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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: The Necromancer's Pact VIII: The Rising Tide

    Elthan

    The air is thick as the others come to a stand-off. Elthan does his best to ignore any tension as he breaks the silence.

    "So, where should I begin?"
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    Adalmar

    The talk of schools of magic loses him, but some threads he can relate to the tales of his people.
    "I have heard of this, I think... The unceasing war between two Goddesses, the Moon and the Night..." His soft-spoken words trail into silence.

    "If its slightest touch corrupts... then what of us ?" He raises his hands to inspect them, half-expecting to find a darkness in them.

    To Callos' tongue-lashing, he reacts with a placid shrug. "I never pretended to be smart." He has a few questions on his lips, but he holds them as the half-elf starts to speak.

    Remaining quiet for some time, he finally asks a single question : "So, I get the link between the tower and the other magic, but where do you and your crime fit in ?"
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    Lissa

    Lissa makes no secret of her feelings; her crossbow is pointed directly at Elthan. Her narrowed eyes are like chips of dark ice as she stares at the mage. "How about you begin with a good reason why we should trust you? Evendur never did anything to you. He might've been a pompous stick-in-the-mud at times, but he was a good man and a faithful servant of his goddess." The dancing lights spin faster, reflecting their caster's agitation. "Why, Elthan?" The last is almost whispered, the words filled with equal parts pain, anger, and confusion.

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    Katrin

    Katrin listens patiently to Callos's and Elthan's explanations of the Shadow Weave. She understands it in general terms--that it is like a shadow or a reflection of normal magic, and that it works in places where normal magic does not. She does see the advantages of this, but she is suspicious of the "corruption" that Callos had mentioned. However, she does not act upon her suspicions until Aldamar mentions the war between the two goddesses. Selune and Shar... Does that mean that Shar created this Shadow Weave? It would fit her nature, she being the goddess of night and shadow, and Callos said that the Shadow Weave was created by a deity after the creation of Faerun. And isn't Elthan's last name... 'Moonshadow?'
    "Elthan," she says, narrowing her eyes, "which god--or godess--do you follow?"

    (OOC: Katrin follows Selune; I'm assuming that the war between Selune and Shar would be common knowledge among worshippers of either goddess.)
    Last edited by blackfox; 2007-05-06 at 11:56 AM.
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    Elthan

    Elthan spends a moment to collect all of his thoughts as well as possible by look at the ground. Silence once again takes over during the wait for his response. Upon raising his head, he speaks with as little gesture or flourish as possible.

    "The Shadow Weave is not all entirely like the Weave. Though very similar, the patron deity of the Shadow Weave reserves the right to isolate anyone whom she does not see fit from her Weave.

    "I've slowly felt my ability to perceive drain as I've attempted to dissect the eccentricities of its function. It is a confusing and laboring process that becomes more difficult the farther one strives to understand. The Shadow Weave is in injurious to the mind, but there is a remedy to heal that wound, and secure access to the Weave at once. One must perform a favor for the goddess, and take up a geas to worship her.

    "I believe what that favor was is apparent. I had a plan, so that his death would not be of harm. I planned that after his death I would purchase resurrection for him from my own savings, so that I may prove that I would indeed do so, but still retain our powerful ally, and engage him openly at a later date after Sethra was vanquished.

    "Upon our last few stops, such an opportunity to carry out my plan did not present itself, and I became anxious. Perhaps such an opportunity would never present itself, and I would continue with a hole in my mind. Wander, only partially myself. When we stopped again, I killed him, and hoped that we could carry his body far enough to bring him back to aid us. Now, such a thing is impossible, and I mourn his loss.

    "There is nothing now that I myself can do to right this. All I can do is accept your judgment, and hope that I might continue to aid the group in its task so that Evandurs death would not be so pointless an affair. I've done what I've felt was best for the group."

    Elthan stops and gives Katrin a confused look, as if not expecting the question. "I follow Shar. Why?"
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  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Khazrael

    Khazrael brushes a stray bit of black cornsilk hair out of his face.

    "I owe him about the same as I owed Evendur. I say he goes for a good long walk in the snow."

