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 The Earthheart - IC

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Admiral Ji
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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 01 Apr 2015, 7:29 pm

Rhaokin returned her visual focus to her body, as she moved to grab onto the side of the transport. "Seven. The seven of us can use the vehicle. You're not wandering alone out here." Rhaokin said, rather matter of factly. There was no reason for him to stay behind, after all, and if it was unsafe for a group of them, it was unsafe for one of him.

Shaking her head, another segment of the conversation caught her ire, as she turned to the orc. "It's a car." she said, her tone still flat, with a slight undercurrent of annoyance or... frustration, "You press the pedals to go, and turn the wheel. You don't need to know how to replace the engine to drive a car... Honestly unless this old thing still uses stick, you've got nothing to worry about... You... are authorized to operate a car, right?" worry crept into her voice as she tilted her head. This was a very odd bunch to be stuck with indeed... and while she wasn't initially comfortable having her sister here, that was shaping up to be the only reassuring thing among the blasted group.
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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 01 Apr 2015, 7:52 pm

Balvadere chuckled. "Don't worry, madame vrana, you folk won't be ridding yourselves of me that easily!" When all had clambered aboard he planted a boot on the rear bumper and hauled himself up. There Balvadere perched, hanging off the frame by one arm.

Yet Balvadere was uneasy; his other hand rested on the pommel of his sword. Nervously he checked his watch to find that twenty-eight minutes had passed since he left the rickety old hideout. "Anytime now, Glenn, anytime..." I do hope that orc can drive, or we're in for an unhappy twenty minutes.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 01 Apr 2015, 7:52 pm



Kyra climbed into the back of the truck staring off over the tree tops. It was quiet. It was especially quiet considering what had just happened. The bone remnants of the skeletal wolves littered the area. Some of the fragments had ended up in her stuff which she was none too pleased about. She took a piece of the bones out of her bag and lobbed it over the trees into the forest.

There was the noise of the bone passing through the tree but then nothing. Kyra was immediately alarmed. Shouldn't she have heard the bone hit the ground? Why didn't she? Was it possible that the ground was just soft and muffled the noise. No no, not quite. Given Balvadere's alarm there was something in the woods. There was something in the woods and it was close. It was close and it was able to do something fast enough to that chunk of bone that it didn't hit the ground.

Kyra looked more closely through the darkness of the trees. She strained her eyes to try and see whatever it was. Then she saw it and it knew that she had seen it.



Out of the woods burst the Seraph, Raizerr. Leaves were strewn about the clearing in it's wake as it violently tore to shreds the trees and bushes that had been in its way. In the seraphs 6 hands were curved blades, like captains swords.

@TERMINAL@
/*******************************************\
|
| run eyes(7);
|
\*******************************************/

Suddenly seven glowing red eyes formed on Raizerr's face in no particular fashion. As Raizerr hung in the air by the flapping of it's wings it analyzed the group. Each eye looked at somebody different, taking in all it could about them until the eyes suddenly melted back into it's face.

@TERMINAL@
/*******************************************\
|
| run mouth("I hope you weren't expecting to
| survive this night.");
|
| run mouth("Because I can assure you.");
|
| run mouth("You won't.");
|
\*******************************************/

A mouth of gnarled and crooked teeth splintered open on Raizerr's face. The mouth had no lips. It was simply a fracture in the Seraph's face. Between the cracks the sharp teeth could be seen. It spoke in a voice that was equally as cracked and broken. It lacked flow, the fluctuations of the syllables weren't connected. The tone however was easy to make out, aggression.

@TERMINAL@
/*******************************************\
|
| run mouth("I shall enjoy slaughtering you.");
|
\*******************************************/

After speaking these words Raizerr's mouth fixed itself back into nothing. There was half a moments pause and then Raizerr charged. It flew straight towards Balvadere.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 01 Apr 2015, 8:25 pm

Balvadere, wide-eyed, instinctively drew his sword. He faced the seraph with furrowed brow, but almost dropped his sword as it lunged. Pull yourself together, man! You've fought fiercer than this thing! But Balvadere could not quite remember when.

