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When Walls Crumble [RP Thread] [R] [Private Fantasy RP]

*Jean Grey*

Night Triumphant
Sylvia Edelstein
The Drunken Wench

Sylvia never was the soundest sleeper. She sat on the small, lumpy bed that the inn provided, dressed in nothing but a eyes wide open as she looked out the window and at the crescent moon. It wasn't the bed at all - far from it, actually. She was all too used to being made to sleep on worse things. During her first several years in the Thieves' guild, she wasn't even afforded the luxury of a bed - she had to make do with sleeping on the floor, near the dying embers of the makeshift stove. Not to mention, being a Thief meant nighttime runs. She was a night wolf, and sleep was just something she learned to do without, save for brief naps at most. Not to mention, more exciting things happened at night in general - aside from being cooped up in an inn room, of course.

The bar patrons continued their drunken revelry, and the werewolf was tempted to join them. She looked towards the far end of the room, where she saw Sir Emerick, trying his best to stay awake. Undoubtedly, Genma's departure had made the knight more wary of any of them possibly running away. She didn't care though. Rather than lie back down, she got up and put on her boots, not bothering with the rest of her armor, save for her bodysuit, cloak and pauldrons, as well as her headpiece. She strode past the other beds, where most of the others were sleeping, and locked eyes with Sir Emerick. The knight straightened himself and glared. Sylvia narrowed her eyes at him, before sticking her tongue out and slipping through the doorway, daring him to stop her.

"Edelstein, if you're thinking of taking off-..." Emerick began, but Sylvia swiftly cut him off.

"Bold of you to assume that I'm actually escaping. If you're looking for a coward, look elsewhere," she growled, before turning her back and leaving to join the patrons downstairs.


Sylvia returned upstairs before the sun was up, after most of the patrons had staggered off in their drunken haze. She had a couple of bleeding cuts above her right eyebrow, her lip was split, and a fresh bruise was beginning to blossom on her left cheek. One of the patrons had nabbed her headpiece off her head, remarking that it would fetch a tidy sum in Zielmore's black market. Not wanting to negotiate or deal with the bastard, she punched him, and started a loud, violent brawl in the process. Being that the patrons involved were mostly magical humans, she easily overpowered them physically, but that didn't mean that they didn't come unarmed, and she didn't walk away unscathed.

Only an hour or so later, the sunlight began streaming through the window. Not being able to sleep to begin with, Sylvia rose and made her way to the bathroom to wash herself. She cleaned her cuts as best she could, before putting on her armor and making her way downstairs.

Gone was the mess that she had partially been responsible for just a while ago. Instead, there was a large breakfast buffet set out for them. Sylvia immediately made her way towards the meats, rare with a good amount of blood, naturally, and selected a variety of cuts to pile on her plate. She noticed that the princess and Lyn, as well as the vampire, were already present. As she dug in, and the rest arrived, she noticed a couple of magical royal carriages waiting outside the inn, with several members of the Zielmore royal guard watching them. She couldn't read the runes on the carriage, but she knew the guards' uniforms well enough to recognize that they were royal guards.

"Traveling in style, huh? Nice." She remarked between bites of rare meat. It did not take long for everyone to finish eating, herself included, and within an hour, they were being ushered towards the carriages.


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
The Drunken Wench -> Miredom Forest

Though she had little semblance of an appetite, Gwen made an effort to get as many calories into herself as she could manage. It was especially difficult as she wasn't sure what she was even eating - she tried not to think about what kind of meat the sausages were made of, and spread a healthy amount of what looked like jam, though the taste wasn't identifiable, onto her toast. One by one, the others surfaced. Judging by the faces of her companions, Gwen was not the only member of the party to have gotten a poor night's sleep. Emerick quirked a brow at Sylvia's appearance - Gwen was too tired to question what trouble she got up to while she was trying to rest, and Emerick didn't seem to want to question her either. However, Gwen couldn't ignore Dimmy when he descended from his room. He had his hood up and was wordlessly staring at his meager breakfast of plain toast with tea. By human standards, he didn't look well. She approached cautiously. "Dimmy?" she asked to get his attention, then peeked backwards over her shoulder. Some of the Zlelmore royal guards were beginning to enter the bar. "Are you feeling alright? We need your service to get through the forest, so if you aren't feeling up to it, perhaps we should delay - "

"Princess Gwendolyn?" one of the Zlelmore guards barked, gaining the attention of not just Gwen, but most of the bar patrons. "We are ready to depart. The citizens of Miredom have been informed and are awaiting your arrival."

Gwen hesitated, then nodded. "Of course. We will prepare to depart at once." She looked back at Dimmy, an unsaid apology shining in her expression. "Sir Emerick?" she called. "The herbicides, if you would?" He nodded and handed Gwen a brown satchel. Inside held three dozen vials of an odd purple herbicide. Gwen closed the pack and gently handed it to Dimmy. "You will have to be in charge of this, should anything go wrong." She snuck a glance backwards and lowered her tone. "You will be fairly compensated for this work, I assure you. If gold is not a concern for someone in your position, we will find a suitable alternative. I haven't forgotten that promise I made either: I will do everything in my power to find the person you are searching for." She couldn't risk Dimmy abandoning them now. Admittedly, she wasn't sure of the full effects the Miredom Forest's toxins had on humans, but she did know that a vampire guide was an absolute necessity.


Gwen led the others onto the magical carriages, which whisked them through the Zlelmore forests as far as the path would go. It ended abruptly at the edge of a overgrown area which glowed its signature pink hue - a side effect from the plants artificially transplanted to disperse mind-altering toxins. As far as Gwen knew, it imitated the werewolves' natural pheromones, except at a much greater intensity. The theory was that the toxins dissuaded the werewolves from entering by confusing them and triggering their instinct to find a mate, forcing them to go back to their packs. They would have to keep a close watch on Sylvia, though as far as Gwen knew, she wasn't native to the forests, so the effect shouldn't cause her to return to her pack. In theory, of course. "Apologies, but this is as far as the carriages can go," one of the Zlelmore guards explained. "The road ends to make the entrance to Miredom difficult for werewolves to find, but your vampire should be able to hear the Crystal River." Gwen could hear the faint roar of the powerful current too; the implication that she wouldn't be aware of it after entering was a bit off-putting. "The bridge to Miredom is a straight line from here, only about two kilometres west. Use the river as an orientation point, should you get lost. The Miredom guards will help once you're within eyesight. I wouldn't anticipate difficulties; very few dangerous creatures live in this area of the forest, due to the protective foliage. Take your time and keep your heads." The guard bowed and didn't wait long before leaving with the carriages (likely an order, to prevent them from bowing out from their job at the last minute).

Gwen wasn't really sure what other advice she could offer. Don't breathe? Don't touch the pink plants? She glanced at Lyn. "Do you have much knowledge on the Miredom Forest, Lyn?" Regardless, she supposed they had little choice now but to enter. "Everyone, stay close together, and try not to touch anything."

Gwen led the charge, with Emerick close behind her. It didn't take long before she started to feel a little off - she was blinking away dizziness and her forehead beamed with sweat after a mere twenty seconds of walking. She kept a close eye on the ground and carefully avoided the pink mushrooms. She could deal with a bit of lightheadedness until they got out, especially if the guard's words were true and they wouldn't need to do any fighting.

That is, until Gwen, disoriented, stumbled a little and the hilt of her sheathed sword brushed against a pink mushroom sticking out of a tree. It released pink spores and Gwen hastily ducked her head and ceased her breathing, but it snaked into her airway anyways and she choked. She coughed, leaning desperately against the tree as her vision swam from inadvertently inhaling more and more of the toxin. 'Princess, stop!' Gwen squinted, the hazy figure of a Lochester guard appearing out of nowhere. She shakily drew her sword, her panicked breaths coming in quick gasps. Her eyes, completely glassy, darted back and forth, struggling to focus on her perceived foe. And then, she swung.

Her blade nearly hit Emerick, who retreated backwards. Gwen had ignored his first call to stop, and he wasn't sure what else to do. "Princess - " She swung at him again, and he blocked her unsteady swing with his own sword. "Put your weapon away - "

"I shan't give any from Lochester mercy, you scum!" she yelled, her third swing missing her target completely and instead driving itself into the tree next to Emerick. More spores erupted from the tree, and it was Emerick's turn to choke as Gwen yanked her sword out and paused for a moment, her eyes darting erratically to colours and morphing objects that only she could see. She swayed, stumbling from side to side, until a new target erupted in her vision. She weakly thrust her sword toward another "Lochester guard", though in reality she was aiming - albeit badly - for Sully.

Emerick, meanwhile, had enough common sense not to draw his sword after what he'd just witnessed. He leaned against a tree, unable to do much to stop her, but listened intently to make sense of what was going on around him.


