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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    VonDoom's Avatar

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    Dasque's Chamber

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    Let's dig out an old classic! I hope it's not too tired by now. *ducks*


    "I am who I am," Shirvan replied, looking at her strangely as she fiddled with his collar. "And will be."

    "But, to shine brighter than Baz'Auran? Why, to do that, wouldn't I need to make a Creation of my own?" The Godling seemed amused by the very idea, as he pronounced the word, its meaning swinging along with the actual sounds to make it impossible to confuse for anything but what he meant. Shirvan had specifically used the word that defined all of what Baz'Auran had created. He chuckled, lazily brushing through his hair. "Now there's a thought."

    He moved suddenly, then, quickly grabbing hold of Dasque's bleeding hand, looking at it intently. "Symbols hold meaning," he said somberly, "but it is better to bleed for those you hold dear. If you act too much in order to oppose his will, you are defined by him all the more. Be your own person, dear sister; do what you will, not the opposite of what he wants."


    His golden eyes narrowed briefly; it looked like he wanted to say more, but then abruptly let go and turned away. "I'll see you at the banquet."

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    Did I just quote the bible AND Crowley in one post? Most excellent.
    Characters:
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    Inactive:
    Mikado, Villainous Businessman
    Shirvan, God of Pride
    Roshan Sarini, Cheliaxan Summoner
    Jhael'dril, Necromantic Drow Warrior
    Olethros, Messiah of Oblivion


  2. - Top - End - #152
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    daelrog's Avatar

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    Dasque's Chamber

    Dasque watched her twin leave, and then looked at her own hand. A bittersweet smile came upon her. "How we act like clockwork."

    Banquet

    Dasque did not sit directly next to Shirvan, though she was close enough to speak to him if need be. Instead, she sat near Roselia. Dasque filled her plate, and began easting. "How's my favorite sister fairing? I trust the family squabbles haven't left you feeling weak?" She smiled roguishly, knowing full well Roselia's affinity for such chaos.

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Troll in the Playground
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    The Banquet

    Kalandor chuckled internally Aerin. He was silly to think he could take a nap now, there were probaly several score spirits thinking a few thoughts about that spot of idiocy...

    Kalandor shakes his head slightly at Jongo "No Jongo, I don't think anyone's christned the ship yet. I just hope I get to watch Rumel Pilot it, I think it would make a intresting mode of transport."

    Looking at Faden, Kalandor nods in agreement. "Aye, a good point, will any of the spirits be coming with us? I've no doupt that a spirit or two, if not other creatures guided before hand may be down their already as tests or guides, but such things would be good to know."
    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.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Solitude

    Baz'Auran took a moment to consider his second-eldest son before answering, giving the others a chance to add their own sentiments to the question. When none were forthcoming, he gestured to the ceiling, where the Disk suddenly appeared writ large.

    "A pertinent question, Faden, yet one with a simple answer. With my blessing, a spirit might endure an eternity on the Disk, but such an existence would be against their nature. The Disk is raw, material reality - spirits are more ethereal beings. I do not send them to the surface without good cause, and in this case their coming would mitigate the challenge set before you. This test is one of your sparks alone, and while a proper locale for each of your challenges shall be chosen, that is the last help you will receive until your ascension is complete."
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-02-17 at 01:07 PM.

    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!

  5. - Top - End - #155
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DoomHat's Avatar

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    The Banquet

    Rumel froze solid at Kalandor's assertion he of all people would pilot. That wouldn't do! It would give him no time to finish his emergency escape craft! In addition he might be needed, along side his twin, to patch any problems in the ship proper as they happen.
    "I, wait, what?" stammered Rumel pointing at Kalandor with a spoon full of stew, "I'd have thought you'd be eager to take the helm? I... uh, yes, a gift! Yes! It was to my gift to you! The traveler and shepherd steadies us on to new lands. Doesn't that sound fun, eh? Has a certain poetry to it don't you think?".
    He smiled a broad mask of a smile with shifting eyes.
    Last edited by DoomHat; 2012-02-17 at 11:53 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #156
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Father made the Ceiling move.

    That was enough to get Jongo's attention. All other things were forgotten.

    It was beautiful. Jongo had forgotten how many years he had stared at it. Just sitting quietly, watching Baz'Auran work.

    It was the only time Jongo could sit still and quiet. And being sent from the Courtyard was a punishment to Jongo.

    To be asked to leave it for who knows how long...?

    Excited though Jongo was to be going to the Disk itself, to leave the White City was going to be tough. So, finally, Jongo asked the one question that she had really been worried about for the past few days.

    "Father? Will we... will we be allowed to come back and visit?"
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

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

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

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    TheDarkDM's Avatar

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    Turning his attention to Jongo, Baz'Auran seemed almost amused by the question. Yet Jongo had observed Baz'Auran far more than any of the other divine children, and behind Baz'Auran's amusement he thought he could detect the faintest hint of sadness. It was a passing thing, quickly subsumed in Baz'Auran's glory, but it was almost certainly there.

    "Of course, Jongo. Once you have awakened the full potential of the Spark within you, any of you will be free to return to the White City. Do not count on us for constant support though - the troubles of the Great Disk will benefit most from a solution born of it. Remember always-"

    A dull rumble interrupted Baz'Auran, spreading through the entire hall. Despite their divine constitutions, the godlings felt themselves grow ill at its touch, something in them recoiling from the essence behind the tremor. It passed slowly, dying with a malicious whisper, and as it did silence reigned in the Court. All eyes turned towards Baz'Auran, who seemed frozen in his throne, eyes wide and staring. A heartbeat passed, then two, and suddenly Baz'Auran was on his feet, eyes still locked on the emptiness directly before him. No god or spirit had ever seen him in such a state, and were it not ludicrous they might have realized the emotion emanating from their lord was raw, primal, fear.

    No blink would ever pass those shining orbs, yet with a start Baz'Auran seemed to recover from his trance, swiveling his head sharply towards Tezzerin. She found a terrible secret in his glare, as her entire being seemed to waver beneath it.

    "Tezzerin, take my children and-"

    Once again, the supreme Creator was interrupted, not by a tremor but by a terrible echoing screech. As the Court sat motionless, a crack appeared in the wall behind Baz'Auran, the crystal crumbling beneath some incredible force. As the last vestiges of the wall gave way, the divine children beheld a Darkness unmatched by any space within creation. The blot of nothingness writhed against the walls of the Court, reducing more and more crystal to charred dust, and without warning innumerable tendrils shot from its core, racing towards the godlings, filling each with the certainty that a single touch would be their doom. But a star interposed itself between them and destruction, Baz'Auran blazing with a radiance that shamed the figure the children had grown accustomed to. Grasping the crackling tendrils of utter black in his hands, he bellowed in a voice that brought blood flowing from the ears of his children.

    TEZZERIN GET THEM OUT OF HERE!

    At once the First Spirit of Knowledge took to the air, drawing the attention of the panicked spirits in the court. Gesturing to the godlings, she called out in a voice made high by need and terror.

    "They must away! Take them!"

    Instantly, some semblance of order seemed to return to the assembled spirits. From their number rose the greatest of the Spirits of Haste, twelve winged things lacking legs in favor of a great finned tail. Launching themselves into the air, they scooped up the stunned godlings in their arms before racing from the Court.

    The Fall


    The children and their protectors had barely passed the arching entrance to the Court of Baz'Auran when the towering crystal edifice shattered without a sound, sending daggers of clear gemstone crashing to the ground. The Highest Spirits of Haste were unmatched in their speed, but the children still managed to catch a glimpse of their father, blazing like a wildfire in his grappling of the great Darkness that jutted like a terrible pillar from a blazing hole in the sky. Staring at the gaping wound, the children saw flaming shards of black crystal tear themselves from the black pillar. Yet even as the Spirits of Haste dodged the barrage of deadly flames, passing the burning gardens of the Tenfold Paths, the children stared transfixed at the gaping hole of darkness and fire above them, for in it they alone saw a pair of blazing eyes. In that fell gaze, the children of Baz'Auran felt themselves reduced to gnats, to pale crawling things whose only purpose, whose only hope, was to be crushed by a Power beyond their comprehending. And then their eyes were torn from those baleful orbs, the Spirits of Haste diving through the Well of Eternity with such alacrity that the children almost didn't see the twisted remains of their once-proud ship and the dark, bloody things that crawled from the flaming lance that had reduced it to twisted scrap.

    Reaching the night sky, the children gasped as they passed the shimmering barrier between the White City and the world beyond, the biting cold of the air sending their teeth to chattering. In that moment of passage, they felt themselves indescribably diminished, their Sparks withdrawing deeper into bodies that seemed somehow infinitely more real. In their moment of confusion, some found the single eye of a Spirit, gazing at them with something bordering sympathy and understanding, before widening in silent terror. The Spirits spared each other a glance before splitting like a school of frightened fish, and as they sped into the night the children noticed the wilting feathers on their outermost wings. The Spirits flew rapidly, yet the strange rot outpaced even them, until by the time they reached the ground the children could tell that their protectors were nearly blind with pain. The Spirits could not even manage to speak before fleeing back into the night air, racing away from whatever terrible affliction had befallen them, leaving the children in every corner of the Great Disk to stare up at the shining globe of the White City

    At first, it seemed almost serene in the night quiet, the brilliance of the White City undiminished in the distance. Yet as the children watched, a single red stain appeared on the shining facade, then another, an another, until the moon had become a bloodstained clot upon the sky. The children could not tear their gazes from that crimson wound until the son arose, and banished it from their sight. In its place, the children saw a land untamed, oceans raging against the unyielding bastions of shadowed cliffs, the tangle of forests that did not yet know the bite of the axe, mountains that exploded into molten fire without respite only to birth new mountains, the undulating sea of verdant grasslands, and endless wastes of ice and of sand. And from every point on the Disk, rising from the center of the world, miles high peaks that seemed to scrape the very stars themselves. But wherever they were, in the light of day the children were faced with a singular realization - they were alone.

    Turn 0 Begins
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-02-17 at 11:23 PM.

    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!

  8. - Top - End - #158
    Troll in the Playground
     
    DarthArminius's Avatar

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    Fall Of Aerin, The Thunderer
    As a spirit departed from the White City, Aerin only had time to recognize it, no, he, as he finally dropped the Thunderer and fled off somewhere in a half-panic. The melted face fell off of Micah's head in a tortured agonizing scream, but still, Micah's winged, angelic form soared through the sky, to some unknown target. Aerin looked in horror as Micah's face oozed into the soil and tainted the land, somehow. Aerin looked at the now blood red acres of land saw the eyes from Micah's face finally melt. Sadly, Aerin bowed his head, and he knew that Micah was somehow dead. Destroyed perhaps, or something. Something bad. That's all he really knew, but he didn't like it.

    And so Aerin began his search. His search for life. Shaken, without his godling powers, the Thunderer walked through three miles of the tainted land, noticing the dead carcasses of animals throughout the waters, soil and dead trees. Because Aerin had landed the first time on the Disc, and because he didn't know where he hand landed, and because of his great disorientation, he had no idea what to make of this situation. Times were grim. His family could have been dead. . . no. Now was not the time to panic, Aerin thought to himself.

    Aerin had noticed after a few miles that he had made his way towards a very large village. Over a hundred and sixty people made this village their home. "Ah, what luck." The godling said, suddenly overcome with a sense of chill. The godling had no idea that he was now naked, covered with nothing, since the arrival to the Great Disc had burned his clothes away, and in his state of confusion, Aerin seemed a prime target for the villagers. This was the village of Aercenaeus. And Aerin was now it's guest.

    Belief in hospitality was one of the highest virtues in the Arcenaeus Tribe. A tribe that was spread throughout the whole valley, near the shores of the island. Over three thousand tribesemen shared the valley, though they never lived too near, they were always capable of trade, occasional visits and contact for the odd emergency. Thus, the treatment of all tribesmen as extended family lended very well to a culture of hospitality. Perhaps this young naked man had fallen victim to thievery, a practical joke, or some strange ritual their other relatives had?

    Whatever the case, the man was immediately given fur to wear.

    Aerin was a strange sight to these Aerceneans. According to him, he came not from the Valley, the Island World, or even from outside the Island, but he came from the Great White City in the Skye. "Impossible". Some elders scoffed, "The gods have nothing to do with us." They spat angrily, as life on the Great Disc was a hard life, surviving eachother, the Chaos Beasts, hunder, disease, and other calamaties had it's tole on the worn and weary mortal humans there. Aerin's expression of gratitude from their generosity and hospitality grew from very happy to grim as he heard mention of the people's many woes.

    Aerin would come to hear on his first day the Six Woes Of Arceneaus.

    "Woe, from the North, witches have come and demanded a portion of our human flesh." The Pale Witches, would come with their slave soldiers and pets to collect recently slain human sacrifices from the valley. The lucky sacrifices are suddenly collected while scavenging for food or out on the hunt, never to be seen from again. The Witches claim to simply slay these and use them for whatever purposes, food, or reagents for their spells. Other lucky sacrifices are harvested slowly, for their meat and usable parts until they cannot live. Other lucky sacrifices are simply informed they are to collected, and then slowly tortured until death through fould dark arts. "

    "Woe, from the South, the beasts of Chaos have overcome our homes and eaten, killed and hunted down half of our once proud Arceneaus. Three thousand dead, half of us are gone from these beasts. It was these creatures who made us neighbors of the Pale Witches of the North. We cannot return to our homes in the Caverns Of Woe. Oh, Woe!"

    "Woe, from the East, cometh the rats, the insects and flies. Even now we are beginning to see the first of a great plague, which has spread like wild fire and killed a seven of us in just one week in this village alone. Seers have prophecied the entire village will perish. We pray that the plague will kill us before the Pale Witches."

    "Woe, from the West, come the wilder men. Servants of the Pale Witches, their masters let them do with us as they please, they raid our villages and steal our children and women, and we are never to see them again. The Wildermen have the eyes of viscious red during the night. The Wildermen are forbidden only from taking too many of us, so that the Pale Ones may eat and harvest us for their potions and magic."

    "Woe from Above, our symbol of Hope, White City is now cursed. Red in the sky, this must be an ill omen, all of our hopes and dreams are lost. WOE!!"

    "Woe, from Below, from below newly explored caverns come the Chaos Beasts, more of the same beasts from the South. Our time is near. It may be tomorrow, even the most merry of us suggest we have one year of life left within the entire Tribe."

    Aerin listened intently at the horrifying stories of the poor mortals of Arcenaeus. Aerin thought long and grim at what would happen if the people here would be eaten or worse. Two days later, Aerin left the village, and the Chieftain found his Sword and Buckler, the finest out of three sets of weapons in the village, as well as bronze arrows and a bow strapped to his back, and a missing horse, Aerin knew he was not the most martially inclined of his brothers and sisters to do what he was about to do, but he knew, somewhere in his spirit he must do it. He would do the most powerful deed he knew that he could possibly do to win the hearts and lives of his new friends, the Arcenaeuns. He would suck up.

    Three weeks to the north, Aerin stood before the Four Witches. The Pale Sisters. Old and haggard, they had forgotten their names. The god-child of Baz'Auran spoke. "Hail, wise women, I come to you, as a son of Baz'Auran, and also as a child of Good Omen. Baz'Auran has seen your deeds and power, and he has deemed you worthy of great things to come! Prepare yourselves for the blessings he is about to give you." The Witches raised their brow and spoke to one another.

    "We see with our witch'es sight you are indeed Aerin, a son of Baz'Auran." But they seemed confused, but relieved, and happily surprised. "We worship the great Baz'Auran! We who have sacrificed the blood of thousands for his attention. We have made offerings of lives, blood and flesh unto him for many years. Now, we say unto you, Aerin, son of Baz'Auran, what is our prize?"

    Aerin smiled, "Why, I am the prize. I, son of Baz'Auran, are to be your loyal servant. I am he who Thunders!" And so it was that the Four Witches of Arcenaeus took in Aerin as Leautenant of the Wildermen. The day after Aerin joined with them, as Aerin smiled and talked with them as their servant, he noticed that the Witches each kept strange looking metal daggers in scabbards, on their belts. These daggers were not bronze, but strange metals, later they were to be called steel. As a witch noticed Aerin staring at her dagger one day, she smiled. "This dagger is called Steel." She explained. "The gemstone here," She pointed to the hilt,"Is called "Ruby". The witches had all smiled. "You have been the best and most competent Lieutenant we have ever had," She said untruthfully, "So we now give one of your own." In truth, Aerin was merely the most flattering of all their Lieutenants, and by the stories that his underlings told, all former Lieutenants of the Pale Ones died quickly from their wrath.

    The second day Aerin found himself learning the ways of the Wildermen, he discovered something odd amongst the rituals. It seems the most prominent way of gaining authority in Wilderman culture is to simply slay their masters. "Hmmm..." Aerin thought. "The Witches have my undying loyalty to never betray them, on the gushing doting wishes of Baz'Auran himself." He continued internally. Aerin finally formed the plan he was waiting to make in his mind, when later that second day, Aerin asked the eldest of the Four. "How may I learn the secret of Steel?" Aerin asked. "And, if I may ask, I have seen you command thunder from the sky at twilight. I beg you to teach me this most holy of powers."He said soothingly to the Pale One, "Surely, the wise First One shall justly reward her loyal Steward." First One's brow raised, not in suspicion, but in surprise he would raise her above the other sisters. "And if the First should exalt me with knowledge of the Thunder and Steel, she should be exalted surely above all others, even the gods."
    With this, the First's last of common sense had abandoned her, and she taught Aerin the way to combine Thunder with Steel in one night. Within the night, Aerin had forged, with the First's help and instruction, Thunder Sceptre.

    The third day, Aerin had give orders, as Lieutenant of the Four, to cave in the Caverns of the Four Witches, locking him with them all. Aerin noticed the Four Sisters congregating with one another. "How will we escape this foul mountain?" They demanded to know as a question. "Aerin, you should know the way, how will we know to escape this place?" Aerin gathered his courage, and a single ray of light was shown from above the ceiling. A young Wilderman witnessed Aerin's challenge, as he had commanded him.

    "Pale Sisters, Four, I challenge you to a duel, for the lives of Arceneaus. I challenge you to the death, and with your deaths, I claim Authority over the Wildermen."
    The Witches were stunned, as if Aerin just said something incredibly stupid. But he smiled. They begun to laugh as if Aerin was joking. Suddenly, Aerin stopped his grin, and it became a menacing scowl. Before the witches could react, Aerin roared a mighty bellow from his belly, and the blunt, hard and rounded sceptre came crashing down on First's skull. First was now dead. Their daggers were drawn, and one was hurled at Aerin's head.

    Aerin dodged the throw, only for the dagger to slash across his arm. It stung in pain, but Aerin was hardy among Baz'Auran's children. As another Sister lunged towards Aerin to slay him, his right hand, with the Sceptre, crashed across her neck, making a sickening crack, as her eyes were filled with blue electrical energy, she crumpled, dead, to the floor.

