Finding Home

Quaxo9
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Fira-Nar

Her armour felt so light. The sword on her back, a mere feather. She was beyond excited. She - Fira-Nar the argonian with no head for planning - had come up with an idea and a whole group was going to execute it. It was a momentous occasion for the young templar. Nothing could ruin her mood today. Nothing.

"Your soul longs for battle."

The statement came from over her right shoulder, the voice atonal and impossible to read. The scholar. She must have noticed her excitement and made an assumption about the source.

"No! Well, I mean I guess sometimes. Sorta. But not right now. In the way...that...you're...meaning."

The Norn had fallen back, nose buried in a book, seemingly uninterested in her reply. That habit of hers was so infuriating. She'd expect Fira to be constantly paying attention when she decided to actually speak and then when Fira spoke, she'd stop listening before the argonian could finish. If she were any other person, Fira would take this is a direct insult and challenge her to a duel to settle the matter. Somehow, the weird one managed to make every interaction seem incredibly impersonal.

It really wasn't fair.

What really wasn't fair was that now she was thinking about the crazy "Norn" instead of her plan! This was her moment and she needed to be present. She caught up with Tempest and Cullen, placing herself within earshot of most of the entourage.

"So, the camp has an entrance from the north and from the west. We should probably split up and attack from both fronts. Perhaps set up an ambush on the north and drive them toward it."

Fira was certain that a heads-on attack would be the only way to relieve the camp of its denizens and was equally determined to ensure that all her people made it out alive.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

The Party

Githia crouched awkwardly by the campfire as the others made their preparations; she had nothing to prepare. All she would need was the sword on her back. The mage - Tempest - knelt beside her. It had been impossible to miss how thin the Tiefling was, the dullness of her eyes and her sunken cheeks.

"Have you eaten today?" Tempest asked gently.

Githia shifted awkwardly, nodded - then shook her head. "It's hard," she half-muttered, avoiding Tempest's eyes. "So many kids, never enough to go around, so I didn't-- it's okay. I'm not really hungry."

Undeterred by the obvious lie, Tempest began rummaging around in the bags of supplies for rations to offer.

Githia's already-red skin became even redder with a blush. "Nah, I'm alright, you don't have to..."

"No, Tempest is right," Cullen said briskly. "This is shaping up to be a difficult fight. We need everyone at their best. This is a wise use of our resources."

Finding that difficult to argue with, Githia stared at the ground, but accepted the offered food with a whispered thanks.

Angus would not be joining the party for the assault on the bandit camp. He had little skill in combat - and diplomacy with the bandits was vanishingly unlikely - so his presence would make him little more than a target. That had been embarrassing to admit, of course, but the others had agreed without any apparent scorn that his skills lay elsewhere. Angus was becoming less and less surprised by their kindness every time it was shown, and more and more... himself.

He had lost so much in Coldharbour. Not just to the physical pain. Their mockery, too, had clung to him like a layer of unwanted debris. A layer he was slowly scraping off.

Anakita was eying him with concern. "You okay?" she asked bluntly.

"Yes," Angus said. And that was the truth. "Just thinking how grateful I am. To all of you. For your kindness. For not..."

"Not what?"

"Not laughing at me. You never have. None of you. About any of it."

"Oh," the Ranger said. "That's because it wasn't funny." She softened the bluntness of this statement by giving his shoulder an affectionate bump with her own, and he smiled back at her.

Sellia was nervous about the endeavor. Not about the fighting - that would be simple enough. Bandits and highway robbers had been her primary source of food for quite some time. And that was exactly the problem. The party had not seen her in action, not really. This would be an opportunity for her to feed - but surely that would horrify the others. Yet if she didn't, if she allowed her hunger to grow too desperate, she would lose control. Perhaps she could do it very covertly, so secretly that they wouldn't...

"You should feed," Gwindor said with perfect calm. "Assuming there are causalities, which seems inevitable. Everyone else is provisioned, after all."

Sellia looked at him steadily. "That won't...? You won't be...?"

He shook his head. "I've been a warrior my whole adult life, Sellia - if only by necessity. This is necessity for you. No one will begrudge it. Least of all me."

