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  1. #1
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera

    The Climb (Solo)

    (Solo)

    Silence echoed throughout the typically crowded tavern known as Dead Man’s Drink. Hundreds of mercenaries, assassins, and other less honorable men spent their free time drinking away their lives in this bar, but today was different. Three men inhabited the tavern at the peak of the night; The bartender, the serf, and a man garbed in all black with a beautiful ebony bow at his side.

    Black Shadow leaned forwards in his chair, pulling apart his bread. His mask covered the top portion of his face and his dark hood shrouded his eyes completely, hiding his true identity from the world. He sat in silence, taking a swig from his tankard of the notorious Dead Man’s Drink, an alcohol so potent very few could survive more than one shot.

    A cold wind swept through the tavern as the door swung open. A lanky scholar awkwardly walked through the doorway.

    “Good evening” He said, lifting his hat to the bartender who did not acknowledge the man.

    He stood still for a second, staring at the bartender, expecting a returned greeting. The scholar removed his coat and hung it up by the door before making his way to the edge of the tavern. He sat across Black Shadow, who continued to enjoy his meal. The waitress approached the man to take his order, gently smiling.

    “I’ll take a large glass of Goat milk, please, and one order of potato bread.” The scholar said, handing the waitress ten gold pieces. “You can keep the rest.”

    Black Shadow looked up at the man, an obvious bookworm. He gave the scholar a look of annoyance before continuing to eat his food.

    “You’re the one they call Black Shadow, aren’t you?” The man asked.

    Black Shadow paused and looked up at the man, eyeing him carefully. He placed his bread down and slowly reached to his hip, placing his hand on his dagger. Very few people knew Black Shadow, and most who did wanted him dead.

    “You must be, my sources have never let me down.” The man continued. “My name is Professor Feurstein, it’s nice to meet you.” Feurstein said, holding his hand out for a handshake. Black Shadow did not move a muscle, staring into the professor’s eyes. Silence rang out uncomfortably long before Feurstein continued.

    “So, you don’t really talk much. That’s okay, I don’t need you to talk anyway, just to listen and agree to help me.” The professor continued. “I study geological activities, more specifically specific anomalies in the geological development. Recently there has been a series of earthquakes and glaciers along the Dagger peaks and Twilight Peaks. These earthquakes are happening more frequently and appear to be stronger where they meet with the Kachuk Mountains.” Feurstein explained. Black Shadow took his hand off his dagger at his hip and leaned back, listening carefully.

    “My colleagues and I want to spend time in the mountains to study the activity and attempt to solve the mystery. We would normally make the journey to one of these anomalies ourselves, but we cannot fight of the predators of the mountains alone. That’s where you come in.”

    Black Shadow leaned forward and rubbed his fingers together, seeking compensation for the journey. The professor stared confused, trying to understand Black Shadow’s silent gestures. Black Shadow shook his head and stood, not wanting to take the job. He turned towards the door and took one step before Feurstein reached out and grabbed his arm.

    “Please. My informant tells me you are the best. It pays well, I promise.” The professor pleaded. Black Shadow turned back to the professor and pulled out a gold coin, rubbing it between his fingers. “payment, yes, payment. Here.” The professor said, pulling a small bag of coins from his hip. “Here is 1000 gold pieces, consider it an advance, and there is ten times this amount for you if we make it back safely.”

    Black Shadow grabbed the gold from the professor’s hand and counted the gold. He looked up and nodded in acceptance.

    “You’ll do it? Oh, you won’t regret this, thank you for your help.” The man said. “My team and I will meet you at the start of the Niadath Pass in Raiaera in three days’ time.”

    Black Shadow nodded and sat back down in his chair to finish his meal while Professor Feurstein left Dead Man’s drink.

    What have I gotten myself into?
    Last edited by Black Shadow; 06-15-2020 at 08:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    A loud creak of a loose floor board broke the silence that encompassed the small house. Black Shadow cringed, knowing he made a mistake. He intended to replace the loose board in the morning, but now he had to leave for the Niadath Pass at dawn.

    “Daddy, is that you?” a little girl called out. Black Shadow’s daughter, Espior opened the door to her bedroom and walked out into the living room, rubbing her tired eyes. The dying embers of the fireplace gently illuminated the beautifully soft face of the elvish child. Her long blonde hair covered half her face and her bright blue eyes glowed in the dim light.

    “It is you daddy!” Espoir screeched in delight, running to Black Shadow and jumping into his arms for a hug. Black Shadow held her tight and stroked her soft hair. “Are we going to the marketplace tomorrow?”

