Post by Beowuuf on Mar 31, 2008 16:52:38 GMT -5
The Story so Far...
What happens in Magnamund has taken a turn for the worst as a lot of important events are beeing ignored by its citizens because most of the information about them has been lost.
The Nad-Adez Konkor known as Evil-TB appeared on Magnamund midway through MS 5103, dumped unceremoniously somewhere in Sommerlund with no memory of where he had come from or who he was.
He was soon captured by the Kai and taken as a prisoner to their Monastery. He managed to escape by releasing a stress-induced Mindblast – his first emerging Dark Discipline – and fled out into the Fryelund forest.
During the next few weeks he discovered and developed his Dark Disciplines, killing his first Kai in a chance trip to Holmgard. Soon after this event, he was given a vision by Naar to travel to the city-fortress of Kaag. Travelling through the Duncrags he set ablaze the Sommerlund fort of Clanor and retrieved what seems to be a plain looking jewellery box.
Having made his way through the Duncrag range and now into the Darklands, Evil-TB arrived at the walls of Kaag. Entering via the South Gate, using the skin of Nyxator as leverage, he made his way through the city-fortresses’ ruined streets until he came to the central citadel. Fooling Giak sentries with his mind techniques, he made his way into the citadel proper. There, he was captured by the NAK Grand Master Dark Sonar.
Dark Sonar revealed much that Evil-TB did not know. He was told about the Nad-Adez Konkor, their purpose on Magnamund and their allegiance and unswerving loyalty to Naar.
He was also given further instruction to make his way south to the river Xane; there he would receive details on travelling to the Maakenmire. This order had apparently come directly from Naar himself.
Not knowing how he could verify this request, Evil-TB accepted and made his way south from Kaag. He arrived at the edge of the reclaimed wasteland being worked on by the Herbalish and Dessi magicians. As this was no mere Sommerlund fort, he decided to circumvent the area and head into the hillside.
Evil-TB managed to make his way to the start of the river Xane, where he was suddenly caught up in a huge storm. From out of the storm emerged the figure of Avarice the Betrayer, who had come as the avatar of Naar. He relayed further instruction onto Evil-TB, showing him a peak in the Maakenmire and a lone figure climbing to the top, clutching a small item. Before the vision could end, Evil-TB blacked out and is now left to ponder the delivered message.
The wolf creature and one-time Vakeros Knight Beowuuf had ended his undercover mission in the Darklands with his small band of Death Knights and Giaks killed, and himself captured. He managed to persuaded those who defended both the Maakengorge bridge and the freed area of the Darklands of the importance of tracking Dark Walker, a rogue Death Knight, to Maaken. There they all might discover the secret of the Urgo-Kor-Naar, the 'footfall of Naar', which the Death Knight possessed. An item that the Elder Magi had thought was a weapon but had turned out to be a mysterious mineral that had power in the death knight's hand. The mineral was not natural yet not magical and seemed to pop up in other forms throughout Magnamund.
The journey was not without incident. Beowuuf was forced to accept not only the joy of the return of his old Elder Magi mentor safely coming back from the Darklands too but the return of the man Beowuuf had though himself to be mentally - Tamas Rehme. As Beowuuf was confronted with this reality, the wolf mind of Beowuuf slowly revealed in dreams more and more of the previous life of Sorba, the wolf creature Tamas had encounter in Kaag, as well as visions of the goings on in Eshnar. The journey was further complicated by the brief re-appearance of Captain Kollosco, a lesser mage of both the left and right hand magics that had once betrayed Beowuuf while conveying the wolf to the Darklands. He and two other mages, and a Nadziran called Namanas, were apparently also bound to Maaken on Zlanbeast, and expected and needed Beowuuf there.
Tensions came to a head when the group of dwarfs and Lyrians Beowuuf was travellng with were betrayed and ambushed in Maaken the second they stepped foot there, with the group severely weakened and key figures killed. Prince Torfan, the dwarven leader and next King of Bor, survived. Beowuuf almost did not, for Dark Walker had gained in power as Beowuuf found his mind coming apart. However, at this dark time Beowuuf had epiphany as to who 'Beowuuf' really was, and found the strength and focus to realise who the traitor was and confront them. For Beowuuf really was Tamas, and the traitor was a Drakeros inhabiting Tamas's old form.
Beowuuf then continue to meet at the temple. There, Dark Walker discovered himself to be a pawn - Beowuuf was only needed so that both Dark Walker and Beowuuf could be handed over to the Death Knight commander thought killed, Karlnos Flamespear. Beowuuf had led the man's son to his death, and the commander wished to ensure pesonal vengence.
However, with the traitor dead, Beowuuf's mentor Gralmis was able to hide the force that snuck to the temple. While sadly none of the vilains were killed, Dark Walker escaping and the rest driven off, Beowuuf was able to secure the fickle aid of a blinded Death Knight Crimson Blade and the Urgo-Kor-Naar again as well as removing Karlnos's hand. For now, Beowuuf's human mind and borrowed wolf body were at peace, and whatever dark plan of the three evil villains had been disrupted.
Beowuuf finally managed to see the Maakengorge bridge, a hidden bridge that was made of a material that was not magical but not natural either. Previously Darklands forces had used it to attack the east, until the forces of dwarfs and Lyrians had pushed them back. Beowuuf discovered the Urgo-Kor-Naar indeed reacted to the bridge, showing the wolf that there was indeed a connection in all the activities of the Darklands. It was enough to justify his returning to report back in Sommerlund.
Meanwhile, various people in the past and future tried to recall what had happened in the city of Eshnar when the commander of the undead Hazelae was confronted. Among them was Simey, who woke up in some grassland near Eshnar with no recollection of how he had got there, nor any memory of the preceeding days or perhaps even weeks. He met Sir Armadalus and Master Wise Fox not far away, and the three of them took shelter in a ramshackle hut in a small wood as night fell. Wise Fox's incessant questioning caused Simey to inadvertantly voice for the first time his memory of a vivid hallucination that he had experienced several weeks earlier.
After that, a group of yellow robes, and various others including Armadalus, Simey and Wise Fox all had entered Eshnar. A Telchos giantess and the old sage Renoire had met with gruesome ends, and the group had slowly pushed torward the centre. The leader of the yellow robes, the younger relative of the great sage Zipp also called Zipp, appeared to have a mental breakdown, muttering about a 'connection'. However, Zipp had disappeared, and Armadalus took Simey and Wise Fox deep into the heart of Eshnar knowing the sage leader would be heading there.
Finally, the old crew of Kollosco, now under the employ of the mysteriously acting Master Andras of the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star, is engaged in a dangerous mission. It apparently involved them searching for something, by such drastic methods was allowing Lakuri pirates to board the ship.
Up north, in Anskaven, Wild Horse went to check out one of the largest shipwrights. However, he was told off in no small manner that there were no ships being constructed for the Kai Fleet, yet the documents that Wild Horse held had the signature of the then-Admiral Black Cat and the shipwright's name (which turned out to be false).
This was a case of fraud and who had spent the Kai Fleet's funds? Wild Horse was troubled by this and wanted to investigate further. However, a summons from the Baron of Anskaven was to change things. In order to reinforce the security for the banquet on Rhorgal Isle (a short voyage out of Anskavern), it was requested that the Emerald Defender be roped in to patrol the nearby waters.
On that Rhorgal Island, the Treasurer of Sommerlund, Lord Aldius, has made a mysterious deal with the Darklands. He would capture Black Cat and keep him in his castle while a Helghast in disguise would took his place and return to the Monastery. In exchange, Aldius was going to receive something from a ship in Holmgard.
The fake Black Cat is currently at the Monastery looking for something. During that time, the real one escaped from Aldius' clutches with the help of his fiancée, Miss Kina, that Black Cat had saved from certain death a few years ago. Hiding on the ship that is bringing Aldius and Kina to Holmgard for the King’s birthday, Black Cat had to come out of his hiding place when a Xargath attacked.
It was on one fine morning that during their patrol, Wild Horse and the crew of the Emerald Defender came across that terrifying scene of the Xargath attacking the Sommlending vessel coming from the direction of Rhorgal Isle. Mustering his crew to support the lone ship, Wild Horse led the counter-attack, his crew firing arrows, bolts, ballistas, cannonballs to drive off the serpent. But the beast was a tough opponent. Finally he unleashed the Torpedo, hoping that its magnetic point will be attracted by the myriad metal projectiles in the Xargath's hide. And to speed it up, he combined his disciplines of Elementalism and Grand Nexus, flinging the missile into the sea monster and giving it a fatal wound from which it died.
But for Black Cat, who used the diversion offered by the attacking Xargath to try to swim to the Emerald Defender, there was still some danger in the water as a second Xargath was about to try to eat him...
What is going to happen next? How is the Eshnar story arc going to end? Is it really going to end? What was the thing that Aldius is going to receive from the Darklands in Holmgard? Will Black Cat entered the Guinness Book of Record for the biggest Xargath caught by a single man? Are we going to lose another chapter? Is Simey happy now that I’ve written all these questions? Stay tuned as Chapter 17 unfolds in front of your very own eyes!Previously written entries in Facebook and Aon are already added here:
Post by Maerin on Apr 1, 2008 18:34:16 GMT -5
Freestate of Chaman
“Excuse me sir.”
“Pardon me sir.”
“Please sir, I need to get through here.”
“Please sir, that is my foot you are standing on.”
“Step aside, beanpole!”
Maerin took a few swift strides over to stand next to the low wall of a house, out of the street and out of the relentlessly streaming crowd. Despite the cool spring air, the scholar wiped sweat from his brow.
