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Author Topic: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]  (Read 36437 times)

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Offline valadaar

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #350 on: November 20, 2013, 11:04:20 AM »
"It would seem to be fixed, whatever _it_ is.  Brin, I would commune with your lord rather than subject myself to such sorcery as this, but the rest of you seem far more - accustomed - to such strangeness."

   
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Offline Gossamer

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #351 on: November 20, 2013, 01:28:27 PM »
Quote
<"The thing with Somnak is that he tries. He strives for the better life of the civilized, he strives to shed his barbaric roots, he strives to better himself. Of course, he is a savage and a barbarian and a brute, as he has proven so adequately just now, but such ambition is to be commended. Whoever said that the caterpillar's job of metamorphosing into true butterfly was easy? He is haunted by his past and his ancestry. I know not his past or his history, but if he continues to try, even if he fails to succeed, I can work with him.

<"And even if he is a beast, animals can still be helpful, no? Is not this snake a friend of yours? And if one were to dip into the analytical examination, it must serve some useful purpose, if only companionship and friendship. Think of the half-orc, and indeed the rest of them, as the dogs of war we let loose upon our enemies.">

Meleana leaned her head on his shoulder and listened to his words. They sounded wise enough, but she just didn't have enough experience with such things to be able to grasp how such a thing would be possible. The only "barbarians" she had known before these came along, were the quallan. And she had never heard any tales of one of them ever trying to be something they're not. And even if they had tried, who would trust a quallan's words?

< "I know nothing of the race of pig-men, but if they're anything like the quallan(and so far it seems like it), I do not believe such a change possible. Dogs of war... Our dogs may defend us at times of peril, but they also live among us, among the children. A rabid dog is put down. Be'Loa has never hurt me or anyone else, but if she had, I would have her head and wear her skin instead." >

She sat up and looked Melior in the eyes, letting him see that she was serious.

< "So far, the dog has not bitten anyone I care about. And admittingly, the false villager seneschal hardly deserved my protection. So I shall give him the benefit of the doubt, for your sake. I trust you, not him. " >

She looked up.

< "Looks like the big human managed to fix the sweat lounge... Join me?" >

She stood up and offered her hand and an inviting smile for Melior. Together they entered the rejuvenation chamber, some time after sounds were heard that made even the priestess of passion blush.

If anyone wishes healing before I step in, consider a cure minor wound or three cast: Minion: Gossamer rolls 3d8 and gets 4,3,1.
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #352 on: November 20, 2013, 02:24:58 PM »
Kismet & Lumori

(ooc: Echo rolled a party initiative and lost)

The battle raged on...

The Caryatid that struck her once already, swung again, but this time Kismet's flamberge met the statue's steel-sword blade against blade, and another shower of sparks erupted. (Murometz rolls 1d20 and gets 13.)

Meanwhile the other column attempted to skewer the lizard-like Lumori, as he darted from statue to statue, and danced around the attacking woman of stone with his knives. (ooc:Murometz rolls 1d20 and gets 2. Feck!). But she missed, as Lumori ducked down for another thrust with his daggers...

(ooc: you two attack now)
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 02:32:41 PM by Murometz »
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Offline EchoMirage

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #353 on: November 20, 2013, 05:25:59 PM »
"Nice moves, brigand" Kismet lauded Lumori's strike, only to feel the blade of the neglected caryatid pass through her shoulder.
Were the foes alive, she'd delight in punishing them for such a daring act. It was a pity the stone women were bloodless, unfeeling!

She swerved with a roar reminiscent of the fire emblazoned upon her shield, fury reflected in her narrowed eyes, all-consuming star-fire of the soul. Reaching deep inside into the fount of power that sustained her, the armored amazon brought the weight of her shield smattering across the caryatid's blissfully oblivious features, following with a feral strike against the exposed neck of the swaying statue.

An explosion of white dust erupted from the pulverized marble, the head rolling off into a corner, leaving the decapitated guardian swerving.
Rolled a critical hit, for 24 damage.

Not gloating nor resting, Kismet continued her motion, grabbing the headless adversary by its slender legs, and bringing it in a wide arc against its sister, stone clattering against stone, the lifeless statue crumbling to debris upon impact, its twitching limbs strewn to the corners - except for the leg, which Kismet threw against the still standing caryatid's face, breaking off its delicate nose.
11 damage to the other stone-cold hussy

Still the automaton advanced, and Kismet picked up her sword in a backwards roll.

"I guess it still does not have enough?"
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 05:56:30 PM by EchoMirage »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #354 on: November 20, 2013, 06:51:57 PM »
Ardhalas laughed as Meleana pulled Melior into a private chamber, and threw the belt tassel at her as she did so.

"Tie him up, maiden of the festivities!", he said in High Elven, knowing that only she and Melior would understand.

"Oh, and the item is magical and will enable you to change appearance into that of another person, or humanoid if you want. It is your chance to be an orc, Meleana!"

Meleana catched the tassel and left with Melior. Ardhalas was sure she didn't appreciate his humor, but it was a friendly gesture nonetheless. She had the frailty of innocense about her, and Ardhalas feared she would break down if not tended. Certainly a tryst with Melior would do her good, and perhaps the Elven lovers would find some solace and sanctuary in there, away from the Azul brute and his sinister companions.

The hours passed and he studied and meditated, memorized and wrote down spells. The lizardfinger pen was dipped in the Orthsnail inkwell time and time again, as he copied the One-Eyed Mage's spells over to his own spellbook.

It seemed as the lovemaking would never end, and Ardhalas arched an eyebrow in surprise over Meliors stamina and prowess. But the sounds also brought back memories, and Ardhalas fell into thoughts of happier days, and how he had chased a laughing Meleilé through the meadow, and they fell into a bundle in the grass. He could clearly see her eyes, how they fixed upon him, and he started banging his head slowly into the stone wall behind him.

Thud... Thud... Thud... Thud...

Tears were running down his cheeks until they hit his facial brand, then they trickled down the scar and dripped down on his cloak.

Ardhalas abruptly rose, wiping his tears with the end of the cloak, then approached Somnak, the Azul Warrior.

"Mighty Child of Azul, I bring you this item of power! This ... ring, that I found on our vanquished foe, it is of a protective nature and will surely deflect many a sword blow from your innards!"

Ardhalas ceremoniously placed the ring in Somnak's open palm, then headed over to Thorgir. "Thorgir, noble creature, you said earlier that you wanted the helm. Well... Here it is. It is an item of understanding, and it will make you understand all languages as if they were your native tongue!"

Then he walked over to Melior's backpack and dropped the blood-smeared spellbook beside it.
Facing Brin, he smiled. "Seems like you and me will have to wait our turn", he said.

*******************
The Reading
The lovemaking was less intense now, and Ardhalas thought he heard Melior's content snoring.

"I have so many questions...", he stated. "And I guess you have too"

And with that, the Elf picked a deck of wooden cards from his lizardskin pouch. The cards were painted  a crimson-grey color, a rorschach pattern on the back of each card. A musty smell of age, blood and iron assailed the nostrils of the partymembers, and as Somnak walked over, Ardhalas looked him in the eye.

"Child of Azul, do you care for fate? Do you want to the consult the spirits, and get one answer from them this night?"

Looking grim, a haunted expression on his face, the half-orc sat down without a word, and drew a card from the deck.

"Put it down on the ground", Ardhalas instructed softly, and Somnak gently laid it down, backside up. There was a slight trembling in the room, and a loud crack from beneath the card. A crack in the stonework, about 6 inches long, had erupted from where he put down the card. Slightly unnerved, and staring accusingly at the fissure, Somnak spoke, as if addressing some unseen spirits.

 "Is there hope for me? Or am I chained by the call of my tainted blood."
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 06:11:08 AM by Ancient Gamer »
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Offline Siren no Orakio

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #355 on: November 20, 2013, 10:19:35 PM »
It was with a brutal swiftness that the priestess carved the heart from the cyclops, smiling wickedly as she hefted its weight in her tiny black hand. It would make a worthy sacrifice to her lord and master. A few brief words in the ancient tongue of ceremony, and it was aflame in her hands. "Deus in corde offero tibi, ut nostra in! Dirigendum affectus animo, ut nos inflammet eos et virtus!"
 More difficult for her to dig out, due to the... messy rearrangement of the creature's innards was its gall bladder. The bile would be useful of its own accord.

To Somnak, first, she would minister, as he addressed her in trembling tones of the silence. Not in the common tongue, but in the harsh, gutteral tones of modern orcish. "<There is no shame, Somnak. Rage is a blessing, one that gives purpose and purity. Do not fear it. Embrace it - and choose well your target, for it is rage that gives us the power to change the world - or ourselves.>"

Turning then to the machinery, she produced the tallow, stripping it away from the wick of a candle to seal up the pipery. A simple enough matter, but it was strange, and she feared that they might miss something whose purpose they did not understand. The helm of transliteration would be of some help, to be certain, but it was work fraught with some level of uncertainty almost regardless of what she might read from the system itself. And then, work completed, it was time to minister to Thorgir's body. "If such ministrations you would have, then kneel." Placing her hands upon him again, she began to intone the prayers, aloud and in common this time. "Lord of passions, we plead of you - As you grant to us purity of purpose, grant us wholeness of body to fulfill that purpose!" Once more, the rage filled her hands, driving the warrior's body to heal itself with unnatural swiftness, no matter the pain it might cause..
7 hp healed total across two castings.

While the timing of the elves was perhaps poor, at some level, the priestess approved. Her god would sup well tonight upon the passions from this small group, it would seem... "I did not come here for sorcerous treasures, but to fulfill the will of my lord. That is sufficient" Any other proposition, she fully (and willfully) ignored.

TO fill the spare moments, she knelt herself, and began to pray.

 

Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #356 on: November 21, 2013, 12:04:16 AM »
Lumori

Knives were not the most effective weapon in a sword-fight, and especially not when your opponent is made of stone. But Lumori managed, using the immobile statues surrounding the double-duo of combatants to as much advantage as he could. He feinted a few times, but his few attempts to nick his opponent ended in a grind of metal on stone and no damage of note.

The thief watched as Kismet fell into a berserker-like combination of attacks, tearing the Caryatid he'd been fighting with to bits. No, knife fighting was definitely not something worthwhile when fighting statues. They didn't even bleed! What point is there in the back and forth parry and riposte if your opponent doesn't even feel the thirst that comes from losing too much blood? Frustrated, the thief lashed out at the remaining statue, stabbing away as he had the first time, instead of the bleeding-cuts that characterized his normal knife fighting.

Attack: (23:53:21) Minion: Chaosmark rolls 1d20 and gets 13.
Damage (if successful): (23:58:05) Minion: Chaosmark rolls 2d4 and gets 4,2. 6 total, 3 after DR.
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

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Offline Gossamer

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #357 on: November 21, 2013, 05:56:46 AM »
The chamber door opened with a hiss. Out stepped the two elves, refreshed and smiling.
Meleana took center stage, unashamed, revelling in the attention. Especially from Ardhalas. She ran her fingers through her hair and stretched, showing off her curvaceous body. She wanted him to want her. This was just the kind of confidence boost she needed with the battle coming up.

Normally she would have drawn the courtship out for weeks or even months, but she well knew that these could be her last hours alive, and time was of the essence. She needed to claim Melior as hers, in case he fell in battle, at least now she would hopefully have his seed. But if she died, well, there was no point planning for that in either case. Though she would have someone save her sister no matter what, and she wasn't planning on dying in either case.

She smilingly locked arms with Melior and walked to the others, presenting her latest conquest.

She looked at the tassel she had received. A magical means to diguise yourself. There was some potential there, she decided. Perhaps an opportunity would present itself.

Seeing the wooden deck with pictures on it, Meleana sat down to watch what the scarred elf and the pig-man was up to. It looked like magic was afoot...
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Offline Murometz

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #358 on: November 21, 2013, 11:13:17 AM »
(ooc: Written with AG's sagely guidance, guiding me! :))

Somnak looked up hesitantly at Ardhalas from the crack in the stone below the card. The Thaur of the Haulor nodded ever so slightly and lowered his lids, as if to reassure the half-orc…

Ardhalas started speaking, "It is the knight of war...", when suddenly a cold wind burst from the fissure in the floor, followed abruptly by a slow smoke, which began to seep from the crack. Somnak flipped the card, and a knight in bloodied armor was painted on it, his sword covered in entrails, one of his eyes pierced by an arrow. Somnak had to look twice; it was almost as if he could see the blood still running down along the rim of the knight's helmet.

Meleana's eyes widened as she watched from a distance…

The smoke seemed to fill the hallway, though did not burn their eyes or nostrils. Nay, it was the Spirit-Smoke which hung in the air around them now.
Ardhalas opened his eyes then, and Somnak noticed they were milked over…

The Elf began to speak in a voice that was not his own.

“Are you a weakling, Somnak the Azul? Are you a weakling that sits like an old woman, alone in shadows, pondering your worth? You are a creature of War! The call to battle sang in your veins, long before your mother pressed you out on the wooden cottage floor in your home village…

“You are destined for great things…” Ardhalas trailed off, and the Spirit-Smoke now clouded the entire chamber.

Suddenly Somnak could see through the smoke. The orc village! Where he was raised. Where he was taught the Hunt. Where he was bonded with the spirits of the Great Race!
He saw the witch then! The old crone who had haunted and taunted him with her prophecies. She cackled as she saw Somnak in turn, cackled and spat in his direction. But he was not here to see the witch, no. He was to meet the Knight of War!

Ardhalas began speaking again, once more with voices that were not his own. This time an eerie child’s voice…and then another voice began speaking, at the same time as the child spoke, and after a short while several voices spoke through Ardhalas at once.

"You are our witness"
"Shield of our people"
"Voice of our fallen"
" Father-slayer!"
"Somnak Half-Blood"

The witch held something in her lap, and as Somnak peered closer, his heart racing and threatening to explode form his body, he could see it was his father’s head.

The eyes in the head opened then.

"Is there hope for me? Or am I chained by the call of my tainted blood."

“You ask that?! ” His father's voice raged.

“You *are* chained by the call of your tainted blood! The blood taint from your mother’s pinkish loins, not mine! Do you not see?

"Your fate was sealed when you were conceived. Think you that one can choose? Nay, you suspect the truth of things."

“Know this, spawn of my loins; patricide is a curse among the humans and elves, but not among us! When you slew me and took your rightful place in the clan, you carried on a tradition that has stretched back to Azul the Creator! Know this, doubting one, you were born for purpose. You are to lead, and to lead you must hunt and must kill, for how else can a true leader act?

"You were marked by the ancestors, born with a caul, and so spirits sought you out. Do you not understand why?! Do you not listen to them when you pound your drums? When you dance with your demons? When you drink your enemies steaming blood?"

"You were born to kill and to inspire those who kill. And more, you were born to lead our kind to new victory!"

"Conquer your mewling weakness, son. You did it once when you slew me. Be what you are! Your mother's soft influence is the only thing which holds you back!”

The head paused in its speech, and the cackling hag holding it, howled in glee, staring at Somnak with penetrating eyes. “He needs proof!” she hisses at the head.

Somnak sat motionless, his head pounding. He was biting his tongue and tasting his own warm blood as his father spoke.

Then his father added mysteriously,

You shall know your enemy always more than skin-deep. You will always know what it takes to slay any foe henceforth.

“You are free to choose Somnak. And yet you are not. And yet, you already have. You are chained by the weaknesses of your mother. Break free! Live to kill! And others shall follow you! And Azul shall rise again!”

With that the eyes of the head closed, and the witch tosses it into a nearby bonfire! His father's head explodes in a shower of blood, flame, and ash.

---

The smoke clears in the hallway and chamber, and Ardhalas lets out a scream suddenly, as the conduit that allowed the spirits to speak through the elf, close again. His milky eyes clear and he sits back against the wall, depleted and drenched with perspiration.

Silence. Somnak's eyes are closed. He is shaking.

(ooc: The reading was a "strong" one, and as a "boon of proof" to his question, Somnak can now "know" the nature of any enemy and any foe he faces in battle. In game-terms, he can have intimate knowledge of any adversary's abilities and powers, going forward.)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 05:00:13 PM by Murometz »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #359 on: November 21, 2013, 12:34:39 PM »
Meanwhile not so far away

Swirls of stone-dust danced around the chamber now, after the Lumina had wrecked the first statue. Between her pummeling of the second with the first, and Lumori chipping away at the flecks of stone with his fury-filled knives, the second Caryatid now sported a web of cracks along her normally smoothed skin. Her current lack of a nose, marred her flawless appearence as well.

Fortunately for the Caryatid, it knew not vanity nor fear. Only her mission. The silent statue swung her sword once more, attempting to decapitate one interloper or the other. It cared not which.

(ooc: Murometz rolls 1d20 and gets 3. Oh for @!#$'s sake! You two attack. I smell PC victory...)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 01:08:08 PM by Murometz »
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Offline valadaar

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #360 on: November 21, 2013, 12:46:23 PM »
Thorgir witnessed the spectacle, half terrified by it, though doing his best to contain it.

 His own village shamans spoke a good tale, but never did anything resembling this. Their spirits were humble and quiet compared to these ones.

Somnak's kin-slaying did not surprise Thorgir - such things were not unknown in his clan - and especially after see what else Somnak was capable of. That did not bother him though - violence or the threat of violence was of little concern to Thorgir. Trafficking in the world of spirits did, though this smelled more of the realm of gods than that of sorcery.

In any case, he would be d**ned if he would ask for a reading.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 12:51:26 PM by valadaar »
   
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Offline caesar193

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #361 on: November 21, 2013, 02:18:07 PM »
Melior strolled from the healing room with Meleana, and settled down with the cyclops' book, his own spell book, a quill, and an inkpot, and attempted to settle down to copy some spells. The blasted half-orc, however, presented further interruptions. Of course, he was interrupting because of magic, so Melior finished the line he was on and looked up.

Apparently, Somnak had daddy issues. Or was it mommy issues? That seemed to be the gist of the spirit's message: that Somnak was to choose a side. But it was largely irrelevant. What was important was that he would get the wording on Mirror Image right.

He quickly finished penning in the spells, and looked at Somnak. He looked... Shaken. Perhaps it would be best to get his mind off things. So thinking, Melior stood, and approached him.

"I know you do not respect me. Of course, I do not understand why, but that is beyond the point. I have two things to say to you, Somnak. The first of these is that the spirits are wrong. You do not have to choose between being a human and being an orc. You can also choose being both. You are trapped between world, fully accepted in neither. So why not accept that fate, the one your father brought on you by conceiving you outside of species?"

Melior paused, until the moment was right to say his other thing. "And second... Who has the 'neglected loins' now, eh?"

For the neglected loins comment, see page 5, reply 114 on this here topic.

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #362 on: November 21, 2013, 03:36:32 PM »
While going through the motions, Kismet dispatched the other clumsy guardian with ease, only to withdraw about a foot of the previously shining blade from the wreckage.
Did 12 damage, failed weapon breakage roll.
"I may have been severely misled on the quality of dwarf-forged swords, I see. Also, on a related note, a certain weapon-smith will hang, if I ever make it back."
She picked out the rest of the broken blade from the crumbled statue, and wrapped it in an oiled cloth, adding over her shoulder: "You may want to hand me a knife of yours, brigand, seeing that I am disarmed. I would advise against stabbing my back, though - you never know how well monsters bleed, and I can wring your neck with my bare hands, too.

She turned around, to see whether the shady fellow was still present, straightening her 'hair'; some of the tendrils wrapped around the rest to tie them into a ponytail.
"I am Lumina Kismet, a valkyrie of king Isambard Karellion of Brandburg, here on a royal errand. Do not interfere, but feel free to follow, in case you feel safer in my presence."
"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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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #363 on: November 21, 2013, 04:07:32 PM »
Further down the hall.

"Yes, Balthazar, I know.  He sent them, He's always hated us.  Get your brothers, we must protect Pookie and the others."

Bob stopped talking, cocking his head to the side as the floating eye made unintelligable noises.

"Yes Balthazar, you're right, as always.  They will burn, and we will finally be free."
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #364 on: November 21, 2013, 06:29:57 PM »
His head was spinning, and his vision clouded. Ardhalas felt sick, drained to the core of his being.

"It will be a while before I do another reading", he said in a shaken whisper, then buckled over to his left, dry heaving. 

The archer-mage collected his precious cards, letting his fingers glide over their surface, an old habit of his. The cards were cold, lifeless, and he knew they had been spent. It would be a good while before he could use them again. Not like he felt like doing another reading anyway.

Ardhalas gasped in shock as he came upon the Queen of the Forest. Elethandra had changed, where she formerly appeared like a wise ghostly queen, she now had the appearance of a raging Banshee, forlorn and lost in a forest.

A shudder went down his spine. What was this place? With these alien in-betweens between elves and orcs, with the deck changing rapidly from one day to another, with Elves with alien eyes, and a Cyclopean who could cast spells!

Ardhalas struggled to make sense of it all, and stood up.

"I need to be alone for little while. Don't worry about me, I will be nearby", he said as he departed camp.

Ardhalas walked around a corner, and a couple of feet more, until he found a suitable place in a shadowy corner. There he stood absolutely still, letting the cloak conceal his presence.

 "This is not my homeworld. This is some alternate reality... But they know of Azul........ Like he is a... legend? And the female speaks my tongue.... But find it strange that I do too... They are like fumbling children, grasping at the straws of myth... But for me... For me that myth is recent history..."

The chill of realization tingled through his entire body, and the elf drifted off into thoughts.

"...And in the end you will realize the full extent of your exile..."

The Prince's last words echoed in his ears.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 06:38:19 PM by Ancient Gamer »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #365 on: November 21, 2013, 09:56:15 PM »
Silence. Somnak's eyes are closed. He is shaking.

Melior came over to the Half-Orc, Offering his 'sagely' advice - as well as a report on his sexual conquest.

Still Somnak sat, eyes closed, shaking.

Ardhalas stood, walking away shakily from the group after the prophetic event.

Somnak sat, eyes closed. His fists were in balls, and his sharp nails dug deep rents in his wrist, trickling blood to the floor.

The party meandered around him, resting, chatting, searching, taking stock of their gear. Somnak sat where he was.
Within his head, he played the scene just witnessed over in his head.

“You *are* chained by the call of your tainted blood! The blood taint from your mother’s pinkish loins, not mine! Do you not see?"
Yes... yes. He saw that now. It was her blood that made him weak. It was also her blood from which these doubts arose!

When you slew me and took your rightful place in the clan, you carried on a tradition that has stretched back to Azul the Creator! Know this, doubting one, you were born for purpose. You are to lead, and to lead you must hunt and must kill, for how else can a true leader act?
Yes. One must show ruthlessness and the steel will required to do what it takes. Doubt rots one away from within. It must be cast away!

"Conquer your mewling weakness, son. You did it once when you slew me. Be what you are! Your mother's soft influence is the only thing which holds you back!”
Be. What you are.
I am Somnak. He thought; though he did not realize he said it aloud, too. Keeper of the Spirits. Conduit to those now lost. Kinslayer. I am Somnak. I channel the Demon's Dance. I inspire. I terrify. I follow the call of the drums and the wails of the dead.

I am Somnak. When the Elves of Elithra encroached on our lands, I overcame them. When the Bronze Dwarves poured from the ground like roaches and burned down the huts of my tribe, I rallied my kin. When the Humans from Durmsgard put a price on Orcish heads and led to the extermination of our tribe, I alone survived. I represent my kin. I represent the restless departed. The sound of drums pounded within the Half-Orc's head, *Da-Rum, Pa-Thum, Da-Rum, Pa-Thum!*
"You shall know your enemy always more than skin-deep" Within his head, the spirits named themselves to him "I am Krogath. I am Muk'tlor. I am Jarik the Heavy-Handed. I am Ordeth. I am Sly Ramlin. I am Gammrick of the wastes. I am Taklic. I am Azul. I am Somnak." He said, and opened his eyes.



Somnak looked down to his wrists - the force of his clenching had left deep marks in his skin - they would probably leave trailing scars there. No matter. He stood, his eyes showing a clarity and acceptance that he had up till now never held. He walked to Melior to offer a belated reply to his comments.

"Why not accept my fate? Yes. I accept my fate - it is clear to me. I thought there were only three paths: Accept the Orcish blood and be slain by all who rise against me. Or reject the call of my blood and choose a life of frailty - where I lack the strength to survive in this world and will end up slain. Or, as you say Accept that I am both and end up tearing myself apart as my body rejects itself. All paths lead to death." The Half-Orc paused, his gaze unfocused. "There is a fourth path. Feed on my Blood and use it to thrust myself to greatness. Overcome those who will rise against me. and climb the bodies to the pinnacle. Yes. It is clear. I have been fighting who I am. Instead of letting my blood rule me, I should rule my blood."

Somnak let out a chuckle, "And congratulations on your conquest, Elf. Mind your appendage doesn't fall off from the swamp-rot you've no doubt contracted."

Finally, Somnak sought out Ardhalas. He had a question he desired an answer to. The Half-Orc walked down the hall the Elf had entered, but could not spot him due to his cloak. "<Ardhalas!>" Somnak spoke to the emptiness in Orcish, "<Where do you hide? I need knowledge. I need to know of Azul.>"
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #366 on: November 21, 2013, 10:23:51 PM »
As purpose began to burn within Somnak's eyes, as he shook off the fear and self-loathing, the priestess could feel it, even as she prayed. For a moment, she looked up, at both half orc-and elf and she simply smiled, the expression as dark as her ebony skin. It pleased her - If he could be tutored to embrace the anger, to control and to own it, it would be a grand bonfire before her lord, and glorious in the change it would wreak in this world.

 So too, she felt the doubt creeping into the elf, the shock, that touch of despair as he disappeared. She would have to be careful with that one. The timing would have to be right. But yes, the potential was there. The currents ran deep, under great pressure. Pressed wrong, he would crumble. Pressed right, the geyser of passion would reach to the skies. Yes. Her lord had been right to send her here...

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #367 on: November 22, 2013, 07:31:27 AM »
His face bore an expression of utter defeat, his eyes empty of life.

"...Ardhalas? Where are you?"

The elf came to his senses, shook his head to clear his thoughts, then opened his eyes.

Somnak, the Azul Spiritcaller, was there, a few feet away, heading away, further into the corridors.

Ardhalas stepped out of the shadows and called to Somnak from behind. "I am here, Somnak", he spoke in guttural Azul, his words adapted to the dialect in which Somnak spoke.

"What can you tell me?", the Half-Orc asked, his words thick with emotion.

"About what?", Ardhalas replied. He hadn't heard any of the questions that Somnak had asked to the shadows. Not because he couldn't hear, but because he was so lost in his own thoughts, he had quit registering anything for a few minutes.

Somnak explained his questions, and Ardhalas spoke for half an hour, the Azul listening in. The Elf of the First Empire did not display the usual disdain of orcs that was common in this new age, rather the Orcs were the shameful enemy, the ruin brought about by their own lust for power. In the first empire, the fall of Azul was seen as a failing of the Imperial war machinery, rather than a betrayal. And the slaying of Elethandra was the singlemost disgraceful event to ever blooden the history of the High King and his royal house.

"What we did to Azul... to His mother... It is something my people always will have to answer for", he stated as a matter-of-fact.

Ardhalas showed Somnak Elethandra's card, the Elven Banshee screaming forlorn in a dark forest, skeletal remains at her feet.

"This is Elethandra, the mother that Azul lost. The reason for his curse. You were the Elves of Elemore once. The Spirit-forge was in your city, and the reason why the High King laid siege to it. Azul oversaw the construction of Spirit-Blades there, and the Council of Seers dwelled at the Court of Elethandra."

Ardhalas paused for a couple of seconds, studying the Orc.

"The Azul are attuned to spirits. You always have been, and the most powerful of your champions were always guided by their ancestors, even back when you were Elves, like me.", Ardhalas spoke as much to the shadows, as to Somnak. "I have fought many an Azul, it is true. But whenever we fought any with your abilities... Screaming with rage, sometimes even aided by ghostly spectres whose blades stilled the hearts of our elven warriors... When facing such a foe, even our Battlemages were often overwhelmed.", Ardhalas was lost in history now. "We used the Spirit-Blades forged by your ancestor to stop them, for the Spirit-Blades have an soothing effect on the departed. It is said that some of the most powerful seers of Elemore heard the screams of the dead so often, and so loudly, they often went insane. That is why Elethandra, the Undying Queen, ordered the construction of the Soul Forge. To create these blades, who gave the Elven Seers a way to control these spirits, to shut them out when need be"

« Last Edit: November 22, 2013, 07:34:28 AM by Ancient Gamer »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #368 on: November 22, 2013, 05:47:11 PM »
As the elf explained things to the half-orc, the priestess divided her time between praying and listening, uncommenting, until she was struck by an idea, until she was inspired by her prayers. She stood, silently, walking out of the door, back to where the jelly they had fought still laid. With one toe, she nudged the corpse, and spoke at last, her tone uncompromisingly arrogant and imperious. "Get up." And move, it did, its once vinegar smell turning sour, its clear "flesh" tinted a milky white. "Guard." Her hands gestured to the door frame they had torn down, and as it settled into place as a door once more, she settled in too, closing those firey red eyes, safe enough at the moment to sleep. At least its fight would cause enough disturbance to rouse her.

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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #369 on: November 22, 2013, 06:55:29 PM »
Somnak sat silent while he listened to the story told of Azul, Elethrandra and the creation of the Orcs. When Ardhalas was finished, he spoke. "Of elven blood, no more, Elf. The orcs are more than that, now." He paused, "Your kin may be ashamed of us, but that very shame is an insult: I ask you to find a single full-blooded orc who is ashamed of what he is. Such a task is impossible."

The half-orc studied the card of the banshee queen as Ardhalas showed it to him, and frowned. He could almost hear the despairing wail in the recesses of his mind, and felt an odd pang of regret and sorrow. "The spirits, yes; they tear at my skull and gibber madness into my mind. The waking world tempers them but being cut off, Such as before..." Somnak stood and stretched, weary now. "These spirit blades... Do you know of any that still exist? I need control, and it sounds as though they are the what lies at the end of my path."

Somnak felt a wave of tiredness wash over him; he needed rest. The reanimated stunjelly appeared at the door at that moment, causing the Half-Orc to yelp in surprise, but he was quickly calmed upon seeing the ominous black-skinned priestess calmly directing it. This one was someone to keep an eye on...
after the answer, Somnak will go have a rest if he can.
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #370 on: November 22, 2013, 06:59:41 PM »
Ardhalas returned to his corner outside the party's resting chamber. He took up position in the shadowy corner again, and enveloped himself in his elven cloak.

He needed time to think, but not to despair, like he had.

No, all his years in the field had taught him the value of scouts, and he intended to be one.
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #371 on: November 23, 2013, 07:04:21 AM »
Meleana laid reclined, resting her head on her hand and was feeling rather bored, the little divination with pictures show had ended rather abruptly, Melior had once again stuck his nose in a book, which irked her greatly. Human suitors at least had the wit to properly court and entertain her, were all elven males like this? Speaking of elven males, Ardhalas just returned. Perhaps some competition would spark a little more interest in Melior, she smiled and got up, then sauntered over to the dour scarred elf.

< "Ardhalas? Be thee awake? I wish to converse." > Even for her elven eyes it took a second to spot him in the gloom, she sat down shoulder to shoulder, and rubbed up a little extra against him for it was rather chilly away from the fire.

< "This tassel thee found, I may have an idea how such a thing could be used to all us advantage..." > Meleana proceeded to explain her plan, any further minions found could mayhaps be fooled by the disguise, but she held no such illusions about the watching egg.

After having spoken a while, Meleana was reminded of the differences between them, he told her about his empire and how he seemingly travelled through time to get here. It made little sense to Meleana, but she knew her kind weren't natives to this jungle isle, and at one Point, generations ago, they must have travelled here from elsewhere. No doubt having become shipwrecked like the rest of this lot, in that they were alike, they were both exiled, but it was all she had ever known growing up. That sparked a thought in her she hadn't had time to consider until now, but in her belongings...Yes, as she dug through her backpack, she found the disintegrated old tome, what the jungle moisture hadn't done to the book, age had almost finished, but there were still some pages where you could make out the symbols.

< "Could thee take a gander at this? It's written in ancient elven, but I fear deciphering the symbols was a skill we lost throughout our exile on this isle. It is the only link I have to my ancestor's past." >
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #372 on: November 23, 2013, 10:28:36 AM »
The Thaur (Captain) of the Haulor (Outguard) listened well to what the young elfling had to say.

Her suggested use of the tassel made sense, and when she picked out the musty old tome, he gasped in surprise.

"This is the journal of an elf of high station", he gasped, letting his spidery fingers run over it like he was wont to do. With delicate fingers he careully opened the tome, and immediately one of the first pages cracked and disintegrated into withered bits of mouldy paper.

"This... This is a tome made of the finest paper from the bark of the Evertree. These pages last for thousands and thousands of years...", Ardhalas choked on his own words. After a quick break he turned over a leaf, and started reading aloud.

"[illegible text]... and Meletha ordered me to take the children and flee. We have lived on Styrytha since our flight from the Empire 6000 years ago. All of our dreams, all of our hope is left behind now that Sartios is preparing to attack us. What hope can our people have when facing foes such as he? [more illegible text]"

Ardhalas looked up at Meleana . "This is amazing, Meleana... This here is the tale of a highborn elf, and from what I just read, it seems he was with a group of elves that was on the run from the First Empire" Ardhalas turned over a couple of more leaves.

"[...] Tranquil is the most beautiful Elven city I have ever seen, ever known, and to see it burn from where I stand at the helm of our ship breaks my heart. The stars are out tonight, and the sign of the manticore dominates the night sky. The night is now filled with the mournful song of our people, for the mage-fire of Silysion died a couple of minutes ago. I have no doubt that our most powerful wielder of the arcane is now dead, and with him the hope that Tranquil can be defended. Sartios has forced our hand, and we now set sail to a small group of islands far to the west. It is my hope that we can one day come back and reclaim the Shrine, and the relics of the circle which we buried beneath the roots of the elder tree. In particular the loss of the Scroll of Sul-Minae is devastating, as it is the most holy relic of our order and contains the scriptures of our goddess herself. Yes, we shall most certainly return!" - Meldor D'rel, Hierophant of Tranquil. Octauws, 45th day after the rise of the Manticore. Year 17321 in the calendar of the First Empire"

Once more the elf looked up at Meleana, noticing how focused she seemed.

"It seems that this here is written by one of your ancestors, Meleana. And a hierophant of the Druids nonetheless.", with those words, Ardhalas continued reading. He did not comment on the fact that he had been exiled in year 1404, for he had already realized that he had been propelled into the future. 1000 years or 10.000 years really did not matter. "[...] There is a strange pyramid on this island. The primitives living here seem innocent enough, and my druids have taken a liking to them. We shall herd them like we herd the rest of the wildlife here. In the meantime I plan on conducting an expedition into that pyramid. The rest of these islands are like some savage garden, and while that pleases us, we need to know more. If this pyramid poses some kind of threat to us, it might hinder our return to Tranquil. 23 years have passed already and [...]"

Ardhalas slammed the book together. There was many more pages to be read, but it seemed pretty clear to him now.

"So, your druidic circle was forced to flee first the Empire, then their rebuilt city by the name of Tranquil. In the end they stranded here, on this island, and by the look of it, your hierophant did not make it out of this pyramid alive" And that is quite troubling. Our Druidic Hierophants were as powerful as they come, and to imagine something besting one such as him... In here...

No, Ardhalas was not pleased with these revelations.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 10:34:47 AM by Murometz »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #373 on: November 23, 2013, 11:21:00 AM »
So much had seemingly transpired since the death of the Seneschal...

The new arrival, the elf who had himself  hurled through time and space to get here, was now spent, and returned to brooding, swathed in his cloak. In a little over an hour, Ardhalas had laid bare Somnak's soul for the Spiritcaller's benefit, and now had likewise unraveled the mystery of Meleana's ancient tome, much to her enlightenment.

Now Meleana was fingering her magic tassle and concocting some plan...

Melior pored over his words of magic. Somnak was resting and muttering in a half-sleep. Brin was sleeping perfectly still. Her animated door guardian, the milky-white creature of gel, was ably doing its job, which was to act like a door and deterrence for anyone or anything attempting to surprise the group from beyond the unexplored long hallway.

Thorgir was done resting, and sat there pensively looking around at his bizarre companions. Thorgir was ready for action. He kept an eye on the unnatural creature the obsidian-haired priestess had revived to do her will, as well. Thorgir didn't trust it, and was ready to sink his blade into its goo once more, if it "misbehaved" in any way.

All was quiet once more.

As Ardhalas stood there silently he could suddenly hear...something. Something coming...

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

Meanwhile, an unusual pairing had occurred in the great statuary room not far away...

The cooperative vanquishing of the Caryatids established a certain bond between the two, though they could not be any more different. Lumori the mysterious thief, had sealed the temporary truce, by offering the Lumina his Qullan blade, the vicious looking long-sword with an unnatural edge.

After Lumori assured Kismet that he indeed had no idea of how to find the "master of this place", the two hesitantly set out from the vast chamber of statues. There was little else they could do. Not being one to over-share, or offer too many details, Lumori vaguely mentioned that he was himself lost in this place, and that he had been part of a larger "force", a group which had recently breached the pyramid, and "hunted" a certain cyclops, called the Seneschal.

The Lumina, in turn, briefly described her mission to the thief, who's ears perked up at hearing of the "The Eye-of-the-Mountain", a great gemstone the Lumina was hunting down for her "King".

And so the two exited the statuary and found themselves in yet another corridor, and then another, until at last Lumori pushed in yet another purplish knob on a random wall...

An opening in the wall, revealed this time something neither of the two had ever seen before. A moving staircase.

After Lumori checked for traps, the pair stepped on to the moving steps hesitantly, and twenty seconds later found themselves on a new level of the Pyramid. Here another wall opened up, and suddenly, they appeared beside the dead-end cul-de-sac of the twin doors, marked "Rejuvenation Chamber" and Vapor Chamber".

Thorgir's eyes opened wide and he leapt up ready for anything, then squinted his eyes past the bizarre, thrice-tailed creature before him, and spied the thief.

"Lumori!" He half-shouted. One of his two original shipwrecked companions had returned. Alive! And with some monster in tow...

For her part, the Lumina readied her new blade, as she stared at the collection of elves, barbarians, half-orcs, and what was that strange white-haired, black-skinned woman?



They were suddenly eight strong, all these mismatched adventurers, assuming they could get along...
« Last Edit: November 23, 2013, 11:26:01 AM by Murometz »
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Re: Tales of Misadventure [Isle of Woe]
« Reply #374 on: November 23, 2013, 01:06:18 PM »
Down the hall and around a corner, in an unmarked room in a ship that shouldn't be, our brave hero addressed his followers in a hushed and conspiratorial tone...

"Alex, you and Balthazar are leading the two shock teams.  I want you and your team to keep this new one busy while Balthazar's team takes targets of opportunity.  The mission is dangerous, and I'd understand if you wanted to backout, however you need to think of Kasandra and Pookie, pregnant as they are I fear they may be unable to defend themselves in the battle to come."  Bob paused, digging under the rags he used as a bed until he pulled out a ratty old coat, "but fear not my brave comrade, for we shall prevail against this, and the children shall know the feel of sunlight on their eyes."
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