One sword he might have blocked, but his own steel against six blades was as a stone against an avalanche. Balvadere felt a pain in his gut and he saw the "face" of the seraph up close - pale white it was, and featureless. Yet mustering some remnant of youthful strength Balvadere threw himself from the jeep.

"None can fight, one-armed, on the back of a jeep!" he shouted to the company, pulling himself from the dirt and raising his sword in both hands. "Go! High thee hence to Mrorgain's cottage, and let me delay this thing! For the fate of the world rests not with me and mine - but with the six of you! Drive, drive!" And, praying the others would obey, Balvadere grit his teeth against the pain in his side and aimed a jab at the seraph's belly.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 01 Apr 2015, 10:03 pm

The older human was rushing them - quite unnecessarily, Arj'atyn felt, re-fastening the cargo net. Simultaneously, the sound of rupturing foliage issued from the clearing's edge.

Well, look who was frozen with awe now.

The four-winged seraph had, at least, thought to give them some warning after all. The lizardfolk recovered sufficiently quickly to lob herself into the backseat, showing no particular respect for either the seat cushion's boundaries or those of the human occupant.

"MOVE-!," she screeched (as though it were a useful, a magic spell), more to her companions than to... no, Balvadere was one too, wasn't he? Why not? What said so? Don't you dare. You still can't take a loss? Even given so many chances to learn?

She clawed at the cargo mesh as a golem-dog, an expendable, tearing open a large-enough hole. She stood poised on the precipice of the cargo door, watching herself from the back seat. She imagined being sliced apart painlessly and in an instant, gaining nothing. Certainly not Balvadere's life.

Oh, but wouldn't that be a favorable exchange? Worth a little risk, just a little more today. A distraction ploy, for lack of a more efficient test of their foe's capabilities. She leapt out, grey muscles shedding waste heat as a fiery glow, and ran to flank the seraph. Morbidly curious whether its anatomy, what with the spontaneous eye generation, even had a flank.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Thu 02 Apr 2015, 2:35 am

Tythirr had just finished tossing her bag into the back of the truck when the seraph burst from the woods, and Balvadere jumped off the tailgate, looking to play the hero. Tell me we're not having any self-sacrifices before we even figure out what we're doing... she thought. A glance around confirmed where everyone was, and a plan formed. They had several guns, and a car, it's not like they particularly needed to buy a lot of time; enough bullets should cover their escape just fine. "Orc!" she shouted, "Give the human the keys, pile in, and grab Balvadere. You–" she pointed to Kyra, "Drive, and don't stop until we get where we're going." She climbed onto the side of the vehicle, one clawed foot on the fender, and the other gripping the edge of the bodywork, and drew both pistols. She didn't want to start shooting until the orc-shaped intrusion into the field of fire had come and gone.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Thu 02 Apr 2015, 2:54 am

Rhaokin initially flinched as the... thing burst into the clearing. She scarcely had time lay one of several curses upon her negligence of the sensor array, when her sister had started yelling the very words she was about to form herself.

Unfortunately her clinging to the car was based far more in her arms, and she knew she would need at least one when the car began to lurch. Freeing her right, she peeled her drone higher into the air, though between the... creature, and the car, if placed on a two dimensional grid. Taking careful aim, she prepared to lay down a field of suppressing fire as soon as that... porcelain mass moved. She knew the drone's belt was at least half empty, she couldn't afford to start firing until it started moving. But that had to have been more than enough, the creature looked fragile, surely a few rounds should dissuade it from chasing the vehicle, once it started driving.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Thu 02 Apr 2015, 10:40 am

Glenn caught the keys on cue and was prepared to depart on their grand voyage with him steering the ship. He had the whole montage played out in his head: him stomping the pedal, swerving around every corner, and then drifting a crescent perfectly into the parking spot. Sure, there was the bird lady and her lack of confidence in him, as suggested by her attempted advice, but he was positive he'd leave her impressed by the end of the ride. This was the montage played in his head. Never in his imaginary world did he anticipate a freakish monster jumping out of the woods.

