Journey of the Accursed: A Dark Souls RP (closed, PM if interested)

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Avina stared in wonder for a moment as the wasps burst from the ground, dizzied by the wondrous flame. But only for a moment as she readied her hand again, instead holding her index finger and thumb together. As the first buzzed closer she raised her hand and snapped her finger's. A small fiery explosion erupted from her fingers and the wasp was engulfed in flame.

"Rally around Avina! They mean to take us down one by one! Get back to back and force them to take us head on! Avina, continue to burn down those wasps!"

For the second time that day, Avina's respect for the outlander grew. She had no time to see why the others began to rally around her however. The wasps were getting closer. Her robe's would offer some padding against the stinger's of the wasp, but the mandibles were another story. She readied her flame again and raised her hand as once again the swarm drew closer. "I'll burn as much as I can. Too close though and I won't have time to ready the flame!" She called to Travis as she snapped her fingers again, this time catching two in the same blast. Damn that snake, another few days and I would have had Greater Compustion! She thought cursing the creature of the Swamp.

In a very short amount of time, creatures had appeared, some wasp-like, and the rest like large lizards. Although they managed to take out some -him and Caelius bringing one down in what could be called team-work- there was still a lot left, and Rang realized that they would be too close for spells to be very sensible. Good thing he could use the staff as well.

"Rally around Avina! They mean to take us down one by one! Get back to back and force them to take us head on! Avina, continue to burn down those wasps!"

That sounded like a good idea, the way they were standing now caused too many openings. Before Rang got the chance to move according to what Travis said, Caelius spoke.

"Rang! Stay close and watch my back."

"Yes," he replied, and did as he was told. He followed Caelius' movements as they got closer to the pyromancer. If anything got close he would strike it with the staff, swiftly and accurately. He was good at aiming for the best spot, be it eyes, legs or stomach at that moment.

Ulrich stood still as a duo of lizard creatures circle and the shimmer of flame and smoke began to fall around him.

"Rally around Avina! They mean to take us down one by one! Get back to back and force them to take us head on! Avina, continue to burn down those wasps!"

Dagonet knew all too well that the lizards were starting to separate him from the party. They would descend upon from all angles, chipping away at his stamina, his armor, till he could fight no longer and the killing blow was struck like a pack of savage wolves upon their larger prey.

They were fast, these lizard creatures, and his helm narrowed his vision as they darted across it. Ulrich began backing off towards the party as sharp clangs wracked against his armor but held fast.

One of the duo began another offensive against his armor within Ulrich's limited vision and so the great heavy mace was raised instinctively above his head with both hands, feigning a vertical overhead attack Ulrich let go of the mace with one hand, before twisting the pommel and bringing the mass of iron in a sudden horizontal sweep.

One lizard attempted to leap at Travis as he charged to Avina's aid, only to be nearly trampled by Sue who simply charged through the beast. The lizard charging towards Avina turned and hissed as it was run down, its head sent rolling away with a stroke of Travis's blade. Isis's lizard did not fare much better, it lashed out with its tongue as she struck, the thing was surprisingly long and struck like a whip making. The blow struck soundly, but Isis's blades found their mark easily and the beast fell to the barrage of stabs. Ulrich felled another lizard with a mighty blow of his mace, crushing the thing. Avina's fire dropped more of the wasps, only a half dozen escaped the flames though they were scattered by them.

The monsters responded in kind though, the second lizard that had been circling Travis ran and leaped after him, planting its claws into Sue's hindquarters and it latched onto the horse. The second lizard facing Ulrich managed to avoid the brunt of his blow and found itself dazed and swept to the side, it scurried to its feet and began to back away from him cautiously, hissing with its tongue rolling quickly around its mouth. The remaining wasps surged angrily, scattered as they were they flew in separate directions. Two continued towards Avina, one grabbing onto her chest with its legs and attempting to tear at the cloth, another attempted to sting her but whether due to the cloth protecting her shoulder or its disorientation from the fire its stinger struck lightly and was deflected. The remaining four surged towards Rang and Caelius, though one was crushed by Rang's staff and another swept away, they buzzed angrily their vicious stingers leveled at the pair as they moved to strike.

-Isis-

As the dog-lizard ahead of her fell to the brutal series of stabs, it lashed out with a long, whip-like tongue. It staggered her just slightly as it connected, and the smile behind her porcelain headpiece took on a slight edge. They weren't to be toyed with, that was for certain, though their greatest threat was their numbers, by far. Thankfully, their numbers were quickly dwindling as far as she could see. Ulrich and Travis had both felled at least one dog-lizard each, while the Astora Knight's faithful mount trampled on another, showing that a war-horse was a danger all its own.

