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  1. - Top - End - #451
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Hondshioh

    After some time, Hondshioh finally seems to gather the strength to stand again. When he does, he walks over to Ander and kneels.

    "I want to apologize for my rude and arrogant behavior, General. I allowed myself to be decieved and led assassins right to you."
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  2. - Top - End - #452
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Ander Windrivver

    Ander turns to the novice and allows himself a slight smile.

    We all make mistakes, Hondshioh. The Church has done a lot to soil my name and brand me as a monster. Nobody can blame you for it.

    Turning back to the Abbot: I think we should include Hondshioh in our discussions. He's proven himself quite capable today and I think he may be of use to us.
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    Baerdog: super genius.

  3. - Top - End - #453
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Sohssal

    Sohssal was somewhat perplexed by the paladin's transformation, but he knew he couldn't afford to waste energy chasing him down - he wasn't going after anything that concerned himself, after all. "Hm. That explains a few things," he idly commented.

    At the moment, there wasn't a surplus of things that needed to be done, so Sohssal continued idling, forcing himself to absorb the necromantic energy (as unpleasant as it was) before it faded into the background and became inaccessible to him. Given that two hungry mages were busily lapping it up, even this much magical energy might not last so long. He silently watched Umber and his scrying with some interest. His curiosity was piqued when the one in the image noticed the scrying. It seems Ross, Bran and Kartul weren't the only interesting people Umber seemed to know.

    But Sohssal was still more concerned by his own affairs. He'd be ready to teleport very soon, and he needed to gather up his associates. Omega, you should prepare to leave soon. So should Roger - do you know where he's gotten off to? he mentally informed her. Roger was no longer a living body he could borrow, but at least his new ghostly form had some promise.
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  4. - Top - End - #454
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baerdog7 View Post
    Ander Windrivver

    Ander turns to the novice and allows himself a slight smile.

    We all make mistakes, Hondshioh. The Church has done a lot to soil my name and brand me as a monster. Nobody can blame you for it.

    Turning back to the Abbot: I think we should include Hondshioh in our discussions. He's proven himself quite capable today and I think he may be of use to us.
    Hondshioh

    Hondshioh's face wrinkles with confusion.

    "The Church had done a lot to soil your name? What are you talking about?"
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  5. - Top - End - #455
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Incom Morgan – The Man Trapped in a Body of Doom

    ”If we are partners in a dance of fate for all eternity could you not at least be female? At least then we could add sexual tension to the endless struggle.”

    The witty reply surprises Incom as quickly as it comes out. Yes the memories, unlocked by the screams of Ysora were there, but they were a jumble, disorganized and chaotic. It was look watching a two-dimensional image of his life that was grainy and worn, like heavily starched clothing. Yes you could wear it and observe it, but it didn’t feel as good as a good pair of pants well-worn from use, or an excellent pair of boots.

    Examining the tattoos there is a disturbingly familiar look to them. Unbidden memories flash. Silky smooth skin, rippling with muscles and power. Rushing forward into a suicidal kiss. Laughter and flirtation. The memories flash through, not staying long enough to settle in and let them all sink in.

    ”Those tattoos, yes, they are familiar. What happened to lady who gave them to you?”

    Letting Akor continue Incom sits back and listens. The 40-years of hell, what was a hell but a combination of pain and sorrow. Many of those memories and too chaotic, as if seen through a broken window stained with blood and sorrow. Yet he knew that in these few moments that Akor was telling the truth, something that Incom suspected. There was no grand destiny for him during those 40-years, no epic confrontation that he needed to emerge victorious from. Instead he was simply the wrong person at the wrong time, a trademark of the sorrowful hero who would die alone and unknown on the battlefield.

    And that is what happened come to think of it.

    The final part of Akor’s speech strikes a chord. What would the two of them do now? They were now most likely truly free and clear of each other. No magical bonds, no implants, nothing except the past.

    ”No, I’m done making you miserable. We both lost the war during those 40-years. We have some consolation prizes, yet we are both slaves to the Baron. If you could unlock the binds he has on my mind I would fly up and rip him apart piece by piece and feed those to you gleefully. Yet I doubt you would have that power nor precision, no offense intended. But I’m done making “Harvey” suffer as much as you are done making “Incom” suffer. We are free of each other, let’s leave the future free as well.”
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    Curse you, Pwenet. Curse you.... You had my hopes up there...

  6. - Top - End - #456
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Gorgondantess's Avatar

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    Maria struggles with the last knife, finally removing it from her chest. For a moment, she lies there, in shock, regaining her strength from the life around her. Finally, she looks up from the water, and sees the assassin before her. The first thought is to run, flee the barbs that had wounded it...
    But that can't happen, now, can it? That would be no fun.
    Its fingers crawl and grope across the springbed, and it grabs a rock with either hand, making good use of the objects' density. It then slowly gets up, crouching, and with unrestrained, violent force leaps at the man with inhuman speed, going for the knees. On an average person, they would snap like twigs.
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  7. - Top - End - #457
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Octavio Galloway

    The master of mutations let out a chuckle as he watched the boy dangle. Oh, how that boy dangled on the brink of death. One tiny slipup, and he'd be zombie chow. So much baby fat, made to waste in the gullet of a zombie! They'd rip him limb from limb, probably going for his arms first. He'd become a zombie soon enough as well, if the necromancer who made them had an iota of skill.

    Octavio stopped his chuckles, leaning forward on the ledge of the house. Why was it that there were so few people with actual talent in the world? The wardens of the Ironheart, those had been talented men. These petty zombies? No talent to that! There was no skill in simply making muscle move! Just...just...

    Inferiority!

    If anybody was going to claim the boy, it would be Octavio. Even if he did just end up seeing how well the young man lasted as the Galloway patsy. Who knows? Perhaps the boy would survive for quite some time: His last attempt at education had lasted for a little less than a month, which was an eternity to the ever-creative life crafting man.

    The expense of energy in getting such a curiosity could easily be compensated for if the boy proved too annoying to keep at his side, and as such he burst forth, the muscles in his lower legs knotting repeatedly before explosively releasing. The one benefit of having absolute control of his body was, in particular, the limits he could push it to.

    Sailing from rooftop to ledge, Octavio played no games with the zombies here. The knuckles on his fists extended, a bony ridge running along his lower legs and forearms. Those were his moneymakers in this situation, and he would put them to good use, striking at the nearest undead like a lithe piston of destruction.

    It wasn't often that he liked fighting, but some situations mandated it. And this one in particular was a tempting chance to see if his skills had grown rusty since he had been imprisoned for so long.
    Gotta keep on trollan' trollan' trollan'

  8. - Top - End - #458
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WhiteKnight777's Avatar

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    Umber

    Umber focused his will on the water, watching images flicker within, caught between the shimmering mirror-surface of the liquid and the equally reflective basin it sat in.

    The he watched the procession flicker by, remembering the faces vaguely, the names even more so - but he had eyes only for one. Fianna. He looked at her, drank in for a moment the way she moved - the shift of her body under her clothing. They way the light caught in her hair. Even as cold as she had become, a glacier-queen of icy heart and razor-edged logic, there was a sublime artistry in the way she walked. No god could have hand-carved a better avatar of perfection. His heart skipped a beat, and he felt his cheeks flush. All the powers knew there were elements to his mortality he was less than eager to rediscover, but the way he felt right now surely wasn't one of them.

    He had to remind himself to breathe again as she turned to face him. His mouth went dry - gods, it'd been ages since he'd dealt with the surge of hormones. He felt like a damned teenager again, when he dived down into her eyes.

    It was glorious.

    He found his voice, forced the strength into it - forced it not to crack under a sudden upwelling of emotion.

    "Yes, Fianna. It's me. I'm... I'm glad to see that you escaped Ironheart unharmed." He paused, choosing his next words with care. "I haven't forgotten what you said, love. About the world. About the death of hope and the death of your heart. But I want to help you. I've found a way to... alter us once again. There's a price to be paid. There always is. But you don't have to be in the cold anymore, Fianna. I can help you. I can cure you. I know you can't even recall the memory of the memory of what we had once - but we can have it again. Let me come to you, Fianna. Let us meet. I can cure the ache in your soul, love of mine. I can fill the void. I can make the pain end."

  9. - Top - End - #459
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lonna's Avatar

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    Pyrene of the Many Roles

    At the Countess's comment that Garthax might be nearby but invisible, Pyrene nods thoughtfully. "Garthax, if you can hear me come sit on my lap or my shoulder or something, but stay quiet and invisible because I think I hear footsteps!"