  7. - Top - End - #277
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    Adalmar

    His shoulders sag, bleakness overcoming him. He had been hoping, against all odds, that there was another explanation. Till now. "Murder in cold blood it is, then. If I have my way, you will be tethered until you can be handed over to the Rashemen Councils."

    He turns his back to Elthan, in the manner of Dalese elders after they pronounce a condamnation.

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    Last edited by namo; 2007-05-06 at 11:06 PM.
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    Lissa

    Lissa's face shifts through a rainbow of expressions as Elthan tells his tale, finally settling on disgust. "What part of 'evil deity' didn't you understand when you started studying this 'Shadow Weave', Elthan? We gnomes know both Selune and Shar, the Moonlady and the Dark Sister. The Dark Sister, we know too well." Her eyes harden, and she points to the holy symbol around her neck. "One of my order's tasks is to keep an eye out for corrupted mages. The Sly One is, after all, also the Master of Illusions. The Dark Sister loves to recruit mages, promising power while demanding more and greater sacrifices. It's too dangerous to keep a devotee of hers in the clan... and even more dangerous to exile them." Lissa sighs, closing her eyes briefly. "I should have been more watchful. It just never occurred to me that one of us would be stupid or arrogant enough to court the Dark Sister."

    She unlocks the safety on her crossbow with an audible click. The anger in her has turned to sorrow and iron resolve. "You may die by your own hand, by our hands, or by exposure to the elements. Choose."

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    Khazrael

    Stunned by the gnome's cold-heartedness, he slowly remembers that she is, above all, a priestess.

    "I could give a rat's ass what you're praying to, Elthan, but think about it. You killed him. Evendur's dead forever and it's your fault. Do you really think people would just let that go? And what in the nine hells, you thought you'd just bring him back? You know Shar wouldn't have accepted your sacrifice unless your heart was in it!"

    As he speaks, his thoughts run over the demon princes and their servants. Was Shar any different? These beings never gave anyone anything unless they felt like it was going to help them in the long run. Lyth'eril...was it the same for you? Did the call of power lead you to betray me, or was it fear alone?

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    Katrin

    Quietly, Katrin says, "Why, you ask? Because I follow Selune. I do not appreciate the killing of innocents, done at the bidding Mistress of the Night." She levels her crossbow at Elthan, and her voice grows harder and stronger. "Anything else I would have said, Lissa has said already. Either we will kill you or you can kill yourself and save us the trouble."
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  11. - Top - End - #281
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    Default The Necromancer's Pact VIII: The Rising Tide

    Callos

    A myriad of expression, almost as much as Lissa, flashed across the necromancer's face as he heard the explanation for the ritual but he wheeled to look at Elthan with his face slowly turning red then purple from rage. "You...you...IMBECILE! Just what did the two of us talk about?!" He stormed across the few steps between the two of them and grabbed Elthan by the front of his clothes. "Huh?! WHAT DID WE TALK ABOUT!? Do you remember even? You told me, you swore that you'd come to me before delving any deeper. That we'd discuss it to see if it was worth the power to give some of yourself to Shar! That I'd be there to make sure nothing went wrong! DID YOU FORGET?! You...you...damned fool of a dabbler! I told you, I gave you personal expeirences with sacrificing oneself for power and you still did this! I...I should pummel that thick of yours in for this!"

    His dark orbs seemed even darker as he bellowed into the sorcerer's face and when he was finished, Callos was breathing hard. Part of him wanted to blast this arrogant elfling, another wanted to shake him and convince him of his wrongs. Force him to come back from the precipe he had gone towards. Why hadn't Elthan just listened? Why had he felt the need to push forward so foolishly? Deep in those eyes though Elthan could see...a kind of sad recognition. Slowly...his grip relaxed on the sorcerer and he released him...rather reluctantly. Head whipping around at this talk of judgement by his fellows...they couldn't possibly be serious...could they?

