August 17, 2017, 07:19:11 PM

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The Southlands / Re: Due Payment
« Last post by Aurn Novak on July 29, 2017, 04:06:20 AM »
Without much fuss, the last remaining light was fading away. Long, stretched slivers of red dappled the roofs and treetops. Clouds - slowly rolling out from the approaching night - were also stained by the scraps of evening.

Within leftovers of light, scattered around them in a loose circle, were ten of the seventeen Aurn had spotted earlier, along with four of the eight that had caught them on the ridge.

For what must have been an hour, possibly two, they both stood at the center of Heien, right in the cross-shaped intersection, looking up to the large town hall. Before the others had formed a circle around them, one man had quickly sprinted off somewhere Aurn couldn't see.

There was only one reason why they were standing there, and Aurn had wasted no time using the SenJi's absence to his advantage.

Methodically, he had taken note of his surroundings and captors. From the sturdiness of the buildings around him, to the weapons, armor and stances of the men and women who encircled them . As much detail as he could gauge and weigh and plan for the inevitable fight to come.

Directly ahead of him was the town hall with it's balcony. To his right were two smaller wood-plank roofed houses, ten feet high at their lowest and fifteen feet or more at their peaked roofs. Directly to his right stood Harmen, silent, afraid. Another house stood behind himself to his right. Directly behind himself, beyond some huts and walls stretched rice paddies, cleared of most trees, covering the slope that fell away behind them like a strange mosaic. The disc of the sun had passed below the horizon beyond them, and the clearing they made in the forest was the only reason there was as much light left as there was. Three small shacks rose up from the water logged land. Behind himself to his left was another squarish large house, though with thick thatched roofing. Directly to his left was a short path that lead to the long buildings that must make up the lumber mill. In front of himself to his left was the blacksmith, a building with a high peaked roof and mish-mash of chimneys.

Two of Baron's men to his left laughed and jeered at him, bickering, pulling the Aegis back and forth between themselves. One with some sort of disheveled guntai topknot seemed to insist it was a shield and held it vertically. The other took it from him and wore it properly, flailing it around and laughing in a broken, overly-guttural nijonese. Dirt smeared across the Aegis' saffron face, obscuring its oil-like shimmer.

Aurn watched it for a time, then went back to his plans. He was not a tactician by any means of the word, but he - like many of his captors - was a mercenary, a fighter. His experience gave him perspective - let him pick things up, and turn those details into plans. Maybe even more so than them. For whatever one could call the thing that was his life - fighting was the one thing at which he excelled. To be as good at it as he could be. He had only met one person in the world related to himself by blood. He could count his acquaintances and friends on one hand. He had no trade, no skills that didn't involve fighting or keeping himself alive. Fighting, only fighting. That was all. And he knew all of that would have to be brought to bear soon if he or Harmen wanted to kill Baron.
The Kingdom of Elentári / Re: Interregnum
« Last post by Kyne on July 27, 2017, 09:32:57 AM »
Kyne's eyes went wide and he turned and ran, his limbs like dead weights and his heart heavy. He ran for the trees - for the stump where they'd tied the horses. This was a threat, plain and simple. Uhai would strike at the camp and he would not be there to save them. He could see it all so clearly in front of him now. How could he have been so stupid? This had been a trap. By the time he reached them every friend he had made over the last decade would be dead. Each of them a casualty of his stupid private war.

Yanking his steed's rein free of the hitch that had held it, he sprung atop the horse. It had taken a day to get here and it would be a day's ride back again. Was he already too late? The camp could already have fallen hours ago. The trees blurred by as he pressed the poor beast ever harder southwards and yet Kyne rode without pause, without rest or respite. Night fell and he stumbled into the clearing, his horse collapsing beneath him, foaming at the mouth. He'd likely ridden the poor thing to death. Ahead, smoke rose between the trees. Kyne pushed himself to his feet and started to run, his legs half numb with exhaustion.