Balvadere jumped out immediately and was promptly disarmed, but enough time was fortunately provided to the group for them to formulate a plan. The other bird lady, Tythirr, seemed to have an idea in mind. At least, more of a plan formulated than Glenn did. That was fine. Glenn tossed the keys over to the other side of the car and bent over before running a sprint, energizing himself with each step and letting rockskin encapsulate his body and strengthening his hide, each step propelling himself further than before.

The orc appeared in a blur before Baldavere, pushing away the human's attempted punch with the palm of his hand - this unfortunately meant his back was exposed to Razierr. For that split moment, Glenn's eyes bore into Baldavere's.

"Don't be daft!" He yelled. He made his attempt to scoop Balvadere around the man's side with the pit of his elbow so he could make his charge back to the car while Arj'atyn attempted to distract... whatever it was with her golem.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Thu 02 Apr 2015, 2:07 pm

"Lemme be! I can take 'em, I can take 'em!" But Balvadere's struggles were no more effective against Glenn's grip than they were in the arena months ago. Flailing and frothing and shouting curses, the burly old human felt himself hauled backwards and thrown unceremoniously into a pile of luggage.

~~~

Mrorgain stood alone on the porch, grumbling obscenities into the tranquil nighttime air. If she was tall enough, she would have leaned on the banister, but instead the dwarf gripped the wooden posts like prison bars. If I was less of a fool, she mused, I'd have gone myself instead, and left the human to safe-watch the gnomes. But to abandon them now would be yet more folly.

In a bog of frustrated inaction Mrorgain huffed her way inside. Hennip and Drinnip sat on the hard floor on either side of a chess board; they looked up in expectation.

"No sign yet," Mrorgain harumphed, "but time is quickly running out. Go ahead and prepare our escape, and be ready to move, for we shall likely have to slam the door behind us."

Without a word the gnomes saluted and scuttled off down the cellar stairs. Mrorgain glanced at the gnomes' laptop; she could not make perfect sense of the blips and numbers, but the dwarf did not need the monitor to tell her that her newest recruits were in trouble. Mrorgain sighed to the empty room and strode back outside. They'll make it. Surely, they'll make it.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Sat 04 Apr 2015, 11:05 pm

Raizerr flinched. The suppressing fire from the pesky flying drone caused some of it's porcelain like coating to chip and crack. Overall Raizerr was not too bothered, but it was enough to cause it to reevaluate it's strategy. It was frustrated now. Several more eyes appeared on Raizerr's face. It saw the opening caused by Balvadere's recklessness and swung.

Kyra started the car and shifted the car into reverse. She planned to ram Raizerr with the vehicle before driving off with everyone. In this instant she saw Glenn's opening and yelled out "Hey, Watch out!" Thought unfortunately she wasn't yet familiar with Glenn's name and wasn't able to specify it was him who should be looking out. She hoped that he understood anyway.

Then Kyra had another idea. She shifted the car into Neutral and slammed the gas. The load roar of the engine was enough to cause Raizerr to focus on the vehicle, hopefully long enough to allow Balvadere and Glenn to escape.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Sun 05 Apr 2015, 11:04 pm

Urvad sighs languidly at the antics of his companions. A crazy-looking, comparatively giant multi-winged and many-bladed creature was just attacking them. He had not come here to die (merely to get rich), and so had hastily retreated from the combat as fast as his legs could carry him. The sounds of gunfire, sword-clashing, and many stomping feet rang up all around him in a cacophony of noise, numerous voices shouting to one another and issuing all sorts of commands he did not care or bother to comprehend.

Instead, Urvad grabbed hold of the bottom ledge of the truck's rear, and yanked himself up. Hastily pulling his way into a corner, he made himself as small as possible, and did what he could to ignore the mad-person revving the engine. The goblin wonders if this quest was really worth it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Sun 05 Apr 2015, 11:32 pm

Arj'atyn's dog swung wide around, betraying her rather partial awareness of the plan. She took a running leap at the outsider, by which time the machine-organism had unfortunately just taken its swing.

But hopefully, between the jeep's loudly-announced intent to escape and (assuming it was not dodged) the sudden weight of a golem (lightly) scratching up its back with sharp claws, snapping at its (redundant) wings with crushing jaws, Raizerr would indeed be every bit as preoccupied as Balvadere had hoped to make it.

And then, Arj'atyn supposed, she'd either be thrown off or slip off (or have missed entirely). At which point they'd get to test whether a dog could, given mechanical limitations, catch up to an accelerating jeep. Or, for that matter, stick the landing, absent a cerebellum of its own.

(It could catch up, in fact. To this jeep, anyways. And so it would, unless Raizerr made an example of it.)

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Tue 07 Apr 2015, 3:03 am

The orc had made his move, the car was about to move... if Tythirr was going to ever have a clear shot, this was it. She tapped the magical reservoirs in her guns for a little power, imbuing her next bursts with magic; these bullets would not ricochet or otherwise bounce; the tungsten slugs would hit their targets and either penetrate or break up on contact before falling to the ground, expending their all their force into whatever they hit.

Keeping her ballistic sight up for good measure, Tythirr loosed a half-dozen bullets from each gun, focusing her fire on a single point near center mass - surely there was something important there that could give it something to think about, right? She admittedly didn't know much about the anatomy of... whatever this white thing was, but it was what she had. All she did know for sure, is the sooner the car got moving, the better.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Tue 07 Apr 2015, 4:03 am

If she had not miscounted, Rhaokin could see they were all aboard. Tapping loudly on the roof, the only signal she could imagine would work with the engine revved as high as it was, before she went through the motions to pull her drone back, still spraying the last of its rounds into Raizerr's powerfully protective porcelain, in the vain hope that she could disable, or at least convince the giant sentient toilet that they were too much to handle alone. Anything to buy them a few fleeting moments to make their escape.
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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Sat 11 Apr 2015, 2:47 am

Four rugged tires squealed against hard-packed dirt, and with a great crash, four tons of steel met Seraph-flesh. Without waiting a second more than necessary the jeep clunked into gear and sped off with a roar down the old dark road, and so none of its occupants knew for sure whether the six-armed nightmare of an angel was down for the count. All they heard were the quiet rumbling of the old engine and the rustlings of night-creatures as they cleared the path.

"I coulda had 'em," groaned Balvadere from somewhere in the back, "shoulda let me take 'em, I'd'a bit the bastard's arms off... Oy, my poor gut."

There then came an unpleasant heaving, followed by a stream of curses and wet slapping noises. Later, someone would open their luggage to be met with a despondent surprise. But Balvadere soon quieted, and the rugged little jeep sped on down the road and, soon, over a rickety old bridge and on into the dense wood.



