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  1. - Top - End - #301
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    The Succubus's Avatar

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    Hungry Sands

    Khalen watched as the shining light of Dasque slowly lifted off the top of the tower and flew to land beside him. Giving his sister a brief nod, for there was little time for anything more intimate, Khalen turned his attention to the dark mass before him.

    The Spark of Law that dwelt within him began to whisper in his mind, guiding his actions. He swung his arm in a wide arc before him, the sand tracing a wide circle around them.

    “I am Khalen-Het. I am the Judgement of Baz’Auran, the Falling Gavel and Lord of the Desert Sands. You tresspass in my domain, abomination of chaos and you shall face judgement for daring to strike a child of the White City.” Khalen spoke normally, yet his words cut through the cacophony of howling wind and hissing sand.

    The dark sand twisted and sped towards the challenge, only to be deflected in a shower of dazzling sparks by an invisible wall of Khalen’s will. However, with the force of the blow, Khalen felt the wall weaken - it would only hold for a short time.

    Again and again the sand struck the barrier and slowly it began to buckle under the relentless assault. Khalen noticed a pattern in the attacks. Whenever the sand stuck, it wasn’t just a random twist of sand, it took on the form of a skeletal hand. Afterwards the hand would lose its shape and retreat back into the dark vortex.

    The Spark of Law whispered once again, a distinctly colder tone of voice, far different from the whisper that had taught him the protective ward. His right hand was surrounded by a red and black glow and he sliced his hand vertically through the air.

    To his right, there was a sound like rusty hinge and a dark line a metre long appeared above the ground. Khalen clenched his fist and the the dark line tore apart revealling a swirling red and black malestrom in which nightmarish shapes twisted and danced.

    “Be ready, sister,” he murmured.

    The hand slammed against the ward for the final time and it shattered with a flash of light. With an almost balletic movement, Dasque swung her spear high, blocking the hand and forcing it to retreat.

    From out of the baleful vortex, a great iron chain snaked through the air at frightening speed and an iron manacle snapped shut around the the wrist of the hand. A bellowing roar shook the ground, initiating a hellish tug of war between the dark vortex of sand and whatever horrific dimension sourced the binding chain.

    Link by link, metre by agonizing metre, the chain retreated back into the void it came from, pulling something out of the dark sands....
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-03-01 at 11:01 AM.
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    Succubus gets grongratulatory cookies from me. You have stepped into the realm of puns that only the likes of Death, Your Friend the Reaper have seen.

    Posting schedule likely to be erratic for the next few weeks - sorting out some personal stuff.

  2. - Top - End - #302
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    Haramhold waited patiently as Jongo began addressing the dragons. It was long winded but friendly hopefully what is needed to keep these beasts from devouring them.

    Haramhold tightened the grip on his spear and solidified his stance, waiting every tendon in his body as tight as a bow string. Waiting for the dragons to respond.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  3. - Top - End - #303
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    Chapter 5: Deus ex Ironia

    The feeling that death is coming in less than a second is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. The feeling that one's soul is being burned away, inch by inch, is absolutely lethal to a weak mind. These were the feelings that Roselia felt as the Legendary Beast of Chaos, the Malcanthorix itself, stared at her with unblinking eyes, the eyes that destroy souls and leave bodies as withered husks of their former self. However, there was a third emotion welling in her: The thrill of being moments away from winning an impossible battle.

    The Malcanthorix, for all of its power and might, was hardly a creature of brutality. It was driven by rage at Baz'Auran himself, and worked on the Disk in an effort to injure the power base of the mighty god. To this end, it slaughtered thousands of innocents, and planted others in prisons created by their own minds. It drew power from these trapped individuals, growing larger off of their energy and slowly strengthening itself as its victims withered away. A key fact that had been related in the tales of it were the nature of its eyes.

    The hypnotic eyes of the Malcanthorix were anathema to true life, and it knew this. Why would such a creature bother exerting itself physically if it could burn souls away with a gaze, or drag other creatures under its power?

    This was a key fact in Roselia's planning. Unknown to the Malcanthorix, Roselia had created not one, or even two, but three levels of deception in her escape attempt. It believed that it had seen right through both of the levels, even taking the unfortunate injury to one of its eyes in its unraveling of the second deception. After all, of course it had! She looked terrified for her life! She definitely wasn't a person who had being creating facades since an early age!

    However, Roselia knew that the beast would attempt to kill her if she injured it, and she knew that it would use its legendary Gaze to do so, rather than simply smashing her in its coils. After all, why would a creature of such power and arrogance exert itself to deal with a simple mortal when all it had to do was gaze upon her?

    And so she prepared for this inevitability.

    Even as the slow, horrible agony of the emotional assault began to eat at the very core of her being, at her divine spark itself, she pulled forth her last line of defense, the one that she'd planned to use from the moment she understood what her foe was: A small, personal mirror.

    With only one eye remaining, the creature didn't realize what had happened until too late. The beast stared into its own eye, and contorted in agony, unable to break its gaze upon itself. It knew, for those last few seconds of life, that it had been tricked. She had beaten it using her wits, and it was a hubristic fool for believing that a Child of Baz'Auran was too weak to harm it. The Malcanthorix' body shriveled as it died, and collapsed in upon itself shortly after. It was impaled by a billion pieces of its own chitin.

    Roselia collapsed, her energy spent. She was victorious, but at what cost? She felt empty, somehow, like some part of her was removed, burned away under the nightmarish pain of the now-dead beast's gaze. Her mirror dropped to the floor, but did not break. Looking up at the wrecked body of the foul creature, she noticed something. Its foul eye, the one that had not been torn away by the steel of the White city, was missing entirely, leaving an empty socket.

    Suddenly, she felt full again. Too full. Perhaps even fuller than she was to start! Piecing together things she had learned from Tezzerin and the events of the day, she realized the reason: The damage to her, as painful as it had been, had been cathartic enough to crack the shell encasing her dormant divine spark, bringing it to activity. Perhaps that meant...

    Roselia picked up the mirror and looked upon it, a final realization dawning on her. This mirror was her lifeline; the only thing that had saved her from the wrath of the beast. However, a simple mirror could not fully reflect the practically unlimited power available to such a monster. It was simply impossible. No, it was clear: A bit of her divine spark had splintered off into the mirror, and that mirror had become something that actually could protect her from such a lethal attack.

    She opened it, to marvel upon her unintentional creation, and almost dropped again upon seeing the interior. The eye was visible upon the mirror. It was dead, and lifeless, but the image of the nightmarish oculus was enough to invoke terror in, or even cow those of weak minds.

    Looking around, she witnessed the result of her actions once more: A once great and terrible beast destroyed, and a cave of ancient evil vindicated until some other creature chose to use this as its lair. Sickened by the sight, Roselia took her creation and took the path to the surface, now clear of obstruction.

    The morning air smelled great.


    Artifact Creation: The Eye of Delusion
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    The Eye of Delusion is a small personal mirror. When closed, it acts in a completely normal manner, aside from being abnormally resistant to shattering. When open, however, the lifeless eye of the dead Malcanthorix can be seen through it as if the mirror were a window to an alternate version of the world. The sight of the opened Eye is enough to instill terror into typical mortals, and with some finesse can be used to cow them as well.
    Further, the deceit and the manipulative powers of the Malcanthorix have been absorbed from the monster's soul into the mirror, granting some additional range and effectiveness to the possessor's illusions.


    ((Quest COMPLETED! Domain please! ))
    Last edited by BladeofObliviom; 2012-03-01 at 10:08 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #304
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    The Barrows

    For the next few days Nan and Nieve and all the rest foraged up and down the banks of the stream. Denne stayed close to Nieve for a while and showed her how it was done: how to catch fish with your hands or with a spear, which plants had roots or leaves that were good to eat, where to look for bird eggs, and many other things. By the end of the second day Nieve felt she could call herself a hunter; maybe not a very good one, but she would not be utterly helpless if she struck out alone. On the third day Nan said it was time to move on; the river was not large, and there was only so much food to be had there. They gathered up what little they had left and set out.

    This was the way of things for the next several weeks: they traveled along the coast, always on the lookout for a place to rest a few days, and as they walked they searched for berries and tubers, and hunted birds and hares with slings,. Occasionally they sighted larger game, nimble four-footed creatures with swept-back horns and dainty hooved feet, and these they also hunted; but Nieve never saw them succeed in bringing one down.

    One afternoon, Nieve saw a stone doorway built into a hillside. She pointed it out to the others, saying, "That looks like a good place to stay the night."

    They were all silent. At last, Nan said that there were several hours before nightfall, and they needed to go further if they wanted to eat well tonight. That time Nieve acquiesced, but when she glimpsed another stone doorway at dusk three days later she pointed it out again. Again they were silent until Nan finally told her, "We do not go to those places."

    "Why not?" she demanded, but received no answer no matter how many times she asked. It simply was not done.

    That evening she was in a foul temper, and came to blows with Shesa the thief over a quarrel.

    Rain and fog lay heavy over the isle the day after and kept her from finding any more doorways for some time. It was three weeks later, when she was out foraging on a grey morning with Denne and Essen, that she saw her third stone doorway. "Why don't we go in there?" she said innocently. "I feel as though I've forgotten what it's like to be dry; I'd like to feel a roof over my head."

    But Denne only shook her head, and lively Essen who laughed at all her jokes turned pale. Nieve scowled at them both. "I am going in there," she said aloud. She wasn't going to back down this time. She wanted to know what was in those bloody doors.

    And yet, as she looked at the hillside, she felt a shiver run through her. Essen and Denne turned their backs. She took a step towards it, and felt her apprehension grow. Why did Nan and his followers avoid these places? What could be so terrible that they would not even speak of it? She kept walking, but her resolve weakened with every step. She didn't have to do this now. Not alone. Aruin or Essen would come with her if she pestered them long enough, especially if they thought they were going out alone with her for something else. Or maybe Nan would tell her. Yes. She wouldn't have to go into the door at all.

    Only pure stubbornness kept her going: she'd said she was going in, and she wasn't going to back down from that. No backing down. No stopping. Can't—

    Then terror overwhelmed her and she was fleeing. Run. Run. Away away had to get away brambles stabbing hat her feet didn't matter run. It was there, she couldn't look, couldn't think about it, only run—

    Suddenly the fear lifted, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud. Denne and Essen were beside her, panting, their eyes wide. They had been caught up in the nameless dread of the doorway too. Nieve looked behind, and saw the fruits of their morning's foraging spread out on the ground behind them, where they'd dropped it in their panicked flight. Silently, she turned and went back to retrieve the food, and Denne and Essen came with her.

    She did not look at the stone doorway again.
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  5. - Top - End - #305
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    Dark Sands - Dasque and Khalen-Het

    As the chains of Khalen-Het's sorcery strain against the writhing claws of the black whirlwind, the two divinities managed to gain some measure of what was driving their relentless attacker. For as the chains pulled inexorably towards their fiery home, gossamer thin strands of shadow became clear, each one pulling against a grain of black sand being drawn into the damnation of Law. Despite the terrible pull of his magic, Khalen-Het saw his chain slow, and eventually stop, locked in a stalemate with black threads that were stretched to the breaking point. Then came a shearing pop and a terrible wail as the taut strands gave way, and in an instant the animated limb collapsed into mundane sand.

    The loss of its limb seemed to pain the shadowy storm before them, but Dasque and Khalen-Het were allowed but a brief respite before the storm roared with renewed life. Surging forward in a solid column, the black sand broke upon their defenses, only to circle back and rejoin the tunnel of scouring wind. The twin gods' mastery of air and earth spared them the worst of the assault, but their wards and countermeasures were but a stopgap before the gale that sought to shear the flesh from their bones. The two gods were forced to retreat back, ever so slowly, until Dasque spotted something on the northern horizon - a great winged beast that to her eyes radiated divine power.

    Dark Sands - Fayruz and Kalandor

    The people of the rocklands were no strangers to violence, but what came among them now was truly beyond their ken. For while man and beast alike would fall to the crushing force of spear and stone, those possessed by the black sand seemed impervious to pain. Without a sound, the revenant downed by Saven regained its feet, with naught but a dribble of sand coming from the indented gash of its crushed skull. Meanwhile, Kalandor was surprised to find his mighty blows rebounding from their bodies, for though the sound of cracking bones was clear enough it seemed whatever force drove the creatures forward provided resiliency beyond that of their frail mortal shells. The two revenants advanced again, and when Kalandor brought his staff down yet again he found it held fast in the hands of his target. Opening its mouth, his assailant let loose a rasping cry, and on the edge of the firelight a dozen jerkily shambling figures emerged from the darkness.

    Further down in the camp, all was chaos. Hands faltered as husbands were confronted by the puppeteered bodies of wives and children, and even those who found the will to overcome terror and mount a proper defense were forced back by the seeming invincibility of their attackers. All seemed lost, until a ragged shout of victory carried from an encampment of those that had been called Kayanek. Those nearby were the first to be saved, as the victorious warriors charged out to engage the rest of the horde, carrying a secret upon their glass knives - to behead a revenant was to slay it.

    To Speak with Dragons

    It was difficult to tell, but as Jongo spoke the twinkling in the dragons' eyes suggested they were endeavoring very hard not to laugh. As the shifting god finished introductions, the first dragon to arrive lowered its head ever so slightly.

    "Two children of Baz'Auran wandering the skies of the Disk, with more about? Truly, we live in interesting times, brother."

    A snort of assent was the only reply, as the dragon wrapped around the mast seemed intent on discerning why Jongo had taken the time to introduce a bracelet and the identity of the mysterious "Jewely."

    "But where are our manners? I am Alassarinus, vanguard of the Flight of Water, and this is my brother and journeymate Cascarindarus. We saw the commotion with the sky vermin and decided to intervene to sate both our hunger and our curiosity. Tell us, oh Jongo Chaos-born, what is your business in the skies above our domain?"
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-03-02 at 03:42 AM.

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    I was old in those epochs uncounted
    When I, and I only, was vile;

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    Quote Originally Posted by apocalypsePast2 View Post
    ...one could possibly refer to you guys' elaborate dance of allies-to-enemies-to-suicide-of-the-universe as some sort of weird art form.

    If one were on drugs.
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  6. - Top - End - #306
    Troll in the Playground
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkDM View Post
    Dark Sands - Dasque and Khalen-Het
    Dark Sands - Fayruz and Kalandor

    The people of the rocklands were no strangers to violence, but what came among them now was truly beyond their ken. For while man and beast alike would fall to the crushing force of spear and stone, those possessed by the black sand seemed impervious to pain. Without a sound, the revenant downed by Saven regained its feet, with naught but a dribble of sand coming from the indented gash of its crushed skull. Meanwhile, Kalandor was surprised to find his mighty blows rebounding from their bodies, for though the sound of cracking bones was clear enough it seemed whatever force drove the creatures forward provided resiliency beyond that of their frail mortal shells. The two revenants advanced again, and when Kalandor brought his staff down yet again he found it held fast in the hands of his target. Opening its mouth, his assailant let loose a rasping cry, and on the edge of the firelight a dozen jerkily shambling figures emerged from the darkness.

    Further down in the camp, all was chaos. Hands faltered as husbands were confronted by the puppeteered bodies of wives and children, and even those who found the will to overcome terror and mount a proper defense were forced back by the seeming invincibility of their attackers. All seemed lost, until a ragged shout of victory carried from an encampment of those that had been called Kayanek. Those nearby were the first to be saved, as the victorious warriors charged out to engage the rest of the horde, carrying a secret upon their glass knives - to behead a revenant was to slay it.
    To Slay the Dead

    While Kalandor was not normally the strongest of gods, he felt terror at a being strong enough to hold his spear in place, strengthened as he was with focused form. He and the revenant struggeled, pushing at each other for long seconds before the cry reached them.
    "The head! Remove their Heads!!"
    And Kalandor cursed himself for not yet having gored the acursed revenant.
    Glad the spear remains whole, Kalandor suddenly thrusts his head forward, releasing pressure from the staff, driving the ravenants head closer, to have itself impaled. And with a quick twist and a sicking crack the head was all but obliterated, to be severed in Kalandor's feral jaws. Changin his grip on his stave, which had now formed into a glaive, he spun, and with a mighty blow severed the head of the remaining revenant, who had started to stager forwards. The Stave resounded with a sickening crack as it almost shattered, and quickly mended.
    Kalandor threw a glance over at Fayruz's guards.
    "Guard my sister! And stay out of the way!!

