{ Nightfall: The Warlock }



REGISTER TO REMOVE ADS

Ordeith

Great Old One
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,661
Age
23
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
  • Retired Staff
  • Writer of Writers
NIGHTFALL
Ψ The Warlock Ψ

As the long night approaches,
we witness the rise of a new constellation.


"Merciful Mother, protector of the weak, we seek asylum in thine arms..."

For the eighth time that night, the opening words of Mater Misericors hummed low and steady on his breath. He had long since dropped out of the present moment—out of darkness and cold, noise and chaos, pain and thirst—into the ebb and flow of the sacred words. While his body strained to keep a steady tempo, his mind rejoiced in the presence of the Goddess. Knowing that She watched him intently, he could maintain the Warding Rites for as long as he needed to; the Sun would eventually rise, and good would outlast evil.

"To thee alone we flee in times of want. We cast our lowly selves at thy feet, trusting in thy goodness above all things..."

The Dulian knights, his escorts, were far away now. Whether they lived or not, he could not say.
But even as the demons of Azazel clawed ravenously at the edge of the sigil around his feet, Brother Christoph knew no fear. Reason told him that a higher power had sided with him, and would not abandon him to death. In the light of reason, the gods' greatest gift, no dark could overwhelm his senses...

________________________________________________________

Ψ Six Weeks Earlier Ψ

With the practiced hand of a scribe—gentle and steady, so as to keep the ancient bindings together—Christoph lowered the Alabaster Tome into its receptacle. A heavy wooden box, lined with plush red velvet, it was actually the least ostentatious container that the book had known. Hallow was usually locked within a massive gilded vault, on a thread-of-gold pillow inlaid with pearls—but as the vault was scarcely mobile, the Church had no choice but commission a portable cabinet for the holy tome. Only Brother Christoph Cain was privy to the secret of its locking mechanism; and of the small party sojourning into Morcado, only he was exempt from the powerful warding spells that covered its exterior.

Of course, he thought, such elaborate measures are more likely to encourage bandits than deter them...
From what he had been told, their traveling party was to be small indeed. An unwieldy wooden box, guarded by only a handful of Church knights, would be a tempting prize to those without scruples.

Still, Brother Christoph had faith in the power of Laetria to protect Her holy treasures—far greater than his faith in the plans of men. In the end, the Venelatrian Church could afford such extravagant displays, when its legitimate founding in the Goddess was so plain to see. Even the impious dared not offend a deity who was so active in the world, and so clearly invested in Her Church among mortals. Christoph was certain that the journey, at least, would hold no unpleasant surprises.

As for the rest...
I must remember that faith is rewarded above all, and that reason is Her candle in the dark.


He sighed, genuflected before the altar and the tome, and returned to his chambers in the monastery. The young priest had packed nearly everything he would need for the journey, save the perishable foods he would receive on the morrow. There was, however, one item that remained unready for the long trek...

Another book, vellum bound in plain leather, lay surrounded by a precarious heap of notes and scribbles. Most of the latter were his own writings, but among them were letters sent to Christoph from the provinces. Town councils and mayors, doctors and parish priests, had continually been writing to him since his return to the capital. From beginning to end, each contained news of the village folk he had tended during his mission—how they were getting along, how much progress they had made in rebuilding, and so on.

Those were his most precious articles, and his most helpful resource in the writing of his book.
And while the warlock's demons are gnawing at my flesh, I shall have them all with me.

Though he had tried, he could not bring himself to abandon his work at the monastery. Yes, it was presumptuous of him to take it along—but it would be cruel, he thought, to leave the villages' story incomplete. Their struggles deserved to be recorded; and because he did not know whether he would survive this latest journey, he would simply take their history-in-progress along with him.

Besides, he thought to himself, one act done for the Goddess does not excuse laxness in other forms of praise. And this book, surely, has been a long work of praise.

________________________________________________________​

At that moment, the satchel containing Brother Christoph's works of praise lay on the sodden ground in front of him, as it had sat for hours now. The hard-bound book was likely intact, but the letters had no doubt taken some damage in the earlier struggle.

The Warding sigil still burned brightly on the ground, illuminating Christoph's sitting figure.
Outside the circle, dark shapes still lurched and danced about, oblivious of the coming dawn.

For the ninth time that night, he started the prayer again. "Merciful Mother, protector of the weak, we seek asylum in thine arms..."
 
Last edited:

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
The sun slowly crept over the dark horizon, unleashing an inferno of light across the darkened landscape. The light struck the morning dew clinging desperately to the swaying blades of grass, causing a symphony of sparkles to sway soothingly along with the gentle breeze. The darkness of night retreated from the advancing dawn, surrendering the land to the light for another day, waiting to once again claim it come night.

The light crept further and uncovered the beasts hiding within the darkness. The monstrous demons that had laid siege to the small patch of earth that was now Saint Christoph's fortress let out a sharp, piercing cry, as their attacks to the edge of the sigil grew more and more violent. They were horrible creatures, twisted and deformed into things of nightmares, adorned with razor-sharp teeth, horns, and claws, each easily capable of rending flesh from bone. Their eyes burned bright, like flames hotter than the greatest stars, and were filled with the unmistakable look of rage and bloodlust.

From among the demons stepped a large, hulking figure, whose footfalls caused the earth to tremble. He stood much taller than the rest, a held about him the air of leadership. He stood several feet taller than the rest, two massive horns resting on his head that slowly curved backward. His arms were long, nearly dragging on the ground as he walked, and two massive wings hung, folded, at his back. The demon held in his hand a small, golden artifact, spherical in shape, with tiny spurts of purple energies running through small channels within the machine. The demon held the artifact out before him and a soft humming sound begin to resonate within it. The small sphere began to float up off the demon's palm as a dim, purple light shone from around it. The machine released a pulse of wind-based magicks, quickly followed by a shockwave. The combined magicks of the artifact sliced through the young saint's ward sigil and dispelled it, leaving him exposed. As they demons approached, a great tremor shook the earth.

"Hey!" a voice called out from the distance. As the sun rose higher over the horizon, climbing higher than the peaks in the far distance, it shone its light upon a dark figure standing atop the ruined remains of a large construct. The light reflected brightly off his dark armor, washing it in a dark, purplish shine. "It isn't very nice to attack our guests."

Alcaeus leapt from the fallen construct straight into the thick of the demons, disappearing beneath the sea of fangs and claws. After but a second, a great number of demons were sent flying as the earth rose with a great shock. Alcaeus stood on top, riding the great wave of earth as one would ride the waves of water. The wave of earth crashed down hard upon the demons, crushing them beneath its brute force. Alcaeus shot out from the rubble, moving along the ground at incredible speeds without even lifting his feet. The very earth carried him along his path, snaking along and through the groups of demons, bringing them within range of his swords. His blades cutting cleanly through the creatures' flesh, drawing blood and bile into the air from at first his right, then his left, and then right once more.

The warrior jumped high into the air, drawing his blades together. A small compartment opened on the larger, and Alcaeus slid the smaller blade in, which was followed by a clicking noise as a mechanism locked the blade in place, restoring the blade to one. He held the blade high over head as he began to descend, and slid the blade cleanly through the skull of a demon charging Christoph, slicing it--along with the rest of its body--in half. "Stay close!" Alcaeus cried as he rose from the ground. With a great cry, a ferocious shockwave released from the warrior, causing great spikes to violently erupt from the ground and skewer the remaining demons surrounding them. All, that is, but one.

The hulking demon who wielded the small artifact took to the air, releasing a mixture of an ear-piercing screech and gut-wrenching roar. Alcaeus set to follow the retreating creature, when a soft thump stopped him. The young man lay unconscious on the ground. Alcaeus was somewhat familiar with the warding magicks the young man had been using, having fought against many priests--most notably the Alabaster Saints--during the Gods' War who commanded the power of miracles, or 'Laetria's Blessing,' as many of those arrogant, self-righteous bastards called it. He knew that chanting a ward spell or prayer for long enough took its toll on the body; he could only wonder how long this poor sap had been having to keep the demons at bay.