~~~

Boras von Bennford, cold, exhausted, and sure that now he'd never get that necrology internship in Askion, stumbled into the clearing where he last fancied he saw the dim white light.

He shuddered from more than the evening chill as the bones of his old machinations crunched underfoot. At first glance, the clearing appeared to be empty, but Boras could not shake the feeling that something powerful was lurking close by. It dulled his mind like liquor and set his teeth to grinding. "H-hello?" he stammered into the night.

~~~

After twenty minutes of brisk riding, Kyra pulled up outside a run-down old ranger on the edge of the foothills; the light in one window had been visible for a half mile down the road, and as the jeep drew closer it flickered and went out.

A furiously burly figure, standing at a straight-backed 3' 6", flew from the old door and stopped atop the porch as if struck by a bullet in the head. In one hand she held an electric torch; the light flit from face to face like a bumblebee. By and by the figure extinguished the light, and now the six could make out her face.

She was a dwarf with an old, wrinkled red face, who stared at the company with the look of one who has spotted the ghost of an old friend. "Yes, yes," they heard her mutter, "you are they, if memory serves. It seems Balvadere does not always go wrong, after all.

"Welcome!" she boomed in a great and sudden cheer. "Welcome!, welcome!, welcome!, and come inside, do! Oh, but how happy this makes me - I feel like a little lass again!" The dwarf stood aside and beckoned the travelers through the door. "I am Mrorgain the Rock, of course, and very pleased to - to hrrrm, meet you all in person. Come in, hurry! And where is that blasted human? He'll port your luggage for you, and then once in safety we may speak of business. But hurry! Fell things prowl the woods this night, and I shudder to think that they should catch us in the skins!"

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Sun 12 Apr 2015, 9:33 pm

Arj'atyn felt like a poor excuse for a mage. No control over the battlefield. Nearly overcommitted, and for what?

Their foe remained unknown to them, beyond the vaguest knowledge - its kind, its first choice of weapon. But a blood-knight drawn from the Void said... something, perhaps, about its master. The rugged but light vehicle felt altogether too exposed. She grit her teeth and fingered the fabric of her seat (imagining the fabric of reality), her claws catching on the threads.

