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Divine Malady

'It came from the sky, that dead fallen dragon, and from its flesh a plague did rise. It changed us all, that dead fallen dragon, as its body fed a million flies. Now we're strong, but before we didn't have to be. Now night comes and it's time to stand or flee. This, our Divine Malady.' ~ Unknown survivor's poem......

Tags: dark fantasy, mutants, post apocalyptic, survival, swords and flintlock

Character Approval: Yes

Player Level: Intermediate

New Players: Open

Creator: enkerzed

Created: 12-25-2014, 05:23 PM


Game World
Game Log
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  1. Characters in this post:
    "Who told you that?" Lilathy wondered. She watched the crowd and felt very smothered suddenly. It was too loud, too crowded for her tastes. There were too many drunken bodies and the whole crowd looked like a writhing mass of sweat and ale.

    "Doesn't matter, I'm going out for a hunt. Sleep well, Damon." Lilathy bade Damon, giving him the key to their room before she exited the Tavern. She made a brief stop at the Stables to check up on Soatch and give him what she had left of her meat before heading out into the wilds. She didn't plan on coming back until she had something to show for her efforts.

    The sun was about to set before Lilathy returned, a squirrel and rabbit in hand. It was all she could get. Though she was slightly disappointed in her catch, she was at least happy she came back with anything at all.

    She stopped by Soatch's stall and made sure his dressings were clean and he was warm and happy and fed before returning to the Tavern. She headed up to the room to find Damon solidly out on one of the larger beds. She smiled, set her belongings down quietly as to not wake him and made herself comfortable in the spare bed.

    Though she was as warm and comfortable as she could be, Lilathy did not find much sleep. Something was nagging at the back of her mind, though she couldn't figure out what it was. Not one to sit about and do nothing, Lilathy decided to go for a moonlit hunt to see what else she could scrounge for the upcoming days until she could find a way to trade for more coin. Selling her skills as a hunter was of no use if she couldn't procure kills and selling her skills as a mercenary/archer or even a medic was useless to a village that had both a doctor and Fallen defending its walls. Even if the village needed an extra bow at the perimeter, she'd be of little use without Soatch. So, her only option to get coin or to avoid the need of coin was to produce kills and the more time she spent doing nothing, the less time she had to be productive. Perhaps there would be more wildlife during the night than the day, now that the local Alpha Fallen had been put down?

    After a deep inhale and a slow exhale, Lilathy stretched and rose, donning her leather garb and grabbing her bow and quiver as quietly as she could as to not wake the still slumbering Damon. She left all her other belongings other than what she felt she needed (small hunting knife, bow, quiver, herb pouch and a roll of bandages) and went to leave the Tavern. However, to her surprise, the Tavern's main room was quiet and dark--the whole town was asleep. She tried the door, but it was locked, so she went back to their room and climbed out the window. After another check on Soatch, Lilathy left town with no trace other than Soatch and her belongings that she was ever there, not even a note.

  2. Characters in this post:
    Damon was about to tell Lilathy what he had meant about thieves before thinking better of it. There was no need to burden her with such worries and it was hard to imagine Soatch going quietly with some dishonest wrangler, so perhaps there was little to fear, but it was only prudent to be alert... as much as one could be in a state of semi-wakefulness anyway.

    As Damon sat on a chair in the stable, he was dimly aware of Lilathy dropping a heavy coat into his hands after selling the deer she had caught. Damon was about to protest the unnecessary expenditure, but then Lilathy left as quick as she arrived and there was nothing to do except to check the fit of the coat.

    Donning the leather duster, Damon wondered why Lilathy was moving with such restless energy. Did it have something to do with the night before? Perhaps all this activity was a way of taking her mind off losing her guide.

    Or maybe she just has better things to do than mope around, Damon imagined Thalia saying. Even when she wasn't around, she was still around.

    When Lilathy came back and virtually dragged Damon into the tavern whilst leading the way, so brusque was her manner, there was a sense of anticipation in the air and Damon immediately knew what to expect.

    "Stay a while," he said to Lilathy. "At least take some time to relax before you go, you've been all over the town since we arrived. Besides, the performance is just about to begin."