Alcaeus sighed as he watched the demon fly off toward the north--toward Migdal Bavel, and more importantly, toward the warlock Azazel. With a bit of a groan, Alcaues bent over and grabbed the unconscious Christoph, lifting him up and over his right shoulder. Making sure to retrieve the man's scattered letters--which had been slightly dirtied and roughed up along the edges, but none heavily torn--and began off west, toward the ruined capital of Jaroton.

Christoph didn't wake for three days.
 

Professor Ven

The Tin Man
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Messages
4,337
Age
26
Location
Slothia
  • Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
The Wanderer and Tinker met the sodden party halfway on the road to Jaroton, and naturally, cobbled along with them; after all, with demons terrorizing freely, these unlucky adventurers would surely be less so with two extra additions.


"And so, that's how I became an honorary member of Greenwald Brewery." Szel Ruzgar spoke calmly, finishing yet another yarn of his countless adventures and wanderings. He sat on a stump, back to his red wagon (the mule which drew the wagon ate grass in a very greedy fashion - piggish of him, indeed), facing the campfire, his blackthorn staff leaned back against the wagon. Inside the wagon lay the Laetrian priest, still unconscious, as of now. And Alcaeus, bearer of the fabled Inselberg at our campfire; wonder what convinced him to aid the poor fellow, and a Laetrian priest at that.


"Boss forget 'bout Doric Cacellmar." Klist Reikar raised a thin, bony fist with index finger outstretched, waving it in a knowing manner, as he flopped about, waddling in his oversized boots. bits of armor, cloth, and various knickknacks clattering as the goblin moved to fill another bowl of fiery chili for their guests.


"Ah, yes, you're right of course, Klist. Anyway, we were going south by the Fangris; you know, the river that runs just south of Greenwald's capital - which is never named in the human tongue, of course, since the Elves themselves, despite their acceptance of Venelatria's power and technology, have and will never translate their capital's name from their native tongue - and as a result, most simply call the Elven capital Greenwald, which isn't particularly true, and can also be quite confusing to most new adventurers and scholars, since they'd be in the forest of Greenwald, looking for the capital city, you know, and so on . . ." Szel paused for a moment, sipping from a flask which was pulled from an inner robe pocket, and continued on.

"So, we were going south by the Fangris, and this odd fellow meets us on the road, says his name's Doric Cacellmar; which in itself is strange, as most Elven names, brought into the human dialect, have three names, which correlates with their link to plant life - Root, Stem, Leaf. The first name is usually the ancestral name; in essence, last names come first. The second is the name chosen by the parents of the child, which also can tie in various nobility traditions and other rituals the Spicers keep hidden away from prying eyes like mine, heh. And the third is the name chosen by the child ere they reach the age of adulthood, which in basic terms doesn't necessarily apply to age, so much as when that child gains control over the Elves' particular link to Earth."

"This link can be obtained anywhere from ten human years of age to well into the Elves' elderly stage; there are only three among Elven lore, however, who have died with only two names (and they died as heroes to their nation), so I think we can be rest assured that such an event is very unlikely to happen to most of their kind." Szel took a spoonful of fiery chili, gulping it with satisfaction, and cooling his throat by sipping from the stein of water that sat near his foot. Klist flopped around, bringing refills of chili and water (which was always boiled before it was served), before the goblin sat down on his own stump, savoring the chili with gusto.

"So Doric Cacellmar . . ." Szel went on with his story, as his mind went into its own ponderings. Wonder what's taking them to Jaroton. Place is a ruin, and if it wasn't on the road, no one would bother going to it - and maybe it wouldn't be a ruin. And Alcaeus, the Indomitable. Last I heard he was enjoying the sunny climate of the Frozen bloody North. And helping a Laetrian priest, at that. Odd man. Curiously odd fellow, indeed.
 

Hidden

A boy named Crow
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,615
Age
30
Location
A world that never was
Website
www.freewebs.com
  • Character of the Week
  • Quack Attack
Kivuli La'Nell Shujaa, disgraced daughter of Clan Shujaa, had been tracking the strange party for three days. Thanks to the presence of an inexhaustibly talkative human and a clumsy runt of a goblin, this was exceedingly easy. She probably could have walked upright ten feet behind them in plain view, and they would have been none the wiser. As it was, she kept a wary distance of twenty feet, crouched down on all fours, the dark spots on her back blending in with the swaying grass and making her all but invisible. She knew how to avoid being seen. She was, after all, a Leijonni, and a hunter; in the years before her exile, she had been among the best in her clan.

Still, she had been on the trail for three days and three nights, and she was getting hungry. She didn't dare leave the group long enough to hunt for game, and of course the other Leijonni weren't about to come to her aid. They had lost all interest in the traveling party long ago, a ragtag group of humans and less-than-humans lost in the grasslands, not worth their time or concern. Kivuli felt differently. For one thing, the group was certainly not lost, though they followed a road long unused by anyone but the Leijonni. It led to Jaroton, a ruined human city. What business they could have there, Kivuli did not know, but the road passed very close to her clan's hunting grounds, and that alone was enough to make her wary. For another matter, there were the traveling companions themselves. A human and a goblin made for strange bedfellows, but Kivuli wasn't concerned about them. The hulking mass that strode in front of them though, and clearly set the pace and the direction of the group, was unlike any human Kivuli had ever seen before. He was taller than her by a good six inches, and wore burnished black-purple armor as though he had been born in it. He clearly knew his way on this long-forgotten road, and he had a purpose for traveling on it. Kivuli would stay with them until she had gleaned what that purpose was.

There was one other human, asleep in the wagon; he had been sleeping since Kivuli first started following the band of wanderers, and she only caught glimpses of him through the wagon's leather flaps. She knew nothing of him, but the large one would occasionally look back to check on him and at night slept close to the wagon. Kivuli inferred from this that he was important.

Still, more immediate matters pressed for her attention, and her muscles reminded her that she had been a long time expending energy without replenishing it. She had gone days without food before -hunting alone is not nearly so effective as hunting in a pack- but an unceasing state of vigilance was taking its toll on her; she only slept a couple of hours before dawn each day, worried lest they should depart in the night and evade her. She had considered picking off the goblin runt one of the many times he fell behind, but his absence would surely be noticed, and besides she had no wish to lower herself to eating goblin flesh. Whatever the goblin was cooking, however, gave off an absolutely intoxicating scent, and already Kivuli had slunk to within ten feet of the camp to get a better sniff. It was coming from a black pot over the fire, untended except for when the goblin went back and forth to fill another bowl with whatever it was. Kivuli watched his movements and the frequency of his trips carefully.

A low growl escaped the back of her throat, chagrined at the thought of stealing food from a campfire like a common thief, but she reminded herself that this was necessary to keep an eye on these intruders and at the same time survive. If this was what she had to do to keep her grasslands safe, then that's what she'd do. Moving forward now, she called upon that special skill that had both ostracized her and kept her alive for these last eight years. As her body moved, strands of darkness lengthened and flattened across it, making it impossible to distinguish paw from earth, fur from shadow. You might catch from the corner of your eye the glint of a tooth or a dark-hued rosette, but these were disconnected images in your mind; the Leijonni herself was invisible. And so, moving utterly soundlessly, the long feline form moved into the light of the campfire.
 
Last edited:

Ordeith

Great Old One
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,661
Age
23
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
  • Retired Staff
  • Writer of Writers
To thee alone we flee in times of want. We cast…

…at thy feet…​

…trusting in Doric Cacellmar…​

Christoph awoke with the hymns of Laetria echoing through his mind, to the rhythm of a voice that he did not know. On and on it droned, stuffing his head with meaningless words...

He wanted to groan aloud, but no sound would carry through his lips. For all the world, it felt as though someone had stuffed his mouth with cotton, and his throat with dust. His limbs were so stiff, he dared not move them—but even worse, he could not remember falling asleep in the first place. The Warding sigil held, and—

Again, the voice carried his thoughts elsewhere, to elves and rivers and nothing relevant to his situation.
Oh, this is . . . impossible! Without moving too much, he tried to trace the sound.

