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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Dasque's Ascension Part 4 of 5

    As Light and Shadow Close In
    Everything hurt. Her arms felt like they were still shaking, her knees could barely move. She should have been dead. Yet she lived still. It was as if the light had gave all. It was as if it nourished her, fed her, held her, but deep down she knew something was wrong. The last thing she could see was the cliff. To see that brightest point of light her head had slowly, but surely, tilted upwards, as the plateau came into view, far above. When her hand had grabbed hold of the side of the cliff the intensity of light became too strong, and she could no longer rely on her eyes.

    She could feel dried blood where her eyes had bled, but of all the things that assailed her, her eyes were the least concern to her. She had had time to part with them. Her entire body was another matter. She had climbed and climbed and climbed, and eventually what had been fuelling her seemed to lash back. Dasque could not remember how far she had fallen. Probably no more than ten feet, but it was enough to hurt, and it had felt like forever.

    Her lips were on fire, when her tongue tried to lick the pain off, she could feel how cracked and broken they were. Her skin no longer hurt as bad though. She had been sun burnt for a long time, but it had gone away. At least that is what Dasque told herself, not choosing to consider the implication of what the numbness she felt could mean.

    She was losing her other senses now. Her tongue was dry, her ears seemed clouded, and she could feel the ice forming the ledge only from the sense of gravity. She had lost smell completely now. All that remained would be the light, and the sense of doubt within.

    “Turn back.”

    “No.”

    “Turn back.”

    “Never.”

    A harsh wailing sent her writhing, the screaming as within, but it was not her. It was not a dream. “What are you?”

    “Now that is the question, isn’t it?” The voice was outside of her now, but she could not see what it looked like, nor could she even see an outline of it.

    “I feel like a weight’s been lifted from my heart.”

    “For the moment.” Something was looming right above her, its face hovering above hers. Something within her heart told her so. “We are going to play a game. I will say a word, and you will me the first thing that comes to mind. Life.”

    “Light.”

    “Opposite.”

    “Shadow.”

    “Love.”

    “Heart.”

    “Baz’Auran.”

    “Monster.” The word flew from her mouth before she could reconsider. “Monster.” She said it a second time, tasting the word of in her mouth. “Monster.”

    “Tell me more Dasque.”

    “He… it… it is a creature of immeasurable power. It commands us as it sees fit. We are naught but tools in its plan, to be molded, used, and discarded as it sees fit. It acts as if it is justified, but its justice comes from power and power alone. What madness befell Father to create monster alongside mortals, to sit on its throne and tell me… tell me…”

    “What did he… it say to you?”

    “Father told me what he had in mind for my purpose.”

    “And what was that.”

    A burning welled up inside her, a hatred that was all her own, a rage which had boiled within her for so very, very long. Venomous words and bitter tears would not show her true feelings accurate enough, and so she screamed, feeling her throat cough and sputter through it.

    “I choose the light! I choose the all, not the without! I reject Father, and I reject you, thing of Shadow.”

    At first she felt nothing, until the uncertainty, the unnatural loathing crept back within her. The voice came from within once again. “For so long I have sustained you… given you life where you should have died in this frozen place, this place Baz’Auran created. Climb to the top, and your precious light will destroy us both. My boon is lifted.”

    And slowly, but surely the life seemed to lift out of Dasque, until she was weightless, yet even then, at the very moment where she was to die, she could not sense anything but the light, seeing the horizon above her.
    Last edited by daelrog; 2012-02-23 at 03:23 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #212
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Shirvan and the Evil Hag
    Shirvan's Ascension - Part 1
    A folkloric tale


    It happened during this time that Shirvan, son of Baz'Auran, had fallen down from the city on the moon, down onto the world and became mortal, like you and I.

    He was walking on a narrow path beneath the giant mountains, mountains that were as tall and far as the eyes can see. What he thought of then and where he was going, no one can say. But as he walked he came upon a small hut by the side of the path. Inside that hut lived an old woman, as ugly as an old woman can be. She was evil and knew magic.

    "Son of Baz'Auran," she said. "Come into my hut, I will feed your hunger and quench your thirst."

    Shirvan did not trust the old hag, but he was both hungry and thirsty, so he accepted her invitation. He paid careful attention that anything he ate, the witch tasted first, so that he knew it was not poisoned.

    "Son of Baz'Auran," she said. "I see that you are mortal and cannot return to your Silver City."

    "You speak the truth," Shirvan answered, misliking that the hag seemed to know so much she should not.

    So he asked her: "How do you know this?"

    But she only laughed, and said: "I know many things, Son of Baz'Auran. I will make you an offer. Bend your knee to me and name me your lady wife, and I will make you a god once more. You will be greater than you ever were, as long as you do as I say."

    Somehow, Shirvan knew the wicked old hag told the truth, that she could do as she promised. But he would never submit to one such as she and left with anger in his heart.

    So once again Shirvan walked along the path, on and on, until he saw a familiar hut once more. The hag was inside.

    "Who are you, woman, to hound me so?" Shirvan asked, and she told him. She was one of three, the witch Daga Mir, who could see things others did not.

    Shirvan went on then, walking a day and a night, but upon the second day found himself before the hut once again. Enraged, he picked up a knife.

    "You would kill me, Son of Baz'Auran?" Daga Mir asked, cackling at the mortal man with his knife, and cast a spell upon him, so that all his doubts would bubble forth from inside and gobble him up until not a bone of him was left.

    With a single thrust of his knife, Shirvan slew her. For he had never doubted himself once in his life.

    And that was the end of Daga Mir, the oldest of three, who could see things others did not.
    Last edited by VonDoom; 2012-02-23 at 05:27 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #213
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Persecution

    The lights in the court dimmed as each of the Khalens reflected on what had been said so far. The central light faded to darkness, taking Nieve, or the illusion of Nieve, back into the shadows. Khalen thought about what she had said. Had he really been the unfeeling monster she had portrayed? Did all his siblings share this view? The defence council had done his best to undermine what Nieve had said by highlighting her flaws as a reliable witness, but still....

    The light to Khalen’s left grew bright once more as the prosecutor began to speak again.

    “Members of the court, we turn our attention now to the day of Elanna’s disapperence. Our lonesome friend here was met by four spirits and encouraged to go outside the walls of the White City with his young “friend”. Yet something here does not add up. I call the accused to the stand.”

    A dazzling beam of radiance shone down on the same area where Nieve had stood moments ago. Yet before Khalen could even take a step, a figure leapt from the darkness into the centre. It wore a ridiculously oversized nightshirt and a huge grin on it’s face.

    “Hehehehe! This is a wonderful joke, Khalen-Fishy! I want to join in as well!”

    Every single Khalen stared in surprised horror at the small figure now in the centre of the court, before speaking as one:

    “No.”

    “No.”

    “No!”

    “No.”

    Jongo turned towards Khalen and shook his head sadly as he dissolved into a rainbow coloured cloud of smoke.

    “....silly little Khalen-Fish.....”

    The central light was empty again and slowly Khalen walked into the centre of it and turned towards the prosecutor.

    “Tell the court your version of events on that fateful day.”

    Khalen described how the spirits had surrounded them and encouraged them to explore the unfinished Disk below. Elanna had listened eagerly to the four spirits yet Khalen had been loathe to disobey Father...

    “So here we have a lonely and isloated figure apart from the adoring sister, who is suddenly accosted by four spirits who then urge him to defy father and go on some adventure. Why exactly would these spirits ask YOU of all people to do such a thing? Why not someone like rebellious Dasque or the wandering Kalandor?”

    Khalen fell silent, at a loss to explain why. The spirits never said...

    “I suggest that in fact there were no spirits! That instead YOU decided to take your younger sister beyond the walls of the City of your own accord!”

    “THAT’S A LIE!” shouted Khalen, infuriated beyond all measure by the harsh words of the prosecutor. Its chains rattled as with a gesture, it dismissed Khalen from the witness stand and back to the position of the accused.

    “I call the next witness!” boomed the prosecutor.

    A solemn figure stepped into the central light, his armour shining brightly beneath it. Khalen started, “Carolinus, my friend...”

    The pain shot through his body again. “The accused will be silent until given leave to speak by the court,” said the judge.

    “Carolinus, Knight of the White City, you are one of the closest people to the accused. Did the two of you ever talk about what happened to Elanna?”

    “We seldom discussed it. Khalen often said that he found the subject to talk about.”

    “Strange how grief can drive people to silence,” said the prosecutor. “But surely he must have spoken at great length about the evil “spirits” that persuaded Elanna and himself to do something so reckless and stupid?”

    A puzzled frown crossed Carolinus’ brow. “He said that there were four of them but that was all...”

    “So just to clarify, four completely nameless spirits, with no distinguishing features suddenly chance upon Khalen and Elanna and decide to carry them off to certain doom. Spirits, I might add, that were created specifically to serve Baz’Auran in all things and never to defy him.” sneered the prosecutor. “A very convenient story, especially given that following Elanna’s disappearence they fled into exile where no one could find them.”

    The prosecutor paused for a brief moment. “One final question - if it had been Cireo that had been lost that day, would you have just returned to the City?”

    Carolinus growled. “I would not have left her behind. I would have torn the Disk apart to find her again.”

    “No further questions from the prosecution, your honour.”

    The judge turned to the defence councillor. “Does the defence wish to cross examine the witness?”

    The councillor spoke. “If it pleases your honour, we would.”

    The prosecutor’s light dimmed and the light above the defence councillor glowed strongly.

    “The prosecutor would have us believe that these spirits did not exist, that they were part of some highly elaborate scheme to rid the accused of an annoying pest, when nothing could be further from the truth.” It turned towards Khalen. “You loved your sister deeply did you not?”

    Khalen nodded. “Yes.”

    “In the same way the witness loved Cireo?”

    “No. The affection I felt for Elanna was not an all-consuming love. It was more that she made me happy, made me laugh. I...I felt like a better person with her around.”

    Nodding, the defence councillor turned to Carolinus again. “When Cireo was taken from you by order of Baz’Auran, did you spend all your time weeping to your siblings about your loss?”

    Carolinus’ face hardened. “No. It does little good to discuss pains of the past unless by doing so you can hope to correct them. One must harden one’s resolve and move on.”

    “Would you say this is true of the accused?”

    “Yes. Ever since that day, he has worked tirelessly to find the names of these spirits and discover what could have taken Elanna. Sometimes I would help him to search through the old records from the library in search of answers.”

    “No further questions.”
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-02-23 at 03:47 PM.
    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.

  4. - Top - End - #214
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Brymhide Isle

    At last—it couldn't have been more than a few minutes, but it seemed much longer to Nieve—they arrived upon the surface of the Disk. The mist before them grew darker than usual, and all of a sudden a hillside rushed up at them, all green and grey and brown. The ailing Spirit of Haste placed her on the ground and leapt upwards without a word, leaving his charge soaking wet, shivering with cold, and utterly alone.

    In this manner the goddess Nieve came to Brymhide Isle.

    Wind bit at her skin. By now Nieve's own misery had driven shock and worry for her family to the back of her mind. She wrapped her arms about herself, wishing bitterly she had chosen something warm and thick to wear to the banquet. She set off in search of shelter, and for some time wandered over the blasted heath, stumbling and feeling sorry for herself. Neither the wind nor reaching the Disk had lifted the mist, and she could see no more than a few dozen paces in any direction. The ground was full of little hillocks and ditches to trip over, which often went unseen beneath the long grasses and low shrubs that covered the moor. The plants were nothing like the splendid gardens of her home: they were untamed and pathless, a tangle of ankle- and knee-high greenery that made each step a struggle. Only when the soil became too rocky and barren to sustain growth could she step easily, and it never remained so for long. The only trees she glimpsed were crabbed things no taller than she was, bent over like old men; she imagined that, like her, they huddled down to escape the accursed wind. None were large enough to shelter her.

    And all the while the wind blew ceaselessly, driving the fog before it, and she walked steadily into it. Nieve had the sense that the wind on this isle rarely changed direction or died down, so—while she could expect no reprieve from it—it would at least serve as a steady guide.

    She walked on, trying to convince herself that the lonely haunting cries she heard on the wind were merely tricks of her imagination. Because Nieve had a vivid imagination, this was quite possible; but because she had a vivid imagination she could not wholly persuade herself that nothing was out there. She wished now that she had worn her sword to the feast, as well. The next time she tripped over a loose stone, she picked it up, and felt better for having something in her hand.

    It proved lucky that she had done this. The land had gradually sloped to one side as she walked, and now she came to a place where it dropped away steeply into a cliff. In the fog and the dark she could not see what lay at the bottom, but a sound rose up from it, rising and falling in slow irregular rhythms but never stopping entirely. (This was the ocean, which she had seen from afar but never heard before.) She glimpsed what looked like a path leading down from the edge, inviting after hours of tramping through pathless soil, and took it.

    The path did not lead all the way down the cliff to the sea. It didn't even go very far down. It led somewhere better.

    It led to a cave.

    A grateful Nieve slipped inside with hardly a thought—oh, blessed shelter! The wind could not quite reach her here—only to feel a jolt of fear when something deeper inside the cave uncurled and sat up with a snarl. She hurled her rock—it struck soundly—there was another snarl, and now the creature hissed and padded forward, diamond-pupiled eyes glinting in the dark. She stooped to pick up another stone—it leaped—

    Had she not broken one of its legs with that first throw, it might have been the end of Nieve. As it was, she was raked very badly down one arm and along her side before she killed the beast. She lay there panting for awhile, her ragged breathing soon turning to sobs. Nieve had suffered bruises and cuts while training in the White City, but nothing like this. The pain wouldn't go away no matter how much she wanted it to, and it hurt, and there was nobody to help. She roused herself just enough to get a look at the creature she had killed—it was a great cat, nearly long as she was tall—and then curled up on the cave floor, convinced that this was the most miserable (and possibly last) night of her life.

    But the worst was yet to come. Sleep had not quite taken her when a feline yowl jolted her out of her doze. She sat bolt upright (her shoulder spasmed with pain) and saw...

    ... another cat, this one no more than a kit, nosing at the body on the ground. It mewled piteously, pawing at the big one's face, and Nieve knew suddenly that she had killed its father. She felt heartsick. This was her fault; she hadn't meant to do it, had only been trying to find a place to sleep, but that didn't change anything. The kit was all alone and would never get its parent back and it was all her fault.

    She watched it try to coax life out of its parent one more time, and snapped. She reached out, meaning to take the kit up in her arms and comfort it, and received a nasty scratch for her trouble. Now the little one turned on her, somehow sensing she was responsible. It hissed—she withdrew, but it kept hissing and darted forward to scratch at her, again—and again—and again—finally she struck it to shoo it away. It did not move again.

    It was not a restful night. The ground was hard, and she was still cold and wet, and she was now quite sure that the sounds from outside—mournful howls that started low and climbed high before cutting off in a strangled shriek—were neither her imagination nor a trick of the wind. Nieve cried for a long time, for the cats and for herself and for her lost family, until at last her guilt and fear and grief wore out her body. Then she slept.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-02-24 at 09:21 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #215
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    Bloodshrouded Olm

    Festering.

    That was a new word, Fayruz thought to herself as she sat beside the sleeping child. The first few weeks, when she did not have a word for what was wrong with the scars, when she could not understand, and when any misstep could lead to a punishing blow or a threat of death from the capricious king who sat on his throne of rough-worked copper and thought himself a god sent to lead his people, she had been disgusted by his face, that festering face that went from a cruel frown to a manic grin within seconds, from the stench and the pus that leaked from it, from the way that he would rip the paltry, green-and-purple-and-brown scabs open in his maddest moods and let the blood and pus and sweat run down his face, and how he would laugh while doing this, darkness slithering behind his eyes.

    She had cried every night. For home, so very far away, crumbling as the darkness ate away at it. The darkness was everywhere on the Disk, and it was deep. In the White City, there had never truly been night, not pitch-black nights that surrounded her and reminded her of her failure. For Arenis, sprawled on the doorstep of the hall, her spear broken, her knife still clutched in a bloody fist. It was Gamesha that had killed her, she was certain; she'd seen for herself, more than once, what that hammer could do to a body. It shattered bodies beyond repair, and what had been left of Arenis haunted her nightmares. For herself. She had looked into a plate of hammered-out copper to look at herself, one day, pulling down the hood and mask she had been given, while the chieftain of the Tekeza was lost in his nightmares. She had been so beautiful back home, her Father's shining star... in a dress that didn't chafe at her skin, wasn't 'man's' clothing and veils turned inside out as befitted a chieftain's fool; her face had been bathed in the sweetest water, instead of being bruised and cut and filthy. She was nothing here, she said to herself.

    It had taken her weeks to realize, to see like a child of Baz'Auran should, to listen and realize that there were people all about her. That the women and children of Dol Mazzah remembered what she had done for them, and that the women and children of the Tekeza were still mortals who deserved to be treated with kindness and respect. The funny thing was that when she did this, they returned the respect. By the time that the Tekeza had arrived at Dol Mazzah, she knew everyone in the camp, and they knew the chieftain's kindly fool, Efi.

    And she knew the whispers behind Gamesha's back that his fool was wiser than he; she knew the warriors of the Tekeza for men made brutal by a brutal land, with but a smile and a gentle touch unlocking some small measure of goodness remaining in them. She knew that Gamesha's uncle, Hefar, was, of all the men of the Tekeza, the most worthy of leading, despite his cowardice that made him support his mad nephew. And she knew the story of how Gamesha had been brought back by the warriors of the tribe on his father's shield, his face shrouded by blood and dragon's-ichor, unable to do anything but writhe and scream in agony; of how the wise-woman of the tribe had taken the desert-wolf mushrooms, which the desert wolves ate when they sought to mate to ignore the pain of the she-wolf's fury; of how it had made him into a new man, given to berserk rages and cold scheming in turn, and an obsession with cruel amusement.

    He festered, wounds, soul and all. Because no one had bothered to clean his cuts, no one had been able to wipe away dragon's ichor, because no one could make his wounds wholesome again. Even she could not heal the scarred king, or stop him from waging war against all his 'enemies' - mortals just like him, fooled by generations of pointless feuds. She rose silently, leaving Gamesha asleep. It was only while he slept that he was kind. Had he really once been gentle and brave, as far as the warriors of the Tekeza were such?

    Outside, the broken stone pillars of the Olm rose up high above the tents of the Tekeza. It had once been a temple, this much she could guess - but age and weather had destroyed it, long before she had come, leaving only a tall hill with broken stone jutting up towards heaven, and a system of deep caves beneath. Dark fogs were common around the Olm, and the women of the Aferi had told her it was because the blood of the gods constantly rose from the ground, trying to return to heaven to grasp at their spears of lightning and slings of hail. Of course, Fayruz knew this was nonsense, but something had happened here that made her shudder, from time to time, when she was alone in the dark. From the Olm flowed one of the few rivers of this land, but, as she had found out when they arrived, the river of the Olm was not safe for drinking, not at all.

    She made her way to the edge of the cliff, at the edge of the Tekeza's fortress in ruins. There was something about the water moving that reminded her of home, even if - like everything else here - it was a pale, parodic reflection. The water was not clear, dancing, sparkling and bright, like the rivers that had run through the garden, the quiet streams that she had loved to sit by as she practiced her harpwork. It was sluggish, and a deep brown-red, like the earth was bleeding. The Tekeza women had told her that the earth was, in fact, bleeding - that this was her constant issuing of blood, after the gods in their warring had marred her and thrust their spears deep into her.

    She couldn't heal that, either. Rumel would already have come up with a plan for a contraption to cleanse the water and make it drinkable. Soreal would have whispered to the water and convinced its spirit to become whole again. Llassar... she wasn't sure what Llassar would have done, but it wouldn't simply be useless. She was never supposed to come down here like this. She should have been with her brothers and her sisters.

    No. She would not be useless. She would fail at healing Gamesha. She would fail at stopping the tribes. But maybe, just maybe, she could do something worth doing.

    Festering happened because no one tried to clean a wound.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-02-23 at 09:29 PM.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
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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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  6. - Top - End - #216
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Frellon and the others wordlessly stood aside as Cherok’s patrol finished their sprint into their clearing and collapsed onto their hands and knees, scattering their weapons before them. Only Cherok maintained his grip on his weapon, on one knee and breathing hard though he was. How long have they been running like that? Frellon wondered. Then he stopped himself, and counted. -fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. Seventeen? They’re missing half a dozen! Glancing back along the road Cherok had come, he was confused, for it seemed nothing was there.

    “Cherok, what happened?” Jarun was crouched next to Cherok, waiting for him to catch his breath.

    “Being. Chased.” The words seemed to grate from his throat, like steel grinding on steel.

    Jarun, looked once more at the path. It was empty. “There’s nothing there.”

    “Sh-“ Cherok stopped, and coughed hard, spitting phlegm onto the ground. “Short legs. We’ve gained. Only minutes. Stand Ready.” With this, Cherok stood, and gripped his sword with both hands, still breathing heavily. Frellon was proud to see him shift into a perfect guard stance, even in this condition. Cherok was a fast learner.

