OOC - The Dark Woods

Spear in his hand like a staff, and his knapsack slung loosely, Vargane walked through the eerie forest, starlight poking through gaps between the leaves. The farrhlands were near, where he was told to go by a long gone friend to keep him safe. The crimes he committed in the city follow him fiercely, still wanted by the town guards, bounties posted between hamlets. Already he was a target. He even came across a mercenary today, talking to a pair of loggers about him, a lizardfolk man, with greenish blue scales and a missing eye. Too noticable in public, so that's why he stuck to the less travelled paths, and ended up in this shithole of a forest. Nothing living but the vile trees, even a rat would be disgusted. But Vadgane knows the path must be travelled.

Suddenly, he felt a tightness around his ankle, and tripped forwards. Looking back at his foot, he saw a purplish brown root slithering away from his leg and back to the ground. He heard a ruffle of feathers, followed by a thump next to him, and as he got up, he realized what the noise was. A dead raven was pinned to the tree, its body pierced by a vine that was growing from the tree. Red blood seeped from the bird, but was slowly absorbed into the bark. Vargane stepped back, barely feeling the swipe of the branches behind him. Eyes wide, he raised his spear and jabbed it in different directions, fearful of forest. What sort of darkness poisons these lands?

A voice called out, gruff and tired, beckoning Vargane to wait. As he turned around, he noticed an elf in leather armor, armed with a bow and an elven short-sword. Behind him, was a bulky dwarf, carrying a warhammer with complex engravings, and wearing heavier dwarven armor. Vargane was cautious, but let the men approach, hands raised.

"Are you Vargane?" The elf asked blatantly, clearly exhausted from his travels.

"Yes I am," answered Vargane in a reptilian voice.

"I'm here for your arrest then my friend."

Mercenaries, it made sense. He could have tried to run, but elves were a master of the bow. One step and he would be dead. Worst possibility, a few years behind bars, free food, no need to steal to feed himself, and maybe even a breakout from wherever he would be held. Besides, he needed someone to watch his back in these nightmarish woods

"I will comply, but these woods, theres something sinister here."

"We've noticed too, right Gombir?" The elf replied, while nodding towards the dwarf.

"A whole load of shit, had to dodge a swinging log at one point." He added.

"Well then, I saw we best stay armed, you never know what sort..." Began Vargane, but quickly silenced himself as he heard a faint chanting.

"What's that?" Whispered the elf nervously.

"I haven't a clue," muttered the dwarf.

Coming from a hidden path in the forest, the noise grew more noticeable. Volgathi raised his spear, and strode forwards silently.

"What are you doing?!?! You'll get yourself killed," growled the dwarf.

"It makes sense. We should find out what's going on, and let the nearest town know," coaxed the elf.

"Fine..."

The elf and the dwarf followed Vargane into the dark woods, weapons raised, eyes darting around. As they walked, the stars above became dimmer and dimmer, making the walk much worse. A couple Vines had reached out, but none committed to an attack. Soon enough, as the chanting grew louder, they could see a red glow from beyond the trees. The elf jogged over, nearly clipping his head on a branch as he ran. Vargane and Gombir followed, swift and silent, even though the dwarf had metal armor. Both men knelt beside the elf, noticing his expression. Jaw dropped, total shock, fear in his eyes and the glow of red dancing across his face. Both Gombir and Vargane turned in the direction, and their face contorted into the same expression as the elf's.

A huge bonfire was built up in a clearing, covered in dead bodies. The smell of burning flesh soared into the air. The light made the whole area more visible, revealing the grim scene. Around the fire were a couple dozen nude men and women, painted in white chalk and coated in blood. Each one wore a mask, colored in blood, with branches and feathers jutting out. One even wore a pumpkin on her head, carved in random gashes and gaps that formed no distinct design. A wooden table was set up, where a nude man was cutting into a dead body and letting the blood pour into his hands, before drinking it heartily. A couple of nude people feasted on chunks of flesh, taking them out of a offering bowl like holiday candy, one even ripping into a dismembered arm that was sitting in the bowl. Everyone was singing in synchronization, chanting as the bathed themselves in blood. On a pedestal, standing before the fire, stood a man, raising his arms towards the fire, and throwing chunks of flesh into the flames. He led the people in their creepy chants, waving his arms in madness.