    It was obvious the lesser magics such as levitation would not work against Aerin, or would they? Suddenly Aerin found his body bound against the hard cavernous wall, and he was unable to move. The witches, Third and Fourth, were now enraged that the child of Baz'Auran had deceived them. "We will swallow you piece by piece." They cursed. Suddenly Aerin felt a slash against his leg, cutting it open. "Then we will take your head."

    Aerin let loose a groan of pain as his right leg was cut open. He had noticed that although his arms were bound to the wall, he was holding the Sceptre of Thunder with all his might. He felt another dagger wound to his left arm, and his eyes closed in pain, but also a deep concentration. Smirking, Third Sister saw Aerin's face and let loose a taunt, "What's the matter, can't stand the pain?" But Aerin was focusing the words and the power that First had taught him to activate Thunder Sceptre. Through the light in the ceiling of the Caverns, a blue lightning bolt thundered through, immediately killling and vaporizing Third and Forth, as their wretched screams would howl through the Great Disc's world, as they died, deservedly.

    Suddenly, Aerin was to learn that the Witches Four had a trick up their sleeve. Undead, they each rose from the ground, as their forms had transmogrified from wrinkled old women, to skeletal lich women. Now the witness seeing this battle knew this was to come, yet he had never seen anyone such as Aerin.

    The magic holding Aerin against the wall, was now interrupted. He fell, bleeding from his arms and legs, and felt his hair grasped by a skeletal hand. He saw it was the face of the First, now held to the skull of a now fleshless body, from the neck down. "You will suffer!" First said vengefully. She prepared her right hand, now wreathed in flame, to burn Aerin alive, though alas for her, Aerin was now overcome with the desire to save Arcenaeus. Through his mind he saw the children, and remembered with horror and compassion, the stories that were told of what would happen to their children, women and men at the cruel merciless evil of the Hags.

    Aerin was infused with fury. "NEVER!!!" He demanded, seemingly from the very sky. A great clasp of lightning was heard by the Wilderman, as they hoped that Aerin, the newcomer would win the duel, although they thought assuredly he would not. Before Aerin could be burned by First's flaming, skeletal hand, her head was shattered anew, this time, not by physical weapons, but by a pure thunder. The Sister's howled, fire was streamed towards Aerin, as he thundered through Second's spell of hellish vengeance. The thunder streamed through Second's fire, and as it struck her, she exploded, with the bones littering the cave. Somehow, Aerin mustered the will one more time to use Thunder Sceptre, and with his left hand, he threw it as a weapon at Third, seperating her skull from her neck. Fourth was incensed, she bellowed forth a breath of ice from her skull, but the blast was not to make contact with it's intended target.

    Aerin thundered with all of his might, pulling power from Thunder Sceptre to blast the cavern ceiling. The hard shards rocks fell, impaling the skeletal Fourth's skull, and seperating it from the body. Aerin collapsed in the cold, now bleeding. And then, he awoke in his bed. . . with the Wilderman.

    "You are now First." The Wilderman Elder stated. "You have freed us of our dread curse to serve the Evil Ones. And now we will no longer be forced to harm peaceful tribes.

    For the first time in a long time, Aerin gave a genuine smile, which was not a planned calculating one. "It is time to go to the village to the South." The Valley of Arcenaeus was evacuated to the north and West lands of the Wilderman. And Aerin would always be known as the one who had cured Five of the Six Woes. Aerin, however, was now also known as the Bringer Of The First Joy, Hope.
    Last edited by DarthArminius; 2012-02-18 at 09:22 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #159
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    "Verily, being sad and lonely are among the worst things for any one thing. Indeed, being sad together isn't great either. But at least there is cake."
    ~ A Dissertation on Clouds


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

    After the Fall

    Jongo was in the ocean.

    He could feel something. It was her clothing. It was wet.

    He stared around as the waves rolled to and fro, and the salty air assaulted her small human child form. No land was nearby, but a tall mountain was in the distance, to the west.

    Jongo couldn't think. There were no stray thoughts. No questions popping up. There was only emptiness. And the now.

    The now said that a human child could not swim in the water for long. Even with a godling's strength, after watching the sun rise to push back the bloody moon, his human form was tiring.

    The taste of the apple - so sweet, so clear, so crisp - was being replaced by salt water splashing into Jongo's mouth. She closed it, and began to concentrate. Closing his eyes, Jongo found she could continue swimming atop the water, and breathe fine; if heavy and tired breaths.

    Concentrating, focusing on one thing, was very very difficult for Jongo. The godling was used to all the random thoughts, the ideas, the distractions; they were all fun. One thought? Difficult and not fun. Jongo tried three, and it was easier.

    Breath in. Breath out. Swim.

    Breath in. Breath out. Swim.

    Breath in. Breath out. Swim.

    Baz'Auran. The White City.

    Jongo began to sink.

    "NO. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no! NO!" Protesting to the waves themselves seemed to do little - other than splash more salty water into his mouth - but it brought Jongo back around.

    Breath in. Breath out. Swim.

    Someone - or something - had attacked the White City. Had hurt Father. Something made Him sad, and afraid. Father was NEVER sad or afraid. He was Father, the great Baz'Auran.

    But something had made Him sad, and something had made Him afraid. Someone - or something - had burst into the Courtroom.

    Something had destroyed the ceiling, above the Dias. Something had destroyed the ceiling.

    There was a small flare, as a bit of herself raged at that thought. Jongo couldn't believe the statement.

    And with the anger, Jongo found he could concentrate. Gills. Gills formed on the human child's neck. Webbing. Webbing on the toes, and between the fingers. She felt his eyes change, ever so slightly, and found the water didn't sting anymore; only the barely held back tears stung now.

    Eldest godlings don't cry.

    A part of Jongo's brain, a part that was slowly recovering from the shock of what had happened, made itself known. Jongo couldn't contain herself. He began to giggle, despite the almost tears.

    "FISHY! I'm a fishy! Wheeeee!"

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    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-02-19 at 08:48 AM.
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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

  10. - Top - End - #160
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Foundling

    The hunter Arenis found the Maiden on the second night of the blood-red moon, just after evening, while traveling through the territory of the Ma-shen to reach Dol Mazzah. She had found a pleasant resting place near a small spring of water, and she had hidden her horse and blanket there, so that no roving Ma-Shen or Tekeza warbands, or monsters crossing the rocklands, would find either of them. This done, she had gone out to find some quail, or a hare, or perhaps even a snake or a desert wolf, so that she would have more meat on her way to Dol Mazzah, and would not need to eat the roots she had dried nine days ago. She hunted with the bow, and five stone-tipped arrows, and one precious copper-tipped arrow won from the Tekeza which had never failed her; beside those she carried a flint knife, and a long spear for fighting the desert wolves.

    As she prowled through the rocklands, searching for prey, she heard the sound of faint crying far-off. It must be said that Arenis's first thought was that she could, if need be, put a traveler or an enemy of the Ma-Shen out of their misery and take what she could from them. So she followed the sound of the cries, and as she came closer, she could hear more clearly that they were the sobs of a young woman, and they were so utterly miserable that pity made itself known in her heart. Arenis pressed on, and found the Maiden. Arenis cautiously placed her hand upon the Maiden's shoulder, and the Maiden started like a doe who had caught the scent of the hunter in the shifting of the wind. She looked up at Arenis, her eyes red-rimmed and spilling tears in abundance, her hair as wild as that of an oracle. And this is what the Maiden said to Arenis: "I couldn't help him." Her words were in the tongue of Arenis's people, more perfect than even her mother's speaking, and this made Arenis wonder all the more. "I tried, I tried my hardest, but I couldn't, and I can't feel where my brothers and sisters are anymore, and Father cast us out, and we were all supposed to go together, and now I'm alone and I couldn't save him, and Contragh and Frellon were going to protect me, but now I'm all on my own and it's my fault..."

    Arenis saw the beauty of the Maiden, and heard the way that she spoke, fairer than any bard or rake, and she truly took pity upon her, and spoke with her. Soon enough, Arenis learned - or, guessed as well as she could - that the Maiden was Fayruz, a chieftain's daughter, from a white city high in the mountains. It had been attacked by monsters, and her father had sent her off with the guardian creature she mourned, which had separated her from her brothers and sisters and then fled elsewhere to die. This Fayruz, Arenis decided, was weak and foolish, but she did not deserve to be left in the desert to be found by jackals or - even worse - the Ma-Shen, or the ghouls which pressed ever northwards. So Arenis told the Maiden that she would take her to Dol Mazzah with her, to speak with the Chieftain of the Aferi, mighty Tarn Beastslayer. Tarn, she hoped, would have word of her father, Baz'Auran.

    But Fayruz, the innocent, would not leave, until Arenis took her hand and forced her to her feet - for night was falling fast, and then the spirits of the southern desert would arise from the sands, ghouls and djinn and even the minotaurs, who could trap men in their own delusions. The Ma-Shen raiders were little better, with their nets and sickles of bone, and their love for cruelty. Arenis fled with Fayruz, keeping her swift pace across the rocklands, until the Maiden's bare feet bled. The Maiden cried out, and begged for Arenis to slow down, but Arenis would not until she was sure that they were safe. Then, once they were at the spring, she took her spare wrappings - fool that she was, she said to herself! - and bound the Maiden's feet. Then she bade the Maiden sleep, granting the beautiful innocent her blanket. The night was cold, and Arenis was forced to sleep sitting by the fire, while Fayruz tossed and turned and cried out in her sleep for her lost brothers and sisters.

    In the morning, when the fire was dead and the sun was nearly ready to rise, she woke Fayruz and bade her eat two of her dried roots, so that she would have strength for the journey ahead. Fayruz bit into one, and then cried out, saying that it was nothing like the food of her father's house, and wasn't there anything else for her? Arenis told the Maiden that no, there was nothing else, unless they came across something to eat on the way to Dol Mazzah. Then Fayruz ate the roots, grimacing as she did so, unsuited to the travelers' food. Arenis readied her horse, and told Fayruz to ride with her, but Fayruz's tunic was far too long to allow her to ride - a useless garment, if there ever was one. So Arenis used her flint knife to cut it, so that she could ride, and calmed her tears by saying that she would be given proper women's clothing at Dol Mazzah.

    So Arenis helped Fayruz upon the horse, and bundled her blanket and her bow upon her back, and mounted her horse and bade it ride. They would ride for three days to reach Dol Mazzah, and in this time, she feared that she would be assaulted by the Ma-Shen - she knew that she could fight the marauders, but she feared for this newborn filly she rode with, as foolish and weak as a child and as beautiful a prize as a sword of bronze. So she rode swiftly, and avoided the common trails, riding higher and narrower paths through the lands of the Dereg to reach Dol Mazzah.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
    Kasanip - best artist; Rarity - best smile; Thanqol - good Question
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  11. - Top - End - #161
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The Weaver plummeted from his high perch in the sky. The spirit who had grabbed him, to pull him from the cold embrace of the Darkness, was swiftly rotting away from the strange shadow-fire that consumed their once bright home. The Weaver tried to get him to turn, tried to get him to go towards one of his other siblings. But the spirit did not listen. Instead, above a great desert, the spirit finally gave out, the last of its wings burned through. And so The Weaver fell, fell both down through the sky, and down into the sweet, sweet embrace of sleep.

    A pair of burning red eyes gazed up at the sky. They beheld a star, falling from the White City far above. And the owner of the eyes cackled with glee, for the time had come for her and her siblings to rejoice. God-flesh came, and God-flesh would make them strong.


    The First Tale of The Weaver

    In the days before the coming of The Weaver, and our people’s triumph over the Dark Ones, we lived in fear of the night. It was a time of evil, and of black things which haunted our sleep-time. This is the First Story told to us by The Weaver, the First of his Dream-Tales that gave us hope and the strength to fight back against our nightmares.

    But the First Story starts before The Weaver knew of us, or us of him. The Weaver came from the Great Star, which hangs in the skies of night and lights the way of the traveler. He lived there with his brothers and sisters and one who was neither, The Jongo, who we respect but do not give praise to, for it was one whom The Weaver held dear to his heart, but knew us not. But a great calamity fell upon the Great Star, which The Weaver knew as the White City, and it turned red to our sight, and guided us no more. That was when the night turned truly black, and fearful to us. The Weaver fell from his high perch, and struck a bird as he fell. So doing, he entered the Dream-Time, and left his body for a while. When The Weaver woke, he was in the Dream-Time, and saw the world around him awash in blue. This puzzled him, for the spirits who had taught him said the world was of many colors, not merely of the blue. So he wandered, to find something which made sense to his mind.

    Many days The Weaver wandered, but saw nothing, for the sand-place was wide, and even in the Dream-Time, it was a hard place. The Dream-sun beat down upon The Weaver, and he sought a place to escape. And so it was he came upon a cave, for the Dream-Time is a place of the mind, and that which the mind seeks, it will find.

    But the Dream-Time was-and still is today, for even The Weaver could not tame all of the Dream-Time, and some of the Dark Ones still wander there-a fickle place. This cave was home to the last among the Dark Ones, the rulers of the Dream-Time before The Weaver came, and its name was Kolorki-na. The Weaver came to the doorstep of Kolorki-na, and called out. “Is there one here who would give a weary traveler some rest?” And Kolorki-na, the Snake, responded. “Yes, son of Baz’Auran. Come in, come in.” For Kolorki-na was a trickster, and a bringer of despair, for he tricked mortals into giving up their rest for work. He gave mortals the urge to be doing something in the dark hour, for fear that it should prove too late to do it in the hours of light.

    The Weaver, being tired and of little thought, went into Kolorki-na’s cave, not questioning how Kolorki-na knew of him. And Kolorki-na did not show himself to The Weaver, instead speaking from the darkness of the cave. “But, son of Baz’Auran, have you time to rest? Does not the great City of your father burn in the heavens? Surely you cannot waste time here. You must find a way home!” And The Weaver heard Kolorki-na’s words, and grew despairing. “Our father sent us below. Something evil takes our home, and we are powerless to stop it.” Kolorki-na circled around his prey, drawing the noose of his coils ever tighter. His words were a distraction, for if he ate the dreaming form of a Godling, Kolorki-na would rise to be first among the Dark Ones, and rule them all, and the dreams of the mortals he and his siblings ruled over. “Then surely he sent you here for a reason. Should you not be out among the mortals, doing great works?” The Weaver’s mind grew sharp at this, and realized he had seen no living thing since his fall to the Great Disk, which was a curious thing. “Who are you, so eager to accept a traveler into your home, and yet so concerned that he make himself useful?”

    Kolorki-na revealed his great head, and spoke once more. “I am Kolorki-na, spirit of the Dream-Time. I rule the sands, and all that walk them. Bow before me, son of Baz’Auran, and give me your power!” The Weaver did not respond, instead running from the fearsome visage of the Snake. Kolorki-na’s head followed The Weaver, twisting and turning between the stalagmites and stalactites of the cave. And as The Weaver ran, and idea formed in his head. He ran, and twisted and turned and wove around the many stone spikes of the cave. And Kolorki-na, who though was a trickster, was the least intelligent of the Dark Ones, followed The Weaver through the cave. And so, The Weaver wove his first tapestry in the Dream-Time. Kolorki-na’s coils knotted themselves together, and the last among the Dark Ones was trapped by his own rush to power. The Snake’s head lunged out in fury, but The Weaver stepped aside, and Kolorki-na crushed his own skull against the cavern wall. One of the Snake’s fangs fell aside, and The Weaver took the fang, and placed it in his belt. This would be the needle with which The Weaver wove many tapestries, though he knew it not.

    This is the first Dream-Tale of The Weaver, who freed our people from the Dark Ones. Rejoice, for The Weaver weaves a web of protection over us all.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

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  12. - Top - End - #162
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    shorewood's Avatar

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    After the Fall

    It was dark when the spirit of haste delivered Haramhold to the wild and twisted forest. He stumbled to his knees crying for how long Haramhold does not remember. So much was lost, so much destroyed.

    But Haramhold was not allowed to wallow in his grief, for the cries and clash of battle drew ever closer. Scrambling to his feet, the godling frantically picked up a nearby branch, as thick as his arm. Before long the crash of running feet overtook his position. Humans, tall and skinny , were fleeing something terrible. Shouts echoing the need for haste roared from the back of the mob. Standing in the shadow of a tree, None of the passerby's noticed Haramhold and before long he saw what they fled from. A great beast twelve feet tall with skin as green as moss with a texture like that of rotting wood. The word troll came to his mind, but from where Haramhold could not recall. And the last of the humans Tall and dark brandishing a bronze sword was locked in a futile duel. Fighting with such ferocity that the godling realized that the mortal knew his battle was hopeless. As their fight approached his hiding place Haramhold launched himself from the shadows swinging his branch with both hands.

    The troll had just enough time to raise a clawed hand to intercept the incoming blow. With a resounding crack the Haramhold's weapon broke both bone and branch alike. The troll roared in pain, reeling back from surprise and pain. The lone warrior did not hesitate to press his advantage his bronze sword flashing as swift as lightning cutting deep gashes across the beast's chest. Just as it seemed as if the troll was defeated the creature lashed out with its other hand, striking the human with a wicked backhand. The human was thrown into a nearby tree, his head cracking against the wood.

    While the creature was looking away Haramhold launched himself at the beast, tackling it to the ground. The two of them rolled across the earth locked in a desperate struggle. The troll managed to get on top of the godling its claws inches away from his face. Grasping the beasts arms Haramhold pushed with all of his might and found that the troll could not stop him.

    Haramhold had never been fond of combat, and most of his siblings could beat him in a fight. But his endless toils and tasks had turned him into solid muscle, and none of Baz'Auran's other children could claim to be stronger.

    With a grunt of effort Haramhold twisted the troll around placing it into a headlock. Screaming from the effort Haramhold wrenched back and with a sickening pop the troll's neck snapped.

    Suddenly exhausted the godling let the monster's limp corpse fall to the ground. for the first time he noticed the long bleeding gashes on his forearms and chest. Staggering the godling caught himself on a nearby tree. The Human was now just recovering rubbing his head he looked up and dived for his sword. And in one swift motion threw it Haramhold. The godling barely had time to flinch before the blade flew past his head. Looking behind him Haramhold was shocked to see that the troll had silently stood up and was about to kill him if it were not for the sword sticking out from the beasts neck.

    Rudely pushing Haramhold aside the human rushed up to the beast. grasped his swords hilt and tore the troll's head off. "Fool!" the man growled "You cannot kill these monsters, nothing can kill them." Looking back at the godling he saw Haramhold's wounds and his eyes softened. "Come, let us catch up with my tribe the beast won't recover for another couple of hours"

    As Haramhold followed the man silently and when they caught up to the rest of the humans all of Haramhold's questions were answered as his wounds were tended. These were the Balarion people, a people plagued by powerful beasts and terrifying shadows. They had been driven out of their village weeks ago by dozens of trolls that were commanded by beings of mist and shadow. Many of their bravest warriors had engaged their foe's only to be slaughtered when their weapons passed harmlessly through the shadows and when the slain trolls rose up to fight again.

