Game Thread Chapter 2: Over Rock and Sand - Page 17 - RPG Crossing
RPG Crossing Home Forums Create An Account! Site Rules & Help

RPG Crossing
twitter facebook mastodon bluesky

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #241  
Old Feb 1st, 2024, 03:42 AM
FCastor's Avatar
FCastor FCastor is online now
Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 8099
FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor
Posts: 1,011
Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
right-aligned image
Isandril seemed to hesitate for a few moments before answering Devari's question, looking at her intently. The woman's goal was a noble one, that much was undeniable, but that did not make it any less dangerous.

"I believe that the portal created by my Shalafi's spell scroll can be used to travel through it back to Pashin, yes," he finally said. "However, if we," he continued, his eyes, unnaturally green and flecked with red, looking directly into her naturally emerald ones as he stressed the word, "are to do such a thing and attempt to rescue this woman, this Legionnaire, we need to think of a plan that has at least a chance to succeed, lest we simply find ourselves sent to the gallows right behind her. Not to mention that the portal will not be kept open for long, if at all. The risk is too great." Despite the severity of what Devari proposed, the mage found himself smiling at least a little. "I cannot deny the nobility of the cause though. And I am fairly certain there are more than a couple of noble or honorable people within our little group that find nigh hopeless but just causes rather enticing."

He stood up again before starting to walk away. "Still though, a plan, preferably a good and cunning one, would be welcome nevertheless," he added and... Did he just wink? The Silvanesti noble and wizard sighed. He was spending too much time among humans and others not of his kind, it seemed. Yet... Was it really such a bad thing?

And speaking of humans, where had Aric run off to? No time like the present to have a talk with him, Isandril thought. And then he chuckled softly. And briefly. Hopefully the young hunter would not end their own interaction with a kiss as well.

Action Block
 

Stat Block
 
__________________
"We'll have to go out through the kitchen."

I have taken the Oath of Sangus

Last edited by FCastor; Feb 4th, 2024 at 12:34 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #242  
Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 07:36 PM
Elanir's Avatar
Elanir Elanir is online now
Astinus in disguise
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 37714
Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir
Posts: 8,629
The Legacy of Those who Are No More
right-aligned image
Griizat the Baaz
Griizat’s gaze darted from Talia to Redwaters, then from Aric to Xihue, his eyes wide, fearful, disbelieving, like those of a fox surrounded by a pack of hunting dogs. He had thrown himself on the mercy of these cruel humans, the same people who had slain all the members of his former unit, for what else could he do? He could not fight them, he could not trick them, he could not flee.


Even as he begged the kender who had started all of this, the kender he should have run through with his sword when he had the chance, not for one moment did he believe that he would be spared. In their eyes he and his kind were the “others” - monstrous, evil, irredeemable. They were considered a blight to the world of humans, elves and dwarves and each one of these races wouldn’t have thought twice before eradicating them, had they had the power and opportunity to do so.


With lowered head, the Baaz waited to be condemned for the crime of wanting to live with his people, far away from some dark hole in the middle of the desert. He waited to feel the kender’s ridiculous weapon break his skull or one of the boy’s arrows pierce his chest. He waited for their sneers and laughter as he lay dying, his body slowly turning to stone and then dust.


He never, ever expected to be pardoned.


He raised his head and looked around him in confusion. He must have misunderstood. Even if one or two of the humans were willing to let him go, the rest would surely object. The giant eagles, who had slain even the crafty Serahk, would do the same to him - destroy his wings before forcing him to fly in order to remind him that despite their progenitors being the true rulers of the skies, draconians were creatures of the earth. Or perhaps they would simply slash open his throat, eager to end him as soon as possible.


And yet, the eagles didn’t move, though he felt the heat of their hateful gaze fall on him like the rays of the desert sun during the midday. Reluctantly, Griizat took a few steps towards a steep slope that led nowhere and froze. Nothing happened. He took another few steps and looked around him: rocks, high cliffs, stunted weeds - the true face of the Harikas Mountains, his “home”. But it wasn’t any longer his home, was it? Without a word, he started running as fast as his stubby legs would take him, expecting the whistling sound of an arrow to be the last thing he would ever hear. Reaching the edge, he jumped off without hesitating. Griizat heard someone gasping, but he didn’t stop. He plummeted like a stone until he opened his wings and allowed the air current to support and carry him along - to freedom.


*********


The two pairs of eagle eyes, unblinkingly focused on the last remaining draconian, turned to watch the companions instead. The tension inside them steadily diminished, little by little, until all that remained were irises that gave a golden sheen to the world reflected in them.


left-aligned image
Kay the vulture chick
Aric approached the two great eagles, proudly presenting to them the tiny vulture chick, safely nestled inside his cupped hands. It was as if Kay were the most precious thing in the world and in a sense she was, at least to the young man. Aric knew that birds were incapable of facial expressions, but he could have sworn that the eagles smiled back at him the moment they saw the nestling he was rearing.


New life is never a penance, young Aric, Nirmandor said, his words not being meant as an admonition but a reminder. It is a blessing from the gods, a blessing you clearly deserve. Be conscious of it and allow it to change your life.


Have no doubt that you are doing a splendid job, Finwalin added gently. All the little one needs is tenderness and love and I can see that you are providing both in abundance. Whatever deaths you may have caused, whether by accident or false judgment, you are now a caretaker of life. Never doubt your chosen role, for it defines you more than anything else you have done in the past.


The young man was ready to place Kay back inside her makeshift nest, when he realized that something changed in the way the eagles were looking at him. No, not him, Aric understood. It was the way they were looking at Kay, as if something was seriously wrong with her. Had he made a mistake, harmed her in some way? Doubt started consuming him and he held the chick close to his chest in a futile attempt to protect her from whatever malady was afflicting her.


Nirmandor’s gaze fell heavily upon the nestling, which fluttered her tiny wings in panic as the great eagle’s head came unsettlingly close to her, his sharp beak shining in the sun.


This bird is being consumed by fire, he said with concern. Have you not noticed it before?


Aric stared back at the great eagle, hoping that Nirmandor was making a mistake or perhaps Redwaters wasn’t translating the bird’s words accurately. It was only then that he realized that Kay indeed felt warmer than usual. On previous occasions he had blamed the metallic kettle or the merciless heat of the desert, but it was now becoming clear that this wasn’t the case. The vulture chick was seriously ill, it seemed, even though she looked perfectly fine in his eyes.


There are two flames inside her little chest, Finwalin added almost sorrowfully, both equally hot, fighting each other. This imbalance can be seen in the little one’s plumage. It should have been the color of clay, but her newly grown feathers are a fiery red and brilliant blue.


Aric observed the chick as if he was looking at her for the very first time, finally seeing what the giant eagles had already noticed. Among the rust brown feathers that covered Kay’s little chest and belly were some that appeared different, both in color and shape. They were still tiny and easy to overlook, the blue prevailing over the red.


You and your actions are the cause of this affliction, Nirmandor explained, looking sternly at the young human. I fear it will consume the little one before long.


I wish we could do something, Finwalin intervened, showing more compassion than her husband, but in this we are as powerless as you, Aric. Perhaps… The female eagle turned to look at her mate. The Dunesmaster might be able to help.


Nirmandor remained silent, contemplating Finwalin’s words. The Mistress is said to be able to cure any affliction of body and spirit. I am sure that she could end the chick’s fever…, his eyes met Aric’s and the youth shivered, even without hearing Redwater’s translation, though she might need to sever the bond between the two of you in order to do so. The male eagle turned his head to look at the desert stretching beyond his mountainous home. Unfortunately, the Dunesmaster hasn’t been seen in years. I have no doubt that she still lives, but Khur is vast and she is tasked with protecting the whole of it. I will look for her, if you want me to, but I might not be able to find her in time.


You could also seek the aid of the Mikku, the Khurish tribe camping at the foothills of the Harikas, Finwalin added, sharing the pain of the Abanasinian youth. They possess a strong bond with the land and are said to know the ways of its creatures. She lowered her head, looking directly into Aric’s eyes. Whatever you do, do not lose faith in the gods and, most of all, in yourself.


*********


Devari stood at the very edge of the cliff looking down at nothing - and everything. The chasm seemed to be calling to her and strangely enough it did so with Amara’s voice. The young woman wondered whether she could be certain what her sister’s voice sounded like. It had been such a long time she had heard it last. Now, every time she dreamt of her little sister, Amara mostly stared at her silently, her large, accusing eyes boring into Devari, proving how thin the physical shell around her soul was for someone who really knew her.


Devari looked at the fine line separating the solid ground from the hundred-feet-drop in front of her and realized that she only needed to take a single step forward for her to cross it. It was that easy - a slipper patch of mud, a small shove, a leap into the air and she wouldn’t have to think about Skull Knight commanders and slain centaurs anymore. Her mind would be allowed to drift and wander the nameless space between Krynn and the starry domain of the gods, accompanied by the three moons and the souls of the departed. Perhaps she would even get to meet her mother there and the three of them would get to be a family once more. Devari smiled. It would be nice to have a family again, even one that wasn’t perfect.


Once more she looked down at the chasm, and willed her foot to take that step forward. But her legs didn’t obey, neither did her heart. There was something inside it that resisted her mental commands. Hope, she realized, and shook her head. It was what remained when everything else had already been lost, the dregs at the very bottom of the barrel. Devari took a deep breath and gripped the pommel of the shortsword. It felt hot in her hand and heavy, so heavy in fact that she found herself dangerously leaning forward. One more inch and she would lose her balance…


The young woman crouched, panting anxiously, her face as pale as the lonely moon that had served as a silent witness of the evil deeds of the Dragon Overlords during the early Age of Mortals. Did the sword want her… dead? That was impossible, wasn’t it? A sword was merely an object, something inanimate, without will or soul. It did only what the hand that wielded it forced it to do. The heat, the weight, the guilt, they were only inside her head.


Devari rose carefully to her feet, turning her back to the chasm and the ugly thoughts that tried to dominate her mind. She still believed that she could do some good in the world. At the very least, she had misdeeds to atone for. She wouldn’t give up, she couldn’t give up. It wouldn’t be right.


*********


Flying on the back of a giant eagle was an acquired taste and not everyone was born to enjoy it. Talia loved it, of course, for what else could one expect from a kender? She whirled her hoopak, giving off cries of pure exhilaration, waved her elven cloak like a flag and once or twice even attempted to actually stand on Nirmandor’s back so that she could snatch a small piece of a cloud. Even Uncle Trapspringer hadn’t been able to do that - though he had done pretty much everything else - and Talia was so close to accomplishing this fantastical feat, she simply had to try harder. Had it not been for the giant eagle’s apparently infinite patience and excellent maneuverability, the kender could have well shared Serahk’s fate, though that would have been a Big Oops worthy of the Dawnstar.


Some of the rest of the companions didn’t show Talia’s excitement as Nirmandor brought them, one by one, to the mountain’s highest peak. The air appeared to be incredibly thin up there and the winds incredibly strong and equally determined to push them off the back of the giant eagle. Any hope of surviving that fall vanished the moment the uneasy riders took a look at the rocks jutting out of the hard ground far beneath them, for they seemed to promise them an especially painful death in case of a mistake.


Everything was forgotten, however, when the four companions, Blyne, Devari, Redwaters and Talia, reached their destination, or, at the very least, the fear they had experienced grew faint and less real, like the memory of a nightmare after waking up. The vista that opened up in front of them was incredible and for the first time the four of them realized what the people of Khur saw when they looked at their land.


It was beautiful, beyond anything that words could describe.


Reds, browns, oranges and yellows dominated the landscape, and among them a myriad hues that no Aesthetic had thought to name, transforming the sand, rock and dust into a magical carpet with fantastical patterns - mountains of rock and hills with crowns of shrubs, vast arid plains and restless dunes that were born each time the wind blew, deep ravines and great chasms that made the land look alive and ready to speak to them. Far above everything else was the sun, like a reigning Khan dressed in robes of majestic gold and blinding blue, boldly painting his kingdom with fire and light.


normal image without text wrap
The land of Khur as seen from the top of the Harikas

How was it that the giant eagles got to see such beauty each day and didn’t go blind from it, the companions wondered, some of them wiping the tears from their eyes. Never again would they think the desert as monotonous or ugly. Like a veiled maiden of Khur, her beauty was not readily apart, but when the veil was lowered, her eyes were enough to leave breathless the one staring at them.


Nirmandor looked at them knowingly, remembering perhaps how it had been when he had taken wing and got to experience the world from the sky for the first time. Most people thought that the freedom of flight had solely to do with the ability to move swiftly, but he could have told them that it was mostly about the manner of perceiving something without being restricted by the boundaries that hindered those who were fated to spend their entire lives bound to the ground.


The companions raised their eyes towards the heavens, feeling so close to Sirrion’s brilliant ball of fire that they could have reached out and touched it, had they not feared that they might singe their fingers, and were surprised by the chilliness of the air despite their nearness to the sun. Height, brightness, and cold, everything Redwaters had deemed necessary for the tormented spirits to break free from the chains that bound them to their mortal remains, was generously provided by the land. There could be no more suitable place than this to weaken the boundary between the physical and the ethereal.


Even those who had never before spoken to a spirit without the help of a lurid dream or an experienced medium like the kender Nightstalker, realized that they were able to hear the whispers that surrounded the bones they had retrieved from Samira’s rest. For Redwaters, it was much more than that. He was faced with a cacophony of cries, sobs, and painful screams, much louder than the words of his living companions. The plainsman drew a deep breath and focused on his goal. Granting freedom and solace to such a large group of souls, all of them suffering for decades, would be extremely difficult. Thankfully, he was not alone. No matter what he thought of the strangers he had met in the desert by accident -or by divine design-, they were willing to brave the elements and the fierce emotions of the restless dead to lend him a hand.


This surely counted for something.


*********


The high ogres of myth had been able to shape stone simply by the power of their voice, singing it into submission until it received a form they found practically acceptable and aesthetically pleasing. The dwarves of Krynn knew the secrets of the earth as well as those of their mushroom-brewed spirits. With unmatched skill and admirable tenacity, they dug tunnels and formed underground cities greater than anything the humans were able to match above ground. Even glorious Palanthas paled in comparison to the dwarven kingdoms of Thorbardin and Thoradin. As for the gnomes, they had used a veritable army of machines to transform Mount Nevermind into a honeycomb of science and progress. It was a slow process, full of unfortunate accidents, unforeseeable mishaps, and spectacular explosions, but it also served to turn the gnomes into a race of survivors.


The companions lacked the magic of the high ogres, the skill of the dwarves and the machines of the gnomes, but they had the strong arms and backs of youth and the proper equipment, which allowed them within a few hours to reverse the inconceivable destruction the Cataclysm had wrought upon the dragon’s lair. Rocks were removed and boulders were shifted long enough for a passage to be opened in the formerly solid wall of stone. It was with aching limbs and sweaty brows that Aric, Isandril, Tegan, Xihue, and Zendra took a glimpse inside a cave that had been sealed for nearly four centuries.


They were welcomed by the fearsome visage of a dragon.