    With no stage or anything of the like in the tavern, a bearded man with a guitar simply produced his instrument from where he sat at the counter and called out to the room, "A tune for all you pilgrims to carry in your travels! May you hum it in your sleep!"

    The entire room fell silent then as he began to play.

    "Play us another!" someone called out when the song ended and then the room was alive again with the guitarist strumming out the ambiance.

    "That's Bard," Damon said. "No one knows his real name and he won't tell, so the owner of this place runs a pool for anyone who can guess it."

  3. Characters in this post:
    "You can rest well, friend. I have no fear of these people. Soatch is well behaved and is obviously wounded. I don't think they'll give me too much issue. If they do, I'll leave and camp outside with him. As for thieves... I don't know what they'd want to steal. I really don't have anything of value."

    Lilathy seemed totally oblivious to the fact that Soatch may be the thing that the thieves may be after. A tamed Fallen of that power would be very valuable indeed. She continued on her merry way until she came to the stable master apart of the inn, "Sir, could you house my companion for a night? I promise he'll be no trouble at all."

    The plump, red bushy-bearded man stood and eyed Soatch a long moment, "What's he gotten into?"

    "Oh, he was fighting a massive beast of a Fallen just an hour's walk from here. Scratched him up pretty good, but if it weren't for him, I'd be Fallen too." Lilathy patted Soatch's head and he yawned, "What say you?"

    "I say he better be as well behaved as ye say he is, else yer payin for the replacements on top of the fee. A silver piece fer the night." He tipped his hat her way and she dug through her coin purse. She sighed--it was the only silver coin she had. She handed it over to the man with a sweet smile.

    "Now, Soatch has a bed, how about we get some coin to buy you one too?" She exclaimed to Damon and with that, Lilathy marched her kill down to the nearest ranch and sold the deer. She returned with a small bulge to her coin purse and a leather duster far too large for herself.

    "Here," she offered Damon the coat, "I got you this. It'll at least keep you dry when it rains and can double as a tarp if you're in need of a tent."

    Without waiting for a reply after she handed off the duster, Lilathy moved towards the Blacksmith, and then to the Gunsmith to fetch her arrows, and made a brief stop at the local doctor to purchase more bandages for the road before heading off to the inn.

    She stood in the doorway of the Tavern and inspected the place. It was clean-- well kept and well used. There was a bustle of movement as if a celebration was about to begin within the tavern. Many nameless faceless folk sat around tables and lined the bar, enjoying drink and conversation alike. There was a lone, monstrous hearth on the east side of the building that heated the entire first floor comfortably. Lilathy nodded and made her way to the bar, weaving in and out of people like a dancer. Once there, she rented the last room they had. She paid her due and returned to Damon, "Good news and bad news. Good news is, we got a room which has two beds. Bad news is, I'm broke, which means no trail food unless we hunt it ourselves."

    "I will go out and use the rest of the light to see what I can't hunt. That should give you more than enough time to sleep, no?" Lilathy offered.

    Lilathy took a moment to breathe then. It was a busy couple days and being back in civilization made her miss home, and Thoril. She needed to do something familiar to her.

  4. Characters in this post:
    The rain did not last long, but the ground was still soggy and squelched in some places underneath Damon's boot. When Kessels came into view at last, relief flooded through him like a tidal wave, along with a crashing weariness.

    "Do as you will," Damon said to Lilathy as they entered town. "I will go rest at the inn, over there."

    He pointed to a wide stone walled house that looked no different from any other, but for all the people going in and out. Some were residents, more were pilgrims and a few were just getting ready to leave town.

    "Do you have a watch?" Damon asked as he pulled a brass watch with a chain from his pocket. "If not, you may have mine. I only need two or so hours to sleep."

    And a few minutes to visit someone, but that was none of Lilathy's concern.

    Damon felt a tinge of regret as though he were abandoning the girl. Hopefully she could manage herself just fine on her own, but when Damon noticed people staring in their direction, he changed his mind.

    "On second thoughts, I should accompany you, for a little while at least. Kessels is a safe place, but... well, a tame Fallen animal is quite unheard of, you see, and there are still thieves in the world."

