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 Panatithicum - A plague upon the Isle 
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:00 pm
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Location: Reading, UK
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Morlis bowed her head in greeting to the tattooed man who had travelled with Helania. A small smile curled her lips at the edges, as if she found something rather amusing about the whole meeting. She ignored the whispered questions that Helania was asking Lunestre behind her. Though she could not hear what the archeress was saying she could at least imagine what the subject of them was. It was a matter that had been kept quiet for the most part from the general mill of gossip and rumour. Morlis, Lunestre and the others who knew of it intended to keep it that way. If what the little one carried became common knowledge...it did not bear thinking about.

But there was a more immediate problem to be dealt with; the sickness that seemed intent on changing the very personality and mentality of all those who contracted it. Other matters and mysteries could wait, the disease had to be brought to a conclusion first of all. And the ones who could do that were present now in the clearing, though it had taken more than a little planning and plotting to ensure that it was so. Good day CrimsonWolf, friend of Helania, one who is eager it seems to get to the bottom of this sickness. What do I know of your actions? She smiled, What do I not know?

The human woman had paid close attention to the passage of the disease since she had first noticed it in a Foretian town that Lunestre and herself had passed though. One day there had been the rumours of men and women weakened from an unknown sickness, the next the town had practically been torn apart by the mindless rage of those afflicted. Lunestre had barely been able to get them out of the town with their skins intact. Since then she had watched the disease, barely able to believe how quickly it inflicted whole lands and regions. She had recorded the devastating effects of the sickness upon the towns and cities that fell under its sway.

Morlis had never been one to concentrate on the magic of healing and restoring health to diseased flesh. Her power had come from the knowledge of how to wield the unseen elemental spirits of the isle. Such things could be manipulated into healing but it was not something that she had concentrated on, much to the annoyance of her master. The more destructive side of the magical lore had always come more easily to her than any other.

But even without having the power to heal or cure still the disease had caught her interest. Indeed her interest had become something more as she had watched whole swathes of the land collapse under the influence of the disease. Nothing seemed capable of stopping its progress and no healer or priest had come forward to speak of a cure or remedy. The more the situation continued, the more the sorceress became obsessed with the disease, more sure that she had to try and do something to halt it.

Yet even when she had decided to take that course she had found herself stuck. What could she do? Without knowledge of curing or healing she was stuck. So she had started to work on the disease from another angle. She would search for another who had the means to affect a cure and instead would work upon how to get that cure to those who were held in the grasp of the disease. For that purpose alone she had gathered the people in the clearing. CrimsonWolf had the ability to heal...and Sorrik and Dian had the means to pass that cure onto others.

As for what I can offer you...I can offer you the very thing you lack. You were stricken by the disease that plagues the isle CrimsonWolf but you lack the ability to transmit that cure to others, to those who wish to be free of the disease in their very hearts. The sickness may touch the mind and turn it from its normal course but the soul cannot be altered, the soul may yearn for a cure. I have the magic and these two, she gestured towards Sorrik and Dian, Have the last piece of the puzzle, the last piece needed to create a ritual that may drive out the disease.

_________________
[center]The dark in the light
Ware her anger
[/center]


Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:01 am
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:00 pm
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The red-haired woman played with the pendant about her neck as Morlis said her piece. The opal shimmered and danced with colours of every hue as it caught what sunlight was able to make its way through the canopy of leaves and branches above. Sorrik dearly wished that she could throw away the pendant and appear as she was. But she had realised long ago that people were all too often influenced by what they saw, causing their first impressions of another to be set in stone. And people's first impression of Sorrik when they saw her actual form didn't tend to leave much room for a chance of a second impression to be made. So until the world itself changed, until people became more accepted, she was stuck with the pendant, only trusting her true form with those that she called friend.

The illusion that made her appear nothing more terrible than a tall human woman was a good one. There again why wouldn't it be? The pendant had been created by the Sidhe sorceress Lyssia long ago in the city of Gyppeswyk. It didn't stop everyone from seeing what lay beneath it but it tended to do the trickin most situations. Besides, those that could see through the illusion usually were poilte enough to not to, letting the image lay as it was rather than seeking the truth underneath.

Dian and herself rarely strayed into the lands contested by the alliances in recent ages. It was safer for them and their charge to remain hidden, forgotten even. There were more than a few souls in the isle who were just a little too interested in objects of the arcane variety. Enough such people existed that Sorrik prefered to keep their charge, the Chalice, away from the world at large. It was better to keep that artifact a secret, the five guardians of the Chalice, scattered as they were, couldn't defend it against too many. The guardians were only single souls after all, they weren't wielders of magical weapons or the commanders of armies. Secrecy was the best weapon that they could employ and over the long ages since the Chalice had been given over to her Sorrik had learned to use it wisely.