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
The Drunken Wench > Miredom

Shortly after Lyn had gotten comfortable, Dimmy and Sylvia made their appearances. Sylvia was quick to tuck into what was on offer, piling a number of rare meats onto her plate. Dimmy, on the other hand, didn't seem to eat at all, only grabbing a small piece of toast, which he proceeded to simply stare at. Not wanting to fill up for the journey, Lyn ate lightly, managing some slices of toast and a plate of eggs, washing it all down with some fresh water.

They had barely finished their meal, when some of the Zlelmore guards began to spill into the inn, likely having made the final preparations for their journey. Gwen had only just moved to speak with Dimmy when one of the guards announced that they were ready to depart and that Miredom had been informed and were now awaiting their arrival. Upon hearing this, Lyn made a quick comment about running to grab her bag, quickly heading back to the room she had slept in the following night to retrieve it. When she finally returned a few minutes later, everyone else was ready to go, and Gwen quietly led them outside to the carriages.


The journey from the capital to Miredom was not a particularly long one, the greenery of the forest moving past them rapidly as the carriages whisked them through the Zlelmore landscape. For much of the journey, Lyn remained in her own thoughts, feeling a little happy to be so close to home again. Ever since coming to work for Gunther three years ago she hadn't come back to Miredom - at least not the village anyways. As part of his lessons, Gunther had often dragged her out to the forests, testing her knowledge on the local flora and fauna. The journey via carriage ended abruptly when they arrived at an overgrown area which glowed its signature shade of pink - an effect from the mind-altering flowers that had been planted around the area. Due to the adverse effect the toxic plants could have on werewolves, Lyn knew they would need to keep a close eye on Sylvia to ensure she didn't break away.

The Zlelmore guards took their leave and giving a few instructions to the group, and then suddenly the group were all alone in the Miredom woods. They had only walked a short distance when Lyn was aware of Gwen glancing at her for a moment. "Do you have much knowledge on the Miredom Forest, Lyn?" She asked, before quietly advising everyone to stay close.

"Well, I was raised in Miredom, so you could say I have a certain familiarity with the place," Lyn responded politely, a hint of humour seeping into her voice. "I'm not sure how many of you have travelled to Miredom before, but for the sake of avoiding any accidents, I would advise you do not touch anything." How much any of her words sunk with the group were unknown, as unbeknownst to Lyn, Gwen had already begun to feel the effects of the forest. "Try to avoid the red mushrooms with yellow spots - we call them Miredom Red-caps - they're highly toxic to touch and have long-lasting effects. The ones you really need to avoid are the pink mushrooms all around us. The spores alone are enough to trigger effects."

Lyn carried on walking ahead, the general effects of the area causing her little issues. She was not completely immune to them, as she suffered from slight light-headedness still and beads of sweat clung to her brow, but having grown up around them, she had developed something of a natural immunity to the worse effects.

She had been talking about if the group were unsure of anything to ask her questions when a sudden commotion behind her forced her to turn around. To her shock and horror, most of the group seemed to be succumbing to the effects of the forest. Many of them seemed to be turning more erratic as the effects took hold, though Goran seemingly turned overly chivalric and flirtatious if the comments he mouthed in her direction were anything to go by. She hadn't seen it happen, but judging by Gwen swinging her sword around wildly, something of a manic expression of her features, she had inhaled some of the spores. Emerick seemed to be her initial target, but after causing more spores to spill out onto Emerick, she turned looking for another opponent, focusing on Sully and aiming right at him.

"Princess, no!" Lyn shouted, hoping to distract the princess away from her target for the time being. Not wanting to end up potentially stabbed herself, Lyn was then quick to move so she was out of Gwen's immediate line of sight. Stepping back slightly, she looked over at Dimmy, who being a vampire was immune to the effects of the mushrooms, and was looking rather perplexed at what was going on. "Dimmy!" She called out to him pleadingly. "I need your help getting them out of here. They've ingested too many spores!"


Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
The Drunken Wench

People filed downstairs at their own paces, filling up their plates to their own desires, and Dimmy ignored them all, just glaring at his toast. His head hurt and all he wanted was just to lie down in a dark quiet spot. Like maybe a grave, yeah a grave would be nice, okay, maybe that was bit dramatic, but it did feel like it in the moment.

He became aware of someone talking to him and looked up. Princess Gwen wanted to know if he was okay to go today, but before he could answer, she was informed of carriages arriving and apologized instead of waiting for him to decide. Dimmy stood up, his chair clattering away noisily. He grimaced, then half lied, “I'm fine, it's just a bit of a headache.”

It was not really fine, he knew that, but he had to make it fine. He reached out and accepted the satchel, making sure it was closed securely before slipping the strap over his head to wear it cross body. He followed Gwen outside, wincing at the sunlight, and suggesting, “We can discuss that later, My Lady.”

Miredom Forest

The ride wasn't the worst thing possible, but it was not great. The enclosed carriage was better on his eyes then just being outside, but the motion of the carriage and the noise of his healthier companions was not great. So, in a way it was nice to be walking under his own power in the forest, shaded by the canopy of trees, but he was still sure he would have liked it better without the migraine.

Lyn advised them not to touch anything, as apparently a lot of the forest was toxic. He wasn't worried for himself in that regard, he was immune to most of the poisons that effected other creatures. Still he figured he should try to be careful as well, so that he didn't release any spores on them.

He followed close behind the Princess and her guard, not far from Sully. Suddenly there was a puff of pink, from a tree near her. That was when things started to get weird. Emerick tried to stop Gwen, who swung wildly, finally targeting Sully for reasons unknown, and accusing him of being Lochesterian. Dimmy stepped back in shock at this turn of events. Now he could hear Goran whispering flirtatious things as he tried to catch up to Lyn. Really not the time buddy. Do you not see this?

Then Lyn called to him, insisting they needed to get everyone out quick. This was really not the day to have a headache. He called back irritably, “Is this what you meant by toxic? I thought you meant they'd get sick. . . and maybe die. Not go totally insane.”

How were they supposed to control this? Probably the first thing was to get the damn sword away from the princess. He swallowed hard, realizing it was with his vampire speed and dexterity, of course. Dimmy dashed around the other party members, coming to a stop behind Gwen and grabbing her sword swinging hand with both of his. His head throbbed exceptionally painfully. Oh crap, was this ill advised.

Now he just had to get her to let go of it. He could probably use his magic to force her, but he really didn't want to hurt her. Not to mention, using magic would hurt his head as well. Maybe he could logic it out of her hands? Might as well try, “Princess you really don't want to do that. Now let go of the sword.”


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
Miredom Forest

Gwen could hear somebody calling to her, telling her to "stop" - but the voice sounding like it was coming from all directions, echoing manically across her brain, though not across the forest. Her hesitation was enough to allow somebody to wrap their hands around her sword. Her instinct should have been to thrust sideways and try to thwack her assailant in the head with the hilt of her sword- instead she weakly jerked her entire body sideways and toppled onto the forest floor, relinquishing her prized weapon to the attacker. Gwen was barely aware of the words meant to coax the sword from her, but they were unnecessary. At the very least, Sully had been spared.

"Princess...!" Emerick stumbled over to her side and propped her to a sitting position. She wasn't unconscious, as she put one hand to her head with a light groan. Despite not looking too well himself, Emerick stared between Lyn and Dimmy. "Y-you must get her out of here, now. Do not waste time chasing after the others. The princess is your only priority - is that clear?" Beads of sweat were rolling down his face and he coughed several times after speaking. Gwen would not be happy about this command, but he didn't care - he just wanted her away from everything toxic and psychoactive. The prospect of leaving Gwen's care in the hands of these two strangers was alarming, but potentially necessary if he too lost his head.


Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
The Drunken Wench

As the pair toppled, Dimmy felt Gwen's hand loosen on the sword, and he worked to pry it the rest of the way from her hand. Well, not so much pry, as just take the sword she now barely held. The herbicide bottles in his bag rattled threateningly, but did not break. And all the while his head pounded fiercely. Sitting up, he squinted at Sir Emerick, who pulled the Princess away, and started issuing orders to him and Lyn. Basically they were Lyn's earlier comments, but reduced to Princess Gwen only. Get her out of the forest. Whatever happened to the others no was no longer their problem.

“Yes,” confirmed Dimmy with a sharp nod to him. This was followed by a wince, because it hurt and he really should be avoiding quick head motions right now. He stood, and looked down at where she was sitting. He didn't have long to think about the situation and he knew it, but he also knew he wouldn’t be able to carry her far, especially not right now. She needed to walk under her own power. So with her sword in one hand, he reached down with the other and grabbed her arm, pulling her upward, “Come on now My Lady, we need to get out of here.”

Stumbling forward as he held onto Gwen, Dimmy rotated the hilt of the sword in his hand to the proper position. If any thing came now he and Lyn would have to defend the three of them. It wasn't his preferred weapon, but as a noble he'd had fencing lessons, and could handle a sword well enough.


