Post by Simey on Apr 18, 2008 12:46:44 GMT -5
"It's not in there, you know."
Armadalus stops on the threshold of the tunnel and turns his head slightly, though not so far as to actually look back at Simey. "What's not in there?" he calls back.
"The beast creature," Simey states evenly. Where the notion that has struck him came from he does not know, but he welcomes it.
Armadalus' head turns back a little more, but he neither speaks nor moves from where he is standing. Wise Fox, standing near Simey, glances uncertainly between the two knights.
"That's what you've been looking for since I met you," says Simey. "And it's not in there. It's not here in Eshnar at all."
"I know that," says Armadalus, turning now to face Simey, a bemused frown on his face. "I told you back in Kuchek that it had disappeared."
"I know," says Simey, looking understandingly at the Sommlending. He is surprised at how calm he feels considering he is attempting to undermine his companion. "One failed hunt need not be replaced by another though."
"Do you think that is why we are here?" asks Armadalus, seeming slightly surprised by Simey's statement. "Despite the intentions of the cat, Zipp, and the Order of the Yellow Robe and everything else that has led us here, do you really think that is why I came?"
"No," says Simey, knowing that the logic of his argument is a stretch, but pleased that he has at least engaged Armadalus in it rather than having it ignored. "But is it not possible that that is why we are still here, searching for none-of-us-knows-what when we have lost all the rest?"
Armadalus' expression shifts towards one of incredulity, but stops short, a miniscule flicker of uncertainty perhaps crossing his face. Simey struggles to keep his own features portraying seriousness and calm, so buoyed is he at seeming to have found at least the tiniest chink in the Sommlending's armour of self-belief.
Armadalus spins back towards the tunnel. "Come, we must keep going," he says, his voice betraying nothing. He steps into the passageway and begins to make his way down it, the sounds of his footsteps not reverberating as they should, dulled by the flesh-made walls.
"Why did you say that?" says Wise Fox, confused anger in his voice.
Simey ignores him and walks quickly towards the tunnel, determined that Armadalus should not escape his reasoning so easily. He focuses intently on the silhouette of his companion marching down the passage, trying to ignore the living tissue that is about to surround him, but shuddering at the thought of it nonetheless. Continuing on in, the footsteps of the Kai following him, he calls to Armadalus.
"If we die here, who will we have saved?"
Post by Sarra on Apr 19, 2008 1:24:54 GMT -5
Valos College, Random Mountain peak in Dessi
Three hours later Sarra was summoned. She stood in front of Master Ardras who was backed several other Vakeros Knights. In front of the magician, on a dais of jade and marble sat the shard. Master Ardras eyed it as if at any moment it might explode, killing them all.
"This shard is an item of evil. The very fabric of its existence is drenched in Naar's blood. I have decided that I must take with me at once to Elzian. The Reganti elders shall surely know what to do with it."
Sarra stood there, respectively quiet. The master sighed.
"My powers let me see into this shard, I see death...decay...despair. I cannot carry it. You...must carry it."
"Me?" Sarra was at a loss for words.
Master Ardras ignored her. He introduced young Sarra to the other Vakeros Knights present. The first Vakeros was a young man named Rythe who wore a shining blue-steel breastplate and had two scimitars across his back. His eyes were a sharp blue, he was of medium build and his black hair fell down to the middle of his back.
"Rythe will be your commanding officer on our journey. You will take your orders from as you will from me."
To Rythe's right was a female of about the same age. Sarra recognized her immediately as one of Valos' weapon trainers. She was Tammith, and one of the deadliest Vakeros Knights in the land with a sword. Argoll was the oldest of the group. Sarra couldn't remember ever seeing him before. He kept his hair short but had a full, black beard. He had a blue-steel sword at his belt and carried a spear.
Behind the normally stature of Argoll was a young man who stood nearly 6 and a half feet tall. Saman was of large built, with meaty hands that could crush the skull of someone as small as Sarra. In his hands he carried a heavy blue-steel warhammer that Sarra doubted she could even lift. Last, but not least was a young girl who was Sarra's age. Her name was Yarrow, and had come to Valos shortly before Sarra and Jaden. She was of fair skin for a Vakeros and very beautiful...
Introductions complete Sarra had one request before they left. An hour later the group rode south out of Valos' gate. Sarra looked over to Jaden and smiled. Ardras had granted her request. Without looking back towards her home Sarra looked to the southern horizon. She touched the shard around her neck instinctively, wondering where life was going to take her now.
Post by Samildanach on Apr 20, 2008 11:09:32 GMT -5
Fire in his eyes. Fire on his skin. Fire in his lungs.
