Witchhunt [IC]

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
Walking down the road into the mountain valley, walls of rock to their sides, a party of three travels down it The path winds downwards, past rock and shrubbery. Occasionally, they pass by a tree or a log, but for the most part, the land is lacking in woodlands. As the rock walls part, their destination: Tsalde Village.

The trio had been sent here on a mission to uncover the happenings in the town. A month ago, reports of disappearances and strange dreams had come to the capital. With little resources to spare due to war, they sent a small party of experts to investigate for heretics and demons.

The town looked peaceful from here, with lights in the windows. It was a small place, having one of what was needed for a village and just enough houses for it to be a community. However, even if that was the case, if what was suspected was true, it could be a much more serious problem…
 
Last edited:

TheShepard256

Well-Known Member
As usual when we're out in public, I'm in my human disguise, staying as close to the back and sides of the group as the others will let me. I keep my mouth shut and my head as far down as I can while still looking around - ostensibly for anything unusual, but not only do I not really know what's usual for villages such as Tsalde, I'm not actually paying attention to our group's goal (I'm more afraid of my companions than any fellow demons or their followers that may be hiding out here). I try not to be obvious about it, but really, I'm just looking around out of my own curiosity; about the only thing I actively take note of is how the locals react to us.
 

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
Flint looked out over the town, the lights shine through the windows. From this distance, and so high up, they seemed more like fireflies than the candles lit by humans and halflings and what have you. A tranquil, quiet little village out in the middle of nowhere, so far away from the capital. From so far away, and even knowing why they were here, he couldn't help but feel as though no trouble could ever befall the quaint little town of Tsalde Village.

"By Hesol, I hope they have strong booze." Flint said, breaking the silence the group seemed to be maintaining on their trek. He wasn't a fan of peaceful little quiet villages. They didn't pay well whenever they hired mercenaries, and they didn't have much to take when getting raided.

"Well, it's not burning down at least. So we can hope it's a boring job." Flint said, as though he ever did much other than crack heads and solve violent situations with more violence.
 

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
The village looked charming and inviting to Alexander, with its bright lights looming off in the distance. Having spent a great deal of his time cooped up within cathedral walls this was a needed breath of fresh air. Pleasant as the surroundings all seemed Alexander was unnerved. If the reports had any sort of merit, disappearances in a community already so small...shaking his head, he kept his eyes forward with a calm stride, occasionally looking back towards Astra and the others.

It made sense why she wanted to keep her distance, though he did shoot her a smile and hoped it would ease her surely, less-than-agreeable thoughts, even if only a bit. Alexander wasn't aware of her comprehensive history with the church, only that he had been given an absurd amount of warnings, cautions, and how-tos on containment. However, she didn't look outwardly malicious, inspiring curiosity within him more than anything.

The cleric did chuckle at Flint's response. While he had no interest in the same beverages he shared his sentiments about the town not being aflame and destitute.

"I can agree with that. Boring is better than swarming with people who want us in a less-than-alive state. Let's hope those reports were misinformed. From the outside everything looks alright, though we'll have to see what's going on within its confines."
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
As the group headed further down the road, they reached a stone bridge, upon which stood a tall bearded man with a lantern and spear. He looked to be dressed in ordinary peasant clothes, wearing just a helmet for armor. Seeing the three of them, he looked to them and smiled. “Hello! I see you’ve come our lovely village!” he said, waving for them to come over. “Well, if you tend to head there, I can help guide you around so you know where to go, as well as show you the place to get a drink and bed, since I doubt you will be wandering off and camping for the night.”

He then grinned, baring his teeth. “So, you interested?” he asked.
 
Last edited:

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Hopefully." Flint responded back. He glanced over to Astra. She really didn't seem like a massive threat, though his old scars ached in a way that told him he was wrong to assume so. He turned hi attention back to the road ahead of them. He'd taken point, being that he was the only one there with a decent set of armor and a scowl fierce enough to ward off would be bandits. When he saw the bridge and the man who guarded it, he immediately started sizing him up. More so to see if the man was actually a villager or some kind of highwayman. Regardless, he stepped forward, just outside of where he estimated the taller man's spear range to be.

"Hah! A drink is just what I need." Flint says, returning the man's smile and baring his teeth as well. "I wouldn't mind at all if you'd escort us. Though I'll let my comrades here weigh in too."
 