    And so, with muzzle bloodied Kalandor charged into the fray, taking a moment to return his head to normal, the scales dropping beneath his leathers, weilding the glaive with deadly efficiency, moving with a speed beyound mortal man to lend his aid where it is needed most.

    For DM
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    So, anything bad happen as an effect of me eating that revenant's head?
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    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
    ** Cast Rock to mud on a Druid statue
    *** Scoop mud into little ceramic pots
    **** Plant tree's in individual ceramic pots
    ***** Claim that I have helped them become one with nature
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  7. - Top - End - #307
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Glancing with a smirk at Haramhold, Jongo looked back at Alassarinus, and answered honestly, "We are on our way to visit what we think may be another of our siblings. He is one who, if he's separated from who I think he is, may have become despondent and lonely. Although, he doesn't feel lonely, now that I think about it. But I may not be close enough. He can be a bit of a grassblade sometimes. Still... he's family."

    Jongo looked around, and then asked the Green Morningstar to part a bit. It did, and Jongo saw a hole that allowed her to look straight down into the ocean.

    "You are from the Flight of Water? That must be great! I haven't taught Water to fly yet. Is it difficult? And how far above your domain are we? Did we forget to bring a gift? What do Water Dragons like as gifts?" Like a torrential rain, the questions just seem to keep coming.
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
    Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, you'll be a mile away, and have their shoes!
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  8. - Top - End - #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkDM View Post
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    Dark Sands - Fayruz and Kalandor

    The people of the rocklands were no strangers to violence, but what came among them now was truly beyond their ken. For while man and beast alike would fall to the crushing force of spear and stone, those possessed by the black sand seemed impervious to pain. Without a sound, the revenant downed by Saven regained its feet, with naught but a dribble of sand coming from the indented gash of its crushed skull. Meanwhile, Kalandor was surprised to find his mighty blows rebounding from their bodies, for though the sound of cracking bones was clear enough it seemed whatever force drove the creatures forward provided resiliency beyond that of their frail mortal shells. The two revenants advanced again, and when Kalandor brought his staff down yet again he found it held fast in the hands of his target. Opening its mouth, his assailant let loose a rasping cry, and on the edge of the firelight a dozen jerkily shambling figures emerged from the darkness.

    Further down in the camp, all was chaos. Hands faltered as husbands were confronted by the puppeteered bodies of wives and children, and even those who found the will to overcome terror and mount a proper defense were forced back by the seeming invincibility of their attackers. All seemed lost, until a ragged shout of victory carried from an encampment of those that had been called Kayanek. Those nearby were the first to be saved, as the victorious warriors charged out to engage the rest of the horde, carrying a secret upon their glass knives - to behead a revenant was to slay it.


    To Slay the Dead

    While Kalandor was not normally the strongest of gods, he felt terror at a being strong enough to hold his spear in place, strengthened as he was with focused form. He and the revenant struggeled, pushing at each other for long seconds before the cry reached them.
    "The head! Remove their Heads!!"
    And Kalandor cursed himself for not yet having gored the acursed revenant.
    Glad the spear remains whole, Kalandor suddenly thrusts his head forward, releasing pressure from the staff, driving the ravenants head closer, to have itself impaled. And with a quick twist and a sicking crack the head was all but obliterated, to be severed in Kalandor's feral jaws. Changin his grip on his stave, which had now formed into a glaive, he spun, and with a mighty blow severed the head of the remaining revenant, who had started to stager forwards. The Stave resounded with a sickening crack as it almost shattered, and quickly mended.
    Kalandor threw a glance over at Fayruz's guards.
    "Guard my sister! And stay out of the way!!

    And so, with muzzle bloodied Kalandor charged into the fray, taking a moment to return his head to normal, the scales dropping beneath his leathers, weilding the glaive with deadly efficiency, moving with a speed beyound mortal man to lend his aid where it is needed most.
    Death on the Olm

    Few things can be certain of the battle that was waged between the Fayheran that night. It was a battle of fire and shadow, of desperation and mistrust and fear. Even the cruel illusions of a minotaur were to be preferred to this onslaught of those who were under the thrall of black sands. It is said that of all those descended from the tribes, those who wielded the glass knives and swords of the Kayanek were the greatest, but the vicious warriors descended from the Ma-Shen, and those from other tribes who had taken up their mantle, were a second behind them. The Wolf Lord and his seven children rallied a band of men at the Riverfane, and it is said that the battle-madness over took him and his kin that night; that those who bled black sand and stood in their way were ripped apart, limb from limb, the heads torn from their bodies with nothing but the vicious hands of the wolves-made-men.

    Glasswork was the most treasured thing, on that night; the long glass shards, many treasured heirlooms of the southern warriors, felled night-haunt after night-haunt, and in that night was born Sandslayer which beheaded, it is said, thirty of the abominations in that one night; so, too, was born Night's Edge and the Burning Blade, the Last Friend and the Dancer's Knife.

    They say, too, that Gamesha Tekeza swore an oath to never again be without his weapons, for he and his blood-brother, Saven, fought a desperate fight about the fire, armed with only a sling and a staff. Having foresworn his strength born of lunacy, Gamesha was forced to fight half-a-dozen alone, without weapon, driving them into each other and nearly becoming one of them again and again, as they tried to pin him down and convert him. Saven, too, fought valiantly, wielding a burning brand from the fire.

    But this is a trustworthy testimony: that Fayruz, the gentle Maiden of the Dusk, simply knelt and ran her fingers through the black sand of the destroyed night-haunts, and then raised her hand and spoke a command of such power that not even the cruel sand could refuse her. It burned its way out of them, swirling about her hand in a black storm, before she caught it in a vial of purest glass. The sand within seethed and raged, but it could not escape her grasp.

    She stumbled, nearly swooning, for whatever dark power had consumed the men had struggled fiercely against her, not wishing captivity. Gamesha, who had been grappling three at once, tossed them aside and came to her aid, taking her up in his arms. Saven, meanwhile, pronounced those who had been freed of the black sand to be dead.

    They defended her there as the brother of the goddess, Kalandor, fought alongside the Wolf Lord and the Brothers Swift, and all across the camp a hundred died agonizing deaths, their insides devoured by the black sand, and a hundred more became heroes, saving their wives and children from being possessed through swordplay and strength.

    But when morning's light came, and the last of the black-sand thralls was slain, the cost was too high. Warriors of the tribe cast aside their weapons and cried openly, seeing the headless bodies of women and children all about them. It is said that the descendants of the Aferi were the first to take up the bodies and burn them, for they had been almost untouched, given the protection of Hefar and Keisedek the Storm-Tempered. Tents were repaired, widows and orphans were taken under the protection of the warriors who sought to follow Fayruz's teachings, and a rider – Cenekan Ghoul-Slayer – was sent to the camp of Merrin, who had gone to reclaim the northenmost glass mines.

    For, not only were more glass swords needed, should the thralls of the black sand return, but many of the slain were recognized as the camp of Nesheta, who had returned to the land of her youth to reclaim the greatest glass mine in all of the south, and to search for the legendary Glass City of Tys. Nesheta herself was found headless before the Riverfane, having been slain by Skullsplitter of the Wolf King's get.

    And Fayruz, the healer of the river of the Olm, worked ever harder to repair both body and soul among her people. Even to her brother, she could spare little but a word of farewell and an embrace, before she continued going between the tents, giving so much of herself that she seemed almost a wraith, a far cry from the beautiful queen who had danced with Kalandor before the fire.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-03-02 at 02:02 PM.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  9. - Top - End - #309
    Troll in the Playground
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    A Dead mans Due

    It was not long after the fight ended that Kalandor aproached Fayruz, and both could see the exhausted pallor under each others skin. Where what seemed mere moments before, Fayruz glowed with an inner light, and Kalandor's skin was a deep tan, Fayruz was now deathly pale, and whiteness could be seen under the tan of Kalandor's skin. It was and odd thing to note, that neither were so much as breathing heavy nor flushed...

    "My Dearest sister, we must talk. We, must discuss thi-... Olm. We must call one of your brothers, and I need you to make a simple decision."
    Kalandor spoke slowly, with sorrow, that he must distract her from her peoples plight and have her make decisions, and for the loss of life. He dealt with death almost daily, but such destruction he had not yet seen, and wished to never see again.
    My Homebrew Sig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonwolf727 View Post
    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
    ** Cast Rock to mud on a Druid statue
    *** Scoop mud into little ceramic pots
    **** Plant tree's in individual ceramic pots
    ***** Claim that I have helped them become one with nature
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Congrats, you made me laugh hard enough to draw my family's attention.
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  10. - Top - End - #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Vale View Post
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    A Dead mans Due

    It was not long after the fight ended that Kalandor aproached Fayruz, and both could see the exhausted pallor under each others skin. Where what seemed mere moments before, Fayruz glowed with an inner light, and Kalandor's skin was a deep tan, Fayruz was now deathly pale, and whiteness could be seen under the tan of Kalandor's skin. It was and odd thing to note, that neither were so much as breathing heavy nor flushed...

    "My Dearest sister, we must talk. We, must discuss thi-... Olm. We must call one of your brothers, and I need you to make a simple decision."
    Kalandor spoke slowly, with sorrow, that he must distract her from her peoples plight and have her make decisions, and for the loss of life. He dealt with death almost daily, but such destruction he had not yet seen, and wished to never see again.
    Due to the Dead

    Fayruz did not respond to her brother immediately. It was rude, she knew, but what he was saying seemed vastly less important than what she was doing. The hard rock of the Olm's weathered, perhaps once-beautiful floor pressed hard against her knees as she knelt over a young man who had been mistaken for one of the black-sand thralls. A deep gouge had been dug into his collarbone from one shoulder to another, and he was covered in smaller lacerations, evidence of his feeble defense against his attackers.

    She laid her hands against the deep wound, her fingers nestled against his clammy, pallid throat, and began to sing. It was a song of old days, a song of lost health and the autumn that comes before winter, a song without any words but still rich against the ear. Slowly, slowly, the cut closed, until it was nothing but a deep scar. She could do nothing for the scar, but at least he would not bleed to death, and he would not fear re-opening the wound.

    Her hands were as pale as sand, now, and as she leaned close and kissed him on the forehead both of them were shivering and cold. She pulled back, her head swimming for a moment with the effort. How many had she healed already? How many more were there? Not enough, and too many. She'd failed them.

    She did not turn to answer her brother, initially. "My place is among my people," she said, simply, in a low voice. She cut off a retort by turning, her eyes dim and dull. "Do you think this would have happened, had I not encouraged them to unite? This is my fault... and there is so much for me to heal. So much..."

    She shook her head and rose, looking onwards. The boy's lacerations would not kill him, and she did not have strength to spare in healing them. Later, later...

    Without another word to Kalandor, she strode on, to the next victim of the night. The message was clear: she would not leave the side of her people in need. If Kalandor wished to speak to her, he would do it by her side, and by their side.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  11. - Top - End - #311
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Due to the Dead.

    Kalandor nodded at Fayruz's back, and had made his decisions.
    Three things needed to be done.
    Someone needed to take a look for the glass mines.
    Someone needed to retrace the path the attack had come from.
    Fayruz needed gaurding and shouldn't be left alone.

    The first task he could delagate to some warriors, with a bit of force if he had to, as long as he reinforced Careful a dozen or so times.
    The Second only he could do reliable in a desert such as this, and if he wanted any chance of succes, he had to do it now. He made an ammendment, Frellon could do this aswell, probally, but he would also have to leave immediately.
    And that provides a problem for the 3rd. He would need to call on his siblings and pray, pray that Baz'Auran still watched. That he was still alive.

    Turning his face to the Sky, Kalandor spoke in a whisper barely audible, that would reach his brothers ears almost immediately.
    "Frellon. Carolinus, If either of you can hear me, Fayruz needs your help, she needs it now. Do not call for me, do not ask why I leave her side, just know I have two and she needs your help. Please my brothers, Come quick....
    This, he followed by sending an image, showing them of Olm, and where he believed it was based on Geography lessons, which would be very accurate.

    Next, he bulied a group of about 5 Fayheran warriors to take a look as to the sand mines, telling them to take only as much as they needed. But his parting words were. "Should you see ghouls, don't fight, but hide. Should they find you, Run. Should they Run Faster, make sure you lead them not to Olm, but in another direction, and seek true death, that you may not rise against your families. Go with my blessing."
    With this, he turned and left them.

    And then he set to hunt.
    Finding the direction that the attackers origonally came from, he gave a child a small stone, within which he had infused the tiniest portion of his power, to give to Fayruz, and he told the child to give it to her, either when she collapsed, or when night falls. While the child gasped at the thought that her god could fall from exhuaustion, feeling the light in Kalandor's eyes, he agreed, and watched as the traveller tracked. He did not see Kalandor's nose change to one that would make a bloodhounds seem as useless as a mans, nor did he feel Kalandor commune with the whispering sand and groaning rock, with great diffifculty, to follow the trail set by the attackers.

    When night fell, Kalandor was nigh on exhaustion, ready to collapse himself, and as he planned, far from the sight of Olm, he sunk beneath the cracks in the earth to rest the night, that he may hunt whatever dared strike at his family, using just enough energy to hide his spark from prying eyes.

    The Stone.
    Spoiler
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    The stone is a one use message, that also containes enough power to take the edge off Fayruz's exhuasiton, and wake her if she works herself into unconciousness.

    The Message
    "Fayruz, you gave these people hope, you give them joy and laughter, in no way are the events of this day any fault of yours. Had you not joined the tribes as one, they would have died alone, and the deserts would in truth be lifeless. Know I speak with love, and go to strike at those who fight us.

    With love
    The Traveller"

    "Afterthought
    If the kid used the stone to wake you from falling unconcious, stop, and rest. The Tribes will need you, and working yourself to death will do noone any good."
    My Homebrew Sig.

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    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
    ** Cast Rock to mud on a Druid statue
    *** Scoop mud into little ceramic pots
    **** Plant tree's in individual ceramic pots
    ***** Claim that I have helped them become one with nature
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
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  12. - Top - End - #312
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    Frellon traveled for weeks, maintaining his bearing of south west. Each morning he looked again with his mind to sense what directions his siblings might lay. But nothing seemed to change. Whenever he happened across an animal, he butchered it, restoring his supplies often. He did come across several orc tribes, but the pace of his march took him beyond sight quite quickly. At first Frellon had to rest frequently; even as a full god, his flesh was out of shape somewhat and the pace he was setting was taxing. As the weeks went by, however, his body hardened, and the time between breaks stretched on until he only stopped once a day to sleep, or to replenish his supplies.

    Mile after mile passed him, twice he was attacked as he slept, but a simple alarm he had set as a precaution woke him. The cowards who dared strike a man as he slept were… dealt with.

    One morning, as he was packing up his possessions for another long day of travel, Kalandor’s words were carried to him on the wind.


    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Vale View Post
    "Frellon. Carolinus, If either of you can hear me, Fayruz needs your help, she needs it now. Do not call for me, do not ask why I leave her side, just know I have to and she needs your help. Please my brothers, Come quick....
    This, he followed by sending an image, showing them of Olm, and where he believed it was based on Geography lessons, which would be very accurate.
    Adrenaline spiked.
    Fayruz needed his help! This was terrible news, but Frellon could not help but feel glad Kalandor was alive enough to even contact him. The map also was of great aid, all Frellon had to do now was figure out where he was on the map, and he’d be able to find his way to Fayruz.

    He hoped sincerely that Carolinus would get there soon, it seemed that he would not be able to.

    Frellon stopped what he was doing and berated himself.

    “No!”

    Frellon crushed a pebble beneath his heel.

    I refuse to give up!