"Cultists..." whispered Gombir, sweat dripping from the side of his face.

"So many of them."

"There is something I need to know?" Whispered Vargane.

"What would that be?" Muttered the Elf.

"What are your names? Your name was Gimble right?" Asked Vargane, nodding to the dwarf.

"Gombir..." growled the dwarf.

"Yeah yeah, same thing," jabbed Vargane.

"And mine is Elofin. Why does it matter though?"

"Its always good to know who you will be dying alongside," replied Vargane with a chuckle.

Both of the mercenaries chuckled solemnly, the only lightness to this dark scene. Suddenly, a a flash of green spread across the fire, bathing the whole forest in a nightmarish color. As the flames rose and returned to their red hue, a fiery figure formed out of the fire. As if pure flames, the monstrosity launched itself at the pedestal, and ripped the chanting man apart, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake. He stood atop the pedestal, nearly four strides tall, arms raised in excitement. A mouth formed from where the head should be, and began to talk.

"The blood is delicious, but the hunt is still to come. I crave the world, and I shall bathe in its entrails. Your bane is here, your God Korgunza! And I am hungry! Hounds! Its dinnertime!" The figure monologued, waving his hand towards the worshippers.

As he stood high, shapes leapt from the fire. Hounds, with fiery backs, and blood red, glowing eyes. A few of the worshippers ran, but most stood in awe, basking in the glory of their god. The hounds kept pouring from the fire, tearing apart the cultists, and swallowing down their flesh and limbs. When the hounds bathed in the blood and all the cultists were dead, the voice spoke again.

"And there are more watching, you hide in the bushes, but soon your bodies will be scattered across them."

"Shit," whispered Elofin.

"Run!" Cried Gombir, jumping to his feet.

The trio ran full tilt from their spot and back the way they came. As they ran harder, they could still hear the voice.

"Hounds! Feast upon them!"

The three of them ran together, even the dwarf was able to keep up. Wearing all that heavy armor had little impact to the dwarven strength. A pair of hounds closed in behind, red eyes staring down their prey. Swiftly, Elofin twirled around and launched an arrow at the hounds, piercing one in the eye and causing it to writhe in agony. The second one turned around and stood by the side of its fellow hound. As Elofin turned back around, he ran face first into a low branch. He was knocked back, taking Gombir down with him. Vargane skidded to a halt. This was his chance to escape, but he couldn't bring himself to leave these men behind. He quickly ran towards Gombir, who knelt on the ground, cradling his comrade. The second hound ran forwards, mouth wide open, ready to pounce. Before it could attack, Vargane's spear slammed into its chest, and sent it tumbling. He quickly stamped on the hound, unsheathed the spear from the body, and jabbed again and again, until the hound ceased moving. He quickly ran back to Gombir, who was helping Elofin lay down, as he was waking up from unconciousness.

"I think he's concussed."

A third hound launched out from the darkness, tackling Gombir. With all his strength, the dwarf wrestled the hound, gripped his hands on the jaw and the head of it, and broke the jaw clean off. He quickly dropped a knee into the jaw-less hounds head, killing it instantly.

"What's your name?" Whispered Vargane, drawing Elofins attention

"Uh... El... Elofin? Yes Elofin!" He replied.

"Shit... Gombir, we need to carry him."

Quickly hearing this, Gombir ran over, lifted Elofin over his shoulder, and stormed forth like a raging bull. Vargane followed, turning around occasionally to fight off a hound or two. The howls continued, echoing into the night.

"There is nowhere to run!" The voice called. "My hounds will feast upon thee!"

Vargane and Gombir still ran, undeterred. A few branches swatted at them, and a few hounds tried to attack, but they managed to keep ahead. Into the night they ran, away from the monstrosity, and from what felt like hell itself. But it was as if escape was impossible. All the could do is run away, and run is what they did. Something sinister followed, ready the slaughter everything in its path.

I f#cking hate the Dark Forest...

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