Nydie & Guinness
With her chin resting on her palm, Ayria released a quiet sigh. Although the sound went unnoticed by the other customers of the tavern the elf was currently wasting her time away in, it did catch the attention of the bartender who was standing in front of her. The man arched a curious brow at the female, the internal debate he was having with himself causing his eyes to dart between the female in question and the odd looking fellow at the end of the bar. His mind was made up quickly and he approached the elf, deeming her the lesser of two evils.
“Refill?” He asked, hoping that he didn’t startle the elf from her thoughts.
Ayria had been aware of the man’s approach, but quite honestly couldn’t be bothered to give the man a second of her attention; she was too busy plotting her next big scheme. Well, she had been any way, until a conversation at the back of the bar caught her attention.
“I ‘eard it could bring the dead back to life.” A coarse, rather obnoxious voice stated, drawing the female's attention from her current thoughts.
“Nay, you dunder head! Tis a link to the Gods, it is! Gives a person the powers that only the Gods can hold.” Another voice responded, this one sounding much deeper than the previous voice, but just as obnoxious.
“What in the world are you drunken lot talking about?” The elf called out to the group holding the discussion. Normally she wouldn’t be bothered by the discussions of a few drunkards who had little else to do but gossip about things they had no clue about, but whatever the object was sounded interesting.
“Ey, who says we was talking to the likes of you elf? It’s a man’s discussion. Now why don’t you go run off and find someone else to nag at, ya harpy.” The corse voiced male, a rather short and unhealthy looking human glared at her though one good brown eye, the other eye was sending a glare to the wall opposite him
“I wasn’t nagging you twit.” Ayria responded, twisting around in her seat to observe the odd little group. His partner, who was seated to the human’s left was a rather obese dwarf who looked as if he hadn’t bathed in years. His greasy disheveled hair fell in clumps down the his hunched back, and his pale blue eyes were so bloodshot it appeared as if they were bleeding. Opposite the dwarf sat…well, Ayria couldn’t tell. It looked like some brown hairy creature with ears like a cat, and the shape of human. Whatever it was, it was ugly, and smelled probably just as bad the as the dwarf.
All three occupants glared at Ayria this time, and she decided that she was going about things the wrong way. Twisting in her seat, the elf reached over and tapped the bar, calling for the bartender’s attention. “Sir, a pitcher of your finest ale for those lovely gentlemen in the back.” Digging into the satchel that hung at her side, she dropped a threw a few gold coins onto the bar’s dull surface.
The glares that had been previously thrown her way softened, and her request was met by the drunken cheers of the trio. “Ay lady, forgive the outburs’, just thought perhaps you’d been eyin us up for other reasons.” The human male replied, no winking at Ayria with his good eye.
‘Not bloody likely.’ The female thought, fighting off the urge to vomit at the idea.
When the bartender had finally delivered a pitcher to the table, Ayria rose from her seat and made herself at home amongst the group. Sliding gracefully into the chair in front of the human, the elf flashed him a charming smile. “So, what’s this about powers of the Gods?”
“Tis true…” the man started, only to be interrupted by the dwarf.
“Aye, tis. Powers that no creature alive can withstand! Tis a…” the dwarf was then cut off by the human again, and the two began bickering between themselves.
Sighing, Ayria reclined back in her chair, listening carefully to the conversation to see what she could learn. Although it wasn’t much, the duo did manage to let it slip that the object of their discussion was an artifact of such immense value that all the gold in the world would not be enough for a soul to part with it, but its location was a complete mystery. The dwarf was convinced that one needed to travel to the farthest depths of the sea to find it, while the human told him he was a drunken idiot, and that one only had to climb into the sky.
The elf was amused at least. The tale was quite a good one, even if those telling it were completely smashed, and probably wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Still, the prospect of something of such extreme value existing caused the elf to feel a slight thrill at the prospect of being the creature to discover such a treasure.
Risen from ashes
A lone droplet of sweat snaked down the gnome's face, zigging and zagging as if it had a mind of it's own. Possessed to drive it's master insane, coming a brief respite a top the gnome's nose. The droplet began to edge closer and closer to the edge before finally letting go, splashing into a half filled mug of ale.
“Nervous old friend?” a tall, lanky human asked. One eye staring at the gnome, other shrouded by an eye patch.
“Aye! He watering like ah orc in da elf lands,” a hearty dwarf bellowed, long black beard gyrating like a dancer as he talked.
“Nervous? Snoot doesn't get nervous. Now make your bets boys,” Snoot smirked, tossing in a silver coin with one hand, covering his cards with the other.
Nothing was more high stakes than a game of cards with the boys. He had been in plenty of life threatening situations, but playing cards always took the cake. The game was entirely dependent on chance and far less dependent on actual skill. He could talk the pants off an ogre and boy did he wish that wasn't true. His charisma and charm was all for naught here.
