Closed Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

A less than safe exploration of a mine…

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Rook on July 1st, 2018, 11:09 pm

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Jessica paused for an achingly, desperately long moment. Rook said nothing during the pause, keeping his eyes glued to the ground and ignoring his hammering heart that tended to start up whenever he was in close proximity to Jessica. In the time since he had bonded to Shiress he’d truly come to detest Jessica when before he’d simply been ambivalent to her. She was cruel and cold, a shard of ice protruding from Shiress’ warmth. As the woman considered the proposition, Rook could practically hear the gears in her head turning. What was this worth to her? Why should she lend Rook to this mercenary?

Rook did, however, see a spark of interest on her face at Belugnir’s mention of the pair of them having had worked together during the expedition. And it was clear from the slight tilt of her head that the mention of credit for the mine clearing appealed to her. In spite of that, Rook’s mistress was still fickle. She might just say no to spite him. Rook did his best to look anxious and concerned. And expression that said ‘please please don’t make me go’. He knew his displeasure would be points towards him being allowed. She was still angry about the compost incident.

“Alright,” the woman said finally, and Rook was forced to hide his heart rising in delight. “Tell Samara all about it when you report in for your reward. If you don’t die I mean.” She gave Rook a sharp look that he knew to be a warning, then dropped the key to Rook’s collar in the mercenary’s hand.

“He’s smarter than he looks, but a beast is always a beast. He’ll run if he gets a chance. Don’t unlock his collar if you don’t have to. And if he gets away, or something happens to him, I’ll be holding you accountable.” With that dark threat hanging in the air, Jessica turned from Belugnir and returned to her job.

Rook silently caught Belugnir’s eye, then turned and walked away from his master, chewing his lip. With each step away from his master, the wolf’s posture changed to a more relaxed and more confident. By the time Jessica was out of sight, the kelvic was back to normal, as calm and confident as he was when the pair had spoken at the notice board.

Rook led the way for the pair towards the edge of the outpost. Wedged behind the barracks a group of human slaves stood just out of sight of the rest of the encampment. The four of them glared at Rook as the kelvic boy approached.

“Oy, it’s the dog that rolls in shyke,” one of them sneered.

Rook was in no mood to play around. “At least I didn’t go running from the mines with my tail between my legs.” This shut the slaves up for a moment.

“What has you so scared?” Rook asked.

“None of your petching business!” another slave snapped back. A moment later the group froze as Belugnir came into view.
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Belugnir on July 1st, 2018, 11:38 pm

Aye, not dying is always the first part of the plan... most of the time, anyway... Ein could likely recall several occasions on which his temper drove him to disregarding his own life out of sheer spite... And from this brief time of hearing Jessica speak, he felt as though she was one of those cock-sure twats that had it in their character to push at his nerves... Yet he, much like the slave, needed to keep up an appearance. Unlike the slave, however, he could afford for his to be cold and indifferent.

Einar had a special pit within his heart for all titbags with their noses held high... especially when he could convince himself of how easy it'd be to outright pull the arms off of them if they did unnerve him enough to give him cause for such outbursts... Either way, he received a key, an ominous bit of advice, and a threat in case of cocking things up... the standard, really. As for the brief moment in which Rook looked up at the mercenary, had the slave boy been more observant and interested than his master, he might have been able to see past Einar's blunt expression which leaned into disinterest. There would be a shade of scorn that still showed, a tension in his jaw, though that was really the very tip of a mountain drowned underwater.

Regardless. He'd gotten permission to have Rook along, and had no further interest in conversing with the woman.

''Ye'll have the wolf boy back soon enough. Fortune with your work.'', and with that, Ein would get on his way again, following after the slave boy, rather quickly noting how the lad's posture straightened and his confidence seemed to revitalize.

Wonders, how much a fuckin' collar about the neck can cock a bloke up, huh? He clogged up a nasty one and spat it out to the side as they made their way about the outpost.

There was a brief exchange between Rook and the slaves who supposedly went to the mines before. Finally, with Ein emerging from behind the corner, armor, poleaxe and all, eyes fell on him and a brief silence took the place of bickering. Really, the scene baited out a rather smug smile.

''I don't know about rolling in shyke, but the lad certainly ain't filling his trousers with it. See, unlike the lot of ye snot munchers, he's willin' to go scout the fuckin' mines and help me root the buggery outta them. The least you lot of nob heads could do is tell us what's got you all chickening out... or do you prefer the headsman's axe that much?''

