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Joined: April 13th, 2015, 3:49 am

Relic Hunter: The Broken Isles

by Anavea » April 13th, 2015, 6:37 am

"Land ho!" Rickett exclaimed from the bow of her barge. "Now am I the greatest sea captain or what?"

Anavea marked her current page and set her book down to take a look. She opened her own spyglass and set her sight southwest and upon seeing it was still a wisp of clouds on the horizon and there was nothing to see, promptly gave up.

"How do you know it's our destination?" she asked over the wind.

"Apparantly, there are no other signs of land from the island we passed yesterday onwards." the goblin ship captain explained, turning her attention to a leather-bound book she had been following. A rutter that belonged to her father, if she was to be believed. "And I've been following the sea gulls since this morning."

"Well I won't argue." Anavea said. The wind ripped some of her hair free so she freed it and retied it into a new ponytail. "I suppose we'll know soon enough if you've earned your pay."

She was no mariner, but she trusted Rickett's judgement. The goblin was a fourth-generation sailor and in possession of some ancient charts and rutters from her family, including a pre-First War chart of the coast of the Black Morass to prove it. More importantly, her father had been to the Broken Isles about a decade ago as a mercenary ship captain, ferrying night elves around to skirmish with naga. His records of the place is what landed Rickett the job of ferrying her halfway across the Great Sea and back.

The current carried them in, revealing first a small landmass. Then greenery. Then they divided into at least three islands. Then grey shapes and edges which could only be night elf ruins. The greenery sparked doubt in her. According to the stories, this land was raised from the sea floor thirty years ago. It should be barren. Last she checked, palm trees don't grow on abyssal plains.

Still, she mused. Thirty years is a long time. Enough time for the buoyant palm seeds to find their way here via the Maelstrom current. They'd have to have traversed all the way around to the north like they just had to reach here. Quite a journey. That was food for thought.

"I can't find any beaches on the north or east sides." Rickett reported from behind her spyglass. "I'll cross over to the west side."

"How long until we land, you think?" Anavea asked. She had been itching to get off this cramped boat for days now.

"Give me twenty minutes." the captain said. "You said you would need a day or two, aye?"

"It depends, though I should only need a day."

"Well take all the time you need." Rickett said with a chuckle. "I'm having a beach party on your money while I wait."

Anavea went and checked her belongings were in order. Her backpack was packed habitually, so she knew where every last item inside was. Some were tools of her trade - a foldable trowel, an entrenching tool - her friend Chimreh had given her that, brushes, hammer and chisel, scrapers, dentistry tools, a notepad and pencil and so on. Others were basic survival tools such as a knife, flint, coil of rope, a light cooking pot, food and water, etcetera. She also carried an old goblin minesweeper and an orb she may need later. On a trip like this, she would generally carry about forty pounds of gear.

Which wasn't much, but she was a blood elf. And while she was toned and athletic, she didn't have the endurance (or the mental strength, for that matter) for weight-load carriage. She always travelled as light as she could because of that. She didn't even carry a bedroll.

When she returned to the bow, she was greeted with the whitest stretch of beach sand she had ever seen. A previously-hidden fourth island marked the westernmost of the group. A giant sea turtle dozed on the shore, untroubled by the incessant gulls bleating at one another. Rickett was going about beaching the boat so Anavea sat down and waited.


"Do you know why the orcs lost the Second War?" the young orc who had introduced himself as Rogan asked, shooing away a persistent waitress. She left to tend the other bar patrons but she would be back.

"Many of the orcs deserted." Anavea replied dismissively - as far as a history test went, this was almost insulting. "Followed Gul'dan across the sea.."

"Yes." Rogan said. "Specifically the Stormreaver and Twilight Hammer clans."

The orc was clearly a warlock. Anavea could guess where this was going.

"My grandfather was a member of the original Council and of the Stormreaver Clan." he explained proudly. "My father never spoke of him, and any attempts of mine to bring it up in the past resulted in violence.

"The fool is dead now but between then and now, I have commitments to the Horde here." he continued. "I am curious about my grandfathers works. I inherited a few tomes from his earlier days, but nothing after the First War. If I had to guess, he would have taken them with him when he left with Gul'dan."