    Black Shadow looked his daughter in the eyes and pulled his mask off. “I have to go on a trip tomorrow.” He mouther to her slowly so she could read his lips.

    Espoir dropped her head in disappointment. “I thought you said we would go to the market. I wanted to play with that puppy.”

    “I know, but this is an important trip, Espoir. I promise, after this trip we will spent a whole week together, just you and me.”

    “Really? A whole week?”

    “Yes, a whole week. Now let’s get you back to bed Espoir.” Black Shadow said, picking Espoir up and holding her tight. “I sent a messenger hawk to Uncle Gavner, He will be staying with you while I’m gone, okay?”

    “Uncle Gavner? Yay! Is he going to bring more candy?”

    I thought he said he stopped doing that. Black shadow thought. “He might. Now off to bed you go.”

    Black Shadow laid his daughter down in bed and pulled the blankets over body. He ran his hand through her silky hair and thought about how fast she has grown. She was a baby when he took her as his own, and now she was seven years old. She knew how to shoot a bow, handle a knife, and cook a few simple meals.

    Black Shadow’s mind drifted to the last time he took Espoir to the marketplace. On the way home, Espoir spotted a pure white horse with a black diamond on its forehead. Espoir pointed at the horse and said she wanted the horse as her own.

    I’ll be back with enough money to buy you that horse.

    Black Shadow stood and walked out of Espoir’s bedroom, closing the door silently behind him. He grabbed a large bag from the coat rack and started packing for the trip. Black Shadow always packed light for mercenary work, but a trip into the mountains, taking uncharted paths to an unexplored peak required thicker clothes and more supplies than normal.

    Black Shadow grabbed some large rope and thick clothes, stuffing them into the bag. He grabbed some light food and a water bottle. He threw his packed bag against a chair and turned to grab his heavy coat. The fur coat was made from a large black bear he killed the month before, and offered exceptional protection from the snow.

    The Dark Archer sat back in a chair, staring into the remaining embers of the dying fire. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, falling asleep within seconds.

  3. #3
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    The frigid air of the ascending winter pierced Black Shadow’s lungs with every breath, and a thick cloud filled the air with every exhale. A light snow gently fell from the sky, leaving a thick blanket across the landscape.

    Black Shadow looked ahead at the mountain pass before him. The earth rose to extraordinary heights, meeting at sharp peaks, towering over even the tallest structures. The Niadath Pass bridged the gap between Raiaera and Alerar, two very different elvish kingdoms forever at war. The path housed many dangers, both alive and natural. One avalanche possessed the ability to wipe an entire caravan from the face of the earth, and countless wolves and ever dangerous frost trolls could annihilate even the best warriors.

    “There he is!” A familiar voice called out. Black Shadow recognized Professor Feurstein waiting patiently for the archer. Beside him stood four other scrawny men with large bags on their back, as well as two warrior types. “Black Shadow, these are my colleagues, Professor Joli, Professor Barnatas, Professor Hernata, and lastly Jeb. Jeb is a student rather than a professor, but he insisted on accompanying us.”

    Black Shadow nodded towards the troop then turned back towards Feurstein.

    “These men will also be coming with us.” Feurstein continued. “While I fully trust your skills as an archer, I felt it best to have more than one body guard. This here is Braddok and Junala.”

    Black Shadow looked at the two closely, studying their physique and estimating their skills. Braddok stood tall, his orcish profile showed its strength. A massive blood-stained axe rested on his back, looking tiny compared to his impeccable chest. His bore his chest proud, the frigid temperatures not even phasing him. He wore a black fur skirt around his waist and fur boots on his feet. Large scars covered his arms, likely claw marks from a large beast slain by the orc.

    Black Shadow turned his gaze towards Junala. Braddok towered above her. Her dark elvish skin glistened in the sun. She wore a dark grey cloak which covered the majority of her skin. Two large daggers rested against her hips. She stood without confidence, appearing timid and afraid to be joining the group. Black Shadow rolled his eyes and pushed passed the two, rejoining Feurstein in briefing the other scholars.

    “We need to make our way through the Niadath Pass until we reach this point here.” Professor Feurstein said, pointing at the center of the mountain pass. “From there we must create our own path north. Jeb, you’re a map maker, make sure you document our every move. If a path we attempt to take is blocked and we turn back, mark it down.”

    “Yes sir.” Jeb responded, his young age showing with his high voice.

    “Good. If we experience an earthquake or glacier, we will stop and attempt to uncover its origin. Professor Joli, did you bring the Aleraran prototype?”

    “Yes, I have it. While I still believe using the spell that Professor Herion taught us all years ago, the device will give us accurate details on the severity of any seismic activity.”

