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 Cold Iron, Early Spring, 2503, South of Clar Karond
Chrael of the Crone
 Posted: Oct 21 2017, 06:02 PM
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Karnos dragged himself through the snow. Desperately, he willed his legs to work, but he could feel nothing below his waist. His vision blurred and his eyes stung. The parts of his body that he could feel were wracked with agony, borne from deep cuts and broken bones. Blood pooled in his mouth and dribbled down his chin as he murmured curses and whined pleas to Khaine to spare him, to give him the chance to feel the rush of battle again. He was a highborn, this kind of suffering was beneath him.

"You bitch," he gasped, tears streaking from his eyes. "You can't do this to me."

His tormentor said nothing, walking behind him at a deliberate pace as though she had all the time in the world. Hate preoccupied his mind. How did she best him? He was a Cold One Knight, one of the true elites of Naggaroth. She was just an escaped slave. Yet she seemed almost unnatural in her skill.

He felt his face bury in the snow as she planted her boot on the back of his neck. His lungs began to scream for air, and he tried to struggle, but it was no use. He felt his life ebb away from him even as he called up every curse he could imagine in his mind. Soon, blackness enveloped him, and he slipped into oblivion.

Crawl looked over at her companion.

"Last one is dead, Dwarf," she said with unnerving calm.
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Grumni Grumbolsson
 Posted: Oct 22 2017, 10:03 PM
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"Hardly worth the killing," the blonde-haired dwarf noted, as he tore a piece of cloth from a dark elf's cape, and used it to clean the blood from his sword. "You'd think by now they'd have sent a sorceress after us."

Grumni looked over the scene of battle, and narrowed his eyes as he counted the bodies. It hadn't been too long since he and the high elf had escaped Clar Karond together, and patrols were still managing to find them, despite the dwarf's attempts at covering their tracks. Though he was ashamed to admit it, the dark elves knew their territory well. This whole place was as foreign to Grumni as Araby or Tilea, being a dwarf of Barak Varr. He could only do so much to stay out of sight in a land whose trees he couldn't even identify.

The dwarf looked toward the only living elf, and exhaled a deep breath. She was a truly terrifying woman to behold in combat; a living embodiment of the power that the elgi could ascend to. Grumni excelled in his own right with az and bow, but without them he would account for little more than a muscled brute that could be ended with a stray lightning bolt. He admired her skill, but the cool manner which with she dealt death was unsettling at best. They'd both experienced their share of torture upon the black ark, but the way Chrael had broken her bonds and proceeded to murder every elf around her was something the dwarf would never forget.

As he began looking over the bodies for supplies, Grumni pocketed some rations, as well as a skinning knife. Try as he might, however, the dwarf couldn't find any arrows or a bow.

"Bugger it," he grumbled, and sheathed the dark elf blade over his shoulder. It had been meant to be fasted about the waist, but the length had turned out to be too long for the dwarf's height. "We'd better get on, then. Not much worth taking on these unbaraki."

The word meant "oathbreaker" in the dawi tongue, and it was rarely used back in his home city. Grumni didn't pay much attention to pleasantries anymore; the black ark had darkened him in a way he knew he might never recover from.
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Chrael of the Crone
 Posted: Oct 25 2017, 05:01 PM
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"If they send a sorceress, I will kill her too. Dhar is weak."

She turned on her heels, looking out into the distance. There was still a long way to go and the boots she was wearing were far too small for her feet. Had she been a less disciplined woman, she might have complainee about it, but she resolved
to simply bear it until an acceptable alternative came along.

The journey was going to be long and arduous and it would be soaked in Druchii blood. Yet somehow that excited her. The longer they traveled, the more traitors she could send to the Crone.

Her eyes suddenly snapped to the Dwarf. "I didn't think to ask, Dwarf. Did you take any injuries in the battle? I can heal them now."

She found herself concerned for the Dwarf at times. If he got injured, he could be a detriment to the journey when they had to stop. She had made something of an oath to the Dwarf that she would see the journey through with him. Besides, he was incredibly useful to have around. It would be a shame to lose him.
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Grumni Grumbolsson
 Posted: Oct 26 2017, 09:42 AM
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"Dark magic," the dwarf murmured in a low voice.

