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 The Hunt for Zim Narul (INCA) 
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No more than a few seconds into the battle and 5 arrows later, he had realized that his bow would not aid him now. He had drawn his ancient blade, at once rushing to the front of battle... Luckily he had seen them in time for the men to at least procure their weapons before they had attacked.

He had heard the name of these foul beings from the mouth of Brin, but had paid it no heed. He cared not for its name now, only the company's well being. One of the creatures came directly for the elf, but it was the last thing that it ever did. With a swift sideways move and a high arching of his sword, the head of the beast fell to the ground.

Quickly, the elf took in his surroundings. Already, many of the company had fallen. He saw Brin fighting nearby, and a few of Makato's bunch holding off a small horde of the beasts. His attention turned back to his own well being just in time, as one of the things made a swipe at his head. He ducked the blow, neatly carving the creature's mid section with four rapid swipes of his blade.

He then realized he had been surrounded, and the circle of the beasts were closing in. He knew even his quick reflexes would not save him completely from harm now. He sheathed his sword, and pulled the two knives out of his quiver that his uncle had ordered for him.

Surround me? Fine. But now you'll find out why us Beouvles have been such renowned drow for many ages.

With that said, he dove at the nearest of the beings.


Sat Nov 16, 2002 10:39 pm
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Sergeant Null did well to maintain his company. The line of demon breeds enjoyed the company of human footsoldiers, but not in the sense as any humanoid would think. The Vrocks and Nalfeshnee in particular got pleasure in intimidating the humans. Growling at them or lifting them off their feet. Sometimes at night, they would snatch a few during their sleep and do pranks and sorts. Indeed they did it because they could. Certainly a lot bigger and stronger. Sergeant Null did give advice to keep to a minimum. He didn't want any unwarranted accidents.

But everyone did their job. The quasits were always on the move, it seemed they never slept. At night during camp, they were like guarding gargoyles, lifeless and still in the masking night. You could see them even if you stood a millimeter infront of them. They were the only ones not inclined to do pranks like the rest though at times their natural being would catch a few men off guard.

At the mountain Sergeant Null and his men rested on the rocky cliffs and perches like birds. They massed themselves on the high ground around the road. Being amongst the others would cramp them not allowing room to spread their wings. Null had his eyes on the commander Yb at most times. He was always watching and gaging him, he study the generals and others in the company. It was like a hobby to him to find out what kind of people they are.

His mind broke when the sudden mass of wights were about. Null sprang to action, the sky was suddenly dots with demons like spooked birds taking flight. The swarm dived into the head of battle. The quasits remained cautious and avoided such intense battle. It was exceptable if they didn't fight. The Vrocks and Nalfeshnee however were head long. They brandish their blades. The dive attacks would prove lethal on the first blow. Null used his tactics in routing the wights on the other end, attacking from behind, trapping them. He opened another front.

Each soldier picked their targets and came upon the target with the force of gravity and the point of their blades. No doubt some be crushed instantly or others be impaled. Nalfeshnees alone were towering hulks 20 feet in height. It was apparent of their diliberating strength as one grabbed a wight around the face and used the foul ghoul as a slinging weapon with ease. The enemy's body was jerk to the point where every limb was detached from each socket to be left a mangling doll. The limb body was then thrown back into the enemy horde to slam into foe that failed to get out of the way.


Sun Nov 17, 2002 9:12 am
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Yb's palm burned as it slid painfully across the rock-strewn slope, but he didn't seem to notice.

The scribe was in the middle of half-running, half-falling down the side of a mountain.

Yb's foot caught on a rock, and he went down. He rolled several times, and then found his feet again amidst a choking cloud of dust. His vision blurred by the dirt, he could just make out a plateau in the slope below - the plateau that marked the end of picking his way across the treacherously loose mountain face, and the beginning of a more stable path down, he knew. Beyond the edge of the clearing, his little army could be seen, still locked in battle.

Don't you dare die yet, he thought fiercely, I need you.

Yb Amaaryn stumbled down into the clearing, and noticed the dark form of The Hunter at the edge of his vision. He turned to the other, prepared to issue orders for when they eventually made it down to the fray below.

"The box," he huffed, "We... have to protect the box... ..."

It was then that Yb noticed that the dark shape he was addressing wasn't The Hunter at all. The eyes that stared back at him were dead and unfeeling.

To his credit, Yb managed to get his sword out his scabbard, and took off two fingers from the first hand that reached for him. He was not so lucky with the second, however, as it dove in and snagged his shoulder. Yb twisted away, and felt the cloth of his tunic ripping where the wight held it. Holding his sword before him in a pathetic attempt at defense, Yb backed himself against a rock.

Five of the creatures were arrayed in a semi-circle before him now, and they were shuffling closer...