It sounded too much like a wild goose chase to Anavea. She had other jobs lined up, but this one sounded lucrative. "How do you even know they exist?"

"A hunch."

"And you want me to go find out?"


She sighed and muttered under her breath. "Not another family heirloom..."

"What was that?"


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Joined: April 13th, 2015, 3:49 am

Re: Relic Hunter: The Broken Isles

by Anavea » April 16th, 2015, 9:07 am

The palms were all young-ish, which was a good sign. It was when Anavea laid eyes on the bay in the island's center did it confirm her location. The Broken Isles.

Jutting from the clear, shallow water were more than a dozen ship masts. All appeared orcish but the midday sun beamed a glare on the surface, preventing her from seeing the hulls from sea level. A few tatters of rotten flax swayed from the masts, but not enough to gleam any insignia. It didn't matter - she knew she was where she needed to be.

Schools of silver fish and a bale of red, spiky-shelled sea turtles swam lazily in the bay. Crude structures on one of the distant south islands suggested a murloc presence. Her spyglass confirmed this. Everywhere there were night elf ruins, particularly the island on her left - the largest and highest of the cluster and at least one night elven shipwreck loomed under the waters surface.

"I could retire here." the blood elf said to nobody. "Set up a cabin here, fish there, relax on the beach there, drink coconut milk from a straw there..."

The sand here was quartz-heavy, which she imagined would be cool underfoot. She contemplated removing her boots...

"Bah." she was getting distracted. Now what she hoped would not be the frustrating part began. Out of a whole island, she had to find an old, orcish battlefield and then find one particular orc from hundreds.

First thing's first. Survey the island.

She was no surveyor, which required equipment, advanced mathematics and engineering (real engineering - not the kind that tinkerers and bombmakers claim their skills as). Nor was she here to do such a thing. With her equipment, she spent the next fifteen minutes hiking and clambering up to the top of her current island, passing a night elf ruin she promised herself to visit before she left. Aside from some birds, she encountered no wildlife. Just shy of the island's highest point she found a shaded boulder that faced south, overlooking Stormreaver bay. She settled in with her spyglass and a compass.

The Broken Isles were made up of five prominent islands and over a dozen smaller ones, many of them little more than sandbars. Four of the larger landmasses formed a rough north-south-west-east orientation, with one surrounded by a large cluster located in the strait between the north island (the one she was on) and the east.

Vegetation was focused on the outer edges facing the open sea, leaving large stretches of beach facing the bay. Much of the coastline had a jagged look due to its recent origins, which would weather out in time. The largest of the night elf ruins were on her island (a stones throw from where she sat), the north-eastern islands and the full east.

Anavea looked into the bay with her spyglass. The water was crystal clear and bustling with serene life. She counted a suprising eighteen wrecks. Thirteen were orcish and five night elven. The orcish ships were mostly burnt-out husks while the elven ships were largely intact. She recalled Rickett's father and a fight between night elves and naga. Two battlefields in one shallow bay. She made compass bearings and judged distances to each wreck and other prominent features and recorded them on her notepad, deciding this vantage point would be her reference point for the island.

Other items of note were the murloc camp she had spotted on the south island across from her - she also spotted another on the east island. A decrepit building on the west island that resembled an elven hunting lodge.

"So." she mused. "Where is the battlefield?"

Most of the wrecks were closer to the east island, with the most ruins. Anavea was no soldier much less a tactician, but that island looked more defendable than the others. Its size would mean more resources, at least.

When she was happy, she spent ten minutes dragging rocks around to build a prominent cairn, building it large and distinctive enough to be seen from the other islands as her reference point. When this was done she set off back to Rickett and the ship. Clambering down to the beach she had started on, she ambled back to Rickett's boat. She only had half a day left today, so she would get the goblin to ferry her over tomorrow. She kicked a spray of sand into the breeze when she noticed something glint nearby.

It was an arrowhead of night elven make. A broadhead, designed to slash arteries and kill. Though it had long since dulled, the tip was blunted from impact to something. Perhaps it had struck armour. Or a bone.

Anavea pocketed the thing and kept walking. Rickett was cutting up a felled palm for her bonfire - Anavea wasn't sure that palms made good firewood but she supposed she would find out soon enough.

"Hey!" she called out. She tried to think up something witty about the goblin's bonfire but failed.

