Zha'Gren - Redcliffe Manor
Blood Lord wrote:
Valmyria Windstrider - Redcliffe
"Arvashok," she said looking over at the giant. "I'm here at the request of Arl Hailstrom. He wants the Warden's support in bringing peace to this land. I don't know how much we can help him. You, Lainolen, and Devon are welcome to join if you want, or wander around the village. Zha'Gren... I don't have anyone you need to take out at the moment and I don't think I can bring you with me into the meeting... you have my permission to go, um... do something."
The predator in him nearly roared to life in an attempt to throttle the commander for being so foolish. To enter an enemies stronghold without protection! Without trying to get him in somehow! Not even the decency to try and send him off on some mindless busy work of some sort. Surely there was something he could- The gears of it's mind clicked for a moment as an idea formed.
She didn't say not to try
and get in anyways.
But how? What avenue was open. It wasn't like he'd never snuck into a large manor of some sort before, but there was importance now. No guard could be killed or Val might be subject to arrest. The flimsy cloak he'd worn since the mountains had done a lot to discourage onlookers from seeing to close, and the mask was clearly taken as some sort of Qun shaman ritual by the ignorant masses, but that wouldn't hold up for long.
Zha'Gren let a low growl of acceptance escape softly from behind the bone mask before turning to walk into the nearby foliage and out of sight. He wasn't going to let up for long, though this little adventure would be rather annoying. Castles built on cliffs did not favor killers. Hopefully the information he'd... acquired... would still be effective. A long time ago, likely before some of the newer extensions to the castle were in effect, a dark stalker had infiltrated the castle and murdered 23 people without ever being seen. 5 servants, nearly 15 armed and alert guards, 2 elite guardsman and the prince that had been visiting.
The killer was never seen and most exits were found and sealed off. Zha'Gren knew one that nobody had ever found by pure chance. Another killer had exited the castle through a passage somewhere under the water that connected to a cavern and some tunnels leading to catacombs. After a light chat and a violent decapitation, the killer explored the routes in and out and took claim for the kill.
The hike down the hillside was easy enough, the sun was facing his back so it obscured what little view of him to be found, and the water wasn't very busy considering the entrance was on the opposite side. A quick splash in the water and a short swim later he emerged in a very dark cave. The ground felt sticky and clung to his feet like a... spiders... web. Reflexively, Zha'Gren slashed out with his blade in a wide overhead arc, Diving backwards into the safety of the water and what little light available. He wasn't dissapointed. A set of mandibles the size of his head splashed into the water violently tearing away for the source of its sudden pain, finding only water and the stinging of it's cut limb it retreated back to the security of the darkness. It would be more alert this time. Annoying creatures, spiders. Who makes these damn things so big!
He thought quickly, his air quickly running out of his lungs from the unexpected dive. No other way in but this one, maybe the spider would be afraid of his next intrustion. No reason not to be secure in that.
Though magic had never been his specialty it had always been a part of the process of making the grisly totems that hung from his armor. A simple light spell on an item was not hard to do under such circumstances.
Splash! Out of the water went a small rock, lighting up the small cave almost completely. Up above sat a spider as big as Zha'Gren and twice as long. This was gonna be a fun day.
He mused silently. Out of the water came Zha'Gren, immediatly throwing more rocks as he emerged at the spider, hissing at the sudden blinding light but descending to try and crush the intruder. Diving into a controlled roll, Zha'Gren came on his feet less than a foot away from the angry spider and gave his own hiss that was followed by the spiders screaming. 3 daggers suddenly sticking out of its face, yet it did not fall. A backhand from its front leg caught his shoulder and sent him into a small flip backwards to land hard on his back, apparently the spider could still see because it charged at the downed hunter with abandon.
Zha'Gren barely avoided the creatures bite, all but obliterating the stone where moments ago he'd occupied. Across the face went the scimitar, drawing a bright line across it's furry face and cutting off one of the creatures mandibles. It's foul blood and the sound of its agony only drove the hunter on with new vigor. Each slash drew another line of bright blood, each cut pushed the spider back in fear, each swing brought glory to Val and the prowess of her killer. With a savage roar of victory he plunged the great blade through the thrashing spiders skull where it twitched and screamed before finally its many legs buckled from the weight to fall silently.
