Out of the City
A Sadistic, Mysterious, And Dangerous Entity Hangs In The Darkness, Gleaming In The Firelight.
, Buddha - [xido
, Priest of the Great Temple
Angel Dreamer Char
- [Angel Dreamer
Out of the City 01
Vulk helps himself to a few chunks of the meat as well, but picks at it slowly in his hands, unsure of the extravagant flavor to which he was not typically accustomed. Still, he finishes his portion, and begins working on the horses once more as the others are still eating.
"He must have led a pretty hard soldier's life wherever he came from," Buddha admits to Angel finally, now that the githyanki was out of hearing range.
"Yes, I think you're right." Kim sais and looks to the gityanki "He seems rather tense, well, we are probably hunted by some really powerful beings as we speak, so I can't blame him."
"Neither can I," says Medi. "Considering the plane that he was on when we ran into him, I can imagine that he had to learn to survive pretty harshly. I wonder if he had any other githyanki with him when he was trapped there, and maybe they died and he kinda blames himself for surviving when they didn't."
"I don't know, and I'm not sure it's any of our business," Angel says, then yawns. "If you're taking first watch, Medi, I'm going to sleep. See you all in the morning." With that, Angel curls up in her cloak, props herself on Buddha, and seems to go right to sleep.
Kim eats the last of the meat he had taken "I think I'll try to catch some sleep too..." he sais and curls up close to the fire "Wake me up when it's my guard... or if my hair catches fire." less than a minute later, light snorings can be heard from him.
As Kim falls asleep, and with Angel's head leaning softly against his shoulder, Buddha guides her slowly down to his lap, where he lays her head on his leg, which is quite a bit more comfortable for him.
Vulk is finally satisfied with the state of the horse's bridles and saddles, giving them all one last look over and stretching, when Buddha pipes up lightly.
"Hey, uh, Vulka..riks.. Hey, man, come here," he speaks to him so as not to wake Angel and Kim.
Vulks abides and walks back to them.
"It's Vulkarisksk. Don't attempt the double-skedtsis, humans don't often speak in what you would call 'clicking'. Just call me Vulk," he replies as courteously as he can in his bland tone.
"Well, hey. What, um, what did you do before...? I mean, what was your life like before all of this? You know, what happened to you? Well, not that there's anything wrong with you or anything, just that... I don't know, you've got a lot riding on your shoulders all the time, you know?" Buddha fumblingly replies.
Vulk sighs. He hated this part. The times when your party suddenly wants to get in touch with you. Get personal. Be petty.
"I was never this way before. I hated order. I hated the laws of my kind. Hell, I hated my kind too..."
Vulk looks up, giving Buddha a meaningful stare for just long enough to make him lower his eyes.
Taking one more deep breath, he begins, "I am a rebel. I am in exile for all eternity, and if I were to be found by a militant Githyanki mercenary, I would be slain at all costs.
"I was trained in a city called Tu'narath for twenty-two years of my waking adult life... In the Umbra, which you might call the Astral Plane, if you know of it. It is the metropolis of Githyanki cities, a place of stark warriors and revenge.
"When I had gone through the ranks to become a general's personal crony, I had come to the point of pure apathy toward all living things because of my militaristic and warped perspective which is burned into your mind from a very young age in Githyanki society. I cared for nothing, since there was nothing to care for.
"I was working border patrol for the general on the outpost of Kildareknka, in a troop of five men and myself, conducting interrogations on any stray travellers in our circumfield... It was very uneventful until a group came through, nearly flying through the umbra. They looked like they were fleeing when we intercepted and halted them, and they said they were fleeing from a Dreadnaught, an astral beast that terrifies even the most prepared and courageous Githyanki.
"Three men in black cloaks carried a small elven child in their custody, whose hands were shown to be tied beneath his robe behind his back upon inspection. The men would not reveal and dismiss their weapons when asked, which means that we had to disarm and suppress them at all costs. Two of the men drew weapons, a crossbow and a magical sword, while the other tried to grapple with the bound child..."
Vulk looks down, obviously torn over this past moment. He takes another deep breath, sighing.
"It was something about the innocence of this child.. Something I could see in his eyes... Not fear, or even grief, but a true need for freedom, and for justice. He saw his moment and fled, at our expense. I lost three of my men by the time we had stopped the child and contained the men. They turned out to be drow slavers in disguise, and the child was part of their complex scheme to overthrow an elven power center... The young elven girl was as innocent as I could find, and after having sought shelter from a potential Dreadnaught encounter, my troop dealt the men justice as we recooped from the attack, jailing the final two drow and child.