TheShepard256

Well-Known Member
It made sense why she wanted to keep her distance, though he did shoot her a smile and hoped it would ease her surely, less-than-agreeable thoughts, even if only a bit.
That smile caught Astra off-guard. It was, by far, the kindest thing anyone in the church had ever done to her - most didn't even acknowledge she was anything other than an "it". Maybe this Alexander person wasn't so bad, but she didn't want to get her hopes up in case he was trying to trick her. But why would he need to trick her? He's the one holding her metaphoric leash. Maybe he was trying to goad her into doing something - anything - as an excuse for the rest of the party to kill her. But surely, he'd know there were more effective ways to tease her than just a smile. What if he genuinely liked her? Why would he genuinely like her?

These conflicting thoughts only further fuelled her confusion, some might say paranoia, until her eyes fell just a bit south. She never really noticed before, but damn, Alex has a mighty fine ass - probably the best in the party, aside from her true form's own, of course. It was just the distraction she needed for her brain to switch from the uncomfortable 'reading too much in to a simple smile' to much more palatable fantasies of watching that ass jiggle as she fucked him from behind....

It wasn't until Flint said "my comrades here weigh in" that she snapped out of it and realised they were almost in the village proper. Waiting until Alex and Zavon had spoken, she simply mumbled her agreement with the majority, hoping no-one would realise she wasn't paying attention and had no idea what she was actually weighing in on.
 
Last edited:

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
The Cleric was unaware of Astra's wandering gaze, simply skipping and waggling to and fro, shifting his hips about in the most unintentionally distracting way possible, oblivious as can be to any attention he may have attracted in that instance. The appearance of a stranger near the bridge did slightly startle Alexander. What was the fellow doing out by his lonesome? The man didn't seem malicious judging off his attire and friendly welcome alone, but something about his smile made the Cleric feel unease. People had been going missing, and with this man being the only soul they'd seen thus far, it just came across as a little strange. But, being the man Alexander was, he didn't want to sit and assume things about someone he hardly knew, that simply wouldn't be fair. Though...if the man did know something, he could prove a potential lead on the disappearances. That, and Flint seemed more than ready enough to deal with the man if he so much as breathed too closely, judging by the look on his face.

Facing towards the man, Alexander gave a gentle smile and a nod.

"Yes, I agree as well. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated."

Alex was unable to properly hear Astra speaking, so he turned to her and said,

"Mikaela, your thoughts?"
 
Last edited:

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Well, it's a yes from everyone then. Lead the way friend!" Flint said with a hearty chuckle. He was playing the role of a friendly warrior to lower the other man's guard in the event that he is some form of bandit. And because the idea of getting into the village a bit sooner did make him happy. He hoped that the man wasn't there to attack them and steal their possessions, but was prepared for that just in case.

"Oh, where are my manners? You can call me Flint." Flint said, stepping closer to the tall man. He was still smiling, but it was not nearly as toothy as before.
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
The man nodded, resting his spear over his shoulder. “Good! You can call me Juan!” He said, before turning around and walking down the road. “Your name does not sound Ibrinian,” he continued as he walked down the road, leading the trio. “You a mercenary? Where from?”
 

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Indeed I am Juan." Flint answers, picking up his own spear and following Juan. "I'm originally from the northern regions of Braton. Cold and rainy place, it's much warmer here. Mercenary work brought me out to Ibrinia, though my former employers met the ugly end of a particularly wicked group's weapons." He explained, seeing no harm in talking about his past, though making sure to keep demons and the inquisition out of it. Those two subjects might draw a bit of suspicion. "What about yourself? Got a story to tell?"
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
Juan laughed. “Well, I’m not exactly too interesting-born here, grew here, probably die here too. Isn’t a whole lot to be excited about compared to you, Mr. Mercenary!” he said, as he walked down the road. “Tsalde’s a pretty quiet place, being out of the way of most armies. The last time anyone here came around as well armed as you was about five years ago. It was a Paladin, one of the woman ones with the rose crests,” he explained. “I tell you what, she was a lot more pretty than you! Very intimidating though, and the sort of lady I would be cautious about even if she wasn’t a paladin! She was here for about a week before she headed off.” He then shrugged. “It honestly doesn’t mean much to anyone-she was a visitor, paid for her drink and stayed for a while before she left.”

As he finished his story, he reached the town gate, guarded by a pair of young men who were similarly poorly-equipped to Juan. He nodded to them. “Andre, Jorge; these are some visitors to the village. Their here to spend some time away from the war to relax.” He then paused and turned to them. “…that is why you’re here, yes?”
 

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
Alexander walked along with Juan and the others, carefully keeping his eye on their surroundings and the conversation. The man did ask a lot of inquiries but gave some interesting replies. Word of that female paladin did draw Alex's attention, wondering if she too was one of the missing or had simply left as he had said. Perhaps he'd find out more later, and ask some questions of his own. Hearing Juan's query Alexander decided to chime in. Naive as the Cleric could be, it was still clear telling someone you just met confidential information would be unwise, especially if they could have something to do with it.

