• PM To Join • The State of Things (Obri)

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Kasoria
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Posts: 1541
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:34 am
Race: Human
Renown: 935
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)

He'd forgotten how much he'd missed this kind of confrontation. Alien as it was, he couldn't help but relish the chance to sharpen his mental blades, well as he would against a talented fighter. Dealing with dullards and novices did not improve a man's skill; only conflict against an equal or greater opponent could do that. And for this, there was no need for swords or magic or bloodied knuckles. Yet there was strike, counter, parry, riposte, and something else that Kasoria knew was all part of the grand strategy.

He almost glowered when an example of it dropped from the lizard's lips. Testing him, he was sure. Poking for weaknesses in his guard, for he knew his kind too well to assume brute simplicity from them. The Ithecal he'd met had ranged from berzerker killers to nuanced warriors and now, a mage. One could not assume anything simple nor stupid from such a people.

"We weren't given much choice inna matter," he said coolly, refusing to allow the scowl to fully form and smothering it with a long slug of stout. "Got a few dozen folk a day dyin', yeh can afford to send 'em off nice-like. But when youse got more dead than livin', more carcasses than helpin' hands, an' half of 'em are rank wiv' pox..."

The Raggedy Man gestured to the nearest window. There were still fires out there, in the fog and drizzling rain. They were scores of days after the siege had lifted, Beneath, after the siege of Rhakros had been concluded... yet still there were countless thousands of bodies to be burned. Burying them wasn't enough. There simply wasn't the space for it. All the land around Etzos would be rendered fallow and poisoned if every one of the millions slain by Lisirra was buried there and allowed to rot. So the fires burned. The pyres were maintained. And the books grew longer.

"Y'dou what yeh can. Like t'think the dead would unnerstan."

Then the Ithecal spoke of honor, and crime, and Kasoria had to stifle a smile. There it was again: bait. A statement designed to prompt some sort of reaction out of him, and that's what Roly was waiting for. Those black eyes blinked but irregularly, always staring, trying to never miss a beat. Kasoria felt the scrutiny of the mage, yet none of the squirming discomfort he knew others might feel. Beneath, he was a master of instilling it. Dead, empty black eyes and growling voice intimidating generations of Etzori across the years. It was... oddly fascinating, to be on the other end of the examination.

Which ain't to say he might not get what he wants.

We'll see.


"They have their place, I 'spose," he said ruefully, swirling the last gulp or two of stout in his cup before finishing it off. The cup slapped down onto the wood and he waved away the wench when she gestured for another. "Like honor. Trick is, t'know when they don't."

The Raggedy Man gave a low chuckle, which only seemed to broaden when he was given a fresh name by his acquaintance. Black-Eyes... hmm... that could grow on him, mayhap. It was hardly a name that inspired heroes of lore, but Beneath, when would Kasoria of Etzos ever be counted among their ranks? He was a killer and a sellsword and only now, after pushing three decades of preying on his own people like a wolf fed on coin, was he starting to think of his city as a whole. Act in the interests of the Free City.

Fear still has its place for that, he thought as he considered the moniker. Fear of Retribution. Of Punishment. Of Justice.

Kasoria chuckled as if at some private joke that Roly had no nope of guessing. Ah, full circle, was it? That was the point? That after thirty years of flouting the Law and spitting on Justice, he was finally becoming what he always dreamed of being? A hero of the people? A defender of Etzos and its independence from the Morties? Kasoria pushed his cup away as if it were poisoned. Clearly he was drunker than he thought.

"Good a name as any," he said, turning as he spoke, hearing a familiar beat begin to pulse through the tavern. "Ah... still popular, I see."

The Rhakros Stomp. It started off slow, building in pace and power. The drummers just alerting their audience with the thump-thump of their batons. Then, when recognition dawned and arses were up off seats and crowded before the band, they started hammering the fucking leather like it owed them nels. Booming beats, a rhythm that pounded in the ears. Every man that served was either hammering the floorboards, or was stamping his feet from the sidelines... including Kasoria. Though "tapping" would probably be a better description. He looked around and saw faces scarred or pitted by healed plague wounds and sores. All veterans, now. So many of them. So many of his people had been pressed into service or refused to be left behind, the living and the dead.

Even the ghosts were doing the Stomp. Remembering those nights, those furious days. Those last breaks in the Untold, where thousands had been swallowed up by Lisirra's Realm and only a hundred or so had made it back out, at least directly.