Rang and Caelius on the other hand, had started to work on the gigantic wasps, while Avina admirably held her own. Isis had to admit, she was rather impressed by the small group of them, since while they were clearly outnumbered, so far they were making short work of the beasts, though this couldn't be their greatest trial while in search of the Rite.

She turned as she watched Travis ride towards Avina, only to have one of the dog-lizards leap up and latch onto his steeds rear. So, she rushed forward and, flipping her Parrying Dagger into a different grip, plunged the blade down towards the beasts head while pulling back, attempting to pull it off the poor horse.

"If you would be so kind, get off of Sir Travis's Horse.", she said, her tone calm and pleasant as ever as she tried to tug it to the ground.

Turning to face the giant wasps which had now focused their attention on him and Rang, Caelius kept his shield raised and began to back away from the wasps at a steady pace, attempting to keep at least some amount of distance between himself and the creatures.

"Hey!" he called out to the wasps, banging his mace against his shield. "To me, you worthless servants of evil!" He had armor, and he had a plan, but he wasn't so sure about Rang. He had seen the man use sorcery, and thought it best if Rang could have some breathing room to continue casting.

The closer the wasps got to Caelius, the more his muscles tensed as he judged the distance between himself and his assailants. If they were just a little bit closer... He didn't know if he could catch an oversized bug by surprise, but figured it was worth a shot. If worse came to worse, he hoped his relatively thick armor would keep him safe.

As the wasps crossed the line he had painted in his mind, Caelius immediately reversed his movement. He dropped his shield to his side and lunged forward, swinging his mace in a wide horizontal arc in an effort to hit as many of the insects as he could.

"Hey! To me, you worthless servants of evil!"

Rang saw the wasps go over to Caelius' side, and although he wanted to say that he could handle them on his own, he instead decided to turn slightly, still keeping an eye on Caelius' back, but also making sure that he could hit those who survived Caelius' attack.

There seemed to be little danger in doing so, none of the other creatures were close to them, and the others seemed able to handle them themselves. Even if Rang had used sorcery, those spells he knew were mostly based on stealth, only one of them was offensive, and it took a lot of effort to use, so it had limited uses.

I'm a worthless wizard... But that isn't important right now. I---I have to help.

Rang had to keep himself from getting depressed, this was not the time to feel bad. Besides, he had already taken care of some creatures, so he couldn't be that terrible, right?

Right.

As he moved, he made sure to glance one last time towards the distant, facing away from Caelius. If something was there, he would spot it, and immediately turn around to attack the creature, but if not, he would take care of the wasps that remained after Caelius' move.

The lizard's lifeless body hit the ground with a thud as Travis reared Sue around and took a moment to take in the situation. The company of undead seemed to be fairing well and the lizards had been nearly wiped out, the remainders likely to soon route after being so outclassed. The wasps were closing in on Avina but it seemed the group had heeded his words and she did not stand alone.

At this rate we'll soon have the chance to make a break for...

Travis' thoughts were interrupted as Sue bucked and whinnied. The second lizard that had been stalking Travis decided to attack despite it's compatriot's quick demise and had latched itself onto Sue's flanks. Before Travis could even turn in his saddle Isis was on the lizard attempting to pull it off with her blades.

"If you would be so kind, get off of Sir Travis's Horse."

As the lizard struggled against her attempts Travis swung his shield around to bash the lizard's head followed by his blade, thrust in a downward stab.

Avina growled as the wasp bit at her chest. Forgoing her flame or blade, she grabbed the mandible of the wasp and pulled as hard as she could the other way. With a wet rip the mandible tore from the wasp causing it to release Avina and flinch back in pain. Tossing the mandible to the ground, she turned and snapped her fingers at the wasp trying to puncture her robes setting it ablaze.

"Hey! To me, you worthless servants of evil!" Avina had to fight not to roll her eyes at the cleric's words. None of the creatures that swarmed them were "Evil" per say. Fighting off invaders to their territory. But he was drawing the creatures to him and away from her. Which gave her time to draw her own blade. No knowing when she would get a chance to rest again, no use to tire herself on bugs. She turned back to the bug that had tried to bite her. With lunged forward with her sword, skewering the bug. Yanking her blade free as she turned, her shield ready, to face the other wasps that had begun to focus on her companions.

Driven by the combined blows from Travis and Isis the lizard tumbled to the ground, soon followed by Isis though she fared much better than it, it squirmed and twitched before it finished realizing it was dead and lay still. Drawn in by the noise, more from the clanging on the shield than Caelius's taunting, the wasps homed in on him clustering together as they did so. Most were crushed by his heavy swing, and the fraction that remained were swatted to pieces by quick blows from Rang's staff. The first wasp assaulting Avina struggled as she pulled it free and dispatched it, though it managed to inflict little aside from a few superficial scratches. The second fell to the strike from her blade, failing to even match the accomplishments of the first.