She would have prefered to keep it that way. But when Lunestre and Morlis had searched them out, claiming that the Chalice had a duty to fulfil, she had been unable to deny them. After all the guardians were charged not just with protecting the Chalice but also with seeking its final purpose, the task that it had to fulfil in order to be laid to rest once and for all.

As the sorceress finished speaking Sorrik ceased fiddling with the pendant and instead knelt down on the ground, removing the pack that was strapped to her back. The pack didn't look at all special, it was the sort of thing that any long-term traveller within the isle might possess. But rather than the usual muddle of items necessary for living out in the wilds of the land the pack that Sorrik had contained only a cloth-wrapped bundle. She carefully withdrew it from the pack, handling it as gently as a mother might hold her child. Laying it upon the ground Sorrik unwrapped the bundle, revealing, when she was done, a silver chalice standing about a foot tall.

It was a beautiful object, carved all about its surface with images and words. The inside of the Chalice was polished to a mirror-like finish, indeed its reflective qualities had been the very thing that had provied to be the end of its last guardian. Sorrik remembered that moment well; grasping the Chalice and turning it to act as a mirror against the gaze of the basilisk. It had saved her life and Dian's, but it had also chained their souls to the lif of the Chalice. The death of the basilisk had passed the burden of guardianship from it to Sorrik, Dian and the other three souls who the Chalice had reached out to.

As Sorrik lay the Chalice upon the ground of the clearing it bubbling and began to fill with water. The clear waters of the Chalice soon filled its cup and before long the water overflowing and seeped into the soil. Yet as soon as the red-haired woman picked up the Chalice it stopped creating water though the cup itself was full. This is what you'll need to pass the benefits of the ritual onto the people who are unwell. But I warn you, Dian and I are guardians of this Chalice, we will not allow any to misuse it or seek to take it from us, she said gruffly, wishing that she was still far from the lands of the alliances.

_________________
[center]Guardians of the Chalice
"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark."[/center]


Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:26 am
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Stablehand
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2003 6:01 pm
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Location: Watching you...
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The illusion that shrouded the figure - a tall, red-haired woman - shimmered in his vision. He could have seen through it, the act would not have required much, would not even have required him to draw the bronze blade at his belt and spill his life's blood, for the art of illusion was a talent he had been born with, had called upon long before he had taken up the path of blood magic and abandoned his own name.

Yet he did not.

Since you seem to be so well-aware of my abilities, it would seem there is little more to be said.

The Chalice gleamed in the light of Intop, the water that it seemingly created glittering in the sun's rays. Quickly, he stripped his tunic off, standing naked to the waist before them.

Save this. When the time comes for you to take up your part, do not tarry.

The thin bronze knife the nameless wanderer drew from his belt caught the sun's light, too.

By bronze and by blood, by the old rites...

The blood-magic upon which he called was, at its heart, a very simple thing. It was an old magic, old indeed, a thing not subject to the complexities of later times. No, this was a primal thing, its power undiluted by frippery and show.

That said, what the wanderer sought to do would not be easy, despite the simplicity of the act itself. He must do, consciously, what had before been instinct, the magic working almost of its own volition. And before, the power he had unleashed had been mostly turned on the taint within his blood. This time, there was no taint. The magic would be turned solely upon himself.

But then, the path of the bloodmage was never an easy one. Oh, it could be - could all too easily be, but that seductive ease carried its own price, one with which the nameless one was all too familiar with the consequences of.

The knife shone in the sun's light as it flashed through the air, slicing his palm open. Blood welled up in the gash, thick and red, pooling in the palm. Dropping the knife to the floor, he dipped a finger into the dark liquid, drawing a stark slash upon his cheek over the snarling wolfshead tattoo there.

He turned his hand, the drops falling like rubies to splash into the waters of the Chalice, staining the water first a faint pink, then deeper as the blood fell. He held his hand steady, the droplets falling like a slow crimson rain.

...let my will be manifest.

Those strange, slitted pupils in those strange red eyes narrowed as the pain began. For blood magic had a price to be paid, a price for the power, and that price was paid in blood and in pain. Especially this magic, for the wanderer sought to purify a taint that was no longer present.

His blood burned within him as the magic coursed through his body. Where it seeped slowly from the shallow wound in his palm, it quite literally burst into flame, wreathing the nameless one's left hand in scarlet flame. The chalice, too, by now filled with something that seemed more blood than water, yet which had strangely not yet begun to over-flow, seemed filled with flame.

Sweat ran down his naked torso as he stood, muscles tensed to the point that they stood out beneath his skin, the tendons like cords. His breath rasped as he concentrated, sustained the burning fire that swept through him.

To the onlookers, the first visible sign was the sweat, for bar that one simple utterance, the wanderer stood silent and motionless. The second sign was the light, a slow, sullen pulsing red light from within that lit up the snarling wolfshead on the man's cheek as the streak of blood that adorned it seemed to be drawn into the skin. The light deepened in intensity, no longer pulsing but shining a steady crimson through the tattoo.