“Ah am feeling lucky taday!” the dwarf tossed in two gold coin, taking a massive swig of ale afterward. No one could hold their ale like Brann. Snoot always thought the dwarf was actually made entirely of alcohol, would certainly explain why he had never seen the man sober.
“Well you just gonna stare at me all day Ralph or you gonna play? I mean I know I look good and all, but at least buy me dinner before eye raping me,” Snoot tossed in two gold coin, matching Brann.
“Very funny. Just a barrel of laughs,” Ralph deadpanned, flopping his cards into the middle of the table, folding. Ralph was one of the most serious people he had every met. Not much of a conversationalist, but you would want him on your side in a fight. The man packed a punch like you wouldn't believe.
“Is Bertha not putting out ole Ralphy boy? I told ya you needed to look elsewhere,” Snoot ran his hand through his thick brown locks. His hair was always long and messy, looking like a disaster most of the time. He saw no need to try to style it. He had his own style.
“Da boy ish right. Dat Bertha a'int no good. Ya got ta get ya ah women wit shome good dwarven birthin hips laddy,” Brann used his hands to further elaborate what he meant. Brann had a thing for bigger women which didn't surprise him since well most dwarfish females fit that descriptions. Snoot on the other hand liked to broaden his horizons.
Ralph slammed his fist into the table, “Stop talking about my girl like that. I could get anyone in this bar if I wanted, but I love her. You two fools wouldn't know anything about love since you got your heads so far up your own asses.”
Both Snoot and Brann burst out laughing. Trying to compose himself Snoot spoke with tears running down his face, “You... you think you can get any women in here? With that eye patch and face? Ralph I love ya, but you look like a horse repeatedly kicked you in the face.”
“Aye laddy ya frame makes ya look like ya ah child. A'int no meat on dem bones,” liquid driveled from Brann's mouth as he spoke.
“Ten gold. Pick out the girl and prepare to pay up you midgets,” Ralph hefted a sigh, arms crossed in defiance.
“Midgets? Who ya callin ah midget? Ah cut ya kneecaps off, ya call me ah midget,” Brann began reaching for his axe.
Snoot placed a silver plated revolver on the table. “Everybody calm ya tits. Ten gold if ya lose right Ralphy?”
Ralph nodded, giving Snoot a rather smug look, “Ya that's right. You pick the girl as well.”
Stroking his chin beard Snoot looked over the patrons. He needed to find a suitable target, one that clearly had standards and would laugh off the advances of the old man. Not only that he wanted to find one that he himself could bag. Ralph would clearly want to go double or nothing so he could try to win his money back. That twenty gold would come in real handy when it came time for his next excursion.
His eyes drifted upon an elf who seemed disengaged with the company she kept. They were three guys not all that different from Bran, Ralph and himself. If she disliked her current company than ole Ralph was sure to fail, plus she was an elf and they were notoriously stuck up.
“The elf over there,” he pointed in her direction.
“An elf? That's child's play. I was hoping for more of a challenge,” Ralph slid his chair under the table, smugly sauntering over towards the elf in question. He had confidence that was for sure, sadly for Ralph it was of the irrational variety.
“Ya tink he hash ah shot wit er?” Brann asked, reaching over to finish Ralph's ale.
“None. He's most likely going to get slapped in the face,” Snoot grinned.
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!
Ayria was struggling. The drunken trio of idiots in front of her had some strayed from the topic they had been discussing and now were butchering some dwarf drinking song. Off key, and definitely out of sync, the human would lean precariously in his chair, and each time the elf would prepare herself to catch the bastard before his head could make a personal acquaintance with the floor. At the last second the screwy eyed bastard would always pull himself straight, but it was still rather unnerving for the elf. Normally she wouldn’t have cared, but she still had information to get and she needed his head at least partially screwed straight to get it.
Dealing with the drunken fools was the only reason Ayria would give for catching the approach of the strange male slower than her acute hearing would normally allow. By the time she was aware of his looming presence, the two yappy drunks were already spewing off at the mouth about it.
“Ay! The lass es got a visitor!” The dwarf leered at her, tossing a blurry eyed wink into the mix.
The human was peeking at the person behind her with his single good eye, while the other one was now focused on the floor.
‘Just what I need.’ Ayria thought with an internal groan. The lavender eyed elf was used to getting attention, and normally it would give her a small thrill. A smile here, a small lean in the right direction, and she’d walk away a coin purse richer while leaving behind a bewildered male who could only stare after her wondering what had hit him. Today however, she was on a mission and didn’t not want to be disturbed until she was certain that she had scrounged everything she could out of the human and dwarf.
Intending to send the male off with an earful and a swift kick to the ass, Ayria began to rise from her seat, however a movement by the strange smelly cat-man stopped her completely. Since she had been at the table, the strange creature hadn’t moved a muscle, but much to Ayria’s curiosity the fuzzy being was now moving out of his seat.