The final lizard seemed undeterred by the loss of its fellows and took advantage of Ulrich's weighty armor hindering his movements. It lashed at his helmet with its tongue to distract him and then darted around behind him leaping onto his back. Its claws scratched at his helm as it tried to pry it free to get at his unprotected flesh beneath.

Further ahead the smog blocking the road began to break up as the breeze strengthened, though more began to flow in behind them. More noises could be heard in the smoke but nothing else surfaced yet, and no shapes could be seen moving in the distance..

-Isis-

With a little help from Travis in the form of his shield bashing into the dog-lizards head, followed with a quick stab of his sword, the beast came free from his horses flank, and Isis simply followed it down. When it reached the ground, it twitched for a second, prompting her to stab her Estoc into it as well, though it was clearly unnecessary.

Once she pulled her weapons free, she looked over at Travis and gave him a jaunty salute with her Estoc, before she glanced down the path they had been following before the attack.

The path ahead was starting to clear up, but the fog behind them only seemed to get thicker. Thankfully, even with the hostile noises around them, she couldn't see any forms in the distance, meaning whatever was in the fog was laying in wait. Normally, that would be rather unsettling, but seeing as they were clearing up the last of the wasps and dog-lizards, she considered it fortunate. They wouldn't have to deal with another wave for at least a few minutes.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!", she called over to Travis, pointing the way with her Parrying Dagger.

Ulrich attempted to clutch backwards with his free hand at the lizard that had pried itself to the back of his armor. However despite his best efforts his armor impeded his attempts as the scrapes and slashes intensified against the nape of his armor and his helm.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!"

A wave of urgency overcame ulrich, if he did not shake the vile scum that had attached itself to his back then the party would advance without him, leaving him alone in the fog to be massacred by the file creatures that dwelled within it.
Dropping his mace with a thundering smash Ulrich mustered all the finesse and movement the armor offered him, reaching back with his newly free'd hand, attempting to grab hold of the lizard's spinly thigh before motioning his bulk to topple down backwards, upon the vile cretin that held onto his back so vehemently.

The lizard realized Ulrich's intent too late, and its efforts to scramble free were met with a resounding thud and a slight crunch as it was crushed underneath the rogue knights heavy armor. The leg Ulrich had managed to grab twitched in his hand, the rest of the creature either remained somewhat flat beneath him or began to seep out into the ground around him, it would likely take some effort to clean its remains off later.

Through their combined efforts Isis and Travis were able to cleanly free Sue of the Lizard's grasp, quickly dispatching it in the process. The woman of Carim was proving a valuable ally as she saluted Travis using her blade and Travis quickly returned the gesture, giving his blade and solid flick as he returned it to his side to let fly the excess blood that had accumulated on the sword lest it drip past his pommel and threaten his grip.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!"

Isis motioned to the clearing road as she looked up at Sir MacWilliam to make her suggestion. It then had suddenly struck Travis as to how responsive the others had been to his commands. He was used to commanding a company of disciplined knights and in the heat of battle he had simply acted the way he was used to. Taking charge and taking action. But this was no company of Astoran Knights, he doubted few of them had any real military experience and none of them were Astoran. Yet they had been quick to comply and work together and here was this warrior of Carim looking up at him expecting to receive orders. Expecting him to lead.

Perhaps the Gods bless this company. Perhaps they divine us to succeed. Only time will tell.

Travis took a quick glance around making sure everyone was clear of adversaries as the last of the beasts was felled by Ulrich's great size then nodded back as Isis, "Go." Then he shouted out to everyone, "Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!" He would let the speed of the others dictate his own, using his speed on horseback to act as a screening force to intercept opponents that might catch the slower members of they're party. Travis expected to run interference mostly for Caelius and Ulrich who's large and heavy armor encumbered them, making them easier to catch.

After dispatching the hellish wasps, Caelius examined his surroundings. The group appeared to have neatly dealt with each and every wicked creature that had attacked them. Today was a good day; Caelius felt invigorated by the recent scuffle, and empowered by his ability to come out of it unharmed. Turning his face to the sky, he thanked Gwyn for his divine protection, and asked that it continue until this humble servant's task was complete.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!"

Looking down the path, he saw that it was indeed clear, though for how long could not be known. He threw a second glance in the other direction, and saw that the poisonous mist had begun to envelop the road which they had just traversed, like a malevolent force devouring the land behind them, biting at their heels. He still felt somewhat apprehensive about the toxic nature of the fog, but was confident that he would make it through unharmed. He was, after all, protected.

"Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!"

