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>> It has been a fair while since you turned your course towards civilization. For the most part things have been calm as you traverse the sands of the South. Sure, it is hot and dry, but this is nothing that you aren't used to however.
>> What is indeed odd, however, is the three black dots you can see on the horizon. No details can be made out just yet, but they are getting closer. Other than that, a normal day out in the sands.
Number Ten Camel tugs his hood closer around his face against the dry winds, squinting his purple eyes for signs of movement. Beneath him, his camel keeps a steady pace.
Number Ten Camel draws his bow, and strings it warily. "Company... I wonder."
>> The dots close as you go on and they continue towards you. After a fair amount of time, you can actually make out some specifics. They appear to be three men, all armed with short swords. Not much more than that can be told at this moment however.
Number Ten Camel pats the camel's head, making soothing noises. "No worries, my hairy friend. Just stay calm, and it'll be okay.."
The camel blinks a few times, seeming to be calm at the moment.
Now it is /really/ calm.
Number Ten Camel nocks an arrow, and lets the camel keep walking..
Number Ten Camel calls out to them, if they get close.
>> The camels continue to move forward, as the men begin to approach it. They do indeed get close, and wave to show that they heard you.
Number Ten Camel nudges the camel to a stop with his knees, but stays mounted. "Hail, neighbour. Sun and Shade, greet you warmly."
>> The camel stops as the men do as well. One of them steps forward and begins to speak. "Hail, sir. How do you fare?"
Number Ten Camel frowns. "Better if I knew for certain the way to the next village or town. But well enough. Do you need aid?"
The man grins slightly. "I could point you, for a fee."
Number Ten Camel reaches into his robe, and flicks a small blue gem at the man. "If I must, city dweller."
>> The man catches it easily, examining for a few moments. "Hm... Interesting. You gather gems out here?"
"It's my parent's trade. I help them where I can."
>> The man nods, hming as the other two glance at each other. "Bringing a few back to sell for them, then, son?"
Number Ten Camel nudges his camel away from the men a bit. "Can I help you, travellers?"
>> The men glance at each other, and at some unspoken signal draw their short swords. "Sure, kid. What other gems you are carrying on you, and your camel. We could use a mount and some cash."
"Sand rats. Flee or die, scum." Number Ten Camel nocks an arrow and lets fly!
>> The talking one tries to knock away the arrow, but doesn't time it right and ends up with an arrow piercing a weak point in his armor and burying itself in his left breast. He hacks up some blood, as the other two let out a cry, moving forward to swing at you
Number Ten Camel grits his teeth, not expecting them to actually attack an armed traveller. No time to react he just has to take it.
>> One misses, but the other manages to put a scratch on you! Nothing serious, however.
>> They grin and repeat!
>> Another miss, another scratch!
Number Ten Camel urges his camel into a trot away from the bandits, switching from his bow to his lance... "Right then!"
>> The talking bandit doesn't talk, instead beginning to move towards you. He's slowed due to his injury, however.
Number Ten Camel levels his lance, aiming for an untouched sand rat, with a cry he slaps the side of his mount, clots of sand thrown in the air by it's trot. Sliding to a skillful halt beside the bandit, the lance thrusts out slying through the cloud, before being yanked back in a twirl to defend against any strikes
>> The the man attempts to parry it with his own blade, and partially succeeds! He succeeds in making sure the lance doesn't pierce his heart, just his chest proper. With a scream he goes down, alive, but out of the fight.
"Feed the thirst desert, fool!"
>> The injured one lets out an enraged cry at the sight of his comrade going and lashes out despite the injury as he draws close!
He misses, and the other one draws close to attempt the same with a cry of "BROTHER!" His blade swings as well!
Number Ten Camel twirls his lance confidantly, his forehead glittering as he guides it half by instinct..
<GMZack> >> He misses too! Lady luck doesn't favor these bandits on this bright day.
Number Ten Camel snarls, riding in a tight circle to bear down on them again, this time two vicious thrusts lash out, glittering with faint golden light as #10 Camel draws upon his new-found might!
>> The first assualt is turned aside by the unhurt one's blade!
>> The second finds its mark. The possible leader of the group goes down with a death gurgle!
Number Ten Camel curls his lip. "Last chance. Flee."
