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Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

[F13-SP] Rotten flesh apocalypse

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It was yet another foggy, dour morning in Angel's Point.  Freyd had his feet up on the rickety wooden chair opposite to his own, an array of menus and inventories open and under review.  The coffee in Quaestor's quaint little shop hadn't improved much since he'd made it part of his morning routine.  

"Anything new and exciting this mornin'?"  the portly proprietor asked as he wandered over to offer a refill.  It smelled reasonably good, at least, and cut through the wasting stench of the ever-present fog.

"Freyd not," was his standard and expected reply.  Both men chuckled softly.  Banter was a rarity around here, and an invaluable commodity to waive off the malaise that permeated the rest of the settlement.  Angel's Point was supposedly one of the few surviving safe zones in a world that had essentially been overrun by some kind of zombie plague.  Only a few hundred NPCs were actually in town, but the intent was to make the place look like a reasonably large urban centre.  Much of it was little more than rebuilt or adapted ruins that provided only minimal shelter.  Grey limestone, slick with moisture from the fog combined with rotten and mold-covered timbers from the surrounding forest to give it a consistent texture and smell.  Factor in the superstitious overtone of the thirteenth floor, and a drought of available quests, and it made an especially unappealing location.  Much of the content still appeared to be in draft form, or had since been cleared in some permanent manner during a prior event.  No one came here, anymore, without a very clear purpose or intent.  It was precisely what had attracted Freyd to it in the first place.  That, and some suspicious activity from some of the local NPCs.

Both men waved to Zack Orphir, a prominent local priest making his regular rounds through the settlement.  Freyd's UI confirmed the time - noon.  Three different priests made the same circuit.  They were always on schedule, every six hours, every day like clockwork.  He couldn't tell why there was no midnight shift.  Someday, he meant to determine the significance of their ritual and their unusual destination.  They emerged from a disproportionately large masonry chapel in the centre of town, with immense stain glass windows and heavy gothic buttresses.  It reminded him of an exaggerated Notre Dame, in Paris, though he'd never been fortunate enough to see it in person.  A friend had directed him to an online virtual tour, once, which had been impressive in and of itself.

Quaestor was also a player.  He'd been on the front lines once, but the loss of too many friends had taken a toll.  He'd settled here as part of some sort of penance.  Freyd didn't ask.  It was clear that the wounds were deep and still raw.  Their self-imposed exiles had provided them with common ground upon which to build.  @Kiluia Seiko could probably teach him a few things.  That guy's got ambition.  I'll have to introduce them sometime.  Maybe he could rekindle something in Q.

"I actually had a couple of other player customers this morning," Quaestor added.  "They looked green - way too green."  Freyd could see how ferociously the man was cleaning the mug in his hands.  He was worried.  Carefully and deliberately placing his cup on the table in a manner that cause it to clink, Freyd dropped his booted feet to the ground and looked Quaestor in the eyes.  

"Spit is out, man.  What's on your mind?"  Persi's shadowy head poked up from a third chair, concealed behind the table.  The noise had also attracted her attention and disturbed her morning nap.  

"They were heading for Valehaven," Quaestor replied, his voice cracking as he named the ruined town.  He knew it as an infested nightmare.  Freyd had passed along its outskirts a few weeks back while training Persi.  

"That's an elite area," Freyd replied, finality overriding his tone.  His rotund friend just nodded, sadness creeping across his face.  "Ah, crap."  He had to try, for Q's sake.  Freyd darted from his chair, grabbing the jacket he'd left draped over the back and throwing it over his shoulders as he ran.  There might still be time to reach them.

