RP Crowsong


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In a world stricken by war, rare is a place where one can find a moment of peace. The conflict between the Greatwyrms and the Giants, as large as the two forces are, has stretched far and wide, the devastation wrought evident across land and sea. Every shake of the earth carries the potential for destruction, every gust of wind the threat of total annihilation. Across the known lands, the people live on, the undercurrent of fear a constant to all.

This war hasn't crawled to every corner of the world, though. Not yet. In the far reaches, to the east, and north, tucked away in a spruce forest nestled against the base of a mountain unnamed, sits a village, living its days in relative peace and ignorance. The people of this village, while aware, are largely removed from the greater conflict afflicting the world. Their lives have, for the most part, carried on, as if the world weren't shattering around them. They are, of course, not immune to the aftershocks, the ripples of destruction and energy that disrupt the natural order of things, but comparatively, the people of Len have carried on.

Clouds roll over the mountaintop, covering the forest and Len. It begins to rain, as five lonely adventurers know their long trek is nearing it's end, rest not far now as the forest gives way to farmland. Of course, they know that this was only a precursor to adventure yet to begin.

Thunder rolls in the far distance, as the villagers return from the fields to their homes, all keeping their distance from the House on the Hill, as they have always done. Within that house, a lone figure sits, looking over a mess of hastily scrawled documents and notes, all detailing a recently discovered vault in the mountains. This lone figure has been, for some time, contemplating what the previous occupant of the House on the Hill thought would be in this odd vault, nestled within a dungeon, within the mountains, revealed during a time of war.

The rumbling of thunder draws nearer, and villagers of Len watch from their homes as five figures, strangers to them, traipse through their home, towards the House on the Hill.

[Music, if you want it]
Ashen Smoke had been traipsing quite a lot, these last few months. She wasn't traipsing now. There was a spring in her step and a smile on her face. Why wouldn't there be? The captain was recovered, apparently! The band was getting back together! And there was a mysterious vault to explore! It was almost like a dream. It made her want to skip, or to do a cartwheel--but there was too much mud for that; she'd get her vestments filthy, and then it'd all dry on and she'd be stuck that way for miles. She contented herself with waving to the villagers as she passed their windows. One of the kids even waved back before being ushered away by his parents, which was enough to carry her the rest of the way up the hill.

If she was honest with herself, it wasn't just the prospect of meeting up with old friends that had her so excited. Things had been hard since the split, in a very familiar way. She'd never really talked about it. The others had to have gone through worse, given most of them had been alive for longer than she was likely to live. And she was experienced enough to know that people who'd lived happy lives rarely became adventurers. It'd still hurt, though, going back to a version of the world she'd thought she'd left behind.

But whatever, who cared! They were back together now. Even the startled, suspicious stares from the villagers--taking in the ashy hair and complexion, the glowing amber eyes, the gentle curtain of steam rising from where the rain met her skin--couldn't quite dim her spirits. It was a wonderful day. Soon, everything would be back to normal.
Oh dear oh, dear, oh, dear oh, dear.

Fen still wasn't sure if she was dreaming. She'd downright won the lottery with this one - a quaint little house in a quaint little village full of quaint little things - and the previous occu-pent was occu-pied, being dead and all. She'd found him like that, of course! Found him like that, laying on the ground, strewn about in a mess of things. The little mayflies certainly loved their things, and from the way this poor little clump of meat's were found, she thought it best to -

Well -

Dig up the roots for herselfs, so to speak. She made a day of it. Carefully putting every little thing she found on the floor back in its little thing place, making sure they were all neat and orderly, then putting the meat in the ground where it belonged. She didn't do the best job of that last part. The mayfly didn't have a tool for digging, and her fingers weren't good at digging big holes, so there were still bits of him sticking up out of the ground like a garden of limbs.

Oh, a garden of limbs! Now, that was a funny thought. Maybe he'd grow some more bits if she kept him well-watered. Maybe he'd bloom! What would a mayfly bloom smell like?

Probably not very nice.