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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Rook on July 4th, 2018, 6:13 pm

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Rook had spent enough time around slaves to recognize when they were intimidated by someone. Your average slave, especially those owned by stryfers, spent enough time getting kicked around that sensing fear in them didn’t take being a master at chess. The slaves before them were certainly anxious at being presented with Belugnir, poleaxe notwithstanding. There was a moment of palpable silence where Rook could sense the gears turning in the slaves skulls. Slaves were, after all, survivors. They had to be. But as one, Rook saw the four stiffen their necks and turn defiant chins towards both the mercenary and Rook.

“His shyke rolling makes too much sense,” growled one of them. “If he’s willing to scout those mines. Maybe some of that shyke got into his brains. You shyke for brains too? You go there and you’ll get dead. That’s all I’m saying.”

Rook was startled by the slave’s obvious obstinance towards Belugnir. Rook could see them not caring about the wolf boy personally; he wasn’t well liked among the slaves. Rook was about as intimidating as a solitary angry bee. Not entirely without reason to fear, but easy enough to brush off. Belugnir was more like a shaggy raging bull. Rook personally wouldn’t trifle with him. Whatever was wrong with the mine had this group right scared.

Belugnir responded to the slaves as he would. But after all was said and done, nothing could coax them to reveal anything about the mines. Any goodwill Rook might have been able to coax by merits of being a fellow slave had been buried a long time ago. There was nothing that could be said.

Just as Rook was contemplating the unsettling possibility that they might be forced to make their way through the mines on their lonesome without any sort of guide or hints on what they would encounter, from the corner of his eye Rook spotted a solitary eavesdropper on their conversation. Rook nudged Belugnir’s arm with his shoulder, drawing the mercenary’s attention to the Stryfer watching the pair with interest.
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Belugnir on July 11th, 2018, 6:03 pm

Einar presented a shameless smug smile at the slaves' fright that greeted him... though once it became apparent that they wouldn't be so quick to spill what they knew, his amusement was swift to dwindle.

''I consider having shyke for brains a grand victory over owning a hollow skull... or having your brains splattered across the ground.'', a cold thump was given to the soil with the lighter end of his weapon. Emphasis.

With a twitch in his eye, Ein, met with further silence, took in a hearty breath to spew his foulest at the group, but before he could speak up again, the slave boy had averted his attention to the lonely onlooker. A Stryfer, at that.

''Oi, black one, I'd think any round arse is prettier to look at than the going-ons in this alley... One of those stiff lips belongs to you?... Or are you just an easily amused peeper?'', Ein's tone was reasonable enough, though there was a tinge of impatience, threatening underneath it. Though the Stryfer seemed amused by this reception.

''I hear you two are looking to scour the clogged up mine shaft, yes?''

''Aye, what's that to you?'', Ein wished to throw a healthy couple of sassy remarks at this bugger but since his arrival to this city, he'd learned better than to play with the patience of Stryfers in Ravok... just as one shouldn't play with the patience of Nuits in Sahova.

''Why, I might be able to provide you means to scout the place and not die horribly in the process.'', a coy smirk laid on the soldier's face, the sort Einar had a horrible urge to erase, preferably with the muddiest corner of his own boot. He gave a quick glance to the slave boy, before returning his gaze to the man in black. He wasn't about to counsel on the course of action with the lad.

''How so?'', Einar's attention was completely off the four slaves at that point.

At this, the soldier proceeded to present a scroll of parchment. ''I don't suppose you'd care for a map of the mine?''

Ein provided a heavily doubtful frown at this. ''Lemme guess, you want me to pay your next week's rations worth of coin for some old piece of parchment you may have literally scribbled on, leaned on that wall while listening in just a moment ago?'', Sunberth had shown him one too many a cheap fraud, and this appeared highly like one of 'em.

''...How perceptive.'', the soldier mocked mildly.

''I thought the mine was closed off 'cause nobody could make way through the fuckin' place, let alone record its insides. How come you'd have a map to it?''

