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Thread: [M]The Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood(IC)

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    Horror [M]The Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood(IC)

    Things will get fairly violent at times, as a warning. Drug use, blood, gore, possibly nudity and sexually suggestive situations may occur.

    OOC

    Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood


    "I've failed you child. Our bloodline, it ends with me. Please, save yourself." These were the mysterious last words of Mette's father, Sir Eld. In the end he went out with raspy words which were hard to discern with any clarity at first. As they had rung in her ears over time they grew stronger and stronger each time she heard them. There was a resonance in her mind. The night of his death Mette was given a dream, of her father and mother taking a carriage when they were younger to the Great City which was lit with beautiful lights under a full moon. In the sky it beamed down on them, the dream was overall quiet and calm with a bit of mellowness to it.

    On the next day his body was buried right away. The funeral felt rushed while servants worked tirelessly to entomb him within the crypts of her family's estates. His coffin was wrapped in iron chains and placed gently in one of the alcoves, right beside her mother's coffin. Finally the two were together once again. No one really wept for her father, they all were quite distant. There was no animosity but there was a fear of his illness. Out here on the estate things were mostly fine, but word had spread of the plague. Her father had showed its symptoms, and entered a state of deliriousness before he had passed. Cut off from the rest of the world, these people here were lost without a leader or any real idea of what to do. That is until Mette decided to head to the Great City.

    No one had visited it in years, supposedly it had gotten too dangerous to even live in anymore. For what reason no one seemed willing to talk about it. Just that you must be indoors when the sun was down, and to stay as quiet as possible. This was spread about the islands, this fear of darkness. Even at the estate everyone locked up before night and no one dared tread the grounds in darkness. Once a gardener had and the next day he was found eviscerated hanging from a tree by his entrails. Something was watching them, hunting them.

    Most were too afraid to make the journey with Mette. Each dreaded the journey with only a few willing to go. Her closest servant Bodil against her parents' wishes went along. Four guards out of ten joined them, and an older man named Beneford went with as well. He was a friend of her mother's who had been staying at the estate for years, afraid to return to the city where his family lived. It had been long enough, he was anxious to see them once more, to hold his children in his arms again. Bodil readied their clothes and anything they needed for the trip. It was a few day's journey.

    They left in quite a hurry and worked the horses like the animals they were. Along the journey they mostly saw trees and birds, crows to be specific. Nothing else living was spotted and the guards riding along with them had even started to sweat. There was no going back, they were packed as well as they could be with most of the guards riding on the outside. Beneford was acting as the driver while Bodil sat beside Mette. Her auburn hair was covered with a simple cloth hat that kept her hair down, it was white with a flower stitched into its left side, a dandelion. Bodil wore a plain skirt and tunic with short shoes and an apron. In her hands she held a book, it was something about gardening. She had recently taken up helping others in the garden.

    The sun hung low in the sky when they approached a cottage. It had a door open at the front that was swinging in the wind. This cottage looked very old, so old it could have been from her parents' childhood. No one was around it. They pulled up to it and the guards asked everyone else to stay outside while they investigated it. Its windows were dusty and it looked very dark inside. Outside were strewn about bones of animals and hides. Whoever had lived here didn't anymore, and left behind their work. The guards returned from inspecting the building and confirmed it was safe. One held out a hand near the carriage door to help Mette descend.

    Vampires, Werewolves, mystery, and a lot of action. Check out Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood
    My pronouns are She/Her, and They/Them. If it's hard to constantly switch just stick with She/Her.

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    The definitive moment that made Alton realize he needed to act, it wasn’t another death of a friend or colleague, they had all died already. It was a seemingly innocuous trade with a peddler he met in the forest. Trading pelts for arrowheads, except for the small mirror that the trader had hanging on a tree at his campsite. For the first time in years, he saw himself as others saw him. Not as the softened reflection that running stream water gave him. But stark unabashed truth. He saw the distinct gray hair, and lines in his face. He had aged. He was no longer the handsome youth he held in his mind's eye. His best years were past him.

    The trade had been completed, they had parted ways. But Alton stewed on the fact if he were to die at this precise moment, what did he have to show for his years? A handful of arrowheads, a warn war hammer. Nothing else. Why had this all happened? Why did he and everyone else toil and ache, day in and day out, for what? It was the same question he had asked himself over the years. Followed by years of inaction. Youth had allowed him to have that worry for another time.. deep into the future.

