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 They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!

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The Loremaster
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PostSubject: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:52 pm

I sit here, in this cave, recording the events of this dead world called Aeon.

At one time in history it was a beautiful lush world with fantastic creatures that the eye beheld not out of curiosity but out of sheer wonder.

However a time came and the dead rose and attacked all living things. This time was called The Ravaging.

During that time a group of heroes journeyed together to discover a secret so dark and evil that it is now never spoken of.

All that is known is that a man named Erron was at one time the King of the Undead. And now he cares for nothing but to hunt and kill the undead.

Rumors of the darkling named Turk'en, who travels with him, are usually that of a monster. He has been rumored to eat children, and slaughter entire villages for sport.

Many others traveled with these two, but none is more renown then one Aldion Selek, who is viewed as a hero all across this vast wasteland.

And now you have journeyed here....to join in The Hunt.

Remember...no one lives...they only survive.

And we now join our heroes as the battle in the War of Decimation with a mad man named Mathias and an abomination called Genesis...
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:30 am

Calhera Rainsong sat in the inn. The black ink from the quill stained her fingers, and she made sure to keep prying eyes from what she wrote on the parchment. She knew the innkeeper would tear down the advertisement the minute she walked out of the inn, but she had no choice. She had to place hope in the fact that someone would see her hang it up and see it torn down and be curious enough to ask her what it was.

And if no one was curious enough....then all of Northern Krest could be in danger.

She finished her writing, and put the quill and ink back into her pack, and pulled out a small folded cloth. She unfolded the cloth and sprinkled some fine sand over the ink to help it dry.

She then put away the sand into her pack and walked near the door and tacked the advertisement up onto the wall. She then left.

The innkeeper walked over curious as to what the announcement said. he read it silently to himself, then frowned and yanked the paper down. he crumbled it up into a small paper wad ball and tossed it into his cooking fire and went back to peeling potatoes.

Calhera walked through the dirt streets of the small village, and prayed that someone would be curious.
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:31 am

There was a flash, a swirl, some other confusing motions. He thought he was getting sick. Certainly he was dizzy. Then, all of a sudden, Popurum was in a street somewhere. Unknown. Different.

He wasn't quite sure what happened, but where he was looked safe. Little did the riverfolk realize, he had just been placed back in time, far away from his idol, his hero, the only man he looked up to... Aldion Sellek.

But since he didn't know that, the cheery Popurum walked into the tavern he spotted. Sitting at a table pondering what just happened, he watches a female elf place a note on a wall. After she left, the keeper removed the note and burned it.

"Well that wasn't too nice, was it Aldion?"

Popurum looked at his weasel pet, Aldion. Knowing that his great hero Aldion would help that lady, Popurum took weasel Aldion into a bag, and followed after the woman.

"Someday, I'm gonna make Aldion so proud of me!"

The riverfolk runs out the tavern and down the street chasing after the elf woman.

"Wait! Ma'am, I wanna help! What are you doing? Can I help? I wanna help like Aldion would help. Can I help? Pleeeease? Like Aldion?"
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:39 am

Calhera stopped. "Thank the gods! Someone had noticed." she thought to herself.

She turned and was at first slightly taken back. She wasn't expecting one of the race of the riverfolk to help. But they always seemed a cheerful lot, if a little too curious at times.

"I don't know who or what an Aldion is, but if you walk with me I can explain everything," she said smiling at Popurum.

As the two walked down the street she began...

"Two years ago, not far from hear in Azure, there was a druid grove. A group of nine druids and twelve rangers, who lived in peace with one another," she explained as a small bird came a landed on her shoulder chirping as if someone had stolen one it's hatchlings.

"Yes, I know. I know. We're on our way now," she said to the bird. The small creature took to flight and flapped it's small wings flying away.

"Anyways, two years ago, we protectors of nature resided in the grove. I was one of the twelve rangers. And it was two years ago that I had to leave the grove. My mother who lived in the Kell Forest
was dying. It wasn't anything horrible or awful. It was just her time. And I traveled back there to speak my farewells to her. While I was saddened to see my mother's journey in this life end, I knew her next journey was just beginning. However, when I returned to the grove what I found was awful...."

A group of women carrying fresh baked bread walked past Calhera and Popurum, and gave harsh glares at them as if they were disgusted with them.

"The people of this town hate me. You see, by we druids and rangers protecting the nature around Azure, we stopped undesirables from coming here. However when I had returned to the grove, I found my fellow protectors all dead."

She was silent for a moment, and wiped a tear from her eye.