    There was barely a hundred of the Balarions left their leader was Baylor the man whom Haramhold had fought with. Baylor was leading them toward a much larger and stronger village hoping to find sanctuary. Haramhold decided to stay with these humans hoping that he could find some way to help them in their hour of plight. But he did not reveal his origins for Haramhold did not think that these people would react kindly to a son of Baz'Auran whom had apparently abandoned them in this hour of their need.

    The ragged band traveled undisturbed for three days until they met another band of survivors. They were the Aalarions the very people whom they had intended to seek shelter with. Their were close to one hundred and fifty Aalarions left out of the four hundred which had once lived in their town. They had a very similar tale and had fled to seek refuge with the Balarions.

    The Aalarions were lead by their village healer an old crone named Syth. Old and wise she was, but frail of body and broken of spirit. For she had loved he people and now they were in tatters.

    The two groups joined together making camp where they met, and that night the trolls attacked again. Haramhold does not remember much of that night, chaos and panic dominated the humans as they scattered in every direction. In the morning the survivors re grouped and buried their dead, another dozen had fallen, mostly the sick and the children. Those who could flee from the terror. Looking down at their graves Haramhold was filled with a fury, storming across the camp to where Baylor and Syth where deep in council.

    Shoving the guard aside as a bear might swat a fly Haramhold demanded to know what was being done to stop these monsters. Baylor's face was drawn tight, his eyes sunk deeply into his face as he admitted that there was nothing to be done. They saw no path before them which lead to their people's survival. The only thing to be done now was to pick their graveyard.

    Baylor was a head taller than Haramhold but he was not nearly as broad of shoulder so when Haramhold grabbed Baylor and began to shake him their was little the human could do. Placing a calming hand on Haramhold shoulder Syth calmed him down with a few soothing words.

    "Calm yourself stranger, your anger has stirred an old memory. Their lies in the swamp to the east a demon named Ko the soul stealer. It has devoured the essence of many man and beast alike, perhaps it has gained some secret which will lead to our salvation. Neither Baylor or I can abandon our families for such a quest and none of our people have the courage to attempt such a journey. But you whom has no ties of kinship has shown yourself to be valiant. You might succeed where others might fail. And for us, we shall travel toward the great cave of crystals, so that our people might view upon one last thing of beauty before our passing. If you should succeed meet us there."

    This calmed Haramhold, finally there was something he could do, no longer would he stand helplessly as these people fought and died, just as helpless as he was when Baz'Auran fought the horrors which sacked the white city. Syth gave him all the directions he needed as Haramhold packed enough supplies for his journey. Picking up the spear he had crafted the previous day, Haramhold set off to the east.

    Once Haramhold was out of ear shot Baylor turned toward Syth and asked "Why did you do this. He cannot hope to survive an encounter with Ko."

    "Because..." Syth paused for a moment "Because his fate does not have to be ours, with any luck Haramhold will come to his senses and flee this land to live and keep our memories alive."
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  13. - Top - End - #163
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Jade_Tarem's Avatar

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    The First Wish
    Part 1: When Suddenly...

    A lesson was taught long ago,
    in the silent desert chill.
    It went "wishes only come true,
    with Desire and with Will."

    Even now you might still hear it,
    when the wind is calm and still.
    "You can have what e'er you want,
    With enough Desire and Will."


    That same voice then explains,
    in a tone colder than ice,
    "Desire is the wanting,
    but it's Will that pays the price.
    You can have the whole wide world,
    you can even have it twice.
    You can have what e'er you want,
    but then you have to pay the price."


    "There's a cause for each effect,
    and effects for every act.
    But acts have life as well,
    and you can never take them back.
    You had best check your Desire,"

    says the ever-unseen jack,
    "You can have what e'er you want,
    but you can never give it back..."


    - Excerpt from "The First Wish," a Hajika Clan bedtime story

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

    NOW...

    The legends say that when Faden first set foot on the Great Disk, after the attack on the White City, he calmly looked around, assessing the situation, categorizing his advantages and disadvantages, testing his remaining strength, and getting his bearings.

    The legends are quite wrong.

    "Spirit! Spirit! I realize that it might be terribly inconvenient but could you kindly transport me to a slightly more hospitable location? I love an unimpeded view of the night sky and my childhood home's destruction as much as any of my siblings, but as you may have noticed there's nothing here!" Faden had begun speaking in his normal tone, but it had graduated to a shriek as the spirit of haste, true to its nature, rocketed skyward.

    After that, Faden panicked. How long he did so, no one knows. There were no witnesses to the event, and Faden isn't telling, but eventually he calmed down. It was then that he turned his thoughts toward survival.

    "..."

    ...and after several minutes of furious cogitation, he had come up with exactly nothing. He had studied all manner of things, but 'how to survive in the middle of a barren desert while hideous nothings from beyond the stars may or may not be coming to murder you' was not among the topics of his pleasant discussions with Tezzerin. Worse yet, his attempts to produce a proper veil or move freely and easily across the dunes were met with only limited success - his divine spark had been... if not damaged, then certainly restrained.

    It was a long, long time before Faden moved. Before he did, he simply thought. As the moon turned bloody and the stars began to fade, he carefully, slowly, examined the facets of this new reality - a reality where moral and social laws were not enforced by a higher power. A reality where his own, faltering powers might not be enough to overcome adversaries. A reality where the land itself would sooner kill than serve. And he knew that if he were to survive, he would need to rethink many of the things he had once held as universal truth. But first, he had to live.

    And as dawn finally began to diminish the horrid brilliance of the blood moon, Faden chose his direction, and began to walk.
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  14. - Top - End - #164
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    The First Wish
    Part 2: A Staple of the Setting

    ...But I won't provide the moral,
    'fore the tale can even start.
    For you'll find the lesson's cheapened,
    if you skip to the last part.
    As our Faden did discover,
    before mastering the Art,
    You can have what e'er you want,
    but you must want it from the heart.

    - Excerpt from "The First Wish" – final part of the first verse


    NOW

    Faden was not typically one to ask stupid questions, and his current predicament had done nothing to change that. It had, however, caused Faden to reconsider just what constituted a 'stupid question.'

    For instance, he had quickly found that the desert, while barren, inhospitable, and hot, was not truly empty at all. There was entire system in place, easily discernible if one was looking. There were insects and arachnids and serpents and birds and even extremely spiny plants. In the distance, larger things could sometimes be heard, howling or growling - which was preferable to not hearing them, as even Faden knew that this would mean they were stalking him.

    The one thing the desert seemed to be devoid of was things useful to him. Despite the presence of so many creatures, no clear source of water was obvious to the son of Baz'Auran. On top of that, his only options for food fell into four categories - things he Could not Catch, things he Could not Kill, things he Could not Eat, or All of the Above.

    Additionally, Faden learned just how quickly a desert could destroy, even without a single creature attacking him. He had been told somewhere that a mortal could live for three days without water - a figure that he only now realized was highly subjective. So as he fell on the sands, dizzy and dying, he thought of the long list of questions he would ask Baz'Auran if he ever had the chance to again, many of which sounded both self-pitying and quite stupid.

    Father, why did you make us so weak?
    What's the point of sending us down here to die?
    Why make something so terrible as a desert to begin with?
    And if you did? Why make sand so sandy? And birds so hard to catch?
    And where is all the water?
    ...or were you ever truly omniscient to begin with?


    It was as he was lying there that he felt it. A slight rumbling, a subtle shift, and the sudden absence of all other life alerted him to it. He struggled to his feet and looked around, fearing anything from a sandstorm to an avalanche from the nearby mountains.

    What he saw was a strange disturbance in the sand, moving extremely quickly. Fortunately, it seemed to be heading along a path that would carry it well clear of him. He stepped forward to get a better look.

    The disturbance froze. Faden frowned, warning bells ringing in his mind. He took a single step backward, and the disruption began moving directly toward him. It can sense disturbances in the sand! Faden looked wildly around, but the nearest rock formations seemed an impossible distance away. On the upside, the surge of adrenaline had given him a strength that he would have figured impossible minutes ago. Seeing no real alternative, he began to run.

    He didn't make it far before the swirl in the sand - which was much larger than it had appeared at a distance - caught up with him. As the dune beneath him began to heave, he closed his eyes...

    THEN

    "I don't get it." A very young Faden said, petulantly. "I've wanted lots of things, but they don't happen just because I want them to."

    "Desire, in this context, means more than just wanting things," Tezzerin patiently explained. "It is beyond the emotion we attribute the word to. From a magical perspective Desire is part imagination and part exclusion of all things that do not fit the vision of what you want. It requires clarity of purpose and also focus. The action of carrying through with obtaining that desire, and paying the price for it, is Will." The large spirit fanned her wings out to their full extension and extended a clawed hand. A globe of water suddenly appeared there, suspended. "This was brought here from the fountains in the tenfold paths. It arrived because I sacrificed energy from my own spiritual spark to bring it here, and because I could clearly understand what I was trying to accomplish, and what I wanted to do."

    "It seems difficult to want something so silly that hard." Faden said, leaning forward.

    "It is, dear Faden. That is why it takes so much practice. It is also the reason why the laws of Physics that Baz'Auran decreed hold sway so much of the time. Otherwise, everyone would be able to do all kinds of magic, all the time."

    Faden experimentally tried to move it away from Tezzerin's grasp. There was a slight ripple, but nothing more dramatic happened. "And this is why magical things happen more often when people are in danger?"

    "Yes. The presence of mortal danger does wonders to sharpen the mind. One's Desires are simplified and stark, and therefore less difficult to focus. Anyone with a reserve of divine or spiritual energy will have a much easier time producing a magical effect in such a situation." Tezzerin closed her claw, and the water bubble broke with a splash, dripping from the claw down onto the marble floor. "It is imperative that you learn to perform magic whether or not the situation stimulates you to do so, and that you learn not to panic when the situation becomes dire. In short, you have to let your emotions feed your existing desires, not the other way around." The big spirit hesitated. "That said, if you ever need assistance, a good scare *can* do wonders..."

    NOW

    ...and moved. When the creature erupted from beneath him, Faden was already - and impossibly - out of reach. His divine spark flared, and Faden knew that he could, indeed, make it to the mountains. Thus began the longest chase in Faden's life. It was longer than the time he'd asked Baz'Auran why he wasn't faster on his feet. It was even longer than the time Eliat had discovered who had really hidden his swords on top of the tallest spire in the White City.

    The creature, whatever it was, caught up to him multiple times, but each time Faden would whisk himself away. Several times he tried to lead the creature off with illusions, but he could manage nothing more than subtle or simple changes, and the creature appeared to not even notice.

    As he was on the verge of collapse for the second time that day, Faden at last reached a rocky outcropping. Leaping to the top of it, he stopped suddenly - the other side was a steep slope of hard, wind-smooth stone, leading to what appeared to be a dry river basin below, forming a ravine.

    As the monster erupted a third time, this time from behind Faden, the godling turned around - unlike before, though, he could get a good look at it. Conversely, the creature also got its first good look at him.

    The being was well over forty feet long, and had a jet black body covered in golden segmented plating. It appeared to be mammalian, but had joints articulated like an insect's - not to mention well over a dozen enormous grasping claws. But that wasn't the most startling feature.

    On its torso was the symbol of the White City.

    Faden stepped forward on his rock. "You're no monster! You're one of us! Why are you trying to kill me?"

    "Because I hunger, and I want to be fed." The spirit's voice shook the rock and the tone left no question that it felt that this was perfectly adequate justification. It reached out with several of its claws, attempting to snare the son of Baz'Auran, and Faden leaped from the side of the stone, down into the ravine.

    His plan had been to keep his center of gravity over his feet, slide gracefully into the ravine, hit the ground rolling, come up on his feet, and calmly walk away while making a rude gesture. And maybe if he had been Shirvan or Lossethir or Nieve he would have been able to pull that off, but as it was he lost his balance halfway down and went into an uncontrolled tumble.

    And then he hit, and everything was dark.
    Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2012-02-18 at 06:38 PM.
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  15. - Top - End - #165
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    The Fall

    Frellon was in shock. Throughout the Fall, he had been ridged, seemingly unable to comprehend what was passing before his eyes. Father was afraid. Something actually rivaled his power. That wasn’t possible, that COULDN’T be possible! Upon reaching the ground, he promptly fell onto his back, his eyes still fixed upon the disk as he watched it fill with blood. Even as the sun rose, and he could no-longer see it, he still stared into nothing. This simply couldn’t be happening.

    What stirred him at last was hunger. A gnawing scraping on his innards that refused to leave him alone. With agonizing slowness, Frellon sat up and looked around himself, numb, after hours of lying in the tall grass.

    He was on some sort of plain, with golden, wavy strands of grass as far as he could see, until he turned around and beheld the forest. Barely a stones throw from where he sat, a wall of foliage met his gaze. Foliage this thick meant the wild, the wild, meant the Disk.

    The Disk.

    Frellon sprang to his feet, coming to the realization for the first time. He was on the disk! Filled with monsters of cruel and unimaginable horrors! He reached for his sword, and pulled it from its sheath. It was flimsy, but ornate. The heat of the fall had singed it, and him, but they both seemed to be holding up. Paranoia shoved Grief and Shock aside, and Frellon quickly decided that the plains were far too open. Without another glance behind him, he entered the cover of the forest, and the sky was lost to him.

    After a few days of not meeting any other living creatures, Frellon’s paranoia had diminished, with little but memories of lectures to sustain it. What kept him going now was the hunger that threatened to kill him. He had to find a source of food, and fast.

    Eventually, Frellon realized that he was a fool, bumbling about the forest, he made so much noise over the last day that animals for miles around must have heard him and fled. Partially because of his aching feet, Frellon decided that he would let prey come to him instead, so he climbed a tree and waited.



    An hour past, and Frellon heard his first bird sound. It was far off, and above him. It seemed to be a signal, for the forest slowly came to life, as he motionlessly waited. Birds could be heard calling to each other and sweeping from tree to tree, small animals scurried across the forest floor, only to vanish into the brush. Still Frellon waited, he was painfully aware of just how slim his chances of catching a bird were. He was waiting for a different opportunity.



    Most of the day went by and Frellon felt his strength finally begin to wane, his opportunity showed itself. A small animal, no taller than his knee, trotted into view below him. It was Canine, but matted with many layers of fur. As he watched, it snuffed around the bases of trees, as if searching for something. Part of Frellon’s mind bid him wait, as he might find a source of food by observing this creature, but the hunger was too great, and it drove him from the tree with his sword outstretched. He fell silently, with no battle cry, swinging the sword.

    The Wolf-like creature’s head toppled to the forest floor with a gurgle and a spray of blood. A nearby bird shrieked, and the whole forest went eerily silent, but Frellon was too elated to care. Lacking a fire, he tore apart the animal’s carcass with his bare hands, feasting like an animal. He had gone a week without sleep, food, or water, aside from the dew he had been able to lick from the trees, and ate until he could eat no more.

    Finally satiated, he leaned against the nearest tree and tried to sleep, but found he could not. His immediate needs taken care of, he tossed and turned as his thoughts turned to the fear in his father’s eyes. As Frellon lay there in the dark, drifting off to dream of nothingness, tears finally rolled down his face, washing away the blood of his kill.



    Sunlight broke through the branches above him, brushing his face and awaking Frellon from visions of doom and despair. With the morning came the hunger again, and Frellon wasted no time finishing off what was left unspoiled of the animal. Retrieving his sword, he realized that it had apparently broken., the top half had shattered, likely due to it’s impact with the tree’s root, after it had cut through the thing’s neck. Sad that he had lost his weapon, even if he had known it wouldn’t last long anyway, he tossed the near useless hilt aside. Then he examined his surroundings again. Oddly enough, the forest was dead silent, even though he had been carful and made no noise. Shrugging, he knelt once more before the carcass, hoping to make tools out of it’s bones.

    A snarl, behind him.

    Turning, Frellon had just enough time to realize that he faced something very similar to the thing he had just killed- but it was massive, almost bigger than Frellon himself- before it slammed into him and sent him flying into a tree. Somewhere, he heard a bird’s gutteral laugh. Frellon did not have the luxury of minding the bird though, as the creature was sinking its claws into his shoulders as he stuck his arm between its teeth to prevent it from tearing out his throat. His vision was turning red. Was this how he would die? Alone, mauled in some random forest on the disk? The creature, unable to get at his throat, was busy tearing into the rest of him with its fore-claws, when there was an impact. Frellon could feel the vibration from something striking the creature travel into him through his arm and chest. The creature paused, more impacts followed. It stood, snarled at something Frellon could not see, and left, Frellon seemingly forgotten. Frellon’s blood was pouring from his body, and his vision was fading. The last thing he saw as it left him completely was the creature being surrounded by booted feet, and blood that wasn’t his spattering the ground.
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    The First Wish
    Part 3: Mirage Sabotage

    We know Faden woke up unseen,
    And found an oasis of green,
    But although he awoke,
    and located our folk,
    We do not know what happened between.

    - Odd limerick sketched into the back of an unearthed copy of The First Wish, recovered from an old Hajika Clan trade stop


    NOW

    Faden came to slowly. It took even longer for everything to come back - the fall, his walk, the monster, and his other fall. He remained still, wondering why he hadn't died of exposure or been eaten by buzzards, when he realized that he had been moved. He was inside a cave, and more importantly, he wasn't thirsty.

    Well, he was thirsty, but it was back to a normal thirst, and not the soul-crushing desperate thirst he remembered from before his fall. Remembering the fall, Faden touched his head. There was a bandage around it, expertly applied. He got up, grimacing with the dizziness and discomfort the movement caused him. He felt like some of Rumel's helper-spirits had sandpapered every inch of his flesh, and he was fairly certain that the skin on his face was burned and peeling. Either way, though, he couldn't stay where he was. Faden stepped outside the cave.

    He apparently hadn't been moved far. He could still see the imprint in the packed dirt where he fell, although it was almost eroded away by the wind. With no real way to climb back up out of the ravine, he began to walk along its length. After a long enough time, the sun began to set, and he still had seen no signs of life. He had begun to wonder if his mysterious benefactor(s?) might, in fact, have merely ensured that he would experience the joys of dying from exposure twice, when the rock face finally changed - a series of tunnels, no more than a few inches high, decorated the face of the cliffs - and equally tiny handholds led up from the ground to any hole above ankle-high.

    Faden began to wonder who or what lived here when the question was answered for him.

    "Well hello there!" A tiny voice piped up from near the ground. Any thought that this might be a benevolent entity was wiped away when Faden saw the look on the creature's face. While not unlike a man - the limbs and head were all in a recognizable arrangement - there were definitely some insect-like qualities in the way it moved, and the ugly smirk on its face didn't belong on any sweet-tempered creature.

    In short, it was a monster. A tiny one, no more than a few inches high, but a monster.

    "I'm surprised the buzzards haven't gotten to you yet! They would have if that meddling caravan hadn't rolled through."

    "A caravan of what?"

    "People, fool! They live here too, just like everywhere else. But they don't take kindly to strangers. They helped you out juuust enough that they wouldn't have to feel guilty about you dying while they were around. Typical, really."