    Frellon finished packing, and set off again, still in a southwestern direction. First he was doing his normal, mile-eating march, traveling around 200 miles in a day, his agitation grew, however, and he pushed himself harder. Fayruz needs help! Faster and faster he accelerated, hills passed beneath his feet like grass, his muscles screamed, but he ignored them, focusing on his need to protect family.

    He continued like this for the remainder of the day, his determination spurring him on, his racing form an indistinguishable blur in the countryside.

    As night began to fall again, Frellon crested a massive cliff, and jumped it, eyes widening as he saw what lay before him. He landed with much force, stopping dead in his tracks and spraying sand everywhere. Water lapped his feet, and his fervored determination drained out of him as he stared, unmoving, into the expanse of ocean before him.

    Turning, he made his way back up the beach and made camp. His limbs were throbbing and feeling like lead, and each breath felt like his last. He fell asleep, leaning against a tree, wondering however he was supposed to cross an ocean.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-02 at 11:45 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #313
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    The most popular telling of how Lossethir gained his enchanted coat is that the great white lion had the simple misfortune to cross his path shortly after he gained his freedom. In this telling, the beast roared a singular challenge, not realizing quite who his would-be prey was before being clubbed with the heel of Lossethir's hand and falling dead in an instant. But, of course, lions do not live in the tundra -- even enormous white magical ones.

    Another, far more popular version has Lossethir seeking out the beast at a much later date, either for sport or to save others from the monster's apatite. In this version the battle is fierce and a bloodied Lossethir only survives by strangling the lion. What no one mentioned to Lossethir was that the great lion's hide was impenetrable. This lead to an awkward situation involving a broken spear and a piqued and confused hero. However, if the lion truly had an invulnerable skin, how is it that Lossethir was able to make a coat out of it?

    Now, the third version isn't so much a story as it's not the sort of thing that gets everyone around the fire to shut up and pay attention, it's more of speculation. It's entirely possible that the lion was neither magical, nor unusually sized (just a regular sized, run-of-the-mill albino lion) and that Lossethir simply imbued the coat with its fabled properties. Though, when Lossethir came into possession of this artifact, he was not precisely talented in the arcane arts.

    What everyone agreed on was that Lossethir looked absolutely smashing.

    Bakoshka's Coat (Coat of the Winter Lion, Mantle of the North Wind)
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    Lossethir's coat is covered in velvety short fur with grey specked mane hair on the collar, sleeves and tail. There us a curious lack of toggles, buttons nor even stitches corroborates the legend that the beast's hide cannot be pierced; the garment seems to made from a single, unmarred piece. Lossethir synches the coat closed with a blue and silver sash. The body of the coat changes from black to white depending on the Winter Lord's mood and the occasion.

    The magical properties of the coat are subtle. First, the wearer is comfortable in all earthly environments and weather. The effect is likened to being in a very warm bed on a bitterly cold winter morning. Second, Lossethir is nearly undetectable in the snow, eluding even divine senses. Lastly, the coat is indeed impervious to harm... a quality which isn't extended to wearer.

  14. - Top - End - #314
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Blood on the Ground

    It was a rare cloudless night, and the stars gazed down on Brymhide Isle for the first time in a long while.

    Some among the lost people thought this an ill omen, for tonight they planned a raid. Yesterday Usa and Sola had run across a strange man keeping watch over three grazing goats, and Oun had spotted the smoke from a village cookfire over the hills. This was generally thought to be poor luck: if these lands were already claimed by a people, then game would be scarce, and they risked a fight if they stayed too long. But it was also an opportunity, for the settled folk always had plenty to eat. Some kept animals, some grew plants in the ground, and many did both; all had enough food that they did not need to move from place to place, which seemed unimaginably wealthy to Nan's outcasts.

    So they stole. On fogbound nights it was easy to slip into the edges of a village and lead off a few sheep or goats, or to wander into the fields and take whatever looked ready to eat. But starlight illumined the moors of Brymhide almost as well as the weak daylight that reached through the clouds most days, and the bloody red disc hanging in the sky to the southwest unnerved them. Denne and Bal and his brother wanted to turn back and wait for the fog to return; Nieve and Aruin and Larim insisted that they did not care to go hungry tonight, and perhaps tomorrow night as well, if the fog was slow in returning. Nan and the rest were unsure. But in the end Shesa did not wish to appear less bold than Nieve, and nor did Essen (though for quite a different reason), and the gnawing of hunger convinced the rest to try.

    This village kept its herds in little woven-grass huts at night, to keep them from wandering off. A boy sat near the doorway to make sure none escaped, and to watch for thieves. It was a boring task, and he was not really paying attention, and did not see the people creeping towards him until it was nearly too late. The boy-guard leaped to his feet and ran, shouting warnings until Aruin silenced him with a sing-stone.

    They went inside and found goats and fowl, a sort of emerald cockerel Nieve had never seen before. The sleeping birds were easy to pick up and carry under one arm, but the goats were more difficult; being sensible beasts, they backed up against the walls and flatly refused to accompany strangers out into the cold night. Finally Larim and Usa managed to prod two out into the open with the points of their spears, and Sola and Oun seized their collars and dragged them outside.

    But they had taken too long. Those who remained outside heard shouting from the village, and soon men with clubs and stone-tipped spears were upon them. Aruin brought down one with his sling, Devon shouted and hurled his spear, but missed. A man brought a heavy club down on Devon's shoulder, and Nieve heard the sound of bones cracking; it was like the sound of stone rotting, like the hungry sea rising to eat the land.

    Larim rushed forward with a shout to defend his fallen friend, and Aruin leaped after him, and Nieve followed—no, she went past them, whipping a sharpened stick through the air as though it were a blade. She left a painful welt across a man's face. Another swipe. Somebody screamed. Black ink dripped onto the fens, glistening scarlet in the light of the red moon; she could smell salt and iron and life in the air. It made her head swim. Wood splintered as she thrust her spear through another man's belly. It was so easy to kill them, she marveled. She'd never thought herself much of a fighter, but now she knew that was only because she had tested herself against the soldiers of God.

    Someone was shouting, but she ignored them; she raked another across his face with the broken end of her spear, stole his spear and sent him bleeding to the ground. Another tried to run—and another—she ran after them heedlessly, then one of them was behind her and she wheeled and slashed the stone tip across his throat.

    Nan gaped at her, hands clutching at his throat as if he could somehow fix it. Only then did she realize who had been shouting, and what he was saying. Run away, you fools. We'll all die.

    Those who still lived ran.

    What really frightened Nieve, when she stopped to think about it later, was how long it took her to stop being elated.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-03-12 at 08:50 PM.
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

  15. - Top - End - #315
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Demidos's Avatar

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    Aramar: The Disk (Part 5)

    The figure of Aramar loped down the dim path. Running, ever running – he ran the run of the hunter, intent on pursuing his prey. Loose, relaxed, and fluid, his steps flowed together into a rhythm. Left right left right quick steps quick step.

    What happened next happened almost too fast to be understood. A shadow, darker even than the total darkness surrounding it swooped down, its claws reaching, grasping. It tore through Aramar’s flesh as if it were paper, but passed right through. Confused, the beast turned back and passed again, with the same result. By now Aramar had stopped. His eyes widened. The creature was as an enormous bat, its wingspan extending a full twenty five feet, pitch black, yet at the same time, somehow translucent. Turning quickly now, it shot a baleful glance from one dark eye, then landed by the edge of the path, not quite touching it. Even as it touched down, its shape merged and blended, and it became a man. But it was not a man – it was a Nightborn. But no Nightborn as he had ever seen -- It stood seven feet tall, and its wings were twice that. The creature was clad in a simple garb, but Aramar could see that its arms rippled with muscle. Still, its face was calm and composed. It seemed regal, as if it were accustomed to authority. It was male. Even as he studied it, it opened its mouth and spoke.

    “Long have I protected this path, but it seems that I cannot touch you for some reason. What matter of thing are you?”

    Aramar turned warily to face the creature, though oddly, he seemed to be looking away from the creature, several meters to the right of it rather than directly at it.

    “I am a traveler, brought here against my will. What manner of creature are you, though, that can take the shape of the Nightborn?” Aramar asked.

    The thing looked surprised “How do you know of my people?”

    “I befriended a tribe of Nightborn, the Wa’ta. I stayed with them for many moons, and learned much of their customs and legends. But you avoid the question. If you were a Nightborn…what matter of creature are you now?”

    “The Wa’ta. Long is it since I have heard that familiar name. Hear me now, traveler – I was once the king of the nightborn. It was a darker time, when the Uvi’ai, the spiderfolk of the hills, were gathering in force. Desperate, our people united and elected me, Batazak, Chieftan of the Wa’kri as the leader of our folk. We fought long and hard, but it became clear that even with our combined force, we were no match for the Uvi’ai. In desperation, I forged a pact with a chaos beast, a dark entity who taught us a dark ritual. By it, the spirits of our dead warriors would arise to continue the fight and bring death upon our foes. In exchange, the creature would be able to have the spirits of all those warriors that were raised, after the Uvi’ai were exterminated. With our new strength, we could hold the line – the spirits were difficult to harm once they were killed, and they fought tenaciously. Still, the Uvi’ai were incredibly powerful, and they slowly began pushing us back. Worried at the prospect of losing our souls, the dark entity itself took the field against the Uvi’ai. These, cunning and treacherous, and by means that we have never fully understood, managed to destroy the dark force allied with us, but at grievous cost to themselves. Many of their mentalists were killed, much of their society imploded, and the untrustworthy spiders fled to their holes. One small group though, led by a surviving mentalist managed to trap me. Taking the artifact that the chaos beast had crafted to control us, they fled into the mountains, and bound me here to protect the artifact – they themselves could not use it. I must, by letter of the contract, do my utmost to destroy all those who I find in here.”

    “Can’t you fight it?” asked Aramar.

    “No. I am sorry. I must…feed.”

    The slight pause was the only thing that gave Aramar warning before the creature’s hands boiled and formed a blade, which sliced, not through the projection of Aramar that had so far protected him from the creature’s clutches, but through Aramar’s real hand, which fell, severed, to the ground. Aramar screamed with pain. Lightning lanced across his mind. Never had he imagined such pain before. His stump throbbed, and golden godly ichor spewed across the path. His knife, which leapt into his hand almost as if by magic, only barely managed to parry the second thrust, which would have taken him through his heart. Aramar parried, heart hammering. He knew that he was deeply injured. The two squared off, and then the king came in again, fighting low to the ground. Fogged as his mind was by the pain, Aramar managed to block all of his thrusts, if only barely. He stabbed and stabbed with his knife, but the simple metal simply slid through the king unharmed. Despairing, he played his last card. Throwing himself forward, he tackled the king. For some reason, his flesh touched where his knife had not – perhaps it was the wards scribed on his flesh, or perhaps it was merely his godly touch. In any case, it made the difference. Aramar fell back onto the path, still grasping the king. As his flesh made contact with the path, the king screamed, and his flesh ripped and shredded, converting into steam where it touched the path. It ended all too fast – the king was gone, and Aramar lay on the path, panting. He lay there for only a moment, then he looked up. Around him, ominous shadows were taking shape. Dark shapes rose from the shadows at the sides of the path. Staggering to his feet, Aramar stood, and ran forwards, the whispering shadows and forms at his heels, though all kept clear of actually touching the path. Cradling his still-bleeding arm, Aramar ran as he had never done before – halting, stumbling, but running nonetheless. Ahead, he could see a small, temple-like structure, and within it, a light, a real light, like a star plucked and dropped from the heavens. He half fell within. A simple stand was all that there was before him – on it, lay a simple silver armband. Outside, the dark shapes rose up as a wave of darkness, muttering and whispering and hissing. Reaching with his remaining hand, Aramar grasped the armlet, and slid it up his arm.
    "With this amulet, I claim power for the Nightborn, and call forth the power of their spirits."
    And into it poured his strength, and it returned many-fold. And power surged through him.

    Artifact: Bazatak, the silver torc
    Spoiler
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    When wearing this artifact, Aramar becomes shadowy, less substantial even. This Torc gives the wielder power over the near-indestructible spirits of the Wild Hunt, those spirits of the fallen Nightborn that protect the forest from those that would do harm. Inside also resides a piece of the spirit of the last King of the Nightborn (which was not destroyed by the path, as his very life force constitutes the power that gives the Torc power). Indeed, it took its very name, Bazatek from him. The Torc lets the wielder communicate with the king, and draw on his knowledge and experience, notably allowing the wielder to take his spirit-form, that of a gigantic black bat.


    Domain please.
    Last edited by Demidos; 2012-03-04 at 04:56 AM.
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    MethosH

    My Characters:
    Flutter: Level 20 Tristalt

    My Homebrew:
    WIP
    The Fortunar Base Class

    Completed Classes
    The Grandmaster : A master of animated stattuettes and tactical magic. High tier 3.

    The Hidden Word: An infiltrator with a wide range of abilities that works best in small teams. Tier 2-3

    Web-Spinner: A martial class based around using webs. Mid T3.


  16. - Top - End - #316
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ladorak's Avatar

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    It started first as a whisper that Carolinus perceived as coming from behind him. He turned, but none of the other miners looked to him in expectation. He frowned, had Faden's sprite returned? He could not sense it.

    He turned back to his work, but once again as he raised the pick over his shoulder he heard the whisper. His name, and that of his brother Frellon. Of course it suddenly came to him. Everything was easier in the White City. He concentrated, once again the physical constraints of the Great Disk made magic difficult, he called forth the message scratching at the back of his mind.

    'Great Baz'Auran!' He cast the pickaxe to one side and ran to the surface. This gave his some time to think.

    Firstly, how could he hope to reach them? His only hope was Jongo, it had to be Jongo. Jongo and another one or two of his kin were on their way to him. He could not tell who the others were, try as he might, so great was the static interference of Jongo's mere proximity. They were close though, and travelling fast. With them he could make it to Fayruz's side in mere weeks instead of months or even years. He needed a horse, he needed to get to Jongo as quickly as possible.

    Secondly there was the matter of leaving Markien. He had no time to speak with Louisa in person. He pulsed a message to her as he unhitched one of the mine's heavy draft horses and spurred it toward Sanctum, intent on a faster mount. The horse's full gallop was only slightly faster then he could run and seemed painfully slow. Louisa, I must leave Markien immediately. Two of my siblings need me. You have charge of the people until my return, ward them well my prophet. Keep the Wardens close to you and have the approach to the canyon watched at all times. Should you have need of me, you have but to speak my name.'

    Thirdly there was a question that had loomed over his mind as he considered these other matters. Why had Kalandor bid him not to contact him? It could not bode well. He could however contact Frellon.

    The 200 mile march

    A spinning shield formed from shimmering light appears before Frellon, from it the voice of Carolinus emerges, abide distorted 'Greetings brother. With luck I can be at Fayruz's side in weeks, I seek Jongo, he has some means of transport far superior to my own and is on his way to me. May Father watch over you, my brother.'
    Last edited by Ladorak; 2012-03-04 at 01:01 PM.
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    The Human Spirit also by KP. The Raynnverse lives!

    Vagrant and Seal by Smuchmuch

    Vagrant by Darth Raynn

    Sentient #6 Avatar by kpenguin. Clearly the best picture of a M&M character named after a Nevermore song there has ever been.

  17. - Top - End - #317
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladorak View Post
    A spinning shield formed from shimmering light appears before Frellon, from it the voice of Carolinus emerges, abide distorted 'Greetings brother. With luck I can be at Fayruz's side in weeks, I seek Jongo, he has some means of transport far superior to my own and is on his way to me. May Father watch over you, my brother.'

    Frellon awoke with a start to a spinning shield of shimmering light. He heard Carolinus’s voice emanating from it.

    It took Frellon a few moments to process the information.

    “Right!” Frellon jumped to his feet, remembering once more that Kalandor had sent the message to both him and Carolinus. Frellon hurriedly packed his gear, which he had dumped in the sand some hours before. Stretching out his senses, he realized with pleasure that his exertions the day before had finally seemed to make a difference. The spark closest to him, the one which had been around directly south, was now at an angle east as well. It also seemed closer, which Frellon was pleased by.