The streets of Gleesh were proving far more stressful than he remembered the last time he was here. Of course, Maerin considered with some dry amusement, the last time he had been here, he had not walked in the streets at all. His last visit, he had had the sense to hire a carriage to take him from his inn to the Lycarus, the famous Library of Gleesh. Not wanting to draw attention to himself this time around, however, by spending an abundance of silver, Maerin had decided to walk discretely to the Lycarus instead.
So much for that idea, the young man thought in annoyance. It must be a holiday for all the humans in Gleesh today, because the only people crowding the busy streets of the city were kloons, the tallest of which was not much taller than Maerin’s belt.
And crowd they did. Standing head, shoulders, and most of a torso over practically everyone around him, Maerin was amazed at how hot, stuffy, and confusing the crowd still managed to make the streets. To his best recollection, Gleesh was not so large as many cities of his acquaintance. However, one would never know it trying to travel these narrow streets, teaming with hundreds of kloons, today. And all of them seemed to know exactly where they wanted to go, and followed some sort of chaotic traffic rules Maerin could not even begin to fathom. Dozens seemed to move in currents down and through the swarmed streets, currents that seemed to ruthlessly reach their destinations in spite of all possible obstructions.
Maerin had always considered himself a fairly easy-going young man, and certainly never considered himself a human racist. But, he thought in stressed frustration, he might still be able to find it in his heart to hate kloons.
Maerin took a couple deep breaths, wiped his brow again, and finally looked around in a calmer, less distracted fashion. The landmarks in the city he had been trying to use to locate the Lycarus were all still in sight. The letter had made him wary of returning directly home, at least not without learning more of what had been occurring in his eight-year absence. In particular, events of the past couple years, prior to and just after the letter was originally sent, were a complete unknown to the scholar.
Well, there is nothing for it, Maerin sighed resignedly as he prepared to step back out into the nearest current of kloons flowing by. With luck, he would happen to find flood of kloons that conveniently happened to be flowing towards at least one of the landmarks for the Lycarus. At least before lunch, he hoped.
Post by Maerin on Apr 2, 2008 12:56:23 GMT -5
Freestate of Chaman
Maerin finished a second reading of the scroll, and placed it carefully back on the desk. Taking first a moment to gather his thoughts, he turned in his chair to face the kloon scholar, patiently seated across the table. The kloon placed the book he had been perusing on the table before him, and met the human scholar’s gaze with an unblinking one of his own.
Maerin broke the silence. "This document is four years old. Has it truly been that long?"
"Why yes, sir. That was the last time the sage Patrick visited us. I remember his visit distinctly. The disease that document discusses was...singular."
Maerin sat back as he considered that further. Four years? Could it be that the message he was sent took that long to catch up with him? That did not make sense. Keig had told him the trader had carried it for only about a year. But this was four years ago. Why send him a message within the past year to look at a scroll documenting the study of a disease plot that was itself four years past? Maerin’s confusion only increased as he tried to follow the branching and intertwining paths of reasoning to explain the mystery.
Maerin abruptly stood. Whatever the explanation, he seemed to have learned all he could about it here.
"Well, whatever Cener plot might have been reflected in this study, it is certainly an old one at this point. Either they were foiled in this, or they abandoned the effort entirely, as I never received word of such a disease outbreak on the level this describes. Beyond that, I am not certain why I was directed here at all. So, I should take my leave now that I might leave with all haste to return to Varetta and speak further with my masters on this subject."
The kloon stared up at Maerin without expression. "Doing that would avail you little, sir."
Maerin frowned. "Why is that?"
Maerin rolled his eyes in exasperation, as the kloon held out one small hand. Kloons… Reaching into a belt pouch, Maerin pulled out a few lune and dropped them into the small hand. Unperturbed, the little scholar continued his explanation.
"There is no Halls of Learning in Varetta, sir, and has not been one for four years."
"What?!?" Maerin rocked back on his heels in shock. "What do you mean?"
"I do not know the right answer to that, sir. I know we have had no contact with our…and your…colleagues in Varetta for some years now. Further, I remember your colleague, Patrick, telling me on his visit here four years ago that the Halls were no more. Apparently, there had been some sort of trouble or difficulty, but Patrick and those with him would say little more to me of its nature, even when I offered to purchase the information at above market value. Since then, missives sent by us to Varetta have gone unanswered and, in many cases, the messengers themselves did not return."
Maerin paced around the room, its small size constricting his movement to tight, stressful curves and twists. His thoughts raced. What had been happening at home during his long absence? Then he stopped, as another thought dawned on him. Four years ago. One year ago. There was a connection. It was not the Cener plot Maerin was meant to discover. Nor even that the Halls of Learning had, once again, been destroyed. No, there was something else to the timing here…
"Very well. One final question."
Maerin dropped a few lune on the table before continuing. The kloon nodded silently. "What is the current state of travel between here and Tekaro?"
"The road is clear, sir. The last we had heard, river passage past Ruel was troublesome. Merchant trade has been almost entirely routed by land since spring thaw opened the mountain passes."
The kloon, stepping up onto the chair that Maerin had vacated, scooped up the coins.
"Very well then. Thank you for your services."
Without another word, Maerin strode swiftly out of the room, and then out of the Lycarus. He still did not fully understand what was going on here, and why the mysterious missive had requested he visit Gleesh instead of requesting he return home to Varetta. But there was some explanation and purpose, of that Maerin had little doubt. Rejoining the traffic flow, he moved off towards the north gate of the city. There was still a long way to travel, but it would give him time to consider this mystery.
Post by Maerin on Apr 2, 2008 14:47:08 GMT -5
The Grand Principalities of Slovia
Despite the mid-afternoon waning towards evening, the riverfront of Tekaro was still teeming with activity. Riverboats were being tied up, cargos were being either loaded or unloaded, and mercenaries and their equipment jostled for the limited space available. Those boatmen not clearly departing within the hour were about that most noble of all challenges to a boatman of the River Storn…the quest for the best riverside ale house in Tekaro.
However, one boatman at the docks seemed neither occupied by work nor drink. Instead, the man’s keen gaze seemed to be studying the boats, each in turn. An astute observer might have wondered to see such a man idle and looking for something or someone. Such an observer might have also wondered at the rough leather gloves that man wore, despite the warm afternoon. However, in the chaos of the dock activity, no such astute observations were possible. No observer, however interested, would have enjoyed an easy time studying the boatman even for short periods of time.
After about a half hour, the boatman seemed to notice what he sought, and began weaving his way through crates, nets, ropes, and all manner of humanoid races. The going was slow, made all the slower as the boatman deliberately paused to talk to various people along the way, duck around awkward corners, and subtly verify he was not being shadowed.
Another half hour or so found the boatman at a gangplank extending from the stern of a large riverboat. An old man, gray of both hair and beard and dressed in the shabby but serviceable garb of an honest trader captain on the River Storn, sat on a pile of crates smoking a black wood pipe and watching his men off-load a series of bags. The boatman smiled at the older man as he approached.
The captain was little changed, even after eight years. “Good day to you captain. Was the catch today as good as that of last week?”
The captain stared a long moment at the younger boatman before responding, his gaze returning distractedly to his working crew.
“No, and I have a mind ta think the morrow will be as bad as today.” The captain’s voice was rough from decades of shouting orders and smoking harsh tobacco. “Who‘r ya to be askin’?”
“A young pup, one who sailed with you out of Soren with more mind than heart, as I recall,” responded the boatman, a small, almost sad smile appearing briefly on his countenance.
At that, the captain again turned his head to stare directly at the younger man, eyes suspicious. “Wha…?”
Suddenly, the captain’s eyes widened in recognition, and his expression took on a combination of surprise, delight… and what appeared to be a bit of fear to the eyes of the boatman.
“Well, I’ll be a… It is ya. After all these years. Why, I swore I seen the last of ya when I left ya and ya’r bag right here on this dock. Whatever brings…”
Suddenly, the riverboat captain snapped his jaws shut and fought to mask his expression behind a mask of irritation. His eyes quickly flicked around the immediate area, looking for anyone that might have noted the interest he had taken in the younger man. Once he recovered his composure, the old captain continued in a level, neutral tone.
“What business do ya have with me, boy? I have a lot of work yet to see done before the sun goes down.”
“I will not keep you for now, captain,” the younger man responded. “However, perhaps we might discuss business later, say, 7…no 8 bells over the setting sun? You know where to find me, yes?”
The captain’s response was gruff, almost surly. “Fine, fine. Now git ya’rself gone boy. Ya ‘r standing on precious dock space I paid a mint for.”
It was mid-evening when the old riverboat captain excused himself from the crowd drinking and carousing in smoky common room of the Setting Sun Tavern. Taking up his latest mug of ale, the captain climbed the stairs to the second floor. Stopping to pull a dagger from his belt, the captain used the pommel to rap on the wooden door with a number ‘8’ carved crudely into the wood.
“Come in.” The voice was soft, but carried audibly through the closed door.
The captain stepped part way through the door, ready to duck back out if attacked from the inside. He swept his gaze across the room. The young boatman from the riverfront, now dressed as a common tradesman, sat alone near the window across the room. Other than a large leather bag, stuffed into a corner next to the straw mattress on the floor, the room was empty. The captain looked back at the young man, his expression both suspicious and a bit fearful.
“Gonna shoot me lad, or can we talk?”
“Talk,” replied the younger man, placing the loaded crossbow he had been cradling on his lap on the floor nearby. The captain sighed in some relief as the young man carefully pointed the weapon towards a wall and away from both of them.