Lowering herself back into her chair, the elf twisted her body around to follow the movements of the cat-man, who’s intent was clearly directed towards the new male behind her. Lavender eyes followed the strangely graceful feline movements as the creature strolled unhurriedly directly toward the man. What happened next made the elf question her own sanity though a fit of hysterical laughter.
Said cat-man, which when standing upright was actually much shorter in stature than she had first assessed. Standing next to the new human man, the creature’s head just barely reached the man’s waist. The strange feline began to sniff the newcomer; tentatively at first as if testing the man’s scent out with it’s strange grey nose. After the first few sniffs it became quite apparent to Ayria and her drunken companion that the feline male was enjoying the man’s scent because his nose was soon running along the length of the man’s leg. No sooner had the cat-man ended his nasal evaluation of the human man did he cock his leg up release a stream of urine that would have made any normal being question how long the creature had been holding it in.
Ayria sat in stunned silence for a moment, but soon began to splutter through a fit of laughter. “Oh my…I see you’ve met the welcoming committee.” She honestly had no clue what the man’s intention was, but she was glad that the cat-man had intervened before she could. Being pissed on was a much more effective way to dispatch unwanted attention; much more effective than simple rejections tended to be.
As the cat-man strolled back to his seat, Ayria gave the small creature a grazing pat on the head, careful not to let her hand come in contact with the smelly creature. “Thanks little one. That was a great help.”
Spinning back in her seat, the female elf turned her attention back on the two drunks at the table. “Come on you two, pull your heads out of your asses and think! Where can I get more information? Is there a book? A scroll? Anything that will hint to the artifact’s location?” Ayria hissed quietly, hoping the two would give her an answer that would make sense.
Curiously it wasn’t the human or dwarf that spoke, but the feline creature that responded to her inquiry. “There’s a scroll. The last I heard it was owned by some Duke that lived in the mountains. Dreadful man, supposed to be cursed to kill his wives the night after their wedding.” The cat-man spoke so clearly and intelligently, Ayria once again began to question her sanity.
“Thanks for that…whoever you are.” In a smooth motion, she slid her hand inside the sleeve of her shirt, and withdrew several gold coins from a ‘secret’ coin purse hidden within the confines of the material. The coin purse wasn’t exactly secret. Actually, the elf had liberated it from the belt of the man who had been sitting beside her at the bar earlier. ‘Stupid man. Why would you keep all your money out there like that? It’s like you’re inviting a thief to take everything you have.’ Tossing the coins on the table, she winked at the cat-man. “If you’ll excuse me, I believe I have a duke to find.”
Before rising to her feet, she pinned the cat-man down with an inquisitive lavender stare. “Say…why did you uh….sprinkle the human?” The feline shrugged his shoulders and simply stated. “He smelled like a tree.”
“Right then…” She managed, not exactly sure how to respond to such a statement. Bowing to the trio with a graceful flourish, the elf mustered up a mischievous grin. “If you’ll excuse me.” And with a final wave the female strolled casually toward the door. Before she made her exit, she stopped to whisper to the human now standing in a small puddle. “I suggest a bath. Apparently he mistook you for a tree.”
Risen from ashes
“If tat lass slaps em he may return ta favor. Ya know what tat means don't ya?” Brann took a fairly vigorous swig from Ralph's mug, half of the liquid splashing against his face and facial hair. It reminded Snoot of a bare knuckle brawler trying to psyche himself up before a fight.
He never understood the need to psyche ones self up, but then again he was never short on confidence. He truly believed he could do just about anything. It didn't matter that more often than not he was proven wrong. Get knocked down and try again or something like that, sayings were too difficult to remember. He had enough trouble remembering where he lived on some drunken nights.
“It means a bar fight will most likely break out. You seem a little nervous about that. Afraid someone will punt you again?” Snoot shot Brann a smirk before turning his attention back to Ralph's inevitable demise.
“Ya half size son of ah troll! Ya shaid ya neva speak o tat day! Ah wash knocked off me kilter not punted. Ah dwarf does not get punted,” a loud thud followed his speech, more than likely his fist or maybe the mug. Snoot was too preoccupied to care.
“I know what I saw and it was you flying through the air like a wounded bird,” Snoot began to flap his arms up and down like he was flying, eyes still looking ahead.
Before he could react a sharp blade was inches from his throat. Snoot had his life in danger so much it may as well been his name and he was clearly in danger here. Brann was the kind of guy that would kill his own mother if he was angered by her so Snoot being his friend didn't matter much.
Snoot spoke in the calmest manner he could, “What ya gonna do with that?”
“What do ya tink?”
“Well the most probable option is beheading, but I have grown quite fond of it you know?”
“Give me one good reason ya mouthy bastid.”
