Game Thread Part I • Chapter 3: Paradigm Shift - RPG Crossing
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Old 03-08-2020, 01:38 PM
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Part I • Chapter 3: Paradigm Shift


A smell like that of ozone lingered along the shore of the Midland Sea, and along with it a strange mist. Had there been anyone out on boat or ship, few would have hesitated to make the sign against evil and hunker down below deck until whatever aberrant or arcane force abroad as the dark midnight emptiness of the sky began turning toward blue had gone. The sea was strangely empty, however, and few sleeping in the comfort of their beds within the great cities around the coastline of the Midland Sea were aware of aught more than a chill. No, it was only those not protected by the walls of the cities which felt the strangeness lingering in the air. Those like a ring of seven sleeping forms around a campfire some distance from the coastline, even the young woman on last watch having drifted off to sleep wrapped in her blanket.

Seven souls out of their element, but united in a cause beyond any of them alone. Small threads tied these seven souls together, an almost perceptible pattern that traced back the way they had come, to Horizon where they had met, and further still to Axis and even a hard fought battle prior. The strands of Fate were woven around some more strongly than others, and the young woman was tied inextricably to each of the other six, whether she liked it or not. The oddest one was the small gnome curled up in his sleeping roll; though he was tied to the young woman, it was loosely, almost as though the threads could not quite grab him. They had created a loose net which held for the moment, but at any time could easily slip away.


It was rare to dream lucidly, but at some point each of six sleepers recognized their confused thought patterns were a dream. The dream was now broken snippets of sensory input, a sound here, a flash of color there, and the disturbing sense of spinning around without seeing or knowing their surroundings that made the stomach more than a little bit queasy. The air got thick, almost like water or sludge, and the spinning ceased, though movement at all became complicated and hard. The very substance of their bodies felt like it was hardening in clay, only for a sudden feeling -- it wasn't a noise, precisely, though it seemed as abrupt as a thunderclap -- to shatter the clay around them. There was darkness, but a feeling of companionship, of belonging. Other presences were there, in the dark, just out of reach but oh so familiar.


Original three left Axis only one week ago!Swordsday the 28th day of Rainmoot,
27th Year of Our Emperor Cyrian Dracorix

A woman's wordless cry woke everyone at the camp instantly, a jarring reacquaintance with their bodies that did not fail to confuse anyone for a moment. As rational thought returned, they witnessed a blanket-wrapped form tossing and turning toward the campfire. Almost as if watching in slow motion several things happened at once: the tosser reached the fire, the fire caught the edge of the dry blanket, and a shining golden dragon barely more than two feet from nose to flashing gold tail tip rose into the air beating his wings fiercely.

"Ah!" cried the sleeper, rolling away from the fire, blanket and all, trying to put out the fire her familiar seemed to be commanding away from her flesh, for his wingbeats weren't feeding the fire oxygen, that much was clear. Maelona rolled free of the blanket and sprang up, darting forward to smother the blanket corner's fire with the rest of the blanket. Only once she was done did she or Gwir stop moving. The princess panted for breath lightly, reaching up to wipe at dirty tracks strung from her eyes down her youthful face, sniffing once as she did. For the barest second a tear sparkled at the corner of her eye before she wiped it away. Realizing she was the center of attention, she blushed and looked at the ground. "What? I had a nightmare."

Nightmare. The dream! Yes, while some parts were pleasant, there was an undercurrent that was decidedly less pleasant. Whether their dreams had played on their fears, their hopes, or both, each face around the campfire held a similar dazed expression. Once more it was Maelona's movement that drew attention. "You!" she cried angrily, leaping to her feet and glaring at a familiar elderly man in an orange robe walking toward their camp. Before she could speak, however, he looked startled, and he actually started to fade; the sparse shrubs they'd camped near could actually be seen through him. His eyes widened even as his stride lengthened, racing towards them, mouth moving like he was yelling, but no sound reached them. Before he got within ten feet he was abruptly gone. No trace of him remained, not even a path through the dry grassland. Almost as though something had swept towards them, taking him with it, a chill wind blasted through their camp sending things flying in all directions and killing the campfire instantly.