The captain then sheathed his dagger, entered the room and closed the door firmly behind him. The old man settled into a second chair indicated by the room’s occupant. Once he had settled himself, the younger man continued.
“So Captain Dennik, you do remember me. I was not certain you would, or I would not have approached you using…"official" means.”
“What kind of nonsense is that, boy? ‘Course I know ya. I knew ya'r master, bless his soul ta’ Ishir’s care, for most of our lives. And well I recall ya capering around my boat since ya were, what, 10? 11? Maerin, is it not? Or are ya going by somethin’ else these days? Not that I blame ya, if you do, mind ya.”
“No, Maerin is still my name, thanks for asking. But before we truly start reminiscing about my youthful follies, would you mind answering a few questions for me? I have recently heard that home may not be…quite the same as I left it.”
“No, lad. No, it is not.” The old captain sighed as he settled back in his chair and took a long pull from the mug of ale he had retained.
“I will tell ya what I know and what I have heard. It is a story, to be sure, an’ not a short one so ya’ best settle ya’rself. It is also a story without much detail, mind ya, and that it is not much of a story in that sense is pro’ably the worst of all, I suspect.”
Maerin shifted into a more comfortable posture in his chair by the window, but otherwise silently listened as the captain began his story.
“It was about two, maybe three years ago now, when I noticed somthin’ was up.”
“I was in port in Soren when the word came ‘round that some sort of nastiness was goin’ on, or had gone on, in Varetta. No ordinary nastiness, mind ya. I mean really nasty. As in people willing to leave the city for the duration sort of nasy.
“Some sorta monster had been killin’ folk all over the city. That had really shut things down, there. No trade, no fightin’, nothin'.
“The news kinda blew us all away, really. Money was still good for me and mine, ‘course, what with some fools in Magador and Delden going at it. Takes a lot to shut down the River completely for those of us who call the Storn home. But we all got a mit worried about trade from The City not makin’ it our direction ‘cause of the trouble. That would prove a pinch, if nothin’ else.
“I think I had just put into Luyen harbor, right after that first spot of news, when the next bits followed down the River just behind me. It was all jumbled nonsense, mind ya, and most ‘o us could not make head nor tail of it. Somethin’ about plague or monsters, somethin’s ‘bout the Sages in Varetta being the cause or not being able to help or being all killed off. Lots of that sorta bits.
“But somethin’ was dead certain in all the bits we heard, and that somethin’ was them Halls of Learning in Varetta had been blown into dust. No one could say how or why or when or by who, though there was plenty of guessin’ goin’ on.
I spent a couple weeks in Luyen on other business, and listened to what continued floatin’ down the River. A fair number of stories claimed that fire from the stars themselves fell and had scoured the Halls and all the Sages. Some said it was an attack, but more said it was for some crime or another against the gods or humanity. Honestly lad, whatever the reasons for it, I have heard the fire from the sky bit enough times now to believe that much of the story, anyway.
“Then there was nothin’ for a time. I had a cargo bound for Palmyrion and that took me away from Upriver for a fair time. Month, maybe two.
“It wasn’t ‘til I put back into Soren that I heard somethin’ new and that was that everythin’ had turned out for good after all. Peace had been restored in Varetta, everyone was happy, all such like that.
“‘Course no one could say when the last time any serious trade had come to Soren from the Big City, and even trade with Quarlen and other areas of Lyris had seemed to die off. Somethin’ queer was up, no mistake. One of my friends told of taking a company of raidin’ mercenaries ‘cross the River from Magador to hit some small Lyrisian mines in the far north. ‘Cordin’ to my friend, not a man of that company returned. ‘Course, that did not necessarily mean nothin’ by itself. Raidin’ mercenaries die all the time in the Stornlands.
“People seemed put out by the loss of Lyrisian goods on the River, but life goes on. Certainly all could remember when trade had dried up for a time one place or another from war. It hurt, but not enough to kill.
“I was down the River and back to Soren again, perhaps a year and a half gone, before I first ran into that new Order of Free Thought of Varetta.”
“The what?” Maerin interrupted, now leaning forward in his chair and frowning.
“Well, lad, ya just confirmed somethin’ that had been in the back of my mind for the last year. Knowin’ what I know of what ya get up to in the past, if ya did not know anythin’ ‘bout ‘em, they were somethin’ new. Somethin’ not ya Sages.
“Anyway, I was met by the usual customs officer on Soren dock, only this time he was joined by some young lad in scholarly-type get-up. Gray it was, and plain. The lad wasn’t much younger than I remember ya being when ya left. Had a kinda queer look to his eye, mind ya.
“But he seemed friendly enough and stayed out of the custom officer’s way for the most part. I wouldn’t have thought anythin’ more about it at the time. ‘Til the custom officer didn’t demand his usual, um, spot dockin’ levy, if ya take my meanin’.
“It was strange, though I confess at the time I was quite happy about it. I had not made as much on the latest run as I wanted. Not needin’ to drop a few more gold crowns in an officer’s pouch for “dock upkeep” did a lot towards makin’ my day better.
“Over the course of the past year, I always saw those Order scholars, some young, some older, when I put into Soren. I even started seein’ them durin’ stops at a couple small fishin’ villages on the Lyris side of the River, villages where I don’t think I ever saw a sniff of officialdom ‘less it was the thugs of some local nobility in need of coin or men.
“Never seen a huge number of them, mind ya, but everyone seemed right careful about what they said and what they did around that gray bunch. And all the shrines and the temple to Ishir, well, any divine sort actually, seem to all be closed up. Festival days still happen, but nothin’ religious about ‘em anymore. Lyris had become a very different place, no mistakin’ that.
“As for them scholars, they always seemed real friendly. They have always wanted to talk to me about what I had heard and seen in other lands along the River. Seemed more than willing to pay in gold for information, like those kloons do. I know a fair number of my fellow captains that have made quite a bit in the last year from this Order of Free Thought, and I can’t say as I wasn’t tempted too, mind ya. Ishir knows I’ve been paid a coin or two by ya Sages in the past.
“But somethin’ about that Order of Free Thought bunch has always bothered me, an’ kept me from takin’ their gold. I don’t know what, though. Maybe it’s just that they seem too nice and too clever by far. Can you imagine it, ‘bout six months ago one of them offered to teach any of my crew who wished it their letters and numbers, just so that gray scholar could travel where ever we went on the River during that time? He seemed a little put out at my refusal, especially when he then offered a pouch of gold to sweeten the deal. But, as if it was no matter, that gray scholar seemed to shake off his irritation and called for a round of drinks for me and all my crew that were present. I lost a few hands that day, I recall.
“Maybe it’s because life hasn’t gone back to normal in Lyris since I first saw those gray robes. Can ya imagine, there hasn’t been word of actual war between Lyris and anyone else. I have not even heard of a war within Lyris itself, in the past two or three years? Trade with the Lyrisians now, what little enough there seems to be, all requires a document signed and stamped special by one of the Order of Free Thought.
“Every once in a while, I hear about some captain or another who decides he don’t need that paperwork for the cargo he hauls. Ishir only knows why, as it doesn’t cost none and seems easy enough to get. But, it always seems like as soon as we hear captain mouth his decision to listeners, he and his boat and crew just up and vanish. Anyone who shows, shall we say, interested curiosity in such disappearance either suddenly change their minds or disappears too.
The captain drained his mug of ale, clearly bringing a close to his tale. Maerin sat, listening intently without interruption or question.
“Guess there’s not much more to tell ya, Maerin. Sorry I cannot tell ya more about Varetta itself, but I don’t travel much away from the River anymore. Something seems more an’ more off in the Stornlands these days, and the River always flowing south is my one guarantee that I can be elsewhere if I need to be.
“Ya see, by the end of winter, I started to see those grey scholars appear in taverns and on streets in Luyen, Rhem, and a few other small towns on the River. Offerin’ to teach, offerin’ to by information, talkin’ with people, makin’ friends. Don’t know of any in Duadon, though I can’t imagine them Eldenorans much carin’ for a proper education. My old bones tell me this isn’t goin’ remain a Lyrisian thin’ much longer.”
The captain fell silent, stood, and studied Maerin carefully. The earlier frown of deep thought had not left the young man’s face.
“Now look here Maerin. Ya need to be careful here. I don’t know what is up with the Order of Free Thought I just told ya about. And I don’t know much else about the events of the past few years aside from what I’ve told ya tonight. But I do know one thing more. In memory of ya'r master and my friend, I need ya to listen to this now.”
At that, Maerin looked up into old riverboat captain’s eyes and he continued.
“Since that first day I heard about the Halls of Learning in Varetta bein’ blown up, I haven’t seen a one of ya sages, aside from ya today. Nor have I heard a one of ya’r order’s signs, passwords, whatever ya all call ‘em, until this afternoon hearing one from ya. That’s been a two or three years now. I’ve worked with ya Sages of Varetta for decades, and I cannot remember a single year of my life since I started with ya when that was true. Not since the Darklords were driven out of the Stornlands.
“Somethin’ has all made ya’r fellow Sages disappear without a trace or a whimper, and that idea scares me more than a little. It should scare ya, too. So ya need to take care.”
The captain walked to the door, opened it, looked carefully up and down the hallway, and turned back to the young man.
“My boat and I will be headin’ up north soon. Might ya be on it?”
Maerin shook his head slowly and thoughtfully, and then met the old captain’s gaze.
