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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Falconer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Gazrul procures a bag containing ten crystals from one of the Baron's servants. He takes one out and briefly examines it, fascinated. It shimmers and glows with a blue light, and is unusually cold to the touch. This is the sort of magic one would never be able to encounter back in the desert.

    Gazrul heard the heavy double doors swing wide open behind him. He spins around, to see a large group of humans, led by a group of five...angels? Real angels? Surely not. Some kind of magic or augmentation? Easily. He shoots a glance at the Baron, who did not seem at all surprised by the disturbance. In fact, he was walking towards the procession calmly. A few murmured words are exchanged, before a woman, who Gazrul had not prevously noticed, begins shouting hysterically at the noble.

    Sensing that it is not at all in his best interest to interrupt what is in all likelihood some kind of religious procession, Gazrul clumsily slips around the group and moves outside. As he leaves, he hears the woman's anguished cries.

    "MURDERER! You did this! YOU KILLED MY SON!"

    He pauses for a second, looking back, wondering if he should do something. Part of some odd ritual? This would be the third time the Baron is accused of murder, from what he knew. He shook his head and resumed walking. Even after living in these territories for several years, much of this society still seemed so alien to him.

    There were times Gazrul tired of humans and their seemingly constant scheming; sometimes he wanted nothing more than to go back to the desert and live with his family again. Maybe settle down, have children of his own. He shook his head and sighed. Such thoughts would have to wait. Because right now, there was work to be done.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Ander Windrivver

    Ander watches the priest leave the room and turns to Melcara.

    Ah, right. Sorry about that, Melcara. Ander gives her a warm smile and begins stacking the pews against the walls. By the time the young priest returns, he has cleared enough floor space for the ritual circle.

    Ah, excellent, Ander says as the priest returns with the reagents. Thank you. Grabbing the chalk, Ander begins transcribing the intricate ritual circle onto the floor...

    One Hour Later...

    Darkness has fallen and the scene is illuminated by dozens of candles placed around the church. Ander straightens up, admiring the completed circle. It sprawls across the floor, six feet across and traced out in chalk and powdered silver. Before performing the ritual, however, he has some final instructions for his companions.

    Thank you, Father, for agreeing to give Incom a proper burial. He deserves it after what he did to help stop the Hierarch's ritual. Keep the headstone simple; something like "Incom Morgan, innocent man" should be just fine.

    Turning to Melcara, Ander takes a minute to conjure two small crystals. Since you won't be coming with me, Mel, I want to give you one of these. We used these to keep track of officers in the field during the Crusade. When I teleport back to the material plane, the crystal will allow you to sense where I am. Since I don't know where I'll be coming back yet, you'll have to use it to find me. Stay safe. Keep Peeping Tom in line. I'll be back soon.

    Satisfied, Ander begins the ritual; lighting the incense and sprinkling the holy water over the teleportation circle. Alright, here goes nothing. Moving the lectern so that the scripture book so that he can read the scripture book, Ander hefts Incom's sack of armor and steps into the center of the circle. As he chants the ritual, a column of golden light surrounds him, beckoning him up to the Heavens.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Inspectre's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    The Estate of Baron Demetrius Gast

    Falconer

    The strange procession holds your attention for a moment, especially after the sobbing woman greets the Baron with a cry of “murderer”. You watch as the Baron says something quietly to her, which only seems to upset the woman further. She begins to violently flail her arms and legs, clearly attempting to break free of the grip of the man-angel who was carrying her. When this doesn’t work after several moments of intense struggle she collapses, again sobbing openly and clinging to the man-angel.

    You do not see any more of this odd meeting, as you acquire a bag of crystals from one of the Baron’s servants, who already had the item ready to hand over. Impressed at the Baron’s speed or perhaps simply keen foresight, you proceed outside of the manor to find Wulfric waiting for you. He bars his fangs in a vicious smile at the servant who had followed you out to close the door. The man hurriedly closes the door, leaving the two of you alone outside.

    Hearing a soft rumbling above you, you look up to see a massive metallic object now floating in the sky a short distance above the manor. Several equally massive long chains run down from the object to the manor grounds, presumably anchoring it in place. Following your gaze, Wulfric growls appreciatively.

    “Yes, another of the Baron’s many toys. So, how did your meeting with our new patron go?”

    The Ruins of Callaway

    Dorizzit

    “That’s a good boy.” Kris comments as you unceremoniously propel the bandit towards his friends. Two of the men catch their friend, stumbling back from the impact. One then reaches down to touch the man’s neck, then looks up at you and Kris and nods. In response to this Kris’s daggers relax slightly, although they still remain in place.

    “Oh, feigned ignorance – that’s a new one. Usually it’s bluster or a fragile confidence that shatters after the first contradiction is weeded out. But tell you what, I’ll indulge your ignorance even though I’m the one supposed to be asking questions. The forest surrounding Callaway is nice and thick – gives us lots of places to hide. Which is good because the Baron’s men would love nothing more than to find us and snuff us out. But ghosts can’t be seen, found, or killed. And that’s us, Callaway’s ghosts appearing to ruin the Baron’s day again and again. And to answer your other question, yes, there are others pretending to be “you”. I supposed they all get their idea from the Baron. Really, you’re lucky to be here and not elsewhere “Korram”. A lot of other places view you as an insane monster and boogeyman thanks to the Baron’s excellent impersonators. Here, we just view you as a coward or a fake, depending. So, still want to claim you’re the Korram Alstan? Or are you as tired of this game as I am?”

    The Heavens

    Baerdog7

    The priest smiles nervously and nods. “It will be done.”

    Melcara uncertainly accepts the crystal, looking at it in interest before looking back up at you with a forced smile. “I will find you upon your return, Ander. However long it takes. I will do my best to keep our mysterious assistant in line as well.”

    Melcara and the priest then step backward from you and the circle, clearly having no wish to be caught in the spell’s backwash. Planting your feet in the middle of the circle, you begin the last sections of the ritual. Soon, a glowing pillar of light begins to form around you. As you close your eyes, there is a brief rushing of air as your body suddenly disappears to reappear in the Heavens. You can feel the bright light that suffuses every part of the holy plane on your face even before you open your eyes again.

    You had chosen to appear near to the Palace of the Sun, residence of Athelion and Miriam. Time was almost certainly of the essence, and you didn’t want to spend any time traveling before delivering your report.

    A short distance away, the bright white battlements of the Palace loom high up above you, radiant rays of light shooting up from the center of the Palace. Built up around the Palace is the Holy City, a central location within the Heavens for angels and human souls on business to congregate.

    Today the city’s streets were nearly empty, although off in the distance you see a patrol of heavily armed angels swoop past. Such a sight was only slightly more common than empty streets. Evidently something had caused the Heavens to put themselves on high-alert, even though time flowed much differently here.

    For just a moment, your attention wanders as the unexpected emptiness of the streets fills you with concern. Perhaps now would be a good time to briefly visit your family first, to ensure that they are alright despite whatever trouble was currently brewing.

    (In any case, you are free to go wherever, whether that be to visit your family, some other location that you can come up with, or instead go to see the Valkyrie. )

    Stonefall

    The Surrounding Forest

    The_Snark

    Uncertain how to handle this situation and frightful of the consequences should you make the wrong decision, you remain silent and creep backwards again. This produces another creek from the wood, but this time it continues, turning into a groan. You are uncertain what has happened, but then the wood beneath you begins to give way and it is only then that you realize your mistake.

    Much too late of course, as the rotted wood collapses beneath your wait, a chain reaction as one by one the boards rapidly snap and give way, pieces of them falling to the floor. And then the last of them gives way and you’re falling as well, down towards the hard earth. As with the last time you nearly fell, your wings reflexively flail about against the air, slowing your fall but not stopping it.

    You land in an ungainly heap on top of the broken wooden slats near the back of the barn but in plain sight of the two children. You thankfully don’t have any serious injuries save for the several splinters that jab up into your bare legs and arms from the broken wood. Obviously you have much bigger problems however as the two children gasp and edge back away from you.

    “Brother, is – is that an . . . angel?” The little girl asks, her voice suddenly carrying a note of wonder in addition to the fear.

    “M-maybe? I don’t know. Hey! S-stay back!” The boy cries, roughly grabbing the girl by the arm as she ducks out from behind him and shyly begins to approach you.

    “But she’s hurt! She has to be – you’ve never heard of an angel that couldn’t fly, have you?”

    “Well, no – hey!” The boy replies, his grip loosening as he considers the question, uncertainty flitting across his face. The little girl uses this to her advantage, twisting her arm out of his grip and dashes over to you, where she kneels down in front of you. She reaches out a hand to you, but then thinks better of it and instead waves at you.

    “Hi! M-my name is . . . is C-Caroline. What’s yours?”

    The City of Amaranth

    The City Gates

    Meltemi

    You hear the leader continue to shout orders from within the house, urging the cultists out after you. Reactivating your invisibility spell, you dash out of the alleyway back out into the street, running for your life as the doors to the house burst open and black-robed figures charge out into the night. Fortunately no arrow or fiery bolt strikes your fleeing back, and eventually the angry shouts fade into the distance.

    The air burning in your lungs, you finally come to a stop. Looking behind you, you can see no sign of the cultists – you’ve lost them. Of course, your flight also hadn’t answered any of your questions either. Once the cultists realized you had gotten away, they would likely return to the house, either to continue with their plans or to pack up and leave now that they’ve been discovered.

    Now the only question was what you should do. There was likely still a bit of time before the cultists gave up their pursuit and returned to the house.

    If you were careful it might be possible to return to the house ahead of them and investigate without worrying about interference. Of course that carried with it the risk of the cultists returning to find you back in their lair.

    Another option was to set up watch a short distance from the house and wait for them. If you took the proper precautions the leader likely wouldn’t see you, and you could follow them wherever they went. Of course, neither were you a thief or especially adept at sneaking around, so there was a chance you might still blunder into the middle of them.

    And of course, the final option would be to inform the authorities or forget you had even found these cultists. But that meant giving up on discovering any new information about this cult, especially their mysterious leader who apparently knew you by sight and had the strength of will to see through your illusions.

    WhiteKnight777

    Triggering the switch, you watch in satisfaction as everything works as intend – the wall slides back and the dirt tumbles in, leaving a clear tunnel to the surface. Arming yourself and secreting the pouches, you feel ready to proceed. And apparently the sooner the better given your pursuit was now strong enough to remove tomb doors.

    Bran was no strong enough to walk, his discomfiture fading even as the scars remained. Still unsure what was waiting for you up top, you decided to crawl through the tunnel first. It was a calculated risk given your pursuit but at least they were a known quantity.

    Your suspicions prove correct as upon exiting the tunnel you found yourself lying on the ground before an armored figure who had been standing at the tunnel exit, but out of line of sight from within the tunnel.

    Although the hulking figure was helmeted, its voice was nonetheless familiar as it raised its warhammer with a shout. “Go back into the ground, scum!”

    A moment later, however, instead of striking the figure lowered its weapon with a loud curse. “I should have known it was you.” Ross said as he removed his helmet. “Your stench is distinct, and your sense of timing “impeccable”. But really, I would have helped you if you had wanted to take a dirt nap Umber. Happily.”

    MrEdwardNigma

    Scruff whines as you scoop him up into your arms, but doesn’t try to escape as you proceed into the tomb, carrying him along. Once inside, you can see numerous disarmed traps littered about the floor, as well as the stairs leading down into the rest of the tomb. That must have been where the graverobber went, and with your ponderous gait you lumbered after him.