  5. Characters in this post:
    "You're right. The hide and meat are more than worth waiting to trade it. We can buy trail food with that money and possibly a few fresh meals for Soatch if I can't procure another kill." Lilathy agreed. She stopped the group for a minute to throw the tent's waterproof layer over Soatch and pull her fur cloak over her head before continuing on around the ridge. Soatch growled every now and then which sounded more like an old man grumbling.

    Lilathy was smiling, "He doesn't like the rain. Runs between his scales and it tickles him."

    After an hour's walk around the ridge, the trail became more frequented and easier to traverse. They followed the trail until it led to a lamp lit, cobblestone paved road that led into the town. It was a large town, considering the Malady, and was well stocked with a few shops; a Blacksmith, a Gunsmith, a Tavern, and a Doctor. There were several farms, not limited to seeds and grain, but ranchers as well. It was also well populated, most of which were probably pilgrims on their way to the Dragons Bones. Each house looked like a mini-fortress of their own right which impressed Lilathy.

    "We should go to one of the cattle farmers to see if they'll buy this deer to butcher. Perhaps I could take the skin to the blacksmith and convince him to tan it for me? It would be useful to have extra leather with me in case the tent sprouts a hole or something." Lilathy pondered aloud. They entered the town with little issue, just the occasional sideways glance at passersby once they caught sight of Soatch. The further into the town they traveled, however, the longer and more numerous those glances became.

  6. Characters in this post:
    "That's... nice," Damon replied as he yawned, no longer hiding it. "But I think we're better off trading it for supplies in town. Wild game is very rare these days."

    He blinked as a raindrop fell on his head and looked up to see the sky darkening with grey clouds.

    "It appears you were right. Let's hurry along before it gets worse."

    It got worse and before they finally found a place where the ridge thinned out, there was a veritable downpour and the shallow slope became slippery wet.

    "Well that puts a damper on things," Damon said. "We'll have to walk all the way around now to get past."

  7. Characters in this post:
    "It's going to rain soon." Lilathy said as she looked up into the sky. She was glad that the rain had held off for as long as it did, even though she loved it--she doesn't love sleeping out in the rain with no tent or fire. Soatch raised his head and whined, sniffing deeply.

    "We must be downwind from the town." Lilathy offered. "Or he smells game... I'm going to go scout it out. I'll be brief."

    With that, Lilathy left Soatch and disappeared into the bush without a whisper or a rustled leaf. She was clearly an experienced hunter. Not long after, she came back carrying a small doe, "Here's dinner for the next three days."

  8. Characters in this post:
    It was gladdening for Damon to see Lilathy so blithe spirited after last night's ordeal. Evidently, she was a morning person and, as a Fallen, Damon could only wish he was the same as he stifled a yawn.

    "It's thanks to your skills," he replied whilst walking through the valley they had seen from the ridge yesterday. "I couldn't have done better myself and I've had some experience with wounds... a lot actually."

    In spite of the danger he felt facing the fully scaled Fallen, it was not the most dire situation Damon had ever survived. There was a time when circumstances were so grim, for others as well as himself, that he was never certain whether he would live to see the end of the day and for a while afterwards, Damon was not sure whether he had truly survived it.

    Remembering such bygone trials, he paused to look up at the sky, thinking of names and faces long gone that he had almost forgotten after so many years.

    "But that's a long story. Come, let's follow the ridge here until it thins out. Hopefully, we can find a climb soon that won't be too taxing for Soatch."

  9. Characters in this post:
    Lilathy let her shoulders relax and was fast asleep in no time. She didn't wake up until late morning. When she woke, she woke refreshed, energized, and rather cheery considering the situation she currently found herself in. She dressed into her traveling gear, thankful that she had spent some measure of time out of it to let her skin breathe.

    "Good morning, Damon. How are you?" She asked, offering him some food from her packs and eating something herself. After she was finished eating, she changed both Damon's bandages and Soatch's with more salve.

    "We'll have to pick up more bandages in Kessels. I am fresh out. Also need to pick up some more dried food goods and arrows. Running low." Lilathy made note, more so for herself than for Damon. That and if she forgot, perhaps Damon would remember. Or spot her if she was low on coin. Hopefully.

