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Maltruism

Rising from the stony plateau overlooking the rivers and plains of the western continent, and growing wealthy from the gem stones pulled from this same rocky soil, Etzos is a bastion of independence, eagerly spreading its belief that man should rule Idalos, not be servants of the vain Immortals who nearly destroyed it. But can the different factions set aside their agendas long enough to see this through?

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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Quio » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:14 pm

There was no one there. He couldn't tell if Valance was unconscious and he didn't know how much longer he could carry the man. There was no sight or sound of the pirates in the ever-slowly fading fog. Neither was there sight or sound of any sort of help.

"Help," Quio called out again, this time more meekly, and then fell into silence, focused completely on keeping his shoulder from giving out.

He kept going on.

He tried to count the trills as they dragged Valance onward, every half-bit or so having to stop so he could get a new grip under the ranger's arms.

One bit passed. Then two. Three. Still nothing. The mist settled upon him like sweat and he staggered slightly, tripping over something in the forested foggy gloom, then corrected his footing and kept going.

His shoulder gave out somewhere around bit five.

One trill he had Valance secure in his grip. The next he stumbled again, this time with a short cry out. Pain shot from his left shoulder up into his neck and down into his torso and arm. He tried to cling on and had to stop again to make sure he didn't just drop the wounded man to the ground.

Somehow he lowered Valance slowly enough that it shouldn't have hurt him.

Quio tried to lift his arm, tried to curl his fingers, and let out a short puff of breath when he was able to do the latter, though his fingers curled with very little force of grip. He let his hand go limp and crouched down next to Valance, eyes darting once more from side to side, searching for the enemy in the fog as he tried to figure out what to do.

"I can't lift him with my left arm," he gritted out to the shadowhound, pain in every breath. "I can't do this any longer."

The shadowhound-- the shadowhound was strong. Quio knew that. It had to be. If a 200 lb mountain lion could drag a mule deer as heavy as a man up into a tree, a shadowhound the size of Butcher should be strong enough to pull Valance on its own. Though he didn't think it would be able to drag him as quickly nor as painlessly as they had been able to do together. And the beast itself was hurt.

For the first time Quio considered that he might need to leave Valance. Just leave him behind. He stood up slightly from the crouch he was in, arm hanging useless in its sling, and shook his head.

Butcher should be able to pull Valance by himself. He should. But there was no telling where the pirates were. Quio couldn't see them but that didn't mean they couldn't do the same. If one of them had a spyglass--

He glanced at the steady gleam of white candlelight around Valance's left forearm. His expression turned grim.

If he left Valance as was and the pirates were able to pinpoint his whereabouts, they would easily find and kill him. Even with Butcher to guard him-- Quio knew from the howls of agony he'd heard before that whichever pirates were left were capable of killing a shadowhound. If he abandoned Valance --just left him behind-- he thought there was a good chance the ranger and his hound would both be put down.

"Dammit," he said, and then he willed the candlelight glimmer around Valance's forearm into nothing.

The ring vanished from the ranger along with the link between them, and Quio panted out, "Here's what we're going to do."

The only halo visible in the fog was his own now. The pirates should not be able to find the wounded ranger so easily, not anymore. "You take care of Valance. I'm going for help." He thought from the glint in the shadowhound's eyes that it didn't like that plan. But there had to be someone nearby. Someone who could help them. There had to be. "I can move faster without him," he said. "You take care of him. Keep-- keep him safe. I'll try to lead the others away from you. The pirates-- they should come after me. I'm the one they want. They shouldn't be able to see you as readily in the fog."

If they split up and the pirates came after Quio, Valance should be safe. If the pirates split and tracked them both, or left Quio and went solely after Butcher--

"If they find you, fight." That was a given. "Hold them off. I'll be back with help soon."

Quio took a quick step away as if to judge Butcher's temperament, and then turned and began to run. There was a moment where he knew if Butcher was unhappy --if the hound thought he was betraying them-- it could leap onto him from behind and tear his head from his neck.

If that didn't happen, he would keep running.

"Help!" Quio started to call out again as he ran. His movements were measured-- he knew if he ran fast enough, the pirates might give up on Valance in order to give proper chase. But too fast and he would tire quick; too fast and he could hurt himself in the fog and on the uneven ground.

