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  1. - Top - End - #391
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    No one from the hills or the glass-spires
    or from the desert can exalt a man.
    But it is Fayruz who judges:
    She brings one down, she exalts another.
    In the hand of Fayruz is a bowl
    full of living water mixed with spices;
    she pours it out, and all the wretched of the earth
    drink it down to its very dregs.

    - a psalm for the harp


    Reunion

    Fayruz took the tapestry from her brother joyfully. Look at this work, she told herself - it was as if she were back home, looking at a new tapestry hanging in her brother's great hall. The Weaver required no loom to create, and he wove with greater care than any mortal hand. She opened it for a moment, seeing what she could see, and found a fortress in a black valley with the mark of her brother, brave Carolinus, and a remarkable castle on an island of ice. So, too, she saw the successor to the brave ship that was to take them to the Disk, and strange beasts tamed at the hand of her impetuous brother, Frellon.

    "Thank you, brother," Fayruz said, overwhelmed for a moment by the generosity of his gift. She had nothing alike to give him, no grand skill of artistry except for her meager skill with the harp and her voice. "I will treasure your greatest work yet as if Father himself had given it to me. I'm just sorry that there is no place that is worthy of having it hung on its walls, not here, not yet. I fear that it would become filthy within days, for even here we are not safe from the storms of the desert." She laughed to herself, shaking her head. "What am I saying? I'm sorry, Weaver, meeting my siblings always flusters me - it is so wonderful to see you again, and see that you have become the greatest artist among us, as you always deserved to be!" And then Shyreza stepped forward - where had she been? When Fayruz had seen her last, she had been sleeping by Fayruz's mat, curled up with her harp.

    "Allow me to take this gift for you, my princess," Shyreza said, bowing once to The Weaver. Her dark hair, almost like Fayruz's own, but far too straight to match Fayruz's curls, was unbound, reaching down to her hips, and she was, of all there, the most richly dressed. One of the families of the south had sent Fayruz a gown dyed red and painted with the thinnest gold, which had been altered slightly to fit her bard. She wore, also, a thin golden belt, and a pure white cord from which her harp hung. With the same loving care that she would use to handle a creation of Fayruz herself, Shyreza took the curled-up tapestry in her arms, holding it close to her, as The Weaver said that he no longer needed sleep. For a moment, Fayruz felt a pang of envy, for it would be wonderful for her to no longer need rest, to never feel tired or weary.

    And then The Weaver asked the question which brought color to Fayruz's cheeks, beneath her white veil. Why, he did not even ask her whether she had been resting enough - and how could she rest, when there was so much to be done among her people, so many pains to soothe, so many judgements to make, so many blessings to pronounce and so many requiring her guidance and her tender care? - but he asked the warriors of her people who had been handpicked by dear Saven to guard her tent from the creatures of the night, as if he would not trust her answer!

    Almost as embarrassing as the question itself was the answer: low muttering and 'some may say- but only the goddess knows-', and a loud guffaw from her loyal knight, descending into demented chuckling; Shyreza herself averted her eyes from The Weaver, biting her lip to stop herself from responding. Fayruz said, without any undue tightness at all, "Brother, I know that you are worried for your little sister, but I must protest that you would ask such a thing! I care for myself-"

    "Sleep is as anathema to her, brother-of-our-maiden," Gamesha interrupted from behind her, "As evil is to the ruttin phoenix of the north. She has not slept, my blood-brother tells me, since she traveled to the mountain-camp of Dal Metkeh to purge asp-poison from their springs, and only then because the ruttin horses needed to rest by the Teeth of the ruttin Gorgon." Fayruz turned her head, and gave him a frustrated look of disapproval, one that made him stumble back with his hand at his throat, like a maiden afraid of her father. Whether his fear was mocking or real, she couldn't tell, and that merely infuriated her further.

    "He is right, my princess," Shyreza said, softly, yet with strength under her words. Unwelcome as it was, that strength was still what had earned the maiden her position by Fayruz's side. "Last night you went through the crafter's quarter with Nathian the Cunning, and the night before that, you spent by the side of Izelya Horsemistress, easing the coming of her child. And you do not sleep during the day..."

    Fayruz silenced her with a wave of her hand. "Shyreza! Please, carry a message to the masters of cattle, that my family will be feasting here on the morrow, and then to the brewers and the gatherers, with the same message. Gamesha, Tyraulten, Shaehet! Go to Hefar's council, and warn them that my brothers come on a ship - not one round, like a fisherman's, but as long like an arrow-shaft! Tell them, too, that it will come from the sky! Eten, Merana, keep the door while my brother and I keep each other company." She turned back to her brother, with his ruby-red eye and his unearthly mien, and extended her hand. "Come, brother - we have so much to talk about!"

    And she told the truth! Oh, there was so much to talk about! She could tell him about her people, about the famine that afflicted them, about the songs and dances that they had taught her- but no, no, she should start by telling him of Arenis who found her, and Dol Mazzah which had been destroyed, and of Gamesha who had abused her under his dragon-curse, and of how they had come to the Olm for a grim battle which would have broken the tribes of the rocklands, and then she could tell him of the monsters which plagued them, of the minotaurs which drove mortals mad, and the kobolds which lurked in the mountain-caves, and of the spirits which resisted her influence and sought to lead mortals astray, and of the ghouls to the south which her people feared were bolder now, and of the djinn which she'd heard of, but never yet seen, and of the bronze-winged gryphons which wheeled over the golden sands of the south, and tell him tales of the phoenix and the dragons and the raven-served witches which lived in the mountains of the north and the east, according to the tales of her people. Then she could tell him of their skill with glassworking, and their clever copper-smelting, and their weaving and pottery-working, and how they were all so diligent in their tasks, even when starving from famine... she could keep her brother up until dawn, with all the things she wanted to tell him!

    ***

    The Green Morningstar Arrives

    The heat of his forge was cruel in the afternoon, when weaker and less productive men were resting, and the sweat of his brow was running down his face, across the long gouges and into his eyes. His arms were wet with the heat, and the dampness of his palms threatened to ruin his careful work. Still, as his sparring-partner Zafira kept pumping the goat-skin bellows to keep the forge's fire bright and hot, he dipped his long-handled ladle into the vat of molten copper within the forge, and then poured it out into the mold that he'd set out for it. It would harden into a statuette, a female figure wrapped in robes, one hand upraised in blessing. The statuette had been ordered by the household of Malere Strongback, who owned one of the precious goatherds that kept the Fayheran of the Olm alive in the midst of famine, and had heard that the goddess's hound would be turning his hands to copperwork.

    He was growing leaner and leaner. Perhaps because he forced himself to continue his drills every day, to keep himself strong for her, even when he refused food every other day. But if that was it, he would continue to grow leaner, until he were truly a skeleton. If his beautiful Fayruz suffered for her people, should not he, as well? There just wasn't enough food to go around - the cattle-herds of the tribes had been taken north, to the fields that had once belonged to the Aferi, so they wouldn't all starve. But the wild roots were getting scarcer, and so too the hunted beasts, and men could not survive on goat-cheese and milk alone. He certainly couldn't.

    He readied the next mold - this one a bowl to be given to his sweet goddess herself. It would be his gift to her, with bright desert-roses engraved into its rim. A simple gift, given by a craftsman who sought to use his hammers to create for her, not to destroy heedlessly. If only his hands would not tremble, if only his fingers were more skillful! If only he hadn't gone with his father down into the depths of the copper-mines, or had evaded those long, cruel claws...

    It was good for him to not be making weapons. There were many doing just that, much more skilled coppersmiths readying their sword-molds, glass-shapers crafting their long knives to bring death to the rutting thralls of the dark sand, flint-crafters making spearheads and sling-shots and knives and heavy hammer-heads, and spear-makers and hammer-makers taking the stout staves sent from the mountain-camps to make their weapons. Fayruz had accepted that as a necessity, knowing that man-eating monsters still roamed the heights and emerged from the sands, but it still broke her heart to see her people readying such weapons.

    If only he could do something about it. If only he could teach warriors how to fight for her, how to act in such a way that brought her glory instead of undermining the things she taught, if only he were as silver-tongued and beautiful as her, then he could- but, no, he was simply slack-jawed, brutish Gamesha of the Tekeza, rutting ugly-as-sin Gamesha who only knew how to use his hammers and make things out of molten copper.

    Zafira hissed to herself, letting the bellows fall silent, and Gamesha immediately tensed his arms and listened to her. "Gamesha! Someone's seeking us out – can't you hear?" He raised his head and listened for a moment, and heard the sound of light feet running quickly across the weathered stones of the Olm. With one easy motion, he picked up his hammer and stepped out of the forge, a makeshift building made from loose stones and a half-broken alcove. Even when learning a new trade, he was still Fayruz's hound through and through, ready to run to her side in the time it took the winds to turn. Beside him, Zafira stood, one hand on the knife at her belt.

    His broken face split into a grin as he saw who came for him: Shyreza's servant-boy, young Calek. He raised his free hand in a hail, and barked out, "Hey, here's a ruttin young whelp! What's the pretty maiden need from me now?"

    "There's a riot!" The boy waved his hands frantically, his eyes wide, and Gamesha tightened his grip on his hammer. "Something's falling from the sky towards us, and the men of the south have spread panic throughout the eastern quarter!"

    Zafira sighed. "I thought your father had spread word that the goddess's family was coming in a sky-ship. What's this, then? Fools who drank too much peya last night?" She released the hold on her knife, and began to run towards the eastern quarter.

    "No," Gamesha said, loping alongside her easily, leaving the boy to see to the forge. "Men from the south who came bearing cart-loads of fresh fruits they found by their oasis. We thought they were a ruttin blessing this morning!" The two ran, hard and fast, until they could hear the riot, and see the ship. It was certainly no fisher's vessel, being long, wooden, and bearing large white carpets above it, and it was such a marvel that he almost stopped and stared, but he continued on until he was on the outskirts of the riot.

    Men were screaming in fear, men were throwing spears at the underside of the ship, men were throwing sling-shots and flinging rocks at it, and in the midst of it all were men declaring it some demon's trick, or a minotaur's mirage, or a dragon! Idiots. Gamesha grabbed a man, and threw him into another – two men pacified, only perhaps a hundred more to go. Zafira by his side, he began to restore order in the crowd, silencing men and causing them to drop their spears and slings with a strong fist and punches stronger than any among the men of the south. This did not quite work as he'd hoped, as the riot turned into a brawl before the watching eyes of Fayruz's family. He stood back-to-back with Zafira, taking on seven at a time, laughing gaily in the eye of the storm, feeling the old love of battle coming back to him as he sent men flying.

    Then, suddenly, he heard Fayruz's voice, and it was beautiful: her song rose up above the tumult, and as it did, he suddenly felt deeply ashamed, and the hands grasping him on either side released him, as men backed away and let him through their ranks out of respect. As he stepped out of the crowd, Zafira behind him, the song ended, and men began to back away and disperse, leaving him and Zafira standing before Fayruz, who had covered her dark hair and her fair face as she always did, her red-eyed brother and her richly-dressed bard, his blood-brother Saven who stood in his dark robes, clutching his staff, beside Fayruz. The ship had now come to rest by the side of the Olm, leaving its strange crew to step out and meet the goddess. As they did so, she cried with joy, saying - "Jongo! Haramhold! Frellon! The Weaver told me you would be here, but it is so good to see you all; come here, come and embrace your sister...!" - and as she did so, Gamesha raised his hand to hail them.

    "Let me apologize," he said, "For your poor welcome from these people; your boat scared them out of their ruttin wits, and I am not our lady, that I can stop them all with a song." He shrugged, and behind him Zafira chuckled softly to herself. Should he have worn robes and masked his face, as all well-dressed men do? He was hardly fairly-dressed in his forge-leathers, and his broken face wasn't fair to display before the family of his goddess. Why, only now, did he think of this? Saven had covered his face, and Shyreza had woven copper trinkets into her hair and hung bright rings from her ears, and only the goddess's strange brother left his face uncovered - but here, two of her brothers coming out had left their faces uncovered as well! Perhaps the gods would not notice how shamefully he was dressed before them. But Fayruz knew, and she would remember - oh, a thousand curses, a thousand pestilences on his head!
    -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.

  2. - Top - End - #392
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ladorak's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    His father's shield

    'You are well spoken, Khar Melkhan, you are also a more honourable foe than I had anticipated. But I see through your fair words, your true nature is revealed in physical form. Gold collars are collars none the less.'

    Carolinus edged away from the Khar, measuring the distance of his weapon, the distance to the forest, his distance from the Khar. All these things were critical. He calmed his mind and thought clearly. I can't bolt right away, he'll see through it. Have to make it look good. Also have to treat him with him in kind, honourably.