''That is untrue. The mine was operated briefly before poisonous vapors claimed the lives of over half a dozen workers.'', seeing that this mercenary was doubting him, the soldier would further add: ''I was stationed by the mine not long before it had to be closed off for its hazards, this map details several of the areas we know to be infested with poisonous fumes, also some places where the ground is steep and slippery... and if you do head into the vein, I'd suggest going lightly weighted, as the place can get rather... cramped...'', the man paused for an instant ''But before I tell you more than my time's worth, the map. I'll lend it to you for three gold Mizas and with a hope that you'll be able to clear the mine. I have better things to do than cheat an outsider and a slave boy out of a handful of coin, besides, it is in my interest that you two succeed if you go to clear the place out... saves me potentially being sent there myself. So, what'll it be?''

''If it's in ye best interest for us to clear the mine, why not just hand us the fuckin' thing so we can be on our way?'', Ein was an ounce grumpy at the Stryfer's cockily dismissive attitude... but what the soldier said made sense, to the point where he'd actually considered giving him the coin.

''Come now, nothing in Ravok goes free of charge, I've seen you around camp, you ought to know that much by now, outsider or not.''

Ein almost looked to Rook as though for approval again, before reaching for his coin pouch and presenting three little gold-laid plates from it.

''Fine then, give it here.'', as ever, Ein was begrudgingly parting with coin without previously having it planned out. Though, by now, he would have completely disregarded the need to talk to the stiff-lip slaves, and they may have completely buggered off for all he cared.

He would say his stingy farewells to the Stryfer, before spreading the map for himself and the redhead to study an ounce. Afterward they would presumably make what preparations either of them had to finish and head for the mine. Once there, Ein would look to undo the wolf boy's necklace and instruct him go ahead to scout the mines, preferably to the point where the map suggested the first mass of poisonous fumes had appeared. His intent was to see if what the Stryfer sold him was in fact legitimate at all before hauling his own arse into the caverns.
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Prophet on July 17th, 2018, 12:14 am

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The man was leary for a moment but decided to use a bit of diplomacy with the scraggly fellow and the red-haired thing. It wasn’t a matter of principle or anything like that- simply the path he chose to have the least amount of resistance to making some coin. He handed over the rolled up piece of parchment and stood at an angle so he could point things out once the not-so-well-cared-for-piece was unfurled.

MAP :
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“In case you can’t read, we’re here.” He pointed to a marker at the lower left hand corner amidst the woods. Next to it was a ruined structure. “That’s the mine’s entrance and those lines indicate known tunnels.” The hand moved about and the finger drew attention from one marking to the next. “The yellow parts are where we’ve notated clouds that steal your air. There’s also an entire forest down there off to the one side. No one’s really sure how it got there but the trees keep growing roots and so it’s always changing and always full of vermin.” The soldier snickered as his eyes strayed over to the redhead. “There’s a distant mechanism near a deep hole. The history is that some Isurs went down to help the early settlers of Ravok stabilize the mine but the old miners tell of a cold that comes from the well that isn’t of this world.” His hand moved up to a different path that was colored more of an orange. “This is where the known route ends but there are rumors…” He stepped back and smiled. “Pay me and I’ll fill you in on that last tidbit as icing on the cake.”

The man waited until he had his money in hand then squirreled away his coin while he promptly disclosed the last bit of knowledge that he had about the mine. “Deep into the uncharted part of the mine, there’s believed to be a pre-Valterrian tower. They say it once was on the surface and spiraled to the moon but now lies tumbled like a broken column. No one knows what kind of people lived there before. No one even knows if the rumor is true.” The man shrugged and started to walk away. “If it was true...those artifacts would be worth lives- hundreds of lives.” The grin on his face was not kind but it held a charm about it.

As he strode out of sight, the man took out his payment and pressed each piece of currency up to his lip and whispered a curse upon them. Then, he walked towards the main camp’s dice game. In a flash of firelight, his rather mundane eyes flashed a brilliant white then reverted back again. “I came upon some coin, lads. Mind if I sit in?”

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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Rook on July 19th, 2018, 4:36 pm

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Rook didn’t have much in the way of belongings to take with him on the trip. The only thing of great noteworthiness that he brought with him, aside from the clothing on his back, was his little dagger. The wolf boy hardly knew how to use it, but he wasn’t much of a hunter and in his mind it was better than nothing. Rook was careful to make a big show of equipping his knife so his comrade knew he had it. The last thing he needed was for Belugnir to see the weapon out of the corner of his eye and overreact.

