• Closed • Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

A blistering desert that stretches for hundreds of miles around Nashaki, with very little relief from the baking heat.

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Kaladis Anar
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:06 pm

Skeletons in the Closet

Hotlands, Solace Rock.
7th of Cylus
The Scrolls of Anar Verse One, The Hotlands, #3 More than men dig in these sands.

T
hree large rocks stood out in this area of the hotlands, dry red and deeper oranges among the sandy dunes which rolled for leagues to the north and east of solace rock. His employer Alinan came here for ore from time to time, beneath the sand, here where the redstone chunks contained their fair share of useful iron. They were not the only rocks in this area of the desert to the south. Cracks cut into each rock that dared rise up, exposed to blistering temperatures in different cycles, today was thankfully cool by comparison for any traveler making the trip.

Kaladis’s first journey out prospecting for his employer, Alinan had sent him out with a pickaxe, a map of known ore deposits, and clear directions to follow. There wasn’t exactly bustling traffic here to draw attention to him, or anyone much at all, but Kaladis was overly cautious, paranoid some might say. He’d placed the horse behind the stone, with a dune the opposite side, not just to shield it from wind but to obscure it. Paranoid because in the pitch days of this cycle, nobody could see it anyway.

A large wedge of stone hid the small mining tunnel downward, which broke into a cavern. There were lit torches inside, which gave a faint glow in Cylus’s dark skies against the rock face, but only if you were looking for it. Despite Alinan’s assurances they wouldn’t find anything but sand, stone and iron here, Kaladis wanted the area well lit.

I
nside there was the noise of a pickaxe hitting rock, and this was going on at a steady pace, there was also the sound of someone practicing singing very badly, words given in time with each hit. If you listened closely there was also another sound, a shuffling, clicking sound, Kaladis couldn’t hear it with the din of his work, his hearing being impaired as it was. THUMP the outer rock hiding the tunnel was fumbled aside, he heard that sound well enough, and not one but two skeletons mindlessly groaning in the tunnel behind him.

Shuffling his way… His white eyes narrowed, and his training took over.

Ether, the formless potential to command echoed in Kaladis's voice, building in the vocal chords, given in a rhythm and song of his making. The voice of his novice song to halt them was broken against a wall of undead indifference, he tried once more before drawing the loaned iron sword from its sheathe. Given just how off key Kaladis’s voice was with his hearing loss, and lack of practice, it could have been a scream, battlecry or call for help just as easily as him trying bonesong. Having had absolutely no affect whatsoever, his suspicious mind assumed it was either because another necromancer wanted him dead, or perhaps he needed more practice.

Two against one, and they blocked the only door. "Audrae hide my strikes," he whispered beneath his breath, pulling the sword into a basic two handed guard, while the first bony arm came for him.
~
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Eddrick Brodon
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:19 am

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Brodon hated when that feeling began to grow; that feeling that he'd made a mistake. Ironically, it was one thing he was never mistaken about. He should not have gone unescorted. The last time he'd headed so far south, he'd had to sit out a sandstorm tucked in under the features of Moseke's face. At least it was she to whom everyone believed the largely crumbled 'Desert Rose' statue was dedicated.

A shrine long bereft of tribute or donation, it had served well enough as a wind break, and a block against being flayed by the whipping sands. Truth be told, Eddrick's opinion of Moseke had taken a slight upturn after that. Not so much that he considered himself indebted to the Immortal herself, but if someone thought her worth the effort of crafting such a massive stone impression of her, she must have something going for her.

But that was not the purpose of his trek across the dunes this time. Undead...more flesh-sucking undead! he had not actually been looking for them this time, or he would definitely have brought support. No he'd been to visit a neutral horse trainer and a different customer had mentioned the scourge in passing.

The scourge...his scourge. More of the damned risen dead from his Boneyard fiasco a few seasons ago. it had been meant to turn the tide of a battle at the outset of imperial aggression into the Hotlands. And while it had not exactly backfired, it had afflicted both sides pretty equally. And since the forces from Nashaki had already been more or less on their heels, it had not helped.