Even through lids half-closed, the firelight stung his eyes—but through the orange haze Christoph spotted a man, clad in shabby-looking robes. His face was turned away, while his hands occasionally stretched out above the flames. Sometimes he held a flask; at other times, a bowl. Either way, the rhythm in those sparse movements told Christoph that this man was the unknown speaker. An oddly-formed shadow hovered around the robed man, occasionally flopping back towards the fire. Short and awkwardly long of limb, it could not belong to anything human.

But what terrified the young priest was the figure sitting beyond the campfire, on the far side.
An armor-clad titan, glinting purple in the firelight—it could only be one. The Obsidian Soldier!

Christoph knew, with a wrenching sickness, that he had been captured by the enemy.

"The tome..." he moaned. If it had been seized, all was lost. Frantically, forgetting the stiffness in his limbs, he grasped all about his person. His hands slid over rough planks of wood, some stray pieces of straw—and finally a strap of smooth leather. Christoph pulled his satchel up towards him; its weight was just as he remembered it, plus a little extra. The Alabaster Tome. It's safe. Suddenly he realized that he was making a great deal of noise.

For a moment, he hoped that this commotion had gone unnoticed—but when he locked eyes with the Dark One's champion, there was no mistaking the intent of that gaze. He saw. And he will not suffer my escape; he would kill me first.

There was naught to do but rise fully, and face the servant of Verdamal with all the dignity of a Laetrian priest. Through parched lips, he whispered another prayer to the goddess. "Mother of mankind, you bathe our bodies in light, and command the earth to yield great bounty under our direction. We thank you, progenitor of all life, all health..."

His voice trickled into a hoarse, coughing whisper—then rose, suddenly, to a clear volume. Brother Christoph rose slowly from the wagon, still petitioning Laetria for aid: "Set daylight upon my mind's path, that I might not stumble into the clever snares of my enemy. May it be done according to Your will!" At that, a miniature globe of light orbited his head; it brought clarity and focus to his thoughts, and steadiness to his voice.

"I am Christoph, a brother of the Dulian Order," he said. "I see that I've come to no harm while in your keeping—and in this place, that alone is worthy of thanks. Are you friends to the Church?"

There in the light, Christoph could see the party in full: the robed man, a goblin in mismatched scraps, and the soldier of Verdamal. Half-formed shapes moved in the dark behind them, suggesting any number of summoned fiends.
 
Last edited:

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
"Friends? Of the Church?" Alcaeus let out a hoarse, rough chuckle—it was worn, rusty, as if it had not been used in a hundred years. The soldier rose from his seat and walked toward the young saint with a hurried pace, making sure the fool didn't do anything reckless. He didn't sense any demons within the immediate vicinity, but a scouting party could appear at any time, and Alcaeus didn't want to show any amount of internal squabbling for them to play off of. Then, there was the other one that had been following them.

"Allow me to get one thing straight for you, Laetrian." Alcaues tightly grabbed the collar of the priest's garb, nearly lifting the young man from his feet. "I am no friend of your church, priest. I saw it in your eyes when you woke; you know very well who I am. Alcaeus of the Obsidian Champions, Erdei's Champion; General of the Morcadian Army and former First General of the Dark God's army. I hate Venelatria, the Dulian Order, and that goddamn bitch you call 'goddess.'" Alcaeus released Christoph, slowly backing away to collect himself and quell his anger. "That aside, I rescued you because we Morcadians feel obligated to assist those in need.

"And fortunately, the gods smiled upon me, for what should I find but a young Laetrian priest tasked in the slaying of the wicked warlock." Alcaues held the piece of parchment up—the one in which the Dulain Council gave Christoph his orders—and shook it lightly to make sure the young man noticed it. "And not just any priest, no. I find none other than young Christoph Cain, great-some-odd-grandchild of the late Marthis Cain of the Alabaster Saints. Thus, your blood enables you to wield one of those accursed books of light—Hollow, was it?." Alcaeus smiled. "But don't worry. My quarrel was with Marthis, not you, Christoph. Besides..."

Alcaeus turned away and looked out into the darkness that rested at horizon's edge. The soft breeze floated by his ears, whispering softly along his lobes, interrupted occasionally by the crackling of the fire or the shuffling of the goblin. The soldier exhaled deeply. "Besides, we share the same goal. And as much as I detest your nation, I will not refuse its aid—even if I must swallow my pride just this once. That is how important my home and the people in it are to me. But..." The soldier drew his blade with the sudden speed and power of a great earthquake, the ground tremoring in suit. He raised its point to the priest's neck, placing it just close enough to poke him ever so slightly. "If you do anything that smells of those greedy bureaucrats, I will cut you down where you stand. Understood?."

With that, Alcaeus sheathed his blade and returned to his seat. He raised a small, glass bottle, filled with an intoxicating ale brewed by the Seraph folk aptly called 'Nirvana,' took a heavy swig, and sighed, refreshed. "Now then, since the priest has waken, how about we all introduce ourselves to him, hm? Let's see, how about we start with you, Leijonni huntress?"
 
Last edited:

Hidden

A boy named Crow
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,615
Age
30
Location
A world that never was
Website
www.freewebs.com
  • Character of the Week
  • Quack Attack
Kivuli was standing over the pot when the last member of the company awoke. Kivuli froze, careful to stay outside of the circle of light that suddenly radiated outwards from the upright figure. She saw his ivory habit and understood enough of his words to know whom he was praying so fervently to. So, the fourth member of this troupe was a Venelatrian priest—that did not endear any of them to the Leijonni hunter, and her suspicions about their presence in the grasslands took on darker hues. She was interrupted in her thoughts, however, by a curious spectacle.

The towering giant of a man, still clad all in armor but for a helm, stood up and strode powerfully over to the newly awakened priest. Gathering the latter’s collar in one mailed fist, he hoisted the smaller man nearly off his feet. Then, as if to make explicit the meaning behind his gesture, he said slowly and deliberately, "I am no friend of your church, priest." Kivuli’s ears pricked up at this juicy tidbit. Splitting her attention between maintaining her camouflage and following their words, she listened intently. “...you know very well who I am. Alcaeus of the Obsidian Champions, Erdei’s Champion; General of the Morcadian Army and former First General of the Dark God’s army. I hate Venelatria, the Dulian Order, and that goddamned bitch you call ‘goddess.’” Kivuli didn’t follow the long list of names the large man identified himself by, but she understood (and relished) the insult to the Venelatrian goddess. So, it seemed not everyone in this group was on the same side. That was good news.

Again, however, the obsidian giant threw her off her guard. Sitting now and taking a swig directly from a bottle that was dwarfed in his large hands, he turned towards the untended pot of chili. “Now then, since the priest has waken, how about we all introduce ourselves to him, hm? Let's see, how about we start with you, Leijonni huntress?”

Most animals have a flight or fight instinct built into them. Confronted with an unexpected, possibly dangerous situation, their nervous system automatically primes them to either turn tail and flee or bare teeth and attack. The Leijonni knew only one of these.

Dropping her superimposed shadows and rearing to full height, the Leijonni hunter peeled back her lips in a growl. The claws on her forepaws extended a full four inches out of their sheaths, and her hind legs flexed in readiness for the short burst that would carry her across the few meters to where the obsidian knight was sitting unalarmed. But he had asked her a question, and it was a matter of honor to answer him before taking off his head.

“I am Kivuli La’Nell Shujaa,” she snarled in the coarse human tongue. “And you are not welcome in these grasslands, humans.”
 

Professor Ven

The Tin Man
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Messages
4,337
Age
26
Location
Slothia
  • Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
The Alabaster Tome gave me no worry, nor its pious guardian. Neither did the Dulian knights, or even the bearer of the dreaded Inselberg; but I'll be damned if someone tells me I'm not welcome. A man does not tell the wind it is not welcome in his home simply because it puffs out the candlelight.

"Welcome? Pah! I've wandered through these grasslands, and hardly did I ever have any of your noble kind dare to tell me that I was not so!" The ancient whitebeard rose from his relaxed position, finally flustered and very well in temper. "I ought to hex you into a toad, but that would be an insult to Barnabas, bless his warted soul!" Szel reached out and grasped his staff, and it hummed softly in his grip. It has been a long time since I had to actually use any real power. Should it be now? Terrible, terrible temper, Szel. The lioness knows only what she knows. And remember the real reason you are in this land.

