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  1. Recruitment was slow, not that he didn't expect as much. Nor that he'd wished for a plethora of folks just willing and ready to throw their lives away. Still, it was a necessary process, and a single, solitary recruit was hardly a job well done for the span of a couple weeks. At least she seemed to be a promising prospect, that Nallyn. She wasn't much just looking at her, and several of the other lodges in the area scoffed and guffawed at her in response to her applications. Her background as a soldier was something few were willing to believe given her small stature as a Dwarf, and her classification as a Cleric. It was almost a wonder how she hadn't stained her Warhammer with the blood of those that mocked her. Though he commended her restraint and easily welcomed her in their company. Now that there were three of them, the minimum requirements had been met for them to officially register as a party or organization. Thus, Veiðimaðr was officially born on this day. Now that they were officially vetted so to speak, there was only one way remaining to spread their presence and attract more prospects into their ranks. They had to put in some work worthy of growing their reputation. Patrolling the East was well and all, but the true threats reigned from the west. The Monstrous Path was one way to get to the west, though Jinsoku himself wagered that there may be a safer means of travel through the mountains as opposed to going over them. While danger would be present regardless, something in his core told him to steer clear of the Fae colonies known to populate the upper regions of the mountains. Still, between the Fae and the Infernal West itself, one could only wonder what terrors awaited within the tunnels that remined widely unexplored. While he'd been fortunate enough to luck upon a crude map, it seemed that it only stretched a little more than three miles into the caverns before there simply was nothing else to follow. The path was indeed more or less to the west though, so they had the foundations of their start. Still, it would best serve them to gain a more detailed map of the region as they completed it. Likewise it might be beneficial to mark their path as a means of finding their way back in the case they get lost down there. For this reason, he'd gathered some necessary items within a dungeoneer's pack, and he'd asked Okina to bring a sketch book or scroll along with her preferred utensils for some decent cartography. He was nearly ready himself now, to meet up at the rendezvous point at the edge of town before trekking to the cave entrance indicated on the crude map alongside his party. While he was a bit nervous, this wasn't his first time trekking into unknown caverns to map them while braving the dangers within. Though this was the first time he'd be leading the expedition into such. He reminisced briefly about his first time. He remembered the excitement and joy of seeing foreign things for the first time...Before anyone else got to see them! Though he also remembered the fear and anxiety that came with near losses during that adventure. That was the day he'd nearly witnessed the loss of his Master before his own eyes. To think that now, he adventured mostly independent of Master James. He'd have to be sure to visit him and check in from time to time. Pushing the thoughts to the back of his mind, he took a deep breath and sighed as he checked over his gear. Once he was certain he had everything he needed, Jinsoku equipped his pack, wedging his polearm twixt it and his back. The last thing he grabbed was his helm. He held it before him so that it faced him. At first he stared at it, but then he began to focus on his own dull reflection in its sheen. He could make out the silhouette of his own figure, though the finer details were lost in the reflection. Finally, he cradled the helm in his left hand and was on his way. It didn't take long before he could make out two figures. Both he recognized, though one perhaps a bit more intimately than the other. His charming smirk graced his face as his charcoal eyes narrowed, smiling in kind with his lips. His right hand raised and he waved to them as he continued to approach. Nallyn waved back with a giggle, "I know I probably shouldn't be, but I'm rather excited to investigate the cave systems. There's no telling what kind of ingredients I might find!" She chirped, regardless of what they may have been talking about just before he came into view. @AeonIngenuity
  2. His brown, beady-eyes shot open wide suddenly as he sat up much too fast. His hand rose to palm his forehead as he winced, sharply inhaling through his teeth. His eyes shut tightly again simultaneously, his free hand planting itself firmly on the ground to support him as he came to. "Ugh..." He grunted again as he fought to rise to his feet, his eyes opening once again as he first took account of his immediate surroundings. Where ever he was, this time, it still most certainly was not Algon. Where had he wound up this time? How long had he been here? How did he get here? With no immediate threat in his disoriented perception, he proceeded to check himself over for injuries. To his luck and surprise, some dried blood from several hours ago was found scattered about his entire form. Otherwise he was fine. Next he checked his gear. His explorer's pack was missing, as was his great axe*. His cloak still hugged his shoulders and was also infused with