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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« on: June 15, 2005, 06:04:36 PM »
Clutching the cold shaft of the spear with his right hand,  Craeth Calwydden stared down, his left hand trembling slightly, and his crooked nose bleeding. One of the mountain warriors had slammed a mallet into the grizzled captain’s helmet and his ears still rang from the glancing blow.  The valley nesting between Mount Keadle and the west edge of the Broken Hills stretched below, its steep sides unrelieved forest, a deep windswept green. The Kettlemire wood had proved a treacherous place, and was now the grave of more than four score of his men. The old mercenary looked at the tiny figures emerging from the forest below. His mercenaries were fleeing for their lives.

The tribals honour the dead. There will be no looters, naught but flies and crows.

The mercenary captain drew his furs tighter about his shoulders; the wind had not relented, though it was as if the stench of blood now rode its bludgeoning rush. Casually glancing to his side, Craeth noticed Morrigan, a young recruit, crouching at his side. Having been chosen as the new standard bearer after the fall of Derek half-hand, the boy would now travel at his side for the duration of his service, however short that may prove to be.

“Hey, kid! You are the replacement for Derek”, the Captain more stated than asked. “Derek always gave me advice in situations like these”. The boy looked sick, his face pale and blood trickling down his chain mail sleeve, likely from a wound received in the ambush. When the boy heard his question, his blue eyes seemed ready to pop out of his head, his mouth gaping dumbfounded.

“Fight, sir?” the blonde kid answered, he was no more than sixteen the previous summer and his youthful voice was a mere whisper, full of doubt and fear.

The Captain smiled reassuringly and once more he focused on the figures below.  “We are already fighting, young Morrigan. Within those woods our rearguard is fighting for their lives”.

----------------------------------------------

With a jarring crash, a tribal thrust his spear into the fur cloak of the medium sized Silmarite, piercing the hide and shattering against the breast plate beneath. Sergeant Hans Sternflucht was knocked off his feet, the shaft of the spear protruding from his cloak. Gasping for air, not fully realizing the situation, Hans tried to draw his broadsword, but the partially nude, tattooed savage who had just attacked him was too fast. With frantic desperation, Hans rolled to the side, just as the savage planted a dagger into the moss where Hans’s throat had been mere moments before, shredding but a few strains of golden hair.

He had seemingly appeared from nowhere, suddenly bursting from the foliage, and with him came others, four hot headed young warriors with their swirling barbarian tattoos and their two handed spears. Their long black hair was bound with strips of leather and they wore only loincloths and fur cloaks. They charged down the steeply sloped forest ground, only seconds behind their impetuous leader. Jumping four feet down from a large, leaf covered rock, they landed in the middle of Sternflucht’s decimated squad, scattering multi hued leaves everywhere.

Of the squad, only the construct Domunsoka, the elven witch Sharee, the grim swordsman Dietrich and the jovial alchemist Flare had survived, the others had been killed in the ambush or during the retreat. On the entire journey, the sergeant had said over and over that his was the weirdest mercenary squad in existence, but, he had added, they were d**ned good mercs to boot.

The savages ignored the exotic looking Domunsoka, perhaps they did not understand that it was alive, and they split in two groups. Two charged the fearsome soldier Dietrich and the other two charged Sharee and Flare, who had been talking as they made their way uphill.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2005, 10:12:30 PM »
Domunsoka is no fool.
It now sees that the painted men do not understand it's purpose. It stands still like a statue, seeming singularly inanimate. Before it, painted men and fur-wearers battle each other.

One of the painted warriors backs out of the fight, clutching a scarred sword. His eyes are wide with adrenaline. The ghost doll is waiting, and it's wooden arms encircle the man in a silent sweep, drawing the man (now shouting in a jabbering barbarian tongue) against it's smooth chest and pulling, pulling, restraining the man until he begins to swing wildly.

Domunsoka releases the man momentarily, who whirls to face the construct. But cold wood fingers curl around his neck, and fear fills his eyes as the life is squeezed from him by a faceless statue-man.

Now the barbarian lies at Domunsoka's feet, neck bruised with deep purple finger marks. Domunsoka smoothly takes up the man's sword, and prepares to take the next comers.
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Offline Alec_Shadowkin

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2005, 10:53:44 PM »
Red and white spots dance in front of Flare's eyes as he slams into the ground, tackled by one of the d**ned barbarians. He grunts loudly and rolls over, the sword stroke intended for his neck slamming into the ground instead. These guys definately need to just quit. Its not like the mercs planned to steal their women and children or anything.

He jumps to his feet, using his spear as leverage and, as he moves a few feet down the slope, he reaches into his coat, pulling out a vial filled with a viscous purple liquid. He palms it and prepares to throw toward his assailant as the "wooden wonder" eliminates one of the fool tribesmen.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2005, 05:53:20 AM »
"Your stench betrays you" I hissed, adding 'as does the flock of dead souls trailing behind you' just for myself.

