[MON PLOT] Chapter 1: Alteron
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Almost Sparkles
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#1





MONSTERS OF THE NIGHT
Chapter One
Morbus



It seemed to originate from the north.

From the war-torn remains of Alteron’s northern territory, a stench emerges. It is foul, reminiscent of the previous fresh corpses that had rotted there. It isnt long before the smell creeps throughout the entirety of the forest, particularly terrible near any body of water. Though all origins point to the charred battlefield of a war that can not be forgotten.

(Is it disease, perhaps? Have the wolves of Oukoku-Kai returned to torment this old empire further?)

Prey seems harder to come by, and carrion crows seem to have flocked to the packlands, cawing loudly throughout the days. Those investigating will find a silver-coloured substance splattered on the trees, minimal at first.

But those going north will find a large pooling of the blood in the centre of the battlefield.

A trail of it seems to travel south-east...





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Connor he/him
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#2
(This post was last modified: December 08, 2018, 10:34:31 AM by Connor.)

[Image: GQztaYT.png]

Alteron's Page made his way slowly along the northern border. Forcing himself to keep a slow and even pace Connor's eyes took in the mess that was slowly becoming of their border. He ignored the urge to chew at his front legs as he managed to find a small area of unchanged land to survey what exactly was going on.

Usually Connor is perfectly happy to keep to his exact route when patrolling the border. But recently the paths he carefully carved out through the dense rain forest were starting to become much harder to travel. The earth it's self seemed to be weakening. It turned to thick, sticky mud with no warning and had once simply given way beneath the Page's paws. After struggling his way back to solid ground Connor had watched more of his paths crumble while grooming worriedly at his front legs. Sinkholes were not unheard of. But they usually followed heavy rainfall, or a change in a river's flow. As far as the dark wolf knew no such thing had happened.

Clay usually had a deep earthy smell, but this...it almost smelled like rot. Plants left to fester in damp conditions until there was nothing but green goop left. It did not seem healthy at the least. Already dead insects were starting to accumulate on the oily surface - one or two unlucky birds seemed to have become stuck as well. The fact that none of these bodies had been scavenged yet was very out of the ordinary. Maybe other creatures felt the same distaste for the smell as he did. 

Connor's ears flicked away a buzzing mosquito. Still, such a place could be a breeding ground for disease. It wasn't a Page's place to decide what was healthy and what was not. Lifting his muzzle Connor let out a deep howl, calling for either an Acolyte or someone further up the pack than himself.

In layman's terms...this place gave him the creeps. He would feel better if someone else could put his mind at ease.


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Orcrist He/Him
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#3






[Image: orctitle_by_lunecy-dboiega.png]
The howl sent shivers down his spine. He had already been on edge, finding splotches of deep ebony splattered across the land. They smelled horrible, far beyond any smell of decaying flesh he had come across. It made his stomach churn, and this was something new to him. A man with an iron belly had flipped into a queasy mess by the time he heard the call of attention. Stepping around a puddle of ooze, Orcrist quickly made his way to the borders, careful not to run or step into anything.

Connor was alone, Orcrist had been the one to find him first. As expected, there was more of it to be had. "Y'rang?" he huffed, unwilling to really disect this scene further. He had to though, as Chariot of Alteron, he had to.

His head turned, listening to any other movement. He wondered if anyone else would show up, chest clenching tighter at the thought of Telana. She didn't belong here, not this time. This feeling he had, slithering its way around his skin... it was bad. Orcrist was seldom scared of anything, but this? Flashing thoughts of Telana and Cuff worried him.

They didn't belong here, not here.

"Ah, this shit again. Been seein' it around. It stinks to high hell." Orcrist finally pushed against the stench and peered closer to the gullible insects and birds. It reminded him of tar.

"Somethin' is lurkin', I ain't sure what, but whatever it is, it ain't good." Nothing good could come from a substance as black as night and smelled worse than carrion on a hot summer day in the middle of a bog. Just the thought of that made him want to hurl. "Did... you step in it or somethin'?" he asked, noticing Connor had something on his leg. "Aww hell, boy. Go wash up."

