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Fantasy A Tide of Flames: a d20 Dungeons & Dragons adventure

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Saintheart, Feb 20, 2008.

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  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Evelios D'Rtan is a Simple Desultory Philippic, and Poe the Raven
    No word on whether or not he's been Robert McNamara'd into submission

    "Oh, right, there you are," Evelios observed, running a hand through his hair. "Gets a little disorienting, this fourth dimensional navigation. All spacial coordinates, mind you, none of this space-time axis crap. He held up his right hand, turned it, turned around, turned it again. "Uncanny."

    "Astonishing," Poe offered.

    "Anyway, near as I can tell we're wasting time here because the city is controlled by an oligarchy that necessarily corrupts itself as all such government bodies are wont to do. Violent revolution is necessary. Yes, I can see it now - a grand movement led by a charismatic t-shirt who will ultimately turn out to be a sort of dozens of dimes."

    "Dime a dozen?"

    "No, six pence for eight. Anyway, it's irrelevant because hot cross buns are simultaneously one and two a penny. Do you understand what this means, Ragnar? Infinite hot cross buns for a mere penny. Countably infinite rolls, ours for the taking. And not a possessed turnip in sight. The perils of free enterprise, my friend."

    "Where was I? Oh right, the tavern. Yeah, no, I'm similarly flummoxed on that account. Near as I can tell he's got too much fol-de-rol in his fiddle-de-dee. Fiddle. Wait, that's it!" He produced his violin from his pack. "This simple four dimensional violin can be used to make sounds pleasing to the ear. And seeing as we're having difficulties on my account, there's an obvious solution - espionage."

    He pulled out his bandanna of disguise. "A simple flick of the risk - wrist, rather - and it's as easy as one two buckle my shoe."

    [IMG]

    "Dig it. Disguise in D Minor. I call it the Car Street look. Pure vaudeville. Something about a musical periodical. Poe, being flight-ready in that Boeing manner he usually is, can be the like-out, look. Look-out, like. Point being, we can go walk about the town and I won't get trounced for certain political affiliations. Not sure how we'll get near diabolical baldy, though, I reckon they might recognize your imposing self. Have we got a spare of these dorags, I wonder?"

    TAG: Penguinator

    OOC: Yeah I just don't even know anymore.
    Last edited by Ramza, Dec 7, 2012
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  2. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    Ariel Elandinai
    Great Hall, Brindol

    It was .. interesting. Ariel found something to admire as she flittered high above, checking the windows and higher ewes as Skadi has requested. Dusting up here, and checking for cracks in the windows, and other things, she was amazed to find some small carvings high above. Not having a chance to visit other grounders clerical places too often, she carefully gave them pause. Non elven deities were fascinating. And Ariel had most certainly heard Zanaek speak of Torm...and Skadi of Tyr. But she wondered why anything would be carved high above. Perhaps it was just something a worker did to past the time. She was careful to watch how she flapped her wings, to try and not stir up too much dust below her. She moved to the next window, carefully checking it as well. The stained windows were different than the ones from home, but not without merit. She carefully examined them, letting her finger trace the design on the glass, before she began to work on it, carefully cleaning, and checking it.

    A tiny rumble from her stomach, she forced herself to ignore. She hoped they would get a chance to eat soon, but stayed silent. If she smelled any food, perhaps she could get some, and bring it back to Zanaek and Skadi.

    Soon, Ariel noticed a chance of scent in the air, and she noticed that Zanaek had lit some candles, and their pleasant smell was beginning to reach her above. Offering a quick smile, she continued to clean, going back to humming softly, as she moved to the next window.


    TAG: @CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, @Saintheart
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  3. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall
    Nine Bells, Brindol Keep

    William raised an eyebrow, smiling. "That's a way of thinking about it I haven't heard of before. It makes a lot of sense, though. You do need a different mindset for different tongues." He hesitated, wondering whether or not to say more, but instead turned his attention to the book he'd been given and settled down to read.

    TAG: Rilwen, anyone
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  4. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Mazarun Zothyrr
    Brindol Keep, After Nine Bells
    Twenty-third of Mirtul

    He made few comments as William looked through his spellbook, though he did indicate the cantrip for detecting poison and noted, almost wryly, "Nearly the first spell I ever learned. And one of the most useful."

    Mazarun tilted his head, looking thoughtfully at the wizard. "William... you have strong spells. Strong enough to make me think..." He sighed. "When this is over. You come from Waterdeep. When this is over, if you go back there, will you take me with you? I can get into Skullport from there, and be on my way home." His lips quirked into an odd smile. "There are things I must go home for. Promises... People expecting my return. People needing my return. If you help me, I could be back there sooner, and not dread so much the thought of how much might have changed while I struggle overland to find some way back."

    TAG: Cassie
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  5. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall

    There was silence for a few moments, and then William nodded. "If that is what you wish, I'd be glad to. A companion on the way would be agreeable - at least, a companion I believe I can get along with." He smiled briefly. "Besides, I owe you, even if I hadn't been intending to return there once I'm done. I do want to go back to Waterdeep, though. I have friends there I want to see again... and of course the things I've discovered out here should be archived." One hand touched his pack absently.

    TAG: Rilwen
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  6. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Mazarun Zothyrr
    Brindol Keep, After Nine Bells
    Twenty-third of Mirtul

    "Thank you." He sounded openly relieved. "I... You have friends you want to see again. So do I. " He smiled wanly. "And the sooner I get back, the more hope I may have that they'll still be alive when I get there."

