Game Thread Act IV: Hope's End - Page 2 - RPG Crossing
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  #16  
Old Jun 17th, 2022, 12:38 PM
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The Heart of Shadow

left-aligned image
Once again the ball room filled with those brought to Hope's End by the Thistledown Man but the host had eyes for only one guest, Khloe. The pair seemed to be dancing to a different song than the slow waltz that all else swayed to. His grip upon free will remained as tight as ever but his focus, his sole attention was given to the flamboyant dancer before him.

I hide myself inside the shadows of shame
The silent symphonies were playing their game
My body echoed to the dreams of my soul
This god is something that I could not control









left-aligned image

Where can I run to now?
The joke is on me
No sympathizing god is insanity, yeah
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?


His eyes never left Khloe as the two darted in and out of each other, mimicking each other's movements. He spoke to Khloe's mind but was not speaking about her. A puppet to another entity was the Thistledown Man and he sought to free himself, to break out of Hope's End.







left-aligned image

Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mixed reality with pseudo-god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seen
I sold my soul to be the human obscene












left-aligned image

How could it poison me?
The dream of my soul
How did my fantasies take complete control, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?


For near an eternity, the dance continued. Legs ached, feet blistered and yet the dance continued until finally the Thistledown Man and Khloe had achieved a unison of art, a cohesion of purpose. The ceiling of the manor was ripped in twain as the dancing pair ascended into the darkness above which released the bodies of those caught in the endless march. Dandelion proclaimed that the time to depart was upon them. She led the group out of the ballroom and through the foyer to the front stairs as the walls about them began to crumble away. Upon the stairs, the lap-dog was waiting. "No one leaves. Masters orders." His massive great sword drawn, Grigore had shown his true colors and been found wanting as the rubble of the collapsing mansion began to warp and twist. "This is the Heart of the Shadow. None are meant to leave." (to be continued at end of song)





left-aligned image

Well I feel something's taken me I don't know where
It's like a trip inside a separate mind
The ghost of tomorrow from my favorite dream
Is telling me to leave it all behind
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Got to get to happiness, want no more of sorrow







left-aligned image

How I lied, went to hide
How I tried to get away from you now
Am I right if I fight?
That I might just get away from you now
Sting me


Another voice had joined the thoughts of the Thistledown Man, a dark, menacing voice that lurked in the shadows and preyed from the darkness. The Thistledown Man had lied to himself, had hidden from his past, and been captured by an entity of pure evil. Now, with a true ally in Khloe, he would fight against what had once seemed insurmountable odds. Now, with the knowledge of the Tannakha-Bachata, he had a chance to break away. Higher into the bleak sky the dancing pair rose until they passed through the swirling pall and entered that which was occupied by a horrid entity, the Night Walker, Nyx. Whirling about each other, the pair performed their dance, its magic weaving a tapestry of will against a dark power that sought to corrupt, destroy and entrap.











left-aligned image
Well I feel something's giving me the chance to return
It's giving me the chance of saving my soul
Beating the demigod, I'm fading away
I'm going backwards but I'm in control
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Getting back to sanity, providence of sorrow



Was it wise to disguise
How I tried to get away from you now
Is there a way that I could pay
Or is it true I have to stay with you now?


Faster and faster the dance progressed as it magic worked to break the hold Nyx had upon the Thistledown Man. Spinning about in the sky, with the Night Walker swiping out with its calamitous claws, the Tannakha-Bachata protected them, made the Night Walker seem less substantial as a fog turning to mist. Steps forward to avoid a grasping hand, twirls backward to side step a lunging talon, the motion of the dance kept the embraced duo, bounding through the eternal night, safe from harm as the magic from their frivolity began to eat away at the grip the Night Walker had over Hope's End.


left-aligned image
How I lied, went to hide
How I tried to get away from you now
Am I right if I fight?
That I might just get away from you now
Suck me


Defiantly the dance progressed as its magic began to lighten the darkness of the Shadowfell and the soul of the Thistledown Man. His past began to compartmentalize itself as a separate entity to be locked away and kept from the world. A new man twirled with Khloe, one who had shed the wicked persona of his misdeeds and follies and was ready to embrace a new beginning, a reemergence of a forgotten past. But the Night Walker was not done with him. It formed a crystalline prison around the pair, attempting to trap them and keep their dance from continuing its spell.





left-aligned image

I'm really digging schizophrenia the best of the earth
I'll chase my soul in the fires of hell?
Peace of mind eluded me, but now it's all mine
I simply try, but he wants me to fail
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Now I've found my happiness, providence of sorrow

No more lies, I got wise
I despise the way I worshiped you yeah
Now I'm free, can't you see
And now instead I won't be led by you now
Free


This is where I'll add your input. The comb can break the crystal prison so the dance can continue to work its magic against Nyx and fully free Khloe and the Thistledown Man. There is 2 minutes of song left if you want to attempt to sync it up. I'm sure you have more than 2 minutes worth of post so maybe this can just be a blurb about the comb, breaking the prison and then maybe them creating a portal and leaving.


Outside Hope's End
right-aligned image
"This is the Heart of the Shadow. None are meant to leave."

The Thistledown Man's lap-dog had been waiting for the Shadow Prince's prisoners to attempt an escape in the confusion and wasted no time meting out his punishment for disobedience. A bright streak shot from his finger that roared up the stairs to explode in a ball flame upon the front stoop of Hope's End, singing the masonry and causing the nearby windows to shatter in response. His eyes were bloodshot and it seemed that for the interminable duration that the Thistledown Man had forced all to dance, Grigore had not been immune to the repercussions either. He looked frazzled, to his wits' end and very nearly ready to collapse from exhaustion but the man's soul had been claimed by another and he was driven to carry out the last mission he had been tasked with, even if that mission was now moot as his master had ascended with Khloe to battle the Night Walker and the manse before him was twisting and collapsing into rubble before his very eyes.

Both hands back upon his sword, the disgraced Knight of the Silver Dragon, a cursed man from a cursed land, charged at Holgrim, Bollo, Zen, Rubric Dos, and Xylie. "None leave."

ooc32 fire damage from the fireball spell. DC16 DEX save for half. Match or beat a 17 initiative to act first.

Any attacks against Grigore, please write your intention to attack but not the conclusion, even if its a hit, if that makes sense. There may be some reaction shenanigans to sort out.


 


 




oocPlease let Khloe post next.
__________________
I have taken the Oath.