    He couldn’t shake the feeling that it must have been Carolinus’s spark he sensed, but it might have been the effects of the message playing with him.
    Something was odd however. Two sparks he had not taken much heed of before seemed out place, not where they should have been. He hadn’t really moved all that far in the last day, but these two couldn’t possibly be in that direction, and so close. They would have to be in the middle of an ocea-. Oh, right, that must be Jongo. Carolinus had mentioned that Jongo had a method of transportation. That explained it.

    Frellon, looking forward to seeing his siblings again, shouldered his pack and took a few steps south- he nearly fell. He let out a groan, his exertions the day before had taken a lot out of him, he suddenly felt quite sore in his arms and legs.

    As he examined his surroundings, he wondered if there was something he could find to ease the pain. After a few minutes of searching, he had gathered a small handful of herbs. He drew the Sword of Heroes. With his mind, he delved into it, as he had on many nights these last few years, thumbing through the lives of the many orcish heroes before him. He had learned much from them, not only a few sword tricks, but a few aspects of Orcish history as well.

    For instance, Cherok’s first ancestor among the Orunta was fleeing the destruction of the last Orcish empire. Not much of an empire really, more a collection of tribal leaders who exerted their control over their lands with warefare and extortion, but over the few generations it had lasted, the people had begun to feel bonded with one another. The invention of bows by a forest Clan had empowered them to move as a demon through the little empire, scattering the people to the four winds. The Empire simply couldn't stand against their deadly aim and range. Cherok’s Ancestor had once been a great champion, he had won 5 duels for the honor of being presented with this blade. Swords were rare among the Orcs. The sword did not save him from the bows however, fleeing did that, though it burned the old orc to do so, if his memories were any indication.

    Still, accounts of battle were not what Frellon now sought. Not all of the previous weilders of this blade were privileged and mighty, some used it as a survival tool, out of necessity. As such, he was able to find an orc with the knowledge he sought.

    Three of the herbs he had chosen were poisonous to orcs. He discarded them; one seemed related to a type of feed fed to nursing livestock. This too was discarded. The last three held promise, these he pressed with rocks as the memories had indicated, and collected their juices.

    He did indeed feel some relief upon their ingestion, but he knew that such a taxing thing as the long distance sprinting he had performed the previous day should not be repeated so soon.

    Instead he set forth along the coast, south, at the mile eating march he had been using for the previous weeks. 200 miles a day was not enough, Frellon knew the journey was far longer than that, but it was something, and as long as he could do something, he would.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-04 at 05:35 PM.
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  18. - Top - End - #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gengy View Post
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    Jongo, the Everchanging - Turn 1

    Fayruz was much farther away. But all water was connected. And there was a nice clean river near by. In fact, people seemed to be very happy with their clean river. Two humans - a male and a female - seemed to be doing what humans do when paired in such a way and very happy.

    So Jongo blessed their union. The child they reared would be strange, the Band of Chaos said, with one eye grey and one eye green, but it would run to Fayruz and hug her legs, and it's first words would be for her.

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    "Flower, I have so much to laugh about. I'm going to visit Haramhold first, but I swear I'll come to you soon. Treat this child well, please? They were the best way to talk to you, and hug you."


    That done, Jongo opened her eyes, and looked at the islands ahead. Haramhold was close.

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    - Create a servant with greater power -
    (1 Minor Act)

    Raz, the boy's name is Lors. He'll have one eye grey, and one eye green, but it's on the wrong side as Jongo's pattern. Everything else about him - who his parents are, what he looks like - I leave to you.



    Due to the Dead.

    Kalandor nodded at Fayruz's back, and had made his decisions.
    Three things needed to be done.
    Someone needed to take a look for the glass mines.
    Someone needed to retrace the path the attack had come from.
    Fayruz needed gaurding and shouldn't be left alone.

    The first task he could delagate to some warriors, with a bit of force if he had to, as long as he reinforced Careful a dozen or so times.
    The Second only he could do reliable in a desert such as this, and if he wanted any chance of succes, he had to do it now. He made an ammendment, Frellon could do this aswell, probally, but he would also have to leave immediately.
    And that provides a problem for the 3rd. He would need to call on his siblings and pray, pray that Baz'Auran still watched. That he was still alive.

    Turning his face to the Sky, Kalandor spoke in a whisper barely audible, that would reach his brothers ears almost immediately.
    "Frellon. Carolinus, If either of you can hear me, Fayruz needs your help, she needs it now. Do not call for me, do not ask why I leave her side, just know I have two and she needs your help. Please my brothers, Come quick....
    This, he followed by sending an image, showing them of Olm, and where he believed it was based on Geography lessons, which would be very accurate.

    Next, he bulied a group of about 5 Fayheran warriors to take a look as to the sand mines, telling them to take only as much as they needed. But his parting words were. "Should you see ghouls, don't fight, but hide. Should they find you, Run. Should they Run Faster, make sure you lead them not to Olm, but in another direction, and seek true death, that you may not rise against your families. Go with my blessing."
    With this, he turned and left them.

    And then he set to hunt.
    Finding the direction that the attackers origonally came from, he gave a child a small stone, within which he had infused the tiniest portion of his power, to give to Fayruz, and he told the child to give it to her, either when she collapsed, or when night falls. While the child gasped at the thought that her god could fall from exhuaustion, feeling the light in Kalandor's eyes, he agreed, and watched as the traveller tracked. He did not see Kalandor's nose change to one that would make a bloodhounds seem as useless as a mans, nor did he feel Kalandor commune with the whispering sand and groaning rock, with great diffifculty, to follow the trail set by the attackers.

    When night fell, Kalandor was nigh on exhaustion, ready to collapse himself, and as he planned, far from the sight of Olm, he sunk beneath the cracks in the earth to rest the night, that he may hunt whatever dared strike at his family, using just enough energy to hide his spark from prying eyes.

    The Stone.
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    The stone is a one use message, that also containes enough power to take the edge off Fayruz's exhuasiton, and wake her if she works herself into unconciousness.

    The Message
    "Fayruz, you gave these people hope, you give them joy and laughter, in no way are the events of this day any fault of yours. Had you not joined the tribes as one, they would have died alone, and the deserts would in truth be lifeless. Know I speak with love, and go to strike at those who fight us.

    With love
    The Traveller"

    "Afterthought
    If the kid used the stone to wake you from falling unconcious, stop, and rest. The Tribes will need you, and working yourself to death will do noone any good."
    Due for the Dead (and the Living)

    Hefar

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    Hefar had never seen such an accursed day in all his life. Not even when his brother was dead and his nephew was dying, too high a price to be paid for a dead dragon. Not even when he had lost a bloody skirmish against Dereg raiders, had seen the death of the comrades he had led and feared for his life. Too many innocents lay bleeding or crippled, too many funeral pyres were being lit for monster and man alike, too many had slain unjustly on the night before. They had fought against slaves to some sorcery, who had been fathers, brothers, wives and children. There was no honor in that, no riches or glory to obtain but mere survival. Their goddess could not have defended them, and the burden had fallen on their own shoulders to protect as many as they could.

    At least order had been restored through the camp. Adhul, he had been told, had taken command in the goddess's name at the Riverfane. For all his faults – which Hefar deemed to be too many to lead the Fayheran – Adhul knew how to lead a census, so that both the dead and the living might be counted. He knew how to command bands of warriors to spread good news, to clear away fallen tents and to aid with the farewells to the dead and the treatment of the living. Hefar himself would have gone to aid Adhul, but first he had to find the goddess. Some said she had been spirited away by her brother. Some said that her brother was a monster who slipped out of human guise when it suited him – just as they had said that about his nephew in his mad days – but most agreed that she was still among the Faheran. Those who could present newly-healed scars had told him that the goddess was both among them and in need of aid. In need, perhaps, of an old friend by her side.

    Hefar heard his name called by a familiar voice, as he strode through the tents of the wagon-makers, which were blackened by fire and the dark sands. There had been bloody battle there, where one of the black-sand wagons had been overtaken and burned. He turned and embraced his nephew. He had feared him lost in the battle, fallen by the goddess's side. "Gamesha," Hefar said, overjoyed, "Where have you been?"

    "Guarding our sweet goddess," he replied, "And gathering up such to guard her all the better." Hefar stepped back, seeing that Gamesha carried not only two short-handled hammers of the mountain-make, but also a black-stained glass blade at his belt, and a sling likewise. "I was without a weapon when those ruttin monsters attacked us," he snarled, half to himself. "I won't let it happen ever again. Not for her."

    "Come, then," Hefar said with a sad smile. "Let us go find our lady." So Hefar led on, through the camp. After a time he turned to his nephew and said, "My nephew, something concerns me. Your service to the goddess does you great credit, but there are whispers throughout the camp that you intend to take her to wife. There are those who say that the Tekeza would rise ever-higher for it." He had heard those tales for some time. Although he knew that they were born by jealousy and mistrust, he had seen too many lustful looks from Gamesha towards her to discount them.

    Gamesha's snarl was a wolf's, feral and mad. "I owe her my ruttin life, uncle. She forgave me my wrongs, and took away my agony. She is better than me because she carries no weapon, yet before her not even armies can stand! And they think that I would care for my own advancement, for a tribe that no longer hails me as chieftain?"

    "You must be careful, my son," Hefar said, laying his hand upon Gamesha's shoulder. And this made the scarred young warrior stop. A warm wind blew through the blackened tents, ruffling them both. Gamesha reached over and laid his hand upon his uncle's, trembling like a bush caught in the wind.

    "You never called me your son before," Gamesha said, slowly. "I didn't... don't ruttin deserve to be called your son. I nearly killed us all, Aferi, Tekeza, and tribes... all blood running down the Olm. I tore Tarn's head from his body and slew the men of my own ruttin tribe for disobeying me, I hurt Fayruz while she was a fool, I... betrayed your trust, my uncle. You spared me when you should have killed me, and the ruttin dragon in me. Then she'd be happy with my blood-brother, and I wouldn't hate him..."

    "Then go and tell him so," Hefar replied. "Tell him that you hate him because you love her. Ask for his help. You mingled your blood when you were but children, you will not kill him now. I know this, because you are greater than your father." His grip tightened. "Your father would not have spared her. He would have ravished her and then tossed her to the dogs. And even had you not been driven mad by your wounds, and the dragon coiled around your heart, you would not have done so, either. I knew him, and I know you." He did not speak of how he had given an order to kill the women and children of the Aferi, in order to see them spared, of how he had betrayed his nephew's trust by playing him as a fool. That was in the past, now, just as Gamesha's sins were.

    "What will I become, my father?" Gamesha asked, his scratched voice wavering on the last word, dying into a harsh cough. Hefar did not let go of his shoulder as it shook, bony and thin under his hand. Still, still, no food could make him hearty, even though his strength continued to grow day by day.

    "That is up for you to decide. Do not let the dragon's scars dictate your destiny. Do not let your love ache without a returned love. Become more than the chieftain of a people now scattered. Become a..." The word was unfamiliar, old, and spoke of sorcery and world of the spirits, as the title of Fayruz Dragonslayer was. "King."

    Gamesha laughed, the sound echoing in the empty, fire-scorched tent-circles. "A scarred king? A king of blood and bones? That's all I am."

    "Through her," Hefar said, "All things are possible. Ancient wounds are healed, and beasts become men, and the shadows of dragons are slain by the sunlight within her. And you think that you cannot become more through her? Gone are the days when a man led his tribe with his weapons, and now are the days when men can become more. Your blood-brother was once a warrior before she chose him, and now he seeks to know the ways of the wise-women. You, too, can change. You have the desire to become that which you are not, and that is enough in these days of magic. You can be a king, if you dare. Now, come, let us forge a new path."


    The Wolf Lord

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    There was black sand under his fingertips, and in his clothes, and dripping from the sword that Merya had given him, when their retinues had met by torchlight in the middle of the slaughter. Slaughter. He'd sworn his days were over and done, and yet he felt such blasphemous elation at having killed once more. At feeling flesh give way under his fingers, hearing the sick ripping of muscle from bone, pulling the body apart with a scream of hatred and blind fury.

    Just like the old days.

    Dear Foxbiter brought him a rag, dampened with river-water; he sat down on the steps of the fane and mopped at his face, wiping off blood and ash and bone-gristle, as men came and went, and the camp of the Olm slowly healed. That was something new – cleaning himself. He never used to do that. He wasn't clean, and he knew it, in the old days; he reveled in the dirt and the blood and the filth of being a Ma-Shen, lord of the south, the ones who lived where no one else would and never gave mercy to any other.

    It was different now that he had a human face, not pretending to be one of the wolves of the desert any longer. Now they all stood united against the desert, instead of hunting their own kind. The tribes of the north still had kobolds to fight, and minotaurs always came from the south, and the ghouls... he had slain several lost ones after the unification, while the camps were still making themselves ready. They were not human, they only hungered and sought to defeat mankind utterly, and when all men were dead they would devour themselves. Just like the wolves of the desert had.

    The river washes away all sins. Just not the sins to come.

    Adhul shook him by the shoulder, breaking him out of his reverie. The dark chieftain had ragged robes down the left side of his body, and blood stained them; two of the fingers on his left hand were crooked and crippled. It was little to the Wolf Lord – he had seen much worse, done much worse. And yet, despite that, he felt a stirring of pity for the dark warrior who had done his best to end the battle at its source. "Wolf Lord. Elikan has brought us word that the brother of the goddess has fled, and ordered five of the guards of the gate to find the glass mine from which the thralls came."

    The Wolf Lord nodded, rising to his feet slowly. He was getting older; maybe his grandchildren would forget entirely the days in which their grandfather murdered, raped and devoured his foes. "Not with fifty men would I go there," he growled. "Perhaps with an entire tribe... no, not even an entire tribe. It is accursed; the goddess alone can destroy the sand. What would they do, but become thralls?" He rose, and regretted it after a moment. His vision swam, and his body ached, his limbs burning with exhaustion. How many had he killed that night? Was this weakness the price to be paid for his sins? "I... I will stop them," he said. "Fayruz gives commands on the Olm, not her brother."

    "Allow me, father," Foxbiter said – he was suddenly there, in his mop of stolen hair, fox's fur sewn into his scalp. "I'll carry your message, and tell them that Adhul stands confident at the Riverfane. They cannot yet have left, after all, not on such a journey."

    "No," the Wolf Lord replied, waving one hand at his eager son. "I can go there myself. They will listen to me."

    "Then let me come with you!" Foxbiter urged. "Perhaps the thralls will return! I would fight by your side, father, should that happen!"

    "We can only hope," Adhul said, sourly, "That they do not return."

    "But they will," the Wolf Lord said with a sigh. "They will. And we must fight them again, in the name of the Goddess." He smiled, then, and strode off to find those men ordered to sacrifice themselves by the brother of the goddess.


    Saven

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    She was so pale, and it hurt him to see.

    Like, perhaps, a great bonfire of a thousand logs, that gave freely of itself to any cold traveler who came by. Take, it would say, one log – and then its fire would be diminished, that another might have some fire when they had nothing else. But if enough was given, there would be nothing left to give but for coals and ashes.

    Her eyes, above her mask, were like snake scales, dull gold that had little life within them, coals almost burnt out to nothing. Beneath her mask, her face was clammy, and her skin was paler than he'd seen it before. The merest glimpse drove a dagger into his stomach, and made him wish that he could stand in her place. This was what she always did, wasn't it? She was willing to die to save the mother's wound, and she'd been willing to stare death in the eye when the chieftains had gathered together and she had called them to join together and forget their ancient feuds. And she asked for no reimbursement, for no reward, and she accepted none. They could have given her the finest necklaces, dresses of the smoothest fur, and a crown from the hidden horde underneath the Olm, but she refused them all so that she could wear a fool's robes and serve the people who worshiped her personally.

    If only he could take the burden from her shoulders, if only for a moment! If only she would let him, if only he knew her songs that knit flesh together and banished madness and disease alike! He would gladly serve her, to repay her for what she had done to the river and his people alike.