It was the knight who had begun to call out orders. Mounted atop his warhorse, his steel armor reflecting the dull glow of the mist, he looked like the commander of an army. Caelius had no qualms with taking orders from this man, and hastened to obey. With a noble leader, and guidance and protection from the gods themselves, he knew there was no possible way this quest could fail.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!"

Yeah, we should.

"Y-yeah."

When the scariest of them killed the last monster, Rang couldn't help but smile, relieved, as he started to follow the others. They had to be fast not to be affected by the fog, and he cleared it a bit up with his staff as they approached it. Rang wasn't as scared of the people there anymore, as they had just defended each other, and worked together. It was clear that they understood that their survival was dependent upon having as many people as possible, and no one seemed to think he was a burden.

Well, that's not true. They might just not be saying it out aloud...

He probably had been a burden, the others were stronger, after all.

I'll try to do better than next time.

"Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!"

He kept following, although with his speed, he quickly ran ahead of several of the others. He couldn't outrun a horse, obviously, but he was fast enough for it to be noticeable.

No good, I can't run in front of people like that.

With that, he slowed down a bit. He wanted to say something to the others while they ran, thank them for not just leaving him behind to deal with it, like his parents had done a couple of times. However, he kept his mouth shut, and his eyes on the road in front of them, and the area around them.

-Isis-

She smiled under her porcelain headpiece as Travis returned her salute, and he hesitated for only a moment before he barked out their next orders.

"Go. Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!".

She nodded and broke into a run, though she didn't dare sheathe her weapons. After all, she had no clue whether or not they would run into anything else along the way, or in whatever they deemed suitable shelter. It was when the slight Sorcerer, Rang, managed to overtake her with surprising ease that she pushed herself to speed up in turn.

She wasn't fond of the idea of letting him rush into their prospective shelter alone, possibly to get ambushed. As such, she was thankful when he slowed somewhat, letting her get alongside him. This way, if they were to run into anything particularly nasty, the Sorcerer wasn't left on his own, without any help at all.

"The path ahead is clearing! I suggest we make haste to the archives before anything else attacks us!" Avina found it odd to travel after the smoke cleared. Yes it stung the eyes and chocked the breath, but it did so with everything. Surely it would have been wiser to move under the cover of smoke. But no matter, People were moving, and she would not be the only one out here.

"Go. Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!".

Avina was starting to like this Travis. She ran along the path after the others. She was glad to see she wouldn't be the only one with her blade still drawn. The other woman was defiantly odd, but she had sense. What was surprising was seeing the Sorcerer take of like a well trained soldier. Interesting, veeeeerrrry interesting. I may have to pester him later. She thought as she ran.

Once the leg of the foul lizard had stopped twitching Ulrich rose from the ground, an audible sound of breaking bone could be heard as the rogue knight shifted his excessive bulk and rose to his feed, ashed mixed dirt sprinkling off his armor, as he reached for his mace and nestled it neatly across his shoulder.

"Go. Go! Make best speed to the town! We'll take shelter in a building and take rest where we're less exposed, quickly now!"

Ulrich began to lurch forward, his armor impaired his speed tremendously and his was only able to maintain a steady amble down the road behind the party, obviously the slowest of the entire group, as the vile fog began to nip at the back of his heels.

Though it had only been their first engagement lasting but a moment Ulrich appeared as though they had been in combat for days. The already unseemly armor looked all the more ghastly with its tattered white surcoat further tarnished by ash and the jagged ebony armor weeping blood and gore, trailing patches of blood behind the party.

Dragonet kept his eyes forward and his pace steady, not allowing the baneful fog he had gotten to know almost intimately over the week he had spent waiting for the party to unnerve him.

As they ran down the road the town quickly began to come into view, the closer they got the thinner the smoke became and the noises of the plains fell steadily away. The buildings that remained had suffered from age, weather, and much more, few had anything resembling an intact roof and those that still stood were largely composed of grey stone. The nearest to them appeared to have once been a church of some sort, it was missing one wall, though the other three stood well enough and while the roof was gone the floor of the second story of the building provided some shelter, though it was composed of rotted wood. The stairs and furniture in the building were in pieces for the most part, though a stone altar still stood well enough. The statue over the altar was broken, its head had been smashed off from the looks of it though its hands were outstretched in a welcoming gesture and it seemed otherwise intact. A small welcoming bonfire sat in the center of the building, just before the altar.

Looming over the town could be seen the grey stone keep that was their destination, oddly faint sounds of clamor could be heard coming from near it, though the town seemed otherwise desolate and quiet. In the distance past the keep a mountain range could be seen emerging from the smoke. It seemed the group might have time to rest here for a moment, though their journey was still only just beginning.