 

Spoiler

Name: Freyd
Level: 26
HP: 520/520
EN: 52/52

Stats:
Damage: 17 (14 + 3)
Mitigation: 56 (41 +15)
Evasion: 1
Accuracy: 4 (3 +1)
KEEN:1
HLY:2
BLD:12
Thorns: 10
LD: +3 (+6 on Loot rolls)
CD: +2 on loot rolls

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Forgiven Disobedience (T1-2HSS, ACC 1, HOLY 1, BLD 1)
Armor: Skirmisher's Garb (T2-LA, MIT 2, EVA 1)
Misc: Assassin's Cowl (T2-Trinket, ACC 2, KEEN 1)

Skills:
2H Straight Sword [Rank 5]
Light Armor [Rank 1]

Extra Skills:
Disguise
Familiar Mastery: Fighter 3
Survival

Mods:

None

Battle Ready Inventory:

Starter Healing Potion (50 hp)*3
Teleport Crystals*2
T2 Blank Dungeon maps *4

Housing Buffs:
Rested: -1 energy cost for the first two expenditures of each combat
Clean: The first time you would suffer DoT damage in a thread, reduce damage taken from DoT each turn by 20% (rounded down)
Hard Working: +2 EXP per crafting attempt and +1 crafting attempt per day
Filling: Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 T1 slot.
Item Stash: +1 Battle Ready Inventory Slot
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Col Stash: +5% bonus col from monster kills and treasure chests
Multipurpose: Gain +1 to LD, Stealth Rating, Stealth Detection, or Prosperity to one post in a thread. Can be applied after a roll


 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Three hundred feet from the gate was as far as they managed to get before the hordes of diseased flesh-things started closing on them.  

"Did those kids even make it out the door?!"  Freyd was too busy fending off dozens of appendages to conduct an effective search.  A swarm of the nasty things had jumped him as soon as he got near, and more were closing.  All he could see was a whirling mass of teeth, hands, and claws.  Were those painted pink?

A whirling strike from Forgiven Disobedience pushed them back, clearing space enough for him to breathe.  Three separate arms lay writhing on the ground, still desperate to grasp something.  Limb from limb?  How ironic.   The throng slowly regrouped and began to advance again within moments.  Freyd and Persi were still going to have to fight their way out.  Just then, a large crow cawed as it passed overhead, its raspy call sounding like an ominous battle cry for the dead.

Spoiler

image.png.955e6abc4584c8b350132031ae00f8c0.png

Freyd | HP:475/520 (-22 -23) | EN:35/52 (-17) | DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 -> rested

Zombie #1:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #2:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #3:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #4:HP 260/260 | DMG: 78

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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A sizable portion of the crowd went down with the next swing, torn apart by Forgiven Disobedience's blazing holy blade.  It was a gloriously messy affair, as body bits rained down upon the battlefield amidst the glorious chant of the sword's angelic choir.  It always rang out whenever the blade's magnificent smites struck true.

Freyd wasn't really paying attention.  His focus was entirely on carving through the throng and making it to those two newbies before they got themselves killed.  Who goes this far up in Aincrad without being better prepared?  You did, stupid.  He recalled his first foray on floor six, still in his virgin gear and completely out of his depths.  Thank goodness @Yuki had come across him and showed him how things worked out here.  He'd have likely ended up no better than this zombie rain if she hadn't.  Only one of the undead remained.  He needed a clear path at his back and intended to clear it promptly.

Spoiler

image.png.51903f87515422ba8b28703b3b0742bb.png

Freyd | HP:475/520 | EN:16/52 (-19) | DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 -> rested, used Disguise (recharge in 3), trig keen 1

Zombie #1:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #2:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #3:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #4:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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One brain-splattering swipe later, and the path was clear.  If it wasn't so quick and easy to pick up he might have left the loot behind.  Who was he kidding?  Freyd's could never pass up loot, but it didn't hurt that it took no time at all to collect.

The woods grew dense quickly from that point on, even though the land rose through a series of uneven hills.  Valehaven was on the far side of this rise, not far from the crossroads at the apex.  The ruined remains of an overrun checkpoint littered the strategic position, and could be made defensible, but not alone.  If the two players he was after had made it that far, they might be hiding there.