The trip to the cave was fortunately short and uneventful. Rook was mildly perturbed the Belugnir was sending him to scout the dangerous pocket of poisonous gas, but after a brief explanation as to the reason why, Rook grudgingly agreed. If he was lucky, his nose would detect the gas before he stumbled into it. But it would definitely require a fine sense of smell. So, after Belugnir undid his collar he nodded to the man, stripped off his clothes, and in a bright flash of sparkling lights turned into a maned wolf.

Rook wagged his stumpy tail at what was assumed to be a stunned look on Belugnir’s face and stretched his long, elegant black legs. It had been too long since he had been able to take on the form of a wolf and he relished the feel of soil beneath his paws. Although he was certainly canine in appearance, Belugnir would notice a few differences from a dog, or even a typical wolf. He looked much like a dog on stilts. He was much taller than a typical wolf, thin and lanky. His colors looked more fox than wolf and his fur was short and thin, far more accommodating to the heat than the cold. His gait was more bouncy than it was smooth in order to accommodate for his long legs.

Rook turned his back on Belugnir and approached the cave stiffly. Without even entering, the kelvic could smell the noxious fumes burning his nose and driving him to an abrupt halt. Anxiously, he glanced over his shoulder at Belugnir, where the man waited with a likely impatience. Well he did say he would scout right? Rook let out a breathy sigh, and enter the cave.

The interior of the cave was cramped, but fortunately Rook was short enough in his wolf form that he didn’t have to crouch. Echoes of drips from unknown sources echoed around him, hard to pinpoint. The stone was slippery, but Rook’s paw pads were able to find traction with a bit of effort as he proceeded deeper. Remembering the map, Rook first thought to take the rightmost fork towards the underground forest the Stryfer had described. Rook found the fork in the cave with little effort and proceeded to the right. The further he went, the more his nose burned and several times he stopped to scrub his nose. It made no difference; the wolf boy couldn’t smell a damn thing. Inside he focused on his keen ears, focusing intensely. Soon the sounds of scuttling echoed from the caverns ahead. Rook took just enough time to hear the scuttle of shadows within the darkness of shadowy roots before he backed up, turned around, and returned to Belugnir.

“The entire place smells terrible. It’s burning my nose. I can’t make out anything,” Rook said, returning to his naked human form in a flash of lights.

“But I took the first fork to the right, and I think that forest is there. I heard scuttling the sort that vermin make, and saw shadows of roots. I didn’t go into it though.”
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Belugnir on July 25th, 2018, 3:26 pm

Einar made his way toward the mine grumbling. ''In case you can't read.'', he says. Gods fuckin' forbid the lot of you black ones can talk straight for a chime without cramming your smart-arse cryptic witticisms. Frankly, it annoyed Einar to no end, the way almost every Ravokian he'd talked to constantly kept talking from up high, not as if they had a world of knowledge in difference compared to him, but as though they thought themselves petchin' gods.

In way of belongings, he'd brought his flint and steel, his lantern, several rations of water and preserved food, frankly most of which was bread and dried and salted fish and meat, along with his weapons, poleaxe, hatchet and daggers, and armor. He'd also taken to mind to bring some horribly strong alcoholic beverage of Khrak's and several strips of clean cloth, minimalist means of combating infection and excessive bleeding in case either of them ended up wounded... that was as far as Ein's insight into medicine went, anyway. This time around he left Finnard at the stable, instead hauling all of his equipment upon his own back.

As for the dagger that the slave boy brought with it, Einar frankly didn't display much care. He'd little doubt he could outright break the little bugger's wrists and neck sooner than he could land a reasonable hit, what with the armor Ein had as well... though it struck him as a bit of an oddity that a slave, and one belonging to some Ravokian twat big-shot was permitted to keep any sort of its own belongings, much less a weapon.

Either way, they were soon at the mine entrance, and frankly, even ruined, it looked far more... glamours than Einar imagined originally... Though, if any of that hogwash that the black one gave him about ancient towers and... Isurian mechanisms was true, that was a reasonable explanation as to why the entrance to a mine was ever a notable structure to begin with... What the sodding hell is an Isur anyway?

Upon instructing the redhead as to how and why he'll be scouting the mines, Einar had little time to ponder on one race that he knew frankly nothing about, as the member of another such race went turning into a beast, and in a manner far too flashy than Ein had imagined... His displayed reaction, however, was considerably minimal. A furrowed, risen brow and an amused curve in his lips... as opposed to what'd likely have been eyes wide agape and a jaw dropped to the ground, had he not openly been told by the redhead that he's capable of turning into a wolf... still, between city guardsmen that acted like cryptics and probably had enough cocked up dark sorcery in their sleeve to give Sahovan Nuit a run for their money, and slaves who could apparently shape shift into beasts at will... Ein struggled to wrap his head around just how ignorant he was of the world he lived in.