Don't need you stinking up the place too.

✦ ✦ Speech Text ✦ ✦
[Image: wolf_skull_by_nayuki910-d5dlzpz.gif]





And they shall say
unto the elders of his city,
This our son is stubborn and rebellious,
he will not obey our voice;
he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
Deuteronomy 21:20

[Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pd.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pm.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pj.png]

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Set he
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#4




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[Image: way_of_life_by_traumlaterne-db0mhch.png]
#d17d00

He heard it, the howl, large ears perking forward and he moved as if he had some real reason to be there. Coming upon two others and he'd lower his gaze respectfully, meekly. That smell, that god awful smell. Reddish gold eyes glanced about, spying the silvery fluid that speckled the trees like sap.

Nostrils flared as his ears twitched to the Chariot's words. "W-w-what is t-this s-stuff?" He struggled to get his words out as he followed loosely behind them. "It smells of r-r-rot and d-d-d-decay." A shiver ran up his spine and his stomach twisted nervously, painfully.

The small jackal mix stared ahead mystified by the trail and what creature could have possibly left it, though the smell, that god awful smell. His mind drifted to corpses, fields and fields of bloated corpses fit to burst. Crows pecking at their eyes, or ripping at whatever bits of flesh or mushy organs they could get their beaks on, he thought of maggots and flies, he thought of pools of congealed blood that caked together with the mud and dirt. "Whatever it is, I d-don't like it. Could be... c-c-c-could b-b-b-be dangerous."





It's a very dangerous thing to do exactly what you want
Because you cannot know yourself or what you'd really do
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Connor he/him
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#5

[Image: GQztaYT.png]

"It smells of r-r-rot and d-d-d-decay.""Ah, this shit again. Been seein' it around. It stinks to high hell. Somethin' is lurkin', I ain't sure what, but whatever it is, it ain't good."

If there was something Connor did not enjoy, it was not knowing something. Here he didn't even have enough data to make a helpful assumption. There were no signs as to what this rot could be, and nothing Connor had filed away from old experiences even came close. There had been no flooding - no removal of vegetation that could cause the ground to give way - it didn't make sense. Everything had to make sense. The world was predictable, if not always logical. Every mystery ever told ended up being not magic at all. The idea of something lurking that had caused this made it sound like it was a creature.

There had to be another explanation.

Choosing to ignore the stench and the need to chew at his legs until the filth was gone Connor pushed himself further toward the liquid. Tar-like to be sure, but lacking the deep brown/black colouring. This was more of a deep red. He prodded the surface carefully with the tip of a paw. Sticky. Foul. But nothing larger than a songbird had been captured yet. Dragging a small amount onto the dry land provided no more answers, it simply stayed a horrible red smear across the mud. Turning and nosing his way through the nearby brush the small wolf quickly returned with an almost straight stick. Dragging something almost longer than himself without so much as a glance at the other two he lowered it into the ooze, hoping to gain some idea of the depth.

...it sunk away beneath the surface without so much as a single bloop of air.

Sitting back with the tiniest of frowns on his face Connor addressed the Chariot.

"I am aware it is not...technically the jobs of Pages to investigate such things, but as this seems so much more prevalent along the border I would ask for permission to try and find a cause. It could be increasingly dangerous if this caused the collapse of our bridge. Worse still if it started driving off prey." He began, still keeping his eyes fixated on the buzzing mosquitoes to see if they could safely land on the substance. The quick ones seemed to touch down just fine, but any that stayed longer than a moment were stuck fast.

"Whatever it is, I d-don't like it. Could be... c-c-c-could b-b-b-be dangerous."

Connor's eyes flicked quickly to the golden canine. He had only seen it once before, and from what he understood Set had no rank as of yet. "Perhaps Set could aide me in finding the source. It would be better for all of us to know exactly what's happening before it becomes a larger problem."


