked hard to blink and clear his head.

And then there was the sound of flesh parting, something hard knocking against bone, and the slaver turned, swayed, and toppled.

The hilt of a knife gleamed in his back.

His companion stood behind the slaver, breathing hard, clothes stained with more blood than just her own.

“Merevaika.” It was neither request, greeting, nor request for attention; it was a simple verbal affirmation of her presence, and also of the man that now lay dying at her feet.

The huntress wasted no time, crossing the distance and offering a hand to help Shahar back to his feet. Shahar shook his head, but managed a strained, “Thank you.”

Merevaika turned to retrieve her knife and to slit the slaver’s throat, ensuring that he would not become a recurring threat. There were others in the distance, shouting and running through the grass with enough noise to startle a sleeping bull.

“Don’t run, too loud,” Shahar rasped, readying himself to continue their flight. “They’ll hear. I saw a hanging tree just back there; if we get under it, we can wait for them to pass, and then move. If we’re quiet, we can get back to the others without them finding us.”

She made ready to come with him, but then hefted the slaver’s sword; what to do with it? There was no time to argue the point of leaving the sword or bringing it; they needed to move, now.

“I’ll take it; I can carry more.” They could decide the weapon’s fate once they were safe.

If there was nothing else keeping them there, Shahar would take hold of the sword and drop into a practiced hunting crouch; they needed to move fast, and to move fast they would certainly be making noise to get to their destination––but the noise of a swift crouch was one easily drowned out by sprinting slavers.
Last edited by Colt on December 12th, 2015, 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Merevaika on November 20th, 2015, 10:09 pm

He spoke of a tree to die under, to wait for them to pass. She whispered back to him: "Let us go, quickly but quietly." It was all that was needed to be said, and Shahar took the sword off her, Merevaika thankful she was relieved of another burden of a weapon she couldn't use. Following him in the crouch, she strained her eyes to watch the ground, making sure to avoid the grass as much as she could.

Shahar led the way, for Merevaika did not know where to find the tree. She watched and kept her ears open instead, listening out for sounds of a slaver barreling towards them. There were noises, of course, the stampede spreading through the night, but it thankfully wasn't near. They were safe, if only for the moment.

The moments of peace led her thoughts to the others they had seen, who she had forgotten about with the fighting and the fleeing. She hoped they were alright. They had to be, as the slavers had focused on Shahar and herself. But the more she thought about it, the more she realised that they could have focused on those two because the others were out of the question.

The tree slowly appeared, almost unnatural in the environment. Trees weren't found often in the Sea of Grass, and those that did were small, haunted or magical. Closer to Riverfall, however, was a fringe of forest, a place of animals and leaves. This shouldn't have felt strange, but it did.

Crouching under the long branches, which twisted out towards her, she crawled under it, careful not to apply too much pressure on her arm. It still hurt, but by now most the pain had gone. Once under, she stayed silent, the only noise her beating heart and her terrified breaths.

It would be alright. She had her knife, she had her bow. She could run, or she could fight. And she had Shahar with her the whole time, beside her. After all she had done, he was at least indebted to her, even if he wouldn't help her fight otherwise. The man would be with her, and if worst came to worst, fight by her side. It didn't need to be like that. It wouldn't be -they were quiet.

Eventually, all sounds of the slavers had disappeared, the last shouts and footsteps fading into the darkness. Very softly, she whispered to the man, mouth by his ear so he could hear her properly. "I think we are safe. They are gone. Should we leave, see the others, flee from here? Or do you think we should hide more?" Merevaika trusted him to make the right decisions. He was skilled, experienced, and she knew he would have a good reason to do what he chose to do.
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Colt on December 12th, 2015, 4:27 pm

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She affirmed their course of action, relinquished the sword and fell in beside him. Hyperaware of the crashing brush and shouts that indicated the slavers, the two of them made their careful way through the darkness. Shahar didn’t have the strength to pull on his djed to see the Web or the light it gave off, but he knew where he was going.

The tree stuck out against the uniform gray of the grass and the blue-black of the sky, and the pair of hunters slipped beneath as the sound of slavers grew closer. It was nighttime, and so their tracks didn’t appear to be an issue; the slavers were instead relying on fear tactics to try and flush their prey into the open. Shahar had once used the same method in his hunting, when he was truly desperate enough to hunt at night.

But neither he nor Merevaika moved from their hiding place; the sounds grew louder, then dimmer, and when the slavers didn’t find anything they moved on. Their noise faded into the distance, and the two continued to remain, breathing hard and waiting for the slightest indication of danger.

Merevaik broke the silence first, after time stretched into silence and then into an uncountable length. What now, she wanted to know. Did they leave? Did they stay?

“Wait,” he whispered. “Just a bit longer. I’ll search the Web; I think they’re gone, but I want to make sure that the path is clear.” He wanted to go home. He wanted to see Naiya and not think about slavers anymore. But he also wanted to not die, so it would be wise to make sure the path was clear.