    After traveling a short distance, your pursuit comes to an end again as you reach the bottom of the tomb to find one wall missing and a narrow earthen tunnel leading upward into darkness. It seems likely that this was the graverobber’s method of entrance, since the tomb door had been solidly in place until you had removed it from its hinges. At the far end of the tunnel, you can faintly hear voices speaking, something about the speaker being happy to help the listener take a nap in the dirt.

    Unfortunately, the tunnel was likely too narrow for you to easily use it as a means to egress the tomb as the graverobber had, although since it was just dirt you could probably push your way through it in time.

    Iethloc

    As you wish. I trust your judgment in who will make a suitable ally and who will not. However, if this necromantic cult is as large and powerful as he says it is, it may be better to ally with them than with the losing side opposing them.

    Her peace apparently said, Omega’s presence withdraws from your mind, and she continues looking intently as Seymour as he shakes his head with a wry smile.

    “Well, as I said earlier I was in the middle of trying to find them when you teleported in and disrupted my concentration. I’ve been having a devil of a time trying to find them – they’ve been doing a very good job shielding themselves from any magical attempts to locate them. Usually necromancers are pretty soft when it comes to other styles of magic, thinking some brute force with animating a corpse is the height of magical power. Not these though, which has been making me wonder if they don’t have help from other mages in the city.”

    Seymour sighs.

    “Of course, I don’t have any evidence anyone on the Mages Council of Amaranth is working with them either. And I can’t exactly go around pointing the finger at my peers and saying that they’re the ones selling the city out. At best I’d be laughed out of the Council and at worst I’d wake up undead. I have my suspicions though, particularly in regards to one mage. Heath Decavar is an ambitious little snit who’s been an up-and-comer for some years now. He’s made a reputation as the type who would gladly sell his soul to a dozen different devils, but the Council keeps him around for a number of reasons. One, so they can keep an eye on him. Two, despite his lack of scruples he’s exactly the sort of person the Council needs to handle their dirty laundry. And third, because he’s been the Council’s dirt scrubber for so long he knows where a lot of skeletons are buried, including a few of mine.”

    Seymour winces and then rubs his chin thoughtfully as he eyes you up and down. “I have strong suspicious he has some sort of tie-in with these necromancers, but I haven’t moved against him due to lack of evidence and fear of reprisal. You however, my dear Sohssal, have none of my issues, being an outsider – nay, a very elemental force of magic. If you just happened to waltz into his residence tonight, well, that would just be bad luck on his part, wouldn’t it?”

    A slow smile spreads across Seymour’s face.
    “Yes, a terrible tragedy to be sure. Of course, he does have defenses, including a few anti-mage ones – he’s not a moron by any stretch of the imagination. Still, this could be the first step in getting what we both want – I get answers out of Heath, and you get to suck him and his place dry of magic. What do you think?”

    Ironheart

    The Fortress Basement

    Cpt. Soup

    Although you focused on keeping your eyes closed and your face slack, you nonetheless kept an ear open to your surroundings. Above you, you could hear the tarp being rolled back, and could swear you felt the sergeant’s eyes boring into you, his eyes narrowing as he noticed the lack of a pale pallor in your cheeks the way it was for all the corpses surrounding you. But after what seems like an eternity, the man grunts in disgust and you hear the tarp being rolled back into place.

    “I still don’t think it’s worth it, but fine, whatever. Go out there and get a few more bodies, and then get back here as quick as you can. Rutting meddling officers, they have no idea what the most efficient way to accomplish a given task is, they just *think* they know.”

    With the tarp rolled back over to keep you out of sight, you now feel safe enough to relax and open your eyes again as the cart begins to rock back into motion. Another indeterminable amount of time passes, and then finally the cart slows to a halt. This time when the tarp is pulled back you don’t attempt to play dead, and you can see the friendly guard grinning, the fortress of Ironheart a good distance away and partially obscured by a screen of trees.

    “We did it! Now we’ve just got to get past all the guards hunting for escaped prisoners, and we’ll be safe!” The guard cries, hurriedly pulling himself up into the cart and offering a hand to help you up.

    The Surrounding Mountains

    Gourtox

    You head deeper into the forest, occasionally hearing the hunting horns. They are beginning to grow closer, and you start to fear that another confrontation with the guards was near. Your fear is confirmed as a crossbow bolt impacts against the tree next to you. “Over there!” comes a shout behind you, and a quick glance back confirms another quartet of mounted guards.

    Before either you or the guards could do anything else, a barrage of arrows lances out from behind the cover of nearby trees, cutting them all down. The source of those arrows makes itself know a moment later, as several elves appear, cautiously covering you with drawn-back bows as they approach.

    “Who are you?” The leader of the band asks in your native tongue as several more elves approach from a different direction.

    Lonna

    (Oh damnit. I had forgotten all about that. All he whispered was, “Alright mate, now you keep a close eye on these two. Be a good boy though – no showing your teeth. They’ve had enough scares for one day.”)

    With practiced care, Klaus removes the bandages wrapped around your hand while you take a small swig of whiskey. The fiery liquid burns in your mouth and down your throat, although after nearly freezing to death the alcoholic warmth isn’t entirely unwelcome.

    Klaus takes the bottle in one hand, while using the other to flip your exposed palm up and then down. “Hmm . . . didn’t do a bad job treating this, although infection is still settling in. Going to try and clean out the wound a little, and we’ll take a look at it again tomorrow. This will probably sting quite a bit.”

    He then holds your injured hand firmly over the basin and pours some of the whiskey over the wound. What once burned in your mouth is now burning in your hand, although with considerably more bite. It is fortunate you have your conversation with the Countess to preoccupy yourself or you would have likely cried out.

    At your words the Countess nods “If it is within my power, not a single cloud will darken your sister’s face. But what about you? What will you do now that you’re free?”

    By your side, Klaus grunts as he continues his inspection of your hand. “If I wasn’t such a damn fool I probably would have – but I always was a sucker for the ladies.” He replies with a great deal of mirth. He grows serious again a moment later as he picks up a knife that appears to have been drafted from kitchen cutlery.

    “I’m going to try and cut out a little bit of the dead flesh, and work some healing herbs into the wound. Sorry. Wasn’t expecting to have to treat battlefield injuries ever again, so no potions. The herbs work well enough for my aches and pains. Hopefully they’ll do pretty well here too. Still, this is going to be rather uncomfortable, probably best not to try to talk.”

    Without another word of warning, Klaus sets to work. And he was definitely telling the truth as he poked, cut, and rubbed – Ironheart’s torturers probably couldn’t do worse. Finally, mercifully, he pain subsides to a dull throb again as Klaus expertly ties a bandage back around your hand.

    “There, that’s finished for today. Now I guess it is on to the leg. Do you need a minute? Maybe another swig of This?” Klaus shakes the by-now half empty bottle of whiskey..

    Pwenet

    “Very good sir. We’d appreciate any new information you could give us.” The lead guard replied tactfully, and then with the other guard returned to the cart.

    Looking back at the fortress you considered your options. With only a description and general location of the target, your search was already going to take awhile. Now that the fortress had been attacked, your already sizable challenge had the added complication that the target could have been moved, could have been killed, or even could have escaped.

    Given the state of the prison, it may be quite some time before even the guards themselves knew the answer to that question. You weren’t going to give up, however, not yet. The situation had seemed this hopeless before - in your long career, often just before a major breakthrough.

    Walking away from the guards and into the courtyard, you pass by a covered cart going in the opposite direction. The thick stench of death emanating from the cart suggests its contents, although you are surprised to see a nearly full cart leaving the fortress rather than making its way over to one of the bonfires blazing here and there about the courtyard. Evidently the guards just liked by efficient about things by waiting until the carts were full.

    Now in the courtyard, you consider your options. The first was to make your way down to the dark cavernous tunnels beneath Ironheart and conduct a personal search for the target as originally planned. Another option would be to make your way up into the Spires, where all the prisoner records were archived. It would take awhile to shuffle through the thousands of entries, but you should eventually find a record matching the target’s description and location. Then you would have a name and any other useful information prior to this incident. Finally, you could attempt to find whatever high-ranking official was left in this place and “persuade” him into telling you whatever little information he had on the target.

    DJDeMiko

    As always, the others follow your advice, and within a few minutes what little you currently own is slung across everyone’s backs and you all stumble out into the cold. Unfortunately it seems that the guards were quite close by the time the dogs really picked up your scent and began excitedly barking. From over the crest of a somewhat distant hill, mounted figures and smaller four-legged shapes dashed into plain sight. A shout echoes across the frozen field from the figures as one of them clearly sees the last of you exiting the cave – the chase was on.

    In the open field you are no match for dogs or horses, and the distance between you and the guards begins to close despite running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. But the mountains here aren’t completely bare, and only a short distance away a thick stand of pine trees beckons. Amongst the thick growth you might be able to lose at least the guards – the dogs were another matter.

    Even without a shouted order most of the group begins to veer towards the nearest section of pine, the advantages apparently obvious even to your untrained associates. The guards are closing fast however, and have now reached a range where a few of the more ambitious ones begin to loose crossbow bolts at you. One bolt sails past your ear, a confirmation that your astounding good luck seems to be holding for the moment.

    And then suddenly Fate smiles upon you again, as the guards get something new to worry about. From another stand of trees off to the right of your current destination, a flight of black shafts materializes out of the trees, skewering two of the guards off of their mounts and depriving another three of them altogether. “Ambush!” One of the surviving guards cries out, before the guards fire off their own blind barrage at the treeline. You can just barely see several shapes moving about the trees there now, and none of them appear to be hit by the guards’ first counterattack.

    Unfortunately, this also turned out to be one of those times that as soon as Fate was done smiling at you, you got slapped in the face. The mysterious figures in the woods second barrage was not directed towards the guards, but instead was directed at you. Most of the shots seemed intended simply to discourage the lot of you from continuing to approach the treeline, although one stray arrow did bite down into one poor bastard’s foot, momentarily pinning it to the ground.

    “Great, now we’re stuck out in the open in between a bunch of guards and gods-know-what in the forest, and they’re both shooting at us!” One of your flock cries, shrieking a curse as he looks behind him. “The dogs are still coming!”

    And indeed, in addition to being currently stuck in the open between two sides in an archery duel, neither side of which wanted you hiding in the woods, four large hounds were rapidly approaching your small group.

    The Hells

    Outside the Screaming Dark Estate

    OverWilliam

    Practically running up the cliff face, you catch the falling dagger in mid-air and then leap off onto the devil’s leg, jamming said weapon into the creature’s groin. The infernal creature’s previously quiet grunts of anger reach a new frantic and much higher pitch. The devil does however, let go of Limier, taking off into the sky with you still hanging off its leg.

    Moments later you are above the cliff, looking down onto what appears to be an extensive balcony, complete with a murky pool. Then you are back to holding on for dear life as the devil thrashes its leg and slaps your back with its leathery wings, attempting to dislodge you.

    While you are debating what to do now, another silvery streak flies past you, this one striking the devil in the side of the neck. With a grunt, the devil freezes up and loses its previous coordination, randomly flapping its wings as the two of you tumble back down to earth. At the last moment you are able to pull yourself up and angle it so that you land on top of the devil. It is not a particularly soft fall due to the heavy armor the devil is wearing, but certainly a much gentler fall than the hard ground.

    Rolling off the by-now quite dead devil, you see Limier pulling himself up onto the balcony. His left shoulder is growing a dark red, and you can see long rips in his cloak and even the leather armor underneath. Reaching his right hand into his cloak, Limier produces a vial, and with a shaking left pulls down his scarf and holds the vial up to his thin lips. You catch a glimpse of a delicate jawline before Limier pulls the scarf back up. The wounds on his back have already begun to seal up into scars as Limier produces another vial to offer to you.