Ulrich stepped across the rubble of the old church's former wall, finding easy footing upon the weathered, moss covered stone. Clearing a path through the few defiant rotten wooden pews still within the church, he reached the bonfire but did not sit, rather began to walk the length church, scanning the area methodically with his limited vision.

He then stood upon the stone rubble once more, his visor fixed upon the grey tower and the faint booming sound that emanated from it. Though the clamor from within its walls was slight, it had a tremendously substantial presence among the dead ruins of the town.

-Isis-

The Carim Assassin was immensely thankful when their small group made it to the ruins of the town. But, she couldn't help but wonder just how long it had been since the town had fallen to the beast that had been mentioned earlier. The buildings were crumbling into rubble, what wood remained was clearly rotted, and the only intact remains were stone.

She slowed slightly before glancing back at the others, as well as the fog that continued to grow behind them. Whatever noises there had been were dying off, but she knew better than to think that the township was safe.

"Keep vigilant! Don't assume anywhere is safe.", she called, before following the massive Ulrich in the direction of the church.

The church itself was intact, save for the collapsed wall and missing roof, the the floor to the next level remained, forming an acceptable shelter from the elements. The statue, on the other hand, was a curiosity. Striding to it, she sheathed her Parrying Dagger before reaching up to it. But a moment before she could touch it, her hand flinched away, and she shook her head.

Turning away, she made her way to the Bonfire and watched for the others.

As the group began moving off Travis kept a careful eye on the rear and flanks should something jump out from the haze and threaten one of the party. As expected Isis had taken up the front, her slim figure and light gear easily allowing her to out pace the others. Save for one, as surprisingly the sickly looking Rang managed to pass her almost like she was standing still. The young sorcerer turned out to be incredibly fit, and had shown himself quite capable of defending himself with his staff. Isis, not one to be outdone upped her pace as Rang slowed down a bit and the two acted as the team's vanguard. Ulrich on the other hand was moving almost painfully slow, his hefty armor and immense figure allowing him to keep up a slow jog at best. Travis kept close to the hulking warrior, occasionally dashing up to briefly check on the others. Thankfully no more creatures of the border challenged them and the group was able to make the remainder of the distance to the town unopposed.

Isis and Rang had spotted the remains of a church on the outskirts that was suitable for making camp. Travis sheathed his blade as he made his way to the ruins and dismounted to lead Sue into the church where he examined her injuries. The bleeding seemed to have stopped, though she appeared to treat her left hind leg gingerly. Travis cooed the mare as he patted her neck. "There, there Sue. That's a good girl. We've had worse, right?"

Satisfied he made his way over to Ulrich who seemed to be staring intently at their objective in the distance from which faint noises could be heard. "Something troubling you, Dragonet?"

On the second floor of the cathedral situated overtop the enterence was a room locked from the outside with a large metal door. Inside was a rather large man in traditional Catarinan attire sitting and staring at the door for quite some time. His name was Marcus, and if it were any other moment he would be considered a proud warrior. Unfortunately this is not one of those moments as he sat staring rigorously through the window of his prison, attempting figure a way out of this trap. Or in this case the trap that he sprung on himself, which frankly was the smart thing to do at the time, but now it has simply become a major nuisance.

"Bah! This is stupid! If I had me Axe I wouldn't be in this stinkin' room!", yelled and groaned the bitter Marcus. He then gave a sigh and looked around his small enclosed room, and even though his situation looked gloomy, he couldn't help but chuckle at his situation.

"I bet the others are lookin' fer me right now! Yep! Can't leave good ol' Marcus! After all, I can handle anything! Yes sir!", he boasted.

As he continued his rant he heard voices coming from outside. Marcus picked himself up and rushed over to the small window overlooking the front of the cathedral.

"Keep vigilant! Don't assume anywhere is safe.", spoke one of the travelers as they were heading towards that cathedral.

Marcus' head tilted in confusion, he didn't recall any other groups coming this way... not since he and his party came through not too long ago. He tried to yell out for help, hoping they would hear him from afar, that was until a small bluebird squirmed his way out of his helmet and started to sputter and fly sporadically around his room.

"Derrick! I thought you were still asleep in me helmet! You okay buddy?" , Marcus said in concern for his small friend.

The bird continued to fly around the room until it flew out the window towards the party. For only a moment, Marcus' heart sank as now even his pet had left him as well. He stood shock in awe for a brief moment until he rushed for the window screaming.

"DERRICK! NO!", he cried as he tried to grab for him. Unfortunately, his arms were not small enough to fit through the window, and he stood staring at the window, pondering why his choice of armor had to be so ridiculously bulky.

"Something troubling you, Dragonet?"

