Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
Tare frowned to himself, only because he knew that he could safely. They do not speak? The indecipherable sign-language (or effectively so) did complicate things... though perhaps, he dared to pray, not hopelessly. The predatory growl that purred across his lips in 'reaction' to the maiden's gestures was only enhanced by the genuine frustration that he allowed to seep into it-- though his came from an entirely different source than that of his imagined persona, whose full attention, he reminded himself, was demanded now. When Brown appeared he remained mostly quiet, waiting as the two argued and then remaining indifferently unresponsive to Brown's brief greeting. When the door was opened for him he did move forward, however. He kept his breathing audible, and permitted the soles of his feet to make the barest of sounds against the flooring in order to give the maidens some trust in his location. All the better to betray later.
As he entered the room, Tare looked around quickly to see if anything had changed since he viewed it last. Also, nearly subconsciously, he ascertained the presence (or lack) of windows or balconies, and whether or not they would be viable exit points. Stopping at the foot of the bed, he turned to the two masked woman things behind him and, remaining cautious of the uninformed Black who could potentially react adversely to the unexpected appearance of a voice in the room, made a noise as if to speak. The sound at first came out harshly, a growled hiss in the back of his throat, but was sharply cut off by a jumbled clearing of his throat; the noise was evocative of a speaker unused and uncomfortable with speaking in words, and whose irritation with which was not opposed to the idea of finding a subject upon which to vent itself. "We have explicit orders from the First Talon, I should hardly have to remind you," He spoke, his voice smoothening out some and becoming a more natural purr. "The mortal woman is not to be harmed in any way, she must be spotless." He almost chuckled, but pretended to hide it. "Tell me, was our... new guest damaged? In any way?" He asked the question in Brown's direction, relying on tone and veiled intent to supply that it was indeed to the apparent leader of the three to whom the question was directed. Tare watched very closely for Red's reaction, both to his question and to Brown's answer to determine the content of the reply, whether the outrage of betrayal or the grudging relief of being protected by someone hated.
Deo Soli Sit Semper Gloria
Originally Posted by Innis Cabal
Its offical. Overwilliam is Duke Devlin.
Last edited by OverWilliam : 05-04-2009 at 08:44 AM.
“Come on old man, give those weary bones a rest! I don’t know what the higher-ups are thinking, sending us out to kill people locked away in Ironheart. Seemed like kind of a waste to me, although now I guess I’m not so sure. Think our targets were responsible for all of this?”
Listening to Vash Ardraket shook his head, relaxing slightly but still keeping himself at the ready.
“I doubt that they were responsible. Based on what I have seen it looks more like an attack on the prison rather than an explosive escape attempt. As for my target, let me know if see mention of a prisoner with copper-red hair, blue eyes and three parallel scars running down the left side of his face.”
Not taking the example of the younger (and more likely to die sooner) assassin Ardraket looks around the room for anything else that may be of interest, while keeping an eye on the young fool. A fool he may be but still possibly useful.
“Tell me of your target. Maybe that might shed some light on why two of us were here instead of just one.”
__________________ My DM Reputation
Originally Posted by Inspectre
I'm good at making you fear the unknown. Pwenet is good at making you fear the known, which had been the unknown five minutes before he pushed you off screaming into the abyss.
Originally Posted by Kalirren
I'm feeling this real hard now.
Curse you, Pwenet. Curse you.... You had my hopes up there...
Gazrul watches as the elf gets up and draws his two swords. "That's much better. Fight with honor. Now if only your comrades would do the same..."
As the elf leaps wordlessly at him, Gazrul falls for the feint and blocks low with his shield, only to give a bark of surprise as he recieves a glancing cut to the face. The elf falls on top of him, and both hit the ground with a rather unpleasant crunch. Gazrul makes an attempt to bite at the elf.
[Should such a measure succeed]
As the elf winces with pain, Gazrul takes the hilt of sword and cuffs him on the head, hoping to knock him unconscious.
[Should THAT succeed]
Gazrul shoves the elf off of him, and charges at an archer on the ground. His shield is raised in front of him, and he moves from cover to cover to avoid the arrows.
Fear overtook Ruya as the compulsion forced her to release the pendant, then drove her back against the wall. Varlest looked down at her, ranting on about his vengeance, as she struggled to bring the pendant’s engravings to view in her mind. She began to whisper the words carved on the petals, starting from near the end.
Varlest paused in his rant, seeing that Ruya had her eyes pressed tightly shut, her lips mouthing words. “Scared? It’s just like the first time we met. That must be what happened to your friends, isn’t it? You got them killed, too, didn’t you, just like that first batch!” Ruya ignored his baiting, concentrating on the last few words. “Non sinc rissente, temesa duest. Non sinc rissente, oreya duest.” Her eyes opened, focusing not on Varlest, but on the pendant, sitting in the middle of the circle, still visible. The last words she said were clearly audible. “Non sinc rissente, leyra duest.”
Assuming that he reacts as Ruya expects and doesn’t kill/silence her out of hand
Varlest spun reflexively, ready to shield himself. Innocuously sitting in the middle of the circle, the pendant flickered faintly as its magic responded to the few lines Ruya had spoken, but it otherwise did nothing. Still, the flow of magic in it was enough to distract Varlest for a crucial moment, and Ruya took advantage. Calling a bolt of lightning, she shattered the floor beneath her, dropping a story into the room below. Drawing her dagger as her leg gave a sharp protest at the sudden impact, she fired a second bolt upward, using the spell in the dagger to aim. The floor under the pendant shattered, sending it dropping as well. She ran forward desperately as she heard Varlest leap down after her, trying to catch and actually trigger the pendant's magic before the vampire could stop her.
Here were men who hung around in black robes at night on graveyards in the service of a vampire, but him they called a monster.
Scruff howled as they approached the eerie glow, and Hans tried to console the creature. He held him close in his cold arms, and whispered in his ears.
"It will all be over soon. This is just one stop along a winding road. I do not wish to be here, but these people have asked for our help. They are the first kind faces I've seen in a long time, though they are not quite what you'd expect. Still, I should be the last to judge on appearances"
Hans looked up at the cultists. He'd long ago learnt not to trust these characters. They thought him a monster, yet they did not act. They had invited him to follow. Only misery could await them up that hill. Hans' stubby fingers fumbled in his coat, finally carefully retrieving a vail. A smokebomb. It had never proved particularly useful to himself, but he was willing to bet the vampire wouldn't mind such tactics. He looked like the agile type. Hans kept the smokebomb under the folds of his coat and awaited the right time.
Avatar by the illustrious Dr. Bath.
The essence of a riddle is that it states facts by means of a combination of impossibilities~Aristoteles
Korram nods his head and accepts the angry rebuke. He is in no position to argue; his mistakes with Katrina were some of his gravest, and he is now ready to accept the consequences for them. Nevertheless, despite his resolve, they are still painful to him.
"From the day I was captured, it took eight days to reach Ironheart. I stayed there without seeing the light of day for eight years, and was released just a day or two ago."
His solemn words provoke no response from his daughter, and she simply releases a hail of questions, giving him no opportunity to respond until she is finished.
"Sarah. She was gentle, but not soft. When something needed doing, she wouldn't rest until it was done. She wouldn't have harmed a fly unless it threatened her or her family. I can control fire due to the elemental spirit formerly bound into my arm, which is now free in my body. When I left, I gave you into the care of old Kurt and Joanna. The last thing I said..."
His memory fails him as Korram searches for that night. It had been so painful...he couldn't remember it through the fog...and suddenly the memories come flooding back. He could smell the stew that had been cooking, and hear the clank of metal as the guards had nervously stared him down. The leader...he had been a good man, as the Baron's soldiers went. Korram remembered that he had let him say goodbye to his daughter. It had been in that moment of defeat he had first glimpsed the truth of his actions, an epiphany soon swallowed by the tortures of Ironheart. In that moment, though, he had understood. He had knelt down next to the sobbing little girl, and he had said...
Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.
"It would better if your defenses could actually repel or kill intruders" he responded snidely. He only got curious when he didn't detect any magical wards against mental probing. A person with the raw will and discipline to resist such things without aid is rare, indeed.
A meeting tonight, hm? Interesting. We could take the trouble to break his will, which would allow me to possess him so I could meet those little necromancers...but they tend to have ways of dealing with the incorporeal, Sohssal responded mentally while keeping a wary eye on Heath. He started forward as if to continue "pursuing" him, but then decided against it and returned to his previous spot.
We could also wipe his memories of the mental probing and then take our leave. The Mage Council would be easily convinced of his ties if they could send someone to witness the meeting personally. Yes, that should work as long as there's no other necromantic consorts on the council who would get involved in this, he added.
Order of the Pstick Avatar by Sneak
Ander frowns as he takes in the scene. It seemed that Karth the Purifier might not make as good of an ally as he had hoped if their interests were already conflicting over something so small.
Karth the Purifier's authority ends when it interferes with my affairs. Ander's aura flares golden as he leaps down from the ledge between the mob and the griffons. Turning toward the griffons, Ander sheathes his sword and bows before them. He approaches the juvenile first, slowly and with hands outstretched. This will hurt, but it is for your own good, he whispers. Moving quickly now, Ander begins tearing the barbed harpoons from the juvenile's sides, quickly healing the wounds over. Once the juvenile has been healed, he moves on to the mother and father. There, that should be better.
The griffons healed (but still chained), Ander draws his sword and turns back to the knight and his lackeys. I don't think I introduced myself earlier. I am Ander Windrivver, former Lord General of the Great Crusade, Fiendkiller, and last son of Fallenshire. With my voice I speak the word of Miriam and with my sword I enforce her will. Those griffons are mine, no matter what Karth thinks and I will tell him myself if I have to. Now stand aside, or die where you stand.
Mar felt a shiver of recognition run through her as the man mutters to himself. Jacob. He had been here in the dream, he'd... The name was the same, although that Jacob had looked different. This one was older, but the hair and eyes were right. The face didn't seem right, but after a moment, she realized that was only because he wasn't smiling... And the hole in the roof from her dream was right here, after all. And there was Caroline too—except that the Caroline from her dream obviously wasn't the Caroline she had met. It didn't make sense.
