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  • Myths of Power

    (A note: This ongoing story can also be followed under the facebook group Myths of Power)

    A darkened figure sits slumped over on top a large piece of ruin.

    "Rain. It's always raining. Can't remember the last day it was dry."

    The figure sits up straight and holds his hand to the sky.

    "At least the blood has finally washed away..."

    He stands up. Around the figure are dozens of dead bodies clad in medieval armour. No wounds or blood can be seen. In the distance, a large fire can be seen with strange figures moving around it.

    "Damn 'thropes. They never know when to leave things well enough alone."

    He wraps a bloodstained cloak around himself and starts, half-sliding down a muddy embankment.

    At the bottom, he spots a broken shield. Bits of white and brown fur clinging to the edges.

    "I know you're there Joseph. You never were one to celebrate. I would suggest you get your 'people' and get to safe harbour."

    A russle comes from a nearby bush. A low gruff voice whispers out.

    "I'll get them when I'm damn well ready. They deserve to celebrate, given what's been happening to our kind!"

    The cloaked figure turns around wielding a small sword.

    "You know very well that this was Karen's fault. Had she just.."

    A flurry of fur and claw whip by the figures face, bits of cloak and flesh trailing after.

    "Mention Karen one more time and I'll make sure you never speak again!"

    The figure raises his hand to wipe his face. A face pot marked with scars and open wounds. Small insects can be seen crawling in and around them. He wipes his face and sheaths his sword.

    "Yes. I suppose I deserved that. What will you do then, Joseph? In a few hours, an army of them will arrive and wipe you out. We can't afford to lose another race."

    Joseph stands from his hunched position. Long fur quickly retreating to bare flesh. He turns to face the figure. A worried and sorrowful gaze fills his now human face.

    "I'll let them be for 30 minutes. It's been a long time since they last danced."

    The figure put a hand on Josephs shoulder. Beatles escape from the cloak to fall to the ground.

    "It will be a lot longer if they are caught. Take them to the docks. I have a ship there, the Lazerous..."

    A smile crosses Josephs face.

    "Your humour stinks..."

    "I know. But it seemed to fit. The lazerous will take you to the continent. From there you should be safe... for a while."

  • #2
    "Thank you Richard. You've been a good friend through these hard times."

    Joseph turns and starts to walk towards the dancers. He stops and looks slightly back to Richard.

    "And... I'm sorry for striking out at you. Karen was.. special to me."

    Both men stand in silence.

    "Will I see you on the continent?"

    Richard steps forward.

    "I don't know my friend. I have some business to take care of here and I don't know if i'll make it out in one piece."

    "Hrmp. One piece, ten pieces, or a thousand. I know I'll see you again, you bastard!"

    Joseph bolts off into the distance, fur and claw once again asserting themselves.

    Richard stands, watching him go.

    "Yes, my friend. I'm sure you will."

    He pulls the hood of his cloak up to cover his face and turns away.

    "I'm just not sure you'll like me when you do."

    He climbs back up the embankment and carefully starts to cross the bodies.

    As he passes a rather small looking corpse, a hand jolts out to grab his ankle. Richard bends down, grabs the hand and forces it to release. He moves debris away to find the corpse of a young woman.

    "Well my dear, you're not looking all that well."

    The woman makes some gurgling noises.

    "No, don't try to speak. Most of your throat is missing."

    The womans eyes widen in fear.

    "Don't worry. I'm here to help. What I want you to do is just concentrate. Visualise...stop grasping at your throat, you arn't breathing anyway.."

    The woman stops. She grabs Richards arm, shaking.

    Richard speak calmly and slowly, trying to take away her fears.

    "Now do as I say. Close your eyes and visualise yourself as a broken vase. Now think about all the pieces coming together to reform itself. Concentrate hard. This will most likely take a few minutes."

    As minutes pass, pieces of flesh and bone inch thier way to the woman from the surroundings.

    "Good, that's good. Can you speak?"

    The woman rubs her throat, shocked that all seems normal.

    "i..iitsss.. harrrrd..."

    Richard raises his had to stop her.

    "Give it a day or so and your voice will come back. I the meantime, i need to check on something."

    He looks her over and finds a small symbol on the back of her knee.

    "Well, that's not mine. I wonder who else was here today?"

    Richard stands up and offers the woman his hand.

    "Come with me. If you stay here, you're going to cause far too many questions. I will explain your..or rather "our" situation, along the way."

    Comment


    • #3
      3 Hours later, in Harrings Wood

      "To put it simply... we're dead...well not living at least."

