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Old March 14th, 2013 (09:02 PM). Edited March 16th, 2013 by SV.
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Varian Sigmund and Cassandra Alexander - Bandit Fort, Eveamoor



The group descended down the steps of the dark fort, creeping ever slowly into the dungeon. It was what you would expect from a place that had been supposedly abandoned for so long, forgotten by its owners years ago. The steps were creaky with stones crumbling beneath their feet as they passed over. Walls were eroded away by time as cobwebs, dust, and dirt littered the area, with not much signs of maintenance or restoration. The foundations itself appeared ready to sink into the ground at any moment, unable to withstand the weight on its old shoulders. Little light was able to peer throught the cracks, leading to Varian having to collect a torch at the beginning of their descent down, and lighting it aflame with the assistance of a big of magic from Xeye. Indeed, to the untrained eye, it would appear that no man had been down here in years. Fortunately, the Highman had managed to pick up a few tricks on tracking through his years. There were subtle hints of intrusion, a vacant holder along the wall where a torch would have been placed to light the path, a broken set of cobwebs, freshly made as something, or rather someone passed through and disturbed the design. Varian also managed to see a dead rat, the kill still fairly fresh. The rodent died by a stabbing wound, not likely the work of a bigger animal. It was to clean cut for that. He was certain the bandits were here now.

"Varian," Alys hissed under her breath, "the bandit back there, he had a pretty intensive quiver back there. Not something most bandits would have..."

At some point, the group reached a fork in the path, two separate direction they could go in search of the daughter. The left path took a much narrower road, but even through the bit of light emitted from the torch, he couldn't see beyond a few meters. The right path was a bit wider, but still fairly narrow as it would take the group deeper down into the ancient fort. They would likely have to travel in a single file on the left side, and possibly only as wide as two-by-two on the right path. In the long run, he thought these narrow paths would actually be beneficial, especially since they didn't quite have the advantages in numbers. Varian gripped his axes tigher in his hand as he pondered their next move, though it seemed pretty obvious. "Right. Cass, go take the left road. The rest of you lot, follow me down the right." His voice echoed ever so slightly, despite his best intention to keep a hushed voice.

"Oh yay! Sending me all alone~" Cass asked as she moved over to the left road. "You sure you okay with me having all the fun?" She cared not for the volume of her voice, secretly hoping it echoed through the hallow walls.

"Cass. Remember what we talked about. Don't go slaughtering all of them randomly. Try to get some information off of them first. Remember what we're here for. There's a lot of money at stake here."

Cass giggled. "You really think these guys are going to bother talking? You saw their equipment. I don't think we are dealing with your everyday group of bandits. Dare I say, they are 'professionals.' Hacking them into pieces is far more efficient."

"Ah, you caught that too..." Varian muttered in his characteristically stoic tone. "It could just be a few brigands who got lucky. We can't be certain of anything. Either way, try not to turn this into another bloodbath, alright?"

"Silly Varian~" Cass said nudging her old friend. "It is likely to get worse from here."

"Trained or not, we can handle thirty men. Watch yourself."

"Your face can handle thirty men," Cass said as she moved over to her path, stumbling a bit as she took a whisk from her flask. "I can handle a whole lot more. Whoa- there's a step there."

Varian shook his head as he watched his drunk friend stumbled down the left path. He looked back at the rest of the group. "Don't worry, she'll be fine," He reassured them, as he lifted up the torch in front of him to light their path down the stone steps of the right path. The path took them down a winding staircase of steps, before proceeding down a few dark corridors here and there. The site produced no combatants, nor any other significant sites. Varian felt his grip on his axes momentarily loosen as he felt the repetitive look of the begin to somewhat bore him. He was beginning to wish that something would happen. Anything.

His grip suddenly tightened again, and he focused himself once more as he heard something. It was faint at first, but after a while, he heard it more clearly. It was men, quite a few of them from the sound of it. Varian motioned to the others to follow behind him, but quietly. He moved closer to the sounds of the hearty men as their laughs echoed through the fort. The path took them down a few more steps, and through a hole-like passage. The sounds of the men grew with each passing step. They were getting closer, each step brought an ounce more of noise, until the level was high enough for Varian to deduce that the bandits were in the next room. A closed door was between them and their target. On the other side, Varian heard the sounds of laughter and yelling, the bandits likely partying in some way or another. It was the perfect moment to catch them with their pants down. They may not get a better chance at it, in fact. With numbers likely in their advantage, a shot at a preemptive attack was the best option.

He inhaled a deep breath, and then exhaled. "We take them out...quickly. Go in fast, and give them hell." He said to the others, looking at each of their faces to make sure they are in compliance. He walked over to the door, lifting each of his axes up to prepare for combat. He broke his foot through the door, knocking it off its hinges. The door flew forward, and made a loud thud onto the ground as it shattered on the ground. Varian rushed inside, axes raised and a scream prepared as he made his way into center the room. There was much more light inside this one provided by the number of torches hung on the walls, and as his eyes had to adjusted to the flood of light, he took in his surrounding for the first time in search of enemies. However, what he saw inside was not at all what he was expecting.

"Well...f*ck." He spat, taking in the astonishingly large amount of bandits. Larger than anything they were led to believe. There wasn't twenty, nor were there thirty. There seemed to be well over a hundred, and then some. Ever corner of the room had some bandit in it. Some were eating. Some were drinking. Others were simply socializing. But once the small band of mercenaries entered the room, they were all staring at them, a bit surprised by their sudden appearance. Varian was equally surprised, and the two groups shared a brief moment of shock as nothing was said or done. However, that quickly ended as a larger man stood up, encased in dull gray steel armor fresh from the forge. The metalwork was made by a veteran with few impurities in its compostion and craftsmenship. On his head was a steel helmet, with his dull brown eyes barely peered through. Engraved on the chest of his armor was a symbol, one that the people of Eveamoor (and the mercenaries too) know all too well. It was a sketch of a black safe with the letters "SS" etched in the heart of the safe. It was the emblem of the "Steel Safe" guild. A large, imposing weapon laid at his side: A hulking, silver circular mass of steel attached to a chain made of black iron. A ball and a chain.

"Looks like we've got a few uninvited guests, lads. Let's welcome them to the party."

In near unison, the 'bandits' rose, drawing their swords in one smooth motion. Clearly they were trained, disciplined, and organized. With seemingly no other options in front of him, Varian did the only thing he could, turning around and breaking into a sprint. "Fall back!" He yelled to the others, but it was too late. Varian shifted back and made a break for the door, but with the sound of rusty lever being pulled back, a small portcullis came crashing down, trapping the mercenaries in the room.
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