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Pathmaker: Act III, Errant

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The stars themselves are like a siren; their beauty is astounding, but they can consume and trap. Woe be those who traverse the stars.” - Throne


He came to consciousness again, stirred by the sound of crackling fire. Klaus shifted from side to side, panicked at first; though he eventually calmed himself, realizing that he was untouched. The things he fought were no longer, and none of their friends decided to drop on while he was defenseless. He looked down before rising to his feet, the coppery scent of blood complimented by the dried blood which clung to his attire. The best course of action was to wash it off, though not here -- not in this decrepit place. The man killed the fire, and took the bloodied axe. At the very least, it should be returned to its rightful place.


Klaus did what he could to wipe the dried blood from the axe, even eating it away with a diluted acid. He fished his ammunition from the fiends he slew, slipping them into his loading quiver as he ventured the crypt. His footsteps echoed through those empty halls, and now -- when there was little threat -- he could take in their beauty. Since he was a child, he was always fascinated with such things; to him, buildings and designs let one look into its creator’s mind, and see what they thought while they were making such a place. From what the alchemist could tell, this old chapel was a place of worship for past heroes, ones who fought in an old war against forces beyond time and sanity; the demons, the horrors, creatures of the night, and so on. The battle must have been long and hard, as the crypt of this damnable place was filled with the dead, generations upon generations of soldiers and holymen. On his trek, he found a small corridor, which lead to an inner sanctum with the same as the axe and previous chamber running along the ceiling, and pausing over a mossy and crumbling fountain that still ran with some sort of strange water; its statuette depicting a maiden with a glimmering sword whose handle resembled the sun, and a shield marked by a crescent moon. Below the fountainhead, were writings, to which Klaus could understand as:


A burning light to ward darkness; a pale moon to cure the remains.


A man of superstition, the Alchemist saw this as a sign, an offering to take what was left behind, given the situation. First, however, Klaus removed his glove to check the water, his real hand, covered in bandages -- covering both wounds and monstrosity. The hand and glove settle in the water, swaying in the water. He noticed that it seemed to dissolve the blood on his glove and sleeve, and he even felt a warm feeling as he touched the water; something about it was magical, though unlike any form of magic he knew. Klaus took a few bottles, though he did not use the water on his own clothes, for fear that it would somehow lose its effects. Once he finished taking his scoops of ‘Holy Water’ and settled on his glove, the man walked back to the crypt, specifically the coffin which he took the axe from. It was time to return it to its rightful home.


He felt wrong holding the axe now, while he was fighting for his life the thought escaped him; adrenaline and the will to survive -- a palpable sense. Now, it deserved to be with its rightful companion, the man that wielded this axe in that horrible war. The man only muttered a single thanks before setting it back in the tomb, and closing the coffin shut. Pausing with a sigh, Klaus stared at the ornate etchings on the coffin, lost in thought. He could only think of home, or rather the plane he came from. He started to think of the things and people close to him, which only reinforced his will to return home. magic is holding me here, he thought, and bounced between what that dying fiend told him. Courts, counts, beasts; the thing was demonic, so perhaps there is a demon court? Demon Counts don’t sound right, the very word of it. That gargoyle on the portal also resembled a vampyr, perhaps there are bloodsuckers here as well. What about the beasts? Those howls were probably them, perhaps they’re like wolves. What other damnable horrors lurk here? He could have pondered for hours and hours if it were not for the poor situation he was in. He needed to explore, forage -- survive until Klaus could get to the bottom of how he was stuck here, and how to get out. He could always use his failsafe, but there was a fear in the back of his mind that it would not work by the same magic.




I will have to return home, for them, for her, for it. If I must claw my way out of this hellhole, so be it.


The man began to walk up up the stairway to the chapel’s choir. He could see the light of day, and hear the faint sound of trickling - it was raining, though not very hard. The man first made an effort to look around before he fully committed to heading outside, peering outside broken windows and overgrown roots -- the coast, save for a thin fog, was clear. All that he could see was a dense treeline. As he exited, he took a long piece of wood, and carved a sharp point on the top; a makeshift staff and spear. When he exited the portal, he could feel the light trickle of rain on his bloodied attire, while not fully helping -- it did some effort in softening the dried blood. He walked onwards, into the dense treeline. The man searched for tracks, and did what he could to follow the smaller prints.