Now, she sat in a big comfy chair by the corner, likeness done up in the mayfly's way, his little wooden stick by her side and his little glass coins perched on her nose. They made the world look topsy, like being drunk with none of the fun. Mayflies were strange things, indeed, to want to see the world like that! Maybe there was a magic to them. She'd have to test that.

Oh, lots of lots of things to test. The metal box that smelled like smoke, and the dried grass in the copper tin, and the books that had been littered across the floor, now neatly piled in a pile on its center. But for now - she was simply being comfortable, existing happily, sinking down into the big cushy chair in the corner of the room. If mayflies did anything right -

It was comfort. Fair dinkum, when they only last a season. Might as well spend that season in luxury!
Was there a time in her life when she would watch so dubiously through the window at the face of a stranger passing by? Perhaps there was in the century prior when the world felt so wonderfully large as the mountain over where wistful clouds gathered around the bladelike peaks and caught the shine of the sun of the morning’s first light. Though, there hadn’t been a war then so perhaps she could forgive these folk for fearing the final end to peace.

The rain fell heavy on her cloak as she walked, in the grass off the road whenever it was available, or across any other surface that offered her a place to plant her feet that wouldn’t be sucking mud. It wasn’t the most miserable time, though perhaps it was only because she knew this journey had its end, and there would be friendly faces within that beginning. Still, she wouldn’t be disappointed to find a fire waiting in the house on the hill to put cold to right and dry away the dampness that soaked through the heavy fabric of the cloak.

One road led to another, and Sana began her climb up the hill.
A thunderstorm accompanying the herald of disaster. It would seem literary--trite, even--were it not so often, so viscerally direct. The storm, unlike her, could be more than mere correlation. Perhaps she should be more worried than she was; although, as she was once told, if you spend too much time cowering up at the skies, you fail to notice the flowers in the meadow before you.

There were no flowers today, though. Just rain, and mud, and moss-covered rocks to trip her up if she gazed too long at the clouds. She watched her step as she passed by the town, sticking to the outskirts with her hood drawn over her head like a mourning veil. The house was coming into view now, slowly but surely. With any luck, she'd make it inside before her cloak got too waterlogged for her shoulders to bear. It loomed. She often seemed drawn to things that loomed.

And what of this invitation? Her mind wandered as she wandered- it had been sent to her by name, by a party she had helped guide a few times. To hear of their dissolution was almost as surprising as recieving an invite to their reunion. Perhaps they were unremarkable in this trait, for it did seem rather important for an adventuring party to have, but she always remembered them being a rather tight-knit group. Friendly with each other and helpful to those who needed it, if memory served- but memory served all masters but her.

She was starting to realise that now, and it frightened her... but they were consistent, were they not? A group she had seen several times- that she had been seen with several times. Their interactions, though relatively sparse, had at least been consistent enough to warrant an invitation- that must've meant something, surely.

The stormclouds weighed heavy on her back, their darkness whispering for her to sleep.

She shook them off once more.
I'm going to stink like a wet dog.

The first thought on Aibek’s aching mind, surrounded by strangers, holding onto a letter likely never meant for him. He pulled the wolf pelt further up his neck, attempting to shield himself from the rain.

He had learned not to question why, why was he accepting an invite he was clearly not supposed to receive? Why was he once again leaving his usual training in preparation for the arena for… a vault, was it?

My boots are getting dirty.

That was his second thought, each step his soles sank further into the mud, staining the worn leather. He stared down at where each step landed, looking ahead at the House on the hill made the whispers in his mind stir louder and he had learned not to return the looks a giant-kin gets. A tired, tall slab of a man in the middle of a quaint little village, adorned with worn armour, carrying a shield that could almost pass as a barn door; he stuck out like a sore thumb and he knew it.

The ground grew steeper each step. At least he could tell he was finally getting close.
One had already arrived.

Dzwonyr was not one to be late, nor was he on to be on time. Above all else, he preferred to be early; there was a benefit to being at places before anyone else, in his line of work, and it carried into other facets of his life as a guiding tenet.

