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Lamb's Blood [Storyline]

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Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:48 pm



The Nightmare Child

There was an eeriness to the conversation, not that of anything negative, but rather that of being unsure of things, particularly for the Demi-Human Vyra, who had with some level of reluctance come on behalf of the Countess Veronica Barothy, intent on carrying out some sort of negotiations with these apparent cultists. She sat there in one of the few available seats, the man whom she had come to recognize and was otherwise hailed as the leader of the cultists seated across from her in a far more elegant chair than anything that she may have had access towards.

In truth, this room, a small manmade hovel dug deep within the small mountain on the outskirts of the lands that would have been regarded Barothy territory, seemed far more like that of an office setting than that of anything in which one would have lived within. A few chairs and maybe some cheap wooden pieces of furniture littered about to at least provide a means for the people to sit down, but hardly any of the qualities of life that would be expected of those whom sought to live here. Even upon the desk, there were no shortage of knife marks and the faint traces of blood having been lost within the wood, but otherwise there was nothing apparent, nothing obvious to leave one to believe to believe that save for papers and perhaps some limbs, there was nothing on this table indicative of an actual life.

This was a place of business first and foremost.

And to that, there was perhaps no greater business at the moment than that of what was being discussed, namely what was required of the cultists in order to acquire the small staff that had been rested upon the table with the gentleness that came with holding something precious.

Vyra glanced around, noticing the eyes of the cultists, many of which did not seem to have left the focus of the staff, eyes trailing it since the moment it was first revealed until now. Some eyes remained focused upon Vyra, a few of them also having looked upon Ser Gholston, whom stood by the entrance to the room, ensuring that if there were anything to occur, it would have to go through them. A situation that Vyra hoped did not have to happen, but did not want to speak in any sense of likelihood.

It had been shown enough it was impossible to adequately predict what happens within the North.


A Soul Broken


Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:51 pm



The Nightmare Child

“So, the Countess has finally decided to break from daddy’s protection and make her way in the world, huh?” The way the man spoke of Veronica made Vyra feel uncomfortable. Though she had no understanding or at least, nowhere near the understanding to the dynamic of this world that these cultists may have, it did not make the situation feel any more unpleasant to listen to the men hide behind cowls and criticize her, especially when by all respects they ought to have been grateful that thanks to her the staff stood to potentially be in their possession. “Wouldn’t have put it that it would be upon the dead heels of her father though that she made her move.”

“Would have figured that she just wait for the old man to die, seize the throne from the widow,” one of the cultists in the room casually remarked, his voice a booming one that seemed to echo throughout the cave.

“By that point what’d even be left? Figure either he burn the whole place down or Paradise Dawn does that for us,” another voice, this one a more nasally, almost frog-like croak sounding piqued in.

“The point,” the cultist leader continued, his word being enough to kill off whatever side conversations may have been going on, “Is that her sudden interest in our well-being, seems far unlike that of what we’ve come to expect out of her. Which begs the question, is this out of a sense of compassion, or are we mercenaries?”

Vyra adjusted herself within her seat, neither particularly thrilled by the question nor the ramifications of how her answer may have taken the conversation. She had gotten a discussion which was a step forward in talks, but it was impossible not to appreciate how much the staff just before everyone seemed to influence that fact. Without it, who was to say that this did not look much like who the battle field had at one point appeared? Bodies littered throughout while Vyra stood there with the staff again in her possession.

“Perhaps both. Maybe neither,” trying to neither oversell Veronica Barothy’s intentions while at the same time being honest – an attribute she believed the cultist leader would respect more than flattery – the Demi-Human spoke, “When the dust settles, how they view you will as much depend on both you and the winner. Do you think that her father would hail you as heroes? That the people would?”

It was a fair assessment, the idea that even if the cultists were to survive this war that seemed like it was to come, would they be better off than they are now? At present, they were discussing their future within a hidden hovel in a mountain. What was to say that they could not find themselves out in the open or otherwise a normal home discussing their further success instead? “The Countess went against her father in providing you with this,” she continued, making explicit reference to the staff, a point that could not have been denied. “Do you think that he would have ever shown you such an act?”