Some of his Rhakrii fellows still ribbed about it, saying that he'd brought the two sides together against a common enemy, and hung the mockery of the title "peacemaker" on him, accompanied by gales of drunken laughter, much of it his own. When the haze of alcohol had subsided, he always thought of how coincidental had been the timing of the city's withdrawal of their amnesty offer. Could it be that the Nashaki authorities had somehow learned that he'd been responsible for the awakening of all those dead?

Eddrick scowled. It was unfair to say he was responsible. The Immortal Vri was the one truly responsible, regardless of Eddrick's own part of the current episode. As well, that damned 'Reader of the Sands' had played a significant part in planting the idea in his head.

Eddrick grunted with disgust at his all-too-common recounting of the series of events. He knew he'd made his choice and shouldn't be trying to rationalize fault onto others for it. But at least he took opportunities like this one to track down wandering scourges like the few he'd just heard tell of at the horse trainer; trying to atone. He'd been tracking their unique sign across the sands and rocks for nearly a full trial now.

They were heading into the southern reaches, near some place the locals called "Solace Rock". Excavators had marked this a good spot to obtain iron a while back. There were a number of sites already being dug. Eddrick considered the scenario of being in a mine and getting ambushed by walking corpses. He chuckled grimly, 'Not a lot of fun.'

His poko was becoming increasingly unsettled. As far as getting an idea of how close he was getting to the dead walkers, it was a good sign. Also, the increasing clarity of the tracks strongly suggested that he couldn't be more than a few bits behind them now. It was a good thing for any lone miners that he was. A ball and chain was an outstanding weapon against such a scourge, where most went with more traditional swords and bows.

A sword was really only useful as a leverage device against such enemies. Run the thing between a couple of ribs and you had a good measure of control over the thing's movement. But you wouldn't hurt it unless you really swung that mother HARD.

And speaking of swinging hard, he thought he heard muffled ringing, like the sound of a miner's hammer on a wedge underground. He jumped off his poko and headed for the noise, pulling the handle of his weapon free. Mistake or not, it was time to bring the crush.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:25 am, edited 3 times in total. word count: 747
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:01 am

W
hen the longsword hit the skeletal arm, it gave a solid enough cracking noise for a novice, while satisfying it did absolutely nothing whatsoever to stop the opposing undead arm from colliding with his cheek, and making Kaladis recoil a few steps. The only saving grace here was, they were too stupid to flank him, approaching one behind the other. Not that it was much of a saving grace, making them two ranks deep, he tried a low swinging hit against the shin bone of the front one, but it glanced aside with an obvious echo. The novice Eidisi swordfighter wasn’t accurate or experienced enough to know to aim for the joints, nor had he learned to half sword in a hammer blow for that matter, else this melee might have gone entirely differently.

Backstepping, again and again, the red cavern wasn’t endless, he would eventually run out of room, but better he be elsewhere than in reach of those arms. Catching a stone beneath his feet, he stumbled, his accursed balance almost failing him. Righting his footing in time, Kaladis was spared death on his knees, but that was the least of his problems.

Teeth gnashed toward his face, he brought the blade back up, but with less room to swing, it connected awkwardly with the jaw of his skeleton predator, cracking it partially. This time a bony hand got a hold of his tunic's collar and those teeth got far too close for comfort. The failing skeleton arms and limbs did not appear sentient, with just one driving desire, feed. Trying bonesong once more, his concentration faltered, dodging before it really started, a lunge for his throat breaking his focus.

P
ulled closer, his clothing in a vice grip, the longsword was useless, using it to press against the neck of the undead trying to eat him, and force the cracked jaw upward instead. A grasping skeletal hand connected two more blows to the Eidisi’s right side, the second of which did him a favor, as it ripped his collar free, and sent him back a step clutching his rib. Good thing was he had no armor on, else he would have been stuck in that vice grip, the bad thing was each hit was going directly to his body.

Breathing heavily, and retaking the weapon into a guard, Kaladis scuttled back a few more steps, reaching near the end of the line, a wall of red cavern stone behind him. To die in a nameless place, not him, not Kaladis Anar. “Audrae deliver me into your shadow, not the hands of these lesser creations.” Bargaining for his life in a secretive whisper once more. A desperate attempt to garner favor from shadow’s mistress, the unseen hand always at play, guarding her secrets close to her chest.

Little did he know help was on the way hopefully, and his bargaining would not be needed! If it reached him in time!

