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 An Unlikely Quest: The Return... 
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Location: The Isle of Winds
Post An Unlikely Quest: The Return...
{ooc}There are certain people I know will post in here, but this is not closed, for these are events that are upcoming and will effect us all. Anyone if free to post as long as you follow the storyline I am putting in place.{/ooc}

Blast it all to hell!

Azrael slammed the ancient tome that was on his desk shut. This was definitely the hardest time he had ever had researching a spell. For the past six months, the archmage had as Ayen so eloquently put it “cloistered” himself in his tower. Six months to Azrael was nothing, his last period of solitude lasted over 300 years, yet in that time he had researched and advanced his skills a thousand fold. This time was different for many reasons.

First, it had nothing to do with advancing his skills; he was with little dispute one of the most powerful magi on the entire realm. Second, he was here for one reason and one reason only. The portal. Once barred to him by God’s of another realm, now barred to him for reasons he could not understand. Rising from his desk, he walked over to the far side of his study, there stood an ornate full-length gold mirror. Carved into the gold on the top, left and right side, were runes; runes that represented the three God’s of his true home, Mo’Pri.

Sighing his fingers caressed the mirror’s gilded edge, his fingers lingering over the runes , the ones symbolizing Barnabas. His finger went around the other edge and clasped into a fist before they reached the right runes…the ones symbolizing Leto. The hatred was still strong after all the years, even after Mo’Pri was destroyed and the God’s were gone. One thing remained unfinished, Maelstryx was still trapped behind the portal in a null verse, the one Leto had banished the Sidhe Patron Saint to almost two thousand years ago. The same Leto that had given him the gold tinged skin he has had most of his life, a constant blight and mark of the God’s curse. All for her, all for the love of that woman, that both Sidhe and God had craved, and she choose the Sidhe. For that the God exacted his revenge and banished her and cursed Azrael forever, even to this world where they no longer exist. Her legacy still lived on, the powers his daughter Oriana possessed, as well as the violet eyes of hers. Now that world was long gone, yet the pain remained. He was beginning to think freeing Maelstryx was a fool’s errand.

It was so much easier in the old days, Barnabas granted his loyal follower Azrael power beyond belief added to his own natural Sidhe skills. Not like the paltry beings they now called gods here on Maxim. Ever since coming to Maxim, Azrael had followed Isonia, more out of the similarities to Barnabas rather than a true loyalty. For a brief time before that, he had followed a boy of all things, a mortal boy that was one of three prophets of Maxim that were defunct when Azrael along with Lyssia, Maledict, and others had discovered the Tismad showing the true gods of Maxim.

Still it left Azrael empty. Forever trapped on this accursed isle, bereft of true powers and gifts of real Gods. Sighing once more he went back to his desk to read yet another tome, hoping beyond hope to find an entry to the null verse where Maelstryx could still exist in. It was then he saw some movement out of the corner of his eye. Whipping around he looked at the mirror again, yet it showed nothing but his reflection. Staring for a few more moments, his mirrored eyes went wide as he saw it again for a split second. The runes glowed, the top one a light blue, the left a dark red, and the right pale gold. In the same instant the reflection of himself in the mirror shimmered and twisted some.

It was impossible. There was no possible way. Mo’Pri was dead and gone, he saw the destruction of the realm with his own eyes after his battle with Leto. After Ayen had opened the portal to Maxim and took Tierney and Oriana with her, Azrael remained behind in the presence of the Gods. They had restored his broken body, the damage inflicted by Leto in the battle, yet he asked one final favor, to see the fate of Mo’Pri before he left.

High above the realm, he watched the world crumble, he saw the ocean’s bubble over, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, as the world tumbled into oblivion. He saw the three moon, the ones of Red, Gold, and Blue fall from the sky. It was then Barnabas had told him it was over, and Azrael must move on with the others. The God’s time was done, along with the death of Mo’Pri. The few hours he had spent watching, had elapsed a few months on Maxim where his family and friends had gone, they for a while thinking him dead wishing to continue his battle with Leto.

There was no way. Walking forward once more quickly to the mirror, he placed his hands on it and murmured a spell. The mirror flashed and threw him back several feet. Shaking off, he looked up, and the runes now glowed brightly, the mirror now swirling in a silvery mix of the three colors. The portal was open…not to the null verse in which he was searching for, but to somewhere else…and it was not opened from his end, it was opened from the other side.

He stood for a moment contemplating this development, and coming to a decision, he readied himself. He removed all the wards placed on his tower, allowing any that he would reach to enter unimpeded, to follow him to wherever he was headed. Walking forward towards the mirror he placed his hand into it, taking a breath, he plunged into the portal headlong, not before sending a mental message out to all, a message that would guide them to his tower and the portal, a message he knew would reach those will the ability to hear it…They’re back!


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We shall never rest[/glow]

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Last edited by Azrael on Fri Dec 13, 2002 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Oct 20, 2002 8:13 am
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The world shifted and shimmered as Azrael was tossed through the portal. Stepping out on the other side, he looked around. There was nothing spectacular about whereever he was. The scenary was drab. An expansive plains with a dusty dirt road leading away from him. A few shrubs here and there. The only thing that seemed wrong with the place was the sky. Although it was midday from the light and position of the sun, the sky was not...normal. It seemed as if there was no sky. It was black, and even with the shining sun, the stars could be seen. There was no sounds, he did not hear the wind, or even feel any for that matter. It was just empty.

He knew this was in no way Mo'Pri, he has seen the world disintigrate with his own eyes, not to mention Mo'Pri had a normal sky. No, definitly that world was long dead. This was somewhere else...where he had no idea.

Was this a fool's quest? Did it hold the answers he has been searching for? Putting his hood back up to block the sun, Azrael shrugged his shoulders and began walking down the road to whereever it led.

_________________
[center]
GM
[glow=#FFCC66]≈●§ÁØ●≈
We shall never rest[/glow]

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Last edited by Azrael on Tue Oct 22, 2002 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sun Oct 20, 2002 9:05 am
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She walked along the sands bare-foot, the desert winds coaxing errant strands of her hair to pull free from the tight plait that ran down her back following the path traced by her spine. In recent days she had held herself apart from those the lived her, walking for hours out in the lonely wastelands as if physically seeking the peace that had been denied to her. They never sent any guards after her, it was almost as if they already knew that she had no where to run to. Her city was gone, her young apprentice Syek now wandered the lands accompanied by Kara, both far from her reach, even the Sanctuary could provide no haven for her, there was no place she could go. And so instead Lyssia had remained in the lands of the blind woman, emprisoned in some ways though the walls that held her here were only in her mind.

Lyssia pulled the dark woollen shawl closer to her, the temperature always seemed to drop rapidy when night overtook this place. Even the desert wind would throw off its heated mantle of the daylight hours and take on the bitter teeth of cold when darkness fell. These lands were a place of extremes, cold and yet hot, sterile and yet living, every conclusion that she had ever reached about this realm was overturned with each fresh day as it revealed more of itself to her. It was a never-ending problem, a contradiction to itself.

If it had been another time perhaps she might have been able to find some joy in such an enigma, unwinding the knots that this managed to tie her thoughts in. But this wasn't her home and the silent people that populated these barren lands were not her people. These peasants stared at her with quiet curiosity, as well the should, everything she was went against the dogma they believed. Her own people had died long ago in a storm that she had called down upon her city, their restless spirits now wandered that ruined place, unable to understand why their leige-lady had done such a thing.

But hadn't that city been only a mirror of her real home?

The sorceress paused in her stride, she had never thought of her lost home in Maxim in such a way before. The Gyppeswyk of Maxim and the same city in Mo'Pri rose from the murky waters of her memory, twin cities almost but separated by far more than mere distance. She couldn't even remember ordering one to be built in the image of the other; had she deliberately set out to recreate what she had had in Mo'Pri in these lands? It all seemed so long ago, those first few months becoming familiar with her new home, so many ages had passed, so many people had come and gone, and she could quite simply remember no more of those heady days.

So much time, Lyssia said softly, her words heard only by the winds that howled like lost souls. Suddenly she felt so very old, the years pressing down on her shoulders as if they sought to crush her beneath them. Where had the ages that she had lived passed onto? They had swept past her with all the fury and speed of a hungry mountain cat, picking her up in their grasp and leading her always onwards. Wars and peace agreements that had seemed so vitally important at the time were turned to less than dust, forgotten now, not even relegated to the faintest memory. Children had been born, grown to adulthood and lived their lives, some dying in battle, others in bed surrounded by a loving family. And through it all the sorceress had remained unchanging, watching as the great-great-grand-children of old advisors had passed away into the annuls of history. Time had passed her by, her Sidhe blood forcing her to endure the deaths of countless friends and subjects. And for what purpose?, the question would remain forever unanswered.

Sadness threatened to overwhelm her as the half-remembered faces and voices crowded her mind. There were so few individuals in that parade of people as she saw not people but rather families, generations reduced to common features and gestures. Lyssia found herself recalling times and places, even the names of those that had been there, but the faces were no more than rough sketches filled with traits of that person's family. A particular shape of nose, a hair colour that had been unique to that lineage, an odd habit of rubbing their brows. So many souls she had watched live and die, each with their own fragment of spiritual light that made them who they were, and now the majority of them were less than memories to her.

