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Old 08-26-2017, 03:33 AM   #1
Firmhanded_Daddy
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Dark Tides Rising (closed)

“Give me another” She growled at the innkeeper. Now working on her third mug of ale she was impatiently waiting for her partner. She had picked the meeting place, a small inn on the outskirts of Daggerford known as “The Maiden’s Virtue”. The place was anything but virtuous and that was precociously why she picked it. She had two pieces of information about her partner on this little scouting mission, it was a man, and a Paladin. Oh, Paladin’s were a useful lot when it came to stopping undead and pulling swords out of her gut without taking the intestines with, but aside from that, they were far too prudish for her taste. Too many rules and rituals.

They usually followed some sort of God that demanded all these damned rules they had to follow. Bah! Tempus! Now that was a God! Who wouldn’t want to worship a God of battle? Well, to be fair she didn’t really worship him in any temples or anything, she did her worship on the battle field.

Now she was waiting for her partner to arrive so they could go scout out an increase in activity of Goblinoid creatures on the Trollbark forest. Supposedly there was a large host gathering, but the reports were unconfirmed, so Neverwinter put out the coin to the adventure guild for skilled warriors to scout the enemy, destroy them if possible, and if not report their numbers and disposition.

Most people steered clear of the large woman, she was a barbarian from a clan famed in Icewind Dale for being ferocious, quick to anger, and damned near impossible to kill. That was not to say that the sight of her wasn’t somewhat tempting if one could find a six-foot tall woman who’s sun dark skin only made her crimson hair flash brighter. The long mane of red was tied and gathered into braids to make it harder for the enemy to grab handholds of, but even still it made her look as if her head were on fire; it was a genetic trait among her people. Almost every one of them had the same color hair.

She wore a set of banded metal armor with leather reinforcement, not too heavy, it allowed her to move quickly and quietly if she chose to. It also hugged her frame quite well. She wore a strange axe on her back that was almost as tall as she was and had axe heads on either end of the haft. It was almost a hybrid between a pole arm and an axe. The thing looked terrifying and well used With four blades she could strike in any number of ways and use a good distance of reach to bring death to her enemies. There was something strange about the center of the haft however, there seemed to be some sort of joint.

Her body was clearly battle hardened, even through the armor an observer could see she was capable of extreme strength. The thick bands of muscle in her legs and arms were proof of that. She was not without a certain fierce and exotic sort of beauty. Her eyes were the color of ice, and she inherited a rather ample bust from her mother.

A man approached her and she thought that perhaps her partner was finally here. That hope was very quickly squashed. As she turned to look at the man who approached her he stared back in a bleary eyed drunken haze. ”Yer a big on aren’t ya. That’s all right, I like one I can get a little rough with. How much are ye?”

Those eyes could be so beautiful, or they could bear down the chill of the Dales of her homeland. Currently, it was the latter. She spoke it firmly once, after all, she did pick this place because it was full of prostitution just to ruffle the Paladin’s feathers. She didn’t think anyone would be stupid enough to try to proposition her. “I am not a prostitute. If you do not go away little man I promise you will be pulling broken glass out of every orifice you have. I’m going to count to three and if you are not gone, things are going to start breaking, starting with you.”

He laughed and clapped her on the shoulder. Clearly, he thought she was just playing hard to get! Playing tough right? Wrong. She grabbed him by the shoulders as if she were going to pull him in for a kiss and instead she drove her head forward hard. She felt his nose shatter on her forehead and he fell back in shock. Unfortunately, he fell into a table of several other patrons who were playing a game of bones.

All three men got up, except the drunk who was trying to figure out why his nose exploded. Two of the three even drew short swords.

She laughed. “Now wonder you have to come to a whore house to get laid! Look at how small they are! Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”

The three men closed quickly, she didn’t draw the large axe on her back, it was too big for these close quarters, she had several throwing axes she could easily use as weapons, but these guys looked about as skilled as goblin whelps.