By the time they were ready to leave, Ulga too had returned from home and was ready to join the attack. Fully caught up on the plan, she nodded her agreement. "It's about time someone stood up to those bandits. Let's go."
Quaxo9
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Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Nairn Tuckamore

Nairn observed the newcomer with her usual intensity - and distance. She hadn't moved from her crook in the tree once she'd settled in with her newest book. The return of the group. The new plans. The ready-making. She kept an ear open and an eye on the proceedings. Conveniently, she'd finished her book by the time everyone was ready to leave. She left it in the tree. If she wasn't allowed to trade books, there was little sense carrying it around.

She saw fit to make an observation to the excitable argonian, but had other priorities she wished to discuss. With someone more articulate than Fira, preferably. Nairn locked step with Ulga.

"If the Bretons are descended from Elves, why the sudden aggression? Are the displaced elves from another land?"

She was, of course, thinking of the Norn emigration from their homeland and the subsequent invasion of a land belonging to someone else. The other races hadn't given her people the warmest welcome, but they had either been unwilling or unable to repel the Norn once they had decided on the location of their new home. Were these elves also stuck between being unable to return home and a hostile new world?
Monkey Kitty
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:31 pm

Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Ulga gra-Shatul

Ulga blew out a puff of air - a soft hmm sound - and said, "That's a complicated question, Nairn. You're right about Tamriel's ancient history, but for the answer to this, you need to look to more recent events. A decade or so ago, Daedra and their cultists invaded our central province, Cyrodiil. That's a story for another time in itself, but for now the pertinent part is that this left the former Empire broken and the Ruby Throne - the seat of the Emperor - vacant and without a clear contender. This was the start of what we call the Three Banners War... which is still technically ongoing, although most territories simply gave up and stopped caring about choosing a ruler long ago, so you only run into isolated pockets of fighting now. It wasn't always isolated, though. At first it was a cruel conflict, and a bloody one. Tamriel split into three main political entities. The Ebonheart Pact to the north, supporting King Jorunn, the Daggerfall Covenant roughly to the west - the land we're currently in - supporting King Emeric, and the Aldmeri Dominion to the south supporting Queen Ayrenn. It was a pointless war, Nairn. No one really gained anything by it, in the end. But there were crimes of war committed on all sides nonetheless. To varying degrees, of course..."

For a moment, Ulga found herself back in a memory. The swamp air was close around her. Her heart pounded, her breath coming fast and shallow as she ran, eggs dissolving in her hands as she attempted to save the hatchery, the hope of an entire generation of a village's Argonian children. For every one she saved, another five were lost as grinning, pointed-eared soldiers looked on...

She shook her head clear it, and went on.

"...But yes, on all sides. Nearly anyone in Tamriel could find reason to be angry at someone for some atrocity in living memory, I'm sorry to say. Mind you, the provinces of Tamriel have never been entirely racially segregated. You can find nearly any type of person in any land. But the Southern Provinces, Ayrenn's domain, are known to be the ancestral home of the Altmer and the Bosmer - the so-called 'high elves' and 'wood elves' respectively. Of course, that doesn't mean the elves here in Glenumbra consider the southern lands their home. Most who live here have been here for generations. But there are many here who have suffered at the hands of Ayrenn's soldiers, and don't distinguish one Mer from another, even one who has been their neighbor and has never so much as seen Summerset."

"As for the displaced elves..." Ulga gave a little shrug. "I'm sure some have lived here all their lives. Elves are a minority population here, but as I said, they have always existed. Others, perhaps, have fled here as refugees from other parts of Tamriel - war often forces people to leave their lands and wander in search of safer ground. But I wonder... is it really this many? The concentration of elves here seems much higher than I would expect either of those factors to account for. We know for sure at least some are from elsewhere, like that Aimosh who blamed Tempest for the death of his friend came from the same world as the Rutherfords. As for how they ended up here, though, or why - that I can't say. Perhaps we can find out."
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Tempest Rutherford and Drina

"Healer? A question, if I may?"

The Dremora approached respectfully, almost hesitantly.

Tempest nodded. "Of course. What did you want to ask?"

"The Tieflings. You and the rest of your group are determined to help them. Why? They offer no material benefit to you. Whether they live or die does not affect your own future at all."

"Well," Tempest replied, "I suppose it's because we feel compassion for them."

