• Solo • 2. Live Bait

27th of Cylus 720

Beyond the city of Rharne lies the Stormlands, which is home to a number of farms, forests, fields, Lake Lovalus, and the River Zynyx. This subforum also includes the Stormwastes to the south.

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Kasoria
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2. Live Bait

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27th trial, Cylus, 720

Continued from here


They knew naught but hate, and rage, and hunger. The first two were foisted upon their souls; injected and implanted when they were crafted by their masters, so that they would serve as ever more vicious cannon fodder. The last was unavoidable, or so it seemed to the gnashing creatures loping through the night. Every break, their stomachs hissed and spat like burning oil from a pan. No matter how much they rent and tore and savaged, they were never satisfied. The leader among them - the largest and strongest, a primal way of establishing command that even artificial creatures could grasp - constantly led them in prowling searches for food. Across blasted wastes and deadlands. Into caves and caverns and cliffs. Through rustling woods and thick foliage, unspeakably alien to the lifeless lands they had been "born" in.

They had found much worthwhile prey, but none so large and satisfying as the humans, and the neighing four-leg creatures they used. Plenty of meat. Plenty of blood. All that, and a reminder.

What they were truly for. What they were intended to be. Not just a pack of monsters but the loyal troops of an invading army. The leader seemed to act as if it understood the... distance, between their masters and their bodies. At least the necessity for it. The human castle had been too strong, too well-armed, bristling with men and iron and magic. So they had been driven away, leaving smoking corpses of cousins as they fled. So the masters had set them to raiding instead. Staying away from the castle but roaming the area around it. Tactics and guerrilla warfare were not terms the leader would understand, and certainly not its underlings. But the methods...

Attack the weak. Hide from strong. Live. Hunt. Kill. For masters.

The burning snake on the bare road was such a target for them. Juicy hunks of walking meat, plodding through the darkness. The leader led the charge, sizzling drool already falling from its glowing mouth. He barked a handful of times, and a couple of the other hounds broke off, heading for the rear of the herd (as it understood the caravan). The humans would react quickly, though the first few blissful moments would be naught but panic. Then they would react, defend, attack in turn... but a sudden, separate attack from the rear would start the process all over again. The leader knew to destroy an entire herd was unlikely, but if they could kill the enough humans, they could scatter the rest. Send them fleeing into the darkness. Isolated. Alone. Easy prey for breaks and trials to come.

It was a simple creature, but not stupid.

The herd was stopping. Over its own grunting and the pounding of seven sets of clawed feet, the leader could hear shouting in that babbling tongue of theirs. Men were rushing around. Horses were neighing. Panic. Fear, fear so rich and ripe it almost purred with delight. They would have less time than it thought. None to play with his food, enjoy their slaughter, their purpose, the pleasure of knowing their service to the masters had been proven yet again. The Heathound let out a bellowing roar, just as the first, desultory, fearful bolts and arrows started to spin by them.

Then its ear twitched. Something... something odd. An echo. Just the whisper of one. It couldn't turn around fast enough, though. Its body was not made for looking back; only charging blindly on and butchering all before it. So it could not turn, and check, and know. Nor could any of them, until they smashed into the line of traders and merchants and guards and travelers like a flaming avalanche-

-but would have mere moments to enjoy the bloody impact, before the pack of humans behind them did much the same.
word count: 648
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Kasoria
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Re: 2. Live Bait

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He wasn't even going to try to shoot his bow from horseback. Not only couldn't he see well enough to range in his targets, but he'd never done it before, and would likely do naught but waste arrows and time. The shortbow stayed in its holster on the saddle, next to the quiver... but the rider still galloped on with one hand on the reins. Because the other was gripping a spear.

Better than nothing, and a sword won't do me much good.

Kasoria wasn't planning on being mounted for that long. But so long as he was...

"Into the bastards, lads! For the Light!"