~~~

Greeted by the great Mrorgain, Arj'atyn found herself the first of the company to speak. The hunched set of her shoulders conveyed nigh-aggression (anything more would disrespect their host), despite her rather fixed facial expression. Her throat, not yet flushed with true anger, fought to shape mammalian phonemes.

"Your warning comes late. Your human hauls nothing until his wound is nursed. Feel lucky it is not worse." She turned her back, heading for the vehicle's cargohold, intending mainly to check up on her dogs before leading them in. Surely the brawler or valkyrie would carry Balvadere in.

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the density function of the normal distribution
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a discrete sampling, up to variance and cutoff
1d6 - 1d6

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Mon 13 Apr 2015, 3:27 am

Tythirr pried herself off the side of the vehicle, not particularly caring to think how much assorted mud and detritus her back was now covered in after her difficult ride on the side of an off-roading vehicle driving down a bumpy trail at high speed. Normally, she might have enjoyed a harrowing adventure like that, but this was just sort of dirty, bumpy, and blind, since she'd spent the whole trip pointed wrong way 'round.

2/10, would not recommend, especially for non-vrana. Cleaning my tailfeathers will take days.

She gave Mrorgain a once-over, then nodded and grabbed her backpack herself. With the start this job was off to, she wasn't filled with confidence. They'd been attacked twice in five minutes, their contact was already nearly dead, and her sister had shown up on what she expected may not be a two-way trip. Gods only knew what could happen to her gear in the space of twenty feet, at this rate, especially with their supposed porter nursing his wounds.

But, she reminded herself, at least a few of the crew that had been put together seemed competent, and perhaps Mrorgain had better ideas after having everyone trek through the necromancer-infested forest on foot. But for now, Tythirr was stiff and wanting to sit down, so she shook herself off as best she could and came in through the door.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Mon 13 Apr 2015, 5:26 am

Rhaokin sighed as she relaxed her electric muscles, their tensed grip leaving a mark in the vehicle's roof as she clamored off. Thankfully, she'd opted to wear her supplies with her, and had no need of their presently indisposed assistant. Taking advantage of the transport blocking her from sight of their new benefactor, Rhao rapidly patted herself down, smoothing out and straightening her clothes. First impressions were important after all.

Despite her attempts at a still refined appearance, Rhao was obviously still shaken from their encounter. She had no idea what'd just tried to kill them all... but it clearly demonstrated she could do nothing to it, and that, that was terrifying. Was there only the one? More? Were there armies of these things? "By The-All-Father." escaped her beak as she thought to herself. It was right that she was here, this needed to be stopped... whatever they were planning.

Returning her focus to the task at hand, that of getting inside, maybe taking a spot by a warm hearth, the pied bird woman followed her sister in, pausing only to bow before Mrorgrain, as her wardrone found perch along her then flat back, and extending a hand to catch a small object out of the air as it dived down next to her. She couldn't leave her tools out in the cold, alone. Not on a night like this.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Madame." she said as she rose, and walked inside.
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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Mon 13 Apr 2015, 4:33 pm

After being slammed with the car Raizerr found itself laying on the ground. It had been prepared to fight fleshlings, not a metal vehicle. It shifted and then stopped. Looking down it saw that it's exterior and been cracked in several places. Some of these cracks forming holes in it's flesh. From inside the flesh could be a swirling black mass. The form of the black mass was confusing. Several eyes and mouths and tentacles could be seen, but only briefly as the next second it seemed as if they'd not been there and you'd just imagined them. But then suddenly whatever had replaced them for that moment seemed to have just been your imagination as well.
Raizerr was not pleased. It knew that it would not be able to pursue the group at this time.