>> The guy looks at his companions, then BOOKS IT
>> One dead, the other barely hanging on.
>> And one becoming a distant dust cloud.
Number Ten Camel spits. Scum. He dismounts and approaches the living one, sword in hand.
>> The guy is out, lying there.
Number Ten Camel his mark glitters on his forehead, even in the shade of his hood. He prods the guy with the tip of his sword. "Wake up, rat."
>> He groans, coughing up some blood. "Wha..." He then wide eyes as he looks up at you. "..Nooo. Please, kid, don't ki-" He stops as another coughing fit overtakes him.
"I won't kill you, if you don't want me to. Tell me where the nearest town is, and I'll even take you there. Otherwise you can rot in the sun." Number Ten Camel wrinkles his shining brow in distate, as he waits for an answer.
>> He hacks up some more blood, blinking as he notices your shiny brow. "...An-..An...Anathema!"
>> He looks a lot more scared now, if that was even possible.
"There's a lot of things in the desert you don't understand, rat." Number Ten Camel sheathes his sword contemptously.
>> He hacks up some more blood, shaking his head. "Haha... Perhaps, but you. You are a demon. Far wo-*hack*-rse than a mere 'rat'. You'll get nothing from me." His talk disolves into another series of hacking coughs.
Number Ten Camel grips his swordhilt tightly, but then turns, remounting his steed.
>> As the desert bandit who had the misfortune of tangling with a Solar Exalted perishes. From behind, you can hear a faint clapping.
Number Ten Camel turns, drawing his sword.. "Another one?"
Number Ten Camel shifts his feet, so his back foot is behind a small mound of sand..
>> You find yourself facing a tall blond man with blue eyes, dressed in a blue tunic, black pants, and black boots. An unsheathed sword appearing to be of good make is hanging on his left. He tilts his head slightly, grinning faintly. "I'm not nearly as foolish as these bandits, I'm afraid, Number Ten Camel." He bows slightly. "I'm Soran, and I'm merely here with an offer that should interest you."
"I'm listening. But also busy. I need to find a savant, and work out what the deal with this mark is."
>> The man grins slightly. "I can tell you, sir. It is a mark of blessing by the Unconquered Sun, showing that he has chosen you to be one of his champions, a Solar Exalted." He shakes his head. "It would be wise to keep such things hidden, for the Realm does hunt for our kind."
"So. I am a Forsaken, then? I had hoped it was a cruel Fae trick."
>> Soran shakes his head. "That's what the Realm calls you, and those who are ignorant. Do not be ashamed, but rejoice. You have been given a chance to reach heights that no one can reach, and with time and practice, work the energies that make up the very world around us." He smiles. "I plan to bring together others like yourself, in an attempt to break the Realm's hold on a city not far from here, called The Lap. Of course, I don't expect you to do this completely for free. Along with encountering others like us and learning more from them, I offer money, resources, protection if you ever need it, and of course information. On either you, what you are capable of, and the fate of your parents if I can discern it."
"What do you know about my parents?" Number Ten Camel flicks his eyes around, looking for hidden allies to this man. Or his mount.
>> Soran nods. "At the present moment, they are indeed in the hands of the Fair Folk. They live, however, and remain mostly unharmed. However, retrieving them at this point is a bit of an issue. You are not powerful enough to best Fair Folk in battle, and there are... complications that don't allow me to operate too openly."
>> You, the camel, and Soran seem to be completely alone.
"Very well. I appear to be out of my depth, here. I will serve you, for now."
>> He smiles, closing his eyes for a moment before opening them as he points. "In that direction, you'll want to head. When you arrive, head for the Half Past Inn and ask for my name. If everything works out, you should arrive when the others." He smiles. "You're merely helping me, friend. I'll do what I can to discover more about your parents. Until we meet again." He bows, and the wind kicks up, sending sand everywhere and obscuring him from sight. When it dies down, he is gone.
Number Ten Camel sheathes his blade in a blink of an eye. "I've nothing better to do, I guess. 'Soran'... I shall have to consult the stars."
Number Ten Camel considers the bandit's bodies for a moment, before shaking his head. "I've no heart to search corpses today. May other rats scavenge their petty coins.."
>> They lie there. I'm sure they appreciate it. Somewhat.