    "Saven!" He turned from where he stood, watching Fayruz restore health to the injuries of a warrior direly injured in the battle, one of the last to be brought to her. A familiar figure strode towards him, along with old Hefar, and the sight of both of them brought a smile to Saven's face. Armed as a soldier who protects the chieftain's table, Gamesha quickly came to him and embraced him.

    "My blood-brother," he said, "There's things which must be spoken alone. Will you come with me?" He wrapped one long arm around Saven's shoulders, gently guiding him towards the edge of the circle. His damaged voice low, he said, "My blood-brother, there are dark ruttin thoughts going through my mind. Whispers going through the camp about me, they say. That I'd take Fayruz to wife to bring the Tekeza to power once more."

    Saven laughed, and Gamesha stiffened, his grip tightening slightly. "Oh, is that all?" Saven said, trying to reassure him. "Don't worry, Gamesha, I don't believe a word of it. They'll speak what they will, simply because we both owe the goddess more than we could ever repay, and they think of us as being..." His voice trailed off. The goddess had shown him special favor, and her smile was the most blessed thing in the world. Truth be told, he did wish she was his – or, rather, that he was hers. To be there in the cave, again, their hands intertwined, scrambling up the stone steps together, each one trusting the other with their life. "Lovers."

    "Lovers," Gamesha spat out. "And they think that I would woo her. I. Why should she have me, when she has you? Look at me, brother – the ruttin dragon robbed me not only of my wits but my fairness! And what else have I? My tongue's not quick, my strength's not in craftsmanship or healing but in killing and war, while you're a healer by her side! I can't demand love from her, blood-brother."

    "I can't, either," Saven said honestly. "Not unless she chooses me. She is a princess, brother, and she is as far above me as she is above you." He stopped, standing beside one of the shattered pillars of the Olm. "If she were to choose me, it would make me as happy as if she were to choose you. Just to know that she is happy with her choice."

    There was a silent moment, where his scarred friend and blood-brother stared at him with half-lidded eyes, his expression inscrutable. Then he broke into a mad grin. "Who said anything about loving the same ruttin woman? Not like that, brother. I owe her my ruttin life, and I'll do anything for her, but my anger's because they grant me too much, these stories! Me, the scarred one? I'm her hound! I'll do as she wills, and no more."

    Saven shook his head, hearing the hollowness of his words. "Don't try to lie-" Before he could finish, they both heard a cry of surprise coming from where Fayruz was, and Gamesha's hand fell to the hammer at his belt. Together, they ran, forgetting – for a moment – their dispute, all thoughts of love forgotten.

    Keeping Fayruz safe was, after all, far more important.


    Fayruz

    Fayruz stood, her song stilled, trembling with the effort of rising. Her vision danced in front of her, and her throat was dry and hoarse with the songs she had sung, again and again, for her people. Was it already approaching evening? It was – the sky was darkening, and the whole day had been spent working to heal her people's wounds. Not even all of them – she had not walked among those orphaned by the battle, or those who had lost husbands and wives to the black sand. There was still so much to do.

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a blur of motion, and cried out in panic – not now! She couldn't fight back, she could hardly lift her hands to cradle another wound, let alone fight against one of the slaves of the black sand! She braced herself, wishing Saven were there by her side to defend her-

    And was hugged.

    Fayruz looked down, blearily, at the young child who was wrapped around her legs. She smiled, despite herself. "Oh... hello, little one... you gave me... quite a fright..."

    The child looked up at her, innocently, and said, "Flower, I have so much to laugh about. I'm going to visit Haramhold first, but I swear I'll come to you soon. Treat this child well, please? They were the best way to talk to you, and hug you."

    Fayruz's jaw sagged, as she realized that not only was her little brother-sister alive, but that he-she had the power to do this! The child hugged her more tightly, and said, almost apologetically, "The other man said give you this." He held up a stone.

    Fayruz took the stone, caressing it gently. Another blur in the corner of her eye – she turned to see Gamesha and Saven, weapons at the ready. "It's... I'm fine..." She waved weakly at the child, which calmed the two of them, her noble knights.

    That was when something quite strange happened – she felt vigor rush into her, as if it were a bright summer's morning and the road ahead was long, but she had the strength to carry on. Its taste on her tongue was crisp and green, and she knew immediately that it was another gift from Kalandor. At that moment, she heard his voice clearly in her head, in the crumbling language of stones and pebbles.

    "Fayruz, you gave these people hope, you give them joy and laughter, in no way are the events of this day any fault of yours. Had you not joined the tribes as one, they would have died alone, and the deserts would in truth be lifeless. Know I speak with love, and go to strike at those who fight us..."

    Fayruz closed her eyes for a moment and sighed happily. "Thank you, Kalandor." Then she opened her eyes, looking to her knights. "My brother searches for the adversary who did this, and I... I must do what I can here." And she smiled, because there was still life among her people. Despite the assault, they still had their children, and their women, and the men who had done their best to protect her and everyone else. And the women who had done so, for that matter. No matter what the world threw at them, they would remain strong.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-03-04 at 08:45 PM.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
    Kasanip - best artist; Rarity - best smile; Thanqol - good Question
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  19. - Top - End - #319
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    Aftermath

    After the raid, nobody looked at Nieve in quite the same way. Those who had seen Nan's death all agreed that she had struck before she looked, but that didn't make Nan any less dead. Some of the people looked up at the bloodstained White City, and shivered. All remembered that Nieve claimed it as her home; now they began to wonder why she had left the place of the gods, and whether she had been cast out.

    Some spoke against her. Shesa had resented her from the beginning; prior to Nieve's coming she had been the sole unattached woman in the group, and she had rather enjoyed the attention of the young men. Oun and Bal's brother were afraid: afraid that the men of the village would hunt them in revenge, afraid that Nieve would kill them next. And Denne, who had guided her in her first days, said simply, "It might be better if you left us."

    She spoke with the bitter voice of someone who knows no joy, only the path of least pain.

    "Better for who?"

    "For us," Denne said bluntly. "We don't kill the village-folk, Nieve. It makes them angry, and there's too many of them to fight. Tomorrow we're leaving. I think we would be safer without you. "

    "You're running, you mean," Nieve said, and suddenly shame and guilt and resentment kindled into anger, bright like a torch. "Is that all you know how to do? It's your answer to everything. If something is hard, don't face it—just run away! Do you ever mean to stop? Because I tell you this: we faced our enemies tonight, and they were the ones who ran. We can do it again. You saw what they have, how they lived. That could be ours."

    "Nan never—" someone began, but Nieve cut him off.

    "Nan was a coward!" Voices roused in protest. "Be quiet! He was kind to me and I loved him for it, but he let fear rule him. He ran when he should have fought. He cowered when he should have stood. He let other people push him to the rotting edges of the world, and lived on the scraps nobody else wanted or knew about! And you all followed him, because he had lived a long time, and you mistook that for wisdom." Tears blurred in her sight, and she hated herself for letting grief hurt her again.

    When she recovered she found everyone watching her. Some looked cowed, some frightened, others hateful, but all were spellbound. Words tumbled from her mouth like fishhooks, snaking into their ears and drawing them in. She hardly knew what she was saying but she knew it was the right thing to say. "You can leave if you want. It's the safe thing to do. But you'll be cold and hungry and wet and afraid for the rest of your life, just as Nan was. And it won't do you any good in the end. One day you'll die anyway, and then what was the point? What's the good of being alive in the first place if you spend your whole life huddling in misery because you're too frightened to do anything else?"

    She saw hope dancing in Aruin and Essen's eyes, seething fury in Shesa's, weary acceptance in Denne's, and knew she had them. They had been Nan's people, though he had never accepted it; now they were hers, even those who feared and hated her. Whether they believed her words or simply lacked the courage to break away and forge their own path, they would follow.

    "Tomorrow night we go back," Nieve told them, and they followed.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-03-04 at 10:54 PM.
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  20. - Top - End - #320
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Fur trim slithered past high black riding boots as Lossethir strode across the ice. While the footwear was hardly appropriate for the terrain, his steps were unperturbed. The slick soles of his immaculate black boots fell haphazardly over the frozen waste and, graceful though he was, he might have slipped if not for the ice rising up to kiss his feet as he passed.

    He pondered this as he went along. He had the time and was clearly in no rush. Thumbs tucked politely into the woven sash at his waist, Lossethir considered that the frost actually adored him. Having had women kiss his feet, the sensation was not altogether dissimilar.

    In the past two years, he was much recovered from his ordeal. Pale still, the copper tint had returned to his skin -- unusual for a man who seldom saw the light of day. He preferred to travel at night, when he could be bothered. The fissures on his lips had vanished. He had the look of a man who had never known hardship. Any scars from his travels were the ones he bore on the inside and wisely chose not to divulge. He was much the handsome young man he had been before he came to this land, with some exceptions. His hair had turned bright silver within weeks of his ascension and his grey eyes glinted blue on occasion as sun striking ancient ice. The blood in his veins was the same color. You could see the sapphire glow just beneath his skin if he ever pealed away his supple gloves.

    On his climb to the summit, he paused at the halfway point and set his eyes on the disconcertingly familiar rocky outcropping. On a hunch, one gloved hand shot into the snow at his feet. Laughing, he produced a well preserved, frayed bit of rope and callously tossed it away a moment later. He had sworn to himself he'd never return here. A man who nearly freezes to death promises himself many things; among them, to live out the rest of his days in the tropics. He had seen the white sands of the southern islands in his travels. Not for all the sun kissed skin of naive native girls would he chose to dwell there in his new life. The sun produced in him a growing unease that lingered in the pit of his stomach until he'd returned here to land with the perpetually grey sky. Though the howling wind would have been the death of a mortal man within an hour, he reclined his head into the downy soft mane of his collar and smiled. It was the look of a man who couldn't imagine life without his new favorite pillow.

    Now at the mountain peak he turned his gaze and naked hand to the north. He set his eyes on a particular point beyond the haze of the constant snow and with a dagger drawn from the folds of his sash, he pierced his hand. Blue blood splashed on the exposed stone below and he intoned the words of creation. A son of Baz'Auran has come. He knows the words and the rites and he has paid the price in blood. His is not just the blood of a god, but of fury and frost. He speaks the words to the south and in four other directions. His is the voice of the north wind and the land shudders in hearing his command. The majesty of the blue light that spewed up from the earth would not be missed by any who looked to the north that night.

    Celonechor - The Land of the Silver River
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    Celonechor is the abode and personal playground of Lossethir. One hundred and twenty miles in diameter, the flying island is the seat of elemental winter. Wherever Celonechor goes, so too goes the season. From below, the island is covered with thick grey clouds which produce unceasing snow. The land is orbited by a ring of rushing ice, rock and water from which it gets its name. The silver-blue ring is visible from the ground, distinguishing the arrival of Celonechor from a mundane blizzard. At equal spacing along the edges of the realm are six mountain peaks. At the center of the roughly hexagonal island is a seventh and atop it the Spire, where the winter lord and his court reside. A seamless creation if ice and rock, the Spire is palatial, each facet whimsically molded by Lossethir's will. While the mountain peaks are deathly cold, the spire and most of the forested realm below are quite hospitable, though certainly brisk. Visitors are advised to dress warmly as the host is quite reluctant to turn up the heat on their behalf. Unless directly heated, ice never melts in this realm. Mysteriously, water that isn't supposed to freeze never does. Celonechor is known to have the most delicious tasting water in the world. In the spire, water features and gardens are abundant; the latter hosting a variety of flora that shouldn't survive the cold. In particular, Lossethir is very fond of a blue orchid and it can be found in nearly half the Spire's gardens.

    The realm moves at Lossethir's bidding, covering a distance of three thousand kilometers per day. At this speed, the realm can move to any point in the world in approximately a month. While the passing of Celonechor only brings brisk winds and a gentle snowfall, the continued presence of the realm create the full effect of a seasonal winter in a 60 mile radius below.


    Act Summary
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    -2 Major Acts: Create Realm (Celonechor)
    -1 Major Act: Gain Ability (Frost Mastery)

    -3 Minor Act: Create the Spire, surrounding grounds and citadel.
    Last edited by Nefarion Xid; 2012-03-05 at 04:06 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #321
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    The Blessed Art

    This is how the Blessed Art of Fayruz was born.

    A minotaur had wandered northwards from the desert sands, along the river of the Olm, and had driven a camp of the Fayheran mad with its illusions and mirages. The beast had devoured several, once they had collapsed of exhaustion and thirst, before it had been slain by a bold band of warriors. But a great glassworker of that camp had been gored deeply by the minotaur, before it had been slain, and the camp had called to Fayruz to come and help him. Fayruz had indeed come, as she always did when her people called upon her, and she had laid her hands upon the glassworker's grave wounds, singing a wordless song to close his dire wounds, as she always did when healing her people. And Saven Wolfslayer, who always accompanied her, recognized that song, for it was different than the song she sang when she was casting out disease, and different from the one that knit bone to bone, and different from the one which restored sight to the blind; all these things Fayruz had done among the Fayheran, working herself to exhaustion to heal her people.

    At that moment, a father and a mother brought their child, who had stumbled down a ravine and twisted her leg to lameness while the minotaur was beguiling their minds, to Fayruz for healing. But Fayruz was intent on knitting together the glassworker's wounds, and the warriors at the tent's mouth began to turn away the child and her parents. Saven rose from Fayruz's side, and said to the guards, I will see to this. He bade the father and the mother to lay the child down, outside of the tent in which Fayruz did her work, and he begged the child to be strong as he worked.

    He twisted the leg back into place, causing the child to cry out it pain, and then laid his hands upon the crippled leg and recalled the song which he had heard his love sing to restore the limbs of a man lame from birth. It was a happy song, noble and old, that reminded him of bright grass fields beneath the sky, that spoke to him of dancing and long hunts and running against the wind. And as he sang, his hands glowed with Fayruz's light, faintly gleaming in the sunlight, and he felt his strength deserting him. But Saven Wolfslayer was strong among the warriors of the Tekeza, and he willingly let some portion of his strength flow through him to enter the child's wound.

    His will and his strength and his song combined then, and he found the Blessed Art hidden within his heart. It was, in part, love – love and the desire to sacrifice, and the will to make whole that which is broken. For he saw this child and loved her as a father loves his child, and was anguished by her pain, and he was willing to give of himself to make her whole, and he had the resolve to make it so, and the voice to summon up the magic of Fayruz and make it move through him.

    And straightaway, the child got up, and found that her leg was whole once more. Saven, himself, had to be helped up, for he trembled like an old man and his face was pale and wan, as all ever are after their first experience with the Blessed Art. And he looked up into the smiling face of Fayruz, who asked him how he knew the art of the healers of the White City. His reply was simple: for I have been with you, my goddess, and I have heard the songs you sing that heal men's bodies and souls.

    And at this, Fayruz of the Fayheran was surprised, for she had not even known that the songs were magic, but simply melodies she had remembered from the White City. But that which comes from the White City is ever greater and stronger than mortal men might suspect, and she realized that the secrets of healing were trapped within them, the will and the sacrifice and the love that were all necessary to make men's wounds close and their bodies hale.

    For days after, Fayruz met with Saven alone to teach him all her songs, and the melodies of the harp that accompanied them. She taught him the song that would drive away a fever, and the song that would clean a wound, and the song that would soothe the raving, and the song that would bring a man back from the brink of death. One song only would she not teach him: the song to make the dead return from the land of shadow. This, she said, was beyond her power, and even if it were, it would come at a price too high to pay.

    And all this, Saven learned eagerly, so that Fayruz would not be alone in giving of herself to heal the people. For her face had been wan beneath her mask, and she had trembled after driving out madness or bringing wholeness to the cripple, her strength ever-offered up for others. From that day forward, Saven resolved, she would not be alone in her sacrifice. And through this resolution and his love for her and his people was planted the seed that would give fruit to solace and healing for many.

    And Gamesha Tekeza, warrior without peer among the mighty of the Fayheran, saw the weakness and trembling of both his beloved, Fayruz, and his blood-brother, Saven, and he remembered it in his heart, and made a resolution through his love for her and his people that would give fruit to comfort and protection for many.