      Richard and the woman stumble through a densly forested area, the sounds of where they were hours behind them.

      "You've most likely noticed that even though we're trampling our way around this forest, you don't seem to be out of breath."

      Richard stops and places a hand upon the womans chest.

      "Keep noticing, and you'll find that you aren't really breathing at all."

      The woman face becomes puzzled.

      "If you aren't living, then why breath? It's simple, once you think about it."

      The woman still looks puzzled and shakes her head, not fully undersatnding.

      "Look.. why don't we stop here for the night. I don't want to accidentally run into.. 'unfriendly' people in the dark."

      Richard removes a small satchel from inside his cloak and pulls out a flintbox. He gathers up some wood from the surrounding area and lights a small fire.

      "There. That should keep away any unwanted creatures."

      The woman turns to him with a look of panic.

      "No, no.. I meant, wolves and animals like that."

      He thinks for a minute.

      "I suppose I'll have to give you a name... How about.. Catherine? Does that sound good?"

      Catherine thinks for a second and then nods approvingly.

      "Ok then Catherine... I guess I'll start at the begining..."

      Comment


      • #4
        "For ages now, children have been told all sorts of faerie tales about witches, goblins, elves and trolls. What almost all of the world doesn't know is that most of those tales... were true"

        Catherines face wrinkles in disbelief.

        "It's true. Since the dawn of mankind, there have also been faerie kind. Creatures that took a different path from human-kind. The most powerful were the Elves and the Trolls. However, being the most powerful isn't all that it sounds like. Wars between the two were common enough to get the attention of the human's fear."

        Richard stands and walks around the fire. He looks deep into the night trying to see the unseen.

        "Ages ago, the Humans decided that the Faerie folk were too powerful..too strange to live with them, even on the outer edges of civilization. They banded together and wiped out many of the elves and troll. Eventually, there were only a few left of our kind. Mostly just the ones that could more easily blend in with them."

        He picks up a rock and throws it into the bushes. It lands with a thud and animals can be heard running away.

        "Now, we are down to only a few clans. Ours, the Revenants, the Lycantropes, and the Vampyrics. There are a few other, small clans, such as the goblins. But their time is also almost gone. They are too few to survive."

        He turns and sits down to find Catherine asleep.

        "And so we find ourselves living in the human's shadows. Trying not to get caught..."

        Comment


        • #5
          Catherine is woken with a strange sensation on her chest. She looks down and lets out a scream.

          "Aaaahh, get it of..get it off!" she sweeps at a small animal sitting on top of her. It deftly dodges her blows and scurries around Richards feet.

          "Well, that just fine of you.." The creature says as it scampers between Richards feet. "...after me bringin' you breakfast and everything?"

          Catherine looks down to see a pile of nuts and berries arranged in a large leaf. She shuffles back and bumps into a tree.

          "I'm sorry...I just wasn't..." She says nervously, noticing that the creature is a small squirrel.

          The squirrel slowly moves towards her with what appears to be it's best angry look.

          "Just wasn't.. WHAT?? Ready? Thinking? Being DAMN respectful?!"

          Richard moves in closer and bends down to help Catherine up.

          "Shut-up Valerie, I told you she's new." He holds Catherines hand gently and pulls her to her feet.
          "Sorry about that. Valerie can have a bit of a temper on her in the morning"

          Richard turns to Valerie. "Let's make this easier on her, ok? Change into something more suiting."

          "Suiting to her, you mean. All right, give me a minute."

          Valerie runns behind a small bush. Noises similar to cracking bones and ripping leather come out, making Catherine wince.

          After a minute a small girl comes out.

          "There. Is. This. Better?"

          Richard suffs Valerie's hair. "Yes, thank you. Catherine, grab your breakfast and let's get going. We need to make up the ground we lost last night."

          "And WHO'S fault was that?!" Valerie chimes in

          "You know very well, that is our law that we can't leave a new one behind. It will..."

          Valerie raises her hand. " Yes, yes, I know... Leaving a new one behind could compromise our exsistance to the Humans."

          Richard looks down at her with a smirk. "I did the same thing with you, if you recall?"

          Valerie shuffles ahead of them with less than silent grumbles.

          "Richard?" Catherine grabs his arm."She's a lycer..lycan.."

          "Lycanthropic"

          "Thanks...but she's a squirrel?"

          "Fox-squirrel if you don't mind!" Valerie shouts back at her. At this point, Valerie is a good 30 yards away from the two and always looking around before seemingly waving them forward. Richard doesn't appear to be paying any attention to her motions.

