Derecho

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About Derecho

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  1. It's one of the miracles of the world, how much abuse a body can take, and is designed to take. If you have a minor ache, it's meant to be a signal. Hey dummy, you overworked yesterday, remember? Take it easy for a couple days, it'll fix right up. Small cuts, minor burns, or scrapes, bruises. Those things can be lingering annoyances that present right away But the big things. The important things. They don't hurt, at first. I don't even recognize immediately what happened. I felt the impact. It felt just like getting punched. I knew I'd been hit, but it wasn't much different than taking a blow from fist or a foot. Punches and kicks don't tend to launch you like that, though. That's the first thing that makes my dizzy brain realize something is wrong, as I lay there suddenly on the deck gaping. It certainly isn't from the pain; there isn't any yet. I can't pull in a full breath at first. That's also to be expected from a blow to the belly or ribs. They don't like getting hit, and they'll make things difficult for a minute until a primitive reflex can reassert itself. Air in. Air out. Air in. Panic settles. See? Not dead yet. Scarlet fluid on the boards says otherwise. It's gorgeous. Splattered in a random pattern, bright red spots are already starting to darken and disappear, sucked into the grainy texture of the wood. There's more though, spreading. It has to be mine. I twist, slowly, and put a hand to my middle. I can't feel the touch of my own own fingers. I feel the hotness of my belly, and the sticky-slick wrongness of a raw gaping hole where soft mossy skin should be. It's a bad wound, I realize. Really bad. It's at about that point that initial shock protection begins to wear off, and sensation, wholly unwelcome, starts to clang every internal alarm and sensor it knows. My breath hitches still again in an unconscious attempt to stave off the overwhelming pain, to somehow keep it from worsening. When that of course doesn't work, air whooshes back out with involuntary vocalizations. Gods, it hurts! This is going to ruin my whole day. For a good long while, it's all I can do to lay there, moaning when I can't help it, and writhing too. The bull who shot me issues some order in a slow deep voice. The words are orcish, but I can't quite manage to comprehend meaning just yet. Ow. It takes far too much time to come back around to something resembling coherent thought. In the next few moments I entertain and reject half a dozen potential courses of action. I can't kick his hooves out from under him and take his gun. He's too heavy to do anything but break a foot off on. By the same token, I can't sweep him off the platform. Both of those options put a great deal of faith on the unknown capabilities of my lower limbs. I can still wiggle my toes, so nothing is paralyzed. I stare over the edge of the platform, not quite feigning a complete lack of will to continue fighting, or move, for that matter. An aerial guard wings by on patrol. I writhe a little more, testing slightly my capabilities, stiff for the agony it causes. The bluffwatcher might have sensed ulterior motive there, for he repeats the command to not move. I glance at him, or try to. I end up looking straight on into the barrel of the rifle he has trained on my face. He's not messing around, I think dully. Well, neither am I. I'm sure I've lived through worse. The realization that I can't seem to think of worse at this moment is a bit tiresome. Whatever. I am not going to stick around so some holier-than-me cow bitches can call me thief one more time. Movement at the fringes of vision catches my attention, and immediately I have my way out. I can hear the thunks of at least three more tauren ascending the inner ramp of the longhouse as I lay bleeding on the deck staring down the barrel of a gun reflected in the shiny surface of my own blood pool. All I do is lay here on my hip and shoulder, breathing shallowly, trying and mostly failing to ignore the hurting. I'm staring to feel cold, too, but I'm aware that the trembling that comes and goes is mostly not shivers. The reflection shifts slightly, and I take the gamble I'd already committed to, assuming the bull guarding me has briefly twisted his neck to look at the approaching seer and whoever was coming with her. The distraction is almost perfect. I release a burst of magic against the wall of the longhouse at the same time that I try to raise myself and reduce friction. My own harsh voice sounds in agonized counterpoint to several tauren exclamations of surprise. I don't manage to rise up on knee and point of elbow for more than a few seconds, but it's long enough. Without the friction of the whole length of me against the wooden boards, and maybe due to the fact that they were lubricated with my life's fluid, my spell works as hoped. The blast of air scoots me away, under the railing, off the platform. I fall through the air, vision suddenly blurry. Is the world spinning? The inner sensation of tumbling doesn't match the wind direction, and it took much more effort than I expected to do that maneuver. I wonder if now I'll faint and just splat uselessly to the fuzzy ground below. I don't faint. I blink my eyes to clear them, stare at the strangeness of the two creatures rising toward me, and cackle hysterically at the ridiculousness. Which one do I aim for? I choose the left one, as if there is still any choice in the matter now that I am a living projectile, and at the last minute the two images resolve themselves back into one. The left one. Yay. My falling body slams into it. The wyvern screeches. We all plummet several hundred feet before it can recover, but there is no saving it's rider. Who ever looks up for danger? The terrified tauren grabs at his mount. It's no use. As fast as my momentum has stalled, he has been shoved. The windrider becomes short two large tufts of mane as the tauren slips from the saddle. He screams. The mount screams. We all scream. The windrider promptly tries to attack me. It's deadly stinger whips forward, as I grab for it's reins. The barb stabs viciously into the leather of the saddle. I can feel a friction burn on my neck from the tail. Rude! I use my leather handhold to haul myself into a slightly less precarious drape over the creature's back, pinning the tail. I loop the reins once around the deadly stinger and twist, feeling rather resourceful. The wyvern barrel rolls. I am snatched up out of the saddle. All my weight jerks hard against the wrist threaded through the loop of rein, and there is a loud cracking noise and a moment later a stab of pain. I'm crying now, unable to see and unable to stop. We finally turn right side up once more. I slam back down onto the saddle. The creature screeches anger at me, having failed to throw me off or free it's tail. I whack the mount over the top of his head. "Shut up and be flying straight!" Perhaps it understood the command. Perhaps it realized the danger we both were in, aloft without the security of the rudder tail or the ability to accurately see with the way it's head was snatched up and back. The wyvern's flight stabilizes. We're headed west into the setting sun.