No, it did make sense. She just didn't want to think about it.
She tried to ignore that, along with the knot in her middle, and opened her mouth to call out. But the paralysis was worse than it had been with William and Caroline yesterday—she had no idea what to say. She remembered him, or thought she did, remembered him kissing her... How did you talk to someone like that? Even—no, especially—if it had only been in a dream? She watched as he stood in the snow, unable to take a breath for fear that he'd hear her. Only she wanted him to hear her. Now she was the one not making sense.
Finally, Jacob shook his head again, shifted as if to take a step, and Mar expelled the breath she'd been holding and stood. She wasn't sure if he would come into the barn or if he was about to walk away, but she knew she didn't want him to leave. Especially not if he had food with him, her stomach reminded her. She reached over to the door, and dragged it open, the old wood rough and splintery under her hands. Then, feeling nervous in a way that was less tangible than her usual fear, she stepped out into the snow, wings tucked behind her to try and hide them as usual. She stared at the ground around his feet, wanting but not quite daring to look this new Jacob in the eye; she settled for glancing up at his face every few seconds.
“Sarah.” Katrina repeats, lowering her head in deep thought, either in an attempt to confirm the name from her own memories or to commit the name there for eternity. Then she looks back up as you continue to answer her questions, and there is a new steely glint in her eyes. It is an unsettling sight for you, as it conjures up fears of what she must think to look at you so. Nonetheless, you manage to answer the rest of her questions thoroughly, save for the last.
When you come to trying to remember that night, your mind is at first a thick fog, which is only exacerbated by Katrina’s questioning stare. But then the fog begins to clear, and with an awful suddenness you are back in that moment. To save the village and your daughter, you had surrendered peacefully, and in return their leader had spared you a last few minutes with your daughter. It had nearly killed you as you knelt down to look into those terrified, tearful young eyes. And you had said the only thing that you could think of, the only thing that seemed appropriate – “I’m sorry”.
Theme Song (I had suggested this a long time ago in the OCC Thread. Thought I'd go back and edit it in for posterity.)
At your answer to her final question, Katrina displays an unusual reaction – she laughs. It is a short, harsh bark of a laugh that gives you only a moment to prepare for what follows. A moment later, Katrina shakes her head and speaks, her voice low but sharp as a blade.
“Yes, you really are my father, Korram Alstan, back from the dead aren’t you? And you’re sorry. Well, what are you sorry for Dad?”
As she continues, Katrina’s voice rises rapidly in volume, but does not become shrill. In fact, if anything her voice becomes lower and huskier as she pounds on the table for emphasis with each point.
“Are you sorry for abandoning me when you got dragged off to Ironheart? Or are you sorry for abandoning me long before that, the day Mom – Sarah – died!? Are you sorry for leaving me in the care of good old Kurt and Joanna, the same way you did every time you went off to wage your damnable crusade against the Baron!!? Are you sorry that you spent so little time with your own daughter that she can’t recognize your face, and has been nearly killed by imposters TWICE now!!!?”
At the height of her storm, Katrina suddenly relaxes with a snort, her voice returning to its quiet tone from earlier, but with a menacing intensity.
“But don’t apologize to me, Dad. Apologize to the people of Callaway. Apologize to all the people “you” killed over the years. Oh, I guess that wasn’t really you since you’ve been in Ironheart. Sorry, it’s rather hard for me to tell you apart from the imposters. Speaking of which, you came back to Callaway three days after you left for Ironheart.”
Here Katrina leans forward, an almost eager tone entering her voice as she continues her story.
“In the dead of night, Korram Alstan returned to Callaway. His three day trip to Ironheart certainly changed him, for he came back that night wearing a mask, and flew in on wings of midnight black. Oh, I can barely remember your face Dad, but I will never forget his, or at least the facsimile that mask provided. Him and the more mortal lads he brought with him, they came with only one purpose in mind – to slaughter those they once sought to protect. They burned, they killed, and they salted the earth so that no living thing would ever return.”
Katrina leans back into her chair again, shaking her head as if to cleanse it of the memories.
“Poor old Kurt and Joanna. They died that night by “your” own hand. I can still remember the screams outside, the orange light of the fires playing along the window sill. Kurt and Joanna were trying to get me down into the root cellar when you smashed in the door. You were certainly an imposing sight with your mask and those dark wings trailing behind you, yet Kurt still turned to fight. You knocked him to the floor with one swift kick, and then pinned him there with a sword nearly as big as you were. Then it was Joanna’s turn, and you broke her neck with your bare hands. And finally it was my turn.”
Again, Katrina snorts.
“But whether it was because you recognized me or those hands that so quickly snuffed out two lives couldn’t manage to kill a child, I was “spared”. You snatched me up, carrying me out of the house under one arm while you used your other hand to pull your weapon out of Kurt’s body. I was so terrified I didn’t even scream, which undoubtedly made it easier for you to wrap your cloak around me, hiding me from the sight of your own men as you carried me out in the forest. There you left me again, telling me to run away. When in a fit of childish anger I lashed out at your legs with my tiny fists, you backhanded me into a tree. It was morning when I finally came to.”
The anger Katrina had revealed a few minutes earlier began to resurface as she continues.
“Whatever you suffered these past eight years Dad, it was nothing compared to what I suffered. Imagine a ten year old child. She has just had her real father taken from her, who she loved despite his near-constant absence. The two other people closest to her have just been brutally killed in front of her eyes. She awakens that next cold morning totally alone in the world. Not knowing where else to go, she just barely manages to find her way back through the forest to the burnt wreckage of her home. A group of looters, filthy human vultures attracted by the news of Callaway’s demise, find her thirsty and starving several days later. Angered by finding nothing but wreckage, they are not gentle as they take the one thing of modest value they do find. And so begins the girl’s life of slavery, first to the looters but soon to a nigh-endless parade of others. Until at last she comes into his clutches. Moloch, as he calls himself. By now the girl is old enough to attract attention from his sort, but Moloch craves something else even more – fear. So he plays little games with her. His favorite is to sit on her chest while he shoves a knife down her throat far enough to trigger her gag reflex. He will only remove the knife after she has slowly and clearly asked him to do so. Were it not for the Kris, the girl’s story would likely have ended there. Instead, she is branded a murderer, then an outlaw, and finally a rebel. It is only then that she learns the full magnitude of the legacy her father has left her, a legacy that she must fight against every day not to be labeled as the same sort of monster her father is. At the same time, there are those who know, or suspect, the truth about Korram Alstan and have accorded him the status of legend despite the Baron’s best efforts. Those same people are willing to follow his daughter to the ends of the earth, believing her to be cut from the same cloth. Of course, the girl doesn’t know which stories about her father are true and which are false, which path she is supposed to follow. Nor does she care, for in the end the only concern she has is for survival. A task that grows more and more difficult with each passing day.”
Katrina jabs her finger at you as if it were one of Kris’s knives.
“So now we’re all caught up on family history, Dad. Are you satisfied now? Your daughter is alive and well. I’m afraid I can’t say the same frankly. Much like those stories about you, Dad, I don’t care whether you are the real Korram Alstan or not. *My* Korram Alstan died with my mother. So to me, you are nothing but . . . a ghost.”
All of the assembled figures present bristle at your claim, but watch closely as you leap down and approaching the griffons. Although the juvenile screeches, drawing more angrily struggles from his two parents, he eventually relents to your administering of his injuries. By the time you’ve moved on to the last of the two adults, the family seems to understand that you’re there to help and tolerate your touch.
By this point the knight has rode down to stand in front of his men, who likewise have moved, withdrawing from the griffons to stand behind him.
“Now who the devil are you to make such claims, sir!?” The knight demands as you draw your sword, and immediately give him the answer. Most of the men seems to be confused or ignorant, but a few recognize your name and are even more in quiet awe than they were before. For his part, the knight definitely seems to recognize you.
“The Lord General!? Karth would be most interested in speaking with you, sir, I am sure of it! Unfortunately, he is several days ride from here on horseback. We were to break these griffons in and take them back in order to facilitate travel. The movement is small right now, but once again it is growing under the keen direction of the Purifier. Soon we shall be ready to strike our first blows against Corruption! All hail the Cleansing Flame!”
As once, the knight and the other men come to attention. “All hail!” They shout back. The knight relaxes again as he continues.
“What do you propose then, Lord General? Karth would not appreciate the delay if we come back without the griffons, but perhaps the chance to meet you with mollify him somewhat.”
The Surrounding Forest
You were so confused. Here was Jacob, but not the way he had been in the dream. You felt deep down that you could trust him, but you were still afraid. You wanted to call out to him, but didn’t know what to say.
Finally, Jacob begins to turn and take a step, away from the barn. He shakes his head and grumbles. “Silly kids and their stories. Knew this was one of them. No sense in checking further, no sir.”
Then you push the door open, and it creaks loudly as the old wood scraps against the ground and the gap widens further. Jacob immediately stops and whirls, dropping into a defensive stance and holding his walking stick at the ready. He relaxes, but only slightly as he sees you coming out to stand in the snow just in front of the barn. For a moment, the two of you simply look at each other in expectant silence. Then Jacob coughs and says, “Uh, hello. Are you Mar the angel?”
Jacob walks forward, holding out a cloth-wrapped package. “Here is some food and water.”
Jacob stops abruptly as he gets close, apparently having finally gotten a look at your wings, pressed tight up against your back as you tried to keep them out of sight. He chuckles nervously as he sets the package down on the ground in front of him, a few feet from you. He keeps his eyes on you the whole time.
“Well! I guess you really are an angel, heh heh.”
Jacob shuffles back a few feet from the package, and shakes his head in disbelief before clearing his throat.
“So – could I ask you what you’re doing out here? Stonefall’s not exactly an important town, if you’re here to deliver a message from on High.”
For just an instant, Jacob’s face tightens with pain.
“And you’re a little late if you’re here to answer prayers.”