    'Put aside your shield and choose your weapon of choice. Black Buttress in no ordinary shield, it is also a potent weapon.' He raised the shadow wreathed shield above his head, it seemed to suck the very light away. 'If you are kin to the Bastard of the Titans they know that this is all that remains of his vile putrification of innocence.'

    He slammed Black Buttress into the ground, black fire surged up all around him. 'He has paid the price for his slavery, as you shall pay for yours.'

    'My terms are simple. I shall accept your surrender on two conditions. Firstly the women are to be freed. You will also answer three of my questions. You may then leave by the path you have come.'
    Last edited by Ladorak; 2012-03-21 at 06:18 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.

  3. - Top - End - #393
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Aboard Green Morningstar (yesterday)

    Jongo stared, ashen faced, at her brothers. "It's blood. And death. And war. It's... a type of chaos that I've done my best to block out. I can't stop it - nothing stops change - but I don't have to like it. But... one of us has. One of us... may have embraced such things. And if that's the case... They may not listen to any sort of rhyme or reason we might give to calm down.

    Haramhold. I'm driving. Sorry. That's... not a question, this time. Amanda-dear. Have everyone go below decks. Don't try and look outside. If you want to help... focus on Green Morningstar and her crystals. Pour whatever magic into them that you can, and hold her together. This may... tickle. The same goes for you, Butterfly. I'm counting on you to hold Green Morningstar together. Squid? I need you up on deck.

    I need you... to dance."
    Jongo looked gravely serious, which alone would be disturbing. But there was no nonsense in his voice, and the Band of Chaos was oddly silent.

    "We need to get to Fayruz. As fast as possible. And I thought we had a little time, so we haven't been pushing things. But I'm going to change that. I'm going to push now." Jongo smirked, just a bit, a little more her old self. Then he walked out of the mess hall, and onto the Helmsman's Deck. There wasn't another room or hall between either step. Green Morningstar sensed the need, and responded.

    Waiting for Amanda to get the crew below decks, Jongo began to concentrate, and gather all of her thoughts into one. It was like taking a deep breath, and holding it. Around him, Jongo could feel the air whistling, and - more importantly - her Sea below. They were almost to the edge of it... but it was still the Sea of Jongo for now.

    Not waiting to see if his brothers would do as she asked, Jongo sent out a tendril of thought to the waters below. He felt their currents, and felt which way they would push the Living Ship if it was along the waves. It was the wrong direction. So Jongo asked the currents to change. Feeling them respond, Jongo let out the breath she had been holding, and turned his attention to the air.

    "I have traveled within the sky for days now. I know no one can tame the winds. No one has a right to command them. Those that try could find themselves blown away in fury. Yet, I need your help. I'm asking for you to blow our way to our sister. She is by no means weak. But she's my family, and she may be in danger. And there is much worse happening that she and the others of my family may need to know of. So please, if you can give me a hand now, I promise to spend more time focused entirely on the Air itself."

    Whispering, and focusing everything on that plea, Jongo could feel the air around them listening. It began to stir. Something was going to happen.

    Some of the air wanted to help. Some of it wanted to leave. The two sides blew in opposite directions, and became stronger as more air joined them. Green Morningstar began to creak in protest, and Jongo silently apologized. The conflicting air was now focused on itself and it's own fight. It began to twirl and shriek.

    High in the air, in a near cloudless sky, from the two warring factions of air, a Tornado was born. One side finally won, and full of power, it bent itself and began to blow on the sails of Green Morningstar.

    The Band of Chaos began to sing, great gusting notes that encouraged the Tornado to blow the Living Ship to their destination. Jongo released all of her concentration, and poured all of the Chaos from the stilled thoughts into speed. Far below, a rolling wave followed the ship's shadow, pushing even that along at a faster pace.

    Jongo grabbed a hold of the large steering crystal.

    Flying would probably always be boring after today.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In regards to time, the trip was not quick. It still took hours. As fast as the ship moved, though, things were blindingly fast.

    Jongo lost himself in the desire to go even faster. Eventually, she was cackling madly with glee. Jongo hoped the crew couldn't hear, and then realized that with the howling of the wind, they wouldn't hear much of anything.

    But soon enough the Tornado lost interest. It forgot what it was doing. Like the fickle breeze that it was, it flew apart and dissipated. Jongo asked the wave to stop pushing, and could feel it dying down as well. This current wasn't it's waters, so it surrendered itself to the ocean below.

    That was all right. Jongo could see mountains ahead, and sparsely populated desert sands. Among those sands, he could feel Fayruz and... The Weaver?

    Jongo began to laugh, even louder. After everything she and Haramhold did, The Weaver - if it was his aura that Jongo felt - had somehow stepped from one side of the Disk to the other almost instantly. Jongo would have to try that some time.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Above the Olm (now)

    There was a crowd. This place was full of people. And all of them - save maybe one - were entirely devoted to Fayruz.

    Jongo was looking for that one. The boy. Lors. He should have been born by now.

    But as Jongo guided Green Morningstar downwards, she couldn't feel the boy. Was he playing hide and seek? He'd probably learned all the nooks and crannies within the Olm by now.

    This could be fun!

    Sadly, there wasn't time to play right now. So Jongo stepped away from the Helm, and let the Living Ship fly itself downwards.

    Changing to the young boyhood form that he'd been wearing when she fell, Jongo grew wings again - more appreciative of the air - and flapped down below the ship, circling the arid air to show his moving shadow and get people's attention.

    Sure enough, those who hadn't already been pointing and staring as Green Morningstar grew closer were soon paying attention to Jongo.

    "Hi! I'm Jongo! Have you seen a young boy, probably about eight or ten years old? I don't know what he looks like, but he's got a green eye and a grey eye, and, oh! I'm sorry. I almost forgot. This is the Band of Chaos." Wrapped around Jongo's waist as one circular loop of a belt, the Band of Chaos was the largest it had ever been.

    Really, in retrospect, Jongo should have expected things to happen as they did. After all, these people were used to Fayruz. She had a lovely singing voice. Her people had been calmed by it; adored her for it, even. And they were blessed by the sound of her music.

    But the Band of Chaos had just been introduced, so it sung out a note of greeting, low and off key.

    The crowd began to riot.

    "Ummmm... Whoops." Jongo dodged slings and spears, and was starting to become perturbed when a scarred woman appeared from a building, and began punching people. It took Jongo a moment to realize that the woman was a man, and Jongo began to laugh in delight... until the crowd began to fight back.

    "Double whoops." The Band of Chaos sung another note, much more quietly, and it sounded apologetic almost. "No, I don't blame you. This was my fault, I'll-"

    Another voice began to sing. It sang out above the chaos below, and calmed the raging storm of people. Green Morningstar landed itself by the riverside, and Jongo flew around to watch the crew begin to step out, slightly shaken but alive.

    "Jongo! Haramhold! Frellon! The Weaver told me you would be here, but it is so good to see you all; come here, come and embrace your sister...!"

    Jongo didn't need to be asked twice. It was Fayruz. Flower was all right.

    Almost dive-bombing her, Jongo shed his wings and hit the ground, rolling in a tumble to stand up with a goofy grin, hugging Fayruz tightly.

    "Let me apologize," the man-who-was-not-a-woman strode forward and said, "For your poor welcome from these people; your boat scared them out of their ruttin wits, and I am not our lady, that I can stop them all with a song."

    Jongo didn't really pay attention. She just gazed up at Fayruz in glee. Then, looking contrite, gulped a bit and spoke, "Flower, sorry for the riot. That, ummm... that may have, possibly, but entirely by accident, through no fault of anyone or intended at all... been me. But oh, it's good to see you!"
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  4. - Top - End - #394
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Frellon had been tempted to laugh, but Jongo's air of serriousness lent the words great weight with Frellon.
    "I... I will do this. Do not fear Jongo, I will not fail you!"

    And so Frellon began to dance. At first, it was awkward, Frellon was not a dancer by nature, and the racing ship did not make a steady rythem to dance to.

    After about an hour or so, Frellon began to realize that he had fallen into one of his training patterns, designed to increase mobility and remain light on ones feet.

    Thats it! I can do a sword dance!

    Drawing his sword, he voiced a shout that was lost in the wind, and began a sword dance. He was alone on the deck, save for Jongo, who seemed busy at the wheel. If an onlooker had been present, surely they would have admired the grace, the speed with which Frellon shifted from one stance to another so seamlessly. The blade wove a glittering path that was near impossible to follow with the eye, condensed into a blur of rippling enery that wove in a maze around the mail-clad figure.

    Frellon did not stop dancing.

    Jongo had not told him the need had passed.

    Upon hearing his sister's voice, his heart was near torn in two. He must not stop, Jongo had not released him from this duty, though Frellon had no idea what this was accomplishing. Still, his sister whom he had come so far to see and protect was just over there!

    He took what comfort he could from the fact that their voices did not betray an immediate danger. Jongo had not shouted for help when the angry voices of the mob still sounded, and he did not shout for it now. Jongo... would shout for help if he needed it... right?
    Avatar by Vrythas

  5. - Top - End - #395
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tectonic Robot's Avatar

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    Llassar's challenges did not end with his resolution to work hard; they did not end with his resolution to work intelligently, either. That first year was fraught with challenges to the godling and his people, challenges both great and small.

    But before I tell you those tales, let me tell you about the plains, and the people who live on them.

    The plains were massive; those who lived on them swore they went on forever. Grass covered the sweeping flatlands, small bushes laden with berries grew of their own regard, and even a tree or two sprouted up every so often. The gift of the land, however, was useless to the tribes, whose women were strong and often bountiful in childbirth. Their needs were met with the great herds of bison which roamed the land; everything they needed they took from them.

    The plains were not everything, however. Strewn about the massive flatlands were forests, deep and old and tangled. No one knew what lived in them, and all who explored never returned. It was said ghosts and terrible goblins lived inside the forests, who would fall upon a lost traveler and devour him, bones and all. The people of the plains considered going into the woods to be a death sentence, and kept their distances from them.

    The people themselves were tall and strong, with long black hair and tough leathery skin, hunters and nomads. War was a rarity; there was nothing important enough for whole tribes to fight over. Whenever there was a conflict, one tribe could simply pack up and move, following a different herd. They had no homes to defend, no honor worth killing over; they simply tolerated one another's existence.

    Now, this state affairs had been static for generations. Grow, hunt, live, avoid the forests, die. But a few years before Llassar landed, things changed. One particularly large tribe, during a long, brutal winter, lost their herd. They were forced to shelter under the very cape of the forest, and wait for the warmth of spring to move. Their meager supplies couldn't keep the tribe fed, and they hovered on the brink of starvation. In desperation, they forced the unneeded from their tribes; the too old, the too sick, the feeble and weak. And among those cast out was an old women, who fled into the shadows of the woods. She fell to her knees, and cursed the tribe who had so cruelly cast her out. She cursed the people, and the herds, the the winter, the young, and everything she could think of. And as she wept and screamed and cursed, she collapsed, dead of hunger.

    But by sheerest chance, she had fallen onto an old spot, a magical spot, a powerful spot. And she stood again, her hate so great she could not die. She rose up her arms, and a terrible buzzing filled the air. Insects, thousands, millions of them rose up and buzzed around her; locusts, her creations. She cursed the herds of buffalo, cursed them to grow weak and die and not bear children. She cursed them so the people who had cast her out would die, die knowing hunger as she did. She took a new name; Hunger, the hungering one, the hateful one.

    And the next year, the people of the plains learned something new; their food was dying. They did not know what to do, so they did nothing. But they feared and worried and quarreled; they fought and blamed and before they knew it the winter was upon them. And they wondered what they were going to do; and then a tall, lanky stranger appeared...

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Llassar learned about many things that summer. He learned about storms appearing out of nowhere, threatening to destroy crops totally. He learned how to fight off the beasts of the plains, which the people had just avoided before. Cheetahs as tall as a man to the shoulder, with razor sharp teeth and as fast as a stone from a sling. Cunning, lying coyotes, seeing the stationary tribe as a free meal. Occasionally beasts from the forest, each one terrible and unique, would venture towards their fields. Those were the worst times, as the creatures were unpredictable and terrible, and had to be driven off with slings and knives and other woefully inadequate weapons.

    There were storms, appearing suddenly out of nowhere, threatening to ruin the harvest unless quick action was taken. Flooding, drought, terrible wind, even cold snaps as the weather seemed to transpire against Llassar. The work was hard and long; but the fervor of the godling to save the people who had saved him was strong, and he helped them stay the course.