The rancid presence of the barbarian charged past me, his greasy hair, full of content lice trailing behind him like a comet's tail. Revulsion almost kept me from striking his face. Almost. My fingers, crooked like an eagle's talons, traced  four scarlet lines across his face, and the blades on my glove were laced with sparkling ruby drops.

Time. If I just had more time!

Clenching my hands around the shaft of the stave firmly, I withdrew to bring some space between myself and the corroded edge of the savage's butcher's cleaver. Every few steps, I traced a mark into the mud, a straight line, from he to him.

The barbarian breathed heavily, frothing in fury. No wonder - his right eye was but a stream running down his right cheek. Having sketched the third mark, I stood still, pretending exhaustion and weakness. Just what my adversary had waited for. With the roar of a wounded bear, he strode forward, axe lifted up high.

As he crossed the marks, I whispered their names, bringing them to life. "Ardor. Amar. Anor!"
The first time I spoke, fine tendrils of red haze joined the trail of his mane and the creeks of blood. The second time I spoke, steam hissed as water began to evaporate from his damp furs. Upon the third utterance, a new scarlet flower blossomed in the woods.

The screaming savage ran by, blinded in pain, just to tumble to the ground a few steps later. The flames sparkled and danced as they consumd his flesh. "At least in death you are beautiful..." I smiled.

Only to be reminded of a fundamental truth a second later.

As another barbarian's hatchet whirred past my head, I chastised myself.

Never gloat over a dead foe.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2005, 12:14:03 AM »
Dietrich had already drawn his battlesword and stood still, feet firmly planted in the rocky ground. He repeated silently underneath his breath;
"Let them come to you, let them come to you."
Dietrich's sword awaited the charge from above his head, like a poisonous
viper ready to strike.
He would have to cripple the first, so that he had time to face the other savage. The warrior tried to lash out at his temples.
Dietrich bawled out a war cry and lopped down his sword seeking to strike  a clean cut trough the man's right wrist.
Dietrich could already smell the blood jetting from a raw stump.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2005, 02:30:25 AM »
Retreating from him in a series of swift dance steps, I whirled around, the tip of the stave tracing a purplish line in the air. The scent of suplhur filled the air as I flung a cloud of sparks and embers towards the barbarian, kindling tiny flames in his furs.

d**n their manners! They should know better than to bother a mage during spellcasting!

I continued withdrawing, rotating my stave in front of me, producing a low hum and the occassional roar as I managed to shape an orb of flame to hurl towards the savage.

"Stop playng around, boys, and retreat towards the captain!"

Adding a second later: "And, by the gods, buy me some time, will you? Otherwise the tribals will be the least of your worries!"
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2005, 03:17:15 AM »
With a wild, desperate backhand swing sergeant Sternflucht knocked the blood crazed savage off his stomach, finally freeing himself from the immediate threat. As the heavily armoured sergeant struggled back on his feet, his opponent, the stunned barbarian, surveyed the battlefield, noticing that soon he would be the only one left.

The strange wooden figure the trespassers had been carrying was no mere doll; it was alive in itself, a feat worthy of the greatest Shaman. It’s emotionless, painted face smiled ghastly as it looked down on doomed Graathor, its wooden fingers unyieldingly squeezing him, stealing his life away. As the life in his eyes were extinguished, he could feel the rush of Graathor's soul, sense it merging with the shaman’s roughly carved Hannu stone in the necklace around his neck. He could feel the power within it. Sensed the life energies build up momentum. The dread magic of the Hannu stone was already taking effect.

The soul of Eneiag had already entered the fey vessel, and his mortail coil was but a piece of scorched flesh, dead at the feet of an unexpected foe. It was a shaman of the elder race who had returned to their lands, and this time they were not allies. Of the two charging the middle sized, but unusually muscular, ugly man in rusty armour, one got his right hand fingers severed by a blow aimed to take the entire hand. Still the effect was the same; his hand would be useless and could wield a weapon no more. A leather wearing trespasser, looking much like one of their tribe, stood ready with some strange object in his palm.

With a cry born of desperate anger, Tan-Tanorden called upon those few warriors who, by this time, had readied themselves. His guttural cry was indecipherable to the trespassers, but was evidently filled with raw emotions of hate and grief. As if in reply, the voices of perhaps a dozen barbarians resounded from the forest mere twenty yards uphill. Their tribal war cry, a shrill, piercing scream, echoed the emotion in Tan-Tanorden's voice. For within the Urshenk tribe emotions was like a language in itself, easily read by any member. They too had felt the passing of their kin and the sloped, moss and leaf covered forest floor was suddenly full of running, fur cloaked savages come to avenge their fallen.

Sergeant Sternflucht threw of his fur cape and drew his broadsword.  With a backhand blow he forced the barbarian leader to retreat a few steps.

