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  1. - Top - End - #511
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    THEChanger's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The Dream-time
    "JONGO!" It was the umpteenth time the door had slipped away from him. The Weaver had stopped keeping track after the thirtieth time it vanished. He was sure now though that the door led where he wanted to go. The door was drenched in Avyra's aura, and The Weaver was sure if he could just get the thing open, Avyra would be on the other side. Furious with himself, The Weaver slammed his fist into the ground. The dream-earth shot skyward, and The Weaver looked over a huge cliff. "I couldn't...No...It would be too easy...Maybe?" The Weaver kicked a stone over the edge, and watched it fall to the ground. It was a very long drop. If it didn't work, he could easily kill himself permanently, even in the Dream-time. It was the nature of the place. If he was going to conjure the door himself, he needed to truly dream of his own death. And since there was nothing capable of hurting him in the Dream-time, there was only one option.
    "Father...if you can hear me, and this isn't going to work, now would be an excellent time to let me know." The Weaver looked skyward. Nothing. Of course. Hopefully Father could hear him. Taking a deep breath, The Weaver took a few steps back. And launched himself off the edge of the cliff.
    The wind rushing past his ears was deafening. The sheer adreneline bursting through his veins was almost too much to handle. The Weaver's mind was filled with a single word-no, it wasn't really a word at this point. It was more a stream of pure fear. "JongojongojongojongojongoJongoJongoJongoJONGOJONG OJONGOJONGO" And then it was there. The iron door. The Weaver thrust his hand forward, and with a primal yell, forced the door open, and fell through.
    He slammed into a wooden wall on the other side. Real wood. Or, close to it. The Weaver wasn't really sure. The adrenaline from his fall was still making his head spin. That, and the collision with the wooden wall. That didn't feel good. Slowly, The Weaver stood, wobbling slightly, and looked around. It was a simple home, perhaps not the strongest built, but servicable. From the direction he had rolled was a stone arch-and oddly, no door. And then he saw her. His eldest sister. Avyra. And how beautiful she had become. He smiled, still wobbling. "Avyra. I found you." And then he passed out.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

    Awesome Hex avatar by kpenguin

  2. - Top - End - #512
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    hi-mi-tsu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Avyra and The Weaver

    The goddess of Death had been meditating in her small clearing, attempting to clear her head after her latest failed attempt at finding her father, when a crash from behind her startled her into standing. Fearing an attack--and feeling remarkably defenseless--she spun...only to see her brother standing waveringly behind her.

    "Avyra. I found you."

    Then he collapsed, and the goddess gaped in shock for a moment before springing into action.

    When The Weaver awoke, it would be in a simple but comfortable bed, constructed from wood and with a cloth mattress stuffed with fragrant grasses; a cool cloth was on his forehead, and Avyra was settled on the ground, cross-legged, a discreet distance away. When he stirred, she stood, and brought to him a wooden cup of water.

    "I am glad to see you are deciding to re-join the world of the waking, brother..." Her voice was quiet, and faintly amused. "After how hard you hit your head, I was a little fearful that you might not ever wake. And while it would not be a difficulty to find you, in my world...the process of reincarnation for those such as us is not necessarily...pleasant. You are the first visitor to my humble home...what brings you here...?"

  3. - Top - End - #513
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ladorak's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The new dawn met Carolinus and Shieldbearer Kelmeris in partnership. Both beside the iron road, having travelled many miles in the dark along the Dawn Way. They were miles from anywhere aside from the mines nearby, despite this Carolinus had often stopped along the road to seek with his people. In a very real sense the miners were his people, these last 60 years he had worked alongside them, watching them grow into fine men. He knew the people of Sanctum not at all, this had been where we was needed. There was a touch of sorrow in his heart as he asked about wives and children, it was not that he was no longer needed here, there was simply greater need elsewhere. Carolinus had already come to realise his vow had always been destine for failure, he could not be in the thousands of places he was needed. He had first realised this when he was unable to protect Cireo, but had pushed that realisation away as part in parcel of the total sum of that cold black dread that new lay deep buried as deep into his mind as he could manage. If at any second Carolinus allowed himself to fully dwell of that great enormity he feared it would utterly undo him, it would cripple him in the face of everything that was happening now. The knight of the white city allowed himself no time for guilt or grief, it would be a betrayal of his vow, yet always he knew there was coming a day when he would have to face it.

    Not today

    'Good morning Kelmeris.' The titan stared at his suspiciously, no doubt wondering about the huge piles of sheet metal set along the side of the road. 'You owe two years service to Markien, this is how you will serve.' He gestured to the sheets of iron to his side 'I do not require fine work, simply a bending of the corners or sides, depending on the length and shape of the sheet. These larger ones, I require a bending of the corners, like so.' He easily lifted a sheet that would have taken four men to move, his biceps bulged as he curved each corner inward. 'Match these angles as best you can. There are two other types, these smaller ones. These longer thinner ones,' he slid a sheet aside and let in drop to the ground, steadying it with his foot he bent the two shorter sides around 'Again, match the angle.' With the last pile he bent the metal along it's two longer corners. 'I will see you are well fed while you work. I am arranging for tools to be made in what I estimate is your size but until then you will work by hand.
    'Before you start I have questions for you, long put off by urgent need. Now we may speak, tell me about the empire, tell me history of the titans and their current numbers. Tell me of this Lord, why did your Khar bend the knee to him?'


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    OOC: I'll kinda leave that hanging so I can move on.


    'I have had enough of this pointless bickering!' Carolinus exploded, causing Jem to look at him as if he was a significant other announcing their permanent departure and Lothar to look at him as if a perfect stranger had slapped him 'The two greatest mathematicians of my people, their two most important teachers, you two. How many Academy does Markien have? You are crippling the nation and she can ill afford it. The titans may already be on their way. We need a new generation of sharp minds! We are getting two schools producing students only half educated because you two continue with this nonsense. Enough.' He said again, with a finality of tone that could not be missed 'I have*diagrams here of what I require you to build. Those building them will need to understand these equations in order to calculate power and distance, I require them built to these specifications.' Thrice he had tapped the table as he spoke, with each thud a portion of what he required them to know slipped into their mind. They understood, in turn, the requirements of the diagrams, the nature of the mathematics required, perfect understand of the equations and the meaning behind them. 'Teach your students if you wish to live. I cannot overstate the importance of this project, are we understood?'

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    Minor act. Teach the people mathematics. Sufficient to understand how to build these and these
    Last edited by Ladorak; 2012-04-17 at 11:54 AM.
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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.

  4. - Top - End - #514
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Storm of the Century
    (No, really, it probably is)

    Jongo was fighting with the sky. And, while he'd recently been having intelligent conversations with many members of said sky, visa vi, the winds themselves, the sky here was on less than friendly terms with Jongo.

    So she fought the sky.

    And the sky... was winning.

    The Albatross form that Jongo held wasn't strong enough. It's body was buffeted by the winds, and it's wings weighed down by the rain. It was more suited for long travel, with little movement. A good form to allow Jongo to follow many different thoughts.

    Not so great to dive into a storm with.

    So Jongo changed.

    Already large, Jongo grew slightly larger wings, and thought of the slick oily feathers that some birds have, like ducks and geese. They weren't much better, but it was something.

    Jongo was having trouble seeing within the darkness of the clouds and rain, so changed his eyes to something resembling an odd mix of a cat's and a bird's eyes. The night vision of a cat was distorting at first, when combined with a bird's ability to focus on close or far things, but Jongo quickly got used to it and liked the effect after a few short seconds.

    Legs.

    Legs were optional right now. In the grand scheme of things, legs and feet were great; everyone needs a leg to stand on. But when you are flying, and fighting the sky, wind resistance is a thing you don't want to have to deal with. So Jongo got rid of them - just kind of sucked them up, so they weren't folded under her body - and then proceeded to skim himself down even further, trimming the fat. When this was all cleared up, Jongo could shift back the legs, to be much longer than the small half-inch that they were now.

    The thunder was loud and almost deafening, to the point that if the Band of Chaos wasn't wrapped around Jongo's thin neck, she wouldn't hear the...

    Oh no. No. No no no no no.

    ...music.

    Jongo quickly looked around. The Band of Chaos only seemed to play music in a recognizable cadence when something was going to be horribly wrong. Jongo didn't know if the Band did it as an early warning, or if her constant companion artifact was doing it for laughs... if, you know, a living ring of chaos and unpredictable forms were capable of laughing.

    Which of course, it was.

    So Jongo checked his shifted form, and finding nothing wrong with the alterations - purple was a marvelous color for a bird - made a slight internal modification that made the thunder easier to deal with on the Stormbird's ears. The music still played, and Jongo just shook the long billed beak on the bird's body, ignoring it for now.

    Flying like this was much easier now. The wind howled, and Jongo just laughed. It came out as that - purest laughter, louder than the thunder itself - and with Jongo's unusual eyes he could see down in the village of Salus that people were looking up, through the wind and the storm, to see the bird that laughed at it all.

    The rain wept, and Jongo laughed.

    It was water, and water was Jongo's friend. She pushed and pulled with the rain, and calmed it down. It needed release, but it didn't need to cry alone or so fiercely. So Jongo asked it to calm down, even just a little, and what was a torrential downpour became a hard rain; people below could walk again without fearing that the water itself would beat them into submission, or drown them with it's fury.

    The wind roared, and Jongo laughed.

    Jongo could almost hear the winds' arguments. There were so many factions of wind here, from the north, the south, the east, the west; from the breezes to the gusts to the squalls to the zephyrs. They all raged and blew, and none of them could decide which way to go. So flapping his wings, Jongo began to fly in long, slow arcs, calling to the wind, beckoning it, showing it that everything could push in one direction - east - if only everyone would listen. The winds didn't all listen. They still fought each other... but now a small faction was banding together, and seeing the sense that Jongo was making.

    The thunder rolled, and Jongo laughed.

    Thunder was a curious byproduct of the sky. Jongo wondered what forces Father had to tame to get Thunder to peal like it did, and that brought Jongo's thoughts to Aerin. Her pretentious sycophantic brother would have loved this storm. What ever Father had had to do, Aerin was probably part of it. Jongo hoped his brother was all right, but was sad to think that there was a good chance something had happened. If Aerin were here right now, though... the Thunder would calm down, and positively purr.

    Instead, Jongo was forced to ignore it. There was little Jongo could do. The wind and the rain was the important part.

    But still, the Band of Chaos sung out it's eerie music.

    "What? What? What am I forgetting?"

    The lightning struck. Jongo stopped laughing.

    The Band of Chaos giggled.

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

    Jack the Thief
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    I had been having a bad week.

    Everything had started out fine. Business as usual. People were still listening to me, because I was now a man of... influence. It had been a long time since I'd had to do a job myself. I had people for that. And as a... consultant... I got paid for my contributions.

    Or else.

    But I didn't have to use Or Else much. The Council of Salus knew I existed, but they didn't know how to deal with me. They were too trusting. Baylor gave me trouble now and then, but we had an... understanding.

    It was even easier, now that that Haramhold and his unusual daughter had left. And don't get me started on the shapeshifter.

    The flying ship still bugged me. But I was beginning to accept that maybe - just maybe - Haramhold was more than just a sorcerer like the ones Ma had told stories about.

    Still, after the ship had left, business was very good.

    That lasted roughly a month. Then the storm hit. That was what started my bad week.

    No one could move in the storm. It was so fierce, so terrible, that sticking your arm into the rain was like inviting someone to jab needles in your arm.

    Business - and the rest of the town - slowed. The Council of Salus met, and through my connections, I found out they decided to just ride it out.

    That had been four days ago.

    Now. Now the Storm was still going strong. There were floods. There were at least five deaths that I knew of.

    Things were very very bad.

    And then the sky started laughing. I was by a window when it happened. I couldn't stop myself from looking up. Thunder and lightning I'd gotten used to. But laughter?

    It was like a child's joyful noise. It lifted my heart, and made me curse at the same time. The damnable storm was now laughing at us.

    No. Wait. Was that... a bird? A purple bird?

    "Jack, you may be going mad." I said to myself, if only to hear something other than the laughter. But... it wasn't insane laughter. It felt good. And the rain started to lessen. The wind howled less.

    I kept watching the bird. It was the thing that was laughing.

    Was it... was it fighting the storm?

    No. Couldn't be.

    But... it was the only explanation that made sense. And after a week of this, I was ready to root for anything that might help save myself and my comfy life here in Salus. And, by extension, the people I knew here.

    So I almost cried when the lightning hit it. The bird started to fall, and before I knew what I was doing, my feet were running out the door, into the storm. The pins and needles weren't hurting anymore, it was just regular rain, so something had happened.

    I was betting it was the bird. So against my more rational thoughts which screamed at me to get back inside, out of the rain, I kept running towards where I thought it might have fallen.

    If nothing else, I hoped I could get a purple feather. It would look rather dashing, and probably sell pretty well to some friends I knew.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-04-17 at 12:57 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

  5. - Top - End - #515
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    shorewood's Avatar

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    Stories of Salus
    Jack the Thief
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    I would like to say that I fought valiantly in the retreat to the great hall. I really would but that would be a lie. Truth be told one of the trolls caught me as I retreated and knocked me out. I didn't wake until a few days later with a headache which pounded louder than a smith at his craft.

