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Author Topic: The Catalyst  (Read 18205 times)

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Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #50 on: May 09, 2006, 09:18:10 PM »
Chaos erupted as the old wanderer's amazing display bombarded the Gray Cloaks. Tinnius couldn't be sure, but the bravura was reminiscent of the one called Justice, an agent of the order.

Seemingly trustworthy, Tinnius was hesitant to leave when a young girl, appearing to be kitchen help, beckoned for him to follow.

Not sure if he was facing a more powerful foe or gaining an ally, he followed, with Cobb and Dalia, out the back door.

As was the way of the Gray Cloaks, ever efficient, the back door was covered.

Tinnius, out of sorts with the change in light never saw the men circle around him, quick as death.

Before Tinnius could react, the Gray Cloaks were working there bare handed intricacies into his body. Twisting there fingers, prodding and poking in ways meant to disable his responses.

All in the blink of an eye, Tinnius felt the paralyzing effects of their absolute mastery of his muscles. Things began to go black for him as his mind raced out in a panic that his body couldn't save him from.

His heart rate increased, but he felt cold, instantly he was covered in sweat, his head about to explode. The room began to spin; suddenly he was on fire from the friction of his racing blood. Consuming him, threatening to overwhelm him. Nothing made sense.

He let out a primal scream, like none other he had ever created. His eyes and mouth wide, his face contorted in rage. Seeing nothing, tears and sweat streamed down his face. The furious onslaught couldn't escape fast enough. His lungs cried out to be filled with air. His muscles contorted violently, his clenched fists popping his knuckles.

Then it was over.

Tinnius was alone in the alley with Dalia, Cobb, and the girl.

"Bloggen eh!"  Cobb swore.


"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline Pariah

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #51 on: May 10, 2006, 12:04:00 PM »
Haya watched the old man as he stood up and walked over to the table with Cobb.  There was trouble in the air, and the already muted cahtter seemed to quiet another degree.  The man sat down and aksed Dalia, and the other woman.  The goddess took offense, and the Grey Cloaks seemed to move with her.  But the man is totally ignoring her, and cards?!?  Gods, at a time like this he wants a skivving readi--

CRACK

Haya flipped backward over the counter.  Haya stood up, ready to help the old man and saw the woman fly backward.  And then light, she must've damaged the building itself somehow.  Haya jumped over the counter to get to his cousin only to be blown off his feet in the next magical barrage.  Blown off of his feet Haya landed in a pile with patrons and Grey Cloaks alike.  Haya rolled over and watched as the old man, moving with a grace that belied his years, finished off the last two standing Grey Cloaks.

But the others, they're gone.  And then came an unhuman scream, from the back alley.  Rushing Haya hurried to the door in time to hear Cobb finish a curse.
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #52 on: May 11, 2006, 12:24:56 AM »
The echoes of Tinnius' primal scream died down reluctantly.  The four stood outside the tent containing the tavern.  The sound of the bustling bazzar continued unabated nearby, as if such a thing as had happened was a normal occurance.

The Cobb, Dalia and Tinnius stood, covered in the blood of the Greycloaks.  The girl still dressed in the white tunic that befit a lass working in a kitchen stood looking at the spectacle surrounding her.  She had not a drop of blood on her.  She looked like a spot of purity amidst the welter of crimson gore, splintered bones and grey matter that coated the ground and walls.  All that remained of the ten Greycloaks that had lain in wait here was rent fabric, charred heaps of flesh and broken bones.  The weapons they had carried were twisted and melted slags of metal.  The stench of death was pervasive and hung in the air like a fell mist.

"Bloggen eh!"  This from Cobb as Haya stepped thru the door to join the group. 

The girl walked down the path towards the bustling crowds of the bazzar.  She said nothing but beckoned them to follow.  Cobb glanced at Tinnius and Haya, shrugged his shoulders and followed.

The girl led them thru the crowds with the confidence of one twice her age.  The first order of business was to buy the group new clothes.  She did this wordlessly with coins produced from an unseen location on her person.  When they emerged from the bazzar the sun had risen and the streets had the fresh smell that they have after a hard rain.