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Tue Nov 19, 2002 3:11 pm
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The Hunter moved down the mountain face gracefully, his feet stable beneath him as he slid down after Yb. He could have easily left the scribe behind and been gone, but it wouldn't do to leave Yb Amaaryn up here alone, he knew. He couldn't let him die yet.

And so he slid down the mountain, ensuring he was far enough back that he wouldn't run into the scribe when Yb invariable took a tumble. Ever alert, The Hunter noticed a group of wights gathering at a plateau just ahead.

Seems they've come up the mountain after us.

Yb, of course, stumbled directly into their midst, and quickly had his back against a wall and himself surrounded.

Looks like it's time for a rescue...

The Hunter danced across the loose rock and positioned himself on the rock just above Yb's head. He said nothing, feeling no compulsion to assure Yb that he was perfectly safe. Carefully sliding his slender swords from their sheaths, he made no noise, the well-oiled blades making not a whisper of sound. He waited until the first wight was with range.

And then he was among them. As he dropped down in front of Yb Amaaryn, The Hunter whipped his swords out to both sides, taking the two nearest wights full in the face before his feet had hit the ground. He didn't know who was more surprised, the wights, or Yb - The Hunter half thought Yb would stab him in sheer fright - but the unthinking wights recovered quickly, whereas the scribe did not. Yb merely pressed himself closer to the rock as The Hunter threw himself into the melee.

His blades moved in perfect tandem, complementing each other in routines he had spent years perfecting. He danced through the wight line, cutting deep to each side. A hand flew at his face, he ducked and swung overhead. The hand and a good portion of the arm went flying, their owner seeming not to notice - the wight merely growled and came on.

The beasts had him five to one, but they were slow and unarmed. The Hunter was most definitely not slow, and anything but unarmed. It was only a matter of a few moments before the plateau was quiet again, and he and Yb Amaaryn were alone amidst a pile of wight-pieces. The Hunter put away his swords as he moved to the plateau's edge.

Looking down, he saw that the battle below, while still raging fiercely, was being won as well. He could make out the corpses of many of the company strewn about, but many others were still on their feet, and the number of the wights was dwindling steadily. It wouldn't be too long before that battle was won.

But at what cost?

Yb came up beside him then, shakily.

"Let... let's continue down."

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Tue Nov 19, 2002 4:56 pm
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The elf's knives danced feverishly around him. They were slightly curved, longer than a normal dagger, their handles seemingly just an extension of the blade itself. They fit effortlessly into Eliorion's hand.

Five of the wights had fallen to his flurry of blades thus far. One more fell as he side stepped behind one of them and neatly cut its head off. A ripping feeling immediately fell on his arm, and he spun around, whirling his blades at the wight behind him. His arm already throbbed with pain. The wight had dug his claws in very deeply.

Another quick spin to his left, and one of the wights missed with a high overhand swing to his right. A nearby warrior in Yb's army took the beast's head off, and Eliorion had a second to compose himself.

He sheathed his knives and drew forth his short sword once again. His left arm throbbed with pain now, and he cursed the fallen wight who had left him with such a wound. Glancing towards the mountain, he saw the fight between Yb, The Hunter, and the wights there. He was glad he saw them both coming down the hill after the fight, but then his attention was yanked from the mountain and yet another wight tried to get the jump on him. He spun around, his sword in the typical Beoulve fighting position...

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Tue Nov 19, 2002 9:19 pm
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Roaring his battle cry, Brin charged through the nearest ranks of the undead, his mithril axe cleaving straight through the wights as if they were made of paper. The creatures were smarter than your average ghoul or zombie; he couldn't rely simply on the fact that he was short and they wouldn't think to look down, as the cuts on his arm and the side of his face proved. The wounds were minor, and generally only served to anger the dwarf.

Wights weren't unfamiliar to the veteran adventurer, but Brin had never seen this many grouped together. Wights sometimes appear in small packs, but they've never been known to group in companies of this size... at least, not unless some necromancer or group of necromancers were guilding them. By mah ancestors' boots, Yb... where did ye bring us? the dwarf thought as he continued to tear into the creatures, wincing as nearby soldiers were overwhelmed and partially devoured before death had the mercy to claim them.

The battle wore on for an unknown number of minutes... the passage of time in battle is a foreign idea. The number of wights dwindled further, and the company rallied, charging into the small groups that were still standing. It wouldn't be long before this battle ended, but the price had been far too high. What in the nine hells had they stumbled upon?

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Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:05 pm
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Garyn was exhausted. These wights took a hell of a lot of beating to fell, even with a weapon as large as the claymore the sergeant wielded. It was times like these that Garyn wished he possessed an enchanted blade. Of course, he had no time for wishful thinking amidst the carnage and chaos. He didn't even have time to breathe.

