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Thread: When you care not where you roam, every road will lead you home. (solo)

  1. #1
    Member

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    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone

    When you care not where you roam, every road will lead you home. (solo)

    The stage-coach was dark and filled with various occult objects. The old but sturdy velvet seats felt comfortable beneath Sketch, and the scent of various incense hung densely in the air. The sparse light came from a few cracks in the window shutters and a few lumpy candles that were lain on a few seemingly random bits of old wooden furniture. The only sounds that Sketch could hear were the occasional noises from the old donkey outside, and the deep breathing coming from his host, who sat across from him.

    The table in front of Sketch was covered in a coarse purple and gold linen tablecloth. On top of the rough tablecloth was a deck of long cards, with three laid out in a row in front of him. The owner of the stagecoach, a particularly haggard old woman with long grey hair, hooked nose and mottled skin, had her eyes closed in fervent concentration with her hands steepled in front of her.

    Sketch had come across the purple painted wooden stage coach on the way from one town to the next. Sketch never usually had a destination in mind, his purpose was to simply tell stories. He’d been walking down the road for days, camping every night and enjoying the peaceful quiet that comes with the solitary life of a traveler. He’d seen the carriage from half a mile away, the gaudy colors sticking out from the monotonous grey and brown that came with the winter woods.

    Sketch had been interested in the carriage as a pure curiosity, he’d long ago learned to trust his instincts. He’d been drawn to the signs that were placed out near the front door, wondering who they could be meant to attract on a cold winter day in the middle of nowhere. The wooden signs had roughly painted letters across their fronts simply stating, “Fortunes told” and “Knock before entering”.
    He thought to himself that he could spare the time it took, he’d had no schedules to keep or appointments made. He approached the coach, about to take the first step when he heard voices coming from the inside. Quizzically, he stood in front of the door for a few minutes trying to see if he could make out the words.

    Upon only hearing only one voice, he decided to attempt knocking on the door. He climbed the narrow wooden stairs leading up to the door, and wrapped upon the door three times. The voice inside stopped, and the sound of shuffling objects and clinking glass came from within as Sketch waited for the door to open.

    After a few minutes, the purple and gold door slowly opened and the figure of an old gypsy woman stepped into the light. “Who stands before the Great Madam Alelka?” she said, with an over practiced accent. Sketch had to try to not roll his eyes, while she attempted to play the part, she lacked any of the subtle tact of a true showman. “Sketch the Story Teller, madam, at your service.” Sketch said, as he flourished a slight bow with his long arm drawn across his chest. “I came to inquire about your service, if I may be so bold.” He pointed a long slender finger over to the signs. “Ahhh…you wish to call upon the mystical powers of Madam Alelka!” she said, drawing out the words as if she was feeling them slide down her throat.

    “I admit to a certain occult curiosity Madam. If your divinations can answer some questions I have, I’d be extremely grateful.” Sketch said, allowing his voice to hold a practiced elegance. “The cards know all, but they reveal what they wish. For a gold coin, I will reveal what mysteries they hold.” She said, with an outstretched hand. Sketch placed a well-worn golden coin into her gnarled hand, and followed her in as she walked inside.

    Sketch looked down to the table, at the three cards with their worn, blue backs facing him. She’d lain a basic three card spread, the classic past, present and future fortune telling. After what seemed like an eternity, she opened her eyes with a start, causing Sketch to raise his eyebrow. She lowered her hand, adding as much ceremony as possible and pointed to the leftmost card.

    “The past dwells here, sir. Here it lived, and here it died.” She flipped the card over with a practiced grace that comes from constant practice. The image was that of a crowned man holding a large wooden staff. “The King of Wands. Very Powerful. He is a benevolent leader, prone to grand performances and grand acts the will garner praise and attention. His is the energy of the conquering hero, but falls to his ego.” Her voice had the tone of questing and wonder as she went on. She slid the card to Sketch, and he held it in his hand.