Clicking bones, a slow march, they just kept coming...
~
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:57 pm

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The bandit chief waded into the braced entrance of the mine. He could hear the ringing of metal and the sound of voices raised in times singing, or maybe it was just a single voice. He turned a zig-zag of tunneled corners to see the visual signs of a chamber about to open before him. He felt a measure of relief to see that this mine was actually a cavern. Having no knowledge of subterranean skills, he felt far more confident in nature's ability to carve a hollow in the crust of Idalos than those of men.

He was in midst of a sigh of relief, when a sound cut him short; or rather, the sudden lack of it. The ringing and singing had stopped, to be replaced by the familiar sound of scrabbling bony feet on stone. The ringing started up again, but not in the rhythmic pattern of a miner plying his trade. Nor was it the shrill ringing of metal on metal. He was all too familiar with the sound of metal on dry bone.

He poked his head around the dusty wall to make sure this was a salvageable situation before rushing headlong into a hopeless one. 'Good, there's only two of them, and the guy looks to have avoided injury so far.' As he figured, the man was armed with a sword. Eddrick silently acknowledged the miner's effective delaying tactic in how he used it, but he knew the guy must be realizing it would ultimately fail, if only because the skeletons would never tire.

He recalled the pack of them that had pursued a small quartet of imperial soldiers across the sands. How the heat and drag of the terrain had worn the soldiers down quickly, but not had any affect on the undead in pursuit. He remembered as well the slowest of the four pulling his own sword to cut his own throat, so he would not be alive to experience the agony of being torn to pieces.

That too was a viable use a sword could be put to in such a case. Eddrick never saw what became of the other three, as he was chained in the wagon they'd been escorting to a base camp to have him 'put to the question'. That wagon had been dragged by the fear-maddened horse until the harness tree had splintered under the strain of a sharp turn and the wagon had rolled to a stop.

Eddrick shook himself, half with revulsion of the memory, and focused again on the scene before him. It was fortunate that the approach to the miner was narrow enough to limit the flanking ability of the skeletons. It was not that they would strategize such a thing; but the hungering, instinctive hostility would bring it about in little time. But it did not look as if this miner was on the verge of killing himself.

Eddrick charged around the corner, intending to give an encouraging shout. This might also cause the skeletons to turn and give the miner a chance to slip the blade up under the jaw, where it stood a chance of prying the skull off. For some reason, one he did not know, but had enough experience to verify, taking the head off always stopped these things. It always puzzled him that this was so. Sure, in life it made perfect sense.

If the entire body was dead, why did it not simply remove the coordination of having the superior visual perspective of having a head where it is accustomed to being. But then again, with only dry empty eye-sockets IN that head, how do the damned things see anyway.

His reverie flashed in an instant and was cut short, along with his shout, as his boot slipped in the loose dirt and he went down, the wind knocked cleanly from his lungs. He cursed himself, trying not to give too much significance to the embarrassment he felt. There was a far more important matter immediately before him.

He staggered to his feet, still gasping to begin the process of getting air back into his lungs, and approached the creatures from behind. He knew this needed to be finished quickly, as exertion was particularly taxing with his struggle to breathe. There was one thing that fighting skeletons had going for it. They were not that heavy. He capitalized on this with a swipe of his ball and chain at approximate ankle level, bringing the one closest to him down in a heap.

The advantage was not only in the relative ease by which the monsters could be tripped up; it was also that the chain was less likely to wrap itself around something that was so easily moved. The degree to which the chain did wrap, only served to drag the thing towards him before coming dislodged. 'Right into range.' Eddrick smiled as he began building momentum for a crushing 'windmill' blow.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 840
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:12 am

W
hether Audrae had heard him, or today just wasn’t his day to die. The shout, stumble and eventual attack of the newcomer was distraction enough to take one off its feet and turn the second's head. While Kaladis still hadn’t realised leverage could be used to his benefit on the bone, he did spot the crack appearing in the jaw of his attacker. Narrowing his eyes he resolved that with no teeth biting in his face, he’d have more chance of getting out of this in one piece.