I should have remembered them, I was supposed to be the one that protected the memory of their lives. I was the keeper of histories, the one charged with watching over all they toiled for, the person who was to have given them their own small portion of immortality by making sure that the tales of who they were never given over to oblivion. The ones who followed Foret, and before that Diman, even back to those who worshipped Angelique by my side, I was supposed to-Her words stopped abuptly as she caught the scent of...what was it? The smell of flowers blooming calling the curious to them, their perfume a long forgotten pull on her memory. Wild rose and apple blossom, she frowned slightly at the thoughts that flooded her mind suddenly.

Thoughts of a Goddess long gone from the minds of those that had once fallen over themselves to offer all that they were to Her. A Goddess who had meant everything to the Sidhe woman, who had made a promise to Lyssia and who had not been there to fulfil it. Cold, proud Angelique who had told Her follower to take heart and remember that She was always with her, and then had left the Sidhe alone in a world of darkness and demon-kin. A quiet rage boiled within the sorceress's soul at the thought of the first Divine who had not held to Her word.

Why?, Lyssia called out, knowing that the one who the question was directed to could not hear it. Why give me Your word and then leave me? Only the desert wind was there to answer her and its howl brought her no comfort.

And then at the edges of her thoughts, a voice, ...they're back...A voice she knew well enough to be that of the Archmagus Azrael though she had not spoken to him for many an age. 'They' were back though, what did it mean? But at the words her heart had felt as though it had began to tremble within her chest, as if it already knew what she was yet to see. Lyssia held her arms tightly around her body as if to hold in the feeling that was radiating outwards from the very centre of her being. She squeezed her eyes shut and sank to the dry ground, feeling as though the whole world might unravel about her at any moment. Her blood pounded in her ears, the Art singing through it, whispering to her of what was occurring though she tried to shut it out.

The too-sweet scent of flowers ran over her senses again even though the Sidhe knew that such plants could not survive in this harsh environment. Waves of nausea and dizziness crashed down upon her body, thoughts, emotions and feelings scattering in the wake of this seeming assault upon her. And all she could think of was that 'They' were returning.

Finally after what had seemed an eternity the sorceress managed to reclaim her footing, forcing herself to stand up again on uneasy legs. Lyssia looked back in the direction of the plain desert town and then towards the mountains that marked the western border of the realm. A choice was upon her once more it seemed, a decision of whether to remain here or break free of this prison without walls. But really there was no question of which way she would turn, her curiousity was sparked; who had returned? The Art within her veins seemed to know, now it was time for her mind to discover the truth as well.

Lyssia took one last look at the desert town, there would be hell to pay when she returned that was for sure. But at the same time the sorceress knew that it would be worth it, the knowledge to come would shake the world just as her heart shivered under the weight of it now.

'They' had returned and some nameless feeling told her that 'They' had come to reclaim all that had once been Theirs.

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SO - Into darkness...
Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
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Tue Oct 22, 2002 6:32 am
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He continued his long march down the dusty road, for how long he had no idea. He had no way to measure time here. Although he had walked what to him seemed for hours and the terrain had falled away from plains to nothing but an empty desert, the sun had not moved from its high noon position in the black and star filled sky. The wind had picked up as well, blowing his hood off and sending his long white hair flowing behind him. the hem of his black robes were now coated in a thin film of tan dust from the road.

Yet he still saw nothing, nothing except the expance of road ahead of him. Not one bird or animal let alone a person. However he was compelled to continue forward. Looking behind him, he could no longer see the shimmer of the portal he had walked through, the one that led to his study. He could still feel it, so he knew it was still open.

Shaking his head, he continued forward down the road, hoping it led somewhere, torn between what he wanted to find. If it indeed was the old God's, then it meant his old diety and power might return, however in the same note, it also brought the wretched Leto with it. Then again it could be nothing. It could be some kind of cosmic joke being played on the portal, channeling the old power and opeing the portal to this no where land that held nothing. All he could do was walk...

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[glow=#FFCC66]≈●§ÁØ●≈
We shall never rest[/glow]

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Tue Oct 22, 2002 8:37 am
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Though she had never before laid eyes on Azrael's tower she recognised it for what it was as soon as it came into sight. Lyssia had heard tell of this place on its isle before but the rumours had always been whispered things, twisted beyond the truth over many re-telling. The sorceress waited and let her eyes drift over the structure, taking in each detail of it till it was inked permanently on the parchment of her memory. It was an old habit, one born from her travels with Kara when the two would seek out stories and tales from all parts of the lands. The smallest of details had always seemed so important then, each so necessary for when she would finally set down the story for her library. But as she stood there Lyssia had to wonder if they were so important anymore, after all the library was long ago, by now even its ashes were scattered by the sea winds.

The Sidhe woman sent out her senses, stretching out with her command of the Art to investigate anything unusual in the area. As far as she could tell there appeared to be nothing protecting the tower, which brought a whisper of a frown to her features. What she remembered of Azrael did not lead her to believe that he would leave his home unprotected. Unless of course there was some reason as to why he had lowered his defenses, perhaps something to do with these others who were returning.

She stepped up to the main doors of the tower, pressing one hand against the entrance. This felt most odd to the sorceress, she wasn't used to simply entering another's home without invitiation, it felt as thought she were breaking an unwritten rule by even thinking of crossing the threshold of the Archmagus's home unannounced. How would she feel if their roles had been reversed and he had forced his way into Gyppeswyk before asking her? Lyssia didn't even need to imagine that situation to realise how she would act to such an intrusion, she had always been fiercely protective of her city. And yet he had sent out the call, sending his words across countless miles to reach those with the gift to hear him. Perhaps that is as good as an invitation, she said to herself softly, hoping that she was not walking to another trap, the sorceress had suffered enough of such things in recent ages.

The door opened easily under her touch, nothing jumped out at her from within, no one roared out their displeasure at the sorceress's entrance. All was silent, quiet as a crypt where the dead lay in their eternal slumber safe from the trials of the living world. The shawl fell off of her left shoulder as she reached out to pull the door shut behind her causing her to grab at the coarse fabric and draw it back across herself. Even though she had entered the tower Lyssia still felt as though she were trespassing, though now it seemed to her that she had deliberately entered a place that was most unnaturally hushed.

Azrael?, Lyssia called out , trying not to raise her voice too loud. Even her own soft inquiry seemed to have been too noisy for this place, the sound echoing of into the unseen rooms of the tower, disturbing with a single word all that lay untouched. Azrael?, she asked once more of the silent tower, though she had the distince feeling that the Archmage was not about to answer. Where ever Azrael was it was not within this tower, or at least not in the conventional sense.

It was no great task to find her way to her fellow Sidhe's study, though it caused the hairs on the back of her neck to rise. Every part of her screamed out that this should not be, there should have at least been a minor trap or trick to keep out the unwary and foolish. What could have made the Archmagus set aside all that protected his home and belongings so that any might wander in if they so pleased? Looking about the room it seemed as though he had been in the middle of something when he was last in this room. Books and tomes were seemingly scattered on the desk as though he had been searching for something, some piece of knowledge that had so far escaped him in his long life. Lyssia brushed her fingertips against the closest book, scanning the first few sentances as if they might provide her with the answer.

But the answer to what?

To where Azrael was? Or to who was returning? She wasn't entirely sure what the answers were to those questions even after she had travelled so far into Isonian territory. Why was she here? What on earth had motivated her back in the desert to listen to those few words whispered in the solitude of her own mind? Lyssia sighed and rubbed her eyes, wishing fervently that she could understand the tiniest part of herself. It always seemed to come down to questions and queries with her, even the simplest dilemma produced seemingly endless debates, arguments with herself spawning from the depths of her psyche. Just once she wished that she could be faced with a problem and not have to go over each and every angle within her mind. If a human spent as long as she did questioning each and every action, then they would have run out of life before they ever got anything done. A snap descision, yes humans made enough of them in their lives, surely it could not be so difficult for her to mimic them and do the same for once?

Lyssia smiles in spite of herself, realising that she had simply asked herself another question rather than answering anything. There was no denying her own nature it seemed, even if all the inquiries were only there to stall the actual processes of decision-making. She couldn't help but laugh at herself, the sound halting as suddenly as it began as the echoes came back to haunt her. It almost seemed disrespectful to the silence itself to break it in such a way.

The reflected light from the gold frame of the mirror caught her eye, dazzling the sorceress for a moment and sending motes of infinite colour to dance before her eyes. She walked slowly towards it, head tilted slightly to one side as the flush of colour caused by the light began to fade. Bright after-images disappeared into nothingness, leaving her staring at three runes that she recognised all too well from ages past. Barnabas, Leto and...she reached out, hands trembling slightly as they caressed the third rune though she couldn't bring herself to speak the name of the Goddess. There had been a time when Lyssia would have done anything for Angelique, anything at all for the glory of the Divine. But then Mo'Pri had been destroyed and the old Gods had been left behind in a world of new deities and faiths. And perhaps in those times of change the first seed had been planted within the Sidhe woman's breast that would one day become the poisoned vine that would constrict and kill her faith.

She wanted, no what was it she wanted? Lyssia needed to know what had happened, why the Goddess had never been there to hold to Her promises be always be with those that had sworn themselves to Her. It had been eating away at her ever since she had found herself in Maxim, that eternal question of 'why?', never had she found a satisfactory answer. And there never will be, will there Angelique?, sadly she dropped her fingers from the brightly glowing blue rune. All that was left of the former Gods were memories of those that had once followed Them and histories that had become legends with the passage of time. The names of the Divine siblings of her true homeland were no more real than a child's imaginary friend to most who lived now.