    But the future was here. With a vengeance. Would Alton quietly accept that he would amount to nothing apart from a pile of bones one day?

    No.

    That was no longer good enough. He would not end up as a pile of forgotten bones. Alton needed answers; and if he was to die getting those answers, at least he died for something. But where? Where would he start? The answer woke him from a sound sleep some nights later. Stundestadt, the great city of Stundestadt. It was rumored no one was successful in their journey there…

    ...yet. He was about to be the first.


    That had been a week ago. Alton had finally gotten some luck in life. When he headed to civilization he discovered that a pilgrimage to the Great City was underway. Young priests and nuns had gathered in a fishing village with a simple vessel. With them they had brought sailors who seemed either hardy or to be novices that were over eager. Overall the group was mostly green save for their leader. It was a woman who wore a mixture of armor and robes. Her white clothes drooped over the steel plates which shifted whenever she moved. Over her head sat a veil which the sailors believed was to hide her beauty from them.

    With enough supplies to last them they disembarked, allowing Alton to tag along. They didn't seem to ask many questions other than for his name. His presence brought little concern to the travelers who mostly spent their time praying, working, and occasionally chatting about the Great City and swapping stories.

    Something happened one night. Alton was stirred awake. It was completely silent. He could hear not another soul on the ship. There was no splash of water hitting the ship, the waves were silent. He awoke below deck in darkness. They had shared quarters with little room for Alton. Around him the darkness didn't illuminate anything, instead he could feel his bedding. The way he was used to, there were some boxes around in the pitch blackness and other beds as well. He was almost thrown though when without warning the ship lurched then stopped. Their ship had hit something. If it had been rocks they were dead, but whatever it was he didn't hear a hole with water rushing through it. No, the boat was idle and still.

    Vampires, Werewolves, mystery, and a lot of action. Check out Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood
    My pronouns are She/Her, and They/Them. If it's hard to constantly switch just stick with She/Her.

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    Matte descended from the carriage, trying her best to maintain an aura of majesty whilst not-so secretly dreading what may or may not have befallen the animals that now reside here in morbid slumber. She looked around, partly to see if anything might still be anything dangerous lurking, partly to see if there might be any tangible signs of what may or may not have happened here. She placed her trailing foot on the ground finally, noticing the walkway starting to look a touch overgrown with nature. Finally releasing Bodil's hand and straightening herself, she very slowly made her way to the cottage, careful not to step on a loose cobblestone or discarded debris of nature newly lining the path.

    Thinking for a moment, she leaned over to a guard and softly spoke, "Have two men with me, and two with the carriage, Bodil with me, Beneford with the horses. Everyone is to be within sight of the others in their company at all times; I'd prefer whatever happened to the animals here not befall our horses or ourselves as well. Find shelter if you can for the horses, have them fed and watered, and make sure they get some rest, they need it. We'll make camp here for the night, but at the same time I want to be ready to leave at a moment's notice if all isn't as it seems here. When you're done with the horses, unpack minimal supplies and meet us in the house," to which Matte turned and continued on her way towards her uncertain appointment.

    Making sure her sword was accessible even though nothing was outwardly needing its patronage, Matte continued to the cottage, keeping Bodil close to her side and her two remaining guards in close step behind, eyes open for anything meaning ill towards them. She stopped about five feet from the threshold of the cottage, not really sure why, then moved forward again, hand near hilt as if by instinct. She slowly stepped towards the door of the cottage, then stopped again. She looked around, right and left, and having seen nothing untowards, continued inside of the cottage to see if this place would be ample for making refuge for the night...

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    Alton almost questioned if he were truly awake. There was no sound. No snores from the priests he shared the cramp quarters with, no twisting and sighing of the ship’s rigging. But what unnerved him the most, was when the ship jolted from an impact and stopped. Stopped dead. No gentle rocking as a ship this size would be known to do. There was no pitch and yaw. It was as though a cold finger of dread slowly drew itself down along his spine as that realization dawned. His mouth went dry. He forced himself to take a deep breath and slowly release it.

    ‘Be logical son..’ Alton mentally chastised himself, ‘you were sleeping with your mouth open. Of course your mouth is dry.’ His hand moved through the darkness to find the familiar handle of his war hammer. The solid grip he now had on it, helped steady his nerves, as he got to his feet. There were no shouts from the crew to hurry, to do this or that. Hadn’t they just hit something? Things were not making sense. No sound, no movement. Had they run aground?