“Good reason? Well by a witches tit that puts me in a bind. I could give you plenty of reasons, doubt any of them would be good. How bout the fact I never slept with your mother? That's got to be a good reason right?”
The ax inched closer, touching his skin, pressing inward almost to the point that it became uncomfortable to breathe. This wasn't quite going the way he had hoped it would. If only his mouth knew a language beside smart ass. His mind raced trying to think of a way out of this when it happen. A savior from the gods.
Before his eyes he watched as a feline creature seemed to be relieving himself on Ralph. Pointing ahead he blurted out, “Look that cat thing is tinkling on Ralphy. That's your reason my good sir!”
The ax didn't budge at first, remaining still and motionless, mocking him. Soon however laughter filled his ears, blade soon crashing to the floor with it's wielder. To most people their first reaction would have been to run, but he couldn't, not after what he just saw. What he could do however was join in on the laughter.
He laughed so hard that he thought his insides might burst, tears running down his face. There was no way Ralph could ever show his face in this bar again, not after that. Leaning his arm against his former chair he turned to Brann who was now sprawled out on the ground, “I think Ralph's new name should be kitty litter.”
Brann slapped at his knee, trying his best to speak, but failing miserably. “A...aye! Da..dat be....he name.”
The laughter continued for a few more minutes before each finally composed themselves. Snoot's near decapitation seemed to have been completely forgotten by Brann as he became his drunk and jolly once again, just they way he liked him.
“Sho what ta plan?” Brann asked as the pair made their way towards the urine drenched Ralph.
“Well I guess we get him a towel,” Snoot shrugged his shoulders.
“He jush need ah stiff breeze or he jush go naked.”
“Ya really want to see him naked because I sure don't.”
“Well ya got ah point.”
“Good I was worried that ya had a man crush on ole Kitty litter.”
Brann furrowed his brow, anger seeping into his eyes. Snoot just patted him on the shoulder, “I'm joking big guy, don't blow a blood vessel. Let's just get him cleaned up and ready for the job ya?”
Brann nodded, “Ah hope ah get ta cleave shomeone in two. Ah got some pent up rage.”
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!
“Does this man ever leave his house?” Ayria grumbled to herself from her perch in the branches of a dying willow tree just outside of a dilapidated and desolate structure that had been referred to as a house. To the elf, the building in question looked more like a shell of what was a fine house, but was now bordering on decrepit. The female could imagine the grass, now a sickly yellowish brown and slowly diminishing had once been plush and green. Even the area around the house was thick with age; it smelt of mildew, dust, and decay causing the female to breathe shallowly through her nose to avoid pulling in the scent too deeply. ‘How in the hell does any living thing live in such a manner?’ Ayria thought with disgust.
She was at the correct location, that she was certain of. She had inquired throughout the area about the rumors she had learned from the cat-man. ‘Flash a smile and bat your eyelashes. Men will say anything to a pretty face if they think it will get them somewhere. Idiots.’
Her inquiries had resulted in some rather strange information that the female at first had believed to be false. Duke Isgrand, the current resident of the establishment that Ayria now had the distinct displeasure of surveying.
The first man she had questioned told her the same story she had heard in the bar. The Duke was cursed to kill his wives the day after their wedding. The curse had been placed upon him by a woman who had been rejected by the once handsome and noble man. Of course as all men tend to do, he ignored the words of the scorned woman and married the love of his life, the daughter of a lord whom he had grown up with. The next morning, the man awoke to find that in the night he had strangled his love while he slept.
Years passed the grieving duke fell in love once more, this time with the sister of a baron. The two planned a quaint wedding on the grounds that were now home to the decay building. The wedding went off without a hitch, and the duke throughout it all had thought nothing of the curse that had been placed on him years before. When he awoke the next morning to find his new bride alive, he was ecstatic and believed his life would once again be happy. It wasn’t until when he accidentally caused the woman to fall down the stairs which resulted in her death, that the idea that the curse was really finally sank in. ‘Quite a dense fellow if you ask me.’ Ayria thought when she heard the story.
Needless to say, the duke went through three more wives before finally admitting defeat and vowing that he would live alone for the rest of his days. He relieved his servants of their duties, and had not been seen or heard from since. The tale of course had been repeated at least a dozen times throughout her search for answers; each story adding in little tidbits that the story before it had been lacking. Eventually Ayria had enough information to piece together the location of the unfortunate man, and after hours of walking, climbing, and grumbling about foolish men, she had reached her destination. Which is how the female elf found herself in her current position.
“This had better be worth my effort.” Ayria once more grumbled to herself. “If that feline was wrong, I swear I’ll go back there and skin him alive.”