Sure enough, the first one lunged in and with timing and speed that could only come from years of experience she gripped his wrist before the thrust could reach her with one hand. She squeezed, twisted, and heard a pop. The sword fell lifeless to the floor. His wrist was a horrid ruin to look at, he would never wield a weapon again.

The other two men tried to use her diverted attention to attack. The unarmed man of all things jumped on her back and tried to put a choke hold on her. She contemplated ripping him off even as he started to squeeze at her airway. Instead, she twisted so the other man who was slashing the short sword was suddenly aiming at his fellow attacker, instead of her with as much of a laugh as she could manage while being choked out.

The man managed to pull his cut just enough to keep from seriously injuring the unarmed assailant. However, that was enough encouragement to let go of her. As soon as his feet hit the floor she threw her elbow out and smashed it against his skull. He crumpled like a puppet who had its strings cut. She looked down with a frown. “Hmmm is he dead? I didn’t intend to kill him.

The last man standing looked at her, finally registering just how far out of her league he was and he turned to start running. She finally drew a throwing axe from her belt. With precision and immense strength, she drew and hurled the axe in a fluid motion. The axe spiraled outward less than a foot from where the man was about to be. “I didn’t say you could leave.”

He froze in his tracks and looked at her like she had sprouted wings and horns. She covered the distance, and cleared a table in a single leap and landed next to him. Gripping him by the shoulder she patted him lightly. “You were smart enough to know when you were out matched. For that, I’ll give you a small reward. However, next time you decide to attack someone, either finish the job or gauge their strength better.”

She punched him in the stomach; hard. Then she filched his coin purse, and while palming it, used one hand to throw him out of the Inn. She walked back up to the innkeeper and handed him the coin purse. “For the damages.” And went back to drinking her ale.
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Old 08-26-2017, 09:05 AM   #2
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"So this is Daggerford. Not much to look at, really. But a strategic hold, none the less. Right, Fleetfoot?."

Maxwell, a tall, strong but surprisingly young-looking man arrived at the edge of the small town, on a pure white steed, which bore the holy Symbols of his patron, Torm: A golden wyrm on one flank, a knights long sword on the other.

Clad in shining silver and gold plate armor, covered by an ornate blue travelers cloak, also bearing the golden wyrm, he certainly looked like the typical knight stereotype. Not a single lock of blond hair was out of place. His dark eyes shone a multitude of hues in the setting sun. His physique was strong and able beneath the pristine plate.

He fingered the shining golden wyrm icon that clasped his cloak around his broad shoulders and bowed his head reverently. With an effortless step, he was off of the noble steed.

"Torm grant me the strength to right the wrong in this region. I, your humble servant Maxwell Arnaud, beseech thee!"

The reality of it all was a bit different: On the outside, he looked like a hero, but on the inside it was all just a show. Merely twenty seasons this year, and a recent graduate of Drogan Droganson's Adventuring School, this was, in fact his first official mission.

While he dreamed of being a true Paladin one day, what he lacked in experience, he tried to make up for in enthusiasm. This often got the better of him, and along with his tendency to be a bit of clumsy, he often ended up looking foolish.

"Time to go, Fleetfoot, our destiny awaits us!" He patted the steed, perhaps a bit more roughly than he intended to, as he began to mount it. Disliking the roughness of his touch, the steed took off in the direction of town, trailing Maxwell along, one foot in the stirrup, behind it. Yelling could be heard all throughout the town "Whoa... stop... heel!!"

Knowingly, the noble beast stopped directly in front of the The Maiden's Virtue. After many humiliating moments of untangling himself, as onlookers gathered around in a circle, Maxwell hopped to his feet. Not missing a beat, he bowed deeply with a broad smile.

"Ah good townsfolk. No need to start adulating me already, I have yet to become your savior!"

With Fleetfoot hitched to a post with a salt lick, he made his way into the busted up tavern. Surveying the damage at his feet, his eyes naturally gravitated to the barbarian, at its epicenter.

In that moment his eyes were opened to more than they had ever been before. He drank in her every feature, the strength of her arms, the way her body moved in her leathers, the fiery mane that engulfed her head. In that moment he knew something he'd never known before, and would hesitate to ever admit he knew again.

In that moment he knew passion.

And he stood there, unable to think of a single thing to say.
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Old 08-27-2017, 01:44 AM   #3
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The door swung open and in came some tall blonde haired man, no wait boy all dressed up to play hero. She looked him up one side and down the other and a feeling began gnawing at the pit of her stomach. Why did she have a sneaking suspicion that this was supposed to be her back up?

Here she was surrounded by barely dressed harlots and vices of all kinds and the damned fool was staring at HER as if she were on the slab for sale. She knew that look when she saw it, and she knew that his armor was likely a lot less comfortable right now than it was before he strolled through the door.

She wanted to scream in frustration. Instead, she placed a hand on her hip and locked her eyes on him. "What in Lolth's fiery crotch are you staring at boy? I've reached my stupid limit for today and my partner is late. I am not in the mood!"

There were thunder clouds in those striking blue eyes as she started to close the gap between them. "Something resembling smart best come out of your lips before I reach you boy. That shiny new armor and pretty hair won't save you from being gutted. I am not drunk enough to be gawked at like a harlot and stand here and take it for the second time. The first four survived the encounter, you won't be so lucky."

She was already reaching behind her for the wicked looking axe that seemed analogous for her. Exotic looking, and deadly.

Chairs screeched in all directions. Everyone had witnessed what she had done with her bare hands against four full grown men. She hadn't even drawn a weapon until the very end and it was just a hand axe, now she had drawn a full two handed weapon and despite the sun kissed ruddy complexion one look at her face you could clearly tell her face was an ugly shade of red. The huge axe easily had to weigh over twenty pounds and she wielded it in one hand as if it were nothing, not yet gripping it as if she intended to use it to murder.
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Old 08-27-2017, 03:26 PM   #4
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The flustered Paladin took one giant step back, over one of the nearby knocked-out locals and put his hands up.

"Ma'am I think you've misunderstood my intentions! I'm a holy man, a Paladin of Torm..."

As he stuttered, the sweat began to bead on his forehead. He eyed the great axe with fear and gulped audibly.

"I'm merely looking for the ferocious warrioress Ranora Kan'nar." He cleared his throat and gave her a big grin, his white teeth flashing in the golden torch light.

"I... I was hoping that would be you... I mean you are the most ferocious and able-bodied person I've ever seen."

He shot her another winning smile and bowed gallantly. "And even if you're not her, your ale tankard looks a little empty. Perhaps I could refill it for you?"
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Old 08-28-2017, 03:21 PM   #5
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Oh he this little pretty boy was supposed to be her partner? He looked like he could barely hold a sword, let alone take on the dangers they could potentially face ahead of them. She felt rage burn white hot through her, but as much as she wanted to break this boy in half, she knew it wasn't his fault someone sent him in place of a competent adventurer. She would just have to teach him how not to die on the road, or do the job herself after he got himself killed.

She let out a growl and put the axe back in the thong that held it on her back and then pulled the throwing axe free from the wall where it had embedded itself previously as she had thrown it. She shot him a hard look. "The time for drinks and fancy talk is over boy. You are late. Everything we are supposed to hunt sees in the dark. By the time we get to the enemy territory they will have the advantage now."

She sheathed the throwing axe in her belt and then grabbed him by the top of his breast plate and hauled him out of the tavern bodily without much effort. It was at that point he should have realized he was being nearly lifted dragged in all of his heavy armor with one hand. Her strength was almost inhuman.

Now that they were outside the tavern she lowered her voice and looked around to make sure no one could overhear them. "Listen, I've been doing this a long time. I know a fresh recruit when I see one. How many missions have you been on? I need to know how much I need to teach you to keep you alive kid." Her tone was less angry, it was even softer. She seemed to be of all things understanding. After all, everyone had to learn at some point, right?