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Franziska she/her
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#6

It had been awful noisy lately. Birds flapped away in panic, crows and other scavengers were suddenly in a frenzy. It was impossible to get a nap in, and poor Franze hadn't eaten in a looong time. Her laziness had gotten the better of her, and she grew tired of searching for anything with a pulse waiting for her to choke them out. At this point, she just wanted to be unconscious to escape the terrible hunger pains. But she couldn't even do that if she wanted to. There was too much NOISE.

The sound of dirt squelching and earth pounding could be heard over the murder's calls, along with the infrequent snaps and roars. Something had to be the cause of all this. Sure, she grew accustomed to the aura of death around these parts, but that was more common deeper in Alteron's lands. Being a Page had placed her closer to the outer layer of the wood, constantly observing the bridge and borders, and only abandoning her assignment should she ever grow hungry or sleepy. Which she wouldn't admit is... often. But that didn't make today any less irritating than it was without food, and somewhere comfortable to sleep that didn't have obnoxious fucking birds, and reek like HELL.

Franzi burst through a cluster of shrubs, her tail and chin held high as she realized a group had formed. She was so blind in her aggravation that she hadn't noticed any call to attention, but it must be somewhat related to her dilemma by the looks on their faces. Her eyes fell first on Connor, and she instantly loosened the tensity in her muscles. Then to Set, whose cowardice and innocent stammering almost a little less angry. She regarded the other man last, and soon detected how strong the odor had become and the grayish sludge that spattered the ground. Slowly following the trail with her eyes, she looked up to see that it was leading away from the borders and outside Alteron. Or was it vice versa? Her brow furrowed, teeth baring. Whatever thing that did this was either stealing or chasing away prey from their mouths. Were they just going to sit around and let them?

Narrowed eyes turned to Connor, a growl rumbling deep in her throat. Parts of her believed that Connor was impartial to her, but a majority of her thought he'd potentially get used to her following him around and poking fun during their patrols. After all, it wasn't as if they'd never bump into each other. "You see this?! This is bullshit. Alteron is poisoned. This place is nastier and more toxic than normal, and I know that's saying something. Shit like this does not happen overnight." Franzi turned to face the other she didn't recognize, and nodded towards him. "I assume we're all here for the same reason. Did you see anything?" she asked, tongue lapping around her dry lips. She wanted to find the culprit, and fast. The sooner she could destroy it, the sooner she could go back to doing absolutely nothing.


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Orcrist He/Him
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#7






[Image: orctitle_by_lunecy-dboiega.png]
The approaching of feet alerted Orcrist immediately and he turned to face whoever it was. A small dog-like individual laced with gold upon his pale coat. Long ears suggested he may have some hellion in him, but the Chariot did nothing except grunt. They were trembling, sputtering broken words even if they were coherent enough to understand. Set had a point and Orcrist had to agree. Whatever this... rot was, it wasn't good and was probably a new type of poison. The forest they lived in was rotting, it was old and decayed, so it was possible this shit seeped out of something. Still, they all felt something was absolutely wrong about this.

And, of course, the Page who was directed to wash the gunk off his feet, ignored the Chariot and instead investigated with his own terms. A click, like that of a hammer being drawn back to set the bullet in the barrel, sounded in his mind. A twinge of annoyance flared in his breast and Orcrist watched with a sharp eye.

The request was what pulled the trigger, and in an instant, the bulk of Orcrist's body flew through the air faster than what most would expect him to be capable of. His agility did not quite place itself in the way you'd think, but nevertheless, the Chariot sprang. Franziska may have been in the middle of it as she approached, but no matter. Orcrist sought to grab Connor by the neck roughly, just behind the ear and pull him down. He didn't care if part of the Page got stuck in the tar. Lips pulled back to ivory teeth glistening, inches from Connor's face if he had indeed been bullied to the ground. A guttural noise roared from his chest as hot breath seethed between fangs.

