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    Well-Known Member
    The dragon crisis is over. The Dragonborn, legendary hero foretold, defeated the legendary Alduin, before vanishing into stories and legends themselves. The civil war that ravaged the land prior to and during the crisis ended when the Stormcloaks, led by their High King and hero, Ulfric Stormcloak, stormed the capital of Solitude, routing the imperial legion and killing general Tullius and legate Rikke. Skyrim won it's independence and for the past year has enjoyed a wary peace. But in the gloomy hold of Falkreath, all is not well. Folk go missing from the road, foresters are found mangled near logging sites. Merchants refuse to travel even well-known roads without heavy mercenary guard. Fear of the unknown runs rampant. The old jarl, Dengeir, is determined not only to protect his people, but to restore order. To that end, he has called upon a team of skilled huntsmen and women, to put an end to whoever or whatever, is preying on his hold. An offer of five hundred septims to the man or woman to bring him proof that the deed is done seems more than enough incentive...but will these hunters survive whatever it is that lurks in the depths of Falkreath? Or will their mangled corpses feed the darkling woods?


    Well-Known Member
    Marhaz Nitheus lounged at one of the tables in the Dead Man's Drink, the local tavern of the town of Falkreath. As an argonian, and therefore 'not a nord' she drew the occasional glance, but no one pestered her. Not least, she knew, because of the glint of armour under her coat, and the longsword at her side. From what she could hear, most of the complaints seemed to be directed at the recently arrived Stormcloak garrison. She'd seen a few of the blue clad soldiers stalking the perimeter of the town, but they'd not hassled her.

    "Those louts spend more time eating our food and drinking our ale than they do protecting us." One man declared bitterly, bringing his tankard to his lips.

    "Hush!" His friend hissed, "we should be grateful Ulfric sent them. I know I'll sleep alot better with armed soldiers between me and whatever's out there."

    At that point, Marhaz stopped listening. It was no surprise that the jarl had petitioned the high king for some additional security. She had no love for nobles, but it seemed Dengeir, at least, had enough concern for his citizens that he was willing to make some effort to soothe their minds. Against what, even the seasoned argonian wasn't sure. She'd heard from the locals that outside of the town itself, Falkreath was a wild and dangerous place. She settled back in her chair and took a swallow of ale. She was no fool. She knew better than to go wandering the woods, not knowing what she was hunting, especially by herself. Others would come, drawn either by a desire to help, or just plain old greed.

    Raise Me A Riot

    New Member
    "Heigh-ho, look what the stray dragged in!", a soldier jeered at the weary shoulders bearing a pair of elks' generous pelts, antlers, and venison, reaped with precision from the carcass that clearly couldn't have fallen within Falkreath's hunting grounds.

    "Aye, friend, you know that's only going to warm one of our beds, right? What about the rest of us?"

    Even if Prey had batted an eye, their low gait and the toothy snout resting on their crown gave no degree of acknowledgement, not even to the kind will of a Falkreath guard that piped up in their stead — "Oi, they deserve more credit than that! They've walked further in a day than you have in three to feed our bellies and keep your hides warm at night!"

    They didn't know nor care for the Stormcloaks' ethic in productivity, but they could in the very least agree that game within Falkreath had been hard to come by. The demand for their stock and their profits were at an incline within the hold as long as the wilds surrounding were deemed unsafe, though wealth was the last thing on Prey's agenda as they towed the pounds of provisions from beyond Falkreath's borders to the barracks' supply. It was not their sore feet that gave them cause to investigate the body count that was steadily destroying the town's reputation, rather one of their favorite hunting grounds losing its life, and they themself being so unsure of the roads usually familiar to them now making them unsettled, unable to enjoy a night's journey with the mysterious danger rearing its presence. The images of roadkill were steadily bleeding into their dreams, and their gaze, normally tame, showed it. They almost didn't see the guard that stopped them in their tracks in front of the barracks, shield nudging their shoulder and the fingers lifting the nose of their hood making them bristle, but they were soon put to ease upon recognizing the stag insignia in place of the roaring bear.

    "I'll take it from here. You look tired, huntsman, why don't you go grab a bed at Dead Man's before you collapse? We can't afford to lose you now, friend." Their palm instinctively lifted to catch the coinbag the guard tossed to them, leaving them a beat to process that he had reserved some funds to pay back their support, before they sighed in resignation and gave the guard their bow of gratitude.