There is no point in remaining here, Lyssia thought to herself, turning away from the mirror. Whatever Azrael was trying to make known is-, she gestured vagule as if unable to describe her current thoughts about the Archmagus. She should never have journeyed to the tower, she should have returned to the desert town and stayed there where she was at least relatively safe. Instead the sorceress had travelled to lands held by those that followed Isonia just because of a handful of words on the ether. At the time it had seemed like the obvious path to take, her feelings, the Art, everything had urged her onwards. But now the Sidhe couldn't even begin to resurrect those same emotions that had convinced her.

The back of her neck prickled as though she were being watched by an unseen observer but when Lyssia looked back all she could see was the mirror. Or rather the mirror frame and what it contained. It struck her suddenly, there was no silvered glass within the golden border but rather a swirling combination of the colours of the three runes that decorated it's edges. A portal?, now that she looked at it clearly Lyssia realised what she had been missing when she had been concentrating on the runes rather than what they surrounded. Was this where the Archmagus had disappeared to? Well if he chose to walk through an unknnown portal that was his business, certainly none of hers. But still...

A snap decision, the sorceress murmured beneath her breath, staring at the mirror with a glint in her eyes. The Art that ran through her veins hinted at the possibility of answers on the other side of the portal. But no, that was foolisness to even think of stepping through a portal that she knew so little about even if Azrael had already used it. And the runes...well they were just that runes, there was no power left to the old Gods anymore, They were dead, even Their legacy was fading. Her eyes were drawn back to the glowing runes, they most certainly didn't appear dead and cold. Yes a snap decision.

She drummed the fingers of her right hand against her lips, unable to tear her eyes away from the sight of the three runes before her. And then without a seond thought, or question or doubt, Lyssia stepped through.

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SO - Into darkness...
Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
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Wed Oct 23, 2002 4:03 pm
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Why am I here? What is the point of this!

Azrael stumbled on the road and fell to one knee. It had to have been days now, days since he entered the portal and began this walk through a wasteland, yet the sun had not moved an inch since his arrival. He had not reached one town, one river, oasis, anything. He began laughing, laughing at himself, at the fates, at his foolishness. Azrael, master of his emotions, always dictating that decisions should be well thought out, was now walking in a wasteland in which he never even contemplated the consequences of.

He stood up once again, brushing dust from his robes. He looked up at the black sky filled with stars and an improbable sun.



Where am I! Why was I led here! Answer me! I did not open this portal, someone here did, tell me why!

The wind kicked up, blowing dust and sand all over as well as making Azrael's robes billow out behind him. It had become so fierce he had to fall to his knees once again and place his hood over his head to protect his eyes and face. When the wind had died out some, he looked up cautiously. When he looked up he saw a woman. She was dressed in a crimson gown that was tight against her figure. Long blond hair hung about her shoulders. Standing wearily he looked at her questioningly.

Who are you? Are you the one who has led me here?

Those questions magi, are ones I cannot answer for you now. Instead, I will ask you some questions.

What if I was to tell you that everything you have come to know as real is in fact not so?


Sighing and shaking his head, Azrael new better than to expect anything other than this being a cryptic journey. Staring at her amber eyes with his own mirrored ones, he answered in his usual mocking monotone voice.

Do you expect some sort of surprised shock out of me? If there is one thing I have learned in the eons I have lived is that nothing is absolute, nothing is certain. I learned that harsh lesson many times, the destruction of an entire world with little to no explanation or reason and the abandonment of billions of people by supposedly all powerful beings showed me that.

Do you assume yourself so above others that you would question the will of Gods?

Azrael’s eyes narrowed and tiny tendrils of blue lightening danced across his mirrored eyes as he took a closer step towards the mysterious woman.

I assume nothing! I only speak of what I know! I have been in the presence of gods… I have battled one! I have witnessed their splendor and their tarnish. I have witnessed their kindness and their pettiness. I know that even in their godliness, they are by no means perfect beings devoid of any errors in judgment!

Azrael turned his back to her and tried to calm himself.

Ahh the typical arrogance of the Sidhe. So like the gods themselves, yet so very far. Answer me this Sidhe, how does one who owes his entire existence to gods so bitter towards them?

Whirling around he removed his hood.

Look at me! Considering you know what I am, does this skin and these look like those of a Sidhe? This was not a natural occurrence; this was a curse of a petty bitter God! And why was I cursed? Over a woman! A woman that loved a man so much she turned aside the advances of a God, and in his jealousy and anger he did this to me…and took her away from her loved ones…took her away from me! That one event made me who and what I am today!

His last sentence came out in a hoarse screech as Azrael stood there with his fists clenched before him. The woman’s face spread into a smile as she looked upon him as a mother looks upon a child who does not understand her explanation of simple things.

This is all true Sidhe. Now what you must ask yourself is this, did that event change you so in a way that it aided you in events you had to handle and confront much later on? Were there deeds you accomplished in your life, that you would not have done if that event had not changed you so? Would you have had the courage to face a God, using your own granddaughter as…

You know nothing of Tierney, or why I did what I did! Do not attempt to think that you do!

Ahh dear Sidhe. It is really I who does not understand, or is it you who have yet to comprehend that all that occurs is for a reason?

Azrael tore into a scream, the Art coursing through his veins and surging through his fingertips in a shower of lightening that arced upwards to the sky and came back down to the ground with explosive force throwing up clouds of dust and blasting sand into chunks of glass. Breathing heavily, Azrael stumbled backwards. When the dust and smoked cleared the woman was gone.

The woman had elicited more emotion from Azrael in a few minutes than he had even shown to himself in ages. What was happening to him? Why was he so out of control of his emotions and thoughts?

The complexity of what she was saying, without saying anything at all was astounding. What she spoke of was fate and destiny, terms he had defiantly refused to believe, for that meant he was not master of his own life. She was correct in some ways, there were things he had done and accomplished, that without the personality he had and his firm resolve due to those past events would never have occurred. He could even stretch to say he might not have lived as long as he had if not for past events forging his heart and soul into the cold steel they are today.

Sighing once again, he steadied himself and shoved those thoughts aside. He still did not know anything more than he did when he entered the portal; except for he was not alone here. Echoing his thoughts, he felt a ripple from far off. Someone else had entered the portal. Smiling to himself, he knew who it was, someone who he had not seen in a very long time. Turning towards the road again, he continued his pace onward. The one who entered would catch up with him soon enough, perhaps she may even run into the mysterious woman he had seen. Either way, events were just starting to get interesting if at least not more frustrating.

_________________
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[glow=#FFCC66]≈●§ÁØ●≈
We shall never rest[/glow]

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Wed Oct 23, 2002 6:34 pm
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Perched on nothing more than a small boulder I watch with round violet eyes, the woman with the fair hair . I of course have gone unoticed for the time being, that will change once my father is done pitching his most spectacular fit to date. Only when he is alone again will I go to him in my true form, that of a Sidhe. We are a dying race, few of our kind remain, my daughter Tierney and my son Gabriel, will most certainly be the last of our kind. Such is the way of life I imagine, ancient races die so that new may be born, still it pains me to know, at least I think I know, that in a few short years we of the Sidhe will be no more.
Pushing those thoughts back into the vault from which they came I think more now of the child hidden deep within my soul huddled in a corner full of fear and tears. A child who wants nothing more than for her father to keep her safe. A child who had met her death at the hands of the golden one of long ago who it had been spoken of would never return. Yet here I am now on the brink of learning whether the feelings, the twinges, the way my being seems drawn to beliefs of a time long past are for reasons other than memory.
The child within screams in terror for her father.
This child Azrael will never know


Soft, sleek and black the cat that had been watching the fair haired woman and the mage leapt from its positon on the small boulder, she watched as the dust and dirt of the vasy wastelands settled. Wasting no time in her transformation from feline to woman, black fur turned to black robes that matched the mages own followed by a mane of curled ebony hair that hung down to a tiny waist, four paws became arms and legs and Oriana stood whole, in her entirety, she was herself again.
Arms folded nestling deep within the wide sleeves of the robes and a smirk came to rosy lips while eyes of violet sparked.

It is safe to assume that you are not surprised to see me father, yet I know that smile on your face could not be meant for me.
Perhaps you can tell me then why it is I was drawn here or could it be that for the first time in my lifetime, the great Archmagus has no answer


Wed Oct 23, 2002 7:22 pm
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Azrael turned slowly at the sound of the voice. It was his daughter Oriana. Smiling sardonically he gave her a slight bow.

Well well daughter, its seems the form of a cat suits you, for you indeed have nine lives.

He looked at her for a few moments, his face blank and emotionless as usual. She had come a long way since the impetious youth he had trained years ago. Then she was a raw talent, young and brazen raised by her foster parents. Prone to flights of fancy and emotionally unhinged in many ways, she had become as cold as he had. He knew much of this had to do with the very unfather like treatment he gave her, and sometimes he wondered if it was the right thing to do. A large part of her destested him for his cold unfeeling nature towards her, yet he knew that she understood it was necessary. Suddenly the words of the woman came back to him when she spoke of the deed done unto him by Leto.

Ahh dear Sidhe. It is really I who does not understand, or is it you who have yet to comprehend that all that occurs is for a reason?

He realized she had said to him what he had tried to make Oriana understand for years, that he did what he did and treated her as he did for a reason. It is completely different, Leto was not my father and guardian, his motives were completely selfish.

Oriana stared at him quizickly as he looked at her for a prolonged period of time in silence. Snapping out of it, he smiled once again at her.