    He extended this hospitality to the tribes who came near them, pursuing any buffalo that wasn't too sick to eat. He offered them hope, and seeds, and promises of food; he told his people to share what they had, to be hospitable, to be like family. Over time, Llassar became the leader of the tribes; to many, it just seemed natural that this stranger tell them what to do. And so the harvest went, and the tribe swelled, and everyone knew hope.

    But someone else heard of this, on the winds and the back of her bugs. Hunger smelled it on the air; felt it in the earth. She heard that these were people who would not turn away a starving half-blind deaf mutt, much less a human being; and she scoffed and said that if they knew true hunger, they'd turn on each other in an instant. And so she descended upon the fields of Llassar, to make terrible mischief...
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  6. - Top - End - #396
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Jongo continued hugging Fayruz, and still looked apologetic, before suddenly grinning all over again. "Oh! And I got Frellon to dance. Frellon! FRELLON! You can stop dancing! I appreciate it."

    Whispering to Fayruz, "Even if, after an hour, he cheated and started using his sword. It was still pretty funny to watch until then. After that... well, he's gotten really good with that sword. It wasn't funny, but it was kinda nice to watch."

    Turning to look at the scarred man-who-was-not-a-woman, "Oh, and sorry if I got you mixed up in this. Hi! I'm Jongo. You fight good too. Flower, he did good. He was trying to break things up. Flower, where is the child I sent you? Are they around?"
    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-03-21 at 10:52 PM.
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  7. - Top - End - #397
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    "The same goes for you, Butterfly."

    Haramhold nodded knowing that when Jongo became serious it was not the time for levity of any kind. Taking his daughter through a trap door behind the counter they descend into the engine room.

    The engine is a maze of twisting pipes and clear glass cylinders, crystals glowing in every shade and hue. The lights gleam across the walls illuminating the room in the splendor of a rainbow.

    "Amanda I need you to watch the axillary release ports. At the speed we are going to want the engines to overheat and melt down." Hearing her affirmative response the god of crafting turns toward his task.

    Placing his hands on the White crystal that dominates the center of the engine Haramhold carefully removes the protective glass casing and places his hands on the floating crystal. Closing his eyes Haramhold reaches toward his divine spark and draws off a small string; infusing it with the heart of the engine, the heart of Green MorningStar.

    Power courses through Green MorningStar, through the engine jumping from crystal to crystal, spreading along the crystal dust which infused every piece of wood, strand of wood and plate of metal.

    Opening his eyes Haramhold could almost laugh at what he saw, the previously white crystal was bright green, its light pulsating with life as glorious as the dawn. The god for the first time understood his creation "Come Green MorningStar, let us stretch your wings." and the living ship's heart shone even brighter its light harsh yet soft in agreement.

    The ship began to race across the sky, leaving a thundering boom behind it, and then Jongo's tornado began pushing her. Haramhold could feel the wind tearing at the sales, ripping through the rigging. The ship began to break apart, screws began rattling loose, sails tearing to shreds, ropes fray, and metal twisting. But every time Green MorningStar began to break Haramhold was there. Tightening the screws, re weaving the sails, strengthening the ropes and straightening the metal. Not in body but in spirit, and as the wind blew faster and faster Haramhold was not in one place but the entire ship. And for a single brief moment between the ticking of the seconds Haramhold and Green MorningStar became one.

    As they approached the olm the wind died down and the ship slowed. Retracting his spirit back into his body Haramhold gently strokes the central crystal, now green and full of life. "That a girl." Replacing the protective glass Haramhold feels satisfied. Green MorningStar traveled in a few scant hours what should have taken several days. Looking toward Amanda the god is pleased that she is smiling in excitement and no worse for the wear.

    Amanda found the trip exhilarating, it took most of her concentration to prevent the cooling pipes from overheating but, the cooling pipes were forged with crystal and that was where her passion lay. As the wind picked up the Exarch could feel Haramhold's spirit spread through out the ship, merging with every fiber of wood and strand of metal. A pang of jealousy ate at her heart but she shoved that thought away. Having arrived at the olm Amanda follows Haramhold up the trap door and directly onto the deck. The ever shifting structure of Green MorningStar never ceased to fascinate her.

    Looking at the crowd below Haramhold frowned in displeasure at the violent mob which shambled below. Amanda walked beside him and felt a simular revulsion. She recalled a saying that a scrawny clean shaven man with sunken eyes once told her, A house divided cannot stand.

    They waited up in the ship until Fayruz's clear voice flowed over the crowd like a fresh spring washing everything away until nothing but goodness was left.

    "Jongo! Haramhold! Frellon! The Weaver told me you would be here, but it is so good to see you all; come here, come and embrace your sister...!"

    The rope ladder which Haramhold and Amanda descended was much slower and less glamorous than Jongo's decent but it served well enough. Touching down on the olm the crowd parted as the pair of them made their way toward their goddess.

    Waiting for Fayruz to answer all of Jongo's exuberant inquires Haramhold straightens his shirt and runs a large calloused hand through his beard, untangling at least one knot and at the first opportunity embraces his sister. My have you grown, my dear sister. It is good to see you again." Haramhold seeing her question before she asked it continuing "This is my adopted daughter Amanda, Amanda this is my sister Fayruz the Maiden of Dusk."

    Haramhold's daughter curtsies an odd sight considering she wore pants rather than a skirt or dress; her red hair falling over her shoulders as she bowed her head. "It is an honor to meet you Fayruz." she said looking up, and for the first time Fayruz got a good look at the red crystal embedded at the base of her neck.

    It was perhaps the size of a robins egg, its edges fused with the surrounding skin and it glowed with a soft hue the shade of the setting sun leaving soft strands of light dangling in the air around her.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  8. - Top - End - #398
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    "And that's Jewely!" Jongo was just too happy to care if she was interjecting into any sort of touching moment. Pointing at the belt around his waist, Jongo continued, "And this... this is the Band of Chaos. But it's going to stay quiet for now, because we haven't been around so many people since Salus. So, Rodney is here too? That's great!"
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  9. - Top - End - #399
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    "Quite an entrance, my dearest siblings. Though I should have expected no less from the Ever-Changing One, the greatest Hero, and the Master Craftsman." A hooded figure approached the reunion of brothers and sisters, smiling. "It is wonderful to see you all again, and in such fine condition too." Hood lifted, The Weaver grinned at his siblings, both red and blue eyes twinkling in the morning sunlight. "And well met, Amanda, Daughter of Haramhold. Now that is a story I should like to hear. I suppose that, out of all of us, you would be the most likely to settle down with someone." The Weaver took a step closer to Jongo. "And hello to you too, Band of Chaos. I am somehow unsurprised Jongo found you." Then The Weaver hugged Jongo. He had missed the little scamp.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
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  10. - Top - End - #400
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    "Weaver!" said Haramhold pleased to see another of his siblings. Gripping his arm in a handshake he pats his brother on the back "I wasn't expecting you here, Amanda this is my brother The Weaver master of dreams."

    Bowing again Amanda wondered to herself why this god's name was prefixed by "the". Perhaps it was some childhood nickname like Butterfly or Squid.

    "It is an honor to meet you as well. I can share my story with you later if you can find the time." she responded politely.

    Waiting for a break in the conversation Haramhold asks Fayruz "The message we received was rather vague, can you tell us what ill has befallen you?"
    Last edited by shorewood; 2012-03-22 at 02:27 PM.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  11. - Top - End - #401
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    " FRELLON! You can stop dancing! I appreciate it."

    Relief and eagerness washed through him. Within 3 strides he was vaulting the side of the ship and sheathing the sword on the way down.

    Landing hard, he had rolled to his feet and made his way through what was left of the dispersing crowd- ignoring whatever reaction he was provoking.

    Not one to interrupt, he stood behind Jongo, and really just grinned for a while; glad that the trip was over and he was finally here, ready to help. Even if he had felt so inclined, he was really breathing too hard to speak anyway. Turns out, dancing non-stop is hard work; though he was not sweating, a fact he attributed to his god-hood.



    "The message we received was rather vague, can you tell us what ill has befallen you?"

    The high Frellon had been feeling from the several hour-long workout, evaporated within seconds. This was serrious, looking around, he could see several injuries among the crowd. How many of them were due to the riot? How many from the threat Kalandor had warned them of?

    By now, Frellon had caught his breath enough to ask the burning Question-Of-The-Year:"Yea, Kalandor wasn't exactly verbose in his warning. What has happened?"
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-22 at 06:09 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #402
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    A Happy Reunion

    Fayruz embraced her brother-sister tightly, sweeping Jongo off his-her feet and holding him-her close, running one pale hand along Jongo's hair and smelling the strange scents of Jongo's skin. She heard, clearly, how Jongo's voice had changed, was ever-changing, held within it the capability to become anything from a dragon's roar to a maiden's sweet whisper. "Oh, Jongo," she said, softly, "It is so good to see you. I was so scared for you, when we all fell..." She kissed her brother-sister on the forehead, and then set Jongo down next to her.

    Saven and Shyreza stepped forward, introducing themselves to the eldest child of Baz'Auran, innocent of his true age and power. Fayruz was pleased to hear that, as always, they were acting as courteously as they could; Fayruz could hear the swish of their robes as they bowed before Jongo, and welcomed him to the Olm, home of the Fayheran in Fayruz's service. After them were the heads of the households who had given themselves to Fayruz's service, Hefar chief among them despite the fact that he had no household but for his adopted son and his servants. Fayruz was happy that Hefar, once the coward but now bolder in her service, was there to meet her family; he was a sweet man, and agreeable.

    As Saven informed Jongo that the child he-she had blessed was with his family, camped near the north passage to the Olm, and Gamesha thanked Jongo for his-her kind words, she embraced Haramhold. He was more than he had been, just like Jongo, strong and tanned like the blacksmiths of the Fayheran; she could almost smell the fires of the forge in his beard, and the dyes of the robemaker, and the fresh shavings of the spearmaker. "It is good to see you, too, brother," she said, placing her head against his bush-tangled beard. "You've grown even more than I have! And... Amanda?" She released Haramhold, and returned the motion, although she was unfamiliar with it. It was, after all, obviously intended to be polite.

    She then motioned Frellon over - it was quite wrong for him to still be on the ship when he could be here, with his sister and his older brother, The Weaver! The smile beneath her mask slipped slightly as Haramhold and Frellon asked her about the message, and her trouble. "I... did not send a message, brother, but we have been struggling here. There are beasts of the desert who constantly assault us, minotaurs and ghouls, jackals and renegade spirits... and a black sand that enslaves men to its will, and seeks to spread." She reached into a pouch at her belt, cushioned with the softest furs, and pulled out a vial filled with black sand, holding it as carefully as if she were holding a life. "This. Now that I have enough members of my family here, strong members with greater magic... I hope to discover what it is. Kalandor went hunting for its source, I believe, but... he has not returned."

    She returned the vial to the pouch she had made for it, and then smiled at Haramhold and Frellon. "But you still have to meet my family here, brothers! Saven, my student, and Shyreza, my bard, and Gamesha, my knight, and Hefar, my steward... there are so many bold, brave people here, that don't deserve a life of fear from the dark and the pain that the world brings."
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-03-22 at 06:27 PM.
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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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    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.

  13. - Top - End - #403
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    Reunited with two more members of his family, Jongo seems quite content and full of energy, even after exerting himself so much to get here quickly. Fayruz had surrounded herself with so many nice people. It was so... alive here at the Olm.

    Jongo drank it all in, and could begin to see the worries and the fears of Fayruz's people. They were being made to change, and were becoming much more defensive, much more afraid. Only Fayruz - her soul and spark feeling like a giant burning blaze of pure Calm and Reassurance, and singing out a Healing feeling - was keeping them together. They were rallying to her, and she was not able to send them away, and didn't want to. Jongo frowned slightly, but turned her attentions on the Weaver.

    Within Rodney, a different form of chaos exulted. It was pure potential. Everything that could happen, because someone had Dreamed it. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Whatever the Weaver had done to get his power, he now commanded a force that could change almost everyone on the Disk in a single night - and had already done so, by quieting their minds. Jongo could only stare in awe, as the Weaver and Fayruz hugged their reunited family.

    "Beasts? Minotaurs? Jackals?" Jongo can't resist performing, and changed into each thing mentioned, before becoming a small human child again. But he didn't sound pleased.

    "Black... sand? Ooooooo... When I see Goose, I'm going to give him suuuuuuch a piece of my mind. Flower, he had us scared out of our wits. And now even more so. Haven't you felt them? One by one... our siblings are alive. I can feel them change into their godhood. And one of them... one of them may have dived into blood and war. It... it feels off. But black sand? Well. Hmmm. You say it's taking over people's wills? If it alters them... I wonder if I can feel that, if I focused on it. I'll have to think about it."