A Soul Broken


Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:54 pm



The Nightmare Child

Vyra’s words rang true, much to the dismay of those surrounding the room.

The reality was that the Lord Barothy would have seen all of the cultists drawn and quartered years ago, and almost succeeded if it had not been for the aid of those who conveyed either sympathy or otherwise saw the injustice that was playing out before them. Their exilement here was that lone saving grace that had been provided within this realm. And even with the changes that were happening politically within the North, that the Lord Barothy had managed to evade the punishment and turning of the tides that seemed to be befalling plenty of other lords, many of whom were held in similar, if not better, standing, it begged the question of if change was to happen, when would it.

And upon such change, would they be any better off?

Veronica Barothy was presenting a way of allowing that. With her father gone, the scourge that had been his reign would no longer persist, allowing for changes to finally take place within the North, and having aided in their efforts, not only would they receive the immediate benefit of the staff, but also be the benefactors of whatever should occur upon the North moving forward. Their fate, linked to a dug-in hovel, would be no more.

For a time, there was a silence that befell the room, nobody making a sound, Vyra desperately wishing that someone had if for no other reason than to give her a reason to breath with ease. The hooded figure who assumed the leadership remained there, eyes hidden behind his hood darting back and forth between the staff and Vyra, before eventually lingering upon the Demi-Human.

“The Countess, precisely what does she expect out of us?”

It was an unexpected response to the Demi-Human, whom suddenly felt a surge of life rushing through her, hopeful that this would lead to some level of confidence between the two sides.

“We’ve suffered too many losses to wage war, especially not to see another Barothy ascend the throne, her trust in us notwithstanding.”

“I don’t think that’s what she wants,” Vyra said, repeating back to them the request that Veronica had initially sought to reach out for. “She wants the people united under her,” she looked around, trying to read the room but struggling in the wake of the masks that covered seemingly everyone’s face. “And she believes that you can achieve that.”

Silence again fell.

“So, it’s unity then? We can certainly arrange for that and then some,” in a move that seemed to take everyone off guard, the man stood up and proceeded to hold out his hand to Vyra. A handshake. The sealing of a deal. “Contingent upon the lady’s aid and handshake.”

Vyra, unsure quite how she were to respond towards this, turned around to Ser Gholston, not having moved from their original position in the front of the entrance. No acknowledgement, nothing spoken, only a single nodding of the head to indicate that she were to agree.

Though with some level of reluctance, fearful not only of the nature of the deal she was agreeing to, but also acting as a direct line on behalf of the Countess – now directly involving herself within this whole affair – Vyra reached her own hand out and matched the man’s, winching for the briefest of moments as his tight grip took her by surprise.

“Now that the deal has been struck, let us set forth the ground rules, shall we?” The cult leader began, waiting for an acknowledgement from Vyra before continuing. Seeing her nod, he resumed, “The staff shall remain here. Should this effort fail, Barothy will send his people here and reclaim it. We succeed, we retain it. Beyond that, our time is limited so you shall accompany my people in turning the favor towards your preferred Countess.”

He turned his back as the other cultists in the room began to flood out of there and through the hallway leading to the entrance.

“You should follow them.”


A Soul Broken


Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:56 pm



The Nightmare Child

Effectively following the cultists blindly, Vyra was not sure of what to expect, what the cultists had planned, but it seemed that it was something that they were very confident in their idea, one that seemingly they had planned for quite a while.

Despite her prying, they did not reveal anything to her, instead looking to just proceed through the dense foliage and poorly maintained trails that led into the village nearby. In what had been proving to be a serious benefit to them all, the cover of darkness was standing to be something that greatly enabled them to move with little to no risk of detection. For a time they continued though, still keeping the Demi-Human in the dark until at last they seemed to finally get to a point where they were comfortable in telling her.

“There is a patrol that goes through this route every night. Less than a dozen in total, guards effectively brought on training missions. Intended to as much give them the illusion of contribution and a means of showing force to the people. Fortunately, only one of them who is capable of fighting well.” The cultist looked at Vyra and then towards Ser Gholston, “So long as your friend there helps, there should be no issue.”