  2. Everyone twists to stare at me, of course. I'm still sitting on my butt in the dirt, leaning over my feet with a pine straw hanging from my lips. They all jump to their conclusions, and I can see the leaps reflected in their expressions. The little undead girl hates me now. Lomani wants my head on a silver plate, probably. The bluffwatcher is prepared to try and give it to her. The old shaman merely gapes at the empty space where her little summoned creature just disappeared. Neat trick, that. If only my own escape could be so easy. It's remarkable how such supposedly nice people turn ugly. Do all evil monsters start out good? Do they lose their way somehow, and become nasty hateful creatures that way, or is it some flaw in the design that dooms them from the start? More importantly, are they truly evil? I see these people look at me, and I know they believe I am. I don't particularly care what they believe. They might be right, but that doesn't mean I'm going to lay down and surrender. I didn't do whatever it is they think I've done. Plenty of other things, sure, but not this one. I don't think... The moment of shock seems to pass. The shaman peers at me. Lomani starts to open her mouth, and the bluffwatcher's arm twitches with his ax. "APAPAP!" I warn, "Ya best be settlin now." I say casually. I withdraw my right hand from where it has lain the whole time over the gap between my big feet. Nestled there is the only doll that I cannot identify. From the brief description Aziris gave of her adoptive mother, I can only assume that this doll's name is Kerala, the missing person and loser of my pretty thorny staff. I don't recall making this doll. The stitching is better than I have bothered with for the others. There is an actual shape to it, easily recognizable as tauren from more than just a suggestion of horns and mane and a tail. There is a real snout structure, and even flap ears. The hair is made of bits of rope carefully uncoiled so that there are twisting spiral curls actually sewn on. The eyes are tiny green seeds. The body is stuffed loosely with a dry light-colored sand that doesn't smell a bit like brine. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's a regular doll. There is nothing inside it to break, no stitching to rip open, no obvious target to aim a pin at. Before all these added guests had appeared, I'd been about to give it to this sad girl and go on my way with a belly briefly occupied by a few tea cakes. Seemed like a good trade to me. Now? Now I kind of want to stab it, watch the sand spill out, and then set it on fire. An idea sparks into being. "Wat ya tink be happening if I were to be ripping dis dolly's head off?" I let them look at my bargaining tool, and shift their mindsets from offense to defense. While they take a minute for that, I reverse my knees, swinging my ankles behind me so that I can rock back up onto them. I reach into my trouser pocket, seeking a gift. The smooth metal square is warm to the touch. The bluffwatcher looks to Lomani for direction, and the stiffly held hand at her side is flat toward him, withholding. The other is curled into a fist. Of everyone here, that one I think is the greatest danger. "I think you had better not do that," she tells me. "An I tink we be done here, okie? Ya got de stick, ya got my dollies. Thiefs and betrayahs, all. Ya be a good match fo each otha! Keep dem. An here, dere be anodda ting ya been not takin from me yet. I be leavin it wit ya fo free!" I snap the flint on the lighter and hurl it at the picnic blanket with the dolls without waiting to see if the thing worked. For once, my aim is nothing short of amazing. The silver square trailing a thin ripple of flame neatly disappears in the teardrop-shaped gap between ties. Chaos erupts. Several people shout at once. The bluffwatcher's ax hurtles at me. I try to leap back, but the ground is covered in pine debris. There's needles everywhere. Instead of providing purchase, the slender things slip and slide on each other, and I end up falling hard on my face and belly. I throw the doll at the smoking bundle, right to Aziris feet. A blaze of heat makes me flinch and look up toward the shaman. A huge and terrifying boil of magma screams toward me, blotting out any other sights. I panic. I twist to the side at the same time that I let loose a burst of magic. A billow of air snaps through the entire clearing. The ball of magma is deflected at an angle, and everyone is knocked to the ground with me. Another ax thuds into the ground by my elbow. I yank my arm closer, pulling myself into a smaller target, and take a moment to survey what I've done. Aziris is scratching at the dirt, struggling to get back upright to attend to the burning pile of dolls. Lomani is slower, perhaps partially stunned from the fall. Anura's lava is splashed across half the picnic pile, scorching through fabric and earth even as it begins darken into rock. The smell is horrific. A totem is laughably spitting water still. I'd guess only the drenching of its initial downpour is what has saved some of the contents of the blanket from becoming ash already. I start to climb to my feet too, but a tremor ripples through my muscles. For a moment I have absolutely no control. Fantastic. Sure why not? This is turning out to be a day for shitty luck anyway, why not start shaking now? I'm going to need more time. I decide that getting away is more important to my survival than being stingy with my energy. If I escape, then I'll worry about the other things. One step at a time. First: get the fuck away from here. The shaman leaps for my throat, all transparent fury and snapping teeth. I'm already on the ground, so I brace, catch her and then body slam her wolfish form into the dirt beside me. Her momentum helps tip me upright, and I lean my elbow into her soft middle as I let loose another spell. Roots erupt from the ground, bursting in a targeted attack to snare everyone I can see. The old wolf gurgles as I hold her down for a snaking tendril to capture her head and pin it down. She whines when the thorns sprout. The guard immediately starts hacking at