He'd watched several people he knew and liked get wounded or slain by the creatures, and he was in a constant state of nausea, both from the stench of the wights and from the sight of them ripping into flesh with their teeth, swallowing large chunks whole... and healing their wounds in this way. He had even seen one, which had been disabled and was lying on the ground, claw its way to a corpse, eat a leg, and then stand up and get right back to the battle. It was a very unnerving sight.

Luckily, their numbers had been relatively small compared to the company gathered, and the air support provided by the demons (whom Garyn was still quite unnerved by) was a great boon for the group. Calling forth the few privates nearby he had command over, Garyn organized something that resembled a military unit, and methodically marched through the remaining groups of the creatures. Had they been living creatures, they would have been routed already, but the wights knew nothing of fear or defeat... only of hunger. As time dragged on, only a few scattered groups remained. Garyn rallied his men to continue to press on, to get the cleanup job finished. He wanted desperately for this to just be over, and felt that most of the others did as well.

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Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:19 pm
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The battle had run its course by the time Yb Amaaryn and The Hunter had reached the camp.

Small groups of soldiers milled about, gathering their fallen bretheren and the remains of the wights. The warriors of INCA would be accorded burial - which, in this unforgiving landscape, meant rock cairns - with full military honors, the wights would be heaped together and burned.

Yb moved through the group, dismayed by the number of men still standing - not much more than half of those who had set out from Armengar - and the cries and moans of the injured. The Hunter seemed completely unperturbed by all the death, Yb noticed, indeed, the man seemed to ignore it entirely. He had obviously seen many battlefields before.

It took some time for Yb to find his commanders. Yarck HighMountain, the commander-in-chief of the expeditionary forces, had been slain, he was told. A man named Fenton was now in command. Yb didn't catch Fenton's last name... he didn't really care.

"Find Sergeant Null, Brin, Eliorion, and anyone else who's not dead. Tell them to finish paying their respects, and to pack up. This place is obviously not safe for us - we have to press on."

Fenton seemed surprised at the news, and hesitatingly suggested the company should turn back, having suffered so many casualities so far from their destination.

Yb would have none of it, and quietly asserted his command.

A few hours later, with the sun not far above the western horizon, the march was on again.

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Thu Nov 21, 2002 3:53 pm
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The elf had his bow on his shoulder. the five arrows he had shot at the beginning of the ordeal had been ripped from the body of the wights and were back in his quiver. In his hand, he still held his short sword. True he didn't feel safe in these lands, but it was more out of the fact that his sheath rested so he could grab the sword easily with his left arm. With that arm still throbbing from the gashes the wights had made, he decided it best to carry the sword, just in case.

On his left arm, a small cloth covered a mixture of herbs that he had placed on his wound. He had never had such a deep wound, but these sets of herbs had always healed every other scrape or nick he had received from one thing or another. They burned horribly though, and he wondered if they were causing more pain than they were actually worth, but as it was not in his nature to double guess the wisdom of the great elves that had been passed on to him, he left them there, and endured the pain.

He had offered similar mixtures to everyone who had suffered an injury in the battle. Some had taken it and were enduring the burning sensation they caused. Others had opted for personal remedies, and still others refused treatments for their wounds, saying they added character and would heal in time.

He had helped in the burial of many of their fallen comrades this day. He had never seen such bloodshed. His uncle had always kept him so sheltered, and even during intense times of war, Eliorion had been the first to have been evacuated from the city if an enemy had tried to lay siege to it. Still, he knew loss, and blood and death did not scare the young elf. He had helped care for many of his uncle's drow that had been killed by thieves. Many had died in his care, and he had seen it all. Even still, the wights disgusted him, and he refused to help round them up to be burned. He had opted to help heal the wounds of those he could and assist in the burials of those less fortunate...

Although, as the party began again to march, he wondered if perhaps those who had been left alive were actually the less fortunate....

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Thu Nov 21, 2002 5:54 pm
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Aiden's journey through the wilds had been swift and uneventful. For two days he pressed onward, following the tracks of Yb and his company. At times the trail grew cold, though Aiden had been lucky, he had regained the trail without a long delay. As he looked upward, he saw the peak of a mountain looming ever closer. Jogging through a stand of trees, he beheld one of the most awful sights he had ever seen. Piles of half burned wights lay around, and many rock cairns constructed to one side of what appeared to be a battle field. As Aiden drew closer to the cairns, he could see that some of the bodies had been dug up and devoured. Obviously there had been more wights about after the battle. Fresh wight tracks could be seen mixed in with the tracks of what could be no other than an army of men; Yb's army. Aiden breathed a sigh of relief, he had not lost their track, and seemed to be closing the gap.

As he made a small fire well away from the carnage, Aiden mused over the possibilities of what had occured. There had obviously been a large battle, and although the casualties had been heavy, Yb and his armies had prevailed. The party would obviously be moving more slowly, for they surely carried the wounded, and they would be wary after such a co-ordinated attack. Aiden was more wary now, too, though he could spare no speed. He needed to catch up soon, for if he lost Yb's trail, he was as good as dead out here. Not only that, but he would appreciate the extra protection Yb's company would afford. Digging some rations from his pack, he attempted to stomach some food before cotinuing.

