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Into the Ashlands (RP)

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NotFishing

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Introduction

"Arenar Company!"

The shout quickly brought quiet to a section of the otherwise bustling docks. Forty men and women immediately formed up into ranks. Some wore light, others wore heavy, and a handful even wore robes. If not for the differences in their attire, one could easily mistake them for professional soldiers. Yet they were not professional soldiers; they were a mercenary company.

The Arenar company had been founded decades ago, by one Darius Arenar, the third or fourth son of some normal family. He named it after himself, as founders often did. Darius had long since died, of course, and left no children, but the Company had kept the name. They prided themselves on being one of the most reputable mercenary companies in the four Human Kingdoms.

The man addressing them was Captain Vanick, leader of the company. A man of common birth, he had simple features: black balding hair, a face slightly wrinkled by middle-age, a nose somewhat mishapen by one too many punches, and dark blue eyes. He was clad in steel plate and chainmail, with the symbol of the company - a warrior wielding a flaming sword - on his breastplate.

Standing just behind him were his officers. A grinning heavily armored dwarf, a thin leather-clad individual with a bow, a thickly-build bald-headed man wearing chainmail, and a red-haired woman in white robes.

The Captain took a moment to smile at how quickly the company had responded to him, but only a moment. The smile faded, and it was back to business.

"We have been called to a job." He announced. "You see that ship?" He asked, pointing to a three-masted thing called the Sea Drake. "That ship has been funded and paid for by the Mage Academy of Greenhaven. It boasts a crew of a hundred men, with space for more. They seek to fill that space with hired swords, and that's where we come in."
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:39 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 02:56:55 by NotFishing

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He allowed the words to sink in for a moment. Many in the company had never even set foot on a boat before, so it was best to let them accept that fact before he revealed the next critical detail.

"That leaves the question..." Vanick continued on, after a few seconds had passed. "Where could we be going? We won't be the first to travel there, nor the last, but if the gods are good we will strike further than anyone else has gone before. We're going to Old Sorus."

A collective gasp rang out. Old Sorus was once the largest and most powerful nation in the world, a shining beacon of what humanity could be capable of. It was a nation so vast that the four squabbling Human Kingdoms of the north only made up a fraction of its territory.

Now, it was nothing more than an ash-covered wasteland, ruled by an uncomfortable heat, and infested with all manner of unnatural creatures from ghosts to elementals. Proud cities and towers were nothing more than ruins. Countless expeditions had been attempted, many never returned, and those who did came back had suffered great cost.

However, such expeditions had not always been fruitless. Beneath those cities and towers lay valuable treasures and artifacts, enough to give the survivors enough coin to live off of for several years, if not their entire lives. While there was a high possibility of death, for some the rewards were enough to make up for it.

For some.

Others wore expressions of uncertainy, which would only deepen as Vanick revealed yet another key detail.

"The mages plan to take us into the heart of Sorus, to Solace City!" To say that no one had ever returned from the capital city would be a lie. However, it was indisputably the most dangerous place in the Ashlands, the creature presence higher than most.
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:46 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 03:14:16 by NotFishing

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"I know, you have all heard stories about its dangers. But fear not; our new employers assure us that the magic aura emanating from the city has been weakening with time. The last expedition there was nearly twenty years ago, and it was the most successful in history. How do you feel about your chances now?"

"I'll take that bet!" A member of the company - a new recruit who had joined a few months ago - shouted out. Other members cheered along with him, but a majority still appeared to be uncertain.

"I won't lie to you." Vanick continued, his expression turning grim. "It will still be dangerous. Some of us will not return. But the same can be said for every job, can it not? I've led this company for eight years, and I've always been in the thick of it. I've also turned down jobs that I knew were suicidal. I'm not dead yet, and neither are any of you. I ask that you trust my judgement and follow me once more."

Then, somewhat quieter (but still loud enough for the entire company to hear) he added: "To anyone who still refuses to come, I will not begrudge you. I will release you from your contract, and you may go. You may even be allowed to re-enlist upon our return."

Around fifteen or so of the company's members turned and left, most of them newer recruits. Of those who still remained in the company, some appeared to be thinking it over.

Then Vanick's Dwarven Lieutenant, Joric Ironfist, stepped forward. "Into the Ashlands!" He shouted. "Into the Ashlands!"

"Into the Ashlands!" Some of the more eager members returned the cry.

"Into the Ashlands!" More took up the chant.

"Into the Ashlands!" Nearly the entire company, even Vanick and the other officers, had now joined in.

"INTO THE ASHLANDS!"
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:47 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 04:25:01 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Summary

Welcome to Into the Ashlands. You are a member of the Arenar Mercenary Company. For whatever reason, you have chosen to voluntarily accompany them on a highly dangerous expedition into one of the most dangerous areas on the planet. Best case scenario, everyone in the company gets rich. Worst case scenario, everyone in the company dies. Every other scenario is somewhere in between those two points.

Have fun!