    A good two thirds of Cherok’s patrol were as good as passed out on the ground. Whether it was from the run or the many cuts that were present on all of them, Frellon could not tell. Wait. Cuts? Debilitation? “The Voturi! They did this to you?” Frellon pointed at the nearest orc, sprawled just over the threshold, moaning and almost motionless. “Poison right?”

    Jarun blanched, and looked at Cherok. Cherok nodded, and moved forward to take a place guarding the entrance; he was the least injured out of his whole patrol, likely a product of his extra lethality, and reach, with that sword.

    Jarun began giving orders rapid fire, orcs began moving the injured as close to the center of the clearing as comfort would allow. Those only lightly poisoned from Jarun’s patrol fetched their discarded weapons again.

    No sooner was this finished than the first of the Voturi rounded the bend.

    Frellon could not tear his eyes away from the sea of bodies streaming along the path, through the forest, and darting between trunks and roots. Still, he leaned toward Jarun and asked, “That’s a whole lot more than a nest of them. Isn’t it.”

    Jarun just cursed darkly.

    The Voturi were screeching and howling as they always did when they seemed to give themselves to the bloodlust, and as the first wave of them broke upon the defenders, they still were not done pouring from around the bend in the distance. The tumult was impossible to shout over. Even so, the defenders let loose defiant battle cries of their own as the slaughter began.

    The Voturi turned out to be rather stupid. They had the numbers to overwhelm the thorn thickets with bodies if nothing else, but they seemed content to throw themselves at the clubs and sword of the orcs instead. The defenders met them in rows of 7, for the two exits from the clearing were only big enough for seven of them to fight aside one another.

    The Voturi were kept at bay by the powerful strikes of the clubs, bodies flew back and were crushed under Voturi feet. In the forest, most injuries came from Voturi Claws came from ambushes, as they sprang from where you weren’t looking and clawed you up with their poison from the start. Once you survived that part, it was easy. The Voturi really were little more than dumb animals, they would rush straight at you headlong, claws flailing, making ideal, easy targets for clubs. Without the advantage of the ambush though, the Voturi stood no chance against the orcs. Here though, they did not need the advantage. Frellon knew overwhelming numbers could take down practically anything, but to do that one had to be frivolous with the lives of one’s men, as great numbers would die in the attempt. The Voturi seemed to have that problem solved; they simple climbed over their fallen comrades as if they were no more than tree limbs in their way, and got another few centimeters closer than their predecessor before dying.

    Orcs began to take injuries, mostly small ones. After an hour, those injured began to show signs of suffering from the poison and were smoothly replaced in the 7 Orc line. The only good news, was that several from Jarun’s patrol had recovered enough from their early morning poisoning to join the fray, relieving some orcs for a spell. They had enough fighters to cycle out and rest a bit when some became too weary to continue. Cherok was the first one to sit out, though he had waited two hours and had gotten three more cuts since it started to do it.

    Once Frellon was relieved, he took the opportunity to look around more clearly. It was obvious to him, that this was a losing battle. They could not continue forever, there were simply too many of them. His eyes had seen that endless horde.

    He caught what glimpses he could through the gaps between the fighters. The piles of fallen bodies of the Voturi were becoming an increasing obstacle for the orc's enemies. From somewhere inside him, an idea came, unbidden: Perhaps the bodies will pile up and block the passage all together, Frellon thought. Is there a way to stack them like that ourselves? He was not really sure if it would work, but it felt right. It felt sure. It would work. It had to.

    He moved himself over to where Jarun also was resting, and tried to communicate his idea. “What if we-“ But he never got to finish.

    One of the orcs at the line gave a shout, and both Frellon and Jarun were on their feet in an instant, ready to leap to a breach in the defences! However it was not a cry of rage, or pain, the orc had shouted for joy! Frellon could not see past them to whatever it was they were shouting about, for indeed it seemed the whole line was celebrating, though their clubs still swung, and the sound of crushed skulls still reverberated around the clearing. But Frellon realised something. He had [I]heard/I] the orc shout. The tumult of noise eminating from the Voturi had apparently faded over time. There were less of them!

    As Frellon watched, that motion of the clubs slowed, and the killing stopped. Through the tangle of thorns he could still see motion, but it was moving away, not toward the clearing.

    The fight was over. Some of the orcs felt like celebrating, but the general feeling was one of exhausted relief. Cherok and Jarun assigned the energetic ones to stand guard, and most of the camp ate from the supplies and went to sleep, for night had fallen.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-02-23 at 10:51 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Cold.

    Llassar was cold, cold, cold. He was nowhere: A white hill on a white plain and there was white in every direction. Cold white. Snow. He couldn't see and he could barely think, and his thoughts all revolved around one thing. They had failed. Before they began, really. His siblings were probably dead, and he was going to die.

    Of all the ones to survive, Llassar reflected, why would it be him? He was without a doubt the most laziest, stupidest child of Baz'Auran. Even Fayruz, bless her heart, would probably be doing something. Oh, but not him, the lazy one. Here he was, sitting here, waiting to freeze to death. A fitting end for someone who had wasted their time like he ha-

    And suddenly there was little girl pulling on his hand. A small, wispy girl, wrapped up in a big fur coat, pulling him up. Dumbfounded by this apparition, Llassar allows himself to be led.

    The journey was not far- in fact, if he had simply gotten up and walked 30 feet, he would've seen the village himself. The fact that he would've died a 2 minute walk from salvation barely made an impression on Llassar- all he could focus on was the wonderful smell...
    Proud member of the Gnomish Wanderer fanclub!

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  8. - Top - End - #218
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    Judgement

    Khalen slowly dropped to his knees. Whether this was real or not, he felt as though he was under a giant lens, being dissected and his flaws examined one by one. The prosecution had spoken nothing but lies about what happened but the logic behind it was impeccable. The defence was making a determined effort to speak on Khalen’s behalf but he could feel the gavel swinging down upon him.

    The judge’s light flared, more strongly than before and the image of Carolinus dissipated into mist. “Members of the court, our time is coming to end. Make your final statements before judgement is passed on the accused.”

    For the final time, the prosecutor’s light glowed strongly. “And so we come to the end of the tale, for tale it is. No truth has been spoken by the wretch who grovels before the court thus far and now we see his lies for what they are.

    “The accused will tell the court of what happened after his departure from the White City.”


    Khalen slowly explained the final chapter of Elanna’s fate, stammering in places as he felt the eyes of the other Khalens bore into him.

    “So the “spirits” carried you over the wall, encouraged you to visit an unfinished section of the disk, where you claim you were attacked by some unknown entity and forced to abandon the sister you loved and adored. On your return to the White City, you spoke with Baz’Auran and these “spirits” suddenly decided to flee the City, rather than submit to Him.

    How very convenient. The four entities that could vouch for your actions are the very same ones that led you astray and vanished. I submit that this is no more than a total fabrication!”
    thundered the prosecutor.

    “Let me tell the court what really happened. This lonesome and isolated creature found his solitude repeatedly disturbed by a naive and kind-hearted soul. Unwilling to put up with her incessant attempts to force him to become a sociable and productive member of the White City, he planned to have her murdered-”

    “NO!” screamed Khalen and the chastising pain tore through his body, stronger than ever before.

    “-planned to have her murdered and then pin the blame on a group of nameless spirits that never existed! He managed to find a way past the walls of the White City and when she tried to turn back, he dragged her out to a secluded section of the disk and killed her, knowing that the body would be destroyed in the chaos of construction! The man that kneels before the court is a cold blooded murderer and he should suffer the same fate as Elanna did!”

    Khalen felt his eyes fill with tears. He was going to be executed and scattered to the depths of oblivion because of the lies this nightmare version of himself was saying. Despair overwhelmed him.

    “The defence calls its final witness to the stand.”

    The central light bloomed in the darkness and a figure stepped into the centre. It had short dark hair and wore a long silver dress. There was an air of compassion and tenderness about it as it gazed at the weeping figure before it. The four surrounding lights faded to almost total darkness as she spoke.

    “Khalen.”

    Khalen slowly lifted his head from the floor. No, it couldn’t be.....

    Elanna.

    “Khalen, my sweet brother. Why do you torment yourself like this?”

    “I.....let you die, Elanna. I should have said no when the spirits encouraged me to disobey Father. I should have refused to pass beyond the walls. I....” he sobbed.

    “Shhhhhh,” Elanna raised a finger to her lips. “You carry this burden alone, my brother, yet I should carry it with you. The responsibility was mine as well - let me share the guilt for what came to pass.

    “Now stand, brother, for the world has need of you. The Brothers are returning, Khalen, and they would sow chaos and anarchy onto Father’s creation and surrender it to the Darkness. You must not let Father’s work be destroyed, for it is the seed of hope for all of us.”


    The figure of Elanna began to change and become translucent and the light above it forced back the shadow surrounding it. It became tall and indistinct but her voice filled the space where the void was before.

    “You must bring order to the tribes of Man. Only through Law and Order can the children of the Earth and the children of the Sky stand against the Darkness and you must show them the way..."

    The doppelganger that served as the judge walked into the centre of the room, merging with the transparent figure, lending it strength and form.

    “Be even handed in judgement and show understanding and patience with those that bow before you....”

    The prosecuting doppelganger walked into the centre, blending, merging, sharing its power.

    “Pursue those that would break the law and show no mercy to those that would defy the Law...”

    The third doppelganger that served as Khalen’s defence joined the others as the light burned with unfathomable brightness, filling everything with whiteness.

    “Defend the innocent and protect those that would stand against anarchy...”

    Khalen felt a new strength and wisdom flow through him, such as he’d never felt before, even in the presence of his father. He saw the shimmering figure reach out towards him and he raised his hand to touch it.

    “Never forget how it feels to be judged and know that my love will be with you even in the darkest of places.”

    “And now, Khalen-Het.”


    “RISE!”
    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.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Dasque's Ascension Part 5 of 5

    Radiance
    Dasque willed herself to move. No sight, no smell, no taste, no touch, no sound. Nothing but the light. For all she knew she was dead, or her body had whisked away, or she was heading down and not up. She willed whatever was left of her to move up though, as the light grew deeper and deeper and deeper. Occasionally there was something else, a second will, something which tried to pull her back. She would not yield though, and continued to move. Time had no relevance anymore, and neither did space. It was all one, one and the other.

    Then the voice cried out, not with words, but in something more basic. It was trying to pierce her darkest secret, of what Baz’Auran had told her that broke all love she had for him. At first she thought the shadow unsuccessful, until the memories came flooding back.


    Dasque waited outside Baz’Auran’s grand hall, her head hung low in shame. During a practice bout she had almost hurt Frellon. He had laughed it off as nothing, but the spirit of war who watched over them knew better. In that moment she had meant to kill him. It had stopped being about simple practice, and her body had taken over, fighting for its survival, her heart deadened to reality. How could she have done that… what was wrong with her?

    The doors opened, and slowly she stood up, walking into the chamber, to ashamed to look at her glorious Father, the one who had granted her a spark of divinity, on whom she had shamed.

    “You are dismissed Adrall. I will speak to my daughter in private.”

    The spirit bowed low, and left hurriedly, not bothering to look at Dasque. And then there was silence.

    At first Dasque was too ashamed to do anything, but the seconds went by, each one longer than the next. Her pale eyes looked up, and met Baz’Auran’s gaze, which froze her in place, mentally and physically. Baz’Auran held her in his gaze, his glory fixed upon her. She knew though that he was not condemning her, but appraising her. It made no sense.

    “So it has come at last.”

    “Father? What do you mean?”

    “I have created each of my children from my own will, no two exactly alike, not even you and Shirvan who were made by the same light. You have finally awakened to a part that is uniquely yours.”

    “What is this inside me? I lost all feeling, I couldn’t control-“

    “You will learn to control it or I will unmake you as effortlessly as I created you.”

    “What am-“

    “Your are Dasque, my daughter, and inheritor of a truth. That truth you should understand now.”

    “The truth of judgment, of punishment.”

    “I have sent spirits to exile. I have slain others with a thought for their crimes. I hold court over them not for their sake, but for those who still follow my law. There is no purpose to play with one you mean to destroy. Simply end them, and be done with it. Leave justice for those who still have a purpose.”

    “But Father, Frellon is-“

    “Innocent. He has done no wrong, and it is for this why you must control it. However, should one day Frellon, or any of your siblings ever raise their sword against me, I may leave it to you to punish them. You hold the strength within you to see past emotion, to see past self preservation, and to become simply one with victory. Whereas another of your siblings may hesitate, to see some redemption within family, you will not. So is my will.”

    “Punish them… you mean murder them. Murder them! Is this some sort of game, Father?! I will not kill my own brothers and sisters!”

    “And may you never do so. However, in so creating you all, I have given you the ability to be independent, to think on your own, to become flawed. You are the one I have given this boon to, but others may yet find it on their own. They may find other things as well, things that will make them turn their back upon the White City and all of us.”

    “Boon…” Dasque could not hold back the tears. “I felt empty… alone. It is no boon, Father.” She spit the last word out.

    “Call it whatever you desire, it is not my concern. What is of my concern is whether or not you learn to control the apathy, to control the murderous intent, the void inside you. Become of darkness Dasque, and control it. You will continue your training.”

    Dasque stood up. She knew it was over. It was over now, and over always. Her eyes were red, with tears still trickling down. “Father.”

    “Speak.”

    “I will never forgive you.”

    Baz’Auran sat in his throne. Dasque spun on her heel and marched away from a place she would seldom go for the rest of her days within the White City. It was when she was but a step outside the door she heard his response. But a whisper, it still carried to her ears. “As you wish.”



    Her eyes shot open. The sky was blue, with frosty clouds high up. The sun was still glaring down on her, but she could see. She sighed, a sound she could hear. Then she could feel, and it hurt. Dasque gasped, swallowing a mouthful of cold air. She was dying, she could feel it now more than ever. She looked around. She was atop the plateau, and she could not tell where the ice ended and sky began. The horizon was endless. She spun all around until a sight caught her. It was a spear, with something attached to it.

    She walked up, moving as fast as she could, stumbling over once as she did so, clutching onto it. It was an ordinary spear, poorly made if anything. The thing attached to it though, was different. At first it seemed like a piece of blonde hair. Then it began to glow, then it burned so brightly Dasque had to avert her gaze, at first. Then, a compulsion took over her, and she looked with the strand of true light, and in that moment all she had ascended.

    Her eyes burst open from silver-white fires. Scars and crags in her broken body became illuminated. Her hair untangled and spiraled out, falling into perfect place at her shoulders. The pain and hunger were gone, and she gazed once more at her surroundings.

    Dasque danced to the side as the blade lashed out trying to find her heart. Dasque pivoted to face her opponent, a shadow-thing. It no longer mocked her form, but was something far more base. The light burnt its ashen skin, yet it persevered through the pain just as she had. “I tried to stop you. Every moment I scream, I wailed, yet only a few times could I reach you, only a few times would you listen! Now… now I die in this god forsaken land. Only victory remains. Only… only…”

    The thing howled and dark tendrils burst from its maw. Its body contorted at expanded into a hideous creature. It was an abomination. Her eyes looked into the inky shadow and she was full of disgust. “I reject what my Father had made me. I reject the path he set. I deny the darkness.”

    The abomination had no more words, a spike claw rushing to crush her. She darted aside, and moved in. Her spear lashed out, and the strand of true light spun and twirled around, blinding the creature, and metal met flesh. Dasque stepped back before the thing could counter, swaying the strand to the left as her body moved right. She hopped up to avoid hands that burst from the ground to grab at her heels, and cut the end of a tendril which tried to take her from above. She landed on her feet, and moved in. Three times her spear reached out and cut deep into the thing, but it did not die, growing more rapid with each wound, until the thing lost all control, and it charged her, tendril, claws, and mass spreading out so that she could not dodge.

    “I cast out the darkness… and all that remains…”



    A white mouse with a long tail sniffed the air. It hopped over to a nearby rock providing some cover from the sun. It sniffed for fungus to chew on, but after a good sniff, it seemed another had beat him to it, the scent of the other male’s piss thick underneath the rock. It would have to move on. It hopped out, and its head twitched from side to side. For a moment it looked at the large plateau of ice in the distance, and for a moment, it was consumed in a divine radiance, a second sun that seemed to invigorate the little mouse though it did not comprehend.

    It hopped away as fast as it could.
    Last edited by daelrog; 2012-02-27 at 12:02 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #220
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    The Nuckelavee and the Mother's Blood

    In the earliest hours of the morning, Saven, a warrior of the Tekeza, kept watch for his enemies, or for creatures of the south that had crept towards the Olm in search of prey. Although he was no match for one of the minotaurs, and he knew such, he had a sling that could crack open a ghoul's festering head from fifty paces away, and a spear that could skewer a desert wolf with such ease that some of his fellows named him Wolfslayer. But he had never had to fight once since the Tekeza came to the Olm, and his eyes were heavy when he saw a shadow move against shadows. He straightened, placing stone in sling, and called for friend or foe to come forth to give answer to him.

    The shadow raised its hands, and whispered, plaintively, for Saven not to cry out or alert his fellows. The voice was familiar to Saven - it was his lord's fool, Efi, coveted by every one of his warriors. But luck was with the fool, for Saven was young and stouthearted, and loyal to Gamesha unto death, having been among his guard as a youth. Saven lowered his sling, and ordered her to come closer, so he could see her clearly in the dark night.

    She stumbled forward, and he saw that she carried cures stolen from the wise-woman, the plants of healing and poisoning, wrapped in her men's veils. He leveled his spear and demanded their return, to which the fool pleaded that she was trying to heal the mother. If she were to heal the mother, she said, then the Tekeza would not have to walk many miles from the Olm to find water, but would have a fresh stream to take their water from. And her begging was so sweet that Saven found himself swayed, and accompanied her down the treacherous paths towards the mother's bleeding, keeping one hand upon her shoulder to keep her both controlled and safe, like a prized horse.

    They were forced to remove their wrappings and wade into the bitter river, which flowed like quicksand beneath their feet, to enter the caves. Soon, it became too dark to see, and Saven told the fool to turn back, for they would grow lost in the cave, or fall prey to some trap or pit. As if mocking his words, a great cacophony rose up among them, like a thousand locusts all raising their cries at once, or great beasts of the wild moving about around them. Saven grasped at his spear, but Efi - her voice wavering in fear - grasped at his hand and began to sing, softly, but soon as loudly as the unseen foes. And they continued on, and all at once, the noise stopped, and the sound of the beasts faded away. Saven trembled with fear, but the fool - as fools do - saw wisdom and told him that this must mean the mother's pain came from the spirits, and it could be healed at the source of the river. This calmed Saven's heart, and he held the fool's hand in his and led the way.

    So they continued on, and soon enough, they stumbled into a wall that was no wall at all, but - as the fool found with her quick fingers - steps hewn into the rock, one after another, down which the river flowed. The fool was not deterred from her quest to find the source of the mother's bleeding, but with the plants of healing and poisoning tucked beneath her arm, she could not easily climb the steps. And now Saven showed his strength and skill, by ascending a step and then pulling the stumbling fool after him. They continued on, and nearly fell to their deaths many a time, but they came, at last, to the top of the steps, underneath the Olm itself.

    So they continued on, and soon enough, they came into a place that was lit by softly-glowing crystals, which shone from the cavern walls about them. And all about were scattered a treasure beyond imagining, things which the fool called 'bronze lamps' or 'rubies and diamonds'. They shone, and were of the earth, and shaped by a far greater craftsman than feeble man - this much Saven knew. They glittered and shone in the dim light, piled up upon each other, mesmerizing the eye like the dreaded water-serpents of the east. In the center of the treasures was a spring from which the mother's blood issued forth, and in the center of the spring was a spear which pierced it. Two snakes with the horns of rams were intertwined about the spear, and their poison flowed from their fangs into the water. The fool gasped, and started forward to remove the spear, her hand outstretched, when a monster rose from the water before them with a bellow of rage.

    Saven was struck with fear, for it was a creature with the hindquarters of a horse, and the body of a man, so tall that it could not have appeared from the shallow stream, but most terrifying of all, it had no skin, but its skeleton and viscera could be seen pulsing and twisting within it. Its eyes were bright and burning, and its mouth was wider and sharper than any creature but the dragon of the mountains. Its blood was black, and its web connecting the bone to organ was a sick yellow. It bellowed at them, and raised a mighty hand to crush the fool.

    The fool screamed, and this forced Saven to throw her aside, into the treasure, where she landed with a great cacophony and chaos. The creature then turned on him, and struck him aside, and where the blow landed his skin became as fragile as an elder's, and ridden through and through by leprosy. It raised its hooves to trample him, but Saven rolled aside, drawing his sling. He sent a stone spinning at it, but its body was as strong as copper and it only enraged the beast. It lashed at him, landing blows on his arms and face, crippling his limbs with disease and illness, but Saven fought it valiantly all the same, to protect the fool. It shattered his spear in half like a child would break a thin branch, and his sling was flung from his hand, and it pushed him back against the steps, hoping to make him fall and break himself upon the sharp steps.

    All at once the stinking water became a great flood, sweeping Saven from his feet. He desperately grasped for a handhold, and his fingers bit into the edge of the topmost step, and he felt no pain but held on so tightly that he bled, for he had become a leper. And the monster was thrown down the steps in the great wave, screaming in hatred, away from the spring it had guarded for so long.