Hollow eye sockets, yellowed bones, fangs as long as the lower arm of a human, and scales that at one time had been of a bright copper sheen formed the head of the dragon who had been crushed by an avalanche of broken stone when part of the ceiling collapsed. Behind the remains of the wyrm, which was awe-inspiring even in death, could be seen huge piles of coins, glistening like copper fire in Aric’s magical light.


normal image without text wrap
All that remains from a once powerful dragon…

Among the ancient treasure, displayed in a manner that must have made sense to their owner, there was an impressive collection of works of art: statues of wood, stone, or metal, ceremonial clothes, silk tapestries, and carpets with intricate patterns, vases of glass, porcelain, and crystal, paintings of gods, kingpriests and knights, various musical instruments, including some that hadn’t been used since the Cataclysm, and a variety of other objects that any modern king or warlord would have been desperate to possess. Falling stones, rot, rust, mold, and the passage of time But see below!had ruined most of these valuables, a testament of the perishable nature of all matter.


Deeper into the cave there was a collection of ancient ceremonial armors that had once belonged to humans or dwarves, suits of iron and bronze decorated with gold and silver, made not to keep the one wearing them safe, but to stress their splendor and authority. Next to them was the statue of a large insectoid creature resembling a praying mantis, a masterpiece of bright brass, durable steel and red glass, too practical-looking to be a mere ornament, too alien-looking for the companions to have an inkling of its original use.


At the most prominent place inside the underground chamber there were seven pedestals made from stone that appeared to have organically grown out of the rocky ground like mushrooms. These altars prominently bore the symbols of the gods of good: Paladine’s triangle, Mishakal’s joined teardrops, Kiri-Jolith’s horn, Habbakuk’s blue phoenix, Branchala’s harp, Majere’s rose, and Solinari’s perfect circle. Upon them were artifacts that Isandril’s magic readily recognized as possessing, or having at some time possessed, either arcane or divine power - a knight’s shield, a periapt of blue stone, a breastplate that had been ruined by fallen debris, a satchel whose leather had fallen prey to time with several ceramic containers, some of them shattered, a delicate-looking ring, a frayed belt that had been torn in two, and the remains of what might have once been the pages of books.


Beside the altars of the gods was the entrance of a tunnel, partially blocked by stones and leading deeper into the mountain. Traversing it seemed possible, though arduous and dangerous. No one but a dwarf would have been able to accurately determine how much damage it had sustained during the Cataclysm and in the centuries that followed. It was possible that the slightest disturbance could cause it to collapse and the same was true of the main chamber where the dragon had hoarded its possessions. Despite the vast wealth, despite the unimaginable power, the dragon hadn’t been able to escape the shattering of Krynn when the fiery mountain struck Istar.


Would the companions make the same mistake?



Calendar15th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Before Noon

Solinari: 9/36 (Waxing)
Lunitari: 18/28 (High Sanction)
Nuitari: 7/8 (Waning)

Boons/Penalties:
White Robes - | Red Robes +1 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes -


 


 


 
__________________
He/Him - I have taken the Oath of Sangus
Running Dragons of a Broken World: A Dragonlance (Age of Mortals) 5e DnD campaign

Last edited by Elanir; Feb 6th, 2024 at 01:09 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #243  
Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 08:03 PM
RossN's Avatar
RossN RossN is offline
Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 6228
RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN
Posts: 1,082
Zendra Zantir
right-aligned image


Zendra was fully aware that she was entering not a treasure house but a tomb. Her eyes momentarily glanced at the hoard around her before focusing on the skeleton of the Copper Dragon. Still magnificent and noble after all these years in the quiet peace of a unknown grave. She bowed before it and - as gently as she could lay her hand on it's white jaw, Medicine (8), Arcana (14)wondering at it's life and death.

What was your name great one when you soared through ancient skies and spoke with people gone so long they are not even a whisper of a memory. Oh what stories you might have told me had those bones still contained lungs to drawn breath! I hope wherever you are you are at peace... no... perhaps peace is the wrong word since I have learnt enough of Copper dragons that there is too much to your spirits to enjoy peace. Rather, I hope wherever you are there are adventures.

For many long moments Zendra was content to stand there, eyes closed, dreaming of yesterdays. She was not communing with the dragon, she lacked Redwaters gifts, but she felt she owed it to the long dead being to show respect.

There. Zendra opened her eyes and leaned back, then turned and walked back out of the dragon's cave to await the others. She would certainly not condemn her companions for taking treasures - the gods knew they had earned it and she very much doubted the soul of the Copper would object - but Zendra had no interest in taking anything from the throve.

Actually that was a lie. She had plenty of interest. In fact she was almost mad with curiosity and was fighting her instincts to hurry back and investigate the treasure.

However.

The Curse.

Zendra could feel it still, wrapped around her like the bandages some peoples in antique lands had wrapped around their dead kings. The spirit of Khur still dogged her and until she could get rid of that curse nothing would she take from this vile country beyond that she needed to stay alive or that she could make herself. Khur was misery and misfortune no matter if it came in pleasing garb and to grab a fistful of coins or enchanted trinket was practically to invite trouble down the road.

Away from the temptations of the treasure she rested and thought of the sea and the cry of seagulls and home.



 


 


 

Last edited by RossN; Feb 3rd, 2024 at 08:17 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #244  
Old Feb 3rd, 2024, 10:43 PM
JonnyGulliver's Avatar
JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver is offline
You remind me of the Babe
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 12892
JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver
Posts: 8,177
Matters of the Spirit
right-aligned image
.

As the eagle(s) take the party aloft upon their wings above the majestic landscape, Redwaters' mind is taken from his own inner distraction to the surreal beauty of the desert that speeds below, physically causing his heart to beat in yet another new emotion he has yet to classify.

What is the meaning of this? he wonders, as his mind is gripped in fascination anew, given the panoramic splendor.

Still, even as he tries to drink in the scenery and absorb the new feeling, the familiar grip of anxiety begins to overtake him the higher they go, as the spirits of the bones get louder and more excitable, compounding into a new physiologic concoction of complex new reactions, with the delightful added effect of altitude sickness brought on all the more terrible by this medley of unknown feelings. He grows weak in the air, and has to grip down with all feeble strength around the Eagle's neck to prevent himself from falling off.

Gods, he wishes Thunder was here with him right now. She, knowing him, would at least help him diagnose what it is he is feeling, being the more emotionally experienced of the two.

By the time they land, the Shaman released his grip and has to roll off in a near petrified state, breathing raspily and fearfully, now overwhelmed by the voices of the Spirits. Hearing the Dead is a constant for him, the one factor alone that would have sent lesser, more emotional beings into either stated of stunned fear or even frightful death by heart attack, But the combination of Awe of Bueaty, Altitude, and Primal Fear of the tortured spirits still has an affect on his body.

Thankfully, his atypical mind and shamanistic knowledge is able to function and partially will itself to continue in spite of his body mostly locking down.

"Hey Ladies. D-Don't worry about me" he smiles at them reassuringly. Despite trembling like a leaf, his voice is unnaturally calm and certain. "I've got... a medical condition. But I-it's... easily solved!" his heart is beating at a hundred miles per hour as he sees and hears the torutred dead all around him crying and wailing and wanting to be free for the agony just reliving their past horrors over and over again just screaming horror and bloody murder as they die over and over...

"P-Please just help me gather stones for now so was can construct a primitive altar for the ritual," he his sure to ask as non-chalantly and non-alarmingly as possible as he desperately concocts a calming medicine in his pestle despite violently shaking hands. He may not have the emotional intelligence to understand the cause of his afflictions. But he does have the medical knowhow to deal with it's symtoms. (Another healing kit charge used)
_________________________________

An interesting phenomena about fear is that one would think that the shock of white hair one gets from experiencing it is completely a physiological affect. But that is not so. Instead, by proof of pudding, it is completely psychosomatic as given how his own hair remains jet black as one who is neuro-atypical and not truly psychologically experiencing fear, where his grandma, one who was all too feeling, was completely white haired by the time she was 45 given their mutual parallel shamanistic training within the Haunted Wood.

An interesting little tidbit. Food for thought about the power of mind over matter when it comes to attitude. Different people are built differently.

Having medicated himself heavily for the task ahead, the herbal remedies that help calm his physical nerve symptoms were combined with a nice concoction of psychotropics that will help him commune with the Spirit World. Also known as The Dreaming. Or the Nightmare Realm. The Ether. The Underworld. Really. Any other number of names, dependant upon your culture or religion. Right now, he was feeling very, VERY Groovy. But he was now in a race against time before things got Frrr-eak-ay!

"Okay folks. Here is what to expect," he advises as he gets the components of the altar together, and looks at the gathered eagles and women. "I am about to go on a spiritual quest. And that will leave my body in an empty state."

"Best case scenario, nothing happens and I succeed, returning unharmed. Worst cases, I get possessed, either by a lost spirit or a Wendigo. In the former case, it could be a helpful spirit of prophesy, or a spirit that needs to be gently helped to the Beyond. In both cases, clever words will be needed to parley, or at least buy time until I return."

Construction completed, he begins to put the bones and the teddy in the outskirts lining the altar as the focus of the exorcism. He seems lost for a moment as both the voices of the spirits and the drugs seem to slowly take ahold. But he shakes his head, trying to regain focus among the encompassing fog.

"In the latter. An evil spirit will take ahold, perhaps to mislead you through deception, or even attack you. Please, Please. Try your best to not kill me. Eventually, I will come back to my own body and cast the spirit out."

His eyes seem to grow more unfocused, more distant. He finishes the remaining preparations of the ritual before he goes under. He prepares the feather that Aric gave him drawn from Kay, and suddenly he is struck by it's spiritual significance. If it were just a regular bird, well, it would fulfill the condition to give the spirits flight in the sky burial. But if Kay were a fledgling phoenix? By Gods, they could become Reborn...

He stares off in wonder, mind nearly gone. But he re garners focus, placing Talia's candle atop the feather, as a final catalyst of success or failure depending on whether it supernaturally lights or not. The last ritual step is to light a braid of sweetgrass Druidcraftwith his fingertips to smudge around the circular altar in purification before he lays the burning twist to spiral it's smoke toward the sky, almost like a pathway for the spirits to follow.

He draws his drum and sits cross-legged before the altar as his eyes begin to glow with spiritual focus, and begins chanting songs that are automatic as he mentally delves inward-outward as he begins to separate from his body, before jarring himself back for one last warning.

"Oh... also watch out... around you... Unholy Creatures... can sense... such... rituals..."
_________________________________

The Ethereal Plane.

The pathway between the living and the dead, and a borderplane between other realms. Common literature speculates it as a mere grey, shadowy membrane of non-real note of travel which is mostly true since most interdimensional magicks just pass through it momentarily. But RL, if you've ever watched The Conjuring, than you have an idea of just how dark and twisted this horrific Purgatory is as a realm of lost souls.

Everywhere around him is grey mists and the more anguished cries of the very souls he is trying to help free, with only a thin silvery thread connecting from his belly to somewhere below. His thin and fragile lifeline that can lead him back to his body. Here he is mostly Prey, and unsure how much help, if any, his magicks are. But luckily, even here, his is not without allies.

"Mistress," he calls out to the Ether. "Are you here?"





 


 
__________________
RL hit me with a 1-2 Punch. Will be back to regular posting rate soon.

Last edited by JonnyGulliver; Feb 4th, 2024 at 01:39 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #245  
Old Feb 5th, 2024, 06:35 AM
Lazer's Avatar
Lazer Lazer is online now
He/Him
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 26297
Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer
Posts: 4,828
Well, I've come this far, Devari thought as, one-by-one, the others climbed on to the back of Nirmandor and were carried to a nearby peak. What's the worst that could happen? I fall to my death… exactly what I was wishing for just a little while ago. The worst thing is I get my wish. I can do this.

No matter how confident she tried to act, when the eagle finally returned for her and she swung her leg up onto the his back she found her body stiff as a board, all of her muscles tense and unyielding. When Blyne had gone ahead she had appeared just as elegant and serene as ever. How did she do it? Was it just part of her shapeshifter magic, and behind the veil she was as wide-eyed and trembling as Devari? Somehow she doubted it.

She lay with her arms around Nirmandor's neck and gripped a handful of feathers, hoping desperately that he wouldn't object, and without warning the eagle jumped. Her stomach seemed to rise up inside her body, and then weight suddenly returned as Nirmandor opened his great wings. The wind was blasting her face and deafening her ears, and she found that her eyes were screwed tightly shut. She felt powerful muscles working underneath her, stretching one way and then another, and each time the whole world seemed to turn in response.

The flight went on for an eternity. Eventually she worked up the courage to open one eye, and gasped to see Khur laid out below like some glorious tapestry of reds and golds.

"It's beautiful," she said, but the wind whipped the words away as soon as they left her lips. She leaned to the side awkwardly, trying to get closer to Nirmandor's ear. "IT'S BEAUTIF-OWWW!"

The eagle had banked hard, sending the world tumbling to the side so that now 'down' was on her left-hand-side. What form of magic was keeping her seated on the eagle was a mystery, but whatever it was, Devari was grateful for it.

"DON'T DO THAT!" she called, but found herself grinning. Was she losing her mind? Sitting up higher now, she stared at the world below, drinking it all in. "A girl could get used to this."

But up ahead the mountain loomed, getting larger and larger impossibly fast. On a flat shelf near the peak she could see the others moving around, but something was wrong. There wasn't enough room! They would smash into the cliff and then fall!

"HNGG!" was all that Devari could say as Nirmandor pitched back, his wings now catching the air to slow them down. Devari felt herself pressed even more firmly into the luxurious feathers of his back, and then… they were stopped. She looked around, waiting for something else to happen, but Nirmandor simply turned his head, peering at her from the corner of one of his golden eyes. She slid off his back onto hard stone and found that her legs were wobbling below her. She stumbled a few steps towards the others before getting control of herself, adjusting her clothing, and then grinning.

"Eagles. The only way to travel, that's what I always say."

The others had already got started setting up, under the oddly shaky direction of Redwaters. It didn't take Devari long to figure out what was upsetting the shaman, as the closer she came to the bones, the more she heard odd whispering and wailing, and Redwaters could obviously hear it much clearer than anyone else. He assured them that whatever concoction he had brewed would attenuate the effects, but Devari glanced at Blyne, the concern showing in her eyes. Just what had they got themselves into?

Redwaters explained that his spirit would be leaving his body and that she, Talia, and Blyne were here to guard it, and possibly even to fight an evil spirit which might possess it.

"When you asked for volunteers for a ceremony, I thought I'd be, you know, waving incense around or something," she said in a mock-accusatory tone, one hand on her hip and head cocked to the side. "Bardic Inspiration on RedwatersBut, sure, if a 'wendigo' takes over your body and attacks us, I will try my best not to kill you."

As she said those words a shudder ran up her body, apparently from her left hip where Gildedmane's shortsword still hung. She frowned, remembering the feeling from earlier as she had stood at the cliff-edge. Now is not the time, she reminded herself as Redwaters continued with the ritual, culminating in a final warning that 'evil creatures' would be able to sense what was happening and, presumably, would be congregating here any moment.

"Let's stay close," Devari cautioned the others, remembering all too clearly the demon which had worn Blyne's face when they had found these bones. "Do either of you have any tricks to see evil spirits?"

Later
Isandril had been insistent in his use of 'we' when talking about Devari's plan to go back to Pashin and rescue Klaudia, which she was grateful for but she wasn't getting too excited just yet. She knew the others respected the mage but he couldn't talk for everyone, and why would any of them care about some half-ogre that, other than Blyne, they had never met? Still, she nodded gratefully as he cautioned her that they would need an actual workable plan first.

"Of course," she said, as though she would never dream of just rushing in to something without having thought through every possible consequence and permutation first. "I've got some ideas but I'll work on them as we travel to Ak-Khurman, and presumably the Legion will have a map of Pashin. Or maybe Talia could draw one up for us?"