          Comment


          • #6
            "Nevermind her. Like I said, she's irritable in the mornings. Lycanthropics can be found in all manner of creature form."

            Catherine tightens her grip. "For some reason I thought they would just be wolf like."

            Richard looks at her a little puzzled. "Really? You've only been reborn for a little over a day. You've never run into any lycanthropics. Why would you think that?"

            "I don't know? It just seemed to be in my mind that that's what they should be." Catherine looks at Richard.
            "Is that bad?"

            "No. Not 'bad'. it's just that, when one us becomes re-born, our personal memories vanish almost completely. Some say it's something our bodies do to prevent us from going insane."
            Catherine holds Richards arm tighter. "There are a few of us that retain some vague memory, but they usually only show up in our dreams. And even then, nothing can really be understood."

            "Do you have any?... dreams I mean?" Catherine bites her lip.

            "No" Richards states abruptly. He pulls his arm away from Catherine and moves forward the Valerie's position. Catherine looks upset.

            "Valerie..." Richard whispers to her as he kneels down. Both are on a boulder looking down into a small valley. " You stopped. What is it?"

            Valerie stoops down further, her ears now partially turned animalistic.

            "Humans... a small party. From the sounds they're making, heavily armed. Maybe they were from that group you fought with a few nights ago. Someone escape?"

            "Not that I could tell. I was...um..." Richards voice grows shallow as Catherine comes closer. "out of sorts."

            Valerie growls as she comes closer. "Get down, you stupid woman. Do you WANT them to spot us?!"

            Catherine drops as fast as she can, landing on her knee.

            "Ow.... Sorry, I didn't know" She rubs her knee hard.

            "Try to do the same thing I tought you earlier. Visualize and concentrate." Richard says while not turning to her.

            Valerie turns to look at her. "Oh, that's just disgusting. Go over by that tree and do that. I have a sensitive nose you know."

            Richard turns to see. "What's the matt... oh..."

            Richard looks to see that Catherine has ripped a knee cap right off and has obviously broken her leg.
            "Come on, let's move to the tree & i'll try to help you out."

            Comment


            • #7
              "Valerie, While I help Catherine, I want you to go scout out what they're doing down there. Don't be stupid. Don't try anything. Just observe and report back."

              Valerie starts to transform. " But what if..."

              Richard cuts her off. "Just... Observe"

              Valerie scurries down the hill side while Richard pulls Catherine to the tree.

              "Look, Catherine, This is going to be like before but you must concentrate harder."

              "Why? My wound earlier didn't take all that long?"

              Richard places the kneecap back on her leg. "And it took at least twelve hours before you could talk again. We don't have that kind of time right now. I know this seems unfair and I will explain things better when I have a chance, but for now you've got to trust me and do as I say." Richards face is that of someone with little sense of humour.

              "Okay, I'll do my best" Richard moves away. "Wait.. where are you going?"

              Richard pulls out a long black cloak and some wrappings from his pack. "I have to go down there and help her."

              "But I thought you told her to observe and report back to you?"

              Richard wraps his hands and head. The wrappings are old, bloody, torn and very dirty. "I did. And that's why I don't trust her to obey me."

              Just before he finishes wrapping his head and face Catherine can see Richards skin turn pale yellow and rot. He puts on the cloak.

              "Why are you doing that?"

              Richard walks to the boulders edge and peers over listening intently. He turn back to Catherine his voice altered by rotted body parts. "Well... no-one likes to be around the old leper-man!"

              He moves over the edge and starts to make his way down to the valley floor.

              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              THE VALLEY FLOOR

              Three men dressed as soldiers are moving around a small cart filled with pikes and spears. The wheel has broken in a small depression.

              A large man dressed in a higher rank moves around the cart. "LIFT IT UP THEN! GET THAT WHEEL FIXED!"

              The three other men speak as one. "Yes sir!"

              From a dozen feet above them Valeries observes them from a branch.

              "Just observe them... Don't do anything Stooopid. One of these days, I'll show him who the stupid one is. The rotting corpse bastard."

              Comment


              • #8
                As the three soldiers continue to fix their cart, The captain walks further into the woods not turning back to look at his underlings.

                “We have to get this weapons cart up to the forward garrison. I hear tell that there was an attack a few nights ago.”

                One of the men stops working.

                “The garrison was attacked?”

                The captain makes a face of utter contempt.

                “No, you fool! A militia was attacked over on Verdons field.”

                Valerie moves to a lower branch straining to listen.