Came a voice from Ulrich's side, it took a moment for the words to sink in and break the intense gaze the knight had placed upon the grey tower. He turned his helm towards the knight as it audibly scraped against his bloodied black cuirass, it would have to be reshaped and cleaned once more by his loving hands.

"Hmmm?, hmmm, worry not Knight of Astora, I merely feel something.. familiar.. about the disparity etched into this land, I am no stranger to it. He turned towards the Travis fully this time, lifting his large mace off of his shoulder and upon the church's old stone floor with a loud bang and rested his gauntlets upon the up righted red shard pommel.

You did well knight, leadership is gained through action, not appointment. Whether you wanted it to happen or not the others have flocked to your guidance it seems, I hope you rise to the challenge.

Ulrich's tone of voice became more dark intense and his eyes appeared glassed as if he were peering back into a time long ago.

I have witnessed far too many undead knights crumble under the responsibility.. or leave their brothers behind

The gravity of the black knight's words may have been lost however as a small bird landed upon the top of his cuirass' shoulder and began pecking rapidly in the jagged blood stained folds, a sharp tapping ran up his armour as he reached for the source, however his armour impeded his attempts

DERRICK!! NO!! can a loud shout and Dagonet look towards its source, his helm making a deafening screech across his armour once more as it moved. The little bird flew up from his shoulder and landed upon his helm, tweeting haphazardly.

"Hmmm?, hmmm, worry not Knight of Astora, I merely feel something.. familiar.. about the disparity etched into this land, I am no stranger to it. You did well knight, leadership is gained through action, not appointment. Whether you wanted it to happen or not the others have flocked to your guidance it seems, I hope you rise to the challenge. I have witnessed far too many undead knights crumble under the responsibility.. or leave their brothers behind."

The words of the black clad warrior struck Travis deeply in a number of ways. Travis hadn't meant to take command. It just happened. He had lead knights and common soldiers under his charge in battle for over a decade and the experience had ingrained itself into his psyche. Travis' superiors had always commented on the higher morale of the men in his company. How the men under him would often be over heard praising their commander as others would whine about and insult their's behind their backs. The Griffon's Company, as they were called for the MacWilliam family crest that adorned his shield, could always be relied on to hold the line, break into the breach, or charge the flank. The men gave their all for their their country and each other, and he gave his all for them and they adored him for it. When his new company came under threat his instinct's kicked in and he acted on them.

As to leaving his brothers behind, well he had already done that once though not by choice. Being forced to leave his men and comrades after becoming undead had torn a hole in his heart. Travis' hand clutched the pouch enclosed with a green ribbon as his thoughts came to others he had left behind that had torn an even greater hole. It was a feeling he had no intention of feeling again. While Ulrich's words made him search within himself, they also made him wonder about the man before him. There were few places one could compare as familiar to the desolated lands of Southern Astora. And he had witnessed several undead knights with positions of command. Where could one have seen this? Where was this warrior from? Just how long had he been undead.

"I..." Travis began to speak as looked back up at Ulrich when words were stricken from him by the sight of the giant man being assaulted by a tiny blue bird. The sight was just too absurd and comical that Travis broke into laughter and nearly fell over as a voiced boomed out from the second floor of the church.

"DERRICK! NO!"

"What the...?" Travis bemused as the bird perched itself upon Ulrich's head. He looked to the rest of the group to see if any were missing and called out to them more than to the voice, "Who's up there?"

Caelius followed the others to the broken church, barely able to keep himself from grinning. It was just too perfect that the shelter which they had been seeking came in the form of a place of worship. The gods were powerful, he thought to himself, but they were not particularly subtle in this instance.

"Keep vigilant! Don't assume anywhere is safe."

Looking to Isis, he chuckled. "Of course we're safe here, my lady!" He stepped inside the battered building and put away his weapon and shield. "Can you not see that the gods have given us a sign?" He raised his arms and spun around, motioning to the walls around him. "Do not be so cynical as to believe they would allow harm to befall us in a place of worship such as this."

So confident was Caelius in his observation that he strolled up to the meager bonfire and took a seat before it, making no effort to search for danger around him. As he sat there, musing to himself about how well this quest seemed to be going, he idly watched a conversation between Sir Travis and the hulking Ulrich. He couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, but the two seemed to be getting along rather well. At least, they were until a small bird landed on the giant man's armor and Travis burst out laughing.

"DERRIK! NO!"

The shout startled him, as it sounded like it had come from somewhere above him, on the crumbling second floor, perhaps. He stood, but stopped himself from grabbing his weapon. It would not be necessary, he told himself; this was a safe place.

Tilting his head upwards, he yelled, "Hello?" in the general direction of the shout. "Who goes there?"