Justice was waiting for them, leaning heavily on a twisted cane.  He smiled at their approach and fell in with them walking towards the city gates.  His voice was a whisper.  "Greetings chosen one."  This to Tinnius.  "We've come to escort you back to the Monastery.  The path is dangerous and long."  He glanced at the others, "You may want to say farewell to your friends."...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
The Ares Chronicles

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #53 on: May 11, 2006, 08:43:55 PM »
As much as Tinnius knew that parting ways would be best, he would not dismiss his knew found allies. The choice would be theirs.

"Cobb you and yours have risked much to aid me. What say you?" he asked. Tinnius wanted what was best for them, but respected the trio enough to allow them to decide what was what.

He couldn't tell what Justice thought, but sensed he wasn't pleased. However, if he was the Chosen One, which seemed most likely after the scene that had just transpired, how could anyone be certain what the path to the prophecy was? There could be many variables, most not easily seen.
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #54 on: May 13, 2006, 02:13:39 AM »
Cobb looked at Dalia.  She thought of their flat, the attack there, how Cobb had been getting in trouble of late.  Radd was hot.  It might be good to leave for a bit.  She nodded slightly.

Cobb slapped Tinnius on the back, "I'm up for a jaunt."  He turned to Haya expectedly...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2006, 07:54:46 PM »
"I'll come, I might get something outta it besides losing my job in a fire."
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2006, 09:16:13 PM »
Vantini ignored the rhythmic sound of dripping that accompanied his thoughts.

The wretched place he was currently vacating had served his purposes, if not so much with the flare he was accustomed to. Still, she seemed to enjoy it, he thought, ignoring the still figure in the bed.

Drip…Drip…Drip

Vantini put on his traveling clothes, complete with a waste length black cape. He strapped an ornate, silver saber, not his preferred weapon, to his left hip. Yes, he thought admiringly, a nice contrast to the black breaches.

Drip…Drip…Drip

A knock at the door was not unexpected, as his inhuman hearing had long ago alerted him of the approach.

“Lord Vantini,” spoke the man with a trembling voice, “Everything is as you requested.”

Drip…Drip…Drip

Vantini, never in a rush, finished lacing his knee high boots and exited the room in a flourish, as was his way.

Acknowledging the man only with a glance, he walked out the door and nimbly skipped down the stairs.

Shutting the door behind him, the man collapsed to his knees, glad to be alive. He caught sight of the young woman, lying still on the bed. Head wrenched back; the woman’s mangle throat was obscenely exposed.

Drip…Drip…Drip

Her arm, hanging off the side of the bed, provided a path for which the blood could escape into a puddle of itself.

 Drip…Drip…Drip

Vomiting now, the tears flowed openly as he recognized the form as that of his dear sweet Bellase. “No,” he mouthed for no sounds could he force from his lips.

Behind him, unmelting from the shadows, Vantini smiled and drew his dagger. What pleasure this night continued to bring…….

**********************************************************************************

The small group made their way through the streets of the city. It seemed unlikely that they could, make it out of the city that night.

Justice seemed to have an idea of where to go as he crisscrossed through twisting streets and alleys.

The path ended for them at the Feinted Sword, a well-known front for Caston House, one of the lesser of the lifter’s guilds.

No sign marked the place, for it was not open to the public.

Justice rapped on the door in a rhythmic cadence.

A peephole slid open to reveal an enormous blood shot eye.

“State your business,” a gravely voice spat….
« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 09:51:37 PM by Catalyst »
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2006, 11:45:54 PM »
OOC:  Hey Coach let's assume it's daytime...

IC:  Cobb turned his head and studied the grass growing thru the cobblestones as if he would be later tested on the number of blades he saw. 

The gravely voice attached to the bloodshot eye told them again to state their business.  Justice responded in Thieves Argot, a baffling mixture of a patios specific to theives and common slang.  Cobb's mouth dropped open both at the old man's fluency and the fact that the door swung open noislessly on well oiled hinges.

As the group was ushered into the gaping maw of Caston House, Cobb wondered how he would escape from this place in one piece.  The owner of the eye was a rough looking sort, garbed in a plain tuning belted about the waist with plain leather, leather gauntlets hid muscular arms and a brace of daggers on his hip was complemented by a short sword.  Their nameless host turned and led the way down the carpeted hallway, the lamplight gleaming off his bald pate.

