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Blood is thickerheaded than water.

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*

Wolfe

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  • Death. Honor. Hangovers.
Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« on: August 11, 2018, 04:34:04 PM »
After settling Sera against the stone pillar and binding her, Wolfe had gone to the cavemouth and settled to meditate for a while. The old Blademaster still had a great deal of anger in him over some of the things Sera had said. Though he felt a balm to his soul from her apology and feeling her arms around him again some things still clawed at his conscience and at his heart beneath the now calmer facade.

The sounds of the snarling werewolf girl within, bound and furious, disturbed his meditation. How easily it could have been him that bore that terrible curse. And yet, now it was his child that was forced to be a maddened beast like so many he struck down recently and in his youth. The old scars itched and ached - the bite of the Werewolf Lord that he had killed to earn his place in the Shogun's service - and he felt a longing for home.

An hour passed and Sera did not quiet. He rose to his feet and moved to the other cave where the others were resting. He sat himself down nearby Cat as she slept, jaw-opened and adorably knocked-out, but he was sure with how heavy he was he'd disturb her sleep some.

Propping his back to the cave wall, he placed Shokan across his lap. Drawing the magical blade that was ancient while he was young, he began to fastidiously sharpen it and care for it. Once he was certain she was stirring, he'd speak quietly to her.


"Thank you for coming with me up here, Doc. You put your faith in me when the others doubted. I won't forget that."

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
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Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 02:42:29 PM »
A night spent in a cave-mouth was far from what the urbanite doctor was looking forward to.  Exposed to the elements, the humid atmosphere and that unpleasant draft was a far cry from the warm bed in town she had been looking forward to after their escapades. 

It should be noted that “the Doc” was zonked out with her satchel well secured at her side, knees pulled up to her chest.  That overly intrusive creature that the antiquarian had would not be getting in there again.

All the tumultuous family drama was distressing in the moment, but it wasn’t something she processed in full in that moment.  Logic at least held that the Mad Scientist was somehow in town, and at least that was a matter she understood and could affect.  Whenever she woke up.

Which looked to be now!

With a start, the pale half-elf blinks and stir - it takes a second for her to remember where they were.  Rubbing one of her eyes, she looks about, attempting to place where Westra and Euron were before looking back to Wolfe.

“We umm.. aren’t through it yet, Mister Wolfe. And it was... a cooperative effort."

"Though, I would say that some of this is selfish pursuit… I have always wanted to be impaled in the calf by a sea monster’s harpoon.  Let alone a harpoon likely so properly sterilized… nope.. no danger of tetanus at all...”
   The sentiments were a mix of bashful avoidance of direct engagement of his generous comments and some random gallows humor.

“The real tests and hardship, though, likely lies with you.”  Beat. “I don’t think I can sympathize with her, though.  My father would not do a one percent of what you did for her, if she was me.”  she admits, though through a lens of acceptance of the fact.

Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 09:48:21 AM »
Confused, but seemingly unconcerned by the familial drama taking place around him, Jonias contemplated the last day's events while he meditated as the others took their rest.

His elven blessing allowed for a shorter rest so with his extra time the high elf slipped past the others, letting the person on watch know that he would try swimming through the sunken temple again. Without the threat of further flooding, Jonias was able to take his time, tying a rope around his waist and leaving Beryllium to watch the entrance of the water way.

"If you sense me running to trouble, go fetch the others," The high elf said to his familiar in the Sylvan tongue as he set his belongings down and peeled off a few clothing layers to make the swim bearable.

Slipping into the cold water, Jonias took a few short dives down the watery tunnel until he felt acclimated enough before travelling down further.

*

Wolfe

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Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 10:11:25 PM »
Wolfe offered a small smile at Cat's black humor, looking over to her as she mentioned surviving being impaled. "Well, looks like they didn't get you that bad." Running his fingers over the hilt of Shokan, he turned to watch Jonias move to leave. He watched him go but said nothing immediately to him, then returned his gaze to her as she admitted her father wouldn't have done the same for her. That struck Wolfe for a moment, the Half-Orc becoming grim in his countenance as she admitted such a thing.

"He may have helped give you life, Cat, but he's no father if he wouldn't be willing to find you. And I've not been the greatest father - I won't pretend that I'm even close. I was often away as duty required, and I took my oaths to Sera's Grandfather seriously." He lowered his head some, grim. "I still do."

Taking a slow breath he shook his head. "I was angry at the things Sera said. Disappointed. She did not act like the woman I raised her to be. But I had to temper my rage; she's been alone, scared, the blood of her mother on her hands. A victim of a curse that I bestowed on her with my blood.