"War's over," he said decisively, flagging down a passing wench and asking for honeyed water instead of wine or ale. "Gotta focus on rebuildin', now. Public order an' all that borin' shite." His eyes flicked up over the rim of his cup as the Ithecal gave him his story. A story, anyway. The truth of it? Well... Kasoria knew better than to expect honesty from a man so adept at hunting for answers in a supposedly casual conversation. "What yeh heard was true, even now. Plenty a' places t'vanish in Etzos... mostly in gutters an' bottles an' cells. Jus' don't piss off the wrong people, ye ken?"

The Ithecal blinked and the human snorted.

"Means 'do you understand?'. Have t'learn yer lingo, too."
word count: 1047

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
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Obriviyanah
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)

The gloom from the rainstorm seemed to bleed into the tavern. Or perhaps it was smoke from pipes or rollies. But for a moment, it seemed to recede when, all at once, the patrons burst into dance.

Their mugs rattled on the table as the tavern floor trembled from the Rhakros Stomp. Relatively unmoved, Rolysseus simply picked up his mug and drank from it. He flicked his tail nervously while he watched the majority of the room rise up and join in the loud and unpleasantly violent dance, joining in with a passionate camaradarie he could never hope to understand.

Well, they could have it. Mortal comforts were few and despite Obriviyanah's considerable resentment for humans in general, he was pleased to see them indulging in fleeting moments of joy. It was why he worked at the Lamont.

Rolysseus waited patiently for enthusiasm to die down before continuing the conversation. He wasn't going to attempt to shout over it, especially considering the sensitive nature of the topic.

Even Black-Eyes was tapping along with the dance. Despite his raggedy, soulless look, he felt something for these people. Must have been nice.

"Yeah," Rolysseus said at last as the noise began to die back. "I understand."

He took another swig.

"Have to admit, I have a difficult time keeping track of war or peace time. I don't really pay attention to that sort of thing."

No one around Etzos would conscript a lizard. Even if they could, they'd have to find him first. Rolysseus considered saying as much, but he didn't want to challenge fate.

"They don't, by the way." He let his large head wobble a little as he set down his mug. "The dead don't understand anything. They're just dead. That's what I'm trying to tell you. They don't give a sodding shite what you do with their bodies after they die."

The chair creaked as he leaned back. A serpentine coil went through the length of his resting tail.

"Those daily dozens of dead belong to dozens of families, don't they?" He strummed his fingers on the table, growing a little impatient with the topic. "But I suppose you have a point. If they're dying off in droves, they probably can't afford discrete funerals and burials."

Not that that would have stopped him from utilizing their dead. Together he and Master Acothley had stolen at least half a dozen bodies from a polished, well-appointed graveyard for their purposes. And destroyed several more.

The pyres just made the task more convenient.

Rolysseus indicated Black-Eyes with an upward tilt of his chin.

"So I've confessed my sins. What were you doing around the the burning pits? You don't look like an ordinary human. Or a soldier. What is it you do, chum? And who do you do it for?"
word count: 487
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Kasoria
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)

Kasoria had wondered, at odd times, if his family could see him now. If they looked across the span of life and death and the Crossing between. He doubted they'd find much to celebrate across the arcs. Their brother, their son, gone from a Black Guard prospect to a knife-for-hire. He'd remember what he'd done, the truly horrible and merciless acts that stood out from a sea of indifferent murder, and closed his eyes for a moment.

Kasoria did not pray. But if he did, he would pray for tehm not to see him. Not to remember him. To be free from the world and everything in it. Including him.

"Aye," he said eventually, morose recollection betrayed by his tone. The way he looked into the dregs of his cup and saw his own face, darker and colder than ever in the brackish water. "Yer probably right. Heh, I wouldn't give a toss what yeh did wiv' me after. I wouldn't be around t'complain, would I? But raisin' 'em back up, y'can't help but think.. some part a' their souls came back wiv' 'em. Came back but can't do shite about it. Trapped in rotted meat an' skin turned t'dirt."

Black eyes flickered up to the lizard. As unblinking and dispassionate as the ones Roly wore, or the ones on snakes he'd seen in the desert of his home.

"Fuck do I know, though, eh? Jus' how I see it. That said... best not t'try it 'round folks who've kin where yeh'd be paradin' 'em, innit?"

The band played and the tavern caroused and Kasoria allowed the manic atmosphere to chase away his sullen mood. Fates, hardly the best topic of conversation, when you're trying to have a quiet drink. Etzos had a million awful memories and philosophies after the siege and all that had followed. He'd not be forgetting them any time soon, nor the work that needed doing in the aftermath... but not all needed to be doom and darkness.

Funny way to think, coming from you.