"It was because I showed mercy to the child, and because I was charged with having assisted a non-githyanki that the child was deemed a drow spy without trial, and both the men and the child were executed. I was beginning to become angry with the Githy justice, when I was told that I would suffer the same fate as them if I spoke further heresy. I was brought before a Githy council, where I was stripped of my clothes and fifty lesions were seared into my back with an iron branding spear. I survived the pain, and recovered quickly enough to fake my re-integration into the ranks. The next chance I got, when on another patrol squad, I diverted my troop's attention just long enough to escape, fleeing into the open umbra, where I found a portal to the outer realms."
Buddha looks thoughtfully at the githyanki, realizing that this was not an easy story for him to tell.
"When I found a sanctuary in the Hills of Ysgard," Vulk continues, "I was practically a hermit for three or more years, living off the constant wild game on my own, when a tracking party stumbled across my camp and we came to be good allies. I was told of a new establishment seeking peaceful relations with all realms and cultures. The Order of Peace was my salvation. With my race's most hated enemy, the Githzerai, I found peace, balance, and inner harmony. With them, I found that I could make a difference without killing everyone I come into contact with.
"It has not been easy, since I am at all times an enemy of my state. I was re-trained by my new allies to fight for the cause of peace at all costs, and with as little death as possible.
"My eighteenth mission was so successful that I was due for a reward. It was a critical moment in the Order's evolution, and something had just come into our hands that was a definitive moment in the peace for our realms. The Order had secured a scroll that many Devils, Demons, Celestials, and Dragons of the highest ranks were searching for, and had hidden it safely in my temple. We were informed of a raiding party which would come to capture the powerful scroll, which held the schematics of a ritual so powerful that it could upset the great balance, and put so many races in jeopardy that we had to flee with it.
"I was instructed to flee to another outer realm, once where no one would dare to think we would hide the scroll, perhaps right under their noses in the most regardless realm of mundanity. I found my way to the Abyss, on a land of quiet mercantile absolve, outside the mercenary post of Aggrazzat. I had successfully hid the scroll in that underground cave for nearly a year when I found all of you sliding into madness in that field."
Vulk reflects on his story.
"I'm not sure now if it was such a good idea to have become so involved with mortals. I was informed of the direness this scroll would create... How dangerous it was to be found by someone that truly sought the scroll... All of its prophecies..." he rambles on, perhaps to himself.
"Wow," Buddha says, blinking.
As he rubs his eyes, he says, "Whoa, man. That's really, uh, incredible.... But it's getting pretty late, and a lot of what you just said went over my head. As for this scroll, maybe it's just best if we didn't talk about it. Every time we bring it up, I feel like we're inciting some kind of curse or something... I can't help but wonder about this whole Order of Peace thing... I've never heard of them until now. Where are they located?"
He's now leaning his head on his thumb and forefinger, eyes closed in what looks like deep concentration, still trying to grasp the ideas behind the githyanki's already strangely accented words.
"The Order was started because of a pact between the Celestial Courts of the Mount of Heaven, the guardinal infantries of Elyisum, and the Githzerai monks of some of the orders of Limbo, mostly because of the actions of the monks of the temple-city Loklokomora, a steadfast suburban temple remaining untouched in the sweeping elemental chaos of that realm... The outer realms are unlike most mortals have ever seen, though you have witnessed among the worst in the Abyss."
Vulk tears off another chuck of meat from the cooked deer, which now rests on the spit after the fires have mostly died away.
He begins to chew at the meat, when there is a snapping crunch from the darkness of the woods beyond the firelight.
Vulks eyes and ears perk up immediately, and he remains silent and still where he is.
"What was that?" Buddha asks, looking out into the darkness in surprise.
Coming quickly and silently into the camp from the opposite side of the noise, Medi looks to Buddha and gives him a look
that says "be quiet". He looks to Vulk and signals to flank whatever it is.
Vulk nods in agreement, and stands quickly and silently, unsheathing his sword. He walks to Buddha's left, opposite from Medi, and as Buddha begins to make another sound of curiosity, Vulk shuts him up with a meaningful stare, then keeps walking into the woods.
Stopping to listen every so often for more sounds, he hears none, and keeps walking.
Buddha sits listening intently for a few seconds, until he thinks it best to wake the others, since they could be in danger.
"Kim, Angel, shhhh, wake up," he whispers, nudging them.
"Huh?" Kim quickly opens his eyes "What is it?" he sais with a voice that is barely louder than an ordinary breath of air.
Angel blinks and sits up, looking around. Sensing how tense Buddha was, she rolled quietly to her feet and called her daggers into her hands. What is it?
Moving silently Medi hops up onto a tree branch to get a better look.