    “This is the present, where you dwell in the here and now. This card will give you insight into your current thoughts and what surrounds you.” This time, she flipped over the middle card. It showed a man suspended in the air by a single ankle. “Oh, my. One of the major arcana. The Hanged Man. This card shows an inability to impact the world around you as you desire, that the actions in the future will happen no matter what choices you make. It advises that you take the time to learn and study, to reflect and grow while you wait for events to unfold. Very interesting.” The middle card was placed in front of Sketch as well, and looking at it caused him to absently rub the constant bruise that he hid under his cravat.

    Her hand waved over the last card for a moment. Sketch looked to the face of the old woman, her features seeming to become exaggerated in the shadows of the carriage, He felt unable to speak, unable to look away. Her voice took on a strange haunting quality. “This card, is your future. What will be, what YOU will be. This is the inescapable fate that will not be denied.” She took the last card and revealed it.

    The card had a long foreboding figure, its limbs stretched beyond the human norm, and its eyes had a familiar hollow look, it’s posture in a mocking bow, it’s large grin giving it’s features a manic glee. “And Finally, we come to The Devil. The wild outcast, the power of reckless unchecked emotion. The one whose inner desires are laid out for all, whose passions are worn on their sleeves. He is instinct over thought, and he revels in the primal joys that dwell in everyone. His is the power of the true-self, unrepressed and unleashed. He is both Joy and Fear, Love and Hate. He is the Unfettered King.” These last words caused part of Sketch to jump, and a harsh pressure welled up inside of him. He knew that the name meant something, and it was important that it did. He hated himself for lacking the meaning behind the acknowledgement. His mind swirled with panicked thoughts and frantic
    searches trying to put some meaning to this name.

    The old woman then looked at Sketch, and they met eye to eye. Sketch realized that her features had drastically extended into a hideous parody of what they once were. The nose, once hooked was now so long it looked as if it was a beak on some monstrous bird. Her teeth were long, sharp and set in a manic grin. Her face was painted with wicked runes that seemed to change shape and flow like they were alive. The most disturbing change of all were her eyes, for they had taken on the empty, soulless eyes of the Grym.

    Sketch, still held by the gaze of the witch, sat helpless as a great wind blew the shutters open, and lightning flashes outside. The wicked being that sat across from him cackled deeply with a dark, deep voice that pricked his ears. “These are the keys to what you seek story teller. These are the parts that will lead you to the path WE have set for you. Search and seek, half-man, for after all, When you care not where you roam, Every road leads to home.” With those final words, the world around Sketch began to spin, faster and faster in a sea of wicked laughter.

    Sketch felt himself falling, as if in a dream. That laughter of the Grym echoing, and try as he might, he couldn’t block it out.

    He woke, lying on the ground in the middle of the road. He looked to the side where the carriage had sat. All that stood were two shapes in the ground, and three small white shapes. He walked over and picked up the shapes. They were the three cards that the witch had drawn for him. The King of Wands, The Hanged Man, and The Devil.

    Sketch looked frustrated at the two shapes in the ground, because if he had to guess, the holes looked to him, very much like two large chicken feet.

  2. #2
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Sketch stood in the middle of the road, looking at the cards in his hands and contemplating what had just happened. Had a Grym really found him without him seeking them out first? Normally the lesser Grym couldn’t take on a physical presence without a great deal of fear to feed off, or a great deal of energy from himself. The witch had to have been an incredibly old and powerful Grym to stay physical without anyone nearby.

    Once again, the feeling of intense loss filled him as he wracked his mind to remember an important piece of his past he missed. The witch was important, someone from his past. The other name she mentioned, The Unfettered King, that name still shot energy through his body.

    He cursed himself for not being able to gain more information from the witch while he had the opportunity. The Grym he could summon to him never talked to him when he asked questions, they always just looked at him with their empty, questioning eyes.

    He put the cards in his pack, brushed the dirt off his suit, and continued down the path towards the town again, determined to ask at least one question should he ever run into the Grym again. He pulled out his clay pipe and lit it, letting the rich deep scent of the tobacco calm the anger that he felt.

    Sketch walked for a few hours, thinking over the information he got from the witch’s tarot reading. The past and future readings were vague, as tarot readings typically were, but the present card, “The Hanged Man” gave him pause. She’d said that nothing he did, no choice he made, would impact the future that was going to come to him, and his time should be better spent growing and learning. He again absently touched the bruise on his neck, wondering just how close the reading was to being truth.