    Despite the creature's condemnation, Faden's very being lit up - if there were mortals in the area, then they had to have a definite source of food and water. If he could catch them...

    "Which way did they go?"

    "What do I look like, a spirit of knowledge? I'm not going to tell you, unless..."

    Faden didn't have time for these games. "Unless what?"

    "Unless you can catch me! If you can do it before the sun goes down completely, I'll tell you where to find them. If you can't, you leave your most valuable possession with me!"

    "I don't have any valuables."

    "I'll just pick a possession at random then. Well?"

    "Fine." Faden lunged for the creature, and it vanished. It took him a moment to realize that it wasn't an illusion - the tiny thing was just that fast. "Ah. Aha. A trick."

    "Yes indeed! My name is Sapphire Bleak, swiftest nightmare in the land! No one has caught me in a hundred years, and you won't be the first. Try harder, though - it's amusing to watch you fail!"

    Faden made several more attempts to grab the thing as the sky darkened. Near the close of sunset, it began taunting him, zipping in and out of the tiny holes in the canyon walls. Faden stopped for just a moment, shutting out Bleak's shrill babble, and thought.

    While his divine spark was, apparently, in remission, Faden had never completely lost the ability to craft the illusions that he was so famous for among his siblings. While he could no longer appear to vanish at will, or create magnificent displays of light and sound, he could still make small changes. And Bleak was a small monster...

    A moment later, he was rewarded with a loud *SMACK* as the tiny tormentor plowed at full speed right into the rock face. While the little creature could move faster than Faden could see, it was also moving faster than it could think. Had it taken a moment to cogitate instead of reacting on reflex, it would have realized that the holes in the cliffs should not have been able to jump six inches to the right on their own. As it was, the impact stunned the little monster, and Faden grabbed it a moment later.

    "I win, Bleak." Faden rasped. "Where are the humans?"

    "That way! Now let me go."

    "No. You're coming with me."

    "...why?"

    "Just in case you're lying to me now. I'm going to kill you right before I become too weak to do so."

    "On second thought, I think the humans went the other way. There's an oasis that they stop at there."

    Faden grinned.

    ***

    Many hours later, in the heat of the morning, Faden had stopped smiling. Bleak, as it turned out, had a secret weapon.

    "Hey! Listen!"

    The little loudmouth had gotten back at Faden by refusing to shut up through the entire trip. Unlike the godling, the monster never appeared to grow hoarse or even thirsty, and Faden had long ago given up on intelligent conversation.

    "Hey! Hey! Listen!"

    "What?"

    "We're almost there. That's the oasis!"

    Faden squinted off into the distance. There was something shimmering a few banks of dunes to the north, but he couldn't make it out. "Do you think I don't know what a mirage is, Bleak?"

    "No mirage! That's the real deal."

    "Fine. I trust you remember what I said about what happens if I'm about to collapse."

    "That's a real oasis, I promise!"

    Another hour brought them to it, and Faden was surprised to find that Bleak had told the truth - or at least, he hadn't lied. There was, however, a catch.

    As Faden approached the water, a massive spirit loomed up from within it. Unlike the one he'd run into out on the sands, this spirit was far more insubstantial. Nonetheless, Faden could feel the power that radiated out from it.

    And it wanted to deal.

    "There is a simple price for using the oasis. One life for one year of use."

    "A life?" Faden blinked. "That seems a bit steep."

    "Hardly. The oasis will save a life, it seems reasonable to ask for one in return, wouldn't you agree? This deal is not negotiable, Faden. What life will you give?"

    "How do you know my name?"

    "Hrm. I thought you were supposed to be the smart one. How would I not know it? I was part of the White City."

    "Then why aren't you there now, fighting with Father?"

    "One life, Faden." The spirit forcibly changed the subject. "What will it be?"

    "Ha! I'd hoped this would happen. The mortals pick one among their own for a sacrifice, but you don't have anyone willing to die for you!" Bleak crowed.

    Faden was nonplussed. "Spirit? Does the type of life matter?"

    It hesitated. "I suppose not... so long as it's intelligent."

    Faden looked at Bleak, clutched in his hand, and grinned. It took a moment for the monster to catch on. "You wouldn't... I mean... I couldn't possibly count, could I? I'm a monster, not a mortal!"

    "Hey, listen. You heard the spirit - any kind of sapient life will do." Faden tossed the tiny screaming creature at the vortex hovering over the water. A moment later, Bleak was gone, and the spirit with him.

    Faden drank until he was satisfied, ate the fruit around the oasis, and weathered the heat of the day in the shade - exploring only far enough to find the caravan's tracks. When it was dark out, he gathered up all his energy and took off after the mortals, using all of his power and strength to catch them.

    And as he ran, he thought about the events connecting his awakening to the oasis. He decided that if anyone asked him about how he'd survived the desert, he'd leave that part out. Not that he was ashamed of what he'd done - he just couldn't stand the thought of the aggravating little creature becoming famous for any reason.
    Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2012-02-18 at 06:40 PM.
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  17. - Top - End - #167
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    The First Wish
    Part 4: Fools Rush In

    The children wished for comfort,
    the soldiers to be strong.
    The fools, they wished for money,
    but they didn't keep it long.

    The leaders wished for wisdom,
    the blind, they wished for sight.
    The fools, they wished for power,
    but it didn't last the night.

    The oppressed wished for freedom,
    the lost wished not to stray.
    The fools wished to be famous,
    but the fame faded away.

    The god-child wished for nothing,
    the cost was far too steep.
    The fools wished to live forever,
    And this wish they got to keep.

    - Excerpt from a Halvett Clan book of poems and songs, relating to The First Wish


    NOW

    Against all odds, Faden caught up to the caravan. It was only then that he realized that he hadn't the faintest idea what to do next. It was surprising - given the path events had taken since his fall from the White City, he had fully expected to die of exposure or be consumed by flaming desert weasel-demons before anything unambiguously positive happened.

    Once again, the legends delve deeply into artistic license and flowery, duplicitous prose. It is true that when he approached the caravan, he did so under the full beauty of the clear night sky, the South Star shining directly above him. It is true that at that time he was dressed in his iconic multi-layered blue, black, and gold garments. It is even true that his arrival caused a great stir throughout the Hajika-clan caravan, who abandoned their tasks and rushed out to meet him, thunderous cries upon their lips. What the legends fail to state was that with his once-magnificent garments shredded and torn, his skin blistered and peeling, his words nothing but nonsense to mortal ears, his gait a staggering shuffle, and his entire frame - which was none too well-muscled to begin with - dessicated from his travels, the humans of the Hajika Clan had mistaken him for the undead spirit of Zohar-Ahmamesh the Traitor Chieftain. They were, in fact, racing out to drive him off, lest he steal their children.*

    Similarly, the legends state that Faden was able to communicate with them even without words, but neglect to mention that he did so through a wild and panicked pantomime that, to its credit, made up for in effectiveness what it lacked in dignity. Hours later, he realized that he could create fairly evocative images even with the limited power over illusion he had left, and everyone felt very silly.

    Before too long, he was among them. Despite the size of the clan - nearly fifty family units - it was not a very impressive caravan. The lack of available wood or workable stone made it difficult to create useful vehicles, so most of their possessions were carried by creatures - both enormous lizards as well as curious mammals able to store up water for tremendous periods of time. Eventually he was able to parse enough of what they were saying to hold two-way communication, and they asked him who he was.

    It was the beginning of a long conversation, much of it carried out without a single word.

    In another land, perhaps, an outsider would have been driven off, or regarded with too much suspicion or distrust to make an extended living arrangement workable. Here, though, every able-bodied human, man or woman, young or old, was needed. Because the land was so unforgiving, the humans could not be.

    Faden's first task, while he recovered, was teaching. He made learning their language and teaching them his own his top priority, but they were especially interested in his magic. As unimpressive as it was to him, it was more eldritch power than they had ever seen wielded by a man, even one claiming to have come from the moon. They asked if he would show them how it was done.

    THEN

    "Okay, Tezzerin, I'm ready!" An extremely excited - and extremely small - Faden bounded into the small amphitheater in the White City. He knew he was bright - Father had made him that way. "Teach me everything you know!"

    Tezzerin did not laugh, but something in the way the spirit's face scrunched up suggested that she was trying hard not to. "That may take a while, Faden."

    "That's okay! I brought a lunch and everything." At this, Tezzerin did laugh. The spirit slowly settled down on the small, flat dais at the front of the amphitheater. "Oh my. I believe you've settled the question of what the first lesson should be, then."

    Faden nodded and sat down too, but didn't say anything. Tezzerin leaned forward. "A *very* long time ago, when there was little else occupying the world besides your Father, he created the first spirits - Eliat, myself, and others, one by one. And upon learning that my first task was to become the greatest repository of knowledge after Baz'Auran, I confronted him in the tenfold paths. 'Baz'Auran,' I said, 'I am to be the First Spirit of Knowledge, but there is so much that I do not know. If you want me to be the best spirit I can be, you need to teach me everything you know, right now!" Tezzerin leaned back. "I was foolish to speak so impudently to Baz'Auran, but he simply nodded to me and told me to follow him, and I did. I was surprised when we left the tenfold paths. We traveled all the way to the Great Disk, and there we stopped, right by the oceans. He told me to lean as close to the water as I could and stare into my own reflection."

    "What did that teach you?"

    "Nothing. It was a trick. The next moment, His will held me under the water. At first I thought it might be a prank, but as the minutes went by, I slowly but surely began to drown. Right before I blacked out, though, I was suddenly hoisted out of the sea, and Baz'Auran told me to come back to him when I wanted his knowledge more than I had wanted air moments before."

    Faden sat silently for nearly a minute. "This is going to take more than one day, isn't it?"

    "Oh, yes. I do not think I need an ocean** to make my point to you, Faden - nothing comes freely, even to the children of the Creator. It will take time and effort on your part to make even the smallest foray into everything I know, and bear in mind that even *I* do not know everything. It may take centuries."

    Faden looked up at her. "Then we should get started right away."

    NOW

    Faden frowned, and explained to him, in their broken tongue, that magic could not be mastered overnight. He was still learning it himself, and was not even sure how long he or any of them would live. He told them that their young would grow old, and children would be born, and their old would die - not once, but many times over, perhaps even hundreds of times over. None of them would live to see the full reward for their efforts.

    He was ready for disappointment or even outrage, but the humans surprised him again. Upon hearing that it would require hundreds of generations for them to truly master the secrets of magic, the Chief - a powerfully built woman by the name of Brega-Sadeem, nodded and told him that if it would take so long, they had best begin right away.

    With that, Faden no longer felt as if he had any right to refuse.

    He agreed to teach them as best as he was able. Despite the fact that their own ability to manipulate arcane energies paled by comparison to his own (even suppressed as it was) he was surprised at the tenacity and dedication of the mortals. They had carved out an existence in a land he would have deemed impossible to survive in, and had begun to grow culturally and spiritually in spite of the perils. They had art and music and crafts, and even plans for the future, constrained though they were by the realities of the present.

    Time passed. Days turned into weeks. Faden eventually stopped thinking of the humans as 'the mortals' and began to think of them as the 'Hajika Clan,' as they liked to call themselves. There were thirteen total clans, which met and traded occasionally as they traveled in convoluted routes across the desert, stopping at the sources of the water they paid so dearly for, but because only a few Oases were large enough to accommodate multiple clans at once, interaction was limited.

    Time passed. Weeks turned into months. Faden eventually stopped thinking of the humans as the 'Hajika Clan' and began to think of them as his clan. As he grew more adept at their language he joined them in telling stories around the fires at night, in learning how to survive in even such a barren place as this, and how to beat the heat - his initial guess had been correct. The less there was between two points the less heat could travel between them. The desert - especially the mountainous areas - was not as barren as it first appeared. For a while, Faden was happy.

    Faden found himself distinctly lacking in ambition, and he might have faded from history altogether if not for three things. First, he still wanted to know what had become of his siblings. Second, he remained aware of the awful thing that had evicted the children of Baz'Auran from the White Disk.

    Finally, there was the small matter of the water bill...

    He had asked the clan about the spirits he had run into, and though they had become evasive, he had eventually learned that as far as the humans were concerned, the two had always existed. The one that stalked the sands was known to them as Qarezel, and the other as Paideiazel.

    It was something of a bastardization of the language of the White City, but Faden eventually learned that they meant 'demonic will' and 'demonic desire.' And with that, he knew what the two spirits were. They were the remains of the First Spirit of Magic, a spirit unseen in the White Citadel since before Baz'Auran elected to have children. What his/her/its crime had been was never discussed, but his Father had exiled the great spirit in much the same manner (on fire and screaming) as he had... someone, although for the life of him Faden couldn't remember who.

    The stress of the event had apparently fractured the spirit into its two main components - the creature's will and discipline formed the spirit Paideiazel, the swirling vortex-like entity that loaned out the water to the humans at such an obscene cost. The more barbaric desire-driven half, Qarezel, functioned mostly on instinct and hunted down anything with higher brain functions that wandered into its range of perception.***

    The clan had grown adept at avoiding Qarezel - the creature was, unsurprisingly, a few pegs short of a tent. Paideiazel, though, was a serious obstacle, and thirteen humans - one from each clan - sacrificed themselves each year so that the rest of the clan might live. The decision on which human would pay the price was decided at random, if a volunteer was not found.

    The humans had no idea why the two spirits were after their lives, but Faden had his own suspicions. The two spirits were no longer tied to Baz'Auran nor sustained by his power, which likely meant that they would age and decay just as any mortal creature might. There were ways to extend a life that would certainly be known to the two spirits, though - the catch was the cost. A spirit of the power of Paideiazel or Qarezel would require many lives, every year, to remain ageless, and so they preyed on the humans.

    Unaccountably, this made Faden upset. He had never given much thought to mortals in the White City. He hadn't cared, but now he recognized, as the spirits had taught him to, the importance of even the smallest details. They had their own spark - perhaps not the divine spark of Baz'Auran, but it was there. The two desert spirits were consuming people like livestock to support their continuing efforts to cheat his Father's punishment.

    So when the time came to select who would be the next to face Paideiazel, Faden volunteered. Despite the protests of the clan, he convinced them that he knew what he was doing, and for the first time in years, the people of the Hajika clan began to wonder if there might be a way out from under the control of the spirits.

    The son of Baz'Auran had no death wish. Armed with a solid suspicion of what the two spirits were really after, Faden planned to offer them their heart's desire in exchange for all the water, forever. He would offer them immortality itself.

    It was an excellent plan, with two minor drawbacks.

    First, Faden did not have the ability to grant them immortality, yet would need to actually be able to do so in order for the plan to succeed. This he judged to be the lesser of the plan's two flaws.

    Second, deceptions were most effective when one could play desire and will off against each other. Given that the two abstracts had been forcibly separated in this case, there was a solid chance that Paideiazel would be too intelligent to fall for Faden's ruse, and an equally high chance that Qarezel would be too stupid to fall for it.

    Faden tried to think his way around these problems, but then the Hajika Clan's year was up, and there was no more time.

    * The humans should not be blamed for leaping to this conclusion - it had happened before on two different occasions. This, however, is a story for another time.

    ** Liberal and unconventional use was made of the great palace fountain less than a week later.

    *** Faden once asked the clan where Sapphire Bleak fit in to the supernatural food chain. Their only response was "Sapphire who?" Faden did not pursue that line of inquiry - all was right with the world.
    Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2012-02-18 at 06:58 PM.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The First Wish
    Part 5: Reflected Illumination

    "By its nature, magic is the impression of one's will on reality, and might defy the natural laws of causality and physical or chemical interaction in exchange for taking on the magical laws of causality and eldritch interaction. As reality is only recognized through your own perceptions, and since those perceptions can easily fail, magic may be mistaken for madness at first glance, and sometimes the two can only be unraveled through careful and patient study.

    It is not as simple as that, though. Magic does not always involve the roar of thunder, the flash of light, and the ever-present dramatic wind described in the stories as arcane power is transferred throughout the process of some epic task. Indeed, the most potent magic frequently is found in the most mundane of circumstances. Summoning a ball of light is a mere trick, no matter what natural laws have been violated or what price was paid. Showing mercy to one's worst enemy is magic. An eternal bond of love begun on the slightest of chances is magic. The total destruction of a long-held prejudice that stands in the way of progress is magic. A person doing things the right way instead of the easy way is magic.

    And as you may expect, this may come at a great cost to those who would seek to reshape reality in such a way. Lives will be ended, dreams will be shattered, and works will be torn down by those without the wit to understand them. Despite this, I have witnessed that as surely as there will always be fools and monsters of some shape or form, there will be those from all histories and backgrounds willing to take those chances and pay the cost to make something great, even when no one is looking. Only one question remains, and I leave it to you to answer it in your own way, and your own time.

    Is that madness, or is that magic?

    - Forward to The First Wish. Author anonymous, but suspected to be Faden himself.


    NOW

    There was one other thing to do before Faden could begin his plan. He had to make his burial shroud.

    Burial rituals for the Clans involved the creation of a burial shroud. The shroud itself was actually an extremely long ribbon, two inches wide, of whatever cloth the family doing the burying had available. Cuts and alterations were made to account for the contours of the body, and then the entire thing was wrapped around the corpse and the ribbons sealed together with a powerful resin the Clans had discovered seeped from the cracks in the deepest caves.

    In the case of those sacrificed to Paideiazel, though, there was no body - nothing to wrap. Even so, a burial shroud was made, and the entire clan pitched in to help make it, although the person selected or volunteered to die was given creative control. In Faden's case, he had no requirements for decoration, requesting only that the entire ribbon be dyed black, and that they store enough resin to seal it. This caused some confusion, but the clan was happy to comply.

    When it was done, Faden set out to find Paideiazel. It would be the first time that he had formulated a plan with the end goal of destroying a hostile entity, but it wouldn't be the last.

    He found the spirit at the nearest Oasis, as predicted. It regarded him curiously. "Faden again? Surely the Hajika clan had another human that they could spare more readily than you?"

    Faden bowed. "I've actually come to offer an alternative deal, Paideiazel."

    "Oh?"

    Faden took a deep breath. If he was wrong about the way in which the First Spirit of Magic's personality had split, the entire plan would end with his death here and now. "Oh yes. Unlike the mortals, I have discerned why you claim so many lives each year. You seek to maintain the everlasting life that was taken from you by your exile."

    A trace of derision crept into Paideiazel's tone. "Of course, it isn't very hard to grasp."

    "Perhaps not for a great and intelligent spirit like yourself, but the mental faculties of so many others are limited by comparison."

    "All too true," the spirit said, sadly. "My brother being the worst of the lot."

    Faden let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. He'd been right - pride had ended up with this half. The spirit had already assumed that no one and nothing could possibly outwit it.

    Time to get to work.

    THEN

    "Deception? This is a curious choice of topic, Faden."

    "Not too curious. How am I supposed to discern the truth if I cannot spot a lie?"

    "With practice. For instance, I have heard a thin justification before."