Last edited by tomplum; Jun 18th, 2022 at 10:27 AM.
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  #17  
Old Jun 17th, 2022, 01:10 PM
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Castles in the Sky
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Long before the gods walked the surface of the world, magic crawled and wove itself. Raw magic, divine and arcane together as one, untamed and unbridled. It was this magic that was called upon by the dance; the Tannakha-Bachata. Its secret lost to time, lost to all but one - Nyx, mistress of the secrets of the night, and all the dirty secrets were told at night, even the one that told of a dance that could elicit a lustful embrace from the most spent of men and the most frail of woman; a dance that could literally turn the tides of war, or drive a man mad with frustration. This was, in part, why it required the dance to be completed, for working one up in such a lather without release would break the spirit and mind of the other.

Then there came a time, also long ago but not as far back, when a lass walked the cobblestone streets selling shellfish from her wagon while ringing a bell. She was said to be of the most beautiful woman of her generation, blessed personally by the kiss of Sune, and loved deeply by the warrior Tempus. This is not her story, though without her story, this story could not have been told.

You see, young listener, this woman of fable, this woman of age gone by, this Molly, she was to be the first in a long line of incredible dancers and showmen. From her would spring forth a family of entertainers that would be the brightest light of happiness and purity the world had ever seen or would ever see. A family that would travel the cities and towns of Faerûn to bring joy to children of all ages. Well, they were not totally pure, bunch of thieves and charlatans engaging in games of intrigue that would even cause Mask himself to blush.

To this family was entrusted the secret of the Tannakha-Bachata; the storm dance. It was their crowning achievement and the culmination of many a marriage ceremony. They used it to change the hearts of men from seeking revenge upon them for their unfair games, to turn the hearts of women to marriage, to encourage the procreation of children, it was rumored - and the rumor is true - that the dance was even used against some of the gods to soften their hearts and escape punishment.

Why do I tell you all this? This, which has naught to do with the reason we are here? Well you need to know the backstory to really understand why, as the goddess of lovers and secrets, stars and wilderness, the wild and fantastical, a collector and seeker, why I did what I did this day. For it would be a simple thing to say 'ah I did but guide them along their path for many thousands of years' and be done with it, but where is the fun in that? Even the Goddess of Mysteries and Darkness, of all the sweet nothings ever whispered into the ears of lovers; needs something to look forward to, does she not?

Nyx herself looked down upon the castle ballroom. She had long waited this day, but she would restrain herself. Things must play out in the manner in which they were designed, lest they lose all meaning.



Khloe's heart was beating so fast it would make the heartbeat of an elven child seem slow in comparison; and as we all know, an elf's heart beat twice as fast as a humans, and a child's heart beat faster still than that.

She looked into the face of a sociopath. She knew he would betray her, but if there was even the slimmest of hopes to redeem him, to save the others, to restore the beauty of this realm - did she not have an obligation to try?

Her ancestor, the one from the Glimpse, whispered in her ear. You need to show him the dance, young one. Only through it can destiny be fulfilled. Only through the dance do the people have a chance to see the light once more. We will always be with you, and you with us, little one. The whisper was like a soft kiss on her ear, sending chills down her arms and spine, but it was reassuring and strong too.

Khloe smiled into the darkness. One so innocent, so young, they have no concept of death. Death happens to others, death does not happen to them. Truly the innocence of youth is the lack of understanding of what danger you find yourself in. So to call her courageous, that would be a misstatement. Courage was to charge in knowing that death awaited you; but was it ignorance either? Khloe knew, at least on some level, this being could not have been twisted so far into darkness without being willing to do so - even one such as her understood that basic tenant of reality. If the Thistledown Man had chosen such a dark path - even if unaware of how dark it would become - certainly he had the darkness in his heart to hurt her, theoretically even kill her.

She 'heard' the distant drums. "This is no normal dance, this is a dance of the war of love. When I move thusly, you react this way, when you move here, I will move there. The dance only ends when one side surrenders to the kiss of the other.

I've never done this in my physical body. It is said,"
she needed a moment, her mother had told this story but until she actually learned the dance she thought it only a story, "it is said that as the dance is woven others may join in, add to the dance, elevate and empower it. That the primal magics may become inspired and manifest more greatly with the addition of more souls. You will need to keep your eyes upon mine, do not become distracted lest the magic spill. If that happens....well it is said to be bad, whatever that means." She shrugged.

The Thistledown Man looked at her, he did quite the emulation of a man who was truly interested in a woman; not one driven by lust, or more likely in his case, some ulterior motive. "Yes, I understand. The dance will switch from one to the other as we take turns leading, with each 'attack' the other must 'parry' until one side or the other is compelled to capitulate. Eye contact must be maintained so as to keep concentration on the ceremony lest we risk losing the building magic."

She nodded, as they took positions. First a bow from him, then an answering curtsey from her. Outfits quickly changed, after all they were illusory to begin with, as he shifted to a tunic and slacks, with tufted scarf, a jasmine neatly tucked away in his pocket - a barb to remind her that there was beauty to be rallied here, lest she try anything. As she said, he was a sociopath, the only question was if he truly wanted to be saved, or if he was leading her to her doom with naught to show for it but being so distracted the others could escape?

He began, as he wove the illusion more befitting the scenario. Confident in his total control over the thoughts and actions of others, of the realm, and over Khloe. Being bold he started the song, drawing upon power to establish dominance, but this wasn't a fight like one finds on a field of valor. This was a marathon, Khloe's ancestors had warned her, but could she say 'no' one more time than he could say 'yes?'

"I hide myself inside the shadows of shame
The silent symphonies were playing their game
My body echoed to the dreams of my soul
This god is something that I could not control."


His voice compelled her to submit, pulling her to him like a smith draws out a rod of iron from the fire to mold in a manner that pleases him. Meanwhile, her garb flowed about her. Billowing folds of black with stripes of lime green, citrus orange, citron yellow capped the hem, her blouse was adorned with various fruits and vegetation embroidered into it, her shoulders laid bare so as to allow the sultriness of her neck and bared back to entice her partner further. Heeled sandals replaced her walking shoes as the two took their positions.

The drums grew louder. The dance was starting in earnest, the first challenge issued.. Each move to be parried by the other, first slow, then building. His motions pulling upon her, her motions drawing upon him.

Losing friends and short on sleep; I'm sure everyone's worried about me. We just walked off, I couldn't even tell them. Am I in too deep? It's been two years and I miss my home, the warmth of family around the fire singing and laughing. Can I use this as fuel to light a burning fire in my bones? Despite his charms and crushing magics, do I still believe what I believe? she thought to herself.

Her legs and arms were moving, dodging his premature attempts to score a kiss and 'win' the dance.

"As the darkness slowly begins to settle in,
Yea though I feel the evil, the hatred, and sin.
Watch as I counter balance the fight,
Through the use of love, purity, and the light."