Running as fast as they could, he and Persi ascended the slope.  It was littered with more undead, but there wasn't time to find a more circuitous route.

Damn.  More of them ahead.

 

Spoiler

image.png.02ee024d15bb2caa7bf67e3a5cbbffe0.png

Freyd | HP:475/520 | EN:16/52 | DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 -> Disguise (recharges in 2), trig keen 1

Zombie #4:HP 56/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

image.png.ae63e9ec1812a9989b13b0858785af1f.png

Loot (+6 to LD, +2 to CD)

Zombie #1: LD12, CD 10

2,457 col ([3*hp] base + 2*[2*hp] from even CD & LD + [2*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
1x T2 Rare Armor/Shield

Zombie #2: LD 15, CD 11

1,365 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd CD & LD)
1x T2 Rare Armor/Shield

Zombie #3: LD 16, CD 14

2,184 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even CD & LD + [3*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
1x T2 Rare Trinket

Zombie #4: LD 21, CD 4

1,365 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even CD) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd LD)
1x T2 Perfect Weapon
1x T2 Perfect Armor/Shield
 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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A clever detour through a fog-laden copse of trees avoided the worst of the diseased presence.  Freyd was beginning to think that his quarry had taken the same approach.  Whoever these two players were, they were either extremely lucky or better skilled than Quaestor has credited them.  The 'old' man's instincts were pretty good, though.  Maybe it was a mixture of both.  Dumb luck could get you far if Fortune favoured you.  

Dodging a few stray walkers, he and Persi snuck up to the woodland edge nearest the crossroads.  There were plenty more diseased walking around, but no sign of any players.  Tracking was a specialized skill in the game.  Without it, the range of available options was quite limited.  The muddy ground offered plenty of tracks, but that was the problem.  With all the zombies shuffling around, there was no way for him to tell whose was whose.  He'd just have to keep going.

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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"Finding them in this god-forsaken mist if going to be damn near impossible."  Humanoid shapes hovered just beyond the edge of his sight.  Most turned out to be bits of debris: stray fence posts, moss-covered statues too worn to make out any details, or even the odd moldy scarecrow.  A few turned out to be zombies, but they seemed to react more to sound and smell and could be avoided, if you were careful.  They had to be near the crossroads by now, but the fog had thickened to the point where it was too difficult to be sure.

Finally, he spotted the familiar, ruined barricades of the checkpoint.  Wagons, luggage, horse carcasses, hay bales and everything else that could be made to serve had been incorporated into the jury rigged defenses of this position.  Some of the more flammable bits looked to have been problematic and had left breaches in the fortifications in the wake of their combustion.  It all looked like it would have happened long ago, just as it did the last time Freyd was here.

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"BAD MOVE!  BAD MOVE!"

Squatters, of the undead variety, had taken up residence in the checkpoint.  It wasn't a safe zone after all.  Thinking through his last visit here, Freyd scolded himself for failing to recall that particularly important detail.  Forgiven Disobedience unleashed of choral song as he sliced the first creeper to pieces, understanding for the first time how much of a liability that feature could be when he wanted to keep a low profile.  More zomb-kins crowded in, volunteering their limbs to the meat grinder. 

"Fine by me," Freyd scolded.  "It'll make this go a lot faster."

The group was considerably worse for wear within moments.  One was missing its left arm below the elbow and busy gnawing on its own stump.  Another was crawling at him, as aggressively as it could must, having left both of its legs behind.  The last had literally lost its head, but hadn't been using it anyway.

Spoiler

image.png.ecf3ccad297d70cd6523451e9fb7d172.png

Freyd | HP:476/520 (-22 -22) | EN:33/52 (-19)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 -> rested, trig Keen 1

Zombie #5:HP 0/260 (-252 -12 bleed) | DMG: 78
Zombie #6:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #7:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #8:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Armless-dude got a pommel to the head followed by a gut-slice that spilled out most of the inner contents, ending him in spectacular fashion.  Headless-dude got a vertical shot, cutting him in half from top to bottom.  Amazingly, it was legless-dude who stole the show, managing to trip Freyd up with his arms just as he was swinging around to finish him off. Tumbling backwards, he soon found the angry torso breathing a very unkind odour into his face and had to force Forgiven Disobedience to intercede in its attempts to french kiss him.  Gross.