"Also, I need to know how much you remember about our mission, and about the races we expect to encounter, their traits, and your own abilities and equipment. No embellishment, no pride, we don't have time."
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:38 PM   #6
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His body went limp as the strong wild woman hefted him, heels scraping the floor behind him. He crashed into the side of the tavern with a thud, nearly denting his newly purchased plate armor in the process. After a few moments he was able to stand on his own again, hands beginning to smooth out the wrinkles in his freshly washed traveling cloak.

"I... I'm not sure what's given you the idea that I'm a novice" he began, remembering to enunciate the words proudly as he was taught in his adventuring school, "But I can assure you that I am quite experienced! I even graduated at the top of my class. Why on the way here, I even turned a few skeletons, madame. So you see there is no need to fear, for I, Maxwell Arnaud humble Sword of Torm, am here!"

Maxwell shot her a wide grin, his perfect teeth shining in the moonlight. He crossed his arms nonchalantly and leaned against the wall. At least he thought it was the wall, but walls are not supposed to move. A second later, he was on the ground, horse tail swishing over his face, horse hooves kicking up bits of dried earth and insects as it whinnied disdainfully.

For the second time in the span of minutes, Maxwell had no idea what to say to this beautiful woman, who could break him in half with ease. Instead he just grinned at her, looking equal parts foolish and pathetic.

At least he occasionally looked like a hero.
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:08 PM   #7
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She watched as the paladin leaned against the horse's ass and in protest the horse simply side stepped and let the paladin fall. She winced as he hit the ground hard.

Letting out an exasperated sigh she reached down and took him by the hand, pulling him to his feet with ease. Again, her strength was a marvelous thing to sense through the simple contact of their hands. Perhaps the legends and rumors of her people having giant blood in their veins were true.

"Listen. I don't care if you are an old salt, or this is your first day on the job. You need to stop trying to impress me and get serious. Do you understand how serious our mission is? We need to go to Trollbark Forest and figure out if the rumors are true that there is a goblinoid host is gathering to head this direction. If it is small enough we are going to take it out, if it is too big for us to handle we need to report back and prepare a defense."

She paused, looking him in the eyes, those ice blue eyes were hard and serious, but no longer angry. "I need to know you can handle yourself, and if you can't I am just going to go by myself. I can sneak in and out of their camp better than most rangers. They will hear you clomping around from a mile out as you tumble down every hill we find. I don't know why they sent you to me, but if I feel like you can't hold your ground I won't have your death on my conscience, got it?"

She stepped away from him. "Get your weapons, then follow me. I am going to test your skills. Come at me with everything you have. Try to kill me."

She pulled her wicked long exotic axe from the thong on her back and gripped the haft in the middle. She gave a twist on either end and revealed the secret behind the strange joint in the middle. The axe split apart into two separate one handed axes.

She stood with her feet shoulder width apart, left foot leading, left axe leading in front so that she was standing sideways, making her a smaller target. Her knees were slightly bent, and she looked at him waiting for him to make a move. "I'm told Paladins are immune to fear, a gift from their Gods, right? So move your ass! Attack me!" She barked. "You have five seconds or I will attack you, and if I attack you, you will die. Not even your God has the power to save you from me, boy."
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Old 08-30-2017, 06:12 PM   #8
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Maxwell's eyes widened and his mouth made the form of an O as she lifted him to his feet with a single arm. He began to protest, but quickly changed his mind as he watched the fearsome axe become two, equally fearsome but slightly shorter axes. His hand went to the hilt of his shining blade. Without even a second thought to stop him, it was in his left hand, his right holding his shield in a very obviously school-standard defensive pose.

"I must warn you madame, I was at the top of my class in swordsmanship."

His eyes glimmered in the pale moonlight, full of determination and will. He was not one to back down from a sword fight, even if it meant his undoing. As much as it pained him to admit, she was right about one thing: His faith made him fearless.