I've got ideas, all right, she thought as the wizard wandered off to look for Aric. Dame Romira has some way to track me, so I'll be the bait, the distraction while someone else frees Klaudia. And if I'm lucky I'll get a clear shot at the Adjudicator before they bring me down.

 
 
__________________
Current status: Still alive! The school holidays combined with a kitchen renovation have kept me from my PC, but I'll get back to my games as soon as I can. Sorry for the absence!

Last edited by Lazer; Feb 6th, 2024 at 01:59 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #246  
Old Feb 6th, 2024, 02:02 AM
FCastor's Avatar
FCastor FCastor is online now
Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 8099
FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor FCastor
Posts: 1,011
Isandril Moonsilver, Wizard of High Sorcery
right-aligned image
"This might not have been possible if not for you," Isandril said softly as he entered the newly opened part of the cavern beside Aric. "You do know this, yes? You did more work on your own to clear the rubble than the rest of us combined. Even Tegan found himself out of breath quicker than you did." He allowed himself a moment to take in the sight that awaited them before continuing. Awe-inspiring though it was, it made the fact that a being as powerful and ageless as a dragon had met its end within its own home no less sad.

"And it is by your own evolving magical skill that the darkness in here is parted," the elf went on, indicating the youth's spell of light. He sighed. "You will find the way to rid Kay of her plight. And even if it seems difficult or even improbable at the moment, we will help make it less so in any way we can. At least I will, though I do believe the others are of like mind."

Having said what he had to say, the white-robed wizard moved a little farther away from the young man as he started to explore the chamber. Of course, it was the altar dedicated to Solinari that drew his attention the most. He could not deny the sorry state of the pages, or rather what remained of them, on it. Common sense dictated that they were beyond saving. Yet... Yet curiosity and temptation were powerful incentives themselves. After all, whatever it was that had been contained within the book or books that once graced the altar must have been worthy of special display even amongst a copper dragon's many treasures. Perhaps, just perhaps, something could still be salvaged.

Much to the mage's dismay however, it unfortunately could not.

No matter how careful he tried to be, no matter how delicately he attempted to examine them, the pages fell apart almost as soon as he touched them. All save for one that contained a single and somewhat rudimentary spell to make the earth move under one's feet and even that one needed to be transcribed to a spellbook lest it too became lost to him. With a heavy sigh Isandril moved away from the paltry remains of long lost knowledge and sought to distract his mind by busying himself with the rest of the dragon's hoard.

The mage had no intention to weigh himself down with pieces of copper, even ones as old as the ones filling this part of the cavern. The one he had found right outside the no longer collapsed wall would serve as a memento well enough. And it was not simply his disappointment at the ruined spellbooks and his inability to gain anything more useful from them that had him thinking like this. The coins were the long-dead dragon's hoard and it felt... distasteful to remove even a part of it from this last resting place of a once magnificent creature. Even so though, as the elven wizard was looking around, taking in the various treasures and pieces of art scattered here and there, something did catch his eye. Something that complelled him to crouch down so he could get a better look.

So closely and masterfully intertwined were the two metal serpents comprising the cuff bracelet that, were it not for their different and opposite colors, it would be almost impossible to tell where one snake ended and the other began as they coiled around the greater part of the wearer's forearm. One was blackened through some metallurgical process Isandril could only guess at, making the actual metal it was made of, be it steel or something else, all but unrecognizable, and the other was of a lustrous silvery-white hue, though whether it was actually silver or not he could not be certain. The former gazed out of two small white pearls, while a pair of like-sized orbs of darkest onyx served as the latter's eyes. And where their heads met just below the wrist, a perfectly spherical red gem, perhaps a fire opal or a garnet or even a ruby, was held between their mouths, not unlike a prize that neither of the two was willing to part with.

Isandril allowed himself a few moments to admire and fully appreciate the bracer's craftsmanship as he picked it up and examined it more closely before finally putting it on. He did spend a few minutes looking around for its match unsuccessfully, though he could picture in his mind the artisan who wrought it fully intending it to be a singular creation. What caught his attention was not just the artistry however, but also the choice of colors. White and black and red. Perhaps it was a coincidence or perhaps its creator felt inspired by the moons, but whatever the reason behind their choice, the result was the same and the combination was one the mage certainly appreciated.

Action Block
 

Stat Block
 
__________________
"We'll have to go out through the kitchen."

I have taken the Oath of Sangus

Last edited by FCastor; Feb 6th, 2024 at 06:35 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #247  
Old Feb 7th, 2024, 03:00 AM
Noquarter19's Avatar
Noquarter19 Noquarter19 is offline
It's clobberin' time
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 18592
Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19 Noquarter19
Posts: 4,432
Aric Armitage
left-aligned image

It took several moments before Aric realized that someone was speaking to him. Somehow, he was able to tear himself away from the object that had held him spellbound for… well actually, he couldn’t rightly say how long he had been looking at it.

”I’m sorry?” he said, looking up with a dull expression that might have been mistaken for him arising from too short a sleep.


And perhaps it was, perhaps he had fallen asleep sitting cross-legged on the ground and not realized until the elven magus awoke him with a word. The young man's efforts had certainly pushed him to the ragged limit of his stamina; aside from some stiff muscles in his back and arms in the morning, as well as a patchwork of blisters on his hands from gripping the shovel so tightly, his work caused no significant physical harm. He had Xihue to thank, of course, for it was the Alan-Atu man’s frequent patience lessons involving heavier and heavier stones that had helped condition his reedy arms until they were nearly as hard as the stones they struggled to hold aloft. This, as well as the natural stamina of youth, had served him in great stead, and the obstructed hallway had been cleared in less than a half a day - though of course this was due to a group effort. Even those who had not turned a single spadeful of dirt had contributed. Aric had been restored by the Abanasinian shaman’s mystical healing unicorn spirit, though the young man had been so engrossed in his digging that he’d not noticed the silent presence of the conjured creature, and he had mistakenly attributed his recouped energy to that of a second wind. Tegan had taken over at that point, working hard to dislodge the heavier chunks that Aric could not manage on his own, and had left the young man alone to catch his breath and embarrass himself talking to the beautiful Devari. After that, once his body had cooled off, he put his vest and armor back on. He was not foolish enough to waste his precious water on cleaning his face and arms, so he had just sort of sidled around absently inside the cavern, filthy of face and vacant of expression, until the echoed scraping clinks of shovel hitting stone began to give him a headache and drove him outside into the sunshine and cool mountain air and the wide, open blue sky that seemed to go on forever from this height. It was there in the bright and cheery afternoon light that he saw the others planning to mount the two eagles.

”Wait, you guys are leaving?” he asked Redwaters, Devari, Blyne, and Talia. It was impossible to miss the note of fearfulness in his tone, and this was extended even to Talia. His relationship with the normally troublesome kender had always been something of a sore spot, but she was also a source of optimism for their merry band, a bright star in the party’s own little dark sky – the Dawnstar. Blyne as well had never seemed to hold Aric in high regard, and in turn he’d never felt that much trust toward the secretive sorceress. But if it was his nature to be impetuous, it was just as much hers to be reticent, and he was beginning to accept this as just another part of their group dynamic, even if he didn't fully understand. With Devari, his conflict had been borne from shock and confusion, but never malice; she’d never shown any real sign of discontent with the youth. Besides which, any discontent which had been shown to him had ultimately been deserved. As for Redwaters, though the man was still mostly a stranger – and an unorthodox one at that, he had thus far shown himself to be kind and honorable, a man who could be counted upon to do the right thing. So it was something of a surprise when the young man approached each of them in turn with outstretched arms and offered up a or a handshake if their characters are unwillinghug.

”Come back safe, okay? I want to hear all about… whatever it is you’re heading off to do,” he said finally to the four of them. It was getting harder and harder to keep saying goodbye; every time they had divided, the reunion had proved to be bittersweet. Kay’s departure, then Pnoah’s… Devari’s disfigurement… What new tragedy would befall his companions upon their return – assuming they ever did? But no. He forced these thoughts down and out of his mind like he were swallowing a jagged shard of glass and offered up as sincere a smile as he could as they each took wing, before stumbling over to a stony little niche out of view of the cavern entrance and had himself a quiet, exhausted cry.


Hours ago, after the eagles had passed judgment on the draconians, Aric had revealed to the relieved avian parents his own small bird and stated that she was largely the reason why recovering the eggs had mattered so much to him. All had seemed well... and then suddenly whatever joy he might have felt turned to ashes in his heart. The eagles had perceived some great illness in the young bird, something which apparently should have been obvious, but which he had missed. Worse still, they had pronounced Aric himself as the source of her malady. The eagle's words, translated through Redwaters, left him feeling gutted. Kay was sick? Was it something he’d been feeding her? Something he hadn’t been feeding her?? But no, that was wishful thinking on his part. It had been made abundantly clear that it was his own flawed character, his brokenness that had caused the blight within her. You and your actions are the cause of this affliction. I fear it will consume the little one before long.

His face gone ashen with shock, Aric had quickly nodded assent at the eagle’s offer to search for the one known as the Dunesmaster, before quickly and quietly excusing himself and retreating into the cool, dark silence of the cave. He found himself in front of the collapsed tunnel that Isandril had pointed out. He had borrowed Zendra’s shovel, and now he began to put it to good use. Yet he hadn't attacked the tunnel out of any sort of desire to find a treasure, or to sate Isandril’s curiosity, or to pass the time or earn the respect of his companions. He had done it because if his hands had not been gripping the shovel and his mind had not been engaged in turning over the next scoop of debris, he might have done something much more drastic. Redwaters’s translation of the eagle's pronouncement pummeled the inside of his brain with the same grinding incessance as the shovel against stone, and though he had earned the praises from several of the companions for his toils over the following few hours, their words rang hollow in his heart. So consumed by self-hatred at hearing that whatever darkness which had corrupted his soul had somehow spread to Kay like a chunk of cancerous tissue disseminated into the bloodstream, unbidden to execute its dark work, he had almost completely dissociated from the world around him. If anyone had spoken to him during the work, he of course responded, but their words remained at the surface level of his consciousness, addressed with the same level of attention as a fly on his arm might have merited. It was only when he had reached the very dregs of his stamina, when he had driven his body nearly to the breaking point that he was able to let go of the hate, his body releasing it with the same grim determination as one might pass a kidney stone during urination. Of the five stages of grief, he had skipped denial (for what about her illness could be denied – after all, who would know a bird better than another bird?) and gone straight to anger, certain that he was the sole source of Kay’s malady. He had burned through the anger like a fuse, then skipped past bargaining (as it was clear that nothing could be done until he could find this Dunesmaster), and had now settled down into a sort of weary numbness that, as Kay’s illness progressed, might well grow into a full-blown depression.

He had fed the hatchling earlier, but now, with his newfound knowledge, he was frightened to touch her for fear of expediating her condition. Maybe it would have been better if both eggs fallen, he thought brokenly. At least then all three of them would be together in Habakkuk’s gentle embrace, instead of her having to suffer under my clumsy care. His face, grey with dust, had twin tracks of moisture at the corners of his eyes where silent tears had leaked. He had kept himself together until his four companions had departed on the eagles’ backs before finding a place to break down, but eventually had shuffled back into the cavern, picking his way slowly through the broken rubble of the trap that Talia had erringly sprung, and eventually wandered numbly through the broken passage which had at last been cleared. He was aware of the dragon skull, and the sight just made him even more despondent. All these riches availed you nothing, for you died alone and broken. But I would have traded places with you if it had been in my power, for at least then you might have gone into the world and done some good. It would be my empty skull sitting here among the riches, and no one would have had to suffer from my ignorance and cruelty. No one else would have died by my cursed hands.

He thought about a great many things as he knelt down and began the full 20 pounds worth, though I think at this point he’s nearly at his encumbrance, might be less than 2 pounds leftscooping his pack full of coins with the same detachedness as if he were performing his morning ablutions. He thought about finding a large chunk of stone from the rubble and smashing his fingers until they were bent and broken, until he could no longer hold a blade or pull a drawstring. He thought about mountains, about how high they were and how quickly things could end with just a small step forward (not knowing that Devari herself had stood at the same precipice with the same thoughts in her mind). Then he thought of Kay, and how she still needed him to act as her logistician. By hook or by crook, he would have to find the Dunesmaster, or the Mikku, or maybe even both, if it came to it. She was in his care, for good or for ill. He could almost feel the eyes of the blue phoenix upon him, and he thought that perhaps this was a test Habakkuk had imparted upon him. If that were true, then he would throw himself at it with the same reckless abandon as waves crashing against a stone cliff – and like a wave, he would not stop, no matter how unyielding the stone might be. His own health and safety were secondary to finding a cure; as long as there was enough of him alive to scrape together and get Kay where she needed to go, it would be worth it. And, of course, the road to her cure could not put his companions in danger. This was his own road to perdition, and he'd not see his friends wounded due to his own failings, even if that road took him away from the group. Even if they never saw one another again.

That was why he had unabashedly accepted the eagle’s offer of seeking out the mysterious Dunesmaster, his concern for the small bird laid bare to the huge bird. It was why he had later sought out Zendra, who seemed to have distanced herself from the dragon’s plunder while still staying within earshot of the rest of the group, her back turned as though the very sight of the hoard was somehow distasteful. He had wiped the residue of his tears away but in the process drawn his fingers through the moisture and the dust, and now his face resembled a tribal tattoo or some sort of pale war paint. His spirit certainly felt like it was at war, and it was time which was the enemy.

”I need to know everything you know about the Dunesmaster and the Mikku people, about where to find them, how to talk to them, whatever you know, I don’t care how small or inconsequential.” He had the weathered journal in his hands and a quill at the ready, but his eyes were locked on the archaeologist’s with the same focused gaze usually reserved for a target downfield. ”Please. It means the world to me.” His throat gave the smallest of hitches then, and he tried to swallow but of course his throat was dry, his throat was the desert itself, and so he simply croaked out one further Please.


And now it was later, and Aric had done all he could do for Kay until they resumed their trek through the mountains and the desert beyond. He had loped back into the treasure cavern and found a quiet spot in between two mountainous heaps of copper coins where he might go unnoticed. They were nearly worthless, he thought idly as his fingers sifted through the coins like water in a stream. A hundred copper to one steel piece, he thought, tossing coins listlessly like he were scattering corn for one of the village chickens Mychael had kept in the village. Hardly even seems worth the effort of carrying. He had filled his pack nonetheless, and he hadn’t known why. The irony of the hoard was not lost on him. The draconians could have had the fortune they needed to reach their promised land, he thought with more than a trace of bitterness. The treasure was sitting here for hundreds of years, and all they would have had to do was dig a little. They could have reached their own kind and spared the eagles all this heartache over their missing eggs. We'd have been spared all the bloodshed and fear of Xihue being slaughtered. Such a senseless waste, he thought disgustedly.