"Boss?" Klist peered up at his master, eyebrow arched and mouth curved slightly downward in that age-old manner of inquiry. Then, the goblin merely shrugged, and turned about to clear up the cookpot and campsite, flopping about in his oversized boots. He had before been in a situation like this, and hated to clean up the messes afterward. "Boss be, as Doric Cacellmar once said," Klist put on a very believable, and annoyingly aristocratic falsetto as he collected the plates and cups, "a right prickly old bastard."


"Indeed! I'd have thought you learned to respect elders, poor child!" The fiery, piercing gaze that had once been in his eyes faded just as quickly as it had appeared.


Jaroton lies ahead.
 

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
"That is enough!" Alcaeus shouted, the ground trembling at the man's shout. He rose to his feet and locked his fiery gaze with the Leijonni's. "This land belongs to no one, be them human, Leijonni, or whatever! This is the sovereign kingdom of Morcado, the Golden City, and is a land where everyone can live freely, regardless of whatever race they may be or upbringing they have! As the General of Morcado's army and probably closest thing this kingdom has left to a leader, I will not be told I am not welcomed in my own home!"

Alcaues dropped back down into his seat, grunting as he did. "Anyway," he started, taking another drink of the ale, "you said you were of the Shujaa clan? Of the Varjoia Pride? I knew that your clan had survived the Gods' War and has since rebuilt, but I thought the practices of the umbra clan had been lost to the war. And yet, here you are, a Leijonni with the ability to bend the shadows to her will. My, how your clan must praise you." The man pushed the cork into the bottle's top and rolled it toward the Leijonni huntress. "Call it a peace offering. You're welcome to some food, as well. By the gods, you must be starving, having trailed us for the last three nights without food."

Just as things were beginning to settle down, an explosion rocked the earth. Alcaeus jumped to his feet and turned to see a large ball of flame illuminate the black horizon to the south. "Shit," he cursed. "That's Via Gren!" Alcaeus turned to face his traveling companions. "Look, if we're near Via Gren, that means Jaroton is about a day's travel from here. If you don't want to get involved in this, I suggest continuing on to the capital, for it's far too dangerous to stay here now. As for myself," he turned back to face the city, "I cannot turn a blind eye upon my people."

Alcaeus reached down into his bag and from it pulled a great helmet, one as black as the night that contained the fury of flame and the unshakable will of the earth. The Obsidian Kight placed the helm over his head and the armor seemed to almost shimmer with anticipation, a previously unseen power coursing through the metal. The armor complete, the Champion looked much akin to an evil spirit or demon, a tactic of intimidation to drive even the strongest of hearts into fear. From his back, two large spikes grew out from the armor, surrounded by a bright aura of fire magicks. The armor seemed to shrink, much of the bulk collapsing upon itself until only a slim suit of armor remained. His entire body began to glow red, surrounded by a thick darkness. "I will not let you hurt them!"

The earth cracked as he took his first step, an incredible amount of power flowing through his legs pushing his forward faster than any man could normally run. His footfalls shook the earth, now a good hundred yards away after but a couple of seconds. His body disappeared into a cloud of smoke and flame, reappearing a second later, now a hundred yards further. Alcaeus continued this, using the smoke-based warp magicks of the Obsidian Champions to quicken his pace to the city.

When Alcaeus stopped, the sound of screaming and burning filled the air, and he felt the strong heat upon his skin. Women and children ran for their lives, the remains of their husbands scattered across the ground in pools of their own blood. The entire northern quadrant of the city was lit aflame, and most of the stone structures had been reduced to rubble. Alcaeus could only pray the other sections of the city had so far been spared.

A woman ran from behind one of the buildings, releasing a bloodcurdling scream mixed with a heavy sobbing. Behind her, a great monster followed, crashing its fists against the buildings blocking its way. The demon was massive, with great tusks rising from its mouth. The demon caught up to the girl and grabbed her body in a single hand. Alcaeus reached for his sword and prepared to strike, when another voice stopped him cold.

"Oh holy defender, you have caught the vile monster!" A man walked from the same path in which the two had just emerged. He was darkly dressed, with a long coat and a large-brim hat commonly seen on those who moved cattle across the grasslands during the First Age. "You fiend!" the man cried, pointing at the girl accusingly. "Look what your wickedness has begot! Now, your and your neighbors homes have been washed in the holy flame of judgement! Their death and suffering shall be placed upon your back, and the only atonement for what you have done can be death!"

As if on cue, the large demon crushed the woman in its hand, sending blood and guts squirting out between its fingers. She tried to scream, but her lungs crushed, could only gasp silently. The demon threw the lump of what remained of the woman, which still gasped to form a scream, to the side, her blood still trickling down its fingers. "Praise be onto Her!" the man cried, throwing his hands into the air. "She has been liberated from her wickedness! She is once again holy and can return to the flock!" The man's voice cracked as he began to softly sob. "I'm so happy."

Anger filled Alcaeus in every inch of his being. He rose from where he had watched and walked out into the open--toward the massive demon and the crazed man. The man turned and noticed Alcaeus, and a smile--a smile that one would have in seeing a dear friend after many years--split his face in two. "Oh, wonderful!" he cried. "It's a new face! Pray tell, are you here to join Her flock?" In response, Alcaeus drew his sword from his sheath. With a swift action untraceable by those without skilled eyes, Alcaeus drug the sword through the demon, cleaning splitting the hulking monster in two. A thick blood squirted from each half of the creature as the knight landed next to the man, his sword to his neck. "Who are you?"

The man, which had screamed at Alcaeus's assault and began weeping at the demon's death, pulled his face from his hands and faced Alcaeus. What the knight saw sent a chill into the very depth of his soul. The man, who had been hysterically weeping, now looked at Alcaeus with a calm, clear-minded appearance that was previously absent. Another smile crossed his face, not one of joy, but a dark smile that accompanied the murder that danced across his golden orbs. "Me?" he asked, a dark, calm tone replacing the hysterical ravings of a madman. "Why, I'm Azazel. It's very nice to meet you."
 

Hazen Gregory

doWnloAd ProgoNOSKES 99% cOMplETeD
Joined
May 10, 2006
Messages
11,535
Location
mISSING SOMEWHERE On sIGLUR****
Website
www.facebook.com
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Unicornis Union
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Retired Staff
  • Nothing's Like Before
  • Crafty Soul
"I should have known better than to allow the two of them to do the information gathering on our way here. I was very specific about being low key and not drawing any attention to our three man group, now I'm about to face a miniature army." Irritum sighed dramatically, his voice was already being drowned out by the murmurings of at least one or two hundred men and women within the large bandit camp the Prince of Morcado, the Drake and The Azure One had stumbled upon. The trio was about five miles away from the capital where they were headed on a return trip to bring the prince back from a classified excursion.

If it weren't for Banesk running his mouth while the three were slowing making their way through the camp, Irritum was sure he wouldn't have been stuck in this useless situation. Somehow their identities had all been discovered, causing a huge disruption within the camp. "Figures I'd have another bounty on my head for no reason other than me being the Azure One," the half-breed scowled as he came out from under the flap of the tent he'd been sitting inside. His thoughts were perfectly organized just like the escape he and Bane set into motion. He and the Prince were probably already safely out of the camp or were just about there. So long as Irritum managed to survive his current encounter he would be able to meet up with the other two afterward.

The sun was low in the sky, giving just enough light to illuminate the entire plain with a light that made Irritum smile. "Look, there he is!!! The Azure One!!! Don't let him escape, he holds the power of the Azure Luminous and Progonoskes. If we sacrifice him, untold powers will be bestowed upon us!!!" Hearing this made Irritum grin even wider, this group of fools were no less disturbed than any of the other masses of pathetic humans that had tried time and time again to kill Irritum to take his weapon or try and perform some diabolical ritual or other. "Let's get him. There's no way he can take all of us at once!!!" Many voices began to blend into the last as numerous individuals and groups of those within the camp voiced there opinions. "But he doesn't even look scared, is it really a good idea??"

