Monday is here and while I still dream of escaping to the beach this year I shall write about reasons to not visit a beach near Arciryas to try and convince my brain its a bad idea… It’s currently not working.
This week we continue off last weeks setting and push further off the pier and out to sea. With ships taken over, warriors amongst the waves and dangers on the roads who can be sure its safe at all.
The defence of Arciryas
As Rafnir followed the tracks from the still warm campfire he walked along the road away from Arciryas and towards a neighbouring town that acted like a hub for trade along the coast and the inland. Rafnir stopped and crouched near a particular set of tracks. Interesting, the toes drag slightly of this foot, either the man had injured himself last night or he had been drinking heavily last night. The foot prints were erratic and the owner of them appeared to be stumbling and faltering a bit as they walked. As he traced the footsteps the occasional shrub or thick bushy tree became a dense wall of vegetation that framed the ochre colour of the road. Glancing down at his feet he had lost the set of footprints he had been following, the one with the odd gait. Retracing his steps he noticed that all of a sudden the erratic pattern, the stumbling and unevenness of footprints he was tracking appeared again. But what was actually odd was how they seemed to merge perfectly with the normal set of military issue boots, all traces of the impairment gone.
As he crouched and mused over the conundrum a shout from up ahead broke his focus. As he tried to focus on the voices he realised that the brush and thickening trees were blocking off the voice from carrying on the wind. Looking to the road he could see that it turned harshly to the left up ahead which would mean that if he cut through the brush me may be able to better assess the situation from the safety of cover rather than being caught out in the open on the road.
Pushing through the curtain of branches and lose scattering of leaves Rafnir hurriedly pushed his way through until the voices were louder and more clear. Coming to a crawl he snuck up towards the edge of the brush until he could see eleven figures with weapons drawn in the middle of what would appear to be a heated debate.
“I’ve told you once, turn around these are Poisidity roads we currently are not allowing anyone into the city for your safety, especially not undeclared Arciryas military” the man holding a curved blade and buckler declared, his ginger moustache twitching with barely contained anger. The men he was talking to just laughed and seemed to talk to each other in a different language. This caused the ginger moustached man to bark orders to his patrol who started to encircle the laughing men.
As the men moved Rafnir quickly looked from one man to the next, the men who were laughing appeared to be from Arciryas, and he would bet they are the patrol he had been following. The other men who looked the most hostile were dressed for patrol and wearing colours of Poisidity, the trade hub city.
A battle cry issued out and Raf with trained instinct unslung his harpoon from is shoulder and was ready to heft it. The ginger man had evidently had enough and had charged one of the Arciryas men. Rafnir, being a patriot at heart stood tall, breathed in deeply as he wound his body up to heft his harpoon at the attacker.
A single raindrop fell from above and landed upon his knuckles giving him reason to pause, his mind recognising the omen. There were no clouds in the sky and a single raindrop with blue skies was a sign of deceit. As he paused he watched with horror as the ginger Poisidity man ran the Arciryas man through his stomach, the other side of the blade appearing on the other side of the man. The Arciryas patrol guard did nothing but stand there – the combatants on both sides stood there without movement.
A look of horror appeared on the Poisidity man as the man he run through drew a blade from his hip and stabbed the ginger moustached man in the neck as a blood curdling laugh ruptured fourth from the should-be-deadmans lips.
A cackle broke out from the other Arciryas guard as they charged the other patrol that has surrounded them, moving swiftly and with lethal poise. Rafnir looked on for a moment as blades seemed to hit and wound the now aggressors but the laugher only increased as they threw themselves at the Poisidity men.
Rafnir bound from the brush muttering a string of arcane syllables that sizzled and left a burnt taste in his mouth as he rushed forward. As he blinked he saw the men for what they were, dark mist hung around the shoulders of the Arciryas men the foul magic revealed to his arcane sight.
Hefting his harpoon it flew true and struck the closest of the possessed in the chest, as the man stumbled he looked down at the shimmering silver head of the weapon as it protruded from his chest – the body of another was no armour to Rafnirs blessed steel.
As he rushed forward he unsheathed his scimitar and severed he head of another man who was yet to realise he was amongst them, a shark amongst seals.
A warning cry came gurgling out from the mouth of the man with the enchanted harpoon sticking through his chest, a shimmery water pouring from his mouth as it flowed onto the ground. The remaining three men turned around, kicking the bodies of the Poisidity guards to the ground as they groaned or gurgled out the last of their life away.