A short time later they found themselves in the sitting room of guild head Jagger, a ruthless man who had carved a bloody path to the top of the guild ten years ago.  He had stayed in power all this time because of his ability and willingness to eliminate all opponents.  Surprisingly, he also possesed the politcal acumen to stay out of the path of larger houses who would surely crush his smaller guild by sheer force of numbers.

"You want what?"  His thin voice incredulous, was directed towards Justice.

"A fast ship,"  Justice repeated in a whisper, looking at Jagger with milky eyes, "and a crew that can keep their mouths shut."  The journey to the Stagg would be faster hugging the southern coast than over the rugged wilderlands to the west.  A crew that could not stay silent would not do.

Jagger stroked his neatly trimmed beard thoughtfully.  "Such a crew would have to be paid."  He paused  "2000 gold crowns."  The price was extortion, 500 would have been fair.

"Done."  Justice stated it plainly.  Jagger raised an eyebrow, his only outward expression of surprise. "One other thing."  He smirked.

"What?"

"Cobb."  Cobb stiffened at the sound of his name.  Jagger knew who he was all along.  It wasn't his fault.  He could lift wherever he wanted, couldn't he?  And those lads Jagger had sent to straighten him out got what they deserved.

"We can take his head or his right hand, you choose."

"Bloggen eh!"  Cobb's expletive was a hissed whisper.

"That, or no ship."  Jagger's eyes were flinty, "I don't care how much you pay me."...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
The Ares Chronicles

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2006, 02:18:22 AM »
Vantini wiped his blade on the child's tunic before slipping back into the shadows. He started to tell the boy how much he had enjoyed their time together, but decided against it.

Yes, better to say nothing and leave the boy with his memories, as short as they may be. Soon the boy would join his parents and whatever God they worshipped, in whatever afterlife they belived in. Or not. It mattered very little to Vantini for he would not be joining them.

Feeling energized and rejuvenated, Vantini openly made his way through the city. Enjoying the sites and sounds, he made his way through the bazaar, pondering the current state of circumstances he had encountered.

The Twisted Man, far from an ally, neither an adversary nor a friend, had come to him with a proposition.

Wealth and power not being an issue, the Twisted Man had petitioned him on behalf of his vanity and arrogance.

Being one of the few who had the power to refuse the Twisted Man, he had politely listened, not giving an answer. Still, he didn't rule out the possibility of accepting the challenge. He was always up for a bit of fun.

Pretending to look at the wares, he decided he would play. Not for the Twisted Man, but for the adventure of it all. There certainly was no concern for his own life.

He smiled handsomely at the girl selling fruit at his current whereabouts. He saw a bit of rose color her cheeks as he winked at her and moved in a little more closely.

Mmmm, he thought, voluptuous. He made no attempt to hide his appraisal of her.

Yes, he would play.

He had never liked Justice and his ilk anyway.

**********************************************************************

Tinnius studied Justice. Surely there was no reason to accept this man's insults. Guild Master or not, the outrageous price they had agreed to should have been more than enough. They could bribe a ship's captain for half as much.

As he saw it, if Cobb was such a problem, they ought to be paying them to take him away.

Hand or no, Cobb would still be a thorn to the side of the guild if he stayed in town. Of that he was sure.

The whole thing smelled of yesterday’s fish.

Tinnius started to say as much when Justice again spoke.....
« Last Edit: May 17, 2006, 02:21:27 AM by Catalyst »
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2006, 10:39:18 PM »
"We have a problem."  Justice's voice was dangerously low.  "I have decided to take my business elsewhere."

"The door's open."  Jagger replied, "Besides we will take Cobb anyway.  That cur should learn to mind his betters."  He motioned to the door, convieniently flanked by twenty or so guildmembers who were "lounging" on stools and benches.

"We have a problem."  Justice repeated, "The information of our passage and desire for a ship would be very valuable if sold."

"I see."  Jagger countered with a rub of his beard.  "I think 1000 crowns will buy my silence."

Cobb silently fumed.  Jagger would take the money and then sell the information to the highest bidder.  He looked askance at Justice, surely the old man wouldn't fall for this blatant subterfuge.  Cobb looked to the score of men lounging between them and the door with their hands close to hilts.

Justice had an eye for those as well.  "What of their silence?" with a nod towards the assembled group.

