In Medias Res


Pressed into the darkness, Andrei's eyes flicker around the cavern as the prostrate forms begin to rise, one by one. He starts at a cry from the entrance to the cavern, tensing as he whirls in instinct. However, the young woman has her blade pointed towards that thing. And rightly so. Andrei picks out the symbol of Iomadae emblazoned on her armor... then notices her eyes - Mirela's eyes - and takes an involuntary step backwards.

Then the woman dropped her sword and her challenge... and the moment was over, though Andrei's heart still beat painfully in his chest.

Andrei was confused - by the thing's apparent benignity, by an Iomedaen's reluctance to kill it, by the memory that had just overwhelmed him, and by the situation in which he now found himself.

Keeping to the shadows, he makes his way towards the woman, still fighting the image of Mirela that superimposed itself over her features. In a low rasping voice, full of suppressed emotion and pitched low so as to not carry to the man with the light, "I remember... blackness... and the smell of burning, fetid flesh." Andrei shudders as different, less pleasant, memories bloom in his mind, "Captured I... we must have been. I was seeking, killers... something foul and not of this world." He grips the blade in his hand, so tight that the bones of his knuckles are nearly visible through his pale skin. "Lady of Iomedae, is that not a servant of the Tyrant?" He gestures towards the man.

She turned away from the person she’d shook once he stirred under her fingers, breathing an internal sigh of relief. Human, alive, responding normally to stimuli. Behind her, a gruff, feminine voice barked at her, ordering her to do—what? The only sensible thing to do?

More bodies moving around, speaking, and the room disturbed considerably less. The mere presence of warm, moving people did remarkably well in dissipating lingering fear, making her surroundings less alien. Tension leaked from her shoulders, familiarity with the varied odd situations she got herself in lending her the ability to shrug this off, in some sense, allow her to investigate without being frozen. She took a swig from the flask—a proper one this time—and calm filled her, Cayden’s Gift. She stood roughly, the walls of the cavern, while high, claustrophobic for someone of her large frame, not answering the woman (healer? An evaluating glance took in the slender form, marked it as elven, and glanced wonderingly over the unusual hair color), but moving away to check the rest of the bodies.

More specifically, she looked for her companions. The ratty guard dog that’d run with her and her companion for the past three years; the mule that carried her auxiliary supplies. Her rations, her waterskin, her ale…and of course, for Aamir himself. Surely she’d stumble over that pocked shield of his any second now.

Common. More Common, from another woman, pacing around the cavern energetically. The room seemed even warmer with her frenetic presence. A good question, though Khiida hesitated to answer herself. Disturbing half-memories, maybe dreams…it wasn’t the sort of thing that would be helpful.

Andrezi looked around at the others as they started to gather, eying each person as they came along, hoping to recognize something familiar in any of them. He had no such luck.

"The last thing I remember... I was in a inn. Looking for someone. I asked around, he'd been there, but... moved on already." He reached up and touched his head gingerly as he tried to remember. "I had a few drinks, but... not enough to... well, for whatever this is to have happened. After that everything is sort of jumbled and blurred. None of it makes any sense at all."

As he said it, it only made him realize all the more how utterly strange this all was. He looked around at the others, hoping someone remembered something more than he did. He reached down and lightly touched the hilt of his rapier, using the feel of the worn grip in his hand to reassure himself. None of the others seemed dangerous or hostile, but he kept an eye toward the shadows in case there was something or someone else that was.

Miosil stood up. no one seemed in danger, at least not the immediate-bodyi-ceases-to-function kind. she looked around her, and gathered a few rocks, speaking some words, each rock glowed in it's turn, she threw them around, providing some illumination. Not that the orc blooded would need it!

lshe looked around surveying the bunch... "Right. so we're in a strange mess and no one can remember a wretched thing. lovely! we might as well begin with introductions? names would be nice for a start. I'm Miosil. I've been a healer, and i do a little bit of magic, nothing showy though... does anyone know where we are? are we still in Varisia?"

"Still in!? What do you mean, still in? Ustalav, that's where we should STILL be." The enormous swordsman was lying on his back still, running thick fingers through the scruffy hair of his dog, the two of them looking like nothing more than a lump on the floor of the cavern at the edge of the light. He hadn't bothered to get up like the others, had instead thought to play dead first so as he could get a feel of the situation. Besides, he'd thought, they couldn't actually be in real danger. They still had their weapons, and though sore, not one seemed hurt.