A roar went up from a dozen throats as Sir Fredrik's voice half-snarled, half-bellowed out into the night. Damn, but Kasoria wished it was easier to dislike the man. He was so used, so familiar, so comfortable with spitting down on the Lightning Knights and their overstuffed moralizing. But Fredrik? Well, he even bothered to tack on the "Sir" when he spoke to the man. That should tell you everything. But it was his instincts, too. His ability. The whole ride over, from the camp to the rear of the charging pack of Heathounds, Fredrik had hissed and snarled for silence. Nothing but hooves and huffing, chafing quadrupeds as they'd chewed up the black, formless ground under them.

Every time the animal under him pounded forth another handful of yards, Kasoria was sure they'd hit a hole, or a mound, or a hillock, or something, anything that would send him sprawling. Flying through the dark to smash his teeth out or break his neck against the cold earth. But nothing. He followed the figures ahead of him, keeping somewhere in the middle, more towards the back. They were far better riders than he, almost bonded with their mounts. He was a city boy, and used to walking. They took the lead, but he was still a hunter, and when the time came for the kill.

Sword is too short. Gotta be something with reach.

He gripped the spear tight as Fredrik let out his cry. Enough sneaking and stealth. They'd made their approach from the rear, cloaked in darkness and down draft and the deafening pound of the monsters' own charge. But now the lights from the caravan were spilling out into the night, banishing the shadows and outlining men and beasts and abominations clearly. Their targets were silhouetted by them, them and the eerie blue blaze from their mouths-

Making a perfect target, if nothing else.

Arrows thrummed and whistled from a handful of bows. Not in front of the pack, but behind. Knights and hunters and squires and volunteers, now all united in their seasoned veterancy of this strangest siege. The Heathounds turned but were already being struck. Two of them bellowed as barbed arrows sunk into their flesh, then thrice more a moment later. The bow-wielding riders had already honed in on the nearest, wounded monster, separated from the pack and easy meat to be surrounded and peppered with arrows. While the rest-

"Fuckin' 'ere goes nothin-"

-like Kasoria, leveled their spears and kicked their heels into the panting sides of their mounts, spurring them on and doing their best to keep their spears down and on target and masses of dark and barbed and growling atrocity turned to launch themselves-

Kasoria didn't have time to bellow out a war cry or a curse. The horse was moving too fast. It was all he could do to hold on with his knees and steady the spear, thrust it out and down as man and horse thundered past the beast in front of them-

-the roar of agony buried everything else, save the shuddering shock that raced up his arm. He felt the spear tip bury itself in the creature; felt the shaft creak and shake in his grip, until he let it go. No point trying to hold on now, after all. Truth be told, he was just happy he stuck the fucking thing in the right spot. Without even looking back behind him, the Etzori shucked both his feet out of his stirrups and yanked-

-horse rearing up as the reins pulled it back, and with an acrobat's grace in a creaking old body Kasoria pushed down on the front of his saddle, lifting himself up and letting himself half-slide, half-fall off the back of the horse-

-drawing his ax from his back as he fell, already turning as his feet his the dark ground in a crouch-

They're surprised, but not stupid.

The roar told him he'd been right to. The Heathound he'd skewered was wounded, but far from dead. Even as he turned it was lunging for him, glowing mouth spewing hissing drool as much as light and by that blue glow Kasoria grinned-

-threw up his other, empty hand-

Which ain't to say they're not predictable.

Concluded here
word count: 841
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Doran
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Re: 2. Live Bait

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Kasoria:

Knowledge:
Mount (Horse) x3
Polearms & Staves (Spear) x2
Discipline x1

Loot: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: 10
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: I enjoyed the last thread, so I decided to review this one as well.

The first post that was written from the perspective of the herd was great, atmospheric. and quite detailed. You mentioned how they feel, how they act, and how they view the humans.

I don’t think I’ve read a lot, if any, posts that were written from the perspective of a monster before!

And then we got to experience things from Kasoria’s perspective. Parts of the second post actually amused me, such as his thinking about the Lightning Knights and their overstuffed moralizing.

The combat was quite exciting!

My only complaint is that the thread was too short. I wanted to read more. I suppose there's always another sequel though!

Enjoy your rewards!

P.S.: I renamed your “Riding (Horse)” knowledges to “Mount (Horse)” as the skill is actually called “Mount”.


word count: 174

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