His tracking paid off, allowing him to find water, to which he collected as well as used to get rid of more blood. During this, only a slow shift of the gaze allowed him to spot some game; a moose. The fellow avoided eye contact with it, loading his slurbow, though the moose heard the whirs and shift of the weapon; it got startled, and prepared a charge. He decided to ditch his attempt, and grabbed his makeshift spear. The animal charged, and he retaliated by spearing it through; and while the thrashing and throes made it difficult, the moose eventually succumbed.  


Klaus made quick work, taking what he could from the beast, even using antlers and sinew to make a better point for his spear, which already suffered the weight of his actions. He went about gathering flint and firewood, placing all he could in his pack. A few hours passed, from what he could tell with his watch, and he trekked through the forest, doing what he could to stay low and hidden- as well as to get game; the last thing he wanted was to bump into the wrong thing. On the downtime during the exploration, he was able to write more in his tome, calling this place “Sullen”. The fauna and flora were relatively similar, even finding some of the alchemical herbs he had home, and then some. They were taken of course, to be examined for later; and the fauna itself was also similar, save for spotting some animals he had seldom seen, platypus in their burrows across a lake; beavers making their dams. The life here was beautiful, the nature hardly touched and allowed to flourish, evident by strange hunched animals with boarish features. Their scent was relatively strong, and their stature allowed them to climb up the dense woods and get some sort of moss, which he had previously acquired during the venture. They were smart, for an animal at least; and they seemed relatively passive, at least unprovoked. The creatures did not pay too much mind to Klaus, save for a snort and gesture of their bone equipment. By looking at these ‘Scrofa’, he could tell they were omnivores, and if they wanted to -- could easily overpower him with their strength. Leaving some of the meat he gained from the moose, he made his intentions known; and perhaps they realized he was harmless. With a few sniffs of his person, perhaps to memorize his scent -- they didn’t mind the planehopper, and even let him stay and hunt with them, though he needed to leave the Scrofa, to continue his errant. This was met with a few kind hearted -- or what he assumed was kindhearted -- snorts and grunts, and they let him go without much thought.


Rain grew heavier, and the fog grew thicker, though the alchemist kept on. He neglected to his any of his own equipment for light, fearing he could be picked off by one of those fiends he faced, or some other treacherous fiend, though as it grew darker and foggier, he spotted small lights; the source being luminescent bugs and flora -- how curious. His trek came to a slow hat as he heard howling, he became frantic; Klaus could hear the blood thumping in his ears as his head swiveled and his mind screamed for him to find a place for cover. The man moved towards a canopy, and crept into the shadows, loading his slurbow. He tried to slow down his labored breath and racing heart, especially when he saw the source of the howl.




It was massive, easily the size of a fully grown orc; with ripping muscles from its claw bearing arms to the powerful digitrade hind legs. The fur covered thing, turned its lupine head towards Klaus, dull black eyes with a gleam looking in his direction. He gripped the weapon tight, it seemed the creature had yet to see him, as it would have howled or pounced - though it drew closer, and his grip tightened from his hiding place. It was only after a growl and snarl from its fellow wretch did the lycan lumber elsewhere; his scent obscured by the game he caught and Scrofa he was with. Even when the coast was clear -- and the stomping sounds became more and more distant, the alchemist did not leave his spot until he was absolutely certain they were far away, wasting time with his paranoid tendencies. He shifted from out his hiding hole, and judging by the once distant sound of the beasts, they were heading towards the chapel’s direction, he’d have to camp out if anything, or try to get out of this forest.


The rain only got heavier, and the fog grew thicker; he could hardly see a few feet infront of him, only aided by the glowing bugs and plants, though even their light grew distant. Grief and worry struck his stomach and mind; he felt the urge to vomit, more so as he heard howls and snarls all around him -- surrounded by a nest of fiends. Holding it together as best as he could, Klaus slowly maneuvered within the fog, always on the defensive. While his  scent was obscured, he feared other things could give away that he was prime meat. The alchemist cringed at the very thought of a beast’s claws around his neck, and wicked teeth tearing into his person -- turning his life to a sputtering end. He would not let that be his end, and continued. As he paced and did what he could to avoid any nearby beast, hoots and shadows began to drive fear into him; the very sound of the forest seemed to turn into a beast of its own, furious and thirsty for his flesh. Thankfully, he wasn’t very jumpy, or he’d have fired the lead ball in his slurbow. Though, when Klaus heard a snarl and caught a glint of claws  nearby, he could only hide behind mossy rock and shrubbery. There was a smacking sound, and the sound of something being torn asunder, with cracks to follow. What was a dying, blood curdling squeal got drowned out by the roars and snarls of a lycan, as well as the sound of the thing being torn asunder and eaten, perhaps by a pack. The sounds were followed by struggles, the were-things were perhaps arguing with one another, likely a dispute on someone taking too much of the body.