Odd fuckin' world I've been born into.

Ein's hopes for turning a profit from this whole ordeal, already diminished by all the roadblocks that were introduced before they'd even gotten to the damn mine, were only further reduced as he'd seen Rook's hesitation to enter the mine nearly off the bat... Not a promising start.

Regardless, he'd just oiled and ignited his lantern as Rook made his way back out of the mine with a report. Apparently the map given to them wasn't complete trash, as the forest the Stryfer mentioned was apparently real.

The lad spoke of being unable to properly smell anything proper within the mine due to the horrid scents infesting the mine... Then remained the matters of cramped passage, observable from the very entrance, and the fact that, if the map was to be fully trusted, the only real path through free of poisonous gas was caved in... and Ein really didn't fancy the idea of potentially burying himself alive trying to clear it...

''A heap of fuckin' work I brought on us, eh lad?''

He would give himself a brief pause to decide on their course of action... frankly, he could just head out into the mine with the lantern hooded to provide a source of dim light, but that seemed foolhardy... then again, there wasn't much he could do in way of preparation either...

After about a chime, Ein went unfurling one of the cloth-packed rations of dried fish he'd brought, making quick work of munching down a couple of the slices before offering Rook the remaining half. And as for the lad's nudity, it left him mostly unfazed. He'd seen his share of bare slaves and naked corpses, male and female in his early years spent among the streets of Sunberth... And besides, he too had a prick dangling 'tween his thighs, it was hardly anything to pay mind to.

Once he'd freed the wide piece of cloth it contained, Ein went about briefly washing it with water, before distributing a modest douse of the alcohol he'd brought about the thing, minding not to drench the cloth but rather make it a filter to breathe through within the mines.

''You wanna head in there as a wolf or as you are now?'', once Rook was in his decided form, Ein would slice apart the doused cloth and tie half of it about the creature's snout and mouth as best he could. The improvised mask had only faint scents of alcohol, salt, and forest berries about it... though it would likely still obscure the lad's sense of smell, it could potentially reduce the hazard of breath-stealing fumes. After binding the other half of the cloth about his own nose and mouth, taking good care to ensure the thing was tightly bound about his head, Ein would have taken the rest of his supplies, stuck them together into his backpack, and left the thing beside the mine's entrance. He would bring the map in a satchel about his belt, beside his set of throwing daggers and a single crude one meant for combat in closer quarters. The mercenary would keep his armor on, lantern only halfway hooded in one hand and poleaxe ready in the other.

''Alright mate. Lead on to the forest, we'll try to make way slightly into the fumes there. If it ends up lookin' like a fool's errand, we come out here for rest and try to see if we can make way through that cave-in or possibly clear it without bringing the mine down on our heads. Sound good?''

Ein asked away without really considering the fact that Rook didn't really have much say in the matter anyway. They were going to attempt braving the forest first. Ein would have had to bend his back and knees and advance in what he imagined an indecisively shyking man would crouch as... it was probably the most uncomfortable stance to keep walking an excessive distance in, regardless, he couldn't rightly afford to outright crawl, as that would be a horrid hinder to his ability to respond to any potential danger they might encounter... They would make slow progress this time around, as Ein had to be superbly careful about every other or so step that he'd made, for while he wore a sturdy pair of boots, his uncomfortable stance, a lack of two additional legs, and the wet, rocky cavern floor, to say nothing of the horrid stench that he could still feel through the doused cloth over his nose, were a recipe for a whole lot of painful falls that he'd rather have avoided... So, slow, steady and what Ein liked to imagine was safe, they would have made way to the border of the underground forest, but this time with a source of light in hand and a borderline insignificant means of combating the noxious fumes within the cavern. Here, however, before passing the first root, Ein would have made a stop... possibly straightening his back, had the cavern expanded to the point of allowing him to do so.

The lantern revealed the pus-ridden clouds of vapor to the naked eye, and it was rather obvious that Ein was reluctant to go any further... though a brief ponder brought him to a conclusion that all this horrid gas had to have some kind of source... He would turn to Rook, a half baked plan in mind.