    TAG: Cassie




    The Keepwood, Night
    Twenty-third of Mirtul

    He had left Sellyria to her own affairs, and to the business of mourning. She had promised that none would harm him, should he seek them out, but he had no desire for company. It was enough to know they were out there, and would not turn him away if he chose otherwise. And perhaps he would, but that could come later.. For now, his thoughts were best aided by solitude.

    Slipping through the forest, ghost-silent, only his pale hair faintly visible in the gloom, Mazarun halted at last in a place no different to others he'd passed in this wood. He could not say why he'd chosen to stop here, only that it would do. The young drow frowned thoughtfully, and set his pack down. His shoes joined it on the ground, baring thin dark feet to the touch of the soil. The gloves were next, and he touched the trunk of the nearest tree lightly, long sensitive fingers tracing the lines of its bark.

    The texture was interesting, but no more than that. No sudden revelation sprang up in his mind. No mystical connection to the tree ensued. He laughed quietly. Of course it wouldn't be that easy; nothing ever was.

    He could almost hear his brother's voice in his mind. He'd been given an idea, some memory of Nadraenas informed him, and now it was up to him to experiment with it. Mazarun tugged thoughtfully upon a lock of his hair, turning the issue over in his mind. At last, he smiled wryly, and unfastened his cloak. He was alone, after all, so he might as well test this theory as far as necessary. His weapons, his armour, his tunic; all were set aside. He drew the line at his pants, though. It wasn't as though being undressed bothered him; drow did not have much in the way of a nudity taboo, after all.

    No, this was purely because he rather suspected he might feel somewhat of a fool if he was wrong about this. Being a fool was one thing, and bad enough, but being a naked fool was worse.

    Mazarun sat down, settling himself in place, and closed his eyes, searching for that calm state in which he habitually prepared his mind to learn his spells each day. Instead, his thoughts wandered erratically.

    If Sellyria had seen it in his face, it must have come to him through his father; the family resemblance was a strong one. Yet Nilaonar had used no strange powers to save himself from his fate. Mazarun shook his head a little. Nilaonar had used nothing to escape that fate, not even silence. He'd spoken out, and paid the price.

    Why? The question hit him sharply. He'd thought he was beyond asking why to something like that. It was pointless to ask it. No matter the answer, the past couldn't be changed.

    And yet seeing Sellyria's ancient grief had given him some hint. How long had his father waited and watched as others died around him? There was the third son of the House, too. Mer'roos. My sister told me his name was Mer'roos. He had been Mazarun's full-blood brother, too, and therefore Nilaonar's son. Mer'roos had been sacrificed at birth, as was customary in a city following Her. He had died, and Nilaonar must have known the fate of his son, and yet been unable to prevent it.

    Yet Nilaonar had stayed. Perhaps there was a time when he could have fled, and found some new life far from the city, but something had kept him in Menzoberranzan.

    ...Me.

    Mazarun was shaking a little as the realisation tore into him anew. His father had stayed, had taught him what little was permitted, had helped him secretly where possible. Nilaonar had stayed in Menzoberranzan for the last of his sons, and it had cost him his life. It had chained him to the city, to watch inescapably as friends died, heresy answered with bloodshed. It had bound him there, and Menzoberranzan had broken him.

    Mazarun had bound him there, for the city to destroy. And by the time it had happened, not even fey powers could have saved Nilaonar.

    The shaking worsened. His throat was tight, and his eyes prickled with heat. He was hunched over, fists clenched against his belly. Nausea roiled in his stomach.

    Hadn't all drow always been warned that what they cared for could kill them? Surely he'd as good as killed Nilanoar himself, for giving into that weakness, that vulnerability, that had kept him in a place he surely didn't belong. For Nilaonar had been different, even a child could have seen than. How much more might he have understood, here on the surface? How many of the things Mazarun himself struggled to understand here might Nilaonar have come to with ease? How much more life might he have had, away from Menzoberranzan?

    He'd slumped weakly against the tree, sobbing helplessly, grief and guilt tearing through him, loosing tears buried for safety's sake since his youngest days. Wouldn't it have been better, he wondered, if he had died as Mer'roos had, rather than becoming another bar in the cage that had trapped his father?

    Tears still streaming down his face, Mazarun stared unseeingly into the night. And yet... Nilaonar had chosen to stay and help him. To take all of the guilt upon himself... wasn't he denying his father's choice? Wasn't he lessening the courage in the risks Nilaonar must have knowingly taken? Wasn't he, also, shying away from assigning blame to the society whose customs had made that choice a deadly one, and the goddess whose commands made it so? Hatred twisted his features into a snarl, but fled as swiftly as it had surfaced. It would do him no good to take refuge in that hate. Not yet. Not here. Not now.

    He chose it for me. He couldn't undo it. But he could acknowledge it. Mazarun leaned his head against the trunk of the tree, the exhaustion following grief nearly overwhelming him. Thank you. My father, thank you for giving me what you could. The bittersweet warmth of it enfolded him - and seemed to awaken some answering warmth that brought with it a half-heard sound, strange and distant music in his mind. He listened more closely... and found it.

    The owls that answered that call were small, their kinship to the huge birds of the Tiri Kitor not a close one. He'd little fondness for birds, but these ones he couldn't help but welcome.

    "Fly freely," he whispered to them, and a smile touched his tearstained face.