There was a thump from near where Emak sat, and the book which had revealed itself to be more than just a book the evening prior flopped forward, falling open as it did so. Even from the other side of camp, it was clear there was a blank pair of pages that writing started growing upon; like ink spilled in the crease of the binding spreading outward, words appeared on the pages, black and grey, and even some white lettering at the top of one page where the ink stained the page around the words instead of the letters themselves.

As if compelled the voice of the intelligent tome spoke, just loud enough to be heard by all seven people present. "Chapter two, a dangerous business. Axis, society of plots within plots. The capital city of the Empire was a shining beacon of civilization, or at least that was what the young were taught, and the image presented by the pristine army was in keeping with that, even when they were marching out to attack amassing hordes of demons. Learning was had by--" With a wrench that spun the tome in the dirt, it flipped several pages like it was tugging at its covers, yet it -- he? -- still spoke. "There was no dark thunderhead to concern the four travelers as they rose to leave, only mist that clouded everything including their departure, making it that much less likely that the princess would be recognized. A gentle breeze plucked at cloaks and hair and made the lit lanterns flicker, throwing light and shadows everywhere. Even the guard patrol which simply nodded to the heroes as they were led to the groomsmen holding five horses as steady as--" Another wrenching move, like a landed fish, unable to get where it wanted of its own will. "As the group finished talking and turned back to their horses, they heard a shout of alarm from up the hill and were barely able to see a silhouette of someone making a spectacle of himself near a tree stump at the edge of the spotty tree cover at the top of the hill. Whatever was going on, whoever it was seemed to be in trouble, and without waiting for the others to decide whether or not they'd stay to help, the princess turned and started jogging up the hill, making the decision--" The tome shouted a word from a far more guttural language that made each person nearby tingle with electricity and the book closed with a snap and growled audibly. "She's got some nerve," said Guythraxix, sounding furious even as several members of the group had to wonder just how they thought a book sounded furious. But it was not just the anger that surprised each hero around their very dead campfire. They instantly knew the tome was speaking of She Who Writes, an entity literally writing the story of their lives, much as the book had narrated snippets of before fighting off the control of whatever had taken hold of it.

GMHere's the PCs' new reality! Yes, those are snippets from the beginning of Chapter Two (though only three PCs would instantly recognize it) and the combat opening post with Tel. Linking them so you don't have to search. It's up to you how the realization of being a character in a story strikes. I wanted it to be personal, so I've left it vague. I hope you'll elaborate on it as you roleplay your strange awakening. Welcome to Chapter Three!

 

New chapter means you get your Icon Relationship rolls. There's code to make the rolls easier posted in the dice thread. All spells and powers are renewed for chapter start. I am also willing to entertain changing spells or swapping out other features if you've found they don't fit the game as well as you'd hoped, but please run everything by me in your private thread first.

If you haven't finalized your incremental advance, please do so now!

 
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:55 AM
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Breeze woke in a cold sweat, hopelessly tangled up in his bedroll just in time to see the princess roll into the campfire. Fortunately, she proved to be much more agile than he and extracted herself quickly, smothering the flames that threatened to envelop her blanket. He managed to pull himself free in time to see her staring defiantly at the group and declaring that she'd had a nightmare.

That makes two of us, he thought as a familiar figure emerging from the darkness drew his attention; a figure he had been dreaming of just moments ago.

"Ishmael," he called out, questioningly?

The man in orange robes looked startled and began to fade into something insubstantial.

"Ishmael, what are you doing here? What is it?!"

As it became clear that the man was trying to tell them something, Breeze's voice became more and more frantic. Whether by habit or design he wasn't sure, but he finally gave his ring a spin and words of power began gathering in his mind. It was too late though, and Ishmael faded completely from view.

Then the book began to speak and Breeze's life, or what he had thought of as his life, was changed irrevocably. Forever. The realization that he was nothing more than a flight of fancy, an imagining, of She Who Writes left him stunned. He stood, dumbfounded, staring at his companions and wondering if he was going mad.

Maybe the magic is affecting my mind, he thought, but judging by the looks on his companions' faces he wasn't the only one who had just received a shock. At a loss for words, the gnome sank down onto the tangled mess that was his bedroll and did his best to hide his tears.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:25 AM
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Bazziox jolts awake. Fire recedes from his mind only to be greeted by more fire. Groggy and disoriented, the dragonborn still manages to find the hilt of the mace at the side of his bedroll. Unsteadily he rises to his full height and swivels about, seeking for a pair of red eyes.