To be joined by more, as the light spread through his body. It seemed as though every vein and artery within him carried that light, as the fire spread through him, for his blood vessels glowed with the power and the fire, picked out on his bare skin in a scarlet tracery.

The fire leapt through his body, invading every tiny space, filling it with purifying fire.

He raised his head, strands of iron-grey hair hanging a lank and sweat-stained curtain. Eyes narrowed to pain-filled slits, his voice rasped out.

Make it quick

_________________
[center]Smiling in their faces
While filling up the hole
So many dirty little places
In your filthy little worn out broken down see through soul
[/center]


Sun Aug 08, 2004 5:41 pm
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Stablehand
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Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2002 5:00 pm
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Location: Reading, UK
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Morlis didn't need a second urging, the tattooed man's words to "Make it quick" were all she needed to goad her into action. She had waited in silence while the one known as CrimsonWolf had worked his magic. Though the sorceress could not say exactly what he was doing she had guessed that it was better not to interfer. She knew how awkward it could be if people tried to interfer or break her concentration when she plied her trade. The wanderer looked as though his casting was quite difficult enough without the added problems of people speaking or fidgeting about while he worked. Better then to remain still and silent, to hope that the others would also do the same.

The human woman had not been born to magic, she had been born the ordinary child of an ordinary family in an ordinary village. There had been nothing special about her, not unusual talent or gift that might have marked her out early on from the others of her age. The only thing she had had was a love of the stories of magic and a desire to craft her own. But that love had almost been crushed at a very young age when the local priest had tested her, as he did with all the children, for any sign of magical talent and found nothing. She had been heart-broken when that had happened, but rather than giving up she had set herself to finding a way to have her dreams come true.

It was a dream that had succeeded but sometimes, just sometimes Morlis had to ask herself if it had really all been worth it. But that was not a question for the moment.

In time the wanderer's magic was ready, none had apparently attempted to interfer or manipulate the forces for their own plans. That was good. The ritual that she had planned and caused to come about was one based solely on the need to contain and cure the sickness that had plagued some portions of the isle. Of course for all the good she hoped to do with the ritual she knew that there were some who would see it merely as a way to spread their own power. There were always people who would rather wickedness be cast upon the isle than allowing good to be done. People had their own agendas and schemes, it was the way of things, but some would rather see those plots furthered, even if it meant other sickening or even dying.

Morlis and those that she had brought to meet CrimsonWolf and Helania cared not about furthering their own plans, they only wanted to see the disease destroyed. None of them had an ulterior motive for wishing the sickness gone, none of them planned on gaining fame or fortune from the act. They were a secretive group of people, prefering to stay far from the eyes of the isle, dealing on the very fringes of the isle in order to continue their work. Morlis knew that Dian and Sorrik perfered to keep themselves hidden, knowing that secrecy was the best way for them to keep their charge, the Chalice, far from prying eyes and sticky fingers. As for herself and Lunestre, it was better that they remainded hidden for the most part, it was the only way to ensure that they could protect their own charge.

The human woman stepped towards the tattooed wanderer, knowing that time was short. She dipped the tips of her fingers into the Chalice, covering them barely with the mixture of blood and water. The blood would act as both sacrifice and cure, it would have to be if her planned ritual was to work fully. It would be carried and would also feed those that she would call upon to take the cure to those that wished to be cured. Those that in the very depths of their soul ached to be free of the grip of the sickness.

She cleared her mind of all worries, all fears and set her thoughts on the first of the elements to be called. Grant me, spirits of water, grant me your ablest servants. Grant me the servants in order to reach all places where water may go. She felt them cluster about her, the elemental primal spirits of water, not elementals in their own right, only spirits that embodied the element of water. They came from near and far, unseen and unheard, pressing close around the human woman, taking the blood and water from her fingers till the skin was clean. Then they were gone once more, taking the blood and the cure to where it was needed.

Once again she dipped her fingers into the Chalice, Grant me, spirits of air, grant me your quickest servants. Grant me the servants in order to reach all the places where air may go. Again just as her words finished she felt herself nudged and pushed by the unseen servants of air as they came to her call. Once more the blood was taken from her hands, feeding the spirits for their aid and giving them the very thing that the sick could be cured by.

A third and a fourth time she placed her hands into the Chalice, once for the spirits of earth and the final time for the spirits of fire. As the final spirit left with its precious burden the tattooed wandered collapsed to the ground, utterly spent. The human woman too fell to her knees, she had done all that she could, now she could only hope that the ritual and the cure that it promised would work and that it would reach all those that wished to be reached.


(OOC: This thread is now finished, no more posts please.)

_________________
[center]The dark in the light
Ware her anger
[/center]


Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:36 am
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