    My boys filled me in the details of what happened. Apparently Haramhold the Sorcerer who is not a Sorcerer is instead a god. Who destroyed the horrors of the shadows and drove the trolls from the land. Well I don't think that my boys would lie to me but honestly all such tales should be taken with a handful of salt. I guess that this Haramhold was a sorcerer after all. I remember myself thinking that I would have to keep an eye on that one, make sure he doesn't get to big for his breaches.

    But at the moment I had more important things to attend to. In spite of our fumbling healer's protest I left the great hall where all the wounded were kept and headed to the root cellar which I had imprisoned Greg. Boy did he look worse for the wear, I guess that a few days tied up in a dark damp hole with neither food or water would do that to a man. But I shouldn't judge for I reckon that I wasn't too pretty at that point either.

    Greg squirmed pathetically trying to shield his eyes from the sudden light. bending down over him I remove his gag and pour some sour wine from my wine skin into his parched mouth.

    "Why did you stop us?" Greg asked in a low hoarse growl "You are a thief, you should understand we were just taking what we wanted. We were doing nothing that you hadn't done before, heck you have helped me do worse in the past."

    I cut him off there "Then perhaps I've changed." I said as I drew my flint dagger which was still crusted with Slied's blood "You see the old me would slit your throat right now." Letting the blade caress his throat I turn it to cut Greg's bonds. "Get out of here and do not return."

    I turned by back and left. Letting that man live was a mistake I'll tell you what, one that I would greatly regret in the coming years.

    Well for the moment Greg fled Salus with nothing but the clothes on his back and a smoldering anger in his eyes. And believe it or not for the next few years I went honest. I mean really honest, not the type of honest I was before. Without my extra income running my pawn shop was hard work, the margins of a law abiding practice are so low, too many people are doing it. I did my best to steer my boys toward one trade or another. Some took to it, some did not. I tried my best and that should be enough for anyone.

    Salus flourished all craftsmen grew in skill especially the metal and stone workers. Our "god" Haramhold failed to act godly in my opinion. Besides casting out the shadows and raising the plateau which the city is built he did not perform any miracles or rain thunder from the sky like in the old stories. It was easy to forget that this man was not a man, he worked and sweated and labored with the rest of us. He even adopted a poor girl whose entire village was culled by the demon Ko. She grew into a pretty lady, I tried courting her for a while. Now don't give me that look I was young with all of the urges that go with it. But my attempts all fell on deaf ears. That freckled lady had no eyes for any besides her adopted father.

    But now onto less pleasant matters. The criminal element of the city grew larger and larger over the years. Now every person had a talent in crafting or liked to work as hard as Haramhold urged. Baylor's guild kept the worst of them in line, but they could never catch the more clever ones. They just couldn't think the way those men did. Perhaps It would have kept going this way and I would have died a lonely merchant if Greg had not come back to town.

    He had been gone for five years, and he did not return alone. He came back with perhaps fifty or so thugs all heavily muscled and thick skulled. Greg himself seemed larger and defiantly more ugly. I didn't find out he had returned to town until he burned my shop to the ground. Thankfully I wasn't home when it happened but I got back in time to watch all of my hard work disappear into smoke and to see Greg's face vanish into the crowd.

    That night began a war which would rage across the alleyways for the next six months. My initial attempts to find and kill Greg all failed, apparently some time during his absence he gained a sort of cleverness and guile. Baylor's guild of course tried to stop him but after their initial search party was ambushed and killed they were too cautious to be truly effective. Haramhold of course was practically oblivious to this entire affair. Once that god has his mind set on a project (in this case the walls) there is very little which can distract him. So I took it into my own hands.

    Greg did not earn many favors with the Salus's underworld. He and his men when not busy trying to kill me were more interested in murder and rape. Although he was smart enough to reign his men in just enough and to intimidate the populace just enough to avoid Haramhold from intervening.

    So I gathered the thieves, the pickpockets, the arson's, the muggers and some much less savory and went to war. This was not a war fought in open field or from a high wall. It was fought in the early hours of the morning in the shadows of an alley. Barely a morning went by where some one on either side was not ambushed by a group of their opponents. We circled each other like starving wolves fighting over an old bone striking when we could but avoiding any decisive conflict least we loose the fight altogether.

    Dozens of people died during the first month, less in the following month and even less after that. Both sides grew to cautious. It was no longer safe for anyone to walk the streets alone at night and even traveling in pairs was risky. As all of this went on I was amazing at how deadly Greg had become. He was faster, stronger more skilled than he was before. I recall realizing as I watched him butcher three of my men from the shadows. I had thought that that night was the end of the war, as my muscles were strung tightly ready to cut off his escape. But instead of fleeing from the three men armed with swords he charged them bare handed and tore them limb from limb. Watching Greg crush a man's skull between his hands convinced me to stay hidden.

    I followed Greg back to where he was hiding taking note to remain hidden. But although I never entered his line of sight right before he decended into the hovel he currently called home he stopped and called to me "You have been a slippery foe my old friend. But know this, I am not the pathetic fool whom you fought before." Turning toward where I lay hid in the shadows his eyes turned black as the void "When I am done with you I shall destroy this town and the pathetic god who claims to protect it."

    I fled then hoping that he would not follow. But although at the moment I was frightened out of my mind, I had learned what would lead me to victory. For the sheer depth of Greg's arrogance and ego had been revealed and thus I started to lay a trap.

    Two weeks later in the small hours before dawn I was fleeing with perhaps a dozen men and women from a failed raid. We fled to the still incomplete wall cut off from any escape. It was a gamble but thankfully it paid off. For Greg himself lead the chase, eager to finish this shadow war. We waited at the wall as Greg and his remaining men surrounded us, with no escape no hope of survival. Or so it would seem.

    Earlier that week... I stood before the one of the councilors of Salus, the maester of stone a man named Sheln. He ran with my gang when he was younger but gave it up. He had done well for himself and still had a friendly ear.

    "Yes I have been aware of this little war that has been waging amongst the criminals." Said Sheln stroking his beard, worn in the style of Haramhold. Long and unkempt. Personally I think that it makes him look like a fool but I politely kept my tongue as he continued. "But I do not see why I should have my stone workers do what you ask. It will put back the walls construction for weeks. And if the criminals are killing the criminals then I do not see how this is a bad thing."

    "Have you forgotten that you used to be one of these criminals not too long ago?" I asked keeping my tone playful.

    "No I have not. But my point remains. If this Greg posses as much as a threat as you claim then let us send in Baylor's guild and overpower him through sheer numbers alone."

    "You have not seen him crush a man's skull as easily as you or I would break a loaf of bread. No trying to overpower him would only lead to a slaughter. It has to be an ambush, and we need your help."

    Sighing Sheln untangles his hand from his beard "Fine but you will owe me and I will collect on this debt."

    We shook hands and left each to prepare for what was to come.

    As Greg and his men closed in for the charge hundreds of people burst from the surrounding houses, all armed with bows and slings. Many were men and women but many were also boys and girls just old enough to spin a sling. Everyone who was tired of this war, everyone who had suffered at the hands of Greg's men. They were here and they thirsted for vengeance.

    Without any warning they unleashed volley after volley into Greg's men. the men and women I was with scattered as planned in the ensuing chaos. But I did not run. I was too busy screaming insults and obscenities at Greg enraging him and taunting him.

    It did not take long before all of Greg's men lay dead in the grass, but Greg himself was still standing, dozen's of arrows sticking out of his chest, his eyes burning with hate. He knew that this had been a fatal blow toward his goals for no man can conquer a city by himself. He then turned toward me smiling "Do you think these pathetic ingrates can kill me! You may have killed my men but you will not survive this day."

    And without warning Greg's skin exploded outward, A centipede twelve feet long ripped itself out of Greg's flesh. The only recognizable remanant that remained was the vague outline of Greg's face on the monster's carapace.

    The monster launched itself at me with blinding speed, but I stood my ground. The distance between us closed, twenty feet, fifteen, ten, five feet. "NOW!" I shouted as I broke out into a dead sprint parrallel to the wall.

    Above us Dozens of masons heaved with all of their might, sending this entire section of wall tumbling down upon the charging monster and myself. The beast had one last chance to scream in rage before a two tun boulder crushed it into an unrecognizable mass. I survived by diving into a small alcove chiseled into the wall earlier that week where it had remained hidden until now. It took them four days to dig me out and thus the war ended.

    Afterword I never did go back to honest living. I realize now what kept me in from going back even though I didn't then. There will always be criminals, as long as men are men they will exist. But that doesn't mean that it must be uncontrolled and chaotic. It does not have to involve blood shed or misery. I went back to thieving, something I have always been quite good at I would remind you. But this time it was not wealth I sought to accumulate, it was power. While the craftsmen hones their skills and Haramhold created his little water stone I traded favors and gained influence. I took several of the more promising rouges under my wing and together our gang took charge of the underworld. Believe it or not I don't care, for although there was more crime under my administration than there was before it had less of an impact than before. For I knew from whom to steal from and when as to minimize the losses they felt.

    Within just a few short years there was not a pick pocket or con artist which was not loyal to me in some degree or another. They all feared and sometimes respected me. I have eyes and ears everywhere within Salus there is hardly a secret which I have not ferreted out. One day the council wished to tear down the poor district in order to rebuild it from strong stone, before they took it to a vote they first sent a letter to me asking permission. That is the day I knew that although Haramhold might be in charge of the city, I ruled it.

    Over the next several years nothing of great import happened until Jongo, Haramhold's brother or was it sister I can never remember came to town. Whatever it was it was a shape shifter, friendly as a puppy and too clever by half. I did not come into my power without being able to deal with a threat before it harmed me. The very night that Jongo arrived I gathered my lieutenants together and had them put a stop to all crime for the immediate future. It was not easy, it was not without bribes and favors given away but it was done. This Jongo was not to catch a wiff of our organizations existence, for whom could keep a shape shifter from infiltrating and rooting us out?

    Haramhold and Jongo made their airship, an impressive feat I might add. Very impressive Jongo gave it a crazy name Green NightStar or something like that. And together they left with the red lady, who still could not get over our belovedly oblivious Haramhold.

    Not a week passed before they left when a great storm smote the land. The winds howled and tore through the streets knocking over all but the strongest. Rain fell from the sky like knives, hail cracking shingles and tearing open thatching. It was terrible, the people actually began praying to Haramhold for salvation. Which while not unknown was never this common, for Haramhold was not interested in being the center of religion.

    On the fourth day of the storms a bird fell from the sky and things became interesting once again.
    Last edited by shorewood; 2012-04-17 at 02:00 PM.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  6. - Top - End - #516
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    A Long Trip

    It was clear now that nothing was nor would happen. A short reunion maybe, but Kalandor was never really that close to Llassar. It may well be a mistake to go on ahead, even if only by just a night, but it was the sort of mistake Kalandor would always make.

    And so, waiting for a moment when noone paid attention to him, Kalandor sunk into the loose earth. A mere worm at the moment, but so much more. In seconds he was out of the tent, and Kalandor's presence had fadded, Kalandor hiding it just a little so only a concentrate search would find it. And so, Kalandor left the camp, moving as young sandworm of a specie that grew rather large, eventually to leave the ground out of sight from the camp, taking flight as he efortlessly formed into a rather large vulture. He felt every current of air, and sped onwards to the coast.
    My Homebrew Sig.

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

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

  7. - Top - End - #517
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Jade_Tarem's Avatar

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    A Flying Roc beats a Rolling Stone

    On Pyra's back, Faden counted up his passengers. "All aboard? Good! Next stop..."

    He pauses and looks back. "Er... given the state of emergency, perhaps it would be best to head northwest, and then visit Shirvan?"
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    The Dungeon Master in Happily Ever After (Pathfinder)
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    Runes Bifröst, The First Child in Acting Badly, Etc. (Adeptus Evangelion, Borderline/2.5e)
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  8. - Top - End - #518
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    A Flying Roc beats a Rolling Stone

    "So be it."

    Dasque looked to her side, to this place... to The Olm. It was so like her sister Fayruz to see love in all things, even these mortals. However, it was something deeper than this, a deeper connection with these people.

    She turned away. If it was her destiny to shepherd these lesser imitations of the gods, then it could be prolonged. At one time she had all the patience in the world, but not now. This was no longer Baz'Auran's Disk that was his to command, but a wild, untamed place that would devour them all if they did not will it otherwise. And will her own survival, and that of the others, she would.

  9. - Top - End - #519
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    The Tower of Baal

    For many months after the attack of the Surrusus, a small of area of the desert was the centre of activity for a very busy child of Baz’Auran.

    Khalen had originally planned to build a city in the desert but after some consideration, thought against it. Although he himself was no longer dependant on sustenance, any mortals that dwelt here would quickly perish, as there was very little in the way of natural resources nearby. Perhaps if he possessed Llassar’s skills with cultivation, he might have been able to convert the sand into a living oasis but his limited mastery of the earth was tied to sand and stone alone. Khalen knew in his heart that despite the crown he wore, he was no ruler of men.

