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Adservatae Animae (the Guarding Spirits) RP 
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Lady Sloth
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[Tom, since your character is not with the rest of the cast, I'm gonna go ahead and post a new story piece in the meantime; please do finish your post soon, however! I'm very interested! you can either edit the above (I'll look out for it) or post below me.]

The temple had no doors, only a line of columns and a grand, sweeping staircase into the open west front. Inside was a great hall, lined on both sides by doric columns topped by semicircular arches. The rafters above were gilded, shining brightly in the light pouring from the clerestory windows. In the apse at the far end of the building was a great statue of Orion, poised with an arrow drawn at the sky, his hunting dog Sirius at his side. Insence smoked faintly from the great altar before them. And a newly immolated rabbit lay bleeding on the small accompanying altar, meant for the dog.

Pacis padded toward the altars. The marble floor was cool on her feet, which she just now noticed were somewhat sore, burning from all the running she'd been doing since awakening. The soft contours of the building, gentle light, warm, creamy colors, and pleasant incense instilled in Pacis a sense of calm, of tranquility, that seemed a little at odds with the whole "hunting god" thing. But no matter. The people of this town thirsted for peace, and peace was afforded them through their rituals, their sacred spaces. She would never begrudge them that, no matter her personal opinion on gods such as Orion.

A priestess emerged from a door hidden away in the northern side aisle, making for Orion's altar. She stirred the coals that heated the gently billowing incense, adding one or two more to keep the smoke going. She was barefoot, dressed in the traditional hunting garb of the region, with a large, bejeweled, ceremonial quiver on her back, which held a single silver arrow fletched with peacock feathers. Her long black hair was tied back in many interlaced braids. She hummed a little while she tended the incense, then suddenly went silent, turning her head toward the approaching lioness.

"Salve, Molosse Honorate," she said, making a small bow. Even her spiritually-trained eyes saw, instead of a colorful lioness, a great Molessian hound--one of the more prized hunting dogs of Euroa. She was used to these hounds entering the temple, usually to partake of the offerings to Sirius, just as they did in the many shrines scattered about the town. Healthy dogs meant a healthy hunt, so no one begrudged them anything.

"Salve," Pacis returned the greeting.

Startled, the priestess dropped what she was holding, and glowing coals scattered across the marble floor. The hound she saw--it--spoke to her? "Orion's fifty sons! ...What art thou, goodly creature?" she asked, in the peculiar archaisms of the priestly class. "Not what thou seemest..."

"I am no Molessian," Pacis returned, drawing herself up to her full height and seating herself right before the priestess. She was a bit over 4.5 feet tall to the shoulder, and could almost look the priestess straight in the eye. "Although I am flattered by the honor you bestow upon me in the comparison. I am Curatrix Pacis, of the Holy Mountain. Perhaps you have heard of me?"

The priestess' eyes glazed over for a moment, then refocused on the creature before her. She could now see Pacis in her full glory: black, piercing eyes, wolf-like ears, green and white face, powerful muscles rippling under brilliant blue and green and white fur. And she was larger, leaner, more sinewy than a Molessian hound, with more strength packed away inside her, more tenacity, more sheer power.

"So the legends... they are true," the priestess finally managed. "One thousand years have we suspected that our prayers at thy shrines fell upon ears of stone and mortar, no more nor less. Yet, here thou art."

"I have been been remiss in my responsibilities. For this, you have my deepest apologies. I..."--at this, Pacis looked down in embarassment--"I overslept."

"What dost thou require of me, a lowly priestess of Orion?"

"A great evil has arisen in my absence. How long it has haunted this countryside, I do not yet know. But it is fierce, and under cover of darkness it wages its war against me. Against everything dear in the world. I need to know all I can about it. I need to know all you know about the spiritual health of this place. And, firstly--if you do not mind--I should like to know your name."

"I am... called Menippe. But it is not I who shall help thee--Augur Vigilo shalt be more useful than I in this," the priestess said. "Please. This way."

Pacis followed her into a side aisle, from whence they descended a long, spiral staircase of sandstone and marble, into the hidden parts of the temple: the treasury, crypts, archives, priestly cells, and rooms for secret, arcane ceremonies that the public were not permitted to attend. She could tell that Menippe was a brand-new priestess, unsure of herself and her abilities, less in tune with her spiritual sight than she could have been... but a repository of more power than she probably even realized.

They approached a small wooden door, with simple wrought iron hinges and a round iron knocker. Menippe knocked thrice with it, and stepped back, bowing her head. An old man with a long gray beard opened the door. "What is it, then?" he asked, as if he had been interuppted, but was affecting as much patience as he could muster in answer to the intrusion.