A hard shove sent the vicious corpse flying into the hay bales like a bowling ball, scattering them around like pins.

"Damn.  Didn't get them all.  Need to try again for the spare."  Wiping a few bits of scent-infused, semi-liquid zombie flesh from his clothes, Freyd advanced to finish the job.  "These kids are going to pay for my laundry bill..."

Spoiler

image.png.df0ec0bfcc1719c40d40dbc6a4337f1e.png

Freyd | HP:476/520 | EN:22/52 (-11)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 -> rested, spent Keen 1

Zombie #5:HP 0/260 (-252 -12 bleed) | DMG: 78
Zombie #6:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #7:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

Zombie #8:HP 54/260 | DMG: 78
 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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This one was either REALLY tenacious, or just unbelievably fortunate.  Freyd's swings were tearing apart entire sections of the barricade as the pursued the bloody thing, rampaging across the entire area in the process.  It just... wouldn't... die!  He tried tipping the busted wagon on it, and it somehow dodged.  It scampered behind the stacked crates, crawling adeptly on only its hands like some bizarre sort of insect or demonically possessed thing from a horror movie.  Freyd smashed them to smithereens, but it was already gone.

"Stand still, you stupid semi-sack of flesh!"  The thing was easy enough to follow.  It was leaving a massive trail of blood and innards as it scrambled about the site.  He just couldn't get ahead of it.  Persi, who had been skulking around in the background this entire time, finally leapt out behind it and cornered it against a section of stone wall.  The twisted monstrosity snapped and thrashed about, trying to keep them both at bay.

Spoiler

image.png.ed0f4c831a8ce64035e732f80d8bdce7.png

Freyd | HP:476/520 | EN:21/52 (-2 +1)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 

Zombie #5:HP 0/260 (-252 -12 bleed) | DMG: 78
Zombie #6:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #7:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

Zombie #8:HP 54/260 | DMG: 78

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Freyd cut the supporting brace next to him, and the entire wall collapsed downward, crushing the thing into a messy paste.  He was glad not to have any more of it smeared all over his clothes, for a change.  A quick scan of the surrounding area didn't find much of interest - probably because he'd destroyed everything chasing after that last zombie.  Stupid.

At least it offered a good vantage point.  Valehaven could partially be seen, but most of the town was behind an outcrop of forest where the road took a turn.  Like everything else on this floor, it was also wreathed in the ever-present fog and haze.  Something did catch his attention, though, part way down the path.  It was an injured walker, but its wounds appeared to be relatively recent.

"They must have come through here, fought it and withdrawn."  They must have realized what they were up against.  He hoped they had, and that they were still alive.

Spoiler

image.png.ce30034068d361f3f7e9813048e32e13.png

Freyd | HP:476/520 | EN:21/52 (-2 +1)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12 

Zombie #5:HP 0/260 (-252 -12 bleed) | DMG: 78
Zombie #6:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78
Zombie #7:HP 54/260 (-204) | DMG: 78

Zombie #8:HP 54/260 | DMG: 78

Loot roll IDs: 156588, 156590, 156592, 156593 (+6 LD buff, +2 CD buff)

Zombie #5: LD 25, CD 5

2,730 col ([3*hp] base +[7*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
4x T2 materials (odd CD & LD)
3x T3 Perfect Weapons

Zombie #6: LD 22, CD 12

3,276 col ([3*hp] base + 2*[2*hp] from even CD & LD + [5*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
1x T2 Perfect Trinket