    ‘Still, there should be some activity.’ He questioned himself, ‘Yet, much of the crew were young, and it is night. Mayhaps they were scared and waiting for instructions’ he countered his own argument. Not that Alton was a sailor and had anything to offer, but he was able bodied and could lend a hand if need be. He wasn’t going to get answers by staying snug in his bed, if he wanted answers, he would have to go see for himself.

    His eyes strained to see in the darkness, he took a step and immediately stubbed the toes of his right foot. “Bloody..” he bit back the rest of what he was going to say, the priests didn’t appreciate his often colorful expletives. He paused, once more listening, straining to hear any sound. A disgruntled priest. Someone tossing in their cot. But there was nothing. The distinct feeling that something was not right, grew stronger.

    Alton realized if he was going to go check on things, he would be better served, if he were fully dressed. Reluctantly laying the war hammer down, he hastily shrugged on the vest, leggings, cotte and boots, he had taken off before turning in for the night. Now dressed, and the war hammer once more in his grip, he let go the breath that he had unintentionally been holding. Using the hammer as a prod, much like a blind man uses a cane, he made his through the crates, barrels and other obstacles to the stairs leading to the deck.

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    Bodil for a moment stuck too close, invading Mette's personal space though she immediately backed up a bit. While a moment ago she seemed alright there was a sudden fear to her. Mette felt it as well as a chill went up the back of her spine. Something wasn't right, but at the moment they could see nothing wrong. The trees' branches nearby subtly moved with the wind as the sun slowly made its way downward. Then it hit her, there was another body in the sky. It was the moon already out. It looked quite faint against the sky's changing colors. But there was a tint of red to it.

    Around Mette everyone got to work, there were no questions or hesitation. Her people seemed to understand the seriousness of their situation. One of the guards, a blond haired woman named Sibil shivered when she entered the small building again. Behind her follow Mette and then Bodil.

    The inside of the cottage was a mess. There were broken chairs, tables, cupboard, and a few broken apart bones. Sibil tried to ease them, "They're deer bones. Thankfully." At the far back was an old meager bed which was dirty but looked welcoming compared to everything else. Dust clung to each corner and much of the wood. A book was laying torn apart with some of the pages intact next to the bed. Resting against a wall were a few tools. A shovel, an axe, and a rifle. They all looked woefully old and rusted from time. A small spider skittered across the floor away from them as they stepped inside. It had made a web near the entrance but abandoned it at the sight of the humans.




    Alton finally heard something. Up above someone whispered something when he stubbed his toe. It sounded like one of the young nuns that he had heard speaking earlier in the voyage. His path to the stairs was somewhat impeded but he made it without further trouble. Some of the boxes had shifted to block his path but they were easy enough to climb over. His hammer did not reflect any light in the darkness, this was wrong. The moon should be out tonight. Up the staircase looking out he could see a bit of what was happening.

    Indeed the ship had completely stopped. One of the sails was moving so there was a wind. Alton could begin to even feel it, meaning they had definitely been stopped by something. A series of creaks sounded from beneath the ship along its bottom. They were quite loud and someone suddenly jumped out in front of the stairs and came rushing at him. At the last moment they saw him and stumbled, falling onto their back and nearly down the stairs. It was the leader of the pilgrimage, she was cloaked in shadow but Alton could recognize the outline of her armor. Through the floor boards he could feel her trembling.

    Her hand extended towards Alton as the fabric around her wavered and moved upwards. She clung to the wooden frame of the stairs as her body floated upwards. "No, I'm not ready to die!" She screamed breaking the eerie and calm silence. Something out there screamed in response so loudly that it caused Alton to stumble, and it peeled back the old wood of the ship around him. This scream came from beside the boat, it started to rock now as one of the masts simply exploded. Splinters fired all around it while the air filled with the screams of his fellow passengers.

    Vampires, Werewolves, mystery, and a lot of action. Check out Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood
    My pronouns are She/Her, and They/Them. If it's hard to constantly switch just stick with She/Her.

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    Up the stairway to the deck, his vision was better, but the fact his hammer wasn’t reflecting what little light there was, bothered him. That wasn’t right. It wasn’t highly polished, but it still should reflect. Alton had been distracted by the lack of reflection his hammer for too long, suddenly the warrior nun was before him, reaching out beseeching him to take her hand. Her fear was palpable. There was no time for him to process the cause of her fear, for just as suddenly as she was there before him, she was being pulled away.