"I was told that you could ply me with information," Pacis said, deducing from Menippe's obsequience that this man was Augur Vigilo.

Augur Vigilo was silent for a long moment, taking in the sight of the adservata anima. He recognized her for what she was immediately, but it still seemed to take him a while to process what he was seeing. "Took thee long enough," he complained, when he was finally sure of what he was seeing. "I was beginning to fear that when thy shrine collapsed, thou wert destroyed along with Orion's good servants who went there to pray to thee."

"It was that, I believe, that finally woke me up," Pacis lamented.

"Well, Menippe, fetch our guest some food and water, then, as thou shouldst have done already," he said sharply to the priestess, who nodded quickly in shame and fled upstairs to obtain and prepare the rabbit that lay prone and dessicated on Sirius' altar.

"There is no need, good augur--" Pacis began, but Augur Vigilo held up one hand to staunch her protests.

"Please accept our hospitality, O honorable spirit--surely we ought to offer thee even more than that which we offer stray dogs who wander through here. I could not stomach seeing thee offered any less, of course. I hope thou understand'st."

"Very well."

"Now..." Motioning for Pacis to take a seat on his bed, a pallet on the floor near his desk, Augur Vilio leaned back in his chair, resting an elbow on a pile of parchments spread over his desk. "What information dost thou require of me?"

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pax.


Wed Jan 23, 2013 5:42 pm
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Lady Sloth
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"It... it devours souls?" Augur Vigilo buried his face in his hands for a moment, then slowly lifted his head again, stroking his beard in distracted agitation. "I'm afraid I have not heard tell of such a foul being. Yes, there are monsters and shadows all around us--even at the foot of the Holy Mountain, lying in wait for those brave (or foolish) enough to approach thy aged shrines. But this, this... this is new even to me."

So the augur would not be as much help as she had hoped, then. Pacis' countenance fell slightly. She had told him all she saw fit to tell him, leaving out most details about her psychopomp friend (certainly she wouldn't mention his curse to anyone, that was not her place), focusing mainly on the deaths of the old farmer couple out in the nearby countryside. This augur was a simple country priest: wise in the ways of the men whose souls he shepherded, well-versed in the lore of the gods and godesses, and the possessor of a clear and strong spiritual sight--but utterly hopeless in the practical matters of corruption, destruction, and spiritual attack that faced them now. Pacis was overwhelmed by a sudden flood of loneliness.

Menippe returned with the rabbit cleaned and de-boned, and a large gold bowl filled with spring water, laying them before Pacis with a floor-scraping bow before she flitted off again. Pacis did not feel like royalty at the moment--did not feel as though she deserved the respect she was being given. Still, she was hungry, so she ate and drank heartily. Over the years, as the legends of the adservatae animae lingered, grew, changed, compounded, it was as though her image in the minds of the people grew larger and more omnipotent, whereas her true self stayed more or less the same. While most gods and godesses stayed put in their realms and seldom interfered in the lives of mortals, the adservatae animae never wavered in their commitment to doing real, lasting good in the physical realms, to protecting their charges through concrete actions, rather than passing thoughts of goodwill. But to preserve their ability to remain in the physical realms, they took turns sleeping during times of peace, regaining lost power and solidifying their incorporeal natures into corporeal forms. They were not gods; they were only helpful spirits. But when people bowed to her and offered her sacrifices as if she were an incarnate god, Pacis grew uncomfortable--and also... ashamed. She wished she was what these people thought she was. She wished she could banish the Devorans Animorum with a single, epic battle, shake the dust off her feet at his corpse and trot back into the temple to recline beside Sirius and eat off his altar for the rest of her days. But instead, she couldn't help but feel as though she was approaching her death.

"Tell me then, good augur, about the monsters and shadows that you are aware of."

Augur Viligo let out a deep sigh, flipping idly through one of his books before speaking. His heart was heavy, his face grave. "They carry off our cattle, our sheep. They've taken children, destroyed farmsteads, cursed fields, caused even the Holy Mountain to cave in and destroy innocent pilgrims..."

Pacis' mind began to slow. She caught herself nodding off a few times, eyes heavy-lidded, head jerking up suddenly in resistance. With her belly now full, her body longed for rest. Being corporeal was hard work. The relative safety of this temple in the daytime was hard to resist.