the plants grasping his legs with a hatchet. He has two, but is reserving his throw until I'm clear of Anura, I bet. A great big shining bubble appears over the smoldering bundle of dolls. Aziris is casting while stuck in place, trying to save the dolls from further damage rather than stop me. I'm fine with that. I gain my feet. I can hear shouts from the other side of the line of tents. Very soon this place is going to be too crowded for my tastes. I run for the edge of the rise and leap. The bluffwatcher's ax splits the tuft of my jungle flower hairdo and thuds into the totem trunk I'm aiming for. I can hear him spit some kind of shu'halo oaths behind me. I grab at the handle of the hatchet, using it's embedded head as an anchor. My grip is too weak. I have to use both hands to pull myself up and get my feet braced. Then I shove off and let myself fall onto the taut blue-stained roof of the longhouse on the lower rise. In another moment, those fighting to free themselves will be, and while my smoking distraction worked for the healers, it won't stop the Bluff's guardians. The roof bounces beneath me. I lose my balance and windmill, then curse myself as my toes skid along the leather. The angle is too steep! I race, clawing with hands and feet both at the roof as I scramble for the edge. I can hear Lomani's voice. Frantic to stop whatever cast she might be attempting, I let myself slide for the brief moment it takes to focus on her form and aim my own spell. A violent gust of air envelopes her. My feet hit a support beam hidden beneath the longhouse roof. I nearly fall right then from the sudden stop, but I'm close to the edge now. I leap for it, throwing my weight as best I can in that direction instead. My fingers hook around the thick wooden beam and find solid purchase in the texture of twine wrapped around it. Securely anchored now, it doesn't matter that I'm falling. I let my legs slide the rest of the way off the roof. I swing over the edge and twist to bring myself around. I drop almost neatly onto the bridge platform like I planned it. Ha! The tauren standing there fires his rifle point-blank.
  3. I know what the old shaman is saying. Her fingers twist into shapes and configurations, instead of her lips and tongue. It makes no difference. I've been here before countless times. There is a reason why I avoid cities. My best guess is that the stick I found belongs to someone they know. I can't quite discern from the other tauren if it is someone they like or not, but the undead... the expression on her face is telling. Her yellow eyes drift from me to the stick and back again. Given our previous discussion of absentee parents, I can fit two and two together to come up with the conclusion that I'm in deep shit. I don't know if I can talk my way out of this one. Orcs and trolls and goblins and elves, they are easy to dupe, if you know how. Tauren can be swayed with the appearance of respect or honesty, maybe pity especially. They are generally a good people, and if they have doubts they usually choose the moral high road. But these tauren are mad already, and that changes things. What the hell did I do now? Against my better judgment, I open my mouth. "Look, I been findin de stick, I been not knowin it were yours. Ya can be havin it back, I just kept it 'cause it were pretty. I can be leavin it wit ya and go on me way..." Before I can even think of taking a step, the Seer points a thick finger at me. "You will stay here, and if you value your life, you will remain very, very still." She had never even glanced in my direction. She was still watching the other lady 'talk'. "I be tinkin dere be some misunderstandin here, boss-lady. I done no ting wrong!" I protest. The bluffwatcher takes a step in my direction. I shut up. I can recognize an intimidating tactic when I see one. He's reminding me that I'm not in control here, that silver bitch is, and he'll enforce her directives. He's also wisely beyond easy reach of me, but I can tell by the way the ax sits his hand that he's pretty confident in his throwing ability. The old one finishes her ridiculously long finger speech with a snort of air through her nose. Lomani turns to me. "Where did you find this?" It's almost automatic to lie. The urge to make up something, anything to get them to let me leave, is strong. Immediately, I discard the idea. I don't know what it is the old woman knows, and if I'm caught telling falsehoods, that would guarantee more trouble. "I been walking de foothills, huntin. I can be pointin?" I ask permission, then indicate the direction. "Ova dat way. It were just layin dere, an no one be around, so I pick it up." Lomani looks at Anura, who nods. "There was an attack up there, are you aware?" The silver cow asks me. I shake my head. "There have been a great many battles. Demons encroaching from the sky, infiltrators sneaking their way into cities-" "I be no demon!" I shout, interrupting her. She glares with those creepy pale eyes of hers. "What exactly are you then?" she murmurs quietly. It's a question meant for me to hear, but perhaps no one else. The shaman frowns. I glare back, keeping my mouth shut now. Louder, she says "The scouts found evidence of an ambush against one who could change her shape. My sister. There was quite a lot of blood spilled there. Hoof marks, claw marks, boot prints... and too, evidence of one who remained back, on the rocks so as to leave no prints." "So? Why ya be tellin me dis? It weren't me." "You must admit, the circumstances are quite suspicious." My mouth blurts out loud the thought in my head. "No, it be really poor fuckin luck, is what it be." The silver seer glanced at Aziris sharply, and the two locked eyes for a moment. She turned back to me. "You maintain innocence, and I do not believe you. Would you consent to a reading of your thoughts?" "If I be sayin no, ya keep tinkin I done it. If I be sayin yes, den ya let me go?" My stomach begins to cramp. Tea biscuits are delicious, but a meal they do not make. With all the rest of this going on, it would figure it couldn't wait a while more. Poor luck indeed. I need to go. "I