• Graded • Finding Death [Kydrel]

Alex and Kydrel head out in search of a Death Worm

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Finding Death [Kydrel]

Marshall Webb did what he could to exploit opportunities to shear off misty fingers from hands formed solid to grip weapons. And though the fingers did drop to the ground, shimmering like ice, the mists simply reformed into fresh bodies to renew the attacks. It would take hundreds of such fingers to embody the mass of even a single misty soldier. And in the meantime, human soldiers were falling.

Their armor protected them a good deal from fatal wounds, but they were still greatly debilitated by the pain of multiple deep gashes and slashes. The fire was still the best weapon, but the trade off of numbers stood to be a costly victory. There was still no basis of deciding whether the apparently evaporated mists represented actual reduced numbers of attackers. But still the men pressed on, Marshall Webb fighting alongside them, himself bleeding from a nasty slash on his left cheek.

When the fire erupted from the oil soaked tent material, Webb turned in anger, furious that such a resource was being employed without his consent. But he realized it was their "guest" using her own lantern fuel. He had been fully prepared to commandeer the supply, but it was too late now. The mists wouldn't come within ten feet of the flames, but there was nothing to force them to, so it was only a defensive move. He wished there was some way to make the fire move into them.

Seeing Alex bully one of his terrified men into action brought a grim snort to his lips, his cheek stinging in response. It made him wonder where her winged companion was. It did not take him long to find the avriel. And when he did, there was a brief instant of awe at the great wingspan, slapping massive gulps of air into the misty advance. But it was just as quickly replaced by inspiration.

He stepped back from the front and slipped a tube from a pair of loops on his leggings. He brought it to his lips and blew a piercing note. "Circular withdrawal! Form rank C!" he shouted. The men responded, hurrying back from the mist and regrouping into parallel arced lines, which turned on a sliding axis that took advantage of a makeshift bulwark of supply crates on the right side. The retreating tactic bought time enough for a pair of soldiers to dig through the supplies and locate a cache of cannisters.

Webb made a few hand gestures, apparently considering that these mist forms may well have some mystic form of hearing. The men in the back ran to the wooden crates and kicked them out in a rough line, popping open a number of cannisters and dumping out the liquid within over them. "We need time, men! Volunteers, draw them back for another bit!" There was just the briefest hesitation before a dozen men saluted and responded to their commander's order to run past the misty horde, away from the rest of the host. One of them was the Highmark who had held his sword beneath Alexandra's jaw earlier.

The better part of the mist gave surprisingly swift pursuit, dragging the men down to an encircled defense. The men gave a good accounting of themselves, but none returned. While they were dying, Marshall Webb set a pair of men to laying a line of oil in two lines, as others distracted the mists with battle. The lines flared out to a wide spread at the end nearest the group that had pursued the men.

Once the sacrificial crew had been dispatched, the mists turned back to face the men just finishing the lines of oil. There was the oddest hint of cruel laughter on the wind as the two men dropped their cannisters and ran back to the main ranks, between the two lines of oil. The mist gave eager pursuit, as Webb shouted for Kydrel to join him. If it was not obvious by now what the man had in mind, it would be made clearer by the teams of men grabbing banners and boards to be makeshift wings, as they took up position on the far side of the oily lines.

Webb did not wait to see if the avriel came to his position. As the gap between the lines filled with the hungry mists, the men pulled back on the sheets of canvas, metal and wood, ready to swing them for their lives. Webb raised his sword, eagerness shining in his eyes as he roared a single word.

"FIRE!"
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

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Alex saw the Commander turn, his face angry, but he was soon focused back on the immediate problem. Alex relaxed slightly, her hands loosening off their death grips around the pugiones. Oh, good. They seem to be backing off. She had watched Kydrel flap his wings, impressed with how well it seemed to work, and had briefly debated turning herself.

But the consequences were too much, and unless she was in immediate danger, she couldn't justify that transition. She watched, detached, as a batch of soldiers ran out from the lump around the Commander. They sprinted out, pulling the mist towards them. She was confused at first, before she realized what their plan was. Huh, that's impressive. He gave the order, and they willingly ran to their deaths...good to keep in mind. She hadn't seen any commanders who inspired such acts from their troops before, and the men's lack of hesitation was surprising to her.