dried blood throughout. Swatting flies out of his face, he grunted again, his back stiff from...Come to think of it, while he didn't quite recall just yet, his body did know this sensation. He fell, and as far as he could tell, from pretty high up. He was perhaps lucky to be alive from that alone, though obviously he remained untouched by whatever local predators loomed thus far. Perhaps he was a large and ugly enough creature to warrant them off. That or he was just lucky. Reaching up yet again he felt to make sure that the spiraled point of an ivory, unicorn horn was still proudly protruding from his skull. His hand axes were still at his sides, his javelins lost with his pack, Zarak wasn't bare, but he was damn near close. Sporting only a loincloth beneath his owlbear skin cloak, his hands and feet bound in tarnished, dirty wrappings, now also stained in dried blood. His boots and bracers still very much intact. Without any respective leads and the light of the day already gone, he started searching in any one random direction. Thanks to his heritage, he could see just as well in the dark as he could in the light. Thanks even more to the divine for granting him the capability to see relatively well, in great discerning detail, up to approximately one mile away. Anything that could see him would likely notice upon closer inspection that his marred, leathery flesh was hairless head to toe, covered in old scars from blade and flame alike. A hulking figure around seven feet in height, and over 300 pounds of dense, well defined muscle. One of his most striking features being that of his small nipples, the likes of which he'd never seen any smaller. A testament to the strength housed within him. Parting the foliage in his way, making a path as he almost shook off the difficult terrain, he undoubtedly followed his senses toward what was obviously a water source. It wasn't until he was aware of its proximity that he noticed just how parched he was. With a scratchy tongue he failed to licked his dry lips, a grunt of frustration escaping him as he realized his head was probably hurting because he was thirsty. He was almost just as certain that quenching his thirst would reveal that he was also hungry. Without his javelins, hunting was a little harder, though not impossible. It just took more work. Still, he had to know what was available before making a plan for a successful hunt. This lush green water world was not unlike his home world or several others he'd been to, though it was not a forest or jungle he felt familiar in. Call it a hunch, but he did after all hold expertise in survival.
  3. AMONG GRAVEYARDS OF SWORDS NORTHEASTERN HIGHLANDS OF THE GREAT DIVIDE, MADAI CYRUS ALJHIN The heaviness of the dagger was one that he would never get used to. The sword-like weight in his palm, the strange warmth it suffused, and the sight of gray steel rusted with white bone — nothing about the blade was natural. The words of his mentors echoed in his mind, warning him of the dangers posed by arcane instruments. Magic had no place in Madai, but like all things, it had its purpose. There, Cyrus stood alone in that graveyard of swords, knife in hand with the wind howling at his back. The lichen-covered remains and corroded armor of warriors long departed peeked slightly above waves of grass. These were once his contemporaries. His hazel-blue eyes drifted down to the familiar sword buckled to his waist. Purpose. The thought wormed itself back through his head. How often had he contemplated the nature of purpose in life? He thought of Mikhail, his brother, and Vasiliy, his father. He grit his teeth. Afanii…. Why couldn't he just forget? Perhaps in a different life, he would still be flourishing his greatsword and killing for the highest bidder, but now, no more. He had long since resolved to never turn back to that way of life. There was no reason for him to go back. His wandering gaze returned to the skeletons in front of him. Thinking of them, he was awash with solemnity veiling pangs of guilt. He knew their hollowed eyes silently judged him. After all, he wasn’t there to mourn ⁠— he was there to scavenge. Squeezing the hilt tighter, he redirected his attention to the feeling in his hand. He needed to focus. Though he couldn't see it yet, he was familiar with the sensation of entanglement. He could imagine threads of magic — winding and binding itself — weaving and interlacing his fingers with the blade to form something larger than its constituents. Connection — potential — power. His jet fur bristled as a phantom electricity ripped through his skin. Forbidden. Vision sharpened — the clouds and sky behind becoming a more vivid play of pinks, oranges, and blues as the sun made its final stretch over the horizon. Their light painted the grassy land at the base of the escarpment something brighter than its usual gray-green with shards of weathered silver. It was an hour as beautiful as it was fleeting. Faint silhouettes of scattered lines and hanging strings of light soon came into view, becoming more legible and tangible as the dagger’s power channeled itself through him. The magic which saturated his view looked like the fine, flowing silk of spiders in the wind. Parallels and crossings — tangles and whorls — this was the tapestry of the world: Vanakara. The weapons in front of him would soon betray their true nature. When all had settled, the wolf-faced man began his robbery of the dead.
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