As she sang her counterpoint into the room, so too did her inner light; her divine ki; emanate forth. It was woefully underpowered to counter his dominance, yet the phantasm unicorns, daisies, faeries, and pixies glittered around her as if a barrier against his song; whilst the drums drew louder. Servants of the castle were being drawn in as the dance continued. Her heart rate started to mirror the pounding of the drums as they moved.

"Where can I run to now?
The joke is on me
No sympathizing god is insanity, yeah
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?"

His eyes never left Khloe as the two darted in and out of each other, mimicking each other's movements. He spoke to Khloe's mind but was not speaking about her. A puppet to another entity was the Thistledown Man and he sought to free himself, to break out of Hope's End.

Khloe feinted, making him think in his moment of distraction addressing the other that she could score an early win, drawing his attention back fully upon her as he continued.

"Obsessed with fantasy, possessed with my schemes
I mixed reality with pseudo-god dreams
The ghost of violence was something I seen
I sold my soul to be the human obscene"

She watched as tentacles of darkness began to fall away from the Thistledown Man. He was losing his concentration on the realm, on the townsfolk, on her friends, on the trees and bees; more and more as each one fell. What was a full blanket started to have peaks of light break through as more and more fell.

"As the shadows around me get stronger,
I don't know if I can hold on much longer.
The demons bring an overwhelming fear.
I will state my position for all, loud and clear."


Was it just an answer to him, or was she asking more? The townsfolk were joining in. There must have been dozens upon dozens of couples present, she wondered about around the town. Did they know they were dancing to free the town from this man's embrace? Did they realize that their very souls were being entwined in the magic, powering the magic? That they were sending their support to her, as if to remind her she was not alone, she was not left in the dark. Come what may, her efforts would not be in vain.

"How could it poison me?
The dream of my soul
How did my fantasies take complete control, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life, yeah?
Why don't you just get out of my life now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone now?
Why doesn't everybody leave me alone, yeah?"

Khloe had to use the wind itself as a step as she spun in midair missing the Thistledown Man's latest lurch; her dress splaying playfully running across his face before she landed back in position.

"The darkness always tries to possess my soul, but I feel that I have the stronger goal.
They'll always try to get the best of me, but I shall not be conquered that easily.
For in the corner of the shadows, evil stands, but look around and see that I too have but a few helping hands.
It seems the evil around me as grown, but I shall not be fighting it on my own."


Out the corner of Khloe's eye she saw it. First a whisper of feet, like the sound of a piccolo being played quietly in the distance, then another and another, like violins being brought into concert with one another. About her family members from ages past, their souls, danced between the crowds each an experienced dancer, one who had danced the Tannakha-Bachata before. First twos and threes joined the dance, their ethereal bodies co-mingling with the townsfolk and servants. Then they appeared in twelves and twenties. Hundreds, no thousands of dancers all of whom, over many generations, giving a small portion of their soul to the comb; all manifesting now in Khloe's darkest hour - or when she thought it was her darkest hour anyway.

She saw her, the first one, the one who taught her. She touched her comb, then joined the dance; her freedom and lack of partner adding counterpoint and depth to the music that accompanied the dancers, that only existed in their heads. Molly glided through all the dancers encouraging them, driving them to be greater than their bodies could achieve; it became clear that Molly was not the most beautiful woman of her generation - not if you looked skin deep; Molly's beauty was in the heart, the ability to draw beauty from others - not that Molly was homely, she was quite buxom and bonnie.

"Well I feel something's taken me I don't know where
It's like a trip inside a separate mind
The ghost of tomorrow from my favorite dream
Is telling me to leave it all behind
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Got to get to happiness, want no more of sorrow"

Were they rising in the air? Never mind, the 'floor' was solid enough and she was not yet ready to give up the fight. Though her legs burned like flame, her chest heaving to get the air needed to keep going, she concentrated on the dance. She felt the hope of all present pouring into her, feeding her inner self, her ki or whatever you call it. The pink, lavender, and white objects turned to bands of ribbons and wrapped themselves around her, pouring vitality and restoration into her; it was as if being hugged by a thousand fathers all at once, and kissed by a thousand mothers when being laid to rest. Khloe's eyes flashed.

"Vicious attacks do emanate from shadows.
I could retaliate with strong defense of blows.
Yet I stand back and block, I do not fight back.
For this is not my moment to attack."

Her verses were growing shorter, despite being fueled by the compassion and desires of the town, the trees, she had to draw the Thistledown Man in. He had to think he had won, but in so doing, she had to make him drop his concentration on others. Look e'en now, he had but a few active threads of control left, the rest were focused upon her and this dance.

The great roar of living and dead dancing together - it shattered the darkness. Chunks of grey and black fell from the walls, what once was beautiful beyond description now exceeded even that category. Brilliant hues screamed from hanging tapestries, painted windows gleamed with the brilliance of a thousand suns, the floor of what was mistaken to be marble changed to ruby granite and black slate. Columns of ruby granite with rose quartz shed its darkness to gleam in the beauty of the Tannakha-Bachata.

Khloe was no longer totally in control of her motions. The dance had taken upon a life of its own and the mind of the Thistledown Man, it turned upon her. He had lost total control over his subjects and the others in the castle, now the dark tentacles reached for her mind, thousands of them, like spiky hair. The comb grew hot - dangerously hot - as protective spikes erupted from it, the two forces battling in symmetry to their dance.

Unbenownst to the Thistledown Man, but the dance had turned. No longer was this a battle of control over the mind, but rather control over the heart. While physically still in his demesnes; emotionally they were in her bailiwick. Now was the time to close her trap, which was good. She felt her soul tugging to be free of her body as her body literally burned from the inside out - her heart pumping too hard, too fast, too long; the fire from the muscles in her legs that could no longer move but where compelled by the spell regardless; the burning of the comb that drove the spell and powered her Ki. Soft pastel lights started breaking out of her face, mixing with the last tendrils of darkness from the Thistledown Man, snuffing them out and climbing over and around his body.

Still he drove on, for she appeared weak and his lust was fully fueled. He was going to take that which he felt owed, and to damns with warlock pacts, the needs of others, even the realm itself. Look at her, supple, desirable, her strength was now his; just for the taking, like a peach ripened in the sun and fresh picked from the field.

"How I lied, went to hide; How I tried to get away from you now; Am I right if I fight?; That I might just get away from you now.

Well I feel something's giving me the chance to return
It's giving me the chance of saving my soul
Beating the demigod, I'm fading away
I'm going backwards but I'm in control
Feel it slipping away, slipping in tomorrow
Getting back to sanity, providence of sorrow

Was it wise to disguise; How I tried to get away from you now
Is there a way that I could pay; Or is it true I have to stay with you now?"