    TAG: Saint/none
    Last edited by Rilwen_Shadowflame, Dec 29, 2012
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  7. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Mazarun Zothyrr

    The Keepwood, Brindol, Elsir Vale
    The Darkest Hour, Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    He had dozed off, which surely had been impossible. But the screaming in the nightmare jolted him awake, weapons coming to hands like extensions of his body, and he realised he had. Not the starless night of Menzoberranzan, but a space above him peppered with stars and painted with dark green leaf. And the sense of something that he’d felt in this wood since he arrived here, the—

    No. That something was not calm, or knowing. There was agitation in the air itself. Where leaves had murmured lullabies to him, they whispered as if ambushers, waiting for the right moment—
    He heard the Tiri Kitor coming, but on the other hand his reflexive draw of weapons had probably been loud enough to wake a sleeping dragon, so there wasn’t much for it. He sprang to his feet—
    The first of the elves rounded a tree trunk, weapons still sheathed. Tall, heavyset type; dark hair, dark eyes. A mourning streak of blue down each side of his face. There was something familiar about him the drow couldn’t place.
    The Tiri Kitor’s eyes narrowed at the weapons in Mazarun’s hands, but he didn’t draw his own, either. The flicker of his eyes seemed rather a checkover, as if – as if seeing whether the drow had been injured. Then he was turning away from the drow, as if scanning the trees around them. And Mazarun could catch, from the hints of movement around him, that the other four elves in the trees around him weren’t moving to encircle him, either; they were moving quickly through the area – to secure it. To protect him.
    “I am Taliessar,” the elf said, the old, formal elvish tongue tumbling through the air, and the memory clicked – this must be the one who’d led the Company to Rhestilor. The one, a cool part of him amended silently, who called Corrath a half-man. “Mean you no harm. You are not injured? No enemies nearby?”
    Mazarun wasn’t.

    Taliessar’s brow wrinkled. “But – you do not feel it?”

    And, allowing a portion of his mind to slip into that half-dream state that all elves no matter the colour of their skin held in the unconscious somewhere, he did.
    A cold, thin stream pouring over his soul. Like the smell of a storm on the wind.
    Then, Skadi’s voice, through the Ring of Communication: “Mazarun. You had best get back here, to the Keep, as soon as you can. Trouble.”

    TAG: Rilwen



    Rest of the party

    Brindol Keep, Brindol, Elsir Vale
    The Darkest Hour, Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    Corrath woke first. As with Mazarun, her weapons were in hand a second or two later, materialising from their sheaths. There had been a dream. One that (even in the middle of an adrenalin rush as she was in) featured her father. Not a nice dream at all.
    But there was something else, too – a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. A feeling as if she was being watched, even though the room had no window which could be clung to. Her hand gripped a little tighter on her weapons.
    That being so, she heard the armoured footsteps coming up the hall first, too.

    Ariel woke a second or two later – or rather simply was knocked clean out of her trance. The image had been horrible: the Eyrie, burning, a tower of flame in a sea of ice, dragons wheeling round it like sparks from a firework. And like Corrath, she, too, had a feeling lingering like smoke on the wind. A feeling of something dreadfully wrong.

    William was dreaming, oddly enough, of the Heart of the Lion. It was no mere decoration now. It called him. He seemed unable to keep from walking towards the black sphere, from peering close at the vague, orange sparks that wheeled over its surface like trapped spirits. He drew close enough to look into it – and hands reached for him, pulling him forward into its – and he sprang awake, to the sound of armoured boots coming up the corridor.

    Ragnar had not slept yet. His ring had sustained him through the night, but there was something else. Something more. A shadow on his mind. In a way the boots on the floor were welcome, so he shouldered the great hammer and opened the door into the hallway.

    Evelios did sleep. His dreams were not the chaos he’d come to expect. Far from it. They were nightmares: nightmares of white noise, of voices screaming far off in the distance, of modalities improperly used, of off-key intonations—and then the clash of cymbals which materialised into armoured bootheels as he woke, the first ominous notes of Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah ringing in his ears.

    Zanaek and Skadi, had they known, had the same nightmare, partially from the exhaustion of cleaning out the chapel so it shone like new. Each dreamed an empty plain, black, flat, covered in arms reaching from the earth, clawing for the light. But the bootheels stopped outside Skadi’s door, and even if in a shift the Tyrran’s eyes were clear enough as she opened the door.

    Two guardsmen standing there, one holding up a torch, flickering in the darkness. And between them – Kerden Jarmaath, face even more corpselike with the unforgiving shadows, dressed in chain mail.
    “What hour is it?” she asked, coughing.
    “The fourth hour, before dawn,” said Lord Jarmaath, glancing up the hall as the other six doors up this hall began to creak open.
    She took in the rapid blinking of the lord’s eyes. Felt her jaw clench. “What is it, my lord?”
    He glanced back down the corridor again. “It’s the Cathedral. There’s something wrong with it. Badly. Tredo—Lady Goldenbrow is inside. We can’t get in. She,” he bowed his head.
    Skadi turned slightly to spare him the embarrassment, raising her ring. “Mazarun. You had best get back here, to the Keep, as soon as you can. Trouble.”

    TAG: All
  8. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall and Maeghen

    William scrambled out of bed the instant he was awake and co-ordinated enough to do so, stumbled over the blanket, and groped for the candle by his bed. A brief cantrip lit it, and then Maeghen was there.

    "Gods, what was -"

    "It's just a dream, William, a dream -"

    "It was the -"

    "I know, but it's a dream -"

    "I don't think -"

    There were voices outside, and both of them fell silent. Lord Jarmaath, unmistakable even through the door and a good deal of intervening corridor.