...Noises, she heard noises. Barking? Pacis raised her head. Ignoring the augur, she trotted back up the stairs, following the familiar sound. The statue of Sirius had come to life, was barking at her, calling her up to it. Before her eyes it transformed: carved obsidian turned into striated patterns of blue and yellow, sprouting fur, shrinking to the shape of a greyhound, eyes still jet black but sparkling with life. Another bark. A blue tongue lolled out of this new creature's mouth, which drew up in a smile. Curator Amicitiae. Her old friend, come back to her! "Ami!" She shouted--their old nickname for him. "Ami, you're here. But... how? Where are the others?"

Curator Amicitiae approached her, curled his neck around hers in a type of hug. "I am one-thousand years dead," he whispered into her ear, in a terrible deep voice like iron scraping over stone.

"AMI?!" Pacis jumped up in fear. She had fallen asleep on the augur's pallet. Augur Viligo had left her to her slumber, turning back to his desk, his writing, scratching steadily on with a quill pen, stopping only to dip it from time to time in ink. He paused when she shouted--squeaked, more like, her body still half-paralyzed by sleep--and turned around to face her.

"Art thou all right?"

Pacis stuck out her tongue and yawned a broad yawn. "How long have I been sleeping?"

"Several hours now," the augur replied. "Thou seemst very tired for one who hast already been sleeping one thousand years."

"There are different kinds of sleep," Pacis replied.

"The sun even now sinks low toward the horizon," the augur offered, turning back to his work. "It is clear my information is of no use. Thou art free to eat, drink, and sleep in this temple any time thou wishest, but I am afraid this is all I have for to offer thee."

Pacis could still see Curator Amicitiae so clearly in her mind's eye. Was it only a dream, then? She missed him desperately. All of them. "Augur Viligo, was there--did you hear barking whilst I slept?"

"Ah, yes. Some local monsters must have attacked outlying farmsteads. The villagers gathered up their hounds to drive them off--they always pass by the temple on their way into the country. We have dogs enough to fill the entire street with yaps and howls--what a sight it is! I believe they were successful in their defense. That is all it was."

Pacis sighed. "Thank you for your hospitality. I may indeed return as needed. But for now, I must find my companions before the sun has fully set. Farewell, good sir."

"Vale, anima honorata. May Orion bless all your future hunting."

Pacis ran up the spiral steps so fast she slid along the marble floor of the main hall. The two statues, Orion and Sirius, towered unchanging in the apse. The great dog showed no sign of having changed or moved an inch. Indeed, the barking hounds began their return through the village, their handlers shouting victory over whatever it was they had been chasing away. Their barks echoed through the great hall like the voices of many ghosts.

Pacis' loneliness was crushing her. Had her dream been some sort of message from the great beyond--or was it just a sign of whatever hope she had trickling away into nothingness? ...But she was not alone. For now, at least, she had Editus Candor and Velox Softpaw. She rushed out to the entrance to the temple, scanning the sky again for signs of her psychopomp friend. The sky was a brilliant blend of pink and orange, the sun dropping inexorably down in the west. Something would happen tonight, she was sure of it: the forces of darkness they were facing would not be idle once the sun had dipped below that far-off horizon. But where would they be next? Perhaps Velox had discovered something. All Pacis had found was a full stomach and a terrifying vision.

She needed them, she realized. Perhaps more than they needed her.

So she sat on the western stair of the temple and watched the sun set and waited for them.

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Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:46 pm
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[Sorry for the late posts. I have no excuse. Tis only laziness. Short post now, should be another tonight or tomorrow morning. If i take too long my train of thought will be thrown off by changes in the scenario, so humor me a short post. i will try to contribute as much as i can]

Velox turned briskly away from Pacis and began heading towards the center of town, inconspicuously grabbing a tarp covering a nearby wagon before disappearing down an alley between shops. He stopped briefly to wrap the textile around himself like a cloak. He hoped to pass himself off as a beggar under such short notice, though anything would draw less attention than tromping around barely clothed and with paws. He then adopted a slight limp and made his way out of the alley, slowly passing between the townspeople that were making their way down the gradually busying street. He spied a merchant pushing his wares amongst the crowd, and noticed that the drawstring of his coin purse was worn and loose. He changed his course slightly to intercept the man, feigned losing his footing, and braced himself against the man while taking a single coin out of his purse. He apologized briefly and turned in the direction of the town inn, stopping for a moment to collect himself before stepping inside.

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Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:16 pm
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[OOC: There is so much more than this. I know night is just about upon the village. This is long enough already...I hope you packed a sandwich.]