“Listen to Sharee!” he shouted, “we must fight together or we die right now! We must hold till Eric's squad can reach us!”. The sergeant back stepped until he was beside Domunsoka, the eerie construct still strangling the now lifeless corpse of a savage tribal.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2005, 01:01:36 PM »
Domunsoka produced no acknowledgement of the captain, but took up the sword of the fallen tribal and held it in a loose, unnatural grip.
With a quick, twitching motion, the wooden man stood in a balanced stance, sword prepared to protect it's comrade and leader.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2005, 02:47:58 PM »
"Good lord," Flare murmured. "These savages are coming out of the d**ned woodwork!" He shifted his alchemical vial into his right hand, his throwing hand and prepared to launch it at the first sign of the barbarians emerging from the trees.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2005, 07:33:03 PM »
Dietrich grunted with pleasure and his face split into a hellish grin as the savage screamed in pain. He kicked him in the stomach to disable him further before kissing swords with the other wild man.
A second later he charged into the other savage, his sword hissed a fine arc towards the stomach of the man.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2005, 09:00:03 PM »
"Flare! Sharee! We need your skills here!" The sergeant barked as Dietrich and Sharee confronted their lone remaining assailant, the  now fingerless warrior down on the ground screaming with pain.

Focusing on the elder race shaman, the barbarian warrior did not register Dietrich's lethal blow before it was too late. The mercenary's swing struck true and as the savage was disemboweled, his vision was blurred with pain. His entrails poured out and despite his best efforts, his blood soaked hands could not keep them all in.

Noticing that Sharee and Dietrich had removed their last opponent, sergeant Sternflucht waved them over. "I do hope you still have ingredients for those high explosive cocktails of yours, Flare" the sergeant said hopefully. Then he gave both Sharee and Flare a determined look. "We need you two to buy us time" he said before he took up position between Dietrich and Domunsoka, forming a line of defense in front of the alchemist and the witch.

With speed born of urgency, the barbarians gathered around Tan-Tanorden. The handsome young leader could feel the spirits stirring within the Hannu stone. Brushing aside that troubling thought, he pointed at the handful of mercenaries in front of them. "Kill them, but be careful, for they are more than they seem. Take the elder race shaman first, for she has power!". Tan-Tanorden stared directly into the eyes of Sharee, before he uttered another word "Oath breaker!". Of course the humans would not understand, but the elder race had always spoken their language.

There was a moment of near silence then, the only sounds those of the blowing wind and the breathing men. The barbarians outnumbered the mercenaries two to one and slowly their warriors began circling the hapless sell-swords, their pointed spears seemed almost like the fang of some fell beast.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2005, 04:14:55 AM »
The barbarians circled us with vicous and feral stares, and I could feel their hatred wafting over to me. Indeed, the flames of rage burn hot...

Seeking shelter in the midst of my fellows, I drew the rune Sol into the dirt, and traced the Ged sigil into the air, both connected to circle motifs. While I knew that the savages would first circle us to leap back and charge from unexpected angles after we got used to their motion, unbeknowst to them, their trail, trod into the soft forest soil, would serve me as a focus.
Likewise, the smaller circle my comrades traced was of some use.

Through Sol and Ged, I could feel the heat of their anger even more.
So I called out, to the dark shards of essence lured here by the slaughter:
"Spirits of anger, spirits of rage, messengers of blood-thirsty passion! Drawn by the fury of those left standing, drawn by the sorrow over their comrades, drawn by the fear of warriors, heed my call!"

And they flocked like a swarm of crows, unseen until I gave each of them a spark of fire.
Whirling around my group, the air erupted into flame as it was filled with blazing distorted faces, each of them flapping wings of burning blood.

These battles, they had one boon. They made me feel alive.

Smiling, I crouched while stil holding my stave, only to rise again caressing it along its length, as if it was a giant phallus. And again, coaxing more and more fiery power to the wild flock surrounding us.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2005, 05:08:01 PM »
Dietrich was occupied with restraining himself from simply charging into the savages that now circled them. He muttered to himself; "let them, come to you". It was no good to leave a hole open in their defense, the group was best of working together.
As the savages came closer he noticed the she-witch poking in the dirt.
Then suddenly the air around them was filled with hellspawn.
Dietrich roared and charged towards the savages, it was pure reflex.
The sight of the horrors made him panic and go berserk with fear and rage.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2005, 10:56:50 PM »
The ghost doll lurched forward with a pinging metal clack and the jounce of springs.
Domunsoka dashed and powerfully hauled back at Dietrich's shoulder, batting the taken sword out in front to bar the wild man's path. Dragging, the wooden man backed away from the hideous burning wall, it's cold digits locked around the smelly, blood-crusted collar of Dietrich's jacket.