Irritum tapped one foot on the ground and opened his mouth, letting a small yawn out. "Come on then, if you really want my power, why don't you simply come and take it from me?? Surely all of you scary humans can defeat little ol me right??" Irritum began laughing aloud, but then stopped rather abruptly. Previous to laughing, both of the Azure One's eyes were closed. Now both of them were open, glowing with a blue light that started to intensify. More voices from the crowd began to grow louder over others, some of them harsh, others deeper and full of excitement, it was like a harmony of voices that Irritum interpreted to receive a single message made of many different remarks.

"You pitiful half-breed, I bet the stories are all over exaggerated. No way you can really be that strong, We'll have to problem killing you!!!"

The Azure One blinked a single time and sighed, saying absolutely nothing. Instead the Azure One took a step toward all the bodies gathered across the open plain area of the camp and then another. "Here he comes!!!" With each footfall, Irritum's step speed increased. With each step, the mass of rouge misfits talked and began there movement toward the Azure One. Irritum was now running full speed toward a group of men, women and possibly teenagers and children, all of whom wanted him dead. Their cries rang in Irritum's head like a sea of memories formed from an endless amount of sounds that meant nothing other than death for those that sought to take what was rightfully Irritum's.

Only feet separated the bodies rushing toward the half lion man. In less than a second that gap was closed, Irritum rushing forward into the fray. His two tails already worked to lessen his possible defeat from the horde by thwacking several members of the camp up front that were attacking with bladed weapons. Their bodies were knocked into the mob of attacking bandits. Organization was key in this kind of battle. It was fairly simple for Irritum to attack anybody he could see by summoning his favored weapon, Progonoskes. Several more enemies were knocked backward just from the energy that the scepter emitted when Irritum decompressed it into a more physical format. This single blow turned into a shock-wave as Irritum slammed his scepter into the ground. Ten of the surrounding bandits were killed instantly from the rapid change of temperature the magic attack had on their bodies. With their blood boiled, death was quick. Irritum was already flipping around to kick a large man wielding an ax in the chest. The stun from that blow was chained into the beginning of another assault on several more enemies. A series of well timed punches and kicks enabled Irritum to stay in movement, using both his own attacks and those of the bandits to lower the number of remaining attackers.

A fist caught Irritum in the side of his head with enough force to make him spin sideways. In response Irritum glared at the man, taking in his pale face and dark eyes. "Hmm..." With a wave of his right hand that wasn't using Progonoskes to emit sprays of light to blow away bandits, Irritum encased the man that punched him in the face inside a hexagonal contraption of blue material that was only slightly larger than the man's actual body. "Do you want to die too??" Irritum ducked an incoming blow from another ax wielder, this time around he was sent hurtling several yards away by a potent blast of magic that was fire based. Irritum landed on his feet, both tails twitching as the sage looked up at the distance he'd been knocked away.

It was the same woman that called Irritum a pathetic half-breed who, was responsible for the attack, both of her hands were red with the residual particles left over from her casting spell. "Take that!!! Don't you ever under estimate us!!! You may be the Azure One but we can still take you." The words of the woman seemed a bit exaggerated, even empty if the entire situation was viewed by anyone witnessing the skirmish and not a part of it. Bodies were strewn everywhere. Some of them unconscious while a majority of them were dead. Some of the bodies were bent and twisted into positions that were no doubt painful beyond belief whilst others were so badly damaged they no longer resembled anything close to a recognizable human being. "I don't care what I've heard, that weapon will be mine, you can't stop my most powerful spell!!! The power of hell fire will end you."

Irritum guessed that she must have been the leader. "Please, you have no idea what you're in for. I'm a peak magic capacity and you fools still want to continue?? Fine then." The remaining bandits all were magic users of the fire element. This much was obvious to Irritum from the various flaming auras covering the twenty or so bandits left, including their leader. Some of the bandits were chanting, no doubt using synergy to try and amplify the force of the spell that the leader wanted to use. As Irritum had warned, the bandits were about to be exposed to a horror they didn't want to.

"This is it."

Irritum fired an optic blast directly m into the path of the oncoming bandits trying to give their leader time, expanding this blast into an enormous flash of teal light that blinded everyone in the vicinity of the blast. When the light died away Irritum was in the same spot he had been in since being attacked. The only difference was Progonoskes was brimming with some much magical force at the top that Irritum was visible only as the silhouette of the Azure One. The staff trembled as Irritum swung it in the bandits direction, thus releasing a relatively small lump of grayish-blue essence that traveled quickly toward the bandits. The laughing leader began screaming when the heat released from the spell caused her to catch on fire. For a few seconds the bandit leader struggled to hold off the lump of essence but then, Irritum detonated it. The effect was disastrous for the bandits. A grand explosion ensued, causing a blast of magical force that shook the ground. The explosion was so large that a blue tinted mushroom cloud rose into the air that could be witnessed for miles.
 
Last edited:

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
Following the Soldier's outburst and subsequent threatening of his life, Christoph withdrew to the edge of the camp, making sure to stay near the wagon. He retrieved a small canister from amongst his possessions, filled half way with water. The priest took a small sip--as if every drop of the liquid was beyond precious and needed saving--and enjoyed the feeling of the water as it drained down his throat. While the goddess's blessing had revitalized his weakened state, the persistent feeling of cotton mouth from the three days without water lingered still, and Christoph felt the need to stifle it.

While the others continued on with their talks, Christoph, completely unaware of the current situations, sat silently, eyes locked shut, as he continued to repeat a prayer. "Wise Mother, set daylight upon my mind's path, that I might not stumble into the clever snares of my enemy. May it be done according to Your will!" It started off strong, like a powerful hymn praising the Holy Mother, but slowly quieted into a whisper until it left his lips in silent pronunciations. As he recited the prayer, seeking guidance from his goddess, all outside distractions fell into the background, becoming distant; the crackling of the fire became soft and rhythmic, the gentle breeze became as his breath, and even the loud arguments and booming voice of the Dark One's champion became like whispers to his ears.

Christoph reached out to his goddess, seeking her wisdom and to calm the doubt encroaching upon his mind. It was decided upon that Christoph would venture into Morcado in order to do Her will, but the young priest couldn't help but wonder if this fateful encounter with Verdamal's soldier was her will as well? The same man who cut down countless warriors on the battlefield and even Venelatria's High Emperor, surely that could not be the one Laetria had guided to help him in his endeavor. But as these thoughts slithered into his mind, clarity struck them down quickly. After all, who was he to question the goddess's will? If the Dark Lord's general is the one sent to help him, then Christoph would have to accept, as much as the thought displeased him.

The priest was drawn from his prayers by a great explosion, which pierced through his mental state like a freshly loosed arrow. Christoph rose to see a town in the distance set ablaze, and from it could hear the sorrowful and terrified cries of those who lived there. Further, the young priest heard the words the Obsidian Soldier spoke; words of compassion and concern that Christoph didn't think existed within him. This man standing before him didn't seem quite the ruthless, cold-blooded killer that history painted him to be. As the soldier began toward the city, quickly covering the ground between the camp and the city, Christoph felt an urge--a duty--to help the innocent people suffering at the hands of some unspeakable evil.

"Please," he begged, looking toward the man and his goblin companion--as well as a newly-added Leijonni who had appeared at some point while he prayed. "Please, I have to help them. Those people out there, I can hear them; their cries of pain and torment are too much to take. They're suffering and I must do something. Please!"
 

Hidden

A boy named Crow
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,615
Age
30
Location
A world that never was
Website
www.freewebs.com
  • Character of the Week
  • Quack Attack
Kivuli ignored the Venelatrian priest's plaintive whimpering; he had ceased to be an object of interest for her. All her attention was now focused on the vanished obsidian knight. His claims of sovereignty interested her not a jot -humans were always claiming land beyond their hunting grounds- but he knew her clan and even something of the disgraced 'shadow-walkers,' the exiled Varjoia Pride. There was obviously more to this human than met the eye.

She spared a cursory glance at the remaining travelers. The priest was looking towards her, his expression half-hopeful and half-guarded; the other human and the goblin were engaged in some dialogue Kivuli couldn't make out and didn't care to. None of them seemed to pose an immediate threat, but she didn't like the thought of leaving them alone after all her efforts to track them. She growled in the back of her throat.