Kasoria snorted at the Ithecal's last statement. He doubted a necromancer of all things could confess all his sins in one sitting. Was that biased of him? To assume mages of that kind would be so brimming with unspoken malice? He didn't think so. They raised corpses and used them as minions. Which meant they had to find them... or make them. Death surrounded them and followed them, chained to obedience on the thinnest of links. But the lizard had a point, and Kasoria did so relish a chance to lie while not quite lying.

"I wuz lookin' fer someone I knew, from the old days," he said, with a sigh that could pass for sorrowful... if it hadn't been immediately followed by. "Woulda' liked to have slotted the cunt meself, but the plague did for 'im." Kasoria raised his glass and toasted with water. A false salute if ever there was one. "May he linger on the shores forever, the prick. An' I'm a bounty hunter, these days. Plenty a business around, as you'd guess..."

Oh, indeed. Chaos and reconstruction and a whole city being rebuilt and reorganized from top to bottom? There were a myriad of opportunities for laws to be flouted, ignored, bent, broken, or just bought out. And wherever there were such folk, there were men like him. Yet it was only half the truth, and he'd been careful to add the qualifier "these days". If only for his own amusement. Before Roly could press on, the Raggedy Man leaned back in his chair and regarded him. Ghost of a smile at the corners of his mouth, hidden by his beard.

"An' youse? Can't imagine a necro's got much t'do in Etzos that's legit, eh? Still, now Vuda's fucked off an' everything's... yet t'settle, could find yerself a cushy gig." He raised his glass slowly and muttered before drinking. Amusement dancing in eyes made of midnight. "If yer not picky who yer workin' fer..."
word count: 705

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
User avatar
Obriviyanah
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Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:45 pm
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)


Rough and tumble as he was, Black-Eyes was an agreeable sort of fellow. With the axe in his hand he'd looked hungry for violence, but with a stein? Here he conceded to points and carried on a surprisingly enlightened conversation. In fact, Rolysseus had been the difficult one between them.

Then again, he was only here because he was trying to avoid creating an enemy. It was Black-Eyes who had initiated this little tête-à-tête. Rolysseus still wanted to run, and he would, at the first opportunity.

"I can see where it would be easy to fear the worst, to see the dead rise."

It was difficult for most to embrace true, objective pragmatism. Rolysseus didn't expect anyone to understand, and he wasn't motivated to convince them. Black-Eyes seemed unusually open minded to his ideas, but even he had to have his limit.

"But it's ether, my life force, that animates them. Not theirs. That's my will in their fetid heads. When they have heads." He smiled briefly at his own joke and gulped down a swig of rum. "If I could pull souls back from the great beyond, I'd still have a family."

Rolysseus wondered at the compulsion to search through the heaps of rotting dead for one specific body. To have a connection to someone so meaningful that it would drive him to find their corpse. What would change once he found it? What would it accomplish?

Clearly there was a story there, but from the looks of things, it was a dreary one.

Black-Eyes did confirm Obriviyanah's initial suspicion: he was a bounty hunter. He wrestled with whether or not this was a turn of good fortune. Having a connection in the bounty trade could do him a bit of good, especially if any bounties for necromancers or Yludih turned up. Being in the know in such matters could give him a good headstart fleeing Etzos to some other shithole city.

Or perhaps this was just fanciful thinking. All they were doing now was sharing a drink.

"Me?" The lizard chuckled, incredulous. "Rolysseus does not observe the rules of men. I see the way humans pass their days, boxed into their lives by tedium, law, and coin, until they too catch plague and die. I do as I please and I work for no one."

He tipped a hand thoughtfully.

"I have considered bounties, now and again. But they always seem too wrapped up in political or personal matters that I would prefer to avoid."

Rolysseus set his empty mug pointedly onto the table.

"I'm getting nervous, the longer I stay here in the city. I'd prefer to go back to the wood. Have I convinced you that I'm no public threat?"
word count: 471
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Kasoria
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)

"If I could pull souls back from the great beyond, I'd still have a family."

Kasoria had rarely felt kinship with others. Ever since he was a boy, that had been the way of him. Always a barrier, indistinct and undefinable yet ineffable and unbreakable. No matter how close events had put him to others, he did not partake of camaraderie. Not even in the Academy, decades ago, when he was still a boy and unbroken on the anvil of the world. The siege, the march, the plagues, the Season of Horrors... that had changed. Now he knew that countless others of his people shared his anger, his rage, his grief. He could see that same fury and sorrow on their faces that he saw in his own.

He'd almost reflected that he had been the cause of it, so many times. With his efforts, but his hand, he'd taken fathers and sons and brother and, yes, mothers and daughters and sisters. It was not a thought he liked to dwell on.