The City of Amaranth
The City Gates
Arrogant as always, Varlest mistakes your whispered words as prayer at first. By the time he realizes what is going on and shouts “*Stop*!” It is too late. Your pendant begins to faintly glow as it reacts to your words, and Varlest turns to face it, throwing his arms up in front of his face. While he is distracted, you shatter the fragile floor underneath you with a lighting bolt, dropping you down to the second story. You land awkwardly and your leg sends out a sharp jolt of pain, but nonetheless you aim upward and fire another bolt at the floor beneath the pendant. Like you, it also falls to the floor of the second story on top of a pile of shattered boards.
Desperately you get up and run towards it, as you hear Varlest snarl and jump down behind you. You are almost there when you feel something clamp down on your wounded leg, twisting it painfully as you are pulled down to the floor. You land heavily and almost have the wind knocked out of you from the impact. Then, you are dragged backwards across the floor, away from the pendant. However, Varlest still isn’t quite quick enough, as with an outstretched flailing hand, your index finger manages to snag the chain of your pendant, dragging it back with you.
“No!” Varlest screams as you collect the pendant into your hand and immediately activate it, filling the room with a bright glow. The vampire immediately releases your leg and stumbles back against the wall, howling in anguished rage. Still, he seems to not be affected as strongly as he had been last time. Stumbling drunkenly back towards you, Varlest summons a fireball that careens into the floor several feet from your head. Nonetheless, you can still feel the intense heat as the flame expands outwards across the floor, catching it on fire.
“I will cut your heart out and feed it to you!” Varlest screams.
Suddenly, the girl is by your side, dragging you up. “Come on! Run!” Throwing one of your arms over her slender shoulders, she leads you through a doorway to a stairway that leads both back up and down to the ground floor. From the nearby room you hear Varlest curse, followed by a crash and loud thump. Meanwhile smoke begins to fill the house, and you can hear the fire crackle merrily as it begins to spread across the floor of the room you had just been in.
WhiteKnight777 & MrEdwardNigma
As the cultists lead the small party up the hill, Umber attempts to make sense of the ritual. Being able to speak the language certainly helped, and Umber was quickly able to deduce it was a modified energy transference ritual. Being a necromantic ritual, the energy in question was a creature’s life force.
Meanwhile in Hans’s arms, Scruff continues to squirm and growl. He clearly senses that something very wrong is occurring at the top of the hill, and doesn’t want anything to do with it. Eventually however, he acquiesces to his master’s evident desire to climb the hill anyway, and settles on a low, pleading whine instead.
“The Ungod is currently directing the ritual from the Necropolis. Fortunately, you should be able to meet with him shortly upon the ritual’s completion!” The lead cultist commented, as the group crested the hill.
Here on the hilltop, the ground had been cleared away to bare ground, with even the headstones neatly stacked off to one side. Bloody runes cover the cleared area in the form of a thaumaturgic circle, and three pale bound corpses lie at its center. The last of the lifeblood from each of the former people slowly drips from their bloody wrists into the ground. An eerie green glow suffuses the ground of the hilltop, concentrated around the circle. As the chanting reaches its peak, the glow flares up to bright illumination, and then suddenly fades as the green light itself seems to sink into the ground. The chanting comes to an abrupt halt, and it seems that this ritual is over.
However, standing on the hilltop affords a better view of the graveyard in its entirety, and the green glow coming from at least two dozen other spots suggest that there are many more rituals still ongoing.
“Excellent work everyone.” A voice familiar to Umber calls out, as the dozen or so cultists surrounding the bloody circle begin to turn and face them. Like the voice, Umber recognizes the face of this group’s apparent leader – Mellita. And she of course recognizes him even from across the circle, and stumbles back, her face growing even more pale than before.
“L-lord Umber, w-w-what –“
“Ah, it’s the little lass leech. This will be even more fun than I thought.” Ross says with a grin as he removes his warhammer from its resting spot on his shoulder. With a well practiced swing, he crushes the chest of the escorting cultist nearest to him, sending the man’s lifeless body rolling back down the hill. “That’s one for my tally! Care to wager who’ll send more of these fools back to their ungod?” Ross snarls as he advances towards the next cultist.
“Don’t just stand there! Do something!” Mellita screams as she turns away and begins to make for the far side of the hilltop while all of the remaining cultists draw knives from their belts.
(There are about fourteen cultists still standing, plus Mellita who is clearly intending on putting as much distance between herself and you lot as possible.)
We’re not killing him like a pig? Sohssal, that’s not like you!
It is within my power to alter his memories. We have the information that your associate requested. Prudence would dictate that we now leave to report this information, and allow him to make a decision on it. While going to the meeting would provide us with more information to present, it will also get us more deeply involved with the politics of this city. Something which I presume we wish to avoid. Alternatively to possession, I could also attempt to fashion an illusion for myself or Roger that would allow us to go in Heath’s stead.
Roger!? That’s my name, which I’ve purposely avoided sharing with you two, you bitch! Have you been digging around in my head!?
I have been examining both of your minds for relevant information, yes. But only as I deem necessary.
“So . . . are the three of you going to tell me what you want, or not!? I’m a busy man, and would prefer to get this unpleasantness over with. Just know the Council will learn of this burglary, and I will be avenged! But, maybe if you do something for me, we can just forget that any of this ever happened. I can reward you quite well for your services.”
The Surrounding Mountains
The Tur’s lips briefly curl up into a smile. “You will only need to guide my warriors, not lead them. Any way in, any weakness in the fortress’s defenses that you can show them would be invaluable. Of course, should you need to fight I hope that you can put the bow or sword to good use.”
The Tur turns to an elf who had been standing quietly in a dark corner of the tent, behind and to your left.
“See to it that Telest is given a full set of equipment from our reserve stores.”
The elf nods and walks out of the tent as the Tur turns back to you.
“I am sure that you are still weary from your escape, and undoubtedly your suffering in Ironheart has been draining. Nonetheless, if you can do this for me, I give you my word that you will be adequately rewarded. Now then, do you have any questions that I might be able to answer?”
The cut on your face stinging, you nonetheless pay the elf back as you bite deeply into his shoulder, tasting blood and hear his hoarse cry of pain. A cry which you end suddenly as you ran the hilt of your shoulder into his face, rendering him unconscious, at least for the moment.
Lumbering back up onto your feet, you see that the battle has become a chaotic melee. Those elves in the tress had either been already dispatched or had leapt down onto your men, and now everyone was fighting with sword, claw, and tooth. The two sides seemed to be evenly matched, until several more quartets of elves appeared from the forest to swing the odds heavily in their favor.
You are about to re-enter the fight to swing the odds back in your direction when with a loud shout Wulfric charges into the battle with the rest of his mounted force closely behind him. Leaping off his mount, he allows his momentum to cleave his sword down through the nearest elf. The blow strikes with each force that the elf is nearly cleaved in two, and Wulfric’s blade is wrenched from his hands. Not allowing this to stop him, Wulfric charges into the next nearest elf, wrapping his arms around the elf’s middle. He then drags the elf away from his current opponent and dashes him into a tree head-first. Judging by the gory smear left on the tree, that elf would not be available for questioning. Typical battle-rager Wulfric.
Seeing the odds rapidly turn against them, the elves suddenly give a loud shout and begin to withdraw. A number of them are cut down by Wulfric’s still mounted men, but a small barrage of arrows that takes down two of them discourages further pursuit as the last few elves fade back into the forest.
Snarling as he tears his sword out of the elf’s chest, Wulfric approaches you. “Sir, are you badly injured!? What happened here?”
“I hope you have a clever plan, Pyrene.” The Countess says with a nervous glance as she steps forward, interposing herself between you and the approaching elf. She forces a smile at the elf, and then turns her back to him and places her hands behind her back.
“As do I.” Klaus grunts as he holds up a hand to his own elf, causing the elf to stop while Klaus slowly gets back up onto his feet. You cannot help but notice that Klaus has his other hand clenched into a fist, presumably with the intention of sucker punching the elf.
Then you speak the elvish word, and feel a surge of power rush out through you into the elves. It is an exhilarating feeling, but one that leaves you strangely cold afterwards. This odd feeling is nearly enough to distract you from noticing all four of the elves collapsing onto the floor as once.
Rudolf leaps to one side as the lead elf’s arrow haphazardly flies into the floor, no longer guided by anything except inertia. Flailing out towards the Countess, you manage to snag the collar of her shirt and pull her down on top of you as the other elf’s arrow flies narrowly over your heads.
“Well, that was interesting. What did you *do*, Pyrene?” The Countess asks as she rolls off of you a moment later and looks back in confusion at the comatose elves.
“We’re fine!” Klaus calls with a grunt as he bends down to pick up his discarded crossbow at last. As he checks the weapon, you explain you had put them all to sleep.
“Garthax was waiting for the right moment to help Mistress! Honest!” Garthax calls out from a corner of the bedroom, still invisible, although a moment later you hear the flapping of his wings and feel his talons digging into your right shoulder.
“Torture them, if they’re lucky. If not, they get sacrificed during one of their various rituals.” Klaus growls as he moves to stand over the elf who had been about to tie him up. “That’s not a quick or pleasant way to go, from what I’ve heard. Of course, everything I’ve ever heard about elves has been conjecture from idle soldiers, so what do I know. Maybe they throw a wild elvish party for their prisoners instead. Either way, I know what I’m going to do now.”
Casually, Klaus aims his crossbow downwards, and fires his bolt straight down into the elf’s head. The bolt hits with a meaty crack and an eruption of blood, but otherwise doesn’t make enough sound to awaken the three remaining elves. Beside you, you can hear the Countess gulp nervously and turn away, hand over her mouth. Meanwhile Klaus reloads and approaches the lead elf.
“These murderous bastards invaded my home for no damn good reason. I’m still a soldier, and I know what to do when someone barrages in with murder in their eyes – kill them first.” Klaus lowers his crossbow towards the lead elf’s head, but pauses and looks back up at you.
“Unless you think I should just abandon my home, or send these fellows packing so they can go back and tell all their friends where I live.”