As for answers my ever sardonic daughter, I always have answers. However I cannot guarntee they will answer your questions. I cannot tell you why you yourself came here, but I can tell you why I did and why I sent the summons. All I know is there is something at work here, something that smacks of our old friends from Mo'Pri. I have a feeling that the Gods are not gone as we were so led to believe.

Now considering you found it so necessary to elicit answers from me that I could not possibly answer fully, perhaps you can give me some answers to relativly easy questions. Like where in the hell have you been and why you left your daughter alone.

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Thu Oct 24, 2002 8:19 am
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She stumbled out of the portal in the bland world beyond, noting its desolation as soon as she was able to regain her balance. All about her Lyssia could see nothing but a mostly empty wasteland, a few rocks sat squatly on the landscape while scrawny plants clung doggedly to the poor soil, trying desparately to tear a living from this place. Surely nothing else could sustain its existance here save for those hardy plants, the Sidhe couldn't think of any beast that would seek to make its home here, let alone thrive. It almost seemed as though here life was an abberation, a mistake to be stamped out by the difficult environment, and not the normal state of affairs.

Looking up the sorceress caught sight of the darkened sky, the sun staring back at her from its zenith like a single unblinking eye. She shivered more at that thought than she did the cold breeze that wrapped itself about her, invisible hands playing with her garments and hair. Even though she looked away from the sky above the Sidhe could not help but feel as though that eye were watching her still, watching for some reaction to the strange lands that she found herself in. Watch all you like, she muttered mainly to herself, after all the sun wasn't really watching her, any sane creature knew that. I'll not perform to amuse you.

And that's always been the way with you hasn't it m'lady? Always so afraid that another was controlling your actions or that you were being manoeuvred in order to entertain the Divine. The voice sounded oddly familiar and at the same time it did not, confusing the sorceress as she turned to face whoever it was that had crept up so quietly behind her. In such an empty place she would not have thought it possible for anyone to sneak up behind her, and yet it seemed for all her certainity she had been wrong.

Lyssia turned quickly to come face to face with...she frowned not understanding who it was that stood before her. At first glimpse she had thought that it was Sorrik, the old banshee warrioress who had once commanded the armies of Gyppeswyk on behalf of the Sidhe. Indeed a rapid glance would seem to backup that assumption, the tall stature, the blood-red hair, the proud and serious face that was presented to the world. But then it was almost as if she had shut her eyes for a moment only to open them and find that all she had seen before was a lie. It was not Sorrik in front of her, no how could she have been so foolish to think that? The figure was smaller, not the size of the giant banshee, it was the size of a child and no more, it had to have been a trick of the light before. A cowled child, his head bowed, that was who she faced; the Sidhe shook her head as if to clear the confusion that buzzed about her mind.

The child took a step forward and reached out for her hand, looking up as it did so and allowing the cowl to fall down. A Sidhe boy's face stared up at her, his pale blond hair scattered across his eyes till Lyssia could barely make out the watery blue orbs beneath.The expression that he wore seemed slightly too serious for one so young, if a human had looked at the boy they would have sworn that he was no more than twelve summers. Though his Sidhe blood made him older than he appeared, the boy was still a child by his race's standards.

Child?, Lyssia frowned as she looked into the face of her apprentice Syek, uncertain as to why he was here. The last thing she had told him was to take Kara so that the two might take care of one another while she was gone. Syek should not be here, he should still be safe within the ruined walls of Gyppeswyk, not out in the world where any might seek to do him harm for her actions. In her time upon the lands the sorceress knew that she had made enough enemies who were serious enough in their hatred to try and bring her pain by hurting those she cared for most. Though the list of those that she cared for had shrunk in recent ages as friends and allies passed into history, Syek would still be at the top of it. Child be gone from here, return through the portal to Maxim and from there to Gyppeswyk where Kara may protect you. My mind will not be at rest till I know you are safe, even as she spoke the words Lyssia found herself tempted to take the boy through the portal herself and see him personally back to their homelands. You do not belong here boy.

The boy smiled sadly at her, No, on the contrary m'lady this is exactly where I belong.

The breath caught in her chest as 'Syek' spoke, once again the familiar-but-not-quite voice catching her attention. Every fibre of her body screamed out that this was not Syek just as it had not been Sorrik before who had spoken to her. There were similaries there was no doubt about that but even as she focused on his features they seemed to shift and change under her scrutiny. It almost looked as though the person before her were deliberately trying to stop her from getting a good look at them.Just as her mind tried to grasp the extent of who, or perhaps it should be what, was talking to her it would change once more.

You're not going to understand, you do realise that don't you?, Lyssia stpped back as the form changed from that of her apprentice to that of her one time 'master' thief Aurelia. If the Sidhe sorceress didn't look too closely she could almost fool herself into belieivng that it really was the tiny elf standing there by her side, the thief's excessive energy almost seeming to rise like an unseen plume about her. You're not ever going to understand it because you're not meant to and that's always what's going to drive you nuts. I wonder what sort of nuts it'll drive you? Coconuts? Walnuts? Peanuts? Well whatever nuts it is you're just not going to ever find out the answers to all your questions and that's something you're going to have to live with.

The body of the little elf seemed almost to shimmer, making her eyes water as it twisted in impossible ways, shrinking down on itself. The blond hair of the elfling disappeared, replaced by ebony black feathers that surrounded the dark intelligent eyes of Kara. For a second the Sidhe and magpie stared at one another, regarding the other as if they were both no more than puzzles to be solved. Then the little bird fluttered, crying out, You cannot have all the answers sorceress, they are not meant for you, sometimes rather than answers you must instead just have a little faith.

Before Lyssia even had the chance to respond the bird, or whatever it had been, flew away becoming less than a speck on the horizon quickly enough. She didn't move for a while, the frown still wrinkling her brow as she tried to work out exactly what it was that she had seen here. However she could think of nothing that would explain what had happened, it was all too strange for her to grasp in this inhospitable realm. The Sidhe woman quietened her mind, stretching out once more with her senses till she came across a recognisable presence further down the road. It was not Kara, nor Aurelia, nor Sorrik and not even her young apprentice, but it was real enough. Perhaps the Archmagus and whoever it was that he was with would be able to explain what was happening here, though he might be as confused as she was by what was happening.

The sorceress pulled her shawl closer to her skin and set off down the road, cutting down the distance between herself and her fellow Sidhe. She just hoped that when she got there they would not turn out to be like the creature she had just met, Lyssia had no wish to see any more warp and twist themselves to become other than they were right at this moment in time.

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Thu Oct 24, 2002 4:17 pm
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As always my fathers greeting is less than warm. I have to say that I am quite amused by how little the great one knows of my previous endeavours. He will never know, never understand and I dont expect him to.

She did not return her fathers smile, no emotions played on her face in anyway, rather she sat down gracefully on the boulder she had been perched on mere moments before.

Where in the hell have I been you ask? Were you to take the time to actually speak to your granddaughter you would know that I was banished from your world father, leaving me no choice but to take my leave. Were you to take the time to do anything other than lock yourself away in your tower you would know that you now have a grandson, his name is Gabriel, yes just like my brother. I thought of naming him Griffon after the man whose more of a father than you could ever be but I am pleased with the name I have chosen instead.
I know why you sent your summons mage, though I am not here because of that. When the gods, no matter what gods they may be command you to do something, its best to obey, and I was led here.
Already you have tired me into silence mage.


And silence did hang in the air between them. It had been so long since father and daughter had spoken, the reasons why were now creeping upon her serving as a reminder why.

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Sat Oct 26, 2002 12:55 pm
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He looked at his daughter, a play of amusement on his lips.He mind thought musingly for a few moments; What a perfect monster we have made Mael, she has your beauty and grace, and my arrogance and strength of will...a perfect beautiful monster indeed.

Chuckling, his eyes narrowed on her.

My motives are my own daughter, stay your tongue. Yes I am solitary by nature, but that solitude was stayed when I had you as my charge.

I know you will never let that thick skull of your soften long enough to let the understanding of why I am the way I am with you sink in, I tire of this conversation. The "poor me my daddy was mean" attitude of yours is far past old.

This family, our family is rooted in a swirl of destiny and fate, and I am the one destined to watch over it and guide it through the millenia, you have no idea what that can do to a man. It was I who had to go through the generations of the Shadowbane and Brightblade clans to make sure the proper couplings and people came together to eventually give birth to your surrogate parents Mara and Griffon. For thousands of years I played "Uncle Azrael", or "cousin Razaziel" to this Shadowbane or that Brightblade. Understand my whole existance was devoted to you. There are things I had to do to ensure that line of decendants, things that many men would not be proud of. I did my part as a father unlike no father has ever had to do! Trust me, Griffon had the easy part to do!


He turned away at this point. Once again he had lost control, and for the life of him he did not understand why. He was at peace with his lot in life, and his past. He understood it all more than anyone ever would.

His mind mulled over a part of her rant he did not broach verbally when he was speaking to her. Were you to take the time to do anything other than lock yourself away in your tower you would know that you now have a grandson, his name is Gabriel, yes just like my brother.

So another of his blood was born, this time a male. The first male in his family since he himself was born. He and Mael had spoken of the possibilty those many eons ago before her banishment. This was definitly something he would have to look into once this quest was over.

As for his lack of controlling his emotions, it had be somthing with this place. This place, although cryptic to this point, gave him an ever increasing notion that They were here.