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
Miredom Forest

It was fair to say that the group's time in the forest was not going well. In hindsight, having been raised in the area and familiar with the adverse effects of the forest, Lyn probably should have given some warning to what might happen. Besides of course her earlier advice not to touch anything.

After calling out for Dimmy to help, he shouted back to her in a somewhat irritable tone. Apparently, he had not expected this sort of reaction from the others. Lyn frowned a little at that, but she supposed it was a fair comment on reflection. After all, as he said, when you warned against toxic effects you expected sickness - and in the worse cases, death - certainly not, well...this. Despite his uncertainty, he was quick to leap into action. Whilst Lyn danced around the others, narrowly avoiding being struck by any of them, Dimmy carefully moved around behind Gwen, eventually making a grab with both of his. Probably not the smartest way to try to stop, but if it worked, Lyn would not be one to complain.

Lyn moved to avoid one of the others in the group, and when she turned to look back at Dimmy and Gwen she found them collapsed on the ground, Dimmy simply taking the sword out of the princess's hand as she was barely holding it anymore. Seeing that they were okay for the moment, she took the moment to squat slightly and take a breath. She was beginning to feel the effects more now, which was unusual for her. However, with all the stress they had faced in the past few minutes, it wasn't surprising she was beginning to feel the effects a bit more. Her line of thought was suddenly interrupted by Sir Emerick barking orders at her and Dimmy.

"Y-you must get her out of here, now. Do not waste time chasing after the others. The princess is your only priority - is that clear?" Beads of sweat rolled down his face, and he coughed a few times after speaking. Green eyes snapped to the rest of the group. She felt bad about leaving them all alone and almost went to open her mouth to protest before she noticed Dimmy nodding in agreement. "Yes," Lyn finally responded, giving Emerick a small bob of the head.

With little else to say, the three of them took off, Lyn leading the way, whilst Dimmy followed, stumbling slightly as he dragged Gwen along with them. As they moved, Lyn opened her bag and withdrew the small elm dagger from within it, retracting the blade and gripping the hilt tightly. It wasn't a large weapon and was unlike to do major damage to any larger foes, but Lyn felt much safer holding it.

Lyn slowed her pace after a while, raising her free hand to shade her eyes as she quickly looked around. Unfortunately, she underestimated how bad she beginning to feel, as the sudden head movement made her head spin, and it took everything within her not to topple forward. "If we keep heading this way, we should hit Miredom soon," Lyn told her two companions, turning her head back to look at them. She mustered a weak smile of reassurance, but it faltered quickly thanks to the sickly feeling washing over her, so it ended up looking more strained than reassuring. "Is she okay?" Lyn asked, gesturing towards Gwen. A moment passed before her gaze shifted to Dimmy. "Are you okay?


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
Miredom Forest -> Miredom

The trip out of the forest was a blur. Gwen spent most of it stumbling through multicoloured obstacles, some real, and some hallucinated guards, beasts, and at one point, Queen Eleonora. She'd panicked several times as she reached desperately for her sword only to find it missing, but Sir Emerick prodded her onward, insisting whatever she was seeing wasn't real. The field of mushrooms thinned out as they reached the edge of the forest, where the rushing sound of the Crystal River told them they'd reached their goal.

As the Crystal River surrounded Miredom like a natural mote, entrance could be gained only by a large, beautifully crafted stone bridge. To most people, it would appear very carefully built and meticulously maintained, with several carvings and stone structures embedded into it, to symbolize warding off werewolves and other evil spirits. To Gwen, it appeared to be a long rainbow dragon. She reached again for her sword, once again not finding it, and, literally trembling from exertion, she stared wide eyed at the blue - no, pink - no, green - dragon as it craned its massive neck to stare at them. Gwen threw her arms out desperately, as if to shield her party from the imminent flames -

"...Is that the Ylorian princess?"

"...Is that a werewolf?!"

Just beyond the bridge, a small crowd had gathered, craning their necks and chattering incessantly amongst themselves. The two guards stationed at the bridge were denying the growing crowd the ability to cross over to greet (or maim) the foreigners, but allowed one old man through. He approached slowly, the weight of his frail body aided by a wooden staff topped with a large green glass sphere. He smiled as Sir Emerick - who had dropped to one knee to ensure he himself didn't topple over - tried to discretely direct Gwen's attention to the newcomer, but her glassy eyes were still focused on a threat only she could see. The man reached into his dark violet robes and pulled out a small vial. He removed the tiny cork with a small pop! and gently rubbed a small portion of the silvery contents into Gwen's temples. Gwen froze for a moment, her features quickly changing from terror to confusion and then swiftly back to terror as she dropped on all fours and wretched. The elder seemed unfazed as he put the vial back into his robes. "Essence of clarity... reality does have that effect on some people," he chided lightheartedly and bowed respectfully at Sir Emerick in Gwen's temporary absence. "Good sir, I am Sage Celeus. The Sorcerer told me to await the vampire's arrival, and hinted there may be some guests with him that may need his help. In more ways than one, perhaps..."

Emerick nodded back before going to kneel beside a groaning Gwen. Sage Celeus approached Dimmy next. "Should I assume you are in charge of the herbicides sent from the Capital? I'm certain you've noticed we're in need of them." He smiled at Lyn. "I don't suspect this is quite the homecoming you were envisioning, is it Lyn?"

"Wh-where are the others?" Emerick had coaxed Gwen to a standing position, and the first thing her cleared eyes managed to do was a head count. Half their group was gone. Emerick remained quiet on the matter, and Gwen's questioning stare intensified -

"I think we're in need of some tea," Sage Celeus interrupted, already heading steadily back across the bridge. "I have just the thing for the forest's effects. And, as I recall, I owe you a reward for your troubles. Please, follow me."
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Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
Miredom Forest > Miredom

Luckily no further major danger seemed to come to the group. Dimmy took a relieved breath when Lyn announced they were close to town now. He hoped once there they'd be given some time to rest, somewhere quiet this time, his head really need that. On that cue Lyn asked if he and Gwen were okay. Looking over, Dimmy decided Lyn did not look to good herself, but refrained from commenting on it. He looked back at Gwen, who at least was still walking, “Yeah I think so, we just need to get her out of the spores and into fresh air, right?” He took a haggard breath, “I'll be fine, I just. . . well, it would be really great to lay down.”

As relived as Dimmy was to reach the river, he was just as frustrated when Gwen started acting afraid of crossing the bridge. All he could do was continue trying to drag her over to safety, until finally a little old man crossed over to them. Dimmy stepped back as the man rubbed some potion onto Gwen's temples, the effects of which were instant and not gentle.

Dimmy swayed, turning away. Between the pounding of his head, and the sounds and smells of Gwen's vomiting, he was not feeling too good himself. The old man just seemed amused though and started talking about expecting them, being yet another person to refer to him as just 'your vampire'. Dimmy lifted and finger to him as he approached and groaned, “Be with you in a minute.”

He stumbled back to the treeline and braced himself on the nearest tree as he evacuated the contents of his stomach, mostly the tainted blood. He'd not really managed to get much tea or toast down at breakfast. Shakily, he pulled out his handkerchief, then slowly straightening up (he hadn't thought his head could hurt anymore, but there it was) and wiped his face. Turning back to the conversation, he found the old man was already heading across the bridge, talking about tea as if it was worthy compensation for the hell they’d just been through.

Sighing wearily Dimmy stepped over to Gwen, crossing his arm over his body to hold her sword out to her, while still staring at the old man. He groaned again, “I want you to know that I hate everybody and everything right now. I'm in a great deal of pain, and you may need to stop me from killing him.”


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
Miredom Forest > Miredom

In response to Lyn's earlier question over the state of his and Gwen's well-being, he responded that they were and that it might be best to get her away from the spores and into the fresh air. Lyn couldn't agree more and gave a curt nod. Although they were more concerned with Gwen, there was no doubt in Lyn's mind that they would all benefit from some fresh air. The mushrooms began to thin out as they approached the edge of the forest. The familiar sound of the Crystal River informed them that they had reached their destination.

What elation Lyn felt at seeing the familiar sights of home, were soon fading when it became apparent Gwen was still suffering from the after-effects of the spores. To Lyn, it appeared as it always did, a marvel of architecture, with stone statues embedded into it to ward off wolves and other malignant spirits. However, it would seem the Gwen was seeing something far different, and far more frightening. She seemed too afraid to cross the bridge at one point, leaving it to fall to Dimmy to drag her across the bridge whilst Lyn lead them forward.

