Arrow's Path

October 02, 2018:

(backdated) The continued Journey of Lara in the Deadside


NPCs: Donjo the Voodoo Guide



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The Barrens are everything as advertised. Humid, overly hot and an expanse of rocky spires that jut up across the landscape. One would think with it being so blasted hot the weather would be bright, sunny, no. It's grey, patched in hues of purple to smoke black an inky substance that hovers just above the spikes.

The reptilian/camel Lara has claimed as hers stumbles only occassionally, sure footed enough it's often forced to extend it's tail out to keep balance, dipping and letting out low groans when they rock or sway too much. It does not like it here.
Donjo seated behind her has been quiet, he said he was leaving here but hes remained. His hat perched on his head, air intakes as he dry puffs at that pipe in his lips. Both of his hands holding it as he has feet latched to the saddle. Those swords Magdalena had blessed for her, they gleam at times here, usually when the sky darkens or things in the crags, dark alcoves and shadows… stir.
"Dis no good." She has heard that said perhaps a thousand times now since they left the River Tribe's Lands.


Lara's backpack is on her shoulders and the swords rest on either sides of it. She guides the mount that they're riding on and occasionally offers it a petting stroke with a hand.

"Which part now?" Lara asks the monkey companion behind her. She'd heard him making little complaints here and there throughout this trip and she was curious as to why he'd stuck with her so long. "You'd said you weren't staying this far, yet you're still here. So it can't be 'that' bad, right?" Her eyes look right and left, following the sounds around them as they travel.


"Grunches… " Donjo whispers, "Dat why it so bad… and I regret many tings in my long life." The monkey chides, his lips wetting again as nervously chews on the end of that pipe.
The shadow remains here, unrelenting as Lara navigates the chuffing beast through the craigs, as it grows more weary it starts to stumble more, she can tell it is tiring and at this point shes no longer able to see the lush valley and river ways only endless horizon line of spires, towers, spikes and formations wreathed in a black living cloud, the snap popping of sounds around her in the dim and the unease of her bizarre companions.
"You jus' look for too much white in de black, den you gonna know fear.. "

Lara is noting the weariness of their mount and she draws in a breath and softly releases it. "I know fear." She replies to Donjo behind her. "Its an emotion like all others. The goal is to push it down and use it to fuel your focus to succeed over it." She tugs lightly on the reigns of the lizard mount and she moves off of the pathway. "We should let him rest, he's taken us a long way so far and he's getting weary."

Her eyes go up to the sky though and she has to shake her head. "I still don't fully understand my goals here, Donjo." She tells the monkey man then. "My friends came for me, but they came too far south to reach meor for me to reach themand now we're out here… heading north, northeast?" She waits for the monkey to dismount the beast before she'd do the same to let him get a moment of not carrying them around.


"Dis legit fear and has a valid reason behind it… " Donjo stresses as he hops off, legs feeling bandy but his spry form walks around in a quick circle to stretch them while he also starts to draw in to the earth with that pipe, making a design in a larger circle than he walked to unbend himself.

The mount teeters to the side once both are off and drops, lowering its head immediate over a gnarled rock near it's face, slobbering heavily and breathing louder.

"Northways, its the way for it. De ones who come through, they arrive by de gatekeeper ways. Bones, straight in to the places they didn't wanna. Eternal Battlegrounds… Maybe they dead, Mammy Snake coulda lied to you."

A chitter sound in the distance bounces in an echo off rocks…
"Crossroads, keep sayin' this. Only way out unless you wanna try tomake it do dem gates… "

Lara leads the mount over to where a good place to rest will be, she's admittedly not an expert on what it feeds on or needs to keep itself alive because she's never seen a creature LIKE It before but she takes it over to the edge where there's old brown groasses and some shrubbery that has a mixture of dead branches and some still alive in the center.

"So there's two options." Lara replies to Donjo as she lays their Mounts reigns over an old gnarly branch. "And they're both horrible." She takes her backpack off then and spends a second to take a drink from her water canteen before she offers it to Donjo. "And why would she lie to me about this?" She has to ask. "What benefit could that possibly serve her to draw us only to send us on our way with false information….." Lara trails her words off though. "Unless she's leading us into a trap." She sighs again and shakes her head.