Drina nodded thoughtfully. "Ah. Compassion. A human emotion. Daedra do not experience compassion."

"You don't? Forgive me for sounding skeptical, but you certainly appeared to be showing compassion when you saved Angus. What material benefit did he offer you?"

Drina nodded amiably. "Yes, I see how to human eyes, that might have appeared to be the same. But my own motives were quite different. The Xivkyn who tormented Angus had been cruel to all of us, to any creature they considered beneath them. As devotees of Molag Bal, the Xivkyn feed on domination. They gained a great deal of satisfaction from the humiliation and degradation they inflicted on Angus. I was angry about how they had treated me in the past, and I chose to deprive them of their prize. By doing so, I demonstrated my superiority over them. That is all."

"Hm," Tempest replied. "Really? 'That is all'?"

Drina frowned slightly. "Yes. That is all. Why do you disbelieve me?"

"Because the story didn't end there, did it? You could have dumped Angus anywhere, and still claimed the same satisfaction. Don't forget I saw him after Coldharbour. I could tell you had healed him as much as you could. You provided for him. You stayed by his side. He seemed accustomed to you holding his hand..."

Drina shook her head vehemently. "No. It is different," she insisted. "Compassion is for humans. Not Dremora."

"So be it, if you wish," Tempest replied with a smile - an easy acquiescence, since they both knew she'd won the argument.
Quaxo9
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Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Nairn Tuckamore

She listened carefully, her long stride slow and thoughtful next to Ulga. It was a familiar tale, in a way. Divisions created by those who would rule. Everyone else paying the price. Still, it bothered her.

"It would be easier to wipe out a people if you could gather them all together into one plane. There must be some sort of thinning in the Mist nearby for all these people to be coming through into your world like this."

Nairn was thinking of the new refugees now. Where had they come from? Were they considered 'elves' in some other place?

Perhaps more importantly, was any of this related to the end of worlds?

Fira Nar

Her plan hinged on a two-part surprise. The first from the initial attack on the southern entrance of the camp. The second from the ambush set at the north entrance. Naturally, she placed herself in the first group. She felt a little odd sorting people, but fortunately they seemed to largely self-sort. At least the tall woman had started walking north as soon as she heard the plan, disappearing into thin air as she walked. Fira blinked twice, then decided it didn't really matter where the Norn went as long as she actually used those knives of hers and didn't sit around reading a book while everyone else did all the work.

First step - take out the guards. Second step - show up in the middle of camp and wreak havoc.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

The Bandit Camp

The bandits were neither particularly organized, nor particularly clever. Their success depended largely on waylaying lone travelers or unarmed small groups... and of course, the elements of brute force and surprise. They were not prepared to have their own tools turned against them.

Among the group at the southwestern entrance, Tempest and Cullen joined Fira. This was the group more likely to sustain injuries, since they were opening with fighting directly, so they would be more likely to benefit from a healer, and Cullen had plenty of experience with face-to-face, frontline combat. He studied the pattern of the guards for awhile before moving in, as was his way - a strategist as well as a warrior.

Anakita, meanwhile, went to the north. Stefan trailed along by her side as usual. But it was another member of the Snakecharm-Baruch family who would contribute extra chaos to the ambush when the time came. Buttons could always be called upon for a disturbance - and of course, the Ranger would make sure she was safe while doing so. Sellia also joined this group, as the presence of a vampire would surely up the level of threat significantly.

The others divided between groups, while a few remained behind to guard the camp. It wouldn't do to be ambushed themselves while planning an ambush.

When the time came, the bandits scarcely knew what hit them.
Quaxo9
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Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Fira Nar and Nairn Tuckamore

The plan, simple that it was, had gone like clockwork. The guards were removed expediently. Fira found a powder keg and set it up on the south end of camp, touching it off while the crew remained by the southwest entrance. The chaos that erupted was exactly what she had hoped for. Smoke covered the southern portion of the camp, forcing confused bandits to flee north. The fighters encouraged the bandits to move toward the northern exit of the camp, and removed those who refused to leave. Exactly as planned.

What went less to plan, however, was the second stage. The ambush was indeed an ambush and the bandits were indeed surprised. However, Fira had somewhat underestimated the bandits' attachment to this particular camp. The bandits in question had dug heels to ground and was putting up quite the fight when the initial party caught up with them.