A small crowd had amassed on the opposite side, drawn by the commotion the group had caused. Two guards were managing to hold them at bay, preventing the crowd from rushing out to them. They did let one man pass though, one whom Lyn recognised. Sage Celeus was a frail-looking man, the sort who looked as though he might have been blown away had a large gust of wind blown in. He discreetly dealt with Gwen first before greeting them, retrieving a vial from within the folds of his robes, and then rubbing some of the silvery contents against her temple. It took only a few moments for the effects to take hold and for Gwen to drop to all fours and begin wretching, which in turn triggered Dimmy, who had to excuse himself to throw up as well. The sounds and smells of both of them wretching, made Lyn's stomach flip as well, and she had to fight to resist the urge to run and vomit. So distracted by trying to ignore that feeling, that she barely heard Celeus's question about this not quite being the homecoming she had expected. Instead, she mustered a small smile and shrugged her shoulders in response.

By the time Dimmy returned to them, Celeus was offering to give them some tea to help with their symptoms. "Oh, that would be perfect," Lyn responded. Though she was happy to take the tea, the same could not be said for her companions. As Dimmy offered Gwen her sword back, he groaned about hating everything right now, and how he might need to be stopped from killing everything.

"Don't worry I'll keep an eye on you all," Lyn was quick to cut in. She was frowning slightly as she spoke. "I'd prefer it if you didn't kill the people I grew up around though, regardless of how eccentric they may be." There was a pause, and she looked at the sword he offered out to Gwen. She hesitated a moment before taking it for herself. "Perhaps, it would be better if I kept hold of this for now."


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
Miredom - Sage's House

Gwen looked wearily at Dimmy as he held her sword out to her. She fought back a sigh at his complaints, unsure if she could respond appropriately without losing what little composure she had left. The citizens of Miredom were craning their necks at them and whispering curiously. If the Ylorian soldiers were following the local gossip to find her, they were going to be on one hell of a wild goose chase. Sage Celeus seemed oblivious to the crowds, walking a snail's pace with assistance from his cane. Gwen shifted her gaze to Lyn instead, whom had caught onto her hesitation and took the sword herself. "You're on Dimmy duty," she instructed, her voice cracking halfway through. Despite Lyn being a non-magical human as far as Gwen knew - though she was beginning to question that - Lyn seemed less affected than the rest of them. Growing up near such an area was bewildering to Gwen to say the least, let alone becoming used to such a place. Fortunately Lyn was quick to agree, as Gwen was very certain she was not in any state to be preventing a vampire from devouring an old man.

It felt like an eternity later that the Sage finally opened the door to a modest little home, oddly domed in shape and roomier on the inside than it appeared from the street. He ushered them inside and set about making tea. Gwen collapsed onto one of several large couches in the room and groaned, putting one hand to her forehead. Emerick sat next to her. "Are you all right, Princess?"

Gwen glanced at him sideways, her eyes heavy. "No, I'm not. This entire journey has been nothing short of a disaster." If the Sage was listening, he was doing a good job pretending he wasn't. He was humming quietly to himself as he put a kettle on the stove in the adjacent kitchen. "First we were ambushed before we even left the Ylorian border, then I had to replace our army with a handful of capable non-citizens whom we knew nothing about, then the royal ship was ambushed and destroyed, and then we end up on a suicide mission to deliver herbicide for Zlelmore's head of state, reducing what pitiful army we had to an ill vampire, a horny werewolf, and an apprentice apothecary?!" Gwen flopped onto her side, defeated. "It as if the Gods wish for Yloria to fall. My improvisations have certainly doomed us."

Emerick said nothing, his silence speaking volumes to Gwen. If he wasn't ready to strangle her for putting them in this situation, her father certainly was. The Sage toddled out of the kitchen a few minutes later, bearing a teapot and a couple of teacups. There was also an array of biscuits and small sandwiches on the tray. "Here, child," he insisted, pouring a cup for Gwen and gently pressing it into her hands as she sat up, head spinning in protest at the action. "Drink this and wait here. I have something else for you."

Gwen sniffed at the liquid cautiously. It had a pleasant floral aroma, so she cautiously tasted it. "Princess - " Emerick warned sternly, likely upset that she hadn't asked Lyn to taste it for her, but she drank the rest eagerly as the first sip had washed a pleasant relief over her. She felt stable again, her nausea instantly gone and her head cleared.

Sage Celeus returned sometime later with a small golden bracelet with a red gemstone embedded into it. It matched the rest of her jewellery to the point where it might be confused with a relic of Yloria. He fastened it onto Gwen's left wrist above her golden arm guard, and she twisted her arm around curiously to examine the new addition. "This is a magical artifact I've had on hand for some time. I'm something of a collector." He chuckled to himself. "The king of Yloria is currently at the Zlelmore capital." Gwen's attention was diverted so quickly she nearly cricked her neck. "It seems your father is looking for you himself. This artifact will vibrate if you are in the vicinity of a close blood relative. It should help you to either reunite with your father, or avoid him." The Sage shrugged. "Whatever your wish may be."

Gwen hesitated. "I'm not certain what is best anymore. I cannot see us making it to Lochester at this rate, and I cannot have the Ylorian army searching for me when there are more important things for them to be doing, much less my father," she admitted, hanging her head. "Perhaps the best course of action would be to double back to the capital, try to consort with Sorcerer Glikore to lend us Zlelmore's support..." she paled suddenly, realizing her new plan would have them heading back through the forest that had nearly done them all in.

"I may have a solution," the Sage offered, swirling his right hand into a circular motion. A shimmering blue portal appeared in the middle of the sitting room. "His Highness mentioned you wished to go to Lochester for a consort, correct? This portal can take you directly there." He dissipated the portal with another wave of his hand. "But I think it might be best for you to rest here a bit first."

Gwen's heart leapt for a moment, as this would solve a good portion of her current logistical problems. But then she realized something, and her tone turned sour. "You did not need a delivery person. Half of my party is missing, and for what reason?"

The Sage shook his head. "The Sorcerer wished to test how serious you were. I daresay you have passed."

Gwen's stony gaze turned to Dimmy, and she nodded, giving silent permission to do this sadist in. Emerick quickly stood up and bowed politely before anything else could happen. "Thank you for your assistance. We will rest here for the night and reconsider our options in the morning." The Sage bowed back and left to another area of the house. Emerick sighed. "I thank you to be polite to the only person who can get us out of this situation without traversing back through that forest."

Gwen was still visibly seething, but made no further comment on the matter. "Fine. We rest here tonight. Gods know we need it..."
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Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
Miredom (Sage's House)

Gwen passed the responsibility to Lyn who simply asked Dimmy not to kill her friends and family. As if he actually had the energy to do that. They were lucky he was still standing to be honest. He trudged behind the rest of the group as they followed the sage guy to his oddly shaped home. Why was it taking so long? And why did humans always insist on traveling by day? This whole trip sucked so much. At least they'd lost the super anti-vampire racist guy at some point.

Once they were there, Dimmy flopped down on one of the couches, pulling his hood lower. He fully intended to take a nap if possible. Not that it was with people talking. Under other circumstances he might have been offended about how Gwen referred to the lot of them, but he had to admit there was no hiding how woefully unprepared they were. Or the fact the descriptions were was pretty accurate.

He rolled his head and looked up as a clatter told him the sage had returned. Ugh, he ad no interest in the tray of snacks or tea. He could smell the flora aroma from here, and that was bad enough. And he certainly didn't need the revelation that this guy could make portals across countries! Dimmy sat up, with an angry glint in his crimson eyes. Through the anger and pain he didn't even hear the sage comment that it was a test (as if that would have made him feel better anyways), but he did see Gwen's nod, and stood up menacingly with fangs bared.

Then he wobbled as a fresh surge of pain engulfed his head, and sat back down with a groan. Then he laid back down. And rolled over. He really hoped they were going to get to sleep tonight.


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
Miredom - Sage's House

In the end, it was Lyn who was put formally on 'Dimmy duty'. At Gwen's request to do so, Lyn would merely shrug her shoulders before giving an affirming nod. Despite her earlier comment to Dimmy not to hurt the people she grew up around, she had grown to know his character enough to doubt he would do such a thing. So the task of guarding him was unlikely to be a difficult one.

It took them a while to reach the Sage's house. He seemed in no hurry to get there, despite the furore the group had caused at the bridge and walked at a rather meandering pace. Even when they reached his home it seemed to take an eternity to get inside. The house was an odd shape and appeared roomier than it did from the outside. After their recent struggles in getting just to Miredom, Lyn was grateful for the respite that came from sitting on one of the many sofas in the room. Lyn and Dimmy sat quietly whilst Gwen and Emerick spoke in low voices. Understandably, Gwen seemed very stressed out by what they had experienced, and Lyn felt a pang of sympathy for the princess that their little journey hadn't quite gone so smoothly. The Sage reappeared moments later, carrying a teapot and some teacups. He didn't hesitate in pouring a cup for Gwen and offering it out to her, imploring her to drink it before disappearing once more. Before Lyn could intercept and taste it for her, the princess had already taken a cautious sip.

With no need to taste it first, Lyn quietly poured herself out a cup. She considered asking if Dimmy would have liked a cup too, but he didn't seem in the mood. Other than the strong floral taste, Lyn could detect nothing wrong with it. But she knew to be watchful just in case - there were plenty of tasteless and odourless poisons out there.