In the back of his mind he felt the twinkle, that indication that a Sidhe approached. Looking back in the direction he had come, he saw a small figure of a woman approaching, at that point he knew who it was. He turned back to his daughter, the normal impassive look back on his face.

Now if we are done with this reunion, another approaches.

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Fri Dec 13, 2002 11:21 am
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Ran was at his lord's bedside, the usual of late, when he heard the call.

DKII had fallen strangely ill several months past, and had lapsed into a coma he'd not yet come out of. Ran had tried everything he knew, brought in all the best healers he could find, all to no avail. The Knights he had led had long since gone their own ways, many joining other warriors of the past in retirement, some going on to continue the fight under new banners. Yet Ran himself remained here, in DKII's keep just outside of Ran'kur, waiting for a miracle to happen. There had been no change in the old centaur's condition in all the time since, and Ran despaired to watch his old mentor, his friend, waste away.

He had little contact with the outside world during those times--not that he'd ever had that much to begin with--and had even grown lax in practicing his own magic arts. He tormented himself, day after day, hoping beyond hope that something might change.

As these things usually happened, one day, something did.

Telepathy had never been his strong suit, so at first he wasn't even sure he'd heard it right. The voice was one unfamiliar, though one obviously strong in his own form of magic. The words themselves were barely a whisper in his mind......they’re back...

He nearly dismissed the message. Whoever was back, whoever had sent the message, what did it matter? What saved him was the simple fact that he had little to do but think, and the only thing to think about were the simple issues behind such a telepathic call.

Was the message meant for him alone? Was it sent out to any who could hear it? Who had sent it in the first place?

The last was perhaps the easiest to figure out. Even while sitting at his friend's bedside, Ran could still close his eyes and mentally "trace" the sending. It gave him little more than a directional feel and a sense of great distance, but that would be enough to go on. But where would he go with it?

Curiosity ate at him. Who was back? And what could be so important as to warrant a telepathic sending all this way--a wide enough one to reach him, a little-known centaur-mage of no particular importance.

He looked down at DKII, at the still, emotionless face that hadn't shown any signs of life in months. There really was nothing he could do here, he realized. He'd just been wasting away himself...a part of him must have wished for that to happen.

The message gnawed at him. He invented a thousand different stories in his mind, explaining it all away, yet none satisfied him. He knew that none could be the real story. He couldn't imagine anything important enough to cause him to send out such a call to any who might hear it.

Ran stood. Curiosity won out. He had no purpose, no drive, left in him. Perhaps discovering the meaning behind the message would give him some small one, if only for a little while.

He set about making preparations for his journey.

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Fri Dec 13, 2002 1:05 pm
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It had only been a few years since the fall of Mo'Pri back then. Those who chose to move on were just bginning to settle down on Maxim. New gods appeared to replace the old, and many people felt there was no use in resisting the change. The old ways faded quickly, and the new took a deep root in the hearts of all.

But not everyone was so quick to let go of their old faith. Many still held on to dead dreams of the past, and false hope for the future. Their love for their home world was deep, and their desire to return to it was deeper still. The only thing that pained them deeper was the regret of not staying to die with that world. Yet it had been the gods themselves who commanded the faithful to leave and move on. Why had they done such a thing? For one of such love and loyalty for his god or goddess, whichever it may have been, to be told to leave and not die by their side during the last sunset of Mo'Pri. It was an insult and even more painful abandonment.

One who craved to return to his old world was Thenician Dusk. Loyal servant to Barnabas, and host for a spirit of destiny named Virgo. He tried rebuilding his life and dreams in Maxim, but it was to no avail. One who does not dream can never create. This young half-elf's dreams were only fading memories now. The spirit Virgo tried hard to raise Thenic's mood, with minimal success if any. The constant struggle to keep him from falling apart at the seams was draining on the spirit that resided within him. Eventually, it grew too much even for her, and she just slept, waiting for the day when Thenic would either come together, or be reborn yet another time.

Thenician's sadness was turned into rage, and he began attacking travellers and merchants. Even singlehandedly storming small forts that the new settlers were building. Though struck by swords, arrows, and magics, his feelings were too strong to let him fall. The spirit within had been dormant for a while, yet even then she kept him healthy enough to heal from such wounds. Yet the days of violence and rage passed too and then came the days of seclusion.

His last assault before that was on a mine shaft that the "Traitors", as he had begun calling them, had just begun digging. Thenician killed all of the miners that were too slow or too brave to escape. After which, he sealed himself in that very mine. Soon, the combined sadness of Thenician for his home, and Virgo for Thenician, began to condense into a layer of solid mana around him, like a dry dark scab of misery. After only a day it became nearly impossible to move, but he didn't care, there was no place left to go but hell. The darkness of his mind soon replaced the darkness of the mine. And so he remained cocooned in there for ages since.

The new gods fought each other like the old, and the traitors began feeling right at home. Generations passed and any who lived shorter than eternity had long forgotten what once was. But change was finally in the air. The words echoed suddenly in the eternal silence like a golden bell atop a temple tower.

They're back...

Thenician's eyes opened instanly within the mana egg. The once solid cocoon was now soft and warm, and its glow was a bright pure red which illuminated the still intact mineshaft he'd sealed himself in. Slushing about inside the egg, Thenic mangaed to swim out of it and fall on the soot covered floor of the mine. The mana shell quickly dissipated having nothing more to feed from.

Thenician had many questions, the words he'd heard were more like a wakeup call than the trigger to him actually awakening. The cocoon must have been softening around him for at least a week prior. Thinking about time didn't ease him much either, how long had he been there? What was the traitors' world like now? And more immediately, why was it so damned hot in that mine?

The first answer to hit him was that he couldn't breathe. Though he didn't breathe while cocooned, the egg itself would have acted like a flame when it began to soften and burn any air that was in the mine.

"Virgo... help me..." he gasped out in a raspy voice with the only breath he could muster.

Eternal seconds passed and Thenician feared this was his punishment for his actions against the traitors, certainly the new gods in this world had power over him, even if he wouldn't admit it. He also feared that after whatever amount of time may have passed, Virgo may have left him for dead. No, he knew better. It was against the laws of fate for a destiny spirit to leave its host.

"Vir...go?"

"I'm here my love, do not fret." The soft, gentle voice he had gotten so used to hearing all the time, finally spoke to him again. A warm smile curled on Thenic's lips, and his eyes closed as the whole weight of his body rested on the floor.

A bright white glow quickly radiated the entire area of mine around him, even the black coals shone bright as diamonds in the sun. The stagnant air began swirling and the ground shook. After a few seconds of light show, the wind and ground settled, and the glow dimmed around Thenician's body. And there was quiet again, probably the last quiet he'll have for a long time to come now. The energy erupted upward as Virgo released it to clear an opening to the outside world once again.

A few small rocks fell from the now gaping hole on top of the old mine, and a fresh cool breeze came down to greet Thenician's anxious lungs. He took a deep breath, stood himself up, and took a moment to try and examine himself.

"Not enough light in here..." he complained to himself. Something he did often after Virgo began living inside him. She usually assisted when he began whining. And sure enough, the spirit started levitating loose rocks and positioning them like a ladder leading up the hole.

"Next time just blow the hole sideways." Thenician commented as he began climbing.

After reaching the top, he had to shield his eyes from the sunlight for a few mintues. Being asleep in a dark mineshaft for god knows how many years will that to a guy. He took a moment to examine himself in light now, and to think about why he had woken when he did, and not to mention who had woken him.

"I'm happy you've finally come to your senses. What will we do now?"

"You know, for a spirit of fate, you sure do ask a lot of questions." Thenician chuckled his reply, and grabbed at his torn and dirty cape. "Still, first and foremost what I need is a new wardrobe. This old thing filthy."

"Allow me, dear." The voice called to his thoughs with a girlish giggle.

Thenician stood there and waited for the spirit to work her wonders. A faint field of energy soon encompassed him and began desintegrating his current outfit. After which, the energy field began taking shape more tighly around his body and eventually faded into physical attire.

"Oooh, very nice. Haven't worn one of these since way back in my early military ranks." Thenician commented while admiring his new outfit. It was black cloth with a red stripe down the middle. The shoulders were segmented studded leather with another larger segment covering the sternum. A thick leather belt around the waist, and matching leather gloves and boots. Boots with polished steel toe guard, and gloves with matching knuckle guards. Poking himself in the leg, Thenic also noticed the full body chain hauberk under the regal looking attire.

Finally, the time came to stop stalling and seriously figure out what transpired to wake him. The half-elf took a deep breath and started looking around the countryside, from atop the mine where he still was. Terrain was rough, and there was only mountains to the east and north. There seemed to be a wide enough road to the west which might lead to civilzation and perhaps clues.

Thenician chose to head off to the west, but before landing his first step he glanced over to the south where the sea was. A very cold surge of energy rushed into his heart and he knew where he had to go. From where he stood now he could make out the top of a tower over the fog in the distance. Given the history of towers, it was probably the workplace of some wizard or another.

Before he could say anything, Virgo interrupted, "I have a bad feeling about this. It's at least a day's journey from here, and I can't meterialize food. And furthermore, I don't see how you're going to swim that far."

"Well, I'm sure we can find some food nearby. As for the sea, I have an idea I wish to test." With that said, Thenician started climbing down the hill from the top of the mine. With a destination set and plan made, all that was left to do was see it through.

(OOC: Topographic errors have been corrected.)