    A little later, when Rose has introduced herself, Pyrene gives a wry smile. "My name is Pyrene, and these days I'm not always certain myself who I am. The woman I called mother raised me in the slums, but recently I've been told that my true mother is the Queen of Phaedra, which is apparently not of this world. Anyway, the Baron doesn't appear to care about that; I'm here because he wants me to convince the Countess to marry Cheran."

    Thinking of that conversation, she hesitated, then looked at Countess Ashargrin. "You should probably know: Klaus is dead. The Baron shot him in front of me because I would not play his game. Given the options the Baron had laid out for me, it's probably the most merciful thing he could have expected."

    Pyrene lapsed into silence then, not breaking it until after Seraphan had exitted the carriage. "Hello Katrina," she said softly as the newest arrival began to regain consciousness. "I don't believe we were properly introduced before. I'm Pyrene, most commonly known as the Temptress. I met your father briefly after I was recaptured."
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  10. - Top - End - #460
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    The_Snark's Avatar

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    Marisiel

    After thinking about it for a moment, it seemed right that the seneschal was now the queen's consort. Obviously the Queen needed a consort, and it made sense to choose Istomilo, who had proven himself able to assist in ruling already. In a way, it was like the relationship between Athelion and Miriam, and mortals could do far worse than to pattern themselves after the gods. Really, she wasn't sure why she had asked that question.

    The girl's inadvertent attack returned Marisiel's mind to its proper place, and hardened her resolve. She was not angry. A tiny injury such as she'd taken was hardly worth anger. She was resolute. The injury itself was not of any concern, but the reasons behind it were. One did not ignore a threat merely because it was weak; one dealt with it before it became stronger. And although constructed entirely from innocent pieces, this incident had proved that the girl was a threat. She could lose control and burn someone who was not an archangel; as her powers grew, they could do more and more damage. And then there was the question of the political power she would have if left to inherit. That was an entirely mortal power, but it would be frightening in the hands of the inhuman princess. Marisiel couldn't make much sense out of her strange composite soul, and had no idea if it could be trusted—but her instincts cried out that it could not, and her instincts had been instilled by the Valkyrie.

    Miriam, in her wisdom, had seen fit not to create certain things. And this girl was one of them.

    "The Queen can wait," Marisiel said firmly. "I would rather speak with you honestly, here and now, than listen to the queen explain with fine words. The fact that you think you need such explanations is worrying. If a thing needs to be justified, that means something about it is wrong. And you know that, or else you wouldn't feel as if you had to justify it. So why did you go ahead and do it anyway?"
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

  11. - Top - End - #461
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Hondshioh

    Hondshioh's face wrinkles with confusion.

    "The Church had done a lot to soil your name? What are you talking about?"
    Ander Windrivver

    Ander raises his eyebrow as he turns to reply to the half-giant.

    Well, they labeled me a heretic and threw me in Ironheart for fifteen years for starters. I imagine that once the Council gets wind of this, they'll start accusing me of demon worship or something too.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  12. - Top - End - #462
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baerdog7 View Post
    Ander Windrivver

    Ander raises his eyebrow as he turns to reply to the half-giant.

    Well, they labeled me a heretic and threw me in Ironheart for fifteen years for starters. I imagine that once the Council gets wind of this, they'll start accusing me of demon worship or something too.
    Hondshioh

    "Well...why would the Council label you a heretic if you weren't one? It's the Council's duty to work the will of the Gods in the world, and they wouldn't imprison an innocent man. They didn't get where they were by being wicked and decietful."
    Last edited by Archpaladin Zousha; 2009-11-06 at 12:47 AM.
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  13. - Top - End - #463
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archpaladin Zousha View Post
    Hondshioh

    "Well...why would the Council label you a heretic if you weren't one? It's the Council's duty to work the will of the Gods in the world, and they wouldn't imprison an innocent man. They didn't get where they were by being wicked and decietful."
    Ander Windrivver

    Because the Council is corrupt and no longer serves the gods. Miriam and Athelion have sent me to eliminate them. Your Abbot knows the whole story now, so do yourself a favor and just trust us. He says, poking Hondshioh in the chest.

    Ander turns back to the Abbot, guiding him out of the ritual chamber. Come on, let's talk somewhere else.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  14. - Top - End - #464
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    The Baron’s Estate

    Dorizzit

    As your hand closes around the woman’s, tendrils of shadow begin to waft up from her arm, curling around yours.

    “You are going to want to close your eyes now.” She instructs, and you obey without comment. A cold chill washes over you a moment later, and your ears are suddenly filled with harsh whispers. Reflexively, one eye inches open, giving you just a momentary glimpse of your guide. That one glimpse was more than enough.

    Although still a human female, the woman’s skin was glowing an eerie blue, most of the light concentrated around runes carved into her skin that shined brightly in the darkness. Dancing around her, curling around her, caressing her, were dozens of ephemeral shadows. Here and there, eyes and mouths were visible in the swathing gloom. The sight was disturbing, to say the least, and it made the woman even more bizarre than she already was.

    A moment after you shut your eye again, you felt a hard tug on your arm, and you followed your guide silently. Around you, the whispers continue. You couldn’t make out what was being said, but it was clear the voices were curious . . . hungry. The woman ignores them, as she doesn’t make a sound as she leads you onward. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, a gust of hot air caresses your body, and the weird twisting of your stomach fades away.

    “You may open your eyes now.”

    Opening your eyes, you see that you are now outside the estate, in some sort of garden. For the moment, you are shielded from the estate windows by a shoulder-high hedge, which stretches some distance until it curves around. On the other side of the hedge’s far wall, you can see what appears to be several carriages, hooked up to wyverns. Your guide extends a finger to point at them.

    “Those air carriages are destined for the Gastly Truth, the Baron’s personal airship. He is leaving his estate behind, and it seems as if he does not intend to return for some time. Your daughter and Pyrene the Temptress have already been loaded aboard one of them. In all probability, they are already aboard the Gastly Truth. You need to sneak onto one of those carriages, and get up there if you want to fulfill our agreement. They seem to be almost finished loading – I believe this is the last convoy. You had better hurry.”

    Turning away with a flutter of her cloak, the woman begins walking straight towards the nearby hedge wall.

    “I must be going now.”

    Slowly, the woman fades away into shadow, and before she reaches the hedge she is gone completely. You are alone, although you can hear the shouts of lackeys scrambling to finish loading the air carriages.

    Lonna

    Unfortunately, no reassuring cackle or pint-sized talons biting in your flesh is forthcoming. Garthax apparently has been abandoned but not forgotten. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that the little **** has finally found something to entertain himself with, and you would never hear from him again. A thought which was both slightly revealing and rather disappointing at the same time.

    At your introduction, Rose quirks an eyebrow.

    “I must admit, while no stranger to nobility I do not believe I have ever met a princess before. Of course, neither have I ever heard of this “Faedra” you mentioned.”

    Rose snorts as she leans back into her chair once more.

    “Of course, I’m also used to dealing with life’s little oddities. And more than a share of its tragedies.”

    The noblewoman sighs.

    “I must say, it’s hard to determine which of my families is more insane – the one I was born into, or the one I was married into. I suppose it’s all one and the same for us nobleman’s daughters in the end.”

    The woman shoots a glance at the Countess and smiles wanly.

    “I hear you’ll be joining us soon. You have my sympathies – Cheran is an unsophisticated oaf.”

    The Countess looks at Rose curiously.

    “I don’t believe I recall which family you trace ancestry to? You would think a woman of the court would now these things, but I didn’t have much time to familiarize myself with such things before I was abducted from my own home!”

    Rose shakes her head.

    “I’m sorry to hear that. I guess my arranged marriage to Seraph was fortunate after all then. Of course, I am known as Rose Gast now, but at birth I was known as Rose Volesin.”

    “V-Volesin!??” The Countess stammers, shooting you a horrified look. Not noticing with her eyes closed, Rose continues.

    “Yes. You said you were both there at Ironheart – did you know that in addition to losing my unborn son, I lost both of my brothers there as well? Admittedly, I hadn’t seen or spoken with them for years, but the wound is still there. Yet one more that I shall have to bear for the rest of my life, I suppose.”

    Fortunately, this increasingly awkward conversation is stopped by Seraph and Katrina’s arrival. The young rebel comes around quickly as the air carriage takes off into the sky. She gives a low groan of frustration at your greeting.

    “Just great. The Baron finds out, and now he wants everyone to know in order to humiliate me!”

    “I’m pretty sure I heard some of the guards talking about a procession in front of the Gastly Truth’s entire crew later.” The Countess said with a slight smile, though the joke did little to soften Katrina’s mood.

    Her facial scar turning her frown into a sneer as she examines all three of you, Katrina pauses to examine Rose curiously.