    "It’s the Cathedral. There’s something wrong with it. Badly. Tredo- Lady Goldenbrow is inside. We can’t get in."

    William felt as though a lump of ice had dropped into the pit of his stomach. No, no, oh gods no, not in the middle of the city...

    "Just a dream?" he said. A sense of apology filled his mind, and he stroked his beloved familiar gently. "It's all right. Will you go and look whilst we get ready? It might help."

    "Of course." She rubbed her head against his cheek, and soared out of the window as soon as he opened it. He dressed hurriedly, and pulled open his door to head down the corridor. He, at least, was ready for action. "My Lord Jarmaath," he said as he headed down towards the group. "Sa'adi. I take it we have trouble."

    Maeghen soared above the keep, her eyes picking out details even in the dim night, and then she sped towards the Cathedral to investigate.

    TAG: Saint, everyone
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  9. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Mazarun Zothyrr
    The Keepwood, Ridiculous time of night
    Twenty-fourth of Mirtul

    He was hanging in chains against the wall, watching Elkalafein do his work upon the prisoners who had been hanging beside him, seeing Vedenzri rise and come toward him, knowing that he would be next, struggling in vain to break free of his shackles, and hearing the screams -

    It was with a shudder that he woke, still seeming to feel cold iron manacles about his wrists, nerves still jangling as though his half-sister still approached, though now unseen. Her, or something like her, anyway. The arrival of the elves was almost reassuring; no ambush this, no force commanded to kill him or drag him away...

    But there was, unmistakeably, still something wrong. They clearly sensed it, and now so did he, the disturbance of the dream slipping away to be replaced with icy knowledge of some real threat.

    Skadi's call confirmed it. Mazarun was hastily pulling on the gear he'd set down for the night, unwilling to walk into unknown danger without being suitably equipped to handle it. The last thing donned was the hat, restoring his customary disguise.

    "I am called. I go," he told the elf standing before him, wasting no further words when action was needed.

    And that action, after last night's discoveries, seemed simple indeed. He closed his eyes, listened for the sound of the power within - and stepped between places in an instant, appearing just outside the door of the room given to him in Brindol Keep. He turned toward the others in the corridor. "What's happened?"

    TAG: Saint, everyone
    Last edited by Rilwen_Shadowflame, Dec 31, 2012
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  10. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The Party

    Brindol Keep, Brindol, Elsir Vale
    Around four bells, before dawn, Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    “William; Mazarun,” said Skadi, nodding her head gravely to each of them. “Something is wrong at the Cathedral, it would seem. Apparently the Lady is locked inside?”
    Jarmaath rubbed a hand across his face, holding it in front of his eyes for a long moment before raising his head. “A night-carter heard someone screaming from that direction and went to look. That’s all the sense the Watch could get out of him when they found him. They headed over to see and saw … what had happened to it. I understand they called for help – a group of six Lions were summoned--”

    --Maeghen took to the night sky, stars gleaming fiercely down from the heavens. Even in darkness, the bird of prey’s senses were keen -- but picked out nothing to threaten it in the air. No threat, but a feeling of being prey. His species’ ancestral memory had an emotion/sensation for when dragons were overhead, and it was burning in the familiar’s veins right now … but there was no dragon in the sky, nothing at all. The raptor’s keen senses picked out agitated movement in the Keepwood, several hundred feet distant – giant owls, taking to the sky, circling momentarily, then retreating to their nests, just as apprehensive and uncertain as he was.

    The raptor turned downhill, gliding on dark currents of air, lights like small fires dotted here and there across the hill that Brindol occupied. The largest structure down the hill was the massive shape of the Cathedral--


    “—The Cathedral doors were still open. Two men remained outside at the sergeant’s order. The doors slammed shut behind the other four. There were … sounds. Screams. Swords. Cries. Then the doors opened again, and the … four men were thrown out. What … was left of them.”

    —the shape was somewhat familiar, but little else. The Cathedral seemed not built, but grown. Brick, glass, and stone had twisted into cancerous, misshapen visages of their previous forms: marble had blackened to obsidian; flying buttresses hung like crucified men in the black air. The Cathedral's foundation grasped at the earth with gnarled, ancient fingers, bubbling the ground. A poisoned-emerald light glowed cold from the frosted, tortured windows. Waiting.

    “--And the doors closed again. We have not dared them since. Captain Ulverth is cordoning off the area as best he can.”
    “Have you sent for clerics?” asked Skadi. Her firm, blank tone seemed to stop the man’s trembling.
    “T-they are preparing to make an incursion. But even the headmistress of Kelemvor’s temple is afraid,” he said. “Afraid. I can see it in her eyes. Some of l-lady Goldenbrow’s students are gathering, but none of them are warriors. And w-whatever it is, within, has killed four men, horribly.”
    The cleric glanced at William. “What of your own mages – Immerstal the Red?”
    Jarmaath shook his head. “We asked him and his androsphinx to go to Dennovar, try to get help from there. He teleported out late yesterday afternoon. I cannot get a message to him.”
    “And the Lady is within the Cathedral.”
    “Yes. It is her home. Any other night, I,” but the Lord broke off, bowing his head again.

    Skadi turned to the rest of the party, a grim look in her eyes.

    TAG: All
  11. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Evelios D'Rtan, Bard Extraordinaire, and Poe the Raven
    What really went on there? We only have this excerpt:

    "Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is usually the part where we go off to go beat up whatever it is that's causing the problem," Evelios, who had sort of just slipped in while everybody else was talking, noted immediately, scratching his beard. "Based on available evidence and the fact that my dream consisted of nothing but white noise, I'm guessing we're up against the devious machinations of Steve Albini. Queer fellow, Steve, he has a peg for an eye. Wait, no, not eye. Poe, what's that thing that you, with the stuff, and like?"

    "Leg?"

    "Yes. Leg. For walking. Foot like. Walk without rhythm and you won't attract the purple rain, Poe, make a note of this - there's a party going down around here."

    "What?"

    "Football, Poe, football. Superbia in Proelio. Ready my chariot of fire."

    "We haven't got one."

    "Oh. Ready my bow."

    "You use a blade."

    "... Screw it. FLUTE SOLO!" He removed his flute from his pack and solo'd.



    "He didn't get enough sleep last night," Poe offered.

    <<Wait a tic, weren't we just waking up?>>

    <<It's in the past, man. This is 4 bells. THE FUTURE.>>

    <<But there are massive gaps in this chronology, no one's going to be satisfied with this explanation.>>

    <<A wildebeest did it.>>

    <<You mean a wizard.>>

    <<I bloody well don't.>>

    TAG: All
    Last edited by Ramza, Jan 1, 2013
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  12. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall and Maeghen, who is in fact female

    William nodded slightly as Kerden's tale unfolded. His jaw clenched a little as his suspicions became stronger. It was - had to be - the demon they'd released. On his word. And now it was back to - what? Taunt them all? If only -

    He glanced off to one side suddenly, caught by the sudden jolt of sheer terror coming through the link with Maeghen. His eyes unfocused, the better to concentrate on the images she shared...

    ***

    Maeghen flared her wings and struggled with the urge to turn back, turn for the Keep and her wizard who had never let harm come to her before. This was a scene of chaos toying with the fabric of the world, the very air tainted with wrongness, and she wanted to be as far from it as possible.

    The same loyal, stubborn spirit that had held her to fight the stirges in the demon's nightmare kept her on course. She dived towards the cathedral, hoping to see through the windows what was going on inside even as every bone in her body screeched for her to get away.

    ***

    In the keep, William's face drained of colour at the images Maeghen was sharing with him. A chill went down his spine, and he took a deep, shaky breath, his eyes refocusing on his companions and the solid, comforting stone around him .

    "We don't have time to stand around discussing this," he said quietly. "Sa'adi, you should armour up at once - we should all prepare for battle. Maeghen - my familiar," he added for the benefit of the Lord and his soldiers, "is investigating as we speak, and what she showed me - well." He shuddered involuntarily. "If this is what I think it is, we will need every bit of power and courage at our disposal."

    TAG: All
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  13. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The party

    Brindol, Elsir Vale
    Around four bells, before dawn, Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    --The air around the Cathedral did not resist the raptor's approach. Quite the opposite; it seemed to welcome her flight. The windows glowed brighter green ... but as she sailed, glided in currents of foul air, nothing but that glow could be seen of the inside. And nothing but a sonorous hum, almost below the fringes of her perception, welcoming as the grave--

    Skadi nodded, turning up the hallway. There was a look in her eyes that approximated William's. "Meet me in the chapel when you are all prepared. My armour and weapons lie there. Lord Jarmaath, you had best order your men back as far as you dare from the Cathedral. This may be dangerous for them."

    And, striding towards her destiny, Skadi headed for the Chapel of the Triad.

    TAG: All
  14. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall and Maeghen

    As the wizard watched his leader walk away, he nodded slightly and glanced at Lord Jarmaath. "I'll prepare as I can," he said, and headed for his room.

    No sooner had he shut the door than he felt a shift in what Maeghen was feeling.

    {Strange, beautiful, fascinating... drawing closer...}

    {GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!}

    She was very startled by his sudden vehemence. {Can't I -}

    {NO! Get away from that place!}

    With clear reluctance, she stopped, hovering over the city. {I just... if I get closer maybe...}

    {Maeghen, come back to me this instant, or Gods help me I will do something I come to regret!}

    There was a flare of frustration and anger, but she obeyed and turned away from the sickly glowing cathedral. As she drew away from it, however, the lure faded, leaving her with only the horrified desire to get away again.

    Once William was certain she was on the way and wouldn't go back, he fumbled for his spellbooks and made for the meditation room. Small and dusty as it was, it would nevertheless be a more efficient location to memorise than his bedroom.

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  15. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    Ariel Elandinai
    Great Hall, Brindol - Around four bells, before dawn


    Well, the entire day did not happen the way she had wished. She had wanted some time alone with Zanaek. But That was not to be. They cleaned all day. And by the time, she was able to finally get a break to eat, she was too tired. So it did not take long for her to fall into her meditations.

    Ariel awoke, but she would not call it that. It was like being knocked hard from a dream. But it was a familiar dream. The Eyrie, burning, and dragons wheeling round it. And a feeling of wrongness. Like before. When the demon had them trapped in the dream state. Before she could mull over the implications of that, she heard the sounds of boot steps in the hallway. She quickly pulled on a covering, and opened the door to her room. She could hear Skadi's voice, and the voice of Jarmaath speaking. There were other guards with them, and she listened to the conversation closely.

    Lord Jamaath glanced back down the corridor again. “It’s the Cathedral. There’s something wrong with it. Badly. Tredo—Lady Goldenbrow is inside. We can’t get in. She..,” he bowed his head. Ariel blinked, as she heard Skadi call for Mazarun to return. She stepped out into the hallway, listening carefully. The Cathedral. Where the others had left the hobgoblin. It had to be the demon again. Question was, was it working alone, or did it have an ally.