"Indeed sirs. I and my friends here would love to visit the nearest inn, if you would be so kind to direct us." Alexander gave a charming smile full of warmth, though his thoughts remained weary waiting for their reaction.
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
He nodded and raised his lantern up. The young men opened the gate as Juan led them into town, passing by some local houses, whose gardens were thriving with fresh fruit and vegetables. “It’s been a good time for harvest,” Juan explained. “A few years back it had been really bad, but I guess Hesol’s blessings were good enough to get things growing back in order!”

The group then reached a large building, whose sign had an image of a rabbit drinking from a bottle of wine. “Welcome to the Hare!” He said, as he stood to their side. “This is the local inn you will most likely be staying at for the time being. I shall take my leave, while you take your rest. I am sure that tomorrow you will have plenty of time to look around and explore to your heart’s content!”
 

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
Alexander's eyes widened taking in the lush environment. At first, even a plain village was something to be excited about. But now the Cleric's eagerness was starting to really shine through. Fixated on the bountiful gardens amongst the village homes. If one were to compare to his place of residence in the capital, the differences would be like night and day. Used to dry grass and infertile land struggling to grow even weeds, Alexander hadn't seen anything so lively since he was a boy. It did inspire a small feeling of wonder. Something as simple as a garden growing amidst the forlorn war made the Cleric feel hopeful, taking in the sights with a grin.

Alexander gave Juan a nod, looking over the building one final time before making his way inside the inn. The thought of a warm meal made him realize just how hungry he was traveling the long distance they did. Dried nuts and jerky weren't bad per se, but couldn't beat something homecooked and steaming. The Cleric looked towards his companions ready to ask what they thought of the place before he caught Astra's expression. She seemed confused...? Or perhaps nervous. Walking into a mysterious community packed with humans who think Hesol knows what of the three of them must have been unnerving.

Before he sat down, Alex turned to Astra, a slight look of worry on his face. Maybe she just didn't want to converse at the moment, which would be entirely fair, but he had a feeling it was more than that going by her lost gaze.

"Are you feeling alright? Is there anything on your mind? I could order you something if you'd like, or are feeling unwell."
 
Last edited:

TheShepard256

Well-Known Member
"Are you feeling alright? Is there anything on your mind? I could order you something if you'd like, or are feeling unwell."
"I-I'm fine. It's just been a long day, that's all."

That was a lie. Astra was far from fine, and always had been ever since the Church captured her. In these lands dominated by worshippers of Hesol, she didn't feel like she could trust anyone, even her companions. The danger from her companions was obvious, and who knows what the locals would do to her if they found out what she truly was. She couldn't let her guard down, not for a second - at least, not where others could see her.

Still, the kind words did soften her a bit. As a demon of pleasure, being physically close to and interacting with people was something she desperately needed, despite her feelings that doing so would put her in danger. In truth, she'd been craving someone she could open up to, and maybe - just maybe - this Alex would be the right person for that. Not here and now, though; it's too public. If she made a slip-up, she could very well be as good as dead.

She sat down. "I'll just have, uh, these two,", selecting a meal and a drink at semi-random (nothing too expensive) from the menu, "and then go to bed."
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
The insides of the inn was cozy and rustic, illuminated by the light of the fireplace. Its floors were stone and its wooden walls fitted with panels, engraved with flowers. There was set out several round wooden tables with stools, as well as the bar, which was polished elm. Sitting at it was the innkeeper, a portly man with a thick mustache and hair coming down to his neck. What drew more eyes, however, was the young woman waiting the tables-she looked to be about 20, with smooth brown skin and long curly black hair that fell to her broad shoulders. Her round nose and plump lip, combined with her heart-shaped face and large almond shaped eyes, gave her a welcoming aura, inviting them in. However, her dress, whose cleavage dipped down to her abdomen, drew the eye to her rather large breasts (about the size of large oranges), while at the same time flattering her large curves. However, she was also fairly short, just an inch above five feet.

She gave the group of smile and waved, but said nothing as she went to the bar. Looking from behind, they could help but notice the dress dipped even further down on the back, down to her waist. While the skirt obscured it from view, it was also clear her rear was not lacking in size either.
 

TheShepard256

Well-Known Member
While far from the most opulent she'd seen, Astra found the fanciness of the inn - and the dress of the probably plot-important woman - to be a contrast to how poorly equipped the village guards were. You'd think that if a small village could have an inn like this, they'd be able to afford something approaching proper armour or shields for the people most likely to need that kind of protection - all the other settlements she'd been to prioritised defence over aesthetics. Then again, there was likely a reasonable explanation for that, so no sense in kicking up a fuss about it. Besides, their lack of armour means that if the town guard did turn on them, it would be fairly easy to take them out.
 