---

Kyra yawned and lay across the steering wheel of the car. She was exhausted. It had been a very long night and driving a vehicle away from a seraph like that had left her more than just a little tired. She wasn't really in the mood for saying much at this time so she shut her eyes briefly and hoped that the others would do most of the talking.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Mon 13 Apr 2015, 5:33 pm

"Wound?" Mrorgain frowned, perplexed. "So you've been snagged already, eh? We were afraid of that." She shifted her head to peer around Arj'atyn. "Old Bally still alive in there?"

Her only answer was the wave of a weak hand thrust out from the luggage pile, accompanied by a low, grumbling groan. Mrorgain hurried over and pulled herself onto the bumper to peer into the back of the jeep.

Balvadere had spent the ride binding his wound with his torn shirt; his chestpiece lay on top of him, coated in an ugly black smear edged in red. Mrorgain gave a harrumph and extended her arm; Balvadere grasped it, and was hauled out of the jeep by a dwarf half his size.

"Quit your gasping," she scolded, stumbling with him to the porch, "you've done fine work tonight. Hennip! Drinnip!"

There came a pounding of tiny feet from inside, and two gnomes appeared in the bright rectangle of the doorway. When they saw Balvadere their little eyes widened, and the pair scrambled down to help. The smaller one leaped deftly upon the larger one's shoulders, and in this way Balvadere was able to lean on them, groaning and mumbling harsh words beneath his breath. Mrorgain set her hands on her hips and watched as the swaying trio stumbled up and through the doorway.

She turned, returned Tythirr's nod, and offered Rhaokin a blood-stained hand. "The pleasure is mine, vrana." Then, grim-faced she marched over to the jeep and hauled out two bags in each meaty fist. Soon all the luggage lay piled neatly in the entrance hall, and Mrorgain ushered her guests into the sitting-room, where tea and thin wafers lay in ceramic ware on the coffee table, and many chairs had been brought in to form a wide circle.

Mrorgain went off to check on Balvadere and the gnomes in a side room, and for a moment it was quiet. Dust particles wafted through musty air. There was a series of low mumbling, and a pair of stout dwarf feet plonked back through the halls. Mrorgain stood before the assembled company, staring at the carpet as she scratched her beard for a moment.

"Well," she said to herself, and looked up. "Here you are." She studied the faces of the orc, the goblin, the two vrana, the lizardwoman, and the human, all sitting here in her very own sitting room, in the light of her very own fire. "We'll, ah, we can get started now."

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Mrorgain settled into a rocking chair with a grunt, and began. "Thank you all for coming. The first thing is, we shan't stay here for long, as there will soon be more guests like... hrrrm, like whatever found you earlier. Yes, yes; we're here at the foot of what the Huginnese call the Silver Hills, on account of the mineral, you see. This hut is what remains of an old prospector's redoubt. It's linked to a network of tunnels, which travel for many miles to the south-west, and after we are rested - and after I have laid the basics of this venture out on the table - I and those that are still willing shall be making our egress through those passageways. The air is old and heavy down there, and the trolley-works are likewise, but I've gone through the system many times and find it quite safe. The tunnel-carts shall put us ahead of our pursuers, if but for the moment."

She paused for a sip of tea, and coughed. "Here, then, is my job offer." From her pocket Mrorgain pulled what appeared to be a flash drive - thin, glossy black, and covered in swirling white runes. Holding it in her hand she swung it slowly around the room and back before placing it with care onto the coffee table. "This," Mrorgain grunted, "holds eight petabytes of code. It is a fragment of a very old program, and on a device that a friend of mine in the Museum of Askion has dated to - well, to very long ago, far beyond the age of computers and codes.

"That's strange enough, but it's beside the practical. We believe," - here she sat forward and stared into the eyes of the assembled companions - "that this program contains powerful magic, and we are very serious in our commitment to its recovery. My colleagues and I represent a historical society that has long analyzed the legends surrounding this code, scarce as they are, and long believed it to be no more factual than the Grim Reaper. But a few decades ago, in the 6957th year if I'm exact, one of our members happened upon a powerful clue, and this only because - hrrrrm - because someone else had happened upon it first, you see."

