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The Skittering Beneath the Pavingstones


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The Skittering Beneath the Pavingstones 

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           It began quietly, as most things do. There was no warning, and there was no reason to suspect it. Those who found themselves in the sewers under the streets of Varhelm were often greeted by glinting eyes in the shadows and the sound of tiny claws against the stones. Rats, of course; the famed residents of the world’s dark, soiled corners and tunnels. The sort of men who spent their time hidden away in sewers- smugglers and outlaws- were not often the type to think much of such creatures. Foul to be sure, but common and weak. Pathetic, even. They posed no real threat, right?

 

“Hurry the hell up, I don’t want to be down here longer than we have to be,” a man muttered with anxiety in his voice, roughly shoving his accomplice further down the dark, damp passageway. Soon after, a shuffling sound echoed from one of the branching corridors to his left. Immediately, he raised the lantern in his hand, his heart jumping at the sound. Nothing. Before him was nothing. A silent, empty corridor with naught but atramentous darkness to be seen beyond the lantern’s reach. “Bloody sewer rats. Makin’ me jump at shadows.” the outlaw complained.

 

            Rats are peculiar creatures. Despite the repulsion they have always inspired in people, they are fairly intelligent creatures. With the right combination of training and reinforcement, they could be trained to do simple tasks, not unlike a dog or a cat. Some might even call them clever or crafty. Especially when food is involved, rats have a way of navigating just about any obstacle. Like most creatures, rats would do just about anything if it meant the difference between food and starvation.

 

A deal gone wrong. One man lay dead, a second on the edge of death’s embrace, and the outlaw’s lifeblood quickly poured from a wound across his abdomen. He cursed under his labored breath as he listened to the footsteps of two others fade into the darkness of the passages beyond him. They had been lucky, he thought, the two that got away. He was left there, on the slime-covered stone, bleeding to death, and they had taken the money and the goods both. The outlaw spent his last minutes cursing his rotten luck, even as the man who lay beside him expired and his own vision began to dim. The last thing he heard was the scampering of tiny claws against wet stone drawing nearer.

 

            In the outlaw’s place, the rats left little more than chewed, scratched bone. The starving colony had been treated to a veritable feast. Food was what this growing horde had sought, and it was food they had found, much to the misfortune of the fallen man. Unfortunately, that would not be enough to support the colony’s unsustainable growth. The rats required more, and now they had a scent to follow; A scent that led them towards the surface.


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From some land foreign to what he had come to be accustomed to in the last hundred or so years of life, Ratcliffe reflects. Upon Godric, upon his time within Norland, and upon the coup of the illegitimate. His hand trails along the blade at his side as he reflects upon Godric's most oft spoke words to him. "No blood, no killing." The mercy his master had shown, the first he had bent the knee to in over two hundred some odd years. His loyalty was rare, his peregrinations through the world at large even rarer. For Godric had found him hidden within that terrain where Morsgrad had been built, and it was there that he had been forsaken as well.

 

Brandishing a bottle of alcohol, he takes a sniff, still unable to ascertain the origins of such. Idly sipping, his free hand runs along his neck, across that archaic slash that had mended some three or four hundred years prior. The scar, as they do, had never truly patched itself, jagged and horrific in nature. A reminder of what honor and valor brings those who aspired to be knights in an era long past. A reminder of the treachery of the knight he had held in such high regard. A long sip, perhaps too long, as only the curl of his fingers, the slamming of a fist into his chest broke the choking sensation he currently suffered.

 

Deformed vocal cords, his main wound in all these years, if one were to exclude the grievous loss of his ear in the battle of Blackmont as well as the wounds from flames he had incurred, that to some extent had spared his life from the Blackmont and Rose forces. Woe to the man who had dragged him from the battlefield, a small mercy, yet still, he was mute even prior to this ancient battle. Deformed vocal cords, unable to speak, yet still, thankful he was, he could sigh. And sigh he did, for after all he had endured, he could not laugh. Yet still, tensing as his frame attempted valiant resistance to silent laughter and the shake of his body, he would hold up high a drink in Godric's memory and to the unrelated kin of his name in their quest against those who had exiled him. And then poured out the last of his drink in their honor, for he knew no such effort would succeed, the magic of the descendants was simply too strong for those native to this new land.  

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love the music

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Grigori sits at his table, writing one of his many books, a sound causes him to look up, setting the book down at the table. Before grigori is a small swarm of rats, darting from the sewer entrance into the docks. Grigori lets out a curious "Hmm.." before standing up, perhaps this table was no longer as safe and welcoming as he thought.

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