                “Hmm, I wonder if that was where Richard was?” She thinks to herself

                The soldier moves closer to his captain.

                “Sorry sir, but do you mean the Patron’s militia? My cousin marches with them.”

                The captain turns.

                “Sorry lad, but the way my spy..er..source tells me, all who were marching that night were wiped out.”

                “Killed sir?” The soldier swallows hard. “Who attacked them?”

                “Can’t really say. He said it was hard to see, what with the heavy rain, but he walked around afterward and didn’t see anything alive.”

                He places a hand on the man’s shoulder.

                “We’ll find out soon enough, boy. Don’t worry. You’ll have your vengeance.”

                The other two soldiers complete the repairs and push the cart out of its hole with the help of a large old work horse.

                Valerie moves down to the ground and scurries over toward the cart. The two men see her and one pulls out hunting knife.

                “Looks like we’ve found dinner.”

                Valerie freezes in mid-stride. She now sees that she has placed herself in between the three soldiers and the captain.

                Another soldier pulls out a sling and bullet. "Don't worry this won't hurt at bit!"

                Her legs now frozen in terror, she looks around for an escape and with a push of adrenaline she makes a jump under the horse and towards the cart. A bullet whizzes pass as she darts in between legs and wheels.

                A voice booms out from the trees. It's sickening undertones of rot, recognizable to only a lucky few.

                "Help a old leper to the city gates?"

                Richard places one of his wrapped hands on the captains arm. He reels back in sickening repulsion.

                "Don't touch me you filthy beggar. How did you get behind me so quietly? Where are you from?"

                By this point the captain is trying to hold back whatever was unlucky enough to have been in his stomach from breakfast. The other soldiers cease their hunt and form up behind him, swords drawn.

                Valerie takes this as her chance and starts to circle around to get to who she hopes to be Richard.

                "Ay, sir, a beggar I am. But that is because life is what it made this poor, decrepit body to be."

                The soldiers relax somewhat but keep their swords at the ready.

                Richard takes a few steps towards them. As he does, then soldiers step back and keep their distance.
                Valerie, now standing just in the treeline, out of view, takes a sniff to the air. She soon realises that this was a bad idea.

                "Uh.. what a stench." She thinks as little paws rub her face and nose, trying to clean the almost physical smell Richard has created. "I'm impressed, the old bastard's good at this. Keep the disgust high and no one wants to bother with you for fear of becoming ill."

                Comment


                • #9
                  The captain holds his hand up to his nose.

                  "That's all well and er.. good, old man, but what do you want in the city?"

                  Richard shuffles closer to the weapons causing two of the soldiers to rush around the cart in protection.

                  "I hear tell, there's a physician in there that can help an old poor man in my condition." Richard swivels back toward the captain, holding his hand out in putrid want. "Do you know of him?"

                  The third soldier starts to think. A process that, by his facial appearance, is not done very often. "I think he means the monk who lives in the southern quarters, captain."

                  The captain looks back in irritation. "I know who he's talking about! Do you think I'm an idiot?" The two soldiers at the cart nod silently being out of their captains view.

                  "Unfortunately for you, old beggar, we are outside the Northern Quarter. I can't just let you in and let someone in your...condition... go wandering the streets. Besides I am currently occupied in more important matters."

                  Richard feigns impression. "Yes, I can see that. Off to arm the war effort are you? Have many 'trophies'?"

                  Valerie questions herself. "Trophies? What does he mean by that?"

                  The third soldier steps around his captain. "Watch your tongue! You speak to none other than Captain Bretarian. Hero of the Four Walls. Scourge of Faerie kind." The captain's chest becomes inflated with the praise.

                  Richard takes a step back and lowers himself. "Really? Hero of the Four Walls? Such a terrible battle that was. So much death and destruction. I'll wager you have some stories."

                  Captain Bretarian wells up with pride. "Let blood and bone rain over the battlefield! Let none enter these four walls! Let no man stray from his duty! Monsters are the stuff of nightmare and we are the light that shall extinguish them all!"

                  A tear wells up in Bretarian's eye. "I said that on the eve of battle and not a man faltered."
                  "But enough of that, beggar." The captain pulls out a coin from his purse, making Valerie perk up and take note of exactly where said purse was on the captain. "Take this coin and make your way to the southern gate. You can enter there through the lepers entrance."

                  Richard takes the coin with haste "Thank you, oh thank you great hero of the Four Walls. I shall not forget this day."

                  As the soldiers carry on their way, Valerie cautiously comes closer to Richard, holding her paws to her nose. "Is it safe?"