"Priest, you come," she said, extending her paw to the south. "That sound came from about 10 lengths away as the Leijonni runs.* You will slow me down. We can't take the old one or the runt; they will wait here." With that, she crouched on all fours and set off at an easy lope in the direction that the knight had disappeared to. The thrill of the hunt coursed anew through her veins, her earlier hunger and exhaustion forgotten; it was all she could do to not sprint after her prey full tilt. She could care less about whatever calamity had visited itself upon the humans, but she would find that black knight and have her answers.

*****

When they were still five lengths away, Kivuli detected the first hint of blood and smoke on the air. By the time they were within one length, the smell was overwhelming and floating embers stung her eyes. The northern front of the city was clearly burnt out, buildings blackened and ruined. But fire didn't spill blood.

"Be cautious, priest," Kivuli whispered behind her, and as she took her next step forward shadows reached up to envelop her in an even deeper darkness. Tracking this way through the first of the ruined buildings, she found the disfigured corpses of human men, women, and children, but no sign of their attackers. When she came upon the neatly bisected corpse of a massive demon, she paused just long enough to inspect the wound.

"No doubt the obsidian giant's work." This changed things. Human affairs were human affairs, and often as not they involved killing each other, but demons were something the Leijonni would not tolerate anywhere near their grasslands. A sudden scream alerted her to the presence of two smaller demons who had scented out an unlucky survivor. Wrapping herself once more in shadow, Kivuli turned to the hunt.
 
Last edited:

Professor Ven

The Tin Man
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Messages
4,337
Age
26
Location
Slothia
  • Kingdom Hearts χ[chi]
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
Well, well, well. What to do, eh? They're gone, and I'll be damned if I'm the one stuck paying for their pine boxes. The campsite was cleaned in moments, everything packed and shoved away with a word.

"Stay with the cart, Klist; can't have the bloody donkey wandering off!" Lowering his voice, the elderly wizard leaned down towards the diminutive goblin. "Head to Jaroton, get us a decent room and a hot bath. If we move elsewhere, I will signal you. Kadesh." Klist only nodded, and, hopping into the driver's seat (amid the creaking of the seat's springs), clacked the reins and began the trek.

Szel Ruzgar turned, leaning on his staff, and picked up his pace, moving quickly to catch up to the others. Alcaeus, he's the one I'm worried about, bloody man. And these legs are wasted on cross country! Muttering a few words, and tracing a design in the air with his free hand, he vanished into thin air.


Moments later, he emerged loudly in what would have been a whole house - instead the hovel had been reduced to a fourth of its original state; only two walls remained, linked at the corner opposite him - a dozen feet or so from Alcaeus, and behind the man who seemed to hold the Obsidian Soldier's gaze for some reason. "What? I didn't feel like making the distance by foot-" the elderly magician's long-winded explanation stopped, and he gripped his staff a little tighter, finally taking in his surroundings.


The dead lay everywhere.
 

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
"Old man, stay back," Alcaeus forced through gritted teeth. A trickle of blood ran down his chin, dripping onto a long, black spire that rose from Azazel's shadow and pierced the soldier's abdomen, jutting out from the other side. The attack had been so swift and precise, like the loosing of an arrow, and without even an inkling of an attack, that it caught Alcaeus completely off guard. The Obsidian Soldier spit up blood. "You aren't strong enough to face this man. You'd only get in the way."

"Isn't strong enough?" Azazel tittered. The spire withdrew back into the shadows, throwing the soldier's blood onto the ground as it did. At this, Alcaeus dropped to his knees, blood trickling along his armor and pooling around his legs. The warlock threw his head back and laughed hysterically. "Wh-who are you one to call someone weak, when you aren't even strong enough to protect one, single country? It's pathetic!" Alcaeus's eyes widened with anger. "To protect and maintain the freedom of Morcado! To ensure peace and safety to all! Ha! What a worthless--"

"Shut up!!"

Alcaeus lunged forward and plunged his sword up through Azazel's abdomen and out his upper back. The sudden strike silenced the warlock, as he stood still, speechless. All sound faded from the soldier's ears, all except his slow, rhythmic breaths. Such a blow would have killed a man, but such was not the soldier's opponent. No, the soldier faced something far more horrifying than a mere man, and such a blow would not slay a monster. He watched through shaky, wavering eyes as the warlock pushed the sword aside, passing through him as if he were smoke. Damn, he thought. I've lost too much blood. And now I'm hallucinating.

Azazel tittered sadistically, and delivered a swift kick to Alcaeus's head. The Obsidian Soldier was sent flying--blood sprinkling across the ground beneath him--and landed a few feet away in a defeated, crumpled heap. The warlock threw his head back and let loose a victorious, sadistic cry of laughter. "Ah ha ha! The Indomitable Obsidian Soldier, champion of the Dark God's Army! So, you bow to me yet again!" Azazel paused, confused. "Again? Ah, never mind..."

Still tittering manically, Azazel turned his attention to the man behind him. "You, old man. Your precious soldier lies defeated at my feet. But fret you not, for your dear Azazel is a merciful man, that he is. Not a single of his organs did I pierce, so he will most certainly live. Well, he will if he's treated quickly. He is most certainly losing a lot of blood, which I can only assume he needs." He spared a glance back to Alcaeus, who was already losing consciousness. "Tell him not to be too hard on himself. After all, there's no way he could ever hope to defeat a god like me." After a quick sigh, Azazel's smile faded, and he returned his attention back to Szel. "Rest assured, I will see you all again. And when I do, I won't be so gentle."

And like a candle being blown out, in a puff of smoke, the warlock was gone.
 
Last edited:

Hidden

A boy named Crow
Joined
May 4, 2005
Messages
1,615
Age
30
Location
A world that never was
Website
www.freewebs.com
  • Character of the Week
  • Quack Attack
Kivuli padded along silently, neatly skirting the mass of blood pooling around the demon's opened neck. This was her second kill of the night, and it didn't look likely to be her last. The main force that had decimated the city had apparently abandoned this quarter, but there were plenty of scavengers left, and that suited Kivuli just fine. Preoccupied with their looting and most often travelling alone... it almost didn't count as hunting.

Almost.

Still, even through this predatory thrill, Kivuli felt uneasy. Demons were solitary, untrusting, chaotic creatures by nature; they didn't band together to assault entire cities. That meant something else was controlling them, and this thought alone was enough to make the huntress wonder whether it was worth the risk to continue searching for the Obsidian Knight.

As if on cue, Kivuli came out of a small alleyway and saw the selfsame knight across from her, partially obscured by the form of another man--and pierced through by what looked like a spire of pure black night. Immediately the lioness froze, becoming another shadow flickering across the buildings. The spire withdrew from the knight's stomach and he fell to his knees; Kivuli did not move. This was not her fight. She did feel a flicker of admiration as the clearly faltering knight made one last lunge, only to be sent sprawling back; this human who knew so much of the Leijonni clearly shared some traits with them. It would not be enough to win the fight.

But then, as suddenly and unexpectedly as Kivuli had found them, the man who was clearly not human disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Kivuli could sense that he was gone, but she still waited a long stretch of time before leaving the cover of the wall, and she kept herself wrapped in her unnatural shadows. As she arrived at the Obsidian Knight's side, she discovered the old man and the runt goblin had arrived here as well, though by what paths the Leijonni could not imagine. She quickly examined the Knight's wound, and found it had in fact pierced him dorsal to ventral. She was unfamiliar with human anatomy; in a Leijonni it would have pierced at least the stomach or the liver. She looked up at the old man with the natural brutality of the grasslands.

"Do we leave him?"
 