    When Saven pulled himself up, it was into a river moving faster, and its water was so clear and cold that it made him exclaim in amazement that he was dead, for no water had ever been so sweet or pure. It was so swift, in fact, that it made him stumble again, and he would have fallen, but for the fool reaching out and taking his hand, and pulling him to a shallow pool. He looked up, and saw the fool, with her hair in disarray, and thought her the most beautiful of all women, for the water had washed away her bruises and scars and the dirt that had masked her even more than her fool's clothing. And he, too, looked at his hands and found them clean and unblemished, the leprosy washed away. And in all these things, he wondered, until another woman joined them, a maiden like the fool, with hair the color of clear water and eyes as deep as the sea.

    She fell to her knees and kissed the feet of the fool, praising her as a child of the mighty Baz'Auran come to save her. In days long gone, she had been a spirit of her father's house, she said, and had been sent to the world to bless the people of the rocklands with her water. But, she said, weeping as she remembered, her source had been polluted by a Nuckelavee, a corrupted spirit of pestilence and filth. For generations, she had been trapped, unable to escape or to purify her water, because of the spirit's weapon - which the fool now held!

    Saven looked at what she held, but it was no spear, now. Rather, it was a necklace, but one wrought of a metal brighter than any he had seen, the color of the old moon when it was full. A crystal was set within it, one as blue as the summer sky, as clear and pure as the spring's water, and about the crystal, the ram-horned snakes writhed about each other in frozen fury, biting each other's tails. When Saven expressed his surprise, both the fool and the mother looked at him, wondering if he were blind. The spear, the mother said, belonged to the Nuckelavee, and was in its service a weapon of corruption. But it knew its new wielder, a daughter of almighty Baz'Auran, by right, and knew that she would never wield a spear. It was, after all, a magic of water. And Saven, who knew nothing of magic, accepted these strange events.

    Efi brought the necklace about her neck, and placed one hand upon it with a smile. "I healed the land," she said, simply. "I healed the river. I finally did something right."

    But the mother shook her head, frowning. "Your task is not done, my queen. A dragon still ravages the land, and drives the mortals to war." She silenced the fool's protests. "He is here, watching over his treasure. And he will destroy the rocklands in one battle, whether he wins or loses. You are the only one who can stop him from completing his vengeance upon those who slew him."

    The fool pondered the mother's words, before her eyes grew wide with fear. "I understand," she said, before taking Saven's hand in her own and running from the room, her feet splashing in the river. The mother smiled at them, as Saven turned to look at her once more, and then there was a great wave that ripped them from their feet, but cradled them as they fell, and swept them into sunlight. Saven struggled to shore, and the fool came after, throwing down the plants of healing and poisoning. "Quickly," she said to him. "There is so much more for us to do!"

    But she took a moment to turn to him, her black hair caught in the wind, and smile for him. And she said the words which he wished to hear the most. "Thank you." She then removed her necklace, and pressed it upon him, saying, "You must give this to Gamesha when the time is right, when the dragon is slain. Then his wounds will be cleansed, and once he is healed... then all we will need to do is make this land whole again."

    And this was the magic of the fool with her kind smile: that he believed her.
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-02-23 at 09:08 PM.
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  11. - Top - End - #221
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    It was late the next morning when Kalandor had arose, and by the time he had completed the morning rituals expected of him, he left his small tent to see a small crowd waiting for him. If the word crowd could describe the majority of a clan, and the majority of a sub tribe of a clan.

    Forth from this Crowd strode a (much) smaller group, composing of twenty people, and then another consisting of 5, to be those who spoke to Kalandor. Two of this smallest group walked forward slightly and knelt of bended knee speaking.
    “We leaders of the Gypsi Hill Warden tribe and the Centuarian Clan, kneel here in supplication to Kalandor, he who was foretold to come to us and lead us. That you might show us the way back into the light, and that we may know what is needed of us.”
    And with that, all that could slowly lowered themselves to bended knee.
    And Kalandor had lots of trouble laughing, however all could see the humour in his eyes.

    “The first thing I require for you is to get up from your knees. I yes, am a god, but at this time that is barely more than you are too I. And I have lived here amongst you and I know you all, I have never been haughty, and often thought how silly, even if necessary some of your rituals are. I need not your supplication, I would rather be your friends.”And so the people rose, some with confusion (Such as the leaders) and a few with concern.
    “Now then. What I need, are about 20 of the most skilled in combat here, including your leaders. But these people need to be willing to teach, and be willing to listen; they need not be trackers however. From the Centaurian Clan I suggest that some are chosen from each sub-tribe, And as the Gypsi Tribe wanders, I suggest that more come from the Centaurian clan then the Gypsi Tribe.”
    After speaking Kalandor looked unto the sun to determine the hour.
    “I will give until High sun. Should you not be able to decide, I suggest that you call me an Hour before High sun.”

    And so, Kalandor moved around the camp and clarified parts as people left. The Leaders already began preparing who would be going, it having been decided that 4 will be from the Gypsi tribe and 16 from the Centaurian Clan.

    And so an hour before Noon Kalandor was called, with there being 25 Warriors, 6 from the Gypsi and 19 from the Centauri. They were of all types, Females and Males, Elders and Young People, who dispite being barely blooded were of skill. Some used the Bow or Sling, Some used the Club or the Spear. First Kalandor asked those of the sling and bow to remind themselves of the armour born by the Chil’R, the Scale that came naturally to their skin.
    “I would like them to have the chance to run, but the Sling would not be of use here, I say with sorrow.”
    And then there were 23.
    He spoke to them of their The warriors of the Chil’R strength, and their reach, and spoke how only the spear truly allowed the speed of men to work, and asked for those who fight on their strength to step down.
    And then there were 20 men and women of the various tribes, some leaders, some warriors, some trained with the bow, some with club or bow.

    And so, Kalandor spoke with the Tribesmen, and said.
    “And now, we shall hunt the Chil’R, and show you that I am the sign, and that to hunt and to protect yourselves is something you can. And when these warriors proud come back and teach you of the truth, know that you will have my blessing to travel, and I will have gone on.”
    --------------------------------

    And it was so. Kalandor began the game he played with the Hunting spirit Analan the day of his fall. Following the tracks from the last days hunt, and then the hunt followed the tracks of the Chil’R.
    And the most surprising thing happened.
    The Chil’Rabi sought why, and how its children had been beaten, when normally man ran, or died under its children’s claws.

    And so, Kalandor stalked the Chil’Rabi, as the Chil’Rabi unknowingly stalked Kalandor through the forested hills.
    And despite the hushed warnings, Kalandor set the ambush.
    And the party was ambushed.
    There were 8 of the demon horses, All Chil’Raben with the Exclusion of the Chil’Rabi.
    The hunters amoungst the group and Kalandor sensed the disturbance and re-aranged just in time to face the group towards the Chil’R.
    And the Battle was joined.

    Arrows flew from their bows, most making no mark, and warriors filed in behind Kalandor, before breaking into their skirmishes.
    The Archers couldn’t fire, it had become a swirling melle, and so 5 people waited to aid were they could.
    Kalandor wielded his staff against the Chil’Rabi, the Godling moving in an almost dancelike flow, while the Demi-god created by the Beast of Chaos struck out with surprising speed and inhuman strength.
    The men to struck the Chil’Raben, The smart horses using their forward scale armour to blunten weaker blows, and lined the men up so that both rear and for kicks were available, with scything talons cutting deep gouges into the warriors weapons, or into the ground when they rolled away.

    For 10 minutes the fighting went, 1 of the Chil’Raben had been struck down, and 3 men were down, considered dead, even if their wounds were only deep gashes.
    And slowly the fighters began to separate in exhaustion, and watched the challenge long since made with Kalandor and the Chil’Rabi, with the Hoarse screams of rage from the Demigod, and the responding cry that struck the primal cord in all beings coming from Kalandor.
    For theirs was the deciding fight, the beings both Man and Horse forming a rough semi-circle with each separated by a large distance.

    Kalandor fought with much skill and fluid speed. His form seemed to shift, when he couldn’t duck low enough for the claws to pass over head, he shortened, becoming the height if a dwarf, or he disappeared, appearing a few steps to the side. His stave seemed to also shifted. Where a moment before deep gouges had been made by the Chil’Rabi’s claws, they had been filled in. Sometimes the stave became thicker to allow for blocking, and sometimes it became a spear, or a stone bladed halberd.

    The Chil’Rabi fought with inhuman speed, strength and toughness. Its blows almost shattered the stave or made deeps furrows in the ground. When the seemed hopelessly drawn out of position it would suddenly be leading a furious attack, or make a feint that no beast of its size, about two men tall, could make at speed. And the heavy blows made by Kalandor were almost glancing blows.

    And then Kalandor saw an opportunity to prove his dominance, and maybe force speech from the beast.

    The Chil’Rabi reared, screaming in frustration at the godling in the Beastial Tounge, and Kalandor stoped and rolled under the beast, Setting his stave against the ground and making it a spear, the mighty beast started its descent towards death, but at the last moment Kalandor moved the spear to the side while rolling. This resulted in a long gash from just below its sternum along the edge of its scaled hide, and Kalandor rising cried out.
    “Halt, should thine like the taste of life.” And man and beast alike stood shocked.
    And the Chil’Rabi stood still, and spoke strangely in celestial.
    “You are a strange manling, what be thine name?”
    “I Be Kalandor, Son of-“
    “Kalandor! The tales are true!”
    “What Tales?”
    “The Tales told to me by the great creator Lug’a’don’th. He spoke of how the Great Auran created him to seed the world, and how man slew the Centaur. These men of the Centaurian Clan.”
    And despite the lack of eyes in the back of his head, all the people behind him felt his gaze upon them.
    “Did they not tell you how they slaughtered the creatures of the hills. Of how Lag’a’don’th mourned the losses and begged the Great Auran to create us in vengeance.”
    “No, they did not.”
    “Do you know what the legend says of you?”
    “I know not your legends.”
    “Would you like to know?”
    “Yes, I would.”
    “Then rest your hand upon my facial scales.”
    And so, before any human could respond, Kalandor raised his hand and rested it upon the Chil’Rabi’s brows, and somehow, they spoke in mind.
    -------------------------------------

    He heard the rythamic voice of the giant beast as Chil’Rabi had.
    “But Baz’Auran extracted a price. He said ‘You may overrun them, but your vengeance will have to end.’”
    And though the bestial godling felt much rage it listened.
    ‘You must not kill them all. You may grind them under heel, but they must suvive. You may wash them over in a dark tide, but it must recede.’And I cursed internal.
    ‘Worry not, once you have receded once from your war, you may let them hunt at will.’
    And I felt Elation.
    ‘However, this was planned and there is a child of mine your Dark Vengeance (Chil’) Rigders(‘R) will fight, long after you have left this land to your beast to seed again another land.'
    And so I listened, quite curious.
    ‘And once he has proven himself to the Humans and you Dark Riders, these your children will return to you, in golden grace, both your vengeance and who they revenge. Not immediately, but these Horses, they will seem a curse to bind them in, And Kalandor must let his light show.’
    And this I acknowledge, with furrowed brow and reluctant thought.
    ‘I am sorry I must restrain you friend. But this must occuor.’
    And so I Said, I understand father, and I will obey.”
    -------------------

    And with this Kalandor receded from the Chil’Rabi’s mind.
    “Do you accept mine evidence.”“You have shown the sign, so I leave. You have shown them their freedom and ability, so they can continue, as you will.”And so Kalandor turned to the men.
    “I have shown you your freedom and ability, know that you won’t be hunted, you will co-exist but you will not be solely prey. Go to your tribes, and tell them what has occurred.”
    And he turned back to Chil’Rabi.
    “Goodbye, speak well of me to my brother.”
    “I will, uncle.”

    And so both Kalandor and Chil’Rabi left, with Kalandor moving at a speed imposible for a true mortal frame even if yet released, and Chil’Rabi retreating with the Chil’Raben he brought with him, all but two disappearing into a incorporeal form, with the Chil’Raben that lay dead disappearing from the world.

    Turn 0 Artifact: The Travellers Stave
    Spoiler
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    Kalandors Staff, a long oak branch which never decays, that he weilded while his spark bubled up. It has learned to change shape at will, often taking the shape of the most useful stave like object at the time, or the one that will blend in most with his current apearence. It also allows him to focus his abilities, as well as being able to sustaint the force of his godly attacks, breaking under no (known) conditions.
    Last edited by Erik Vale; 2012-02-24 at 03:46 PM.
    My Homebrew Sig.

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

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

  12. - Top - End - #222
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    Aug 2005

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Epilogue

    Jongo was unable to say how long she remained in the dance. Days? Weeks? Months? Years?

    There was a change within him, and change takes time.

    Finally, at last, Jongo looked out with new sight, and saw...

    ...the Abyss.

    It was still hungry, but now even more so. Now Jongo could feel the weight that it's blackness carried. Everything that it consumed made it grow in power. It was an end to all things. And it had almost been and end to Jongo.

    Jongo.

    Jongo felt more like herself every second, but also so much more.

    Jongo.

    That now stood for something. It stood for a powerful figure on the Disk. A figure who could bring so much good. Or do so much evil.

    ::Jongo.::

    The Leviathan. Jongo looked down. The tentacle - no, it was a large, prehensile fin - still held his body firmly.

    ::Namer. Your rush of power seems to have momentarily blinded you. We have been around the Disk many times. We are back again to where I first found you. Are you awake now?::

    "Yes. Sorry. You can... you can let me go now." Staring at the creature now with new eyes - better eyes, even if one was still green, and the other grey - Jongo was amazed at the amount of will and force exuding from the most giant of creatures in the sea. Baz'Auran poured so much into this one thing. Jongo decided it was wise to be polite. "Please?"

    ::If I let go, you will fall. That cannot happen. Should anything fall towards the Abyss, I shall do my duty.::

    "Oh! Right!" Jongo grinned, and changed. Wings grew from Jongo's small humanoid form, sprouting on the back. Each feather was a different color white, and it felt so glorious to grow them. It was like...

    Like eating cake right in front of Llassar, right after it was finished baking.

    Like rushing up silently behind Contragh, and tackle-hugging him in surprise, to watch his training kick in, only to be thrown fifty feet away.

    Like playing hide and seek in the whole White City, just Jongo and...

    Father. Baz'Auran. The White City. It changed.

    Wasn't that good?

    Something whispered to Jongo, at the edge of her euphoria. It teased and taunted, and wanted to do so much more.

    Jongo stared down at the Abyss. The new god of chaos flapped his wings in flight, and feeling herself be released from Leviathan's grasp, pointed one long finger at the all-consuming darkness.

    On the finger lay something smooth and metallic, but also soft and supple. It was a ring, all colors of the rainbow, and some colors Jongo could not even name. It looked silver, gold, green, blue, opaque and solid. It twisted and bent while laying flat and unmarred. It was both solid, and not really there.

    And the ring glowed brightly in song, as it heard the whispering too.

    The White City changed. Wasn't that for the better?

    "No." A simple word. But it held power. The whispers stopped.

    "Change is good. But not all change is for the better. Hunger all you want, rage and consume, but I control the flow of Chaos now. For better or for worse, my choices will shape the Disk. But the White City, if it changes, will change back to how it once was."

    ::Well said. Now, if you'll excuse me, Namer, this toad must be moving about his duty. I feel a bit of driftwood moving up ahead. And it will take me several days to reach that spot, if I do not expend power. The Disk is quite big.::

    "Thank you, Leviathan. For stopping me from committing a mistake. Or worse." The ring on her finger thrummed, and Jongo smirked at a new idea. The Disk was big.

    So Jongo flew off to explore it, reveling in the new. Reveling in the change.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Band of Chaos (Turn 0 Artifact) - This ring is an extension of Chaos itself, and like Jongo, can change it's forms; but the forms must always be circular. Most commonly, it is seen as a Ring, a Bracelet, a Belt, a Circlet, or even a tight Necklace. If one listens hard enough, it seems to sing with it's own Voice, beckoning for Change.
    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-02-23 at 10:01 PM.
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

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

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

  13. - Top - End - #223
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Frellon was awoken from strange dreams filled with whispering voices. He was awoken for the last shift of the watch, and he was still on watch when the sun began to rise, and the camp began to stir. The night had worked to rid the Voturi’s poison from the Orc’s bodies, but Frellon need not have that problem. His gaze wandered at the darkness outside the light of their torches. As everything got brighter, he smelled cooking, but kept his gaze on the outside of their camp, as was his duty. As such, he was among those who first realized something was wrong.

    Outside the entrance of the clearing, masses of bodies formed piles that were just starting to hit their stride in the rotting process. The smell would soon be near unbearable, for Voturi do not leave behind pleasant things when they die.
    Several hundred yards away, a few Girrun, mother and cubs, waited for the orcs to leave so they might feast. This was not out of the ordinary either.

    No, as the sun rose higher in the sky, and the spaces between the trees shown clear, the Orcs began to wonder at this simple fact.

    “The space between the trees are clear, the foliage is gone!” Aside from the densest of patches and large the rather large thorn plants, the forest had been trampled underfoot until only the trees remained. It cut a swath through the thick forest they had been traveling through, from far away, to right up to the clearing.

    As the Orcs spilled out from their small forest fortress, they realized that it didn’t stop there either. The trampled path continued on past the shielded clearing, and kept going, in an eerily straight line. If the Orcs had all stood shoulder to shoulder, they might have spanned the width of the path, as it was, the pile of Voturi bodies no longer seemed massive.

    Indeed, it became readily obvious that the couple hundred of Voturi bodies that littered the place paled in comparison to the horde that had simply passed them by.

    Cherok shook his head in amazement. “They were just… going somewhere?”

    Jarun sighed. “and we were in their way. Still, those that saw us seemed hungry enough for our flesh.” He laughed and then fell silent. While nobody had died from the poison, four were found dead in the morning; they had simply bled out in the night from deep cuts they had borne without complaint. Three had been from Cherok’s Patrol.

    Cherok did not need to be reminded of his losses, he shook his head. “I’m going to have to bear the ill news to eight wives when we get back. Would have been nine if Gurnod had ever married.” He sighed as well, both he and Jarun staring at the path the Voturi had carved. “That’s nine more warriors who will never return home.”

    The thought arrived to both of the Leaders simultaneously. If the thought had not been so dire, Frellon might have laughed at the sight.

    HOME! They both began bellowing orders to their men, doing their best to get the camp packed up and moving as soon as possible.

    “What? Whats going on? Whats at home?” the gravity of the situation was not lost to Frellon, but he was not sure he understood.

    “The Voturi!” An Orc told him while rushing past him with a large pack. “That path points straight towards the village!”
    Avatar by Vrythas

  14. - Top - End - #224
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    THEChanger's Avatar

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    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    This journey was becoming more and more confusing by the hour. First a giant snake, and now this woman. Desri-na. Yet another familiar name in an unfamiliar place. The Weaver gazed towards his new travelling companion, and the two smiled at each other. She still reminded him of Soreal, something about the joy in the little things the two shared. Now that green had returned to this strange desert world, Desri-na jumped from flower to cactus to reptile. It was rather endearing, and The Weaver found himself glad he finally had someone to share his trials with. The weaving song spoke to her in some way that The Weaver couldn’t quite fathom-in this strange landscape, it seemed that emotion ruled over all, and if The Weaver felt something in large enough quantities, it would change the world around him. Sometimes in ways he didn’t want. For instance, right now The Weaver felt angry at the wind that kept buffeting him, and it seemed that his anger simply fed the wind to greater heights.

    The sun raged, and the sands rattled, and the bones of the fallen cried out in vengeance. The son of Baz’Auran had changed their sister! He had made her into a follower of the accursed King of the Moon once more! The Dark Ones grew restless in their eternal prison. The Dream-Time had been their home. But now one came to take even that from them! This godling was a graver threat than they had supposed. But then came the screeching of a hawk, and the Dark Ones calmed themselves. For their brother of the skies would finish this godling and the traitor-sister, and they would feast on God-Flesh, and they would feast on the flesh of the traitor, and all would be as it was before. Deep in a cave, the red eyes glimmered and flashed, seeking news of the future from the sands of the Dream-Time.


    The Third Tale of The Weaver

    In the days before the coming of The Weaver, and our people’s triumph over the Dark Ones, our people flew into bursts of pure rage, that consumed entire families in its wake. This is the Third Story told to us by The Weaver, the Third of his Dream-Tales that cooled the raging brow of our anger.
    As The Weaver and Desri-na, who had been made into a new being by the simple beauty of The Weaver’s work and no longer was counted among the Dark Ones, walked through the Dream-Time, they came to a stretch of land blasted constantly by winds and sand. The Weaver felt pulled across this land, and yet as the two tried to cross it, they were constantly beat back by the furious gale. The Weaver’s anger grew, and many times he tried to force his way across the fields of wind, but to no avail.