As Aiden pressed onward, following the tracks of Yb and his companions, he again wondered what exactly he had signed up for. Never had he seen so many wights in one place at one time. Was it possible that there was some force acting against Yb's efforts? Only time would reveal the answers to the many questions stirring in Aiden's mind. Only time would tell.

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Thu Nov 21, 2002 8:47 pm
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Sergeant Null didn't have some expansive burial detail. Basically they gathered the bodies in a pile and burned them. Setting fire to their corpse and leaving the ashe to flutter in the wind. He counted what was left of the group, still a good portion intact. 20 Quasits still since they didn't fight, 40 Vrocks, and 29 Nalfashnesses. He got the word that they would be moving off again.

His company wasn't so much into joking anymore. Things were getting serious. They were more alert than ever. Null pressed the Quasits to do more frequent recons but not so deep as to spread themselves thin. He worked on doing a relay system for early warning. Making a chain of 5 Quasits in four directions, North, South, East, and West. Unique abilities about Quasits is the ability to be invisible, their small sizes helps too squeezing into tiny nooks to hide in. Yet they were quick if need be. If any other forces were to invade. One of the quasits would know, each were about 200 yards apart in the mountains. On open plain they be a good half mile apart.

Null also ordered his company to be airbourne on route and touch down only when resting but do so in shifts so that a squad be in air as look at. He was taking every precaution necessary.


Thu Nov 21, 2002 9:25 pm
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The dwarf made a point about grumping about the sting of his wounds any time he wandered near Eliorion. He swore they were doing much more harm than good, roaring claims that the plants were doing more damage than the wights ever did. Of course, around anyone else, he kept his mouth shut and pretended that he was just fine. He had suffered much worse in the past, and the pain from these scratches wasn't really intense, but his nature forced him to badger the elf anyways.

Yb had largely avoided contact with anyone since the incident. He had offered no explanation for what had transpired, though he didn't appear to be too surprised either. Brin had quite a few questions he would have loved to present to the scribe, but it didn't appear that he'd get the chance any time soon. Resigning to continue the march, he walked on, though, along with most of the others, he kept his axe closer at hand and a sharper eye on his surroundings. All of a sudden, the demon allies seemed much more welcome to the company.

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Fri Nov 22, 2002 2:36 pm
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The Hunter hated the smell of death.

It hung about the convoy like a cloud, the stench of rotting flesh omnipresent to his acute senses. Several of the more greviously wounded soldiers were beginning to succumb to infection, their torn bodies rotting away while they were still alive. One had already perished since the battle, and The Hunter suspected that they would soon begin dropping like flies.

He had urged Yb to abandon those who were obviously beyond saving, but he had been rebuffed. The scribe's foolish sense of duty would endanger them all - The Hunter was sure of it.

The travel since the battle had been even more quiet than the road leading up to it. No one in the company knew quite what to make of it - it was if the wights had simply disappeared. Some of the men seemed to cling to the hope that Sergeant Null's troops had scattered them for good, but The Hunter knew better. Fearsome as the flying corps was - and from he had heard, they had been instrumental in the earlier victory - the wights knew no fear, and would return.

It was just a question of when, or, perhaps more importantly, what are they waiting for?

The Hunter drew himself from his thoughts to examine what stood before them. A massive clutch of black mountains streatched up, twisting around each other like might the entwined fingers of clasped hands. They formed an impressive barrier. The formation was obviously not natural, and The Hunter wonderly idly if its purpose was to keep the invaders out or the dark things in.

That particular question would be answered shortly, he supposed.

Based on the descriptions given by his ancestor, Yb had settled on this particular mountain face as the place where the passage through these mountains must lie. The expedition was currently split into teams out combing the rock face, searching for any sign of a route through, with the wounded and a small posting of guards remaining on the lower slopes. The Hunter himself had deigned not to search with them, knowing the task would likely prove fruitless and frustrating, and had instead opted to remain and guard the wounded. The smell was beginning to make him regret his decision.

Just then, one of the quasit groups appeared from higher up the mountain. They were flying down the slope in a very excited state. It seemed they had found something after all.

Just as The Hunter was about to join the various others who were gathering to meet the group and hear the news, something at the mountain's base caught his eye. There, amongst the rolling foothills several hundred feet further down, he could barely make out a gathering of dark shapes.

The large group seemed to be moving up the mountain's base.

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Fri Nov 22, 2002 8:16 pm
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The trees had been thinning for some time, and Aiden was beginning to feel somewhat exposed. The journey itself had been uneventful, but the tracks he was following were becoming a lot more interesting. The wights that had originally set out after Yb's group had been joined by others. The trail was less than an hour old, and as the road led toward a huge, twisted mountains, Aiden knew that this band of undead would make their appearance shortly.