Just as she was about to give up and go knock on the door, which she was certain would fall with even the slightest contact, a movement in one of the dusty shattered windows caught her eye. Lavender gaze immediately locking onto the movement strained against the darkness filling of the house to gleam even the smallest hint of a figure. She was just about to give up, believing it had been a figment of her imagination when a groaning creak alerted her to the opening of the door. ‘Ah, so he is alive. My goodness, he must….’
Ayria’s thought trailed off with the appearance of what she could only assume was Duke Isgrand. ‘He’s hardly more than a skeleton with hair!”
Skin flapped over the man’s body, literally dangling off his skeleton with no tone and barely any color. What little hair that remained on his head was a small scruff of grey at the crown of his head; the rest looked to have been ripped out from the roots considering the amount of scabbed wounds covering his skull. His nails were frightening, and Ayria felt herself cringe at the sight of them; yellow, brittle, and long enough to gauge someone’s eye out from at least a foot away. His dark eyes were sunk into his sallow, gaunt face which was sporting the longest beard the elf had ever seen. ‘How in the world does he not trip over it?’ She thought curiously, her lavender gaze following the male’s every move. He was there for several moments, his steps were slow and his movements took large amounts of effort on the man’s part, but eventually he faded from sight.
Leaping gracefully down from her perch, Ayria smirked. “Well, the door’s open, so I guess that means I’m welcome.” The elf was hardly concerned about the old man, who looked just as decrepit as his house, but she did worry about what she may find behind the crumbling walls. ‘No sense worrying about that now. I’ll get in, find what I need, then get the hell out before the man decides he wants to marry me to death.’
Risen from ashes
Death, it all reeked of death. The foliage had wilted, leaves long since eroded from what was most likely a once majestic tree. The color green seemed to be foreign as the ground was slowly beginning to be sapped of life, dying just as the leaves had. Life no longer existed here, becoming obsolete, overpowered by the forces of it's opposite.
Death was merely a cycle in life yet it was still a frightening sight to behold. No one truly wanted to die. Many would say otherwise, even Brann his own compatriot would boast that he wished to die in a grand fight. Snoot didn't believe a word of it, seeking out death was the equivalent of throwing away life. Disregarding the beauty of life upset the balance the system brought into place. It was a cruel yet fair balance. Everyone's clock came to a stop when the time was right.
This Duke's clock of torture would soon be ending. From the stories he heard in passing it seemed like this man had stopped living long ago. It explained why death reigned supreme here. Death would end up a release to this man, ending the charade that he continued to carry out. It was unfortunate the deed could not be performed by a women or wife, turning the supposed curse onto itself, making a joke of it all.
“Where are the guards? You promised I would get to kill someone!” Brann's fist were curled into little balls of anger. The dwarfs obsession with death was disturbing, but at least Snoot wasn't the focal point of his frustration. Better someone else than him, it may as well be Snoot's motto in life.
“You shall be the one to put the final nail into the coffin of the Duke's life. You get to play executioner, savvy?” Snoot pointed towards the run down looking house that belonged to the duke. Wooden window shades hung by a tether, one strong gust of wind could easily send it crashing to the ground. Chips of paint curled off the boards, revealing a rather worn out wood finish. The house looked like it could very easily cave in on itself at any moment. Snoot certainly didn't want to be inside when that moment came to pass.
“I'll go around the back, Brann you just bust right on through the front door since I know stealth a'int in your vocabulary. Kitty litter you just stand out here and look tough. Let's just get this over with and back to the boss ya?” he reached into his coat, placing his right hand on his holstered revolver. He didn't need it quite yet, but knowing it was there always made him feel quite a bit more secure.
Brann had already run ahead knocking the door off it's hinges despite it being open. The man was loud as he could possibly be, yelling and screaming about something. He couldn't quite make out the words nor did he really care to. All that mattered was finding what they were looking for and sating that crazy dwarfs blood lust.
Snoot turned to make his way towards the back of the house when a hand landed on his shoulder, “You better be right this time. You know what Togan will do if you fail again.”
“Well a'int you the ray of sunshine? Togan will get what he's looking for and we will all get paid. Don't get ya panties in such a bunch about it,” Snoot swatted at Ralph's hand, trying to move forward.
His progress was immediately stopped when the grip tightened further. “I'm not the one that's worried. It's you that should be.”
Snoot took in a deep breath, exhaling a loud sigh, “Big talk from a guy that got urinated on by a cat. Sure he would love to hear that story. You think you would have use after such an embarrassment? Now let me go so I can save both of our asses you one eyed imbecile.”
Snoot was relinquished from the man's grasp. Dusting off his shoulder he shot the man a quick angered glance before making his way to the side of the house. Pressing against the side of the mildew ridden home he could smell a heavy stench of decay. It was almost enough to make him throw up, but he had to push through it. The smell didn't matter, the duke didn't matter, getting the package is all that did.
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!