    He decided therefore that he would work on a fortress for his siblings – a place where they could discuss their plans to retake the White City and drive the darkness from the Disk. A light in the darkness…

    Inspiration was a rare visitor in the mind of Khalen but the idea that was taking root there now seemed as real and solid as the looming figure of the First One before him, awaiting his command with the sort of patience only a golem possesses.

    Khalen issued a command and the golem strode away towards the mountains, searching for a very particular type of stone that might suit his master’s purpose. He then turned his attention to the blocks the First One had already gathered and shaped.

    For fourteen days and fourteen nights, the sand danced through the air to Khalen’s will, carving out a stone figure from each slab. The process was identical to the method Khalen used to create the First One, save for the fact that these golems were much smaller and weaker than their predecessor. After each one was finished, Khalen issued the same command – gather stone, shape it into blocks and return.

    Before long, there was a road leading from the stone plateau to the mountains, made by the endless marching of earthen feet. Every so often, the First One would return, carrying a tall stone pillar, each made from a different type of rock until there were twenty-two in total. These Khalen arranged in a large circle and around them, the first blocks of the tower were laid and shaped.

    After the first month, the ground floor of the Tower of Baal was complete. Standing twenty-two feet in height, the first chamber was a grand hall, with a marble floor. In the centre was an obsidian circular table with twenty-two delicately carved stone chairs around it. This would be the Council chamber, for when the brothers and sisters of Baz’Auran wished to discuss matters of importance.

    The next month saw the completion of the second floor, a slightly smaller area than the Council chamber but still measuring twenty-two feet in height. This area was used for storage and as a makeshift library in the years to come. Several golems were permanently stationed here so that they could fulfil the requests of any visitors.

    Then came the hardest part of all – the chambers of the Children. There were twenty-two floors in total, each with a single room. The rooms as they stood now were sparsely furnished – should a sibling wish to change the room to suit himself or herself mattered not to Khalen. The curious thing was that when the tower was observed from the outside, it would always show twenty-two of the smallest circles of the tower but a sibling climbing from one floor to the next would turn up at their intended destination, rather than having to climb all twenty-two floors. Although Khalen felt uncomfortable about having to use magic like this in the construction of the Tower, being able to evacuate the tower quickly or gather people together in an emergency overtook his misgivings.

    Yet eventually, the Tower was finished and the Lord of Law and Divination stood on the roof and gazed out at the desert far below him. From his lofty vantage point he felt like he could see across the Disk itself…

    Almost without thinking, he raised his arms and a wave of sand surged up the sides of the tower and spun slowly around the white haired figure at the top. He began to breathe slowly and deeply as the sand spun around him. As the sand spun and rubbed against itself, it began to grow hotter, the friction causing the grains of sand to melt and fuse together. The desert air, already hot to begin with, became a furnace as a glass began to form on the roof of the tower and bubbled outwards, forming a crystal sphere with hundreds of facets.

    As the night air cooled the finished sphere, Khalen collapsed on the floor, weary beyond measure and began to dream…

    Act Expenditure:

    Spoiler
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    2 Major: Create "Sentient" Race (Golem)

    While not technically sentient, being under control of Khalen's crown, Golems are classed as a race of beings. The race of golems is a diminutive version of the First One, an Exarch golem under Khalen's control. Golems are strong, being able to lift a stone block of approximately equal size to themselves and being able to travel for long distances without feeling tired, hungry or thirsty. While Khalen is aware of where a golem is and what it is doing, he is unable to see through a golem's eyes or speak through a golem. Golems are also somewhat clumsy, lacking in dexterity what they have in strength. A golem is strong in combat but wields no weapons and carries no armour as these interfere with the signal from Khalen's crown. A group of humans that are able to knock down a golem and attack it with sledgehammers or similar are quite capable of destroying it.

    2 Minor: The Tower of Baal

    A desert fortress for the children of Baz'Auran, this imposing building stands a tenth of a mile high. The ground floor is the widest, then a second floor smaller in diameter above it and then 22 floors (again, smaller in diameter) above that. The first floor is a meeting chamber, the second is a storage area/library and the twenty-two floors above that are for each of the siblings. While the rooms are sparse, feel free to modify them to suit your god's needs. Possibly, depending on what happens with realms, these rooms could be a gateway to your realm, or merely just a place for your god to rest when visiting Khalen. I don't see any of them being occupied on a permanent basis for the forseeable future.

    The Eye of Khalen.

    A crystal sphere at the top of the tower, this will be used eventually as a place for Khalen to scry from in future. It also allows anyone in the sphere to share Khalen's divinations and see what he sees. It's not active yet - it needs some divine mojo either from one of Khalen's siblings I think - possibly either the Weaver or Dasque. When activated, it will have 1 Ceremony and/or 1 Major Act's worth of magic behind it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas-Dakota View Post
    Succubus gets grongratulatory cookies from me. You have stepped into the realm of puns that only the likes of Death, Your Friend the Reaper have seen.

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

  10. - Top - End - #520
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    Avyra's Home

    The Weaver's eyes fluttered open, and once again a smile crossed his face. "Avyra! So I did find you. I was worried it was all some sort of strange death-dream." Slowly, carefully, The Weaver sat up. "Then I'm not dead. Well that's a relief. Being dead would have been awfully inconvienent." He shook his head, trying to clear out the last of the ringing in his mind. He might not have managed to kill himself, but that smashing against the wall hurt. "And I'm the first? Well that's a relief. None of our siblings have died then. Except...you. Oh my." The Weaver, gingerly at first, reached out to hug his elder sister. "You're halfway. Like me and the Dream-time. Except you're more a part of this world than the other. Oh my sister. We've missed you, out there. There's been so many things happening. Fayruz, and Faden, and Frellon and Haramhold and Kalandor and Brandis and Shirvan and Carolinus and even Llassar. They all found mortals, and they've adopted them. And Fayruz's came under attack by some horrible beast, and he took over Kalandor, but we made him leave and-Oh, Avyra, this world is so strange. I...I keep a brave face for the others, because I'm the oldest besides Jongo and Faden, and Jongo's nice but he doesn't know how to lead, and Faden's too caught up in his magic and-" Halfway through his rather feverish retelling of the events of the past few days, The Weaver began crying. It had been so long since he had seen his sister, and though he would never tell anyone, he always looked up to Avyra. She was just so calm. So strong. When The Weaver really felt confused, it was always to Avyra he would go. Maybe she didn't have the answers, but her prescence calmed The Weaver. "I needed to see you again."
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

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  11. - Top - End - #521
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    This is true: that the siblings of the goddess left that very day, the Traitor Wanderer vanishing as swiftly as he had come, the Lady of Light and the Hollow Shaman returning to their mount, greatest of all the children of the glorious Phoenix who lives on the tallest mountain of the northern mountains, who once kissed our Maiden.

    That the Smith presented our Maiden with the Olmstone, which he named in the tongues of the gods, the Crystal of Community. This, of all gifts given to our people, is one of the oldest and greatest, for it allows us to give back to the goddess what we have taken from her. Is it not said, my brothers, that all children of the Olm must return to it once in their life on pilgrimage? Is it not decreed by the Artful Ones that every pilgrim must, at least once, give of themselves for our suffering Maiden? Even greater, then, is the piety of the priests who guard it, who constantly give of themselves, and the stream of grateful parents and siblings who come to thank the goddess for keeping a loved one in the land of the living.

    That the Greenking was offered the feast that our people had made ready for his siblings, and was astonished by the poorness of our food, the fattened goats roasted for him, and the roots dug from the earth for his siblings. He spoke before the assembled Fayheran, speaking of the hunger of the earth of the rocklands, speaking of the terrible spirit of famine that pervaded our homeland. From the mountains to the glass-mines, all about the Olm, the soil was thirsty and hungry, just as we were. Only the bounty of a god, it was said that night, could sate its hunger and its thirst, so that we might be given food and plenty. And this is truth, as well: that every man, woman and child who met the Greenking felt his warmth, the fire burning in his gullet, that not only burned away at his body but also brought constant cheer to his face. And they smiled, too, and forgave their neighbor of his debts, and recalled how bravely their enemies had fought by their side against the thralls of black sand, and the creatures of the desert.

    That in those days, the Smith created the Three Walls of the Olm, and the Three Gates, and the Six Towers. The long spires of the Towers seemed to reach towards heaven, and the thickness of the walls was greater than the Aferi of Dol Mazzah had ever dreamed. Gamesha, the Scarred King, spoke of the dire need to train the guards, but he could hardly spare time to do so, for he was hard at work preparing the Smiling Ones for their sacred duty. The Walls reminded the people that they could return to their ways, in which they feared the darkness and the spectre of hunger, or they could work as one to make the rocklands a reflection of heaven.

    These were the days of glory, these were the days of heroes. These were the days in which the Greenking began his mighty work, that the children of the Fayheran might not hunger, and that all might have work to attend to in the fields; these were the days in which Fayruz, to save a maiden's life, went northwards and was kissed by a phoenix; these were the days in which our Maiden's sisters came to the Olm, gracing it with their presence, inspiring beloved Shyreza and bold Gamesha; these were the days when the Ghoulking came northwards once more, having gathered the fierce barbarians of the south to his will, towards an Olm bereft of the Trinity, leaving only the Sacred Heroes and the Greenking to stop them.

    These were the days in which we discovered the gods were real, and they loved us.
    -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.
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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.

  12. - Top - End - #522
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    As the sun sank under the edge of the disc Haramhold and Amanda climbed aboard Green MorningStar and with a final farewell flew away into the night. Haramhold steered the airship to fly as high as they could bear, so to avoid many of the air borne dangers of creation. The trip back to the olm was mostly uneventful, each of the passangers wrapped up in their own thoughts.

    Haramhold, contemplating how he could possibly defeat the source of the storms which ravaged the island continent he called home. A few ideas starting to form, perhaps he need not destroy this foe in order to defeat it...

    Amanda thinking about her conversation with the blessed Fayruz and what she should do.

    Several days later Green MorningStar gazed upon the swirling vortex which engulfed the land. Still high above the clouds Haramhold steers toward the plateau Salus resides on following the frantic prayers of his people.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  13. - Top - End - #523
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    A despaired lonely sister laments

    The red moon floats gently in a sea of darkness and small lights.
    The land lays silent as it sleeps. The songs of the wind here are quiet. Here a small fox has walked, and stands at a distance now, as it watches it's master curiously.

    Just like chained memories
    of your unforgettable warmth
    The color of promise is fading, swept away in the wind,
    To the sky hazed with scarlet laments
    Memories that echo in my ears
    along the path of faint sighs
    To where have you gone?

    I chase after you with my tired feet,
    I want for you with my painful heart,
    I whisper, I sing, I search for you

    Can we ever meet again?

    The lady who stands now at the edge, looks off into the darkness, of a sea illuminated in blood red light. A sea the end she cannot see, but which must be crossed.
    Her heart pulls her here, and to the edge of it she splashes bare feet, losing slippers in the red waves.
    The sound of footsteps and splashes of quiet swallowed despair. It is not a song. It is not a song Sonata wants to sing. And she chokes it back with a determined look. to throw off the trappings, to go where her family is. Where her sister is. Where she is not alone.
    But this obstacle is before her now. And it is greater than she thought.
    A single fallen drop of water, echoes louder and sings reviberations in the waves. A determined look thrown freely at the moon and the eternity of the horizons.
    Sonata looks back to the wolf of lightning and sparks, who watches silently. She sees the fox, who waits the cunning words.
    But there are no cunning words. Sonata touches the head of the Lightning Wolf respectfully.

    "It is far to the end, Lady Sonata."

    A small laugh echoed with the drum of insanity, a small spark of chaos rebounded from Jongo, a drop in the water rippled.

    Sonata defies the borders of sea


    The shadows calling away in a crimson red sky upon the face of a daughter of the moon city, the smile and determination driven by this yearning waltz. Only one reply can surely come.
    "Then we should start now."
    Swiftly then Sonata sat gracefully with legs free upon the Lightning Wolf's back, and the small fox jumped quickly to sit upon the lap of Sonata as the wind danced about and sent her hair flying.
    Renard had never come further than this, and had no words for Sonata. But she looked down with a grateful smile. She touched his head affectionately, and returned her gaze to the horizon where her sister was, a determined look and a fierce smile on her face.
    "Fly, Wolf of Lightning!" She commanded.
    "Fly and cleave this darkness, and we will bring the dawn to my sister!"

    With the encouragement of Sonata and the dancing wind, the Lightning Wolf howled and leaped into the sky. And so they did cross the great sea in legendary time.