Yet all that greets him is the Princess and her companion whose blanket had caught on fire. Bazziox shakes his head as he relaxes his muscles. Funny how dreams work, always take a piece of reality and twist it. A strange dream no doubt, but nothing more than that. Though ... strange that Maelona also had a dream ...

Bazziox snaps his head around at the Princess' angry word. His eyes fly wide. The flickering, silent image is a sight completely unexpected. Yet, the dragonborn barely hesititates. He rushes forward to greet the man. "You!", the dragonborn's proclamation is far less angry than the Princess', in fact it is almost that of a greeting between old friends. "I need to ..." Bazziox's words drift off as the figure flickers into nothing and he rushes forward, reaching out toward the space where the old man had been. "No, no, NO! Not again!"

At first, the words spewing from the book have no impact on the dragonborn as he desperately searches the empty space where the old man had been. Then, gradually, his motions slow until he stops and turns. The strange tome toted around by Emak speaks words that are ... familiar. Bazziox has a burning desire to rush over to the tome and flatten it into a single sheet of paper. Yet, a sudden realization washes over him.

Bazziox stands stunned. A ... story? About him? But.
...
She Who Writes!
...
That name! The orange-robed man! All at once, the question is fully answered. Fully answered in a completely insane and unprecedented way. There is no answer that could have been further from an expected answer. There is nothing that could have prepared anyone for this moment. Although, Bazziox realizes, the old man had tried. That is even less comforting. Who is the old man? What is the end of the story? He was not chosen for this mission! He was written specifically for this task. To be the "Mentor".


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Old 04-04-2020, 01:39 PM
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Emak the Meek and Guythraxix the HungryEmak woke exactly where she had evidently dozed off, perched on the log and facing out from the camp. It was also very clearly the same place metaphorically too, because it was just about the 'perfect' extension of the hell that her life had become. Everything outside was in disarray, from the princess in the fire to Guythraxix getting yanked out of her arms, and just so loud, while everything inside was just as riotous. Things were worming their way into her thoughts and mind, and it was hard to tell whether it was her or other things. And sat in the middle of everything was a new understanding for an odd but harmless and fun encounter that had happened before all of this started.

Well, that wasn't quite true. The start was obviously before that, now that she knew.

As Guythraxix struggled on the ground before her, Emak reached out a hand but did not yet pick him up, too aware of his capabilities to risk grabbing hold of the book while he was this upset. Instead, beneath his anger, she softly sang a section of one of their favorite long-form songs; the section that lambasted know-it-alls who forced their wills upon others. Unfortunately, she couldn't seem to keep a handle on the song, her melancholic mood bleeding in and her singing flowing between many languages quickly enough to be nonsensical to most.

Once he had settled, Emak gingerly picked up her closest friend, fingers gently, carefully brushing off the dirt from his cover and feeling over his spine, to ensure there was no lasting harm. The man, another victim to the writing, had drawn little outward reaction from Emak, but he permeated her thoughts all the same. This was no Akashic Record, was anything but a quaint bit of philosophizing. And perhaps worst of all, it made sense. Explained things, in its own horrifying way.

"So, Guythraxix. About those few few times when I've asked if you remembered something - do you remember them now? Or even remember me asking?" The questions were quiet, hollow, and largely defeated, but asked for a certain detached academic curiosity. One of the few things she had left, really, anything more would be to step beyond her position. And to do that would have dire consequences, as she had evidently tried many times before.
 
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Old 04-04-2020, 07:35 PM
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It is said that you never die in your dream, that you will awaken before that moment of death.

Kerr awoke, his hand instinctively reaching for the hilt of his longsword as he jerked upright with a start. The dream had seemed so vivid, and yet there was still the familiar powerlessness that occurred in dreams ... that feeling of helpless frustration as his limbs seemed to refuse to obey his will. He had vainly tried to fight back against the thing in his nightmare, but was unable to raise sword or shield against it.