Again he tried for a kiss, again his concentration was not fully upon her. He still sang partially to another, yet she needed it all. She needed to know in her knower that her friends were safe, that the townspeople were safe, that the trees that wept so bitterly that they sacrificed all they had to produce a few seed pods so that their children might survive were safe, that the aphids and the dragonflies were safe, that the kittens and bunnies were safe. She had to have all of it, all of his attention.

Stay with me, Molly. Sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers. Help finish this dance and protect me from his mind. she drew inspiration from around her as they continued their dance. Yet now, now she moved with purpose, no longer to succor the Thistledown Man for his attention in full was upon her. No more did he control those about him, no more did his mind mute the colors of the rainbow, the dreariness of his soul no longer sapped the very joy from the stones of the castle, the people, the animals, nor the plants. It was all focused on her.

"As they move to go for the kill,
The peace surrounds me, I stand still.
With a knockout blow he stands no chance, they stand no chance.
For with this kiss I declare a victory dance."


Nearby two new comers walked in. She only noticed them because neither danced, nor seemed to be compelled to dance. Instead they walked in without going through a door or arch way...they just appeared and walked into the hall.

First a man, wrapped in thunderously grey robes that fell to the floor, lightning crackled and flashed in his eyes and his hair whipped about majestically. Then a lady, her hair as if caged fire, her skin like liquid copper poured beauty throughout her as the two sat quietly and watched.

The Thistledown Man no longer thought of anything but her. His desire was no longer to possess her as a plaything, he wanted more - he strove for more. His essence desired complete possession of hers, she could see it in his eyes. The storm raged on, and the thunder rolled.

"No more lies, I got wise.
I despise the way I worshipped you, yeah.
Now I am free, can't you see?
Now instead I won't be led by you now."

The storm raged, the castle had been fully restored to its natural beauty, the townsmen had spread the spell from corner to corner of their realm, freeing the minds of man and beast, bringing the grove of trees back to life and filling them with fruit, the marigolds and lavender buzzed with the efforts of bees to pollinate them once more.

Khloe put in an error, it was ever so slight, ever so delicate. She just bent her knee at the slightest wrong angle, dipping her shoulder at just the right angle, to give the man a glimpse of her defenseless. It took the Thistledown Man but an instant to react, to achieve the kiss that would 'win' the dance; but Khloe knew that one does not always win in the winning. She knew in her knower that one can find victory in defeat, a greater victory as she surrendered to his kiss, letting him envelope the dancing body in his arms. If he but knew the trap he had walked into. For while he thought he was wresting control, she had pulled a reversal of fortune. His verse was done, and instead of starting her verse she had initiated the kiss.

Their lips met in an explosion of light so blinding that none present could look on. The pieces of all the souls of all the dancers, of all time (past dancers, present dancers, even future generations that danced in proximity to the comb); the living townsfolk, the hearts of trees, the stones themselves shuddered and exploded into nothingness around them as they were wrapped in a cloak of stars. No longer did she feel the fatigue in her legs, her heart no longer thundered against her ribs. The two of them held their embrace into the great nothingness of the stars. Their lips still joined as they spilled upon the flaxen floor, its milky white throne raised precariously on a dais of trapped stars perpetually falling in chaotic beauty.



That is when I, the Goddess of the Night, moved. You had forgotten that I was watching did you not? You think anything happens in Faerûn without the will of the gods?

I willed my 'hand' to dip down out of the heavens. Mage hand is such a useful spell, if I do say so myself. The blackness of it, so dark, so terrible, that the eye rolls off it being unwilling to see it. I watched as Khloe and the Thistledown Man sucked in their breath, I needed the right moment, but I had to be ready for the moment would die the instant it was created.

There. There it was. She had opened an opportunity and the fool rushed in. Their lips touched for just the briefest of moments and the explosions started in his mind - not the ones most boys feel when kissing a girl, these were from her Comb, the souls of all the women who wore it before her, the souls of all who had danced the forbidden dance, each had given a small piece of itself to power the magic device and it had done it's job splendiferously shattering the man's mind with beauty.

I snatched them up. Sune and Tempus came with, of course. That was fine, they were here specifically to watch, to ensure I met my obligations in this regard. This was a plan long in the making, and I was going to need the Lord of Battles to give my vessel the will and the strength to fight; and the Lady of Aesthetics to give her the heart and compassion to know when not to fight.

Selune, the Moonmaiden, was already present, sitting as judge. Not even the other gods would see her, just as one sees the moon but does not see it at the same time, so too did Selune sit idly by in observance.

Nyx dropped her smile before drawing back her dress and revealing herself; for she wore the very stars of the firmament to hide behind.

"YOU DARE!" I screamed at Rodrigo de la Sossian, for that was the Thistledown Man's birth name. "You think you can escape your pact with me through a dance?"

He looked to talk, so I struck him dumb with a localized silence spell. "Oh no you don't. You succored this innocent girl, you drew her out, preyed upon her innocence - just as you have tried many times before with other ladies, such as the fair Dandelion. Only this one, this one was special, she had power, power you could use before betraying her."

From the corner a whisper. A whisper? Sune and Tempus wouldn't whisper, who would whisper? I strained my ears to hear. "Mistress...I...I...I knew." it was quiet at first, so I stood there as if stunned. "I knew he was going to betray me, Mistress. I, I had to do it anyway if only..."

A smile crawled across my face as I heard. It was, of course, the right answer, but I had to be sure. I had to know absolutely, as did the witnesses, that she had freely given herself to the night. That she had not been plucked or fooled, not tricked or trapped.

"I see, little girl. Do you know what happens to the souls that end up in my demesnes? The torment they are subjected to? There are those here that would make you squeal in pain just to hear you squeal, and those who would help you are not able to do so."

The little monk nodded. Foolish girl. She had no idea, but that was easily rectified. I had but to snap my fingers and she would get a new Glimpse, an unleashed Glimpse, not the one I sent to the cave before. SNAP!

Suddenly the darkest of night surrounded her, another wonderful spell. You could hear her screams and wails from inside as furry spiders climbed all over her flesh, digging their feet into her and climbing inside her skin to bite her, the venom burning away at her nerves and causing her unending pain. I turned to look at Rodrigo.

"This is what you would have done to her? You call yourself lord of the manor, and for what? For this?" Was that actual shame on his face? I knew that kiss was powerful, but had his heart truly been pierced unleashing emotions for someone other than himself? He had built such a crystal enclosure for his heart, sure in its safety and in his emotions being locked away. He had thought, back when the pact was first made, that if he had no emotion he could rule more justly. Men were fools.