    Jongo grinned, widely. "But if the danger isn't imminent, then what the Me are we doing standing in the hot sun? I don't know about you guys, but I seem to have drawn a crowd. Oh! And hello, Rodney! A pleasure to see you as well."

    "...Uncle? Who is Rodney?" Amanda quietly whispered, unable to resist the question, though she usually knows better by now.

    Jongo smirked, and walked over to the Weaver, growing to a full man's height. Slapping the Weaver on the shoulder, Jongo smiled and answered, "This is your Uncle Rodney. Father called him the Weaver - which is a fine name - but a mouthful. Rodney is so much more fun to say. Like Flower! Right, Not-a-woman?"

    Jongo graced Gamesha with a grin to let the man know he'd just gotten a nick name, and then Jongo continued, unable to stop the flow of words, "My pretty sister is so much like a Flower... and you've BLOOMED. It felt so... I cried. I felt it and cried. I... Oh, look at me. I think I'll cry again. Wait! No I won't. Flower, Rodney, even Squid! I did not meet a dragon. I MET TWO. Two dragons. All big and wonderful, and oh, it was soooo scary at first."

    Jongo appeared to be prepared to go on like this for a while, when the Band of Chaos plays another low, off beat note, very subtle, very quiet. It snaps Jongo out of her reverie. "Right. Right. Not the place. Um. Is there a better place, Flower? Or... do you want to see Green Morningstar? Haramhold made her! And I helped! Me! But if we run across Khalen-Fish, don't tell him. I want to see what happens!"
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  14. - Top - End - #404
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Turn 0 Artifact: The Obsidian Blades

    In line with Shirvan's preference for straight-up simplicity whenever it can be afforded, the twin artifact linked closely to his own divinity are two thin blades made from volcano glass, extremely sharp and unbreakable. Their true property, however, is that they burn hot beyond belief and will burn through anything they touch -- except Shirvan, and those he consciously decided are worthy to be spared its fiery touch.


    Gingerly, the god of pride reached out for the small light-creature that had sought him out, allowing it to land on his finger. "Dasque?", he asked, curiosity in his voice, before his divine senses told him otherwise. "Ah, no. Faden sent you. So he's well." A smile lit up the golden god's face, then. "And already doing fine work, I see. Tell him I'm restored, mortal no longer -- and making good progress. If he so wishes, Faden is welcome to the protection of the stronghold I'm building here, but I can't abandon these people now." He sighed, looking out the window of the citadel his new Shirvanites had built for him -- a fine work Shirvan had rewarded well, giving praise and favor alike -- at the vast city that was still being built and growing, while the humans went about their various tasks and arts.

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    Yes, I'm calling his followers Shirvanites. Finally something he can name after himself. Mwahahah!


    "I'd like to see him still. If he can come, he is a welcome guest, either way. And I'd appreciate any news of our fellow brothers and sisters. You haven't heard anything of Dasque, have you? No? A pity." Somehow, he was certain in his heart that his twin sister was fine, that he would have felt it if she had come to harm, but he worried nonetheless.

    ---

    A beautiful woman, with skin of milk and ebon-colored hair, was honoring her god by playing the harp and singing for him, demonstrating lyrical skill she had practiced a long time for, ever since her voice had been discovered. Many of the Shirvanites had begun to find a calling of their own that they threw themselves at with a passion, and so had she.

    Shirvan listened quietly, but the song he was hearing was a different one entirely.

    Your sister waits at the Olm-
    Hoping that she is not alone…


    After the song had ended, the God of Pride sat transfixed for awhile. Once he snapped out of it, he spared a kind word for the woman and the song he had never actually heard.
    ---

    It was inevitable, but ultimately Shirvan decided that he, too, must send out a message. His siblings had to know that he was alive, that he was building here. There was things that had to be spoken of, that had to be discussed and addressed between them all, such as that accursed blackness that had almost destroyed them all with apparent ease.

    And so it was that all over the world, those who took their skills to greater heights than any other and held rightful pride at their work in their hearts, would create works containing a message they remained unaware of, as if a part of their subconscious was reaching out and trying to tell something to those who would listen and understand.

    Pictures containing a figure strangely resembling Shirvan, with burning eyes and hair, standing on a citadel towering over a large city, hands beckoning to come closer.

    Songs whose text spoke of golden eyes and silver hair, of skill and strength and desire to be united with one's kin.

    Sword exercises and dances that, for some reason, began to resemble the combat forms previously practiced by Shirvan more and more, awakening memories in those who had fought him.

    Statues and busts coming out wrong by accident; too perfect, too fair and not resembling their real model very much at all.


    A pattern. A divine message, subtle yet insistent.
    Characters:
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    Mikado, Villainous Businessman
    Shirvan, God of Pride
    Roshan Sarini, Cheliaxan Summoner
    Jhael'dril, Necromantic Drow Warrior
    Olethros, Messiah of Oblivion


  15. - Top - End - #405
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    Turn 1

    In the days after Sonata received the rainbow crown, the five lakes were replenished and a misty rain left rainbows arching around the valley. The great mountains of Gozan shielded this place, now blessed with the goddess' song and touch.

    And the people of Gozan flourished in their five tribes, but all of them were united with their praise and worship of Sonata, and their reverence for the dragon lord and the three princesses of Madako.

    And to the cities foxes proudly wearing their fur coats came and went with fruits and messages, and of the foxes, the chief fox Renard was prayed to bring the offerings to Sonata.

    And of Sonata, it should be said that in these times she traveled around Gozan with Renard often. The foxes delivered messages and questions of administration, though Sonata also trusted to the dragon lord whom was a capable administrator. From Renard she learned about the surrounding area.

    To the east there was the great forest, where the foxes were quiet.
    And to the west there were plains and valleys, but to the north there was the sea. Sonata went there often, and listened to a different melody of the waves.

    She could hear some of her siblings, gentle songs- some fast, some slow. They were far, and near. And she wanted to meet them.

    But first she came to the people of the five villages.

    "You who have lived here are blessed. But like the foxes, shouldn't just be hidden within the valley. Here, I would make something great. Because my ambition is that one day this world will hear the songs of my family, and throughout the world all the voices will cry out in joy and praise. But to do this, I will need the help of all the cunning foxes, and of you people of the five lakes.

    So, listen to my song! Listen to my dreams! Hear your echo in them, and learn these words, for I will teach to you a treasure that I pray will bring beauty to this disk."


    And then Sonata began to sing. She sang a song of the white city, one that had only ever graced the performance hall when she had been there with the Conductor. And as Sonata sang, all of the flowers and trees of the valley bloomed and turned towards her to hear. It resonated, and everywhere the song hit, there was a ring of joy and hope. The foxes who listened took off their simple coats of brown and red, and wore the white and golds of the white city's colors. So did the valley also blossom with lily, and even the rocks were pure in their various hues. The waterfalls echoed with traces of the song, and where ever a rainbow could be seen, it was as if the song could be pictured in it's majesty and glory.

    And the song resonated in the people of the valley, whom Sonata blessed.

    Then Sonata gathered all of the rainbows of the valley that had captured her song's essence, and she broke them and remade them in the image of the white city's tongue. The symbols she fashioned she blessed with song and power, and named the language Ar Maen, and of all languages, it is made first for singing, for in this way and it's style, it is closest to the sounds of the language of the White City, and it's emulation shares a divine dream of the disk.

    This, Sonata taught to the people of the valley, and the valley was filled with song and praise. Under her guidance, the people fashioned great terraces and gardens from the white stone that had been washed with song, and Sonata sang to the stones and trees to gently shape them and guide them to serve the melody.

    And satisfied, a great city of the five lakes was raised, to center it's realm beside Madako, where the palace of the dragon lord was. And Sonata called this city Ecchr for the people of Gozan to live in wealth and harmony.

    For a time the people lived and great wise in the song of Ar Maen, and Sonata sent some of them out, to live along the northern coast, and established towns and settlements there. Some traveled south and east as well. So the surrounding lands began to hear of Sonata, and songs of praise began to be sung.

    ~*~

    It came time then, that lady Sonata desired to take her leave from the palace.
    "It is time that I journey now. I can feel the presence of my family, and I yearn to meet them again. I do not know how long my journey will take, but I am reassured to leave Madako in the care of it's administrator. Renard I would take as my attendant and adviser, may the foxes spread the messages far and wide as well."

    When Sonata finished speaking, the dragon lord turned to his two eldest daughters and bade them bring him the two Jewels of the Lake. The two Princesses bowed low, rose and went out of the hall. In a few minutes they returned, each one carrying in her hands a flashing gem which filled the room with light.
    The dragon lord took them from his daughters and said to Sonata:
    "These two valuable talismans are from time immemorial. They were gifted to us from the father, and we now give them to you as a parting gift in token of our great affection for you. These two talismans are called the Sekiunju and the Seiunju."

    Sonata held the two jewels in hand, and one glowed with brilliant red light, and the other glowed with brilliant blue light. She delighted in the treasures and thanked the dragon lord.
    "These are truly valuable treasures! But, please tell me, what should be done with them?"

    "The Sekiunju," answered the dragon lord, "is also called the Red Cloud Jewel, and if it is held by you, it can command the clouds to give their tears to the earth. The Seiunju is also called the Blue Cloud Jewel, and this one can comfort the clouds and cause tears to stop. Together, these jewels are as twins. Though the rainbow crown you wear is surely your authority, princess it would be wise to select your place to hoard, and build up a palace worthy of your augustness."

    Sonata accepted the jewels, and in thinking of their likeness, was yearning for her own twin. She kissed the dragon lord on his forehead with a smile, and hugged both of the princesses.

    "Even your words are treasures of wisdom, dragon lord! Of course, I shall build a palace, full of music and treasures, and it will be greater than any palace that has been seen here! But first, I must go. The yearning I feel for my family is far too much. They have come and gone, and left me behind. But I cannot be away from them!I cannot be still when my twin sister is so far!"

    And she took the three dragon princesses and blessed them with singing voices, and called them Lequera, and announced that they would be her first three priestesses, instructed in Ar Maen, and to live in Ecchr to see over the teaching of the Divine Song.

    Acts
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    • 2 Major Acts: Create a type, school, path of Magic : Ar Maen, the Divine Song
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      Ar Maen is a language which is closest to that which was spoken in the White City. It's essence resonates with the disk, which like the White City, are creations of Baz'Auran. Ar Maen is a language that is meant to be sung, though it can be spoken (but doesn't have the same power of resonance if just be spoken). As a [magic], it is Aria, capable of a great variety of powers and reality changing effects. But those who learn the language of Ar Maen most often become servants of Sonata, for she is the goddess who taught the Divine Song to the humans of the disk, and most aria start with praise to her blessing, and prayer for her aid (as invocations).

    • 1 Major Act: Gain Ability: Nature Affinity (Rain, Foxes, Wolves etc)
    • 1 Minor Action: Teach a people: [Ar Maen] and religion of Sonata
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      The religion of Sonata, that is to say, a reverence for music and a focus on singing of the stories of the disk and the heaven. In song, things can be changed or shared. Memories of a Goddess' world in the sky can be turned into emotions and pictures for people of the disk. Sharing a dream of a future that is unified of spirit and emotion, that is the hope of this religion.
      But it does truth in emotions, which are real, and can become song. A world that can move fluidly, like the falling sounds of the rain, or the duality of red and white moons. These are things that have been taught, and can be manipulated with proper hymns of Ar Maen. Study, practice, and mastery of beauty and song are important.

      Also taught is respect for foxes, whom the greatest are white and gold, and messengers of Sonata (though most live in the mountains at shrines and temples around the town. Greatest respect for musicians and the greatest for the Lequera, whom are the high priestesses of Sonata, and most skilled in [Ar Maen].
    • 1 Minor Action: create servants: Sonata's Fox messengers
    • 1 Mnior Action: Create blessed city of Resonant Song (Ecchr)

      0 Major Acts; 0 Minor Acts; 1 Ceremonies remaining

    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
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  16. - Top - End - #406
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    The Stories of Salus
    Jack the Thief part 5
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    When Baylor pulled me aside I knew that I was in some deep trouble. But I kept my calm, not letting any my face show any emotion. To be fair, with a broken nose, black eye and a nasty welt on my forehead It wasn't that hard. It would take more effort for me to show emotion at this point than it would be to keep it hidden.

    "There was a lot of blood in the armory this morning" Baylor whispered once we had rounded a corner.

    O ****, that was the first thing I thought. I hadn't had time to clean up all of Slied's blood. I was hoping that Baylor's legendarily thick skull would keep him off my back.