Grumni shook his head at the thought, then began to look himself over after his companion had asked him about his wounds. During the exhilaration of battle he remembered a dark elf getting him with their blade at least once, but at the time he was alive with fury. Now a small stinging pulsed from his left bicep, and he twisted the arm slightly to see a fairly long gash on the side of it.

A grunt escaped him, and he looked toward his companion.

"I don't think it was poisoned," Grumni noted with a shrug. "Got me when I cut down his friend."

If he'd been by himself, the dwarf would have fashioned a bandage out of the surrounding flora; at least used the cloth from a dead dark elf to stop the bleeding. He was fortunate, however, to be paired with an elf who rendered such things a waste of time and energy. Part of his pride was injured in allowing her to do it, but even he had to admit that it was more efficient this way.

The dwarf turned his head northward, toward where they had come from, and narrowed his eyes at the horizon. The new world was somewhere he'd truly thought he'd never see, or even want to, really. Without voicing the thought, Grumni wondered if he was the first dwarf to have walked in Naggaroth. Somehow, he doubted so.

"If anyone else made it out, they might follow the corpses," the blonde-haired dwarf thought aloud. "We've left no other trail. Of course the Druchii might do the same."

Grumni shook his head, and looked back to Chrael.

"But we are likely all that's left," he surmised. "The others looked like death. Hardly any muscle or fat left on them. I'd bet a whisker none made it more than a day's journey from Clar Karond."
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Chrael of the Crone
 Posted: Oct 26 2017, 03:27 PM
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Chrael took note of the winds of magic around her, and began to focus. She gathered them up, taking special care to keep Ghyran, the Wind of Life, as the central piece. She began to weave them together, their colours sparkling as they integrated with one another. Then, with effort, she projected the thread of magic forward. It manifested as a glow that enveloped Grumni's arm, and soon the wound was sealed. Chrael exhaled a long breath, before relaxing her shoulders.

"There, all better," she said. "As for the others... the spirit is strong. I am sure others will survive for a while to give the enemy some trouble."

She thought about the possibility of the enemy following the corpses. Let them she thought to herself. The trail will only get bigger. She had made a pact with Morai-Heg, the Crone Goddess, and she imagined that she still had much to accomplish in the Goddess' of Fate's plans before she was to lose her life. Although, perhaps not. The Crone's motives were often inscrutable to those of mortal and it would not be out of the question to kill one of her servants for purposes that no one could fathom save the Crone herself.

Journeying forward brought them to a great rocky outcropping surrounded by trees. Upon one of the rocks, a great boulder, a woman stood. She appeared to be a gorgeous, nude elven woman with long brown hair and perfect features. Yet the illusion was marred by the fact that both hand and foot ended in cruel, rending talons and great leathery wings extended from her back, looking ready to take flight at any moment. She smiled at them, though there was no warmth in her perfect features.

"Hello," the woman said in a sing-song voice. Her gaze settled upon Grumni, and her grin grew wider, revealing wicked fangs. "Oh, a man."

Chrael's hand drifted to her sword, moving to pull it out at the first sign of attack. "A harpy," she said. "We must be near a cave."

The woman beckoned Grumni to come over. "Did you come all the way out here just for me? Why don't you come over, little man? I can tell right now you're not getting much from your companion there." Her dark eyes glittered with an alien intelligence, and her wings flexed. Cheekily, she ran a hand up her form, hoping to draw attention to her features. "I'm sure someone will be enjoying themselves."
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Grumni Grumbolsson
 Posted: Oct 27 2017, 11:20 PM
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"I hope you're right," was all the dwarf managed, before the two of them made their way.

It wasn't long before they reached the outcropping, and when the dwarf's gaze fell upon the nude, winged woman, he immediately held a hand out to shield his eyes. As her melodic voice drifted to his ears, however, Grumni lowered his hand.