Just as these thoughts had passed, Aiden cleared the last copse of trees to be greeted by a huge group of undead. Not only wights, but animated skeletons, zombies, and what appeared to be a few vampires. Aiden slowed, keeping to the shadows, he was undetectable. He skirted around the army, keeping his distance. Their appeared to be several thousand in all, but this was no normal undead gathering. The wights, skeletons and zombies appeared to be in ranks, each led by a vampire. The sight was unnerving.

Glancing up toward the mountain, Aiden could see another group, much smaller, and his keen eyesight spotted INCAn banners. I have found them at last, Aiden thought to himself. Moving swifty and stealthily, the elf quickly closed the distance between himself and what could only be Yb's company. From a safe distance, Aiden called to the sentries, waving the INCAn banner Orioth had given to him. When the sentries called back, he approached.

"I must speak with Yb," Aiden informed the sentry. The sentry led him directly to Yb, and a wide grin broke across Aiden's face as he shook Yb's hand. "It is so good to finally join up with you," said Aiden. "I was worried I'd never catch up, I have been following you for some time. By the way, did you know that theres a few thousand undead on your tail?" Yb's face paled considerably.

"A few thousand, you say?" Yb commented. "Tell me, exactly what are they?" Aiden related the exact details of the army below. Yb moved off to confer with others, none of whom Aiden recognized. Aiden looked around him; it was a sad looking sight. There were many wounded, some presently dying has he watched. Scouting parties appeared to be scattered all across the face of the mountain. Still, Aiden thought to himself, it is good to have the protection of an army, and be in the company of men once again.

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Fri Nov 22, 2002 9:06 pm
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Sergaent Null got the report of what the quasit saw, they wasn't much of a distance between them but enough to keep them behind them. Null went up to Yb to give the report and over heard a man telling him what he was going to say. Null stepped in to make his presence known but still in a respectable way giving a bow of his head.

Sir if I may say, we've not the strength to fend against a few thousand undead troops. However, they are down at the base of the mountain. They got to make their way up to us. Vampires lead them so we must by time for the morning.

An idea arose in Null's mind. Yes of course there was a way that they may get out of this untouched.

Sir I got a plan. These mountains are treacherous, with our smaller group we can maneuver through them a lot faster then them. I'll have my quasits concentrate on path finding. These passes are narrow, if we move now, my men and I will cover the rear blocking of these routes with fallen baulders and such, my Nalfeshnees can do that, practically sizes of giants. I think we can delay them long enough till day break. We've the advantage of flying and can remain up high to cut off the vamps that wish to take shelter. No leaders, no organization. I've come to the conclusion that within these mountains lies some stronghold for these undeads, they never travel far. When we make it through till morning we can discuss finding the base later. Do you agree to the plan?

Null waited coolly and patiently for an answer. Easy enough for them to fly away and retreat. The rest be left for dead, but it wasn't his way...most of all it wasn't Makoto's way. Makoto may kill him if he knew of such act was done.


Wed Nov 27, 2002 9:00 pm
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Yb stumbled, cursing as his knee scrapped painfully across the stone. He pulled himself back to his feet, reminding himself that he had to go on. Had to see this through to its conclusion...

The attack on the mountainside had been a disaster. The undead had scaled the slopes as no one would have believed possible, and Yb had still been in the midst of formulating a plan of action with his commanders when they had been fallen upon, by wights and vampires and things still worse.

Those that were wounded, slow, or weak had been abandoned. Much of the rest of the party had been scattered about the mountain face, still searching for the passage that had already been found. Yb doubted very much that any of those people had made it through, but he supposed it was possible.

When the wights had fallen upon them, Yb Amaaryn and the others took the only course left open to them - they retreated back up the mountain face and into the newly discovered passage. There too they might have all died, for within lay a spider's web of paths, each twisting and turning back upon itself before ending in naught but solid stone. Yb, however, had the words of his ancestor to guide him, and knew the way.

Still though, what followed had been a night of nitemares, trapped beneath tonnes of stone with no food and little light, hounded at every step by the dark things that chased them. Yb did not know how many more men had been lost in the darkness, their screams echoing along for the rest to hear. He did not want to know.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, when all hope of seeing the sun once more had been lost, they had emerged from the tunnels beneath a starlit sky. Yb didn't know if it was the same night they had entered, or the next, or the week following. The entire ordeal had seemed one great blur.

They had left crude markings during their flight through the tunnel maze, arrows scratched into walls to show the way, in the hopes that some of the others would find the passage and follow behind. It was a slim hope, Yb knew.