A group of hunters and trackers followed the desperately animated doctor back to the farmhouse. About two dozen, assumed by those who could count. More than half were residents of the Village of Mountainview, a few more were remembered as visiting hunters and a new couple. Husband and wife maybe? They were at the inn when the doctor stumbled in out of breath, trying to tell of the fearsome death of the farmer and his wife. En route to the farmhouse, they bantered back and forth amongst each other, not really taking the doctor too seriously (after all, they were old). Most of the conversation on the way centered around this new couple's armament. The huntress carried a high quality bow comprised of several different colors of soft and hardwoods with the bowstring spun from the sinew of the tail of a narwhal, and a quiver with a startling high capacity of arrows made from mahogany saplings fletched with hummingbird retrices.

"Unusual choice in arrows," remarked another archer in the group asked on behalf of the others.

"The mahogany is strong and can be lathed to a thinner shaft for faster travel," she answered with her head turned away from the inquirer as she watched a young man and a Molessian hound walking back toward town. She turned back to the archer thinking about how the hound did, but didn't, look like a hound, "And the fletching; fast feathers make for fast flight."

"Why narwhal?"

"When it was spun in the north, it was already tight. Here, in the warmer climes, it tightens even more giving my bow more power. I shot through two bull moose cleanly with one shot last winter."

"'Tis true. She a teller of tale, and I'd call her a charlatan if I had not seen it myself," replied her partner.

"So you were in the north with her?"

"That is so. I lanced the narwhal myself with this very spear." He held the spear up for all to see. A birdseye maple shaft wrapped in walrus leather at its middle. The head was large, visibly sharp and had a thickened middle. When asked about it he explained that it was hollowed and filled with lead to make it heavier so that even the thickest hide could not stop it.

"So why hunt so far to the north?"

He leaned into his parnter and said, "We don't much care for the heat." The couple laughed heartily at their inside joke.

The archer smiled at them and turned back to the rest, "Anyone else see that Molessian? We sure could use a hound like that right now."

"If you are quite finished," said the doctor, angry that this mission was not being taken seriously, "the McPhearson homestead is up ahead."

Upon reaching the front steps, the trackers immediately noticed the different sets of prints entering and leaving the home. Half of the trackers took to their knees, surprised at the accuracy of the doctor's truth. Branson, the eldest hunter in the group took charge.

"Archers! Give me a perimeter and hold it!" He ordered. "If they were here for a food source, they may return." The archers took positions at the corners of the building, emphasizing their attention toward any woods that bordered the property. "Trackers, what do you see?"

"A mountain lion, probably female, but big, and a cat both entered and left the house."

"What about this wolf the doctor spoke of?"

"That's what's strange," the lead tracker, Lohngren, explained," the wolf, and it is huge, only left, it never entered."

"Find out where they lead to. Hold the perimeter, archers. Everyone else inside with me, carefully."

Even inside, they found no sign that a wolf entered, but another man did. Those prints ended between Martin and Genevive and were replaced with the wolf prints. A chill filled Branson. Have those beasts become so bold that they are killing people? And can they change form? "Doctor, tell me everything that you know."

The doctor explained the treatments the couple were under, what he expected to find when he arrived and what he found when he entered. Then he went more in depth with stories of old evils that aren't told so much anymore. These stories were riveting to the hunters and the others outside could hear the conversation. Some have heard the stories, most have not. But they all took the doctor at his word because his family was descended from the founders of the village hundreds of years ago, and were known to be some of the most educated for miles. Branson had to make a decision, and it wasn't as easy as he had thought. There was something happening beyond any of them. He stepped outside to meet the trackers who followed the trail. "And?"

"The smaller cat's tracks vanish just over there." Lohngren pointed to an area about 20 feet from the steps. "The wolf walked toward the wood, sat for a bit, emerged, and then ran back deeper into the woods must have gone on for miles we could not follow all of the way, but the lion gave chase. I don't know why, but the wolf was threatened by the lion."

"Here is what happens next. Go inside, find clean linens and wrap the McPhearsons in them. Some of you go back to town, and fetch a cart while we gather all of the metals from this place and pile it out here. Put the metal in the cart and take it to the smith and the bodies to the Temple, they need to be consecrated. Anything of value will be stored in the vault at the temple. I am sure that their children will claim it when they receive notice of their death. When we finish gathering, burn this reminder of evil down, the shadows will have no haven here. Everyone meet at the inn when you're done."

Everyone performed their assigned tasks. The couple nodded to each other.

[last portion of post has been removed as it contains references to a deleted character -- Gypsi]

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Last edited by Phyreman on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:27 am, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:38 am
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[Gonna switch the time of this scene to about mid-late afternoon, I apologize for the discrepancy from my last scene but im falling behind and dont want to throw anyone off]

The room was large and well lit, as the sun still shone through the west facing windows. A few men were conversing at a nearby table, and one drank from a pint glass while sitting on one of the bar stools. Velox quickly adopted a cheerful air as he strode towards the bar, it had been awhile since he practiced his theatrics.