                  Richard looks down. "Hmm? Oh, yes, sorry about that. It was a bit much but it got their attention away from 'someone' who was just meant to 'OBSERVE'!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "I'm sorry. It's very boring just sitting in the branches, you know."

                    Richard turns back to the hill. "But it IS much safer, isn't it? I wasn't planning on making contact with anyone until we were inside the city walls. Now I'm going to have to be carefull about running into those idiots again."

                    Valerie climbs up Richards cloak and sits on his shoulder. "What? You mean you weren't impressed by the 'Hero of the Four Walls'?" She lets out a small chuckle.

                    "Oh he was most likely at the battle. It just wasn't as big as what he thought it was. The Four Walls was merely a diversion for a larger battle that was happening elsewhere."

                    "You talk as if you were there? When did this happen?"

                    "About twelve years ago and I was there, just not on the front lines. I'ld rather not talk about it just yet, if you don't mind. Some very painfull memories are still burried there. Let's just go get Catherine and make our way to the south gate."

                    Valerie jumps off Richard and transforms. "Richard?"

                    "Yes?"

                    "What did you mean by 'trophies'?"

                    Richard pauses and closes his eyes. "I keep forgetting, you haven't been in any real battles have you?"
                    He opens his eyes and continues up the hill. "During many battles, the humans who are in charge or of a moderatly high rank sometimes like to retain 'reminders' of the enemies they have killed. Sometimes its just a piece of armour, sometimes it can be something more... substantial."

                    "I don't understand. More substantial, like what?"

                    "It's not uncommon for bodies to be found without their heads or limbs. I've even been unlucky enough to see one human who had at least three revenant heads in jars. They say we revenants can exist forever, if we wanted to, but who wants to spend eternity in a jar?"

                    "Okay, I'm sorry I asked."

                    After a long and silent climb, they arrive at the boulder. Catherine is still resting on the tree, trying to regain the use of her leg.

                    Richard kneels down beside her and examines her work. "Well, this will have to do for now, Catherine. Valerie, go find something we can use as a crutch." Valerie wonders into the woods and starts pulling down small trees.

                    "I'm sorry, I just can't get it right. Every time I try, it just keeps breaking." Catherine lowers her head in frustration.

                    "Don't worry for now. Valerie will get a crutch, I'll wrap up your leg and we can make our way to the city."

                    Catherine looks up at Richard, fear filling her eyes. "Is that safe? I mean, won't it be dangerous for us?"

                    "Catherine, the entire world is dangerous for us. This is someplace I need to go and I can't leave you here. You're going to have to come with us."

                    Valerie steps out of the woods with a large branch. "US? No. I don't do cities, you know that. I have to stay in human form all the time, even when I sleep. It's just not something I'm going to do. You go in and do what you have to. I'm staying out here."

                    Richard takes the branch at trims it down for Catherine. "Well, I know better than to argue with you on this subject. Catherine and I will go and meet the monk. When I need you, I will try and get some kind of word out to you, so be ready."

                    With each giving a nod and Catherine now able to walk with a crutch, they part ways.

                    After an hour, They find themselves on a pathway heading for the south gate. Richard stops as they start to see the gate. "If the guards ask about us, I'm you father, William of Balantine and we've come to see the physician about our circumstances."

                    "I thought we were coming to see a monk?"

                    "We are, but outside the city, he's known as the physician. The guards won't want to get close to me, but you'll have to. Try not to react to the smell..."

                    "What smell... oh that is terrible."

                    "Sorry... Well Catherine, welcome to the Walled City of Haladan!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Chapter 2: Howls in the night

                      Both men stand in silence.


                      "Will I see you on the continent?"

                      Richard steps forward.

                      "I don't know my friend. I have some business to take care of here and I don't know if i'll make it out in one piece."
                      "Hrmp. One piece, ten pieces, or a thousand. I know I'll see you again, you bastard!"

                      Joseph bolts off into the distance, fur and claw once again asserting themselves. "Be safe, my friend. There are many dangers in Haladan that even you don't know of."

                      He covers the distance between Richard and the dancers at a speed that could outpace a race horse and claws to a stop in front of his bretheren.

                      "Sisters..Brothers... Today we have won a small battle, but I fear that this too will cause an even greater harm to our kind."

                      The dancers cease and listen intently.

                      A tall, slight form steps forward. Part human and part feline, black fur and bared silvered claws. Her voice as sleek as speed and as cold as death and bloodshed.