''Alright, lad, try to use them beasty eyes of yours, I'll steer the lantern about from here, and we both try to spot if there's any visible place that this horrid putrition is coming from. Look for holes in the ground or some particularly nasty looking plant, spores or the like... Maybe if we spot anything of the sort we'll be able to plug or cut apart the source of all this buggery.''

After instructing Rook with what to do, and eyes beginning to tear up at the stench about them, on the very edge of the putrid clouds creeping about the cavern, Ein would put an effort to spot any sort of source of the noxious air.
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Rook on July 28th, 2018, 7:08 pm

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Rook observed an upward turn of Belugnir's lips, amused and self deprecating.

“A heap of fuckin’ work I’ve brought on us, eh lad?”

Rook shrugged to this. The wolf boy was used to being treated as expendable. Even if he was Jessica’s personal slave and was treated slightly better than most, he was still a slave.

“I volunteered for this too,” Rook pointed out. “It’s not as if you dragged me here or anything.”

The kelvic found himself considerably relieved that the mercenary seemed unbothered by his nudity. He knew some humans to find naked bodies uncomfortable, repulsive or embarrassing. The fact that Belugnir made no comment on it reassured the wolf boy. He would likely be transforming a lot during their expedition, and that was one thing that Rook wouldn't have to worry about.

Rook watched Belugnir with the rapt attention as he unfurled a bundle of cloth containing couple of rations of dried meat. Rook was startled when offered the remaining half of the rations and he ate them nearly whole in several swift bites, following his meal with a quick thank you to the mercenary. Rook was frequently underfed by his master. He required as much nutrition as his wolf form did, giving him the impression of a glutton to his sneering slave fellows. Said fellows didn't seem to notice or care that Rook was dramatically underweight. The pup found himself forced to forage and hunt on his own to keep himself from starving. Any extra food was always greeted with hearty approval.

Rook was puzzled as he watched the mercenary douse the cloth in alcohol, unsure of what he was doing. At Belugnir’s question, Rook considered. The only real advantage to his human form in this situation would be his voice. His wolf form was faster, lower to the ground, and had enhanced senses.

“I’ll take my wolf form,” Rook told the mercenary. “I can't talk to you when I’m in it, but if something is wrong I can still find a way to let you know. And if I have to communicate something complicated, I can always return to my human form.”

With that decided, the pup turned back into his lanky wolf form with a bright flash of colorful lights. Belugnir’s intent with the alcohol covered cloth became apparent when the man attached it around Rook’s snout. He sneezed twice from the intensity of the smell, but the pup realized quickly that the cloth might well save his life from toxic fumes. Rook glanced at his dagger lying on the ground and picked it up with his mouth and offered it to the mercenary. He couldn't carry it in this form, but they still might need it. With that matter handled, Rook yapped an agreement to the mercenary’s question, and following his instruction led the way forward into the darkness of the cave.

The interior of the cave was as horrid as ever, but the beam of light illuminating from the mercenary’s lanturn brought the picture of the cave into more detail than Rook had envisioned during his first foray inside. He felt himself immediately unsettled by the tight quarters of the cave, which he had only felt and not seen before. Rook liked a sky above his head, not these endless sheets of stone. Still, he steeled himself and pushed forward, leading the way down the right fork and into the cavern with the shadows of roots and distant sound of scuttling.

The light of Belugnir’s lanturn painted a far better picture of the landscape then the one Rook had heard during his previous visit. Gangly roots grew all through the interior of the cavern, sprawling and seeming to sprout from inside the rock itself. Rook found this very peculiar. He was no expert but he had always been under the impression that plants needed soil to grow. What were these things? Belugnir sweeped the lanturn slowly through the interior of the cavern and Rook tensed as he saw a cluster of yellow mist drifting lazily through the top of the cave, guided by unseen currents. A second sweep of the lanturn and Rook kept his eyes towards the top of the cave and slowly moved his gaze downwards. It seemed as though the little patches of drifting yellow mist we're everywhere. Rook forced himself to focus, particular on Belugnir’s words. Were there any parts of the cavern where the mist seemed more concentrated than most?