"Hey yourself!" Rickett replied. "Got what ya need? Cos we ain't leavin' 'till this bonfire gets kickin'."

"Not yet." Anavea reported. "I need you to ferry me to one of the islands tomorrow morning."

"Sure, boss. And I'm thinkin' grilled turtle steak for dinner. You in?"

"You can make steaks out of turtles?"

Rickett grinned. "You can make steak out of anything with the right tools."

"I'm going to poke around this island for the afternoon. I'll be back before sundown." Anavea said, turning to set off again. "I'll be expecting a steak!"

She had passed night elf ruins earlier on her way to the perch. What better way to spend an afternoon than crawling through ruins?

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Re: Relic Hunter: The Broken Isles

by Anavea » April 18th, 2015, 10:56 am

The afternoon was heating up and even in a simple cotton shirt, Anavea was sweating. She stuck to the shade as she backtracked up the hill. Despite the humidity, she was enjoying herself. Exploring and spelunking was when she felt her best. The premise of discovery and learning always gave her drive.

She found the ruins quickly enough and left the track to investigate. Two broken pillars and a piece of wall. Clearly night elven and marked by what she guessed were barnacle scars. Further on in the scrub was another pillar. Beyond that was a large, plant-woven wall that almost blended into the greenery. Too high to climb, she followed it. It led her north until she could see the open sea. The wall became a corner and a few feet beyond that was a half-collapsed section she could climb through.

"Okay, wall." she said mock-sternly. "I don't like you and you don't like me. But I'm climbing you, and I'd appreciate you not collapsing while I do so."

The rubble pile was about her height, with another five feet of wall to climb over on top of that. She tested each step as she clambered up the mound. With only five feet of wall above that, she could see inside now.

She caught sight of her first hostile creature of the island. A makrura. She sighed. Because regular lobsters weren't enough.

The ruins were bigger than the stretch of wall let on. There were some roofed areas and doors that led into darkness, suggesting the place she was looking into was once a courtyard. Not much appeared to have survived aside from the structures.

The makrura was busy carving up a dead murloc and didn't see her, so she climbed halfway into the breach. The top of the wall was about eight feet further up - just enough to grasp the ledge if she stood on her toes. She removed her bag, fed it over the top of the ledge and hauled herself up with a suppressed grunt.

By the time she had her bag back on, the makrura was waving its claws at her and clacking aggressively. It couldn't climb, so she was safe on her vantage point.

"Shut up!"

She threw a chunk of loose wall at it which flew embarrassingly wide. Unsure whether it even noticed, she started walking the stretch of wall. It snaked around the north side of the ruin and had a great sea view. She saw another makrura a few minutes later, which didn't notice her.

She soon decided that walking a wall wasn't enough and set her sights on a door.

She didn't like the dark. She didn't like a lot of things - rum, being underwater and the Reliquary to name a few -but this she was prepared for. She always carried some linen strips and a jar of pitch in case she needed to fashion a torch. She needed a stick, though. Since there were few overhanging branches, she walked back to the breach, climbed down and out, fetched one, climbed back up, waved at the still-agitated makrura and returned to her bag.

When it was done and ready to light she got as close to the doorway as the wall allowed, scanned for threats and mapped an escape route in case she had to run for her life. Which happened often in situations like this. The wall was a fifteen feet, one-way drop, so she lit the torch and took a deep breath.

"Here goes nothing." she muttered to herself.

She dropped the bag and the torch inside, lowered herself down until she was hanging, then dropped into the ruin.

Her landing was good, but she still crouched with her hunting knife drawn in case something took her infiltration personally. Not that she would use the thing - it was just posturing in the slim chance her opponent would back down and she wouldn't have to run away.

Nothing came, so she shouldered her bag, took up her torch and darted to the doorway she had picked out. The air was still inside and her footfalls landed on paved tiles. Every sound she made returned an eerie, exaggerated echo. The room itself was small, with a stone bench on either side of a staircase leading down into further darkness. She pressed on down, counting fifteen steps and reached an antechamber. There were signs that something had lived here recently, but there was nothing to see.

The antechamber led directly into a larger, more cavernous room. It was lined with doorways that led into small storerooms. In the centre was a large naga statue of whom Anavea assumed was Queen Azshara. The statue looked foreign, which it likely was - added while the place was underwater. The whole place was damp and moss coated a large portion of the walls.

