by tooth & claw dragons

where darkness and chaos reign...
Welcome to the land of dragons and elves; demons and death. Here, you may weave tales of all creatures, great and small - magic is found in everything, and many worlds one can explore are open for discovery. By Tooth And Claw Dragons, often shortened to BTACD, is an original high fantasy role-play site with over eighty species and ten solid worlds, fifteen years strong. Freedom of creativity is boundless within the established lore, and member suggestions are not only accepted, but encouraged. We release new content monthly, and are always expanding our wondrous Realms. Come and play with magic, honor the great gods, and beware the balance that governs all...
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 Life's Purpose, JPG and Fyfer
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PLAYERS INVOLVED: JPG, Fyfergrund

SETTING: Kerguelan, Kajikuu Forest

WEATHER: Partly Cloudy, Mild

TIME: Current

CHARACTERS INVOLVED: Chimeara (JPG) Jaghal, Tirrao (Fyfer)
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Jaghal could've traveled under his own power if he'd wanted to, but he was content to let Tirrao do the heavy lifting. He wouldn't ever admit it, but she was the stronger flyer of the two. The two were currently above the Howling Stones, heading south towards the forest, and he frowned as he leaned forward and gazed down at the hazy ground far beneath them. The noise form the stones had assailed them ever since they'd passed above it, and neither of them were keen on remaining above it for any longer than they had to.

|If you fall off, I'm not going down there after you.|

"Some comrade in arms you are, you great winged lizard!" he retorted, smirking slightly as the wyvern snarled softly. Typical Tirrao. And typical him, he had to admit. After all, he'd raised her, so he had only himself to blame, if he actually felt like there was anything blameworthy, for her behavior.

|Lizard, is it? If we were on the ground, I'd sit on you, you runt of an ogre.|

Now it was his turn to snarl softly. He felt a soft, rumbling laugh ripple through her body, even through the saddle he was seated on, and leaned forward to punch her thick, scaly shoulder. Not that it did much good. She wouldn't feel much of anything. "Ah, shut up and keep your eyes open! We're almost beyond that cursed pile of rocks."

Sure enough, they left the Howling Stones behind, and passed over the edge of Kajikuu Forest, on the lookout for any smallish bands of bandits, Faction scouts or spies, or potential recruits. He didn't expect there'd be many recruits to be found here. Fierce as some of the xeriin might be in their own defense, most weren't keen on fighting if they didn't have to.

|Something was here recently.|

He almost lost his balance when she abruptly swooped down towards a rather tight clearing, grasping wildly for the harness to keep from falling off her back. When she did land, the rough impact jarred him, and sent him tumbling over her head to land flat on his back. Once he got his breath back, he glowered up at the wyvern as she gazed down at him, smirking.

"You did that on purpose."
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Near the edge of the clearing, there was...what LOOKED like a bear. However, the body was horribly emaciated as it lay flat out on its stomach - as if something had sucked it dry. It pathetically rumbled as it saw the tumbling orc and rough-landing dragon, barely having enough strength to lift up its head. Its torso was bleeding from several small holes in the side of the bear's body, and it was clear the bear would not live for very long whether the orc decided to help it or not.

Meanwhile the treetop rustled as something hastily withdrew into it, apparently startled by the landing of the dragon and orc. A few drops of blood dripped from the branches. The sound of short, stifled breaths could be heard faintly from the location.

If there was a battle, it may have been a close one.

If either dragon or orc had a strong enough sense of smell or other strong senses, they would note the creature was clearly foreign and of no recorded specie they were familiar with. Or rather, it was a combination of smells - some familiar - put together in an odd, foreign fashion.

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Tirrao lowered her head so Jaghal could grab ahold of one of her horns, then hoisted the orc to his feet with practiced ease. Then, the two gazed briefly at the clearly dying bear, slumped at the edge of the clearing. Jaghal drew his sword and strode purposefully towards the animal, intent on putting it out of its misery, while Tirrao raised her head and scanned her surroundings.

As the treetops rustled, her attention was immediately drawn to the noise, and the scent of fresh blood. She barely paid the sound of blade striking flesh any mind as she stalked towards the tree, and sniffed. Curious, she stretched her nose upwards, roughly thrashing her head side to side to clear away some branches.

Below her, Jaghal turned away from the bear's carcass, and gazed upward. Whatever was in the tree, it wasn't very big. Slender as the branches in the tree were, they wouldn't likely hold a creature near his size. He circled around the tree, growling softly as some dislodged foliage rained down on him.

"Whoever you are up there, whatever you are, if you don't start anything, then we won't hurt you!" he called up to the hidden creature. He sheathed his sword and stood beside Tirrao, slugging the wyvern solidly on the leg to get her attention. "Hey, get down from there! Give some space!" With a grunt, the wyvern obeyed, taking two paces backward and folding her wings as she crouched on her haunches, eyes fixed on the treetops.
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Tirrao caught a glimpse of the creature - it wasn't that big, whatever it was - about the size of a slightly large monkey. Given the amount of foliage, the details were fuzzy, but she would have caught a glimpse of a tentacle of all things.