The interior of the house was even worse than Ayria would have ever imagined. The moment she pushed past the door the smell permeating the house nearly knocked her unconscious. A combination of old urine, even older waste, rotting corpses and every other vile smell the elf could think of came together in one scent that would probably kill anyone with extremely sensitive olfactory. It was beyond rancid, and the elf was amazed she managed to stay on her feet when hit with a wave of the horrible scent.
Lifting an arm to her nose, she breathed in through her sleeve, testing the air to see how well the material could filter out the scent. It helped a little, but the elf was still forced to move about the room she was currently in slowly. Vision blurred through teary eyes, she tip toed lightly to the next floor board she thought would support her weight.
To say the room was disgusting was an understatement. The walls were covered in grimed writing that Ayria could only assume was dried blood, or waste, which she couldn’t be sure, but she was certain she didn’t want to know. Bones of varies creatures littered the floor, all in varying in color and age. A few appeared to be new with pieces of flesh still clinging to them, while others had dark and brittle from years spent in the dingy room. Of all the things, the worse had to be a gory pile of who knew what in the corner. It oozed and seeped a hideous yellowish brown liquid that trailed down the heap and puddled onto the rotted floor board. Tearing her eyes away, Ayria focused on the most stable path of floorboards that would lead her to the back of the room.
She tiptoed her way out, and was relieved when she entered into a barren hallway. Although the floorboards here were just rotted as the ones in the previous room, she was glad there were no other little nasty surprises lurking around for her. Nothing but dust, cobwebs, and a few rodent droppings greeted her and Ayria finally pulled her arm away from her face. The air didn’t smell any better, but the scent had decreased enough that she could managed to breathe without her eyes watering and her stomach twisting in revulsion.
As before she tiptoed her way through the hall, often leaping a few feet to reach the next board she deemed stable. The elf missed her landing by an inch, and her foot crashed through the flimsy wood. Before she could plummet to the basement, she tucked her body up and rolled herself forward. Rolling a few feet, the elf managed to crash into the wall. With her head and chest hanging into one room, and her legs hanging out in the hallway, the elf blinked and shook her head.
Lavender eyes scanned the room she had crashed into; discovering that at one point in time it had been a lounge or a study. A rotted, moth eaten chair sagged to the floor just the right of her head. Directly in front of her, covered in layers of dust was a small wooden desk. The dust made it difficult to determine was lay upon the dulled wooden surface, but she could see a few odd shapes rising from the dust like ghosts from the past. They drew her attention and the elf felt compelled to pull herself from the hole she had created and step fully into the room.
Ayria didn’t bother stepping carefully; her gaze was locked onto the desk and her mind was racing. Could she have discovered the scrolls location that easily? Once she got closer to the desk, she knew she wasn’t that lucky, all that cluttered the desk was a bunch of old parchment with weird scribbled letters written in a maroon color ink, which the elf assumed was probably blood. The words on the page were indecipherable, but it was obviously not what she was looking for.
Digging through the drawers of the desk, she found a bunch of loose odds and ends, but nothing that screamed of importance. Slamming each drawer in turn, she cursed loudly and exited the room.
Through the hallway she crept again, peeking through each door that she passed on her journey. She passed by a scarcely furnished dining room, the remnants of a trophy room, and another lounge area. None of the rooms looked promising, so she continued on her way until she reached a staircase.
She darted up the stairs two at a time, barely pausing between leaps. Chances were, if she stopped for a second she would find herself crashing through the staircase and down to the basement. Unless absolutely necessary, she was not going down into the basement; not even if someone paid her to.
At the top landing, Ayria was greeted with several opened doors, and only one closed. The elf smirked at the closed door directly ahead of her; already assuming that behind it would be the item she was seeking. Forgoing the open doors which led to rooms that looked as inviting as a rattlesnake on the defense, the female opted to ignore them. The closed door had her curiosity piqued and with a racing heart she could practically feel her success lying beyond the wooden obstruction.
Surprisingly, the knob twisted easily under her hand. With a small shove the door swung open to reveal an immaculately kept study. In the center and the main focus of the room was an enormous walnut desk; dust free and shimmering with well applied polish. Through out the room was other various furnishings; a small table with an oil lamp, an ancient, but well cared for rocking chair, and a bookshelf lined with mint-conditioned books. The floor was covered with a slightly worn throw rug, its edges frayed with age. The place was obviously well taken care of, which assured the elf she was in the right spot. Lavender eyes shimmered in glee at the furnishing, a grin tugging at her lips. "Jackpot!"
Risen from ashes
This place did little to settle his anger. Death permeated everywhere. In most cases he enjoyed the smell of death. In those cases he had been the one that brought forth the carnage, dispatching his foe in the most gruesome possible way. Here everything was already dead. Where was the enjoyment in that? The smell only served as a taunt, lingering in his nostrils in such a way that it infuriated him. He could almost hear the air whispering to him, “You have missed the fun. You will never be man enough to claim what you desire.”