From his spot at the desk, Vash grunts. “Maybe it was an attack, but who would be stupid enough to attack a prison filled with the worst of the worst?” Vash suddenly looks up at you with the glint of realization in his eyes. “Perhaps someone trying to break a prisoner out? Some of these guys in here have a lot of influence. Like my guy . . . hmm, Ander Windrivver is his name. Former general for the Church of Light, fought in the Hells, later quit only to come back and apparently be jailed for heresy. He seems to have made a lot of enemies, but maybe he still has a couple powerful friends, and they decided it was time for a little jail break. Or maybe it was your guy . . . hmmm, oh, here he is! Karth Chemonte. Copper hair, blue eyes, three parallel scars on his face. Apparently he wasn’t as important as my guy, he was only jailed on the third level or so. But this is interesting . . . he was a former general of the Church as well, who also went crazy and was jailed for heresy. Think maybe someone is wanting to take out all the heretics?”
Vash offers the book to you, and you can see that therein is a matching description for Karth the Purifier, a brief list of his crimes, and his cell number, which is indeed on the third level of the prison.
Outside the Screaming Dark Estate
Entering the room as Brown backs away from the sound of your scrapping footsteps, you look around to take stock. Black is currently over by the bed, pulling a fine necklace of polished obsidian out of a box and carefully settling it around Adamè’s neck.
She stops as soon as you begin to speak, visibly cringing back from the bed. She bows in your general direction and immediately kneels, offering her wrists in supplication before bowing again. As soon as you turn to address Brown however, she crawls away into a corner of the room, apparently trying to escape your notice. Her antics appear not to be an act, and for a moment your heart twinges with pity as you wonder what could have happened to traumatize her so. Then your attention turns back to Brown as her fingers fly out an answer to your question.
Although Brown’s fingers move dexterously to spell out the answer, there are also frequent pauses, as if she were choosing her words carefully. From the corner of your eye you note Red in the doorway, tensely watching Brown spell out her salvation or doom. Apparently, salvation it is, as Red relaxes slightly, giving off an aura of grudging relief and concealed disdain judging by her body language.
Brown continues, pointing at her bare midriff and presumably indicating Adamè’s knife wounds. She mimics drinking several times, and then snaps her fingers and points at Black. From her corner Black violently shakes her head, earning herself another snap of fingers and a more insistent beckoning gesture from Brown. Reluctantly, Black gets to her feet and comes forward, snatching one of the boxes off the top of a dresser as she approaches. Timidly, she extends the box towards you, barely able to control her nervous shivers. She pops open the box, and resting inside the velvet interior you see five ornate potion vials. Three of them are empty, but the remaining two hold a thick red liquid.
Brown snaps her fingers again, this time evidently to get your attention. Her fingers flash a question, and while you can’t understand it her body language is clear. “Satisfied?” It is clear that she doesn’t like you, and only tolerates your presence because she must.
Having taken in the full extent of the room now, you unfortunately note that there does not appear to be another means of egress from the room other than the door. Along one wall is a massive painting of a verdant hillside, the sun just beginning to peak over the horizon. Although of only mediocre quality, the painting is nonetheless so out of place here, and such a pleasant reminder of where you belong, for a moment it still takes your breath away.
I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.
Korram wants to flinch, wants to turn away or bow his head as his daughter admonishes him for his errors. He does not do this. He does not flinch. He does not turn. He does not look away. He does not talk back, or attempt to justify himself. He forces himself to look her straight in the eye, and accept the pain that comes with it as a richly deserved punishment.
As her voice drops, though, Korram senses a change in the nature of her speech, as if her previous upsets were merely raindrops to the coming storm, but nothing could have possibly prepared Korram for what she had to say. The brutal death's of Kurt and Joanna, the destruction he had brought down on the town...he cries. He chokes back tears for as long as he can, but still a few break through. He quickly wipes them away, but they are there. Then a seemingly insignificant detail catches his ear, and he stores that thought away for later.
The tirade continues, and more tears flow as Korram has to listen to everything that had to happen to his daughter because of his folly. For the first time in his memory, he lets go of the bitter self pity that has gripped his mind for so long. He has suffered greatly, but it is nothing compared to what others have suffered in his name. Katrina finishes on one final, bitter note, and lapses into silence.
Korram bows his head and wipes the last tears from his face.
"Thank you. I had not thought about anyone but myself for a long time before I came here. You have made me see the truth about that. And I am satisfied; you have grown into a strong woman, Katrina, and even though I had no part of that, I am still happy that you survived. As meaningless as this must be, I am sorry. You needn't worry about me reappearing, I won't bother you again. A ghost has no right to be in the world of the living; soon I will be amongst the lost once more. Goodbye, Katrina."
Korram stands and prepares to leave.
"I'm sorry, but one more thing. The Baron is gathering his power. He has a plan, and something big is coming. I don't know what, but it's going to be very unpleasant for anyone he doesn't like. Just a warning; do with it as you will."
Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.
Pyrene sighed with relief when everyone confirmed that they were unharmed. Though she didn't answer Garthax's excuse verbally, she gently, if somewhat absently, patted his invisible foot when he landed on her shoulder.
In response to Klaus' question she shook her head. "Why would they attack here? They have no reason to believe we are a threat, and besides which, last I knew we had a truce with them, though granted that information is a bit out of date. It's your house, your life, and your decision, but I would at least like to keep the leader alive so we can try and get some answers.
I started a blog! Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup...
I take the leisurely path, and everyone complains. If you want him to die so bad, I'll just kill him and possess his corpse. Illusions should help make him look alive. Then we'll infiltrate the necromancers and destroy them from the inside. Same result but faster. I'll miss stringing people along, though, he mentally said, sort of compromising. Then he looked Heath square in the eyes.
"Bad news for you. It seems at least one of my associates doesn't have the patience for this...so instead I'll do this," he informed him, lifting one of his ghostly hands. A red spark flared into existence on each fingertip. Normally, this spell would only cause pain wherever the sparks touched, but some time after becoming incorporeal Sohssal made a variant that caused them to heat stuff up, since cooking people from the inside amused him.
Also, Omega. Now's a good time to read his mind for any more information that looks good, he added. Then he sucked in the magic sustaining Heath's wards, not caring if he detected it. He surged towards him and reached into his body with his spark-covered, incorporeal hand, and wrapped it around his heart. Barring some very good protective magic, burning the heart would kill him quickly and leave little, if any, external signs of damage.
Order of the Pstick Avatar by Sneak
Hans von Ravenstein
Hans carefully let the smokebomb glide back into his coat. He wouldn't be needing it.
"Vampire, you go after the girl, I'll take care of these men!"
The phrase was as hollow as his voice. As if he could have gone after the girl. It would have been an uneven match. Hans was about as fast as a slug.
As one of the cultists desperately stormed at Hans, trying feebly to damage his impenetrable skin, Hans carefully put down the dog, and then pointed his palm at the cultist. A spike shot out, piercing the man through the skull. Hans felt some regret as he absorbed the man's lifeforce, but he did realise these fellows were servants of the night, and cannonfodder at that. They were wicked, and he could not have them walking this earth hurting people anymore. Another pike shot out, impaling a second cultist. Hans crushed a third into the ground with a headbut.
The girl was pretty far away by now, he saw through the chaos of combat. Ross proved a valiant fighter, and faster than Hans at that.
"Do we need the girl alive?" Hans shouted to Ross, his voice like rolling thunder.
Avatar by the illustrious Dr. Bath.
The essence of a riddle is that it states facts by means of a combination of impossibilities~Aristoteles
The vampire's blade was out quicker thank blinking, and he had the heads off a pair of cultists who were in his way. It was already back in its sheathe as he darted towards Mellita. The vampiress was fast, but Umber had recovered far more of his old strength and speed than he'd had when they last met, and, making sure Ross was watching Bran, and telling the boy to stay out of harm's way, he darted forward, catching the slim woman by the shoulder and drawing her back against his chest. He whispered gently in her ear as he pulled her back, his arm pinning her own to her sides, and making sure that she was disarmed.
"Ahhh.. Mellita. You are a sight for sore eyes. Don't worry, I have no thoughts of revenging myself. Lestways, not on you. However, I am going to need to know exactly what is going on here, and your place in it - not to mention the place of that loathsome little worm that is your master."
She couldn't manage to look him in the eye very long until he stooped down, into her field of view; when he rose, she looked up without really thinking about it. He didn't remember anything about her. That was... she didn't know whether that was good or bad. She wanted both; it didn't make sense, but that was what it felt like.
"'m not an angel," she managed at last. Caroline called her that, too, but she was pretty sure it was wrong. She remembered angels from her dreams, and they weren't pleasant memories. Even if she had wings, she was still just Mar. Jacob didn't look like he believed her, though, and she floundered to say something else. "I'm... I just came here to... it was hurting my feet..." She gestures at the snow all around them.
Remembering the food, Mar edged forwards a few steps, showing just as much reluctance to get near him as he'd shown to her, and stooped to pick up the food without taking her eyes off him, just like she did. With the package in hand, she backed away, returning to the safety of the doorway. "William showed me how to make a fire," she said, speaking fast so that she didn't have time to stutter or hesitate. "I just wanted to sleep someplace warm."
As he watched the no doubt trauma-induced reactions to his presence from Black, he felt his heart begin to ache with pity for the poor thing. Were these once human? Elf, perhaps? Or were they just demons subjugated by demons and put through torment by their own kind? Tare did not know, but in that moment he wished there was something he could do.
He firmly reminded himself the moment after that there was nothing he could do-- he couldn't afford it. Already he was stretching himself so far, trying his luck so sorely... for the two to whom he had already given his help unbidden, he was grasping at the most impossible of straws and risking all three of their lives to do it. Interfering in matters that were of no concern to him would only endanger them further... But knowing that didn't stop the pangs when Black is forced to approach the current object of her psychological torment, a role that he had no idea he was stepping into, but now could not abandon.