Last edited by Thenician on Sat Dec 14, 2002 10:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:17 am
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Arm outstretched with a hand held in front me the only thing I find myself doing in response to my father is examine my nails and shrug my shoulders at his mentioning of another approaching.
Why did he think needed to be told in the first place? Sometimes I think he forgets that I am as much Sidhe as he, perhaps I am even more so than he given my mothers lineage, but that is a story for another day. Did he not think I would feel the pang at the coming of another of our kind?
I cant help but let a small chuckle slip past my lips. Its amazing the things ones mind thinks of or wanders on at times and my mind is no different than anyone elses.
How funny I should be thinking of things other than the fear that swells within. Perhaps I think of these things in order to keep control of my emotions. I hate being afraid, in fact I loathe it. There isnt much in the world that frightens me, but when something does, its usually a bad omen.
Looking to the sky of the wastelands I see nothing to bring me any sort of comfort and I long for embrace of my Guidion whom I have not seen nor heard of since I left the world of my confinement.....



Her eyes rolled to the heavens making her annoyance with the Archmage more than obvious, as always he thought he knew her and understood her words when she spoke and once again he was wrong.
It came to her then how bored she had grown with him, how she tired of hearing of all that he had done in his lifetime as though he himself were some hero to be worshipped for all his sacrifices. Of he he would be arrogant enough to think that he had it harder than so many before him.
Waving her hand dismissively she continued to look at her hand, her eyes falling on the golden band of ivy while she addressed her father for what she hoped to be the last time until it would become absolutely necessary to speak to him again.

My father never treated me poorly Azrael and do the world a favor would you? Get over yourself. There are obviously more important matters we should be thinking of other than what the poor Archmage has been through.

That being said she stood from the rock knowing that there would be more than just one woman (whom she only knew by name and nothing more) and a father and daughter who couldnt stay in one place for more than a moment without tearing into each other coming to gather in the god forsaken wastelands.
What she didnt know and what troubled her above anything was what they would find or why they were there.

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Sat Dec 14, 2002 6:19 am
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It would have been a much longer and more difficult trip if Ran's specialty hadn't been with Portals.

In the middle of the night, armed with nothing more than his staff and a large pack on his back, Ran left the keep and entered the courtyard. He reached back and pulled a crude map of the Maxim isle out of the pack, looking it over. He closed his eyes, again tracing the source of that faint call not so long ago. Again, all he could sense was a general direction, and a very broad distance range. It would be enough. Ran opened his eyes just long enough to select his first trial destination, then closed them again.

Holding the image of the map in his mind, Ran focused on creating a link between where he stood, and where he wanted to be. He idly hoped that he wouldn't pop out in someone's bedroom or guardtower, but he didn't have too much to worry about that. The magic would take him where he needed to be.

The link snapped into being; the magic slipped into place; the portal slid open before him. Ran took one last look around. He'd told no one where he was going (he didn't even really know himself!), only that he could be gone for awhile. Not that there were many left who kept track of his comings and goings, in any case. He took a deep breath, steeling himself, then stepped through the swirling grayness of the portal.

He emerged in the middle of a snowy field, no signs of life in sight. Well enough, he supposed. He looked down at the map again, taking careful note of his approximate whereabouts now, then began the tracing again. A few moments later, the portal behind him snapped shut as another in front popped open. He stepped through, and again he was elsewhere.

Ran repeated the process several times that night, feeling himself growing tired but knowing he couldn't stop to rest. Once he popped out in the middle of a deserted marketplace. Another time in a thick forest, scattering all the animals nearby. Yet another time along a rocky beach--and now he knew he was close.

His final jump led him onto an island, a dark tower barely silhouetted against the night sky. He knew without checking that this tower was his destination. A cold foreboding also rose within him, for he knew where he was--and now knew who had sent that strange magical call. By the map, he was deep into Isonian territory, on a small uncharted island. But the stories of this tower were themselves well marked. He stood before Archmagus Azrael's tower.

Ran remained standing where he was as he let his last portal closed behind him. He knew of Azrael by reputation only, had certainly never met him. Yet that reputation was more than enough to cause pause. The peculiar thing was...he could sense no magical defenses at all surrounding the tower. Surely, the Archmagus would not leave his home so undefended.

A familiar buzzing in his senses told him the rest of the story. There was a Portal open in that tower--a very powerful one. A Portal so strong couldn't lead to anywhere on Maxim. It was even stronger than the one Ran had forged himself when fleeing Mo'pri so long ago. Had Azrael then gone through that Portal, in such a hurry that he could spare only a brief, widespread mindcall, and left his tower utterly defenseless?

There was only one way to find out, of course. Ran warily approached the tower, his staff held out in front of him, ready to ward off any attack. It could all be a trap, he supposed. Send out a simple mindcall, lower all your defenses, and lure the unsuspecting onward. But why bother with him?

He reached the doors to the tower, stretched out a hand tentatively. He placed it upon the door gently, tensing himself for any response. Slowly, slowly, he eased the door open, slipping inside when it was just wide enough to admit his bulk, pulling it shut behind him just as quickly. All was silent inside. No one was home.

Fiercely Ran hoped this were true. If the Archmagus were currently in bed, and disturbed by such an intruder, Ran had no doubt he would not last long. But the presence of the Portal, wide open and seemingly beckoning him, suggested otherwise. Azrael had gone through that Portal--and perhaps anyone else who had heard his call. That Portal, was Ran's destination.

His heart froze as he entered what seemed to be a study, and saw the Portal with its own eyes. At first glance, it seemed to be nothing more than a mirror, yet it screeched to Ran's senses. But it was not the Portal itself that interested him. The golden frame surrounding it held him motionless as well as speechless. Etched into the frame were the runes of the old gods, the lost gods, the dead gods. The colors swirling across the Portal were not the usual grays of Ran's portals, but a strange mix of the old gods' colors themselves--blue, red, gold. This was what had drawn him here. Azrael's mindcall itself could have been easily ignored, but Ran's affinity for Portal magic had inevitably drawn him to this place. Where the Portal led, Ran could not tell, beyond that it led to nowhere on Maxim, or Tonan either. Azrael, at the least, had gone through it, and been excited enough to send out a mindcall to any who would hear. Could Ran really do any less, and still consider himself a mage?

The decision was made, and Ran tried not to think too hard about all the ramifications of what exactly the presence of this Portal might mean. All questions would be answered on the other side.

Ran stepped through the Portal.

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Sat Dec 14, 2002 10:20 am
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Night fell on Thenician's camp. The smell of wild hare roasting over a flame filled the air, and was carried gently away by a passing breeze.

"How long do you think it's been?" he asked the spirit.

"Judging by the stars, three seasons. Plus any number of years."

Thenician grinned as he took the last bite from the dumb animal. Licking his fingers, he exhaled and stood up. He kicked some dirt over the dying fire and began walking down to the shore which was only a mile or so from the mine.

"So what's your big idea?" Virgo inquired to Thenic's thoughts.

"You live in my head and you have to ask?" he replied in a sarcastic tone.

"If you want, I could possess your body and take full control of your thoughts, then I wouldn't need to ask anything of you again."

Thenician grinned, "Remember when we first arrived on Maxim? We met those pirates who rode around on wyverns. Do you still have the stone their captain gave us?"

"Of course." No sooner were the words spoken that the magic stone began materializing before Thenician.

He held his hand below it, waiting for the trinket to finish appearing so he could catch it. He couldn't help but think to himself that this must be every travellers dream. A way to carry precious valuables about without risk of theft and more importantly, without having to haul a bulky backpack around.

"What would I ever do without you." he smiled as the stone fell to his hand. The smile soon faded as he realized his loss of memory as to how to operate the stone's magic. "Did this come with a manual?"

"Now who's the one with the questions. Just let me handle it."

The stone looked like a plain round rock you'd find near a pond. As a matter of fact, on the seashore which Thenician stood then, he would never find it if he were to drop it. But that worry was relieved as the stone began glowing a pale green in his hand. Thoughts of his days with the pirates before his madness came back as he watched the stone glow. He knew soon a wyvern would answer the summon and take him where he needed to be. And much faster than Virgo's earlier prediction too.

The stone's glow quickly subsided, and Thenician squeezed it in his fist where it was absorbed back into the magic recesses of the destiny spirit. He sat down on the beachrock to wait for the wyvern. It would only be a short time now. Being patient by nature, Thenician chose to spend the time trying to figure out the consequences and maybe possible rewards of his long sleep in the mana cocoon.

It seemed that would have to wait though, a screeching howl from the clouds announced the wyvern's arrival. Thenician stood to greet the beast, thinking to himself that they were never that quick to respond before. Maybe improved magic affinity was one reward of the mana cocoon. He certainly hoped so anyway.

It was only a few more seconds until the wyvern landed near Thenic. The creature's strong wings blew a fierce wind along the entire beach, tossing some rocks as large as a human head about like sand. Thenician had to shield his face, but took a fist sized rock in the gut anyway.

"Ooof!" He puffed out just as the beast stopped flapping. Thenician approached the wyvern while holding his left hand to his stomach. "What's your name, friend?"

The creature replied with a mindshattering howl, and Thenician though it wise to leave the matter at that. He mounted on the wyvern's back and held on to its shoulders, making sure not to obstruct the flapping of its wings.

"Whenever you're ready." Thenician mumbled right behind the wyvern's ear. With only a single powerful flap, they were already a good 50 feet in the air. Mounting on a draconic animal brought back painful memories of his youth and loss of his hometown back in Mo'pri. He shrugged it off immediately, not wanting to be sidetracked by bad memories like last time.