It would have been wrong to hurt her more. What could I do to her that's worse than what she's endured? What punishment is worse than murdering someone you love?"


Those last words hit Wolfe hard, his eyes becoming wet at the thought. A heavy burden - a task yet undone.

"I have a difficult decision ahead of me, Cat. I don't know what to do."

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
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  • For Lantan.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2018, 11:58:14 AM »
The fist sized tear in in her dark resin-coated leggings was still visible, exposing a section of pale-colored flesh with an “X” shaped faded scar.  “My abnormal metabolism um.. can promote rapid repair to my physical body when I use my powers… sometimes. It isn’t an exact science.”  she explains her peculiar ability to heal herself somewhat from injury.

She shifted a glance to the elf and his pet doing… something.  For a moment, she kind of missed GIZMO… he was a mechanical drone, but he was still comforting to have around.   Then, she noticed that the elf was stripping off some clothes and realizes she should be looking at other things.  Catriona busies herself with retrieving and adorning her spectacles as she seeks another focus.

Wolfe’s words pulled her attention proper once more. Take it as what you will, but she did not answer on the point about her father, or speak more about him.  The matter wasn’t as visceral as that which consumed Wolfe and Sera,  it was more subtle and pernicious in it being the type of relationship that was much more common.

“Normally… I would say that you can’t change the past… but given what we have observed recently…” she trails off, alluding to that strange woman that had been toying with them in her strange, cosmic quest.

“I don’t know… never finding peace or forgiveness for it?” she offered in response, though with her typical brand of hesitant confidence? 

In a brief break from her typical timidity, she pats the back of his hand with her own in some attempt at support. “We still have to stop the Mad Scientist before more damage is done to the realm.  We don’t know what will come of that. I would hold off on big decisions until ..um.. catastrophic disasters are put to rest.”  Beat.  “New facts may be introduced… it occurs in science all the time.”

“That said.. I mean.. If I were to nominate someone most capable of overcoming a difficult decision, I am pretty certain, you would be the first candidate.”

*

Wolfe

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Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 12:12:17 PM »
Cat had a telling point about the idea that never finding absolution for the death of a loved one was a heavy burden to bear. Whether it was more than the deed itself, he wasn't so sure, but it was at least a rallying comment to him to get behind. The reminder of the focus of their journey being ahead of them lingered and served as something else to distract him - but his mind always ventured back toward the choice that hovered before him like an executioner's axe about to drop.

Sera's growls and howls from down the corridor only reminded him of that heavy decision and even Cat's gentle touch did not dispel the weight that had settled in his heart.


"Maybe." He said gently. "I don't lack for confidence, Cat. Indecision has never been one of my flaws. Often it's the opposite. But here, now. I keep hearing the same question I threw at Westra before when we were debating about leaving her brother to go to Luskan.

What matters more? Family or duty?"


He lifted his eyes then to look at the Half-Elf Mystic, the only friend he'd garnered in this journey. "I've defined the life I live by my duty and by my honor. To always treat others honorably, to live by my word, to do right by those who have done right to me. My Shogun gave me a life and a wife, a woman I loved with all my heart, and a life I enjoyed and found much fulfillment with. But now I've found Sera and it's come to this.

Do I save my daughter or do I save my honor. I cannot have both. She will not come back with me. That I am certain of."


Wolfe looked down to the katana in his lap. "This was to be hers, when I passed. Something that had been in her family for two hundred years. Passed down from scion to scion. If she does not return with me I am to kill her with this very blade that was her birthright."

There was a heavy, long pause, Wolfe's gaze on the weapon his hands held. "There is only one other option, and it ends with my death." The words felt like molasses in his mouth. "Maybe it is the only way."

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
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  • For Lantan.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2018, 01:06:24 PM »
Family or Duty.

Catriona was slave to either.  That fact aside, as an academic, she did not need to consider problems coming from a place of her own experiences.  She not only understood the social structure which brought about these philosophical questions.

Within the limits of the system that Wolfe lived in, she understood (at least in a removed sense) the weight of honor and what one was obligated to do when they shamed themselves.  In that system, there was nothing worse than shame - not even death.  To address his concern, she knew she had to work and appeal within that structure of bushido, and not from a place of what most westerners would call “common sense”.

At the same time, she felt a pang of selfishness.  How well could she discuss the matter without her own interests of seeing him stick around interfering?

The doctor did her best. “Mister Wolfe… how often does a samurai become cursed with lycanthrope and unknowingly have offspring stricken by it?  And that offspring, through no malicious intent of her own causes a tragedy due to that affliction? I am going to assume such a confluence of events is extraordinary.”