"Just bout everything here is horrible." Donjo taps his hat and stops his scrawling. Satisfied or just done for now. Crouching in front of Lara he accepts the canteen drinking at it. The tribe had given her jerked meat and odd overly large insects to feed the beast of burden, it like a camel doesnt take much to keep sustained…

"Games, everyting here politics but usually, dey upfront. Maybe de best ones… if you lookin' for virtues." He turns his head and spits, thrusting the canteen back at her.

"It all games, souls and torment… we went over dis too. Maybe I gotta write it down for you." He sneers at her.

"Dem swords…. keep em close… "
"What your gut say bout trapn?"

The mount snorts, edging in closer to them, its eyes wider and looking off in to the dark but its not panicking just… afraid.

Lara is looking around at the various ambient noises about the area while she listens. "I'm sorry." She says softly Donjo while she sits down in front of their Mount and places her backpack in front of her. She digs out the food that was given to them for the beast and she offers it some in the palm of her right hand. "I haven't been myself since I came here. I never intended to be here like this, separated from the others. I wasn't meant to be this 'involved' in all of this. I was brought into this essentially as a consultant… This." She sighs and shakes her head.

"This is not the kind of 'adventure' that I normally embark upon. My life's goal is to seek answers based on the mysteries of my reality, of my planet, of my home." Lara reaches for more food for their Beastly Escort. "This is none of those things. I'm out of my element and I'm trying to learn a million things as they all come to me at once, in a chaotic… overload of information… sensory and otherwise. So I'm bound to repeat questions to you, Donjo… to get to hear the answer again and again."


"Dats exploin' right? New experiences, new frontiers… " Donjo flips the edge of the pipe at her, one eye squinting, scrunchng up his fur lined face.
"You feelin' bad for yourself again? Maybe dat the dread… you surviving so far. Which better den others but thing is, most the living folks who come from here… not supposed to be. It makes things different… " A wide grin appears. "Not always a bad ting but, maybe… "

There is a noise from the mount as its leg kicks and it sits up, letting out a sound thats have snarl have whine.
There perched on a rock the way it is facing a ghoulishly white thing crouches, bigger than Donjo but not quite as large as Lara in comparison, its features blurred in he dark, but eyes of beady yellow gleam and long fingers play on the rock its perched upon. Look close enough and it too… is grinning a sharp jagged grin.

"Grunch… " Donjo whispers low, "Where one… many more."

"Dread is a strong word." Lara replie as she glances to the monkey traveling companion and then she's pausing her continuation when she sees Donjo look up to follow their Mount's gaze. When Lara sees the pastey white creature with the demonic gazing eyes she stands up from her seated position and puts her backpack on one shoulder while her opposite hand dangles down around her thigh where her gun is.

"Maybe its time we get going again then." Lara tells Donjo while she moves back to the branch where the lead for their ride is. "Lets start walking." She says then, pulling on the lead to guide the Lizard Mount on down the original way they'd come. Lara glances back up at the 'thing' grinning at them and then she looks over to Donjo. "What all should I know now, other than there may be more of them? Are they able to be talked to?" She has to ask.


"Talk at 'em?" Donjo squaks with laughter. "Dey just wanna drink blood and chew our bones. We aint no talkin' to 'em." The cackling ceases as Lara sets to move again, "We jus' set up. I put down a ward, hold maybe long as…. "

The mount groans and begins to struggle up, its beat, the rough ground is not in the least kind but its trying to upright, its hiss snarl directed at the 'Grunch'.

"Try talkin' see what happen, got me curious now, silly woman… "

Lara's right hand reaches up and over to try to place it on the Mount's head and calm it some, she can tell it does not like this 'Grunch' visitor, but neither does she so she can hardly blame him. "I don't want to have to kill everything that challenges us." Lara responds to Donjo. "And since when did you have the ability to create magical barriers? You've been holding that from us up until now?" She shakes her head before her eyes trail back up to the 'Grunch'.