The last time he had been anything other than early, it had not ended well for him. The worst time to being expected, he found, was particularly when you ought to be unexpected.

And even though the man who had sent for him was considered, at one time, to be an ally, the skepticism that crucial mistake imparted had festered into a long-lasting paranoia. A weight, for better or for worse, from which he could not detach himself. Paranoia made him lurk for an hour at the treeline's edge, waiting to see if a trap was set; paranoia made him wonder why, of all times, he had been called here. Paranoia made his eyes narrow with doubt when smoke billowed from the chimney-- one mundane, and the other draconic, gemlike in its quality. Most importantly, however, paranoia made him slip his eyepatch back over the affected eye and trudge forth, hair tied back to keep the lazy breeze from tousling raven-black locks in front of his self-neutered vision.

He could not afford distractions. There were enough of those in his life, now, without him adding his own.

One hand rested upon his dagger hilt as he approached; the other rose to knock. Three clarion raps upon the door.

"Pyotr." Dzwonyr called out. "It's Dzwon. Are you there?"

Be ready for anything. And, barring that-- be ready for nothing at all.

He wasn't sure which was worse, with everything that had happened.
Someone punched her door.

There was a momentary panic. Did people in this village go about just -- doing that? But, no, it was that herald of greetings, a beckonings, an ask-and-you-may-enter, simply a tad bit harder than she was used to. Symbols and habits were nery apart, in this land. The three knocks, though. Significance there?

Probably not. Likely not. Just a habit, too, knocking thrice because it felt proper, not because it was knocking properly. Hopping down out of her comfortable chair, Fen stretched - letting out a noise not dissimilar to a strangled cat - and hopped over to the door to greet the arriver. A friend of the man. Friends visited each other's houses. She'd been visited by friends of people she was being, before, and they oft had the most delightfully trivial requests, like borrowing sugar or wanting to talk about the harvest.

There was an important note in this man's greeting, too. Pyotr.

Her name was Pyotr.

Fancy-stick resting over her shoulder, she opened the door and grinned at her guest.

"Hello, Dzwon!" she said in a merrily gruff impersonation of a voice she'd never ever heard. "I am here, thank you for noticing! How could I be helping you today? Please, come inside my home, your company is welcome! I was simply solitary resting in my chair!"
Dzwonyr's brow furrowed.

"... right."

Cheery bastard. What was also odd was his inquiry of help-- as if he hadn't been invited here, by Pyotr, for whatever Gods-forsaken reason. Dzwonyr stared at his old friend a moment longer-- a bit of unease evident upon his face-- before he looked beyond Pyotr, scoping out the interior with what limited vantage the doorway afforded him. After a moment of this analysis, he gave a brief sigh, stepping past the man and closing the door behind him.

It was cold-- a bit warmer than the drenched brush he was sitting in, but cold nonetheless. The severity of his bone-aching chill had been heightened by the fact that he'd been staking out the place in the rain for the better part of a few hours, but it did not seem to vex him; he was, however, soaked through, hair slickened back into its bun where the rain had been thrown into his cloak. The hood was pulled down, and he gave another glance about the room, this time taking in the sights proper...

... with his gaze inevitably settling upon the books piled neatly in the center of the room.

Perhaps he's gone a bit daft.

"What'd you bring me here, for?" Dzwonyr muttered, not taking his eyes off the man as he settled into a corner of the room-- where he could watch all exits. "And what's with the books on the floor?"
Wait. Pyotr brought Dzwonyr here?

Well, that threw a cat in the nettlepatch. Neighbors showed up asking for things - what did people ask their neighbors to come over for? Oh, bother, oh bother bother. But Fen was clever. Cleverer than most. Clever enough here that she could certainly convince him otherwise, and if she couldn't, she could always give him a little spin in his head and send him on his way.

Worst case, though. Only worst case. Her lights didn't last for long, and she really didn't want to have to give up such a nice home the very self-same moment she got it.