She dips her head some to catch his gaze, a rarity for someone who actively avoids eye contact.  “With extraordinary problems, does it make sense to retain ordinary solutions?  I guess… I mean… is it the spirit of a resolution that matters or the exact wording of ancient creed?”

*

Wolfe

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Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2018, 01:22:22 PM »
Cat caught Wolfe's gaze and he held her sight, considering her view for a long moment. He seemed to weight the matter internally, frowning. It was clear he didn't want a 'cop out' of his problem and seemed to be in serious hesitation on the matter. "Maybe. But what is the worth of your word if you should break it to your benefit? You cannot serve your Lord if you choose to serve yourself first. That's the opposite of being a Samurai. The code of honor is what retains the loyalty of your Lord, your providence. Everything that I was given is part of a contract - I in service, and my Lord in his protection and his bounty.

My Shogun has never broken faith with me. Never. He treated me with more respect than anyone else. I'm a Half-Orc, Cat. My life before my service was one where people like Westra and that dickbag Bard did nothing but call me Beast, Filth, and worse. I was expected to be a brute and an idiot when I was Sera's age. But the Shogun gave me a place of honor in this world. He gave me a family. He gave me my pride in myself.

And now?"


Wolfe sighed heavily, the matter almost too much to consider even for the strong-hearted and strong willed man. "I've given my word to set this aright. Sera is his family too. I... I hope if I return her he will give her leniency. But it is not my place to make that decision for him."

Wolfe swallowed down his rising tide of emotion and quieted. "He is a good man. And he is her Grandfather. I am filled with doubt - but mostly fear. I had been afraid that Sera was lost to the curse and.. she has not acted in a way I am proud of. I do not know how he will weigh her soul when he sees it.

I don't think I can bear to see her die, Cat. I think I would rather die myself."

*

Doctor Catriona Wicker

  • "Tarnation!!"
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  • For Lantan.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 02:11:24 PM »
Catriona nodded slowly, though he could easily see the dismay on her youthful countenance.  It wasn't as if she was one to have a vast stable of friendships.  She was a logic based academic; it was easy to see that losing a friend through what she would consider illogical circumstances to be a problem for her.  Furthermore, she seemed to have enough respect of the culture to not try to over-intellectualize it for her own gain... though that only seemed to add frustration to the mix.

She picked slightly at a loose thread on her glove as he spoke, silently attentive. 

"I don't think you should make decisions out of fear.  And you should recognize what you can affect and change and umm.. what you cannot.  She is an adult with free will, even if you see her differently."

"Also, you aren't alone.  I'll help you if I can, to the best of my ability."

There was a long, pregnant pause.

"As long as it does not involve derelict houses with creepy children."   Obviously.

*

Levinath

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Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2018, 03:17:14 PM »

The water’s icy chill swept over Jonias as he lowered himself into its darkness, though his sight allowed darkvision, the hues of grey in the deep, dark caved proved difficult discern. Running his finger over the walls as he descended the ruins and carvings seemed both familiar and foreign. A strange phenomenon that spoke of races as old as time that had split apart of the millennia. His lungs burned has he continued past the point he gauged he would not be able to return too unaided. The two inflated wineskins following closely behind, escorted by the invisible power of his cantrip.

The tunnel opened into a grand scene before it descended down into blackness. Small hovels were carved intricately into the walls circling the massive cavern, some larger and more elaborate than others. Taking his first breath from the leather pouch, the artificer pressed on. The Nundarian temple held many wonders for Jonias, as he approached the nearest open doorway he found a basic one room apartment with the regular amenities for any elven commoner. As he peered around the area, the familiar sting filled his chest as the urge for fresh oxygen pressed on him. Several breaths worth of air hovered at the top of the room, trapped by the low ceiling.

The elf is able to remain down below the surface of the water for several hours, siphoning trapped air from the ceilings of rooms, refilling his wine skins and traveling from room to room. The area appears long abandoned, as all rooms are devoid of anything organic save an occasional cave dwelling water creature. The histories Jonais discovers tell of a proud race forced to flee from their oceanic home. “The Great Awakening” was the catalyst for these events though he is unable to recall or discern any more details regarding the event.

After discovering this home, the elves lived a quiet, but prosperous life of solitude, researching and studying various art, magic, mathematics, and sciences. During that time, the mythal was discovered in the cavern and the portal to plane of water had been opened. The Nundrians utilized their access to the other plane as a haven for the open ocean loving race. As history often repeats, as quickly as the race’s presence in this cavern appeared, it ceased. Nearly two thousand year prior, with no indication of what occurred.
 