The Brit clears her throat then and she calls up to it a little louder. "We're not here to harm you or cause you any strife. We're just passing through and we will not linger long. I promise you." She says it loud enough for her voice to carry up the rockface to where its perched… she stares a moment longer and then glances back down to Donjo. "Its worth a try…"


Lara's right hand reaches up and over to try to place it on the Mount's head and calm it some, she can tell it does not like this 'Grunch' visitor, but neither does she so she can hardly blame him. "I don't want to have to kill everything that challenges us." Lara responds to Donjo. "And since when did you have the ability to create magical barriers? You've been holding that from us up until now?" She shakes her head before her eyes trail back up to the 'Grunch'.

The Brit clears her throat then and she calls up to it a little louder. "We're not here to harm you or cause you any strife. We're just passing through and we will not linger long. I promise you." She says it loud enough for her voice to carry up the rockface to where its perched… she stares a moment longer and then glances back down to Donjo. "Its worth a try…"


"No choice times like deez…" Donjo counters again. The mount brushes its head towards Lara's calming, stepping closer.
"Always, I'm a magical man after all." The monkey smils wide, "Member what Bearfool said when we firs' met? I'm old powers…"

The Grunch levels it's yellow gaze on Lara, its face, vaguely human, more goblinoid and mishappen.

It chitters something and from behind it an object sails, flying at Lara.
It's hard but not enough to take her down if it hits, when it impacts it explodes in a puff and breaks in half, either ground or her… a skull. A child or small humanoid…

"Maybe… we run through dem or… like all things bargain. Feed 'em de beasty."

Lara is drawing in a breath then as she keeps her hand on the nose of their trusted mount beside her left. She glances to Donjo and shakes her head side to side. "Old powers." She repeats. "Right. I guess I've forgotten since we've used -none- of that to provide me with protection here." She shows the Monkey a tired smirk, full well believing he lead her on his little route just to watch what happened along it. BUT thats something she'd confront if she ever got back to the real world with him.

When she's hit in the back by the skull she jumps just a little and spins around to look down at it. She then sweeps her gaze back up to the goblin-like man on his perch. "I've seen things like him before, on Earth. Generally they're cave dwellers… Those who've become lost in the dark and created a home within it." She keeps her gun holstered by her right hand does go behind her back to draw out one of the gleaming swords, its tip pointed down to the ground…


"Dark dwellers, troglodytes… night creepers." Donjo nods, "All them things an' some." The monkey watches while she produces the swords, their gleam a 'blessed' light pushing back shadow around them, forcing the Grunch to clamber behind it's rock. It's own hiss loud. More rocks and bones plus other horrible less hard objects are hurled.

The mount snorts loud, despite its exhaustion it puts itself between Lara and some of the projectiles, even lashing its tail at the dark.

"An' my magick, it make me a target, put me to a side. I'm nuetral yes…" Donjo explains..

Lara has only the one sword drawn so far, held in her right hand while her left remains on the side of the mounts head who's now moving to protect her from the thrown objects. "Lovely creatures." The Brith quietly comments before she looks back to the monkey magician. "Is your ward mobile?" She asks him then. "Can you cast it upon myself, or upon that of…" She looks over to their mount. He needs a name. "Arrow." She says, dubbing the beast as such from now on!

Lara looks back to Donjo then. "Because we need to get going. We have to lose this thing before its bretheren arrive, and before we can setup a camp for the night… unless we're drawing close yet to the end of our expedition." Heavy exhale from the woman then. "Which I certainly wouldn't complain if were the case."


"You ain't see?" Donjo gives another condescending chuckle, "Dey already here. Allover de place. Just outta sight…" The monkey points his pipe past them, outside the range of sight. "Arrow? Why… You…" Another snicker.