It's done. It's past. It's history. Can't change it, do don't brood on it like a wanker.

"Aye," he said simply, finishing his water. "Know the feelin'."

Fortunately, the Ithecal wasn't one to brood, either. He was soon moving on, crowing, almost boasting. Kasoria snorted as he stooped to low to refer to himself in the third-person. Fates, just as he was starting to like the scaly cunt. His smile said he understood the necro's meaning, though. Far better to have the skills and balls to make your own way, charge your own price, sell your own talents... or your sword, whichever you were best with. Then he mentioned bounty hunting and Kasoria shrugged, speaking with telling familiarity.

"Ain't no cause t'get involved in the politics or the personal, mate. Some cunt puts a bounty out on some other cunt, an' youse go an' bring the second to the first. That or the bounty's fer a corpse, an' things're much easier. Ain't nothin' t'get caught up in, there. Most folk're smart enough t'know s'just business. Plenty more sword-wielding wankers like me out there. We're jus' the help."

Which was all true, though he inwardly chuckled at the irony of the statement. Oh, all true, yes indeed... but he could easily apply the logic to his career as an assassin, instead of his recent, semi-legal activities as a bounty hunter. It was much the same arrangement, after all. The only difference was that one bounty was sanctified by the laws of the land, and the other was not.

"I'm getting nervous, the longer I stay here in the city. I'd prefer to go back to the wood. Have I convinced you that I'm no public threat?"

Kasoria eyed the empty cup and nodded, getting to his feet. He rifled around in his pocket and put enough coin on the table to pay for the drinks, and leaving a nice gratuity for the wench. Just that much. If the Ithecal was the kind to swipe an extra nel once he was gone and rob her of a tip, well, that was hardly Kasoria's fault.

"Fer now, aye," he said, reminding the Ithecal that for all his casual, affable conversation, this was still a human more than ready to hack his head off less than a break before. "Like I said before, pays t'be ready t'treat yer friends like enemies, soon as they act up. S'the kind world this is, now. But fer now?"

Again, that casual shrug. As if matters of mortality were beyond him. Like he was every bit the reaper he looked, now. Only accentuated by the hood he drew up over his head, darkening his face to the point Roly could only see a glint of teeth in the shadows.

"Get a room, or go to yer woods. I ain't bound t'stop yeh. But remember what I said. Fortune to yeh..."

With that, the human walked away from the table. No need to stand on ceremony, after all. He wove his way through the stomping crowd, Roly noticing they seemed to part for him without a shout or a bark or a signal. They just knew him, or knew of him, or smelled what he was like sheep could a wolf. He fancied his new friend Black Eyes looked over his shoulder at the door... light-drowned eyes drilling a stare at him, as if commending every detail of the Ithecal to memory... then the door opened, and he was gone.
word count: 793

Appearance

  • Habitually dressed in boots, breeches, tunic, and cloak.
  • Long hair down to the shoulders, usually swept back or in a rough ponytail
  • Prefers a trimmed beard and mustache

Mutations

  • Star-shaped scar on each palm.
  • Air around him seems to thicken and become more turbulent the closer a person gets to him.
  • Pitch black eyes, from tear ducts to the pupils.
  • Arms from shoulder to palms appear as if heavy chains are wrapped around them.
  • Wisps of black smoke constantly drifts around his body, forming the rough outline of a cloak. The more agitated he becomes, the thicker the layers get.
    Note: the torch-motif medallion Kasoria wears negates the visible effects of this mutation.
  • Roughly circular pattern across breastbone, constantly transforming, and resettling
  • Sunken, closed eyes in the back of hands; they open when stared at
  • Skin takes on the tone and quality of whatever material he's just Transmuted
User avatar
Obriviyanah
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Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:45 pm
Race: Yludih
Profession: Actor
Renown: 50
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Wealth Tier: Tier 5

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Re: The State of Things (Obri)

From the way Black-Eyes described it, bounty-hunting seemed simple. Identify the bounty, fetch it, and then return for the reward. Seeing as he was a Hunter himself, perhaps Rolysseus would be wise to believe him.

Yet there was doubt.

Human matters were never simple, and thus far Obriviyanah had done well to stay clear of most of them. His old master, Tobias Acothley never approved of bounty hunters (likely because his name or description sometimes appeared on the docket). They were worse than mercenaries, he said. They served no master but coin. Possessed little to no conscience, paid little thought to the larger picture, and involved themselves where they didn’t belong.