    When next he spoke, all of the hot rage had vanished from his voice to be replaced by cold fury. "Any of you so much as loose a bolt at him and I'll bring you down were you stand. You claim the side of good in this, but continue in this course of action and you'll have the death of an innocent as much on your heart as the death of one you would call 'monster' simply for trying to help the whole and complete the mission." Turning a little, he gave a solemn nod to Elthan and whispered to him softly. "Elthan, tis not too late to chose the right path here. To make up for the crime and throw away the dark. Whatever you chose...just know I stand by you as much as I would have stood by Djital, my brother in all things but blood."
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    Lumpy

    Lumpy kept his post at the door, expression inscrutable as accusations were levied and explanations given. Calmly, he lets the storm pass, interjecting in conversation's lull, fixing his gaze on Callos. His drawl is absent as he speaks, slipping into an icy deadpan,

    "No, you've interjected your bias into this for long enough. The only reason he's even lived until now is because I thought he'd been coerced, but this one isn't forgivable, excusable, or forgettable. There's no way you can credibly claim what he did as the act of an innocent, doubly so if the process has been as drawn out as you're leading on to. In light of such an act in general, I will not tolerate his presence, and because it was an honorable man to whom I was indebted, I will not tolerate his existance on this mortal coil."

    His expression shifts subtley, taking on a sardonic grimness,

    "It almost galls me as much that he thought his planned lip service to the most vengeful bitch in existence could possibly benefit us more than the service of a holy warrior against an army of undead."

    Still leaning against the wall, Lumpy unloops his flail from his belt,

    "For killing one of us the way he did, I'd've killed him. An unjustifiable act intended to strengthen himself at the expense of everyone else doesn't benefit us, and never will. I won't have you defending him with some righteous smokescreen. I think you can form a pretty simple picture as to how far I'll take this. Don't make it any harder than it needs to be, necromancer."

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    Aeroz

    In light of having nothing to add to the conversation at hand, Aeroz begins to clean the dirt under his fingernails with the artifact rapier. "This is going nowhere..." Aeroz comments to no one in particular.

    Before stepping into the tower, he gathers a few larger rocks and stones and places them in his sack. Upon entrance he tosses a couple rocks about in anticipation. The elf sets his sights on the staircase. Ascending it could lead to some answers to what this place is, however there may also be some risks.

    "Well, you keep on with this arguing and infighting. I'm going to do a bit of reconnaissance. Trinark, if you would be so kind as to accompany me" Aeroz states as he begins to climb the stairs cautiously.
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    Lissa

    Lissa gives Callos a disgusted look. Plainly, his arguments are falling on deaf ears as far as she's concerned. "You're casting suspicion on yourself now, Callos. There's no way he's 'innocent' after willingly sacrificing a comrade-in-arms to the Dark Sister." Her mouth works as if she wants to spit. "Lumpy said it all quite well, really. Now step away from the murderer before one of us drags you." She smiles thinly. "And go right ahead, fry the priestess in a vain attempt to save one of the Dark Sister's minions. I'm sure you'll love explaining that one to Mystra or Azuth or whatever god you follow once you reach the afterlife."
    Last edited by Phasm; 2007-05-08 at 10:07 AM.

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    Khazrael

    Khazrael idly tosses his knife in the air over and over again, catching it first by the hilt, then by the blade.

    "Come on Callos, there's no reason to throw your own life away. He made his decision already."

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    Default Re: The Necromancer's Pact VIII: The Rising Tide

    Trinark remains down below, eyes shifting from Elthan to the others as they debate the half-elf's fate.

    The half-elf's words seem to have done little to mollify his fellow travelers. At the same time, no one is eager to be the first to lay a hand on Elthan. What punishment seems appropriate for murder? Banishment? Execution?

    Aeroz lingers on the narrow stairs. There is no railing, but the elf has no trouble maintaining his balance. He looks up as the stairs spiral up to the next level. The chamber above is completely dark, too dark even for elven eyes.

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    Adalmar

    He had not the words to convince them. Frustration. His hands balled into fists. So he says, softly : "I cannot abide what he's done. But do not take the life of a man lightly."

    Only after he utters those words does he realize that he erred. The very solution he proposed, handing him to the Rashemen, would result in his certain death, for he now remembers that they also oppose the Night fervently. And it would slow their critical mission down.

    What to do ? Taking a few steps away from the group, he leans on the stone wall, welcoming its coolness, and tilts his head back.
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    Khazrael

    "So let's give him some supplies and see him off. Maybe he'll get to the Iron Lord or whoever before we do. We don't really need to kill him, do we?"