I knew this family of Khloe's, controlled powers far beyond their understanding, but this, this was unique. Somewhere along the line they had picked up a rare trait, where they could draw upon their inner self to heal others, or to cause radiant damage to those hurting them. She had channeled it for much of the dance, using it to press her body far beyond its physical capabilities, using it to fight off the mind control of Rodrigo, using it to call upon and awaken the comb to its fullest extent.

"Mistress Nyx, please let her go. She's my Boudicca, I know that now. What once was mere plot to save myself, I cannot. How could I without the fire of her dancing in my heart? Please, I'll stay and honor our agreement."

As it was foretold in the prophesy. What had started out as a feeling had grown into a hope. A hope that turned into a quiet thought which then became a quiet word. A word that grew louder and louder until it had become a battle cry. A battle cry of Khloe's soul against the evil and the ugly; a battle cry of the townsfolk who just wanted freedom; a battle cry of the very land that rejected the vinegar of their ruler's soul.

This. This is when everything changed. They say that just because everything is changing doesn't mean it was never this way before. All one can do is try to know who your friends are as you head off into war, the war of the heart, the war of magic, the perpetual war between good and evil.

See the domain of night is neither good nor is it evil. Lovers join to make new life under the cover of darkness just as much, if not more, than murderers skulk under cover of darkness to snuff it out. Yes I, sweet Nyx, try to be scary, if for no other reason than good little children should be in bed dreaming dreams not out galivanting in the night.

Yet those who know, those who hear the call, they know to pick a star on the dark horizon and follow the light. That is how you get back to the beginning. For it was just a feeling that no one knows yet; but just because they don't feel it yet doesn't mean that you have to forget. Look at Khloe, wrapped in torturous darkness yet look, she had called upon her inner light; despite my god hood, you could see puffs of magenta and lavender illusory faeries and unicorns, daisies and hearts floating around her. Each snuffed by the darkness as quickly as it was formed, but she still drew upon it, she still looked toward beauty even when in complete despair. Her will, her inner self, it tugged on even my heart strings. Yet she had to know what she was choosing; lest Selune declare the entire thing unfair. Khloe had to, as she oft phrased it, she had to know in her knower what she was accepting. This was no mere warlock pact.

Nyx waived off the darkness. "What do you think little girl. Are you sure you want to stay for their freedom, or do you want to go home? This is your very last chance. Your very, very last chance." I had leaned way in, I could smell the cinnamon on her breath as I watched her tremble. Tears were literally streaming down her face and her arms were wrapped around her.

Khloe had lost her family. A large hoard of zombies had walked through killing every man, woman, and child but her. If not for being hidden in a pickle bucket the family would have been wiped out. From then on she sought to do nothing but bring out the beauty she saw in others - even when they couldn't see it themselves.

She thought of the funny knight with the two titles for names - Father Sergeant. Would he not sacrifice himself for his subjects? Of course he would. He wouldn't be curled in a ball sobbing about it either, but standing tall and proud, like a cavalier of brilliance and truth. It was he she was trying to emulate a bit now, taking from him what made him beautiful and emulating it. For she saw him, clear in her minds eye. There he was, down in the castle, fighting the last remaining loyalists to get the innocents out. He was suffering blow after blow, standing up for them and paying with his own blood.

There was poor Bollo. Seeing his face when confronted with the dying grove of trees, their shrubbery faded to dried out sticks and thorns, the flowers that once graced the garden snuffed from existence. He had called upon nature to talk to the last vestiges of life and she had seen, though he was too proud to evidence it, that his heart was broken as the trees called upon the last embers of their life, fanned the coals back to a small flame just long enough to give him their children, their seeds. He had promised to plant them in good soil. If it took him a hundred years to find the right place, the right soil, the right lighting - she trusted he would do it.

She thought of Zen, perfectly named as he maintained tranquil balance, always measuring the pros and cons and seeking harmony. From him was one life not worth the hundreds of Rodrigo's realm. Was not the innocence of one not worth giving the ruler of many a second chance to be a good ruler? Was Zen not now even, still guiding others over stones as ballista and bolt rained overhead, helping each to freedom no matter how small or how strong? A balancing force standing grey, between the lamp and the wall; neither light nor shadow he. How could she back down now, letting those he was helping fall back into darkness and despair?

There was Okaat, who had wept for the loss of a life, an artificial life. His golem broken and yet, despite building a new one, it was never the same. From him came the knowledge that all life is important, that all people deserve a second chance, even people like us. How could she not intercede, no matter the horrors of the night. He too knew of suffering, yet gave of himself in the form of his toys and gizmos, to help others - yet here she sat, wrapped in her own tears, could she do less than he?

She had learned that we have to create the future we want to have, or else others will do creation for us. That we have to care for one another, because if we do not who will? Her friends needed her, if only to buy them time to escape. The town needed her, literally to protect its fate. She glanced at Rodrigo, despite what he might thing, he too needed her. She had so very little to give as the Mistress of the Night peered down upon her broken, sullied, distressed form. Who was she? She was but a little girl, far away from home, entertaining delusions of adequacy in a world far too big for her.

"If I..." she snorted unladylike and wiped her nose on her sleeve, but managed to clear some of the tears from her cheeks long enough for new ones to form. "If I stay will they be free? Will he be free? Will the trees that wept for their ungerminated seeds be free? I am insignificant, just a girl bouncing through the world. Most likely I would never be missed, yet you ask me if I am willing to purchase their freedom, their dreams, their hopes with my own? It is a trade I am willing to make a thousand times, Mistress."

Nyx pondered on it. It was interesting that such strength came from one so weak. She did not know, she could not even fathom what it was she was truly worth, nor what she was offering. Look at her, five foot nothing, 100 and nothing, wrapped up in a ball crying yet unwilling to choose safety and security if it meant others were to be harmed, even those she had not met.

She turned back to Rodrigo. "You see her. Stripped of everything that makes her beautiful. She has no poise, no charisma, she's covered in tears, her hair is matted with sweat and fear. Look at her! She knows you brought her here to trap her in your pact, warlock. Yours! You thought you could substitute her for yourself, keep your power, keep your station, and walk around Faerûn a free man? Is this still what you want? Are you willing to sacrifice her so you can go free?"

Rodrigo hung his head in shame. "I did. That was my plan, and I am loathe to admit it given what I have seen just now. Given the power of that kiss. Yet if you feel she is any less beautiful now, wrapped in a ball with tears down her face; if you truly cannot fathom how much more beautiful that makes her, how I long to jump between you in vain effort to stop you, then I wonder if you even know beauty at all? For if I had the power to go back in time and undo it all, Mistress Nyx, I swear to you I would do so now."