A moment of awkward silence. The breeze rustled through the branches. Then a little rustling from the branches...and ever so slowly, something descended. Slowly, locks of white, scraggly hair...then a pale-skinned boy slowly came into view, his pupilless eyes attempting to peer just over the foliage. Or underneath, given that he was descending upside down.

He...it? simply stared at Jaghal for a moment - the boy was clearly tensed up, as if prepared for Jaghal to go back on his words. However, the boy did not make a move either - content to watch for Jaghal's movements.

After a tense moment, he would lower himself more. "Your landing startled me," he stated. The boy's tone was flat, nigh-monotone, almost entirely devoid of inflection. It let go of the branch above, landing on his feet quite deftly, almost catlike in grace, before the orc-dragon and wyvern - his right human arm covering his abdomen, barely covering the notably sized claw marks, still fresh and bleeding.

His left arm was that of a set of tentacles, a sickly green in color. His tail was that of a monkey, lethargically dragging across the ground - assumedly, this was what he utilized to hang from the branches. A set of cat-like ears and whiskers adorned his face. And on his upper arms and upper thighs were some shiny scaly-like bits dotting his flesh - looking suspiciously like some of the mushrooms that was known to grow in the area.

"If not to harm, why did you wish for me to reveal myself to you? Are you a scavenger?" He eyed the sword, fresh with bear blood. "If so, the creature's meat is yours to take - I already have had my share." The tentacle writhed, as if to punctuate the statement.

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Dragon and orc were both mildly perplexed by the strange creature that dropped out of the tree. They shared a quick glance, then looked back at the odd-looking boy, and his bizarre mass of tentacles that sprouted where a left arm should be. Had he been alone, and the odd creature been larger, Jaghal suspected he'd have been wary about it.

But, with the boy being, well, a boy, albeit a strange one, and with Tirrao's massive bulk behind him, he felt there was little to fear. After all, the bear had left the boy bleeding, and if he could bleed, he could be killed if it came down to it. As the boy spoke, he gazed down at his sword, then knelt to wipe it clean on the grass before sheathing it.

"To see if you were a reasoning creature, or a mere beast," he explained evenly. "After all, not just anybody can take down a bear by themselves." As he spoke, Tirrao glanced at the bear carcass, then back at the boy before settling herself on her haunches.

"Do you drink blood?" she asked, tilting her head to the side slightly as she gazed at him in curiosity. Given how it looked, the bear seemed...drained, somehow. Not exactly a tempting meal to her.
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The creature tilted its head at the reasoning behind their inquiry. "Between the two, I am better classified as a reasoning creature." Really, there was nothing "mere" about him - there was nothing like him, after all.

The creature eyed Tirrao, tracking its gaze as she stared at the bear. "It...was a specimen I had been looking at for some time. I underestimated how quick it could be in combat."

He quieted, before realizing that answer might raise more questions than it would answer, and continued. "I absorb bodily fluids, yes. It's...complicated. In any case, I think absorbed enough to heal the wound." He observed the dragon and orc, pondering telling them. Would he think that he was a monster? They seemed...calm enough.

"...It is a substance called essence. It, essentially, acts as a language written into life and existence. Each creature has a unique essence. Birds of the air have an essence which is different from the mushrooms of this forest. I absorb this essence, read it, and grow from it..." His monkey tail twitched, as if on cue, as did his feline ears and whiskers. That would explain the mixture of scents.

"What brings you to this forest? Are you travelers, passing through?"

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Orc and wyvern both dismissed the bear's remains as the odd creature spoke. But, as Chimera spoke, Jaghal and Tirrao both could do no more than offer him blank stares, and occasionally glance at one another. They understood perfectly well when he described how he fed on bodily fluids, but when he started talking about 'essence', the two of them were a bit lost. At least, until he mentioned absorbing stuff.

"Oh, I get it. You take part of them, and make it part of you!" the orc declared, nodding in sudden understanding. He nodded slightly in thought. "Sounds useful. As for us, you could call us travelers, yeah. We're out looking for people who might be fit to join our Order."

He pulled a pendant out from beneath his cloak, and gazed down at it, while the engraved face of Leartes gazed back with three eyes on one side of his face, while the other three eyes remained shut. "Maybe you won't be interested, but the order doesn't dis...dis...doesn't care about what you look like. Or how you feed. Might give you something worthwhile to do with your life, if you don't have something already."
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Chimaera nodded as the orc seemed to understand what he meant. As he started to clarify, he started to wrap his wound with some nearby materials from the foliage the best he could in an attempt to stop the bleeding. "It is all I know - absorbing essence and adding to myself. It is useful for survival, but I am not sure what purpose my survival serves."

He listened to Jaghal explain the purpose of their travels, and his face contorted in consideration. "...something worthwhile." Chimaera repeated the words slowly, as if tasting them, and then stepped forward, closer, now standing only a few feet of distance away from the wyvern and orc. "Something worthwhile to do with my life...I have been looking for some purpose for my existence, yes. What is the purpose of your Order?"

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As the strange creature, Chimaera, spoke, Jaghal nodded slightly in understanding. In some ways, he was reminded of himself. "I know what ya mean. There was a time I fought only for the sake of fighting, for the thrill of violence, and of victory."