Where there is one... Zha'Gren turned and threw another rock further down the tunnel. It was covered completely in the spiders sticky strand but only the cocoons of victims lay in the immediate path, though that didn't really mean it was bug free still. Plenty more things, bigger things if the one behind him was a mere male, may lay in the bigger part of the tunnel just before the crypt. Zha'Gren hoped there wasn't anything bigger than the one behind him further ahead. He wouldn't mind if there was though..
With a small chuckle, an idea sparked in the predators head. He hadn't had the opportunity before, but now seemed like a good idea. It was dry here, dusty, with very flammable things literally coating the walls. Pulling a small bit of flint from his pack, Zha went to work restlessly striking it against his blade. After a few minutes he'd finally gotten the reaction he wanted. Though much MUCH quicker than he'd anticipated! Like a hungry demon set loose on an unsuspecting town, the whole room erupted into flames in mere seconds, hungrily licking up the sticky webs and racing down the tunnel to illuminate even further ahead as it swallowed the passageways. A few twists and turns here and there blocked his view to the main chamber of this great maze but if his hunch was correct...
What felt like the moan of a titan all but smashed into the hunter as something very big and very angry was given a kiss from the angry flames. From the sounds of it, the creature ahead had been coated in the sticky strands to hide itself from anybody that got through its cavemate. Nothing made the hunters heart swell than hearing the death throws of a gigantic enemy. The flames settled down nearly 15 minutes after it had started, leaving only the charred remains of earlier meals and the unborn eggs behind it. Job well done.
Pushing the simple light spell into his blade and pressing on, Zha'Gren emerged at the main area he'd come to find. It was a great big cavern now scorched entirely black. At its center lay the prize he hoped hadn't been there. Sitting, well right now it was simply flopped atop, a great mound of bodies, lay the twisted and agonized remains of the mother recluse. Majestic though it was, it was incredibly weak against light and fire due to its chitenous armor. Rest in filth, spider bitch.
He smirked. The spiders carcass was nearly 30 feet in every direction, bloated and swollen from feeding, its legs added another couple of feet but they'd curled against its body in the final moments.
If only he'd had the time to make a proper trophy of the creature. WHAT A STORY THAT WOULD BE!
For now, he had to be satisfied with what little he could take from such a majestic and dead creature. The mandible on this one was longer than the hunter was but just as soft and fleshy. With a snap, the burned husk flopped harmlessly on the ground to reveal a steady trickle of a very bright green ooze. Venom. Potent, effective, horrendously rare, and even rarer to even possess. After a few moments of steady work, Zha'Gren had a vial full of the precious liquid.
The poison was from such a gigantic creature, yet it needed a mere drop to reduce a knights shining armor to slag. It was acidic to everything but the spider and glass. Thankfully the Vial was glass!
The opening to the crypts was easy enough to locate, and thankfully not infested with spiders. Torches lit the walls and dust clung to everything but the floor, where servants sometimes came through to sweep and quickly transport things without being seen by guests. From here, he located one such servants tunnel and disappeared into the shadows within. With a little luck he'd find Val on his way to the top spires.
Marcus Hammerstrike - Denerim Manor
Uneventful and dull walks bored the old man to tears, his constant yawning aggrivating his eyes and caused a small amount of liquid to run down his cheek. The heavy gear did little to remedy the situation. "Friggin' dragon bone mace and your stupid boulder armor weighing down like a small army. I shoulda crushed the durn things into a heap of slag and.."
On and on he grumbled, the armor jingling in the cart he'd been forced to.. procure.. for the long trip to the manor. Tiring. Sweaty. Hot. Boring. Marcus was almost to a boiling point when he finally realized he wasn't smoking his pipe. The tobacco was fresh still, well preserved and perfectly stored in his pouch. It sizzled briefly as his match lit the dry herb and filled his lungs with the calming aroma he'd payed a handsome price to get. Worth every copper.
No more than an hour after Bill and Vovin had arrived, a grumbling Marcus made it to the gates and was let through. One man was forced down when he attempted to confiscate the armor inside of his wagon, the other having left to get the Owner, Bill. "Told you not to touch it, punk. Your master wants me here, wants to keep me here you better shove off. Ain't yours to take anyhow. Break your fingers one by one I see you so much as eyein' em again. Hear me?"
The gatekeeper whimpered and gave a nod, trying to rise on shaking legs.