    Spoiler
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    Two Major Acts – Create a new school of magic, the Blessed Art of Fayruz.

    The Blessed Art is a magic with secrets passed down through songs from the White City, a magic that – like its greatest practitioners, the Kindly Ones – does not ever harm, but instead restores, purifies and heals. Its spells always exact a price from the mage, for his strength must flow from his soul into that which is not right to make it right once more. While this is merely temporary, a fatigue akin to a day's hard work or hard run that vanishes with surprising speed, it makes the practitioners of the Blessed Art often stereotyped as being weak and feminine.

    The spells of purification not only clean disease and filth from wounds, but also make spoiled foods edible again and diseased water pure to drink – although it is said only the Amulet of the River can make the sea's water wholesome for men, for its poison is its pure nature, and the Blessed Art restores such things to their pure nature. The spells of restoration return vigor to the lame, sight and hearing to the blind and deaf, and make withered limbs whole again, returning men to their original pure state. The spells of healing, meanwhile, close wounds and knit flesh apart again, and return health even to those on the brink of death, if the mage is strong enough.

    All of these are spells taught and cast through songs of the White City, given to mankind by the Maiden of the Dusk. They require the mage to touch whoever or whatever he wishes to affect, and to sing the proper song as he focuses his will on his subject. Without that touch or song, the spell will not work properly, although some have reported doing minor miracles without singing, simply through a pure will – a rare event, indeed.

    The drawbacks of the Blessed Art, beyond the fatigue that makes casting spell after spell in quick succession a dangerous prospect, are that it can never be used to harm another, but for the blasphemous creatures of sickness and filth such as the ghouls or the walking dead – for their nature is in direct opposition to purity and health, which is the power of Fayruz wielded through the Blessed Art. Similarly, there are no spells of the Blessed Art which allow the mage to defend themselves in their weakness or their health.

    The last weakness is often said, by the Kindly Ones, to be the greatest strength of the Blessed Art: to use it requires not only great will and strength, and the willingness to sacrifice one's own strength so another can be whole, but love. Those without love cannot grasp the true power of the songs of Fayruz, and cannot bring the power of the Blessed Art to bear. Some say it is because healing and purity cannot come about without love, and some say it is because mortals were taught the Blessed Art by Fayruz, who – of all the children of the White City – loved most and loved dearest.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
    Kasanip - best artist; Rarity - best smile; Thanqol - good Question
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  22. - Top - End - #322
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Dark Sands

    As the shadowy strands snapped and limb dissolved into sand, the demonic manacle and chain shot back through the portal as it closed with a deafening clang.

    Khalen felt nauseous and weak. Whatever had spawned the chain had exacted a heavy toll on his spirit. He knew that he did not have the strength to summon it again. Weary though he was, Khalen felt the faintest glimmer of hope. The creature was not invunerable. It could know pain and judging by the way it had fought the pull of the chain, it knew fear as well....

    The black sand suddenly roared forward, crashing again and again against the wall of wind that Dasque had summoned and the new circle of protection Khalen had hastily traced during their brief respite. The howling wind and roaring sand was deafening, yet Khalen and Dasque heard voices above them.

    “DASQUE! KHALEN!”

    “For a creature without lungs, you are remarkably noisy,” grumbled a petulant voice.

    They looked up to see the silhouette of a colossal bird hovering over them as it slowly flapped down into the centre of the protective circle. On the creature’s back sat a strange figure wrapped entirely in bandages.

    “It's me, Faden! Hurry and climb on!”

    As Faden’s brother and sister scrambled onto the back of the roc, it slowly beat its enormous wings and rose higher and higher.

    “We have little time to waste before the creature comes after us. Tell me all you know.” said Faden.

    The roc swung around in a wide circle high above the ground as Khalen and Dasque described their encounter with the dark sand. Faden nodded and instructed his mount to rise higher and out of reach of the sand. They looked back to see what the sand would do next...
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-03-08 at 11:33 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas-Dakota View Post
    Succubus gets grongratulatory cookies from me. You have stepped into the realm of puns that only the likes of Death, Your Friend the Reaper have seen.

    Posting schedule likely to be erratic for the next few weeks - sorting out some personal stuff.

  23. - Top - End - #323
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    Stories of Salus

    Jack the thief part 1
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    These trolls spoil everything. Here I am just minding my business doing nobody any particular harm. Well unless you count the petty theft, or burglary or the occasional mugging. I never had to actually hurt anyone my quick wits and swift feet was enough to get me into and subsequently out of trouble.

    But how am I an honest thief supposed to make a living if all of my paying clientele get killed I ask you? Well it made my life mighty hard if you were wondering. I'd walk up to Garnth for instance, a nice small hamlet of two or three hundred people who raised sheep for a living. Why anyone would choose to raise sheep for a living is beyond me. Anyway I make my way through the forest being careful to stay off the path; who knows what sort of unsavory characters might accost a gentlemen like myself.

    Well I come to the town's edge and instead of a nice picking I find naught but the dead. Now don't get me wrong I'm not above taking a few valuables off a corpse or two but the survivors had apparently taken the time to bury their dead, and grave robbing is bad luck, my mum always said. Since the townsfolk weren't here I decided to make myself a nice and proper home. There was scant to eat it seems that the survivors had taken most of their stores with them. Rather rude of them to not feed their friendly guest if you ask me. But the roof kept the rain out and the walls were sturdy.

    I lived like an impoverished king for an entire week, until a few blokes blundered into town. They went by the names of Greg and Slied, a rather unsettling pair. The first was short and brutish with broad thick shoulders and cruel hands. His face seemed to have forgotten that it was supposed to have two eyebrows instead of one. Slied was tall and thin, with a long hooked nose and beady little eyes that always seemed to be squinting. He has this nervous habit of rubbing his his left arm as if it always itched. A lesser man might have found these men unsettling but not I. Proudly swaggering into the town square I raised a flagon of fermented lamb's milk, to these two strangers.

    "Welcome to my humble abode! I am Jack an honest peddler or my mothers a whore."

    "Your mother was a whore" said Greg putting the dagger he had reflexively drawn back into his belt. "An arsonist too If I recall correctly."

    "You wound me good sir!" I said mockingly raising my hand to my heart. "My dear mum was the best lady for a hundred miles as every man can attest. And can you blame the lass for having a fondness for fire? After long hot nights the days must have seemed bitterly cold."

    This provoked a deep chuckle from Greg but not a peep from Slied.

    "Whats wrong Sir. Slied? Cat's got you're tongue? Or did some perky maiden finally steal your heart leaving you speechless as a fool?"

    "Don't you mind him." Said Greg "Some fool named Baylor caught Slied trying to nick his fancy copper sword. Cut his tongue out and sent him scurring away."

    "That rogue! It should be a crime against humanity to steal the beautiful singing voice of our deer Sir. Slied."

    Ignoring him Greg peers into the town "What happened here? I hope you didn't finally snap under the weight of all your prattle and murdered these poor folks?"
    Last edited by shorewood; 2012-03-08 at 03:09 PM.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  24. - Top - End - #324
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    Stories of Salus

    Jack the thief part 2
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    Smiling I respond "Again with these accusations, one would think that you don't trust me Greg."

    "I guess that would depend on what happened to this town wouldn't it?"

    "Unlike you I do not have to resort to murder in order to rob someone." I retort slightly annoyed at Greg's accusation "What's gotten into you anyway. You weren't half this paranoid when we last met."

    "Its the trolls they go around killing everyone. I could understand if they slaughtered all of these people for their lands or their flocks. But they just come out of no where slaughter man and beast alike and then leave without a word."

    As all three of them enter the hamlet, passing the flask of fermented sheep's milk around I nod. "Yeah the trolls are a problem. Their fast enough to catch up to a large group of people burden they are by the young and old. But they can't keep up with these swift legs of mine." I say as I pat my leg "But those shadow creatures now they are frightening."

    Greg grunted in agreement, Slied clicked his stump.

    The next day having finished the remaining food and with no more valuables to acquire I decide to stick with these two travelers after all, Greg is a notoriously slow runner. We decide to head for the crystal cave, Greg had heard somewhere that a bunch of people were fleeing their in hopes of salvation. People who were panicked and scared were easy targets and most likely having all of their most valuable trinkets on hand.

    Three days into the journey we three gentlemen hear a a scream from not too far off. Hearing this cry for help we make off into the woods to save these poor people, after all blood is rather difficult to remove.

    It didn't take us long to come upon the source of the scream. A fair lass who couldn't have seen her sixteenth year yet had fallen and broken her ankle. This normally wouldn't have been a cause for the level hysteria the girl was in, but I figure the enormous knuckle dragging troll had something to do with it.

    Tugging my sleeve Greg whispers "Come on, there is nothing to do here. Those beasts can't be killed and I doubt after it is done mauling her there will be anything left for us."

    Nodding in agreement Slied begins to back away.

    Looking at the lass I realized something she was screaming out of desperation, not out of fear. "You give up to easily my brave companions." I said as I bounded into the clearing, shouting for all I was worth.

    In hindsight I'm not sure what I was hoping to accomplish but I certainly got the troll's attention. Turning its ugly head toward me, it released a roar that smelled of rot and charged.

    Nimbly side stepping the charge I continue to taunt the beast leading it deeper into the woods and away from the lass. Now don't look at me like that, I'm not a complete idiot. I knew that killing this beast was beyond me, but I knew these woods on the account of having to hide in them for a full fortnight after one memorable night with a certain man's daughter.

    Leading the troll over hill and through brush was hard. Where I had to duck and weave through the undergrowth while my pursuer simply crashed straight through them. But thanks to my sharp reflexes and stunningly good looks I stayed ahead of the monster. It wasn't long before I reached the ravine, turning around I crouched tight as a bow string waiting for the troll to catch up.

    I didn't have to wait long, the troll charged directly at me and at the last second, I jumped out of the way letting this dear green chap to plummet fifty feet to the hard rocks on the bottom. Chuckling to myself I take my time getting back with the others. If that fall didn't kill the troll I figure that it would certainly inconvenience the beast.

    When I got close to where I had left Greg, Slied and the lass all I heard was sobbing. Wondering if that there had somehow been a second troll I quicken my pace to find a much more gruesome sight.

    Both Greg, and Slied were gone but the girl was still on the ground. Her cloth's shredded, her arms and face covered in bruises.

    Looking up with bloodshot eyes she screams "What do you want?!? Have you come for your share? Huh!"

    I couldn't look at her, I just couldn't. I didn't think... I hadn't meant... but none of that mattered. So I left her, I left her alone. I never learned what became of her. Hey its not like she would have accepted my help right?
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  25. - Top - End - #325
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    Stories of Salus

    Jack the thief part 3
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    I caught up with Slied and Greg a few hours later, they sat around a campfire slowly turning a rabbit over it.

    Spying me Slied clicks his stump and taps Greg on the shoulder.

    "Hey I didn't think you'd make it." said Greg in a cheerful voice "This is yours" he said as he tossed a neck-lass with multicolored glass beads.

    "Thanks" I mumble grumpily pocketing the trinket. The rest of the night passed in silence.

    It took us only one more day to reach the caves and we set up camp a few miles away to be sure that when the trolls came they would not catch us by surprise. The entrance of the cave was so crowded with people who had never seen each other before, in layman's terms they were easy picking. No one bothered us as we silently made out way into the camp and made our way out. After all we were humans and not the enemy.

    Every day more and more people arrived and our pile of loot grew ever larger. One day as we were approaching the camp to make our rounds again when we heard the dim of battle. So we hid nearby and watched.

    The warriors formed a tight semi-circle around the entrance to the cave, brandishing their stone and flint spears with the occasional sword. They fought bravely but every time a troll fell it would inevitably get back up. That is until this crazy man came charging out of the woods. He was carrying a half a dozen spears and a grayish sword. This bloke was brave I'll give him that, looking around I quickly found a hill where he should be buried If I got the chance.

    But as he jabbed a spear into the troll its back erupted in fire and it died. I don't mean it died just to stand up a few moments later, it was dead dead. It was then I realized that this fella wasn't a man he must have been some kind of sorcerer who had cast fell enchantments upon his weapons.

    With the means to kill the trolls the warriors were finally able to use their superior numbers to their advantage. The battle was quickly won and the people broke out in celebration cheering and song. They didn't see what I saw. I saw a shadow peel off a nearby tree and slink away from the scene. And I knew that it would be back eventually.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  26. - Top - End - #326
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    The Weaver sat down, panting. This place was strange, even stranger than his strangest dreams. It was so barren, and without oranges or reds, everything looked subtly wrong. And the only thing which he had met were the Dark Ones. Desri-na had been explaining the existence of her and her siblings to The Weaver as they walked. The Dark Ones had been sent by Baz’Auran to watch over the dreams of mortals. But something had changed. Their eldest sister, Revaew-na, changed. The dreams she sent to the mortals she had charge of grew darker and darker, twisting into foul nightmares. Their eldest brother tried to stand against Revaew-na, but she slew him, and stole his eyes. Since then, the Dream-Time had been losing its color, from which the six siblings had made dreams. Each of them had become twisted and dark, nightmarish versions of themselves, ruled over by Revaew-na. And the dreams of mortals were no longer a safe haven. The Weaver was deeply troubled by this. In the White City, dreams were some of the most precious things he had. That a spirit sent by his father would corrupt them so made him angry indeed. But not knowing where Revaew-na lived, The Weaver could do nothing but march on, Desri-na at his side, carrying the tooth of Kolorki-na, and the feathers of Verades-na.

    The sun raged, and the sands rattled. Far in the distance, a graveyard of mighty beasts stirred, and a roar could be heard across the empty plains. For only two of the Dark Ones remained, their brothers slain by either their own hand or by The Weaver, and their sister a servant of the moon once again. And within a cave far, far away, a pair of burning red eyes brooded and schemed.

    The Fourth Tale of The Weaver

    In the days before the coming of The Weaver, and our people’s triumph over the Dark Ones, our people feared death, for unlike the men from who we sprung, our death was permanent, and unconnected to the grand cycle. This is the Fourth Dream-Tale of The Weaver, who saved us from the cruel pallor of death.

    Having at last passed through the worst of the desert, and successfully slaying Verades-na the Hawk, The Weaver and his companion Desri-na came upon a small town on the edge of the desert. The Weaver was perplexed, for aside from the Dark Ones, he had seen no signs of life in the Dream-Time. But Desri-na explained, saying that this town was once a grand city, wherein lived thousands of dreams. In the days before the corruption of the Dark Ones, dreams had lived as true people, with aspirations and lives of their own, but Revaew-na had devoured the dreams she ruled over, and those the eldest brother had ruled before she slew him, and so each of the Dark Ones had followed in turn. And The Weaver grew most sorrowful, for he had met the dream-people when he dreamed back upon the Great Star, and had enjoyed their company.

    But The Weaver saw nothing that could be done for the fallen people of the Dream-Time, so they continued forward. The pair spotted a strange mass on the horizon, and Dersi-na grew afraid. But The Weaver was curious, and went to go find what the shape was. Upon arriving in a great valley, The Weaver saw. The mass was the bones of a massive creature, long dead and bleached white by the sun. All around the bones were the bodies of slain dream-people. And as The Weaver approached, Desri-na cried out, and the bones of the great beast rose upward, and let loose a great roar. They were the bones of a predator, a failed branch of Baz’Auran’s creation long dead even before the bleeding of the Great Star. For this was Etrom-na, who brings the fear of death to mortals and causes them sleeplessness. And in Etrom-na’s eye rested a bright orange light which gazed down at The Weaver with purest hatred.

    But The Weaver had grown bold from his adventures, and challenged Etrom-na. The beast’s claws lashed out, and The Weaver danced about, looking for a weakness in the bony beast. But none could he find, and Etrom-na was swift in his cold anger. A long, sharp claw entered The Weaver’s head, and plucked out his right eye. And The Weaver howled in pain, clutching his face. Etrom-na laughed in the gravelly voice of the sands, and spoke. “Weaver, you trespass on sacred ground. Leave now, before I send you to your final resting place, along with my treacherous sister.”