    Faden grinned. "Then you should teach me to be better to give yourself more of a challenge."

    Tezzerin blinked all of her eyes. "This is dangerous territory, Faden. I am not sure that you are ready."

    Faden frowned. "Last month you taught me how to move my body with pure power. If I make a mistake, I could turn myself inside out. How is deception more dangerous than that?"

    "You would be surprised. Even an inside-out body can be fixed here, but there is no way to repair shattered trust."

    "All the more reason to become proficient." Faden looked at her squarely. "Will your refusal to teach me really keep me from learning about it? It seems to be a fundamental aspect of reality."

    Tezzerin sighed. "Very well. I'm going to assume you know the basics, and focus on magical and complex deceptions. You may recall our talk about heuristics?"

    Faden nodded. "They're mental shortcuts that we use to save time. Like looking for a hammer by going to places you remember it being, rather than just walking in an outward spiral until you find one."

    "Correct. There are several things to keep in mind when crafting a deception, whether it is a lie, an illusion, or something more complicated. The first is plausibility - not possibility, but plausibility. The deception must be both believable and make so much sense that the target is unwilling to question it. A giant glowing monster appearing in a room for no reason is impossible, one strolling into town is implausible, and even an angry horde of enemies showing up is highly unlikely. In general, the more subtle the alteration is, the better."

    "I'm with you so far."

    "More importantly, the deception should be hidden within those aforementioned mental shortcuts. The best deception is one that the target never gets an opportunity to question, resonating with a deeply held belief that they hold. For instance, it makes sense for a room to have four walls and a roof. Most beings will not question the existence of the roof, even if it is only an illusion. In a similar vein, most beings will not question something likely, even if the only proof they have to go on is your word." The spirit folded her wings. "If this is impossible, then misdirection and duplicity are the next best things, preferably together. Do you recall the shell game?"

    Faden nodded. "I never did find the pebble."

    "The pebble was never under any of the shells - at least not at the time you made the selection. There was an unspoken assumption that it would be under one of the shells. The pebble was shown as under the shells, you were told to find the pebble and shown the shells, but it was never guaranteed that the pebble would still be under the shells when my hands stopped moving. The game can not, in fact, be won."

    Faden leaned back, slowly. "Psychological blind spots..."

    "Indeed. And the more you know of, the better. People put a great deal of trust in their senses, and will continue to trust them until they know they should not. And the biggest blind spot of all is, unsurprisingly, desire."

    "Desire?"

    "Desire, although not in the magical sense. The most effective deceptions use all of the above techniques, and also show the target what they wish to see. Beings will convince themselves of all manner of untrue things. Sometimes showing or telling a target what they want to believe in is so powerful that you can convince them of blatantly impossible things."

    There was a long moment of silence.

    "That's it?" Faden got up. "That wasn't very long at all."

    "That's it for the lecture. The rest is practice." Tezzerin began to ascend toward the palace.

    Faden stepped forward. "Wait! How do I know that you aren't holding something back? All of that talk about duplicity and lying by omission, not to mention telling people what they want to hear..."

    Tezzerin grinned, and for the first time in his life Faden saw something sinister in the expression. "You do not. The presence of deception erodes trust, without which certainty cannot be achieved. You may never know whether or not I told you everything today. Or any other day." Tezzerin did not stop moving, but her voice remained clear until she disappeared from sight. "That, dear Faden, is the cost. You will ask yourself every day if it was worth it, and one day you will convince yourself that it was. When that day comes, you will know that you have truly become proficient at deception."

    NOW

    Faden had chosen to appeal to Paideiazel's ego, and in fact had made that decision long before arriving. The trick was not to go overboard - too much flattery would cause suspicion, too little would fail to blind the spirit to its approaching doom.

    Faden had indeed practiced his deceptions. It hadn't made him extremely popular among his siblings, but he had improved, day by day. One of the things he had discovered was that Tezzerin was correct. You could lie much more effectively with what you did not say as what you did. The best lies were composed entirely of true statements, and in fact Faden had made it a point to never actually tell a lie - every lie was something that his target could disprove, and thus was a weak point in the deception.

    And so, there in the presence of a creature that could destroy him at will and thought itself very clever, Faden began to say true things.

    "Well... perhaps not." For his purposes, the only thing better than pride was injured pride.

    "What? Explain yourself." The spirit turned its attention to Faden completely; the godling could almost feel the force of the stare.

    "You and Qarezel inhabit different parts of the desert, and theoretically consume human lives to sustain yourselves. But whereas you have chosen the highly effective strategy of waiting near vital resources, Qarezel just hunts people at random."

    "Yes..."

    "It seems strange that the strategies would be equally effective. As you yourself pointed out, Qarezel is not particularly bright, and the mortals have learned many ways to avoid him, yet he does not seem to have aged any further than you have." Like the ones before it, this statement was true. Faden let the unspoken question hang in the air.

    The spirit's ethereal eyes narrowed. "You believe that Qarezel knows something *I* don't?" This, at last, was a lie - and the most powerful kind of lie, no less.

    "The power that went into making the First Spirit of Magic timeless and ageless had to go somewhere when split into you and Qarezel. You obtained will, discipline, and higher reason. Qarezel must have received something as well," Faden responded, and every word was true.

    "Yes... yes, that must be it. Qarezel is still immortal, waiting for me to expire so he can take control of the whole area!"

    "He has no reason to challenge a spirit of your intelligence and power when there's an alternative, and he would still get to eat humans in the meantime." Faden stated flatly.

    Paideiazel pondered that for a moment, a sour expression on the wispy face. "You mentioned a deal. Do you have a way to steal my immortality back from Qarezel?"

    "I could obtain immortality for you, if only..."

    "If only what?"

    "Well, Qarezel is the Desire half of magic, and without the Will half there I will be unable to seize his power. If you know a way to manipulate Will directly..."

    "Yes! Here, take this." The vortex like spirit launched a large pair of black gloves at the godling, which Faden recognized as a part of Paideiazel's very essence - specifically, the Ego. He resisted the urge to whistle. "Get me immortality, and I will let you and the clans have as much water as you want!"

    ***

    The next part of Faden's deception went much faster owing to a total lack of scintillating conversation.

    "Want Immortality! Give it to me!"

    Faden stepped back, his hair frazzled from the force of the shout. "Er... yes. All I need is a way to get it from Paideiazel, a way to manipulate Desire itself wou-"

    Faden's eyes widened to almost impossible proportions as Qarezel ripped one if its own limbs off and threw it at Faden's feet. "Here! Go get immortality!"

    The godling made a concerted effort to shut his hanging jaw, shook his head, grabbed the limb, and ran. What kind of psychopath just spontaneously mutilates himself like that?

    ***

    The first half of the deception was complete. The second half would require some material aids, and a lot of magic - more than Faden could possibly produce by himself. But then, he was hoping that Qarezel and Paideiazel would provide the magic...

    The first thing he did was create the gloves. He took the bones and sinews from the claw that Qarezel had given him, both surprisingly colored gold, and worked them into the gloves that Paideiazel had provided. The end result was a pair of near-gauntlets with a black base, but golden plates on the backs of the hands and up the entire length of the rest of the glove, with black runes on the plating. The gloves were bulky and went halfway to the elbow, but fortunately shrank down to fit Faden's hands, allowing his sleeves to drape over them.

    The other thing he needed was an object that the two spirits could fixate their desires upon. This time, it was the Hajika clan that provided for him. Inexpensive copper jewelry was common, and the clansmen were quite adept at making it. Sometimes, though, gemstones were found near new rock slides or in unexplored caves, and the clan was more than willing to part with a pair of beautiful sapphires, to make a pair of amulets.

    Faden began to weave his spell. It would indeed allow for a being of enough power to live forever - but that power was the catch. With such a huge disparity in the relative magical strength between Faden and the spirits, Faden needed the spirits to lower all of their defenses if this were to work. And to do that, he needed them to not only take the amulets from him, but steal them from him. He needed them to focus all of their effort and will and desire on the items, or the whole plan could fail. Unfortunately, the steps that would get them to do something like that would likely kill him.

    That, he supposed, was the cost for this particular magic trick.

    When the time came to carry out the last stage of the plan, dark clouds had filled the sky, heralding a terrible sandstorm. While dramatically appropriate, Faden saw the weather only as an aggravation, but on the other hand, it would be one more distraction for the spirits, one less reason for them to question what he was doing. A moment later he realized what else he could use the sandstorm for.

    The other hindrance came from a surprising source. The humans wouldn't let him go. Chief Brega-Sadeem stood in his way as he made to leave the encampment, and asked him to stay, to let any other member of the clan carry out the final steps in his place. She told him that they still looked to him to grant their wish of a brilliant future for the clan - all the clans.

    Faden shook his head. He said that the clan knew enough to advance on his own, that there were now humans who could do what he could.

    The humans responded that no, there were not. None of them could be Faden.

    Faden raised an eyebrow, and leaned forward. He stated flatly that the plan had a much higher chance of failure if he wasn't the one to carry it out, but if they wanted to keep him alive, there was something that they could do, if they had a little faith...

    And so the plan was delayed for one more day, as the humans made molds and prepared to make the biggest arsenal any of the clans had ever created.

    ***

    Luring Qarezel to the oasis was harder than Faden had expected, but eventually he managed it. And when he did...

    "YOU! What are you doing near my oasis? And you, Faden, where is my immortality? We had a deal!"

    "Came for immortality! Give it to me!"

    "Good spirits, calm yourselves." Faden said soothingly. "I have managed to create a way for you to live forever, as promised, but..."

    Both spirits loomed over him dangerously. "But what?"

    "Well, if I am immortal and you are not, there isn't much you can do to me, is there? I have decided not to give these to you. In fact, I can eventually make enough of these to give one to every human in the clans. If all of them were immortal, none of them would need you any more."

    Paideiazel snarled nastily. "There is one thing you have forgotten, Faden. Being immortal doesn't give you the power to keep us from taking those baubles from you. Now hand them over!"

    "I will not." Faden said, noting with some relief that the storm that had been threatening since yesterday had finally arrived, sending sand flying in every direction and obscuring vision.

    "So be it. You are not very smart, son of Baz'Auran."

    "Smarter than you think." Faden raised his fist, and the Hajika clan cleared their own desires and wills, allowing them to be manipulated by and joined to Faden's. Over one hundred copper blades, each buried earlier in the day, sprang up from the sands and the Hundred Saber Battle began.

    The spirits should not be blamed for what appears to be gross incompetence and overconfidence on their part. They were quite correct in assuming that they were by far the most powerful entities on the massive desert island. The two of them could have crushed Faden with little difficulty. Faden plus the entire Hajika Clan would require only slightly more effort. Faden plus the entire Clan in the middle of a Sandstorm would only be slightly harder, and much more aggravating.

    Faden plus the whole clan in a sandstorm on a battleground that had been prepared in advance while the godling refused to engage them directly, using illusions and misdirection in conjunction with the storm to hide all of the combatants, while razor-sharp copper blades whirled about on the winds and heat lightning crashed about, distorting noises and destroying night vision, was just hellishly frustrating.

    Going for broke, Faden ran through his entire arsenal of tricks. He would wait until a sand-filled gust obscured vision to shift himself away or throw up a crude illusion. He used the wind to provide most of the motion for the blades, which were made as light as possible, but sharp - useless as swords, they made fairly effective wind-borne dangers. He heard the cries of pain from the spirits, both of which were too large to avoid the flashing blades, and for a moment, it seemed as though he might be able to defeat them directly.

    But only for a moment. Eventually the storm died down, the blades could no longer remain in the air, and Paideiazel and Qarezel, acting in concert for what may have been the first time in centuries, grabbed Faden and yanked the amulets off of his neck. Both roared triumph as they flung Faden to the sands.

    And as instructed, the Hajika Clan did... nothing.

    Faden held his breath. If he had made a single mistake with the spell, if he had misjudged the defenses of the spirits, if he had slipped during his sweet-talking and one of them had guessed what his plan was, it would all end here.

    Then what appeared to be glowing sapphires erupted from the ground, encasing the lower portions of the two spirits, and Faden knew that he had won.

    "What is this?! What did you do?" Paideiazel attempted to rush to Faden, but was held in place despite his vortex-like form. Faden filed that apparent impossibility away for future reference. "You promised immortality."

    "I thought you were supposed to be the smart one," Faden said coldly, standing. "The jewelry that you just used all of your effort and will and power to obtain will indeed keep you from ever dying. I do not know enough about souls and spirits and life and death to stop it directly, but I know a great deal about space and time and magic." He gestured to the sapphires. "What you are holding, and the spell that you took despite all of my efforts to prevent you from doing so, will prevent you from aging or ever being harmed by removing you from time itself. I could not power such a thing on my own, of course, but I don't have to."

    The sapphire continued to creep up the spirits. "You tricked us! You lied to us!"

    "I did not lie. I have given you exactly what was promised, and our deal will be fulfilled. You will live forever, even if you are not happy with the price of doing so, and in return the humans will have free access to the resources of the desert." Faden turned and began to walk back to the humans. "I have kept to our bargain. Enjoy eternity - if you can."

    Qarezel and Paideiazel continued to howl until the sapphires had encased them completely. They still cry out even now, and if you stand out on the dunes or in the driest canyons on a windy day, there's a howl with every gust and breeze. Perhaps you've heard it? That's them. Screaming.

    Faden watched with some surprise as a bluish haze of energy erupted from the two sapphires and hovered for a moment, before he nodded: he had trapped only the bodies, minds, and souls of the two spirits - their power, or at least the power that wasn't being used to maintain their newly granted immortality, was being pushed back into recognizable time.

    The clan began to cheer, to rush forward, but Faden stopped them, for something wasn't right. He could sense a growing malevolence from the power, and he realized that after so long, something as closely tied to its own power as the two spirits could still imprint some of their desire and will on it. And that meant...

    "Get back. All of you, get as far away as possible!" The clan members halted, confused, before backing away. It was over, right?

    It was not over.
    As surely as the fallen spirits had been sealed away forever,
    Power unlike any he had known snatched at him, and Faden knew,
    What they were trying to accomplish.
    Faden was not certain
    He could handle it.
    And he knew that
    A tidal surge of raw magical energy would rip through his being.
    He saw the mortals, in a ring around him, keeping their distance.
    But he was inevitably being drawn in by an inescapable pull.
    His body was destroyed by the terrible forces he had unleashed,
    Faden became aware of something new, and realized:
    it was too late to save the world.
    The mortals did not believe that
    They could prevent it.
    The humans made a choice.
    Faden died.

    The Hajika clan reached out and seized the unspent power. The very first wish would be made upon this hour. He was wrong about the humans, in the wake of the attack. You can have what e’er you want, and they wanted Faden back.

    Faden died.
    The humans made a choice.
    They could prevent it.
    The mortals did not believe that
    it was too late to save the world.
    Faden became aware of something new, and realized:
    His body was destroyed by the terrible forces he had unleashed,
    But he was inevitably being drawn in by an inescapable pull.
    He saw the mortals, in a ring around him, keeping their distance.
    A tidal surge of raw magical energy would rip through his being.
    And he knew that
    He could handle it.
    Faden was not certain
    What they were trying to accomplish.
    Power unlike any he had known snatched at him, and Faden knew,
    As surely as the fallen spirits had been sealed away forever,
    It was not over.


    Over two hundred amateur sorcerers ringed Faden’s burial shroud, sealed together with resin and dressed in Faden’s raiment. It wasn’t perfect, but it was all that was left of him. The unified Desire of hundreds of humans, combined with the Will Faden had shown them, and fueled by the stolen power of the former First Spirit of Magic, all gathered on that point. The price was paid.

    A roaring vortex whipped up in the center of their ring, cloud formations swirling above it even as sand whirled madly below. A pair of blue streams of fire, painfully bright, spiraled down from the heavens, leaving a double helix of glowing smoke behind them. The two streams hit the layered clothing and bandages simultaneously, and then something screamed. Despite having never heard it before, the humans knew it was not Faden. Indeed, had they known what it truly was their very minds would have snapped from containing such dangerous knowledge. They would not – could not – know that the darkness from beyond the stars that had restricted and smothered Faden’s divine spark had been burned away by the sheer Desire and Will behind their actions.

    When the scream and the light and the fire faded, and all that was left was a circle seared into the sand, letting off bluish smoke, they finally released the spell. The energy had been spent, and everything was in balance once again.

    Faden woke up. He got up slowly, moving slightly awkwardly. This was when he realized that he had been wrapped in his own burial shroud. He tried to remove it – and could not. Trying harder actually hurt, and in the tiny division in the bandages he was pulling on he could see only a bright blue light. He tried to smile wanly as the realization hit him and could not – the mortals had brought him back, but there was no undoing the destruction of his body. These bandages and what they contained were his body now.

    Even as he despaired at the thought, a second one hit him. The mortals had brought him back. That… couldn’t happen. It was one of Baz’Auran’s universal laws – anything dead stays dead, and any attempt to bring that being back leads only to a pale mockery of the original called the undead.

    Using only his teachings and some stolen magic, the humans had defied the will of Baz'Auran. Impossible did not begin to define their actions.

    As he examined his new body, he felt the despair wash away. This was not bad at all. He was still alive, he could still do what he enjoyed most, and his spark...

    He froze. His spark was there. Undamaged, unrestricted.

    He was a god. And now he was, at least for the moment, the most powerful entity in these lands. He turned to look at his clan, and they looked back with something approaching awe. Even as he mourned the death of the familial relationship they had shared, he knew that he could now do so much more.

    And speaking of more, he had picked up a new advantage - the gloves he had made from the essence of the two spirits had not been consumed by the immortality spell. He knew that they were composed of the First Spirit of Magic's Ego and Id - the long term planning and desires of what had once been a great spirit. Tezzerin had described to him a third aspect of psyche, the Super-Ego - the part that contributed to the other two, adding morality and the occasional irrationality to the thought process. Faden wondered if the First Spirit of Magic's Super-Ego was still out there somewhere, or if its nonexistence had caused the spirit's downfall to begin with. Faden supposed that in the case of this new artifact, he would have to supply the Super-Ego.

    He also knew that the spirit's immortality had not been accounted for, which meant that it was somewhere out in the desert, but Faden was in no hurry to find it. Such things tended to resurface despite the odds anyway.

    For now, the most important thing to keep in mind was that he had still failed to account for any of his siblings, or formulate a plan to take back the White City. It was time to get to work.

    First Turn Artifact Creation
    Spoiler
    Show
    Ego and Id: The two gloves created from the ancient essence of the First Spirit of Magic allow Faden to manipulate Desire and Will directly, as though the abstract concepts were solid to the touch. The actual effect of this is to enhance his magic-based abilities.

    The gloves retain a vague, lingering awareness that Faden is not their original owner, and that they were separated through trickery - and they resent it. While they cannot interfere with Faden's use of them, the gloves have the curious effect of leaving afterimages of themselves in the air while they are in use, a sign of their reluctance to aid the son of Baz'Auran.