He heard the Princess' cries and looked over in time to see her roll away from fire and put out the flames of her bedroll. In the next instant, their "patron" appeared suddenly at the edge of their camp; but while several of their group moved toward this apparition, Kerr turned to scan the wastelands around them, cautious against another ambush.

What finally did get his attention was that book of Emak's -- Guythraxix -- which began to loudly recite a 'tale'. The Paladin turned slightly to snap at Emak, "Shut that thing up! It will draw every demon for leagues arou ...."

Kerr Ironheart's face grew pale. Initially he did not recognize what the book was saying, but then as Guythraxix continued, their 'story' began to play out to his listening ears. Kerr Ironheart, erstwhile Templar turned Inquisitor, heard the book's words, and knew.

In one way, it all made sense. Every cursed bit of misfortune, every time that fate seemed to take a hand in his ill-omened life; he had been right all along.

"She Who Writes", he murmered as if still in a dream.

It is said that you never die in your dream, that you will awaken before that moment of death. But what if you were just a dream?


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Old 04-07-2020, 07:18 PM
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Scabbard of IronMaelona's cry awoke the monk, but his mind was still clouded from the dream. He managed to get to his feet, hands up in a fighting stance, before seeing what was happening. As little Gwir tended to the princess's flame, Scabbard of Iron looked down at his shadow. As far as he could tell it did not look back...

Again it was the princess's cry that demanded the monk's attention. This time his eyes followed her gaze to the holy man, first walking towards them, then running. Like the dream he had just had, the holy man faded from view even as Scabbard of Iron saw him. Like the dream he had just had, meaning left the holy man's lips but was gone when it was time for the monk to receive it. Finally, like the dream, the holy man disappeared, sending a chill through the camp. How apt a metaphor he was.

By the time Guythraxix began speaking against his own will, Scabbard of Iron was no longer convinced he was not still dreaming. Still, when it was done, the monk's mind was clear: he knew his purpose, and of the goddess She Who Writes that the holy man had indirectly mentioned back in Axis. His eyes appraised all of the others, and he saw that they were clearly grappling with the same understanding that had just visited him. The shock seemed to be hitting some hard. For his part the monk stood silent. Whether he had chosen the monk's life or it had been written that he would choose it, nothing mattered: he played his part, as he had trained to.
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:24 AM
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For a moment, the stars hung like a tapestry in the background of Telephus's dreams. The glittering orbs of light glimmering as they turned and twirled. As the constellations revolve overhead, the stargazer found himself fixated on a pair of stars. The luminescence of the heavenly bodies waxed and waned in a mesmerizing pattern, and Tel soon found himself entranced by the twinkling stars. His head began to swim, and his balance began to shift. All at once, the night sky was upside down, and the sorcerer was tumbling about as if falling through the branches of a tree. His head made contact, and his senses went reeling. All about him, the stars were spinning backwards. Their revolution slowly devolving as they spiraled off course.

A sound came out of the twilight, and a brilliant flash blinded the stargazer's eyes as he sat up wide awake. Spectral images of the astral seas still burned behind his eyelids, as his pupils did their best to react to the light. It was especially difficult given the brilliance with which Her Majesty's blanket was burning; she was thrashing about and Babble was bleating madly. Tel was hardly cognizant of his surroundings when he realized that he was all wet, and he was still confused when he realized that he had been coddling his nearly empty wineskin as he slept.

Gradually, it became clear that Maelona was on about something in particular, and Telephus had gathered his wits just enough to recognize the old fellow that had sent him off to the edge of civilization. "Say, I think I know that fellow," Telephus reported absently. His mind reeling from dream and drink alike, it took him a minute recall when the old fellow had said: "Times are changing."

It did not seem like anyone noticed what Tel said, and there was good reason for it. Emak's curious book burst into a bout of what Telephus could only describe as narration. At first, the relevance was beyond his recollection, but gradually he began to recognize the story and his role in it. It weighed heavy on his mind. All of his days, he imagine his story written in the stars; ink on the page hardly had the smae majestic quality. His thoughts reeled like the stars spinning wildly in his dreams, and all that he could recall was the ominous pair of stars that had haunted his dreams.

That and three words the old fellow had said during their previous encounter: She Who Writes.