“A most fine day to you, sir, ma’am,” he huffed in a raspy voice as he gestured to the barkeep, and to the innkeeper [respectively] sweeping the floor on the other side of the room, “a glass of warm mead if you would be so kind.” He placed the coin down carefully on the counter.

The man brushed up the coin before grabbing a glass behind him. As he wiped it clean he said, “Wouldn’t have noticed this day was any more ‘most fine’ than the rest, even for a beggar who stumbled upon a soul kind enough to spare him some coin for a pint.”

Vel smacked the table enthusiastically said quickly in reply,“That’s just it then, I wouldn’ve thought so either, but last night was the first where i didn’t have that dream about the toads..” he stared across the bar as if deep in thought, then mumbled a bit before noticing the barkeep eyeing him in an annoyed manner, “anyway, waking up made a fine day to start, and then once i was blessed with the funds for a warm belly was it MOST fine.” He leaned back precariously on the stool, seemingly pleased with himself.

“Aye, that makes good sense then doesn’t it” The barkeep said as he began to fill the glass, “though I’m sorry to say you won’t see many other days like this one in this town, folks don’t have much to spare for their own families let alone the poor” He placed the glass down in front of the werecat and leaned back against the wall. He rarely got interesting customers in these times, so he decided to humor the crazy beggar.

“It’s no matter, I only plan to stay a few days” Vel said, careful not to open his mouth too wide, lest he expose his teeth, “I’m almost at my destination in fact; the end of my pilgrimage to the holy mountain.” he raised his glass for a moment to the man before bringing it to his lips, taking only a small swig before sighing contently.

The barkeep spoke slowly, “You’re going to the mountain?” A few of the occupants stopped their conversation. “Aye, I was hoping to get the favor of the gods for the coming year, and i want my head blessed against these night terrors.”
“You are bloody insane aren’t you, ya grimey fool.” A patron interrupted from where he sat at one of the inn’s tables. “If ya dont die of yar own stupidity then the beasts will surely do ya in.”

Velox turned towards the man, his eyes widening, “toads?” Vel whispered hoarsely.

“No. For gods sake, good gracious yar a goner for sure. The wolves around here will tear the skin off yar bones before ya can raise an arm. They stole the half my animals when it was barely morning” Said the man.

The man’s compatriote at the table interjected, “Nah I told you those weren't wolves, I saw one of em. It had horns!”

“You’re just seeing things, you’re damn near senile that early in the morning anyway.” Retorted the first.

“Right, and then why couldn’t the hounds track them. They’ve never had problems finding a pack. Whatever that thing was, it knows these woods better enough to outsmart a dog’s nose.” Said the other.

“Stranger things have happened in those woods than smart wolves”

Velox slowly drank his mead as he followed their words. That didn’t sound like demons, not if it didn’t take these two down while they pursued it in the woods. “Ha, well i wouldn’t worry so much if i were-”

Vel was cut off by a commotion outside. A mob of people was moving near the inn and a man rushed in, “The McPhearsons have been killed in their home,” he exclaimed.

The others stood up at their table and cursed, “Who had the darkness in their heart to murder that couple?!” One spat.

“You won’t believe it but a bloody mountain lion, a wolf, and a cat” the man said, “Nothing made any sense.”

Velox downed the rest of the pint and cursed under his breath, “my luck today...” He then turned to the man and asked, “Are their hunters in pursuit?” Meanwhile, the barkeep grabbed Vel’s glass and began washing it, eyeing the ‘beggar’ the entire time.

“We don’t have any tracks to follow, the trail ended not far from their homes, for all we know they could still be stalking the fields.” The man replied.

Vel followed up the question with one to the other two men, “You don’t think it was those beasts you were speaking of. Where did your hounds track them to?” His hair bristled under the gaze from the bartender.

One of the mean snorted, “Stay out of this you loon, our farm is on the complete other side of town, no beast is going to come that far west just to stalk a meal in some poor folks house.”

His companion quickly retorted, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya, ya fool! These aren’t yar typical beasts! Why don’t you listen to a word i say?!” He smacked the first one on the side of the head weakly but managed to knock his drink over on the table.

“Hey settle down or mess up someone else’s floor, you two are enough to drive me insane.” The barkeep yelled. He turned back to the counter in front of him and the beggar had left his seat. The barkeep looked up and saw the crazy man quickly exit the building, “Hey stop.”