It wasn’t honorable. A man’s life wasn’t a payday. The party offering pay wasn’t automatically the better side to serve. Murder shouldn’t be a profession.

But Tobias, Aiden would say, most bounties don’t even—

And then he would close the matter entirely.

Still, Obriviyanah felt his spark stir in him at the thought of chasing a valuable head—or heads. Some bounties were merely rewards for killing beasts and gathering materials and the like. His Necromancy would be put to better use serving a real purpose, and not just building strength until the day when the mob eventually came for him.

It was a bad idea, but like many bad ideas, it felt very tempting.

"Get a room, or go to yer woods. I ain't bound t'stop yeh. But remember what I said. Fortune to yeh..."

“And to you.”

The lizardman’s chair skidded back. His tail looped as he stood up, and then swished placidly while he dug into the pocket of his cloak.

Treat your friends like enemies, eh? It was something Obriviyanah already understood. It was the code he lived by, because who could he trust but himself?

“Let’s be honest, though.” Rolysseus added a handful of coins to Black-Eyes’ payment. “The world was always a cesspit. Only in youth are we allowed to think it’s anything better.”

After the human exited the tavern, Rolysseus filed out soon after. He spared a passing glance at the back of him as he faded on down the street, and after thinking it over for a moment, he turned and walked the opposite way.


end

word count: 390
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Strange
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Re: The State of Things (Obri)


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Kasoria

Concerned Citizen Kas
Skill Points: +15 (cannot be used for magic)
Magic XP: None

Renown: None.

Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Wealth Points: None.
Loot: None.

Skill Knowledge:
  • Axes & Bludgeons (Waraxe): Effective Weapon Against the Undead
  • Deception: Answering Not with a Lie, But an Alternate Truth
  • Discipline: Controlling Your Spark, Not the Other Way Around
  • Discipline: Not Reacting to Peoples' Horror of You
  • Etiquette: Proper Respect Paid to Worthy Enemies
  • Investigation: Patient, Polite Questions
  • Logistics: Niceties Must be Sacrificed in Times of War
  • Medicine: The Process of Decomposition
  • Negotiation: Deescalation
  • Rhetoric: A Call for Respecting the Dead
  • Rhetoric: Souls May be Beyond Desecration, But Memories are Not
  • Socialization: Cutting the Ice with a Drink
  • Tactics: Be Peaceful, Be Polite... But Still Be Ever-Ready to Kill
Non-Skill Knowledge:
  • Etzos, Vhalar 719: Surrounded By Vast Burial Pits
  • Location: Brandied Buck, Tavern in the Outer Perimeter
  • NPC Drix: Old Enemy, Older Teacher, Deceased During the Great War
  • NPC Remy: Former Ganger, Currently Etzori Army
  • PC Roly: Ithecal Necromancer
  • PC Roly: Sneaky and Shifty, But Not Stupid
  • PC Roly: Might be a Problem in the Future... But Not the Present
Notes: n/a
Skills Used: Socialization - Novice (0); Negotiation - Novice (0); Rhetoric - Novice (0); Tactics - Master; Discipline - Master; Investigation - Novice (0).
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Player Word Count: 7,196 words.

Obriviyanah

Crystal Lizard Guy Rolysseus
Skill Points: +15 (cannot be used for magic)
Magic XP: None

Renown: None.

Injuries/Overstepping: None.
Wealth Points: None.
Loot: None.

Skill Knowledge:
  • Necromancy x2
  • Acting x2
  • Rhetoric x5
  • Socialization x3
  • Negotiation x1
Non-Skill Knowledge:
  • none requested.
Notes: n/a.
Skills Used: Necromancy: 35xp, Socialization: 0, Rhetoric: 0.
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Player Word Count: 4,406 words.

It takes a particular sort to share a drink with the Raggedy Man, and Obriviyanah held his own here. Though, Kasoria was downright pleasant in this!

Both characters portrayed individual perspectives involving themes of death, morality and ethics, corpses, and surviving in a harsh world. It definitely read like a necromancer talking with an old assassin. The additional complexity of Obriviyanah being in ithecal form was included in an entertaining way that never lapsed or was forgotten by either player.

Writing-wise, the pacing was great and flowed well between the posts. There were NPCs but they didn't overshadow the PCs, and the story centered around the two PCs interaction and dynamic. After reading this, I'd like to see Obriviyanah and Kasoria work a bounty together!

Great job the both of you and enjoy your rewards!

PM me if you have any questions, issues or concerns.

Total Word Count: 11,602 words.
Review Request Link: viewtopic.php?p=138603#p138603
stampcodehere

word count: 480
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