    And eventually, The Weaver shouted in rage, and began to beat the wind with his fists. The wind, of course, passed through his fists effortlessly. But slowly, the winds died. The Weaver felt a shadow cross over his head, and looked up. There, gliding down upon the sands, was the largest hawk The Weaver had ever seen. It landed, and glared directly into The Weaver’s eyes. “God-Child! You do not belong here! I am Verades-na, Nightmare of the Fall, and these lands belong to the Dark Ones! Begone, lest I devour you and Desri-na the traitor whole!” And The Weaver, still wrathful from being blocked from passing by the wind, stood his ground, saying “I am The Weaver, son of Baz’Auran, and I do not fear you Hawk!” Verades-na shrieked in anger, and shot into the air. The beat of the Hawk’s wings threw gusts of burning hot air into The Weaver, and he was struck down. The Weaver raged against Verades-na’s wing beats, but for nothing. And in anger, The Weaver wept. For he knew Desri-na could not strike her siblings, save for one who lived far, far away: It was the will of Baz’Auran that this be so. But as he wept, The Weaver stopped fighting Verades-na. And the wind from the Hawk’s wings pushed The Weaver into the sands below, and The Weaver found he could move beneath the surface of the desert. Crawling away, The Weaver popped up and grabbed a bush. Wrapping the pieces of bush together, The Weaver made a long, strong rope. The Hawk charged at The Weaver, seeing his prey standing. And The Weaver took his rope and lashed it around Verades-na’s neck, pulling him to the ground. Verades-na struggled in fury against the rope holding him down-and his struggling eventually snapped his own neck.

    The Weaver reached into Verades-na’s mouth, and drew forth a pearl of brightest yellow. He cracked this against his adversary’s beak, and a brilliant light flew out of it. Yellow returned to the desert, and the sky far above lit with a yellow sun. Plucking the feathers from Verades-na’s wings, The Weaver placed them in a pouch he wove for himself, for they would be needed in the far future. And he and Desri-na continued on their journey. And if you go to that part of the Dream-Tale you can still hear the screeching of Verades-na.


    This is the Third Tale of The Weaver, who freed our people from the Dark Ones. Rejoice, for he brings chill winds to burning hearts.
    ATTENTION ANYONE WHO I'M PLAYING WITH:
    No news is good news.

    Awesome Hex avatar by kpenguin

  15. - Top - End - #225
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    VonDoom's Avatar

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    Vienna, Austria
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    The Ogre Who Ate Shirvan
    Shirvan's Ascension - Part 2
    A fairy tale


    Once upon a time, there lived an ogre. As tall as a tree and stronger than any man, he was the terror of all that lived in the shadows of the Great Mountains. He had huge tusks as black as his heart and was said to possess strange powers that no mortal man could match besides.

    He could ride the black thunder clouds during a storm. The animals who preyed on men heeded his call. Plants grew black and died where he passed and children were born twisted and ugly.

    But that was not the full extent of his evil, for the ogre often walked amongst men in their own shape, pretending to be part of their noble kind while spreading evil and hatred. For he possessed the ability to take the shape of anything he had consumed and the ogre had a huge appetite.

    This is the story of how that ogre bit off more than he could chew.

    --

    The Ogre had eaten well tonight. A human unlike anything he had ever come upon, tall and swift and beautiful. This one, this little man, had been the first to actually hurt the ogre, driving a knife deep into his chest. But the ogre could not be killed with an ordinary blade and had merely laughed, grabbing the golden-eyed stranger, swallowing him whole.

    --

    "What manner of beast are you?" Shirvan asked, as he looked up at the monstrosity before him, unafraid. Its huge black tusks were stained with old blood, its claws caked with dirt and grime.

    "I am the ogre," the ogre said. "And I will eat you up, little human." But then he took a deep whiff with his large nose, and paused, looking at Shirvan accusingly. "I smell the blood of my sister on your hands. You killed Daga Mir."

    "I did kill the evil hag, with this knife," Shirvan confirmed, and leaped at the ogre, hoping that he would fall as easily.

    --

    And so it was that the ogre now walked in Shirvan's place, looking like him. And he liked that form so much, he decided he'd keep it, if only for awhile. And then, he slept.

    The ogre dreamed of his sister, but as he slumbered her face slowly began to look different. The old hag became beautiful and bright, with silver hair.

    Startled, he woke.

    The next night he dreamed of his siblings, his many siblings, all great in their own right. As he woke, he remembered that he only had two and one of them was dead. He blinked in confusion as, when he tried to recall the face of Daga Mir, he only remembered the evil shrieks she had made as she died.

    Finally, a week had passed, and the ogre arrived at a human settlement. Startled, the locals looked at his impressive visage, and asked him who he was and where he came from.

    "I am Shirvan," the ogre said despite himself, and was the ogre no more, lost in a spirit and form far greater than he.

    Remember the lesson of the ogre, young ones. Those who would be something they are not will eventually lose themselves. And those who would be as gods, oh, they are the sorriest of all, for the gods are jealous and consume those who come too close to them.

    Shirvan, King
    Shirvan's Ascension - Part 3
    First-Person Narrative


    Once again, I am asked to make a judgement as these humans drag one of their kind before me; he took some pretty stones that belonged to another. I rule swiftly, fairly, with finality.Let he who uses his hands to steal be robbed of his hands, so that he may steal no more.

    Sitting on my throne of hard stone, resting my chin against my closed fist, I recall my arrival, here, at this place. How exactly I reached it remains a mistery; the last thing I remember was the closing jaw of that ogre, the brother of the old witch I had killed so that I would be free from the spells she sought to ensnare me with. And then, I was there, looking at a small group of farmers and introducing myself.

    Not having any better idea as to what to do, I chose to stay with them when they invited me. After two weeks of idleness, I took it upon myself to challenge their leader to a duel for his position. After all, what else was I to do? With no clue how to regain my power and where to start looking for my brothers and sisters, I might as well take these people and make of their settlement a landmark to attract their attention.

    And so, I lead them. Lead them against those neighbors who threatened them and bargained with those who did not, forming a new whole under my rule.

    They are better off for it. I taught them to fashion crude blades from stone and animal bones, coordinate them and make them build walls to seek shelter behind. The settlement has become a city and only grows further; the rivers run strong not too far away and their branches sustain them well here. The steep mountain range offers natural protection from winds and foes. It's a good place. Surely it will catch their attention, if they come close.

    ---

    They are quite impressive, my subjects. I constantly urge them to find things they excel at, speak praise when they do good and show them new things they might do. One of my followers, a builder, recently took it upon himself to fashion my likeness from stone. It's shaping up a beautiful work and will be even taller than that ogre was. I'll have to reward him somehow, maybe name him first builder so that his deeds will be rembered for generations to come.

    ---

    Perhaps I should have been more careful, but now it is done. Some of the women I have lain with, their bellies are growing. What is beget by god made man and man? I'll find out in a few moons.

    ---

    Catastrophe! The skies have grown black and hot soot rains down onto the ground, burning the fields and covering the city. The people are in despair, not knowing what this means. I do. By my divine name, I do. I finally know where I am. The central continent. The volcanos.

    One of them must have broken out, unleashing molten stone and spitting it into the air. At least the city is not close enough to suffer such an assault, or we'd all be dead. As is, I'm not sure my people will survive.

    They must gather here, in the palace carved into the mountain. It's the strongest structure they have built. And here, I will hold a speech to calm their minds.

    ---

    They are dead. Most, if not all. The city is empty. I survived, perhaps by some remaining merit of my past divinity. The volcanic fumes killed them, poisoned their lungs and ate at them from the inside. My people are gone; my unborn children with them.

    I weep for them, yet I do not regret them. They already lived here when I came and would have died just the same. At least they had a brief time to shine, this way..

    Yet the city still stands. The testament of my rule remains. But there is nothing here for me, not anymore. Tomorrow, once I am rested, I will climb the mountains. Perhaps I will find answers at the volcano -- a place of such raw, natural power may be just what I need.
    Last edited by VonDoom; 2012-02-24 at 07:55 AM.
    Characters:
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    Mikado, Villainous Businessman
    Shirvan, God of Pride
    Roshan Sarini, Cheliaxan Summoner
    Jhael'dril, Necromantic Drow Warrior
    Olethros, Messiah of Oblivion


  16. - Top - End - #226
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ladorak's Avatar

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    The pass and the plateau were everything Carolinus could have hoped for. He had sent out scouts in both directions to investigate the forbidding mountains with instructions not to return for a full phase of the moon unless they found another way up; Neither scouting party found anything.

    The plateau was a dream come true; The soil was fertile, the game abundant, wild horses roamed. Carolinus suspected his people would find rich veins of minerals in the surrounding peaks once he had taught them how to mine in relative safely. It was not even cold despite it's altitude, which he attributed to the many hot springs which had taken on a quasi-religious meaning to the tribe since his failed attempt to teach them the importance of hygiene (After several failed attempts he got them to understand that bad smells brought sickness. He decided that was good enough and moved on to weightier matters). There was plenty of flat open space to start new settlements and enough timber with which to build them. Had he actually promised his people a promised land the plateau would have been exactly what he had in mind.

    But it was the pass that made his new settlement so perfectly situated. It cut into the rock face as a great and narrow fissure, as if Baz'Auran had smote the mountains with a titanic axe. It's entrance was concealed within a box canyon. At it's narrowest point no more than five men could walk abreast. The tribe called this place the black buttress, he considered it a very apt name; The rockface loomed up so high it was a marvel any sunlight made it to the bottom. After that it widened to an incredibly steep pathway almost a hundred yards wide.

    He enlisted the peoples in his preparations for the oncoming storm. Two months later that storm broke.

    From the book of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran


    Then they came. A army of blackest midnight and cruel intentions. Their weapons were darkforged souls, their intentions were genocidal. So great were their numbers that they stretched from horizon to horizon, so great was their evil that even mighty Baz'Auran was sickened by their excesses.

    Against them stood a single god, not yet returned to a fraction of his total power. Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran stood alone at the black buttresses; a shining ward against the tide of darkness. The ocean of black would break upon him, or it would break him. The fate of the peoples was entirely in his hands. Not a single one of them doubted him. The only one who knew doubt was Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran himself, for this was an enemy that seemed too familiar to his warrior's eyes.

    **********

    They came as the sun was setting in the west, casting long shadows across the plains. Nor were they the only shadows that they cast. Carolinus had been expecting them, several days ago his scouts had returned on horses lathered with sweat and near to death; they brought news of a great horde of humanoids wreathed in shadow even under the noon day sun. Yet as prepared as his was when the horde finally arrived his heart skipped a beat.

    Their numbers were so great the ground shook with their arrival. They marched without order or discipline, the iniquitous tendrils of darkness merged with one another, there was no way to gauge their numbers. They were many though, far more than Carolinus had imagined during the worst of the many moments of dread that had haunted him since the first reports arrived. Yet their numbers were responsible for only a portion of his dread. The shadows looked all too familiar; he remembered his father's palace collapsing, he recalled with perfect clarity the stricken look on Cireo's face as he was torn from her. This living shadow looked the same, abide on a massively smaller scale.

    The horde was so great they made the ground shake as they advanced, any hope Carolinus had that they would simply overlook the tiny opening in an isolated box canyon evaporated before his eyes. They knew exactly where his people dwelled and they seemed disinclined to wait till morning to start their assault.

    He turned to Marcus and Sym, two formerly bitter rivals who had put their differences aside in becoming two of Carolinus' most devout (And more importantly most competent) followers. 'It has began. The enemy is upon us and they appear mighty. Run now, warn the tribe. Instruct them to pray to Baz'Auran, pray our preparations are sufficient. I shall await the enemy at the Black Buttress.' With a last lingering look at his enemy Carolinus fell back from the entrance to the mountain pass.

    From the book of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran


    For three score days and nights the Children of the Shadow assaulted mighty Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran. Alone he stood at the black buttress and alone he threw back the horde time and again. The bodies of his enemies piled higher and higher and the footing beneath their feet became increasingly slick with blood. The smell of decay assailed his nostrils and grew more unbearable with each passing day. The Children of the Shadow were unconcerned; their numbers were limitless and they had no regard for the lives of themselves or their fellows.

    But the defiance of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran infuriated their leader, so it was that the Titan's Bastard stepped forward to battle. Never had Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran faced a more worthy foe.

    *************

    The night was full of blood and horror, it was dark and full of terror. Very little of the red stained moonlight reached the bottom of the black buttress and it did little to illuminate enemies comprised of the stuff of shadow. Carolinus desperately cut and slashed more out of instinct then out of any design or intention. Occasionally his sword met resistance and occasionally it met a lesser form of resistance which he took to be flesh parting. Countless hours of training blindfolded served him well as he ducked and blocked attacks he never saw even after he had deflected or evaded them.

    His enemy never made a noise and as the night wore on that became the most unsettling part of the whole experience. As fatigue set in and his arms started to burn with the effort of continued survival and his mind began to fog the whole experience started to take on an air of unreality. Time ceased to have any meaning, victory was out of the question, all he had to do was survive. Just keep swinging, just keep moving... At some point, he could not say when, the whole thing fell away from his eyes. He saw Cireo and father looking down on him from the White City, they were safe but concern radiated in their expressions.

    Close to dawn the enemy finally withdrew in the silence that was becoming their hallmark. Carolinus waited until he was sure he was alone, then fell exhausted to his knees. Unaccountably tears fell from his eyes, he wept in silence until dawn ushered in the light by which he could comprehend his foe. He was not prepared for the horror dawn's early light would reveal.

    The slaughter of the battlefield would never become a welcome sight for Carolinus, but there are no words to describe the level of revulsion he felt as he looked at the bodies of his enemies. Men, women and children butchered by his own hand were left for the crows and the flies by their fellows. He stumbled away, his eyes wide with horror, bile in his mouth. One of the children looked at him accusingly, his dead eyes seemed fixed on Carolinus, those lifeless orbs fixed him to the spot even as it made him want to flee.

    'Horrifying isn't it? What we greater beings do to these hapless sheep?' Carolinus surged to his feet, instantly at the ready but he saw no enemy. With great caution he stepped forward, constantly in perfect balance. He took his place amide the fortifications his tribe had built over the last two months. 'Oh, forgive me, where are my manners?'

    Darkness flared before him, a whirling maelstrom of darkness whipped around. It gathered all the shadows of the black buttress to it, coalescing into a giant black figure that towered over Carolinus. It made a show of peering down at Carolinus and the boulders and rubble that flanked him on either side 'I have heard of you, son of Baz'Auran. My children have captured many sheep flocking to your Markien. Those always insist they will tell us nothing. Always they are wrong. An immensely condescending name incidentally.' It snorted in open mockery 'Markien.'

    'My people named the land, that is fitting, for it is their land.' Carolinus opened his mouth to say more, but before he could he was drowned out by a great booming laugh that echoed up and down the pass. When it passed Carolinus continued with an edge of anger in his voice 'I am Carolinus, son of Baz'Auran. Who are you and why do you threaten my people?'

    'So quick to lay claim Carolinus. Shame on you. The disk is wide and filled with people. But I came to the disk before you did and the people you lay claim to are mine. I am the Bastard of the Titan, father of the Children of the Shadow.'

    'I have defeated your children, though it breaks my heart. I will defeat them every time you send them against me. Leave Markien alone and there need be no further bloodshed.'

    'That is your answer?' The booming voice rang out with anger and scorn 'You dare steal from me and when I demand the return of my property you offer a peace which is not yours to offer. Here is your peace Carolinus; Step aside and allow me to claim what is mine and I shall spare you, though it will anger those who sired me.'

    'These people are not your property. They are free men and women and I will defend them until my last breath. There is nothing more to say, be gone from here before I slay you.'

    'You cannot slay me Carolinus, for I am not really here. But I am coming, soon I will arrive. My children shall assault you day and night until my arrival, then I shall break your bones and feast upon the marrow, I will turn your skin into my warbanner.'

    In response Carolinus hurled his sword into the great beast's chest, yet as it predicted the blade passed through as if not really there. 'That was discourteous, yet I understand, you are a man who must test the limits of his own reality. Here is another truth for you to test Carolinus. My Children are of the shadow, not the dark. A shadow is starkest and most clearly defined under the noonday sun, a shadow is near nothing under the moon. Today will be your first real trial Carolinus. We shall speak again soon...'

    The Bastard of the Titans was not lying. Under the sun the Children of the Shadow's powers grew enormously. The living shadow that suffused that acted as both morphable weapons and armour. Many was the time his thrust was turned aside by a wisp of shadow that flew up to obstruct his blade. It was the shadow's power as weaponry that truly trouble him however. The shroud the Children carried with them could change from barded trident to twelve foot spear in a blink of an eye, it took only a fraction of a second longer to transform into duel hatchets or swords. By the time the sun was dipping under the horizon leaving the black buttresses in utter darkness Carolinus was bleeding from half a dozen wounds, all of which would have been fatal had he been just a little slower.

    But his plans were working. The rubble stacked either side of him forced them to come at him one at a time, behind him the tribesmen hurled spears and slung stones at any who attempted to climb over them. Atop the cliff faces they rained down stones and arrows that forced the enemy to attack in stages, thus allowing Carolinus short respites from what was otherwise a constant advance.

    Even godlings need to sleep. The Bastard of the Titans had revealed more than he needed to, so great was his arrogance. The Children of the Shadow were weakest in the dark, so that was when Carolinus slept. Brave tribesmen took his place at the Buttress, many did not survive, those who did became heroes to his people. During the third night he declared them his Wardens, the highest of all his servants. They paid a bloody price so their protector might rest and never voiced a word of complaint.

    For two weeks Carolinus fought and bled at the Black Buttress until one day merged into the next so seamlessly that he only kept track of time when Louisa came to bind his wounds and told him how long he had stood there. Fatigue and repatition took it's toll. Many were the times he forgot why he was standing there, why he was fighting. He even forgot the White City and the voice of his father. In the End all that remained in his mind was battle and, as always, the face of Cireo. Every day the wounds that Louisa had to bind became worse as every day Carolinus became just a fraction slower, just a fraction weaker. It was only a matter of time until he fell. At some point the tribe ran out of arrows and spears, he could not remember when. They opposed the Children of the Shadow with sling stone or rocks. Everyday Carolinus led his fellow defenders in a prayer to Baz'Auran.

    From the book of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran


    The Titan's Bastard was impressed with the lethality of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran even as he was furious with his defiance. He approached Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran at the Black Buttress, stepping over the bodies of hundreds of his children 'Your proficiency impresses me, Knight of the White City. It would sadden me to kill you, for it would make my world a less interesting place. I wish to spare you, all I ask is that you bend the knee.
    'Kneel to me and I will make you my warmaster.'
    'And my people?' Asked Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran.
    'They are my people and always were.'
    'Then nothing has changed. I am the Watchman, I protect my people. My people are any who would live under me in peace. Come at my Titan's Bastard. Let us finish this.'

    ****************

    After almost three weeks the Bastard of the Titans held true to his word and joined the battlefield. By that time Carolinus was exhausted and covered in wounds, yet as he saw his enemy coming he drew himself up to his full height and wiped the blood from his brow. He could not let the giant see his weakness.

    He told only Louisa about the offer the huge shadowed figure made to him for he still had not realized the role she had taken onto herself as his prophet. When he refused the Bastard of the Titans attacked him.

    From the book of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran

    Mighty was the battle between these two great powers. Never had Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran faced a more worthy foe. Wounded and exhausted at first it seemed he had no chance. The Titan's bastard cut one cheek and then the another, sensing the weakness in his foe he began to torment him, laying open the flesh of all four limbs in turn before smashing Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran to the ground and trampling him. At any of a dozen points he could have finished the Watchmen but did not; He wanted the humiliation of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran to be complete before he finished it.
    The people despaired to see their champion so overmatched, they wailed and rent their garments in agony watching the death by inches of their god. Then the Titan's Bastard made his fatal mistake. For the fourth time he smashed Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran from his feet and then stood contemptuously waiting for him to stand. 'I will grind you into dust Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran and your people will watch every second of it. Then all of them; men, women and children will belong to me. I will make them all Children of the Shadow, save 2,000 of the children, starting with the youngest. One will die for every servant your defiance has cost me. I will have them staked while they are still alive and left as a monument to your folly.
    At these words a change came upon the face of Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran. A steel came into his eyes and his brow came down. This mockery cost the Titan's Bastard his life. When next he attacked he found Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran had reserves of strength and speed he had not anticipated. Before he could disengage and reset his defense Carolinus'Ka'Baz'Auran had split him from top to bottom.

    ***************

    When the Bastard of the Titans died so too did the shadowy coverings of his army. Thousands of men, women and children milled about in sudden confusion. The last thing they all remembered was being captured by the Children of the Shadow and being brought before the great dark figure. Some few recalled a vague sense of having something stolen from them as the darkness closed over their vision.

    Carolinus was exhausted and had hoped to give but one speech before retiring but so great were their numbers he had to repeat himself several times. In each case the words were almost always the same 'Look around you, all of you. Look to your left and right. These people may have been the ones that dragged you before the Bastard of the Titans. But do not judge them! For you would have done the same, all of you! You have been the victims here far more so then my own people, for you have been used to do evil without your consent or even knowledge. Your homelands are far from here, but if any wish to return to them you will be unmolested by me and mine. None will be held accountable for their actions. The Bastard of the Titans retains the full blame for what he wrought, for that I have slain him.
    'You are strangers in a strange land, many of you cannot return home for your homes no longer exist. Many more have no idea how to return to the lands of their fathers. To you I say this:
    'I am Carolinus, Son of Baz'Auran, he who created all things. He sent me to the Great Disk so I might defend its peoples. Behind me is Markien, the promised land. You are all welcome to join my tribe. You may retain your own customs and ways, I have only one law. Be at peace with your neighbor. Swear to this and you might join my tribe and I will protect you as I have protected them.'