“Like hell ah won't ya wench!” He screamed, slamming his ax into dusty painting on the wall. The ax split right through the face of a young man, women draped across his arm. If only that couple had actually been present. He would of slain the man's privates, thrusting it into the man's mouth, watching as he choked on his own unit. Once that process had been finished he would move onto the women. Naturally he would have his way with her, picturing his own goddess in the process. As the deed came to a close he would lift his ax, shaving the skin from bone, one appendage at a time. Moving too fast meant they would go into shock, he didn't like that. They had to be alive and awake, witnessing it. This was the only means possible to connect with his love.
Ripping his ax from the wall with such force that chips of paint and dried wood fell to the ground. Slinging his weapon onto his back he made his rounds around the house. Nothing seemed to exist any longer. The contents of the first room were merely old half standing bookcases, scattered parchments of paper and dead rat carcasses. Picking one up by it's limp tail he gave it a long sniff. The smell intoxicated him. It was not only of death, but disease. These creatures were often filled with them.
Tossing the rat aside he stared at the desk in the middle of the room. His eyes flared the longer he looked at it. Gripping his hands under the desk he pushed upwards, hurling it against the wall, loud crashing ringing through the house as it slammed into one of the old bookcases. Ancient books and papers fluttered to the ground as the book case crumbled to the floor.
“Ta ell wit dis!” he threw his hands up into the air, feet stomping against the rickety floor boards. The pressure from his stomps soon caused one of the boards to snap, giving way to his weight. His short stubby legs descended down, in an effort to stop his fall he slammed his hands down, gaining his balance. This maneuver stopped his descent for a mere moment as the entire area gave way, sending the dwarf through a series of spider webs as he crashed to the ground with a thump.
Letting out a groan he rubbed the side of his head. He could feel a cold liquid against his skin, reeking of body odor and waste. The entire room was pitch black, shrouding his view of what the liquid was. He could only assume he was in the basement and he wasn't alone.
The door to the back of the house had been shut, bolt lining the upper portion. Snoot never understood the purpose of such things. If someone wanted to get in then they were going to get in. It didn't matter if you had your entire place steel plated with a wolf man bodyguard. Well on second thought a giant wolf man may of done the trick with Snoot. Those things were vicious, mouths as large as his entire body. He would take a pass on fighting one of those things.
Lining his gun up against the bolts he pulled the trigger, metal splintering as his bullet knocked the bolt from it's hinge, allowing him much easier access to the house. Gripping the handle he slammed his shoulder against the middle portion on the door, flinging it open. Rubbing his shoulder he let out a sigh, “What's the purpose of goons if you have to do all the work?”
His face was assaulted by both the full powered odor of death and an actual visual of such things. Lying on a four legged table was a blood soaked head of what looked like a bear or some similar large animal. He had to hold his hand to his mouth to stop from vomiting. It was one thing to hunt for sport and quite another to simply butcher animals. Letting out a gagging cough he talked to himself, “I thought this guy was supposed to be as old as dirt. What kind of grandpa can take down beasts like this?”
A crash sprang across the house as something fell to the floor or through it. Snoot wasn't liking the looks nor the feel of this house one bit. He wanted to be done with this job, free to do whatever the hell he wanted. Perhaps just travel from city to city, meeting new women as he went. Now that seemed like the life, far better than being locked up in a house with a deranged psycho old man.
“Let's just get this over with. Go upstairs and get out,” Snoot whispered to himself, calming his nerves.
Gripping one of his revolvers he pushed forward through the house, seeing things he wish he hadn't. In one room he was pretty sure he saw a pile of defecation sitting in the corner, pulsing like it was alive. If his shit started talking to him he would have officially become crazy. Doing these types of jobs didn't make him exactly sane as it is.
As he ascended the stair case he made sure to be extra cautious. He wasn't about to go crashing through the floor like Brann more than likely had. If the floor board even made one creak he would be ready to leap away, eschewing any danger. For someone as small as him the ascent had been far more arduous than had he been say a human. Sometimes he wished he was actually taller than he realized it would no longer make him unique. Among his kind he was one of the few to shun their society, moving on to bigger and better things or so he had thought at the time.
By the time he made it to the top of the landing he was sucking for breath. His muscles were aching, throbbing as if he had just run for miles. Curse these short legs, gift and burden they were. Finally catching his breath he took in his surroundings, directly in front of him was some person or thing. They were in some sort of room. Had a rival sent someone else? If that were the case perhaps he could strike a deal.
Swinging open the chamber of his gun he checked to see how many bullets he still had. Five, more than enough to put this person down if he had to. He just hoped it didn't have to come to such matters. Walking forward, gun firmly pointed towards the room, he yelled out. “Who are you? Who do you work for?”
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!