-Isis-

Not long after her shout, did the Cleric, Caelius call back in reply.

"Of course we're safe here, my lady! Can you not see that the gods have given us a sign? Do not be so cynical as to believe they would allow harm to befall us in a place of worship such as this.".

At that, she had to laugh and shake her head. "I'm not cynical, Caelius, merely cautious. Do not forget, I'm a follower of The Way of White as well, and I believe Lord Gwyn will see us through. But that doesn't mean we should let our guard down all the same.", she pointed out.

As the rest of the group, particularly Ulrich and Travis, joined them in the ruined church, she decided to stride over, lightly patting the Astora Knight's warhorse even as he dismounted. The mare looked like it had come through with minimal injuries, though it clearly favored one leg.

"There, there Sue. That's a good girl. We've had worse, right?".

She smiled at that, but kept silent as Travis turned to Ulrich, who seemed rather unsettled.

"Something troubling you, Dagonet?".

The towering knight turned to look at them slowly, and the scraping sound his helm made caused her hackles to raise, and she itched to draw her Parrying Dagger again. There was something about this Knight that truly unsettled her.

"Hmmm?, hmmm, worry not Knight of Astora, I merely feel something.. familiar.. about the disparity etched into this land, I am no stranger to it. You did well knight, leadership is gained through action, not appointment. Whether you wanted it to happen or not the others have flocked to your guidance it seems, I hope you rise to the challenge. I have witnessed far too many undead knights crumble under the responsibility.. or leave their brothers behind.".

At that, Isis merely sheathed her Estoc and crossed her arms, glancing between the two armor-clad men.

"He did do well. And only time will tell whether or not he is up to the challenge, but I have faith. We should all have faith that we won't fail.", she said, her tone colder than usual, with none of the smile that was normally in her voice.

At least, that was until a small blue bird flew over and began to attack Ulrich's shoulder-plate. She couldn't help the quick giggle that came out, before glancing over at a shout, presumably one that had to do with the bird.

"DERRIK! NO!".

She didn't pay the shout much heed, since it didn't seem hostile, and instead strode closer to Ulrich as the bird perched itself atop his helmet. Smiling once again under her porcelain headpiece, she reached up and offered an open hand for the bird to rest on.

"Here we are little one, this is a safer perch for you. I won't harm you.", she murmured in reassurance, wanting to see the bird itself a little more closely.

After all, it was a lone cheerful sign of life and color in the dead and deserted town. That alone was enough to make her want to investigate further.

Marcus looked down and tried to keep quiet as he saw his bird get taken away from him, or at least thats what it looked like from his point of view.

"Damns! They got Derrick! And if they find me... oh bother this ain't good!"

Panicked and alarmed, he paced back and forth in his cell, with each step shaking the floor beneath him. He was worried, for two reasons. The first being that perhaps this group were brigands that were only after souls and humanity. But if they weren't... then that lead to another problem entirely. Marcus was a bit shaken at first as he stopped and recalled facing an enemy of incredible might, one that would strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest knights. It was only recently that he had met this being. However he couldn't recall what or who it was. It was bothersome. It was then that heard a voice call out to him,

"Hello?"

Marcus looked up and walked towards the direction of the window.

"Who goes there?"

He felt conflicted, they didn't sound like bad people, but you never know these days. He hesitated but at the same time he had to do something, if not he might just starve to death. Clearing his throat, he responded.

"Oi! Your not evil are ya?..." Not one of the best responses in the world, but perhaps it was better to be more specific.

"I mean who are you? And where is Derrick?!"

Avina ignored the other for the most part as she took a seat by the bonfire. A place to rest, to gather her thoughts was too good to ignore. She felt her worries and fears leaver her as she gazed into the flame. Her mind cleared, allowing her to focus her pyromancy flame again. She was snapped out of her trance when she heard an unfamiliar voice.

"DERRICK! NO!" She looked up then, to find Travis on the ground laughing and Isis trying to coax a small bird off of Ulrich's massive frame. Avina laughed herself, the sight was a strange one indeed. She followed the clerics gaze as he called out to the voice.

Hello? Who goes there? She saw the rotting floorboards above the entrance to the church shake as something heavy paced across them. She stood then and moved towards the back of the church where a ladder led up to the floor above. She heard the voice call out again.

"Oi! Your not evil are ya?....I mean who are you? And where's Derrick?"Well whatever was up there could talk at least. Still she was careful as she climbed the ladder. Hopefully it would give her enough time to slide back down should it turn out to be hostile.

"Oi! Your not evil are ya?... I mean who are you? And where is Derrick?!"