    “I remember Countess Amelia and the world-famous whore, but I don’t think we’ve every met.”

    Looking at her evenly with a slight smirk, Rose says, “Ah yes, I am Rose Gast, formerly Rose Volesin, wife to Seraphan Gast. The pleasure is all mine. And you are?”

    “You’re damn right the pleasure is all yours, you dirty bitch! I’m Katrina Alstan, formerly Kris, daughter of Korram Alstan! Your husband butchered my entire village!”

    Her smirk fading, Rose nods sadly. “That must have been before our marriage. Seraph . . . is a different person now. Or at least, I thought he was.”

    “Well you thought wrong, because I say he’s still the same murderous ******* he was then! And when I get out of here, I’m going to kill him!”

    Rose sighs in irritation and looks at Katrina with a frown.

    “Considering it was my husband who dragged you in here unconscious and in chains, I find that hard to believe.”

    Starting to struggle violently against the restraints holding her in the seat, Katrina shouts back, “Shut up! Just shut up! I’m sick of you Gasts, every last one of you! I’ll kill every last one of you, starting with you! Just as soon as I get out of this seat!”

    The Countess looks at you dejectedly.

    “This is going to be a long flight, isn’t it?”

    Despite the Countess’s dire prediction, the trip up to the Baron’s personal airship doesn’t take very long at all. Within a few minutes, the carriage rumbles to a halt, and a number of guards fling the doors open. Taking one look at Katrina, still struggling loudly and futilely in her seat, one of the guards sets inside with a laugh, swiftly rendering her unconscious again with a few hard blows. The guards then haul Katrina’s comatose body out of the carriage.

    The guard then helps Rose out of her seat, where she is gently escorted out. The Countess is likewise treated with care, although with not nearly as much respect. You, however, are treated with no care or respect, roughly dragged out of your seat and literally thrown out of the carriage. You land on the hard metal floor outside heavily, just barley managing to throw your arms out in time to slow your fall.

    “Take this little tramp down to the Brig.” One of the guards grunts to the other, and you are swiftly lead in the opposite direction from the other women. You are dragged down a number of corridors, a maze of interlocking metal hallways much in the fashion of Ironheart. Eventually, you pass through a number of security checkpoints, mostly manned by the Baron’s strange construct soldiers, and finally arrive at the Brig.

    The guards escort you into one of the cells, which seem to contain a variety of security features far beyond what would be required to keep you here. Thankfully, the guards don’t seem particularly interested in using such measures beyond the heavy adamantine door and attaching your shackles to the far wall.

    No sooner have the guards left (some with promises to return later), but the door opens again, admitting the man you noticing sitting behind the desk in the Brig’s foyer. He smirks as he saunters to a stop a foot or two from you.

    “Why, hello there. I’m Larry, the warden of this little brig.”

    With the tip of his club, he pulls down one sleeve of your dress, revealing the numbers burned into your arm.

    “I see you’re from Ironheart. Well, fancy that – so am I! I was an elite guard there, before that whole demon mess, and now here I am. So, I guess, since you spent some time in Ironheart, you’re probably familiar with how we do things around here.”

    Without further preamble, Larry swings his club around into your stomach, doubling you over. Then he smoothly slides his club up under your chin, reaching around behind your head to grab the other end of the club with his free hand. Then he pulls up and back, not hard enough to seriously restrict your breathing, but hard enough to convince you that he could. By means of the club, Larry brings your head up and around to look at the confines of your cell.

    “It’s been awhile for both of us, I think. So why don’t we get reacquainted with the old ways together, hmm? From what I hear, you’re going to be spending quite a bit of time down here. At least, when you’re not let out to play with Cheran . . . or worse yet, the Herald! I hope you come to look fondly on our little together time.”

    You had no idea who this Herald was, but if the guard thought he was worse than Cheran, well . . . And of course, the idea of being choked, beat, and molested by some ******* guard from Ironheart was hardly appealing, either. Fortunately, at this point Larry’s little introduction is interrupted as a loud knocking comes from the door to your cell.

    “What the . . .” Larry grunts, releasing you and walking over to the door. Opening it, the “warden” of the brig reveals a winged man standing in the doorway. It is not Seraph or Cheran, but some other son of the Baron, this one with wings as white as snow. He looks oddly . . . troubled, and his eyes constantly shift, never resting long on any one point.

    “S-Sir Nephilium! What is it, sir?”

    The man’s eyes briefly settle on you.

    “This is the new prisoner?”

    “Yes sir! I was just introducing her to her new home!”

    The hint of a frown quirks on Nephilium’s mouth, but he nods at the man.

    “Good. Now leave. Having only one ball, two boys must play catch.”

    At the guard’s befuddled stare, Nephilium growls in frustration.

    “My turn now. I’ll finish her “introduction”.”

    The Baron’s son holds out his hand expectantly, and reluctantly Larry deposits a ring of keys into his hand. With a pat on the head, Nephilium shoves the former guard out the door, closing it shut behind him. Sagging with a sigh, Nephilium leans back against the door for a moment, and then walks over to you.

    To your surprise, he swiftly removes your manacles, and then pocketing the ring of keys, turns away from you and paces back to the middle of the floor, where he plops himself down.

    “So. Introductions are important.” He says, reaching out to pat a spot on the floor in front of him. “I am Sir Nephilium. You are?”

    Dawn’s Hope - Monastery

    Baerdog7/Archpaladin Zousha

    The Abbot looks down at the dead angels sadly.

    “So they’re not some abomination in disguise. That makes this more complicated . . . and tragic.”

    He motions to the doors.

    “Let’s retire to my office. We can discuss matters there with a few others. The rest will attend to the bodies, both for study and to see that they get a proper . . . burial, I suppose.”

    The Abbot takes one last look at the dead angels with a sigh.

    “In any case, I agree with your assessment Ander. Hondshioh has proven himself today.”

    Motioning the half-giant to follow, the Abbot and several of the chief instructors at the monastery file out of the room. A few minutes later, the group reconvenes inside of the Abbot’s office near the top of the monastery, which is considerably more cramped than usual with seven people in it at once.

    Settling behind his desk, the Abbot sighs as he nods at Ander.

    “I think after that little demonstration, your accusations against the Church are irrefutable. But even with our support, there are still going to be issues. Not all of the acolytes are going to follow you in joining Karth against the Council. Many people have lost friends and family during Karth’s last brutal crusade. And there’s also the town to consider. Many townsfolk aren’t going to want any part in this war, but Karth will force the issue. We can’t stand against the Church on our own either. Can we count on the Valkyrie for any other aid?”

    Stonefall

    The Surrounding Forest

    The_Snark

    His face falling at your words, Istomilo sighs and nods. Then, he sets Pyria down with a forced smile.

    “Why don’t you run along and play now. Marisiel and I have to talk business.”

    Giving her apparent father a forlorn look, the princess of Phaedra slowly nods, gives you a brief glance, and then is skipping down the hallway away. Istomilo waits until she is some distance down the hallway before sighing. It was unfortunate that the little abomination was going to pass out of your sight, but it seemed unlikely she would be able to commit an atrocity in the next few minutes. You would eventually find her again if you had to search, and perhaps you could convince Istomilo the wrongness of his actions. It seemed unlikely that the human would surrender his own daughter for destruction, but there was always hope. Istomilo, for his part, was clearly uncomfortable with this situation, and started to speak several times before he finally gave a defeated sigh.

    “Alright. I cannot hide anything from you, Marisiel. Titania will be very upset with me, but, well . . . I guess that cannot be helped.”

    Istomilo paused for a moment, looking both ways down the hallway before leaning in closer to you, as if someone might overhear.

    “Titania has not been entirely herself for years now. Not since Lord Dacian graced us with his presence nearly nine years ago.”

    That would be about a year after your departure. You were surprised that Dacian would make such a journey, but admitted it made sense. While Elandra continued to watch the Forger of Oblivion’s prison, he would be able to move about and remain in contact with the rest of humanity. In any event, you trusted the former two avatars of the Divine Couple to handle their appointed task, just as you had handled yours. Or how you thought you had handled yours, but apparently the humans had missed something in your lessons.

    “About a year after that was when the real trouble started, however. Queen Titania . . . fell ill. No, not just ill . . . she was dying. You must understand, Marisiel, at that time there was no talk of me being the Queen’s consort, no thought of Pyria. We were a young kingdom with a young queen. No thought had been made towards succession yet . . . the aftermath of the Queen’s death could have destroyed everything we had worked for!”

    Istomilo takes a deep, nervous breath, and then continues.

