Sapphire Skies

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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 1:19 am

Caeriadne took off into the night like a great shadow, getting to an altitude where she would be hard to spot amongst the dark starry sky. She flew in the direction of the settlement, following the directions from the map, and searched below for any sign of life.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 1:26 am

After a while of flying she managed to get to the village far below him, it had a very rudimentary wooden wall with guards patrolling it. The guards were men in leather armor with crude spears and bow and arrows. It would be an easy take if she wanted to make it her first conquest. She could smell something coming from the city hall, a metal, a rare one. Dendritic.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 8:44 am

High in the dark sky, Caeriadne's nostrils flared greedily with a sensation she was unfamiliar with, and yet strangely drawn to. She circled slow, like a great winged scavenger surveying its next target. She watched the comings and goings of the little village as well as she could while staying out of sight. Several hours passed as she did nothing but circle, observe, study, and...inhale that noxious new scent that piqued her interest.

Caeriadne was not the type of beast that would simply swoop in and unconscionably slaughter an entire village. Would it begin to establish a basic dominion over this area? Certainly. Would she then have a base to operate from and, despite its crude trappings, at least a wall to keep her new ranks of followers safe? Of course. But would it be wise, without knowing any more than what she did, to progress? No. Not yet. And regardless of how fond she was growing of her little gnoll companions, she doubted that their reconnaissance abilities would be anything beyond juvenile. So, she thought as she angled her large, lithe body in the early morning air for another spin above the village...a gnoll spy would be out of the question. She would have to do it herself. A plan had slowly bloomed in her mind, and she would perfect it and see it to fruition.

She spun and veered off from the village, heading back towards the camp and slowly setting down in the wilderness several miles away to avoid being seen. The very first hints of the sunrise were just starting to reach up into the sky. She walked the rest of the way back to her gnolls, even being so thoughtful as to deliberately soften her footsteps to not wake those which were still asleep. She glanced out over the camp and, as she searched for Korrok, she couldn't help but consider how diligent these gnolls were - sure, they were a bit primitive, but she had never before considered their rudimentary sentience to even be a factor. Maybe she was onto something here...

"Korrok," she said softly in the glistening dewy light of the camp. "Come to me, and bring your three best warriors. I have instructions for you."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 2:35 pm

Korrok was up when she arrived and seemed to be using the morning light to replenish the clerical magic he had used the day before. Thankfully he was finishing up when she spoke and quickly turned to her and walked over "My three best warriors...yes Great one, give me just a moment!"

He scurried over to a group of gnolls a rather bit more fearsome looking than the other and brought three of them over. They were all darker furred than the rest and their teeth were larger, one had an obvious scar across his face, one was missing a fang, and one only had three fingers on his left hand.

Korrok smiled and said proudly "These are Arak, Ular, and Groo. My best warriors, Great one."

Each of them were wearing full sets of cobbled together armor, one had a spear, one had a longsword, and the other had two daggers.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 2:47 pm

"Arrak, Ular, and Groo," she repeated slowly, taking the time to match each name to a face and nodding in succession to each one. These would be her warriors now, she thought - it was her duty to know each and every being that would be under her command. "Before I begin, tell me why you wish to serve."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 2:52 pm

Arrak, the one with the sword and scar across his face spoke first "I wish to serve because Korrok saved our tribe from the Goblins, if he thinks you will lead us to a good future, I will serve."

Ular, the one with the daggers and missing a fang spoke second "I wish to serve because I wish to be of use to the Great One." The gnoll's head bowed when he said that, he was obviously religious like Korrok

Then Groo, the one with the spear and three finger on his left hand spoke "I wish to serve because my people have been through enough. I want to find a home we can keep."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 3:02 pm

She nodded, apparently satisfied, and turned to take a few slender steps away from the camp. "Come with me. You will be my...Council." She led them a short distance from the camp, away from the others, so they could speak.

"The human settlement is small, and worth little to me now. But it is not far from the ocean, and it has walls and farms, and things we need. It looks independent - not attached to any of the human kingdoms. Tell me - Korrok, Arrak, Ular, and Groo - do you and your people want a town back? Do you want to rebuild to be better and stronger?"
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 3:09 pm

Korrok and his three warriors followed after her and listened intently, they seemed particularly interested in how she spoke. These Gnolls may not be smart on their own, but she got the sense they were learning from her just by listening to her speak. Their eyes held the sparkle of intelligence wanting nothing more than to grow.