    What really caught her was the description of how the Cathedral's area had seemed changed. Like when the Eyrie had changed in her mind. Even if the demon had appeared again, even though the hobgoblin, how did it get such a foothold within such a sanctuary? Would not the temple's defenses be enough to keep it at bay? What had happened? and Lady Goldenbrow was trapped inside? One would think the demon, finally released, would just simply GO AWAY. Curious.

    Skadi turned and looked at the Company. But it was William's words that seemed to confirm things. He had sent Maeghen to look, and obviously, it was not good. Skadi turned, and after giving words to Lord Jarmaath, she headed for the church. Ariel gave Zanaek a glance, before she turned back into her room. It seemed as if things that she wanted to resolve before the next battle, was now lost. She closed the door, and began to quickly armor up, her gear was always at the ready. It seemed her new sword would get baptized much quicker than she anticipated. Once dressed, she waited for the others in the hallway.



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  16. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Mazarun Zothyrr
    Brindol Keep, Twenty-fourth Mirtul

    Two thoughts struck Mazarun in rapid succession as Skadi gave the news of what had happened.

    The first was a grim, perverse sort of satisfaction; Tredora Goldenbrow had been so indignant about his presence, had raised herself up over all as though she was so pure and superior. Well, here it was; this was what her 'purity' got her. She was just as vulnerable as anyone else, no matter where they might have come from, or what bloodlines shaped their form.

    The second thought was for Ulwai. The hobgoblin bard had already been put through terrible things, and now she was trapped in the cathedral with, if his guess was correct, the very demon that had already violated the shelter of her mind. She'd been so frightened, so desperate to be safe from that thing - frightened enough to want to convert to Skadi's faith. And now she was at its mercy once more.

    Logic came next, on the heels of those two thoughts; they stll needed Ulwai, she hadn't yet told them all of what she might know about the goblin army. And no matter how he disliked Tredora, they'd likely need her too, when the conflict reached Brindol.

    There were other considerations, too. If it was indeed the same demon, there was the wizard to think of. William would feel guilty, still, at inadvertently releasing the thing, and only stopping it before it could do more damage was likely to help with that guilt. Skadi might too, and perhaps the others, but those were less significant thoughts in the chain of realisations dragging through his mind.

    One of the last thoughts in that chain was particularly loud. It's a gods-curst demon, you're going to get yourself killed! Self-preservation shrieked at him. Warriors who tangled with demons did not have very good life expectancies, and the manner of their deaths tended to be especially unpleasant. Still, this was going to happen with or without him. They might need him. And anyone still alive in that cathedral... none of them deserved that. There were very few people he'd wish a demon's tender mercies upon, and none of them were here.

    Mazarun sighed, shook his head, and hurried off to get ready.

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  17. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    Ragnar Ingvarsson
    Brindol Keep

    A demon in the castle - fantastically horrific. The stuff of his father's tales, and the tales of the bards of his people. The noble heroes, resting for the night, encounter an evil in a place of comfort and hospitality. This was positively literary, not that Ragnar could read. Still, it beat talking incessantly about the doom and gloom of the future. That was, oddly enough, the one thing that didn't bother the big Illuskan.

    That would be a good death. At least, a death worthy of some minor saga or story. Good, but not great.

    By the wolf, has it come to that? There had been a time when glory had been his entire raison d'etre. Then it was adventure. And now memory? Things were bleak indeed. A glorious death, a story to tell for years to come, not plunder and adventure, not the fame of a hero. The legacy. Something to leave behind.

    A demon would be a worthy foe, indeed, but only if they saved the damsel in distress.

    He moved in the hall, hammer at the ready. "Lead on. We will do all we can."

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  18. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Zanaek Grahorn

    Brindol Keep

    The dream was disturbing and he began to wonder if he would ever have a pleasant one again. It was the second time he's had such a nightmare in a matter of days. In fact the last time he had one was a couple nights ago when the demon had pervaded the dreams of the group and if it had not been for Ariel freeing them, they would have perished in their sleep. Zanaek tossed and turned in his bed as he fought against the dream, wanting to wake up but unable to do so due to some part of his mind being fascinated by the nightmare. Such dreams were impossible to escape from until some outside force woke up the dreamer.

    In this case, the heavy footfalls of soldiers outside of his bedchamber startled him awake. Sitting up in the bed, he ran a hand through his sweat soaked hair as a pervading thought of something was wrong lingered over his mind, the last remnants of the nightmare fading from him. There was a knock on a door and the cleric climbed out of bed to see what was going on. He threw a tunic over his head and tugged it down his body before opening his own door.

    “What hour is it?” Skadi had asked, coughing.

    “The fourth hour, before dawn,” said Lord Jarmaath, glancing up the hall as the other six doors up this hall began to creak open.

    “What is it, my lord?”

    Jarmaath glanced back down the corridor again. “It’s the Cathedral. There’s something wrong with it. Badly. Tredo—Lady Goldenbrow is inside. We can’t get in. She,” he bowed his head.

    Zanaek stepped out into the hallway with the others, listening to what had happened. His thoughts drifted to the Wyrmlord they had left in the care of the Cathedral and he wondered if for a moment she had somehow deceived them. He shook his head of the notion. He had seen the pure terror in Ulwai and the honesty of wanting to have nothing more to do with Tiamat and her Horde, even less with the demon that had possessed her. The nightmare, he rubbed at his eyes tiredly and in exasperation. With the description of what had happened and what William's familiar had found, there was little doubt that it could be anything else other than the demon.