The corner of her mouth twitched. Interesting phrasing. We were all here right now because he was forsworn, so what if he would have sworn to do other - his oath had no power anymore. Still, the sentiment was clear.

I moved to my throne and sat, crossing my legs and moving my gown of stars aside to be more comfortable. I glared at the two of them. This moment had been planned and orchestrated over thousands of years; but even I could not know if it would succeed or not until these two did what they did. Free will, it was quite the bane in a goddess' planning after all. Yet they had. How Khloe found the will after that Glimpse I don't want to know. I had intended it more to convince Selune and to trap Rodrigo, but her defiance even after - with tears of horror still on her face, her body shuddering there on the floor, with the visage still fresh in her mind she chose that, if it meant others could be free.

Many millennia ago I saved a girl from being raped. I killed all the men who had conspired to harm Molly, and together, with a very young Sune and a more impetuous God of War, we crafted a comb for her and her family. We promised to power the comb and protect each matron in succession from harm. Now here sat Khloe, the copper comb was in her left hand after falling out of her hair. It wasn't even an especially pretty comb, but it looked like a child had woven together some extra bits of copper into a decorative shape, a copper that closely aligned to Khloe's natural auburn hair color. Now here she sat, the product of all that protection, and she was protected precisely so I could do this.

"Very well. Rodrigo, I release you from the death I have ordered for you and your kingdom. You will still serve me, but you will serve me as a living lord of the manor, and your kingdom will forever serve my needs, my wants, my desires. You will take over protecting Khloe and any progeny she may have in all things, as if your life depends on it because it does.

You will guide your tower and the village of subjects as a good steward. You will cease this nonsense of self aggrandizement and dedicate yourself to the needs of your people. Yet you will not do this alone, do not fret. Khloe will finish out your pact, but in a manner of my choosing. She will accompany you to your kingdom, she will guide your hand and your heart. In this way you will be able to protect her, but also to learn from her - the two of you stronger together than apart.

And Khloe, you will keep Rodrigo focused, yes? Though a day will come when I shall call upon you for a special favor. Until that day, you and Rodrigo will be immortal rulers of all you survey. You will bring beauty and illumination to the people freeing them from their drab life of servitude. I trust you know what to do, you had good parentage, strong friends, and probably more life experience than you realize."


It was then her mother was dragged forth from the spirit realm and forced into view for all to see. "And you. Are you satisfied I have fulfilled my oath, woman?"

Khloe's mother nodded ascent. The deed was done, though she had crafted the need for it, designed the path, guided all the key players, connived and twisted reality as needed, she got what she wanted. Khloe would be there, in 30 years, her young vibrant self, but now instilled with decades of wisdom and the knowledge of what it means to serve others and in turn be served.

Sune walked up to Khloe and helped her onto her feet. She didn't say anything, she just kissed the girl on the cheek, the saltiness of her tears were still present; then she winked out. Tempus too embraced her, though he whispered in her ear "You are going to have much tribulation in your life, little one. Trust the storm of your heart, the loyalty of your companions, and stay the course." Then he too winked out of existence.

Moments later, as if waking from a dream, the two of them awoke in the largest bed that Khloe had ever seen. It was wider and longer than a team of horses, it had columns of white granite spiraling up into the sky to end in star finials, shear drapes hung from the posts and heavy curtains were pulled back. They both lay there in the bed, fully clothed, wondering if they had just shared a dream, if the other was aware of the dream, how did they get in the bed, and what was going on in the castle.


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Last edited by Jennifer; Jun 17th, 2022 at 02:57 PM.
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Old Jun 18th, 2022, 08:54 AM
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Father Sergeant Holgrim – something was about to happen
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Holgrim stood transfixed by the dance, nay, ritual that played out, first before them, then above them.

Khloe and the Thistledown man seemed to dance to a tune of their own – a charismatic force seemed to keep everyone else a distance away. There was no breaking through what was happening between them.

The ceiling broke as the pair arose.



”We have no role to play here – some great fate resolves tonight, for our good or ill, is not in our own hands.”

The Lord of Leilon put his mind to what he could affect – the room around him.

”Lap dog …” he growled, turning his mind to Grigore. He stepped towards the ill-favoured man.

”No on leaves. Master’s orders.” and the man said ”This is the Heart of the Shadow. None are meant to leave.”



”So you say.” Holgrim snapped back ”You are but worm that feeds on your master’s earth and you will be ground in twain by the boot of justice!” Holgrim snarled, this may be his last act – but he had sworn to release those trapped here. He ran at the lap-dog defender, chanting to the god Tyr has he swung the Anvil in ancient forms.

Of coursed he ducked as he saw the flame-pea fly towards him. It was just pain, just hurt, more for his body to bear. He closed with Grigore


”To me! To me, great spirits of Tyr. Ground that runt to the ground.” and as hammer weilding spirits swirled first around him, and then Grigore’s body, Father Sergeant called out to his comrades ”Bollo! Zen, Xylie! Hit him, hit him with everything you have.” Father Sergeant was springing forward ”Duos – take him!” he shouted.


ooc
17 initiative – saved fireball
Father Sergeant closing to 15ft of Grigore where the spiritual guardians will attack. Calling for overwhelming force to end him while his master is engaged.


 


 
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 07:43 AM
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Dance and Battle
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Zhou Zen (Silver Finch)
The dark manor to which they had been led fell down around them. It disintegrated all around them thanks to a dance. Thanks to the Tannakha-Bachata. The mysterious, magical, awesome Tannakha-Bachata.

Something young sparked within Zhou Zen when he saw the dance, when he saw Khloe and her captor rise, spin, swirl, reach, dodge. Something young, something from a long time ago.

That something was love. Not love for an unknown sister hanging from the gallows. No. It was a love for someone or something that he once held and had forgotten. He could not remember what that someone or something was, but he yearned for it nonetheless. He yearned to hold it within his arms once again and he yearned to remember it.

But he could not. Maybe it was the Glimpse or maybe it was stress on an old man's body and mind, but he could not remember it.

However, Silver Finch thanked the Tannakha-Bachata for what it had given him. And he thanked Khloe for the Tannakha-Bachata. He thanked the young monk and the dance for what he now felt, but could not remember.



Soon, the Father Sergeant rallied the troops and the tricky Grigore delivered threats, commands. "Grigore," Zen said to no one, "the one who cannot be trusted. Never trusted. Never trusted, indeed."

A fiery spell erupted from Grigore The Liar's hands, but the battle swiftness of old man Zhou caused the bolt of fire to engulf a nearby window and wall instead of killing Zen.

Battle swiftness. A dance of sorts, but nothing like the power of the Tannakha-Bachata.