The world was ablaze, and he burned along with it.
Thoughts formed, but the moment they dared venture from one synapse to another, the heat immolated them. Floating, blind and mindless, in a searing white field of unseen flame, only animal awareness remained. The surface of his skin crawled with deperate longing for relief, craving even a moment of cool...
But when the cold came, it burned all the more for the contrast, a shard of ice skewering his arm and pinning it to the-- To the-- What?
His body tried to writhe reflexively at this new pain, but it lacked the strength. The ice blade through his arm was beginning to spread its feral cold along his blood vessels, through his muscles, reaching out, growing...
Then a sound like the collapse of worlds exploded from the coldness, slicing a gash of a lucidity through the heat, and his mind grasped at it, frantically, hopelessly, almost recognising but not quite comprehending, knowing if it could just catch--
Then the sound was gone. The cold blade seemed to grow or...tauten. The fire began to move, scraping down his back, ripping dry skin from the barren flesh beneath. And thus, a new phase of his torment began.
But not forever.
"Once more. I'm sure you can manage it. You are?"
The voice was unrelenting, matching the throb in his joints. He tried to shift slightly to ease the pressure of his suspension, but even the tiniest of movements caused grit and filth from the wall to grind into the unhealed wounds on his back, releasing fresh jabs of pain.
"Come now, Emrys, is our hospitality so poor? When we found you, your accomodations were far worse..."
He remembered little of the time the voice referred to. Only an impression of-- His thoughts flinched away from the recollection. Still, he knew the voice was right. It had been far worse. Amateur. To improve his conditions and relieve his suffering, then expect him to crack? The owner of the voice, whoever it was, was a rank amateur. Pathetic. He began to calm his breathing, flexing his throat a little in preparation for speech. It might take a few attempts, but he would make his message clear. I will never give you that answer. One final breath--
But the voice began again, now from over to the right. This time, he was certain he could hear a faint tinge of impatience.
"I will ask you as many times as I must. Give me the answer I desire and we will further improve your living conditions."
His retort caught in his throat, trapped between the opposing forces of defiance and self-preservation. Defiance continued to burn in his chest like a flame, but the flames of his memory were hotter, and the promise of the future so alluringly cool and comforting. He could hear footsteps now, the voice's owner prowling back and forth. Impatently. Angrily perhaps. He made up his mind. Comfort be damned. He would never yield himself to this...thing. Creature. Man. Whichever. I am Samildanach! he raged in his mind, stoking the flame. I am Samildanach, and you will never change that!
Another breath, another effort, and this time the words reached his parched mouth and tumbled free like dessicated carcasses. He could not even hear them, so charred were they, but he could feel their shape.
And the shapes he felt himself utter dismayed him.
A sigh from the owner of the voice, then:
"Yes. Yes, you are. And there are things we would have you do."
Post by eviltb on Apr 20, 2008 21:31:40 GMT -5
The NAK eviltb stood leaning against a wall in the main hall of the fortress-mountain of V’Ka. Directly to his left sat the recently resurrected Darklord Xog. In Xogs hand, as it had been since his return, lay the Doomstone of V’Ka, its purple and red flames dancing around its surface. As yet, eviltb had yet to see the Darklord relinquish his hold on the ‘stone. He was sure that the ‘stone wasn’t fused to Xogs hand, as the Darklord could move his fingers around it with ease. It had been less than 24 hours since Xog has emerged from the mountain top with the Kai Hunter and systematically wiped out the invading undead giak horde. Now the gourgaz who inhabited V’Ka and the Maakenmire swamp where once again the sway of a Darklord of Helgedad.
eviltb looked across at Xog. The Darklord was bellowing orders to dozens of gourgaz runners, some of which didn’t even stop before they were dismissed carrying their new leaders orders. Xog has wasted no time in organising the disheartened gourgaz. Already the foundries where working at full pace producing black iron battle-axes and breastplates. Each day saw newly equipped gourgaz warriors put through rigorous training regimes. Those who where not strong enough to fight where sent to the foundries. Those who failed to produce in the foundries were simply put to death. Xog didn’t just want an army of peons; he wanted the best the Maakenmire could give him.
eviltb kicked a stone next to him and shifted position. The Darklord had made him aware of his plan a few moments earlier. As with his predecessors Xog wanted to rule the Darklands. For this he would need something to unite the remaining Nadzirarnim and Xagash behind a single banner. eviltb closed his eyes and went over the conversation in his head once more.