Mrorgain furrowed her brow as, beating her chest, she hocked something from her trachea. "HA-HURRRM. Yes. So by chancing upon the efforts of this faction, we had found ourselves in a bit of a race..." She frowned at the flash drive. "And only recently have we pulled ahead. We'd unearthed the locations of each part of the code, you see, and dispatched parties to retrieve them. Yet only one drive made it back into our hands.

"But don't go getting cold feet," she insisted, looking up at the company. "Most of whom we sent were the slowest, squishiest old blokes you'd ever skipped scum at: office-dwellers who'd not fight a ferret if it made off with their firstborn, and I find it hard to miss them. So we put whatever remained of our heads together and said we needed to find us some real mercenaries, adventurers, folks of sterner stuff!" Mrorgain broke into a rich laugh from the deep of her gut and ended up in a hacking cough. Bent over, she waved a finger in the air to shoo away help, and was soon back upright.

"Harrumph. So this is why I've sent for you six - ahh, well, there were more I sent for, but you are what I have, so you will have to do. We need you to recover these flash drives - there are five total, and we have one, so that leaves four in the wilds of Mindennauer. They've been hidden very cleverly by someone who didn't want anyone to stumble upon them, not for billions of years, but we know exactly where they are.

"We'll pay richly, and fulfill all contracts old Bally might have made with each of you, bruise his britches. Covered also are traveling and medical expenses, and - hrrm, I've the full list of insurances and benefits in the back." Mrorgain sniffed and clapped her hands on her knees. "I'll take any questions now, but what we really must know is - are you all accepting? For if not, you must leave as soon as possible, lest you get caught up in the mess anyway." Her eyes drifted from Glenn to Rhaokin to Tythirr to Urvad to Arj'atyn to Kyra - who appeared to have nodded off (Mrorgain let out a long sigh).

"And if you've no questions, and while you decide: now you have heard my story, and I should very much like to hear yours, at least, a portion of it. What happened with Balvadere? The gnomes had been tracking some powerful signatures in this area, but we know nothing of what they actually were, and I can see you've been in your share of scrabbles tonight."

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 3:42 pm

The first impression was nothing astounding, but it wasn't like Glenn was expecting a castle. It was within his initial presuppositions that they weren't going anywhere pretty, just like in the old adventure books - a band of rugged heroes squatting down in a cave around a fire, while the quest-giver assigns them their perilous mission that'd log their names in history textbooks and profound odes alike! While of course the substantial payment was lovely, the allure of adventure was inviting enough. Despite his attention occasionally drifting during the long-winded explanation of their task, Glenn did catch enough that led him to feel insecure in the breadth of their mission.

"So... why don't we just smash it?" He said simply, being the first to reply, and ignoring Mrorgain's actual question. He could already feel the staring eyeballs crawling over his skin.

"B'cause, like, this dude really didn't want us finding his stuff, right? So this is some preeeetty bad doodad we're lookin' at, and I'm doubtin' there'd be a problem with burnin' bridges and makin' sure nobody has 'em... and if a bloke needs all five, then..."

Bah, and to think he came all this way just to have his adventure be taken away. Unless there was a reason these people wanted all five. In that case, there was still the matter if these were the kind of people worth workin' for. Now he might not be the brightest, Glenn would admit, but mama always told 'im not to go 'round trustin' every other stranger promising you money.

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Tue 14 Apr 2015, 7:46 pm

Mrorgain seemed at once glad and irritated. "Harrmph, you're smarter than you look, Glenn. (Glenn, yes? Yes.)" Staring at a space off behind Glenn's head, she set to tugging on her short beard. "The fact of the matter is, Glenn, we can't say for sure that 'smashing it' isn't precisely what our enemy has in mind, were they to get their mitts on it. Yes, an embarrassing situation indeed; we have little knowledge of this enemy, other than it takes the name Byüligítznuk, after the demon of lore you see, and that it goes to great evils to get what it wants. My society only set ourselves up in arms against this name after great deliberation, for we had reason to... Baah." Mrorgain cracked a few knuckles. "That's of no matter to you, hrrm. Yes, the danger is great and the pay is to match, that's all a few fine-feathered adventurers such as yourselves would care about. Ah, no offense to present company, of course," she added with a nod to the Rhaokin and Tythirr.