When the Sage did return, he came with a small gold bracelet with a red gemstone embedded into it. He explained that it was a magical artefact he had owned for some time and that it was supposedly meant to vibrate in the vicinity of a close blood relative. In his explanation, he also let slip that Gwen's father was looking for her in Zlelmore. He then gave her a few options on what to do next, including going after her father if she so wished it. When Gwen admitted she wasn't sure what to do next, he offered yet another solution, pointing out that Gwen wanted to go to Lochester, before revealing the rather handy ability to produce portals. Lyn was slow in catching on to what this ultimately meant, and it was not until Gwen pointed out that he did not need a delivery person that the realization came to her as well.

The next few moments seemed a blur, whilst she considered what that meant. She noticed Gwen nod at Dimmy out of the corner of her eyes but was still reeling from the earlier revelation to get up and do anything herself. She was grateful Emerick intercepted before anything could happen. At his comment at remaining civil, Lyn was quick to her feet, letting Gwen concede to getting some rest before speaking. "Damn politeness!" She seethed, an angry look in her green eyes. "That man is lucky I don't throttle him with my bare hands! He lives here, he knows how dangerous the Miredom Forest can be to those not used to it, and yet he and Gilkore conspired to send us through it unprepared. And what for? A test? I daresay we have passed but at what cost when the forest has taken half our group?"

Following her little outburst, Lyn's head seemed to spin, and she found herself pressing a hand to her forehead before plopping back down on the sofa. "I think a long rest would be might beneficial at this moment," She mumbled quietly.


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
Miredom - Sage's House

Gwen watched Dimmy stand obediently at her nod, sway, then abandon his intimidation tactic and curl onto the couch with a groan. Gwen watched him with pity - okay, they were definitely out of steam now. She noted he hadn't touched the tea. He was drinking tea earlier today, so she didn't think it was due to distaste. As she pondered over what to offer him to help - surely she'd thrown enough gold at all of them by now - she barely noted Lyn had stood up to confront Emerick until she started shouting. Gwen actually jumped, quickly giving Lyn her full attention. Her surprise was nothing compared to Emerick's, whom had actually taken a few cautious steps backwards and was holding his hands out in a bewildered attempt to calm her down. It would have been amusing if not for the seriousness of the situation - given his status, Emerick rarely got told off by anyone except for Gwen, and he clearly wasn't sure how to handle this turn of events.

The pair of them stared at Lyn in silence for a few moments, then Emerick looked back at Gwen, his confused stare begging for her to say something. Gwen quickly snapped back to attention and gestured silently to the abandoned teacup that Lyn had poured for herself, then sternly at Emerick, then at Lyn. Emerick stared at her blankly, so Gwen repeated the gestures frantically while Lyn wasn't looking, and sighed as Emerick finally caught on and scrambled to retrieve her tea. Gwen stood up as Emerick presented Lyn the tea with his head respectfully bowed. "Drink this, please, it will clear your head," Gwen insisted. She paced past Lyn; now that she was standing without feeling horribly dizzy, she was finding it difficult to stay still. Her mind was racing with all of the information that had been packed into it. Why would Glikore send them through that damned forest? Surely as Lyn had suggested, he would have known the dangers. "Glikore's hands were tied," Gwen mused. "If he were to transport us directly into Lochester from the palace, that would destroy any sentiment of neutrality that Zlelmore was holding in the war. Sending us on a delivery mission to a mere citizen was easier on all accounts for him... why Miredom, though?" Gwen groaned, her frustration seeping over. "Were there no great magical Sages on the closer side of the forest?!" For all Gwen knew, there weren't, but as she paced back and forth, her face settled into realization. She tried to meet Emerick gaze, but he wasn't looking at her - he had settled himself back on the couch, one hand bracing his body upright, and the other supporting his head. Her train of thought was immediately diverted, and she hurried to pour him a cup of tea.

Gwen coaxed the cup of tea into Emerick's hands, and he glanced up. "Princess?" he asked, staring back and forth between the cup and his royal charge.

"Drink, please, you are as pale as the rest of us..." She sighed, glancing at her battered mini army. "We all need rest, and we are not going anywhere until we get it. Is that clear?"

Emerick shifted uncomfortably, examining the cup of tea in his hand. "I will keep watch again."

"No, you will not. That is an order," Gwen insisted sternly, then her gaze softened and her voice fell. "...Please, you are my most trusted friend. I need to be able to rely on you, and I can't do that if you are too weak from guarding me while I sleep."

Emerick hesitated, then crossed his free hand over the opposite shoulder and bowed in his seat. "As you wish, Gwendolyn." He drank the tea obediently, and Gwen's mouth twitched briefly into a smile at his lack of formality.

She turned cautiously back to Dimmy. Was he sleeping? He definitely looked like he should be if he wasn't. She decided to leave him be and get some rest herself. If he should need food or tea, he knew where it was. The last thing she should be doing was disturbing an exhausted vampire, even if it was with good intentions.


Gwen lay awake for longer than she should have, unable to stop going over everything that had already happened and, more importantly, everything that had yet to happen. Originally she thought she'd have had several days of peaceful sailing on the Marigold to perfectly craft every alternate scenario, but clearly that hadn't panned out. She certainly wouldn't have planned for all of this to happen if that had been the case, anyways. She clasped her right hand overtop of the new golden addition on her left, her mind trickling back to her father. He was personally looking for her. That wasn't good. That likely meant he knew what she was planning on doing - she was pretty sure the Sorcerer had caught on too. And if Glikore had held up his end of the bargain they'd made, then...

Tears pricked at her eyes and she fought them away. No, there was no turning back now. Maybe her father would never forgive her for this - maybe Yloria would never forgive her for this - but she knew this was the only solution. This wasn't even about Yloria anymore. She thought of the three souls they'd lost in the forest, and glanced at the three remaining members sleeping around her - Lochester, Khusha, Zlelmore - this involved the entire Realm. Her gaze landed on Emerick, snoring gently as she'd instructed. Royal word be damned: if there was a better solution, he would never had let her leave the castle. She was reassured by that knowledge, and it wasn't long before she too drifted off to sleep.


Gwen awoke early the next morning. She'd slept far better than she had the previous night, and she was relieved to see that Emerick was still asleep when she awoke. She'd found a small washroom off the sitting room they'd spent the night in, and spent some time washing up. She even found a hairbrush in there and managed to smooth her hair back into a low, loose ponytail.

By the time Gwen had re-entered the room, she noticed that Sage Celeus had returned with more tea and another platter of fruits and breakfast items. Though not as elaborate as the Drunken Wench's buffet, the food appealed more to Gwen's Ylorian palate. She was pleased to see that Emerick was up and helping himself to some fruit and bread. If the Sage was aware that they'd wanted him dead yesterday, he seemed pretty oblivious to it. He greeted them warmly, asking if they'd slept okay, and to let him know when they wanted to depart.

Once Sage Celeus had left them alone again, Gwen was quick to take inventory. “Is everyone okay? I would like to depart as soon as possible. I fear we may not have much time, and I would very much not like to give my father any reason to travel through the Miredom Forest.”

Sir Emerick pushed a pastry filled with fresh fruits into Gwen's hands. “Eat,” he commanded simply. “It's safe. I've tasted it.” Gwen accepted the food begrudgingly. One last meal before all of this would be over – with any luck...


“So this will teleport us directly into the Capital?” Gwen clarified, staring at the blue portal that Sage Celeus had whipped up. Fed, rested, and ready to go, the tiny broken army stood at the ready as the Sage nodded.

“Just outside of the Capital, as not to draw too much attention all at once,” the Sage clarified. “You'll feel a sharp pull and then you will be there.” He smiled again. It was almost unnerving how relaxed this guy was – Gwen was more than eager to be out of Zlelmore by now.

“Thank you for your assistance.” Gwen turned to face the portal, gesturing her party onward. Finally – finally - she could confront the Lochester royalty and end this nightmare.

“Oh, and Princess?” Gwen glanced back at the Sage, who waved. “Good luck.”

Ugh. She nodded and forced a smile, then walked through the portal – her body felt as though it was being yanked to the right, a forceful rush, and then -

Gwen stumbled but managed to keep her balance as her boots touched – sand? It only took Gwen a few seconds to realize they were not in Lochester territory. Nor were they anywhere close to it. Her heart sunk as she realized they'd indeed been teleported just outside of the Capital – the Capital of Khusha. The intense sun beamed down on them, and an unpleasantly warm breeze was filtering in from the west. The large stone walls that surrounded the Capital of Khusha were within easy walking distance. “That, that... imbecile!” Gwen growled in frustration, drawing her sword and thrusting it into the sand. “Just outside of the Capital?! He will pay for this mockery of Ylorian royalty if it is the last thing I do!”