    As the blue sky started to fade and give way to the brilliant orange and pink of dusk, Sketch decided it was time to find a place to stop for the evening. He found a large uprooted oak tree that created a natural campsite in the woods, and laid out a large fire to give him able warmth for the night.

    As night came on in its full form, the woods around him settled into a shadowy oblivion in which Sketch’s whole world was only the area that the firelight touched. He made a light meal of dried meat, cheese, and hard bread. He indulged himself with his pipe once more, allowing himself to relax for the evening. He leaned against the side of the tree, putting his cloak over himself as a blanket, and allowed himself the pipe until his eyes felt heavy, and drifted off to sleep.

    His dreams were always odd, he felt. He often saw things that would terrify normal men, yet he felt nothing. Sketch had a hard time being frightened, seeing pure raw horror on a regular basis had a way of desensitizing one. He saw the cold, hollow eyes of the Grym all around him, and one pair walked closer to him in a sea of pure darkness.

    Sketch held out a lantern in his hand, and shown light over the creature that walked closer to him. The eyes belonged to a Grym that had the warped appendages of a man, with the shoulders looking lumped and broken, yet the head of a chestnut mare. It’s lips split back in an emotionless smile, and the creature spoke, “Once there was a girl, fair and beautiful… her mother so loved the child that she gave her a red cloak to keep her warm…” it’s voice like the rasp of a rusted vice. Sketch held up a hand “My friend, I do hope you aren’t going to waste my time telling me a story that every child knows. I appreciate a good story, but I do hate hearing the ones I already know told back to me.”

    The creature cocked it’s inhuman head to the side, “The story you know is incomplete, Teller. For at the end, while the great Beast lay dying, cleaved open by the huntsman, he took the cloak off the scared maiden, and laid it across the beast, to spare the girl the horror of watching it die. That beast was one of the first Grym, Teller. A primal horror born from the fears of wolves that hunted in the night. As it laid dying, it’s lifeblood seeped into the cloak, causing it to change in aspect. The cloak grew dark and twisted, and ended up becoming a Grym in it’s own right. Over time, it was lost, and grew in power as the legend of the girl and the beast became so wide spread that every child knows the tale.”

    The horse-headed creature began retreating backwards, it’s legs scraping upon the dreamscape. Sketch knew that the dream was nearing its end. “And what am I to do with this information?!” called Sketch, annoyed. As the piercing, empty eyes of the Grym began to fade, it’s voice echoed out, “Find it.”

    Sketch opened his eyes as the last embers of the fire began to die out, and the night had grown the slightest tint of pink amongst navy. He sat there for a moment in disbelief. Never had he been spoken to by the Grym. The relationship between the storyteller and the nightmarish creatures seemed simple, he called them out with his stories, and they responded. But now twice in the span of a day he’d been approached by them first.

    He stood up, and walked over to his pack and pulled out one of the long tarot cards he’d received the day before. He stared at “The Hanged Man” as he remembered the dream. “Find it.” Said the horseman, “The actions in the future will happen no matter what choices you make,” said the witch.

    Sketch packed up and pondered his next course. On one hand, he was told by the Grym to find the cloak, yet on the other, he was told that his choices made no difference. One thing was clear, that if the cards that were drawn by the witch were true, any choice he made was set to go towards only one direction, and that lead towards “The Devil”.

  3. #3
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Sketch knew he had a choice to make, regardless of what the witch had told him. He couldn’t place why, but he knew that it was important for him to find the cloak that the horseman had spoken of, and not just because he’d been asked to.

    On the other hand, Sketch hadn’t had much interaction with Gryms on a social level. Despite the appearance of them, and their ghoulish tendencies, he’d never felt as if they meant to harm him. However, Sketch knew they were an unknowable force of pure fear, there was no telling what their intentions could truly be.

    Sketch wasn’t exactly pressed for time, he could expend the effort to locate the cloak and be at the next town with little problem. The issue arose from the fact that he had to track down a mythical object with almost no clues to go on. “Find it, you say?! Daft blighters!” Sketch shouted at the surrounding bare woods, “How about some bloody instructions!” If he’d expected a reply, he was disappointed.