"Hmhmhmhm... yes..." Tare chuckled darkly, grimacing when Black scurried terrified away from that dangerous sound, but betraying nothing of his feelings into his voice. "Yes, Quite," He said more directly, in response to Black's question, and began to move to the door. "Our masters did well in entrusting you as they have, Madam," He said with a low bow, that might well have been audible while he was speaking. His voice was only half-sincere, the other half sounding of half-mocking flattery, but the fact that he bothered to voice the opinion at all, however it was phrased, did lend some weight to his words even despite. "I of course never suspected otherwise, and you have only... reassured me," He ended with another chuckle, this one lengthening and deepening until it became a cackling laugh. "Your Mistress is highly generous!" He shouted through his shrieking laughter, this directed at Red. "One hopes that you will repay this act of favor, else it would hardly be worth having endangered herself for your sake to begin with!" The laugh lessened in intensity, but somehow grew more dangerous. Until, all of a sudden, he dropped abruptly silent. "Very well then," When the voice returned, it was painstakingly cordial, even courteous, and was of so level a tone that even spoken so the question of its owner's sanity was still not definitive in either direction. As he spoke, he slunk silently around behind Red, his voice the only indication that he had moved at all, daring her to be foolish enough to move to stop him. "It is your great fortune that you have so forgiving a superior, for I assure you neither am I nor anyone to whom either of us report. Very well then!" He said again, forming an invisible hand array and closing his eyes for a moment. Suddenly, his voice reappeared in front of Black again. "If it is your wish that this one's offense go unpunished, enough so that you would risk your own life for it..." He said, the voice an amused, dark growl, only just barely stopping short of saying aloud that he knew she had lied, or at least stretched the truth, "...Then I shall honor your... dishonesty. But for all of our sakes, do keep her from losing her temper on anything else, hmm?" He said with an abrupt laugh before darting from the room. "Take care, and listen out! I'll think about dropping in on you again later!" He called back from the hallway, another laugh punctuating his exit.
However, crouching behind a dresser on the other side of the room, Tare fell Perfectly silent and allowed his Ventriloquism charm to fade. He knew that the success or failure of this most recent ploy was completely dependent on whether or not the maidens believed that he had just left, and in order to maintain that illusion, he could afford no sound whatsoever. Tare did not swallow, did not blink, only barely dared to think a pleading request of Fate to favor him just this once as he crouched motionless, staring intently at the three other conscious occupants of the room and straining for the smallest movements that might suggest that they had not been fooled...
Deo Soli Sit Semper Gloria
Originally Posted by Innis Cabal
Its offical. Overwilliam is Duke Devlin.
Last edited by OverWilliam : 05-14-2009 at 07:04 PM.
Ander narrows his eyes at the knight, still not sure what to make of him. He reaches out with his senses, trying to detect any evil influences within the group. His mustache twitches as he contemplates the situation.
Alright, he says after a moment or so. I will come with you. Sure as Hell more convenient than trying to find Karth on my own. He sheathes his sword. Draw your men back into the trees and wait for me. I will rejoin you shortly, after I have taken care of the griffons.
He waits for the group to leave before turning back to the chained griffons. Ander approaches the father and whispers into its ear. These men are leaving and will not bother your nest any more. Let them leave and return to your cave to defend your young ones. With that, he breaks the shackles holding it to the earth, allowing it to return to its nest. Then, he approaches the female. These men are leaving and will not bother your nest any more. Let them leave and return to your nest to nurture your young ones. Again, he breaks her shackles so that she may be free. Finally, he approaches the juvenile. These men are leaving and will not bother your family any more. I, however, need your help. I am on a quest to defeat a great evil and I need a mighty steed to carry me swiftly across the land. Are you strong and noble enough? Will you serve as my steed? Ander breaks the juvenile's shackles and steps back, waiting to see it's decision. If it agrees to go with him, Ander will return with it to the group. If not, Ander will rejoin the group empty-handed.
As the two fled, the light the pendant had set free continued to rise higher, spilling from the windows and holes in wall and roof the fires were now opening. Pain lanced through Ruya’s leg with every step, though the fact that she could still move her foot reassured her that it wasn’t broken. With every step, the bag that contained all of her research, that had somehow survived the desperate last attempt at survival thumped reassuringly against her side. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t do it alone,” she murmured. The girl looked at her, and Ruya shook her head. “No, it’s...thank you. I came to save you, and you ended up saving me.”
As they continued to put distance between them and the burning house, rapidly consuming itself in the growing conflagration, Ruya began to plan the next step. “I couldn’t kill Varlest, but if we can find an inn, or someplace else where we can rest and shield ourselves from his magic, I want to look through all of my research. I have to find something that will let me destroy him once and for all. I can protect you if you have nowhere to go, but...I think you can escape safely. I don't think he expected to see me here, but he wants revenge against me, and my friends who helped destroy him last time. We should warn the town guard as well.”
Gazrul tries to touch the cut on his ear, wincing at the sensation. "Nothing at all life-threatening, though I can't speak for all of my men. Or the soldiers we were trying to save." He looks over to the ground, strewn with human, gnollish, and elfish corpses. This wasn't a proper battle as it was meant to be; this was murder.
"I received a message from Delmonte's group, saying they were under attack from an ambush. We rushed over to assist, and nearly fell victim to the same. Wulfric, these aren't just bandits: these are fully-equipped elfish rangers. Something's definitely going on here. Fortunately," he walks over to his unconscious opponent and holds up his limp body, "We may have someone here able to enlighten us."
Gazrul, Wulfric, and several of his men tie up the unconscious elf, and Gazrul gathers dry leaves and pine needles around the bound enemy. He gives a soldier his crystal, instructing him to call the other groups and tell them to combine forces with their nearest neighbor, and furthermore, to watch the trees carefully. There were enemies about.
Gazrul turns back to his captive, shaking him awake. "Wake up, elf. We have questions, and you have the answers."
He listens carefully as the Tur speaks. He smiles at the mention of him getting weapons. When the Tur asks him if he has any questions he pauses for a moment to think. Then he says, "I fo have a few questions. Just so I know ahead of time, what do you want me to do with any humans we come across? Also what do we do with any elves we come across?" He is eager to hear the answer and get out of the camp. While he has been safe while he stayed here. He doesn't like being surronded by so many potential enemies. If something went wrong there would be no escape for him in here, but out there is a different story.
Katrina remains silent as you apologize one last time and assure her that she will not see your face again. As you stand to leave, you add in a warning about the Baron’s growing influence, and Katrina nods. “Yes, the Baron’s grip only tightens. Soon enough there won’t be room for folk like us to slip between his fingers.”
Katrina doesn’t say anymore as you turn and approach the door, but when you are about to move the curtain aside she clears her throat loudly.
“Father, these days the woods are dangerous at night. You are welcome to stay in one of the empty houses until morning. Kris can show you which one. He’ll be down shortly.”
(Assuming you exit the treehouse after agreeing to such a proposal.)
You climb down the treehouse, waiting for Kris in a reversal of the last time. As promised a few minutes later he reappears, rapidly climbing down the ladder. For a moment he looks as if he is about to say something, but then merely turns away and beckons you to follow.
“So. What are you going to do now Korram? Have any plans for the future now that you’re free from Ironheart?”
Kris slows to a halt in front of a treehouse. Despite it being dark now in the forest, and faint glows coming from within several of the other treehouses, this one’s interior is dark as a tomb.
“There should be a lamp in there if you want light, and a soft bed. Might be some water and some old dried goods up there too. Hope you don’t need anything else, because well we don’t have any.”
Kris looks uncomfortable a moment, and then turns away.
“Good bye Korram. And good luck.”
The Griffon Aerie
Unsure what is going on here, you stretch out your senses to the group for any evil influences. You do not detect anything from the main mob of people, nor any lingering auras of supernatural evil. Still, the knight has a very faint aura of human evil about him, suggesting that assaulting the griffon aerie was only part of a long line of recent transgressions.
Reluctantly, at your demand the knight nods, turning his horse and trotting away into the treeline, the rest of his men following. Now with just you present the griffons relax slightly, although they still eye your warily.
Speaking plainly to each creature in turn, you then set them free and watch what they do. The male griffon screeches loudly in your face as the last shackle falls from him, and then with a single powerful leap he rises into the air. He hovers overhead, watching you with interest as you approach his mate next. Like the male, the female hisses sharply at you, taking a few steps back before likewise returning to the air, hovering overhead.
Unlike his parents, however, the juvenile seems to respond favorably. After being freed, it butts its head into your chest playfully, yet hard enough to send you reeling back a step. With a soft hiss it turns and kneels, offering you its back to clamber up onto. From above the two adult griffons screech loudly, prompting a reply screech from the juvenile. Apparently the answer is a final one, as with one last startled caw the two mates wheel around and fly back up into the cave to attend to the remaining young.
Although it was easier (and much safer) to ride a griffon equipped with a saddle, for now you would just have to ride it barebacked. As you slip one armored leg over its middle, the griffon rises, putting you in a sitting position just back of its neck and in front of its wings. Before you have a moment to reconsider this, the griffon takes a running leap into the air with a quiet hiss of contentment. A few moments later, you are hovering in the air in front of the treeline and the assembled humans, looking up at you with even more awe than before.
“Sir, it will take us several days to reach the base camp on horseback. I suspect we shall need to let the main contingent see to themselves if you wish to speak with Karth immediately. Or, if your new pet will allow it, we could both ride him and reach the camp in less than a day. He is a strong one despite his youth, and I believe he can handle the weight. Assuming of course that both you and he are willing to have me as a passenger.”
The Surrounding Forest
As you stoop down to pick up the food, you notice Jacob’s eyes focus on your right arm. It takes you only a moment to realize that he is starring at the number, “2”, burned into your arm there. All of the people behind bars in your old home had numbers like yours, although all of theirs were much longer. Daddy didn’t have a number, and neither did Jacob as your own eyes scanned his bare arms. You can see a note of worry creep into Jacob’s slight smile as you back away to the barn again, food in hand. Then comes a genuine smile at your mention of William.
“Ah, good. Good to hear my son wasn’t completely inattentive during those lessons.”
Jacob coughs nervously, and then tenses as if he seems getting ready to run.
“So, Mar . . . where did you get that interesting mark on your arm? I’ve never seen one like that before.”