Zen slowly drew his bright and shining jian as he stared down the evil man who had brought him and his friends to the abode of The Thistledown Man. There would be a battle. A last battle that would either see the end of Zhou Zen or the liberation of his friends and the captives who waited behind him.

Liberation.

Freedom.

Justice.

Or Death.



 


 
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Last edited by Warson; Jun 29th, 2022 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Correcting HPs.
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 12:06 PM
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Bollo Poppindwyer
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Musical accompaniment

To dance was to live… it was embedded in the very fabric of life and if one looked closely you could see it everywhere. The dance of the trees as they followed the ever elusive sunlight, branches and trunks intertwining, joining and parting… a delicate dance. The dance of waves upon the shore… sometimes a lapping tempo… other times a crushing crescendo.

The dance was life and as Bollo watched Khloe ascend, the druid knew peace… an inner peace that signified an end but not an ending.

The firbolg did not have any illusions that he would survive the coming battle… none at all as blistering waves of heat and flame enveloped his body. But even if he was to fall here… he knew that the dust he became would soon dance along with the wind…

and then he would begin again.


OocBollo is unconscious.

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Jun 29th, 2022 at 12:11 PM.
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Old Jun 29th, 2022, 01:52 PM
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The Heart of Shadow
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Holgrim strode to the center of the stairs to confront the Thistledown Man's lap dog, calling upon his diety and his allies for aid. ”To me! To me, great spirits of Tyr. Ground that runt to the ground. Bollo! Zen, Xylie! Hit him, hit him with everything you have.” Divine warriors materialized within the darkness of the Shadowfell, their holy radiance banishing the eternal night of that fell plane.

Spectral guardians would not deter Grigore from the blood he sought. The deranged warrior waved a hand to summon his own apparition in the form of a shadowy scythe that swiped down at the Lord of Leilon, intercepted by the sword of one of Tyr’s ghostly heroes. Charging forward, Grigore raised his great sword to engage Holgrim but Rubric Dos leaped between to deflect the blow away with his own metallic hide. The mongrel of shadow stood toe to toe against the champion of light on the steps of Hope's End. One final confrontation to see the prisoners of that grim manor freed.
The vagabond gritted his teeth as both his attacks were frustrated by Holgrim’s allies, spiritual and physical. Grigore was alone and outmatched, lost in a world of darkness of his own making.

ooc Just a reminder, any successful physical attacks made against Grigore, please post the action as intention as opposed occurring.

Short post. Just a couple actions to resolve.




 


 


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Old Jun 30th, 2022, 04:22 PM
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Father Sergeant Holgrim – something was about to happen
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Holgrim was enraptured with holy justice.

His comrades ran alongside him, running through the fiery attack of the lap-dog. He paid it no mind - there was only one thing that mattered. He watched as spirits of Tyr swirled around him, swinging radiant maces at the man.


And he joined the fray himself – Mighty Tyr, guide thy servant’s hand!” he called as he bounded up the stairs and brought the anvil crashing at the lap-dog’s chest. The hammer flashed bright radiance and the Lord of Leilon swung against, this time missing the dodging man.


”Bring the justice of Tyr!” his eyes glowed with certainty of the divinely inspired.


ooc
He’s in full holy warrior mode.


 


 
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Old Jul 1st, 2022, 04:14 PM
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To Flank
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Zhou Zen (Silver Finch)
"Oh, no...that will not do," Zen said as the traitorous Grigore summoned a dark and shadowy scythe and cut the air in front of the Father Sergeant. "That will no do at all."

It seems that chaos was everywhere...flying holy spirits, the misty scythe, Holgrim's hammer, shouts for Justice and Tyr. Chaos everywhere, but that did not slow Silver Finch. Not one bit.

Zen had seen battle many times. Had seen war too many times. Had participated in both The Battle and The War. That was long ago, but teachings, when taught correctly, stayed with the student forever.

Tactics. Strategy. Speed.

All of these things are needed in battle and war. All of them.

Zen quickly stepped forward and in an instant he had flanked Grigore; Holgrim on one side, Zen on the other. Surely, just a slash of the sword is all that it would take. Surely.

Or would it?

Zen's jian cut through the air and toward the back of Grigore's neck. Surely the man would fall. Surely.

Or would he?

Zen sliced the air before him yet again. Death's breath was in the air. Surely Zen and his friends and the prisoners of the shadowy manor would be freed. Surely.

Or would they?

Zen then leaped in the air like a man fifty years his younger and his foot targeted the back of Grigore's head. Surely Death would now send the traitor straight to the Nine Hells. Surely.

Or would she?

Still behind Grigore, Zen took up a defensive posture and waited for the man to fall.



 


 
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 02:15 PM
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Bollo Poppindwyer
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Bollo was on his knees, smoke and steam rising from his scorched form, his beard and face singed and blackened. Drawing breath into his burnt lungs racked his body with pain and he clenched his fists as he tried to rise… but he couldn’t… not yet.

Raising his eyes towards Grigore, Bollo sent a mote of violet sparkle through the air to explode behind the shadow slave. The mote exploded into a kaleidoscope of all of the vibrant colors of nature. These Faire fire: DC 15 dex save. Placed so only he is effectedcolors… representations of all life, fell upon the man, attaching themselves to him as if to remind him of everything he had sacrificed in his worthless life.

Bollo was not done however. Behind Grigore the shimmering blue form of a massive bear appeared… charging the man. Just as the bear would crash into Grigore, it too exploded in a shower of sparks that zipped through the air directly into Bollo’s companions.

Everyone found themselves encased in a shimmering blue cloak of The bear spirit grants you and your allies its might and endurance. Each creature of your choice in the aura when the spirit appears gains temporary hit points equal to 5 + your druid level. In addition, you and your allies gain advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws while in the aura.protection.


Ooc13 temp hp for everyone. If he fails save/ advantage on all attacks

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Jul 3rd, 2022 at 02:16 PM.
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Old Jul 6th, 2022, 11:46 AM
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The Heart of Shadow
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"Mighty Tyr, guide thy servant’s hand!” Holgrim bellowed at the man attempting to keep him and his away from their freedom. His warhammer, Tyr's Anvil arced down toward Grigore. The vagabond was not without his own tricks and just as the blow was to land, a flash of light attempted to blind the Father Sergeant's eyes. Holgrim had a divine counter to this, however, as he intoned his divinity for aid. His eyes glowed with Tyr's justice, the flash from Grigore paling in comparison to the light shining from Holgrim as Tyr's Anvil slammed into the lap dog's chest. The blow knocked Grigore off balance which caused Holgrim's follow through swing to miss and also caused Bollo attempt to outline the vagabond in a purple glow to fall harmlessly to the ground.