As it was, barely thirty emerged from the tunnels with Yb, exhausted and scared. They were good, strong men, but Yb knew that they would not be enough. He had to go deep into the cursed city, and for those that followed him, the nitemare was just beginning. None of his adventurers had come through with him either, not The Hunter nor Eliorion nor Brin Stonekeep nor even the powerful Sergeant Null. The tracker Aiden was here, but all the others had been lost behind.

It was possible they could still be coming behind, Yb knew, but he could not wait to find out. Nazarath awaited him. He had to press on...

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Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:50 pm
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It had been two days since the remnants of the search party had escaped from the tunnels. From there, they had struck eastward across the slopes of the black mountains, cutting across the harse terrain to where Yb's ancestor had written that Nazarath lay. At first, they had made small piles of stones and other markers, in the hopes that anyone who followed behind would be guided to the right path, but they had soon realised that the markers were not needed.

A steady trail of the corpses of those who had succumbed marked their passage.

When the first few wounded had passed, some of the group had urged Yb to stop and give them their proper rites and burials. When the scribe had refused, a great argument broke out, and many of the men became upset. Yb won out in the end, however, and the dissenters soon learned that he had been right. As they stood upon a far-off rise and looked back at the mass of wights that had descended to feed upon the corpses, the men learned not to question the wisdom of Yb Amaaryn. As more of the party succumbed to infection, fever, and simple fatigue, they were left behind.

And so they had pushed on, stopping for only brief rests each night, their food and water growing dangerously scarce.

And now they stood here, upon the edge of a great valley, looking down at the plain of black shale that stretched out before them.

"Nazarath lays before us." Yb spoke in quiet tones.

There were but two dozen men still gathered about him, and thus all heard his words. One spoke up.

"Lays before us? There's nothing there! Rocks, rocks, and more black rocks! Are you bloody mad?!"

Several of the others nervously murmured their agreement. There was no great city there, that was plain to see.

Yb took no notice of the murmurs. They would learn soon enough. He instead regarded the one who spoke. He didn't know this man. He didn't know any of those who were left, Yb realised with a start.

"The city was constructed to be invisible from outside the valley. You could have lived here your entire life and still passed by this place without being able to pick out the walls. Black on black, says the description of the citadel. With much of it in ruins, it undoubtably looks even more like this," Yb kicked at the loose pieces of shale by his foot, "so don't tell me it's not there. It's there all right. And we're going."

Not waiting for a response, Yb started down the valley's edge. The others could follow if they wanted, he didn't care. They could follow or they could stay here and die.

Not like there's any chance any of them won't die anyways. Some of them still believe this is about finding Zim Narul. Even after all this, they still think that fool made it through and is still alive, and we've come all this way just to find him. Idiots.

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Sat Dec 07, 2002 6:00 pm
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The markings on the wall weren't clear enough, so The Hunter had to bring the torch low and search the stone floor for clues. After a few moments' examination, he rose, passing the light to the man who waited beside him.

"They went this way," he said, signalling to the left. The others that crowded around him shared frightened and skeptical looks between themselves, for they were unconvinced.

They had been in these god-forsaken tunnels for a long time now, stumbling through the dark, desperately trying to follow the trail that Yb and his party had marked for them. The members of this little group were beginning to succumb to paranoia - were they on the right trail at all? How could it be taking this long to get out? How did this Hunter know which way they had gone, when the markings here were an indecipherable mess?

Sensing their fear, The Hunter spoke quickly.

"Yes the markings here are unclear. My guess is that they were forced to flee from this spot in great haste, and merely scratched the lines in as they flew past," and indeed, the faint smell of nearby death supported this supposition, "but the trail is not so easily lost. Look yourselves," and the group did just that as the torch bearer lowered his beacon to the floor, where The Hunter pointed, "their passage was to the left, and so it is to the left we should go."

Although more than one member of the little party was beginning to suspect that The Hunter was working for the undead that chased them, none yet had the confidence to confront him, and so soon they were on the march again.

There were six in the group all-told, three Privates from the expedition party, a Lieutenant named Amos Briggs, a member of Sergeant Null's elite flying corps, he being the torch-bearer, his wings folded tightly about him, and The Hunter himself.

As they moved down the passage, the soldiers huddling as close to the torch as space permitted, it was Lt. Briggs that most questioned the wisdom of following this dark and mysterious warrior.

We should have been out of these tunnels days ago. He seeks to keep us here - I know it! - he seeks to keep us here for his own horrible gain! Yes, some unspeakable death, to be sure, for what else could it be?! Why else does he hide his face, and lead us still deeper into the darkness, when we should be speeding towards freedom above?! I will NOT die down here in the darkness, lost and forgotten! I will NOT...

The Lieutenant's wild thoughts were interrupted as the silence of the tunnel was broken. The sound of skittering legs could be heard ahead, and echoed from behind as well. A high-pitched chittering floated down the hall.

His eyes wide with fear, Lt. Briggs peered out into the inky blackness, his vision fading not two feet from his face.

"What was that?"

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Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:41 pm
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He was exhausted, starving, hopeless, and nearly at his wit's end. In the chaos that erupted on the mountain, he found himself separated from the main group, lost on the craggy rocks. He had little equipment on his person -- a little food, some water, and his weapon. His claymore grew ever heavier in his hands. He wasn't sure how many dozens of wights he had slain with the sword, or how many more wounds he could suffer before he simply collapsed and let the creatures have their way with his corpse. Chaos was all around him; small packets of resistance had formed in various locations as people who had also become separated banded together for survival. Garyn was the sole survivor of three separate such groups now, and he hadn't seen another in hours. Luckily, the wights were in as much chaos as the troop; they were found roving in small numbers now, often attacking each other for the chance to feast on fallen soldiers.

By pure chance, he had come upon the mountain tunnels. Hoping for a safe haven, he had darted inside, quickly becoming lost in the darkness. He felt his way around the walls for what seemed like weeks, but was probably no more than a day or two. His water was nearing empty, and his food had run out hours ago. He didn't know the way back out, and he had no idea where he was going. He'd run into a few of the creatures even in this dark place, but they were faring only slightly better in the darkness than he, and were dispatched without much worry. Still, he had had little rest. Each step was becoming heavier. He nearly panicked when he bumped into a smaller wight, yelling and swinging his claymore in a vicious arc.

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Garyn Tallbrook
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Thu Dec 19, 2002 6:06 pm
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He shouldn't have stopped paying attention to where he was going. Dwarven eyes worked wonders in the tunnels, and he'd felt at home ever since he found this place. Granted, he had no idea where he was going, but this was surely better than outside with all the wights. The few that he'd come across within were easily taken care of, as he had a major advantage over them. He got careless, and nearly paid for it with his life when a massive two-handed sword came swinging in his direction.

He parried the attack with his axe, but fell on his rear with the force of the blow, and looked up , stunned, at his attacker.

Garyn?! What th'ell do ye think ye're doin'?! Have ye gone nuts?! Indignant, the dwarf climbed to his feet, glowering at the confused Human, who probably couldn't really see him very well. It's Brin, ye oaf! Ye nearly removed mah head from m' shoulders!!


* * *

They took turns guarding the other while they rested, recovering their strength. They had both used up the last of their food, and most of their water. Humming to himself, Brin blinked when he saw a flicker of light on the far wall. He pushed at Garyn until the soldier woke, and the two crept in waiting to see who would appear. They were releaved to see ahead of them a party of living things, led by the strange one known as The Hunter.

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Brin Stonekeep
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Thu Dec 19, 2002 6:12 pm
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He could barely stand. All strength had seemingly left his body, and thus he leaned against a nearby wall. His clothing was tattered, his body full of scars. His tall stature and the eyesight of the wights in the caves had left him more than susceptible to attacks. He was out of arrows now, and he grasped his short sword somewhat loosely in his right hand. Though lurking in the shadows now, he was still unable to escape some of the wights' eyes. He constantly found himself fighting one or two off, and with each slash of his sword, he felt more weak. His pack had been ripped away by a rather large wight some ways back, and he now didn't even have a single drop of water...

He continued on for two days, becoming even more the weaker as he went. The water skin of a fallen warrior had held a few drops that he had drank, but it did little more than taunt him. He continued forward, almost out of habit. It was then that his eyes spied figures ahead of him that he knew were not wights. He tried calling out to them, but found his throat far too dry to murmur even elvish words. Then, he felt the skin on his right hand ripped wide open. He dropped his sword, and somehow let out a small, throaty scream of pain. He fell to the ground with a thud, kicking at the wight that had come up behind him. He drew forth a knife with his left hand, and stabbed at the wight.

The ordeal drained almost all of the strength he had left. The dead weight of the wight now lay on him, and he had not the strength to move it off. He clanged his knife against the wall of cave, hoping to gain the attention of the company now assembling not too far ahead of him.

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Fri Dec 20, 2002 2:35 pm
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Aidan had stuck close to Yb throughout their journey through the passageways, constantly watching his back. When they had finally emerged, their numbers were severly depleted, and Aidan wondered just how many would make it to Nazarath. After two days, Aidan had his answer; barely two dozen remained alive, the rest had been abandoned.

"Nazarath lays before us." Aidan heard the words clearly, though they were spoken softly. He surveyed the surroundings, and saw no immediate trace of a city. One of the men behind him spoke.

"Lays before us? There's nothing there! Rocks, rocks, and more black rocks! Are you bloody mad?!"


Aiden nodded slowly in agreement. Though he trusted Yb, he couldn't help but doubt when no sight of the city presented itself. However, Yb turned to regard the man who had spoken, and proceeded to explain.

"The city was constructed to be invisible from outside the valley. You could have lived here your entire life and still passed by this place without being able to pick out the walls. Black on black, says the description of the citadel. With much of it in ruins, it undoubtably looks even more like this, so don't tell me it's not there. It's there all right. And we're going."


Aiden was taken back by the force behind Yb's words. As Yb turned and started down the valley, he realized that Yb wouldn't rest until Zim was found, and that their lives were of no consequence. Aidan turned to look back from whence they had come and realized that even though the road ahead was uncertain, turning back now was impossible. Taking a deep breath, Aidan followed after Yb. Much could be said about the scribe, but his loyalty was unwavering. Aidan respected that more than anything.

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Fri Dec 20, 2002 3:01 pm
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For a long moment, nothing moved. The hiss and crackle of the torch echoed down the dark passageway.

Then a soft chittering floated in again from the darkness, closer than it had been before. In one fluid moment, The Hunter had his blades in his hands, the well-oiled steel jumping from the sheaths with nary a whisper of sound. Behind him, the soldiers fumbled with their own blades, making much sound indeed, their eyes wide with fear.

When all had steel in hand, they stood waiting, holding their breaths. Silence reigned again.

Then, without warning, an inky black shape burst out of the shadows in front of The Hunter. It was about the size of a large dog, but fat and round. The Hunter didn't hesitate, his blade cutting sharp and fast. He sidestepped as he felt his slender sword connect, and let the pieces of the creature fall past him. Then the cramped tunnel exploded into motion.

The Hunter spun left and then right, his blades cutting at several of the creatures as they tried to reach him. Behind him, the winged torch bearer gave a roar of defiance and began swinging the flame. Still further back, the soldiers yelled as well, only their voices rose in fear. As he retreated back to the group, on of the creatures were caught by the torch and burst into flame. At the same moment, one of the privates gave a horrible scream, and in the light of the burning monster, The Hunter could see clearly what they were facing.

Perched on the soldier's back was an enormus spider, its fangs sunk deep into the base of his neck.

Before anyone could react, the spider fell to the floor and dragged the still screaming man off into the darkness. The other spiders seemed afraid of the fire, for at they sight of their enflamed companion, they chittered loudly and skittering off into the dark. A moment later, the missing man's screams were silenced with a sickening crunch.

A quick inspection of the tunnel revealed that the monsters had indeed, for the time being, withdrawn. They had left many dead behind, as The Hunter had slain an even half dozen, the torch bearer two more, and the soldiers, a single spider between them.

The Hunter was about to suggest they continue on quickly when a figure stepped before him. It was Lt. Briggs, his eyes wide with madness.

"You're one of them! You are! You led us down here to die! To die in the darkness! I know it!"

The Hunter moved to calm the man, but Lt. Briggs still held his sword and waved it menacingly before him.

"Stay back! Stay back I say! I've already lost one of my men to you, and you'll not get another! Do you hear! We're getting out of this place, out I say! Henry, Coles, to me!"

At his word, the two remaining privates pushed past The Hunter to stand behind their Lieutenant. Briggs took several steps backwards, his sword still held before him, and then turned and fled into the darkness. The soldiers followed him, one of them carrying one of the spare torches.

Sergeant Null's elite flyer stood silently behind The Hunter as he watched them disappear into the glooom.

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Fri Dec 27, 2002 7:27 pm
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The dwarf didn't have time to react to the scene he had just witnessed. Giant spiders had ambushed Hunter's party at the other end of the corridor. Luckily for the dwarf and sergeant, they had attacked from the other direction; otherwise, the two would have already been assaulted by the creatures. He frowned as he heard the lieutenant's accusations against the Hunter. The time spent in the darkness appeared to be driving him mad. The lieutenant's company wandered down the hall to where Brin and Garyn were waiting. Briggs paused to eye them suspiciously. Brin had no intentions of following him into death. With a grunt and no other words, the dwarf continued on down the hall where Hunter waited with a torch-bearer. If he were going to get out of here alive, he'd need that man's skills.

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Brin Stonekeep
Thar's nothin' a good axin' can't fix!


Sat Dec 28, 2002 12:21 pm
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"Well?"

Having recognized Garyn as part of the Armengar military, he was waiting impatiently for his decision. Briggs didn't appear to trust anyone who wasn't Armengar military; he had extended no offers to the dwarven general. Glancing at Brin, Garyn saw that he wouldn't have accepted anyways. The dwarf was tossing in his chips with the Hunter.

Garyn paused a moment, looking back and forth. He was Armengar Infantry, but he trusted Brin and his leadership. He'd gotten through the worst of this thus far by taking the dwarf's advice, and he saw no reason to change things now. With a shrug to Biggs, Garyn turned and followed behind Brin. He hoped he was making the right decision.

It was about that time that he heard a quiet clanging sound, like metal against stone...

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Garyn Tallbrook
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Sat Dec 28, 2002 12:28 pm
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