"I just wanted to spend some time together, is all!" Fen - Pyotr - replied. "Is a man not allowed to long for the company of his neighbors?"

She glanced at the books, ants in her mind marching onward.

"- and I wanted you to help me with these."

Hurrying over to the pile, she plopped down beside it, pulling one out and flipping through it. She could barely read any of the words on the pages.

"I - recently came into a great hoard of these things, but I cannot make heads or tails of them!" Smiling, she held it out for Dzwonyr. "Could you read it to me, you lovely man?"
"I'm not your neighbor, Pyotr."

His hand rested upon the hilt of his dagger, now-- hip angled away so that his former ally could not see the threat. Dzwonyr glanced from the books to the shelf they were seemingly taken from, then to the fireplace-- unlit, during a storm?-- and settling, finally, upon Pyotr himself. Apparently, he needed help with books. Texts, seemingly, that he could not translate-- or so Dzwonyr assumed, as he took the novel from Pyotr's hands.

"Are they Draconic? You called me out all the way here for--"

Dzwonyr's words died in his mouth as he looked over the pages. His eyes flashed back up to the man across from him, taking a step back instinctually. Common. He was reading a cookbook-- an entry for a fig pie, specifically.

"Mm." Dzwonyr muttered, tossing the book onto a nearby chaise. His posture changed, as he paced about Pyotr in a wide radius-- no longer defensive, but active, potential energy gathered in his frame like a beast about to pounce. The lone eye left unmarred by his condition seemed to narrow, slightly.

"What's your last name, and how do you know me?"

There was something wrong. The task, then, would be finding out what.
Just as things were about to go horrifically wrong, the door swung open again. Smoke had seen Dzwonyr enter the house ahead of her, so she hadn't seen much point in knocking.

And sure enough, there Dzwonyr was!


And Pyotr, right in the middle of the room, hale and hearty as he'd ever been!

"Both of you!"

And they were standing together, in the middle of the room, and, um.


The captain was holding out a book, and the soldier was pacing around him, hand on his, um. His belt.

"It's wonderful to, um..."

The part of his belt where he kept his knife, specifically. Almost like he was thinking about drawing it.

"To, er..."

This wasn't exactly the reunion she'd been hoping for.

"To see you, er, again... Look, am I interrupting something? I could come back later, if this is a bad time." Her eyes flitted between the two men as she slid the door shut behind her.
Oh. Ah. Something was wrong.

Something was always a little wrong, but this man - this man was dangerous. Predatory. Wolf-like. She cowered a bit as he paced around her, her clawed toes curling inward to dig into the wooden floor. Overtop, the glamour smiled warmly, seemingly unbothered by the bothersome bothering, but underneath, her heart was beginning to hammer quite fast.

"Ahum. You're my -" Not neighbor, not neighbor! "- friend, of course! I mean neighbor endear-like! I -"

At that moment, the door opened again. A momentary distraction, and things were still at risk of tipsy-toppling, but she welcomed the chance to breathe and someone else who didn't have scary wolf-eyes staring at her all about.

"Hello, hello! No, it is a very good time, a very good time indeed! All times are good times with friends!" she said, darting over towards the newcomer. "Isn't that truthful, Dzwonyr?"

She beamed at him, hoping he'd take his hand away from the knife and be nice-like again.
Another arrival. Smoke. Dzwonyr's gaze flitted from Pyotr to the cleric, attention darting to confirm that was who, indeed, who he was seeing before it centered back upon their former captain, another slew of questions entering his mind. Was she in on this? The letter he'd received-- who else had it been given to? Was this some sort of ploy? A setup? It was impractical-- why them? Why now, after the rebellion, the executions, and the sentencing? The hidden eye felt hot within its socket, but perhaps that was just paranoia turning malaise into misery. Could hardly trust anyone, nowadays, most of all himself.

It wasn't just him within the self, after all.

"You still haven't answered my question, Pyotr." Dzwonyr muttered, dagger unsheathed with a quiet pull of metal upon leather; in a moment, it was leveled with the man. "Where did we meet. How do you know me. What's your own last name."