    Looking me in my swolen eyes he continues "There are two well known theaves missing this morning, and only man who looks like he's been in a fight. But oddly enough nothing went missing." Pausing Baylor looks away "By the time this battle is over I expect you to have left town before I put two and two together." and without another word the mighty protector of Salus, a true champion of the law left. He left whom he knew to be guilty to escape.

    It seemed to me in that moment that I had miss judged the man, perhaps his skull has had a few holes knocked into it over the years.

    Well to the eternal shame of my reputation I did not discretely pack my things and leave. I got back in line with the other men and armed myself for the coming battle. Honestly I don't know what I was thinking, but I would like to think that I was suffering some sort of head trauma or what not.

    It was dawn when the trolls emerged from the forest, there were hundreds of them. There tough rotting skin smelt of decay and boy can I tell you it stunk. They ambled up the slope on their grossly elongated arms until they they came into range of our bows and our slings. Then they began to run.

    The first troll went down under a hail of iron arrows and bullets, then a second and then a third. But for every one that fell, their flesh burning in the morning air, two more took their place. Before long they had paid the toll necessary to gain the slopes and fought us with tooth and claw.

    We pushed them back once, twice , three times. Each time brave men dieing, rent asunder by the beasts wicked claws. The only reason we held was Palisades and for awhile it seemed as if that would be enough. But none of us could stop the trolls bearing burning logs from reaching our now seemingly pathetic defenses.

    Once the wall had caught on fire Baylor ordered us to fall back to the mead hall. A large stone building with a slate roof and sturdy doors. It seemed to me that it would be a horrid place to die. But I suppose that's economics for you, buy low and sell your lives high.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  17. - Top - End - #407
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    Epilogue

    Somewhere behind the clouds the sun was setting, tinging the mists of Brymhide Isle with red and gold. If one had to die, thought the shaman, this was not a bad sight to carry with you into the dark.

    He coughed, tasted blood. That was a bad sign, but it didn't bother him. A lot of things stopped bothering you when you had a spear through your gut. He couldn't even remember who had killed him; there'd been a lot of shouting, and then a sudden, terrible pain… Even that was mostly gone now, replaced by a numbness that was slowly creeping up his body.

    He shifted against the boulder he was leaning against, searching in vain for a bit of comfort. The battlefield had gone silent. He idly wondered who'd won; likely not his people, but that was one of those things that no longer seemed important. Dying did wonders for your perspective.

    Footsteps. Someone crouched next to him. He turned his head to look.

    Long hair, red hands, a face that captured and reflected the rich light of the setting sun. Her spirit burned so bright it shone through her flesh, though the shaman had not burned the sacred herbs that unlocked his higher senses, nor performed the spirit dance that bade the hidden world reveal himself. He knew who she had to be.

    "Your people fight bravely," he said to the Daughter of the Red Moon, not sure why he was speaking to the murderer of his people at all (much less complimenting her). True, though.

    But she shook her head. "No they don't. Being brave means standing up to your fears. It doesn't count if you were never afraid in the first place, and we aren't."

    He considered that. The Daughter's warriors were skilled, but some had fallen. "Why not?"

    "Are you afraid?"

    "No," he said after a moment. "Doesn't seem to be much point, anymore."

    She nodded. "Just so." They sat in companionable silence for a few seconds, then she asked, "Would you like me to kill you?"

    He considered: no pain, but also no sunset. It would only be a few more minutes anyway. Finally he shook his head. She smiled, and settled down next to him, and together they watched the light fade.

    ~*~

    Someone was crying.

    It was a tiny sound really, muffled even in the quiet that had descended on the moors, but the despair and hopelessness in it drew Nieve across the corpse-strewn fields. All around her the dead stared up at the sky, or down into the earth, or at one another, their eyes all sightless and blank. At last she found it: a woman cradling the body of a fair-haired boy not more than fifteen summers of age, stroking his hair as she wept.

    "You hurt," she said.

    The grieving woman looked up, and her gaze hardened to a look of loathing as she put all the signs together: red-stained hands, copper blade, outcast garb. "You," she breathed in a voice choked soft with hate. "You have no idea what you took from me."

    "Maybe not," Nieve admitted. "But I can set you free."

    The sword ran the woman through, and she wept no more.

    ~*~

    At the edge of the field she came across a white shape crouched over a corpse. It looked up, red dripping from its whiskers, eyes gleaming in the dark. There was no fear in the big cat's gaze, no anger or malice, merely bright curiosity and idle hunger. I would kill you, those eyes said, but I can't be bothered right now. I'm not in the mood. Then it dropped back to its meal.

    Nieve wondered if that was what other people saw when they looked into her eyes.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-04-03 at 02:05 AM.
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  18. - Top - End - #408
    Ettin in the Playground
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    A Gathering Of Gods
    It would seem that, dispite the joy of reunion, that for gods to meet was a dark omen. For while the gods Haramhold, Frellon, Fayruz and Jongo met with much hapiness, if concern, it was not long after something that would mark in their memories forever would occour.

    A Dark Deception.
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    "And it was from this, Kalandor got a name he would mourn. The Betrayer. The events to transpire, where ugly. It is possibly that he was the first to ever feel such that makes him known so poorly, but he has never been able to acheive full redemption."

    A travelling storyteller (Chil'R). Future.

    Kalandor’s form stood just out of sight from the watches of The Olm. His form, now a man of muted yellows and browns stood on a rock. Were one to see him, if they could pick him out, they would think him lost in thought. It wouldn’t be to false an assumption, as the other being inside him used Kalandor’s divine senses to wonder the streets of The Olm. He found which gods where there, and roughly where they were. Slowly, the mind receded into the body it had taken, thinking.
    The mind within Kalandor was pleased. Without Faden to muck things up, it would make for a more believable entrance, and discredit him when he arrived. Casting Kalandor’s senses to the east, he sensed Frellon approaching. And Khalam-Het or whatever its name was. The being cussed, it’s words ones that would make most of the other gods blush. But Kalandor was well used to it’s swearing, and his travels had removed some of the finer edging over the years. There was another one of the Children of Twilight, or at least it thought, it wasn’t sure, which would make things more dificult. The entrance would have to be convincing, and by god it would be.
    “Well Kalandor. Are you going to press your luck now or later? Or better yet, do you believe you have any luck to press from within that cage you built?”
    And Kalandor felt his mind rattle, within the physical manifestation that the other mind had created around him. It was a rough wooden box, with steel rods replacing the walls. The stench of fear emanated from the floor, despite him not being that scared, the sole occupant of a box, floating in the void.
    “You know the answers to both those questions, so get on with it.”
    He felt a smile come from the mind. A Cheshire smile, one that promised pain, and one that showed dark humour that he had long since become hard to. A smile he absolutely loathed in his ten odd days trekking across dry deserts and blasted earth.
    “And deprive myself of a precious moment of torture. I doubt I will get one in Olm, before I run your talons down your beloved sister.”
    And for a moment there was a time of pure terror, which in and of itself justified the stench of fear from the floor, and then, somehow without the physical form moving or screaming, he felt intense pain. He felt his being, his very essence, being ripped apart. He felt dark talons and night-time terrors. Burning barbs blasted holes into his being, only to pull out, tearing holes as if made from the coldest ice. His mind reeling from torment then felt itself blasted across the cage it had devised, and then he felt himself being pulled back, slamming into the bars, almost being sliced up and puilled through. A dousing in acid, then a splashing in alkali lighting the god’s mental avatar alight. His soul screamed, muffled by the dark one.

    But not muffled enough. Frellon, Haramhold and Fayruz, all heard in a sense beyond their ears, a low moan, followed by whimpers, as Kalandor, held in the grip of the dark being, limped towards Olm. Covered in darkened scabs and ripped clothes, only that a guard on duty recognized Kalandor kept him from bow fire. Slowly the being removed his aid from Kalandor’s physical form, which showed sunburn, dehydration and hunger. That guard ran to him, eyes showing guarded concern as he gazed upon the once handsome god that danced with their dear Fayruz, and Kalandor fell just a few steps from his feet, thudding into the dirt. The guard, kneeling next to him heard what sounded like last words, while the other gods were hearing Kalandor’s moaning go silent. And delirious did the words sound, like a man too far gone from camp, long since become a dead man walking. And so truly did Kalandor need healing from his wounds and lack of nourishment.
    “Faden… Why Faden?..... Dark wrapped cla…. Tell her…… I’m sorry……… Warn…. Faden.

    And so, a runner was sent, who was entirely useless by the gods already knowing, and quite possibly running to their brother. The Treaveller had returned, and he brought with him bad news.
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  19. - Top - End - #409
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    "But you still have to meet my family here, brothers! Saven, my student, and Shyreza, my bard, and Gamesha, my knight, and Hefar, my steward... there are so many bold, brave people here, that don't deserve a life of fear from the dark and the pain that the world brings"

    Looking at the crowd gathered around them Haramhold nods at all of the men and women his sister introduces. Seeing their lean bodies and Haramhold realizes that Fayruz had landed in a much harsher country than he had. He would give these people a gift the god decided there. He wasn't sure what it would be, but before he left to seek out Rumel Haramhold would help ease the burdens of these peoples lives.

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    And so, a runner was sent, who was entirely useless by the gods already knowing, and quite possibly running to their brother. The Treaveller had returned, and he brought with him bad news.


    "The traveler has returned!" rang out from the back of the crowd "He is hurt! Come quickly!"

    A hushed silence fell over the crowd, where there was once a friendly and warm attitude there was naught but worry and fear now. What could have harmed the mighty warrior each person in the crowd thought in their own way.

    "OUT OF OUR WAY!" bellowed Haramhold as he ran where the runner had indicated.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  20. - Top - End - #410
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    A Dark Deception

    As the gods upon the Olm raced to meet their fallen brother, Kalandor's body staggered back to its feet. It took a shuddering step forward, stumbling at just the right time, before Haramhold entered view. With a smile, the puppeteer caused Kalandor's body to collapse yet again. He lay there, seemingly insensate, until he felt on of the divine siblings above him. Then, jerking awake with a start, Kalandor's hand shot forward to grasp the shoulder of the divine above him.

    "Am I...am I too late? Tell me, where...where is Fayruz...she must...beware......Faden..."

    Certain that his words had sunk in, the puppeteer allowed Kalandor's body to fall back into the exhaustion it so keenly felt.

    The Challenge

    Khar Melkhan's eyes widened ever so slightly at the flames that leapt from Black Buttress, but he soon regained his composure and answered Carolinus with a bow.
    "A duel to surrender it is then, my lord Carolinus. Know that among my people, the victor in a duel of honor gains all his opponent possesses, save their armor and weaponry. Should you triumph, these women, my servant, my wealth - all shall be yours. And should I triumph, Markien will be mine. Now, let us waste no more time. I shall honor your request, and we shall see who is the stronger."

    Sheathing his sword and removing his sword belt, Khar Melkhan knelt to grasp the spear that had been carried from his tent. Six feet of steel blade rose into the morning air upon an iron shaft, and so armed Khar Melkhan moved to the center of the clearing.

    "The challenged stands ready. Attack, Carolinus son of Baz'Auran, and prove the worth of your mettle."

    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;

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    ...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.

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  21. - Top - End - #411
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    A Dark Deception

    Shyreza had expected many strange and exotic things to happen when she came to the Olm, to be standing by her beautiful princess and be ready to defend her from spirits and minotaurs, and to have to outwit cruel and grinning djinni for her. She had even, in a fit of impetuousness, claimed a blade for herself, a slender length of one-edged glass with a leather-thong hilt, and convinced Saven of the northmen to teach her something of swordplay.

    For, you see, when she had come to the Olm with Fayruz, she had been introduced to her entourage, many men and women who came and went, and some who stayed by her side day by day, most of all Gamesha the Scarred and Saven, who was once Wolfslayer. Now, there was something in Gamesha that frightened her, the long, loose man who dressed almost like a woman but caressed his hammers gently, with his terrible scars across his face. He was friendly, almost too friendly, and he was wanton and laughed too much for Shyreza. No, Saven, it was Saven that she had befriended. When first introduced, he merely greeted her politely, and she saw little of him, for he was as busy as Fayruz herself, and spoke even less.

    But she asked about him, and found that he had once been a warrior of the Tekeza, and a fine one at that. Indeed, he had even been bound by blood to their chieftain, Gamesha Dragonslave, in the days of their youth. Of all his warriors, Saven was, perhaps, the most loyal. When they went to war against the mountain-tribes, Saven would never complain, never disobey, but obediently do his task. The only disloyalty he ever showed was taking mercy on a fool in the moonlight, and following her on an impossible quest, and taking her as his mistress. But he was still an obedient stallion, strong-backed and quiet, where Gamesha was a howling hound. Only now, he served a mistress who said that healing was the highest art, and so he healed - but still, he remembered, she said to herself, the art of war.