    Reaching out toward her, Alton’s fingertips brushing hers for the barest of seconds before she clawed at him, then for the railing as she was inexplicably being drawn backward. He started to bolt after her as she screamed. Her scream told of unadulterated terror. Part of him urged him to go the other way, but he pressed forward until another scream answered the first. It was startling, disorienting and much louder.

    Alton had no time to digest the source of the second scream as things went from eerily quiet and calm to erupting chaos and noise. He watched with disbelieving eyes as the ship seemed to come apart around him. There was nothing happening that made sense. Explosion? But what was the cause? There had been no flame as there had been no light! So what was the source of ignition? Things did not simply explode!

    The war hammer was raised and ready to strike, but at what?! All around him the screams of the others ended abruptly in guttural gasps and moans before being completely silenced. One after another, the pious ones met their end. Whatever they witnessed, he wanted no part of it. If it were their devil, they could keep it. He wasn't a holy man. He wasn’t going to die for some unseen and unknown god that never showed a hint of mercy to him. But what to do? The ship was coming apart around him. If he stayed aboard he would skewered by flying debris, and dragged down to the depths by the wreckage.

    Decision made, he weaved and bobbed on the heaving deck, to reach the side rail of what remained of the ship. Alton had intended on climbing over the rail and jumping into the water, but the side railing fell away, and he toppled unceremoniously into the inky ocean depths. Sinking deeper and deeper into the water, he fought to kick his way to the surface. If he let go of the hammer, he knew it would be easier, but if he survived this dunking he would most certainly need the hammer. Stubbornly he clutched it. His head weakly broke the to the surface, he struggled to stay afloat. The weight of his sodden woolen clothes hampered his efforts. Taking a breath, and sinking, Alton wrestled with threading the hammer though it’s harness loop at his waist. Kicking upwards once more, he took another hasty gasp of air before once more being pulled down. He struggled to pull off the cotte that he had so recently donned. After what seemed an eternity, he found himself free of the heavy woolen overcoat. Breaking the surface once more he breathed deep, treading water, trying to get his bearings.

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    When he reached the topside he could see something had cleared away nearly half of the boat. There were boards breaking apart and flipping through the air among fragments of wood and metal. Someone suddenly flattened against the ground and it looked like an immeasurable weight crushed their body. Another simply was bisected by the air itself. Their body went twirling off the side of the ship, both halves did. The armored woman was whipped about then went careening off into the distance. But Alton was not here to save everyone. This was a lost cause, but now that he was on the deck he could see another problem. Just before diving off the side he noticed it. The moon was below him.

    As soon as he went off the side he was cast in the light of the full moon. He basked in it, the sky was below him. His face felt the clouds around the ship which simply crumpled at his touch. Once he left the boat, gravity shifted for him. Instead of falling down he went up towards pitch blackness. It felt like he dropped for an eternity. In the distance the ship faded into a black dot in front of the moon. Around it the mist was dispersing outline some sort of creature. He could see the outline of wings, arms, but the body was still not visible to him.

    When he hit the water he went deep before surfacing. The air was like a reprise from the horror he just witnessed. Then shrapnel from the ship hit the water around him. A sailor hit the water beside him and surfaced screaming and pushing his dark hair out of his face. Before he could utter a real word something pulled him under. Following after was Alton, whatever it was it gripped him by the ankles with hands. But then it was gone, he couldn't breath. Yet, he wasn't in water anymore. There again was the moon, it was blaring light like the sun, beaming it at him. It hurt to even look at. Alton felt no weight, his body floated in nothingness. Away from the moon was the sun, yet he still found himself in blackness. Stars dotted every direction. Then there it was, between the sun and moon. Another celestial body. It was mostly blue with hints of green and white especially at its top and bottom points.

    Vampires, Werewolves, mystery, and a lot of action. Check out Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood
    My pronouns are She/Her, and They/Them. If it's hard to constantly switch just stick with She/Her.

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    Treading water, Alton's ears still rang from the explosions. Then there was another person that had been beside him, frantic in their effort to speak to him. It hurt to attempt to listen, he winced as the chaos around him intensified. Alton struggled to understand. So much had happened. It was all he could do to stay afloat. He closed his eyes for a mere moment. He only wanted to be able to focus. But when he looked for the other person, they had gone.

    Had Alton imagined it? Things seemed to move in spurts of speed and then in agonizing slowness. Alton began to question his lucidity. Had there been someone other than himself? He began to hyperventilate, he couldn’t get his breath..