    Especially now, they garnered respect with the rations they fetched beyond Falkreath's border in the residents' time of need, though the town had long seen past their uncanny appearance after years of exposure to their loyal company.

    The inn's ambience, if soured by the talk of recent events, refreshed their senses. They expected the few friendly nods from the Falkreath commoners who could bear to tear their attention away from grim conversation for all of two seconds, but their attention was soon won over by the new faces. A void blink would answer any question that met theirs, though nothing more as they slipped between boisterous bodies and whispers from hunched forms alike. The Falkreath guard's tip was set on the counter by gentle hands. With the notice of the owner's back turned to them where she busied with dishes from more customers than she was used to, they waited ever patiently, bag secured between their idle palms.
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    Dray Sedaris walked through the gates of Falkreath with a hand on the axe at his side, his crimson eyes sweeping over the Stormcloaks, that eyed him back. The dunmer bounty hunter smiled at them. Actually, that wasn't correct. Dray rarely smiled as most would. It was more a curl of the lip, a disdainful sneer, intended to belittle, or at the very least, irritate whoever was unfortunate enough to see it. When he did smile for real, it rarely reached his eyes. "Afternoon, gents," he drawled, "happen to know where a mer can get a drink around here?"

    One of the Stormcloaks, a burly, balding man with a braided beard, narrowed his eyes. "Just down the road. He pointed with his axe. "Dead Man's Drink."

    "Much obliged," Dray smirked, strolling past the patrol.

    "Mind yourself while you're here, elf!" The Stormcloak called out after him.

    "Oh...don't you worry," the white haired dunmer shot over his shoulder. "I'll be the very image of good behaviour."

    If the nord said anything more, Dray didn't hear, as he followed the instructions he'd been given, and eventually arrived at the only pub in the area. He pushed his way inside, and looked around. First his eyes fell upon a fur covered individual, armed with a number of spears, their face hidden in the shadow of a wolf's head skullcap. "Interesting," he mumbled to himself. Then his gaze traversed the room, to where a formidable argonian woman sat, keeping a wary eye on the clientel. "Time for me to make my introductions." He walked to the lizard-woman's table, shouldering more than one drunk nord out of his way. "Dray Sedaris. Bounty hunter. I take it you and that one," at this, he jerked a thumb towards the human, "are here to answer the jarl's summons?"


    Brielle slipped past the guards with the barest amount of effort. She might not have been a 'traditional' wood elf, but she was still stealthier than the vast majority of nords. Or at least , the vast majority of nords that she'd ever come across. As she entered the town proper, she felt an odd sense of...relief. Normally, she felt at home in the woods, even if not as much as her kin. But ever since entering Falkreath hold, the dark, towering pines had made her feel unwelcome, like a thief stealing through a fortress, with the guards actively hunting her. Except somehow worse.

    So yes, she was thrilled to be back among civilization. Even if she had to put up with Ulfric's lapdogs. A pair of them stared suspiciously in her direction, but she was already pushing open the door to the local tavern and slipping inside. A quick look around revealed that she was far from the first to hear of the jarl's summons. An argonian, a dark elf, and someone who looked like a nord, though she wasn't quite sure.

    She made her way to the bar, and paid for an ale. Then she glanced towards the fur-bundled individual to her right. "Come here often?" She asked them. She waited for several heartbeats, but it seemed they were lost in their thoughts. She shrugged and sipped at her drink, wondering, how many more would be coming to the dreary little inn.


    Fight for the lost
    Zahar Severan didn't so much walk into Falkreath as prowled. A khajiit his size shouldn't have been able to do anything but draw eyes to him wherever he went, but he seemed to meld easily between the shadows of the dreary afternoon light as if it was as normal as breathing to him. The khajiit's nose was tilted towards the sky, twitching from time to time, much like a bloodhound. Except, if anyone would've been foolish enough to compare him to a mangy dog, he would have boxed their ears so hard, their ears would be ringing for the rest of the day.

    The hunter closed his eyes, parting his lips slightly to better savour the bouquet of scents that assailed him. Pine trees, wet earth, sweat, cooking food...His amber orbs, and tilted his head slightly, angular ears twitching. The tramp of armoured boots, quiet conversation, and the wind through pines filtered to him. With a soft purr that sounded more like a growl, he headed to the local inn, the Dead Man's Drink.