When the initial shock wore off, Fira lowered her shoulder and got to work further bloodying her sword. She hacked through the stragglers at the back of the line, then moved up the hill to where a small number of bandits were trying to flank some of her party.

Nairn had been disappointed by the swordsmanship of the bandits she'd descended upon, but what they lacked in style, they made up for with numbers. She quickly fell into a familiar routine - she would shadow port into range of several foes until they came together to attack her, whereupon she'd port away and allow Anakita's barrage of arrows fall on the maximum number of people possible. A simple ploy, but it worked surprisingly well.

She was enacting this very tactic, porting out of the road back up to the relative safety of the hills when she ported directly into someone. Without a thought, her blade came up under the plate armour of her foe before they could strike her down. Why else would they be lying in wait on her portal? She turned, saw two bandits close at hand and moved to distance herself from the one she'd stabbed to better face the rest. And saw familiar armour. And then a familiar face. Nairn lost her grip on the dagger residing inside Fira's body and stepped back, staring. The argonian stared back, her bloody face wide-eyed with shock.

The next part of the battle was a bit of a blur. Nairn was struck by the bandits who had been pursuing Fira. The bite of their blades broke the Norn's focus, which was most unfortunate for the bandits. They fell upon the Norn, but soon found themselves flying backwards, screaming. A monstrous semi-feline creature howled back and slashed at them with long claws. It glanced over its shoulder at the sagging argonian before leaping off the hill and into the fray below.

From Fira's perspective, she'd beaten her way up a hill, slaying three bandits before they could reach their ranged attackers when suddenly there was a knife inside her ribcage. She'd staggered away, reeling, to see the Norn staring at her pale-faced as ever. Had she... stabbed her? Her vision swam as her knees buckled - and then she was seeing things. A freakish cat thing...screaming...blood...she had better not be dying. What a terrible way to go out - by the blade of an ally.
Monkey Kitty
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Re: Finding Home

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Anakita Snakecharm

Anakita saw what was happening, but it was all too fast. Too fast for her to make a sound of alarm, even, let alone a coherent warning. Then Fira was on the ground, and Nairn was away - mentally, at least, if not physically.

"We need Tempest," Anakita said, and then Stefan was gone from her side... off to seek out the healer, she knew, because their movements were smooth as silk after so many years together. While waiting for him to return with help, she knelt by Fira and conjured a small spring of healing waters. Not as powerful as what the mage could do, of course, but a piece of wilderness healing that would keep Fira stable in the meantime. "You're going to be alright," she assured the fallen Argonian.

A moment later, Stefan returned with Tempest and Cullen. The healer knelt best Fira and started mending her wounds, echoing Anakita's reassurance.

With Fira in good hands, Anakita stepped away. "I need to find Nairn," she announced to the world at large, then went in pursuit of the Norn.

She wasn't hard to find.

"Hey, Nairn!" Anakita called out. "Don't worry. Fira's fine. Tempest's got her."
Quaxo9
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Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Finding Home

Post by Quaxo9 »

Nairn Tuckamore

The Norn in question was standing over a small pile of bodies, her furred arms matted with blood. There wasn't a bandit left. The large cat-like head swivelled toward the sound of Anakita's voice. Nairn stared at Anakita, sneezed, then lowered her head. Unlike so many other Norn, Nairn hadn't bulked up so much in her half-form. Any apparent increase in girth was likely due to what fur does when one is excited and it is humid. The Norn raised her head to briefly make eye contact with the ranger. Her eyes were still wide with fear - they hadn't changed much with the metamorphosis. She walked away from where their party was gathering, stepping over bodies on her way.

Nairn came across a pool of water and bent low to start washing the blood from her hands and arms. The burning sensations on her left side were threatening to take more of her attention than she cared to give them right now. Blood seeped through her leathers on her torso, dripping down into the deep gash on her thigh. More scars from more mistakes.

She sat heavily on the muddy bank, sagging into her knees as the adrenaline left her body. Certainly Fira was fine in the hands of Tempest the Healer, but she would have been a lot better without Nairn's dagger inside her. How had that happened? How had she let that happen?
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