Domunsoka said nothing, befitting it's statuesque nature, but the meaning was clear.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2005, 07:10:10 AM »
Momentarily protected, Flare drops to his knees behind Sharee, reaching into his coat and pulling out several vials. He places them on the ground, keeping one in his hand, half-filled with a deep blue liquid, the sap of a kliklick vine. He picks up a different vial with his amazingly steady hands and pulls the tiny corks with his teeth. He pours a tiny amount of the second vial, a greyish powder, into the vial of sap, which immediately turns a deep purple. Putting the vial of powder back into his coat, he picks up a third vial, this one a watery red liquid, the color of blood. A single drop is added to the mixture and the concoction starts steaming ever so slightly, only Flare with his trained eyes notices the steam with everything else going on.

He grabs Dietrich's arm and holds the new creation out to him.
"Take this, apply it to your weapon quickly. The acid won't eat through your blade, but their flesh will disappear pretty fast." Once Dietrich takes the acid, Flare reaches into his coat again and grabs a vial of sticky goo which, when exposed to air, will instantly ignite and remain on fire until the goo is burned off. He then stands still, waiting for the flames to die down, to give him a clear shot at the savages.....
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2005, 06:13:42 PM »
As Dietrich lunged forward the flaming spirits descended upon him with ravenous desire. When he approached their fiery trail, their flames blistered his right cheek and eye brow, strangely sending chills down his spine, into the very depths of his soul. One, screaming silently, hovered in front of his face, flapping its wings of burning blood. Its heat seemed almost cold then, and inside it felt like he was falling. He knew it was trying to possess him, taking control of his body, to shroud it in flames and death. Then salvation arrived with brutal suddenness. The abrupt rescuing performed by the wooden construct pulled him away from the influence of the summoned dead, and the spirits reacted accordingly, suddenly whispering audibly, their haunting, forlorn voices filled with anger and contempt.

On the other side of the wall, four savages had responded to Dietrich with a counter attack and now the spirits were feasting on their souls like vultures on a carcass. The men were screaming, howling and thrashing wildly as the fiery horrors burnt and tormented them until there was naught left but scarred, smouldering corpses.

Sternflucht watched with horrid fascination, before he finally managed to tear his gaze away from the gruesome slaughter. Everyone was watching, everyone but the young barbarian leader who was now carving a strange pattern in the bark of a nearby Yenag-Oak. He was lifting a roughly carved stone on a leather necklace and placed it within the centre of the pattern, before he cut his palm and let blood drip on the entire carving. Finally, when the spirits were done with their feasting and once again circled the mercenaries, the young barbarian leader uttered a command to his warrior brethren, and as one they lifted their hatchets, hurling them at Sternflucht’s mercenary crew.

“Take cover!” the sergeant barked, and crouched down by the roots of small tree which was inside their circle. With a loud thunk, a hatchet buried itself in the trunk, some inches from his left leg. It had been burnt badly by the flames and the handle was nearly gone.

------------------------

Down, down, down. The curvaceous, young girl ran past moss covered boulders and down the leaf covered slope, skipping over small roots and ducking low branches. The wind buffeted her, making her minimal clothing part, revealing too much of a well shaped body, honed to perfection by care and training. She was fit enough to be athletic, and buxom enough to have a lovely pair of attributes. Her make up was running, her hair in disarray, and the tears in her eyes were akin to rivulets of grief. Solstara could take no more.

She had been raised to a life of giving pleasure, educated in the art of pleasing a man in every way. There was no sexual trick she did not know, no ancient massage technique foreign to her, no man she could not arouse. She knew when to please a man, and when to leave him be. She could not read, nor count; her sole purpose since early youth had been focused on how to make a man shiver from delight, and all those who had stared into her soft, brown eyes while she made love to them, could confirm that hers was a love like no else. Men loved to play with her brown, curly hair. They loved to caress her soft, slightly tanned skin. She had served only three masters during her four year long career and never had they been disappointed, but this… this she could not do.

She felt so guilty, as if she had failed at the only thing she knew. Her master had… different tastes, but it was her job to please him. Perhaps she might become twisted like Onatha and Yeddion. It was as if the rape and humiliation they inflicted upon her made their hurt inside go away. No… She did not understand those two, true, they were pleasure slaves like her, but they seemed obsessed with their pursuit of desire, something the master had promised she would become too.

But I have no desire to become like them, sleeping with the master, participating in his sick, twisted games. I don’t know why the other girls act like they do, why they rape me night after night. I can live with the master’s perversions, with the lust and brutality of the other girls, but this… this is too much.

She could hear her master bellow with rage, and she heard the threats of the other girls, their hysterical shrieks. Their ritual was well under way and they needed her, she was the focus of the fell summoning, but she had no desire to succumb to that particular strain of wicked desire. The endless orgies of the master were one thing, this was another. She wouldl never be violated that way again. They might all die today, butchered and raped by the mindless people of the mountains, but she would rather die at their hands, than serve as the focus of the master’s spell. She would not become like Onatha and Yeddion! Still it felt like she was guilty, like she had failed at the purpose of her being.