Hazen Gregory

doWnloAd ProgoNOSKES 99% cOMplETeD
Joined
May 10, 2006
Messages
11,535
Location
mISSING SOMEWHERE On sIGLUR****
Website
www.facebook.com
  • 15th Anniversary
  • Unicornis Union
  • Put That Thing Back Where It Came From
  • Retired Staff
  • Nothing's Like Before
  • Crafty Soul
"Honestly I have no idea how that even happened," Irritum rubbed the pointer finger of his left hand under his nose, nearly sneezing. His nose had always been sensitive to dirt, grime and other like materials, all which had been thrown up from the large explosion created by his sacred weapon. He was a bit confused. Even after studying the weapon for years before acquiring it and then training with it afterward, Irritum found that it had many secrets to be unlocked. "No way I used that much magic in that blast for all of this to have happened. There was far too much destruction left in the wake of what I did." Irritum pondered several things as he started to move toward the edge of the camp. Maybe his own folly had caused Progonoskes to react differently?? Was it his state of mind?? Did that wretched fire bandit sorceress have something to do with it??

Irritum looked down to see a female bandit slowly dragging herself toward him. "Eh??" The Azure One scowled, opening his mouth to make a sound between a hiss and a roar. His arm angled down at the bandit, ready to unleash a magic bomb to end her until he took an even closer look. "Oh my, how terrible..." The woman's clothing was ripped, tattered, burned and she was covered in blood. Parts of her flesh were seared and her right leg had been blown off just below the knee. It was a pathetic sight to behold, Irritum sighed as the woman got closer. He stared down at her, wondering if she was blind from any of the previous attacks he'd used, or if she was just stupid and her pride was giving her and extended death wish.

In the state she was in, Irritum wouldn't dare attack her, it was unnecessary to do such a thing. "Poor thing, if it weren't for the ridiculous desire of half the planet to get Progonoskes, you might be in much better shape." Irritum knelt down on one knee as the woman started jerking and then expired. A pool of blood had been rapidly forming as her crawl turned into a struggle. "Geez," he turned away, then took off running through the smoke making his way through the eastern part of the encampment as quickly as he could. Irritum kept thinking about the look of agony on the bandit's face as her broken body had squired on the ground. Her eyes were wide with horror, even after she'd died. "Eh...maybe I'm getting soft already??" Too much bloodshed seemed to follow Irritum around when he wanted to deal with it the least. Sometimes things couldn't be helped and yet Irritum had just taken more life than he had in the past several months in a single display of power.

Smoke trailed away from Irritum's body as he continued to run faster, wanting at all costs to avoid another encounter. He needed to meet up with Bane and the Prince as soon as possible. With the capital a mere five miles away from his present location, Irritum knew that in a short period of time the Imperials would show up to scout out the cause of the disaster that could be seen from the capital. For a second Irritum started to slow down as he came to the realization that he was running on all fours. "What the?!?!" Irritum came to a complete stop, tumbling over his own body in a state of confusion. He lay there on the ground panting, trying to gather his thoughts.

"This is too much for one day. I must have used up too much of my magic fighting these bandits..."
 

Ordeith

Great Old One
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,661
Age
23
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
  • Retired Staff
  • Writer of Writers
Christoph tripped over rubble, bodies, his own feet. The carnage itself was horrible to look at, beyond the power of words to describe—but what truly frightened him was the fact that he had foreseen it all.

Earlier, when the voices of Via Gren's civilians surrounded him, somehow…

He had unknowingly borne witness, in a limited way, to the deaths of hundreds. The Goddess—or, heaven forbid, some other power—had pulled their tortured voices to his ears, and forced him to listen, powerless. It was nothing at all like the minor prophecies of his youth. Then, he merely spoke words aloud, spontaneously. And they came true. No death, no pain. No voices.

Here in Morcado’s first major city, the young priest was forced to relive his prophecy in retrospective. Every sound acquired some new significance as he stumbled down the street. A sharp crack became the fatal blow to a man’s skull; a low, creaking groan marked the last moments of a burning building; a high-pitched whistling was actually the sound made by a woman’s torn windpipe, hissing air. Christoph passed these sights with the mute understanding that he had heard them taking place, just moments before. Yet they were beyond saving, all, he thought. Then to what purpose…?

For the first time since donning the vestments of a Dulian priest, Brother Christoph was without an answer. Reason, his “candle in the dark,” sputtered feebly.

__________________________________________________​

After hours, days, months of following…

…following this—this Leijonni savage, whom he had never seen before…​

…something brought him to a halt. His boot.​

Rather, it was the impact of his boot against a large obstruction. When Christoph realized that it would not budge, he lowered his eyes to see none other than the Obsidian Soldier himself. He appeared to be dead, but this did not alarm Christoph overmuch. So many dead, all from Morcado, he thought. Another cold body was hardly out of place; it seemed quite at home there, actually.

If possible, I would like to go home now.

”Do we leave him?” This, from the Leijonni huntress, woke the priest from his stupor.
The world snapped back into focus, and his old self—his true self—returned to him. The candle blazed strongly again.

“No, no, that would bode ill, if we were to lose our best guide,” he replied. “Besides, it is the only decent thing to do.” He turned to each person present, the old man and his goblin, to confirm their assent—only to realize that the question was likely not meant for him. Well, I am here now, regardless … and time is of the essence! He knelt over the unconscious Alcaeus, and assessed the man’s condition as best he could.

Even through several layers of obsidian plate, it was all too evident that the Earth Surfer was not long for this world. The thrusting attack, whatever it was, had wedged between the seams in Alcaeus’ armor. Blood poured into every crevice below his abdomen, such that his breastplate and tasset looked to be trimmed as much in red as in gold. The man’s face was ashen-white, and slackened feebly even as he fought to stay awake. Looking at him there, Christoph Cain could find only pity in his heart. The Obsidian Soldier was a man conflicted, he had long since realized: conflicted by ties to his country, to his dark god, to his pride.

And, Christoph reflected, his desire to do good—which can only be at odds with everything else…

“Please, help me carry him,” he said. “If he is to live, we must bring him someplace where the sunlight will shine, come dawn.”

__________________________________________________​

The Leijonni's name was Kivuli, he learned. When she told it to him, he realized that he had indeed heard it, back when the huntress first appeared at the campsite.

The old man was Szel Ruzgar, and his companion's name was Klist Reikar.

With their aid, Brother Christoph Cain kept Alceaus—the Obsidian Soldier, champion of Verdamal—alive through the night. Denied the aid of the Goddess Laetria, Christoph compressed the wound and kept it sealed as best he could. Szel offered both his advice and his hands, while the goblin Klist assisted in whatever task crossed his senior's mind. Kivuli watched their surroundings, poised to act at any moment.

From these strange and varied people, Christoph learned all that he could about Morcado's present state. He listened to their testimony with the detached mind of a scholar. Listened and partly listened, that is; his patient's wound was grim indeed. Sometimes it required his full attention.

Then the Sun peered over the clouds, and Laetria's blessing extended at last to the fallen kingdom.

He knew, from the moment he started praying over Alcaeus's body, that the soldier would be in a great deal of pain. But this misguided man is the Goddess's instrument, and She does not discard Her instruments so casually. Instead of closing neatly, the man's flesh sizzled and cracked. Christoph winced. And if he is here by the design of his sealed master...

...then I shall do my best to save him, whatever happens.
 
Last edited:

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
"So, you took pity on that man and decided to save him. How kind of you." A man sat perched atop a nearby building ruin, his position and stillness belying him as a piece of the architecture. He turned his head slightly, confirming his life, and a sly smile encroached upon his face. "A follower of greater devotion would have struck and fell such a vulnerable target, praising on-high the precious name of their precious, little goddess, Laetria, offering his death as a gift to her and all her wonderful thingamajiggers and whatchumohasits, and in doing so, would have doomed the entire world. But you? No... No, for you are a man of greater kindness—" He seemed to almost choke on the word "—and decency, who can paint and follow his own path, and not the path painted by those who have nothing better to do than to dictate and ruin people's lives."

The man tittered in delight. "Aye, know this: In saving the Indomitable One, you have given this world hope yet, for you cannot hope to defeat Azazel without him at your side. Indeed, without the help of those present and several more who are not, there is no hope against the Blighted One." With that, the man's smile faded into a serious look, which appeared very unnatural upon his face. "Now then, place the Indomitable One upon your wagon and make your way to the capital of this dying kingdom post haste. The wound is close and he'll live, so use whatever method you need to to move him quickly and efficiently—'pain' is an irrelevant issue, so ignore any pathetic cries of pain or suffering. All that matters is you reaching the capital before nightfall.