“No, Captain Dennik. These scholars have been seen further south along the Storn, but only much more recently than those you saw in Soren and elsewhere along the River in Lyris. I will want to observe them away from Lyris first, and see what I might learn before inviting further trouble returning to Lyris. And when I finally do so, it would be best if you and yours were somewhere else, so that you are not thought or guessed to be associated with me at all.”
The captain nodded his head gravely. “That’s noble of ya lad. I thank ya and I will ask ya no more of what ya might be plannin’. Just keep in mind that I do remember ya, if ya end up needin’ help on the Storn. Ishir’s Wisdom guide ya'r path, Maerin.”
Without any further words, the captain took his leave. Maerin sat, motionlessly thinking and planning, on into the night.
Post by Beowuuf on Apr 2, 2008 15:18:08 GMT -5
The ship The New Day, somewhere on the Kaltersee
Captain Duman spun the dagger slowly. It pinned the ripped piece of parchment to the table, a harsh interrogator. Duman's eyes were clouded with a flurry of separate thoughts Duman was neither used to nor able to deal with effectively.
He tried to condense the concerns and worries to a single, core chain of logic. Create a solitary and solid worry to work towards, the worry acting as an anchor at the end to keep Duman steady in this perturbed sea.
He also tried to slow his thoughts down by his physical motions, determined to rotate the dagger slower than he felt comfortable with. He had the small bump of the pommel between his thick forefinger and thumb, using it to gently spin the upright blade clockwise then widdershins.
"Father used to do that," said a voice at the door. Duman was in his cabin, and a closed door should have been enough to ensure no crew disturbed him. Sadly though, he had chosen his older brother for a first mate, and this meant he had no privacy physically or emotionally.
"Yes he did," said Duman, not turning around nor answering the unspoken question. Their father used to do that motion when he was unsure, when he was seeking guidance. The brothers suspected that when the man did it late at night, he was questioning his decision to ground himself in Toran with a wife and children.
"It is cold out," said Dyvan not to be ignored, coming in and theatrically stamping his feet - using that as an excuse to close the door firmly and turn the light of the lamp up higher. "Goes for my wound, thank you for asking about it. The sawbones says it is fine, which shows what a poor choice you have made in your crew."
"Yes," said Duman again. Dyvan cursed himself mentally for walking into that one, and cursed all the more that his brother did not seem his usual self. Duman was either outwardly personable or outwardly yelling. This internalising man was most unlike the brother Dyvan knew.
Duman, for his part, was still trying to calm the thoughts. Ignoring his brother was not easy, and he concentrated harder on the blue blade before him. A bluevein dagger he believed it called by the Vakeros. The wolf creature Beowuuf had left it in Duman's keeping before the wolf had left the ship - that and the wolf's normal Vakeros finery. A man, or beast creature, might come across a bluesteel artifact if he was lucky. To have so many items would have stretched believability for the undercover mission the wolf had been undertaking.
The wolf had told Duman that the dagger had belonged to a soldier. A good man under Beowuuf's command in a previous life, who had survived a first battle only to be struck down by the blood plague at the end of the combat.
Duman tired to take what he could from the story, derive some hidden meaning or emotion from the dagger. Instead, the dagger remained unforthcoming. In turn, the parchment apparently held no answers for the dagger.
Duman had never seen his father lead, had only heard tales of his father as a first mate. The previous captain of the ship, Kollosco - who had seemed a good enough man had proved the most false of men - had left his crew to their doom against a Darklands attack the captain himself had brought upon his ship.
That left only the wolf creature Beowuuf as an example of what a commander and leader of men should be. And sadly, Duman had not known the creature well. Duman had no idea how to behave. What the secret was that these other men seemed to know when placed with responsibility for a crew and mission, holding lives and potentially their country's future in their hands? How did these other men cope? How did they know, in a whirling maelstrom of contradictory thoughts, hopes, fears, expectations, morality and even orders what to do?
"Brother?" said Dyvan, noticing that Duman was now deep in thought and the dagger point was whirling faster, starting to tear the parchment it was prickling.
Duman did not heed this, lost in his thoughts. How did those other men make a decision? What set them apart from the normal men such as himself. How could one possibly know what was right, if one did not believe in the direct intercession of the gods? If not by divine aid nor noble birth, how was Duman supposed to know if it was the right thing to question the mission he was on for Andras? How could he possibly disobey orders?
"What are you doing, brother?" asked Dyvan, concerned.
Duman reached a decision within himself. "I have no idea." He turned to face the man overplaying shivers by the door. "I have no idea," Duman repeated, "and that, brother, is something that must change."
Post by eviltb on Apr 3, 2008 19:45:20 GMT -5
Wasting no time, eviltb turned and continued his way across the bridge. The closer he got to V’Ka, the more crowded the bridge became. Giak and Gourgaz bodies began to pile up, while the bridge was stained black with blood. This made passage through the fighting easier for the NAK, as the two sides were too pre-occupied with each other to notice a small infiltrator.
eviltb had almost made it across the bridge when he paused to hide behind an overturned wagon. He surveyed ahead and could see more of the same, gourgaz and giak going at each other, hand and foot, tooth and claw. Gazing up, the huge peak of V’Ka rose majestically into the sky. The storm that had started was in full fury now, almost as if it was spurred on by the fighting below it. Lightning crashed all around, illuminating the mountain top. eviltb was surprised to see hundreds of dark holes scattered all over the mountain side. His eyesight scanned the terrain and he could see activity on these holes. Surely an entire civilization could not live inside this mountain!?
eviltb turned and slumped down resting against the wagon. In his vision he had been climbing the face of the mountain. Nothing he had foreseen had hinted that the mountain was, in fact, a fortress for an entire race! He reached round behind his to his pack and patted where the wooden box was stored. Still there, still safe.
The rain continued to pour down. eviltb turned and surveyed the mountain once more. This fight would never end, he thought to himself. It would seem the Gourgaz would fight to the last to defend their home. The Kai Hunter adjusted his pack, sheathed his blades and began forward again. The mountain drew closer with each step and it wasn’t long before he had reached the end of the bridge and began to ascend the slope to the mountain proper. eviltb arrived at the main gate to the mountain-fortress of V’Ka. Its gates hung burnt on its hinges, corpses of both giak and gourgaz lay about the entrance floor. The gourgaz seemed to have driven the initial attack of the Giaks back from the gate onto the bridge and the beach front before the gate. Now all that remained here were injured gourgaz whose wounds were too severe to tend to. These had been left here to die. Nowhere could eviltb see any young or female of the species, as he would’ve expected had this been a human encampment. He allowed himself a small grin; at least some clichés aren’t always true.
eviltb made his way deeper into the V’Ka mountain. All around him he could see the many doors that had been flung open by gourgaz under attack. In every room he could see corpses of gourgaz and giak, black blood staining the floor as it seeped from open wounds. The attack had been quick and had literally caught the gourgaz by surprise. eviltb made his way up and up into the mountain. Again, more of the same - corpses and blood. The attackers, these undead giak, had made their way deep into the fortress. The Kai hunter came to a flight of stairs and began to climb them. He had not taken more than 5 steps before he was forced to stop. The mountain here had been hit by something, as rubble lay everywhere and eviltb was exposed to the outside. Rain collected in puddles all around. eviltb looked up into the sky at the foreboding cliff-face. He made sure his pack was secure and stepped out onto the ridge. Below him he could see the immense battle taking place. He estimated he was about a quarter ways up the peak itself. He reached up with one hand and felt around. Soon, he found a handhold and began the long climb up to the top of V’Ka. The climb itself was slow and arduous. Many times he lost his grasp and slide down where he had climbed from. His hands were bleeding and raw from the rough stone, his face buffeted by wind and rain that he could only see a few inches in front of him. But he knew he was close. His heart pounded in his chest with every step upwards he took.
Soon eviltb came to a small ledge, which he quickly climbed onto and collapsed flat. He was exhausted. He crawled to the edge and looked down. He could no longer see the battle, nor could he see any of the Maakenmire swamp itself. All was lost among the rain, which continued to throw itself down from above. All around him the wind howled as if it was personally trying to dislodge him from his ascent. He reached behind him to his pack. Now was a good a time as any. He unfastened the latch and withdrew the wooden box. His most prized possession, the one he had clung onto following his departure from Fort Clanor. He shook it gently and it gave off the familiar rattle. With trembling hands he lifted the latch and opened the box. A small gem lay on the quilted inside. eviltb reached forward to pick it up and held it aloft. The gem was dark, darker than the night sky itself. He could see, very faintly, red lines pulsating through it. Slowly he closed his hand around the gem and could feel the warmth generated from it. The gem seemed to revitalise him and he stood upright for the first time since starting his climb. Looking upwards towards the sky, he could see the peak of the mountain. eviltb left his pack where it was, along with the box. Clutching the gem in one hand he again began to climb up the mountainside. He could see the top of the mountain now, he was almost there!
The wind began to increase as he got closer, the rain fell harder and lightening crashed all around. Just a few more feet, he thought. Slowly he inched his way forward. He had reached the peak of the mountain. Grasping onto the stone for dear life, eviltb stretched out with his hand and as carefully as he could, placed the gem onto the mountain spire. As soon as the gem touched the bare rock, the clouds exploded with lightening. Forks dove down into the gem from all angles and the heavens responded with a deafening roar of thunder. eviltb was thrown back by the shockwave and gasp as his gripped slipped from the mountain. Everything then seemed to slow down for the Kai hunter. He was falling, he knew, but time itself moved like mud. Again and again the lightening pounding the mountain peak, all force being gathered towards the gem as the sparkled in the night sky. Still eviltb fell, down and down, but so slow it seemed like an age. A jolt from eviltbs right and a hand around his wrist brought time rushing back to normal. eviltb looked and saw a muscular human hand holding onto his own. He had fallen back down the ledge he had left his pack on. The hand brought him back to the ledge and placed him on his feet. eviltb looked but could not quite see the figure of an immense person. He looked at his own hand, now scared with the fingerprints of the other. The Hunter stepped forward and the figure stepped out of the gloom. Before him stood a huge figure; standing almost 10 foot tall, clad in a dark metal breastplate, his dark human arms pulsating with red fire. In one hand he clutched the gem from eviltbs box, now grown 10 times the size and also gleaming with an intense red glow. Massive legs covered in fur held this frame in its place and from behind a lizard-like tail swung. eviltb looked up and found he was staring into the face of a gorilla, its red-eyes burning with hatred and power. The monkey creature looked into the gem in his hand, lent back and let out a death-curdling roar so loud that the Kai Hunter eviltb felt himself fall to his knees before it.
Now the rightful owner of the Doomstone of V’Ka, Darklord Xog had returned.
Post by Maerin on Apr 9, 2008 21:24:22 GMT -5
Kingdom of Lyris
The gray-robed scholar turned away from the old fisherwoman and looked over the next person in the line. By his clothing and the large, soft bag balanced on one shoulder, the man looked to be a boatman by trade.
“Papers.” The scholar’s voice was flat, emotionless.
The boatman looked a bit confused at that. He frowned, as if in great thought, and then his expression lightened abruptly. With a wide, toothy grin that displayed an over-jolly nature and an equally obvious lack of both intelligence, he dropped the bag into the mud of the street, and felt around in his pockets.
“Ah yes, yes, sor. So sorry sor. I got my paper here.”
The boatman fumbled around with his shirt, pulling it out of his belt. Reaching under the shirt, he muddled around with some sort of fastening for a long moment. As he searched, the man’s forehead pulled into a frown of intense concentration, the tip of his tongue protruding slightly through his lips to one side of his mouth. The scholar waited, his face settling into a thin expression of patient tolerance, with only a hint of possible exasperation.
Finally, the boatman smiled again, this time in apparent relief, as he pulled a weatherworn leather packet out of the pocket that must have been sewn into the inside of his shirt, right below the beltline.
“Yes, here sor. Just where me missus put it afore I left. Yes, sor. Here sor.”
The boatman carefully unwounded the leather thong that held the packet tightly shut. As he did so, a strong smell rose from the leather packet to the nostrils of the scholar. The scholar’s expression tightened and his throat moved, as if he was trying to hide an expression of disgust or nausea.
Finally open, the boatman slipped out a folded square of parchment, and handed it to the scholar. The scholar took it, noting in some relief that the parchment was neatly folded and clean. He took a step away from the boatman and that man’s vile-smelling leather packet as he unfold the parchment and studied it for a moment.
Refolding it, the scholar took a step, displaying a trace of reluctance, back towards the boatman and handed him back the square of parchment. Without even a glance at it, the boatman stuffed it back into the leather packet, wrapped it a couple times with the leather thong, and began returning the packet to the pocket in his shirt.
“Your name, please?”
“Wha?” the boatman looked up again in surprise and confusion. The leather packet dropped out of the front of the boatman’s shirt and landed in the mud. Cursing, the boatman bent over again and grabbed it back up. He did not appear to notice that the packet was now wet and covered in mud as he again started to stuff it back into its pocket.
The scholar sighed quietly. “Your name, please?”
“Dab, sor. It be Dab.”
“I see. And your home, Dab?”
“Well sor. It be here, sor. Soren. Home all my life, sor. Home to my wife an’ my ma an’ my pa an’ ma grandpapa an’…”
“Yes, Dab. I understand,” the scholar interrupted. His voice had returned to its emotionless tone. “I needed to confirm that, however, for the check. You remember the check, right?”
“Oh, yes sor, yes sor. I ‘member right, yes sor. The stick next, sor?” The boatman began rolling up the sleeve of his right arm.
The scholar shook his head. “No, no. Not this time. Be about your business, Dab. There are more people behind you who wish to return home too.”
The boatman smiled widely again. “Thankie kind, sor, thankie kind.” The man scooped his large bag back onto his shoulder, oblivious to the mud that now ran down both the front and back of his shirt, and took a step towards the center of town.
The scholar took one last glance at the boatman, and then suddenly smiled and extended a hand. “Welcome back home, Dab.”
The boatman grinned and took the offered hand, shaking it a couple times, and then released it only just in time to keep the bag from tumbling off his shoulder and back into the mud.
“Thankie kind, sor, thankie kind.” At that, the scholar turned back to the line of people disembarking from riverboats at the docks, rubbing the mud off his hand as he did so.
The boatman hesitated, as if expecting something more, and then shrugged one shoulder and walked on into town.
Post by Simey on Apr 9, 2008 23:35:48 GMT -5
Passing under the archway is like moving from gullet to belly inside some gargantuan beast. The living tissue that is what used to be the governor's residence seems to press in from all around them as they enter the walled garden that separates the front entrance from the main building. As with a number of the more recently constructed buildings in the monied quarter of Eshnar, this grand house and its grounds were clearly designed in a Cloeaso-Vassagonian style, the pale stone and simplicity of which would have contrasted greatly with the darkly ornate official buildings on the main square before the present flesh-wrought nature of the entire city made all its buildings feel revoltingly alike, regardless of their appearance.
Armadalus gestures along the path that leads between a variety of exotic shrubs. Simey's heart sinks. The knight is indicating a short tunnel that leads through the residence proper to what appears to be another garden at its rear; the thought of walking through that tunnel, surrounded by the building's unnatural skin and flesh, is more than enough to make Simey's own skin and flesh crawl and his stomach turn.
The sight of Armadalus moving towards the tunnel, determined to head recklessly into the unknown beyond, causes Simey to realise that his notion of abandoning his two companions was ill-judged. Attempting to escape from this dread city will inevitably be futile if Armadalus is allowed to continue on his blundering course towards confronting whatever lies at the root of Eshnar's corruption. The Sommlending cannot possibly hope to match the power of an entity capable of effecting such an infernal transformation, so his encountering it would serve only to spell Armadalus' doom whilst almost certainly bringing his associates to the direct attention of the city's defiler.
Memories that have been quietly festering at the edges of Simey's mind gain a sudden urgency to be the centre of his attention. Watching Armadalus walking away from him, expecting him to follow as usual, he remembers.
He remembers being dragged away from useful work in Durenor to hunt a phantasm. He remembers wandering aimlessly for days through the Wildlands and Northern Cloeasia. He remembers following charlatans in Temel as they tried to dupe Armadalus into thinking he'd found his long-hunted-for beast creature. He remembers the body of a man unlucky enough to rob their little group in desperation. He remembers a long, slow, futile trek across Cloeasia. He remembers humoring the inventions of Armadalus, after all that wasted time actually showing him some sympathy.
He remembers also, with a chill of fear and a burn of ire, his terrible delusion that a troup of soldiers was being slaughtered in front of him, that he was helpless to stop it, and how Armadalus was at the centre of that as well.
Enough is enough. This man has wasted weeks of Simey's time. He has, through his own delusions, quite possibly been responsible for the further erosion of Simey's sanity. He is most certainly the only reason that Simey ever found himself in this nightmare of a city. And now he is taking not only himself, but Simey and also the Kai Wise Fox to their collective demise.
Enough is enough. It is inadequate simply to leave Armadalus: Simey has to stop him.
Post by Sarra on Apr 9, 2008 23:35:54 GMT -5
Valos College, Random Mountain peak in Dessi
For many months young Sarra had tireless trained under her instructers at Valos. The college of motion had taught her to utilize her small size to her advantage in combat. As she parried a keen blow from her sparring partner she smiled, then twisted away from a followup swing.
Sarra's blue-steel sword became a whistling blur as she dodged a lateral swing and brought her weapon up to knock his broadsword away. The heavy blue-steel weapon flipped away and struck into the wooden wall of the arena with a loud thunk. Before Sarra could deliver a finishing blow Jaden started sprinting towards his weapon.
The young Vakeros instinctively stuck out her foot and Jaden fell forward onto his face. She gave her blade a light toss, grasping the hilt back-handed. The blade whistled downward and Jaden barely rolled away in time. He kicked upwards, connecting with Sarra's hand.
She held on to her weapon but retreated in time for Jaden to retrieve his weapon. Sarra smiled.
"Good job, Jaden. You're getting better."
Jaden snorted, "one of these days I will beat you at your own game."
Sarra grinned, "maybe...."
Post by fallingphoenix on Apr 11, 2008 2:09:24 GMT -5
A small rabbit darted from the underbrush, racing for the safety of another bush. A blue lightning bolt sizzled through the air, and the rabbit dropped in mid-leap, charred black and still.
Falling Phoenix growled in distaste as a distant wail echoed through his mind. Every time he lowered himself to using the few Left-handed spells he had learned as a Kai Grand Master, that voice was there, though lately it had seemed more distant. On top of that, the fact that he had used magic at all to slay the rabbit was a measure of his inability to focus amid increasing frustration.
The crystal shard he sought had eluded him far longer than was pleasant. Every time he neared its location, it suddenly shifted somewhere else! It had taken nearly a month to discover that the shard had somehow ended up in the midst of the Vakeros College of Valos, and moved when the college did. Even when Falling Phoenix had dared to use his zlanbeast during the day, the college had eluded him.
Finally, the Kai hunter had picked a mountain and settled down to wait. The college was limited to Dessi, and it seemed so far to avoid populated areas by quite some distance. So it seemed sure that if Falling Phoenix stayed put, eventually the college would come to him!