    “Good. Professors Barnatas and Hernata, you two will lead. Your experience in mountain climbing is unmatched. Please, try not to lead us off a cliff.”

    The professor waved his hand for Braddok and Junala to join the group. “And you three, you have to keep us alive. This expedition is very important, more than you could ever know.”

    “Braddok keep puny human alive!” The orc rang out, pounding his chest.

    “Let us all hope so. Braddok, Junala, Black Shadow will be taking the lead on defense. You follow his orders. Jeb can translate sign language for you.”

    “Puny human tell me what to do? HAHAHAH-“ Braddok started. Black Shadow thrust his fist into the orcs chest with lightning speed, sending him back over ten feet onto his back. The orc gasped for air as pain encompassed his lungs.

    “That is why he is in charge, I trust him, and you will too. Now, let’s get moving.”

  4. #4
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    The frigid winds grew stronger as the group began their long trek through the Niadath 
Pass. Snow covered the mountain making the mountain path nearly unrecognizable. The rising sun illuminated the sky in bright reds and oranges. The sun glistened off the snow creating a beautiful landscape that captivated Black Shadow.

    “The ancient city of Valinatal, now known as Narenhad, is up ahead.” Professor Feurstein said. “We should break off the main pass now, Narenhad is inhabited by the undead raised by Xem’Zund years ago.”

    Black Shadow nodded in agreement, Feurstein hired him to protect the group, and avoiding unnecessary dangers is their top priority.

    “Professor Barnatas, this is where you take the lead.” Feurstein said. “Jeb, start recording our path.”

    Jeb pulled a large scroll from his bag. The Niadath Pass filled the center of the paper while the sides of the scroll remained blank. Jeb carefully recorded every step of the journey and roughly sketching even the smallest rock formation.

    The group trudged on, the snow growing deeper until every step sunk Black Shadow to his knees. As night drew closer the temperatures dropped well below zero. Multiple layers of clothing and fur coats were not enough to keep the men warm.

    “We will climb to those rocks ahead, it looks like the snow is shallow there and we can make camp.” Professor Hernata said. The rocks sat one hundred yards ahead, only a short trek through the deep snow.

    The snow thinned amongst the rocky peak where the group set up camp. Braddok lit a large fire amongst outside two large tents. The tents were made of thick leather, protecting the party from the harsh winds.

    Black Shadow grabbed Jeb and motioned him to translate for him. “Braddok, Junala,” Black Shadow started. “One of us must be on watch at all times tonight. We never know what could be out here. The journey has been easy thus far, but that could change at a moment’s notice.”

    “Puny human scared of bad things, I watch first!” Braddok exclaimed. Black Shadow nodded and went to his tent.

    The archer laid down in his sleeping bag and dozed off to sleep.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A familiar sound rang in Black Shadow’s ear, a bowstring flying an arrow. Black Shadow jumped up and grabbed his bow.

    “Human awake, not time yet.” Braddok started. “Go back to- “

    Black Shadow lunged his hand forward and grabbed an arrow out of the air, reknocking it in one fluid motion. Braddok starred in disbelief.

    “How you know?” Braddok said as Black Shadow released the arrow and shot another from the sky. “Under attack!” Braddok yelled out.

    The rest of the group jumped up. “What’s happening?” Feurstein asked.

    “Under attack!” Braddok reiterated, readying his axe.

    Junala stepped next to Black Shadow, her daggers in hand. She took a fighting stance, her feet wide and her daggers in front of her. The enemy hid in the dark, firing an occasional arrow towards the men. A deep growl pierced the silence of the night.

    Slowly the enemy walked into the light, revealing a skeletal body holding a short sword and a shield. The skeleton charged with its weapon raised. Braddok swung his axe at the enemy, decapitating the skull from the spine. The skull rolled down the mountain into the night, but the skeleton continued to advance. Braddok swung again separating the arms from the body, and the rest of the bones dropped lifeless.

    “Hahaha, tiny bone man no match for me!” Braddok laughed. Suddenly more skeletons appeared, all charging at the group.
    Last edited by Black Shadow; 01-31-2021 at 08:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    “I- I can’t help you here.” Junala said, her voice quivering in fear. She lowered her weapons and ran to the scholars. Her entire body trembled in sheer panic. Professor Joli placed her hand on Junala’s shoulder to comfort her.

    “hahaha! Yes!” Braddok shouted, raising his axe. “Me wait too long for fight!” Braddok charged one skeleton and lowered his shoulder, smashing it to pieces with his sheer power. Bones flew in all directions, raining down like a thunderstorm.