He was going uphill; he scrambled to keep his feet under him, boots slipping on the mist-wet grass, and called out again, "Help!" He willed the mark of Celarion as bright as it would go, and it pulsed now to the beat of his heartstone in a display of eye-catching color. Red blue red blue. The pirates would see it. But whoever else might be out there would see it too.

"Friend of the post," he started to chant.

Should he find someone from the Etzori escort to help them he would spare little time to explain. To an outsider Quio would look wild, perhaps even feral. Blood-stained and bleeding from his chewed-up arm. His biqaj eyes silver in fright or urgency. "Friend-- friend of the post," he rasped out again. The mark of Celarion was thrumming quite fast now. Red-blue red-blue red-blue. "Raiden Valance. He's hurt-- arrows. Enemies. This way." He would turn and start to run back, this time downhill.

Or.

Should he be found by the pirates before he found help--

The yludih would take the hand hatchet into his good hand and take a swing at whoever came near him. As he did, he would begin shouting, "Friend of the post!" Their only chance --his only chance-- would be if someone heard him.

He would fight as long as he could. But there was no doubt that without help he would quickly be taken.
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Maltruism » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:59 am

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Klendon, the mark dispatched to investigate, rode back to where he'd first heard the sounds that had not fit with the wild scene. The fog still obscured most details, but he heard snippets of a voice now from a different direction. It did not sound the same as it had a few bits ago; rougher and deeper now than before.

"Who passes on restricted lands?" he shouted into the mist. "Know ye that only those with the authority of the Tower of Ministers may be out upon the Bailey Peninsula!.....Surrender yourself and you will be escorted back to Etzos!.....Given that you have done no mischief, you will suffer no indictment!.....But failure to comply with this warning is grounds for reprimand!"

His voice seemed to echo back to him, yet it spoke a phrase that suggested the presence of someone that knew the dynamics of interaction with his squad. "...frien' th' 'ost...frien o' th' 'ost..." it started. Though the enunciation of the consonants was too quiet to decipher, it was clear that a 'Friend of the post' was trying to make his location known. Klendon turned in the direction of this new voice and repeated himself, the recitation serving to let the owner of the voice know that he was a friend as well.

He paused between each statement to listen for reply, but none was forthcoming; none that was openly spoken anyway. He was about to repeat himself, emphasizing that as third warning, it was the last chance to avoid prosecution. But he got only the first few words out when an arrow struck him in the side. It came from the direction to which he'd spoken his first warning. It was doubtful that his mail would have sufficed to prevent a ghastly wound, were it not for the 'Sovereign Ward' ensorcellment placed upon it.

Though the better part of the kinetic energy was stripped from the arrow that struck him, his horse was not gifted with such barding, and it reared in pain and surprise, as two arrows struck it, to dump young Klendon on his back. Its training kept it from abandoning him, but it sidled nervously, whinnying in pain, as Klendon struggled to get his breath back from his impact with the ground.

It quickly dawned on Klendon that the sources of the two voices were surely at lethal odds with one another. He reached his horse, but instead of climbing on, he slapped its flank and cried an order for it to return to its squad. The riderless horse would serve as ample warning to his fellows while he went in search of the 'Friend of the post'. He had his own bow, twenty arrows, a sword, a shield and an all-purpose knife.

He did not discount the possibility that the crier of "friend" may yet be an accomplice of whoever it had been that had fired the arrow, but when he heard it say the name of the ranger, all doubt fled. None who learned that name without previous clearance did not live long enough to share it. He hurried in that direction until some instinct warned him of motion to his left. He ducked and swung his shield up to block a hatchet that swung wildly in his direction.

He drove himself, shield first, into the attacker, not to harm him, but to restrain him, and thwart the leverage needed for a second swing of the hatchet. "Friend!" he hissed in urgency, wishing not to reveal their location with a raised voice. "I'm giving you back your arm. Don't attack me!" He pushed off to see a wary and haggard young Biqaj before him, eyes wild in desperation. "How do you know ranger Valance? and where is he? Were you saying 'this way' to lead our enemies away from him?" He knew it was important to refer to them as "our" enemies, to cultivate a sense of camaraderie.
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Quio » Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:53 pm

There was someone there. Quio heard something, he was sure of it. He couldn't make out words, but there was someone speaking, shouting. It was hard to tell in the mist and the woods. He turned towards the voice as whoever it was repeated whatever they'd said again. This time he caught some of it-- something about Etzos, a warning.