“You boys look a long way from home, I also don’t appreciate you wearing the body of these men either so I will be sending you on to your dark deity now” Rafnir said, glancing at the three men who stalked around him. The two on his flank drew coral hilted blades that shone with a dark light to Rafnirs eyes. The one in front of him pulled the sword from his chest before flourishing it a few times in front of him – whether trying to intimidate Rafnir or demonstrate his skill he didn’t have time to debate before the blade was slung as his head, forcing Rafnir to step backwards, a whistling of air to his left made him duck and twist out of the way as a dark blade narrowly missed his jugular. Leaning back and placing his free hand on the ground he barely managed to avoid a second blade that looked to gut him like a tuna.
Using his momentum he flipped backwards, he lashed his steel shod boot out, kicking the possessed man who was rushing forward with a lethal looking coral dirk sending him to fly knees over head backwards and landing on his back.
Quick as eels the two men who were flanking him lunged at him, both slashing, whirling and stabbing their blades in union. Deflecting with his blade became troublesome as it gave no room for him to attack if he was stuck on defence. The man he kicked recovered and began to stand onto his feet.
Not good, Rafnir thought to himself as he barely managed to parry a blade aimed for his neck as he some how through the luck of Umberlee (or what little she gave her followers) slap the other blade away from his kidneys. Channelling one of the few spells he had memorised every day for the last decade he inhaled a lungful of air before bellowing out a mighty roar, the magic infusing with his bellow it struck light thunder – sending the two men who were attacking him relentlessly stumbling backwards before tumbling over, their eyes and ears bleeding form the force of his magic.
“Umberlee take you to her watery domain you bottom feeders!” He called out as he strode towards the fallen on his right, noticing the dirk wielding man rushing towards him he gave a tusky grin as he channelled a cantrip he was particularly fond of. As he pretended to strike down at the recovering man he quickly turned his swing into a flourishing parry, deflecting the dirk aimed at his spleen before grasping the mans face – unleashing his spell, lightning crackled from his digits as it danced along the possessed mans body. As the lightning seared and ripped open wounds in the mans body he convulsed before he was thrown to the ground unceremoniously.
Searing pain, erupted in his lower back as the other possessed blade weilder had recovered faster than he had anticipated. The deep sea cold blade bit in deep, sending a chill across his body, as he felt the magic of the blade bite he fought back.
“You cant rip out what I lost long ago” he said, spitting out he words he had refused to acknowledge long ago. Somewhere the dark goddess of the sea smiled.
Stabbing his blade through the neck, scraping against the collarbone and shoulder ribcage as he plunged his sword into the barely recovered man in front he turned, feeling the blade schlick out of his back.
“You cant stop us, we are everywhere” the possessed man with a bloodied blade near shouted, zealous energy dancing across his dark eyes. “We will flood across the land and take back what was ours, your souls feed our army, your bodies house our assassins and your ships carry nothing but ruin”
“Ah, so the ships are also compromised are they,” Rafnir murmured, aware of the stalling tacking as he stalked foward towards the man, the electrocuted guard from before stalking slowly, wounded and barely conscious in his shadow. “What if I was to tell you that I could foretell the future, hmm? I see blue skies, nets full of fish and piles of your dead kinsmen on our beaches. What the sea grants you it has granted me tenfold little boy.” Rafnir snapped with the speed and strength of a giant snapping turtle, his hand crushing and grasping the hand of the man behind him even as the dirk pricked at his neck. Drawing on the last of his magical reserves he raised his other hand he pushed the last of his memorised spells into his finger tips – a large icicle sprung to life in an instant before burying itself deep into the face of the man who stabbed him.
“Now that we are alone my friend. Let me introduce you to the dark sea mother – we have much to discuss.” Rafnir said, the man in front of him finally showing fear in his eyes as another shocking grasp wracked his body causing him to black out. Wrenching his sword free from the dead man and retrieving his harpoon he noticed that the dead all expelled a silvery water once dead, peering into the liquid of the man he beheaded he saw a flash of a lifeless face dance upon the surface as if a reflection.
“Curious you a lot are” he murmured as he rubbed a handful of healing salve upon his scarred skin on his back, walking towards the unconscious possessed man as his mind raced towards the questions he would have to ask to get the answers he needed before this body also became to much for the invader to bear.
Well that’s it for tonight. I hope you liked what was written up tonight where I explored something I have had in mind for Rafnir since I conjured him up out of a dark night whilst listening to metal. Evil aligned characters aren’t always that type of evil. Rafnir is definitely Evil and probably Lawful (albeit just) when it comes to order vs chaos.
That is to say he does what he wants and needs to to achieve what he has agreed to do. He is not above murder or bloodshed when it comes to achieving his goal as long as it aligns to the moral compass he has – he wont harm the innocent and he tries to protect those who he cares for or owes a debt of gratitude to. To him the end justifies the means.
Don’t forget to let me know if you like what you have read, also don’t forget to come back tomorrow where we look at other NPCs who we can investigate.
And as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe