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Author Topic: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)  (Read 61545 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #425 on: February 08, 2007, 02:28:16 AM »
Hana to mishi
yuki wa kino zo
moto no mizu


Vee whispered as the blade of his dagger slid free from the punctured cranium of the now dead and twitching wizard. The deed was done, and yet completion still seemed distant...

(OOC - spot check, what is left on the field to deal with?)


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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #426 on: February 09, 2007, 07:16:58 PM »
His hands still clenched grimly around the villain’s throat, the Hand of Andur felt the man’s pulse race faster as his body shuddered with the impact of the warriors’ blades.  Liquid warmth ran across his dead hands, invisible in the tomb-like blackness.  As his hands remorselessly squeezed the wizard’s throat, he could feel Alzamus’ pulse weaken and falter, then die away altogether.  It was done.

Releasing his grip on the man’s throat, Aethelstan stepped away from the body.  He could feel the blood on his hands, like a toxin burning into his soul.  He could feel his breath draining out of him, as if in slaying the wizard whose evil had called him back into the world, he had slain something within himself.

“'Tis done,” he heard his dead voice hiss.  “The blasphemer hath fallen!  This night, the Scales of Andur shall measure his heart’s worth:  The nethermost pits await his coming.”  With an unwitnessed gesture of dismissal, Aethelstan banished the Stygian darkness around them. 

“Talia!  Vee!  It doth lighten my heart to witness that ye art both yet quick!  When I arose, called by Justice’s need, I were afeared that the darkness had claimed thy spirits, for I thought that little else could have prevented thee from ensuring my safe return to consecrated ground.  Wherefore dost thou be come to this fell place?” the revenant asked concernedly. 

Ashen faced, the gypsy stepped back, retreating in mute horror from her decaying comrade's dead voice.  “Talia, thou lookest most pale!  Art thou injured?” inquired Aethelstan.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 08:16:32 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #427 on: February 09, 2007, 09:51:41 PM »
Talia stumbled backwards, away from Aethelstan as he spoke.  Her enemy was dead, meaning she wasn't focusing only on revenge anymore.  How does one respond to the spirit of the dead?  I can't remember!  Politely, one would think.  "N-no.  I'm f-fine, thank you."  Her hand went into her pocket, coming out with the blood charms.  She'd plaited the hair tied around each one, making a fine silvery cord with small rolled brownish papers woven into it.  She held it in front of her, hoping that it would work.  She didn't know if she'd made one for whoever had killed Aethelstan, but it might help. 

Meanwhile, she'd puzzled out something else he'd said.  "C-consecrated ground?  Wh-why would I d-do that?  Gypsies d-don't-"  She stopped.  Clearly, the funeral customs of the dead monk's religion were different than gypsy customs.  "'m sorry."  She was still backing away.  The spirit world had never been something she felt comfortable messing with, and to have part of it here, right in front of her, was a little much.

She glanced around, looking for a way out.  Then she saw that the room didn't look the way it had a moment ago.  The ice was gone, and the others...  Were they okay?  Or was this another spirit illusion?  "What just-?  I don't..."  It was too much.  Too much, too fast, too confusing.  She just gave up and retreated backwards into her own mind.  For the first time in her whole life, she fainted silently to the floor.
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Offline Dozus

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #428 on: February 10, 2007, 12:09:20 AM »
So cold, Aerex thought as the last of his life drained away, an icy spear driving through his chest.  The world darkened around him.  It's just so cold...

Matare woke suddenly, gasping and coughing.  He sat up, quickly searching the area around him.  Where was he?  What happened?  A huge stone hall, stained glass, a monk lying unconscious or dead a few yards away from him.  Yes, the monk.  The monastery!  He had spied the wizard in the hall, snuck in with his bow...  Beyond that, Aerex couldn't remember.  Even sneaking up the monastery stairs seemed a decade ago.  He looked around.  A battle had taken place, that much was certain.  A huge giant - yes, the same giant Voro had persuaded - lie apparently dead, gashes in its stomach and neck.  Kadarin was nearby, looking at least as confused as he was.  Mouse too was there, unconscious but still breathing.  But where...?