It had to be the escort.

Then --and Quio was quite certain of this-- he heard another voice.

The yludih didn't hear the first arrow as it flew through the misty air. But he heard the second and third in the horse's whinny. He changed course slightly to follow the sound and began to speed up.

He was nearly upon the place he thought the escort should be when he thought he heard someone calling out behind him and he whirled and slid to a stop. He turned to face what could have been an enemy, or simply an echo.

Hatchet up, the yludih held perfectly still, the mark still flashing around his arm. "Friend-- friend of the post," he rasped out again, trying to make himself heard. "Raiden Valance. He's hurt--" He ran through the shortest explanation he could give. Arrows. Enemies. This way. He couldn't see anyone. He didn't know if anyone could hear him. Again he sensed something behind him and he turned. Then shifted in place-- it wasn't behind, it was to the side. "Don't," he warned, but it was too late.

A shape reared out of the fog and Quio swung.

The hatchet should have taken the person in the throat or shoulder, he had swung fast and hard, but it hit something impenetrable and sheared off wildly to the side instead. Quio lurched forward with the blow, his arm jarring with the impact of the block.

Metal and wood, he thought, and then the thing --a shield-- bashed into him.

It didn't hurt him but it was enough to stagger, and Quio's body automatically tried to move him back, away from the threat. The shield kept close and he shoved at it, face contorting into a snarl, and heard, "Friend!" Quio shoved again even as the person eased back.

The yludih took his own step back, away, hatchet half coming up once more, before reason caught up to instinct. The man had hissed, "Don't attack me!" He wasn't a pirate. Quio lowered the weapon.

"How do you know ranger Valance?" the man asked, and this man had to be the Etzori escort, he had to be, but they didn't have time for this. Valance was in dire trouble. They had to find him before anyone else did.

"This way," Quio said again. "We speak as we walk." He turned and began moving as fast as the other man would let him. Walking if the other resisted moving at speed. Jogging at a nice clip if otherwise. He would only stand still, remaining where he was, if the other gave him a very compelling reason to do so.

Either way, "Shield up," he said. Despite what looked like armor it was better to have at least one of the man's sides protected; Quio placed himself intentionally on his other side, acting as a shield from that angle as well.

The pirates hadn't shot him yet.

The yludih had gotten turned around in the mist. Now he glanced up at the sky, peering between tree branches, to check the position of the suns. He thought he'd come north to find the escort. Perhaps a bit to the east as well. "Butcher," he said in a low, terse voice, not shouting now but not whispering either, trusting in the beast's senses, "If you can hear us, alert." Hopefully the hound would hear and make some sign, some sound. If not--

Quio hesitated, though he knew he still had the mark of Celarion. He wasn't certain of its reach, but if Valance was conscious somewhere nearby the mark should rekindle, as long as the ranger allowed it again. It would help them find him, if only by sight.

But it might help the pirates too.

For now, Quio held off.

"I met Valance trial-last in the wilderness," he said shortly, answering the man's first question. The second one was harder. He didn't exactly know where Valance was now, only where he'd last been.

Somewhere around here, he thought. Quio's eyes wanted to be everywhere; searching for Valance and Butcher, for the pirates, for any sign of where he'd last seen his allies or where he'd last been at all.

"I said this way because Valance said there'd be an escort to Etzos around here. I wanted to lead you back to him. We need to find him. He took an arrow to the ribs and another to the thigh. And his hound --Butcher-- is hurt." He didn't know how badly.

"There are enemies-- pirates." Neither did he know the man he was speaking to had already been shot. He'd just heard the horse's scream. He hadn't even seen the horse. "From Foster's Landing. Following us. Valance attacked them to free me and they've been dogging us ever since. Perhaps eight of them left in all. I'm not sure."

He took a short breath and then said, "And be wary of shadowhounds." Any of those that had been wounded and run off before the pirates could finish them might still be around.