And onward she ran, fleet of foot, away from her master and his sick schemes. She was finally free!

 ----------------------

Sharee awoke, and shaked her head, blinking to rid herself of the strange mist that had suddenly appeared in front of her eyes. She was on the ground, knocked off her feet by hatchets which had hit her with full force. Her left shoulder was aching terribly, and the chest region was sore. The breastplate had probably saved her life, but she had still received a thorough beating. Finally able to see, she saw that the flaming spirits had vanished, and that her staff was on the ground beside her. She felt blood trickling down her arm, and realized that the left shoulder would need medical attention.

Without wasting a second, Hans Sternflucht charged headlong into the tribals, exploiting their confusion and fear of the witch’s magic. While they had knocked down Sharee, they were still frightened, and Hans used that fear to gain an advantage. His sword traced an intricate pattern as he attacked the dazed savages, prompting a counter attack. Ducking beneath the thrusts of their spears, he plunged his broadsword into the stomach of the closest warrior, causing him to collapse forward, burying the blade beneath him. Bereft of his blade, the sergeant picked up the tribal’s spear and quickly withdrew a few steps backwards.

Above, the canopy was ablaze, having been ignited by the spirits as Sharee lost control. The fire was still small, hindered somewhat by the moisture from last rainfall, but it was spreading across the branches, yard by yard.

On the sloped forest floor, a full battle had erupted. The mercenaries fought against the initially slow to react savages. The savage leader was not fighting; as he sat whispering to the carved Yenag-Oak, caressing the bark, tracing his index finger along the blood soaked carving.

And something heard his silent prayer…
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2005, 02:11:41 AM »
Sharee, don't show off!
Sharee, your magic is too obvious!

What the hell, it's MY magic.

I hissed to my allies: "Swell. You don't manage to silence their wizard, but let them take out yours!"

What you don't do yourself, nobody will.

My little birdies were out of control, dancing and frolicking amongst the trees - had the fools covered me for just a few seconds longer, I might have had enough control over them to unleash them in a directed fashion. So? It was like dropping a crystal vase - the shards will never combine into a whole again.

To add to the whole mess, I was dirty. My face and cloth was smeared with forest soil, and I had a leaf behind my collar. Oh, and I bled. Good, at least the forest soil would get something decent to drink.

d**n the whole thing! Until those fools of mine learnt that holding up a shield to cover your wizard and medic was a good thing, there was no use in standing up and attracting the attention of the savages again.

I would have to do with something at hand.

Looking around, I saw an object, almost perfect - the dunce whom Dumonsoka had strangled. In almost perfect condition. As smelly in death as he was in life.

I dragged myself over to him, the miasma of his unwashed furs, as well as that of the  result of his sphincters having given away in fear. Overcome by the stench and nauseated by my wound, I added some of my vomit to the mix. Not that it would hurt his - or mine - looks any further.

I studied him for a few seconds, and then adressed him, while scratching the basic Sigil of the Beyond into his chest with my glove.

"Dweller of the forest and mountain" I spoke, and looked down upon his neclace of teeth and fangs "conqueror of bears and a sabertooth tiger, mighty fighter, slain by Dumonsoka, the wooden warrior, in a moment of confusion, stained by the vomit and blood of Sharee Carmadine..."

I gave him a nudge, and proceeded: "Take vengeance upon the foolish leader who led you into this fight, and failed to protect you. Let out your envy at your comrades, who still live though you do not! Gather some company to join you in the underworld as they were your fellows in life..."

I lied down half a yard away, keeping but one eye half open. At least I could concentrate on directing the 'reborn' savage, as I had not... would not move myself.
I smiled as he rose and walked off, spear in hand. Fresh corpses were much more lively than old ones, I chuckled as my will directed hiw towards the shaman scratching his scribbles into the tree.
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2005, 08:00:19 PM »
Green lay the forest about them, brown and silent the moving river. The land lay still, brooding, expectant. Dietrich watched what happened in a dream-like state. He knew within himself that now was not the time for dreaming, now was the time for doing.
Oh, what a fine and handsome thing it is to sit in taverns over flagons of ale and discourse bravely of what one will do. How one will walk the unknown paths trough lands of sylvan beauty, facing the savage in his native habitat, far from the dust of city crowds.
Warmed by the wine, the rolling poetry of words and a fine sweep of gesture, a young man feels the world is his, with a pearl in every oyster, a lovely lass behind every window, and enemies who fade from sight at his very presence.
yet the moment of reality comes, and no eloquence will build a stockade, nor will a poetic phrase fend off an arrow, for the savage of the woodland has his own conception of romance and poetry, which may involve the dreamer's scalp.

Forever the dream is in the mind, realization in the hands.