    “I’m *definitely* getting too old for this ****.”
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  4. - Top - End - #64
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WhiteKnight777's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Ross

    "Ross" Umber said with an easy smile as he stood up, helping Bran to do the same "What a pleasant surprise. You're the last person I expected to see here." He continued to grin at the paladin, maintaining an air of easy affability as if Ross were an old friend.

    "And I'm sure you would have, but happily you recognized me in time. So, what are you doing here? Besides wandering around in the dark looking for heads to plant that hammer of yours into, I mean."

    He paused, looking at at the paladin speculatively. "Mmm. Still, I suppose I should not be too surprised. There's something greasy and foetid in the air... dark magic. Necromancy, if I were to guess. Perhaps you're here on business? But I thought you'd be looking for your missing family and that little rat-bastard of a leech, Helion."

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Dattan

    Dattan curses and runs over to the man pinned and attempts to help him get free. As he does so he glances around looking for something to use as a weapon, a thick branch, a rock, a sharp bolt, that will help him against the dogs.


    "Arm yourselves if you can!"

    Dattan will try to see, and run if he can, in a perpendicular way so as to try to leave the two opposing sides fighting each other.
    Annoying Gamer says - Hollywood is sooooooooo unoriginal. Hey, check out my dual wielding drow Drazzit!

    Annoying Gamer says - My level 1 character's background is pretty complex. After fighting in the three great wars, he was forced to return home and kill an elder dragon single handily.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dorizzit's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Korram the Firebrand
    Bringing the Pain

    "Tired of this game? Oh yes. I'm tired of this little game."

    With these ominous words, Korram ignites his body, making his skin invulnerable to Kris' blades. He rams an elbow into the young man's gut, knocking him away. Quick as a flash, Korram turns and circles, spreading the fire from his body into a ring around him and the bandit leader, hedging out the other Ghosts and preventing Kris from escaping. As the burns heal, he says:

    "I AM Korram Alstan, whether or not you wish to believe it. I just got out of Ironheart, and let me tell you, I have not had a pleasant eight years."

    He crosses his arm in front of his chest, lighting it on fire with a mental gesture before continuing.

    "You have thirty seconds to explain why I shouldn't kill you, starting...now."
    Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Baerdog7's Avatar

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    Ander Windrivver

    Ander grunts and shields his eyes as he materializes in the open square, allowing them a few seconds to adjust to the brightness. The first thing that strikes him as he looks around is the almost complete stillness. This wasn't right. The streets of the Holy City should be bustling and noisy. Where were the people? Why the armed patrols?

    Woof!

    The sound shatters the silence, startling Ander out of his reverie.

    Woof!

    Turning around, he's greeted by the panting, smiling face of a dog.

    Seymour? He kneels down, petting the dog. What are you doing here, boy? Heh, you always could tell when I was coming home before anyone else.

    He stands up, looking back down at the dog. Come on, Seymour. Let's go see the family.

    They walk side by side through the deserted city. Shuttered windows stare blindly down at them, the sound of Ander's boot falls echoing through the streets. Before long, they reach one of the city gates. A huge adamantium construction covered in bas relief, it currently stands closed, barring their way. A small squad of angels stands clustered in the street.

    Ho there! What's going on here? What has happened to the city?
    Last edited by Baerdog7; 2009-02-23 at 12:10 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Baerdog: super genius.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lonna's Avatar

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    Pyrene

    Doing her best to ignore the pain as Klaus treated her infected hand, Pyrene tried, with little success, to distract herself by thinking about the Countess' question. What do I want? Since Mama... ever since Mama was killed, my whole life has been trying to protect Ariella. I... I haven't done a single thing just for myself. Not even something as insignificant as buying a good meal...

    The rest of the thought trailed off as the pain intensified, and Pyrene bit her lower lip to keep from crying out. At last the sensation subsided to its previous dull throb, and Pyrene gratefully took advantage of the reprive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspectre
    “There, that’s finished for today. Now I guess it is on to the leg. Do you need a minute? Maybe another swig of This?” Klaus shakes the by-now half empty bottle of whiskey.
    "I'd appreciate a minute yes," she said, eyeing the bottle. "And another swallow would probably be a good idea too. I think my thigh is going to hurt much more than my hand did.

    "Garthax, I don't want you try to stop him from working on my leg, even if I... lose control. Sometimes healing hurts, but it's still healing."


    Accepting the whiskey as she spoke, Pyrene took another mouthful and grimaced, though even she was unsure whether it was at the bite of alcohol or at the idea of probable scream-inducing pain to come. Handing back the bottle, something else occured to her.

    "What happened to the healing potions we were carrying? I know they probably aren't strong enough for this, and anyway, they wouldn't stop the pain, but we should have been carrying three vials of healing potion that we took from the guards. On second thought, tell me after you're done working on my leg - I want to get this over with."
    Last edited by Lonna; 2009-02-26 at 09:20 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Hans von Ravenstein

    Yet again thwarted by his size and speed... Hans sat down at the bottom of the tunnel, taking Scruff into his lap and gently petting him.
    "Mr. Graverobber" he boomed, "They're gone. The men chasing you. And I'll be honest, I would not be able to climb up and stop you if I wanted to. You could run away now, safely, but I ask that you don't, from one human being to..." -he hesitated- "Another"
    Scruff whined gently, as if he could feel the dark aura that emanated from the tunnels and the graveyard.
    "I have lost a friend, mister graverobber, and he liked to stroll around these places at night. I'd like to find him, and if anyone's seen him it would be you. If you just look down in this hole, I'll show you a picture. After that, I promise I will leave you alone"
    Hans unfolded Victor's picture, not really expecting the men above to look down. They'd just run away again, if not after hearing him, then certainly after seeing him, but he had no other options. If he wanted to go up, he'd have to make lots of noise which would scare them off. Well, that or collapse the ground they were standing on, but he didn't want to hurt them. Poor creatures, he thought, so fragile. Yet he envied them.
    Avatar by the illustrious Dr. Bath.


    The essence of a riddle is that it states facts by means of a combination of impossibilities~Aristoteles

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  10. - Top - End - #70
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Ruya
    The street behind her was empty, and Ruya leaned against a wall, trying to catch her breath again. Her curiosity warred with caution as she thought of the magic they must be using. She could try to sneak in and inspect the premises while they were hunting her, but if they returned, she knew she would almost certainly be trapped. Alternately, she could simply find a cluster of normal cultists and try to trail them, but she knew that was also dangerous given her usual clumsiness.

    She remembered then that her options weren't just restricted to those alone, and she touched the travel bag over her left shoulder reflexively, making certain that she still had it and her books, containing all she'd learned over the past several years. The small rune on it that lightened its weight glowed reassuringly at her touch, a sign that the fabric had not torn during her flight. Moving back into an empty alley concealed from the street proper by a sharp turn, she pulled out one book in particular, and several pieces of chalk. Opening the book, the pages began to glow with a faint light barely sufficient to read by, she began to trace out the correct runes for the circle on the cobblestones, the walls, wherever there was free space. This was a small and simple circle, one she had first created in her youth with her sister, and one she had refined and improved upon many times to make it both simpler and safer.

    Not even ten minutes later, she had finished a small circle, traced along the walls and cobblestones to surround her in a hollow shell. Setting off the circle, she felt her invisibility fade away again, as the world around her filled with faint blue flames. Each individual orb of light, always present but almost never seen, was a single spirit, variously creatures that had never existed, lives never given form, the purest essences of consciousness, or the souls of those humans lost between the celestial and demonic realms, each with an existence that normally could never do more than see the material world through the ties of magic that held all things together. Like material life, they themselves came in many forms, some arrogant and condescending, some aloof, some dangerous, some friendly and curious, and some few, like Barguist, desirous of the power to manipulate their world. They could not move far, but few even knew they existed to this extent, much less how to see them, and so for small acts, like seeking and spying, they were capable enough. It was hardly as capable as a true scrying, since the spirits rarely saw things as humans did, but it was safer and far more difficult to stop. Her circle would attract and permit only those that did not intend any harm to enter and speak to her, she knew; she had drawn it enough times for her past work.

    Not even a minute passed before one successfully passed the barrier into the circle with her. It floated before her as the magic took effect, and its flame abruptly brightened. It began to speak, its "voice" heard mentally as both echoing and entirely inhuman. Who are you?

    "I am Ruya Perist." She spoke softly, not letting her voice carry. The small orb of flame floated higher. "I want to ask for your help."

    My help. My help. It repeated the words, as if not quite understanding or believing. Your name, and your sister's name becomes known to many among us, and to many not-us as you call upon our aid. Some of envy, some of hate, some of...other sorts. One of us is always with you, and he- It suddenly began to flit back and forth, as though realizing something. Where is the Gurt Dog?

    This was extremely unusual, she knew, and she wondered if it was because of where she was. Normally, they simply asked what help she needed. Though she didn't recognize the name, there was only one dog she knew of that the spirit would care about. "Barguist is with my sister. What do you know of them? Has my sister used this circle, too?" It was only natural that Alya would have known the runes for the original circle, considering they had worked together on both this and the bindings that had given Barguist his form, but as far as Ruya knew, Alya had never been interested in any form of divination, and except for Barguist's particular request, these spirits had roused nothing but an abstract interest in her.

    My help. It shifted the topic suddenly. You ask for my help, and my help I offer. The colour of its flame shifted slightly, taking on tints of violet, and she realized that pushing it too hard on her sister immediately would simply drive it away. The price becomes something dear, something only you and she can give, something I must know and have.

    Another unusual request. Normally, they were straightforward, and normally, they simply asked for some simple task any person with two arms and a brain could do; Barguist had been the only one to ask for a body from her, though she knew that others like him existed. All of those she had called on in the past who had been able to enter the circle had reacted with mostly curiosity, some strange regard for the flesh-and-blood human that could see and speak to them. She looked about at the other spirits revealed by her magic as they continued to mill about the outer edge of the circle, casting the alley in an eerie blue light. No others entered, however, and she wondered what was happening here in Gast. These spirits existed completely distinct from normal human interactions, though powerful magic could affect them indirectly, and she suspected that some divine and demonic creatures dealt with them as well. Beyond that, though, she knew of little that could even perceive them. "What is the price?"

    The price becomes something precious, something I ask you give of me and mine when time becomes yours to grant. Another curiously unhelpful non-answer. But time is not now yours to give, nor exists here the one to give it to. The help you desire.

    It was more than passing strange, but the information other spirits like this had given her had saved her life more than once in the past. She had suspected that these small spirits knew far more than they let on for some time. This little spirit knew her name, though she had never been to Gast, and knew her sister, who had been. It knew of Barguist, who had been a spirit like it, but was also from her home on the northern edge of the kingdom. It had also thought that Barguist was with her and not Alya, a very strange mix-up. It demanded some price, but refused to name the price, and it had just let slip that the price wouldn't even be for itself, but given to some other "one". "Then, when the time is mine to give, I'll hear your price, but in return, you'll also tell me what you know of my sister."

