The Altrist Forest

Rule 34

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#1
The forest surrounding Altrist is actually a branch of The Great West. A few of the creatures found in that mysterious native forest can be found here as well. If one ventures deeper, even into this twig of the real forest, they can not help but feel an almost intimidating aura of antiquity. The trees here give you the feeling they have been there for eons even if they haven't.
 

Rule 34

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#2
Re: The Altrist Forest

A large shadow moves through the dense forest. In the twilight that encloses the woods in the late afternoon no clear features can be made out. The lack of Kin features, however - no tail, no snout, no digitigrade legs - clearly mark this shadow as a human.
Irias snorts as he walks deeper into the forest. Ever since he saw the sign he's been walking through this ancient piece of the woods. Thought it would be shorter. Obviously he was wrong.
 

Pale

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#3
Re: The Altrist Forest

From the trees around an old, tall oak, birds spring to flight from hidden nests. Somewhere where the green rustles out of sight, a branch sways as the Cat Kin using it for a bed stirs.

Whether from dreams, or the occasional footstep far below - she was awake, and the sky told her it was time to stay as such. The forest rustles again, leaving the branch empty.

The neck has been hailed as the most sensitive part of the human body, when it comes to intuition. A prickling, watched sense when someone is nearby, hairs standing on end - it is an eternal watchguard. Irias might be well-advised to listen to his - and the sense that someone not far off was watching.

A well-practiced ear might catch the traces of stealthy movement, a branch that creaks here, and rustle of leaves there - but the growing dusk and the concealing foliage offer no clues as to who might be following.
 

Rule 34

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#4
Re: The Altrist Forest

Irias knows a thing or two about necks. Mostly where to hit to cut through them quick and clean. If you hit a vertebra you may have to bring the sword down again while the criminal writhes and cries in pain. Very messy, and the audience usually doesn't like it. Always cut between the vertebrae.
Even though Irias doesn't here the subtle sounds that the mysterious person made, he heard the birds taking flight. With a quick move one wouldn't expect from a man of his stature he reaches up and draws the sword. He didn't make this long journey to be mugged by a brigand 4 miles from the end. The hairs rising in his neck just add to his nervousness.
"Who goes there?" His voice is deep and hoarse, carrying far in the deep woods.
 

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#5
Re: The Altrist Forest

The forest holds its breath for a long moment, before a rush of air is followed by a dull thump...somewhere behind Irias. Red stands out sharply in the gloom, the cloak drawn close around a figure leaning calmly against tree bark.

Yellow eyes, with the eerie shine of felines, watch the human carefully.

"Relax, already. I have no intention of hurting you.."

The voice that issues forth is throaty, and low, rich with a certain quality that might be warmth if not tainted by obvious disdain.

"And put that sword away. It's no use to you here anyway."
 
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Rule 34

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#6
Re: The Altrist Forest

As Irias spins around he stares at the crimson hood for a very long moment before promptly dropping to one knee and lowering his head. Maybe not the reaction that the feline expected.
"At last", Irias brings forth from beneath his hat. The hand that holds the sword pushes it forward, offering the handle to the Queen Of Shadows. "I've waited for this. Peace at last", he brings forth between gritted teeth. "Peace at last!"
 

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#7
Re: The Altrist Forest

Surprise, however justified, was not an emotion to be shown. Therefore, the feline narrows her eyes, and hesitates for only a second before grasping the hilt of the blade. As she takes the swprd, it dips momentarily as she adjusts to the weight, then steadies.

"A weapon that has served well..."

Another pause for calculation, taking in the nature of the blade.

"Served.. you and I, equally."

The weapon lifts, then lowers again, to tap the human gently on both shoulders.

"I regret, though. For now, this must remain in your hands. The troubled times.. are not yet over, though the dawn is in sight."

She raises the weapon as if to strike, before inverting it, and returning it to the kneeling human.
 

Rule 34

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#8
Re: The Altrist Forest

As Irias raises his head tears shimmer in his eyes. "Who", he whispers. "Who is left? They're all dead! They reside at your court now. . . Only I am left."
Still, he accepts the sword out of his Goddess' hand. Slowly the large human gets back up. "Well then. . . Point me, my Queen. I'm but an arrow on your bow."
 

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#9
Re: The Altrist Forest

A shake of the head casts a little of the dying light onto the feline's face.

"My court is plentiful, I'll not deny, but not full. Now, though... it is a bitter irony that I walk the world to keep my court empty. Without life, death is meaningless.. and I have no interest in seeing the world a barren husk."