Dietrich got up on his feet and looked around him for any sudden dangers.
His face hurt like hell, he touched the burns carefully. Bubbles had appeared in his skin, soon the skin would fall of revealing yellow pus.
But it would not be dangerous if not infected, only painful.
He checked one of his pockets, making sure the vial with acid Flare had given him had not broken.

Dietrich was stunned when he saw the dead warrior heading towards savage shaman. He would never get used to magic nor the trickery of potions, but he would tolerate both. Sharee and flare had proved useful many a time, as had that strange wooden man.
Dietrich followed the corpse Sharee had awakened, he did not trust a mindless undead to manage the job alone. He only hoped the undead man would know the difference between him and the enemy.
You never knew when there was magic involved.
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Offline Alec_Shadowkin

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2005, 07:26:55 AM »
Flare watched in morbid facination as Dietrich's skin all but melted from his face and then got back up to stumble after the raised corpse. When Sharee used magic like that it always made his skin crawl. Just wasn't natural. Flare had already decided he was making sure that when he died his body was too mangled to be animated like that.

He shook his head, banishing these thoughts. Now was not the time. He stood up and looked around. Three of the savages were off to the side, pulling out weapons to replace the hatchets they had just thrown. None of the mercs were nearby. Flare looked at the vial in his hand, and then back at the barbarians. It was a clean opening, and he took it. The vial soared through the air, sparkling against the fire devouring the treetops.

Suddenly the forest floor was rocked with an explosion. The savages were thrown away from it, dirt and sticks flying in all directions. Spear in hand, he charged the nearest of the prone barbarians, ready to finish the job his alchemy should have started.....
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2005, 03:26:19 PM »
Domunsoka rose stiffly from the forest floor, the creaks of it's movement blending with the sound of the barbarian's clattering weapons as they prepared to strike it down.
The ghost doll had taken one of the heavy axes in its chest. A quick jerking pull freed the object from the thick plate of wood, and gave Domunsoka a weapon in hand.

Crouching into a low combat stance which it had learned from combatting wild beasts (to which it compared these feral humans), the wooden man backed slowly into a slot between two tree-trunks, raising the small throwing-hatchet above it's head in readiness.

(OOC Note: switching to past tense for more continuity)
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2005, 06:28:40 AM »
�What have you done with the girl?� Captain Calwydden furiously asked his employer, a slender man with a shaved scalp and deep, sunken brown eyes. So cold, those eyes of his, they made the captain shiver, a remarkable thing considering he had dealt with some pretty unsavoury men during his career. Uncomfortable with meeting his eyes, Craeth looked away from the brown robed noble and to the young blonde on the ground. She was screaming with hysteria, her upper lip covered in nasal mucus, tears running down her face. She had recently been beaten; her lips were cracked, and fresh blood was pooling in between the swollen lips. She was laying on the ground, crying and screaming, the blood, tears and mucus making her looks far less appealing than earlier. “Not me master. I love you. I was not meant for this!� she screamed, while the last remaining pleasure slave, a dark haired southern beauty, stood idly by looking another way. The third girl had run away, and even though the client demanded it, Craeth could not afford to send men into the forest in search of her. Swearing inside and not really expecting an answer, Craeth left his employer and joined Morrigan, the standard bearer, who had arrived bearing news from his men. He was a mercenary, yes, but he did not approve of rape and abuse. If his men wanted women, they had to charm them the old, regular way, or at the very least they had to purchase their services legally.

Morrigan saluted his captain in the enthusiastic manner which is so characteristic of recruits, before he gave his report in a brash and confident voice that much conflicted with the doubt filled whispers earlier that day. Only when he noticed the hysterical slave did he go silent, gaping in horror at her miserable condition. Kicking his recruit in the left shin, the captain stopped his gawking before it attracted the employer’s attention.

“Give me my report, kid!�
“Eric’s squad has arrived sir, but there is still no word of Sternflucht, Foros and Thendor�
“Not a word from Sternflucht nor Foros nor Thendor?� the captain asked, his voice full of doubt
“No, sir!� the frail youth replied
The captain stared into the forest, before he looked at the employer. He was unsure what plans the royal envoy had, but he was certainly not going to stay his mercenaries here so the barbarians could butcher them.
“Have you noticed that the forest is ablaze, sir?�
Stretching his neck, looking upon the steeply sloped forest, the captain nodded.
“I can see that. Thank you Morrigan, you can return to the others�
Then, with a firm, loud voice he shouted to his men “Ready to march! We leave in fifteen minutes!�

A quarter of an hour later the mercenaries were making their way up the mountain path, the beginning of the last two days of the ascent to the ruins of Ûr-Keldon. Behind lay more than ninety men, their broken bodies littering the slopes of mount Keadle and the Broken Hills.