    The forging of Black buttress
    (First turn artifact)

    After the battle Carolinus slept over a full day. During that convalescence his divine spark was returned to him. He had survived the test his father had laid before him, survived and done his duty. He fulfilled the vows he made to his father long ago, the vows he made for Cireo's hand. He awoke prouder than he had ever been.

    'Good afternoon Carolinus.' He had long since grown used to Louisa watching him sleep. Her presence was a welcome one, it brought a joyous smile to his face. To the rest he was a god, to Louisa he was a friend. Yet that smile was tinged with sadness. Now the great threat was gone he would have to berate Louisa for the lies she had told. Not today however. 'Your wounds are fully healed, I had expected to administer to you for weeks.'
    'There shouldn't be any further need, as grateful as I am for your skills and companionship.' Carolinus got to his feet still smiling. 'I am once again as my father made me. I have passed my great trial, my powers are returned in full.'

    She said nothing, she just returned his smile tenfold, her eyes shining. 'How many of the former Children will be joining us?'
    'We don't have an exact number yet, many tribes are still debating turning back west, seeking their homes. But already almost three thousand have opted for Markien.'
    'I more than triple the numbers of my tribe. Great Baz'Auran, I must teach our people to feed such a multitude.'
    'There is a larger concern, if I may?'
    'Of course Louisa, I always value your counsel.'
    'Many fear to cross the Black Buttress. Something of the Bastard's mark remains on the place. The shadows swirl and several have been hurt by unseen hand.'

    Carolinus got to his feet, there was nothing more to say.

    ***********

    Louisa had not overstated the scale of the situation. The shadows were visibly disturbed by Carolinus' presence, they shrank away like beaten dogs. 'I know you Bastard, your time comes yet.' he turned away, showing his back to his enemy in contempt. 'Louisa send a rider to bring me my shield. The one forged by my brother, the image of the great disk. I know my foe and I am the student of wise Tezzerin. It has met it's match.'

    ***********

    Carolinus walked into the Black Buttress unafraid. Stand well back!' When his people had retreated to a safe distance he began. A great shimmering fortress appeared all around the Black Buttress, countless squat keeps and rotating towers. He revelled in the full glory of his powers as he had never before, never having known their absence.

    You cannot kill me Carolinus. I cannot be killed. The voice came from within his head, but it was little more than a fading whisper.
    'You have been misinformed. I am going to end you.
    How? With this fortress?
    'Exactly.'
    I had not expected such stupidity from you.
    'I wish I could say the same. Think on this Bastard of the Titans. My fortress shines out at every point within a thousand paces. Which means the only shadow left is...'

    Realising his danger the Bastard sprang to flee, but he was too late. His inky substance was barred by an invisible wall that burned horrifically on contact. Is under my shield. The black mass writhed about within its makeshift cage. He ended the fortress, letting it dissolve into nothingness. 'You see Bastard the energy that comprises you cannot be destroyed. That does not mean you cannot die. I can end you. Tezzerin taught me something of bindings and purifications. I can burn away your vileness, all it takes is a sacrifice.'

    He held the shield up for the crowd to see 'This is the Bastard of the Titans! he yelled to his people 'Do not seek to aid me, I will be unharmed.

    Both he and his shield burst into flame. The agony was instant and overwhelming. His skin did not burn, his hair did not even smoulder yet the pain was real. Don't do this Carolinus.
    So great was his pain he could only speak in low, quiet and very short utterances 'I cannot... imagine... a reason I... should not.
    You could die!
    'I'd wager... spirit of wisdom... knows more of... this ritual... than you. Only sacrifice pain... Pain is inconsequential.' The fires suddenly died away 'And temporal.

    The energy of creation was purified, but there still remained the matter of binding it to the shield. With a great cry of pain he erupted into a great pillar of light that could be seen several miles around. It blinded those who were watching him until finally it began to fade away.

    They saw Carolinus striding toward them unbowed, head held back in pride. He held aloft the shield, which shimmered with dark energies, staining the colour of the bronze a forbidding black. 'The Bastard of the Titans is finally defeated. It was here at the Black Buttress that I held his army, it was here that I slew him. Here I achieved purification. The name of this place shall be the name of the agent of his ending. This is Black Buttress, this is the Bastard's death and your protector!'

    Spoiler
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    Black Buttress is a bronze shield with the images of the sun, moon, stars, white city and disk upon it. It shimmers constantly with black energies. It is the purified essence of the Bastard, made clear by Carolinus' sacrifice and it's binding in it's purpose to protect the people. Grants Battle Magic to those who use it to protect the innocent. While the Titans held sway on the Disk the magic will be shadow themed, if order comes into power this will cause the magic/appearance to become fire themed.
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    The Human Spirit also by KP. The Raynnverse lives!

    Vagrant and Seal by Smuchmuch

    Vagrant by Darth Raynn

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

  17. - Top - End - #227
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    VonDoom's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Vienna, Austria
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Shirvan in: Dream or Reality
    Shirvan's Ascention - Part 4
    Surreal


    Struggling against darkest mire, pulling down, pulling down; thick, foul gunk invading mouth, nostrils, stinging the eyes, lungs burning.

    He was whole. Standing tall and proud, unfaced by time and travails, perfect and good. A power beyond reproach.

    His siblings were there, before him. Dasque, as shining and radiant as he had always seen her, yet not as bright as he in all his glory. Nieve, beautiful in her dress as dark and red as blood, hanging on his lips and attending his every whim. The same held true for fair Fayruz, for black-garbed Avyra and leaf-clad Soreal.

    In the center of the room was an unmoving, unchanging statue, its expression frozen eternally in time. At the basement of the pedestal, the name 'Jongo' proclaimed the statue's identity for all to know.

    Right before it was Contragh. No more grim, not the least bit threatening in his fool's garb, dancing and jumping and pulling faces.

    Under, under. A hand forced up, out of the sludge, reaching into the air for something to hold onto, something to prevent …

    Rumel and Haramhold were building monuments to his greatness. Khalen-Het was there, in chains, chains that were held by Elanna as he suffered her punishment.

    "N-no," a voice gasped, gulping in air for a brief moment, the sweet savage joy crushed immediately as he was pulled back under.

    And there he was: Shirvan himself. Golden, radiant, beyond compare. Greater than Baz'Auran ever was, in his hand a small crystal globe. Darkness swam inside, the darkness that had menaced them, attacked them, driven them out. Now, impotent and imprisoned by His will.

    Drowned. Completely, utterly; no light, no surface, nothing. Desperately, he reached for his knife as the depths pulled him in.

    Full, complete satisfaction. Sweet victory. Revelry. Not a single flaw. Existence was perfect.

    Something was in there, something large. Something blacker than even the darkest depths. Gritted teeth. The knife. The knife!

    Empty. Their eyes were all empty. Cold, unfeeling gold, no warmth, no heat. A mirror. His own were the same.

    A strike! Warm blood spewed forth, seeping into the darkness. The foul liquid grew thinner.

    Rage; a lie. This was not what he wanted! Never what he wanted! He pulled the globe free, held it strong and fast in his hand, staring into the darkness that was everything they were not. The darkness that was oblivion, their antithesis.

    And with a scream of utter rejection bursting from his lips, he smashed the crystal against the cold floor. The blackness consumed it all.

    And with a scream of utter rejection bursting from his lips, he ripped free; the black ooze he had been caught in bursting, splashing; it held him no longer.

    "Murderer," a voice spoke into his head, as it suddenly cleared once more. "You killed my sister, Daga Mir, who could see things others did not. You killed my brother, the ogre, who could be anyone he wished. And now you have slain me, the youngest, he who twists and makes nightmares of desire and ambition."

    "And now, you evil siblings are finally all gone from this world," Shirvan gasped, his head hurting, his eyes burning. His chest felt like it was bursting, but the air he now sucked in was sweet. He was alive. And this nightmare had not been real, would never be real.
    Last edited by VonDoom; 2012-02-24 at 12:25 PM.
    Characters:
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    Mikado, Villainous Businessman
    Shirvan, God of Pride
    Roshan Sarini, Cheliaxan Summoner
    Jhael'dril, Necromantic Drow Warrior
    Olethros, Messiah of Oblivion


  18. - Top - End - #228
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Raz_Fox's Avatar

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    Sep 2008
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    Imladris
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Dragon

    Hefar was summoned to his nephew's side at dawn, after he had partaken of the desert-wolf's paste to drive his suffering from his mind. The warlord of the Tekeza carried his blade by his side, though he knew that if he was to come to blows with his nephew, he would die. His nephew, he feared in his heart, could destroy the entire tribe in his rages if not held back - rages that had not been in his heart before he went to hunt the dragon with Hefar's bold brother, Daved.

    O, how he had wept to see his beloved nephew writhing in agony on his return from the mountain caves, the dragon's steaming black ichor intermingling with his own blood, his face rent open so deeply that the bone was visible when the blood was wiped from his face. Hefar had been the one, too, who had begged the wise-woman to save his nephew, thinking that he would pay any price to have him alive. Perhaps, he said to himself in his quiet moments, looking up at the bloody moon, the price called to be paid was too high. He would have spilled his own blood gladly to save his brother's son, given up an arm or an eye to close the scars on his young face, but he could not watch his nephew condemn his people to death, arrayed against their enemies at the ancient battlefield of the gods. But he would not speak, he would not stand, because in his heart he feared death all the more.

    So the warlord of the Tekeza came into the chieftain's tent, and found gathered there the greatest of all the tribe's warriors, Elzan and swift Jeracia and Arevcar Fellhanded. And the chieftain looked up from his throne, desert-wolf's paste dripping down his tunic, the light of madness in his eyes, and commanded him to find the warrior who had stolen his fool. He had awoken in the dawn, and found that his beloved fool was gone, and one of his most trusted warriors had vanished with her. The chieftain's rage burned like day and night in equal measure, as brutal as the wind, and bade all of the warriors of the Tekeza to search for her.

    No sooner did he say this, but the fool and the warrior entered into the chieftain's tent, the fool having cast aside her mask and veil and her unloveliness, the warrior without his spear or his fear. She declared to Gamesha, with a grim smile that had never been seen on her face before by any assembled, "I am here, Gamesha."

    Gamesha rose from his chair, grinning in fury. "My sweet ruttin fool. If you ever disappear like that again, I'll kill you." His nails bit into his palms so hard that they drew blood, and Hefar raised a hand to steady him, for he was trembling like a man lost at night. "I see you were pretty ruttin busy with one of my own warriors. One I thought I could trust, my blood-brother."

    "I was healing the mother's wound with this brave warrior," the fool said, still smiling. "And she showed me another wound, one that would kill this tribe and many others." She stepped forward, closing the space between them, and looked up at Gamesha. Hefar felt fear for her at that moment, a deep fear that even she would not be safe from his brutal rage. "I... I know you. I have seen you for so long, but I didn't know what I saw. And you never knew what I was, either, dragon. And now, you are going to leave, and stop bringing the tribes to die." She raised her voice, even as the warriors drew their weapons, uncertain of what to do or who to stop, even as Saven Wolfslayer took another step behind her, and Hefar knew that if the fool died that the Wolfslayer would die avenging her. "This land has always been hurting, always been injured, but if you had worked together to fight the monsters who wished to divide you and wound this land, you could have healed it. But instead you let the dragon in and listened to him!"

    Gamesha chuckled, raising one hand to her chin and caressing it, raking one long nail across her cheek idly, then deeply as the fire in his eyes burned brighter. "It's in my ruttin head, but I am the one in control. I know it. It whispers to me. It wants to help me kill our ancestral ruttin enemies, Efi. And it's not in control. I am."

    "Really, then?" Fayruz said, challenging, drawing her sword of air before him. "Then I suppose you should feed your dragon. They eat maidens, don't they?" She purposefully mimicked Gamesha, cupping his chin in her hand, drawing him closer. And it is to the Maiden's credit that she did so without trembling, even though her nature was so sweet. "I... I am a daughter of Baz'Auran. You know who that is, don't you? The chieftain of heaven? You may have your claws buried deeply... into his heart," she said, faltering for a moment. "But my heart burns even brighter than his. Mine is sweet, and filled with his power. Like grapes plucked from the vine, so delicate and filled with juice that they bruise at the touch... take me, instead. Leave him."

    Hefar was so stricken by the revelation that the slain dragon had never truly died, but wormed its way into his nephew's soul, that not until this moment did he regain his senses. "No!" he cried, in unison with Sevan. "I will not allow you to do this!" Hefar continued, trembling. "You are a child, Efi. Our chieftain is far stronger than you - would it not slay you, were it to enter into you?"

    "Yes," Fayruz replied, not breaking her gaze into Gamesha's eyes. "I will gladly give myself up, if it means that Gamesha has the chance to choose for himself, to be whole again. I am the weak fool, I have only succeeded through luck and mercy, and I am not deserving of a fate more than this. Take me, dragon, and spare the child."

    And Gamesha raised one hand to his face and clawed at his wounds, tearing them open, and the dragon's black ichor flowed from his face, oozing onto hers. She gasped in pain as the ichor burrowed into her eyes and down her throat, and she fell to her knees as the ichor's flow ceased, and now only blood and pus and paste ran down Gamesha's face. He staggered, and in this moment Saven leaped forward and threw a noose about Gamesha's neck. The chieftain of the Tekeza convulsed, and staggered back, and Hefar caught him. The warriors started forward to pierce Saven with their spears, but Hefar bade them lower their weapons, for Saven had merely given Gamesha a magic that was, perhaps, deeper than the dragon's.

    Saven had not even paid heed to the warriors all about him, for his concern was all given to the fool, who convulsed and sobbed, crying out in agony, begging for the pain to stop. Then, a grimmer, deeper voice rolled out of her, one taut with anger. "Did you think it would be painless and swift? I am older than you, so much older that you can hardly comprehend it; and I am strong."

    "No, no, please, I don't want to, I'm afraid, it hurts, stop, please, no, don't you know, it hurts, know who I am?" The fool rose to her feet, her eyes shut in a grimace, still trembling and shaking. "I know who you are, but you did not know who I am." She opened her eyes, and Hefar averted his eyes with a gasp of pain, for the sun was caught within them, or rather, the sun had become them. "I am Fayruz, daughter of Baz'Auran, Princess of the White City, and you are nothing but a shadow of malice. Begone!"

    And then Fayruz of the White City threw back her head and screamed. It was a scream that echoed across the Olm, that made the pillars shake and the river tremble, and it was a scream that made Elzan fall to his knees and Gamesha open his bleeding eyes wide, for they both knew it as the scream of a dying dragon. The dragon's scream is one of fury and malice and terror, and disbelief that it could ever be killed. The scream ripped itself from her throat, and then she doubled over on herself, ripping at her clothes, as it dwindled away into nothing. Then, slowly, she straightened, with Saven's hand on her shoulder, and blinked back tears of pain, and the sun faded from her eyes. But it could not truly leave, and her eyes remained the bright gold of the sun on the sand.

    And Hefar bowed, and said, "The Tekeza honor Fayruz Dragonslayer, who overcame a foe who Gamesha, son of Daved, could not." And at this, all the warriors fell to one knee to honor Fayruz, all but Saven, who embraced her. She, however, turned her attention to Gamesha, and knelt to touch the amulet on his chest. It burned ever brighter at her touch, and his scars ceased bleeding, closing ever-so-slightly. She breathed deeply, and said, "That is all I can do. I'm sorry, Gamesha. I should be able to do more."

    At that moment, a warrior entered the tent in a panic. "From the north come the Iuneh, and from the northeast, the Dereg! Your prophecies were right - from the south come the Ma-Shen, and from the west, the Kayanek! The foes of the Tekeza have come to wage war for the land!"

    Fayruz smiled. Her smile was bright and filled with hope, and Gamesha smiled back, and for the first time since his brother's death, Hefar smiled. In those golden eyes were hope. "Good always comes from evil, no matter how hard it tries to destroy good. And I swear to you, Gamesha, Hefar, Sevan... there will not be another battle here!"
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2012-02-24 at 11:38 AM.
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  19. - Top - End - #229
    Troll in the Playground
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    I see you there Traveller
    Walking my Way/Walking Away
    And seeking your company/Wishing you a safe journey
    I raise my voice and Pray
    The Kalandor may light your way

    May the Ground rise to meat your feet.
    May the Tailwind be that you sail by.
    May your journey be fast and easy.
    May your adventure be long and suvivable.

    I see you traveler and this I pray.

    That the hills be smooth and sight be far.
    May nothing block your path, and may animals be four friend.
    May packed rations be uneeded, the fat of the land providing your way.

    I most of all, may it be Kalandor your companion.

    The Travellers Blessing, as first heard in Kalandor's Dreams.

    Kalandor Acended

    And it was so, in this way that Kalandor had taken to the ‘open road’, as he called it. He lived of the land, whereupon he came upon a sight that had him rethink where he though people were in the technological ladder.

    It was a man, in a cart, drawn by what appeared to be a rather discontented Nag, who trundled along slowly. Eventually, Kalandor reached him, showing not too much surprise as he came alongside the man in clean fabrics. He was an old man, with a scraggly beard, and a friendly smile, despite the obvious wrinkles that would suggest otherwise, primarily ones of worry.

    “Ahh, Kalandor me boy’. Tis good to see you after so long. I’ve been wondering if you had gotten lost, for surely you hadn’t landed that far off course. But then again, you did make me trundle all the way down here.”
    And Kalandor stood, shocked. How did this man know his name, let alone how off course he had been? And slowly the cart trundled to a stop.
    “Are you going to just stand there like a post Travelling one? Or would you like a ride, and maybe to talk?”
    “You know what, I could accept that ride.”
    “Well hop in. The old things a little slow, but the distances will just fly by.”
    And so, Kalandor sat by the old man, who only looked of age by his wrinkles, being in his mid thirties physically, which was still old in the sort of world Kalandor had come to expect.
    “So, I am Old Man Jim, not Jim and most definitely not Old Man.”
    “You know what, I can accept that. So.” Kalandor laid an arm around the old man’s shoulders.
    “First things first. How do you know me?”
    “Baz’Auran.”
    “Alright and how come you have a cart and smooth cloths, when most have furs and have yet to domesticate animals?”
    “Baz’Auran.”
    “You’re going to make this difficult, aren’t you?”
    “One of the few pleasures of Old age. One I hold a bar for being the ripe of age of 350.”
    “Let me guess.-“
    “No. Baz’Auran.”

    “Riight. I can see this is going nowhere fast.”
    “Maybe make eye contact. Then Ill speak to you usin’ more than one word.”
    And so Kalandor turned, facing the old man, meeting a gaze he somehow didn’t know was being cast.
    “Damn. It is you.... Just like him to throw a curve ball at the last minute. Have his city disappear during a commet shower, throwin’ tha natives in a mess.”
    “Trust me when I say-“
    And they spoke in unison.
    “Baz’Auran.”
    “I’m sorry, but he has me convinced he has perfect foresight, and seeing as how you have completed the second leg of your journey before your first, which always made more sense to me, you must have seen the vision. Asuming Chil’Rida was still alive, and, yea, he is, and you saw the vision.”
    “Could it be true?”
    “I don’t know boy, I don’t know. All I know is what I’ve been told and that is almost over and my job is almost done now.”
    “What Job?”
    “Well.” The man looks solemnly down at the cart. “I was supposed to take you a whiles to your first travel, and then see you again when you were ready to come back to take you to where you would start making your home.”
    “Why morn your tasks.”
    “Because it is the last of the work Baz’Auran gave me, and it’s back to normal life for me.”
    “There’s no reason for you to mourn the end of a long life well lived.”
    “I know, but Baz’Auran is gone I suspect. And I know not what’s on the other side. But then again, I knew the job requirements, and It has been a good long life.”
    “So, where are you taking me?”
    “Why, I’m taking you where you would have landed, the centre of your new home. However another god appears to have landed there.”
    “Who, Whi-“
    “I don’t know”
    “Not eve-“
    “The slightest clue.”
    “Can yo-“
    “Let you finish a sentence-“
    Together they speak, grins on their faces.
    “No!”
    They then Laugh together.
    “So, well be stopping soon and it’s almost nightfall, you might want to get some rest.”
    “What thinks you can stay awake longer than me.”
    “This.”
    And so the old man lay his hand upon Kalandors chest, pushing him back slightly. Suddenly, Kalandor feels a spark between the hand and his chest, and feels his own spark burst into light, glowing at is brightest intensity, and settling into a roaring bonfire (or a nuclear furnace such as the sun take your pick) he falls back, feeling his spark aglow and his godhood truly announced, falling to slumber even while falling over, his last waking thought for several days in the crude looking wagon making a ‘hop’ crossing a vast distance quickly, feeling a suspicious pothole that was like many they had had so far.