    The morning in Olm could be seen by the earliest risers, today the clouds to the far east were split with a shimmering rainbow. And such a sight was confusing and set the villagers to surprise and awe. Rain and rainbows together were so rare in this place, and yet the clouds thundered in the distance across the desert. the ominous crying of the clouds in the distance, the wind brought the sweet smell of rain, and then the lightning wolf descended.
    Down and down, here and there he leaped and sparked. And on his back was Sonata, her heart beating like the distant falling rain. But now it was here behind her with it's melody and relief.
    And the Thunder Wolf landed to the ground in the center square, a loud thunder cry and wolf howl together, as the sky above the Olm cried and it's rain fell on the dry streets.
    But it did not touch Sonata as the rain danced around her.
    She let a barefoot touch the ground as she praised the tired Wolf. Here the lightning wolf at down, the dancing fox jumping first to land and laugh and sing his praise.

    Sonata turned first and threw her hands on her hips with a quick glance. The smirk and sharp look around, the rainbow wrapped around her shoulders.

    she spoke then to whomever was drenched in the rain in the market square.
    "Where is my sister? I am the princess of the white city, the fox child and the first song of the moon palace! Where is Fayruz?"
    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
    It is difficult to speak English, please excuse mistakes kindly m(_ _)m

  14. - Top - End - #524
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    It was a chilly morning as Morguk, lieutenant of the Grokian Contingent, seventh son of Gorq, listening out across the horizon. The sun was about to clear the horizon, and the first rays of sunlight were just peeking over the mountain, warming his skin. He wondered what his fellow squad-mates were doing right now, he thought, his sightless eyes turning to peer in the direction of the tents. Probably still asleep, he reflected. Perhaps later he would go down. He absently scratched his leg, then turned to leave – his body fell soundlessly. Farther down the line, another guard pitched forward, and another. Shadows writhed up over their bodies and, in utter silence, dragged them down to the ground, where their bodies evaporated in puffs of scentless dark. The Nightborn slaves, by now aware of the enfolding events, came out of their tents, their emanciated bodies thin in the half-light. One guard, somehow sensing that something was wrong, managed to pull forth his horn, and sucked in a deep breath to blow it. He blew – but no sound came forth. His face turned first red, then purple, veins standing forth in sharp relief, but to no avail. Nothing. The shadows cut him down, still blowing uselessly. The slaves clustered uneasily, but nothing else moved. Except a shadow over their faces, a shadow that should not have been visible in the darkness of night, yet was. The darkness that had been the guards writhed and spun, crackling, then shot upwards, towards the shadow. And silent wings beat over them, hovering, as the slaves knelt, as one.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Gone. All gone.” Repeated Third Marshal Ruskug. “And the slaves are gone as well, without a trace. Even their scents are gone from the surrounding area, as if they were erased.
    Everyone was thinking the same thing. “This can’t be him. We checked as soon as this was reported. His statue is still there” Acolyte Tugik ventured nervously.
    "Then what? Who? How? Twenty fine soldiers were posted there, and we cannot even verify that they were even there? How is this possible?” Second Marshal Brugh was furious. “Double-check the ruin. We must be sure.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    The shadowed form of That-which-was-not-Aramar-yet-Was stood before his freed people.

    “You have suffered, and your suffering has been answered. I am here, yet not all here. Vengeance must be had. Vengeance against those who have imprisoned both you and I. Who would stand forth, to give themselves utterly to the destruction of those who have wronged us?”
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Reports trickled in faster and faster. Troops went missing, storage depots were destroyed, and everywhere slaves rose up against their masters. To make things worse, there were reports of strange creatures that had been sensed, though they were deathly quiet and fast. Those few scouts who had managed to use their echolocation and escape reported that they moved with the speed of the wind, and at times shifted form. When they killed, their victims would fall before them and seemingly offer themselves to be killed. The Marshals shook in their Stalagmite Holds, while above the arcanists of the Blind-folk debated ceaselessly in their stalactite abodes. Until the reports ceased to come in. And their senses began to fail them. And then they knew fear.


    Spoiler
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    Acts Available: 6 Major, 6 Minor, 2 Ceremonies
    Acts Used:
    1 Major: Change certain Nightborn into Silvariar. Though all Nightborn venerate Aramar as their protector, those that give in to their darker sides and pledge themselves to the Night Hunter gain mystical powers. Among the powers gained is the power to discompose themselves into swarms of bats, and the power to absorb the powers of their fallen foes by drinking their memories and experiences. These dark Nightborn become known as the Silvariar. Drinking memories makes them more powerful, but also imbues them with the quirks of their victims for a short period, perhaps a few days, before the persona can be completely assimilated. Those who partake overmuch of memories can also be driven insane, and have to be hunted down -- as such, it is no light matter to intake an experience. The Silvariar make use of special medallions for this purpose, known as Tran'wai, or Mind-keys. These medallions can each contain the mind of a creature, and when full a glyph appears on their surface, denoting the memories contained within to one who knows the runes. These benefits come with several drawbacks, however -- the most noticeable of which is the need to drink memories -- if they do not drink for a long enough period of time, their own power slowly saps their own memories, leaving them mindless and cataconic. (If youre confused, think vampires, but they drink memories, and are imbued with the strength of their victims.)

    1 Major: Gain Ability (Battle-Magic)

    1 Minor: Blight Population: Blind-Folk

    1 Minor: Bless Population: Silvariar

    1 Minor: Split personality: Aramar managed to escape the timefield, but only in part. The part of him that escaped is formed of his desire for revenge and his more dangerous side (with respect to other creatures). The Night Hunter is an assassin, stalking his prey, and many claim that he enjoys the screams of his prey as he closes in. Aramar is at some level aware of the other's existence, but it exists in the fringes of his (as of yet still frozen) mind. The Night Hunter is fiercely protective of his more naive half, and as such can be bargained with independently. (Note: I wasn't sure on the act count here. Correct me if it needs fixing.)
    Last edited by Demidos; 2012-05-01 at 03:39 PM.
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    MethosH

    My Characters:
    Flutter: Level 20 Tristalt

    My Homebrew:
    WIP
    The Fortunar Base Class

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

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

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


  15. - Top - End - #525
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    Trinkets

    They say that the Red-Handed Goddess returned from the barrows with a sword in her hands, pitted and scarred by the long passing of years yet deadly still. No weapon could stand against it; stone blades shattered, and the hafts of spears and clubs splintered in their wielder's hands. A single scratch from the blade was enough to kill, for some subtle poison passed into the wounds. On the morning of the first day after the battle the victim would complain of aches and pains like an aged man; on the second morning he would rise limping and go the whole day without smiling or speaking; on the third morning he would be found stiff as a corpse—for corpse he was. There were few, ally or enemy, who dared face her when she wielded that rust-pitted blade, and it seemed she might drive all of her enemies into the sea with it alone; but one day she struck a poor blow against a copper-studded shield, and it splintered like a piece of old driftwood.

    For a while she used the jagged stump for her weapon—it was sharp still, and made a fine knife—but after a time that, too, was lost.

    They say that when the Red-Handed Goddess fought the champion Elinek he wore armor made from the bones of the land. His arms and chest were weighted with grey stone, his feet were stamped with clay, and about his head and shoulders hung green and growing things. So long as he wore the island's signs, the stories whispered, he could never be killed. And perhaps this was true; certainly he stood longer than anyone else against the Daughter of the Red Moon. They fought from murky dawn to fogbound sunset, and neither copper blade nor stone knife could find purchase on his armor. It was only when the clouds broke at midnight, and the blood moon shone for all to see, that he fell, wearied by the long battle and the death of everyone who had fought with him (for the rest of the battle was long since finished, his people vanquished. She ripped the crown of greenery from his head and removed the plates of stone that had shielded him, and ran him through; and that was the end of Elinek's people.

    But when her followers gathered up the armor and presented it to Nieve she laughed, saying, why should I want such a thing? I do not wish to be weighed down by Elinek's burdens, chained to a people and chained to the land. I wish to run free, and if I die, die free. And she dropped it to the ground, and the grass grew over it where it fell, and it is now lost to the world forever.

    They say that when Balasan, wealthiest of all the chiefs of Brymhide, was defeated, some of Nieve's most ardent followers went to his clay houses and gathered all the precious things his people had owned: painted clay and carved bone talismans, antler and dyed wool, gleaming silver, jewels from faraway lands that had somehow washed up on the southern shores. They took the best of these things and with them wove a shimmering crown, thin as a lady's finger and adorned with two dozen of the island's finest treasures. Nieve received it eagerly, exclaiming over its beauty, and wore it constantly for two days and nights. The day after she wore it not. When they ran to battle against Balasan's neighbors she bore it around her arm like a bracelet, and in the victory-revels afterwards she took it up once more, and her people brought her the best of the spoils to weave into the crown. Two days later she put it aside.

    Things continued in this manner for a while, until one day she did not don the crown after a battle. When asked why, Nieve replied that she had lost it some time ago. Some bemoaned the loss, and some offered to search, and one cast insults at her for losing the precious things they had given to her. Nieve killed that one, and to the others merely smiled and shook her head. Things pass, in time. They are not worth mourning.

    They say that no weapon can stand her touch for long before breaking, now. Armor decays at a glance. Ropes fray and knots come undone, stones crumble and wood splinters. The Rust Queen's careless touch tears down that which was made, unravelling the weavings of the world.

    Spoiler
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    First turn artifact: none. Nieve rejects such things as transient and ultimately without meaning, and in doing so denies that they have any power over her.


    Signs

    Before her stretched the ocean, wide and grey.

    Nieve stood waist-high in the surf, half-healed wounds stinging as the salt worked its way in. She could feel the power of the sea brushing against her, nearly strong enough to bowl her over even at the edges, and loved it. She wanted to dive in, to test her strength against this thing that was so much larger than her, to laugh and glory in the struggle and the newness of it all.

    Behind her, Brymhide Isle lay gutted. Grass huts were scattered on the wind, half-buried stone houses were already sinking into the earth to join the barrows beneath the hills. Somewhere behind her, Denne lay with a spearpoint lodged in her breast, and Aruin with his head split open by a stone, and Oun curled around the belly-wound that had slain him. Usa's once-fair skin was withered and rotted over her bones, only a few leagues from where Sola's grief-maddened corpse knelt. There was Devon with his broken neck, Shesa laid open by a half-dozen swords, Larim who had died of swollen wounds, Bal dead with a knife in his back, his brother gutted and left for the beasts to maul. Essen slept inside the tomb he had dreamt was his; Nan was stretched on grassy earth, grinning up at the stars with . A thousand and more lay forgotten on the green earth behind. Nieve had not seen any living man outside her band for some time; those who had not fled were hidden, living amid the briars and barrows like animals cowering before the hunt. The earth was fallow, unless you wanted to grow briars and sawgrass and gnarled dwarf-trees. The beasts were wary, and few. There was nothing left but wind, and fog, and the empty tombs of the dead.

    Nothing interesting, in other words.

    The sea called to her, taunting and enticing at the same time, promising something else over the horizon. But she knew—for she'd tried more that once—that if she swam she would tire before she even left the island's shadow. That path did not appeal; just because she wasn't afraid of dying didn't mean she wanted it. Not like that. Nieve turned and waded back to the beach, scowling.

    Several of her people crouched there, watching her with bright eyes. They often did that nowadays, hoping that she would lead them to whatever it was they craved. But the past few—days? Weeks? It felt longer; months?—had given them nothing. No battle, no wild beasts, not even the haunting calls of the cliff-gaunts promising that there was something still lurking in the night. It was maddening.

    Need burned within Nieve's breast, sharp and painful. She wanted to murder something; that would sate the flame for a little while. One of her own would do. She was far from the only one to indulge in that kind of sport.

    But then she caught sight of something else. One of the men had been toying with pebbles and wood on the beach, and somehow driftwood and stone and kelpwrack had fallen so that they spelled out words in a language he could not possibly know: COME. HARAMHOLD. SAFE.

    Brother.

    "Boats," she demanded in a strangled voice. They looked at her quizzically. "The boats we found in that last village! Get them."

    "They have holes in them," said a woman dubiously. "I think the fisherfolk took all their good boats with them when they fled, and left us the broken ones that won't float anymore."

    Nieve dismissed this with a flick of the hand. "Then we'll fix them." At which they all looked dubious, but the goddess was not to be denied in this. They'd fix a bloody boat even if it took ten years to figure out how.

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

    One night she saw a crimson light in the fog; not the bloody radiance of the moon, but something smaller that darted like a drunken firefly through the mists. She watched, and somehow was not surprised when it came to rest in front of her. The tiny winged creature spoke with a voice between man and woman, of a far-off desert and the god who had made his home there, of the bringer of magic, of her eldest brother. When it finished, she told it to carry this message in return: tell Faden I am alive. Tell him I'm coming to see my family. Soon.

    Perhaps she shouldn't have been so happy to hear that her family lived—hadn't she promised herself never to care about such things?—but she couldn't help it. She was looking forward to seeing them again.

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

    Two of the men were fighting. It was not an uncommon thing—her people were restless, and they had so little food that it was easy to find an excuse—but there was something about one of them that caught her eye. It was the way he moved, she decided: that catlike grace, those sure steps, the arrant surety in his smile as he disarmed his foe with a twirl of his stone-edged club. She watched hungrily, and remembered another warrior with eyes of gold and hair of silver.