"Uh,uh..." Travis had to take a moment to compose himself as he allowed the absurdity of the situation to settle in. When he spoke next he was confident and firm. "I am Sir Travis MacWilliam of Astora." he called out to the voice above, "My companions and I are on an undead quest by the authority of The Way of White. My association should answer your first question, and as for your last, there was no one else down here when we arrived and I do not know this Derrick. Now that you know my name perhaps you could be so courteous as to tell us your own and explain what your doing up there?"

Rang had followed the others into the town, and to the bonfire. He felt calmer there, and he relaxed, a little bit away from the others, of course. Suddenly, there was sounds coming from within a building, the voice of an unknown man. Rang didn't catch what he said at first. However, after a few comments from the others, the stranger spoke again.

"Oi! Your not evil are ya?... I mean who are you? And where is Derrick?!"

Of course not.

Rang didn't say anything though, he just decided to stand back, and see what the others were doing. He didn't want to yell, and what he could manage to get out wouldn't be much helpful.

"My companions and I are on an undead quest by the authority of The Way of White. My association should answer your first question, and as for your last, there was no one else down here when we arrived and I do not know this Derrick. Now that you know my name perhaps you could be so courteous as to tell us your own and explain what your doing up there?"

Yeah. That's a good way of saying it.

"Y-yeah."

Rang smiled slightly, while he wasn't that good with people, his allies were a lot better, which covered his short-comings.

Marcus listened in from the window, although he had some trouble following what the stranger's explanation. Mainly due to his use of fancy wordplay. But it didn't matter to him, he was used to talking to proper folk, so he at least was able to catch most of what the good knight was saying.

"My companions and I are on an undead quest by the authority of The Way of White. My association should answer your first question, and as for your last, there was no one else down here when we arrived and I do not know this Derrick. Now that you know my name perhaps you could be so courteous as to tell us your own and explain what your doing up there?"

"Hmmm... way of the white? OH! You are good people then!"

Marcus smiled, at least he was reassured that there were a few decent folk in this mess of a world.

"My name is Marcus! and uh..."

He lost his trail of thought for a moment, until he again noticed the locked door.

"Oh right! Um... could one of you perhaps help open this here door, it shut on me as I entered and it won't bloody budge!"

Marcus felt reassured that maybe this group of people could help him out. He looked over through the window trying to get a better view of the group, but to no avail as his helmet was too big to peer through the window.

Avina poked her head up from the ladder. The rotting wood floor looked unstable at best, how it was able to hold up the small room at the other end was beyond her. Perhaps the wood under neath is rotting slower? She wondered as she slowly climbed up. As she slowly made her way to the door, she heard the voice from inside still chatting with Travis down below.

"My companions and I are on an undead quest by the authority of The Way of White. My association should answer your first question, and as for your last, there was no one else down here when we arrived and I do not know this Derrick. Now that you know my name perhaps you could be so courteous as to tell us your own and explain what your doing up there?

"Hmmm... way of the white? OH! You are good people then! My name is Marcus! and uh..." The voice paused for a moment. "Oh right! Um... could one of you perhaps help open this here door, it shut on me as I entered and it won't bloody budge!"

Avina smiled at that as she reached the door. She peered inside at whom she assumed was a man. Avina's first thought was not one she had ever expected to have.He looks like a giant onion! She had heard stories of the knight of Catarina, but she thought it had all been an elaborate joke on the 'hicks from the swamp'. But low and behold there he was. A man in onion shaped armor. With a birds nest on his head too! She shook her head. This went up to the top of her personal list of things that made her head hurt. Just above outsider's nervousness around her people. "Already here friend. Do be careful as you walk out though, the floor is liable to give way should you take a misstep."

-Isis-

After a few moments, Isis promptly gave up on trying to coax the bird into her hands, and glanced over as Travis called over to the newcomer.

"I am Sir Travis MacWilliam of Astora. My companions and I are on an undead quest by the authority of The Way of White. My association should answer your first question, and as for your last, there was no one else down here when we arrived and I do not know this Derrick. Now that you know my name perhaps you could be so courteous as to tell us your own and explain what your doing up there?".

With a quick glance back to the small blue bird,she jabbed a thumb at it. "Would I be correct in assuming that this bird is the Derrick you're worrying after? If so, the bird is fine despite choosing a rather questionable perch so far, being a helmet.", she called.

"Hmmm... way of the white? OH! You are good people then! My name is Marcus! and uh... Oh right! Um... could one of you perhaps help open this here door, it shut on me as I entered and it won't bloody budge!".

Not long after his introduction and plea for help had Avina gone over to investigate and assist. And even from the odd angle Isis was at, she could see the Pyromancer shake her head over something she saw as she peered inside. While Avina did what she could to help Marcus, the assassin cast another sidelong glance at what she assumed was Derrick, wondering just what it was even doing there.

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