Sir Emerick was also grumbling his displeasure at yet another setback. “If I may, Princess? I recall Sorcerer Glikore recommending we stop at Khusha to consult with the government here.”

“Of course,” Gwen scowled. “That reprobate...! I have no intention of dragging Khusha into this mess as well. What was he thinking, trying to force my hand?!"

“Princess?” Emerick said hesitantly. “...I think your hand has been forced.”

“...” Gwen glared daggers at him, but it was true. They couldn't exactly walk to the Lochesterian Capital from here... she needed assistance from Khusha now. Fantastic.


Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
Miredom (Sage's House) > Khusha

Once he got to sleep, Dimmy slept fairly well. Sure it was a strange place, with unfamiliar smells and lingering conversations, but he was in pain, slight nauseous, and definitely exhausted. And that easily lulled him to sleep.

He awoke the next morning to a soft clatter. He felt good, well, not actually good, but so much better than yesterday that he could only interpret it as good. He wasn't in pain, not exactly, it was more a faint tenderness warning him not to get stressed out, or the headache might re-surge, and some lingering discomfort from being sick and now having an absolutely empty stomach.

He rolled over to look, the old Sage was laying out tea, and fruit, and pastries, looking like he didn't have a care in the world. For all Dimmy knew he didn't, but he also didn't care to know this magical fossil's story either, he still didn't like him. Dimmy stretched and started to redo his ponytail, as Gwen returned. Then sitting forward, he help himself to some tea and a fruit laced muffin. He nodded at her inquiry, “Yeah, I'm fine. I told you I'd be fine. It's not like. . .”

He trailed off, staring at the muffin as his mind wandered. Sure, he was fine. But the rest of their group, were they even alive? Had the high mage effectively murdered them? Could there even be repercussion for him? His thoughts were interrupted upon hearing Emerick prompt Gwen to eat, and he looked up at them. He nodded again. They all needed their energy, though he'd also be wanting blood again before too long.

Once they'd all eaten and gotten cleaned-up a bit, Dimmy stood by as Gwen discussed with the Sage the portal that should take them close to Lochester's capital. Honestly, Dimmy felt nervous about the prospect. He knew his search for his mother might require him to go there at some point, but he doubted even his lordship would mean much in a land so against his kind. He glanced at the Sage before following Gwen and Emerick into the portal. He still didn't like the guy, but at least he seemed like he was trying to be helpful now.

* * *​

To say the portal was disorienting, would be an understatement. But standing in loose sand under the hot sun, it did not take Dimmy long to realize they were not in Lochester. No, this was home, they were in Khusha. Instinctively he pulled up his dark hood, shading his pale skin and sensitive eyes from the blazing sun. The light was irritating, but the warmth was definitely not unwelcome in his opinion.

Meanwhile Gwen was raging mad and ranting about being double-crossed, with Emerick trying to reason with and sooth her. As she fell silent, Dimmy made a swift approach. It was one thing to be used to walking on sand, and another to practically be able to ignore the laws of physics, and Dimmy could do both, so he moved as if it were merely level carpet. He clasped his hands together and commented, “My Lady, if I might, you have essentially already drug Khusha into this,” he indicated himself with a simple gesture, “But between your diplomatic status, and my own political status here, I believe your request would command serious consideration from our prince.”

He scanned the landscape a moment, then started ahead. He looked back at the group, “But this is a land of twilight, so we'll head to my family's manor first. There we can properly prepare to attend court.”

His eyes wandered over the group, lingering on Lyn's less than refined outfit. Not that he was judging, well he was, but only out of concern for their mission. This woman had proven herself competent, for a human at least.


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
Miredom - Sage's House

After her little rant had finished, the weight of fatigue suddenly seemed to hit Lyn like a rogue wave. When Emerick came over to off her a fresh cup of tea, she took it from without hesitation, offering him a polite thank you in return. While she nursed a second cup, she listened quietly while Gwen made her own deductions about the situation they currently found themselves in. Although she wasn't in the right mindset to think things through very well, she found herself agreeing with most of what Gwen was saying about Gilkore having his hands tied. Given what had happened to the group so far, it certainly made sense anyways.

After the small conversation, the group headed to bed - or at least Lyn and Gwen did. Dimmy had seemingly succumbed to the calls of sleep while they had been discussing things. Not that Lyn could say she was surprised, he had looked a little out of sorts after they came out of the woods. Sleep did not come so quickly to Lyn, unfortunately, and it seemed to take her a while to settle, her mind caught up with the day's events and the strange behaviour of the Sage. However, she did eventually begin to grow sleepy and turning to face the wall soon found herself drifting off.

Despite a difficult time in getting to sleep, she felt quite refreshed in the morning and seemed in a better mood when she returned to the mood. Her hair was a little messier than usual but served well to soften her features slightly. The Sage had already provided them with several breakfast items. When Gwen reappeared after briefly leaving to go to a washroom, Lyn had already begun tucking in. So any requests about testing the food for her would have already been met.

“Is everyone okay? I would like to depart as soon as possible. I fear we may not have much time, and I would very much not like to give my father any reason to travel through the Miredom Forest.” Gwen told the group, once Sage Celeus had left them alone.

Lyn responded that she was in better spirits and thanked both Emerick and Gwen for not being too bothered by her previous outburst. Dimmy also claimed to be feeling better, though Lyn couldn't help but feel his thoughts were elsewhere when he trailed off at the end of his conversation. After breakfast, Lyn stood close to Dimmy as Gwen and Celeus discussed the portal to Lochester. She had never travelled by portal before, but had, of course, heard talk of it growing up Miredom. She was admittedly a little nervous stepping through it but followed her companions with little complaint.


The journey through the portal proved to be quite...disorienting, to say the least. For a moment it took Lyn to gather her bearings. It didn't take her long to piece together that the loose sand below their feet and the hot sun bearing down upon told them they were not in Lochester. They were in Khusha. Gwen was understandably a little angry at being transported here but stood in the middle of nowhere, Lyn couldn't help but feel the more pressing issue was to get to some shade from the sun, instead of cursing a man now miles away from them.

Beside them, Dimmy was scanning the landscape. He said nothing before suddenly starting ahead. Lyn couldn't help but look expectantly at him, so was relieved when he turned back to speak to them. “But this is a land of twilight, so we'll head to my family's manor first. There we can properly prepare to attend court.”

Lyn was then aware of his gaze landing on her after this, and flushed with embarrassment. Attending court meant dealing with nobles, and this was where Lyn stood out from the rest of the group, for she was not a noble. "If we are to head to court, would you prefer it if I remain elsewhere?" She asked innocently, green eyes shifting between Gwen and Dimmy. "I'm not of a noble family it's true, but I have had experiences with the elites of Zlelmore, and can carry myself in conversation well enough. Though if you would prefer I not attend, I can understand."


Raleigh Ferghus Eachainn
Lochesterian Forest

Raleigh splashed himself with another handful of water.

He’d spent a good fifteen minutes kneeling by a forest stream, scrubbing himself clean. By now, he knew he would not get any cleaner. His armour had regained most of its shine, and his face was rid of dirt. A few stains remained here and there on his cape and gloves, and he supposed his boots could not be helped. But his hands... god, his hands.

Raleigh dipped them back into the river. His fingers had started to wrinkle from excess exposure to water, yet he kept fastidiously scrubbing them. All logic told him they were clean, but they did not feel that way. If he looked at them for long, the stains returned in vivid red. The crimson colour spread from finger to finger, then bled into the river itself.

And then the river was red, too.

Raleigh splashed his face again. The cold water dispersed his thoughts. The river was back to normal.

A twig snapped somewhere behind him.

“Who’s there?” he demanded, turning around with alarm. He hadn’t even noticed gripping his lance. The blade hadn’t been cleaned yet; its dip was caked with dried blood.

A little distance from him, peeking at him from behind a tree, were two children. Sub-human children; the canine ears atop their heads and the tails trailing behind them identified them as such. Siblings, most likely. They were carrying baskets of berries.

Could it... be? Were they from the village he had just---

“Are you okay, mister?” the girl asked. She was older than the boy behind her, and much braver too. She took a step forward.

“Yes,” Raleigh snapped as quickly as he could, averting his gaze. His grip on the lance tightened. They’d been sent to the village to dispose of all the sub-humans hiding there. They’d found many; at least a dozen had fallen to his blade. These two... they must’ve been in the forest the whole time, unaware of the slaughter. They were survivors.

He glanced at his weapon. His orders were to leave no survivors.

“You’re bleeding,” the girl sounded concerned, her eyes fixed onto the red stains on his cape. She’d almost walked up to him by now. “Mommy told me how to tend to--”

Raleigh stood so quickly he startled her. “I’m fine.

It wasn’t a lie. The blood wasn’t his, after all.

She hesitated for a moment, intimidated by his tall form. Then she took another step closer.

Of all the stubborn...