“…and that power, my little Hunter, lies northwards!” growled Xog, as he paced round his throne room. eviltb pondered this for moment.
“And what of the people of the sun realm, and their green-cloaked guardians….? Surely you do not expect them to just sit and let you march this army of lizards through their cities so you can reunite those in the Darklands?!”
Xog twitched every so slightly at the mention of Sommerlund and its Kai protectors. He knew that a frontal assault against Sommerlund would be futile, even with a Doomstone in his grasp. Xog turned to address eviltb who was still waiting for an answer.
“No, my hunter, no.... I no longer under estimate the power that the servants of Kai wield. That was a failing of those who ruled before me. They tried and they failed! Now their souls are forever tormented by the whip of Karaushnith… it is a fate I do not wish to return to!”
eviltb could see the fear and panic in the Darklords bloodshot eyes. Having been granted a reprieve from the tortures of Karaushnith is not something every condemned soul gets. Not turning away from Xogs gaze, the Hunter asked, “So how does us travelling north help?”
Xog stood up straight and again began pacing the room, the V’Ka Doomstone still held firm in his hairy grasp.
“There is a power to the north, something that will give us the forces we need. These gourgaz we assemble here are merely for our continued protection. They serve no real threat to the armies of the Freelands. We will take over this place and make it our own. Again the Darklords shall have a seat of power!”
Xog approached eviltb and laid his free hand upon his soldier. “You are perceptive, my hunter. Naar chose you as the instrument of my resurrection and he will reward you well. But now our Lord has another task for you. It is true we cannot simply take my new army into Sommerlund to reach our new destination. We must be cautious, at least for a moment.” Xog paused and lifted up the Doomstone. “This stone has shown me much. It has shown me where the undead giak hordes emerged from. This is where we shall lead the gourgaz, up to the now protected city of Eshnar.”
eviltb furrowed his brow. He had never heard of this place, Eshnar, nor could fathom its importance. Still, he was a servant of Naar and was very aware that Xog could end his life with gesture of the V’Ka Doomstone. Xog chuckled at the hunters’ expression.
“You will leave immediately; I will follow in three days with the gourgaz. You are to scout the area ahead and try to find entry to Eshnar. Once there, you will seek out the one who still lives in Eshnar; the fallen warlord Barraka.”
eviltb began to get frustrated, “Barraka, you say? Eshnar… These names are meaningless to me, Xog! If Naar wills it I will go but only because I am his servant, not yours!” Xog continued to smirk at the Hunters defiance. Clearly he was agitated by the Darklord, but such a valuable asset could not be wasted. Xog reached around his neck and removed a bone necklace. He passed the Doomstone over it and the necklace took on a faint reddish hue. He handed the necklace to eviltb, who duly put it around his own neck.
“This will aid you,” said Xog, “the necklace will allow you to damage the undead, so at least you will not be completely unarmed. Now go. We shall meet again in three days”. Xog had then thrown open the doors to the great hall and began issuing orders.
The NAK eviltb opened his eyes, stood up from the wall and headed out of the halls entrance. He quickly found himself outside the main gate of V’Ka. All around, corpses still lay. Some where being taken away by the tide, while others where thrown into piles and burnt. eviltb looked to the north and could see the yellow glow from beyond the Maaken range. He pondered the conversation once more, was this Xogs plan, or something greater that Naar had devised. Either way, he had the feeling both were being used as pawns for something even sinister. He shouldered his pack and headed out into the gloom.
Post by Sarra on Apr 21, 2008 1:58:31 GMT -5
Somewhere in the Mountains of Northern Dessi
Darkness surrounded the eerie glow of the small campfire. Sarra sat with Jaden at her side near the edge of the small clearing, staring deeply into the crackling flames. Her Vakeros companion sat cross legged with his head tilted slightly to the side. Sarra could hear his soft breathing as he dozed. The Vakerine was far too excited to sleep.
Somewhere among the mountain crags that surrounded them Argoll and Yarrow were watching the perimeter with keen eyes. Master Ardras was sitting close to the fire, deeply meditating.
There was a rustle to Sarra's left and she turned to see the hulking form of Samman rolling over. He clutched his massive warhammer closer with his right hand and then drifted back to sleep. Sarra looked up at the full moon in wonder. Throughout her life her father had recounted countless stories about her grandfather, General Alasi Relivaur. She has memorized these dashing tales of how he had saved Dessi and all of Magnamund from Naar's fire. She knew of his brave sacrifice at the hands of the lords of darkness. But never once did she see herself living up to her family's lineage.