Once outside velox turned around the perimeter of the building. He dropped the tarp that covered him and shifted into the form of a large cat. He leaped onto some crates and then to the roof of the shop adjacent to the inn, and began to head towards the temple to rendezvous with the lioness.

[I apologize for my poor skills in writing dialogue. I try to make it colorful because it’s more interesting in my head, but i can’t represent it very well in words. That’s a biology major for you.]

_________________
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.


Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:32 pm
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"Oh, here's that tarp," commented Lohngren. He had come back to town with the other trackers to get the cart that was parked nearby the inn. They had just returned from the task of turning over the McPhearsons and their heirlooms to the temple and their metals to the smith. Still not at all too certain exactly what Branson was worried about, Lohngren figured that he was somehow reminiscing his wartime days when he commanded troops during...what siege was it? It was a long day for everyone already. Four people dead in less than two days; an elderly couple, a mother and her little girl, this made him shudder.

"Let us get inside, Branson is waiting." The rest of the trackers followed Lohngren into the inn after stopping to wash themselves at the trough.

Once inside, it was not difficult to find Branson. He was already formulating a defensive strategy to protect the village and being quite boisterous about it. Lohngren mildly rolled his eyes at his "'tis my time to take charge" attitude and motioned the other trackers to take seats at the tables nearby. Most of the trackers were of slender build so more could sit per table which was good considering, between this impromptu meeting and the usual crowd, it was filling up more quickly than usual at this time of afternoon.

Between the calls for action by the hunters the concerns of the supernatural by the trackers and the back and forth arguments over what is responsible for the loss of livestock outside of the East gate, Lohngren had just a bout had it. "Enough! Before we do anything we have to figure out what we are up against." After several harrumphs and silent looks back and forth at each other, there were nods of agreement. Sips of ale followed by hearty exhales were all that was heard for a moment. Leaning back in his chair, causing it to creak a little bit, Lohngren began, "Four. Four of our people are gone. Let us examine how. First were Liz and Maria. What do we know?"

"They died at the Holy Mountain," replied a hunter, "at a shrine."

"Yes," another hunter," it collapsed onto them, an avalanche or something."

"Correct." Lohngren continued, "and what shrine were they visiting?"

"The peaceful lion?" asked the new hunter who was standing up at an overcrowded table behind his huntress friend, leaning forward, supported by his spear. "I apologize for not knowing the name of this Adservata Anima. As you know, we came from the North."

"Curatrix Pacis is her name. And, yes, we remember you mentioned that. Pardon the tardiness of this request, but what are your names?" Lohngren leaned upon his left arm with his hand cupping his chin, partially covering his mouth.

"I am Ancorus, and this is my companion Fidessa. It is a terrible thing that so many innocents were lost, and since we are already here, we believe can help this village along."

"Very well. I would not expect those from outside Mountainview to assist without asking, but your offer is accepted. Do you agree, Branson?"

"Why ask me? You seem to be doing just fine on your own," responded Branson with harsh tone.

Lohngren opened his mouth to counter, but was intercepted by Ancorus, "Forgive me, sir. I, myself, failed to recognize the master hunter in the room. We offer our company, if you are so inclined to accept."

"I accept." Branson, now satisfied with his authority recognized, crossed his arms and puffed up his chest. "Please, Lohngren, continue." The other hunters and trackers, expert at watching the brothers fight for leadership, laughed briefly and shifted in their chairs.

"Did anyone investigate the shrine? Where there any tracks there?"

Branson, who was tired of the questioning, stood up forcibly enough to cause his chair to slide backwards away from him. "Why would anyone look for tracks? You are always looking for tracks." He ordered another round of ale for the hunters.

Lohngren closed his eyes and clenched his teeth behind closed lips, and drew in a deep breathe through his nose. With an open hand flipping it like a frustrated teacher, "Shrines aren't placed in areas prone for destruction, that is strange enough, and I do not believe it was an accident. Between the two sets of death, and the peculiarity of each, they have to be connected somehow. And finding tracks would help us to be able to discover cause. There was no blood at the McPhearson home, screaming unnatural to me." Most of the group hung onto his words, but a few, closer to Branson, were talking more about his using of the word 'peculiarity'.

"No," replied the first hunter, "on one looked for track. There was no reason to. No one ventured a guess that anything more would come of it. We were only assigned to retrieve the bodies, besides, 'tis too late now. All you will find is our footprints, the rocks we moved, and the carts' tracks.