After two months, he could swear the place knew where he was! He speared the dead rabbit finally with a dagger and stood to carry it back to his camp. Time was running out, he was sure of it. He had been away from his fortress of Kaag for far too long to be comfortable, and the majority of the quest still lay ahead of him.
Perhaps the sunset tonight would finally bring his destination to him. Then whoever had carried the shard to the college would pay dearly for this delay!
Post by eviltb on Apr 11, 2008 18:22:23 GMT -5
The Doomstone of V’Ka is one of the lost Doomstones of Naaros. Created by Agarash the Damned as a mockery of the Lorestones of Nyxator, they were thought lost again after their scattering since Darklord Zagarnas destruction at the hands of the legendary Kai Lone Wolf. This particular Doomstone was recovered and kept in secret at the remote Sommerlund outpost of Fort Clanor, where it lay undisturbed.
The Doomstone of V’Ka is said to be the sister-stone to the Doomstone of Ikaya. Where the Ikaya stone controls the element of ice, the V’Ka stone controls the element of fire. Should either stone be wielded against the other in combat, the stones would simply nullify each other and become useless.
The NAK eviltb rose to his feet to face the figure that had saved him from certain death.
“It seems I have you to thank for my recent resurrection!”
The voice boomed from the ape-like face and reverberated around the small cavern. The rain continued to fall and was quickly turned to steam as it pelted the side of the V’Ka Mountain. Xog stood in his breastplate, his chest rising and falling heavily with each breath, the Doomstone clasped firmly in his right hand. eviltb could not stop his eyes from being drawn to it. He could fee the power radiating from it; the unknown power that he had carried with him all the way from Sommerlund now lay in the hands of someone else.
“Who are you?” questioned the NAK.
Xog chuckled, “I am Xog, Darklord of Helgedad, servant of Naar. And you, it seems, are one of Naars new pawns. Your kind was not in existence the last time I walked these halls….”
Xogs voice trailed off as he examined the Hunter before him. eviltb tensed himself as he was aware of the power the Darklord now wielded. Still, he would not go down without leaving Xog with a few wounds to remember.
Xog spoke, “Come now, Naar has decreed that you serve by my side, at least for the time being. Your life it seems is worth something to our Lord”.
“Very well”, replied eviltb, who intentionally did not bow, “what is your first action?”
Xog walked to the side of the ledge and looked down. “First, we end this pointless siege. The Gourgaz populace once served me well; it would be a shame to deny them of that privilege once again!”
Xog grabbed eviltb by the arm. He then turned and with the startled NAK in tow, hurled both of them over the side of the ledge. Both Darklord and Hunter shot down the mountain, the floor of the Maakenmire growing bigger with every second. Xog extended his right arm forward and the Doomstone crackled with energy. A column of fire shot out of the stone and hit the mire floor, throwing giak and gourgaz corpses in every direction. All involved in the battle looked up and saw the descending Darklord and his companion. The column of flame shrunk and Xog landed on his feet. eviltb landed with a thump and ended up flat on his back. He quickly got to his feet and looked around. All had stopped battling; some Gourgaz approached the two figures cautiously, and then almost immediately fell to their knees. The silence was broken by an enormous roar from Xog which seemed to shake the very core of the mountain. Xog then strove forward to the bridge, batting undead giak out the way like they were flies. He stood on the edge of the bridge and again extended the Doomstone forward. All Gourgaz that were quick enough to react dived over the edge of the bridge just as the stone again burst into life. Another column of flame shot along the length of the bridge, incinerating all that stood within its path. eviltb shielded his eyes from the blast, and then stared as the flames subsided. The bridge itself had been scorched black and any giak that was lucky enough to survive the initial blast was set on fire. Their moans and groans lifted into the night sky as they crumbled to ash or fell and sunk into the depths of the Maakenmire swamp.
Cries of victory ran up and down, as the surviving Gourgaz raised their battle-axes in triumph. Some who dared to approach Xog quickly feel to their knees in subjugation. Xog relished in his victory and grinned wildly as he surveyed the destruction he had caused. He turned and pushed passed the Gourgaz that were waiting for him, straight towards eviltb.
“Now, my Hunter, we shall build an army from here. It seems that another would try to contest lordship of this area. Little do they know, that this land had already been claimed by our Lord Naar…”
As he spoke, Xog raised his hand and pointed towards the north. Although it was now fully dark, the yellow glow from beyond the mountain peaks could clearly be seen. Eviltb looked north then looked back at Xog.
“What do you intend, Xog.” queried the Hunter. He met the Darklords gaze and could see the madness and the hunger for power in his eyes.
Xog was breathing heavily as he replied, “We shall pay a visit to our northern neighbour and let them experience the full power of a Doomstone of Naaros!”
eviltb could not help but smile at this. What better way to enact his revenge, then through the maniacal plans of an insane Darklord. The best was yet to come…
Post by Sarra on Apr 12, 2008 3:43:41 GMT -5
The College of Valos, Random Mountain Peak in Dessi
Master Ardras was a Dessi Magician of some esteem and power. As was custom during the training of young Vakeros Knights, there would come a time where they must learn to dabble in the Lesser Arts. Such a time had come for Sarra, Jaden, and their graduating class.
Sarra and Jaden had been out sparing. Sarra had casually looked up and seen the position of the sun in the sky, knowing she was late. When the two young Vakeros entered the classroom where Master Ardras was teaching they were nearly half an hour late. With their heads down Sarra and Jaden quickly took their seats. As soon as they walked in Master Ardras became silent, and his keen eyes immediately fell upon the shard around Sarra's neck.
"um...and that students is how you invoke the spells of Sorcery. We will take a short break."
Sarra quickly stood up but was motioned to remain seated by the elderly magician. Jaden hesitated, wondering if he should stay, but the magician waved him off. As soon as the room was empty Master Ardras approached the young Vakeros. Sarra didn't look up.
"What is your name, soldier?"
"Sarra, of Elzian."
"Ah, Sarra Relivaur...you have much to live up to?"
"Yes." Said Sarra shyly.
Master Ardras became silent, and his eyes turned to the glistening glass shard once again.
"Might I see your trinket?"
Sarra gingerly touched the shard around her neck. She had worn it since the day she had found it but quickly removed it and handed it to the aging master-magician. Ardras held the small object in his hand and his eyes turned milky white has he envoked his Lesser Arts.
Suddenly Ardras drew back, dropping the shard to the floor as he did so. He glared wildly at Sarra.
"WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?"
Sarra managed to stammer out her story. Ardras stared at the shard as if it was possessed by demons.
"That is no mere trinket you wear around your neck. I cannot fathom what evil this came from but it is without a doubt an object bound to the black heart of Naar. Leave."
Master Ardras carefully picked up the shard and put it into his breast pocket. "I will summon you within a few hours. I must speak with the college head."
Sarra immediately did as she was told. She returned to her bunk, and stared up at the ceiling in wonder.
Post by Beowuuf on Apr 12, 2008 15:49:33 GMT -5
Eshnar, some time previously
The undead were restless, listless, slow, unfocused and easily avoidable. Unfortunately, they were also near invulnerable and from this vantage point innumerable. The two cats made their way in swift jumps, easily avoiding counter attacks from the undead, when the undead even noticed the push or weapon blow. Unfortunately, the sheer press of bodies and random actions of the undead creatures infront meant that jumping away from one undead meant putting oneself in harms way of another who at that moment was clawing in a distracted way, screaming at the horror of its perverted life. And there were just too many undead not to jump into harms way.
The two cats moved as surefooted as their fatigue and mounting fears allowed. Their fur was matted with ichor and blood so much that both felt as if they were swimming in a thick sludge, not fighting through opponents. Jareyd snarled. "I have not seen Fren in five minutes, maybe ten." The group had split, and the cats had been forced to follow the illusive trail of their leader and fellow cat creature Zipp. Jareyd had looked behind, trying to keep eye line with their yellow robed friend Fren. He had kept popping back into view when the cats had stood and fought, but the press of bodies and increased resistance to both non-magic and magical destruction made it harder and harder to stay put.
The press of bodies, the increased distraction of the undead and their increased powers of regeneration or imperviousness spoke of getting close to a source. At least Zipp was not walking aimlessly, she was heading to the centre of things with some purpose. Just not a purpose she had shared. Grey did not speak much, and did not speak his concern at the loss of another comrade in Fren any more than he spoke of the fact that he, too, had lost track of the yellow robe he had been keeping track of - Zipp herself. It too had been five minutes, perhaps ten, that Grey could say he had deinitely seen the flash of her Yellow Robe. "We must move quicker!" he said, "Fren is lost." Jareyd had come to the same conclusion, but was less matter of fact about that, snarling again and pushing a clawing creature away. It fell to the ground, but simply rolled howling instead of getting up.
"Why do they act that way?" asked Jareyd, then realised he was voicing the question to himself as his Grey-furred companion had already moved through a gap. The answer was to come soon, when the two cats then found themselves facing a solid wall of undead before them. Pressing in from the left and right were the crushing arms of this great multicelled beast, but what should have been the mocking maw of their slayers, a tide of greeting creatures, was instead a wall of backs.
Apparently the undead had reached new levels of disinterest in the cats, and even the waves coming in from the side were more intent on pushing the two aside instead of ripping them asunder. The howls from the mob reached a fevered pitch, and then slowly quietened to a moan. The cats stood back to back in the press, terror threatening to overwhelm them as ichor-dripping talons brushed their whiskers and nicked their fur, slow ugly death a spasm of rotting muscle away. "Why do they act this way?" asked Jareyd again, his voice low in the unnatural quiet moaning that had followed the shrieks. His skin crawled. This time Jareyd knew he had been heard, but he knew his companion would know no more about the situation, and would be unlikely to express this.