Table of Contents
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:48 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 04:28:46 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Bio Format

Name: (For Humans, Dwarves, and Drows: Only nobles, knights, wealthy individuals, and other people of note are granted the privilege of a hereditary last name. All other races forgo last names entirely.)
Age: (Your character needs to be an adult by your own race's standards.)
Gender: (Male or Female.)
Race: (Please check the list.)

Appearance:
Attire:

Weapons:
Magic:

History:
Other:
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:50 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 06:19:58 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Character List

Captain Vanick: Middle-aged mercenary veteran. Leader of the Arenar Company. Wears heavy armor and fights with a two-handed longsword.

Lieutenant Joric Ironfist: Dwarf warrior with a sense of humor. Vanick's second-in-command. Wears heavy armor and fights with a two-handed battleaxe.

Sergeant Ethan: Bald-headed warrior. Tasked with disciplining unruly members of the company. Wears medium armor, and fights with mace and shield.

Quartermaster Sarah: Tall, thin blonde archer with an eye for detail. Distributes pay and records inventory. Wears light armor and fights with a longbow.

Medic Alicia: Red-haired healer. Tasked with restoring wounded members of the company to health. Wears write robes. Non-combatant.
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:51 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 16:07:35 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Race List

Human
I don't need to explain this one to you. Also, in this world humans are considered adults at age 16, and the lifespan is around 50 or 60 (though those in comfortable conditions generally live longer.)

Dwarf
Dwarves closely resemble humans, and average around four feet in height. Despite their inferior height, they are noticeably superior in strength and endurance. Dwarves make excellent warriors, miners, craftsmen, and smith. Magic is less common among them than it is in other races, but they still possess it. Dwarves are considered adults at 20 years of age, and have a lifespan of 100 years.

Elf
Elves are the same height as humans. The main difference is their pointed ears, as well as the fact that they are somewhat thinner and more agile. Elves make excellent hunters, foragers, scouts, and skirmishers. They are considered adults at the age of 40, and live up to 200 years of age.

Drow
Drows closely resemble elves, only they have blue or purple skin, and their physical capabilities are similar to that of a human. Their advantage is that magic is more common amongst their kind, and those who have it also tend to be better at it. Outside of the Drow Empire, Drows are almost universally distrusted. They reach adulthood at age 40, and have a lifespan of 200.

Goblin
Goblins are short, ugly green creatures that average around four feet in height. They are generally regarded as scrawny and weak, but they also happen to be exceptionally agile and stealthy - even more so than elves. They make excellent thieves and scouts because of this. Goblins are full grown adults by age 10, and have a lifespan of 40 years.
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:52 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 16:20:56 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Gnome
Gnomes are short, even shorter than Dwarves or Goblins. They generally average around three feet, and are even weaker than goblins. While are gifted in the arts of stealth and agility, they aren't quite as gifted as the goblins either. What they do have is their magic, in which they are superior to even the Drows. After their homeland was destroyed in the Sorusian Cataclysm, Gnomes are few and far between. Their lifespan and age of adulthood are the same as Elves and Drows.

Orc
Orcs are tall, brutish creatures, averaging around seven feet in height. They have leathery skin that comes in either a shade of brown or a dark green. They are all quite strong and physically powerful, and generally excel at brute forcing their way through problems. But they are terrible in the art of stealth, and possess limited magical talent. Orcs reach adulthood at the same age as humans, but their lifespan is even shorter - in the 30s and 40s. They are regarded warily by Humans and Goblins, and treated with outright hostility by Elves and Dwarves. Other races are indifferent.

Drakonian
Drakonians average around eight feet in height, and closely resemble walking lizards. They have tough, scaley skin that is either black, red, or purple, and in extremely rare cases white. Their strength outmatches even an Orc. However, they are incapable of magic. In addition to this, they are extremely isolationist, and few ever leave their island. Those who do are feared and distrusted by the other races. Drakonians reach adulthood at 20 and have a lifespan of 60.

Pixie
Pixies are like miniature elves, ranging between six inches and a foot, with insect-like wings. All pixies possess magical talent, and generally regarded as superior to any other race, though they tend to favor healing and nature spells, as well as anything that helps avoid detection. They reach adulthood at age 50 and have a lifespan of 1000 years.
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:53 - Last edited on 14-Jun-2018 16:33:53 by NotFishing

NotFishing

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Merfolk
Merfolk have the upper-half of a human and the lower half of a fish. They are all exceptionally attractive, and have a strong upper body strength. They can breathe both above and under water, and on land they can turn their lower half into a pair of human legs so they may walk and blend in. But because they are unused to walking on human legs, they tend to be shaky, clumsy, and unbalanced. Additionally, they dehydrate much quicker than humans, and must drink about three times as many fluids in order to survive. All merfolk have a magical charm to them, making their arguments more appealing to those of the opposite sex, but it is not complete mind control.
Beneath the gold, the Bitter Steel.

12-Jun-2018 03:06:54 - Last edited on 15-Jun-2018 04:23:32 by NotFishing

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