Tuesday, August 9, 2011
There is the barest scent of rank swamp water, mixed with the tang of salt water. Keon turns from the planning to find Mer Cronigh by his side. The men beside her are brutally ugly, a mix between scaled humanoid and creatures of the deep sea. Webbed fingers flex and smiles widen to reveal triple rows of teeth.
One speaks, the sound much like the scrape of rusted metal echoing in a hollow cavern.
"Hail the Lady Inari, Greeting Keon, son of the House of Night, Lover of Deeper Waters. The Murdhuacha answer the call of Mer Cronigh. We have come to offer our services to the liberation of Tori Viper. Say what ye need and we shall see it done."
There is a gasp as one of the men pushes back his hood. His eyes are small, but active, taking in everything around them. He touches the red cap on his head, stroking the small feather pinned in its band. He bows slightly, smiling with tightly pressed lips. Moving forward, he points at several spots with a gnarled finger. "These crossings are already guarded. None but Mer Cronigh knows what truly swims in Underdark." His gaze turns to Star and he drops to his knee. "I have heard stories, but I gave them no credit. Hail Lady Star of the Moons. The Sirens speak sweetly of ye and the water baby in yer care. It is good to know the Star lives in our times. Have ye need, we Murdhuacha will answer the call."
Star looks to Inari, who motions for her to lay her hand on the man's shoulder. She touches him lightly on the shoulder and the man bows low, touching his head to her foot. Star stands still at Inari's nod. Mer Cronigh cackles. The creature rises to his feet, turns to his companion, and motions him forward. The two point out where waterways slip between realms and tell of what guards which tributary.
When they have finally left, Star looks at Keon, eyes wide. Twillon looks up from stationing plans to whistle softly.
"Damn Ke. I never knew they were truly that..."
Star looks between the men. "Wh... what are they?"
The stutter is telling. The two men had unnerved her a bit.
"Ugly bastrds ist vat dey are."
Star giggles at Gunnar's assessment. Twillon slaps the Viking on his broad back.
Keon nods slowly. "They are, and freely admit it. The Murdhacha are, in truth, cousins to your earthly Merfolk. Their women have an alien beauty equal to the ugliness of the men. They are brutal fighters, and loyal compatriots." A small smile twists his lips.
"And it looks like Star has another ally."