"I dare say," Telephus said with a heavy sigh, "I drank too much last night."
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Old 04-16-2020, 07:51 PM
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Maelona
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Maelona
The word shouted by the princess at the disappearing man in the orange robe most definitely wasn't one she learned in a palace. It suited her army leathers, in fact, though she didn't even have the tunic anymore. She got rather spun around, however, when the wind swept through their campsite, her head looking back and forth as though she sought something in the air movement, but could not see it.

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The princess slumped down on her bedroll when the words of the talking tome began to sink in, and there were definitely tears in her eyes by the time the book had reclaimed control over himself once more. A quick swipe of her hand had removed all traces of dirt and tear tracks from her face, but the tears glistening in her eyes were harder to hide, and refused to fade away. She sat in silence as Gwir curled around her neck, stroking his head against her more and more strongly. The comfort the little dragonling was trying to offer seemed out of Maelona's reach. Even the quiet noises the small golden dragon made didn't seem to penetrate the funk that had come down on the princess, her eyes were staring into the cold fire pit as though seeing something else entirely.

It's not until Tel says something about too much to drink that she looks up, dark circles under her eyes. "If you did, what's my excuse? What are we supposed to do now?" The dragonling practically smacked her with his head this time, and finally she reached up to pet him, murmuring something just between the two of them.

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The magical book was so quiet after Emak had asked her question she nearly asked him again, but just as she was considering it, he finally answered her, barely loud enough for her to hear him in order to keep the conversation between them. "You have asked me if I remembered something many times over the years, but I believe you are referring to recently, before we left Axis, is that correct?" It was hard to distinguish how, exactly, the book sounded tired, for his voice was absent of the usual facial expressions often used to determine such a mortal thing as fatigue, but he did.

"In the Imperial library you told me a man had been there who knew who we were and what we were about to be doing, and with whom. I have no memory of him, but the conversation with you I recall." It was much as he had said then, though he had attempted to laugh her off at first.
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Old 04-17-2020, 05:56 PM
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Emak the Meek and Guythraxix the HungryThe chill that shot through Emak at Guythraxix's response was deeper than her very bones, but still distant. Still something to worry about later. Right now, she needed to collect more information about their situation. And about her situation.

Silent steps brought the small scholar back to her place on the log, where she gingerly sat still cradling Guythraxix. One hand went to her pack, pulling out a piece of writing charcoal and a few sheets of paper. The mask that had molded itself so seamlessly to her face and blend into her features decided to stand out, pulsing a sickly yellow and blue along its surface as she prepared herself to write. "Est-ce que vous pouvez dire," she started before jerking her head hard to the side, dislodging the stream of words from her mouth that had been flowing wrong. "Imi poti-" she started again, sharp teeth snapping shut on the sentence that once again came out wrong.

It took her time to steady herself, to shake off whatever was crawling through her mind, but after finding the center, she finally asked, "Do you remember me asking you about... Drosh?" Another moment and her eyes flickered, blinking hard to get whatever was in them out. "Just tell me about every time I've asked, if you can. Every instance where it seemed we remembered different things. If you're feeling up to it. Please." It would be the next place to start, the next puzzle piece in seeing exactly the bounds of their situation. From there, they could assess their possible paths forward. But she didn't want to press her friend either, who seemed as drained as she felt.

The book stirred after a few seconds more, and began to wearily recite incidents. With each instance, it was Emak remembering something had happened, while for Guythraxix it was nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes it wasn't even anything notably odd, just... smaller things. Really, they were all small things, oh which Drosh was not one. And Emak remembered all of them, albeit fuzzily for some - more the work of time drifting past than something more insidious or effective.

What it was exactly, Emak wasn't sure, but it did begin to create an outline. And the picture that was getting traced out was less than pleasant, by her measure.
 
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Old 04-18-2020, 12:08 PM
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Bazziox stands silently facing away from the group, shielding them from any outward response. Of course his draconic heritage leaves little in the way of facial expressions so it makes little difference, but it does make Bazziox feel better.

There are precious few thoughts that enter the dragonborn's head that do anything other than slip away as quickly as they appear. One of the few that remains clear and present is their current task. There are myriad implications churning about, seeking purchase on that one core, but none manage to do more than collide with another and spring apart only to collide with a different implication.