    Inside, the place was hosting several regulars, and three who stood out like sore thumbs. Two elves, one the ashy skin of the dunmer, a human, and an argonian. Clearly his kind of folk. He sauntered to the bar, his glaive resting against his shoulder, and tapped a claw against the long counter. "Ale." He growled to the timid-looking innkeep, "and meat. Cooked is preferred, but khajiit can do raw." He stared down the elf and human...nord? With an amber stare. "Well met. You are here to join the hunt, yes?"


    Sorceress Supreme!
    Emmanuelle clucked her tongue as she observed the grey, shadowy town of Falkreath. To her eyes, it seemed a pall of fear had settled over the town. She rested her hand on the raven-shaped pommel of her longsword, as she stood well back from the gate. A quartet of guardsmen stared back at her, a mix of caution and curiousity. Her mask, she knew, was a large part of that curiousity, and possibly a small part of the caution. Being unable to see the face of an individual unnerved many, even if the one behind the mask had noble intent.

    "Mercenary, are ye?" Grunted one man, in the blue tunic of a Stormcloak.

    "Of a sort,"
    she replied, not willing to divulge much information to the man. Perhaps unjustly, she presumed he would be less than cordial if he learned she was not from Skyrim. Though there was always the chance he would guess as much by her speech.

    "Hmmph. Not the first. Maybe not the last. Head to the Dead Man's Drink. Only bar in town. Can't miss it." He gave her some brief instructions, and sent her on her way.

    It took her less than a quarter hour to find the place, and as soon as she stepped inside, she confirmed that the tavern was indeed the place where the other mercenaries were meeting. Already, the group was situated throughout the room, a unique group consisting of a female argonian, a male khajiit and dunmer, an unusually adorned bosmer, and an individual of indeterminable gender. She approached the last of the people on her mental list, guessing by their gear they were local. "Good day. Would you know anything about our task, or are you as much in the dark as I?"


    Well-Known Member
    Marhaz peered at the rugged dunmer over the rim of her tankard. He certainly seemed like he knew what he was doing, though from what she'd heard, bounty hunters hunted people, and she wasn't so sure what they were hunting was a person. From the descriptions she'd heard of massacres it sounded like some wild animal had torn apart the victims. But another body that knew how to wield a blade was nothing to turn one's nose up at. "Marhaz. Not a bounty hunter. At least, not full time. The jarl called, so I'm here. The way I see it, whatever beasty lurks these would is worth quite a pretty coin."

    Raise Me A Riot

    New Member
    If there was one thing the Stray could discern from these hunters, it was that they weren't from here, or in the least familiar with the legends, for nobody would have greeted them expecting spoken reciprocation if any word passed about the wolf with no bark.

    The crisis on this side on this side of Skyrim must be more entertaining than the rumor that never ages, they thought with some amusement, though there was no indication of their mind in their expression when they tilted it towards the woodkin's rhetorical greeting. They passed their acknowledgement in a nod meaningless but polite in manner, and would have left it at that if it weren't for the tall stature of smoky fur that came into view soon after. For a moment, they had a wistful look, remembering the greylands of their origin. Their brow was swift to harden after listening to his blunt tongue, however, giving his tapping claw a bitter glance before reining their stare back to their own hands, leaving the elf to answer him. You have a voice, yet it would hurt you so much as to say 'please' to those who serve you?, they judged quietly while self-consciously burying the points of their own nails into the coinbag.

    They were being unfair, they realized as their quiet scowl eased. They were only seeing the cover of a book, afterall, but there was something in their chest gnawing at them, demanding they size up the fellow hunter. Bowing their head, they fought internally to put muzzle on it, anything to keep it at bay — they were rather thankful when a third voice addressed them. The slight muffle on it beckoned their stare to the odd mask and the cloth beneath it concealing any facial features. They observed her for a good moment between the fangs of their wolf, slowly tilting their head as if it would satisfy their wonder any further.

    They offered an owlish blink, resolving to gracelessly shrug in response—

    "Ah, that one doesn't talk."