    She went about her morning ritual and was ready to travel in less than 30 minutes, having all of her gear ready to go and Soatch on his feet.

    "Both yours and Soatch's wounds are looking like they are healing well." Lilathy chirped as she followed Damon to Kessels.

  10. Characters in this post:
    "Hm... I see," Damon hummed thoughtfully as Lilathy recounted her story.

    He imagined the scene playing out in his mind, wondering at what point Lilathy realized that Soatch was still himself. Damon was about to ask that very question until Lilathy came bearing food and medicine.

    "Oh, thank you, but there's really no need -"

    "Eat. I can tend to your wounds, no matter how superficial, while you fuel your body," Lilathy said as she knelt beside Damon.

    Just drop the modesty crap, will ya? he imagined Thalia saying.

    "Very well, thank you."

    Taking a bite of the jerky, Damon chewed as Lilathy worked on his back. The salve stung and the bandages were wrapped tight, but it was nothing he couldn't bear.

    After she was finished, Lilathy finally allowed herself some rest and crawled into her bedroll as Damon sat sentinel by the mouth of the cave.

    "You need not fret on that count," he said. "Come the morning, we'll be there before noon."

    The rest of the night passed without incident, though Damon could sense eyes upon him at every turn of the moon. Fifty years it had been since the Malady first began and the world still belonged to the Fallen.

    Will it ever change? Damon wondered as he looked out in the night, but thinking about Lilathy and Soatch, he decided: Most assuredly.

  11. Characters in this post:
    "Family pet. Saved my father from Fallen when they were out hunting." Lilathy sounded distant, as if recalling the event. "Ran from that too... Tired of running."

    Lilathy finished off her meal and offered Damon some, "Eat. I can tend to your wounds, no matter how superficial, while you fuel your body." She knelt beside Damon, offering him some jerky while opening her jar of freshly made salve and gently spread it over his wounds and wrapping the deeper ones gingerly.

    "This will prevent infections and help heal them faster." Lilathy said once she was finished. She sighed and made a mental note to also pick up more bandages when they were in Kessels as she cleaned up once more. Soon enough, the food was wrapped up and put away in her packs, ready to travel at a moment's notice.

    "I hope Kessels is as close as you say it is. Our progress will be slowed to a crawl with Soatch bandaged up. He can still carry our gear, but he shouldn't move too fast to avoid opening his wounds until they heal more tightly." With that, Lilathy moved to set up her bedding near Soatch. She was still exhausted from her three-day fight for survival and only having a three hour nap in between was not something that was going to sustain her. Lilathy washed her hands and face with a damp cloth before undressing to her undergarments and crawling into her bedroll.

  12. Characters in this post:
    "We will find all that we need at Kessels," Damon replied. "It's not so far away now."

    Thinking about what Lilathy said whilst tending to Soatch, Damon couldn't help but imagine Thalia's forceful presence in her tone of voice. It made him chuckle with amusement.

    "I'm sorry," he said. "After what you just said, I thought Miss Thalia was among us for a moment. She can be quite stern as well, you see."

    But of course, she would've also told me to stop wincing like a baby, Damon thought as he bit back the pain of his grazes.

    Still smiling, he continued, "Though compared to me, Soatch is quite spoiled in your company, is he not?" Then looking down at his scaled right hand, he asked, "... Did you know him from before his turning?"

  13. Characters in this post:
    "I will sleep when Soatch is tended to, and not a second before." Lilathy said firmly. She continued her work on Soatch's stomach, spreading the salve onto the bandages before she applied them to his wounds. He whined when they were applied, no doubt stinging terribly.

    "I'm sorry Soatch. I'm doing the best I can." Lilathy whispered to Soatch as the last of the bandages were applied. She hated seeing her faithful companion in such pain. She pat his side to let him know once she was finished and he tenderly righted himself and waddled just inside the cave, turned around, and laid down to rest for the night. Lilathy cleaned up the mess she made and stored the rest of her supplies. From her packs, she pulled out the last of the raw meat she had stored away and gave it to Soatch, "Sorry bud. This is it. We'll go hunting tomorrow, I promise."

