Below the Earth

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:58 pm

To keep my mind occupied, I let my eyes wander over the cavern. Small springs and streams wend their ways across the stone here and there, interspersed with pools, ranging from soup-bowl sized puddles to wide, deep-looking estuaries. The light of our assorted sources glimmers over the water as we pass, outlining the ripples. Water drips off to one side, plinking into water. I glance interested into the small pools as we pass, watching the lights of our party flicker over the surfaces. The water ripples and gleams.
Then something moves in the water. Something white. I pause, staring down. Then I grin, cocking my head.
“Hold up, folks. I think we may just have breakfast.”
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liam on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:01 am

I cock my head to the side " what? stewed mushrooms?" i smile jesting. "or some pale shellfish?"
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:07 am

I shake my head, grinning wider. "Better than that. Fish. Fresh fish! This is going to be a better day than I thought. If I'm right they'll be blind, and this pool isn't too big, not a lot of room to get around in, so they'll be an easy catch. Won't take too long.” Then I turn, smiling widely, crossing my arms. “Right, all you boys, if you want breakfast you’ll do me a favor and turn around. Or close your eyes.”
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liam on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:05 pm

Smirks and turns with a playful roll of my eyes. "come guys, we can go find another place to sit, we can let Liv have her fishing secrets." backtracking a short distance to make it harder for most to catch a steal what ever method she was going to use to catch the fish. and trying to start up another fire to save some trouble later. It takes a moment before I realize that the singing I here is coming from me it may have been one done by one of the english but it brings back memories of days now long gone

"I was a young man then
and lived for the spear-dance.
My blood pounded hot then
as summer's hard sun.
My thoughts then were bold ones
of women and warfields,
and glory and prowess
upon either one.

It was a grey morning:
in rain I had risen.
I let my horse lead me
to drink at a stream.
As we drew near it
I heard someone singing
a song full of glory,
of ravens and steel.

I stood as if rooted
and drank in the fine sound.
All the gold in the world
could not move me away.
Instead I strode closer
to glimpse the song's singer
and when I gazed on her
my breath fell away.

She sang as she bathed
as lithe as the salmon,
all clothed only
in what the gods made.
Her skin pale as the glaciers,
her eyes golden as amber,
and her hair gleamed as red
as a new-blooded blade.

When her song ended
she turned and she saw me.
She smiled like she knew me,
as if pleased I was there.
She rose and stepped toward me
clad just in cool water,
and I? I went to her--
I was a young man.

I woke in the noon's sun
and I woke up smiling.
I looked for my lover
but I was alone.
My horse she had taken,
but where he'd been tethered
a fine leaf-blade spear leaned--
like black ice it shown.

Now that spear's served me well
in the long years I've had it;
it's light was the last light
full many men knew.
My kinsmen joke often
how my spear is bewitched--
I have no answer.
My wordfame has grown.

Enough years have passed now
to turn my beard silver.
Again, I'm in service
to a man who'd be king.
As part of his warband
I stand on the warfield
with my spear and my kinsmen,
and hear the crows sing.

How long it goes on
from the first ringing shieldclash--
a moment, a lifetime,
no man can fair say.
Just the thunder of steelsong
and screams of the dying
and the stink of the blood
while Wyrd works its way.

But it's odd now how this time
through the killing and dying
I hear someone singing
a half-recalled song.
And I listen and smile
while I feed my spear's hunger,
and the singing grows clearer
and sweeter and strong.

How a man's death comes
is only as important
as how each man meets it
when it comes for him.
I meet mine fighting
a foe from the borderland--
my spear finds his heart
while his own blade bites me.

I fall to my knees
in the blood of my banesman.
The fighting rages 'round me
but silently now
except for the singing--
I hear it full clearly:
A song full of glory,
full of ravens and steel.

A touch on my shoulder
and my eyes fly open--
I am not dead yet,
though the ravens draw near.
I look into eyes
as gold as the eagle's,
see hair flowing red
as the blood on my spear.

She smiles as she sees me,
so fiercely, so fondly,
and she speaks my name
in a voice full of light.
She cradles my head
in her arms as I lie there
and my last heart-blood spills,
stains her swan-coat of white.

Now again I'm a young man
and I live for the spear-dance
and my blood runs as hot as
the gods' oldest war.
And when Ragnarok comes,
I will fight it beside Them,
my spear and my shield-maid,
to Valhalla's own door."