    Contrary to popular belief, one glove is not called Ego and the other Id, they are both Ego and Id.


    New Appearance
    Spoiler
    Show
    The final attack of Qarezel and Paideiazel ripped the flesh from Faden's bones, scattered the bones, incinerated all of the aforementioned pieces and then vaporized what was left. In short, nothing of Faden's original body remains.

    Faden's new body appears to be a wrapped burial shroud in the general shape of a male humanoid. However, external features such as a nose, mouth, ears, etc. appear to be missing - fingers and eyes are the only true detail, the rest is merely jet black ribbons wrapped tightly around something. Faden's eyes are the only gaps in the ribbon, and looking into those reveals only a burning blue-white light. Faden's clothes remained, and are almost always worn over the shroud ribbon. Only Faden's face - such as it is - is visible, the rest being covered by boots, pants, a tunic, a belt, a split black jerkin, and the blue, black, and gold hooded robe - and of course, Ego and Id.
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  19. - Top - End - #169
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Blood Brood
    After Aerin had recovered from his wounds in the duel with the Four, he watched on top of the Witche's Caverns, his new, and strange palace. Watching the winds blow across the green lands, and the trees, he was at peace. Here, Aerin had saved thousands of people from a grizzly end. He missed Baz'Auran and even his angry siblings. As he looked back on his days in the White City, he remembered how fond of them all he had grown. Of course, he exaggerated his admiration to beyond obnoxious levels, but he still loved his family. Those days were gone. . .

    Yet suddenly, a husky voice was heard in panicked tone. "The Chaos Mother! She's HERE!" Aerin couldn't believe it. The Mother of Serpents, the Brood Mother who brought the Chaos Beasts from the South, SHE WAS HERE. He looked, and saw over the horizon, as the Mother was devouring entire families and sqaudren of Wildermen alive. He squinted, and then he finally gave into the truth. This was her. The Chaos Mother.

    Bronze arrows were fired at the Serpent, only for all the ammunition to simply glance off it's skin. Aerin was on his horse in mere moments, and suddenly the Chaos Mother was staring into the eyes of the great son of Baz'Auran. "STOP, BEAST!" Aerin screamed. Of course, the monster didn't pay head, but continued to attack defenseless citizens of Aerin's new country. The Serpent felt it's body shocked with thunder from Aerin's new Sceptre. "TASTE THE MIGHT OF AERIN THUNDERER!" He bellowed.

    Down the head of the Serpent Queen lashed. Aerin had only a small moment fall of his horse. Jongo, the horse was now eaten whole by her, as Aerin grunted in annoyance. "That was my FAVORITE HORSE!" Aerin aimed the Sceptre at her, and fired another blast of powerful lightning. Now, Mother was furious! She roared loudly, painfully so, everyone within the area covered their ears, even Aerin. As the Thunderer stumbled back the Queen hissed loudly and snapped it's neck downwards once again. As she missed, Aerin noticed she had swallowed a large amount of rock, and with the hard earth, the Sceptre! Aerin's eyes were ablaze with fear! That was his weapon! Mother Chaos snapped her jaws open once more after she swallowed the hard earth, and her head nearly made another lash. Aerin thought quickly, aiming his finger at the Serpent Queen, and commanded the Sceptre to work. . .

    She screamed, this time in pain, and spat Thunder Sceptre, covered in her venomous blood. With another gaze of fury Mother Chaos knew she could not hope to eat her prey. She would have to kill it without eating it. Opening her gaping maw, a breath of flame exploded in front of Aerin, luckly blowing him clear of the fire and merely causing him bruises and scrapes along the hard ground.

    The Serpent screamed in triumph, turning to behind her, opening her maw, she burned the remaining Wildermen, who ran with the women and children, who were also burned to their skeletal forms. Aerin saw in horror as entire families burned to death before his eyes. And then, something inside Aerin seemed to just break before his anger.

    Aerin was full of wrath and anger. . . The Serpent Queen would feel the power of the Thunder God here and now. Aerin's eyes went back to the Sceptre, and with his hands, now glowing, no, shining, with a blue aura, grasping the acidic Thunder Sceptre, Aerin could think of nothing more than saving the rest of his Tribe. He threw Thunder Sceptre into Mother Chaos'es skull, the result of this was to send lightning dancing across her serpentine form. She screamed in animalistic defiance once more, breathing a massive cloud of flame towards Aerin, but he would have none of it. Aerin screamed something in an odd, unrecognizable language, it was the language of the Storm. Aerin poured all of his strength and life into awakening his old Power.

    As the flames from Mother Chaos surrounded Aerin, he grew louder than the deepest Thunders, and more bellowing the highest shrieking winds, A massive, blue swirling vortex of Wind and Thunder bellowed through Aerin's mouth and eyes as they easily overcame the Serpent Queen's flames, and vaporized her, first disintegrating her eyes, then her tongue, scales, and finally, the rest of her.

    Aerin fell, dying, three Wildermen came to his aid, and it seemed that Aerin was lost, but he had felt as if his sacrifice to save the Arceneauns and Wildermen was worth more than mere living on the Great Disc. As he laid there, Aerin felt a spark of Thunder revitalize his acid eaten, and life drained body. The Thunder roared, and it was only because of it's newly divine nature that Aerin's Wildermen were spared death.

    Aerin opened his eyes, and saw for the first time with renewed senses.
    His sacrifice had awakened the spark of Baz'Auran in his body and spirit.

    Last edited by DarthArminius; 2012-02-18 at 07:26 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #170
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    Avyra, The Fall

    One moment, she had been enjoying dinner with her siblings, listening to her father talk.

    The next moment, chaos--and not the fun kind, that Jongo brought. Cracks rending in the walls of the White City, their father standing as a glowing beacon between them and a darkness that stared into her soul and seemed to want to swallow her whole...she remembered very little, except being grabbed up. Faden, she'd cried, Loss! But the words never reached her ears, above the sound of the wind whistling past them, and the pained whimpers of the spirit that clutched her close.

    It was decomposing. Ethereal feathers shredded and disappeared, and the spirit's grip grew weaker; gripped with a nameless terror, Avyra clung to a creature growing less solid with every passing moment. In the instant she fell out of its arms, she screamed.

    The star was so red

    It was a long way down.

    She awoke to the sounds of water, lapping gently against the shore; it was strange, she thought, that her clothes weren't wet. Perhaps she had been unconscious for longer than she'd thought...and she hadn't thought the world would be so dim. Home had always been so vibrant, and the lessons she'd learned from watching the Disk had showed it to be a place that was wild, untamed, full of color and sound.

    This place was...not that. It was dusty, muted; any noise came to her as though from afar, as if she were still underwater. She pushed herself to her feet, and glanced around; it seemed that she had found herself in a cove, of sorts, though there were no people immediately apparent. Picking a direction, she began to walk.

    How strange, came the thought, a while later. I don't seem to leave footprints. I wonder why that is?

  21. - Top - End - #171
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    ???

    "Drink this," commanded the voice for the second time.

    Lossethir's first memory of life after the fall was the pooling of blood, fire and bitterness in his mouth. The instant the vile liquid touched the back of his throat, he lurched forward and his eyes shot open as if awakened from death. To be sure he was very nearly dead, likely dead enough for the distinction to be moot if not for the "medicine".

    "That's the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted! What is it?" he asked, searching through the dark reddish blur that was his vision. A curious question considering his situation, but one must consider if it's better to know first where you are or what's been force down your throat?

    "Frostwyrm blood and vodka. Mostly vodka."

    "It's liquor?"
    asked Lossethir, immediately straightening under his own power to sit up properly. Even if the word meant nothing to him, the familiar sting assured him what it was. "Why the blood?"

    "You mean 'why the vodka?' Frostwyrm blood is even harder to swallow."

    Lossethir nodded absently, consenting that the blood must be truly awful to mask its taste with something so potent. Though his heart was pumping again and he could feel the warmth spreading through his body, he still couldn't see. "Will my vision return?"

    The voice only laughed and assured him, "When your eyeballs thaw!"

  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Frellon drifted in a haze of pain and strange visions. Sometimes he relived the Fall, each time the dream focusing on some new horror. Other times he felt blind, casting about in the darkness, recoiling at the terrible vile things he touched. He even awoke a few times, but was unable to distinguish reality from the dreams. Time felt suspended as he drifted between realms.



    Eventually, Frellon became conscious of the fact that he was awake. His chest still agonized him, but his arm throbbed with considerably less pain. He had to struggle to open his eyes. He was still in that same spot, leaned against the tree, his dried blood still stained the grass. His earlier meal was gone, as was the creature that had attacked him. A few feet in front of him, a campfire burned low, throwing light about him. He spied a figure with his back to the fire, facing him. A harsh sound came from it, but Frellon’s mind was too scattered to recognize it as words. A few other figures appeared from the forest. Frellon could not see their faces. One raised a waterskin to Frellon’s lips, so he drank. Another fed him scraps of some meat Frellon’s hazy mind recognized as tasting like the creature had. Frellon remained awake for about a minute more and descended back into his dreams.



    This scene repeated itself over and over. To Frellon, It seemed that he was reliving the same 5 minutes in slow motion. Eventually though, He began to recover. One night he summoned the strength to adjust his position, and get a better look around. He was finally able to look down, and saw that his chest looked mummified with bandages. Sickened, he raised his head to see a face across the fire. It was the first time he saw clearly the faces of his rescuers. Braided black hair framed a squashed face. Large tusk-like teeth protruded from his jaw, and he had green skin. Frellon opened his mouth to ask a question, What are you, monster? And coughed, violently. Another green monster came and forced him to eat some really bad smelling herbs. The herbs apparently induced sleep because Frellon drifted off again, noting with fading interest that the one scowling at him across the fire wore a sword at his belt.



    Frellon awoke with energy. He was not whole, but he wanted to move, to get off of his butt and move around. A green skinned thing was present, and helped him up when he tried to stand. Frellon’s mind was finally with him, and he realized that this monster was speaking in a language. A tiny part of him echoed back the meaning of the green-man’s words, though Frellon was unsure exactly how.

    “Hey, Cherok, the Voturi can stand now!”

    From behind some trees another green-man appeared, carrying rope. Frellon tried to back away, but was held in place, as his hands were bound behind his back, and the rope tied around his waist. Frellon glared at him. But he snarled back.

    “Don’t try running. It would not be wise.”

    “It can’t understand you Cherok, since when were Voturi intelligent?”

    “This one’s barely a Voturi, he’s much too big, has no claws, and has ears like ours.”

    Frellon glanced at the green-men, noting with further interest that they indeed had pointed ears, like him. Now that he was standing next to them, he also realized they were a good foot taller than him, and heavily muscled. Even so, the knot that held him was proof enough that they were not big, dumb, brutes: it was a good knot, and he could not escape it in his weakened state.

    “Even if that’s not enough, we saw him use a sword. It’s intelligent, it’s dangerous-”

    “So why haven’t we killed it yet?!”

    A newcomer that Frellon immediately disliked strode into view. Like the others, he wore clothing made from fur, but Frellon now realized that it was hardened, stiffened fur, it could double as armor and winter gear.

    “If it’s so dangerous-“

    “That is MY call, Gurnod! You forget your place. Go tell the rest to pack up, we are leaving.”

    Frellon weighed his options. He certainly couldn’t survive on his own, could he? These were obviously people, green-skin be damned. But they seemed rather hostile. He was too weak to fight, but didn’t necessarily want to kill them anyway, except possibly Gurnod. Still, if he ran for it- wait. Leaving?
    Frellon was suddenly yanked forward by the rope.

    “Walk Voturi.”

    "But you just said he wasn’t a-“

    “SILENCE!” Cherok roared, but the rest of the green-men were laughing, deep and gutteral sounds of mirth, and Frellon had to restrain himself to keep from showing humor as well. Frellon plodded on silently behind the green-men. If intelligence made him dangerous, and a threat, he resolved to appear harmless, and stupid. He kept his expression impassive and his behavior dull as they covered the miles of winding forest.



    That night, when they made camp, he was fed more meat, water, and some more herbs, these were sweet and bitter all at once. He nearly gagged, but ate them anyway. He slept, tied to a tree to prevent his escape, his feet, as well as his arm and chest wounds, aching from his exertions that day.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-02-19 at 10:38 PM.
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  23. - Top - End - #173
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    Haramhold left the Balarions and the Aalarions behind him, traveling as swiftly as his feet could take him. As he traveled Haramhold was able for the first time since the fall, to contemplate what had happened. Something had frightened his father, something was a threat to Baz'Auran. Such an entity would have been unimaginable to Haramhold if he had not seen it with his very eyes. Not only that but his divine spark seemed to be diminished somehow. During last night's battle Haramhold had tried to reach for his power to bend earth and stone to his will as he had in the white city. If he could not kill the trolls then he would raise a tall wall to protect the humans. But as he reached for his inner light he found it lacking and not a stone had stirrd. It was then that Haramhold had given himself over to fear and had fled with the rest of the mob. That act had shamed him, A child of Baz'Auran should have stood his ground and faced his foes bravely. Haramhold vowed never to allow cowardice to overtake him again. And only time would tell if that vow proved true.

    The godling walked for two days under the thick forest, the sunlight penetrating only in scattered beams. On the third day he came across a wide and deep lake. The Rainbow lake Syth had called it, named after the fish that swam in the waters. She had said it would take no less than four days to circumvent it. Looking around him Haramhold had a better idea.

    Finding a crescent shaped pair of rocks Haramhold begins to sharpen one against the other. His strong strokes and skill soon bringing it to a fine edge. Taking off the heavy leather apron he had worn to the feast he begins to cut it into long strips with his new blade. Once he had cut it all up the godling found himself a sturdy stick as long as his forearm and lashed the stone to it. Now he had an axe. With his new tool Haramhold began to chop down some of the smaller tree's near the shore dragging them to the beach. He also found some larger logs from a downed tree and cut them up into manageable sizes. Once Haramhold had gathered a nice pile of timber he began to lash them together, and as the sun set he looked down proudly at his new raft.

    Haramhold pushed the raft out into the lake at the first light of dawn, paddling strong and steadily all day the hot sun beating down on his head.
    Thankfully the Lake's water was clear and refreshing and indeed it was full of playful trout who's scales shimmered like the rainbow in the sunlight. By nightfall Haramhold had reached the other side of the lake tired but satisfied, he has shaved two days off his trip. As he was concealing his raft in some nearby shrubbery the godling heard the howling of wolves in the distance, a sound that sent shivers up his spine. That night he slept in a tree.

    He started out again at first light, making his way across the rolling woods but around mid day he stopped at the edge of a river, it was a shallow thing, but wide, its waters sluggish and muddy. On the other side lay the bog, reeking of rot and blight. Covering his nose with a sleeve Haramhold plows through the river, quickly sinking up to his knees in the muck. the going was a slow the air heavy and damp. It wasn't long before the godling was lost, the heavy mist blotting out the sun.

    Suddenly their was a stirring in the water and large reptilian humanoids, their scales stained black with the muck weeds dripping with brackish water hanging off their limbs. Brandishing his spear Haramhold knew that he couldn't fight them, not surrounded as he was. But oddly enough they did not attack. Holding his ground Haramhold waited, the seconds turning into minutes as the reptilians did not stir a muscle. Finally he noticed something, their eye's were clouded over and dead.

    Finally a sicking laugh from the trees echoed from the trees and Haramhold heard the pitter patter of a thousand insectoid limbs scraping against bark. From behind a huge gnarled tree a centipede, five meters long. The creature laughed again, its mandibles scrubbing together as might a miserly man contemplate his gold. A few of its legs holding a small human girl no older than eight wrapped in what appeared to be spider silk. Sobs of sadness escaping her half encased face.

    "And what do we have here?" the creature said in its sickening voice "A child of Baz'Auran, one of the divine. It is my lucky day oh how I will feast tonight."

    "How do you know what I am?" inquired Haramhold, in a low cautious voice.

    "You reek of the white city it was such a clean place pity about what happened to it"

    Tightening his grip on his spear, Haramhold ignores the obvious jape "I seek the demon known as Ko, If you tell me where I might find him, I'll leave you and your minions in peace."

    the centipede rippled with laughter skittering around the tree "And you'll leave us in peace?!? Oh I will never again claim Baz'Auran's kin are devoid of all mirth. I am going to strip the flesh off your bones young godling, then I'll decorate my swamp with your remains as a warning and a token of my power."

    "And what would that accomplish?" Haramhold wondered aloud. "The mortals already fear you, your peers wouldn't believe you, but my kin would. Do you really want to see the day when they decide to avenge my murder Ko?"

    The abomination was unsettled for a moment but only a moment "It would seem that you have me at a disadvantage, perhaps you would tell me how you know who I am?" Its voice dripping with venom.

    "You are known as Ko the soul stealer and it was your puppets that gave you away." said Haramhold as he motioned toward the reptilians. "I have come for knowledge about how to defeat the trolls and their shadowy masters."

    Twining and twisting around the tree Ko responded "That is a great secret you ask of me. For countless years the shadows have traveled across the lands, terrorizing anything weaker than themselves and their minions. Such knowledge does not come without a price young god a very heavy price indeed."

    "Name it" Haramhold responded without hesitation.

    "I am a monster, a creature of chaos but I am not a fool. I know that one day Baz'Auran's bastards will sweep the disc clean of my kind. But not me I will survive. I SHALL NOT DIE!!" Ko screamed with an unnatural ferocity both fear and determination mixed with its voice. "I want this swamp until time itself dies, and you are going to give it to me little god, you are going to give it to me. I want your protection your sacred word that neither you or your kin shall ever harm me or mine. That this swamp shall ever be a stain upon the land, a shame upon which the high and mighty Baz'Auran must always look upon. That is what I want little godling are you willing to give it to me?"

    Haramhold was stunned, this was an offer that was so easy to give and yet could have consequences beyond his imagination. Was it worth the risk? Who knew what manner of evils Ko could nurture in this swamp. But as he remembered the twelve graves and the grief of their loved ones Haramhold knew that it was worth the risk ten times over. "You have a deal Ko no harm shall come to you from me or my siblings, this swamp shall be your sanctuary it shall know no master besides you from this day forth. To this I swear on my honor and on my life."

    "Pretty words godling, pretty words I accept. The trolls can only be truly harmed by iron it burns their flesh as fire burns the forest. Their master's are another matter, beings of shadow and mist cannot be destroyed by any weapon of earth or stone or metal. They can only be destroyed by a will stronger than their own. Now leave us little godling." Ko said, dismissing Haramhold.

    "There is one last thing I would like to ask of you." Said Haramhold as Ko was about to descend into the brackish water. "That girl you have there give her to me."

    "That was not part of our agreement." hissed the demon Curling back in anger "You would not deny me my supper would you?"

    Staring Ko straight in his mandibles Haramhold whispered "Of course not" and with one smooth motion Haramhold yanks his axe out of his belt and slashes his wrist open, allowing the blood to pour freely. "How about a trade, a taste of gods blood for that girl."

    Saliva dripped from Ko's maw, as it slithered closer, "You have a deal."