"Talia?" he said with uncertainty, his throat feeling strangely parched.  Slowly Aerex stood.  He turned, searching, until his eyes caught her in the hall with someone.  The inspector gripped his rapier tightly, just in case there were more surprises.  Wet crimson dripped from the blade; the question of its owner briefly passed through Aerex's mind.  He squinted, walking slowly forward.  Who was that?  "Hello?" he called out.  The figure looked to him and gave a small smile.  "Oh, Aethelstan," Aerex said, relieved.

...Aethelstan?!

As Talia slid onto the stone floor, Aerex rushed towards them.  There was a lot of investigating to do.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2007, 12:12:19 AM by Dozus »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #429 on: February 10, 2007, 02:29:24 AM »
The Revelation of Aethelstan did not sit well with the Nimzian rogue. Was this the final reward for the faithful? Vee felt a shudder pass through him, it seemed like ages ago that they had left Aethelstan with the mirrors over his eyes, it seemed an eternity ago. Since then he had seen another decent cleric meet a similarly gruesome end, swallowed by a stone floor. It seemed that the gods didnt even look after their own...

"Its...good to see you, Aeth...." Vee said. This was his first meeting with a real revenant, so he wasnt quite sure of the proper etiquette.


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Offline valadaar

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #430 on: February 10, 2007, 07:49:49 AM »
Kadarin's mind echoed with the screams of remembered pain even as the illusion faded.  The enchanted insanity left Kadarin's mind as well, though it's presense and passage would not go unmarked.

Deaths cold hand had gripped him, even for a few moments.

Becoming aware of his surroundings after a period of violent shivering, Kadarin looked around the room.  He saw the blackened figures of the two he had webbed, Voro extricating himself from the dead giant - a mountain of carnage, and an odd scene with Vee, Talia and .... Aethelstan?

My, have the lines between the living and dead have been drawn close this day...

His uncle was dead as well. Freedom!  Though not loved by his familiy, he was respected and would be missed.  What had driven him to the edge?  He had enough influence to have obtained this monstary without the bloodbath it had be seized with.  What had happened?

Picking himself up, Kadarin moved towards the corpse of his uncle.  Partly to convince himself of his passing, and to see if his Uncles spellbook was in the offing....



   
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Offline Pariah

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #431 on: February 10, 2007, 10:07:30 PM »
Rising from his spot behind the table Dujek looked unto the standing Aethelstan.

Dujek was back on the river again, the mists were everywhere, concealing anything that was more than a stone's throw away.  The gnolls, and the battle.  Kadarin beside him, chanting, and the gnolls falling.  Running and the feel of gnoll blood on his hands, and darkness.

"Master!  Greet the god's plaything."


"A-Aeth," Dujek stuttered out.  "Thanks for dealing with him."
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 Wulfhere

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #432 on: April 14, 2007, 01:53:29 PM »
Aethelstan stiffened as he watched his comrades’ reactions to his unexpected presence.  “Alas!  I have affrighted you!  Be afeared not, for I am shrouded within this uncomely shell by the holy power of Andur:  My corse did fall in ground unhallowed, in peril most dire of rising as undead, a cruel creature of death’s malice, and yet, a spirit of light did grant me power to tame this darkness!  I was called forth to deliver Andur’s justice upon those who transgress against the righteous, to protect the weak and the downtrodden.  Defenders of the right, such as you are, have nothing to fear from my power, for I have become the Hand of Andur.”  As he finished his soliloquy, the undead monastic poured water from a nearby flagon on his withered hands, wiping them clean on a rag.

He began to move silently among the fallen, seeking the few that had been wounded, rather than killed.  As he worked, his chill touch carefully checking for injuries and separating the living from the dead, he was struck by the evil power of the sinister wizard’s twisted mind magic.  The deceiving illusions of the evil wizard had struck down as many as had fallen from other causes.

As Aethelstan worked, he could see a lumbering warrior, probably some sort of overgrown half-orc, wandering familiarly among his former companions, a figure of slovenly menace.  Radiating a violent stupidity, the bulky warrior seemed confused.  Aethelstan considered asking what the hulking creature was doing with the party, but decided that he really didn’t want to know.  Eventually the figure wandered off, heading down some stairs.

"T'will be a blessing to see the last of THAT one," thought Aethelstan.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 08:55:34 PM by Wulfhere »
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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #433 on: April 14, 2007, 03:57:36 PM »
You're selfish, little Talia.
"I know.  I'm sorry.
Don't be sorry.  You can be selfish sometimes, as long as it doesn't get out of hand.  Just be careful.
"I am careful."
That's twice now, little Talia, back to back.  The death-fire is dangerous.  It could kill you, if you let it come out again.  Your duty to the caravan is finished, and your new friends are
sil-tola.
"So?  I'm
etrai-tola now."
There are other caravans.
"I don't want to join any of them."
You don't want to join them, or you've made a new one?
"What does it matter either way?"
...
"Well?"
I suppose it is to be expected of your father's blood.


Waking up wasn't exactly fun.  Talia's head ached a little, she felt exhausted, and her injuries had hit the annoyingly painful stage.  But at least she'd figured out that the thing with the ice must have been an illusion.  Maybe she'd be lucky, and the restless dead wasn't there either.  Just in case, she was still holding onto the blood charms. 

She'd just wait here, she supposed, until the others decided what they wanted to do. 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 04:03:03 PM by Ria Hawk »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #434 on: April 14, 2007, 07:27:49 PM »
Vee wiped the blade of his dagger clean on the robes of the now slain wizard. Somewhere in the carnage had been a formidable intellect, enough to capture the monastary once and lay all sorts of traps. But it had not been enough, not been enough to stop the Adventurers-Upon-Return. Vee sheathed the dagger in the top of his boot and decided to leave the mess of the main hall to scout the wizard's personal chambers again. Now that the brutal and ugly part was done, it was time to claim the spoils of battle.



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Offline valadaar

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #435 on: April 15, 2007, 09:13:31 AM »
As Vee stepped away, Kadarin began to check his dead Uncle's body, looking almost deperately for his spellbook.

No mage would leave such undefended! Hopefully his arrogance was such that.. rolling him over Ah, there!

"Like he would trust anything other then himself to defend it..."

From inside the robes, Kadarin produced the deceptively small spellbook. 

Wait, what was this? A ring?   And there appears something odd about the cloak.

Pocketing the ring, Kadarin peeled off the cloak, punctured in places and blood wiped on it in others.  I think I should check these out!
The cuts aren't  too bad - a good tailor should be able to fix them...




« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 05:01:04 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #436 on: April 15, 2007, 12:19:20 PM »
In the Glass Works Beneath the Monastery

Guttering torchlight cast dancing on the walls of the narrow, winding stairwell as Aerex Matare and Vorodon carefully descended into the tunnels.  Beneath the charnel house that had been a place of worship, they quested, vainly hoping to find survivors of Alzamus’ incomprehensible vendetta against the innocent monks that had dwelt there.

As they reached the bottom of the stairs, the torchlight revealed a shadowy corridor with barrels neatly stored to one side.  Darker areas on the floor revealed where several containers had apparently been recently removed.  Something nagged at the back of the Inspector’s mind:  Something was wrong here.  Instinctively he froze, gesturing to the clumsily shambling warrior behind him to wait while he examined the hallway opening ahead of them.

It took only a few seconds for the cautious investigator to realize what was bothering him.  The barrels had been recently moved, the layer of dust that covered them disturbed by handprints and wiped away in spots.  The barrels had been moved, but why? 

Scanning the area carefully, Aerex was able to make out a dark wire stretching across the hallway, nearly invisible in the shadowy illumination.  Tracing its path with nearly inexhaustible patience, he found that it vanished into a crack in one of the aged columns supporting the tunnel.  At the top of the column, his trained eyes made out how the roof supports had been tampered with.  The barrels forced anyone in the hallway to pass directly beneath the trapped ceiling.

“What do we got here?” he whispered. “The guy that done this job didn’t care about details.  He counted on shadows to keep anyone from noticing the way the roof was weakened.  Sloppy work.”  Finding a few chips of stone and a bent nail on the floor nearby, Aerex carefully jammed them into the cracked support, then cut the trip wire.  “There,” he whispered.  “That oughtta’ take care of THAT trap!”

Past the corridor, a large room waited, partitioned off by a curtain of patched leather.  A chill breeze whispered to them as they took in the vast chamber.  The room was dominated by a cluster of massive kilns, each beehive-shaped structure feeding into a large central chimney of stained and discolored brickwork.  Large cauldrons of strangely glazed ceramic were placed near the kilns’ small openings, each filled with the cracked remains of the molten glass that had once served the monastery’s artisans.  Racks of odd glassblowing tools had been knocked about the room, their careful symmetry destroyed by whatever battle had occurred within the chamber.  Dark stains of pooled blood and shattered fragments of glass told the lost monks’ tale:  A desperate stand against a foe as implacable as it was unexpected, the massive power of the stone giant crushing all that stood before it.

To one side of the workroom, a vaulted chamber awaited the pair.  Within, wooden shelves held dozens of intricate works of the glassblowers’ art.  Near the center of the small chamber, a glass statue stood upon a pedestal of black marble, the name “Jon Tamalare” engraved upon the base.

 “That’ll keep,” commented Aerex, and they explored further.

Reaching the far end of the chamber of kilns, Vorodon suddenly lunged forward, lifting a metal object from where it lay next to a pool of dried blood.  It was the head of a battle axe, its haft shattered, the metal strips that once protected the wood now bent by some massive blow.  Rust-filled glyphs were visible on the poorly-maintained weapon, glyphs Vorodon recognized:  The sign of the Ducal Guard, the unit that he and Bross had once served in.  “Bross keep axe.  Favorite, but for he no never clean good.” He muttered, a quiet anger rising in him. 

A trail of blood led from the axe to a stout door on one side of the chamber, its iron-shod oak locked securely.  Two blows from his axe were all it took to destroy the portal’s iron lock and the massive warrior kicked the door open.  A small storeroom was revealed, where a flabby and disheveled man blinked dazedly in the sudden torchlight.  Drawing his torn velvet robes around himself, the man began to bluster and rant.  “What is THIS?  Has that maniac found some new minions to torment me further?  He will pay for this mistreatment!  You will see; Professor Agaroy Zelmundt is no one to trifle with!  I am well known in Jantir!  The Empire will not stand for its citizens…”

The pedant’s ravings were cut short as Vorodon, spotting a huddled form within the chamber, coldly shoved him into the wall.  “Vorodon no want know.  Move!”  Behind the pompous scholar, a bulky form lay huddled in one corner of the room.  Vorodon recognized his old friend Bross, lying in a pool of dried blood.  The Volgottir’s mottled skin was pale and waxen, his arm bent at a strange angle.

The professor stood there dumbly as Vorodon gently touched his friend’s brow.  With a care that belied his massive, clumsy strength, he pulled a bit of fabric from his pouch, the gift of Maegla.  His massive fingers gently tied the favor to his friend’s blood-encrusted wrist.  The dead half-ogre had been struck by one of the stone giant’s missiles; jagged bone protruded from his shattered arm.  Vorodon could see how the artery had been severed.  Apparently, Bross had been too injured to stop the bleeding.  Looking at the professor, he could see that the man was uninjured.  “You Immerial Dignittery Bross es’corrt?”

“Yes… I was with him,” the scholar answered truculently.