"A cellar, perhaps?" she mused.

The side chambers had little of value. Plants, rotten debris, pieces of an amphora. Her torch flame guttered a little and she added another strip of pitch-soaked linen to bolster it. When she looked around enough, she returned to the surface.

The afternoon light greeted her with a pleasant shade of orange. She supposed she should head back soon. She followed her planned route to what she hoped was an exit.

She heard a clacking sound and spun around to face the makrura she had waved at. Thirty feet away and on even ground with her.

"Oh." she said dumbly. "Hello."

It clacked menacingly.

"Sorry about the rock?"

It advanced on her.


She turned and ran. Makrura were unwieldy things, more strong than fast. Ten seconds of running and she was safely walking through an arched entrance. She slowed to a walk for a few seconds before a murloc appeared out of nowhere with a battle-mrrgglll. This time she ran to the beach and followed it to Rickett's camp. By the time she reached it, she was exhausted but not pursued.

And conveniently, the steaks were almost ready.

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Joined: April 13th, 2015, 3:49 am

Re: Relic Hunter: The Broken Isles

by Anavea » April 21st, 2015, 9:40 am

Anavea tried to imagine these isles as they had been when they were first raised. Barren, rocky, just all-around harsh. The palm trees and other brush would arrive afterwards. Being in a battle itself would be terrifying enough for her, but fighting one on a place like that would have been nightmarish.

The night came and went without incident. Rickett drank herself into a stupor fairly quickly and left Anavea to her thoughts and musings. Making a the poor, hungover girl row for her now almost made her feel bad. Almost. She *was* getting paid for this.

The row across Stormreaver Bay was pleasant, despite Rickett's agonised groaning. They weaved around great, rotten masts. Gulls perched atop them now, cawing and screeching at one another. If she had the time (which she did) and the desire to go underwater (which she certainly did not), she might search one of the vessels.

The east island had most of the wrecks offshore, so it was her logical guess for the site of a battle. It was the largest landmass here and also housing the largest ruins which if she had to guess, was either a temple or a palace. Her gut told her the former.

"I don't want to have to wait for you," Anavea said. "So maybe find some shade and sleep?"

Rickett was practically sweating bourbon after her efforts the previous night. She mumbled what was probably a witty comeback and stumbled over and collapsed under a palm tree. Anavea walked over to a piece of broken marble pillar that laid on the sand and took out her map.

She had done some bastardised math the night before at the bonfire using distances, bearings and angular mils - the army equivilant of degrees used by artillery soldiers and such - and had plotted them on a piece of parchment. Combined with a rough sketch of the coastline before they set off, she had something to work on. Not quite professional cartography, but it served her needs.

According to her 'map', about eighty yards away and about fifteen degrees off due southwest was an elven ruin. She could already see the thing - a monument, but paced out to it anyway. Ninety-one paces. Accurate enough.

She had a sudden stab of laziness and decided to unveil her trick early. An aid from Rogan, her client.

She produced a dark orb fitted to a gold rod. Merely holding the thing made her feel uneasy.

"Okay." she said nervously. "Let's do this.

"Kazar-ethis ognakh mathazim bashaar."

The phrase was demonic, which literally translated as "Sweet potato shadowbolt dancing shoe polar bear." The logic of it being unlikely such a phrase would be uttered in the universe until she needed it. The memory of being explained this made her laugh, and she chuckled again now.

In the sand in front of her, a felhound materialized in a flash of smoke and purple. Rogan had told her the things name, though Anavea had since forgotten.

She held the Orb of Domination up, quickly zapping it into compliance (or whatever magic orbs do). The second safeguard Rogan had applied was the felhound was ordered to be hostile to anything it encountered.

It twitched from the shock, then sat down on its haunches and scratched behind one horn with its leg not unlike what a dog would do. For some reason, Anavea thought this was cute.

"Hello there." she said, trying to be amiable. The demon just looked at her.


She reached into her bag and pulled out two mana crystals. A treat for both of them. She tossed one onto the sand in front of the felhound and began siphoning the other dry. The felhound eagerly took to its crystal with two long tendrils. It wasn't much, but it was a great pick-me-up.