Zombie #7: LD 8, CD 9

1,638 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even LD + [1*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd CD)
1x T2 Rare Trinket

Zombie #8: LD 19, CD 9

1,911 col ([3*hp] base + [4*hp] from loot roll) +5% from Col Stash
4x T2 materials (odd CD & LD)
1x T2 Perfect Weapon
 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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The zombie trail actually had two more tags.  Freyd found the additional marked mobs farther along the path leading to Valehaven.  The players he was chasing must have been using an aggro-and-distract tactic, allowing them to withdraw and leapfrog past their enemies.  It was fairly ingenious, though subject to considerable risk.  He and Persi skirted the wood's edge, making their way cautiously down the hill towards their destination.  Freyd didn't relish the idea of having to enter the town itself.  As much as his skills had improved, braving an entire settlement full of elite mobs while solo wasn't exactly smart.

Not much choice, is there?  Despite the risk, he was impressed that these two strays had made it this far.  They were either insane or supremely determined.  Freyd started to think, more and more, that it might be the latter.  Getting through the gate itself might be a problem.  It was crawling with diseased.

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Freyd worked his way down as close as he could to the main gates without being seen.  A light flickered into existence a short distance from the barricades blocking the main archway.  Its brilliance instantly drew the attention of the horde, which started shambling towards it.  Freyd spotted at least one small creature sneaking over the barrier on the far side.  A distraction.  Very nice.

He had to act quickly if he wanted to take advantage of it as well, or else have to fight his way through and lose his elusive quarries.  At least they are alive, though maybe not for long in there.

Dashing across the clearing, Freyd managed to reach the failed barrier - an assortment of crates and carts stacked before the gates as an additional redoubt.  Judging by the state of the doors themselves, and the town beyond, it hadn't been nearly enough.

'Up and over,' he thought.  It wasn't going to be that simple.

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Four zombies were concealed behind the improvised bastion.  They hadn't seen the light and had remained, inconveniently blocking Freyd's path.  A deliberate slide down the inner face of the defensive berm provided momentum, which sped up and reinforced his attacks.  He was practically skiing past them, jabbing, stabbing and hacking at each as he went by - until the last one.  It managed to turn and reached out to bear hug him as he approached.  No more stinky hugs!

Arching backwards, he threw off his balance and fell prone, but succeeded in sliding between the things' legs.  Using a nearby break in the cobblestone paving, he planted his right foot in and braced himself to rise back to his feet.  It was enough to place him back on solid footing and ready to take on his enemies, most of which were still too stunned to realize what had just happened.  He had to deal with this quickly, before the rest returned and the two kids ran too deeply into the town proper.

Spoiler

image.png.3b02a636eeb3260edba4be4e0e2a8973.png

image.png.4336276ecf2cdf54851fc00f796f3eb3.png

Freyd | HP:520/520 | EN:39/52 (-13)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12  -> rested

Zombie #9:HP 42/260 | DMG: 78 -> stunned
Zombie #10:HP 124/260 | DMG: 78 -> stunned
Zombie #11:HP 100/260 | DMG: 78 -> stunned
Zombie #12:HP 260/260 | DMG: 78

 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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The nearest undead exploded in a burst of holy light as Forgiven Disobedience ripped it to pieces.  Freyd pushed forward, but slipped on the loose area of cobblestone that had just stopped his slide.  It messed up his follow-through.  Over-committing on the swing cause it to go high, nipping the scraggly bits of hair on top of the next two undead creatures' heads.  Both of them paused, rolling their eyes upward feeling to see what had swatted them, then angrily resumed their snarling, clawing and biting.

"Awww... come on!  Dammit!"  Freyd wheeled at the last minute and chopped in half with another holy smite.  Two down, and two left to go.  A quick glance down the main street beyond the gate revealed no sign of the two kids.  He certainly wasn't hiding his presence anymore.  The virtual barrage of holy light erupting around him had blown any chance at subtlety.  It looked like he was finishing this the old-fashioned way.