Not all of them. Two of them had survived. One was Halivar. A fellow ranger. he had grown up with me. While he wasn't from the same family, my mother had raised him as her own....even if he was just a cousin. I had discovered Halivar not far from the grove. Most of his flesh had been torn from his bones. He was near death and there was no stopping it. The only information he was able to give was that one of the druids, a human woman by the name of Mistress Heathrow still lived, and that death would soon be coming to Azure.

That was two years ago. Since then I have lived in this small village. I have traveled from it several times trying to find Mistress Heathrow to discover what evil befell my fellow protectors, but have had no luck. Also, a few days after I had discovered the horror, a new mayor took office here. A horrible goblin named Yebbel. He and his cohorts now run the village and treat it's peoples like dirt. But these folks are not warriors. They are not fighters. They are simple folk trying to lead simple lives. They can't fight back. And now they all blame the druids and rangers of the grove, believing we all abandoned our post. I've tried explaining what occurred, but none will listen. I believe the only reason they allow me to reside here, is for the same reason they allow Yebbel and his lot. They fear me. Not enough to show respect, and to be honest I wouldn't want that kind of respect. But certainly enough to not ask me to leave, and enough to scorn me when they get the chance."

"I know Yebbel and his group had something to do with the massacre at the grove. But I have no proof, and with the villagers here hating me so, unless I have proof, none will listen. Which is what I'm seeking. Someone to help me find proof of Yebbel's evil deed, and to help sway these villagers into fighting back against him.

Will you help me? Please. I have no where else to turn."
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:40 am

Popurum's jaw dropped when she said she didn't know about Aldion. But as she started to walk, he listened. He heard every word. Popurum felt sad for her, and when she looked as if she might cry, Popurum had to fight them back as well.

After she finished, Popurum got cheerful again and grinned.

"Of course I'll help! I'll do whatever you ask of me."

He didn't know what he could do, but Aldion would never give up.

"So you've never heard of Aldion?!"
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:41 am

Popurum's smile lifted Calhera's spirits. he was the first person here in Azure to treat her kindly. Popurum seemed to her like he was someone she could count on for sure.

"Come. Let's go to the grove. I can show it to you and maybe you can decipher something of a clue. Mind you, it's been two years, but one never knows. Oh and to answer your question; No. I don't know what an Aldion is. Is it a type of tree?"
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:42 am

Popurum continued to follow the woman.

"No, Aldion is an elf warrior. He fights the undead hordes from the Ravaging. He's a hero to millions. I think he even used to be a drui... Hey wait..."

The cogs finally started to turn in the riverfolk's mind. There aren't any more druids... Something was VERY different. Something was missing.

"Since when have the druids been coming back? I thought they lost everything during the Ravaging. And... you don't seem too worried about undead. Maybe they're the problem?"

Popurum was very confused.
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:43 am

As Calhera and Popurum left the village and walked down a dirt road, the conversation continued.

"The Ravaging? What's that? As for undead, I've never seen any myself, but I here that clerics can deal with them easily enough."

Then Calhera became concerned.

"What do you mean the druids are "coming back"? They never went anywhere. Well the ones I knew died, but for the most part there are still very many druids in the world. Although, as I'm sure you know tend not to get along to well with clerics, given that they worship different deities and all. Probably the worst case is near Riddik. The clerics who rule there don't care too much for the Coil Forest to the north. The clerics who rule Riddik are human, and don't really care for the elven druids."
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:43 am

"Did you get hurt in the head?"

Popurum looked at her with with suspicion. Either she had a problem, or Popurum had a problem.

"There aren't supposed to be any druids, any clerics, and the gods have left! There aren't any more! They left when the undead plague started! All your history is off! Divine powers? Clerics and druids? The undead? Riddik? It's like we're back..."

Popurum thought and thought and thought...

"When are we?"

Maybe Popurum was the one with the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:43 am

"'When are we?'? What do you mean 'When are we?'? It's the year 311 Of Dawning silly," Calhera replied.

The riverfolk's sense of odd humor was charming to Calhera in an odd sort of way.

"What do you mean undead plague? There's never been such a thing. You're saying my history is off? You sound so concerned. That's so sweet," she smiled then leaned down and kissed him on the forehead.

She then turned and began walking back down the dirt road, leaving Popurum standing there for a moment.

"'When are we?' You're so silly," she said giggling.
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:48 am

Popurum stopped and stood there stunned. All he could think was he wouldn't see Aldion again...

Then she kissed him. A grin big for a minotaur stretched over the riverfolk's face. Red showed on his cheeks.

"Heh, yeah. Sweet..."

"So- So what do we do first?"