    He walked for a few hours as a bright early morning gave way to a dusky overcast noon, when he passed a particularly sparse copse of pitch trees. He heard a slight rustle of dried, dead leaves from the side of the trail. Sketch could swear he heard a short, high pitched laugh that was echoing from the forest.

    Cautiously, Sketch stepped off the trail to follow the noise, his curiosity peaked by the prospect of yet another encounter here out on the road. He walked forward until the tree cover caused him to lose sight of the road. He heard the giggling coming from in front of him, yet every time he felt he was getting closer to the source, the sound would move ever onward with no one in sight.

    After twenty minutes or so of walking, Sketch stopped hearing the ethereal laughter. He looked around him and saw an outcropping of flat grey stone coming out of the forest floor. Deciding to rest before attempting to make his way back to the road, he took a seat on the rocks and took his pipe out.

    As he began packing his pipe, he heard a sharp snap of a dried twig. He turned his head in the direction of the sound, and out of the shadows of a fallen bough, he saw a pair of bright, glowing red eyes.

  4. #4
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    The red eyes receded back into the shadows of the wood, and Sketch heard a loud deep howl that pierced his ears.

    Sketch heard more rustling and more snapping of twigs as he felt that the creature was circling around him, trying to confuse and distract him. Sketch stood upon the stone outcropping, his cane held out in front of him, in a vain attempt to intimidate the beast.

    “Come on, you mutt. I’m not above having a nice, thick, fur blanket to keep the cold out.” Sketch said, more for his own benefit than anyone else’s.
    The danger in the situation started to bring a familiar smile to Sketch’s face, he was never able to repress it when situations got dangerous. Sketch felt the familiar rush of excitement, the feeling of tapping into the darker side of his personality. If anyone were around to see, the image of the tall, skinny man giving an extremely wide grin with his dark laughing eyes, they would be reminded of a skeleton.

    The beast lunged out of the cover of the woods, a large, auburn wolf with sharp teeth and piercing red eyes. It’s muscles bulged with the effort of covering the short distance between the edge of the clearing and the stone.

    In the attempt to get his footing to swing his walking stick at the wolf, Sketch lost his balance and slide down one side of the stone, causing a small line of blood to appear on his forehead as a bump caused it to hit the rock.

    The wolf, having missed its prey the first time, began to circle the clearing again, seeing its clumsy prey already bloodied.
    Sketch stood and with the same wide grin, and with his arm’s stretched wide, began to speak in a deep dark baritone. “Once there was a Wolf and a fox… The wolf was large and strong, but lazy… The fox was small, but fast and cunning…” The over cast sky took on the unnatural black of a moonless night, mist started to sweep in from the trees. And a figure, it’s features clouded by the fog, rose out of the darkness.

    The wolf stopped pacing, crouched into a defensive stance, and growled a deep, menacing growl. “The wolf would often bully the small fox to fetch it’s food for it, but as the fox was small, it could only bring it very little at a time.” The shape in the mist took one labored step forward, its body looked like an overstuffed scarecrow, full of straw wearing a worn blue and white striped shirt. Over it’s face, it wore the mask of a fox.

    “One day, the wolf grew tired of the meager meals that the fox brought, and demanded that the fox take him to the cellar of the local farmer, where all of the meat was kept.” The wolf lunged at the Grym, who moved to the side, so the blow only scratched the face, causing the fox mask to crack.

    “The fox lead the wolf to the cellar, and while the wolf only cared about eating as much as he could, the fox kept checking to make sure he had a clear way out.” The wolf circled the Grym again, getting closer with each rotation.

    “Eventually, the wolf made enough racket that the farmer came down to the cellar to see what was happening. Upon seeing the old man, the nimble fox ran out the cellar door before the farmer could swing his nasty ax at him, but the wolf, having gorged himself on the meat, was too fat and slow to outrun the farmer. The farmer caught the wolf.” At these words, the Grym reached up to the crumbling mask it wore. “And with a swift chop of the ax…Split the wolf open.” The last stanza being emphasized slowly. As the final words were spoken the Grym took the mask off, and revealed underneath a monstrous face, with a sharp, wicked grin that ran ear to ear, and cruel, empty eyes.
    Last edited by The Crooked Knight; 10-10-2017 at 01:10 PM.