Uhai and his bandits were, as ever, nowhere to be found. Ghosts in the woods as they were. All that remained of what had once been a home to Kyne and his companions were ashes and smouldering wooden trunks. He padded softly amongst the wrecked tents and scorched earth, his gait even and steady, but his eyes searching desperately for any trace of survivors. The entire area rang with the energy of the flames that lay dormant in the embers all around the ranger. This was no mere banditry. Powerful magic had been at work here.

His foot caught against something softer than just charred wood crumbling to ashes beneath his feet and Kyne looked down, only to take a step back, the back of his hand covering his mouth. A slender arm, blackened from the flames protruded from beneath the wreckage of what had not a day ago been a stockpile of supplies. Crisped flesh fell from the limb where his foot had scraped it and thought the sight was sickening, Kyne nevertheless found himself compelled to kick away the smoking ruins to reveal the corpse's face.
The Southlands / Re: Due Payment
« Last post by Harmen on July 27, 2017, 03:37:05 AM »
Harmen lay prone to see beneath the cover that blocked the village from view.

“He’ll have set himself up in the largest house.” He said, muffled by his arms crossed in front of his face. Quietly as he could, he shuffled himself back through the leaf litter and stood. “There’s no way he would pass up the high-class option.”

Harmen stood, brushing the bits of plant matter from his hair and off of his clothes. It had been enough time since the patrol had passed that the forest’s ambient noise had returned. Leaves settled, trees swayed in the wind, and a few birds passed overhead. Harmen leaned against a sturdy tree trunk with his arms crossed.

The rice paddies would make the best route for an escape. In the streets of Heien, it would be much more likely to be cornered and overwhelmed, but the raised paths between the paddies would be difficult to block off. From the center of town, all he would have to do is skirt the blacksmith... Harmen shook his head and screwed his eyes shut.

“No, no running away this time.” He said faintly. The shudders had stopped taking hold since the patrol passed them by. Maybe his body had reached the limit of its nerves, and beyond was apathy.

He opened his eyes and stared vacantly at the forest floor in front of him, when he heard a sharp swooshing sound somewhere deeper in the forest. With a jerk of his head, Harmen narrowly avoided the sling bullet that cracked into the tree next to his ear.

Indistinct shouting masked Aurn surging from his post, out of Harmen’s field of vision. A soldier, armored in what seemed to be a random assortment of scraps was charging him, wielding the distinctive Nijonese curved blade. Harmen reacted to the familiar silhouette of a charging enemy, steadying himself on the balls of his feet. He faked left to draw an underhand swing of the sword, and stepped right. There was a hearty thud as his attacker’s head met the tree trunk, and Harmen set upon him, pinning him to the ground.

He looked up from his opponent to find Aurn, but the azure wave of a fighter was nowhere to be seen. Almost.

The body of a hapless enemy sailed through the air, trailing green strands of wind before crashing through the branches of a tree.

In the clamor of the body settling to the forest floor, Harmen noticed the moving shapes just beyond the trees. They moved into view in groups, gesturing at each other and barking back and forth like a pack of coyotes.

Steel scraping steel rang in the air, and Harmen and Aurn were surrounded.
The Southlands / Re: Due Payment
« Last post by Aurn Novak on July 27, 2017, 03:35:21 AM »
Aurn waited some time before moving after the voices had faded far to his right, down the slope. The opposite direction they were headed. Harmen looked at him, as though waiting for some kind of answer - waiting for directions or what to do.

Giving directions, let alone orders for that matter was not something Aurn was used to. His mismanaged training sessions proved that clear enough. He was used to working alone.  Even Farron, Judio and others in the caravan had more experience with these kinds of larger scale . . . endeavors than himself.

Carefully he nodded, and gestured with his left black-runed hand straight to his left - up the slope to the ridge that overlooked Heien. Harmen's eyes followed, and he leaned ever so slightly away from the log which he seemed stitched to - to presumably see a sliver of the village. He gave a slow affirmative nod.