When she asked her question all four of them nodded, Korrok speaking up for the group of Gnolls "Oh Great One, of course we do! We want nothing more than to have a place of our own again and to grow into a powerful tribe again! Stronger and better than before, under the guidance of you, Great One!"

He bow again as he spoke, this time only doing it once, not in triplicate like usual. The other Gnolls simply nodded in agreement, not going through the effort of bowing as well.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 3:21 pm

Caeriadne was growing fond of these creatures. She had never before taken the time to bother with gnolls, aside from assigning the occasional human scout patrol to go and dispatch a raid party. She wondered how she had lived all those years without realizing that such beasts - no, such beings - could be intelligent, with goals and ambitions of their own.

"Then I shall give it to you," she gestured gracefully with one claw and sat back on her haunches. "We will take the town, one way or another. But there are other human settlements near here, and I do not wish for them to know of my true form yet." She paused, wondering if the gnolls were following. She rephrased. "If they know that there is a dragon here, they will hunt me. I do not want that yet. I will go into this town as a human. First, I need clothes. Some rags will do. I will convince them that I have escaped from you...I will draw their guards out of the safety of their town, if I can...and then we will eliminate them, and take what will be ours." She looked to each one of her new council in turn. "Do you all understand?"
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 3:26 pm

For a second it looked as if they weren't quite sure what she meant, but when she rephrased it again they all suddenly understood and all nodded to her and each other. They understood, and were eager to get to work. Ular spoke then and said "I will look through what we have and see if there are any of our cloths we can give you. If you smell of gnoll the prisoner story is more believable, correct?" He seemed like he very much wanted to be correct, these creatures were cunning, but usually in a combat sense, planning ahead was never a strong suit, so he hoped his first foray into strategy was a good one.

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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 3:30 pm

"Very good, Ular. You're right." Her scaled mouth pulled back into another smile. "Something ripped and torn would be best."

She continued laying out her plan, trying to keep it simple. "I will lead them close back here, if I can. I don't know how long it will be, but you should all be ready. Stay hidden, until you see the guards. I think there are more of you than them, but I will help when the fighting starts. We will take them alive if we can - tie them and take them as slaves - but let none of them escape to tell the others of what has happened." She tilted her head again, waiting to see if they followed everything so far.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 3:35 pm

Ular waited until she finished explaining and then ran off to gather the clothes for her and to tell the clan what was happening, so everyone was on the same page. The three that remained also seemed to understand, at least enough to follow their orders to the letter.

Arrak said with toothy grin "We will make sure none of them escape, and I can promise that we will be able to capture many of them, but I don't know if our warriors will be able to resist a few kills...Humans have treated Gnolls poorly in the past few hundred years."

Korrok nodded "Gnolls don't write down much about history...except about who wrongs us."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 3:51 pm

Caeriadne nodded, not particularly enthusiastic about the potential for murder - mostly indifferent to it, if anything.

"As long as there are no escapees. But the more prisoners we have, the less work you will need to do, and the more we can get from them as ransom, if we need to. I know you will not disappoint me, though." The truth was, she did not know this - but she could guess that making them believe that she did would do more for their morale than anything else.

She waited for Ular to return and bring the clothes, and then stood to begin preparing to shift her form.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 3:56 pm

They seemed to be incredibly happy she had so much faith in them Arrak bowed this time and said "We will not let you down Great One!"

Just then Ular returned with a pile of Gnoll smelling rags that looked like when cobbled together they would fully clothe and human form. "I made sure to tell the clan what is happening, when you bring those guards out to us, we'll be ready!"

Arrak quickly said "Ular, give her the clothes, and then run back and tell them we are trying to capture as many as possible. There can be a few deaths, but not many."

Ular nodded and put the clothes at her feet and turned to run back to the camp again, huffing a bit. He had been running fast back and forth to try and speed up this whole process.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 4:22 pm

"Thank you. That will be all for now."

As the spell began, little sparks of sapphire blue energy trickled around Caeriadne's serpentine body. She began to glow, as if from somewhere within, and the gnolls would be able to feel the energy building and growing. It seemed to be a struggle for Caeriadne to continue the spell. It had been so long...
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 4:30 pm

The gnoll would back away, they didn't think the spell would hurt them, but it obviously made them uneasy. They watched with wide eyes as the spell continued. They had no issue seeing a naked human female, as they weren't human.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 4:41 pm

Apparently Caeriadne had no issue either, since she lacked the intuitive embarrassment that an actual human might have. This form was nothing more than a sheath to her, and she was no more self-conscious of it as a human than she was in her true draconic state.