She turns away for a moment, the hood hiding yellow-slitted eyes.

"Any more than it is already."

Somewhere inside her, the feline despised herself for her actions. Impersonating a Goddess? Even if it was for a good reason, it was inexcusable. But.. if the world was to live, the inexcusable must be excused.
 

Rule 34

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#10
Re: The Altrist Forest

Irias doesn't listen. He has stopped the moment the light illuminated her face. But he's not going to die, is he? She said he still has something to do. . . But why? Why can he see her face? She - lied? She lied!
"You LIED!" In one move the burly man has risen the sword and positioned the blade across the feline's neck. "Whoever you are", he presses forth between clenched teeth, "I'm giving you five seconds to explain this. . . TRAVESTY!"
 

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#11
Re: The Altrist Forest

Saeluna watches the blade with a cool disinterest, yellow eyes unblinking within the darkness of the hood. Beneath the enshrouding cloak, a body honed through sheer survival tenses, and a paw closes on a well-varnished pistol grip.

"I suggest.. you lower that blade. Unless you'd prefer a more personal meeting with your mistress... rather than merely her representative."
 

Rule 34

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#12
Re: The Altrist Forest

That was clearly the wrong path to take. Irias' eyes almost seem to light up in the shadows of his hat. This could be the only sign for Saeluna to move as the blade rushes forward, intent of separating her head from the rest of her body.
 

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#13
Re: The Altrist Forest

With a rush of displaced air, the feline drops into an easy backwards handspring, away from the blade. She lands on her feet with barely a sound, arm outstretched towards the human.

In her hand is a weapon, gleaming with varnish, loaded and ready to fire. A pistol crossbow - ineffective at longer ranges, but so close, it could easily be lethal.

"Now. Calm down. Don't make me shoot you."
 

Rule 34

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#14
Re: The Altrist Forest

Irias raises his sword and points it at Saeluna. "I can't just let you go", he growls. It sounds vaguely like an angry bear. "I'm pretty sure impersonating a Goddess is a crime everywhere. Even if I can't take your head I'll have to take an ear or something. Maybe a finger or two."
 

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#15
Re: The Altrist Forest

A roll of yellow-slitted eyes, and Saeluna taps the crossbow butt for emphasis.

"Stop.. talking like you're in control of the situation. Then, maybe, just maybe, I won't put this quarrel through your throat. So. Now that's established.. put the sword down."
 

Rule 34

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#16
Re: The Altrist Forest

Irias shakes his head, but none the less puts the sword down. He leans slightly on it, looking pretty much like there is not a crossbow pointed his way. "Alright. I will humor you and act like you have caught me. Now what?" The sarcasm shows even through his hoarse voice.
 

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#17
Re: The Altrist Forest

"Now then.."

The feline takes another couple of paces away to place her back against a tree trunk.

"In case you hadn't noticed, the world is.. dying. The old system is fallen, along with the old gods. Old laws, old gods, old kings... are nothing. All that matters now is surviving. Seeing as you're the first intelligent being I've seen in weeks, I'd much rather not have to kill you.. Are we speaking the same language, now?"
 

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#18
Re: The Altrist Forest

"Alright. I still want to know why you're dressed up like the Queen of Shadows. Somebody was gonna find out. You're lucky it was me. . . Except I tried to lop off your head", Irias adds in a murmur. He pulls of his hat and combs through his hair with his fingers. The feline can see a high forehead and a face that is not young anymore, but not old yet, before the deathsman puts the hat back on.
 

Pale

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#19
Re: The Altrist Forest

The cat draws herself up, irked at the challenge.. though the crossbow never wavers.

"This cloak has been passed down in my family for generations. I am a Noctivaga. As such, I have every right to dress like this. You could even call it a duty."

She pauses, then adjusts the hood, keeping the hated light from her eyes.

"Anyway. Enough of me. If we are unfortunate enough to meet again, your hairless hide is mine, human. Do not dare to cross my path, lest you never cross another."

With that, perhaps slightly melodramatic statement, the feline vanishes into the undergrowth. After a moment or two, there is a groan from an oak tree as a branch takes her weight, then another.. until finally, all sounds of her passing recede.
 

Rule 34

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#20
Re: The Altrist Forest

"Yeah, of course. Up and disappears. Wench", Irias murmurs as he sheathes the sword. First person he meets in a month and it has to be a two-faced blasphemer. And worst of all - she didn't kill him. Maybe the Goddess doesn't want his soul yet. Maybe there is something left to do. But what? "What", Irias asks himself as he starts walking again.