  5. #5
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    The Grym reached down into the mists, it’s overly long arms created in a misshapen effigy of a man, and drew out a large hatchet, lifting it with a rumbling chuckle escaping the over-sized mouth.

    The wolf seemed unsure of what to do next, it had seen the lone, frail traveler as an easy meal. Upon seeing the strange thing with the large weapon come out of nowhere, it began to hesitate.

    As the wolf weighed its options, the storyteller sat down on the rocks once again, his clay pipe casting an orange glow over the grinning visage.

    The Grym lunged at the wolf, swinging the large ax down attempting to split the wolf in half, just like the story. The beast narrowly managed to duck aside, receiving only a glancing blow to its hind leg that caused an anguished yelp of pain.

    The wounded animal, unable to use its usual trick of circling and darting any longer, gave up all pretense and simply lunged at the Grym, attempting to take the dangerous foe down before it could harm it any further.

    The Grym was knocked to the ground as the wolf bit and clawed at it’s arm. The creature, appearing to be made of the same straw that protruded from its shirt, seemed merely inconvenienced by the loss of the arm, and with a ripping sound, knocked the beast off it.

    The scene would have looked grisly from an outsider’s point of view, a man with a head wound sitting on a rock, another man, standing with an ax in one hand, and his other in the maw of a large wolf.

    The Grym walked closer to the wolf, it’s large steps covering ground quickly, as it raised the ax once more. This time it brought the ax down on the wolf squarely on the side, causing a sizable wound to the beast, and causing another loud yelp.

    The wolf at this point, had to struggle to rise, as the blood left swiftly through the wound. It took only one more swing of the large ax to finish the beast, and with the battle finished, the Grym turned its empty, soulless eyes back on Sketch.

    Sketch was waiting, hoping that this one would attempt to speak to him as well. To his sorrow, the creature only lifted it’s ax over its shoulder, took it’s arm off the ground, and retreated backwards into the mists, a deep laugh echoing through the darkness of the woods.

  6. #6
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Sketch stood up from the rocks, and walked over to the dead body of the wolf. He took his walking stick and poked it’s side. No response came from the body.
    He bent down and examined the body, looking it over carefully. The auburn beast seemed abnormal to Sketch. It was larger than a normal wolf by about 100 pounds, it’s teeth were too long and exaggerated. And to top it off, it was unusual for a wolf to hunt alone.

    Sketch stood up, and brushed the dirt off his clothes. He lifted his head to the cut on his forehead, and brought his fingers back covered with a decent amount of blood. “Bloody head wounds…Bleed like crazy…”He muttered to himself.

    Not knowing how far away from the next town he was, he cleared the brush from a large circle, and set up a small fire. He set water to boil as he looked around. He found a few wild onions growing near the rocks he’d sat upon before, and cut some bark from a rather lively white oak.

    He made a thin decoction of the onions and bark, letting the water simmer for a while. He allowed the juice to cool as the took strips of cloth and tried to clean them with a small amount of lye. After the water had cooled, he soaked it up in the clean cloths and began to clean the cut on his forehead, and treat the various other
    small scrapes he’d received.

    Sketch always tried to be careful when it came to injury, he’d heard many stories about campers getting into dreadful situations just because they lacked the basic common sense to not run around the woods bleeding all over.

    He looked over at the wolf once more as the fire went on, contemplating if the meat was any good, and decided against it. Strange meat rarely agreed with him, and that wolf was a textbook example of “strange”.

    As the over cast sky darkened into night, Sketch sat down and cooked some of the wild onions over the fire, with his usual fare of trail rations. The night was quiet, not a sound had been made since the wolf appeared, yet Sketch had a hard time sleeping, both from the memory of the last night, and from the prospect of having more wolves try to ambush him.

    Once dawn had risen, Sketch got up, and rubbed the weariness from his eyes, and packed his campsite up. He attempted to find his way back to the roadside, and continue back towards the next village.