The dwarf eyed the harpy warily, and though his cheeks reddened a bit more than he would ever admit to, Grumni stood his ground.

"I am a dawi," he resonated, proudly. "Not some half-wit manling."

Chrael's words echoed in his mind, and the dwarf realized that the two of them would have to deal with the harpy before they could move on. He'd fought beastmen before, and had seen the harpies that fought with them. Their screams could travel far, and Grumni knew that if the creature wanted, it could have them surrounded in moments. Carefully, the dwarf picked his next words with that in mind.

"We travel south," Grumni declared, in an attempt to shrug off the harpy's advance. "If it's blood you want, there are dead Druchii a stone's throw behind us. Their flesh is still warm."
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Pavel
 Posted: Oct 28 2017, 08:17 PM
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It wasn't just your standard Dark Elf Dhar energy emanating from within the cave, there was also a bit of necromancy in there. Deeper inside, the sorcerer had set up a makeshift wizard's tower, with the usual odds and ends of a caster's home. It was there that the vampire was meeting with him. Pavel dwarfed the elf, both in height and width. He wasn't sure if that intimidated the sorcerer, he seemed to be comforted by the presence of his "wives." That weirded Pavel out a bit. He saw the harpies as useful weapons, not as companions.

His own minions were hanging back, a respectful distance from the harpies. If things went south he was sure he could call them down quickly enough, and hold his own until they got there. He only had a modest force here, some fresh dire wolves further up the mountain and, near the peak, the great beast he'd ridden there. More were on ships, coming over for what was to come.

"I trust you will be able to hold up your end of this." He loomed over the man, trying to intimidate him just a bit. Exile though he was, Druchii still responded well to displays of power. Their society was built around bullying, bravado, and backstabbing. Throwing your weight around tended to get results. "We- I hear something." He paused, looking towards the mouth of the cave, his pointed ears picking up voices. "We have guests, a man and a woman by the sound of it. Not charmed by your wives."
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Chrael of the Crone
 Posted: Oct 28 2017, 10:09 PM
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Uberon looked at Pavel, leaning back. The Vampire had made itself welcome in his home and had wasted no time in trying to establish a pecking order. He resented it, of course, but there was very little he could do. The chance to work with the Ghoul King provided him with certain opportunities he could ill-afford to discard. Instead, he decided to simply grin and bear that nasty little aspect of their working relationship for the time being.

His harpy-wives chattered from the ceiling of the cave, watching Pavel as he loomed over their husband. Briefly, a hiss exhaled from one of their lips, but she was restrained by a warning glance from Uberon. They did not like how the vampire talked to their beloved.

He moved over to his reflecting pool, staring down in the waters below. He produced his knife and made a delicate slice along his finger and let the blood drip down into the water. Quickly, the image changed from a simple reflection of the cave to an image of the outside. There stood three individuals. One, he recognized. She was Shrike, one of Uberon's wives and perhaps the most insatiable. The other two were a dwarf and an elf. He puzzled for a moment, eying their forms, before a look of understanding crossed his gaunt face.

"Ahhh, yes," he said in a shallow voice. "I know these two. They escaped from Clar Karond and caused quite a slaughter in doing so. Anyone who follows has died."

His eyes went unfocused for a moment, and he spoke into Shrike's mind. "Shrike, these two are not for eating. Bring them in so that I might talk with them."

Returning back to the cave, he looked to Pavel. "Be careful with these two. I have divined their doom and it is best described as..." he made air quotes "Catastrophic. Shyish clings to the woman like a lover."

--

"Oh, but living flesh is so much more appealing..." the Harpy said hungrily. "And besides, there are other appetites I can sate with a living man."

She leaned forward for just a second, and Chrael's sword freed itself from its scabbard, the Elven woman's eyes sparkling like they always died before she took a life. The Harpy hissed, and readied to pounce, before suddenly reclining, her eyes growing distant for a moment as her lips pursed. After a few seconds, she looked the others and pouted.