    And his first dreaming thought, was ‘Sleep now Kalandor, and rise Traveling One! Yet hold thine self in restful repose, for you knowth now wilst be thine only time for some centuries for one proper rest’

    ----------

    Upon his Awakening, Kalandor having slept fitfully, he heard a “Get on up and out, where at your destination sleeping one.”
    He turned his face to see the old man and nodded. Getting up gingily he grabbed his stuff and clambered on out. He turned to say ‘Rest Well Old Man Jim.’, but he wasn’t there, almost before his feet hit the ground Old Man Jim had disappeared, taking his rickety cart and Nag with him. And so Kalandor whispered to the wind.
    “Goodbye friend. I hope Baz’Auran treats you well, for he seems to have skimped on the funeral.”
    And he hears the wind whisper back.
    “Oh I got a marvellous funeral centuries ago, and a celebration for having been chosen amongst my tribe, you would have been embarrassed to see it. However, I must go old chum.”

    And as he smiled he felt a presence leave him, and so he turned, to choose which was to go, yet just on the horizon he could see a crude collection of huts that was a human settlement, and felt beneath his feet one of those odd roads that pointed his direction, and saw that as he walked he actually left a slight dirt path, that disappeared when he decided not to. Looking to face the village, Kalandor began the second of his many adventures to come.
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  20. - Top - End - #230
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    The march back to the village took only two days. MUCH quicker than the slow outward spiral they had been doing up to this point. Part of the reason it was so quick was the nice, clear, straight path the Voturi had been leaving behind. The rest of it was that Cherok and Jarun were hard pressed to keep their warriors from sprinting themselves to exhaustion, so they would have energy enough to fight at the end of the march. As it was, the group made the trip faster than they ever had before.

    The general air was that of anger and despair. They had barely held their own against a fraction of the horde, and they were a significant portion of the Orc’s fighters to begin with. The only reason they were still alive at all was because the horde hadn’t been actually trying to kill them, just get past them. The Orcs figured they were marching to their deaths, but they intended to buy the lives as many women and children from the village as they could get for their own. Frellon shared the sentiment; those monsters that threatened his family would die as long as he drew breath.

    As they took a short rest, Frellon’s thoughts turned to his siblings, as they had more often these recently. These close encounters with death were like waking up, just resting and training at the village had lulled him into a dream-like sense of belonging. He still felt it, but he was beginning to realize that such a peaceful life was never to be his for very long. He was a god, as such he could never grow old and die among friends like these. Besides, he told himself, I shouldn’t even be here. I should be out there, in the hills and mountains and plains, searching for my siblings. How many of them died in those first few weeks? He himself had only barely survived in this strange forest, where it seemed almost everything was out to make a meal of him. That was the good part of being among an orc tribe, he decided. Most predators wouldn’t attack large groups of large, armed warriors.

    Frellon shook his head at himself. He was no coward to hide behind others! The enemy must be found and met! But how does one do so when the enemy runs and hides; only attacking when your back is turned? Stressful as it was, fighting the Voturi, who charged straight at him and died on his club, was in part a relief from constantly watching his back on hunts. On hunts, groups were made of much fewer orcs, groups which more predators didn’t mind risking. I’m not even sure I would call them predators, Frellon mused silently. The ‘predators’ I’ve seen seem more like monsters if I think about it... Gahhh! He sighed to himself I should have paid more attention to the lessons! I’m sure they covered the varieties of monsters… His thoughts were interrupted though, as the signal came to start marching again.



    The Village was close, it should have been visible between the trees in just a few hundred more paces. Cherok called a halt. They should have heard the sounds of battle, but they did not. Silence rang out. The silence of graves.

    The Orcs, afraid at what they would find, took to the un-trampled forest for cover as they crept forward on the last leg of their long march. Skilled hunters of the forest they all were, all 34 of them made it to the edge of the village’s clearing without so much as a whisper.

    The sight was horrifying. Three separate trails like the one they had followed emptied into the Village, the trampled foliage marking where the hordes had emerged. Voturi milled about the whole place, packed thicker than one might think possible in such a small space as the village seemed now. Here and there, Voturi were ripping at the flesh of what obviously used to have been Orcs and other Voturi. However, for a village of around 200 the number of bodies was remarkably small. Perhaps they had escaped? The mood of the Orcs soared with hope, for it seemed the bodies were mostly male! Warriors who had fought the first assault and died honorably!

    Hope was dashed however, as the rest of the village were noticed among the gyrating throngs of Voturi, Orcs were stumbling about as if in a daze, doing unseen tasks as if nothing was wrong. Were they poisoned? Frellon’s sharp eyes could see no cuts on them, and he knew these people; if they could see what was around them they would fight and kill as many Voturi as they could until they were all so much lunch-meat, even the women would, he had seen their ferocity on a few occasions, and it rivaled that of the men in the heat of battle. So what was wrong with them? Why do they just stand there!?

    The answer to his question slowly shambled into view from behind the Chieftain’s hut. It was the largest spider Frellon had ever seen, with a pair of beady black eyes between each pair of legs. It towered over the heads of even the Orcs, moving so slowly, deliberately, and Frellon’s blood turned to ice, as the hopelessness of the situation engulfed him.
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  21. - Top - End - #231
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Baptism

    Fayruz was not skilled at riding horses. She had done so once, for three days straight, and then she had Arenis with her to do everything. She had simply clung onto the neck of the horse and acquired bruises aplenty. That was her only experience with actually riding a horse, and so it was that she made a complete fool of herself while riding around the Olm to speak with the tribes. But all things worked for good, even this, for looking like a fool was exactly what she wanted to do now, in her role as Gamesha's fool.

    Fools were, she had been told very shortly before hatching her plan, never slain by warriors. Most were those born, sadly, without intelligence, or with a tongue that didn't quite work right, and only the Ma-Shen would be as barbaric as to kill a fool. This made a fool with wit and to spare the perfect messenger.

    She raised one hand to hail the vanguard of the Kayanek, and promptly tumbled off her horse. It came to a rearing halt a few feet beyond her, leaving her to adjust her mask and brush the dust off her clothing, and raise her hands to the warriors with their spears and swords of glass. "I am Gamesha's fool!" Fayruz said, rising slowly, "And I bring a message to Merya, great chieftain of the Kayanek."

    They took her and escorted her - not roughly, but not friendly, either - to see Merya. Fayruz had guessed that Merya would be a woman, but not such a woman. She was the equal of Gamesha, in both height and wiry strength, but she moved with a grace that Gamesha lacked, and her long glass blades were stained with blood, and her gaze was powerful. Some of her warriors, both men and women, were muttering that Fayruz was an insult, a fool sent to their queen, but Merya silenced them with a wave of her hand. "Does Gamesha offer his surrender?" Merya said, bluntly, to Fayruz, without first asking what she had to say.

    "No, not quite," Fayruz said. "Rather, he wishes to show you the new god of the rocklands, the god that his people have chosen to follow, and to beg forgiveness for war between the Kayanek and the Tekeza." She bowed her head to Merya, and smiled behind her mask as Merya sharply inhaled.

    "To ask... forgiveness?" Fayruz raised her head, nodding.

    "A dragon lured them with honeyed words to Dol Mazzah and the Olm, but now it has been slain, and the Tekeza no longer wish to rule the rocklands alone. Rather, they would..." She paused, acting foolish, gauging Merya's reaction. Jhan of the Iuneh had been excited, and Adnul of the Dereg had been suspicious, and the Ma-Shen... she feared there would be a battle against the Wolf Lord who had forgotten his own name. Merya, on the other hand, seemed curious, leaning forward to hear what Fayruz would say next. "They would make peace."

    Merya scoffed, and so did her warriors. She rested one hand on the hilt of her glass sword, and said, "Very well, fool, we'll walk into your trap, ready to fight." She gestured to Fayruz. "Give the fool back her horse, and let her go. Tell your master that we're coming, fool, though we won't be alone." Fayruz clumsily mounted onto her horse, provoking laughter from the Kayanek warriors watching her, and with little more skill urged it to turn around and ride back to the Olm. After a few moments, Merya and her guard followed.

    She was putting all of her faith into the hands of everyone involved – to the chieftains of the five tribes, to lovely Saven and Hefar who would speak for the Tekeza more than poor, confused Gamesha, and to the healed mother.

    Three of the five chieftains were already waiting at the tent set up at the river's mouth when Fayruz reined in her horse and clumsily dismounted. Jhan and Adnul had come with their retinue, and were only barely being pacified by Hefar. Fayruz came to his side quickly. "Merya of the Kayanek is coming to meet us," she said, before courtesying to the two chieftains. She had not done that in a very long time, and it reminded her of home – and it made the chieftains laugh and praise her as a fool. Except for Gamesha, who stared at her and did not speak.

    After a moment, Merya and her guard were there, having moved with terrifying swiftness after her. "So our enemies are here," Merya said, "And they wish to apologize for the wars they made against us."

    Adnul sharply said, stepping forward, "We make no apology for war against your kind, glasskindred!" Jhan looked from Merya to Gamesha, his hand falling to the long stone knife at his belt, but before he could act, Fayruz stepped between them all.

    "Peace!" She said, raising her hands. "We are not here to fight today!"

    "You may say so," Jhan said, "But ever have the Tekeza been more treacherous than a mountain crag. Tell us now, how the river of the Olm came to be as clear as the sky, rather than the mother's blood."

    "What?" Merya pushed forward, between Jhan and Adnul, her retinue following. She stopped by the edge of the stream and knelt down, running her hand into the water, and then rose with a frown. "Powerful magic. Have you fallen in league with a djinn, or a witch, chieftain?"

    "Neither," Gamesha said, cutting off Hefar and Sevan. "A ruttin goddess. Beautiful. Kind. Told us we could give up our ruttin useless ancestral feud." His voice still wavered and danced, uncertain of itself, but there was a conviction in his watery eyes that Fayruz hadn't seen before. Real conviction. "And I agreed with her. I tore off Tarn's head and crushed his ruttin body to pieces. Bang, bang, bang." He glanced down at his hands, sadly. "And... he died. And that was it. It wasn't a ruttin miracle. It wasn't ruttin glorious. I ripped him apart and killed him because he was a ruttin Aferi and I thought there was only room here for me and mine."

    "There is only room for one tribe," Adhul muttered. "We have a new god, too, Dragonslayer. Great Ahoru brings us victory in war. Should we show you his almighty power? He will trample your new goddess into the dust beneath his wings!"

    "Did Ahoru clean the mother's wound?" Saven stepped forward, by Gamesha's side. "Our goddess did. I saw her with my own eyes tear the spear of the gods from the mother's body and release her from a prison of night. Has Ahoru walked among you? Has Ahoru become willingly the least of you all? Our goddess Fayruz has! What did Ahoru do for you, except turn the tide of some petty battles against the Iuneh? Fayruz has made the water of the Olm sweet, and its water winds into the desert itself, into the realm of the monsters, until, as our mothers say, it meets the sea. Great is Fayruz of the Tekeza!"

    "Show us, then." The low growl made Fayruz's skin crawl, and all four chieftains looked to the fifth, who stepped forward in his furs, bloody scalps hanging from his belt, a wolf's face covering his own – and then Fayruz realized, seeing him for the second time, that it had been nailed on with long bones, and felt sick. Merya's sword was half-drawn in a moment, before Gamesha drawled to her that he would beat her head in if she drew her sword. The Wolf Lord of the Ma-Shen stared at Gamesha, his muscles tense and the desire to kill evident in his voice. "Where is your goddess?"

    A great wave surged down the river, making all five chieftains turn to it, Jhan and Merya covering their faces instinctively. For a moment, tall horses could be seen in the frothing foam of the river, pulling a chariot of swirling water. But then the wave died away, and the river became placid and quiet as the spirit of the river stepped onto the bank, a finely-wrought tiara clasped in her hands. She smiled gravely at the assembled chieftains and their retinues, and said, "I am the one you call the Mother, and my wound has been healed by Fayruz, daughter of my master, Baz'Auran Most High, Lord of the White City. She is the Princess of the White City, and the Maiden of Dusk – for it is at dusk when the world is balanced between day and night, and healing may be found for the weary and the injured." She stepped among them, looking from Adhul to Jhan, from Merya to the Wolf Lord, and finally to Gamesha, and walked on, before continuing on towards Fayruz. "She accepted the role of a fool so that she would be able to heal a chieftain poisoned by a dragon, for she is humble; and is it not said that one day, a fool would become greater than all chieftains?" It was not said, and Fayruz felt slightly ashamed that she had thought of that, for it was a lie used towards a good end. But many people will believe something said by an incarnate spirit, and they needed to believe.

    Fayruz pushed back her hood, revealing her hair, washed and cleansed in the river's flow, and pulled down her mask, showing the chieftains her face. She bowed her head, and allowed the spirit of the river to place the tiara gently upon her brow. Then she looked up at the chieftains, and said to herself, I am a daughter of Baz'Auran and a Princess of the White City. I have nothing to fear but that my shyness might cause a war here. And so she said, with a firm voice and a gleam in her golden eyes, "I am pleased to meet you all, people of the rocklands. And I have only one thing to say to you, all of you – even you, Adhul, who worships a falcon instead of something real, and you, Wolf Lord, who – I am told – has slaughtered many who trespassed on his land. And that is that you are all alike. There are no Tekeza, and there are no Kayanek, and there are no Ma-Shen. You are all human, and if you fight here today, the ghouls and minotaurs and the kobolds and all the monsters of the desert shall win. You will not win, Jhan, because you will only have killed your brothers and your sisters. You will not win, Gamesha, because killing is not victory, is never victory. Sometimes there are foes who must be killed... I admit that much... but is it not better to work in peace, with your brothers and sisters, to make things better for your children?"

    She opened her hands out, in the traditional way that she had learned, and smiled. "I do not ask for sacrifices. I do not ask for offerings of treasure or burnt horses or even worship. All I ask is that you let me help you. Let me teach you everything I can about how to heal, how to treat one another, how to make a better life than constant war and suffering. If you want proof, look at the river – I have done this so that your children, and their children, and their children after them, can drink from it, no matter whether their father was Kayanek or Dereg, Iuneh or Ma-Shen or Tekeza." Something powerful rose up inside her, like when she had the dragon inside of her. But it had been a dark shadow that could not withstand the light that she had caged it within and burnt it away with, inside her soul, while this... this was light. The brilliance of pure light and the purity and conviction of fire, tempered by the gray shadow of kindly dusk and the soothing touch of water. And it blazed out of her as she spoke, much more powerful than she ever could have dreamed, and in that moment she became whole. She knew her purpose.

    She was Fayruz, and she would heal, even if her father had not made her to be a healer but a pretty bauble, a princess to sit next to her siblings' thrones and reflect their glory. She was Fayruz Dragonslayer, who had healed the scarred king and purified the water, and it was so beautiful.

    Merya's hand fell from her sword and hang limply by her side as she stared, and Jhen dropped his long knife onto the ground, and Adhul fell to his knees, his eyes wide with awe. The Wolf Lord crossed his arms, his intention inscrutable, and Gamesha – his eyes half-lidded, his scars no longer marks of glory and shame mixed together – smiled at her. It was an inscrutable smile; she could not tell whether it was loving or proud or simply content.

    "Please. For your children and your children's children and their children after. Let me help." She kept her hands outstretched, waiting for them to accept.

    The Wolf Lord pushed past Merya and Adhul, striding towards Fayruz. He tried to push the spirit of the river away, and merely grunted in displeasure as his hand went through her. And behind him, she saw something that made her more afraid than she had been the entire morning – Gamesha casually using his foot to flick Jhan's stone knife upwards into his hand, his eyes fixed on the Wolf Lord with mad intensity. And she knew in that moment that if the Wolf Lord tried to hurt her, the peace between the tribes would end with Gamesha murdering the Wolf Lord. Then, blessedly, Saven placed his hand heavily upon his chieftain's shoulder, whispering something into his ear. The loose fingers around the knife's hilt did not let it drop to the ground, but his eyes half-shut again, and he leaned back to await whatever would happen.

    The Wolf Lord reached out with one dirt-smeared hand, one that must never have been washed and stank of dead animals and human blood, and took her face in his hand. He turned her head to the left and to the right, inspecting it, and then said, "So you are a god." A long silence, and then he continued. "I told my son that there were no gods, and no rulers but for the strong, like the beasts and the things of the desert. But here you are, anyway." Another long silence. "Will I be forgiven?"

    "Yes," Fayruz said, without a moment's doubt. "Everyone can be forgiven. No matter what you have done... just wash it away in the river. All the murder, all the... whatever else that needs forgiveness. All the crimes against the one who made you and your brothers and sisters." She shook her head, as a thought struck her. "No, not crimes... wounds. You wound yourself inside when you do these things, the things that need forgiveness. And you are the only one who can heal yourself. I can help, we can help, but you must allow yourself to become whole again."

    The Wolf Lord turned away, quickly, and strode through the chieftains once more, towards the river. Gamesha let the knife fall from his fingers and followed him, grinning, and Jhan and Adhul followed, and so did all their retinue. And Saven stepped over to Fayruz, and said, softly, between the two of them and the spirit of the river, "You are even more beautiful, now that your soul is on the outside, and everyone can see how wonderful you are." Fayruz looked over to the Wolf Lord, washing himself in the water, and took Saven's hand in hers for a moment. She looked at Saven for a long moment, and then gave him a kiss.

    The war was over, and for the first time, she felt the power she'd had in the White City again – no, even greater. The fire burning in her veins could do anything, she felt. With the people she loved and cared for, anything could happen. They would bring water to this dry land and bring food to the starving, and heal the sick and drive out the monster. And it would all start with her, least of all her siblings.

    She smiled at Saven, and said, "Can you please bring me the instrument that hangs in Gamesha's tent? I feel like playing it again."
    -build that wall and build it strong-
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  22. - Top - End - #232
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    The spider did not seem to have a mouth, but that quandary was quickly resolved, as a leg grasped one of the milling Voturi and raised it up under itself. The Voturi jumped up and disappeared from view, to all appearances throwing itself up to be eaten of its own accord.

    Frellon despaired. The Village was overrun, the Voturi were everywhere and now there was a monster, a HUGE one, on friendly terms with the Voturi!

    Cherok, who had been beside him, was shaking, and muttering something. Frellon leaned his ear to hear him, and just caught no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no! I won’t. I won’t!”

    Frellon stared at him. “what?” he whispered? “what won’t you do?”

    Cherok seemed to just notice him, and suddenly looked shocked. “CANT YOU HEAR IT? THE VOICE!” Cherok was almost shouting, startling Frellon.

    Still, Cherok hadn’t steered him wrong yet. So Frellon closed his eyes and listened. It was on the edge of his hearing, quiet as a footfall.

    “Come, Children. It is time again to feed. Come to me Children.”

    Upon listening to the words, Frellon felt the sudden urge to leap to his feet, and run out to the feeding!

    Frellon cried out, and threw himself away from the edge of the clearing. He had a sneaking suspicion that the Orcs could hear the voice louder than he could, for while he simply ignored the tiny whisper, several of the orcs were already running gleefully to join their brethren. As he watched, the orc’s eyes glazed over like their minds were falling asleep.

    The puzzle pieces fell into place, and Frellon turned to glare arrows at the Spider through the leaves of a tree. This was what had been changing the Voturi, it drove them to attack the orcs directly, not just strike once and flee. It didn’t care how many died, it had thousands at its beck and call. He examined it in earnest now, here in the shadows, this time searching it for a weak point, any weak point.

    Thick fur covered it completely, but Frellon’s intense gaze pierced it to confirm his suspicions. Thick bone plates covered most of the legs and much of the body. He would have bet anything its mouth was thick and leathery, as it seemed to devour its prey whole, regardless of what said prey was holding. The only thing he could think of was those eyes- and as soon as that occurred to him, he felt a resonance within himself. The Eyes. Those were his target.

    At this point, Frellon would have given anything for a bow and some arrows, but the tribe had yet to invent them.

    He would make do with the only other precision weapon he had available to him. He reached down, grabbed the hilt of Cherok’s sword, and made to draw it.

    Cherok’s eyes became as steel, any hint of the Monster’s influence fled from him as he reacted like lightning and Frellon felt his hand restrained by an incredible grip.

    “What are you doing Frellon.” Cherok’s voice was even and unbroken, but cold. Frellon held little doubt that only their friendship kept Cherok from attacking him then and there.

    “That monster had your mind. I cannot kill it with a club”

    What monster? You mean the Father? Oh, it’s feeding time!” Cherok’s eyes glazed over again, his grip relaxed, and he tried to get to his feet.

    Frellon restrained him, and forced Cherok into a sitting position. I’m a fool. I can’t do this, it’s a horrible idea. Frellon tried to talk himself out of what he had just decided to do, but it wasn’t working. He knew it had to be done, and at the end of the day, that was all that mattered.

    Placing both of his hands on Cherok’s head, Frellon closed his eyes and focused. He then plunged into Cherok’s mind.

    The place was so alien. In his mind’s eye, shadows flickered across Cherok’s being, his thoughts and ideas. Frellon grabbed a thought, a small flickering thing. It was: ‘I wish I had married before now.’ Frellon traced it back to its origin, and found himself looking at Cherok’s being.