    Perhaps. Yet another oddity to add to the list. It was always clear and simple, yes or no, but she set it aside, recognizing that it was the best she was likely to get. "I want you to find a house, three stories, likely smelling of strong magic." She spent another moment quickly describing the house further. "What I want is for you to search inside it. There's a cellar and a room on the third story, both of which I want you to look through for signs of magic or any people still within, and I want you to return here and tell me what you've found. What kind of magic they are using, the ritual they're preparing, anything that seems important about the building or its inhabitants." Almost by habit, she added two final words, however unnecessary they were for something that couldn't be touched or even seen by most of the world. "Be careful." The spirit bobbled slightly and flitted away, vanishing as it passed beyond the small range of the circle. She sat quietly, waiting for its return. As she did, she flipped over to a blank page and sketched out the circle she had just drawn, tracing out its paths, then began looking at ways to improve it further. Every time she cast a spell, she saw ways to improve it, and this time was no exception. Absorbed in her work, and surrounded by the pale blue of the spirits, she continued to write.
    Last edited by Meltemi; 2009-02-23 at 08:41 PM.
    Ruya Perist, Flight from Ironheart
    Teira Feiwright, Lost and Clueless

    I am me, you are you.
    We’re totally different, separate persons.
    But even so, what if we have just one thing in common?

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gourtox's Avatar

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    Telest

    He was still thinking about his wife and child when he hears the bolt hit the tree next to him. He tries to aim his crossbow, but before he can aim of fire the guards are killed by arrows coming from the trees. He watches the elves leave their cover thinking, Who are these elves and why are they so close to Ironheart? When the leader asks for his name he says "I am Telest. I thank you for helping me, but who are you?" These elves could be aggresive and they are very deadly that much I already know.
    Avatar by Onasuma

  12. - Top - End - #72
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Sohssal

    Necromancers don't make very good allies...even a whole cult of them. The undead are easily taken care of, both due to their near-universal vulnerability to holy magic, and the fact that they are held together and animated by nourishing magic in the first place, so they're easy to destroy. And if the Necromancers use other types of magic, too, well, they're just tying down their potential with a rather...use-impaired field. Also, they smell, Sohssal responded mentally to Omega.

    As Seymour spoke, Sohssal grinned - or, rather, he would grin if he had anything resembling a mouth in his incorporeal form. "Excellent. Magical defenses won't be a problem. I just need to know where he lives. This won't take long," he said, then chuckled somewhat evilly. He most definitely liked Seymour's description of him.
    Order of the Pstick Avatar by Sneak

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Mar

    The suddenness of the fall panicked Mar, and she froze on the woodpile, looking up to look at the children with fright on her face. The wood cut into her arms, hurting, but that didn't matter; she was used to holding still while she hurt. She didn't know what to hope for—if they ran they could tell other people about her, if they didn't they would still be here and she wouldn't know what to do... She recovered a little as the girl moved forward, scrambling to her knees and shying back. Confusion started to edge out fear.

    They were still scared of her. It was hard to understand that.

    Angels. Oh. The wings. She remembered the terrible angel from her dream. Maybe they were right to be scared if they thought she was one of those. But she wasn't an angel. She just had wings, and they frightened her, too.

    "Mar," she said at last, realizing the girl—Caroline—was still waiting for an answer. "I- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be... I just wanted someplace warm." She ran out of words, staring at Caroline. And the boy, who was bigger. He looked young, though, like her or Julian, so he wasn't as scary as he might have been. What was she supposed to say? They weren't running to tell everybody where she was, but they were still here and she didn't know what she was supposed to do now that she'd stopped running. Maybe she should just start again, go through the door and keep running. But her feet still hurt.
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

  14. - Top - End - #74
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    ~Tare

    Tare groaned as he rolled off of the now quite dead guard that had landed beneath him. He didn't have a comment for Limier's grumbled complaint, but accepted the assassin's potion when it was offered. Tare then uncorked and swallowed his own potion instead, the weak and less-than-potent one he had been carrying since yesterday, and replaced it in his supply with Limier's surely more effective one. He felt the limited restorative properties of the potion working sluggishly on his bruises and injured hands and feet, and muscled his way through the minor pain involved in one's injuries stitching themselves back together... most of the way.

    Turning back to Limier, he queried, somewhat bizarrely as he looked at the corpse next to them, already beginning to decompose, "Ok... Now what?"
    Last edited by OverWilliam; 2009-02-26 at 11:51 AM.
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    Its offical. Overwilliam is Duke Devlin.

  15. - Top - End - #75
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Abbie squirmed out from the press of bodies with the man's helping hand. Abbie shivered to herself and tightened the blanket wrapped around her against the cold wind, aside from the smell the corpse wagon had slowly become cooly cozy, she somewhat regretted leaving her comfortable nook. She was on rough and craggy ground again, she squeezed at it with her toes through her shoes, as if to embrace it. She was free! free!!

    She smiled and breathed deeply the smells of the the world outside of Ironheart, and even welcomed the fetid rot of the corpses that came along with it. She turned her attention back to the man who had helped her through it all; her dear child, oh how much she owed him! But it still wasn't over; no, a true time for celebration can be claimed when she was well and away from the questing hands of Ironheat. She scrambled up onto he remaining seat at the front of the cart and settled herself in as the man set it back into motion.

  16. - Top - End - #76
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Falconer's Avatar

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    Gazrul turns to his lieutenant, tossing the bag of crystals up in the air and catching it.

    "Well, my friend, our assignment of guard duty has taken a turn for the...interesting. It seems there is much more to be done here than we were first told. While the good Baron is more than willing to hire some men as a garrison and guards, our primary task is hunting. You know the Countess Ashargrin? She was touring Ironheart during the prison break. Now, apparently, she's loose on the countryside, raving about how the Baron is trying to kill her. He wants her found, and brought to him. If we do that," Gazrul snickered wolfishly,"we can name our price."

    "In terms of the guard duty, we've been given quite a bit of authority, actually: the Baron says we may try the escapees that we capture. But I'll fill you in on all the details when we return to camp, where Malohk can hear them as well." Gazrul turns toward the open road. "And now, the road beckons."
    Last edited by Falconer; 2009-02-26 at 03:30 PM.

  17. - Top - End - #77
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    The Estate of Baron Demetrius Gast

    Falconer

    Wulfric sneers as you mention the assignment. “While I have not heard of this woman, I cannot imagine how finding one single spoiled brat lost in the wilderness will be difficult.”

    Wulfric’s expression changes to match your wolfish smile. “But I do not mind if the Baron is willing to reward us handsomely for it. Certainly, as our leader the choice of assignments is yours, but I hope you will do me the honor of allowing me to handle whichever details you deem unworthy of your presence.”

    Wulfric was certainly a capable commander, although with a ruthless streak that occasionally clashed against the code of honor you wished each of your men to follow. He was not a blunt instrument, but his idea of surgery was usually to remove the limb. Which likely meant that Amaranth would become a nightmare for any prisoner foolish enough to flee that way, or that the Countess would be brought back alive, but perhaps not entirely whole.

    Catching the bag of crystals, you suddenly note that there was additional weight there that you had not noticed before. Peeking inside, you note the presence of several sheaves of paper – information on the prisoners, as you had requested. The Baron was efficient to the point of being nearly prescient!

    (There’s information on virtually every prisoner that has escaped Ironheart, PC or NPC. Notable exceptions include Incom (dead) and Mar (no touching!). Notes appear at the top of Korram, Umber, Ander, and Sohssal’s files, noting to keep an eye on them but do not engage unless provoked or they are clearly involved in wrongdoing. It’s open season on everyone else. )

    It is nearly dark now by the time you return to your small army’s field camp. Waiting for you in front of the rows of tents is, predictably, Malohk.

    “How did your meeting with the Baron go?” The old advisor rasped, earning a nasty chuckle from Wulfric.

    “Fabulous. We just have to track down some scared brat in the wilderness and the Baron will give us our hearts’ desires!” Wulfric snorts. “I’m still not entirely convinced the Baron will keep us word on that point. We have been lied to before.”

    The Ruins of Callaway

    Dorizzit

    You hear Kris grunt in surprise as you ignite yourself on fire, and then elbow him in the gut before slipping out of his grasp. Turning to face your assailant as you conjure up a circle of fire around the two of you, you finally get a good look at the bandit leader.

    Kris is a young man of about average height, but thin, confirming your boy-ish assessment based on his voice. The tightly coiled muscles of his exposed arms however suggest that he possesses a wiry strength that shouldn’t be ignored.

    His fingers are dirty and calloused, but otherwise are long and delicate, the kind of dexterous hands you’d expect for a skilled knife-fighter. Clasped in those fingers at the moment are a pair of wavy-edged daggers, predictably, known as a Kris.

    Baggy leather breeches and heavy boots cover his legs and feet, and his torso appears to be protected by a loose but thick patchwork shirt of hide. A simple dark green leather vest over that which was festooned with blades and a black bandana tied around his head complete the ensemble.

    Beneath a close-cropped mop of black hair, a pair of emerald eyes glares out at you. At the left corner of Kris’s mouth, a long thin scar extends upward for several inches, giving him the appearance of eternally smirking.

    Outside the circle of flame, one of the bandits shouts, “Hey uh, boss! I dunno about you, but I’m starting to think maybe we should take him to see Kat! She’d know whether or not this guy is Korram!”

    Kris jabs one of his weapons at the man. “Shut up! You shut your damn mouth! You’re the new guy here so you wouldn’t know this, but the last time we took one of these jokers to see the Kat it was a ****ing mess!”

    Kris turns back to you, sneering as the scarred corner of his mouth twisted up into a smile.

    “I’m not taking that chance again! So come on Fireman. Let’s see what you’ve got!”

    With a flick of his wrist, Kris sends one of his namesakes twirling through the air towards you as he begins to dash towards you. About halfway to you however, he suddenly pushes off the ground and leaps into the air, reaching up with his free hand to snag a low-hanging branch. He swings part-way around it before letting go, now sailing down towards you feet-first, approaching from a much different angle than he had previously just running towards you.

    The Heavens

    Baerdog7

    The dog whines in response to your comments, eagerly turning his head to lick your hand. He gives a soft “ruff” of agreement when you mention seeing your family, and then he sets off, leading you down the nearly empty streets. Soon thereafter you arrive at one of the city gates, currently closed and barred with a small group of angels standing guard on top of the wall. At your shout, one of the angels spreads its wings and steps off the gate, lazily gliding down to in front of you.

    Now up close, you recognize this angel as Melissan, a servant of the gods whom you commonly found in the Palace of the Sun, essentially acting as a receptionist for those who wished to speak to the gods. Although you knew that all angels were created by the Valkyrie to fight, it was still startling to see Melissan dressed in armor instead of flowing robes, and with a winged helm framing her face rather than a circlet of flowers. Despite speaking with hundreds of other important souls, she still remembered your name on each of the handful of times you had actually entered the Palace of the Sun to speak with the gods before leaving The Heavens on your mission. This time was no exception.

    “Salutations, Ander Windrivver. Are you back from your mission so soon? It seems like so little time has passed since last you were here, but I suppose it has been considerably longer on the mortal plane.” She smiles, although her expression quickly darkens as you question her as to what has happened to the city.

    “To be honest with you, no one is quite sure. Our Lady has secluded Herself, focusing a great deal of Her attention upon the mortal plane. Hephestia and Ysora have both disappeared, leaving us leaderless. And since their disappearance some time ago, our sisters have begun disappearing as well. At first we thought it was simply summons from the mortal plane, but after our sisters failed to return we could only assume the worst. The number of disappearances have also sharply increased in recent days. We decided it was best to all ready ourselves for battle and lock down the city.”

    The faintest tremor of fear comes through in Melissan’s voice, and it is clear that she has no idea what to do. Glancing up at the other angels stiffly milling around at the top of the wall, you can see that neither do any of them. And it was little wonder that they were all scared – their Creator had cut Herself off from contact, their leaders were all missing, and one by one they were all disappearing and not coming back.

    Stonefall

    The Surrounding Forest

    The_Snark

    Caroline seemed confused as you scrambled back away from her, and perhaps even a little hurt. But still, she visibly brightened when you answered her question.