    “And so . . . well, we couldn’t let that happen, could we? We looked into ways of extending the Queen’s lifespan. We discovered binding spirits, among other magicks, to be quite effective in slowing the progress of her illness. And then well . . . things just sort of spiraled out from there. Others eventually heard of what we were doing, and thought that if the Queen could do it, it was permissible for them as well. We tried to regulate it at first, but eventually the desire for progress and knowledge overrode all over concerns.”

    Istomilo gestured after the hallway that Pyria had disappeared down.

    “In a way, Pyria is another result of that. After Titania’s “recovery”, she was painfully aware of her own mortality. She wished to ensure that there would be no question of succession in the future, and . . . I reluctantly agreed to be her consort. And then, after Pyria was born, we wondered why bother with succession at all? Future generations might not remember the dark days of the Apocalypse, might not remember all the good things you and the Valkyrie have done for us. And they might slowly, over generations, descend into heresy.”

    Istomilo’s voice begins to strengthen as his fervor increases – this obviously was a topic he felt strongly about.

    “So, we thought it would be best to discover a ruler that would not have to be replaced. That would not die, and fade into memory. A ruler not weighed down by the passage of time, but would spring forth eternally, governing her people fairly and justly for all time! Do you understand, Mariseil? We just wanted what was best for Phaedra. We didn’t want to chance the survival of our kingdom to the vulgarities of time! So, by making an immortal ruler, we could ensure that Phaedra would always remain strong, steadfast in its loyalty to the gods! . . . Isn’t that worth violating a few of our more minor oaths to the Valkyrie and the Lightbringer!?”

    The City of Amaranth

    The (Destroyed) City Slums

    Iethloc

    I am ready to depart.

    Omega winces as she walks over to join you.

    I am feeling . . . drained, however. Hopefully once we arrive at your former residence there will be an opportunity to rest.

    On my way back, almost there! Found a body . . . it’s just taking a little bit to get used to.

    A few moments later, and the body of a woman stumbles into the clearing of buildings. She frowns with annoyance as she brushes a lock of blond hair out of her face.

    This was the only intact body I was able to find. Believe me, I looked! It’s really weird, being in someone else’s body. Least I don’t have to listen to anyone else except you and Omega . . .

    The woman peeks down her shirt.

    And it’s not all bad, I suppose. But you are definitely getting me back in my old body, in one piece, Sohssal! I’m still not letting you off the hook on that!

    You now felt ready to teleport out of here and leave this place behind for now. Off to one side, Seymour and Mellita were watching Umber’s scrying efforts and your strange group in confusion, obviously not part of your mental network nor privy to Umber’s conversation. Of course, their opinion didn’t really matter, although it might be wise to arrange a future meeting with Seymour in the event you wished to return here.

    As for returning to your laboratory, you knew that you had two options. You had set up numerous defenses around your estate to protect against intrusions, magical or otherwise, but had left two points open. One was the teleportation circle in the middle of your laboratory, which was set up to scramble anyone it didn’t recognize into bits upon reformation. Your presence should protect Omega and Roger from that effect, but of course if any of the spells had become corrupted during your absence you might be in for an unpleasant surprise. And of course, if anything had taken up residence in your old home despite your precautions, you would be dropping into the middle of it.

    The other option was the small teleportation circle you had set up at the far end of the island, primarily as a backup and emergency escape circle. It was isolated and relatively unwarded, which meant a stop there would care little risk. It was also about a two hour hike from there to your estate, something which wasn’t a concern to you except the time it would take. However, it would also give you a chance to examine your old home from afar, in the event trouble was awaiting your return.

    Either way, of course, if anything was wrong with your laboratory, something would have to be done about it. Specifically, something would have to be done to whoever was responsible for the latest of a string of annoyances you had suffered since the start of your escape.

    Darth Malevo

    Covering your hands and feet in bone, you descend upon the zombies from above like an angry god. Your limbs turn weapons were indeed your moneymakers in this situation, and you had no qualms about shaking them in this dance of death. Or dance of redeath, considering these were zombies that you were fighting. In any case, the pathetic creations of some necrophiliac hack were quickly hacked apart, leaving you and the boy alone in the alley.

    Dropping down from his ledge with a cheer, the boy approaches you, looking up at you in wonder. Despite being what you would judge to be a mere human boy with no more than twelve years of ripening, he was a curious sight. To your skilled eye, there was something . . . off in his movements. It wasn’t anything you could put your finger on, and the boy didn’t seem injured or altered in any way from your standard twelve-year old brat, but the difference was there all the same.

    “That was just swell, mister! Say, I need to get back to my father. It’s late, and I’m sure he’s worried about me by now! Do you think you could escort me back home? I’m sure my dad would be grateful! And . . . and, gee, he’s an important man in the city! It sure would be good for you to be on his good side!”

    WhiteKnight777

    Fianna listens to your words intently, and stands there in thought for one long moment. And then she laughs. It is a cold, disturbing sound, for it lacks any warmth, any mirth, anything that would make it more than a laugh in name only. It is a hollow, empty gesture, reproduced from a memory without any real concept of the actual action.

    “I told you before, Umber, I already have my cure. The only true cure there is to this pointless existence: Death. Utter, final, death. My attempt to gift the rest of the world with this relief has failed, but I have another method to cure myself at least. So I have no need of your help, Umber. I have already wasted enough time on your half-measured attempts to “cure” us. I have no desire to be blindfolded to the truth again. Go pursue your ignorance somewhere else – maybe with that thinblooded tramp of Helion’s.”

    Along with the barbed words, Fianna gestures and stabs a sharp spike of pain into your right temple. Your vision momentarily grays as the scrying pool violently shatters from the counterspell. That certainly had not gone as well as you would have hoped, but at least you now knew your love was in the capital. And that she was still intent on offing herself, permanently, and apparently somehow had the means to do so. You didn’t have much time.

    The Gastly Truth

    Pwenet

    The dragon rumbles what your memories judge to be the draconic form of laughter.

    “Why? I believe, as you humans say, that I’ve already made you my bitch.”

    At your question, the dragon shrugs.

    “I do not know. She carved these runes into my stone hide with her bare fingers, and there was a disquieting aura about her. I don’t know where she is, nor have I seen her since our first meeting. I believe the Baron called her “Alya”, however – she was definitely not your lady friend from the battle beneath Ironheart.”

    That was disappointing – where exactly was Katashiko then? On the plus side, it did meant that she was apparently free for the moment, and not under the Baron’s thumb as everyone else seemed to be. Everyone else . . . you dimly remember the others who fought with you, and won the battle after your death. But you can’t quite remember them beyond hazy shapes at this point, despite knowing you met several of them personally.

    At your offer of forgiveness, the dragon nods.

    “Good. I am . . . tired . . . of our ceaseless struggle. I have no desire to expend any energy in continuing our feud now that I have what I want, more or less. Unfortunately, I don’t think I do have the power to free you from whatever shackles the Baron has put on you.”

    “I have your freedom right here, in my mouth.” A new voice suddenly calls from a grate in the floor.

    “It’s quite touching, listening to the two of you yammer at each other, but I’m starting to get hungry. Why don’t you come down here then, and let me grant you the freedom you crave? The freedom of the grave, of complete and total Oblivion!”

    The voice cackle madly, and you can hear a loud sniffing sound from below. Images of a dark, winged figure are conjured into your mind by the voice, and a scene of you crashing down from above onto it fill your mind. For his part, Akor growls.

    “I see my “cellmate” has finally decided to join in on our conversation.”

    Suddenly, the voice from below snarls angrily.

    “You! Oh, I recognize the stench . . . you were there at the battle! You blew my head apart, not that it did you any good. Come down here, let me do the same to you! I will give you a feast of agony before you pass beyond the reach of any whore god to save you!”

    “Apparently the Baron has decided even mad dogs like the Herald of Azguloth might someday have a use again. More’s the pity.”

    The Hells

    The Screaming Dark Estate

    OverWilliam

    Melcara nods and palms the offered dagger.

    “I’ll handle it.”

    As the fallen angel steps forward, Limier reaches out to stop her.

    “Perhaps we can settle this without violence? I’m sure Lord Vylethar would like to cut a deal given how many slaves he now has running amok inside his estate.”

    Melcara quirks an eyebrow as she turns towards the assassin.

    “So, you’re . . . I wouldn’t have guessed. I agree that there is a simple solution to this.”

    In one smooth motion, Melcara shoves Limier back with one hand while she brings her other around in a wicked punch. The blow knocks Limier to the floor, sending her sliding to a halt against the nearby wall completely out-cold. Melcara nods in satisfaction while Jim looks on in amazement and you down the healing potion.

    “Unfortunately, in this case, violence truly is the simplest solution.”

    Stepping out into plain sight, Melcara raises her hands.