Sarra considered herself a simple girl; all she wanted out of life was to live it to the fullest. But now, here she was, starting out on an adventure of all her own.
Quiet whispers brought her from her thoughts. Near the fire sat, Rythe, the mysterious leader of this campaign. Next to him, the pensive form of Tammith whispered into his ear. Ever the curious creature Sarra was tempted to edge closer to hear what Tammith was saying. The young Vakerine decided against it, not wanting to get on anybody's bad side.
With her eyes drooping she finally leaned back, staring up at the starlit sky. Her mind raced until finally she closed her eyes and drifted off into a deep sleep, unaware of the menacing evil that lurked in the shadows of the mountains.
Post by Samildanach on Apr 21, 2008 8:38:55 GMT -5
Some time earlier
The past was a swirling, murky morass; its stagnant depths clung to his limbs and tried to prevent his escape into the ever-advancing future, and its surface lay thick and impenetrable before his scrutiny. Whether months or years had passed, he could no longer tell. Perhaps both, at once. Time, he knew, could be flexible when the whim took it. But had he still the power to make it flex?
No. Irritably, he shook the thought from his head. Irrelevant.The burning sand that stretched away to the horizon on all sides seemed changeless; surely no incantation or invocation could touch it. Even had he still been able, even if he could have twisted time until his mind burned with the strain, it could have had no effect on the sands.
His right foot fell, as it had fallen a thousand times before - or less, or more. The sand yielded slightly under the pressure, and the soft jolt jarred him into an unintended gasp. The shimmering desert air, hot as sulphur, hot as molten steel, scoured his throat and lungs on the way in, then sighed painfully back out, its vicious task complete. Breathe as little as possible, he had long since decided. A living body could accept only so many scalding breaths before surrendering entirely. Left foot down. No jolt this time, breath still secure.
The only thing that told him he had fallen was the sudden scorching of his eyes, as though with ash. Again he gasped, and this time the burning air drawn into his lungs was solid - a torrent of firey grains, each a tiny inferno. Convulsively, he rolled to his back, but the blaze of heat still filled his mouth, his chest, and his vision. The sand began to char his hair, and the thin layer of clothing he still possessed did nothing to protect the skin of his back.
There he lay, swimming in the cascade of fiery brilliance from sky and earth, until the cold grip found him and took him away.
"We know that much. We were there. Try again, but this time go further back. We need to go further back. Was he...? Or...?"
The other sighed tiredly, then began again. Perhaps this time it would be enough.
Post by zipp on Apr 21, 2008 13:20:44 GMT -5
A small village along the Tentaria river
“And what happened then?” the man with the long silver hair stared hard at the young pup before him, his eyes cold, his lips turned down in a perpetual grimace of disgust.
“Er... well... things became... complicated.” Twiler wished he had a better response than this. But how else to explain Eshnar?
The silver haired man didn’t answer. He didn’t have to. Twiler knew more was expected of him.
“What I mean is... it’s hard to know quite what happened after we seperated from the rest of the group, sir. Up to that point, Zipp had done as she was instructed. She’d altered the senses of the others so that they were contained in one part of the city, fighting nothing.”
Twiler wrung his hands. A bead of sweat dripped down behind his ear. The night seemed unusually warm. The other man waited, his eyes unblinking. Twiler stammered into his next line.
“And things had gone pretty much as you had predicted, sir. The undead had attacked viciously at first, but then grew weaker as we approached the center, not stronger. And the gem you’d given me was working fine so far... it kept me protected from her power so that I could follow her directly to the center of the city.”
Twiler fell silent again. The man gave him exactly fifteen seconds, the most uncomfortable silence of Twiler’s life.
“What happened at the center of the city, Twiler? Was she there?”
“You see, sir... the thing is... I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
Eshnar: the unveilling of the truth
Zipp breathed in deeply and cursed herself for the action a moment later. The street before her smelled like ripe bile. And yet it was the way she had to go. The center of the city was mere blocks away. At least the buildings here were normal. Ironic, really. As she came closer to the source of the corruption, the power of the undead grew weaker.
Zipp decided it was time for a quick rest before the final push. Opening the door of a nearby building, she slipped into a comfortable living room. A door at the far end showed a bed, a treasure too inviting for her tired body to pass up. She went into the room and threw herself down without a moment’s hesitation.
She was naked (or at least as naked as a Beast Creature could be), and her shoulder was wet with the blood of the dwarf Graff, who she had killed in cold blood. His bor rifle hung from the same shoulder. So many deceptions playing out at once. The dream powers of the goddess Jyhipp had been granted to her from a very early age. But she still hadn’t mastered their use. And maintaining such grand illusions had been exhausting.