    So she went to him, for three days, and begged that he would teach her the art of swordplay, for she wished to protect the lady of the Fayheran, should the need arise. Two times he refused her, for he was devoted to his task, but ever could the heart of Saven be moved by a dark-haired maiden, and so on one day in every moon he would take her to the tents of the garrison, and he would show her how to use a blade, and a sling besides, but cautioned her not to think that a sword should be unsheathed easily, or a sling shot without consideration. For her skillful tongue, he claimed, was a far finer thing to be gifted with than a strong sword arm, and it was better to know the secrets of healing and to be willing to toil in the service of others than it was to carry the finest spear in the land.

    Ah, but we have lost track of our story, haven't we? Know, then, that this was Shyreza: able of body, quick of wit, and eager for the most exotic things to happen in her service to the goddess. Only, they did not. Oh, the monsters of the rocklands existed, but Fayruz merely tended to those wounded in a kobold-raid or sickened by the venom of a dragon's spittle, and then rarely; for more often, Shyreza would accompany her to something as common as a birthing, and the only blood on the hands of the brave goddess was that which covered her hands as she guided a child out. Why, Shyreza often considered to herself when she first began serving Fayruz, would such a goddess do these things? She had seen Fayruz face a spirit of glass and defy it, and she knew that the goddess could perform miracles and had blazed like the morning sun when the tribes had been united beneath the Olm; why, then, would the Maiden of Dusk spend her time doing such petty, mundane things? Why would Fayruz not go forth and drive out the monsters from the desert? Why would Fayruz choose instead to go from camp to camp, and spend her precious few days at the Olm continuing to aid in the smallest things? It drove Shyreza to near madness, until she began to observe more closely.

    She saw the exhaustion of her goddess, the bitter tiredness which she hated, every time she lay herself down on a rough straw mat in her tent. When she removed her mask and her hood, revealing her face, it was pale and wan, but removed of all pride and ambition. All she saw was the frustration, that she might not spend more time serving her people, that she would have to lie down and sleep - and yet, still she did not sleep like any mortal, merely resting for perhaps two hours of the night, and often slipping out of her tent, leaving a slumbering Shyreza behind. Shyreza would find Fayruz, her shining face hidden and her lustrous dark hair veiled, in the tent of some couple well-known for their hatred of each other, and she would find them all laughing and telling tales together, and she would see love resparked in their eyes - but the fire that had lit that spark was dwindling out.

    She saw, too, the reverence of the people. No chieftain, no legendary king, no warrior-maiden had ever commanded such respect and such love from her tribe; no master of copper and no mistress of glass had ever wielded so much power. Had Fayruz commanded them to march into Sheol, the dark pit in which the father and mother of all monsters rutted and brought forth more of their twisted spawn, she would have had every man, woman and child upon the Olm do so, and many from the frontier besides. And she saw, slowly, why: because Fayruz took the time to do such small things, to ease the coming of a child born too early, to kiss it on its brow and promise it that it would not starve, or fall ill, or be sold; because Fayruz and her steed rode across the rocklands, whenever she was called, and she always answered, despite her exhaustion. Because Fayruz, too, starved herself, often giving of her food to those in want. They loved Fayruz because Fayruz loved them; and yet, Shyreza felt jealous of them, deeply jealous, for it seemed to her that Fayruz loved everyone and yet took no one to her bed, especially not a dark maiden of the glass-tribes who played her harp to entertain her beautiful, merciful, radiant goddess.

    Ah, we have fallen away from our story again. Shyreza never had a straightforward mind, unless it came to some deed which must be done, whether it be going out into the glass-mines to buy herself time, or following the gazelle-goddess to the temple that was built in days long lost, or finding herself a tutor of the sword, or following the scarred, laughing madman and the quiet, white-clad healer into the jaws of ten thousand demons... ah, but we have not reached there, yet. Have patience.

    As we meant to say: Shyreza had always imagined the strange and the exotic, and yet she had never been blessed with the chance to take it for her own, but when she was threatened by the rogue lord of glass and kissed by a sweet gazelle who she still yearned after, until the day when the flying arrow-ship came to the Olm. Then, oh, then! Then she met such marvels and wonders, that she was amazed, and came to learn that the children of the mighty chieftain, Baz'Auran, were the most wonderful in all the world.

    For, not only had Baz'Auran given birth to the most beautiful maiden in all the world, and given her a compassion so great that she neither kings nor monsters nor the plagues and wounds of the world could stand against her, but also to a young shapeshifter who was neither boy nor girl, and grinned almost as often as Gamesha, but not as twisted as his grins were - no, the shapeshifter, Jongo, was a merry soul who gave out names like a chieftain gives out gifts, naming beautiful Fayruz a flower, and Gamesha 'not-a-woman', which made Shyreza giggle into her sleeve until Saven gave her a disapproving look. And then there was Haramhold, who smelled to her like hot glass and leatherworking and the burning tang of a copper-forge, and did not veil his face, for no mask could hide his madman's beard! With him came Amanda, a woman with a jewel set into her chest, a jewel as red as blood and a hawk's feathers. And so too, Frellon, a man with a long copper sword at his waist, who seemed more lion than man to Shyreza. She didn't quite understand why, never having seen a lion, but the light of his eyes, the flash of his throat as he moved, the way he strode like a confident hunter, all of this told her that he was a lion from the stories, having stolen a man's skin to look like his siblings.

    She could hardly wait until that evening, when a small feast would be held to celebrate their coming; many families of the Olm had willingly given of their own stores to provide for the family of the goddess, so that she would not be shamed before them. Then, oh, then! Then Shyreza could speak to each and every one of them, and learn their stories; she could learn how capricious Jongo could change his form when her lady could not, and why Haramhold smelled of sweat and metal, and how the lion-god had found his skin. It is a shame, then, that she was interrupted by one of the garrison-guards, a young man with thick, curling hair by the name of Masalan, came running through the crowd, crying, "The traveler has returned! He is hurt; his wounds run deep! Come, come! Come quickly, Princess of the Olm!"

    A shudder ran through the crowd, a deep murmur, but even as the face of tall Haramhold darkened in worry, a sharp bark of laughter came from the assembled high men and women of the Fayheran. It was, as ever, the silver-haired Wolf Lord, his teeth flashing in the morning sun.

    "Was there any doubt?" He said, and loudly. "The fool chased his prey into its den, into the desert where no hero can go alone. Had he been given his way, seven men of our tribe would have gone off to their deaths as well." But yet, Fayruz paled, and she ran as swiftly as a gazelle through the crowd, Saven and Gamesha and Shyreza and Hefar at her side, Hyzerasa and Mytelt and Masalan following after, and the gods along with them, Jongo and Haramhold and Frellon. But still, ever still, Fayruz was swifter, even though Shyreza knew her limbs were as heavy as mountain-rock and she had hardly slept for days. Such was the concern of the Maiden of the Dusk for her family.

    And so they came to the wanderer, and all assembled heard clearly a denouncement against Faden, brother of Fayruz who none had seen. Shyreza frowned, but even as Gamesha snarled a curse against any who would mistreat his mistress's family so, Fayruz herself had taken the wanderer, Kalandor, up in her arms as if he were a babe. And she began to sing, and this song was nothing like what Shyreza had ever sung to her, or the songs which Shyreza had heard from Fayruz before. This song was sweet, and sad, and it made her think of wild, thick tree-country, where the trees were as numerous as the sands, and not stunted little things but high and arching figures in majesty. And as she sang, and pressed her hands up against Kalandor's dirty scars and sun-scorched skin, the tears ran down her white mask, and ever-so-slowly reddened, peeling flesh became tanned and whole, scars lost their cloudiness and their filth, becoming pale and bright against the dark skin of the wanderer, and some small measure of her strength passed into him through the tears that spattered themselves against his chest.

    And when she tried to rise, it cut into Shyreza's heart to see that she stumbled, and would have fallen to her knees if not for the strong arms of Gamesha gently aiding her, the wickedly-scarred warrior helping her to her feet and letting her lean against him, making his wiry strength, for just a moment, her own. For, Shyreza realized with a cruel clarity, Fayruz, having given her blessing to her brother, lacked even the strength to stand alone for a moment.

    She heard, faintly, Saven explaining to Fayruz's family that the traveler had come to them on the night of the black sand, and had devoured the head of one so afflicted; had followed the trail of the sand out into the desert, and had not been seen since that day. She heard, as if from far off, Hyzerasa commanding that a stretcher be made, so that the wanderer might be brought up into the Olm in honor. But all she could see clearly was sand-pale Fayruz, the beautiful gazelle-eyed maiden, leaning without strength against one unworthy of her love, that scarred, mad demon who had one long arm wrapped about her.
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  22. - Top - End - #412
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tychris1's Avatar

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    In war anything goes!

    Rubbing his head Contragh picks himself up. He had been unconscious far after Pikep was banished from his mind. Looking upon the village he saw it was more heavily crushed then from before, several of his soldiers were dead and roasted near him. Getting up he began to walk forward, gripping his side from some unknown bruise; most likely inflicted during sleep. Walking through the demolished village he sees more and more of his soldiers butchered, more then he remembers losing during the invasion. Trying to find any source of life he stumbles upon a cowering soldier, who, upon seeing Contragh gathers his wits and tries his hardest to seem militarily formal but breaks it quickly. "You! What in Jongo's name happened here?" he says to the soldier, wincing from the pain at his side whilst he does so "That terrible...beast, it was motionless near you. We didn't know what to do so most of us left to return to the village, the rest stayed back to get you. But when we got near the dragon reared back, like it was stricken by some terrible force!" Hearing the description Contragh glances downward as he realizes he sent the dragon backwards "It flew into a rage, breathing fire and rampaging. We tried to fight it, but we're mere fighters not dragon slayers. It crashed right through us and killed everyone. We wounded it's underside with our spears but that was it." Nodding his head Contragh asks the final question he had been dreading to ask "Where did you last see the dragon head off to?" The question was equally uneasy for the soldier as he stared nervously at Contragh before quietly saying "I saw him head towards the village...."

    Contragh sprinted forward, running as fast as he could while ignoring the pain. After what felt like forever he found his way to his village. Gasping for air as he finally reached the village. Stopping in his tracks his head stares at the ground before moving its way up to see the village. Destruction. Pure and simple destruction. The place was a warzone of fire, bodies, and people fighting. Contragh's "soldiers" seemed to have driven off most of the invading forces and were now crushing the pockets of resistance. Yet the damage was evident, severe, and could not be ignored. Picking up his axe he charges into the closest pocket and begins to hack and slash at the savages in his way. Several of the fighters dropped what they were doing and stared at Contragh shocked to have seen their leader in one shape. With the savages ridden of they fled, scattering about the other fighters and telling news of his return. With his seat of power restored Contragh returned to his Chief's tent and calls forth his most trusted soldiers and his general. Looking upon them he says quietly "Now, tell me, what happened here and how...." They began to stumble upon each other, cutting others off and chirping in additional things making it a steaming mess of words colliding together. Angrily he screams for everyone to shut up and points to his general, Miranda was her name if he remembered correctly, not like he used her much besides killing things alongside the foot soldiers. Taking a breath in she says "We were attacked by Pikep's army. After Pikep and you went unconscious we returned here to fortify the village, expecting you to die and for them to strike when we were weakest. What we didn't expect was for Pikep himself to lead the charge. He crashed through the village, bloodied and angry, roaring and smashing anything he saw. He poured forth destruction from his mouth and devoured men whole." Anger flowed over Contragh's face as he visualizes the wretch defiling his lands "His minions poured in behind him. We were forced to fall back with the citizens to ensure we weren't overwhelmed. After some time we wounded Pikep enough to drive him away, blood pouring from his wounds. The very sight of it unnerved his cronies and caused many to flee with him. Only those most absorbed in the carnage stayed behind. From there we killed them off one by one until you arrived."

    Nodding his head solemnly Contragh looks at her and asks "Well then, there's only one question left to ask. What's the problem?" There facial expressions had been ones of dread and worry when Contragh walked in and many of them stayed that way "Oh come now, Pikep's followers have been driven out and the village can be rebuilt so what else weighs upon your minds?" Dead silence covers the room as the godling waits for a reply, the men and women glancing at one another as they try to pin someone up to step forward. Finally a lone man stepped up to it and said "It seems as if some of the people are rebelling. The sight of Pikep's power has convinced them that he is their true leader, and that we must return to the way things were before lest his wrath crush us. A coup is in the making and we are unsure of how to handle such a delicate situation." Contragh stared at the man with a dumbfounded face, a grin soon formed across the face, and stretched out as far as it could. He then began to giggle and then heartily laugh before devolving into a mad cackle. Nervous stares among the present people caused Contragh to laugh harder. Finally sobering up from laughter he looks at the man and says in a suddenly serious tone "The answer to our predicament is simple really, and allow me to tell you it."