  7. #7
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Sketch sat in front of the crackling fire set under the stone hearth. He’d made his way to the village with little real incident after the wolf attacked. The town was named Roselyn, and it was surrounded by large wooden walls and an iron gate. The sky had remained the same dark overcast grey since the day with the wolf.
    Roselyn was famous for its hunters apparently, a culture of boasting egotists that had welcomed Sketch to the hearth eagerly. The thought of their great hunts being told around the world had reversed Sketch’s position, causing every hunter to approach him, and tell their stories of bravery.

    Sketch took the stories in great stride and accepted the hospitality with grace. He sat in front of the fire, smoked his pipe, drank the thin ale that the tavern offered, and allowed his mind to drift away from the vexing trouble of the past couple of days.

    As the night grew on, a large hunter came up to him and sat in the large, over stuffed arm chair that was a mirror of the one Sketch currently occupied. The man was half a foot taller than Sketch, and looked like he doubled his wait, all of it muscle, with a large unkempt beard. “They say you like stories lad,” the stern, gruff voice, with a pronounced accent that stretched the soft “ah” sounds.

    “That’s right sir. My name is Sketch, a humble storyteller. May I ask your name?” Sketch said with a pleasant smile. “Aye! Sketch, tha’ was it. Ma name is Kellam. I’m one o’ the hunters of the village. Ye’ll not have heard a story like the one I got for ya.”

    Sketch had his doubts, he’d heard dozens of peasant stories, all about hunting a savage beast, or a large deer. “I’d love to hear it!” Sketch said, affecting a tone of sincere excitement. “There we were, my hounds and I, in the heart of the forest. Suddenly, we heard a sound coming from behind us. We turned and saw a giant red wolf, with fierce glowing eyes, and razor-sharp teeth.” Sketch jolted upright in his seat. “Aye, it was a terrifying beast. I lost 2 dogs bringing the monster down. It was a fierce battle, and the pelt was shredded.”

    Sketch had heard many hunting tales over the day, and no one else had mentioned large red wolves like the one he’d encountered. “Are such beasts common in this area?” asked Sketch? “Nay lad, this was several days journey from here. Never have I heard of such a beast. The strangest thing happened before we encountered the beast, we heard the voice of a woman deep in the woods. We chased the voice deep into the woods. When the voice stopped, I could swear that I saw a flash of red cloth disappearing into the trees. That’s when the beast appeared.” The huntsman replied.

    A flash of red cloth? Sketch thought it too much to be a coincidence.

  8. #8
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    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
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    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Back on the road, Sketch followed the directions that the burly hunter had given him. As far as he could tell, the spot wasn’t too far from where he’d encountered his own red wolf. The feminine voice and flash of red cloth were the last two pieces of the puzzle that Sketch needed to figure out what bothered him about the wolf when he’d examined the body.

    Some stories Sketch knew told of how the main villain controlled vast territories, influencing and corrupting the land and creatures that dwelt in it. If that was truly an ability that Grym could possess, Sketch couldn’t think of a more fitting corruption for Red Riding hood than that of wolves. Sketch wasn’t sure how many of the beast had been tainted, but he knew that he didn’t want to find out before finding the cloak.

    The dreary grey of the overcast sky caused the cold of the winter air to bite into Sketch without the comfort of the sun. As he made his way through the grey and brown of the forest, white flakes of snow began to fall from the sky and littered the forest floor.

    He made his way, slowly and labored, as his feet crunched through the fresh layer of white. The snow made finding the path through the brambles and roots a trial.
    As the storm raged on, Sketch began to hear a woman’s voice on the wind as he walked forward. There were broken bits of words, sighs, and laughter, all getting lost in the howl of the wind. He shuddered under his cloak, unwilling to stop moving until he found a decent shelter to stave off the cold.

    After walking for hours, the woods cleared out into a small, clear space with a small wooden cabin. Sketch felt suspicious, but was unwilling to turn away a potential reprieve from the cold. He walked up to the cabin ad knocked on the sturdy door, with no response coming from within.

    As the lean man opened the door, he saw that while there was no one with in, it had recently been occupied. The floors and furniture had recently been dusted and swept, and the hearth and fireplace we clean and emptied of ash. The shelves in the small kitchen were stocked with an assortment of dried meats, cheese, breads and pickled vegetables. On top of a walnut table, next to well-worn chair, was a leather-bound book.