    The Weaver would have none of this, for he had grown to care for Desri-na in their travels, almost as much as he valued his siblings. So he withdrew to the top of the hill, and with his good eye, looked at the bones of Etrom-na once more. The Weaver gazed, and a plan began to form in his mind. For the body of a predator is a tapestry, woven by the great Baz’Auran. And if a weaver can weave a tapestry, then a weaver can also unweave it.

    The Weaver and Desri-na waited just beyond Etrom-na’s sight until nightfall. They then slid down behind the great bone form, and examined the spine of the beast. Ligaments and tendons, dehydrated and preserved by the heat of the desert, went up and down Etrom-na’s back. The Weaver located one which held the head to the spine, and taking Kolorki-na’s tooth, began to cut through. It was a long, hard task, for the tooth was not as sharp as it could have been, and the ligament was old and tough. But, just before the sun rose, the final slice was made. Etrom-na let loose one last scream of fury, as his head fell to the valley floor, breaking open upon one of his own claws. Orange light burst forth, joining the first rays of the rising sun. And as The Weaver and Desri-na looked on, an astounding thing happened.

    The dream-people began to rise. No longer in bondage to Etrom-na, their spirits were free to return to the eternal cycle. One in particular sought out The Weaver, for it was the soul of the eldest brother sent to guard the Dream-Time. He and The Weaver spoke at length about the queen of the Dark Ones, Revaew-na. “My eldest sister can only be slain if each of her siblings unite against her. But with four of them slain, I do not know how this can be accomplished.” The Weaver thought, and an idea came upon him. “Eldest Brother, does there remain anything of your true body?” “Only an ancient branch, for my form was that of a great Tree.” “That will be perfect.” The Weaver took the ancient branch from Eldest Brother, four solid bones from the body of Etrom-na, the feathers of Verades-na, a lock of hair from Desri-na, and the tooth of Kolorki-na. He tied the four bones and the tooth to the top of the branch, making a head which could be used both as a club and a spear. He then tied the feathers to the weapon, in a style he had seen some of his Father’s spirits use when they wished to travel from their bodies. Thus were the five sibilings of Revaew-na brought against her. Eldest Brother directed The Weaver to her cave. Desri-na remained behind in the village, for dream-people were returning, and they needed someone to guide them.

    This is the Fourth Tale of The Weaver, who freed our people from the Dark Ones. Rejoice, for he connected us once more with the Eternal Cycle, and gave our spirits back to his sister Avyra.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

    Awesome Hex avatar by kpenguin

  27. - Top - End - #327
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    THEChanger's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The Weaver gazed into the blackness of the cave. Eldest Brother had given him very distinct instructions on the nature of the weapon he was to build. The Weaver could feel the magic in his staff. It was an ancient magic, stemming from the very acts of Creation his Father had undertaken. But The Weaver was nervous. He was not a warrior, like Carolinus or Frellon. He had no great strength of magic, like Faden, nor was he swift of foot, like Kalandor. He was an artist, and while he still believed that held merit, this was a challenge he was unprepared for. Perhaps he could still turn back. Perhaps this was not his destiny.

    Then The Weaver remembered all that had transpired. He remembered how he killed the Snake through blind luck. How he transformed Desri-na with his art. How the rope he wove snapped the Hawk’s neck. How his understanding of weaving brought low the Predator, and freed Eldest Brother. He was no longer the same boy who whiled away his hours dreaming in the White City. This new Weaver was not a passive observer. Perhaps he could free the Dream-Time, and return it to its former glory. And so The Weaver entered the cave of Reveaw-na, staff in hand.

    And a red eye the color of blood watched him as he entered, and chuckled at her meal’s bravado. Soon, she would be whole again, and her power over the Dream-Time would be complete once more. With the God-Child’s added strength, and the spirits of her slain siblings joining her, it would be a simple task to return home.

    The Fifth Tale of The Weaver

    In the days before the coming of The Weaver, and our people’s triumph over the Dark Ones, we were bound to our misconception of our purpose. This is the Fifth Dream-Tale of The Weaver, who showed us the true meaning of Baz’Auran’s words.
    “Show to the men of the world hope, teach them strength, and give them the tools to save themselves.”

    The Weaver entered the cave of Revaew-na, his staff of power in hand. The cave was dark, and twisted upon itself like a conch shell. But The Weaver knew his way, for the power of the Dream-Time was his, and he knew the way.


    Blast it all! Could this cave be any more confounding? The Weaver smashed his foot against a wall once more, and shouted. “JONGO!” The name of his sibling, so often used by the others as a curse, but never before by The Weaver, reverberated across the walls. Placing his hand firmly against the side of the cave, The Weaver continued forward, hoping he could find Revaew-na before she found him. Then, he turned the corner, and saw her.

    In the depths of the cave, he found her. The great hag Revaew-na, a monstrous woman twice as tall as The Weaver, with eyes like fire, and claws of stone. Horns sprouted from her head, and she cackled as The Weaver approached.

    She wasn’t as bad as The Weaver had thought she would be. In fact, she looked quite a lot like The Weaver himself-if he had been born female. Indeed, she bore all the same wounds as him, right down to the missing eye. Her good eye burned red however. “You are Revaew-na. I am The Weaver, and I have come to free the Dream-Time by slaying you!” “Slaying you!” The Weaver was startled by this reply. Had the witch already begun some horrid spell that even now was bringing about his death? The Weaver shifted his staff in front of him, and Revaew-na did the same. The fight began.

    The Weaver and Revaew-na engaged in an epic battle. The hag threw spell after spell, bringing fire, darkness, and the stone around them to bear against The Weaver. But The Weaver was driven by the will to protect his new people.

    The Weaver was astounded. Revaew-na could not be hit! No matter what he did, she matched him, blow for blow! Their staffs would connect, spark, and each would step back. But never did she strike herself. What was she waiting for? Was she simply wearing him down, waiting for the opportune time to finish him?

    The battle lasted for many days. No one knows for sure how The Weaver slew Revaew-na, but in the end, she lay dead at his feet.

    The Weaver grew despondant. He was going to die. There was so little energy left in his body, he could barely stand. But Revaew-na seemed to be just as tired. “What’s wrong! Why don’t you finish it!” “Finish it!” The Weaver screamed. “Why do you mock me with my own words!” “My own words!” The Weaver stood. And so did Revaew-na. He was confused. Slowly, he moved to the left. She followed him, step for step. To the right, the same. Backwards, she copied as well. The Weaver drew closer to his opponent, and she did the same. He reached out, and his fingers connected.
    With the wall of glass in front of him.
    The Weaver was mightily confused. Revaew-na was an ancient spirit! Was this wall her deception? Then, he recalled a talk with Tezzerin in the White City.
    "Weaver, do you understand the purpose of dreams?"
    "Well Tezzerin, dreams serve as places of respite, a place of happiness for those who cannot find it in the waking times. They are a playground of the mind, where we can do things without fear."
    "Yes, but it is not that simple. Dreams are a safe place to learn, to grow as people. Dreams teach us of adversity, so that we may be prepared for waking life. They show us both good and bad."
    "But Tezzerin, I have never had a bad dream. I think you are mistaken."

    Now The Weaver understood. This mirror was Revaew-na. She had never been corrupted. This was her purpose. She was the origin of all nightmares. But they served a purpose. Revaew-na was a part of the Dream-Tale, every bit as much as nightmares were a part of dreams. And The Weaver was dreams.
    Which meant he was also nightmares.
    With this realization, The Weaver felt energy surging through him. Life returned to his limbs, and he felt better than he had since his arrival here. The Weaver felt whole again! Taking the staff, he sent it hurtling, not at Revaew-na, but through her. And with that last blow, the mirror shattered. Behind it, a glowing red orb sat on a stone pedestal. The Weaver took the orb, and placed it where his eye had once been.

    The Weaver emerged from the cave, victorious. He had lost his staff, but gained a new object of power-Revaew-na’s eye. And he taught our people a new way of living. He taught us that balance was necessary. Light will always cast shadow. There can be no heroes without a villain to strive against. Stories require both a conflict, and a happy ending. Songs are comprised of both dissonance and consonance. And one cannot truly have a good dream if one has not had a nightmare to compare it to.

    This is the Last Tale of The Weaver. Rejoice, for he has shown us how to live as true servants of Baz’Auran.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

    Awesome Hex avatar by kpenguin

  28. - Top - End - #328
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    TheDarkDM's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The March of the Traveler

    So it came to pass that Kalandor marched south, seeking the source of the black sand that had wrought such grievous harm upon the Fayheran. Through the rocklands he walked, past the sites of battles long forgotten and peoples long dead. It was a long, harsh road, yet no matter how far he pressed there was little sign of the corruption in the sands. Day passed into night and back into day, and after a week it seemed a hopeless task to discover the darkness threatening his sister. But on the morning of the eighth day, atop a jagged rise, Kalandor beheld his quarry. Before him stretched the vast wasteland of sand that none in the rocklands had ever dared enter, a whistling sea of dunes that threatened to bury a simple mortal alive beneath their glacial advance. And on the horizon, at the very reaches of his divine sight, Kalandor sighted a dark stain.

    Breaking into a run, the Traveler raced towards the shadow, ragged breath coming with the intensity of a hunter when the trap is sprung. Yet as untainted sand exploded beneath his feet, the darkness reared like a startled animal and fled. Reaching its hiding spot a moment later, Kalandor gasped, for before him stretched a sea of darkness to match the shining expanse at his back. He nearly despaired, then, before he saw the rippling evaporation of the shadow before him, leaving untainted sand in its wake. He took a step forward, and the darkness rippled again, the air above it vibrating in a miasma of heat and fear. That fear sent energy surging through Kalandor's divine veins, and he charged forwards once again, driving the black sands before him. Like a spear piercing flesh, he tore the darkness from its resting place, sending it into wholesale flight. And as the shadow receded further and further to the south, Kalandor knew that his prey was finally within his grasp.

    The chase lasted for days, yet Kalandor gave no heed to the grueling sun on his back, for the scions of Baz'Auran were above such mortal concerns. Eventually, the dunes ended, and he continued his pursuit over barren flats, with only the occasional pillar of rock to differentiate the scenery. Ever did the sand stay just beyond his reach, but with every mile he sensed himself growing closer, felt the malefic presence slip ever so slightly towards his grasp. So intent was the Traveler that the chase might have lasted years, had there been an infinite plain for the sands to hide upon, but eventually it had fled as far as it was able.

    As the sun rose on a forgotten day, Kalandor finally saw a change on the horizon. Rising from the barren ground was a plateau, its sides worn down with a continuous fall of the black sand. As he approached, the downpour slowed, the sand seemingly loathe to come into contact with the divine, yet unable to wholly stop its journey from the source. Drawing close to the sheer rock face, Kalandor discerned a switchback stair leading to the summit. It was old, carved into the stone with craft beyond even the greatest of his siblings, for nowhere was there sign of hammer or chisel. Indeed, the stair seemed grown from the rock face, a rolling wave frozen in time, leading him towards his goal. Readying himself, Kalandor climbed.

    Attaining the summit of the plateau, there was but one thing that demanded Kalandor's attention. The streams of black sand spread forth from the center of the plateau, and at their source was a door. Carved from black metal beyond Kalandor's ken, the door hung loosely from a single hinge, revealing a gaping darkness beyond its threshold. His enemy cornered, a smile came to Kalandor's face. Here, he would avenge the deaths of Fayruz's people, the exhaustion she had faced, and the terrible plague that had no doubt affected others on the continent. Kalandor stepped forwards without fear, for what could challenge the will of a god that had touched minds with one of the eldest beings of the Disk? In the waiting darkness, he found another stair, and so he descended.

    The descent was shrouded in darkness, yet immortal eyes discern things beyond even the keenest mortal eye. All along the stair were carvings in the language of the White City, now burned and scarred beyond all but cursory recognition. Kalandor guessed them to be wards, but none as he had ever seen in his studies. He found himself yearning for Faden's wisdom, but even such uncertainty was not enough to slow his steps. Minutes passed into hours, and Kalandor realized he must have been far below the desert floor by the time the stair ended in a flat, level floor. The darkness was nigh impenetrable, and Kalandor held his staff ready as he took a tentative step forward, only for a shadow to shift in the dark. It was a massive thing, shuddering and sinuous, that seemed to be coming closer. Kalandor took a familiar stance, his body shifting back to its animalistic battle form, and - stopped. Without warning, he found his limbs unwilling to obey his commands, as though bound by unyielding chains. Then, with horror, he watched as his hands opened, releasing his weapon to clatter useless on the hard stone. The noise echoed for a moment in the vault, only to be followed by wet laughter.

    "Hehehe. Welcome, Kalandor, son of Baz'Auran. Please, step into my parlor."

    He willed his legs to resist, but despite his silent screams his legs took a tortured step, then another, until the darkness above him blazed to yellow life. Four baleful eyes looked down on him, their light revealing the slick, serpentine body that coiled around him.

    "I am honored by your visit, young one. A shame it had to be under such circumstances. But no matter, your presence is all I require."

    Kalandor struggled to speak, but his tongue refused to obey.

    "Did you truly think it wise to devour my little threads? Did you not wonder why your body allowed such reckless pursuit into the unknown? You were mine the moment you devoured the black sand."

    Kalandor managed a groan as a ripple of pain went through his body, though no other sound accompanied his transition back to humanoid form.

    "You should be honored, really. Few of my puppets ever see me in person. But your will is strong - too strong for me to rely on a second-hand connection."

    Kalandor's knees buckled, and he found himself kneeling before the monstrosity, his chest exposed.

    "Aren't you an obedient slave. Yes, you will do nicely."

    From the darkness, Kalandor saw a great claw inch towards him. Dripping with foul ichor, there was no hint of a hand in the darkness, only the curving razored point that came to rest on his chest. The black foulness burned through cloth and leather, only to pass through his skin and surge through his blood. He screamed then, a wail of pain and unbidden terror, for he felt his mind ensnared by an old malice, the hate of eons crashing down on him. There was no choice but retreat, and so Kalandor's spirit fled inward, leaving his body empty save for the will of the thing before him.

    "Mmmm...your fear is delectable, godling. Would you like to know what you are going to do now? You shall return to your beloved sister, and inform her that sweet Faden is the cause of the dark sand that afflicts her people. Urge her and any siblings that respond to your summons towards war. After all, none of their people will be safe while a monstrosity of magic seeks to enslave them all."

    Kalandor's body rose, his feet climbing the stairs up with the same easy gait he'd always had. Through his own eyes, he saw the light above give way to shadow, and when he reached the exit there was nothing around the plateau but an endless waste of black. It had been a trick. It had all been a trick. And now the Traveler went north, to bring pain and death to the family of the gods.

    Dark Sands

    Light and Law stood firm against the onslaught, but as Faden arrived to spirit them to safety something peculiar happened. Breaking off its wild assault, the shadowed sandstorm rose up around the roc, caressing the air around it and Faden as a lover, before dissipating into air. Looking down, the three gods saw the taint upon the desert evaporate like a bad dream, leaving no sign on the beast that had sought to devour them moments earlier.

    The Affairs of Dragons

    At Jongo's deluge of questions, Alassarinus' reserve finally gave way and a chuckle not unlike the crashing of a waterfall drowned out all but the most excited of Jongo's queries.

    "Peace, Jongo Chaos-born. It is good to hear your intent is a kind one, but we sadly have no time for further pleasantries. Your ship is safe, your identities obtained, and now we must return to our duties. But, before we do, I have some knowledge to impart unto you, son of Baz'Auran. You fly above the seas at your peril, for Kraken has heard of your arrival, and he will not suffer rivals without the will of Baz'Auran behind them. Even now, we fear he means great harm on the land-born. Be cautious, and be safe - it would be a tragedy for your song to end in the prelude."

    Without another word, the dragons released their hold on Green Morningstar and dived into the air. They streaked towards the water, yet no splash accompanied their landing, save for the wake of their mighty tails as they dove into the deep.