    She'd go to this one tonight, she decided, even if he wasn't who she really wanted. Nieve had learned the dangers of putting off pleasure too long.

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

    She was standing on the beach one evening, ankle-deep in the surf, and gazing out at the twilight sea when she heard it. A breeze caressed the beach, bringing the smell of spice and the warmth of southern sunlight; for a few minutes the chill of Brymhide's ever-blowing northwestern winds faltered. On that breeze came voices, high and clear despite the distance they traveled:

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    My name is Fayruz-
    A princess was I
    In days so sweet
    Now long-forgotten
    When we all played
    In our father's home
    In the white towers
    And in warm gardens
    My name is Fayruz-
    From heaven I fell
    And mercy I found
    In the land of heat
    And sand amid rocks
    I healed a great king!
    I healed the blood
    That issued forth
    From the earth itself
    Now queen am I
    Dressed in fool's robes
    In the land of fire
    In the land now pure
    My name is Fayruz-
    And I remember my
    Siblings who I have
    Lost in the great Fall
    Who fell from our
    White home now red
    Can you hear my song?
    Where have you gone?
    I am here enthroned
    Among a people now
    Whole and healed
    From strife and sorrow
    My name is Fayruz-
    And I love all who
    Are bound to me by
    Blood and childhood
    Jongo, ever-laughing
    Faden, ever-wisest
    Soreal, spirit-talker
    Nieve, ruddy-cheeked
    Khalen-Het, ever-just
    Aerin, ever-flattering
    Dasque, fair-headed
    Lossethir, ever-joking
    Avyra, ever-gentle
    Aramar, dusk-lover
    Weaver, thread-skilled
    Roselia, ever-cunning
    Contragh, most-strong
    Frellon, ever-brave
    Llassar, never-worried
    Rumel, ever-crafty
    Sonata, most-beautiful
    Haramhold, keen-eyed
    Carolinus, strong-armed
    Kalandor, ever-yearning
    Brandis, ever-jovial
    Shirvan, ever-perfect
    Can't you hear my song?
    I miss you, my siblings!
    Fayruz calls your names!
    Your princess calls now!
    Why do you not answer?
    Have you gone missing?
    Have you fallen ill?
    Have you died in battle?
    Have you returned home?
    Have you left your sister?
    Please, my siblings, come!
    I wait for you in this land.
    The rocks whisper among
    Themselves, and the wind
    Whips up the sand into
    Great clouds of dust over
    The sweet streams and
    The high mountains that
    Are barren and cold yet
    Have given birth to these
    Brave people who follow!
    Come and meet them!
    Your sister waits at the Olm-
    Hoping that she is not alone…
    Hear me, vast land
    awakening from sleep!

    And of my brothers and sisters,
    numbered myriad
    shining of the moon's glow
    hear the white city's songs
    remember, and hear
    with perfect fulfillment, shine upon me
    your love and your memory,
    Faden, have you yet mastered your secrets, where have your thoughts turned, but from me?
    Khalen-Het, what has become of your stern figure and thoughts?
    Carolinus, are you still my loyal brother unchanged?
    Jongo, eldest sibling, what form do you wear, is it still joyous or now tear-stained?
    Soreal, my free sister, where do you walk now, no longer the gardens of eternity?
    Lossethir, far brother, what songs of victory do you make now?
    The Weaver, named brother, do you still weave your visions truly?
    Kalandor, where have you wandered, is it beyond my ear and voice?
    Rumel, over the hammer songs, can you hear me?
    Aramar, I cannot see you, but under the moon do you still walk?
    Brandis, fair brother of joy, do you keep the memories of the white city strong?
    Frellon, honorable brother, what songs are sung of you now?
    Haramhold, my brother, what new thing have you built today?
    Shirvan, dear brother, does the confidence still burn in your eyes?
    Llassar, dear brother, do you still rest peacefully like those younger days?
    Avyra, my sister, what color is the moon from your eyes?
    Dasque, dear sister, does your light bless these lands in father's place?
    Contragh, my brother, do you remember your proud ambitions?
    Nieve, elder sister, what song do you dance to now, that our moon home is gone?
    Fayruz, dearest sister, where are you? When will we be together again?


    One song echoed the other, slipping into the empty spaces between the other's lines til they blended into one. They sang of memory and longing, of sorrow and the joys that had grown out of it, of hopes and dreams and the expectation of things to come.

    ...Nieve, elder sister, what song do you dance to now...
    ... Your sister waits...
    ... when will we be together again?


    And Nieve had no song to give in answer, no words for the need it awakened in her—a different need than the killing-lust she had discovered on Brymhide Isle, and older. She could only dance, spinning slowly beneath the blood moon with her arms outstretched in promise.

    "I am coming, sisters," she called into the night. "I'm coming."
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-06-07 at 03:13 PM.
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  16. - Top - End - #526
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    Sonata at the Olm

    Every member of the Artful Ones had some talent that they could share, some gift that had led them to Shyreza, or had led Shyreza to them; the Smiling Ones, the new warriors who carried hammers and drew scars on their faces, thought that they were versatile with their skill with all the weapons of the Fayheran, the spear and the sword and the sling, the knife and the bow and the hammer most of all, which was both smith's tool and monster-slaying weapon in their hands. Let them attempt to become Artful Ones! Shyreza's intent was that they would know not only the art of the blade, which was intricate and beautiful in its motion, but also the art of the loom and the art of the story, the art of the song and the art of the harp, and the art of the tongue.

    Serekan, the comely young man with his one arm and his blood-red Ma-Shen tattoos, was instructing them in the finer arts of the song, secrets he knew best of all, when the rain began. Its clouds discolored the horizon swiftly, too swiftly - something was wrong with it, Shyreza knew immediately. She ceased singing, and told Serekan to quickly go find the Smiling Ones and the Kindly Ones, in case it were the Ghoulking returning to conquer the people who had twice defied him.

    They came quickly. If there was one thing Shyreza were thankful for, it was knowing that Saven and Gamesha were nearby her all the time, the gangly, grinning warrior and the quiet, enduring healer with the white-soft glowing crystal resting upon the breast of his robes; story-tale characters, if they ever existed in the world of man, the former chieftain and the former warrior, both having rejected their stations.

    "Ruttin Ghoulking," was the first thing Gamesha said, as he strode towards the Artful Ones gathered in the Plaza of Song - which Fayruz herself had named in honor of a place from her childhood. He had been sweating hard, it was obvious, and his hammer was clenched tightly in his hand. "We need to summon the warriors-"

    Melzidel finally spoke, her voice low and commanding. "Those clouds run much too fast to be him; I see no hand in them, either. Didn't the Fayheran south-roving say his hand stretched out over heaven? I see no long fingers, no dessicated palm. But a spirit it is, and a powerful one, if it can stir up the clouds from the mountains and bring them here." She looked at Shyreza, not smiling, but simply certain in what had to be done. "Daughter of glass, are we not Fayruz's tongues? Our Maiden, she rides out again, with our prayers resting against her breast; another must speak for her."

    Shyreza breathed in. The air was sweet and wet, and startlingly cold, as cold as water straight from the Olm's heart and the mother's breast. "I understand," she said. "Gamesha, Saven - please, come with me. All else - please be ready in case this spirit is hostile. We'll meet it at the Riverfane, if it will-"

    And then it came down, on the lightning-flashes, as swift as fire and as massive as a griffin from the uttermost south, and it was a wolf, and on its back there was something, or someone, and Shyreza started running, Gamesha and Saven behind her, to meet it where it would land.

    The howl nearly knocked her off her feet - it was a wild thing, the sound that lighting made when it shattered mountaintops.

    When they came into the Square of Beauty - a perfect square marked by the ancient kings of the Olm with their long-faded paints, where women and men sold jewelry they had made, and made paints for the face, and dyes for clothing, and all the things that were not necessary but still brought pleasure to the Fayheran who wished to be as beautiful as their goddess - Shyreza's long braids were waterlogged with the rain, and Gamesha was cursing the wetness of his clothing and armor. Still, even his complaints ceased as the three of them saw the spirit in the middle of the stalls and small tents of the square, with her massive lightning-streaked wolf, and the small fox that grinned at her feet at them.

    The wolf: the hunter by day, the brutal king, the devourer of his own kind. The fox: the hunter by night, the cunning thief, the raider of goat-herds. This spirit, with every color in the world draped over her shoulders, must be a warrior-queen, Shyreza realized, some siren of ill-omen come to demand their allegiance. Should they bow? Should they speak boldly, and attempt to impress the spirit of their courage, at the price of possibly offending her? Could she drown the Olm in constant storms? Was the safety of the Fayheran in Shyreza's hands?

    Shyreza stepped forward, with much more boldness than she felt, rain running down her face, turning her bright red robes into dark crimson with wetness. And then, a man stepped forward, some crafter of stones into necklaces, and said to them, "She is a princess of the White City, the fox-sister, looking for Fayruz; tell her, please, that our goddess is not here!"

    Shyreza shook her head, softly. Was she the only one brave enough to speak to this spirit of war and water? With Gamesha standing behind her, hammer slung insolently on one shoulder, and Saven beside her, ready to defend her from the savage jaws of the lightning-wolf, should it attack, Shyreza stepped forward and said, with all the boldness she could hail, "I welcome you in peace to the Olm, home of the Fayheran who worship Fayruz Dragonslayer, the Maiden of Dusk, fox-sister and wolf-rider." Now that she could see the fox-sister closer, she was like Fayruz in almost every aspect - but the fox-sister's hair was straight, her features sharper, and she was proud of her beauty, that much was obvious. And something in Shyreza's heart stirred, moved by that beauty, awed and fascinated by it. It took her a moment to find the words to continue. "Please, your sister is in the east today, caring for those assaulted by the mountain-creatures. We are sorry to have let you come so far, only to find her gone. Let us find you lodging, and entertain you until her return." Please, she thought, do not be angry, child of the great king, do not demonstrate the nature of the wolf who devours his brother and his sister.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    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.

  17. - Top - End - #527
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kasanip's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Sonata at the Olm

    Standing beside the lightning wolf, Sonata turned her eyes upon the ones who approached her at last. The lightning wolf turned also to regard them, and then he revealed his long teeth with a yawn. To fly the southern sky in storm across sea, with dignity he rested. Sonata's gentle flick of her hand sent Renard to sit upon the wolf's back.

    Sonata regarded this woman with long braids, and the grim Saven and Gamesha, but it was Shyreza who spoke, and Sonata listened to her.

    She desired to go immediately of course. How far to the East? It could not have been too far, or she would have noticed as she approached. But Sonata had known the tale of the Lightning Wolf, and the legend of his flight this last night. it would not be appropriate to push too hard tonight.
    She closed her eyes, and listening to the rain, she heard the echoes of a melody. The melody of a fast and moving footstep, a pattern of dance that only could be Nieve. Yes, she was also coming. And in the echoing song she heard in the rain, Sonata found some peace. Sonata smiled, and let her hands fall from her side.

    She stepped forward as the rain stepped around her gently, as she touched Shyreza's shoulder. And then one music note of a laugh, and she was behind Shyreza- a simple and graceful step of a dance that Nieve had taught once. Sonata faced the man with a hammer, a raised eyebrow in this fox-like expression. But it was gone in a second, and she turned forward, putting an arm around Shyreza's shoulder and pulled her forward towards the lightning wolf, towards the center, walking closely and ignoring whatever uncomfortable feelings Shyreza had. Her touch was warm, but Shyreza saw that now Sonata had let the rain drench her hair and clothes.
    "You have a silver tongue, and it brings me comfort to know that my dear twin sister has a speaker like you. It's a good voice for singing, and it has surprised me with it's story, even only briefly told in humility. Dragonslayer? My sister?"
    Sonata's laugh was like the gentle rain, even now the rain above the Olm slowed and stopped, leaving only the rainbow worn around Sonata, the sweet fresh air, and the shining puddles on the street.
    "How strange, that she would slay, and yet the dragon king I made my servant. Things have changed. How I yearn to see her again!"
    She turned swiftly to put her finger on Shyreza's lips.
    "Accept my words humbly, since it seems the careful attention you have put to welcome me is true. I may rest a little easier, to know that my sister has one like you. Yes, it is appropriate. Alas, I should have brought Aria, and perhaps together compared our servants. Instead, I find i will be entertained here at the Olm of my sister, who is too busy to see me! A humbling turn!"

    Sonata laughed again, and gracefully moved from her grip on Shyreza, and walked across the sparkling puddles in the street. The spray of water seemed to dance around her barefeet, leaving diamonds. She clasped her arms behind her back, and winked.
    "Before it seems I am protesting, be assured I will accept your invitation. One more day can be waited, but no more than that." She gestured.