    “Mar . . . that’s a pretty name!” she chirped, smiling at you while the boy (her brother?) came up behind her.

    “Where did you come from? Why were you running around barefoot in the woods?” The boy asked, earning a pout and sigh of exasperation from Caroline.

    “Will!”

    “What!? I just want to know why an angel’s here in our playhouse!”

    “You’re being rude! And this isn’t ours, it’s . . . p . . . pu . . . pub . . . pub . . .”

    “Public domain?”

    “Yeah!”

    “Yeah, whatever.”

    This last comment caused Caroline to turn around and punch her brother in the knee.

    “Stop being such a meaniehead!”

    “Ow! Alright, alright!” The boy sighs and then nods at you. “I’m William, and this is my sister Caroline. We’re from the nearby village, we come out here and play sometimes.”

    Caroline nods energetically. “Usually there’s more of us, but none of them wanted to come out in the cold! Hey, c-could I touch one of your wings? They look so soft.” Caroline starts to inch towards you again, but a snagging hand from William stops her again.

    “Caroline . . . I think you’re scaring her. Give the angel some space.” Turning to you, the boy’s face adopts a serious expression as he says, “You don’t have to be afraid. We aren’t going to hurt you. I promise.”

    The City of Amaranth

    The City Gates

    Meltemi

    We know who you are. You are The Other, Ruya Perist. Your sister is known to us. She promised reward if we delivered message.

    Here the spirits (spirit?) pause momentarily, as if expecting you to dispense this mysterious reward. You wait in breathless anticipation, your mind already turning over how to coerce them into telling you everything before they started up again, the two flames now merging and dancing through the air together more consistently.

    Message is as follows. Fear begets fear, and only knowledge lights the way. Yet dispel the shadows surrounding only that which you wish to know. I am alive, dear sister. Message over. Now reward.


    Spinning round each other one last time, the spirits suddenly shoot off, breaking through the circle and disappearing in the tangle of other spirits before you can react. A moment later, the circle is broken again as your spy spirit returns.

    The house reeks of decay and rot. Two hound shells stir in the basement, their forms moving but empty. The stench is heaviest down there, but is beginning to fade. Motion has not been breathed into empty shells down there for some time. Several shells also move on the top floor - they stand vigil over another. Her shell still breathes life into the contained spirit, but the spirit has begun to decay. An outside force has corrupted it.

    The spirit begins to move towards the outside of the circle.

    Our bargain is now complete. You will honor your end of it, when the time is right.

    (So just to make sure you understand, there's a pair of zombie dogs down in the basement, which is where they used to cast necromancy but haven't in a while. Up on the third floor is a handful of zombies, essentially standing guard around a bed where a living person is lying, sick in some way but still alive (for the moment). )

    WhiteKnight777

    Ross scowls as you mention the name of Helion. “Yes, that little rat bastard of a leech came here to Amaranth, or so my sources told me. I’ve spent two days so far tearing the underbelly of the city apart looking for him, with no success!”

    Ross tightens his grip on his warhammer, barring his teeth. For a moment they seem to be elongating in the pale moonlight, but then Ross closes his lips and seems to relax with a harsh chuckle.

    “Yes, I wasn’t able to find him. But instead I’ve heard that a bunch of necromancers are here to perform a mass raising of the dead the likes of which nobody has seen in centuries. Only found one of them aimlessly wandering around so far, and that was yesterday evening, but he was painting something on the backs of headstones with blood – runes or something. I’m no good at that arcane nonsense, but you’re welcome to try and make heads or tails of it.”

    From the tunnel beneath you comes the shouts of shouting – your pursuers had discovered your escape tunnel.

    “Another friend of yours?” Ross asks, casually stepping over to the mouth of the tunnel and shouting down, “Hullo down there!”

    MrEdwardNigma

    Arriving at the tunnel entrance and looking up it, you can just barely see several shadowy figures clustered about the other end of the tunnel. They are holding a soft, almost whispered conversation, and the distortion of the dirt tunnel makes it difficult to hear what was being said. Something about a bastard rat named Helion, necromancers, and headstones.

    The comment about necromancers gets your attention, as to the ignorant your master was certainly seen as such. Pleading with them to stop and talk with you, you shout up the tunnel at them. This seems to put an end to their conversation, although instead of scattering one of the figures moves over to the tunnel. He leans down towards it, and although he can’t see much of his face the back of his blond head glints in the moonlight.

    “Hullo down there!” The man shouts down at you.

    Iethloc

    “Alright Sohssal. Remember that we want him alive, at least long enough to tell us what he knows. I have the coordinates of his teleport pad, so you can just teleport right there.”

    I will accompany you. I should be able to tear what we wish to know from his mind.

    “Yeah, count me in too. I enjoy living vicariously through watching Sohssal pummel other mages.” The acolyte says with a smirk, although his comment draws a slight frown from Seymour.

    “Well then, I’ll let you get to it then Sohssal. Good luck.” Waving his hands, Seymour hurriedly goes through a teleportation ritual, activating the teleportation circle you were still standing on.

    A moment later, and his divination room disappears, to be replaced by a large dark basement. Looking around, you can see several small grates set into the walls near the ceiling, as well as four-door sized metal plates, one set into each wall. They appear to be made out of dark iron, one of a handful of materials like adamantite that bore some resistance to magic. Suddenly, a harsh voice cuts through the dank air, coming from a communication crystal set into the ceiling.

    Well, well, well . . . it would seem that I have some rats in my basement. I don’t know how they got there, but since they’re here I might as well have some fun.

    Looking up at the crystal in exasperation, the acolyte exclaims, “Can anyone tell me why every single mage has to be an arrogant, stuck-up prig? Come on down here and make this easy on yourself.”

    The voice on the other end actually cackles. No, no I think not. I’d much rather see if any of you can swim.

    In response to his statement, water begins to rush out of the grates, causing the room to slowly begin to fill with water.

    Of course, swimming won’t do you any good once the entire room fills with water, but I suppose it would give you at least a few more minutes. Oh, and I wouldn’t try to blast your way out either – only one of those metal plates has an actual door leading out of it. The other three just lead to an earlier watery grave! Mwahahaha!

    Ironheart

    The Fortress Basement

    Cpt. Soup

    After the guard helped you down from the cart, you clamber up into the remaining seat by the driver as the guard remounts the cart from the other side. With the crack of the whip and an angry snarl, the lion went back to pulling the cart over the rough ground.

    “I don’t think we’ll make it much further on the cart with just this beast pulling.” The guard confides, keeping a sharp eye on the surrounding forest. “We’ll have to walk the rest of the way. Here, put this on, and keep your arms hidden.” The guard says as he settles another cloak over your shoulders, this one emblazed with Ironheart guard markings.

    “With luck we’ll just have to bluff our way through why we’re hauling a cart full of bodies out into the woods should we get stopped by one of the patrols they have out hunting escaped prisoners.” The guard continues, turning to look at you with a surprisingly steely gaze.

    “Now, we need to discuss how you’re going to help me. I got a letter a week ago from my home that says my dear sister has fallen ill with Graverot.”

    You’d heard of Graverot – it was a disease that occasionally was contracted by those that came into contact with rotting corpses. Unusual for some villager to contract it, unless she had unusual tastes, although not unheard of for it to be passed from person to person either. Fortunately the disease was relatively easy to treat given the proper medicines – for a moment you had a flush of anger that this boy was going to waste your freedom attempting to treat an easily curable disease.

    “The local healers have already tried the usual remedies, but nothing has worked. My family is not rich enough to afford the local pastor to attempt magical curing. When I heard you had some skill with healing, I had hope . . . please, you must save her!”

    Now that was considerably more interesting. You had never heard of Graverot resisting the usual cures. Typically it cleared up within a few days after the cure’s application.

    “Her condition was already declining when my family sent the letter. We must hurry! I fear how much worse her condition will already be by the time we arrive.”

    The Surrounding Mountains

    Gourtox

    The leader bobs his head when you give your name. “Yes, we heard you were one of those taken and unjustly imprisoned by the humans. I am Lucure, member of Tur Vilid’s expeditionary force. We have come to liberate this land from the treacherous humans.”

    You recall that a tur was the elven equivalent of the human’s general, which suggests that Vilid’s expeditionary force was rather large indeed. And the implication that said force had come to liberate this land from the humans, something which had been tried occasionally for generations . . .

    “Come my friend. We must take you to speak with the Tur himself immediately. He will be most interesting to hear of a report on the situation inside the human fortress.”

    Lonna

    “Alright Mist – Pyrene.” Garthax says slowly, clambering off of the sheets and up the headboard to perch on top of it like a miniature sentry on a wall. Your stomach churns as you take another sip of whiskey, possibly the result of strong alcohol on an empty stomach but more likely the thought of the pain to come.

    Klaus tries to give a reassuring smile as he takes the bottle back, although it looks more like a grimace. “Well if your leg is anything like your hand, I doubt it’s going to tickle. It would probably help me see if you turned over on your side – it’s the back of your thigh, right? You might also want to bite down on the blanket so you don’t bite your tongue instead! As for the healing potions, they’re with your clothes. Don’t think they’ll do much in this situation – they can knit flesh back together and accelerate the healing process, but if you’re missing flesh there’s not much potions can do. Need a real healer for regeneration.”

    Klaus then sets to work, first removing the bandages from around your leg. Even that simple task nearly makes you scream as your inflamed leg retaliates with pain. Dimly, you can hear Klaus take in a sharp intake of breath.

    “This is bad.” He mutters, an understatement clearly meant more for himself than you. “Most of the muscle is even gone, be lucky to walk straight even if the infection clears. And if it doesn’t . . .” Letting that warning statement hang, Klaus grimly sets to work.

    Immediately, pain fills your mind, and your world recedes to a hot white dot. There was only the pain now, and that was all you could think of. Dimly, you can hear yourself screaming, and feel yourself thrashing while Klaus and the Countess attempt to hold you still. Mercifully, this state doesn’t last long as the pain becomes overwhelming for your mind, and it shuts down, turning your existence into nothingness.

    Darkness surrounds you, but your other senses still pick up details – a cold wind ruffling your hair, the harsh sound of leaves rustling together, the sharp scent of jasmine. And then finally a crackling voice, carried by the wind.

    “Daughter . . . daughter, you disappoint me. A . . . plaything of others . . . a diversion to be used and thrown away . . . that is what you are. But what you could be . . . Tempter, Seducer . . . these are the least of your talents. Discover your hidden gifts . . . Realize your true potential . . . AWAKEN!”


    With a start, you find yourself back in Klaus’s bed, this time thankfully alone, save for perhaps Garthax lurking invisibly about. The pain is gone, for the moment at least, and you wonder how long you were out. A moment later, the door to the room eases up, and through the crack you can see Klaus peering in. With a warm smile, he throws the door open the rest of the way.

    “Ah, you’re finally awake. You passed out during our little operation yesterday. I figured it was best to let you sleep, but now it looks like you’ve finally come around. How are you feeling?”

    DJDeMiko

    Running over to the pinned man, you help him pull his foot, arrow and all, free from the ground. Then with all the care you can muster in your haste, you break off the feathered end of the arrow, and then pull what’s left of the shaft out through his wound. The man whimpers his thanks, and begins to hobble away, still a fair bit slower than the others due to his unfortunate injury.

    Joining him in continuing to run the hells away, you call for the others to arm themselves as best they can. Casting your eyes around the snow-covered plain, the only thing you find remotely useful are the arrows that have buried themselves in the ground around you. Pulling a few of them out of the frozen earth like deadly carrots, you continue on, watching as a few of the others follow your example.