    As a god, the mortal mind felt strange. He could feel the Monster, obviously a Beast of Chaos, dominating his mind like a pulsing living tumor. It had wormed its way into Cherok, and didn’t want to leave. Frellon was fine with that; he knew he had neither the skill nor strength of mind for the task removing it would require. He instead opened himself to the parts of Cherok that remained whole and untouched by the tumor.

    Frellon fed Cherok’s courage his own, bolstered Cherok’s determination with his own ferocious focus. He knew it wasn’t enough. He dug deep, searching for that well-font of power that he had always practiced magic with in the past. He found it a trickle, barely flowing. He took it all, all he could find, and fed it into Cherok’s mind. Dissatisfied with the progress, he scrabbled with his mind at whatever was blocking him from his spark. He needed it, now more than ever, he needed that power. Frellon took that need and hammered on the gates of his spark with it. It felt like hours past in his mind, but Frellon was relentless. Eventually, reluctantly, it gave, retracted the tiniest of amounts, the trickle of power swelled to a tiny stream, and Frellon directed it all to Cherok’s mind. Still, Frellon was worried it was not enough, and was about to press his advantage on his spark when he was interrupted.

    Cherok’s hands were on his wrists again, but this time it was solid, and gentle, unlike the vice they were before. Frellon opened his eyes, and looked at Cherok. Cherok’s eyes had the edge of steel in them again, but now they shone with courage and determination as well. Cherok lifted Frellon’s hands from his head, and let Frellon drop them to his side.

    A modicum of humor must have found it's way into Cherok's crowded eyes, for he said, “Well Shaman? What are you waiting here for? We have a Monster to slay!”
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-02-24 at 09:33 PM.
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  23. - Top - End - #233
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Stars fall from unyielding perch
    Creation bleeds from long-forgotten wounds
    And the children of two worlds rise to their destiny
    As doom presses in with ancient grudge

    Across the length and breadth of the Great Disk word begins to spread, carried by fearful whispers and brash cries, by feeble elders and innocent children, by man and woman, of a new hope dawning in the wake of the Blood Moon. The people huddle in their wretched hovels and spin tales of Gods, beings capable of mastering the Beasts of Chaos that roam the lands and imposing order and peace upon a fractured world. And everywhere the word spreads, humankind looks towards the horizon with new hope, filled with an uncommon bravery for the first time in its existence.

    Yet even as the teeming masses of the mortal race rally around the great sparks of Baz'Auran's children, things far older and crueler rally themselves against the threat. Beneath the great mountains of the North, in halls that were old when the gods were but children in the White City, the Titans sing of vengeance. For they were the first caretakers of the Great Disk, the first of Baz'Auran's creations gifted with the foresight to create rather than simply exist. Yet they were cast down, in time immemorial, for their foolish and blasphemous pride. For centuries, they have huddled in their shadowed fastnesses, hiding from Baz'Auran's sight. Yet now, his eye is as blood, and the great lords and champions of the First Born rally their forces for war.

    To the south, at the center of the endless sea of uncaring sand, old magics stir from their slumber. The malefic turn of centuries has left many old and unwanted things buried beneath the dunes, sealed for all time by Baz'Auran's will. Yet now, the seals fail, and there is no caretaker strong enough to even feel their passing. The sussurus stirs from the Vault of Whispers, and black sand begins to creep ever northward, towards the living divines that mock their very existence.

    To the west, in the lands of ash and fire, the old forgemasters find themselves for the first time without direction. Looking upon the palace of their master with eyes of molten steel, they are greeted with naught but silence, and so the ancient constructs of craft lay down their tools in silence. But the silence cannot last, and as the madness of sudden freedom spreads the Fire Lords will carry their will beyond the ancient forges, spreading the perfection of fire to an unprepared world.

    To the east, in the darkest reaches of the murky deep, Kraken stirs from his long slumber. For something has dared to name one of his misshaped servants, gaining power over it and granting power in return. As the great beast spreads his consciousness for the first time since his duty was completed, his beshadowed mind is assaulted by great points of light, powers upon the land that could challenge him if given the chance. And Kraken begins to plot, for if the children of Baz'Auran have come it means his dominance is at an end. Once, the great beast might have willingly relinquished his charge, but the long march of time has made him covetous, and proud, and for the first time the light of Baz'Auran refuses to shine upon his better nature.

    And beyond the sight of man and god, darker hearts quicken to the awakening of the Disk's old guardians. At the center of her pleasure dome in Uluuvatar, the Mistress of Sin stirs in her bower, awakening the Nightmare Princes that serve their Raven Queen without question. Looking beyond the benighted lands they call their home, they see the coming of Baz'Auran's children and seethe. It is a time they have foreseen, and they are far from unprepared.

    Yet even as the Raven Queen arranges the pieces of her struggle with the newborn divinities, a lord with laughing eyes sees all from his throne in the Court of Weal and Woe. There is no urgency in him, nor do his vassals stir from their revels, for they have yet to decide what part to play in the drama, and these new arrivals are far more amusing than the natural ebb and flow of life on the Disk.

    Over all, the Blood Moon continues to shine, a blazing portent in the night, and as the children of Baz'Auran rise up against the masters of the Great Disk, eyes beyond the reach of time watch them from the heart of the world.

    Turn 1 Begins
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  24. - Top - End - #234
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    Contragh's Civilization? I'll stay right here!

    Climbing out of the pit Contragh pulls himself out and looks around. Surronding him is about 100 men women and children dressed in rags and fur. They looked upon him with awe and shock. One man stepped forward from the rest, more heavily built then the rest, scars splattered across his body, and a hood made from the head of a hyena monster. "So, you're the man who killed Grashk. Tell me, just who are you?" he says in a shrill high pitched voice causing Contragh to giggle. "I am Contragh, true son of Baz'Auran, and your divine ruler. Tell me, who is your real chieftan now that the oaf down there has been slain?" Contragh says, causing several people in the crowd to start whispering "I am the chieftan of this tribe before those barbarians took over, we are not fighters, and we've been subsumed by Pikep's warring tribes several times. " Nodding his head Contragh plays with his axe for a moment and says "I see then, since you are incompetent in defending Baz'Aurans people and cannot train them to defend themselves I, Contragh, subsume control of this tribe and all powers that come from owning this tribe. this caused the old chieftan to raise his fist and head just about to scream in defiance but was cut off by Contragh "Unless you want to end up like the past chieftan aswell. Do not worry, the fact that you seem like a warrior means you will be the first general of this tribe. Congratulations on the promotion." he says with a smile.

    For the next couple of days Contragh began to learn of the problems plauging his tribe he now dubbed "Fex". Pikep, a chaos beast that made his home in the warped and maddening forests to the east, had recruited savages to lead tribes of warmongers and fight amongst each other. Each savage was gifted with great strength and abilities, some even mutated from the chaotic influence of the forest. The Fex tribe and a few others were the only tribes that was not originally ruled by a warmonger, but they were soon absorbed into the savage tribes aswell. No one outside of the savage warchiefs and the foolish that enter his forest have seen Pikep. None that enter the forest have ever returned. Seeing the threat that the tribes had to one another Contragh rallied his newly conquered people together at the center of his tribe and spoke "Tribesmen! The savages that Pikep has thrown at you shall not be tolerated! From this day forward we make a stand, we shall drive back Pikeps minions and take back the land we were born to rule! This is not his land. It is ours! But, we must fight back in order to do this, and we may only fight back if we know how to fight!" His speech got the crowd excited and some people banging the butts of their spears against the ground. With the support of the tribe Contragh split the tribe into three groups: the strong men and hunters would form Contragh's army, the other men would form Contragh's builders, and the women and children would be Contragh's work force. With it he split up their duties, the builders would be set to work on constructing pits, traps, and wooden defences for the tribe (Such as walls), the work force would be sent to make weapons and armor for the army, and the army would be tasked with training soldiers and conquering other tribes.

    With the tasks spread out the 3 groups split up to begin work, except for Contragh's army who stayed to be trained by Contragh. The army wasn't huge, pitiful compared to what he was used to working with, but it would suffice for now. Ordering his men into rows Contragh walks back and forth, his armor clunking along as he paced. Stopping abruptly he addressed his army "I see many of you are young and inexperienced. Most of you are thinking this is a game, that this is no different then the stories your mom and dad told you of past heroes and armies clashing. Others are filled with optimism, thinking that you will easily conquer the other tribes. Allow me to shatter that reality, this is not a game or a story or some turn around situation where upon showing the least bit of effort your enemies will turn tail and run. This is war. In war there are casualties, in war there is slaughter and atrocities and fear. War is not where you valiantly stride forward and duel the enemy general, war is where you hide under a pile of corpses as you wait for the enemies to pass by. War is where you sit, bleeding on the ground as the fight rages on around you, and as infection takes over you hope that someone will come forth and heal you. I can say that under my command the enemy will die assuredly but I cannot say assuredly you will not die aswell. War does not make stories or heroes or right or wrong, war only makes those who are left. This is not to say that we are doomed to fail in this war, for I can assure you that Pikep will be dead and your tribes safe, I am merely telling you the truth of the price you must pay in order to assure that safety. If any of you want to leave the army feel free to do so now." Contragh ends his speech, looking about his army to see if anyone moves. Many people look about each other scared and second guessing, but they remain still and do not budge.

    "Good. Well then now that that's over with. Let's get down to business, to defeat the savages." he says as he begins his rigorous work out. The army begins to train, day and night, jogging back and forth, constantly exercising as they wait for the work force to produce enough weapons for them. The weapon of choice for the army is wooden spears with rock tips and bone clubs. They become extensions of their bodies as they train for a month. The builders near completion of the four walls made of trees protecting the tribe, as the work force pumps out large shields made from the leg bones of the Anthropophagos or the Phagos for short (The large bear sized hyena beasts) wooden spears and leather armor also made from the Phagos. Finally after a month and a half of work Contragh's civilization stands boldly among the warring tribes.

    With his army collected together Contragh leads them out of the wooden walls of the tribes "It's show time."
    Last edited by Tychris1; 2014-04-16 at 01:17 AM.
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  25. - Top - End - #235
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    AntiMatter101's Avatar

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    The charge of two certainly did nothing to attract the attention of the monster, for it had seen many would-be heroes fall sway to his mind over the course of seconds, just from being near him.

    However, once the two had carved a long path through his dumbfounded, barely reacting minions. He realized that these two had found a way to resist them.

    Frellon almost felt bad about slaughtering the Voturi while they just stood there, uncomprehending. This vanished as those near him seemed to wake up and start fighting in earnest. They had made good progress in those first few seconds, but now they were forced to fight back to back, Frellon constantly giving ground, Cherok constantly pushing forward.

    Frellon got to see the bloody trail they were leaving behind. Voturi with severed limbs and caved in heads littered the path of their passing. Their advance was slow, agonizingly so. So far they had avoided getting injured by the virtue of Cherok’s long sword and Frellon’s attentive club. The fact that the little buggers had tiny bodies, and hence tiny arms, helped a lot too.


    The monster was getting annoyed. These two were stubborn, apparently not understanding this venture of theirs meant certain death. Still, they seemed rather determined. He was getting a front row view of the Child’s face, and it was absolutely livid! The mutated human with him just had a look of grim determination and focus, it seemed obvious that the Child was the driving force here.

    He called a halt to the fighting.


    The Voturi stopped. Abruptly, and stood back, giving them some room. Frellon could tell something was happening behind him, in front of Cherok, but he did not dare turn his back to the Voturi in order to look.

    He could hear the words clearly once they began though, but it took him a moment to place what was happening.

    “Hello Child. What brings you to me this day?” The voice was familiar; Frellon correctly placed it as belonging to the old chieftain. But it was tainted, with some sinister quality that had never been there before, like old blood and cobwebs. And power.

    “It’s simple, I’m here to slay you Monster! Stop hiding and get it over with!”

    “So it’s a duel you want.”

    “That’s right! I challenge you!”

    Frellon, alarmed, hissed at Cherok. “No, don’t! Without both of us, he’s too powerful!”

    For the first time, Cherok dismissed him out of hand. ”I know what I’m doing!” He snarled.

    “Very well. I have not Humiliated my Prey in far too long.”Cherok’s back started to move away from Frellon’s, so Frellon started backtracking in synch, keeping wary eyes on the Voturi surrounding them. He continued to whisper violently to Cherok.

    “It’s a trick, it has to be! Chaos Beasts always have a trick up their sleeve!”

    “I don’t care, I’ll kill him anyway. He’s made a mockery of our people, Frellon. He must die!”

    Frellon was surprised at Cherok, then concerned. Could he be at fault for Cherok’s behavior? He had been messing around with the balance of his mind. It seemed to be keeping Cherok from being dominated by this beast, but was making him more vulnerable to old fashioned manipulation. Frellon caught sight of the Chieftain as he passed him. His eyes were glazed over like the rest of the orcs around here. But the Chieftain seemed drained, defeated even. Frellon bet seeing the chieftain like that hadn’t helped matters.

    Frellon finally decided being sneak attacked by the Voturi was less of a threat than not seeing what Cherok was leading himself into, so he turned around. Just in time too. The sea of Voturi was reaching its end, and the monster spider was waiting in a clearing. The second Cherok was free of the sea of Voturi, he charged the creature, sword in the ready position and Lungs bellowing a battle cry!

    Frellon continued walking forward, as he left the mass of Voturi behind him, but he did not charge. Cherok would never forgive him if he interrupted this duel, much as he wanted to.

    Cherok reached the massive spider, and swung as hard as he could at the nearest leg. Frellon frowned, he had told Cherok that the eyes were the weak spot.

    The spider reared and tried to crush Cherok with two legs, but he rolled out of the way, slashing at a third leg. Even rom this distance, Frellon could tell that the sword was having no effect. This didn’t stop Cherok from vaulting off a leg to stab upwards with the sword at the spiders body. Frellon could see the Orc’s arm and shoulder reverberating from the impact, but the monster was unaffected. The spider’s legs slowly swung through the air, and Cherok watched them, dodging. Then he leapt, landed on one of the spider’s massive legs, and climbed his way up the hairs in seconds. Lunging, Frellon realized what the orc had been about as the point seemed to sink into the Eye of the spider. Frellon was elated!

    The spider’s legs seemed to teleport they moved so fast. One might not have noticed how pointed and sharp the ends of those legs were, but Frellon noticed all too well as a leg appeared sticking out of the back of the Orc’s chest. Cherok had just been impaled by a spider leg. Frellon was transfixed. The spider was capable of moving THAT FAST! It had been playing with Cherok! The Eye had been a weak point to make it drop the charade like that, but why didn’t it kill the spider? These thoughts were a flurry in his mind until a single, unifying thought made the rest freeze and take a back seat.

    That thing just killed Cherok.



    Frellon’s grief was vying with vengance for control of Frellon’s emotions. For the first two minutes, grief won, and that saved Frellon’s life.


    When the Spider had stopped focusing on the pain, and had collected itself again, it threw the body and the sword off of its leg and watched with glee as it soared through the as it and landed with a bone shattering thud, still holding on to that ridiculous sword. The truth was that had the sword been made of steel or had it been sharper, it might have been the end of the monster. And the monster knew it. However, blunted as the old sword had been, it merely poked out an eye, rather than pierce through it to get to the vital organs behind it, namely, the brain. As it was mentally recoiling from its close call, it only briefly scanned the minds of those around it, and saw nothing but grief in Frellon, whom it summarily dismissed, as it attended to other things.


    Frellon knelt by the body of the friend he had just run over to, and was shocked to see that Cherok was still alive, motionless and in agony, but alive. Frellon could not find the words, but he also could not look away from Cherok’s eyes. They were full of sorrow, and regret. Also hope, for he begged Frellon silently with his eyes. They did not need to speak. Cherok’s last act before taking his final, shuddering breath was to close his eyes in concentration, and release the hilt of his sword.

    Frellon sat there, thinking hard about his next actions. He could flee, right now. It was possible that the monster wouldn’t care, and would let him go. He almost laughed. Running wasn’t an option he would allow himself to seriously consider. He thought on what he knew of the monster, and decided that it had to die. Being a Chaos Beast was almost crime enough, it was enslaving good orcs along with the animal Voturi. But its real crime was cruelty. It played with its prey, and by doing so, it dishonored the sacrifice Cherok made. For now the monster had an even greater weak spot than its eyes. It had a weakened, wounded eye. Frellon would kill it, because not doing so would be dishonoring Cherok, and the tribe that took him in. Frellon would kill it, because nobody else could, because somebody had to! Because he was meant to!

    He could feel it in every fiber of his being! Emotion was gone, revenge was a passing fancy! In their place was a pulsating certainty that THIS must have been what Baz'Auran had made him for! Energy flowed through his limbs, barely contained!

    Frellon grasped Cherok’s sword.

    The Energy exploded out from his fingertips, images passed through his mind, an unbearable heat, the pounding of a million hammers, countless Orc hands polishing and smoothing and wielding this blade! Generations of Orcs had defended their families with this sword! Countless monsters had been slain! The rage of battle, the tears of loss, the blood of orcs, monsters and men had all coated this blade. Its history flashed through Frellon’s mind and out again in an instant!

    The power he had felt was all flooding down his arm and into the sword, which started to glow and ring loudly! His arm felt like it was alight with holy fire; burning, yet not damaged. Frellon reveled in the magnitude of this event as he awakened the ancestry of the Sword of Heroes!

    The light dimmed, the sound died and the burning faded. Frellon stood holding his sword, The Sword of Heroes.

    It was a long bronze blade, perfectly sized and balanced for Frellon’s fighting style. It was made for cutting and slashing, and its metal shone sharp and clear, as if it might cut through anything. As Frellon saw the way it caught the light, he noticed that it seemed to be covered in a rippling sheen of a pure energy.

    Any kind of investigation of what it might be was put on hold for the moment as a voice rang out in Frellon’s mind.

    “Well, that was an interesting display. Hello godling. It has been some time since I devoured something from the white city.”

    Frellon whirled to face the spider. The thing’s voice was stronger in his mind than he had ever heard before now.

    “Yes. That’s right, I am focusing all of my attention on the snack before me, to the exclusion of all else. Look around you.”

    In spite of himself, Frellon did. He was the only thing standing, aside from the Monster, in the entire village. Everyone was decked out on the floor, as if they had all died at once and fell where they stood.

    “What have you done!” Frellon roared.

    “I told them all to sleep, so they did. I won’t have to spare my attention on their minds for hours yet, which means I can focus it all on you godling. Do you mind telling me why you have sought me out?”

    Frellon gripped his sword tighter, still feeling quite drained from awakening it. “I am here to kill you, monster. Defend yourself!”

    The monster transmitted a mental sigh, “ahh well. I was hoping you wouldn’t be that stupid.”

    It felt like a battering ram had bypassed his skull and struck him directly in the brain. Frellon reeled, physically stumbling backwards. Pain exploded in his head, he had not been ready for the mental attack. Remembering half-forgotten lessons, he began constructing feeble mental defenses as he scrambled for the energy to fuel it. The small stream of energy from his spark had expanded to a small river, but now it was as small as before, though it was gradually growing again. Desperate, he lashed out at the monster’s mind instead, but broke upon defenses he could not hope to crack.

    Struggling against the tide of pain, and his brain being systematically torn apart, Frellon focused all of his thoughts on one, simple, thing. I WILL NOT DIE. Step by step, he forced himself towards the spider, determined to make himself a physical threat if nothing else. The spider laughed mercilessly as it twisted his mind and made him doubt himself, hate his siblings, love pain. Frellon refused to connect his mind with his actions, locking eyes with the spider and allowing his instincts to take over from there. Squirming under the mental assault, Frellon sweated heavily, his fear-scent reeking.

    “you are afraid godling, do you fear death?”

    It did not wait for an answer, but pried and dug through his mind untill it found one. Only fools don’t feel death. It’s a true warrior that overcomes that fear.

    Outrage pulsed from near the core of Frellon’s mind. “GET OUT OF MY HEAD!”

    “ummm. No.”

    Red-hot fury was replaced with cold calculation; He’s playing with me like he did with Cherok.

    “how quaint a thought!”

    All of Frellon’s reasons for killing this creature flashed through his mind again, and he felt a surge in power. The trickle of energy from his spark became a flash-flood in an instant. Oddly enough, Frellon could feel something bigger, something more potent building up inside his spark, he tried to hold it back. The surge of power had brought him relief from the deeper probes into his mind, but he could tell he would still die at this rate. Frellon looked around, at the sleeping forms of his friends, his second family, at the corpse of one he would have called brother. Frellon said goodbye.

    Frellon let the feeling build and build until he could no longer hold it.

    The obstacle that had kept his Spark in check burst like a dam breaking. Solid power slammed its way through every fiber of his being. The monster retreated from his mind in pain and fear. Frellon’s eyes flew open and a golden light shown forth, pure and clear. His mortal flesh ignited as it transformed into the body of a god. The spider, who had been paces away from him, shied away at the pure, golden flames.

    “godling!?!”

    Frellon leveled his still shining gaze at the monster.

    “ummm. No. I am Frellon, Lord of Arms. A godling no more, but a god in full.”

    The creature attempted to flee.

    “and your time is now.”