He looked to Smoke, at that.

"I wouldn't trust him, if I were you," Dzwonyr stated plainly. "He's acting odd. The type of odd that makes your arrival all the more troubling. Why are you here?"
Stood outside the house, unaware of all the knife-pointing happening inside, Aibek eyed the frame of the building, sizing it up.


With a heavy sigh, he secured his pack and equipment on himself and knocked twice on the wooden door simply out of politeness, before squeezing himself through the frame of it.

The shield on his back scraped against the ceiling as he took his first step inside, shoulders hunched forwards so as to not let his head suffer the same fate. He took a second to scan the room, quietly blinking at the situation.

Excuse me.

His voice rumbled deep in his throat like thunder rolling in a distant storm, no matter how softly he tried to speak. The situation seemed.. tense, to say the least, but once again, why the soldier was apparently threatening who he assumed to be the homeowner was of little importance to him. He was told to accept the invitation and that he did.

I am not sure this was supposed to be addressed to me, but I would still like to join you.

He had removed his pack and shield from his back and produced the letter, hand outstretched towards the only person he could guess to be Pyotr with a surprisingly nonchalant approach to the whole... situation.
"He's acting odd. The type of odd that makes your arrival all the more troubling. Why are you here?"
Huh? But she'd--oh, well, maybe he didn't know.

"Pyotr sent me a letter," the cleric said, glancing hopelessly between Dzwonyr's drawn knife and the captain's smiling face. "It said something about a--an opportunity to get together again, for new job?"

Only the way the captain was speaking was... Well, something was clearly going on, there. The way he was acting, he wasn't in any condition to go exploring. It was like he was a completely different person.

The knocking interrupted that chain of thought. Smoke got out of the way just in time for a huge man--like, almost twice her height; almost twice anyone's height--to sort of hunch his way into the room.

"Uh. Hi! I, um... I'm not sure it was meant to be addressed to you, either, given the whole, um..." Oh, dragonspit, she was being rude! "But it's nice to meet you! We could, uh... Move outside, then? Although--er--I don't suppose the rain has stopped." It obviously hadn't; everyone could hear that it hadn't. Aughhhhh.
It seemed that the door had already been opened for her- and it seemed that festivities had already commenced.

Brushing herself dry, Felys stepped through the doorway and into the house. It was warm inside, she noticed, and thankfully so- she had already starting to shiver from walking through the rain. The group must've been quite successful, if this was the sort of house their captain could afford. The whole place seemed idyllic; picturesque, like something from a storybook. A quaint little house on a hill, the dwelling of a brave adventurer, overlooking the village he had likely sworn to protect. It was a beautiful fantasy to bask in.

She stepped through, deftly sidestepping the taller stranger as she passed. He wasn't one she had seen before. A new member? One recruited between their last meeting and their last meeting? Or was he, perhaps, the same as her; one whose path had crossed with theirs, who had left enough of an impression to warrant an invitation back- so different that they were to the villagefolk, who were there only to be protected, to be still.

The others, of course, were familiar. Their captain, Pyotr, greeting his party with uncharacteristic gracelessness still bore the face she knew him to have. Dzwonyr, she had remembered as quite a serious man; that certainly hadn't changed in their time apart, as she could tell from the way his eyes shot between the houseguests like crossbow bolts. Smoke, the cleric; she was a newer member, but not so new that they hadn't spoken before. She was awkward, and helpful, and about as lost in her own world as Felys had been as of late. It was endearing.

They were arguing. About what, she hadn't heard, but the tension in the room was palpable enough to sever her fugue. She extended an olive branch smile, though her expression didn't seem to shift all too much- especially when viewed beneath the shadow of her hood.

"Good evening." Felys said, "I do hope my presence has been expected- I do not wish to imply any ill fate by being here."

She pulled the hood from her head, casting her gaze into the light.

On pure description, not much had changed about Felys. She was slender and soft-featured, her ears downturned, the horned crown sitting neatly upon the same blanket of pale pink hair. Her posture was reserved and dignified, hands clasped before her, figure buried beneath the waterfall of heavy white fabric.