This time he did yell as he swung, pushing all of his body off the wall into the slash, the impact sounded decent enough with the added push, but it’d do little for the quality of the sword he was using. Rewarded with not only finishing the cracked jaw so it was hanging off this time, but also as the undead’s head was turned, wrenching the skeleton’s neck a few vertebrae. What that didn’t stop was its hand grabbing his left arm, and trying to pull it out of its socket, forcing him back into the wall. Pressed against stone, his right hand in desperation more than technique smashed the sword’s metal guard into the already weakened skull, not once but over and over again repeatedly.

While he was making progress dinting the skull, and his sword guard for that matter, he was also pushing the undead back, giving him much needed breathing room. Kaladis was losing the battle here, he didn’t have the strength or endurance to compete blow for blow with the undead trying to pin him up against the wall. After doing damage to the ligaments in his shoulder with its pulling, it released him to flail upon the Eidisi. Several more blows ended up on his arms, shoulders, and one or two more on the ribs.

He had to get out of this, and get some space. His attacker was single minded, with no thought for the damage it was receiving, it would never tire, that was in every way the most scary moment of his life. A necromancer getting a first hand education of what his abilities could and one day would do. As he was hitting the skull, the tip of his downward blade lodged into a rib by accident. Kaladis did leverage the blade here, not to damage the skeleton much, but to shift it left while he ran off right.

It tried to grab him a third time, but he was ready, and scampered back. Now weaponless, or was he? That pickaxe made for a much more tempting instrument, pulling it free from the stone, for a trill or two he left his savior with two undead to deal with. However by the time it’d matter, to Kaladis, there would already be a heavy pickaxe swinging for the cracked skull of his former undead grappling partner.

"My thanks for your timely assistance." The Eidisi would offer honestly. Perhaps with an oddly polite calm, given they were fighting corpses, less odd for one more accustomed to the undead.
~
Last edited by Kaladis Anar on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 534
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:54 am

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Eddrick had not considered the fairly low hanging part of the cavern's ceiling right where he stood over the regrouping skeleton. The ball clattered overhead, bringing a few chunks of sandstone crumbling down, as the bandit instinctively cringed in anticipation of being hit by his own weapon.

He did not suffer that degree of embarrassment, but the skeleton now grappled his legs, making balance a dicey prospect. Eddrick's leather protected him from the initial bites the monster tried to inflict, but it did not gnaw aimlessly at the same point. Its teeth moved steadily toward the low hem of his leggings where the danger of teeth would be very real. What's more, it was difficult to use the chain weapon on a creature positioned upon his own leg.

He shifted his hold on the weapon to cram the handle into the skeleton's mouth like the bit for a horse, wedging it in increasing increments as the thing kept trying to bite. He crouched down now, holding the chain itself right where it connected to the ball and began clubbing the things neck bones until they finally shattered.

They limbs stopped scrabbling over his leather, and dropped limp as the head continued snapping its jaws in vain. Eddrick scowled in disgust at the impotent relentlessness of its hunger and hostility, but took a quick look around as he recalled that there had been a second skeleton. Seeing that the eidisi was now wielding a pick-axe, he returned to focus on smashing the skull into bone debris.

"Glad to help, sir." Eddrick smiled back with a bow, deciding not to get too close, in the case the miner was more panicked than he looked, and swung the weapon erratically. There was also the ever-present fact that members of his race always looked blind. "You seem to be handling your end of this alright. I'm glad to see someone that doesn't fall to pieces over the presence of something unnatural. Most folks go running, screaming. But these things really aren't all that hard to deal with when you have the right weapon."

He was ready to use the chain to inhibit the creature's movements if the miner looked to have any further difficulty with it. As he took a better hold on his weapon, he looked around to see if there were any other skeletons or walking corpses approaching, but it looked like there were no others. "Have you been digging here long? Been any other...similar....things around here? I'm looking to get rid of them as much as possible. They're kind of my fault."

He felt a morbid amusement in having such a casual conversation with a complete stranger in the midst of fighting off an attack of something most people would consider to be the stuff of nightmares. Rarely did he find others to be so easy-going about such things. He assumed this eidisi must have had to deal with them before.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 512
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:21 am

W
hile the swing wasn’t erratic, it wasn’t done with any skill either, it was probably a good thing Eddrick moved back when he did. Karrade’s swing was heavy and he overstepped, not accustomed to the weight of the pick used as a weapon in this way. Missing the jaw, it collided heavily with the skeleton's upper temple, the weight of pick moving him around and putting him in harm’s way again. There was a definite crunch as it connected, lopsiding the skeleton’s head and breaking several bones in its neck. With another shout this time to muster up the strength, he swung the heavy pickaxe back the other way, this time taking the badly damaged head off, with only a glancing hit.