A whirl of magic and a bright glow encompassed the great creature for several seconds, gradually shrinking in size until the glow showed the stature of a human. It gradually receded, showing the figure of an unclothed woman in the early morning light.

Dark hair fell in a mess down to her back, and her eyes had a deep sheen of sapphire that was captivating. She had a few scars, mostly across her arms and legs, but she bore the physique of a trained warrior. Caeriadne, now fully in her human form, took a few moments to compose herself. She flexed her hands and stretched her neck, getting used to the body that had been so familiar to her eons ago.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 4:45 pm

All the gnolls were completely agape with awe, they had no idea how to respond, this is the first time any of them had seen transformative magic on any scale. Korrok was bowing like he had just witnessed some miracle from the heavens, but the other two were just....surprised. They didn't really know what to say.

Arrak grabbed the clothes and walked over to her with them, handing them to her. He laughed for a moment and said "Maybe we shouldn't bother with the clothes, the humans might be more quick to help you this way."

Groo howled with laughter and Korrok looked horrified one of his tribe members would make such a joke about their leader.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 4:54 pm

Caeriadne turned her glimmering gaze towards Arrak. There was a hint of anger, perhaps even of malice, but she checked herself and allowed it to fade. She was still weary from her hibernation and in pain from...whatever had happened to her before, and perhaps the comment was more crude than she would have preferred. Still, she told herself, it would do no good to lash out at a joke. Or...was it a joke?

"Arrak," she said after a long pause, "you are a clever one. We will compromise." With that, she took up the ragged tunic, already frayed and dirty from use, and calmly ripped it a few inches down the center seam across the chest. She inspected it for a moment, nodded, and then slipped it on. It still concealed her, but the jagged rip was certainly...noticeable. She had no qualms about using the humans' primitive motives against them.

She pulled on the rest of the rags, noting the very authentic stench of gnoll. At least it would be believable. She looked very much like an escaped prisoner or slave. She ripped some dew-covered blades of grass from the ground, taking up some fresh dirt with them, and strategically smeared them across her hands, arms, feet, and legs. A little across in her hair and around her face, for good measure. Some stray gnoll hairs from the rags stuck into the muddy stains, and it seemed that her new disguise was complete.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 4:57 pm

Arrak was worried for a moment when she looked at him like that but then smiled "See, I was just trying to help, I didn't mean any offense." He chuckled and very quickly backed off from her. Groo was laughing at him pretty heartily.

Korrok sighed and ignored them "We will await you here Great One, we will set the trap for these humans."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 5:06 pm

"Good. I have faith in you. Hide your young and those who do not fight. Humans are..." She paused, dwelling for a moment in some ancient blurred memories. "Humans are merciless," she continued. "Leave some of your men behind to watch them, and slaughter any who may happen to get too close to them. They will have their whole future ahead of them now, so protect it." She looked past her council for a bit, her brilliant eyes sweeping across the sleepy gnoll camp - all the mothers and little ones. Sort of cute, she thought, but quickly banished the thought from her mind and turned back to the task at hand.

"Watch to the north. Fight well for me today, and tonight you will have a home to call your own." With that, she turned and began striding off to the north, towards the village.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 5:11 pm

They nodded and went about their plans, plotting their ambush and making sure everything was perfectly prepared for their leaders plan.

Once she got close enough to the village, one of the guards at the gate would see her and yell "HALT! Who goes there!" The words held conviction but the look in his eyes was one of worry. what was a woman doing all on her own out here?
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 5:29 pm

Caeriadne was perhaps not the best actress in the world, but she played her role well and with enough conviction that it seemed at least plausible. She had feigned a tired limp since about half a mile out from the village, staggering to and fro as if she was completely disoriented.

"Please...please..." She begged the guard as she stumbled forward, almost falling to her knees. "The...the gnolls...I...please, let me in..." She practically sobbed with fear, looking over her shoulder and trembling as she moved forward towards the guard.
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Admin on Sat May 28, 2016 5:32 pm

"Gnolls!?" The man shouted surprised and ran over to her and to steady here, he called back to his comrades to open the gates. A group of men ran up to her, the first who had helped her smile gently and asked with a comforting tone in his voice "My name is Silus, what's your name?"
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Re: Sapphire Skies

Post by Caeriadne on Sat May 28, 2016 5:37 pm

"Sara Nash," she said without hesitation, still sobbing. "Please...please..."
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Re: Sapphire Skies

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