                      "Why do WE need to fear these humans, Joseph? Did this battle not prove that we can defeat them with ease?" She rubs a paw over her head and ears, her fur matted with blood and dirt.

                      Joseph bolts forward, barely able to be seen. He grabs her neck and lifts her into the air. Josephs lips curl back and he bares his long yellow fangs, many have been broken in battle. He screams with the authority of an old a battle-hardened warrior.

                      "DO NOT ENTERTAIN THE THOUGHT THAT YOU HAVE ANY SAY AROUND HERE, CELINE!"

                      Joseph throws her a few yards to the ground. Celine slides to a stop and begins to bare her own fangs, still bright and unfettered with age.

                      She stands and readies herself to fight only to find her shoulders in the grip of an extremely large lycanthran with a badger form. She struggles but can not move. "Let me go, Leland, let me go!"

                      With little perceived effort, Leland pushes her down to her knees. "Joseph is our leader and you will remain calm and quiet while he speaks." Leland's voice denies his size and is calming to all around him, although gruff and very low-toned.

                      Joseph ignores the commotion of Celine and Leland. "We have been offered passage to the continent. There are too many of us here to all make it to the docks without being noticed. I want all the of those who are without wounds to make their way there, in HUMAN form. Do not make yourselves noticed. Head for the Lazerous, the captain will be expecting you. All others can find safety in the woods. We are all survivors and will long outlive this night."

                      Joseph walks to Leland and Celine. "Let her go Leland." Celine stands, well aware that Leland could stop her in an instant. "You show great promise, Celine. Even enough promise to lead your own cadre one day."

                      Celine bears her fangs slightly. "I could lead one now, if I wished it."

                      Joseph leans forward into Celines face. "Not with the arrogance that you showed earlier. It will gain you no respect."

                      Celine begins to calm down. "So what will you do with me now. Have me cower like a frail kit on the seas?"

                      Joseph smiles. "No. You & Leland will be coming with me."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As the cadre disperses, Joseph, Celine and Leland walk toward an area that has been cleared of debis and bodies.
                        Jospeh turns to the others, hands behind his back. "Have either of you heard about the lycanthran known as 'Gefra'?"

                        Leland looks down at Celine and shrugs. Celine walks in a circle around Joseph. "I've heard a few things, whispers mostly. He, or she, is an information dealer that likes to stay in human form. I find that unlikely and disgusting. Gefra is just a story..."

                        "She.. is real, and, while it is true she tends to stay in human form, she is still one of us."

                        Celine places her hands on Josephs shoulders and whispers into his ear. "And what does this little tidbit have to do with us?" Her claws slowly start to extract.

                        Joseph grabs her left hand and in a flash twists her arm to a point of breaking, causing her to wince in pain.
                        "Gefra has information about a mission that we three will be undertaking." He releases Celines hand and she falls backwards. "This will not be a warrior's mission and it will require that we stay in human form for the most part..." Celine spits "But it is something we need to do to accomplish our goal."

                        Celine Gets to her feet. "And what goal would that be?"

                        "I intend to guarantee the future of the lycanthran race. To ensure that our children, grand-children and great grand-children will survive well beyond the other races. To ensure that the humans will , once and for all, leave us in peace!"

                        Celine takes a few steps backwards, unsure how to take these statements. She steadies herself and a vicious grim crosses her feline face, fangs glistening in the fire-light. "The only way to ensure that, would be to wipe them from existence."

                        Leland steps forward, a painfull worry across his face. "That's not what you want.. is it, Joseph?"

                        Jospeh approaches him and raises his hand to Lelands shoulders, only to reach his upper arm.
                        "Hold your fears Leland. That is not my goal. No, we accomplish our goal with as few casualties as possible. I'm sorry Leland, but I can't say that no one will suffer."

                        Leland drops his head in thought. He takes a deep breath as he shrinks in size by a few feet. Leland human form is that of a man in his 40's with a still massive build and large salt and pepper mutton chops.
                        "I believe in you, Joseph, and if you say as few people will suffer as possible... then I'll gladly aid you in this quest."

                        "I knew I could rely on your help, old friend." Joseph walks over to Celine who changes to a more aggressive stance. "And you? Are you coming with us? Are you willing to become something better than you are currently are?"

                        Celine snarls. "I'm happy with who I am. But I'm curious about this 'Gefra'. She might have information that I could use for my own purposes. If I need to help you with your mission to advance my own, then so be it." Celine relaxes slightly and shifts into her human form, a beautiful short black haired woman, with smooth features. Her small build would distract most people from the strength that hid within her.