    Then again they did not fully understand the whole powers of the Horde. This could simply be an attack by them somehow.

    But he doubted it.

    "I will prepare some prayers to deal with such a foe," Zanaek informed and turned back to his quarters to get dressed and armored. When he finished, he went to pray for Torm's guidance and strength in the chapel while the others prepared. Memories of his last encounter with the demon and the Lich surfaced during his prayers and he wondered if he had the strength to banish such a creature from this plane. He barely had the strength to turn one of the Lich's incorporeal lions and the Lich himself.

    I am a healer, he reminded himself. A cleric of Torm. It is my sworn duty to confront such evils regardless of whether I will come out unscathed or not. Although his training had been with the healing arts with some lessons in divine summoning, he had not left the monastery without some knowledge in banishing and turning. At least he had Sa'adi with him, even if she did get under his skin on occasion when it came to his chosen domain.

    Zanaek cleared his mind of his doubts and continued his prayers to Torm.

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  19. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The Company of the Crescent Flame

    Cathedral Square, Brindol, Elsir Vale
    Four bells (Before dawn), Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    They marched.

    The path down from the Keep to Brindol’s Cathedral was a fairly short one, but even at four in the morning, it did not keep their passage from being watched. Skadi was tangentially aware of the guardsmen on the walls of the castle; aware of early morning traders and watchmen who were on the route, looking out fearfully from windows and corners along the road.

    Part of it, she supposed, was Zanaek: he was, quite literally, glowing. No carried illumination or spell-lit stone this time; the grey-streaked cleric of Torm was radiating light from his very form, a light that coruscated and flickered between silver and gold from moment to moment – the light of Luniya, and Mercuria, light from the Seven Heavens themselves. Light that reached out, pushing back the darkness.

    There were other spells already upon them, too; her own eyes were filmed with an unsettling black across the irises, Tyr’s sight giving her vision where none could exist. And other spells surmounted all of the Company, given by she and Zanaek and William, spells of warding like armour against the evil she felt certain they were about to meet. Her god’s spells had always been more subtle; practical; direct. Torm’s light raised the spirit of anyone who saw it. Tyr’s light gave clarity to justice and lit the path of her blade’s strike.

    And then there was the light ahead of them. A light of marshes, of deadfire, of decaying things. A light of emerald hellsfire, glowing from each of the Cathedral’s windows. She had a sense this light was aware of them; had an intuition of something within that perversion of radiance turning expectant eyes on her group. Skadi gripped Winterfell’s hilt more tightly.

    The Cathedral was just as William had described his impressions from Maeghen: up close, it seemed a perverted growth rather than a construction, the earth rippling at the foundations as though trying to reject its touch. Practiced instinct led her to flicker eye from seventy-foot-high roof to wall base, but no god’s symbol adorned the place from what she could see. Indeed the walls themselves seemed wrong in some way, as if angles did not quite meet correctly--she felt a sort of touching tingle at the limits of the protective magic she’d cast, one quickly withdrawn. The cleric’s gaze hardened. She took one more gaze at the closed, dark oak doors of the Cathedral, then glanced around.

    A small cluster of black robes and hoods stood at the far side of Cathedral Square. In contrast to the building, there was a clear sigil embroidered on their robes: a scale of justice not too different from Tyr’s own, but upheld by a skeletal hand. Kelemvor: the god of death. These would be Martena Almissra’s people, the ones Jarmaath had told her about shortly before they left. The black-robed clerics hurried across to the Company.
    “Lady of the Living Balance,” said the leading one, bowing his head politely. His features were hidden by the deep hood, and had a voice deep as the proverbial grave.
    “Reapers’ Blade,” she replied; two could play at the formalities game. “You have not entered within?” she asked, nodding at the cathedral.
    “No, m’lady. The Captain was told to await orders from Lord Jarmaath. Waiting … comes simply to our order. What may we do for you?”

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  20. CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2000
    star 6
    Zanaek Grahorn

    Cathedral Square, Brindol

    "Has anything happened since Lord Jarmaath has been informed?" Zanaek inquired, feeling none of the awkwardness that might have come from being how bright of a target he was making himself. Weeks before he might have shied from such a display, but the experiences he's endured throughout this whole campaign had changed him. He glanced up at the warped cathedral and could only imagine what was going on. He hoped those that had been caught inside were still alive and unharmed. "And any idea what may be causing this?"

    He and his companions suspected it was the demon. He just wasn't sure if it was and if it was, how had it managed to step onto holy ground. When was the last time this place has been consecrated?

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  21. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    The Company of the Crescent Flame
    Cathedral Square, Brindol, Elsir Vale
    Four bells (Before dawn), Twenty-fourth of Mirtul
    Year of Scattered Lanterns (1368 DR)


    "It is not given to us to know," replied the death cleric. "Since we arrived, the doors have remained shut, and none have entered or departed. The remains of the four guardsmen thrown from the church we have already seen to our temple. We asked one of them what had done this." The death cleric raised his face to the light. The light of Torm's Heavens gleamed, reflecting from the death cleric's dark eyes. "It said, 'that which was once buried.' We asked the guardsman what his killer wanted. His body said, 'a challenge.'"