"They are a cheaply brought lot..."  Jagger stretched in his throne like chair,  "200 crowns..."  Cobb couldn't believe his ears that was almost reasonable.  He felt a familiar tingle in his stomach.  He risked a glance at Dalia, her beautiful face was composed and showed nothing.

"...each."  Jagger finished.  This brought the price of their silence to 3000 crowns total, "His loud curse was drowned out by the sound of 20 crossbow bolts being launched in unison.  Cobb spun and looked at the lounging men.  They were just begining to spring into action, drawing weapons.  The bolts came from murder holes concealed in the walls.

The group scattered.  The shield Dalia had thrown up was invisible and turned most of the bolts aside harmlessly.  By that time the 20 thieves were among them...

and all hell broke loose...

OOC:  Enjoy yourselves.  Save some for Cobb and you can engage Jagger but don't kill him, I've got plans for him.
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
The Ares Chronicles

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2006, 11:49:19 PM »
Haya had sat quietly through the bargaining, not his job.  But at the sound of this, this, Haya struggled for a word strong enough show his anger.  But Justice seemed to not like the bargain either.  I still don't like this, Haya thought, Jagger's had it out for Cobb since he broke into his place.  Stupid blighters, the two of them.  I hope Justice realizes that D and I won't let him leave Cobb.  Haya prepared himself for what now must come.

As the crossbows shot Dalia put up a shield, years of being around her and Cobb had made him sensitive to her magic.  With a roar Haya kicked his chair backwards, towards the door, to slow down some of the attackers.
Ready me now for the dawn...
They'd left them their weapons, Jagger's obvious pride.  Haya screamed with a primal rage and leapt at the first of his attackers.  The man, momentarily thrown off-guard, only got in a glancing blow to Haya's scalp.  Haya, with his claws out, slashed him through his sword arm, and hooked his claws under the man's jaw.
Crimson with the blood of those yet to be slain...
Lifting the man up Haya ran at a smaller group of them, if there was anything small about this battle.  Throwing their comrade at them he ducked behind the closest and slashed into both of his kidneys.
Your path I have walked...
AHH!!!  The shoulder, someone had managed to slash at Haya from behind.  Spinning Haya lashed out, and caught the guy in the chest.  Muscle seperated from bone as Haya began his next attack.  Across the man's face, Haya removed his left eye and shredded most of his mouth.
Your prey I have stalked...
They can't win.  Haya saw this.  They are in Jagger's house, fighting by his rules.  How long until re-enforcements show up to save their boss?  It is time to run again.  Haya went for the door, slashing out at a gut here and a thigh there.
My enemies blood like rain...
The doorkeeper, charging into the room to help save his boss.  Seeing Haya he threw a dagger, and drew another.  Rolling Haya dodged the flying knife, and slashed at the cur.  Blocked, and a slash with the dagger at Haya's face.  Twisting the blocked blow to catch his sword, Haya moved his head, feeling the wind of the passing dagger.  Haya's other hand sliced up through the man's sword arm, spraying blood into both of their eye's.  Ducking he slashed at the man's legs, only to hit on air.
And all but your eyes has gone.
A knife whished over Haya's shoulder.  Quickly wiping his eyes Haya saw the man throw another dagger, this time catching Haya across the shin.  Grimacing, Haya lunged and slashed.  His neck, as the man ducked to avoid the blow.  The deep red arterial blood gushed out as Haya made it to the door.  He turned to see if anyone needed help.
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #61 on: May 18, 2006, 07:46:11 PM »
Violence erupted. The wall exploded with projectiles, somehow deflected.

Everyone in their small party was suddenly engaged with multiple enemies. Tinnius produced his staff-like shillelagh and went to work in earnest.

Dodging and parrying, he attacked when openings presented themselves, slapping aside a wild strike, finishing with a twisting counter to the groin.

As the battle became more difficult, Tinnius was forced to become more focused. As he withdrew inside, everything began to slow down for him. He could see every reckless swing of his opponents, every vulnerable opening.

Everyone seemed to be moving as if swimming in molasses.

In a harmony of motion, he swung the shillelagh in an arc, upending one’s feet. Continuing his motion, squaring up, he brought his knee to his chest and stomped the man before even gravity could drag him down.

Reversing the upward momentum, he cradled the knobby end of the staff in his palm and drove the staff back, as if paddling a boat, striking a flanking pursuer in the chest, driving him into another man.