"I won't hold back."

And with that, he thrust the blade forward toward what he thought was a good target.
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:49 AM   #9
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She watched the face he made as she basically dead lifted him with one hand. If the boy was impressed by that was he going to soil his armor when he encountered an Ogre?

When he warned her about how he was the top of his class she gave a dismissive snort. "Consider me warned."

He did seem to be taking this seriously at least. He had a hard look in his eyes, for all the good it was going to do him. His stance wasn't bad. A little too rigid. That might be from inexperience though. She was going to have to find a way to get him to loosen up.

She didn't watch the blade the entire time, she tracked the trajectory and with a lightning quick turn of her right axe she deflected the long sword. She turned the axe in her hand to catch and torque the long sword. That left the young paladin a choice, drop the blade, or have his wrist broken by the force.

She didn't forget about the shield because a smart warrior remembered that a shield could be used as a weapon as well as to block an attack. With that opening created she easily hooked the lip of the shield with the other axe and yanked hard to the left, pulling it far away from his body.

Finally she stepped into his body with the right axe coming back into place. She slapped the flat of the axe against his breast plate right in the chest and announced firmly. "You're dead, Max."

It was the first time she used his name. He attacked her without a shred of fear, that earned him a little bit of respect.
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Old 09-02-2017, 04:10 PM   #10
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Stunned.

No one at Master Drogan's Adventuring School had prepared him to face a foe so dire and fearsome as she. 'Impressively strong, fierce... No! I will not lose my resolve!' With a flick of his perfectly manicured hair he dismissed the doubt from his mind. With all the courage he could muster, in he charged like in his training. Not a single misstep was made.

However there is a difference in fighting someone who doesn't know how they're supposed to fall down. As any fighter would tell you: In real fighting, the combatant does not behave in the way he does in sparring.

Within moments he was rendered defenseless. With a nearly shattered wrist, which would throb for weeks after this match, and a nearly useless shield landing unceremoniously in a nearby pile of manure, he was left almost without a leg to stand on.

Quickly remembering the words Master Drogan imparted on him in his final lesson 'Ach laddie, ye gots ta know when ta run away...' So as the axe crashed into his chest plate, denting it in one place, he did the only thing he could do: turn tail and flee.
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Old 10-11-2017, 06:04 PM   #11
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She blinked. He turned tail and started to run. “What in the Nine Hells?”

She let one of the axes fall to the ground, grumbling that she had to drop one of her weapons so unceremoniously to catch the fleeing paladin. With a snarl and a bound, she closed the distance and gripped the lip of the back plate of his breastplate and pulled him back toward her. “Slow down kid. I’m not really going to kill you. I was making a point. This was a sparing session. You realize the odds we are potentially up against right? They sent you in when they should have sent in someone with at least five times your skills.”

She sighed softly. “Listen, we all start somewhere, I was once green too. I get it. I am trying to make sure you survive this mission to get to the next one, okay? We could run into a small scouting party or a small army. If it is the latter you are not even going to be a twig in the forest to them. They are going to cut through you and move on like you never existed.”

She was silent for a moment “With surprise, I might be able to take down a platoon of goblins by myself. Not even I could stop a whole army without fortifications. So we need to get you up to speed quickly, assess your strengths and weaknesses and figure out if I can even take you with me. Do you have any healing power yet?”

She looked down at his wrist, she had not thought about the fact that they might have sent him a paladin so green he may not yet have no healing skills. Damned adventurer’s guild.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:51 PM   #12
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The Paladin looked at her with a proud smile as she inspected his wrist.

"The first thing Master Drogan taught us was to always know your enemy." He pulled out a hidden dagger from his sleeve and pointed it at her neck, less than an inch from her jugular vein. His wrist seemingly healed within the next few moments and he shot her a winning grin.

"I'd like to call this a draw. And then I'd like to treat you to an ale."
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