promise, if you let me see the truth, that you didn't harm my family, you can leave." Aziris tells me. I don't like it. I don't like it at all, but, it's either let them poke and prod, or... well I don't know what, but I know I don't want it. "Okie. Ya," I point at the undead. "Ya can. I be not doin what ya tink I been doin. See fo yaself." I'm not certain what to expect. Aziris stares at me. I'm afraid. Will there be pain? Can I hide things from her, or have I just given permission for that girl to go wandering anywhere she pleases? I don't know what's in here. What will she find? I expect it should hurt, somehow, to have one's privacy violated, so that's what I brace for. Nothing happens. Several long moments pass. The Forsaken stares at me without blinking. Everyone else stares at me or her. My stomach growls, and I try to ignore it. I wait. "I can't." she announces. What? That's not right. "Ya can. I said ya can! Be doin it so I can be leavin, please." "I said I can't. I'm no shadow priest, I can't force my way in. You've either lied and not truly given permission, or there is some other barrier blocking access. I. Can't." Aziris' tone is a degree colder. She thinks I'm lying. "Well be callin one who can, den. Being quick about it, I be havin places to go an people be seein, ya know. It be not fair ya keepin me here when I want to be leavin!" Anura claps her hands together to draw attention, and then she does her twisty hand thing at Lomani. The seer make a face. The shaman repeats herself, I recognize the pattern of the gestures. The younger woman sighs and apparently acquiesces to the elder. She nods. The old woman takes a few steps back and levers herself down onto her knees with the aid of a pine tree trunk. My curiosity temporarily overrides the sense of gravity for the situation I'm in. "Wat she be doin?" "She's calling someone."
  4. My neck twists, lips grinning, as I survey our grand picnic gathering. The Forsaken has the one doll, some holdover from a lost daughter or maybe her own living childhood. It is ragged now, but has the hallmarks of expert craftsmanship. The thing had once been lavishly expensive. Like everything, though, time has dulled the painted face, faded fabric colors and applied miniature scars of scrapes and scratches. The hair is bleached white. Perhaps once it had been yellow? She calls it Emily. I introduce her to the bear. I have no name for him, only hatred. In my head I can almost hear his voice condemning me. As always, the memory of that sound is elusive and I don't bother with the attempt to chase it down. That voice and all the rest is the stuff of nightmares and best left alone. It's enough for me to know he deserves what's coming to him. I feigned embarrassment at his lack of clothing, playing on the emotions of a human mind. The truth is that I do not know what the tauren druid looked like except as a bear, or a bird, and hadn't bothered to craft clothes for him. It seemed to work, and the undead set up the tea table. At the stump covered by her thin blanket, the dolls sit. Emily and my own created tauren. On their makeshift table is a miniature tea set of cups, saucers, and snack plates painted with delicate pink and yellow roses. It's just about the most ridiculous thing I can think of at the moment. What purpose does it serve to sit here and serve real food to pretend people? I'm a real person, let me eat all the food. Like the undead said, she doesn't need it. She really got into the act with very little prodding from me. I giggled in the right places, manipulated my effigy in a pantomiming of what I imagined to be a gentlemanly way, showing the ceramic-faced Emily to her seat and ensuring her comfort before trudging him over to sit opposite. Aziris is an attentive host and pulls me into the game instead of letting me merely play the doll's part. To my surprise, I actually start to have a little fun. "Ah, I believe I hear steam from the kettle," Aziris says in her play-voice, acting the hostess. She excuses herself to the kitchen to prepare the tea tray, which means she scoots off the blanket to arrange the picnic in better readiness for serving. She begins arranging tea cakes on a serving platter, and I notice that she has quite a few more than she actually sets out. My stomach growls. Is she going to feed us in courses, like a feast meal, or, more likely, will she be the conservative lady and set out just enough for the four of us? I had asked for a picnic of free food, not all this tea party mess. Now it threatens to lead to real human habits of old-fashioned politeness and stupidly dainty portions. I don't have time for this, I'm hungry! An idea occurs to me. "Lady Emily," I speak for my druid friend, "this be a fantastic-enough gathering, and ya friend be such a gracious hostess... ya be minding if I be inviting a few odda friends to be witness to ya hospitality? Dey never gonna believe I been meeting such lovely ladies like yaself, ya be seein..." More plates on my side of the table equates, in my mind, to more share of the tea cakes. Aziris pauses in her careful stacking of the little biscuit rounds. Her faces briefly blanks as her eyes scrutinize my doll again, lingering on the belly stitching in particular. I thought she had accepted my story of the doll's poor care and the need to play doctor to fix him up again, but I'm beginning to think the girl is a bit smarter than I've given her credit for. A troll with a homemade doll? That's not the least bit suspicious is it? Too late now. I've already admitted that I have more dolls, and besides that I'm hungry. I was already nearly caught by a bluffwatcher about to make off with a pair of plucked and hung striders. Only my own paranoia and a third quick scan kept him from actually witnessing a theft. Damned tauren. The tea cakes are my most immediate and certain source of calories for the moment, and having actually seen them now, it's really hard to not need them. "Be forgivin my presumption, nice lady. I only be meaning if ya have enough fo sharin...?" Aziris blinks away whatever thoughts lurk behind those glowing eyes and smiles at me. She