She had tricked them all.
Post by zipp on Apr 22, 2008 17:52:04 GMT -5
From the moment they had entered Eshnar, Zipp had begun to change the other’s perceptions of reality. Her real mission was known only to Remoire, Renashta, and Grey. Even Hazelae had been tricked, assuming that Zipp and the others were there to stop her... and assuming they didn't know that she was the one behind the whole thing.
Actually, this Zipp hadn't known. She hadn't been briefed on this part of the ordeal, nor had she been clearly told how awful Eshnar would appear to the senses. But Remoire had known, and he had presumably followed Hazelae to the center of the city when she'd left early on.
For the most part, Zipp's changes had been slight. Almost everything had happened the way Simey (and by strange coincidence, Beowuuf) were remembering it.
Hazelae had dissapeared. Her manservant and lordly husband had remained. Shortly after, the undead had come to life and attacked. Canne died gruesomely in the first attack.
The first inconsistency was Remoire, whom Zipp had pretended to see dead. She'd been told this was neccesary. For whatever reason, Remoire had to appear to never leave Eshnar.
The second inconsistency was Renashta. This had been a difficult illusion to create. It helped that Renastha had a very recognizable form. It meant the illusion had to have less details.
In fact, Renashta had not been fighting at all after her initial screams of power. She had donned a yellow cloak and the illusion had been furthered to make the others think that she was Zipp. The "connection" she kept muttering about was not Zipp's connection to the city, or Hazelae... it was Renashta maintaining the mental connection to Zipp.
It was a messy business, and one that was not perfect. But in the confusion of the undead, it had worked. On everyone except Graff. When he noticed the trick, he became suspicious. So Zipp had killed him. Again, as per her orders. She hadn't liked the dwarf anyways.
Why the elaborate disguise? Why the expenditure of energy to maintain an illusion? The truth was, it wasn't an illusion meant to fool the poor saps who had followed the Yellow Robes into Eshnar. It was an illusion meant to distract someone already in Eshnar. And not Hazelae, either.
In fact, Hazelae had nearly damned the whole thing by returning from the center of the city to witness the destruction. Renashta's connection had broken when confronted by her power and things would've gotten messy had not Grey sacrificed himself (with the unexpected benefit of killing the husband and sending Hazelae into a rage).
But again... why the disguise? What had Zipp been doing?
Simple. The undead were distracted fighting off what they thought was a group of adventurers. The adventurers were following Zipp. And Zipp couldn't be leading them if they knew she wasn't there.
Why wasn't she there? Because she was looking for someone.
Post by fallingphoenix on Apr 23, 2008 1:05:18 GMT -5
Falling Phoenix was in motion. The shard of Shamath's dais had finally started moving normally, and he was swift to follow it.
Yesterday, he had brought his zlanbeast down into another mountain range, and had quickly found evidence of the group now escorting the shard. Given the probable talents present in a group of Vakeros this size, he left his zlanbeast behind and was now tracking them on foot.
Soon he would be close enough to finally gain the object of his quest and be free to continue toward Supreme Mastery...
Post by Simey on Apr 23, 2008 23:26:59 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
The light from the stove was not bright, and was partially blocked by Armadalus, but enough of the immediate area outside the hut was illuminated to reveal a monster standing only yards from the doorway. It defied straightforward description, but looked most as though a huge, muscular wolf had been stood on its hind legs and reshaped in vaguely humanoid form.
Simey's mind froze. And then was rapidly filled by a deluge of recalled tales of werewolves, the throat-ripping, eviscerating antics of which failed miserably as an antidote to his transfixion. It momentarily occurred to some irrationally fearless part of his mind that he hadn't noticed there being a full moon that night. But the much greater, much more completely horrified mass of his consciousness realised that informing the aberration of this inconsistency in its presence would be unlikely to persuade it out of existence.
Armadalus, having been motionless for a moment himself, was moving forward now, knees kept slightly bent, whole body poised for any necessary action or reaction. His hands were partially held open towards the creature in a placatory gesture, but with his arms in such a position that with only a curl of his fingers to make fists he would be in a perfect fighting stance.
As the Sommlending stepped through the doorway, the wolf-thing disappeared from Simey's sight, the stove's light completely blocked by the figure of his companion. Even so, Simey was unable to muster enough coherent thought to do anything except stare at Armadalus' back and wonder what was about to happen.