Unbidden, images spring into your mind. Rough hands holding you down across a bench, arm outstretched. Daddy grinning as he waves a hot branding iron in front of your face, before pressing it down into your skin. Burning pain, and the smell of charred flesh. And then it happens again, different arm, same events. And again. And again.
Finally, Jacob clears his throat loudly, and the sudden sound breaks you from this cycle of recollected pain.
“Is there anything else you need, Mar? Or should I start heading back home now?”
The City of Amaranth
The City Gates
You manage to put a fair, but not reassuring, amount of distance between you and the burning house before the girl slows to a crawl, breathing heavily and now leaning on you instead. She is clearly no longer used to such exertion.
“Can’t . . . go . . . farther.” The girl rasps between breaths. She does manage to continue putting one foot in front of the other despite her exhaustion, and you continue away from the house at a more serene pace. At your mention of leaving and going somewhere else on her own, the girl hangs her head.
“I don’t . . . have anywhere else . . . to go.” She puffs, her voice not quite so breathless as it had been a minute ago. “My family . . . he killed all of them . . . and then turned them into . . . those things. I owe you my life. Whatever . . . whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it! I’ll earn my keep, if . . . you’ll let me stay. Please.”
The girl clings to you, and comes to a dead halt as she looks up at you. Then before you can answer, she looks away and laughs bitterly, a sound that still bares more resemblance to horrid croaking than laughter.
“What am I saying? You don’t need some half-dead peasant girl following you around. And I don’t even know your name! You saved my life, and I don’t know your name.”
The girl raises one thin dirty hand up to her face, seemingly to try and ward off tears as she groans, “Oh gods, why did this happen!?”
Behind you, an orange glow has begun to push back the black night as the rest of the girl’s house goes up in flame. It seems likely that the fire might spread to other nearby houses given its proximity to other buildings. And indeed, faintly on the wind you can hear the cries of “Fire! Fire!” as some still awake members of the city notice the danger. Idly you wonder if Varlest would flee the scene of the crime, or would perversely hinder efforts to stop the blaze from consuming the city. You immediately realize that you could not focus on such a possibility right now as you look around for guards. A short distance away you can see one of the gates, separating this section of the city from the merchant district. It seems likely that there would be some guards there to report to. Although you do note that while there is shouting behind you, there are no cries of alarm from the gates. Either the guards manning the gates haven’t noticed the fire yet, or something has happened.
WhiteKnight777 & MrEdwardNigma
The fight had barely started before it was half over. The cultist nearest to Hans slashes him with his blade, accomplishing nothing more than leaving a long rent in his coat. A moment later and one of Hans’s spikes his protruding from his head, an already fatal wound only exacerbated by Hans’s draining of the man’s life force. Another cultist goes down with Hans’s second spike in his throat. Still a third fanatic rushes headlong into death, only slowing as Scruff catches hold of the hem of his robe. This slows the man enough that Hans is able to slam his own head forward into the cultist’s, crumpling him with a meaty crack.
Umber’s sword flashes twice, leaving a pair of headless corpses in his wake as he rushes through the cultist lines after Mellita. Although thanks to her head start Mellita is halfway down the hill by the time Umber catches sight of her again, her lead means little as the vampire lord races down after her. Catching her by the shoulder, Umber pulls her in close and pins her arms down at her sides. As she ran, she had been frantically trying to pull a silver blade from the concealed pocket of her dress. Only halfway out, the weapon tumbles from her fingers and embeds itself harmlessly in the hillside. As Umber escorts Mellita back up the hill, Ross and Hans finish off the remaining cultists.
“Probably ought to keep her alive – for a little while. She knows the answers to some very important questions.” Ross answers as he hammers the last cultist into the ground. He is just working the weapon out of the man’s chest as the two vampires return to the hilltop.
“Ah, perfect timing. The sheep are all dead – now it’s the bitch’s turn.”
Seeing Ross, Mellita’s eyes widen and she thrashes against Umber, to no avail.
“Please, Lord Umber! Keep that beast away from me!”
Ross grins as he abandons his warhammer, walking over to the two vampires while cracking his knuckles.
“You don’t get to speak unless it’s in answer to our questions. Talk out of turn again and I’ll knock your fangs down your throat.”
Mellita nods solemnly, then looks down at the ground.
“Alright! But . . . if I tell you what little I know, he’ll kill me! You have to protect me!”
“Considering you’re already dead, I don’t think that’ll be a problem. And considering what we could do to you, I would think you should be more concerned about surviving the next couple minutes. Start talking.”
“Alright! Um, after we were finished at Ironheart, we came straight here. Master said we had a new purpose, and we were going to meet someone. Another one like you, Lord Umber, another Lord of Blood. Kartul, I think Master said his name was.”
“We already know that. You’re stalling.”
“N-No, no I’m not!”
With a snarl of frustration, Ross places both hands on either side of Mellita’s head, and then waves his thumbs in front of her eyes.
“You’re about to become the first ever blind vampire. WHERE IS HELION!?”
“I DON’T KNOW!!!” Mellita shrieks back, before breaking into sobs. “I . . . I d-don’t k-know! He never . . . n-never t-tells me anything! I’m . . . j-just a p-p-plaything to him! We came here, we w-went underground, b-beneath the graveyard! We met some s-skeletal thing that called itself Kartul, and it welcomed us as its ch-children! Then Master and it went away to discuss things while I sat around! A few hours later, Master came back and told me to go help these cultists with their ritual! That’s it, that’s all I know, I swear!”
“That’s it!? You never stopped to pick up a woman or a young child!?” Ross pressed, his voice practically a growl now.
“GAH! USELESS!” With a howl of fury Ross returns to the corpse holding his warhammer, tearing it free with a single hard pull. “COME ON, WE’VE GOT DIGGING TO DO! THIS LITTLE TART CAN SHOW US WHERE!”
(If you have other questions for Mellita, you can certainly ask them. And you can certainly disagree with Ross’s plan to drag Mellita along to wherever it was they entered the catacomb tunnels and pound on the door. Or not, since I know you guys like raising Hell. )
“I was afraid it would come to this.” Heath sighed as you flew towards him. Even as you outstretched your hand and stripped his wards from him, the mage pulls his wine glass equipped hand back. Then he whips it forward, splashing the water held in the glass onto you. The burning sensation you felt a moment later proved that it was not ordinary water, but in fact holy water, something you had some aversion to since becoming an incorporeal demon mage. Still, it was little more than a nuisance in a day full of such annoyances.
However, a moment after the holy water splashes through you, Heath begins casting a spell. You recognize it as an exorcism spell of some sort, which could cause considerably more trouble for you than just the holy water alone. It seems likely that Heath required the holy water on you as part of the spell. As you brace yourself for the results, still racing towards him in the vain hope of getting there in time to stop him, something strange happens. Heath suddenly freezes in mid syllable, mouth hanging open and his eyes wide.
I have momentarily frozen his mind. Finish him!
A moment later, you reach the mage and plunge your ephemeral hand through his chest. From there it is a simple matter to bring your spark-tipped fingers into contact from his heart, and flash burn it to a crisp. Heath gives a last shocked gasp, spewing a thin trail of smoke out of his mouth before collapsing to the floor, quite dead.
One less mage to trouble the world. Go us.
I assume by your stated intentions then that we are going to go to the meeting with these necromancers, and then attempt to gain whatever information we can from them until we are able to follow this conspiracy back to its source? Are we doing this alone or are we contacting your associate first?
How long do we have until the meeting again?
Not long. If Sohssal makes use of teleportation magic we should be able to report and come back, and then make our way to the meeting by more conventional means in time for you and myself to locate appropriate hiding positions. Unless you desire us to split up, with Roger and myself reporting and you proceeding to the meeting alone?
The Surrounding Mountains
The Tur nods at your questions. “Excellent questions. Although most such decisions will likely be made by the squad leader, standing orders are to liberate any elves you come across. Assuming, of course, that they want to come and aren’t actually working for the enemy. Then it would be preferable to disable them if possible, rather than kill. Elf should not spill elf blood. As for the humans . . . kill them. All of them, save for any deemed useful for interrogation. Ah, here we are – your gear, Telest.”
A moment later the Tur’s shadowy assistant returns, carrying a load of gear in his arms. The elf drops to one knee in front of you, and then outstretches his arms to offer it to you. Bundled up there is a suit of leather armor, stained green, along with a full change of dark clothes, a bow and twenty arrow quiver, and a pair of long daggers.
“My assistant will see you to an empty tent where you may change and check your gear. When you are properly prepared, go to the far side of the camp – you’ll find the squad waiting for you there. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Telest. Hopefully, it will not be the last time we have occasion to speak with each other.” The Tur then inclines his head towards you, a clear sign of dismissal. Beside you, his assistant makes a sweeping gesture towards the tent’s entrance, and makes for it, intending on leading you out.
(You are welcome to go get changed and go over to the meeting spot, or whatever you would like to do instead if you do not wish to aid the Tur.)
You and the others swiftly tie the unconscious elf up, taking no chances on his ability to slip free and leaving him looking much like one of the wrapped and buried old kings you had occasionally heard of in various tales from the desert. While you and Wulfric pile leaves and dry materials up around and on top of the elf, you direct one of your men to pass on orders to reorganize and keep alert of any more ambushes.
“This is damn peculiar, I agree. Elves are a secluded lot – remember that time we tried chasing that warlord over into their lands, and we ran into that group of scrawny elves at the border? They just sort of looked at us, and then tossed us the warlord’s head before pointing back the way we came?”
Wulfric shakes his head, an out of character frown of concern appearing on his face.
“You don’t think this is the precursor to some kind of invasion, do you? The elves have had it out for all of us for generations, but haven’t done much about it for quite some time since we took Ironheart. Now Ironheart’s apparently busted and we just happen to run into some elves right outside? I don’t like the way this smells one bit.”
Eventually the elf comes to. He shifts around a bit, rather groggy at first, but quickly comes around and lies perfectly still as he realizes what has happened. Then like a storm breaking, he answers your questions with a constant stream of angry elvish, and likely none of it looking favorably upon your ancestry.