    Taking the last of the leather strips Haramhold soaks it in his blood before tossing it to Ko. Who in turn dropped the girl into the muck where Haramhold had to stop her from sinking. Leaving as quickly as he could the godling made his way out of the swamp and back into the hills.

    Once he was clear Haramhold took his axe and cut the webbing away from the girl whom looked up at her savior and began crying. Weeping she embraced him her small slender arms not even able to encircle his massive chest. Placing a large hand on the girl's head he whispers "You are safe now, safe."
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Traveling was not easy on Frellon’s injuries, yet he bore it all the same. Gritting his teeth when it became a distraction and forging ahead. Through patience, and careful listening, he finally heard the green-people’s name for themselves.

    Cherok was speculating on the health of their chieftain at the time.

    “He is getting too old, it is well known he can no longer hunt, and I’ve heard it said that he is growing blind as well. Soon he will have to grant the position to another, that old Orc has earned his rest twice over by now.”

    Frellon frowned to himself. He had never heard the name before. Bits of conversation overheard as the days past confirmed the name. With little else to do, Frellon slowly learned the names of his captors, as well as a couple phrases of their language.

    Days past, the monotony broken only by meals and a couple organized hunts. It seemed that the Orcs had killed the beast that had savaged him, and butchered it for its meat. He learned their name for the creature name as well, it was a “Girrun”and from their conversations, apparently the mother of the one he had killed. Frellon felt nothing for the animal. He had been starving, and it had attacked him. Here in the wilderness, that was all that mattered.

    As they marched, a week or two later, they emerged into a clearing, a small village of huts was there. Groups of Orcs came out to meet them cheering as they took their packs, and carried them off to storage. It seemed this group was a hunting party, and they had been collecting furs and meat for the village. Frellon looked on, his legs aching, trying to appear unimportant, but was noticed anyway, his pale skin standing out. Realizing scrutiny was unavoidable, he met their gazes, his cat-eyes unflinching, head raised proudly.

    Cherok yanked on the rope, He and Frellon continued past the crowd.

    “Ignore the Voturi, it’s something I’ve got for the Chieftain”

    At this many turned away, their curiosity put aside for the immediate task of the meats and hides to deal with. Others gazes remained, their hostility a mystery to Frellon. Frellon was taken through the village, past many huts that had people in them. Some seemed to be homes, others were for storage, or served some other purpose, like curing hides. Frellon did not have a long time to look, he was guided quickly to the largest hut, the only one with ornate wooden carvings on the supports.

    There were guards, each wielding heavy clubs, Frellon wondered at that, was Cherok the only one with a sword? The question went unasked and unanswered, as Cherok spoke briefly with the guards, and all of them, the guards included, went inside.

    “You have a visitor Chieftain,” one of the guards proclaimed, “Cherok is back from his hunt.”

    A very old Orc steped forwards, into the light of some torches, leaning heavily on a carved staff.

    “I welcome you back, Cherok.”

    “I return with honor, Chieftain.”

    “I take it that this is the result of your other mission?”

    “Yes, we found this Voturi three weeks march from the village. When we first observed it, it killed a Girrun we were hunting with a sword. The next day, the mother appeared and almost killed the Voturi. The Voturi did not run, and does not seem to have claws, nor poison. Whether or not it is actually a Voturi is not sure, it does not behave like the Voturi we know. In fact, I am convinced this Voturi is intelligent.” Cherok finished his report and waited.

    The old Orc, gazed at Frellon, taking in his cat-eyes, pale skin, and pointed ears. Frellon’s heart beat quickly, he would have bet anything his life was on the table here. He considered running, but he had seen these Orcs move; they might be faster than him. He might be able to break his bonds, he had recovered most of his strength. He considered speaking, trying to convince them he meant no harm. He decided instead to wait and watch, besides, perhaps these people would decide to let him live, or let him go.

    “My eyes are not what they used to be. I want Lograr’s opinion. Keep it in the holding pit until Lograr returns from his Guard patrol tomorrow. I must meditate on this.”

    Cherok nodded, “As you wish, Chieftain.”

    Pulling on the rope, he lead Frellon out of the hut. As Frellon gazed around the clearing, he realized that he was looking over the tops of the trees, to the south, he could see miles of forest, to the north… He turned and almost gasped, they were a quarter of the way up a mountainside! He suddenly how much his legs had hurt the last few days, they had been going up a mountain! How could he have missed that! How-

    Frellon’s thought was cut off as he was led inside a small, dry cave, cutting off his view. To his surprise, his bonds were removed. Then he was shoved, and he fell into a pit.

    Looking up, he saw the smooth sides of the pit were made of a very slick rock. There was no climbing it.

    He was tossed food and drink some hours later. He slept, he awoke again, ate and drank again. He stripped away the bandages on his arm. It was whole again, ravaged as it had been, his recovery time was really quite quick. His chest was another matter, he dared not remove the bandages, for he did not wish to see the wounds. At times, it had felt like the bandages were all that kept his innards from spilling forth onto the ground as he marched. Even now it throbbed painfully. By now, he had mastered the Orcish phrase for “lucky to be alive” He had heard it often enough.



    A few meals later, Cherok appeared at the top of the pit again. Just looking at him, as he had that one night from across the fire. He spoke.

    “Voturi. If you can understand me, know this. The Orcs of this Village do not take kindly to your kind, if indeed you are a Voturi. You will be tested, a verdict reached. If you are the one responsible for our troubles, you will die. If not, you will be set free. If you try to flee you will be cut down without question. Face your fate with honor, and you might yet live.”

    He was silent a few moments, staring at Frellon. Inwardly, Frellon was privately glad that his siblings had taught him this ‘poker face’ it might be saving his life here.

    Cherok tossed a rope ladder down to him, and Frellon climbed it. There were no rope bindings. Cherok walked out of the cave, and Frellon followed. Upon exiting the cave, he was temporarily blinded by the light. When he could see, he found he was surrounded by a large circle of Orcs. The whole village was there. Three individuals stood inside the circle, across from Frellon. The Chieftain in the center, Cherok taking his place to the Chieftains left, and an Orc, large and muscular by ORC standards, to his right, wielding what appeared to be a small tree as a staff weapon. Frellon’s eye cocked as he looked at him. Contragh would have wanted a duel with this one! He decided.

    Frellon’s attention returned to the Chieftain, for it seemed that this, whatever this was, was about to begin.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-02-19 at 10:39 PM.
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  25. - Top - End - #175
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    Dasque's Ascension Part 1 or 5


    A Land of Light and Lonely
    Dasque awoke, and her eyes flooded with white, blinding brilliance. She closed them tight, but the light seeped through. She moaned and muttered a soft curse, rolling onto her belly. Scrunching up like an inch worm, she moved her knees forward, causing her hips to rise. Her elbows pushed into the ice cold ground, and shoved her torso up so that she was in a kneeling position. Still dizzy, the daughter of Baz’Auran a few moments for her surroundings to become clear.

    She looked behind her, then to either side. A cold chill crept up her spine, a chill that had nothing to do with the biting wind. Dasque was alone, and for endless leagues all around was ice, shining bright under a white sun. It was said that white was the light where all colors came together. Yet this place was so very, very alone.

    Dasque put a cupped hand over her brow and looked up towards the sun. It blinded her, and for a moment she lost all her senses, but she kept her eyes lingering a bit longer, as if to challenge it, or maybe because she was too tired to turn away quickly. When her eyes blinked away the brightness, she was once again faced with a shimmering sea of ice. The bottom of her feet were cold, and the top of her scalp was beginning to feel the rays beating on it. It was a cruel place indeed, this Disc.

    Spinning around once more, it seemed as if the ice ended at horizon, though there was one spot, one single spot where the blue met the white that seemed hazier than the rest. Her eyes might have been playing tricks on her, but looking more intently something was different. It was almost as if it called to her. At least that’s what she wanted to believe. Doubt ate into. This was not the White City where she could summon a spirit to do her chores, where she could eat whatever she desired, and could learn and grow at her discretion. This land was just the elements, and her. She was not special in this new world, and she could not depend on her gut. However, there was nothing else for her, no other sign, no other way. She took a step forward.

    Shirvan.

    Was he dead? Was he hurt? The disc was large, so large that one could wander a mortal lifetime and but see a small fraction of it. She did not know whether to mourn for him or not. Maybe they would see another someday, maybe they’d both wander this disc never finding each other. Maybe he was already dead, maybe she would be soon.

    The others, what had befallen the others? Twenty-one in number they were, yet how many had avoided the Shadow? It was possible that all of them had made it, but even so there were monsters and natural disasters and even the mortals themselves who threatened them. There were some who were weak with sword and bow, but at least they were cautious. Dasque hoped they were lucky too. No, the ones she was concerned for were the fighters, the warriors amongst them. Her arms felt weak, and her body rigid, and not only because of the impact of her landing. She was not as blessed as she had been within the White City. Perhaps she was mortal. She ran her hand through her hair, feeling dried blood. Yes, she most likely was mortal now.

    As her feet took a step, and then another, and then another, she could only wonder where the others were, what fate had befallen them. She tried to think the best, but this frozen wonderland stripped her of her optimism. She glanced towards the sun again, though she did not look directly at it this time. Something about the sun’s position did not seem right. It was… off. She did not know the movements of the skies outside the White City, but how far in the distance it seemed foreboding. Dasque could only hope that hear fear was unfounded, and that the sun would go down, and this land would have a night. It might very well mean death from the cold, but more than anything she wanted the lights to turn off.

  26. - Top - End - #176
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    "Within the ocean, there is a stretch of water that is more calm than any other. But don't let it fool you; the Sea of Jongo is full of surprises."
    ~ A Dissertation on Clouds


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

    Jongo's Sea

    Jongo had begun to think of this little bit of ocean as his. She'd swam back and forth along it multiple times, and found the islands to the east, the large entrancing mountains to the west, the plains of another continent to the south, and two more land masses to the north.

    And yet, for weeks - or was it months? - Jongo remained mostly in the water. When he became hungry, she would leave for shore and eat seaweed, or find fish or fruit. It all tasted like the apple. Or rather, the apple still overpowered their taste.

    This was starting to annoy Jongo. Only the whispering was more annoying.

    Oh, the apple was tasty, true.

    But who wants to taste the same thing, over and over again? Especially when it causes you to almost cry?

    That wasn't fair.

    That wasn't fair AT ALL.

    Mostly, though, Jongo was sad and lonely. The whispering never said anything worth talking about, and it never said anything cheerful.

    But Eldest godlings don't cry. So Jongo held back the tears.

    From watching Father upon His great dais, Jongo knew quite a bit about the peoples spread throughout the Great Disk. Jongo even knew about some of the creatures created - originally - from Father's nightmares. Father had taken a few, and to Jongo's great delight, changed them to be slightly different, and more pleasing to Baz'Auran.

    So it was with great delight that Jongo finally found the Mermaid. With a complete green finned tail, twice as large as the rest of the upper human body, the Mermaid was an amalgamation of both fish and human, much like Jongo currently was; but Jongo was like this in desperation, and the Mermaid was like this from Baz'Auran's blessing.

    The godling heard her sing first. In the water, sound carried easily, if you could hear it right. Jongo seemed to remember one of his siblings saying something like that. Probably Fayruz, or Soreal.

    And to hear the mermaid sing, one could easily believe why Baz'Auran made it so.

    Jongo approached the Mermaid with caution; though she was more fish then the godling, she was also more predator. But she was the first thing besides a full on fishy fishy fish that Jongo might be able to speak with.

    So that is why Jongo approached so slowly, from the front, so the Mermaid could see each of Jongo's pitiful strokes.

    Moving twice as fast as Jongo could even think, the godling soon found herself surrounded by the Mermaid's tail.

    "Child, what are you?" The Mermaid spoke, and a part of Jongo realized it wasn't really speech, not underwater; but the godling didn't care.

    Jongo had a question. And someone to ask! The whispering never answered Jongo's question.

    "I am Jongo. You sing pretty. What's your name? Where are we? Are there more mermaids like you near here? Why is your hair green?"

    Ok. Jongo had A LOT of questions. Assaulted by the godling's curiosity, the Mermaid looked amused.

    "My name is Merilain. We're here. No, sadly, not near here, and my hair has always been green. But you are right. I am a mermaid. And you are a jongo? Are there more jongos like you? What is your name?"

    "No, no, no. I AM Jongo. That's my name. There shouldn't be more then one Jongo. Oh, but it would be fun to walk up to Khalen as more than one Jongo. He'd go completely moose-eyed! But no, no, only the one Jongo. Or... at least, Father never made more than one that I know of."

    "Father?"

    "Baz'Auran."

    Jongo looked up, and saw that Merilain had swum away, quite quickly. The Mermaid seemed to react in fear of the name, and was ducking into a cave on the ocean floor nearby.

    "Wait! I have more questions!"

    "Please, oh Blessed One, leave me be. I do not wish to die." The Mermaid's voice came from within the cave, as Jongo swam closer.

    "Die? I'm not Avyra. Avyra is scary."

    "But it was the sky that burned and slew my family. Fires fell from it, and even the moon bled red. And now you are here to finish me."

    Jongo was stunned. To think that... It wasn't the... How could...

    "That. Wasn't. Father."

    Merilain's face came out from the cave, and she almost ran into Jongo, who had just reached the cave entrance.

    "How do I know?"

    "Because I said so. And I'm not my sister Rose. But even she, with all her fun words, wouldn't lie about this. And if she would, that would make me sad." Jongo looked at Merilain with his grey and green eyes, and continued. "Father wouldn't do this to your family. I watched Him make things. He loved everything He made. Even mermaids. Father wouldn't do this."

    Jongo, though underwater, finally let go, and Baz'Auran's Eldest began to cry. "He wouldn't!"

    The godling found arms wrap around him, as the Mermaid hugged him. She tried to console him, "Shhhh, shhhh, shhh... As you say, Blessed One. Please, do not cry."

    After a while, Merilain spoke again. "Great Jongo, why are you here then, if not to kill me?"

    "I don't know, Merilain. I keep... I keep hoping someone will come find me. Come get me. When the moon bled red, Father's children - me and my siblings - fell down to the Great Disk. Every time I got lost in the White City, right after I was born, if I stayed in one place long enough, someone would find me. So, though I've wanted to go exploring, I've stayed here. I was hoping someone would find me. Faden, or Rose, or even stuck up Shirvan. But it's been weeks. They aren't coming, are they?"

    "You are just a child, then?"

    "I am as old as the First Question, but my birth happened later. Only once Father knew everything, was he no longer curious. Only then, could I come out." Even Jongo couldn't stand being called a child.

    "Forgive me, Blessed One. I did not mean to offend."

    "No, Merilain. You didn't. I just... I'm acting like a child. And the form I'm in doesn't help. I've... I've been stuck. And I can't change. And the whispering is SO ANNOYING." Jongo heard a full blast of the strange sounds, like voices, but saying nothing. "How do you stand it, Merilain?"

    "Whispering, oh Jongo? I hear none."

    "What? But it's coming from everywhere. It gets louder the closer I get to the... No. No. Wait. Of course! Ha! Ha! Hahahahaha!" Jongo began to laugh in delight, and swam out of Merilain's arms. "Merilain! I know what to do! I know what to do!"

    "I do not understand, Blessed One. What are you hearing? It gets louder when...? What are you going to do?"

    "I'm going to fix everything! I'll just change it! It's not whispering I'm hearing! It's the voice of change! Quick! What's the fastest way to the edge of the Disk?" Jongo could no longer stand still. She was full of ideas once again. It was perfect. It could work! And Jongo would be the one to do it, and everyone would be surprised. Khalen would spit kittens!

    "The edge, oh Jongo? You mean... where... where the water falls away? No one goes there, it's dangerous. The currents could suck you away."

    "Yes! There! How do I get there?"

    Merilain looked concerned, but only said, "You are the Blessed One..."

    Swimming from her cave, Merilain sat atop a nearby rock, and began to sing again. It was beautiful, more beautiful than before. Jongo could feel that she was calling for someone.

    It almost distracted Jongo from his idea. Almost. But this was too good of an idea. It could work. It should work. It would work!

    Merilain's call soon brought three grey skinned creatures, with long stubby noses, and chattering speech. They playfully swam through the water, and circled around the Mermaid.

    "Dolphins!" Jongo exclaimed, unable to contain himself.

    "They are my friends. They will help guide you to the edge. Be careful, oh Blessed One."

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    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-02-20 at 05:44 AM.
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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

  27. - Top - End - #177
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tychris1's Avatar

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    The Fall

    During the entire feast Contragh had merely sat by himself, dressed in the same gear he had worn from the Steel Cathedral, eating the food present, and avoiding interfering with what happened around him. Nothing could go wrong today, and Contragh's bumbling skill for speech would only ruin things further.

    As the dark blob began to attack Baz'Auran Contragh lifted his axe that never left his side, and screeched at the top of his lungs "FATHER! COME AT ME YOU DISGUSTING ABOMINATION!" but it was in vain, as Romero the spirit of haste lifted Contragh and flew him away. Watching the destruction of the White city unfold before his eyes he grew all the more furious, kicking, screaming, swinging his axe, and doing all he could to free himself and help. Eventually it became too much to bear and Romero released Contragh 20 feet from the ground. Exhausted from Contragh's heavy weight combined with his equipment and his struggling; the spirit of haste could not escape its fate and melted into nothingness.

    But Contragh cared not, all that mattered was that Baz'Auran was being hurt and Contragh could not help. He screamed at the top of his lungs, stomping his feet against the ground, and throwing a loud clunky tantrum. The sight of the White City turning blood red only added fuel to the flames, and with that he dropped his axe, took off his gauntlets and began to pound his fists into the nearest boulder possible. He continued on for the whole night, his rage pummeling the rock into submission. Eventually as the sun came up the anger had simmered down, Contragh's bloodied knuckles stopping there onslaught, and the godling soon passed out from the pain.

    Contragh, the Mighty Mighty Man

    As Contragh woke up he found himself tied up and inside of a wooden cage inside of some kind of holding pin building, several other cages lined up next to his, but they were all empty. He tries to open his mouth but finds it covered with a leather strip and his hands covered in primitive clothe wrappings. A savage looking man standing guard, a crazy look in his eye, and Contragh's axe lying not too far away from the guard. After enough time another savage dressed in fur armor walked up and whispered something into the guards ear. With a sneer the guard says "Looks like it's your time." Opening the cage the guard reaches in and tries to grab a hold of Contragh, but was met with surprising resistance. Most other captives are submissive upon being handled but Contragh was too much for the man to handle, even in his handicapped state, and soon the guard called out for help. Four more men came to his aid and held Contragh in place. They hoisted him up and carried him out of the building, along the way Contragh began to hear clatter and the noises of a large amount of people; an audience.