He waited and waited, worried that his very footsteps would disturb the beasts, and bring their attention towards him. Time seemed to have stop, and relaxing himself became more and more difficult; the very notion of lowering his breathing and slowing his heart started to sound like lifting a wagon. What seemed like an eternity passed on, and the ‘wolves’ proceeded to scatter off, though somewhat together. They were pact creatures, afterall -- or at least the lupine lycans were. Relieved, Klaus traversed through the thick fog in his usual stealthy manner; the weather showed no sign of giving up, evident by the harsh downpour. He began to trudge through the newly made mud, slowing his pursuit to get out of the forest, or at the very least find some place where he could hide out. The howls only continued, and grew frequent as the night progressed. Taking out his watch was too risky, as it’d put his guard down; he could only hope that the night would come to an end sooner or later.



Being under that pale, amber moon is becoming more and more like a living nightmare… more so than that place.





He managed, after what seemed like an endless travel to him, to see the treeline begin to thin, and the fog -- while still present -- began to let up. There was a good deal of shrubbery around him, as well as rocky formations; he could see a cliff face not too far from where he was. Klaus decided to take a breather, evidently worn through the whole debacle. He took to a stone formation, and clung under its shade, while he could still hear the howls, the alchemist figured he was safe, though he was certainly on guard. Though, his sense of security was perhaps his mistake.


A thumping sound was nearby, followed by a booming roar. Klaus tensed, and pressed his back deeper into the formation. Powerful legs hit the ground, and claws dug into the soil. It was right behind him, from that damnable sound. The man gulped, he lost his cool and began to scamper out of his hole, only to see a beast covered in its own blood. Its fur matted red, caused by holes in its body, with bolts and and heavy tears. A leg was shredded, a spiked ball wrapped around. The beast whirled about, and roared at a trio of approaching figures; covered in coats and mantles - faced obscured by mantles, facewraps, and hats. They brandished weapons of their own, and had slurbows -- akin to his own -- latched on their person. They darted about the beast, and nimbly evaded claw-strikes from the wounded thing; a show of skill. One of the hunters managed to get in close enough to jab their spear into the beast’s side, twisting it as an ally came by to slam a flail onto its head; though the lycan was fast. It swept its claws out in an arc to intercept the ball and chain, and forced the spearwielding hunter to duck back, else his health would have been compromised. The third hunter was in the process of taking nad loading his crossbow device; the other two continuing their dance. It was a mix of fear and fascination that stopped Klaus from helping them -- these men were skillled enough, and by interfering, he could have possibly hindered them.


The beast lumbered towards the flail wielding hunter as they began to whirl the weapon, twisting to the side to minimize damage from a claw swipe, grazing his coat with its stained claws. Had the fellow not dodged as fast as they did, the torn cloth would have far more viscera; the notion brushed aside by a powerful swing to the elbow. Klaus cringed as he heard a sickening crack and slack of the limb, snarling and howling - the monster retreated back, only to be assaulted by the once spear wielding hunter, jumping on its back to drive a dagger deep into the fear; a nuisance, one that caused the beast to thrash and try to grab the hunter -- yet, it was cut short. A bolt flew from the third hunter, and lodged into its skull as the other hunters jumped back, the wolf jerking its body as it fell over, a twitching mess that eventually stilled.


What a catch.The spearwielder called to his friends, pulling his weapon from the cadaver.


Aye,The flail wielder responded to his gruff accomplice, setting the weapon on its holster. “Had a lot more bite than its friends, wouldn’t you say?” His head turned to the crossbow hunter, to which said hunter tilted their head.


Mm. Thankfully the others dispersed. The voice was that of a woman’s, probably a young adult. She slung her crossbow as she walked over to reclaim her bolt, though paused as she heard the rustling of leaves. She looked to Klaus and tilted her head, to which the other two followed. All the man could do was stand still, weapon lowered.


Well, aren’t you a strange one?The spearwielder called, and like that, the rain began to thin, and pale moonlight snuck through the trees.











End of Act III, Act IV coming soon. 


Act I:


Act II: 


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