picks up the tray of treats and moves it a few inches closer, as if she is returning from a faraway kitchen. "Emily, did I hear we are to have more guests? Why yes, dear Azi, Mister druid here was just askin if it would be alright to invite them to sample your delicious baking. Of course they are welcome! Bring them in, by all means! The more the merrier..." Aziris looks at me expectantly. "Please show them to the table, Derecho?" Something in her expression makes me believe that I have erred somehow, revealed something about myself that I hadn't quite meant to share. What secret have I lost? She sets the heaped serving tray down and picks up the abandoned stack of dessert saucers from earlier table-setting, waiting patiently to set a plate for each new arrival. I cannot help myself. I bring out T'suro the third. I introduce him, making the doll bow with a gracious sweep of his tiny little stick spear, and set him at the table. Aziris smoothly plays the role of hostess and sets a plate for him as she speaks for both herself and Emily. My second Lilliana joins the tea party, her fireweed hair is no longer scarlet but dried out and brownish. The plant strands crumble easily, and this doll is soon nearly bald from the rough manipulations of removing it from the cuff of my glove and setting it at the table. The second hidden face on the back of the head, with angry slitted eyes and slanted scheming mouth suddenly seems like a poor design choice. She peers at me. Aziris smiles again, and this time the impression of superiority is unmistakeable. Something she suspected has just been confirmed. She chooses that moment to begin serving, and my thoughts instead gloss to the pondering of what those little round cakes will taste like. Will they be dry and crumbly? Buttery? Does she have jam to go with them, or just the tea? How many will each puppet get to have? What about the real people? Aziris greets Lilliana and Emily compliments her dress. The undead splits the cakes in half and serves the rounds open-faced, one half to each puppet at the table. She places two cakes on the plate for me and as she passes it back, nonchalantly asks if there are any more guests that might like to arrive? She is well aware that Sanctuary and The Grim are quite large guilds. It's such a treat to be able to see them acting so amicably... I'm not quite sure how it happens, but the picnic blanket is soon filled with every random doll I have thought to create. Julilee with her driftwood shield. Kexti holding his stick topped with a snailshell jug of medicine. The monk doll's face is completely absent, instead having concentric circles, like a target. There is another paladin with both arms ending in tufts of yellow feathers. His name is Cerryan, though I don't know why I know that. A green doll with a giant heart stitched over most of the area of the torso and an angry face I recognize as Shokkra. Along with this one is another, very similar and plain except for the head, where the same yellow feathers stick out of the mouth along with a single red one. Is that supposed to be fire? Then there is the eyeless half-doll, missing it's legs and pudgier than the others with zigzags drawn over every inch of it's black-and-white form. Aziris watches as I pluck these from every nook and cranny of my armor. The dolls emerge from pockets, from under flaps beneath the bones caging my shoulders, from inside my bushy hair. I retrieve them from my vest, betraying the utter lack of breasts actually padding the garment. I refasten the studded leather guards against my shinbones after unpadding them with dolls. If the Forsaken is surprised by the number of my targets represented, she hides it well. She insists on having each one introduced by name if I'm able, and then directs them to their seat at the table as if she really were a grand hostess conducting an epic social event in her home, instead of a silly girl playing dolls on the edge of a bluff behind a bunch of tents. With each new arrival the stack of tea cakes becomes smaller and soon enough there are no more plates. Each additional doll gets a napkin and a biscuit in their lap. We end with only two unclaimed treats, which she adds to my plate with the smooth excuse that the person who had made her tea party such an extravagant affair should rightfully receive an extra portion. She invites us all to please enjoy our tea, blowing gently on her own tiny cup as if to cool it and then sipping. I'm ecstatic, surveying my little army of dolls each with half a tea cake. Along with the tea, this will be an excellent meal. I proceed to eat and drink happily, occasionally voicing a different character. "Oh miss Aziris, dis be de bestest party I eva been to. Ya be so nice to be hostin it. Pfft, less talkin and more passing o de sugar, firefly. Shokkra, bein nice to our lady host! No demonkilla weapons at de table. Be eatin some o dat sugar, ya, improve ya attitude. Miss Emily, ya must be sharin de name o ya tailorin guy, Julilee always be wearin de armor, see, and if she be having a dress she be lookin mighty fine, right? Lilliana, no flingin o de crumbs at ya Sanctuary, now, we all be here nicelike..." The Forsaken gradually quiets, contributing less and less to the pretend as I find myself swept up in the story of it. I nibble at every doll's tea cake for them, doing my best to be dainty about it and take small bites after my own biscuits vanish. This is a lot more fun than I had thought it could be. It's nice to have someone just sit with me and be friendly. It makes me miss that bartender. Everyone has gone to the new islands. I wonder if perhaps it is time for me to follow them. I don't see Aziris fold her arms, watching me. She discreetly inserts a hand up one sleeve, finding something hidden there. As she sits, watching me eat and play nice with her doll and the crafted representation of everyone I wish to see dead or maimed, her thumb rubs a small oblong device between her fingers, activating it. When I glance to her to smile, still happy at this whole picnic thing and cheeks full with doll food, her own lips twist upwards in response.
  5. Tomeya Summers (in-game:Tomeya) Human Hunter Well, her momma may've been some high and snooty lady took a liking to her poor daddy once, but there weren't no place for bastard kids in fancy-pants lands. The result of that passionate tussle in the stable loft showed up at his doorstep nine months later in the arms of 'ol Nanny. Tomeya done growed all up, and is earning tips as a serving girl. Can't blame her for using the charms her momma musta gave her. If a drunkard gets too grabby, there's always daddy's shotgun to back them off, if she don't just sic her big-a** dog on 'em! She might have more brains than your average Redridger, but there's a lot to be said for upbringing. She's as hick as any of them and if you don't believe it, just go up against that girl in the annual turkey shoot. She's been winning that Pilgrim's Bounty bird since she were knee-high to a grasshopper, and she'll do it agin or her last name ain't Summers!
  6. So you're kind of all wrapped up in one then- Lomani, Kerala, Anura, Aziris? OK! So so far- Kerala has mysteriously disappeared after an attack, and Derecho has her staff. I'm waiting a bit to kick off any of the other stuff from the supercell...
  7. I need help. How do you do it? How do you get people to participate? It is timing? Is it just a killer awesome sales pitch? Is it micromanaging? How do you run a plot and be able to have people DO stuff? How do you get people interested and STAY interested? Am I failing because I wasn't ambitious enough to peg it as a huge epic PLOT? Because even though I don't think I could be a GM for something guided like Eclipse or Quorum, I was still kind of hoping that everyone would get involved. I started at the end of the expansion when there isn't anything else to do but wait for the new stuff and RP. Except people weren't RPing. I don't know what they were doing. It feels to me like I chose a terrible time because Blizzard announced a hard date and suddenly everything stopped dead 2 months in advance. I had thought with content already done, nothing to do for a predetermined time- that should be the BEST time to stand around making up stories and be just super creative. I was wrong. I feel as if I've had to beg to get anything going, and then I do and while it's going on it's mostly great, but then... nothing. I can't be a bad guy if no one cares. Add to that, I apparently wasn't interacting with people's mains. They were alts, and I didn't know that and now my story is just..... fucked. I have to start all over, maybe. I'm just a little bit jealous that someone can arbitrarily declare "here's a bad guy boss/group of bosses I just made up, now you have to go defeat it/them!" and turn out an epic adventure, and I thought I've basically done the same.... but somewhere I must have deviated because I'm failing utterly. So what am I missing? I understand this is a new expansion now, which I do not have. I hope to fix that soon. I understand people are going to be busy with leveling and questing and exploring, and making that mad dash for gearscore so then they can settle into the raiding routine. Or pvp or whatever. There's new stuff to do and RP is unfortunately on hold. I'm trying to be patient. This is the reason why I'm trying to get help NOW. What have I done wrong? What should change? Whenever people do get the time and inclination, I want to be better. Please help me.
  8. 8(
  9. Creepy hmmmmm? I shall have to think a while. Creepy..... yes.... I can do that.
  10. ((Poor guy! I'm enjoying these glimpses at his life.))
  11. *fidget*
  12. Welcome Inzema! I would love to have more active people participating in this not-plot storyline. Please let me know if you have any specific ideas of what you'd like for your character, and we'll weave that into the mix. If you have no thoughts, tell me a little bit more about Inzema himself (all I know is he's not really a good guy and might be crazy, he loved gambling? and he feeds Derecho so she loves him) and I'll come up with a few of my own and run them by you! For all you other idle passers-by ---> How can I help? How can I get you involved? Speak to me, please, even if just a PM to tell me why you haven't been able to jump in. Most of you- I'm assuming RL has gotten in the way because I haven't even really seen people online, and now I understand Legion has everyone doing new things. If it's anything else, just tell me, and hopefully add in a hook I can use to drag your toon kicking and screaming into the storm. Please 8) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Adding an edit here rather than a new post to just let this die quietly in the dark as it has been doing. I am abandoning the Derecho storyline attempt. A combination of factors, in addition to my own sensitivities I guess, has led to this really feeling forced and unwanted, and while some will tell you that leading RP will always feel like begging, I disagree wholeheartedly with that idea. People participate freely in activities they are passionate about. I was excited about the story. I was looking forward to building on the ideas that came before. I wanted to help people bridge the gap to whatever future stories they had in their own heads. I just don't think they have any. I'm tired of RPing only my own ideas, without feedback or tweaking from those major players I've attempted to involve. I'm tired of going through the trouble to set up a scene, and then having it blatantly ignored without eliciting IC reactions at all beyond that moment. I'm sorry but this is not at all what I wanted. I'm done trying to force the issue. Thanks again to you few who tried to make this happen with me. You know who you are.