    Around you, the archery battle continues, as another guard falls beneath the hail of arrows coming from the trees. The remaining guards leap off of their horses, using the poor animals as makeshift cover as they attempt to return fire. The hounds however, continue relentlessly on towards you.

    As your little group began to run perpendicular to the woods, attempting to put distance between yourselves and the fight before ducking into their shelter, another barrage of arrows comes towards you. This time your little group is not nearly as lucky, as a pair of arrows strike a man in the shoulder and right thigh, pitching him forward into the snow. Screaming, he attempts to push himself back up onto his feet, but he is not fast enough.

    Two of the hounds break away from the others to leap onto his back, pushing him back down into the snow as they savage him. His muffled screams rise to a new desperate pitch before they are suddenly silenced as the dogs continue to bite and tear. Meanwhile, the other two race on towards you and the hobbled man. Together, you for stopping and him for his injury, are currently at the rear of the formation.

    “Please, don’t leave me. Not like this, I don’t want to go like this!” The wounded man gasps at you, pushing himself as hard as he can to continue skipping along on his injured foot, leaving a wide trail of blood in the snow as the two hounds eagerly close in for the kill.

    The Hells

    Outside the Screaming Dark Estate

    OverWilliam

    Drinking the potion you had acquired from the Ironheart guards, you feel your feet and hands tingle as the scratches covering them slowly close. Looking over at the corpse of the devil, you are disturbed to see it has collapsed entirely into ash and armor plates by now. The thin wind that blows across the balcony stirs the ashes, carrying them away from the armor and back around towards the manor. Following your gaze Limier chuckles nastily.

    “Yes indeed, we’re in Hell now. Hopefully by the time that thing reforms we’ll be long gone, but how long it takes tends to be imprecise. If we’re really unlucky we’ll open the door to find him standing there waiting for us. That was why I had been hoping to get into the manor undetected, but no such luck I guess.” Limier comments, revitalized as he stands up and throws the devil guard’s armor over the side of the cliff one jagged piece at a time.

    “But no matter. Now – we hide!” Limier finishes quickly, throwing the last piece of armor off the side and diving for cover behind a black granite bench jutting out of the ground a short distance away. Trusting the assassin’s senses, you likewise do you best to get out of sight by crouching down behind a massive stone pot containing a withered fruit tree of some sort. Peering around the side of the pot, you watch as the murky pool begins to bubble rapidly at the far end. A few moments later, a humanoid figure breaks through the surface, flopping out onto the tiled ground surrounding the pool.

    From what you can see through the wet veils clinging to its body, which likely obscured little even in the best circumstances, the humanoid was female. Numerous sucker-shaped welts covered her otherwise perfect body, which shuddered with several loud coughs.

    Locked around each ankle were thick bands of bronze, and long thin lengths of bronze chain seemed to connect them together. Weakly the humanoid pushed itself up, allowing you to see that similar bronze bands were locked around her wrists. Perhaps most bizarre of the whole ensemble however was the bronze mask locked over her actual face, obscuring everything on her head save for the long straw-covered hair that ran down to nearly her waist.

    With a final retch the humanoid manages to produce a torrent of water that leaks out from under its mask, and then shakingly gets to its feet. Behind her the pool bubbles to life again, and several large suckered tentacles break through the surface, waving around blindly through the air. This seems to encourage the humanoid, who quickly moves away from the pool and stumbles up the series of steps leading up to the ornate wooden door leading inside the manor. The door does not appear to be locked or guarded as the humanoid opens the door quickly, and then disappears inside. Almost disappointed, the tentacles sink back beneath the surface of the water, leaving you and Limier once again alone on the balcony.

    “Welcome to Hell!” Limier remarks with a nasty laugh as he stands up from behind the bench. “Although I must admit even I found that sight strange. She didn’t appear to be a devil or demon, which means . . .” Limier shakes his cowled head. “Never mind, it’s unimportant. What is important is getting inside, which fortunately enough has just been proven to be very easy for us to accomplish. We just need to get over to that door and open it, hopefully without convincing the beastie that lives in the pool we want to take a swim.”

    (If you want to do anything else out here on the balcony, feel free. As Limier said, I also wouldn’t suggest going for a swim. There’s no real danger save for the pool at the moment so you can just sneak over to the door and go inside if you so desire. Alternatively, if you wanted to somehow interfere with Masked Babe clambering out of the pool you’re welcome to interject your own sequence of events, keeping in mind you’re on the far side of an apparently tentacle-beastie-infested pool. )
    Last edited by Inspectre; 2009-02-26 at 08:23 PM.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  18. - Top - End - #78
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Korram didn't really expect Kris to give up, but he figured it was worth an effort to try and stop his opponent without unnecessary fighting.

    “Hey uh, boss! I dunno about you, but I’m starting to think maybe we should take him to see Kat! She’d know whether or not this guy is Korram!”

    Kat...

    Korram's mind wanders, ever so briefly, back to the hellish escape from Ironheart. What had the shapeshifter said? His daughter had followed in his footsteps. It merited investigation. Any chance that he could find his daughter would be worth it.

    Korram pays for his short attention span, and is unable to dodge the kris. Seeing this, instead of try he instead flashes out one arm, knocking the spinning blade out of the air, receiving a stinging gash for his trouble. Barely noticing the pain, Korram lashes out a thin, concentrated blast of fire, destroying part of Kris' treebranch and sending him dropping prematurely. Korram doesn't wait for his opponent to land, instead tackling him midair and slamming him into the ground, using his superior strength to pin Kris, who continues to struggle.

    "Do you really want to keep trying? You can't beat me. The only reason you're still alive is because you don't represent enough of a threat to me that I feel like I have to use my fire."
    Your fire?
    Shut it. This guy's not bad.

    Korram hauls Kris to his feet, and then erects a barrier of blistering heat around them to prevent the other Ghosts from approaching them.

    "I actually think your man had it right earlier. Why don't we go see this 'Kat' of yours."

    Korram drops the field for a second, shoving Kris away before bringing it back up again.

    "Lead on, Kris..."
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  19. - Top - End - #79
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Ander Windrivver

    Ander's face falls and, for just a brief moment, seems to show his long years. It's been over fifteen years, Melissan and my mission is far from over. He scans the battlements and the sky beyond. Hephestia is gone too? Things are worse than I thought.

    He sighs. I was hoping to see my family before going to Miriam. Now I really don't think I have time. Melissan, can you have one of your angels let my wife know I'm here, safe, and that I'll see her before I leave if I can? Tell her...I love her.

    With a last longing look at the city gate, Ander hoists the sack of armor back onto his shoulder and sets off toward the Palace of the Sun, Seymour hot on his heels.
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  20. - Top - End - #80
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Umber

    Umber grunted, loosing his blade in its scabbard. Necromancy was never my area of expertise, but I've still forgotten more about it than most could learn in ten lifetimes. I can see what I can make of it, if you'll help me get rid of whatever pests might be following me. Tomb robbers, most likely, so you shouldn't have any moral objections to crushing their skulls into paste. And if you're hunting Helion... I'll be glad to help you. The little piece of offal has ambitions beyond his station, if my suspicions are correct, and I owe him a debt of pain. I've my own tasks that need doing 'ere the night is done, though.

    He turned, making sure Bran was safe as he prepared to engage his pursuers.

  21. - Top - End - #81
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Pyrene

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspectre
    Darkness surrounds you, but your other senses still pick up details – a cold wind ruffling your hair, the harsh sound of leaves rustling together, the sharp scent of jasmine. And then finally a crackling voice, carried by the wind.

    “Daughter . . . daughter, you disappoint me. A . . . plaything of others . . . a diversion to be used and thrown away . . . that is what you are. But what you could be . . . Tempter, Seducer . . . these are the least of your talents. Discover your hidden gifts . . . Realize your true potential . . . AWAKEN!”


    With a start, you find yourself back in Klaus’s bed, this time thankfully alone, save for perhaps Garthax lurking invisibly about. The pain is gone, for the moment at least, and you wonder how long you were out. A moment later, the door to the room eases up, and through the crack you can see Klaus peering in. With a warm smile, he throws the door open the rest of the way.

    “Ah, you’re finally awake. You passed out during our little operation yesterday. I figured it was best to let you sleep, but now it looks like you’ve finally come around. How are you feeling?”
    Still thinking about the strange dream, which hadn't really felt much like a dream, it took Pyrene a moment to answer. "Much... much better," she said finally, with some surprise in her tone. After what you said before, I rather expected to be in a great deal of pain right now. Perhaps it's just the contrast with my pain level before, but I don't hurt at all. Though I'd be more comfortable if I could find some way to get this thrice-damned collar off. It has some... unpleasant associations," she added, brushing the now-defunct collar and thinking of Alphonse. The strange voice from her dream had reminded her of the mage's comments about her being a puppet, and the collar was an uncomfortable re-enforcement of that idea.
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  22. - Top - End - #82
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Meltemi's Avatar

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    Ruya
    Ruya was drawn from her work by a low hum, the arrival of a pair of spirits spinning about each other. Slipping her book into a large jacket pocket that dominated the lining of one side, she listened carefully to their words. As they passed along the message itself, she reacted first with surprise, then with astonishment. Their quick message finished, they flitted away before she could even speak, fading from sight as they left the range of the spell. She started to move, to chase after them, but she caught herself at the edge of her circle. Even if she gave chase, this spell was designed to end if she left the circle, and she wouldn't be able to learn what she inscribed the circle to find. She would not even be able to see them if by some fluke she did somehow catch up with them, not without preparing a second circle in just the right spot. Reluctantly, she took a step back, and turned to come face to flame with the first spirit.

    As it finished its report, it made to leave the circle as well, more sedately and slowly than the pair. Before it left the bounds, she spoke again, remembering something. "About the bargain. When you wish me to fulfill it, call on me with the rune Lavand. I'll have it prepared as soon as I'm able, and you should be able to activate it without my aid."

    It simply flickered briefly in acknowledgement as it left the circle, and she did the same. As the glow faded, returning the dingy alley to night, she looked around the corner at the empty street. A place of foul magic, with certainty including necromancy at the least from the soulless, animated husks and from what she herself had seen, but apparently unused in so long that the taint was beginning to weaken. Nonetheless, the cultists remained, and judging from their talk, it was clear that they planned something greater than simple living.

    She tugged slightly at a stray lock of hair, caught up by indecision. Now that she had heard the message relayed by the two spirits, she wanted all the more strongly to find her sister, but Alya was clearly doing well enough if she was casting spells, and the message had included no word of any danger or harm. Still, her sister had triggered the message spell for a reason, and she wanted to discover it, if only to ease her own suspicions. On the other hand, there were the words of the one she had sent to scout out the cultists' lair. The one in there, injured and under guard, clearly needed help, but she could not do it alone. She was no healer to cure this person's wounds, no warrior to fight her way in and carry her out, no thief with faculty at stealth. She repeated that to herself as she began to move forward. It would take time to find a guard, even if the local guards were trustworthy, time to locate a healer, time to do everything that needed to be done, and in that time, the cult might simply pack up and flee now that they thought themselves unmasked. As she reactivated her invisibility rune again, moving to return to the house. It was foolhardy, risky, dangerous, but even so, another had risked herself to save her once. Retracing her steps as best as she could, she finally found herself in front of that house again. Despite her misgivings, she was here, alone, and she would do her best on her own.