"There," said Grey unexpectedly, pointing to a disturbance in the front wall of the disinterested dead. A small, slow moving abscess in the undulating flesh was visible to the tall cats, even as arms were raised masking it from time to time. Prickles ran up the cats' fur as slowly as the gap itself moved. The wall before them began to spit at the same time as the sides pressed. The cats tried to push and hack at the mass as the crush of undead at the side wishing to come towards the gap met the wall of undead backing away from it. Finally just as the cats thought the stench and pressure of it would overwhelm them, suffocating them in a bizarre death, an equilibrium was reached in the contradictory actions of the undead. A channel formed. All the undead stood back, flailing their arms even as they retreated as if trying to touch yet scared to touch the approaching figures. The cats fell to their knees despite themselves as air and the pain of restored circulation came upon them. The cats stood as quickly as possible though, point themselves at the those coming forward.
Canne and Graff had seen better days. The scrawny mage no longer possessed a head, but his body had learned the language of the undead well, and hands clawed in expressions one could call agony. Magic sparked here and there from his nails, creating a miasma in the air that blocked sight on that side. Graff, although a traitor to the group, did not deserve his fate. A Dwarven mercenary, his height should not allow him to block the sight of what was behind him on that side. However, his body was stretched obscenely, and certainly not cleanly, at his torso and waist. The cats both preferred to look at the headless Canne than at the expressions of Graff. Either the man was still alive, or the undeath was still so new to his tortured body that he was still able to emote and communicate in a normal manner. "Help me..." came the pained, quiet expression. Neither cat looked the dwarf in the eye, nor doubted exactly what help was wished for. Unfortunately, neither Cat could have helped the dwarf safely, the only real means still hung from his belt in the form of a Bor Pistol. The undead around moaned in an odd, imitating tone of voice with Graff's continued pleas, creating a mocking chorus. Somewhere behind the two, with a light, pleasant tone, a woman's laughter echoes.
"Hazelae," said Jareyd grimly. He only possessed one of the two magical short swords now. The fact he had lost one in pointless battle through the sheer number of bodies had made him sheath the other for the time being. Besides, he preferred using two weapons, and his cat claws had served just as well recently as the undead flesh became more resistant. Now Jareyd knew why the undead had maintained their form even to magical weaponry. The source of this madness was close, and the undead were inflused with it, enraptured by it, enslaved to it and could even disobey the strict laws of nature in such simple matters as their destruction. Jareyd reached for the short sword and withdrew it now, unconsciously sighting along its length for nicks and weaknesses even though the magic blade was still as sharp as when he had been gifted it - surely as sharp as the day it was forged. Grey growled, and a low murmur built in the cat's throat as he himself practised some words, reminding himself of some of the powerful teachings of the Yellow Robes. Grey flexed his hands, and the powerful muscles of his arms and back rippled in answer to the demands about to be asked of them.
Slowly the undead figures of the mercenaries came forward, neither cat able to get a clear vision of the noble woman behind who had betrayed the group aswell. The cats then realised there were two naturally moving figures behind the initial three, living people following their mistress still. "Help," said Graff again, and again the laugh was heard as Hazelae briefly became visible. Somehow she was controlling the two figures infront of her, allowing them to dance around to block a clear line of sight. Her laugh was still as rich as before, but to cat ears they could detect a second register to it, the light tinkling like a child's laugh. The extra laugh made the two undead seem like children's marionettes, dancing to put on a show. It reminded the cats exactly what they were fighting, and why they must fight so hard. The raw evil of the being at the heart of this could not be forgotten in the distraction of Eshnar's horror. "Farewell," said Grey. Jareyd barely acknowledged it, and could not fathom the reason for the fatalistic words, before the powerfully built grey cat creature had bounded across the distance. Remoire's rapier had been at the Grey's side, but now it in Grey's hand. Graff was pushed hard backwards towards Hazelae before the woman could react. In thanks for using Graff as a shield, Grey made sure to spear Renoire's rapier through Graff, aimed perfectly in an instant to end the dwarf's existence and continue onwards to end the life of Hazelae behind.
Sadly, either by chance or design Graff's body was not forced far enough backwards before it stopped, and the rapier point stopped a fraction of a fraction before touching the noble woman. "Unfortunate," said Hazelae, focusing on it instantly and speaking without apparent surprise or care. The deformed manservant at her side let in a shocked breath, and began to move forward. Hazelae laid a restraining hand on his shoulder though, as the manservant had perhaps knew she would. Hazelae's husband walked more circumspectly, ignoring the undead monstrosities at his shoulder while trying to see around the now lifeless Graff to the figure beyond. "Cat," he said to himself, giggling and pointing. Hazelae could not bear to look around for some reason.
Grey let forth an unaccustomed snarl of emotion, and dropped the rapier and hence the blocking body to the ground. Hazelae looked no different than when they had last seen her - well, a spot of blood or two on her dress, and perhaps a deeper deadness in her eyes the illusionary sparkle of humour and wrinkle of skin around could not hide. Hazelae felt very different though. No longer a blank slate, a figure unreadable and not to be trusted, now she just radiated power through her fingertips and feet. Terrible power. And pure evil. Whether Grey could get passed her power by brute force was not the question, despite his build that had never been his mindset. The power of the mind and the power of the eye were more important. His eye had failed, now he brought his mind to focus with the magical talents of the sages - the secrets of which had been smuggled from Lyris and taught to him by Zipp and Renoire. Grey had barely lifted his hand though when it was restrainted. The cat tried to wrench his arm free to throw a thought of power, even though the surprise had surely gone, but the grip remained firm.
Canne's mind might be gone, but his body still remembered the flow of magic - perhaps the pain of it was now a pleasant memory, a pure experience compared to the new perversion of life flowing through the tortured form. The body turned and gripped Grey's arm harder with two hands, and clung on mercilessly. Grey tried to throw the creature Canne had become free but the strength of the undead was overpowering, surely inexorable death. Jayred had positioned himself to flank and take Hazelae from the side, especially as she was ignoring her husband and so that area. However, Canne's body movement revealed the cat's passage, and the fate of Grey stopped Jareyd cold even as Hazelae flicked an amused glance fro mthe one cat to the other. Grey struggled, but the crackles of magic now flowed around him too, even though the magic Grey tried to conjure was surely lost. Canne's body was being consumed as it tried to suck the magic manifested by Grey, and Grey was consumed too slowly in the aura, his grey matted fur finally drying out and then blackening, his white streak fading with his lifeforce. At least he could not be brought back.
"Cat," said Hazelae's husband again. He giggled. Hazelae turned this time, a smile on her lips. It faded as she realised her husand was still pointing forwards, not regarding the fallen cat creature. "Yes, dear," she said werily, turning her head as her mood was deflated. It then happened so fast Hazelae did not have time to register the occurance before it had played out. Her husband stolled forward with purpose, hand outstretched as if to pet the upright cat creature. Jayred barely had time to react, but react he did by grabbing the human and placing the short sword under the man's throat, holding him towards Hazelae. It had been an instinctive reaction, and the cat had felt foolish for doing it. Jareyd had certainly not expected to see the look of shock and pain cross Hazelae's face, and by the tremors afterwards in her expression Hazelae had apparently not expected to feel it either. "Let him go!" hissed the deformed manservant of Hazelae, taking the black dagger from Hazelae's belt since the woman seemed incapable of action for the moment. Jayerd answered by lifting himself up higher pulling the husband with him, pricking the man's Adam's apple and making Hazelae break out of herself shock. Meanwhile the husband started reciting a nursery rhymn from childhood about cats, and plucked at the bespeckled and fouled fur of the arm of the cat creature holding him. "You will live to regret your actions if you harm him," said Hazelae, trying to be controlled, trying to be ironic and menacing, but the truth was confusing. Strange emotions and pains were in her, she could not concentrate. Her manservant gave her a shocked, worried look even as he tried to dance into position with a circumspect motion.
Jayred was now not sure what should happen next. He had been taken by surprise and was riding this unforeseen opportunity. However, if his opponent was surprised and confused, how could Jareyd be expected to read the situation and resolve it. Where was Zipp? Jayred could not have anticipated what happened next, even if he had been concentrating. The husband spotted something either real or imaginary at the side, and simply yanked himself sideways out of Jareyd's grasp. Jareyd was unable to work out how the man had freed himself, until he glanced at the short sword blade and saw the dripping blood. The howl of anguish was very human yet inhuman, and Jareyd looked in shock as Hazelae's face now betrayed none of the humanity her facade had possessed, even while she was obviously experiencing emotions that were all too human. The pain in her eyes was an echo of the pain of loneliness that she had experienced in the darkness long ago before she had human form. The rage was the power that boiled under her skin. Jareyd knew none of this, only aware that he found himself both terrified and embarrassed - one of his instincts was to apologise for the injury, even as the husband tottered around. The man was checking his own neck as if he had caught himself shaving, collapsing soon
afterwards onto his rear. He gave a gurgled laugh that turned into oddly childish tears tears.