  13. Master of the Wind - Manowar In the silence of the darkness when all are fast asleep I live inside a dream calling to your spirit Close your eyes, look into the dream There the road begins where another one will end Here the four winds know who will break and who will bend All to be the master of the wind Voodoo - Oh Land, Twist - Oh Land You change your silhouette You cast another shadow It's voodoo you do I love the color red It is for love, it is for... death - - - Set me free from the prison of the past Don't trap me in your story You will fall from the shaky ground You twist, dismiss, my memory Now let's twist things into a harmony Breaking all the borders I don't think this is as far as we can get Hope seems so distant Tick tick Breaking we're all, breaking we're all
  14. The troll druid Derecho stayed behind and is actively avoiding the Broken Isles. Given reasons include risks to her person associated with a major city like Dalaran- she doesn't want to get blighted by angry Forsaken or arcane-whomped by mages... she's got a bit of a short fuse, you know, and in a conflict people usually don't take the side of the beggar/thief/lower-class participant. ((Derecho does not have Legion)) Derecho is still causing mischief! ((Please let me cause mischief?)) There are opportunities for anyone of Borrowed Time, The Grim, Sanctuary, or allies not in those guilds that participated in RP plots of the past year or so to be targeted magically. This is true for [A] Twilight Empire and other Alliance folks as well. There also currently happens to be ZERO countermeasures being undertaken. No one is working to protect victims from future attacks. No one is working on finding out who is responsible. Be a magical target. Or be an anti-villain! If no one is interested in stopping Derecho, I'm going to OOCly start asking for alt redshirts to begin ghosting. Or something. Did you not have a hand in those plots? If you're of the mischief-making kind, Derecho needs people to 'champion' her cause on the physical level too. At times she can be rather weak, and holds grudges for those that slight her. She'd love to send some smashy-rawr type folks after these targets. Maybe your toon doesn't like dirty people, beggars, leeches, 'useless' citizens, scavengers, etc and is a bully or played a trick on her? Maybe your toon would want to stop bullying and protect an innocent poor person? Maybe you have another reason to get involved. Be a physical target, or be a knee-breaker sent after one. ((Knee-breakers could be sent after anyone, such as Sanctuary or The Grim, so if your toon is hesitant ICly about flaring up those tensions, GTFO. Unless of course your toon is ICly trying to investigate or halt antagonism, in which case, carry on, the plot will continue with your spin on it too,.)) Get involved with the Derecho storyline! EDIT: Nevermind
  15. The orc holds her ground. The grim line of her lips is evidence that she's had enough of raptor games. She could call for help, but doesn't. She's an orc, and this is only two raptors, for now. What if I had thought to magic a whole pack of animals? Would she still stand and fight then? She watches, her back to the river and to the rock face of the wall behind it. Both threats to her are in front, heads bobbing and weaving slightly as they advance growling, looking for weakness in their prey. The third raptor appears, like an echo of the first, to Shokkra's right. It steps from thin air along the banks of the water's course. This one is also hided in blue, with bands of mottled green marring the surface of the skin in a similar fashion to the way the moss on my own skin grows. This raptor could be considered the smallest of the three, female, and she is skinny. Instantly, she becomes my favorite. My Ekko. Her ridged head is lowered. She takes a slow step, calculating. I love the serious viciousness I can see in that gaze. Ekko means business. Ekko is here for blood. The pair of raptors in front continue to bob and weave slightly, growling, looking for an opportunity. They are distractions, but the new arrival is noticed, this time. Shokkra shifts position as she spots the female. Her back now faces the cliffs at an angle. I am rather elated at this. She learned! I could cheer. I remain still, my belly pressed flat against the hot rock of the column and I don't make a sound to betray my position. Instead, my raptors cheer for me. All three straighten, standing up tall on their legs. They emit a few glugging chirps each in a small chorus of them. Shokkra does not understand. She squints at the reptiles, and her confusion is clearly painted on her face. What the shit are they up to? She's wasted an opportunity, perhaps. She could have attacked while they were up, taken advantage of their open posture and higher tipping point. She doesn't. She's given me an opportunity though, and I don't waste it. The orc has learned one lesson. It's time she got the point of the other. Blue lunges for Shokkra! Shokkra is only a second later to react, lunging herself in what I feel is more of an instinctive action than a calculated one. One ax arcs towards Blue's head while the other cleaves lower towards his leg on the blind side. The raptor tries to snap Shokkra's arm in it's jaws. He never even sees the other weapon. Shokkra screams as her arm is clamped onto, his jaws going through the tough leather wrappings and glove as if nothing is there. The ax to his leg hits true and embeds. Blue whelps in pain as well. Their voices briefly mix before lungs expel their volume. Shokkra yanks backwards, trying to free her lower ax from where it's stuck in Blue's leg to try to free it. The raptor assists. Blue tosses his head like a frostwolf with a dog toy, trying to thrash his prey into weakness as well as loosen whatever claw had hold of his leg. His packmates watch intently from the sidelines, looking for openings of their own in which to join in. Shokkra cries out in pain as skin and muscle are ripped apart by the thrashing. Bloody white bone is visible underneath Shokkra's glove as her own weight is yanked around. Meat separates. The orc slides in that toothy grip as her flesh becomes unanchored. Desperately, Shokkra strikes her freed ax at Blue's other eye, hoping to blind the creature. With his jaws already occupied there is no way to dodge that even if he could see it coming. Shokkra's blade cuts. Blue roars! The raptor jerks as his jaws open involuntarily. For a moment it looks as if he will hurl the orc right at D'Eltah. Shokkra flies over to the side, but something snags. Instead of a beautiful arc to D'Eltah, the