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Hah! There's always time to join in on the action. Come home with a few scars and just as many stories to woo some folk. And ooh boy, the prettiest women are always the intimidating ones! Though I'm hurt I don't live up to your beauty standards." Flint let out a hearty laugh that could be heard from quite some distance. A female paladin with a rose looking crest. Very interesting. Five years was a long time ago, but it was still worth noting. If nothing else, it meant there was other people from the inquisition somewhere. Or a corpse in nice armor with a fancy holy sword.

Flint took a break from speaking to allow Alexander to get a word in edgewise. The cleric was about as green as you can get without being a goblin or orc, but it was good for him to not be the only one talking. He didn't mind taking glances around the village and admiring their harvest. It was pretty impressive, they probably had enough food to feed a small army. When they came to the inn, he couldn't help but smile. A nice soft bed, some strong booze, and the prospect of pretty barmaids and waitresses pleased the mercenary. "Thank you for guiding us Juan. Hope we weren't too much trouble for you!" He said, giving the tall man a pat on the back before making his way into the inn.

The sight of the inn's interior made Flint feel giddy inside. The smells of food cooking and the warmth of the fireplaces gave off the feeling of being at home. The sights weren't anything the scoff at either, and his hopes for beautiful barmaids came true. The outfit was a bit strange though. He would never be disappointed by women in revealing clothing, especially not a woman as sexy as the one before him. But Flint was armed with the knowledge that people were having strange dreams as disappearing from this village. He couldn't rule out the possibility that the seductive woman waiting tables could be some kind of demon in disguise. And one look at Astra reinforced that theory, given her similar beauty.

Regardless of any possible threats though, Flint sat himself down and looked over the menu. "A pint of ale and a roast for myself." He said, barely looking the options over. He snuck glances at the waitress. Both because she did catch his eye, and to see if she did anything suspicious.
 

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
Alexander nodded noting down Astra's choice. He could tell there might have been more on her mind but chose not to press the matter. It took time to get to know each other, and one couldn't force that process. Looking over the menu gave the Cleric pause. Much as he wanted to order something hearty, he was taught not to overindulge (even if his hips said otherwise.) Hesol above did those pastries look divine...but stilling his ravenous appetite he settled on something more simple and modest.

Alexander finally looked upward at the barmaid. His eyes immediately skittered down to the floorboards, flustered to all hell upon his eyes meeting her generous cleavage. He wasn't exactly a prude, more so extraordinarily bashful. And the eyeful she presented made him hotter under the collar than he'd like to admit. With a sharp cough, he turned to Flint and Astra instead. Her attire did strike him a tad as odd. He'd expected the mood to be less jovial, given people disappearing like wisps of smoke stemming from something as simple as dreams. Frankly, it sounded terrifying to the Cleric, yet the townspeople seemed as merry and unprepared as one could be. Something was off, yet he couldn't place it just yet. His eyes switched to the two as he moved closer to them both and whispered out of earshot,

"I would never doubt that Hesol's blessings could bring one joy. But...don't they seem a little too carefree?"
 
Last edited:

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Agreed." Flint leaned in and whispered, which resulted in Astra being sandwiched between the mercenary and Alexander. "I'm all for warm welcomes, but this is a town is a bit too warm for a place that has people disappearing in the middle of the night. I wouldn't doubt that at least some of the townsfolk are in on it." He said, dead serious look in his eyes. "Of course, our information could be off as well. It's a bit hopeful to be thinking that though." The idea that people could be listening in on them struck Flint, but without knowing a more private spot they could talk he'd simply have to keep his spear and sword within reach.
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
The woman, smiling, walked up to the group as they talked amongst each other. “Welcome to the Hare!” she said with a smile. “I must admit, it’s a bit surprising to see such a well-equipped group coming down to our little old town.”

She then leaned over toward’s Flint, giving him a better look at her cleavage. “So, what will you be having tonight?” she asked, giving him a wink.
 
Last edited:

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"Well thank you for having us!" Flint said as he leaned back in his chair and gave the waitress a smile. "I hope we weren't too much of a shock for you though, I'd hate to make such a pretty lady worried." He said, giving the waitress a wink. He was hoping that Alex and Astra knew how to play it cool. If she was a possible threat, making a scene or acting strange would be a dead give away. At the very least, they both looked and acted a bit shy, so if they were flustered the waitress would probably just brush it off. "Now, for what I'm having. I'll have a pint of ale and a roast pheasant, please. I just love some good breasts and thighs." He was definitely laying it on a bit too thick. But, with any luck, the waitress would either think of him as an idiot, or actually be seduced. He, obviously, much preferred the second outcome.
 