Quio knew how it looked. He knew how he looked, or at least he could imagine. His arm was chewed up and he had given news that Valance had been injured. He claimed to have been attacked by pirates; but pirates this far inland? It didn't add up.

He could have hurt Valance himself and come to lure this man away. His arm had been chewed up by a shadowhound. The Etzori wouldn't know it hadn't been Valance's hound that had done this, but some other. Which was more likely, that it had been Butcher or some other beast?

Despite all the evidence against him Quio wouldn't waste time professing his innocence. The man would trust him or he wouldn't. He just needed the man to trust him enough. Just enough. Valance could tell him. Once they found him. If he could speak. If they found him.

When they did.

"Butcher," Quio called out again in the same low tone, and realized that without thinking to do it the ring around his forearm had stopped its flashing and had dimmed back down to a pale white again. He held his injured arm --the one with the mark-- as close to his body as possible. Trying to shield the light from as many directions he could. He was on the man's left, so with any luck the other's body would block some of the light from whoever might be looking from that direction.

"Butcher," he said again, and then, just a little louder, "Valance."

"Can you track?" he asked the man. If Butcher had managed to pull Valance away, or hide him in the fog...

"And be ready." The pirates had been too quiet thus far. They were circling again. They would attack while they had the advantage. He could feel it.

"This man is from Etzos," he said to the mist, in case anyone might hear. "He has the city's authority." It was the best warning he could give.

These pirates were from the Landing. He had only been attacked by them after he'd found the port city. The Landing was of Etzos. If the pirates had any stake in the Landing they might not wish to go against Etzos' will.

It was weak, but maybe it would be enough to dissuade them. They could fade into the mist and disappear and no one from the city would be any the wiser.

Except Quio knew who they were, or at least where they'd come from. He would recognize their lead man; perhaps a few of the others. And Valance had been hurt by them, hurt badly. Quio still didn't know who Valance was or what the ranger did. He didn't even know for certain that Valance was connected to the city, though he felt that fair enough to assume. If Valance was, and the pirates had hurt him--

They were already screwed.

What were their options? The pirates could back off and disappear and hope there wouldn't be any trouble further along.

Or they could try to get rid of any witnesses here.

Grimly, Quio readied the hand hatchet again. Try us, he almost said, but he didn't. He didn't want to test them. They knew things about him that he did not want anyone else to know. Valance knew, but as of yet no one else. Not the escort. It needed to stay that way.

"We need to find Valance," Quio stressed. "Right now."
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Maltruism » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:36 am

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Klendon gestured to this 'Friend of the Post' to lead on, and followed behind. He made no effort to get the man to stop making the conversational noise he was making. He knew he was perhaps making a lethal assumption that pirates would not be well enough equipped to deal with those things that gave him and his haggard companion an advantage. In his experience, pirates were all about frivolous spending of their ill-gotten gains, and rarely with saving it up for high-priced gear.

He did not tell this fellow that far more able partners than either of them would already be tracking down Valance's location, and his task was more to make a target of himself. So the stream of chatter, quiet as it admittedly was, would serve quite well in this capacity. Any louder and it might betray its deliberate intent. He knew that reinforcements would be arriving soon. Butcher's howling attraction of feral shadowhounds earlier was a calculated risk, intent on attracting others as well.

He had taken note of the fact that this fellow had not given his name. Clearly he was counting on the dropping of Valance's name to establish some measure of trustworthiness. For his part, Klendon knew he hadn't given his name either. But the general etiquette of a rescue put the onus upon the victim to give first. Nonetheless, Klendon's many escort treks of prisoners, here and back, had given him an insight into the character of strangers that he relied on; and it was telling him that this desperate man was all that he was saying. But he still felt just a guarded caution for the lack of a name.

A nearly undetectable stir in the misty ambience in front of them warned Klendon and he charged it, making what must have seemed like a foolish ruckus to Quio in the process. Even after the predictable sound of clashing metal and roared curses erupted from the obscuring mist, Klendon could clearly be heard to be continuing on in that direction. In an instant, several new voices were added to the din, some shouting in frustration, some in seeming triumph.