warrior ends up in more of a spike to the ground. The orange male leaps anyway, having anticipated the throw. Shokkra tumbles in the rocky red grit and dirt, but quickly rolls to her feet to face the threat. D'Eltah looks almost disappointed. He wanted to play catch! Shokkra's right arm is extremely hurt. Blood seeps from the gruesome wound more and more as the seconds pass, creating a dark puddle beneath her. Ekko stalks. If her brother doesn't act fast, she's going to intervene. The littler female sniffs the air, waffling in the scent of Shokkra's blood flow. Shokkra shuffles to prevent being flanked. Blue has stumbled sideways down the incline to the river. He's hung and leaning on a scraggly scrub bush. The unsteadiness of his stance indicate to me that something terrible might be happening inside that skull of his. His head hangs low, wavering, sightless. He's done. I gesture, willing the gorgeous hunter away. His form begins to evanesce. D'Eltah launches himself forward at Shokkra. He keeps low, stout legs propelling him fast and smoothly. His prey roars with immortal orcish fury. He returns the challenge with his own voice. They clash. Shokkra is ready for him. She smashes D'Eltah's toothy maw aside and rains blow after blow of pure hate down on him. Her single ax swings are counterbalanced by the ruin of her other arm. The limb slings dark droplets. The orc in the midst of a bloodfury enacts her will without regard for something as trivial as pain or the weakness trying to creep in as her lifeblood seeps out. D'Eltah never does get his head back in line to attack. The warrior follows ax blows with vicious kicks, beating him down. His thick hide protects him for a few seconds, as the orc is too furious, too wild, to land a solid strike between the tougher dorsal scales. D'Eltah's neck runs red from several shallower slices before he realizes his own peril. He did not expect a crippled target to be so vicious. Where did she summon the strength? Then Shokkra's ax hits and sticks. The orange male had been trying to turn away. Her blade wedges between scales and vertebrae as D'Eltah topples. The orc doesn't relent. Disarmed, she follows the reptile as he plows into the dirt. Her foot descends with a sickening crack to his ribcage. Her fist hits against his thigh after she narrowly avoids being gutted by a desperate kick to try and heave the angry green woman away. She grabs for her ax. Ekko leaps! Shokkra recalls the third raptor and tries to spin to face little blue female, but she's not fast enough. The raptor's maw bites into Shokkra's plated shoulder. Teeth sink in deep, not hindered at all by the seeming protection of metal armor. Shokkra screams again. She tries to heave her weapon at Ekko's bulk as the hunter's momentum drive the both of them off D'Eltah. The ax glances off. They land hard in the dirt. Ekko stumbles. Her heavy foot lands heedlessly on her prey as the raptor tries to keep her balance. Shokkra gasps for air as the raptor's weigh settles, and a series of pops sound in succession as ribs begin failing. The reptile shifts weight back off her prey. She tightens her jaws slightly, reaffirming that her hold is good. She tries to pin her prey so that she can release the grip of her jaws. The second scythe talon on Ekko's foot sinks deeply into the center of Shokkra's chest. The smaller dew claw pierces the point between neck and shoulder where armor should be protecting the warrior... but isn't. The orc yells hoarsely. With grabbing her knives out of the question, Shokkra instead fumbles at the soft underside of Ekko's neck and attempts to shove the point of her weapon in. There isn't enough room to get any strength behind a swing even if her wounds allowed the movement. Ekko chomps down viciously in an attempt to discourage whatever this prey's thrashing is about. Her teeth are on the wrong side, and this does nothing to disable. Shokkra grunts with the pain, but shoves harder against the axhead. Something gives. Ekko jerks upright, stepping back, but doesn't release her jaws. The orc is yanked upwards. Her ax falls away from blood-slickened fingers. In a moment, there will be a thrashing just like Blue did, only this time the technique would be fatal. Shokkra doesn't wait dangling in the raptor's mouth for it to happen. The warrior swings and locks a knee behind Ekko's neck, giving her the angle she needs. Her hand slides along the sticky surface of tough hide. She finds the tear and jams her hand into the hot hole. Ekko starts to shake her head, but it's too late. Shokkra seizes anything she can get her grip around. The raptor gurgles and gags, her maw hinging open, and staggers several steps toward the waterfalls plunge. Two swipes fail to dislodge the cling-on throttler. Shokkra then straightens her hooked leg and pushes hard with the other, giving the best shove she can manage while holding the insides of the raptor's neck. She drops down in a swing before losing her grip on the slick stringy mess she'd yanked loose. She flops to the ground, rolling perilously close to the cliff's edge. Ekko hacks, spattering the stone with dark spray. She pulls in a garbled breath, only to choke and expel it back out again in another cough, struggling to breathe. The little female staggers, drowning, and catches sight of Shokkra lying there. The raptor uses the last of her energy to lunge for the orc. I cannot tell if she hit and took Shokkra with her, or if the orc rolled over the edge on purpose and Ekko merely fell on the precipice and followed. They both disappear. I stare, somehow transfixed. They're gone. The chasm is empty. After a moment, it occurs to me to look to the pond down in the Valley of Honor. A small figure lays there in the shallows. She must have been very lucky to avoid the rocks and land in deep water. How had she managed to swim with those injuries? Maybe she'd held her breath and merely pushed along the bottom. Slowly, Shokkra emerges from the dark water spreading around her and crawls toward some unknown destination. Perhaps her guild maintains a base here in the city and she's hoping for, of all things, sanctuary.

About us

The Twisting Nether Gazette is a role play forum for characters on the RP-PVP servers Twisting Nether and Ravenholdt.  We have been active since November of 2005, a few months after the Twisting Nether server originally went live.  Our purpose is to provide a safe and inclusive environment where role players can meet and interact with each other, and, of course, post their amazing role play stories, art, bios, and journals.

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