"It seems I am not have any fun with you," she whined. "My husband has specified that you are to come with me." She looked Chrael up and down, and then her eyes shifted to Grumni. "You have an option now. Accept my little invitation into our cave or I call my sisters and we force you to come."

Chrael spat, her gaze focused on the Harpy. "You've shown yourself a threat. I have no intention of accomodating you. Let your sisters come, I'll kill them all."
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Grumni Grumbolsson
 Posted: Oct 29 2017, 04:18 PM
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The dwarf's lip curled as the harpy readied itself to attack, and he awkwardly unsheathed the dark elven longsword before getting into a defensive stance. When the winged beast retracted and offered what seemed to the dwarf to be two bad choices, Grumni lowered his blade slightly and narrowed his eyes at the creature.

"Husband?" the dwarf thought aloud, before looking toward his companion. "Huh! Elgi, must be a sorcerer 'a some kind. Best ready yerself for a fight."

Grumni thought over his options. There wasn't much cover nearby if they needed to get away, and dwarfs weren't exactly known for their speed. Still, if he needed to, the ranger spotted a gathering of brush he could run to and ready his bow. At least take out a few harpies before the thing's 'husband' came up from the caves. The thought of something...some -one- 'marrying' such a beast made the dwarf's beard bristle. The New World was proving to be a place he didn't wish to return to.

With a uneasy grunt, Grumni brought up his sword.

"We're goin' south, lass," the dwarf addressed the harpy, though the word felt awkward to say. "Best if you let us move on an' forget we was here."

Though he didn't feel comfortable trying to make a truce with the beast, something didn't seem right. Whoever this husband was, could communicate with the beast using magic. Magic was a bad sign, even with his companion nearby. It wasn't that the dwarf doubted her power, but if something were to happen to the elf, Grumni was on his own, without his az and crossbow. He'd fight until his last breath, of course, but against a magical foe, the dwarf knew he would be little match.
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Pavel
 Posted: Oct 30 2017, 12:52 AM
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A dwarf and a high elf, that was unexpected. The two races tended not to get along, As he recalled, there had been some war thousands of years before his time, the War of the Beard or something, and the two had never quite forgiven each other. They weren't often at open war, but they often were suspicious. Then again, this was Druchii territory. If there was anything that could make strange bedfellows, it was a land of slavers and murderers. Maybe they could be useful, if he could keep a fight from breaking out.

Pavel sighed as the two sides exchanged threats. Was he the only one in the entire world who had an interest in de-escalating a situation? Everyone always seemed full of bravado and violence, had nobody learned the importance of backing down? He looked down at Uberon. "Call back your wives, I will see what I can do." He pulled his cloak tight around him, heading towards the front of the cave. It was high noon out, so at least less sunlight would angle into the tunnel, he hoped.

He stood as close as he dared to the entrance, a towering hooded figure lurking in the shadows. He couldn't venture out right now. His minions were slightly weakened by the sun, but he was far more affected. Without the casket he'd been carried to the New World in he would have burned up along the way. "You have a hatred for the Druchii, yes?" he called out, hoping to get their attention. It was clear from his build that he was no elf, and from his accent that he came from the Old World. "I believe we may be able to help each other."
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Chrael of the Crone
 Posted: Nov 20 2017, 05:26 PM
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Uberon nodded to Pavel, and once again reached out to his wife. "Dearest, I need you to come back to the cave."

--

The harpy perked, and then looked at the others. A pout formed on her face, and she crossed her arms, before hopping back and heading into the cave. Chrael was ready to blast the monstrous woman out of the air before she could acquire more of her sisters before she was ready. However, her plans for bloodshed were interrupted by the arrival of a strange, massive figure within the cave.

Chrael's eyes narrowed, and she turned to face this newcomer. She frowned at him. Perhaps he was the reason the harpy had retreated? Perhaps he was its master. He did have something of an... off air about him. Her eyes scanned his aura, and then she grimaced.

"Yes, I hate the Druchii," she said, moving to sheath her blade.

Her gaze was intense, and unyielding. She crackled with irritation. She had wanted to spill blood and now she was not going to be able to.

"What do you propose?"
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