So it is that the one thing that Bazziox can grasp rests in the forefront of his mind as the Princess vocally despairs. Slowly, Bazziox turns to face the camp. "We move out. We carry on. These are only whispers of the vile will that has set the end of our age in motion, trying to sap our will and divert our mission!" Even as he says the words, the dragonborn knows them to be false. He knows it at a depth that he has never known anything before. But he was given the task to lead the Princess to Santa Cora. He knows that to be true as well. "We are rested, now we must move again. Those demons were searching for ... us."


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Old 04-19-2020, 10:16 AM
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Kerr Ironheart was the first to respond to Bazziox's command, quickly moving to break camp and begin their journey.

The knowledge that someone, some unseen fate, really had been casting foul fortune on him seemed to galvanize the Inquisitor. Kerr had felt the oppressive weight of an unseen hand showering ill luck on his brow; now he finally had a name of the entity who had seemed to direct curse after curse upon him. This insight seemed to embolden Kerr. If he was merely some unhappy plaything in the hand of She Who Wrote, then he would play his part well.

As he began gathering up gear, he spied Breeze curled into his bedroll, the gnome's body wracked with silent sobs as he tried to hold back the tears.

"Get up," the foul-tempered Paladin growled. "Screw up your courage and move."

Then Kerr's tone softened slightly, for he knew that the mage had proven himself worthy in battle. Kerr was unaccustomed to being supportive, but even as his anger burned at the revelation of Fate's true hand, he knew that the gnome was as much a pawn as himself.

Squatting next to the gnome, and attempting to put a modicum of kindness into voice, Kerr added, "You're the living embodiment of chaos itself, boy. If anyone can dumbfound Fate, it will be you."


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Old 04-20-2020, 06:13 PM
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Scabbard of IronThe monk snorted and nodded in affirmation as Bazziox said they must carry on with their mission. Whatever lies one had to tell their self to keep carrying on did not matter; he suspected all of them were as fully awake to their reality as he was, and no self-created fiction could be believed so fully it would lead you to battle with any truth that set itself in your path. No, reality would set in sooner or later.

And that was assuming any cared to fight to believe their own lies in the first place. To Scabbard of Iron's knowledge none outside of their group were privileged to know of this overlord of the gods, this architect of all creation—She Who Writes. Any who were certainly weren't in the habit of proselytizing, though there was the curious case of the man who had appeared before each of them in turn back in Axis. Whether he had truly been in the flesh back then or if he were always a figment of their imagination was a question that they may never answer. Perhaps philosophers would be fascinated by the question one day, should She Who Writes ever become known to the world at large.

On to the task at hand. If what he now knew to be true was in fact true, they really were being watched by a distant force bent on sending forces against them. No matter where they went they would face challenge, though whether their story was meant to have a happy or a tragic end was not for them to know. She Who Writes could see them right now, but they could not see her. The question was how to change this.

"I know not the motivations of demons," the monk said to Bazziox. "Just that we must go." More enemies would find them, and quicker the longer they remained. He stepped quickly, collecting his things from the camp—the sooner they left the safer they would be.

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Old 04-21-2020, 12:48 PM
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Emak the Meek and Guythraxix the HungryWhile some of the others started to move to break camp, willing to either push their way forward blind to the truth or ignoring it, Emak almost derisively clicked her tongue, able to note Guythraxix's quiet words as they wound down even as she listened to those spoken behind her. There were many things that she had forgotten, many things clearly overwritten now, but many remained. And one such piece was the knowledge that no lizardqueen would allow herself to keep her head buried in sand.

After a second, just long enough to choke down the overwhelming fear that what she said might be overwritten and deviated away to something other, Emak spoke up to the group at large. "Correct conclusion, incorrect reasoning," she stated flatly, managing to spit it out in the correct language the first try, this time around. The chronicling finally came to a halt, Guythraxix now even more exhausted than he had been after his personal fight, and she surveyed the results. They were all small nudges, readjustments. Rather minor events but all of them could have, or more likely had, derailed her path to be where she was in the moment. Nothing that she and Guythraxix could remember were nearly as big as that memory now lodged in her mind, unearthed by the demon's fight and the sleep that came after. That was large, overt, and infuriating, while these were all small bumps and nudges. Revisions to her story, and to their story.