And then, on the heels of that, another thought: if Serahk hadn't stolen the eggs, you'd have never gotten close to the eagles. They'd have never revealed Kay’s illness, and you'd have watched her waste away without knowing why, without knowing who to turn to for help. You-

"Oh, just shut up," he growled quietly to himself. He angrily threw another fistful of coins across the cavern and listened to them plink and scatter in the distant darkness. "Not everything is tied up in some grand scheme of fate. Sometimes sh*tty things just happen, without rhyme or reason. And stop moping here like this is all your fault, because it's not." He had finally accepted reality, had decided (rather quickly, in fact - a sign of his budding emotional maturity) that sitting here feeling sorry for himself was doing nothing for his bird, was in fact doing more harm than good. He had made his choices, had forged a path of life borne from those choices and it was up to him to keep moving forward as best he could. He could not unfire the arrow, but he could bear the little thing toward one who might help her. And if he failed? Well then he would do what he could to make her last days comfortable, would pray to Habakkuk for the safe passage of her soul, and would go forward in life with newfound wisdom for the remainder of his days, wisdom about the real price of revenge. It all started with a dead donkey, he thought with no small amount of incredulity. Maybe Blyne was right about him. Xihue was his mentor for patience; perhaps Blyne could help him become more reserved, could help him discover ways to temper his impulsivity. In the meantime, he had to do something. He couldn't just keep sitting here without purpose.

He spent the next hour or so poking around amongst the ruins of the dead dragon’s treasure. Much of it had once been beautiful but was now destroyed. The armors were magnificent but impractical, the weapons formidable but rust-eaten and compromised. The ornate musical instruments, perhaps once a source of joy for those who were proximate to those playing them, now lay scattered and ruined, their symphonies now those of silence.

Set apart from all the rest were a septet of stone pedestals, each one adorned with the symbol of a specific deity. Atop the cornice of each were a variety of ancient objects. Intrigued, Aric picked his way through the forgotten trove until he stood before the pillar bearing the sigil of the blue phoenix – that of his own deity, Habakkuk. What he saw there was underwhelming at first glance. A crumbling leather satchel had split apart in the centuries since the Cataclysm. Inside were the shattered remains of a collection of porcelain containers. Among this collection, only five containers remained intact. Aric looked closely at each of the survivors, his cool blue eyes trying to make out the faded symbols adorning them. They bore the likenesses of different animals. Well, of course, he thought churlishly, a pillar of stuff honoring the god of beasts probably would have items related to beasts. There was a rat, an eagle, an owl, a snake, and a skunk, and nowhere was there a clue as to their origin or purpose. The surviving containers seemed fine – but as he reached out to pick up the container emblazoned with the likeness of an owl, the neck of the container crumbled in his hands and the remains of the container fell to the ground and shattered, its powdery contents spilling among the dirt and wreckage of the dragon’s opulent tomb.

”Damn it!” Aric cursed and knelt down to see if whatever contents remained could somehow be separated from the rubble and at least partially salvaged. They could not, and he cursed again for his haste and clumsiness. Another failure, and how many does that make just today? the voice of self-reproach in the back of his head piped in. Aric muttered aloud for the voice to shut it and stood again before the pedestal. ”Alright, there’s still four, no pressure, just… you know, go slower.” He was about to grab the skunk container, then stopped himself. ”No, wait this is stupid, even if I pick the damned thing up, it’ll just break and scatter inside my pack and will be just as wasted. I need… hmm, yeah, that might work.” When the group had finished mopping up Pegrin’s operation outside of Pashin, Aric had gone around to search the bodies of the men for valuables. Knowing that time had been against them, he hadn’t worried about sorting through their individual coin purses. He’d just taken them whole. Now he had about a half dozen or so at the bottom of his pack, and it was these that he now placed carefully atop the pillar. He didn’t know what these powders were supposed to be, but if they could help him and his friends, he wasn’t going to pass on taking them. Uttering a quiet prayer to Habakkuk to guide his hands, he opened the drawstring of the first pouch and ever so gently tipped the neck of the vial toward the open pouch.

After the third successful collection, he had a panicked moment where he couldn’t remember which bag corresponded with which vial. The solution was in his pack as well. After assuring himself that he knew which pouches were which, he drew out his quill and ink and began to painstakingly transcribe the images of the corresponding animals onto each coin purse. He even (quite presumptuously) traced the final animal on the fourth bag before having even successfully poured it off, but as it turned out, it wasn’t an issue at all. Now, having stoppered his inkwell and returned quill and ink to his pack, he sat there beside the ancient pillar and stared at the four coin purses, each one adorned with the animal corresponding to its contents: rat, eagle, snake, and skunk.

”Alright,” he said slowly, trying to rack his brain for some sort of clue as to their purpose, ”I’ve got them – now what the hell do I even do with them?” Alas, there were no further clues among the ruined satchel, so after making sure their drawstrings were tightly secured he placed them into his increasingly full backpack.

Aside from the discovery of an even more precarious tunnel jutting off the main treasure chamber, further exploration of the cavern yielded little more than ruins and dust – except for one last treasure. Situated in a copper display stand gone green with age was a glass sphere, its surface covered with dust. The copper display featured three curved dragons whose upraised heads held the grapefruit sized orb. He reached out to grab the sphere, but the oxidized copper stand would no sooner bear the added pressure of his touch than the ceramic owl container had. Fortunately, he had been prepared for this and quickly wrapped his thin fingers like spider legs around the bottom of his glass curiosity. Now safely in his grasp, he began to slowly and carefully wipe away the ancient grime that had settled over it like a shroud. At first, he thought it must be dirtier than it first appeared because of how dark it still looked even after wiping it clean. He then wondered if perhaps it had been scorched by some sort of flame? It was still quite dim in the cave, and no matter how hard he peered, the smoked glass seemed impenetrable. He thought of something then and drew out a pinch of phosphorescent moss so he could cast light upon the orb. The ball began to glow, though the light which was given off outwardly seemed muted somehow. Now more curious than ever, he gripped the ball and held it in front of his face and peered into its cold, glass depths…

And then time just seemed to slip away from him, and it could have been a few minutes, or perhaps even an hour, but suddenly Isandril was there, talking to him, and it was all he could do to drag his eyes away from the crystalline sphere.

”I- I’m sorry, Isandril. I missed the first part of what you said. I was… looking at this.”

The elf repeated what he had said to the boy, and as he stared at the elf, he began to come out of whatever sort of strange trance had taken hold of him, the true warmth of the mage’s words spreading through him like a sip of strong drink. ”That’s- you’re being too…” He cleared his throat and tried again. ”It’s kind of you to say that, I- I didn’t think-“ and then he just ran out of words, and all there was left were tears that sprang forth which he seemed powerless to stop, and he wanted to give the elf a hug but fought it off. He’d already broken down earlier; this just felt like the last of whatever sorrow still remained, though there was joy as well, because he was not alone. He palmed his eyes dry and smiled.

”Thank you, Isandril, that means a great deal to me. I’ll take the compliment, but we all worked together just like we have been for… good lord, how long have we even been in this desert? Never mind, never mind, doesn’t matter. Um, thank you, as well, for your words about Kay.” The smile faded from his face. ”I don’t know what’s wrong with her, but it seems pretty clear that whatever’s affecting her is my own fault- it’d still be my fault either way, probably, because I’m the one who made her into an orphan. But I can’t change the past, all I can do is try to make things better for her moving forward, until she’d mature enough to fend for herself. And I… I didn’t want you all to be concerned about it, or… or for you to have to put yourselves at risk for something that’s my responsibility. Especially since- I mean, grand scheme of things, a bird doesn’t matter as much as helping rescue the elves, or fixing whatever has caused the souls of our kin to be trapped. It feels more like a… like a test from God, you know? Like I’m walking on a very narrow ledge, and every time I do something that would displease him, that ledge shrinks. I guess I’ve just been really tense lately, thinking that… well, that I’m not good. Good at anything, and good for anything or anyone. Like I just keep bumbling from mishap to mishap, but the only thing that I ever seem to do well is kill, and that eventually all that’s left of me is a killer, with nothing on the inside. Just a husk. And then I… well, I was looking around for things, you know, in here, stuff that might help me or us figure out what to do or something. Some of it was curiosity as well, like I found these powders on top of the pillar with Habakkuk’s phoenix, and those are neat and all… but I found this glass orb over there-“ and here he points toward the crumbled remains of the copper stand. ”Well, I don’t know if it’s worth much at all, but… well, I thought it had just been burn or scorched or something like that, which was why I couldn’t see too much of it. Anyway, I wiped off the dust, and it still just looked so dark, so I, you know, I decided to make it glow with light and – well, here, you take a look if you want.” And the young man hands Isandril the orb.

assuming he wanted to stick around to do so, of course,What the elf sees is a perfectly spherical glass orb, approximately six inches in diameter. It is outwardly dark, with the dimness of Aric’s spell having just faded away. The swirling blackness trapped just below the crystal’s outer surface almost resembles charcoal which had been crushed into a fine powder and then frozen in ice - or perhaps its creator had somehow found a way to trap wisps of smoke in the process of crafting the sphere. Whatever the source was, and however its effect was achieved, the result was the same: the interior of the sphere was nearly impenetrable.

”Don’t blink. You’re not going to want to miss this,” Aric says, pulling another pinch of moss and touching it to the crystalline surface. Lux.

A starburst of colors lights up inside the elf’s vision. It is as though someone had found a way to take the entirety of the visual light spectrum itself and cast it within the center of this curiously forgotten ball. Not even the most beautiful rainbow could hold such wondrous colors, and these brilliant points of light were beyond counting; even the most brilliantly starry night sky would seem sparse by comparison. so it’s basically a crystal ball that is also somehow a kaleidoscope. That’s my special treasure item.Turning the ball over in his hands seemed to evoke new patterns, shifting shades which blended together but never seemed to make the same patchwork of light more than once – but that was impossible, of course: it was solid glass, nothing within it could possibly be moving

”I’ll be perfectly honest,” Aric said with traces of both awe and concern as he took the orb back”I actually don’t know how long I spent looking into that thing. Not sure if I was sleeping, or meditating, or… I don’t know. Whatever I was doing, I found it on that old copper stand that looks like three green dragon heads, and it was all dusty, so I wiped it off, but it was still dark – well, you saw it yourself. Anyway, I don’t know if it’s worth all that much, but it’s one of the most beautiful things I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life… and I don’t know, I guess I just felt really calm when I was staring into it, like it comforted me somehow. I don’t know, it’s probably just in my head. I don’t think it’s magical in any way, it’s just…” He struggled for a moment, trying to come up with the right word. ”It’s captivating. Yeah. Oh! I almost forgot,” he said excitedly, his youthful mind suddenly shifting gears. ”I was able to recover some strange powders from over by the phoenix pillar, only spilled one, but I’ve got four more. They’re all different, and they’ve all got animal symbols which I think is some kind of clue to what they do. I was sorta trying to puzzle out what they were based on what I know about the animals, and… well, if I’m right, I think these might be useful someday – I mean, why else would they be up there, you know? But you should see if there’s something over there that you might be able to use. Anyway, I’ve gotta stretch my legs a bit, I must have been sitting there cross legged for awhile and I am so stiff and sore from digging. Ughhh. I’m sorry. I’ve been talking your ear off, even after you were nice enough to stop by and compliment me. Well, I’ll let you go so you can do your own exploring. Hope you find something cool!” He gives Isandril a smile and a thumbs up, then, picking his way carefully past the piles of treasure, he heads over to see Zendra again.

”Hey, Zendra,” he said quietly. When he’d last spoken to her several hours ago, he’d been much too direct – he recognized that now, in hindsight. ”Sorry for, you know…” He shrugged. ”I could have been more respectful instead of just demanding things from you. That wasn’t right of me, and I’m sorry. It’s… well it’s not an excuse, of course, but finding out my bird was sick just put me into a real bad place. Especially since-“ Especially since I found out that I’m the reason she’s sick – but this thought he did not finish. ”Well I was just not in a great place at that moment, and I realize now I should have handled it better. I came over to apologize, and to return your shovel, but also…” And here he looks a bit sheepish, or even reluctant to speak. ”You don’t seem like you want to check out any of the stuff in here. I won’t ask why, because that would be rude, your reasons are your own and I need to recognize people’s boundaries better. I was actually wondering if maybe you could looking to see about getting Zendra’s assistance with a Survival check, as mentioned in the OOC thread. Will hold off rolling for now until I hear back.give me a hand for a minute?” He turns to point out the back of the treasure room where the tunnel continues further on, dark and foreboding. ”I obviously shouldn’t just run off and go exploring, since we know how that worked out for Talia earlier,” he says, conveniently sidestepping how he and Xihue had also split off to go exploring. ”But you’re really good at exploring old places, so I thought, I mean, if you’re okay with it, would you mind going to take a look with me? Seems we have some time to kill since the others have flown off and who knows how long they’ll be? I wonder who Blyne is going to come back as this time? Maybe an ogre – or a draconian!” he says, suddenly snorting with laughter. ”Gods, but we’re a weird bunch. Anyway, what do you say, you up for some exploring? It could be dangerous!” he said in a singsong voice, as though the risk of personal harm was somehow an enticement. ”C’mon, what do you say? Beats standing around waiting and looking at all this treasure you’re trying not to look at. Even Isandril’s doing some scrounging. Hey, did I show you my orb…?”
 
__________________
normal image without text wrap
A watched game never updates...

Posting status: Around.

Last edited by Noquarter19; Feb 9th, 2024 at 01:48 AM. Reason: Fixed a bad autocorrect. Also mixed up who he went exploring with earlier. Edit current HP to reflect Redwaters' healing him
Reply With Quote
  #248  
Old Feb 7th, 2024, 06:11 AM
RossN's Avatar
RossN RossN is offline
Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 6228
RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN
Posts: 1,082
Zendra Zantir
right-aligned image


Zendra had been wondering if this was what Talia felt like every moment of every day. The burning curiosity, the anxiety of being so close to so much of interest... it was near overwhelming. Even as she tried to remain stoic she was squirming. It was at first a relief when Aric came to speak with her and Zendra smiled at him before it became clear he wanted her to go back into the dragon's cave.

Zendra was about to refuse, opened her mouth and got as for as "N-"... and stopped. She couldn't do it. Aric needed this so much. The grief and doubt and self blame where clear on his face. Zendra had noticed it before but she had never wanted to pry at a person's pain. She'd never really known how. But she did know that her friend needed her now.

It wasn't precisely the same as her own doubts and fears Zendra knew that, even if much of Aric's past remained hidden from her (and her's from him.) But even someone as emotionally dense as Zendra could be could see there was a common bond there.

Gently laying a hand on the young man's arm Zendra flashed him a wink and a grin full of mischief. "Danger you say? Well when you put it like that how can I possibly refuse? Lead on!" As the duo walked back towards the cave she added, more seriously but with deep sympathy: "You're my friend Aric. Of course I'll help you. I always will."

Putting a brave face on it for the sake of Aric she marched back into the dragon's full of all the tempta- oh gods look at that! It must be old Ergothian and - no she had to focus!

Luckily this was far from Zendra's first time exploring at unstable cavern and as she looked around (and fought against her own curiosity) Survival = 22patterns began to emerge. "This way I think! Step here, here, not there, here..."



 


 


 
Reply With Quote
  #249  
Old Feb 7th, 2024, 10:29 AM
Begon Ugo's Avatar
Begon Ugo Begon Ugo is online now
Feeding my addiction...
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 48381
Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo Begon Ugo
Posts: 12,636
Talia Dawnstar
left-aligned image
It's always the children, kender and children, children and kender. The two had a natural affinity for each other. They existed on the same wavelength of fearlessness and wonderment, each day a gift to be unwrapped and celebrated.

So for Talia, as she shivered in the thin air on top of a desolate mountain, it was no surprise though no less heartbreaking when she heard the sweet voice of a child calling to her. Redwaters performed his ritual and for once Talia was somber and quiet… but then the voice called for her and she had no choice but to listen.