Shifting to a crouching position, Aurn turned to his left and started for the ridge. Leaves and dirt shifted with his footsteps and trailing surcoat. He should have left it with his other belongings, but it was too late for that. His breaths were short and controlled as he moved from cover to cover - on his stomach behind shrubs, then crouched and leaning behind a rock or stump. Harmen followed in suit. At each stop and between - always scanning, always looking.  His half-elven eyes - sharpened by eight years of life or death work - cut through the edge of the village and the surrounding woods. All the while his Aegis was at the ready, every muscle, every sinew, every fiber of his body ready to snap into action should they be spotted.

Possibly half an hour or more had passed by the time he sat atop the ridge, crouched on one knee. He planted the Aegis nose down in the earth - still strapped to his arm - and slowly parted a branch so he could see the whole village. He was facing due East and South was to his right.

Heien was a tiny village. Besides the ridges, hills and thick woods, ancient, mossy stone walls appeared here and there around it's edges - perfectly encircling the terraced rice-paddy fields that lay on the Northern end of town - with a few wood and stone sheds and huts scattered about them. The main road curved from his left to directly ahead of him, intersecting with the two short dirt paths that cut through the village. Closest to him were three wood-plank roofed houses. Three more stood further, on the other side of the path that crossed the main road. One of them had a taller roof and a number of old, but ramshackle chimneys - a smithy perhaps. Further still was a large, long building and what appeared to be a large, roofed lumber storage. Directly south of the six buildings and the intersection was a much larger, two or three story cross-shaped building. A well-furnished wood balcony jutted out of the side facing the intersection of the main road and first path.

A handful of figures came into focus among the oblique shadows and shrinking spills of evening color. Some seemed armored and armed, others just walked or did some sort of work Aurn couldn't discern from where he crouched. Undoubtedly mercenaries, bandits, followers and Kyael.

Six . . . eight . . . ten . . . fifteen - seventeen - including the pair they had already seen. Aurn squinted to try and see any more in the darkening shadows.

"I count seventeen," Aurn practically whispered, "not including other patrols." He stopped for a second.

"Eighteen." He corrected himself. "Including Baron."
The Southlands / Re: Due Payment
« Last post by Harmen on July 26, 2017, 11:44:59 PM »
Harmen held his breath, worried that even the slightest noise would somehow bring the world crashing down around them. He lowered himself to hide behind the log, putting his hands under his arms to prevent his gauntlets from clattering.

The voices had moved, muttering things intermittently. They appeared to be skirting the area in which Harmen and Aurn were hiding. Their footfalls betrayed a casual stroll. A few of their words came through the trees.

“......getting tired.....damn leaves.........village...........”

Harmens brow furrowed. It was strange hearing common spoken so casually. Baron’s men must have made their way to Heien after all. The shudder came rolling, like a wave through the teenager’s body. His enemy had been made real again, and part of him wanted to run. He clenched his teeth hard and tensed his back to keep himself from making any noise. An ache was growing in his legs, having been crouched in a strange way while the patrol had walked past.

A short while later, the voices faded from earshot. Harmen breathed deeply, as quietly as he could, and relaxed. He then turned to Aurn, and waited expectantly.

The encounter had begun.
Tech Support / Re: Discord
« Last post by Zyrphath on July 18, 2017, 09:25:21 PM »
We're up on Discord as well now, but I couldn't guarantee how much I'll be available there as I am usually tied up elsewhere.
Tech Support / Re: Discord
« Last post by Onónion Menathradon on June 17, 2017, 12:56:01 AM »
I've only had a limited amount of time on Discord and have enjoyed it so far more than I have Skype or Messenger or what have you.
Tech Support / Re: Discord
« Last post by Davin Ragal on June 13, 2017, 01:49:52 AM »
We used to use skype quite a lot many many moons ago, but that obviously required a download, and eventually microsoft made you have to pay to do group voice
Tech Support / Re: Discord
« Last post by Zyrphath on June 11, 2017, 06:49:53 PM »
I use Discord myself for some purposes, but at this time we do not have any plans to adopt Discord for Hidden Realms. Not ruling it out, though. :)
Tech Support / Re: Discord
« Last post by Onónion Menathradon on June 10, 2017, 03:31:50 PM »
 is a free voice and text chat app designed specifically for gaming. It's easy to use and doesn't require any downloads.
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