Now he stood, towering and broad, the massive shield he hauled with him only adding to the size of the sillhoutte in the darkness. Heavy footsteps, punctuated by the clanking of metal rang through the cave as he stepped into complete sight. A heavily scarred forearm rose immediately to straighten tangled black hair with a meaty hand, before he let it drop limply and shook his head with a grin that didn't fit the situation in the slightest. It wasn't a grin of mirth, though, but rather an amused sense of distrust. They'd all had that same dream, it seemed, all been put here. Something was not right about this, and if killing them wasn't the goal, then something else was.

"I'm Aamir, and I'll be blunt. I've got no reason to tell you more than that until we work out what is bloody happening. Especially since my head is more than a bit fuzzy, and you've just thought to tell us you're an invoker of some sort. And to boot, we look like we've got some blasphemous wretched thing with us." Aamir's hand wandered to his blade, too, and with no subtlety about it.

I assume I'm the thing.

The bobbing light slowly returns, jagging up and down as sharp taps echo through the tunnel. Getting a sharp glance from the lady in bright armor, his pale light casts her in shadows- shadows that she would gladly dispose of, judging by her expression as she saw him. Scowling in mutual distate, his eyes darted around the room. Reaching up to his face, he felt his mask had fallen somewhere, revealing the hideously scarred and boil-ridden flesh sag under his soft touch. No wonder.

His hooded gaze remained fixed upon the woman with the sword and symbol, watching for the typical zealous overreactions he came to give the 'righteous paladins' who came through Ustalav seeking fame as all men do. Once he had thought paladins noble, but having suffered an attack by one a year prior, he was not pleased to say the least.

"A holy one, hm? Will you attack me then as do your kind, thinking me some loathsome monster? A servant of the "Tyrant"?, his voice came out of the depths of his cowl, rasping and grating in tone. Moments later, dislodged phlegm choked him; coughing, his eyes remained ever on the paladin.

People, a lot of them were getting up, everyone seemed healthy, somewhat tired or battered, but in good condition nonetheless, except for... well... she wasn't sure what to think of him or it.

As everyone started slowly to talk it was apparent that nobody remembered where they were or why... one of them addressed her directly, seemingly with the same concerns about the hooded man as she. At the mention of 'Tyrant' her skin crept and worry crossed her face. Could he be? is that even ...possible? Valeria was inexperienced, her oaths fresh in her mind but her knowledge of the world fairly limited, she couldn't rightly answer that question...

"I... don't know" she answered honestly at the man, then speaking at the creature / hooded man "Iomeade asks us not to judge on appearance, hard as it may be" she exclaims as she looks down, the looking directly at him "I will not attack you without justification, rest assured. Actions and intent speak for ones self, I just hope yours do not speak ill of you..."

Seeing that most everyone was standing Valeria exclaimed "I've scouted, even if only a bit... until now I've found no clues as to where or why we all are here, let me say that we must work as one to better our chances to find answers" resolve clear in her face, her voice unwavering.

"I am Valeria Dae Amundsen, paladin initiate of the inheritor, our lady Iomedae"

Of course you're the thing you are ALWAYS the thing... aren't you?

Daius' gaze remained upon the paladin for a moment, a brief flicker of unreadable emotion passing through them. One who would not attack him immediately, hm? Intriguing, but not so much as their being in this strange tunnel. "My actions?..", he said softly, almost whispering with a small smile upon his face. "If I wished you dead, I'd have slain each of you as you lay. Seeing as how I did not, perhaps I am nothing more than a fellow victim of whatever has Actions, my dear, are based in fear. Fear of.., he trailed off, his hale arm touching his left as his face paled beyond even it's original pasty color. He shook his head, as if to clear it of something evil.

Originally Posted by magent_mx View Post
"Iomeade asks us not to judge on appearance, hard as it may be"
"I am Valeria Dae Amundsen, paladin initiate of the inheritor, our lady Iomedae"
"Swell. Just swell," thought Septima. "Another god-lover, who kills for their god. And justifies it by spending the evening praying. Just for once I'd like to see a paladin who doesn't bring their god into every conversation. 'Iomedae this. And Gorum that. And Cayden says I can be a lush.' I hope she can fight as well as pray."

He makes a good argument, twisting words to his own ends... but is that not how all creatures of the dark are? Like a cat, they must toy with their prey...

Andrei steps out of the shadows, his voice over-loud and full of emotion, "Fear of what, then? Do you fear your master's lash? The judgment that awaits when Pharasma cleanses your vampiric taint from Golarion!? Facing your victims..." Andrei chokes off, closing his eyes. The hand holding Kalev's heart is now seeping blood down his fingers, the tension rupturing the newly healed scar there. Andrei's head jerks, and he raises the weapon, beginning to move forwards with blood running down his arm.

Its been a bad week for Andrei.


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