She watched as he used their deaths to pour something that looked like oil in two lines, grabbing sheets of canvas and wood. Realization dawned on her as she caught sight of Kydrel, his wings flared and wide. Of course, they're replicating that, but they're going to use it to kill the things! She applauded the Commander's insight and quick thinking, and the men's quick reaction was unexpected.

She looked around, seeing that the mist men had pulled back and away from her fires, and decided that she would wait and watch. I'd be more a hindrance than a help, so I'll keep myself out of the way. Besides, why would I help them?

By the Commander's group, she heard a single shout, the voice echoing across the space, before being swallowed by the oppressive mist "FIRE!"
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

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The roar of blood pumping through his skull echoed in his ears, amber eyes wide, a wild glint in them lit by the fire only increased their ferocity, teeth bared savagely. He never felt more alive than in the heat of conflict, the stench of blood and sweat filling his nostrils, the cries of the dying surrounding him. It was the one time he felt he was able to fully release the feral nature that he fought to tame.


The pent up emotion that he fought to contain on a daily basis was unleashed on the battlefield. A high no drug could replicate.


Kydrel stared out across the sea of destruction, the mist men claiming their victims in a swath of death and gore.


I don’t think we will be able to win this one. I was able to kill a few easily enough. But there are far too many for that to work…


The thought of abandoning the military to their fate briefly crossed his mind but he dismissed it just as quickly. There was still a chance they could fight their way out of this. And in their off chance they win, he didn’t want to have to explain his apparent “cowardliness” and risk Alex not allowing him to continue on to finish their job. Though he would fight any man who dare call him a coward to his face.


Kydrel was distracted from his train of thought as the last Mist creature, now armed with a fallen soldier’s sword, approached the three of them by the flaming remains of the tent. Stepping in front of the two, the Avriel readied himself.


The sword lifted and struck. Kydrel raised his mace, catching the edge of the blade between the shaft of his mace and the spiked head, deflecting it from himself, allowing the momentum to carry the two weapons to the side . Before the form could recover, the Avriel stepped forward, jabbing the torch in his other hand forward into the “face” of his attacker. The flames licked at the mist and it hissed upon contact. He swept the torch down through the remainder of the vapor, the sword clanging as it struck the ground, the creature dead.


Kydrel was about to jump into the fray and find another target when the Commander yelled for the volunteers to attack. He paused and looked over, back still to the burning tent, and saw the man was organizing his troops. The hustle was impressive, though he knew it was primarily because they knew if they didn’t, they’d die. Death was always a good motivator he noticed.


It didn’t take long for the warrior to figure out what they were doing.


Trying to replicate my strategy, figures. They boast that they are the superior race yet when push comes to shove they mimic what comes naturally to us. And they say WE’RE arrogant.


Kydrel snorted, chest heaving from the exertion of battle. An ugly grin crossed his face as the Commander shouted for him to join. Maybe they did have a chance at surviving this. And by they he meant them. The Avriel would obviously survive, having the best means of escape if things got out of hand but this seemed to be the best chance of survival for the humans. Maybe he’d be a team player just this once. After all Alex needed to make it out of this. She was the only one who knew where these Death Worms were.


No Alex, no nel.


The Avriel half ran to the semi circle and jumped into a gap, standing slightly in front of them not to catch his wings on any of them. On the Commanders word, he would start flapping his wings for all he was worth.
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

A soldier with an excessive desire for adventure may have actually been disappointed with the success of the "Gauntlet of Fire" tactic employed, so effective it was. But any real soldier gauges the success of a mission on the swiftness and extent of the enemy's ruin.

On the command, human, avriel, and the rare member of any alternative race, all blasted air through the flames into the mass of sentient mists. It did not actually require flames to touch the misty creatures within the gauntlet to destroy them. they needed only to be evaporated. And it was only a matter of less than a bit before the color and consistency of the mists changed to more resemble smoke. There was no screaming to be heard over the roar of the flames, and those misty beings that escaped through the less-manned rear of the gauntlet did not turn back to renew hostilities. Within three bits, they had all fled, accompanied by mortal cheers and adrenaline-fueled shouts of insult and challenge.