The mount 'Arrow' stomps forward and charges down that first Grunch suddenly, causing it to fan its claws out and leap back, disappearing in to the black beyond… "We running or… and no, it not gonna move with us. Take too much time again unless you wanna sit an' wait a few. We just give 'em sacrifice, run de fuck away. Tell ya, feed de beast to 'em."

"I'm not going to feed them Arrow." Lara replies to Donjo after the beast had charged away. She releases a heavy sigh and then slides her backpack fully onto her shoulders before she glances at Donjo. "You can keep up with me or turn back, its up to you. I've seen you abandon me before." She adds, voice distracted as she's deep in thought about to run for it.

When she does run her boots fall steady and strong, her muscular legs propelling her forward after 'Arrow' and she's aiming to catch up with him and grab onto his guiding reigns. "We have go now." She shouts after the mount, reaching her hands to corale him and get him back under her control. She does spare a stare off into the darkness where the Grunch had gone, but her focus is on saving her friend and riding mount!


The Barrens shes learning them. It is an endless waste of… the same thing, easy to get turned around. One thing looks like the next and as they begin to run in a mad dash of huffing, air gasping and charging behind that glimmering blade they're finding Donjo was not lying, those things are everywhere, just out of reach of the glow.
Slashing, biting, thrown objects. Theyre small, Lara is stronger, the mount as well. Donjo is hiding between her and her beast. Bounding between the two to avoid the vicious horde in their dash to…. wherever, just not there. Fortunately, the blades… they are salvation of a sort. Sanctuary.

"There! To de east, no spikes… no rock towers… go go!"

Lara keeps the one blade in her hand pointed off to the side and tip downward, she's not entirely sure that its the sword keeping these things at a throwable-range, but she's plenty willing to accept that they're not rushing them and are in fact staying back. She does raise her sword hand up though to shield her face from any of the items tossed at them. "I see it!" Lara says to Donjo's rushed words. "Arrow!" She shouts to the Beast and motions him in that direction as well… she's not sure HOW smart he is, but she knows he's got to be at least canine level of intellect.

Lara curves her way to the east then and she passes by a large tower of rocks held up with a rope, the sword slashes through it with ease, then a second support rope and she causes the tower to come teetering over toward some of their attackers! "It could be worse!" Lara shouts, trying to stay optimistic as she and her two odd companions break for the hopefully safer place.


"Always yes…" Donjo says with an almost whine to his voice, now running holding his hat latched to his head as thy round past that tower of rocks. Almost as if some hellish Indiana Jones scene unfolded behind them, the loping reptialian mount obeys eough to follow orders, using Lara as a guide and pointer until theyre racing in a tired yet adrenaline fueled breakneck dash across a grassy plain the odd gloom peeling back as the CRASH of boulders, stacks and rocky projections smash more than enough 'Grunches'. The odd silvery glow of a possible moon breaking black clouds apart in to orange-reds that still cast shadow…

Striding ahead 'Arrow' pants, lumbers and drops just beside a uplifted knoll, curling there.

"We made it… we lived de barrens… wooo eee." Donjo says, slapping his hat off his knee.

Lara's the last to arrive as she was protective of her companions… the mount more than Donjo, but still. She slides her sword back into its sheath behind her right shoulder and then she is pacing as she has to take a moment to let her heart calm down and the adrenaline to bleed out of her. She pants heavily and then moves to the front of Arrow to check him over for any wounds before she looks to Donjo.

"Will they follow us here?" She asks. "This place… feels different." She scans her eyes around where they are on the edge of these plains. Lara is still a bit worked up with her body swaying side to side as she transfers her weight from one foot to another, she wasn't expecting to get out of there without a fight, its put her on edge a bit.


Minor wounds, scratches, scrapes, thirst but /Arrow/ is hardly dying. Just worn out and run ragged, rolling on to it's side and back with full chested inhales and exhales as it gulp for air in it's painfully exhausted state.
Donjo turns to look behind them, seeing them with his animal eyes and senses, feeling that way he shakes his head, "No, dis too bright, silver lining an all make 'em not wanna get bold… means we can set up camp somewhere round here… not sure where dis is yet though, easy to get turnt around…"

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