He asks as he hurries to walk beside her. Her tall stature is apparent, and he slyly pumps himself up, trying to look big and mighty. At least his posture was good.
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:50 am

"Well first we see if we can't find any type of clue at the grove," she said smiling at Popurum.

His posture had completely given him away, that he was developing some sort of crush on Calhera, or so she believed. And to her it was such a nice change. In fact it was a drastic one. She had gone from being a bane to everyone she had known for the last years, to having someone blush and stammer around her.

It was odd. She had a strange feeling in her stomach. Like pixies tickling her insides. She felt warm and happy inside. Having someone seem to care this much about the words she was saying....even before the horrible scene she had came upon at the grove two years ago....even before that, no one seemed this interested in her thoughts.

They arrived at the grove a short while later. It wasn't far from the town, and the trek was uneventful. The two made small talk. Or rather Popurum made small talk. He would mention how great Aldion was. And Calhera would listen. She was genuinely interested. She had never met someone so full of life before.

"This is the grove, or rather it used to be," she stated somberly when they arrived, "I've surmised that there's a small patch of woods to the east. I imagine the goblins came from there. I tried searching the woods for evidence of them being there before, but what had happened was over two years ago. I couldn't find anything. The only thing I found of interest was this," she finished, leading Popurum to a tall rock.

"The runes were carved here. They weren't here went I went to see my mother, but were when I returned. From what I've been able to decipher, they mean to "Stop Expansion". Which makes no sense to me. It took me a while but the ruins are a very old form of elvish."

She finished speaking and stared at Popurum. The tattoo of the of the dragon on his shoulder complimented his long red hair very nicely. It was then she realized she had been staring at him for several moments and not saying anything.

She blushed a deep crimson.
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:51 am

Popurum was transfixed on the runes. He didn't notice her staring at him, had he, his face and hair would match.

"Expansion? Could they mean the goblins? Maybe they're spreading their territory? Or numbers? To fight and defeat the rangers and druids, how big of a force would they need?"

Popurum didn't have much in the way of ideas. He wanted to solve it. He wanted to help Calhera. He then turned to look at her. When he looked at her, he saw the ache she had, but the courage too.

Aldion, the weasel pet, surfaced and began combing the area, glad to be moving on his own.

"Is there anything in the grove the goblins would be after?"
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:51 am

"Not that I know of," she said as she bent down, plucking some weeds from the foot of one of the tall rocks.

"The only thing I can think of, that's around here, is Azure. And they do certainly have control of it now. What I don't understand is I'm sure they've heard of me in the town and know I want them out. If they killed the druids and rangers here, then why do they continue to allow me to live?" she wondered allowed.

She took a few steps from Popurum and turned away from him, and began to softly cry.

"It...It's so hard sometimes..." she began as she knelt down on her knees and cried, "It's so hard being so alone."
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:52 am

Seeing the tears she shed, the sounds her heart made, Popurum couldn't think. He felt as if he were in a rain storm. Sorrow and heartache was all he thought about. Except, it was her's.

He felt small. Not just in stature, but in will and heart. Something he wasn't accustomed to. Calhera...

Slowly he made his walk to stand beside her. When he was close enough, he got down on his knees. Kneeling beside her. He didn't look at her, but his small arm wrapped around her.

And he whispered.

"You're not alone. I won't let you."
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:52 am

Popurum was alone in a time he didn't understand.

Calhera was alone in a life she never asked for.

But together....they weren't alone. They had each other.

They camped at the grove that night, comforting each other to ease the sorrow that had been so heavy a burden on them.

It rained that night. Not a harsh storm. But a soft, gentle, rain that cleansed their hearts.

********************************

When Popurum awoke the next morning Calhera was already awake.

"Love, I believe I've figure it out. "Stop Expansion." It wasn't the goblins that murdered the druids and rangers here....it was Mistress Hearthrow!"
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:53 am

"That human woman? What would she need to attack the grove for? I thought she was trying to protect it."

Popurum looked at Calhera and smiled. It was nice waking up with her. However, he knew how important this was to her, so he remained focused. Grin still wide, however.

"You said you've been looking for her? Where do you think she might be?"

She called me, Love...
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:56 am

"Mistress Hearthrow always complained that the village of Azure would expand one day. Overtake the grove. And more expansion means less of the trees, the woods, the animals. I always thought she was a little paranoid. Progress is natural. And of course we must protect nature. But we must also allow people to live freely. She was always worried about Azure expanding....."

Calhera was quiet for a moment.

"Love, I don't know where to find her....but I think I know who does. We need to go speak the the Goblin Mayor of Azure, Yebbel."
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:57 am

"Alright. So, we go back to Azure and speak with the mayor. Do you expect to have any problems there?"