Suddenly though, instinct took over and he darted to his right and reached out aggressively with both hands. Wise Fox had started approaching the doorway and was carrying the woodaxe. Simey took a firm two-handed grip on the tool and tried to wrest it from the Kai's grasp. He was surprised at the vehemence of Wise Fox's reaction, and the axe flashed only inches from his face as the Kai lashed out with it and spun violently around to try and throw Simey off. Somehow he managed to hold on, but lost his footing completely, and his momentum sent both him and Wise Fox tumbling away to the side of the doorway and out of sight of what was happening outside.
In a flash, Wise Fox was on top of Simey, an alarming level of hatred in his eyes. But then his expression softened a little and he turned his head to look at where Simey's hands still held firm. "The axe?" he said, moving his eyes back to Simey's face, eyebrows raised.
Simey nodded dumbly. He had no idea what had caused him to react as he had; he hadn't even thought about what he was doing. Thinking about it now though drove his mind back to what had been happening immediately beforehand. "The monster!" he gasped.
Face unreadable, Wise Fox let go of the axe and stood up. After a moment, he offered a hand to help Simey up also. Releasing his right hand's grip on the axe, Simey reached up to accept the assistance; a sharp flick of his left wrist sent the woodaxe sliding away across the floor and under a rickety cabinet.
As he was hauled to his feet, Simey looked along the wall at the doorway and feared for what might have happened outside.
Post by Sarra on Apr 23, 2008 23:28:18 GMT -5
Somewhere in the Mountains of Northern Dessi
Sarra's eyes had been closed for nearly an hour when the sound of the suddenly roaring fire awoke her. Instantly she shot up to her feet as Jaden grasped his broadsword, also startled by the noise. There once small campfire was now roaring nearly ten feet high in the air as the Dessi Magician Ardras waived his hands wildly to the sky.
"Everyone! Get close to the flames, there is something out there!" Shouted the elderly magician.
For the first time since their mission had begun Sarra heard Rythe speak. He looked at Tammith and said, "Argoll and Yarrow."
Tammith looked at him with pleading eyes and Rythe slowly shook his head, as if telling her 'no'. Sarra looked on curiously as Tammith pleaded.
"I have to..." And with that Tammith disappeared into the light forest surrounding the camp in search of Yarrow and Argoll.
Sarra drew her blue-steel sword from its scabbard and reassuringly touched the handle of her mace with her free hand. Jaden's eyes were full with fear as he drew up his weapon, expecting the very trees around him to attack at any moment.
Master Ardras began to chant softly and the fire died a little. The hulking form of Samman stood behind Sarra, his massive warhammer of blue-steel held in both hands. Rythe was the only Vakeros who hadn't moved towards a weapon. The mysterious warrior stood silently, his flowing black hair waving in the night's wind.
Even through the darkness Sarra thought she saw the flames reflect off of a single tear that ran down his cheek.
The cloaked figure stood in front of Argoll, and at its feet lay the still body of young Yarrow. Argoll seethed in rage and drew his blue-steel sword. Using Dessi magic he transformed the blade into a spear of equal power. Argoll called upon the Mystic Maneuver of Battleblade and a blue fire writhed along the shaft and point of the long spear.
"You will pay for that darkspawn!"
Argoll's shout caught the ears of Tammith. She began to run through the woods towards the shout as fast as her limbs would take her. She leaped into the air, her hand catching a rocky crag. As she pulled herself up she saw Argoll charging towards a figure cloaked in black. Argoll's spear was ignited in blue fire.
Tammith drew her blue-steel sword and shouted aloud, "FOR ELZIAN!!!"
Little did the Vakeros know...they were far outmatched.
The members of the party around the fire had not heard Argoll's shout but Tammith's battle-cry quickly reached their ears. Sammath made as if to run towards the shout but Rythe raised up his hand, signaling he stay and keep quiet.
Rythe lowered his head in sorrow. He whispered so softly that nobody heard him. "They're already dead. They just don't know it yet..."
Post by fallingphoenix on Apr 24, 2008 0:54:25 GMT -5
Somewhere in the Mountains of Northern Dessi
"Darkspawn?" Falling Phoenix responded contemptuously.
Falling Phoenix stepped to one side and pushed on Argoll's shoulder. Falling Phoenix was impressed by the man's response. Off balance and with his enemy now behind him, the Vakeros tipped himself into a forward roll with a twist and came to his feet about ten feet away and facing the Kai Hunter.
"I'm impressed, Vakeros. Had I wanted to end it there, you would at least have made it difficult."