"Yes," Mrorgain continued, "we've compiled tomes of information on this enemy and its activities, methods, affiliations, and all the works... Nearly all that we know. These we'll make available to you for the completion of your quest."

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 4:13 am

Arj'atyn, making the most of the reprieve (and interested in staving off sleep deprivation), held a teacup to her lips and licked up the boiled leaf extract. This went on for the entire duration of Mrorgain's info-dump.

She couldn't help but speculate about Mrorgain's well-being, privately. Their otherwise anonymous employers would be on the hook for quite the package... as if that would be the end of it. Wouldn't it? Either the artifact was a fake (despite all legitimately relevant evidence), or time was more screwed up than she'd thought.

Whatever was or wasn't on there, it was worth more than the six of them - Mrorgain's people seemed to think they knew that much. So Glenn's suggestion was horrifying on multiple levels. Arj'atyn straightened from her slouch. Liquid sloshed in her teacup, idly-held in a tilt, and her tail's tip retreated back over the seat's edge.

'Nearly all' of too-little intelligence sounded like a pitiful place to start from. "We pursue one drive at a time? And the enemy... follows us." She drew out her words, perhaps for dramatic effect rather than mental fumbling. "Did you know, the enemy has a seraph?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 5:29 am

Tythirr smirked at Glenn's comment. She liked the orc's style, no nonsense. Though Mrorgain also had a legitimate point, blowing it up may not be necessarily in their best interest, the option should stay open and on the table, in her opinion, and she wasn't without ideas on how to do it. She'd voice those concerns, but for now, the familiar-looking lizardess had brought up a new point that was perhaps more paradigmatically important. What was her name, it had been so long ago...

"She's right," Tythirr chimed in. "If we've already been followed at least part of the way here, we could easily be followed again, and we'd be leading the enemy to whatever progress we make, and basically handing them infor-" She came to a realization, and brought a slightly shaky hand to her forehead.

"Mrorgain, how do you know that the captured or killed operatives weren't seen or picked up by the enemy? If they were sighted anywhere near the drives, and the enemy had the foggiest clue what you were doing, then they already know exactly where to go for the others."

Saying her employer's name sounded odd to her; usually, in her line of work, names weren't given.

"This isn't about racing for the drives, I don't think. It's about stealing them back from the enemy. Even if they don't have the others yet, if we wait for them to do the dirty work, then steal the prize out from under them, it still poses less risk in that we're not being chased as hard. It's like... oh, those old action movies with the handsome Vrana archaeologist. You know the actor, he also did those space movies? Eh, anyway. Point is, we don't have a lot of resources, so we let the bad guys do the hard parts and make bank once that's done for us."

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PostSubject: Re: The Earthheart - IC   Wed 15 Apr 2015, 5:46 am

Rhaokin sat silently for a moment, warming herself before the fire as the others talked. Some of them voiced concerns she'd had herself, others brought up new ones. Nothing their employer ended up saying though, was reassuring.

Whether it was nerves talking, or the glass of wine had dulled her sense of restraint, she finally turned to speak.

"I don't give a damn about your money." she said bluntly and matter of factly, turning to face Mrorgain. That probably wouldn't shock the dwarf, or any of Rhao's companions, she already had the air of having all that she needed. "I'm here because whoever wrote my letter, made it clear we're in the business of stopping something terrible from happening; and with that white... bladed... thing, we passed on our way here, I'm inclined to agree. So you need to be forward with us. If you don't trust us, you shouldn't have hired us, because whether we go with you or not, you've given each and every one of us a new, horrible enemy who wants to kill us. The least you can do is help us do our job. Good soldiers die from poor intelligence, especially intelligence covered in black ink." she sighs, shaking her head as she ruminated on what her sister had said. It was a good plan, and it was probably the best they could do, outmatched as they were.

"I agree with the orc. We'll stay our hand for now, but if it comes to pass these are nothing but danger, I say we break it. And I agree with my sister. We just don't have the manpower to be on the defensive. We need to be surgical. Pick our battles."
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