"Have you angered this Curatrix Pacis?" chimed Fidessa. The two knew that with no evidence of the spiritual battle that succeeded the collapse of the shrine of that stupid lion, they could capitalize their skills onto the superstitious bunch. "I mean, when was the last time anyone prayed or, moreover, sacrificed appropriately at the shrine?" deliberately leaving out any mention of a wolf and emphasizing focus on the lion. Silence again filled the room as the hunters and trackers knew that their prayers all went to Orion and Sirius for the hunt and the farmers prayed to Demeter. Some fear and some shame fell upon not just this group, but the other guests at the inn listening in on the not-so-private meeting. Some guests began to become flush, others tried choking back tears. "It is a terrible and fearsome thing when a God, Guardian or spirit becomes angry. And it is a lion."

"You forget yourself!" The comment angered Lohngren and some of the others, "I don't know how you remember your Guardians, but you do NOT talk of ours that way! We will overlook this insult in lieu of your offer of assistance." Fidessa gently closed her eyes and bowed her head in acknowledgement, but the seed of doubt was planted.

"Ah, but a point the lass has, " another hunter retorted, "spirits been angry b'fore, and to many an ill result." The hunter jumped in his seat as he was punched in the shoulder by his neighbor at the table. "Wha'? 'Tis true. We all know it."

"Stories, nothing but stories." Branson chimed in. "The Adservatae Animae have been gone for hundreds of years."

"But any angry spirit 'tis a formidable adversary."

"Is anyone safe? These occurrences are getting closer to the village. What if your families are next?" Ancorus prodded louder than necessary, causing some to leave. Some in disgust at the thought of a Guardian causing these tragedies, others in panic to gather their children and bolt themselves inside their homes fearing a lion demanding them in sacrifice, a few to the temple to pray.

Branson and Lohngren both glared at Ancorus, the first looking at him with wide eyes, mouth agape, and palm up with shoulders shrugged; the latter squinted at him and irritably said, "THAT was not helpful," not at all happy that this meeting may come to an early end.

Oh, but it was. "T'was just a question," he returned as he looked back at the brothers after watching a number of people leave the inn, still leaning on his spear.

OUTSIDE THE EAST GATE:

A well dressed couple met at an intersection of paths near the road town. A woman dressed in a maroon skirt with white lace trim that reached just above her ankles, and a beige blouse with long sleeves and a vest that that matched her skirt, was waiting for her partner when he approached. He could have been nobility, with his vibrantly colored coat overshadowing dark green trousers and thigh-high leather boots.

"How busy are they?" the woman asked.

"They could spend days trying to figure out who killed their cattle, Pestilentia. And the dogs will never find me."

"Excellent, Nex. It's been so long since we've been allowed out of the cavern, and I want to show you what I've been perfecting." Pestilentia walked to the North side of the road where a farmer had spent all summer tending a bountiful crop of corn. The she-demon drew in a long breath, and cupping her hands on either side of her mouth blew her deadly spell into the field. The stalks closest to her withered and wilted to the ground, while those further away had fungus grow upon them, making them inedible.

"So many farms to play with. So many families to suffer." The both laughed as they strode toward Mountainview.


NOTE: I assumed that the locals would know her by that name since there is a major temple at the center of the village, and the Adservatae Animae were known of throughout Orbis Terrae. If they do NOT know her name or if she is known better as Herois Os Leonis, let me know.

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Last edited by Phyreman on Thu May 02, 2013 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:37 pm
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"You sure you're up for this?"

Amica looked with concern over to where Editus Candor was stretching his wings in the morning sun, preparing to leave from the glade. They had spent the evening talking with Veritas for hours, as he discussed not only the nature of the demons, he believed, they were facing, but the nature of demons of themselves. It wasn't exactly required reading among spirit guides to learn about demons; it was enough that they knew they were evil. At first he was terrified as he learned the lengths of the dangers he faced; non-existence for the fortunate, eternal torment for the unfortunate. The lack of any tales of their successes against the demons certainly wasn't comforting either. But sometime through the night Candor's attitude had changed. He'd stopped having to fight the trepidation building in him, as he seemed to have found some inner well of purpose that motivated him to keep asking questions.

"No. No I'm not." He said with a surprising amount of confidence. "I'm fairly confident I'm in way over my head. But, you know what? Its somehow kind of comforting. For once its nice to feel....inadequate to the task."

Despite how obviously arrogant that statement seemed to be, Amica saw it for what it was; Candor had always had talents beyond the task required of him. To now be pushed to his limits must be exciting. Somehow, in the presence of this greater threat, Amica had gotten over that Candor had been marked for condemnation; something about the gravity of the greater threat lessened its relevance.