    Finally out of the building they carried Contragh to a large hole in the ground, two men inside of the hole feebly fighting each other with wooden spears. Surrounding the pit was a kind of primitive circular booth, with about 100 people crammed together screaming and hollering as the fight carried on. Most of them were savages much like the guards, with one in particular situated upon a wooden throne, held higher than the booths, and situated at the end of the circle. The man resting on the throne had lavish furs decorated on him, wielded a crude metal warhammer, and was well built. But there was something... off about him, Contragh could just sense it. Finally one of the fighters killed the other and was retrieved from the pit. In quick succesion the guards removed Contragh's bindings, gag, and shoved him into the pit alongside a wooden spear. Another man on the other side of the pit is also shoved in with a spear by his side. He was thin and frail, malnourished and not quite grasping the concept of what a spear does. The man on the podium raises his warhammer, calls for silence from the raucous crowd, and is granted it instantaneously. Standing up he bellows "I, war chief Grashk, officially sanction this fight. Let the slaughter, BEGIN!" And with that the crowd returns to its loud and obnoxious state of life.

    The feeble man, now surprised by the sudden reaction of the crowd, charges forward at Contragh with the spear. Smirking at the mortal Contragh picks up the spear and sidesteps, avoiding the man's charge. Annoyed the man tried again, the audience hollering and yelling for blood. Yet again Contragh sidestepped, except this time he gripped the mortals neck with his hand. Chocking him, Contragh lifted the mortal up and stared into his fearful eyes before choke slamming him into the ground. There the man layed, broken and defeated, and there he perished from the massive hemorrhaging blow.

    The crowd went into a frenzy, they had found a real fighter, and wanted him to spill more blood. With a nod of his head, Grashk ordered two wood cages to be brought forward. Inside of each of them was one giant hyena like monster, big enough to rival a man in size, and with a ferocious slobering maw. The savages opened up the crate and poured the contents into the pit. The beasts were startled and crazed, foam pouring from their mouth as they snapped their teeth and ran towards Contragh. Picking up one of the discarded spears Contragh threw it at the beast to the left, burrowing itself into the beasts eye and brain. The other ran furiously, ignoring the gruesome sight and leaping towards Contragh.

    He took a step to the left and grabbed ahold of the beasts jaws, preventing them from closing. The beast continued to try to hurt Contragh with it's claws but Contragh replied with punching it in the head repeatedly until it keeled over and whimpered. With the beasts disposed of Grashk looked down upon Contragh with a look of confusion "It seems we have a real fighter amongst the slaves. Tell me warrior, who are you?" Grashk said. With a smirk Contragh looked up and said "I am Contragh, son of Baz'Auran and the harbringer of his Wrath. The better question is, who are you, and where am I?" With that said the crowd fell silent and Grashk furrowed his brow, contemplating what to say. Finally he spoke up "Fine then little godling, I am Grashk one of the warchiefs blessed by Pikep, chaos beast of the forest. You are in my arena where you will remain indefinetely. Know that you have earned this knowledge and nothing more. Guards, take him away!" and with that several barbarians descended upon Contragh and dragged him back to his cage.

    For weeks Contragh would continue to fight, each time trying to escape but ending futiley. Soon there were few opponets that could stand up to Contragh, garnering the name "The Mighty Mighty Man" from The crowd. Eventually the barbarians themselves would challenge Contragh to fights, none survived. One day, after slaying a club wielding Barbarian, Contragh pointed his spear to Grashk and said "I grow tired of this arena. If you are truly such a blessed warchief then I challenge you to a duel to the death for my freedom." The crowd grew silent, the only sound piercing the silence was a bellowing deep laugh from Grashk "Surely you kid? You may be a godling but I have been made into something far more then a Godling. Pikep has imbued within me his power, to fight me is suicide." yet Contragh simply said "Bring me my axe and I'll make sure not to pound that little mug of yours to a bloody pulp." This sent Grashk into a fury, barking at his barbarians to give him the axe before descending upon Contragh.

    Axe in hand Contragh looked upon Grashk and returned the charge with an equal charge. The two forces clashed together, Contraghs strength matched pound per pound by Grashk. Their weapons clashed, Contragh ducked low to swing at Grashk's feet, but the warchief leaped to the side and kicked his foot at Contragh's head. He swiped the foot away with his right hand and grabbed a hold of the leg, throwing Grashk to the ground and following up with a rapid assault from his axe. Grashk frantically blocked with his warhammer, using the shaft to deflect the axe as best as he could. Eventually Contragh reeled the axe up and slammed it as hard as he could upon the warhammer, sundering it in twine and leaving a large cut along Grashk's chest. Looking upon his prized weapon Grashk flew into a rage, pressing his feet against Contragh's chest and sending the godling hurtling back from the kick. Contragh landed flat on his back, but as he tried to get up and recollect his senses he found himself tackled by Grashk and lifted up upon the warchief's shoulder. In one fluid motion Contragh was sent over Grashk's shoulder and back on the ground. Walking forward to the godling Grashk wielded the top half of his warhammer, a mad grin on his face as he prepared to kill Contragh.

    "So this is how it ends huh? Guess I was expecting something more... Spectacular..... Unless I take a lesson from Rose....sigh" Contragh thought as the warhammer rised higher and higher. He really didn't want to do this, since it was the only combat manuever Roselia ever taught Contragh by doing the move on him, and he hated it because of her. Still, desperate times called for desperate measures and Contragh raised his boot and slammed it straight into Grashk's jewels. The warchief crumpled, pain wracking his body and falling on the floor. Scampering to his axe Contragh picks it up and says "I'll make sure to send your head to Pikep." a smile across his face as he executed Grashk. With their leader decapitated the crowd stared at Contragh in shock, and then they ran as fast as their feet could carry them. Dispersing in random directions as they tried to escape Contragh's wrath.

    "Today is going to be a good day."
    Last edited by Tychris1; 2014-04-16 at 01:00 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #178
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    The Succubus's Avatar

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    The Summons

    Alone.

    The desert stretched in all directions, the sun mercilessly scorching the sand and the forlorn figure crawling on it.

    Alone.

    Hunger and thirst had robbed him of his strength and soon would rob him of his life as well.

    Alone....

    Khalen had often spent much of his time away from his siblings while they lived together in the White City but that wasn't true loneliness. If he had wished to, he could have sought out his siblings at any time. Now, in the endless sands, far from the sheltered realm of Baz'Auran, far from his siblings and far from aid, Khalen finally knew what it meant to be alone.

    The wind howled across the towering dunes, carrying with it sands that stung his eyes and scoured his flesh. His eyesight began to fade, darkness creeping in at the edges of his vision and finally the last of his energy was gone. Khalen ceased to move and his eyes shut for the final time.

    The hunger and thirst began to fade as the darkness surrounded him. He felt weightless, yet as though he was gently falling. Was he dead? Was this all that waited after the spirit had left the body? Yet the darkness was soothing and comforting compared to the pains that wracked his body while awake and he continued to sink deeper into the void. After what seemed like an eternity, or could have only been a couple of minutes, Khalen felt himself stop. The floating feeling had ceased and he felt as though he lay on some unseen floor.

    From out of the darkness a piercing white light fell on him. Brilliant against the gloom, it shone directly over him but there was no warmth to it, nor could he look directly at it to determine its source.

    The Accused will rise.

    A cold, implacable voice filled the void, seeming at once to come from everywhere and nowhere.

    The Accused will rise,” the voice repeated and a horrific twist of pain shot through Khalen. As he slowly got to his feet, another light shone out of the darkness and a figure slowly stepped out of the shadows and into the centre of it. Khalen felt a chill run through his body as he saw the figure slowly lower its hood. It was an exact duplicate of himself! No....not exact. It wore what looked like a stone circlet, or what might be a crown.

    From the left another spotlight shone and another doppelganger stepped forward. This one wore manacles on its wrists and had a chain drapped across its body.

    You will answer for the crime you have commited....

    A third spotlight appeared to Khalen's right and a thired doppelganer approached. This one carried a staff with a lantern on the end of it. The light from it glowed very dimly in the piercing whiteness that surrounded it.

    ...for which the sentence is death and oblivion.

    The first doppelganger spoke again.

    Let the trial begin.
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-02-22 at 07:36 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas-Dakota View Post
    Succubus gets grongratulatory cookies from me. You have stepped into the realm of puns that only the likes of Death, Your Friend the Reaper have seen.

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

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Dol Mazzah

    It was Malak, Firstborn of Tarn's Get, who saw the rider first, as was his custom and skill. He called the guardians of the gate to arms, and so they were ready with spears and slings when the rider urged her horse up to the great gate of Dol Mazzah. The rider threw back her hood and pulled down her mask and named herself Arenis, a huntress of the rocklands and slayer of monsters, guardian of the tribes all, ever a friend to the Aferi of Dol Mazzah in their time of need. Malak asked her who her second was, whether she be daughter or prisoner or slave, and the second pulled her matted, filthy black hair from her face to reveal a vision of loveliness beneath dirt and sweat. Arenis named her, then: Fayruz of the Tribe of the White City, daughter of the mighty chief Baz'Auran, her sworn ward.

    Arenis was permitted entry with her weapons, as befitted the guardian of a chieftain's daughter, and Arenis requested that they be given audience with Tarn Beastslayer, who kept the great seat of Dol Mazzah, at once. Malak permitted this, and the guardian's horse was taken to be fed from the granary of Dol Mazzah, which was said to be filled with hunting-meat and berries from wall to wall before the city's fall, and all kept within clay pots that they would not spoil for many moons! So Arenis took Fayruz, who looked around herself with fear and curiosity interwoven, to the hall of the mighty Tarn Beastslayer. Fayruz had not the sense to bow when brought before Tarn's table and fire, so Arenis placed her hand upon the back of Fayruz's neck and forced her to her knees, and she too kneeled before being given permission to rise by Tarn, first and greatest of all chieftains in the rocklands.

    Fayruz then stepped forward without invitation, brazenly, and offered her account of how she had lived in the beautiful White City before it was attacked by a foe too dreadful to name, a creature of the darkest night, and how she and her siblings had been scattered to the great winds, and how her power - passed down from her father, a shaman above all shamans - was gone here in the rock and the dust, for it was not her land. And all gathered there in Tarn's hall, women and warriors, listened to her, awestruck by both her beauty and the sweetness of her voice. And Tarn took pity on her, his kindly heart broken by her awful story, and he ordered the women of Dol Mazzah to take Fayruz and wash her, and to give her clothing that was not torn and dirt-stained, but befitted a chieftain's daughter well. And to Arenis, he offered sanctuary for a year and a day, until she was ready to return Fayruz to her father. This Arenis accepted, before asking - as Fayruz, hesitant as a newborn filly, was taken from the room - what news came from other hunters in these days, offering the battle between the Ma-Shen and the Ghoulking in the Valley of Teeth as her own.

    Then Arenis and Tarn spoke of the tribes of the rocklands, the Aferi who prospered with their walls of ashen wood and their granary which never fell empty, and the Ma-Shen who had lost a third of their horses to the teeth of the Ghoulking and might fall to the Dereg who had accepted a new falcon god to be their totem and sought to use his favor in war, and of the almighty Tekeza - no, almighty no longer, said Malak Firstborn, who stood there as Tarn's most beloved son. They had awoken a Dragon in the mountains, digging for their copper, and their monster of a chieftain, Daved Skullsplitter, had fallen in its slaying, and so had his son, Gamesha. Now they had fallen to infighting and would devour themselves like a starving snake. But who would take their place? The Ma-Shen were barbarians, that much was evident, brigands who hardly understood hospitality. But the Dereg and the Iuneh were little better, those wild mountain-tribes, and the Kayanek and their heathen gods would never listen to reason, not while they still claimed the glass and the crystal of the sands.

    And Malak stepped forward, urging his father - if they made an alliance with the White City, if it still stood, they could take the land of the Tekeza for themselves, and their copper weapons. With copper weapons and their wooden walls in Dol Mazzah, the Aferi could drive the Dereg and the Iuneh back into the mountains - and, perhaps, drive out the Ma-Shen, so that they could do battle once and for all against the Kayanek. Then, then, the land would be whole, and belong to the Aferi alone.

    Arenis dissented; she said to him that the land was older than the Kaynek and the Aferi, and even the Tekeza. Neither the Lords of Dol Mazzah or the Coppermen or the Glasswinged People could do anything so presumptuous as mastering it. Malak stepped forward for all to see, and declared that the Aferi could, and by the power given to them by the gods should, take the rocklands and unite them under the rule of the chieftain of Dol Mazzah. As soon as he said such, Tarn himself rose from his seat and chastised his son, reminding him that Dol Mazzah's walls were strong, and would weather whatever storms crossed the rocklands, as they always had. The Ma-Shen could fall, the Kayanek could proclaim themselves lords just as the Tekeza had, but the Aferi would endure. This said, he commanded Malak to see to the walls, to keep watch for the Iuneh or the Ma-Shen, and to keep the spears of the Aferi ready, as well as their swift slings.

    Malak, in anger at being banished from his father's hall, did so. He called upon his men-at-arms and commanded them to be ready to sleep on the walls that night to defend Dol Mazzah. As his soldiers readied themselves for their watch, making sure their sling-pouches were filled and their spears' tips were bound tightly, Malak went up onto the watchtower to look out over the grazing-land of the Aferi and their horses. He looked into the setting sun, and saw it obscured by smoke, thick and black and billowing from the east.

    The warriors of the Aferi were ready within moments to protect Dol Mazzah, as Malak ordered the gates to be closed and for word to be sent to his father that the Aferi were under assault by one of their enemies. This done, he readied his own spears and ordered that watch be kept for the enemy, so that they would know their enemies' tribe and whether they were a mere warband or the entire tribe come to war. For, were an entire tribe's warriors come to fight them, it would mean that one of their ancient enemies had finally decided to break the walls of Dol Mazzah, or die in the attempt.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-02-19 at 02:46 PM.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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  30. - Top - End - #180
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    shorewood's Avatar

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    Tearing a sleeve of his shirt Haramhold wrapped his bleeding arm cringing, Haramhold had cut deeper than he had intended but where a mortal might have been seriously wounded, Baz'Auran's children were made of sterner stuff. The small girl had curled into a ball at the foot of a tree. "My name is Haramhold." began the godling whispered gently "What's your name little one?"

    sniffing the girl wipes the tears and snot from her face with her soiled dress "My name is Amanda I'm the metal worker's daughter of the village about two miles north of here."

    "Then lets not keep your father waiting." and with that Haramhold picked the still weak girl up off the ground barely even noticing her weight. "How where you captured?"

    "I was playing near the stream, when... when the lizard people came. I tried to run I really did, but I was too slow." The memory brought tears to her eyes "They took me they tied me up. They dragged me to the swamp, I tried to yell for help I really did, but then they started beating me and and and..."

    "That's enough little one" hushed Haramhold "I understand, don't you worry. You will be with your father again soon enough, and with a hot meal in your belly all of this will seem like a bad dream."

    This seemed to calm Amanda and before long she was sleeping in his arms. Making his way over hill and stream Haramhold plotted a course due north and soon saw the first outlying huts. But this soon cheerful sight turned to sorrow.

    The village was dead, bodies lay scattered across ground. As he silently stepped over the dead Haramhold saw green blood splattered here and there and recognized the wounds on the dead. There was no doubt in his mind the trolls had come here too. Gently waking the girl Haramhold braces himself for her grief, but as she ran from corpse to corpse looking for the face of a friend or loved one he could not keep the tears from his eyes.

    Finally Amanda seemed to grow quiet and stopped moving. Hugging one of the corpses she whispers "father, O father not you too."

    Walking up to the small human child Haramhold placed a hand on her shoulder. "Here child let us lay them to rest."

    And so the pair of them dug the graves in silence, and after all of the villagers had been layed to rest Amanda looked up at Haramhold with steel in her voice "I am going to kill them, I am going to kill whomever did this. I will not rest until they are dead."

    Looking down at Amanda, Haramhold saw a new side of her and shared in her desire for vengeance. With Amanda's help Haramhold soon found her father's workshop, a small crude hut that stank of sweat and smoke. But it did have a large flat piece of granite to use as an anvil and a strong but small kiln. Sending the girl out to collect wood and charcoal while he scoured the nearby hills and rocky slopes for the precious ore. It took the two of them three days to find a surface vein and it took Haramhold another day to chip away an sufficient amount amount.

    Back at the kiln Haramhold picks up a crude hammer and begins his work. Heat the ore, pound out the impurities, heat the ore pound out the impurities. Over and over again his rhythm never falters never fails. The hours pass and slowly a pile of spear heads and sling bullets and one sword three feet long and as sharper than any blade the disc had seen before.

    When dawn peaked over the horizon Haramhold set aside his worn hammer and looked upon his works. They were crude by the standards of the white city but they were sharp and strong. They left for the cave of crystals that very day. Haramhold set a hard pace and the human girl had trouble keeping up as she was still exhausted from working the bellows. And before long Haramhold ended up carrying her too.

    By sunset they could see the rainbow lake from the crest of a hill, but they could also hear the howling of the wolves. Looking about Haramhold suddenly felt extremely vulnerable and broke into a dead sprint. But the godling was slow burdened as he was by child and iron. Before he had had crossed half of the distance the the wolves howled again, closer this time.

    Haramhold could see the shore when he spotted the first wolf easily loping beside him. Dropping the girl and the iron, he brandished his stone spear, driving off the biting terrors for the moment "RUN!" Haramhold bellowed at Amanda as he slashed at another wolf. The girl picked up the bag sack of iron and sprinted off to where Haramhold had stashed his raft.

    And so the minutes crept by as Haramhold desperately holding off the pack of blood thirsty wolves while Amanda dragged the raft to the lake. The despite the pack's best efforts they could not stop the godling and the human child from pushing off from the shore and into safety. Haramhold would have pushed on through the night, but his shaking hands and Amanda's insistence that he needed his rest convinced him otherwise.

    The next day when they reached the other side of the lake, Haramhold tore his raft apart taking the leather straps which had bound the logs together and put them to a better use. As they walked toward the crystal cave, Haramhold would stop and chop down a subtle ash tree as they came across them. Lashing the spearheads to them as he walked.

    The days dragged on the sun rose and fell in the sky four times before they came across the great cavern. Its entrance was crowded with refugees from more than half a dozen villages and they were under attack. There were ten trolls steadily advancing. Over a hundred brave warriors stood against them wielding spears of bone and stone with the occasional bronze sword. Again and again the humans threw down the trolls, dealing wounds that by all rights should have killed them a dozen times over. But for every one that fell one would get back up its wounds being no more than a nuisance.

    Taking the spears and the sword Haramhold charges up the slope yelling "Amanda stay here!" Coming up behind the nearest monster Haramhold shoves an iron spear in its spine. Blood and fire burst from the wound, the troll screaming in true agony fell to the grounds. Running past the fallen foe Haramhold throws his iron spears to the warriors rallying them around him.

    The warriors quickly discovered that these new weapons could kill the beasts and pressed their new found advantage with a ferocity and rage which frighten Haramhold. With his sword of iron Haramhold lead the attack and threw back the beasts. Long after the attacking trolls had been slain the humans in their rage and their grief continued to hack and slash the corpses until you could no longer recognize them for what they were.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

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