    “Hail, Lord of the Screaming Dark estate! I am Melcara, and I have come with an offer!”

    Not relinquishing his grip on Adamè, Vylethar grunts in surprise.

    “An angel, down here!?”

    Shuffling a foot closer to the edge of the stairway, Vylethar peers down in curiosity.

    “A fallen angel, no less! . . . Why aren’t you insane?”

    “I just got here.” Melcara counters with a self-conscious smile. “But considering what you are, I doubt the condition of my mind concerns you.”

    Raising her arms over her head, Melcara does a slow pirouette. Vylethar gives a low chuckle, and hums appreciatively.

    “True, true. So what’s your offer? Release the girl or you’ll break my neck?”

    Melcara gives a dry chuckle as she shuffles a few steps forward.

    “Oh no. I think you’ll like this offer: myself for the girl.”

    Now it’s Vylethar’s turn to laugh.

    “And where would I release her? I doubt she would find anywhere else that’s safer in this place. Just as I doubt you wouldn’t snap my neck as soon as she was out the door.”

    Melcara shuffles a few more steps forward.

    “You and I both know that she doesn’t belong here. She deserves to return to the realm of mortals and live out the remainder of her life, so that her soul can be judged properly. Same as his.”

    Melcara nods at the prone form of Teareal.

    “And certainly, there are ways of keeping me here against my will.”

    Vylethar eyes the broken chains still hanging off the fallen angel’s arms.

    “Because that worked well so far. And regardless of whether she belongs here or not, it’s not as if I can just pat her on the head and send her home. I’m influential, not powerful. I can’t just wave my hands and conjure up a portal!”

    Melcara shuffles forward again, bringing her almost to within arm’s reach of Vivian and Madeline. She places her hands on the back of her head and kneels down.

    “Then we can find one. Until then, you can keep the girl as insurance against my cooperation. Either way, you’re sure to be . . . satisfied.”

    Vylethar eases his grip on Adamè, waving his small army of girls forward.

    “Alright. We’ll see how well you can hold up your end of the bargain first. Then I’ll start looking for a way to send her home.”

    With a subtle gesture, Melcara produces the knife you had given her.

    “Actually, another offer just presented itself.”

    In a smooth motion, Melcara rises to her feet and flicks the knife. It sails through the air perfectly, embedding itself in between Vylethar’s eyes. Blood oozes out of the wound, and Vylethar swoons, nearly sending Adamè toppling down the stairs.

    “You . . . winged . . . bitch.” He manages to grate out before disintegrating into a pile of ashes, leaving Adamè unharmed at the top of the stairs. As before, with his death the spell over the women is broken, and they immediately begin arguing amongst themselves.

    Vivian edges back away from Teareal, her masked face turning back and forth as she looked for an exit. Madeline meanwhile, ignites her makeshift club in holy light as she steps forward and brings it around into Melcara’s face. The fallen angel’s head snaps backwards, allowing you to see the blackened scar left by the blessed club’s impact. As the former paladin brings her weapon around again, Melcara reacts in a blur, catching it in one hand. Smoke begins to slowly waft from Melcara’s hand as she holds the weapon immobile. With her other, the fallen angel grabs the fallen paladin by the throat and lifts her up off her feet effortlessly. Once again, take away the devils, and everything explodes into chaos.

    The Perist Residence

    Kasanip

    The corpse gives a harsh chuckle at your offer to make a deal.

    “How apropos, answering a question with a question! Perhaps your mortals aren’t completely foolish after all.”

    The corpse clacks his teeth at you.

    “Very well. This time I’ll speak plain.”

    Despite the mystical bindings, the creature manages to dig its fingernails into its palm. Predictably, nothing more than a few globs of congealed blood seep out. The corpse sneers in irritation.

    “This body is meant for function, not fulfillment! For the taste of air again, I was willing to join with it, but I now desire . . . more. I want to feel the beating of a heart, the slow expansion of one’s chest with every breath.”

    Leering, the corpse twists its neck to an unusual angle as it nods at Cherise, and then at you.

    “I don’t want the old man, and the boy doesn’t interest me either. I want your friend . . . you would do in a pinch as well. I want to wear your skin . . . I can show you how. In exchange for a few minutes, I’ll answer whatever questions I’m willing to answer.”

    The group stands in stunned silence for a moment, and then both Berrick and Carlain burst into outrage.

    “Just shut up and tell us what we want to know! Or things are going to get messy!”

    “I don’t think this is a good idea. There’s no telling what consequences such a deal will have.”

    “I’ll do it.” Cherise says quietly. “We need answers, and if this is the only way to get them . . .” Cherise smiles thinly at you. “And you’re quicker on your feet Is. If something does go wrong, you’ll probably be able to fix it better than I could. Unless you don’t think it’s a good idea either.”

    The Capital

    Tackyhillbillu

    The Hand agent’s face tightens with anger, while Brock gives a boisterous laugh at your offer.

    “Well now, that’s a mighty generous offer you have there Argan. But I suppose like all good snitches, you’d do anything to save your life.”

    “This is all your fault, you and your incompetent organization!” The Hand agent hissed, rounding on Brock. Side by side, it’s clear that the agent is nearly a head shorter than the burly master thief. It’s also clear that Brock is still not threatened by the Baron’s servant as he waves him off.

    “Somebody always knows something. It’s just a matter of convincing them not to tell anybody else.”

    “What else could that somebody know!? This entire operation could be compromised! Clean this mess up!

    With a last angry wave of his hand, the Hand agent stormed off, stomping down the stairs and leaving you alone with the thieves. 4 on 1 . . . still terrible odds, and despite his easy-going nature you can tell that Brock knows how to handle himself. With a smirk, he waves good-bye to the Hand agent, and then turns his attention back to you.

    “So, you’re a snitch for the Watch, eh? And now you want to be my snitch.”

    Sauntering up to you, Brock eyes you up and down carefully. Finally, he shrugs.

    “Alright. You got a week to find out everything the Watch knows about my relationship with the Baron. I want to know what they know, how they know, and who’s in charge of the investigation. Get me that, and you can crawl back under whatever hole you live under. Don’t, and well . . . nobody’s going to miss you.”

    Gesturing to his associates, Brock turns and starts walking down the stairs.

    “Alright, we’re done here. Take care of this, boys.”

    A moment later, something hard that you strongly suspect is the butt of a crossbow slams into your back. The other two crossbow wielders close in, choosing to make use of their fists and feet instead. The beating is brutal, but fairly short – the intention was merely to cause pain, not cripple you. Despite your distaste for pain, you had endured far worse during your training as the Baron’s lapdog assassin.

    Finally, grabbing your arms, two of them drag you outside, dropping you unceremoniously out front of the safehouse. Alive, and relatively unharmed despite a bit bloodied, which was far better than you had been expecting a few minutes ago. Apparently, your luck was still more or less holding.

    Of course, you also only had a week to find out what was going on before you will need to dodge murderous thieves. You could probably flee town instead, but you weren’t sure how long of a memory the Thieves Guild had, nor how long of an arm they possessed outside the capital city limits. And you were already in this mess, and both your curiosity and ire had been raised. You might be in too deep to just drop it all now.

    The Northern Forest

    Gorgondantess

    As you have learned first hand, your assailant is well trained and well equipped. As such, he is prepared for your sudden assault and begins to twist out of the way of your lunge. But your body was a construct used for your convenience, and thus not bound by any natural law. Your assailant, on the other hand, was still in the end human, with very human limitations.

    Both rocks slam into the man’s knees with force nearly sufficient to quite literally tear them in half. Legs bent at an unnatural angle, the man collapses backwards into the stream. Somehow, despite what you are sure was quite excruciating pain, the man endured his injuries with little more than a low groan.

    Dragging himself up into a half-sitting position, the man leans up against the bank of the stream, still glaring at you with hate in his eyes. Then, he quite deliberately swings his daggers up, driving them into his eyes, and into his brain beyond. Abruptly, the low-pitched moan of pain stops, as does the man’s heart as he slumps.

    With a loud sputter, Richard drags himself back up onto his feet, clenching his hands into fists again as he splashes about drunkenly.

    “Where is he!? Where is – oh, there he is. He’s dead, ain’t he? Never seen anybody move that fast ‘fore.”

    Richard peers at your injuries in open-mouthed shock.

    “Good gods! W-wha . . . what the Hells are you!?”

    Unfortunately, whatever explanation you could manage would have to be cut short. In the distance, you can see several more flickers of darkness against the background of the forest. Three more black-clad figures were rapidly approaching the stream. One of them had nearly driven you to the brink of . . . death, wasn’t that what humans called it?