"Come play a game!" the voice said excitedly and Talia saw a towering willow looming over her. Sitting and swinging on the lower branches was a young girl, blonde hair and beautiful in the innocent way of children. Her legs swayed back and forth easily as she perched on the branch calling for her friends to join her in her adventure towards the top of the tree.

Talia felt a lump grow in her throat and she found it hard to see through her blurring vision.

"First one to the top of Bending Willow wins!" the girl cried out and soon the tree was filled with laughing children as they all scampered to the top, each child more nimble than the next. The children raced to the top of their pretend mountain, their souls set free as they stared out into the distance, worlds away, as far as their eyes could see.

Talia watched the memory of the children play and her heart hurt so much she hoped it would soon burst and end her pain. But then she saw the blonde girl sitting, again on the lowest branches. "Come play with us!" the girl said with a wide inviting smile.

Talia wiped her eyes and stepped towards the majestic tree but even the lowest branches were too high for the kender to grab and she looked up at the girl sadly.

"We will help you," the girl said and soon Talia was being lifted into the Willow's thick branches. Talia climbed, each step higher, a cathartic release until she sat on the highest branches staring off into the somber distance.

"We will always help you," the girl said and Talia wept.


OOC Athletics (No Aoo - fancy footwork and she has alert)
 

Stat Block
 
__________________
Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.
I have taken The Oath of Sangus
Most people are not just comfortable in their ignorance, but hostile to anyone who points it out.

Last edited by Begon Ugo; Feb 7th, 2024 at 10:39 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #250  
Old Feb 7th, 2024, 05:30 PM
Tommyk382's Avatar
Tommyk382 Tommyk382 is offline
The Lord is my shepherd
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 11608
Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382 Tommyk382
Posts: 2,001
Wonderous Treasures and Finds
right-aligned image
There was a thrill as the wall was finally penetrated such that they could venture forth. Tegan had been sitting listening to the idle chatter and praying. He had also been examining a large plume, a boon from Nimrandor. Tegan had reflected that, some day, he would return to his superiors. He would be called to give an account of his actions and trials under oath and be requested to present evidence and witnesses of his right doings. As Tegan sat, listening to the rhythmic thud of crowbar and shovel, he wondered how becoming a knight would change things, if he were to become a knight at all! Was he worthy of such an honor? Would he live up to his father's and his fathers father's legacies? Guiltily he wondered if such a position would rip him away from his new friends. They weren't knights, they had no relation to the Knights of Solamnia, and were not subject to serving it as a greater goal. Tegan thought of Sturm Brightblade, a legendary knight who had been a squire for a long time. He had traveled with a ragtag band at the time, but most would know that group now as the Heroes of the Lance. When the time came for Sturm to uphold his knightly duties, he led a subset of about two-hundred knights, one of whom was Tegan's grandfather, Cedric, at the Battle of the High Clerist's Tower, the last line of defense before Dragon Highlord Kitiara's blue dragonarmies came to Palanthas.

Tegan reflected further upon Sturm, who was recorded as a true hero, and his actions then. He, as commander of the Knights of the Crown, had refused an order from his superior, Derek Crownguard, and refused to charge the dragonarmies. At the time, such was not allowed under the Code nor the Measure and would traditionally result in dire consequences or even excommunication. Instead, Sturm, his knights, and the peasants who served as light infantry, held the Tower. In a truly heroic sacrifice, Sturm had faced Kitiara and her blue dragon in single combat. While he fell by her hand, the battle was ultimately won with the time he bought them.

Tegan thought back to other stories of the Knights. All the ones coming to mind involved a life of servitude, then eventual sacrifice for the greater good. Internally, he wondered if that was the fate of all heroic knights. Their end was bitter, but also sweet, not far off from some of the springs they had found in the desert. Would he find his end at the end of a blade, saving his friends? He had no successor and no wife. Not even a noble lady who had garnered his interest. He was so focused on the recent invasions, the tragedy of the knight’s flight, then his father and current events that he was far from thinking about an heir. Yet if something happened to him, his family line would be effectively stricken from Astinus' record forevermore. For a time he sat, struggling with the overbearing thoughts of the future, of responsibility, and what his end would be.

Eventually Tegan rallied his mind from the anxiety that had seeped past his defenses. Externally, this aligned with when the wall was punctured. Somehow external stimuli made it easier to expel the internal thoughts. Or was he just ignoring their lingering presence in the darker corners of his mind? Or perhaps, it was just the exhaustion of recent days. He cast the weight upon the latter.

Regardless, duty now called and there was no time for anxiety. Tegan had received an excellent break from his mail and donned his armor once again, unsure what would reside on the other side. The stories of the tomb of Kith-Kanan flooded his mind and he wondered if further foes could be lurking within. In that moment, he regretted that half their number had already left. Either way, he, following the light of Aric's arrow, entered the hall of the fallen dragon. There was no immediate danger, and the silence was deafening. Tegan found himself staring into what had once been the eye socket of a dragon. He wondered it's past. A copper dragon was, obviously, a metallic dragon. Metallic dragons had fought with the Knights of Solamnia. His mind was filled with stories of dragon saddles and dragonlances and he wondered if this majestic creature had partaken. If it had been crushed during the Cataclysm, it would have been dead hundreds of years before the War of the Lance, but Tegan had no idea how long dragons lived or how long this one had lived before its death. Could this dragon have been around during the age of Huma, Magius, and Kaz? It seemed unlikely, but it was fun to allow his mind a respite in exploring these fantasies.

As the others passed into other areas of the dark cavern, Tegan lingered. It reached a point where for a few moments, Tegan was in absolute darkness and imagined he could see the dragon as it had once been. Still, there was only so much time before the others returned from the mountain peak, and Tegan wanted to see what else lingered in this cavern. Clearing his exhausted mind, Tegan prayed to his deity. "Kiri-Jolith, by your power, please grant me the ability to see." As he finished his prayer, he opened his eyes to see an ancient copper lantern, oxidized and useless, but now filled with a warm light internally. Lifting the lantern Tegan was able to see the reflection of the light on a sea of copper. As he moved the light, he could see the rippling upon the seas, and it was mesmerizing. Tegan resolved to answer his original query. Could this dragon have been a soldier for the forces of good? Tegan began to walk the dunes of copper and cross the seas, looking for any hint of a dragon saddle or the like, but was fruitless in his search. He saw archaic ceremonial armor and searched the surroundings to see if there could be something as magnificent as a dragonlance made in the same likeness, but to no avail. Tegan also found no signs of Huma, Kaz, or of Magius, which was a little disappointing, but also far-fetched in the first place. Tegan was able to find massive ancient tapestries, but the age and the wear made it difficult to interpret and he was not sure how he would transport something like that or care for it. Best to leave it with its master.

As he climbed one of the dunes of coins, listening to the shimmering sounds of coins flowing down like a copper waterfall, he found a vantage point to review the cavern. His companions had found a series of altars deeper within. He thought of rejoining them. As he made his way down the other side of the dune, however, he felt something solid against his shin guard. He reached down, clearing away dusty coins by the hundreds to find the sunken item. As he found the object, he found it was plain, but small enough to lift, small enough to take with him. This alone piqued his interest, not to mention it held up to his lifting it, preserved in a tomb of copper coins, protecting it from stale air and the passage of time. What Tegan held was an ebony box. It was beautiful if unadorned. Tegan sat to examine the box, curious as he saw no hinges and no latches. The craftsmanship was so fine, he couldn't even find a line where two pieces had joined and for a moment, he was unsure how to open it - or if it could be opened. As he played with the box, he accidentally pressed upon one side, which caused a small lever to protrude. Tegan looked at the lever, sure he had examined that side of the box and seen no indication of anything besides a solid wood face there. He was astounded at the tedious and detailed craftsmanship and how such a thing was hidden. Clearly this was made by a fine craftsman, but Tegan could not tell you if it was made by the hand of elf, dwarf, man, or another. Regardless, his curiosity continued, and Tegan wiggled the small lever. It pulled towards him slightly in a smooth action and the top of the box opened as if pushed by an internal mechanism. Tegan's thoughts drifted to Pnoah and how he would have been able to appreciate just this box to a degree Tegan couldn't, but he continued to investigate. The mechanisms that supported the box must have been hidden in hollow walls as the only things he could see inside were two subtle interior hinges and the box’s contents. The exquisite craftsmanship continued internally, and the box was lined with a fine purple velvet, preserved for centuries inside this box with its perfect seal. Inside were depressions made to hold fine, small figurines of precious material, some light and some dark. Tegan was not sure what the materials were, but they were of fine stone and he could tell they were not precious gems or jewels. Tegan counted the figurines and it dawned on him, as he came to number of thirty and three what this was, the final hint being a beautiful shield, half crafted with the darker stone and half with the lighter in the formation of a beautiful kite shield. On the dark side of the shield was half of the crescent symbol of Takhisis and on the light side was half of her rivals symbol, the triangle of Paladine. This was a perfectly preserved ancient Khas set, made with love and care by a skilled craftsman with a clear intent of good versus evil.

Tegan was a player of Khas, although the set he found was not something to be played. This was an antique. A piece of art. Something to be cared for and considered carefully. Despite Tegan's general clumsiness, he observed this carefully and with reverential awe, refusing to touch the individual pieces for fear of damaging them. He saw the Guardians for each side, the most powerful piece. Normally, a half-moon and a triangle (again, the symbols of Takhisis and Paladine), these were something different entirely. With pain-staking precision, someone had hewn from the stone two figures, mounted on dragons. The dragon of the white team was of a unique material or coated in a unique material, granting it the likeness of silver. Upon the dragon's back was an armored knight, in the still fine, but different lighter stone, and Tegan knew that this must be Huma Dragonbane upon the back of Heart. The other guardian was less fine, but still exquisite, the dragon and rider of one material. This was a massive dark dragon with an exceptionally large humanoid upon it's back, a look of malice upon his face. Tegan was not sure who this was, but stories of Huma's deeds racked his mind. The only thing he could think of that related was of Crynus, whose ogre and human heritage made him a massive and cunning general of Takhisis upon the back of his dragon, Charr.

Tegan reviewed the other pieces without handling them and it was clear that this was some depiction of the story of Huma. All the pieces were custom, but the Champions of the light side also had particular care. One was clearly a wizard, with his hooded robes wielding staff and spell book. This must be Magius, the creator and genesis of even famous Raistlin Majere's powerful staff. Opposite him was clearly Kaz the Minotaur, pronounced horns clearly denoting the powerful minotaur.

This truly was a treasure. Tegan spent many minutes reviewing the set and noting the levels of detail, including the face of Magius under his hood. Underneath the hood there was even a detail of the eyelashes over the eyes. How anyone was able to craft this, with durability to last centuries, astounded Tegan. Finally, Tegan gently closed the box, then pushed the small lever back into the box. As he reviewed the closed box, he struggled to see the lines where he knew the lever existed or where he had seen the box split open. With careful examination he convinced himself that he could see feint lines among the grain where he knew they must be, but the struggle to find them again astounded Tegan. Carefully, slowly, he made space in his pack and gently placed the box within it. This treasure was likely worth hundreds of steel but Tegan was unsure if he would ever be able to part with it. One lone thought lingered - He must protect it from Talia's prying hands. Her lack of delicacy could break the fragile pieces and destroy a true treasure.

His sojourn in treasure hunting satisfied, Tegan picked himself up and joined his companions. Aric was already moving on from his examinations, but Tegan paid little attention as something caught his eye. These were not just random storage locations. These were altars. Altars to the deities of good. Upon them were treasures, ruined or not, as they rest upon them. Tegan was not sure if it was his ally’s interaction or just the divine nature of the altars, but they didn't appear as dusty or as worn as their surroundings or even the contents that rested upon them. Briefly he saw the triangle of Paladine and a shield upon it. His heart was tempted to investigate it as the shield was in superb condition, potentially lending itself to a magical quality, but Tegan resisted. His heart longed for Kiri-Jolith's pleasure. A magical boon of Paladine would not taste as sweet as obedience to his own deity, even if he could see that the item upon Kiri-Jolith's altar appeared destroyed. Without full focus on the item, Tegan knelt before the altar, praying before choosing to interact. Asking Kiri-Jolith what he would have him do. As Tegan raised his eyes to the altar, its treasure meeting his eye level, he could see that it was once potentially a breastplate. It was hard to tell. Was it that of a Solamnic Knight? Tegan had no idea. It was rusted, damaged, and unrecognizable. Many would consider it trash and Tegan doubted the magical properties of such an item. Still, with reverential awe, Tegan reached forth an ungloved hand to feel the item. It was as he touched it that Tegan could sense it. Suddenly a rush of emotion filled his chest, and he knew Kiri-Jolith was there, in some way, in some fashion. There was a presence and a weightiness near him that made him suddenly conscious of his own breathing. A slight constricting of his chest muscles and lungs that made his heart quicken. Every hair on his body was raised and Tegan knew that this was not the end of the tale for this armor.

If someone asked him, later in his life, to recount how he knew this, he would be unable to explain it. Yet he knew a few things immediately. Kiri-Jolith desired restoration of this armor. Yet, just fixing the armor itself was not the goal, but to restore and add unto it. Tegan's eyes had lost focus and as he blinked away sudden tears with overwhelming emotion his focus came back, but not onto the armor he touched. He could see, as if divinely planned in its placement in the foreground against a background of copper treasures, a number of intact dragon scales. Tegan realized the request, the need, and the goal of this. Kiri-Jolith wanted this armor renewed, but to also bring honor to the courageous dragon who had sought to protect it and had placed it in a place of reverence. Tegan carefully lifted the damaged metal. He retrieved one of the blankets that he still had from the bandit’s camp and used one of his flasks of oil to lightly coat the inside of the blanket. It seemed silly considering he was placing a rusty piece of destroyed metal within, but he did it painstakingly and with care. Cautiously he laid the blanket out and placed the ancient armor upon it, then carefully wrapped it around the armor, using much of the area of the blanket, but not all.

Following this, Tegan went to the dragon scales, coppery and with strength. As he reviewed the scales, he determined this was not enough, so he went about shining his lantern and finding many scales. Many were damaged and he sadly had to discard them, but with time his search was fruitful, and he found enough scales to supplement the initial cache, about twenty pounds worth. He used the leftover uncommitted folds of the blanket to house these and folded it all into one succinct package. This he also placed in his pack, although it was getting to the brim. Seeing Aric nearby taking some copper coins, Tegan thought it wise to do the same. While he loathed disturbing a hoard like this, there would be expenses for the group, and for now, he thought it wise to take some. He took enough to be roughly ten steel and closed his now substantially heavier pack.

Tegan eventually found himself back in the entrance, waiting for his companions and reviewing the things he had found. He was grateful for the opportunity and shared his revelations with Aric, Isandril, Xihue, and Zendra while they waited for the others. Knowing Zendra was one who understood such treasures and had shown skill in crafting Tegan showed her specifically in greater detail what he had found, seeking historic confirmation as well as understanding of who could repair the armor - or if she herself was capable of such action.