Klendon's voice rose in a shout of "Get behind me!...On your left!...Duck!...Take my Shield!...Just block. Don't swing it!" Klendon did not add a name to suggest who he giving these commands to, and Quio knew he was not there to be the one. It was a matter of whether the Yludih thought some new unidentified friendly had arrived unseen, or whether it was a ploy to make the enemy think it was him. In either event, Klendon's voice continued to raise a commotion worthy of theater, now taunting, now cursing, now laughing, now roaring in pain.

Almost as if anticipating how long an inexperienced ex-prisoner might hesitate before taking action in such a situation, Klendon suddenly shouted in a strangely commanding tone. "Stay there!" Still, Quio might have thought it was some mental tactic to cause some hesitation in the aggression of an enemy.

Fate has an infuriating way of making each second of hesitation be the exact amount needed to make a situation become the worst it could be; or so Quio thought as four grimly familiar figures materialized before him in the mist. He was alone, Valance was lost in the mist, Butcher most likely dying at his side, Klendon was off in the mist fighting superior numbers, there may well be more shadowhounds about, and there was no indication if there were any more men from the escort coming to intervene on his behalf.

Meeks' pock-marked face resolved from obscurity, the three yet-unresolved shadows behind him fanning out to flank. Quio might have felt too defeated to take note of the silence that grew to encompass the area, along with the smell of freshly spilt blood. It made Meeks' sneering taunt more easily heard, though he took his time to savor the situation before beginning, "Wellee, wellee, now I tellee...You runee good race, fellee. But now is takee backee, yea? Commee longee then, and no haftee cutee upee."

He made a gesture to the shadows behind Quio, to accompany his order to "Takee" and stood grinning with satisfaction as the misty figures stepped forward. If Quio retained enough stubborn resolve to keep his face up in defiance, he would have been able to enjoy the spectacle as Meeks' face morphed from grinning victory to shocked, infuriated confusion. Quio would not recognize the two men and one woman that stepped forth to flank him, but they were definitely not pirates, nor any friends of theirs, if their murderous glares and sneers were any indication.

One of the men swung his shield to fan the fog aside. Now the smell of freshly spilled blood took on new meaning as the misty shadows at their feet became more noticeable. The figures of three staring, open-throated pirates made it understandable what had happened, though the means by which it was accomplished so silently would probably never be clear to the Yludih.

After the brief pause to let reality sink into Meeks' world, the three now moved further forward to flank him, and dress him in chains. He scowled in defeat but made no effort to escape. "Happee, Loodee?" he sneered and spat. It would be obvious by his expression that he hoping to get some sort of shocked contempt from his captors at the revelation of Quio's racial heritage, but the three did not act as if they even heard him.

They did stand him up within arms' length of Quio for just a moment, as if to give him the opportunity to strike him. Whether or not he did, they now marched him in the direction of the Etzori escort squad. This would become clear as Quio, having no real options, followed along behind. They would arrive at a roadway clearing, where eight horses stood about as their riders, including Klendon, were fitting Valance into a litter behind one of them.

Klendon walked up to Quio, extending his hand, "So...Well met, stranger. I am Klendon, of the Black Guard of Etzos. These are my squadmates, Berly, Grell and Braxton Forrell." He looked to the two men and now two women, and just shook his head, "I am not at liberty...but they are from the post. Butcher's howling brought them as well as the wild hounds. The other woman is a prisoner being delivered to the post. Those three will take her with them..." he looked down at the barely conscious, but smiling, ranger "...along with Valance and his pup." The hound was limping, but looked entirely capable of the trek.

Valance nodded and lay back on the litter, his breathing becoming stable and steady. Klendon looked at Quio now with complete seriousness. "So now, what do we do with you?"
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Quio » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:15 pm

The man charged forward, into the mist, and was met with the sound of combat. Quio had not been expecting him to jump forward in an attack-- rather, he'd thought the pirates would come at them.

It was too late to stop the other or hold him back. The man had vanished into the mist, more voices had joined him in battle, and Quio stepped forward, hatchet raised as if to help.