"Oh yes, I had nearly forgotten..." The man's face twitched slightly as an annoyed groan escaped his lips. He cracked his fingers, and tilted his head side to side as a faint 'pop' sounded. "You care about these insignificant worms, correct? Can't sit idly by and watch the 'innocent' get razed into pieces? Aye, I'm sure the smell of blood and carnage isn't quite as intoxicating to you as it is me. Nay, I'd wager it more nauseating, especially considering you complete and utter lack of war experience. And I suppose I can't convince you to leave these worms to their deserved fate?" A simple look into the priest's eyes gave the man his answer. "Aye, I thought as much." The man let loose a string of incomprehensible murmurs, followed by another groan. "Fine."

The man raised his right hand, his middle finger and thumb placed against one another. In a nonchalant manner, the man simply snapped his fingers. From further in the city, where the demons had marched inward following last night's surprise assault (they were meeting some resistance from a small remnant of the Morcadian Army, who had been holding them off for several hours, but were now dwindling in number), a unified, unholy screeching filled the air. It lasted for but a second before it echoed away into nothingness. It was replaced by the sound of silence, quickly followed by the sound of rejoice and cheer. "There, happy?" the man hissed. "The demons plaguing the city have been dispatched, so there is no reason for you to remain.

"But do not mistake my actions as some wholehearted kindness or anything of the nature. I could care less about the scum of this city, just as you could care less about the bugs you trample upon during your journey. I simply need you to accomplish what is needed of you. We share a common goal: the destruction of Azazel, and while I cannot do so myself without messing up my plans, you can, and so I will be your benefactor in this ordeal and make sure that you slay that self-proclaimed warlock. It is all for the ideal—my ideal. For the Baroque War." A familiar smile returned to the man's face as he pushed himself up and rose to his feet. His clothes fluttered softly in the damp breeze as he stood there with his hands tucked into his pockets. "Any questions?"
 

Ordeith

Great Old One
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
5,661
Age
23
  • 2013 Roleplaying Awards
  • Alter Ego
  • Retired Staff
  • Writer of Writers
Christoph eyed the man with suspicion — and more than a touch of awe. By appearances alone, he seemed no different than any other roving madman. His face was plain, though not ugly, and his threadbare clothes could have belonged to any of the corpses in Via Gren. His hair was dirty and unkempt, and no particular color could be tacked to it. But as the eyes are often considered the "windows to the soul," the window to this man's soul was his smile. Looking at the rover's face — twisted upward in a hideous, splitting grin — Brother Christoph knew he was in the presence of something more than a mere wandering lunatic.

It was as though a demon were forced to wear a human face, which stretched and tore to fit the feelings in its monstrous soul. Yet with little more than a thought, the smiling man slew all the demons. What is this creature? Christoph mused. Not an ally of the Warlock, nor an apparent friend of the Goddess...

"What is this war you speak of? The Baroque War?" He knew better than to ask the man's name. "Though you seem to ... scorn kindness, I thank you for your help. But if you come to start further war, I can't consider you an ally."

He was tired, and the words left his mouth heedlessly. Immediately he regretted them. Here was a being who could extinguish an entire city's worth of demons, who could snuff out his life with only a thought—

But the smiling stranger disappeared. The others had not seen him, Christoph realized.
And so was left alone with his thoughts.

________________________________________________​

Daylight crept over the ruins of Via Gren, tired and grudging in its spread. It washed away the dark, and all the nightmares that it harbored; but in doing so, it left no hope for the city's recovery. The destruction stood on display, visible for miles in all directions. Every ugly detail was open to the air — every body, every collapsed building.

The survivors were too few, and too destitute, to make any stir.
They would leave soon, abandoning Via Gren to ruin.

Never had Christoph Cain witnessed such wholesale slaughter, and his mind still struggled with the enormity of it. Had he known that this awaited him in Morcado, he ... did not know what he would have done. The Goddess Laetria had willed this pilgrimage, and the Goddess's will was absolute. He dared not question it. But he knew, standing in sight of Via Gren, that the light of reason did not shine here in Morcado. Somehow, he thought, I require something more...

He could only hope that these odd traveling fellows would provide that something.
Together they set Alcaeus into the old cart, and set off for Jaroton.
 

OmniChaos

The Smiling Man
Staff member
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
Messages
5,652
Location
Panopticon
  • Character of the Week
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • You've Got A Friend In Me
I fight to protect her. I fight to protect her. I fight to protect her. I fight to protect...

I can't protect her if I'm weak. I must grow strong, stronger than anyone else in the entire world.

But strength alone will not keep her safe. She also requires kindness, love. I must protect her.

I fight to protect her because I love her.

But what if it isn't enough? If I can't protect her, then what am I fighting for?

I-I can't... I... Victoria!!!


~*~

Alcaeus awoke in a cold sweat. Though he hadn't known it at the time, three days had passed since his encounter with the warlock, and it was thanks to the odd band of companions he seemed to have acquired that he was gifted the opportunity to see a new day's light. Alcaeus slowly re-positioned himself, stiff from how long he had been in bed, placing his hands against the sheets and slowly pushing his body upward. As he attempted to rise, an excruciating, unbearable pain surged through Alcaeus's entire being like a white-hot flame. He grasped at his wound, rustling the once-neatly wrapped bandages. Another surge of pain washed over Alcaeus's body, and the Obsidian Soldier let loose a horrible cry of pain.

It felt as if the spike still laid inside him, though the strike had been clean, leaving no residue or whatever it was behind. So why did the pain still remain? Alcaeus gritted his teeth, moaning in pain in between quick, sharp breaths through clinched teeth. A placed a hand slightly against the wound, careful not to induce more pain. He closed his eyes, trying to block out the pain, and looked deep within himself. The warlock's shadow lance was by no means a normal weapon, however, there was something more to it. A poison, curse, blight, or something was still inside him, causing the great pain he endured.

Alcaeus pressed hard against his wound and let loose a cry of agony, overwhelming pain engulfing his entire being. He had located the source of his suffering, still just inside the wound. The soldier drew upon his powers and reached inward to grasp the affliction, releasing a symphony of harsher and harsher pain as he pulled against the blight. With one final cry, Alcaeus pulled loose a giant, black spike from his wound. Black as night, the spike was shaped like a giant thorn, and it glowed an eerie black. However, the spike was short-lived outside of Alcaeus, is dissipated to smoke in mere seconds. Relived, Alcaeus fell back into his pillow, pain replaced with lightheadedness and an odd, but comforting, numb relaxation. Only in this calmer state did Alcaeus turn his head to find young Christoph, once sound asleep, now wide-eyed and alert.

"Sorry about that," he chuckled, re-positioning himself slightly. "Blight-based dark magicks can be exceedingly painful, much akin to this one, and would probably kill most people from the pain, regardless of the severity of the wound." Alcaeus winced slightly at the mention of it, the pain still fresh in his mind. "Had Haran been here, he could have removed it effortlessly. Since he wasn't, I had to do it myself. The black thorn that I pulled from my wound, as you no doubt saw, was that blight given physical shape, and without a host, the blight magick quickly dissolved.

"Those oddities aside, it seems I owe you a debt of gratitude. You saved my life and brought me here, when you could easily have left me behind to die. Most of your fellow Laetrian followers would have, actually, but you decided not to." Alcaeus narrowed his eyes as he lazily stared at the ceiling. "That's very interesting..." A moment of silence passed, with Alcaeus lost within his own thoughts, before he spoke up once more. "Regardless, thank you."

Alcaeus quickly rose from his bed, the sheet slipping down to reveal his muscular build, and his war-torn chest. His chest was adorned with many a scars, each one a story, each one a fight to the death between two valiant souls locked in mortal combat. Each one he wore like a trophy, for each one symbolized a victory. Each scar he had ever obtained across his chest marked a victory, all except this one. This scar marked his first loss, a shame he will never be able to hide now. His back, however, not one scar laid.

"Now tell me," Alcaeus turned to face the young saint, his eyes as strong and as steadfast as a statue. "What have I missed?"
 
Last edited:
Top