---------------------

In a distant place a young woman crouched, inhaling the cold, mountain air mixed with wafts of burning incense. The girl was clearly blind, her eyes white and milky. Her long auburn hair was uncombed and her robe in tatters. She was sitting on her knees, clutching polished bones in her right hand, furiously scratching her scalp with the left.

“He is awakened, yes, and he answers the call. The warding rune has been carved, and the blood of the honest one has been spilled upon it. The guardian has been summoned and there is naught he can do… But you do have one solution, don’t you my friend, my lover, my blessed child� her voice was strangely harsh, full of clicking sounds, shrill yet full of bass, booming across her cold, mountain prison.

The young adult was talking to herself, wagging rhythmically back and forth, her sightless eyes darting about. With a sudden, jerking motion she threw the bones, scattering them across the tiled floor of her cold prison.

“Yes, it is the pattern of The Serpent. The Serpent will be the sign of the changing one, the wicked woman sucking on my breasts, bleeding them dry. You hurt me wench, but I smile as you do so, for I can feel your pleasure, your burning passion. Yours will be a terrible gift, to be feared and envied, how you will suffer, and how you will smile�

Her hands were trembling as she traced the outline of the bones, a smile showing on her face. She could feel them all now, the dual faced warrior with the ghastly smile, the lost one born of the river and the rock, and at last the scorpion spirit, the one hidden within. There were others too: The runner, forever fleeing, and the leader of a lost cause. They were all converging, the one defining moment approaching mercilessly.

Scooping up the bones, she held them close to her heart, her left hand now resting against the cold floor, supporting her frail, bent body.

“You deny me much, my child, but this you cannot take from me� she said to herself and then put her left index finger against a floor tile and with her thick black nail she scratched a rune onto the surface of the stone.

-------------------

I have done your bidding father. It is happening like you said it would. They are stronger than I thought, as strong as you said they would be, but I would not listen. One thing I will not, shall not, and that is to let this happen. I want to fly father, like you do, but I have not the gift of wings, so my flight will be but a short one. What irony… Meeting them now, here, at this crucial moment. I weep for us father. Their coming marks our decline.

Tan-Tanorden lay on the ground, his spear impaling the body of his slain friend. This very friend was now strangling him with his cold, dead fingers. The young man’s eyes were weeping, and he looked upon the cold, expressionless face of his friend, one whom he had laughed with so many times. There was no panic, it had been foretold. He just wished he had more time. There were so many he wished to talk to one last time, but time would not permit for that now.

And thus I die, as you died before my eyes Graathor, we suffer the same fate, you and I

With his last, remaining strength, the young leader pushed his body over the rim of the edge, and then they were falling in silence, the zombie still strangling the life out of him, unwilling to let him go. Not even when the Urshenk found their bodies at the bottom of the cliff, had the zombie released his grip, still burying its fingers into the throat of Tan-Tanorden.
 
--------------

Sharee lay on the ground, her face caked with wet soil, a leaf stuck behind her collar as well as in her hair. A pair of boots stamped down in the wet moss beside her, and as she looked up she saw Flare in his leather coat. The scarred alchemist was holding an object in his hand, one of his many vials, and with a fluid motion he hurled it towards a group of barbarians seeking to attack through the hole in their defences, the hole that Dietrich had left as he stumbled after her zombie. Then she returned her attention to the zombie, coaxing it forward. She was tired now, her body shaking slightly from her mental efforts and physical exertion. She still had a lot of strength though, and she clenched her teeth together. It was payback time.

Flare watched as the vial broke and an explosion rocked the forest ground. The savages were thrown in every direction, along with leaves, sticks, moss, stones and pieces of bark and human parts. The mud caked face of the vain witch was splattered in blood, as was the boots and lower legs of the alchemist. Flare had to duck one of the warriors as he was thrown away by the blast, his body colliding violently with a nearby fir. Then the scarred alchemist charged through the rain of leaves, his spear in front. The lone surviving barbarian was struck with full force in the chest as he tried to get back on his feet. The speed and weight of the alchemist slammed the warrior backwards and his now twisted body was thoroughly skewered on the spear. With a dumb expression and blood trickling from between his lips, the once powerful warrior looked one last time at Flare, before his life fled his broken body.

Domunsoka stood ready, a hatched held above its head, when suddenly an explosion shook the very forest ground. It was the alchemist, Domunsoka realized, and soon the air was filled with the hurled debris from the impact. Through a rain of leaves, some burning, others not, Domunsoka charged the men of the mountain, his vision hindered by the falling leaves. He reached the barbarians, but they were gone, now fleeing, broken by the horrors that were Sternfluch’s mercenary squad. It was slaughter and as Domunsoka scanned the battlefield he saw one confused, young warrior, crying for someone or something, wandering around in bewilderment. The savage was disabled his eyes filled with blood, a sharp stick protruding from the right eye. With a quick, fluid motion the construct slit the throat of the confused young warrior before it began hunting the fleeing men.