She felt a bit nauseous, the idea of cutting down people who were in many respects simply there to carry out a job. That they were going to be hunting them essentially. Worse even, Vyra was not even sure what the end game of all of this was going to be. They had only told her as much of the plan as was needed, and presumably the next step would come once the guards were dealt with.


A Soul Broken


Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:57 pm



The Nightmare Child

A short time of waiting eventually led to what looked like a small troop heading in their direction, conveniently directly within the path of their trap. Along two cliffs that overlooked their route, several of the cultists had set up a number of boulders, apparent enough of a trap for those who may have happened along the route during the day, but at night it was easy for any to be deceived by it. Of those that survived, they would find themselves at the mercy of Ser Gholston, Vyra, and the other cultists, all of whom waited to ambush the group.

As the troop made their way through, the trap was sprung. Much of the guards were taken by surprise, seldom few actually suffering any blowback from the trap but failing to protect themselves from the respective ambush that ensured. Even the one who was leading the troop was overwhelmed, able to fend off a cultist or two, but otherwise falling victim to the combined focus of Vyra and Ser Gholston, the latter in particular managing to completely overwhelm the guard, eventually felling him with a massive swing of their sword that nearly split the guard in half.

Whatever fight the remaining guards had left died in that moment, and some surrendered, hoping for a chance at mercy. They were given none. The rest fought on, but met fates similar to that of their brethren.

When the fighting was concluded, a handful of cultists lay dead, the troop in their entirety also now dead, Vyra found herself struggling to stand, not out of exhaustion, but out of guilt. She had agreed to help. She had shaken the cult leader’s hand, not knowing what to expect. And now these men were all dead, because of her involvement.

She felt sick.

She wanted to kill herself, a sense of guilt knowing that this was by her hand.

Though at the time it did not seem all too terrible, she realized that now she had committed herself to aiding in a war.


A Soul Broken


Lamb's Blood [Storyline] Empty Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:59 pm



The Nightmare Child

The time to reflect and wish things differently were not now though. As she quickly came to find out and realize, this was just a single step of whatever plan the cultists had.

Confused at first, she watched on with an uncertain feeling as the cultists stripped themselves of their robes and cult apparel, instead wearing the armor of the fallen soldiers, bloody and battle-torn aside. As they all adorned the armor though, a fear rushed through Vyra as she worried what may have happened next.

Watching the former cultists now wearing armor heading into the village though, she began to fear what may have happened.

A cacophony of cries and pleas echoed out which caused her heart to drop. Rushing towards the cries, she realized exactly what was happening; the armored cultists were breaking into homes, assuming the identity of the Barothy forces and inflicting their own crimes. For each home broken into, the cultists came out with a member of the family that lived there, some of them children, some women, some elderly.

With each person taken out of their home, they were struck in the head, almost all of them being rendered unconscious as their bodies were dragged off somewhere else.

“What are you doing!?” She cried out, livid at what she was seeing.

“All part of the plan,” one of the cultists said, as if it were something basic, something that were often the case. As the guard helped one of the bodies get moved, he walked over to Vyra, there being no sense of guilt within the pupils that Vyra was looking at for the first time. “You wanna unite the people against a banner? You have the banner betray the people.”

“This isn’t right though,” Vyra pleaded, still at a complete loss for words. First the death of the troop, and now these instances of assault, kidnapping, and breaking in? And on a per home basis? How could they have found this in any way tolerable.

How could Veronica Barothy found this acceptable? Did she know the lengths that these cultists would go?

“War is bloody. Not to say that we have any plans for these people to be killed.”

“Oh really?” Vyra at this point had zero reason to believe them, and it was evident in her tone.

“We took those least capable of fighting, the ones that would be left at home when the storm comes. Wouldn’t you say that’s for the best?”

The response left Vyra unsure of what to say, finding herself as much hating it but appreciating the answer.

“Then, if there’s nothing else, tell the Countess the dawn will be coming soon.”


A Soul Broken

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