    Then realization struck him. His eyes widened, abject fear was barely held at bay, because something had him. Something was pulling him down. Alton gasped for another breath of precious air as he began to be towed to the bottom. He clawed fruitlessly at the water in a vane attempt to get back to the surface. Further and further he was dragged down. He faded out of consciousness.

    Alton awoke with a start. But it was wrong. There was no water.. Had he been saved? If so, by what.. By whom? It was so bright, too bright, it almost hurt. He had to squint in order to focus on small things near him. There was not much to see, or so he thought. He tried to push himself up, from what he assumed was a prone position, but there was nothing to push against. It was though he were suspended in air. Narrowing his eyes he looked for the floor, ground.. Anything. But what he saw made no sense. He had to be concussed. Or maybe he was dead. Was this what is was like to be dead?

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    Alton finally spotted something. He was moving towards it slowly. There was a woman twirling in the moonlight. Her eyes were closed and she had on a white veil as well as a white dress. It wasn't too extravagant but felt very familiar. She had silky skin that glistened between the sun and moon which both pulled at her causing the ends of her dress to flow glimmering further. All he could see of her face were smiling lips. She was whispering something. Something that rang in his ears but he just couldn't seem to make out. It gnawed at the back of his mind, like a memory trying to push itself through despite it all.




    Trest felt free. Free from it all. The pain and suffering ended. No longer did he feel his worldly body. Instead it was like he was floating on his back in water. It washed over him, it soaked into him. A deep blackness was absorbed by his every pores. It wasn't cold or warm instead it simply was. A cloth draped over his body then was bound tightly. Blood flowed from every bit of him emptying the husk of a corpse he had become. This was all according to design.

    In a slumber he dreamed, unlike how he had in his previous life. He saw a man gazing at the stars atop a balcony. The man had white hair and red eyes, from a glass he sipped at blood which had once belonged to Trest. With a swirl and a sniff he tested its scent before tasting the beautiful crimson liquid. A reaction did not come from him, he was completely devoid of his humanity. Soon after everything faded to whiteness. All of it pulled away.

    Then it hit him. Something wet and fleshy. Suddenly his eyes opened followed by his throat as he gasped for air. His body was wound tightly in cloth that was old and frayed. Beneath him he could feel other bodies that he was set upon. There was the sound of metal scraping stone, of creatures snarling and small bursts of thunder that hurt his ears. Trest's body was but a husk, and on his face was something wet. He could taste it, blood. Yet it was unlike any he had ever tasted before whether it was his own or not. There was something alluring in it. His body trembled at its touch upon his lips. He needed more of it.

    Vampires, Werewolves, mystery, and a lot of action. Check out Echoes of Hunger: Sealed in Blood
    My pronouns are She/Her, and They/Them. If it's hard to constantly switch just stick with She/Her.

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    Matte took Bodil aside while the rest of the retinue was working on their current assignments. "We have four guards plus me, you, and Beneford, makes seven. We'll take shifts, two awake at a time. I'd prefer having a guard on each shift so we'll take me, and a guard for first shift; I can't sleep right now anyway. Have a pair of guards take second shift, and Beneford with you and a guard take the third shift. For third shift, as much as it possibly can be done under the circumstances, I'd like them to try to have the horses prepped and ready to go, if possible, while still having everyone within eye-shot of the others, which is where you come in. It'll also depend on the light; only work on the horses if there's enough light to work with."

    The guards were checking out the environment again, which left a lot to be desired. There probably wasn't enough time to clean the place down completely, so Matte and Bodil did their best to sweep up the cobwebs and other assorted 'mess' while the guard unpacked. By this point in time people were getting hungry, so Matte charged sibil with kitchen duty. There was probably little chance of getting any real cooking done, so supper was another serving of hardtack and jerky with a touch of preserves would have to suffice. Matte know the journey wouldn't be the most comfortable in the world, but a home-cooked meal would be a nice diversion right about now.

    With preparations for sleep details nearing its conclusion, Matte and Sibil, or at least she thought it was Sibil, it was getting hard to tell with the lighting, took up positions to keep a watch on the others sleeping on the floor and bed. As there was little else to do, Matte took one of the candles they had, grabbed the book near the bed, and made her way to take a look at it. It was probably a bed-time story or a journal, maybe a romance novel if she was lucky, but with the book in the state of repair that it was in, there was probably not a lot to be read at this point in time anyway. Perhaps is she was lucky, she might have an idea what kinds of animals were in the area, such as wolves, that might have left the bones she'd seen scattered across the area.

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