Shillelagh engaged, Tinnius nimbly sidestepped an advance from his right.

The assailant had his club back again to strike, his body positioned sideways, readying to uncoil the torso and legs into a powerful, twisting, show-stopping, blow.

Quicker than could have been anticipated, Tinnius was stepping on the thigh of the man’s lead leg. He brought his left foot from the floor, driving his knee “through” the man’s head, as Master Deliquous had told him to invision. He continued the propulsion until his back was to the now falling man.

Everything came rushing back to full speed when the opening left by the dynamic move caused Tinnius to take the brunt of a club to the upper arm. Luckily he was able to maneuver his head clear.

Somewhat startled by the uexplained way reality had shifted speeds; he amended from the offensive to a couple of quick defenses and stole a glance in the direction of Justice and the girl………
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #62 on: May 19, 2006, 04:49:41 AM »
Sharp pain exploded, filling Cobb's head with the ringing of cathedral bells and visions of flashing stars.  The ground reached up and hit him with the unerring certainty of an adversary that never misses.  Dalia saw the strike that had dropped her lover.  She leapt forward, enraged, dirk in hand stabbing with rapid thrusts that found vital organs.  Cobb's assailant fell, dropping the stout club he had wielded.  Cobb crawled about the floor on all fours attempting to regain his senses.  Dalia jumped over him, skirts swishing as two others jumped to fill in the gap left by the one she'd slain.  They worked in tandem with drawn blades and would have easily overwhelmed and slain her had it not been for Justice jumping between them.  His foot swept out in a wide arc, it's passage rending the wooden floor beneath it.  It hit the shin of one of the approaching swordmen, snapping bone with a sickening crack.  The other swordman swung a curved sword driven by fury and desparation.  Justice twisted as if he had no bones,  the sword passing inches from his head.  He reversed direction and swung his torso so fast his elbows blurred as he smashed them into the swordsman's temples in frightening staccato.  The man was dead before the echo of his falling body subsided.  The other, leg broken tried to hop away frantically only to find the rigid spear of Justice's hand piercing the flesh of his throat.  He tried to scream before the darkness took him but could not.

Everyone had forgotten about the scullion girl.

Destiny stood before Jagger and looked at him with liquid eyes, her white rainment still unsullied by the violence exploding around her.  Jagger looked at her with contempt. Why was this girl here?  Why did she look at him so?

Then she touched him.

He was blinded by a white explosion in his head the sudden silence was claustraphobic.

He was back in the womb.  Lulled by the steady constant bass boom...boom boom...boom of his mother's heart.  He sped forward pulled out into the brightness, growing into a child being bullied by those larger than him, learning the power of the blade, flirting with the riddle of steel and finding he had not the heart for that path, discovering the power of death and the threat of death gave him dominion over other men.

Giving in to the twisted whims of his dark heart, his path took him to the top of his guild, thru guile and subterfuge.  The path lead to this room and this battle this moment then, he was sliced by Cobb's dagger.  The room grew dark his spirit left his body he saw the lifeblood running from him, watching in horror as he lost control of his functions.  He was forced to look in horror as his eyes looking at nothing glazed over.  Death took him.  He began to ascend...

No.

He changed direction and began to descend, looking ahead he saw darkness.  Then the came for him.  Disembodied spirits angry wraiths spiting and cursing, shrieking with banshee howls the chains of their confinement swirling about them; their vacant ruined faces staring with hellfire blasted eyes full of accusation.  They were familiar.

These were those he had killed.  They were many.

He screamed.  The heartrending cry of one who knows he is d**ned.  He struggled in vain as the shades placed him in chains.  He looked at Destiny's face as they dragged him downward through the floor.  She looked at him, her face impassive.  He fought the wooden floorboards crumbling to dust under his spectral fingers as the shades bore him down into the darkness.

His scream was infinite.

Destiny turned away from Jagger.  He had seen his destiny.  It had destroyed him.  He stared straight ahead gazing at what would be, his mind was a blasted shell.  He sat on his throne like chair, drool rolling down his chin...
« Last Edit: May 19, 2006, 04:52:51 AM by POG »
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
The Ares Chronicles

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #63 on: May 19, 2006, 06:27:45 PM »
Vantini moved through the shadows of Caston House, his liquid, fluid, form undetectable. Shadow travel was just one of the many of his arcane abilities.