                        Joseph smiles. "Very well. Perhaps I will be able to change your mind as we progress to our ultimate goal."
                        He breaths heavy and his own lycanthran form shifts. His hair goes short but unkempt. Multiple, strange tatoos are all over his arms. A large scar can be seen crossing his face from the right side of his chin to just above his left eye. Joseph grabs a torn cloak from one of the bodies just inside the battle area and puts it on.

                        "I would suggest each of you grab one of these as well. We're heading to the docks!"

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                        • #13
                          Celine grabs a few cloaks and tosses one to Leland. "The docks? So we are going on the sea."

                          "No, just to a dockside tavern. I've been told that Gefra, or someone who knows Gefra, can be found there. We're also going to take a slightly longer route. I don't want all of us to get there together." Joseph points to the others heading to the dock. "We'll take it easy. I don't believe that she is going anywhere. Once word of this little 'meeting'" Joseph points to the bodies. "comes to light, everyones movements will be suspect and our job becomes that much harder."

                          The three walk towards a rocky path away from the others. After a half hour of silent walking, Celine speaks up.

                          "So... How do you know this Gefra?... Were you and her...?"

                          Joseph pauses. "For a time, yes. It was long ago, before the elven war."

                          Celine looks shocked. "Before the war? I had no idea you were so...old!"

                          Leland snorts. "oh, um..sorry." he makes he way past them, nearly knocking Joseph into a small bush.

                          "Did you want to hear about Gefra, or just deride me on my age?"

                          "Can't I do both? Sorry.. continue."

                          Joseph leans down and grabs a long stick. He begins to swing it around at the bushes. " At the time, we were very young. She had just become a battle master apprentice in my clan. She was one of the best. The others said she was going to become clan elder one day." Jospeh looks up at the night sky. Clouds lit by the moonlight drift past. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. "If I concentrate, I can still smell the exotic oils and flowers she used to wash with."

                          Celine scratches her backside. "Oils and flowers? Sounds kind of prissy to me. That kind of scent would just alert your enemies."

                          Jospeh opens his eyes and shakes his head. "You have a lot to learn about being a woman, Celine."

                          Celine looks at him with mild disgust. "Just because I'm one of the fiercest warriors in our clan, doesn't mean I know nothing of womanhood." She continues scratching at her shoulders and sides. "Arr, how can these humans stand wearing these things. I itch all over!"

                          Joseph laughs. "Once we get the the docks, I'll see if we can't find something that suits your 'warrior' taste better. Let's catch up to Leland before those giant strides of his, make him uncatchable."

                          Celine laughs in agreement. "You've known Leland for a long time as well right?"

                          "Since before you were born, why?"

                          "I was just wondering. Has he always been so...so..."

                          Joseph interupts. "Peaceful?"

                          "Yes. It just seems odd for a man that size and with his heritage to be so against violence. Lycanthans are a warrior race. We're bred and born for battle, yet this...this.. this tree of a badger avoids battle whenever he can. What was he even doing back there?"

                          "It's true that most of our kind are warriors, but not all. I'm sure you saw me taking to that other figure while everone was dancing?"

                          "I saw something, smelled something actually. Who was that?" Celine scratches her nose.

                          "It was an old, old aquaintance. If you think I'm old, let me introduce you sometime." Joseph puts on a large evil grin. "Anyway, This aquaintance has a lycanthan companion named Valerie. A very young squirrel, sorry, Fox-squirrel. For obvious reasons, she's not one for battle, but she does come in handy for scouting missions and even a little bit of thievery."

                          "Scouting and theft?!" Celine looks at Joseph in disbelief. "That's hardly worthy of a lycanthan."

                          "Look Celine, if you want to become the leader of a cadre, you're going to have to learn that there are other ways to win a battle. Take your finger out of your nose.. now that's unworthy of a lycanthan." Celine stops and Joseph continues down the path.

                          "What? ...What? I'm just trying to look human!...Wait up..."

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                          • #14
                            Celine runs up to Joseph. "Wait.. So what is a clan battle master doing in a dock tavern, and why would she now be a trader of information?"

                            Joseph continues in a light jog to catch up to Leland. "I never said she was a battle master. I said she was an apprentice when we were young. She became quite skilled over the years, a lot better than I could ever be. Later on, after she had attained a few levels of mastery, there was an...incident. She had been blamed for a clan crime."

                            Celine grabs his arm, forcing him to stop. "A clan crime? But thats usually a death sentence if you're found guilty!"