    You had never really considered the possibility of your own death, despite witnessing it occur to creatures, from humans to earthworms, on a number of occasions. But if that would not have been the end result of your first assailant’s actions, you are concerned what would have happened instead. It certainly was not something you wished to find out the answer to in the immediate future, despite these three new assailants undoubtedly wanting to give you just that.

    (I believe the Big Bad Wolf said it best – “Run away, little girl! Run away!” Or not, since a crazy Maria going all out could probably repeat the rock+knee trick a couple more times. )
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  15. - Top - End - #465
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kasanip's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Japan
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Isera Harvent

    Isera could feel her heart pounding in her chest. This was absolutely not the decision she wanted to make. Hell, of course she didn't like the idea! She hated it to her core so much that she felt her heart racing and her mouth go dry just at the thought of it. No no no no no. Not Cerise. There were too many unknowns for Isera to allow something like that. Wear her skin? Just the phrase was frightening enough and didn't conjure up images of a painless return to normalcy afterwords. A few minutes exchange... How long was a few minutes? Theoretically as long as the creature wanted, as far as they could tell! And even then, it promised no answers - only what it was willing to!
    Good ol' Berrick had summed it up quite succinctly with his caution.

    But...

    Isera couldn't conjure another plan out of the reaches of her mind. Cerise was offering one, and though it wasn't a good one (no, it was outright a terrible bargain), there was no alternative that Isera could see. Maybe if she wasn't struggling with the puppet body and spell, she would have had the clarity of mind to think up another. But Cerise's words were true. Isera would have offered herself a hundred times before Cerise, but no one else in the group would be able to stop her if the monster took control of her body for it's evil. An anguishing decision, but Isera knew that if she did that, the monster might slay Cerise with her own hands and arms. A sickening thought that was more frighteningly true than she would have liked to imagine.
    But Cerise's confidence gave Isera a bit of her own. If Cerise did agree, they had a very valuable chance to learn more about this foe. And if things started to sour, Isera would not hesitate to pull out the stops - a quick Nir Lige double syllable bind should keep her in place - the single version had worked on the puppet afterall. After that she'd commence with a proper exorcism and banish said creature to whatever otherlife it had come from.

    ...But Cerise could build barriers and use runes as well. She had shielded them from the monster's first attack, and Isera knew she knew binds and spells of her own. She had practiced some of them on Isera back when they were just children, and she was by no means slow. Would allowing the creature take Cerise's body be less dangerous than allowing it control of her own? Isera wasn't sure, but she knew that really when it came down to it, she was willing to sacrifice her own life for the sake of her friend. Her sister. And with that realization, Isera knew she could never accept Cerise's plan. There was no guarantee that Cerise would not end up looking like the horrid puppet before them now, and Isera would never allow that to happen to her. Silently she thought bitterly that dealing with the supernatural was always easier when one was alone.

    The cold sweat on the back of her neck hastened her need to respond. Isera couldn't show any fear or worry here. It was a master's game of analysis - bargaining with this foe already put them in a strange position of equals; for the moment. But it wasn't truly a game of equals. Isera had played this little game enough times with supernatural entities to know that. It was a game of knowledge and cunning - maneuver and prying without revealing. That was why spirits and demons loved it. No matter the difference in power or ability, the game of the mind was a game of challenge unlike any other. But here, if the creature could read the fear for Cerise hidden in Isera's heart, then whatever bargaining chips they held would be forfeit.

    And so Isera gave a cool smile and a wink with her human eye to Cerise.
    "Well, I can't say I like the idea Cerise. In fact, I have to say it's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard you say. And you know better than I do that you're a far superior magus than I could ever hope to be. I'll do it instead."

    She shrugged and grinned slyly at Berrick, purposefully skipping over Carlain. "And if smiley here decides to not fulfill his half of the deal, well, I'll forgive you for incinerating me." A bluff perhaps, though technically true if it came between her and Cerise. But she didn't say it to Carlain because, unlike the gruff veteran, Isera actually believed the kid would do it without hesitation...and she did prefer living.

    She turned her gaze back to the monster. "Two minutes... Two minutes of breathing fresh air, two minutes of a beating heart and warm blood... Two minutes inside the perfection you see here." She said with a toothy grin. "You will answer all of their questions in that time. Is that agreeable?"

    (ooc: I hate dilemmas and the unknown. I think this game may make me sick to my stomach in worry for the characters... Now I won't sleep for a week until the next update *sigh* Be gentle please... )
    Last edited by Kasanip; 2009-11-07 at 06:03 AM.
    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
    It is difficult to speak English, please excuse mistakes kindly m(_ _)m

  16. - Top - End - #466
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OverWilliam's Avatar

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    Dec 2007
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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    ~Tare

    Tare downed the Healing potion and gasped in relief as he felt it spreading through his body. Truly, it was some quality stuff that Limier carried around, and Tare felt his physical body refreshed and rejuvenated. Unfortunately... the 'hollowness' in his chest remained, not painful, but concerning...

    Tare wanted to cheer and clap when Melcara sent the silver dagger into Vylethar's skull for the second time that same day. Only moments before he'd groaned to himself, remembering Vylethar's putrid aura and wondering if even Angels were weak against its influence. In the end, though, it was a feint of such brilliance, a bluff of such master quality that Tare felt himself respecting the Fallen Angel even more.

    Then things started getting messy.

    Tare wished he could activate his speed charm again, but instinctively knew that even if he tried that no magical energy would respond to his call. Instead he simply ran as quickly as he could, scaling the short flight of stairs three at a time, having to dodge a few swung clubs here and there and a piece of airborne pottery at least once, but managing to get up the flight of stairs mostly unharmed. He glanced over at Melcara and Madeline, immediately saddened that they were attacking each other... but not knowing what to do to stop it, or even if that was the right thing to do. There was another, more pressing thing he needed to do first, though. "Adame'!" He said, actually skidding to a halt in front of the planarly displaced elf, putting his hands on her shoulders to keep her from falling over. "Adame', are you all right? Are you hurt?" He said, looking at her neck and seeing, thankfully, that Vylethar's knife had done no damage at all. "I am so sorry, Adame', I got you into this, and then I had to leave you behind for a little while to go find Teareal," He said, actually dropping to his knees in front of the elf girl whose trust he had no doubt betrayed earlier. "What I said earlier was a Lie for Vylethar, I didn't mean any of it." He tried to explain, but still didn't doubt that he would not be forgiven that easily.
    Deo Soli Sit Semper Gloria

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    Quote Originally Posted by Innis Cabal View Post
    Its offical. Overwilliam is Duke Devlin.

  17. - Top - End - #467
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Argan

    As the snitches face cloulded in anger, and Brock started laughing, Argan knew he had won. It had been a gamble but that was life. He kept his face absoulutely still. Even if either way he was going to be happy, best to keep that under control. He listened to the bickering, and then watched the Hand storm off. Changed the odds, but not near enough to make escape a possibility. He nodded at Brock's instructions.

    Seems fair.

    Argan had a faint idea of what 'take care of this' meant, and just resigned himself to it. It hurt, of course. That was what beatings did. If you stayed in control, however, it wouldn't break you. Shortly after that, he found himself outside, lying on the ground.

    Well... that could have gone better. But I'm not dead. Thats always a plus.

    And he'd gained a week. It was still true that if he was smart, he'd be making a dash for the walls. But, he wasn't smart. That was that. Things were settled on that score. Deciding that lying on the ground in front of the safehouse was a terrible idea. He carefully picked himself up, ignoring twinges of pain he felt. He turned and started to walk home, dusting himself off as he walked. As he returned to the Silver Bell, he hummed softly, and thought of his options.

    Let's see. I can either try to find a Thief, and interrogate him, or break into the Guard's stock room, and find whatever they siezed that was so concerning. I'm willing to bet Brock has somebody watching me...

    Argan hadn't seen anybody, but it was more likely then not. And in this environment, it wasn't hard to keep out of sight. So that meant he'd be breaking into the Guard's Headquarters.

    Maybe at the same time I can give Brock something else to worry about.

  18. - Top - End - #468
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Korram Alstan

    Korram nods grimly as the woman instructs him and then stares sourly after her when she departs. Of course she couldn't have put him on the ship, that would have made one part of his incredibly daunting task easy, and we couldn't have that, oh no. That would be against the gorram rules. He really needs to find religion so he has someone to blame this on.

    Korram's mental tirade devolves into incoherent muttering as he begins his stealthy approach to the carriages. He avoids contact with any of the lackeys, and is somewhat satisfied that his abilities at sneaking, at least, are still as sharp as ever. He can't kill anyone; the odds are good the body would be found, and that just ends badly.