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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:25 pm

I relax, smiling as the song rings around the cavern. I owe Liam one. I'd been planning a very careful explanation that sidestepped everything I didn't want to say, but it's a relief not to need it. Quickly, I strip off my clothes, laying them neatly very close to the water’s edge. Then I step into the water, close my eyes, and call the Change up. Aches and pains scream up my spine as it contracts, buckling in. My jaws ache as they reform, and pain sings along my hands and legs as they bend, shift, shorten, twist. If only the Change worked the way it’s supposed to. It’s not supposed to hurt. I draw a deep breath, keeping my eyes closed tight against the pain…and then it’s done. My chest heaves in and out, the fur settling. There. Done.
I dive in. For a few moments, I indulge in the joy of being an otter in my element, rolling and twisting through the water. Then a flash of white catches my eye, and the thrum of movement sings along my side. In water, sound is not just sound; it’s a sensation you feel with every inch of your skin, a music of impression more powerful than scent in the air. You can feel movement in the water from half a mile away, and what is moving on my left feels something like the way a tuba sounds; slow, steady and dull. I turn. The fish swims by me slowly, leaving lazy ripples of movement in the water, about as cautious as a bear. It’s about half my size, with funny oblong fins as white as bone, pallid and listless, its head decorated with tiny pits where eyes should be. In this darkness, its colorless flesh stands out against the black like a bullseye. Anything that sluggish and sure mustn’t have very many predators, I think, watching it plod through the water in front of me. The thing flops its fins lazily, its white, featureless face pushed forward, long whiskers along its lips moving here and there. I undulate my tail, kick out, and shoot forward, opening my mouth wide. My teeth sink into yielding flesh. The fish struggles, suddenly panicked, but there’s no way I’m letting go now. I swim to the surface, and with a hard flick of my head, toss the fish flopping onto the bank, then slip back under the water. More of the lazy blind fish shamble sightlessly through the water. I run my tongue over sharp teeth in anticipation. So many. This is almost too easy. Three, four, five, seven bleached fish flop onto the bank. I grin as the water sluices past my muzzle. We’ll certainly eat well today.
I slip from the water, and will the change. Singing lines of pain run along lengthening bones and my tail bone burns as the tail is reabsorbed. After a long, uncomfortable moment, I pull on my tshirt and jeans.
“Right boys, I’m done.”
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Dunstfinkler on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:31 pm

I lowered my scope and noted silently what i had just seen, my my this venture of mine might turn fruitful after all, i rummaged through my bag and started preparing a simple incendiary grenade.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:40 pm

I pull my satchel back over my shoulder, then lift the fish, tucking two under either arm and carrying the last three by the tails. Their blood leaves a gleaming trail behind me. I smile. These fish are about as long as my arm, and as far as I had time to notice, they taste quite nice. Stepping into the circle of firelight, I lay the fish out on my jacket. "There we go. Breakfast!"
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liam on Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:53 pm

I turn towards Liv's Voice. catching sight of the small mound of fish she has laid out on her jacket "how in the hell. . . . never mind i don't want to know" i smile noting the teeth marks on the fish and how they don't fit her mouth. I shuffle around in my jacket for a knife to clean the fish with "woman of many talents eh?" I give a rye smile noting the others watching the fish with a mixture of apprehension and hunger "patience guys they need to be cleaned, it is a little to warm to eat them raw for most of you"
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:04 pm

Sylus ignores the warning, dropping onto a fish with claws extended. Djhuety says something sharp under his breath to the griffin, but the hungry creature ignores him, digging in. "No worries." I say, slipping my knife from my boot and slicing open the fish closest to hand with practiced ease, "There's plenty." I split the fish, splaying it open, and gut it, readying it for cooking. I like raw fish well enough, but cooked fish is tastier. And based on the way that Kiaja and Djhuety are eyeing the work at hand distastefully, I'm guessing that they'd like their dinner cleaned and grilled. I throw the innards to Sylus, who falls on them ravenously. He must have been hungrier than he let on.
"Are those bite marks?" Edgeworth asks, peering closer. I shrug. "Don't worry. The killing wounds are clean." I'm relieved when he leaves the questions there.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liam on Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:11 pm

as Liv cleans each of the fish i begin cooking them by elaring each and turning them over the fire "you folks want to eat you are going to need to help ya know." soon the sizzle of cooking fish permeates the area around us. lending a cheerful aura to the area somewhat dispelling the gloom
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:13 pm