                            Jospeh camly removes her hand. "She had a good protectorate. He managed to convince the council of some questionable evidence and some mitigating circumstances. That was the only reason why she was just cast out of the clan instead of being put to death."

                            Celine looks surprised. "Must have been one hell of a good protectorate for that! Clan crimes almost always end up with someone being killed."

                            Leland suddenly stands out from behind a bush. "Well, Jospeh here was quite the orator when he was young."

                            "You were her protectorate?!"

                            "Yes, and sometimes I think it might had been better if I had let her die. I didn't really believe what I was convincing the council of. We were...friends...and, at the time, I felt that I had to do something to help her."
                            Joseph tosses the stick into the brush.

                            Leland places a massive hand onto Josephs shoulder. "You did the right thing, my friend. No-one deserved the fate that awaited her."

                            Joseph turns to face Leland. "What fate would that be, friend? Death, or eternal banishment from your own people?". He pushes his way past Leland and starts into a heavy sprint down the path.

                            Celine begins to run after him but Leland holds her back. "Let him go daughter. Telling some histories can open up ancient wounds. I know the way, we won't get lost."

                            "I've told you before not to call me that," Celine transforms slightly and growls. "Father." She reverts back to human form and starts scratching behind her ear.

                            Leland looks dejected. "Isn't it time we started getting along... for your moth.." Celine pounds him hard in the chest, but with very little effect.

                            "Don't you even DARE mention MY MOTHER. You have no right. not anymore!"

                            Celine starts running down the path.

                            Leland looks up at the night sky and lets out a sigh. "Oh, this is just going to be a wonderful time isn't it Helena, my love?" He sets out after the others.

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                            • #15
                              Eventually, the three catch up to each other in a small clearing, some minutes later.

                              "Look," Joseph points ahead of them. "Do you see those people?"

                              Celine peers ahead, straining to see what Joseph was looking at. "Ya, barely. What about them?"

                              "That's the docks. They must be some fishermen heading for the boats. It's almost dawn. The sun will be rising behind us by the time we get there so that can help us with our cover."

                              Celine continues to scratch. "Can we just get there so I can do something about this. I'm going crazy!"

                              Leland leans over her shoulder. "Must be fleas."

                              "I've never had them, and never will. The human I took this from must have had something."

                              Leland steps back quickly.

                              "Okay you two. Let's get going. and keep things as human as...on second thought, Celine, just keep quiet and follow my lead."

                              The port town of Sandry was built up from a small fishing village and, other than a fair bit of expansion, hadn't changed all that much. The townsmen set off early in the morning in their fishing boats and came back late at night. During the day, the market, which was set up close to the docks ended up being a gathering place for dock workers, wives, children and others whom most would call, "unreputable".

                              It was these others that were coming and going from a dock tavern by the name of 'The Maiden's Anchor'. A rather seedy little hole whose patrons consisted mostly of drunkards, thieves, women of ill repute and, most importantly, traders. Traders of various goods, notably not their own, silks, weapons, spices, the occasional slave, and perhaps the most valuable and rare of all... Information.

                              As Joseph and Celine enter the tavern doorway, a dozen or so heads turn and look at them with cautious stares. As Leland fills the doorway they all, quickly, stare back at their drinks.

                              "Celine, Leland? You two stay outside."He hands a small purse over to Celine. "Here. Look through the market and get something to stop that scratching. Leland, you make sure she doesn't start any trouble."

                              Celine grabs the purse. "You're no fun, do you know that?" They turn and start into the market.

                              Joseph heads into the tavern and mumbles under his breath. "And you're just a barrel of monkeys, Celine."

                              "I heard that!"

                              Joseph winces and heads to the barkeep.

                              He tosses a coin onto the counter. "Ale."

                              The old man behind the counter was rough and well aged. He had obviously seen more than his share of war and strife. A face full of small scars, only half of a right ear and missing a few fingers on each hand. Joseph thought to himself how this human could hold a drink, let alone serve one.

                              The barkeep reaches down, grabs a dirty tankard and fills it with a putrid yellow ale that Joseph could smell, even with a human nose, half a league away. "Yer new 'round 'ere?"

                              Joseph ignores the question. "I'm looking for information."

                              The barkeep starts to pick up the coin and Joseph grabs his hand. "Special information..."

                              The old man pulls his hand out of Josephs grasp. "Not sure I can helps you there, mister!"

                              Joseph hears chairs scrapping against the half rotted wooden floor.

                              He readies himself for a fight and turns to see that all the patrons have moved aside. From a darkened corner a voice speaks.

                              "Joseph Wildmane...It's been a long time..."

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