    Peaking around a corner, he sees an opportunity and flits closer to one the carriages. He is almost at the carriages themselves when his shrub cover stops. Quickly evaluating his options, he looks around quickly, selects a carriage on the fringe, and dashes towards it when no one is looking. He thankfully remains undetected, and quickly slips silently inside, closing the door behind him before turning to whoever else is within.
    Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.

  19. - Top - End - #469
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Umber

    Umber gritted his teeth - a surge of emotion flooded him, stronger than he had felt in ages: Rage. Pain. And most of all, fear. He fought it back, gritting his teeth against it. He was Umber, damnit. Umber, Lord of Blood, and he was not going to be ruled by a few chemicals being squirted into his bloodstream by long-dormant organs, nor by the primitive urgings of a few pounds of gray meat. He was going to save the woman he loved, and nothing, not the hosts of heaven nor the hordes of hell were going to stop him.

    But time was fleeting. And he could feel it slipping through his fingers.

    He whirled to Seymour, his voice clipped and commanding. "Magister - I have great need of haste, but the boy is in no condition to travel. I must ask you to see to him until I return - which I will do, presuming I am able. There is money in an old tomb in the graveyard." he said, giving the magister a sheet on which he had hastily scribbled directions. "It should be more than enough to compensate for his care, if it becomes necessary to make permanent arrangements"

    Umber looked out over the shattered remains of Kartul's temple, and his hands began to move. Like a potter sculpting clay, he shaped both stone and mystic energy, the obsidian shards flowing together to form a great four-legged beast - a horse, perhaps, or the primitive ancestor of one - but its flesh of smooth, polished stone moved as easily as skin and bone. Green balefires awoke and its eyes, and green flame formed its mane and tail, and wreathed around its hooves as Umber mounted it. With a wild cry, he urged the beast up into the air, moving more swiftly than any mortal beast, leaving faint trails of green fire in the air as he thundered through the sky, planning desperately how he would save the one woman he had ever loved - or, failing that, end her pain.

  20. - Top - End - #470
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Pyrene

    After Rose's revelation of her family connections, Pyrene met the Countess' horrified gaze with her own pained one, mouthing "my fault, not yours" before turning back to Rose with a look of sympathy. "I am truly sorry for your loss."

    A bit later, during Katrina's temper tantrum, Pyrene sighs, nodding at Amelia's comment. "We should save our energy," she commented, pointedly not looking at Katrina as she spoke. "There's no knowing what will happen when we arrive."

    Pyrene didn't struggle as she was taken to the brig, but neither did she cooperate. Moving just enough to avoid provoking an unnecessary beating from the guards, she nevertheless managed to make them all but carry her to her new cell. Of course, the appearance of the warden immediately after the guards left made her doubt that she was going to avoid a beating after all. Despite this knowledge, she was still caught by surprise when Larry's club struck her stomach. Never subjected to much of Ironheart's physical torture first hand, she found herself recalling in detail the sensation of hanging from dislocated shoulders, borrowed from Countess Ashargrin's memories.

    It was with a mingled sense of relief and dread that the unexpected knock at the door came, which quickly became far more dread than relief as she recognized what must be yet another of the Baron's sons. As he appropriated the keys and dismissed Larry, Pyrene forced herself to close her eyes and relax her muscles, knowing that whatever was to come would hurt much worse if she was tense.

    And then came the unexpected. Instead of a blow or a taunt, there was the clink of a key in her manacles. Her eyes flew open, unable to keep from staring in disbelief as the half-angel freed her and sat down. It was all she could do to keep from gaping at him open mouthed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Nephilium
    “So. Introductions are important.” He says, reaching out to pat a spot on the floor in front of him. “I am Sir Nephilium. You are?”
    Is he serious? He interrupted my beating and released my manacles without knowing who I am or what I can do? No... He must know. This is some ruse. Still, he hasn't hit me yet. That at least is an improvement over Larry. Cautiously she sat where he indicated.

    "Pyrene, called the Temptress. If you'll pardon my bluntness, Sir Nephilium, why did you come here? Not that I'm ungrateful to you for stopping what was certain to be a painful experience, but if you came here to torment me in some fashion I would prefer not to be kept in suspense."
    I started a blog!
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  21. - Top - End - #471
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Iethloc's Avatar

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    Sohssal

    Noting Roger's whining - and his new body - with barely-restrained annoyance, Sohssal waved one incorporeal hand towards his corpse, using his wind spell to dislodge the remaining shards from it and bring it close enough to him to take it along while teleporting.

    We'll be teleporting to my backup circle - there aren't any wards on it, so there's no chance of having to contend with degraded protective magic. It also wouldn't be in the middle of anything nasty that may be settled in my lab...or escaped from confinement. It's a two-hour hike, though. But there shouldn't be much need for your powers during that, he mentally informed his comrades, directing the last sentence towards Omega. Then he turned to face Seymour.

    "I won't be able to help you with any clean-up here, Seymour. I've finally mustered the energy to teleport back to my lab...and there's bound to be some clean-up there I'll have to do. I'll contact you some time after I'm finished there. Farewell," he explained. He waited a few moments in case Seymour had anything else to tell him.

    Then he began the teleportation process. Soon he would finally be able to continue the work that was interrupted so long ago.
    Order of the Pstick Avatar by Sneak

  22. - Top - End - #472
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inspectre View Post
    Dawn’s Hope - Monastery

    Baerdog7/Archpaladin Zousha

    The Abbot looks down at the dead angels sadly.

    “So they’re not some abomination in disguise. That makes this more complicated . . . and tragic.”

    He motions to the doors.

    “Let’s retire to my office. We can discuss matters there with a few others. The rest will attend to the bodies, both for study and to see that they get a proper . . . burial, I suppose.”

    The Abbot takes one last look at the dead angels with a sigh.

    “In any case, I agree with your assessment Ander. Hondshioh has proven himself today.”

    Motioning the half-giant to follow, the Abbot and several of the chief instructors at the monastery file out of the room. A few minutes later, the group reconvenes inside of the Abbot’s office near the top of the monastery, which is considerably more cramped than usual with seven people in it at once.

    Settling behind his desk, the Abbot sighs as he nods at Ander.

    “I think after that little demonstration, your accusations against the Church are irrefutable. But even with our support, there are still going to be issues. Not all of the acolytes are going to follow you in joining Karth against the Council. Many people have lost friends and family during Karth’s last brutal crusade. And there’s also the town to consider. Many townsfolk aren’t going to want any part in this war, but Karth will force the issue. We can’t stand against the Church on our own either. Can we count on the Valkyrie for any other aid?”
    Hondshioh

    "Karth?" the young half-giant says, his player not knowing anything about Flight from Ironheart lore.
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  23. - Top - End - #473
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Octavio Galloway

    Octavio looked at the boy with no small measure of wonder, limbering himself up after such a petty clash. The first words that came to his mind were, "Shove off" followed by a particularly energizing session of mortal liquidation. Yet, as he thought of doing just that, an even stranger idea still occurred to him. Patting the boy on the head with a bit too much strength (His social skills with children, after all, were basic to the point of usually only knowing how to break into their homes and transform their parents), the mutation mage gave a small amount of forced laughter.

    "Ha ha! Ho. I am sure your father is very important. With many bodyguards." The spellcaster gave a nod of the head, his face splitting into a forced smile that looked far too friendly. "I will take you to him, sure! Just lead the way, you little spark of upbeat energy."

    That was how to talk to children. Or, at least, that was how Octavio thought you were supposed to talk to them. Speak to them like they're the pride and joy of the entire universe, and not just a combination of carbon, oxygen, and a bunch of other chaotic elements brought into fruition because two lonely people made the beast with two backs.

    Still, for his first try at actual conversation with a child, Octavio didn't think he was doing too bad. In fact, he thought he was doing quite well: The boy wasn't screaming for the guards, and he seemed to at least respect Octavio's power. Perhaps not a total wash.
    Gotta keep on trollan' trollan' trollan'

  24. - Top - End - #474
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Ander Windrivver

    Ander crosses his arms and frowns at the thought of Karth. I am becoming increasingly unsure that Karth will be a useful ally in the long term. I fear that his zealotry and reputation will hurt our cause rather than help it. He begins pacing, rubbing his chin in thought. The appearance of these new angel...things also changes the game. Karth's army is mostly inexperienced farmers and peasants who have been taken in by Karth's preachings. His officers not holy men, and I would guess they believe more in the almighty coin than in the nobleness of our cause. It is not the sort of force that I would fight a possible army of angels with. One way or another, we will need to get Karth off of his crusade. His advance team will be here sometime tomorrow to try and sabotage the town gates and the rest of Karth's army will be here ready to fight the day after that, unless I inform them of your cooperation.

