[AW+] city of the dead

The morning began like any other.

Iomair slept propped against the crumbling wall, a thick blanket thrown over the bulk of his shoulders. It almost looked as though it had been tucked in by a gentle hand, though the long claws of his feet were exposed where the blanket lay torn and dishevelled.

Iomair dreamed of heat – of the warm Heartwards who had welcomed him into their brothels, the smiles and lustrous eyes that had been all too eager to help him forget.

Sometimes he saw Indis, her eyes flashing like a beacon as the fires of war burned behind her.

It was the chill that finally woke him, and The King shuddered to wakefulness as a breeze tumbled through their broken window. A leaf that alerted him to the changing of the seasons drifted through the room, skittering across the dusty floor like a warning. When it bumped up against the thick ridge of his muzzle Iomair snorted loudly, pulling himself first to his elbows and then to his feet.

He teetered there for a moment, his bones aching against the chill as he stumbled towards his pile of clothes.

When he was dressed, he scrubbed his eyes, smoothing the rough kept contours of his moustache.

”Well, another day.” He mused as he combed through his hair, tugging the curls into place between his ears with a careful hand. ”Today I thought about patrolling the Fort’s Edge,” He hummed softly before turning to the crumpled pile of furs that indicated where his wife lay, ”You could join me if you like. Walking will keep your strength-“

He had padded his way towards her and was reaching for what he assumed was the smooth slope of her shoulder.

When he touched the blanket it collapsed on itself, and it was only then that he realized his wife was not there.

The blankets were twisted and turned, and when he lay his hand against the straw the mattress was cold against his palm. He was surprised at the blood stain smudged against the coverings, and instantly he felt himself grow cold.

Her scent was stale now, and despite himself he called for her.

”Vodeva?” He barked softly, ”Vo’?”

He trotted out into the City Square with the blanket folded between his hands, his brows cinched with worry.
There were droplets of blood spattered against the cobblestones, so fine that Iomair almost missed them in his pacing.

”Vodeva!” He finally thundered, barking so deeply that a flock of birds from a nearby house took off in a smattering of flapping wings.

Open to kick off the SPOOK

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WC: 239

A loud bark startled Arran from his sleep, and he flipped from his back to his stomach to his feet in one movement, dislodging the two cats that had been sleeping on him. Arran looked around with dazed eyes. His Gramma was already gone, so there were just two disgruntled cats glaring at him.

A second later, Arran's brain caught up enough to realize that the bark had been a call for Vodeva. Another second later and he was out the door and into the street, where he found Iomair. Arran ran up to him, and he couldn't help the quite whine that escaped him at the sight of the blanket in his hands.

"What happened?" Arran asked, looking up at Iomair. It was a long way up with Arran on four paws. He sniffed the ground automatically and recoiled at the scent of blood, and then backed away to make sure he wasn't standing in it. He didn't want to mix his own scent in with it. This was bad.

"Is this..." he gulped, then licked his lips several times with a whine. "Is this hers?" He leaned down to sniff at the blood again. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was just coincidence. Someone brought fresh prey through the Square sometime during the night. When he thought about it that way, that didn't sound good, either. What if Vodeva was the prey?
4/7 Grand Quest Threads Complete
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The thunderous bark was so loud and deep that Toklo heard it.

He'd been walking through the square, leather straps for a harness thrown over his shoulder, when one small ear twitched back. Puzzled that such a noise would reach his ears, Toklo first tipped his head back and raised a palm to feel for rain, but the clouds were – though a little grey – not dark or heavy enough to be full of water. Chewing on his inner cheek, he walked through the streets a little faster, then ran when he saw Iomair and Arran.

When the wolfdog reached them and saw the bloodied blanket in the king's arms, he asked one frantic, loud question.


By the time Willow – who'd heard the cry and seen the startled birds as she wandered by the outskirts of the city, yawning tiredly – found the trio, Toklo looked absolutely overwhelmed and terrified. His eyes kept flicking between Iomair and Arran, unable to keep one's mouth in his sights before he looked to the other; but mostly he kept staring in horror at that blanket.