    The Drums of War

    So it was that even as a dark will turned god against god, word arrived in Markien of approaching doom. First, it was but one messenger, deemed mad from long travel, but he was soon followed by more. One came from every village bordering the mountains, in a straight path towards Markien, and each bore the same message - that a great beast had come among them, demanding tribute or a worthy challenge. Those who chose to pay tribute were forced to give their fairest maiden to the monster's appetites, and those who gave challenge were quickly slain with a sword of sky-plucked lightning, only for the beast to claim five maidens as its spoils. Then it would depart, ever south, leaving a simple warning. The First Ones were returning, and they would not suffer humanity to challenge their rule.
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-03-16 at 04:46 AM.

    I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
    The jewel-decked throne by the Nile;
    I was old in those epochs uncounted
    When I, and I only, was vile;

    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by apocalypsePast2 View Post
    ...one could possibly refer to you guys' elaborate dance of allies-to-enemies-to-suicide-of-the-universe as some sort of weird art form.

    If one were on drugs.
    Quote Originally Posted by VonDoom View Post
    Behold, the mighty slayer of strangely coloured mutant equines! The thwarter of forum woes! The! Dark! DM!

  29. - Top - End - #329
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Upon Green Morningstar

    The winter died out. The chilling feeling that Jongo had felt, a constant hope that Lossethir was all right, was no where near as cold as the feeling that was just... gone. It took a second for Jongo to realize that it wasn't gone, but the presence was blocked. Which was unusual. And then the world turned upside down, and the cold was back, but very different. Jongo couldn't help but smirk. If this was Lossethir, he'd just done something really powerful.

    One moment Jongo was looking at Dragons, and the next, all her attention was pulled to this. The change to the Disk was just that great.

    And hidden behind it, hard to tell for sure, almost using the great change to block things, was a deceptive feeling of - what Jongo hoped was - another sibling. Quiet, careful, it was a slow rush of power, rather than the quick snapping break of the iceberg that was hiding it. The chaos that this being could sow, the possibilities of disruption, were even more vast then most. And it would probably only take a few words. Rose.

    Then like hearing a blast of trumpets, Jongo felt elated, and another feeling of applause seemed to herald someone else, far to the south of the ice and lies. The chance for change here was confusing. Jongo didn't trust it, nor did he like it at the moment. But if it was a sibling... that meant one more was alive.

    Popping up in Jongo's mindscape like candles suddenly lit, far to the north, beyond what Jongo hoped was Frellon and Carolinus, something else suddenly came alive. Like a predator pouncing in the night, this light seemed to be menacing but careful. The Band of Chaos seemed to warm to it, and Jongo realized just how primal this being felt. It was unlike any sibling Jongo could guess at.

    Perplexed, Jongo shook her head clear of the mindscape, and looked around again.

    "Hey. Where did the dragons go?"

    "Uncle? They just flew away a second ago. Didn't you hear what they said?" Amanda looked concerned.

    "On the off chance I didn't, why don't you remind me?"

    "They were here to warn you. About something they called the Kraken."

    "Kraken? Weird name. Never heard of it. Probably not very tasty. I wouldn't want to eat it either."

    "No, Uncle, it didn't sound like food, it..." Jongo cut Amanda off, apparently unconcerned.

    "Butterfly! We need to get this ship moving! The Disk is changing, and we need to see it's changed right! Oh, incidentally, when we next see Faden, I hope he hasn't met dragons yet. Because it will be sooooooo satisfying to tell him that we have." Jongo danced upon deck, gleefully, and started to sing off key, getting the crew to join in on the chorus.

    Spoiler
    Show
    I did not see a dragon today,
    I did not see a dragon today,
    What I did see you can't make me say,
    But I did not see a dragon today!

    It had scales and fangs,
    It had claws but no wings,
    From it's body four little legs hangs,
    But I did not see a dragon today!

    It spoke like a waterfall,
    It laughed like the rain,
    It seemed to be quite happy above it all,
    But I did not see a dragon today!

    I did not see a dragon today,
    I did not see a dragon today,
    What I did see you can't make me say,
    But I did not see a dragon today!

    It had eyes blazing green,
    It's breath smelled of salt
    It had a trio of horns looking rather mean,
    But I did not see a dragon today!

    What I say is fully true,
    What I'm telling you,
    I didn't meet a single dragon today...
    No, I met two!

    Ohhhh, I did not see a dragon today,
    I did not see a dragon today,
    What I did see you've made me say,
    But I did not see a dragon today!


    Green Morningstar moved north, and Jongo could start to see land. They were getting close. Soon, they could find out if it was Carolinus that Jongo was feeling, or if it was someone else. Just in case, Jongo sent a message ahead.

    Reaching out with the help of the Band of Chaos, it was easy finding a mortal near that Protective feeling that was standing alone, apparently on watch duty. Jongo grinned at their boredom, and had them poke at the dirt to scrawl out her desired message. Then, to make sure it didn't get wiped away, Jongo filled the dirt with water, and asked the water to freeze in the ground; unnatural for this type of year. Hopefully, the bored watchman would snap out of it soon, and report what had happened to whoever was in charge until it reached what Jongo hoped was Carolinus.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Grassblade,
    You better not be moping. If I don't see you smiling when I show up with Butterfly, I swear I'm going to tickle you.
    -Jongo
    Spoiler
    Show
    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
    Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, you'll be a mile away, and have their shoes!
    ~avatar by myself

  30. - Top - End - #330
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Australia

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkDM View Post
    The March of the Traveler

    So it came to pass that Kalandor marched south, seeking the source of the black sand that had wrought such grievous harm upon the Fayheran. Through the rocklands he walked, past the sites of battles long forgotten and peoples long dead. It was a long, harsh road, yet no matter how far he pressed there was little sign of the corruption in the sands. Day passed into night and back into day, and after a week it seemed a hopeless task to discover the darkness threatening his sister. But on the morning of the eighth day, atop a jagged rise, Kalandor beheld his quarry. Before him stretched the vast wasteland of sand that none in the rocklands had ever dared enter, a whistling sea of dunes that threatened to bury a simple mortal alive beneath their glacial advance. And on the horizon, at the very reaches of his divine sight, Kalandor sighted a dark stain.

    Breaking into a run, the Traveler raced towards the shadow, ragged breath coming with the intensity of a hunter when the trap is sprung. Yet as untainted sand exploded beneath his feet, the darkness reared like a startled animal and fled. Reaching its hiding spot a moment later, Kalandor gasped, for before him stretched a sea of darkness to match the shining expanse at his back. He nearly despaired, then, before he saw the rippling evaporation of the shadow before him, leaving untainted sand in its wake. He took a step forward, and the darkness rippled again, the air above it vibrating in a miasma of heat and fear. That fear sent energy surging through Kalandor's divine veins, and he charged forwards once again, driving the black sands before him. Like a spear piercing flesh, he tore the darkness from its resting place, sending it into wholesale flight. And as the shadow receded further and further to the south, Kalandor knew that his prey was finally within his grasp.

    The chase lasted for days, yet Kalandor gave no heed to the grueling sun on his back, for the scions of Baz'Auran were above such mortal concerns. Eventually, the dunes ended, and he continued his pursuit over barren flats, with only the occasional pillar of rock to differentiate the scenery. Ever did the sand stay just beyond his reach, but with every mile he sensed himself growing closer, felt the malefic presence slip ever so slightly towards his grasp. So intent was the Traveler that the chase might have lasted years, had there been an infinite plain for the sands to hide upon, but eventually it had fled as far as it was able.

    As the sun rose on a forgotten day, Kalandor finally saw a change on the horizon. Rising from the barren ground was a plateau, its sides worn down with a continuous fall of the black sand. As he approached, the downpour slowed, the sand seemingly loathe to come into contact with the divine, yet unable to wholly stop its journey from the source. Drawing close to the sheer rock face, Kalandor discerned a switchback stair leading to the summit. It was old, carved into the stone with craft beyond even the greatest of his siblings, for nowhere was there sign of hammer or chisel. Indeed, the stair seemed grown from the rock face, a rolling wave frozen in time, leading him towards his goal. Readying himself, Kalandor climbed.

    Attaining the summit of the plateau, there was but one thing that demanded Kalandor's attention. The streams of black sand spread forth from the center of the plateau, and at their source was a door. Carved from black metal beyond Kalandor's ken, the door hung loosely from a single hinge, revealing a gaping darkness beyond its threshold. His enemy cornered, a smile came to Kalandor's face. Here, he would avenge the deaths of Fayruz's people, the exhaustion she had faced, and the terrible plague that had no doubt affected others on the continent. Kalandor stepped forwards without fear, for what could challenge the will of a god that had touched minds with one of the eldest beings of the Disk? In the waiting darkness, he found another stair, and so he descended.

    The descent was shrouded in darkness, yet immortal eyes discern things beyond even the keenest mortal eye. All along the stair were carvings in the language of the White City, now burned and scarred beyond all but cursory recognition. Kalandor guessed them to be wards, but none as he had ever seen in his studies. He found himself yearning for Faden's wisdom, but even such uncertainty was not enough to slow his steps. Minutes passed into hours, and Kalandor realized he must have been far below the desert floor by the time the stair ended in a flat, level floor. The darkness was nigh impenetrable, and Kalandor held his staff ready as he took a tentative step forward, only for a shadow to shift in the dark. It was a massive thing, shuddering and sinuous, that seemed to be coming closer. Kalandor took a familiar stance, his body shifting back to its animalistic battle form, and - stopped. Without warning, he found his limbs unwilling to obey his commands, as though bound by unyielding chains. Then, with horror, he watched as his hands opened, releasing his weapon to clatter useless on the hard stone. The noise echoed for a moment in the vault, only to be followed by wet laughter.

    "Hehehe. Welcome, Kalandor, son of Baz'Auran. Please, step into my parlor."

    He willed his legs to resist, but despite his silent screams his legs took a tortured step, then another, until the darkness above him blazed to yellow life. Four baleful eyes looked down on him, their light revealing the slick, serpentine body that coiled around him.

    "I am honored by your visit, young one. A shame it had to be under such circumstances. But no matter, your presence is all I require."

    Kalandor struggled to speak, but his tongue refused to obey.

    "Did you truly think it wise to devour my little threads? Did you not wonder why your body allowed such reckless pursuit into the unknown? You were mine the moment you devoured the black sand."

    Kalandor managed a groan as a ripple of pain went through his body, though no other sound accompanied his transition back to humanoid form.

    "You should be honored, really. Few of my puppets ever see me in person. But your will is strong - too strong for me to rely on a second-hand connection."

    Kalandor's knees buckled, and he found himself kneeling before the monstrosity, his chest exposed.

    "Aren't you an obedient slave. Yes, you will do nicely."

    From the darkness, Kalandor saw a great claw inch towards him. Dripping with foul ichor, there was no hint of a hand in the darkness, only the curving razored point that came to rest on his chest. The black foulness burned through cloth and leather, only to pass through his skin and surge through his blood. He screamed then, a wail of pain and unbidden terror, for he felt his mind ensnared by an old malice, the hate of eons crashing down on him. There was no choice but retreat, and so Kalandor's spirit fled inward, leaving his body empty save for the will of the thing before him.

    "Mmmm...your fear is delectable, godling. Would you like to know what you are going to do now? You shall return to your beloved sister, and inform her that sweet Faden is the cause of the dark sand that afflicts her people. Urge her and any siblings that respond to your summons towards war. After all, none of their people will be safe while a monstrosity of magic seeks to enslave them all."

    Kalandor's body rose, his feet climbing the stairs up with the same easy gait he'd always had. Through his own eyes, he saw the light above give way to shadow, and when he reached the exit there was nothing around the plateau but an endless waste of black. It had been a trick. It had all been a trick. And now the Traveler went north, to bring pain and death to the family of the gods.

    The Drums of War

    So it was that even as a dark will turned god against god, word arrived in Markien of approaching doom. First, it was but one messenger, deemed mad from long travel, but he was soon followed by more. One came from every village bordering the mountains, in a straight path towards Markien, and each bore the same message - that a great beast had come among them, demanding tribute or a worthy challenge. Those who chose to pay tribute were forced to give their fairest maiden to the monster's appetites, and those who gave challenge were quickly slain with a sword of sky-plucked lightning, only for the beast to claim five maidens as its spoils. Then it would depart, ever south, leaving a simple warning. The First Ones were returning, and they would not suffer humanity to challenge their rule.


    The Price of Arrogance, The Suffering of Betrayal
    Spoiler
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    Forgive a man his sins, but not to quickly. For how else is he to learn?

    Teaching of Kalandor

    Normally Kalandor would not have attacked such a thing head on as the sand, he knew this and struck on, forcing it back with ease born of divine light, some part of him crying about how this was to easy, while another simply thought that without form the beast was weak.

    When Kalandor reached the platua, part of him begged caution, the stelth of an insect or for him to strengthen his form, but he had always been curious, and in this final moment, easy to be controlled by the sand he had ingested, fighting those that had dared harm his siblings.

    But now he was that, thing.

    His mind screamed in torment.
    His soul cried out in pain.
    And his body burned in rejection.
    And then, with claws gliding through him like a warmed blade through softened butter, his voice cried out in pain, that went no further than the stone walls of the room he was in.
    It was a cry of loss and defeat, and a cry of pain eternal.
    And his mind was lain low, and rested deep within his body, now a puppet to anothers will.
    And this mind, anothers, set itself to reside within him, while Kalandor Partitioned his mind away from the rest, to stay sane, to stay.... Safe. The last thing of his own will he would do for days.
    And it would be days before that mind would remember a thing, hiding, unwilling to see through its own eyes.

    --------------------------------------------
    Drums of War
    While many of the first travellers, who spread words of darkness, something odd happened.

    With Kalandor under the dark ones clawed thumb. There was a ripple effect, as some pions called such things, it was 'S*** rolling down hill.' For the first few days, and some latter days, a few of the priests that prayedto Kalandor met the other mind, which could convert a few, exhausting itself. When Kalandor awoke inside his mind, he sometimes managed to intercept his priest, and to get them to not call upon him. So while they did still perform minor miricles, they no longer communed with Kalandor, and some who did became more messangers for the dark one, spreading confusion, or knowledge of what was comming. And sometimes, very rarely, Erack had enough time to tell a priest the merest portion of what had occured. However, the chance of such a priest communing with another god was smaller then the number of planets bearing life as Kalandor would recognize it, over all the other steller bodies.

    And even then, noone sought his priests, which were mostly few and travelling.
    But then again, three were already try to reach the heart of Frellon's domain, where orcs ruled.
    In truth, they were already there, while Frellon was long gone. And prayed but once for thier god, while they waited upon him.

    --------------------------------------------
    Three Messangers
    Spoiler
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    "Not to be racist, but in general, each race has a few things it's good at, even humans, and all the races tend to split themselves into subtribes who are even more focused with their own strengths and weaknesses, and so as such, it is entirely true to say that, in general, Orcs a brash and violent creatures, living for war. Atleast, they used to be...."

    An unknown sholar.

    When the three priests of Kalandor arrived at Frellon's Capitol, which was unnamed they lived to the side, both of their own distrust and the distrust of the other orcs, whom mostly lived in tribal warfare. And one night, when the two lesser priest were in prayer, something on happened.
    The true mind intercepted one.
    The dark mind recieved the other.

    And at once, the two fought, each crying about Kalandor, untill one said.
    "Let me go priest, you know not the power of the dark one!"And so, as the indoctrinated orc lay dead at their feet, the two orcs conferred, and waited on Frellon, with new news, that may well never reach him, either due to orcish mistrust, or just that Kalandor's last untouched thought had called Frellon away, a thought that was entirely rational and something he should have done and did do, that could well lead to untold harm.
    -----------------------------

    And so, Kalandor began his slow march to Fayruz, every step bringing something dark.
    My Homebrew Sig.

    Woo, I have a Quote.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonwolf727 View Post
    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
    ** Cast Rock to mud on a Druid statue
    *** Scoop mud into little ceramic pots
    **** Plant tree's in individual ceramic pots
    ***** Claim that I have helped them become one with nature
    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Congrats, you made me laugh hard enough to draw my family's attention.
    Internet's bugging up, sorry for any delays.

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