Her tail rolled off the back of the log and coiled into the earth, muscles tensing as Emak ground scales into dirt. Unsightly behavior, certainly, but the discomfort of dirt and dust and sand getting in between, to the skin below, helped to keep her focused and serve almost as a punishment for not noticing earlier. That anger did not show itself elsewhere though, her voice still detached and one hand now comforting Guythraxix, gently rubbing against his cover. "Su hipótesis- your hypothesis assumes knowledge and intent, but that's unlikely." Charcoal rapidly drummed against paper for the span of a moment before it was whisked up and spun in between her fingers. "Otherwise, this conversation would not exist. Our knowledge would simply be retroactively erased, if She Who Writes knew that she was dictating our actions and thoughts, and she of the desire to do us harm."

"It's only when something occurs that would deviate us from our path that She Who Writes intervenes. Not only that, but said path follows a dramatic narrative focused on...," the charcoal spun once more but was grabbed up, held along a finger as Emak pointed it at the Princess, without overly looking at her. "You. Which, good news for you, Princess Maelona, means you are largely safe." Trains of thought continued to march through Emak's mind as she grappled with piece after piece of this puzzle, trying to grasp its picture fully.

"Those around us are also affected, in order to ensure that they play their parts in the narrative. As long as we continue to play our roles, we will continue to not be 'revised', but that does mean that those unaware are likely to compensate for our actions. So, if we were to run into a patrol of hellspawn, leaving thirty minutes earlier would simply mean that the hellspawn left thirty minutes earlier as well. We run into them either way, because that is what is narratively called for." Which... could be used, Emak suspected. She Who Writes had influence certainly, but the actual weight of her written words was some blend of descriptive and prescriptive.

So then... "We should continue, yes, but also try to figure out how much full autonomy we safely have, and gather more information about She Who Writes...." The words were trailing off, more to Guythraxix and herself than the others. She hadn't voiced it, and part of her didn't want the others to ask, but not all of them were as safe as the princess. Each fight would still be a fight for their lives, a fight to protect the princess, because that is what must be done.
 
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Old 04-22-2020, 04:38 PM
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Breeze choked back his tears to look up at Kerr.

"Am I the embodiment of chaos, or the victim of it? All my life I have taught myself to be ready for anything, but none of it is my doing. I just try to stay out of its way. But this..." he gestures at the book that was reciting their tale just moments ago. "This feels different. It seems to have a purpose all of a sudden. But what? Why now? And what am I supposed to do about it?"

Breeze became more and more agitated as he spoke. As difficult as it was to deal with the constant swirl of chaos around him, the thought of that changing into something purposeful that he still had no control over was terrifying to him.
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Old 04-27-2020, 03:34 PM
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Telephus was still struggling to wrap his mind around the entirety of the revelation, and his companion's loquacious hypothesizing was not helping. The lizardlady reminded him of the professors back at the Observatory. He would have preferred space and quiet in order to brood over his ruminations. It was not meant to be, whether that was deemed by the starts or by She Who Writes.

Of course, the stargazer already knew which of those two were responsible, or at least he thought he did. One did not live and learn by the horoscope just to forsake it the first time that he heard strange voices in his head. Still, he could not deny to himself that a seed of doubt was planted in his mind. If an unseen hand was guiding his actions, then he might have been just as well off as he chasing fireflies instead of starlight. In fact, his immediate prospects probably would have fared much better, as he imagined himself drinking by the dim light of a tavern fireplace.

Then, Emak said something that caught his attention, whether it was his Elven hearing or a student's attention span that caught the observation in the midst of musings. Perhaps, as Emak had suggested, this Writer only corrected deviations, putting souls back on the path determined by the stars. It was a curious thought that brought back to mind the dream that he had just witnessed, a council of scholars and sages that were discussing an errant star.

"Nothing has changed," Tel reasoned at length, "The book has only told what has come to pass. It has said nothing of what has yet to come. Thus, we know nothing more than before, or at least understand it no better."

"Our star yet hangs over Santa Cora. Let us follow it."
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