How he longed for challenge against one of his brethren, he thought absently. His people had been among the most powerful many centuries ago.

Even among the powerful Order of the Staag there were few who could come close to matching his power.

He watched the battle without much concern. He stifled what would have been a yawn had he been in his human form.

He gazed at one in particular with a feeling of disgust. Why did everyone who played the part of Justice have to be so wretched and decrepit? This current incarnation appeared particularly meager in his skills. Disappointing.

Beleaguered that the Twisted Man had troubled him with such an unimpressive group, Vantini began to vacate the premises when he caught a glimmer of Tinnius.

Vantini saw Tinnius soak in the aura of his adversaries and use it to control the time synchronization, weaving the pattern to exclude himself.  Very impressive. Yet the man would have never taken damage, if he truly understood.

Perhaps this group was more formidable than first appearances would indicate. Perhaps not.

Seeing what he needed, Vantini slid out of the building. Let them exhaust their powers on this pitiful guild……for now.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2006, 06:29:53 PM by Catalyst »
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #64 on: May 23, 2006, 11:40:53 PM »
Destiny looked with silver eyes at a shadow at the edge of her vision.  Vantini disappeared when she looked at him directly like a sheen of oil slipping on the surface of turbulent water.  The group was on the move now plowing down the guildmembers who had lost heart now that their leader had been driven to madness.  In their perception he had his mind destroyed by powerful magiks.  The group thundered through the hallways cutting a bloody path to the front door...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
The Ares Chronicles

Offline Catalyst

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #65 on: May 24, 2006, 01:59:17 AM »
Through the door and back under an overcast sky, the band made their way towards the ocean.

The most direct route to passage was through a part of Raad deserted since the days of the plague. Some believed it haunted; those that didn't, believed it was tainted and unholy.

Locals called the section Curtains because, like the close of a performance, it had been the end for those who had been abandoned inside.

By-passing the massive section would add a day to the journey to the port, if they encountered no resistance at all.

Tinnius looked at the wall that separated Curtains from the rest of Raad. Easily scalable, he thought, wondering about the peculiar structure and why the blockade was there.

At a loss, Tinnius turned to the group. Over the shoulder of Haya, he could see the guild house regrouping en masse.

He looked to Justice for guidance.....
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

Offline POG

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #66 on: May 24, 2006, 12:43:02 PM »
The old man responded by giving Tinnius a tight smile then scampering over the wall with the agility of a mountain goat.  Destiny was on his heels seeming to float up the wall, her white garments still unsullied by the bloodshed that had occured around her.

Dalia looked at Cobb and whispered, "I don't like this."  He looked at the group that was striding quickly towards them, "We've little choice luv."  He interlaced his fingers to give her a step to ascend the wall,  "Besides,"  he added as she stepped up, "them's just tales, wot!"  Dalia made the top of the wall easily and Cobb scampered up behind her.  He looked down at his cousin Haya and held out his arm to help him up...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #67 on: May 24, 2006, 09:39:56 PM »
"I don't like it, but then again, no one will want to follow us through here.  I've heard tales though, more than just the ones you told me when we were kids Cobb.  Some of them chill my blood even now.  The say that the plauge started here."  Haya looks over his shoulder at the guild house.  Grabbing Cobb's hand he hauls himself up.  "They say that the people here unearthed something older than civilization.  A half-dead god."

Haya jumps into the streets below, deserted and lined with houses that have long since rotted and died.  "They say the plauge was the only way he could try to communicate with us, and now we're going to take a walk through his front yard.  I hope you know what you're doing Cobb."
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #68 on: May 25, 2006, 01:49:57 AM »
Tinnius hopped over the wall and paused to soak in his surroundings. Hearing everyone's trepidation, he paid extra attention to the details.

The condemned area was dilapidated. Many roofs were caved in and crumbling. Paint pealed off of the structures, where it existed at all.

It seemed like a breeze had began blowing dust and leaving a gritty taste in his mouth. Instinctively, he pulled his tunic up, covering his mouth and nose.

The long shadows of dusk could not conceal the scurrying of rats.

'Ware the rats, Tinnius thought to himself; long rumored to be the true carriers of the plague.

As they made their way through Curtains, Tinnius collected his thoughts.