 
__________________
1 Tim 1:12-17
There is no shame in defeat so long as the spirit is unconquered. - Praetor Fenix
A sword wields no strength unless the hands that holds it has courage.
Reply With Quote
  #251  
Old Feb 8th, 2024, 01:13 AM
Black Jim's Avatar
Black Jim Black Jim is offline
Truculent Troubadour
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 17th, 2024
RPXP: 32761
Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim Black Jim
Posts: 11,244
Xihue of the Alan-Atu
right-aligned image
Xihue
Blyne's hand settled gently upon Xihue's arm as she accepted it with almost formal grace. The shepherd noticed that she was shorter than him by a head and that her thin frame was perfectly proportioned. She stepped sure-footedly with a sinuous, feline confidence that held an air of regality that he hadn't noticed before. This was not the same woman he had met at the Standing Stones. She was still aloof and somewhat sanctimonious but she had warmed in a subtle way that allowed her to better integrate with the diversity of her present company. Although Xihue still did not fully trust her, he wanted her to know that he no longer looked upon her as if she were a complete stranger and that he welcomed the opportunity for friendship.

The changeling in Khurish form, as she had at their first meeting, left his company almost immediately to pursue her interest in support of Redwater's intentions. She joined Devari (who's state of mind was questionable as the centaur's deadline approached), Redwaters (a true stranger just recently met) and Talia. Once again, they chose to separate themselves from the other companions. It would be more difficult to encourage unity if these separations were to continue. Last time Devari had chosen to leave the group, she had almost been hung and Blyne's words or actions had caused them all to become fugitives from Nerakan "Justice". Xihue hoped for a better fate as he watched them leave upon eagle's wings.

The monk returned to the cave to witness even stranger events. Isandril had set aside his robe and was actively engaged in physical labor! Xihue's esteem for the elven arcanist expanded. The Silvanesti mage was not purely reliant upon the powers of his magic. He had proven that with a sword as well. Of them all, Isandril had shown himself to be wise, constant, reliable, diversly capable and intellectually grounded. The white mage appropriately complimented Aric's effort and skill with an honest compliment that was well deserved. Xihue had never liked the elves of the Tamire. They were barbaric and vicious and nothing like the highly civilized elves of Ansolon.

"Isandril speaks truly, Aric. I, too, am inspired by you. Continue to grow as you have and your song will become as mighty as those of heroes."

Aric's pet had drawn a lot of interest but Xihue had missed most of the fuss and he thought to remind himself to discuss the baby bird with the young man during their next lesson. The archer had also proven to be highly skilled with a shovel as the passageway into the mountain was soon revealed. Those that remained, Isandril, Aric, Tegan, Zendra and himself carefully navigated their way into a new chamber.

The air wasn't stale here, although the dust of centuries carpeted the chamber and its contents. Some cataclysmic event had befallen the Dragon Lord that had once resided here. Half the former ceiling still crushed the remains of a copper dragon who's open maw still roared in gaping agony, its skeletal skull and remnant neck lay swathed in debris and long-shed copper scales while the rest of it's great form lay buried beneath tons of rock. Xihue's memory raced back to the vision he'd had of the ancient skulls upon pedestals within some far-away cavern. They had demanded his attention to their need.

This was not one of those, was it?

Xihue strode forward, next to Zendra and bowed deeply beside her in respect for the fallen dragon. They both held reverence for the deceased mighty wurm. "Peace be with you, Great One. Magnificent! Zendra, where are you going?" The archeologist had turned on her heals and was leaving the chamber. "Peace be with you, Zendra. Are you alright?", he said but the lovely woman was in her own mind and took no more notice of Xihue than had Blyne. For a moment, he considered following her. It was never good to be alone in strange, dark, places. Those that did were eaten by Wretched Ones. Torn between choices, Xihue realized that he may never again see a dragon's lair without the danger of facing a living dragon.

The shepherd turned back to the graveyard where Aric, Tegan and Isandril had moved a little further into the chamber. Glistening hills of greenish brown stone rose around them but they were not hills. They were piles of copper coins so vast as to defy those who might try to count them. Centuries coated them but millions of faces glimmered from the singular copper eyes of dead nobles struck upon the coins. It wasn't steel but this trove was enough to tempt honest men into the dangerous deeds of greed.

They advanced through a gallery of art objects, paintings, armor, weapons and into the presence of what seemed to be an alter room. Many of the gods represented here were familiar to Xihue but some of them did not resonate with the simple monk. The linked teardrops of Mislaxa, patron of unarmed combat and peace, seemed to call to him and Xihue bowed deeply in reverence to the powerful being's hallowed pedestal. Upon that raised place of veneration had been placed a stunningly beautiful necklace, a periapt of the like Xihue had never seen before. The periapt was beautiful in its simplicity. A perfect orb of lapis lazuli’s striking blue with blots of gold was attached to two tiny human-like hands made from some shiny metal, which was similar to but not actually silver. The hands were cupped and seem to support and protect the small orb, which Xihue realized had been fashioned to resemble Krynn, blue standing for the ocean and gold for the land. He noticed that Taladas and Ansalon are both depicted upon it, though the shapes did not correspond to those of any current maps he had seen. Xihue guessed that the continents were depicted here as they were before the Cataclysmic collapse of this cavern. There were other landmasses that Xihue didn't recognize at all. The periapt was attached to a silvery cord made from the same metal as the hands and fashioned like the interlocking scales of a fish or dragon. The chain seemed incredibly delicate, but was, in fact, quite strong.

Such beautiful trinkets were popular with women. Maybe this bauble is intended to change my fortunes with the women of Ansalon. The shepherd had no impression of magic or purpose but he felt confident that he was intended to possess this favor of Mislaxa's honor. He donned the item and it hung perfectly next to the tiger's tooth pendent that had adorned his neck for the past five years. Tegan, Aric and Isandril had eached approached one of the other mushroom-shaped dais and left only the Shield, the ring and the frayed belt upon their respective alters. Xihue was tempted to examine these items as well but a whisper of the Master's voice admonished him into humility and avoidance of greed.

There were passages that went deeper but it seemed unwise to continue in that direction as well. If the ceiling here could kill a dragon, Xihue imagined that another rock fall would easily allow himself and his companions to attempt a new turn on the wheel. Aric had other ideas and went to retrieve Zendra, hoping to make the effort to explore more thoroughly despite the overt dangers.

"This treasure could do much to change the fortunes of the elves, could it not Isandril? It would be best to note its location, take a sampling of these riches, and harvest this resource another day.

In my youth, I witnessed a large contingent of violent men, who believed that our mountains contained veins of gold, attempt to invade the Alan-Atu homeland for the sake of treasure. Word of this find could prompt similar misadventures, especially from the most unscrupulous and greed-driven segments of society. This is a secret we had best keep between us as insurance against future need. Not for the greed of those who might concern themselves solely with wealth, but rather, those who might seek to preserve history, art and the lost culture that preceded us all.

Tegan, Aric, what are your thoughts?"


Xihue had never seen such a collection of valuables. As he returned from the god's platforms, his steps were more reverent and the periapt hung warmly upon his chest. Despite the dust, everything seemed so amazingly interesting. He paused before the mantis insectoid statue. Was this a guardian? armor? the representation of an extinct race of creatures? Without touching the statue, Xihue marveled at the detail, trying to discern how it had been created. Could it be alive? Dormant? The practical monk stayed guarded against the possibility as he appreciated the extensive ceremonial armory's remnants.

Much of the artwork was rotted, damaged by the cave-in, or faded with the age of centuries. This saddened Xihue in a way that only an artist could appreciate. Among the Alan Atu, roles were traditional and well defined. Mothers raised the next generation, maintained the home and hearth. Young men and women protected and defended the tribe but the young women only did so until they became mothers. Everyone tended to the herds in one way or another. The elders often became bards who not only preserved the life-song of Xihue's people but they crafted fine textiles, statuary, tools, implements and clothing. There was never a time when a member of the community was not useful in some way. In anticipation of the limitations of age, those who were too old to easily traverse the mountains would hone their skills as artists and pass their techniques to younger people who expressed interest in them. The Ascended Master had done as much for Xihue, showing him the ways of Peace, unarmed combat, patience, wisdom and love. Proof of such skill adorned Xihue in the woven tribute of his weighted sash, in the fine treatment of his tiger-skin bedroll, the tiger-tooth pendent, and the goat scrotum coin-purse he carried. Even the calligraphy brushes his mother had given him bore ornate carvings of Alan-Atu life. In a way, the kata that Xihue performed each day were a form of dance, physical performance art. Each had its purpose. Each was practical, functional, an extension of the individual named Xihue.

It was this innate artistic sense that piqued the shepherd's awareness as he passed the haphazard arrangement of trinkets, art and arms. Near the edge of the path that meandered past these ancient wonders was a coiled spool of pure copper. It had gone green around the exposed top half of the purposefully wrapped wire and resembled a 10 inch bale of hay, gathered and bound in the same style that the Alan-Atu used. This can't be. What is this doing here?, thought Xihue. As he bent over to pick the "hay bail" up, Xihue's jaw dropped to his chest, his eyes welled with sudden tears and the monk sank slowly to his knees. There, next to the bail were six small figurines of copper. Each finely crafted beast was in the form of goats and sheep that were identical to the ones he had played with as a child. Xihue was emotionally teleported back to thoughts of home. He could see the high pastures, hear the bleats and baa's of the flocks. He could smell the wildflowers of home, a lost home so many many leagues from here. Until this moment, Xihue had not felt homesick. He had remembered many significant moments from his past. He had analytically compared differences between the cultures of this alien continent of Ansalon and the distant mountains of home. Now, confronted by these copper toys, obviously crafted by old Alan-Atu hands, it was as if his people were reaching across the centuries to greet him, to make him know that his name still belonged in the Lifesong. There was no way of knowing how or why something so insignificant would be here, in this grand place of riches, but in that moment, the most common of all things became suddenly the most precious treasure.

Self-awareness returned and Xihue quickly gathered the three sheep, three goats and their copper wire bail of "hay" while wiping salty rivulets from his dusty cheeks. "You are not a child, Xihue. Quit behaving as one. Collect yourself and get back to doing something useful! Peace be with you." The Ascended Master's astral voice echoed a soft reprimand from the back of the monk's nostalgic mind.

Tegan had begun collecting dragon scales and Xihue realized the value of such a task. "Peace be with you, Tegan. That is a wise and worthy idea. Let me gather these with you and thank you for the light. I would be quite swallowed by the darkness in here were it not for the illumination you carry. A torch would be so cumbersome and an open flame would reflect ghoulishly upon the dragon's smile. I wish that we could take a tooth as well. Such things are exceedingly rare and would memorialize this adventure well to those who one day will doubt that they ever took place. Would it not?"



 
__________________
Hear the voices of creation and sing with them of what is in your soul so that every note becomes real.

Become a Community Supporter.

Last edited by Black Jim; Feb 8th, 2024 at 01:13 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #252  
Old Feb 8th, 2024, 03:37 PM
RossN's Avatar
RossN RossN is offline
Wyrm
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 6228
RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN RossN
Posts: 1,082
Zendra Zantir
right-aligned image


Zendra took a moment from helping Aric explore to catch a breath. She was not feeling her best surrounded by so many artefacts just crying out for her to take them, examine them, keep them. But how could she dare do something like that with the Khurian miasma gnawing at her shadow. Averting her eyes from a intriguing statute she turned and realised Tegan had approached her, a breastplate, a parcel of copper scales and a hopeful expression on his face.

The sigh was internalised rather than overt but she felt it all the same. Trying not to let her reflexive irritation show - after all Tegan didn't know she was cursed - Zendra very delicately took the breastplate from the Solamanic.

It was almost a lie to still call it armour, so rusted and breeched it was but Zendra was not a historian and archaeologist for nothing. "It dates from the time of Huma," she said, a note of awe creeping unbidden into her voice. "I... I honestly don't know if I can repair it or use these scales. I have read about dragonscale armour and even saw an example once but I never thought I'd be working on it myself."

Zendra paused a moment then rummaged through her pack, searching for something. Finally she pulled whatever it was out and held it in her palm. It was a tiny artificial bird, apparently made of clockwork and glass. Not just any bird either but a woodpecker.

left-aligned image
Barselian's Woodpecker


"Enchanting isn't it?" Zendra said, smiling fondly at the tiny construct. "Created by the Red Robe Barsellian in the Age of Dreams to aid in his enchantments. I found it in sixty seven different pieces in a crypt in the Khalist Mountains. It took me a year to put it back together. Still if Mending cantrip!I want something fixed it is a pearl beyond measure."

She looked at Tegan ruefully. "Honestly even with my little pet here it will take me days to recraft that armour, assuming I can manage it at all. I promise I will try though."

Zendra carefully returned the woodpecker to the safety of her pack and was about to re-join Aric when Xihue drew her aside and asked her why she had left the treasure cave. Zendra tugged at her lip, wondering how to put it. As much sense as the curse made to her and as convinced as she was it was another thing to bring it up to the others.

"I do think the treasures here would bring me any fortune," she finally admitted. "Khur holds no good luck for me." anxious to leave this conversation she added "Excuse me I agreed to help Aric explore."


She slipped away to join the young archer.


 


 


 
Reply With Quote
  #253  
Old Feb 9th, 2024, 10:10 AM
Lazer's Avatar
Lazer Lazer is online now
He/Him
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 26297
Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer
Posts: 4,828
As Redwaters continued his chanting the wind seemed to pick-up, whipping dust and grit around and causing Devari to squint. With it the voices grew in intensity, one coming to prominence only a moment later to be replaced by another. It was enough to make her head spin. One voice in particular seemed to keep coming back around, a man, who seemed desperate to communicate something with her. She strained, trying to tune out the other voices, piecing together single words or small phrases.

'Oh no you don't, there is no escape!' she heard, the words in Khurish but somehow intelligible.

'I shall call you 'Hosni', and we will have great adventures together.'

And, more clearly than the rest, 'Better to die with honour than this!'

Then, suddenly, she was falling. Before she could even start to scream the wind had whipped the air from her chest, and…



He was on a horse, the strong arms of his mother wrapped around him. The tribe were on the move again, mostly on foot as the horses were loaded up with everything which the tribe possessed. This would probably be the last time that the boy had the privilege of riding with his mother as he could feel her growing stomach pressing against his back, and every so often his new brother or sister kicked him, eliciting a scream of delight.

"Ma! He did it again!"

"She must want you to walk with your cousins. You're in her spot."

"Not yet it isn't! Not unless you birth her before we get to the grazelands."

"That will not happen," his mother assured him, "you have some time yet."



The snake hissed angrily and reared back, ready to strike. The boy watched it carefully, approaching low and slow as he had seen others do it. The venom of this young serpent would, he knew, cause intense pain, but it would be survivable… the perfect opponent for him to practice against.

He held the stick in front of him, like a barrier between himself and the snake. He knew that its instinct would be to bite the closest part of its target and so as long as he kept its attention on the stick it wouldn't strike his own body.

"Come on, fork-tongue, do your worst." His voice was calm and quiet, belying the pounding of his heart. He didn't want the other children to hear because he knew that they would come as a mob, surrounding and beating the snake to death. He wanted the glory of this one all to himself.

The snake hissed again and backed up, obviously reluctant to engage.

"Oh no you don't, there is no escape!"

Changing tactics he extended the stick over the snakes head, watching closely as it followed the movement. It feinted, trying to scare him away, but that was just the opening that he needed. With a deft twist of his wrist he swung the stick down and hooked it under the sinuous body, then flicked it up into the air. The snake twisted in response and ended up coiled around the end of the stick, hissing frantically. With quick movements he managed to keep it balanced as it tried to escape, sometimes flicking it back up into the air to catch it again.

"Aaayyyeeee!" he shouted, running with his prize in front of him. "I have saved the tribe from a mighty foe!"