He leaned back, briefly glancing at Tirrao as she lowered her head to rest atop her crossed wing joints, then gazed back at Chimaera. "Now, I still get to enjoy the thrill of the fight, and of triumph, but I fight, we fight, the entire Order fights for the sake of those who can't fight for themselves. Our Grandmaster could explain it better than I could, but there are a lot of bandits and raiders in the Realms, and those who would cause a lot of troubles for innocent people if left alone."

"We hunt them, find them, and kill them," Tirrao cut in, succinctly outlining the Order's usual function. Jaghal nodded in agreement. "That we do. You see, most of us in the Order are creatures who get a thrill out of violence and killing, or more like you, creatures who...need to feed in ways that are...oh, you know what I mean. You need to kill to survive. If you join us, you can kill to not just survive, but to kill for a higher cause. And have comrades who will accept you for who and what you are."
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"Existence without purpose is the peak of futile meaninglessness." He muttered, as if lecturing himself. The boy's tentacled limbs and tail had slowed as he processed these novel ideas. "I find no triumph or thrill in fighting, so I cannot sympathize in that regard. However..." His tentacles snapped out, as if. "I do believe I am well suited for combat. As you said - we kill to survive. ...and from what I have observed in the cities...some, for whatever reason, do not. They cannot or refuse to - it is hard to tell which sometimes."

"I..." He hesitated, before composing himself, straightening his back and standing as tall as his child-like form could "I want to...at least try to fight for something. Something that will bring a second dimension to my existence. Something beyond survival."

The young child like abomination's lips turned slightly upward. "...Comrade. Synonym for friend, right?" His thoughts turned to another who had taught him similar. "That does not sound like a bad side-benefit...what do I do to join?" He steps closer to the orc, now a single stride away, looking up at the tall, well built green-skin titan.

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Jaghal chuckled softly, then gestured towards what was left of the bear. "If you can do that to a full-grown, healthy bear, I'd wager my right arm you'd do right well for yourself in a fight. And if you're not used to real fighting, then we'll help you learn," he stated. "People in cities, some of them anyways, are soft from easy living. Or, some of them may be hardened folks who live in small, out of the way places, but are too few in number to defend themselves. That's where we come in."

"Yeah, you could say a comrade is like a friend, but there's something more. A comrade will stand and fight beside you, maybe even die if it means guarding your back. Now, if you really want to be one of us, you'll have to meet our Grandmaster, and swear to serve Leartes," he explained. "It might sound like he'll be asking a lot of you, but it's all really simple, beneath it all. Oh, and me and Tirrao here will vouch for you, if you're sure you want to be one of us."
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Chimaera nodded to the orc. "I am not sure what precisely you refer to as 'real fighting' - but I do wish to learn how precisely I can be useful." His monkey tail raised up behind him, swaying back and forth as he considered Jaghal's offer more and more.

"Leartes. God of War and Peace. A fighting patron deity for such a group. It will be my honor to utillize my abilities to preserve peace among my...comrades. I appreciate your confidence in my membership. I look forward to meeting your Grandmaster as a potential candidate." He offers a smile. "I believe it is customary to offer a hand to shake." He offered his right, non-tentacle hand to shake.

He paused, hesitating. While the young boy's gaze did nto waver, the pause itself stood out awkwardly enough. "Will...this help me integrate into the cities? With the other people? I have longed to study why people band the way they do...it vexes me, but a curiosity burns deep within me to understand."

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Jaghal pointed to the bear's carcass. "Killing something in a hunt is one thing. Killing something that wants to kill you just to kill you, not just to defend itself, is something else. That's the sorta fighting I mean," he explained. Then, as Chimaera spoke, a pleased smile crossed the orc hybrid's face. The smile wavered a bit when the smaller creature offered his hand, and Jaghal hesitated a bit before shrugging and gripping Chimaera's hand with his own much larger one, taking care not to grip too hard.

"Well, most of don't spend much time in cities. Violence and aggression comes easy to a lot of us, makes folks uncomfortable for us to be close by, so we tend to keep ourselves away from large groups of people. But some of us do enter cities every so often to keep track of what's happening in the Realms, and to buy what we can't get, hunt, or grow for ourselves. You could be one of them," he explained, rising to his feet.

"Well, now that you've made up your mind, let's be on our way. Care for a ride, or do you prefer to walk?"
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"An interesting differentiation. I look forward to learning the differences between these two modes of combat." The boy-like creature was surprisingly sturdy in spite of its boy like appearance - leanly muscled, although still lightly framed given his size.

The creature simply nodded to affirm the explanation of those that would enter the cities. "I...somewhat understand. They have seen me the same way - with such discomfort and anxiety. However...I look forward to becoming such a liaision. Hopefully, I will not cause too much trouble in this regard.

"And as far as our method of transportation...I lack the ability to keep up with Tirrao. It would take me a day to grow a wings...and I do not believe I have ones to match a wyvern's speed." The flesh golem would walk to the wyvern slowly, and stared at it for a moment with those same pupilless irises.

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