    The interruption from the barkeep was their saving grace, and though they looked rather petulant at the comment, they couldn't help the twitch of a smile that recognized a friend. "Which, didn't we agree you would knock the counter for service? I'm not too busy you know — don't give me that look! You're no less important than those Cloaks" — she gestured with a grain of annoyance at the blues in the crowd behind them — "wasting the little space we have. Your usual, right?" They huffed with a playful indignation, but bowed their head in confirmation, smile stretching just enough to reveal the snaggle in it. The bartender hummed, and without missing a beat, turned a curious eye to the raven's beak. She took a weary breath, as if reality just came crashing back into her. "...Look, as far as anyone's concerned, that's why Dengeir has summoned you hunters here. Nobody knows the threat, we just know that there is one, and we need capable folk like you and Prey here to figure that out and put a stop to it. I'm sorry that there isn't much information beyond that", she lamented, wiping at the rim of glass in her hand for the sixth time since she started the explanation. With sympathy in her sigh, she offered, "Is there anything I can do for your stomach while you're here?"


    Sorceress Supreme!
    To her mild surprise, it was the barkeep, a harried looking woman, that answered, rather than the figure adorned in the wolf's head and furs. Emmanuelle turned her masked face to her, listening as the two went back and forth. Or rather, the woman spoke, and the figure responded with a slight smile, or the faintest of gestures. It took her no time at all to discern that the Stormcloaks who were drinking or lounging inside the bar not as welcome as they made themselves out to be.

    The barkeep continued on to explain that no one quite knew the nature of the threat. That matched up with what everyone she'd spoken to thus far. Which was irritating, but not unexpected. To the curious figure the barkeep named as 'Prey', she inclined her head. "My apologies. I didn't realize." To the barkeep's question, she nodded once, "I'll have stew, if possible, and water." She plucked the appropriate amount of septims from her coinpurse, and slid them across the counter towards the woman. Once the food and water arrived, she lowered the black cloth that covered the bottom half of her mouth, and began to eat, while keeping an eye on the others, particularly the towering khajiit and dunmer male.


    Brielle eyes the huge khajiit and masked woman warily. It seemed every kind of bounty hunter and sword for hire had decided to come to this dreary little corner of Skyrim. The khajiit bluntly ordered a meal, then turned to her. "I am," she confirmed, "But I'd feel better if I knew what we were hunting. Or who." The summons had not mentioned what exactly was behind the murders. But she supposed that's why they were there.


    Well-Known Member
    The tavern had settled into a wary silence, with off-duty stormcloaks, resentful townsfolk, and the mixed bag of 'hunters' all eyeing one another, trying to figure out each others angles. 'Probably the tensest inn I've been to in a while' Marhaz thought to herself. She was beginning to wonder how, exactly, they were going to work together if they couldn't properly strike up a conversation. She couldn't blame any one individual. After all, she wasn't exactly eager to spout her life's story to the nearest stranger either. 'So long as we can work together to take care of this problem the nords are having and get paid, I don't care if we carry out the job without so much as a grunt.'

    She was wondering whether or not to order another ale when the door flew open, a young man, imperial, by his appearance, standing in the door way. "It- it's happened again!" He shouted, "just outside the wall!" He looks from his fellow townsfolk, to the stormcloaks, to the assembled mercenaries. The townsfolk are in an uproar, shouting about gathering arms, or about the uselessness of the stormcloak garrison. The stormcloaks defend themselves with shouts of them being soldiers, not hunters, and more than a few glances were thrown towards Marhaz and the others.

    The argonian stood, hand on the hilt of her weapon. "Show me!" She shouted to the man with the news. "If you lot want to get paid, I suggest you follow along!" The boy barely waited for her to reach the door, instead hurrying along the streets with a familiarity born of years of living there. The sky was clear, with both moons full and hanging above them, like a pair of mis-matched eyes. The young imperial lead her through the gate, and turned sharply left, where a circle of guards a pair of blue-uniformed stormcloaks among them, gathered.

    The body in question was a young man, probably a year or two older than her guide. Blood soaked the ground around the unfortunate man. His abdomen had been torn apart, organs shredded. A dagger was clenched in the dead man's fist, for all the good it had done him. Marhaz circled the corpse, looking for signs of a struggle, or at least prints heading away from the corpse. "He was killed here?" She asked.

    "Seems like it," one of the guards says. The stormcloaks in the group fix her with stony gazes.

    "Then where'd the killer go? People don't just vanish after brutally murdering someone." She pointed out.

    "Look," one stormcloak speaks up, "you lot were brought in to solve this, not stand around asking questions.So get solving."