In truth, despite his mocking demeanor, Falilng Phoenix was somewhat displeased with himself. He had underestimated the first young man he had slain, and, as a result, had alerted the others. Still, it had been a long time since he had to exercise his combat skills. And who knew but that one of these warriors had been a guard that had so long prevented him from obtaining the shard he sought in Elzian itself. Killing them would have a certain poetic conclusion.
He tilted his head when he heard the battle cry of the Vakerine behind him. Using the same elemental mastery that he had raised himself with from the mines of the Maakengorge, he conjured a powerful vertical wind. Tammith suddenly found herself rising instead of falling through the air and she soared over the cloaked figure beneath her before finally crashing to the ground not far from Argoll.
In the moment that she impacted, the Vakeros warrior looked in her direction. It was only a second, but Falling Phoenix moved with the speed only a Grand Huntmaster could achieve, and smiled in satisfaction at the look of surprise on the warrior's face when he looked at where the dark figure had been to find him gone!
"Fight like a man, coward!"
Falling Phoenix laughed and flicked his wrist. A dagger sprouted from the tree right behind Tammith. Had she stood a moment faster, the blade would have skewered her between the eyes. She startled once, then looked into the woods around her warily. The light of Argoll's flaming spear did little to penetrate the darkness beyond the warrior's immediate area, and the shadows it cast danced on the trees, allowing Falling Phoenix to move more freely, as long as he stayed out of the light.
Argoll cursed loudly in the Dessi tongue, and Falling Phoenix laughed again. Then, strangely, he offered the Vakeros warriors in front of him a choice.
"I am in a generous mood tonight. There is no need for anyone else to die. Just give me the crystal shard I want and I'll let you go."
Post by Izziel Darkblade on Apr 25, 2008 21:38:51 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
"Am..I...going... to Die?..."
Nobody heard the question slipping through the man's lips, of course.
Wise Fox, was now laying in a field near Eshnar, the city that almost seemed to laugh at his own fate. His body and mind, victims of a terrible attack of an Helghast.
The Helghast... the creature had assumed Wise Fox's form and went to meet Simey and Armadalus, not after leaving the Kai to his soon-to-be meeting with Death.
Folk tell of a phenomena that happens when one is about to die: that one's life seems to run before his eyes, like a collection of memories. Wise Fox, the dying Kai Master of Sommerlund, could not remember anything; the pain wouldn't let him.
Ishir wasn't there to heal his wounds with Her maternal light.
Kai wasn't there to protect his son with His sword.
Dunith, the Toranese Kai Master better known as Wise Fox, was crying for mercy, his mortal form unable to endure the punishment that the creature of Darkness had delivered to him.
But again, nobody heard it.
Wise Fox saw the first beasts approaching, but mercifully enough, he died before he could feel'em feasting on his carcass.
In Magnamund, there is Darkness- and Darkness sometimes wins".
Post by Beowuuf on Apr 30, 2008 1:16:46 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
Armadalus had froze, but it did not seem like shock nor fear to Beowuuf. It seemed instead a decided inaction, not provoking further reaction until the situation had been assessed, until a safe counter measure could be established.
This professional demeanour of Armadalus cracked as there was a crash behind him from the hut. Eyes that did not quite leave Beowuuf obviously wished to turn further around to see exactly what Simey would be doing.
Beowuuf smiled, aware that he didn't like looking in mirrors too much, and so was not quite satisfied his smiles were not easily mistaken for snarls. "My name is Beowuuf," he decided to say, "I have been a spy of sorts for the Elder Magi, the Magnamund Knights' Council, and the Brotherhood of the Crystal Star. Lately I've taken to informally spying on odd groups of warriors in these parts who seem to be blundering along, and I enjoy making accidental noise as much as your companions."
Armadalus said nothing.
"Your companions are...?" asked Beowuuf to the silent stare and uncomfortable silence.
Armadalus shifted slightly on the balls of his feet. "Not something to be discussed in the current tactical standoff"
Beowuuf rolled his eyes. "Your companions are Simey Vojske, a Knight of the White Mountain, and Wise Fox, a Kai Lord. You yourself are Armadalus, a Sommlending Knightof the Realm, in previous times a hunter of my kin, and recently one of a party that went to fight a great evil in Eshnar. An evil you now have no memory of fighting. I ask merely to be polite, I did say I have been a spy of sorts in recent times."
Armadalus shited again dangerously, this time shocked enough to looked quickly backwards wondering how they were so known. "And what do you wish now?"
Beowuuf realised trying to show off, in the current climate, had been a bad idea. Of course, deception about not knowing who these men were would probably been detected and have rung false from the little Beowuuf had gleaned of Armadalus's abilities.