    "Come then, dress me in your fashion, let the lightning wolf sleep peacefully, and may you find me to be the fairest guest this evening of the Fayheran. Show me your ways, teach me your stories and songs! If my sister desires me to wait, then of course I will do so obediently if it is for her!"
    Sonata paused to remove the rainbow coat she wore, for it's divinity and purity she would not allow even out of politeness to be touched by a mortal hand, such was it's treasure. But as she did, her own glow seemed to fade some. Drenched like this, there was a glimmer of similarity - a faint echo of the melody like Fayruz, that humility that Shyreza had seen her lady wear about her. A closeness to mortal humanity. And yet Sonata's smile and stance was not so. A deity who was reducing herself to be like a mortal, and yet refused to hide herself. There was a strange enjoyment in her eyes, not unlike the fox. But it was not the hungry look of a wolf. Would this goddess soon grow ears and a tail? Such a question would not be surprising. Instead though, the goddess looked expectantly at Shyreza.
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  18. - Top - End - #528
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    The days since Llassar had arrived had most quickly and disappointingly; he had hoped to speak with his siblings, whom he had thought lost to him, dead in the fall. But alas, all but Fayruz had business to attend to, business greater than the reunion of family, apparently. Llassar would be bitter if he said he wasn't offended by their swift flight from city on roc's back and ship-deck; but he simply resolved to strike up a nice, long conversation the next time he saw them. As much as he hated to say it, there were matters more pressing then the existence of his siblings, and the one concerning him was the predicament of his darling sister Fayruz's people.

    He had spent the last day speaking to her of her people, of how she had become the queen of this land. He had almost stormed out of the room to confront Gamesha, and been caught in the grip of terror by her description of the dragon. The tale of the disgusting master of puppetry attacking his siblings raised his bile; he swore that the terrible thing would never lay any of it's terrible fingers on one of his siblings again. In return, he related his fall, being taken in by the people of the plains, and his transformation into the Man of the Harvest. But the most pressing issue, and the one most suited for his talents, was the issue of famine.

    The land was dry; dryer than anything Llassar had seen before. The plains hadn't gotten this parched even during the hottest parts of the summer, and it was his duty to figure out how to make this dry, dry land bloom. He was pondering how to bring water to this dustbowl when he head a great commotion from outside. He ran outside... and saw his sister, Sonata!

    "...Sonata? Is that..."

    And then he saw the rainbow wrapped around her shoulders, and the fox and wolves around her legs, and for a moment, all he could was gape.
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  19. - Top - End - #529
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    Wardstone


    The great fortress is busy indeed. On the forecourts of the final three walls hundreds of Wardens train thousands of volunteers. Carolinus starts his days here, though duty drags him away before the noonday sun has reached its zenith there is nowhere he would rather be. Hundreds of men are climbing up the walls on hundreds of ropes, excellent conditioning and a necessary evil for when the call for retreat came. Others run laps while other train with wooden weapons

    Carolinus is surrounded by 50 recruits, a single Warden stands by his side, Thorn, a huge hulking man of a somewhat stoic demeanour (When not addressing volunteers in strong terms) would take over this group when Carolinus left. He rotated groups each day, observing the trainers as much as the trainees. Throne's father had died beside Carolinus against the Children of the Shadow so he was relived to find he would not have to have him replaced. 'Now, new exercise. Two of you will attack me, you object is to knock me off my feet. You may use any of the weapons you have been training with. You and you, first pair. Choose your weapons and begin.' They both chose spears and then charged headlong at Carolinus. His wooden training sword easily deflected and points and then came up, tapping them both lightly. He leapt back as one of them came tumbling down from his headlong charge. 'Dead and dead.' He turned to address the group at large 'They should have chosen differing weapons. The spears reach is formidable, but once your opponent is past your thrust you rarely have time for another. Instead a man with a sword can protect a spearman, allowing him to attack without fear of his foe reaching him. Next.'

    The next pair chose spear and sword, but faired little better. After pronouncing them both dead he again spoke to the group 'These two worked together poorly. One was too timid and the other too aggressive. Numbers of meaningless if you are isolated or divided. Next.' The next two both chose swords, he asked why they chose those weapons, they both replied the same, it was their favoured weapon. Carolinus nodded his approval of the answer. They both approached cautiously, but leapt in unison to the attack. They worked well together and each had a natural gift for the blade. Carolinus let them show off for a while before suddenly backing up three steps and letting them over extend themselves following him. He stepped to the side and 'killed' one of them and then, stepping close, he propelled him into his partner. Both fell to the ground in a tangle of limbs and cursing 'This was much better. They worked well together, that is the point of this exercise. Cooperation is vital in combat. Next.'

    The next two also choice two swords, though only after the hatchet faced one and called the other to him to confer quietly. When he called the start they separated, circling him until one of them stood at his back. He smiled quietly, choosing to keep his eyes on the hatchet faced one, a tall wiry man with a sharp glint in his eyes. Then with a roar the one behind him charged. Carolinus turned to the attack only to see the man trip and came tumbling down into a rolling heap, his sword flying out of his hand. He signed as he turned back to the other man, seeing himself robbed of a golden teaching opportunity. The volunteer attacked with the reckless abandon of those who know themselves outclassed yet fear no serious counter attack. With three wild strikes he forced Carolinus back a step, forcing him back into the man now crouched behind his legs. He fell to the sound of riotous laughter and came to the feet grinning widely.

    He held his hand up for quiet. 'Now, this is what they did right. They conferred before they begun, they separated and attacked from two sides. They had a plan. You two, what companies?'
    The man who had tripped him answered 'Both Stormwind.'
    'Stormwind has a day's rest. The rest of you, 20 laps for not coming up with that first.' Amid much cursing the group set off with Thorn in tow to keep the count and 'encourage' those who fell behind. The ten men of the Stormwind company celebrated their good fortune quietly but with great sincerity, most of the volunteers had not had a day's ease in weeks, they lacked the strength to celebrate wildly.As it should be

    Carolinus' smile slipped away with his good humour as he looked down on wall four and reflected on what came next on his daily tour of duty.

    Walls four and five were littered with workmen. It was here he met his daily trials. The workmen were new comers. Carolinus had opened the flood camps as hundreds of people came fleeing to Markien, but these people had not seen him at Black Buttress, nor had he freed them from the Bastard of the Titans, nor had they lived all their lives in peace in Markien. They did not respect Carolinus and they did not respect the people of Markein, they reacted to such hard labour with sullenness and sly lassitude. They bragged of their battle prowess and insisted they belonged with the warriors, that such work was beneath them. They sometimes bullied and robbed new refugees on their way to Sanctum. The disrespected their overseers and disregarded their work.

    'No no no!' Carolinus yelled. 'In my father's name this is thrice in as many days!' He came running to those behind the fault, livid and struggling for control. 'I could see that fault from the other side of the courtyard, how can you not see it before you?' Furrows had been cut into the ground between the top of one wall all the way to the base of the next, large groups of men were now lifting planks of wood to either side of the furrows and hammering them in place. Carolinus knelt before one such furrows and slipped his index finger into the gap between two planks. 'If this had gone unnoticed we would have lost one of the ballistas, likely when we already have too few left. These groves are here to speed the removal of our war machines. Your lives are dependent on those war machines. How many times have I said this. Take more care.' The heavily tattooed tribesmen looked back at him with surly resentment and disrespectful silence.

    Suddenly there was a cry from behind him, Carolinus spun and saw one of the masons going down, blood pumping from his arm, a tribesmen with a bloody chisel in his hand loomed over the mason, he moved to finish the job. Carolinus gave an inarticulate bellow of rage and ran for the tribesman, who seeing a more worthy foe had the sense to drop his weapon and plead his case. It did him no good.

    'I have but one law and you have broken it.' Too fast to follow, Carolinus' blade was a silver flash as it was out of it's scabbard, arcing through the air and returned to it's sheath, leaving the tribesman to clutch at his throat in confusion as the crimson fluid that was his life's blood gushed through his fingers. He stood staring at Carolinus for several seconds longer, mute consternation in his eyes, before he collapsed and fled this world. 'Be at peace with your neighbour, that is all I ask.' He addressed the corpse. It had no response. He waited for the wall overseer to come to his side 'He was married?' He asked quietly. The man nodded 'Instruct his widow to present herself to my prophet at Sanctum. She will receive ten gold pieces to see her through the next few years.' His attention was caught by the mason, who was observing with horror the damage that had been done to his arm. Carolinus could read the man's thoughts, he feared for his craft, his livelihood. 'No, make that nine gold. The mason will receive one gold coin to sustain him until he is recovered. I also want these tattooed tribesmen rotated out of service, they are slowing work beyond tolerance. There must be plenty of other man able to do this work and better understanding of the stakes.'
    'And what is to be done with them, knight of the white city?'
    Carolinus looked at the overseer curiously, few of his people used that honorific 'Something that should have been started before now. Markien needs grave diggers. If we start digging plots now it will make it easier when the Titans come. I'm sure even these can master the subtleties of digging a hole.'
    'I will have them begin tomorrow. Where shall be the site?'
    'Near Wardstone, though not within sight of the keep. Somewhere discrete but accessible. I leave it in your hands.' The overseer looked none too happy with this new duty, Carolinus could hardly blame him.

    On the first two walls archers and catapult crews practised alongside engineers installing ballistas. This was complicated work. Carolinus had ambitiously determined to retain his ballistas as long as possible. The catapults would be lost when the walls fell, it was unavoidable. But for the ballistas he had designed a set of removable parts. One each wall was set (Or would in time be set) rotating bases, the firing pieces could be bolted or unbolted from these in minutes, and using horseteams, pulleys and ropes Carolinus believed he could salvage these firing parts using the tram lines now being dug. The engineers were all of Lothar's school, his being apparently a far better way of educating. He made a note to visit Jem and speak with him on the matter.

    The archers were largely new to the bow, there were Wardens among the trainers but most were humans with great aptitude both for the bow and for teaching. Carolinus was greatly thankful for these men, as his own skill with a bow was limited. He smiled in their direction and left them to their work. To the engineers he was well known and they greeted him warmly. His project had known hosts of setbacks, largely arising from faults of his own original planning. Today he was relieved to see there was little work to be done, everything was going well. He stopped briefly to talk with the men and then returned to the keep. After eating he held his daily meetings with the Lord Warden and his officers, the Quartermaster, the medics and then each of the new human officers in turn. Some would be chosen for high command when his defences were complete, he did not yet which it would be.

    Then, with the sun dipping below the horizon Carolinus did want most of the men at work in Wardstone did, he slipped into an exhausted sleep and rose the next day to do the same thing once again.
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  20. - Top - End - #530
    Troll in the Playground
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    Like a fish to Water.

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    All things are travellers, and at one time could be the traveller, when veiwed in the right light.

    A Chil'R priest.

    It did help that when he hit the water, he was a fish.
    Kalandor had marched across the deserts in forms myrad, seeking only as much sustenence was necesary. When he had reached the coast, it took a moment to realise, and return from an almost autopilot mode, in which he rested. The sea sprayed, sending foam to his face, currently of a tall black human. (Which had a stubble, for some unknown reason)

    Taking a moment to reorentate himself, feeling the land pulsing below him, the wispers of the wind flying past his head. The light murmering of the ocean, as if it was moving in its sleep. To his mind maps of his own devising, both on the disk and not, leapt at his mind. Charts of the wind and it's movements, the oceans currents, where land was.

    "The sea is safer, but land is faster. I can go to the sea at any time. I need to catch an outbound drift first, let me take to you, dear sea."

    And so, Kalandor ran to the seas opens arms, diving deep into a rip and taking the form of a fast, lazy and large fish, which dove, only to rise into an outbound aircurrent a little to the left, as a large Pelican, with a wingspan far larger than it should have.

    The Traveller was returning home.
    Or at least, where he had grown accustomed to laying his head.

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    Act Expenditure: Increase a Domain, Travelling Domain by 1. Now 2.

    1 Major Remaining. I'll work out the rest later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonwolf727 View Post
    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
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    Congrats, you made me laugh hard enough to draw my family's attention.

  21. - Top - End - #531
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    Reunion

    Dasque descended off the Roc, and nodded to Faden. "Unless you have specific business with our brother, I'd like to meet him alone. I don't know how the time on the Disk has changed him, and I'd like to be the first to truly see."

    -

    Dasque walked the rest of the way to the border of her brother's kingdom. She looked up at the mountain that loomed far above her. It was... a start. Truth be told she was more impressed by the Olm, at least at first glance. What wwas she going to find when she peeled the layers?

    The first people of her brother's approached her.

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    I'm leaving this fairly open as to whether they are coming on mounted cavalry at full charge, coming in a grand delegation, etc.

  22. - Top - End - #532
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    Jongo and the Storm

    As Jongo pushed his winged body further into the screaming winds, his divine sight was nearly obscured by sheets of steely rain. For hours, he struggled towards Salus, losing a mile for every two flown. Then, suddenly, a break in the hurricane - a wide stretch of empty void separating the stormclouds. It was a brief respite before the clouds converged to fill the emptiness, but it was enough to fill Jongo with renewed strength. Pressing on, he discovered another empty gulf, and another, but though they granted necessary respite Jongo's mood soon turned. For among these temporary havens moved arcing shadows, and with every mile closer to Salus a noise seemed to grow in Jongo's inner ear, a deep whistling that lay just beyond hearing. These signs served as warnings, but they could not have prepared Jongo for what was to come.