Zen and Xylie, however, did not miss. The Dawnbringer slammed her mace down upon the man's shoulder while Zen danced around behind to deliver cut after slash after slice before leaping into the air and bringing his fist down upon the back of Grigore's head at the base of his skull. A loud crack sounded out in the air and Holgrim watched as the life slipped out of the man's eyes and he collapsed onto the ground, dead.

Without wasting a beat, Dandelion darted passed the newly fallen corpse and ran around the side of the manor to what might have been a servant's house in a different life. The cramped quarters within revealed a wooden hatch on the floor that the young girl quickly pulled aside revealing a pit. It was dark. It was dank and it seemed to extend for eternity. "A leap of faith into the shadows but I have deduced that this will lead us back to our world."

Violent shaking cracked the walls of the building as the ground heaved from the cosmic battles being waged high above during the dancing of the Tannakha-Bachata. There was no time to debate the merits of the pit to nothingness. To linger would mean death and more corpses to keep the cold body of Grigore company.

Dandelion wrapped an arm around Holgrim's waist and looked up into his dark eyes, at the others who had been trapped in Hope's End, freed by the cleric of Tyr. "You did this, Holgrim. Braved the shadows to bring light to this desolate place and bring us back home. I can feel it, that this will take us home. All of us." The girl leaped into the darkness and quickly fell from sight.

As the roof of the servant's building began to collapse, the assembled party quickly followed suit.

There was no sound but the air rushing past one's ears. There was no sight but the overwhelming darkness that attempted to influence every sense, so dark that one could almost taste the black, smell the inky gloom and feel the thick shadows. The fluid in the inner began to swirl and though none could mundanely sense they were spinning, the sensation was present until it built to a degree that none were able to withstand before the blackness overwhelmed the mind and unconsciousness claim each and every mortal attempting to leave the Shadowfell.



right-aligned image
Slowly, one by one, eyes began to open, torsos were lifted and heads raised. A bright yellow sun shone down from a deep blue sky and vibrant fronds of grass danced atop a mirror of reflective water. Those who had lived their lives in Leilon instantly recognized the marshes between the town and mire where the water was still clean and the ground still solid. A cheer arose from the former captives of Hope's End as a procession on horseback was spotted just over a nearby rise. The symbol of the Lord's Alliance flying on a standard at the head of a patrol. Hearing the cacophony, the column changed course and rode toward the recently awoken group just saved from the Shadowfell.

A heavily armored rider dismounted and removed her helm. Long red braided hair fell down to her chest as her eyes widen at the realization of who she was observing. "By the gods." Regaining her composure, Hannah called out to her riders, "See to these people! Treat them as your own kin for these are those thought lost to the Mire!"

Removing her own cloak she briskly walked to Father Sergeant Holgrim and wrapped him in the blue cloth. "Where in all the realms have you been? We gave up the search years ago. Never found a trace of your passing." She looked at some of the assembled faces receiving water from skins and bread from packs, recognizing some of those Holgrim had brought with him. "Timothy Walden, the miner. Bradley Morton, the baker. Elizabeth Willows, the weaver." Father Sergeant, these were some of the first missing persons I was tasked with upon assignment in Leilon. Dandelion! By the gods, you all disappeared the day after she, but...but, that was nigh ten years ago!"

Looking closer at Hannah's face and hair, Holgrim detected strands of gray in her red locks and lines creasing her eyes and mouth. She couldn't have been to her third decade when last he had seen her but here she was full into middle age.

"There is much for you to catch up on, Sir." Hannah nodded her head behind Holgrim with a grim look upon her face.


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Last edited by tomplum; Jul 6th, 2022 at 12:16 PM.
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  #26  
Old Jul 7th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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Father Sergeant Holgrim – Home?
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Holgrim stumbled forward, shielding his eyes. The air was fresh. Sun!

There was green, so much green and health and light. The good Father wept. They were back – Dandelion was with them, they’d rescued her from that hell. But at a cost.


Khloe had been taken to the dark skies of the Shadowfell – lost with that Thistledown man in that diabolic dance. He’d failed her.

And he’d failed Okaat too. A friend he’d stood shoulder to shoulder with against the Jester’s ranks of undead. And Uno – that strange spirit. Only Duos remained, standing loyally at his knee.


The Lord of Leilon dropped his shield and tore off his tabard – he dropped to his haunches by the metal guardian’s side, a hand resting between its shoulders. ”I’m sorry …” he said.



Then his companions cheered. Holgrim wiped the tears from his eyes as he struggled to focus on the horizon. Riders?

A red-headed woman led them, calling By the gods … and see to these people

”Hannah?” Holgrim said as he recognised a face as if from a dream. But it was not her ”Her mother – you must by my Lieutenant’s mother, how come …”

The old soldier was lost as the woman, who it turns out was Hannah, explained how they had been missing for years. Those days in the Feywild had stolen years from them in this world.


”There is much for you to catch up on, Sir.” She said, clothing the Lord of Leilon with unwanted authority.

”That may be Hannah, that may be” the emotion cracked his voice ”But I am not sure I am ready to hear it yet …” tears again rolled down his cheek ”I’m not sure I can do this any more.”

And with desperation, Father Sergeant, Lord of Leilon, plain old Simon Holgrim embraced the Lieutenant and hugged her letting the emotion of their cursed journey go. He sobbed and sobbed for all the loss and failure - there was penance to be done.



ooc
He held it together – just … Now he is safe, he can be weak.


 


 
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  #27  
Old Jul 10th, 2022, 09:10 AM
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Bollo Poppindwyer
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Bollo stared into the yawning abyss… the black hole that hinted salvation yet promised oblivion. The firbolg stared into the darkness but he did not feel fear… he felt nothing at all. Bollo had felt shame in his life… shame that he had not fought hard against the darkness in the war. He had stayed away… protected his personal domain… but in the end… he had truly done nothing.

Not this time. Bollo had given his all against the shadows. The druid was at peace with himself.

The black hole swallowed Bollo and down and down he fell. As the nothingness enveloped him… Bollo smiled.

The companions found themselves in a field under a blue sky sun… it was a sudden transition and the giant eagle shook out its feathers before launching itself high into the blue canopy above. The majestic eagle called out in glorious notes the return of the lost as it soared in dizzying circles above.

Bollo heard all that was said below… ten years… but what was ten years measured against an eternity of regret. The druid circled above, riding the currents, as Holgrim wept below.

What would Bollo do next… he did not know. Perhaps he would disappear once again into his hermitage. Perhaps… but then... Bollo’s eagle eyes settled on Zen… perhaps not.


OocWhat an amazing game! Thanks everyone!

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Last edited by Begon Ugo; Jul 10th, 2022 at 09:11 AM.
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