"Look, are you an active part of the Magnamund Knights' Council?" asked Beowuuf. Armadalus narrowed his eyes, giving his enemy no hook to spin false tales from. Beowuuf sighed.
"I am going to reach for something that might explain who I am, and where I am going, and why seeing you is merely a strange co-incidence and movement of the gods" Beowuuf spread his arms out in what hopefully looked a placatory gesture and not the start of a wrestling move, and slowly reached to is hip for a small pouch.
Beowuuf held it forward slowly towards Armadalus. There was the tip of a scroll poking out, and there was obviously somethign else creating a small bulge at the bottom. Beowuuf gestured again with his hand for Armadalus to take it. Armadalus, reluctanatly, nodded and moved with caution but assured slipping movements towards the wolf.
The pouch was struck from Beowuuf's hand before he realised Armadalus had struck, and then it was all over. Armadalus had knocked one of Beowuuf's legs from him, twisted the wolf's arm back on itself, and had taken up position behind Beowuuf pinning the wolf in his powerful grip.
"Simey!" said Armadalus as a shocked Simey emerged, the younger knight seeing the red-eyed wolf creature, "get out here now! And bring that blasted axe!"
Post by Simey on Apr 30, 2008 21:32:24 GMT -5
Somewhere near Eshnar
Even in the tension of the situation, Simey felt the look of incredulous alarm that had sprung to his face at the sight of Armadalus wrestling the wolf monster being rapidly replaced by one of embarrassment when instructed to bring the axe.
"I can't," he said, desperately wondering how else he could make himself useful. "I got rid of it, and....and I just can't." It sounded so pathetically absurd, but Simey knew, without having the faintest idea why, that it was the truth.
Armadalus glowered at him over the shoulder of the creature. "Have we got any rope?" he asked through gritted teeth in a tone that betrayed his knowledge of the answer. Simey shook his head uselessly.
Wise Fox slipped out of the doorway and past Simey, moving cautiously forwards to assist Armadalus in restraining the beast.
"This really is quite unnecessary," said the wolf.
Simey's jaw dropped slack before he had a chance to realise that there had been talking from outside the hut while he'd been struggling with Wise Fox; in his desperation to stop the Kai taking the axe, he'd not registered it.
Wise Fox was beside the creature now, one hand on it's powerful shoulder. He and Armadalus exchanged a brief nod of understanding and the Kai brought one leg round in a sweeping kick to take the wolf's legs out from under it as the two of them pushed its upper body forwards to slam into the ground.
"You really should look at the scroll, you know," the wolf strained out congenially, though there was a hint of a growl in the speech; "it's a gripping read."
"Vojske, the sword!" barked Armadalus.
Simey glanced about for a moment. Behind where the two Sommlending were now kneeling on the creature's back, a sword stood upright, planted in the ground. Simey moved to fetch it, passing well wide of the wolf-thing, under control though his companions seemed to have it, and as he came close to the weapon, he noticed something odd. Even in the orange glow of the firelight from the stove he could see that the blade was not the typical silver-grey of steel. It looked....blue.
"Get a move on, will you?" snapped Armadalus, and Simey realised that he had been peering at the sword for several seconds. He grasped the hilt of the weapon with both hands and tugged it out of the ground. A faint sensation passed down his arms and through his whole body, almost like a slight shudder at a fearful thought, but warmer somehow. The feeling passed quickly, and Simey moved back to stand in front of the three figures on the ground.
"Wise Fox, your cloak," Armadalus was saying brusquely: "tear a strip off."
Keeping his knee on the creature's back, Wise Fox undid the clasp of his cloak and pulled the garment from his shoulders and around in front of him.
"So, you can talk," said Simey, trying to keep both his voice and his hand steady as he pointed the sword at the wolf's head. The creature raised sarcastic eyebrows at him, its eyes glinting a deep, dangerous red in the firelight. Simey blinked in resurgent disbelief that he was even looking at such a thing, let alone talking to it. "Do you....do you have a name?" he asked, his head tilting and his eyebrows knitting at the lunacy of the question.
"I do," responded the wolf with impatient politeness. "Though I usually prefer to partake of introductions in a more....vertical position."
Wise Fox had finished ripping a long strip off his cloak and was gathering it to him, having discarded the rest of the garment.
"Right," said Armadalus, "bind its hands."
The wolf shook its head in irritation at this, and at that moment Simey suddenly knew that Armadalus and Wise Fox had been able to keep it pinned on the ground only because it had been allowing them to.
It looked as though it had just lost its patience.