"It is not the place of a Page to do anything but what I tell them to. If you cannot follow my orders, then what makes you think I'd let you investigate this? I don't know what this shit is, it's possibly dangerous, so go wash your fucking feet before I throw you into the moat." A few moments of silence was hung before the Chariot decided to step from Connor and calm himself like adjusting a tie. Sighing, he would glance to Franziska with squinted eyes. "Nothin' until now." he offered, before walking a few feet away from the group to lift his head and call for the Hierophant. As much as he didn't want her here because of safety reasons, a figurehead had to be alerted.

✦ ✦ Speech Text ✦ ✦
[Image: wolf_skull_by_nayuki910-d5dlzpz.gif]





And they shall say
unto the elders of his city,
This our son is stubborn and rebellious,
he will not obey our voice;
he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
Deuteronomy 21:20

[Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pd.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pm.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pj.png]

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Telana she
Salamander
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#8




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#e34234

Set recoiled at the sudden volunteering, eyeing the page with a fearful gaze that clearly said 'oh god, please not me!!' like just the mentioning of his name was enough to give the pale jackal mix a heart attack. He was so close to shaking his head 'no' when the Chariot charged forward. Much too quick for someone his size and Set nearly shrieked as he flinched behind Franziska. A familiar form he could take just a bit of comfort in.

Paws covering his head and legs shivering and shaking as he blubbered under his breath for protection. It's at this moment the Chariot calls out, and Set hugged himself tighter to the ground.

The ginger female approached, stepping carefully through the fog coated ground, expression blank besides the raise of her brow as she spied the four gathered together. Keen amber gaze bounced from one to the other until it finally came to rest on the large form of the Chariot. "What on earth the do you want?" She said with a tired sigh, rolling her shoulders and wincing as pain gave way rather than satisfaction. "And what is that god awful smell?"

She moved closer then, stopping just a ways away from the muck, the odor getting stronger as she came closer, it was surprising that her lip didn't curl at it. "Something dead?" She turned her head to look sideways at Orc as if to get his confirmation on whatever this was. A black tarry like substance and she'd immediately think of the pits back in the Valley, however they never stunk. Not like this in the very least.

"Well isn't this troubling." The woman deadpanned, backing away, obviously disgusted by this strange substance. "Whatever caused this is still hear no doubt, perhaps it's dying and needs help being dispatched " She spied the pale male peering from behind the bulky form of Franzi, it was a wonder how he still was alive, but creatures like him always had their ways. "It might be smart to send the swords to investigate, though I'd be willing to take any sort of volunteers." She spied Connor, though was ultimately oblivious to what had transpired before her arrival. "Obviously air on the side of caution and don't touch that, usually when things smell awful then they're not good for you."






Nobody knows everything
We know this to be true
Everything is difficult
Except what's in front of you
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#9

[Image: GQztaYT.png]

Seeing Franzi appear out of the brush was somewhat comforting. At least this wolf he knew would be brave enough to go looking for -

A huge body slammed against Connor's much smaller form. It was only years of stoicism that kept Connor from yelping aloud as he was pushed violently to the ground. An enemy? An attack while standing in the middle of a group of allies? That wasn't right, there was something he hadn't taken into account here. No one else had moved. No one else had seen an enemy...

Connor wheezed in surprise for a second before cutting himself off. Orcrist's teeth hovered breaths away from his face. A correction then, not an attack. And what had Connor had been trained to do when he couldn't - or wouldn't - fight back?

Go limp. Take in what the one correcting him was saying. Because this had been his fault. He hadn't taken something into consideration and now he was paying for it. Connor had ignored an order, the highest of trespasses in Alteron. In his haste to investigate something strange Connor had, for just a second, forgotten what had been hammered into him.

Once Orcrist allowed it Connor would rise slowly to his feet. It made sense that the Chariot would choose another to investigate when Connor had made such a stupid mistake. The appearance of Telana made him want to slither away and lick his wounds in private. But he had been ordered to wash and so that was his first priority. Turning toward the moat he began to move toward where he knew clean water gathered.