    Then Lilathy pulled out her food goods for Damon and her, spreading them out on a cloth just as before and taking a small portion for herself and eating them slowly.

    "We'll have to find water soon. I'm on my last skin." She commented as she put her empty one away with the three others and took out her last waterskin to drink from.

  14. Characters in this post:
    It took a moment for Lilathy's words to register as Damon reeled from the sheer enormity of the feat he had just witnessed. In all his years, he had only heard stories of the nigh invulnerable Fallen that had been the bane of many a community, in the early days of the Divine Malady.

    Such creatures - whose skin were impervious to bullet and blade - could only be fought with cannon or cunning, and champions with strength and skills to match the ferocity of pure Fallen. For lesser men, such a challenge was, or at least should have been insurmountable.

    Confronted with this very challenge, Damon was sure that he would die this day. So certain was he of his fate that he was fully prepared to make his peace with death, and face it until the very end.

    Instead he was alive and, even more miraculous it seemed, relatively unscathed. "I... I believe I am well," Damon said as he stared at the dead Fallen in wonder.

    A single arrow through the eye. Perfect. Impossibly perfect and yet here it was before him, unquestionably real. A miracle? No... Only skill and teamwork, and near suicidal bravery.

    Looking at Lilathy, Damon wondered if she realized what she had accomplished. Were the people in Kessels to know, they would have found it harder to believe the deed was done by a novice, a stripling of a girl at that, than the fact of the deed itself. Perhaps they had built the trap in the cave for that very purpose, to capture this one unassailable foe.

    Thinking about the damage Soatch had sustained in his stead, Damon sheathed his sword and said, "It should be safe to rest here now. The Fallen you just killed will serve as a better deterrent than any wall. Others will see plainly that we are not to be trifled with."

    Dragging the body in front of the cave entrance, Damon sat against the wall, wincing a little from the scrapes on his back, and continued as he looked out into the starlit darkness, "Sleep, Miss Truhart. You've more than earned it, and Soatch too for that matter."

  15. Characters in this post:
    Soatch had other plans apparently. He understood English marvelously for a turned creature that wasn't Human to begin with. Bursting from the darkness of the cave with surprising speed, he simply tackled the Fallen and bit at its neck, tugging it towards the cave.

    "Soatch, hold!" Lilathy cried out, notching another arrow. She took aim as Soatch obeyed, doing his best to hold the Fallen still at the neck while defending his underbelly. She took aim for a painstakingly long moment while the Fallen thrashed about, snapping and clawing at its attackers. Lilathy followed its movements as best she could and once she felt confident, she loosed her arrow. The Fallen twitched as the arrow disappeared behind its eye and remained still until its body settled on the ground. Lilathy wasted no time in driving a second arrow where it came, for good measure. Soatch still clung to its neck until Lilathy waved him off and rushed to his side to inspect the wounds.

    "They're not too deep, but I don't want them to get infected either. We'll have to walk slower until these heal." Lilathy claimed as she rustled through the pouched she had for some bandages and herbs. She found everything she needed to clean and dress the wounds within a minute and was already working on a salve.

    "Damon, did you suffer any wounds?"

  16. Characters in this post:
    "What? No, wait!" Damon shouted as he rushed towards the cave, where the Fallen was closing in on Lilathy.

    Sprinting at full speed, he approached the foe from behind and grabbed it by the arm, then spun and hurled it several feet away.

    "There's nothing on the other side of the pit but the end of the cave," Damon said rapidly as he brought his sword up in a guard position, ready to meet the Fallen that took only seconds to recover.

    Fending off its attacks, Damon backed away step by step as he continued, "The only way... we can do this... is if we throw it in ourselves... YARRRGH!"

    Putting all his weight into a single swing, Damon smote his blade upon the head of the Fallen directly between its horns. It let out a furious roar as it staggered, momentarily stunned from the blow, and Damon seized the opportunity to grab it by the arms.

    "The legs, quickly!" he said to Lilathy as the Fallen began to struggle.