    She walked around to the back of the house, where the set of stairs reached up to the second and third stories. Her goal was upstairs, where the person rested, and she held her pendant tightly in one hand. It was her most potent protection against the zombies, though any magic that powerful about her would disrupt her invisibility again, and depending on how it worked indoors, the pillar of light that manifested through it could signal half of the city at the worst, including the necromancers still out searching for her. With the other, she withdrew the book from her pocket where she had left it - there were two circles that she would likely need, a quick one for binding doors and a longer, larger one that would shield the room itself against all ingress, magical or otherwise. She eyed the gap between where the stairs reached the third story door and the curtained window, then shook her head. Trying it was simply foolish. Activating her shield rune as well, she took the handle and opened the door just enough to peek into the hall. Zombies usually weren't all that smart, and with judicious use of her offensive magic and simply hiding where she could, she might be able to reach the room without being forced to overcome all of the guards.
    Last edited by Meltemi; 2009-02-27 at 10:31 PM.
    Ruya Perist, Flight from Ironheart
    Teira Feiwright, Lost and Clueless

    I am me, you are you.
    We’re totally different, separate persons.
    But even so, what if we have just one thing in common?

  23. - Top - End - #83
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Gazrul

    "I see no reason why the Baron would not keep his word. He seems honorable enough. And more than smart enough to realize that it would be unwise to double-cross us." Gazrul says.

    "But now the both you to my tent. We have tactics to discuss, and soldiers that will be needing their orders."

    The three make their way through the maze of tents, campfires, stands, and soldiers. As they reach Gazrul's tent, he holds the flap open for them as they go in. Sometimes chivalry manifested itself in small things.

    They sit down at a large, round meeting table (another item that featured in the stories Gazrul had been told as a growing up), and Gazrul explains the details of the assignment the Baron had given them.

    "I suspect quite a few of the escapees will be heading to nearby Amaranth, either to rest and resupply before fleeing elsewhere or to blend in with the populace as best they can. And as such I will be sending a detatchment of two-hundred fighters to that city to patrol and seek out the convicts. It will be led by Captain Gahnaz, and I appoint you, Malohk, as chief judge."

    Gazrul hands his old friend and advisor the paper with the descriptions of the prisoners.

    "The prisoners will be identifiable by the numbers that are tatooed on their left arms. There are however, some exceptions. People that are not to be arrested. Most importantly is a small human pup, a young girl with the number 1 tattood on her arm. The Baron wants her free, though why a small pup would in a prison is beyond me. As I understand it, she is in the care of one of the Baron's friends. The Baron said explicitly that she is not to be bothered in any way. You will find notes on others to be left alone, at the top of the list. Also, Malohk, I wish to send one-hundred-and-fifty men to the two smaller cities of Cerdanth and Amvis. You may appoint who you wish to leadership positions. I trust your judgement."

    "Wulfric here, as well as Captains Angros, Verdan, Gohlek, Uhuris, Stalrick, Salders, Anrehk, Tyrus, and myself will lead the hunting parties in their search for the Countess. We will be looking in the wilderness surrounding Ironheart, and each of us will be in charge of twenty trackers. Each of us will be in possession of one of these crystals to communicate with each other and coordinate ourselves."


    Gazrul stands up. "This of course, leaves three-hundred men here at camp as a reserve, which we will call upon as necessary. Now, you two, I suggest you get some sleep. We set out at dawn tomorrow. I myself will go and inform the officers of my plans."
    Last edited by Falconer; 2009-02-28 at 09:00 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #84
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Telest

    He listens carefully as the leader speaks. When he hears the word Tur he becomes very interested. A Tur? And he is here to force out the humans. Interesting. When the elf know as Locure finishes speaking Telsest smiles and says, "Great,, lead me to him." Taking over the human lands has been tried and failed many times. I wonder if this time will be different.
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  25. - Top - End - #85
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Sohssal

    Sohssal was almost...disappointed. Moving underwater didn't hinder an incorporeal creature like him, and he didn't need to breathe at all anymore. He simply floated forward, checking behind each door. If their new foe wasn't lying - which Sohssal wouldn't expect - he would possess the correct door, exercising his innate powers of possession to make it bend and curl up, tearing it off the hinges to force it open (and spite the "announcer"), and then step out. He gave the communications crystal a few moments to respond, and then sucked it dry. Possession certainly wasn't effortless.

    "We should keep moving...I'll be able to sniff out any traps. I suspect most of them would have some magical component," he said.
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  26. - Top - End - #86
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Mar

    That's a pretty name! Julian's voice echoed Caroline in Mar's head, followed by a voice she shivered at remembering. You are my daughter Mar. This is all there is, was, and ever will be.

    She wished she hadn't said her name. It made her feel like Daddy and Julian were about to step through the door in front of her. If Da—if anyone was following following her, they could... she didn't think about it. It was easy in such a strange place.

    The two of them—Caroline and Will, not... someone else—were staring at her, she realized. She nodded. "All right." But she didn't move off the heap, and a silence descended. They weren't very frightening, it was true, but they were new and confusing. She could dimly remember people like them from her dreams, but faced with them while awake, she didn't know what to do.
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  27. - Top - End - #87
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    ~Tare

    Tare sat, frozen, staring at the pool. He blinked stolidly a few times. "That... I-- I don't... What..." The young boy gibbered softly. He managed to turn to Limier, just barely. "What... was that?" He asks stupidly, as though barely believing what he just saw. All traces of sarcasm, audacity, all the streetwise savvy that had protected him from overthinking his situation until now is banished without contest by a horror so complete that it becomes something else altogether; catatonia. His face was pale, maybe a little green, and he was no doubt contemplating whether healing potions tasted any better on the way back up than they did on the way down. He struggled to say something else, but no words came out...
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    The Mercenary Camp

    Falconer

    (Mar is #2 actually. )

    Malohk seems somewhat surprised that there were exceptions amongst the prisoners. He hid it well, but you had known him for too long not to be able to pick up on even his hidden thoughts.

    “Certainly if we encounter any of these other prisoners I will see to it that our men leave them alone, but I don’t understand. How is it justice if we recapture many for punishment but allow a select few to go free?”

    “Who cares. The Baron wants them ignored, so we ignore them unless they pick a fight.” Wulfric grins at that possibility. “I’m sure he has his reasons he wants those prisoners left alone, reasons that we don’t have to know. Furthermore, many of those we are to ignore seem to be among the most powerful escaped prisoners. You going to go up to them and just ask them nicely to turn themselves in, Malohk? What are you going to do when they tell you no?”

    Malohk growls, but remains silent. He had been baited by Wulfric in this fashion before, and although on occasion he arose to the situation to put Wulfric back in his place, evidently he didn’t feel like continuing the argument today. Smirking triumphantly, Wulfric turns to you.

    “And this Countess, what are we going to do with her? I can’t imagine she’s going to want to go back to meet the Baron, at least not willingly. What measures are we allowed to take in self-defense, particularly if she’s found some friends out in the wilderness?”

    Once you’ve answered Wulfric’s question, you adjourn the meeting. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day, and all of you needed as much rest as you could get now, in the calm before the storm of activity.

    (You’ve got next post to settle any remaining issues in camp, and then we’ll switch to the next morning or so, and you and the other hunting parties setting out on the road to go looking for the Countess).

    The Ruins of Callaway

    Dorizzit

    You tackle Kris in mid-air, pinning him to the ground easily with your superior strength. This only seems to enrage him further, as he struggles furiously to wiggle out of your grasp. His voice takes on a frantic tone as he shouts in your face “Get off me! Let go of me! GET! OFF! ME!”

    Hauling yourself and him to your feet, you grant Kris’s request as you shove him away from you before restoring the wall of fire. Sullenly Kris retrieves his other weapon, wiping your blood off onto the trunk of a nearby tree. “Fine.” He mutters as he sheathes both of his weapons. “But if you hurt her, I *will* kill you. I swear it!”

    Threat delivered, Kris rejoins the rest of the Ghosts as they gather their weapons and prepare to carry their unconscious member with them. Then silently, they lead you off the beaten path into the forest. You sense Calcifer is annoyed by this turn of events, but seems to be distracted by something. Several minutes into the forest, he finally speaks up inside your mind.

    Have care, Korram. I sense others of my kind nearby.

    Only a few minutes later, one of the Ghosts ducks down, pointing towards a nearby section of the woods. “Look! I see heavy smoke over there! Some kind of fire?” He whispers, prompting a grunt from Kris.

    “Some of the Baron’s men attempting to smoke us out? It’d be just like them to resort to burning the whole forest down just to get us.” Kris shoots a sideways glance at you.

    “Hmph. Or maybe friends of yours “Korram”? Too bad for you, but we’re going to have to go check this out. You’re welcome to come with us or stay here cowering. Once we’ve checked this out, then we’ll take you to see Kat.” Kris’s face drops into a serious scowl as he motions his men forward towards the smoke. “Fire bad enough to throw up that much smoke is not good. I hope you’re as capable of putting out fires as starting them.”

    The Heavens

    Baerdog7

    (Heh. I was willing to indulge a meeting with your family, but now that you’ve willingly returned to the tracks it’s time to unleash that scene I’ve had in mind for quite some time. )

    Melissan nods at your request. “Of course.” She gestures at one of the angels still standing guard on top of the wall and watching you with poorly-concealed interest. That angel immediately leaps up into the air, spreading her wings majestically before swooping off into the maze of residences beyond the gate. Melissan then smiles sadly at you.

    “I will accompany you to the Palace. It’s the least -” Abruptly, Melissan disappears, replaced by a swirling cloud of dark mist. Even as soon as it appears, the cloud begins to rapidly dissipate. As you are standing right next to the cloud that has replaced Melissan, you are able to peer inside its depths and see a swirling portal, already beginning to rapidly dilate shut. Through that portal, you are able to watch a scene presumably occurring on the mortal plane, events moving so fast that they are nearly a blur.

    Melissan appears in the center of a dark circular room. She is immediately assaulted by five burly men who leap onto her, tackling her to the floor. One by one she manages to throw them off, but not before they snap adamantine cuffs around her wrists and ankles and an adamantine collar around her neck. Melissan manages to regain her footing and draw her longsword before the chains attached to those various bands of metal are pulled taut, immobilizing her. Another trio of men appear from the darkness, each touting sledgehammers. One disarms Melissan, smashing the longsword from her hand and nearly taking a few fingers with it. The second delivers a blow to her midsection that even with her armor doubles her over, and then the third straightens her back up with an upward swing to the face. Like clockwork, the first quintet of burly men reappear, dropping a heavy leather sack down over dazed Melissan’s head and attaching it to her collar. Now blind and restrained, poor Melissan is only able to feebly flap her wings about her as she comes out of her stupor. The quintet of men take even this defense from her, working together to wrap a net of thick leather straps around her wings and torso, pinioning Mellisan’s wings against her back. A robed man carrying a glowing staff and an open book now chooses this moment to join in. With a jab of his staff’s tip and a sharp arcane word, he ends all thoughts of further resistance. At his command, runes etched into the surface of Melissan’s chains briefly light up. Even through the portal, you can hear her screams. The robed man and evident leader smirks confidently as he addressed the captive angel, his words faintly whispering from the nearly-closed portal. “Don’t worry my beauty, this will all be over soon.” He then extends the glowing tip of his staff and approaches Melissan.

    This scene has taken only a handful of heartbeats to play out, and you know that you only have a few more in which to react. Although man-sized when it first appeared, now the portal was barely the size of your head, and you had no idea what attempting to dive through it would do to you. Alternatively, you could make haste to the Palace of the Sun, where you could potentially summon help and return to the mortal plane in the usual way. Or you could travel to the Palace of the Sun and make your report as planned before returning to the mortal plane to avenge Melissan. Given how quickly events passed in the mortal plane relative to the Heavens, Melissan’s fate was virtually sealed.