The other children surrounded him, chattering excitedly but keeping a prudent distance in case the serpent got free.

"Ehsan, you are a fool!"

The voice of Fatik, who was only one season from becoming an adult, rose above the hubbub and quieted everyone.

"I would only be a fool if I let it bite me," he retorted, but suddenly he felt like he wanted to put the stick down and let the others finish the beast off. No! He would show them all that he was a warrior! "Back up, everyone, back up!"

He held the stick out at arm's length and slowly brought the tip around, ever closer to his face, his eyes wide as he watched the snake writhe. Now that it wasn't being bounced around it had gone still, and as it got closer to him it locked eyes with the boy.

"You will not harm my people," he told it solemnly, now only inches from his nose. "Now go!"

And he launched it high into the air, causing the children to scatter where it would have landed, but as it fell he was ready and swung the stick as hard as his growing muscles would allow.

THWACK!

It fell only a few feet away, writhed in on itself once, and was still.

"EHSAN!!!" The cheer went up spontaneously, the children, other than Fatik surrounding him, reaching out to touch the hero. He held the stick high above his head and roared like a bear.



He stood in front of the foal, still not believing that it would be his own stallion. Although it was still too young to bear a rider, he had never seen anything so magnificent in his life.

"I shall call you Hosni," he told it reverentially. "And we will have great adventures together."

The horse snorted rudely and trotted in a circle around him before nuzzling in to its mother.

"I know," he said smiling, "it is hard to believe now, but in a few years we will both be adults, and then we can do whatever we want! We will go raiding the other tribes and bring back riches for the Mikku! We will slay foul beasts! Our names will be remembered in song!"

He moved closer, rubbing the muzzles of both animals.

"You will make your mother proud," he promised.



The great army had been slowly forming over the past week, riders arriving in pairs or groups of three. All seven tribes were here, ready to ride under the banner of the Khan for the first time in living memory. Ehsan arrived with his best friend, whom he had grown up with, and the two marvelled at the sheer number of warriors assembled in the valley.

"How can the Khan feed so many?" Fatik wondered, making Ehsan grin.

"We are here to bring glory to our tribe, and Fatik is worrying about his belly!"

Growling good-naturedly, Fatik whacked Ehsan with the haft of his long spear. "When you command a raiding party, you will understand. Even feeding three-score mouths for weeks on end can be difficult. This…" he waved at the tents all around them. "This is a wonder."

"Then how do our enemy do it? These Nerakans? They have just as many warriors and they have travelled much farther than we have."

Fatik was silent, obviously having no answer. The Nerakans were moving impossibly swiftly, having already overrun the northenmost reaches of Khur. It had been a struggle to assemble the tribes here in time to face them as they swept south, even with the advantage of the finest horses on Krynn for the defenders.

"If we knew that," Fatik said eventually, "we wouldn't need to face them like this. We could strike their supply lines and let the desert take care of them."

"Pah! Nobody sings songs about great heroes who sack caravans!"

"No, they don't." Fatik was somber. "Because songs are sung about the most desperate of times. The wise would prefer to live a full and happy life and be forgotten."

"Well my friend," Ehsan said with a grin, "nobody has ever accused me of being wise!"



The horse was stubborn and unruly, and seemed to be able to sense when his mind was wandering. Too many times had he been only moments from allowing it to bolt off the trail, and how would that look? The illustrious scout can't even control his mount! For the hundredth time that day alone, Ehsan wished that he still had Hosni. The horse had been speared from under him in the Battle of Ak-Tubal and had earned an honourable death, leaving his rider to linger on like a ghost. It was not only his horse which he had left behind that day, his left eye was now just an ugly mottling of scar tissue and a chunk of his right leg had to be removed after a wound turned septic. If Fatik hadn't carried him away he would have died there, and Ehsan was not sure that he would ever be able to forgive his friend for that.

"Better to die with honour than this," he spat, the words spilling unbidden from his lips. It had become a habit, a reflex, happening so frequently that he wasn't sure how he managed to refrain from uttering them around other people. One day, he was sure, he would say it in front of the children and everyone would call him a coward. Like Fatik had.

They had been crossing the burning lands for the past week. There was a rumour that Ak-Khurman was still resisting the Nerakan occupation, and that they were taking in refugees, so they were heading north-east and trying to avoid enemy patrols. Ehsan's job was to scout ahead, to make sure the path was clear so that the others could move unimpeded, and so he had been given one of the only horses that they had left.

"The one-eyed scout and his nameless steed," he said bitterly. "Shall that be our song? We shall be remembered for as long as the Mikku have breath in their lungs. So maybe another year, at this rate."

Ehsan, return! The foreign voice spoke clearly in his mind causing him to crouch in his saddle and look around warily, but of course the speaker was far behind him. Loren, the mage who, along with his wife, was travelling with the group for reasons undisclosed.

"What is it this time?" he said aloud, not trusting the magic to convey his thoughts correctly.

We are under attack! Daemon Warriors!

Ehsan cursed and yanked at the bridle, turning the horse by force rather than by gentle guidance. The horse responded by erupting into a gallop, which is what he had both wanted and expected. Unruly the beast may well be, but it was a horse of Khur all the same and it could move like the wind. Leaning low and holding his spear out to the side, they covered the distance rapidly, but as the sounds of battle reached him the horse was tiring and its flanks were foaming.

"Not much further," he urged it, "you will earn your oats today!"

The two mages had taken the warriors and were engaged in a pitched battle with the daemon warriors, but Ehsan could now see that the elders and children were fleeing from an even greater foe! A fire dragon! Without thought he urged the horse in that direction, determined to distract the accursed creature so that the others could escape, but the horse had other ideas. Before he could get within striking distance it reared, and pain lanced up his leg as he squeezed his knees to try to stay on its back. There was a loud WHOOSH and an intense light, and suddenly the horse fell. Ehsan had only a moment to react, to get his leg clear so that it wasn't crushed under the beast. He fell painfully on his hip but there was no time to worry about that. He clambered back to his feet to see that the head and underside of the horse had been charred black. If she hadn't reared at just that moment, Ehsan would be dead.

"The gods have not forsaken us yet!" he yelled, and charged the fire dragon, determined to stab it in an eye to make it think twice about attacking. The creature saw him coming and lifted its head out of his reach, and then swatted him with the back of its talons. He landed in a heap, and some of the others tried to help him up.

"No!" he shouted. "You have to run! Scatter, get awa…"

The fiery breath rolled over them and he could do no more.



"You did!" she shouted back even though she doubted the spirit could hear. "In the end you did die with honour, Ehsan of the Mikku! And I will sing your song to all who will listen!"

 
 
__________________
Current status: Still alive! The school holidays combined with a kitchen renovation have kept me from my PC, but I'll get back to my games as soon as I can. Sorry for the absence!

Last edited by Lazer; Feb 11th, 2024 at 02:50 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #254  
Old Feb 9th, 2024, 11:03 AM
JonnyGulliver's Avatar
JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver is offline
You remind me of the Babe
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 12892
JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver JonnyGulliver
Posts: 8,177
Matiive's Woe
(Echoes of the Past)

The sweat pours heavily from the young man's dark brow as his sandals scrape frantically against the cobblestones as he gasps in fear, pushing against marketplace patrons as the guards scream out to stop him as they give chase, the roasted chicken he unlegally poffered burning his side with it's grease as it seeps through his side scarf. His stomach growls in hunger as he stares out wildly ahead, scanning the crowd ahead for an escape route.

He is young, just barely a man trying to make his way in the world, orphaned by tragedy and trying his best to survive. His family left him and his sibling with no resources, and he was cast out into the streets by a landlord that had no heart. The work he could get were either exploitative and less than slave wages, turning to crimes done for small gangs for petty coin, though now half the other gangs now marked for death by assosiation. And then there was the perverts who would try to coax him with snakelike smiles and ready coin in exchange for his dignity; tempting offers in his desperation, but he still had strength of mind to turn them down for what little pride he still had.

So far he has lived two years as a petty thief with no luck trying to forge a future, living only on what he could get his hands on; the struggle daily, not knowing where or when he would eat and sleep. It has made him a pariah to the Law just as much as it has made him a nimble criminal.

Ahead of him the crowd mostly parts, but a few brave, bigger civilians rush toward him to help the guard as "good citizens". Men who had lives and families and perhaps decent coin in their purses who wouldn't even glance at him to spare a few coppers when he tried his hand at begging. All they saw was a worthless urchin and the chance at getting a handshake and a pat on their back from the city officials. A story to tell others for their heroism in his capture.

His quick mind and agile feet launches him higher than one would expect for a teen so emaciated and small, right onto the backs of one of the other patrons that dove toward them and collapsed hard on the stones. This provided him the height he needed to flip onto the shoulders of the next Hero, a broad and burly artisan of sorts, his moustache twitching in surprise to have an entire human being on top of him.

But before he can think to grab the thief's ankles, the force of Matiive launching from him is enough to make him topple onto the other fallen patron.

The thief now climbs a weatherworn tapestry that adorns the side of one of the winehouses. As he clambers up the stucco walls he can hear the heavy metal footsteps of the guards catching up to him, shouting curses and directions among each other to cover the perimeter. Others begin launching spears, badly.

It is a terrible ascent, fraught with deadly consequences for either losing his grip, lingering too long, or being in the wrong place. But this was yet one of those times where maita seemed to show a little mercy, though one could easily argue too little too late. There is a landing just out of reach as he stares at it desperately for a solution, until a spear embeds itself into the wall with an ominous *crunch*, opening his path to freedom if he has the faith to take the risk. Or if he just has nothing left to lose.

With all his strength he launches himself from the drapery and grasps the spear, which nearly buckles under his weight and then finally comes lose from the wall in his hands as it bounces him upward briefly, swinging him dramatically to the side. He can taste the bile as his heart leaps up into his throat, and his hand reaches out to grasp at the adjacent patio, even painfully losing a fingernail as he desperately tries to claim purchase. He dangles by his fingertips, still holding the spear in a death-vice.

"Kensin be praised", he mutters through gasps, his heart ready to explode. It's more an expression than a prayer. The Gods don't seem to give a damn about him.

But it's too early for celebration, as another spear grazes his leg.

"Aaugh!" he winces in pain and nearly lets go of the ledge. He has to physically will himself to let go of the spear he is holding so he can begin his climb up. But even as he clambers his way over the edge, he feels the bite of yet another landing deep in his side. Pure adrenaline and fear allow him make the final leap from sight, ignoring the damage due to instant shock.

Temporarily free, his first instinct is to reach to his side to see if he has at least made off with his loot. But his heart sinks when he reaches in to find the bulk of it gone, only tattered bits of flesh and stray bones left in it's wake. He has failed. He is still so hungry. And he is finding it harder and harder to breathe for some reason.

He slowly walks like a zombie toward the sun setting on the Khurish desert, and finds himself strangely overtaken by the natural beauty of the sandy desert and the rocky outcroppings, like it was the first time he has ever witnessed the spectacle. He knows he should be running, since the chase is still happening. But something in him knows it is pointless. That this is the end.

The sudden shock begins to wear away, and he starts to feel the pain in his side. His vision become hazy and his shuffle turns to a standstill as he examines the submerged spear, and is almost dismissive of it as he realizes it is in deep. And the blood coming out if it sputters with his every painful breath.

Defeated, he looks about him and drinks in all the details of the place. The patio of the winery is embellished with nice furniture, chairs and tables meant for outdoor guests, and exotic plants well tended from different regions. A nice pagoda of rich tapestry and a cozy, ornately carved log seems to provide an all too welcoming shade, which he wearily finds tempting and begins to limp towards. This was clearly a place of luxury and wealth, where families and friends would come to splurge on a special day off. He can almost hear the laughter and tinkling wineglasses of the evening atmosphere that joyously haunts the place. Happiness of a life he has never known.

As he sits, he remembers the ancient days of when he was an Eldest Son. The constant concerned chiding of his mother and her deep chuckles whenever she thought she said something clever. The craggy stories of his father who sought to teach his boy valuable lessons. And how he would always sneak his children little sweets whenever they were being punished; Delicious little "I-Love-You's", no matter how much trouble they got into. How his brother was always too loud and how his little sister always pulled his hair to get closer to him. He imagines if his parents were alive, they would have come to a place like this to form wonderful new memories of a happy family. Or he would like to fantasize, anyway. Truth is, they were always poor, but they had each other.

His breathing grows shallow and his vision dimmer, but he wills himself to remain awake to witness his final but most glorious sunset. Even as the screaming below of the guards seem to be joined by the citizens he cannot imagine a more peaceful place to die, reasons the 16 year old boy. However, even as the sun grows dimmer upon the horizon, the city itself begins to grow brighter and brighter with its own firelight, something he does not immediately realize is amiss. But the screams all around him sound more terrified than annoyed due to the mere presence of a Thief on the run. And then he hears a majestic roar from the skies.

He looks to his left, and sees a dragon reigning down fire from the skies as it slaughters his city in the troves, the mighty beating of it's wings heard even through the cacophony of horrified citizens. Hundreds, if not thousands of lives being snuffed out alongside his own. Another kind of shock besets him, this one an ailment of the mind as he struggles to comprehend what is happening to his cursed city. And the only reply he can give is delirious, pained and sputtering laughter. A sort of manic joy to see the city that has caused him so much grief and taken away so much from him razed low before his very eyes even as he perishes, perhaps the Justice he has for so long not received in all of his painful life.

But his mania quickly subsided when he brings himself back to more reasonable concerns. He thinks of his little brother and sister now begging on the streets who were depending upon him to bring them food. Will they survive this onslaught? Could they survive without him?

As the dragon wreaks havoc on the city, Maative begins to weep for them. Now more than anything he wants to live, but is too weak from blood loss to even raise his hand to the spear, let alone walk. He curses the skies and the gods with his rasping breaths, before he quickly apologies and mutters weak, undisciplined prayers for his brother and sister, heathen that he is. Even as he sees the dragon circle back and come towards where he is sitting on the winery, the few words he has left are caught in his throat, and he can only plead in his delirium.

"Please..." he begs weakly, blaming himself somehow for everything terrible that is happening in his inexperienced juvenile mind. "We were... so hungry." Tears well up in deep almond eyes, beautiful even as they fade, their watery orbs perfectly reflecting the fires of the city. "I just... want... to see them again..."

It is an unfortunate last wish even as the flames of the dragonconsumes him like a wick, because he meant his parents just as much as his siblings, dooming him to wander the veil between life and death. His final, eternal regret.

__________________
RL hit me with a 1-2 Punch. Will be back to regular posting rate soon.
Reply With Quote
  #255  
Old Feb 11th, 2024, 02:20 PM
Elanir's Avatar
Elanir Elanir is online now
Astinus in disguise
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Apr 18th, 2024
RPXP: 37714
Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir Elanir
Posts: 8,629
Darkness and Rock, Light and Wind
normal image without text wrap
The dragon’s hoard


A dragon’s hoard was more than a collection of coins, jewelry, and precious objects. It was more than an adventurer’s dream or an incredible stroke of luck. First and foremost, it was an accurate reflection of the one who had painstakingly amassed it over years, decades, even centuries. It was the closest thing to a legacy a dragon could leave behind.