Settling himself onto the ground, Shahar closed his eyes and stretched out his djed for the spidery threads around them. Glowing with magic and shivering with the past of a thousand souls, the Web welcomed him with open arms and the jagged ripping sensation of being torn from his body. Perhaps it was adrenaline, perhaps it was fear, but this trip into the Web was more painful than usual. He needed to take a few moments to regain his awareness before he could set about to his task.

Shahar knew that there was little time to make his trip. As soon as he could manage it, he began circling the area he and Merevaika had taken cover in––small circles at first, to make sure that there was nothing dangerously large nearby, then growing wider and wider until he was certain that there were no other humanoids within a dangerous range. Then he moved west, towards Riverfall proper, looking for the collection of tents and animals gathered outside its walls. The familiarity of those souls drew him in; Naiya was there, Khida was there, the horses remained and had mingled with the zibri. They were safe, and the path to them was empty.

Shahar rushed back to his body and hauled himself back into the physical world, coughing involuntarily as his senses came crashing back down in full force. Smell, sound, feel, taste, sight, although sight was hardly useful in the dark enclave of the tree.

“I… looked,” he gasped. “Home, it’s clear. Slavers… going the other way.” He shook his head as dizziness overtook him. “I need a moment… then I can move.”
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Merevaika on December 12th, 2015, 6:15 pm

Shahar entered the web, leaving her alone in this reality. The sounds of the slavers were replaced with the sounds of the night, and she didn't know which were worse. An owl hooted, oddly chilling, and she shrank back behind the winding branches, scratching at her hair. A large chunk caught in a sharp section, and she yank it out, stifling a yell that could have brought the slavers back.

Something past. Something breathed. Maybe it was real, maybe her imagination was going wild, looking out so hard that she saw things that weren't there. If it was something dangerous, Shahar would come straight back out of the web though, wouldn't he? He would have spotted it, and she used that assure herself that it was all alright.

When he came back gasping, out of breath and dizzy, Merevaika was terrified at what it could mean. A rushed exit was highly possible, but thankfully, he explained that it was all clear. Merevaika let out a sigh of relief, letting him have that moment to rest. Even if he could travel, it would be dangerous in the dark if he was still struggling with the transition from web to the physical world.

Once he had returned to normal, she crawled back out, stalking through the night like a cat, green eyes staring through the darkness. She knew the way to return, and moved stealthily, each step slow and careful. Home. The word fell out of her mouth with a pleasant thought. Home, and she would be safe from the slavers who had hunted her. Would the freed slaves have somewhere to call home? Would the men who had fought the slavers with them even return home?

A feeling of guilt almost urged her to get Shahar to return to the slavers camp to try and find the men who had fought beside them, to help them and to get them out of there. That was a foolish idea - why did she want to return to the lion's den? Shahar had a family who needed him, wives who he supported. If she was responsible for taking him back to his death, they would hate her. They would suffer. They had to return home. With a quick prayer to the gods asking them to look over them, she tried to forget. Home. The thought of home, and safety, distracted her. She would be safe.
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Slaver Hunters 'R' Us

Postby Konrad Venger on March 11th, 2016, 2:05 am

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Nice job! Your work has pleased The Sloth!

Shahar

XP:
Webbing - 3
Observation - 3
Tracking - 2
Tactics - 3
Brawling - 2
Stealth - 2
Weapon: Javelin - 2
Endurance - 1
Leadership - 1

Lore:
Webbing: An Unfathomable Mass Of Information
Tactics: Prioritizing Targets
Tactics: Find Advantageous Ground
Webbing: Viewing Battle, As It Happens
Brawling: Headbutting Hurts You BOTH

Additional:
[*] Shallow gouge across ribs from a near-miss arrow; healed in ten days unless treated

Merevaika

XP:
Observation - 4
Stealth - 2
Weapon: Shortbow - 1
Acrobatics - 1
Running - 1
Endurance - 2
Medicine - 1
Weapon: Knife - 1
Philosophy - 1

Lore:
Shahar: A Taciturn Partner
Acrobatics: The Art of Avoidance
Medicine: The Ol' "Shirtsleeve Tourniquet"
Shahar: A Man Who Knows What To Do
Philosophy: You Can't Save Everyone

Additional:
[*] Deep cut on left arm, needs to be sanitized and stitched promptly or it will become infected; impaired mobility and pain will cease after twenty days

Click Me! :
Stye, Tristann, if you come back, deduct your Seasonal Expenses and PM when you can, and I'll reward you, too!

I liked this: nice to see a hard, tactical edge to our little swords-and-sandals world! Mainly from Shahar, but both of you got into the mindset of outgunned, under-equipped combatants, and used the terrain beautifully to your advantage. That and, shock-horror, you DIDN'T save the day!

Honestly. That's the rarest thing of all, and I applaud you for having the stones to write it.


Oh, and please make sure you go back and edit your post in the Request Thread to reflect the fact this one is now done and dusted. PM me with any questions and later 'tater!

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