Willow blinked and approached, her ears pinning back. What happened?

Will'a, Toklo said for her attention, voice strangled, and when his hands moved they flew about like the frightened pigeons. "Tell me what they're saying, something happened with Vodeva," he urged her, fingers stumbling over her name with how badly his hands trembled. Lake blue eyes soft and worried, she nodded, then looked to Iomair for answers.

[WC: 254]

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[Image: kr.png]
I took the time to breathe
among the rootbuds and the weeds
but the peat moss and the leaves took turns with both my feet

She was bent over her writings, completely enthralled in the words upon the page, when his frantic call reached her ears. Magenta eyes instantly darted to the window, and she stepped over to see what the commotion was. There was her King clutching something in his hands, pacing through the streets, and immediately Fennore knew something was wrong.

Abandoning her works, the wolfess hurried outside her house, making her way to Iomair in a brisk jog. By the time she drew closer she saw others, too, Arran and Willow and her friend — his name escaped her, and it wasn't entirely important in this moment.

The blood staining the blanket had Fennore's running cold.

It permeated the air, albeit barely; it was stale and old, but it was there, lingering like a ghost. No panic set in her features — there was a reasonable worry between the lot of them, but someone had to remain relatively level-headed, or else fear would overtake them.

Questions flew this way and that, tinged with concern and anxiousness for their missing Queen, and the Moonwraith cast a careful look upon the frantic monarch. "Where was the last place you saw her?" she asked evenly, unaware of the fidgety flexing in her palms.

Try though she might to hide it, there was still a very real sense of uneasiness taking hold of her.


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sig by Despi
[Image: character_wiki.png] [Image: optime_preference.png] [Image: apparel_accessories.png] [Image: npc_accompaniment.png] [Image: skill_scholar.png] [Image: player_wiki.png]
Cora had seen the dawn in on four paws and in pursuit of a meadow vole across part of the river valley. With the vole finally in her jaws and a rising sun lending a warmth to her coat, the early riser was trotting back up to the City Square to shift back onto two legs when a flock of disquieted birds seemed to burst from the heart of the Square itself.

Cora heard the deep bark, too, and a pit of panic and adrenaline began to gnaw at her stomach. The murmur of anxious questioning seemed to wind its way towards her, not the other way around, as she dropped the vole and headed toward the hubbub.

Several Luperci were already gathered around the High King, their faces ranging from concern to panic. When Cora caught the scent of blood, as if she’d stepped into shadow, her features darkened too. She could see Willow and Toklo, the former looking somehow less like the wild explorer Cora had always considered her to be. Her own ears drew back as she glanced up at the collection of worried faces. All of them worried, all of them questioning.

Cora didn’t offer her own questions. Even her own relatively clear head was starting to feel the pressure for answers. With Iomair clutching a blood-spattered blanket, with the name of his wife still lingering in the air, Cora guessed those answers could be the line between life and death.

Cora’s ears swivelled as if listening for distant chants. But no – she had seen little blood when Krokar had fallen, or she no longer remembered seeing it. This couldn’t be the work of the Omniscients.

Cora turned her attention to the woman who’d asked the most recent question, sensing a calmer head among the building unease. Then her gaze shifted back to Iomair.



Several things happened in quick succession: a bark questioning, concerned followed by another one loud and thunderous, startling birds from their nests. It shook the City Square to life, shattering the stillness of the early morn as one by one its denizens rose to their king’s alarming cry. They crept from houses and wearing footpaths, the soft marshy earth of the river valley, and the skeletal birches of the Enedwaith…

Hasufel’s ears drew back at the sound, he stuttered to a halt, kicking up his forelegs in an alarmed sort of dance. His nostrils flared and he whinnied shrilly, fighting Athras for control as the Lord-Regent urged him onward. The Lord’s lips pulled back, teeth bared as he struggled to bring his stallion to heel. He succeeded eventually however the tension in his lips and the stark flash of fangs alluded to his dissatisfaction. They raced forward, kicking up dirt and screeching to a halt once they reached the growing gathering.