    Sketch built up a fire in the stone fire place, allowing it to warm up the cabin as the snow fell outside. He helped himself to the food on the shelves without much guilt, for he would either leave enough coin to cover the cost of the purloined food, or this was a trap set up by the Grym, in which case he’d deal with the situation and leave nothing at all.

    As Sketch made himself comfortable, with his wet clothes drying by the fire, he looked at the book with intense suspicion. The situation he currently found himself in seemed like a basic scene out of a typical ghost story, with an empty cabin with nothing but a book to draw his attention. Sketch gave a sigh, if there was no other way to go on other than to play by the rules of the Grym, then he supposed he’d may as well get it over with.

    Sketch sat down and began to read from the old, worn, journal.

  9. #9
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
    EXP required for next Level: 1,184


    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    The words on the page before him were written in a flowing, elegant script on a yellowing parchment, with intricate pictures positioned on the opposite page.

    The first picture held a scene of a happy couple under a trellis, the sillouette of a woman in a wedding dress, with flowers in her hand, stood opposite of that of a large man wearing a suit. A bright red cloth and axe sat towards the bottom of the page, giving a sharp contrast to the black sillouettes. The words read, “Once there was a beautiful girl, whose mother loved her so much that her mother made a beautiful red cloak to wear so she would keep warm. The girl loved the cloak, and would always wear it wherever she went. However, one day, the beautiful girl was caught by an evil wolf, who wanted to rip the girl to shreds and eat her. The beautiful girl was saved from the wolf by a large muscular man with a sharp ax, who cleaved the monster in half. The beautiful girl and the large man eventually fell in love and were married, and they left their beloved possessions behind.”

    Sketch turned the next page cautiously, not wanting to let his guard down in a strange house. The next page had a picture of the cloak and ax, still bright red, inside of what looked like a wooden chest. “The beautiful cloak and sharp ax were forgotten about, locked away for years. The cloak still yearned to be worn by the girl, and the ax wanted to bite into wood again, both desired nothing more than to be used once again.”

    The next page had a picture of an old woman in bed, her eyes closed and her hand held by an old man. The red cloak laid out over the woman, the red ax laying against the chair that the man sat in. “Eventually the beautiful girl got old, her beauty faded and her body grew frail. One cold day, she grew very sick, and her husband, now without his muscles and strength, stood by her side day and night. During one night, she complained about the cold and asked her husband to find extra blankets to help her keep warm. He searched through the whole house, yet could find no more blankets for his wife. Eventually, he opened the trunk where the red cloak and ax were stored. The husband held the two objects for a moment, allowing the memories to fill him. With a smile, he brought the cloak the cloak back to his wife and laid it upon her. He laid the ax down next to a chair and sat down. He told her the story of how they met, deep into the night.”

    The storyteller turned the page once more. A picture of the cloak on an empty bed, with the ax sitting upon an empty chair appeared. “Eventually, the woman passed away, and with a broken heart, the husband followed soon after. The cloak and ax sat in an empty room, waiting for their owners to return. As the days passed on and the dust covered the objects, they began to grow even lonelier in the empty house.”

    The final page had a far more macabre picture, A red cloak draped over a black shape with a wicked grin, white eyes, with a bright red ax. “The cloak and ax grew angry at once again being discarded. As time passed, the story of the beautiful girl with the red hood became legend. As the fear of the wolf coming from the darkness to devour people grew, the ax and hood began taking on a life of their own. The anger the two shared at being loved, and forgotten caused the two to grow wicked and cruel.”

    Sketch closed the book, with no more pages left to read. And behind him, he heard a loud laugh.

  10. #10
    Member

    EXP: 3,816, Level: 2
    Level completed: 61%, EXP required for next Level: 1,184
    Level completed: 61%,
    EXP required for next Level: 1,184


    The Crooked Knight's Avatar

    GP
    515
    AP
    4
    Name
    Sketch
    Location
    Corone
    Sketch turned his head sharply, the noise far louder than it had been outside.