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    Default The Necromancer's Pact VIII: The Rising Tide

    Callos

    "Actually the innocent I was referring to was myself, not Elthan, Lissa. I'm not one to claim he's innocent but I am one to claim he at least deserves a chance to redeem himself." Callos replied with a somewhat weak grin. This wasn't exactly a laughing situation but he still found that statement a little bit funny to say the least. Though the rest of what Koji and Lissa said was hardly amusing.

    "I'm not planning on throwing my life away. Throwing it away implies a sense of futility in the course of action and I hardly believe this is futile. Just like I already have enough to explain to whom I chose to observe as a paragon without this little incident so I'm not worried that subduing a gnome priestess and others will have a large blemish on my soul." However almost all of Callos's attention was diverted to Lumpy after that. "Oh, I'll make this as hard as I need to make sure no one dies here Lumpy. Shar may be the most vengeful bitch in existence but we need all the help we can get and where ever we can get it from. This isn't a matter we can pick and chose who we want to help us out. If I remember correctly the priest of Umberlee was allowed to travel with us. A man who worshiped a goddess who wants to drown the entire world in ocean and opposes some of the most highly acclaimed benevolent deities of the realms and all we did was threaten him into not harming us while he traveled with us. And don't think I'm making this up, I've studied religion more then any of you most likely. Compared to that, a priest who would have gladly killed any of us at the slightest provocation, I'll gladly take the Sharete who has our best interests at heart, even if they have been warped some. Especially since the very same man has never done anything else wrong this entire journey. If Shar, Sharess, hell even Lolth, despite how much suffering the spider queen has put me through, want to help us bring down Sethra and return Sheyra to her own body I'm more then happy to let them, Mystara knows we need the aid."

    The necromancer paused then and his eyes glittered for a moment as they swept around those who were assembled against him and Elthan, feeling a twinge of regret. Its not like they were doing this for fun, each of them had a legitimate reason for their actions, but that didn't mean that he still didn't feel sorry for them. How couldn't he? About fifteen years ago and he would have done the same thing. But that didn't mean he didn't know better know. It might be some hard work, but he wasn't ready to give up on Elthan yet. Especially since there was still a very good chance of getting him back to the right of things.
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    Khazrael

    Callos's bold protest deeply infuriates him, though he doesn't stop to think of why that might be the case.

    "Here's an ultimatum. How about we let Lumpy here pop his head off and we can 'try to ressurect him' the minute we run into a priest and happen to have a king's ransom in gold on us? Would that work for you?"

    He thumbs his nose and sneers, his full lips peeling back to reveal overly sharp teeth.

    "You're saving him if you let him go, Callos. I can't trust him not to stab me in the eye while I sleep or blast me with a fireball during a fight. He's a liability and the risk just isn't worth it."

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    Elthan

    Elthan stares down at the floor once more, dazed by the flurry of all too similar judgments. Why could they not see what he was doing? Why were they so focused on the minor consequences of his actions without seeing the entire picture? Certainly, there is a risk that losing a man on the front line of the fight might not be made up by what advancements in study he makes, but could they not see he was doing it for them?

    "Khazrael," he says with his face still down, "I have no intention of excusing myself, or believe I can make you trust me for the short period you have traveled with us, but were we not heading to none other than a king? Did you believe that there could be no other positive attribute to rendering our message and aid to him than only stopping Sethra's front, that we could ask no favor?" Elthan looks up, clearly focused in question. He needs to make his point quick and clear.

    "Comrades, I accept all the consequences because I know I can make the positive outweigh the negative. All that I have done I take only onto my shoulders so that you may receive the benefits. I want to see us stop Sethra at all cost of my own. There is no method I see not valid in achieving this goal, providing I continue to do my best not to allow any more of you to be further affected by my actions. I will gladly sacrifice any part of myself to bring this to an end.

    "I cannot do much to reassure your trust in me, but if you look in my pack, you will find three books. In those is everything I have learned of the Shadow Weave. I have not changed by choosing this path, as those books will show. There is nothing but facts within."


    Elthan points outside, to where his pack has been left in the snow. It is not too much of a stretch to suppose there is some arcane tome within.