Dietrich reached the young leader of the barbarians, dazed by the explosion, but still aware of his surroundings. The young barbarian was crying, tears running down his cheek, down to the ground. As Dietrich lifted his sword to spare the man of his final moments of agony, the barbarian used his legs to propel himself and the zombie over the edge they were laying at. Looking over the rim, Dietrich saw them plummet through the air, hitting the face of the cliff once, bouncing off it and then, seconds later; they hit the ground nearly eight hundred feet below.

Dietrich looked down and realized they had travelled upon that winding path several hours ago, before the ambush. As he started to look back upon the battle scene, he noticed tiny shapes climbing the steep face of the cliff. Barbarians. They were ascending the cliff face and there were hundreds of them making their way up, all following the same path. It was probably a ladder of some kind, carved into the side of the mountain. If they reached the top they would be able to kill them all. The mercenaries would be trapped between those in pursuit and those ascending the mountain. Furthermore storm clouds were unexpectedly gathering over the mountains, an ill omen considering their scheduled ascent to Ûr-Keldon. Dietrich sighed and looked at the squad, all survivors of the ambush were still among the living.

Silence had fallen over the battlefield. The fire in the canopy was spreading, though a freak storm approached and the coming rainfall would probably quench the flames before they were in any danger. Sternflucht was on his knees, praying to Mherak, the god of war. He could not believe they were alive, nearly unscathed. His only wound was a bruised chest, where the dead barbarian leader had struck him with a spear. He would have to repair the breastplate, pound it back into shape, but they were all alive.

They were all still alive.
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2005, 01:46:01 PM »
The screams having died down, I released the friendly barbarian corpse from my control, and wiped my face - with the only visible effect of combining the dirt and blood into a brownish mesh. "Great, at least we've got warpaint!"

After another failed effort to regain an upright posture I hissed: "Help me up, will you? It's a chance for you perverts to lay a hand on me without it rotting off, so take the chance!"

"And look out for anything that looks like a magic toy, or another band of these unsavory gentlemen!"
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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Offline Alec_Shadowkin

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2005, 03:41:28 PM »
Looking down at the witch, Flare held his hand out and helped to haul her up. He took a look at her injured shoulder.

"If you need any help patching that up, let me know. I know you are the company medic, but I can at least play nursemaid for you." He reached into his coat and handed her a small vial. "This is a weak acid that should help cauterize and sanitize it."

 He shifted his shoulders, adjusting his coat and straightening his sleeves. The flames still tore through the canopy, but they were slowing and the incoming storm threatened to kill them all together. He looked up the slope and saw their path. The ruins were not too far off now, and perhaps they would reach them before the barbarians showed up again.

He walked over to Sternflucht and, after taking note of the man's damaged armor, nodded to him.

"Do you think it might be possible for us to contact the commander? It would probably be good for us to let him know we aren't all dead."
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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2005, 04:08:11 PM »
"Thank you, oh helpful pervert."
Inspecting my wound, I added: "Hand me that vial, will you?"

I spilled the contents over the claws on my glove with a loud hiss, then traced a lotus mandala into the skin of my injured shoulder with the blade on the index finger.
The blood glowed, and then began fading as the scratch, as well as the nearby wound, started to close.

I hoped that I would not need many such interventions in the next days - or I might find myself with a horse tail and bunny ears... or a second butt.

Better not to think of it.

"Mix us some pretty lights so that the commader knows of us" I added after a brief pause. "The sort of lights I can make would be hard to see in this mess."
"Captain, the buttocks are moving from the pink into the red and purple spectrum! We cannot maintain this rate of spanking any longer!"

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[Coldforged: Shadows of War] Prologue: Flight
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2005, 04:19:41 PM »
The sergeant listened to the witch with a smile on his lips. Same old Sharee. Looking up towards the canopy, the sergeant took note of a branch ready to collapse and gently he prodded the alchemist uphill, away from the blazing canopy. Just as the branch collapsed he unstrapped his breast plate, laying it on the ground. He wore a torn chain mail shirt beneath, which was reeking of sweat and blood. The branch lay smouldering and after a short while flames were spreading through the leaves on the ground.

"d**nit, he must have hurt me more than I thought" he swore, and removed the shirt too, standing shirtless in front of Flare a medium sized rift bleeding freely above his right nipple.

"From what I know we are still a couple of days march from the summit, Flare, so even though we get ahead of the barbarians, we still have to outrun them for two days. I guess we can hide, but I'd wager that the captain has already departed, so we'll be on our own. We have spent far too much time in this blasted forest so the Captain probably think us dead. Our only chance, as I see it, is to catch up with our men."

He smiled at Flare and nodded.  "Give me some of that acid, will you? And I guess a retreat would be in order. Any other ideas? Anyone? Oh, and I hope that rainfall soon arrives. It will shelter us from barbarians and flames alike"
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