Popurum raised his hand to take hers. He was ready to fight for her. He was excited to help her solve the mystery and bring her closure.

More and more, he felt himself thinking only of Calhera. Even his idol, Aldion seemed less important. All that mattered was her. Her happiness, her smile, her and him.

Popurum really enjoyed the druid, and pitied the future where there were none. He was very lucky to be with her now, then.
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:57 am

The two lovers made there way back to Azure, and went directly to a very affluent rug shop, where Yebbel and his Goblin squadron resided upstairs.

They entered the store and a short skinny Goblin stood behind the counter on a stool so he could see over it.

"Yoo no beee here!" he screeched.

"Shhh..." Calhera whispered, waving her hand in front of him, "sleep."

The command spell worked easily on such a feeble mind. The Goblin toppled from the stool to the floor and slumbered.

Calhera and Popurum made their way up stairs where two Goblin guards, these ones a bit larger than the last, stood.

"We are here to see Yebbel. I am Calhera Rainsong, and this is my husband, the great hero, Aldion. Don't make him angry," she warned, embellishing her fib.

It may have been a fib, technically, but for all intents and purposes...
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:58 am

Popurum loved his sweet woman. He followed calm and courageous past the sleeping goblin to the top of the stairs. There, he loved her fib. As far as he felt, he might of well have been.

As she forewarned the goblin not to enrage the riverfolk, "Aldion" lifted his hand and it burned with a ready fire spell.

It too, was just for show, but Popurum was prepared to finish the spell if needed. Specially for her.
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:58 am

The two Goblins saw the fire and quickly stepped aside fear consuming them.

Calhera threw open the door and strode into Yebbel's office.

"WHAT YOU WANT RANGER!?" he bellowed.

Calhera quickly pulled out her glaive and held it to Yebbel's throat.

"You know why I'm here, worm. We know Mistress Hearthrow killed those in the grove. Where is she!" Calhera growled, forgetting herself in front of Popurum. She then realized he was there and her cheeks reddened a bit. She hoped this more wild side to her wouldn't scare his heart away from her.

"She....she...she in Coil Forest! That where!" Yebbel stammered.

Calhera lowered the glaive. "Good. If I find out your lying, we will be back."

"Be? Be back!? NO! No come back. I tell truth! I tell truth!" Yebbel cried out in fear, "She....she hire us....grove used to protect city. City able to grow. Expand. Cut away at forests. She hire us to kill grove members. We do so and she help us become mayor of Azure to keep it from expanding. She want keep forest safe. We want food and ale from local tavern. It all work out you see," Yebbel finished smiling a wide grin with hope that Calhera wouldn't punch him in the mouth.
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:59 am

Popurum looked at his love with awe. She was a strong one, no doubt. She reminded him of the real Aldion. Or did Aldion remind Popurum of Calhera?

Popurum turned his adoring smile at Calhera, to a confident smirk as he watched her take control of the goblin.

"I'd pray my love's justice doesn't reach to your throats again. Otherwise it won't be just her blade you're faced with," he says casually resting his hand on his black painted sword.

He then turned back to Calhera, with a warm smile.

"Ready to end this, my love?"
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PostSubject: Re: They are out there...HUNT THE DEAD!   Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:00 am

"Where. Is. Mistress. Heathrow." Calhera asked Yebbel, slowly, her anger growing with each word.

"M-M-Mistress....Mistress Hearthrow dead." Yebbel admitted.

"Dead?" Calhera said confused. It was a fitting end for one so treacherous she supposed. Still, the ache of knowing that one of the grove's own had betrayed them, stung.

"Sh-She dead. We...we kill her long time ago. So she not make us leave Azure."

And that was it. The mystery she had struggled to solve for two years was finally revealed. She looked to Popurum.

"If he hadn't been here.....I would have not found the strength to see this through."

Where everyone else had shunned her, Popurum showed compassion. Where everyone else had left her, he was there as a companion. And where no one was there to fill the void in her heart....Popurum was there. He was her heart now. And she knew it. She loved him dearly....and did NOT regret the night they had spent together in the grove for a minute.

"So my love, my hero, my own Aldion" she said to him, "what do we do with this wretch and his lackey now?"
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PostSubject: Azure's Secret Grove   Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:00 am

"It is for your heart to determine, Calhera. I am but your companion and aide in hopes you obtain peace. I will draw blades with you. I will fire spells for you. And I will walk out with you. What you decide, I will follow. I am your company, your friend, yours."

Popurum reached up and seized her hand and squeezed it firmly. Everything that was Popurum tingled and urged for this woman. Never did he feel such peace. Nor would he again.

"I'll stay with you," he said. For so he hoped...
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