A sharp pain changed his focus. He cursed himself for allowing the rat so close and kicked the wretched thing away. The pitifully creature looked to be starving, so thin was it.

**************************************************************************

Vantini, amused by the sight of Tinnius’s discomfort, trickled through the shadows.

Yes, why not have some fun with these. Battle weary as they were, it shouldn’t take long to frustrate them.

He materialized in the sanctuary of an old Inn, looking dapper as always. He stroked his thin mustache as he watched Tinnius kick at another rat.

Several more rats had gathered behind the group. The ravenous beasts scurrying up to snip at ankles.

Vantini smiled as he called more of the rodents to do his bidding. He planted images of the sweet pink meats of men into the starving creatures, whipping them into frenzy. Scores of the fiends he called. They began to fall over each other, frantic to be first to taste the succulent meat.

**********************************************************************

Tinnius looked up from his feet to see the number of rats increase. Not thrilled with the idea of fending off rodents, possibly disease ridden, he looked around at his companions. Very aggressive, he thought, seeing their plights with the creatures.

Looking back ahead, he was surprised to see the number of the beasts growing. More alarming still, he noticed the number appeared to have increased to a torrent wave........
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #69 on: May 25, 2006, 03:40:58 AM »
A flash of brightness that threw back shadow was followed closely by the stink of sulphur.  Flames splashed into the horde of rats as Justice threw four small flasks that shattered on impact releasing their oily and highly flammable contents.  Horrible squeals filled the air as scores of the ravenous rodents were crisped.  The compulsion, placed into their small minds by Vantini, was sending them hurtling headlong towards the deadly wall of flame.

Destiny motioned for the group to follow her down an alley, they dashed down the twisting path with due haste, the flames behind them throwing their figures into grim silhouette.  She quick-stepped over the rubble and debris and leapt straight upward to grab the eave of a roof ten feet over her head.  She pulled herself up to the roof using her whole body and waved the others up.

Cobb swore, this was no normal little girl.  "She ain't even breathing hard."  He remarked as he pushed Dalia up to the roof.  The rest of the group scrambled up and was soon running along the rooftops out of the reach of the rats.

They soon saw the golden dome.

It seemed to be a temple of some sort.  Ivy and weeds had gained purchase on most of it's surface but the golden gleam of its dome managed to peek though.  The group was headed straight for it...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #70 on: May 25, 2006, 10:01:12 PM »
Haya bounded onto the roof after the girl, the rats were still swarming towards the group.  As he started to haul himself over some of the rotted wood gave.  Hanging by his left hand above a sea of rats Haya cursed, reaching into his pocket he pulled out one of his claws and jammed it deep into the wood.  Grunting he hauled himself the rest of the way up, and as he looked back over the rats he though, for a second, that he saw a man.  But there was nothing there, only the shadows and the dust.

Following thegroup he gazed at the dome in wonder.  "When they abandoned this place the looting had to have been pretty bad, how's that still standing?"
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #71 on: May 25, 2006, 11:45:44 PM »
Slithering in his ethereal form, Vantini casually made his way behind the group. He gazed upon them fidgeting and kicking. Not so powerful it seems, he thought.

He entered the area, silently gliding, close to the ground, not wishing to soil his shoes or clothing. Rats, dead or alive, were expelled away from him. Not violently, but rapidly and efficiently. Not unlike that of lodestones, oppositely polarized.

The group was retreating now, ahead of Vantini. He saw Destiny easily traverse the wall up to the roof. The others were following.

Gliding into a deep shadow, Vantini raised his face to the sky. Hands touching, in front of his face, palms in, he arched his back upwards unnaturally.

Throwing his hands out to his sides, his fingers curled as he called up the anger.

Blackness pooled in his now upward palms. Had he been noticed, all would have seen the fury in his twisted visage.

The pool thickened, overflowing the surface of his palm, trickling down to the ground, through the shadows.

Gaining speed, the silent black tendrils made their way to the preoccupied group.

All were scaling now or finished.

***************************************************************************

Tinnius, boosting Dalia up to Cobb, looked for a foothold with which to begin his ascension. Finding purchase, he lifted himself off the ground, only to be stopped by a sickening cold chill.

Black tendrils, slipping undetected, had enter twined with his appendages. Their mere contact had sent the chill of death through him, sending him into shock. The tendrils entered his nose and mouth, trying to steal his breath away, only curtailed by Vantini’s will.