The Marshall allowed them this brief celebration, ordering his scribe to note the date, location, and details of the tactic, as well as its satisfactory level of success. Then it was on to the all-too-common duty of digging graves for brave, fallen men. Webb approached the two strangers with a sad smile. Turning first to face Alexandra, he put his hand on her shoulder, "I hope this will give you cause to think better of men that snap to judgment too quickly. I think most have good qualities as well."

Then he turned to Kydrel, taking hold of his hand, with a short, sturdy shake. "And you sir, you were a much-needed inspiration." He did not immediately release the hand, his expression slightly searching. But he did not hold so long as to generate any excessive suspicion, instead taking a respectful step back.

"I would not see you off without a show of thanks for your contribution, or apology for delaying you so long as to inadvertently dragging you into this. If you would like, I would be happy to send a block of men with you on your journey north...uhh...it was north was it not? Hiladreth? If you have a document it may have location parameters that I may be able to assist you with."

It did not take long for him to see that his two visitors were hesitant to be entirely forthcoming about their destination; either because they themselves were uncertain, or that they simply did not wish to share it. But this was pretty much what he expected, and it largely confirmed something he'd guessed anyway, so he did not press. He was in the process of allowing the two free access to whatever supplies he could provide, when a scout came in from the north. He announced the grimmest of news for any intending to travel north...The Misty Miasma had formed along that route. Three men had already been caught in it. It had virtually formed right around them, enclosing them in its dimensional dis-alignment with the normal world. The men would have to ride it out and hope to encounter none of the worst aspects of the dreaded place.

Webb sighed heavily, "Well that explains why these mist men formed here. There is no going north now, and going around to the west is nearly as perilous. Your business is your own, and I will still be glad to outfit you to the best of my ability. But again, if you would have a block of men accompany you, I would be glad to provide them. The choice is yours."
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Alex sighed in relief as the last of the Mist Men died, making special note of how Kydrel balanced himself while using his wings. I might need to do that soon. Good idea to learn as best I can before hand.

As the last of them disappeared, there was not as much cheering as Alex had expected. Instead, the men got busy with the gruesome task of burying the dead. Diverting her attention from their job, she noticed her hands covered in blood from where she had grabbed the soldier. Looking down at the blood-encrusted nails, her heart rate rose. Her breathing became ragged, but she quickly shook herself. Now is not the time. Snap out of it. She quickly walked away, finding a small bucket of water to dunk her hands in. She scrubbed them four times, and the relief she felt as they came out of the water was palpable.

She returned to stand next to Kydrel as Webb approached. As he put his hand on her, she felt his sorrow at the lost soldiers, but beneath she detected a current of fierce elation at his victory. This is a driven man. Though what, or who, pushes him this hard is beyond me. He didn't hesitate as he ordered those men to their deaths...I need to be careful around him.

As he spoke, she acknowledged the man's sacrifice, but felt a slight amount of scorn. What kind of person would willingly sacrifice themselves for someone else? Granted it's noble, but foolish. So foolish. She showed no hint of her true feelings, however, and hid the disdain under a sympathetic nodding.

As he offered them the soldiers, Alex felt excited. Perfect. At least this way we'll be a bit safer...Though today proved how fragile we still are. However, as the scout returned she felt herself become more nervous. If they're all going to die on me...I don't think it'd be a good idea to take them. I want to stay off this mans radar, and I doubt taking a dozen of his soldiers to their deaths is a good way to do that.

She nearly smirked at the last thought, but covered it with a cough.

"Thank you for your offer, however I think going fast and quietly is probably the best idea. I would ask for some supplies, however. She smiled at the man, batting her lashes at him. "As you pointed out, there is not nearly enough for us to make it there and back.

She looked over at Kydrel after she finished, wondering what he was thinking.
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

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His heart raced as he focused all his energy on beating his wings, trying to keep his body from jerking back and forth violently. It was almost more exhausting trying to stay in one spot than flying in the air. He felt a spike of exhilaration rush through him as he watched the enemy dissipate or flee. The Mist didn’t stand a chance against the combined force's attack. The soldiers began to cheer and Kydrel, unable to subdue his feral side, joined the celebration, throwing his head back and screeching, his cries startling the men around him.