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Franziska she/her
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#10

Seemed she interrupted something pretty serious. Franzi's pissed off demeanor was unbroken, but her muscles were tense once again as she witnessed the other man lunge for Connor. She had to take one step back and crane her neck backwards as he zoomed past and locked his teeth into his scruff, Franzi's eyes widening as she watched. For a second, she was certain that he was aiming for her. Composure kept sturdy as steel, she appeared dumbfounded for a mere moment to glance at Set and press close to his flank to offer a split second of unexpected reassurance. Better you than I, I suppose.

But nothing? Not a sight, nor sound? Nothing but this awful odor, and this FUCKING OOZE? So, they knew just about as much as she did concerning this bizarre occurrence. It would be a waste of time to spend any longer trying to understand what had happened. Her thick paws itched to to turn and storm away, to follow any sort of trail. Yet she remained, keen eyes reflecting in the white-back male's stare. It was no wonder how easily he could have overpowered the obedient Page. A bit thick in some parts, but not in the head, she could tell he wasn't that type of man. Speculating his size, she entertained herself with the thought of challenging him to a wrestle some time (that is, if she wasn't dying to kill and eat something with a pulse and take a 3 day long nap). Who was he exactly? And what did poor ol' Set have to do with it? 

Her lips pursed as Telana entered the peculiar scene, her steady poise wavering slightly as she listened and their gazes met for a short, burning moment. Franzi wasn't even sure if she heard words, the world seeming much quieter now that she had miraculously shut the fuck up for a few minutes, but immediately snapped out of it as soon as she heard the Heirophant speak of a need for an investigation. She scoffed and stepped forward, the force of her movement nearly shoving Set to the side.

"SWORDS? With all due respects, Mausezähnchen... By the time they've dragged their asses here, I'll be wiping the floor with the fucker's skin. I don't need swords." She stood there, inches away from the sludge and Telana's face, seething and panting. It was getting harder to control her hunger, but even as someone as frisky as she, Franzi wasn't known for being the most polite around women. She just wanted to get this over with already. Whatever she had to do, she'd do it and she'd brag about it. Although her fatigue had done a number on her, she'd still ensure that everyone knew she'd done them a favor. And she sure as hell expected one in return if her services were called on.


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Orcrist He/Him
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#11






[Image: orctitle_by_lunecy-dboiega.png]
Connor gave no efforts into stopping or even talking as Orcrist pushed him down and lectured him. When all was said and done, the boy rose with caution, but by then the Chariot was awaiting the arrival of Telana. This time, the Page listened and proceeded to an area of the moat to wash his feet of this weird slime.

And ah, there she was, already sassing him the moment she stepped into the small crowd of idiots. "Something like it, probably. I don't know what it is." he said, accent still fallen from his mouth from Connor's little attitude change. Her immediate disgust was the same reaction as all of them, and for once he would be the one to push her. Orcrist moved to physically shield her from the gunk, it could be dangerous. Poisonous.

"I agree." he stated before Franziska chimed in. Olive eyes peered over at her, another one of his Pages and he felt that she didn't quite understand who she was talking to. Orcrist suddenly snapped at her, teeth clicking in warning with a growl. Such incompetence today, he would have to remind them who was boss. He didn't quite care that Telana was present, these were his subordinates.

He was warning her to back away from the blood.

"My Pages will help get to the bottom of this, and any un-ranked. It's about time they be put to work." Orcrist looked in Set's direction at this comment, but he would digress. "You." he ordered toward Franzi, "Take Connor and gather people. Anyone willing to help search about the territory for any more of these puddles. Do not fucking touch it. Report back to me if you find any more or if there's... something else wrong."

In the back of his mind, although the Swords would have been normally put to this task as it was their duty to protect Alteron, as a father he feared for Sarissa. And as far as he knew, there weren't many besides her. There wasn't even a Tower. So, Orcrist felt it necessary to take it into his own (wolf) hands.

✦ ✦ Speech Text ✦ ✦
[Image: wolf_skull_by_nayuki910-d5dlzpz.gif]





And they shall say
unto the elders of his city,
This our son is stubborn and rebellious,
he will not obey our voice;
he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
Deuteronomy 21:20

[Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pd.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pm.png] [Image: orcrist_by_lunecy-dboe7pj.png]

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