A third sweep of the cavern, and Rook backed up into the mercenary, tail lightly knocking against his arm to draw his attention. When he had the man’s attention, Rook would point his muzzle in a direction towards the far corner of the cavern where the light just barely touched. When Belugnir focused his lanturn there, the pair would see a group of plants quite different from the rest of the cavern. A cluster of strangely colored, tiny trees as big as Rook himself sat against the wall, surrounded thickly in a sickly yellow mist.
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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Belugnir on August 4th, 2018, 10:20 pm

The wolf boy made a solid... and dull point... why did he volunteer to come though, that's what Ein wished he knew, oddly enough. The lad’s dagger, once offered, was stuck into his belt along with the ones Einar had to himself, though the lot of them made his half-crawl through the rock-fanged tunnels all the more uncomfortable… one could never have too many sharp objects eligible for hurling at some ungodly underworld monstrosity that may potentially make itself known.

Before Ein began to steady his lantern and sweep its light across the wide cave of the underworld forest, there was a series of quiet pops and a satisfactory sigh of relief as he’d straightened his back after what seemed like a proper day of creeping around like some humpback. Though he welcomed the change of scenery in which the cavern ceiling was not a tick above his hunched head, he also became skeptical about advancing, for a brief shine upward revealed that the ceiling was lost from sight behind the darkness that mingled with the elevated clusters of that horrid vapor… And while the gassy pestilence was more than likely harmful to him and the wolf boy, there was no telling if anything lurked creeping upon the stones overhead, ready to pounce once the two would make their advance.

At the nudge of Rook’s tail, Ein shone his lantern over to the far end of the cavern, taking an ounce longer than the wolf boy to notice the cluster of flora which seemed to be at least one of the sources of this foul smelling pestilence.

He nodded to Rook, acknowledging that he’d spotted what was intended for him to see, yet after a moment’s hesitation, the lantern’s light would keep on its slow, steady way across the grotesque interior.

''Keep looking a while longer...'', it was rather apparent that Rook wasn't the only one deterred by the dark caverns ahead and the looming weight of endless stone that stood above them.

Ein considered turning back more than once, going to see if the cave-in mapped on the paper given to him by the Stryfer to check if it were still there... Yet he would sooner choose to brave the sparse clouds of toxin ahead, holding his breath, than trekking back, exhausting himself to find what'll in the best case be a path blocked by immovable stone, and in the worst, being buried alive after one misstep in a loose cavern… And he didn’t dwell, crawling this far into the arse hole of the soil just to turn back and accomplish bugger all either.

‘’Keep your nose high and mind your step, wolf boy.’’, there were no other sources of the toxins to be pin pointed… So Ein stepped forth, straight over one of the low-creeping fingers of the yellowish vapor that reached up to his knees. There would be a reasonably easy path to track through the slowly moving, low clouds, toward the gape of a tunnel on the other side of the cavern, easy to track with a light source anyway. And thankfully, the forest chamber’s floor seemed to be considerably flat… compared to the jagged throat of stone that they’d arrived through, at least.

‘’You might want to walk as a man through here.’’, a reasonable proposal. Being a head or two taller would provide better vantage to see where he’d place his step, and would keep the wolf boy’s head above most of the low lingering clusters of fumes as they weaved a path between the clouds of poison… how he choose to follow was not Ein’s proper concern, however, so long as the redhead could keep up. The mercenary concerned himself with minding his step, yet there was only so much a lantern’s light could reveal to a man who impossibly insisted on keeping awareness of every ounce of air and ground that passed by… and so his foot caught upon a root that stood tugged out of the hard ground beneath, and he stumbled forth.

Men put wits beside themselves when they lose footing, reflex and forethought can hardly account to aid against that simple fact… yet in spite of himself, with a frightened gasp, Ein managed to shove his poleaxe’s handle onto the ground with firm grip before he full out sprawled across the ground on his belly, and just barely managed to put his weight upon his steadied weapon rather than his displaced foot, and so he avoided diving head first into a cluster of the poisonous fumes… yet his posture lingered a while, coming back from the sudden state of shock, before he put his lagging foot underneath him, regained his balance, and produced the most vulgar of tones.