Jareyd quickly span back around, but not quick enough. The manservant was upon him, and Jareyd barely registered the dagger in his side before he realised he could not breathe. The injury robbed the cat of strength and breath. His sword fell to the ground. Jareyd fell to his knees, finding nothing made sense in the last moments. Where was Zipp? Was she safe? Those were his last thoughts as he fell with a gasp to the ground. "Mistress!" said the manservant, turning back both pleased at his actions yet afraid at how Hazelae was taking the death of her husband. "Mistress?" asked the man, unspoken question now in terror as he felt the eyes, no longer dead but burning with some invisible fury, boring into him. Her forehead was wrinkled and her eyes streamed with tears. Her teeth were beared, yet no sound escaped her mouth. The undead around screamed in her stead. "Mistress?" the manservant asked again, panic rising as he felt himself the centre of some pressure, as if a strange energy and rage was focused on him. And it was - Hazelae felt emotions she had never felt, and the creature she wished to unleash her rage on had suddenly been removed by this other creature. And she needed release.
"Mistress!" screamed the manservant, and then he simply screamed as undead flocked to him from all sides and tore him apart. The pressure built and built, the calling of force to a point. As the servant died, the point shifted back to Hazelae. All of a sudden the undead themselves stopped screaming, cowering and placing misshapen limbs over mishapped heads in anticipation. The pressure built to a crescendo. Hazelae screamed a primal howl, and in a rolling wave outwards the undead creatures split asunder, falling back into dead parts. The wave broke out, splitting and smashing itself to nothing when it hit the buildings around. The flesh of them blackening and twisted. Hazelae stopped. She was panting, tears were flowing down her face. She wiped them away, looking at them without comprehension on the back of her hand. She looked at her dead foes and dead servant without emotion, then spotted the last living shape amidst the dead ones. Hazelae walked over to it, knelt by it. Her husband handed her some cat hair that had come away in his hand earlier, and she took it without words. Her husband had lost the strength to hold on to his neck anymore. "Are you done now? Can we go home?" he asked, in a quiet but otherwise oddly normal tone of voice, weary as if they had been shopping all day in Hammerdal. Then he died. Hazelae moved her hand as if to raise him back, but her hand spasmed at that. Instead she hesitantly reached forward and closed his eyes. She stood quickly afterwards, revulsed at her actions, and spun away striding back to the centre of the city.
Fren had been unable to get to his comrades in the final moments, and came to a field of flesh starting to reknit. The man wasn't sure what to do. The creature Hazelae and her undead vassals had defeated the rest of the yellow robes easily, and tears still stung the man's eyes at the loss of one in particular. However, Zipp was perhaps alive somewhere, had to be alive somewhere. The cat creature had the man's loyalty and faith, and so Fren re-adjusted the bow he had found, the daggers he possessed, and picked up the short sword Jareyd had dropped. "Farewell," Fren said and moved forwards quickly.
The flesh carried on re-knitting, discarded though it had been The blacked flesh of the walls and buildings pinked up again. Eshnar had been rebuked once more, yet this time not because of something it had done. It had been slapped for nothing, slapped on a whim by its mother then abandoned. "Shhhh," said Barraka in another part of the city, able to feel the tremor of Eshnar where he stood.
'Connection', said Zipp, unaware of the movement of Eshnar and Barraka's actions, but very aware of the movements of Hazelae, Fren, and the massacre of the remaining yellow robes. There were tears in Zipp's eyes, but there was nothing she could have done. She only hoped that the fragile thread she had found would hold, that she could turn the tide, hopeless though it all seemed. 'Connection,' she whispered again with determination, moving in a parallel track to Fren whom she could see, both now heading towards the centre of Eshnar.
Sorba awaoke from the dream. Despite the horror of the vivid death and putrid landscape, he smiled. Hazelae had been hurt. That was good. Good people, and others less good yet still thinking beings, had died. That was not so good, but the future was not set, or else Sorba would not still dream of the dead Zipp. And so was surely preventable.
The visions no longer tormented Sorba, they were the only thing that gave him strength in this place. Strength to carry on, to find the means to prevent the horror lurking in their future. It gave him the strength to find the restraint when seeing the lesser spawn and inferior humans walking around regarding him with contempt. If gave him the courage against the fear he would not acknowledge he possessed around the greater spawn and lesser Darklords who walked the halls. Soon, he would have the means he sought. For very soon, he would have the opening to make a difference...
Post by Simey on Apr 13, 2008 10:38:28 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
"What was that?"
As he spoke, blurred, indistinct Armadalus abruptly looked up and glared past Simey towards the front wall of the hut.
"Wha....?" Simey was confused: instinctively grateful for Armadalus' distraction, but surprised that his attention should so easily have been taken from Simey's direly unintentional admission. He wiped the inside of his elbow across his tear-filled eyes and looked more clearly at his companion; the Sommlending's eyes were narrowed, apparently examining the area around the door of the hut, though Simey felt that he actually sought to see beyond the door and wall, outside the building.
"What was what?" he completed his question, aware that Wise Fox was now also turning his attention to the hut's threshold, giving vent to a low hiss as he did so.
"Something outside," said Armadalus quietly, his body taut.
Simey turned to look over his shoulder at the the door, the shuttered window, the badly boarded-up window. He couldn't hear anything and there certainly didn't seem to be anything trying to break in. "An animal?" he suggested, shifting his gaze back to Armadalus and matching his companion's low voice.
"No," said Armadalus intensely. "Something listening." The Sommlending's right hand reached slowly to the floor beside him and clasped the haft of the woodaxe that was the only weapon-like implement they had between them, unless Wise Fox had been hiding something. Simey felt a sudden tension, and as Armadalus rose silently from his seat, his eyes were inexplicably fixed on the axe that the his companion held.
Holding the palm of his left hand up towards first Simey and then Wise Fox, gesturing that they should stay put, Armadalus moved carefully forward past Simey, making his way to the front door. The axe passed only inches from Simey's face, still kneeling by the stove as he was, and and an urgent fear gripped his insides as he watched it.
He can't take the axe. He mustn't take the axe.
"No!" Simey jumped to his feet, rushed past Armadalus and turned to face him in front of the door, blocking his path.
"What are you doing?" hissed Armadalus incredulously. "Get out of the way!"
"The axe," breathed Simey, a desperate look on his face at the coming inadequate explanation. "You can't take it outside."
"What? Why not?" said Armadalus, rare perplexity on his features.
"I....I don't know," said Simey lamely. "You just can't."
Wise Fox had risen to his feet now, and Simey could feel the Kai's intense eyes on him. He didn't dare take his own eyes off Armadalus, however, so horrifying was the notion of his companion taking any opportunity to get past him and walk out of the hut with the woodaxe.
"I need," said Armadalus quietly, clearly deliberately restraining his frustration at Simey's irrationality, "to see what's outside. It may be a threat to us, so I would rather be armed. If it is not a threat, I will not harm it."
Simey spread his arms to block the the door further and shook his head slightly, unable to think of any reasonable way of arguing his point. If he himself had no idea what he was talking about, how could he possibly persuade anyone else to see his point of view?
Armadalus looked down for a moment, his eyes darting back and forth across the floor as he quickly considered the situation. When he looked up again, his face had taken on the questing expression that Simey had been subject to several times before.
"Can I, do you think," said the Sommlending carefully, "go outside without the axe?"
Simey, breathless with the feeling of horror that had been overwhelming him, was surprised at the rationale being applied to his seemingly senseless stance. "I....don't know," he gasped. "I think so."
Armadalus glanced down at the woodaxe in his hand and considered it for a few moments. Then he brought his eyes up again, a decision clearly having been made, and looked at Simey gravely. Cocking his head briefly to one side, he began to move forward and looked like holding the axe out for Simey to take; a flicker of a frown crossed his face, however, and he moved sideways, his right arm stretching out to hand the tool to Wise Fox. The Kai took it, some sort of eagerness mixed with frustration in his eyes as he glanced between the two knights.
Simey was too relieved at Armadalus having relented to be particularly concerned that the Sommlending didn't seem to trust him with the axe, and he merely shuffled away from the door as his companion approached again, eyebrows raised in hope of an affirmation that he could now proceed. Simey nodded vaguely, unsure once again of his own mind, let alone anything else.
Armadalus reached for the door handle and took hold of it, turning his head to glance between Simey and Wise Fox on either side of him, checking they were prepared. Simey tried to straighten up and focus on the doorway; he saw Wise Fox's expression harden in readiness too.
Their disputes, rational and not, were temporarily forgotten, The three of them were as ready as they were likely to get at this moment, for anything.
Post by Beowuuf on Apr 13, 2008 17:05:50 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
Beowuuf froze, all senses heightened, yet his ears insisted on ringing with the shovel - even passed its lasts gasps. He should leave. Now. No, he should announce himself. Wait, announce himself to one who hunted beast creatures? Beowuuf had no idea who these people were, only whom they had showed themselves to be in brief flashes of visions. The ending of that tale was still uncertain. Were they even the same men after their experiences?
Beowuuf could feel it, the movement and tension radiating from the door, or more importantly from the area behind it. He had too-
A sudden thought. No one had come out or challenged him yet. A further pause and a whisper came to Beowuuf's ear, and despite himself Beowuuf strained to hear the sussurations
"..might be threat...go armed...."
More movement. Beowuuf knew he should leave. Beowuuf, infact, knew there were many things in life he should and should not do. The wolf creature reached back for his blade, and unsheathed it. The door was a narrow area, that was a good thing to confront people in. He stood forward, stood tall, planted his blade into the ground with his hand on the pommel, and...
The door was yanked open, swiftly and for the most part as smoothly as the hut door allowed. "Mild tonight, is it not?" said Beowuuf in his best Sommlending, baring his teeth in a grin at the startled expressions of the three warriors starting to emerge.