"How're you feeling?" she asked. The felhound sniffed the ground as if still hungry. It whined and looked up at her expectantly.

"Oh shut up," she scowled. "I'll give you another when we're done, hm?"

Anavea wasn't quite sure how to deal with a felhound, so she fell back on what she knew. Her father had bred hawkstriders and she had grown up around animals. It seemed to behave the same way as one, and it seemed to work. It was mostly your tone and body language.

"Come!" she ordered.

Naturally the demon had no idea what she was on about. She simply looked at it, pointed by her feet and repeated herself. It fell in behind her as she started walking to another checkpoint - a small knoll she had marked out.

The felhound sniffed left and right as it trailed her, its tendrils also probing the air around them. Anavea followed her compass and notebook until she was obviously heading up a slope, then she shut them in favour of merely going uphill. The normally sand and scrub ground gave way to rock and she reached the low summit twenty paces before her math did.

She was straying to the south side of the island. The felhound kept its nose down and tendrils up - another order from Rogan the warlock was to track any scent that resembled his own. Whether that actually worked was another story.

She spotted a clearing and set off toward it. Shortly afterwards, the felhound took off in a dash.

"What?! Hey!" she called but made no effort to pursue. The felhound entered the clearing and began a search. Anavea, having little else to do, broke out the goblin minesweeper and began pacing the long grass. She had a hit almost immediately and using her trowel, dug up a silver glint. The glint became a chain, which became a pendant.

"Wow." she said. The pendant held what looked like a tarnished ametrine - a marriage of amethyst and citrine. They were both quartz with different impurities, after all. Still, a nicely cut gem with a 50/50 ratio was rare. The chain was silver and distinctly night elven.

She pocketed the pendant with the arrowhead, replaced the dirt and stood up to watch the felhound approaching her. Dragging something.

A stick. She facepalmed.

She picked it up but felt a magical presence. She had an idea and snapped the stick in half. It was a heartwood material, but she couldn't tell of what. More importantly, it held no rings inside. That was a telltale sign.


The bane of archaeologists and the mortal enemy of dendrochronologists. This was a druid staff, from a druid-grown tree. Trees carry nice growth rings which can not only be used to tell its age, but you can match different rings from different trees, develop a timeline and learn quite accurately when a tree grew and died. You could even tell if a specific year thousands of years ago was warmer or wetter than usual by these rings.

Druids tarnished that. They grew full-grown trees in minutes, leaving the wood inside an uninteresting, uniform colour. From memory, furniture in Silvermoon was actually worth less if it used druid-grown timber.

She drew some magic out of the staff - like tapping a keg, she supposed - and handed it over for the felhound, who proceeded to suck it dry.

"This isn't helping." she reprimanded and pointed at it. "Wait."

It waited while she stepped into the middle of the clearing and looked out at the hill she had perched from yesterday. Maybe three-quarters of a mile away now. The rock cairn was easy to spot and she shot a bearing to each side of it (it was as close to a yard wide as she could get), sharpened the difference from fractions of degrees into mils and jotted the numbers down. For good measure, she also took a bearing to the knoll she came from and estimated the paces she took. She would plot the clearing onto her map later.

"Done. Now go!" she ordered. "Search!"

The felhound set off obediently, this time in the lead. It led her further south, away from the ruins and the hills. It stopped to feel around from time to time but generally led her in a single direction. The scrub began to thin and just before they reached the beachline, the felhound stopped and started pawing at something. A skull.

There were bleached bones everywhere.

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Joined: April 13th, 2015, 3:49 am

Re: Relic Hunter: The Broken Isles

by Anavea » April 26th, 2015, 9:15 am

She didn't have the time, resources or manpower to do an extensive survey so Anavea followed the felhound, content to stick to a small grid square of ground rather than the entire site. The demon probed the sand with its tendrils, drifting here and there before stopping at the base of a small tree. It pawed and dug up the sand like a dog after a buried bone. In fact, it did dig up a bone.

"Enough!" she ordered. It ignored her, so she let out a sharp whistle to get its attention.

"STOP!" she barked. Again, like a dog it froze at the command. She marvelled again at how tame the demon was.