    "Butcher them all."

    Shock spread among the leaders as they heard his order. They began to speak up, arguing over his unwise course of action, and the most prevalent reason to not go on with it being that they were still citizens and killing them would anger other citizens. Piercing the raucous arguing was Miranda, causing the others to fall silent "SHUT UP! How dare you all question our lords actions? They forfeited their rights to protection and love when they turned traitor. They are no better then the barbarians that ransacked our village today, and as of such should be treated the same. If the villagers disagree with our actions then contain them with our warriors and crush them for doubting us and thinking we do not know what is best for them. Now, are you going to sit around arguing while Pikep licks his wounds and prepares for another assault or are you going to crush his followers while they're down!" The speach roused the soldiers into action and sent them rushing forward out of the tent.

    And thus the purging of the Fex tribe begun.

    Contragh was rather surprised (and pleased) by how Miranda acted, he decided to keep an eye on her more often then before. She lifted her spear up, ready to charge out of the tent and hunt down the rebels. But she was stopped by a large and heavy hand on her shoulder from Contragh "Good work back there, but your aid is not needed out in the village, no I have a special assignment for you. Round up as many loyal soldiers as you can that aren't purging the tribe and get them outside this tent." Nodding her head she moves out to get soldiers as Contragh watches his plan unfold. The purge was a bloody one, many guilty and innocent people losing their lives in the progress. People had been dragged away and interrogated to see if they were traitors. Some were and some weren't, the few traitors who weren't captured soon learned to blend back into society, and the people who were not traitors did not lash back in fear of the punishment. A new found dependency on Contragh and his regime was formed as the citizens looked upon him as a father figure, gentle and caring to those loyal to him, and unleashing a horrible wrath upon those who bite the hand that protects them. In the midst of the purging many soldiers and citizens were rounded up by Miranda and presented to Contragh. After finding them to be sufficient enough he rallied them up and marched them forward.

    It was time to bring the fight to Pikep.

    They marched for 2 days until they reached the exterior of Pikep's twisted chaotic forest. Picking up his axe Contragh sets up his strategy for the invasion. Leaving his army behind Contragh walks forward alone into the woods, ready to face Pikep for the last time. As he walked through the unnatural forest he grinned, remembering something he said to Khalen-Het in the Dias of creation if the general is charging into the fray then either the battle is won or it's desperate and the general is mad. Quietly laughing to himself Contragh whispers under his breathe "Let's just hope I haven't gone mad....." Finally, after a few hours of moving through trees and undergrowth Contragh reaches a opening into a field, exactly like that one in his mind created by Pikep. Walking through it he sees Pikep's servants performing acts of debauchery and excess. Lying at the end of the field is Pikep, adorned in flowers, beautiful fauna, and the most exquisite things he could get his claws on. Despite it all he was still bleeding profusely, trying to cover up his wounds with his claw's, and all the while he lords over his domain; chortling as he watches the amusement before him. The crunch of grass underneath his boots gives Contragh away as everyone turns their head to the metal clad warrior. Pikep snorts loudly and rears up, causing several worshippers leaning against him to slide off and fall. He roars "HOW DARE YOU ENTER MY PROVIDENCE, YOU INSIGNIFICANT WORM! *Hack*" He began to cough up blood and winced in pain as the rumbling caused by his anger shook the earth around him.

    Bowing his head Contragh smiles and struts about "I do so apologize for the inconvenience, but you see I heard there was a party over here and well I couldn't help myself," he says as he lifts up two cases of alcohol "But really I came here with no ill intentions, I swear. Just wanted to smell the flowers.... Tell me, what is this, wine? Ah it doesn't matter, it's fine none the less." He continues, swishing it around and getting most of it on the ground without actually ingesting it. Snarling now Pikep flares his nostrils as his court falls silent and stares at the two forces about to collide. "Even in my weakened state I am more powerful then you could fathom!" Yet Contragh ignored him and continued on with his amusement "This wine is just, exquisite. Brandis and Lossethir would be oh so pleased by it. In matter of fact, it's so good you should try it for yourself!" With a jerk of his hand he sends the liquid soaring at Pikep and splashes it over his scales, skins, and wounds (Causing a massive roar of pain). Raising his claw the beast begins to sweep its tail around as it prepares to crush Contragh. Yet the opportunity was snatched from him as the sound of breaking wood pierced the air. Contragh's soldiers had managed to sneak up and encircle the opening whilst Contragh bought time. Armed with several torches they chucked half of them into the field and the other half onto Pikep. The alcohol on Pikep caused the flames to intensify and sent the dragon into an inferno. Lifting their weapons they screeched a battle cry and charged forward, throwing spears and bashing their bone shields against people's bones.

    Pikep roared all the louder and charged Contragh head first. The sight of a twisted, wounded, chaotic dragon surrounded in scorching flames would drive most men running. Yet Contragh stood his ground, picking up his axe he had left to the side. Rolling out of the way Contragh avoids Pikep's bullrush and instead has the brute hit a massive tree instead, weakening the base of it. Snarling Pikep snapped his teeth at Contragh trying to chomp the godling, yet each bite was met with a step back, a block, and a quick jab with either his fist or his axe. Infuriated even more Pikep slaps both of his claws together in order to squash Contragh, but the godling rolled forward towards Pikep and jammed his axe into the freshest wound on Pikep's soft (Burning) belly. Stumbling out of range Contragh slashes at Pikep's hands, forcing the dragon to take flight with his wings, dispersing most the flames around him with the gusts of wind. Yet upon flying into the air he was met with a volley of spears with a clear target. Crashing back down Pikep stomps his foot on top of Contragh, pinning the godling underneath his claw. "Finally, I have you at my mercy! I may die here today, but I shall go down knowing I took one of Baz'Auran's precious little children. My name shall be glorified by my kind and I shall be IMMORTAL!" he began to cackle madly as he prepared to crush Contragh once and for all. Yet his tail wagged excitedly behind him, expressing the energy within him to its fullest. It smacked around with such speed and strength that it found its way to the weakened tree Pikep had crashed into not too long ago. The wood had reached its breaking point and finally broke underneath the strain. Turning his head around Pikep tries to find where the loud groan of wood snapping is coming from, only to see in horror a tree far larger then him falling towards him rapidly. The shock of it loosened his grip on Contragh and allowed the godling enough leeway to pry himself free and narrowly stumble out of the path of danger.

    Pinned under the tree Pikep groans and tries to free himself, but the pain is too much and his adrenaline has worn off causing all the wounds he ignored to finally kick in. Looking about he sees his field desecrated, his minions. butchered, and Contragh's soldiers marching in formal rows in front of the dragon. Yet all was not in vain, as he saw many of Contragh's soldiers to be dead aswell. Lifting his axe up Contragh walks over to Pikep and smiles, leaning down to look the dragon dead in the eyes. Smiling nervously back Pikep stumbles on his words as he says "Come now, can't we just let this little feud go behind us? We could do so much together you and I! I'm really sure we could be great friends if I knew you a bit more..... So how about you let bigons be bigons and we just go our separate ways hmmm?" Fear and anxiety are plastered across Pikep's face as he stares Contragh down "You know, I really would like to do that. But you see, a rather unwise person once told me that the sky goes blue and the sky goes black but no matter what you do you can't take it back. So I guess we won't be able to just let bigons be bigons...." grinning at him Contragh raises his axe, causing a stream of curses and slurs to pour forth from Pikep's mouth, the only understandable part being "You damn bastard! I'll kill you where you stand! My clutchmates shall come forth and rip your heart out! You mongrel son of a-" A strong jab to the eye was enough to shut Pikep up. A serious and angry face grows upon Contragh's head as he leans in towards Pikep, clutching his horns with both his hands "You are nothing to me. You are as a wolf while me?.... Well I am something you could never be. I am something you pretend to be and wish you could be. I am a god... And it is not something that can be gifted to you, the right of divinity is something Baz'Auran has born me with, and you shall never have it no matter how hard you try. But, since you wish such divinity so badly, then I shall let you cusp a bit of it, at the cost of your very essence. You see, what comes with divinity is the divine right to dominate and rule over others. And I shall dominate you, mind, body, and soul. You shall be mine forevermore, allowed to taste my glory for a scant second before being deprived of it and forced into an empty abyss of loathing and wishing for it."

    It was there that Contragh lit his divine spark, that he understood the true essence of control and power over others, and he knew that it was what he was born to do. Pikep struggled against him at first, but soon he grew weaker and weaker as his very energy was sucked out of him and merged with that of Contragh. It was a glorious feeling, one of infinite possibilities and the chance at absolute power. But it was gone almost as quickly as it came to Pikep, and the feeling of it ripped away left a hole bigger then any desire could possibly make in Pikep's heart. Tapping into his divinity Contragh harnesses the power of it and begins to infuse Pikep's teeth with some of his power. As the teeth grew more powerful they eventually ripped themselves out of Pikep's gums and began to whirl around Contragh's head, finally merging together as they swirled faster and faster. They formed a halo of bones floating upon Contragh's head, The Dark Halo. Within it held Pikep's very spirit, acting as a prison where the weak beast would spend eternity trapped within, writhing and raging as the godhood it sought was so close yet out of claws reach. Alongside it was the very identity and form of Pikep's kind, yet it was perverted and distorted to that of a more menacing visage; symbolizing his control over Pikep's body and identity.
    Satisfied with it Contragh raises his axe and screams forth as loud as he could.

    His army began to scream and bow to him as they embraced their new god king.

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    First Turn Free item creation: The Dark Halo.

    The Dark Halo is an artifact formed from the slayed dragon Pikep's very teeth. It is bonded to the wielder and floats above his/her head no matter what (Day and night, in any position or situation it remains floating 2 or so inches above), if one tries to contain it in a box (Or keep it away from the wielders head in anyway such as chaining it to a wall) it finds it's way back over on top of the wielder's head in some way shape or form. The halo is pitch black with a red hue surrounding it. Held within it is Pikep's very mind, body, and soul. Acting much like a prison to the beast of chaos, never letting him truly die. With it under his control Contragh (Or who so ever wields it) may turn into a ferocious, big, monster mashing, Zombie Dragon. He is for all accounts like a dragon and a zombie (Flying, roaring, groaning, pain resistance, lack of need for organs, and breathes forth putrid green dark fire). Here is a picture of Contragh while in dragon form, doing his prettiest laugh. Here
    Last edited by Tychris1; 2014-04-16 at 02:02 AM.
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  23. - Top - End - #413
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    A Dark Deception

    "Duckie? Really? Well. Hmmmm." Jongo didn't know if he'd heard right. It didn't seem possible. But then, they'd only been hear for a short while. Had Faden changed that much? He'd made such a beautiful little spirit, delightful and full of wonder. Was that just the first of his creations? Was he next something worse?

    Jongo plopped on the ground next to Kalandor, and pulled the pained face onto her lap. His youngest brother was hurt badly.

    Her oldest brother was said to be responsible, and Jongo had never known Kalandor to lie. Not about something like this.

    But... Faden? Faden loved his occasional pranks, and Jongo had always respected how clever they were compared to the antics of their other siblings. Except, of course, Jongo's own amusements.

    Still. Kalandor was hurt.

    Jongo held Kalandor's head in his lap, and looked up at Frellon and Haramhold. And at the Weaver. Then over at Fayruz, who was just barely holding back tears and was having trouble standing. Not-a-woman held her, gingerly, and Jongo's estimation of the man went up even more as she saw the love held in his eyes.

    Finally, Jongo closed his own eyes, and felt out for Faden. Felt out for the sibling whom Jongo had known most of her life. Though not confirmed, what felt like Faden was close, on the same stretch of land as everyone else. Duck was there, and not alone. The feeling of pure magic (arguably, restrained, because Faden never did get that right) was near the bright, bright, light. Neither of them felt at odds with anything; they were just full of potential.

    If Faden was guilty, then whoever this light was either also guilty, or being tricked.

    But Faden...? Doing something like this...? To Kalandor, of all people?

    And Jongo opened his eyes and looked down, down at the Traveler's face in her lap. "Duck. Duckie? Hmmm. Well. He's close. There is someone with him. They might be headed this way, in fact. I want to talk with them. Maybe they can explain themselves. Because someone hurt my baby Goose. Someone hurt our youngest brother. And someone will pay."

    Jongo stroked Kalandor's still form, and let the rage wash through him. It was a primal feeling; Kalandor always liked to look older than he was. But the truth of the matter was that Kalandor was the baby brother. And nobody - nobody - hurts the baby. Faden was supposed to know that. Faden should know that. So Jongo was going to go remind him.