"Alright, we head south." Thenician shouted over the roar of the wind at the wyvern.


Sat Dec 14, 2002 8:59 pm
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The closer she got to her fellow Sidhe the more she began to worry and not simply over the strange sights that she had seen since moving through the portal. The strange metal circlet that she now wore seemed to dig its hidden spines further into her skull, sending sparks of pain shooting through her mind, explosions of colour appearing before her eyes. She breathed out unsteadily, pushing the pain to the back of her mind, cleansing all evidence of it from her grey eyes. Lyssia wondered if the others would recognise it for what it was; maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, she just hoped that they wouldn't realise the full extent of what she had done. The sorceress knew that her past was full of incidents that had seemed unavoidable at the time, the circlet was just the lasting impression of one of those times, a time that she couldn't escape fully.

She let her eyes travel across the two Sidhe before her, recognising them for who they were. Lyssia dug the nails of one hand into her palm, trusting that these people would stay exactly who and what they seemed. Archmagus Azrael, she said in greeting, nodding her head towards the older Sidhe man. And lady Oriana, if I am not mistaken, Lyssia nodded her head towards the female as well, vaguely recognising her from a journey she had taken some time before. She doubted that the woman would remember that time, after all Lyssia and her apprentice had merely sat in the background of events in the tavern, only there briefly to see if an old friend still remembered her.

Your message was unexpected, she said softly. still seeing in her mind's eye the sigils of the old gods glowing. What did it mean? The most obvious possible implication concerned her for some reason, if it were true then great upheaval might be coming to the world...But no, it couldn't be that, those ones were dead and mostly forgotten by a people who had moved on.

Even she had moved on from the old world, tossing aside her belief in Angelique as easily as if she were a snake shedding its skin. Lyssia had left the lands of Mo'Pri begin and taken up a whole new faith, barely blinking an eye as she did so. When had she ever mourned the loss of Angelique? When had she even paused between giving up the Goddess and pledging her support to Celan and His prophet Diman? Was that what concerned her? That if the old Gods had somehow found a way to communicate with the new lands she would find herself hard pushed to explain her actions to the one who she had once sworn to fight for till the end.

Not to mention that her 'interactions' with the current cowled God would be hard to account for. There again that was hard enough to explain to anyone as it was, let alone to a deity.

Lyssia looked away from Azrael and Oriana, back overhead towards the unblinking sun, Have you any idea what this place is? I have seen enough here to unsettle me, the twisting images of her apprentice, master theif, commander and companion rose unbidden in her mind. Whatever that had been, she could only hope that it stayed far from her.

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Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
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Sun Dec 15, 2002 3:27 am
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Azrael ignored Oriana's comments. She knew better than to think her words would sting him in anyway. Quickly forgotten, he turned as thier new companion made her way up to them.

Archmagus Azrael. And lady Oriana, if I am not mistaken. Your message was unexpected. Have you any idea what this place is? I have seen enough here to unsettle me

Azrael nodded back at Lyssia, his expression solemn.

I must say Lyssia, I am not suprised to see you as the first to arrive here. As for where we are, what can I tell you? As you can see, there is nothing of the terrain that can be fortelling of anything. The portal...yes the portal. This I can tell you something about.

The exact age of the portal I cannot say, for it predates even myself. It was given to me some 1500 years ago by a fellow Sidhe mage. It was blessed by the three gods and allowed the owner passage way to anywhere on Mo'Pri.

When the Apocolypse occured, I brought it over to Maxim along with my tower more as a relic...and hierloom. Since that day it was nothing more than a mirror, the portal closed and its runes silent and lifeless...until today.
Azrael paused for a moment and thought about the thrill he felt when he saw those runes glow brightly again.

I know not what this portends. All I know is the portal is open, its runes alive. We have stepped through it only to arrive on this seemingly barren "world" if it can be called that. You mentioned something here unsettled you, I have also encountered some strange...occurances.

Well now Lyssia you know all I know. I only wish that something would change here, a mountain perhaps...


Feeling strange for a moment, Azrael turned quickly and look in the direction he was heading earlier. There a few leagues away loomed a mountain range. How strange its snow capped peaks looked against a black yet sun lit sky. He narrowed his mirrored eyes curiously, then turned back to his daughter and fellow Sidhe.

It seems things have gotten stranger. Mountains do not grow out of thin air everyday now do they. Unless there are any objections, I do believe this will require some investigating.

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Sun Dec 15, 2002 9:45 pm
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Ran stepped out from the Portal into a world of paradoxes.

Standing out first and foremost was the sky. It was a perfectly normal, nighttime sky, stars blazing, except for one thing--the sun shone straight overhead, just as happy as can be. The sight nearly gave Ran a headache at the illogicity of it all.

The countryside itself was quite boring. A dirt road led straight-away through a deserted wasteland. Only a few shrubs and rocks dotted the landscape, although there was something on the horizon that he couldn't quite make out. Mountains?

"Well, this is a rotten mess. How am I ever supposed to find Azrael--or anyone else for that matter--in this bloody wasteland?"

The strangest thing happened then. As simply as if the thought had come to life, Azrael was there. Or, rather, Ran was where Azrael was. At least, a rather formidable-looking Sidhe he could only assume to be Azrael. Along with two other Sidhe ladies, no less. He quickly looked behind him, seeing the dirt road trailing back there nonchalantly, with a mountain range looming in the distance in front of him. The three Sidhe looked at him with much the same bewildered expression he imagined on his own face.

"I say...that was rather strange." He managed to compose himself somewhat, looked over the three Sidhe who were now eyeing him with no small measure of suspicion. "Erm, well. My name's Ran. I, ah, stumbled through that Portal back there, and well...I seem to be here...wherever here is, I suppose."

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Mon Dec 16, 2002 10:51 am
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The trip over the sea was much shorter than expected, but Thenician was still only about halfway to the tower. The north beach of the island quickly became a desert, and he couldn't help but notice the tall stones that looked practically arranged on the shallow dunes. The tower was only a few more minutes away at this speed, behind some peaks that tried in vain to hide it.

Thenician was trying to come up with the fastest way to get into the tower. He didn't know a thing about this tower. Except that some mages liked to have their study atop the tower, while others just underground while using the spire above to channel energies. Landing on the roof would be quickest if the study was indeed at the top, but Thenic chose to go in through the front door instead, in case of any accidents.

Passing over the mountain range, Thenician got a better look at the tower and noticed that a rooftop landing would be near impossible anyway, due to the shape of the tower. He gave the wyvern a pat on the head and pointed at the tower, the beast replied with a loud schreech and began a rapid descent.

"You're not thinking of doing what I think you're are..." The ever gentle voice of Virgo called to Thenician's conciousness.

"You bet I am!" He gave the beast another pat on the back of the head and lept off midflight, while the wyvern flapped out of its freefall and went back to whatever business it had before being summoned.

The ground was comming up fast, and Thenician couldn't see very well just how close it was to time his technique properly. Thoughts that maybe this wasn't such a good idea in the middle of the night began making him uncomfortable. However, a little light was easy enough to come by for anyone even slightly educated in magery. With that thought in mind, he aimed his hand at the ground and fired a bright fireball. The makeshift signal flare hit the ground much sooner than expected and Thenician tried to react as soon as possible.

Using a technique that focusses energy in a chosen direction, Thenician fucussed it the same way he would to leap over a tower like this one. Except that given his current trajectory, he would instead slow himself down enough to land safely from just about any height... supposedly. The use of this technique had a noticeable signature and price. A loud roar of wind was forced in all directions, and the toll on the user's mana pool was tremendous, especially given that Thenician wasn't much of a wizard. Only knowing a few simple fireball and shield spells.

He hit the ground pretty hard, even though if not slowed down it would've been fatal. He kept on one knee to the ground for a minute before getting up. Taking a moment to recover from the impact. Yet strangely enough, he didn't find himself all that drained. Perhaps the mana cocoon had something to do with this too, or maybe it was his proximity to the tower. The whole island itself may be a giant overflow valve of global mana. Maybe it was all three. Thenician dismised this thinking there were too many possibilities to be troubled with at the moment.

Picking himself up, Thenician noticed he jumped a bit prematurely, distances in the air seem much shorter than on the ground. The tower was still at least a quarter mile away. Taking a deep breath and letting out a regretful sigh, he began walking.

"Couldn't just land the damn dragon at the entrance, could you?"

"It's not a dragon." Was the smartest response Thenic could come up with. Virgo was right, he should've just landed at the front door, but at least he had a blast doing it his way. If he wasn't still on rough mountan terrain, he could use the same technique a few more time and be at the tower in a few seconds. Mana wouldn't be a problem, it seemed to recover very quickly around here. "Oh well, no need to worry about what can't be."