    Skadi rolled her shoulders, glancing back at the Cathedral. Speaking with the dead was something Tyrran clerics -- typically justices -- occasionally did in the course of murder investigations, but she herself hadn't done so for a long, long time.
    "If that is all that can be told, that is all we have to work with," she said. The cleric freed Winterfell from its sheath, the ice-white light of the blade surmounting that of Zanaek's own spells. "Shall we be about this?"

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  22. cassie5squared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2010
    star 2
    IC: William Marshall and Maeghen

    "Shall we be about this?"

    "We're with you," William said, stepping up to join Skadi. He looked to the gathered priests a little hesitantly - he'd never been especially comfortable around the clerics of Kelemvor. "My familiar will wait out here - if it seems as though we can't keep this... whatever it is contained, you'll have some warning."

    Maeghen sullenly fluttered to the ground. They'd had a silent but extremely vehement fight about the issue on the way from the Keep, and William had won. This combined with her fear of the situation had put the falcon in a foul temper, so she was currently not talking to anyone.

    He gave her a rueful look, but turned to the Cathedral with a deep breath and a resolute look. "Let's be about this, then."

    Mystra, watch over me.

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  23. Rilwen_Shadowflame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 6
    IC: Mazarun Zothyrr
    Outside the Cathedral

    He did not want to be here. He did not want to be facing this thing. Glabrezu... The very word chilled him. He knew the destruction demons could wreak. Were they not a favoured tool of the priestesses? Were they not summoned to destroy those Houses whose plans had been uncovered, whose schemes had failed and lost them all favour? Such destruction was a lesson, and one all were expected to watch. He had seen the demons at their work, had heard the screams of their victims.

    But a glabrezu... that was worse. That memory was a personal one, filled with bitter shame, and the scent of dizzying red smoke. The rites that ended a drow warrior's time in Melee-Magthere, the school of bladework, were memorable, and no matter if it's attention had been... elsewhere, the thought of the glabrezu was tangled up with the rest of that memory.

    Mazarun shuddered. "Remember," he said quietly, as steadily as he could, "it has four arms and can be lethal with any of them."

    With that warning, he turned to face the cathedral. The sheer wrongness that had infused the building was chilling, but he'd fought in places that inspired dread often enough before now. If it had to be done, they'd simply have to do it.

    Amid his resolve, he permitted himself a flicker of gladness that he'd thought to leave the kitten at Brindol Keep, well away from all this.

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  24. Ktala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 7, 2002
    star 6
    Ariel Elandinai
    Cathedral Square, Brindol, Elsir Vale, Four bells (Before dawn)

    Ariel did a double take, but otherwise stayed silent, as the Company gathered and then headed off towards the church. Zanaek literally glowed. She had never seen that effect before, and it was quite curious about it. Of course, now would not be the time to ask of such things. Skadi was also focused, and Ariel simply fell in with the others and walked as she observed the rest of the company. They were met by another group, of very strange beings, as far as Ariel was concerned. Skadi called them Reapers Blade. Ariel listened to the chatter, but was looking around her at how the area around the chapel had been so - warped. She did hear however, the words from the strange cleric. That they had talked to the dead? And it had replied, 'that which was once buried.' and killer wanted 'a challenge.'"

    Well, that seemed pretty straight forward enough. Ariel unsheathed Sulsalka. She might not be a cleric, but she was a Duskblade. So she would do whatever was necessary to rid themselves of this demon. Or, if nothing else, kept it from attacking the clerics. Ariel watched as Skadi rolled her shoulders, glancing back at the Cathedral.

    "If that is all that can be told, that is all we have to work with," she said. "Shall we be about this?" Mazarun chimed in with his own warning. "Remember," he said quietly, "it has four arms and can be lethal with any of them."

    Ariel nodded. She then spoke. "Well then, if it wants a challenge, we shall give it one. Let's not keep it waiting." her voice soft but steady.


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  25. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    [IMG]

    The Company of the Crescent Flame
    Brindol Cathedral

    Until the end of her life, Skadi would clearest remember closing the cathedral's door behind the Company: the clack of the oak latch falling as she dropped the bar into place and turned to the great space around and above them.

    The nave was cold; still; expectant. A glow of verdigris choked all other colours. The perverse metallic spice of drying blood crouched on the air. Black drag-roads of blood sliced the grey stone floor. The aisles were a mutiny's aftermath: pews torn from their moorings, jagged shortspears of wanderwood like bone fragments jutting from a mutilated body, walls spattered with mad sketches in blood and other unspeakable liquids. The choir loft, which had been above them, lay discarded at one wall, thirty feet of wanderwood craftsmanship ripped free one storey up and hurled at the feet of the dark alcoves looming over its corpse.

    A pale patch of wall at the closest alcove made Skadi shift Winterfall's light a little. When last here, there had been representations of Lathander in these alcoves; studies in bodily perfection. The study in the alcove was perfect in a madman's nightmare. The carving of Lathander's form had been replaced; imitated with a human's form -- one of Lathander's clerics, posed, trussed, body parts removed, substituted for others. The face, thrown back in a rictus of agonised despair, had no hint of life.

    The cleric lowered Winterfall, staring forward, trying not to count and failing the other fifteen alcoves from here to the high altar in the distance. A hundred and fifty feet or so. The spell making her eyes gleam black was not fooled by shadow, deep though it was here, but there was some misshapen, shrouded form lying atop the stone altar like a body on a funeral bier. Sharp eyes trained to death picked out something at the base of the altar - something round; spherical; featured, and centred in what seemed a black pool from this distance.

    But those same sharp eyes did not pick out anything else.

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