    Finally drawing near to Salus, Jongo reached a stretch of storm devoid of respite. His wings grew heavy, and it seemed almost as though he would have to land and walk the rest of the way before he saw it. Looming directly before him, it sheared through the clouds, a black pillar a wide around as the thickest of trees. Veering to get out of its path, Jongo finally saw what had been providing his rest periods, for in the wake of the great tentacle the storm was drawn away to roil and grow. Tracking its movement, Jongo saw to his amazement that the tentacle stretched all the way to the horizon, anchored to a line of cloud slightly darker than the rest. By some great fortune, as Jongo watched the receding tendril, he saw the dark clouds move, rushing towards him with such speed that the clouds before the disappeared to reveal a black tentacle that dwarfed the first, an impossibly long tower of glistening flesh. And as the tendrils attached to it emerged from the surrounding storm, an unholy thunderclap pierced the air.

    Haramhold and the Storm

    As Green Morningstar approached the roiling wall of lightning streaked clouds that surrounded Salus, the air seemed to grow still. Coming to a halt before the dark bulwark, Green Morningstar hesitated, seemingly unwilling to enter. Far away, they heard a sound unlike any natural thunder, but before they could move to investigate the seas beneath them exploded. Water shot up in a great wall, and for a moment it seemed as though rain were falling up. Staring down at the source of the disturbance, Haramhold at first thought he beheld a new island bordering his own, before the island opened four baleful green eyes. Each blazing orb dwarfed Green Morningstar, and as the tumescent bulk of the beast shifted a tripartite beak the size of a city opened to reveal a lamprey maw lined with millions upon millions of black crystal teeth.

    Who are you that flies above the domain of Kraken!? Pay unto me the proper respect or be destroyed!

    Carolinus and Kelmeris, One Year Ago

    Setting aside the metal that was to become his craft, Kelmeris bowed stiffly to the lord of Markien.

    "To understand the Empire, my lord, one must understand the Titans. We were the first of the civilized beings created by the skyfather, great Baz'Auran, when the world was in its infancy. For centuries, we worked to bring glory to his name and tame the dark reaches of this world. Yet when Baz'Auran saw the glories we had constructed, the order we had brought, he was not satisfied. Without explanation, he banished us to the caves of the north, from whence he had taken the materials to shape us, and our great cities crumbled into ruin. As Baz'Auran abandoned us, so have we abandoned him. The Overlord is, and has always been, the greatest of us - the first, the one imparted with a fragment of the betrayer's essence. His strength is unrivaled, though not untested, and for eons we have brooded beneath the stone coffins of our banishment and planned. Now, the red moon has come and our Overlord says that Baz'Auran has grown silent. No longer will we content ourselves with the meager edges of the world, no, we shall reclaim what was lost oh so long ago and reforge this world into a utopia."

    Wardstone

    As Carolinus turned from the maimed craftsman to continue his rounds, a cry went up from the walls. Carolinus heard it before he saw it, a steel shaft as large as his people's spears speeding through the air towards the first wall. It struck with the force of a thunderclap, sending almost half a dozen men falling to their deaths as the titan arrow buried itself in the stone. Carolinus was there in moments, only to find a tight scroll hanging from the murderous shaft.

    "To the lord Carolinus of Markien, let this be a declaration of war. One week hence, the armies of the Overlord shall begin our assault. May you die with honor."
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-05-07 at 12:42 PM.

    I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
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    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.

    If one were on drugs.
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  23. - Top - End - #533
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    Sonata meets Llassar

    Sonata turned to the sound of the voice. It was a voice she remembered for it's smooth and relaxed sound, and yet now it was apprehensive and surprised.

    She turned and it was that Llassar was the first of her siblings she saw after the Fall. And Sonata laughed and ran to him, and jumped onto her tall brother with a strong embrace.

    "Llassar! You survived?! It's, it's wonderful to see you!" She laughed, a tear falling like a diamond. She stepped back to look at him.
    "Were you always this tall? And these clothes... your hands are rough! Have you been working? My dear brother Llassar, working with his hands? Some things were never imagined before, but I am happy to see you!" She said. Her glowing smile turned slightly to confusion and wonder.


    "And... Why are you here? Isn't this Fayruz's place? Have you been here long? Are there others here?"

    Sonata despite her joy to see Llassar could not help but feel jealousy. Had the others been here too? Had it been Sonata who suffered alone in the fall? Did they even think about her?
    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
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  24. - Top - End - #534
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    Sonata and Llassar

    Scorpion's bones, the ruttin gods were a mad bunch, but this one was beyond them all. She rode on a giant storm-wolf, the devourer of its own kind, and a grinning fox sat by it. The sky opened up where she came, and her laughter was like bells and rain striking the river.

    And she was ruttin crazy. The warrior of light had been a barbarian, but this? This sister of the Maiden was spirit-touched. She moved from command to whimsy in the space of moments, spiriting Shyreza away from his care in but a ruttin moment before dancing away, letting the rain slick her hair. Too late, Gamesha realized - if she'd let her wolf eat Shyreza in that moment, when everyone was staring at her audacity, he would have been too late. His grip on his hammer tightened, and he grit his teeth. There was something about this sister of the goddess that reminded him of Shyreza. Maybe a skill with words, or the ability to use them like a snare, or a lyrical voice that wooed the senses.

    Then, ah, the tall brother came, with his pale skin and sandy hair, to greet his sister. And his sister embraced him tightly, and rejoiced. This, everyone saw, was ruttin human. What could be more honest than to embrace a brother? She began asking him a hundred questions, and Gamesha decided to assist the poor, tongue-struck brother of the goddess, who had certainly not been given the same beautiful tongue as his sisters. "Why," he said, stepping forward to place his hand on Llassar's shoulder with a grin, "He came here after that ruttin monster possessed the traveler, Kal, when the smith and the robes and the light-maiden left. Only he's here, though, at least now."

    "Rain-maiden," Shyreza said - there she was, soaked to the bone behind the gods, vainly trying to keep her composure. Ha! "Please, there is a tent nearby, not too far off, kept for our maiden's kin. If... if we go there, I would be happy to teach you everything you want to know about us and our songs, barring the songs that only the Kindly Ones know, the ones that heal and purify the body. Clothes, clothes too, I'm sure we can find gowns suitable for you, rain-maiden..." Shyreza wasn't flustered nearly often enough. It was somewhat pleasing to see her stumbling over herself, trying to give this wild spirit-goddess what she wanted.

    "And the minute we see Fayruz," Gamesha added, "We'll tell her of your arrival, Lady...?"
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    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.
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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.

  25. - Top - End - #535
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    The Dawn Palace

    Carolinus stretched, he wallowed in a sea of pain, the tightness of his muscles and the great fatigue of his body screaming at him with a thousand mute hurts. So great was his discomfort he lost himself, lost track of what Louisa was saying and even where he was.

    It could not last. So great was his weariness everything had taken on a dreamlike quality. He opened his eyes, on some level hoping to awake from a dream and find himself once again in the white city. It was not to be.

    Still distracted, not yet able to focus on Louisa, he looked around the room. He had put a great deal of effort into building Louisa's private room. It was intended as a replica of a small spot in Baz'Auran's garden. A reflecting pool flanked by white marble pillars and statues of men and women in gentle repose. He had failed utterly. It was a pale reflection at best. Haremhold could have done far better with so little effort. Once again the knight of the white city felt he had failed, despite all his effort he could not even come close to matching his brother's artistic flare. He perceived himself as a weapon, a disposable shield, and felt a great self pity. All I am made for I battle and sacrifice.

    He sighed sadly. Steeling himself he concentrated, bringing himself back to the here and now. Louisa was looking at him with concern, puzzlement set upon her artful features, adding a youthful look to her appearance that had been missing for decades. He reflected on her before he answered the unspoken question in the worried set of her brow. Louisa was still as physically young and beautiful as the day he had made her his prophet, but the energetic inquisitive girl had long departed. What sat before him now was a stateswoman without peer. Sixty years on the throne had robbed her of her innocence but lent her an air of utter self assurance. There was something about her new commanding look that Carolinus found profoundly attractive, it troubled him but he had neither the energy or the time to probe such feeling further.

    'I'm sorry Louisa. I was lost in the past. My mind always seems to wander there when the wolves are at the gate.' He replayed what she had said last in his mind 'I am very tired' he reached down and took up a silver wine goblet 'I thank you for your concern. You're right, I should rest soon, we all should. There are still some things I must do, then I will join the men at relative ease until the Titans arrive.'

    He sipped his wine, it's arid taste did little to ease his thirst so he took a larger measure. ''It is strange they announced themselves so.'
    He nodded 'They are a strange people. I would admire them if I did not despise them so.'
    'Why did your father create them?'
    'I do not know, nor do I know why he abandoned them. I was ignorant of their existence until I fought the Khar. I cannot imagine what they must have done...' he looked deep into Louisa's eyes, seeking some resolution or clarity as his own slipped away 'Baz'Auran is not cruel my prophet, he is sometimes harsh but always fair. He gives and he takes, such is the nature of all things. He would not have turned his back on them, not without cause.' he heard the doubt in his own voice, it's very existence a betrayal of his vows.
    Louisa had also learned diplomacy during her time on the throne. She heard the doubt in his voice, and the subtler undertone of self reproach. Knowing from long experience that Carolinus was one to heap responsibility for the world's ills onto himself in form of perceived breeches of his vows and similarly sure of her inability to argue him out of such ridiculous behaviour she simply moved him onto another matter knowing it would allay his guilt, at least for a time. 'How go preparations?
    'Well. The Titans did us a great service when they announced the day of battle. The battleworthy recruits and regulars are resting or helping with construction. The rails should be complete up to wall five, as well as the majority of the winches. If we need the rails before they're done on wall six Wardstone will already be lost.' He drained the last of his wine in one swallow, fortification against reality 'If that happens I will be dead. You, Louisa, must surrender to the Titans. At least the people will survive.'
    Once she would have railed at him for such a statement, but now he saw she better understood the stakes. She did not argue, instead her mire was one of extreme resignation 'What do you think of our chances?'
    He smiled softly 'You are the only one I'd give an honest answer to. I don't know, I really don't. The whole thing could fall apart in the first engagement, most of these men have never fought for real, and none of them have fought anything the size of a Titan. Arrows are going to be like bee stings to these foemen, our walls are only thrice their average span.'
    'We have the warmachines, we have the wardens.' she matched his soft knowing smile with one of her own 'And we have you.'
    'It is what I was created for.' he made no attempt to hide the sorrow in his voice. A pallor fell upon the room until he suddenly smiled, a brilliant flash that lit up from nowhere 'Yes, we have the warmachines and the wardens, and we also have me, but that is not all we will have. Of all the things the gods can do there is one I consider the most high, the most noble and wondrous. Tomorrow our defences will be more than redoubled.'

    From the book of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran

    The labour of Kelmeris the unconverted had been great during his bonded service for the peoples of Markien. Along both sides of the Iron road, stretching as far as the eye could see in both directions, piles of metalwork awaited enchantment.

    'Thy labour is complete Kelmeris, and thy bondage is relieved. Go back to the First People, tell them these words. I am the son of Baz'Auran, I know his will and his heart. I have come but recently from his side. He is not gone and neither am I. There will be much death soon, it is not necessary. All who would live in peace are welcome in my father's house.'

    So if was that the unconverted returned to his people, leaving Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran with many sheets of seemingly useless metal. Or so it seemed to Kelmeris, he had lived amongst the peoples but still understood but little of the capabilities of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran.

    'Rise up' he said, and so the Stoneward rose up.



    The breath of life is not a thing given lightly, nor was it, as Carolinus was discovering, a trifling thing to bestow on so many at once. Carolinus could not fault the Shieldbearer his industry, he had clearly been hard at work, no doubt fulfilling some aspect of their baffling honour system.

    Carolinus spent half the morning attempting to commune with all the metal at once. Near noon he realised he would have to individually touch each and every piece. Despairing for the precious time lost he started down the trail. It was near dusk when he had completed this tiresome task.

    Once done however it became far easier to hoop all those individual threads together into one tightly tangled knot. Focusing as much of his spark as could safely be allowed into his hand Carolinus shot a bolt into that knot, it divided into several thousand as the resulting magical shockwave was at once both dispersed in whole and divided equally. The ground beneath the metal piles bubbled and writhed but did not rise up. It took another jolt of raw creation to force life into the Stoneward.

    In unison thousands of hulking figures made of earth and stone rose up, climbing out from within the ground as if it were a thick liquid. As they grew upward they absorbed the metal plating, sheets of metal swam through rock and granite bodies, forming breastplates, greaves and armguards affixed to the living rock skin of the Stoneward. Each stood the same impressive twelve foot span and wore the same impassive look on the same blank and mostly expressionless face.

    He said nothing to them, there was no need. To the Stoneward he had given a collective conscience in a limited sense, a hive mind still loose enough to allow some individuality. The air hummed as thousands of creatures suddenly given life cried out in shock, wonder or fear, and were answered by thousands, all asking the same questions. All fresh minds suddenly given awareness. As newborn babes the Stoneward wallowed in sheer wonder at their own existence. They instantly knew a level of mutual trust and empathy that few men or gods will ever achieve, they communed at speeds too fast for any spoken tongue. Consensus was quickly formed and a question finally directed at Carolinus.