    So what do we do? He proclaims, ceasing his pacing.

    I propose that we inform the other paladin orders and convince them to join our fight. I noticed that you had recording crystals in the ritual chamber. Dispatch messengers to meet with the Grandmasters of each order and send them each with recordings of the events that have transpired here today. With the combined strength of all the orders, I believe we can purge the corruption from the Church.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  25. - Top - End - #475
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Hondshioh

    Hondshioh rubs the back of his head and looks at Ander concernedly.

    "How do you know they'll listen? I mean, you may not be a real heretic, but the Church will have had their ears longer than you have. They may not believe you. I mean, look how easily I was fooled."
    Last edited by Archpaladin Zousha; 2009-11-13 at 01:27 AM.
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  26. - Top - End - #476
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Ander Windrivver

    Ander takes a seat, nodding at Hondshioh's words.

    It will take some convincing, that's for sure. The Keepers of the Faith will be the hardest to convince, due to their status as the elite guards of the Church. They have always prided themselves on their loyalty to the Council and of all the orders, they will take the most convincing to join our side. Provided, of course, that their Grandmaster does not take it as a personal insult that we would even consider asking him to betray his mission.

    Miriam's Shields should be easier to win over. I had a lot of friends in that order back in the old days and since many of them were dwarves, there is a good chance some of them are still alive. The biggest challenge will be getting them to send troops to fight here in the south. Manning the line of keeps and watchtowers on the northern border to guard against barbarian, giant, and troll invaders uses up a lot of their manpower.

    The Knights of the Silver Spur and the Wings of Righteousness are both very proud and independent orders, with something of a rivalry between them. However, I've always known them to be more faithful in the will of the gods than the will of the Church. The light and heavy cavalry of the Knights and the airborne fighters of the Wings will be invaluable if we are to win this fight.

    The Guardians of the Eternal Mystery and the Paladins Errant will likely be sympathetic, but will take some convincing to join the fight. The Guardians are by far the least militant of the orders, preferring to seek out knowledge than clear out monster dens. However, that knowledge could be very useful to us and they might have some inkling as to what those angels really were. I can't remember the last time the Paladins Errant all fought as an order and it will take some time to recall them all from the field.

    It will be tough, and once the Council catches wind of what we are trying you can be sure they will try and stop us. But even if I have to stand alone, I won't rest until the Council is brought to justice.
    Last edited by Baerdog7; 2009-11-13 at 02:20 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  27. - Top - End - #477
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    The_Snark's Avatar

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    Marisiel

    It was a mixed blessing to have the child out of sight. Marisiel didn't like the idea of letting her wander around—but she was forced to acknowledge that if the soul-spliced princess had not already done irreparable harm, she was not likely to do so in the next few days. And she could not help but be a little glad to see the child out of the way of the conflict. Pyria might be at the heart of this argument, but seeing it would only bring her distress, and they were not Azguloth: they did not make their enemies suffer more than needed. Perhaps the princess would need to be killed, but it would be done quickly and mercifully.

    Istomilo's revelation brought on a more undiluted relief—he was still honest with her. That meant there was hope for him, and for Phaedra as a whole. If they had lied to the Valkyrie in order to conceal their crimes... She didn't need to think about what they might have done then; it hadn't happened.

    Her relief didn't show on her face—the news was grim, after all—but it was there.

    "That is not up to me to decide," she said impassively. "It is up to the gods. But I will say, Istomilo, that I do not think They will look favorably upon this. If They had wished you to have immortal rulers, They would have made it so." She had faith that there was a reason this had not been done. The Valkyrie did not share everything with her daughters, but she trusted her mother.

    "And if they had," she continued, voice warming with righteous indignation, "they would not have done it like... like this!" Tact was one thing, deception another, and concealing her feelings here strayed far too close to the latter. "Defiling souls! Istomilo, there are reasons that these things are forbidden. And a child—!"

    Marisiel refolded her wings, forcibly calming herself. She would not withhold what she thought, especially not after demanding that Istomilo be open with her, but she didn't want to become angry, either. That would cloud her judgment. She would make sure that she gave a fair, truthful accounting to the Valkyrie. "Thank you, Istomilo," she said after a moment. "For being honest. I think it is time we speak to the Queen now."
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

  28. - Top - End - #478
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Gorgondantess's Avatar

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    Maria sits at the riverbed a for a few moments, staring at the corpse before her, in almost a state of shock. She ignores the man's blathering, and gets up. The ground beneath her withers and crumbles as she draws energy from it, wiring her nerves, and the rocks in her hands begin to glow red and crack.
    She turns to face her assailants, all three of them, staring them down, face grim... and blindly charges forth.
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    Sure, it may be a death sentence. Sure, I could've utilized her abilities better... but, hey. We'll just have to see, won't we?
    Last edited by Gorgondantess; 2009-11-13 at 06:51 PM.
    Marceline Abadeer by Gnomish Wanderer
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    Classic Cthulhu by RTGoodman


    Critical Failures by Strawberries & Captain Happy, respectively.




    Scizor by Mr. Saturn.


  29. - Top - End - #479
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Archpaladin Zousha's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baerdog7 View Post
    Ander Windrivver

    Ander takes a seat, nodding at Hondshioh's words.

    It will take some convincing, that's for sure. The Keepers of the Faith will be the hardest to convince, due to their status as the elite guards of the Church. They have always prided themselves on their loyalty to the Council and of all the orders, they will take the most convincing to join our side. Provided, of course, that their Grandmaster does not take it as a personal insult that we would even consider asking him to betray his mission.

    Miriam's Shields should be easier to win over. I had a lot of friends in that order back in the old days and since many of them were dwarves, there is a good chance some of them are still alive. The biggest challenge will be getting them to send troops to fight here in the south. Manning the line of keeps and watchtowers on the northern border to guard against barbarian, giant, and troll invaders uses up a lot of their manpower.

    The Knights of the Silver Spur and the Wings of Righteousness are both very proud and independent orders, with something of a rivalry between them. However, I've always known them to be more faithful in the will of the gods than the will of the Church. The light and heavy cavalry of the Knights and the airborne fighters of the Wings will be invaluable if we are to win this fight.

    The Guardians of the Eternal Mystery and the Paladins Errant will likely be sympathetic, but will take some convincing to join the fight. The Guardians are by far the least militant of the orders, preferring to seek out knowledge than clear out monster dens. However, that knowledge could be very useful to us and they might have some inkling as to what those angels really were. I can't remember the last time the Paladins Errant all fought as an order and it will take some time to recall them all from the field.

    It will be tough, and once the Council catches wind of what we are trying you can be sure they will try and stop us. But even if I have to stand alone, I won't rest until the Council is brought to justice.
    Hondshioh

    Hondshioh straightens up.

    "You won't have to stand alone, sir."

    Then he kneels.

    "You opened my eyes to what's really going on, and in doing so have prevented me from becoming a pawn to corruption. As long as you continue to stand for what is right, I will serve at your side."
    "Reach down into your heart and you'll find many reasons to fight. Survival. Honor. Glory. But what about those who feel it's their duty to protect the innocent? There you'll find a warrior savage enough to match any dragon, and in the end, they'll retain what the others won't. Their humanity."

  30. - Top - End - #480
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Incom Morgan

    Bowing slightly at Akor as a truce among immortals is sealed with a few words Incom turns towards the grate in the floor. Looking within the darkness that the grate leads into the faded memories tickle at the back of his mind, yet they don’t rush forward to overwhelm like the others as of late. Listening to Akor Incom shrugs his shoulders.

    ”My pity that you are forced to suffer the company of that poor impotent Herald. Though it does make me wonder the Baron sees in him.”

    Sending a mental command to the Fury for information on the Herald of Azguloth for the memories of him are faded and distorted, nothing clear enough to form a solid opinion. After a moment’s thought Akor sends another pair of commands, first accessing information regarding.

    ”Fate may be cruel, yet I feel there is something else at work here. Farewell Akor, may you fare well in your future.”

    Turning away from Akor Incom ignores the Herald of Azguloth as he starts to process the information about him and Akor. Once that’s done he sends yet another series of requests, checking on the status of the Ghastly Truth, current conditions regarding skirmishes, vital information regarding key players in this grand scheme. In the middle of all this information there is one query, one that Incom hopes will go unnoticed in the sudden queries of information.

    Requesting: All Data RE: Incom Morgan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inspectre
    I'm good at making you fear the unknown. Pwenet is good at making you fear the known, which had been the unknown five minutes before he pushed you off screaming into the abyss.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalirren View Post
    I'm feeling this real hard now.
    Curse you, Pwenet. Curse you.... You had my hopes up there...

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