He’d heard their questions, echoes of the same from different lips, saw the cast of their eyes as they looked upon the bloody blanket. Athras’s first thoughts were unbecoming and he wisely chose not to utter them, though the wheels began to turn. His gaze was enigmatic, cool as it passed from face to face, assessing and calculative. They lingered on Willow for a moment longer before completing the circuit. His jaw was tense, ears rigid.

While the rest awaited the King’s answers, Athras’s nostrils quivered. He slid from Hasufel’s withers, ignoring the way the stallion tossed his head and blew air tensely out his nostrils. He breathed in the copper-scent of blood intermixed with the threadbare musty fabric and lowered further down to the ground where the faintest hint of crimson caught his eye. He reached out to touch it, but his fingers returned dry. He frowned. “The Queen is not well.” The Regent told the crowd, offering little comfort. “I will search for her, but the trail is cold. Pray to the gods she yet lives.”

Athras straightened to walk through their midst, brushing a hand across Willow’s rigid shoulder as he returned to his horse. He mounted swiftly then eyes to the ground followed the trail of blood as an eerie fog crept into the square.

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<div class="fancytext">Athras</div><br>
<div class="links"><a href="https://wiki.soulsrpg.com/index.php?n=Characters.AthrasEryn">Character Wiki</a> ❦ <a href="https://wiki.soulsrpg.com/index.php?n=Players.Stormie">Player Wiki</a><br>
<div id="signature-icons"> <a href="#" class="reply-medium" title="REPLY SPEED: MEDIUM"></a><a href="#!" title="I prefer if you do NOT use graphical tables in our threads. Thanks!" class="no-tables"></a><a href="#!" title="I will roleplay mature material." class="will-mature"></a><a href="#!" class="skill-fighting" title="Athras is skilled with daggers"></a><a href="#!" class="skill-animals" title="Athras is a skilled horseman."></a><a href="#!" class="skill-stealth" title="Athras is skilled in stealth."></a><a href="#!" class="skill-spirituality" title="Athras is a skilled Druid."></a><a href="#!" class="skill-social" title="Athras is charismatic and a skilled politician."></a></div>


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His hands trembled where he held the blanket, the smears of blood slowly making their way onto his scarred fingers. Slowly other members of the Realm began to filter through the City Square, their eyes perfectly matched to the hazy shroud which seemed to descend upon them as if summoned by some power determined to hide the path Vodeva had taken.

Iomairs face was creased with worry, and he made a sound in his throat before allowing himself a moment to gather his composure.

To show panic in the face of his people would not serve them well. Toklo was keening, a sound that Iomairs ears flattened at, and he attempted to look consoling – though pieces of her heart were loosened by fear and concern.

Had someone taken her?

He took a breath and allowed his gaze to trail over them; the proud Fennore, the gentle Cora… Willow was there with her tufted chin thrust out into the din, and Arran too, his green eyes tense.

”She’s been injured since the war.” He finally managed, clutching the blanket close. ”She was sleeping… I rose to check on her… and she was there.” He could remember touching the cool slope of her shoulder, and adjusting the blanket so that it sat tighter against her face, ”I just pray that she has not been taken from us too soon.”

His mouth fell, and he gestured to those that had gathered as Athras bent to brush his fingers against the blood, ”Please, go out and look for her.” He hummed grimly, ”If you find anything at all please come back to this place and call for me and I will answer, no matter where I am.”

He gathered himself up and watched as his Lord Regent swiftly mounted his horse and spurred him into a gallop that filled the Square with a cacophony of sound.

The King glanced sadly at Toklo and ran a hand across his ears, ”We’ll find her.”

Feel free to keep going, or to break off into new threads to search for Vodeva! This will be my last post in this thread - group threads are tough! Smile

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