    'I am Carolinus, son of Baz'Auran, he who created all things. He created this world and the ones above it, he created those who people those worlds. He created me to be his knight, and now I have created you. The Stoneward. The land you are formed from is called Markien by it's people. It is defended by the Wardens, who might be called your siblings, to them I gave great power but also grave responsibility. To the Stoneward I have given life itself, also I have given you great power and great unity. But as I said unto the Wardens I now say unto you. Power must be earned, lest it be abused. All things come with price.

    The Stoneward will defend Markien forever more, that is the price of your existence.'


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    2 major acts. Create the Stoneward. In addition to being made out of metal and rock the stoneward also possess a hivemind, able to communicate instantly over great distances, and also the ability to 'swim' through rock as D&D earth elementals do.
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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.

  26. - Top - End - #536
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    Sonata and Llassar

    Sonata kept her embrace on Llassar, but turned to look at Gamesha when he put his hand on Llassar's shoulder. The look in her eyes was foxlike as she watched him, though her radiant smile didn't suffer. A mortal like this was strange, one who dared to touch a god (even if it was Llassar, who hadn't minded when Sonata had heaped butterflies and leaves on him one time when he was sleeping in the garden of the White City). Sonata wasn't sure she liked that her delicate sister had such a man, but such a conversation wasn't polite, and Sonata was much too happy to see one of her brothers again to worry about it. She would ask Fayruz what the value of Gamesha was at some time.

    She released Llassar gently. "Oh? A traveler named Kal, a smith, the robes, and the light-maiden?" Sonata thought about that for a second. Surely they were others of her family, and she felt relief at that too. So they had maybe all survived! That was wonderful. Her smile turned to a hurt and sullen look, but Llassar could remember Sonata often made this face if he fell asleep during a performance. Such was her attention-seeking nature.
    "I have missed everyone! It isn't good for me to be last. But dear Llassar, what is it that you have done in your time? Since the fall, surely it must have been difficult? You must tell me your stories while we are guests of our dear sister's Fayheran."

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    If it is desired by Tectonic Robot, of course this scene of Llassar and Sonata can be continued. I am unsure how to balance Shyreza and Llassar, since I desire Sonata to have interaction with both, but together it is difficult for me. So, I will separate it to two conversations, unless it is desired by Raz or Tectonic Robot to have all three to interact at the tent. I know it was desired by Raz for Sonata to become mentor of Shyreza at some time, but I don't know the planning of Raz and Tectonic Robot, so let's work together of this communication! To separate from Llassar when going to the tent, because it is my thought that the tent is not shared with boy and girl? I don't know if it is true or what style of Raz can be predicted, so to use this thought. So it is tent of Shyreza and Sonata at evening and night, but probably Sonata will sneak to Llassar to talk to him and share stories. Then she will sneak back to Shyreza. Such is style of fox-like character, I think to break rules like this.


    Sonata and Shyreza

    Ah, but Shyreza was speaking now.

    Sonata turned to this girl again with a gentle smile. She reminded Sonata of Aria, the nervous and flustered look, it was much more appropriate than the rough words and rude actions of the Gamesha.
    "Come then, and lead me to this tent! Let us change to dry clothes, your gowns if they are suitable for my sister, will be fine too for me! I am not that ungrateful, don't worry! And don't hold back your songs, even the Kindly Ones if they sing, then surely it must have been my dear sister who taught you... And I am the one who taught her." Sonata said with a laugh. The rain stopped now as she laughed, leaving only the rainbow above and the wet streets and people.

    A wet fox wearing a big smile guarded the square, in prancing through market stalls, while the great lightning wolf continued his rest at the center. He would awake soon enough and search for food, but for the moment was content to rest proudly.

    And of Shyreza and Sonata, who was leading who? Sonata felt light on her feet here, though it was her joy at finding her family again, a joy like a song waiting to happen. And when they came to the tent and had been clothed by Shyreza and a meal had been placed, Sonata sat forward with a smile in the firelight.

    "I have seen so far some of my sister's followers, and of them you seem most earnest and concerned with the things of interest to me. I am already delighted to be here, with anticipation for my sister and to see my brother again, so do not fear to upset me. I want to hear your songs, because song is a treasure deep and close to me. If you learned from my sister, then I yearn to hear the echoes of her melodies and your own story. You sing in the presence of a princess of the white city, yet I think that perhaps you have sung with my twin sister. So, sing earnestly, daughter of Feyheran."
    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
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  27. - Top - End - #537
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    Looking over the railing at the enormous monstrosity below Haramhold knew that confrontation was pointless. This was now a battle he could win through skill of words or the strength of arms for he lacked either of them. Haramhold was quick to return to the control crystal, where he steered Green MorningStar higher and higher. Her bow tilting violently upward; hopefully out of reach of the kraken's power. Only once Haramhold began to feel light headed did he allow the ship to level off. High above the storm Green MorningStar drifted through the thin air, frost forming on her rigging. Haramhold steered the ship toward where he hoped Salus lie, as he was only able to guide by the prayers of his people, as he was unable to see any landmarks below the terrible storm. "Go below deck Amanda and tie yourself down." Haramhold said as he lashed himself to the ships railing.

    As Amanda scurried below deck she frantically wished that Haramhold was not planning on doing what she feared he might.

    Placing his calloused hands on the control crystal the god sent the airship into a steep dive...
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  28. - Top - End - #538
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    The Storm

    As Green Morningstar rocketed up through the clouds, it was followed by the thunderous roar of Kraken, dozens of vented slits along its side releasing a torrent of steam as its maw gnashed at the air where Green Morningstar had been. Even as the ship rose, Haramhold saw the dark shadows of Kraken's tentacles rushing towards them, and only his deft piloting and a healthy portion of luck avoided the first torrent of slick black death. Green Morningstar banked, stymieing the thrust of another colossal tendril, only for a bolt of green lightning to strike the deck. Any normal ship would have burst into flames at the touch of the eldritch light, but though its planks screamed in pain Green Morningstar remained intact.

    Without warning, the ship broke through the clouds, sliding back into the realm of blinding sunlight. As the ship leveled off, Haramhold saw the vast majest of the Disk spread out before him, the northern and eastern continents visible thanks to the altitude, the isles between laid out like emeralds upon a sapphire sea. Yet Kraken's storm stained the tableau, an ugly, writhing mass of black lit by flashes of green. Haramhold knew that the heart of the assault lay over Salus, and at his urging Green Morningstar dipped back towards the fray. Plunging into the darkness, it seemed for a moment that Haramhold had been struck blind, so thick and unyielding were the storm clouds. Minutes passed without sight of land, and when the prow broke through the lowest clouds they were barely a hundred feet above the ground. Pulling up in a desperate burst of divine power, Haramhold saw Salus, saw the charred remains of houses struck by lightning, saw the devastated wastes where crops and trees had been scoured away, and saw the lines of new graves outside the city walls.

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

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

  29. - Top - End - #539
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tectonic Robot's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    In the tent with Sonata and Gamesha

    Llassar's eyes widened as Sonata caught him in her embrace. By Baz'Auran's booming voice, another one of his siblings was alive! The tall god's wit and eloquence failed him in that moment; not for the first moment, and certainly not for last. He stood dumbstruck as she rained questions upon his ears, merely turned and looked like a confused rabbit when Gamesha took hold of his shoulder. Finally, as Sonata left with Shyreza, he managed to shout after her: "I... yes! I have many stories to share with you, Sonata. We'll... we'll talk soon. I have work to plan, but... after you've..."

    And as his sister, who's beauty was like the moon and stars shining on a cloudless night, danced away with Fayruz's disciple, Llassar felt a deep happiness fill his chest. Now there was someone with whom he could speak, and talk with, and discuss that terrible fall, and tell of where he had been and what he had done, and whom he could learn of the stories of what his siblings had done, as well.

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    Kasanip, that sounds like a great idea to me. I again warn you that my internet is a bit spotty currently, and my responses may be a bit tardy, but I would love to continue this scene.
    Proud member of the Gnomish Wanderer fanclub!

    Spoiler: Look at this cool thing!
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  30. - Top - End - #540
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    shorewood's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Green MorningStar rocketed beneath the heavy winds, sending her passengers stumbling above and below deck. Clutching the railing Haramhold tries to count the graves, tries to see how many of those he had taken under his protection had perished while he was absent.

    Guiding Green MorningStar behind the walls Haramhold set her down on the ground shouting before he climbed down the swaying rope ladder "Amanda, stay with the ship, go around to the surrounding areas and gather everyone who lives outside the walls. Bring them back."

    Sprinting toward the guild hall, Haramhold is sent sprawling in the mud by a nearby lightning strike which smote one of the few buildings still made of wood. Setting it afire, its surviving inhabitants crawling out of the wreckage. scooping both survivors one in each arm, Haramhold pumped his legs even harder, reaching the guild hall out of breath and filthy. Putting his charges down and looked about the room.

    The guild hall was packed with refugee's those whose homes had been destroyed but lucky enough not to have fallen with them. The crowd did not recognize Haramhold at first covered from head to toe in muck, but soon a cry of joy did ring out soon followed by hundreds of others. Their god was back, he had returned.

    "I must speak with the guild masters" Haramhold told the crowd, the people eagerly pointed the way and soon Haramhold found himself in surrounded by the masters. It was not long before they had filled him on what had happened.

    A scant week ago the storms began, at first it was bearable but soon became horrible in its furry. Rain and hail lashed down upon the city, tearing through thatched roofs and cracking tiled ones. Lighting fell down from the blackened sky striking with unnerving accuracy. Fifty had died before the first three days had passed, no one knew how many had died since then. For none dared to leave the fragile protection of the guild hall.

    Haramhold solemnly nodded at the news staying completely silent himself. The kraken's might was to great to defeat. But perhaps it could be outlasted. "Leave me." he commanded. The masters leaving the room with a bow which spoke of their confusion.

    Once the doors had closed, Haramhold knelt down placing his hands on the stone floor. Closing his eyes Haramhold stretched his senses through the worked stone his inner eye racing through the door along the cobblestone path. Eventually reaching the great wall of Salus. It stood thick and strong even though it was not yet complete. Once it was finished no foe of flesh and blood would find breaching it an easy task. But what was killing his people was not an enemy that could be stopped by stone walls of steel swords. Haramhold reached within himself and drew off more of his divine spark than he had ever done so before. He felt himself grow lightheaded but pushed on.

    Hours passed as the god gathered his strength. The storm's might grew stronger as if sensing Haramhold. Lighting rained down from the sky with an unnerving fury, rain coming down so hard it would cut exposed flesh into ribbons in moments. But none of this could distract Haramhold, for he was at work.

    Light spread forth from his hands, the stones grew warm to the touch, as the light flowed through them finding the shortest path to the walls where it spread throughout the entire structure. The walls rose urged by the light to assume their intended dimensions and then more. For the walls seemed to expand outward for several miles, but rather more land was created within the walls which stood firm and unwavering. Ancient runes of the white city inscribed themselves across the walls swirling gracefully around crystals of power which studded the wall growing at Haramhold's bidding.

    Eventually the walls ceased to expand and the easy part of the task was complete. Gathering even more of his divine spark Haramhold wove a protective spell into the wall themselves. If Faden had been there he would have scoffed at the spells crude design but he was not here to give his criticism.

    Suddenly the clouds overhead broke apart letting strong, clear sunlight pouring through for the first time in what seemed an eternity. Above the city the storm lifted.

    Cries of joy and tears of happiness poured forth from the people of Salus as they left the safety of their homes for the first time in days. But Haramhold did not hear or see this. For unconsciousness claimed the exhausted god, and he would not awaken for many days.

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    2 Major Acts: create realm.

    The rules of the realm are as follows.
    1) The land within the walls increases in area. Think of Dr. Who's Tardis, its bigger on the inside then it is on the outside. The area will increase in order to be able to support its inhabitants.

    2) The realm enjoys ideal weather.

    3) Nothing may pass through, over or under the walls unless they have permission from Haramhold or one whom he has named gatekeeper. One may physically force their way through if they expend power greater than the collective power of those within the walls. This does not require any expenditure of strength of the defenders so if a demon walks past the walls it would be greatly weakened while the defenders would still be fresh. Although one can physically force their way through the defenses they cannot project power (fireballs, lightning bolts, astral projection, unnatural storms, exta) through it. When the realm is breached by a hostile force the walls around the intruder crumble giving no more protection than a pile of rubble, the size of the breach corresponds to the power of the attacker.

    4) It is possible to go "around" the realms defenses. Two come to mind without thinking. Coming though the dream realm, or the realm of death, since they would be connected to the people within it without physically crossing the walls. This was left open on purpose as Haramhold would not have thought to defend Salus from possible attacks from these types of places.

    The idea is that Haramhold creates a bubble kingdom which is safe on the inside but a dangerous chaos on the outside.
    Last edited by shorewood; 2012-05-10 at 10:01 PM.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

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