Spoiler

image.png.7c83ed69ca06563f6fc0a03cb5a6fe00.png

Freyd | HP:472/520  (-24) | EN:24/52 (-15)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12  -> rested

Zombie #9:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78
Zombie #10:HP 124/260 | DMG: 78
Zombie #11:HP 100/260 | DMG: 78 
Zombie #12:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Freyd took the first zombie apart with a series of precise cuts and slices, carving off each limb until the entire creature burst into a brilliant cloud of light.  It companion fared no better, suffering a combination of stabs through its torso, the last piercing its heart.

"Now, where did those two go?"  The rest of the horde had caught sight of the light show from his sword.  He couldn't remain here unless he was prepared to risk getting overrun.  Picking a random direction, Freyd leapt onto a series of barrels and up onto the roof of an adjacent building.  The sloped roof had partially collapsed and the cedar shakes were slick with wet moss.  At least it would dampen his footsteps, so long as he didn't fall.  

Making his way into town as quietly and discreetly as he could, Freyd made use of the higher ruins to scan his surroundings, searching for clues of signs of the two wayward players.

Spoiler

image.png.b8f86454cb9c57685bfec8efb27e689e.png

Freyd | HP:472/520 | EN:12/52 (-12)| DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12  

Zombie #9:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78
Zombie #10:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78
Zombie #11:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78 

Zombie #12:HP 0/260 | DMG: 78

image.png.c7ab787d5aff47ad96fa0d329a2d3bc3.png

Loot: (+6 LD buff, +2 CD buff)

Zombie #9: LD 23, CD 6

1,365 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even CD) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd LD)
1x T2 Perfect Armor/Shield
2x T2 Perfect Weapon

Zombie #10: LD 11, CD 8

1,365 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even CD) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd LD)
1x T2 Rare Weapon
1x T2 Uncommon Consumable

Zombie #11: LD 23, CD 7

819 col ([3*hp] base) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd CD & LD)
1x T2 Perfect Armor/Shield
2x T2 Perfect Weapon

Zombie #12: LD 12, CD 3

1,365 col ([3*hp] base + [2*hp] from even LD) +5% from Col Stash
2x T2 materials (odd CD)
1x T2 Rare Trinket
 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Moving silent and stealthy in a low crouch along the rooftops, Freyd caught a break and spotted two dark figures rushing along an alley below him.  He couldn't afford to risk losing them again and jumped down, landing noisily behind them.  Both of them whirled, weapons bared.  The one on the left was a young woman with long blonde hair kept tight to her back in two thick, long braids.  She had wary hazel eyes that pierced the dim light of the alley, her shield and spear raised protectively as she moved to cover her companion.  The other was a teen boy of slight build an elongated face and exaggerated, pointy ears.  Fear was apparent in his eyes.

Freyd stood, slowly, raising both arms to show that he carried no weapons.  It hadn't been practical to carry as he scrambled on the rotting roofs.   

"You here for a kill, PKer?!"  snapped the woman.

Freyd pointed to the air above his head, where he imagined his player icon must be.  It was green.  "I'm no PKer.   Quaestor is a friend of mine.  He mentioned you were coming out here, and was worried about you.  I offered to keep an eye out for him."  

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"What the heck is a Qwaystar?!"  snapped the woman.  She had a thick, squat build and mother-bear quality about her, making sure that she kept between Freyd and her ward.

"Quaestor, Quip," replied her younger companion.  "He was the owner of the restaurant where we had breakfast this morning, seemed like a nice man."  The kid was a smooth talker, but his nerves were clearly frayed.  Whatever they were doing here, they had encountered far more than they anticipated or could handle.  He placed a hand on the girl's shoulder, easing her posture and apparent aggression.  She looked back at him just long enough to exchange glances and complete an unspoken conversation.

"Send me a group invite.  You two are in way over your heads in this place.  What possessed you to come out here anyway?"