  17. Characters in this post:
    Lilathy wasted no time in notching arrows into her bow and taking aim. Lilathy let loose a shrill whistle, commanding Soatch's attention to her, at which point she loosed her arrows at the Fallen's eyes. Even if they didn't strike them, it would give Soatch enough time to get to the cave. Without hesitation, Soatch turned tail and sprinted into the cave, leaving a small trail of blood as he went. The Fallen roared as the arrows ricocheted off his horns and brows, eying Lilathy with malicious intent.

    "Damon! Lead us through and tell Soatch when to jump over the pit!" Lilathy cried out, loosing more arrows to cover Soatch's retreat into the cave, following suit promptly after the Fallen started closing the distance. Lilathy cursed under her breath as she ran into the darkness, she only had a few arrows left in her quiver. She'd have to use them wisely.

  18. Characters in this post:
    "Miss Truhart... I must say, this is very foolish," Damon replied, caught between admiration and disapproval for the unexpected help. "But thank you."

    Rushing to the bush where he threw his short sword, Damon retrieved his weapon and sheathed it as he turned to watch the struggle between Soatch and the Fallen attacker.

    It was clear from his size and canine form that Soatch had the advantage in both speed and strength, but the enemy's body was fully covered in scales, effectively making it invulnerable, and in the end that was all that would matter.

    After a furious exchange of blows, the creature did not take long finding Soatch's vulnerable points, raking its claws along the belly and drawing blood. Once the weakness was found, the attacker drove relentlessly for it, each strike aimed to rend and tear, which Soatch could only try to defend against.

    At this rate, it was becoming increasingly apparent who the victor would be. Something had to be done, fast.

    "Into the pit!" Damon declared as he pointed at the cave. "We must drive it in there and trap it!"

  19. Characters in this post:
    Soatch roared and ran into the fray without a thought, slamming into the scaled beast and taking it to the ground. The two scaled beasts writhed over each other, each just as determined to end the other, but just as impervious to their opponent's strikes. Lilathy ran up and grabbed Damon's arm and turned to run into the bush.

    "Bad things happen when I leave guides." Lilathy said solemnly. Her eyes were watery and there were clean streaks where her previous tears had cleaned away the dirt from her pale face. She tugged on Damon's arm while Soatch kept the Fallen at bay.

  20. Characters in this post:
    Damon drew his sword as he stepped in front of Lilathy and Soatch, interposing himself between them and the unseen threat. It was likely one of the Fallen that were attracted rather than deterred by Damon's shouting. A dangerous prospect since such challengers tended to be solitary hunters, driven more by territorial instinct than self preservation, and loners were invariably stronger and more aggressive than those travelling in packs.

    I'm sorry for leading you to this place, Damon thought as he looked back at Lilathy, thinking about what she had said about her missing guide. We were never going to be safe here in the first place.

    Taking the initiative, Damon quickly drew his short sword with his free hand and threw it at the bush. Surprised by the sudden attack, the Fallen stalker leaped out of hiding and dashed behind a tree. It was nothing more than a fleeting shape, too fast for the eye to follow, but in the brief time it revealed itself, Damon saw that it was distinctly humanoid in figure.

    "Get back!" Damon shouted at Lilathy, too late as the stalker circled around to flank and rushed to strike.

    With a desperate burst of motion, Damon hurled himself at the threat and roared as he tackled it towards the ground. Seeing the Fallen up close now, it became clear to Damon what exactly he was facing and it filled him with utter dread.

    With claws long and sharp as blades, its fangs likewise lethal, its body fully armored in steely black scales, its head crowned with twisted horns and fiery eyes aglow with baleful malice, this was no mere mutant partially transformed by the Malady. This immeasurably dangerous creature was Fallen to the core and were it not for its lack of wings, it could very well be a true human-dragon hybrid.

    It raised its arm. The very twitch of movement drove Damon into a panic and he scrambled to get away, swinging his sword in a backslash as he did so. The edge of the blade rang as it connected with the creature's forearm, knocking it away but achieving no more than that. As far as Damon could tell, it caused no damage at all. Blades would be useless here.

    "Go, I'll distract it!" Damon shouted as he sprang away, just in time to avoid a swipe from the Fallen's claws as it stood up with a guttural snarl.

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