    Stonefall

    The Surrounding Forest

    The_Snark

    Hearing your acquiescence, Caroline shifts forward to run her hands through the feathers of your left wing.

    “Oh, so soft!” She exclaims with obvious pleasure, earning another embarrassed sigh from Will. Which in turn provokes another angry glance from Caroline. “What? She said I could!”

    “I didn’t say anything!”

    “You were thinking it though!”

    “Geez!” Will sighs and shakes his head.

    Evidently finished with her tactile examination of your wing, Caroline instead snatches one of your hands in both of hers, feebly trying to pull you up to your feet.

    “Come on Mar. Why don’t you play with us? It’ll be fun!”

    “Caroline, I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

    “Aw, WILL!” Caroline drops your hand to put both of hers on her hips while pouting at Will.

    “Come on Caroline. Mar isn’t looking so good. I think she’s cold.” Will remarks as he looks up at the hole in the ceiling. “And it’s little wonder why. I don’t think running around out in the snow is going to help that.”

    “Well fine. Why don’t we take her back home so she can warm up first!”

    Will looks about as alarmed as you suddenly feel at Caroline’s suggestion.

    “Um, I . . . I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

    Caroline stamps her little foot. “Well, why not? Mar’s cold, so we take her someplace warm. Dad wouldn’t mind!”

    “No, Dad *would* mind, and he’d have all sorts of questions. Especially about why we were out in the woods instead of over at Emma’s doing our chores.”

    “We got done early!”

    “Yeah, and you think Dad will be happy to hear that? He expects us right home as soon as we’re done helping Emma out, not after we’re done and finished playing out in the woods.”

    “But Will!”

    “No buts, you know it’s true. And I’m not sure Mar wants to answer any questions about where she came from right now either.” Will turns to look at you. “But . . . do you want to go back home with us Mar? Dad would have a lot of questions, and he can be a little gruff, but he’s got a kind heart. He wouldn’t turn you away if you wanted to stay the night, I’m sure of it!”

    The City of Amaranth

    The City Gates

    Meltemi

    Despite your misgivings, despite the fact that you were quite possibly the least capable person to effect a rescue, you nonetheless found yourself walking back in the direction of the cultist house. Someone in there was sick, dying, and would likely be disposed of by the cultists before they fled. For all you knew, this person was going to serve a vital role in their ceremonies for the evening. There simply wasn’t enough time to go get someone, convince them, and lead them back before the cultists likely returned themselves.

    On the way back, you thought you had seen one or two black-robed figures moving about in the dark alleyways, searching, but you didn’t stop to confirm those glimpses. The last thing you wanted to do was run into the leader of the cultists again in the open street. Thankfully he did not make an appearance, and you made it to the cultist house without incident.

    The house is dark and silent as you approach it, now much more brooding and menacing than when you first saw it. No one seems to be home for the moment however, and you make your way into the back alleyway. Then, with one last thought of abandoning your quest thrown to the wind, you carefully climb your way up the rough steps to the third floor.

    Opening the door to peek inside, your nose is immediately assaulted by a truly disgusting blend of rotting flesh, blood, filth, and other unpleasant smells. Peering inside nonetheless, you see that there is no hallway here, merely a large bedroom with two doors leading off into other rooms. In one corner of the room sat a large heavy bed, with one figure lying on it and four figures clustered around it.

    The four standing figures were zombies, judging by the paleness of their skin and the way they limply stood about the bed. You note with a growing disquiet that these zombies are slightly unusual due to the differences in their age. One was once a stout, barrel-chested man, one a hardy-looking woman, one a boy on the cusp of manhood, and the last a young girl, still just a child.

    The figure lying on the bed was a teenaged girl, deathly pale. Hands clasped on top of her chest, she stares silently up at the ceiling. Her entire body is rigid, and you have no idea how she could maintain such an uncomfortable position. In many places, her simple dress is torn and bloodstained, and you can see that her body is covered in scratches and bruises, all untreated. The only way you even know that she is still alive is that suddenly she blinks, and you notice a wetness on her cheeks – she had been crying earlier, but had made no attempt to wipe those tears away.

    WhiteKnight777

    From near the mouth of the escape tunnel, Ross shoots you a glance as he brandishes his warhammer once again. “Ah, for once you’re speaking my language Fangs.” He says with a nasty grin, although his eyes narrow slightly in suspicion. “What were you doing that involved tomb robbers chasing you underground, before you finally crawled out of a tunnel practically right underneath my feet!? Don’t tell me the young lad has acquired a taste for corpses after hanging out with you!!”

    Iethloc

    The acolyte gives a cackle of delight as you possess the correct door, tearing it open and allowing him and Omega to escape the room.

    “Yeah! You have no idea who you’re messing with now, jackass!” The acolyte hoots, flipping the communication crystal a one-fingered salute before you drain it of magic.

    Exiting the door, you lead the way as the three of you race down the basement hallway, passing through an unlocked door and traveling up a set of steps to the ground floor of Heath’s estate. Looking around, you can see that you are in a side room, a floor-length window looking out over a small fountain courtyard.

    Seeing no danger lurking in the courtyard, you turn away from the window to the door leading out of this room into a carpeted hallway. One end of the hallway seemed to lead to several other rooms and the lobby, while the other ended with a stairway gracefully curving upward. While you are deciding where Heath was most likely to be hiding, upstairs or downstairs, another communication crystal activates.

    “You think you can just come in here, into my house, and there’s not going to be consequences? I didn’t get to where I am today by not taking precautions, especially against other members of the Wizard’s Council and whatever sort of freaks they could cook up.”

    From the top of the stairs, you hear several cage doors creak open, followed by loud growls. A moment later a trio of freakish hounds bound down the stairs, their mouths glowing with arcane energy and scars in the shape of mystical symbols marring their sleek pelts.

    “These are Manahounds, a little creation of mine that feed off of magical energy. I wonder if you’ll be enough for the three of them or if they’ll have to share.”

    Noses twitching in the air, the three hounds regard you, Omega, and the acolyte closely, and then as one all race towards you with a hungry howl.

    Ironheart

    The Surrounding Mountains

    Gourtox

    Lucure nods at your request. “Yes, we must return to camp quickly and quietly. I am afraid that the humans are already aware of our presence – we have dispatched several patrols like these already.” Lucure nods at the fallen guards, and it suddenly occurs to you that the Tur’s forces evidently didn’t know about the demonic assault upon Ironheart.

    Stepping nimbly through the trees, the group of elves begin to withdraw, leading you back towards their camp. On the way, Lucure shoots a curious glance at you.

    “Tell me brother, how is it you were able to escape? I understand that you are quite skilled, but the human fortress has boldly been declared over the years as being inescapable.”

    Lonna

    Klaus frowns as you relate how you’re feeling. “Good to hear that the infection is down, but it’s worrying that you’re still not in a lot of pain. That suggests a loss of sensation, which is actually in the opposite direction of what we’re hoping for. As for that ugly piece of jewelry, I suppose a heavy file and a lot of patience could get that off.” Klaus suddenly stiffens in surprise as you idly run your good hand along the rim of the collar.

    With a dry click, the small but extremely sturdy lock built into the demagicked collar falls open, and the inseparable and insufferable piece of prison jewelry falls off into your hand. Klaus’s eyes narrow in suspicion, although his voice retains its jovial tone. “Well, they certainly don’t build those things to last, do they? Maybe I should take a look at your injured hand now, just to see how that’s doing.”

    Coming over to the side of the bed, Klaus carefully takes your injured hand in his, unwinding the bandages from it. Once again the old soldier stiffens and gives a soft curse of surprise as the last of the bandages falls away. Although still tender, the hole in your hand was gone, replaced by new pink flesh.

    Klaus shakes his head as he slowly stumbles back away from the bed. Away from you. “Healing herbs shouldn’t have done that. Not so fast. Magebane collars are designed to withstand abuse so some idiot can’t just knock theirs off with a rock, and you pull it off like removing a necklace. And even though it was the dead of night, I just happen to have a sudden urge to go out for a sleigh ride.” Klaus runs into the wall, and presses himself up against it, his eyes still locked on you. “What are you?”

    The Hells

    Outside the Screaming Dark Estate

    OverWilliam

    (Poor Tare. Always seems like two steps forward, one step back for him. )

    Even through his mask, you can tell Limier is frowning. “Ah, I see. Well no worries, I got the answer here.” He says nonchalantly, before smacking you across the face with an open-hand slap. The stinging pain draws your attention away from the pool to your tormentor, and you can feel you face flush with anger and a little bit of shame. Limier’s voice is also tight as he continues.

    “There. Now do you need another? Huh? This is Hell, and if you want to make it out of here so you can see the sun again you damn well better keep your wits about you! You’re going to see a lot of disturbing things down here kid, a damn sight worse than what you’ve already seen. How do you think Prince Teareal is fairing in there, smack in the middle of it? Did you forget about him? Come on, keep your head about you, keep moving, and stay close. I’ve been in worse spots before – we’ll all make it out of here so long as you don’t lose your head again.”

    Snatching a handful of the rough fabric of your tunic, Limier drags you up to your feet, and then begins half guiding, half dragging you towards the door, keeping a wide berth from the pool.
    I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.

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  29. - Top - End - #89
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Lonna's Avatar

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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Pyrene

    Though an excellent actress herself, Pyrene was too busy being shocked at the defunct collar's sudden release to immediately notice when Klaus hid his own surprise. By the time she did, he was handling her bandaged hand, prompting her to refrain from any sudden movements - she remembered how painful it had been when he was healing her and didn't want to provoke him into hurting her. Then she was delivered another surprise as the bandages revealed tender but health flesh where a nasty wound used to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inspectre View Post
    Klaus shakes his head as he slowly stumbles back away from the bed. Away from you. “Healing herbs shouldn’t have done that. Not so fast. Magebane collars are designed to withstand abuse so some idiot can’t just knock theirs off with a rock, and you pull it off like removing a necklace. And even though it was the dead of night, I just happen to have a sudden urge to go out for a sleigh ride.” Klaus runs into the wall, and presses himself up against it, his eyes still locked on you. “What are you?”
    Pyrene's eyes barely left her newly healed hand, which she raised and flexed, awestruck, as Klaus backed away. The edge of fear in his voice finally registered as he finished speaking. For a moment she was silent, shifting her gaze from her hands, to the open collar, and finally to Klaus' face. Even with her training, she was unable to completely prevent her voice from shaking as she answered.

    "I'm starting to think I have no idea." Pyrene swallowed hard and pulled the blankets more tightly around herself, suddenly feeling exposed. "Right before I woke up I had a- a very strange dream. At least, I thought it was a dream. Now I'm not so sure. I don't know what to think - I didn't even know I had magic until that damned collar shocked me the first time, and I certainly never did anything like this before!" she exclaimed, guesturing to where the lock and collar lay on the bedding.

    Realizing her volume was rising, Pyrene stopped and took several deep breaths before continuing in a calmer tone. "Could I have some clothes please? I'm feeling too vulnerable to handle this very well right now, and if I unlocked the collar just by strongly wishing it were off, I need to be very careful that I don't do anything else by accident. I owe everyone in this house too much to risk hurting someone just because I'm frightened. Once I'm dressed, I'll tell you whatever you want to know - as much as I can anyway."
    I started a blog!
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  30. - Top - End - #90
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WhiteKnight777's Avatar

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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Flight From Ironheart IC

    Umber

    Umber grinned back at Ross To make a long story short, I was looting my own tomb when a number of unsavory fellows apparently decided to see what they could get out of the deal. And from what I saw a little earlier, Bran prefers his women breathing. He said with a tight grin.

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