Slumping to its knees, the skeleton fell still, becoming the corpse it once was, while the Eidisi rested on the pickaxe catching his breath, watching over the defeated undead. He began checking his ribs to see if any were broken, they were sore and bruised, he was no doctor but hopefully that was all they were. When he was sure he was okay, he looked to the other man.

Some subtle wordplay was needed to answer these questions adequately. “I didn’t think, I just swung.” It was a half-truth that may contain enough to divert any suspicion. “I am new to the desert, yet this is the second I have seen in as many days.” Kaladis poked the skeleton, for effect more than for any reason. “Without you here stranger I would be laying with them.” Praise to flatter the ego, and a truth, surely enough to divert the conversation back to the stranger. There was no great practice to his persuasive tone, or expression, just the clever use of obvious statements.

“I am Kaladis Anar.” He stated proudly, giving a strong nod of his head, and extending a hand, “what do you mean they are your fault?” Kaladis almost slipped up here, and asked how they got out of his control, but he remembered Ralari’s teachings to never reveal himself, even if the other had. Mistakenly in Kaladis’s mind he considered Eddrick a probable necromancer

Placing his hands behind his back, he was appraising the man’s ability as he spoke, subtly checking for signs of arcane mutation. Kaladis did owe him his life, but not if they were his creations. “Are there likely more of them nearby? And where are they from?” If the stranger considered there might be more, he would need to rethink his plans, and knowing the source of the undead could be of use to him longer term.

Picking up his sword, and re-sheathing it to his hip, only now might Ralari see the shield that lay discarded off in the far corner, bearing a certain blue coat of arms, unremarkable with its silver strip across it. What wasn't unremarkable was the mythical stoneback creature that lay across it, marking him as the house of Anar, the eternal pariah of Viden. Kaladis picked it up and attached it to his back, he hated carrying it, it made swinging the pick all the harder, and it was a heavy burden to bear on his conscience, but a Cobalt heater shield would have been of great use against mindless undead.
~
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:43 am

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Eddrick shrugged with a grin at the stranger's suggestion that he'd have ended up lying alongside the bones now still on the packed dirt of the cavern. "Perhaps. But I think it more likely you'd have realized the weight advantage you have over them, and started tossing them into each other. There's a certain pleasure in taking one by the ankles and beating his compatriots with his own bones. It's only when they start coming at you in threes and fours that the weight adds up."

Eddrick noted that the white eyes seemed to be striving to catch some detail about him, but he did not know what it might be. He supposed it was the red leather armor he wore, evidence of his past association with the Athartian Slave Raiders. But the fellow seemed as if he'd have been amiable enough regardless of the recent fight, so maybe he had no issue with the slavers of Athart.

He sighed at his own words being returned to him, "I said kind of my fault. The real fault lies with whichever Immortal it was that cursed the Boneyard in the first place. I've heard some say it was Vri that did it. I was just fool enough to be caught up in it by listening to The Speaker of the Sands." Eddrick struck a mocking pose of profound mystery as he mentioned the name of the desert wanderer and oracle, but the stranger only seemed more confused than he had at the mention of the Boneyard.

"No, it was not me that animated these things. I'm no necromancer." He sat on a rise in the floor and continued, "There's a field of old bones some ways north of here. They say that if you break a bone taken from that place, the dead will rise for an hundred miles around and come after you." He made a face as if reassessing his own statement, "I shouldn't say 'they say'...I can attest to the truth of it. I was told by this 'Reader of the Sands'...oh...he's a wandering fortune teller...ummm...yeah, anyway, he told me I had some big part to play in a battle against the imperials by 'Bringing the Howl."