At Liam's words, Kaija squats beside me, helping me to clean the fish. She's not half bad at it either, though she could scale them a little more carefully. Soon, we've got all the fish cooking on thin rocks pulled up very close to the fire. Sylus cleans up the offal, eating the fish heads with small cracks and gobbling the guts.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Gray-Fox on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:31 pm

I reach out and grab a fish. I make a quick prayer and wolf it down, but making sure to pull the bones out of my mouth. I look around the fire seeing some just starting to eat. I take a deep sigh and look around the cavern.
"This just sucks." I mutter to myself.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:47 pm

I glance at him, and shake my head. "You have to bone it, Priest, before you eat it."
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Gray-Fox on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:50 pm

I rolled my eyes.
"The fish was fine. I'm not complaining bout that." I reply. I dig into my pockets and pull out a black an mild royal. I lite that sucker up with my zippo, and take a few puffs.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:04 pm

I sigh, not bothering to answer him.
Breakfast is soon over, and we're back on the path, walking down the road beneath the earth. Hours pass slowly among muttered conversation and quiet words. After ten hours of walking, I glance behind me. Everyone is starting to either fall into a good walking gait, or slow down. Priest still looks fresh as daisies, and Liam keeps his solid pace, Kiaja right beside him. But Djhuety is still a ways behind, and Edgeworth isn’t keeping up too well. We should take a rest soon.
Moving into a new cavern, I glance with interest into a great pool, almost a small lake. I study the water with excited interest. A pool like this is a good opportunity; small pools can only house small fish, but a little lake like this could fit sturgeon-sized fish. A full-grown Dratsie is twice the size of a normal otter, and I can take something the size of a pike or sturgeon easily.
“Who’s up for dinner?” I ask brightly. “This is good hunting ground.”
There's a general agreement, enthusiastic in some quarters.
Once the others are out of sight around an outcrop, I strip quickly. The Change comes a little quicker this time. How long has it been since I shifted? Five years? Six? Something like that. I’ve gotten a bit rusty.
I dive in, happily streaking after a ghost-white fish as long as my body. This one puts up a good fight, but a quick bite to the back of the neck ends the trouble it’s giving me. I drop it on the bank, then take off back into the water. Three more fish flop onto the bank in record time. This pool is quite wide. I swim deeper, exploring its interesting nooks and crannies. I’m pretty far from the bank now, and the fish are a little bigger. Perfect.
I flip my tail, slipping through the water swift and silent. These fish are getting a bit smarter; the one I’m following slips under a rock overhang. I grin internally. Finally, a bit of a challenge. I follow it into the darkness under the overhang. You can’t get away from me that easy. The fish twists a little deeper. Then, to my surprise, it turns, swimming straight at me and right by. What the hell…
Then something moves behind me. Something big. Something very, very big. In sound terms, this feels the way a jet engine revving up sounds. I swirl, turning in the water. Oh no. Oh no no no.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Dunstfinkler on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:22 pm

I skulked along the perch from which i had been following the party for the last days, arriving at a large lake i noticed the shape shifter take the form of a otter once more to go fishing.

i rummaged through my bag and drank a bottle of water.

i picked up the hand grenade i had crafted and studied it for lethal flaws.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Gray-Fox on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:25 pm

I stand still at the lake as i begin to see the water bubble. I spit out my eighth cigar I've smoked so far. I few a very shocks of electricity in the air. What ever river monster is in that water will die shortly from my electricity.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:28 pm