"Get behind me!..." the voice rang out, and Quio, not certain where the man had gone, felt himself hovering uncertainly in place. Hesitation had no role in battle, but Quio did not know where the other was. His voice sounded far away. "On your left!..." and he took a step to the side but there was no one there. Only then did he realize the man must not be talking to him. But then, to whom?

Allies. More of the escort. From Etzos. He hadn't even considered that there might be more than just this man.

Relief hit him, strong enough that it seemed to steal the breath from his chest and make him weak, and he held still when a new order barked out, "Stay there!"

He stayed where he was like he had been told, and when the sound of fighting died down and the four forms appeared in the mist before him, he finally began moving forward as if to greet them--

--only to recognize an altogether uglier face.

There was a beat where the lead pirate said nothing, just stood there, and Quio simply stood as well and looked at him. Then, though it felt like his heartstone had gone dead in his chest, he managed to take a step back, then another. The hatchet in his hand automatically came up, but there was no longer that sense of grim determination driving him on. He had thought it might be over and it wasn't, he had hesitated when he should have fought, and because of it he had likely gotten his allies killed.

With a smirk the lead man said, "Takee," and the yludih didn't even turn to acknowledge the shadows he could feel stepping up beside him. They were pirates, and instead of facing them he looked up and kept his eyes fixed on the man's gloating face before him, struggling to summon up the strength to fight.

He would be taken. He had tried and failed and he had caused harm to others who had come to help him, but maybe--

If he could, he would take this man down with him.

Perhaps the man saw the sudden focusing of intent in the yludih, or perhaps he didn't. Quio was looking at him but the man wasn't looking back; no, he was looking at something else. The other pirates, it had to be, but they weren't attacking Quio. They were flanking him. The smug look had fallen from the lead man's face.

It was suddenly clear that the odds of the encounter were in an entirely different favor.

The pirates had been slain without sound or protest and the lead man knew he was outclassed. Begrudgingly he allowed himself to be put into chains. "Happee, Loodee?" he asked and spat, and Quio felt his fingers curl around the handle of the hatchet.

The man was brought before him and Quio looked upon him with flat contempt. His mouth curled just slightly, not a sneer, more a baring of teeth. The others had given no indication they'd even heard what the man had said, but Quio would have to go on with the assumption that they had.

His eyes remained fixed on the pirate as they all took a little walk through the woods. Watching the man and the others, Quio tried to remain on guard.

The escort led him to a roadway, unexpectedly close, and whatever was going on in his mind momentarily fled when he saw Butcher and Valance there. The hound was hurt but not dying, Valance was alive and conscious even, and there was another of those moments of weakness where relief threatened to overcome him.

The man from the escort approached him and Quio held up a hand for the other to pause for just a moment. Should the others allow it, he would approach Valance and kneel for a trill next to him, just long enough to reach out to touch his shoulder and murmur, "Thank you." He glanced at Butcher and nodded his head as an acknowledgement. Then he stood, letting the ranger and his hound rest.

He took a deep breath.

The man who had approached him before was introduced as Klendon along with a variety of the others, and Quio said, "My name is Korim Nji'ra. Thank you." They knew he was a yludih, or so he had to assume; he could not give up any of his other names. The man spoke about the post, and he still had no idea what that was. Some sort of military station, he guessed.

The question came directly, "So now, what do we do with you?" and Quio looked at Klendon, then glanced towards their prisoner, silver eyes at last settling to a duller hue, though not the usual warm brown-- they became matte black.

Should they want to take him into custody, he would not fight them. They were too many, too well-trained, too well-armored, and he didn't want to hurt the people who had helped save him. Neither did he want to become an enemy of the Black Guard.

He looked back at Klendon, dark eyes shuttered, and he considered not doing what he was about to do.

Then Quio moved.

The hatchet he swept up from his side in an arc, hard. Hard enough, he thought, to split both skin and bone. For an instant Klendon might have thought the yludih was attacking him, though he wasn't. No. He aimed for the enemy's throat, the damned pirate, a diagonal slash that would cleave deep into the side of his neck and leave a gaping wound.

Whether or not he killed the chained man or merely wounded him, or was stopped by the Black Guard before he could do either of those, Quio would drop the hatchet to the ground and leave his hands empty.

His heartstone was beating very very fast.

Quio had spared the men from Ne'haer-- he had had the opportunity to kill them, and he had not. Soon after they had attacked and captured him, but not only him-- they had hurt someone who had tried to help him. Her name was Tei'serin. He didn't know if she was still a captive somewhere. He didn't know if she was still alive.

Trial-last in the night, when he had made the decision to spare the lead pirate in favor of escaping, in favor of saving his own life, Quio had known he had made a mistake. The man had led the rest of the pirate scum to harass and attack him, and not only him-- the pirate crew had shot Valance. Another person who had tried to help him who had been hurt. Valance could have died.

No more.

Never again.

He looked again at Klendon, black eyes fading to a tired grey-brown, and answered what he had been asked before.

"I would like to be taken to safety," Quio said calmly enough, though when he spoke he was slightly out of breath. "To Etzos, not the Landing." Valance had told him to seek out a person called Captain Segrille. Not one of Vuda's. He didn't think that applied now. "Or just let me go."

He doubted either of those things would happen.

The last of the spite and adrenaline were wearing off now, and Quio could no longer ignore the pain of his body, his wounds. His torn-up forearm hurt and bled, his bad shoulder felt as if many days of slow healing had quickly been undone, and he was just plain exhausted.

But it was over, at least for now. He'd done what he must.
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Maltruism » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:55 pm

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The last interception came as Klendon moved like a snake to interpose himself between Quio's hatchet and the pirate he'd wished to kill. There were numerous gasps, and the sounds of boots scraping as they initiated moves of their own. But only Klendon's was near enough to succeed. It was likely that he was anticipating such a move as well.

It may have served as a wonderment to Quio that he impetus of his stroke seemed to die as it collided with Klendon's armor. There were no sparks or ringing of metal as it seemed only to lightly brush and tap the surface of the outfit. Klendon grinned as he slowly waved the weapon away, to where Quio released it to drop to the ground. "Sovereign ward." Klendon said, by way of explanation, as he patted his armor, "Sucks the life out of kinetic energy."

He grew serious again, to address the obvious tension in the air, "So look," the soldier began, "if you're worried about what this bastard might tell us about you, I think there's little left untold." He held his hands up disarmingly before the man he assumed would be very defensive about his racial heritage. "And don't worry about that either, we have a few of you within our ranks. Good men all. we're not about to initiate a witch hunt of that sort. No, but we DO need THIS piece of shit for questioning. There's something big going on in Foster's Landing and this guy can undoubtedly clear up a few details for us."

He grimaced a little as he looked around, "But you...Valance will vouch for you, but we can't let you go the Post. And if you come back in our formation, you'll be assumed to be a prisoner." He motioned to the pirate, "We DO have this prisoner, but you don't want to be lumped with his like." He thought for a moment, then discussed another option with the other men. He looked back, his expression hopeful, "I think we could arrange to bring you back to a trial's walk from the gates, and let you off to approach like any other traveler. Would that be okay?"
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Quio » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:49 pm

He hadn't been expecting Klendon to simply step forward in between him and the pirate to take the blow. The hatchet came down upon the Guard's armor before he could pull it back or redirect, and Quio dropped it, unsettled not only that it had done no damage, but that he had hit the wrong person. His eyes darted towards the pirate and then back to Klendon's face.

"I'm-- sorry," he said haltingly, but Klendon was grinning. There had been no harm done. Perhaps the man knew that Quio hadn't meant to hurt someone who'd helped him. But he almost had, and it was clear he was rattled by it.

That they had known yludih within their ranks was just as jarring, especially to someone not currently thinking very clearly; someone who no longer trusted anyone more than he had to, unless he knew them well. Quio didn't know if he could believe the man, if what Klendon said was true.

He agreed that he didn't want to go to the post, though he was still not entirely sure where or what the post was. A military station, he'd thought, one near Foster's Landing or in the Landing itself. That, or a prison of some sort.

A trial's walk from the city was better than however long it would take him to get there on his own. He still wasn't sure how far away the city even was; days, he guessed, but how many? Perhaps too many for him to get there entirely by himself. "I can walk a trial," he said. Cautiously, as if even now he did not quite believe they would just take him where he wanted and let him go.