The shock setting in deeper, Tinnius could no longer hold his grip. Letting go, he began to plummet, but only briefly.

The tendrils cradled him gently, easing his descent, and skulked back to Vantini, delivering the cargo as if a precious child.

Vantini willed Tinnius to trail him as he glided, undetected to the inside  of his golden domed temple.

Knowing they would find him there, he felt giddy inside at the prospect of the fun he would surely have…….
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!" -Conan

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #72 on: May 26, 2006, 06:41:55 PM »
Atop the roof Justice felt something within him.  It was a sixth sense that registered something was wrong.  He sensed the black evil of Vantini like an ink blot on newly fallen snow.

He spoke to the others in a whisper.  "Tinnius has been taken, to the golden dome."  He pointed an gnarled finger in emphasis.  "If it is who I think it is he is a being of great power.  We must go save Tinnius."  He looked at Cobb and Haya, "Yes it is a trap.  We will walk straight into it."  He smirked, eyes a twinkle, "Fear not, for we have tricks of out own."

He set off towards the dome at a brisk walk, the group trailing in his wake...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #73 on: May 26, 2006, 09:01:22 PM »
"You know what Cobb, I'm starting to have doub in your choices of friends.  I mean, you do pretty bad normally, but you've gotta've hitten rock bottom with this lot.  So far, in less than 24 hours, we haven't slept a wink, we've been attacked 6, no 7 if you count the time Tinnius was ambushed in the alley, different times."  Looking at Justice lead the way to the dome, "And now we're following an old man, granted a powerful mage, and a little girl, who has to be possessed, straight into a trap laid for us by a 'being of great power.'  The last time I heard that the guy who said it never came back, and only one outta the half-score that went came back, and he was raving for a month before he died."

Following Justice he yelled out "So, we gonna walk though the front gate like good sheep, or are we gonna go through a different entrance and try to get the drop on this 'being'?"
They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers... They were hardy and dangerous, lawless, stripped of allegiance or morality, living off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whoever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues.  China Mieville - Perdido Street Station

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Re: The Catalyst
« Reply #74 on: May 27, 2006, 04:01:41 AM »
"Be silent."  Justice hissed, his expression bland.  "We've no choice in the matter.  This is what we do.  We live to serve.  Fear not, you can wait here if you're...frightened."

Cobb intervened, "You must be daft if you don't see tha point.  Wot's the use of use walkin into a bloody trap?  Haya's right about that, eh."

Justice nodded.  "Destiny, Consequence, and myself, all live to serve.  We were made to serve we are all aspects of the Elder goddess Lea.  Lea has many aspects.  Justice, Destiny and Consequence are the hands and teeth of Lea, she wages battle with us."

"Ye ain't much of an army, wot?  An old man and a little girl.  No disrespect intended, I've seen what you can do but...wait, who's this bloke Consequence?  I ain' seen him.  Bring 'im out the more the merrier when it comes to fightin' powerful evil beings."

"Cobb,"  Justice responded with the patience of age.  "All is not as it seems.  Tinnius is a very important person and the fact that the two of you have been thrown together is not coincidental.  It seems the both of you are Catalyst."

"Wot?"

"The prophecies speak of this, the Twisted man knows of it as well, and thus he sends the Grey cloaks and others the prevent us from succededing."

"Succeeding at what?"

"Completing your training."

"What kind of training,  I good with bladework and can pinch a bone from a hound when he's eatin it wi'out him knowin'  what kind o training could I need?"

"You're undisciplined, unbalanced, addicted to herbs and strong drink.  You need to learn of the wind and rain."

"Wind an bloggen rain! Old man I think you've been the one takin herbs and drink.  Don't think that I haven't noticed this bloke consequence is still hiding."

Justice favored Cobb with a smile, "He'll show himself when the time's right.  Now be quiet."

They could see the archway leading into the temple with the golden dome.  It was massive and etched with spidery runes.  It yawned open like an evil mouth and was shrouded by a black mist that moved as if it were living...
"Pain can be your greatest ally, from pain you can learn to apply it, endure it and avoid it. Without pain there is no understanding of reality. If you never get hit with the things you strike out with every thing you know is pure fiction."
 
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