Leaving another abode, Jonais pauses to discovered he has wondered quite a bit deeper than perhaps he anticipated. During his reflection, he catches the quick movement of several creatures far deeper than him, the soft aqua glow of their bodies quickly streak deeper into the darkness below.



*

Levinath

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  • If it works, I can break it.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2018, 03:29:09 PM »
Lokien has remained silent and away from the group as Wolfe and Sera reacquainted themselves, the uneasiness of a man who had lost his son to such a creature several hours earlier would be no surprise to even the unempathetic observer. He remained near the entrance to the cavern, silently watching the moon while finally allowing his facade to break in the solitude of the night. Occasionally he would hear the snarl inside the cavern and it would jolt him to attention. After several hours, the sound had desensitized his ears, and he nodded occasionally.

Sleep took him, as it does all its victims. The snarling grew close and Lokien roused, though how long he slept he did not know. As his eyes crept open the small matted figure stood before him snarling.

Through the dark, Lokien's heart knew the truth. The small figured snapped its teeth and let out a howl before charging. The archer drew his magical bow and the dark energy pierced the small creature, but the shot did not strike true. His son’s teeth sank into his neck and blood spurted forth. Tears filled his eyes as he pulled his bow apart into two swords and thrust them forward, impaling the young boy. The beast let out a yelp and retreated back into the darkness, hot blood covered the man as he got to his feet.

“Gavin….” He let out a gasp as he staggered out of the cave after the creature.

<Dramatic Scene Change>

Wolfe and Cat discussed deeper matters late into the night. The snarls of a creature other than Sera echoed down the cavern walls faintly. The old half-orc’s senses were often keen on full moons and the faint sounds barely reached his ears. The snarls, grunts and yelps that followed told the seasoned man what was occurring near the entrance of the cavern as the group rested.


Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2018, 03:58:13 PM »
Jonias made a note to himself to be on the lookout for magic items and spells that would allow one to breathe and survive underwater. The Antiquarian hoped one day he could return to this drowned city and explore what wonders could lay beneath the cold dark waters.

I'll also need some way to light the area... Oh and something that allow me to write or draw underwater, the elf thought to himself as moved into another room. Maybe the doctor can help me procure some devices and such. Maybe she can find a way for Beryll to swim with me. Jonias thought fondly of his little dragonling companion. Just out of range of being able to communicate with the familiar, Jonias could still sense his tiny companion was okay.

Wait... What was that?, A flash of motion grabbed the elf's attention away from his dragonling friend and the bosomy half-elf. Jonias now figured it would be best to return to the others. The elf remained calm as he returned to the last air pocket he had been to and tried as best he could to fill them back up. Noting it would be harder for him to hide from any real predators, Jonias figured a bit of distraction was in order. At about twenty-five feet or so from himself, Jonias crafted the illusion of a large river fish, nearly 5 feet long and whose slender form distorted the water around it as it swam, clouding a small area of water. Hopefully if anything wanted to try for a snack it would go for the fish first.

Air bladders in hand, the elf began to make his way back to mouth of the cave.

*

Wolfe

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  • Death. Honor. Hangovers.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2018, 04:28:02 PM »
Cat's offer of solidarity made him give a slight smile, however whatever remark he was about to make was cut short by the sounds of a Werewolf that was not Sera in their midst.

"Shit." He snarled and quickly got to his feet, drawing Shokan from its sheath. "We've got company. Wake the others, I think Lokien's in trouble!" The Half-Orc didn't wait and rushed forward toward the source of what his ears had picked up, moving with all of his speed to reach his companion in the hopes of helping him against the sudden attack.

*

Levinath

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  • If it works, I can break it.
Re: Blood is thickerheaded than water.
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2018, 04:55:07 PM »
Wolfe nearly fell as he reached the entrance of the cavern. Copious amounts of blood coated the worn stone. A soft growl emanated from the East of the cavern mouth as he regained his footing. The thick line of blood that trailed away from the cavern give the samurai and easy path to follow. Bloodied hand prints regularly stained the large rock structure as he ran next to it.

Several hundred yards from the cavern entrance, the sounds of chewing grew clear. A small werewolf chewed on the neck of the archer, the empty stare of the man seemed lock eyes with Wolfe. At the same time the creature’s nose wigged and the glowing yellow eyes locked on the samurai. The creature’s fur was matted heavily with blood as it moved around the fallen body, slowly. As it stood on its hind legs Wolfe had a moment to notice a wound on the creatures’ shoulder and several bleeding gashes in its stomach, it would not be alive much longer. It leaped at the him, teeth bared and claws outstretched.