Still, he said, "And thank you again."
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[Foster's Bay] Interception

Postby Maltruism » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:32 am

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Come and get your Loot!
(There's plenty more where that came from)


Quio:

XP Rewards: 20xp
These points can NOT be used for magic.

Skill Knowledges:

  • Blades: Dagger: Circle to keep out of enemies' reach
  • Blades: Dagger: Hit harder to make up for a weapon's bluntness
  • Blades: Dagger: Lunge
  • Blades: Dagger: "Rabbit" stabs to the abdomen
  • Blades: Dagger: Slash at an enemy's hands to make them release you
  • Celarion: Can glow in a variety of colors and levels of brightness
  • Celarion: Cannot be made completely invisible
  • Celarion: Lets the bonded move and work together without speaking
  • Celarion: Lets the bonded share simple insight
  • Celarion: The glow of the mark may reveal your position to the enemy
  • Deception: A foolhardy attack may act as a surprise
  • Endurance: Sacrificing personal safety to injure an enemy
  • Field Craft: Dry your feet immediately after fording a river
  • Field Craft: Even small amounts of food are worth foraging
  • Field Craft: Use a river to cover tracks
  • Interrogation: Don't kill the leader
  • Logistics: Measuring your resources against how far you need to go
  • Medicine: The body has to work harder in the cold
  • Medicine: Claytona monticola can be used like stitches
  • Medicine: Claytona monticola specifically works on Yludih
  • Navigation: Building a map of the world in your head
  • Navigation: The relative positions of Hiladreth, Rhakros and Valaris to Etzos
  • Politics: Etzos: Allied with Hiladreth
  • Politics: Foster's Landing: Amnesty for pirates willing to be privateers
  • Politics: Only a select squad know about the "Forbidden Post"
  • Psychology: Disarm yourself to prove you're not a threat
  • Running: Zig-zagging to avoid arrows
  • Shield Combat: Gripping an enemy's shield to affect their own balance
  • Strength: Dragging a grown man from danger
  • Tactics: Isolate one enemy from the others
  • Unarmed combat: Take whatever cover you can
  • Unarmed combat: Use whatever weapon can be found

Non-Skill Knowledges:
  • Black Guard: Etzori City Watch
  • Black Guard: Rumored to have Yludih members
  • Black Guard: Many use "Sovereign Ward" armor
  • Fauna: Shadowhound: very large, highly Intelligent, trainable wolves
  • Flora: Claytona monticola
  • Forbidden Post escort squad: Klendon, Berly, Grell and Braxton Forell
  • Forbidden Post escort squad: saved you and Valance from the pirates
  • Location: Etzos
  • Location: Foster's Landing: port town serving Etzos
  • Meeks, Valance and the escort squad all know you're a Yludih
  • Meeks' crew: Stole the Ne'Haer ship and set the men adrift
  • NPC: "Butcher": Raiden Valance's Shadowhound companion
  • NPC: Meeks: Leader of a pirate crew
  • NPC: Raiden Valance: Forbidden Post liaison with escort squad
  • Phrase: "Friend of the Post" declares yourself friendly to Etzos' forces
  • Raiden Valance: Accepted Celarion bond when needed
  • Raiden Valance: Told you to find "Capt. Segrille; that he's not one of Vuda's
  • Raiden Valance: Was shot while helping you
  • Shadowhounds: Go for the throat, and can tear clean through it
  • Southwood River: Connects Etzos and Foster's Landing
  • Sovereign Ward: An armor enchantment that negates kinetic energy

Loot:
You escaped with your life.

Loss:
You really had nothing left to lose.

Injuries:
Really no new ones, other than aggravation of the old ones.
Exhaustion, bruises, lacerations, malnourishment.
By the time the escort drops you off, you'll just look like another weary traveller.


Fame: 0
Any fame stemming from this would NOT be to your advantage.
You want no connection to the members of the Forbidden post escort.
They, in turn, will keep quiet about it as well.


Comments:
This kicked ass! :D
I love a story where the heroes are stumbling exhausted, and delirious, barely staying ahead of things.
If the pirates that hit the ship in the previous thread were NOT intended to be connected to this same bunch, I'll adjust a couple of the non-skill K's.
feel free to PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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