"I know this is hypocritical of me to say but....don't follow me Amica. This isn't going to be safe for you. Not going to be safe for me either but its something I'm going to do."

"Candor..."

Without a goodbye Candor took into the air. Amica trotted up to where he took off from but did not follow. Silently, she said a prayer to the gods for his protection.

-------------------

Candor drifted over the treetops towards the village, sunlight glistening off of his brilliantly white feathers. It was somehow rejuvenating to be in the open light again. He hadn't slept much last night, and the warmth felt great. His mind raced over all the facts he had absorbed last night; for once he actually was interested in what Veritas had to say. In the distance, he could see the village coming into appearance beneath the treeline.

I hope I can find Pacis, I have much to talk to her about.

Candor's vision drifted downwards into the treeline; it was a subconscious movement more than anything intentional. As he did, something, many things rather, caught his eye in the forest below. There appeared to be a mass of movement, a herd of deer perhaps? Quickly, he dipped below the branches to take a look.

What is that? Are those.....heaven's above...

Moving along the forest floor were dozens of bloated toads, each the size of a dog and covered in gross, bulging blisters. It was painfully obvious whatever was....leaking...from the mass of demon toads was poisonous as the wild life near their pathway was choking and dying.

They're headed for the village! I need to warn them!

Taking to the skies once again he sped for the village with all the speed he could muster. To be honest, he wasn't really sure how to warn the village in the first place; its not like they could understand him. Somehow, informing Pacis seemed the solution to the problem. He circled the city frantically, eyes darting too and fro, desperately trying to find the Guardian.

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Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:55 pm
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The afternoon became hotter and more humid as the sun drifted lower into the horizon, but still above the tree line, almost becoming too uncomfortable. Dark, wispy clouds had appeared, growing from nothingness, in a previously clear sky, slowly filling the blue void. The sun's rays reflected upon these new clouds, causing their color to appear a dark orange or bright red. The humidity made the air heavy, almost difficult to breathe.

Inside the tavern, streams of light that shone through the translucent glass abruptly changed the color of the room. The yellows that previously protruded the wavy patterned pane changed, making the tables coverings and the clothing that the patrons were wearing seem to be saturated with blood. Arguments that overwhelmed every conversation in the hall ceased, and whether a hunter, tracker, or other occupant, all eyes turned to the windows in eerie, silent unison.

"This is not right." stated one tracker as some members of the congregation ventured toward the door.

Braving the outdoors, the open door was caught by a gust of wind. It flung outward cracking itself against the outside wall of the tavern, the glass that was once a small window within it fell to the walkway musically. The curious few walked outside, Anchorus among them. The wind had not been this strong for as long as many could remember. When hit by the heavy, sweltering gale, some members cowered, some sought shelter inside the tavern, yet, Anchorus stood firm, almost defying the tempest. "What a brave man" some thought, others assumed him insane. But Anchorus secretly wallowed in the heat, knowing what was on its way to the town. His feet spread, not for stability, but for acceptance, held his head high, leaning back, anticipating a victory for his kind, he took in a great breath trying the catch any scent of his companions they were near.

Anchorus opened his eyes and saw a bird. A bird?. It was flying gracefully above the town, obviously not yet struck by the hot storm front. His attention was captured by this bird. He watched it as it flew above the town, as if on a mission, when he noticed it's glow. It was bright. Supernatural. Anchorus's eyes grew wide as he dove back into the tavern too some laughs from those who sheltered themselves inside.

"We knew you couldn't take it for long!" Chortled the group who chose not to brave the weather.

The northern hunter stared back a fiery glare at them that caught them off guard and they took a step backward until Anchorus remembered himself and calmed, "Tougher than it looked". He glanced at Fidessa, who knew that he needed to speak with her immediately. Anchorus walked to the rear of the tavern where a vacant room seemed waiting for him. Fidessa bowed her head and took her leave of the group to join him.

While the hunters and trackers indigenous to the town debated this new anomaly, the northerners met.

"What is it?" inquired Fidessa.

"The bird that troubled the master is here," he returned, "and it may have seen me, I don't know. It was looking elsewhere."

"Do you think the lioness is near? They seem to appear together."

"Perhaps. Others are near, but there was something else on the wind that I don't like, but I just can't place it. It is powerful. Our mission may be shorter than we had hoped."

"Damn. I was enjoying myself too."

The two re-entered the hall, and returned to an open discussion of what to do next.

"Seal the gates!" exclaimed Branson, " No one in or out that we don't know!"

A couple of some apparent nobility arrived at the East gate before the order had reached it. And they were granted entry.

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Thu May 02, 2013 10:34 pm
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