Chest heaving and limbs trembling slightly, the Avriel retracted his wings and shook himself, feeling his feathers ruffle before settling down. A snarl stretched across his face, blood still rushing through his veins, senses heightened, pupils dilated. In the heat of battle, he had discovered giving in to his feral side was like a drug. It just felt so good. Natural. So free, unlike the pressure he put on himself to repress his carnal instincts to keep the locals from kicking him out of their city and hunting him like a dog.


Stalking back and forth, long pale fingers flexed repeatedly into fists, black nails digging into the palms of his hands, trying to use the pain to disperse the red haze that clouded his vision. It took a few bits, but slowly his pulse returned to normal. Taking deep breathes, he was finally able to bring his impulses back under control, though his mind still raced in a flurry of emotions and scattered thoughts.


Webb approached the two companions and Kydrel’s eyes locked on him unblinking, like a predator searching for weakness, his lips parted slightly revealing teeth, hands still clenched. Flex. Release. Flex. Release.


Before he knew what was happening, the Marshall’s hand was shaking his. The sudden urge to grab the man’s throat and squeeze the life out of him almost overpowered the Avriel, but he enough control over himself that all he did was try to crush the other warrior’s hand in his own.


"And you sir, you were a much-needed inspiration."


Kydrel stared at him haughtily, incredulous that such an obvious statement needed to even be vocalized.


“Of course I was.”


The black winged exile released his grip on the man’s hand and crossed his arms across his armored chest. He listened as the two discussed logistics, choosing not to be apart of the conversation. But then the scout ran up and informed them of the recent developments in the north. Kydrel frowned as he processed the information.


He didn't say anything as Alex rejected the offer, a decision he approved of however. It would only be a matter of time until he woke up with a blade to his throat with all those petty men milling around him. He didn’t want to have to defeat all of them single handedly thus proving yet again the superiority of the Avriel.


'Though it would make for an interesting fight...'


He pushed the thought aside. They needed to be practical if they wanted to finish their job.


It would have been more beneficial to have the extra hands, at the very least fodder for any enemies they can into contact with, but they would make due. Or so he hoped.


'Worst case scenario, we come across the Mist Men and I’ll force her to tell me where the Death Worms are in exchange for flying her up and over them. She won’t realize how ridiculous that would be and impossible in her panicked state as she stared death in the face. As soon as she tells me, I would leave her to her fate and make double the coin. Worst case of course...'


Kydrel finally shifted.


“Yes. We go alone.”


After receiving whatever supplies the Marshall gave them and gathering his own from the wreckage of the burnt tent, the Avriel turned toward the direction of Hiladreth and set off, assuming his client would join him.


Already, it had seemed as though they had bit off more than they could chew. But nel never did seem to come easy…
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

Marshall Webb issued the two travelers a pair of bags packed with jerked meats, cheeses, fruits, both dried and not and some breads made to resist mold longer than usual. He estimated it to provide another thirty trials of sustenance. He also slipped them four filled water skins. He had no way to replace any more than four of the vials of lantern oil that had been spent defeating the Mist Men, but he did not hesitate to hand them over.

He offered Kydrel a second morning star, that was superbly balanced. Crafted by a Master, he promised it would be more than a replacement, should he be forced to leave the one he already had behind on the road somewhere. he matched this with a four-dose vial of "Stain" toxin smear for Alexandra's Pugios. Two doses applied at once, would be a near guarantee of swift, choking, twitching death. Whereas, a single dose, would cause crippling debilitation, making the target an easy kill with a blade through the heart or throat.

He wished them well and watched them head off up the road. When they were out of sight, he entered his tent and removed an odd slab of curious material, about one foot square, from his lock-chest. He hung it from a small hook on the wall of his tent nearest the woods. He sat and enjoyed a small snifter of brandy, until he felt a small tickle on his hand. He looked down and blew lightly on a small spider that responded by slipping off his hand on a strand of web and crossing the floor to join hundreds of his kind now crowding the recently hung slab.

Webb rose and went to the tent flap, leaning out to instruct his adjutant to see that he was not disturbed while he took a short nap. Compliance was immediate, and Webb returned to step right up to the crawling surface of the slab. He spoke softly, but the vibrations of his words registered nonetheless on the sensitive nerves of the arachnid surface.