“Dignittery know lot?  Rofess’r?” the massive warrior asked as he rose menacingly and stepped slowly toward the man.

“I fail to see why I should answer the questions of…” the professor began, but was cut short by Vorodon’s hand clamping onto his windpipe.

“Dignittery know Tornikett?  Know helf friend?  Know stof blooding?” the Volgottir growled, his muscles bulging as he lifted the pedant off the ground by the throat, his vision colored with fury.  The useless Imperial!  He could have saved Bross’ life if he’d tried!

“Vorodon!  Stop it!  He was in the dark!  Let him go!” Aerex interjected, grabbing the massive warrior’s arm.  “He couldn’t see!”

As his friend’s objections sank in, he slowly released the pompous scholar’s throat.  The man stumbled back, hoarsely objecting.  “Keep away from me, you monster!”  Waving his arms wildly, the man gestured to Aerex.  “You saw him attack me!  Keep that thing away from me.” 

Despite his intervention to save the man, Aerex could tell that the storeroom shouldn’t have been entirely dark.  Light from the workroom’s fires would have come in under the door, providing some dim illumination.  Despite his misgivings, Aerex couldn’t let Vorodon just murder the man like that.  It wouldn’t be right. 

Sensing that the irate academic was about to launch another tirade, Aerex spoke quickly to head him off.  “Professor, the wizard’s dead.  We was looking for Bross, the guard that was escorting you.  Vorodon here’s an old friend of his.  You’d oughtta come upstairs with us; I think one of the guys with us is a friend of yours.”

They headed back toward the stairway as Vorodon began to smash the other doors in the area.  Several monks trapped within staggered into the torchlight, pale and shaken, but Vorodon hardly cared.   As his axe tirelessly demolished the stout portals, his mind was elsewhere. 

Vorodon would soon return to Ganse.
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Offline Wulfhere

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Re: Adventurers-Upon-Return (Chap II)
« Reply #437 on: April 16, 2007, 02:26:20 AM »
The giant warrior moved with silent purpose as he reached the monastery’s great hall once more.  The place had become the hub of frenetic activity as the survivors of the earlier carnage stumbled around, seeking their bearings.  Some of Vorodon’s companions were searching the building, seeking the wizard’s other unwilling allies, while others bandaged the wounded or conversed quietly among themselves.

Vorodon didn’t understand where the undead thing that had joined with them had come from.  Apparently, it was somehow related to the order of monks that dwelt in the isolated stronghold, but it had come from another place, “Bringing the Justice of Andur,” as it said in its hollow, dead voice.  He hadn’t heard of anything like it:  Just looking at it made a chill run down his spine.

There was much to be done.  The monks were glad to let him help clear the corpses from the great hall, taking them to a frigid storeroom near the chapel, where they would be prepared for interment.  Even he wasn’t strong enough to deal with the stone giant’s remains alone, however.  That carcass required the labor of six men to drag it out of the hall and into the frigid courtyard.

After dealing with the bodies, Vorodon cleaned himself up.  The human insistence on cleaning themselves after hauling around corpses seemed foolish to the hill warrior, but while in this human place, he knew it was best to satisfy their customs.  If he didn’t they would certainly take offense when he tried to use their kitchen.

Strangely, the monks seemed uncomfortable at the prospect of Vorodon’s cooking.  Perhaps they feared the odd ingredients and bizarre spices for which hill folk cooking was rightly notorious, but Vorodon wasn’t worried.  He knew that everyone liked Uncle Orvall’s pork pie recipe, made with honey, cinnamon, clove, and other spices.  Still, it was probably a good thing that the monks left him alone to cook.  They’d have wondered where he got the fresh meat.

Vorodon hoped the wolves would be the first to find the wizard’s body, lying shattered at the base of the cliff where he had heaved it.  It looked to be a hard winter, and the poor beasts could use the extra food.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2007, 11:54:42 AM by Wulfhere »
"Nothing real can defeat us:  Nothing unreal exists."
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