    Behind him was a beautiful blonde woman, with a short blue dress with white trim, striped stockings, and a bright, blood red cloak.
    She stood in the corner away from Sketch, her posture one of confidence and surety, with one hand behind her back, and the other held to her lips.
    The overall effect would have been pleasant to Sketch, if not for several factors, one of the more prominent being that he was still in his underwear. The fact that he’d expected some sort of reaction to occur from reading the story helped stifle a majority of the surprise of the intrusion.

    The girl walked over to Sketch, her hips swaying seductively. “That, is our story, Teller. The true sequel and legacy of the Wolf. We wonder if you know why we brought you here…” She strode around him slowly, her eyes analyzing him.

    Sketch calmly stood from the chair, walked over to the fire, and collected his slightly damp clothes. As he slowly dressed in his black and grey suit, he spoke to the girl, “I came here at the request of the horseman. If you know specifically why, a specific reason why I was asked to come here, I’d be very grateful for the information.”

    “My, my, could it be that the Teller knows all the stories but his own? Truly what his purpose is? We’re afraid that it wouldn’t be our place to say Teller. You must wait until you’re called, those are the rules WE live by.” Her bright, melodious voice stressing the “WE”. She walked over to the man, as he fastened the last button on his jacket.

    She ran a finger slowly under his chin, looking him in the eyes as she said with a low voice, “Would you call on US, Teller? Will you tell stories of us? Spread our name to world along with your own? We will come if you ask…” she let the words trail off.

    Suddenly she grabbed his chin with the full of her hand, holding it in a grip like iron. “Would you let us out of our cage?! Allow us to bring fear to the people again?! We do so want to feel our ax bite into flesh again!” These words came out in a rapid succession, with a manic air about them. Her mouth grew unnaturally wide, and her teeth grew sharp and wicked. The most disturbing change that occurred to the alluring face was that the eyes that were a bright blue, turned into empty, hallow pools.

    To Sketch’s credit, he didn’t flinch, even when a long, serpentine tongue flicked his cheek. Sketch grabbed the wrist of the Grym, and lowered it from his face. He pushed her away, and straightened his tie, gave a sigh, and lifted his eyes to the monster.

    “I’m very short on patience, Madam. I have been harassed by you Grym three times now, in almost as many days, I have been lead around on a chain by people who know more about me twice, dangling my past in front of my eyes. I’m tired of taking orders…I’m sick of being treated like a servant. If you want me to do a favor for you, then you will speak plainly. You ask me to call on you, tell me how!”

    Sketch let his head drop and let his smile grow wide. He spread his arms wide at his side. “I will summon you, lady. I will incant your name, and bring you against my enemies.” His voice took on a dark, angry baritone. “But know this creature. You will serve ME. I’m tired of games, tired of being lead around to serve the desires of others. You will come and fuel MY legend.” The words he spoke grew dark, and weighted with the promise of action behind them.

    The Grym stood there, her eyes carrying a shocked expression. Her face took on the features of the pleasant maiden once more, both hands clutching the ax close to her chest, her mouth in a pleased expression. “My Teller, I will follow you. You walk without fear, even knowing us, as we are.” She walked towards the man, her voice still holding the manic tone. “You can’t even see the parts of you that are missing, how incomplete you are. You hold on to stories as if they were lovers, with you, we’d never be forgotten.” With a sharp snap, the form of the Grym returned once more, “Oh Teller, What an Empty Soul You Have!” the words of the Grym were followed by a round of malevolent laughter coming from her.

    The walls of the cabin began to fade away in the echo of the laughter, the ephemeral building disappearing as the scene finished. The red hooded Grym walked close to Sketch, her mouth drawing closer to his ear. “My name Teller… is “Red Riding Hood,” I give you permission to speak it and bring me forth.”

    As the words left her mouth, the familiar fog crept out over the snowy ground, enveloping the area. She receded back, away from the man, her eyes never leaving him. As the fog enveloped her, he saw the features shift back to those of the maiden, an expression of anticipation on her face.

    Sketch knew the importance of her words, of the power of a true name, given freely for a Grym. He knew now, the difference between The Witch, The Horseman and the Grym that acted out his scripts. He knew with an absolute certainty that when he spoke her name from now on, it would be no formless shape, acting out a part in his play, but Her.

    They would come, he corrected himself, both The Maiden, and The Wolf.

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