Even as the companions examined the wonders that had been hidden inside this dark cave ever since the Cataclysm, they were conscious of this fact. Others would have ransacked the wyrm’s final resting place, knocking over the statues of long-forgotten heroes and Kingpriests to pry out the gems that served as their unseeing eyes or brutally scrape off the gold leaf from ornamental armor that was too damaged to be sold in its current state, hoping that a goldsmith would reward their efforts with a heavy pouch of steel coins. Not so Aric, Isandril, Tegan, and Xihue. They moved inside the cave respectfully, reverently even, marveling at what they saw and keeping only what seemed to hold a special significance, as if the dragon had intended these items for them and them alone, gifts to visitors the wyrm hadn’t lived long enough to meet in person.


This realization of the dragon hoard’s true significance was infinitely more acute for Zendra. For the woman who had just hours ago proclaimed herself a sister of the dragon and proved her claim by revealing the brass scale that had been fused to her skin, the weight in her heart was so immense that it crushed all the instincts that had guided her in her career as an archaeologist and expert on enchanted items of ages past. Adamantly refusing to give in to temptation was a testimony to the strength of her character. She wouldn’t take a single copper piece from this cave, she had sworn, even one so dark and deformed from the passage of time that the face depicted on it would have been unrecognizable even by the Kingpriest who had had it minted.


She didn’t realize it at the time, but this stubbornness, this uncompromising adherence to the values she held dear, even the belief in the curse that Khur had placed upon her, were the things that defined her as a person, what made her who she was. She wished there was someone who would understand her, someone she could have talked to, explain what was inside her heart - her uncle, Loren, her sister, Moonwing, even one of her cousins, the people she usually found unbearable to be around. What she wouldn’t give right now to hear one of Taren’s silly jokes or see Lirana purse her lips with snobbish distaste! Even that would have been better than the loneliness that seemed to wrap itself around her tighter than the tentacles of the mythical kraken.


Only, Zendra wasn’t alone. She hadn’t been alone ever since she watched Pegrin’s smoking corpse burning right in front of her, a far cry from the man he had appeared to be initially. There were people who cared for her. People who were glad they shared a camp with her when the Khurish sun vanished beyond the desert dunes, turning gold to black. People who needed her help and were willing to ask for it, which was the first step towards true friendship.


Despite her reservations and the weariness that weighed her down, she couldn’t refuse to be there for them when they required her assistance. She sighed, she frowned, she even cursed inwardly, but when Aric and Tegan and Xihue came to her with requests and questions and honest concern about what bothered her, she couldn’t find it in her heart to let them down. So she entered the cave and followed the young Abanasinian, whose curiosity, if not survival instincts, seemed to match her own.


The tunnel was practically clogged by fallen rocks and Zendra eyed the cracks in the ceiling and the almost imperceptible shaking of the walls with concern. Rock seemed so durable, so impervious to the passage of time, that one would think that there could be no better expression of infinity than that. One only had to ask a mountain dwarf, however, and they would scoff at such simple-minded notions of the people who only knew earth as something to cultivate and step upon. Earth and rock are living beings, they would claim, shaking their heads, and just like any living being they are born - or formed -, they change and eventually they crumble to dust.


The archaeologist was well-aware of this dwarven viewpoint, one that Kaylen would have readily confirmed, and she wondered if this was the time when everything around her would indeed crumble to dust, burying her and everyone else inside. Aric appeared to be unaware of the danger or perhaps he did realize it and trusted Zendra to see them through, which was both infuriating and undeniable proof of the confidence he had in her.


More than once she had to stop him from leaning against an unstable section of the wall or steady him as a pile of pebbles and broken stones beneath his feet gave way under his weight. She herself wondered at her almost supernatural ability to detect and avoid the natural hazards of the tunnel. It was as if someone was watching over her - her uncle, perhaps, or the spirit of the dragon. Zendra shrugged. Whoever it was, all this unknown benefactor could do was protect her from bearing the whole brunt of the curse that afflicted her. She would only be fully rid of it when she finally left the land of Khur behind her, never to return.


Aric’s gasp of surprise made the archaeologist immediately turn to look for the source of his amazement. They had reached the end of the tunnel, it seemed. Centuries ago, a hole large enough to accommodate an adult copper dragon would have allowed the wyrm to secretly enter and leave its lair. The Cataclysm had brought down the entire mountain slope upon this opening, however, sealing it forever. Not that the resident of these caves and tunnels would have had need of it any more.


But it wasn’t the collapsed passage that had caught Aric’s attention. It was the wall opposite of it, the one where a dragon carved in the stone seemed to greet him with its foreleg held high. One didn’t need to be a stonemason or sculptor to realize that the wyrm must have created this depiction of itself, nor that the dragon had been as accomplished an artist as the people who had crafted the many treasures it kept in its den. Hundreds of years old, the carving was so life-like, especially in the dim light conjured by Aric, that the two explorers felt the need to talk to the wyrm, ask it about the things it liked and disliked, the things it had seen and was longing to see.


normal image without text wrap
The dragon’s self portrait

Even if asked, however, the dragon wouldn’t answer. But it also didn’t need to.


Next to the dragon’s self portrait was a text carved on the wall. The draconic letters, full of straight lines and sharp angles, had been formed by the dragon’s claws, a diary of sorts or perhaps the wyrm’s will, waiting to be discovered. Zendra read out the text solemnly, as befitting a memorial service, which in many ways this was.


When the Platinum Father asked me to join my mother and siblings in leaving Ansalon behind, I refused. I was too young to understand the necessity of Balance and too proud to accept exile. I chose to remain in the land of my birth and rule over it, alone if I had to.

*

And so I did. I carved my home out of the living rock and shaped it according to my needs and tastes. I welcomed the visitors coming to gaze upon the last living dragon in the world, gladly accepted their gifts and told them tales about the great war against the Dark Queen, even though I had been too young to fight beside my sire or carry a Knight of Solamnia to battle.

*

I grew old and powerful and some might say wise. I came to appreciate the company of humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, and kender - especially kender. I marveled at the buildings of shining gold and white marble that filled the wide streets of glorious Istar. I spoke with devout priests, learned Aesthetics and powerful mages of the white and red robes. I learned from artists who could turn wood, metal and stone into works of art more beautiful than the stars in the sky.

*

All these things I did and much did I accomplish, but I never stopped yearning for the company of my kind. I begged the gods to forgive my arrogance, I raised altars in their honor and gave them my most precious possessions, but a choice once made cannot be unmade. I am the most powerful being in this world, but would have given everything - my dominion over this mountain and the vast plains beyond, my wealth, all my experiences - to be allowed to glimpse upon the face of another of my kind, to sire wyrmlings and see them grow and become better than their father, who had thought he knew better than a god.

*

If you read these words, visitor, I ask you to say a prayer to Paladine on my behalf. Remind him of Wyranthrax, the foolish wyrmling who refused his request and lived every day of his life regretting it. Perhaps, the Platinum Father will one day forgive me and allow me to join my siblings in death if not in life.

*

This has always been my greatest wish.



*********


Redwaters called out, expecting his voice to echo in the dark nothingness of the spirit realm, but his words were instantly devoured by the shadows, as if they were eager to extinguish any and all signs of life. The mist swirled eerily around him, feeling like a shroud, its touch making his skin feel cold and clammy. The plainsman started shivering uncontrollably. This wasn’t the first time he had parted the veil and traveled beyond the world of the sun and the moons, the wind, rain and growing grass, but it was the first time that he felt so utterly unwelcome. Something or someone didn’t want him there and this realization opened up a hole inside him, a hole that grew and grew until nothing of him would remain.


He was a stranger here. He was unwanted. He was all alone.


I am here.


A grin appeared on Redwater’s drawn face. She had heard his words and came to his aid. A light in the dark, a guide in a constantly-changing land, a friend among beings that were incapable of loving.


The shadows thinned, no longer restricting but merely highlighting the light that appeared out of nowhere, a cocoon woven from Solinari’s moonlight that made the newcomer impervious to the darkness. The mists parted too, bowing humbly before the ethereal presence gracefully gliding towards Redwaters.


left-aligned image
The Mistress
A woman, his Mistress.


The two had known each other for a long time and he had come to appreciate that she came to offer her advice to him when he least expected and most needed it. Her presence in his life had been as important as that of his cookum, the one who had raised him, or Thunder, his capricious but always stalwart animal companion. And yet, there was so little that he truly knew about her. Spirits were often eager to talk about the lives they had lived, their fading memories the only thing that gave their existence meaning and a twisted sense of purpose, but the Mistress had never shared anything personal about herself and would evade or ignore any questions Redwaters asked about her past. She was refined and well-educated, powerful and caring, but these were observations the plainsman had made, not things the Mistress had revealed about herself.


Redwaters looked at her as if their eyes had never met before and indeed this was the first time that he saw her so clearly, radiant, confident, beautiful beyond anything even a once-mortal Silvanesti elfdaughter of Silvanos had any right to be.


Her skin, if one could use this word to describe a being that no longer had a physical body, was as white and glossy as the pearls the sea elves collected in their underwater fields of seaweed and shells. Her face, finer and more exquisite than a porcelain mask, was framed by hair that was lush and as black as the hide of the Khurish mares that belonged to the Great Khan, not absorbing the light, but reflecting and augmenting it. Striking, almond eyes full of gentleness instantly commanded the attention of anyone bold enough to gaze into them, and her lips were small and delicate, as if anything more sensuous would ruin the perfect harmony of her visage. Her neck was long and as slender as her limbs, which moved with the elegance of dandelion seeds dancing upon a soft breeze, white as ebony and unmarred by scar, mole or birthmark. Though not especially tall, Redwaters suspected that her regal bearing would have silenced even a group of brawling ogres or charging minotaurs.


If she was this perfect in death, how had she looked like in life, he wondered.


Fear not, brave plainsman, she said, her words as soft and heartening as the flame of a candle in absolute darkness. There are many who need your help. Let us summon them and set them free. I stand beside you.




normal image without text wrap
Redwaters in trance


Redwaters’ chanting intensified and his companions thought they heard drums, flutes and rattles filling the air around him, an aura of sound that strengthened his presence, giving it an undeniable authority. Other voices joined his, though there was no one present other than the four of them. Or was there? Devari had heard that the Abanasinian plainsmen believed that their ancestors didn’t go through the Gate of Souls, choosing instead to remain with their tribes in order to help and guide them. Could they have been right? Could it be that the spirits of dozens, possibly hundreds of Qué-Taw shamans supported Redwaters right now? There was something undeniably comforting about that, to know that one wasn’t alone…


The tiny, dancing flame of Talia’s candle grew and expanded, rapidly consuming the aromatic beeswax of the candle’s body and giving rise to a long trail of thin smoke reaching all the way to the sky. The kender started clapping in excitement until she realized that she was surrounded by a multitude of sunken faces on bodies that were even less insubstantial than the white, cottony clouds on a summer day. She waved her hand, looking for the blond girl that had helped her climb the Bending Willow, but she couldn’t find her among the multitude of sad looks with the empty eyes and the gaping mouths with the silent screams.


Kay’s feather, tiny and red-brown like the earth, rose to the air, propelled by a gust of wind coming from the east. Blyne inhaled deeply and the smell of fresh grass, wildflowers, and cone pines filled her nostrils. How long had it been since she had last walked among the trees of a forest, surrendering herself to the sights, smells and sounds of nature? It felt like ages had passed. Now, however, it seemed that the forest had come to her.


Directed by unseen hands, the vulture’s feather playfully circled around the indistinct forms of the waiting spirits, who were staring at it with awe. No, not awe, Devari realized. It was hope that gave the sunken eyes of the spirits the soft glow she was witnessing now, a light that hadn’t been there moments ago. Redwaters had done it! He had found a way to grant solace to these tortured souls.


One by one the spirits faded, carried away by the wind. Talia’s golden-haired friend gave the kender a smile, a truly brilliant smile that only a child could give, before vanishing into the sunlight. Ehsan the warrior, his head held high, climbed on the back of a spectral version of Hosni and bid Devari farewell, thanking her for her words of support. Maative’s brother and sister, holding each other’s hand tightly, turned their eyes towards the faraway place where their older brother was undoubtedly waiting for them. The mothers followed, holding their children who were wailing no more, then the elderly, their wrinkles not looking as deep as they previously had, then the seriously wounded, who found themselves able to walk again without pain, without anguish. The wind kept blowing, bringing to the Khurish desert the freshness of spring and finally quenching the flames of the fire dragon that had been blazing for decades in the unbeating hearts of the spirits.


right-aligned image
A lost soul
Until only one soul remained. A girl of fewer than twelve summers, her clothes poor and tattered, her arms held close to her chest as if she were trying to hold on to something important, though there was nothing there but emptiness. The child, though small in stature, seemed too heavy for the wind to set free, as if still bound by a physical anchor that would not let her drift away. She turned her head this way and that, her wide, desperate eyes looking for something. Suddenly, her expression changed. She tried to take a step forward, her arms outstretched towards the companions, but the wind wouldn’t let her. She bared her teeth and growled like a wild beast, her pale face instantly losing the innocence of her youth and turning into something unspeakable.


"No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", she cried out, her inhuman screams fully drowning out the howling of the wind and penetrating the companions’ bodies like a thousand sharp needles.


Talia, Devari, and Blyne pressed their hands against their ears, but they proved incapable of protecting them from the girl’s voice that threatened to make their hearts burst inside their chests.


"She is mine. Give her back. Give her back to me NOW!", the spirit demanded as she finally broke free from the grasp of the wind and flew towards the still dazed companions, her small hands ready to squeeze their throats until they could no longer breathe.


*********


Redwaters sighed, his voice tired, his spiritual energy depleted. One spirit remained, he knew, but he lacked the power to save her. For some reason she resisted, fiercely fighting against the wind he had summoned. Why?, he wondered, Why do you choose pain when you can be free of it?


She is still bound to the material world, the Mistress explained, her presence offering great comfort to the plainsman, but not to her mortal remains. I think…


Suddenly, she stopped, turning around and gasping in fear.


Oh no! He is here. He has found me. Flee, Redwaters, flee as fast as you can!


Her cocoon of soft light cracked and shadowy tendrils reached for her, squeezing through the cracks, dimming her radiance and violently seizing her. The Mistress cried out in panic, but no one could help her as the darkness thickened around her, devouring her and carrying her away.


Redwaters turned to catch her before he vanished, but all he saw where she had been a moment ago was a writhing mass of blackness.


"Trespasser", the darkness addressed him sternly, "keep away from her. She is mine, she has always been mine. All you will get is DEATH!"


The darkness enveloped him fully and he felt the very hand of death crushing him in its merciless grasp, his bones breaking, his skin tearing, his blood stopping to flow, his organs seizing their functions. Redwaters fought with all the power he had left, but it was like raising a shield to stop a flood. The angry river carried him away, battered his body, invaded his lungs.


I am dying, he realized.


"You are already dead", the voice answered with malice and cruel laughter filled his mind until he could feel and hear no more.



Calendar15th Day of Aelmont (Winter) 422 AC / 38 SC, Midday

Solinari: 9/36 (Waxing)
Lunitari: 18/28 (High Sanction)
Nuitari: 7/8 (Waning)

Boons/Penalties:
White Robes - | Red Robes +1 spell DC, ADV on spell attack rolls | Black Robes -


 


 


 
__________________
He/Him - I have taken the Oath of Sangus
Running Dragons of a Broken World: A Dragonlance (Age of Mortals) 5e DnD campaign
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:55 PM.
Skin by Birched, making use of original art by paiute.(© 2009-2012)


RPG Crossing, Copyright ©2003 - 2024, RPG Crossing Inc; powered by vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. Template-Modifications by TMB