He laughed at the expression on the eidisi face before him, "Yeah I probably had the same look at the time. But a few trials later I came upon the Boneyard, and there was a wind howling through this one hollow bone. So I took it with me into battle. I decided to break it and see if it worked. But I got captured instead. I managed to trick one my guards into breaking it, and sure enough, within a moment the dead soldiers started rising up and attacking everyone, both sides. O'course, I wasn't there at the time. I was being carted back to an imperial station to be questioned. But we got intercepted by the dead too. I heard later from my men about the battle...how the dead affected it...got pretty chaotic they said, enemy soldiers fightin' side by side against rising corpses of their brothers-in-arms..."

Eddrick was quiet a moment, as the truth of such a grim situation once again sat heavy on his soul. He looked up again as he shed the gloomy mood, "But it's not only the freshly dead that rise up." He gestured to the bones about them. "Like these, old bleached bones...maybe ancient...some come up from ages past. They start out in the direction of whoever awoke them. But they'll turn on anyone they come across on the way. There's a lot of them still wondering around the Hotlands. One of my men that knows some historian in Nashaki guessed there's still something like three hundred that may still be active."

His face betrayed a measure of weariness, "So, when the opportunity presents itself, I try to eliminate a few here, a few there. Don't get me wrong; I'm no crusader. The Immortals and their brood tricked me into this shit, but I was fool enough to bite, so I do my part to atone when I'm not out robbing caravans."

His expression sharpened with his last comment, his grip tightening subtly on his weapon as he waited to see the miner's reaction to his confession of banditry. "So what's your story?" he asked.
Last edited by Eddrick Brodon on Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 761
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Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:12 am

N
oting the weight advantage for the next time this occurred, and spotting no visible signs or smell Eddrick was a necromancer, the slave raider's uniform was unknown to him. Of course a necromancer of any sense would tell him he wasn’t a necromancer, just as someone who wasn’t a necromancer would, so the assurance meant little and his suspicion remained, doing his novice best to avoid exposing it while he talked.

They were moving in the direction of whoever awoke them, “did the soldier who woke them die?” Kaladis paused, realising exactly what it might mean for his own safety and that of the mine, “are you sure with your deception, the prophecy didn’t label you as the one who broke the bone?” While Audrae would have applauded the stranger for his deception, in getting another to break the bone, it was an uncomforting thought to have who knows how many following this man. Considering it was unlikely with these two skeletons ahead of Eddrick, that he was leading them, hopefully the one who brought the curse about was dead, and didn’t have a small army of undead at his back. Would he still lead them even while undead? It was all Kaladis could do not to form a smile at the possibilities, quickly moving away from the subject.

“You have travelled far in the hotlands, and seen a lot. The speaker of the sands sounds ominous,” Kaladis bantered idly, seemingly casually, “I imagine you had to travel somewhere special to see him,” and there the subtle fishing for information was. What he did offer Eddrick was a drink from his waterskin, probably as good a payment as any would offer in the desert. Ralari, his mentor, was competent in defiance, and was their edge in encouraging water, which was beginning to pay dividends for them both as a watery currency.

“The imperial’s reached has grown further south.” Kaladis said somewhat gravely, seeking any thoughts and expressions the other might tell him, to further show his allegiances. The imperials covering the hotlands did not bode well for his own ambitions, unless he could use it somehow. On top of that, three hundred undead, was two hundred and fifty undead more than he needed around him right now. How to attract them into one space, could they be herded?

W
hile Eddrick spoke of being tricked into it, and cleaning them up where he could. Kaladis nodded firmly, offering a rare grin. “Good thing for me you have a conscience.” The grin was meant to disarm the other’s posture and tone, if it bothered Kaladis that Eddrick was a bandit he wasn’t showing it immediately, because everyone was a bandit in his mind. Of course his gesture of taking a step toward the ore and away from Eddrick wasn’t merely for demonstration purposes, it also gave him some symbolic distance. “I’ve come to Nashaki to learn from the best.” Showing Eddrick the healthy ore vein, “there are no better craftsmen.” True, not the whole story but true enough.

With a distance between them, “but banditry,” Kaladis turned square to face him, hand too on his weapon hilt, for a moment remaining still to see how Eddrick’s nerve was, and narrowing his eyes.

...