‘’Prick all the gods ‘tween the eyes… burn this shyke hole and take a lengthy piss all across the ashes and ruin…’’, there were more incoherent mumbles in a voice so raspy that it felt as though he were choking on the fumes as opposed on his own sudden fury… thankfully, the light of his lantern was only shaken in his wavered grip, and its frightful flicker began to settle back into a calm source of light as Einar weaved only his weapon hand about in a fit of anger… before a long, coughing sigh and the approaching cloud of toxins set his mind back straight, and he began to make way forward again, on course across the first spread of clean air and ground he spotted… They would take a long while to reach the other side of the cavern, weaving an awkward path through the biting stench that surrounded them… and once they were finally at the cavern’s other side, several dozen feet out of reach of the wandering fogs of pestilence, Ein would shine a light over through the narrowing throat of the tunnel ahead… before seating himself down upon a large stone and breathing out long and hard. He’d attempted to hold his breath as often as he could while passing through the forest, for the stench was something otherworldly, yet such hectic breathing patterns led to him already feeling the beginnings of fatigue… and the moment in which he nearly fell into a cluster of the poisonous smoke felt as though it scared a year of life out of him. He felt cold sweat creep down his forehead… And now, at the slightest distance away from the fumes, the choking cavern air felt as a fresh breeze upon an open meadow…

With bated breath, Ein began to eye the cluster of trees Rook originally spotted… and then equally eyed the cavern tunnel ahead.

‘’Ye think we should meddle with them shyke-growths? Or do you reckon we’ll just go sprinting through this horrid buggery if we end up having to flee from this place?’’

Ein went pulling out the map they had and laying it across his lap. Hopefully the wolf boy would have changed into a lad again so that they’d discuss whether or not they’ll try to hinder the source of the fumes or if they should explore further… The irony of asking for Rooks opinion appeared lost on Einar. They were fellows and equals in the shyke that surrounded them.

‘’Your idea is as good as mine, though I don’t know how we’ll go about getting rid of them pus-arse roots over there.’’

The cluster of pestilent trees was at least another five or ten chimes of trekking through poison away… and frankly, Ein had no idea if they’ll even be able to properly approach the bloody things enough to cut them down without choking on the thick fumes about the damn things… and gods only knew if that would help this whole infestation of shyke at all and not make it worse than it is.


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Those Sons O' Bitches (Belugnir)

Postby Rook on September 3rd, 2018, 6:40 pm

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Rook could feel his heart rise up into his throat when Belugnir finally ventured forward into the twisted maze of deadly haze. Rook followed the man’s suggestion without complaint, taking to his human form with a flash of white light. When the mercenary proceeded forward, Rook kept to his back, barely a hair’s breadth away from him. Rook was keenly aware at this moment that he was not a leader, nor did he have the skills required to be of much assistance to Belugnir. At the moment all he could do was attempt his best at not being a burden. The wolf boy cursed silently in his mind that his slight advantage in this situation had been almost entirely destroyed by this horrible haze burning his nose.

Even in his human form, Rook found himself keenly aware of the odd sponginess of the floor. Was it not actually stone? The kelvic allowed himself a glance downwards to study the floor while still keeping his head high enough not to risk his breath being stolen away by the fumes. The roots as well as countless plantlife had coiled themselves into a mess on the stone floor that lifted both himself and Belugnir up a few inches off the stone floor. The plants were so thick that Rook couldn't seem to spot even a single spot where stone revealed itself through the floor. The impact was that the ground was uneven in places, and bits of plant matter poked itself out of the ground.

When Belugnir tripped on a root, Rook almost had a heart attack. Her certainly gasped, and felt the sharp intake of air burn at his lungs and set him into a coughing fit. Belugnir hadn’t fallen, catching himself on his poleaxe before he could collapse to the ground, but Rook still grabbed his shoulder and held him there until he was certain the man had regained his balance. The stream of curses was a relief. It was a reminder that they were both alive, at least for the moment.

By the time the reached the far side of the cave, Rook was trembling. When Belugnir heaved himself down on the rock, Rook collapsed in a heap beside him, panting hard and inhaling as much of the clean air as he could. It would be several long chimes before Rook would respond to the mercenary.

“Let’s never go back in there ever again if we can help it,” the wolf boy said firmly. He was shaking, terrified. It was one thing to be threatened with something substantial, but to have your own air betray you? It was too much for the pup, far too much. He was the first of the pair to heave himself to his feet. His naked body glittered with sweat. With a soft growl, Rook flashed back to his kelvic form and cautiously proceeded down the tunnel.

Here the air was clearer at least. Rook was confident those noxious fumes were far behind them. However, he paused when the pair of them found themselves once more at a crossroads. Rook turned back to a human and glanced at Belugnir. “Where should we go from here?” the wolf said hesitantly. “What does the map say?”
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