    (OOC: Plain black was getting hard to distinguish, so I picked a text. Also, I will post those books in the PC thread for those who decide to read them)
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  22. - Top - End - #292
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    Achkby, Halfling Sorcerer

    "Dammit!" spits Achkby suddenly, and steps into the tower. "Wow is it cold out there."

    "Elthan, you are wombatting stupid. Don't argue that, I don't know how you could think pulling on the shadow was a good idea. Callos, you've been a wombatting idiot too. You let him do that? In all honesty, this makes me question you more than Elthan."

    Achkby is uncharacteristically coherent now, and though he's had some time to think things over, the conviction in his voice is still remarkable.

    "I know spoon about religion, but I understand the weave as well as Callos, though in a different way. No two mages accesses it in the same way. He's been talking about it as if it's a body. That's a popular explanation, but I can tell you it's a different truth than I know.

    "Anyone in touch with the weave, though, can tell you the shadow is dangerous. You can always feel it there, its presence better defined as you master more and more magicks. But it's never a friendly presence. Very little can drive a magician to reach into it. Which is why I still trust Elthan. He must have been desperate to tempt its creator's wrath. She is the purest evil, and any mage can feel it. I've met many despicable arcanists, and not a sane one of them has tried to manipulate its power. You always, always lose more than you gain. The Dark Mistress doesn't gamble.

    "We need every capable body we can in this fight. I never expected myself to be saying this, but as a group, it's our duty to protect each other. Not just against Sethra and his scions, but from ourselves, too. This journey has been hard on us all. Some of us have died. None of us is the same as when we set out. Callos has lost his brother. Lissa, when I met you, I would have laughed at the idea of you trying to lynch a comrade. I didn't think anything could make such a positive, kindhearted person hurl such vicious threats.

    "Elthan tried to beat the system. He tried to escape the grinding journey that's been wearing us all down. To find a way around the struggle that's seemed utterly impossible to me more than a few times -- and I don't give up easily. He reached outside of everything anyone had considered for a way to win. While I almost admire that, it was still the stupidest thing he could have done.

    "His attempt cost us Evendur, a great man whom we admire above all for his dedication and loyalty. I blame all of us for that, for not knowing what was going on in our own midst. For letting Elthan go far enough that he would try to trade away an ally's life.

    "But he did it becuase of his dedication and his loyalty to this group and its goals. We cannot afford to lose two of the most selfless people here. We are burning those books on the campfire tonight, but Elthan deserves, and needs, to stay.
    "

    As he delivers his speech, Achkby seems almost detached from the entire conference. To him, the pressure in the room is palpable, the animosity of his friends rebounding and magnifying off the anti-weave walls that enclose them. Does it threaten him personally, or does everyone feel this way? Does he support Elthan so fervently because of his own loyalty and conviction? Or because he fears what might happen to him?
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  23. - Top - End - #293
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    Khazrael

    He spits on the ground and mutters abyssal curses that hiss and smoke in the air, but says nothing more. The knife returns to his belt and he trudges up the stairs, turning his energy instead to figuring out what kind of place this is.

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    Lissa

    The betrayal and hurt in Lissa's eyes as Achkby supports Elthan is almost palpable in the air. She remains silent for a long moment, crossbow still pointed at Elthan's chest. Finally she speaks in a low, hoarse voice.

    "The elders were right. Gods help me, they were right. I was a blind idiot to trust any of you." They told me. I violated the Rule of Trust- never trust anyone outside family and faith- and sure enough, it's come back to bite me on the bum. Lissa takes a deep breath, her expression becoming remote. And I violated the Rule of Combat; never strike from the front unless you have to. Hells, I thought Elthan at least deserved to know who was killing him and why... he used to be a friend...

    She finally lowers the crossbow, pointing it at the ground. "Well. I know my limits. I might be able to take two hostile mages, but not three. So unless someone's willing to help out-" the gnome glances at Lumpy, Katrin, Khazrael and Adalmar- "I suppose you leave me no choice."

    For now, at least.

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    Callos

    "Now hold on one bloomin' second here. I don't need you defending my Ackby...or being called an idiot by you either. I didn't let anything happen. It was already happening, I think so anyway, when he told me about. I just tried to make sure he didn't do something stupid while taking his cosmic shortcut or something he'd regret and we all see how well that turned out. Hells, I didn't even know he was planning some kind of ritual and if I had I would have stopped him then." Irritation replaced the cold anger on his face as he turned to look at Lissa...then back to Ackby. Ah hell. This couldn't possibly be happening. Not now at least.

    With a sigh and roll of his eyes he looked at Ackby then to Lissa again and shook his head. "And as wonderful as it is to see you finally arguing against the majority when your views conflict with theirs, I truly think you should simply shut up for the moment and think about what you just said. You've given your piece and some very interesting insight but...uh..yeah. Probably shouldn't have...or at least not as vocally. I mean...that was very reasonable but being reasonable isn't exactly something we're using at the moment and if they do decide to attack Elthan and I anyway, despite being informed as to the truth, you shouldn't get involved. They'll still need an arcanist after all."
    Warriors & Wuxia: A community world-building project focused on low-magic wuxia/kung-fu action using ToB.

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    Achkby, Halfling Sorcerer

    Achkby is crestfallen. Still, he leaves his arms crossed on his chest, not moving from his position just inside the door.

    "I'm not fighting anyone. It isn't worth it. I'll trudge on through the snow by myself before I fight any one of you. That's what I'm saying."

    As an afterthought, he adds, "Though if you're really convinced that he's tied into the shadow weave, you'd best not try to execute him in here."
    DON'T PANIC
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  27. - Top - End - #297
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    Khazrael

    Khazrael's low voice echoes in Lissa's ear. His tone is comforting, and she realizes he's magically communicating with her.

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    "I never really knew Evendur, but he saved our lives when that troll had us. I know we owe him a lot, but remember that Elthan fought for us, too...and remember that if we don't make it to our goal in time, many more will die. I don't feel like it's my decision whether he lives or dies, but can you at least wait until we get where we're going?"


    His voice is thin. He clearly doesn't know what to do and almost seems to be asking Lissa for guidance, rather than giving it himself. He stands on the stairwell, half in the darkness, and waits.

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    Default Re: The Necromancer's Pact VIII: The Rising Tide

    Lissa

    Shifting her crossbow to one hand, Lissa bows her head and scrubs a hand across her face with the other, shoulders quivering slightly. Conveniently for her and Khazrael, this hides her mouth fairly well for a few moments.

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    "I'm patient. Take late night watch with me?"


    After a bit, Lissa stands up straight again, puts the safety back on her crossbow and slings it over her back, all with that remote expression so alien to the Lissa everyone's come to know. "Let's get on with it, then. The night's not getting any younger and we have yet to scout the entire tower for potential threats." Even her voice is flat.


    OOC: Skill check PMed to Dr. Bob.

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    Khazrael

    A cough and a nod signals his agreement to Lissa, his face brought into the light as he takes a seat on the stairs.

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    Adalmar

    His fingers are running involuntarily along the length of the bow, the feel of wood reassuring. His body, at first stiff against the wall, is now slouching.

    He has always trusted he could see far ahead. No doubt this man, this murderer, is fooling himself. Whatever power he has acquired is no justification for his deed. The old mage, the one who thinks he is in control, is driven by something else. But he is no less wrong, blinded by his vaunted knowledge. The little man is perhaps the one who makes the most sense, but Adalmar can't bring himself to accept the coin of his trust - after all, the others know the half-elf just as well and think differently. That leaves the elf, fleeing responsibility up the stairs ; the half-orc, hungry for blood ; the drow priest, quiet statue ; the woman, a mystery. Khazrael, changing his mind - a wildfire. Or lightning. And cheery Lissa, who has turned to ice. Winged Tiriel, who still observes the scene and hasn't made her move.

    Oh, he knows he is harsh with them, but for once it is proving easier than being harsh with himself. He had thought to find some solace here, for they share the same goal, but he has been deceiving himself. No, mostly they have deceived him.

    He could reach out to Lissa, but not support her. He couldn't make that Elthan open his eyes and see. In this arena of words, he has little power.

    Leaning against the wall, Adalmar thinks dark thoughts, until he reaches their logical conclusion.
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