If it remained, the silence was broken eventually, “I imagine you need your share of weapons and arms.” He laughed, breaking the tension for his part, “we could work out a deal? I happen to work for a smith.” There came the sale, the opportunity they’d needed to sell out from under the clutches of the smithy's clandestine overseers. His hand resting on his weapon hilt was withdrawn, and he begun shoveling the mined ore into a few rucksacks instead.
~
word count: 643
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NPCs: Ralari - Alaya| Themes: Social - Dreams - Nightmares
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Eddrick Brodon
Approved Character
Posts: 231
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 3:05 pm
Race: Human
Profession: Deserter/Bandit
Renown: +218
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5
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Milestones

Skeletons in the Closet. [Eddrick]

Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:16 pm

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The memory of the imperial soldier turning in exhausted despair and cutting his own throat came back to steal Eddrick's voice for a moment. He never saw what became of the other three, but there was no reason to think they'd fared any better. They may have been the enemy, but they were still living mortals. Or had been. He wondered if someone would ever break a bone there again; if he'd ever see them again.

After a brief pause, he nodded, "Yeah...the soldier died...He and his mates. I got them to gag me with the bone, and then the one punched me in the mouth and it broke the bone. I had to endure a literal siege in the crashed prison wagon. But I learned a lot in the process. Got a lot of stuff off the corpses as they were scrambling around on the bars trying to get at me. It was...pretty bizarre."

He took a deep breath and stood up again, his hand coming away from his weapon. "They aren't really after me any more than anyone else now. If they were, they'd all be at the Rhakrii caves." He paused to see if the stranger gave any sign of having recognized the name associated with the bandit gang. "I guess once they get their original target replaced by something else, they don't go back to it."

He didn't really attribute the stranger's questions to any tactical intelligence gathering. He just assumed the fellow was new to the area. As such, it stood to reason he'd want to know such things. "The Reader of the Sands is rumored to follow sand storms...uh...what do they call them?...'Qui'ara', or something?...yeah, anyway, he supposedly gathers up some special shit that's left behind that they make some drug from. Gives him insight into people's destinies, they say. I wish I'd never run across the bastard, frankly. I think we're better off not knowing that stuff."

As they compared notes on the imperials' continued advances into the area, Eddrick thought he may have been hasty in his assumption that the fellow was that new to the area. But he hadn't given him any information he could not have gotten from pretty much anyone else. Even the location of the Rhakrii caves was known to the Nashaki authorities.

All their past attempts to rout them out had been well-documented failures, though. It was, of course, because the bandits had connections in town that gave them advanced warnings of such attempts. Pay-offs well spent, Eddrick felt. He was always willing to put such "legitimate" folk on the Rhakrii payroll, with some sort of return benefit, of course. Even now, Eddrick had made a connection with a member of the Tower of Gems. The man had initially set up a betrayal, but he'd been wise enough to stall it to see what Eddrick had to offer as a counter.

Eddrick did not fault the guy for it. He was acting in his own interest and Eddrick would never hold that against anyone. He might very well have to kill someone in response, but it would not be done in anger. Strictly a necessity. Fortunately, this had not been the case in Sahib Elaka Niervane's case. They now enjoyed a profitable give and take, along with cautious measures of surveillance on each other, to ensure this continued.

His distant reminiscing dispersed as he turned back to see the man watching him. He looked at the hand still on the weapon and snorted good-naturedly, "Craftsmen...bandits...we all do what we have to to survive. I may be more open about it, and I'm sure I've killed more, but I don't fool myself for a moment to think one of your craftsmen would not lie to a fool to make a few more gold nels than he should. 'A fool and his nel part ways quickly', they say." he quoted.

The man surprised Eddrick with an offer of some kind of partnership. His voice slid a little into a suspicious mode. "Well, that is an unexpected development. You DID hear me admit to being a bandit, right? 'Rhakrii Raiders'? Heard of them? That's me. That's who I am. Yeah, we can always use weapons...armor...shit, horseshoes, even. We have a forge of sorts at the cave. It's something I mention to try to get recruits, but it's a crappy set-up, lousy ventilation, no bellows, not much variety in quenching tanks or materials. It wouldn't compare to one in town."

He crossed his arms, "Why would you want to affiliate yourself with bandits? Don't like your Master? Hoping to scandalize him and take over his shop? Sucker for intrigue? Adventure? Hoping we'll teach you some 'bandit skill' in return? Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm not interested. But you gotta admit. It's a bit odd."
word count: 859
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