"I, too, have recieved an invitation." She continued, "Though it may have been mere courtesy by which it was extended, I believe I can provide some utility."

But, look too closely at her face, and you'd see it. Not specifics, but it- the difference, the wrongness, subtle and implacable and whole. She looked like her own understudy, like another actor had taken her place. Or, perhaps, she looked like a new painting, inked by a different hand, the subtleties of her features shifted ever so slightly into another person's. A lost sibling. A recarved statue. The same, but different- different, but the same. Felys was Felys, by name and by word; but by sight, by witness, one could not be so sure.

"If you'd take me in, t'would be an honour to fight alongside you."
Oh, grumble-be, the dead mayfly out back had laid a trap for her, it seemed. Leaving this perfectly lovely home open and inviting, but setting a creeper-vine in the foundations to topple it down around her. Soddy letters? Was he planning some sort of party? What sort of a person set up a party, then had the gall to die before the party came?

She swore, she swore, silly little things they were.

Grinning placidly still, Fen - Pyotr - threw her arms wide to greet the new-newcomers. A tall fellow with a familiar tinge about him - she gave that one a pause of a glance - and a soft thing that spoke in a lulling voice.

"It seems everyone is here!" she exclaimed, intentionally ignoring Dzwonyr's questions still in hopes he'd forget he asked them. The tall fellow was not part of that everyone, however, by his words and the words of the others. A misguided missive. She glanced at him again - was he another folk, come to take her rightly claim?

Oh no, oh, no, oh, no oh. That wouldn't do at all.

Outside would be lovely -" she continued, then added after the sickly-one mentioned rain, "- but I am not wet, yet, and you all are! So, should I get wetter, or should you lovely people get dryer?"
"Hello, Felys," Smoke said, turning to greet the newcomer. The smile she gave her was decidedly strained.

That wasn't Felys' fault, of course. She'd always felt a bit of kinship with the unfortunate traveler. They were both strangers anywhere they went, after all. Normally, she'd have been overjoyed to see her again, bad omen or no, but, well. Nothing else had gone right so far, either. The captain was still rambling on. 'Everyone is here!' 'Should I get wetter, or should you lovely people get dryer?'

She was starting to really, really wish she'd stayed away.

"We're, um..." She slipped over to Felys' side, trying to avoid attracting Pyotr's attention again; her voice faded to a hushed murmur. "I think there must have been a mistake. The captain's gotten worse, not better. I don't know how he managed to send us all those letters, in this condition, but I think he's forgotten about Sana as well." There was a pause. "Oh. Um. How have you been doing?"
Dzwonyr's brow furrowed at the new arrivals-- one familiar, one unfamiliar. His gaze lingered on the firbolg before turning to Felys, whereupon his lone human eye narrowed. Convenient, that they were all brought here by the captain. Smoke, Felys, himself, and an as-of-yet unknown figure; Dzwonyr clicked his tongue, cogs turning within his head. Gradually, he stepped towards the kitchen, keeping his eye upon Pyotr; in a moment, his dagger was sheathed, replaced with a small crossbow that sprung to its full width with a click of metal and twang of wire.

After listening to the captain's latest episode of babbling, Dzwonyr decided that he'd had quite enough.

"Right. What the fuck is wrong with you?" He stated, keeping the crossbow trained upon Pyotr. Just what he needed, after the business with the greatwyrm. A fever-dream of a fucking reunion. "Tell us what's going on-- why you brought us here, and why you're acting like this-- or I'm going to shoot you, Pyotr." His lip twitched. "In the head. And you know I don't miss. Or maybe you don't, seeing as you haven't answered a single fucking question I've asked. In fact, you've ..."

He glanced, sidelong, out the window-- his eyes catching upon some stalks of vegetation within the garden. His gaze seemed to linger upon something in the storm-- confusion bleeding into slow, resigned realization. Shock, perhaps? Or simple resignation?

"... got to be fucking kidding me."