“Speak human, dirt!” Wulfric snarls as he flicks a pinecone down onto the elf’s face. The elf shakes the debris off and continues his tirade as if nothing as happened, earning him a frustrated sigh, followed by a hard kick to the ribs, from Wulfric.
“Stupid isolationist elves. Hey, we got anybody who knows Elvish!?” Wulfric asks the assembled group, while already you were running through the roster of your men in your mind. Malohk was a student of many languages and knew at least a few stock phrases of Elvish, but was of course away at Amaranth. Several other men among your ranks professed to be able to speak elvish fluently, most of them elves themselves who for their own reasons had left the homeland. Unfortunately, all of them were likewise in Amaranth with Malohk, save one. And he had been in Delmonte’s obliterated unit. You were just about to give up hope when a voice spoke up from the crowd.
“I can sir. A little.”
Turning, you see the youthful face of Vickers, a human soldier who had joined your company only recently. He had never made mention of being able to speak Elvish. He seemed embarrassed of the omission now as he pushed his way to the edge of the crowd.
“Sir Malohk was teaching me what little he knew, sir. Him and some of the other men in the company who knew how to speak it. I’ve always been fascinated by the elves.”
Wulfric laughs as he beckons the young recruit forward.
“Well, now you get to meet one! Get over here.”
In response Vickers approaches, coming to stand beside Wulfric as he looks down at the trussed up elf, still glaring up at you with hatred. Vickers says something in the elf’s native tongue, earning him another barrage of words from the elf, who then pauses as if awaiting an answer. Vickers seems reluctant to translate.
“I’m not sure, sir . . . but, um, if I understand him correctly, he wants to know your ancestry, and, umm . . . . well . . . if fornicating with lizards was involved, sir.”
“Yes.” The Countess murmured, shooting a quick glance over her shoulder and immediately regretting it judging by her grimace.
“They are intruders in your home, and are clearly dangerous. But . . . we have no idea why they have come here. And Pyrene is correct, there is still an uneasy truce between the kingdom and the elves. Killing them is . . . not the diplomatic approach.”
You can see turmoil on the Countess’s face. Doubtless her recent experiences of being kidnapped are at war with her nobleman’s sensibilities. You are also a bit troubled by the situation, but admittedly your conflict is more the desire to survive versus the desire to know why some elves randomly barraged in and tried to kill you. Apparently Klaus felt the same, because he sighed and lowered the crossbow.
“Alright, fine. I’m willing to postpone their richly deserved deaths for more information. I’m not making any promises however about what happens afterwards. Now come on, help me tie them up – use that vine stuff they were going to use on us.”
Putting his crossbow aside, Klaus snatches up the dropped length of viney rope, and uses that to bind the leader. Together you and the Countess do your best with the other two elves, although neither of you is much of a woodsman. Eventually Klaus comes over to join you, helping to tie the last of the knots.
“Alright, now then. Let’s get some answers.” Klaus growls as he picks his crossbow back up and the elves begin to stir. He shoots you a glance.
“Pyrene, you seem to speak their language. I suspect we may need to make use of that if the leader is unwilling to talk or just doesn’t know enough human words. Countess Ashargrin, perhaps it would be best if you went into the bedroom and closed the door – you don’t need to see this.”
Turning a bit green again, the Countess nods as she steps back into the bedroom and closes the door behind her. From his perch on your shoulder, Garthax cackles. “Yay! We get to torture! Garthax help! Garthax good at that!”
The Screaming Dark Estate
As you slink around the room, Red studiously moves out of your way, doing her best to turn to keep your voice in her field of vision. She nods enthusiastically at your praise of Brown’s generosity, but briefly shoots the other woman-thing a look that hints at deep-seated contempt. Brown takes an involuntary step back at your voice’s sudden appearance in front of her, but then her entire body tenses as she clenches her hands into fists. For a moment you think she will actually take a swing at the empty air in front of her, but then with visible effort relaxes and instead replies with a terse flutter of fingers. You are pretty sure you see her right middle finger used exclusively in several of the gestures.
After your voice fades from the room, Brown and Red visibly relax, although not totally as they seem familiar with invisible eyes constantly watching them. They both seem to fall for your ruse however, as neither shows any sign of alarm or detecting your actual presence still in the room. It is difficult to tell what Black was thinking, as she was crouched down again in her corner, arms wrapped around her knees and shivering violently. Upon seeing this Red sighs loudly and shakes her head, rapidly shooting off an angry message to Brown. Brown repeats her one-fingered message to Red off-handedly, turning her back as she walks over to Black. While Brown kneels down beside Black and tries to comfort her with a hug, Red returns to work, digging haphazardly through the jewelry box. Whatever would have happened next, you will never know as you suddenly hear approaching footsteps from the hallway outside.
(In response to Lonna’s request for “happier” villain music, I present you with Lord Vylethar’s theme – Sharp Dressed Man. Unfortunately I was unable to find an orchestral version, so you’ll just have to imagine the guitars replaced by violins. )
“Evening, ladies.” A laidback voice called from the doorway, a moment before the “man” from the paintings stepped into the room. From the waist up, the man appeared as he did in the paintings, perfectly curled golden locks framing a chiseled jaw and dancing green eyes, mounted on an exquisitely sculpted body. From the waist down, the reality was quite different, as powerful-looking furry legs extended down from underneath a pair of shorts, ending in polished hooves. Hanging from the man’s shoulders was his signature red robe, and loosely balanced in one hand was a large half-empty wine glass. This could only be Lord Vylethar in the flesh.
“Of course, it’s always evening here, but that just means there’s more time for the fun!” Vylethar continued as he strutted into the room. The very sight of Vylethar fills you with a primal, seething hate for him. You have seen him perhaps ten seconds and already you want to walk over and shove one of your daggers down his perfectly shaped throat. If anything, Vylethar’s presence has the exact opposite effect on Black, Brown, and Red. The sight of Red practically swooning as Vylethar comes over to wrap an arm around her waist makes you want to retch.
“So, how’s the new Queen of my hive of sexy worker bees doing? She about ready to meet her new King?”
Vylethar pauses to take a sip from his wine glass, and then frowns as he uses it to gesture at Black. “Oh no. Don’t tell me my little black lamb went bat**** again! That’s totally not cool!”
Releasing Red, Vylethar stalks over to where Brown and Black are kneeling, leaning down over Black.
“What happened pumpkin? And what can Grandmaster Vylethar do to help you forget about it?”
In response, Brown stood, awkwardly curtsying before excitedly gesturing, pointing about the room while her fingers ceaselessly worked out a report. Vylethar nods at several points, his face showing more and more obvious signs of confusion until he finally places his empty hand on Brown’s shoulder.
“Woah, slow down there pet. First off, you know I like getting my hands into the thick of things. Second, you know that I know Crx’s buddies aren’t the best messengers to use when I want to know something. Even assuming the numbskulls could remember what they were told, there’s the whole thing with Sandra going all catatonic when one of them so much as goes “blarg!” at her while invisible. So what’s all this finger flapping about an invisible guy coming down to check on your progress?”
For one long moment, it is Brown and Red’s turn to be confused as they share a look. Then Brown’s fingers slowly flex out a question. One that Vylethar does not find amusing in the slightest as he throws his hands up into the air, wine sloshing about in its glass.
“You think *I* sent him!? WHAT THE HEAVENS!?”
Lowering his arms, Vylethar reaches his free hand up to rub his forehead as he reigns his voice back in from its last, shouted, comment.
“I so do not need this right now. Crx is getting all uppity again. I’ve got portals opening up all over the place, most of them *not* dispensing incredibly hot elven women. Nihilis’s imps are crawling up my ass, and not in the pleasant way, trying to make sure I’m “ready when the time comes”, whatever the Heavens that means. The LAST thing I need is some other invisible yahoo running around my manor.”
With a loud sigh, Vylethar hands over his wine glass to Red, who accepts it gingerly and cradles it as if it were priceless. He then proceeds to kneel down and peek under the bed, before making a sweeping gesture at a section of the wall off to your left.
“Alright you little bastard, come on out! I know you haven’t gone far, your butt-weaselsy kind never does! I’m sick of you and all your little buddies stirring up **** around here! Come on out where I can see you, and we can settle this, mano-a-mano!”
I didn't actually intend to kill EVERYONE. It just sort of happened.
At Klaus' comment about language, Pyrene made a face. "I don't know very much Elvish," she apologized. "Mama taught me a few words and phrases she picked up from my Da is all."
And thank you, Mama, for insisting I know them. I thought you were crazed, making me learn foreign gabble in honor of the Da I couldn't even remember. But you were so happy when I used it, like I reminded you of him. So I remembered it, to remember you, and now it may have saved my life.
With a mental shake, Pyrene brought her attention back to the task at hand. Crouching so that the elf leader would be on eye level with her, she felt Garthax's talons squeeze a bit tighter and one of his wings brush by her head as he tried to keep his balance. "Garthax, I want you to stay invisible and silent for now. Oh, but if you can speak, or even just understand Elvish somehow, now would be a very good time to mention it."
By now, the leader was fully awake and had taken in the situation, including his dead comrad and his bound, living ones. Before he could say anything, however, she repeated her Elvish greeting, then made a small gesture toward the body. <Sorry.> She wasn't quite sure what she meant by the apology, so she quickly moved on to the questions, for which she did not have a good enough Elvish vocabulary. "Who are you? Who sent you? Why did you attack us?"
The vigor of Pyrene's questioning caused some of her hair to fall into her face, so she automatically tucked it behind her ear - only to give herself a mental tongue-lashing as she realized that this revealed the undeniable proof of her elven blood, which was a surprise she had hoped to save for later.
I started a blog! Beware of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup...
Umber chuckled softly. He had tucked the hateful silver into his belt after seeing it dropped, and on the way back, his hands had gently roamed over the vampiress' body, making sure she didn't have anything else ready to stab him with tucked into her clothing. He gently stroked Mellita's hair with one hand as Ross spoke, a small smile on his lips. When the paladin had finished his rant, he spoke in a soft, soothing tone.