    Black Shadow knew he had to conserve his arrows, and that a bow would be nearly useless against a horde of skeletons that can attack without limbs. Without hesitation, Black Shadow grabbed a sword from a fallen skeleton and began his defense.

    I always said I needed to practice my swordsmanship more often. Black Shadow thought to himself. The dark archer swung his sword at the head of an incoming skeleton, crushing the skull. The skeleton swung a devastating blow at Black Shadow’s chest. Black Shadow stepped back quickly and brought his sword up, colliding with the blackish steel of the skeletons own weapon. A shrill clash encompassed the archer’s ears as the two engaged in a blade lock.

    Black Shadow’s strength bested that of the skeleton as he ripped the sword into the air and away from the two combatants. Black Shadow instantly kicked the skeleton and then swung his sword at the center vertebrae. The sword sliced cleanly through the skeleton, cutting it in half, and breaking the spell. The bones broke apart and fell into a pile, littering the snow with the remains of a long dead enemy.

    Black Shadow drew his attention from the foe and onto his next target, but to his surprise, Braddok was holding the final skeleton above his head. The skeleton flailed its arms relentlessly trying to free itself.

    “Hahaha, you no do nottin!” Braddok laughed. “Hey, black man, watch this!” Braddock said. With immense strength, Braddock threw the skeleton against the ground, the bones shattering into thousands of pieces. “They no stand chance against me, I too good! Hahahaha!”

    Black Shadow laughed to himself and nodded to Braddok. I’m glad he’s on our side Black Shadow thought. He looked across the battle, noticing the thousands of bones lying on the ground. We need to destroy these bones or these monsters may come looking for us again.

    Black Shadow turned to the professors and then to Junala. Anger flooded his mind at the utter uselessness of a defender that stood before him. Black Shadow marched up to the elf and dug his face into hers. Junala refused to look into the black mask of Black Shadow, and shrunk before him.

  6. #6
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    Black Shadow’s fingers danced in a fiery fit of rage, swift as a cheetah chasing its prey. An immense anger grew in the archer as he scolded Junala in a blistering silence.

    With every passing second, the elf cowered more, tears slowly forming in her eye. She looked over to Jeb, waiting for the terrifying threats to be translated. Jeb froze, unable to speak the horrors Black Shadow had meant to say.

    The Dark Archer stared into Junala’s eyes, piercing here very soul. His frustration boiled over, and he grabbed the elf by the throat, lifting her into the air by one hand.

    “Hey!” Jeb shouted, running forward and trying to help her. “Put her down, she didn’t mean anything!” He threw himself at the archer, hoping his weak attack would be enough to stop him from killing her.

    Black Shadow threw Jeb to the side without flinching, and continued to stare into the soul of Junala. She gasped for air, the sheer strength of Black Shadow’s grip suffocating her. He wanted more than anything to kill her in that moment for her unwillingness to help. His grip tightened for a moment, then a voice pierced his mind.

    “Daddy, don’t hurt that girl.”

    Black Shadow dropped Junala and snapped back into reality. He looked at what had happened, and realized what he almost did. He stared for a moment as his rage left him, then he turned his back and walked away from the group.

    “Junala, are you alright?” Jeb asked, rushing to help her. She gasped for air and coughed, spitting blood on the freezing snow.

    “I’m fine.” She said between coughs. “I’m sorry I didn’t help.”

    “It’s alright Junala, not everyone is prepared for a fight like that.”

    “No.” Junala said softly. “I couldn’t help, and not because I didn’t want to, or because I was afraid.”

    Jeb looked at her confused. “What do you mean?” he asked.

    Black Shadow stood fifty feet from the two, but tuned his hearing into their conversation. He hated a gutless coward, but always searched for a coward’s motives.

    “My father was a necromancer. He learned how to raise the dead through magic, and how to curse others, and the land. He helped Xem’Zund.” She explained, tears rolling down her face. “I denounced his magic, I begged him to stop, to put an end to what he was doing.” She continued, her worlds barely distinguishable. “But he wouldn’t. I threatened him, told him if he wouldn’t stop, I would put an end to him, permanently. So… he cursed me.”

    Black Shadow turned around and faced Junala. He understood the immense pain of a father who hated his own child. He walked back to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, nodding for her to continue.

    “If I hurt an undead, even a scratch, I feel the pain that I would deal. Shattering a bone would make me feel like my own bone shattered. I can’t touch them, or I will damn myself to suffering. “

    “I am sorry.” Jeb said.

    Black Shadow nodded. He stood and held his hand out, helping Junala rise. Then he signed to Jeb. “We need to destroy these bones.”

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