She shooed it away from her digsite and it sat down nearby while Anavea produced a spool of fishing line. She didn't keep a proper ruler, but her survival knife had a blade exactly four inches long (she measured it once) and she set about measuring out a square yard around the tree.

She tried to mark each corner with a stick, only to find the loose sand suddenly became bedrock almost a foot down. Being a sea floor for ten thousand years probably had something to do with that. Since she wasn't after 100% exact measurements, she used small rocks instead without the line to mark her boundaries. Once it was set out, she used her compass to align it as close to north/south as possible.

"Okay. Let's see..." she reasoned the math out loud. "Square root of 2... times 36 inches, divide 4.

"That's 1.41 times 9 which equals... 9... 12.6... 12.69. 12.7 lengths."

The felhound whined at her.

"Oh shut up. It's easier to do out loud."

She measured out as close to 12.7 lengths of her 4-inch survival knife on the fishing line as she could and measured the diagonal corners of her square. The tree just stayed out of her way. It had about a quarter of an inch error, but it was good enough for her.

Now she got to work properly. The damn tree made things difficult, so she worked around it. She examined and recorded everything she could visibly see without touching the sand. Just a few bones. She measured each piece from the south-west and south-east corners with her line and measuring that against her knife. Meticulous, time-consuming work.

She removed the bones and set them aside. A fragment of an ulna and a bunch of metacarpals - some arm and half a hand. Next she put the minesweeper to her square, getting so many hits she gave up counting. Probing under the sand revealed an entire suit of rusted iron armour, which she focused on first. He had clearly been a Blackrock grunt, judging by the design. An hour passed as she carefully exhumed the figure. The wind began whipping up her spoil heap so she shored the edges of the area with branches and smoothed out her sand pile.

"A bucket would have been handy..." she muttered. The felhound was getting restless so she let it go forage for magic.

As the sand cleared away and she was down to bedrock (taking the time to wonder just how these trees were growing here given the lack of fertile soil), the picture began to reveal itself. There were two corpses in her square. An ironclad Blackrock grunt and another figure whom unfortunately was mostly under the tree that so incessantly interfered with her digging. All she had to work with with corpse #2 was a skull with an axe embedded in it and a skeletal arm.

Which was clutching a book. Which was directly beneath the spot the felhound had dug for.

"Wow. Suprisingly heavy..." she said as she dusted the tome down with a brush. It was quite untarnished and obviously something from a warlock. Lots of purple and lots of demonic text. How did purple ever become such an evil colour?

Something bothered her about this. She wasn't sure what - just like an alarm bell ringing. She let out a whistle to bring the felhound back. It was out of sight somewhere and she cursed under her breath.

She examined the rest of the warlock. Some rotten linen and bones as brittle as clumps of dirt. There was something off about the skull. As if...

"Oh dear!" she said. "He won't like-"

She heard the felhound whining and looked up. It was bounding towards her.

"About time!" she snapped. "Do I have to tell you to... to.."

Behind it was about a dozen charging murlocs. Anavea cried out and ran, screaming for the felhound to heel. She had the book - or at least a book. She angled herself north-west until she hit the beach, then followed the shoreline. The murlocs were persistent, one of which threw a spear at her when she stopped to check their distance. It flew high, causing her to duck and take off again. The felhound happily bounded next to her as if this were all a game.

"Rickett!" she shouted as she saw the boat. "Murlocs!"

Rickett was still under her tree. She groaned and sat up in the distance, must have seen her and the commotion because out of nowhere she had produced a gun.

Anavea ran for the goblin, tripped, scrambled back up and kicked up a great deal of sand skidding to a halt next to her, panting. "Shoot something!"

Rickett shot two murlocs in short order, causing the others to scatter. She groaned and rubbed her bloodshot eyes.

"Can I go back to bed now?"

"What? Oh." the blood elf sighed. "Sure. Thanks."

Rickett mumbled something and fell asleep again, snoring and cradling her rifle. Anavea glared at the felhound, who innocently scratched behind its horn again. She wondered if it did that deliberately. Tamed demons were apparently like that - subtle rebellion. She'd let Rogan know and ask what he thought.

Anavea showed the felhound the book, who was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It seemed familiar enough to it - which was all she really had to go on. That didn't bode good news to Rogan.

The skull with the axe-blade in it. It had been human.


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