"My Queen, this day I have met an avriel that possesses a ring borne of the power of Rhakros. I have followed protocol and given him your hidden mark. His weapon will make him easily tracked. He travels with a red-haired girl that is not of Faldrun's brood. She also is marked with doses of your children's blood. They have headed to the north, toward Hiladreth, but I suspect they seek to deceive me as to their true destination. I can not follow without revealing myself, but I have noted him and will take note of his actions should he return to Etzos. I will have a bird sent to Hiladreth to make my agents aware, in case they truly do arrive. But I suspect there will be no word. If there is aught else you would have me do, say the word and it is done."

After a few bits, the spiders stirred with slightly more activity, circling and swirling on the surface of the slab. Shortly, they dispersed to the edges and crept away. But not before leaving a message written in webbing. "Marking suffices. Raise no suspicion. If they return, send word."

Webb smiled and wiped the webbing free with a rag coated in some fluid that made it easy and left no trace. he then replaced the slab in his lock-chest, and lay down to take the nap he'd spoken of earlier.
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Finding Death [Kydrel]

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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


ALEXANDRA:
Skills:

  • Composure +2
  • Detection +2
  • Endurance +1
  • Leadership +3
  • Navigation +1
  • Tactics +2

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • Avriel: Are the Flaring Wings Just for Show?
    • Double Check Your Preparations
    • New Mount Species: Slogalla
    • NPC: Marshall Drulik "The Spider" Webb
    • Setting a Deadline as Motivation
    • The Army Guards the North Road
    • The Classic Hair/Door Marker Tactic
    • The Joy of Your Own Home
    • Western Idalos Monster: Mist Men
  • Specific
    • Etzos Location: NE Civilian Sector
    • Etzos Location: North Gate
    • Marshall Webb: No Hesitation to Order Men to Their Death
    • Marshall Webb: Not Too Proud to Copy an Effective Tactic
    • Mist Men: Torches Make the Best Weapons
    • Mist Men: Why so Far East?
    • Mist Men Attack: The Air is Wielding Weapons
    • Recognizing the Need for Effective Weaponry
    • The Misty Miasma: Not Just a Myth
    • Vendor Tactic: Tripling Prices Before "Cutting them in Half"
    • Webb's Men: Wilderness Duty Does Not Promote Trust
    • Webb's Men: Willing to Die for Him

Loot:

30 trials' worth of Food
4-doses of "Stain" weapon poison smear
Loss of 6 out of 10 vials of Lantern Oil...sorry :(


Injuries:

Nothing to speak of

___________________________________________________________

KYDREL:
Skills:

  • Detection +2
  • Intimidation +2
  • Leadership +1
  • Melee Combat +1
  • Tactics +3
  • Unarmed Combat +2

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • A Tale of Glorious Death is its Own Reward
    • Death Before Cowardice
    • Don't Get Attached to What May be Lost
    • Etzos Location: North Gate
    • Loving the Heat of Battle
    • NPC: Marshall Drulik "The Spider" Webb
    • New Mount Species: Slogalla
    • No Reason to Want an Army Escort
    • Setting Aside Pride for Tactical Efficiency
    • The Army Guards the North Road
    • Weak Humans Blame Themselves to Avoid Confrontation
    • Western Idalos Monster: Mist Men
  • Specific
    • Etzos Location: North Gate
    • Marshall Webb: All Too Observant
    • Marshall Webb: No Hesitation to Order Men to Their Death
    • Marshall Webb: Not Too Proud to Copy an Effective Tactic
    • Mist Men: Torches Make the Best Weapons
    • Mist Men: Why so Far East?
    • Mist Men Attack: The Air is Wielding Weapons
    • Rhakros to Etzos: A Journey to Remember
    • The Misty Miasma: Not Just a Myth
    • Webb's Mage: Gravitation not Always Effective
    • Webb's Men: Wilderness Duty Does Not Promote Trust
    • Webb's Men: Willing to Die for Him
    • Unarmed Combat: Wings as Weapons

Loot:

30 trials' worth of food
Master Work Morning Star


Injuries:

Nothing to Speak of

___________________________________________________________


Comments:

Can't give you any Knowledges about being trackable or Webb being a servant of Sintra.
It's true of course, but you guys don't know yet.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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