Mon Dec 16, 2002 11:13 pm
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How unbelieveably impossible that woman was. Were I not so fond of her I would wrap my hands around her slender neck and strangle the life from her.
Of course she would probably have me burnt to a crisp before I could get within ten feet of her to do such a thing, but that is entirely besides the point.
One minute we were talking of times long past, she was telling me in great detail of the battle between her father and a god I had no prior knowledge of that had taken place during the destruction of the world she called her true home when for no apparent reason she rose to stand in the center of the study, and poof she was gone.
No good-bye, no hint of anything being amiss, she was just gone.
That one small action on her part sent my senses reeling. Every inborn alarm in my body screamed that she was either in trouble or was about to get herself into trouble.
I sat there for a few moments stunned like some helpless chit unsure of what to do next. It was not like her to leave so abruptly without so much as even a hint of what was happening. And that is what had me worried enough to make the short journey from her keep to the Isle of Winds.
I figured if she was in some sort of trouble Azrael would most likely already know something about it, perhaps even be involved himself and maybe he would be able to do something.
What I wasnt expecting when I arrived at his tower was to find the great structure barren of people. It felt almost like something had sucked the very essence of life from the place.
Now I'm no mage and the few things I do know are mere parlor tricks that she has taught me in our time together, nothing to boast over let me reassure you. Even I am not so dense as to not know when there are great magicks at work, the moment I stepped inside I felt myself being drawn to someone or something.
It didnt take very long to find the room where the portal stood. In all my life I have never seen such a thing as that portal with its glowing runes and haunting call.
Something told me she was on the other side, and that meant only one thing.
No matter what lay beyond the portal, I would have to go through it.
I cant really say what happened next.
I'm not too sure, I kept my eyes closed you see.
Decapitated bodies, amputated limbs, blood, guts and gore galore I can stomach without so much as even a flinch. Magicks and matters of the arcane are another matter entirely.
The only thing I am sure of is the way my stomach turned when I finally stepped into the portal and over to the other side.
When I opened my eyes I was a little shocked to see nothing but a vast wasteland with its odd skys of brightened darkness and snow capped mountains.
Nothing could have prepared me for such strangeness.
With my guard up and senses on high alert I began walking until from a distance I saw people gathered. One individual stood out among them all.
I would know her anywhere and seeing her sent waves of relief washing through me. At least she wasnt laying there dead and she seemed to be alright, of course I wouldnt know that until I drew closer.



Oriana!

The sound of my own words echoed back to me but had the desired affect nonetheless. It took one turn of her head in my direction to send me sprinting across the barren land. Reaching her I felt worry drain. Pay little if any attention to the black robed mage near her he was regarded with nothing more than a passing glance as were the others. My main concerns were and still are for her. Eyeing her, taking her measure I can see that she is unharmed and finally my hearbeat begins to slow enough for me to find out what was happening.

Do not scare me like that again Oriana that is not alot to ask is it? And maybe someone can tell me just where in the hell this place is or what it is?


Thu Dec 19, 2002 10:09 am
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*he heard the voice in his head and the message it gave* *they're back what the hell did that mean?* *who was back an old enemy, an old friend who* *he feels the pull of the direction to go and whistles for wolf to follow* *he sends a quick scribbled note to Kiara as he goes* *he wrote fast and sent off the letter* Something Strange is going on spitfire gone to check it out.....I love you and will be back soon

*he sent the note off and then continued the way he knew he had to go* *he did not know why or how but he knew he had to go that way**he recognized eventually where he was heading* *the last time he had made this journey alone it had been to pledge himself to SAO and to thier cause that was before a lot had changed in his life*

*he makes his way through the lands not really caring to stop for much something was eating at him what did all this mean* *he kept going till he finally reached the tower he went in following what he was being told to do, well that he was drawn to do* *he comes to the portal lots of familiar smells around* *he feels the draw of the portal and he enters into it*

*he has no idea where he is or any of that he looks around* What in the world


Sat Dec 21, 2002 11:46 am
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Finally arriving at the entrance to the tower, Thenician ducked away behind a wall as he heard another climbing the stairs before him. Whoever it was was probably drawn here by the same force, probably heard the same call too. He decided to stalk this person, just for the luxury of having someone ahead to trigger any possible traps.

Thenician had allowed Virgo to cast a shadowmeld spell on him to help stay undetected. Staying never more than 15 paces behind the other, they reached the study atop the tower only minutes later. Without any incident or booby trap to speak of. A little odd, to say the very least.

He noticed the man he'd been tailing sniffed about a bit. Still hiding in the shadows in the corridor outside the study, Thenician took a deep breath and could smell a very familiar scent. The man seemed almost possessed by his quickness and determination. He hesitated very little before disappearing into a swirling vortex.

Once the man had gone, Thenician ceased his hiding and examined the room. His eyes first landed on the portal which the man eagerly stepped into. Next his gaze stood upon a large tome on a desk. Clearly this was the private study of the tower's resident. Yet the public study some floors below indicated that this was more like a school for mages, rather than the kind of place where an old magician would seal himself to rot away with his studies.

It took Thenic a few more second to actually notice the eerie glow coming from the frame of the portal. His eyes slowly traced the wall until reaching it, he could hardly believe it as he approached the runes.

"What manner of ruse is this?" Thenician asked himself aloud. "These can't really be receiving power from them. I find it hard to believe that any god of Maxim would grant even a meager amount of light to shine the emblem of another, even less a fallen god."

"No. Concentrate more. The energy isn't coming from this world." Virgo's seemingly omniscient voice called from behind his thoughts.

Thenician began eying each rune independantly. First he saw the cool blue glow eminating from Angelique's rune. A certain amount of discontent filled his thoughts, yet he found respect and a necessary amount of rivalry. Next he saw the rune of Barnabas. Thenician's heart filled his pride. He took a deep breath and shook his head, making sure not to get his hopes up. Last his eyes landed on the rune crying Leto's name. Such a childish excuse for a god. Thenic's fist clenched hard and his mind filled with rage. He closed his eyes and tried to forget everything that was long past. But his heart wouldn't let him, he let out a loud scream and flung his fist at Leto's rune. Only two centimeters before hitting it, his fist was stopped cold by some magic force or another. A visible ripple where his hand hit spread outward about a foot, then began collapsing again. Before he knew it, the forcefield had hit Thenician back ten times harder. He was thrown back and crashed into an old shelf. Needless to say the bookself was wrecked, and several important looking books fell on top of him.

On the bright side though, the blow calmed him down. So Thenician decided to take a more systematic approach to the situation. Climbing out of the pile of books, he made his way to the desk. Aside from a dim candle and the rune glow, there was no light in the room. He sat himself in the mage's elegant looking chair, wondering if he was the type to kill one for taking his seat. The tome on the desk looked like it had had its pages ruffled recently, he decided to see for himself id there was any imformation there he could work with before carelessly entering the portal.

"Virgo, light." He only finished speaking the words and the dim candle on the desk began radiating a white light much brighter than a hundred candles. He was pretty sure the tome was in some language he wouldn't understand, but maybe there would be some pretty pictures to follow.


Tue Dec 24, 2002 10:45 pm
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The sudden appearance of an entire mountain range was puzzling to say the least, but it seemed that Azrael had got his wish for change within this strange realm. For Lyssia the longer she was here the more the lands disturbed and unsettled her, her mind and heart was torn between the path that seemed more sensible and the one that her curiousity whispered to her of. If she had not been Sidhe the sorceress was sure that she would not still be standing here, no she would have been long gone, back through the portal to the relatively 'safer' isle. But she was Sidhe, her very blood seemed to command her to untangle the mysteries of this place, and Lyssia knew that if she turned back now she would spend the rest of her days wondering 'What if?'

Now that your wish for change has been granted it would seem for the best to take a closer look at this range before us. Perhaps in its very sudden existence we might find some clue as to what re-awakened your portal, Archmagus. To turn away from this challenging puzzle was shear cowardice, her very blood would rebel against her for such an action. No, the only way was forward, besides when had she ever cared for the 'safety' of the isle anyway, the sorceress smiled a little at the thought.

Even as she spoke another appeared, walking up the same road tht she had followed from the portal's exit. Was it safe to assume that he had also heard Azrael's message and had found his way to the tower, and from there to this barren place? Or maybe he was just another of the oddities of this place? Well only time it seemed would tell on that matter as the centaur introduced himself as one Ran. Indeed m'lord Ran, it seems that we find ourselves in a most unusual place, quite probably the strangest of places that I have ever seen. Lyssia briefly looked up towards the night sky that the sun blazed in like a brilliant gemstone on a cloth of darkest velvet, now there was a constant reminder that this place was not at all like the isle of Maxim.

Just as she lowered her eyes there was yet another appearance, Rowan Boramere's sudden cry of 'Oriana' startling her. It almost seemed as though with every passing moment the population increased as more traversed the portal. And do our numbers grow again, she muttered as the man addressed the Archmagus's daughter. Clearly her throat a little Lyssia said, Well now it seems that we are quite the company, mor than enough to study these mountains I would say, shall we? She gestured in the direction of the range, idly wondering what they would find there. Or even if they would ever reach them. After all this place was odd enough already, why shouldn't these mountains stay forever out of their reach, taunting them with their presence?

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Hlasta! Quetis Ilfirimain
Elador's Sváss


Thu Jan 09, 2003 5:08 am
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Ran nodded politely as one of the lady Sidhe greeted him, then tried to maintain his composure as another figure ran up, identifying the second lady Sidhe as Oriana. If he remembered correctly, Oriana was Azrael's daughter, though he wasn't sure. He had no idea who this other character was, perhaps a husband or brother.

He looked about idly, feeling more than a bit out of place. The Sidhe were the prime magical race, as evidenced by their number gathered here. He was but a centaur, a magical anomaly. Perhaps that would serve him in this paradoxical landscape.

"We're headed for the mountains?" It made sense, he supposed--as much sense as anything here made. There certainly didn't seem to be any other landmarks, and the dirt path they followed led straight into the heart of the range. "Well, why not, let's go."

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Wed Jan 22, 2003 9:49 am
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