    And damn Faden for making Jongo do this. She was going to have to responsible again. "Flower, stop feeling weepy, Flower. Your people need you, and you're making them nervous. We're hear now. We'll help. Butterfly? I don't know what you want to do here, but I suggest helping these people build some sort of fortifications... or maybe figure out a way they can get more food in them. Some of them look starving! Rodney, I want you to watch Goose. If you really are the lord of dreams now, Goose may be able to dream and tell us something, even though his physical form seems to be battered - Flower, can you do something about that? - and Squid? Well. You're with me. We're going to go talk with Faden."

    The way Jongo said the name, it felt different. Aggravated. Alive. But the thing that caught may have caught everyone's attention most... he wasn't being called Duck at the moment.

    "And then we'll all have tea and crumpets!"
    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-03-26 at 10:34 PM.
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  24. - Top - End - #414
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    A sharp bark of laughter came from the assembled high men and women of the Fayheran. It was, as ever, the silver-haired Wolf Lord, his teeth flashing in the morning sun.

    "Was there any doubt?" He said, and loudly. "The fool chased his prey into its den, into the desert where no hero can go alone. Had he been given his way, seven men of our tribe would have gone off to their deaths as well."


    Frellon faced this newcomer, his eyes flashing.

    This mortal belongs to Fayruz. I will allow him this insult to Kalandor's judgement. This one.

    His hand straying close to his sword hilt, he kept the Wolf Man in his sight as he followed his siblings, his eyes flickering back and across the man's frame. This deeper examination revealed to Frellon's practiced eye, the well toned muscles, the confidence and grace - if animalistic- with which the man carried himself. A smile crept into the corners of Frellon's expression.

    This man is a warrior. With luck, there will be time for some sparring.

    Such hopes vanished as they came upon Kalandor. What had happened to him!

    He was injured!

    Frellon stood silently to one side, examining the many, many wounds that littered the body of his brother. What had Fayruz said threatened her people?

    Beasts of the desert, minotaurs, ghouls, jackals, spirits, and black sand.

    Frellon's eye to the wounds was crittical, noting the depth, ragged edges, and the vile filth that had been present in most of the wounds, and was burning up as Fayruz sang.

    Spirits wouldn't leave marks like this. Jackals are cowards, none would dare touch a god. Minotaurs impale and trample, these are the marks of long claws. Sand could be shaped to form claws, but Fayruz had said the said affected the mind, not formed beasts with claws. Then there was the filth to consider.

    Frellon took a knee next to Kalandor's form. He rolled him onto his back, and bid him to rest.

    Standing, he adressed the others; Jongo, Haramhold, even The Weaver, for he warranted a say in this too.

    "From what Fayruz said discribing the hazards of this place, this was most likely the work of Ghouls or Chaos Beasts. Kalandor was a good fighter, but even he could be overwhelmed by numbers eventually. I do not trust the filth I saw in his wounds, there was so much, and so many wounds; delerium is not impossible."
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-26 at 10:34 PM.
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  25. - Top - End - #415
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    "Oooooo... Delirium. Hadn't thought of that. That makes much more sense. All the more reason to go talk with Faden. So. Squid. What do you say?" Jongo stared at his lion-hearted brother.

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    Posting again to make the story flow! Sorry for the short response. It happens when people post within a minute of each other!
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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!
    ~avatar by myself

  26. - Top - End - #416
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    "Oooooo... Delirium. Hadn't thought of that. That makes much more sense. All the more reason to go talk with Faden. So. Squid. What do you say?"

    Frellon hung his head.

    He did not want to think Faden was responsible. The very idea that one member of his family would harm another was so appalling!

    Was he clinging to a vain hope - chaos delerium, indeed - to avoid facing the painful truth?

    Well that wouldn't do.

    At. All.

    "OK," Frellon's face and voice were metalic and brittle. "Let us go find Faden. If he is responsible for this..." He let the threat hang in the air.

    "Lead on, Jongo."
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-26 at 10:47 PM.
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  27. - Top - End - #417
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    A great many things happened around Fayruz, a great many people talking, as she feebly rubbed at her burning eyes. She would have been upset, as a sister should, at seeing Kalandor like this, but imagining that Faden was responsible? Wise, clever Faden, Faden who gave her so much hope with his colorful little sprite? She did not want to think that perhaps that sprite had merely told Faden where she was, so he could release the black sand... it was a tenacious thought, however, that would not go away.

    Gamesha's arms were bone-thin, it seemed to her suddenly, as she felt one wrap subtly around her, keeping her from stumbling down to the ground. And his usual mad chatter was replaced by a low, dangerous purr, his eyes wide and dark. "Our flower's brother has come home pretty ruttin ghoul-marked, and she has torn out her strength to give him healing - and you wouldn't allow her a moment of ruttin tears?" Fayruz stepped away from Gamesha, one hand against his shoulder, her legs trembling but still upright. Her stomach burned, her eyes ached, and the mere effort of staying upright was as hard as fighting a battle. Gamesha stayed close to her, but she could feel his muscles tensing, and knew that he'd kept one of his hammers; if Faden himself came down, he'd do something rash and noble for her sake.

    Saven, meanwhile, had knelt by Kalandor's side, muttering to himself. "Ghouls," he agreed. "Those wounded by them often carry illness." He rose, and strode off quickly, waving over the warriors who had been at the gate with Kalandor. After a moment, she could hear a Song, low and yet powerful, one that she had taught him to drive away sicknesses and plagues; it was more exhausting than a Song to drive away a specific sickness, and she felt for a moment proud of Saven, who would sing such songs regardless of the toll they took on him.

    Silver hair, robes lined with animal's fur, deep scars that had once been the resting-places for copper nails; the Wolf Lord knelt by Jongo. "If he has been taken by the black sand," he growled, "then the head must be removed with a glass blade."

    Shyreza, meanwhile, took one of Fayruz's hands in her own, and it seemed to Fayruz that the girl's palms were very hot - or perhaps her own were simply cold? "My princess," she said, softly, "you must rest. Your brothers are here, the wanderer is cared for, and you must be ready, should Faden truly be... the creator of the black sand."

    Fayruz shook her head, mute for a moment, unable to speak. "No," she finally said. "I will come with you, Jongo. Perhaps... perhaps, if Faden did this, he can be convinced to... to be our brother, not our enemy."
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-03-27 at 10:03 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #418
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    A Dark Deception

    As Jongo turned to pursue Faden, Kalandor's hand shot out to grab his arm. It's eyes bleary, Kalandor's body pushed itself up on an elbow, surveying the divine siblings.

    "Jongo...wait..."

    A wracking cough escaped its throat, forcing Kalandor's hand to release Jongo. It passed quickly, however, and Kalandor's eyes seemed to clear a bit, a fiery determination burning away the mist, or so it seemed.

    "You must...beware...my family. I tracked the source of the black sand southeast...for weeks...only to find it pooled around a plinth of stone holding a shining gem. I thought to break it...to disrupt the corruption in the sands...but before I could, he arrived..."

    A shadow fell over Kalandor's eyes, as they turned their gaze to the east.

    "He came upon a monstrous bird, its wings a thunderstorm. I did not recognize him at first, but in my heart, I think I already knew it to be Faden...he has changed. His body has been given over to power, to flame, with only dead black funeral wrappings to mark where flesh once stood. He attacked me on sight - I do not even think he recognized me at first - screaming that I would not take his power from him. I tried to reason with him..."

    Tears began to leak from Kalandor's eyes, then, pooling in the dry sand of the Olm.

    "He did not relent. He claimed that he and he alone had the power to retake the White City, that his will would guide us all to a perfect tomorrow. Then, he summoned Dasque."

    Kalandor's eyes looked down, as though to hide the pain within them.

    "She is radiant now, but he has ensorcelled her. The damnable sand is but the least of his powers, it seems. She is bound to him, and when I protested his madness she attacked. What could I do, but run?"

    At that, Kalandor's mouth allowed itself a slight smile.

    "His demon bird might be swift, but I was swifter. Though it took a toll, I had to escape, had to warn Fayruz, had to...protect her."

    Its energy seemingly spent, Kalandor's body collapsed back upon the ground, his voice growing soft.

    "Beware them, Jongo. They may speak with our brother and sisters' voices, but they have been corrupted by the Fall. I...I do not know if they can be saved..."

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  29. - Top - End - #419
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    And on that cheerful note...


    Family Reunion

    Pyra swept in toward the Olm at tremendous speed. As civilization came in sight, Faden directed her to land just outside its boundaries. "Well, we've arrived." He brushed off his robes and adjusted his hood before turning to Dasque. "I hope they're as happy to see us as we are to see them."
    Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2012-03-26 at 11:47 PM.
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  30. - Top - End - #420
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    Haramhold stood and watched at his dear caring Fayruz sang sweet songs of healing and love. Knitting his fallen brother's wounds together as if they never were. Haramhold was impressed his sister had indeed grown strong since the fall. But then she stumbled, weak and exhausted. Reflexively reaching out to support her he was beaten to it by the man who wore women's clothing. This one cared for his sister, with a silent passion as deep as the oceans Green MorningStar had flown across.

    "Butterfly? I don't know what you want to do here, but I suggest helping these people build some sort of fortifications... or maybe figure out a way they can get more food in them. Some of them look starving! "

    Snapping out of his inner thought Haramhold nodding as the eldest and Frellon left to confront Faden. But before they could go Haramhold turns to his dearest Amanda "Go with Fayruz and watch over her. The four of you should be more than enough to handle things if our fears prove to be true. I have some business to attend to."

    Haramhold could only hope that Kalandor was mistaken about Faden, for one of his siblings to do such a thing. No he must be wrong, he must have been tricked or fooled. He could not be right. But the more Haramhold tried to deny it the more it seemed possible. After all Faden could have landed in a much darker and fearsome place than even the olm.

    "Yes of course I will do what I can." She responded before turning to join Fayruz and the other children of Baz'Auran.

    "Saven, I have some questions that need answering." Haramhold waited for the man to agree before continuing "Tell me of my sister's time here, spare no detail even those you deem insignificant."

    Saven then recited what he knew of the tale of the brave and courageous Fayruz. Who purified the holy river, cleansed the dragon's taint from Gamesha, and united the tribes.

    Haramhold nodded at the great tales of his sister's deeds. "And tell me, has my sister been sleeping well?"

    Suddenly Saven's enthusiastic demeanor turns serious "Our goddess rarely rests that is true, and I often fear for her health. You are a god are you not? Can you not ease her suffering for she selflessly gives all she haves keeping none for herself." Saven said his exhaustion from singing the infection out of Kalandor plainly evident.

    Placing a re assuring hand on the mans shoulder Haramhold says "Fear not, I have not traveled across the breath of this world just to twidle my thumbs."

    Haramhold then instructed Saven to fetch him a man or women well versed in the surrounding terrain and in the ways of war.

    While Saven went to find the one most suited for Haramhold's request, the god found a secluded spot. Well as secluded as you could get with a dozen people following you around out of curiosity. Gathering up the sand beneath his hands Haramhold willed his power into it seeing it rise into the air as it melted its molten light casting shadows across the ground. Haramhold raised his arms as might a conductor when ushering forth music from the orcestra and with a single motion the molten glass began to twist and turn and shape itself into a large tub with several smaller reservoirs dotting around the edge. The molten glass on the surface of the crystal bath raised itself into a leaf and floral design. Something Haramhold hoped Fayruz would find pretty. The glass cooled unnaturally fast forming the tool he would need to aid Fayruz. Wiping the sweat off his forehead Haramhold noticed that he had attracted a much larger crowd while he was engrossed in his work.

    ----
    Amanda joined Fayruz, Frellon, Gamesha and at the front of their party Jongo. As the eldest lead them toward the edge of the olm Amanda caught up to Fayruz and not for the first time noted her pale complexion, hollow cheeks and exhausted eyes. Haramhold had told her look after her and it was a task she had no intention of neglecting. Taking one of the goddesses hands into her own Amanda raises it to the crystal nestled at the base of her neck and willed energy into the goddess. Bright red light shot out of Jewely through Fayruz's hands and into her being. Rejuvenating and revitalizing the tired goddess. It didn't drive away Fayruz's weariness entirely only rest could do that. But it did lift her aunt's burden.

    Amanda almost stumbled from the effort, which surprised her. She had wielded much more of her energy in keeping Green MorningStar together during the last trek of their journey to the olm without such a reaction. Yes she was still recovering from that effort but this still shouldn't have had this large of an effect. Amanda could only guess that the healing arts are much harder than she had originally anticipated.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

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