Ayria’s body tensed at the sound of an unknown voice, and for a moment she thought that perhaps the old skeleton had returned home while she had been distracted. Lavender eyes darkening with irritation, a slender brow quirked for a second before any signs of confusion evaporated from her face. She was not here for pleasantries, and briefly considered dispatching the stranger just to speed things along.
Without turning to acknowledge her new guest, the elf folded her arms across her chest. With a small jerk of her chin, the female managed to look both offended and conceited in one simple expression. “Really, who are you to demand to know who I am? Especially after insulting my intelligence by insinuating that I work for someone. Only a fool works to increase another’s prosperity, and I am no fool.”
The elf was at a total loss of what course of action she should take. On one hand, she could simply complete her search of the room and fight off her competition if he should try to stop her, but on the other hand she wanted her mind focused entirely on her search and not have to divide her attention between looking for the scroll, and staying alert for potential attacks. ‘I could always use my charm, but I really hate flirting, it’s so damn degrading.’
There was also the fact that she had no clue what the intentions of the new arrival were. For all she knew, the crazy skeleton of a Duke could owe the male a debt, and he was simply coming to claim it. It would be utterly pointless to fight with someone over matters that did not involve her, not to mention a complete waste of her time, which she was already doing enough of.
Going over her options, Ayria decided that the best course of action in this situation was to find out what the person wanted and go from there. Maybe they could come to an agreement where fighting was not involved. Not that the elf had anything to fear, she simply hated to fight when there was no reason for it.
Spinning on her booted heels, the elf turned to face the male at her back, fully prepared to at least meet the eye of the possible threat. When she saw no one standing there, she blinked her lavender eyes in confusion. Eyes sweeping across the area, she finally spotted the male in question and Ayria could barely contain her laughter.
“Oh my…” She muttered quietly to herself. She wasn’t sure what was more amusing to her; the fact that gun had been aimed at her back, or the size of the one holding the gun. ‘So much for being aware of your surroundings, silly elf.’
Pulling herself from her musings, the elf took a step toward the doorway to get a better look at the male. She could barely resist the urge to roll her eyes. ‘Well, at least he didn’t shoot first, that would have been quite messy on my part.’ She thought, trying to find something in the situation to ease her agitation. ‘I guess I’d better find out what he’s after so I can get this show going. Standing around wasting time was definitely not part of my plan.’
Releasing an agitated sigh, Ayria unfolded her arms from her chest, lowering them to her sides. “I’d prefer not to fight if it’s all the same to you. I’ll just grab what I came for and be on my way. Whatever business you have with that foul duke is entirely your own and I for one have no intentions of interfering, Although, I would suggest that you be rather gentle if you need the fool alive. He looks as if one strong wind would slice him in half.”
Risen from ashes
This women had a sense of attitude to her, commendable in his book. It was hard to ever respect someone who completely changed their tone when faced with an unexpected occurrence. The types who would beg when faced with a life threatening event. What good would begging even do? If someone wanted to kill you then they were going to do it. No sort of pleading or ass kissing was going to change that. All it did was paint you as a coward.
Granted he wasn't the type that lacked fear. Fear was a natural occurrence within a sentient creature. Fear is what could drive you that extra length to survive. Without said fear you lacked the desire to live. Even still it was better to stay true to who you are than to put on a fake face, hoping that it will somehow save you. Die as yourself rather than live as another.
Surprise filled his body as she spun on her heel to face him. He hadn't imagined seeing her again, especially not after the prior incident. It was the same women from the bar. She was far more beautiful up close than she had been from a far. Not that it should of come as any surprise, elves were always known for their majestic beauty. Still the way her hair shimmered in the mixture of darkness and light was awe inspiring. Purple shaded eyes drawing him closer and closer. Beauty was often such an intoxicating sight to behold. He certainly hoped he wouldn't have to kill her. It would be a waste of such elegance.
Aiming the gun a few inches from her feet he fired a shot into the floor, “I'd prefer not to fight as well. You are far too pretty to die though consider that a warning. I'm not afraid to kill you if I have to.”
He moved a few steps closer, making sure the distance between them was enough that she couldn't make any rash movements. Only fools would give up the range advantage that he currently held. “I've seen you before. At the tavern with the giant cat man. You know the one that relieved himself on a associate of mine. Did you actually put him up to it? If so I'd like to take you out for a drink provided I don't have to kill you.”
Cocking his eyebrow he gave her a quick look over before speaking again. “Concerned for the duke are you? I wouldn't advise becoming his wife if that's what your after. Could you imagine trying to make love to an old man? All of that loose skin flapping all over the place? It's disturbing to even think about. You could certainly do far better than that I imagine.”
He shot her a quick grin as he ran his free hand through his hair. “What exactly are you looking for? I imagine we are after the same thing and a word of advice, working alone gets you killed. Even the best need allies. What is the thrill of success without having people to share it with? Just seems hollow does it not?”
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!