TheShepard256

Well-Known Member
Astra simply observed in silence, with only a small nod to acknowledge her companions' concerns. While she often had a few people in each town who were in on and assisted with her activities, making people disappear for more than a night or two (which sometimes happened even without demons around, and thus wasn't too suspicious) wasn't her MO, so she had no points of reference to go off.
She could try to figure who to look out for by attempting to influence their minds (as demons are immune to such influences, and their pawns would likely be corrupt enough to fall to them), but there were two problems with that - first, unless Alex deemed otherwise, her shackles limited her power enough that only very corrupt individuals were susceptible enough to produce outwards signs of resisting or giving in (which could cause her to miss less corrupt pawns), and second, her target would know someone was trying to get in their head. Those two combined with being new in town meant there's too much risk of blowing her cover that way - exploring the townsfolks' dreams would be much safer, if less informative.

When the woman approached, Astra let her companions lead, as usual.
"I just love some good breasts and thighs." He was definitely laying it on a bit too thick. But, with any luck, the waitress would either think of him as an idiot, or actually be seduced. He, obviously, much preferred the second outcome.
She chuckled a bit at this. If this woman was Flint's idea of good-looking, he'd be absolutely floored if he ever saw Astraeoth and not Mikaela Vardas. That might actually come in handy sometime.... And, of course, Astra shared his desire to fuck her, but caution stayed her hand.
 
Last edited:

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
Playing it cool was Alex's specialty. Except when it came along with being flustered, though at the very least it came across as less suspicious and more understandable coming from a church cleric. With a blush brighter than a tomato he quietly murmured, his order unintelligible as his imagination went running and turned his words into a stammering mess, moving his attention elsewhere to calm himself. On one hand, he was thankful for Flint's charisma, on the other it only made him squirm more hearing talk about breasts and thighs.

He took a look around the inn with a deep breath. Taking the chance to examine the other patrons out of idle curiosity. Distracting as the pretty woman was, it'd take a little more to sway the devout cleric away from his investigative duties.
 
Last edited:

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
"Well thank you for having us!" Flint said as he leaned back in his chair and gave the waitress a smile. "I hope we weren't too much of a shock for you though, I'd hate to make such a pretty lady worried." He said, giving the waitress a wink. He was hoping that Alex and Astra knew how to play it cool. If she was a possible threat, making a scene or acting strange would be a dead give away. At the very least, they both looked and acted a bit shy, so if they were flustered the waitress would probably just brush it off. "Now, for what I'm having. I'll have a pint of ale and a roast pheasant, please. I just love some good breasts and thighs." He was definitely laying it on a bit too thick. But, with any luck, the waitress would either think of him as an idiot, or actually be seduced. He, obviously, much preferred the second outcome.
The waitress giggled at Flint's comments, as she stood up and put her hands on her hips. "And who happens to be making this order?" she asked, looking at the mercenary with a wry glance. "After all, I can't make my order to no one."
 
Last edited:

MagicBanana

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2017
358
16
"That would be Flint. The gentleman opposite me is Alex, and the lovely lady at our table is Mikaela." Flint answers back, taking the liberty of introducing the other members of the party as well. "And may I ask for the name of the lovely waitress that's serving us?" He asked, returning the woman's grin.
 

HeroicSpirit

Well-Known Member
Aug 22, 2019
1,096
291
26
"My name is Lucia," she said, nodding as she heard Flint's name along with the rest of them. "My father is the innkeeper," Lucia explained as she turned to Alexander. "So, what will your order be, faithful Alexander?" she asked the priest. "You seem quite young for a priest; how did you manage to become one so quickly?"
 

OmegaUmbra

Well-Known Member
Alexander turned his attention back to the woman. Making sure to avoid eye contact with her bust and instead respectfully, albeit shyly stare into her eyes, which were quite pretty.

"Just some bread and jam for me, thank you." He said looking back towards the menu. Maybe a drink would be alright too, perhaps water, as he was doubtful they'd have any fruit juices...and he'd look somewhat childish ordering one, surely. Her question did give him pause as he thought about it for a short while.

"My father was an archbishop, and I was brought up in the church quite young. They were impressed by my skill in casting miracles and anointed me rather quickly. I was just as surprised, to be honest. Usually, it takes much longer, but it is an honor nonetheless and a great blessing to serve Hesol." Alexander said finishing off his words with a smile. He spoke honestly but did little to give away anything that could compromise their quest.
 
Last edited: