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  1. - Top - End - #1141
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Livina also finds she cannot move.
    The Illithid steps forward, trying to hit Lucci's head with its four tentacles. But her magical armour protects her... except from the last blow.
    The tentacle sticks to her head.
    Unable to resist, Lucci and Livina can only watch in horror as the Illithid attaches its other tentacles to Lucci's head. Her last memory is the sound of clashing metal from far away, as Krashnix fights Tharok, stopping him from rescuing her.
    Then her brain is pulled out of her head in a spray of gore, and devoured by the inhuman beast. Her lifeless corpse falls to the floor.
    The Illithid steps to the right, and tries to attach its tentacles to Livina's head. She doesn't even have magical armour to protect her.
    The creature attaches two of its tentacles to her head, keeping her still while it attaches the other two on to it. She can feel that she's so close to being able to move again. Out of the corner of her eye she can see Tharok running through the ruins towards her.
    But its too late. With a crunch and a spray of blood, her brain is pulled out too into the creature's mouth.

  2. - Top - End - #1142
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Orin eventually manages to throw off the mental damage, and move again. He looks around. There is no sign of any of the others, except for dead Rego and the mule. Then, out of the ruins, walks slowly Tharok, carrying the corpses of Lucci and Livina. I'm sorry, Orin... I couldn't get to them in time. He puts the two corpses down on the floor, carefully. Krashnix got in the way, and in my rage I cut him down... I'm sorry, but all your friends are dead.

  3. - Top - End - #1143
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy_G View Post
    Krashnix got in the way, and in my rage I cut him down... I'm sorry, but all your friends are dead.
    Orin seems to have trouble shaking off the confusion from the mental assault he suffered.

    Looking around blankly, it takes him several moments to fully realize what Tharok just said.

    "Dead? All of them? Krashnix too?"

    Orin keeps staring blankly ahead for a bit longer.

    "That was an .. Illithid, wasn't it... Mindflayer they called them. More like mind-eater."

    Then he blinks and says "I disbelieve!"

    Orin looks around expectantly, head tilted slightly.

    Nothing changes.

    "Oh well, it was worth a try..."

    "Right then. Tharok, you are from around these parts, aren't you? Do you happen to know how far we have to travel to reach a medium sized city?"

    Looking over the carnage surrounding him, Orin mutters "Just how much of the bodies do they need for a resurrection anyway..."

    Orin ponders asking Tharok to brave the underground maze with him. But it would take only one more of these .. things .. to end them both...

    "Oh by the way, are you hurt? I don't expect Sir Krashnix went down without a fight?"

    Lycar
    Last edited by Lycar; 2008-04-04 at 01:23 PM.
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  4. - Top - End - #1144
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Tharok is obviously wounded, with various burn marks and bruises.
    I'm from far to the south-east. I don't know any of the geography around here.
    Last edited by Ozzy_G; 2008-04-05 at 01:48 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #1145
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Orin

    Orin takes a closer look at Tharok and notices his various injuries.

    ".. didn't think so. Well, it would seem you could use some healing. Come on let's see if we can do something about that."

    (All right. Is it okay to give away the fact that i can heal people. Hrm. Maybe.)

    Orin ponders for a moment.

    "Tharok, there is something that i have to ask from you. You see, the power to heal, be it wounds or sicknes, has always been the provence of the divine, the holy, the pious. But in the Davethran empire of old, the clergy was empowered by a demon god. While he could grant the power to heal to his priests, he hardly did. On the other hand, our nobility was actually bred for magic power."

    Orin sighs and waves a hand at the dead mindflayer. "You see, in order to defeat these.. things, emperor Vellan Zere struck a deal with a demon: Worship and sacrifices for the power to put an end to their nightmare tyranny. Only with the power of magic granted by that unholy pact, Zere and his allies were able to destroy the mindflayers and drive them into oblivion. Well, obscurity rather then oblivion i'm afraid."

    "Still, knowing full well that our people would only ever have a chance to maintain their freedom, he set about to make sure that our elite, our ruling class of nobles, would strengthen their blood with that of beings known for power. Dragons for example."

    "To this very day, many nobles bear the signs of their non-human ancestors. Patches of scaly skin for example. But try as they might, the power of magic only ever covered what the layman would expect from a wizard or sorceror: Control of the elements to burn your enemies, call lightning from the sky, teleport, such things. But healing... curing... making things better... that still only those with a connection to the divine could do."

    Orin fidgets around a bit as if debating whether he should let Tharok in on a very personal secret.

    "Except of course, magic is .. chaotic.. and sometimes... sometimes things happen that defie the rules. For example, children of mages that are born with the power to heal."

    Looking up and directly into Tharok's eyes, Orin goes on "Of course the priests of Gothul made sure that these were prime choices for sacrifices to the demon god. Their jealousy and cruelty knows no bounds, even now, or maybe even more so, that Gothul is dead. So i absolutely HAVE to ask of you to keep this a secret. For my life depends on it. And i know you will. For you are a good man at heart. You did not hesistate to charge the tentacles of doom to save the life of a man you didn't even know. For you did not abandon us in our time of need. And now hold still, so i can repay at least a small bit of the debt i owe you Tharok."

    And so Orin goes on to touch Tharok's arm and let his magic flow into the barbarian.

    Spoiler
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    Stepping back again, Orin examines Tharok closely to judge the fruits of his efforts (maybe he needs more healing).

    "Well, that should take care of the burns at least. Now i have to ask you something."

    Taking a deep breath to get a second to order his thoughts, Orin continues to speak "Tharok, these people i travelled with and who are now dead before us, they were not my friends. Not by any serious meaning of the word. We were just strangers, our fates thrown together by chance and happenstance. And even though you just stumbled upon us in the empty space of the plains, even though our lives and fates could as well mean as little to you as the cold light of a passing star at the sky, you, Tharok, you travelled with us, fought with us, shared our pain and panic and even saved us from total destruction."

    "Your example showed me, the born coward, to shake off the fear and face my destiny and you showed me what is right and proper to do."

    With a sweeping gesture of his arm, Orin idicated the corpses of his fallen comapnions. "These people may have been strangers but i owe it to them, i owe it to myself and i owe it to you to do whatever i shall find myself capable of to bring them back to the temple of Isana, where maybe, just maybe, her priests might be willing and capable to bring them back to live."

    "It is a bit ironic seeing that we set out to explose the dwaven king's tomb to gain the riches required to raise people we do call friends from death's dark embrace."

    "And now i have to ask you. Are you willing to help me, Tharok? Are you willing to brave these dark tunnels, even if they might be filled with more of these monsters, even if it might mean we end up like Lucidae and Livina and Rego, even if it means that the tale of our lives will never be sung about but forever lost in obscurity? Will you help me carry them back? Maybe we cannot even carry all their corpses... maybe... maybe the priests can raise them if we just bring them back.. mostly intact. Oh the horror of even having to contemplate such a ghoulish course of action!"

    "But i am not willing to leave them behind to the vultures, to abandom them in their time of need. I can only hope that you can find it in your heart to help them once again. Will you brave the mindflayers maze with me? For down in these dark tunnels lies an ancient portal, linked to a set of ruins on the other side of the Bitter Sea, just an hours walk or so from Halgarth in Qusa."

    Orin looks at Tharok, pleading.

    Lycar
    Last edited by Lycar; 2008-04-05 at 07:28 PM.
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
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    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  6. - Top - End - #1146
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Tharok listens carefully as Orin speaks, and heals him. Now that the magic has mended his flesh, he looks in peak health once more. I will help you Orin. I am not scared of monsters. He pats his axe. I know how to deal with them. If it's possible for your tribe's shamans to bring these other people back to life, then we must try. And I won't tell anyone your secret, though I don't really understand. The ways of you westerners are strange. He shrugs. So, how will we carry all the bodies?

  7. - Top - End - #1147
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Orin

    Orin breathes a sigh of relief.

    "Thank you Tharok, this means a lot to me. As for the bodies.. well.. we can't carry them all without the mule obviously. But as far as i know, bringing back their heads ought to suffice for an adequatly powerful priest. So... "

    Orin shoots a glance at Tharoks axe for a moment.

    "Also we will have to try and carry as much wealth with us as possible, to make donations to the goddess and convince her priests of the rightfulnes of our cause. Actually we should try to utilize as much of the magic we can for our trip through the underworld, to increase our chances. If you would be so good and ... take care of collecting our fallen friends heads, i shall see to it that we take all the magic items and as much platin as we can reasonably carry with us."

    Lycar
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  8. - Top - End - #1148
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Orin opens the box and looks inside. There are many platinum coins inside, together they'll be very heavy.
    The coins are well-made, but strange. On one side is a picture of a tower. On the other is an image of a large eye. Around the bottom are runes in a language Orin places as Celestial.
    Lucci only has on her the hat that allows her to shift shape. Now that she is dead, you can clearly see her pointed elf ears and strange, triangular face. The hat however, is covered in blood.
    Livina has a whole load of rings and amulets. Krashnix, once Tharok drags his body back, has a shield, the armour the snake-priest was wearing, heavy stuff indeed, and his mace, as well as his old breastplate in his backpack.
    Orin piles all the magic stuff up in a pile, and casts a simple cantrip. He can see that some of Livina's rings are just normal rings, but others are magic. She has magical boots set with coiled designs, a magical steel amulet tied with hemp cord, a backpack containing some lockpicks, a slightly singed magic vest, a waterskin, a wooden flute, some rope, some extra clothes, a magic heavy mace, which you know is enchanted with acid as you've seen her use it, a magic mace marked with cruel barbs which she got from the snake-priest, the magic scourge from the other priest, a magic ring marked with a cobra hood, a simple non-magical black onyx band, a simple non-magical jade band, some magic gloves of black leather, marked on the knuckles with catseye gems, a magic silver headband with silver skulls, a magic ring with a golden death's head, a magic Amulet, which is amber, some magic bracers, and a non-magical silver ring.

    Looking at Tharok, Orin can see that he has a breastplate made of mithril marked with powerful-looking runes, a mighty greatsword also covered in runes, and a belt of strange-looking leather that again has runes marked on it.
    Last edited by Ozzy_G; 2008-04-06 at 06:49 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #1149
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Orin

    And such Orin goes through the somber task of dividing up the gear of his fallen comrades.

    Taking some of the equipment to wear himself, he decides that Tharok should also use some of the magic itmes, to increase their combined chances at survival.

    While Orin hopes that, maybe, they can pay for most resurrections with the loot they conquered, it will be probably be neccessary to sell some of their earstwhile posessions too.

    At least Tharok looks like he can carry a lot.

    "Very well, that is all i can carry. Here, wear these items yourself. I have no idea what they do but every little bit should help. On and just how much of the rest can you carry ?"

    "Please take as much as you can. I suppose we must leave behind the heavy suit of armour. But if you can bring Sir Krashnix old armour, i think he and the church of Isana will be grateful."

    Lycar
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  10. - Top - End - #1150
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Tharok nods, and you divvy up the items between you. Tharok is carrying most of the stuff, but Orin has the heads, which are fairly heavy. And smelly.
    You light torches, and head into the tunnels. You walk down the first tunnel, and down the stairs. At the bottom are a couple of corpses, scorched to death, presumably by Lucci's fireball. You carry on into the room where the sacrifice would have occurred, and then onwards down the corridor, past the rotted bodies of the cultists you killed before. They look like they've been dead about a week. Finally you get to the room with the portal. But on the floor are two corpses of cultists you don't recognise, with their brains removed. In front of them is the flickering portal. But you remember it being dark when you went through it before, and now it is a much lighter shade. Odd. This is the portal, then? asks Tharok. Do we just go through it, or do you have to talk to the spirits first?

  11. - Top - End - #1151
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy_G View Post
    Tharok nods, and you divvy up the items between you. Tharok is carrying most of the stuff, but Orin has the heads, which are fairly heavy. And smelly.
    Orin doesn't really mind the stench of the severed heads. Much. But given that he has seen worse (albeit thankfully always only briefly), he can manage for now.

    Checking his gear one last time and shifting around the straps of his backpack, so that they don't cut into his shoulders, Orin tries to banish his fears.

    (... maybe it was just one mind flayer... yeah... maybe it did eat the brains of the corpses of the snake cultist's sacrifices or something...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy_G View Post
    You light torches, and head into the tunnels. You walk down the first tunnel, and down the stairs. At the bottom are a couple of corpses, scorched to death, presumably by Lucci's fireball. You carry on into the room where the sacrifice would have occurred, and then onwards down the corridor, past the rotted bodies of the cultists you killed before. They look like they've been dead about a week. Finally you get to the room with the portal.
    (Look at that. We must have lost... 4 or 5 days to that damn fog. Oh well, it is only an hour or so walk to Halgarth once out of the other ruin.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozzy_G View Post
    But on the floor are two corpses of cultists you don't recognise, with their brains removed. In front of them is the flickering portal. But you remember it being dark when you went through it before, and now it is a much lighter shade. Odd. This is the portal, then? asks Tharok. Do we just go through it, or do you have to talk to the spirits first?
    Orin stops dead in his tracks, as if struck by lightning, trembling and turning ash white as both blood and hope drain from his face.

    (... so that is where the thing came fom then? Why could it just not have been easy even once... what are the chances that this thing even leads to the old ruins. And what are the chances that over there lies a lair full of these things? I could make myself invisible and take a peek... and get myself killed. And Tharok. And screw up any chance Rego or Livina have at being raised. And more important: Screw up any chance at warning people. No. Sorry Rego, you have to wait. This is too important to risk just for the sake of my self esteem.)

    (To be continued after i come back from work)

    Lycar
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  12. - Top - End - #1152
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Um, Orin? Tharok leans forward. Are you okay?
    He steps forward... and sticks his head into the portal. For a moment, he stands there, his headless body leaning into the shimmering. Then he pulls his head out.
    Looks like more of these strange tunnels on that side. Are all western buildings like this? There's a big whole in the ceiling on that side though, and you can see the sunshine coming through.
    Last edited by Ozzy_G; 2008-04-08 at 08:50 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #1153
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Orin had almost recollected himself when Tharok stuck his head through the portal.

    His heart skipped a beat and he fully expected to watch Tharoks corpse fall down backwards, his de-brained head smash on the stone floor and burst like an overripe....

    Quickly shaking off the image, Orin speaks up.

    "We need to go. Now! I'll explain while we move."

    Orin quickly turns to stiffly walk back the way the came. The straps of the backpack cut deeply into his shoulders and he has only been wearing it for a couple of minutes now.

    "These are not western ruins, these are Illithid ruins. Mind Flayer. The fiends that have been enslaving mankind and dwarves alike for millenia. It was them who built these insane twisted tunnels and it was them who crafted these portals. We came here through a portal in a similar set of ruins near the Qsan city of Halgarth."

    Orin looks over his shoulder to make sure that Tharok is following before he continues.

    "When we first came through, the portal was not shimmering, so it has been manipulated. The only ones who know how these things work are the Mind Flayers. You have seen what happened to us when we met but one of them. Whereever this gate leads now, it is not the Halgarth ruins. You confirmed that since those ruins did not have a hole in the ceiling. So whereever it leads now, there are almost certainly going to be more Mind Flayers. If we go there, we die. Not gloriously, fighting overwhelming odds to save mankind from enslavement but ... like cattle."

    "Listen closely Tharok: When Vellan Zere struck the deal with the demon god Gothul, he meant to destroy the Illithis scourge once and for all. But obviously he did not destroy them all. Apparently a few managed to escape destruction. What if they are hiding and multiplying deep inside their old cities? What if they are just building their strength to reclaim their lost empire? What if they, at the same time we talk here, plan to conquer a weakened and fractured humanity?"

    "Tharok, i promised myself i would do my utmost to bring peace and unity back to my people. I promised myself i would do whatever i can to bring back my fallen friends. But if we go through this portal and die, just because *i* am desperate to get one thing done right in my life, then i will be responsible for blowing the one chance humanity may have to learn about the threat looming over all of us before the Mind Flayers launch their assault."

    "No Tharok, as much as i want to honour the debt i owe you and my friends, duty demands that i warn the people of this world first and foremost. We are somewhere east of the bitter sea. So we must head due west as soon as we get topside. Er no, we must pick up the rations we left behind first. I don't know how many days we must travel before we reach civilisation again."

    Orin seems to be quite depressed. If Tharok could see his face now, he might even spot the single tear rolling down his cheek.

    "May fate have mercy on us all..."

    Trying to reach inside his reserve of optimism, Orin finds himself scraping the bottom of the barrel. The ordeals of the day left him weary and exhausted, not physically but both mentally and spiritually. He probably could not bring himself to launch one of his captivating speeches, even if his life would depend on it. So instead he just marches on, trying to ignore the pain in his shoulders and hoping that the barbarian will understand that this one time, his self-preservation instinct is actually in agreement with his sense of duty.

    Lycar
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

  14. - Top - End - #1154
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    Default Re: Age of Ruin IC: When all your friends are dead

    Tharok shrugs his shoulders, and follows. As you walk up the path however, he suddenly stops, and falls to his knees.
    Ah! He clutches his head in his hands. The vision I seek... he tenses up, his eyes staring blankly ahead. A small moan escapes his lips. I see... the spirits... it rises in the north... go through the portal and you will find your friends... Orin Stillwater has slain the one who calls himself Emperor... the dog that bit its master is dead... the Demon-God arises... he seeks order but not justice... ah!
    Tharok collapses on the floor.

  15. - Top - End - #1155
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    Orin whirls around alarmed as Tharok is seized by his vision.

    (What is that?! The Mind Flayers?! They are coming for us! ... No wait... a vision?)

    Fighting down his panik momentarily, Orin concentrates on listening to Tharoks words.

    When he finally collapses, Orin stares down at the barbarian blankly for a few moments, trying to make sense of what he just heard.

    (... a vision? Is it even possible? Or just an especially cruel and inventive Illithid toying with us. But... )

    Orin considers. He all too well remembers the last 'prophecy' he had to deal with. Azakan...

    "Azakan you fool! Of couse i wanted to 'betray them all'! They wanted to bring the artifact to one of their petty archmage masters! And i would have given it to you, if only i had the chance!"

    Taking a deep breath, Orin ponders. (All right, let's see, what is this supposed to mean. Orin Stillwater killed the dog. That is not me. The other me. The.. er.. employee of the otherworld 'ministry for peace' (eternal dept.). Could it be he actually managed to kill Ravan Zere? This should be good news shouldn't it? And the Mind Flayers... well... it is not impossible that they are... aw come on now, now you're just being paranoid! Let's see. Go through the portal. Yeah right. Unless... 'you will find your friends there'. But my freinds are dead. So... if going through gets me killed i'll meet my friends all right. Ha! But what is that about the demon god rising? What demon god? 'He seeks order but not justice'. What did i read in that old book? 'Justice without Mercy is Cruelty, Freedom without (self)Restraint is Anarchy, Order without Change is Calcification, Change without Form is Madnes.' Yes, that was a strange book. Especially for a 6-year old.)

    Orin scratches his head.

    Then he makes a decision.

    A decision his sense of self-preservation doesn't like.

    Checking to see that Tharok is all right, Orin settles down beside him and waits for the man to come around again.

    When he does, Orin thus speaks.

    "Tharok? Are you all right? You had a vision. A ... strange vision. I must assume, you cannot make heads or tails of it. But for me it does make sense."

    "Bottom line: For all my life i have been living in impotence. Dreaming of a better world, dreaming was all i could ever do. Then fate conspires to throw me into a situation where i *might* have made a difference, had i not been so passive and indecisive and, frankly, cowardly.

    But someone of faith and conviction acted insted and thus forever changed the course of our world. If for better or for worse, that yet remains to be seen but change it he did. With a simple but brave gesture one man did.. or as the case may be, undid, what could have put the fate of our world into the hands of just one man.
    "

    "Now your vision tells me to go through the portal and north to meet my destiny. Now i have to make a ... leap of faith. For all i know, going through this portal could get me killed. Or, on a very off chance, this might be my one chance to make a difference in the world. Dare i refuse it? I think not."

    Orin gets up and offers his own small hand to the much bigger man to help him up.

    "I know i must appear to you like a headless chicken, running to and fro without any sense. But that just goes to show: I like to act instead of sitting on my behind, contemplating my navel while the world around acts without me. Come on. Destiny awaits us both."

    (... even if it's just the destiny of being cruelly taunted by the Mind Flayers how we soo screwed up warning mankind about them before they suck out our brains... but then again, if this IS a Mind Flayer trap... heh, they almost deserve the victory. 10 out of 10 for style there..)

    And so, Orin boldly goes where he never went before (and preferably while his sense of self-preservation is still paralized).

    Stopping right in front of the portal, Orin takes a last breath.

    "Although no-one will ever hear these words, i would like to point out that usually, 'well meant' is the polar opposite of 'well done'. But sometimes... sometimes you do something because you wholeheartely believe it to be the right thing to do... and end up doing it right. Let's hope that here is one of those."

    And Orin steps through the portal.

    Lycar
    "I don't function in society. I'm a mercenary. I blow society up."

    Cpl. Shore Pibald, Schlock Mercenary.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    ... Music ... causes Bards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Bah. Lycar is absolutely right.

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