I somersault in the water, and slam my tail back, shooting myself off like a rocket. But behind me, that thing keeps coming, unfolding itself from beneath its overhang. Claws longer than my own body slam open and closed behind me. I somersault very quickly, taking one look at the thing, and what I see makes me put on more speed. Oh no no no no no……if I don’t move very, very, very fast, I’ll be going to my next life in a very unpleasant way. I push myself forward, faster, faster. I have got to get to the bank. Got to get away from this pool. And I have got to get my friends as far away from this thing as I possibly can.
The bank never seems to be getting any closer. I kick out for all I’m worth. I have to get out of this water, get changed, and warn everyone fast. Damn, the Change is going to take time. Precious time.
There. The rocks of the bank. I jump from one rock to the next, pushing for the surface. I start the Change, fighting back the pain. Gods damn that bloody human who fathered me and left me with such weak magic!
By the time I burst from the water, I still have a tail and some fur, but I’ve got a mouth that can make human sounds. I snatch up my clothing, shove it into my satchel as I swing it over my shoulder, and race along, my legs finally fully formed and pumping for all they’re worth. “Get away from the water! Get out of here!! Now! RUN!” I shout. Behind me, water sluices as the karkinos surfaces. I grab one of Kiaja’s hands and one of Edgeworth’s in passing, and pull them along, risking a glance behind me. The karkinos towers above us. The creature is designed along the lines of a crab, but massively increased in size, each of its claws as long as my two-legged body. Its body is an ugly pale grey-green, with a disturbingly translucent underbelly. This one has no eyes. But with a sense of smell like a karkinos, it doesn’t need eyes. Froth pours from its clicking mandibled mouth. I should have paid attention, damn it. Karkinos like deep, cold pools. They like darkness.
Damn me for a fool. But there’s no time for that. We need to move. Fast.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Dunstfinkler on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:38 pm

I hear splashing water below me and look only to see a big green crab trying to cut the shape shifter in two, i toss my rifle and bag to the side and grab my handgun and knife stowing the grenade in my pocket.

"i cant believe im actually doing this" i say it out loud as i jump over the edge and down towards the crabs shell "Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck yooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!" i yell in pure terror as i hit the hard spikey shell of the crab, i struggle to find footing on the hard slimey carapace,firing my handgun at it *click click* i toss it towards the bank as i realize its jammed, i drag my hand out of one the portruding spikes and grips it firmly while i use my knife in the other hand to gouge out carapace.

i notice something weird, instead of blood rushing out i see this green translucent fluid, i smell the air and notice a sharp acrid smell in it, my moment of distraction was all the crab needed it grabs me by the legs.

i realize my knife is still stuck in the carapace as i shout "oi you wanker! give that back", suddenly divining its intention i start screaming "oh shit oh shit oh shit" in an increasingly high pitched voice as it throws me into the wall on the dry side of the cavern.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:50 pm

I turn, shocked, as the stranger comes leaping from the shadows, screaming. Liam yells, running forward, his spear aimed at the monster's gut, and Kaija pulls her knife, but I pull her back. "Don't you dare!"
Then the man is running, his black hair like wings behind him, his arm upraised. There's a stink of...what? Something acrid, something that stings in my nose. Then I recognize it. Karkinos blood. Acidic, stinging karkinos blood, stinking like spilled nail polish remover. And though the thing keeps bleeding, it keeps on coming, its great claws open.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Dunstfinkler on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:54 pm

As i prime the grenade i shout "everyone get down put your seat belts on and cover your eyes its gonna get bright and hot!", blood dripping from my hand with a hole the size of a shot glass in it i run towards the crab getting hit in the head by its flailing crab claw in the process.

the impact sends me tumbling and i fall on a rock, pulling myself upwards i shout "gimme back my damn knife!" as i throw my grenade at it.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:03 am

Djhuety reacts before me, grabbing both Kiaja and I and pushing us down. I shut my eyes on instinct, and my ears close tightly. Then the world turns white. Even behind my eyelids, the light burns. Then everything is black.
After a long, long moment, Djhuety's arm lifts from my back. I sit up. Djhuety is shaking his head, rubbing hard at his eyes. Kiaja is glaring at me. And the karkinos...is gone. Just...gone.
Well, not all gone. There are bits here and there.
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Post  Dunstfinkler on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:06 am

a piece of flaming crab hits me in the leg and knocks me over while a stalagtite drops from the ceiling due to the noise landing on my leg, i look down suddenly realizing my coat has caught fire, i scream as i start hitting myself in the broken leg to douse the flame.

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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Liv on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:08 am

For a moment, we all stare at our benefactor, flapping about...a bit like a chicken, actually, flapping at the flame. "Step into the water." I call out, my voice a little quavery.
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Re: Below the Earth

Post  Dunstfinkler on Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:10 am

as i finally manage to douse the flame the naked girl says "step into the water" i point on her and say wait a moment as i look around suspiciously waiting for what else the gods want to throw at me, then i said "sorry? what did you say? i was preoccupied".

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