Raleigh hid the lance behind his back and took a step backwards in turn. She was close enough for his weapon to reach. It would only take one swift move. The boy was further away, but Raleigh would no doubt be faster. This wasn’t his first time hunting animals.

He moved the lance further away from them both.


The shout startled all those present - Raleigh most of all. He could catch the sound of hasty footsteps, approaching from the south. Someone was coming.

“Leave,” Raleigh barked at the girl. “Now.”

“Hey! Are you there?” the voice asked, edging ever closer to the clearing. “You done washing yet? We’re supposed to move!”

The girl looked to Raleigh and back towards the voice, but she did not move.

“On my way!” Raleigh shouted as loud as he could, then turned back to her. He lowered his voice, desperation seeping through the monotone. “If you value your life, you need t--”

The brush rustled. Before Raleigh could move a muscle to shield the children from view, a man in his early twenties stumbled into the clearing. He did not remember his name, but he knew his rank. The youth was a new recruit, none the wiser of what Raleigh truly was. At the sight of the children, his eyes went wide.

“Raleigh!” he breathed out in a half-gasp, “Gods, there’s more of them!”

Before Raleigh could get a word in, the young man turned around, inhaling to prepare for a shout.

“Sir! There's more of th--”

The rest of the recruit’s words muffled into Raleigh’s palm. A wave of confusion washed over the youth’s face for a brief moment - until a hard blow to the back of his head put an end to all his thoughts. Slowly but steadily, he set the unconscious man onto the grass. Hopefully, he hadn’t hit him too hard. He had just... wanted him to be quiet.

He turned around to face the children once more.

“Final warning,” he thundered, eyes narrow. “Leave.”

The boy did as he was bid. He looked to his sister as if asking her to follow, then scrambled back the way he’d come from. But the girl didn’t move.

“You’re hurt,” she insisted, though her voice quivered. “Mommy told us to help those who are hurt.”

Raleigh walked back up to her, intending to make her leave. He could grab her, if he had to, and throw her deeper into the forest. She looked light enough to be picked up with one hand.

She did finally take a step backwards - but not because of him.

“What is the meaning of this?!” A man in his fifties stepped into view. What little remained of his hair was grey as ash, but the chilly blue of his eyes had not been dulled any by the years. His armour was adorned with medals, and the sword on his hip was more for decoration than combat. The higher ups would not think to taint their hands with blood. That was the job of people like Raleigh, dirty from birth.

Dominic Barnaby was his commanding officer during this mission, and one of the few who knew of his heritage. The man treated him accordingly.

Dominic’s gaze swept over the clearing, from Raleigh to the girl and the unconscious body of the recruit.

“What happened here? Who--- who did this?” He gestured towards the latter - though given the glare he gave Raleigh, it seemed as though he could hazard a guess.

His gaze flickered to the girl. Raleigh had stepped in front of her, though he could not tell when.

“Well?” Dominic groaned expectantly, nodding towards the girl. “What are you waiting for?”

“Sir,” Raleigh lowered his head instinctively, awkward as it might’ve seemed. It was difficult to show submission when you were a head taller than most of your superiors. “With all due respect, she is but a child. She is of no threat t--”

“Children grow, Raleigh,” he snapped back, voice booming over the clearing. “Of no threat? How naive can you be? Let me spell out the scenario for you, cur. She runs today, and from tomorrow forth, she will desire revenge for what took place here. She will grow and spawn a thousand mutts more, and together they will lay waste to our towns. They will slaughter women and children, and their blood will be on your hands.”

Slaughter women and children... was that... not what they’d done today? These children's parents, their friends, everyone they knew-- how was that any different... from...

Raleigh glanced at his hands. They were red again. He didn’t look at the river, but he was sure it was red, too.

“Kill her. That is an order. Do it now, and perhaps I won’t have you beheaded for harming your fellow soldier.”

Raleigh did not move.

Dominic practically hissed. “Are you defying a direct order?”

Was he? He didn’t know. He could not stop looking at his hands. They were so very, very red.

“Fine, I'll take care of this myself,” the man spat, starting to walk towards the two of them. He was unsheathing his sword. The girl clung to Raleigh’s cape.

Raleigh finally raised his gaze.

For the second time in his life, his body moved on its own. Much like he had done all those years ago in the dungeons, he raised his hand in defiance and gripped the face of a perceived threat. Only this time, he was a boy no longer, and his large hand covered Dominic’s entire face. Black ice begun to spread from his palm, rapidly freezing the area he touched. The old man screamed so loudly it startled birds from their perches. Then the ice reached his mouth - so that when Raleigh plunged his lance into the man’s chest, the only sound made was metal tearing flesh.

Somewhere behind him, the girl screamed.

He guessed she finally ran.

Looking down at the mangled body of his superior, he saw no option but to do the same.


It had been seven days since, and Raleigh was at his wit's end.

He could not remember the last time he’d eaten or drank, and sleep sounded like a concept from a faraway dream. He had no idea where he was, or where he intended to go - he only knew it had to be far. The further he got from Lochester and possible pursuers, the better. He had managed to fend off a few of them some days back, but if any caught him in his current state...

It was probably best not to think about it.

Raleigh’s sight threatened to blur, and he had to lean onto Tempest’s side for support. He could no longer ride the gelding, but clinging to him whenever weakness threatened to overpower him had allowed him to walk further than he could have alone. The horse’s white coat had been tainted by the red of Raleigh’s blood - as well as the blood of those he'd fought on the way. He was a bloody mess in all meanings of the word, much as he'd tried to tie his wounds right after sustaining them. Some were fine, healing even, while some opened time and time again. He’d lost a lot of blood by now. Too much, probably.

But the large stone walls of--- some place were only a little distance away now. If only he could reach them. There had to be shade within. Shade, water, food...

Yes, what... what lovely concepts, those.

If only he could... take one step more.

Just one... more...

His body made no sound as it lumped onto the hot sand below.

“Go...” Raleigh managed in a raspy breath, waving a few fingers as if to dismiss the horse. Perhaps, if only Tempest kept walking, he’d at least make it to the city ahead.

Tempest did not leave. Even in his half-conscious state, Raleigh could feel the horse gently prod his side with his nose.

Raleigh gave a small, dry laugh. It hurt his sore throat and it hurt his injured side, but it gave him a brief moment of bittersweet joy.

To think that... even the horse refused to leave when ordered.

Why was... everyone... so stubborn?

He could only barely make out the outline of his hand now.

At the very least, it was no longer red.
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Internet Overlord
Lord Dimamire Nightshade
Khusha (approaching capital)

“It should not be a problem at all,” Dimmy told Lyn as he looked back over his shoulder, “We just. . . need to find you something else to wear. Something suited to the strict. . . traditions of the palace.” He was well aware that attending court was mostly jumping through hoops designed by long dead humans and vampires. 99% of politics was looking the part and saying the right things after all. Lyn said she had experience and seemed level-headed, so he assumed she could probably handle the second part.

He continued on, slightly ahead of the rest of the group, instinctively heading for the capital. An outsider might not know north from south in the desert, but for him there were subtle signs and familiar landmarks. Though it would be easier still to navigate at night when he could see well.

He was aware the others could not disregard gravity and had slowed his pace somewhat since starting off, but they were dreadfully slow, and the sun was dreadfully hot. As much as he loved his homeland, he had not missed the blazing sun. Finally he could see the stone walls of city in the distance. It would not be long before they reached his home and had access to cool baths, bountiful refreshments, and other luxuries.

But suddenly, a familiar scent, pleasant and rich, but also somewhat stale, reached his nostrils. Dimmy looked about in concern. It did not take much effort to spot the bright white horse stained with blood. And was that someone at it's hooves? Dimmy changed course, raising a hand and shouting back to the others, “Hey, there’s someone over here, I think they’re hurt!”

He speed up, vampire magic, agility, and practice allowing him to practically glide over the sand. He could see the horse was indeed standing over a body, a battered looking body in blue black and silver armor, but he suspected it was still alive, even if just barely. The precious loyalty of horses not leaving their riders until dead, and sometime longer, even in such harsh surroundings. The scent of blood was heavy in the air now, and though it was appetizing to his vampire senses, Dimmy was pretty sure this person was on the brink of death and could not afford to lose another drop. He didn't have anything on him to preform first aid with, but he imagined Lyn did and glanced back to see the rest of the group's progress. He shouted back further details, “He's lost a lot of blood! We've need to stop the bleeding if he's going to have any chance.”

He knelt down to check the stranger's pulse, he could at least do that much. But before his hand reached the man's neck, he realized the nature of the man's stained and disheveled garments. The colors, the shapes, they were Lochesterian. His hand hesitated above the man's shoulder and neck, no longer so concerned with his pulse. His pity had disappeared. Instead his fingers gripped the blue collar sticking out of his armor tightly, giving it a bit of a twist, and he hissed, “Lochesterian! Give me a good reason not to kill you before they reach us!”

The horse huffed and pawed the sand nervously. It couldn't understand what he'd said obviously, but it clearly did not like the way he'd said it. Dimmy looked up at it, grip on the collar loosening slightly, as he assessed it's poor health. How utterly foolish to put such a beautiful animal through these conditions. It as innocent of whatever this soldier had been party to.


Well-Known Member
Princess Gwendolyn
Khusha (just outside Capital)

Dimmy appeared so smoothly in front of Gwen she had half a mind that he flew over. “My Lady, if I might, you have essentially already drug Khusha into this,” Dimmy said matter-of-factly. Gwen's eyes narrowed in disdain at the correction. “But between your diplomatic status, and my own political status here, I believe your request would command serious consideration from our prince.”

Gwen crossed her arms. "I had no intention of seeking help from Khusha," she huffed, glancing around for where she had tossed her sword. Emerick had already fetched it and bowed as he handed it back to her. "Prince Alarik may be their head of state, but he is not old enough to have the full reigning power of a true king. We will have to deal with the Counsellors. By all accounts, Zlelmore's government is easier to bargain with..." She rolled her eyes. "Though I am having second thoughts about my decision to do that, too."

"Again, Princess," Sir Emerick said wearily, "you don't have a choice in the matter. That aside, the young Lord here is correct. Yloria has strong trade ties with Khusha. Your father would have helped Prince Alarik without hesitation if the situation were reversed."

Gwen sheathed her sword, her brow still furrowed. "That is not an accurate comparison. My father has already consulted with the Zlelmore government - who is to say he hasn't contacted Khusha as well?" Gwen sighed, shaking her head. "Given the circumstances, I suppose you are correct in that it's our only viable option..."

Dimmy suggested they head to his family's manor first, to prepare and bide their time until evening. It seemed like the best option given their unfortunate circumstances, so Gwen nodded and started following, though she clearly still wasn't in the best of spirits. She hadn't noticed the pointed stare Dimmy gave Lyn, so was a little perplexed when Lyn anxiously asked if she should stay behind, citing her lack of nobility as the source of her hesitance. Gwen paused, making eye contact with the young woman. "You are one-fourth of my army," Gwen stated seriously. "You are coming. Besides, you handled yourself in Zlelmore wonderfully." Well, all Lyn had done in Zlelmore was stand there quietly, but in Gwen's books that was perfect. Her mouth finally twitched into a wry smile for the first time since they'd arrived in Khusha. "What a journey this must be for anyone, let alone a commoner."

Dimmy led the way, reassuring Lyn that he would find her something more suiting to the strict traditions of the Palace. Gwen eyed Lyn but didn't comment. She wasn't familiar enough with how Khusha interacted with people outside of royalty to know their protocol. Though, she suspected Lyn was probably hot with the desert sun beating down on them at the moment - Gwen herself was starting to feel warm, but she certainly wasn't going to be convinced to change.

Eventually Dimmy made a sharp turn and waved at them, announcing that he'd found somebody who was hurt. “Come on,” Gwen said, urging the group forward, though Dimmy was way ahead of them now. Gwen supposed it probably wasn't too unusual for travellers to pass out from the blazing heat just before reaching the Capital – but when Dimmy called again and announced the stranger had lost a lot of blood, Gwen became a little more on edge.

When Gwen and the others had finally caught up to Dimmy, she immediately took sight of the injured man's Lochesterian armor and drew her sword. Not because she was worried about him attacking them – she was very sure that wasn't a danger right now – but because she assumed he wasn't alone. She approached, glaring reproachfully down at the soldier. “Are you here to target Khusha? Where is the rest of your army?” she said, speaking as clearly as possible. She looked back at Lyn. “If you have anything that would help, offer it to him. We can restock our supplies in Khusha.” Truthfully she cared little for the man's life, but she wanted more information out of him. Gwen kept her sword drawn while they were speaking, warily keeping an eye on the parameter for any other Lochesterian soldiers. There didn't seem to be any; something about this scenario was definitely strange...


It's so shiny!
Lyn Grier
Khusha (just outside Capital)

Following her question, Dimmy was quick to give an answer. “It should not be a problem at all,” He assured her, looking over his shoulder as he spoke to her. “We just. . . need to find you something else to wear. Something suited to the strict. . . traditions of the palace.” Well, that should be fun. Lyn was not opposed to wearing formal dresses or formal attire, but she had heard rumours of Khusha's strict traditions and was admittedly a little nervous of the sort of outfit she might potentially find herself in. Hopefully nothing too uncomfortable or rigid. She hated those dresses that some of the Zlemore noblewomen wore on occasion that made them look as though they would barely be able to move or breathe. Though given Khusha's warm temperature, she felt a little hopeful those sorts of dresses were not awaiting her.

Perhaps having sensed her nerves, Gwen was also quick to chime in with support. "You are one-fourth of my army," Gwen said seriously, making Lyn's cheeks flush. "You are coming. Besides, you handled yourself in Zlelmore wonderfully." Lyn almost chuckled at that. It was nice of her to say that, considering she hadn't done much save for standing there and making pleasantries, something that flew out the window almost as soon as she learnt of the Sages plans. "What a journey this must be for anyone, let alone a commoner."

"It's certainly been an unexpected journey, I'll give you that," Lyn mused thoughtfully, nodding her head along to Gwen's words. "This whole experience will make for one colourful story if we ever retell it."

They would continue making their way through the Khushan landscape, Dimmy as the native to this land, naturally lead the way. He had slowed a lot since they first set out, most likely to wait for the three humans in the part, who walked at a slower pace. The heat also factored into their pace. Lyn couldn't speak for Gwen or Sir Emerick, but the hot sun beating down on them made her feel uncomfortable and sweaty, making her internally curse the thicker design of the Zlelmore clothes. It almost made her feel relieved at the promise of a new outfit, despite any earlier reservations. They continued at their ambling pace until Dimmy called back to them, informing them he'd found someone injured. Gwen urged them forward, and they found themselves hurrying, even more, when Dimmy announced that the injured person had lost a lot of blood.

By the time they caught up with Dimmy, he was already crouched over the man. They had missed his threatening words, but Lyn noted the tension in Dimmy's body. She would take a moment to try and soothe the injured man's horse, seeing that it appeared to be quite agitated. Her attention was drawn away when she heard Gwen loudly questioning whether he was here to target Khusha and where the rest of his army was. Lyn was already taking a step forward before Gwen asked her to do something.

"Put your sword down," Lyn insisted as she walked past. She could feel the stares of Sir Emerick on her as she spoke. "He may wear Lochestrian colours, but how can you know for certain he is from? How do you know that this is not a clever disguise?" Lyn pressed. Her gaze shifted away from Gwen and down to the man. "Besides, he is injured. If he is an attacker, I doubt he is any state to do so right now." The green eyes woman noticed the princess looking warily towards the perimeter, as though expecting more soldiers to appear. "If you're so worried about an ambush, might I suggest Sir Emerick keep watch?" Lyn said, her tone softening slightly. "Besides, I might need your hands."

Lyn would proceed to kneel down next to the man, politely asking Dimmy to move aside and let her work. She would do a quick inspection of his wounds, before finally opening her bag and checking her supplies to see if she had what she needed. She had restocked before they came to Khusha, so she had a decent amount of what she needed to treat his wounds. First, she would retrieve a small pestle and mortar she had bough from within the bag, and passed it along to Gwen, along with some ingredients. "Crush these together for me to make a salve," Lyn instructed. She would take a moment to briefly show Gwen the correct motions to use to crush them before turning back to the man. From her bag, she would pull out a piece of cloth and a roll of bandages, the latter of which she gave to Dimmy to hold. Using the cloth she began to gently clean some of the blood from his wounds and from his body. Once she had finished she signalled from Gwen to come close. She would take a small amount on her fingers and gestured for Gwen to watch and repeat. She smeared it on a cut carefully, before massaging it into the skin a little. "Rub this on any visible wound you see," Lyn instructed, beginning to root around in her bag for something else. "I can't say for certain whether it will stop an infection, but it should help." This she said more to the injured man rather than Gwen, even though she wasn't certain if he could hear her. She then looked to Dimmy. "Dimmy, once Gwen has treated his wounds with the salve, can you bandage them for me? I don't have a lot of the roll left so use it on the worse cuts and injuries."

While her companions got to work, Lyn went looking through her bag for something to help with any pain. Unfortunately, the only thing she had, was a rather unpleasant mild pain relief draught. It would taste awful, but it would help remove a lot of the pain he was feeling, and hopefully make him a bit more comfortable and alert. As she removed the stopper, she caught a whiff of the foul odour and her nose wrinkled. She was used to it, unpleasant as it was, but she wouldn't have been surprised if it made some of her companions feel a little nauseous. "Sorry," she said to the man in advance. Lyn would cautiously lift his head up, before forcing the draught into his mouth. "I know it tastes awful, but I promise it'll help."