"None of yer--"

"There's an item that can bring my sister back to life."  The boy extended Freyd his party invite.

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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Freyd paused as he considered how to shatter their dreams without breaking their spirits at the same time.

"Look, I'm sorry if you lost someone, but wandering into this town on your own is suicide.  I need to get you out of here before you get yourselves killed as well."  He sympathized, but this was hardly the place or time for an extended conversation.  Powerful undead stalked these streets in packs, and he was no tank.  Protecting these two could be a problem, if they were discovered.

"We don't need his--" started the woman.

"Yes, we do."  The boy's shoulders slumped, admitting that they had bitten off too big a challenge.  "I'm Dingo," he added.  "This is my older sister, Quip.  Our sister was killed when we took on a frost golem on floor four.  We hadn't expected it to be as tough as it was.  An info broker told us the temple at the centre of Valehaven hid a potion that could restore the dead, but that we had to get here within three days."

"Freyd," was his only reply, pointing to himself with a jerk of his thumb.  Their pain was still fresh.  "This is still a bad idea.  If it were truly possible to find an item to restore the dead here, these ruins would have people parked around them constantly.  Someone took your money and sent you to die."

Quip locked eyes with her brother.  "I have to know for sure."   Her tone was pleading.  Dingo nodded his agreement, his lips quivering.

"Awww hell.. DOWN!"

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Leaping over both of their heads, Freyd's hands blazed brilliant white as Forgiven Disobedience was summoned to hand and set upon slicing and dicing the group of zombies that had suddenly appeared at the end of the alley.  Their conversation had attracted attention, which was exactly what he had hoped to avoid.  Nothing to do now but finish them off swiftly.  One slipped by him but got a swift shield smash to the face for its trouble, Quip moving to her kin defence without hesitation.  Dingo had pulled a small, unimpressive bone dagger, and looked too scared to be able to use it.

Freyd's fluid series of pummel strikes and cut tendons had bought them just enough time to recover.  

"Finish them," he hissed through clenched teeth.  "Quickly!  We head for the temple as soon as they go down."  Dangling a carrot never hurt, especially when trying to motivate people to save their own lives, or yours.

Spoiler

image.png.bc98a726a4d108cb05ddd28b53f98937.png

Freyd | HP:520/520 | EN:39/52 (-13) | DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12  -> rested

Zombie #13:HP 124/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 -> Stunned
Zombie #14:HP 260/260 | DMG: 78 
Zombie #15:HP 124/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 -> Stunned
Zombie #16:HP 124/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 -> Stunned

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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The moment Freyd gave himself over to the idea of defending these strangers, he became a veritable whirlwind of destruction.  His blade pulsed and blazed white as he cut his enemy without hesitation or remorse.  It felt just and right.  A quick pommel strike to the back of the head of the one facing Quip and Dingo was enough to stagger it while he finished off the others.  Emboldened, she stabbed it with her spear while her brother plunged his dagger into its thigh.  It opened its mouth so roar, only to have everything above the jaw smashed to pieces by Quip's shield.

"Nicely done," said Freyd, continuing to encourage them.  "How close is this place?"

"Just across the square, but we'll have to be quick.  Our opening was supposed to be just after this patrol passed."

"Be ready.  The moment this last one drops, I want you to run for it.  I'll be right behind you."

Both of them nodded their agreement.

Spoiler

image.png.557a4b7caaf99985407e6a13defb060c.png

Freyd | HP:520/520 | EN:24/52 (-15) | DMG:17 | MIT:56 | EVA:1 | ACC:4 | KEEN:1 | HLY:2 | BLD:12  -> rested, trig Keen 1

Zombie #13:HP 0/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 
Zombie #14:HP 124/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 -> Stunned
Zombie #15:HP 0/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 
Zombie #16:HP 0/260 (-136) | DMG: 78 

 

Edited by Freyd - The Whisper in Shadows

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