    Frellon’s form was far faster than it had ever been. Even at full speed, the spider seemed to move in a haze to Frellon’s eyes. His sword sliced once, twice, and long gashes in two legs caused it to stumble, though its bone plates protected it from having it’s legs severed. Frellon dashed around to the other side of it, wasting no time nor words, and thrust the Sword of Heroes through its wounded eye, deep into its brain. It jerked once and was still.

    As Frellon removed the sword, his eyes dimmed, returning to their normal cat-like color and shape. The golden flames that had accompanied his transition had since extinguished themselves.

    Frellon, feeling a deep sense of satisfaction, climbed atop the body of the Monster, and waited for his people to awake from their slumber.


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    Ascention quest artifact: The Sword of Heroes, contains the history and story of itself and those who wielded it. It also is imbued with an energy that waxes and wanes in power with its weilder's determination. It is a bronze blade, but it's power also helps keep the edge ever sharp and the metal stronger than most other metals.

    Domain I was shooting for: Heroism
    Domain I got: Honor
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-11-15 at 05:34 PM.
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  26. - Top - End - #236
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Jongo, the Everchanging - Turn 1

    The Band of Chaos was singing. It held no real tune, and no real form or measure, but Jongo found the music beautiful.

    The only thing more beautiful right now was Jongo had all of her power back - and then some. It felt so glorious. Jongo changed from the human with bird wings, to a purple penguin that skipped along the water, to a giant red dolphin that moved along the sea at super speeds, and then to a tiny bat, and back to the human child that his body seemed so comfortable in.

    Falling into the water of the ocean, Jongo swam to a rocky spire... and realized it was the same one that she had last rested with Dorph and Gwenie. Jongo hoped his dolphin friends were all right.

    The Band of Chaos reached a pleasing crescendo, and Jongo shifted to have wings again, and flapped up to sit atop the spire. Losing herself to the music, Jongo reached out with his mind to try and find her siblings.

    A frown creased Jongo's face. Something was wrong.

    Not everyone was easily found. In fact, while in the White City, it was an easy matter to just think about someone and wander to them, here on the Disk, it seemed like things were a bit different.

    Jongo felt things in a new way. That wasn't bad. But it was different.

    It was like looking in a vast, dark room. Like sitting in the exact center of the huge Dining Hall of the White City, but every light was snuffed.

    And then, slowly, carelessly, music began to play. The song from the ring Jongo wore.

    In the dark room that was Jongo's mindscape, a burning blaze of a bonfire burst into life, on the east side of the room. It glowed so bright, and with so many colors, that Jongo was fascinated with it... until he realized... this light was HER. It was Jongo.

    So. That was the shape of Jongo's power. A huge light of formless color, unable to be tacked down, and flickering like a bonfire.

    Jongo. With that thought, the flickering stopped, the shapelessness stopped, and though the fire was still bright, inside Jongo saw himself, quietly sitting on the stone pillar. It was like naming herself was enough to solidify things.

    Turning his thoughts away from herself, Jongo looked out again at the dark room, and looked again. Other lights burst into the darkness.

    The closest burned with a sort of busy feeling. It felt like it could change many things, and shape the world in a different way, if given time, the right tools, and the right people. Rumel? Haramhold? Tough to say. Those two had always been close.

    The next closest, a little to the north of the first, burned with conviction and purpose, but it's light was less. It felt slow to change, but not against it. It was a guarded sort of flame, and held the chance of change, but would repel it if it felt it needed to. Carolinus? Khalen-Het? The Band of Chaos couldn't tell, and sang a different tune.

    Another flame burned to north, and this one was easy to feel. It's change and potential for disruption was great; like it would always be on the move, always searching for something, always traveling. It felt like maybe Kalandor?

    And then to the south, Jongo saw one light, and one void. The light was bright, and felt like pure magic, given a bodily form. But magic that had come at some great cost. Jongo thought it might be Faden... but no, that couldn't be right, could it? The Chaos didn't know. Magic comes with a cost, and can be controlled because of it. Magic without cost - just asking Magic to do a thing, pretty please - might get you what you wanted, and certainly was more fun to see what would happen if you just... released it, instead of harnessed it. This being seemed to have among the greatest chances to change things, but it had had to give up something to do so.

    The void, however... the void caused the Band of Chaos to laugh and titter, but move away. It was blacker than the room, and there was little to no chance of change. It was set in it's ways, and not open to any sort of fun. THAT had to be Khalen-Het. Right?

    And then Jongo looked again. There was another light, farther away in the south than the other two. It peaceful, quiet, and felt so nice to gaze upon. A sort of soothing feeling, and it seemed to dance with the music from the Band of Chaos, and much to Jongo's delight, there actually seemed to be a tune and shape, as the music seemed to blossom. Had Flower had bloomed? Jongo smiled.

    Another light seemed to burst through the dark room, and seemed to want to even fight the darkness itself in Jongo's own mindscape. It was rebelling against the very thought of things, and held a great deal of potential for change. Jongo had no clue who this could be, if it was a sibling.

    There were others. There light, their color, it felt muted. Some strong. Some weak. Some close. Some far. They all seemed to hold the potential for change. The chance of Chaos.

    No one seemed to be out in the ocean near Jongo, though. He tried to think what to do next. The Band of Chaos tried to offer suggestions through beats of tuneless song.

    Jongo decided to just rest for a bit, and concentrate on her new powers.

    An idea sparked, and begged for Jongo's attention. It was like traveling to the Abyss - a little reckless, a little crazy, but... if it worked.

    It could work. It would work! But Jongo would need to know more, first. More about the world of the Disk. And he might need some help from some of her siblings.

    Priorities, Jongo, priorities. Tezzerin would be scolding me now, for getting too far ahead of myself. I've got to change things for the better. So, what's first? Jongo looked down at the water, and spent some time thinking.
    Last edited by Gengy; 2012-02-25 at 03:53 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 - #237
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Demidos's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Aramar was walking through a dark cave. Damp, dark, and moist, like some great creature’s throat. It was getting harder and harder to breathe. He could feel the walls closing in around him. The damp water dripped down on him without reprive. The pounding feeling in his head increased. The tunnel was getting smaller. Smaller. He could barely move his arms. And all the while, water dripped down on him.

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    Aramar woke with a cold sensation down his spine. He was facedown on the ground his arms wrapped in his blankets in such a way that it was difficult for him to move. He relaxed. Sweat drenched his body – and then he paused. Was it sweat? It smelled…and then he heard it again. That sound he so dreaded.

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    None of the Nightborn would dare to enter his tent at day. The last one who had had ended up waking to find a shrieking mushroom in his tent. And not just one, he had soon found, but three. One, he had found to his dismay, had already grown into its full growth, and he was forced to lie, paralyzed, and endure the endless shrieks for nigh on half an hour before any of the other Nightborn had recovered enough from their laughter to go help him out. Aramar had returned the prank, but also made it clear that pranks would be revenged. With interest.

    The dripping sound continued. It was outside. Beside his tent. And it was moving, slowly circling. It was now when he heard, through the unnatural quiet, a harsh, whiny breathing. It sounded almost sickly. None of the Nightborn sounded like that. A wind wafted a scent to Aramar’s nostrils. Blood. He struggled silently with his bedsheets, now wrapping him in what would be his funeral shroud. He tossed and turned, and finally freed one arm. Quietly, he disengaged himself from the other blankets. Then he stopped – the breathing had stopped, but he could still hear the slow

    Drip. Drip. Drip.

    It was outside his tent flap. Aramar slowly reached for his hunting knives. Slowly, ever so slowly, he inched them out of their cases. He could see a dark shape outside the tent, the moon outlining its hunched reflection. Painfully, agonizingly, the flap was drawn back – the breathing had returned. The thing was panting now, ever so softly. The flap eased back, farther, farther, and then a head appeared into his tent, followed by a body. It wore a hooded cloak, but Aramar’s piercing eyes could see through darkness as if it did not exist (a fact which he had never shared, as few liked the idea of a brother with glowing amber eyes). A nightmare wouldn’t even come close to describing it, but Aramar knew what it was. He had heard the stories.

    Blind-Folk, he breathed.

    The thing must have had incredible hearing, for instantly the thing turned fully towards him, snarling. It had the basic shape of a human, but the similarities ended there. It was tall, and slim, standing near seven feet in height. Its skin was the color of ash, and long white ridges of bone protruded from its shoulders. On its forearms, raised segments were visible. The thing had seven long, slender fingers on each of its four arms. In the leftmost arm, a small shield was held warily, and it also grasped a matched pair of wicked-looking axes, notched and stained. A thin coat of hair covered it, swaying in the night breeze. Its face was the worst. A blank bone mask was all that was visible of its face – there were no eyes, no mouth…the thing had no features at all. That was not what made Aramar blanch. He had faced many things before, terrible things that had escaped even great Baz’Auran’s notice in the deep forests surrounding the White City. But it was what the creature, the Blind One held in his last hand that snapped Aramar – it was young Ratori’s head, his hair held loosely in the creature’s grasp. From his severed neck, there was a steady dripping of precious lifeblood.

    Aramar screamed almost in the instant that the first knife left his hand, taking the creature in its chest. His second knife joined the first a split second later, as Aramar hurled himself forwards, impaling the creature through and through. The creature died almost instantly. Aramar was past him in a flash, yanking his knives out of the still-falling corpse as he ran outside. The scene that met his eyes almost broke him. Blind-folk swarmed in scores, dense knots forming about scattered Nightborn, most of whom were too stunned to put up any resistance to their ancestral foes. Aramar spotted Tamar fighting, and Surrin, but even as he saw them they were borne down under the sheer weight of numbers.

    Aramar hacked his way forward, cutting down one after another. They were surprised, not seeming to sense him until he got near. He knew that they couldn’t see him – they were blind, his footfalls were light, and he smelled like the forest did, after a recent rain. He hacked and hacked, tears streaming down his face at the loss of his second family. Didn’t the world care? Didn’t anyone care? He swung for what felt like hours, but in actuality was only a matter of seconds. As he raised his knives yet again, hungering for death, a lethargy came over him. Time seemed to slow, and then a crushing blow hit the back of his head, and everything went dark.


    His eyelids fluttered open. He was being carried by two of those creatures, two of those things that had murdered his kin. And he was being carried…it was a tunnel. He could immediately sense that he was far, far underground. There was no comforting sky above his head. The walls were closing in, closing in. There was a rushing in his ears like ten thousand waterfalls, and he fell limp again.
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    Aramar unsheathing his hunting knives

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    MethosH

    My Characters:
    Flutter: Level 20 Tristalt

    My Homebrew:
    WIP
    The Fortunar Base Class

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

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

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


  28. - Top - End - #238
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

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    "There are two mortals I can think of off the top of my head who ut into words the nature of the universe. These being the hunter Argyle Finagle and a craftsman of Rumal, being Murphy Stonemuscle."

    "The First of these noted that life is a B****, and will always play pranks with you. The other tells you that if you rely on something which can be done two ways, one of which is wrong, it will fall apart on you. These are two very importany lessons for everyone, be it the roving traveller under my domain, or a king like general who is a worshiper of Frellon"


    Kalandor Travells
    While other gods may hunker down and begin building up their domains, where upon they would create their home, Kalandor sort that not. He was the travelling type, and would rather plan first.

    His first step, was to find out about the races in his lands, their various tribes and groupings. And so with shifting form and many years travel, Kalandor learned of some of the major races in his planned domain.

    The first, as he already knew, were the humans. Simple beings who used stone tools and sometimes lived in houses of wood or tents of animal skin. These people were amounst some of the smartest, with some more advanced technolgies stiring amoungst them. The humans already made simple maps for when they had to discribe a journey, and with the creations of signs and paintings they had the beginings of writings, some had even begun their first attempts (Somewhat unsuccesfuly) at domesticating animals they thought could be useful. And ofcourse, in the few societies that could settle, that ment they had begun succesful agriculture with either fruits or grains, and as was the case with all humans of such groups, alcohol was already in production on the cottage level, much to Kalandors pleasure. These beings lived in all parts of the world, from the mountains high to the north, (Imagine Vikings), to the rolling planes in the south (Imagine Indians(American) and Gypsi's), to the vast forests of the west (Imagine the African Jungle Tribes) and to the River men in the east (Cant think of a general culture).

    The Second of the major races Kalandor met where the Orcs. A race of greater honour than some men, being sly, but as with all races they we're adaptable, and not all were honour bound. There race was steeped in conflict and were more advanced in such areas, with copper actually being forged, not just being found, maybe bashed into a point, and used to make sharper spears or the beginings of axes or halbards. And though Kalandor believed one of his bretheran was amoungst them, he was hesitent to go into combat, and so, even with his shapeshifting abilities, he knew not much of the orcs foes, and he did not find Frellon.

    The Third major race Kalandor met where the many races of the Beast who's god now long gone, reveared as the Beastial Titan Lug’a’don’th. Though Kalandor felt not the direct spark of Baz'Auran, he couldn't acertain wether or not the stories of the Lug’a’don’th where real, and wether he was a potent beast of Chaos or a Titan, and so acted as if they were. Now while most races have some physical varience, The Beastmen were a race of many sub specie, ranging from Manlike (Imagine the Various Gor's from Beastmen (Warhammer)), to sentient animals with slight change, such as the Chil'R, to the brizare and sometimes singular races that were conglomerates, some beasts of chaos themselves, some real races, though the Cantaur was no longer amounst them. These Races were like the Orcs, but their honour was subsumed slightly by thier bestial races, and they lacked in the physical technological aspects of warfare, leaning towards the tactical side, garnering the ambush, and map making. However, this race being more a conglomerate, had many sub-cultures, mayhap more than any other race, and the only true thing binding them was their past god, and that they would fight as one race.
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    While we all make races in our Acencion quest free of charge, I only used a subspecie of this one and so will pay the 2 act race creation cost. Tell meif this race would require more acts. While I combine beasts of chaos with the beastial beings, they are not part of this race, though some may apear to be, such as hippogriphs and griphons. Consider this race to be somewhat a fantasy kitchen sink of beast like races, but no centaurs.


    And it was such was his travels, that Kalandor rested for a time, glorying in his newfound strengths and knowledge.
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    Aditional act: 1 Major, Gain Ability: Divine Athletics.
    My Homebrew Sig.

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

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

  29. - Top - End - #239
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Nefarion Xid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    "We can talk about this, right?"

    Lossethir had succeeded in ingratiating himself with the hardy people of the northern wastes for precisely eight days. His sense of humor, ability to hold his liquor and his knack as a hunter availed him right up until he was discovered in bed with the chief's eldest daughter on the morning of her wedding. The same reluctance everyone feels to leave a warm bed on a cold winter's morning had prohibited his addled brain from making the proper decision to flee the scene of the nubile, blonde crime.

    Summarily, her two behemoth brothers had him bound and dragged before the chieftain. Despite vehement claims that he was the son of Baz'Auran, the deliberation and sentencing was concluded in record time (as if such things were recorded) and Lossethir was again dragged, with decreasing ceremony, to a convenient nearby mountain peak. It wasn't the tallest peak in the vicinity, but it was the most convenient. And really, when you just want to execute someone for deflowering your sister, you're not terribly keen on long walks. Frankly, anywhere his corpse won't stink up the place will suffice. Stinking corpses aren't actually a concern in the tundra, but it was the polite thing to do at the least.

    Beaten and bound, Lossethir's continued attempts at diplomacy fell on deaf ears as the two brothers deliberated how best to dispose of him.

    "What if he is the son of the All Father? He appeared the night after the moon went red..."

    "So, we don't kill him! We let the frost do it, or else the wyrms if they're hungry. Ya? Our hands are clean then."

    "That's a technicality! You can't get off for murder on a technicality you bastards!" Lossethir's keen diplomatic tact was abandoned at the thought that they'd simply leave him here to freeze to death.

    Unconcerned, the two brothers only shrugged at him before continuing the debate.

    "If he's going to freeze to death, let's at least leave him something to drink. He can die happy!"

    "Yes! Leave me something to... no! I mean take me back and let me drink there! I'll teach you a new game! I'll marr... I will give very serious consideration to dating your sister... exclusively!"
    Upon further consideration, Lossethir wasn't altogether sure that he wasn't still drunk from the previous night.

    The second brother pitched his wineskin (well, vodka-skin) so that it landed just beyond Lossethir's reach. Here, "reach" will mean the distance one can extend one's mouth by flopping forward, since one's hands and feet are bound with ropes. Already walking away, the first brother halfheartedly intoned a blessing and condemned Lossethir to the spirits of the cold sky.

    Lossethir struggled to free himself for a much shorter time than he should liked to have admitted before flinging himself on to his belly and inching towards the wineskin. Having chewed out the stopper, he lay on his side nursing the vodka and devising a plan.

  30. - Top - End - #240
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Jade_Tarem's Avatar

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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Faden
    Turn 1: Sand in the Wind

    In retrospect, he shouldn't have been surprised.

    It was silly to expect that anything other than Faden would change. Sillier to expect that everything would be fine once he regained his spark.

    Practice was the order of most days. Within time, Faden had built up his capacity as well as his ability to store and use more power. He had to, once he had discovered the truth about his new body.

    His magic and his life were now the same thing.

    With his actual body destroyed and the wrappings little more than a container, he had more power to draw on, and could do so more easily, but it was entirely possible to cast himself to death. Whereas one of his siblings would collapse when there was no more power to draw on, he would simply... end.

    More annoyingly, he had discovered that it worked the other way around as well. This new form was more resistant to injury - he suspected that if any of his siblings uncovered the spark, they'd be similarly durable - but any damage to his form weakened him. The most unpleasant surprise was that an extended stay underwater or underground could also begin to smother his spark, close as it was to the surface of his being. In short, despite having no lungs, windpipe, or even nose, he could still 'drown,' which irritated him immensely.

    Fire, however, was one of the least of his concerns. His bandages were all treated with a powerful retardant that the clans had discovered. Enough determination and heat could still set him on fire, but he wouldn't vanish in a puff of smoke just because someone threw a torch at him - far from it, in fact.

    In between experimenting with his new body and practicing his new magic - even remastering the defensive measures Tezzerin had taught him, Faden observed the current status of the desert, learning about it from the clans. It was known as the Expanse, or more formally as the Kophic Expanse, and encompassed all of the landmass they stood on, save for the mountainous area in the middle that was known as the Burning Peaks. Rumor had it that the continent to the south, which they had only ever heard of, was similar to this one. They knew of no others.

    Faden did, of course. He'd found Geography boring, but he'd looked down the Well of Eternity before at the Great Disk and knew the general layout of his Father's creation. So he knew that there was far more land than was known to his clans, and told them so. Surprisingly, and gratifyingly, they were not interested in expansion or colonization beyond the borders of their current island. This was a wise move, in Faden's estimation - the clans simply didn't have the manpower to spread themselves any thinner, and the desert wasn't ready to support a bigger population.

    Well, not yet.

    Faden knew that the current system that the clans had set up was tenuous, at best. Radical changes were out of the question. There was something he wanted to try, something biological, but he wasn't about to go warping their physiology just yet, and especially without their permission. He owed them that much.

    Instead, he began to change a few, minor things.

    He made a small adjustment to the landscape, and several new oases sprung up. He blessed the population - a type of luck or life-based magic that he still didn't fully understand, and increased the available bounty at each oasis. Once he had done so, he reconsidered - it would take bigger changes to truly secure the Kophic Expanse.

    But first, he needed to know about his brothers and sisters, and for that he needed assistants.

    Designing them was a simple matter. He did not need them to perform manual labor, nor did he need them to be of any particular size. This let him use the extra effort to increase speed and agility, as well as to improve their efficiency with storing and utilizing magic. They were, effectively, beings of pure Will. With a description like that, one might expect them to be more impressive-looking than the final product.

    They were tiny - extremely tiny - effectively a speck of light with eight thin gossamer wings. They moved swiftly, and could speak and remember complex messages. Faden nodded, satisfied that he had created the ideal messengers and scouts.

    In order to distinguish one from another he gave each a different color, although he had to cheat and use two fluctuating colors on a couple. Without hesitation, he dispatched all but one to the corners of the disk - figuratively speaking, of course.

    With that, he settled in to wait for the results, and began working with the clans in order to teach them about what he had learned since his ascension...

    Turn 2 Acts
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    Major Act: Up a Domain (Magic)
    Major Act: Gain an Ability (Warding Magic)

    Minor Act: Bless Population
    Minor Act: Create minor servants (Sprites - see below)
    Minor Act: Teach a Population some magic


    Sprites
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    Sprites are creatures created out of Faden's will. They can move at high speed, fly (in fact, they never stop flying), and are approximately as intelligent as human beings. Sprites generally have no distinctive features beyond the color of their tiny speck of light and the sound of their voice.

    Sprites are hard to hit or catch, but are not really any more durable than the average hornet. They have no special guidance abilities and must find their targets the hard way, although they are certainly intelligent enough to investigate or ask questions of mortals or other intelligent beings to speed up their search.
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    The Game Master in Happily Ever After (Pathfinder)
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    Andrea "Spitfire" MacShane, Pyrokinetic Superhero in Bioshock Golden Age (Mutants and Masterminds 2e)
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