"Come now, Ross... there's no need to be rude. I've seen the way that little wretch treats her, and I'm inclined to believe her story - unless, of course, she's a far better liar than I give her credit for. I don't claim to be infallible. But no... I think she's telling the truth. No need to damage such beauty, after all. Say what you will for Helion, but he does have good taste, at least in some areas."
Umber ran one hand down Mellita's alabaster cheek, gently kissing her neck as he continued to smile... just the hint of ivory on alabaster as his fangs brushed her with the softest kind of caress. "And she knows that I am far more terrible than that little worm. I will protect you, my dear." He said, turning Mellita's head and looking into her eyes with his own crimson orb. "But we will need your help. Your master has done both of us a great disservice, and my old... friend Kartul is probably planning something very, very unpleasant. If you have any information at all, you should surrender it now. Otherwise, you'll be coming with us. After we resolve the current bussiness, I'm sure I can find another place for you... as a way of repaying my kindness. Don't worry, I'll make sure it's nothing arduous." He gave another throaty chuckle, an enigmatic smile playing over his lips. "["COLOR="DarkRed"]Now... take us where you Think your master will be, or at least where you saw him last.[/color]" Almost absently, he handed Bran the silver dagger - it might make the boy a danger to Umber, but hopefully it would give him an ace in the hole.
Hans von Ravenstein
Hans overlooked the scene. Dead men, horribly crushed and mutilated, everywhere. He was informed the girl need not die, but what they had in store for her might have been worse. They threatened her. Hans had no problem with threats, but the tone of these men's voices made him doubt sincerely that they wouldn't follow through on them, even if the girl did show them whatever they were looking for. Kartul was the man they needed to stop, or so these men said. Hans was still quite unsure of what was happening, and his trust in his new friends was waning now that he had seen them so brutally slaughter the cultists. Then he looked down at the blood on his palms, and the several cultists he'd gutted and beaten several feet into the earth. He'd been made as a tool of death, and perhaps these men were the same, though not forged but born. Hans wiped his hands on the inside of his now torn coat and followed his companions. He had little choice.
"C'mon, Scruff, we're going"
Where-ever the trail lead, Hans could still decide what to do along the way.
"Someone needs to explain to me exactly what is going on. All I've been told so far is that Kartul is bad, but I'd like a reason for having these amounts of blood on my hands, as it seems they're only about to get more soaked"
Avatar by the illustrious Dr. Bath.
The essence of a riddle is that it states facts by means of a combination of impossibilities~Aristoteles
Tare remained perfectly immobile, a hole in empty space, watching the Lord of the House's entrance. As soon as it became apparent that he would not be able to remain hidden for much longer, he took a deep breath (though a silent one) and began searching in earnest for what to do next. Ok, get ahold of yourself. Now the game begins for real... Tare's thoughts raced back and forth, but in the end it was instinct and impulse that won out over reason and planning. Just as Vylethar was peeking under the bed, Tare was crafting a new role to slip into, repeating the words he had just heard over and over in his mind, creating an identity that was, in one way, exactly what Vylethar was expecting, and in another way... Completely not.
With only enough time for half of a thought, Tare slipped the burlap rags of his shirt off over his head and stuffed it quickly behind the dresser, deciding that leaving only the loose knee-length burlap shorts looked at least a little less like Prison garb-- the rest of the resemblance could be intentional, considering what three fourths of the other occupants of the room were wearing. Another rushed train of thought later, Tare hopped up and sat on top of the dresser, just as Vylethar was issueing his challenge and coincidentally using it to cover any sound that the movement might have made. ...No looking back now. Show time.
A slow clap echoed around the room, affirming Vylethar's suspicions and causing no small reaction from the concubines. "Impressive! Very well done, sir, the rumors truly don't do you justice!" He said without disguising his voice, which was sure to cause another startled reaction from those who had heard it before. Tare relaxed his concentration on the Invisibility spell, allowing himself to fade back into view starting at the edges and moving inward. With a sudden strike of inspiration, Tare hastily re-strengthened the Invisibility charm before it could fade completely, tightening it in much closer to the Center in his chest. From the outside, as he came into view he appeared startlingly human... except for a fist-sized hole right through his chest. Tare sat casually atop the dresser, one knee propped up and one arm rested across it, the other leg dangling over the dresser's edge, and leaning backward on his other arm. Though he could not compete with Vylethar's perverse charm, Tare was not without his own appeal; his arms and chest were subtly well-muscled, his features youthful but sharp, and the right kinds of scars in all the right places. His hair was dark and shaggy, and he reached up to pull a chunk out of his face before continuing. "First, I will beg forgiveness for your handmaiden," He said, nodding toward Black. "I had no idea that using my... gifts as I did would effect her so strongly, and I would offer you both my humblest appologies," With an eye-baffling movement he was suddenly standing, perched on the very edge of the dresser, from whence he offered a low bow. As he did so he caught scent of what he could only asume was Vylethar's own personal 'aroma', and almost threw up. He battled the urge down, however, and forced himself to continue without outward indication.
With a short hop and a feather-light landing, Tare stepped down from the dresser. Counting on either the bafflement or the good humor of his 'host', he continued without waiting for responce. "Second, I would explain myself. My name is Demyx; I am no one of importance, and but follow the orders of First Talon Crx. I was... with the First Talon when the elven woman was... discovered, and Lord Crx took... Special Interest in the mortal." Tare chose his words carefully, and then paused mometarilly for a reaction. "For some reason, it seemed very important to the First Talon that the elf be delivered to you in perfect form, and that her care was... satisfactory to your Lordship. I cannot presume to question why such a thing was so critical that he did not trust your own Handmaidens to see to it themselves," Here he looked to Brown and hastily added, "But I assure you, his paranoia was unfounded and I do not share it. However, given the chance to pay visit to your Lordship's... Estate," Here it was obvious that he was referring to the four women in the room rather than any collection of paintings or 'fine' art, but after all in this domain a certain amount of lust was merely good manners, "...I confess I was perfectly content to comply with my Lord's wishes. I would ask your forgiveness a second time for my lack of foresight." He bowed low again, waiting for judgement to be passed on his bluff.
Deo Soli Sit Semper Gloria
Originally Posted by Innis Cabal
Its offical. Overwilliam is Duke Devlin.
Last edited by OverWilliam : 05-20-2009 at 09:49 AM.
When the Tur talks about spilling blood he thinks, I really don't care whose blood is spilt as long as it isn't mine or my family's He watches the assistant as he carries the gear and smiles when he sees it. He bows quickly to the Tur before following the assistant. As he follows the assistant he once again is amazed by the size of the army. When they reach the tent he takes the bundle from the assistant who then turns and leaves. He looks quickly inside the tent to make sure it is indeed empty before entering. He quickly changes from his prison garb into the elven attire given to him. He feels the reasuring touch of the dagger's hilt. All the while wondering what he should do. Should I go and meet the squad or should I run away from here? If I get caught or if I run into these elves later I may be killed. I think I'll just see how this Ironheart thing goes. He leaves the tent with his old clothes still inside and heads toward the squad.
Ander ignores the knight as he scans the crowd below him for a more suitable traveling companion. After a minute or so, he spots just the person. He was young, probably in his late teen or early twenties, lanky, and had a mop of shaggy brown hair. More importantly, he also seemed to be one of the youngest members of the group who had actually recognized Ander's name.
No, Sir Knight, Ander says as he guides the young griffon to the ground. I think it would be better if you stayed back led your men back to base camp. You, he raises his voice and points at the young man he had picked out. You know the way back to camp, yes? Good. Now come on, don't be shy. We've got a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time.
Assuming the young man comes forward, Ander helps him up onto the griffon's back and returns to the sky.
I apologize for not bringing you along, Sir Knight, he says in a tone not the least bit apologetic. But your soul has betrayed your nature and, quite frankly, this boy is lighter than you are. Perhaps on your way back to camp you can ponder your recent transgressions and meditate on how you can atone for your sins in the eyes of Miriam. For your sake, I hope your repentance is genuine. The Valkyrie is rather short on mercy these days.
His last word said, Ander sets off in the direction of Karth's camp following the young man's directions.
Before he did anything else, Sohssal absorbed all of the magical energy Heath's corpse contained before it dissipated. Yeah, we'll go trace this conspiracy, and then solve it in the usual way. Remind be to bind their souls or something - I don't want any liches with a grudge, he informed them. Then, with a wave of his hand, he extended his wind spell - which then had only affected his trusty letter opener - to Heath's corpse.
Now, he probably has some important notes or shiny things around here. We should probably look for those before we leave," he added. Then he began looking for such things - preferably notes or journals, since valuables aren't usually of much worth to someone like him. Of course, he didn't forget to check Heath's pockets while he searched.
Oh, and you guys can come along when I take down the Cult. Omega's telepathy will be useful and Roger...won't be able to cause trouble somewhere else, I guess. Also, I don't think someone who's part demon, and someone else who probably still reeks of demonic possession will get along with the Mage Council very well," Sohssal commented.
Order of the Pstick Avatar by Sneak
Korram is given much to think about after his conversation with Katrina, the child of his blood that he forsook. As he descends the ladder of her treehouse, he cannot help but wonder what his life would have been like if he had simply accepted his wife's death all those years ago. He would have spared his daughter, his friends, many relative innocents of the Baron's guards...and himself, too. Korram the Firebrand took everything Korram Alstan had until nothing was left, consumed by the fires of hatred and anger.
What would have happened? Would the Baron have been any stronger? Would the other prisoners have been able to subdue the Hierarch? Would Seraph have been struck down before he reached the depths? The last thought leaves Korram with a bitter taste in his mouth.
Korram follows Kris silently as he is led to the abandoned treehouse. As Kris wishes him good luck, he shakes his head.
"No, don't. My luck has all been used; my time is passed. Be lucky yourself. The False Baron must never be allowed to triumph. As long as groups like this exist, no matter how small, he still hasn't won. Remember that."
Korram scales the ladder. He explores his house a bit, and sets a loop of fire around the entrance to deter unwanted visitors before laying down in a bed. Although his thoughts are troubled, he sleeps soundly, his exhaustion overpowering his musings.
Truly awesome Ark Tamaeus avatar by Bryn. Full size version here.