Kim reaches for his staff, which is leaning towards a small tree, just to be prepared for whatever everyone's so tense about. He moves really slow to not cause unnecessary noices, all the while scanning the surroundings for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
From up in the branches, Medi can faintly pick out the figure of a woodland deer nearly thirty or so paces away in the forest, which is also alert and silent for the most part, and which suddenly runs quickly and in a panicked fashion in a direction that makes him think that the creature was frightened by another presence. Some ways away in the forest, he can catch just a glimpse of moonlight shining on the armor of the cleric who was following them. The priest sits on his motionless horse, staring up at the sky above their camp quite a long ways away, and does not seem to see the flying Aramil.
Below him, Vulk reacts in caution as the deer quickly scampers off into the woods in an erratic and panicked fashion, running like lightning further into the shadows behind their campsite.
At nearly the same moment, a similarly frightened woodland creature, much like that of a squirrel, but with a strange and eerie screeching that could be heard for most of the night, comes quickly into the clearing, and spotting the group of adventurers, pauses as if frightened, though unsure of where to go. It skitters quickly back and forth between the clearing and the forest's edge a few times, as if it is confused of where would be safest to be, and instead stops dead in its tracks, hopping up on its hind two legs and staring blankly at the rest of the group.
Vulk looks at the creature with curiosity, though does not move.
"Aramil, do you see anything?" he asks aloud, though the creature looks at him and does not move from its place.
Kim gives the squirrel a skeptical look "You've gotta be kidding me..." he sais "We can't have been so stressed up because of a Qorian.".
Angel blinks at the Qorian, then scans the forest. Something's still off, she thinks.
"Okay... all who vote for us scolding that quorian for disturbing our sleep, raise your hands." Kim sais.
The tiny animal squeaks in a momentary call of pessimistic reprimand at the standing humanoids, and leaps into the air only a hand's length from the ground, when his body becomes completely immobile and still. The creature simply stops acting altogether, suspended in the air above the ground without activity, save for the eyes looking around frantically, its nose which pants quickly, and its chest, which seeks to breath more vehemently.
For only two or three moments' pause, the frantic Qorian Teef remains immobile, until its fur begins to ripple along the underside, then its back, and finally around its tail. The invisible force winds itself around the creature like a tentacle, though by the look of the shapes on the rippling fur as it surrounds the creature's body, it is more like that of the texture of a chain or durable braided cord. Its silent encroachment over the animal's flesh brings the Teef into full panic, its eyes wide with fury as it begins to ascend into the air further above the ground.
For only a few brief and definitively silent moments, the Teef's contricted fur-covered body lifts into the air before them all, as if it being lifted along a track or invisible cord. It slowly brings the creature's underside into full view while the animal breathes heavily, its eyes dashing from side to side and blinking uncontrollably as its body lifts up.
For a very brief second it pauses in mid-air, and the creature looks directly into each of their eyes one by one in a flash of reckoning.
At once, the tiny being is torn in two opposite directions uin what looked like a blender ripping him apart in the middle of the dark woods. An invisible force has torn the creature asunder in one definitively evil act, the blood dripping from the unseen tentacles, which gleam sanguine and thorny in the firelight. Small spatters of blood lie suspended on an unseen body, surrounded by unseen tentacles, which also drip from the spray of the creature's internal fluids.
The head lands at Kim's feet, the eyes still fluttering violently.
The tentacles writhe on themselves, slowly wiping away the blod which coats them.
Kim, surprised and more than a little disgusted, takes an involuntary step away from the severed head "It's invisible!?" he exclaims, stating the obvious. He swings his staff at the blood stained parts of the creature, the only parts he can be sure of where they are.
The invisible being's long appendages wipe the blood off their length without difficulty, followed by one lashing out at Kim's quarterstaff, attempting to snatch it from his hands (check: DC19 to hold on).
As the scene before them unfolds, the cleric Deren walks from between the foliage behind the entity that floats invisibly in front of them.
Kim struggles to keep the staff from being snatched away. (20)
As the entity's invisible tendrils reach out and take hold of the staff in Kim's hands, he reacts quickly and pulls the staff back away from the creature's grip.
Now looking more intently at Kim, Deren backs up in reluctant doubt over the situation.
The entity, now completely focused on Kim's movements, tilts what looks like a head atop a set of shoulder, which is only barely visible from the gleam of firelight on Teef blood. The tentales pull back from in front of the body of the entity as it lowers to the ground slowly, coming to a crouching position on the ground, its head peering directly at Kim.
A strange wavering in the air and a low hum in the eardrums of the group lies beneath them as the entity causes a strange tremor in the earth below them. It makes them all shaky on their feet. (check: 14 : to stay standing)
"Whoah!" Kim shouts surprised as the ground starts to shake.(10)
He tries to keep his balance but falls down to the ground.
Proceed to the encounter with Imorphixius for a continuation.
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